Year One, March 2

I last spoke with you before Christmas, the beginning of December. Oh, Edward, so much has changed. I have so many regrets. I wish that we had made different choices. I wish I could've, without much recourse, gotten out of my contract and followed you. But more than anything, I wish when you find out about the cancer that you won't be angry. I can see the fury in your face right now, and I worry you might hate me for not telling you. I feel like my heart is breaking because of it—and it hasn't even happened yet. I never want to be the cause of your pain and I know it will hurt you.

But even so, I cannot bring myself to pull you away from where you're meant to be. You're not meant to be with me right now, and I have hope that someday when it's our time again, you'll forgive me freely.

I have so many thoughts and as we've decided to put it on the line I have to tell you honestly what is consuming me right now. Grief and hate—I can taste the bitterness. The 'how comes' and 'why mes' and it's new for me. You know me well and know I don't ever function like this, but I'm overcome with darkness. More than death, I fear that my heart will continue to fall prey to this overwhelming sadness and loss. I'm depressed and cynical and hard of heart.

I'm told this is normal. Normal. Ha! It's not normal for me. This is no way of life, no way to be.

Year One, March 5

Do you remember when I told you about my senior prom? I was such a nerd—seriously though, how many girls do you know have a fascination with exhaust and emissions and how it effects the environment? Yeah. I've always been different, and because Charlie told me I was wonderful in spite of it, I believed him. I suppose there's a fraction of who I am that still does believe it, way down in the deepest part of me.

Anyway, I didn't date—you know this—so when I was asked in such a grand way to prom, I nearly expired with relief. Someone liked me. When I walked into the cafeteria to eat lunch and found that large, hand-made banner saying, "Bella Swan, will you go to prom with me?" after my furious blush, I mustered the courage to investigate. I found tied to one side of the banner a long rope that led out of the cafeteria.

Quickly I followed, so excited and thinking to myself who it could be. Along the way there were little signs that said things like, "Bella Swan, please say 'yes'.""I think you're so pretty.""I think I may love you."

With each sign I became more and more excited, more and more thrilled to know who it could possibly be! I had no idea there was anyone interested, there never was before. And I was interested to know who would declare themselves in such a public way—so loud and very direct. I stayed with the rope and it seemingly went on forever. Finally, it lead into a room. The restroom. Finding this odd and certainly bold of some boy to wait for me in the ladies' restroom, I pushed open the door. The rope was tied to the faucet and at the end there was one final handmade sign. I didn't need to go any closer because the answer was staring at me in bold red letters. It read, "Haha! Just kidding."

No one was there to see my face. To see my impressionable teenage heart...break. How humiliated I was to allow hope to fester in my heart. Of course there was no one interested—I was just too weird. I never hid my smarts and was outgoing in my pursuit of education and learning, so it had greatly surprised me that someone looked past that and wanted me to go to prom with them. I felt like such a loser thinking it could have been different for me, that I could be a part of both worlds—one in which I would and could accelerate and achieve academic success, and one where I was wanted for companionship, maybe even romance.

I remember how my heart hardened that day. Such a high I had experienced at first only to receive an even bigger let down. At least then and for some time after when people would ask me, "So Bella, who was it that asked you to prom?" and I had to embarrassingly tell them it was no one—a joke even—at least then I had someone to hate. While it's now been forgiven, for the rest of my high school career I couldn't look at Mike Newton without feeling the hate for him course through me.

With this cancer, with having to learn to do things differently, it is nameless. Faceless. Unseen and never speaking—but it's so loud and ringing in my ears. It's in my head, never leaving. It doesn't stop. And because there is no 'someone' I'm finding no where to direct my hate so I feel better. Instead it's stagnant within me and I'm burning alive.

I don't want to live with the pain and discomfort. I'm trying to decide if it's worth it at all. I didn't know it would be so hard and I have no one to blame. I have to work through it, but for now this grief and sorry feelings are dragging me to hell. I don't want to live like this.

I worry I'll never surface as a victor of this horrible disease.

I miss you so much.

Bella had fallen asleep about an hour ago reading my letters. Her excitement brought with it a tiredness in knowing.

It wasn't much better for me. Well.

I was just as emotionally vacant, but never anything like I've just read. It's hard for me to consider her this way. To think she went through this without me, any of it, hurts me on a level I've felt few times before. I feel guilty that I didn't just...know. That we were less connected than I thought because I didn't just know there was something wrong.

But how could I have known?

I wonder why Charlie kept his word to Bella and didn't tell me. How he could have kept this from me. He had to have known it would kill me. I just don't understand it. Having lost my parents when I was so young, he knew he was the only dad I'd ever really known. It was his voice I heard when I was making difficult decisions that would require advice only a parent could give. And I know he loved me just as he loved Bella.

As much happiness that I've gained in just being here next to this beautiful woman, I'm so sad to have lost Charlie.

Her strength amazes me, truly. When she told me how Charlie had died, and the events after his death—it brought me quickly back to a lab my third year. Carmen, my partner, was talking about a cop that had been killed during a robbery gone horribly wrong and how sad it was. I thought of Charlie then, and his strength as The Chief. I remember thinking of how level headed he was and how careful. I flippantly told her I thought it was sad and then asked her to get our supplies.

I had no idea that the cop she was speaking of was Charlie.

I didn't watch the news, I rarely, if ever, listened to the radio. I rented movies or went to the theater—I could get a student discount. I didn't have time for anything but school. Keeping in touch with reality, what everyone else was going through was too difficult for me to deal with without Bella. It wasn't as if there was anything positive being reported anyway. Turn on the news and you'll always find death, discomfort, scandal and heartache. I was hurting enough as it was—I didn't need it. It didn't concern me so it became unimportant. It wasn't that I didn't feel sympathy, I just didn't have time to let it sink it. I acknowledged it and moved on.

I was cold. A for many, many years I functioned in a very basic state. It was the only way I knew to live without her.

Bella is a much greater person than I. I don't know how she ever does what she does. Lives the way she lives. Accepts the things she cannot change because that's really the only choice any of us have. Her life means something, not just to her, not just to me. After finding out the details of Charlie's death, her heart immediately forgave. She is so incredibly pure that her first instinct toward the person who took his life was not to wish for him to burn in hell, but for him to find peace.

Who does that?


Bella does that.

A/N: This took me a long time. My laptop died on me and all my notes and chapter outlines went bye-bye. Then, my oldest son had some final very time consuming requirements needed to earn his Cub Scout final honors. I know more crap about rocks now than I ever thought possible. This is coming to you now because I finally got a new laptop (yay me!) and I'm on vacation. The kiddos are playing near constantly with their cousins and...I actually have free time. It's very weird.

Regardless of all of that, I just wanted to say I'm very thankful for you reading. For the reviews, too, of course. And the private messages asking for more of this and inquiring about my health There are so many kind people and I'm happy to get a glimpse into your lives—even if just a little bit.