A/N: Hi, everyone. Sorry it's been awhile since I was here last. Things be crazy up in my life! But they're beginning to quiet down. (Thank God for summer camps!) I'd like to promise you all I'll be able to update weekly, but I can't lie to you. I honestly don't know how soon I can get the next chapter out. If my slow updating schedule causes some of you to quit reading, I'll understand.

To those of you who write reviews and leave me encouragement, THANK YOU! You guys are the reason I keep writing.

My beta is the beautiful and talented Mullet86. She's been really busy moving and still helps pretty my stuff up!

Disclaimer: SM owns the originals. But I'm quite fond of my facsimiles.


Chapter 20

Back to Forks

Story recap- After overhearing Edward's cruel words the night they were to attend the End of Summer Ball, together. Bella runs from Forks. She spends her junior year making new friends, standing up for herself, developing a healthy lifestyle and cutting all ties with her life in Forks.

A job opportunity in Italy for Phil, forces Bella back to Forks and to the very person she ran from.

Story note: The entire gang is starting their senior year of high school.

"This is your captain speaking, we're beginning our final descent into Port Angeles International Airport, please buckle your seatbelts and return your seats to the upright position. The temperature on the tarmac is a balmy sixty-seven degrees. Thank you for flying Kenmore Air."

I sighed heavily at the pilot's announcement. Once the single-engine Cessna Caravan came to a stop, I was only a short one hour and fifteen minute drive from revisiting the place where I'd experienced both the happiest and worst moments of my life.

As far as I was concerned, the pilot may as well have been giving the weather report for hell.

Normally, I would be bouncing in my seat at sight of the visible changes in color of the ground as the plane winged its way farther from the dry browns and tans of Phoenix to the lush greens of Washington.

However, this time my heart grew heavier with every glimpse of the color change that marked my return to Forks and Edward.

I pushed down the temptation to cry over lost friendships and misplaced trust and made my way off the single-engine plane.

My luggage was the first to come out of the chute and Charlie was inside the terminal waiting for me, wearing a pair of jeans and a fairly new looking plaid. By all accounts, this trip was beginning better than any of my trips home. However, the fact that I was back in Washington and on my way to Forks, was enough to keep the frown I'd worn since getting on the plane over four hours ago, firmly affixed to my face.

"Bella!" The clean scent of pine assaulted my senses as he pulled me into a quick hug.

"Hi." I managed a half smile. I wasn't happy about being here, but not unhappy to see him.

"Is this everything?" I counted the bags and nodded, following him out of the terminal towing a duffle bag behind me as we made our way to the parking area.

As soon as the doors to the terminal opened, I was assaulted by a cold blast of Chinook wind. A balmy sixty-eight degrees? The pilot's weather announcement was another lie to add to the others I'd been told during my time in Forks.

Pulling my coat tighter around me, I trudged behind Charlie to the parking lot.

Charlie stopped abruptly at the back of a small two seat truck. "What do you think?" He asked, motioning towards the small truck with a flourish of excited arm movements.

"What?" I quickly scanned the small parking lot for the cruiser.

"The truck, Bella. It's mine. What do you think?" He grabbed my bags and proceeded to put them in the bed of the faded blue truck.

"Um, it's great." I threw in a quick smile for good measure.

"Well, I figured with you staying here for longer than just a couple of months, we needed a second car. If you play your cards right, I just might let you drive." His smile was so big and genuine; I hated to remind him that I didn't have a driver's license. So I just smiled and nodded.

The interior of the truck was just as faded as the outside, but the seats were comfortable and clean and it had what looked like a decent radio. Maybe learning to drive in this thing wouldn't be so bad?

"She sticks a little in third gear, but I think you'll get used to it pretty quickly."

A stick shift? He expected me to learn on a stick shift?

"Charlie, I don't know how to drive."

"What? How do you get around in Phoenix?"

"Usually we use a car service." I shrugged.

