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Heartache by ooohlalaaa When Bella moves to New York with Alice and Rosalie, a beautiful stranger turns her

life upside down and makes her question everything she's ever known. More details inside. Rated M for super dark shiz to come. And some lemons, of course. AH, OOC Prologue BPOV My mother had given me advice on love since I was a little girl. When I was in elementary school, shed explained love to me vaguely. When you love someone, youll just know it. I think that tidbit of advice was directly related to my father. As Id gotten older, shed gone into slightly more detail. When youre in love with someone, you know because theyre all you can think about. Everything you do relates to them, and all you need to do to be happy is be around them. Yeah, okay. That one was for her new husband. And when Id had my heart broken by my first boyfriend, and she tried to soothe me over the phone, she gave me the most valuable scrap of advice that she ever had. It was the one thing she said that Id actually kept with me. Loving someone is never easy. Thats how you know how much you love them. The struggle. Im sure she regrets ever saying those words to me. Because in the last year, my entire existence consisted of struggles that I thought meant love. If I was smart, I would have disregarded any guidance shed ever given to me because just following that one little statement had put my life into a whirlwind of misery and denial. Sure, maybe she didnt intend for me to take her words as literally as I had, but it was my only justification for not giving up on Edward. As I sat there and watched his perfect face contorting and twisting in pain, and I grasped his hand as he shook and cried, I realized that my distant, flaky mother was the last person I shouldve taken advice from. With every uneven breath that shot through Edwards pouted lips, my chest tightened. Hes not going to survive this. I tried to force the thought from my mind, but I couldnt deny it anymore. Its going to be my fault. This all is happening because of me. His hand was cold. I released my grasp and tried to wipe away the sheen of sweat that was covering his forehead. Before I could place my hand on his face, the face that Id touched and kissed and loved with everything in me, he screamed in pain. I couldnt sit

there anymore. If I had to sit there, and watch it happen, I was going to die along with him. I felt the tears well up in my eyes. The tears that Id been pushing away for days. The tears that I knew were never going to stop once they came. I had no fight left in me, so I jumped up and turned away from Edward, so he couldnt see me cry. It was only going to make things that much worse for him. As I walked to the door, I sobbed for everything that Id been holding in. I reached out to turn the doorknob, but before I could go, I heard a raspy, pained voice call me from across the room. Bella, I closed my eyes and sighed. It was the first time hed said anything in days. Bella, please dont leave me Fisrt Night BPOV So how do you feel, Bella? I took a sip of my margarita and grinned at Alice. Amazing. I feel like this is the smartest thing Ive ever done. I took another gulp as Rosalie ran her fingers through my wet hair. My move had been long and exhausting on all of us. Instead of going bar hopping and partying it up on my first night living here in New York, I was perfectly content with having a relaxing girls night at our new apartment. Well, new for me. Alice and Rosalie had been living here for two years already, and had graciously offered me the third bedroom when Id graduated. The three of us have been best friends since Id moved from Phoenix to Forks, Washington to live with my father when I was in high school. Theyd welcomed me into their lives immediately and made living in the dullest place on earth almost bearable. Almost. The second I got partnered with beautiful, little, bouncy Alice in Biology, I was immediately drawn to her all around enthusiasm about life and her constantly positive, upbeat mood. She was like no one else Id ever seen before. Rosalie and her had been best friends for who knows how long, and it was completely understandable; they were both rich and stunningly beautiful, but balanced each other out equally. Where Alice was at times overly friendly, Rose was at times overly cold. When Alice was constantly bubbly and bouncing around, Rose was constantly laid back and carefree. And I fit right plop in the middle, like I was destined to be there. Splitting up when we went to separate colleges had been one of the hardest things Id had to do so far. Both Rosalie and Alice decided to go to school in New York, Alice to achieve her dream of owning her own boutique and Rosalie to become a thriving supermodel. Both of them were doing well so far. I, on the other hand, opted to go to the University of Washington and pursue my goal of becoming a writer, since there was no possible way I could afford to live in New York. Id moped around for months when I moved to Seattle, envisioning myself in all of the amazing stories of the city that Alice and Rose called to tell me about. Eventually, my

roommate, Jessica got completely sick of my attitude and forced me to become more social, and I ended up really enjoying myself at UW. But the minute I got a call from Alice and Rose, which coincidentally happened to be the week after graduation, I realized that I needed to change my life around. Alice generously offered me their third bedroom, in exchange for me working a set amount of days per month at her boutique, and Rose convinced me that there was no better place in the world for an aspiring writer than New York. I all too willingly agreed, and without saying Rose and Alice hopped on a plane and helped me pack up my life, which embarrassingly enough pretty much consisted of a few boxes of clothes, a box of books, and my laptop. I didnt care. I was so excited about the turn my life was taking, I wouldnt have minded leaving everything and starting over from scratch. Rosalies phone suddenly rang and broke me from my thoughts. By the tone of her voice I knew exactly who she was talking to. Emmett. Not much had changed since the last time Id seen my friends. Rosalie was in a serious relationship now, which didnt surprise me. Id had yet to meet her boyfriend in person, but Id talked to Emmett plenty of times on the phone and seen enough pictures to know exactly what he was like. And I kind of loved him. He was the perfect guy for Rosalie. The beautiful eldest son of a rich surgeon. Big, brawny, energetic, and completely and utterly devoted to Rose. He towered over her in all the pictures Id seen, which was surprising since Rose herself was 510. He had bright blue eyes, black wavy hair, and deep dimples when he smiled. He was adorable, and funny, and everything you could ever ask for in a man. I found it completely hilarious the way the two of them had met, because it was so like Rose. Shed had a thing for a photographer that had shot her once, so they ended up meeting for drinks with a few friends and his brother. The brother being Emmett. Needless to say, she left with him and theyve been inseparable since. Hello? Rosalie removed her fingers from my hair and walked into the kitchen to talk when Alice shushed her. I squinted my eyes at Alice when Rosalies tone suddenly became harsh and I tried eavesdropping on her conversation. Alice slyly slid all the way to the end of the couch that was closest to the kitchen. I dont care Emmett, not tonight! No, its her first night here, I dont want him- yeah, I know, thatFine, come Okay. I dont know what the hell she was talking about, but I was referenced in the conversation so that gave me the right to be nosy. Rosalie walked back into the room twirling a strand of her long, blonde hair nonchalantly around her finger and she smiled at me. Emmett is going to drop by. Do you mind? I laughed and shook my head. Of course not! I actually really want to meet him. In person, you know?

I noticed that Alice had stiffened and she was giving Rosalie a strange look. Something was going on between them and it was pissing me off. Whos he with? She moved her eyes from Roses and stared blankly at the TV. I dont know why? Alice shrugged. You know who hes with. I heard your little discussion. Rosalie smirked and squeezed herself between me and Alice. Youll see. Rosalie was done talking about it, and although she didnt seem phased by Emmetts upcoming visit, Alice did. Im going to get changed. With that, Alice hopped to her room and left me sitting with Rose. So, can I do something with this hair? She held up one of my damp locks and dropped it on the pillow behind me. I was sitting on the floor in front of Rose a short while later, getting sprayed with some kind of product when we heard the buzzer go off. Oooh! Can I get it? I hopped up from the floor and ran to the intercom, excited to meet new people. I buzzed them in and unlocked the door so that Emmett could let himself in. My hair looks pretty sexy. I posed in the mirror and spun around, admiring my new coif. Rose was amazing at everything. As I stood there, pulling at pieces of my dark, shiny hair, the door suddenly opened. My mouth hung open in shock when I saw who was standing there. EPOV I didnt want to be here. I knew exactly what Emmett was doing, and as much as he tried to make it seem like it wasnt about me, I knew why we were coming here. I didnt like Rosalie, I was pretty sure Alice didnt like me, and I was pretty fucking sure I knew why. Emmett had a big fat mouth and blabbed everything about what was going on with me to his skank of a girlfriend. I didnt know for sure that hed told her, or that shed told Alice, but I was pretty confident they all knew. I loved my brother, but on days like this, I realized why we were becoming distant. He didnt know when to butt out of my fucking business and just let me live my life. After leaving dinner at our parents house tonight, my father pulled Emmett into the other room. I knew what was coming. When the two of us walked outside, Emmett inquired as to what I was doing for the rest of the night. Or should I say, Dad inquired. I knew exactly what the fuck was going on. Carlisle was watching me through Emmett. I almost felt bad for the big, doofy bastard, because he didnt want to do this shit. So I decided to make it easy on him. I told him that we could do whatever he wanted, and of course, after our last incident the days of us going barhopping together were over, so there I was, being dragged up the stairs to Rosalie bitch ass Hales apartment.

Emmett pushed open the door and standing in front of me, with her jaw hanging open and a piece of dark brown hair in between her fingers, was Rose & Alices new roommate. Emmett had mumbled something about her on the way there, but I was too busy worrying about how I was going to get through the night without jumping off Hales balcony. When I saw her, I was actually pretty shocked that this girl was best friends with Rosalie and Alice. She had on short frayed denim shorts and a casual wife beater with red high-top Converse. Rose or Alice wouldnt be caught dead wearing that shit if it was the middle of the damn Apocalypse. Her little, body was curvy and tiny all at the same time. And her huge, chocolate brown eyes were staring right at me. I liked. I laughed at her expression- I usually got the same kind of thing from most women- and I pointed down at her sneakers. Nice. I looked down at my feet and as she followed my eyes she let out a giggle. We were both wearing the same red Converse. Who are you? Uh, well- youre in my apartment, so who the fuck are you? Alice burst out a laugh that I could hear even though she wasnt in the room. Rosalie just rolled her eyes at me and pointed to new roommate girl. Bella, this is Edward, Emmetts brother. She spoke the sentence in a monotone voice, emphasizing how little she cared about me. Bitch. This, obviously is Emmett- I watched as Bella ran to Emmett and he picked her up in a huge hug, looking like he was going to crush her small body. It scared the shit out of me. I strolled into the other room while the three of them talked and reminisced, plopping down on the sofa uncomfortably close to Alice. She sneered when she saw me and tried to cram herself farther into the arm of the sofa. So, Alice, guess what? I threw my arm around her as she sighed. What, Edward? Turns out, Jasper wants to do the dirty with you. I knew that would do it. Her eyes widened and blinked a few times before she shrugged. I know. Alice had been crushing on my best friend Jasper for months. I knew he wanted to hit it since the first day he saw her, but I figured Id hold onto that piece of information until the time called for it. And right now this was the time. If Carlisle was going to have me on a short leash and have Emmett babysitting me fucking 24/7, I was going to be spending lots of time with these hoes, and it would be way easier if it least one of them didnt despise me. So. You want it too. I know you do. Alice rolled her eyes and drummed her fingers against the edge of the couch.

Youre terribly mistaken, Cullen. If hes anything like you I want nothing to do with him. I snickered and shook my head. Lucky for you, hes nothing like me. I leaned my head into Alices so my mouth was near her ear. I like your friend. She shoved my face back with her palm and poked me in the chest. You stay away from her, Edward. Im not kidding. Shes a good person, and youre What, Alice? I waited for her response and chuckled when she finally said it. Youre a douche bag. I continued laughing as she sat there watching me, not amused. Edward, come on. How about for once in your incredibly shallow, self centered life, you think about someone besides yourself and be respectful. If you sleep with my friend and ditch her, I promise you that youll no longer have balls when Im done with you. Ouch. I put my hand over my crotch and smiled. Chill out, Alice. And I am thinking about someone besides myself. Im thinking about you and Jiggity Jasper. Hooking up. What do you think? Finally she gave up the touch bitch attitude and she smiled. Are you just bothering me? Or are you serious? Im completely serious, sister. Alices eyes widened again before new Bella sexy chic walked into the room and distracted her. Ill be back, Alice. I strolled past Emmett into the bathroom as he glared at me and shook his head. Dont do it. I knew what he was trying to say. I didnt give a shit. I was doing him a favor by following him around like a damn puppy so that Carlisle would back off of him. So as long as he shut the fuck up and stopped trying to play big brother, everyone would be happy. As I opened the door to leave the bathroom, I almost knocked into Bella, who was standing right in front of the door. I smirked at her as she spread her hands across the doorframe, blocking me in the bathroom. So, Edward, She tilted her head to the side and frowned. Why does everyone around here have such a problem with you? I scratched my chin and scrunched my nose, pretending to think. You mean they dont like me? She giggled and dropped her hands from the doorway. You shouldve seen the mood tense in here when Emmett told Rosalie you were with him. I took a deep breath and yanked at my hair. Yeah, well thanks to my brother, I think your friends have a skewed image of me. Oh, and to be fair, I didnt like Rosalie before she didnt like me.

Bellas eyes lit up and she gasped. Wait so youre the photographer! Oh, this is rich. No wonder you dont like her! You brought her on a date and she left with your brother! Ha! I was starting to not like Bella so much. She was too smart for her own good. Yeah, yeah hilarious. I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall. So, that doesnt explain why Alice doesnt like you. I smiled and purposely flashed my teeth at her. I think me and Alice cleared things up for tonight. Anything else, or are you done with the Spanish Inquisition? Oh, Im far from done, but you can go now. I like you, Edward. Youre interesting. With that, she shoved me out of the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Edward BPOV I couldnt help but stare at the beautiful man sitting in my living room. Edward. It was almost impossible to sit there and keep my cool, and not be intrigued by his every move. My eyes followed his long, pale fingers that were grasping the neck of his beer, to his lean, muscular arm that lead to his broad shoulders. And his face. Oh, my god. It was magical. His big, round, deep green eyes and his wide, squared jaw complemented his soft, pink lips perfectly. Every time he ran his fingers through, or scratched his bronze, tousled hair, I had to repress a sigh. Id never seen anything like it. I tried to wrap my mind around the reasons why Alice and Rosalie had such an odd reaction to him. Even more attractive than his physical beauty was the mysterious, smug air he had about him. Sure, he was a cocky bastard, but why wouldnt he be? It was hilarious to me. He was the epitome of perfection. He sat in the armchair, bored out of his mind and making snide comments while Rose, Alice, and Emmett brought me up to date on everything that was going on with their lives. Even more strange than the reaction the girls had to him was his behavior toward his brother. I could tell just by looking at them that they were close in age, and by things Emmett had said that they were close at a time, but it seemed like something had happened since then and now it was like Emmett was almost protective of him. It was bizarre. Every time Id tried to involve Edward into the conversation or ask him questions, Emmett would cut off his answer, or just talk for him. I felt so out of the loop. I almost wanted him to leave so that I could get to the bottom of it, but the thought of him going and not knowing when I was going to see him again filled me with hopelessness. So, I did the next best thing I thought of. I tried to drink myself stupid. As Alice and Rosalie told Emmett a story about our usual antics in Forks, I snuck out of the room to the kitchen to make myself another margarita. As I held the back of the mixer to my face and squinted to try and read the directions, I heard a sexy, melodic voice behind me.

You mix it with the tequila. Not rocket science. He opened the refrigerator to grab another beer as I gave him a sarcastic smile. I starting pouring the bottle into my cup before he chuckled and grabbed my arm. Jesus. Not that much. Move over. He dumped half of the margarita mix in my cup into the sink and filled the rest up with Cuervo. What are you, a bartender? He raised his eyebrows and handed the glass to me. Nope. Just an avid drinker. I see. Then we have something in common. I clinked my glass to his bottle and took a gulp of my disgustingly strong margarita. So, is there some reason why youre being babysat right now? He stared expressionlessly at me for a few seconds before frowning. What? Your brother why does he keep- Dont worry about him. He waved his hand in the air coolly and took a step closer to me. So, Bella what brings you to New York? I hopped up on the counter, enjoying the fact that I was talking to Edward without people glaring at me or censoring his words. I missed my friends. And Im writing a book. That seemed to interest him, as he raised one corner of his mouth up in a smirk. What about? Shit. I shouldve known that was a predictable question people were going to ask when you told them you were writing a book. I shrugged my shoulders and took another swig of my drink. I havent started yet. Im waiting for some inspiration. Lame answer, but it was true. He looked down at his feet as the other room grew mysteriously quiet. I tried to think of some normal question to ask him, so that if the snooping idiots in the other room were listening they wouldnt think I was doing anything suspicious. So, youre a photographer, huh? That seems like an awesome job. Edward just nodded, clearly not concerned with talking about it. Did you always want to do that? Not really. I wanted to go to med school. So why didnt you? I- Bella! Can you get another beer for Emmett? Rosalies shouting words strategically cut Edward off before he could finish his sentence. What the fuck? He grabbed another

beer out of the fridge before I hopped off the counter. Before we could walk back to the other room, Edward grabbed my wrist and spun me around. Do you have plans for tomorrow? I shook my head fretfully as I stared into his entrancing eyes. Do you want to come somewhere with me? Sure. Okay. You have to keep this between us, though. Dont tell those two. He winked at me, and I swear to god my legs went numb. I wont. With that we walked casually back to the other room, and I faked enthusiasm as I reentered their conversation. The rest of the night passed without incident. I made it a point to give Edward cryptic smiles and glances, as no one else in the room seemed to acknowledge him. As him and Emmett stood up to leave, I slipped a piece of paper with my number into his pocket, purposely touching his leg so he knew. After they left, I wasted no time prying the girls for information. Okay, so Im confused. Whats going on? Rosalie and Alice looked at each other before looking back at me, feigning confusion. What do you mean? Rosalie questioned, as I put my hands on my hips and stared at her. Im sorry, do I look stupid? Whats with the Edward cockblocking and not letting him talk, and- Its nothing, Bella. Roses words were calm and collected, as though shed practiced this line before. Alice twirled around and walked back to the living room. Where are you going? I dont know anything about friggen Edward! Talk to Rose. Rosalie leaned against the wall, eyebrows raised, not saying anything. Honestly, I know Edward is really hot, or whatever, but you should just stay away from him. Dont get involved. I shook my head and moved in front of her when she tried to walk away. I like him. He was nice to me. Yeah, hes nice to every girl at first. He just wants to fuck you, Bella. Dont be a fool. She tried to walk away again, but I stood my ground and didnt let her by. Her blue eyes twinkled as she laughed, and she put her hand on her forehead. Okay, fine. I guess, Edwards been getting into a lot of trouble lately. Their father has been on Emmett to kind of watch over him, and make sure hes behaving himself. And its going to be a long process, because Edward is a stubborn, bratty pain in the ass. So, thats all.

I didnt know what this bad behavior pertained to, but I was pretty sure it was serious if a grown man had to be watched over like a child. I didnt really care, though. There was something about Edward that just drew me to him. I knew what I was going to do. I was going to try and get it out of him tomorrow when I saw him. Without everyone there, listening and watching his every move I was sure hes be a little more open. I stepped out of Rosalies way, satisfied with the information shed given me, and I went to bed, preparing for the next day. Date EPOV So, Edward, will I see you later? I looked up from packing my equipment to see the model from the photoshoot Id just finished staring down at me. Tara Tammy Tanya. That was it. I think. Yeah, sure. I had no clue what she was talking about. It was almost seven, and I had to think up something quick to do with Bella before I proved Rosalie and Alice right and made her think I was a complete asshole. I dont know what I was even thinking in the first place, asking this random chick on a date or whatever it was I had yet to come up with. I was drunk, and she was hot, and witty, and she wasnt judging me like everyone else that I fucking knew. It made me feel kind of normal. As I finished packing up my equipment, an idea popped into my head and I yanked out my phone. Id already had Bellas number programmed, the number that shed covertly slipped into my pocket the night before, making sure she pressed her warm little fingers up against my leg so I knew it was there. She was good. I waited for her to pick up as the phone started ringing. Hello? She sounded pissed. Shit. Hey. You ready to go? Who is this? Ok, so she was pissed. Whoops. Uh Edward. There was silence on the other end. I tapped my foot against the ground, waiting for her to say something. Well, no Im not ready to go. You didnt tell me what we were doing. And you call me at what, eight oclock- Its seven. Seven, whatever, and you just expect me to be ready to hop up and go? Umm yeah? Finally, I heard a muffled giggle coming from her end. Are you alone? Yeah. Why?

Okay, Im coming by to pick you up. Be ready. Without giving her a chance of responding, I pressed the end button on my phone and motioned to my assistant to come hither. She ran up, eyes wide, waiting for me to order her around. Do you need help, Edward? Get me a cab and put this shit in it. Ill be outside in a couple minutes. She smiled and started rolling the cases out the door toward the hotel lobby. I made my way to the bathroom and shut the door behind me, checking to see that there was no one in there before I snapped the lock shut. It had been a longer shoot than I expected, I felt like shit, and I wanted to be alone for a minute. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it almost made me feel worse. If I was just a stranger, like Bella, looking at me, Id probably think I was completely normal. If it wasnt for the dark circles that were starting to form under my eyes, thered be no physical evidence of what kind of shit I was in. I flashed back to dinner last night with my parents, and I almost felt bad for them. I was completely fucked, and as much as they tried to watch me, and make Emmett take care of me, I was an adult and only I could fix everything that Id done to my life. ***** Edward, are you sure youre okay? Without moving my head from my arm, I turned my eyes so I was staring directly into Esmes. Im fine, Mom. Just bored. I looked down at the plate of food in front of me and tried not to gag with disgust. Food was the last thing I wanted right now. Youre not eating, Edward. Once Carlisle started, he didnt stop. I sighed and put both of my hands behind my head, leaning back in my chair. Dont think I dont notice everything. That made me laugh. My parents looked at me coldly, clearly not amused. What then, Dad, did you exactly notice? Carlisle shook his head and dropped his fork so it clanged against the plate. The sound echoed across the room. Emmett sat there, in silence, throwing daggers at me with his eyes. What did I notice? Look at yourself, Edward. It isnt funny. Its just sad. Esme clenched her eyes shut at Carlisles harsh words. You have to understand, were just afraid that- Mom, hes fine. Trust me. Emmett cut her off, which was smart on his part. For some reason, they believed him, and if the interrogation kept going on like it usually did, Esme would be running out crying within a few minutes. I made a mental note to thank him before we left.

Edward? My mom broke the nice, relaxing silence that had taken over the room. I saw Mrs. Mallory this morning at Pilates she seemed upset about something youd done to Lauren. This time, both me and Emmett broke out in laughter. What did I do? Carlisle was not pleased at all with this whole conversation, so he excused himself from the table, clearly fuming. Esme just waited patiently for us to calm down before lecturing me. Edward, Im not going to tell you how to live your life, but you need to start being more respectful to women preferably less women. And if you are going to act like well, your usual self, than please dont do it to people whos parents are friends of ours. I nodded my head and pretended I was listening. Gotcha. Anything else, Madre? She shook her head and continued to pick at her food. As soon as she was done, Emmett and I made a beeline for the door. I felt bad that my mistakes were fucking up his relationship with our parents too, but they were way out of their league if they though they could talk and cry their way into my life. They were just pushing Emmett away along with me. Id heard everything theyd said before, and then some, but still they continued, week after week, to get me to have some kind of emotional breakdown and beg for their help. That shit wasnt happening. When we got to the door, my mother hugged me way too tightly and rubbed my head before letting go. I swear she still thought I was seven years old. As I pulled away, I saw the tears welling up in her eyes. Carlisle was already on it, rubbing her back and glaring viciously at me. Emmett, can I talk to you in the other room? I rolled my eyes as Emmett followed Carlisle to his office. Why leave the room? Youre obviously talking about me, so just say what you have to here. I shouted loud enough for them to hear me, but the only response I got was the sound of a door slamming. I sighed and turned to Esme, who was still trying to fight back her tears. Why are you so upset? Im not getting what the problem is. You wouldnt, Edward. You dont see how what youre doing effects everyone around you. I scratched my head and shrugged. Guess not. Ill see you next week- Why dont you wait for Emmett? I couldve walked out right then, but I figured Id ruined everyones night enough already. Instead, I stood and leaned against the door, avoiding Esmes desperate glances until Emmett reappeared in the foyer, sans Carlisle. Lets go. Bye Mom, Ill call you soon, okay? Esme just nodded and waved us out the door.

***** As I finished up in the bathroom, I splashed cold water on my face to try and make myself look more awake than I was. I ran my cold hands through my hair before throwing my beanie back on and walking out into the lobby. The hot air immediately hit me as I stepped onto the sidewalk. Do you need anything else, Edward? Should I come with you to help you bring your equipment up to your apartment? My assistants shrill voice annoyed the shit out of me. I shook my head at her and slid into the cab that was parked on the curb. No, go home. Thanks. She looked disappointed, but whatever. I had better things to do right now than bone my overpaid assistant. I gave the driver Bellas address and closed my eyes, trying to relax myself for our little get-together. Bella was definitely curious about stuff- shed even mentioned stupid fucking Emmett watching me last night. So I was going to have to make up some serious lies, quickly. I replayed my story over and over in my mind before I got to her building. I hopped out of the cab, telling the driver to wait, and booked it for the lobby. As soon as I reached the glass doors, I saw her walking toward me. She pushed open the door, looking anxious. Hurry up. Rose just got home and Alice is on her way. I dont want her to see me. I put my hand on her back and led her to the open door of the cab. She slid in and immediately spun toward me, blowing her sweet, citrus smell in my direction. So, Eduardo, where are we going? Do I look alright? I looked her up and down with a shrug. She looked amazing. Her black, ruffled top contrasted so well with her light skin, and her dark, tight skinny jeans wrapped around her in all the right places. Even her little red toenails that peeked out from her sandals were sexy. Of course, it didnt matter. We werent really going anywhere special. You look fine. She set her bag next to her and placed her palms on the space between us, leaning over just enough for me to peek down her top. And Eduardo liked. Can I ask you something? She fluttered her long eyelashes at me, knowing that shit was hard to resist. She mustve charmed people like that all the time. It depends. She blinked a few more times, still staring right at me. What? Whats your deal? You have to give me more details. I looked straight ahead at the cabbys shitty driving. This girl had no idea what she was talking about. She didnt want more details. If she knew them, the bitch would go running for the hills. I dont know what you want me to tell you. Apparently that wasnt a good enough answer for her. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared out of her window.

Why did Rosalie say that I should stay away from you? Rosalie was such a cunt. I reminded myself to tell her she looked like she gained weight the next time I saw her. Because Rosalie is a skank. Cunt was probably too strong of a word for Bellas liking. Not an answer. Honestly? I dont know. She thinks I sleep around. Same reason why Alice doesnt like me. Do you? Fuck. I quickly tried to think over if lying was the best answer. Uh well, define sleeping around? Bella chewed on one of her nails and answered me through clenched teeth. Did you sleep with Rosalie? Damn it. Maybe she would have mercy on me if I was honest. Once. What about Alice? Once. Oh. My. God. Reminder to self: honesty is not always the best policy. Bella reached for her bag, completely flustered, and knocked on the glass in front of us. Can you stop here, please? The cabby nodded and started to swerve toward the curb. No! Just keep going. I put my hand on her shoulder and pushed her back into the seat. Stop. You dont even know where we are. I dont care, Ill get another cab you youre- She struggled for an insult that would describe me. Any of them probably wouldve worked. Whatever I deserved it. Disgusting. Youre disgusting. Really, Bella? I thought you were different then them. That seemed to work. The cabby sat, looking back at us, waiting to see if we were getting out or not. Just keep going. Her body relaxed slightly as she fell back into the seat. She leaned her head back so she was looking up at the ceiling, and she put her hand on her forehead. I knew what she was saying in her head. Something along the lines of What the hell did I get myself into? She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Where the fuck are we even going, Edward?

I looked out of the window to see where we were, and I smirked, realizing wed be there in a minute. Youll see. Brooklyn Bridge BPOV What am I doing? What am I doing? I repeated it over and over in my head, not understanding why I didnt just bolt from the cab when I had the chance. As soon as he spilled that hed slept with both Rosalie and Alice, everything started to make sense. They didnt want me around him because he was a player and a scumbag and a pig and ugh, and beautiful. They knew I wouldnt be able to resist him if he tried. From now on, I was going to listen to what they said. I looked around as the cab halted. I didnt know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasnt this. I thought maybe we were going to a bar, or a restaurant, or something, but there was nothing of the sort around. Just a tall, sprawling building with huge windows on a quiet street that overlooked the East River. Edward tossed a couple of bills into the front seat and got out of the cab. I followed, because what the hell else was I going to do? This isnt it. I just have to drop some stuff off. He pulled some black containers out of the trunk when the driver popped it open. I stared at him as he lifted each huge box out with ease. Dont help or anything. He laughed and slammed the trunk closed as an anxious doorman came running up to him. Do you need help, Mr. Cullen? I got it, thanks. Edward pushed a small carrier into my chest and rolled the other two cases into the building. The building, which by the way, was far more posh than anything Id ever seen, including ours. The marble lobby was silent as we stood and waited for the elevator. Within minutes, we were standing in front of the door to Edwards apartment. He shoved the door open, and as we stepped inside I stopped and stared in awe. It was unlike anything I couldve imagined. His apartment was enormous and wide open, like a loft. It stretched the entire length of the building. The back wall was entirely made up of glass, revealing an amazing view of the river. Since the sun was almost completely down, the reflection off the water cast a dim, orange light into the apartment. The whole place was adorned with modern decor, but it was purposefully simple. This is a sick apartment.

He shoved the cases, which I realized were his photo equipment, into a closet. I pushed my hands out to give him the case I was holding, but he shook his head. We need that one. I stood there, staring in amazement at everything as he fiddled around with a backpack. He grabbed the small case and shoved it in his backpack and set it down on the floor. Do you want the grand tour? I knew that I was supposed to be disgusted and angry with him, but I couldnt help but be smitten by him. Every movement that he made was so smooth and graceful. He was a walking, modern day Adonis. I followed behind him as he sauntered into the main room. Thats the kitchen you were just standing in. Obviously. This is the living room area. He pointed at an L-shaped, minimalist white sofa that was in the center of the apartment. My bedroom area. I laughed as he pointed toward a huge four poster bed to the right of us. Is there a particular reason why you have no walls? He stared at me like I had two heads. I like it better this way. Its more open. Why do I need walls, anyway? I live alone. Whatever. It made sense, I guess. I suddenly realized how out of place I was in Edwards world. He was a successful photographer, who lived in New York in a professionally decorated apartment and had sex with girls like Alice and Rosalie. I was a struggling writer from Washington that was jobless and given a room out of charity. It was just a little discouraging. Come on, Bella. Youre gonna like this. As he grabbed my hand to pull me toward him, I felt a tingle go through my body. The fact that this guy had such an effect on me had to mean something, didnt it? I realized what I was going to do. Id get to know him better, and not sleep with him. If we were just friends, I was sure that Alice and Rose would have no problems with me being around him. And eventually, if he kept on seeing me, it would mean that he cared about me as more than just a fling. Okay, so the plan sucked, but I needed to justify in my mind that Edward wasnt the horrible person that everyone made him out to be. So far, besides for the fact that he boned my two best friends, he hadnt done anything to me to make me dislike him. He hadnt even really hit on me. I didnt know why I felt such a strong pull to this stranger, but I was just going to go with it. Whatever happened would happen. We reached a set of glass doors on the far edge of the apartment. Edward let go of my hand to push them open, revealing a huge balcony that overlooked the city and the river. It was out of this world. This is ridiculous. How do you afford this place? I walked out onto the balcony as he stayed in the doorway laughing. Daddy. I hopped up to that I was sitting on the cement wall that lined the building and I stared out into the river.

Is that the Brooklyn Bridge? He nodded. Ive always wanted to see it at night. It must look so cool from here. Yeah, it does. Thats where were going. I gulped nervously. I hated bridges. It was a stupid fear that I had since I was a little girl. Sure, they were cool to look at from far away. But this kid was crazy if he thought I was going to hang out at one for the night. Um, I like the balcony. How about we just stay here? Edward frowned and shook his head. Were only staying on the balcony if you let me photograph you. Naked. I gave him the finger and trotted past him back into the apartment. So much for him not hitting on me. Even though the idea of me being naked around Edward didnt seem half bad. We took the elevator back downstairs and hopped into another cab, me contemplating the whole time about how I was going to get out of having a panic attack in front of this sex god when he made me walk across a bridge. The sun had set fully and since I had spent the entire day in the apartment yesterday, it was my first time being in the streets of New York at night. Unfortunately, the ride to the bridge was short, and I was sure that I was going to pass out when I got out of the cab. I stopped at the entrance to the walkway and took a deep breath. Edward kept walking until he realized I wasn't next to him anymore. "What are you doing?" I shrugged and pointed at the grassy area underneath us."I'm good here. Oooh, look, grass!" "Come on!" I planted my feet, afraid to take another step. Edward just stared at me in disbelief. "What's the problem?" "Bridges scare me." He laughed and stalked over to me, grabbing my wrist and yanking me forward. I followed, hesitantly. It was a little less nerve wracking with Edward touching me. "Christ, Bella. Grow a pair." He threw his arm around my shoulders casually as he led me to the walkway. I kept my eyes down at my feet the entire way, too scared to look in any other direction. I did enjoy the close proximity to him, seeing as it allowed me to breathe in his indescribable friggen scent. It was like soap and the ocean and spearmint and everything good in life. Even the light smell of cigarette smoke that lingered on his shirt was appealing. God, I was such an idiot. Suddenly, he stopped and spun my body toward the water. I squeezed my eyes shut and heard him chuckling. "Wow, this was fun. Can we go?" "Open your eyes, Bella."

