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What doesn't SM own?
"Bella, what are you doing?"
This has become Angela's mantra over the past few days and I feel like I want to ring her neck. Instead I ignore her, riffling through my closet looking for something attractive to wear. Angela's sigh is as loud and frustrated as I am currently feeling.
"Have you even talked to Edward since you left?" She tries to prod me.
"Not that it's any of your business, but no." I respond curtly.
"Don't you even care how you're husband is doing," she spits back. The claws are out and I'm not going down without a fight.
"I really couldn't care much about how my soon to be ex husband is doing, it's his own business now." I try to dissuade this fight from happening but I can tell by the anger that flashes in Angela's eyes that I have only stoked the fire.
"You know what Isabella Cullen, you are being a selfish bitch!" She shouts taking a step closer to me.
Ever since seeing Edward at the store yesterday Angela has been all over me for spending so much time with Riley. The only reason I had gone over to talk to him was because it felt more obligatory than anything else. I have tried to be nice to Angela about all of this, because I know that she just cares about me. But today I am beyond my breaking point and her words have me ready to claw her eyes out.
"Fuck you! What do you know about relationships?!" I counter, taking the final step between us that brings us almost chest to chest.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Angela challenges, her voice suddenly sounding calm and even.
"I don't know, why don't we ask Ben and his secretary, what was her name? Kate?" My tone matches hers and I watch her blanch at my words.
It's a low blow and I know it. So low that I will probably punch myself for it once I've calmed down, but I just need her out of my face right now.
"You don't know what you're talking about." Her voice is almost a whisper. A single tear slides down her face and the remorse is already beginning to set in.
"Ang, I'm sorry...," I start to say but Angela holds up her hand cutting me off.
"No Bella, maybe you need to know," She takes a deep breath before she continues, "Ben didn't leave me for his secretary."
The room is so quiet the drop of a pin would sound like a sonic boom.
"I don't understand." My voice is barely a whisper.
"I told everyone that Ben had an affair. And shortly after that he left. Everyone just assumed he left with her, but that's not what happened. After I found out about Ben and Kate I was just so hurt and angry. He said it was only one time. He wanted to try to work things out. I am the one that kicked him out. I told him if I wasn't making him happy anymore he should just go be with Kate. But as far as I know he hasn't ever been with her, or seen her since." Angela's eyes are pleading with me to understand something I am just not grasping.
"Why are you telling me this? What does this have to do with me?" My arms are wrapped protectively around my middle. Her words make me feel vulnerable and I'm not sure why.
"Because Bella, Ben begged me to try to work things out. He offered to go to counseling. He offered to find a new job. He told me we would move away if being around here was too hard. He was willing to do anything, but I shut him out completely. I was just so hurt...then when people started assuming he left with Kate, I didn't want everyone to think I was weak for trying to take him back." Her eyes are fixated on the floor.
"Did you want to take him back?" I wonder aloud.
"Maybe. Yes. I don't know. All I really know is that I regret that I didn't at least try to see if we could fix it. Sure cheating was a major fuck up on his part, but I can't say I didn't do my fair share of driving him away long before he got to that point." She looks up at me finally and I can see that her cheeks are awash in tears.
"Where is he now?" Her story makes my heart ache.
"He stays at the rec center. He still wants to try." Angela shrugs her shoulders in defeat and for the first time it is like I am seeing the real her. Seeing the toll that everything has taken on her.
"You can still try, Ang," I tell her, moving to wrap my arms around her shoulders.
"I'm going to." She pulls away from my embrace slightly so that she can see me more clearly, "I'm telling you this Bella, because I don't want you to make the same mistake I made. I know things have been hard for you two lately, but you have both played a part in the fuckups. Maybe it doesn't feel like it's worth fixing right now, but think about it Bella, you haven't spent the past 12 years of your life married to him because you didn't think it was worth it." Angela pulls away from me, apparently not expecting any response as she leaves me and what she has just said alone.
My mind plays back her words over and over, while I try to make sense of it all. Unconsciously my mind slips to Edward, and I remember seeing him this afternoon. At the time I had felt annoyed, maybe even a little angry at him for being at a store that I knew we often frequented. He was intruding on my good mood and I hated that.
But now as I recall the interaction I realize what a cold heartless bitch I must have seemed. He had looked horrible. He was abnormally pale compared to normal, which highlighted the dark circles below his eyes that told me that he hadn't been sleeping.
I did that to him.
Angela knocks on the door, breaking me from my thoughts when she tells me that Riley is there. She smiles at me apologetically, and doesn't even seem upset when I still leave with him.
On the car ride to the restaurant, Riley doesn't even seem aware that something is bothering me. He chatters mindlessly about his day while I stare at him like he has suddenly grown two heads. Edward always knew when something was wrong with me. I was always Edward's first priority, even on our bad days.
He notices me looking at him and grins at me, reaching his hand over to grab mine. That is when I realize that I hate that when he grins at me both sides of his mouth turn up, unlike Edward, who's grin is lopsided and sexy. For the first time I notice how sweaty his hands are on mine, and how his fingers remind me of overstuffed sausages being forced between my fingers. Nothing about being around Riley feels right, because nothing about Riley is like Edward.
"Hey, you alright?" Riley asks me, resting his hand on my knee, and I realize that we have been stopped for quite some time now and I have yet to even unbuckle my seatbelt.
"I can't do this." I tell him, shaking my head so vehemently that you would think he had just asked me to murder someone.
"Bella, what's wrong?" Now he's concerned.
"This just isn't right. Please, just take me back to Angela's." I am practically begging him, feeling on the edge of panic.
"Okay, we'll try again another night." He tries to promise as he starts the car.
"No, I don't think so." I tell him curtly.
"Is it him?" He asks me, a hint of sadness in his voice.
"It's always been him," I barely whisper as my words struggle past the lump in my throat.
What do you think about the insight from Angela?
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