Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, they belong to Stephanie Meyer and no copyright infringement is in any way intended. All I own are my ideas.

Chapter 51 – Bottled Up

BPOV

It's been a week since Alice was put into the hospital. I wish I could say that things have gotten back to normal, but if the way things are now is normal, then I don't want it.

This past week has just flown by. Unfortunately, between my job and Edward's we have not really had a chance to talk to one another. I had hoped that we might be able to spend some time together today since we are both off, but that is not the case because Edward is at the hospital for a family therapy session.

When I was first informed about the meeting I wasn't sure what to think. However, instead of saying anything to Edward I decided to talk to Carmen during our appointment.

Flashback

"How have things been going for you?" Carmen asked when I first sat down.

"They have been okay."

"It sounds to me like there is possibly something that you are keeping to yourself."

I let out a sigh because maybe I was overreacting to the entire situation. "Bella, talk to me. It has been a couple of weeks since we last met and I can hardly believe that something hasn't happened that you want to talk about."

"Actually Carmen a lot has happened. I'm just trying to decide where to begin."

"How about at the beginning."

I take a deep breath before I begin. About two weeks ago Jasper came by the apartment and told us that he had discovered that Alice had been using drugs. Anyway after he left and for the several days that followed Edward basically avoided me." I let out a sigh before I continued.

"Edward's behavior bothered me, causing me to rethink my decision to move in with him, and he found out. He came over to my apartment and we talked things out. Things got a little better but then last Friday there was an intervention of sorts at Edward's parents house. Alice got upset that I was there so I left so that I didn't cause any additional friction. Now this weekend there is a family therapy session at the hospital where Alice was placed and I was excluded. I know I'm not related by blood but she is married to my brother and while it may have been a while, we used to be close, or so I thought. I just feel so alone in the situation. I know I'm probably overreacting," I ramble.

Carmen took a breath before she replied. "It sounds like you are maybe harboring some resentment toward Edward."

"No, why would I have any anger or resentment toward Edward?"

"Calm down. Let me ask you one question before I explain why I believe you may be harboring anger toward Edward."

I nod to let her know that I'm listening to her.

"Have you talked to Edward about how you felt when you ended up leaving his parents' house? Have you discussed, at all, for that matter what all has taken place since you found out about Alice?"

"We talked when he basically disappeared for those days."

"Can you say that you truly forgave him for how he treated you?"

"Yeah, but…"

"But what Bella?"

"I have forgiven him. I truly have. I guess there is a part of me that wonders when he is going to decide that Alice and Jasper are right. There is a niggling in the back of my head that just can't get past it."

"Now we are getting somewhere."

End of flashback

I hate to admit it but Carmen hit the nail on the head. As much as I have forgiven Edward for treating me the way he did, I lost some trust in him and in our relationship. Sure it was my decision to leave the Cullen house during the intervention, but Edward didn't stick up for me.

The question is, how am I going to get past it? I'm lost in my thoughts of what exactly I should do when I feel my phone vibrate.

I can't help the smile that graces my face when I see that it is Angela.

Want to go out? – A

Part of me thinks I should text her back and say no so I can hopefully spend some time with Edward, but then I think about how I have no idea when Edward is going to be home anyway.

Sounds like a plan. What do you have in mind? – B

It isn't long before my phone is vibrating again.

Dinner and Drinks. We still need to celebrate your new job. – A

I smile and think back to Angela's reaction when I told her about my new position. She got a little teary eyed before she started jumping for joy.

I'm definitely up for a celebration. Meet you at 6? – B

6 it is. See you in a bit – A

I place my phone on the charger as I get ready to go out. Maybe a girls' night out is just what I need to figure out a way to truly get past everything that has been going on.

I'm walking out the door at 5:30 ready to meet the Angela. I know the spot where we are meeting and it is only a 15-minute walk from the apartment and this will give me a little extra time to get there.

When I get to the bar I find Angela standing outside talking to Leah and Rose. I furrow my brow as I try to figure out what all three of them are doing here.

