Title: Serenity

Rating: M

Pairing: E/B-AH

Summary: The hardest decision he ever made was the one to leave her; the easiest decision she ever made was the one to let him come back. A tale of heartache and redemption.

Disclaimer: All hail SMeyer. She owns all. I own nada. Nor do I make a living off this stuff. It's all in good fun. Don't plagiarize, or litter. Not cool.

Warnings: Allusion to past drug use; addiction.

A/N: Based off the following prompt given at LJ's forkshighschool. "E/B Canon (can be AH/AV/AU, whatever the hell you want) one-shot [using] 'When You Say You Love Me'- Josh Groban." Part I is heavily based off the City & Colour song 'Like Knives.' I highly suggest you at least check out the lyrics before reading the first installment of this story.

Lots of thanks and love to americnxidiot for the pre-read/beta skills, and for giving me the confidence to post this. :) Without her, this would still be collecting dust on my hard drive. Hugs and kisses to littlesecret84 for listening to me bitch and moan about FFn and for, as always, being honest. ily a million times over. :)

And a special thank you to MJ; without you bugging me to finish it, I might have never gotten this done. Your brother is in my thoughts and prayers always, darlin'.


Part I: Like Knives [EPOV]


Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com]

To: Edward A. Cullen [lacathedraleengloutie (a) mymail . com]

Sent: 14th September 11:12 PM

Subject: Are you okay?

E-

I don't even know how to start this. I had it eloquently planned out in my head; I even wrote down a few bullet points so that I'd remember everything I wanted to say…

But now that I'm sitting here, writing you, all those carefully-crafted sentences just flew out the window, and I have no clue where to start.

I guess I should start with the fact that I'm so worried about you…

You never answered any of my messages or texts from last night after you left; when I tried calling you this morning, your cell was no longer in-service. I even tried calling Alice, but her phone went straight to voicemail.

I don't understand how everything could change so drastically in as little as 24 hours.

You said last night that the best thing you could do for me—for yourself—would be to leave, and I'm deathly afraid that's just what you've done. I'm a mess over everything that happened after dinner...

I can hardly function.

I can hardly think.

I can hardly breathe.

Please Edward, please; if I ever meant anything to you, even just a tiny bit, just let me know that you're okay.

I'm begging you. I think I could deal with you not…wanting me in your life anymore, if I only knew you were alright.

I miss you. I love you.

-B


Day 5

19th September

12:45 PM


"Before we conclude this afternoon's meeting, I'd like to welcome the newest addition to our group—thankfully, he was feeling well enough today to attend. Everyone, please welcome Edward," the doctor prompted, and in turn, all those assembled responded accordingly.

"Hello Edward."

I raised my eyes in acknowledgment of the greeting, the very effort that minuscule movement required causing every muscle in my body to ache and throb in protest. Before I could redirect my gaze back towards the scuffed floor, Eleazar caught my eyes and smiled encouragingly. "Would you like to share with us why you're here today?"

I grimaced; clenching my jaw, I ground my teeth together as another set of chills threatened to overtake my exhausted form. "No thank you, Eleazar…not today."

The good doctor nodded sympathetically, and turned his attention back to the group. "Well then, if no one else has anything further to discuss, let's wrap this up, shall we?"

Chairs scraped the linoleum; cool, clammy hands found their way into my own, and before I knew it, the circle was complete.

We were all connected; we were all a part of each other; we were one.

And in one voice, we spoke.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com]

To: Edward A. Cullen [lacathedraleengloutie (a) mymail . com]

Sent: 20th September 3:42 AM

Subject: Please…

E-

You haven't answered my email.

I've spent the past few days falling apart.

I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think…well, about anything other than you, that is. I sit in bed all day, my laptop in your spot, where you should be, just waiting for you to write back.

The other night, I actually fell asleep with the damn thing in bed with me; when I woke in the morning, the battery had died.

I promptly had a panic attack, and burst into tears. It took Charlie two hours to convince me that if we plugged it in, it'd be okay.

It was, but you're not. I just know it.

Neither am I.

Alice came to see me this morning. It was the first contact I've had with anyone other than Charlie since you disappeared and I swear, I think my heart broke all over again when I opened the door to find her standing there.

Because she has your eyes.

Because your skin is the same ethereal shade of pale white.

Because, as your twin, she reminds me of everything I lost when you willingly walked out of my life, and yet, is the very reminder I needed that you were real…that you truly existed…

…and that I will never love another the way that I love you.

She held me and stroked my hair, and told me not to cry. She told me it was all for the best, and that she missed you too.

What she wouldn't tell me is where you are, and why you left me.

When I asked her, she shook her head, smiled sadly, and told me, "Bella, it's his story to tell."

If you have a story to tell, then I want to hear it.

Tell me your story, Edward. Please?

I miss you. I love you.

-B


Day 15

29th September

9:02 AM


"And how are you feeling today, Edward?"

I sighed. "Tired," I answered simply as I rubbed my blood-shot eyes.

Eleazar nodded, and noted my response on his yellow legal pad. The scratch of the pen against the surface of the paper sounded like a dissonant cacophony to my oversensitive ears, and I shrunk away from the offending noise. "Is the methadone interrupting your sleeping patterns?"

"Doctor, this whole situation is interrupting my sleeping patterns," I quipped coolly, and he arched an eyebrow at me from over his paper.

"Nevertheless Edward, if you're not tolerating the methadone as well as you have in the past, I'd rather switch you to suboxone sooner rather than later. Are you familiar with the drug?"

"Yes," I answered automatically, having done plenty of research during the cross-country flight that brought me here.

"Excellent; I'll have you switched over immediately. Hopefully, it will prove to be a better treatment option for you, given the circumstances." I snorted rudely at the last part of his statement, which of course caught the good doctor's attention.

I met his questioning gaze head-on, and waited for the inquisition to commence.

Eleazar did not disappoint.

"Edward, do you wish to discuss what brought you here to Stepping Stone Treatment Center?"

I sighed. "You mean, besides the frantic early morning phone call from your old college roommate, my father? No."

He tried a different tactic. "Do you wish to discuss what happened with Jasper?"

I bit the inside of my cheek and balled my hands into fists. "No."

"How about Bella? Would you like to talk about her?"

I barely suppressed a growl as I glared at Eleazar. "Most. Certainly. Not."

