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A/N Thanks again to my beautiful Beta (Jeanne)SparklingWand, I luv u doesn't quite cover how grateful I am to u for you friendship! (Jackie)TwiMoments and (Melissa) melarimo you guys are my heart and I will always be forever indebted to u!

To the readers... I promised you some answers to your questions in this chapter. I hope that I covered some things you had questions on. Thank you all for sticking by me through this, and as always PLEASE leave me some love or hate whichever as long as you leave some feedback xoxoxoxox

EPOV Coming up next chapter :))

~x~

'Goodbye'

I didn't want to say goodbye,

I turned so you wouldn't see me cry,

I don't want our friendship to die,

When you said you were leaving, I thought it was a lie.

I waved goodbye, though my heart was with pain,

What if I never see you again?

My tears were falling like mid-summer rain

The fact that you left is such a shame.

The way you spoke was like you had no care,

When I had a problem, you were the one who was there,

You said goodbye, it just isn't fair,

Watching you leave was a nightmare.

I walked away; you didn't know it was true,

You are the best and I'm going to miss you.

Right now the sky is grey but soon it will be blue,

One day, somehow, you'll know the truth.

My poem is a scar; it made my tears flow,

I just thought you needed to know.

I didn't want you to leave; I wish you didn't go,

I have no more to say, I won't let my pain show.

By: Black Rose Poetry-

~x~

Chapter Four (Goodbye)

~Bella~

Standing here in the shower washing away the stress of the day, I try to come to terms with the fact that in a few short hours I will be confronted with a past that I have worked so hard to let go of. Through all of this, my mind can't help but once again wander back to Edward.

Alice said that we needed to talk, and that it was about Edward. With her words I instantly became concerned that something had happened to him. I know she sensed my concern right away, I didn't even try to hide it from her. How could I, when he still means everything to me.

Her reassurance that he was fine did little to ease my mind, however. If he is fine, what could possibly be so important that she needs to fly here and talk to me about it in person? The fact that I am going to have to explain Alice and her visit to Jacob isn't making things any easier either.

Not that I really give a shit if he knows about her, but telling him about her will inevitably lead to further questions. Questions I am not quite sure I am ready to answer. A piece of my past is coming into my future and I know Jacob will expect an explanation as to why I have never shared any of this with him and what am I supposed to tell him.

I couldn't give him any answers, because I know the minute I try, the pain of my past and those last days in Forks would show clearly on my face. "So what am I going to do?"

The only answer that comes to mind is, "Lie my ass off... What other choice do I have"

After all, I have learned from the best when it comes to putting a wall up around the truth. Edward taught me well. But even knowing that, I still miss him and would be lying if I said I didn't hold on to some hope that Alice is going to tell me he has never been able to move on. I desperately long to hear from her that he still thinks of me as I do of him.

Leaning against the shower wall, allowing the hot flow of water to run down my tired body, I am taken back to another time when one touch from Edward sent my body spiraling out of control. No one else has ever had the ability to bring out that kind of passion in me. Especially not Jacob, he tried in the beginning, but was never successful.

Don't get me wrong, Jacob was a good in bed, and I am a woman with needs just like any other, but sex with him has never been what I imagined it would have been like with Edward.

There is no emotion involved, not anymore, not just for me but for him as well.

It hasn't always been this way, but like everything else in our relationship, Jacob has learned that I'll never be able to give him any more than I already have. So he quit trying to please me in that area a long time ago. He looks out for himself, and his pleasure comes first, which is fine by me. Fast and hard with no emotions. I can't bear it to be any other way.

Edward on the other hand, I like to imagine would have always made it about my pleasure, and I would have gladly done the same for him over and over again. Unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards for us.

I wanted nothing more than to share that part of myself with Edward, but he constantly pushed me away when it came to sex. I probably could have accepted his noble refusals, had the reasons he was refusing me not been full of lies.

"Bella, I'm not good enough to be your first." Or "Bella, you're just not ready." are just a few of the lies he used to throw at me when ever the discussion of sex came up. All those lies came to surface however, when I found him that night with his dick in Jessica Stanley. In that moment as my world was crashing down around me everything became clear, It was never that he wasn't good enough for me. No, it had always been that I wasn't good enough for him.