"Hey guys," I say when in walk up to them and give each one a hug.

"Hey Bella, hope you don't mind that we kind of crashed your dinner with Angela," Rose states.

"You aren't crashing. Although I didn't realize that you all three knew one another."

"Of course I know Angela, and as for Leah here. I know her through her boyfriend. I saw them at the gym today and Angela invited us out for a girls night."

I look at Angela and fight back the tears that have started to well. Somehow she always knows what to do to make me feel better. "Angela was right. I don't know about you girls but I know I sure need this night out. Shall we head inside?"

We make our way inside and follow the hostess to a table in the back. Once we are seated we all immediately start perusing the drink menu. Once I decide what I want to drink I look at the dinner menu while the other girls make their decisions.

Once everyone has ordered their drinks Rose turns on me. "So, Bella what is this I hear about a new job."

"I was offered a full time position at Victims' Assistance and after considering all my options I have decided to take it. I gave my office my notice this week and in just over two weeks I will be out of there," I stated.

"I'm so happy for you. So what does Edward think about this change?"

At Rose's question both Angela and Leah look at me. They both know a little about how I've been feeling lately and I guess they are waiting to see if I share.

I take a big drink before I answer her. "He seems okay with it."

"What exactly does that mean?" Rose asks as she looks at Angela and Leah. "What's going on Bella? You can talk to us."

I take a deep breath before I begin to speak. "It means that while he seems supportive we haven't really talked about it or basically anything lately. I told him about the offer and he told me that I should do what will make me happy." I state with a shrug.

With that I proceed to change the subject. "I don't want to talk about family drama tonight. I'm here to celebrate my new job and that's what I plan to do." I tell the girls before I down my drink.

I get up and make my way to the bar to order another. I need to get away from the sympathetic looks they are all giving me.

The rest of the evening passes with the liquor flowing as we celebrate my new job.

EPOV

I can't help but wonder if I made the wrong choice in going out with Emmett and Jasper last Friday night. Sure, Jasper needed support, but at the same time so did Bella. I woke up Saturday morning to a note from Bella reminding me that she was spending the day with Angela. I couldn't help but let out a sigh because I really wanted to see Bella before I left for the hospital.

The rest of the weekend and most of this week went with Bella and I basically passing in the night. We got to spend a few hours together but for the most part the only time we spent in the vicinity of one another was while we were sleeping.

Here it is Saturday and once again we are not going to be together. Dad called earlier this week and informed me that there is a family therapy session at the hospital today. When I told Bella about it I could see that she wasn't happy but I didn't want to push.

Sadly the therapy session went just about how I would have expected it to go. Alice blamed everyone but herself and Mom was listening to her excuses. I was never so glad to have an hour over with than I was today. Mom and Dad asked me to go for dinner with them but I begged off, instead choosing to come home.

When I got home the silence of the apartment was a dead giveaway that Bella wasn't home. I made my way to the kitchen where we have our message board and found a note from her stating that she was going out with Angela for dinner and drinks.

I grab a beer out of the fridge and make my way to the bedroom. I jump in the shower before I plant myself on the couch to watch the game. About halfway through the game my phone vibrates.

I look at the caller id before I answer. "Hello."

"Hey Edward. How are you doing?"

"I'm good Emmett. How are you?" I ask.

"I'm good. Although Rose ditched me to go out with the girls, so I'm bored."

I chuckled. "Well, I'm not doing anything exciting, just watching the game. You are free to come over and watch with me if you want," I tell him.

"Sounds good. I will be there in about 30," Emmett replied.

"See you then," I said before we disconnected.

I order a pizza while I wait for Emmett to show up. The timing is perfect as the pizza arrives right as Emmett does.

We both sit down and start watching the game. At halftime Emmett turns to me.

"How have things been going lately?"

I let out a sigh before I answer. "They've been okay I guess. It's just been crazy lately. With everything going on with Alice, I just feel like I never have any downtime."