He sighed, clearly exasperated by my blatant refusal to discuss any of the suggested subjects. "My boy, there will come a time when we will need to discuss each of those topics in great detail if you wish to be able to move on from what transpired…I know that you are aware of this. Remember, we must accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things that we can—"

"—and possess the 'wisdom' to know the difference. Yes Doctor; I remember," I interjected with a tight smile that more than likely came across as a grimace. "The Monster inside me remembers as well," I mumbled under my breath.

Eleazar scribbled down a few more notes before frowning at me. "Edward, you had that 'Monster' inside you tamed for quite some time before circumstances forced your hand and brought you back here. You need to trust me, and know that I want to get you through this. What happened wasn't your fault; if anything, you should be commended for how quickly you acted in the aftermath of what occurred," he concluded, and reached for his prescription pad. "I'll be putting in the RX to have you switched to suboxone ASAP," Eleazar said as he wrote.

"Thank you," I responded weakly.

The doctor beamed warmly at me and nodded. "Why don't we talk about something else for a bit. Tell me about school, Edward. You just graduated this past spring semester, yes?"

"Yes."

"What made you choose composition as a career path?"

A ghost of a smile tugged at my mouth, and I struggled against the methadone to stay awake. "Because…my music says what I can't."

"And what is it that you can't say?"

" 'I'm sorry.' "


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com]

To: Edward A. Cullen [lacathedraleengloutie (a) mymail . com]

Sent: 14th October 6:19 AM

Subject: (no subject)

E-

I've decided that you're a liar.

You said that it would be as if you never existed. So why does it seem like everywhere I turn, all I see is you?

You're everywhere I go, and in everything I do. It's like my life is stained with your memory; with an indelible mark that will never come out, no matter how hard I struggle to eliminate it.

I've tried, and failed…each and every time.

It's been one month, Edward. Thirty days since you walked out of my life without a backward glance; hundreds of hours since I last heard your voice, telling me that my love wasn't enough to make you stay.

…since you told me my love was wasted on you.

…since you told me my love had the potential to destroy us both.

Well, your words? Your actions? They broke me, Edward. Crushed my heart and scarred my soul. Cut my chest open, and ripped out my very essence, because the core of who I am? I can't be that without you.

I know what you did to me—to us—has to do with Jasper and what happened that night. I blame myself, because there are about a million things I could have done differently that night…maybe if I did them, I'd still have you. Maybe I could have made you stay.

Maybe I could have been enough.

So, you're a liar.

And if you won't fight for us?

Then I will.

I miss you. I love you.

-B


Day 30

14th October

8:59 AM


"Congratulations Edward," the good doctor exclaimed as I entered his office, his face painted with a wide smile. I huffed at his praise, and sunk into the seat across from him.

"I hardly think that any proverbial 'pat on the back' is called for in this situation Eleazar," I simpered.

However, he would not be deterred and was quick to protest. "I respectfully disagree, Edward. I believe that this is just the sort of situation that calls for such a commendation. Thirty days of complete sobriety is a milestone; it is a benchmark, and not one to be taken lightly. You should be proud of yourself, my boy."

"What I should be is not here in the first place," I muttered under my breath.

Eleazar exhaled slowly and nodded. "That may be the case, but nonetheless, you are here, and we can only work with the circumstances that we are given. Remember Edward, we must accept the things we cannot change—"

"—I swear on all that is holy Eleazar, if you finish that statement, I cannot be held responsible for the condition of your office once you're done," I interjected lowly, one eyebrow cocked as if daring him to try and test me.

To his credit, he simply chuckled. "Point taken. Now, as you know, the thirty day benchmark affords you with certain privileges here at the Center—incentives, if you will—to not only continue to stay sober, but to embrace treatment even further."

I nodded, and waited for him to go on.

"These privileges mean that you will no longer be required to have a staff member escort you to and from your appointments and meetings; you will be free to move throughout the Center at your leisure. You will have unfettered access to both the library and the music center which, I know for you, will be a welcome addition to your activities. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will be granted computer privileges."

At that particular bit of information, my eyes snapped up from the floor to meet his steady gaze. "What does that entail, exactly?"

"Well normally, residents are severely limited in terms of who they may contact, and who may contact them while they are at the Center. We demand that each resident change their email password and that it be kept on-file. When a resident wishes to check his or her email, they must be logged into the system—and then their email—by a staff member; this is to assure that all communications in and out of the Center are being closely monitored, for obvious reasons—to protect the health and safety of all residents here at the Center. Furthermore, a pre-approved list of those individuals that each resident may have contact with is insisted upon; again, for obvious reasons. A computer program designed specifically for the Center logs each resident's browser history, and blocks all social networking sites, as well as any other 'content' deemed detrimental to the process of treatment and recovery.

"However, with you Edward, many of those restrictions are unnecessary, given the…unique set of circumstances that brought you here. After a great deal of careful consideration, I have decided to modify the restrictions placed upon you. You will change your password, and it will be kept on-file; however, you are free to log yourself in without the supervision of a staff member. You may contact whomever you chose, and do so with the confidence that your correspondence is not being reviewed by me, as is standard with most residents." The good doctor reclined in his desk chair, and waited for me to speak.

"Eleazar," I began cautiously, "I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but I don't want you to make exceptions for me simply because of your close relationship with my family. I'm not questioning your judgment, nor am I unappreciative of your efforts, but I just want to be sure—"

"—that I'm not being nepotistic, seeing as I consider you a nephew of sorts?" I sighed and nodded. "Edward, I am doing no such thing, and I believe that you are well aware of that. Let me ask you this: do you trust me?"

I nodded.

"Do you trust yourself?"

I narrowed my eyes and nodded once more.

"Then it's settled," he declared enthusiastically before picking up his pen and scratching out a few notes on the ever-present yellow legal pad. "Now, I would like you to use the remainder of what would normally be our time together this morning to set yourself up with Carmen in the media center section of the library. She is aware of your special privileges and…well, to be quite honest Edward, she's dying to see you. Every night for the past month I've had to hear how she needs to 'see my little Eddie!'" He quipped, imitating the thick timbre and heavy accent of his wife's voice perfectly. "As if I were purposefully keeping you from her," he harrumphed before motioning with his hands that I should be on my way. "We'll continue this later on today, in your afternoon session," he added as I rose.