I clutch my stomach, suddenly feeling sick with the memory of it all. I want to hate him for everything he has put me through then and now, but I just can't bring myself to do it. "Why...Why can't I just move on and try to be happy with what I have... instead of constantly putting myself through this pain and misery?

Of course I knew the answer to that question, I'm not an idiot. Jacob has never been the person I was intended for so how could I ever be happy with him? I often wonder if maybe Edward was slightly right back then. What would my life be like had I held off and not jumped into bed with the first guy who showed me any real interest? Maybe if I had just waited, someone else would have come along and shown me again what love was supposed to really feel like.

Sighing heavily, I bend over and turn the water off. It is running cold now, no longer serving its purpose. I dry off and step out of the shower. Looking in the bathroom mirror, I can't help but feel more terrified than ever of seeing Alice tomorrow. I have changed so much in the last twelve years. Would she even recognize me? Let's face it, I am no longer that youthful girl with the whole world in front of her that Alice once knew.

Leaning against the bathroom sink, counting the wrinkles on my face in the mirror, I unexpectedly feel Jacob approach me from behind. He is dressed only in his boxer briefs and he slowly reaches up to pull my towel from around my body causing it to fall to the floor.

He leans in towards me pushing his mouth to my ear and his hard cock against my ass. As much as the thought of sex tonight with him repulses me, I can't push him away. Like I said before, I am still a woman with needs and that relief has to come from somewhere.

Snaking his hands around the front of me and down between my legs, he uses his long fingers to force my legs apart as he roughly pushes not one, but two fingers inside of me.

"So wet for me, baby." he growls nearly causing me to throw up in my mouth.

He skims his tongue down my neck, sending a cold chill down my spine. I fight with my natural reaction to push him off of me, but my body has suffered the past twenty four hours with erotic images of Edward taking me this way. I need the relief, and Jacob seems to be willing to give it to me.

His tongue continues to lap its way down the center of my back, as he thrusts his fingers hard inside me. He brings one hand up to my pebbled nipple and pinches it hard. I cry out, not in pleasure, but with the momentary pain of his ministrations.

His thick tongue continues its journey down my spine and just when I think for once he might actually drop to his knees and think of pleasuring the sweet spot between my legs, he pulls back and pushes me face down on the cold hard marble countertop.

In normal Jacob fashion, he is going to take me doggy-style. It is by far his favorite position, and I can't lie, it is mine as well. This way I don't have to look him in the eyes and he will not have to see the disgust written all over my face.

He reaches down in between us and grabs his hard dick, positioning it at my entrance. Rubbing the head of his cock along my slit, gathering my wetness.

"So ready for me baby," he groans, leaning over me, drooling in my ear.

In one hard push he is completely sheathed in me, and begins thrusting in and out frantically, banging me up against the counter until it hurts and I want to scream.

"Fuck, baby, you are so tight," he moans thrusting harder.

I begin to feel that tingling sensation in the pit of my stomach, and I know that I am close. Thank God, I want this shit over with as fast as possible.

"Fuck... I'm almost there, come with me."

Wrapping his hand around my waist, he shoves it down to find my wet center and pushes hard against my clit, causing me to cry out at the feel of his fingers, forcibly massaging me there, in an attempt to get my body to react the way he wants. I can't help but comply as my body explodes around him.

Feeling my walls tighten around him with my orgasm, he too plunges over the edge and thrusts one last time deep inside of me as my pussy milks him of every last drop.

We both stand here, unable to move, catching our breath. He moans in pleasure, and I too moan, but not in pleasure. No, all I feel is pain and heartache, as I reach up to wipe away a lone tear escaping down my cheek.

This is not what love is supposed to be like.

He pulled out of me and smacked me on the ass climbing into the shower, with a shit-eating grin on his face. He got what he came for, but in the end I am left feeling no better than when he started. I may have come, but there was no pleasure in it, no relief. I was left with only heartache and the immense feeling of being dirty and used.