Hesitantly, I opened my left eye and then my right. And I was glad I did. I'd never seen a view that amazing before. My mouth hung open in disbelief as I grasped Edward's shoulder."Oh my God! This is so beautiful!" I decided to get a little ballsy and I moved all the way to the handrail, taking in everything I saw. The cars passing underneath us, the bright lights on the bridge, the unbelievable view of the skyline. The whole thing was amazing.A light clicking sound next to me broke me from my thoughts. I glanced over at Edward to see that he'd pulled a camera out of his backpack and was snapping pictures. "Don't take pictures of me." "Why not? You look good. And anyway, I already did." I was too excited to care. I'd gotten over my pathetic bridge fear and I was living in an amazing new city with my best friends and I was already making new ones. It was the first time in my life that I was excited at my future and reveling in the moment. I knew from then on that whenever I thought of that night, I would remember it as the turning point of my life; Bella, the sullen, boring girl from Forks to Bella, the big city girl with an exciting future. It was almost too much for me to handle at the moment. I turned to Edward who had stopped paying attention to me awhile ago, and I stared at he clicked away on the camera, his long fingers wrapped around the lens. Every few pictures he would look at the LCD screen and squint his eyes, and his tongue would involuntarily graze along his bottom lip. It was the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. "Thanks for making me come out here. Seriously. This is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen." "No problem." He lowered the camera from his face and gave me his sexy half grin. "Do you want to go?" I shook my head and wrapped my fingers around the railing. I felt the warmth of Edward's body next to me as the wind blew, making my hair fly out behind me. "Do you come here a lot?" "Not really," He answered. "I've been busy lately. It's my favorite place in the city. I thought it would be a cool thing for you to see, since you just moved here." Standing here, just talking to Edward made me realize how normal he was when he wasn't putting on his bad boy persona. To me, he just seemed slightly pained and misunderstood. I swore to myself that I'd get to the bottom of whatever it was that was bothering him. "Can I ask you something?" "What now?" "Rosalie said something about you... That you were acting out, or got into trouble or something and that was why Emmett was acting the way he was toward you." Edward's

nostrils suddenly flared, and the color drained from his cheeks. He looked at me, his eyes burning. "She said that?" "Um.. Yeah. Sorry, did I say something..." I let my voice trail off at the end. He shook his head and took a deep breath. I watched as he stood there, leaning over the railing, just thinking. "How about this?" He stood up straight and moved even closer to me. So close that I could feel his warm breath on my face when he spoke. "Why don't you get to know me and make your own judgments? Don't listen to that slut Rosalie, or Alice, and don't pay attention to my stupid fucking brother. Don't even tell me anything they say about me, because, honestly, I could give a fuck. How does that sound?" I swallowed hard as my eyes trailed the stubble under Edwards chin, across his square jaw and down his cheekbone, my eyes finally resting on his lips. I knew he caught me watching, because at that moment he leaned forward and gently pressed his mouth against mine. My eyes fluttered shut and I breathed in hard, trying to remember the smell of Edwards skin. His lips were so soft and velvety, and his light stubble scratched at my chin. I tried to deepen the kiss, but he pulled away without letting me. As I stood there, staring at Edward without saying a word, my phone started vibrating in my pocket. I yanked it out and rolled my eyes when I saw the caller ID. "Hi Alice." "Please tell me you're alive and not lost somewhere in Harlem." "I'm fine. Just walking around, looking at stuff." I felt really guilty lying to Alice, but now wasn't the time to be Mother Teresa. "Well, hurry up and get home! We're going out tonight, remember?" Shit. I looked at the time and cringed, realizing I had to get home as soon as I could in order to avoid the wrath of Alice. "I'll get a cab now. See you in a few minutes!" With that I clicked the end button and sighed. "I have to go. I promised Alice this morning I'd go to some model party thing with her and Rose. I'm really looking forward to it, if you couldn't tell." Edwards eyes shot open and he hit his forehead with his palm. Thats what she was talking about. I frowned. What? Nothing. Im supposed to go too. Maybe Ill see you there. He smirked and motioned his head back toward the road. Come on, Ill walk you back. Party BPOV

I stretched my arms out above my head and spun around so my back was facing Alice. Look! I leaned slightly forward and felt the cold air from the vent blow up my dress. Nuh-uh. Alice just stood there, frowning. What? Those are my asscheeks youre looking at right now. Alice laughed and forced my arms back down. Are you planning on walking around all night with your arms straight up in the air? I looked to Rosalie for help but she was too busy staring into the mirror, putting on her make up. Im not wearing this. As I crossed my arms over my chest, Rosalie threw her lipstick onto the counter and spun to me. Bella, youve complained about the dress for the last 40 minutes. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. When she finished her little rant I huffed and marched into the kitchen, grabbing a beer from the refrigerator. Alice and Rose had finished making me up like one of their Barbies over an hour ago. I looked like a hooker and I was bored. Rosalie, wheres your lumberjack boyfriend? I need someone to keep me company. I shouted from the living room, where Id plopped down in front of the TV. Hes meeting us there, I heard her yell back. Doucheward got invited and Jasper decided to come too so hes going with them. I didnt want them here. So Edward was going. HA. That made my night a whole lot better. I didnt hate the dress as much as I claimed, I was really just being spiteful since it was their fault I had to leave him in the first place. I heard Alice chattering away at Rose in the bathroom and it sounded like something juicy so I went back in to annoy them. Yeah, well dont group him up with Edward, like theyre the same or something. Alice sounded pissed. And Rose looked pissed. Alice. Im more than aware that you want inside his zipper. But come on! Jasper is his fucking best friend. People are best friends for a reason. Im just saying. Who the eff is Jasper? And who names their kid that? Rosalie snickered as Alice gave me the evil eye. Hes southern. And what kind of a name is Bella? Okay, MARY ALICE. Alice reached over and grabbed a chunk of my hair and started pulling as hard as she could. Say sorry!

Okay, sorry, sorry. Truce. Oww. I rubbed my poor head as Alice let go. ANYWAY. Whos this Jasper? Technically hes Edwards best friend- I still say gay lover. Alice rolled her eyes as Rosalie cut her off. Shut up, Rose. Dont pay attention to her. Anyway, hes friends with Emmett also. And him and Edward are nothing alike, besides for the fact that theyre both hot. And that they both have cocky attitudes. Alice sighed and hopped off her spot on the counter when Rose interrupted her for the second time. Im done talking. Rose, hurry up or Im not going. Now that was funny. The day Alice chooses not to show off a new outfit is the day hell freezes over. Within a half hour, we had managed to get a taxi and we got to the overcrowded, overpriced club. I glanced around at all the people around me, feeling completely inferior. There were beautiful models everywhere, and then there was me, who had to stand on her tip toes and jump to see anything. Ridiculous. Now I knew how Alice felt every day. Suddenly, Rose spotted Emmett by the bar so we started to make our way over slowly. Ew, Alice said with a sneer. Thats so unnecessary. I had no clue what she was talking about. Until I reached the bar, that is. Bella! Emmett gave me a quick hug and handed me a drink. I saw Rose whispering in his ear and pointing behind us. Emmett suddenly got serious and shrugged, so it was clear he was trying to change the subject. Being the naturally intrusive person I am, I turned and looked to where Rose was pointing. And I choked on my drink. Edward was sitting at a table with some reddish blondish model bitch who was nearly straddling him right there and making out with him. He didnt even look in my direction. My heart started to race as I stood there, choking on my drink. I felt Alice pounding on my back, trying to help me. Bella! Are you okay? I nodded, finally able to catch my breath. The drink went down the wrong way. I gulped and handed the glass to her. Im gonna go to the bathroom. Ill be right back. I pushed through the crowd, not caring if I knocked over any anorexic skanks or whoever in the process. My blood was boiling and I needed to calm myself down before I ruined everyones night. When I got into the bathroom, I slammed the door closed in one of the stalls and leaned against it, shaking. What kind of a person does something like that? A few hours before Id believed his stupid little act and then he does this? He knew damn well that I was going to be here, and he didnt even care. Rosalie was completely right.

More shocking to me then the fact that he was doing what he was doing was the fact that I even cared. Id met him the day before and been alone with him once. I didnt even make out with him, I pecked him for Gods sake. I was embarrassed at myself for caring so much about this stranger. I couldnt help it, though. Id felt an instant connection from the second I saw him. And I thought hed felt it too, but apparently I was mistaken. I decided that moping around in a grimy public bathroom was no way to spend the night, and if I was going to get over this whole Edward actually, Roses nickname was much more fitting now. If I was going to get over this whole Doucheward situation, I was going to have to enjoy myself. There had to be at least one male model in here that wasnt gay. I planned to find him. Unfortunately, when I emerged from the bathroom, Edward and his hoe had changed location and were now leaning up against the wall dry humping. I forced back some vomit and squeezed by them, trying not to make eye contact. It was one of the most awkward moments of my life. I found Alice, Rose, and Emmett in the same place that I had left them. Standing next to Emmett was a tall, lanky, but extremely hot blonde guy. I wasnt sure if there was spinach stuck in my teeth or something, but they all stared at me when I strolled up with a strained smile. Bella, are you alright? Rosalie raised an eyebrow and I shrugged. Im fine. Why? You just look- Im fine. I grabbed my drink from Alices hand and tried to scope out the man situation. Emmett suddenly jumped up from his barstool and turned his head from side to side, looking frantic. Did you guys see where Edward went? I pointed toward the bathroom with contempt. I couldnt help it. I saw him by the bathroom making out with a redhead. Shit. Emmett ran off, Rosalie in tow. Apparently hed neglected babysitting duty. Alice put her hand on blonde guys bicep and pulled him toward me. Bella, this is Jasper. Aha! So it all clicked. Rose was right about this too. Alice totally had the hots for Jasper. Hey, Bella. He grinned at me and turned toward the bar. Want a shot? Yes, please. I took a shot. Or two or five. Whatever. I actually was enjoying myself with Alice and Jasper and it kept my mind off of Deadward. My new nickname, because he was dead to me. I found Jasper to be incredibly charming, despite the fact that he was pretty cocky

and checked out every girl that came within a three foot radius of him. I think it was the Southern accent that got me. He definitely did seem to have some kind of interest in Alice, though. He made it a point to touch her somewhere every time they talked and when he had something to say to her he put his lips right up to her ear, instead of shouting which he did when he talked to me. I had to remember these little things and tell Alice about them later. I dont know exactly how much time had passed before Emmett and Rosalie came back. Of course, trailing behind them was no other than the douche bag himself sans strawberry crotch. I took one quick look at him and darted my eyes back to Jasper, but it wasnt quick enough because he caught me. Bella! Whend you get here? Okay, Edward was inebriated. Still, that was no excuse for what he did to me. I was pretty tipsy and I wasnt making out with anyone. Not that hed actually give a shit, but still. Emmett kind of shoved him so that he was facing away from me. The close proximity mixed with the liquor made me feel kind of uncomfortable, so I booked it outside to find someone with a cigarette. I barely made it out the door when I realized hed followed me outside. Hey. Hey? Was he kidding? All my control flew out the window as I realized that there was no one behind him. What? I said hey. You know, like hi. Yeah, I heard what you said. What the fuck, Edward? He stood there, looking confused and drunk and gorgeous. Ugh, I hated myself for being so controlled by the way he looked. What did I do? I felt some word vomit coming up. What did you do? Well, you ask me to go on this little date with you, and then you kiss me, and THEN not three hours later, I see you making out with some skank when you knew I was going to be here! So, let me repeat myself, what the fuck? Edwards eyes widened and he scratched his stupid coppery sex hair. Which looked extra sexed out right now. Damn it. He took a few steps closer to me and ran his thumb up the side of my cheek. Im sorry. Let me make it up to you. And then, slurring his words and all, he actually leaned in and tried to kiss me. And I was not about to get oral herpes from his little rendezvous with the model. Those self defense classes that Id taken the week before I moved to New York that Rosalie and Alice made fun of me for suddenly seemed like an amazing idea as I slapped him. Yep, I bitch slapped him. And then he laughed.

Bella! Come on. I said sorry I like you. I almost believed him. And then I realized how stupid I was. You like me? It made me laugh, repeating his words. Amazing. Because considering how my best friends told me to stay away from you, and I didnt listen to them, youd think that you wouldve tried to prove them wrong. I mean, you couldve humored me and acted decent for a day? Maybe two? But a couple of hours? Now I know what everyones talking about, Edward. I saw a cab waiting on the curb and I took it as a sign to go. Tell Alice and Rose I went home. I jumped into the cab, leaving Edward standing there, dumbfounded. The Morning After EPOV Oww. I felt my head pounding before Id even opened my eyes. Shit. It felt like I was laying on cement. I opened my eyes, slowly. It wasnt cement I was laying on, it was tile. I was in a bathroom. I winced as I touched where the source of the pain was. There was a Band-Aid on my head and the hair around it was hard and crunchy. I sat up, still holding my head, and looked around the bathroom. Okay, I was home. Thank you, Emmett. On the floor where my head had been there was a small puddle of dried blood. That explained the crunchy hair and first aid. Without even standing up, I reached into the tub and turned the shower on, letting the steam fill up the bathroom. After my shower, I walked out of the bathroom to see Emmett and Rosalie, fully dressed and asleep on top of my bed. I dont know why that biotch was in my apartment, but I wanted her out. After I got dressed, I kicked the mattress and Emmett shot up, rubbing his eyes. He looked me up and down with a disgusted look and without saying anything, he shook Rosalie awake. She immediately ran to the bathroom, like I gave a shit what she looked like in the morning. You two better not have done it on my bed. I tried to break the silence by being funny but Emmett just rolled his head slowly toward me before his breathing sped up. Do you have any idea what you acted like last night? I tried to remember as far back as I could, but besides for little flashes all I could remember clearly was before we went out. No. Rosalie walked out of the bathroom, her shoes in her hand. Would it have killed you to flush the toilet after you puked in it? Ughh. I didnt remember puking, but I was glad Id left it in there for her to see. I cleaned up the blood on your floor. Your welcome. Wow, thanks! Get out. She squinted her eyes at me and then looked at Emmett, who was holding the bridge of his nose.

Dont talk to her like that. What? Emmett never stood up for Rosalie over me. That shit pissed me off. Fuck her. And fuck you too, Emmett. Get out. I dont know why that made him tick, but before I knew it, Emmett was holding me up against the wall by my throat. I didnt even bother trying to fight him because I was too hungover and too fucking confused. Rosalie got nervous and was pulling at his arm, but Emmett didnt let go. This shit has to stop Edward. This is the last fucking time Ill do this for you. Next time, Ill just leave you alone, and if you fucking die, or someone beats the shit out of you, I wont feel sorry, because I warned you. He let his grip loose and I leaned over, gasping for air. I heard sniffling next to me and I realized it was Rosalie crying. I put my hand on my knees and looked up at her, still trying to catch my breath. Why the hell are you crying? The blood rushed to my head and I cringed. I stood straight up, still kind of dizzy. And what happened to my fucking head? Rosalie just stood there looking at me. It almost looked like she felt sorry for me. Shit. This was not good. If this cold hearted bitch felt bad for me, I mustve really fucked up. I needed to find out what I did. I was trying to help you yesterday and you flipped out and tried to push me. And then you fell and your head bounced off the tile, hence the blood. And that was me that cleaned it up and put a bandage on it, by the way. Stop it, Rose. You dont need to explain anything to him. Emmett grabbed Rosalies hand and pulled her toward the front door while I just looked at her, shocked. Im going and talking to Dad about this today. Youre fucking up everyones lives, Edward. Not just your own, but Moms crying every day and fighting with Dad. Dads fucking scared hes gonna get a phone call that youre dead. Now this shit is effecting me, too. I cant even enjoy myself, because I have to fucking take care of you. And now Rose sees firsthand what youre like, and shes traumatized by this shit. Im done, Edward. Youre on your own. I think that was the first time in my life that Id ever heard Emmett be completely serious. Maybe it was time to change shit around. Maybe I should just let him tell our parents what I was like, and hope that Carlisle didnt choke me to death with his bare hands or worse, take away the apartment. No. If what happened last night was as bad as Emmett was making it, that was the first thing Carlisle would do. If you go and talk to Mom and Dad, Ill never fucking talk to you again. Without saying anything, Emmett turned the doorknob and bolted out of my apartment, slamming the door behind him. I figured the first step to finding out what happened would be to go to people who were there. And the only other person that I knew for sure was there was Jasper. I ran to the bathroom and pulled my phone out of my jeans that were in the hamper. 5 Missed Calls from Jasper. One from my Moms cell phone. That one wasn't getting a call back.

Jasper picked up on the first ring. Edward! What the fuck, man. Are you alright? My head hurts. Where are you? He was quiet. I heard shuffling and what I thought was a door closing. Im sorry I wasnt there. I tried calling so many times to see if you were okay. Emmetts phone was dead, so I didnt know what was going on. I'm fine, Jazz. I dont even know what the fuck happened. Do you? Emmett just tried to fucking kill me and then he screamed and left. And Hale was here. Why was she here? And why the fuck are you whispering? It took a minute for Jasper to take in everything I said before he responded. Emmett told me what was going on, and I stayed with Alice because Bella went home and Rose was with you. I couldnt just leave her alone, man. She doesnt know about you. Rose didnt either, until last night. Emmett never told her. You didnt answer one of my questions. And youre still whispering. Alice is asleep and Bellas sitting in the living room! Im sitting in the fucking bathroom, Edward. Unless you want me to go sit on the sofa and talk in my regular voice and blow up your spot. Bella. Oh, fuck. I suddenly remembered her yelling at me for something. I tried to remember exactly what she said, but it was all a blur. All I could remember were her arms flailing around. And that she was wearing a really short, black dress. That meant she was there. What if she saw something? What if she knew? I slammed my fist against the counter, knowing I fucked up. Bad this time. Jazz, I gotta go. Call me when you leave there. I dont know how my life had done a 180 in the course of a couple hours, but for some reason, I felt like I had to go say sorry to Rosalie. For what, I dont know, but seeing her cry and the way she looked in my apartment it was almost like she was being sincere. I didnt hate her as much as I let on. Really, at first I just thought she was a skank who was using my brother. But, who wouldnt think that? I brought the girl out with me after I'd already slept with her and she left with Emmett. Thats some dirty shit. But, anyway, I got over that after I saw how much Emmett really loved her. And then, thats when shit really started to go downhill. Rose and I got pretty friendly, so we all started hanging out as a group; her, Emmett, Alice, and me. Then I did the unthinkable and on a night that I figured was something like yesterday, only I was a less wasted, I slept with Alice. And apparently Alice really liked me. I really liked Alice as a person, but not like that. I wanted everyone to stay friends and for shit not to get weird, so I distanced myself from them for awhile and didnt return any of Alices phone calls. That was what pushed Hale over the edge.

The only other time that Rosalie had been to my apartment was when she came over to rip me a new one about what Id done to Alice. Emmett stayed out of it because he didnt want to have to pick sides between me and Rose, but I knew he was pissed at me for it. Whenever I tried to do the right thing it always backfired in my fucking face, and that was why I didnt bother giving a shit about anyone anymore. Eventually, me and Rose agreed that everything would be fine- we didnt have to like each other. Just as long as I never got involved with anyone else she knew, everything would be fine. Anyway, the whole thing blew over when Emmett brought Jasper around Alice. Im pretty sure she forgot that I even existed. Still, after that whole incident, I spent less and less time with them, and more time with the models and other people Id worked with. Which got me in the predicament that I was in now. Emmett had turned from being my older brother and best friend into my babysitter. And it cut into his time with Rose. Before last night, I didnt care. I didnt care about my parents, I didnt give a shit about what Emmett and Jasper thought, and I certainly didnt care about that bitch Rose. But what I realized, after Emmett left and Id fully processed his little speech was that these people were concerned about me. Thats why I was such a scumbag for acting the way I did. But even after all that, I still didnt care. I just wanted to sort shit out with Rose so that Emmett calmed down, and then he wouldnt tell our parents, and then we could all go on living our lives in the dysfunctional way that we did before. When I wanted shit to change for me, Id do it myself, I wasnt going to be forced into it by Emmett. I waited a couple of hours before I made my way over to the girls apartment. Someone buzzed me in without asking who it was, thank god. I knocked on the door and waited, knowing that unless it was Alice answering, I was probably going to get the door slammed back in my face. And then Bella opened the door. She stuck her head through without opening it the whole way, and when she saw it was me, her face instantly drooped. Hi. She walked away from the door with a sigh, leaving it open. Besides for Bella, who had taken a seat at the dining room table and was typing something on her laptop, there was no one around that I could see. Wheres Rose? Bella kept typing without looking up at me. Why would Rose want to talk to you? Is she in her room? Without letting her answer, I booked it toward the hallway and stopped in front of Rosalies door. I knocked lightly and heard her voice on the other side. Come in. She sounded tired. I pushed the door open slowly and watched as her eyes bugged out of her head. Get out!

No. I shut the door lightly behind me and sat on the foot of her bed. She was laying under the covers, still clearly not showered from the night before. And dont yell, Bellas out there. Rose sat up and rubbed her eyes, waiting for me to say something. Why are you here? What could you possibly want? I came to say sorry, I guess. And thank you. I dont know what the fuck happened yesterday, and I probably never will, but for some reason Jasper said that you helped me. And you were the last person I ever expected to do anything nice for me so thanks. Rose pushed her hair behind her ear and sighed. Id say your welcome, but I didnt do it for you. I did it for Emmett. You owe him the apology. No, Emmett does this shit for me all the time. Its nothing new. Maybe thats the problem, Edward. I shrugged, avoiding eye contact with her. I mean, if what I saw yesterday was any indication of what Emmett usually goes through with you, then I dont know how he hasnt given up on you already. Because I couldnt do that, day after day. Hes my family. He doesnt have a choice. Yes he does. Do you know what your father said to him the other day, when the two of you went there for dinner? I thought back to two days before, when my Dad had pulled Emmett into his office. I figured it was along the lines of watch your brother and Ill buy you a new car or something. What? Carlisles noticed how your behavior is taking a toll on Emmett. He told him to give up, and stop trying to protect you. To let you figure shit out on your own, and eventually youd hit rock bottom and be forced to change. But Emmett would never do that. Fuck. I knew that it was coming eventually. My parents were trying everything they could to help me, including trying to make Emmett abandon me. That shit bothered me more than I expected it to. Look, Ill talk to Emmett. And Im going to try and change, okay? But do me a favor, and keep what happened yesterday between us? Dont tell Alice, or Bella, or- What kind of a person do you think I am, Edward? She moved further down onto her pillow and pulled the blanket up to her neck. Id rather not talk about it or even think about it again. Okay. Thanks. And with that I moved farther up the bed and wrapped my arms around her shoulders without giving her a chance of pushing me away. And then I felt her hands pressing up against my back and I realized she was hugging me back.

There was now an unspoken bond between the two of us. She was a part of my fucked up world, and that made her understand me more. I slipped out of the door and walked hesitantly toward Bella, realizing what the next thing I had to do was. She stopped typing when she heard my footsteps coming toward her, but she didnt look at me. I took the seat across from her and drummed my fingers on the tabletop. Are you starting your book? Bella took a deep breath and nodded. Im brainstorming. And taking notes. I nodded back at her, surprised shed even answered me. Can I uh talk to you? About last night? She licked her lips and snapped her laptop shut. I watched as she rested her head on her hand and twirled a strand of her hair around her finger. She looked so amazing. I dont remember anything, really, but I do have these flashes of you yelling at me. So Im assuming that means I did something wrong. Bella shrugged and shook her head. Not really. I was just drunk. Im over it. Youre over it? Yeah, its fine. I dont care. Huh. She sounded pretty convincing. I mean, look at you. Should I really be surprised that you were doing what you were doing with her? Its my fault, Im stupid for- Wait, hold on. What exactly was I doing? Her cheeks turned bright red and she looked down at the table. The model? You were- Shit. I held up my hand, realizing suddenly what she was talking about. Tanya, the girl from the photoshoot yesterday. I was so fucked up that I was probably tonguing and groping her right in front of Bella. I probably forgot Bella was even going to be there. Look. If it means anything at all to you, know that I wasnt myself last night. I had a really good time with you yesterday, in my normal state of mind Id never do anything that stupid. The only reason I went to that dumb fucking party was to see you, and I ended up drinking too much, and Im so sorry. Just believe me. Its fine, Edward. You dont need to apologize to me. So, were good? Yeah. She opened up her laptop and continued with what she was doing before. Im gonna go. Ill see you soon, okay? Bella frowned as I stood up from the chair. I dont know, Edward.

What do you mean? Youre cool and everything, but I think itll just be better for me right now to listen to Rose and Alice and stay away from you. Just for right now. Maybe we can be friends sometime in the future. I stood there, feeling like a fucking idiot. Everyone hated me right now including Bella, the only person whod ever just given me a chance before criticizing me. And I ruined everything. I was too emotionally drained to argue and I still hadnt even talked to Emmett yet. So I tried to keep any bit of dignity I had left and I just nodded before I walked out. Fine. Bye, Bella. Forgiveness BPOV It had been five days since Id told Edward I didnt want to see him again. Hed called me twice but I didnt pick up. I had to stand my ground and respect myself. No respectable person would let someone walk all over them like that and just be okay and pretend like nothing had happened. Right? Right. Id spent the week walking around the streets, trying to find my way around. I fell in love with New York. Sure, Id had a rough start, but it was hard to be upset in a place that was so amazing. I had breakfast at a different caf every morning. I rode every subway to try and memorize the stops. Id been to seven museums. Alice even took me shopping on Madison Avenue and surprised me with a purse Id admired in Chanel. And Id returned to the bridge twice, since it was by far my favorite place Id been to. Edward was right about that. Rose and Alice had kept me entertained by taking me out every night, either to dinner or some lounge or bar for drinks. Either Emmett or Jasper had been around almost every day, with no sign of Edward or even a mention of him. Id been so preoccupied with enjoying my new life that Id almost completely put him out of my mind. Until now. I returned to our building from an afternoon of sitting in Central Park. Id brought my Macbook with me in case I saw anything that was worth remembering, but the sun was so bright and the wind was blowing just enough to keep me comfortable, so I just sat on the lawn for a few hours, enjoying the weather. I juggled my laptop in one hand and my Starbucks and my purse in the other, trying to grab the mail out of our box. Luckily, the doorman saw me struggling and slipped the stack of mail under my arm. This meant Rose or Alice had yet to come home for the day. I skipped off the elevator and pushed open the door, dropping everything on the table in the entranceway. Thats when I saw it.

It was a simple, yellow catalog envelope with no address. On the front of the envelope, in impeccable penmanship, Bella was written. It weighed almost nothing. I knew it was from him before I even opened it. I tore open the envelope and pulled out the contents. It was a glossy black and white picture of me that Edward had taken that day at the bridge. It was a profile shot of me, and my hair was blowing behind me. The skyline was clearly visible and the lights from the bridge made it look like I was almost glowing. I thought back to the moment the picture was taken and I smiled. I was so happy right then, and so excited about what was to come. And Edward knew that. I stared at the picture for what seemed like forever before realizing that if Alice or Rose walked in Id have to make up a lie on the spot and I sucked at that. When I flipped the picture over there was a post-it it note stuck to the back of it. I peeled it off and held it in front of my face. Bella, I was printing out pictures and saw this on my camera. I thought youd like to have it. Hope youre doing well. Edward I loved the picture so much. And it was such a thoughtful thing to do for someone who was so inconsiderate. Ugh. I didnt know what to do. I did enjoy Edward as a person, and I wouldve loved to be friends with him, but I knew that would be too hard for me. I was attracted to him, more than I should have been, and if I got close to him and had to keep seeing him with other women it was going to drive me into a depression. After I tossed my laptop, the picture, and the rest of my mail on my bed, I decided to contemplate this whole situation with a cold shower. It had gotten muggy outside on my walk back to the apartment, and I was sure it was going to rain soon. When I left the bathroom, I heard voices quietly talking in the living room. I ran to my room, hid the picture, and threw on a white tank top and my ripped denim shorts. It was too hot for anything else, and I wanted to show off my tan. I started brushing my wet hair on the walk to the living room. When I got there, I realized it was Rosalie and Emmett who were talking to each other. Emmetts voice immediately cut off when he saw me and he smiled. What up. You got sunburned. I frowned and sat at Roses feet, handing her the brush. I like to call it tan, thanks. Rosalie brushed the knots out of my hair, huffing and making comments about me going bald if I didnt use better product. Whatever. Shed been in a really good mood for the past few days, so I didnt want to give one of my usual sarcastic comments in fear of her going into bitch mode.

We can do whatever you want, Rose. If you want to go, I can just tell him- Rosalie cut Emmett off with a wave of her hand. Okay. I dont care either way. Rose handed me the brush as she finished up with my hair. Bella, were going to meet Jasper and Alice for dinner. Are you coming? No, count me out. Im exhausted, I just want to go to bed early. So, it was kind of a lie. I really was exhausted, but I had decided what I was going to do about Edward, so I figured it would be way easier to sneak around if everyone else was out. Is everything okay? Rosalie was so damn intuitive. She always knew when something was wrong. I thought Id done a pretty good job acting like I was fine. Yeah. Why? Youve been quiet the past couple of days, and Roses voice trailed off at the end. You guys are wearing me out. Im walking around the city all day and drinking all night. I think its just catching up to me. Oh. She shrugged and stood up from the sofa. Im just gonna change, Emmett. Ill be right back. She sauntered out of the room and I laughed. Hah! Ill be right back. Thats funny. Emmett smirked and moved from his spot on the chair so he was sitting next to me. Speaking of funny, Bella I frowned at him. What? Did I do something? I dont know? Did you? Uhh, okay. Emmett was acting a little weird. He stared at me, still smirking. I watched as he took a deep breath and tossed his feet onto our poor little coffee table. I stopped by baby brothers apartment this morning and saw something that I thought was pretty interesting. I stared at him, expressionless. Im lost. He chuckled and shoved me playfully. Sure you are. Lucky for you, Ive decided not to tell Rose about my little observation. When is that picture even from? I sighed, pretty sure that Edward had told Emmett everything. I honestly believed him when he said he wouldnt tell Rose, and it felt good to talk to someone about it. So, I spilled. I was with him for a little while last week. The night of that model party thing, whatever. Earlier that night. Anyway, it wasnt a big deal. And I havent really talked to him since then anyway, so theres nothing to tell. Emmett took in everything I told him, shaking his head. So, you went on a date with him, and then you saw him later that night with a girl? I nodded. Hes such a fucking idiot. Im sorry, Bella. It wasnt you, thats just how he is. He doesnt care about anyones feelings-

Its fine. Really, Im okay. This is why I didnt want you guys talking to each other in the first place. He just he isnt himself right now. I shrugged and slapped my hands against my knees. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Im sick of all the troubled Edward cryptic talk. He has issues, I get it and I dont care. I like him. I just want to be his friend. Please dont say anything to Alice or Rose. Emmett gulped and shook his head again. Bella, if youre smart, youll stay away from him. We heard the door to Rosalies room open so he ended the conversation. I just dont want so see him do something bad to you. Rosalie strolled into the room, her heels clicking against the ground. Ready? Emmett nodded and stood up. Bella, well be back later. Call me if you need anything. And if you decide you want to come, well be at Delicatessen. Bye! The two of them walked out, Emmett turning to glance at me before he closed the door. I didnt care what he said. I was going to do what I wanted, and what I felt was right for me. I threw on a gray zip-up and a pair of Roses sandals that were by the door and I grabbed my laptop before I rushed out. It took me longer to get to Edwards then I expected. I didnt remember his address, so I explained the building and what was around it to the cab driver the best I could. I'm pretty sure he hated me. I recognized Edward's street when we got to it, so I hopped out of the cab before the driver murdered me and threw me in the river. Of course, it was just my luck that the second the cab drove away, there was a huge boom of thunder and it started down pouring. I ran to his building, trying to shield my laptop from getting wet with my sweater. When I finally reached the lobby I was thoroughly drenched. It worked in my favor though, because the doorman let me by. I thought it was because he felt sorry for me, until I got upstairs. I knocked harder than necessary on Edwards door since the apartment was so damn big. I wanted to be sure he heard me. After a few seconds, he yanked the door open with a yawn. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw it was me. Even though it was obvious hed just woken up, he still looked like he stepped right out of friggen GQ. Great. Then there was me, who shows up uninvited and looking like a wet cat. I love the picture. I couldnt think of an icebreaker, so I spit out the first thing that came to mind. He stood there, dumbfounded before stepping to the side and pulling the door open without a word. I trotted inside and put my bag and my laptop on the kitchen island. So. Are you busy right now? He frowned and shook his head. Not that I dont love company- especially when they come wearing transparent clothes, He pointed at my tank top. Ahhh, that was why the doorman let me up. Pervert. But, why are you here?

