A/N This story is a collaboration between myself and teamedwardforever1998. I want to thank her for her wonderful ideas and input into it. Please leave a review to let us know what you think. We will try to update at least once a week for you as long as the story is well received and people are reviewing. Thanks and enjoy!

Close to Home

Chapter 1 - The Beginning of the End

August 31, 2010


I love my life; it's absolutely perfect. I have a job that I enjoy, friends who are always there for me, and the perfect man who I'll get to call my husband in two short months.

Mike Newton is absolutely amazing. I still remember that day six years ago when he asked me to the junior prom. We've been friends all our lives; in a town like Forks, where everybody knows everybody, it's kind of hard not to be friends with all the kids your age. Anyway, I'm digressing.

I remember I was a sophomore when Mike first caught my eye. He was so out of my league though. I'm five foot three inches and weigh one-fifteen soaking wet. I have muddy brown eyes and dark brown hair that's wavy and falls just above the small of my back. There's nothing really spectacular about the way I look; the truth is, I'm completely plain. I've never liked to wear make-up because I honestly don't see the point. It rains about ninety percent of the time anyway. That's the reason I always wear my hair up in a ponytail or bun too. There's no point in taking the time to style it when the rain just ruins it the second you leave your house.

Back to Mike though. He was different. As a sophomore, he was the starting quarterback for the Forks High School junior varsity football team, and he was good. He stood at five foot ten and had gorgeous blonde hair and sky blue eyes. I never noticed what a great body he had until, clumsy me, I ran into him in the hall one day after school. The moment I bumped into his rock hard chest, I was thrown off balance and would have easily fallen on my ass if it weren't for his quick reflexes. Before I was able to totally embarrass myself, his arms snaked out and wrapped protectively around me.

After I assured him I was okay and thanked him for helping me, he sprinted off to practice. I never stopped thinking about him after that. I guess you could say I was one of those girls who got a far off, dreamy look in her eyes whenever she thought about a guy she would never have. I even wrote combinations of my name with his in my notebooks. Isabella Marie Newton, Mrs. Mike Newton, Bella Newton, Isabella Newton. I know, I was pathetic but I was lovestruck and couldn't help it.

I secretly pined for Mike for an entire year. The only person I ever told was my best friend, Edward. There are no secrets between us, after all; we have been best friends since we were three. Anyway, I was walking out to meet Edward at his car after school one day in April when Mike called out to me as he quickly jogged over to join me. Mike had made the varsity team that year and led them to win state after the original starting QB was injured. Needless to say, I had no idea why he would want to talk to a plain Jane like me.


"Hey Bella, do you have a minute?" Mike asked once he caught up to me.

I was completely dumbstruck. Standing beside me, almost brushing up against my arm, was Mike Newton, the object of my affection for an entire year, and he wants to talk to me? What the hell? It takes me longer than it should to respond but I finally manage to squeak out, "Sure Mike, what's up?"

That's when I noticed for the first time that he's fidgeting; Mike Newton is actually fidgeting! "Well, um... I was sort of wondering... um... shit." I watch as he takes a deep breath and then continues. "Bella, will you go to prom with me?" he finally spits out.

I stop dead in my tracks and stare at him with my mouth gaping open like a fish. I must have heard him wrong. There's no way Mike Newton just asked me to prom. My mind is spinning and I'm trying to make sense of the conversation while he's just standing there staring at me; waiting for me to give him an answer. I can feel my pulse pounding in my ears and then realize a storm is coming when my vision starts to get really dark and soon I can't even see Mike's face anymore.

*End Flashback*

I didn't have a chance to answer Mike right away. Remember that storm that rolled in? Yeah, it wasn't a storm. I fainted and when I fell, I smacked my head on the pavement, giving myself a concussion. I guess I forgot to breathe with Mike standing right beside me. Luckily, Edward saw the whole thing happen and rushed me to the hospital after calling to make sure his dad was working.

When I woke up a few hours later on a gurney wearing a hideous looking hospital gown, I panicked. Edward explained what happened and then, with a smirk on his smug face, handed me his phone to call Mike. After apologizing profusely, I agreed to go to prom with him and we've been inseparable ever since.

Mike was offered a full ride scholarship to UW to play football. Being the nerd I was, I was excepted at several different colleges around the US, including Dartmouth and Stanford, but decided to stay in Washington with Mike. Two years into our degrees, Mike got drafted to the NFL and plays for the SeaHawks. Last year, with his help, they made it to the SuperBowl.

