"You Can Quote Me On This" Contest

Author: SammieLynnsMom

Title: Bella's Platform

Word Count: 4560

Quote: "If you're at the end of your rope, then tie a knot and hold on." Franklin Roosevelt

Pairing(s): Bella & Edward

Rating: M

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, I just like playing with Stephanie Meyers' characters.


Growing up, my life was what I'd consider average. My dad was the Police Chief of a very small town in Washington called Forks. My mom stayed home with me until I was five, then ran off and has since jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend. Many wouldn't consider that average, but when you live in a world where the divorce rate is far beyond 50%, I think it's really strange when your parents actually stay together.

In high school I was more of a loner. I had a few close friends, but I preferred to stay home reading rather then hanging out at Mike Newton's for yet another party.

My dad would push me to go out with my friends, but I just never felt the need to.

My freshman year at UW was where I met James.

For the first six months, our relationship was amazing. He opened my door, called every night just to say goodnight, brought me flowers, you name it and he was there. He never pushed me too far.

Looking back now, I could see the warning signs. He slowly became a little more possessive, but I brushed it off as caring about me. He questioned everywhere I went, with who, and what we did. I just figured it was because he didn't want anything to happen to me. Without realizing what was going on around me I became more isolated from my friends, but especially my dad.
I was so naïve.

We got married between my sophomore and junior year of college. James was graduating and going into the real world to make a name for himself in advertising. I was pretty sure I wanted to major in English. It took a lot of pushing, but I did eventually graduate with a BA in English.

James immediately was offered a job with publishing straight out of college. The money wasn't great in the beginning, but over time he became more known and the cash flow started. I was never what anyone would describe as "high maintenance," so I spent my time trying to save as much as I could, while James would spend as much as he could to show off.

In my last year of college his hours became longer and erratic. His possessiveness went up a few more notches and the monthly phone calls I had with my dad disappeared.

At one point my best friends, Alice and Rosalie, both took me aside to express their concern.

"Bella, he treats you like a child."

"Sweetie, you need to open your eyes. Something isn't right."

The day I opened my bedroom door to find James fucking his personal assistant, Victoria, was my true eye opener.

I was mortified. He wasn't just cheating on me, but doing so in our bed. I later found out it had been going on for over a year.

While my friends confronted me, I defended him. I listed reason after reason why his behavior was acceptable. However, when you walk in on your husband fucking another woman, you can't get any clearer than that.

Our divorce was proceeded a little over a month later. I walked away with what I came with.
James Agee once said "You Can Never Go Home Again," but I did. I decided to move back in with my dad in Forks shortly after graduation. Although I went back to my old bedroom looking exactly as it had when I left, the innocence I once held was forever gone.

Alice and Rosalie both found love and I was elated for them. The pain in my heart was still there, wishing I could have what they did, but it wasn't in the cards for me at the time.

I spent three years in Forks taking care of my dad and writing my book. I was very close to having the final manuscript done when Alice and Rosalie, with the help of my dad, held an intervention.

"Bella, I love your cooking, you keep the house clean, but you have to live. You're not living."

"Don't let James ruin you forever."

"Bella there is someone out there for you. I just know it!"

I knew they cared, but it hurt. Their words a constant reminder of my failure. On a very logical platform, I knew there was nothing I could do to fix what happened with James. On an emotional platform, I felt like I should have done more. Depending on the day, depended on which platform I used as my life raft.

Of course, part of the intervention was why I was now sitting at a Retreat Camp called "New Moon" talking to strangers about my life.

My best friends dug up the information, paid for it, and sent me on my way. The camp was located just outside of Colorado Springs. I'd admit the weather was gorgeous most of the time, but I'd never been one for the outdoors. They had hikes, exercises, swimming, arts & crafts, and group scheduled daily. It was very relaxed and each day you could choose to do what you wanted. The only requirement was that you showed up at the group fire every night. At that session you'd tell one detail, or more if you felt the need, about why you were there. Then you would go back to your room and write in a journal.

Naturally I loved writing so that assignment didn't seem like homework to me.

My first day here I was a wreck. I found my cabin; thankfully my friends sprang for a single room, so I wouldn't have to handle a roommate. I just felt so lost. I'd never been outside of Washington before, but more than that, I'd never been away from everyone I knew.

At the first group I kept to myself, only revealing that I was there because my friends sort of forced me to attend.

Day 1:

I really don't know what to write so I'll start with this.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

The next day I woke up feeling a little stronger and I decided I'd take advantage of the clear weather and go for a swim. I'd had enough hiking and wilderness growing up in Washington State and arts & crafts just sounded juvenile to me. That left swimming or exercise. Being born with two left feet made exercise dangerous, but even I could swim. I may trip on air, but that didn't matter in the water.

