Always

Description: Bella's life was in shambles until she took a chance and rediscovered a love that refused to die.

BPOV, E/B, AU, AH-meaning no vampires, Drama, Slight Angst, HEA, Banner on my profile!

A/N: I was watching one of my favorite chick flicks the other night, and this story suddenly flooded my mind. I'm not going to say which movie inspired it because its a surprising twist, but if you want a spoiler you can read through the reviews and figure it out.

*Planning on short chapters with frequent updates. When a chapter is finished, I'll post – could be once a week, could be twice in a day.

Disclaimer – I own nothing!


Chapter 1

I hated Forks. Everything about the place was depressing, and as I drove the familiar streets I began to wonder what the hell I was doing back. The small town was full of small minded people with small worthless dreams, and somehow in the ten years it had been since I was there last, my life had broken apart piece by miserable piece until there was nothing left except crumbles that could only fit in that horrible shoebox of a town. I simply had nowhere else to go…

"Oh, there she is!" my mother squealed when I walked up to the house. "Welcome home, baby."

Welcome home? I had never actually been to that particular house before, and because of my mother's love of travel, she had thankfully always come to Arizona to visit me. Forks wasn't my home anymore, and never would be again; I was just there to take a necessary breath, and then I'd turn the page and move on to the next my next chapter of life. At least, that was my plan.

"Wow, the house is…nice," I said as politely has I was capable of.

"Isn't it? We've been working really hard on restoring it. You should have seen it last year when we first bought it, it was horrible."

"We? Oh, you mean you and your husband…" Shit, what the hell was his name again?

"Phil," she said slowly.

"Yeah, Phil. Of course," I said lightly so she'd think I was joking about forgetting him. I only met the man twice, and on the rare occasion that I did think about either of them it was usually 'Mom and Husband Number Six'…or was it seven now? It was hard to keep track of.

If I had taken each of my mother's married names, my full name would have been Isabella Marie Swan -Jensen, Cullen, Tate, Welch, and finally Dwyer…and I only remembered her current last name because of the money gram I recently sent her…which I now discovered was for home repairs. What I wouldn't give for that ten grand back right about then; I certainly wouldn't be staying with my mother if I had that kind of money still.

Most of Renee's marriages occurred during my first eighteen years of life, thus I was forced to endure her constant breakups and breakdowns, and I swore after husband number three that I'd never expose myself to the same kind of misery.

But there I was… back in Forks… running from my mother's mistakes, and somehow ending up just hiding in her shadow.

"So…tell me what happened with you and… What was his name again?" she asked as we settled in on the couch with some terrible cups of spiked coffee.

"Michel," I told her bitterly due to her forgetfulness of my ex's name - we were way more alike than I cared to admit.

"Michel, that's right. I really liked him…Tell mommy what happened?" she cooed like someone talking to a baby.

"There's really nothing to tell. We just grew apart," I told her, not wanting to pathetically cry over another lost boyfriend the way she had always done. Besides, I refused to allow the destruction of my latest relationship be the biggest problem in my life.

And my life really was terrible at the moment

After investing every penny I could into trying to save the bookstore slash café that I owned, I ended up having to close anyway and couldn't afford my apartment anymore. And when I finally accepted that I needed to move, Michel picked that evening to propose – as if the day couldn't possible have gotten worse.

"This is actually a good thing. You can move in with me and we'll start a new beginning together," he had told me over dinner. He then did the most horrifying thing I could possibly imagine - he stood in front of me before kneeling down and pulling out a ring.

"Oh god," I gasped.

He misconstrued my words as a good thing and smiled. "Isabella Swan, will you…."

"Please don't do this to me," I whispered, making him pause.

"Huh?"

"It has been some of the worst few weeks of my life, so why are you proposing?" I asked quietly in a rush. "Besides, you know better than anyone that I don't ever want to get married. I told you over and over again, and you were always fine by that. You said you never wanted to get married either, so why are you doing this to me now?"

"Come on, Bella. I'm thirty years old; I don't want to be single forever. What about having a family?"

"We talked about all of this," I said getting frustrated. "I made my feelings perfectly clear."

