Disclaimer: None of this is mine. None of it.

A/N: I know, another story. But I plan on finishing all of my stories, so just stick with it.

Isabella slowly opened her cupboard, blindly reaching for some kind of glass. The sounds of mugs, cups, and glasses tinkling against each other arose as Isabella's fingertips clumsily groped past them. The reward brought a cool glass against her palm and almost instantly, Isabella's fingers constricted tightly around it.

Isabella sighed, closing the cupboard door softly as she placed the cup against the counter, pouring what has been longed and craved for since the moment she woke up. It sloshed against the sides as she poured it blindly, carelessly hoping it all falls into one place. She really doesn't need to clean up another mess, yesterday was more than enough.

Isabella groaned at just the thought of it, taking her drink to the far corner of the counter. What misery. Ten investors suddenly dropping their business, all in one single day. What would today bring? Another drop? Another disinterested customer? Bella sighed, running her free hand through her tousled, wet hair as she slumped against the counter.

Honestly, she probably will loose another investor. Today's economy is not very friendly with many businesses, but it seems especially short with hers. Snipping off investors and biting off branches, it's like an angry, rapid dog; if this continues, who knows what will happen. Well, the financial advisers know what will happen, but Bella just grimaces and lifts her cup, prying away that thought.

The lip of the mug graces her lower lip as she takes a large gulp, tipping back her head as her face pinches into a tight expression. Her lips curl as the liquor burns down her throat, swelling heavily into her chest. The warmth that bloats in her chest is nothing like the rageful fire in her throat. It's like swallowing gasoline then setting a match.

But she didn't pay much attention, swallowing down the burn as she set the mouth of her cup to her lips again. What will come of her business today?

Slam! Isabella jumps, her head snapping up to catch her fiancé sending her a sheepish grin before heading off towards the bathroom. She sighed, pursing her lips as she appraises her clothes that now seems to be proudly sporting the stains of her Jack Daniels.

Fuck. Shaking her hand, she wiped the remaining liquor on her pants as she hastily gulped down the rest of her drink, setting it down. A quick glance at the bathroom door gave Isabella the peaking suspicion that Edward was training lions in her bathroom, or some other wild creature. Why else would there be so many fumbling noises and crashes? Either way, it instantly redirects her to her bedroom. She doesn't have time to take another shower anyway.

All together, it takes her seven minutes to undress and dress completely. Including putting her four-inch heeled shoes back on, that honestly, are far, far too small. But a size up would require for her to admit that her feet have grown from a size five. So her pinky toe suffers silently as it rubs against the close toed shoe. Again.

And those seven minutes are all together too long. Because now she only has twenty-three minutes to get out of her apartment, cross the street and pass two blocks to board the 6:30 bus. Something she regularly has a comfortable thirty minutes to do.

Grumbling, Isabella stalks out of her room, and out from her door, ducking the morning kiss she always accepts from the corner of her mouth every morning from Edward. She feels somewhat bad as she strides to the door, unlatching the lock, and swinging it open wildly. So she casts a glance over her shoulder at Edward, who simply smiles happily at her before padding towards their shared kitchen. It caught her in mid step.

Isabella slowly lets go of the door handle, watching it as it clicks in place, shutting off her sight of her apartment. She momentarily ignores the fact that her twenty-three minute time slot is shortening with every second. Sometimes she forgets about Edward, doesn't she?

Not him overall of course. No, she remembers the small imprints of him. The warmth of his body as it presses up against hers, or the smell of Old Spice in the hazy morning light, between waking and resigning to falling back to sleep. She remembers the look of him, his toned pale skin, the crooked, unhinged grin and his copper light hair.

But sometimes Edward blurs into just another person, another face she has to forcibly interact with. And she forgets about Edward. The person in general, how he always smiles at her, even when she snaps or looses her shortening temper.

How it feels when he holds her, not the fact that he is warm, but the fact that he feels safe. Not only safe, but comfortable, loving and all around just…good. There is nothing risky about him, nothing that surprises her anymore. Having lived with him for years, there is not a single detail that has been left unraveled and undiscovered. And that's how she likes it.

Sighing lightly, Isabella left with a soft, contented smile, momentarily lifted.

But it lasts no longer than .7 seconds, because as she turns, the light beeping of the departing elevator intruded her mind. Sending her in an urgent trot, her heels throbbed in her four-inch heels as they pounded against the tiled floor.

When the metal doors closed, Isabella let out a feral snarl, one that trailed after her as she shot down the staircase. Her steps were frantic as they moved swiftly down the steps, prancing down levels with a lightning and rather dangerous speed. Her hands very barely ghosted past the railings as she finally hopped onto ground level of her apartment.

Nineteen minutes left.


She very barely made it. It feels like everything is working against her. The spill of her Jack Daniels, the elevator departing, and the long treacherous walk to the 6:30 bus. The second landed on 59 of 6:29 the moment her close-toed shoes stepped upon the bus, lifting herself into the cool air as the engine seemed to groan in her arrival.

