AN: I met Gisela at the TwiFic MeetUp in Las Vegas. She was lovely and smiley, and I feel lucky to have known her. I also feel so lucky to belong to this Twi family. We hold each other together when tragedy strikes, and then scramble to do whatever we can to help where we're needed. The outpouring of love and support for Gisela's family was amazing and unforgettable. I want to thank the beautiful girls that organized this event and worked so hard to make this tribute compilation a reality. Finally, to the two girls who never ever let me down, Maxipoo1024 and Jaime Arkin. Max is the beta sent from heaven and Jaime is the girl with the magic banners. I love them more than they know.
Even the best fall down sometimes.
Collide ~ Howie Day
We knew that it could never last―not with how it began. I chased him around the country while he promoted this album or that movie. He left his wife, and I left my life.
"Lies breed lies." That was what everyone kept telling us. He was the light, the brightest light that I had ever seen, and I had changed all that. I flipped his switch and turned his light out. Edward Cullen, Hollywood's golden boy, wasn't so shiny anymore. No, I had done my best to prove I could take it all away. I told him I would. He should have believed me.
"Bella, please be reasonable! I have to go. You know I don't have a choice. Just come with me. It will be nice to get away. It's only two weeks, and we'll be in London. It could be good for us, don't you think?"
"I do think, Edward. I think I can't stand to look at you anymore!" I throw the cup I'm holding at the mirror he is standing in front of. "Why would you think I enjoy picking up my life whenever you ask me to and follow you around the world? I don't enjoy it...at all."
"You knew this was my life, Isabella. You knew who I was when you met me, and you came along willingly if I remember correctly. So why all of a sudden are you making my life miserable? I have to go. Now."
"I'm making your life miserable? Well, I apologize for that. Go, Edward, but I won't be here when you get back."
His sigh is one of defeat. I know he believes me. He knows I won't be here when he returns...not this time.
"I have to go, but you do what makes you happy. That's all I ever wanted anyway, to make you happy." The look he gives me is pained, and as he closes the door, I scream before I slide down the wall. My cries don't bring him back like they usually do.
"Goodbye, Edward." I whisper to no one.
I had never really meant to hurt him; at least I didn't mean to cause permanent damage. I love him so much that sometimes I don't know what to do with myself. The pain is the only proof I have of him actually having being here. The funny thing is that he is so gentle and loving this shouldn't hurt at all. In fact I'm positive if I gave it a fair chance, this thing we have could be wonderful. Yet here I sit, waiting for him to cave. I will not be the one to apologize. I never am.
The emails start coming about a week after he leaves. He's sorry and he wishes I would change my mind and join him. He sends pictures of beautiful gifts that he had bought for me and of beautiful places that he wants to share with me. I want to go but my stubborn heart won't let me give in. I have a point to prove after all.
He needs me more that I need him.
The drunken voice messages come in the middle of the night after six weeks. He weeps as he explains no one wants to see him moping around and looking sad. No one wants to watch as he drinks himself into oblivion or shows up at clubs around Los Angeles, singing out his blues. The tabloids and entertainment reporters are relentless; after all, he had left Tanya Denali-Cullen for some nobody groupie girl that stole his heart and his will to live. No, in their eyes he doesn't deserve anyone's sympathy. They flash pictures of the beautiful, has been Prince and Princess of Hollywood, smiling at the camera and each other, next to horrible pictures of Edward and me, stumbling drunkenly out of clubs or fighting in the street. I'm sure my family is very proud.
Then all at once he stops. The emails and the messages end. His phone number is changed and his email address no longer exists. Edward rips himself from my life just as violently as I had ripped myself from his. I definitely don't expect that.
After that, more and more frequently I'm confronted by things I don't expect. There are paparazzi following me around and pictures of Edward with every hipster Hollywood whore he can get his arms around. Then there are reporters trying to get a statement about how I feel about Edward and his hipster whores. I had finally had enough and decide to get my ass as far away from Los Angeles as I could get. So I went home.
