Special love to Bridgette! And the girls in my group :-) And to everyone reading, reviewing and rec'ing. *Kisses*

Note the time jump.


Chapter 19:

"But Angela," I whine. "I know you know, so tell me!"

"First, I don't know." She spins around in my office chair, kicking her feet in the air."And even if I did, rest assured I wouldn't tell you. I can't anyway."

"But—But …"

"I know what you're about to say." She stops the twirling to face me and glare at me. "And apart from it being to insult me that I'm not a real therapist, I'm still bound by code of ethics."

"Oh, ethics—smethics!"


"Angela." I blow out a breath, knowing I really need to show her how serious I am right now. Trying to act silly—like I'm asking out of nosiness is difficult when inside it feels like someone's slowly ripping me in two. "I live with a zombie. It's worse than when she first moved in. Even worse is that I'm trying—every second of the day to talk to her, get her to open up, but she won't bite. I'm worried."

"I know you are, but …" she sighs and reaches into her suit jacket. "Before I forget, Jasper had to rush out to a meeting. He told me to give you this." I gulp when she hands me the small sealed envelope. One of the good things about working where I do is being able to hire people you need to get information on someone who might not want to be found. "That's why I came in here to begin with."

"But you got distracted by my new chair."


When she looks at me expectantly, I smirk.

"I'm not telling you what's in here. Unless you tell me what's wrong with Bella."


"Angela, just please tell me what you can without … I don't know, compromising yourself or whatever."

For a moment Angela stays silent—not moving, not speaking and stares at me. Whatever she's looking for, I know when she finds it because her shoulders fall and out of her mouth comes a whooshing sound from releasing the long and heavy breath.

"I can tell you she's been talking to me a lot more about some of the things that's happened to her, but I won't tell you what. It doesn't surprise me that she's closed off afterward. It's a lot when you force your mind to remember things you want to forget."

I try not to think too much about the details she's withholding, and more of what she's saying about Bella's behavior—not being surprised.

"So this this normal?" I ask, my voice full of hope.

"I didn't say it was normal or okay, just that I'm not surprised. I'm a little worried though because bottling up all that emotion isn't good for her."

I nod, letting her know I'm listening and that I understand.

With a clearing of her throat, and a pointed look at the envelope in my hand, Angela looks at me expectantly. I smirk, leaning over my desk as if I'm about to whisper some big secret to her, but I stop then laugh, tapping her on the forehead with the envelope. "I'm still not telling you what's in here."

On the way home, I'm surprised I don't get into or cause any accidents with how distracted I am thinking about what Angela said about Bella. I've done it—we've all done it before—bottling shit up, acting like you're okay when you're not. Then something happens, someone says something that makes you snap, triggers something inside of you and you explode. Initially, you might feel like shit, you do feel like shit, but afterward, after getting whatever it was off your chest, you also feel lighter.

So, I know what she needs: a breakdown of some sort. A release of the anger or whatever else she might be feeling. And though I know she might hate me for it, I know what I have to do.

It's a struggle when I finally get home and sit down for dinner. What I want to do is take her hand and softly ask her what's going on, beg her to talk to me, but I don't because I know that won't work, either. It's gotten me no where in weeks.

I scowl when I look at the meal Bella puts in front of me. It's something new—she's been trying out different dishes lately—and in its own way, it looks good. I always tell her her food tastes good, even when it isn't the best, but this time I don't.

Poking it with my fork, I look up with my fake scowl still in place. "What is this?"

When her smile falls, I feel like the wind gets knocked out of me and have to grab hold of the bottom of the table to steady myself against the crushing guilt slamming into me.

"Oh, uh it—it's a ... casserole. A play on shepherd's pie."

I look down at the plate and frown. "It looks weird." I can't bring myself to actually lie and say anything worse than that.

"There's a lot more meat it in than—what are you doing?" she asks, sounding frantic when I stand up from the table.

Shrugging, I pick up the plate and rest it on the counter. "I'll make a sandwich."

"Do you want me to make it for you?"

"Uh, no. I think I'm capable of making my own, you know?"

"Did I do something to make you mad?"




Keeping my back to her, I try and steady my breathing but say nothing.