Uhh I was in the neighborhood? He raised an eyebrow at me. Okay. Fine. I want to be friends. Im sick of being the fifth wheel and I dont know anyone else in the city to hang out with, okay? Edward shrugged. Thats cool. Do you, um want a dry shirt or something? Embarrassing. Edward left the room and came back with some plaid button up thing. I went to the bathroom to change into it. As I looked around at the immaculate bathroom, I gasped. You have a Jacuzzi tub! I heard him laughing outside. Do you ever use this? No. I took my sopping wet clothes off and threw them in his hamper. When I put on his shirt, I couldnt help but stand there and smell it. It was amazing. Then I felt like an asshole for sniffing his wardrobe when he himself was right in the other room, so I pranced outside. So, Eddie. Did you have plans for tonight? He was flopped on his sofa flipping through the channels, his feet resting on an ottoman. No. And if you ever call me Eddie again Ill throw you off the balcony. Sorry. Edward. I grabbed my laptop off the counter and joined him on the sofa. What are you doing, Bella? I peeked over the top of my screen and smiled. Working on my book. No. He pushed the top of the laptop shut. Why are you here, being normal to me? What do you want me to do, Edward? Be spiteful forever? I took a deep breath and put my hand on his leg. Look, its not like we were dating. I had no right to get so angry. You made an attempt to talk to me today, and I dont see any reason why we cant be friends. So uh, thats why Im here. Did I mention I really loved the picture? He didnt smile back at me. He just stood there, looking at me blankly. What? Whats wrong? I just you. Youre an amazing person. I felt my cheeks grow warm. Ive never met anyone like you. I dont deserve it. I laughed and scrunched my nose at him. Dont get all sappy. We didnt mention any of the weekends events again. Edward sat and watched TV while I worked on my book, answering questions that I asked him about proper

vocabulary and giving me ideas of things I could write about. He seemed happy, but extremely tired. I noticed him nodding off more than once. I dont know why I acted the way that I did toward him. Of course, everything wasnt completely forgotten; I promised myself that in order for us to have any kind of romantic relationship, he was going to have to prove to me that he was different. But that was thinking too far into the future. I just wanted to enjoy the here and now, with this person that I had such a strong connection to. It wasnt every day that I met someone who Id immediately liked. When it started to get late and I could see that Edward was visibly struggling to stay awake, I got up to leave. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back to the sofa. Dont go yet. So I didnt. I grabbed a pillow and set it on Edwards lap and I laid my head on it. He didnt move, or even try to touch me. We both fell asleep, just like that. I awoke with a jump when I heard the door to Edwards apartment slam. All the lights suddenly went on and I craned my neck to see who it was. I felt Edward shift underneath me, so I knew it wasnt him. Bella! Emmetts voiced echoed throughout the apartment. I stood up and looked around for a clock. 2:58. Shit. You better go home. Alice and Rose are ready to call the police. Call them and tell them youre alright. I nodded while rubbing my eyes and made my way to the kitchen to grab my phone. Of course there was a list of missed calls from Alice and Rose. I called Alice, knowing shed bitch at me less. Bella! Oh my GOD where were you? Were freaking out- Im fine. I got bored so I went and walked around. And I saw a midnight movie and then I stopped at a diner to get something to eat. Im about to get in a cab now. I was impressed at my lying abilities right then, especially since I was half asleep. I spent so much time walking around the streets lately that it was easy for me to make up a lie about stuff that actually existed. Why didnt you answer your phone? Or call us? We were so worried Sorry. I put my phone on silent for the movie. You know how I am, I get so wrapped up in stuff that I just forget- Whatever. Im just happy youre okay. Were going to bed so Ill see you in the morning, okay? After Alice hung up, I walked back into the living room to say bye and thanks to Emmett. He was standing there, just staring at Edward whod fallen back asleep. The way he was looking at him reminded me of the way a parent looks at their kid when

theyre sleeping. I didn't understand what was going on at all. I stood next to him and whispered so that I wouldnt wake Edward up. Sorry you had to come here, Emmett. Thanks for not telling them. He nodded and pointed at Edward. Where did you guys go tonight? Nowhere. Emmett frowned and took a step closer to him. So, you stayed in what time did you get here? Honestly? I left right after you guys did for dinner. Emmett just stood there and stared at Edward in amazement. How was he acting? Was he okay? Yeah, he was fine. Just really tired. Why? I didnt know what the hell was so interesting about the fact that Edward was sleeping on his damn couch, but I didnt press into it. Huh. Emmett ignored me and scratched his head, like he was thinking about something. He turned away from Edward and grinned at me. Come on, well share a cab home. Family EmPOV Friday dinners were a Cullen family tradition that my parents had started when I moved out. Actually, it was more like a rule than a tradition. Our parents forced us to have dinner together as a family once a week because they claimed that it was important we all spend a little bit of time together now that everyone was so busy. Edward & I always hated that they made us do it on Fridays. Why not a Monday or Wednesday or something? Why the weekend? So, at first we tried to make it interesting. When Edward was still living at home, hed prepare in advance and do stuff like replace our glasses of water with glasses of Grey Goose when we werent old enough to drink yet. Or hed organize Esmes figurines in the China cabinets into sexual positions so Id notice it in the middle of dinner and have to fight back laugher the rest of the time. When he moved out, Id meet him at his apartment and wed smoke up before we went and then we actually enjoyed dinner. He was the only way I didnt lose my mind, sitting there with Esme and Carlisle while they asked little questions and criticized everything about our lives. Of course, that was before Edward was the way he is now. That was when he was himself; funny, smart, witty, a little bratty, but altogether harmless. Now he was totally out of control. Friday dinners had become a way for my parents to check up on Edward, because it made them feel better about what was going on. If Edward was able to uphold his obligations every week, then he couldnt be that bad. Of course, add in the

fact that Carlisle threatened Edwards apartment if he didnt show up, and therefore threatened to take his independence from him so he basically had no choice but to be there. Esme wasnt aware of their little deal, but I was. I didnt say anything to her. For me, it was good that he was there because that meant he wasnt somewhere else. He wasnt getting into trouble. He wasnt dead. I knew where he was, and I knew he was alright. It was an hour of the week that I knew I didnt have to worry. I missed my brother a lot. I missed the Edward that would unlock the front door after our parents went to sleep so I could sneak back into the house. I missed the Edward that would go on my laptop and fix my term papers without me asking because he knew I couldnt write as well as he could. I missed the Edward that would draw perverted pictures on the dry erase board in Carlisles office. I missed my best friend. All that was left of him now was a shell of what he used to be. A careless, unsympathetic, hurtful and ignorant shell of the person he once was. I couldve abandoned Edward the way everyone else had. I couldve threatened him and tried to force him into going back to the way that he was. I knew better, though. I knew that if I put up with his cruel remarks, his stupid choices and his constantly selfish behavior that hed know I was loyal to him and that there was nothing he could do that would make me turn my back on him. That way, hed spend more time with me and less time with them. I was the only person who was completely sympathetic to Edwards behavior because I saw firsthand what made him the way he is, and no one else did. He was under constant pressure from my parents his entire life. While they unconditionally supported my constant Cs in school, a B for Edward would get him grounded. While they welcomed any girl Id ever brought home, anyone that Edward had ever shown interest in was never good enough for him and constantly intimidated by Esme. And when I decided not to go the traditional route of college and I invested my tuition money that Carlisle had put aside for me into opening my own garage, they were perfectly okay with it. But, when Edward had decided to go to Parsons, a reputable school for photography, shit hit the fan. Our parents wanted him to go to Columbia, and follow in Carlisles footsteps and become a surgeon, but Edward decided against it. It was the ballsiest thing Id ever seen someone do. They threatened to kick him out of the house, they refused to pay for his schooling, and they took away his car and all his credit cards. Which, for someone whod grown up spoiled to death was a big deal. I was already living on my own by then, and they even threatened that if Edward were to come and live with me, they would completely cut me off too. Edward didnt want to involve me so he went and stayed with Jasper, and eventually when they realized he wasnt giving in, Esme cried and compromised with him and he got what he wanted. I didnt think he cared that much about photography- yeah, he was really good at it, but he was good at everything he did. I think it was more to prove a point to them. Had they been accepting of what he wanted to do, he probably wouldve gone to med school like they asked. I couldnt imagine having to live the way he did all the time. It was like nothing he did was ever good enough for them. Id confronted them once about the way they treated him, but Carlisle didnt seem phased but what I said. Emmett, you do the best that you can. Edward doesnt. We know he can do better. All we ask of the two of you is that you live up to your full potential.

What-the fuck-ever. I completely blame them for the way he is now. They helped in pushing him over the edge. It had been two weeks since the last time we had dinner. Last week Carlisle and Esme had to go to some benefit dinner for the hospital, so they cancelled. That was the night that I found Bella at Edwards apartment. I was completely shocked at what Id seen. I was sure that after that last incident- which, by the way, happened to be the day after our last family dinner- that shit was going to hit an all time low. I knew it was wrong, but I completely lost my cool and I flipped out on him. But hed brought Rose into his bullshit, and I never realized how awful things were until an outsider saw them. She was terrified. I was sure that night was going to have a lasting effect on our relationship. Surprisingly, though, Rose and Edward had talked and she seemed to have nothing bad to say about him. She was only concerned that he was okay. After that, Id seen Edward much less than I had in a long time, but he was different. And Im pretty sure it was related to Bella. Hows work going, Edward? Carlisle seemed to be in a good mood today. I think it was because Edward had actually eaten his food instead of just moving it around with his fork. Its fine. He shrugged without looking up from his plate. Maybe it wasnt the best response, but it was better then whatever sarcastic remark wed gotten used to him spitting out. Carlisle appreciated that, and he left him alone. So, Rosalie. Emmett says that one of your friends from home moved in with you and Alice? Esme changed the subject before anyone could push any further into Edward. Yes, our other best friend, Bella. She just graduated also, and we really missed her and had an extra bedroom so Rose grinned and took a sip of her wine. Both of my parents really adored Rose. At first they were apprehensive when they found out she was a model that I'd met through Edward, but when they saw how smart and polite she was and how much she cared about me they couldnt pass judgments on her. Carlisle in particular really liked her. How does she like New York? Carlisle asked with genuine curiosity. I think he just liked the fact that people were actually talking today and we werent all sitting in silence waiting for an Edward outburst. She loves it actually. We barely see her. Shes helping out Alice at her boutique but when she isnt shes always out exploring the city. I saw Edward smirk at that. Luckily, Rose didnt notice. I gulped down the remnants of my drink to stifle a laugh. I knew damn well what Bella had done with most of her free time the past week. And it involved Edward. Id talked to her about it a couple times, and it was nothing romantic, but she claimed she felt bad always intruding on my time with Rose and since Alice and Jasper were just starting out she didnt want to intrude on them either, so shed been dragging Edward along while she toured the city. I was pretty apprehensive when Id seen a picture of her at Edwards apartment one morning, but only because Id seen what he does to people. And its never good.

But, after I found her asleep at his apartment later that night, and I realized it was Friday, and he was home, asleep, without me following him around all night and keeping him out of trouble, it changed my perspective on the situation a little. He liked her. Maybe she could be the one to change him. Maybe hed do it for her. Of course, Bella was absolutely clueless as to what kind of problems Edward really had. But shed find out eventually. I was dreading the day that Rose found out theyd been seeing each other, especially if she found out that I knew all along and didnt tell her. I wasnt completely comfortable with the whole thing, but I figured it couldnt hurt to just see what would happen. Im gonna make myself a drink, does anyone want one? I raised my glass as Edward stood up and walked into the kitchen. When he was out of earshot, Esme leaned over the table and whispered. Edward looks different. Rose and I looked at each other. I shrugged at my mother, and Rose just looked down at her food, not answering. Emmett? Is he doing okay? I wanted to reassure my mother and let her know that Edward was no worse than usual. But, it was too hard to infer that to her without telling her how I knew he was fine with Rose sitting next to me. Keeping everyones secrets was starting to be a real fucking hassle. Hes fine, Mom. I tell you every time, hes fine. Hes not fine, Emmett. Carlisle criticized my choice of words. Okay. Hes alive. Esme gulped at my harsh expression and sat back in her chair as the sound of Edwards footsteps came closer. He plopped back down on his chair and slid the drink across the table to me. After a couple minutes of uncomfortable silence, Edward finished his drink and dropped his fork in his plate. We all stared as he stood up to leave. Sorry to walk out on dinner, but I have to go meet someone. No, Edward. You can leave when were finished. Carlisle stood up to challenge Edward, expecting an argument. Instead, Edward just looked at me, eyes pleading. Dad, its okay. Let him go. I know who hes meeting. Carlisle, Esme, and Rosalie suddenly all snapped their heads toward me. Edward didnt tell me where he was going, but Bella was all excited about going to some boring ass exhibit at the MoMA that started at eight. That shit had Edward written all over it. Lucky for Bella, Alice or Rose wouldnt be caught dead at an art exhibit so they didnt offer to accompany her. It was 7:40 and Id noticed that Edward had looked at the clock three times in the last 15 minutes. Carlisle looked at Esme and then back at Edward, contemplating what to do.

Why cant I go? I got here on time. I barely said anything the entire time I was here. I ate your fucking food since you all have a fit every time Im not hungry. Im not doing anything bad. Just let me go. Carlisle just nodded his head, allowing him to leave. Edward hopped out of his chair, kissed Esme on the top of the head, and waved at me and Rosalie. Ill see you guys later. The four of us sat and finished our dinner without another mention of Edward. When Esme went off to make coffee, Carlisle looked to me and Rose for answers. You two know something. Whats going on? I heard Roses foot tapping nervously against the leg of her chair. I tried to think of what to say in order to best defend Edward. It felt good to see him happy. Or happier then he normally was, at least. There was another accident a couple of weeks ago. I knew my words were going to piss off Carlisle, but it was the best way to explain things without giving up anything about Bella. Rosalies face twisted at the memory of that night. I saw Carlisles face go red, and his hands tightened around the edge of the table. What do you mean, accident? It was my fault. We went out together, and I saw that he drank too much, and instead of taking him home we stayed I lost sight of him and Rose found him outside. She tried to make him stay but she couldnt get in touch with me so she got in the cab with him- Rosalie. Rosalie gulped and nodded at Carlisle. Why, Rosalie? Why would you do that? I dont know! He was just such a mess, and I knew that Emmett would freak out if he couldnt find him, and I figured that at least if I was with him I could keep trying to call Emmett and tell him where we were. Carlisles breathing became heavy. He pointed his finger at Rosalie, who was near tears, and shook his head. Rose, look at me. Dont you ever, ever, do that again! You hear me? Its one thing for me to feel guilty if something is to happen to Edward. Its completely another thing for something to happen to someone else's child because of him. Id never forgive myself. We both sat there while Carlisle put his head in his hands with aggravation. He mumbled a bunch of stuff under his breath, but the only words I could make out were ridiculous, jail, and funeral. Dad, just let me finish. Carlisle smoothed his hair back and stared at me. Yeah, it was... bad, okay. It was the first time that Rose had seen him like that. She didnt know where he was going. It isnt her fault. Anyway, we think its a good thing that she saw

what happened. Edward felt horrible about it and I think it may have woken him up a little bit. Carlisles breathing became normal again. He sighed and closed his eyes, deep in thought. Emmett, I told you what was going to happen if Edward did this again. I know, Dad. Just give him this last chance. He told Rose he was going to change. It looks like hes making a little bit of an effort. Thats all we can hope for right now, right? Esme came back into the room, carry a tray of coffee. I walked over and grabbed it out of her hands, eager to end the conversation with Carlisle. Rose, can we talk in my office? Rosalie looked at Carlisle, and then at me. She knew what he was going to ask her, and I knew she didnt want to tell him. Okay. She hesitantly pushed her chair back and followed Carlisle into the other room. Esme looked up from pouring the coffee and frowned at me. What happened? Nothing. I think he just wants to talk to her about Edward. Carlisle and Rose never came back. Esme and I sat in silence after we finished our coffee. After almost an hour, I decided I wasnt going to wait anymore. Mom, Im gonna get Rose and go. She knew something was up. I hugged her and left her sitting at the dining room table, looking completely baffled. I knocked on the door to Carlisles office before I pushed it open. Rosalie was sitting in one of the chairs across the desk from him, sobbing. I took a deep breath and grabbed her arm, helping her up. Come on, were going. Carlisle didnt say anything. I stared at him, shaking my head. Did you really have to make her cry? Emmett, this isnt a joke. This is my child! I cant stand idly by and just let this happen anymore. He was infuriated. I suddenly regretted saying anything in the first place. This is happening, okay? Its happening, and when it started, the two of you turned the other cheek because you were in denial that your precious little baby could be doing something so awful. Youve done nothing but make the situation worse. So stand back and let me handle things. You arent handling anything, Emmett. You cant protect him every second of the day.

And you think you can? Taking his apartment and making him feel like a prisoner here is just going to make things worse! Im done talking about this, Dad. Just stay out of it. I yanked Rosalie a little harder then necessary out of the office and through the front door. When we got outside, I wiped the tears off her cheeks and held her face in my hands. Im sorry, Rose. Im sorry I brought you into this. Its not your fault, Emmett. Its just so sad. I know. I pulled a strand of her hair out of her face that was stuck there with tears and we started walking to the corner to get a taxi home. Tempers and Kisses BPOV What do you think? I held up two dresses, one in each hand. Edward looked at both and shrugged. I dont know. Blue. I rolled my eyes and pulled the blue dress off the hanger. He watched as I stripped off the dress that was already on the mannequin and replaced it with the new one. Here, I have to go. Ill be back later. He shoved a cup of coffee into my hand and started toward the door. Um, hello? Whats your problem? Id started to get used to Edwards ever changing moods, among other things, and although I was pretty sure that they werent related to me, I still had to ask. Nothing. I just have to go meet someone. Who? I dropped the one dress that was still in my hand onto the counter and put my hands on my hips. Bella, what do I always tell you? Shut the fuck up and mind your business. He stuck his arm out and shoved the door so it slammed against the wall outside with an earsplitting bang before he left. A customer in one of the dressing rooms stuck her head outside and frowned. Sorry! I took a deep breath and looked over the list of things to do before I closed the store that Alice had left for me. It had been three weeks since I had gone and made up with Edward. I was content with my decision to be friends with him, despite how hard it was. In some ways, the whole thing had worked out exceptionally well so far. Kind of. Of course, it wasnt a traditional friendship, but Id known that getting into it. There was a reason why Rose and Alice didnt want me around him and I was starting to understand it more and more. For them, it wasnt just about his promiscuity, it was about the way he treated people.

Of course, they still had no idea that Id ever been alone with him. It did make me feel slightly better that Emmett seemed to be warming to the whole thing. It was nice to have at least one person on my side. Unfortunately, I discovered there was a dark side to Edward. And that side was present often. Id stopped making forthcoming plans with him when hed cancelled on me at the last minute on more than one occasion. He was constantly exhausted and he fell asleep at odd times, like at two in the afternoon, when I knew for a fact that hed woken up at 11:30. I rarely saw him eat anything and when I inquired once he said that he was nauseous and to shut up and mind my own fucking business. He had severe mood swings and I never knew what kind of mood I would catch him in, like today. But, I took all those things with a grain of salt when I thought about the sweet things he did for me and how amazing I felt being around him. When he wasnt in one of his moods, Edward was the most intriguing person Id ever met, and one of the most thoughtful. He brought me with him to photoshoots and explained everything that he was doing so that I would feel involved. I forced him to come with me to all the typical tourist attractions around the city and he smiled and pretended like he was having a good time, even though he made it clear hed been to all the places on more than one occasion. He even bought me a rare edition of Sense and Sensibility- which Id mentioned once was my favorite book- that I was sure had to have cost him hundreds of dollars. He always seemed to try and do little things to be endearing, like bringing me coffee on a whim, or buying New York Magazine and folding over pages of stuff that he thought would interest me. I realized that he did those things a lot of the time to make up for when he was in a bad mood. He hadnt made another attempt to kiss me again, and he showed no signs of being romantically interested in me at all, so Id resorted to admiring him from afar. It was a little discouraging, because in the back of my mind Id tricked myself into thinking that he did care about me, and that eventually our friendship would turn into something more. So far, that wasnt happening. I didnt care though. I loved Edwards company, and I was pretty sure he liked mine, so as long as he kept calling me and asking me to come around, I was going to do it. Edward never came back to the store to get me, so I went back to my apartment. I decided to do laundry to pass the time, so I gathered the huge pile that had been sitting there for weeks and headed down to the Laundromat. While I was sitting and waiting for my last load to dry, Edward finally called. Since he was in such a pissy mood earlier, I almost let it go to voicemail just to teach him a lesson. But of course, I wussed out and answered. Hello? I tried to make my voice as unenthusiastic as I could. Hey. Whats wrong? Hearing his voice gave me the chills. It always did. Even though I was a little pissed at him for yelling earlier, I still couldnt help it. Nothing. Whats up? Where are you?

Uhh doing my laundry. Come here when youre done. I pulled my phone away from my face the check the time. It was 11:15. No, Edward. You were supposed to meet me at the store over three hours ago. What the hell? I forgot. Just come here. And hurry up. He hung up before I could get another word in edgewise. I rolled my eyes as I pulled the dryer open and started folding the clothes, which were still a little damp. I hauled the heavy basket back to our building, trying not to trip on the sidewalk on the way there. As I started walking into the elevator, I heard someone calling me. Bella! Wait up! I spun around and saw Jasper jogging toward me. He hopped into the elevator just as it was about to close. Are you coming with us? I stared at him, confused. Coming where? Theyre doing fireworks on the river at midnight! Its Fourth of July, you know? I had yet to talk to Alice or Rose today, since neither of them were there when I got back to the apartment. I dont know. I shrugged. I worked all day. Im kind of tired. Come on, Bella. We barely see you anymore. I realized that my spending time with Edward was taking away from my time with my other friends, but I used the excuse that I didnt want to be a third wheel in either of their relationships. It was true; I felt bad that they were always trying to find things to do that included me, instead of just spending time with each other. Id convinced Edward to come with Emmett and hang out with us at the apartment a few times, but it was awkward for us to sit there and not talk to each other like we usually did. I felt like Rose and Alice were already starting to get suspicious. Jasper still had no clue about anything, which I liked because it was already problematic having Emmett know I was seeing him. Anyway, I justified it in my mind that we were all happier doing things the way we were doing them now. When the elevator doors opened, my arms were already starting to go numb from carrying the damn basket. Of course, on the first step I took the front of my shoe got caught on the carpet and I stumbled forward, dropping the basket and all my laundry across the hallway. Leave it to me to have my underwear sprinkled across the entire fucking hall. Jasper broke out into hysterical laughter and was leaning against the wall, shaking, while I just stood there, staring at the mess. I had no motivation to pick it up. Eventually Jasper stopped being a douche bag and knelt down to help throw everything back into the basket. He made little sarcastic comments about my choice of lingerie, while still laughing at what an idiot I was. I realized then why him and Edward were friends. When Edward was in a good mood, him and Jasper were so similar. The way they laughed and their little quips. It made me feel like I knew Jasper much better.

Suddenly, I spotted something and I froze. I hopped over the basket and tried to reach for it but it was too late. Jaspers eyes were frozen on Edwards shirt that hed let me borrow the day it rained. He stared at it, then looked at me, then back at the shirt again. I spun around so he couldnt see my face and picked up the rest of the laundry that was laying by my feet. Bella? My face grew hot as I turned to face him, knowing I was caught. Is this Edwards shirt? No. I ripped it from his hands and tossed it in the basket. He stood up and scratched his head, not moving his eyes from mine. Thats Edwards. I know it is. No, its not. Shut up. Jasper took a step closer to me, his eyes widening. Oh, this is great. Alice is gonna freak out when I- NO! I shouted at him, a little louder then I should have. I lowered my voice so no one in the apartment could hear me. Jasper, please. Do not tell her anything. Why do you think Edward didnt say anything to you? He didnt want them knowing. Just dont. Not yet. So you two are knocking Converse? This is so fucked up! First Rose, then Alice, now Shut up. Its not like that. Jasper found this whole thing to be completely humorous. I dont know why. I mean, Edward did bang his girlfriend. Whatever, Bella. You just didnt strike me as that kind of girl. I furrowed my brow and squinted at him. What kind of girl? Uhh a girl that lets herself get used. Edward doesnt get girlfriends, he bones a different chick every day. Well, maybe not every day, but I felt rage growing in my chest for some reason. Not at Jasper, just the whole situation. I had no clue what the hell I got myself into. I dont care, okay? Im not doing anything with him, were just friends. Unless you say something, in which case we wont be anything anymore and Im pretty sure that neither will the two of you. And Ill hate you too. Chill out, B. My lips are sealed. Jasper punched my shoulder playfully and bent over to carry my basket into the apartment. When we walked inside, Alice and Rose were dressed and ready to go. Alice was clearly wasted, and Rose had a huge drink in her hand. Bella! Alice squealed when I walked into the living room. Where were you?

Laundry. I pointed at the basket Jasper was carrying. He walked into the hallway to drop it off in my bedroom. Hurry up and have a drink! We have to leave! Its okay, Im not gonna come. It was really busy at the boutique today, Im tired. Alice pouted and pointed her finger at me. Fine! But tomorrow, were having a girls night. No excuses from you! I nodded at her as Jasper and Emmetts eyes burned into me. Damn it, now they both knew. I might as well just post that shit in the New York Times, because there was no way the two of them were keeping their mouth shut. Well, Emmett maybe, but Jasper, definitely not. Oh, and Bella- you can lock the door. Im staying at Emmetts and Alice is staying at Jaspers. Rose shouted from the kitchen. I waited until everyone was definitely gone and far away from the building before I ran downstairs and caught a cab. Yes, I was pathetic, but I didnt give a shit. Edward was a flake, and I liked him more because of it. In a way it was kind of exciting, because it was like a constant game of hard to get. When I got to his apartment, the door flew open and there he stood on the other side, smiling in all his white t-shirt and sexed out hair glory. He had a bottle of Jack in his hand and no shoes on. Come, on! He flew out of my view, as I heard a huge booming sound outside. Edward was standing on the balcony, staring up at the sky. The fireworks must have just started, because I hadnt seen them when I was in the cab. I stood next to him and stared at his face every time the sky flashed. He was laughing, and pointing and telling me what each kind of firework was called and how the show was different from the previous years. He took pictures of the sky and the bridge and of me, of course. He had been taking pictures of me so frequently that I barely even noticed it anymore. Id never seen him so happy and in such a good mood before. Instead of questioning it, I just stood there, appreciating the moment for what it was. We sat there on the edge of the balcony and drank and smoked cigarettes and watched the rest of the fireworks, laughing and talking the entire time. By the time the show was almost finished, I was completely drunk and trying to stand as far as I could from Edward so I wouldnt be tempted to kiss him and embarrass myself or something. Instead, he pulled my body closer to him and I leaned my head on his shoulder, watching the end of the fireworks. I couldve stayed like that for the rest of the night. We went back inside when the sky became black again. The air conditioning in Edwards apartment was freezing compared to how warm it was outside, so I sat on his sofa, shivering. Without me asking, he tossed me a sweatshirt and sat down next to me. Sorry about before. I was surprised hed brought it up. Usually when he freaked out about stuff he didnt mention it again.

Dont apologize. Just stop yelling at me for no reason. He smirked as he flipped through a magazine in his lap. Its for a reason. Really? What exactly did I do that I deserved to be cursed at and stormed out on? Edward looked at his phone, which had started ringing, and set it on the couch next to him without answering. It was a girl calling, of course. Kate. That bitch. Id seen her calling him more than once, but Edward never picked up. There was also a Tanya, Serena, Mary, Krista, and Deidre who constantly called. It was ridiculous. You know what you did. Youre nosy and you ask too many questions. I rolled my eyes at that and sighed. Whatever, Edward. Its like walking on friggen eggshells with you all the time. How do you figure? Because! Look at you. I asked one little question before and you flipped. Any little thing makes you tick, and I have no idea what so I have to watch everything I say in case I offend you. Seriously, like you tell me to fuck off or mind my fucking business numerous times per week. Well maybe you should listen to me and do it. Then tell me, Edward, what is my business exactly? Im sick of the little secret keeping, its so childish. Okay, Bella. I said sorry, youre supposed to say its okayand then be done with it. Fine. Its okay. Stop doing it. He chuckled and continued turning the pages of the magazine without looking up. So, something happened today The serious tone in my voice caught his attention. What now? Uhh so, I clenched one of my eyes shut and spit the explanation out as fast as I could. I tripped coming off the elevator and dropped my laundry basket in the hallway in front of Jasper and he saw your shirt so he knows something. Edward just sat there, still smirking. I dont care. Its you whos trying to keep this all a secret. Well, if you care about me at all then you should care that he knows. Whys that? Because if he tells Alice then shell tell Rose and it wont be pretty. Im guessing that I wont be seeing you anymore. Edward was silent. He sat there, thinking about what Id said for a minute, and he shrugged.

Im gonna take a shower. Ill be quick. He stood up from the sofa and trotted to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. I sat there, in Edwards amazing smelling sweatshirt, imagining him naked just a few feet away from me. I was such a pervert. I had to restrain myself from going in there and joining him. We had drank too much, and I was dizzy, so I rested my head on the arm of the sofa and drifted off to sleep. When I heard him say my name, I thought I was still dreaming. Bella! I felt his warm hand on my shoulder, shaking me gently. I opened my eyes slowly, my head still spinning. Bella, your friends are going to worry about you. No. I sat up and focused my eyes on his face. I could smell the soap and shampoo, and he was freshly shaven. Come on. Ill take the cab back with you. No, theyre not coming home tonight. I dont want to leave. I tried to keep my eyes open, but they shut against my will. I felt Edwards arms slip underneath me and when I forced my eyes open again he was carrying me to his bed, effortlessly. I put my arm around his shoulder and leaned my head against his neck, breathing him in. He set me down on the bed softly. While he was still hovered above me, I wrapped my other arm around his neck and pulled his head toward me. I was done fighting it. As soon as his lips met mine, I felt his tongue slip out of his mouth and slide against my bottom lip. I kissed him furiously, releasing all the tension Id been holding in for the past month. My fingers wrapped around his soft, chaotic hair and moved down so that I was grasping both sides of his face. I felt his warm breath in my mouth as he kissed me back and moaned lightly into it. His hands slid hesitantly under the sweatshirt and up my back, clenching handfuls of my skin. His mouth worked its way from my lips, across my cheek and down my neck. His taste stayed in my mouth; it was sweet, and minty and there was still a hint of whiskey in it. As his lips moved gently from my neck to my collarbone, I sat up, letting his hoody fall off my shoulders and onto the bed. He sat up and looked at me when I gripped my hands around his and signaled for him to remove my shirt. He pulled his off right after and I stared in awe at his perfect body. I put my palm against his hard chest and moved it down to his rippled stomach, wanting to feel every part of him. I suddenly felt self conscious as he gulped and stared at me, eyes wide. I realized that he wasnt so much criticizing me as he was admiring. He was waiting for my permission before he touched me. I couldnt wait any longer, so I got onto my knees and threw myself into his again, kissing and feeling and absolutely adoring everything about Edward. His warm, bare chest pressing against my skin was one of the most incredible things Id ever felt in my life. At that moment, I didnt care about anything. I didnt care about what my friends

thought. I didnt care about his problems. I didnt care that there was a little voice inside my head telling me that I was making a mistake. I just cared about him. About us. I wanted more from Edward. Regardless of what Jasper had said before, all I wanted was to sleep with Edward. I wanted to feel all of him. I slid my hands down to the waistband of his sweatpants and I felt him freeze. He immediately pulled away from kissing me and lifted my body up so he could slide out from under me. I sat there, scowling at him, not understanding why he pushed me away. Bella, youre drunk. I dont want to do this like this. Yeah, I was drunk. But so what? I pouted and dug deep for something to make him change his mind. Who cares? You sleep with all those other girls. Okay, not a good idea. His face suddenly got hard and he squinted at me. What other girls? Jasper said- What did I tell you in the beginning about listening to what other people said? I thought back to the first day I met him and sighed. Okay, even if I didnt listen to Jasper. You have girls calling you all the time. Ive seen you all over girls when youre out. What am I supposed to think? It was an honest answer. I mean, sure, Id spent a lot of time with him lately, but not enough to know what he did when I wasnt around. Most of the time Id leave when he started to fall asleep, but he couldve gotten up and gone out after I left. Or, on days when I had to work and I didnt see him or talk to him all day, he could easily be with women then. Or even on the nights when I was with Alice and Rose and I couldnt get away from them long enough to talk to him, I had no clue who he was with or what he was doing. It was completely logical for me to believe what everyone was saying. And I hated the fact that he slept with all those other women so easily, but that he pushed me away. I dont want you to think that youre like those other women. Im not going to have sex with you so soon for you. I crossed my arms over my chest and gave him the nastiest look I could manage. Thats the worst fucking excuse Ive ever heard, Edward. Im leaving. I grabbed my shirt angrily and threw it over my head. Edward walked over and stood right in front of me and grabbed my wrists. Youre drunk. Youre not going anywhere. Come on. He kissed my forehead lightly and then pressed against my lips again. I contemplated what to do for a second, and I decided to stay. I got back into the bed and pulled the blankets over me as Edward

walked around to the other side of the bed and slid next to me. I rested my head on his chest and fell asleep listening to the sound of him breathing. The sun streaming through the window interrupted my sleep. It took me a minute to grasp where I was. When I looked to my right, I saw the back of Edwards head. His bronze hair was sticking up in different directions, but I was sure he still looked beautiful. I watched in admiration as his bare back lifted slightly at every breath. My eyes moved from his neck, down his spine, right to the small of his back, where he had pushed the sheet down to. He was breathtaking. I peered around for a clock, realizing that I had to get back home before Alice and Rose did. The alarm clock on Edwards nightstand read 8:32 AM. As softly as I could, I glided out of the bed as to not wake him up, and dragged myself to the bathroom. My head was pounding, and there were dark circles under my eyes. I brushed my teeth with Edwards toothbrush and washed my face with ice cold water. I threw my hair in a ponytail, which was the best I could do without a brush or Rosalie around. I made my way around the kitchen quietly, looking for coffee, when all of a sudden there was a knock at the door. I ran to it and pulled it open, hoping it wasnt Emmett or Jasper and they were still at home sleeping with their girlfriends. And Emmett or Jasper it was not. A beautiful, middle aged woman with copper hair the same color as Edwards was standing at the door, bewildered. Shit. The resemblance was obvious. There was no doubt in my mind as to who it was. Umm Hello. I stepped back into the foyer in order to let her through the door. Im Esme, Edwards mother. Hi! I whispered, trying to alleviate the situation best I could. Im his friend, Bella. Its nice to meet you. Edwards asleep, I dont want to wake him up. I grabbed one of the two large grocery bags that were in her arms and set it on the counter. Bella? Are you Rosalies friend? How the hell did she know that? I nodded and started to unpack the groceries onto the counter. Oh. Okay. Well, I just wanted to drop this stuff off for him. Edward never has food in the house. Esme glanced across the room to Edwards bed and sighed. She turned back to me and frowned. Did you sleep here? I looked down at the floor, avoiding her glance. Im sure it was awkward for her, walking in to the apartment to find a girl that she thought spent the night doing it with her son. This was the walk of shame 2.0. And I didnt even get the satisfaction of sex. I mean, are you two together? No. I spit my answer out quickly. I slept here, but I didnt sleep here. I made air quotes around the second sleep. Edward and I are just friends. Thats all. She nodded as she walked to the refrigerator to put the groceries away. Okay, good. I was worried. The last thing Edward needs right now is a girlfriend. I didnt know what

she meant by that, but I didnt ask. Im glad he has a new friend. I thought he seemed different the last couple times I saw him. That made me feel good. I didnt know if it was me that was making some type of impact on his life, but I was hoping that it was. Maybe you could come to dinner on Friday, Bella? That would be nice. I envisioned how uncomfortable dinner would be with Edwards parents and Emmett. I found it comical. Sure, Ill talk about it with Edward. Great! I actually have to run- do you mind putting away the rest of this? I smiled and led Esme to the door. Sure. It was great to meet you, Bella. You too. When the door slammed shut I heard Edward groan from across the room. I skipped over to the bed and hopped on it, making his body bounce up. Who was here? Uh, your mother. Thanks for warning me that she drops in occasionally. Good thing I wasnt walking around in my underwear. He chuckled into the pillow and scratched at the back of his head. Shes annoying. She brought you groceries. Edward sat up and threw his legs over the side of the bed. With him facing away from me, I was able to watch all the muscles in his back flex as he extended his arms and stretched. Without saying anything he walked to the bathroom and turned the water on. I walked in behind him and sat on the toilet, watching him brush his teeth. I used your toothbrush. He pulled the toothbrush from his mouth and made a disgusted face. Oh, and your mom invited me to dinner on Friday. He spit into the sink and glared at me. Huh? I want to go. Emmett will be surprised to see me there. He swished the water around in his mouth and shrugged. I dont care. You can come. He ran his wet hands through his hair and shook them around. When he turned to me he looked so stunning. I was extremely jealous of his short morning routine. Get out.

