A/N: This was originally written for the Fandom4Tsunami compilation. I have decided to continue this story. The second part of it is included in the Fandom Fights Sexual Assault compilation. Big hugs to Maxipoo for lending me her brain again, and to JaimeArkin for her love and a beautiful banner.
Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight... and me.
Can you place yourself in a moment's notice,
in my situation?
Increasingly you've made me cold and afraid,
a lonely companion.
Apparently love runs on one way courses,
away from contentment.
Or maybe there's anger that can't be expressed,
that fuels your resentment.
Nothing's good, nothing's right, but I love you.
Second Chances ~ Paper Route
"What do you mean Tanya is sick? I thought we covered this already. You said you were done, you said you were ready to make this..." I indicate the space between us trying to hold back my tears. "...real. Make us real."
"Bella, she's dying. You want to me to leave her now when I know that she is dying?" He scrubs his hands over his face in frustration. "I'm not heartless. She's my wife for Christ's sake!"
"Do I want you to leave her now? No, Edward! I wanted you to leave her yesterday! Last week... last fucking year!" The drink in my hand hits the wall above his head. He ducks and then runs at me, tackling me onto the bed.
His hands cradle my face. "Baby, please calm down. You have to understand why I can't walk away now. You do understand, don't you? You can't blame me for not wanting to leave now." Tears make their way down his face and mix with mine as they fall onto my cheeks.
"And you have to understand why I have to walk away from you now." I say as a sob rips through my chest. The pain is almost unbearable as I feel the weight of my statement press down on me. I move out from under him and collect my bags that sit on the floor.
Edward calls out to me as I reach the door.
"Don't do this, Bella. Throwing it all away now would be ridiculous."
I turn to him with my hand still on the door knob.
"Six years, Edward. I gave you six years, and I don't have anything else to give. You've taken it all, and you've given me nothing in return. Time's up, baby. Good bye."
Walking out the door of our hotel room is the hardest thing I've done in my entire life.
The intense memory of my last moments with Edward flood my mind as I head towards home for the first time in over five years. Home. Could I even call it that anymore? I've been dreading this moment since I received the invitation in the mail eight months ago. I know I would never miss my brother Emmett's wedding, and I still hate him for bringing me back to this place. He knows it will kill me to see Edward again, and since Emmett is marrying Edward's sister I know that seeing him is inevitable. I'm terrified.
I pull into the driveway of my parent's house and I get choked up when I see my father's car parked there. I've been worrying about what this trip will make me feel. The only thing I know for sure is I have definitely missed my parents. I know that I kind of broke their hearts by staying away, but the alternative was unfathomable.
I step out of the car I rented at the airport in Seattle and stare up at my childhood home. I hear a throat clear and find my father looking down at me.
"It's been a long time, Bells. I didn't think you would actually show up." He smiles the smile that makes all of my troubles melt away. He's my daddy, and I'm safe here.
"Hey, Dad. Did you really think that I would miss my own brother's wedding? C'mon, what kind of girl do you take me for?" I smirk at him.
Charlie takes my bag from me and allows me to walk up the front steps in before him. I see the wind chime that I gave my mom for her birthday when I was thirteen and the pink rocking chair that my dad made for me when I was seven, still sitting on the porch. Somethings never change, but I have definitely changed. I'm not sure if that makes me happy or sad.
When I walk into the house, I see that in fact there has been no change here at all. School and baby pictures of Emmett and I line the walls and the mantel. I see that the same brown shag carpeting that has been there since before I was born. I'm convinced that these things are what feed my need for constant change. I rotate my furniture twice a month and add art to my body whenever the mood strikes me. That actually started with Edward, but it certainly did not end with him.
My dad drops my bag at the bottom of the stairs and I sit down on the couch.
"So, Dad, where's Mom?"
"Oh, she reads to the kids at Forks Community on Tuesdays and Fridays. Dr. Cullen says that it's really good for the kids and she really likes it."
"Wow, that's great. How are Dr. and Mrs. Cullen doing these days?" I ask, hoping that it doesn't have anything to do with Edward.
"I don't know, Bells. Dr. Cullen is still at the hospital and Esme is busy planning Rose and Emmett's wedding. She's doing much better now, she took Tanya's death really hard a few years back." He sighs and looks at me. "Did you know she passed?"
"Um, no. I had heard that she was sick, but I didn't really keep in touch with anyone after I left. I didn't know she actually passed away."
"It doesn't seem right. You keeping yourself away from everyone for so long. Tanya was your best friend's sister. Didn't you send your condolences to Alice?" He asks, looking sincerely concerned.
"No, I didn't. Alice and I haven't been best friends in awhile. I haven't spoken to her in years, actually." Even as I say it I have a hard time believing that it's true.
