Authors note: I'm taking some liberties with this, I know. Before we begin, let's assume the following:

1). Edward and Bella have sex.

2). Jacob is a werewolf by the time Edward leaves in New Moon. Bella just doesn't know it yet.

3). The story will be told from Bella and Carlisle's POVs, but this is not a slash story. It's emphasis is building a family out of the rubble... Edward will be around, but not for awhile. That's kind of the whole point.

Alright, I think that's all I needed to clear up. Now, of course, let me add: Twilight is owned by Stephanie Meyer, and I'm chillin' in her sandbox for awhile.

Chapter 1 – New Beginnings (Bella)

It's funny the things that can motivate you.

Since Edward's abrupt departure in the forest, I have been completely removed from what's been happening around me. I'm vaguely aware of being moved, of being bathed, of being cared for, but it's all happening in a haze. It's happening around me, but doesn't seem to be happening to me. I can't feel it – can't connect with it. My thoughts seem to be swirling around listless and disconnected – because I'm so confused that I just have trouble latching onto anything real. Because I don't think I understand what's real. Because if Edward's love isn't real – if our love isn't real – then I certainly don't know what is. So my thoughts spin, alone in confusion and despair, trying to make sense of my new reality. My new understanding of reality. I'm unclear as to how much time has passed, unaware of how I'm affecting others, unconcerned about my physical health or any of my surroundings.

That is, until I begin to gag.

The gag reflect can't be fought, can't be controlled past a certain point. And apparently, my body has reached that point. Without even really thinking about it, I find myself shooting out of bed in a desperate attempt to get to the bathroom. Because it's been several days – maybe longer – since I've used my legs, I make it a step and a half before collapsing on my bedroom floor. I hit the ground hard, and the urge to vomit becomes unbearable. I grab the trashcan under my bedside table, and thankfully get it into position seconds before I throw up.

Again and again, I am sick, lying prone on my floor, barely able to hold myself up enough to clear the edge of the trashcan. There is nothing in my stomach to bring up, so instead I find myself choking on bile and the tears and snot that are running down my face as I lie there miserably on the floor. Once the sensation passes, I lower my upper half down to the ground, and curl away from the trashcan. I lay, facing the baseboard of my little room, and find myself suddenly remembering everything:

Vampires exist.

I fell in love with a vampire.

I fell in love with his vampire family.

They saved my life when I was stalked and attacked by other vampires.

My vampire took me to prom.

My vampire decided he wouldn't make me his vampire.

I loved him anyway.

We were happy – deliriously happy.

My vampire has less control than he claimed.

My vampire caved to my wishes the way any 17 year-old boy would, given the opportunity.

We beat the odds and the gloomy predictions, and loved each other physically and emotionally.


My vampire family threw me a party for my birthday.

My vampire brother tried to drink me.

My vampire boyfriend rescued me, and his vampire doctor father stitched me up.

My vampire boyfriend decided that my human nature was a problem for him and his family.

My vampire boyfriend didn't really love me and needed a new distraction.

My vampire boyfriend felt that it was time for him and his vampire family to move on.

My vampire boyfriend broke my heart, stole my soul, and left me in the woods.

Someone found me, brought me home.

Someone had cared for me, worried about me, and tried to nurse me back to health.

That someone wasn't part of my vampire family.

As I lie here on the floor, coming to terms with my new understanding of reality, I am overwhelmed by how alone I feel.

I know Charlie is downstairs, and I know he is probably worried. I know he loves me, but I also know that he has no idea how to show it. How to verbalize it. How to make me feel it. I think of the ironically warm embrace of Esme, the gentle kindness of Carlisle, the boisterous enthusiasm of Emmett, the pushy playfulness of Alice, and I realize that this is what I've come to expect of familial love. And it's gone. Even the tolerance shown by Jasper and Rosalie is love in a way. Not for me, but for their family. They loved the rest enough to put up with me. I miss my family. I really need them.

And as much as I'm grieving for Edward, I am grieving differently, but almost more intensely, for everyone else.

I never felt good enough for Edward. I never felt like his equal in our relationship. I never felt like he could possibly understand how much I loved him. And in facing the honesty that can only be found face-planted, covered in your own snot and vomit on the floor in your underwear, I realize that he never really tried to understand it. He assumed that I wasn't an equal because I was human. He assumed I couldn't love him as much because I was human. He told me I wasn't good enough – I assume at least in part because I was human. And he wouldn't consent to change me, so in many ways, our parting was inevitable. Was I happy about it – no, I was devastated. But a part of me was resigned to it. Because I knew it from the beginning, and because I had allowed it. I had allowed him to make decisions for us, and had spent just as much time focusing on our differences as he had.