"That figures" he snorted. "Well, I guess I'll have to teach you. I don't know when I'll find the time. But we'll figure it out." Without another word, he started up the truck and we left the airport grounds.

I tucked the prospect of driving lessons with Charlie away for another day and focused on the passing scenery.

We traveled the road to Forks in a comfortable silence. Both of us lost in our thoughts. This was one of the nice things about Charlie. Unlike Renee, he could be at peace in his own head. If Renee wasn't complaining about my weight or wardrobe choices, she was constantly calling or texting a friend, making plans for a lunch or getting caught up on the latest gossip.

We were about forty-five minutes into our drive when Charlie woke me out of my stupor. "I didn't think about food. Are you hungry? We could stop off at the diner. "

"I'm really not all that hungry. I could make us something." I offered.

"Um, well, I haven't had a chance to make a grocery run in awhile."

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Just once I'd like to have either of my parents be prepared for my arrival.

"Are you sure you don't want to have dinner at your aunt's house?"

"I'm sure." Aunt Janet knew I was coming back. She'd already contacted me about staying with her. It had been difficult to not run straight into her loving arms the minute my plane landed, but staying at her house brought back so many memories I wasn't quite ready to take on. Staying with Charlie would allow me extra time to bolster my courage before having to confront my bronze haired demon when school started on Monday.

"The diner is fine." There had to be a salad on the menu somewhere between the steak and cobbler. Right?

"Great! I've had a craving for their blueberry cobbler all week." Charlie exclaimed, patting his stomach and turning off the 101 into Forks.

I held my breath when the Welcome to Forks sign came into view.

I was really here.

With my grilled chicken salad sitting heavily in my stomach, I followed Charlie's lumbering form up the narrow staircase to my room.

"Do you remember where everything is?"

"Yeah." There really wasn't much chance I'd get lost in the small two bedroom home, but it was nice he'd asked.

"I guess I'll leave you to your unpacking. I'll, um, leave money and a list on the table for your shopping trip tomorrow."

"Okay." I guessed that the fact he was leaving a list meant he wasn't going to be going with me. I hoped my wagon was still in the shed.

As I was contemplating the logistics of getting all of the things we would need back to the house, Charlie stopped halfway in the doorway and turned back towards me.

"Bella, I don't know what happened to make you leave and stay away this last year. Whatever it was had to be pretty bad to cause you to run like that," he paused to rub a hand roughly across his moustache. "You know, if you want to talk or something- I know we don't have a real close relationship and as much as I'd like to lay all of the blame at your mother's feet… I, I guess as time went by and you got older, it was harder for me to relate to the young woman you've become. I know that I could have done more. And I'm sorry I didn't."

I wanted to throw my arms around him and sob out the whole story. But more than anything I wanted to thank him for caring.

"You know your Aunt Janet is always there for you and I'm grateful to her for that, but I, um, I want you to know that you can always come to me too. I don't know how much help I'll be with, you know, girl issues. But I can at least listen."

My eyes misted up at his sincerity. "Thanks, dad." Charlie gave me a small smile before walking out of the room.

Exhausted from the trip, both mentally and physically, I decided to forego the unpacking until tomorrow after my grocery run. . After getting cleaned up in the small bathroom and changing into my PJs, I climbed into the twin bed, noting that from the musty smell of the sheets and blankets, laundry would need to be a priority as well as stocking the fridge.

The meager light of the morning sun poked its way into my room, gently prodding me to get up. In Phoenix, the gentle poke would've been more like a knife slice through my eyelids.

I preferred the Forks method.

With my list in hand and my little red wagon in tow, I made my way towards Lake Pleasant grocery. I'd left most of my unpacking, but had the foresight to dig out my iPod and a water resistant jacket. Both were life savers as I'd underestimated the length of the walk to the store and in true Forks fashion, a light mist had begun falling.

"Hon, that'll be one hundred, thirty-three dollars and fifty-seven cents." I handed over the two crisp one-hundred dollar bills to Darlene. "Here's your change." I took the change, shoving it deep into my pocket. "Derek, will help you out to your car."

