After a forced marriage filled with violence, Bella escapes from Edward with their unborn child. Almost four years later, Edward has found her and their daughter and he refuses to let them go.

"Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it."

― Michel de Montaigne

Chapter 19

It had only been a few days since Edward left, and already his absence was felt by everyone—even Bella. Even though she'd never admit it to anyone, not even herself, she missed Edward. Just a little. She'd gotten so used to his presence that it was impossible not to feel something was missing when he wasn't there. She hadn't gotten over his earlier accusations, and whilst she was still mad, she had let it go.

He had called every day since he'd left to speak to Alexis. Other than small hellos and hold onsso Bella could hand the phone to Alexis, Bella and Edward did not speak to each other. Even though she missed him, Bella was glad for the absence. It gave her a clear chance to really think things through.

Later that same week, Bella was on her way home with a sleeping Alexis in the back seat. Renee had gone to Portland for the day, so it was just the two of them for a few hours. She was relieved that Alexis had fallen asleep during the ride home. Bella was too worn out to entertain a four year old.

When she stopped in front of the house, Bella saw an unfamiliar car parked beside the road. She could see someone sitting on the front steps. With her spiky black hair and small frame, which had not changed in the slightest since the last time Bella had seen her, Alice sat patiently waiting.

"Alice?" Bella's voice sounded choked out as she parked her truck and climbed out. She couldn't believe her eyes.

Alice smiled slightly before walking forward and gripping Bella in a tight hug. Bella was slightly taken aback at Alice's appearance. Whilst she still looked more or less the same, there were a few changes. Alice looked pale and had lost a fair amount of weight.

"How are you?" Bella asked, hugging her back. Alice felt frail in her arms.

"I'm good, but really, I should be asking you," Alice said, her eyes travelling to where Alexis was still fast asleep in the backseat. "I couldn't believe it when Jasper told me that you and Edward had a kid. It explains why you ran."

"I like to believe that I was always going to run, I just needed the kick to get me started," Bella said, as she opened the back door and started taking Alexis out.

"Do you need help with her?" Alice asked.

"Thanks, but I'm okay. Would you like to come in?" Bella asked.

"Sure," Alice replied as she followed Bella up the walkway.

After putting Alexis in her room, Bella went into the living room where Alice was waiting.

"Would you like something to eat or drink?" Bella asked.

"I'm okay," Alice said. "Edward's not here, is he?" she asked as Bella sat beside her.

"No. He went back to Chicago. Did you hear about Carlisle?" Bella asked, her voice unsure. She had no idea what Alice had been up to these past few years.

"Yeah, I heard he's dead," Alice said, shrugging. "Good riddance if you ask me." Clearly her dislike for Carlisle hadn't changed.

"What have you been up to?" Bella asked.

"Not much. I finished my rehab program last week in California, and I thought I'd pay you a visit. The last time I saw Jasper, he'd mentioned to me that Edward had found you, and all three of you were in Forks."

"The last time you'd seen Jasper?" Bella asked, confused.

"Yeah. We broke up almost a year ago," Alice said nonchalantly.

"You and Jasper broke up?" Bella couldn't help the smile that came to her face at the news.

"Yeah. I stopped kidding myself, and I left him." Bella searched Alice's face for any hint of sadness, but there was none.

"Really?" Bella asked, unable to keep the smile off her face.

"It was bound to happen. Jasper wasn't physically abusive. He liked to torture me more mentally and emotionally. It's like he used to feed off my weaknesses. That's why I turned to alcohol to help block it out." Alice rolled her eyes and shrugged.

"But what gave you the courage to leave after all this time?" Bella asked.

Alice smiled, tears in her eyes. "You."


"Yeah. You know Esme hated you even more after you left, right?"

"More? That woman could hate me more?" Bella asked. Esme had made her already hellish life in Chicago even worse. Bella found it hard to believe that Esme had even more room for hate.