"How is Alice doing? I asked Jasper but I think he is sort of in denial about the entire situation," Emmett shrugs.

"He isn't the only one. We had a 'family therapy' session today and both of my parents are coddling Alice. I guess I can't really say much though, look at how I have messed things up."

Emmett must have known what I am referring to because he says, "I thought things were better between you and Bella."

"They are, but they aren't if that makes any sense."

"Not really bro. Care to elaborate on that statement."

I let out a sigh before I begin to speak. "Things are better and obviously Bella decided to still move in with me, but ever since then and especially after the intervention last week I just get a feeling that Bella is holding back. It's like she doesn't want to give her all to the relationship."

"Have you talked to her about it?" Emmett asks.

"No. We have been working pretty much opposite shifts all week. Then today I had to go to that family therapy session and when I got home there was a note stating that she had gone out," I explain.

"Yeah, I believe she is out with Rose, Leah and Angela. Rose mentioned a girls' night out to celebrate. I'm not sure what they are celebrating but Rose was excited."

"If I had to guess I would say that the celebration is for Bella's new job."

"Bella got a new job. That's great. I know that her boss has been a real ass, especially here lately. That girl can definitely use a break."

I nod. Listening to Emmett talk makes me realize that there is so much I haven't realized about Bella. I have known that she isn't happy at her current job, but I never realized that there might be more to her unhappiness.

Thinking of all the changes that are taking place makes me realize how strong Bella is and how much I have been taking that strength for granted. In the past several months Bella has had to deal with being raped, a serious illness, her brother turning on her, me treating her like shit, and even my parents giving her the cold shoulder lately.

I shake myself out of my thoughts as the third quarter starts.

The rest of the game goes by and as soon as it's over Emmett leaves. I want to text Bella and see when she is going to be home but decide not to bother her while she is out enjoying herself.

About two hours later, as I 'm getting ready for bed there is a knock on the door. I answer the door only to find Angela holding up a very intoxicated Bella.

I can't help the chuckle that escapes me. "Looks like you had a nice night out."

Angela doesn't really answer the question. Instead she says, "Bella had a few too many. How about you help me get her to bed and then I will tell you about the night."

I furrow my brow because I have a feeling that I'm not necessarily going to like what Angela has to say. I take Bella and direct her to the bedroom. I get her changed into her pajamas and tuck her in before heading back to the living room.

Before I even got a chance to ask Angela if she wanted something to drink she started speaking.

"Edward, I really like you and I know that Bella loves you but what are you doing?"

"What do you mean? Did something happen?"

"You really have no idea how much Bella is hurting, do you."

"I know things have been stressful, and my attitude after we found out about Alice didn't help but we worked through that. Besides, who are you to lecture me."

"I'm Bella's best friend. I'm the person who had to watch her tonight as she tried to drown her sorrows and not bother anyone with her problems, when what she should have been doing was enjoying the celebration of her new job."

"Well Angela, since obviously I have no idea what you are talking about, why don't you enlighten me as to what you see as the problem." I seethe.

Angela must notice that I'm getting angry because she changes her tone. "Sorry Edward, I just hate seeing Bella struggle so much and this stuff with Alice is just the icing on the case. I really think that you need to talk to her. She hasn't come out and say it but she is terrified that you are going to decide that she isn't good enough and leave her."

"Why would she think that?" I ask.

"I don't know exactly why she thinks that. Maybe you should talk to her, before it's too late."

"Thanks Angela. I will. Also, thank you for making sure she got home safe."

I shut the door after I let Angela out and sigh. I knew that things have been off with Bella, I just didn't realize that she is questioning my commitment to her.

I make my way to the kitchen and grab a bottle of water. I take it, along with some aspirin to the bedroom and watch Bella sleep. I can tell that she isn't sleeping restfully as she is tossing and turning.

One thing is clear; Bella and I need to talk. There is obviously stuff that she isn't sharing with me and I don't want to end because of a failure to communicate. Tomorrow will be spent together, working through our problems.