All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer.

Another plot bunny... enjoy!

Faded Memories

I stared down at the photograph in my hand. The edges were frayed and worn, the color faded. Scratches could be seen, but all of that didn't mar what the picture represented.

A time of youthful love, carefree, before life ripped us apart. A simple time. We promised forever, he gave me a ring, and we said the vows.

I still had the ring, sitting on my finger, nestled with the band he placed there representing, what was supposed to be, an infinity of love. But times were not carefree anymore. The youthful love was not infinite, it was gone and we were faced with the harsh realities of life.

I missed the 'us' in the photo.

"Mommy," Sarah called, pulling me from my thoughts. "Karen wants to know if I can go over to play."

"Alright," I agreed, knowing Karen was just next door, and she smiled, "but make sure you're back by seven."

She turned to leave, but abruptly stopped to look back. "Is Daddy going to be home for dinner?" she asked, and the hope in her voice crushed my heart.

"Maybe," I answered as best I could.

I watched her spirits drop, and cursed him for putting that look on our daughters face.

I sighed before picking up the phone and dialing his cell, but of course it went straight to voicemail. I opened up the keypad on the phone to type out a text.

Just seeing if you are going to be home for dinner. Sarah misses you. – Bella

I wanted to say that I missed him as well, but I honestly just didn't know anymore. It had been so long since we'd done anything together that I felt like he was a stranger. That we were strangers. He was hardly home, always busy at the office and too busy for his family.

Sarah broke her leg last year, but he was in a meeting and couldn't be bothered. I'd kept my mouth shut for a while, but that was the last straw. That was when the fighting really started.

I looked back down at the photo in my hands reminiscent of a better time, as the day came back to me. It was warm; we were on vacation, our first one since we started working after college.

"Fuck, it feels good to be out of that stuffy office!" Edward exclaimed, his voice jubilant.

I smiled and took his hand in mine. "Gotta do the grunt work for a while," I reminded him and he groaned.

"I know, I know. It just… sucks. I didn't think I'd be away from you this much. I hate it; I hate not being near you."

"Me too, baby, me too. It's so lonely without you."

"Six more months, then it should get easier. Then we can start our family."

I grinned up at him. I absolutely loved it when he talked about making a family, having kids. "How many do you want to have?" I asked.

"A dozen," he said, his tone serious.

"A dozen, shit, we better get started!" I joked, rolling my eyes at him.

He shrugged his shoulders. "What can I say; I want a big family… with you."

I got pregnant with Sarah on that trip. She was seven now, and sibling less. Unfortunately, it seemed it would stay that way.

Edward hadn't touched me in over a year.

He hadn't kissed me more than a peck on the cheek or forehead in over six months.

He hadn't hugged me in… I couldn't even remember.

I did miss him, I desperately missed him. He was my husbank, my best friend, my lover… but it just didn't seem that way anymore.

An hour later and I still hadn't heard back, so I dialed his office number. His bitch of a receptionist answered and I wanted to hiss at her.

"Mr. Cullen is in a meeting, Mrs. Cullen, but I'll be sure to let him know you called," Irina said in her fake friendly voice.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to believe in that moment, that Edward was once again too busy for his family, or that he was having an affair.

More and more, I was leaning toward affair.

It was just Sarah and I at dinner. She didn't ask about him, but I could tell she was upset as she pushed her food around the plate, hardly eating any of it. I gave her a bath and read her a story as I tucked her into bed that night.

He still wasn't home.

I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, watching and waiting. It was nearly midnight when his car pulled into the garage.

He walked in, and with a heavy sigh, threw his briefcase and jacket up on the counter. He didn't even see me sitting there as he went to the fridge in search of food.

I didn't leave him a plate, which seemed to piss him off, but he never did respond to me.

Grabbing something he turned back toward the counter and jumped back in shock when he saw me.

"Jesus Christ, Bella!" he exclaimed. "What the hell are you doing up, it's almost midnight."

I didn't answer; I didn't even look at him.

"Hello? Are you going to answer me?"