"Yup. She doesn't like the spark that ignited the fire. She was pissed when she found out you'd left Edward. Then again, nothing could compete with Edward's emotions when he found out you ran. It was even worse when he couldn't find you."

Bella was intrigued by what Alice had said. She'd often times wondered how Edward had reacted to her leaving and how he'd been during her absence. She'd painted a picture in her head of how she suspected it was, but Edward's actions now contradicted it.

Bella wasn't looking at Alice, but Alice seemed to see the question written on Bella's face.

"He was angry at first. Then he turned frantic. He didn't know if you'd drowned in the river or if you'd survived the fall. He had everyone out searching for you. After a while, his emotions turned to grief. He would have done anything to know if you were okay. He missed you really badly, and I think he slowly began to realise his own sins. Carlisle kept telling him to let you go. They all did, but he refused to move on. He swore that he wouldn't stop until he found you. He hardly spoke to Esme or Carlisle. Jasper and Emmett tried for a moment to make him get over it, but he lashed out at them so much they gave up. He basically retreated into himself." Alice grew silent for a moment as she let her words sink in.

That definitely wasn't the picture Bella had painted of how things had gone down after she left. She thought about what Alice had said about Edward repenting for his sins. She wondered if that meant he'd begun to realise, even back then, that what he'd done was wrong. Bella had never thought of it before, but she began to wonder what it was that made Edward want to turn over a new leaf.

She didn't want to talk about it anymore. It was easier to accept the past Edward than the current Edward. She didn't want anything that made her question her judgment about him. She had to remain firm in her belief. She decided to change the topic.

"How's Rosalie?" Bella asked. She had not forgotten the other person who had been subjected to the Cullens' torture. "Is she still with Emmett?"

Alice's face turned somber before she answered, so Bella knew the answer long before Alice had spoke.

"Yes. She is still with him."

"Oh," Bella said, slightly disappointed. "Can't we help her? Maybe if she sees there is life outside of that world, she'd leave."

"Rosalie will have to come to her own self-realisation. We can't force her to leave Emmett. She's going to have to want to leave him. It's like my grandmother used to say, 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.' I tried talking to her before I left to see if I could convince her to come away with me, but she refused. She insisted that all Emmett needed was time. That she loved him and wouldn't abandon him." Alice sighed sadly. "I told her that, should she ever change her mind, I'd help her. All we can do now is hope that she'll see that there is more to life than Emmett."

Bella understood Alice's sadness. Rosalie had given her the same excuse when Bella had questioned her motives. She hated knowing that Rosalie was still under Emmett's tyranny, but Alice was right. They couldn't save someone who didn't want to be saved.

Bella leaned back into the couch as she thought over everything Alice had told her. Her arrival had definitely brought on new information.

"How are things between you and Edward?" Alice asked suddenly.

Bella was caught off guard, and she opened her mouth to give her usual 'I don't know' response, but then she stopped. Unlike with Renee or Sebastian, Alice knew everything. She didn't have to pretend when it came to Alice. Alice had experienced everything first hand. They were both survivors of the same war, and they shared the same battle scars. Bella jumped at her first real opportunity to express her feelings.

"I'm confused when it comes to Edward. He wants there to be something between us, but I just don't know."

"What do you want?"

"I don't know," Bella repeated. "But it doesn't matter what I want. Every decision I make affects Alexis as well. I can't let my emotions run wild, or let my guard drop, because she could get hurt in the process."

"Sometimes what we do want and what we should want contradicts itself."

Bella gave a hard laugh. "You're telling me. Besides, I don't think Edward is too happy with me," she admitted.


For a moment, Bella contemplated whether or not to tell Alice the Edward and Sebastian debacle.

"He thinks I slept with someone," Bella admitted finally.

"Why would he think that?" Curiosity was alight in her eyes.