Going home to Forks is easy. I fit there and after a few weeks of pointing and whispers, the small town gossips get their fill and move on...or so I thought. Of course Jessica Stanley, my high school nemesis has to prove me wrong.
The bell above the door of Forks Diner announces my arrival, and in case anyone misses that fact, Jessica's shriek takes care of that.
"So Bella… Edward Cullen, huh? How the hell did you pull that off? You weren't exactly known for your… um womanly wiles." She snickers as she wipes the counter in front of me.
"Yeah, well I wasn't known for having sex with married movie stars in the bathrooms of nightclubs either. Who knew?" Now she looks like her eyes are going to pop out of her head. I pay for my take out and march out the door.
I know that I shouldn't let her get to me, but I can't help it. She knows how to push my buttons, and she's been doing it since we were four years old. As I walk, out I know I have just given her the go ahead to torment me every chance she gets. I think I did it on purpose; I feel like I deserved it. Maybe I do.
I take the food home to Charlie and watch him scarf it all down. He watches me closely as he eats, but he doesn't say a word until he's done with his dessert. It's his favorite after all—apple pie.
"Bells, you know I love having you home, but I'm not really sure what is going on right now. I hate to see you moping around like this, and you know that I don't read those trash magazines, but I'm not deaf and people talk. Some of the things that I'm hearing don't make me happy. I feel like I don't know you at all, baby."
I can't help the tears that fall from my eyes. I had never wanted my dad to find out about the things that happened between Edward and me. I stare at my hands and let the tears fall. My dad and my home town have always been safe for me; they are what I know. This is where I can come to be safe. I don't feel safe here anymore, not like I do when I'm with Edward.
"I'm sorry, Daddy. I never meant for any of this to happen. I fell in love and all I wanted was for him to love me back, but everything is so messed up now. I think that I may have really lost him this time, and I don't know what to do. Tell me what to do, Daddy." I plop myself down in front of his recliner and lay my head in his lap.
"Isabella, you are a smart girl. You know exactly what you have to do. Go after what you want. If this boy is what you want, then go get him. You didn't seem to have a problem with that before." He smirks at me and it reminds me of every pep talk he ever gave me when I was little.
"What if he doesn't want me anymore, what if I go looking for him and I find out that he has moved on. Then what will I do? I don't think that I could handle watching him move on." I sniffle and wipe my nose on my sleeve.
"Bells, don't you think he's thinking the same thing? He's off wherever he is, wondering what you are doing and who you are doing it with. If it is worth saving, then you will get him back, but you have to slow down, baby. You have a tendency to go a little…er… overboard. Think it through, have a plan."
So, that's what I do. I decide to make a plan.
Later that night, after my father leaves for work, I sit down at my childhood desk and start to make a list. Now, to be perfectly honest, the list is very short. There are only two items on it, actually. First, I have to find Edward, and then I have to apologize. It seems simple enough, except it isn't…at all. It isn't simple at all, because I have a famous millionaire for an ex-boyfriend and he could be anywhere in the world right now.
The thought of crossing actual oceans and deserts to find him entered my mind, and I throw myself down on my bed. I flail around and scream at the top of my lungs. "Why does everything have to be so hard?!"
I finally figure it out. I love Edward. I want Edward. I need Edward. So why can't I find Edward? Deep down I know why. It's because I don't deserve to. I had left him without notice and hadn't responded when he basically begged me to come back to him. I need to make it up to him, but I can't do that if I can't find him. So I do the only thing that I can think of…I look at the tabloids.
I know they are the devil, but the biggest reason we hate them so much is because they never leave us alone. We couldn't leave the gates of the property without the camera flashes and the yelling.
Once my laptop boots up, I scour all of the foul tabloid websites I can think of. I see pictures of Edward traipsing around Los Angeles, bleach blondes of every shape and size on his arm. I see low quality videos of Edward playing sad songs in little whole in the wall bars in Texas, and then I hit a dead end. It seems he has gone off the radar about a week ago.
"You finally got away," I whisper at the screen.
