The story deals with adult, sensitive, and controversial subject matter. Including but not limited to suicide, mental illness, adultery, abortion, the whole nine yards. If you are disturbed by any of these issues, you probably shouldn't read this. Not meant for underage readers. Read at your own peril. And oh, Twilight belongs to SM. The plot is mine.

Where the Streets Have No Name

Chapter 1

2009

He returned home late that night, perhaps on purpose. He didn't want his daughter to see him like this; beaten and ashamed. Ella was almost five. It was unlikely she had yet developed the skill-set to read the guilt that was etched on his face for what he had tried to accomplish that day, or the shame of how miserably he had failed. Just the same, he made sure it was way past Ella's bed time when he sneaked into his own house.

He felt utterly and completely defeated. That in itself wasn't new. Feeling powerless and at the mercy of circumstances had become a way of life for him. His life might be short, but his mistakes were many.

Yet, he couldn't recall another instance when he knew so deeply in his heart what a monumental failure he was.

Not the day his dreams of grandeur were crushed to dust when his on-again-off-again girlfriend of three months told him she was pregnant.

Not the night he rushed home to find his wife in the bathtub with an empty bottle of sleeping pills lying next to it and a screaming Ella in her crib.

Not the afternoon he was told his wife had fallen into a coma and quite possibly would never wake up again.

Not even the evening he found out Ella had sickle cell anemia. And he didn't.

None of those times did he feel he had failed at his task as a man the way he had today.

Today he had failed the one person who never failed him. The person whose arms gave him comfort, whose body quenched his thirst. The only woman he ever loved.

His oasis, his refuge.

His Bella.

AN: Thanks to Lulabelle98 for her mad beta work. Thanks to HeidiJoVT and Dinx for expressing interest and pre-reading a huge chunk of it. LPlover93 also has dibs. Let me know if you are still interested. Christag made the beautiful banner in spite of the difficult times. I'm most grateful. You are all amazing!

Oh, please review!