Title: Goodnight, Sweet Girl

Summer's Most Romantic or Tragic Hour Challenge (Go vote!)

Summary: A true story of love, loss and heartbreak.

Rating: T for minimal bad language and implied sexual situations.

Pairing: Bella

Word Count: 4501

**Fan-Voted Winner of the Summer's Most Tragic Hour Challenge at http:/ www(dot)adarkertwilight(dot)blogspot(dot)com

A/N: This is a mostly true story (inconsequential things have been changed) and I thank SM and the characters she owns for letting me tell it. The characters and pairings were used simply because I felt that a certain character matched the person I was trying to write, so if you can get past that, there is a real story and an important message here. If not, click the red x now. It's also written in present tense, because I like present tense, so think of the whole story as being a flashback. Also, and it should go without saying here, that this story is AH, as I don't know any vamps in RL. Sorry if this confuses anyone. I just really needed to write it.

One more thing, this is NOT and HEA story. Stitchcat asked me to include a heartfail warning. So, there you go.

And a big thanks to Jaspersexkitten for helping me get some of the words right, JaspersCherry for her mad beta skills and Shirley007, stitchcat, lifelesslyndey, tazz0617 and all my twitter pals for being there for me. They all have amazing fics that you should check out. You girls are the bestest.

**Single Shot Award Winner for Best AH! Banner made by FrozenSoldier http:/ www(dot)twitpic(dot)com/2l917h


Goodnight, Sweet Girl

An Unhappily Ever After in Four Acts


ACT One: In Which Bella Meets Her Soul Mate and Kicks His Ass in Pool


"Come on Bells, get your lazy-ass out of bed," Emmett says as he pulls at the purple blankets that she has tucked around her.

"Go away, McCarty," Bella moans burying her face deeper into her pillow.

Bella loves Emmett, in a purely platonic, sure he's a good fuck, but he's a better friend kind of way. In fact, he had been her best-fucking-friend since her disastrous junior prom, when Mike Newton ditched her to fuck Jessica Stanely and the heel of her shoe snapped off, making her trip in the middle of the dance floor. Then just as Lauren Mallory was being crowned prom queen, the strap of her dress broke and she didn't mean to start fucking crying, she just really wanted comfortable clothes and a beer. Emmett somehow knew this. He threw her shoes in the trash, put his jacket around her shoulders and carried her piggy-back out the door and through the parking lot, all while singing if you want to destroy Bella's dress, pull this strap as she walks away, watch her unravel, she'll soon be naked...

And for the last three years it's been them. Through bad dates and break-ups, new jobs and old loves. Sometimes they kissed. Sometimes they fucked. Sometimes they said I love you but didn't, could never have meant it. They were substitutes. Waiting for the real thing to come along.

"Isabella Swan!" He shouts as he begins jumping on her bed. "We are going out, now get up!"

"No," she whines, trying desperately to reclaim her bed sheets.

"Aloha's?" He asks, knowing this would get her attention.

"Eh," she replies, feigning disinterest.

Emmett raises his eyebrow and looks to her in shock. "I know you could use the extra cash," he hints, nudging her in the ribs.

"Who's going to be there?" She says with a sigh and he grins knowing he has her.

"The car kids," he states proudly.

The car kids, as Bella had taken to calling them, were a group of guys who fixed up vintage cars and couldn't quite grasp the fact that a tiny girl could run a pool table. They gave up their money like the little green bills actually grew on trees in their backyards.

"I'm in," she smiles as she pulls on a pair of jeans, a GNR tee and her Docs. She fucking loves her Docs. They are worn, broken in and perfect. After the junior prom fiasco, she wore them to every school dance, much to the chagrin of her mother, Renee.

Aloha's is a little hole in the wall where they rarely card and still allow you to smoke indoors. The paint was chipped and the tables were faded with age and use, but there was no cover charge and the owners treated everyone like family. When Bella walks in the door, Angela and Ben look up and laugh, point to the car kids and hand her a Heineken.

And she is home.

The car kids are all smiles with her arrival. They can't possibly enjoy losing their money this much, so Bella surmises they need a bit of estrogen to balance them out. That and they like looking at her ass.

"Your up, Swan," Alec calls, setting a twenty dollar bill under his beer, the condensation leaking through the bill and leaving a ring on the table. Bella follows suit, lays down her twenty and picks a cue stick.

"You wanna rack or break, hon?" She knows the answer, but she is, if nothing else, fair about it.

Alec snorts. "If I let you break, I won't have a chance in hell. I'm not that much of an idiot."