Reaching down I grab my towel from the floor, wrap it around me as tight as possible, and make a hasty exit out of the bathroom. Once in the bedroom I plop down on the bed and bury my face in the nearest pillow. I can't stop the tears from free flowing now.

"This just feels so wrong...God, how have things gotten so off course in my life?" Suddenly,. I feel a surge of anger towards Edward for causing me so much pain.

"This is all your fault... what have you done to me? "

I lay there crying for I don't know how long, cringing at every thought of Edward, and all that he has put me through. I am so angry at myself for allowing him to have this effect on me even after all this time.

When I hear the water shut off from the bathroom, I quickly jump up, grab a t-shirt and my p j bottoms, throw them on, and wipe the tears from my eyes.

I start to panic. It is now or never. I have to give him some explanation of Alice and her visit tomorrow. The bathroom door opens and he strolls into the bedroom with the same shit-eating grin still planted on his face. At least he appears to be in a good mood. Maybe this won't be as difficult as I think . Who am I kidding? Nothing is ever easy with Jacob.

He climbs into the bed where I already lay, and leans over me to turn the light off. I reach up, grabbing his hand.

"What?" he asks annoyed.

"Jake, we need to talk."

"Can't it wait till tomorrow, Bella? he grumbles. "I'm tired, and I have to be at work early tomorrow. Ya know...to make up for being late today. It wouldn't hurt if you were actually on time for once either."

"I'm not going in tomorrow, Jacob, I've already told them I won't be there."

"What? Why?" and there's my queue. I roll over so that I can face him.

"Jacob, I have this friend from Forks, Alice is her name. Actually, she's not just a friend, but my best friend. Anyway, she's coming for a visit tomorrow."

"Best friend? You've never even mentioned anyone named Alice." He sits up looking at me bewildered.

"I know, it's never been worth mentioning before. We had a sort of falling out before I left Forks, and I haven't spoken to her since."

"So let me get this straight. You have this best friend whom you haven't spoken with in twelve years, and she's suddenly coming for a visit?"

I silently nod, indicating that he has all the key points correct. His eyes narrow, boring into me as if he were trying to extract something directly from my mind.

"Why?" he questions again. I knew this wouldn't be simple.

"I'm not really sure, Jake. She called me today and said she had some things going on in her life that she really needs my help with."

"Okay," he scrutinizes, "but what caused the fallout in the first place? I mean if you two were so close, then how could the two of you just lose touch like that?"

And there it is. The question that I dread the most. Just like that I start to panic and scramble for an answer... any answer that won't give away the truth and send Jake into a game of twenty questions.

"Shit happens, Jake. We were friends growing up, and after high school we just wanted different things. So I left, never really saying goodbye or telling her where I was going. That made her angry, hence the lack of communication over the years."

Holding my breath, I hope that answer will appease him.

He pauses for a long moment, looking at me as if debating on his next move. Suddenly he rolls over towards me, once again raising his hand over me to turn the light off. Finally I can breath again as he turns over and faces away from me.

"Okay, Bella, it just seems kind of strange to me that you're the one she contacted after all this time, to help her with these so called problems she is having,"

"Look, Jake," I growl, slightly annoyed at his attitude towards the situation, but not really wanting to provoke him any further, "maybe she just doesn't have anyone else to turn to."

"Whatever you say, Bells, can I go to sleep now?" he asks closing his eyes.

I roll away from him facing the wall. "Yeah fine...Good night, Jacob."

"Night," he mutters, as though he really didn't give a shit anyway.

~x~

Sleep is the last thing on my mind as I lay here, tossing and turning frantically. I long for morning to come, to finally have the answers to all these questions that have been haunting me for so long.

Before I know it, the alarm clock is blaring in my ear, and Jacob is rolling out of bed. Not wanting to have any more conversations about Alice, I pretend to be asleep while he rustles around in the dresser drawer for his clothes.

Entering the bathroom, he closes the door. I hear the water turn on in the shower and roll over staring up at the ceiling. I wonder what time Alice's flight will arrive, and with each passing moment, become more and more anxious to see her.