At some point I must have fallen asleep because I'm startled by my cellphone ringing loudly from my bedside table. When I pick it up I see that it is 3am and the call is coming from the police station.
I am immediately wide awake.
"Hello! Dad?" I know that I am screaming, but I can't seem to make myself stop.
"Bells, stop screaming. I'm fine, but I think that you should probably come down the station as soon as possible," he says calmly, but with authority. This is definitely Chief Swan speaking, not my Daddy.
"What's going on down there? Can it wait until morning?"
"Don't ask questions, Bella. Just get down here." He hangs up the phone before I can answer him.
I jump out of bed, panicking even though he tells me that everything is fine. Being summoned to the police station in the middle of the night can never be a good thing. I throw on some leggings and one of Edward's old hoodies that I stole when I left before pulling my hair up into a messy knot, and I run out the door and head to my dad's office.
I try to calm myself down as I drive the short distance, but I'm not sure that is even possible. When I pull into the parking lot and look around, I know right away something is out of place. I see my Dad's cruiser, of course, but I also see a tow truck with a dark SUV attached to it. I stare at it for a minute before going over and trying to look inside of it.
I look through the window of the dark gray Range Rover and realize that it is definitely a rental. Which is weird, because why in the world would someone tow a rental car to the police station?
"Were you planning on coming in anytime soon, Bella?" My father's voice startles me out of my musings.
"Yeah, I was just on my way in. What's going on?"
"Well, I was on patrol earlier and spotted this vehicle driving almost 20 miles over the speed limit down the logging road in the rain. I know I don't need to tell you what the consequences could be for such reckless driving, so I pulled him over. The driver explained that he had just arrived in Washington and is here to look for a friend of his that has disappeared. The problem is that he has no idea where to start looking. All he knows is that this is where she grew up." He is back in cop mode, and it seems like he is telling me way too much about this case.
"So… what does that have to do with me, and why the heck would you drag me out at 3am, in the rain, to hear that story?" I can hear the words come out harsher than I intend them to, but I'm cold and tired.
"Believe it or not, it has everything to do with you. Why don't you come inside and find out for yourself." The smirk on his face is confusing me even more, so I stomp up the stairs and push past him to get through the door.
Once I make my way inside, I look around and try to understand what is going on. I stare past the reception area, and there in the holding cell is my Edward.
"WHAT THE HELL!" I shout before I can stop myself.
Edward looks up at me and I know that he is just as surprised to see me. Chief Swan is already walking past me toward Edward, and I have to jog to catch up.
"Do you even know who this is? I mean do you realize what you have done?" I ask, nearly running into his back when he stops in front of the cell.
"Yes, of course know who he is. I had to look at his identification to issue a citation, Isabella, and I was doing my job." The smirk is back.
"Then why…? Oh my God, Dad! Why did you arrest him?"
"I told you already, reckless driving. He was going way over the posted speed limit, and if anyone else was around I would have probably charged him with reckless endangerment as well."
When I look back at Edward I see he still has no idea what is going on, so I take the key out of my father's hand and let myself into the cell.
"Edward, I'm so sorry for this! What are you even doing here? Are you okay?" I know that I must look a mess, and I am talking too loudly and my voice is echoing off of the walls, but I don't care about any of that.
"I'm fine, Bella, though I don't think I made a very good first impression on your father. Do you think he is going to let me out of here?" His eyes look tired but his voice is light and happy.
I can't take it anymore, and I throw myself at him just as the tears start. We collide and it's a collision of our bodies and our hearts. His arms tighten around my back, and I feel it in my soul. I straddle his lap, tuck my face against his neck, and I cry. I cry for all of the time we lost. I cry out my guilt over his unanswered pleas for my attention. I cry because he is here, and I am never going to let him go again.
He shushes me; his voice is soothing and his scent grounds me.
"I'm so sorry, Edward, for everything. So much of the blame is mine, and I can't believe that you came looking for me, even after all that I've done." I sob and struggle to get the words out, but I know that he can hear me.
"I'll always come looking for you, Bella. Always." I feel him kiss my hair and I believe him.