"Do you want a divorce, Edward?" I asked, my voice calm and even.

"What the fuck are you going on about?"

"It was a simple question which only requires a yes or no answer. Do you want a divorce?" I asked again, this time turning to look at him.

"Is this about missing dinner? Look, I was busy at the office. We have a huge account coming in next week and there is a lot of prep work to be done," he said with an annoyed huff.

"Are you having an affair?"

"What in the hell would make you think that?" he questioned defensively.

"You're never home, we haven't had sex in over a year and even then it was mediocre. You don't even touch me anymore. All of that leads me to believe you have a girl on the side you are spending time with and lavishing with love and affection," I explained. "If you aren't getting it with me, your wife, you have to be somewhere, right?"

"Fucking ridiculous, Bella. I work hard so we can pay the bills. I work so we can have nice things. All this shit requires money," he argued.

"Edward, we have over twenty grand built up in our savings and the only debt we have is the house," I told him calmly.

Again, he stared, and I stared back at him dispassionately.

"I'm very tired, Bella. We'll talk about all this shit later," he said, ending the conversation like he normally did. He went back to heating up his findings and getting a glass of water.

"I want a divorce," I said and his head snapped to me, his eyes wide, the glass slipping from his fingers and into the sink.

"W-what?" he stuttered.

"I can't take this any longer and Sarah can't either."

"Bella…" he trailed off, speechless.

He's not fighting, he doesn't want us.

I stood from the table and headed toward the doorway, but his hand grabbed hold of my arm.

"Baby, please, let's talk about this."

I wrenched my arm from his grasp.

"Don't 'baby' me! You used to care about me! You used to care about Sarah! Now all you care about is work! We don't even register to you anymore! We deserve more, we deserve better, and if that means leaving you so that we stop facing disappointment, then so be it."

"You promised forever. You said you would never leave me," he argued.

"You promised too, but you broke your promise. You wanted a house full of children, but we only have one. You're never around, we need you and you're never available. Always in a meeting. You can't even be bothered to text me back," I said and stepped away. "I'll have our lawyer draw up some papers tomorrow, and Sarah and I will go stay with my mom for a while."

"No," he snarled and I was taken aback.

In the last five minutes I had given up on him, on us. I'd cut the strings that attached us with a dull spoon until they frayed and eventually broke free. What did he have to say 'no' about? I was giving him what he obviously wanted.

"No, what, Edward?" I spat back at him, my arms crossing in front of me.

"No, I won't agree to that. You are mine, we are not getting a mother-fucking divorce!" he yelled.

"This is how you treat your 'possessions'? Well, better treat the next one better or you'll run her off too. And yes, I am divorcing you," I pressed and moved to walk out of the room.

He stepped in front of me, blocking me. His head was shaking back and forth like a mad man. I stepped to the side to go around him, but he stepped as well and leaned toward me, pushing me into the doorway.

My eyes met his and I gasped. His hands grabbed hold of the sides of my waist, his nostrils flared, and his eyes… I couldn't even describe all of the emotions I saw there. He leaned down, his forehead touching mine; his hands pulling my body flush with his. I couldn't protest, because of two things; I was actually scared of what he might do, but at the same time I was excited about what he might do.

"Don't leave me, please Bella," he begged through clenched teeth.

"You don't seem to need, nor want us, so why should I stay?"

"Because I love you," he said, but didn't follow it up with anything else.

I shook my head and broke our eye contact. I could feel my heart crumbling in my chest. I had to get everything out, I had to purge everything.

"No, if you loved me you wouldn't have abandoned me for the past year. I don't know if you've been fucking around, and at this point I just don't care. I've had enough, Edward. I can't live like this, and neither can Sarah."

His fingers flexed into my hips, his body rocked into mine, pushing me further against the doorway. I could feel his breath on my neck and my body betrayed me by shuddering, sending tingles all down my spine.

How long had it been since he had done that? I remembered the first time he touched me, the first time we had sex. There had been tingles then, the same. It had been so long since he had touched me; I had forgotten the way he made me feel.