I watched the freckle faced Derek finish bagging my things. "Um, thanks but I decided to walk." I pointed towards my wagon parked right outside the front doors.

"No worries. I'd be happy to take them out for you." I led him out to the wagon watching as he expertly packed my six bags into the wagon.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" I shook my head and returned Derek's smile. I bent over to pick up the handle and was shocked to find a slight blush to Derek's face as he raised his eyes from my butt.

I felt a warmth rise on my face when I realized what he'd been doing.

Did a boy just check out my butt?!

"Um, I, um, I didn't get your name." He stammered slightly as he tried to cover his ogling.

"I'm Bella." I felt my own cheeks heat up.

"Did you just move here?"

"I guess you could call it that." I couldn't tell him that I was here in Forks under duress

"So, I'll see you at school on Monday?"

"Yeah, I'll be a senior."

His face fell slightly at my admission. "Oh, I'm only going to be a junior."


"Well I don't know a lot of seniors. They tend to stick to their own class."

Great. I'd hoped that Forks would be different from my school in Phoenix.

Without even thinking, I reached out and touched his arm. "Hey, I don't know any juniors and now you know one more senior."

His face brightened and he smiled. "Thanks Bella."

"You're welcome. I kind of need to get going before the rain starts again." I pointed to my grocery laden wagon.

"Oh, yeah, sure. Um, I guess I'll see you Monday?"

"Definitely. Don't be surprised if I seek you out for directions."

"I'll be happy to be your guide."

"Okay. See you then." I waved and started on my way back to Charlie's.

Thankfully the heavy rain remained at bay as I made my way home. I put the groceries away, setting out several chicken breasts to thaw out on the counter. I was planning to bake the chicken with steamed vegetables and mushrooms. I planned to keep up the healthy diet I'd begun at camp and figured it wouldn't hurt Charlie to eat a little healthier in between the Blue Plate specials at the diner and weekend fish fries at Harry's house.

I left dinner thawing on the counter and began stripping the beds and gathering towels and rugs to fill up the washer.

Time flew by while I'd unpacked and had set the house back to rights. Working had also kept my mind off what was coming Monday. Starting a new school was daunting enough, but knowing that I would be in the same school as him, possibly sitting in the same classrooms- was causing my anxiety level to go through the roof. Not to mention the fact that in addition to facing Edward, I'd also have to face Jasper and Emmett.

I had no idea what I was going to say to them. I would of course ignore Edward, but ignoring my cousin and that giant bear boy would be impossible.

The third load of laundry was in the washer when Charlie arrived home.

"What's that awesome smell?"

"Dinner," I stated simply and pulled out the baking dish full of chicken and veggies, setting it on the table next to the bowl of fresh salad. "Grab a plate and dig in." I invited.

Charlie had a funny look on his face as he ladled a healthy portion onto his plate. "What do we have here?"

"Baked chicken and mixed vegetables." I watched expectantly as he took the first bite. No one had eaten my cooking since Phil, last Thanksgiving. I'd really missed watching other people enjoy my cooking.

"Is there a sauce?" I shook my head at his question and began eating. Charlie took another tentative bite.

"What do you think?"

"It's good. Maybe think about a sauce or rolls next time." I held in a laugh as Charlie took another helping of everything.

After the dishes were done and the laundry was folded and put away, I slipped into my fresh sheets exhausted from the day's exertions and fell asleep almost instantly.

Thanks to Charlie's general sloppiness and all around reluctance to do any housework, I was able to keep myself fairly busy with cleaning the entire next day. In Phoenix, we had a day maid, a grounds keeper and a service that washed the cars. I was never given household chores. But thanks to Aunt Janet, I'd learned how to handle the simple things that kept a household in fairly decent order.

"Are you all set for school tomorrow?" Charlie asked in between bites of grilled cod and asparagus.

I nodded and pushed around the food on my plate. My appetite waned as Monday morning loomed closer.