"You—you promised not to ignore me. That you'd tell me if something was wrong. After Christmas, remember, you promised me, Edward."

There's an edge to her voice, I close my eyes knowing what I'm doing to her.

Come on, baby. Come on. Say something. Get mad.

"But if I did something—"

"You didn't do anything, okay?" I whirl around on her. "God, can't I just have a bad day?"

"Of course you can." She keeps her voice soft, though there's hurt there.

Fuck, this isn't working. "Forget it."

I grab my plate and stalk off to my room all while cursing myself under my breath. That has got to be the dumbest, most ill-conceived, idiotic …

A knock on my door stops my berating, but I ignore it. There's no way I can face Bella right now. I obviously need to first figure out a way to apologize to her for being an ass. Again. After I'd promised her to do better. About an hour later, I leave the room in search of her, only to find a plate with a sandwich resting on it, waiting for me by the door.

Trust me, it makes me feel like even more of a piece of shit.

On my quest, I find Bella sitting outside in front of the house, her legs crossed Indian style, pulling at the blades of grass.

Sensing I'm there, she starts speaking before I can say anything for myself.

"One time when I was eleven, or maybe I was ten, I don't know, Charlie's temper flared really bad one night."

Trying to compose myself, I take in a deep breath, close my eyes and fold my legs to sit down next to her. I know all about his damn temper and how he used to beat Bella for any reason he could find until he suddenly stopped when she was around thirteen or so. The first time she told me about it, I got so angry, the first thing I wanted to do was go to the gym and wail on a punching bag. But Bella, for some reason, thought I was angry at her and now when she lets little stories slip, I have to fight to look impassive.

"I don't even remember what I did that day, but I'll never forget how angry he looked. To this day I swear to God, Edward, he would have probably killed me." Sniffling, she looks over at me. "My mom, she'd never really gotten in the middle of it before. I liked to talk back—she let him discipline me. But this night, she must have seen something in his eyes because as he was approaching me she stepped up and slapped him." With a wince and a bitter chuckle, she looks away again, bringing her legs up to her torso. "It was so hard the noise echoed through the room. I think it was the equivalent of her throwing herself in front of a bullet for me because she distracted him long enough and he tore into her. Just like she'd wanted."

Over the past couple months, the few times Bella's willingly just dropped information on me like this is when she's wanted to make a paradox to another situation. Knowing this isn't any different, I look at her with expectant raised eyebrows.

"I know when someone's trying to make someone else mad," she whispers, looking back to me again. "I just don't know why you were doing it to me earlier."

I should have known she would have caught onto what I was doing.

With a deep sigh, my shoulders drop. "Bella, I'm sorry. I was just—"

"Trying to push my buttons, I know, but why?"

"You've been so ... off these days." I frown, forcing myself to look away from her wide, hurt eyes. "I just thought if got a reaction out of you, if I got you mad, you'd talk to me. It was stupid."

"Yeah, it was stupid. Not to mention selfish. What if I don't want to be mad? What if I just want to let go and forget?"

"Look, I get it, but—"

"No, you don't! You don't get it, okay? None of you do. You, Angela, Esme—the girls at the center, none of you get it, so stop trying to pretend like you do." With a huff, she stands up and stomps back inside the house, leaving me on the ground groaning in frustration.

All I want to do is help her, and yeah, I might not be doing the best job at that, but I'm trying and that doesn't seem good enough.

Taking a deep breath, I reach into my pocket and take out the contents of the envelope. In it, holds what I know is the key to getting Bella better.

In it, is Rosalie's address.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

So what did you think?

I think with each chapter the responses are getting even more mixed than in the beginning lol But big thanks to all of you who are still reading. As for questions about how long this is going to be, after the next couple of chaps we have a few big and significant time jumps. But we're still only about halfway there.

How do YOU guys think Bella will react to seeing her sister again? Some mysteries about their upbringing will get answered soon and it won't be pretty.

But, first! Esme has to have the baby and her and Edward will have a long, much anticipated talk. You'll see what I mean when the time comes.

Sidenote to "Luck" readers. *sigh* I know it's been a while (again) but I'm working on completing it and then I'll post the remaining chaps. Thank you all for your patience.

Until Next Time