I shuffled awkwardly on my feet for a moment until I could speak, my throat feeling thick and filled with the memories of this man and his wife from my childhood. "Thank you Eleazar," I all-but whispered as I stood before him. He nodded, and smiling warmly at me, ushered me out the door.


l 9:30 AM l


"You don't eat enough."

"I know."

"And you're too pale. No boy should be that pale; I don't care how many hours you spend holed up in some windowless room in front of that piano of yours."

I sniggered. "I know."

"You need sun, fresh air, and good food. And love, too; good thing I'm here to make sure you get all of it then, yes?" Carmen declared as she led me over to one of the open computer terminals.

I plopped into the chair; smiling up at her, I nodded. "Yes. Definitely," I answered, sighing as she threaded her fingers through my disorderly mop of reddish-brown hair. The gesture was affectionate; almost motherly, and I fought to keep my eyes from filling with tears that threatened to flow unchecked along with the sudden barrage of emotion welling inside of me.

I allowed myself a moment to wallow in the feeling before shifting away from her touch, even as my entire being screamed at me to wrap my arms around her waist and sob like a child with his first skinned knee. Carmen smiled sadly down at me in understanding, ghosting the back of her hand across my unshaven cheek before nodding and turning our attention towards the computer screen.

"You know how this all works, yes?" She asked and pointed to the log-in screen.

"Yes."

"Good." She placed a form in front of me. "The log-in you'll enter this first—and only—time is your last name. Once you're logged-in, change your password; it should be the same as whatever your new email password will be, for convenience sake. Fill out this sheet with all the information it asks for, including the passwords, and make you sure you give it to me before you leave. Okay Eddie?"

"Okay," I replied, and began to follow her instructions.

"Okay," she echoed softly, and with one more swipe of her hand over my head, she was gone.

In retrospect, I wish I had made her stay.

I hadn't expected to see anything in my inbox; my family solely knew the truth as to my whereabouts, and could call Eleazar anytime for updates as to my progress. I was in-between projects at the time of the…incident, and had made sure that word circulated among my contacts that I'd be "unavailable" for a few months. Friends had been informed by Alice that I'd been unexpectedly called away until further notice to attend to a family matter.

And I had told her

No second-guessing yourself; you did what was best for her…for the both of you.

I had believed that in the span of less than twenty-four hours, I had tied up every loose end necessary.

But apparently, I was wrong; so very, very wrong…

For once I'd logged into my email, I found my inbox had several messages in it, all of them from the same person. From the one person I wanted to stay far away…from the one person I needed more than the poison that once again tainted my veins…from her.


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com ]


And so, with shaking hands and a heavy heart…with tears clouding my vision and her name on my tongue…

…I devoured every last fucking word.


l 3:29 PM l


"Carmen told me about your breakdown in the library this morning."

I shrugged; less out of indifference, and more as a means to acknowledge that I had heard him.

I was numb.

I was in pain.

I was feeling everything at once, and yet, nothing at all.

I was in Hell.

"She told me that you sat in front of the computer terminal for nearly an hour, shaking, with tears streaming down your face, all the while completely silent. That you wouldn't let her touch you, or comfort you, or tell her what was the matter…"

I shrugged once more.

"My boy, I need you to tell me what led to this, so that I may help you through it. That's what I'm here for; that is my purpose. Now, please; tell me what happened."

I slowly peeled my gaze away from some unfixed point on the carpet to meet his concerned stare. I licked my lips lazily, finding them dry, cracked and salted by the remnants of my tears. I felt empty inside, as if I were simply a vacant vessel set adrift, and again, answered his query with a tiny shrug.

"Goddamn it, Edward!" Eleazar roared, leaping unexpectedly out of his desk chair to tower over me. I jumped in my seat at the sheer volume of his outburst, my eyes wide with shock as I took in his enraged form. His hands made a loud, smacking sound as they came down on his desk, giving him the leverage he needed to lean towards me. "Edward Anthony, she was crying. Sobbing hysterically over seeing you—her Eddie, the boy she thinks of as the closest thing she'll ever have to a son—so obviously broken inside. Don't you trust me! I trust you! Talk to me Edward! Please. If not for me, or for Carmen, then for—"

"—my inbox was filled with emails from her…from Bella."

The silence in the room was palpable, almost humid with my quiet, monotone admission. Eleazar seemed to resemble a deflating balloon as all his anger and frustration left him in the wake of my words. I swallowed audibly, and waited.

After a few moments, the good doctor cleared his throat, furrowing his brow as he spoke. "Did you not want to hear from her?" He asked cautiously, and I knew exactly why he was treading so lightly.

This was the first time that I had either spoken, or allowed Bella's name to be spoken, in my presence since arriving at the Center.

I snorted. "What I want is not relevant, Eleazar."

"Then what is relevant, Edward?"

"Her safety."

He waited for me to continue.

"I told her that her love for me wasn't enough to make me stay, when in fact I left to protect it…to protect her," I explained quietly. "I told her that her love would destroy us both, which is the truth; had I stayed, it would have been to revel in it, which would have resulted in my ignoring the Monster, and endangering us both. She deserves a chance at a normal, happy life, Eleazar…which is something that I will never be able to give her," I finished, my tone void of emotion.

He moved from his perch from behind his desk, and settled in the chair next to mine. "Edward, did you ever tell…Bella, what you had been through all those years ago? Did you tell her—"

"—that I was a recovering heroin addict, and would be for the rest of my life?" I laughed bitterly. "No, I didn't. She didn't need to become acquainted with the Monster, and I'd hoped that with my actions before I left, she'd never have to be…" My voice trailed off as I found myself lost in her words once more, for the umpteenth time since I'd read her first email.


"Tell me your story, Edward. Please?"

"And if you won't fight for us? Then I will."

"I miss you. I love you."


"What did she say, Edward?" Eleazar's question pulled me from my reverie.

I turned to face him. "That I was a liar. And that if I wouldn't fight for us, then she would," I replied shakily, terrified to believe her words.

He smiled. "She sounds like a smart young woman, my boy."

I nodded. "She is," I rasped, nearly choking on the words before allowing Eleazar to take me into his arms and comfort me as I once again wept…

…for what I had done to my family…

…for what Jasper had done to himself…to me…

…for the war I had to wage against a Monster defeated once in the past …

…but most of all, for what I had done to Bella.

Fight, love. Fight because I can't, not because I won't. Fight because I have my own war to win.

Fight so that I can come home to you.