I read the rules several times while I flew to Colorado. They were basic, for the most part. Don't be disrespectful, what is said there stays there, and don't gossip. However, one stuck out on the pages:

Entering in a relationship with another person attending New Moon is frowned upon. Use this time to strength yourself without relying on anyone else.

Of course it would also be in bold.

I could even remember scoffing at the idea of trying to find a boyfriend at this place. I needed to build myself back up before I even entertained the idea of dating again. The prospect terrified me.

Of course, that brochure didn't warn me that a Greek God himself would be attending. His name was Edward and he probably thought I was a stuttering idiot.

Our first encounter I could not say one word correctly. But that night my ears perked up the second he spoke.

Day 3:

Tonight I revealed that James and I met in college. He was absolutely perfect, but in the end all it was, was wonderfully fake.

More importantly, I learned more about Edward. He was here because his late wife, Kate, committed suicide. She left a note. That was all he said. The pain and anguish etched on his face made my heart break for him. It was obvious he was trying to hold tears in, but honestly, I just wanted to hug him.

When he talked to me at the pool yesterday I felt like an idiot. All he did was offer me a towel and I ran off like a stuttering idiot.

I definitely was not ready for any sort of relationship, but maybe if I try, we can be friends. Friends is acceptable. I see a lot of people forming friendships. Edward seems to keep to himself too. I don't even know where he's from. In 28 days I'll board my flight back to Washington, for all I know he'll be flying to Maine.

I wonder what Rosalie and Alice are doing tonight. I hope my dad ate something other than diner food.

Until tomorrow.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 7:

Tonight I talked about the time James convinced me my father was trying to pull us apart. It was gut wrenching to remember a time where I thought my dad was the enemy, but James was so convincing. When I look back in time I barely recognized myself, but I didn't recognize James at face value, so maybe I can't see myself clearly either.

I did learn that Edward is a doctor. He's on a leave of absence, but his specialty is Pediatrics. That made my heart swell a little until he talked about wanting a family one day. He opened up about the note Kate left him. Apparently she felt she could no longer live without the love of her life. I don't know what that meant since Edward broke down and stopped talking. Again I wanted to comfort him, but despite my thoughts of friendship, I haven't spoken to him again since the second day.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 13:

Why was I so stupid. I should have listened to them. Why did I think Rosalie and Alice would have ever wanted to see me as something other than happy. Tonight I talked about the first time my best friends sat me down for a chat. I was so embarrassed to admit that I stormed away, right back into the arms of the man that would ultimately destroy me. I remember us sitting on the couch that night, eating pizza and drinking wine laughing about what happened. That night we made love by the fireplace. I should think back on those memories with joy, but they just make me feel cheap. From the time line I knew, he was just starting to screw her around that time. I wondered if he thought of her when he was with….

No No No Bella Swan you will not go back there. You can't.

Now I'm writing to myself, I think I've gone insane.

Edward's wife had a boyfriend. His name was Garrett and the day he left her was the day she died.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 18:

I stood in that doorway and watched as his body shook while he released inside her. I stood in that doorway frozen at the sight before me. I could still remember her screams echoing off the bedroom furniture we picked out, on top of the ugly comforter set he just HAD to have. A frame with a wedding picture of us, smiling…we were fucking smiling, laid in wreckage on the floor next to the nightstand it had been knocked off of. Had I not found out, I wonder what his excuse…No No No.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I am too good for him.

Garrett left Kate because Kate wouldn't leave Edward. Kate loved money more than Kate loved Garrett. Therefore Kate stayed with Edward, not because of who he was, but because of what he had.

Kate and James could have lived happily ever after…the fucking end.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 20:

I moved back to Forks. I released my feelings of failure and as I did I released the last few pictures I had been holding onto. Watching them burn brought more satisfaction then I ever expected. I felt like the weight was finally lifting off my shoulders. Maybe I would need to thank Alice and Rosalie for this little adventure to healing they put me on.

Edward wasn't at group today. It made me sad and curious. I wanted to know why.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 21:

Maybe he's sick?

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I am too good for him.

Day 22:

Who cares about what I said at the fire. I want to know where he is. Did he get hurt? Is he sick? I can't ask anyone….I just want to know.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because I deserved better.

Day 22:

He wasn't there and I wanted to know why…

"Argh!" I muttered and threw my journal onto the dirt floor. I had been staring at the same line for well over twenty minutes now and I didn't know why. I'd suffered writer's block a few times in my life, but this was suppose to be easy. Writing my feelings should have come naturally.

"You okay?" His velvet voice cut through me and I swiveled my head around to see Edward standing under the light in a casual polo shirt and jeans. "I heard a noise, I just wanted to make sure, I'm sorry…" he stuttered as he eyed the haphazardly thrown journal laying on the ground.

