Chapter One

Rain bounced off the screen and onto the ground. The sky was grey and filled with clouds as the storm began to hit. The air was cool and breezy. Fall in New England had arrived on that Saturday morning when there was nothing better to do but stay in your pajamas and not get out of bed.

Bella Cullen rolled over and stared at the empty spot next to her in the bed. She sat up and scanned the room. No one else was there. She was wondering where Michael, her boyfriend of three years, was. She laid back down for a moment before getting up to use the bathroom. She picked up Michael's red button shirt from the night before off of the floor and made her way into his bathroom. She was putting her brown hair into an elastic when she heard footsteps outside the room.

"Where'd you go?" She heard a male voice ask. Walking out of the bathroom, Bella smiled at Michael. He sat on the bed holding a breakfast tray filled with toast, eggs freshly squeezed orange juice. As she sat down next to him, he smiled. "Nice shirt."

Returning his smile, Bella responded. "This old thing, this was just laying around."

As they ate breakfast, Michael read the paper, paying little attention to Bella. Bella sat and took the moment in. She didn't know why she was still with Michael. He was good to her, but their views on life were completely polar opposites. Bella wanted to have a marriage much like her parents. They fell in love when they were at college at the age of twenty. They were married in a big catholic ceremony and had two children, Emmett and Bella. For all intense and purposes, Bella and Emmett had the most perfect childhood. Their parents were strict, but there was never a question about their love and affection. It was a traditional life.

Although she wasn't religious, Bella did believe in God. She knew since she was a young child that she wanted to get married. She used to wear her First Communion dress and veil and pretend it was a bridal dress. She knew she wanted to be a mother. She would nurture her stuffed animals and play with her younger neighbors. She thought she would have these things by the time she was twenty five. She sat in bed looking beyond Michael and at the rain. She was getting closer to her thirtieth birthday, well, that was a year and a half away, but she still thought she would be in a different place in her life at that point.

Michael on the other hand, had been raised by two parents who were never married. They had been together for over thirty-five years. They had a common law marriage, but not the pretty ceremony with dancing, cake and gifts. They had no date to celebrate when they became one. It wasn't important to them. They were atheist and placed their beliefs in science more than the unknown. Michael, being an only child and never exposed to other youngsters until he attended school, certainly didn't want children. They would interfere with his busy law practice.

"I am going to the hospital to see Alice today. She had her second baby," Bella said as she notice Michael put the paper down. "Do you want to come with me?"

Michael picked up his glass of juice and shook his head. "Honey, you know I have to work on that big case. I'm actually meeting with the family I am representing. Plus, a baby, ewww," Michael explained sounding like a seven year old girl who just seen a worm.

Bella nodded. "I'm going to back to my place then. Jessica is coming over and we might catch a movie."

Michael crinkled his nose. "Jessica? Why do you let yourself associate with her? She is an unappreciative person who has no goals for her life? She couldn't survive college. She thinks she is always going to have her pretty looks. Christ, she works at a retail store and has no goals for herself."

"Wait a minute. Jessica is a nice person who just has some issues. She is trying to get her life on track. There is nothing wrong with her. Who cares if she works retail? It doesn't make her a bad person." Bella rebutted.

"Bells, she is very unappreciative of you and all you do for her. You guys get along well until she gets into one of her moods where she is a bitch on a rampage and yells and screams at you. Then you get angry and say you're never going to talk to her again, which only lasts a few days because you can't stay angry at people. It's the same song and dance. Watch, you guys will have dinner and maybe rent a movie, because she hates going out, and you guys will fight over something. You'll tell me you never want to speak to her again, but she'll call and apologize and you'll be fine, for a week or so, then it starts all over again. It's all a very predictable act," Michael recapped.

Nodding, Bella placed her plate on the tray. She stood up and went into her drawer to pull out clothes. She pulled out a pair of blue jeans and a t shirt. She reached in to grab a pair of underwear to find an article of clothing that wasn't hers. All ready irritated by the whole conversation with Michael, she grabbed the blue lace bra, which wasn't hers and held it up. "Who does this belong to?" She asked Michael, who went back to reading the paper and wasn't paying attention to her. She took a deep breath and walked over to the bed. She threw the bra at the newspaper. "Who does this belong to?" She repeated.

Not having a choice, Michael smiled. "It's yours."

Growing more furious, Bella calmly replied, "No, it isn't. It is a size 32d. As you can tell I am not a d cup. Are you going to tell me who this belongs to?"

Michael sighed as he spoke very matter a factly. "A couple of nights ago a colleague came over. We were discussing a case when she kissed me. One thing led to another and, well, we would up in here."

Saying nothing, Bella grabbed her clothes, went into the bathroom and changed. She exited the bathroom without saying a word, went downstairs into the kitchen and grabbed two reusable Whole Foods bags and went back into the bedroom. She threw all of her clothes into the bags. She grabbed her shoes and jackets and starts to exit out of the room and end of near the front door.

"What are you doing?" Michael asked nonchalantly.