Bella pulls down the rack and collects the balls as Alec chalks his cue stick. When she finishes, she steps away and grabs the chalk. Alec lines up the break and with a loud THWACK the balls go rolling around the table like a pinball machine. The thirteen ball rolls in and Alec takes stripes.

The two of them continue as Bella holds back slightly. She enjoys the game, and loves the car kids too much to beat the shit out of them every time.

"Seven ball, corner pocket." Bella calls. It's a semi-difficult bank shot, but Bella could pull it off in her sleep. The game is two shots from being hers but she feels slightly guilty taking their money.

"No fucking way," an unknown voice whispers from behind her. She smirks to herself and makes the shot.

Straightening up, she chalks her cue stick again and turns to smile at the newcomer.

And time freezes.

It's one of those movie-type moments. Or it could be. He is tall, with bright hazel eyes that light up like the sun on an autumn day. His hair is dark brown and his skin is flawless. The grease stains on his hands give away his car kid status, but she's never seen him before. She would remember. Everything but him and her fade into the background and she can barely manage a smile before blushing and turning back to the game. Even with her back turned, she can feel him approach. He lays down a twenty.

"Next game is mine." He gives her a wink and she has to shake it away. She's one shot away from winning.

"Eight ball, side pocket." Despite her nerves, Bella makes the shot easily and pockets the money as Alec huffs, clapping the newcomer on the shoulder and muttering good luck.

"So," he drawls out as if he's from Texas or some shit. "You always hustle the boys?"

"It's hardly hustling if they know what I'm doing." Bella retorts. "More or less, they are paying to watch me to bend over a table."

"I have to admit that that is worth it." He smirks as he leans back to check out her ass. "My name is Jasper Cullen. And you are?"

"Bella Swan. It's your funeral here buddy, so you can break." She is surprised at her joking tone. She's never been known for her confidence and in the corner she can see Emmett's face alight with amusement and disappointment. What's that about?

"Rack 'em, sweet girl. We'll see." Jasper Cullen is arrogant as he flips the chalk into his hand and winks at her.

She collects the balls and sets up the rack, all while trying not to be a jittery, school girl of a mess just because he called her sweet girl.

No one could hardly call what followed pool. It was, more or less, an intense mating dance, both Jasper and Bella trying to out flirt the other. A scratch was considered victory, and Bella fucking Swan does not scratch.

"Sweet girl," he whispers in her ear, his hands resting delicately on her hips. She sighs. "You don't really want to beat me do you? I could think of so many better things to do with our time."

Bastard, she thinks. He's not playing fair. But two can play at that game. She sinks her shot, turns toward him and pulls his ear to her lips, softly biting.

"Eight ball, right corner, for the win." She whispers softly, before kissing his cheek and quickly making the game winning shot.

Bella smirks at him and he pouts and all she can think about is pulling that bottom lip into her mouth. She's momentarily dazed until she realizes that Emmett is pulling her by the arm, telling her it's time to go home.

Jasper winks and says, "See you around, Sweet Girl."

Emmett is quiet on the way home, which is strange, but all Bella can think of is Jasper's autumn eyes and his deep voice whispering, "Sweet Girl."

She calls Renee that night and tells her she met the man she's going to marry. Renee believes her.


ACT Two: In Which Bella Realizes Something Important


It's been one week since meeting Jasper Cullen in the pool hall. One torturous, hell of a week. It didn't help that Bella's boss at the clinic is an asswipe of epic proportions or that Emmett is barely speaking to her.

It had been one whole week without Jasper Cullen. And life just seemed... less...

So when Emmett finally calls her to ask her to go to Tanya's party with him, she breaks down and nearly begs for Jasper's number. Nearly.

"Please, Emmy?" She whines.

"Why, Bella? I'm not sure I like him." Emmett pauses. "You and I are good together, aren't we?" He asks. And there it is. Emmett and Bella were good together, in a strictly friends-with-benefits-I'm-lonely-so-let's-fuck kind of way. They were best friends. And nothing more.

"Em, I love you. I do. But you know we don't work like that."

"Fine, I have his pager number," he huffs and rattles off a number before saying, "See you at nine," and hanging up.

She picks up the phone and hangs up at least nine times before she dials, enters her call-back number and waits.

After two minutes her phone rings. And she panics.

"H-Hello?" She stutters.

"Who is this?" His voice is beautiful and accusatory. She relishes it.

"You forget all the girls you bend over pool tables, Cullen?" Bella jokes.

"Bella?" He asks, a palpable relief in his voice. "I was hoping to talk to you again. How did you get my number?"

"Emmett gave it to me." Jasper snorts at this.

"Bet McCarty loved that. So," he pauses. "Whatcha up to?"

