Disclaimer: All twilight characters are owned by Stephanie Meyer.

A/N: So, this is my first Carlisle/Bella fic. I was a little nervous about posting this at first, but I got over it and gave in. I would really love to hear what you think about it.

This starts just a few months short of a year after the Cullen's left her.

The rating is for what I have so far, I have no idea what the future may bring. ;)

The two, well three, songs mentioned below, in order, are:
Harden My Heart by Quarterflash
Sleepwalker by Adam Lambert
Your Betrayal by Bullet For My Valentine

And a huge thanks to TheUnderStudy for fixing this up for me!

Chapter 1

It was cold, gray and wet; much like every day in Forks, Washington. I had to admit, there was a part of me that was sad to leave it all behind. Mostly, I was happy to say goodbye. There was too much at risk if I stayed. It was finally time to pick up all the pieces of my heart and mind, move on, and learn to put them back together again.

"Bells, are you sure you want to go?" Charlie asked as he popped my last bag into the passenger seat of the truck. I was standing out in the middle of the driveway next to my beat up old red truck. I was looking up at the morning sky letting the raindrops land on my face. My eyes were closed and I took a deep breath of cool air as it blew in my direction, whipping my hair behind me. I sighed, turned my face in his direction, and opened my eyes.

"Yes, Dad. I need to do this," I told him and forced a smile onto my face. It wasn't about wanting really as it was that I had to get out of there.I had to show myself that I could, not only survive on my own, but also live away from the place that was a constant reminder that he existed. I had to let it go. I had finally come to terms with the fact that he was gone and he was never coming back. Just as he had promised.

"It really won't be the same around here without you, honey," he said as he moved to stand in front of me.

"Yeah, it won't be so depressing." I offered him a real smile that time and he reached out and pulled me into a quick hug.

"I just wish you didn't think you have to leave to be happy," he said as he pulled away. "But I understand. No details needed."

"Thanks." I slid my hands into the pockets of my jeans as I took a deep breath and let it out loudly. "Well I guess that's it."

"You keep in contact with me. You hear me? Call me every night. Tell me about where you are and where you think you may be going. If you need money, or anything-"

"Dad," I said softly, cutting him off. "I got this. I can handle this." He hated the idea that I was going out on my own. But he hated even more that I wanted to take a road trip instead of settling down somewhere.

"I just don't think it's a good idea for you to go out so unprotected." Here we go with the protective stuff again, I thought to myself. Little did he know that one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet had already hurt me more than I could have ever imagined. I couldn't tell him that though.


"Alright, alright. Just, be safe. Okay? Here or not, I need you, Bells."

Charlie wasn't one for being very emotional, but he was starting to surprise me. His words touched on something that I was hoping to at least keep locked up until I hit the road. Yet, the tears let loose and I wrapped my arms around him in a tight hug.

"I love you, Dad. I'll call you tonight to let you know where I'm at."

"Okay. I love you too. Bye, Bella."

I gave him a small smile as I pulled away and hopped into the truck, slamming it closed. I grabbed at the seat belt and pulled it tightly against me before I put the keys in the ignition. It started up, rumbling and vibrating and I waved goodbye as I backed out.

I wasn't exactly sure what made me decide to take a road trip instead of going to collage like a normal high school graduate, but it just seemed to feel right. I had spent so much of my life worrying about what other people were going to do, that I didn't really pay attention to what I wanted. So when it came time to fill out collage applications, I procrastinated until it was too late and I didn't care.

As I drove, I thought back to a night when I was laying in bed going over my future.I was laying in bed one night going over my future. That's when it finally hit me. What is in my future? I couldn't even remember what I wanted before Forks. Once I met that coven of vampires that stole my heart, I never really saw myself without them. I never stopped to consider if whether they saw me with them. That's also when I realized that I was sitting around, waiting for the impossible. They weren't coming back, so why should I stay?

After that, the decision to leave sounded better and better. I thought over places I would go, things I would see and nothing really sounded that exciting. During the few weeks that I thought about it, the idea to just go on a road trip and end up wherever life takes me came up and it was the first time in a long time I was happy about something. I kept my job at Newton's a little longer until I was sure money would be fine for a while. I had plenty since I hadn't spent a dime on anything more than just gas to get to and from school, work, and home.

Charlie hated the idea from day one, but he couldn't tell me no. I could see it in his eyes how torn he was. He just wanted me to be happy, so he didn't try to stop me. Renee on the other hand tried everything she could long distance to stop me for about a month before she gave in. She was worried I would get abducted and they wouldn't find out for months. I just laughed at her negativity, but at least I knew where I got it from.

Forks held nothing but bad memories for me. Everywhere I turned there was his smiling face looking back at me, showing me what was never mine to hold onto, pushing me to the edge of my sanity. The nightmares only got worse. The feeling of being abandoned and never healing again was torturous.

I had to give myself credit though. My creativity for my vivid dreams was pretty good. They felt so real sometimes. It was as if I was lying out there on the cold, wet ground again, screaming for him to come back to me. Only the pain grew more intense over time. Like a deep wound throbbing, infected and going without some sort of treatment.