Charlie puts his hand on my shoulder and pulls me so that I have no other choice but to face him. "So what are you doing here, Isabella?"
"I'm not really sure, Dad. I'm going to go to Em's wedding, smile for pictures, and then I'm going to get on a plane and go back to Phoenix. There's no place for me here anymore, and besides that I don't think anyone wants me here longer than necessary." I can't stop the tears that escape.
"There is always a place for you here, with me and your mother. And I want you here as long as you'd like to stay. Never doubt that, Bella."
"Thanks, Dad." I say dropping my head onto his shoulder.
The next day is blur of activity. I have breakfast with my parents and then my mother drags me off to Port Angeles to get primped for the rehearsal dinner. I've been trimmed and blown dry, buffed and polished. I've even been waxed and exfoliated. I should feel beyond prepared for the night ahead, yet some how I still feel like something is missing. I look at my self in the mirror behind my bedroom door. I'm wearing Valentino and Louboutin thanks to the fashion girls at work. I've never taken full advantage of my position at the magazine, but for this occasion, I couldn't resist.
I know that Edward is going to be there, and I know that there will be questions. Hopefully, if I look my best, I'll be better equipped to deal with it. Who the fuck am I kidding? I'll never be equipped for what is going to go down tonight. I grab my clutch and stare at myself again. I let my mind wander to how different my life would be if Edward was waiting for me downstairs, how it would feel to arrive on his arm. I sigh and test out the smile I've been rehearsing all day. It still looks fake. Maybe no one will notice.
I climb into my rental and take a deep breath. I haven't been to Emmett and Rose's new place, so I'm not sure what to expect. When I get to the street I see there are so many cars and people walking along the sidewalk that leads to the party. Rose requested that all the guests dress in formal attire and from where I'm sitting in my car, everyone looks beautiful. I finally find a place to park and take a deep breath before I open the door and step out into the warm evening air. I make my way up the driveway and say a prayer that the next few hours don't kill me.
I walk through the open door and immediately know that this house belongs to my brother and Rosalie. The foyer has a huge portrait of the two of them holding one another and laughing. I step into what looks like a formal living room and see Emmett's football trophies and medals along with Rose's pageant trophies and crowns. She definitely has more awards than he does. That makes me giggle. I here a throat clear behind me and find the pageant queen herself standing behind me. She is as stunning as I remember her being. She is wearing a gorgeous white party dress that makes her legs look a mile long and of course a tiara on her head.
"God, Rosalie you look gorgeous." I stare at her and really don't know what to say.
"Well Jesus Fuck, Bella. I thought you were dead. Emmett is going to shit himself when he sees you." She takes the necessary steps towards me so that we can hug. "I missed you, little sis."
I still have my arms around Rose when I see my brother walk into the room. "Hey, Rosie. People are asking for you, baby. We gotta get out-" He stops mid word and his eyes go wide as Rosalie let's go of me. "Bella..." My name comes out as a whisper.
"Hey, Em. Your home is beautiful. Congratulations on all of this," I say, waving my arm, indicating the room that we are standing in.
Emmett steps towards me and Rosalie backs away but doesn't go to far. He looks like he is seeing a ghost. The color has drained from his face and he hasn't closed his mouth yet.
"Bella... what are you doing here? Where have you been? How did you know?" he asks all at once.
Rose giggles before she steps in. "I invited her, Emmett. Did you think that I was going to let her miss this? We've each only got one sibling, they both better damn well be at our wedding." she looks pointedly at me before she continues. "That reminds me, your dress for the ceremony is upstairs. Remind me to give it to you before you leave."
"My dress? I have a dress to wear to the wedding, Rose."
"I'm sure you have a dress, but you need the dress." She chuckles "The one you will wear when you are my maid of honor. Like I said there are only two siblings, and we expect you and my brother to stand up on that alter with us."
I suddenly dawns on me that Rose is telling me, not asking, that I am in the wedding not just attending the wedding. She is also telling me that I am to be paired up with Edward in the wedding. I can't imagine what my face looks like as I digest this information, but it must be something because Rosalie's next words come at me in a rush.
"Shit, I'm not going to force you, Bella. Alice can stand in for you, but I just know that it would mean a lot to Em and I if you stood up there with us," she says with a smile.
"Of course, Rose. I'd be honored."
We make our way out of the house, and what I see takes my breath away. Rosalie never does anything half way, and my brother can't deny her anything. The result of that is that every white flower in the Pacific Northwest is in their back yard. There are thousands of little lights and a massive white tent set up for the festivities. It is beautiful.
"We have to speak with the minister, Bella, so we can get an idea of what to expect," Emmett says as I walk with them to the entrance of the tent.