"Nothing much. Emmett and I are going to Tanya's party later. What about you?"

"We're working on the Shelby tonight."

"Oh." What more could be said?

The heartbeat of silence is palpable but not entirely uncomfortable. Bella is momentarily locked in her own head, just do it, she chants.

"Come over."

Silence.

"I thought you had plans."

"So do you."

Another pause.

"Come over."

"I'll be there in fifteen minutes, Sweet Girl."

When Jasper arrives, twelve minutes later, Bella counted, he steps out of his truck and hands her a yellow tulip he picked from his mother's garden.

"Tulips?" She muses. Bella wonders how he could possibly know tulips were her favorite.

"My mother grows them. Dreadfully cheerful things. You have to smile when you see a yellow tulip." Bella does smile and he blushes, muttering, "like you," under his breath.

Jasper brushes a stray lock of hair from her face and she stares intently into his autumn eyes. The world is there. Bright and brilliant and waiting.

Waiting for her.

They sit on her balcony, knowing they both have somewhere to be, knowing the night has to end, knowing that right then, that moment, would always be theirs. And for just a little while, there was nothing more perfect then holding hands.

At 9:30 they get into their separate cars to drive away from each other. The tug on Bella's heart is painful. She didn't even get to kiss him.

Fuck it, she thinks, pulling her car to a stop as he follows suit.

"Is everything okay?" He asks, concerning coloring his tone as he exits his car.

"It will be," she mutters and walks over to him, pushing him against his car and kissing him with everything she has.

"Wow," he says, dazed as he can only stare open-mouthed at the girl.

She doesn't wait for more. She gets back into her car, calling "See you around, Doll," and drives off.

She picks up Emmett, who is less then thrilled at her tardiness and drives to Tanya's, her mind never leaving the kiss. That one perfect kiss. Pretending to be ill, she decides to go home early.

When she gets there, she call Jasper.

"I can't get you out of my head," she admits.

"Me either, sweet girl. Can I come over?"

"What about the Shelby?"

"She can wait."

"Okay. See you soon."

"I'll be right there, Sweet Girl."

When he arrives, he wraps her in his arms and kisses her gently. The spend the night whispering secrets and fall asleep wrapped up in each other.

On their third date, when she opens the door looking all perfect and beautiful wearing low rise jeans and a vintage Dead t-shirt and of course, her favorite fucking Docs, he thinks he may just be happy enough to die right then.

"I fucking love you, Sweet Girl," he says. It's a slip. A whisper. A promise. He didn't mean to say it, didn't mean to say it, but meant it nonetheless. She knows this as she knows her own soul, so see kisses him and whispers "Mí también" and he wishes he had paid better attention in Spanish.

He takes her to the Santa Monica Pier, her favorite place in the world.

"It's like poetry," she tells him looking at the lights and ocean. He doesn't understand but he knows that she is poetry.

He plays with his straw wrapper, ultimately tying it around her ring finger, marveling at how right it looks.

"We should go get married." Another slip.

He briefly wonders why this small girl has the ability to make him say the words that he means and is even more surprised when she grabs his hand and says, "Let's go."

They jump into car and begin the four hour drive to Las Vegas. An excitement buzzing through the car, buzzing between them. It feels right.

When they pull over for gas at state-line, Bella notices the look in Jasper's eyes and starts laughing. "Ya, my parents would kill me too."

She appears thoughtful for a moment before she says, "Come on." She takes a hold of his hand never saying a word and he follows her blindly. He would follow her anywhere.

"Welcome to Buffalo Bills. Can I help you?" The receptionist, Jen, is condescending. Bella rolls her eyes.

"I'd like a room for the night, please?" Bella tells Jen who eyes her and Jasper like they surely must be running away from home.

"I'll need some id and a credit card," she states smugly.

Bella tosses her driver's license and Visa on the desk, as she crosses her arms defiantly.

Jen gives her a room key and babbles on but neither Bella nor Jasper are listening.

Bella unlocks the door and uses Jasper's body to close it. She kisses him with the passion of dying woman. When she steps away, he sighs, eager for more. More of her, more of this. Just more.

"I fucking love you too, Jasper," she says as she pulls off her shirt, thankful she chose to wear the red lace bra. He doesn't need to say it back. Bella already knows. Each "Sweet Girl" means I love you.

Their touches are awkward and beautiful. Full of hope and promise. And love. More love than Bella ever expected to feel.

They make love until their bodies give out and spend the night in a hotel room far from the worries of jobs and rent and responsibilities. Instead, the each silently reveal in the love they feel.

