The Twilight Twenty-Five
thetwilight25[dot]com

Prompt: #6
Pen Name: MaxieMoose
Pairing/Main Character(s): Bella/Edward
Rating: T

Photo prompts can be viewed here:
thetwilight25[dot]com/round-5/prompts

A/N: Each chapter is based on either a picture prompt or a word prompt. They either have to be exactly 100 words or over 1,000, according to the above writing program, TT25. They are all prewritten, there is 11 one shots over 1,000 words and 14 drabbles that are exactly 100 words. All items to be completed by 12/31/11.

They will all be Edward and/or Bella. They are all AH. The one that gets the most attention [hint if you like it, leave a review] will be continued after I finish Kismet and My Milaya.

Vampire Academy readers put your pitch forks away, please. Most of these were written in October. I have been doing two jobs for 3 months, I'm almost done so I'll be finishing Kismet and My Milaya after the holidays. Sorry for ignoring my stories, but Corporate America has been cruel – but I have a job so I'm not complaining.

Most are beta's by ohmyitsv, she's a star, but I always tweak after she's done so the mistakes are mine, sorry.

S. Meyer owns Twilight, but she allows aspiring authors like me to play in her sandbox, thanks Steph!

Prompt #6 – Ambivalence – One shot

He walked in with his beautiful family and didn't even look at me. How one person could be so loving in one setting and so cold in another was beyond me.

Unless it was all a lie. He'd said he loved me, but looking at the cold set of his eyes, the tightness of his jaw and the staunch set of his shoulders, it was like a stranger had walked into my classroom.

At one time, those eyes smiled for me. I have kissed that jaw countless times while it bopped up and down with laughter, and while he whispered sweet wordsin my ear professing his love for me. I have licked every freckle on those broad shoulders, shoulders that are covered with soft alabaster skin. The cold, stern man that now graced my class was not my Edward. My Edward would never look like this.

I held my gasp as he put the full force of his eyes on me. There was no emotion, no love in them. His frosty green eyes that once were the windows to his soul now shielded me from my Edward. The tiny tinge of hope my body held onto began to frizzle. The smallest, most hopeful part of my being hoped, prayed that he'd changed his mind, that he would decide not to shut me out.

Instead of hope, I was doused with a bucket of reality. With one flash of his cold eyes, I knew I had to take the job in Forks.

Edward's parents were with them. Of course, Carlisle and Esme came along; it showed unity and solidarity. From the outside, looking in, you saw a loving family of four with doting grandparents - an American fairy-tale.

But what you didn't see was the truth; a husband bounded by commitment to a sick wife. A wife who I was sorry had fallen ill, but hated for the way she treated her husband. She was horrible to him, never cared for his needs; it was as if she secretly wished he would leave her and the kids. When her secret wish was granted, she turned right back around and tried to drag him back in with evil tricks and manipulation, using his children as Pons in her game.

The kids were the true victims, Chelsea and Liam. Chelsea always hated me, but Liam loved me.

When Edward first rejected me, claiming he couldn't date until his divorce was final, having Liam in my class forced us together. He was legally separated, thus in my eyes a free man, but he saw it differently.

This classroom was the site of our first kiss. It was at Liam's parent-teacher conference. Later when Liam got hurt at school, it was the first time we had coffee. When it was Liam's birthday, Alice invited me to the family cabin. That is where he first asked me out. Yes, Liam was the catalyst, but it was as if the universe was throwing us together.

We were like two lost constellations and once we collided, our star shone the brightest in the sky. Esme pulled me from my reverie.

"Ms. Swan, so good to see you! It's such shame my schedule changed and we had to change Liam to afternoon kindergarten under Mrs. Cope." She was lying. When Kate fell ill and Edward left me to tend to his ailing wife and distraught family, I knew Kate insisted Liam leave my class.

I was the forbidden fruit and she had to take all temptation away.

"Yes, we miss Liam, but he's doing well in Mrs. Cope's class." My voice was louder than normal, showing my nervousness.