It woke me from the trance he had me under and I pushed back on him, trying to gain some space between us, but he wasn't having any of that.

"Move, Edward," I growled, trying to break free.

He didn't say anything, just pushed back into me, back into the wall. His lips were so close to mine that I could taste his peppermint breath.

I didn't realize my hands had fisted into his shirt, or that my body was arching into his, but I did notice the shaky breath that I took in before his lips were on mine.

His mouth against mine was euphoric. It had been so long I had forgotten how sweet he tasted. My mouth opened up, a moan escaping as his tongue found mine. Hands moved down to my ass, grabbing it and lifting me as he pulled my body into his, his hard cock pushing into my stomach. He groaned, the sound sending shivers down my spine.

We became frenzied, the first time we had touched intimately in over a year. Falling to the ground, we rid each other of as much clothing as we could, needing skin on skin. He ripped my panties off at the seams before slamming inside me.

We both cried out as he filled me to the hilt for the first time in so long. My body was singing, feeling complete again. His hips rocked, his cock sliding in and out in the most perfect motion.

His thrusts grew harder, faster, as he pounded into my aching pussy.

"Edward, Edward!" I cried out as I clenched around him, crashing over the edge.

He tensed above me, growling, as he spilled inside me. Collapsing down to rest on his forearms, his head rested on my shoulder as his breathing slowed down. After a few minutes his head rose, his fingers caressing my face as he leaned down to kiss me.

"That was a good note to end things on," I said nonchalantly and again, pain filled his face.

"Please, God, please, baby, don't leave me," he begged, his voice strangled.

Tears flowed from my eyes. "Is anything going to change? Am I going to get my husband back? Sarah get her father back?"

He was silent. "I… I don't know what to do. All I know is that I love you."

"Saying you love me isn't enough anymore. Actions speak louder than words, and you actions say you don't want us around, so we'll go."

"You're my family, without you I have nothing," he protested.

"You've given us nothing for the past year. You haven't had to see our daughters face when I tell her again that her Daddy can't make it to some school function, or when you don't make dinner. Soon the next time you look at her she'll be a teenager and she will hate you," I told him with tear filled eyes.

His forehead rested on mine, tears landing on my cheeks as his body shook. We stayed that way for a while before I forced myself to leave.

It was hard, exceptionally hard, to pull away from him, to leave his warmth. But I had to do what was best for Sarah and I, and things continuing the way they were was just not an option, and I knew nothing would change.

The next morning, after Edward left for work without saying a word to me, I packed Sarah and me a suit case and told her we were going on vacation to see grandma. She asked if Edward was coming and I told her we were just having a girl's getaway.

I broke down that night in my mother's arms after Sarah was asleep. Her soothing hands ran through my hair as she told me that everything was going to be okay.

I missed my husband from the ragged photo. I missed my best friend. I missed the man that made certain that I felt love.

The garage door opened and Edward stepped into the house. As soon as he was past the threshold I was in his arms, his head buried in my neck, breathing me in.

"God, baby, I missed you," he said with a sigh. "I hate being away from you."

My arms squeezed tightly around his waist, my hands gripping his shirt. "It was only two days, but it felt like you were gone for two weeks."

"I know. How's Sarah?"

"Okay, she's been fighting a cold. Poor little thing has been all sniffley and snotty."

"Well, I'm home now and I can do my favorite thing."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Take care of my girls," he answered with a dazzling smile. "And maybe Mommy and I can work on making a sibling for Sarah to play with."

He leaned down, his lips kissing my neck. My hands reached up around his neck and into his hair.

"Mmm, I think that's a great idea."

The following days were hard. I tried my best not to let it show to Sarah, but when she hugged me tight and told me not to be sad, I knew I had failed.

Over a week had passed and I had limited contact with Edward, and it was mostly just a few short texts. The divorce was a threat, and I was desperately hoping it was worth the gamble. I wanted to shock him, make him wake up, but I would do it if I had to because what we had now was not a marriage. It would break me in two because Edward was my soul mate, my one true love, but we couldn't continue as we were.