Time passes, that is its job after all and before Bella and Jasper realize it, it has been 6 months and it's time to meet the parents.

They agree to meet at the Spectrum, neutral territory for all involved but Bella and Jasper are not worried.

When Bella goes to kiss him and feels something in his pocket he pulls away.

"What is that?" She asks, somewhat accusatory.

"Nothing, Sweet girl. Let's go meet the parents." He says, avoiding the question. But Bella knows what it is. A box. A ring.

Their parents get along great and course after course, Bella waits for Jasper to give her the box.

He doesn't.

Two months later, they make a drive to Ventura for her cousin's wedding. They drink and dance and laugh and take pictures that Bella will treasure forever. When they take their leave, Jasper mumbles his desire to do something special, they drive in circles, searching.

They come across an empty field, far off the main road's traffic and get out. He pulls out a bottle of champagne that he had secreted away from the wedding and a blanket, laying it out in the middle of the field. It is here that they make love in a treasure trove of daises. It is here, in a field of little white flowers, exposed to each other and the elements, he quietly slips a ring on her finger and asks, "Forever, Sweet Girl?"

"Forever," she whispers. She means it.

Four months later it happens. What can only be described as a disaster of epic proportions for a young couple deeply in love. A family matter requires her to move out of state. There are tears and promises and emptiness as she packs her car and drives away from him.

When Jasper starts getting jealous and acting out because she has male co-workers, that is the last straw. Bella has never been a fan of jealousy. So when she says it's over, the words leaving her mouth, her heart dies. So does his.

Eventually she starts dating a law student who could never be the one. But it passes the time and he treats her good. Her mind always drifting to the boy two thousand miles away that holds her heart.

In September, nearly six months after they had broken up, Bella's grandfather passes. And, even though she is dating someone, her first thought is to call Jasper. She misses the way he calms her. She misses the way he loves her.

"Jasper?" She asks when she calls him.

"Bella? Bella, is that you?"

"Oh, Jasper," she cries. "Grandpa past away."

"My sweet girl. I am so sorry. I'm on the next flight out."

And he is. When she picks him up from the airport, all the pain and jealousy and heartbreak vanish. He is hers and she is his and when they are together, the world is theirs and nothing can go wrong.

Bella says her goodbyes and without a look back, Jasper and her drive home to plan their wedding and start their life.


ACT Three: In Which Jasper is Late and Bella's World Falls Apart


On Tuesday, three weeks before the wedding, Bella has a cold. She wants to tell Jasper to stay home, but they have wedding plans to make and a place to live to find. At 8:30 he calls her, tells her he'll bring some cold medicine and cuddle all night if that's what she wants.

"See you soon, Sweet Girl," he tells her with conviction before he hangs up the phone.

When 9:30 rolls around, she thinks nothing off it. Traffic is unpredictable and he said see you soon. But as the minutes tick by that feeling in the pit of her stomach grows.

He's late.

Jasper is never late. He is punctual to a fault.

She calls his cell, but there is no answer.

It's not until she turns on the ten o'clock news that she knows her world has ended. There on the TV screen is her worst nightmare.

A collision. A drunk driver going the wrong way on the highway. No survivors.

She tries to convince herself that it's not him, but she knows. And two hours later when his sister Rosalie calls to confirm it, time stops.

She drops to her knees and cries a cry that only those who have experienced a loss like that know. A deep, hole in the heart, nothing left to live for cry.

"Daddy," she screams because that's who she needs. Not Charlie. Not the chief. She needs her daddy, she needs to shrink into the crook of his arm as he rocks her back and forth. She needs to be numb. "Daddy, he's dead."

Charlie lifts her off the ground, tears marring their faces and they sit that way until morning.

When Rene arrives, she pulls Bella into her arms and the crying begins again. Jasper was already a son to them and Bella has to remind herself that they lost someone too. On the day of the funeral, Bella nearly faints. She's spoken to Esme on the phone and even Rosalie has been hospitable. But she hasn't been in a car since.

Rene dresses her in a simple black dress and grudgingly allowed her to wear her docs. When they get to the car, Bella stops.

"I can't go," Bella sobs, falling to her knees.

"Bella," Charlie sighs. He was never very good at this emotional stuff.

"I can't go," she reiterates.

"Why not, baby girl?"

"Because if I get into this car we have to drive by that place. And we have to go to a funeral. And we have to say goodbye. And that means I'll never see him again." This is what she said, although through her sobs it was hard to understand.

"Baby girl," Charlie says as he wraps his protective arms around her. "We need to go. For Carlisle and Esme. For your friends. For Jasper."

"I can't."

Charlie lifts her into the car and kisses her forehead.