I made a face at him as I strolled out of the bathroom. I gathered all my stuff that was scattered around the apartment; my shoes, that were still on the balcony, my phone that was on the kitchen counter, and my purse that was thrown behind the sofa. I was finishing up with the groceries when Edward came out of the bathroom. He threw on a grey v-neck and the same faded jeans he was wearing yesterday before coming into the kitchen. I have to go home before Rose and Alice call the missing persons squad. Hopefully theyre not there yet because the first thing theyll notice is that Im wearing the same clothes as I was last night. Edward poured two glasses of orange juice and handed one to me. Yeah, I have stuff I have to do today. Well share a cab, let me just grab my stuff. He ran into the other room and was back in a few seconds, keys and cell phone in hand and wearing black converse. Lets ride. When the cab pulled up in front of my building, I looked at Edward and smiled. Thanks for last night. It was fun. Most of it, anyway. He shook his head and followed me out of the cab, telling the driver to wait. Dont be mad at me. I just think you should think about this. Me. Before you rush into anything. Im not mad, Edward. I was drunk. Its fine. And I know what I want. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he lifted me off my feet before kissing me gently. I watched him ride off in the cab before I headed into the lobby. When I got into the apartment, I went into the kitchen to take some well needed Motrin and make coffee. Not two minutes later, I heard the front door slam unnecessarily hard. Rosalie stormed into the room, throwing her keys onto the counter with a clang. Bella, She stared at me, clearly livid. I was scared. We need to talk. Ultimatum RPOV My first reaction when I saw Bella and Edward kissing in front of our building was pure incomprehension. I didnt know that the two of them had ever had more than a couple of casual conversations with each other, and then there they were, getting out of a cab together, smiling and kissing and ugh. I didnt understand what I was seeing. My second reaction was to look at Emmett. Thats when I realized something was up. He wasnt even trying to pretend like he was shocked. Instead of staring at them, he grabbed me and pulled me out of view. And that was when I lost it. I called Alice when Emmett and I got to Starbucks on Sunday morning to see if she wanted anything. She was right down the block, around the corner from our apartment, so she came and met us and got a cup of coffee to nurse her hangover. We left and turned onto our street and thats when we spotted them. Edward, his arms around her

waist and Bellas around his neck, lips touching. I stopped dead in my tracks and gasped before Emmett clapped his hand over my mouth and tugged me around the corner so I couldnt see them anymore. Alice stayed next to Emmett the whole time, completely confused. Emmett was holding onto my wrists as I screamed profanities at him that made people stop on the sidewalk and stare. Calm down! People are watching. No, Emmett. Dont tell me to calm down! Get the fuck off me! Im going to talk to her. I tried pulling free, but Emmett didnt loosen his grasp. This isnt your business, Rose. Just let it go. I stared at him in disbelief. Are you fucking kidding me right now? Its not my business?! Shes my best friend! If this isnt my business then what is? Not this. Youre overreacting. And youre being psycho so just stop. You need to think for a minute. Instantly, I saw red. I clenched my jaw and spoke to Emmett between my teeth. How dare you? I tried pulling away again, and this time he let me. After everything that I know, you accuse me of overreacting? Im sorry, should I be like you and your family and just deny the fact that Edward is completely and totally fucked up and let him do whatever he wants? No. Im not going to. Hes not going near my friend. This is crossing the fucking line. I took a few steps away from Emmett and then spun back around to him. How long did you know about this? Emmett looked down at his feet and frowned. Since the beginning. Alice looked at him with sympathy. I knew Emmett tried as hard as he could to do what was right. But his judgment of what was right and what was wrong when it came to Edward was completely biased. I was so outraged that he had been lying to me for the past month that I couldnt feel sorry for him. Not then. Without saying another word, I grabbed Alices arm and stalked away from Emmett, toward our building. Alice turned her head around and waved at him, I guess to try and show him that she wasnt a giant bitch like I was, but she had no clue what was going on. She hadnt seen Edward the way I had. Alice, listen to me. She cant see him anymore. Okay, no offense Rose, but Im gonna have to go with Emmett on this one and say youre completely overreacting. No, Im not, okay? You have no clue as to what Edward is really like. And you do?

I yanked the door to the lobby open and stopped walking. I needed to think of a plan before I went up there and confronted Bella. I wanted her to know that she had to stop seeing him for herself, not for me. And I didnt know how the fuck I was going to do that without telling Bella and Alice why I was so against her seeing Edward. But, I had to try. The main motivating factor behind what I was about to do was that I couldnt imagine seeing Emmett doing what Edward had that night. It wouldve killed me. It broke my heart, and Edward wasnt my boyfriend. I didnt even really like him, for that matter. Bella was my best friend, and I couldnt let that happen to her. I looked at Alice and nodded. Ive seen him do terrible things to everyone to you, to me, to Emmett, to his family. I used to think he was just an asshole and that he had no excuse for doing what he did. But recently, Ive seen some shit and lets just say I was very wrong. Alice knew me long enough to know that prying for information out of me was pointless. So, she stared at me, confused but not questioning. This was really bad. I didnt remember when the last time was that Id gotten so worked up over something in front of her. She knew how serious this was. Alice wasnt stupid. But, she knew that I had an allegiance to Emmett that I had to uphold, and to be honest, I dont think she even wanted to know what was going on. I suddenly realized what it was that I had to do. Listen, Alice. Were going upstairs, and Im going to talk to her. And youre going to stand by me, no matter what I say, okay? She needs to know how serious I am. Its for her own good. I noticed Alice start to get nervous as the elevator opened onto our floor, and I stomped past her down the hallway. I opened the door and stormed into the kitchen, as Alice trailed behind me. I threw my keys unnecessarily hard onto the counter and Bella jumped. Bella, we need to talk. Poor Bella. She was like a deer caught in headlights. She dropped the medicine that she had in her hand onto the counter and pushed past us. Okay, Ill admit, it wasnt what I expected. But Bella was always extra bold when it came to standing up to me. Our heads both turned in amazement as she walked into the living room and grabbed her purse so she could leave. I dont feel like talking about anything. Bella crossed her arms over her chest as I started walking toward her. What the fuck are you doing, Bella? Huh? How long were you planning on lying to us? Right then, I saw that Alice didnt want to be a part of this at all. Sure, she thought Edward was a complete douche and promiscuous and blah blah blah, and if she could

have her way, he wouldnt be hooking up with her best friend. But, aside from that, she had no other legitimate reasons as to why they should be kept apart. Yeah, she knew I had some kind of information that was causing me to feel as strongly as I did, but I could see she didnt want to be included in it. I wanted to tell her that it was okay, and she could go to her room right then and detach herself from the entire argument. But I needed her. The only way Bella would take things seriously was if the two of us stood up to her together. And right now, it was working. Listen, I know youre mad because you told me not to get involved with him, and really, Im sorry if you think Im being disrespectful to you. Im an adult and this was a choice I made on my own. So just stop yelling. Yeah, Rose, just forget- I cut Alice off by snapping my head toward her and giving her a nasty look. Bella, were your best friends. This isnt about how I feel about him, its about how much we care about you. Edward isnt good for you. He needs help. You need to stop seeing him. Bella stared at me for a second before laughing. Laughing. No. You're not my mother. I'll talk to whoever I want to. That put me over the edge. I took another step toward her and Alice grabbed my arm. I think she was scared I was going to hit her. You know what, Bella? If this is how youre going to be, then get out. Bella stared at me, stunned. You want me to leave? Yep. We both do. Bella looked at me, and then at Alice for confirmation. Of course, Alice bitched out. No. Rose, stop it. We can talk this out, you dont have to threaten her- Yes, because she doesnt-fucking-get it. I emphasized every word I said, because I was out of ideas. Maybe she would realize how serious I was. I hated having to kick her out, and I hated myself for acting the way that I was, and most of all I hated Edward for causing this rift in our friendship. Bella was furious. She seemed like she was on the verge of tears, but her eyes were full of anger. What dont I get? I shook my head and turned away from her. I knew that if I didnt walk away I was just going to cause more trouble. No. No, dont walk away! You come in here and start all this shit, and then when youre done saying what you have to say you leave? Im fucking tired of this, Rose! Im tired of the lying, and the hiding, and the secrets. I just want to know whats going on! She was crying now. I wasnt looking at her, but I could hear it in her voice.

If you want me to stay away from him, the least you could do is tell me why. Tell me something. I couldnt stand hearing her cry because of me. I felt like such an awful person. But I told myself that I was doing this for Bella, and when the right time came, Id tell her what the reason was. Right now wasnt the time. I turned back around and glared at her. Whats he like when hes with you, Bella? Rose, this isnt our business. Alice, shut up! Answer me, Bella. What is he like? She frowned and her eyes darted around the room. I dont know hes nice to me, and- Hes nice to you? Really? I wasn't an idiot. I didn't believe for a second that Edward was constantly nice to her. Yeah, he is. She was lying, and it was obvious. Maybe he was nice to her sometimes, like when he was trying to have sex with her or something, but I knew well enough from talking to Emmett that Edward had a horrible temper. I didnt know why she felt the need to defend him. You dont notice anything weird about him? I mean, honestly, Bella. You cant tell me that he acts the same as other guys youve dated. Bella shrugged and continued crying. I realized that she felt like I was attacking her, so I had to end the conversation. I was done dealing with this whole mess. It was out of control. I cant believe that youd go against our word and do something like this. Were only trying to look out for you. So how about this? You can choose to stop seeing him and everything will stay the same. Or you can move out and continue to choose Edward over us and keep seeing him, for however long that may be. Because he will undoubtedly fuck you over in a short amount of time. So, think about what you want to do. Because Im starting to believe that our friendship means absolutely nothing to you. Yeah, it was wrong. I know it was. But I had no other choice. I hated myself for doing what I did, but I knew she couldnt afford to live here on her own, and moving back to Washington for Bella was a fate worse than death. And I knew Bella well enough to know that shed choose me and Alice over everyone, even her own family. Either way, whatever she chose, she wouldnt be seeing him anymore. It was the only way that I could think to keep them apart. It was the only way that I could keep Edward from ruining her. Breakdown EPOV

Id tried getting in touch with Bella three times in the past five days, unsuccessfully. I tossed my phone from hand to hand, trying to decide if I should call her again or not. Because calling three time already was far from cool. It was fucking pathetic. It was almost eight in the morning, and I was wide awake. When I realized that Bella was avoiding me, Id spent most of my time moping around. I hadnt slept in days. And now, it was almost a week, and I needed to know why I hadnt seen her. Since she came to my apartment that first time, this was the longest stretch Id gone without seeing her, and it was weird. It was like Id become dependant on her company. At first I thought she was mad because I had denied her the other night, but the next morning she seemed fine about it, so that didnt make sense. And then, I thought maybe that asshole Jasper said something to Alice and Rose found out. That I still wasnt sure about because I hadnt been able to get in touch with him all week. Id only talked to Emmett twice and both times were before I realized Bella was ignoring me. I cursed myself repeatedly for turning her away the other night. I freaked out. It was never a big deal for me to sleep with someone, because chances were Id never have to see them again if I didnt want to. As fucked up as it was, they were like objects to me, not individuals with feelings and personalities. But, I wanted to keep seeing Bella. And before things could go any farther than they already were, shit needed to change with me. Big time. So I had to keep her at a distance, and protect her from the part of my life that she didnt know about. The side that could hurt her. Somehow, though, I mustve fucked up along the way and not realized it because she hadnt been back here, and there was definitely a reason for it. I decided to call one last time. Luckily, she picked up. Edward? Her voice was raspy and she sounded groggy. Like shed just woken up. Bella! What the hell is going on? Silence. Edward, this isnt a good time, can we talk later? I was pissed. She ignored me for days, and then she picked up and tells me she cant talk? What kind of shit is that? Why even answer? I wanted to know what the fuck I did. No, we cant talk later. You dont fucking answer. What did I do? She sighed into the phone. You didnt do anything, Edward. She sounded miserable. All of a sudden I heard rustling and a voice - Alice or Rose, I didnt know which one. Bella? She didnt answer me. I heard a slam and the rustling noise again. Sorry. I cant talk right now. Can you meet me somewhere later? Yeah. I can meet you by your apartment, or-

No. Not over here. Umm Ill come over there. At ten. She hung up without saying anything else. I unlocked the door and then went and sat out on the balcony to wait for Bella to come over. I stared at the river for what seemed like forever. I smoked almost an entire pack of cigarettes. I took pictures of all the boring bullshit around that was in view, that I knew I already had hundreds of pictures of. I made myself a drink, and I didnt give a damn that it was before twelve, or whatever that rule was. I just wanted the time to pass. Finally, I heard her footsteps approaching the balcony. Without a word, she pulled out the chair that was next to me and dropped into it. I smiled at her, but she didnt smile back. She reached her hand out and ran her fingers down the side of my face. You look like shit, Edward. I touched the side of my face where here fingers just were and realized I hadnt shaven in days. And I hadnt slept, so I could only imagine what my eyes looked like. What did I do? Are you mad at me because of the other day? Because, if thats why then come on, Ill do it with you right now- No, stop. Just sit down. Bella rested her hand on my leg as I fell back into the chair. She gulped and then looked into my eyes with sympathy. The reason Ive been staying away from you is- Edward, are you drinking? She stopped mid-sentence when she saw me grab my cup and throw back whatever was left in it. I knew she wasnt about to tell me any good news, so I figured it would make it that much easier. She frowned and shook her head before continuing. Anyway, the thing is remember how I was telling you that we probably wouldnt be able to see each other anymore if Rose and Alice found out? Well they did. Fucking Jasper. I made plans to go over there and stab him in the throat the second Bella left. Anyway, it turns out I was right. They dont want me seeing you anymore. I laughed at what she said, because who the fuck were they? Bella wasnt a child and Alice and Rose werent her fucking parents. She could do whatever she wanted to. And I was sure Bella was going to do what she wanted to anyway, no matter what they thought about it. So why was she just sitting there, not saying anything? Look, Bella, Rose just likes to talk a lot of shit. Ill go talk to her- No. Please, dont. They told me if I kept seeing you that I had to move out, because they werent going to support anything- I shot up out of my chair and stumbled into the house. Bella followed behind me as I threw my shoes on and grabbed my keys. Edward where are you going? She stood in front of the door, refusing to let me leave. I couldve pushed her out of the way if I wanted to, but I was trying with everything in me to hold my anger in. I was saving it for that cunt Rosalie.

Im going to have a word with that fucking bitch. She cant treat people like this, I dont know who she thinks she is- Bella gently took my keys from my hand and pushed me into the counter. I sat at one of the barstools and she stood in between my legs, her hand still on my chest. This is the thing, Edward, She raked her fingers through the hair on the side of my head. I felt myself relax a little. I know my best friends very well. And I trust their judgment. I always have, and as much as this whole situation sucks, I have to believe what my friends are telling me. Hold up. Was she really bowing out and giving up so easily? I felt the blood running through my veins and I clenched my fists next to me. Bella saw me turn red, Im sure, and she looked scared shitless. Edward, dont get angry! Just listen to me. My nostrils flared as I tried to control my breathing. She grabbed my face in her hands and came so close to me that I could feel her breath hitting me when she spoke. Tell me. Tell me whats wrong with you, why they dont want me around you, and we can try to work through it. Whatever it is, I can help you. I blew up. I shot up out of the barstool, causing it to topple over onto the floor with a loud bang. Bella jumped and watched as I threw something- I think it was a vase- at the wall and made it shatter into a million pieces. She stood there, frozen. I grabbed the top of her arms and shook her. Dont fucking talk to me like that. Im not some charity case! She frowned and tried to wiggle out from my grasp. I didnt realize how tightly I was holding onto her. Get off me, Edward. Youre hurting me. I let go when I saw the bottom of her eyes fill with tears. I was so fucking pissed at that moment, I didnt care. I wanted her gone. Go, get out. You want to believe what they all tell you, go ahead. I dont need you. Bella stared at me for a second before she knelt down and started picking up the pieces of glass on the floor. Maybe this is why everyones telling me to stay away from you Maybe. So why dont you just listen and get-the fuck-out. Now. Seriously, Edward? Youd rather do things like this then just tell me what your problem is? She tossed the pieces of glass into the garbage and shook her head. Unbelievable. I see I made the right choice then. Obviously, since you dont even care about me enough to trust me. You cant help me! No one can fucking help me. So just leave me alone. All of you, just leave me alone. I was perfectly fine before you came along and started fucking with my life.

Your life was fucked before I came along, Edward. Bella started walking toward the door. I wanted to stop her. I wanted to say sorry. I wanted to tell her everything. But, I couldnt. My adrenaline was pumping, and I hadnt slept in I dont know how long, and my mind was doing one thing and my body was doing another. I couldnt control anything. I watched her hand grasp the knob on the door and she stopped. She was crying harder now, and I felt like shit, and I just wanted this to be over. She looked at me again, and then I dont know what happened but there she was, her arms wrapped around my neck and she was sobbing into my shirt. I stood there, my arms at my side, not doing anything. Not moving, not touching her back, not talking. She pulled back and stared at me, with her bloodshot eyes, and she was touching my face and then my neck and I felt her hand in my hair, and I couldnt help it anymore. I moved forward and kissed her hard, eagerly, because I did need her, and I didnt know why, but she was going and there was nothing I could do about it. She pulled away from me, her cheeks wet with her tears, and she kissed my forehead before saying what she had to. What I knew was coming. Edward, I dont want to do this. Until you tell me the truth, or you fix whatever it is thats wrong with you, I cant come back here. But Ill be waiting, because I know youll do it. And Ill be thinking about you, because thats all that I do I think about you all the time. And then she was gone. EmPOV The vibration of my front door shaking woke me from my sleep. I sat up, disoriented, and looked at the clock. 11:02. Who the hell would be coming over right now? Emmett! Fuck. I knew right when I heard his voice that something was wrong. Edward continued banging on the door and yelling until I let him inside. The woman across the hall from me had stuck her head outside of her door and was looking at me curiously. This wasnt the first time shed seen this shit. Is everything okay? Yeah, sorry. I pushed Edward inside and looked him over once before shaking my head. He had dark circles under his eyes. He wasnt shaved. He smelled like liquor, among other things. Dude, you need a shower. Fuck you, Emmett. Im gonna kill your girlfriend. Im serious this time. I wouldve laughed, but Edward was so pissed, I really think that if Rose was to walk in right then, he wouldve ripped her head off. Well, if youre looking for her you came to the wrong place, Edward. She hasnt talked to me since she saw you kissing Bella in front of the building- I mean, what the fuck were you thinking anyway?

I I dont know I just, I could tell he was struggling to make coherent sentences. It was then that I started to worry. He grabbed my cell phone that was sitting on the counter and tossed it to me. Call her. You have to call her. You have to tell her to fix it. I took a deep breath and shook my head again. She not talking to me. If I call her its just gonna make everything worse and- I dont give a shit! Call her now. He was growing angrier by the second. I knew what happened when he started acting like this and I had to think quickly. I looked down at my phone and without saying another word to Edward, I dialed it. The phone only rang once before someone answered. Emmett? I need you to come here. To my apartment. As soon as you can. I hung up before I had to give an explanation. I pulled a chair out from the kitchen table and led Edward to it. Sit down. What happened? Rose she told Bella not to see me anymore. They told her to move out, and- I watched as he struggled to tell me what he was trying to say. I flipped out. I yelled at her and I grabbed her- Who, Bella? Edward nodded as dropped his head into his hands with defeat. Well, maybe you should stop fucking around and get help. Get help? He stood up from the chair and pushed the table so it slammed against the wall. I stood up and took a couple of steps back. I dont need help. I was doing finethis is all your fucking fault. You couldnt have gone and just talked to your cunt of a girlfriend before she started running her mouth, huh? Edward was being belligerent and talking out of his ass. He had no clue what he was saying- he was freaking out, drunk, and who knows what else, but it still pissed me off that I was getting the blame for whatever the fuck was going on. I had no idea about anything that had gone on after Rose and Alice walked away from me that day. Rose wasnt talking to me, so I hadnt gone over there, and all Jasper said was that everyone was fighting. I knew what it looked like to Edward- Rose hated him, so she wanted him away from us and she was going to do whatever she had to in order to do that. But, after what had been going on recently, I honestly just think Rose was terrified for Bella. She didnt want Bella wrapped up in his world. Not to mention that my entire fucking life for far too long had revolved around Edward and trying to help Edward and trying to protect Edward... shed had enough. And so did I. Shut the fuck up, Edward. Dont blame me for this shit. Its your fault. All of it. Youre the one thats too proud to get help from anyone. I realized what Id said after I already spit it out. I couldnt take it back.

Its my fault? No, I didnt mean that- Its my fucking fault? And for the second time in the past month I was getting physical with my mentally unstable brother. He lunged at me and knocked me to the ground, slamming his fists into my face. I struggled for a minute before fighting back, hoping to tire him out. I flipped him over and pinned him down, grabbing both of his wrists and holding them against the floor. There was no way he was getting up. Get the fuck off me! I stared down at Edward, and suddenly, I became really sad. I stared at his green, bloodshot eyes that were so full of anger and rage that he was almost unrecognizable to me. He was screaming, and crying, and cursing and still trying to hit me. I knew that he wasnt okay, but in a way I understood. For once in his life, something good had come to him. Someone had given him a chance, and liked him for who he was, and appreciated him, and didnt judge him. And a physical improvement in him was noticeable. For the first time in awhile, Edward seemed almost normal. And all that got ripped out from under him because of my girlfriend, and instead of trying to stop her and explain why what she was doing was wrong, I stood there. I just stood there on the sidewalk and let her go up there and fuck up the one thing in Edwards life that mattered to him. Between Edwards screams and sobs, I heard the door open. I let go of him and stood up, relieved that Carlisle had taken my phone call seriously. I looked at my father, who just stood in the doorway for a minute staring at Edward. Hed sat up and was leaning against the wall, trying to catch his breath. Carlisle bent over in front of Edward and grabbed his face. He tried moving his head away and then swatted at Carlisles hand. Edward, take this. Carlisle tried to force a pill into Edwards mouth but he turned his head again. Emmett. I knew what to do. Together we both forced the pill down Edwards throat and watched as he became instantly calm. His shoulders sank and he struggled to keep his eyes open. I sighed and sat next to him on the floor, leaning my head back into the wall. This was not the kind of shit that I wanted to wake up to. I wanted nothing more that to help my brother be happy so that I could go back to living my own life. But, Edward had problems on top of problems, and I had to work my way down from the top. This was going to be my last attempt at trying to help, and if it didnt work, I was going to step to the side and let Carlisle and Esme take over. I waited until Carlisle had left and Edward was completely knocked out before I got dressed and left the house. Misery and Tension BPOV

The little box in the corner of the news said August 3rd. I gulped down my cereal and stared at the TV in shock. Had it really been that long? I tried counting how many weekends had passed on my fingers, but it was pointless. I couldnt distinguish between them because they were the same. In fact, most of my days were the same now. Sitting on my laptop in my room, typing up my uninspired ideas for my novel, trying to avoid Rosalie as much as I could. Or sitting in the boutique, staring out the window and feeling sorry for myself for being so lonely and not being able to step out of the funk I was in. Life was sucking big time right now. I missed Edward. I missed him every single day. In the beginning, I figured that as the days went by, I would miss him less and less and the feelings would disappear gradually. But, seeing the date right now made me realize that my plan sucked. I didnt miss him less. I missed him more. I had only known him for a month, and yeah we weren't dating, but I thought people always said it takes half the time you were with someone to get over them. Maybe I heard wrong or something, but I was way past the two week period and I wasnt over it. Not even close. I tried changing the channel to something that didnt have the damn little date thingy in the corner but all that was on at 7:30 was the news. So I sighed and left it on PBS. Sesame Street will do. I heard a little giggle behind me and I frowned. It had been a long time since I heard laughter in our apartment. Alice came over and sat next to me, eyeing the TV. Really, Bella? Im trying to block out life. I dropped my bowl of cereal on the coffee table and slouched back into my seat. Okay, then. She patted my knee and sat on the edge of the couch, quickly changing the subject. Do you have plans for today? Ha. Plans. Yeah right. If plans included organizing my bookshelf for the fifth time and cutting my toenails, then hell yeah I had plans. I thought I was supposed to work? Ive been neglecting the calendar lately, so maybe Im wrong. Well, youre supposed to. But, two of you were on today, so I figured that if you wanted, maybe we could spend the day together or something? I hate this hostile environment that were living in right now. I want things to go back to the way they were. I sighed and thought about what she was saying. Of course, I missed the way things with my friends used to be, too. We barely spoke more than five sentences to each other a day now. I couldnt remember when was the last time wed done anything with just the three of us, it had been so long. Rosalie and Emmett were having problems and he was rarely around. I was pretty sure that was some kind of scheme from Rosalie to keep my mind off Edward. Things had honestly gotten so bad, that I was actually considering moving back to Forks. This wasnt the life that I was excited to live. This sucked. At

least if I moved back in with my father, I wouldnt have to feel uncomfortable in my own house. It was a hard decision to make though, and I wanted to make sure I did what was best for me, so I was trying to stick it out. Alice had been the first one of any of us to make an attempt at reconciliation and I couldnt just dismiss that. So, I nodded and pretended like I was more excited then I was. Over the past month, shed become noticeably less lively and animated than she usually was. I didnt blame her; how could she possibly be in a good mood after being around Rosalie, who was less than unpleasant always and me, the lethargic girl that hid out in her bedroom a majority of the day. I figured we both needed this outing. A few hours later, I was sitting in a boutique in SoHo that Alice recognized as competition. She was making mental notes of their prices and scoping out all the brands they sold, while I sat on a sofa cooling off. It was extremely hot outside, and wed been walking around for awhile. When she was done, she walked up to me and winked. We can go. I followed her to the door and stopped right before she opened it. Hold on! The air vent was blowing right on me and it felt amazing. As I stood there, pissing off Alice, I noticed a bunch of pamphlets and business cards pinned to a corkboard on the wall. I squinted, and tried to make out the small print from where I was standing. Thats when I saw it. I gulped and turned to Alice, forcing a smile. Okay, Im good. She pulled open the door and while she was faced away from me, I yanked the little flyer off the corkboard and stuffed it in my purse. I followed her out of the store and back out into the excruciating heat. When we got to the corner, I saw a guy with a nut cart, so I ran over before Alice could say anything. It made me nostalgic, because whenever I was with Edward and we would pass one, I would stop, and he would always get disgusted and tell me the guys that work there didnt wash their hands. I popped one into my mouth and paid the dude before walking back to Alice. Delicious. We stopped at Balthazar to get lunch because Alice raved about the food. When we were seated, I dropped my bag down on the floor and threw my bag of nuts into it. Alice gasped in shock before picking it up and pointing her finger at me. Are you kidding, Bella? I spent almost $3,000 on this purse! You cant just throw greasy nuts into it! She stuck her hand into my bag without looking and yanked out a handful of stuff. Including the flyer that I just tried to slyly put into my purse. James Bond I am not. I tried yanking it out of her hand, but she looked at it before I could. I sighed in defeat and leaned back in my chair. If she wanted to bitch, she could bitch. I was completely numb to what everyone had to say anyway. Im not Rose, Bella. You dont have to act this way around me. She stuck her hand across the table and handed me the flyer. I grabbed it and without even looking at it, I

crumpled it into a ball before throwing it under the table. There was no use getting my hopes up. So, whats good here? I opened my menu and held it in front of my face so that Alice couldnt see me. I was upset, and this was supposed to be a happy day. It wasnt her fault that at every turn there was some stupid, god damned Edward reminder. Alice put her hand on top of my menu and pulled it down to the table. She looked at me sympathetically. Bella I know youre upset. I know you feel like weve backstabbed you. But I think maybe you and Rose should talk to each other. Shes hurting now too, you know? She basically threw away her relationship to try and protect you. And I know she did it in her own, fucked up way, but she was only trying to do what she thought was right. Not my problem. Hows the goat cheese salad? Alice rolled her eyes at me and threw her arms in the air with exasperation. Fine, whatever. I dont know why I even bother trying. I realized I was being a little bit obnoxious and Alice didnt deserve it. So I took a sip of my wine and threw my sticky hair up into a ponytail in order to think. Look, Alice. I did what you guys wanted. I chose you. Now, just let me sit and mope around if I want to. Alice moved her eyes from the menu to mine, and then back down again. And as far as Rose is concerned, uh sorry that it backfired in her face. Maybe for future reference shell learn to mind her own fucking business and let people live their lives without intruding. Well, Im going to forgive the fact that youre being malicious right now since I know youre gloomy. But just think about how she feels. She loves you. She tried to do what was best for you. And now, youre dragging yourself around all morose and arent speaking to her, and her boyfriend is distancing himself from her because of what she did, so every day its being thrown in her face that maybe she made a mistake. And now she cant take it back. Shes miserable, too Bella. I felt bad for Rose. Kind of. I mean, I knew that she was supposedly only thinking of me, doing it for my own good, blah blah fucking blah. But it was hard for me to sympathize with how she felt because I didnt know what possessed her to do it. She knew stuff about Edward that I didnt, and instead of just telling me and letting me decide for myself, she took the cowards way out and just gave me an ultimatum. It made it hard for me to just be okay with everything. I wasnt sure that everything would ever just be okay with us again. Okay, think about it like this. What if you saw Emmett I dont know, shoot someone when Rose wasnt around? Edward is a murderer?! No! Bella- well, I dont think so? Just shut up and listen! Alice shook her head, completely frustrated at me, and continued. Anyway, you know how Rose feels about

him, but you still wouldnt want her around him because youre afraid that he might shoot her or something one day. Wouldnt you do whatever you could to keep them apart? I thought about what Alice said and made my conclusion. That was the shittiest analogy Ive ever heard, Alice. Just give it up. We both laughed at that, and I changed the subject. Hows Jasper? I havent seen him in forever. Yeah, I feel kind of bad bringing him around. When I see him now its usually at his place. I feel kind of rude that the two of you are suffering and I walk in like, Hi! My boyfriend and I are really happy! He does ask about you, though. Really? Yeah. Like, last week I went over there and as soon as Edward left, Jasper was like- Alice stopped when she saw my eyes pop. She put her hand over her mouth, realizing what she said. You saw him? She nodded and gulped down the rest of her wine. What what did he look like? Is he okay? How- He was only there for a little while. And he seemed I dont know? The same? He was pretty drunk and he looked tired but he was fine. He made fun of me the whole time he was there. Him and Jasper laughed and joked about stupid guy stuff that I didnt find funny. You know, typical Edward. Was he alone? Alice took a deep breath and looked down at the table. Finally, she looked up at me and shook her head. He was with some girl- but, they were going out to a bar, and I doubt it was anything- I put my hand on my forehead and Alice stopped talking. I suddenly felt immensely jealous that Alice had seen him and I didnt. And then I felt angry, because he was fine, out with his friends and girls and acting normal while I was home closed up in my room like a hermit. Didnt he care that he couldnt see me anymore? Didnt he miss me at all? I mean, even though he acted like a huge asshole the last time Id seen him, I still believe it was just because he was so angry that he couldnt see me. And that anger seemed so passionate. I didnt think hed get over it so quickly. My chest tightened when reality suddenly dawned on me. It was really done. APOV I shouldve lied. I shouldve just told her that he was alone and lied. The truth is completely overrated. It only makes people feel worse. Lying is where its at. I made a mental note to start telling people what they wanted to hear instead of the truth more often. Because I felt like shit after what Id said to Bella. She didnt say anything, but it was so obvious that she was in pain. I dont know why, either. When Id talked to Edward about it one of the times Id seen him, and I asked him if they were ever together, he said no. And, plus it was only a month. Did she

really think that he of all people was going to sit there celibate and wait until she came back? If she ever even did come back, that is. It made me realize that I was in way over my head. I understood nothing about this whole thing- not what had persuaded Rose to do what she did, not what kind of a relationship Edward and Bella had, not why Emmett was so angry about what Rose had done. It made me feel completely helpless. And all I wanted to do was help. I kept Bella out for as long as I could. I tried to keep her distracted, because even though I knew that she was bothered by what Id said, she still seemed like she was enjoying herself a thousand times more then she had in the past month. I brought her to get highlights in her hair. We both got pedicures. We saw a movie. Finally, when we were both completely exhausted, we went back home. Rose wasnt there, so I started dinner while Bella showered. We ate and talked about the day and laughed, and it felt so good because we hadnt done that in so long. I was hoping that this was the start of something new. A month was way too long to go without your best friends. I knew what had to be done next. Bella had gone to bed happy, claiming she wasnt going to sit in there and mope, that Id actually tired her out for the day. So, I changed into pajamas and sat on the sofa, waiting for Rose to come home. She finally walked in a little past 11, looking grim. She dropped her keys and her purse on the dining room table and gave me a weak wave. Hey. How was your day? She looked up at me, a little surprised that I was actually speaking to her like I normally would. I was done sidestepping around everyones moods. I was going to fix what was going on in this house. Long. I had a shoot this morning, and my dad was in town for a conference so I had dinner with him. And then I stopped at Emmetts to see him. She dragged ass into the kitchen and returned with a carton of ice cream and two spoons. I made room for her on the sofa and smiled when she cuddled next to me. Rosalie. Were in need of a confab. She rolled her eyes and shoved a spoon of ice cream in her mouth. Regarding? Uh, remember Bella? Shes the girls who lives here, used to be your best friend. You might recognize her now as the girl who mopes around with the unbrushed hair. Rosalie forced a giggle and shrugged. I dont know what to do. I tapped the handle of the spoon to my chin and smirked. Lets go take a walk. Just in case shes still awake and can hear us. Rosalie and I made our way to Starbucks in our flip flops and pajama shorts, HaagenDazs still in hand. We both sat in one of the oversized chairs with our huge iced coffees and our late night snack, ignoring the looks that the other patrons were giving us.