"Yeah, and I felt like that then too, but we've been together two years now, you can't tell me your feelings haven't changed just a little? We're good together, and I think we're ready to take the next step in our relationship."

I stared at him for a minute and honestly tried to picture myself marrying him. He was right, we were good together. We never fought, we liked the same things, and we were friends with all the same people. I was happy with him, so happy in fact that I didn't want anything to change.

"I'm sorry Mike, I can't get married," I said slowly. "Let's just stay the way we are….Get your money back from that ring and forget any of this ever happened."

He took a deep breath. "Well, I'm afraid I just can't do that… I love you, but I do want a family one day and that's not something I'm willing to ignore. Perhaps we've reached an impasse and should go our separate ways before we waste any more time on a relationship that will never go anywhere."

"Fine," I said, refusing to show any emotions, hell I refused to feel any emotions. The worst part of my breakup was the fact that it was just one more aspect of my once comfortable life that had fallen apart. We shared all our friends, so the last thing I wanted was to move in with one of them and have to constantly hear how sad it is and how we were the perfect couple. So with no means of income, no boyfriend, and no friends to lean on during my time of financial crises, I headed back to the only family member I had left. My mother.

God, I hated living with my mom. At twenty eight years old I had somehow become a pathetic loser with no better prospects in life than working as a waitress at the local diner. I didn't plan on getting a job at all while in town, but after being there for more than three weeks without having any other ideas, I decided doing anything was better than the nothing I had quickly gotten used to.

"Bella, I need you to take this delivery to the hospital," my boss said one afternoon.

"Since when does the diner have delivery or even take-out?" I asked confused.

"Since Dr. Cullen called in an order," he replied sternly.

Shit.

I had assumed 'Husband Number Three' was still in town, but I was hopelessly hoping to not have to run into him.

"Is there a problem, Miss Swan?" my boss asked after a moment.

"Of course not," I almost whined as I took the plastic bag full of food out of his hand.

As I drove to the hospital to bring my ex-stepfather his lunch, my mind was unwelcomingly flooded by memories of my short time living with the Cullens…thoughts of my pseudo brother were especially loud: tree houses and midnight hikes, sleepovers and skinned knees, secrets and broken promises.

Edward and I were forced together at a crucial age where childhood began morphing into adolescence, and strange bodily changes became innocent experiments that at times went much too far. It was a period in my life where I was the most confused and still foolishly believed some relationships could last forever - God, I couldn't have been more naive.

When I pulled into the hospital parking lot, I could actually feel my anxiety rise knowing it was possible that I might run into Edward again after so long. The last I heard he was studying to become a doctor like his dad, I only hoped he decided on a different path or chose to work in a different town…at the very least I prayed he was off that day.

"My goodness, is that little Bella Swan?" Carlisle said with a warm smile when he came out to collect his food from me.

"Hi Carlisle," I replied with a returning grin before accepting his awkward embrace.

"It's been a long time," he said while holding me at arm's length. "I don't think I've seen you since your high school graduation."

"Yeah, I left town that summer…and haven't been back since."

"Wow, has it really been ten years?" he mused.

I nodded. "It's good to see you, but I should really get back to work," I lied. I probably could have gotten away with being gone for the next hour or so since it was around my lunch hour, but I definitely wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.

"You're working at the diner now? That's wonderful, I'll be sure to stop by and say hello."

I forced out a fake smile. "Great." Just please don't bring your son- I added mentally.

"Well, I'll let you go then," he said with a grin, and then unexpectedly grabbed me into another uncharacteristic hug. Carlisle was one of the least affectionate men I had ever met, so to have him hug me twice in such a short amount of time was definitely odd.

"Okay…yeah…see ya."

And then it happened. I pushed the elevator button and when the doors opened, Edward Cullen was standing inside…looking even more irritatingly gorgeous than I remembered.

Fuck.


***A/N: If you've read my other stuff you know I like my rollercoasters, so don't follow this hoping for a straight forward easy romance, but there will definitely be an HEA. I don't plan on it being a long story, but until it's complete I can't be sure. Anyone with me?