I do not own Twilight... but I love it so...

a/n: I originally intended this to be a one-shot, and was planning on submitting it for a contest, but I chickened out. Please let me know what you think...

"Oh, Bella, you look just like a princess…," my mom, Renee's voice trailed off as she choked back tears as she adjusted my veil.

I looked up into the mirror and saw myself. "Thanks, Mom," I whispered as Renee stepped away to dry her eyes. "I'm going to go find your father," she continued and then left the dressing room. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the mirror. I had to agree I did look pretty today dressed in my simple white wedding dress. I smiled slightly, thinking to myself, 'I do look like a princess today… Edward would love that…me calling myself a princess…' I snorted out loud at the thought.

"What's so funny, Bells?" my matron-of-honor and best friend, Alice chimed.

"Oh… you don't wanna know…" I looked at her and smiled slightly.

"Come on Bells, spill it," she urged.

"Mom told me that I looked like a princess," I paused taking a deep breath and then continued, knowing Alice would understand, "I couldn't help but laugh at that."

Alice's always animated face slowed into a thoughtful expression. "Bella, you do look like a princess." Alice looked down at the floor and then back into my eyes. I could see the sympathy in her eyes when she said, "If he could be it for you, he would be." She took another deep breath and then took my hands into her tiny ones, "Bella, I love you like you are my own sister and I am going to only say this to you once and then I will never say it again… you do not have to do this… I know you say you love Jake, but I can see…."

Reflexively, I pulled my hands away from her and wrapped them around my waist. "Alice, just stop Edward's gone," I gasped trying to reign in the tears that threatened to roll down my cheeks. "Al, I always supported Edward's decision to join the Navy when he graduated from college. But, once he became a Navy SEAL I just couldn't handle it anymore." I took a deep breath and then continued, "I couldn't do it… I couldn't stay and watch him leave in the middle of the night with no warning and not have any idea when he was coming home, no… IF he was coming home." I had to make her understand, that as much as I loved Edward I couldn't be with him. I just couldn't. I took her by the shoulders and leaned my forehead down to hers and spoke quietly not able to hide the heart-break in my voice, "every time he left me it broke my heart and I just couldn't do it anymore. He made his choice and I have made mine… I am marrying Jake."

Alice wrapped her arms around my waist and pulled me into a hug, "I know Bells, and I know it's hard. And this is what I will say to you and never say to you again… I have seen you with Edward and I have seen you with Jake and baby girl, you're settling."

I wanted to scream at her. How could she do this to me on my wedding day? Instead I squeezed her tighter. Alice loved me and she was my sister for lack of biology. I had known Alice for 20 years, since we were eight years old. We met in third grade and from that point on she and I had did everything together. All throughout school we had every class together. We even fell in love at the same time with each others' brothers when we were 14. I fell for Edward, who was two-years older than us and she fell for Jasper, my twin.

I pulled away and went back to the mirror. I straightened my dress and checked my make-up, trying to calm myself. "Al, I know you don't care for Jake, but he loves me and he's here for me every single day and THAT is what I choose."

I could see from her reflection in the mirror that she had turned her back to me and that her hands were busy wiping tears from her face. I could see her take a deep breath and then she turned herself back around, taking a few short steps to my side. I could see her struggling to let go of what she wanted to say. And then she wrapped her arm around my back and rested her head against my shoulder, "Bells, if you love, I love him." She gave me a squeeze and then said, "I'm going to find Rose. I'll be right back." She turned and walked out of the door closing it quietly behind her.

I looked back into the mirror and quietly acknowledged to myself that Alice was right, I was still was very much in love with Edward Cullen. And then I just couldn't keep it contained any longer. My chest felt as if my heart had been ripped from chest and thrown onto the floor for everyone to see. I crumbled to the ground sobbing. To hell with the make-up and to hell with the dress, it didn't matter anymore. The only thing that mattered wasn't here. Edward wasn't here. Nobody knew where he was. Nobody knew if he was safe. And THAT is what I couldn't live with… having my life wrapped around the not knowing.

I couldn't help but think of the moment I blew it all apart…

A little more than 2 years ago…

He had only been home a few hours from his last mission and was sound asleep in our bed, in our apartment in San Diego. I was sitting up, crying, fiddling with the engagement ring that was burning itself into my finger, while watching Edward sleep. His face was beautiful and peaceful. He was on his stomach with his arms up under his pillow. The white sheet had come down to rest at the top of his perfect, muscular ass. As my eyes ran down his back I noticed his once perfect back was mottled with bruises. The worst of them seem to be on his right shoulder blade. I lifted my hand and traced the bruises with my fingers. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I wondered how he had gotten so beat up.

"Love?" he whispered, startling me making me pull my hand away from his back.

I turned slightly trying to hide my tears from him. "Hmmmm?" I asked and quickly wiped the tears from my cheeks.