Emmett hates me. Rose chewed the straw between her teeth and sighed. I messed up everything. Im so stupid. No, youre not. I took a deep breath and spun toward her. Can I make a suggestion? Sure. Talk to Bella. Rose crinkled her nose and shook her head. Look, maybe this isnt your battle to fight. Maybe Edward will do something bad to her. Maybe he wont. As far as I know, they were just friends. She misses her friend. Its too late now. Rose sighed and flipped her hair behind her shoulder. Anyway, I feel like if I told Bella I didnt care anymore and she could do what she wanted, she would only think I was doing it so that Emmett would stop being angry at me. I dont think shed think that. I looked down at my half empty drink, and I asked Rose something that I needed to know. Why exactly dont you want her with him? I wont say anything to Bella. To my surprise, Rose told me everything. I wasnt expecting her to, but I realized it was because she was beyond desperation at this point. She spilled every detail about what shed seen Edward do, and the aftermath, and everything that Emmett and Carlisle had told her about it. I sat there in complete shock, not having any idea what to say. I was completely blown away. And suddenly, what Rose did made complete sense to me. She wasnt being selfish. She wasnt being spiteful. She was being protective over Bella, and she was genuinely trying to help. She was scared. We sat there for almost two hours, barely saying anything to each other, just thinking. After awhile, I came to a reasonable conclusion. I understand your loyalty to Emmett and his family. Emmett didnt want Rosalie telling Bella anything. So she wasnt going to. But, despite everything you told me, I really think that this is something Bella needs to find out on her own. Shes an adult. This is her decision. Maybe he cares about her enough to not involve her. Yeah, but what are the chances of that? When everything comes tumbling down on her, Im going to completely take fault. Because I knew all about it and didnt tell her. If that happens, then you do what a friend would do. You stand by her, and you be there for her. Its all you can do. Rosalie looked down at the empty carton of ice cream and nodded. Okay. What should I do? I have an idea. I told Rosalie all about my plan, and she agreed it would work. Okay. But you have to understand how hesitant I am to all of this. Im still not comfortable with it. No one expects you to be.

Fine. Ill go talk to Emmett in the morning. I smiled, hoping everything would turn out okay, as we headed back to the apartment. I was proud of myself for being able to turn everything around. RPOV I knocked on Emmetts door, still contemplating what I was about to do. It was going against everything I believed, but I needed to do it for my friend. For my boyfriend. If I could even consider him to be that anymore. It was early, but I had to talk to Emmett before he went to work. He opened the door with a frown, wearing only his boxers. Hey. Can we talk? Now? What are you doing here so early? He stepped back enough for me to slide past the door. I watched as he shut it behind him and stood there, confused. I talked to Alice last night, and she made me realize some stuff. So, first I just wanted to say Im sorry. Emmett frowned and looked down at his feet. Whatis this about, Rose? Just listen to me. I dropped my bag on the sofa and clapped my hands together. I realized that youre going through enough with Edward, and what I did just made it worse. I didnt think about how this would effect you, which I should have. I only thought about Bella and myself. He nodded. But, I realized that I went about things in the complete wrong way. Everyone just hates me for what I did, and Im miserable. And no matter what my intentions were, it didnt turn out the way I was hoping. So, Im stepping back. Emmett crossed his arms over his chest and sighed. I know what youre trying to do, Rose. Its kind of late to fix things. What do you mean? I mean, Edwards worse now than before. If you were worried about Bella then He trailed off, shaking his head. I know. I know, Im a moron. But we saw before how he started to change a little, and for some reason she had that effect on him, so maybe- I dont know. He scratched the top of his head with compunction. Im not sure what the right thing to do is. Well, me neither. But, think about it. They dont have to hide their friendship anymore. That has to take some of the stress off, right? That could only help him. And if shes

always with him, thats less time that youd have to worry. Not to mention wed all be getting along again I miss you. So much. I miss my friends. And I was selfish, and I swear that from now on, before I do anything, Ill think about the effect it has on you. Youre always good to me, and Im just I stopped talking when Emmett walked up to me and wrapped his arms around me. Im sorry too. I shouldnt have been treating you the way I have lately. Its not completely your fault. I giggled and kissed him quickly before remembering the main thing I came to tell him. So, we had an idea of what to do. I explained the whole plot that me and Alice had discussed last night. He agreed that it was a good idea, and it would say the right thing to Bella. That I was sorry. That I supported her. That even though I thought Edward was a bad influence, that it wasnt my business and I was letting her live. I want you to know though, My tone became serious as Emmett stared at me with curiosity. If your brother hurts Bella, its over. There will be no forgiving him. And I will beat him senseless with my own two hands. Emmett laughed and nodded. Okay, its a deal. Reconciliation BPOV I sat at the dining room table with Alice, typing on my laptop. She was going through a bunch of books from clothing manufacturers, looking for stuff to buy for the boutique. What do you think of this? I looked up from my keyboard at the dress she was pointing at. Cute. She circled it and continued flipping the pages. I had to admit, since Alice had taken me out the tension in the house had gone considerably down in the past week. Shed returned to her normal self, on account of her also talking to Rosalie. As far me and Rose went, the two of us were still the same; she walked in, I waved and went into my room. Or the other way around. I knew I shouldve put some kind of effort in, but I was afraid that I would make things worse. So I just shut up and sat there. Imagine my surprise when Rosalie walked in, smiling and sitting down at the table with us. I froze for a second before smiling back and pretending to focus all my attention on my computer. She tapped her manicured nails on the table a few times before talking. I looked over at Alice, who didnt find this exchange weird at all. So, I made reservations for dinner tonight. Theyre at seven, so lets start getting ready soon. I found this bizarre. I shook my head and closed my laptop. No thanks. Im not really hungry.

Bella! Alice shoved my arm and scowled. I I thought it was time we all had a night together. Rosalie sounded sincere, and a little sad, but I wasnt fooled. My eyes darted from Alice, to her, and back to Alice. She was giving me a look that said, Go to dinner or die and to be honest, it was scaring the shit out of me. So I gave in. Fine. Ill come. What should I wear? Alice hopped out of her seat with excitement. I know! I have the perfect- No, no, no. I waved my hands around before she could say anything else. I wasnt in the mood for a makeover tonight. I asked you what I should wear, not to dress me. Alice looked over at Rosalie and she shrugged. It doesnt matter. A casual dress? That was cool with me. We all parted and got dressed in our own rooms. It was different from the normal routine we had. Usually, Rosalie and Alice would dress me, do my hair, make up, whatever, and Id just sit there like a mannequin. Wed all sit in the bathroom in front of the huge vanity, while drinking and laughing and having a good time. Tonight though, we each got ready separately and surprisingly, I took the longest. When I emerged from my bedroom, they were both sitting on the sofa, waiting for me. You look precious. Rosalie grinned and stood up to leave. I looked over at the clock and frowned. It was only six. Were going? Arent we going to be early? We can get a drink or something. The sudden change in Roses mood was starting to make me suspicious. What also was weird was the fact that Alice seemed perfectly okay with how she was acting. She didnt make any faces about it behind Roses back or anything. Whatever. Fighting with Rosalie was becoming more and more of a hassle every day, and anyway it was my choice to stay here. This whole thing was partly my fault. The three of us hopped in a cab and I tried to figure out what restaurant we were going to, but Rose gave an address to some part of Chelsea- I think - that Id never been to. We rode there, Rose and Alice still chatting away like nothing was weird, while I sat there staring out the window. When we reached our destination, I looked around, confused. There were no restaurants anywhere around. I didnt even know what street we were on. I stood on the corner, waiting for an explanation. Instead, Rose and Alice started walking without saying anything. I trailed behind them, done questioning what was going on. Why the hell wouldnt they just have the cab drop us off at the restaurant, instead of blocks away? Suddenly, they stopped at the end of the block and turned to me. Bella, we kind of lied. Alice grimaced and pointed to Rose. I rolled my eyes. I figured that.

No, but its a surprise where youre going so close your eyes. The fuck? I stared at the two of them blankly. Youre ruining it, Bella! Alice stomped over to me and grabbed my arm. Rosalie grabbed the other one and started pulling me, so I gave in and clenched my eyes shut. We walked a little bit further before I heard loud music and a wave of voices. Alice let go of my arm and I felt her hands wrap around my head and cover my eyes. They led me up a couple of stairs and I almost did a little victory dance when I didnt trip. I heard Alices heels tapping on the hard floor as they hauled me across wherever the frig we were. Rosalie shushed a couple people before they could say anything, and suddenly we stopped. They spun my body so that I was facing a certain way and Alice dropped her hands. Okay, open. When my eyes shot open, the first thing I saw was me. Instantly I knew where I was. I took a couple steps forward and stared at the large, framed picture on the wall. The picture of me, on the bridge. I stepped forward and touched it with my hand, amazed. As I looked across the small wall I noticed a couple other photographs of me that Id never seen before. One at the empire state building. One on Edwards balcony. One of me just walking on the sidewalk. I stared in amazement, trying to not cry. I spun around and looked at Rosalie, who only shrugged and looked down at the floor. I couldnt believe she brought me here. To Edwards exhibit. I hadnt looked at the flyer long enough to remember the date or the address, but apparently Alice did. I knew this was partly her idea. The fact that Rose went along with it was beyond me. I didnt know what it meant, though. Was this her peace offering? Did her reasons for her not wanting me to see Edward anymore suddenly not matter? Did he fix whatever the hell was wrong with him? I didnt have time to ask. Because when I spun around the other way to look at Alice, he was there. Standing next to her, looking unsuprisingly amazing. I stood there, unable to move, just staring at him. At his beautiful face. At his crazy hair that I missed so much. At his pale arms that contrasted against his black t-shirt. I just stared. Alice and Rose walked away, and he started coming toward me, smiling, his white teeth peeking out from behind his lips. I didnt expect to see you here. I leapt into his arms, grabbing him around the neck and squeezing as tightly as I could. I took in his smell, and I touched his hair, and I grinned into his neck because I was so happy. I couldnt explain it. He hugged me back for awhile and he chuckled when he tried to pull away and I didnt let go. I didnt want to be away from him again. Its okay, Bella. I dropped my arms and took a step back, as Edward wiped a tear that had fallen onto my cheek. So, why are you here? I thought

Rose brought me. Edward just nodded and stood there, not moving his eyes from mine. These pictures I forgot youd even taken them. Yeah, Emmett helped me pick out all the pictures in here. I shouldve known he was scheming when he suggested I put ones of you up. I laughed as I looked around the gallery, admiring all of Edwards work. Id never seen any of it before, besides for a few magazines that he had kept at his house. This was completely different. I watched as he shoved his hands into his pockets and motioned for me to follow him. Rose didnt say anything about this? Well, life around la casa de Hale has been pretty dreary. I guess youd know that, since youve probably been spending more time with Emmett. Edward nodded and ran his fingers through his hair. Id missed that so much. Edward, I stopped and wrapped my hand around his forearm. I missed you. A lot. He eyes narrowed a little as he smirked appreciatively. Without saying anything, he ran his thumb up my cheek and pushed a lock of hair behind my ear. Suddenly, Emmett and Rosalie appeared behind him, interrupting our moment. Rosalie touched Edwards shoulder lightly and he spun around quickly. Um can we talk, please? I noticed from his profile that Edwards nostrils flared like they did when he was angry, but he just nodded and walked away with her. I looked up at Emmett and shook my head. What a day. He laughed at me and draped his arm around my shoulder, pulling me toward the wall. We started at the door and walked around to each picture. So hows life, Em? Pretty bleak. He pointed at a black and white picture of an old brick building. That's my favorite one. So, is everything okay with you and Rose? I think it will be now. Good. Because, not seeing you around, I assumed that you werent together anymore, and I couldnt help but feel kind of responsible. Emmett shook his head and waved his hand. Pshh, are you kidding Bella? Its no ones fault, trust me. Lets just put this whole thing behind us and move on. I nodded, excited about the prospect of starting over. EPOV I kept my pockets in my hands in order to keep them from wrapping around Rosalies neck. I swear, I couldve strangled the bitch right there. How do you stand next to the

person that was completely responsible for making your life miserable, and not want to choke her to death? It took some serious self control. She took me outside, in front of the building, and turned to face me when everyone was out of earshot. Im sorry, Edward. I blinked a couple times and said nothing to her. Please. I made a mistake. You have to understand why I did what I did. Yeah, I understand. Youre a crazy, selfish bitch who thinks about herself before anyone else. She laughed at my choice of words. Funny, after the things Ive seen and I know about you, you call me crazy. I leaned my head against the brick building and sighed. What do you want? Edward, come on. Im apologizing to you. And Im trying to fix things. Give me a fucking break. Well, Im glad that you decided that it was okay for me and Bella to see each other again. I mean, since its your business and everything. She scoffed at my sarcasm. I didnt do this for myself. She gulped and looked up at the sky. If it was up to me, shed have nothing to do with you. This is for my friend, and for Emmett, and for you. Because I have faith that having Bella in your life will do something positive for you. And then maybe Emmett can stop suffering for your stupid mistakes. Rose, just shut up. You have no idea what youre talking about. You have one bad night with me, and all of a sudden- One bad night? Edward, a bad night is Alice getting wasted off tequila and puking on my Manolos and me having to carry her home. That was not a bad night. That was the scariest, most ridiculous day of my fucking life. Dont try and belittle it. Okay. Can we go back in now? I had nothing to say. I wasnt going to feel sorry for her. Look, I swear to God that Ill stay out of it now, as long as it doesnt effect me. But can you just promise me something? Promise me that youll try not to do anything bad to her. And promise me that youll tell her. I looked down at my sneakers and then at Rosalie. She was crazy to think Id ever do anything bad to Bella. Then again, I didnt intentionally drag Rosalie along with me that night. I couldnt be sure that the same thing would never happen with Bella. I swore to myself that I could try to make sure that never happened. That was all I could do. Id never do anything to her. And, fine. Eventually, Ill tell her what she needs to know.

Okay. And without saying another word, she made her way back inside, leaving me standing on the sidewalk. I pulled a cigarette out of my pocket and lit it. I needed to think for a minute. So much had just happened, I didnt really process it all. Edward! Bella had stuck her head out of the doorway to look for me. She was smiling as she spotted me and almost skipped toward me. I handed her my cigarette and she took a drag before handing it back to me. What are you doing out here? Oh, I was having a nice little chat with the wicked witch. Ehh. Shes not so bad. I had to smile at Bella. Jasper had relayed back to me what Alice had told him, and from what I heard, Bella wasnt doing amazing. She wasnt going out like she always was and she wasnt talking to Rose at all. It made me feel pretty good that she held her ground like that. Of course, her standing here now, trying to act like everything was perfectly fine just made me want to laugh. Hows your book coming along? Its okay. Edward She stood in front of me and loosely grabbed my one hand that wasnt holding the cigarette. It feels so good to see you. I thought about you every day. I thought about her every day. But I didnt tell her that. I blew the smoke through my lips and raised an eyebrow at her. Yeah? She nodded and let go of my hand. We stood there in silence, leaning against the wall together while she waited for me to finish my cigarette. I could feel the cheerfulness radiating off of her. It made me feel so good that Id be able to see her again, whenever I could, no matter what anyone thought about it. I felt like a huge weight had just been lifted, and I could breathe again. When I was done, I tossed my butt into the street and grinned at her. Ready? She grabbed my arm and walked with me back inside, to our new beginning. Sleepovers and Confessions BPOV The wind started blowing surprisingly hard, making my hair fly into my face. I lifted my hand and wiped it away before Edward sucked his teeth, agitated, and dropped his camera. Bella, come on. Stop moving. I rolled my eyes and stared past him again as I heard the clicking of the shutter. I squinted a little, trying to block out the strong sunlight that was streaming through his huge, open windows. It was a ridiculously warm day for the middle of September.

Stop squinting. I cant see. Edward rolled his eyes as he walked past me. I scurried across his living room and followed him into the kitchen. He stood at the counter, taking apart his camera and I hopped up onto it to watch him. Soooo, I was thinking since you said youre not doing anything later, maybe we can go to my apartment and- No. I stared at him impassively. You dont even know what I was going to say. He zipped up the camera case and leaned against the counter. You were gonna say we can go to my apartment and have dinner. He smirked at me when I crossed my arms over my chest. What else are you going to do? Not that. Three dinners in one week with Rosalie and Alice is pushing me past my pain threshold. Plus we have your birthday thing tomorrow so no thanks. I knew he was exaggerating a little but I didnt push him any further. He had been extremely accommodating to me lately. I figured it was the least he could do since he still hadnt slept with me. I mean, what the hell is a girl supposed to do to get some action? I slept there at least once a week. And I made sure to wear slutty pajamas. Each time we kissed- which wasnt exactly often- it was because he initiated it, so I knew he had some kind of feelings. I showered at my apartment a couple of days ago while he waited in my room and I walked around in a towel. And it was one of Rosalies, a small one. I even bought over an erotic poetry book and read it to him, in bed. Nothing. If he wasnt the sexiest piece Id ever laid eyes on, I wouldve given up awhile ago. Of course, I stayed and waited because somehow my screwed up mind thought it was worth it. Things didnt always work out the way I wanted, obviously, but the past month and a half had been okay in my book. We went back to our regular routine of dragging each other around to places we didnt want to go to alone, sitting and annoying each other when there was nothing else to do, getting drunk, or my personal favorite- Edward flipping out on me numerous times per week and acting weird. I took it in stride. I stopped taking it personally when I realized how often it happened. Bad temper or not, I was going to appreciate every second that I had with him, no matter what. My month without him blew. And yeah, Id be lying if I said that I was completely satisfied with the way things were, because I wasnt. I knew we werent dating, but I felt a little pang of jealousy every time I saw another womans name flash up on his caller ID. Which was frequently. A girl who worked at Alices boutique told me a couple weeks ago that she saw him making out with some random slut at the bar. And I literally forced back vomit once when I was lying in his bed, waiting for him to get ready, and I felt something poke my shoulder. It was an earring. It just reinforced the fact that Edward didnt see me as anything special besides a friend, no matter what I tried to trick myself into thinking.

So yeah, my plan of forcing him into dinner that I really didnt care about just so that I knew where he was turned out to be a big flop. Whatever. He put his hand on my leg and squeezed it playfully. So what exactly are we doing tomorrow? And is there any possible way of me getting out of it? He chuckled at his rude little joke as I pouted. Its my damn birthday, Edward. Wouldnt you want to see me on my birthday? Yeah. But just you. I blushed a little bit. Anyway, Ive seen the kind of shit Alice does to people on their birthdays. You shouldve seen Emmetts last one she planned. I thought my mother was bad. Believe me, I know. Ive been dealing with it for almost 10 years now. Edward thought about that for a minute before he shrugged. Well, okay, since tomorrows my birthday, can we do what I want to do tonight? It depends. Without saying anything I put my hand over his that was still on my leg, and I moved it up my thigh while leaning over a little. He yanked his hand away and smirked. Youre pushing it, Bella. Yeah, and youre prude. Only when it comes to me, though. I hopped off the counter and grabbed my purse. Before I ran to get a cab I checked my wallet so see if I had any cash. Of course, I didnt. Wheres the closest ATM? I need cash for the taxi. I bought you a MetroCard. Use it. Edwardddd. I whined but he shook his head and waved me out the door. He was appalled at my lack of knowledge of the subway system considering Id lived in New York for almost four months now. At first I was really excited to figure out the subway, but Id gotten used to all my rich friends just taking taxis and towncars everywhere and it seemed way easier. Of course, due to my limited amount of funds I started to go broke, so Edward insisted that was where I start my budget. He even bought me the stupid MetroCard, and left me in the subway by a map without telling me how to get home. Asshole. I managed to make my way home pretty quickly and without being mugged. I felt good. When I walked into our apartment, Jasper was sitting at the dining room table, grudgingly peeling corn. I started laughing hysterically and he threw the piece he was holding at my head. Alice ran out from the kitchen, screaming at both of us. Bella, go away! He was fine helping before you walked in and started making fun of him. Sorry. I walked by Jasper, mouthing bitch and he gave me the finger. I found it hilarious how whipped he was by Alice. I think it was because his personality reminded me so much of Edwards, and seeing Edward acting like such a puss for a girl was hard for me to imagine. When I opened the door to my bedroom, I noticed a small, aqua box in the middle of my bed. I frowned and looked at the card sitting next to it. Alice and

Rose had been talking about presents for the last couple of days, so I figured it was from them while I ripped the card open. Happy 24th Birthday! This is only part of your gift. Edward. Wow, what a romantic note. Not. The box was from Tiffanys, though. I pulled it open and stared, stunned by what was inside. It was a long, white gold necklace with a simple string of three diamonds hanging from the middle. It was casual enough that I could wear it every day, but I knew that it had to have cost him thousands of dollars. Ridiculous. I spun it around my fingers and held the diamonds up to my eyes, watching the way the light reflected off of them. It was perfect. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed him, excited. He picked up on the first ring. What? Did you get lost? No, I made it home really fast, but thanks for having faith in me. I got your gift. He laughed into the phone. Do you like it? If its too much, I can- No. I love it. Its perfect. I find it hard to believe you picked it out on your own. Oh, I did. I thought it was much more you than the thing that Alice tried to make me get. I giggled, imagining Alice trying to make Edward spend $50,000 in Tiffanys on some diamond choker or something. I cant believe you did this. Thank you, Edward. So much. Your welcome. He sighed into the phone and cleared his throat. What time should I be over for dinner? * The six of us sat around the table after dinner, playing drinking games for hours until we were totally ripped. I gave up first and sat back in my chair, buzzed out of my mind. Alice suddenly gasped and hopped out of her chair. Bella! We bought you a dress to wear tomorrow. She ran into her room and emerged with a garment bag from Zac Posen. I looked at her and Rose, shaking my head. You guys spend too much money on me. Shut up. Its your birthday. Try it on! Alice shoved the bag into my chest with glee. I stumbled into my room and unzipped the bag, revealing the adorable black dress her and Rose had picked out. It was perfect, of course. I undressed and slipped it over my head, admiring myself in the full length mirror behind my door. Edward! I wanted to get someones opinion who wasnt Alice or Rose, and Edward was objective. That bastard always told me the truth. A few seconds later he pushed open my door and gaped at me. Sucker.

What do you think? I did a little spin to egg him on. Sexy. He winked and leaned back against my door, clicking it shut. I waltzed over to my closet in a drunken stupor and started rummaging through the overpriced shoe collection that Alice and Rose had started building up for me. I pulled some strappy gray things out and spun around to show them to Edward but, he was already standing there, a couple of feet away from me. I flinched and put my hand over my chest, surprised. What the hell, He laughed and reached over to my chest, grabbing the necklace that hed given me between his fingers before letting it drop again. So, about my other present I dropped my arms to my sides and smiled, inquisitively. Its a surprise. Dont even ask. I pouted and stuck out my hand so the shoe was a couple of inches from his face. Gray? Yeah, whatever. He shrugged and took a step closer to me. I watched as he hesitantly reached his hand up and rested his palm on the side of my neck. In an instant, his long fingers extended to the back of my head and pulled me forward, so that my lips met his. His kisses were warm, and soft, and so incredible. He took my bottom lip between his and sucked gently, allowing me to taste him. I wrapped my fingers in the hair on the back of his head and yanked him closer to me, begging him for more. I finally felt the moistness of his tongue on my top lip, so I parted my lips slightly, allowing him access into my entire mouth. He tasted so good, like vodka and mint and a trace of cigarettes. Edward was pressing my entire body against the wall with his, but his hands never left went farther down then my shoulders. I was gasping for air as he pressed his tongue into mine, his mouth pushed so hard against me it almost hurt. But it was a good pain. I wanted more. I gripped my hands around the collar of Edwards t-shirt and yanked his chest into mine with a sigh. I felt him groan lightly into my mouth, and I was sure that I was going to do him right here, up against the wall in my birthday dress with four other people sitting a couple of feet away. But of course, Edward had other plans. As soon as I started to move my hand down his stomach, he let go of me and backed away, smirking. Bella I groaned in frustration and banged my clenched fists against the wall. Its my birthday, Edward! Youre drunk. He sighed and opened the door to my bedroom, leaving me standing there in my stupid fucking expensive dress. Damn him.

I threw the dress on the bed and changed back into my normal clothes. Alice glared at me when I appeared in the dining room, with my hair looking out of control, Im sure. Did it fit? Yeah, Edward liked it. Thanks you guys. I realized then that he wasnt in the room. Maybe he was in the bathroom jacking off. I lined up three shot glasses and poured whatever vodka was on the table into them. I slid them to Emmett and Jasper, since Alice and Rose always whined like little bitches about taking shots. To Bella! Emmett held up the shot before the three of us cheered and threw them back. I slammed my glass against the table with a smile, and when I looked up I spotted Edward coming out of the bathroom, looking at me. He smiled and looked down at his feet before walking into the room. Alright, me and Emmett are heading out. Fun night, ladies. Edward, you coming? Jasper looked at him. Edward just yawned and nodded. I stuck my bottom lip out and grabbed his hand. Everyone went quiet, I guess since we so rarely showed any signs of affection to each other when there were other people around. Or when we were alone, for that matter. I didnt care. I was wasted. Dont go yet. Everyone's leaving, Bella. He hesitated, but clenched his fingers tightly around mine. Emmett cleared his throat. If he doesnt come with us hes gonna have to make the trip home all alone. Well, you can stay over. I suggested it, even though Edward had never spent the night here before. He closed one eye and scratched the back of his neck. Come on! Its my birthdayyyy. I stretched out the end for emphasis. Fine. Ill stay. But youre banned from using the phrase its my birthday for the rest of the night. Ive been hearing it all fucking day, and FYI- its not your birthday until tomorrow. I squealed and did a little dance before the other two boys said goodbye for the night. When Rose closed the door, Edward frowned and looked down at the table which was full of glasses and beer bottles and cards and empty liquor bottles and whateverthefuck else. Should we clean? Ha! Rose laughed and shook her head. Tomorrow. Alice came stumbling out of the kitchen holding up two pints of ice cream. Cherry Garcia or Karamel Sutra? Umm Ill take the Karamel Sutra. I grabbed the Ben & Jerrys and a spoon from her hand and retreated into my bedroom with Edward. I dropped everything on my bed

and hung the dress up in my closet. When I turned back around he was already spread out, his shoes still on. I cant believe you stayed and didnt whine like a little ninny about it. Im so excited! I ripped the ice cream open and discarded the top on the floor. He shook his head and laughed. Oh, and remove your grungy ass Converse from my comforter, please. Shut up. He disregarded what I said and rolled his body toward me. I slid a spoonful of Karamel Sutra into his mouth before shoving one into mine. You wouldnt happen to have any mens pajamas - size medium - here, would you? We sleep nude in Bellas Lair. Touch. He wiped some excess ice cream off my lip before getting restless and hopping out of the bed. Lets go out or something. Suddenly, my phone started vibrating on my dresser. Edward grabbed it and picked it up before I could say anything. Hola. He smirked at me and pointed at the phone. Hey, Renee whats going down Im pretty solid yeah she is, and anyway, tomorrows her birthday, not today hold on. He tossed my phone on the bed and walked out of the room. Yes mother? I licked the spoon clean as I wedged my phone between my ear and my shoulder. Bella! Happy Birthday, sweetie. Thank you, thank you. I looked at the clock on my nightstand. 12:01. Renee was always the first one to call on my birthday. Do you have big plans for tomorrow? I plan on drinking until I vomit and Emmett has to throw me over his shoulder to carry me home. Bella. I giggled to ease her worries, but I wasnt joking. Those were my plans. Oh, and Ill be doing it in a designer dress that Rose and Alice bought me. Classy. She ignored me. So, I see everythings still going well with Edward. Edwards magnificent. I explained to her the gift he'd given me in full detail. Renee sighed. Bella, be careful, please. Boys like him are- He's not a boy, he's 24 years old, thanks. Anyway, it's not the time for a lecture, Ma. Okay, fine. Happy Birthday. Ill call you soon. I love you.

Love you too. I blew her a kiss into the mouthpiece and hung up. Edward still hadnt come back. I got up and walked into the living room to find him sitting on the sofa between Alice and Rosalie, Alices spoon in his mouth and staring at the TV. What the fuck are you doing? I asked, hands on my hips. I like Cherry Garcia better. I rolled my eyes and dropped my container into Alices lap before grabbing hers. Rose laughed and shoved Edward off the couch toward me. It was nice to see them getting along. Im sure the alcohol was a major contributor to that, but whatever. I ran into Alices room and grabbed Jaspers sweatpants from one of her drawers. When we got back to my room, I tossed the sweatpants on the bed and kneeled next to Edward, who had taken control of the ice cream and was picking the cherries out with the spoon. So where we going? Edward asked in between swallowing. Nowhere. What is with you? What the hell did you want me to stay here for? Umm hello? Tonight is all about Bella and Edward quality time. Yeah. Because we dont get enough of that. He chuckled as I punched him in the arm. Stop it. You love spending time with me. He thought about it for a second before nodding. True that. I wanted to tell him that I was obsessed with him. That I adored everything Edward. That I wanted him to be with me and stop seeing all the other girls. And I was drunk, so I was ballsier than Id usually be. Instead, I decided to ease him into it and see what he thought. We never talked about the way we felt for each other. I had no idea what he was really thinking. Edward? He noticed the humorless tone of my voice and dropped the ice cream on the ground. Can I ask you something? Sure. Am I not good enough for you? He looked up at the ceiling and slapped his hand to his forehead. Bella No, seriously. I want to know. He bit his bottom lip and yanked at a piece of my hair. Youre too good for me.