The family was different. I enjoyed being mothered by Esme – it was such a refreshing change from the relationship I had with Renee, where I behaved as the adult. I enjoyed the tender care and thoughtful words from Carlisle – the advice offered with a softness that helped me to stop and really think through his perspective. It was so different than the direct and often terse communication with Charlie. I loved the playfulness of Alice and Emmett, and how very special I felt under their care and attention. I never had siblings, or even close friends, and in them, I found both. And now, alone on this cold floor, I found myself awake and alert and grieving my lost family, and my lost future. It was difficult to imagine ever pulling myself up and facing life without them.

Eventually, I did get up. I thought about returning to bed, but now that I awake and aware, I realized that I was feeling stifled in the smallness of my bedroom, my house, my little world. Life had been so vibrant and extraordinary for awhile – and now it just seemed small and plain. Not unlike how I saw myself. I pulled myself up, made my way on unsteady legs to the bathroom for a shower, and took the first steps in piecing myself back together again.

When I returned from the bathroom, I found my bed stripped and remade, with Sue Clearwater perched on the end of it. I was surprised to see her, but grateful it was her and not Charlie.

"Bella," she said softly, "it's good to see you up and about, sweetie. You had us pretty worried there for awhile."

I stopped to really look at her. She had bags under her eyes and she looked drawn. The Sue I remembered was always smiling and full of life, just like her son Seth. I wondered if I had been the reason for her sleepless nights.

"I'm sorry, Sue," I replied quietly. "I… I don't know exactly what happened." The last part of this was said in a whisper. I realized I wasn't sure I wanted to know.

"You were gone for two days. Your father was frantic. Sam found you in the woods, curled up in a ball and half-frozen to death. That was a week ago. You've been nearly catatonic since then. You don't remember any of that?" Sue spoke quietly, but there was the hint of an accusation in there.

"I… remember going for a walk. I… Edward… we…" I sputtered, stopping when I realized I wasn't ready to go back to the conversation that changed everything. "I got lost. It gets a little hazy after that." Again, I was whispering.

Sue's eyes had hardened with the mention of Edward. Her back stiffened as she said, "Are you telling me that Edward Cullen couldn't find his way out of the woods? I think of him as being… very able to navigate in the woods… and aware of his surroundings. I wouldn't expect him to get lost." The way she said it sounded harsh, and accusatory. It almost seemed as if she knew the Cullen's secret. But that would be crazy.

I gulped. Here it goes. "Edward left…. He left me there. We broke up. He left."


Sue's eyes got big, and then she let out of a breath I hadn't even realized she'd been holding. It almost sounded like she said, "thank god" as she exhaled, but again, I couldn't be sure. And I couldn't imagine Sue having such a strong opinion on Edward. I mean, I didn't even think she knew him.

"Bella," she said cautiously, "Bella , did he try to… hurt you… or make you do something you weren't comfortable with?"

"NO," I whisper-shouted. "No. Edward wouldn't do that. He was always careful with me. Worried about my safety. That wasn't it. He just… he just didn't think I fit into his world. He didn't… he didn't love me, Sue."

The tears started leaking again, and as Sue reached for me and pulled me to sit by her on my bed, they turned into sobs. Loud, sloppy, wet sobs shook my body with a violence that only grief can cause. Sue wrapped her arm around my shoulder and pulled me to her side. I found myself clinging to her with everything I had, and she soothed and shushed me as she let me cry. Her gentle touch on my hair, her arm wrapped firmly around me – I found it reminded me of another – my vampire mother – and my sobs began again, only louder. I looked up at Sue, needing confirmation of what I already knew.

"They've left, haven't they?" I said between sobs. "The Cullens have left Forks – all of them. Haven't they?"

"Yes, dear girl, they have. According to the hospital, there was a family emergency, and they were compelled to leave rather abruptly. Seems like a strange coincidence, doesn't it," Sue said, with a raised eyebrow as she looked down at me. I shuttered at her implication, and found myself wondering… does she know? Though it made no sense, I somehow thought that she might.