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com]

To: Edward A. Cullen [lacathedraleengloutie (a) mymail . com]

Sent: 1st November 12:19 AM

Subject: #48

E-

Forty-eight days is a long time, Edward.

Forty-eight days is an eternity.

Forty-eight days is forever.

You know those people that say that 'time heals all wounds?' The same people that say things like, 'it'll get easier with time?'

Yeah, well those people can go fuck themselves. They must be delusional.

It never gets any easier and it certainly isn't doing any healing. It's just gotten…different. What once felt like an open, festering wound that pulsated hotly in my chest has now evolved into a constant dull ache. It's always there, always reminding me; to reflect on what causes The Ache is akin to tearing open a barely-healed wound, only to rub salt and vinegar into it as it oozes and throbs, almost like a sick, spiritual self-mutilation of sorts.

Even with you not physically here, you're still ever-present; you're everywhere.

No matter where I turn; no matter what I do; you're there, like a ghost that haunts my every moment, both waking and asleep. I hear your voice as clear as the toll of a church bell wherever I am. It surrounds me, breaks into my thoughts when I least expect it; taunting me, reminding me of what had been…what could have been…

Sometimes, I feel as if I'm losing my mind…my very sanity…

I blame you, and only you.

Maybe I should be blaming myself.

I've tried, over and over again, to escape you, even if it is only the specter of my idealized memory.

Tried in vain, and failed miserably.

There are countless nights that I wake up, drenched in sweat, crying out your name into the cold night air…only to have the sounds of my own sobs answer back. Sobs that you had no idea wrack my body almost daily…sobs that you would never hear.

Sobs that I doubt you would even be moved by had you been here to see it yourself; the bitter taste of my own tears dancing on my tongue as I once again cling desperately to the memory of you. At times, it's almost as if I'm spending those moments between the nightmare and the far-more terrifying reality groping blindly through my mind in the attempt to never forget a single, solitary detail of you…always you…

It feels like you're here all the time, like a ghost…haunting me.

You're always there, reminding me to look both ways before crossing the street, or to remind me that my fresh cup of coffee is hot, and to let it cool…shit like that.

Did I tell you yet that I talk to you every morning? That each morning, when I wake, I start out my day by saying, 'good morning Edward, wherever you are. I hope you are well. I miss you, I love you…come back to me.'

How's that for a daily litany?

I wish you'd answer back. But you never do. Your silence fills the air, fills my soul…fills my inbox.

Isn't it fucked up that I need to email you, to see your name in my contacts every so often as confirmation that you existed? That you were real? Like the aftermath of what happened that night isn't enough evidence—I need something mundane, like an email address.

Speaking of the aftermath…Alice is here right now, fast asleep next to me, in my bed…where you should be.

For the first time since you disappeared, it wasn't me who cried themselves to sleep—it was Alice.

Two days ago, she sent me a frantic text.

Jasper was missing.

Apparently, he had been M.I.A. for a few days. Everyone searched everywhere, while I held down the fort in Port Angeles, 'just in case,' as Alice put it. I think we both knew there was not a chance in Hell he'd return to PA, but you know how she is…

When I begged her to be allowed to scour Seattle and the surrounding areas with the rest of the family, she just shook her head at me and made her way to the door. She smiled at me, all sad and full of regret, and said only six words:

"I promised to keep you safe."

As soon as she uttered that one sentence, I knew Jasper's disappearance had something to do with what happened on my birthday, and it broke my heart all over again to think about how that one night had such far-reaching consequences.

Yesterday morning, as the sun rose over the Olympic Peninsula and painted the sky in a diluted wash of pastels, Alice returned…without Jasper.

"Jas has…he's…he's gone on a trip, Bells."

When I asked when he'd be coming home as her exhausted form collapsed onto my bed, she had only this to say:

"Eventually."

Your sister woke sometime in the late afternoon, and threw herself into the task of handing out Halloween candy to the steady stream of trick-or-treaters that knocked on my door. The distraction was good for both of us.

But once the candy was gone, the ghouls had receded back into the shadows and the knocking ceased, Alice crumpled.

I don't think I've ever seen another person cry the way she did, Edward…heavy, heart-wrenching sobs that racked her entire tiny frame. I held her as she wept; stroked her hair until she cried herself to sleep…

Which is where we are right now: Alice, huddled next to me, in your spot; me, writing this to you…

Both of us empty…

Both of us soulless without our respective other halves…

Both of us heart-broken.

I miss you. I love you.

-B


Day 48

1st November

9:32 AM


"I think you're ready, Edward."

"Ready for what?"

"Ready to tell your story."

I inhaled shakily, somehow knowing that's what his answer would be. Nevertheless, hearing the words spoken felt like a kick to the chest; I knew this was coming, and yet I was completely unprepared for how it would make me feel.

"Edward," the good doctor began. "What are you feeling right now?"

I sighed and raked a trembling hand through my hair. "Nervous. Anxious. Slightly nauseous."

He chuckled humorlessly. "You know that your reaction is completely normal, yes?"

"Yeah, well it doesn't make it any easier," I huffed.

"You need to take this step."

"I know."

"I can't let you go until you do."

I exhaled forcefully. "I know."

Eleazar pursed his lips as he stared at me from across his desk. He rested his chin on his steepled fingers, his expression full of determination. "You are ready, my boy."

I nodded slowly, meeting his resolute gaze head-on as I spoke. "I know."

The good doctor then changed the subject rather abruptly. "Have you heard anything from Bella lately?" He tried to make the question come off as nonchalant; perhaps another patient would have bought that shit, but not me. I smirked at his approach, and he acknowledged it with one of his own. "Well? Have you?"

"Yes; this morning, actually."

"And how are things back home?" Home. The word made my heart clench.

"Jas went AWOL for a few days. Going by what Bella said in her email, it sounds like he went on a bender. They tracked him down in Seattle somewhere, and Ali packed him off to treatment. Of course, my darling twin didn't come right out and tell Bella that, but I can read between the lines."

Eleazar nodded as he scratched out some notes on his yellow pad. "And why do you think Alice didn't give Bella all the details?"

I picked at the hem of my t-shirt. "Because I made Ali promise to keep her safe…and I know she would include keeping the dirty details of how sick Jas is as part of the deal. Besides, Bella is a smart girl; if she knew where Jasper was, then she would probably put two-and-two together and figure out where I disappeared to."