"It's good that you'll already have a few friends there."

I nodded absently.

Charlie lifted a forkful of fish, giving it a serious look. "So, given anymore thought to my sauce suggestion?"

I chuckled lightly at his persistence. I got up to take my nearly full plate to the sink. "Isn't the fish good?"

"Well, yeah, it tastes great but a nice butter sauce…"

"A sauce adds unnecessary calories and hides the delicate taste of the fish." I finished scraping my plate into the garbage.

I ignored Charlie's grumbling behind me and started filling the sink to do the dishes.

"So, Jasper will be by about seven-thirty." I dropped the sponge into the warm, soapy water.

"What? Why?" I sputtered.

"I just told you. Until we get your license sorted, he'll be driving you to school."

What little I'd eaten was threatening to reappear. "Why can't you take me?"

"Um, because I have to be at the station by six-thirty every morning in order to be home at night. What's the problem? Your cousin is an excellent driver."

I'm sure he was. Or else my aunt wouldn't allow him anywhere near the driver's seat of a moving vehicle. His skill level wasn't the problem. The way I'd left things between us was the problem. My stomach rolled at the thought of being in an enclosed space with my cousin.

"I just don't want to be a bother to him." Not exactly a lie.

Charlie chuckled, standing up from the table to bring me his nearly spotless plate.

"Your aunt is beside herself with happiness that you're back in town. After I told her you didn't have your license, she made Jasper acting as your chauffer a condition for allowing him to use his car during the week. He should be grateful as heck that you need a ride to school. Besides, as soon as you pass the Driver's Ed course this semester, you'll be driving yourself. Thank you for dinner." He ruffled my hair playfully before grabbing a beer and heading for the living room.

I heard the lineup for the Mariner's waft through the hallway as he settled in for the game.

I wasn't thrilled when he'd suggested I take Driver's Ed this semester. He'd decided that it was the best solution, citing that it would take him twice as long to teach me with his current schedule. But now, knowing that I was dependent on my cousin for rides, I was determined to get through that class as fast as possible. I would be the best first time driver in Forks High history.

After laying my clothes out for the morning, a new pair of jeans and dark green henley with three-quarter sleeves, I crawled into my still fresh sheets and willed myself to sleep. I knew that I'd need all of my wits about me for tomorrow.

I forced myself to eat a piece of toast and a banana while I waited for Jasper to arrive. My nerves hadn't allowed me to sleep past five-thirty this morning, allowing me plenty of time to work up a raging case of anxiety.

Charlie had laughed out loud when he'd come downstairs at six-fifteen to find me already dressed and waiting at the small kitchen table. He thought I was excited about starting the new school.

He was one-hundred percent wrong.

At seven-thirty on the dot, a small, blue SUV pulled into the driveway.

There was no honking and he didn't come up to the door.

He just sat there in the driveway staring at the house.

Knowing that I would be unable to put off the inevitable for any longer, I grabbed my back pack and headed out to the car.

Jasper never said a word as I opened the car door and climbed inside.

As soon as I clicked my seatbelt, Jasper put the car in gear and pulled out of the driveway.

We rode in silence for several minutes. I wasn't sure how long it would take us to get to school and as horrible as I knew it was going to be, I didn't want to start every day in a silent car next to a family member that probably hated me.

Even if I kinda, sorta deserved it.

"Thank you for driving me to school." I tried to sound cheerful.

"Sure." He responded flatly, never taking his eyes off the road.

"With any luck, I'll have my license by the end of the semester. So hopefully you won't have to do it for long."

"Uh, huh."

"Yep, soon I'll be cruising the mean streets of Forks in a faded blue mini-truck with equally faded plaid seat covers."

"Uh, huh."

"Jasper, I want to…"

"We're here." Jasper interrupted my lame attempt at an apology.

I looked out onto the parking lot of Forks high school. Geez, it was so small. The whole two story building could have fit into the gym of my old school.