"The other night, I went out for drinks with a friend. The bar closed earlier than expected, and it was the first time I'd been out in a while, so I really didn't want to rush home. I knew Alexis was safe, so when a friend invited me over to his house to watch a movie, I didn't think much of it. A half hour in, we both passed out in front of the television. I didn't know Edward was still here, so when I came home late, he sort of blew up at me."

"The movie was that boring?" Alice asked

Bella laughed. "No. I was just tired." She shrugged.

"Wait. There's another guy in the picture, and Edward hasn't cracked his skull? Wow. Why didn't you tell him the truth?"

"Why should I? I didn't mean to make him angry. I was actually caught off guard when he first accused me. Then when I realised what he was talking about, I just snapped back at him. It was a knee jerk reaction. I don't like his controlling ways, and it's in my nature to fight back against it."

"Well, it is good that you're standing your ground. Really, I don't know what I would do if I was in your situation. Part of me wants to tell you to ease up on Edward—after all he is trying. But the part that knows what you've been through, wants me to tell you to stay away from him. This is a dilemma." Alice looked into the distance for a moment, before her gaze went back to Bella's.

"I wish I could be of more help. I'd be lying if I said that if Jasper changed, I wouldn't consider taking him back, but really, I don't know. I guess there is no black and white answer. It's all just grey." Alice sighed again.

Bella couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. Whilst Alice was a great listener, and she helped her in ways no one else could, she'd hoped that Alice would be able to point her in the right direction. Bella was slowly beginning to realise that this was a decision she had to make on her own. At the end of the day, it was her life, and she would be the one living with the consequences of her actions.

"You're very brave," Alice commented suddenly.

Bella shook her head. "No I'm not. I'm barely hanging on."

"To have the courage to run? You are brave. It took me years to do what you did in a matter of months. How did you do it?"

Bella was about to deny any sort of bravery on her part, but the sincerity in Alice's voice stopped her.

She didn't feel brave at all. She felt weak and lost, but not knowing what else to say, she responded, "I don't know. I guess I just took the risk, made the jump and ran."

"Huh," was all Alice said. Bella could hear the disappointment in her voice.

It seemed that just like Bella, she'd been hoping for some magic ingredient that would somehow make this life easier, but really, Bella had nothing more to offer.

The events of that day had happened so fast, it was almost a blur. The one thing she remembered most of all was feeling very afraid.

Edward had been acting strange.

Considering how he'd been before, that was really saying something.

Ever since they'd come back from visiting Rosalie, he'd been more subdued. He seemed to be more on edge, and for the first time in a long time, he no longer demanded anything of her. The change would have been a relief to Bella, if it didn't freak her out.

For a brief moment, she wondered if he'd found out her plan to escape. That, somehow, he knew what was amiss, but she pushed it aside. Eryn and Mrs. Miller were the only two people who knew, and she trusted that they would not betray her.

The night after they'd returned from visiting Rosalie, Edward was silent while they were having dinner. Usually, Edward did everything he could to engage her in conversation. Even if it meant going as far as provoking her. Tonight, he didn't utter a word. Bella thought the silence would be comforting, but it wasn't. She was afraid of what was running through Edward's mind.

Tonight found her trying to engage him into conversation.

"So, how was work?" she asked.

He'd been avoiding her eyes all evening; now he looked up in surprise. Bella could understand why. The tables had turned tonight.

"It was fine. Same as always."

Bella frowned slightly. That didn't help her. She'd been hoping to get some clue as to what had him strung out all of a sudden.

"What's wrong?" she demanded at last. She wasn't very good with beating around the bush and preferred to just get to the point.

Edward had been picking at his food all evening. He didn't say anything at first, which made Bella wonder if he'd heard her. She was about to ask him again when he finally replied.

"Nothing for you to worry about," was all he said.

Oh, how Bella wished that was true.

The next day, she was at her usual place down by housing. A guard was posted by the front door, so Bella and Eryn found a space as far from him as possible. They kept their voices low as they brainstormed ways to get Bella away. Mostly they came up empty. Bella was just too heavily watched.