It was empty. As it is every morning. Honestly, why this particular bus stays at the corner of Hampton Street every single morning at 6:30 for only her is beyond Bella. One would think the gas expenses would be regretful to only transport one person to their work every morning. But it remains at the corner of Hampton street every single morning at 6:30 for only her without fail. So she doesn't complain. At least this business has commitment.

Isabella sits in the very back, facing the window as the bus driver tiredly fumbles with the radio. His engine growls, groans and splutters before finally rearing the beast to life. Music filters through the static of the bus driver's radio, filling the silence of the musty air.

Sighing, Isabella slumps against her seat and stares out of the window, pulling her suitcase onto her lap as she watches the buildings and streetlights pass by.

She has a disheartened feeling by the time she has stepped up to her company's building, sliding open the large glass door and slipping inside. Seventeenth floor. At least the elevator is available.

The receptionist instantly straightens up as Isabella steps out from the sliding doors, her eyes frantic as they flicker across her computer screen. Her hands flutter about, as if it wasn't obvious she was clicking through online shopping sites, her pen scribbling down supposed notes.

Isabella rolls her eyes and strides past. Honestly, she wonders why all of her employees have some built-in fear of her, it's not like she's cruel or any-

"Cringston!" Barked Isabella, narrowing her eyes at one of her employees who is, unfortunately fiddling with a rubrics cube at a wrong time. Instantly after hearing his name, the man slumped down in his seat, as if to make him look smaller and unnoticeable among his other peers. "Drop the game and get back to work, or I will make sure that your life will be just as impossible as, undoubtedly, that cube is to you."

Mr. Cringston nods quickly and returns to his computer, his spine stiff and uncomfortable, only tightening more as the sound of Isabella's office door clicks shut.

The day rolls by slowly, painful even. Investors are at least not dropping like flies. Some seem curious, sniffing the air with a wavering dedication, balancing on the fence to either keep their business or make a dash for it. Leaving the company with nothing to do but wait on tenterhooks.

By the end of the day, nothing progressed. Nothing. Sure, she argued with some of the stubborn investors, but none had even decided to drop her, which would at least give her a sign of whether or not she had a job tomorrow or not. But by the end, Isabella was just as stressed as the day before. But that's just how life is. It's a cycle of misery that just adds more factors along the way. It's whether you accept these terms or not that makes any difference. You can tread the dark waters carefully and wait for the tides to calm, or you can fight it all the way to the bottom, all the way until you are drowning and you don't even want to swim anymore. Just swallowed by the sea.

The long haul home from work was even more treacherous as her slow crawl towards it. One of her employees had made a mess with the written documents of the amount of debts waiting to be paid from one investor, giving the wrong factor of numbers to the director and causing hell to rain down on Isabella. She had to miss her 9:45 bus ride home just so she could sort out the problem and apologize to the customer.

Trudging through the door, Isabella sighs softly, collapsing into one of her chairs. She forgoes dinner, feeling her stomach tighten at just the thought of food. Stress was squirming in her stomach like a bunch of worms, eating away at her bit by bit.

"Tough day?" Edward's soft velvety voice met her in the darkness as hard hands clamped around her shoulders. It was supposed to be comforting as his large fingers worked into her tight muscles, but honestly, she just felt irritated.

Isabella didn't answer him, but straightened instead, rolling her shoulders as if to roll the question right off her back. All it did was roll his hands off her shoulders. Which worked just as well.

She rose from the chair and padded to the cupboard, blindly grasping for a cup, glass or mug. It didn't matter. She just needed something to ebb the growing disappointment from today. Edward had apparently followed her there, despite her not hearing a sound. Glancing down unenthusiastically, she noticed his bare feet next to her four-inch heels.

Crinkling her nose, she looked away. He always had the nastiest toes.

A careful, gentle hand rose and grasped a cup. A white mug was pulled out with black italics stating: I Love Lucy across its front. Her mother gave her that cup to her four Christmases ago. She always hated it. Who was Lucy, and why exactly did her mother feel the need to tell her this via cup? She never asked and honestly, forgot about its existence until now.

But it's a cup, and she really needs a drink. So she grasped its white handle and tiredly poured herself another glass. Usually she only has one glass a day, but it's not bad if you pour yourself two (or three), just to soften the edge of it, right?

"Hey," Edward's soft voice rumbled in his chest, vibrating against her back as he pressed up against her. His hold wasn't comforting now, it was irritating. She wanted him to stop. "It's going to get better Bells, I promise."

Isabella wanted to ask him how he was going to do that, how was he going to fix this? But she just swallowed her drink and closed her eyes, feeling the pleasurable burn bristle through her. Any words burned up in her throat as she slowly relaxed, the stress and resentment dwindling into small embers that will no doubt reignite again for tomorrow.

But for now, she let herself believe Edward's words.

That everything was going to change, that it would be better. Even by some small chance, she wished for things to be different.

And unknown to her, things would. Completely.

For better or for worse

Don't judge me, JAP will be updated. But this story has been stuck in my head for a while, and summer just isn't as free as I remember it to be. However, this is kind of a story I have to commit to, since it will be long. Chapter one really doesn't indicate where I'm taking the story from here, but if you stick with it I'm sure it will be worth it.

Next chapter has Alice!