Jake finishes getting ready for work and leaves the house soon after, without even so much as a goodbye.

Nothing new, I think to myself.

I don't know why I worried so much over telling him about Alice. It wasn't as if he really even gave a shit about what was going on with me. He only ever really cares about my existence when it directly affects him and his plans.

It hasn't always been this way between us. In fact, in the beginning, I couldn't have asked for a more attentive husband. Maybe a lot of it is my fault...okay most of it. I have pushed him away emotionally so many times in our marriage that over time he has had no choice but to give up trying. Much like I had to do with Edward. Funny, how the roles in life reverse like that.

I look over at the clock on the bedside table and noticed it is almost seven. Deciding to shower and get dressed for the day, I roll out of bed and make my way to the bathroom. for all I know she could show up any second now.

Once in the bathroom, a sick feeling comes over me remembering the events that took place in here just last night. I shower quickly, wanting to be out of here.

After sliding on a t-shirt and pair of shorts, I walk into the kitchen to make my morning coffee. As I am pouring the water into the coffee pot, the doorbell rings, causing me to jump and my heart suddenly plummets to the pit of my stomach.

This is it, with every step I take towards the door, my heart starts to beat faster and faster. Taking a deep breath, I reach for the door handle and pause for a second trying to regain my composure. I take one last deep breath as I fling the door open.

What I see standing before me nearly causes me to collapse. My friend, my Alice, is standing there looking so frail. She is so pale and thin, her skin is taut against her body, signs of obvious weight loss. I notice immediately that she has recently lost her hair, and it is just starting to grow back.

As I stand there staring at her head in shock, she speaks up.

"Bella, it's just hair. It was hard for me at first, too, but I think it's coming back nicely, don't you?" she smiles a sweet smile trying to cover her annoyance with me.

I look away quickly, trying to hide the tears that are now threatening to fall. It is so clear now why she is here. She is sick, very sick.

"Are you going to invite me in?"

"Of course, Alice, I'm so sorry," I whisper, stepping to the side and gesturing her in the door. Closing the door behind her, I escort her to the kitchen, telling her to have a seat at the table. Before she can turn, I suddenly feel the urge to hold her in my arms. I grab her, throw my arms around her, and squeeze her as tightly as I can without hurting her. She really is so small.

"I've missed you so much. Ali, I'm really glad you're here," I cry pulling her closer to me.

"I've missed you too, Bells. I don't think I even realized how much until seeing you."

Sobbing, I let her go, so she can sit down, "Would you like some coffee?"

She wipes her eyes with the back of her hand and weakly smiles at me. "No," she replies. "I really can't drink coffee anymore although I miss it terribly. "

"Do you have any juice?" she asks timidly.

"Yes, of course," I answer, setting my coffee cup back in the cabinet. If she can't drink coffee because of her illness, then I'll be damned if I am going to drink it in front of her.

So instead I pour us both a glass of orange juice, and sit down across from her at the table.

An uncomfortable silence plagues the air around us, until finally I clear my throat and begin to speak.

"Alice," I question, "What's happened to you?" inhaling sharply, I force the tears that still threaten to escape from my eyes back.

She takes a deep breath and finally chokes out, " I was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia three months ago."

"Leukemia!" I gasp. "Oh, my God, Alice." there was no holding back the tears now.

"There are treatments, right?"

"Bella, the type of Leukemia I have is too far advanced, and although Edward has insisted that I try everything possible to beat this cancer, there isn't any doubt for me or my doctors that I am going to die from this disease," she states with an eerie confidence.

It didn't slip by me that she had mentioned Edward insist she try everything.

"Then you still talk to Edward?" I can't help but ask. My thoughts whirl around what his life must be like now, and here sitting in front of me is someone who has all the answers.

"Yes,..." she trails off, looking away from me.

"What is it, Alice? What's wrong? Is there something else you're not telling me?"

She rubs her hands over her eyes, with a haggard expression on her little face. She inhales and sits up straight, and looks me directly in the eye.

"Bella, I'm not quite sure how to tell you this, even though I have had it planned out in my head for weeks. Now that I am here facing you, it is more difficult than I imagined."

