"Time is the only thief we can't get justice against."

---Astrid Alauda

***

Chapter 2

The days and weeks and months passed. I didn't do anything of consequence. I just went through the routine. Occasionally people would tell me they were sorry and I would answer back appropriately.

I didn't speak to Carlisle or Esme or Emmett. They reminded me too much of Edward.

Jasper was basically living at my house. He was making sure I was eating.

Angela would come over periodically, but she just had the new baby… and when she realized how hard it was for me to even look at a baby, she stopped bringing the child. So, it was harder for her to get here.

I walked through the front door and when I got into the family room, Jasper was in there eating Chinese food… with Emmett.

"Hey," Jasper said holding a fork out to me. I grabbed it and sat down next to him and shared some food.

"You're doing worse," Emmett stated.

"Em –" Jasper warned.

"No, she should know –" Emmett began. "You need to start living again, Bella. Edward wouldn't want you in this house sleeping on the couch because you're afraid to go into the bedroom. You're just killing yourself."

"I know that," I defended. "But, I miss him. It hasn't even been that long…"

"It's been half a year!" Emmett screamed. Wow, I hadn't realized…

"You don't even act like you miss him," I said softly.

"Of course we miss him," Jasper said softly.

"But, we live!" Emmett screamed.

"Like having sex in the bathroom at his funeral?" I asked Emmett. "Don't expect me to do that for the sake of re-living."

"You what?" Jasper asked popping out of his seat.

Emmett shrugged. "It wasn't like that."

"Sure," I replied.

"This is ridiculous," Emmett yelled into the air. "You're living like a fucking zombie."

"I can't help it."

"You should go see Esme," Jasper suggested. "She's doing better now. She could help you…"

"… I can't. I just… can't."

"Why, Bella?" Jasper asked.

And then I felt guilty. They wanted me to heal.

I could never heal. Someone never heals from losing the love of their life. It just doesn't work. I can go to work, live in this house, never step in the bedroom, listen to his voice before sleeping, but don't expect anything great from me. It's not going to happen. Not anymore.

"I'm sorry," I said on the verge of tears.

"It's been…" Emmett began.

"– six months, we get it," Jasper cut in. "Give her a break."

***

"Bella," Jasper said poking at my side, "there's someone on the phone for you."

I was sprawled out on the couch with a blanket wrapped around me. I glared at Jasper for a moment, he ruined my sleep.

"It's Esme," he whispered.

The scowl on my face faded and I immediately grabbed the phone from Jasper.

"Hello?" I said into the phone.

"Bella, dear, I'm sorry I didn't mean to wake you. Go back to sleep and call me back later."

"Oh, no, Esme, it's fine. I'm awake. I shouldn't be sleeping my Saturday away. I have work to do."

"I just wanted to let you know there's a meeting with Edward's lawyer about his will on Monday. It's scheduled for seven at night. Does that work for you?"

"Of course," I said. I sat up now. "Thanks for calling."

"No problem, dear. I'll see you then. Maybe we can have dinner?"

"I don't know… I might have work to do," I said. The thought of sitting with someone who was so similar to Edward was mind bafflingly hurtful.

"Alright, I'll see you there. Tell the boys I say 'hi'."

"Will do," I said. "Bye."

I hung the phone up and squeezed my eyes shut, just thinking. Emmett and Jasper were still present in this house.

"You alright?" Emmett asked. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

I sighed, "I'm fine."

I felt pathetic.

"Of course you are," Emmett replied. He still hadn't given up on trying to make me re-live again.

"Cut her some slack," Jasper defended, handing me a cup of coffee. "She's been falling asleep without those pills."

"Now only if we can get her into a bed…" Emmett mused.

"Hey," I said. "I'm still in the room."

"We know," Emmett said. "You need to hear all of this."

I rolled my eyes.

"There, look!" Emmett sang. "She rolled her eyes at me. That's showing emotion!"

"Chill," Jasper said. "You're freaking her out."

"No, I'm not," Emmett argued. "Just annoying as hell, right?"

I cringed at the mention of some sort of afterlife like hell, but otherwise his banter was annoying.

"Let's go out!" Emmett proclaimed. "I'm buying!"

"No, no," I argued. "It's Saturday. Can't we just stay in?"

"You've been staying in everyday of the year."

"And we can keep it that way."

"No, let's…"

"Come on," Jasper interjected and I thought he was going to side with me like usual. "You should go out. Just this once."

"Jasper!" I whined.

"Maybe we can get you laid and then you'll be less cranky," Emmett said.

"If that's your plans for me, then it won't work."

"We just want you to go out," Jasper said.

"Don't expect me to talk to anyone," I said.

"We're going out!" Emmett proclaimed.

***

We arrived at the restaurant/ bar later in the night.

It was loud and rowdy. Someone spilt something on me within minutes.

I sat in a booth in the corner while Jasper and Emmett went to socialize.

"What are you doing here all alone?" An overly friendly voice asked.

He had spiky blonde hair and a puppy-dog face. He sat down without invitation.

I already wanted to kick him.

"Um," I said uncomfortable. "My friends are picking up girls."

"Well, they should be looking in front of them!"

"Er," I said. Then lied, "Well, one's my brother-in-law and the other was the best-man at my wedding."

"Married, huh?" He asked and I noticed him stop flirting and stop winking. Good boy.