Now that was an experience, let me tell you. Tens of thousands of screaming fans filling every seat in the stadium and I was lucky enough to be dating the quarterback of the home team. At half-time, with the SeaHawks up by seven, Mike didn't join them in the locker room. Instead, he ran to his bag, grabbed something small out of it and then walked to the fifty-yard line. Once he got there, he looked up toward his private box where I was sitting with some of our friends and family, and dropped to one knee.

The whole stadium instantly quieted down as he opened the ring box up to flash the cameras. His picture was placed up on the jumbo-tron beside the words, 'Bella Swan, I love you. Marry me?'

My eyes kept flashing from his figure down on the field to the huge screen in front of me and back again. When my picture appeared beside his on the screen, I almost lost it. Mike was really proposing to me in front of a hundred and thirty-thousand people. Knowing everyone in the stadium, including Mike, was waiting for my answer, I clutched my chest and nodded my head vigorously. The second I did, the entire arena broke out into wild cheers and applause. Mike blew me a kiss and then ran into the locker room to join his team as the halftime show began.

The SeaHawks put forth a valiant effort, but lost to the Packers 27 - 24. The moment the game was over, I rushed out of the box and down to the waiting room just outside the actual locker room. After Mike showered and changed, he emerged slowly, his eyes scanning the room until they met mine. The moment they did, a huge smile took over his face and he closed the distance between us in three long strides. I couldn't hold my excitement in any longer and I threw myself into his arms, wrapped my legs around his waist and kissed him fervently; I didn't care who saw us. Mike and I were engaged!

When we finally broke the kiss, Mike set me down and fished in his pocket for the ring. It was a gorgeous three-carat solitaire, set in a simple platinum band. My breath caught in my throat as he slipped it on my finger and then kissed me again.

After talking about the wedding and different possible dates, we threw convention to the wind and decided on October 31st for our date. It was a Sunday and happened to be a bye-week for the SeaHawks, so Mike was able to take a few days off. We were going to have a traditional ceremony with our closest family and friends and throw a huge costume party for the reception held in the Grand Ballroom of the Seattle Marriott Waterfront.

Mike has spent the last few weeks at training camp getting ready for the season. The team pulled off their first pre-season win on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals but they still had quite a bit of work ahead of them to get ready for the weeks to come. He helped as much as he could with the wedding, but I knew he was busy so I tried not to bother him too much.

I know it's unconventional, but I asked Edward to be my 'man of honor'; he is my best friend after all. Then again, the whole wedding is somewhat unconventional, so I guess I'm okay there. I knew he wouldn't want to help me with the shopping and other details, but I wanted him by my side on the big day regardless. Today, though, I was out with Jess and Ang. They are both friends from high school who made the drive up from Forks to help me choose my dress and I couldn't be more grateful to them.

I have been trying on dresses for the last three hours, and although there have been a few in the 'maybe' category, I haven't found the perfect one yet. I'm standing on the pedestal in front of three mirrors, admiring the dress I have on when Jess' phone goes off. She's been texting someone for the last ten minutes or so, but this is the first time it's actually rang.

"Oh my god, Bella! I'm so sorry," she tells me as she glances at the screen, "I've got to take this." Without another word, she rushes out of the showroom and stands on the sidewalk out front as she answers the call.

I look over at Ang, who just shrugs her shoulders before I head back to try on yet another dress. The attendant helps me with the zipper and hands me the next dress to try on. I slip into it and she fastens it. I don't even have to look in the mirror to know I hate it. It's just way too poofy, but I walk out to show Ang anyway. My thoughts are confirmed when she scrunches up her nose at my appearance. "Eww!" she mouths and I bust up laughing as the attendant looks between the two of us.

"I know, right?" I ask Ang as I look at myself in the mirror. "It's hideous." I'm about to walk back into the dressing room when I remember that Jess isn't back. "Did Jess come back?" I ask Ang.

"Oh yeah, she poked her head in and said she had to run down the street. I guess she has a friend who wanted her to stop by but she's leaving for the airport for an hour. Jess didn't want to lose out on seeing her, so she said she'd text me when she was done to find out where we were."

