Author's Note: I own nothing. I just like to play with the characters that were created by Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is kind of cathartic for me and it's based in real life. Rated M for future lemons.

A Fresh Start

Chapter 1: The End

"Hey Bella," my co-worker Angela said to me. She was the art teacher at the middle school that I worked at, Cherry Blossom Middle School. "How are you doing?"

"I'm good, Angela," I smile. I look at my computer, bored at my lame job. The grades for my students' latest English tests were horrendous. I can only re-teach a concept so many times. "How about you? How are things with Ben?"

"Oh my gosh, Bells," she gushed. "He proposed. Look at the ring he got me." She waved her hand in my face and I was shocked at her newest bling. It was gorgeous: a large round cut diamond in a Tiffany style setting. Very classic, just like Angela.

"It's beautiful, Angela. He did good," I enthused. "Really good. So, how did he do it?"

"He took me out to dinner, renting out the entire restaurant. The wait staff and kitchen made all of my favorite meals and in the final course, he had the ring presented to me," she breathed. "It was perfect. Just like Ben."

I plastered on a fake smile, happy for my young friend. Hearing about her romantic proposal made me sad. It had been a long time since my husband of five years, Mike, did anything romantic for me. I was so spaced out that I didn't realize that Angela was asking me a question. "Excuse me, what?"

"Are you okay, Bella?" Angela asked as she adjusted her colorful skirt. "You seem a bit off."

"I'm fine," I replied automatically. "I'm really happy for you."

"Thanks," she said with a smile. "Are you ready for parent-teacher conferences?"

"Ugh, no. I have to meet with my team after school today to finalize some things. Then, drama club fun. Thank goodness my assistant director can start the rehearsal," I sighed. "Before I forget, can you help with the sets and costumes?"

"Hell yeah," Angela said, bouncing on her toes. "I was involved in the theater program at school and I loved it. What are you doing?"

"Once on this Island, Jr." I replied. "It's really cute. Can have some awesome sets."

"Can I get a script?" she asked.

"Sure. I'll make a copy for you and stick it in your mailbox," I said.

"Thanks, Bells," she said, her brown eyes dancing. "See you later."

"Bye," I said, turning back to my computer. I needed to input these tests into the computer so they could be sent to the parent web module; the online gradebook used my school district. We were told that we needed to keep it up to date as we didn't send home paper report cards anymore. I finally finished my grading and walked down to my teammate's classroom. I was on one of the eighth grade teams. I taught accelerated language arts. I loved my students, when they applied themselves and my team was awesome. The other members included Jessica Stanley who taught the regular language arts students; Tyler Crowley who taught math; and Emmett McCarty who taught science and social studies. Out of all of my teammates, Emmett and I were the closest. He was like my dorky older brother even though I was older than him by a few years.

I was 32 and had been teaching in the same district since I got out of school. I got married when I was 26 to my husband, Mike Newton. He was a manager for a large insurance corporation. We were happy for the first years of our marriage. He doted on me when it was convenient for him. He assisted me when I had several ankle surgeries. I'm a habitual klutz and I've had more sprained ankles than I care to admit. He was a good man, but very cold at times. This cold demeanor wasn't there at the beginning of our relationship, but it has since transformed in the past few years.

I really noticed it at the end of the school year last year. My position had been drastically changed. I had been teaching a combination of regular language arts and accelerated language arts in another building, Chapel Middle School. My principal, who for some strange reason, didn't like me, he arbitrarily moved me to Cherry Blossom where I was going to be teaching all of the accelerated language arts classes, tripling my workload. I was so frustrated with the whole situation and I vented to my husband. He didn't take the side of my principal, but he didn't support me either. Thankfully I had some connections at Cherry Blossom. I was already the drama director for them and I knew most of the kids and some of the staff. It still pissed me off that it happened, but at least I'm employed.

I sat down in my team meeting, giving Emmett a smile. "Hey guys. Sorry I'm late. I needed to finish grading Nothing But the Truth tests," I said.

"No biggie, Bells," Jessica said, running a hand through her blond wavy hair. "We were just finalizing our schedule for parent/teacher conferences. It's going to be a light load, as it's the spring conferences."

"I don't understand the point of spring conferences," Tyler grumbled. "We've worked with the kids for three quarters and there is ONE left. If the kid doesn't give shit now, why would it change in the last nine weeks of school?"

