It wasn't until we heard someone on the stairs that we untangled our limbs and lips and hands. Bella immediately tried to smooth out her hair as I put some distance between us.

My mother knocked on the door frame to announce her presence before entering. I couldn't read her expression as she locked eyes with Bella.

"Edward, your father and I are going to bed—we'll be down the hall," she said evenly. "Please don't stay up late."

I could tell she was uneasy about me and Bella being…together here. The both of us sat silently as we waited for her to make her way to her room, listening for the click of the door closing. Once I knew she was gone, I fell back onto my bed, exhaling loudly. Bella twisted herself around and smiled at me.

"Your mom still doesn't like me," she mused, running a finger along the inside of my forearm. I shivered.

"I think she's just worried about me," I sighed. Bella frowned.

"Why?" she asked.

"I mean, I haven't exactly been myself since…you," I hesitated to find the right words. She looked down. "It's not a bad thing," I said quickly, knowing what she was thinking. "I love you, Bella. And it was hard to see you with Jacob and we just stopped talking and that was really hard for me. And you left and it was hard to just…be," I stammered and she grew more distressed.

"But I'm okay. I sort of needed it like you needed to leave," I said, desperate to keep her eyes dry.

"I'm so sorry," she said quietly. I put my hand on top of hers.

"I forgive you, I understand." That was the best comfort I could offer her. I did forgive her because she was Bella and she let me in enough to see where she was coming from.

"You're too kind to me," she murmured, turning her hand over and interlacing her fingers with mine. I brought her knuckles to my lips and kissed each one softly.

"I just love you a lot," she said, and I chuckled.

"I love you, too, but Bella?"


"Who is Tim?" Her eyebrows knit together but she laughed.

"He's this freshman I tutor in English twice a week." I smiled, a little embarrassed at my assumption.

"You have nothing to worry about," she assured me. And before I knew it her lips were on mine again.

The next three days in Portland were the best I'd had in so long. Bella woke me up early every morning so I could eat cereal with her and Carlisle before she had to go to school. I walked her to her bus stop and waited with her, laughing groggily at her stories from the last few months.

I learned that Bella had made a few friends that she hung around with at school, and though she was new, she remained rather unknown in her new school, which she was thrilled about. She had read twenty books in the time she was gone and helped Esme cook dinner on nights she didn't tutor the boy down the street. She breathed in good songs and tripped in the cafeteria and accidentally broke her gym partner's nose during their basketball unit.

And hearing all of this made any uneasiness I had about Bella's leaving dissipate more. She was happier, I could tell, and that was what was important. Her happiness was my happiness and I was okay with that.

During the time Bella was at school, I explored Portland with my parents, letting Esme show us all of her favorite stores and restaurants and streets. I was glad to be in a city again and it made me miss Chicago and I felt no homesickness for Forks because home was Bella running at me from her bus stop, leaping at me and kissing me full on the mouth.

So when I was leaving Portland, I asked her if she was planning on ever coming back to Forks

She smiled and cupped my face with her small, warm hand.

"We'll see," she murmered and kissed my lips softly before she told me she loved me. I looked pointedly at her when we broke apart. She giggled.

"Stop it, you know I'm coming back." And I exhaled quiet relief, holding her close just because I could and I knew she would come back—I was home for her, too.


It was Bella, of course.


In my ear.

"What?" I groaned, rolling away from her and burying my head farther into my pillow.

"LISTEN!" and then I heard the chords to a familiar song play and her soft voice singing words I knew so well. I opened my eyes and gave her as much attention as I could give so early in the morning, grinning as she continued; stumbling over a chord here and there, but it was pretty damn good.

It had been less than a week since Bella had officially moved back home. She had finished out the school year at Carlisle and Esme's and had patiently waited for the rest of us to be done for the year as well. I knew she'd been practicing her guitar constantly, when I was studying for finals I could hear her through the open window, strumming and pausing and singing and sighing. She was pretty sure her parents were going to divorce and she was okay with that, because they just weren't happy together and she talked to me from her window, telling me how she was going to stay here with Charlie if they did and she didn't sleep in my bed but she was close and sleeping soundly and so was I.

I knew that today was the first day of summer and Alice was planning a Big Event and even though it was pouring rain outside, I was happy because it was summer and I had a day with my best friends ahead of me.

Bella kept playing, her eyes on her fingers and my eyes on her concentrated expression.

"I missed your skin when you were east, you clicked your heels and wished for me," she sang quietly.

Right here and now, I was happy. A year ago, I was dreading being away from the life I knew and I couldn't help but laugh at how easy it was to let it go. It amazed me how little I thought of it at all.

In Forks, I had Alice and Jasper and Rose and Emmett and Bella. And I didn't need to stay in Forks, I didn't plan on it. But I knew that those people would stay with me forever, no matter what. I wasn't the same as I was a year ago and it was because I found home. Not in Forks, but in my friends.

"You are at the top of my lungs." And Bella finished the song as rain beat against the roof and the window and I felt emotion swell in my chest. Her eyes looked at me expectantly as she set the guitar down, wanting to know what I thought. I pulled her to me and kissed her softly.

"I'm glad you're home, Bella," I murmured. She smiled.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be."


Thanks for reading guys! I've got an idea for something else I want to write so that's coming. Song Bella is singing is Northern Downpour by panic at the disco.

Thank you all for your feedback