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-TG-

Bella

SanDiego

Ring...ring...ring...

Groaning, I reached blindly for the phone and pulled it from the cradle.

"Hello," I said after putting it to my ear.

"Ms. Swan, this is your six am wake-up call."

"Thank you," I said before hanging the phone back up.

Blinking my eyes open, I stretched and climbed out of bed. I had to be ready to meet Tia, the writer from National Geographic, at 7:30 in the lobby. We were going to have breakfast and then head to the zoo.

I trudged into the bathroom and took a quick shower. Then decided to put on a simple pair of jeans, a t-shirt, some tennis shoes, and throw my hair up into a ponytail. It was probably going to be a long day and I wanted to be comfortable.

Once I was dressed, I still had about 15 minutes to go before I had to be downstairs, so I pulled up my email.

Sitting right below an offer for a free bottle of diet pills, was a return email from Jasper. I couldn't help let out a sigh of relief at seeing that he'd answered me back.

By-passing everything else, I quickly opened it and started to read...

To: photoswan at yahoo dot com

From: WhitlockJ at seattleschools dot com

Subject: re: I'm sorry

Dear Bella,

I have to say I was surprised to find an email from you, but I wasn't upset by it. And I think you're right, this will be easier. So here goes...

Thank you for apologizing and I accept your apology for almost all of it. I can't and won't accept it for Maria, as there is nothing you need to be sorry about when it comes to her. She was a mistake that I should have rectified long before I even came to Seattle. I never loved her and should have not gotten defensive when you were telling me the same things that Peter and Charlotte were constantly saying. She didn't deserve to have me in her corner anymore than you deserved the way I acted toward you while she was in the picture. I'm glad she's gone and I'm so thankful that she has stayed that way.

Now I need to offer my own apologies.

I'm sorry for not being there from the beginning as I promised I would be. It doesn't matter that we should have talked it out because you're right, my answer would have still been the same. I made a promise to you, the twins, Alice and Edward, and the rest of the Cullen family that day and I broke it the first chance I got. Thank you for allowing me back in when you could have walked away and washed your hands of me.

I'm sorry for everything I've said in anger towards you. I know I've said it before, but I need to say it again because I don't think I can ever say it enough. It's not right or fair of me to continue to bring up things that I was also a part of, especially when I wouldn't change anything about that night.

Most of all I'm sorry for the same thing that you are. My reaction to your trip was uncalled for and completely wrong. You've never once asked for anything since we took in the twins. You lied to Esme when I was being stupid and you do everything in your power to make sure the twins are happy. Did you go about it the wrong way? Maybe! But you deserve to have this and I should have been more supportive. I should have been happy for you, instead of acting like a douche. I'm sorry I gave you the silent treatment the last two weeks and let you leave without saying goodbye. I'm sorry for not telling you to enjoy your trip and to have fun. When you get back the twins and I will be here, ready to hear all about it.

I hope you can accept my apologies because I've come to realize that the life I have now, with you and the twins, is the one I want. I couldn't imagine being in another place.

Telling you that now, brings me to starting over. I like the idea of getting to know you on a much deeper level. I'd like to know what made you the woman you are today.

I'd like to know the woman I've come to care about in more than just a platonic way.

Yes, you read that right. Peter told me to wait to tell you until I was sure where we stood, but to me, getting to know each other means not having secrets.

I want a relationship with you. I want to take you out, have lazy days where all we do is watch movies, and be the person you turn to when you have a bad day. I want to raise the twins with you and maybe one day in the future be a true family.

I know this probably comes completely out of left field and I know I'm running the risk of scaring you away, but I just need you to know how I feel because I'm so tired of not knowing if there is a chance. Hell, you might not even believe me after the way I've acted. But it's the truth and I've known it for a while.

I know you'll probably say what happens if it doesn't work out. I've asked myself the same thing and have come up with only one answer. Nothing in life is a guarantee. With the loss of Edward and Alice we've learned that in the most difficult way possible.