Bullshit. I see the kind of girls that you like. Rosalie, and Alice and models Im so far- Stop it. He draped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close to him. I rested my head on his shoulder, not giving in. You have other girls calling you constantly. I find confirmation in your bed, for gods sake, that you had other women there and with me, you push me away. We havent done anything except make out a couple of times. What are we, in fucking 8th grade? Where am I right now? That doesnt mean anything. Yes, it does. If those other people were important Id be with them. I guess that was supposed to be a compliment, but I was looking for something more along the lines of, Bella, Im in love with you, you are my goddess, and if you want me to stop seeing everyone for you, I will, and we can get married and have green-eyedsexy-haired babies and live happily ever after. I didnt get that. Youre giving me mixed signals, Edward. I stood up from the bed and grabbed some crappy pajamas from my dresser. It didnt matter, I wasnt getting any. Im just looking out for you. Whats good for you, okay? Shitty excuse, Edward. Youre whats good for me. I just want you. I cringed as soon as the words slipped out of my mouth. He took a deep breath and rubbed his temples with him fingertips. Bella, I care about you. I want to do things right. Theres some shit that I have to straighten out in my life first, before I can commit to anything. Just let it go for now. So I did. Edward went to the bathroom to change, and I guess to give me privacy, too. He took longer then I expected, and when he returned he was dragging ass. He slid his feet across the carpet and tossed his jeans in the corner of my room before collapsing onto my bed. I felt the same way; the last shot put me over the edge. Plus my little emotional confrontation with Edward just made me want to go to sleep. I mean, he said he cared about me. That he wanted to do things right I assumed that meant with me, right? I guess I had nothing to worry about. I shot him an evil look as he tossed all my throw pillows on the floor haphazardly. He turned over the quilt and patted the sheet next to him. How could I resist that? I flipped off the light and hopped into bed with a giggle. Edward kissed my forehead as I snuggled into his neck, holding onto him as tightly as I could. Yeah, our relationship was fucked up. But it was okay for now. Birthday Blunder

EPOV Bella was still sound asleep when I woke up. I slid out of the bed as gently as I could, trying not to wake her. My eyes shot around her room, looking for my clothes from the day before. Who the fuck's pants did I have on anyway? Bingo. I spotted my jeans in a crumpled ball in the corner of her room. Changing as quickly as I could, I jetted out of Bella's room and tried to leave the apartment without being stopped. I needed to get home. Before I could leave, a squeaky voice called my name. "Edward!" "Really, Alice?" She was rolling a suitcase toward me. Shit. I almost forgot. I grabbed it out of her hand and frowned. "What?" "This shit is purple." "And?" "So now I have to lug this gay shit back to my apartment. Think next time." She tsked and waved her hand at me before slamming the door shut. I tried getting a taxi but after ten minutes I gave up, so I hopped on the subway. I had drank way too much the night before. My head collapsed into my hands and I sat there like that the entire way home, groaning and not giving a shit at all about the stares people were giving me and my faggy purple suitcase. The walk to my building made me nauseous. Why was it so god damn hot in September? Ehh, at least this would work out in Bella's favor for the surprise I had planned for her. Bella. What was I doing? Everything was happening so fast and it was all spiraling out of control. I should've expected her to say something about us sooner or later. I should've been prepared. I should've used whatever's left of my brain and thought this shit through. She was completely right- from her eyes, I was sure it looked like I was giving her mixed signals. We were together all the time. We hung out with two other couples. She knew me better than pretty much everyone else... aside from a few things. So why couldn't I just man the fuck up and do what I had to do? Why didn't I stop fucking around with other women? Why didn't I stop being so cold and just tell her how I really felt? Why didn't I just tell her the entire truth? It was because I was scared. I was a scared little bitch. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to change and the closer Bella got to me, the more I'd fuck up and that shit would start effecting her and then she would be too far in and no matter what she'd be hurt and it would be all my fault. And I'd feel like a dick forever. Or maybe I wouldn't, because I was Edward Cullen, the numb, unfeeling bastard. The thought of that made me feel

even worse. I couldn't stay away from her, though. The notion of being without her made me feel sick. I figured what I was doing right now, keeping her at a distance and not letting her all the way in was the best thing for both of us. I cared about her, of course, more than I'd ever cared about anyone or anything, and I tried to show her. I tried to prove it to her every chance I got. It wasn't enough though. When I reached my apartment the door was already unlocked and the smell of coffee was seeping into the hallway. That only meant one thing. I sighed and shoved the door open, dropping Bella's suitcase at my feet. "Where were you?" Esme asked, looking me up and down. "I stayed at Bella's- and what did I tell you about showing up here uninvited?" I rubbed my eyes with my palms and sat in one of the barstools. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did you forget that I pay for this apartment and I can stop by whenever I damn well please?" "You pay for this apartment? Wow, when'd you get a job? Does Dad know?" "Enough, Edward." She held up a small paper bag and tossed it across the counter. "I picked this up for you." Her early morning little check ups really pissed me off. I sighed and took a gulp of orange juice that she'd placed in front of me. "There's something I want to talk to you about." "No." I stood up from the stool and walked into the bathroom, but she followed close behind me. "Edward." I turned the faucet on, ignoring her. "I don't want to get involved-" "Then don't." "I'm worried about you... and about Bella." I locked my elbows and leaned against the counter, trying to stay calm. It wasn't even 9:00 yet. She was pushing it, and I was gonna snap."Emmett says that you seem the same, but I just don't think that being in a relationship and having Bella... supporting you, and the way you are, is going to do any good for either of you." That did it. I snapped my head toward her and narrowed my eyes, adrenaline pumping through my body. "How about you and dad and Emmett all just fuck off and mind your own god damn business?" Esme flinched at my strong words, but she didn't walk away.

"You're my son. This is my business. I care." "You care?" I couldn't help but laugh. "That's funny right there. You care? You're afraid. Where were you in the beginning? Where were you when I was screaming out for help and Dad was denying everything? Why didn't you just fix everything when you first found out? Silence. I can tell you why. It's because you didn't-fucking-care. Your pride was more important then your 'troubled' son. Now, when shit gets heavy you're all ready to pick up the pieces. But it's too late. I found my own way to deal with shit, so listen to me when I say- fuck. off." That worked. She didn't say anything, she just walked out. Good. I meant everything I said. I loved my mother and everything but, fuck. A person can only deal with so much. I took a quick shower and got dressed, realizing I was going to be late to the shoot I had scheduled today if I didn't get a fucking move on. Suddenly there was a knock at my door. "Edward?" It was my assistant. Shit. All my stuff was still in my pockets of my other jeans so I ran to the bathroom and dumped everything on the counter. Wallet. Keys. Some change. Almost dead cell phone. Hold the fuck on. I stuck my hands into my pockets again, searching through them frantically. It had to be in there. I was so desperate, I even checked that stupid tiny pocket no one uses that you can't even stick your finger in, even though I knew it couldn't be in there. Or maybe it wasn't in my pockets at all in the first place. Damn it, how fucked up was I last night? My heart started beating out of my chest. What if it was in Bella's room? What if she already saw it? Fuck fuck fuck. I was beyond fucked. I was fucked with a capital FU. I was so fucked there needed to be another word for it. Then I realized that I could be freaking out over nothing. Maybe it wasn't even in my pockets. It's not like I always had to have it with me. My memory from yesterday was for shit. Drinking always fucked with my short term memory anyway. I didn't have time to sit there and have a panic attack about it. I grabbed everything I needed and all my equipment and ran downstairs, my assistant in tow and cell phone in hand. There was only one person that I could call right now and I really didn't want to do it. But I had to be sure. I scrolled down my contacts and pressed send when I got to the number. Why it was in my phone still, I have no idea. She actually answered, though. "What?" "Rose? I need you to help me."

* APOV "Alice, you're making too much noise!" Rosalie whispered while I tied balloons all around Bella's room. It didn't matter how loud we were- Bella drank a lot last night and girlfriend was dead to the world. She wasn't waking up unless we put one of those foghorn things up to her ear. "The fuck are you doing?" Rose was crawling around on her hands and knees, looking for something on Bella's floor. She looked up at me, rolling her eyes. "Edward just called... he thinks he..." "Shit." She didn't need to say anything else. I let my handful of balloons fly to the ceiling and I dropped to the floor, spreading my hands around the carpet. "He's such a moron." Rose lifted the skirt on Bella's bed and huffed. "Why are you even doing this? Maybe it'll be better if she saw it herself." "Yeah, right. I've done enough damage. Besides, if she saw it Edward would tell Emmett I ignored him and then all hell would break loose. Check that corner." "She wouldn't even know what it was if she did find it." I spun around to where Rose was pointing and crawled across the room. Suddenly, I spotted something near the molding. I scooped it up in my hand and jumped to my feet. "Got it!" Rose sighed in relief and grabbed it from my hand. "Happy birthday, Bella. Your boy toy is scum."I stifled a giggle at Rose's remark and continued tying up the balloons where I left off. What a way to start the morning. After we were done decorating, we booked it to the kitchen and started making banana pancakes. They were Bellas favorite. I'd made them for her every morning of her birthday since we'd met. Right as I was finishing up, we heard her door squeak. A few seconds later, she appeared at the table, her hair sticking up everywhere and Edward's necklace around her neck and she was wearing... Snoopy pajama pants? Good god, Bella. Those were going into the garbage as soon as she took them off. "There's nothing like the smell of rubber in the morning. How the hell'd you guys do that without me waking up? And do I smell banana pancakes?" Rose laughed and slid a plate across the table to her. Bella yawned and stretched her arms above her head. "Where's Edward?" "Uh, he left like three hours ago." I said with a smirk. "He's missing out." She shoveled a fork into her mouth and moaned with delight. "Amazing."

"So, do want your gift or should we wait until you're done eating?" Rose asked between bites. Bella dropped her fork and grinned. "Bring it." I skipped into Rose's room and came back carrying the shiny box. Bella's eyes grew wide as I dropped it on the table in front of her. "What is this?" She tore the wrapping paper off excitedly. As soon as she realized what it was, she gasped. "Oh. My. God." She looked at both of us, shocked. "We thought you were in need of an upgrade. Yours was looking a little shabby from you dragging it around the city everywhere. Not to mention it was like 5 years old." Rose laughed at herself. "Yeah, and this is supposed to be the best one for writers! We asked." Bella stared at the brand new MacBook Air, shaking her head. "Thank you! I can't believe this. You guys are too good to me." She jumped up, hugging us both elatedly before finishing her pancakes. I was glad she had a good morning and she was happy, because none of us anticipated what her night was about to be like. * Bella, slow down. Edward grabbed the bottle out of her hand, splashing it across the kitchen. Damn it, Cullen! Go. Away. Bella chuckled and started chugging down her drink. She was definitely done. I watched their weird little mating dance for a couple of seconds before I got bored and made my way over to Jasper. Drunkenly, I fell into his lap and starting playing with a strand of his hair. You girls are never making it out tonight. Jasper said, chucking. Yes, we are! Rose slurred, shaking her drink enough so that it splashed onto the carpet. She was going to be pissed about that tomorrow. We reserved a room! We have to go. Then maybe you should calm the fuck down! Emmett grabbed the drink out of Rosalies hands and placed it on the table next to him, shaking his head. You think were bad? Birthday bitch is in there practically chugging straight from the bottle. I pointed toward the kitchen, where Bella was shrieking and laughing. Rose winced. I shotgun not cleaning up her puke tonight. I heard that. Bella shouted from the other room.

The boys came earlier then we expected, donning bottles and bottles of liquor that wed already almost finished. We werent holding back tonight. Birthdays were one of the only days of the year where acting like a total sloppy, embarrassing mess was acceptable. And Bella definitely wasnt taking that shit for granted. I didnt blame her. It was her first birthday in New York. Her life had changed drastically this year. And she had Edward, who so far tonight hadnt been acting like his typically douchy self. She was happy. I looked at the clock and hopped out of Jaspers lap. Lets just go! Before it rains. It had been cloudy out all day, and I was pretty sure I just heard thunder. We all got our stuff ready and stood by the door, waiting for Bella and Edward. Bella! Come on! Rose and I steadied each other as we walked to Bellas room. When she pushed the door without knocking, we caught them in a full fledged make-out. Ugh! Rose feigned gagging and threw something on Bellas dresser at them. Lets go. Save that for later. Or dont. The two of them were drunken, sloppy messes already. I stood there in the hallway, my mouth hanging open. I was still a little in shock at the whole thing. Like, I figured they kissed and stuff but seeing it was a different thing. Rose looked at me, sneering. My sentiments exactly. Lets make a move. We picked a bar that was relatively close for obvious reasons, like not having to worry about getting a taxi late at night, and so that in case someone got ridiculously drunk and had to be carried back it wouldnt be far. When we were a block away it started pouring. Bella hopped on Edwards back while the rest of us just ran the entire way there. Everyone was soaking wet when we got inside. But the room was awesome. It had a private bar, and couches and tables lining the walls. Which was all we really needed to have a good time. Eventually we made our way out into the main area. That was when shit got messy. Edward and Bella groped each other the entire time, and every time I looked over they were walking to the bar to get another drink. Jasper and Emmett had taken to doing shots of the free booze they supplied in our private room. I stopped drinking when I realized I was the most sober person there, and if something was to happen at least one of us had to be somewhat in control. Bella left Edward at the bar and joined me and Rosalie on the dance floor. I dont know how long we were there, but Jasper and Emmett had come back out and were leaning against the wall watching us. Bella was stumbling all over the place, barely able to stand up without using one of us for support. It was hilarious. All of a sudden, Rose grabbed Bella and spun her so that her back was facing the bar. Rose had a nervous look on her face, so I mouthed What? to her behind Bellas back. Without saying anything, she motioned her head to the left, where Edward was standing at the bar with that model chick that stalked the shit out of him, and she was standing way too close. Normally, something like this wouldnt phase me. Or Rose. But today was Bellas birthday. And I knew nothing about what kind of a relationship she had with Edward,

because after what I like to call, The month we do not speak of it was always awkward to talk about him and pretend like we were okay with everything. Because she knew we werent. Regardless, I had enough observation skills to see that the two of them were moving past a typical guy-girl friendship. There were feelings there. And the two of them were flaunting those feelings around tonight. Add in a large amount of alcohol, and anyone could see disaster was about to happen. There was only so much we could do. Eventually, Bella turned around and spotted him. And her face fell. She stood there, staring for a few seconds before she stomped off the dance floor and back into the private room. Rose and I followed behind her, not saying anything. Bella? Rose asked as we approached a table. Whats wrong? Bella grabbed a random drink that was sitting there and chugged the entire thing down. I silently prayed there wasnt a ruffee in it. I cant do this. Her eyes started to fill up with tears, so we led her to a sofa to sit her down. Do what? I asked, already knowing the answer. I cant just sit here and pretend that Im okay with everything. I completely agreed with her. Edward had gone back to being a grade A douche. Bella had left his side almost an hour ago and he hadnt even come to find her because that slut was here. I dont care how drunk he was, some things aren't excusable. Like fucking up someone's birthday. Maybe you guys were right about this. She had no idea. I know inside Roses head she was saying I told you so but she did what she was supposed to. Why are you so upset, Bella? I thought you were just friends We are! She wiped a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand. I dont want to be. I love him. I cant watch him be with other women. Rose sighed and sat down next to her, rubbing her back. Bella, you dont love him. You barely know him. Okay, well maybe I dont love him but this sucks. I dont want things to be like this. I dont want him to think its okay to be with other girls. Im sick of acting like Im cool with everything. She wiped off a tear that had fallen on her dress. And yes I do know him! I want him to be with me. He gave me diamonds on my birthday! She yanked at the necklace and sobbed. If only she knew what he had planned for her tomorrow. Bella, Edwards not like other guys. I think maybe later, or tomorrow or something you guys should talk about it. Edwards the kind of person that unless youre screaming something in his face, he doesnt get it. He blocks it out. You know? She nodded at me before jerking her head up.

Youre right. She stood up from the sofa and started half sprinting, half stumbling her way out of the room. Wait, what? Me and my stupid advice. Rose and I darted after her as she shoved through the crowd of people, not caring who she knocked over in her wake. We watched as she staggered up to Edward and the model slut. Bella was always super ballsy. I loved that about her. She squeezed her way in between the two of them and squinted at Edward. What the fuck? Model crossed her arms over her chest after tapping Bella on the shoulder. Excuse me. Go away, skank. Bella! Edward tried to pull her away from model slut but Bella stood her ground. What the fuck are you doing, Edward? On my god damn birthday! Right in front of my face, after we just talked about this yesterday! Yesterday! I could tell by the way Edward looked at her that he was beyond wasted. I knew for a fact that hed drank the most of any of us. He didnt know what the fuck was going on. Just calm down. We were just talking. Yeah, well I hope you had a nice conversation because now youre done. Bella spun around to the whore. I thought I told you to go the fuck away? Model chick laughed and took a step closer to Bella. Not a good idea. Ill go when Edward says he wants me to go. Nuh-uh. Bella grabbed her by the throat and shoved her with all her might. Model went flying up against the bar, knocking a bunch of glasses onto the floor. It was the most amazing thing Id ever seen. Edward grabbed Bella around the waist and lifted her off the ground before moving across the room. Model tried to compose herself and follow after them, but Rosalie gave her the evil eye and blocked her. Dont even try. I laughed and walked over to see if Bella was okay. She was swinging at Edward and hysterically crying as he tried to duck away from her punches. Bella, stop! Im sorry! Fuck you! She swung her arm and her fist hit him directly in the side of the face. Jackpot! Im done with this, Edward. If you want to keep doing this with other women, Im done!

She was hysterically crying, and incoherent and she could barely stand. She needed to get the fuck out of there. Emmett and Jasper had somehow seen the whole spectacle, and Emmett was trying to get Bella to leave. Come on, Bella. Ill walk you home. No! Im not leaving him! Hes just gonna go back to her as soon as I leave! She was choking on her words and gasping for air. No, Im not. Edward tried to console her to no avail. Yes you are! Just shut the fuck up, Edward! She swung at him again, but Emmett caught her arm. Bella. Me and Alice will take you home. Rose and Jasper will stay here with Edward. Right Rose? Smart thinking on Emmetts part. Bella knew Rose would rock the bitch if she tried coming around again. Emmett threw Bella on his back and lugged her the two blocks back to the apartment. When we got inside, he dropped her on her bed. She was already passed out. We looked at each other, shaking our heads. Happy birthday, Bella. Beach House EPOV The feeling of Bella shifting around in my lap woke me up. I lifted my head from my shoulder and stared down at her. She was groaning and rubbing her eyes. I lifted one of my hands from where they were placed on her hair and rubbed my stiff neck. Id slept all night sitting up against Bellas headboard, her head in my lap. This was the second day in a row that I woke up, hungover as shit and not in my own bed. What the hell was this girl doing to me? Why are you here? Her voiced was low and gravely, but still sleepy. I wanted to say sorry, I rubbed her head with my hand that was still resting on it, but she swatted me away. Get out. She sat up and her eyes widened when she looked at my face. For future reference, Im sorry for punching you in the face, but just get out. I dont want to see you right now. Last night when Id looked in the mirror a purple welt was already forming on my left cheek. I could only imagine what it looked like now. I sat here all night waiting to talk to you, I wasnt lying, but I did have to be forced into it by Rosalie. After she slapped me in the back of the head. Just listen to me.

No, Edward. I put up with all kinds of shit from you, but you blatantly disrespected me last night. Figure out what kind of a relationship you want to have with me. If you want to be friends, stop kissing me and buying me stuff and complementing me and telling me that Im too good for you and that you care about me and whatever other bullshit you do. She brushed back a piece of hair from her face. And if you want to be more then friends, start acting like it. Because I wont be in a relationship with someone who acts they way you do. Its beyond disrespectful. I didnt know what to say. Yeah, I didnt want to be just friends, and eventually I wanted to be in a relationship. But not right now. I couldnt right now. I was drunk. I stood up from the bed and grabbed my jacket off the ground. But Im curious- how else exactly do I disrespect you? I didnt feel like fighting, but I was really trying with her, and I needed to know what I was doing wrong. Really, Edward? She put her hands on her hips and squinted at me. Hmm, lets see. Last week when you were watching TV you flipped out and threw the remote at me because I asked you where you kept the extra paper towels. Umm, and two days before that, you screamed at me and left me at a restaurant because I asked you why you werent eating your food. A couple of weeks ago, you were supposed to take me to see a movie and you never came to pick me up or even called. Should I keep going? I stared at her blankly. Yeah, I had done all those things. But that was who I was. I was used to holding everything in, and she never argued with me or fought back so when I was pissed about something Id take it out on her. She was always there. And excuse me for being forgetful. It wasnt completely my fault. She shouldve said something before now. Thats the way that I am. If you dont like my personality, dont talk to me. Thats not personality, thats you being a psychotic, bipolar piece of shit. I clenched my fists so hard that I swore my fingernails had broke through the skin on my palms. Her voice was cold, and the Bella I knew didnt talk to me like that. I was done. Fuck you. I walked out, slamming the door as hard as I could on the way. * BPOV Bella? What are you still doing here? I looked up from my cup of coffee at Alice as she walked into the kitchen. I live here. You were supposed to Edward he told me yesterday you guys were supposed to do something today. For your birthday. Alice stammered as she poured a mug of coffee for herself.

Probably not. I sighed and looked down at the ground. I was so angry this morning. I shouldnt have gotten so mad at him. This is the second time that Ive flipped out on him for talking to that girl and neither time were we dating. Now that Im thinking about it I feel kind of stupid. Alice slammed her hand against the counter. Are you kidding me? Of course you shouldve been mad! With the way that he was acting to you, and then he was all over another girl, not to mention it was your birthday please. You shouldnt feel stupid. I mean, maybe clocking him in the face was out of hand but you were drunk. That makes it okay. I giggled. I couldnt believe I punched in the face. Its not just that, though. I started yelling at him about other stuff that had nothing to do with last night and I feel kind of bad about it. Like he didnt realize that I was mad about things, and now hes gonna think that Im not being honest with him, and things are going to be weird. And, like I didnt even know I was mad about that stuff. When I was yelling it just kind of flew out. This is Edward Cullen were talking about. I think he deserves to get screamed at a little. I know, thats why I dont get why I feel so bad about it. And I love the way that he is. I love everything he does. I hate that I belittled him. Thats not the kind of person I am. Alice nodded. And I called him a piece of shit or something like that. But not in the joking way. She laughed. Im not gonna lie, Edward is kind of a piece of shit. Most of the time. Stop. I dropped my coffee cup into the sink and stared down at it. What am I gonna do? Go talk to him. Alice suggested. It seemed way easier then it was. I already tried calling and he didnt pick up, meaning he didnt want to talk to me. I wasnt in the mood to go all the way to his house and have him slam the door in my face. I dont know. Go. She stuck my purse in my hand and practically pushed me out the door. When I got to Edwards apartment, I stood in front of the door, hesitating. The doorman let me up now without question since Id been there so many times. I had one of those gut feelings that something was about to happen, but I didnt know why. I raised my fist up to the door and knocked weakly. This wasnt a walk right in day. The door swung open and he stood there, staring at me, not saying anything. His jaw was clenched and he was breathing heavily through his nose and he did not look happy to see me at all.

Edward, Im sorry. He frowned, still not moving from the door. Why the hell are you sorry? I was rude this morning. You waited to talk to me all night and I just yelled at you instead of talking it out, and I hate the way I feel when were angry at each other, and- Bella. Yeah? Edward sighed and stepped to the side. I walked in and shut the door behind me. Im really sorry. About yesterday. He swung his arm out and gently grabbed the tips of my fingers. I know. Its okay. I dont want to talk about it anymore. I still dont think its the right time for us to start a relationship with each other. Ugh. He didnt say it in a malicious way, but those werent the words I wanted to hear. I took a step closer to him and put my hand behind his neck, touching the pieces of hair that were sticking out from under his beanie. Its okay. Ill wait until youre ready. He gave me the half grin that made me melt. Okay. I will stop seeing other women, though. If thats what you want. I didnt realize it bothered you so much. Thank GOD. That sentence was the best thing Edward had ever said. Yeah, I guess maybe it would be better from now on, if when I had a problem with something, I said it. Instead of just holding it in. Since we know that you dont ever hold anything in. I giggled and poked his chest playfully. But thank you. And really, Im sorry for calling you names before and everything. I didnt mean it. I love your personality. I- whats that? I spotted two suitcases near the front door. One was purple and the other one was black. Edward looked at me, beaming. I was going to bring you somewhere, for your birthday. I didnt think you still wanted to so I looked at the suitcases, and then back at him. This had Alice written all over it. Of course I want to! But wait, how long are we going to be gone? Im supposed to work, and dare I ask, whats in that suitcase? I took care of everything. Alice gave you off. And she packed the suitcase for you. Edward you sneaky little bastard. Can we still go?

Yeah. Right now? He laughed. Sure. Let me just grab my stuff. I watched curiously as he ran around the apartment, shutting off all the lights and locking the balcony door. He shoved a handful of stuff into his pocket and opened a drawer in the kitchen to pull out a set of keys that Id never seen him use. So where are we going? I asked as I followed him down the hallway, rolling my purple suitcase that was full of who the hell knows what. Its a surprise, Bella. Its not anything amazing. Im not bringing you to Paris or anything, so dont get too excited. London? No. Cancun? No. Las Vegas? He ignored me. When we stepped off the elevator, instead of going through the lobby to leave like we normally would, he turned and walked down a long hallway. Uh where the eff are we going? The parking garage. Parking garage? Your building has a parking garage? And you have a car? Uh, yeah. He frowned at me, mildly offended. I didnt want to piss him off more by asking him what the fuck the purpose of a car was when he lived in New York City. Then I remembered he was a spoiled little bitch so why wouldnt he have a pointless car? Edward pushed the door at the end of the hallway and started walking across the garage. He stopped in front of a silver Volvo and popped the trunk open. I tried to help, but he grabbed the suitcase away from me. I made my way to the passenger seat and made myself comfortable. The car was impeccably clean, of course. Edward slid into the seat next to me a minute later and pulled out of the parking lot. Watching him drive was strangely erotic to me. Actually, watching him do anything was strangely erotic to me, but driving was something new.

So, Volvo, huh? This is way less ostentatious then what I thought of when you said you had a car. Volvos are solid. Shut the fuck up. I laughed as he flipped through his iPod, barely paying attention to the road. So, um, does Alice know where were going? Just in case you decide to go all horror movie on me and try and chop my body up or something. If I was gonna do that, it wouldve already happened. Comforting, thanks. He rolled his eyes. She knows where were going. So do Emmett and Rose, and my parents. Okay? I had no idea where we were going. I barely knew my way around New York, let alone outside of the city. I knew we were on a highway. In what direction we were going, I had no idea. I didnt even know if we were still in New York, for that matter. The ride with Edward was amazing. Just watching him drive made me happy. The way his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel. The way he huffed and groaned when someone else driving did something to make him angry. The way he tapped his hand on the gearshift to the beat of the music that was playing. The way hed look over at me every couple of minutes and smile. It was an unforgettable ride. When wed been driving for almost two hours, Edward got off the highway. I stared out the window as we drove over a long bridge, that led to a patch of land surrounded by water. It was beautiful. We pulled up to a traditional, average sized white house that was on the beach. I jumped out of the car and stared up at it with astonishment. What do you think? Edward walked around the car and stood next to me. Its perfect. Whos house is this? He smirked. Mine. I blinked a few times, waiting for him to start laughing or something. Whos? Its mine. I raised my eyebrows and turned to him. Edward? Why exactly do you have your own beach house in this random little town? Do you really even need to ask? I nodded. It was a graduation present. Wow. For my graduation my dad bought me a plane ticket.

They didnt buy me this. My like great-great-grandparents or something like that built it and its been passed down over the years and my parents got this contemporary, generic, glass shithole in the Hamptons and they were actually gonna try and sell this. Ridiculous. So, I tried to convince my dad not to do it and on my graduation they surprised me, blah blah. Anyway, I love it here. I thought youd like it, too. I do. Without waiting for him, I ran up the steps to the front porch. While he unpacked the car I put my face up to the window in the front door, trying to see inside. I moved to the side when I heard him approaching, and waited excitedly for him to open the door. When he pushed it open, I stood on the porch, just admiring. Edward this is adorable. The front door opened to a living room, with white wood paneled walls from floor to ceiling. There were two fluffy beige sofas in the middle, with beach themed decorations surrounding them everywhere; on the walls, on the coffee table, on the small kitchen bar to the right of the living room. The barstools were unmatching and the paint was peeling off them, but I was sure they were purposely made that was. The kitchen counter was covered with blue and green vintage, worn looking tiles and there were huge windows along the back wall the overlooked the beach. Then entire place was so full of charm and character that I walked around for a good twenty minutes just taking it all in. Edward watched me the entire time. I found it oddly amusing seeing him in this environment. In some ways he didnt fit here. Rich boy, scruffy hipster Edward in this rustic beach house, when I was so used to seeing him in his clean, modern, New York City loft. But in some ways he did fit. He was sentimental. He always let me know when something meant something to him. And he had a passion for things that werent just beautiful, but had meaning. It was one of the things I admired about him. I walked over to the sliding glass doors in the living room. Outside there was a large deck that wrapped around the house. I could hear the waves crashing against the shore through the closed doors. Can we go to the water? Sure. He sat down and removed his sneakers before joining me outside. We walked down the walkway that went over the dunes and led to the beach. I let Edward walk ahead of me across the sand so that I could watch him. It was still hot out, and every few seconds the wind blew, making his shirt billow out behind him. He seemed so much more calm and relaxed here then he did at home. It was like seeing a side of him that I never had before. When we reached the water, Edward walked right up to it, not worrying that the bottom of his jeans were getting soaked. Its warm. I skipped past him so that the water rose up past my ankles. It was definitely warm. Lets go swimming! I looked around the beach to see if anyone else was in the water, but it was unsurprisingly deserted. There were some people fishing off a jetty in the distance. A

little boy and his mother were trying to fly a kite behind us. There was a middle aged couple walking up the shore away from us. But no one else was around. You want to go swimming? I nodded at him, ready to jog back to the house to get my bathing suit. Edward had other ideas. He ripped his hat off and threw it onto the dry sand before running up to me and lifting me onto his shoulder. I was squealing and laughing uncontrollably as he ran full speed into the water, dropping me when the water went past his waist. We laughed and played in the water in a way that I hadnt done since I was a little girl. I didnt care that I hated Edward a couple of hours before that. I didnt care that it was the middle of September and we were the only people in the beach. I didnt care that I had ruined the expensive clothes that I had on that Alice and Rose had bought me. And most importantly I didnt care that me & Edward were completely and totally dysfunctional. I was happier in that moment then Id ever been in my life. I was happy just being with him. Eventually the sun started to go down and the temperature dropped a little. We made our way back into the house, our clothes dripping salt water and sand across the floor. Edward didnt seem to mind it. We showered at the same time, in the two separate bathrooms, and when I emerged he was already dressed in dry jeans and a black t-shirt. His cheeks were tinted a little bit red and the back of his neck and the shoulders of his shirt were covered in little water droplets from his hair. He smelled like the ocean and soap and rain and ugh. I had to use all my self control in order to not drop my towel right there and jump on him. Im gonna run to the store to get a couple of things before it closes. Do you want to come? No, its okay. I zipped open the suitcase that Alice had packed for me and stared down at it with contempt. I shuffled through it for any type of comfortable pajamas. Lingerie, Alice? Really? Do you want anything? No, Im good. I wasnt about to ask him to pick me up a six pack of Hanes t-shirts. After he left I threw on some lacy bra and boy shorts since it was the most decent type of underwear shed packed. I decided to go through Edwards suitcase to steal a pair of his boxers and one of his overpriced t-shirts to wear to sleep. That bastard definitely wasnt wearing Fruit of the Loom. They were way too soft and fit too well. When I flipped back the top of his suitcase, the first thing on the top was a white t-shirt. Perfect. I flipped through the rest of his neatly folded piles, but didnt see any boxers. Maybe they were at the bottom? I stuck my hand deep into the suitcase and felt around. Suddenly, I hit something plastic and I heard a rattling noise. I wrapped my hand around whatever it was and pulled, my nosy instincts taking over. It was a bottle of prescription medication. I held the label up to my face to read it.