I look toward the front of the tent and my world stops spinning. Edward stands with the minister and the sight of him causes me to stop walking. I am acutely aware that none of our family knows about the relationship that Edward and I shared. This thought forces me to try and collect myself before I reach him. When his eyes meet mine, I feel it. He smiles as he shakes Emmett's hand and kisses his sister's cheek.
Rosalie pushes me towards him. "Edward, you remember Bella, Emmett's little sister," she says and I cringe.
"Of course, it's been a long time, Bella. You look lovely," he says as he leans in and kisses my cheek. I feel the spark when his skin touches mine, and I have to fight to keep my reaction neutral.
"It has been a long time, Edward. You look well. I'm sorry to hear about Tanya." I look in his eyes as I speak, and I watch as he becomes uncomfortable under my gaze. 1 point for Bella.
"Thank you." It was all he said to me before turning to Rosalie. "So, what do you need me to do?"
I listen as well as I can to everything that the minister says to the four of us, while simultaneously watching every single move that Edward makes. I notice that he doesn't look at me at all. In fact, he didn't even try to look at me. I start to wonder if he is making an effort or if he just genuinely doesn't want to look at me. In all the years that I have been away, it never dawns on me that he would be upset that I left him. I always assumed that he was sorry for putting me through everything that he had, and that he'd eventually apologize. Now that he is standing in front of me, it seems as though our past is of no consequence to him.
"... then Bella will walk down to meet Edward at the end of the aisle, Edward will help her up the stairs. The two of them take their places and then turn to wait for Rosalie to make her appearance." I have no idea what the first part of the speech is about. All I heard is that I am walking down the aisle to Edward. Great.
After the four of us enter the tent and greet the members of our combined families that have gathered there, the minister walks us through the ceremony. It is strange to see my brother the way that everyone else sees him. He has always just been my big, goofy, crazy Em. Now he is going to be someone's husband. I'm suddenly aware of how much I have missed. Standing behind Rose, I have a perfect view of Emmett's face. The way he's looking at her makes my heart ache, and all I can think is I want someone to look at me that way someday. I catch a glimpse of Edward behind Em, and I see that he is looking at me like that. His eye's are bright and happy, and I don't get it at all.
We sit at a long table to have dinner with our parent's, and I am dreading the conversation. I don't want to talk about my life, and I don't want to hear about anyone else's life. Wow, I suck. I really don't want to hear about Edward's life. Maybe he's happy and has moved on. Yeah, I definitely don't want to hear about it.
I have no idea what I'm eating, all I know is that I want to get out of here as soon as possible. I excuse my self and head inside to find the restroom. The house is huge and I actually get lost before I find it. I lean back against the door after I shut it. How the hell did I get here? I make my way to the sink and stare at myself in the mirror. I look the same as I always do, how I feel is another issue all together. I want to run out of this room, down the stairs, straight to the airport, and back to my bed. Get your shit together, Bella. Don't let him see that he broke you.
I open the door and find Edward leaning against the wall facing me. I move to walk passed him, but he blocks my path. He puts his hands on my hips and walks me backwards. He shuts the door with his foot. I hate that my body instantly responds to him. My breaths and heartbeat quicken to match his. His finger tips burn straight through my dress. Valentino can't even protect me from him.
"Were you even going to try to talk to me tonight, Bella?" he whispers into my ear.
My entire body shakes, and I start to doubt my ability to speak but finally manage one word. "No."
"Why not? What are you trying to prove? It's not like I'm going to stand up and announce that I once spent six years learning every inch of your body. Or that I fucked up so bad that you walked away from me and I never heard from you again. That I have no idea where you've been or what you've been doing." He places a finger under my chin and uses it to make me look in his eyes. "We're adults, can't we be friendly or at least civil with each other? We are about to be family, after all. My sister is going to be a Swan." He chuckles mischievously.
"You're not allowed to talk to me like this anymore. You chose your path, Edward. The path you chose was the one that lead you away from me. We will be family, and we will have to see each other on the occasional holiday, maybe at birthday parties. For now though, I'm choosing to pretend like you and I never happened. Like I don't know anything about you, other than the fact that you are Rose's older brother. It's easier that way." I push him away from me and try to walk away from him. His voice stops me.
"For who? Who is it easier for?" He sounds defeated and moves closer to me. I can feel the heat from his body on my back. His forehead rests against the top of my head.
I feel my body relax and press back into his. I sigh as his lips touch my hair. "For me. It's easier for me, Edward. Someone has to look out for my best interests, and you have proven time and time again that that someone won't be you." I leave him in the bathroom and make my way back to the party.
I find Rosalie in the kitchen and decide it's time for me to leave. "Hey, Rose? I think I'm going to head out. I'm really tired, and I know I need to be at my best tomorrow."