"Bella!" Once Liam spotted me, he launched himself onto my legs. He bounced for me to pick him up, but under Kate's hateful stare, I dropped to his level instead.

"Hey, buddy, what's up?" Liam pulled me into a death grip hug.

"I miss you." He inhaled my scent as tears stung my eyes. This boy was a tiny version of the Edward I missed so dearly.

Kate pulled on him and ripped him from my grip. "Liam, we have dinner plans. We have to finish your class' open house activities so we can leave."

I looked up to pale blue eyes of hate. This woman despised me, blamed me for her failed marriage. I met Edward three months after he left his wife, but for some reason she blamed me for his leaving.

You could tell she was sick, but even at her worst she was still beautiful. She had a wig on and her already thin frame looked frailer. She must be in between cycles of chemo since she had color to her skin and her eyes were angry and fierce, not depleted like a woman who was fighting cancer. Maybe she was done with her chemo? I wouldn't know anymore, the whole family cut me out of their lives.

They even claimed my two best friends. Jessica was now dating Mike, Edward's best friend. Of course Jess was still my friend, but her and Mike were so wrapped in helping Edward with the kids while he tended to Kate's cancer, she never had to time for our friendship. I understood, of course, but I missed her dearly.

The knife that stabbed me in the back was Jasper's. He'd been my best friend since we were infants and to appease the woman he loved, he cut all ties to me. The jealousy Alice had over Jasper and mine's extremely short-lived romantic relationship gnawed at her. Jasper and I ensured her we were only friends, but she couldn't get past it.

The rejection of the Cullen family, I could survive, but the rejection from Jasper tore at my heart. I never thought I would lose him in this big mess.

Liam stomped his foot at Kate's words, but being the good little boy he was, he gave me one last hug and the family moved on to the open house stations.

As I chatted with the parents of the kids in my class, I watched Edward out of the corner of my eye. As normal, he was the doting father, but I knew him and I could tell being here in my classroom was taxing on him. He kept his eyes diverted away from me until James Hunter started flirting with me.

I thought I saw a flicker of jealously or irritation, maybe in the few glances he threw our way. It was hard to pin point his exact emotion because as quickly as it was there, it was gone. Kate had a sixth sense when Edward had his eyes trained on me, pulling him back into the fold of the family when she saw him spying on James and me.

James was newly divorced and shared custody of Jared, who was in my class. He relentlessly asked me out, only stopping when he ran into Edward and me while we were out with the Chelsea and Liam one weekend.

It was obvious we were a couple and James' pursuit of me halted, but the man was on a mission as of late.

"Ms. Swan, you are looking loving this evening."

"Thank you, Mr. Hunter. Hello, Jared, how are you?"

Jared jumped up in my arms. He was an affection hog. I had a feeling his mother with her new boyfriend didn't give him all he needed at home.

I gave him a big hug so he had some womanly reassurance. "Why don't we show your dad what you've done this year?"

He did a full body nod and I couldn't help but ruffle his strawberry blond curls.

As Jared and I showed his father some of what he accomplished this year, Mr. Hunter started in with the questioning. "I see the Cullen family here tonight. They are looking rather cozy."

"Oh really? I hadn't noticed. Liam is no longer one of my students; he's transferred to Mrs. Cope's class."

"I miss Liam." Jared pouted. Both James and I looked at his adorable son. It was a reminder that little ears were listening. "Daddy, can we have a play date with Liam?"

James scratched the back of his necked nervously. James and Edward did not get along, me being the catalyst to their tension, but maybe with me out of the picture they could be civil for the boys' sake. Jared and Liam were thick as thieves when they were both in my class.

"Uh…yeah, Son, I'll have to talk to Liam's mom."

"His daddy moved back home so you could talk to him, too." Hearing reality from a five year old made the loss of Edward hurt that much worse. James lifted an eyebrow to me and gave me a knowing look.

"Okay, Jared, I'll talk to his dad." James had his eyes trained on me while he answered his son.

"Jared, why don't you move onto the next station? I need to talk to Ms. Swan real quick."

"Okay, Daddy." Jared gave me a one armed hug and scuttled off.