"And you don't want her to know exactly what happened? You don't want her to know that you had to seek treatment?"

Had I been asked that question a few weeks ago, my answer would have been an emphatic no. However, treatment and therapy had altered my view of the situation, and therefore changed my answer. "Yes, I do. But…" I let me voice trail off as I tried to find the words to describe how I felt.

"But you want to tell her yourself, in your own way; in your own time."

"Yes," I croaked; the very thought of laying myself bare for Bella in a way I never had before caused a lump to fill my throat.

"When?"

I scrubbed my face with my hands. The stubble on my cheeks grated against the skin of my palms, making them tingle. "Thanksgiving. I want to be home for Thanksgiving…I want to give the ones I love something to be thankful for."

Eleazar nodded and glanced at the clock. "Today?"

I breathed deeply to help quell my nerves. "Yes. Today."


l 12:28 PM l


"…I mean, I knew it was wrong to run away, that I didn't have it that bad…but I couldn't help it! I felt like no matter what I did, it would never be good enough…I just couldn't stay there anymore. So I left. And then I met Riley and well…"

"What happened when you met Riley, Bree?"

I held back a snort. You can always depend on the good doctor to ask the necessary, most obvious question. I wonder if he's one of those guys that goes to a movie and spends the entire time trying to figure out the ending instead of simply enjoying the experience.

Not that sitting in Group, listening as a fifteen year old tells you how she became a junkie and a whore is my idea of an enjoyable experience. Because it sure as shit isn't. But it's life; it's truth; it's reality, whether people on the outside want to see it that way or not.

"I thought he loved me," she said softly, sniffling a bit. "First it was sex. Then came the drugs, and then…then came the part where he told me I had to 'get to work' and 'do my part.' You can guess what that meant," Bree quipped bitterly.

Eleazar nodded. "What did it mean, Bree?"

Her head snapped up and her dull, cerulean eyes flashed darkly. "I'm done for today," she spat acerbically. "Let Pretty Boy over there entertain you for a while," she suggested as she cocked her head in my direction. "I'm sure his sob story is good for a tear or two—"

"—Bree, that's enough," Eleazar interjected sharply, cutting her off before she could say any more. "'Judge not lest ye be judged.'"

"Yeah, whatever," she mumbled while shrugging. "Sorry."

The good doctor nodded and turned his attention towards me, knowing that I had unintentionally been given a window of opportunity in the form of the young girl's outburst. "Edward?"

I sighed heavily and ran my fingers through my hair a few times. Bella would probably like how long it had gotten. "Yeah." I ran the tip of my tongue over my lips once before speaking.

"I guess I should start at the beginning. I was lucky. I grew up in Forks, Washington—a small, wholesome town where everyone knew everyone else and everybody watched out for each other. I had great parents. My father was a doctor and my mother a talented, for-hire interior designer. I had two amazing siblings—an older brother, Emmett, and a twin sister, Alice—that I got along great with. I had a wonderful extended family."

My gaze rose briefly to meet Eleazar's.

"I got good grades. I showed great promise on piano at an early age, and was excellent at every sport my parents signed me up for. Everyone had really high hopes for me once I got to high school…but along with those high hopes came a lot of pressure, and I guess you could say I cracked under it."

I took a deep breath before continuing.

"I met Jasper Whitlock in my freshman year of high school. His parents had died in a home invasion gone wrong in Seattle a few months prior and he got shipped off to live with his aunt and uncle in Forks: The Hale's. They had a daughter in my brother's grade named Rosalie; we all grew up together and ran in our own little clique. Of course, Rose immediately took her cousin under her wing. I remember the first day he showed up at school…" I smiled at the memory. "She marched over to me, Ali and Em at our table in the cafeteria and said 'this is Jasper. He's my cousin and he'll be part of us now.' They plopped right down and that was that—Jas was one of us. We all hit it off really well; before I knew it, it was like he had been there all along."

Now, here comes the hard part.

"It was in junior year that things started to go downhill. Emmett and Rose were seniors; Jasper, Ali and I were a year behind them. We got our licenses, and Jas and I…we kinda ran with it. He had friends back in Seattle that he had kept in contact with since his parent's death, and we drove down almost every weekend to see them. They were…into different things than the kids back in Forks. Harder things." I looked up to meet each pair of eyes staring back at me in understanding. "In Forks, the worst thing you could get your hands on was some pretty fucking vile Rez moonshine; but in a big city like Seattle? Anything and everything was on the table, and was yours for the taking—all you had to do was ask.

"And me and Jas? We asked. We asked a lot."

I sighed and rolled my head on my shoulders before continuing.

"First it was weed; then, 'shrooms; then, Blow. We chased every high that we could find, playing the perfect, straight-A students during the week and raging it up with Jas' old friends in the city over the weekend. Slowly but surely, we started pulling away from our friends in Forks. We missed a bunch of shit during that time…we missed Rose and Emmett finally getting off their asses and declaring their love for each other; dances, birthdays…so much. But we couldn't be fucked with that shit; every spare moment during the week was spent determining which party was going to have the biggest score that weekend and securing our invites. It was a balancing act and it was…exhausting.

"Senior year rolled around and the pressure increased. There were college applications to fills out, plans to make, auditions…there was so much pressure!" I vigorously ran my fingers through my hair and rocked forward in my seat. "It was then that Jasper and I were introduced to heroin. The high…it was like nothing else we'd ever come across. The two of us swore that we'd only do it on the weekends, as a way to relieve the stress of the week, but as any fellow addict knows, that's the first of many promises you won't keep.

"The weekend became a three-day affair, then a Thursday through Monday deal. And then….well, we were hooked; we were consumed by it, and getting our next fix became everything. More important than school, more important than college, more important than family…more important than our own well-being.

"It all came to a head on graduation night. Somehow, Jasper and I managed to squeak by and graduate—God only knows how—and of course we felt like this was worthy of a truly spectacular celebration." The group chuckled along with me, knowing that an addict will use any and all excuses as validation to get high. "We headed to Seattle, met up with our crew and got down to business. We made our way over to our dealer's place to get our shit for the weekend…unfortunately for us, the guy whose house we were at was being monitored by the cops, and we got busted. On the flip side of things, we lucked out; the house got hit before we scored, so Jas and I were just brought in for questioning.