"Just say it Ali. I mean, what on earth could be worse than finding out my best friend may be dying of cancer?"

She chuckled nervously. "You would be surprised...Look Bella, I'll just come out with it, I want to say this before I do though. I will completely understand if you want to throw me out after this, and never speak to me again. I've done something that no woman should ever do to her best friend; but please understand that at the time I was in a lot of pain, and I thought I had lost you forever. Things happened that were unexpected and what I am about to tell you will probably make you hate me for the rest of your life. Quite honestly, I wouldn't blame you if you did. I probably would if I were in your shoes."

"Okay," I reply bewildered. I can't imagine anything on earth that would make me hate her?

"Bells, Edward and I are married," she cringes, huge tears forming in her eyes.

"No,..." inaudibly escapes my lips.

What else could I say? Of all the things I expected Alice to have to say to me today, that never even crossed my mind. I stand in shock and exit the kitchen as quickly as possible. Opening the French doors off the living area, I make my way onto the back patio. I need some serious air. I feel like I am about to hyperventilate. This is too fucking much information to take in at once.

My best friend is dying of a disease that there is no cure for, and she is married to the love of my life. I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to run as far away from all of this as I possibly can, and pretend it is all a nightmare.

As I stand there contemplating doing just that, I feel a small frail hand on my shoulder.

"Look at me, Please, Bella!" she begs.

I slowly turn around, still not looking her in the eye. No, I am not ready for that yet.

"How... how did this happen Alice?"

I want to ask her how she could ever justify marrying Edward and breaking my fucking heart, but I don't want to hurt her, considering her sickly state. I mean let's face it, she has committed the most cardinal of all sins in the girl code, and I needed to understand how she could do such a thing.

"You left," she whispered angrily. "You left without even an explanation to me. I was lost without you, and Edward, well to say he was devastated is an understatement."

Slowly, I finally look into her eyes, bile rising in my throat. "I am going to assume you understand now why I had to leave. Has Edward not told you what happened?"

"Yes, of course I know now, but when you left, Edward nor I had anyone else to turn to. He went off the deep end, almost killing himself of an overdose. Luckily I was there to call Carlisle when it happened, otherwise I really don't think he would have made it through that first night.

"After that night things changed for us. A friendship ensued, a very close friendship. He was there for me when I needed him and vice versa. We were there for each other when no one else was. No one understood his feelings of loss the way I did, because you left us both that day, not just him"

"It took a long time, but a love developed out of that friendship. Not an all consuming love, but a love nonetheless, one that we both were willing to settle for. It was better than the reality of being alone."

"I don't know what to say to that, Alice. I guess congratulations are in order, but why have you come to tell me this now?" I knew my voice was laced with venom, but at the moment I didn't care. Sure I left. I left because Edward destroyed me and everything I believed in, but that gave her no right to swoop in and marry him. Be his friend, sure that was fair, but his wife? That hit below the belt.

"Look, Bells, the reality is I'm dying. Edward has already been through so much loss in his life, and this is just one more blow that he doesn't deserve."

"Alice, I hope that you are not trying to imply that I dealt a blow that wasn't deserved. Considering what he put me through, I did the only thing I thought possible at the time."

"Of course not Bella... I understand that, I really do, but you had no idea what Edward had been through up until that point, so you couldn't have known what led him to do the things he did either."

My anger levels shot through the roof. How dare she defend him after what he did to me? He toyed with me, played with my emotions for fun, and now my best friend was defending his actions.

"You're right," I spat, "I had no idea what he'd been through, because he never loved me enough to let me in, to share his past with me. I was never good enough for him to want to share that with me."

Tears flowed down Alice's cheeks. "Oh, Bella, it was never that he didn't love you enough. That is what is so sad about this whole situation. He always loved you. Christ, he still loves you more than anything to this day."

"Obviously, Alice, that is not true. He married you, didn't he? He clearly loves you enough to share his past with you," I scoffed.

"That's not exactly true either." She diverted her eyes from me, wringing her hands together, shuffling her feet. "I went to Carlisle and got the truth from him about Edward and Jasper's past. After that, Edward had no choice but to come clean with it."