"Is there any time where you are left alone?" Eryn asked.

"When I'm in the bathroom."

"Well, that's not helpful. Unless you plan on squeezing through the drainage."

Bella rubbed her eyes in frustration. She was beginning to think it was hopeless, but she couldn't give up. There had to be something.

"It's not possible you to escape whilst on the grounds. Security is too heavy here. Maybe if you went out, you'd have a better chance," Eryn suggested.

"I don't think so. Even then I'm watched like a hawk," Bella said, remembering her ill-fated shopping trip with Esme and Rosalie.

"What about in between?"

"In between?"

"When you're going from one place to the other," Eryn explained. Bella could see a plan already forming in Eryn's head. "What's security like then?"

"Usually it's two in the SUV with me, and more in another SUV behind me."

Eryn sighed. Bella understood her frustration. Getting away from a vehicle full of guards would not be easy.

Then another problem occurred to her. "The only time in between places that the car stops is at a traffic light. I can't tuck and roll out of the car."

Eryn was silent, and Bella could almost see the wheels turning in her mind. "You need a way to get away fast enough. You need a small window of opportunity."

Then she looked up, and Bella could see the light bulb going off in her head.

"Can you swim?" she asked.

"Yes." Bella was at a loss as to where she was going with this. "Why?"

"There is a bridge. Construction is happening not far from it causing a backup of traffic. If you could get them to pass there, then you could jump off the bridge. At the side of the bridge is a shed and some trees. There's a break in the trees, and if you could swim there, you have a chance of getting away. If security doesn't jump into the water after you, they'd have to go all the way around."

Bella was still caught up in the first part of that plan. "You want me to jump off a bridge?"

"It isn't a far drop. Maybe twenty feet. The swim isn't too far either. If you stay low after you jump, they won't know which way you went. The water isn't exactly clear."

"What reason would I give for wanting to pass over that particular bridge?"

"There's a shopping center close to there. You could tell Edward you want to go there."

Bella didn't know how to respond to that idea. It was crazy and seemed more like a suicide mission than anything else, but the more she thought about it, the more she realised she didn't have many options. She had to get away as soon as possible, and with the number of security guards that surrounded her, no matter what plan they used, there would always be risks.

"You don't have to decide now," Eyrn assured her. "Maybe you could think it over, and then later on this week you could decide."

"No," Bella said. Then, taking a deep breath, she said, "I'll do it. I don't have much time, and I don't want to waste it coming up with plans. I need action. If I think about it too much, I will chicken out." She didn't add that Edward's odd demeanour as of late was another reason why she wanted to get out sooner rather than later.

"Okay. We still need at least a day to really finalize it," Eryn said. "Maybe tomorrow we could discuss it more." Bella didn't like the idea of waiting longer, but she knew it was inevitable.

They spent the next two days ironing out the plan as best they could. By the end, it wasn't much better, but they felt they'd done the best they could.

The night before the plan was to be set in motion, as Bella was getting ready to leave housing for the last time, Eryn stopped her.

"Here," Eryn said, handing Bella an envelope.

"What is it?" Bella asked as she took it.

"It's just something to help you while you're out there. I know it isn't much, but I thought it'd be better than nothing."

Opening the envelope, Bella found it filled with money.

"It's three thousand dollars. Mrs. Miller and I pooled it together for you."

"I can't accept this," Bella said, shaking her head as she handed it back. They'd given her so much already, it wouldn't be right to take more.

"No keep it. You're going to need all the help you could get." Eryn reached into her back pocket and pulled out a small plastic bag. She took the envelope from Bella, then, after putting it into the bag, she tied it and handed it back to Bella. "So it won't get wet," she explained.

Bella still didn't feel like she could accept it, but she knew Eryn would not let her leave without it.