"Our parents were called down to Seattle to retrieve us and…it was a fucking mess." I sighed. "My parents and Jasper's aunt and uncle corralled us in my parent's living room once we got back to Forks and gave us an ultimatum: either get clean under their terms, or get the fuck out.

"We chose to get clean.

"That following morning, after a few midnight phone calls, Jasper and I were sent here—to Stepping Stone. The rumors around town were that we were shipped off to live with an uncle of mine out east to help tame our partying and prep us for college, which really wasn't too far from the truth." I exchanged a brief glance of acknowledgment with Eleazar.

"Getting sober was…well, it was fucking misery is what it was." I scoffed at the memory. "I begged my parents to put Jas and me through rapid detox first before shipping us off to Stepping Stone, and they flat-out refused. My father felt that the pain of the withdrawal process would be the best deterrent for the future; that we should feel everything that we put ourselves through, agonizing second by every fucking agonizing second…

"And it was. It was Hell and fire and being flayed alive. It was cold and dark and…fucking painful. Everything hurt; even the tips of my hair. I hallucinated more over the course of the first few days after I arrived than I had on any of my acid trips; I was convinced I was being punished for everything I had put my loved ones through, and I swore to God that if He got me through it alive on the other side, that I'd do everything in my power to live a sober life and to make amends for everything I had ever done wrong. I felt naked, stripped…powerless against everything around me, and I realized that I ineeded/i to be here, that I needed to get sober; not just for my family and school and my future, but for myself…for my very sanity.

"So, Jas and I had spent the summer getting healthy and before we knew it, we were joining Alice, Rose and Emmett at U-Dub for the fall semester. My parents were a bit hesitant to send us off to school in Seattle, the very city that had been the scene of our downfall, but they managed to set it up so that we had no choice but to succeed. Emmett had his own place not far from campus, with plenty of room to spare and was quick to offer the two of us a place to stay.

"Once those arrangements had been made, our families felt far more comfortable: living with Emmett meant 24/7 supervision, as well as keeping us out of the dorms where we could get exposed to… 'situations' that might lead to a relapse. He agreed to randomly piss-test us every so often to make sure we were still doing okay, and even committed to keeping anything and everything—alcohol included—out of the apartment.

"In short, it was the best kind of sober living facility we could ask for…a warm, supportive environment with determined, loving family surrounding us. My sister was there to study fashion design; my brother was concentrating on Sports Medicine; Rose was majoring in Women's Studies, and Jasper opted to focus on his first love—American History. I also went back to my first love—music, and after spending a semester as a straight music B.A., declared my major as composition in the spring.

"It was also during that first spring semester that I met what would become my greatest love…my…my Bella."

My throat felt as if it were lined with sand paper. I swallowed thickly before continuing.

"Bella Swan had moved to Forks to live with her father, Chief of Police Charlie Swan at the beginning of junior year of high school. She and Alice became fast friends, but by then Jasper and I were too wrapped up in our own shit to even notice the addition to our circle. We were like ships passing in the night; I was really only home sporadically during the week, and on the weekends when she was around seeing Alice, I was off in Seattle snorting, ingesting and injecting various poisons into my body. To Bella, I was an asshole in a picture frame that was never around…to her, as well as the whole town of Forks, I was a ghost.

"Bella and I wound up in the same English class that semester. We recognized each other's names when the roll was called, and motioned to each other that we should meet up after class to officially introduce ourselves. She had sat at the top of the lecture hall and rushed down the stairs to try and catch me up with me before I could change my mind and bolt…little did she know, I was waiting for her." I chuckled as I thought back on the day that changed me forever. "She made quite the first impression; she missed the next to last stair and tumbled down into my arms…

"The moment we touched, I was a goner. She was every high I had ever chased, all rolled into one.

"Bella was smart and funny and insightful and beautiful. Her English Lit major gave her a way with words that never failed to leave me dumb-founded. Her big brown eyes saw right through me and she didn't hesitate to give me shit right off the bat for the hell I put Ali and the rest of my family through. It was then that I realized that no one had told her what really happened to me and Jasper, and I decided then and there to keep it that way. She didn't need to know about the darker, ugly side of me. Besides, that was my past and Bella? Bella was my future.

"My sister's best friend and I were inseparable from that day forward. She was gorgeous—inside and out—and she was mine. Every moment with her was a gift; every smile a blessing. Ali was thrilled and rightfully so: she and Jasper spent a lot of time together with Bella and I, and before either of us knew it, my sister and my best friend were attached at the hip, and our group outings evolved into double and triple dates with Rose and Em. Our time at U-Dub was well-spent and I was content. Things were going great…or so I thought."

I peeked up to see Eleazar nodding at me, prompting me to continue. I wiped my now-sweaty palms on my thighs and went on.

"Upon graduation, we all stayed pretty close to home. Rose got her advanced certificate in counseling over the summer and went on to land a job at a battered Women's transitional center. Em got picked up by the Seahawks as their newest trainer. Alice—with the help of my parents—opened her own boutique in Port Angeles, and lived in the loft apartment above her store. Bella, not wanting to be separated from Alice, nabbed a place not far from the shop, got a job as a librarian at the library in PA, and started work on a book that she had begun outlining during our time at U-Dub. Not wanting to be away from Bella or my family, I got an apartment close to the girls. I was able to do my job from home: a few of my works composed while I was at U-Dub gained some notoriety, and various commissioned offers for compositions of all kinds stared pouring in not long after graduation.

"Jas, on the other hand, was having a bit of difficultly landing something steady. He got called in as a guest lecturer from time to time, or as a consultant, but the work was spotty at best. After about two months, I convinced him to move in with me—my place was huge, had more than enough room, and gave him somewhere to regroup."

I exhaled heavily and shook my head. "I should have seen it coming. I should have recognized the signs; I should have been keeping a closer eye on hi—"

"—Edward, enough," the good doctor interjected. "We've discussed this at length; you can't take ownership for Jasper's actions—only he can do that. Continue please."

I nodded and smiled sadly at Eleazar before doing as he asked. "He had been acting…differently, as of late. Coming and going at strange hours; shirking responsibility, snapping at me and Ali…all sorts of shit that should have raised red flags. But it didn't come to a head until the night of Bella's birthday, back in September…"


"You hated it."

"I didn't hate it!"

"Then why were you glaring all throughout dinner!"

