It had been a month since Jacob and I had returned to Washington, and nothing had really been the same. Our abduction had been the gossip of town, and news casters had planted themselves on our front lawn. Charlie had repeatedly threatened to arrest anyone who had surpassed the property, but that didn't stop them.

We both agreed on the decision that I would take online college courses to dwindle the constant stares, whispers, and questions people would have asked. I didn't talk about any of the events that took place, and neither did Jacob.

It was too risky for the Cullen family, and I would have sacrificed everything to keep their secret. They had rescued me, and I owed them everything I had.

Alice came over nearly every day, and would do her best to keep my spirits up. Unfortunately, because of the crowds of people outside our house, trying to get the feature story, I was forced to stay inside. I couldn't even go outside to retrieve the mail. Last time that happened, a damn near riot occurred. People shoved, clawed, and fought each other as a swarm of people cluttered around me, all of their voices shouting questions.

How did I feel about Angela's death? Was our abduction all a lie, just to get our names out there? Where we forced to sell the drugs? Did we take any?

All their questions running together, and I had become overwhelmed. Their camera flashes blinded me, and I had involuntarily started crying.

I honestly detested the idea of even looking out the window. The result of being held prisoner inside my own house, meant that Jacob and I's conversations had to be held over the phone.

His wounds were nearly healed now, where the black burns had fallen on his skin, were now replaced by angry, pink scars. His ribs were healing nicely, and Carlisle said he would make a perfect recovery.

Nearly everything had changed since our arrival back, and it was giving me whiplash. The only things that hadn't changed were my love for Charlie and Jake, my gratefulness for the Cullens, my mourning for Angela, and the constant nightmares.

The nightmares especially.

They all consisted of him, and each time I'd wake up gasping, sweating, and crying. The dreams made me sick, and there was a main reason for that.

Each dream I had made me involuntarily mourn my loss for him as well. Each dream made my heart swell will sadness, and I didn't understand why. My heart told me I missed him, while my mind told me to hate him.

And hate him I did, that didn't change. The feeling now was just lightened, and my mind sometimes questioned why I felt so much hatred. I had Googled Stockholm syndrome, and couldn't wrap my mind around the facts.

I'd ask Alice about it when she arrived.

That could surely be any minute, and wondered if my time would be wasted if I headed downstairs to wait.

With a huff, I pushed myself from my computer desk and got up. I had begun to heal as well. . . physically. My ankle cast was off, but Carlisle said it was in my best interest to wear a boot in hopes of no further injury.

I agreed, not realizing how annoying it was to wear. It was easier to walk though, and the crutches weren't needed. The stairs had been a challenge with crutches, and poor Charlie had to nearly carry me every night to the top. On special occasions, when Alice was here, and Charlie was out of sight, she would pick me up herself.

She made it look so damn easy.

Charlie was at the station today, and I knew it'd be hours until he got back. I headed to the kitchen to see what kind of cereal we had, and if the milk had expired yet.

I had usually done the shopping, but that wasn't the case now-a-days. Charlie or Alice would go, but that was usually once a week. I settled for a pop tart instead.

I had just sat down when I heard a light rap at the door, I began to stand up when I heard the door open.

"Dont get up Bella!" I heard her petite voice chide.

She appeared in the kitchen seconds later, a stack of magazines in one hand, and a coffee in the other.

"Surprise!" She smiled, handing me the Starbucks cup.

I had never really been a big coffee drinker, but I found as of lately that the caffeine helped cure me of the sleepless nights.

"Now, I've already seen you make a big fuss about this, but I assure you, it's not that bad." She sat down across from me. My smile instantly faltered.

"What did you do, Alice?" She chuckled lightly.

"I didn't do anything, it's what you're going to do." I rose my brow at her, she shrugged.

"Should I be scared?" I asked.

"Only a little bit."

She licked her index finger and flipped open the magazine on top. She skimmed right to the page she wanted and handed it to me. My eyes ran over the article. . . twice.

"I'm not doing that Alice." I sighed.

"Now see, I knew you'd fuss about it, but want to know something?" She asked. I shrugged, not really caring. "I saw you're future Bella. . . doing this will make you happy."

"I cant imagine that being a therapist for exploited teens would make me happy." I assured her.

"But that's the thing Bella, out of everyone I know, you would be the best at helping teenagers that where dealt the same card as you. I know you agreed on online college courses, but have you even begun to think of what you wanted to do the rest of your life?"

"No, but. . ."

"I've seen it Bella. This option would be the best thing for you."

"Now see Alice, that's where I think you're wrong. Don't you think I'd have a hard time hearing about others stories when I can hardly deal with my own? I wouldn't be able to handle living with their tragedies, plus mine.

"You're not understanding me. With your future Bella, I saw you happy, and were helping so many people get through their past. Who else could sympathize, and help them deal than a person who had been through the same thing?

"I bet I wouldn't have much to offer." I shrugged.

She gave me a stern look, and rose her brow.

"You wanna bet?"

The day past by in comfortable chit chat. I had yet to bring up the subject I had promised to ask Alice. I was afraid she'd laugh at me, maybe the feelings I had weren't normal, and I was really experiencing Stockholm Syndrome.

Alice sat on one end of the couch, her knees pulled up underneath her, and her nose tucked under a magazine. She'd sat there, still and silent as she looked over the latest fashion and gossip.

"I knew it," She sighed, flipping the page with a bored expression. For a second I had thought she'd read my mind.

"What?" I asked, startled.

"I knew coral was going to be a huge statement color this season." She tapped her head with her index finger and smirked.

I opened my mouth, ready to spill my mind now that the silence had been broken, but I stopped.