The only reason I asked her to come at all is because she has impeccable taste in clothes, but she always was a flake so it doesn't surprise me in the least that she bailed. "That's okay, we don't need her opinion anyway," I yell over my shoulder as I head back into the changing room. The attendant and I go through the same routine as the last twenty dresses; she unfastens the one I'm wearing and helps me slip it off and then hands me the next in the long line of dressed to try on as she hangs the current one back on it's hanger.

The moment this one is on, I just know. This is the dress. It's absolutely perfect and fits my body like a glove. I won't even need to have it altered or anything and I'm ecstatic. When I walk out and do a little twirl, Ang gasps and its a done deal. I've found my perfect dress. It's a strapless dress with a tight bodice. The skirt flares out at the hips and it has a long, beautiful train. The entire thing is made of a gorgeous white satin material and has intricate embroidery starting on the left side just above the hip that trails the length of the dress.

I tell the associate that this is the dress and that I'd like to take it home today, so she helps me out of it quickly so that she can steam it and bag it up for me. Twenty minutes later, the dress is paid for, along with a beautiful pair of white heels and a veil that has an embroidered pattern very similar to the dress. Everything is bagged up and Ang and I walk outside into the humid Seattle air.

After checking my watch, I see it's only 3:30. We ate lunch at 11:30, so it's still too early to go anywhere for dinner, so we decide to head back to my apartment and wait for Jess there. It's only a few blocks from the dress shop, but we hail a cab anyway. This dress is freakin' heavy and I've only been carrying it for five minutes; there's no way I would be able to walk the three blocks back to my apartment.

Once we're safely tucked into the cab with my purchases, I give the cabbie the address and he heads down the street toward home. Mike will still be at camp for the next few hours, so I know I'll be able to hide the dress in the very back of the closet without him seeing it. We've lived together for the past four and a half years, but he's never gone snooping through my things. It's not like I have anything to hide, but it's good to know I won't have to worry about him trying to get a sneak peak of the dress before the big day.

The cab drops us off in front of the apartment building and Ang helps me carry the dress and accessories to the elevator. We have the entire top floor of the building to ourselves; one of the many perks of dating a pro-football player I guess. Once we reach my floor, Ang holds the dress up while I slip my key in the door and unlock it. I push open the door and then reach to take the dress from her. "Make yourself at home. There's water, soda, and beer in the fridge. I'm just gonna run this to the room and hide it in the closet," I tell her before heading down the hall.

I'm so lost in my own thoughts of how perfect the dress is that I don't hear the noises coming from in front of me until I open the door and walk in. The scene before me freezes me dead in my tracks and I drop my dress. Mike is lying naked on his back on the bed with a naked Jess straddling him. He's bucking his hips so fast and hard that Jess looks like she's riding a bull in a rodeo. They're both so involved in what they're doing that neither of them notice me right away.

I want to run, but I can't move my feet. I want to close my eyes or look away, but I'm glued in position. Finally, a choking sob escapes my throat and I whisper, "Oh my god!" before loosing my lunch all over our hard wood floors. Mike's eyes snap to me and he halts his thrusting. Jess, confused as to what Mike is looking at, turns her head and finally sees me before frantically grabbing for a sheet to cover herself.

My mind finally starts working again and I am able to speak. "It's over," I mutter before turning around and storming out of the room, slamming the door behind me. I'm out of the apartment so fast that I don't even explain to Ang why I'm leaving. As I wait for the elevator, I hear the door open but I don't look. I know it's Mike coming after me and he's the last person I want to see right now.

He speaks and my suspicions are confirmed. "Baby, wait, I can explain," he pleads, walking up behind me. He tries to wrap his arms around my waist but I'll be damned if I ever let him touch me again.

"Get your fucking hands off me you asshole," I yell as I whirl around to confront him. "I never want you to touch me again." I'm screaming now, but I don't care. "How could you do this to me! I loved you, Mike! I fucking loved you for six years and you fuck Jess? Why?"

"Bella, baby, ca..." he starts to speak but I interrupt him.

"Don't you ever call me baby again. I'm not your baby. You lost me the minute you allowed Jess into our room and fucked her on our bed," I scream at him again.

"Okay, I'm sorry. But Bella, can you please calm down so we can talk about this? I made a mistake and I'm sorry. I don't want to lose you."

I look at him as the doors to the elevator open. "Too late," I whisper as I step in. "Too fucking late." As the doors close, the waterworks start. My life has gone from perfect to hell in a hand-basket in one afternoon.