"Because the waitress was hitting on you the entire time we were there, Edward!" Bella exclaimed with an exasperated guffaw, throwing her head back as she laughed. Her brown eyes twinkled in the muted glow of the street lamps, and she looped her arm through mine as we headed to my car.

"Is that why you snatched up half of her tip on her way out?" I asked with a smirk.

"You saw that?"

"Sweetheart, I see everything you do."

"You're a creeper, Edward Cullen."

"Only for you, baby."

"Oh my God, how long have you been sitting on that one?" She snickered as I opened door for her.

"Came up with it on the spot," I countered before rounding the hood of the car to slip into the driver's seat.

Bella snickered. "Don't quit your day job, Cullen."

"But my job is loving you, Swan of my heart. Are you suggesting I stop?"

"Jesus Christ, Edward! How do you come up with this shit?"

"What, you don't like my poetic way with words?"

"Just drive, silly boy," she commanded while grinning widely.

"As you wish, my love," I declared before brushing my lips over the back of her hand.

The drive back to my apartment was quiet, filled with only loving smiles and affectionate glances. As we made our way upstairs, Bella squeezed my hand tightly. "You're not letting me walk into an ambush…right?"

I pulled her to my side as we headed down the hall to my door. "I reigned Ali in, Bella; no worries," I assured her. "Just you, me, Jas, Ali, and Rose and Em a bit later on. A quiet night, just like you requested."

"I love you, Edward."

"I love you too, Bella. Happy Birthday," I whispered before pressing my lips to her forehead.

We entered the apartment to find Alice perched on the couch. Her head turned in our direction at our approach, one eye still fixed on the TV screen. "Jas is in the bathroom. He's been throwing up."

"Again?" I asked, tossing my coat over the back of the love seat. "Can't shake that stomach bug, huh?"

My sister sighed. "Seems like it."

"I'll go check on him," Bella offered as she passed her jacket to my outstretched hand. "I know how you hate vomit, Ali."

"Thanks, Bells!" She called as my girlfriend set out for the bathroom where Jasper was holed up. "If it was blood, I'd be all over it!"

"Yeah, yeah," Bella quipped as she disappeared from view. Her footfalls could be heard making their way down the hall, as well as her soft knock and voice calling out to my best friend. "Jas—it's Bella. I know you're sick; I'm coming in…"

The door creaked open, and then the carefree night was shattered.

"What the fuck are you doing? GET OUT!"

"Jasper!"

The next few moments were a blur; I had vaulted over the back of the couch at the sound of Jasper's shouts and Bella's shock-filled exclamation, Alice hot on my heels as we sprinted towards the bathroom.

The scene before me stole the breath from my lungs.

Jasper, sprawled out on the floor of our bathroom; arm tied off, hypodermic needle clenched in his fist, poised to inject what could only be heroin into his obviously bruised and battered veins. The protective cap was clamped between teeth, his black gaze focused solely on Bella.

"Get the fuck out. Get out, get out, GET OUUUUUUUUUT!"

He growled the words at her, and then lunged.

Time seemed to screech to a halt.

Alice screamed his name.

Bella gasped.

I moved.

I stepped between the two of them, extending my right arm as I did, pushing Bella backward and hopefully out of harm's way. I winced as I heard the dull 'thunk' when she hit the floor, and braced myself for the impact of Jasper's enraged and dope-sick form…but the impact never came.

At least, I never felt it.

What I did feel was the familiar pinch of the needle as it pierced the inside of my exposed forearm, the force of Jas' body colliding with mine causing the plunger to depress, sending the murky, tinted elixir directly into my bloodstream. My back hit the ground with a heavy thud, my best friend landing on top of me as the drug rushed through my veins.

"YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! YOU MADE ME WASTE IT!"

It stung, practically burning me from the inside out as it traveled up my arm. I began to pant as my body went cold; almost cold enough to make me feel as though ice water had replaced my blood. One thought resounded through my head as I recognized what had just transpired.

Bella. Bella. Get out. Get out. Get out.

"Alice," I growled through my teeth as I battled to keep from thrashing about. "Get her the fuck out of here."

I don't remember Jasper scrambling up from the floor and out of the apartment.

I don't remember my sister's cries as she forced the love of my life to leave me where I lay.

I don't remember the sound of Bella's sobs as Alice rushed her out the door.

All I remember is the warmth that slowly bloomed from my heart, outward…

The way it washed over me, calming me, soothing me…

Consuming me…

And the voice inside my head screaming "NO!"

My fingers scrabbled to find my cell phone deep within my pants pocket; the digits felt as if they were moving through a sea of thick molasses as I struggled to dial the number of the one person who could help me.

"Dad…" I croaked. "Help..."

And then, the darkness came for me.


Cool, seasoned hands pressed and prodded; stroked and touched.

"It's okay, son; we're taking care of it."

I am numb.


An ache woke me from my stupor; an ache so deep within me, I moaned. Everything hurt; my fingers, my toes, my legs, my head, my fucking hair.

Voices surrounded me. The voices were everywhere.

I wanted them to shut the fuck up.

"…said he would make room for him…"

"…needs to tell her…"

"…'unexpected leave of absence' is the way to word it…"

"…my poor boy…"

MORE. GIVE ME MORE!

I sobbed.


"Everything's set. I'll follow up the dose of methadone I just gave you with one right before the flight. That should tide you over before you get to Rochester. Eleazar is picking you up himself, so he'll take it from there." My father covered the injection site with a band-aid and grasped my shoulder. "You did the right thing, son; I'm so proud of you."

I clenched my jaw and nodded.

"Here," Alice said softly as she entered the room. "I packed you a bag with everything you might need. I looked it up on the internet…there shouldn't be anything in there that Uncle Eleazar will have to confiscate."

"Ali, I'm so sorr—"

"—don't, Edward," she insisted, her voice tight and eyes shining with unshed tears. "It's my fault…I should have known. I should have seen this coming. But you're my focus right now," she declared with a fierce determination.

"Bella?" I rasped.

My twin sighed. "She didn't see a thing. She saw Jas on the floor, and saw him lunge at you, but not the needle, or that it got you…it all happened too quickly. You need to talk to her, brother; you need to fill her in—"

"—I'll handle it, sis."

And I did.


"What do you mean, staying will destroy us both?"

"I'm not the best person to be around right now, Bella."

"Is it because of Jasper? Because it's okay. Whatever it is, we can face it together—"

"—Not. This." I growled.

