Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.
A/N: I am so sorry for the wait on this one. Between real-life crap and myself and the kids starting back to school, life has been hectic. Thanks to all who are still with me.
I was pathetic. It had been three months since Edward and I broke up. I avoided all the places we used to hang out at because I'm afraid we'll run into each other. I didn't know if I could handle that. I often found myself scrolling through the contacts on my phone and my thumb hovering over his name. I just wanted to hear his voice and make sure he was okay, but I promised both of us that I wouldn't call and make it worse. I couldn't bring myself to even delete his number from my phone.
I knew that I was the one that broke up with him, but that didn't mean that I still didn't love him. We'd been through a lot together and you couldn't just cut your feelings off and on. But I also knew that I was still pissed at him and if I saw him again I was afraid that I go running back to him and that wouldn't be good for either of us.
I'd even stopped hanging out with Rose and Alice so much. I knew that if they were there, Emmett and Jasper would be there, and more than likely Edward would be there too. If Edward wasn't there, I could picture him seeing the fact that Emmett and Jasper hung around with me as a betrayal to him and I didn't want to put anyone in that position. Rose and Alice called me constantly; asking me to hang out with them, but I always found some type of excuse.
Since I hadn't been hanging with Rose and Alice as much, I'd made a couple of new friends. Angela and Leah both worked at the newspaper with me and we'd gone out a few times. The very first time we went out turned out horribly for me and we stuck to sitting at home and ordering takeout and watching DVDs for a while.
"Leah, are you sure this is a good place to go? It looks a little on the wild side," Angela said as we walked toward the entrance of the bar.
"It does look different from anywhere I've ever been," I said as I walked in behind Leah and Angela. They'd been trying to talk me into hanging out one Friday night after work and I'd finally agreed.
"Oh stop it! This place isn't as bad as it looks. Trust me," she said as we followed her to the bar. It wasn't really that bad on the inside. There were quite a few people there, some sitting at the tables talking, some playing a game of pool on one of the two pool tables at the back of the room.
We all sat at the bar and ordered beers. Once we had our drinks, we all turned around and started looking over the people gathered. I watched the couple playing pool at one of the tables. The guy was trying to show the girl how to make a particular shot which she failed at miserably.
Once the couple moved out of the way, my eyes caught the figure sitting at the table in the corner behind them. His wild hair stuck out in every direction as he tipped his head back and drunk his beer. His long fingers wrapped tightly around the neck of the bottle as he placed it back down on the table in front of him. From what I could tell he was alone, his eyes looking around the room at all the people. Before his eyes could catch mine, I spun back around and put my beer back on the bar. It was the first time I'd seen him since we broke up. I wasn't prepared.
"I've gotta go," I mumbled, standing up and grabbing my coat and purse. Angela stood up and caught my arm.
"What? Why? Where are you going?" she asked quickly. I just shook my head and made my way toward the door.
"I can't stay. I'll talk to you guys later and explain everything," I told them before walking out.
That Saturday night they came over to my apartment and I told them the whole sordid story of Edward and me. They'd understood why I ran out of the bar that night and understood why I wanted to avoid seeing him again so soon. I just wasn't ready for it.
But tonight, I was finally ready. It had been months and I knew that as long as Edward and I lived in the same city we would eventually run into each other. I couldn't hide out for the rest of my life. I needed to get back to my life and start doing something rather than sitting around and moping.
I planned to meet Angela and Leah at the bar down from my apartment. I was hopeful that Edward wasn't so crazy as to hang out at a bar right down from where I lived, but honestly, who knew. At least this time I was prepared.
I walked inside and immediately spotted them sitting at a table in the corner. I walked over and sat down, thankful that I wouldn't have to go through tonight alone. It was weird getting back out there after being in a relationship for so long.
"Hey! You look awesome!" Angela said as she pushed a drink toward me that she had already ordered.
"Thanks," I said before taking a sip of the fruity, girly drink. I was probably going to need a ton of these tonight.
"So, anyone catch your eye so far?" Leah asked. "I know you've only been here a minute or so, but sometimes you should go with your first instinct." I looked around the room and saw a lot of couples. Of course, the one night I was actually looking, the bar would be completely full of couples.
I saw a group of guys sitting at the bar drinking beers, but they seemed to be rather focused on the game playing on the television and were rather loud. As my eyes made their way down the bar, I caught site of a guy sitting alone at the end, facing my way. Our eyes locked and I blushed and looked down.
"What? Why are you blushing?" Angela asked and turned around to look at the bar. I just hoped the guy wasn't still looking this way.
"Oh my God, he's coming over," Leah whispered harshly to me. I looked up quickly and saw the guy from the bar headed toward our table.
"We're just gonna go to the bathroom," Leah said, dragging Angela with her. I caught hold of her arm, but she shook it off.
"You can't just leave me here," I gritted through my teeth. All she did was smile widely and continue walking off. When I turned back toward the bar, the guy was standing right next to the table. I jumped back a little, shocked at his closeness.
"Hi. I'm Riley," he said as he stuck his hand out for me to shake it. As I shook his hand, I looked into his eyes. He was really rather gorgeous. His hair was a sandy blonde color and was combed neatly. His eyes were a bright, shocking color of blue that I could get lost in.
"Bella," I replied. He smiled at me as I looked down toward my feet and blushed wildly.
"Do you mind if I take a seat?" he said, his head nodding toward one of the seats left vacant from my friends.
"Sure, go ahead," I said. He sat down and placed his beer down on the table in front of him.
The more we talked, the more I noticed that everything about Riley was completely different from Edward. Not just his hair and eyes, but his personality. The way he actually looked like he was paying attention to everything I said. Maybe different was exactly what I needed.
"So, Bella," he said, as Angela, Leah and I grabbed our things so we could leave. "I hope I'm not being too forward, but I was wondering if maybe you'd like to go out to dinner with me next Friday?"
Leah, nosey bitch that she was, elbowed me sharply and wiggled her eyebrows in exaggeration. I rolled my eyes, but smiled. The only reason I came out tonight was so that I could move on and stop moping around. Maybe Riley was exactly what I needed to stop doing that.