After so long I was beginning to lose hope. It was hard to fake a smile for Sarah when my heart was breaking more with every passing day. Inside I guess I was hoping he would come banging down my mother's door after a day or two, but nine days had passed.

"Mommy, Daddy's here!" Sarah squealed.

I ran to stand next to her, to see if it was true.

Sure enough, leaning against his car, arms crossed over his chest, he stood. In jeans and a t-shirt, something I hadn't seen him wear in a while as he was always wearing a suit. I wondered why he wasn't coming in when I noticed he was fidgeting, his face scrunching in worry and pain before looking up at the house. He pushed off of the car, his arms relaxing and he looked like he was going to move toward the house. His hand moved up to tug at his hair.

The sound of the door opening drew my attention away from my husband and I watched Sarah run out the door.

I followed her, my heart beat increasing with every step. I wanted to go, I wanted to run to him, but I was so afraid what the outcome might be.

My palms were sweating with each step I took down the sidewalk and then into the grass. Sarah made it to him and he was smiling as he picked her up into his arms.

"Daddy! Daddy!"

"Hi, sweetie. I missed you," he whispered into her hair.

"I missed you too, Daddy, so much!"

Edward's gaze moved up to me and I crossed my arms around my chest as if to hold myself together.

My mother came to the door and called out for Sarah to give us some time to talk. "Sarah, want to help me make some cookies?"

The thought of cookies had her running back up and inside the house.

I stepped closer to him, but still kept my distance.

"Hi," I said in a lame greeting, but I really couldn't think of what else to say.

"Hi," he greeted and then was silent.

We stood there, neither knowing what to say. He moved to speak but nothing came out.

"I quit my job," he finally declared and I stared back at him in shock.


"I've been a complete at utter mess since you left, Bella. Trapped in my head to see where everything went so wrong. And I realized… it was me. I've been so narrow minded, so focused in my goals that I lost sight of what was important. You and Sarah. I was driven by warped ideas that you two needed more, needed better, and I pushed myself so hard that I pushed away from you. In doing so, I accomplished the opposite of my goal."

"So, there wasn't someone else?"

"No! Fuck, Bella, you're the only one I have ever loved, the only one I ever want."

"I don't understand, I need more. Why did you ignore us? When Sarah broke her leg last year, you wouldn't even leave a damn meeting!"

"I was so close to sealing a deal that would bring in a huge commission, one that would ensure a bit of financial security."

"Fuck financial security, Edward. What we need is you."

"I know, and that's why I quit… well, attempted to quit. Max can be quite… persuasive."

The hope in my heart dropped with his sentence. Nothing was going to change.

"Oh," I said, my head lowering as I fought back the tears.

"No, baby, wait, just listen," he begged as he stepped closer to me. "I told Max that the job had cost me my family, and I couldn't allow that. I was giving him my two weeks' notice when he countered me. He said he didn't want to lose me, so… I've been demoted in a way. He cut my accounts in half to insure I worked no more than forty hours a week, gave me a pay raise. He added an extra week of vacation, bumping me to four weeks."

"But what happens when another big account comes around and you have to work overtime? It's a slippery slope back to where you were, and back to us playing second fiddle," I argued.

"I won't allow it. I know I messed up here and broke some promises, but I'm here to fix them. I love you so much, baby, I can't lose you," he said and I could hear the honesty in his voice. This was my Edward, not the tired, overworked, company man. "I haven't used any vacation this year, so I have the next three weeks off. I was thinking, maybe we could take that trip to Disney we talked about. But first… would my wife be willing to go out on a date with me? I have a lot of time to make up for and I think she needs my full devotion."

I thought about all that he had said as I studied him. "How about we start with dinner here tonight? Apparently we're having cookies for dessert."

He smiled and reached out for my hand. I tentatively slide mine in his and he let out a sigh. "Thank you, Bella."