Cullen, Edward. DOB 06/20/84. Lithium Carbonate 900 mg. Take orally twice daily. I sat down on the bed, holding the bottle in my hand. Lithium? What did people take Lithium for? This was something Renee would know. I ran to my purse to retrieve my cell phone and returned back to my spot on the bed. I didnt feel like talking and explaining myself, so I just texted her. Mom- what do doctors prescribe lithium for? I got a response a few seconds later. Manic depression. I laid the phone on the bed next to me and starting thinking about things. Okay, this kind of made sense. Edward had severe mood swings. Hello, obvious. When he was happy, he was really happy. When he wasnt, he really wasnt. Fine. He had weird sleeping habits. He definitely abused alcohol when he drank. As I started to think, the list grew longer and longer. A lot of times he wasnt happy or sad, he was just there. Empty. Certain unexplainable things made him extremely irritable. Like his parents. He was forgetful a lot of the time. His eating habits were bizarre. He slept with a lot of women. Ughhh. This shit was so obvious it was screaming in my face. But, something here wasnt adding up. Why would everyone- Rose, Emmett, his family, even him- want to keep this a secret? And why was Rose so extremely against me seeing him because of this? Was everyone so fucking shallow and inhumane that they couldnt look past the fact that Edward was sick and that this wasnt his fault? How was this the thing that was so horrible and awful? It didnt make sense. Most of all, what didnt make sense was the fact that I was sitting here, with an almost empty bottle of medication in my hand. That meant he was taking it. And the whole point of taking medicine like this was to control the symptoms. So why the fuck did he have all the symptoms still? Something wasnt right here. Something was fucked up. And sweet Jesus, Id called him a psychotic bipolar piece of shit this morning. I was the devil. Id had it with everything. I was going to confront him about it, and I was going to get answers, today. I wanted Edward, and whatever it was that was standing in the way, I was going to find out, and I was going to make it work. Still, I was scared shitless. I sat there on the bed just thinking, not moving, the entire time he was out. I heard the car pull up in the driveway. I heard his footsteps on the front porch. I heard his voice, when he walked in the house and called my name.

Im in here. I had to force the words out. I heard him drop a bag on the counter and within seconds he was standing in the doorway in front of me. His eyes widened when he looked at me, and only then did I realize I was still sitting in my lacy fucking lingerie and nothing else. Sorry- He turned around to walk out. No. Edward frowned and took a couple steps toward me. Are you okay- Im fine. I need to talk to you. A look of worry suddenly spread over his face. He spotted my cell phone on the bed, so he walked the remaining steps between us and kneeled down in front of me. What happened? I took a deep breath and stood up. I proceeded to direct him so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed, and I was standing in front of him. Edward. I pointed at his suitcase, that was still propped open on the floor. I wasnt snooping. I just wanted to get a t-shirt I bent down and picked up the pill bottle that Id dropped back onto one of the piles. I found this. He rested his elbows on his knees and put his face in his hands. He didnt say anything. Why wouldnt you just tell me something like this? This is not a big deal- Bella, just stop. Just dont worry about this. I crossed my arms over my chest and stared at him, confused. Dont worry about this? I dont really care. This is not something that has to come between us. You and your family are the ones who think this is so major that- No. No, Bella. You have no fucking idea. I dont want to talk about this, so just stop. I put my hand under his chin and tilted his head up so he had no choice but to look at me. Im not going to stop. Were going to talk this through, and Im not taking no for an answer. I care about you too much. Edward pushed my hand away and stood up, suddenly livid. Were not talking about anything! Im leaving. He started to walk out of the room, but I latched onto his arm and pulled him with all my might. Stop it! Youre not running away from me! Edward, talk to me. Why wont you just talk to me? I was breaking down. I hadnt even realized I was that close to tears, but before I knew it I was sobbing.

He shut his eyes for a second, clearly effected by the fact that I was so upset. Without saying anything, he sat back down on the edge of the bed and looked up at me. What do you want to know? Everything. I couldnt think up coherent questions in my mind to ask him. Like? Like why didnt you just fucking tell me from the beginning? We couldve avoided so much shit- Like what? Your friends trying to make you not talk to me? They wouldve done that anyway. I knew right then that I wasnt getting anywhere with him. How long Since I was seventeen. This just confused me more. Hed known for six years and his symptoms still werent controlled? Maybe he needed a new doctor or something. Is this why your mother told me you shouldnt have a girlfriend? Because really, Im about to call your parents and rip them a new one. No I dont know? Who cares what she says. This doesnt concern you, Bella. Just stay out of it. I felt hopeless. I needed to get through to him. I needed to find a way to show him that shit like this wasnt going to keep me away from him. It does concern me. How? His face was drooping. I hated seeing him like that. Because I love you. God, did I just say it? Yes, I did. I was desperate. Edward looked down at the floor and chuckled. Bella, you dont love me. Yes I do! I needed to be close to him. I pushed his shoulders back and straddled him on the bed, wrapping my arms around him and I continued talking into his ear. This isnt about you saying anything back to me- I dont expect you to. But, I love you. I love everything about you, including your flaws because theyre yours. Theres nothing that you could say or do thats going to keep me away from you. I need you. I only feel like myself when Im with you, and I want to be with you, always. And Ill do anything for you. Please, Edward. Just please let me fix this.

The room was silent except for his breathing. I was holding my breath, waiting for an answer. What he gave me was better. He reached up and removed my arms from around his neck. I leaned back, bemused, and watched as Edward gulped before lifting his arms and peeling off his t-shirt. Id seen him without a shirt plenty of times, but right now was different. This was for me. I could touch, and feel and kiss and he was mine. I looked up from his bare torso for a second to look into his eyes, and before I knew it, his hands were all over me and we were kissing and I felt the familiar taste of his tongue and his breath and everywhere his hands touched left a tingle of warmth on my skin. His lips traveled from my lips to my neck and he was licking and biting and sucking and kissing me across my collarbone. I leaned back against his hand and felt the vibration of his groan on my chest as his mouth moved down to my lace bra, and I silently thanked Alice for that. His hands adjusted on my back and he skillfully unlatched my bra without even trying and I let it slide down my shoulders and down my arms and before I could toss it aside his palms were already all over me, and it felt amazing. And then he moved his hands and his mouth was on me, and I could feel him through his jeans, and I couldnt take it anymore. I needed him. Bella. Hearing him moan my voice between his kisses sent me over the edge. I shoved his shoulders as hard as I could so that he was lying on the bed, and I started kissing his face again, and feeling his chest with my hands, and touching his hair and pressing myself against him with a craving need and pure desire that Id never before felt in my life. Edward took charge and flipped both our bodies over so that he was on top of me, and he let out a growl deep in his chest as he forced his hips against me and I struggled with the button on his jeans. I finally got it and I shoved his boxers and his jeans down in one shot and I gasped for air and just stared at Edward in all his magnificence. He grabbed the elastic band on my underwear and threw them behind him, and then he just sat there and looked at me, and I looked at him, and I couldnt take it. I didnt want foreplay, and I didnt want to wait, I just wanted him right then inside of me, all of him. And he knew this. With one push Edward was inside, and my body responded to his in ways that I didnt know was possible. He thrusted into me and I cried and begged him for more over and over and his hair was falling in his eyes and the moonlight made his skin glow and when I touched his face he smiled. And he kissed me and I kissed him back and I moaned and laughed and loved, and I was so happy. And I was overwhelmed. And my body couldnt take it anymore and Edward held me as my back arched and my muscles clenched and I sighed his name over and over. And I felt him, warm inside of me, and we laid there, not moving, just breathing in and out in each others ears. And when he rolled off me my chest tightened and I didnt want him to leave, and he saw the look of desperation on my face, so he moved back over because I needed him there. I didnt want to leave his side, ever. * I had sex with Edward two more times before we went to sleep. I didnt even remember falling asleep, to be honest. But, when I woke up, my legs were wrapped around his and his arms were wrapped around my back and my head was resting on his chest and we were still naked and it was the best morning of my life. I moved a little bit and I felt Edwards breathing change, and he stretched his arms out behind my back.

Hey. I heard his sleepy, velvety voice. Hi. How long have you been up? He asked me before turning his head toward the window. A little while. I combed my fingers through his crazy hair. Why didnt you wake me up? I was watching you sleep. He laughed. Why? Because youre so handsome. I touched the tip of his nose with my finger quickly before he laughed again. Well, youre beautiful. He rolled over to his side and kissed my forehead. And I love your body. I felt his hands move down my back under the sheet. And I love the way you taste. And how your skin feels against mine. Never since Id known him had I heard Edward talking this way. It didnt fit his little cool guy persona. Oh, yeah? Yeah! He rolled on top of me and supported his upper body with his elbows. And I shouldve told you yesterday. But, I love you. What? That I did not expect from him. "You... you love me?" Of course I do, Bella. You should know that without me saying. I closed my eyes and smiled, too euphoric to say anything at all. So, do you want to leave tonight or tomorrow morning? Never. He laughed. Tomorrow. The entire day was incredible. Edward made me breakfast. We went swimming in the ocean. We did it in the ocean. We took a nap in our bathing suits. We showered together. I made him dinner and we ate outside in the sunset. We had a repeat of the night before. We never mentioned the breakdown from the night before. When I woke up the morning after, I had to fight back tears. I dont want to leave. I pouted as I sat in the hot leather seat of the Volvo. He squeezed my leg and smiled.

We can come back whenever you want. I want to live here. Edward laughed. One day, Bella. The entire ride back to the city I was trying to force myself back to reality. I had some serious shit that I needed to discuss with Rosalie and Alice. And Emmett, and Edwards two jerk off parents. I repeated my speech to Rosalie in my head six times. I doubted Id actually use it, but I wanted to be prepared on the off chance that she didnt interrupt me. When we pulled up in front of my building I started crying. I dont know why. Bella, its okay. He was confused. I didnt blame him. He held me to his chest and rubbed my head soothingly. Ill see you later, okay? I promise. After he got my suitcase from the trunk, I rolled it to the front of my building and sat on it and cried. I called my mother and told her the whole story and I cried for at least an hour. Because I didnt know what to do. Because I was happy. Because I felt like I made a breakthrough with Edward. Because I was scared of the fight that was about to erupt when I went upstairs to face Rosalie. Because Edward wasnt there with me. Finally, after some coaxing from our doorman, I made my way inside. I dropped my suitcase in the foyer and made a beeline for Rosalies bedroom. When I pushed the door open, Alice and Rose were sitting on the edge of her bed, flipping through a magazine. Bella! Whats wrong? Alice looked worried. I want to know everything. Now. Overdose RPOV Bella was crying. Actually, she was past crying. Her eyes were so swollen they were barely open. Her cheeks were red and puffy. There were wet marks on the front of her shirt. It only took one look at her for me to tell- she knew. Alice said something, but my mind was spinning. Why the fuck wasn't Emmett here right now? I didn't know what to do. "I want to know everything. Now." What could I say? Fuck. This was bad. It was one thing for me to omit information. It was another thing for me to lie right to her face. "What... what do you mean?" I tried to delay it enough for me to think. "I know, Rose! What I'm not understanding right now is why you couldn't tell me. What the fuck kind of a person are you?"

She was right. What kind of a person was I? How could I let my best friend get involved this far without warning her? "Bella, don't yell at her-" This time I was able to make out Alices words. "Alice, shut up! Just shut the fuck up! I know you knew too. You didn't tell me either. Do you want to tell me the whole story instead?" Alice sat there, silent. "I didn't think so. So just sit there, and shut your mouth." "What did he do to you? I'll kill him- I stood up from the bed, enraged. "He didn't do anything! I found out two days ago, and we were perfectly fine, and I had an amazing time, and- don't act like you're my friend, now! Neither of you are really my friends! I can't be around people who are so small-minded, and unforgiving of other peoples faults." How was she taking this so lightly? What the fuck was wrong with her? What did he tell her? How could her fucking common sense and judgment be so clouded? "How... how did you find out?" Alice was way calmer then I was. I wish she would've not listened to me and told Bella. I wish I was hadnt been such a self-centered bitch. I wish that Emmett hadnt laid such a big guilt trip on me. "I was looking for something in his suitcase, and I- "Obviously." I cut her off. It didn't matter how she found out. She knew, and she wanted answers, and Emmett was going to hate me. "I want to know everything. I want to know why you didn't tell me. I want to know why you thought this was a reason to keep us apart. I want to know why this is such a big deal. And I'm not going to ask you again. If you don't tell me the truth right now then our friendship is over. My friendship with both of you is over. The both of you will be dead to me." Bella wasn't fucking around. She was out for blood. I knew I shouldnt have been pissed at her, but I couldnt help it. I was furious with the whole situation. I hated that I accidentally got stuck in the middle of this shit. I hated that I tried to do what was right, and failed more than once. I hated Bella right now for making me feel like such a bad person. I hated Edward for making Bella be on his side. "I think you need to reexamine your life, Bella." Yeah, and I think you need to reexamine yours, because you, Rosalie Hale, are fucked up. That bitch.

Oh, Im fucked up? Your little boyfriend is a junkie and you dont care, and Im fucked up? Dead silence. Wait, wh-what did you say? Bella seemed so surprised she could barely speak. I looked at Alice, whos eyes were popped out of her head. Uh oh. I I thought you said you knew. What did I just do? The tension in the room was suffocating. Bella swallowed heavily and held her hand to her chest, taking deep breaths as she looked at the ground. My palms were sweaty, and I was trying to think of how I'd explain this to Emmett. I didn't know where to start. What do you mean junkie? Bella, you said you knew. What else were you talking about? Alice walked up to her and put her hand on her shoulder gently. Bella didnt look up, or move, she just stood there staring at the ground. I I found his medicine- I I thought Alice spun around to me, frowning. How could you not know he was bipolar? I mean, the fucking kid is the moodiest person Ive ever known- Shut up, Rose! Stop insulting him. Bella swiped at her eyes quickly and looked at me. I still want to know. I nodded at Bella and took a deep breath. Maybe you should sit down. Instead of walking over to the bed, Bella just leaned against the wall and sank down to the floor. "I'm just going to tell you the story. And when I'm done, you can ask me whatever you want." I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and texted Emmett. Come here RIGHT NOW. "Okay." I took another deep breath. "Do you remember when you first moved here? And we went to that party uptown, and the boys were all there? You were wearing the black dress, and it was the first time you met Jasper?" Bella nodded. "Well, that was the night I found out. And something happened. Emmett had no choice but to tell me, and that was why I didn't want you around Edward." I didnt even want to go to that party. I hated the whole scene. I agreed to go to these stupid functions a couple of times a year why the hell did I choose to go that night?

"Wait, that night? That doesn't even make sense. You told me before then to stay away from him." "Just listen to me." Bella closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall, waiting. You left the bar. And we couldnt find you. So, Alice stayed with Emmett and Jasper and she was trying to call you while I went around and looked for you. My cell phone was dying. It was your first night out here, and we were worried anyway, when we first got there, Emmett told me, Please, help me keep an eye on Edward. Its important. I didnt really think anything of it because Emmett is always watching him. God, how long ago had I texted Emmett? I looked at my phone. Two minutes. Shit. Why was time passing so slowly? So, when I walked outside to see if you were there, I saw Edward getting into a cab. I asked him if he saw you, and he said you left. And Bella, he was absolutely obliterated. He could barely stand up. I knew Emmett was going to be freaking out if he couldnt find Edward, so instead of trying to keep him from getting in the cab, I just got in. Recalling that night started to make me nervous. I fought it back as I kept talking to Bella. I figured that if I was with him, at least I could tell Emmett where we were. And Edward was screaming at me, and cursing and pushing me, telling me to get the fuck out of the cab, go home, get away from him. I thought that Edward didnt want me in the cab because we hated each other. I realized afterward that he didnt want me there because he was trying to protect me. I shouldve never gotten in, but I was drunk also, and I wasnt thinking clearly. I never heard the address that Edward had given the driver, and I just remember looking up and thinking, where the fuck are we? I had no idea. When we were still in the cab, Emmett called me, freaking out because he couldnt find either of us. I glanced up at Bella, who was still listening intently. Emmetts words repeated themselves over in my head. Fuck! Damn it Rose, whyd you get in? What the fuck am I supposed to do now? I left out all the expletives for Bellas sake. I told him to calm down, that I was with Edward, but I had no idea where we were going. That Edward wouldnt tell me. That I knew we were heading farther uptown, but besides for that, I had no idea. He started flipping the fuck out. Like, legitimately, Ive never heard Emmett sound so freaked out in his life. I asked him what was wrong, and he wouldnt tell me. He said to stay with Edward, that he knew where we were going and hed be there as soon as he could. To just stay with Edward. Not to leave him. And then my phone died. My voice cracked as I recalled the way Emmett sounded that night. I tried not to think about it ever. Id retold this story twice- once to Carlisle, and once to Alice. And both times, I cried at this point.

When the cab stopped, I looked around and I just remember thinking, Im going to die tonight. We were in this shitty, run down neighborhood. There was no one around, except for a couple of people standing on the corner, and just homeless people everywhere it was just, this ridiculous place. I mean, the windows were broken in all the buildings, and clearly most of the buildings in that neighborhood were abandoned, and, Bella, Im not stupid- I knew what we were there for. I didnt want to get out of the cab. But Edward did, and right then I couldve just gone back home, or I couldve gone with him. And something in me told me just to stay with him. And I mean, not that Id be much help, but just seeing him so desperate, and leaving him alone I mean if something wouldve happened to him I wouldve felt responsible. So I went. I sighed and looked at Bella, who had tears running down her face. She was already crying. I didnt want to say anymore. Bella, I dont know if you want me to- No. Keep going. Okay I felt dizzy. Where was Emmett? The cab seriously peeled out. Like the driver knew to get away from there. I grabbed onto Edwards arm and he could barely walk, but somehow he knew how to get to this place it was beyond me. We walked through this dark alleyway between these two dilapidated buildings and there was broken furniture and garbage and it smelled awful it was just disgusting. Edward pushed open this door on the side of one of the buildings, and he tried to make me wait there. And I was so scared I seriously was about to piss myself so I held onto him when he tried to close the door and finally he gave up. The way that I felt when I walked into the building made my stomach twist. Id never been so afraid in my life. Inside there was just this hallway that had graffiti all over it and it was dark except for one light bulb in the middle of it and I felt like I was in a god damn horror movie. And I was drunk and that made it so much worse because I was so scared I wanted to throw up. Anyway, Edward knocks on one of the doors and this huge ass scary guy opens it, and hes like Rich boy! Back so soon? and in my mind Im just going what the fuck? How many times a day does he come to this shithole? Oh, God. Apparently Bella didnt want to hear that. So, the guy looks at me, and says something perverted, and Edward tells him to fuck off, and then they go inside and Edward says to wait there. And I hear yelling inside, and a woman screaming, and Im literally just standing there in this fucking drug hole trying to calm myself enough so that I dont have a heart attack. And Edward comes stumbling out after like two minutes and Im just like, thank GOD lets get the fuck out of here.

I rubbed my eyes with my fingertips and pressed down lightly on my temples. I did not want to continue talking about this. Not at all. But I was done with all the lying and the hiding. I owed it to her after everything Id done to just be honest. Maybe after I was done shed understand. We get back out to the alley. And Edward stops, and kneels down next to this broken wooden chair. And its like pitch dark outside, and I cant see anything and all I hear is him snorting something. I keep my face down when I realize Im crying. And then I hear nothing. I just see him, and hes hunched over on top of the chair, and I started shaking him, and he wasnt moving. I was terrified I didnt know what to do. So I pull out my phone, and it wouldnt turn on, and I didnt want to just leave him there- and my mind, it just wasnt working right, so I ran to the end of the alley. And I saw two women walking, and I was hysterical and screaming and I told them I needed help, that Edward was back there, but they were scared, and they knew it had something to do with drugs and they didnt want to get involved. They told me police watched the area and that I should get back to my friend. And I started throwing up, because I was just so lost. I didnt know I wiped the tears from my cheeks and let myself take a few breaths. Remembering how hopeless I felt at that moment scared me. Id never felt so weak and powerless before. Bella, I didnt know what to do. There were no cabs around. No people who werent fucking cracked out or bums. I had no cell phone. Emmett still wasnt there and I didnt even know if he was definitely coming, because I never told him where I was. I doubted that he had ever been there before. So I ran back to Edward. Bella had crawled forward a little bit so that she was closer to me. And Alice had walked out of the room, refusing to listen to the story for the second time. I wanted to make sure he was okay, so when I went back there I kneeled next to him. He had thrown up and there was blood running from his nose, down his face and it was all over his shirt. So, I dont know, my first instinct was to turn him on his side, so he wouldnt choke on his own throw up. I thought back to the despair that I felt as I sat in the alleyway alone, trying to remember what to do in a situation like that. I laid him on the floor, and I turned his head to make sure there was nothing left in his mouth. I cursed myself for not paying more attention in my high school health classes. And then I heard his phone ringing so I reached in his pocket and found it, and it was Emmett. I told him everything, and he was screaming and cursing, and asking me why I didnt stop him. And I asked him how was I supposed to know that he was going to keel over from snorting coke? And Emmett told me because it wasnt coke. That is was heroin. And then I started screaming because I was sure he was going to die. And then Emmett calmed down enough to tell me to shut up and ask me if he was breathing. I was so freaked out, I didnt even check to see that he was still breathing until Emmett said to. And he was breathing, but barely. Emmett told me he would be there in a minute. To just sit there, and try to wake Edward up, and make sure he keeps breathing.

Bella was crying harder now, and I didnt blame her. This was one of the reasons I didnt want to have to be the one to tell her. I wouldnt want someone telling me shit about Emmett overdosing and almost dying. So I sat there with Edward, just rubbing his hair and talking to him and trying to wake him up and I cleaned all the blood from his face. And finally, Emmett was there. He told me to help him. So we lifted him up from the ground and carried him to the taxi that Emmett made wait. And when the driver saw Edward he wouldnt let us get in and he almost drove away. Emmett threw a wad of money at him and the guy was cursing at us in another language, and then Emmett gave him Edwards address. And the driver was like, No, Ill only take you to the hospital and Emmett took out Edwards wallet from his pocket and threw whatever money was it in to the driver and he finally started driving. At this point, I had no idea what the fuck was going on. I told Emmett we had to go to the hospital. I told him that if we didnt, Edward was going to die. He told me to shut up. That we werent going to the hospital. That the police would be there, and Edward would go to jail and if his dealer got busted hed probably kill Edward and Emmett, too. He said that he knew what to do because hed done this before. Oh, my god. Bella rocked her body back and forth and cradled her head in her hands. We got back to his apartment. I have no idea how we did it, but we managed to drag him upstairs. I almost collapsed as soon as we walked into the apartment, and so we dropped him right there on the floor. Edwards lips were blue, and he was drenched in sweat from head to toe and I could see Emmett starting to get really nervous and he was cursing, and crying and saying that he wasnt breathing. I asked him what I could do to help, so he told me to climb on top of Edwards kitchen counter, and on top of the cabinets that there was a black case. I got it down and brought it over to him. Alice came back in to room with a two glasses of water. She handed one to me and one to Bella. There was some kind of a syringe in it- I wasnt really paying attention. He said Carlisle had taught him what to do. He handed me some elastic thing and made me tie it around Edwards arm, so I was doing that while he was getting ready. And Edwards eyes were rolled in the back of his head, and his skin was turning this weird gray color and I just kept thinking, hes going to die, and Im never going to forgive myself. And Emmetts parents are going to kill him for not taking Edward to the hospital, and for the rest of my life Im going to have to live with the fact that I let someone die right in front of my face. I took a gulp of the water. Emmett gave him the shot. We sat there and waited. And it was maybe a minute, but it felt like forever, and finally he started coughing and choking and he ran to the bathroom and threw up. And I cried, and Emmett was crying. I got him clean clothes and went into the bathroom, but he was delirious and confused. I tried to help him change because he was covered in blood and sweat and throw up, but all I could do was take his shirt off and he started screaming and cursing at me and he fell and split his head open. It was a nightmare. Suddenly, I heard my name being called from the other room. Finally. Emmett pushed open the door and instantly realized what was up. Was was that all? Bella asked timidly.

I nodded. He woke up the next morning and didnt remember anything. He didnt know what happened. I didnt know if he did it on purpose, or if he just accidentally did too much, or- Rosalie Emmett said my name with disgust. What did you do? She needed to know. Im not sorry, Emmett. Im done being in the middle of this. Bella, if you have anything to ask, ask Emmett. He can tell you more then I can. Bella looked up at Emmett and then down at the floor. Why didnt you tell me? Why didnt any of you just tell me and let me decide for myself? Because. I asked them not to tell you. Emmett walked over to Bella and squatted next to her on my floor. He doesnt do it when hes around me. I know he doesnt. Poor Bella was in denial. Emmett rolled his eyes and put his hand on her back. Believe me when I say, Bella he always does it. She had stopped crying now, and I was pretty sure she was just in shock about the whole thing. Why didnt you want them to tell me? She looked at Emmett, forlorn. She wanted an honest reason. Because. Edward was different when he was around you. It was the first time in so long that Id seen any change from him I just wanted to see what would happen. It was the first time I had hope that things would change. Emmett Im just not getting why you feel like its your place to make these decisions. Its not your life. Because, Bella. This is all my fault. I feel responsible for how he is now. Bella stared at Emmett, confused. How is it your fault? Id asked Emmett the same thing that night. It was what he said to me that kept me from telling Bella. My loyalty and devotion to Emmett kept me from doing what was right for my best friend. Its a long story. He didnt want to tell her. He hated what he did. Tell me the short version. Emmett took a deep breath and looked at the ground.

When Edward first got sick my parents, they didnt believe him. They thought he was slacking off and acting out because they were always so hard on him. He trusted me, and he came to me always instead of them, because I believed him. I knew something was wrong, and I saw Edward getting worse and worse. I had moved out, and Edward called me one night panicking, and he was torn apart and so devastated. Because our parents werent helping him, and he was scared. I brought him out with me to a party, to keep his mind off everything. And we were drunk and someone offered it to him and Id done it before so I knew how it felt and I thought just let him do it. Itll make him feel happy, and numb even just for a little while. I introduced him to it, Bella. And yeah, maybe I didnt make him an addict but he knew it was out there, and only then that my parents saw a drastic change did they do something. But it was too late. And once he started going to school and hanging out with all those fucking people, and working it was easy for him to get it. And he did. And it just kept getting worse and worse, and now its like this cycle- Edwards manic or depressed, Edward does heroin, Edward doesnt take his medicine and he keeps feeling like shit, so he gets high. Its my fault. I just I try to do whatever I can to help him. I dont want to see my brother die, or go to jail or something Bella soaked in everything Emmett had said and she stood up, shaking her head. Look Im sorry. I know that in your own, completely fucked up ways, you all think that youre helping, and that youre doing whats right. But this is not okay. He needs help. Emmett, thats what you should be doing, trying to get him clean. Not waiting for him to do it himself. Its not ever going to happen. I mean hes a grown man. He cant have someone there babysitting him for his entire life, just in case he overdoses or something. Give me a fucking break Im going to talk to him. Bella you need to think about what youre doing. Emmett looked up at her from where he was perched on the ground. I know what Im doing. Im doing whats best for Edward. Hell listen to me- You cant force someone into getting clean. They have to want to do it themselves. Bella laughed and looked up at the ceiling, slapping her hand against her leg. How the fuck is he going to want to do it himself? Why would he want to? Hes got an unlimited amount of money, so he can buy it whenever he wants. He has you, who he knows is going to be there picking up the pieces, so he doesnt have to worry about himself. He has parents that sit by and do nothing because theyre ashamed. He sees no consequence in what he does. Im going over there. Bella took a few steps toward the door and spun towards me before leaving. Rose, well talk when I get back. EPOV I took the last drag of my second cigarette and threw it into the street. Emmett had called and told me Bella knew everything. That she was on her way over. So, I stood

outside of my building, chain smoking and waiting for her. I shouldve been nervous about what she thought. And, I shouldve been relieved that now there were no more secrets between us. But surprisingly I felt nothing. I felt tired. I felt defeated. I felt like giving up. She pulled up in a cab a couple minutes later, her eyes swollen, her cheeks puffy. She approached me slowly and stood in front of me, not speaking. After a minute I got agitated. Say something. I blew the smoke out of the side of my mouth so it didnt go in her face. She was making me more nervous just standing there then I wouldve been if she was screaming at me. She didnt say anything. I turned to walk inside, and she followed behind me. We made our way upstairs, and once we were in the apartment I turned to face her. She hadnt moved from her place by the front door. Whyd you come here if you were just going to stand there mute? She blinked at me a couple of times and shrugged. I dont know what to say. Her voice was so quiet I barely heard her. How about, Edward, you lied to me. Youre the most fucked up person that Ive ever known in my life and your problems are abysmal so dont be mad, but Im peacing the fuck out of here and never coming back. Druggie. I smirked. What do you think? She shook her head. This isnt funny. If that was how I felt, would I be here? I dont know? She took a few steps, closing the gap between us and wrapped her arms around my chest, hugging me tightly. Too tightly. I didnt hug her back. I was afraid to touch her. I was afraid she wouldnt want me, the fucked up bipolar heroin addict, touching her. She was innocent. Bella I reached behind me and unlocked her arms, and kept my hands wrapped around her wrists. I held my hands out in front of me and her face was so full of sorrow and remorse I couldnt look at her. Im sorry. Dont apologize. You didnt do anything wrong to me. She twisted her wrist around and pulled, trying to tell me to let go of her. So I did. Then, she lifted her hand slowly and ran her fingers through my hair, down the back of my head, and then she dropped her hand to my shoulder and her other one flitted across the side of my cheek.

Edward, I meant everything that I said yesterday. I told you, there was nothing that was going to keep me away from you. That Id do anything for you. I meant that. This isnt going to make me leave. Was she crazy? Probably. Did I love and appreciate the fact that she wasnt scared shitless right now and judging the fuck out of me? Yeah. Could I just stand by and let her stay around me, as fucked up as I was? No way. This didnt feel right. The whole reason I didnt tell her was because I was trying to protect her from it and now, she knew and she was a part of it. I loved her too much. She didnt deserve this. Bella, I dont think you know what youre taking about. Yes, I do. Im absolutely sure about you. Im staying with you, Edward. I couldnt help it. I cupped her face in my hands and crushed her soft, pink lips into mine. She reached around and pushed the back of my head forward, so she was holding my mouth to hers. I felt her breathing speed up, and her mouth parted and her breath was going into my mouth, and suddenly she pulled away from me. We need to talk about this, Edward. I nodded and kissed her again. I know. I said the words without moving away from her lips. She started walking backward, trying to pull away from me, but sill kissing me back. Bella stopped when her back hit the wall. I wrapped my hands around her tiny waist and lifted her up with ease, pinning her to the wall with my hips. Thank god she was wearing a skirt. Edward, listen. She was gasping for air as I kissed my way down her neck, tasting her sweet skin and breathing in the smell of her shampoo and the ocean from her hair. I love you. I want to help. Tell me She moaned as I reached under her skirt and squeezed a handful of her ass. Tell me how I can help. I stopped kissing her neck long enough to speak. Stop talking. She giggled and reached down, pulling her shirt over her head and dropping it on the floor by my feet. I struggled with mine, trying not to let her down from the wall, but eventually Bella helped me pull it all the way off. She stared at my chest, her eyes hooded and her hair falling loosely in her face. I watched as she ran her fingers down the middle of my chest, over my belly button, and down my happy trail, biting her bottom lip and smirking as she reached my boxers. Come on you cant just distract me with sex every time I need to talk to you about something serious. Oh, yes I could.

I moved my hand that was still lifting her ass and slid it forward, until I reached her underwear. Without giving her a change to say anything, I reached underneath them and pushed a finger into her gently. She moaned, and pushed herself harder against my hand. I started moving my hand back and forth, taking in Bellas every breath and gasp and whisper of my name. Her cheeks were turning red, and her nails were digging into the flesh on my back, and every few seconds shed push her face to mine and kiss me with more longing and desire than any womans ever kissed me before. Edward, please. Her hands were back at my boxers and she was sliding her fingers teasingly under the elastic band. And then she nearly ripped the button off my jeans and they fell around my ankles. She looked down, and then into my eyes, her face desperate and full of sorrow. I promise, well talk. I touched her face with my one free hand. I just need you right now. I know. I need you too. With one motion shed pulled my boxers down to the top of my thighs, and shed lowered herself enough so she was right on top of me. I pulled out my hand and pushed into her center, relishing in the way the blood rushed to her cheeks and her back arched with every thrust. Her tongue swirled around in my mouth, pushing against mine and she breathed my name into my mouth over and over. I started losing control and I held her against the wall, pushing my hips against her harder and harder. Are you okay? I didnt want to hurt her. She nodded and moved my hands up her back so that I was gripping onto her shoulders and she pushed down, making me go deeper into her. The feeling sent a chill down my back. Keep going. She was gasping and her nails were in my back again, but it felt so good, and I almost felt like I was taking advantage of her at that moment, because she was so generous. So beautiful, so forgiving, so tolerant, so laissez-faire. She was perfect, and I was the opposite. I was fucked, and I was pulling this nave woman under with me, to this dark place that was me. I knew better. She deserved more than me. The thought of that made me sad, so I kept going, and I told her I was about to finish, and I moaned that I loved her into her mouth and I felt her muscles clamping around me and then I stood there. I kissed her softly, and I lifted her by her waist and pulled out of her and I dropped her on the floor and pulled my fucking pants up and grabbed my shirt and walked into the bathroom, ashamed. And I turned the faucet on and splashed cold water onto my face, and I dont know why but my heart was pounding out of my chest and it felt heavy, and my mind was swirling in a million directions and a sob escaped from deep in my stomach and I crouched down on the floor and I cried. I had so many emotions churning around inside my body and I was so overwhelmed and I didnt know what to do, or how to stop, but I just cried like a fucking baby. After a few minutes Bella walked in, and I didnt look at her because my head was between my knees, and I felt like such a pussy, but I couldnt stop. And she didnt say anything. She didnt ask any questions. She just sat next to me and leaned her head on my arm and played with a strand of hair on the back of my head. I felt myself calming, and it was easier for me to breathe. I lifted the hem of my t-shirt to my face and rubbed the wetness from my eyes before tilting my head slightly toward her.