"Of course! No problem, let me just go get you your dress. Do you want to try it on before you go?" she asks as we make our way up the stairs.
She leads me into what I assume is a spare bedroom where there are two garment bags laid across the bed. She unzips one of them and pulls the dress from inside. It is beautiful. Simple and yet subtle details make it extraordinary. At first glance it is red, but the longer I stare at it, it becomes clear that it is definitely more of a raspberry color. It occurs to me that this is not at all what I expect it to be.
"Rose, it's beautiful but totally unexpected," I say as I take the hanger from her hand.
"Let me show you mine, and then maybe you will understand." Rosalie moves to open the other garment bag and pulls out a beautiful ivory dress. It matches the Grecian, drape style of the one I am to wear, though hers is ankle length where mine is short. "Do you get it now?" she asks.
"I get it, and it's stunning. I can't wait to wear it!" I pull her into a tight hug. "I missed you, Rosalie."
"I'm glad you're home, little sis," she whispers as she holds me tight.
Once I get home and get out of my fancy clothes, I lie in my childhood bed and all I can think of is Edward. Somethings never change.
Seeing him standing against the wall when I walked out of the bathroom was like taking a step back in time. I wanted to reach out and touch him, drop to my knees and taste him. I imagined him lifting me onto the bathroom sink or taking me in the shower like he had so many times before. It took every ounce of my restraint to not jump on him right there in the hallway.
Let's face it, Edward is sexy as hell, and he always has that affect on me. All it takes is a smile and all of my common sense leaves me.
I roll over and scream into my pillow. Once I calm down, I hear a noise coming from outside of my window. I immediately know what it is. Edward. I sit up and I can clearly see him sitting in the tree outside, poking at my window with his umbrella. What the fuck. I sit and stare at him while he stares at me. It's strange, like really strange. I used to dream that he was there in that tree waiting for me, smiling at me. In the dream I could never get the window open, and eventually I would just wake up. I stand and walk towards him, slowly. When I reach the window, my hand lifts of it's own accord and my palm presses flat against the cold glass. The smile that lights his face brings tears to my eyes, and when he sees me bat those tears away, his smile falls. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out what looks like a piece of white paper. He unfolds it and holds it up so that I can read it. When I do, the tears start again.
"YOU ARE MY DREAM, BELLA. PLEASE."
I reach for the latch and push the glass that separates us away. "Please what, Edward?" I ask, moving back so he can climb in.
"Please let me talk to you. Please let me touch you. Please tell me that you're okay. Please let me love you. Please love me back." He takes a deep breath and lets himself slide down the wall until he is sitting on the carpet under the window. His head falls back with a thud and he looks up at me. "Please, Bella, don't walk away from me again. I won't be able to take it. Please."
I kneel in front of him and place my hands on his knees for support. I try to control my breathing and collect my thoughts before I speak, but it's no use. I can't concentrate on anything other than the way he feels under my fingers and the way he smells like home. I want to tell him to leave and to never come back. I want to hit him until he hurts like I have hurt for the past five years. None of that matters, though, because I also want to hold him until he doesn't look lost anymore. I want to kiss the tears that are running down his cheeks. I want him to be my Edward again.
I reach out to pull his hands away from his face and place them on my hips. He pulls me forward until I'm straddling his lap. His hands ghost up my sides and eventually cradle my face.
"I never stopped loving you, Bella. Not one single day went by without you in my heart. I have missed you so fucking much," he says before his lips crash in to mine. The kiss is hard and hungry, the exact opposite of his voice. He sucks my bottom lip into his mouth, before nipping at my chin and my neck. Finally his head comes to rest on my shoulder, and I can feel his shuddering breath against my skin.
"Your parents are sleeping at Emmett and Rose's. So are mine. The grown ups all drank too much." He chuckles and my insides melt. "Rose was making up the guest rooms when I left. I offered to bring them home, but our mothers were giggling about having a slumber party."
"So it's just us, then?" I ask, running my fingers through his hair.
"Looks like it," he says, kissing my collarbone.
"Stay here with me, Edward. Love me tonight. Give me a proper send off...the way we should have said good bye all those years ago," I whisper but the venom comes across loud and clear.
His arms tighten around me and he pulls me impossibly closer. "I told you I can't do it, Bella. I can't handle letting you go again. Please, baby..."
I swallow his words when I capture his lips with mine. He tries to stand and my legs lock around his waist. He only makes it up onto his knees before laying me down on the carpet beneath us.
I feel his mouth on my throat before I hear his voice. "I refuse to go into this thinking that it is the last time. I can't believe that this is it for us."