Sarah was ecstatic to have her Daddy there for dinner, and she sat on his lap almost the whole time. His expression became pained a few times, and he squeezed her and kissed her hair. Overall it was a very enjoyable evening with my family all gathered.

He stayed to read her a story and tucked her into bed. It was too late for him to embark on the two hour drive back to our home, so I made up the couch for him and said goodnight. He grabbed hold of my arm before I walked away and pulled me to him. I inhaled his wonderful scent as his arms wrapped around me.

"Goodnight, my love," he whispered, placing a kiss on the top of my head. "Thank you for giving me this chance to show you I want you, I want us, I want our family."

"Goodnight, Edward," I said, pulling away and retreating up the stairs.

As quietly as I could I crawled in bed with Sarah and drifted off to sleep.

The next few days continued with Edward's presence and I could see that he was really trying. I agreed to go on a date with him one evening. While it was strained in the beginning on the evening, we eventually relaxed into our old banter and I saw only my Edward across the table from me. His phone was secure in his pocket and if it ever rang he took no note. Before he would have answered every call stating it was important… unless it was from me.

"Edward, your phone has rung five times," I noted with a sigh.

"I know. I'm sorry, baby. It's the office," he said, pulling his phone out and flipping the screen open.

"Well, this is dinner. Can you please just ignore it?" I begged.

He looked from me down to the phone and shook his head. "I can't. We're trying to close this deal by noon tomorrow."

"It's our Anniversary," I argued.

"Just, five more minutes and I'll turn it off, okay?" he questioned and I nodded.

Five minutes came and went, and still he was on the phone, ignoring me.

I shook the memory from my mind. He was there, with me, and the phone was silent.

"So, Disney?" he questioned.

I smiled at him and set my hand on his. "Sarah would love it."

A few days later we were packed and on a plane bound for Orlando. The trip was amazing and I'd never seen Sarah so excited. She was bouncing around as we walked around the park, her feet barely touching the ground. Edward and I held hands the entire time.

Sarah and I had moved back home just before our trip, and after we came home from our family vacation we were all together in our home; it was surreal to have Edward around to help out. We were returning to normal, sleeping curled up in each other's arms, making breakfast together, doing the dishes. Edward's last week of vacation was spent with Sarah and I being a family, trips to the park, walks, even naps.

And I was napping, something I never did.

I was fairly certain I knew why, but I went to the drugstore just to be certain. I hadn't told Edward my suspicions, because things were just getting good, getting back to the way things used to be. However, holding the plastic stick in my hand I knew I couldn't hide it from him. Walking out of the bathroom, I held the test in my hand as I walked up to Edward who was sitting on the bed reading.

He looked up from the pages upon my approach and I held it out to him. His legs swung over the edge of the bed and took it from me, his gaze moved from the test, then back up to my eyes, and then to my stomach.

"That night… the night you…" he trailed off, unable to say the words. I merely nodded.

He looked down at the test again and then reached out, his hand resting on my abdomen. Suddenly he stood, pulling me into his arms. He was laughing joyously, picking me up into the air. His smile was brilliant as he swung me around the room. I couldn't help but smile as well.

"We're going to have a baby!" he exclaimed. "A baby!"

He laid me down on the bed, his body stretched out over mine.

"I love you, Bella. I love you so much," he declared, his lips capturing mine.

"I love you too."

Lips and fingers flitted about my skin, showing me with his body how he felt. For the first time since we had gotten back together, he was inside me. And for the first time I really felt that everything was going to be alright.

Edward returned to work that Monday, and true to all he told me, he only worked forty hours. For all the weeks to follow he was home for dinner, was there for any of Sarah's school functions, and left to go with me to all of the doctor's appointments. Anytime I called, he answered. Texts were responded to in record time.

It didn't stop, things had changed, and definitely for the better. We were a family again, we were important again. Edward made sure not to lose sight. His focus had completely shifted, and it was on us.

Our baby boy was born healthy and happy, followed two years later by another little girl. We'd made all new memories, leaving the faded ones behind. We moved on, enjoying and living life as the family we always dreamed of.