She looked up, staring me in the eye. "Tell me. Are you happy in your marriage...can you honestly stand here and tell me that you don't still love Edward?"

"Why does that matter Alice? Edward is with you now. So even if I were unhappy in my marriage, it makes no difference. Besides, I don't even know Edward. I didn't then, and I sure as hell don't now. Frankly, after what he put me through back then, I am not sure I want to know him anymore."

"That's funny," she laughs bitterly. "You could have fooled me." Her eyes danced, and for a moment I thought I saw a hint of jealousy in them. I shrugged it off, knowing that it had to be my imagination playing tricks on me. The only person standing on this patio that is jealous is me. She has the intimacy with Edward I have always longed for, but was never good enough to receive.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean, Alice?"

"From the moment I mentioned Edward's name on the phone, you have proven to me that you still have feelings for him. Otherwise, you wouldn't have freaked when I told you that we were married."

A nearly evil grin crosses her frail face, because she knows she has me.. There is no denying my feelings for Edward still run deep.

I do the only thing I can think of to keep from admitting to the love my life's wife that I still have feelings for her husband. I divert the conversation back to her.

"I'm still not sure where all of this leading, Alice. You still haven't made it clear why you're here," I insist.

"Look, Bella, I didn't come here to upset you, that's for sure. I simply came here because I don't know how much time I have left, and it would mean the world to me to have my best friend back in my life for as long as I can have her."

She takes my hands in hers, and my anger slowly dissipates. "How can I refuse that, but at what capacity can I possibly be here for you? We live different lives now. I only just told Jake, my husband, about you last night."

"So then I'm guessing he has no clue about Edward? Do you ever plan on telling him about Edward, Bella?"

"No, I hadn't planned on it. I never saw the need. Honestly, Jake and I have enough problems as it is," I conceded.

"Then you're not happy with him?" she questions again.

"Alice, Jake was there for me when no one else was. He accepts me the way I am. Broken and flawed. Sure our marriage isn't what I dreamed of as a girl, but it works for the most part," I lie.

"Do you love him, Bella?"

My throat constricts. There is simply no good way I can tell my friend that I basically despise my husband, but being with him is better than being alone. "I can't answer that, Alice, not now. This is all very confusing."

She nods her head, as if silently understanding what I mean. "Well, Bella, here is what I'm asking. Well, what I came here to ask you in the first place. Edward, being the doctor that he is, has insisted that I go through with yet another experimental surgery and I'm terrified of this operation. I am much weaker now than I have been for my past surgeries, I'm not sure how things will turn out, and it would really help me if I could have you by my side."

"So you want me to be there in Forks for your surgery? I don't know, Alice, I'm not sure that is possible."

"Why not?" she whines

"Well, for one, I haven't been back to Forks since I left. Too many bad memories, and not just with Edward and I. I'm sure you haven't forgotten all the shit my dad put me through back then either."

"But your dad has changed Bella. He is not the same man he was then," Alice declares.

"I know that, Ali, it's just always been easier for him to visit here."

"Okay, so what are some other reasons you would turn down a dying friend's wish to have you with her during a scary operation like this?"

"Alice, I don't think I can face Edward. Can't you understand that? All the feelings are still there for me. They have never went away. The anger, the resentment, the pain that he caused, they are all still there."

"I honestly believe Bella, that if you gave Edward a chance to explain things you may see things in a whole different light," she sadly whispers.

"No, Ali, I don't think so."

"Bells, did Edward ever tell you anything at all about what happened with his real family?

"No, never. I begged him to, many times, but he always said he wasn't ready."

"Well, then I am begging you to give him that chance now. I'm not asking you to forgive what he did to you, I'm simply asking you to allow him to explain why he did it."

"Does Edward even know that you're here with me now?"

"No, of course not," she stated matter-of-factly. "He would have never allowed me to come if he did."

"I rest my case then...How am I just supposed to magically show up back in Forks for your operation if I am supposed to know nothing about it?"

"Simple, Bells, you'll just say you heard from your father that I was sick, and that I am going in for surgery."