"I don't think it's a coincidence, Sue. And neither do you." It wasn't a question. Not really. I took a deep breath and looked up at her. She was looking down at me, studying my face, and thinking hard.

Finally, she whispered, "No. I don't." There was a long pause, and then she asked, "How long have you known about them, Bella?"

I looked at her. I was still safely tucked under her arm, and clinging to her shirt. I realized that she might be one of the only people I would ever be able to talk to about this. She was my link to the fact that it was real. It really happened. I had promised never to betray the Cullens, but they left me. I needed someone who could understand what had happened. I needed to be able to acknowledge the truth.

"Almost since I arrived. I figured it out a couple of months after I got here," I replied shakily. I then tucked my head back under her chin, awaiting her judgment.

"You knew they were vampires, and you still befriended them. Dated them. Cared for them. Bella, what were you thinking?" It wasn't meant to be an accusation, and was delivered so softly that I almost couldn't hear it, but it still stung. I found myself pulling out of Sue's embrace, standing, and pacing back in forth across my bedroom floor, still wearing nothing more than my towel.

"It happened so fast. I was drawn to Edward from the moment I saw him. I couldn't get him out of my head," I rationalized to her. I was talking quietly, as I was well-aware of Charlie downstairs. I was, however, gesturing wildly with my arms as I spoke. "I tried to ignore him. And he tried to push me away. Over and over again, he would push me away. I kept coming back. I couldn't stay away from him. And finally, one day, he acknowledged that he was struggling to stay away from me as well. I didn't know what he was at that point, but I knew something was different, and I also knew that I didn't care. How do you fight something like that, Sue? I couldn't fight it."

"How did you get him to tell you?" Sue asked. "I thought they weren't allowed to reveal themselves for what they really are."

My eyes widened as I took in the amount of knowledge Sue had. I wasn't expecting her to be familiar with the vampire codes of conduct.

"Um, well… I guessed, actually. I put together some of the stories that Jake told me about the Quileute with observations I made on my own. I cornered him and told him my suspicions. It was a pretty awkward conversation, but he didn't deny it. And once he saw that I wasn't running away screaming, he opened up and began to let me into his world. It wasn't without its challenges, but we made it work. At least… I thought we did."

With that last revelation, I sunk into the rocking chair in the corner, the one that Edward had filled so many nights here in my room while watching me sleep, and I felt the tears begin again. They were quiet, gentle tears this time, as I found myself staring out the window that was Edward's entrance to my world for so long. I wasn't wrong, I told myself. There had been good days. Good nights. I didn't understand it, but then again, I guess I didn't need to. Edward had made another decision for us – his last, it would seem.

Sue watched me in silence for awhile, and then gathered up some clothes for me, and placed them on the end of my bed. "I'm sorry you are hurting, Bella," she said quietly. "Though I can't help being relieved to have the Cullens out of Forks and away from both you and the reservation, I do know that losing love – especially your first love – is painful, and I'm so sorry for that pain, my dear. I know you need time to grieve, but I would encourage you to look to your friends and your father for comfort and help, not retreat inside yourself again. It's not fair to you, and it hurts those around you when you won't let them help you. Your father is downstairs, where he's been for the past week, quietly suffering in the knowledge that he can't help you, and that even if he could, he doesn't know how to help. He's there for you, Bella. You might need to show him how to help, but he'll be there in whatever capacity you need him, if you'll only let him in. So will I. So will Jake. You have friends who care. I hope you will remember that."

I looked at her, taking in her sincere expression, sad eyes, and quiet determination. "I will, Sue. Thank you for being here," I answered quietly.

She smiled as she opened the door to leave. "You're welcome, sweetie. Now get dressed and come have breakfast – we need to get some food in you." With that, she left me to my thoughts.

After contemplating my conversation with Sue for a few minutes, I got up, pulled on the clothes she left for me, noticing that they were too big, and made my way downstairs. I still felt terrible – my head was pounding, presumably from all the crying, and my body felt weak and frail. As I hit the first floor landing, I caught a whiff of coffee and bacon, and before I knew it, I found myself sprinting towards the downstairs bathroom. I made it this time, and fell to my knees for a second time today to lose my lunch. As I hovered over the toilet choking on my own bile, I felt Sue behind me, gently scooping my hair back out of my way, and holding it with her hand. Her other hand began rubbing small circles on my back, and I found myself timing my breathing to her movements until the spell passed. As I leaned back, she handed me a damp washcloth, which I gratefully ran over my face, and then turned to look at her. Her face was a study of concern.