"Thank you," Bella said, hugging Eryn. "I wish there was a way I could repay you for everything." She really didn't think it was possible to even repay Eryn's kindness with words.

"Just make it. That's all the thanks I need," Eryn assured her.

Dinner with Edward passed just the same. Edward was very quiet. There were instances, however, where Bella could see that there was something he wanted to say, but whenever he got close to saying it, he stopped himself. It was frustrating. Part of Bella wanted to know what he wanted to say, another part wasn't too sure. Either way, it put her on edge.

She thought of how best to broach the topic of her going out tomorrow. Eryn had advised her to make sure her request was subtle. The last thing Bella needed was for Edward to be suspicious.

She hated that she had to ask his permission for anything, but today was one of those days where she had to swallow her pride.

"Will it be okay if I went to Market Square tomorrow?" she asked.

Edward was caught off guard, and Bella knew why. This was the first time she'd ever asked him for anything.

"Why?" he asked.

Bella shrugged. "I want to get out of the house for a little while, and I heard there's a photography store there," she said, careful to display nonchalance.

Edward raised his eyebrow suspiciously. At first, Bella thought he was going to deny her request, then something came over him, and he nodded. "Okay," he said. "I'll let security know. Do you know what time you'd like to leave?"

Bella was careful not to display the shock she felt. She hadn't expected him to agree so easily. She'd prepared herself for a Spanish Inquisition. Whatever it was that was troubling Edward was working to her advantage, and Bella thanked her rarely lucky stars for it. She was tempted to ask again what was it that was bothering him, but she decided not to push it. Fate had dealt her a nice hand for the first time in months, and it would be crazy to question it.

When they'd finished dinner, it was time to go to bed. Edward's didn't request or even demand that Bella join him. Other than a simple "goodnight," he didn't even speak to her. Nevertheless, Bella climbed into bed beside him. If everything went according to plan tomorrow, it would be the last time Bella would ever see him. The thought left her both glad and bitter.

That night, both Bella and Edward were too wrapped up in their thoughts to get much sleep. Even though they both spent the night in a state of unrest, neither spoke to the other. They were too consumed by their own worries.

Breakfast was just as quiet as dinner, and when Edward eventually left, Bella was relieved. It could have been her imagination, but to her, the room felt tense with him in it. She buried her head in her hands.

"Bella." Edward's soft voice startled her. She thought he'd left.

Looking up, she was surprised to see him standing just in the doorway. There was uncertainty in his eyes.

"Yes?" she asked. She silently hoped that he hadn't caught on.

"Have a good time," was all he said. Then he turned and walked out of the room.

Bella waited to hear the opening and closing of the front door before she allowed herself to breathe a sigh of relief. It wasn't until Edward had left that Mrs. Miller walked in. She'd been away from work the day before, so Bella hadn't had a chance to thank her as well for her kindness.

"Thank you," Bella said, as she gave her one last hug goodbye.

"It's no problem, dear. You just be sure to take care of yourself," she replied. Bella could see tears in the old woman's eyes. Before she could voice her thanks again, the moment was broken by one of the security guards entering the kitchen.

"Mrs. Cullen," he said with a brief nod of greeting. "Mr. Cullen has informed us that you would like to go out today. When would you like to leave?" he asked.

"Now would be fine," Bella said. She didn't want to wait. She was ready to go.

"We will be outside," he said, before leaving them alone again.

"Are you ready?" Mrs. Miller asked when they were alone.

"Not really," Bella admitted. "I guess that means I should go."

She knew that if she waited until she was ready, then she would never get anyway. After one last brief hug, Bella left the house for what she hoped would be the last time.

The ride was silent as Bella was driven through the busy Chicago streets. The only sound to be heard was of tyres against the roads, the passing of cars, the occasional beep of a car horn, and Bella's hammering heart. There were only two security guards with Bella this time which surprised her. Usually Edward sent out the entire SWAT team when she left the house.