I'm aware that we could find that a romantic relationship between us doesn't work, but I don't want to not try just because I'm scared of what may happen. I think we would be amazing together

So...*deep breath in*...I'm asking if we can try?

Before you answer, please think about it. Take the rest of your trip if you have to because I don't want you to say yes or not without thinking it through. If you find that your gut tells you that the answer is no, then please believe that I won't hold it against you. We will continue to raise the twins together and I won't mention it again.

Okay, now that I've probably shocked you completely I think I will move on to the getting to know you part of your email. I know you said to ask you anything, so here goes...

First...your trip? What will you be seeing or doing? I want to know any and everything about it. I should have asked this before you left, but thanks to my stubborn pride I don't even know where you are right now. So, leave nothing out.

And second...your mother? I've never heard you mention her and I've always wondered why. If it's not a subject you want to go into though, I'll understand.

Well, I think that's it. Thank you again for reaching out and I hope that I didn't drop too much on you at once.

I'll tell the twins that you love them and will give them hugs and kisses from you. I do have a suggestion about the phone call though. Do you have Skype? I ask because that way you can see them too. My Skype name is J. Whitlock and my avi is a music note. If you send me a contact request, I'll accept and have it ready to go for when you get a chance to call.

I'm going to go now. Be safe and I will talk to and maybe see you soon.

Sincerely, Jasper

I finished reading and sat back, reaching up to wipe tears away as I stared at the email. I hadn't expected what he wrote at all, especially the part about what Charlotte had already tried to tell me. He was right in the sense that things weren't a guarantee and I knew that couples with children broke up every day, I was living proof of that. But I had to ask myself, was it worth putting ourselves in a situation that had the potential to hurt so many people? I honestly didn't know the answer to that and unfortunately I didn't have the time to dwell on it, as I only had a couple minutes before I needed to be in the lobby.

While I decided to think about everything else later, I did take a moment to find Jasper's Skype account and send off a contact request. It was thoughtful of him to suggest it and I was going to take him up on the offer.

After powering my laptop down and setting it to the side, I checked my camera bag to make sure I had everything I needed. Once I was satisfied it was all there, I slipped my wallet and room key into the inside pocket and headed out to start the day.

Tia was already waiting and after saying good morning we made our way over to the continental breakfast. We ate quickly and silently since we didn't have to iron out any plans, having gone over everything about today during dinner last night. And because I couldn't seem to keep my mind from going back to Jasper's email and thinking about what he'd asked.

Once we were finished, we threw our trash out and walked out to the rental car to head to the zoo and our 8:30 meeting with the zoo director.

-TG-

Six hours later...

I leaned my head against the back of the elevator as the doors slid closed. It hadn't necessarily been a long day, compared to what I did normally, but between the different schedule and my thoughts I was exhausted.

"You okay?" Tia asked.

Glancing over, I nodded and said, "Tired."

"Yeah, the different schedule can take it out of you. It will get easier the more stops we make though."

"That's good," I said as I once again leaned my head back.

As I did Jasper's email flashed through my head and I realized that I still wasn't sure how I was going to answer the part about trying. I knew it would help to talk about it, but who did I turn to. Alice would have been my first choice hands down, since she was able to see the big picture right away instead of just the immediate reward. And I had a feeling if I asked Esme, Rose, or Charlotte they would tell me to just go for it and not worry about something that hadn't happened yet.

Sighing at my dilemma, I saw Tia glance over at me in the reflection of the door. It was then that I realized that I did have someone to talk to, someone who didn't know us and would have an unbiased opinion.

When the door opened on our floor and we stepped out I asked, "Tia, do you think it would be okay to speak to you for a minute about a personal matter?"

"Of course," she said and motioned me down the hallway toward her room.

Once we were both inside, we perched on the small sofa and I told her everything, starting with Alice and Edward and ending with Jasper's email. I also explained why I wanted to talk to her, someone I'd only known a day about it.

When I finished, she sat back and just looked at me for a few minutes before she said, "I don't know how much my advice will help, but I'll give it anyway.

"Alright," I said.