"I'm leaving. If I left any stuff here let me know and I'll pick it up." Bella responded coldly.

"Bells, why are you taking your things?" Michael asked dumb foundry.

Staring him right in the eye, she said, "It's over."

Shaking his head, Michael asked, "What do you mean it's over?"

"Number one, you just admitted you cheated on me. I bet it wasn't even the first time, was it?" Interrupting him before he had a chance to answer, Bella said waved a hand at him. "Never mind, I don't want to know. Number two, you just tore apart one of my best friends less than five minutes ago. Number three and most importantly, we don't want the same things in life."

"What do you mean?" Michael asked.

"You know what I am talking about. You know I have always wanted to get married and have children. I still want those things! Your little fling just put everything into perspective for me. It's time to move on." Bella yelled.

"This conversation again? Bella, don't you think you're being a little immature? Let's talk about this like reasonable adults." Michael tried to bargain.

All Bella could do was shake her head and try to hold back her tears. "There is one way. Let's get married."

"You're talking stupidly now Bells. We don't need to get married to prove we love each other." Michael replied. He walked closer to her and placed an arm around her waist. "Let's just sit down and talk about this rationally."

Moving away, Bella shook her head. "No. I wish you could understand. I want to get married and have the big wedding and have babies. All of my friends are doing this now, and you know, I haven't come one step closer to that in the three years we have been together. Plus, you just told me you have slept with someone else. This relationship isn't going anywhere. It's run its course. We're through."

Grabbing her arm, Michael wanted to stop her. "Bella, come on, we can talk about this."

"No we can't. In the three years that we have been together you haven't tried to understand my desire to have a family. That's huge and you know, it's not something I am willing to compromise any more. I don't want to sit in a rocking chair fifty years from now and wonder what it would have been like to have children and a husband who loves me, who would never cheat on me." Bella yelled back as Michael let go.

"Just because you have this illusion of a perfect marriage, doesn't mean you'll have the perfect life. Things still go bad in a marriage. People still cheat in marriage." He argued back. "It's not a sure thing."

"No, but at least if two people are willing to make a comment to each other in the first place, they are more likely to try and make their relationship work." Bella explained now in tears. She picked up her bags and looked at Michael one last time; she said nothing as she left his apartment.

"Isabella, come back. Let's talk. Bella, don't do this. Please come back. Please?" Michael's voice trailed. It was too late. Bella stepped into the elevator and never looked back.


"I can't wait for you to see the dresses the girls picked out. I'm sorry you couldn't make it the other day to the bridal salon. I missed you," Bella's soon to be sister-in-law Rosalie told her on the phone. Bella opted not to go with the seven other bridesmaids to get their dresses for the upcoming nuptials.

Bella had been spending a lot of time by herself in little apartment in Brookline. She felt lucky that she was able to do a lot of her editing work for Boston Magazine from home. Michael had called several times and sent flowers daily, but Bella didn't replay. As much as she was pained and missed Michael, she didn't want him in her life any more. She was stuck in a small rut. Other than Jessica and Alice, no one knew about the break up. Until she was ready to talk about it, they would remain the only two who would know.

"I'm sorry about that. I had the flu and it wasn't a good scene," Bella lied. "I can't wait to see the dress. I'm sure it is nice and very pretty."

"It is. We can get together next week to order it. It'll take a few months anyway. I just can't believe that things are starting to come together. Oh, I never told you that last week we booked the place for the reception. It's going to be in Boston," Rosalie continued as Bella only half listened. She was happy for Emmett and Rosalie, but she wasn't in the mood to sit and listen to every detail of a wedding that was nearly a year away. She just wanted to be by herself.

"That's great Rosalie. I can't wait to see it. Hey, I hate to cut this short, but I have to get going. Can I give you a call later? I have to get the door," Bella lied as she said good bye to Rosalie. She put her cell phone on the table and took a deep breath. She picked up some work and read the papers.

After reading the same sentence four times, she put the papers down and walked into her home office. She turned on her computer and checked her email. Next she went onto Facebook. She clicked on the friend request message and found one from Jacob Black. Anxiously she read it.

Bella!

What is going on? It's been a while since we talked. How have you been buddy? Life has been good here. I work in Chicago at Home Bank. I'm one of the top financial analyzers in the Chicago branch. It sounds like an important job but I hate it. I wish I could go back to painting. Leah, my fiancée, says that no one makes a true living from art. I miss art. Anyway, Leah is, well, she's, well, nice. We have a dog she named Pixie. It's a dumb name but she's a sweet little Pomeranian.

How about you? How is life treating you? You have to be married with twelve or thirteen kids by now. I remember you always wanted them. I always thought you'd make an awesome mother.

Write back soon. I'm anxious to hear about all you have done!

Jake

Jacob was Bella's crush from college. They were very good friends and flirted with each other, but that was it. Bella would have loved for something to develop between them but she was too shy to speak up, plus she didn't want to destroy their friendship. She reread the email again and again. She replied back but didn't include her current status as a single woman. She hesitantly clicked on the send button and shut off her computer and called it a night.