Hey guys, I'm so sorry this chapter took so long, but in my fight against writer's block, sadly, it was winning. It's not a very long chapter, unfortunately, but it seems to keep working out that way for this story. It's better than nothing, at least, right? lol. I hope you guys haven't abandoned this story! And I also wanted to thank anyone who's still with me, and hasn't given up on it. Also, for those of you who read Fix You - I'm working on it - I promise!

I also want to thank Capture4Ever quickly. Thank you for your sweet PM, and encouragement. I appreciate it, so thank you =).

Beta'd by Feenrai who has been an amazing with helping me get this [and Fix You] written.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight...just a ton of Twilight merchandise.


Chapter 4

"Not again..." I whispered and shuddered in unison.

I was vaguely aware of the cool dampness soaking into the bottom of my jeans, and the light glinting off of the tiny broken shards of glass surrounding my feet. But none of that mattered to me at the moment. I could already see the edges of my vision going slightly fuzzy and quickly tried to scan the room. Rosalie was in her room. And Emmett - where was Emmett? My eyes shifted rapidly, blurring all the unknown faces in the room together. I could clearly make one thing out: Emmett wasn't in the living room.

One. I could only handle one. Not...not all, not...

I tried to suck in a large breath, but it was useless. Emmett wasn't in the room, he wouldn't be able to stop...to help...

All the sounds-the loud voices and laughter-and the quiet background noise was all blending into one another, creating a low buzzing sound in my ears. I needed to get out of there, but I couldn't seem to make myself move. Every limb was stiff, and stuck in place. I wasn't even sure if I was blinking, because I couldn't look away. I had to see what they were doing.

Through my hazy vision, I could see a guy walking towards me, but my body was useless in making me move. I wanted to move away, to run away, or maybe even scream, but I couldn't. He was right beside me now, and I felt his arm brush against mine. My vision became even worse as tears welled up. Tears that I immediately blinked away, refusing to even let them potentially be seen.

It took me a second to realize that the guy had walked past me. Now though, I could hear someone talking. Someone nearby. I think I heard my name, but it was hard to tell with the buzzing.

"Bella..."

I was trying to focus on the sound, but my eyes were still scanning the room, taking everything and everyone in, and looking for any possible escape routes. My line of vision was blocked suddenly, by a face appearing right in front of mine. I jumped, only to realize it was Edward's face.

"Bella?"

I definitely heard my name that time, and it was coming from Edward. When I didn't respond, and continued to try and scan the room behind his head, he said it again.

"Come on," he murmured, before taking my hand, and wrapping his other arm around my back, trying to lead me away from the room. Finally, my cemented feet moved, trudging along as Edward guided me to...my bedroom?

I probably should have been afraid of where he was leading me, but he was the only thing or person familiar to me in that room full of strangers, and even if he led us off somewhere private...one, I could handle.

I didn't know if he was trying to help, or in some way make things worse. I honestly had no way of knowing, because I didn't even really know him. I was just blindly hoping that his apparent new found protectiveness was why he was doing this. Either way, even in my panic riddled mind, I knew not to let my guard down. There may not be anyone else in my room, but that didn't mean I was necessarily fine.

When he finally managed to maneuver me into my bedroom and shut the door firmly behind us, I made quick work of scanning the room. I let out a shaky sigh of relief when I realized there was no one else in here.

Unfortunately, that fleeting moment of relief didn't last. My head was still swimming, and my vision was still a blurry mess. Edward seemed to realize that relatively fast, because seconds after he closed the door, he was standing in front of me again.

I could see his lips moving, but the whooshing sound in my ears was still making it a little difficult to hear things. I closed my eyes for a minute, trying to focus, and get myself back under control. I wasn't sure how long I stood there with my eyes closed, but at some point, I felt warm hands on each side of my jaw, and could hear a murmur.

I breathed deeply, and squeezed my eyes shut even tighter. It was then that I could hear the low murmur become clearer. Edward was saying my name.

"Bella?" his voice was beginning to sound a little frantic.

I took one deep breath, and slowly opened my eyes. I blinked, surprised at how close his face was to mine. Our noses were inches apart. I gently moved my head a little farther back, though his hands didn't leave my face, nor did his eyes leave mine.

"Bella," he breathed out in what sounded like relief. His eyes scanned me from head to toe, before his eyes locked on mine again. "Are you okay?"

I nodded. "Yeah," I answered quietly.

"You sure?" he questioned again. I nodded.

He quirked his eyebrow at me, looking a little dubious. "You want to tell me what just happened back there?" he inclined his head in the direction of the living room.