Even though she'd prepared herself for this moment, now that she was actually here, her earlier fears began to grip her. Whilst she'd been preparing, her fears were kept at bay. Now that she was alone with her thoughts, it returned. At a horrible time too. Now was not the time to get cold feet. Now was not the time to let emotions get in the way, or to second guess herself. Now was the time for action.

She tried to distract herself as best as she could, but it was fruitless. Every time she managed to push one fear aside, another one would creep in. It was like poison.

Just as Eryn had said, there was construction along N Elston Avenue which caused a backup of traffic over the Cortland Street Drawbridge. The honk of impatient drivers helped drown out the racing of her heart, and now that she'd arrived at her destination, it gave her thoughts another direction to turn to.

They were just beyond the beginning of the bridge, which gave Bella a few extra minutes to gather what was left of her courage.

Now that she was here, she wasn't sure she could do it. Now that she was facing down the dragon, she couldn't find the courage which had helped her get here in the first place.

"Maybe staying wouldn't be too bad," she found herself thinking as the car crept ever so slowly towards the bridge. She began to realise that this plan was too crazy. It wouldn't work. The whole plan was crazy, and she was crazy to go along with it. Security would catch her and drag her back to Edward. Whatever had been bothering Edward these past few days would pale in comparison to him finding out she'd tried to run. It was better to stay put.

It was during this innerturmoil that Bella found the strength to open the door and run. Her body was running on adrenaline and her mind was a blur. She was barely aware of the movements her feet were making. She just hoped that they wouldn't fail her now. She ran onto the pedestrian pathway.

Behind her, she could hear the sound of security opening their doors, and one of them yelling, "Mrs. Cullen!" She hated that name, and it only made her want to get away faster.

There wasn't time for thought or fear, for which Bella was glad. When she was a good distance from the rocky edge, Bella used one foot to give her leverage on the guard rail and another to help her push off, and then with one last deep breath, she took the leap and plunged into the chilly water below.

"I miss Daddy," Alexis said, late one afternoon as she and Bella walked towards the truck. They were running late for one of her friend's birthday party. According to the invitation, they were late, but Bella wasn't in the mood to be around the other parents so, by her definition, they were on time.

"I know you miss him. He'll be back soon enough," Bella said, as she strapped Alexis into her car seat. Edward had been gone for a week already, and Alexis had asked for him every day.

"When will he back?" Alexis asked, as Bella climbed into the driver's seat.

"Soon," she said for what felt like the millionth time.

"What kind of soon?"

Bella looked around confused. "What?"

"What kind of soon?" Alexis repeated. "The ten minutes soon or the "soon you'll be older?"

Bella couldn't help but laugh at Alexis's definition of time. "You need to stop watching so much television," Bella muttered.

The birthday party was in full swing by the time they arrived. It never failed to amaze Bella the lengths parents went to celebrate their kid's birthday. It was more of their way of showing off to other parents than any real celebration for the date. Even from the street, Bella could see the bouncy castle and freakish- looking clown. She briefly wondered if it was too late to go back home.

After doing the regular rounds of "hello"s and "pretending to care" as one mother rattled off about all the expenses they had gone to pull of this party, Bella left Alexis by the bouncy castle and found a spot on the lawn where she could count down the minutes until they could leave.

Alice had left the same day she'd arrived, and already Bella missed her. She wished Alice could stay longer, but she needed to get back to her family. Whilst opening up to Alice hadn't solved any of her problems, it was refreshing to finally be able to speak to someone who understood. Alice had promised that they would remain in touch, and Bella was glad for it.

She'd been so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't notice that someone was heading her way.

"Bella?" a voice called.

Looking up, Bella saw Sebastian making his way over to her. She'd been so busy with work that week that she hadn't seen Sebastian since the last time they'd went out together.

"Thank goodness you're here," Sebastian said, as he took a seat beside Bella. "I was afraid I'd be stuck talking to the moms around here. I was looking for every excuse not to come, but he insisted," Sebastian said, indicating to where Drayven was playing with the other children.