"Believe what you need to believe to get you through the night, Edward. I refuse to fool myself anymore. It is what it is, and I'm not saying that it's wrong. Maybe we just aren't meant to be. Love obviously isn't always enough. I loved you with my entire being and that still wasn't enough for you. You let me leave and it was really fucking easy for me to close that door." I try to sound strong and convincing. I try to make my words sting. From the look on Edward's face, I think that it's working.
He sits back on his heels and looks down at me. "Why are you being like this, Bella? Do you hate me this much?"
"I don't hate you, Edward. Stop being so damn dramatic. Did you honestly think that we were just going to pick up where we left off five years ago? Tanya's dead, so everything will be fine this time? Well guess what, it's not fine. I'm not fine. You broke my heart, and I'm not here to forgive you." A sob rips through my chest and the look on his face goes from hurt to anger. I know that I am hurting him, but this time I am determined to hurt him before he hurts me.
Suddenly I'm being lifted off of the ground and laid down on my bed. Edward removes his clothes before he gently begins removing mine. He kisses every part of my body that is revealed to him, and I feel his tears as they fall on my skin. My hands ache to touch him, but instead I cover my face when the sight of him becomes overwhelming.
Edward lifts my leg and places soft kisses on my ankle and the inside of my knee. His lips are soft, and I wonder how many others have enjoyed them since I left. When his tongue finds my center all those thoughts are forgotten. This is my Edward, the Edward that knows how to make my body sing for him, the Edward that I crave.
My feet move to his shoulders, and I use his hair to pull him closer. His tongue is working me into a frenzy, and I can't keep quiet anymore. The moans that fall from my lips are almost embarrassing.
"Edward... come here, baby. I need you inside of me." I pull at his shoulders, but he doesn't budge.
"I don't think so, Bella. If this is the last time I'm going to be with you like this, I need it to be just as amazing as I remember. I want you to cum on my tongue and on my fingers before I let you cum on my dick. Let go, Beautiful...give it all to me," he says, looking up at me through his impossibly long lashes.
Before the words leave his mouth, I feel the burning low in my belly and as much as I don't want him to know he still has that effect on my body, I know I won't be able to hold back for long. I feel his shoulders shift and his fingers enter me slowly. He knows where I need him and he knows exactly what to do.
"I know you're holding back, baby. I can feel you. I know your body better than I know my own," he says, adjusting his position so that he can hold me still. His tongue works faster, and his fingers curl up to hit the spot that will surely send me over the edge. Before I can try to stop it, I cum. Hard. My body seizes and my heart feels like it explodes. I scream, calling on God and Edward and all the stars in heaven. The noise that comes from Edward is almost a growl. It's loud and animalistic. This is my Edward.
Edward's fingers dig into my hips and he pulls me down the bed, until my thighs rest over his. His lips crash into mine, and I can taste myself on his lips. He wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me on to his lap. I lift myself up just long enough for him to slide into me, and I gasp as he fills me.
He is everywhere; I can feel him, taste him, smell him. I roll my hips against him and smile as he moans. For some reason knowing that I still have this effect on him makes me want to torture him. I move so slowly over him, savoring every breath. My hands touch him everywhere I can reach. I use his hair to pull his head back, so I can have better access to his throat. He cries out, when I suck hard enough to mark him. I feel the moment he can't take it anymore. Edward squeezes me to his chest. My legs lock behind him as he falls on top of me again.
"Do you remember me, Edward? Can you feel me?" I say as I scratch my nails up his back
"Yes, Bella... God... yes." His voice is raspy and deep. He leans forward and sucks my nipple into his mouth.
"So good... Bella... I missed you so much." He pushes my knee toward my chest and slides in even deeper. I grab his shoulders and hold on tightly as his thrusts become more forceful. "How can you not want this? How can you not miss this? How can you think of anything else but the way it feels when I am inside of you like this?" His jaw flexes as he speaks.
The bed starts to shake and the headboard hits the wall. I can barely differentiate between the noise that it makes and the beating of my heart.
Edward assaults my aching nipples, twisting and nibbling on them until I scream.
"Fuck, Edward!" I bite down on his shoulder, and I see stars as my orgasm pulls me under again.
I can feel him twitch inside of me as my muscles pull him in deeper into me. Edward reaches up and grabs on to my headboard, using the leverage as his breathing and movements become erratic. I know that he is close. I kiss the place that I bit, licking and sucking the tender flesh at the juncture of his neck and his shoulder. I make my way closer to his ear so that I can talk to him, because I know how much he likes that shit.
"Edward... cum for me, baby... give me you," I whisper against his wet skin.
Edward shouts my name and a string of incoherent profanities. He holds me tightly kisses me hard before he drops his full body weight down onto me. I feel his breath fan out across my neck and for just one moment, I forget that five years have passed and if only for this moment, I am his.