He sat up and turned to me. Placing his long, powerful legs on either side of me and then he pulled me into his perfectly defined chest with his chiseled arms. My head instantly went to the spot that was home. My head rested on his broad shoulder with my nose right under his the base of his throat. I inhaled deeply and smelled my Edward. I could still smell the fresh smell of our shower that night, but there was the faint sweet smell of his sweat that was uniquely him.

"Love, what's wrong?" Edward asked me quietly resting his cheek on my head.

"Nothing, Edward," I said as I tried to sink myself further into his chest. "Everything," I whispered, thinking he couldn't hear me.

"Can you explain?" he asked gently.

I slowly sat up, hesitant to pull away from his warm, familiar arms. I looked into the worried, determined green eyes of the only man I had ever loved and knew he wasn't going to let this go tonight. I placed my hand on his cheek and feigned a smile. "Baby, I'm just so overwhelmed right now. I am so happy that you are home that I almost don't know what to do with myself." He smiled his crooked sexy grin causing my breathing to hitch. I blushed and smiled in turn, "I said almost."

"Then what's with the tears, Bella?"

I took a deep breath. Knowing that this was always the crux of my problems with the career Edward had chosen. "What happened to your back?" I asked.

"It's nothing Bells. I'm fine." His answer was curt, knowing exactly where this conversation was heading. We had it every single time he came home injured from a mission.

I pulled away slightly, immediately becoming annoyed with his answer. "You can't tell me can you?"

"No," he answered bluntly.

"Fuck, Edward, your back is a bruised mess and you can't tell ME what the hell happened?!"

"No, Love, you know I can't." His posture had become rigid, as if he was stealing himself against what he knew was coming.

"You can't tell me anything can you? You can't even tell me where the fuck you were let alone what the fuck you were doing, right?!" I sniped at him.

"You know the answer to that," he said through gritted teeth.

And with that answer I pulled completely away from Edward. I turned my back to him and set my feet on the floor. I placed the palms of my hands on my thighs and I tried to hold myself up while my head sagged down to my chest. In my mind, I knew this was coming. I knew that I was not capable of being the wife of a SEAL. I needed more than he was capable of giving and he needed more than I was capable of giving. And it was killing me and that was killing US. My heart on the other hand, wanted to stay. My heart wanted to crawl back into Edwards arms and let him kiss me until all I felt was him… us. My heart had won out so many times, but tonight the bruises on his back were a stark, bitter reminder of the reality that was his life. And being a SEAL was his life.

"Edward," I began with a lump in my throat, "I just can't do this anymore."

Edward was out of our bed and in front of me in a flash. "Look at me, Isabella," he quietly demanded. I looked up afraid of what I would see in his eyes. "You know I love you with all that I am. You know I only have 3 years left…," his voice faltered and then he took a deep breath. His eyes were begging me to stay and I had to look away.

I looked down at my hands and began, "Every time you leave my heart breaks. I never know where you are. I don't even know you're safe until you are home. And then I have to try and pull it all back together and act as if everything is fine." I looked up into Edwards face and my heart lurched, knowing this was it. This was the end. I began sobbing, "Every single night you are away from me, I cry myself to sleep wondering if you are ever coming home. It takes me weeks to almost function as a normal person." I paused for a second to catch my breath, "and then I will hear something on the radio or see something on the news that makes me wonder if you are there. And when they say that soldiers were wounded or killed my heart breaks again wondering if it's you." I couldn't keep the hurt contained any further and the sobs racked my body as I continued, "And from the moment you leave me until the moment I see your face, I am afraid of EVERY phone call and of EVERY knock on the door. I am afraid that it will be the one that tells me that you are gone… that you have made the ultimate sacrifice for me, for your family and for your country… and I am not sure I could live through that."

Edward took a step towards me and placed both of hands on either side of my face. "Love, I have told you time and again, that my squad is solid, we have yet…."

I interrupted, "don't say it!" I pulled my face out of his hands and they found their place on my shoulders. "Just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean that it won't! Soldiers are lost all of the time and you know as well as I do that it doesn't always have to do with how good their squad is!"

Edward squeezed my shoulder gently, "I love you, Bella. You are the reason I make it home. You are the reason I have to come back… no one else, nothing else."

I shrugged his hands off my shoulders and looked up at him, "If you love me, how can you be okay with the pain I go through every time you leave me? This isn't good for me anymore. You're gone so much and I'm miserable more often than I'm happy anymore!"

Edward pulled back and stepped away. His face had contorted into a sad, painful grimace. He turned and walked to our closet and shut the door behind him. I knew this was what I needed to do, but the pain that was clearly written across Edwards face was too much to bear. I got up and made my way to our bathroom. I was shocked at my own reflection in the mirror. My eyes were blood-shot and swollen from crying. My face was splotchy and my lips were swollen from our earlier reunion. There was a small hicky just above my collar bone and many small bite marks spread over my shoulders, neck and chest. He had marked me, just like he always did… before he left me and when he came back to me.