Bella laughed. "I can relate. I was just counting down the minutes until it would be appropriate to leave."

Sebastian let out a slow whistle. "They definitely went all out for this party."

"Yes." Bella then lowered her voice. "Small hint—the more extravagant the party, the more horrible the child. Small get together with pizza equals good child. Huge, expensive party with bouncy houses and performers, expect to see one of the kids from Children of the Corn."

Sebastian laughed. "I'll have to keep that in mind."

Talking to Sebastian always put Bella at ease. By every definition, he was the right kind of guy. He was the kind of guy Bella would be lucky to be dating. The kind of guy any girl would be lucky to have in their life. Bella couldn't help but wonder if that was why Sebastian had showed up in her life when he did. Maybe he was supposed to show her the kind of future she could have if she filed those divorce papers and finally cut ties with Edward.

The Bella deep inside of her who'd been beaten and broken by monster Edward liked that future. She liked the idea of starting fresh with someone new and letting the past stay where it was.

"Are you alright?" Sebastian asked, pulling her from her thoughts.

She looked up to see Sebastian watching her curiously.

"I'm okay. Just thinking."

Two hours later, when the ice-cream had run out, and temper tantrums were everywhere, Bella and Sebastian deemed it okay to leave.

When Bella and Alexis arrived home later that evening, they found Renee in the living room talking to someone on the phone.

"Oh, wait, they just walked in," she said, before holding out the phone for Alexis. Bella knew it was Edward. While Alexis went to speak to Edward, Bella ambled into the kitchen.

"So how was the party?" Renee asked, as she joined Bella.

"It was a typical birthday party. A lot of flashy parents and children amped up on sugar."

"Sounds like fun?" Renee said, ending her statement more like a question.

Bella laughed. "I guess it was."

In the next room, Bella could hear Alexis telling Edward about her day.

"Yeah, and then mommy and I went out for ice-cream with Drayven and Sebastian, because they ran out of it at the party."

"Shit," Bella whispered softly to herself. She knew Edward wouldn't be too pleased by that revelation. She knew it would hurt him. As angry and hurt as Bella was by everything Edward had done, she didn't like hurting him back on purpose, but whether it was on purpose or not didn't seem to matter. So long as she was keeping distance from him and living her life, he would always be left hurting.

Alexis told Edward a few more events from her day, before it was time to say goodbye.

"I love you, too. Goodnight." Then Alexis called out, "Mommy! Daddy wants to talk to you."

Bella thought about ignoring Edward's request, but she didn't want Alexis to see the tension between her parents. Going against her better judgement, she went into the living room and took the phone.

"Hello?" Bella said, bracing herself for another argument like the one they'd had the morning she had returned from Sebastian's.

"Bella..." she heard Edward begin and he sighed. When he spoke again, she could hear the sadness in his voice. "I just wanted to say goodnight."

Bella knew that wasn't what he'd wanted to say, but she knew better than to question it. It reminded her of the day she'd left.

"Goodnight," Bella said.

The line had grown silent, but Bella knew Edward was still on the other side.

"I still love you," she heard him whisper so softly that if she hadn't been listening close enough she would have missed it.

After hearing those words, Bella wanted to scream out in frustration and demand to know why he couldn't be like Emmett and Carlisle and just move on from her. Things would be a whole lot easier for both of them if he just gave up on her. Then she would be free to move on with Sebastian and the rest of her life.

Instead she hung up the phone without saying a word.

I forgot to mention it last time, but It's Not Over is just over a year old.

If my memory serves me right, I think I started writing it during a layover at the airport.

Oh, how time flies.

You can find me on Twitter XxMementoMorix

Special thanks to EdwardsMate4ever.

Any mistakes that you see in this chapter or any of the previous chapters is on me. I have a small tendency to miss things every now and again.