"No, no…I'm fine," I answered. "I'm sorry, I uh, didn't realize I was so loud."

He nodded and turned to move away. My heart sank. I had my chance to talk to him and I blew it. He'd been gone for three days, but maybe he wasn't actually gone.

I stood up and walked over to pick up my journal. Edward turned back around to face me.

"For what it's worth, he was an idiot."

I stood speechless as I watched him walk away.

I didn't sleep at all that night, of course, that was the night the dreams started. They were so vivid and detailed I almost thought they were real. I wanted them to be real.

"God you're beautiful" he whispered as his lips trailed down my neck. His masculine hands were massaging down my torso before cupping my butt and forcing my body into his.

His cock was hard under his jeans, pressing into my delicate flesh just at the right angle to make me whimper.

"Please, I want…" I'd get out breathlessly, "No I need you. Please…just make me yours…"
He'd lay me back on the bed behind us and gently slide between my folds causing me to scream his name as my body would begin to burn.

"Edward…Edward…."

"Ed…" And then I was awake. This was probably when I wanted to kiss the feet of Alice and Rosalie for ensuring I didn't have to share a room. I knew I talked in my sleep, but my cabin was buried away enough that I didn't suspect anyone would hear me.

Day 24:

I began talking about my days in Forks. The books I was sending to a publisher.

Edward apologized to the group for being absent. One of his patients needed him so he flew out, but came back as quickly as he could.

Tears streamed down his face that night and I knew something was wrong.

We still hadn't spoken again.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because he represents a time in my life I never want back.

My dreams weren't getting any better, I'd have to say worse. I was at the point where I figured going to bed wearing underwear was pointless since I'd wake up to them soaked. I knew I needed to get him out of my head. In only six days we'd all be flying back to our normal lives and would probably never see each other again.

Day 25:

Tonight we were asked to keep a common theme. Where did we see ourselves in ten years.
I said in the perfect world I'd be married, with a loving husband, a job I loved, and a child. It was the dream I had when I said my vows to James. I knew that wasn't where life would lead me now, but I still held onto a small sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe Alice would be right. Maybe there was someone for me.

Hope is the most dangerous emotion though. Once hope is gone, you have nothing left. So I'd never admit that to her.

I was surprised to hear Edward say that he wanted a child. He would prefer to have a wife, but children were his passion. He wanted to save a child from foster care. I learned he himself was adopted, and although having children of his own would be wonderful, he knew he would always adopt. With the passing of Kate, he assumed adoption would be his only option left.

As if I couldn't adore the man I hardly knew anymore, I did at the end of his confession.

We even exchanged a small smile once he was done.

We still hadn't spoken, but I wanted to. I just didn't know how.

My name is Bella Swan, I am no longer Bella Hunter because he represents a time in my life I never want back.

"Ouch!" My entire ankle roared in pain as I slipped on a small puddle of water just outside the pool area. I'd been almost an entire month with no injuries, of course I would hurt myself now that it was almost time to go home.

"Bella, what happened?" Edward's voice sounded alarmed as he rushed over from the pool. He held my swollen ankle in his hands. He was so gentle for a second my mind flashed to what he would look like holding a newborn baby.

"I slipped," I winced.

"I don't think it's broken, but I'll wrap it for you. And try to stay off it as much as you can for a few days." I nodded, expecting Edward to take off in search of an ace bandage when two strong arms picked me up.

I felt like I should have protested, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Especially as I rested my head on Edward's bare chest.

We arrived safely at the First Aid Cabin where the nurse stepped aside and let Edward work. She knew he was a doctor. Even though his specialty was Pediatrics, he was trained to do just about anything short of brain surgery. Or so he said.

An hour later I found myself in my cabin, with my journal open. I had ever intention of writing, but I just couldn't do it. We had group in thirty minutes and I knew I could skip, but I didn't want to.
I heard a knock on my door and attempted to get up, but failed miserably nearly landing back on the ground.

"Bella? Can I..can I come in?" He sounded so hesitant it was almost laughable.

"Yeah," I hollered out loud enough for him to hear me through the large wooden door.

"I um, I thought you may…" I thought I heard him mutter the word 'fuck', but I wasn't
sure, before he continued, "I just wanted to see if you needed held getting to the fire pit. It's a bit of a walk and well….I'm here…and…I'm sorry." His face blushed scarlet as he looked down.

I just smiled and nodded. "That would be great."

His shoulders visibly relaxed. The first leg I hobbled, but then the pain became too much and he just carried me to my seat. Instead of taking his normal seat on the other side he took the one closest to me.

That night we talked about our fears of returning back to the real world.

Edward opted to just carry me back the entire way. As we stood outside of my door I finally got up to the nerve to ask the question I had wanted to for weeks now.

