I climbed out of the car and followed my dad into Billy's house, bringing my apple pie to the kitchen.

I gave Billy a much too cheerful hello, before heading in the direction of the backyard where I assumed I would find Jake.

My already wide smile grew impossibly when my eyes found him. He grinned at me in return and I couldn't stop myself from running over and jumping into his arms, feeling happier than I had in a long time. I hugged him as tightly as I could before pulling back with a silly grin on my face.

"What's with you, Bella?" he asked as he put me back down. I hadn't even realised that my feet hadn't been touching the floor. "Not that I'm complaining." He added with a rueful grin.

I shook my head, a wide smile still barely contained on my face.

I couldn't tell him about my newly realised love for him, not yet. I really wanted to; I wanted to jump into a relationship with Jacob like I had jumped into his arms, knowing that I could trust on him to catch me.

I knew it would be easy with Jake. It would be warm, natural and wonderful.

But it would also be just a little bit too soon. I had already thought about this in the car on the way here, and my conclusion was undeniable.

I knew that before I could be with Jacob, I needed some time to find out who I was again. Just Bella. Not Edward's Bella or Jacob's Bella, but just me.

Sure, it had been months since Edward left, but I had only left him less than three weeks ago, after my nightmare.

That first week I had just been dealing with the aftermath of my nightmare; with Jacob's cautiousness and my own jumbled thoughts and feelings. I had forced myself to face reality and had come to the conclusion that perhaps Edward's leaving had been for the best.

But just because I realised this, that doesn't mean it didn't hurt. It doesn't mean that I had suddenly stopped longing for his presence.

I had faced the truth; that what I'd had with Edward was over. That there was no more future for us and that perhaps there never had been any.

Even so, it had not been easy to let him go.

I had not truly moved on until that day on the cliffs with Jacob; that's when I finally decided to live again not just because I had to, but because I wanted to.

It had been ten days since then. Ten days in which I had tried to regain my footing. Ten days in which I had laughed and lived more than I had since my childhood. Ten days in which I had tried to figure out who I was now. I wasn't Edward's Bella anymore, but I also wasn't the same Bella I had been in back in Phoenix. People change, I guess, and people are changed by the people around them.

I still needed a little more time to be me, on my own, before I could belong to someone else.

So I gave Jacob the only truthful answer I could give him right now, pouring into it all the love and happiness that pervaded my very being; "I'm just so very happy."

And I was.

I knew I still had a little ways to go, but looking at the loving smile Jacob freely bestowed on me at my answer, I also knew that when I got there, it would be more than worth it.

Jacob's bright friendship had made me a brighter, happier person.

Jacob's love would make me a more loving one.

I just knew it.

I could not wait to meet Jacob's Bella.

I think I'll like her a lot.


End


A.N.: Cheesy, I know. But what can you do? Story was inspired by the quote;

"I love you not only for who you are, but for who I am when I am with you.

I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.

I love you for the part of me that you bring out."

I don't remember where I got it from, but there you have it.

I hope you enjoyed the story!

It started out as a tiny little drabble, just my thoughts on Bella when she was with Edward, and it grew into this.

Many thanks to everyone who reviewed! I love to hear your thoughts, encouragement and tips for improvement (I could just call it criticism, but I'm in such a happy mood right now I just can't help picking positive words. *beams*)

Love,

Maria