"Thank you," I gasped out, as I took another pass with the washcloth over my face. "I'm not sure what is wrong with me."

"You haven't eaten more than broth in a week, Bella. You've been hypothermic and catatonic for days. I'm sure your body will take some time to adjust to your new-found mobility. Let's take it slow, and see if we can't get some food in you that will stay down. Ok?"

I nodded, and she helped me to my feet. As I made it to the kitchen, I remembered to breathe through my mouth, and finally made eye contact with Charlie. Before me was a broken man. Charlie had aged 20 years in 7 days, and I was responsible. I saw the evidence of Sue's earlier words reflected in Charlie's eyes, and without even really realizing I was doing it, I lunged for him, wrapping my arms around his waist and clinging to his back for dear life. Instinctively, his arms wrapped around my shoulders, and I felt one hand come up and tuck my head tenderly under his chin. He kept his hand over my hair, rocking somewhat stiltedly back and forth between feet. It was a new experience for me – being held like this, comforted like this, by Charlie. I liked it. I also found that it made me giggle a little. As a little squeak of a giggle escaped my lips, Charlie pulled me back so he could see my face. I saw the confusion in his – apparently, he didn't know what was funny about this moment. His serious expression squashed the giggle, and I felt compelled to offer an explanation.

"I'm sorry, Da..Charlie. I didn't mean to worry you," I spoke earnestly. "Thank you for finding me, helping me. I… got a little lost, I guess. Both in the woods, and in my head. I… I didn't mean to scare you." It wasn't enough, but it was a start.

Charlie sighed, and then pulled me back to his chest. I found that I liked being there. "You had me scared to death, kid," Charlie whispered softly. "When I came home and couldn't find you... Thank god those boys from the reservation stepped up and formed that search party. It could have been days otherwise. You can't do that to me again, Bella. I don't… I don't think I can handle it again." He sounded so sad, so broken.

"I know, Charlie. I know. I just… we just went for a walk, and then… and then it was over, and he was gone, and I just didn't know what to do, or where to go, and then it was dark, and I just… I don't know, I couldn't deal, and I didn't want to… I mean, I… I just don't know." My explanation trailed off. I wasn't making any sense anyhow. I shrugged half-heartedly.

Charlie pulled me back so he could look in my eyes again. "We? Who were you out in the woods with, Bella? Is there someone else out there?" He looked confused, but more than that, he looked concerned.

"No…" I took a deep breath, knowing that he was NOT going to like this. "I was with Edward. He left."

I was right. As he contemplated my words, his face got red. Then it got redder. Finally, just before I thought the vein on his forehead would burst, he hollered, "Are you telling me that Edward Cullen took you out there and just left you there? What was he thinking? What were you thinking?" Charlie was building up steam, and his voice was louder than I'd ever heard him before. "Bella, I know we've been down this road before, but this time I mean it. You cannot see that boy anymore. I won't have it!"

At this I broke. The quiet whispers from earlier were gone, it seemed. "You don't need to worry about it anymore, Charlie," I hollered back, my voice loud and tinged with a touch of hysteria. "Edward left me.! He broke up with me, and then he left me! He wants nothing to do with me! He doesn't love me. I'm not good enough for him. He's gone. It's not a problem anymore!" By the time I was done, I was screaming, crying, and I'm sure I had an angry vein on my forehead to match my father's. I pushed away from him and again began to pace in circles, hold my chest as I attempted to keep my heart from breaking out of my chest.

Charlie appeared frozen for a second, before moving quickly to the phone, the whole time muttering, "That's not acceptable. I'm calling Carlisle right this second. I won't have anyone treat my little girl that way. If you don't want to be with someone, there are other ways of handling it. I can't believe that boy."

I interrupted what I'm couldn't have gone on for some time with an update for Charlie on my new reality. "Carlisle isn't there, Charlie. They've left. All the Cullens are gone."

Charlie swung around and looked at me. "What? That can't be. They have jobs, the kids have school. You don't just up and move away on a whim!"