I looked down, not even wanting to look at him, or have him looking at me when asking me questions like that. There was no way I was going to answer him. I stepped back, out of his gentle hands' hold on my face. I shook my head.

"Seriously? You just totally froze out there, and you were shaking like a leaf. You still are." His gaze shifted pointedly to my hands for a second. Sure enough, they were trembling at my sides. I yanked them in front of me, to clasp them at my waist, self-consciously wringing them together.

"I'm fine," I told him weakly. I intended for my voice to come out stronger than that. Stupid, traitorous nerves.

"Bella," he spoke softly now, "you would still be sitting out there sipping your drink, instead of the remnants being on the floor, if you were fine. You freaked out over something, and you know, whether it makes me a pain in the ass or not, I'd like to know what upset you that much, because whatever that was out there just scared the hell out of me." He pointed in the direction of the party for emphasis.

"You're right, it does make you a pain in the ass!" I spat, feeling defensive. There's no way I would tell him why I freaked. I took a calming breath, realizing I was lashing out when he was trying to be nice, and just wanting answers after he saw my meltdown, and also helped me. "I'm sorry," I mumbled, though I did mean it. I didn't want him to be upset due to me and my issues, and I did feel bad that I had freaked him out. I kept my eyes down, not wanting to see how he was looking at me. "I'm fine, I swear. It was nothing."

"Nothing?" he groaned. "That wasn't nothing, Bella," he pleaded softly. "Did someone say something to you? Or do something?"

Even I wasn't dense enough to miss the deep look of concern on his face. That didn't mean he wasn't frustrating the hell out of me, though. I shook my head, and turned to leave. I was done with this conversation, and I wanted to leave before I started to take out my misplaced anger on him. He didn't deserve that, especially not after he had helped me. Though, to be honest, I was angry and ashamed that I had let myself become so weak that he was now witness to that moment of weakness and vulnerability. I was supposed to be strong, but at the moment, I seemed to be the farthest thing from it.

"I need to go," I mumbled, with my eyes cast downward.

I stopped immediately when I felt his long fingers loosely wrap around mine.

"Hey," he nearly whispered. "I don't mean to be so obnoxious and overbearing. I'm just worried about you," he explained softly.

"I know," I told him just as quietly, with my eyes still down. I gave his fingers a gentle squeeze.

"We're friends, or at least...on our way to becoming friends. Why won't you talk to me?" he questioned gently. His tone wasn't intrusive-it was curious, and a little frustrated, and maybe even a tiny bit hurt.

"I thought that's what we were doing," I smirked, still not taking my eyes off of my feet.

He barked out a sarcastic laugh. "Okay, let me rephrase. Why won't you look me in the eye when you talk to me? You've been staring at your feet almost the entire time we've been in here."

"Sorry," I murmured, before slowly lifting my gaze and meeting his eyes, despite the shame I still felt at being so pitifully weak in front of him.

"Thank you," he smiled brilliantly. His gaze seemed to explore my face for a while, and slowly, his smile slid away, only to be replaced with a blank stare, and his lips pressed into a straight line. "I, uhh...I should get going," he muttered, his eyes now looking anywhere but at my face.

"Oh. Okay." I didn't know if I should be pleased or a tiny bit disappointed that he was leaving already. Either way, it's not like it mattered. He was no longer pressing me for information, and that could only be considered a good thing.

"Are you going to be okay here?" he asked, already beginning to head for the door.

I nodded silently, not bothering with words. My answer wouldn't have mattered, anyway, he was already halfway out the door.

I plopped down on my bed, wondering what had just happened. One minute, he was all concerns and smiles, and the next...blank. Empty. I didn't know what to make of it...and I also didn't know how to react to it.

I sat there for a while, trying to decipher his odd behind, but no matter where my thoughts took me, I still came up blank. It was beginning to get frustrating. After a while, I decided it was at least better than focusing on the thoughts that came rushing back to me earlier tonight. Those, I didn't want to think about. However, I didn't particularly want to keep thinking about Edward and his moodiness. I just wanted quiet.

The quiet, however, wasn't coming as I sat in my room. Not only could I hear everyone's loud drunken voices, but also their laughter. What was even louder than that, was the steady stream of thoughts that fought their way into my mind, regardless of how hard I tried to push them out.

I knew I couldn't just sit here. And there was one thought that kept nagging at me. My mess out in the living room. The physical proof of how pathetically weak I am.

In a few quick strides, I was exiting my room, and heading towards the living room, intent on blocking out every single person, and just cleaning up the evidence, so nobody else would see, or think too much of it.

Once I was in the living room, though, I was surprised to find the floor free of glass, and lacking a puddle of liquid. Someone had already cleaned it up.

