Chapter 1 - Bring On The Rain & Pain

It seemed fitting that it would rain.

Her tears matched the steady fall of the rain.

She sat quietly as the casket was lowered into the ground below her feet. She never thought she'd feel such pain in her life.

The pain in her heart almost matched the rest of her pain.

She felt sad but knew she should've been sadder. It was hard not feeling more emotion then she really did. She thought for sure someone would stand up and point at her and accuse her of not being sad enough or not crying enough. She almost thought for a minute she should throw herself on the casket, but thought better of it. She knew the man being lowered into the ground was not her true love.

Vincent Jonathan Michaels

Beloved Husband - Son - Brother - Friend

Her grey eyes read over the head stone. His parents had been fairly wealthy and did a rush order on this tombstone. They wanted to make sure that when he was buried he didn't have to wait for the tombstone. Their wealth is what initially got her to marry him. No she didn't marry him for his money. She married him to help him keep his money.

Vincent had worked through his 4 years of high school to save the money he'd placed in an IRA account his father had opened for him at the bank his father owned. Vincent had told them on more than a few separate occasions he wasn't ready for marriage or a family and that when he was his father would be the first person to know. Once Vincent turned 20, his parents checked his IRA and noticed the money he'd saved over the 4 years of high school and then 3 years of college had nearly quadrupled in 7 years. At the age of 20 he had nearly a million dollars of his own money.

His parents finally found their shot at retirement. They threatened that if he didn't marry by the age of 21 and take over the family bank so his father could retire they were going to donate the money he'd originally save himself for college to some sob story off the street. Melinda did the only thing she could think of doing at the time. He pleaded for her to help him and she couldn't say no. The longer they stayed engaged, the longer everyone bought that they were really in love and after a while they started to believe it too. There wasn't a day that wouldn't pass without Vincent telling Melinda how much he loved her and how beautiful she was.

Even though they both knew it was a farce. They had no attraction to one another. She smirked to herself. Well she couldn't really say that. The sex was insanity times a million. They both knew how to make the other one sky rocket out of control on more than a few occasions.

The truth of it was they were friends more than anything. They'd started out as friends and then progressed to friends with benefits, engaging in sex if not once a night then two or three times a day. They both had an urge they had to be together. But they never had romantic feelings for each other. They'd tried dating other people, but inevitably they would always end up back in bed together by the end of the night after their dates. Dating other people undoubtedly never lasted more than the first initial date and most certainly never progressed to a second date.

Melinda stood and walked down the path of the cemetery as she accepted well wishes and sympathetic hugs from his parents and other guests from the funeral procession. She shook her head knowing his parents drove him to his demise at the tender age of 25. She felt weird being a widow at 24. She couldn't help thinking back to when she had first met Vincent Michaels.

It had been seven years. She went off to college in California and met him. She was Seventeen and he was eighteen. They started off meeting at a party. After a few night of dinner together and a lot of talking and hanging out. they tested the waters and kissed. Suddenly it was, they had both woke up on a fresh spring morning and wanted nothing...but each other.

Vincent was the almost man of her almost dreams. She loved him like no other in her life, but knew their marriage had been out of convenience. For the next 4 years of college it was sex, fun, sex, homework, and yes more sex. Then a year of engagement and two years of marriage.

Most guys were not one to cuddle if it was a friends with benefits thing. Not Vincent. He wanted nothing more than to lay in bed holding Melinda afterwards just to let her know he really cared. They joked the whole four years while they were having sex that eventually they'd have to stop and find someone to fall in love with. Even though Vincent already knew she was in love with someone and he also knew it wasn't him.

Vincent knew no matter how hard he tried to push himself; he would never be the one Melinda was in love with; just like she would never be the one he would fall in love with. Yes they loved each other, but it was definitely a different kind of love. A special love that only two friends of that magnitude could share or handle without strings attached. They were completely honest with each other from the beginning.

She'd even taken him home when they'd gotten engaged and let him meet her family. Melinda cringed when a familiar face passed her on the street as they walked down the street hand in hand together. She could remember his words as he whispered in her ear, "That's him...Isn't it?" The pricelessly sad look on her face and the unshed tears in her eyes gave her away as she nodded. she could still hear the next words that came out of his mouth, 'One day he'll come to his senses and realize what he's been missing out on. Until then, I'll keep you happy...And thoroughly satisfied of course.' She giggle as she looked up and he winked down at her with a smirk on his lips.

Melinda walked around the spacious room as she packed up her clothes and shoes. She was leaving with only the things she'd brought with her, nothing more, nothing less. Anything they'd acquired during their 2 year marriage would be given to charity like everything else in the house.

Now here she was moving back to La Push. The one place she'd hoped she'd never live again. She honestly never thought she'd be there again. She stared out the window of the train. She always did like watching out the window on trips. She'd gone on many business trips with Vincent. He would drive or they would take a private jet, whatever they needed. He always made sure anytime he went on a business trip and invited Melinda, he would make sure she always had a good time.

She'd already purchased a shop in Forks and was going to started her business in a new location. One of her friends in college had taken over the store in Napa California. she couldn't believe she was actually starting over. After everything she'd been through she just wanted to enjoy her life. She guessed if she had to start over 24 was a good age, rather than in her 30's or 40's.

Sometimes starting over was the best thing for someone. She could still remember growing up in La Push. The small reservation in the state of Washington. School days weren't long, but they seemed to drag on for days. The last time she could remember crying was at her father's funeral. She still loved her mother very much and her siblings. But she was definitely daddy's little girl. She could only hope that he was looking down on her right now and was proud of her.

She left behind everything.

Even him.

The one guy Vincent knew she loved. The one who had her heart and knew no man but him would have it. Whether they were her husband or not.

Her new life started seven years ago. Seven long years, since she'd graduated high school and left the little reservation behind her. She left behind her friends and family and of course all the little reservation secrets as well.