There were twenty to thirty students milling around the small parking lot. All dressed in jeans, long sleeved shirts and various other layers. Forks' style was a far cry from the tank tops, mini-skirts and shorts I was used to seeing.

I wondered what my friends in Phoenix would think about the clothing choices of the Forks students.

I quickly took inventory of my attire. Surprisingly I'd dressed appropriately for the occasion. Renee would be so…

"That was a shitty thing you did to us." Jasper interrupted my musing.

I turned towards Jasper, "Jasper, I'm so…"

"Save it," He said exasperated. "You owe me…all of us an apology. But there isn't time for that now." He opened the door and got out of the car. I grabbed my bag and followed him.

I quickly caught up with him. "You'll have to check in at the office." He pointed to what I assumed was the main entrance to the school, his pace didn't slow a bit nor did he look at me as he spoke.

"The lunch room is over there, but we eat out here in the quad when the sun shines." I nodded at his directions. Part of me grateful for the help, the other part just happy he was speaking to me.

I followed him through the metal double doors and entered Forks high.

Jasper melded easily into the crowd of milling students. I followed him to a row of lockers about halfway into the building. He stopped in front of a bright green locker and quickly accessed the lock. I stood next to him, watching as he emptied his back pack into the locker.

He slammed the locker door. "Go down the hall and turn left. The office is on the right side."

"Jasper, I…" I wasn't sure what I was going to say, but felt I needed to try again.

"Just stop. Go get your schedule; I'll save you a place at lunch." For the first time since I got into his car, he looked at me. "You can start your explanations then."

I didn't have a chance to say anything else before he turned and walked away.

Resigned to my fate, I trudged towards the office.

In Phoenix, I didn't have to try very hard to be invisible. Here in Forks, it was a different story. There were only eight people in my calculus class, ten in my English and only twelve in history. There was no chance of hiding in classes this small.

I'd done the required introductions in each class. And had endured the stares and whispering that went hand in hand with being not only the new girl, but being a BIG girl. Yet, I still counted my morning fairly lucky; I'd made it through my morning classes with no Edward sightings.

I dragged my feet as I entered the lunch room. Unlike Phoenix, where we ate in shifts, here in Forks, it appeared that the entire student body ate lunch at the same time.

I hoped that my luck held out through lunch.

My knuckles were white as I gripped my tray and scanned the room for a quiet little corner to hide in. I'd briefly thought about resuming my normal lunch routine of eating outside, but the dark skies and light mist hitting the school windows had quickly changed my mind.

I'd just begun heading for a nice, empty corner behind what looked to be a soda machine when I felt two arms grip me at the waist.

"Stumble B!" My balance was never great, but balancing a lunch tray with a full back pack, while being grabbed from behind by a giant bear boy, put every bit of natural grace I had to the test.

"Emmett!" I exclaimed as my grip on the tray began to slip.

"Ooops! I got it." He gracefully righted my tray, while still behind me.

With my precarious balance restored, I turned to greet the boy I'd shamefully pushed out of my life.

My mouth gaped as I looked at him. He was always big, but now he was huge.

"Like what you see, B?" He chuckled, and waggled his eyebrows at me.

I had to laugh. Emmett was never good at the eyebrow thing. He always looked as if he was having a small stroke.

"Be careful, my Rosie won't hesitate to cut a-bitch if she senses another female trying to get a piece of her man."

"Um, she has nothing to worry about I promise." I smiled.

"You say that now, but I haven't unleashed the full power of the Cullen charm yet." He boasted, grabbing my back pack and motioning me to follow him across the lunch room.

I blanched slightly at his mention of the Cullen charm. I knew firsthand how devastating that particular trait really was.

I kept my eyes firmly affixed to Emmett's broad back, aware that I was being watched by the other students and not wanting to chance an Edward sighting.

"Look who I found. She was about to dump her entire tray on her new shoes, but I swooped in and saved the day." He sat my tray on the table and sat down next to the gorgeous Rose, slinging his arm around her shoulders and giving her an affectionate squeeze.