"First," she said. "I think you need to ask yourself a few questions. One, have you ever thought about what a relationship with him would be like? Two, do you think there is a chance you could be really happy with him? And three, do you think the risk is worth the love and happiness you could possibly find with him?"

I opened my mouth to answer, but she stopped me and continued on. "If, at this exact moment, the answer is yes then you tell him you're willing to try. If the answer is no, then you tell him no. And if the answer is, for lack of a better word, maybe then you do what you've started and what he has requested. You take this time a part and really think about it. You get to know each other on a deeper level and when you get home you follow your heart. And if you find that a romantic relationship isn't what you want, then you both talk it out and deal with it so you can continue to be the parents your friends entrusted you to be."

When she finished, I sat back and let my mind go over everything she'd said along with everything else. After a few minutes of silence, I knew how I would answer Jasper in the email.

"Thank you," I said. "You did help."

"You're welcome. I'm glad I could be of service." She said with a smile.

I returned it and pushed myself off the couch. "I guess I'll go to my room now and send an email. We're still meeting in here at six for dinner and to go over the pictures, right?"

"Yes." she answered with a nod. "We'll order room service and while we wait for it to arrive we can start narrowing down the ones we want to use."

"Alright, I'll see you in a few hours then." I said as I moved toward the door.

After a wave, I headed out to the hall and down to my room.

Once I let myself inside, I toed off my shoes and went straight for my laptop, sitting down in front of it. I tapped my foot impatiently as I waited for it to power up and when it did, I went straight for my email.

As soon as I had a new email pulled up, I started typing. It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would and I was just about to hit send when Skype popped up, alerting me to a call from Jasper.

I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face and quickly hit send on the email before answering. It took a second for the picture to come up and then there all three of them were.

"Hey guys," I said as tears welled up in my eyes. It had only been a day, but I'd missed them.

"Beh..," Kinsley squealed and reached her hand out to the screen.

Aiden, however, didn't seem to care as he kept playing with the toy in his hand. It was okay though.

"Hey Bella," Jasper said after a few seconds, bringing my eyes to his.

"Hey." I said and gave him a small smile.

He returned it before he asked, "How was your day?"

"Good, I'm tired though. I think I might try and take a nap before dinner." I said before I asked, "How was your day? How did they do last night?"

"It rained most of the day, so we stayed inside, but they were good. Last night they ate a good dinner and then went to bed easy."

"That's good," I said with a small nod.

We fell silent for the next few minutes as I just sat watching them. Finally, they seemed to get impatient with being in Jasper's lap and they started fussing to be let down.

Before he let them go, he adjusted Kinsley to the middle of his lap and tapped the screen.

"Wave bye to Bella guys," he said and they immediately held their little hands up.

I waved my own hand as I said, "bye guys, I love you and I miss you."

They both started squirming again and Jasper laughed as he set them down on the floor.

"And they're off," he said as he looked back at the screen with a smile.

It slipped from his face as he saw me wipe a tear that had escaped.

"You okay?" he asked worry clear in his voice.

"Yeah, I just miss them already."

"Well, we can do this anytime." he said.

"I know. I think it'll have to be every other day though." I said. "That's when I'm in one place all day and can call before they go to bed."

"Alright, but I'll make sure it's on all the time just in case."

"Thank you," I said.

"You're welcome, Bella," he said, just as a yawn worked it's way out.

Jasper chuckled and I said, "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. I'll let you go, so you can get some rest."

"Alright," I said. "I'll talk to you in a couple days."

"We'll be here." He said and reached up like he was going to disconnect the call.

Before he could though, I said, "by the way, you have mail."

He grinned and said, "thank you."

I couldn't help but smile back before I said, "bye Jasper."

"Bye Bella," he said, before he hung up.

I sat there, staring at the screen for a few seconds before the exhaustion made my eyes grow heavy. Shutting the lid to my laptop, I stood and moved over to the bed. As I stretched out on it I couldn't help but wonder if he was already reading.

-TG-

Well? How did you guys like Jasper's email? Do you think Bella will say yes, no, or maybe?

Up next: Bella is in Hawaii