"They are gone, Charlie. Call the hospital if you want, but I'm telling you, they are gone!" I screamed the last bit, and then, all of a sudden, my energy was sapped, and I slumped against the wall. "They are gone. It's not a problem anymore," I said quietly, my arms back wrapped around my chest. Sue came over, put her arm around my shoulders, and brought me to the kitchen table. Charlie watched in silence as she placed breakfast before me, and rubbed my shoulders as I ate. When I was done, I stumbled back upstairs, collapsed on my bed, and slept.

Charlie did call the hospital, and confirmed my story. He simmered down, went back to work, and got on with his life. He kept a pretty close watch on me for a few days, but once he was convinced I was on the road to mental recovery, he picked up his normal schedule, leaving me alone with my thoughts more than I would like. Sue checked on me a couple more times, but she had responsibilities too. I knew it was only a matter of time before we had a discussion about me returning to school, but I was avoiding it. I didn't think I could go back there. I wasn't ready to face all the snickers and stares, and I wasn't ready to explain what had happened to anyone. The more people who knew, the more real it became.

I had another problem to deal with as well. While I was coming to terms with my vampire-less existence, I couldn't shake the nasty stomach bug I seemed to have picked up in the woods. Keeping food down was proving to be a challenge, and as a result, I was often lethargic and achy. I had headaches and cramps and generally felt gross all day long, but the highlight was the vomiting which accompanied almost every meal. On the one hand, it kept me from returning to school. On the other, it was pretty gross.

Charlie didn't know what to do, and I didn't want to go to a doctor, so he handled it the way he handled my initial illness. He called Sue.

"Bella," Sue began, as she sat on the edge of my bed. "You need to go to a doctor. This is more than a simple stomach bug or the flu – it's been two weeks and you're still not able to keep much of anything down. It's not good for you. Your father is worried, and so am I. Please, let me make an appointment for you." Her voice was calm, but there was a touch of anxiety underneath it.

"Sue, I'm fine. No fever, so no infection. I've just got a bug. Aside from the actual throwing up, I don't even feel that bad," I rationalized. I had a feeling it wasn't going to work. The stink-eye she gave me informed me I was correct.

"Bella, either you haul your butt downtown and see someone this week, or I will make an appointment for you, and drag you there myself. Now, your father and I would like to let you handle this on your terms, but if you won't, we will treat you like the child you are behaving as. I'm sure there is a simple explanation, but we can't solve the problem if we don't know what it is. You have to see reason on this, Bella!" Her voice was even, but firm.

Realizing the discussion had ended, I begrudgingly agreed. "Fine, Sue. I'll handle it tomorrow, ok?"

"Thank you, sweetie. I hate to be strict on this, but your health is important to us. You are a good girl, and we all want you to experience all life has to offer."

I sighed. I didn't really know what to think about that. I appreciated the thought, of course, but I felt like I had lost my chance at "experiencing all life had to offer". In my heart, those experiences belonged with another family, in another reality. But I was trying to be positive, so I smiled and thanked her.

"Oh, by the way, Bella, Jake was asking about you yesterday. He wanted to know if you were up for a visit. I wasn't sure, so I'm leaving the ball in your court, but I know he'd like to see you," Sue added.

A thought occurred to me. "Sue, does Jake know. About the Cullens, I mean?"

Sue looked at me for a moment and then save a small nod. "The Quileute legends are true, Bella. We all know about the Cullens." With that, she gave a small nod, and walked out of my room.

The next day I found myself sitting in my car outside Forks Community Hospital. Being here reminded me of them. Specifically, it reminded me of Carlisle.

I don't know what, but for some reason, I found myself outrageously angry at him. He allowed Edward to do this. To play with my feelings. To dangle his family and my potential future in front of me, always knowing it was possible he would take it away. He left in the middle of the night, without saying goodbye, and he took the entire family with him. Carlisle was in charge of them – they wouldn't have gone without his directive. I felt my anger grow.

But more than that, I was hurt. Carlisle made me feel special. Made me feel cherished. Had that not been real? It must not have been, because how else could he have left without saying goodbye. Without offering his explanation and apologies. Without his gentle touch and soft words wishing me well. He meant so very much to me, and it stung to think that it wasn't reciprocated. It felt so real, so true. But here I was, sitting in the parking lot alone, so perhaps it was all a lie, or worse, a distraction. I decided I couldn't go in there – it was too much. I backed the car out of the lot, and made my way to Port Angeles. They had a walk-in clinic. That would do just fine, I presumed.