"Do you want to come in..and um, talk?" My eyes stayed down for fear of rejection, but he accepted.

We made ourselves comfy on the make shift couch they had set up and it didn't dawn on either one of us how much time had passed before we saw the sun rising.

I offered to make us some coffee and we resumed our conversation on the bench outside my cabin.

"It's beautiful, isn't it? I'm gonna miss this." I spoke looking out at the sun now casting a hazy purplish red color over the tree line.

"Me too," Edward answered, but he wasn't looking at the sun, he was looking at me.

"Look, I know I have no right to ask this, but maybe…" he looked down, "Maybe we can exchange numbers. Just to um talk, I really like listening to you, and talking to you. I'm sorry if I sound stupid. You probably don't want…" But I had to interrupt him at that point.

"I'd love to." I spoke firmly so there would be no point in questioning me.

"Really?" He smiled and I nodded.

"I should probably let you get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day with the obstacle course and packing. If you need anything just let me know." And the Edward I'd seen just twelve hours ago had returned. The one with no confidence and fear before his eyes.

"Thank you." I reached out to embrace his hand and he smiled before disappearing towards his own cabin.

We had talked about everything that night from our favorite color to our jobs to our families to our hobbies. All while avoiding the two topics that brought us to New Moon in the first place, James and Kate. It was comforting just talking to Edward. With each story Edward came more alive, warm and open. Until he left, the light just seemed to fade in his eyes.

I found very little sleep that day. I spend most of my time hobbling around packing. Edward was right, tomorrow would be a long day. There was a lot of group activities including the rope slide. We'd be sliding across 100 feet of water and landing on a blow up adult sized air bag. Even with my banged up ankle, I knew I could manage.

Day 29:

Group was hard. We said our goodbyes and told everyone what we learned.

I learned that:

James was an asshole.

That forgiving is not the same as forgetting. You have to forgive to move on, but you don't totally forget so you can stop it from happening again.

That I need to be more observant to my surroundings. Especially listening to those around me who really love me.

That shutting everyone out isn't in my best interest. One day I'm going to die and I'd rather not to be alone when I do it.

That maybe holding onto a sliver of hope isn't such a bad things.

That I wanted my Happily Ever After. Whatever that meant for me.

My name is Bella Swan and that is what matters to me.

Day 30:

Today was nothing short of a whirlwind.

We had a BBQ for lunch and everyone just sat around talking. Lots of papers and pens were passed within groups of friends. I gave Edward my phone number and e-mail and he gave me the same. I wasn't sure what I'd do with the information, but it was nice to have.

That afternoon we all gathered around the rope slide. It was 100ft over the small lake in the back of campgrounds. At the end you let go of the rope and landing in the equivalent of an adult sized air bag. I was nervous not only because of my ankle, that was still recovering, but also because I was afraid of landing in the water instead.

Naturally, I was the last to go, Edward was kind enough to held me hobble up to the platform. I was secured in the harness and held on tight.

As I was pushed off I saw the light, it was guiding me towards my future, and although it only lasted a split second it was enough for me to hold onto.

FDR once said, "When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on." But as I sat at the end of that rope, on that swing, I did just the opposite. I let go. Not just of the negativity surrounding James, our relationship, our marriage, and our divorce. But I also let go my feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and fear.

As I fell I realized that I didn't know what was to come and that was okay. No one really knows where the future will lead us. If Edward is a part of that future, great. But if he's not, I'll survive anyways.

My name is Bella Swan. And there is no one else I'd rather be.

I closed my journal that night and shut my eyes. The next morning I was off the campgrounds at 3:30 AM and in the air by 7:00 AM.

It had been a long year since that time passed. Rosalie and her now husband, Emmett were expecting their first child in just a few short months. Alice was planning her dream wedding with her soon-to-be-husband, Jasper. My dad had met someone and despite his best attempts at evasion, I thought Sue was perfect. My book was picked up by a publisher and although I decided to stay in Forks, I did move out into my own house. It was small, but it was enough.

I hadn't talked to Edward since our last night on the grounds. My mind sometimes wandered to how he was or if he was okay. I wanted him to be happy, however that happened for him.

I still kept up a journal and wrote it in nightly, even if it were only a few words. It was something.
It was 2 AM by the time I decided to get to bed. A scene hit me for the new book I was writing and I was finally winding down from writing. I caught the glimpse of my phone flashing red, alerting me to a message. I started turning my phone to silent when I wrote years ago. I decided to listen since it was rare anyone would call me this late.

As my message told me I had missed a call from a number I didn't recognize. I wracked my brain for who it would be until his voice range though.

"Hi um Bella, this is Edward. We...we met last year at New Moon. I really hope you're doing well. I can't believe it's already been a year. I just wanted you to know something. That night, the first night we talked. What I should have said was…" beep.

The message was cut short.