"Yep," I flashed my engagement ring at him. I had totally forgotten about it.

"I was married once," He said. "It didn't last long, though."

"Oh," I said. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be, she had a thing for the gardener and hair the size of her ego."

"Well, that's awful."

"Nah," he waved a hand. "She's probably at the gardener's parents' home. He's eighteen. Did I mention that? And she's pregnant with his child."

"Karma really got her," I replied.

"Yeah, I guess that's about right."

"You should really look for someone with sleek hair."

"I just tried," he said pointing at me.

"Oh."

"Well, no matter. I'm Mike."

I shook his hand, "I'm Bella. And if you're looking for a future wife, you shouldn't be looking in a bar…"

"Ah, but you see… I was trying to go for the opposite of where I met my ex."

"Which was?"

"At a church."

I choked on my wine. "Really?"

Emmett made that time to make an appearance. "Bella! Tell me, who is this?"

"This is Mike," I said. "Mike, this is Emmett."

"The brother-in-law or best-man?" Mike asked.

"Brother-in-law," I replied while Emmett scowled.

***

"This is just getting creepy," Emmett replied. All of us were sitting in his big jeep as he drove us all to my house.

"What'd you expect me to do?" I asked.

"Be normal!" Emmett shouted.

"I am normal."

"We just want you to try and –" Jasper began.

"You guys act like I lost my puppy. Newsflash, I didn't! I lost the effing love of my life! He was your brother!" I pointed at Emmett. "And your best friend! You two don't even miss him!"

"Don't ever say that," Emmett growled.

"Why are you doing this then?" I asked.

"Edward would've wanted us to help," Jasper said. "Emmett and I just agreed that…"

"You two have talked about this?" I asked, bewildered.

"Well…" Jasper began.

"Hell, yes. We've talked about this." Emmett wasn't apologetic.

"Let me out of the car!" I screamed.

"What?" Emmett asked.

"Let me out!" I hadn't shown much emotion lately. This was probably my breaking point.

"No, you're crazy," Emmett said.

"No, I'm grieving. Let me out!" I yelled.

"Bella, calm down. Please," Jasper said. He turned around in the passenger seat to face me.

"I can't take this! I can't be babied like this."

Emmett pulled over to the side of the road. I hopped out and walked for the next twenty minutes home.

Jasper and Emmett were waiting in the kitchen for me when I got home.

***

On Monday, after work, I went directly to Edward's attorney's office.

I was directed into an office and I took a seat in an uncomfortable black chair and stared across the desk at the empty, comfy black chair.

"Bella?" I heard Esme's voice from the doorway.

I turned and saw Esme in a white suit with Carlisle by her side.

"Oh, hi," I replied.

They took seats next to me and Esme put her hand out onto mine, "Are you doing alright, dear?"

I nodded my head.

"Please go out after this with me. We haven't had any time together since… a long time," Esme said.

"That's so nice," I replied. "But, I can't… I have work to do." I was lying, but only because Esme reminded me of Edward. Much more than Carlisle or Emmett.

"Bella, please," Esme said. And I saw the look of desperation in her eyes that clouded the sadness for a moment.

"Sure," I said. And then a butch looking man walked in and shook all of our hands.

"I'm Tyler Crowley," he said. "I would have met with you all earlier, but things have been backed up here… Anyway, let's get to it."

He pulled out a few folders.

"Now, Edward wasn't married. Was he?"

"No," I replied as Esme said, "Yes."

"Uh," Tyler said.

Carlisle intervened, "He was to be married to Bella the week after his death."

"Oh. Right." Tyler looked at his folders. "Edward's will states that all of his things will go to an Isabella Swan."

"That'd be me," I replied.

"Okay," Tyler said. "But, if there is no legal bonding, such as marriage or brother-sister, then we like to have meetings with the related in order to ensure the wishes of the deceased are granted."

"We appreciate that," Esme said.

"Well, I have a list here," Tyler began, "of all Mr. Cullen's possessions that will go to Isabella."

He handed each of us a paper. I looked down at it.

Volvo.

Bank Account.

And a list of personal possessions. I didn't want any of that if only I could have him.

"Does that look about right?" Tyler asked.

"Yes," Esme said.

"Um," I said, "If you guys want something of Edward's…"

"No, dear," Esme said. "Edward would've wanted you to have it."

"Could you… excuse me?" I asked getting up and going to the bathroom.

After being in the bathroom for awhile I heard Esme's heels.

She handed me a tissue. "Come on, darling." She linked her arm with me and led me out of the vile office. We ended up at a generic restaurant.

"Where'd Carlisle go?" I asked lamely.

"He's been working a lot lately," Esme said.

"Oh."
"It's his way of coping."

"Yeah," I said as I took a sip of the coffee in front of me.

"So," Esme said. "Can you believe Emmett's stayed in town this long?"

"No," I said. "I didn't even know him that well before."

"If only we could find him a girl like you," Esme smiled.

"Uh huh," I said. I kept getting reminded that I wouldn't be a part of her family. "Esme," I began, "The engagement ring. Edward told me it was in your family for six generations… I can't possibly keep it."

I stared down at the ring. I loved it so much.

"Emmett still has the chance of giving this ring to someone and…"

Esme raised a perfectly manicured hand, "Bella, no one is asking for your ring back. That's your memory of Edward."

***

The next chapter is a flashback of the proposal. Just the proposal, though. So, it's short.