"This doesn't change anything," I say into the darkness as I feel Edward's strong arms wrap around me and pull me closer to him. so that my back rests against his chest.
"Shhh... sleep now, my Bella." he kisses my temple as sleep takes me.
I wonder if you'd miss me
When I'm gone
It's come to this, release me
I'll leave before the dawn
But for tonight
I'll stay here with you
Yes, for tonight
I'll lay here with you
What If You ~ Josh Radin
I wake up and immediately know that I am alone in my bed. I roll over and I can still smell Edward but the sheets are cold. There is a note on my pillow and it makes me smile when I see it there. I open the folded sheet of paper and see Edward's unmistakable scrawl.
I thought that I should leave early in case Emmett brings your parents home. I just need to tell you that last night was more than I could have ever hoped for. I know you said it was good-bye, but I love you and I will never stop fighting for your forgiveness as well as your heart. I look forward to having you on my arm this evening.
All My Love,
I'm relieved that I'm not going to have to face Edward across the breakfast table, and I dread seeing him later at the Cullens' house. I try to relax and not think of the activities of the last twelve hours. I want to be able to enjoy my brother's wedding. He deserves for me to be present in the moment with him, and I fully intend to be. I am sitting at the table when my family walks through the front door.
"Hey, Bells! How's it going, baby sis? I brought the two drunks home," Emmett says as he sits down at the table next to me.
"I'm good, Em. You ready for your big day?"
"Of course I am. I have been waiting for this day for a long ass time. I'm going to make my girl my wife and live happily fucking ever after!" he shouts, picking me up out of my seat and spinning me around.
I squeal and hug my brother tight. "Put me down, Emmett! I'm trying to eat!" I try to sound angry, but my laughter gives me away. "I missed you so much, Em." I kiss hiss his cheek.
"I missed you, too," he answers, setting me back down in my chair. "Are you about ready to head over for hair and make-up, whatever other girly shit that Rosie has planned? Do you want to ride with me?"
"Sure. I'm almost ready. Give me a minute to grab my stuff."
I put my dishes in the dishwasher and go upstairs to get my purse. I also grab a small bag that contains my undergarments and a change of clothes. I run down the stairs and hear Emmett's car horn. Even on his wedding day he is acting like a child.
The ride with Emmett is filled with his loud rap music. He dances in his seat, and I roll down my window and dance along with him. This makes him laugh and turn the music up even louder. After Emmett turns off the ignition he turns to face me and playful Emmett is gone. "I was really surprised to see you yesterday, Bells. I'm glad you're here, and I hope that you don't stay away for so long again. Is everything okay with you? I mean, is there a reason you were gone for so long?" he asks, concern clear on his face.
"I'm fine, Em. I had a hard few years, but I'm good now. I needed to get away from here and find my place in the world. I think I finally have, but I'm glad to be home. I wouldn't have missed this for anything," I say, lying my head on his shoulder.
"I'm happy that you're happy. Now get in that house and let my girl torture you!" He chuckles and kisses the top of my head.
As I walk into the house, I am flooded with memories of the last time that I was here. I remember walking into Rose's bedroom, and finding Alice looking at my phone.
She read an incoming text message expecting it to be directions to a party we were heading to. Instead it was from Edward. And it wasn't rated PG. Thank God Rosalie was in the shower. She never told anyone my secret, and that almost made it worse. I could trust her with anything, but she would never trust me again. That was the last time I was here, and the last time that I saw Alice.
I'm sure she's going to be here today, and I'm not sure what to expect from her so it scares the shit out of me.
The house is bustling with activity when I walk through the door. I hear music playing and people carrying flowers outside. There is a breakfast buffet set up, and I see Esme standing at the top of the stairs calling out orders. She smiles when she sees me.
"Isabella! You're here! Come on upstairs, the girls are up here," she shouts, waving her arms.
I'm almost positive that by "the girls" she means Rosalie and Alice. As I make my way up, my stomach starts to churn, and I start to sweat. When I step into Rose's room, I find Rosalie in front of a vanity being fussed over by what looks like a hairdresser and a make up artist. There is an empty vanity to the left of her. Alice sits on top of the bed watching the progress. I can't imagine it taking much to make Rosalie ready for her big day. She is stunning in a ponytail and make up free.
"Bella!" Rosalie squeals as soon as she sees me.
"Hey, Rose," I say, and I can't help but smile at her. Alice stands up and walks towards me slowly. Fuck. I can see the tears in her eyes just before she throws her arms around my neck and hugs me tight.
"I've missed you so much, Bella," she whispers. "I hope you've been okay."
I pat her back and try to find my voice. "I have been fine, Ali," I manage to say before she lets go of me.