I threw on my robe and stepped out of the bathroom to find Edward fully dressed, sitting on our bed with his head in his hands, looking completely broken. The strongest and smartest man I had ever met looked absolutely shattered. What had I done? I leaned back into the door frame, holding on to it trying like hell not to run back into his arms to try and fix the mess I had just made.

Edward looked up at me with tear-filled eyes and shook his head slightly as he whispered, "If you're leaving, I can't stay and watch you go."

I pushed myself off the door frame and threw myself onto Edward. My lips crashed into his and we began to kiss each other furiously. My hands were fisting his hair as his made quick work of my robe. He pushed me back and stood up, pulling his t-shirt over his head while I worked on the button fly of his jeans. In a matter of seconds we were both naked, wrapped in each others' arms trying desperately to hold on to what little we had left. He sat back down on the bed and pulled me onto his lap, moving his thick erection to stand between us. I straddled his legs and wrapped my legs around his waist. Edward began to viscously suck on neck, making sure to leave another mark. I gasped and leaned back placing my hands on his thighs, arching my chest into his face. He took one nipple into his mouth sucking hard and biting even harder. One of his hands found my other nipple where he began to tweak and pull causing me to moan and writhe on his lap. He eased his other hand from my back towards my wet and throbbing sex. He teased my lips, avoiding my center, as he continued to work my nipples. My hips began to jerk towards his hand seeking out any friction that I could find. He knew exactly what I wanted and then he gave it to me and slowly began to rub circles around my clit. Within in seconds, I was coming apart in his hands and just when I thought the feeling was waning, he roughly pinched my clit making me cum even harder.

Edward pulled me to his chest and held me while I calmed down. This was always our perfect moment. Our moment when we were completely content and absolutely nothing else in the world mattered. It was only Edward and Bella. I pulled up and began to kiss him again. I gently began exploring his tongue with my own. The kiss started slow and languid and began to build back to the furious intensity that had become our love. He pulled me up and placed the head of his rigid cock at the entrance of my pussy. I slowly impaled myself on him causing him to gasp.

I began to move against him, grinding myself into him as hard as I could. He began to counter my motions with his own making me pant his name. His hands went to my ass where he began to guide my movements. I quickly figured out what he wanted and pulled my feet back and under my legs and began ride Edward the way he liked. Pulling up so that just the head of his cock was left inside of me and then slamming back down into his lap, where I ground into him as hard as I could. He groaned and leaned back onto his elbows, gaining just enough leverage and changing the angle just enough to hit the spot deep inside of that always sent me over the edge. I lifted and then slammed and moving myself against him, loving every thrust that was causing my body to tense and tighten. "Just once more," I whined as my hips came down again.

He pushed himself forward and wrapped his arms around me. His lips found mine and he kissed me deeply as I came around his cock. I circled my hips one last time and he squeezed me harder, "holy fuck, Bella" he whimpered into my neck as he came. We both were panting as he pulled us down onto the bed. I fell asleep content and wrapped in the safety of Edwards' arms.

I woke up the next morning and immediately felt around the bed for Edward. He wasn't there, but I found a note on his pillow. I picked it up and held it to my chest, scared to death of what it would say. I took a deep breath and raised the note to my eyes.


I don't want you to hurt anymore.

Be happy, Love.


I was crushed. He left without saying goodbye. He had never done that before, ever. How could he do that? And then I remembered, "I can't stay and watch you go."

I stayed in bed and cried all day and most of the night. The next morning I made a few phone calls and found that Edward was staying with a member of his team and that he would not be coming back until I was gone. I called Alice and Jasper to see if I could stay with them in Jacksonville until I could get a place of my own and they sadly agreed. I left a message for Edward telling him that I would be gone in three days. On the third day, I left the engagement ring on his pillow and left our apartment in tears.

10 years was dissolved in an instant that no matter how much I wanted to I couldn't and wouldn't take it back.

I went to Jacksonville, lived with Alice and Jasper until I got back on my feet. About 6 months later, I met Jacob Black. We worked at the same high school. I taught American Literature. He taught Biology and was the Varsity Soccer coach. He was sweet and kind and there at every turn to help me try and forget Edward. I didn't tell him that forgetting Edward was never going to happen. I just wanted to move forward and that's what I did. I dated Jake and eventually I fell in love with him. It wasn't the mad, passionate, all-consuming, unpredictable love I had with Edward. It was tender, sweet, stable and safe. And when Jake proposed it seemed like the logical and right thing to do.

a/n: Thanks for reading and please, pretty please, let me know what you think...