"You're sad." She said all of a sudden. "Your future, I saw you started crying. . . whats wrong?" She asked, setting the magazine aside, and scooting closer. She placed her hand on my ankle and waited, patiently. I pursed my lips, not sure of the words I would say.

"Oh." She managed, a small whisper escaped her lips. She frowned, and hung her head. "I know what your trying to say Bella, you don't have to."

And I did burst into tears, just like Alice had said.

"Why am I seeing him? Why cant I hate him Alice? Why is my mind telling me I miss him? I don't! I never will!" She shushed me, and pulled my head to her chest.

"He bit you Bella." She stated flatly.

"But you sucked the venom out," I pulled away, my eyes burning with tears. Her brow twitched as if she wanted to cry with me.

"No Bella, the bite. When a vampire bites a human, its an intimate gesture that binds you to your creator. Body, mind, and soul."

"So he. . ."

"Owns you. Even though he's dead Bella, he can make you miss him. He can make you suffer for his loss. It's not something that will ever. . . go away." She frowned, and her hand patted the hair off my forehead.

"Why didn't anyone tell me!" I cried, "What about Jake? I . . ."

"You can love him all you want Bella, but you will always love Edward more. You're bound to him."

I raised my fists to my eyes, collecting the tears. Without thinking, I dragged my fingers through my hair and tugged at the roots, releasing a guttural scream of frustration.

"I'm sorry." She moaned.


Months Later

"Dartmouth has a great counseling program." I heard her chide on the phone. Bella hadn't realized I'd been eve's dropping on her phone call to her mother. She hadn't yet told me she had chosen Dartmouth. A college that was far away.

Too far away.

Bella had chosen to attend a public school once the news reporters had moved onto the next scandal. It had been nearly a month since I had last seen her before then.

I sighed, nestling deep into her couch cushions. I didn't want to face the harsh reality that she was leaving me. I was proud of her though, for moving on. She did so with such faith, and it baffled me sometimes.

We'd talked about the bite, and how she never would fully recover. I understood. I loved her too much to force her to love me back when she was still so wounded. Her exterior was unbelievably healed of all traces of neglect, but her mental state is what kept her from showing pain.

She was a remarkable person. She hid all of her hatred, pain, and discomfort to provide comfort for those around her. She didn't want anyone's pity, and she wasn't going to allow any sort of emotion to seep through.

I hadn't noticed her sit down beside me until her hand wrapped around mine.

"My mom talks a lot." She sighed, resting her head on my shoulder.

I smiled, agreeing with her. The room was silent, with Charlie outside, repairing the cruiser's interior system. I didn't know how to bring this up, so I tensed, and sighed.

"Dartmouth, eh?" I heard her breath hesitate, then she sat up and faced me.

"I was going to tell you." She looked down, almost ashamed. I placed my hands on her cheeks, forcing her eyes to mine.

"Don't be sorry. I'm happy for you."

"It's far away, you'll come visit me wont you?" Her wide brown eyes pleading.

"Always. Every weekend. No matter what." She sighed, content with my answer.

"I love you." She whispered, kissing my neck.

"You know I wish it was enough." I kissed her forehead.

"Don't start this. Not tonight. Please?"

"Alright, alright." I chuckled. "I love you too."

After a moment of tension, I could feel her body shutter, and I knew she was crying.

"It kills me you know. That I cant love you more than I do now. I wish I could Jake. Dammit, I wish I could give you everything. I really do."

"Shh." I murmured into her hair. "I know, I know."

"It fucking sucks!" I winced at her usage of curse words. "I cant even love who I want to. If I could choose, it'd be you, you know that. I love you Jacob. I love you. . ." Her words turned into soft cries as she hid her face in my neck. "I didn't want this. I didn't want this."

"I know Bella. I'm sorry."

She dried up her tears when she heard Charlie come in.

"Lets go outside." She whispered.

She sat next to me, her legs stretched across the lawn. Her tears long gone.

"I think therapy would be perfect for you." I said, reaching for her hand.

"For me?"

"No, not like that. . . you should major in it. You'd be perfect at helping others overcome things that defeated them."

"I hope so. but I'm not sure. I've never really helped anyone in that way." She shrugged.

"You have." I pointed out. She rose her brow at me, then turned back to facing what little sun had peaked out from the clouds.

"When have I ever helped someone?"

"You helped me."

And suddenly she understood.

She looked at me, her eyes studying mine for any hint of distrust. She had given me hope back then. That even though I was in Hell, I was gifted with a light that guided me out.

She protected me, and gave me the courage to fight. She loved me unconditionally, and would have done anything to prove that.

Suddenly, her hand wrapped around my neck, pulling my lips to hers. We had kissed before, and though I knew she could never physically hurt me, her lips were apologetic as she pulled away.

"I love you." I smiled, leaning my forehead on her shoulder.

"You know I wish it was enough." She sighed, repeating my earlier words.

I pulled back, watching her hair ripple in the strong summer winds, and wondered if she could ever truly love me the way we both wished.

Only time would tell.


AN: I know a bunch of you probably hate me right now for my lack of updates!

I apologize, and I know it doesnt excuse my lack of dedication! But unfortunately, this story has come to a close!

Two years in the making, and it is all over! It saddens me, and I hope this story has given you all something worthy of reading. I dont know if I will post anymore stories here.

I've been a continuous writer for this site since my Freshman year in HS. It's crazy to think I graduated last week! You all have brought me so far, and I value each and every one of your opinions and reviews. Thank you for believing in my writing, even when it was at my worst.

Thank you all so much! This story was by far my favorite to write, and most of you have been there with me since the first chapter!

Goodnight, and God Bless.

XOXO Ashley