A sob escaped her perfect lips. "But…but I love you."

I bit the inside of my cheek. "Your love can't fix this, Bella. If anything, it would spell the end of me. If I stay, your love will eventually destroy us both."

"Edward! Please!"

"I don't…want you anymore, Bella. I can't. It's for the best. I promise, I'll make it so that it'll be like I never existed…"

"Please, Edward…don't—"

"—goodbye, Isabella. Be safe."


"Promise me, Ali."

"I promise."

"Promise you'll keep her safe."

"I promise. But you need to tell her!"

"I will," I lied. "But I need to get better first." Step one.

"I'm so sorry Edward—"

"—hey, hey," I cooed as I hugged her tiny frame close to me. "Enough of that. Take care of her, that's all I ask."

"I will." She sniffled against my chest. "Come back to us?"

"That's the plan," I answered softly.


"So, that's what happened. That's how I got here. From what I've heard from back home, Jasper went missing for a while, and was subsequently shipped off to treatment once he was found."

"And Bella?" Bree's small voice could be heard over the deafening silence that filled the room.

I stared at the tile on the ground in front of me and scuffed it with the toe of my sneaker. "She's safe; that's all that matters."

"You're gonna tell her once you get out, right?" Asked another patient—Stefan, I believe.

I nodded. "I plan to. It was a…mistake, what I did to her. First leaving her out of the loop about my past, and then leaving things the way I did. She doesn't deserve it…and I don't deserve her," I finished softly.

Eleazar waited a beat before speaking. "Alright; I think we're about done for the day. Shall we?"

And so it goes.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."


From: Isabella M. Swan [ellisbell913 (a) mymail . com]

To: Edward A. Cullen [lacathedraleengloutie (a) mymail . com]

Sent: 14th November 5:19 AM

Subject: #61

E-

Sixty-one days.

It feels like perpetuity.

It feels like the longest night.

It feels like Hell.

And these emails? They've gotta be the cruelest form of torture that I continually subject myself to.

No matter…tangible, mundane evidence—remember?

The leaves started falling from the trees not long after Halloween. They're so rich and colorful this year, Edward; you'd love it.

The deep reddish-brown tones that blanket every surface make my heart ache every time I see it, because that color? It reminds me of your hair.

Yeah, I know; stupid, right?

Some writer I am.

The truth is, things just aren't right without you here. The seasons are changing; time is moving forward without my permission.

It's like I'm numb to everything around me but the memory of you. Food tastes bland; I'm immune to the cold whip of the wind, and to the warm blast of hot air that escapes from the oven.

What? I've been baking a lot! It helps to pass the time…it helps to distract me.

It helps it not hurt so much, probably because I like to pretend that you're going to walk through the door any minute, sniffing the air and sticking your fingers in every bowl and pot in sight like you always do…did.

I know; I'm a fucking hopeless, delusional idiot.

Maybe it's because a part of me is missing: you're missing. But I know you're out there, so I go on. These moments that we are apart grate at my very being…tear at my soul until I feel as though it would flee from my body in a desperate attempt to find just a single moments relief.

You'd be proud of me, though; I do a pretty decent job of hiding my misery from the world. I smile when appropriate, laugh when expected, all the while dying inside without you next me.

There's a gaping hole in my chest…it still throbs and aches, but I'm learning to adjust…learning to cope.

But this life, Edward? It isn't really living…because without you? Life has very little meaning to me.

My heart is yours.

My soul is yours.

My everything is yours, and you took it with you when you left like a thief in the night.

You know that's what belongs in this gaping hole…right?

I miss you. I love you.

-B


Day 66

19th November

9:56 AM


"The new suboxone levels are correct? You're finding the medication helpful?"

"Yes, Eleazar. The meds are just right: minimal side effects, maximum benefit."

"And you've got the name of the doctor you'll be seeing in Seattle twice a week? I set up your first appointment for—"

"—yup. Got it: Dr. Charles. The date and time of my first session with him is on my discharge papers."

"And you know what to do if the meds stop working, right? You should—"

"—Uncle Eleazar!" I cut in with a laugh. "I've got it! Unfortunately, I've been through this once before. The process hasn't changed much since then," I added with a smirk.

The good doctor smiled and shook his head. "I know, I know. But I worry…I can't help it."

"I know."

We were quiet for a moment before he spoke again. "Well, I believe you're all set. Your flight is late tomorrow, yes?"

I nodded. "Yup. And I've got a layover in Dallas."

We both stood.

"You'll be fine," Eleazar reaffirmed softly.

I sighed. "I know."

Suddenly, his arms were around me, strong and secure. "I'm so proud of you, my boy. You've fought hard, and you've fought well. Now, go home and fight for everything you deserve."

Tears were glistening in both our eyes when he pulled away from me, and all I could do is nod. "I will," I whispered softly before slipping out of his office.

What I found waiting outside Eleazar's office for me didn't surprise me one bit.

"Did you think you could leave without saying goodbye to me? Hm? I know you were raised better than that, Eddie."

I can't help but to chuckle at Carmen's playful admonishment; I shook my head as I stepped into her embrace. She held me tightly against her, and in that moment, I ached for the comfort that only my mother could provide. "Never doubt how proud we are of you, Edward Anthony. The battles you've fought and won would have killed a lesser man—be proud of what you have done here."

"Thank you, Aunt Carmen," I rasped.

She cupped my face in her hands and smiled. "You are strong enough for what is to come, my Eddie."

I dropped my chin to my chest. "I thought that I was doing what was best for her."

"You did what was best for yourself, my boy, no matter how flawed your plan was. Your job at the time was to get well, and not only have you done that, but you are a better man for it. She will understand."

I gulped nervously. "Are you sure?"

Carmen grinned at me. "I would bet everything on it, my Eddie."

"Serenity, right?" I quipped weakly as I tugged on the overgrown mop of hair a-top my head.

"Serenity," she confirmed with a sharp nod, and sent me on my way.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.


A/N:

Substance abuse is a very real, very terrifying disease, for all those involved. If you, or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse addiction, visit http :/www . addict-help . com/ for information regarding intervention, rehab, treatment, and other support services.

Part II will be coming very soon.

If you wish to read this in the original formatting that I had intended, visit http :/ houkutus-fiktio . livejournal . com/ in a few days and I'll have it posted there as well.

Thank you reading!