"I hate to break up the love fest but, Bella, you need to sit your ass down and let these ladies work their magic on that mess you call hair!" Rose says from her throne.
After what feels like forever, I am dressed and a photographer is taking pictures of Esme, Alice, and me as we help Rosalie get into her dress. She looks more beautiful than I even imagined.
"My brother is a lucky man, Rose. You look stunning," I comment as I fasten the dainty pearl bracelet that was my Grandma Swan's on to her wrist.
"I'm the lucky one, Bells. I get him and you." She kisses my cheek, and I see another flash of the camera. I look up to see Carlisle smiling at us.
"It's time, baby," he says to Rosalie as she makes her way to him.
I look around and notice that Alice is already gone. "I guess I'll see you out there, Rose," I say as I leave them to their moment alone.
I get to the french doors that will lead me out to the patio, just in time to see my parents walk down the aisle, followed by Esme and Edward. Suddenly I remember that I will be making the journey to the alter alone. Seems fitting.
Edward makes his way to his place at the bottom of the few stairs in front of the alter, then he turns to wait for me. The smile that lights his face when he looks at me is unnerving. What the hell was he looking at me like that for? Once I am standing next to him, he offers me his arm. I consider not taking it, but I decide that denying his gesture would make people curious.
I walk arm in arm with Edward to my designated place on the alter. He surprises me by taking my hand from the crook of his elbow and placing a kiss on my knuckles. I feel my face warm with my blush as the guests let out a collective sigh. I look around and find all eyes on me. Edward chooses this moment to turn and walk to the other side of the platform. Once he is in his place he winks at me. Fucking winks the jack ass.
All of my annoyance leaves me when I see my brother walking towards me. He stops in the front row and kisses my mother. She's already a mess. Emmett and Charlie do the manly back slapping hug before Dad puts his arm around Mom and kisses her hair. I smile at my brother, when his eyes meet mine, after he takes his place on the alter. I hope that it is comforting because he looks so nervous. The traditional wedding march begins to play and all of the guests stand to honor the bride. Rosalie and Carlisle come into view, the picture of perfection. Her smile is radiant and the tears in Carlisle's eyes shine brightly. I look back at Emmett and I can tell that he is holding himself back from running to her. He looks so happy and it makes me giggle. Edward pats Emmett on the back and winks at me. Again with the fucking winking.
The ceremony is beautiful. Rosalie and Emmett opt to write their own vows, hers making me laugh and his making me cry. I had been away so long that I missed the part when my brother turned into a man. It is nice to see that he is so happy and that he makes Rose so happy. As I sit at the head table watching their first dance as man and wife, I can feel Edward's eyes on me. I know that he is willing me to look his way. His heart calls to me and it is unbelievable that after all of this time, he still has this effect on me. My thoughts are interrupted by the DJ.
"At this time the bride and groom would like to invite the wedding party to join them on the dance floor. Edward Cullen and Isabella Swan, this song is for you." The opening notes of Adele's Make You Feel My Love start to play. Edward stands and walks towards me with an outstretched hand.
"May I have this dance, Isabella," he asks, flashing me the smirk that makes my insides melt.
I take his hand and push my chair back before I stand. "Of course, Edward."
We make our way to the middle of the dance floor and wrap our arms around each other. My body recognizes him instantly, and I have to stop myself from clinging to him. Edward smiles down at me as he leads me around the floor. Our joined hands rest over his heart, and I can feel it beating as fast as my own.
It is in this moment that I know I can't be here any longer. If I stay I will definitely get sucked back into my Edward bubble. I can't let that happen. I've worked way to hard to pull myself out of it. I turn my face and see my parents and the Cullen's smiling at us. Esme and Renee are holding hands and wiping tears away. When I turn the other way, I see Emmett and Rosalie singing to each other and lost in their own little world.
As the song progresses Edward holds me a little tighter. "I miss you in my life, Bella." I hear him whisper. "I know that you don't want to talk about it, but I wish you'd consider trying to get back to where we once were."
"That can't happen, Edward," I say, venom lacing my tone. "Tanya is gone. It would be impossible for us to commit adultery now. I'm leaving tonight. It will be as if I never existed. I promise."
When I look up at Edward I can see that my words have upset him and it gives me some kind of sick satisfaction. I can't let him see I am hurting too. I won't show him I still love him. He doesn't deserve it, not anymore. The song ends and Edward kisses my cheek, thanking me for the dance. Emmett and Rosalie hug us both fiercely before the four of us return to the head table.
Toasts are made and cake is cut. I dance with my Dad as well as Dr. Cullen and Emmett. The party is wonderful. I'm so happy for my brother and new sister. It makes me sad that I'm not going to be around as they build their life together. I think of them hosting their first holidays together and announcing that they are expecting. I feel hot tears slide down my cheeks as Edward gives his toast. I get out of giving one because I didn't know I was maid of honor until yesterday. Instead, Alice gives her blessing to her best friend and my brother.
