Chapter One: Almost Forever

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it's left me blind
The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

"Cosmic Love" by Florence and the Machine

I cried. It seemed like the easiest thing to do given the impossible situation I was in. Edward was gone. I could live with that part. I had been living with it for close to three years now. Despite the odds stacked against me I had fallen in love again-this time with my best friend. Jake had always kept the nightmares at bay. Jake with his tender hands and sunshine smile; Jake who was no longer mine.

Raven. Even her name sounded exotic. I had seen her numerous times while hanging out on the reservation with the "wolf pack". She was like the native version of Angelina Jolie, down to her curves and big pouty lips. And despite a promise of forever, the imprint had drawn Jake to her while I stood helplessly by. I wanted to hate her but she didn't deserve it. Her life had now changed forever too.

"You should never let someone see you cry," Paul said dropping to the pebbly beach beside me.

"Until two seconds ago I was alone," I pointed out.

"Point taken," he said. "Are you okay?" I shrugged.

"Do I have a choice to not be?" I asked. He shrugged too.

"I wouldn't be," he said.

"Why are you being so damn nice?" I asked suspiciously. Paul and I usually fought like cats and dogs. He was obnoxious and I was the only person who called him out on that fact.

"Hard to be an asshole to someone who is crying," he said.

"If you say so," I said. "Now run back to Sam and tell him I'm not catatonic yet." He didn't move.

"I fucking hate imprinting," he said instead. I looked over in surprise. His tone was vicious and angry. "It takes people's choices away from them. Do you think Jake would have looked twice at her if he had the choice? No, he wouldn't have."

"It's supposed to be rare," I offered. He shrugged.

"Makes no difference for me," he said. "I'm only half Quileute. I won't imprint. I just get to watch everyone else fall apart."

"Congratulations?" I asked sarcastically. He smirked.

"Damn right, congratulations," he said smugly. "I can look at any girl I want and not have to worry about some cosmic bullshit imprint."

"Thanks for bragging. Now fuck off," I snapped. He smirked again.

"You need to learn to stop caring so much Swan," he offered. "You're free too. You just don't know it yet." I snorted.

"As free as someone can be with a vengeful vampire breathing down her neck and a pack of wolves who barely let someone pee alone," I snapped.

"Then go to your mom," he said. "Tell Charlie you need a break and go to college in Florida. Find yourself away from all of this bullshit. Get the hell away while you still can."

His words made me think for days. Could I really get away from this? Could I really be normal or was that impossible? The sixty seven missed calls from Jake on my cell phone were what finally made the decision before me. I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to have to pretend like it was okay that he broke my heart just because some sort of destiny had stepped in. In Florida I could grieve like a normal person, without someone watching my every move. I approached the subject gingerly with Charlie.

"So Dad, it's summer and all," I said. He grunted and looked up from the paper. "I think maybe I should go stay with Mom for a few months."

"What about school?" He asked. "Don't you have your summer schedule set up already?"

"I could take the same classes down in Florida," I said. "I just need to get away…from Jake." I had finally said it, and it caught Charlie's attention.

"I thought you two were solid," he said. Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry I chanted inside my head.

"He met someone else," I said. I was proud of myself for not crying even though my voice caught slightly at the end of the short sentence. Charlie frowned.

"When?" He asked. I shrugged.

"He told me a few days ago," I said. "Dad, Florida?" I prompted. He sighed.

"I'll look at flights on the computer at the station," he said. "Internet is faster there."

Sam was irate when he discovered my decision. There wasn't much he could do other than warn me to call if I saw any vampires. Paul had given me a grin and a thumbs up and Jake had shaken his head sadly. I was ready to leave. I needed to be away. Paul was right. That had to happen sometime I guess, odds and all. Charlie had been remarkably calm about the whole thing, but I would hazard a guess that he was just glad I wasn't falling apart after a break up again. Each new plan brought me closer to freedom and further away from my broken heart.