When they arrive at the church, Bella can hear the whispers saying it's all her fault. She can hear Lauren and Edward's sneering laughter and words like bitch and whore. Even Alec refuses to look at her. She is all alone. And try as she might to ignore it, the words sting.

Rosalie however, has no intention of ignoring it.

The blonde goddess heads straight for her, Bella cringing at the words Rosalie must want to say to her.

But instead of stopping in front of Bella, Rosalie walks straight over to Lauren and decks her in her perfect nose.

"Ouch, Rose! What the fuck was that for?"

"How dare you speak about my family that way! Look at you with your fake tears. Bitch. That goes for all of you. Bella made Jasper happy. He loved her. You dishonor him being here. Stay the fuck away from my family" She spits and puts her arms around Bella. "Come on, Bella. Family is over here."

Rosalie pulls her through the crowd whispering that everything will be okay, and Bella is finally seeing her brother in her. When they get to the back room reserved for family, Bella loses it again. Esme walks towards her, cradling her face in her hands.

"Honey, I need you to help me get through this okay? You and me together. For Jasper."

Bella nods but she can't understand how everyone goes on breathing when true love ends.

She doesn't listen to the pastor. She keeps her eyes glued to a picture of Jasper they have set up in front of the coffin.

At the cemetery, there are more whispers. Edward and Lauren are discussing how rude it is of Bella to bring yellow tulips to a funeral.

Bella hopes that Esme can't hear but she notices her hands clenching. She leans over and whispers loud enough for the assholes behind her to hear, "You know why I choose yellow tulips? Jasper brought them to me all the time. He used to say they were cheerful little flowers, you couldn't help but smile when looking at a yellow tulip." Esme squeezes her hand, a silent thank you and gives a small smile.

And just like that, it's over.

She tries to drown the pain in alcohol and drugs. She stops eating. She stops living. And for awhile, her life may as well have ended that day too.


ACT Four: In Which Bella Tries to Put the Pieces Back Together and Finds Her Unhappily Ever After.


Rene starts leaving little motivational quotes on her door. Bella glances at them and ceremoniously throws them into the trash. When she finally reads one that says; "You can't find peace by avoiding life", she cries and writes a response and hangs it on the fridge.

"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.

"Why, what's the matter?"

"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."

"Can't all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose.

"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."

Because that's how she feels. She is Eeyore. And nobody will love her again. Rene stops leaving quotes on her door after that. And Bella stops leaving her room.

Rene and Charlie let this behavior continue for six months before they tell her to get a job or get out of the house. It's an idle threat and Bella knows it, but she owes them.

She finds a simple job and moves in with her best friend Alice. She works, eats and sleeps despite Alice's best attempts to reintegrate her into society.

It's at work that she meets Jacob. He seems kind and attractive. And he likes her. Maybe she could try. Maybe.

He takes her to the beach for their first date and they find out they have quite a bit in common. Dating comes naturally and a small shimmer of hope bubbles up inside her.

Time continues to pass. Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months. When Jacob tells her she really should remove her engagement ring, she almost breaks up with him. But he loves her and some part of her loves him too.

It's Halloween when she discovers she's pregnant. Jacob and her were careful and she wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant, but she is. And she is happy, or at least as happy as she can allow herself to be.

He proposes at night under the Bellagio water show and when she cries he thinks it's because she's happy. He doesn't understand that she cries for what could've, should've been.

Their daughter is born in July and for the first time, Bella believes in miracles.

But like most things in Bella's life, it was never meant to last.

When she comes home tired after a long shift of waiting tables, she finds him packing a bag.

"I've met someone, Bells." She knew this was coming and decides to bow out gracefully. She doesn't ask him questions, opting to kiss his cheek and wish him luck.

Two weeks after he leaves, she discovers she is pregnant again. Jacob has the nerve to ask who the father is.

With the birth of her second daughter, Bella life is full of joy. She still misses her greatest love. Sometimes she cries and sometimes she gets angry at him for leaving her alone, but mostly she loves him. She always will.

And at night when her daughters are sleeping and her ex-husband is fucking his new love and she is all alone again, she closes her eyes and smiles, remembering a nineteen year old girl, staring at a boy in a pool hall, falling in love.

Goodnight, Sweet Girl.


~~~fin~~~


A/N: There is a bastardization of a quote from The Spill Canvas in Act Three (thanks lifelesslyndsey) and quotes in Act Four are from The Hours and Winnie the Pooh which I also don't own.

Reviews are welcome and appreciated. XOXO

Don't drink and drive. In memory of Scott who I miss everyday and fucking love still.