I took the seat next to him and looked around the table. In addition to Rose, I saw Jasper and Alice. I felt another twinge of shame as I realized my cousin and Emmett had grown up relationships and I was too caught up in my own world to take the time to notice.

"Geez, Em. The whole school saw you grab her and nearly dump her tray." Rose lightly slapped his arm.

"Baby, I love it when you get rough." Emmett grinned.

Rose rolled her eyes, before returning his grin.

"Ignore those two, they have no sense of propriety." Alice gave Em and Rose a stern look, which was ignored fully by both of them. "How is your day going so far?"

I swallowed thickly before answering. "Um, okay?"

My cousin's intense glare was making me uncomfortable, in spite of his girlfriend's obvious attempts at doing the opposite.

"You sound like you're asking Alice how your day is going. Did you need her to answer for you or are you capable of answering questions? Because I have a few questions you owe answers."

"Jasper!" Alice admonished. She and Jasper shared a fairly intense glare for several seconds.

"Apologize to Bella."

"No. I deserved that." I felt four pairs of eyes hone in on me.

"Bella you don't have to say anything." Alice promised.

"The hell she doesn't!" I cringed at Emmett's outburst. "Look, I love you B, you know that but you owe us an explanation," his voice had lowered but it was still demanding. "You left and then you just cut us out of your life. All of us."

His implication wasn't lost on me.

I kept my eyes to the table top while I figured out what to say. I knew I'd hurt them with my actions. I told myself I was justified because of how deeply I'd been hurt. But after hearing the anger in both his and Jasper's voice, I wondered if maybe I hadn't been a bit selfish.

"Bella," I forced myself to look at my cousin. "Why did you leave like that?"

"And why did you cut us all out of your life?" Emmett added.

"Guys, I don't think this is the time or the place to have those questions answered." Alice put her hand over mine. I barely knew her, but at that moment, I couldn't have been more grateful for her friendship.

"Babe, we've waited a year to hear these answers." Jasper's voice was considerably more kind than it was a minute ago as he spoke to Alice.

"Then you can wait four more hours." Rose added, while giving Emmett a stern look. I would've laughed at how she was able to calm the giant boy if I wasn't the cause of his anger.

Taking a deep breath I addressed the two people I'd wronged. "Jasper, Emmett, I owe you both explanations. Cutting you out of my life was wrong and I'm very sorry I hurt you. But at the time I was just trying to protect myself."

"Protect yourself from what? You know I'd annihilate anyone who'd hurt you." Emmett was getting worked up again.

"Let her talk." Rose again gentled the bear.

"No, Em is right. Bella, we'd never let anyone hurt you. You're not making any sense."

I knew that Jasper and Emmett wouldn't allow anyone to hurt me. As much as everything in my world had turned upside down that night, I knew in my heart that if I'd said something to either of them, Edward wouldn't have walked away unscathed.

"I'm sorry."

Jasper snorted at my lame reply. "I don't get it, you were in a good mood when you and mom left to go get your dress. You were talking about hair styles and other girly shit." I nodded slowly at Jasper's speech. My blood heated as I recalled how wonderful that night had started.

I'd been so happy in my stupidity.

"And then all of a sudden you're sick. Mom is freaking out, dad sends me off to the dance without you and by the time I get home, you're gone."

"Yeah, Edward showed up at the club alone looking like someone had punched his puppy." Emmett chimed in.

"Well, speak of the devil." Rose sneered and pointed to the door. Everyone turned to look towards the cafeteria entrance.

There stood Edward.

My chest tightened as I took him in. Even as I'd cursed his very existence for the last year, I never denied how cute he was. However, the boy standing across the room from me was no longer cute.

He was breathtakingly beautiful.

He was taller, broader, stronger, his hair was more wild and his eyes… they were even more green than I'd remembered.

He was more of everything.

"Bella, are you okay?"

"B…" Emmett's hand hit my back and the breath I'd been holding released in a rush. "Damn B, you have to breath."