Once there, I made my way in, and went through the normal procedures. Height and weight were recorded. Blood was drawn. I was proud of myself for not vomiting at the sight of it – rather, for the first time ever, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by the sight. Strange. I was taken to an exam room where I was given the standard paper gown. I changed, and was poked and prodded. I explained about my recent emotional stress, and the physical symptoms that accompanied it. Nothing was unusual or unexpected.

At least, that was until the results came back in. As soon as the doctor came back in, I knew it was bad. She was a young physician's assistant, and she had an apology on her face before the words ever came out of her mouth. She was looking at me with pity. As she sat on the rolling stool in front of me, I saw her drawn in her breath, and I found that I was holding mine.

"Miss Swan, I have the results of your blood work here," she began, "and it would seem that you are pregnant."

Silence. What could I possibly say to that.

"If you'd like, we can do an ultrasound here to determine how far along you are more specifically, but based on your hormone levels and the tightness of your uterus as experienced during the external physical exam, I would estimate about 10-12 weeks."

Wait, what? 10-12 weeks is 3 months. Edward and I had only been having sex for a little over 6 weeks. I wanted to argue with her. I wanted to tell her that it was impossible, because the only person I had slept with was a vampire, who couldn't get me pregnant. I wanted to tell her that even if he could, we hadn't been together that long. But instead, I just stared at her dumbly, because it suddenly occurred to me – holy shit, I'm pregnant!

"Miss Swan, I do realize this is probably a surprise, but would you like to do an ultrasound now, or schedule it with your regular physician?"

All of a sudden, the reality that I really, really didn't know what was going on hit me. Like a ton of bricks. I was pregnant. Having a baby. Edward's baby. Could I do an ultrasound? What on earth would they see? How was this possible? What was I going to tell Charlie? CHARLIE! Before I knew it, my thoughts were spiraling out of control, and I was hyperventilating. The doctor was quick to lay me back on the bed, and coach me through my breathing until it was under control.

"Ok, Miss Swan, I think you've got enough to process today. Why don't we wait on the ultrasound until you've had a chance to digest the news," she said soothingly, nodding along with her words in an effort to get me to agree. I slowly nodded, still gasping for air like a fish out of water. She handed me a bottle of orange juice, and suggested I drink it to help restore my blood sugar. I complied. I wasn't sure I was capable of independent thought for a moment, until she said, "Is there someone I can call for you? Someone to pick you up? A friend, a family member… the baby's father…?"

This brought me back to reality fast. I hopped off the table, making a beeline for my clothes.

"No, thank you, I'm fine. I've got to go. My car is out front. I'll be fine. Thanks for the information, and your help. I'll, uh, I'll schedule an appointment with my doctor when I get home, I promise!" I was rambling while getting dressed as fast as I could. She looked at me with concern, and then pulled her card out and set it on the table.

"Ok, Miss Swan. I'll leave you to get ready. Here's my card if you have any questions." She looked at me with uncertainty for a second before adding, "There are some things you should do, precautions you should make, to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. I'd be happy to talk about those things with you any time. I'd also recommend you get a baby book to walk you through what to expect, that is.. if.. if you are planning to continue the pregnancy."

My eyes flew to hers with that statement, and I saw the question there.

"I… of course. Of course I plan to have my baby," I said to her immediately, my hand instinctively flying to cover my abdomen. In part because I couldn't imagine getting rid of the one piece of Edward I had still in my possession, and in part because, quite honestly, I had no idea if I could get rid of it. Literally. I was way out of my element here. Because if there was one thing I knew, it's that this wasn't going to be an ordinary pregnancy.

"Ok, then. Good. That's great. Um, congratulations, then!"

With that, the doctor was gone, and I think both of us were relieved at that. I stood there a minute, processing the news and trying to figure out where I went from here. Obviously, I wasn't going to start with Charlie. I think the news might actually kill him. I thought about Sue. She was the logical choice, but my heart hurt at telling her this news as well. Besides, that would put her in a terrible position if I wanted her to keep it from Charlie. My thoughts turned to my friends. After weighing my options, I came to the conclusion that I really only had one choice. With a deep breath, I picked up my phone.

"Hey, it's Bella," I said, my voice a little shaky with the news I was carrying. "I was wondering if I could come over there for awhile. Something's happened, and I'm not sure what to do…." After an enthusiastic response, I felt feel a tiny bit hopeful that maybe I wasn't alone in all of this.

"Thanks, Jake – see you in an hour."