Soon I decide that my time in Forks will come to an end. I'm supposed to stay until tomorrow night, but I know I won't survive that long. I stand and make my way to where my parents are sitting. As I approach them my Dad's face falls. He knows.
"Daddy? Mom? I gotta get going," I say as I sit in the chair across from them.
"Okay, baby. We'll see you in the morning. You look beautiful today, sweetie," my mom says, reaching for my hand. My dad takes her hand and holds it between his.
"No, Momma. I mean I've gotta get out of Forks. I'm gonna head to the airport tonight." I can't bare to look at her, so I stare at the table.
"But, Isabella, you said you weren't leaving until tomorrow. I want to spend some time with you. It's been so long since you've been home." My mom is getting upset and it's breaking my heart to watch. I look at my dad for some assistance.
"Renee, calm down. Isabella is a grown woman. She has her own life now, and it isn't in Forks, honey. If she says that she has to get home, than she has to get home." Charlie smiles at me and hugs Renee to his chest.
"I just miss you so much, Bella. This visit was to short. Don't leave without saying goodbye to Emmett and the Cullen's. Also you have to promise me that you will be back to see us again soon. Please don't stay away so long," she says as she stands up to hug me.
Charlie stands to hug me as well, and before I know it Emmett is coming over to see what is going on. "Hey, family! What's with all the hugging?" He smiles at us. My parents both look over at me and wait for me to explain. Emmett figures it out before I can even come up with the words. "Aww, Bells! You're leaving already? Why so soon, baby sis?" he whines at me.
"Oh you know me, Em. I can't stick around this place for too long. I need to get back to my job and my life. But I was just about to promise Mom that I'd be back soon. It's daddy's birthday pretty soon, and I'm going to be home for a week then. Scout's honor," I say holding up some random number of fingers in a crazy salute. They all laugh and then throw their arms around me.
I make my rounds with the guests, saying goodbye and telling everyone it was nice to see them. I shed a few tears when I get to Rosalie. "Take care of my brother, Rose. You're a Swan now, it's what we do," I whisper in her ear and she squeezes me tight.
"I will, Bella. Take care of yourself, baby sis. Don't stay away so long, he misses you." She kisses my cheek.
As I turn to leave the party, my eyes meet Edward's. I give him a small wave and a smile. His face is blank as he waves back at me. I can see that he is panicking, and I'm glad that I only have to see it for a second before I am out of the tent.
I'm happy that I packed last night, and I can get in and out of my parents house quickly. I lock the door behind me and walk out to my rental only to find Edward standing against it. "Were you going to leave without saying goodbye again, Bella?" He smiles sadly at me.
"I waved to you in the tent. In case you were unaware, that was goodbye," I say as I unlock the back door and throw my bags in the car.
"That's not good enough, damn it! Why are you being so stubborn?" He is shouting now, and I just want to get away from him.
"It is good enough, Edward. I don't owe you anything. You made your choice, now I'm making mine. I'm going back to my life, the life that i made for myself, the life that doesn't involve you," I shout back at him. I move to open the driver's door but Edward holds it closed. His chest is against my back, and I can feel his breath blow into my hair.
"Just let me go, Edward. Please. Just let me go," I whisper, bringing his arm around my waist and holding him to me.
"I don't know how, Bella," he says and I can hear the sorrow that his words carry. I know that he means it, because I don't know how to either.
I face him and cradle his face in my hands as my lips meet his. I don't move. I just stand there with my lips resting against his. Our tears mingle on my cheeks as we cry for what we know is lost. I pull away and lay my head on his chest. "Goodbye, Edward."
He opens my door for me, and I get inside before he closes it. I start the engine and try my best not to look at him. When I can't help it any longer, I turn to see his palm pressed against the window. I lift my hand and mimic what he is doing. I smile at him before I release the brake and pull away from the curb. I only look in the rear view mirror once as I sit at the stop sign on the end of our block. Edward is standing in the middle of the street facing me. I thank God I can't see the expression on his face. Defeat is apparent in the sagging of his shoulders. Goodbye, Forks. Goodbye, Edward. Again.
Don't fear your dreams
It's easier than it seems
You'll say you'd never
Let me fall from hopes so high
But never is a promise
And you can't afford to lie
You'll say you understand
You'll never understand
I'll say I'll never wake up
Knowing how or why
I don't know what
To believe in
You won't know who I am
You'll say I need appeasing
When I start to cry
But never is a promise
And I'll never need a lie
Never is a Promise ~ Fiona Apple