It was just time for me to leave that old life of mine behind and move on. They say time heals all wounds. Yet, how can that happen when you feel like you're frozen in place? The road trip was my way to try and move myself, kick time in the ass and get it going again. I could only hope the pain would ease the further I went.

By the time I had looked at the clock again, I realized it was later in the evening than I had thought. I had spent most of the drive crying on and off at the memories and being anxious about finally being on my own. I glanced out my window and the sun was setting, causing a beautiful pink to spread across the sky above the mountains to my right. I sighed at the comfort I felt in the silence of my truck. The signs I was approaching let me know I was almost to Portland, Oregon; my next stop.

As if on cue, my stomach growled and I began deciding on where I wanted to stop for food. My phone started buzzing and I smiled as I shook my head, knowing that Charlie wouldn't have let me go too long without talking. Along with my safety, he worried about the old truck handling the road. He had bought me the cell phone to ease his worries and I happily took it.

"Dad," I answered with a laugh. "I'm entering Portland, which was where I was planning to call you from…"

"Yes, but I was trying to call you earlier. Why didn't you answer?" he asked sounding impatient.

"Yeah, service cut out for a while. Everything okay?" I asked, curiously

"Well, yeah I guess. You just forgot that gas can I wanted you to take with you."

"Oh, damn. Well, I can pick one up here somewhere I'm sure. No worries."

"Alright. Where are you heading now?"

"I'm going to get something to eat, then head south some more."

"Alright. Be careful,"

"Always. Talk to you later."

"Yep," was all he said before he hung up.

Once inside the mess that was Portland, I stopped at a gas station to fill up and get a gas can, just to ease Charlie's worries. I also grabbed some of their packaged sandwiches since I wasn't too hungry and a coffee. I wasn't tired, but in case; I didn't plan on stopping for a while.

The roads were dark and empty and it was nice hearing nothing but the sound of tires on the wet asphalt. I was tempted to turn on the radio a few times, but music still bugged me sometimes and I was doing well, so I didn't want to trigger anything that wasn't necessary. I was a little uneasy when Charlie had gotten the stereo fixed when he took my truck in to get checked out. He wasn't pleased with the huge hole with wires sticking out. He didn't ask and I was happy for that. I had no idea what I would have said if he had.

I watched as the cities passed by along with the hours. Before I knew it, it was morning again and I was just entering California. At some point, I'm not even sure what time, I turned on the radio for some background noise. I set it on some random station and after one song finished another song came on. I found myself singing along with the chorus without really listening to the words. Once I did, it seemed oddly fitting.

"I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn...and...leave you here.."

I didn't know what the singer's story was, but I could relate a little. Only for me, I was leaving his memory behind. There wasn't that much of a difference, considering his memory held almost as much power over me as he did when he was still around. The ache was growing again and I changed the station to something else.

"It's like I can't even feel
After the way you touched me
I'm not asleep but I'm not awake
After the way you loved me"

"Not helping," I groaned as I turned the dial roughly. I found something harder to listen to and it made me feel a little better.

It was proof that even the simplest songs held some kind of reminder, but most I was able to look past. The song I left it at was singing about betrayal. Even that seemed to fit.

Most of the day was spent with singing along with songs, which was something I had hardly done even before Forks, and stopping occasionally for a bathroom, gas, or food. Instead of cutting straight through, I decided to head down ninety-nine some more and pass through Sacramento before heading to Nevada. Once I arrived in Sacramento, I called Charlie to let him know where I was.

"So where are you stopping to sleep?" he asked halfway through the call.

"Actually, with all the caffeine I've had, I'm not tired," I laughed.

"Bella, you need to sleep before you get into an accident…" he started going on about how whatever percentage of people in accidents thought they are okay enough to drive when they really weren't. I blocked him out as I looked around until he was finished.

"Got it, Dad. I'll stop somewhere soon, I promise."

After more promises to call and all that junk, he finally let me off the phone. I didn't really care to see much more of the city, so I did what I needed to do and started heading out. Of course, thanks to Charlie, I was starting to feel tired. Heading out of town, there were a few truck stops and I picked one to pull into. It had quite a bit of people there, so I felt alright stopping, but I parked in the shade since there was still a bit of time before the sun would set. I cleared off the seats and lied back with my knees up and my head resting on my jacket as a pillow. I set an alarm on my phone and fell right to sleep.

Two hours later the beeping of my phone alerted me it was time to wake up, only I felt even more tired than I was before, but with the sun setting, I didn't feel comfortable enough to sleep there any longer. I got out of my truck and stretched a bit before got back in and continued my drive. It probably wasn't a smart thing to do, but I didn't see any other option.

About an hour and a half of driving, I was starting to realize that it was a really bad idea to have started driving so quickly. There were no gas stations in sight or anything to stop and get some coffee and I was starting to doze off more and more. Unfortunately, there were no places that I could find on the damn highway to pull over to at least take a break.

I felt my eyes close for the last time and it could have been for a second or a minute, but the last thing I remembered was a sharp pain in my thigh and I couldn't move my leg. Sounds echoed around me for a moment. It was muffled, as if someone had stuck their fingers in my ears. Before I could think too much on it, I had fallen back into a peaceful sleep.

What do you think of the beginning?