"Jasper, is she asthmatic? Look how pale she is."

"J, I think we need to take her to the office."

The scrape of chairs moving startled me out of my stupor. Unable to speak I shook my head at their questions and tore my eyes from Edward.

I was too late. Jasper saw my reaction.

While Alice, Rose and Emmett were contemplating calling 911, my ever observant cousin had seen my reaction to Edward.

"She's okay." Jasper assured them all in a calm tone, never taking his eyes from mine.

"Dude, look at her. She forgot to breathe. Who forgets to breathe?" Emmett asked exasperated, before sitting back down at the table.

"Bella, are you sure you're okay." I nodded at Alice, while trying to get a hold of myself.

All of the self-confidence I'd managed to build up over the last year had shattered into a million pieces at my first glimpse of the boy I'd loved.

Determined to not revert completely into the doormat I was a year ago, I gathered up what pieces I could and spoke. "I'm fine." Alice didn't look convinced.

"B, that's the second time you've scared the shit out of me. Don't fucking do it again." Emmett ordered, his voice full of genuine concern.

"Okay." I weakly promised.

"Now that Bella's…whatever that was is over. Can we address the fact that 'doucheward' and the boob crew are making their way over here?" Rose asked.

Everyone groaned.

Except for Jasper.

"Bella, let's go." His voice was demanding in its quiet tone. He got out of his chair and began walking over to me.

I understood what he was doing. He didn't know what had happened that night but he'd figured out it had something to do with the boy walking our way. And he was trying to spare me the confrontation.

As strong as I wanted to believe I was, I knew I wasn't yet ready to take Edward head on.

I nodded quickly and grabbed my back pack, ignoring the confused looks from the others as Jasper and I prepared to leave.

"Well, what do we have here?" Even with my back turned, I knew that voice.

There was no hope of leaving the room without seeing him. Jasper laid a protective hand on my shaking arm.

"What do you want Ed?" I could hear the sneer in Emmett's tone. While they'd fought like normal siblings for as long as I'd known them, Emmett's voice held a hard edge that surprised me. He was already angry and Edward hadn't yet said a word.

"I don't want anything." Even his voice was deeper.

"Then keep moving asswipe." Rose's tone echoed her boyfriend's.

"Wow, such ugly words from such a pretty mouth. You use that same mouth on my brother?"

I heard Emmett's chair scrape against the floor and felt his presence directly behind me. "Don't speak to her like that shit head."

"My deepest apologies Rose. Apparently my big brother is quite fond of your mouth." I heard Alice gasp and the tittering laughter of several new voices.

I gasped at his malicious words.

"Why you little fucker."

Jasper let go of my arm and moved to stand behind me and beside his friend.

"Let it go Em."

"Hey Jasper." Edward greeted my cousin. "I didn't see you there. Who is your friend?"

"None of your business."

"Well, that's not very friendly. And everyone knows how friendly I am. Right ladies."

"Yes, Edward."

"Oh, yes, Edward."

My already upset stomach began rolling as I recognized the voices of Tanya and Lauren.

"Leave it, Edward. She doesn't want to speak to you."

"Oh, don't be so mean, J, introduce me to your friend. She looks like she's big enough to speak for herself."

Lauren and Tanya laughed at his mocking words.

With that one sentence, all of the pain, anger and hatred came rushing back and I heard his awful words from that night repeated in my head, reminding me once again that a pretty face doesn't mean a pretty heart.

With every bit of hatred that he'd planted over a year ago, and all of the confidence I'd gained over the summer pushing me forward, I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and turned to face the boy I used to love.

Those lips I'd once thought of as perfect, lost their smirk as recognition crossed his now pale face.

"Bella?" He said my name in a breathy whisper.

"Hello, Edward."

PLEASE don't hate me! I didn't mean to leave you with such a cliffie. But it just felt right. *braces for impact*

The next chapter has already been started. I hope to update soon.

To all of you that celebrate, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Stay safe, and I'll see you soon.