"It looks good on paper," I answered. "I just hate the schedule. 2-10 on Thursday? Ugh. By the time we get home, it'll be after eleven. I'll be worthless the next day. At least it's short."

"Damn straight," Emmett said, arching his brow. "Anything else that we need to discuss?"

"I don't think so," I replied. "I have to get to rehearsal. You guys can just email me if anything changes. Okay?"

"Sure thing, Bells," Jessica said. "Have fun with the drama kiddos."

"It's my one thrill in life," I said dryly. I picked up my script and pencil and walked to the cafeteria where our rehearsals were being held. The choir director, Alice Cullen, was leading the students in a vocal rehearsal until I was done with my meeting. I could hear some really lovely things being done, but anything compared to my barking singing voice was lovely. Alice was one of my really good friends on the staff at Cherry Blossom. She was so energetic and lively. She looked like an elf. Small, thin, petite features and very delicate bones. Her signature look though was her hair. It was short and stuck out every which way. It was also a deep chocolate brown. Her cornflower blue eyes were offset by deep, thick eyelashes. She was stunning. She was chic. Everything I wasn't.

Alice saw me from the front of the room and she gave me a wink, complimenting the students on their rehearsal. I barked out a few orders and the students all took their places for the beginning of Act I. The rehearsal went by uneventfully. My drama students were so well behaved. I could just leave a note with one of my student directors and it would get done. I was truly blessed by that. After all the students were dismissed, Alice skipped up to me, linking her arm with mine.

"You need a drink, Bells," she said. "You have that look."

"What look would that be, Alice?" I sighed.

"That defeated, life sucks look," Alice said, demonstrating on her perfect features. "What's up?"

"I'm done," I mumbled.

"You're done with what?" she asked.

"With Mike. I can't handle his coldness. His distance," I said, narrowing my eyes. "He doesn't love me the way that I want to be loved."

"Did he ever?" Alice challenged. "I knew when you guys got married that this was your first one."

"Says my maid of honor," I said, poking her ribs.

"What? It's true! Mike is a very dedicated man, but he's not for you. He never was. You deserved to be worshipped. He didn't. You just weren't compatible," Alice said sagely. "Do you need a lawyer?"

"Yeah. Does Jazz know anyone?" I asked, mentioning her fiancée. He was a lawyer in a lucrative practice. He completely doted on Alice, giving her everything that she needed.

"I'll ask him," Alice said. "You'll get through this. I promise you."

"Thanks," I replied, kissing her head. Alice gave me a hug and danced back to her room. I walked to mine and gathered my things. I went out to my car and prepared myself for the discussion I needed to have with my soon-to-be ex-husband. I drove the half-hour home only to find my husband's car in the driveway. He usually didn't get home until after seven. It was a little after five. I warily walked into the house. It no longer felt like home to me. It was just a place where I slept and that was it. I didn't want to be there. I couldn't be there. "Hello?"

"In the kitchen," Mike's cold voice carried through our house.

"Hey," I said as I walked into our gourmet kitchen. It was the sole reason for us to buy this house. Well, that and the four bedrooms. I so wanted children. I was ready when we were on our honeymoon. Mike wasn't. He insisted I stay on birth control. I hated taking those damn pills. "What are you doing home so early?"

"We need to talk, Bella," Mike said, not looking me in the eyes. He idly played with the beer bottle in his hands.

"Yes, we do," I said as I sat down. "I don't know what happened to us, but this is not working."

"No, it's not," he said. "I've been sleeping around, Bella. I've been cheating on you for the past year."

"What?" I said in disbelief. "Who?"

"Jessica Stanley," he whispered. "She just left."

"What the fuck? Jessica fucking Stanley," I roared. "You've been fucking Jessica fucking Stanley?" I pushed away from the counter and began pacing. "You're unbelievable. It's one thing to not stay in a marriage, but it's another to fucking cheat."

"Bella…I'm…"

"Get out, Michael," I sneered. "Never come back."

He looked at me and his eyes were filled with resignation and sadness. He placed his key onto the kitchen counter and pushed away from the table. I didn't notice when I walked in that he had several bags packed and they were sitting by the front door. "I'm sorry, Bella. So sorry."

"Too late for that," I snarled. "Get. Out."

He sighed and gathered his things. He quietly left my house and pulled out of the driveway and out of my life, forever.

Good riddance.

A/N: So, this is my newest story. It is hitting really close to home for me. Let me know what you think… Please :)