"Hey, shorty," Emmett said, laying his large arm around my shoulders. I immediately felt my back stiffen when he did, but he seemed too drunk to notice.

"Hi Emmett," I smiled weakly, trying to block out the other people around us. A split second later, Rosalie sauntered over, a wide smile on her face.

"Bella!" she said a little too loudly.

"Hey," I smiled, honestly a tiny bit amused by her drunkenness. She was usually so graceful with her movements, her hair always in perfect order. Right now, though, it appeared that her grace was gone, only to be replaced with clumsiness, and her hair slightly disheveled.

I didn't want to get caught staring, so my eyes dropped down to the now clean floor. Apparently Rosalie noticed.

"Oh, I cleaned that up earlier."

"Uh...thanks, Rose. It just...slipped out of my hand. I'll replaced it, and I'll mop the floors tomorrow before my shift." I let the words out all in a quick breath.

She laughed lightly. "Relax, Bella. It's fine, don't worry about it. There is one thing I wanted to ask you, though. Where were you all night?" she asked me curiously, tilting her head to the side. "Someone said they saw you and Edward go into your room, and then once he came out, he barely stopped to tell Emmett he was leaving, before ducking out the door."

"Yeah, what were you up to?" Emmett nudged me jokingly, a dimpled grin on his face as he waggled his eyebrows.

I rolled my eyes and shook my head quickly. "Nothing like...that," I mumbled. "I just...after I, uh, dropped my drink, he helped me into my room so I wouldn't step on the glass, since I didn't have any shoes on." That was believable, right?

Both of their eyes appraised me, almost as though they knew there was more to it, but said nothing, aside from the simple "okay" that left Rosalie's lips a moment later.

"I'm going to go to bed," I told them quickly, suddenly desperate to be back in my room, away from everyone and everything. I slipped out from Emmett's arm, and turned to head to my room.

"Aww, you're not joining the party?" Emmett practically whined. Oh, yes, he was very drunk.

"Sorry," I shrugged, trying to act nonchalant. I was halfway to my room, before Emmett spoke again in a last ditch effort to have me stay.

"Are you sure you don't want to join the party? Look what I've got for you," he taunted.

I turned around, only to see my nearly full bottle of vodka in his hands, the one I had specifically bought for myself about a week ago. I stalked back over to him, and took it from his hand.

"Thanks!" I called out, as I made a quick get away to my room, locking myself inside, about to have my own little private party. Just me and the vodka.

I wanted the thoughts to stop. The thoughts of Edward. The thoughts of the flashback. I stripped off my jeans and flopped myself onto my bed, before placing the bottle against my lips, and swallowing as much as I could before the burn became too intense. I gulped a few times, waiting for the burn to subside, before repeating the process a few more times.

I wanted to forget, and I was going to make damn sure the alcohol did just that.

It couldn't have been much later that I saw that I had drank nearly a third of the bottle. I could feel my head swimming, and every limb and muscle felt relaxed as I lay there, the bottle still clutched in my hand. I was officially drunk enough that I could no longer remember my phone number, without putting way too much effort into it. I assumed I was drunk enough to keep the thoughts away, and let it lead me into a dreamless slumber. Just for good measure, I gulped down another few mouthfuls, before haphazardly placing the bottle on the ground beside the bed.

I laid on my stomach, the blankets only partially covering me, but I really could care less, even if I didn't have pants on. I shut my eyes, and welcomed the darkness as it pulled me under.

The problem with the darkness, however, is that you can't control it. The darkness allows your mind to conjure up whatever it pleases. Unfortunately for me, the reason behind my meltdown were the visions that plagued me the whole night, making me toss and turn, and potentially scream. Whether the shrill piercing scream was only in my mind, or also part of my reality, I wasn't sure.

I also wasn't entirely sure if I only dreamed of someone stumbling into my room, and stroking my hair for a moment, before I was being enveloped in the warmth of the blanket, and my mind was finally, truly, blissfully black.


Oh boy, so...we get to see some more of Bella's issues, to the point of self-destructive behavior to try and avoid said issues. and could it be that Edward has some issues of his own?

Next chapter: Find out who snuck into Bella's room. Plus, what will happen when Edward and Bella see each other again? Will it be awkward, after Bella's embarrassment over her meltdown, and after Edward's quick departure? And will it ruin the level of friendship they've reached, or ultimately make it stronger?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the chapter, or at least your theories! Leave a review and let me know you're still interested...and tell me your thoughts and theories! (why Bella freaked, why Edward took off, or who snuck into Bella's room, etc)