"Well, you certainly have this planned out, don't you?" I chuckle lightly.

"I have no choice but to be prepared," she murmurs.

I nod. I understand exactly what she means. "I still don't know though. I don't even have a clue on how I would get away. How would I ever explain to Jake where I am going?"

"Tell him the truth. Tell him that I need you."

"I need to think this through. Do I have to give you an answer right now? When is your surgery?" I am really hoping for time to come up with a good excuse to give Jacob about going home.

Alice turns her head, looking out over my backyard. "Next week, I'm afraid. I'm sorry to throw this all on you so abruptly, but there isn't much time."

Tears started to fall down my face again. "Ali, I really am so sorry that this is happening to you. I've only just got you back in my life, and already I feel like I'm losing you again."

"Bella," she says, as she pulls me into her arms, "No matter what happens from here on out, at least I know we have made our peace. If I were to die today... if that's what's meant to be for me, then I will die happy knowing I have my best friend back."

She squeezes me tightly, and then releases me. We stand there on my back porch for hours catching up on everything that has happened since we parted ways all those years ago. It wasn't easy to listen to some of what she had to say, but I would be lying if I were to say I didn't understand how things came to be the way they did. Who was I to be angry over their marriage, when I myself had taken the easy road, and if Edward had to end up with anyone I'm glad it was Alice in the end.

Finally as the sun is setting in the horizon, Alice looks at me with a sad expression, "I really have to be going now. I have to catch a flight back home. No one knows I've left for the day, and Jasper will be stopping by later tonight to check on me."

"How is Jasper?" I ask as we walk back in the house towards the front door.

"He's the same old Jasper. I'm not sure he'll ever change." I can't help but detect something in her voice when mentioning Jasper's name.

"It's kind of ironic, that you ended up with Edward. I always thought that Jasper would come around one day. I remember clearly the crush you had on him back then."

The sadness in her eyes broke my heart. I could see from one simple look that she still felt for Jasper the same way I felt for Edward.

"Yes, well that was just never meant to be. Jasper never cared for me the way I did for him."

"Oh, I don't believe that Ali, he was crazy about you. He just didn't know how to show it."

"Yes, well none of that matters now, does it? We can't change the past, only redirect the paths we're on now," she said opening the front door.

"Promise, Bells, promise me, you'll be there?" she begged.

"Okay, Alice I'll be there." How could I say no to her? I can't deny, however, that the thought of seeing Edward again literally made me want to throw up, but I wouldn't refuse her this last request of sorts. It just wasn't in my nature to do that.

"When should I be there, Ali?" I ask.

"My operation is on Thursday of next week. That's the fourteenth, the day after your birthday, actually. So, I would really appreciate it if you could be there on Wednesday, if at all possible. I'd like to throw you a little party.

"I don't think so," I shook my head fervently. Thoughts of the last birthday I spent with Edward flood through my head, and I can feel my stomach knot immediately. "There is nothing to celebrate right now. We need to worry about you and getting you better."

"That isn't going to happen, Bella, and I would like nothing more than to celebrate your birthday with you one last time."

She did it again, how could I say no when she kept assuring me that she wasn't going to be around much longer. I owe her this, even though she has married my only reason for existing. I now understand a little better what brought them together. It was the same thing that brought Jake and I together, that fear of being alone, never having anyone to share your life with.

"Okay, just this once. I'll allow you to throw me a party, but don't get used to it." I smile

.

"I don't think you have anything to worry about in that department," she says with a sad smile on her face.

"I'll be there, I promise." I reach out and hug her again. "I love you, Ali. I'm sorry I haven't been there for you when you needed me most, but I will be from here on out. You can be assured of that."

Just then her taxi pulls up to the curb in front of the house. "That's my ride. I've got to go now, but I'll see you real soon." She hugs me one last time and exits out the front door. I wave to her as she climbs into the taxi, and then close the door when it has pulled away from the house.

With the door shut, I rest my back against it and slide down the door until I am sitting on the floor. Crying again, all I can think about is that my friend is dying, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. God, life was so fucking unfair.