Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all.

Rated M for all the usual reasons.



Ah, peace and quiet.

And wine.

Bella's 'Happy Time', also known as 'Wallowing' night.

Freya's at her dad's and I have nothing to worry about but me and what I want. Hence the wallowing.

She'll be going away to college soon and everyone keeps telling me I'm still young enough to have a life of my own and that I ought to start thinking about how I'm going to live it. Great.

I've held the deep seated belief that I'm old and my life is over for such a long time it's very difficult to get my head around the fact that at thirty six, everyone else, even my daughter, considers me young. I've my reasons, solidified over the years by being a Mom and therefore responsible for someone else, but even I'm starting to see they might be right. I don't feel old, I feel paused.

Disappointed, as my Mom put it, at an early age, my life could have gone in any number of directions. I very nearly went for catatonic and withdrawn, I was for a while. But when she dragged me, kicking and screaming, from my rainy then home town and pushed me bodily into the sparkling sunlight of Florida something in me woke up and came to life. I went off the rails. Completely. I'd always been a model of selfless good behaviour previously, a dutiful daughter to my divorced parents, a diligent if not spectacular student. But for a brief, yet glorious, period in time I became a wild child. An act of rebellion and human fallibility the cause never got to see. I drank. I smoked. I skipped school. I went to parties and I fornicated myself insensible. I even tried drugs, but thank god the first time made me so violently sick I was never tempted again.

I knew why I was doing it, what I was getting out of it, I even knew it was a recipe for disaster, but for a brief moment in time I really didn't give a shit.

It all came to a screeching halt when I realised I was pregnant. Sobering, figuratively and literally.

Opinion, and me, were divided over what to do about it but in the end, despite the obvious difficulties ahead, and the ironies behind, I decided that having a child and being a Mom was what I needed to do. And I'll be honest there was an element of the desire to be loved and part of something bigger than just me. Hey, I was only eighteen and far more naïve than I would have admitted to. They possibly weren't the best reasons for the decision that turned out to be the best one I've ever made.

Of course I was lucky, for once. Mom surprised me with how supportive she was and Freya's father, Dan, amazed me even more by not running, screaming, into the sunset.

Dan Monroe was captain of the football team. The physical and intellectual opposite of he who shall not be named. Warm, strong, open, carnal, alive. He and I weren't exactly dating, nothing that romantic, but we liked each other, we were kind of friends and he always seemed to end up on top of me and in me at parties, to the exclusion of all others. His enthusiasm for it was manna for my soul.

When disaster struck he didn't pretend we were in love, he didn't bawl and shout or rue his ruined future. He didn't abandon me. He just manned up and asked me to marry him. I declined, nevertheless impressed, and so began an unlikely but so far lifelong friendship.

Sans a wife he didn't want anyway Dan went off and made good of himself at college and after a year I followed him, Freya and I setting up home a few blocks from Campus. He worked, I worked and together we managed to create a family life for our daughter. Unorthodox but eminently workable. Life did get easier. He's an extremely well known and well regarded environmental lawyer now and Freya and I want for nothing. He even helped me to take a few classes and get a rewarding, if somewhat less glamorous, career for myself.

Our weird little world wasn't even disturbed when he met Cath, she slotted right in and soon they started pushing out little Monroe's of their own. Freya's not keen on her utterly gorgeous siblings or 'The Alots' as she calls them. Cries a lot, Poops a lot and the eldest, Asks a lot, he's well into the 'why' stage and Freya's his favourite questionee. I love them. Partly because they're not mine and can be handed back when they become obstreperous. I love Freya with all my heart but I was right all those years ago when I said I wasn't bothered about having a family, I've never been tempted to have another 'bundle of joy' of my own.

Which brings me neatly back to where I started. My one and only bundle is now six foot tall, the freak, and about to fly the nest, so what am I going to do?

I've got a job and friends I like, I don't feel the need to change any of that just because Freya's off to college. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to take up extreme sports, I'm much less clumsy than I was but still interestingly accident prone. There are a few hobbies I've been tempted to try, places I've thought about visiting, I can do all of that I suppose.

With a sigh I lean forward and top up my wine glass.

I think, what I'm really ready for, after all this time is a bit of fun, romance, possibly love? And sex, definitely sex . . . .

A/N So, we're off. Please let me know what you think because you know how much I appreciate it.