Chapter 1

I hate heels.

I hate this black dress.

It should be white.

It should be my wedding dress.

***

"Edward was such a great boy when he was younger…" A woman babbled on to me. I tried to pay attention, but who was I fooling? I hated this woman for talking about Edward in the past tense. Standing in the foyer of Esme and Carlisle Cullen was more arduous than you can imagine.

Edward grew up in this very home. We were going to bring our children here one day to play. I very much wanted that to still be true.

"Bella, dear," Esme said coming to my rescue. She linked her arm with mine, "I could use a hand in the kitchen."

She led me out of the room, into the kitchen and sat me down at the table.

"Thank you," I said.

She tried to smile, but couldn't. Neither of us could.

Carlisle came in the kitchen then. "The caterers are here. They want to know where to set up the tables."

Carlisle was the biggest help, ever. Neither Esme nor I could function after… and Carlisle was the one to make funeral arrangements even though there was no body. Esme and Carlisle's home was filled with old friends and colleagues of Edward.

"I guess we should go back," Esme said quietly.

"I'll go first," I said bravely. I stood up and straightened out my black dress and looked down at the black heels, again. I sighed, and walked back into the foyer. Jasper, Edward's best friend from forever, walked through the door with Emmett, Edward's brother. Both men looked stoic and were dressed well. Jasper saw me first; he ran a hand through his honey-blonde long hair and walked over. Emmett nodded towards me, but went straight to the kitchen.

Jasper hugged me. And I hugged him back. Because out of everyone in this room, he was the one who could understand my pain the best.

Tears were streaming down my face.

Jasper stuck by my side through the entire time. We didn't say much to one another, but he made sure no one said anything to upset me. I was so thankful Edward had such a kind friend.

But, Jasper couldn't protect me from everything.

Angela, my best friend, walked in the door with her husband, Ben. She was very pregnant. It reminded me of something I could never have without Edward.

I excused myself and walked up the stairs, past Esme who went to go distract everyone from noticing my absence. Even though I could never be related to her, she was still loving. Just like Edward.

I ran into Edward's old bedroom and into the bathroom he shared with Emmett when he was a kid.

I sat in the bathtub and shut the curtain.

I couldn't cry. No, I can't cry.

If I do, I won't stop.

Ever.

Think of good things, Bella. That I'm a twenty-four year old widow. No, not helping.

I squeezed my eyes shut.

Then the door boomed open. I was about to speak up, but then I heard the heavy breathing.

"Do it now," a woman's voice pleaded, breathy.

"Hold on, hold on," I heard Emmett's voice.

Emmett?

God, I'm going to be sick.

"Harder," she said. I heard their breathing pick up. I tried blocking out everything, but it didn't work. I heard every last damn sound that came from them. How could Emmett do something like this at his brother's funeral? At Edward's funeral?

"Emmett, fuck…" A woman's voice said. There was silence for a moment and I could hear clothes being put back on.

The woman laughed then and said, "Do you have a pen?"

I assumed she wrote her number on his hand and then I heard her leave the room.

The sounds of the sink turned on and I chose that moment to stand up and open up the shower curtain.

My arms were crossed around my chest as I stood up.

"Bella," Emmett said, "shit. I…"

I put up a hand to stop him, "Don't speak, please. This is hard enough already… without having to be an observer to that."

"You should have made yourself known."

"Emmett, she was asking for you before you even got into the bathroom. How was I supposed to just pop out and say, 'Stop! This is my fian-…'" I stopped and sat down on the bathtub ledge and put my head in my hands. This was way more then I could handle.

"Aw, Bella." Emmett sat down next to me. He was about to put an arm around me, I shrugged it off.

"I'll be…" I said getting up. "Downstairs."

***

Later in the evening, I stood in front of the house that Edward and I bought a year ago.

It was classical. Esme is to thank for that. It was small, cozy. It had white pillars and a beautiful aura about it. Jasper had drove me here after the funeral. He was standing next to me looking at the house as well.

"I can't do this," I stated looking at my shoes yet again. Stupid, black heels.

"Good. Either can I," Jasper said and walked back to his car. I got in with him. It was already late and I couldn't ask to stay at the Cullen's home longer than I already had.

Jasper drove me back to his house and I stayed in his guest room.

***

It had been a month.

It was time for me to stop living at Jasper's house. It wasn't right. I was barely functioning and just taking up space in his home. He didn't need that.

I opened the door to my past.

I was bombarded by the number of flowers in the front room. They were for our wedding. White roses that were now black, with death. How funny.

I stepped around the flowers and walked into the kitchen. There were still two wine glasses on the kitchen counter, from the night before he…

God, this is hard.

I couldn't touch them. I walked into the living room. Edward's newspaper was on the coffee table.

I couldn't go into our bedroom. I don't know if I ever can.

I went back into the kitchen to check the phone messages. The first was from Angela, she was asking about dinner plans. This must be old. The next message was unexpected… it was from Edward…

"Bella, pick up the phone. I know you're home," Edward's voice said. "I'll just talk until you do… So, how about we're getting married in two weeks? You better not chicken out on me... Why don't we elope?"

I picked up the phone at that point and the answering machine recorded it. "Because your mother would kill us, Edward."

"Ah, talking about our wedding gets you onto the phone. You must be excited?"

"Ha ha."

"How about for the honeymoon?"

"Now that," I said, "I am excited about."

"Young, naïve Bella. That is why I love you."

"You're mean," I said lightly.

"I'll be home in ten, baby."

"I'll be waiting, love."

"Silly, silly Bella. I love you. Bye."

And that was the end of our conversation. That was our last conversation. He didn't come home in ten minutes.

I re-listened to that recording twenty-nine times before I fell asleep on the couch.

***