James turned to me and started. "So… Bella, does this little bit of news I learned today indicate that your dating status is single and available?"

He was a handsome man and probably under other circumstances, I would have jumped at the chance to go out with him, but I was still so hopelessly in love with Edward, there was no way I could fathom dating him or anyone for that matter.

I nodded. "Yes, I am single, but right now I am not available to date."

He touched my arm in an intimate fashion. "Come on, Bella, one date. I promise you won't regret it. You may even have fun."

The Cullen family moved to station seven and I presumed now were within earshot of James' and my conversation. Edward clenched his hands at his side and his jaw muscles twitched, indicating he was clenching his teeth. He seemed jealous, but he was so cold to me earlier I figured he didn't care anymore.

It was just nice to get a response from the man who acted like he didn't know me from eve. The truth was this man knew me better than anyone did. I had bared my soul to him and he was the sole owner of my heart.

"Maybe later. I'm sorry, I'm not ready." Let Mr. Hot and Cold hear that. It wasn't a yes, but it wasn't fully a no. However, I knew the date would never happen. I would be moved to Forks by the time James asked me again.

James got a devilish grin on his face. "I'm holding you to that, Ms. Swan."

I nodded, agreeing with him. Edward cleared his throat, causing both James and I to look at him. He looked murderous. He slept beside his wife every night, but I couldn't go on a date? Fuck him.

He opened his mouth as if to speak, but Kate's hand on his forearm stopped him.

"Edward, it's time to leave. We need to say goodbye to Mrs. Cope."

He nodded, but did not take his eyes off James and I, tension crackled around us.

"Edward, nice to see you again," James politely greeted my former lover.

"Nice to see you, too, James," Edward said in polite but clipped tone.

"Bella." He nodded towards me. He must have realized he had to acknowledge me or it might appear rude to the classroom occupants.

"Good evening, Mr. Cullen." Edward flinched at my formal address to him. His eyes softened and I saw a glimpse of my old Edward return.

"Edward, now," Kate snapped.

Edward transformed before my eyes - the cold, icy green eyes returned, his rigid body and stoic jaw were restored. My heart clenched seeing him look at me this way.

He simply nodded and walked away with Kate towards Mrs. Cope and the rest of the Cullen clan.

"Wow - that was awkward. I'm guessing it didn't end well."

"I'd really rather not talk about it, especially here." I could imagine the frown that was on my face.

"I understand and I'm sorry. If you ever need a friend, you know you can always call me." His eyes were so kind and he looked like Jared when he wasn't being a predator insisting on a date. It warmed me to him.

"Thank you, I appreciate it."

He nodded and walked off towards Jared while I sought out the few parents who I had yet to greet.

In my peripheral vision, I saw the perfect Cullen family leave, and it was probably the last time I would see them.

After the last parent left, I started to clean up. I sent Mrs. Cope home. Her husband had a cold and she needed to tend to him.

"Bella?" I heard Edward call my name hesitantly.

"E-Edward?" I stuttered out.

"Um, Liam left his jacket. He insisted I get it, it's his favorite." I walked away from him and found the jacket at the journal writing station.

"Thank you," Edward said politely after I handed Liam's jacket to him. His eyes were soft, open like my Edward's always were.

"You're welcome." I couldn't believe we were reduced to small talk. Damn, this was awkward.

"Edward, I hate that we are reduced to this." I saw his eyes frost over and his body tense, but this was last time I'll see him so I had to get this out. "I miss you, I miss us. I know I have no – "

"Bella, please, don't. No matter what you are going to say, it's over. It has to be." He was pinching the bridge of his nose and his rigid robotic body was back.

His mixed signals were giving me whiplash. I took a step back from him. It was too hard to be this close to him and not touch him. "Goodbye, Edward."

"Goodbye." He turned on his heel and walked out of my life.

I made sure his stupid silver Volvo was out of sight before I let the tears fall.

As I furiously wiped tears from my eyes, I typed out my letter of resignation to principle Banner.

I'd love to hear from you! Twenty-four to go…