Im sorry. BPOV I hated that he kept apologizing to me. As if he had anything to apologize for. And he was crying. Seeing him cry broke my heart. I wouldve been hysterical if I didnt think that was only going to make things worse. Luckily, after a little while of me sitting there not saying anything and just playing with a lock of his hair, he calmed down enough to look at me. And he said sorry. For what, I have no idea. Instead of asking, I kissed his forehead and ignored him. Come on. I helped him up from the bathroom floor. The bathroom floor that was tainted to me because it was mentioned in Rosalies little nightmare. In fact, the entire apartment was tainted to me. I was so freaked out walking in there that everything I planned on saying to Edward slipped from my mind. I planned on screaming at him. I planned on cursing and insulting him, and maybe punching him in the face again because the bastard lied to me, and I was going to make him promise to get help. And then when I pulled up in the cab he was already standing there, because he knew I was coming, and he knew that I knew, and he looked broken. And I walked up to him and he was smoking and I saw the bruise on his face that Id given him and all of a sudden the last couple of days came floating back to me, and I just stood there, because I loved Edward far too much to be mean to him or think poorly of him ever again. No matter how wrong I thought what he was doing was. I held Edwards hand as we walked out of the bathroom. When we walked by the entranceway, I ran over and picked up my shirt from the ground, throwing it over my head on the walk back to him. I led him over to the living room and he dropped into the sofa with a sigh. My body collapsed next to him and I slid down on my side, resting my head in his lap. He put his hands in my hair like he always did, but he didnt move them. He just rested them there. Between the trip, and saying that we love each other, and you finding out about whatever when we were there, and then Emmett calling me and telling me that Rose told you about the drugs, and then seeing you here, not angry and just being so accepting. It was a lot for me to take in. I broke down. Im sorry. Uh well how do you think I feel? And stop saying sorry. Im glad you did it. At least Im seeing some kind of emotion out of you instead of what I usually see. I heard Edward grunt and the muscles in him stomach clench. Bella whyd you come here, exactly? Because. Youre stopping this. Im not Emmett or Esme or Carlisle Im not going to let you do whatever you want. Ill do whatever I have to. You can fight me all you want, but I wont give up. Not that Im trying to fight, but okay, Rose had a bad experience. I fucked up. That was one time I-

First of all, Emmett told her that wasnt the first time youd done that. And I dont care if it was once- when you fucking OD it means you have a serious problem. You almost died, Edward. How can you take that so lightly? I turned my head back to look up at his face. He was smiling. I didnt mean to do it. I drank too much. He shrugged. You didnt even know before she told you. So what difference does it make? I knew this is what Emmett was talking about when he said that I couldnt force Edward into it. But, that didnt change the fact that it pissed me off majorly. I turned my head away from him and took a deep breath. It makes every fucking bit of difference in the world. Im not going to sit here and worry about you for the rest of my life- Im not asking you to. I didnt say you were. Edward, youre acting like a dick. Talk to me without being so condescending. He sighed and leaned over, kissing my temple. I want you to stop doing it if not for yourself, then for me. What difference does it make to you? I sat up and burrowed myself into his side, leaning my chin against his shoulder. Because, I love you. I want to be with you, always. I want us to have a future together. I want you to be happy, and you arent right now. And if you keep doing what youre doing, you never will be. I put my hand on Edwards cheek and turned his head to mine. His green eyes were deep in thought. I kissed his lips softly a few times before returning to my spot on his lap. I need to think about things, Bella. He threw him arm over the back of the sofa. No. I stood up and spun around, kneeling in front of him. This is it, Edward. Youre doing it. Theres nothing to think about. Youve hit rock bottom. Youre a fucking rich kid thats ridiculously talented, you have this amazing job and amazing apartment, great friends, all the opportunities in the world, you have an amazing life and you cant enjoy any of it, because youre a god damn heroin addict who overdoses in alleyways in the ghetto. Doesnt that mean anything to you? Heroin addict who overdosed in an alleyway in the ghetto. Singular. Dont exaggerate. Its not funny. I know. He rubbed his eyes, which were still red from crying and he turned his head to look out the window. Okay. Fine, whatever you want.

Good. Well go talk to Carlisle later. No, no, no. Youre going to step to the side and not have anything to do with this. Just let me handle it. I made a face at him, but then I nodded, trying not to push him any further today. I got back onto the sofa and Edward started running his hands through my hair. I didnt realize that I was so exhausted from the past couple of days events, but I drifted off to sleep a little while later. Denial and Help EPOV Do you want to have babies? Bella looked up at me curiously from her laptop as she stuck a spoon of yogurt in her mouth. I shook my head, flabbergasted. What? I mean do you? I stared down at the newspaper in front of me, and I blinked a couple of times. Then I looked back at her and shook my head again. What? With you? Now? Wait what? No. No I dont want babies. I didnt even like saying the word. Not ever? No. I can assure you that along with myself there are many people against me reproducing. She shrugged and looked back down at her laptop. I guess thats a good thing, then. She squinted her eyes and continued to read something on the screen. What are you even doing? Reading. Did you know long term heroin use can have drastic effects on male fertility? No, I didnt know that. I thought about it for a second. Did I want children? Not right now. But did I never want them? I wasnt sure. I didnt like the thought of not being able to if I did eventually want them. Huh. Why are you reading about that? I asked her, agitated. She was fucking with my head on purpose.

Im just doing research. She said it nonchalantly, like it wasnt a big deal. Oh, Im just doing research about my dopehead boyfriend. No biggie. That shit pissed me off. How about you research stuff for your little novel and stop annoying the fuck out of me. I mean, seriously Bella, its eight in the morning. She took a sip of her coffee. First of all, I didnt tell you to get up. You were making noise. She was banging the cabinets shut and doing dishes and typing away on her fucking laptop for over an hour before I finally got out of bed. Edward. She reached across the counter and put her hand on mine. You said you were going to handle this. Its been over a week. You havent talked about it at all, and I honestly think its because youve done nothing. She sat back in her seat and moved her fingers along the keyboard. Theres a detox center uptown, on- Im not going there. I flipped the newspaper over and heard her sigh. Why not? You dont need a fucking detox center to get off heroin. You just need a bed. And a toilet. I laughed and Bella squinted at me, clearly not amused. Calm down, B. I know what Im doing. No, you dont. If only she knew what I was planning on. Yes I do. Just shut up and come here. Bella smirked and made her way around the corner, climbing into my lap. She leaned her body forward and started reading the paper, turning around a couple of times to share her yogurt with me. It was a little routine that wed started whenever she slept over. I watched her twirl a long lock of her hair around her pointer finger. I brushed my hand along the skin of her back that showed when her shirt crawled up. I listened to her adorably Hmm and Wow as she read through the Daily News. When we were done, she cleaned off the counter and looked at the time on the microwave. I should take a shower. Since wed gotten back from the beach house, Bella had slowly infiltrated her shit into my apartment. She had her own toothbrush here. She reorganized my clothes so she could have her own drawer. Her cell phone charger took up permanent residence in my wall. There were granola bars in my pantry, for gods sake. But I didnt care. I kind of liked it, actually. The first couple of days after we got back were rough for her- she didnt want to see Rose or Alice, or Emmett for that matter, so she packed a bag that first day and didnt go back until the middle of the week. I also think she was afraid to let me out of her sight. But I was so happy that she wasnt leaving me, I reveled in every second of it.

Of course, I had shit to do for her. I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to leave her, which was Plan A, so my Plan B involved some serious shit. I needed to start setting up my life for what was to come. I had to make sure that there were no other options for me. That once I started there was no going back. Unfortunately, this shit wasnt easy. I was going to need help from my parents and Emmett. And I was trying to delay it as long as I could. I heard the shower go on and instantly my perverted mind went to Bella undressing. Bella wet and naked. And soapy. I was in the bathroom in .2 seconds. I ripped my t-shirt off and let my boxers fall to the ground before stepping into the shower with her. Edward. She tilted her head back and let the stream of water rinse the shampoo from her hair. The smell filled my nostrils and floated around the bathroom, basking me in the scent. I stepped into the steaming water and raised an eyebrow. What? I started playing with her boobs but she swatted my hands away. I think you need to talk to Emmett. Damn it. Shut up already, woman. No, its cool. I moved my face so my mouth was on her nipple, but she grabbed a handful of my hair and yanked upward, forcing me to look at her. Owww. Shit. Come on, Edward, She poured more shampoo into her hands and started scrubbing at my head. Emmett wants to marry Rosalie. He already talked about it to me and Alice twice. Yuck. Nevermind. She switched places with me so that I was standing under the water. I sighed as the soap ran from my hair. Okay, so Emmett wants to ruin his life. What does this have to do with me? Bella handed me the bar of soap as I stepped out of the water. Hell never be able to have a normal relationship with her because hes always worrying about you. Shes always his second priority. And he does that because he feels guilty and thinks that its his fault that youre the way you are. She turned away from me to wash the soap off her body. She wasnt telling me anything I didnt already know. So maybe if you talk to him, and make him see that this isnt anyones fault, hell back off and focus more on his own life. Hmmm. I stared at Bellas naked ass as I thought about it. She kind of had a point. Not to mention, without having Emmett help me all the time, chances were Id have more motivation to get clean. It could be my first step. I slapped her ass and laughed as she switched places with me again. Ill talk to him later. Hopefully I can talk him out of it.

Doubt it. But have fun trying. I rolled my eyes and sneered. Why the fuck didnt he tell me this? Uhh, probably because he didnt want you to feel bad. Since the reason hes waited this long is because of you. Of course. I was always responsible for ruining everything. Dinner later should be fun, huh? Uhhhh dinner. Shoot me now. Yeah. Mom and Dad are going to be thrilled that at least one of their kids turned out the right way. I started mentally preparing myself for what I was going to do tonight. I regretted it already. Maybe this will be good for you. I mean, planning his wedding will distract them for a little while, right? Fuck them. And Emmett. And Rosalie. And their future babies. Bellas mouth dropped open in shock. Youre being spiteful. No, Im not, Im joking. Kind of. I winked at her. Ill go talk to him in a little while. Then I gave her the half smile because that shit worked on her every time. And today was no different. She jumped into my arms and I slammed her up against the wall and gave her a little bit of Edward Cullens morning delight. She loved it. Of course, her happiness didnt last long because she had to keep asking me dumbass questions. Bella was tearing away at her wet hair with a brush and watching me shave in the mirror when she started. Can I ask you something? I stopped moving the razor along my face to answer her. No. Did you did you do it today? I looked down at the sink and wiggled the razor around. No. I answered her honestly. Why do you want to know? When was the last time you did it? She had given up on her hair and was seated on the closed toilet. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. You dont want to know this shit. Tell me. Ive seen you watching me. Cant you tell? Not at all. Thats why Im asking.

I dropped the razor on the counter and looked at myself in the mirror as I said it. Last night. Before bed. She sighed. Why why would you do it before bed? I bit my bottom lip and shrugged. It just depends on when I do it during the day. When I start craving it, I do it. Thats all. I think my honesty shocked her a little. I rinsed my face off and patted it with a towel before kneeling down in front of her. Whats the matter? Do you want to do it right now? I frowned as I thought about it. Did I want to before? Not really. Did all this talk about it make me want to? Yeah. Yes. I was honest, but I was ashamed. I didnt look at her when I said it. I saw her throat move as she swallowed hard. So do it. I shot my head up and glared at her, confused. What? Do it. I want to see you do it. No. I stood up and stomped out of the bathroom. I dont know what kind of mind fuckery she was playing with me, but I wanted no part of it. Of course, I heard her little footsteps behind me and when I turned around, she was right there. Whats the big deal? You have no problem doing it around me. Why wont you do it in front of me? No. Why not? You do it in front of Emmett and Jasper. I was ready to rip Emmetts balls off for dishing so much information about me to her. Thats different. And I dont want to youre freaking me out, just go away for a little while. Im not going anywhere. Shed thrown her hair back and a few short, wet strands had fallen out. I pushed one of them behind her ear and looked out the window behind her. Silence. Fine.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the bag. I spilled some of it on the counter that Bella had just cleaned, and I chopped it up. Come here. I grabbed her arm and roughly yanked her to the counter so she was standing right next to me. Before I did it, I looked up at her to see if she was watching. The look on her face made my heart drop. Her eyes were sad and scared and distant, and her cheeks had turned white, and she nervously bit her bottom lip. I could feel the sadness and desperation radiating off of her. But, she wanted to see it, so I did it. When I was done, I leaned against the counter and looked at her. Her eyes were watery. I shrugged and my eyes fell to my feet. Happy now? And she walked away. And I felt like shit. And then I realized what the point of her little mind game bullshit was, because now every god damn time I looked at it, that shitty, guilty, fucked up feeling was going to come forward and the vision of her looking hopeless was going to float around my burnt out brain. She wasnt stupid. I felt like an asshole. I felt like trash. I felt guilty. "I'm gonna go." Bella picked her purse up and started walking toward the door. "Why are you mad? You did this. My muscles started to feel heavy. She stopped at the door and her head fell forward. Then, she mumbled something to herself and walked over to me. "I'm not mad." She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me. I had to use the counter to balance myself. "I'll see you at dinner, okay? Talk to Emmett, please." "I will." I watched her glide toward the door. I still felt like a dirtbag. "B!" She spun around. "What?" "I I" I couldnt say it. I felt too awful. She smirked and waved goodbye. "I know, Edward." * BPOV "Bella, is that you?" I heard Rose's voice echo across the apartment the second I walked through the door. It was like she was listening to see when I got home. Yeah! A few seconds later she was standing in front of me, fully dressed with her purse in hand. I cant go to dinner. I have to go to a stupid meeting with my agent.

Ughh. I threw my head back with exasperation and sighed. I hated going to dinner at the Cullens without Rose. Im sorry. Itll be fine. Tell them Im sorry I couldnt come. And youre supposed to be there in like a half hour so hurry up. I changed as quickly as I could and hopped in a taxi. Screw Edward and screw his damn MetroCard. I was late. After yelling at the driver about 12 times, I pulled up to Edward's building. He was already standing there waiting for me, looking glorious. He tossed his cigarette to the side and slid next to me, making a face. "You're late, biotch." "I'm aware. Thank my friend the driver for taking the longest possible way here!" I shouted the end so he could hear me. "Alright, calm down." He draped his arm lazily over my shoulder. "So how was work?" I shrugged. "Really busy." I still had the image in my mind from this morning, and seeing Edward made me feel awkward. "What's wrong with you?" Edward noticed the blank tone in my voice. "Nothing." "Tell me. I stared out the window, ignoring him. Its because of this morning, right? I nodded. Its fine. Before I saw it happen right in front of my face I was still in denial. Now I know its real. I just hate this. Yeah, you and me both. So then stop. Edward sighed. Bella Im going to talk to my parents about it today. I have to do this on my own though, when Im ready. So stop bugging me. Sorry. Lets talk about something else. I told Edward all about work and Rose not coming to dinner and I asked him about Emmett. He said he didnt want to talk about it. I tried prying, and he didnt budge, so I sulked the rest of the ride to Momma and Papa Cullens' house. I was a little eager, though, to see what they would say when Edward brought everything up. When we walked inside, there was audible conversation coming from the den. We entered the room and got the stare down from Esme and Carlisle. "Oh, good, he's here. We can eat." Carlisle announced our arrival with a lack of enthusiasm. Thanks, douche. Esme greeted me with a hug per usual and Carlisle muttered something under his breath to Edward that I didnt make out. There was some

noticeable tension going on between him and Emmett. I slid into my designated seat next to Edward without mentioning it. "So, Edward, whats new? Esme started her typical meddling into his life as soon as we sat down. They always started with Edward, since usually dinner was the only time during the week they spoke to him. Nothing at all. I noticed him staring at his food hesitantly. Are you not hungry? Oh, Esme. Why would you even start? He didnt answer her, he just stuck the fork in his plate and moved it around. Everyone sat there in awkward silence. Emmett, when are you going to do it? Edward looked across the table at Emmett, who was startled by the sudden conversation change. Shut up. Do what? Carlisle asked curiously. Emmetts proposing to Rosalie. Esme and Carlisle both gasped and stared at each other with surprise. Edward, shut the fuck up. Apparently Edward had just blown up his spot. Thats great, Emmett but, do you think that right now is really the best time? Carlisle trailed off at the end of his sentence. Emmett cleared his throat and looked at Edward. Yeah. Why wouldnt it be? No answer. I think I can survive on my own without Emmett taking care of me. But thanks for the concern, Daddy. I tried as hard as I could not to laugh at Edwards sarcasm because the whole situation was so not funny. Ill believe that when I see it. Im good. Bellas taken over babysitting duty. Rest assured, Ill survive. I stared down at my plate, but I could feel everyones eyes on me. Bella, what do you think Edward should do? I gulped and looked up at Carlisle. I um I think- This isnt really dinner conversation. Esme interrupted. Thank god.

No, I think its great dinner conversation. I want help. Mom, you start. Edward dropped his fork on the table and grinned at her, folding his hands. Awkward. Everyone looked at Edward, confused as fuck. He was asking for help from them. Something no one thought hed ever do. Well I dont really know the extent of the relationship that you have with Bella- Im not just fucking her. Oh my God. I covered my face with my hands in embarrassment. Emmett choked on his food and coughed a couple of times. Edward, please. Carlisle wasnt amused in the least with his statement. Um, well, if what you mean is that things are getting serious then, I suggest you start looking into treatment. Esme looked at him, waiting for a response. Treatment. I didnt like the word. It was like he had cancer or something. Okay. Good input. Pointless, but nice effort. Dad, your turn. Edward was being such an annoying little prick about everything, but I realized that was just his defense mechanism. Still, I was surprised Carlisle didnt get up and choke slam him on the dining room table. You know how I feel, Edward. I think without changing some things around in your life first, detox or not, youll just fall right back into it again. Edward nodded, considering what Carlisle had said. What things do you think I should change in my life, per se? Well, I think youve made the biggest step by changing the kinds of people you associate with. From what Emmetts told me, you havent been spending any time with your usual crowd. Emmett, how does this work? I mean, do they have a direct news feed set up here where you type something in and then, boom- Edward was not out until 7 this morning doing drugs with a model pops up at the bottom of the TV? Or do you just do it the old fashioned way and call or stop by whenever you have information about me that you think is gonna interest them? Emmett squinted his eyes at Edward and gave him the finger. Youre being a douche bag. Edward rolled his eyes. Okay. This is your fault, anyway.

Oh, lord. I foresaw some screaming about to happen. My fault? How? Because, you want to marry your bitch of a girlfriend, but Oh, everyone has to wait for Edward to get better. And then Mom and Dad tell you to wait on me and make me feel stupid and I have to listen to this shit. Good, you should feel stupid. Junkie. Emmett! Carlisle stood up when he saw Edward jump from his chair, ready to pounce on Emmett. Edward, sit down. This is why everything is the way it is. Its impossible for us to talk as a family without cursing and fighting with each other. Edward sat down, gripping the edge of his chair so tightly his knuckles were white. I rubbed the back of his head soothingly until I saw his grip loosen. I didnt know what the hell had happened earlier with Emmett. Anyway, continuing on. I think you need to start being more responsible with your money. I mean, honestly, Edward. How much money do you spend on drugs per week? Edward looked down at his plate, shaking his head. Im not answering that. Okay, how about this? How much money do you make per month, on average? Edward looked at me, then at Carlisle. I wanted to hear the answer. It all depends what I do. Lately Ive just been doing like two or three big shoots per month, so I dont know? Maybe $20,000. My mouth dropped open. Edward saw me and waved his hand in front of his face. No, no. It seems like more than it is. They make me put away a lot of what I make, and I have to pay for my equipment and I have all my other bills that I pay too, and after taxes... I wasnt listening. I was still trying to figure out what $20,000 x 12 was. Now correct me if Im wrong, Carlisle continued. But Im assuming you spend somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000 a month on your habit. Right? Edward nodded & I wanted to vomit. It seemed like such a ridiculous amount of money to me. For someone who made $20,000 and up per month taking a couple of pictures, I guess it wasnt. Okay. So this is what well do. Carlisle grabbed a pen from his shirt pocket and started scribbling down on a napkin. This is how much Im paying for your rent per

month. With what youre making minus this and this here- He slid the napkin over to Edward. Youre going to start paying for your own apartment. And you can afford it, if you stop buying drugs. Edwards eyes popped out of his head. Wait, no- what? Im not doing that. Thats not fair. Lifes not fair, Edward. Rent is due October 17th, so start saving. Or you can move back home, if youd like? Edward crossed his arms over his chest and sat back in his chair, frowning. I dont know why he was so pissed. He brought this on himself, so what was he really expecting? You have money put away. Start digging into that if need be. I dont want to do that. That moneys for He trailed off, taking a deep breath. Uhhh. So, what else? Carlisle was shocked that he was taking more criticism. He tapped his pen against the edge of the table as he thought. You need to stop drinking so much. Every time that something bad has happened to you, it involved you drinking. Edward rolled his eyes again and nodded. And there are a few other things that Emmett & I were discussing. So know that there are things we plan on doing to help, Edward. You may not think theyre helping, but they are in the long run. Oh, and one last thing. Carlisle pointed at Emmett, and then looked at me. There will be no more at home emergencies. Bella, if something is to happen to Edward, you call 911. Not Emmett. Do you understand? I nodded, realizing what would happen if Edward went to the hospital. He started breathing weird and murmuring stuff under his breath. Okay, then. Im glad we discussed this, Edward. When you think youre ready, well talk about the detox. Edward just nodded, looking like he wanted to slam his head against the table repeatedly. The rest of the dinner went by quickly, and the conversation changed from Edwards dysfunctional life to Emmetts upcoming proposal. Esme gushed about wedding plans and Emmett just kind of nodded along without too much input. Edward sat silent for the rest of the meal. When we got up to leave, Carlisle brought Edward into another room to talk to him alone. Emmett and I said goodbye to Esme and walked together toward the front door. Emmett what the hell happened earlier? Why are you two at each others throats?

Emmett rolled his eyes, shaking his head. Hes just Im a little nervous. Right now, at this point, things can either get better or worse. And Edward told me he doesnt want me having anything to do with him anymore, as far as the whole heroin thing goes. Thats just leaving you there to help him. Its hard for me to sit by and not do anything. I just have this feeling like something bad is going to happen. I dont think so. I dont know. Emmett sighed. Theres a lot going on right now. I think this thing with Rosalie made Edward feel guilty, so thats why hes pushing me away. He seems scared. And, I dont really know if you guys have titled what your relationship is, but Edwards never really had a serious girlfriend before. And to have one now, at a point in his life like this, I just I dont know. Im lost. I dont know whats right and wrong. And I guess I just told it to him like it is this afternoon and he didnt like me being honest. I shrugged and hugged Emmett. Okay well, thanks I guess. Goodnight. Goodnight. Oh, Bella! Emmett reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny velvet box. He flipped it up, revealing an extravagant, huge, princess cut diamond ring that I knew Rose would love. What do you think? Its perfect. He beamed and stuck it back in his pocket before walking out. I stood in the foyer, waiting for Edward to finish talking to Carlisle. I looked around at the family pictures that were on the walls and the tables, that Id already seen like 50 times. Edward was even a perfect looking kid. It was ridiculous. There were no pictures of him at an awkward phase. No braces. No stupid haircuts. No glasses. It made me laugh. Eventually he emerged from wherever he was, still looking extremely pissed. Lets get out of here. We walked to the next block and got on the subway. As we waited for the train, Edward pointed at a rat running across the tracks. Thats disgusting. He just laughed and threw his gum at it. So whatd your dad say? Nothing of any importance. He shoved his hand in his pockets and leaned back on his heels. Sorry to do that in front of you. I wanted you to see that I was trying, though. Thanks. We walked onto the train after it arrived. Edward stayed standing and leaned against the door, even though there were a bunch of seats open. Are you mad hes making you pay for the apartment? Yes and no. Yes because thats thousands and thousands of dollars I didnt have to pay before. And no because if Im paying for it myself Carlisle has no way to control me. That was the only way he could, and now he cant. Edward smiled. Thats all he was talking to me about.

I nodded, not understanding what exactly Carlisles motive was. Because if Edward managed to pay for the apartment, and somehow still found a way to buy his drugs then Carlisle wouldnt have anything else to use against him. It made me a little nervous. So. How do you feel about them getting married? Edward asked me as he casually tapped his hands against the door. Fine, I guess. I shrugged. Ive never even thought about getting married. I dont know what Im supposed to think. It kind of makes me feel old, though. Edward laughed. What about you? I dont care. He looked down at his shoes and shrugged. Your stop is next. What do you want to do? Stay with me tonight. Edward made a face. I always stay at your apartment. Just come. I managed to coax him into getting off with me. We walked back to my apartment without saying much to each other. When we walked inside, no one was there. I dropped my stuff on the dining room table and spun around to him. Edward? What? He raised an eyebrow at me. Um when your mom asked before what our relationship was what did you mean- He frowned. Sorry about that. It was just to piss them off. He picked up a pair of dice that were sitting on the table. Emmett and Jasper had been there the night before, playing some drinking game with them. But, were not just sleeping together, right? He looked and me, and then down at the dice he was shaking in his hand. No. You hesitated. No I didnt. Because I know you said you didnt want a relationship with me, but that was before. Things are different now. And if were in love with each other, it doesnt make sense that we arent- He nodded. I know. So I felt my cheeks turning red. When exactly are we going to Edward half smiled at me and blinked a few times. If you have something to say, say it Bella.

I want us to be together. I want you to want us to be together. Edward ran his thumb up my cheek and made me shiver. His eyes were glowing. We are together. Really? He nodded again. I felt my heart speed up a little. Edward was my boyfriend. My boyfriend. I felt like I was in second grade all over again. He shook the dice around in his hands again and pulled me closer to the table. Lets see how this relationship is going to go. If it comes out closer to 12, that means itll be good. And closer to 2 that means disaster. I frowned. If you think theres a chance this will end in disaster, maybe we shouldnt be together. He laughed. Its just a game. Here, He handed me one of the dice. On three. One two three. I dropped mine onto the table and watched it flip over. 5. Edward's rolled across the table and landed on 2. Seven. I crossed my arms over my chest. Thats right in the middle. What the fuck does that mean? I guess well have to wait and see. With that, he lifted me up and carried me into my bedroom. Sympathy BPOV Youre being ridiculous. I cant be late, so come on! Edward crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the TV, ignoring me. Normally Id have more patience with him, but Id been busy and running around all day, and he was in one of his moods, unprovoked, of course. My temper was on edge, and I was ready to deck him in the face. I stalked into the living room and pressed the power button on the TV and stood in front of it as he sneered at me. Im not going. Youre going. Get in the shower and get a fucking move on. If it was any other day, Id have just given up and let him mope around his apartment alone. But Esme had given me specific instructions a couple of hours earlier to make sure that Edward got there. Tension in the family had been running extremely high and she knew that if it was up to him, he wouldnt be at Rosalie & Emmetts engagement dinner.

Edward had been moody as fuck lately. He was about ten times worse then usual. It had gotten so bad, that my usual attitude of spend every possible breathing second I can with Edward had turned to walk out as soon as Edward starts screaming at you and I didnt like that. Moody Edward was one thing, but moody, insulting, condescending, purposefully hurtful Edward was completely another. In the last month, since his little talk with his parents, his attitude had steadily gotten worse and worse. I knew it was one of those things that Id just have to deal with, because I was unexplainably still completely obsessed with him, but it was starting to take a toll on me. It was almost like he was trying to push me away to see how much I could take. Edward didnt move from his spot. Seriously, Edward, stop being so god damn selfish. Im the maid of honor, and youre the friggen best man, we cant be late, and your parents are going to kill me if you arent there. Think of someone besides yourself, maybe just for today. He rolled his eyes and yawned. Why are you even here? Why wouldnt I be? Maybe because I dont want you here? I saw red. I knew he was trying to provoke me, but the snide tone in his voice made me livid. I marched over to him and grabbed his arm and tried pulling him off the sofa. Get up! Get the fuck off me. He stood up and effortlessly removed my clenched fingers from around his forearm. I grabbed the collar of his shirt with my other hand and tried yanking him toward the bathroom. He planted his feet, so it did nothing besides stretch out his shirt and piss him off more. I didnt care. Bella, if you dont stop touching me, Im gonna flip out. Leave, now. He grabbed my shoulders and moved me away from him, taking a step back. Fine, dont shower. Go there looking like a strung out mess, I dont give a shit. I stomped toward his bed and grabbed his suit that Id just picked up from the dry cleaners and I threw it on the sofa. Get dressed. What are you not understanding right now? Are you fucking deaf? I said Im not going. Yes you are, so hurry up! I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I was done. I pulled my cell phone out and started dialing. Hey Bella. Jasper sounded out of breath. I need you to come to Edwards please. Hes acting like an asshole.

Edward gave me the finger. Jasper sighed into the phone and I heard Alices voice in the background. Okay. Ill be there in a couple minutes. Thanks, bye. I hung up and threw my phone back in my purse. Good job. Now youre just inconveniencing everyone. Yeah, its what I do. He smirked and walked away from me. You must be really proud. I flung my purse over my shoulder and hiked toward the door. Have fun at dinner! I ignored him and slammed the door as hard as I could on the way out. Damn it, he was irritating. My feet were already killing me and a strand of my hair had fallen out from the up-do thing Alice had done to it in the shuffle, and I didnt even want to look at myself in the mirror because I was sure Id smudged my eye makeup. I got into a cab and gave the address of the restaurant we were meeting at. At least I wouldnt be late now. When I pulled up, Alice was standing outside on her phone, giving someone directions. Her eyes widened when she looked at me, and she started fixing my hair without saying anything. Okay yes just call me back if you cant find it okay, bye. She put her phone in her purse and shook her head. What the hell happened to you? I sighed. Nothing. Okay, this is fixable. Lets go to the bathroom. I didnt care about my stupid hair or makeup or outfit. It was a pointless dinner, in my opinion, but Rosalie decided she wanted to have a small wedding, and in January, so instead of doing some big formal engagement party we rushed out a dinner with our close friends and their family. I had assumed she was going to have some big to-do, but surprisingly she just wanted to have the wedding as soon as she could and she didnt want to make a big fuss about it. I think that was why she chose me as her maid of honor instead of Alice, because she knew Alice would try and force her into big plans that she didnt want. I sat in a chair in the elaborate bathroom while Alice kneeled in front of me. She was pulling all kind of toiletries and make up from her bag. So what happened with Edward? I dont know. I closed my eyes so she could fix my eyeliner. Hes in a really bad mood. He didnt want to come here, at all. And him and Emmett are weird with each other right now, so I figured Jasper was the best bet. I sighed and opened my eyes. I just feel like hes going nowhere. I want to help but I dont know what to do.

Do nothing. Just sit there and be there for him. Alice shrugged and stood up. Okay. You look good. Lets just enjoy ourselves tonight. Dont stress out about him. Whatever happened before just remember it wasnt personal. He loves you. I nodded, even though I was highly doubting it as this point. Alice and I stood at the entrance to the restaurant, greeting all the guests that came before Rosalie and Emmett made it. They finally got there, with Esme & Carlisle, and Rosalies parents in tow. Esme walked up to me, looking at her watch. Is he here? I shook my head. What happened? He said he doesnt want to come. I sent Jasper there to get him. She sighed and put her hand on her forehead. Okay. Lets just go inside. Eventually everyone was seated. There was an empty chair next to me, and one next to Alice. Emmett leaned over the seat and whispered in my ear. Where the hell is he? I shrugged and took a sip of my wine. A couple of minutes later, Jasper and Edward appeared in the doorway. Japer looked tired, and Edward was showered and shaven and looked amazing, even with the dark circles that were forming under his eyes. I still was pissed, though. Jasper plopped into his chair, sighing, as Edward walked around and greeted all of his family. He sat down next to me without saying anything or even looking in my direction. About halfway through the uneventful dinner, I felt Edwards hand grab mine under the table. I yanked it away from him and continued eating my food without looking up. Id forgive him eventually, but not right now. I was tired of him walking all over me. I felt his chair move closer to mine, and I tilted my head toward him. Stop, Edward. The entire table was bustling with conversation and laughter, and no one was paying attention to us. Im sorry. He tried to touch my face by I swatted his hand away. I dont care. I heard him huff and move his chair back to where it was before. Edward had neglected to plan a speech, not surprisingly, and if he wasnt doing one I wasnt either, and luckily no one mentioned it. When dinner was done, everyone slowly started filing out. Alice, Esme and I thanked the manager of the restaurant that had helped us to plan everything, and then we met everyone outside. Emmett, Rosalie, and their parents were going back to the Cullens for drinks, and Alice and Jasper were

going back to our apartment. I started to get into the cab with them, but Edward grabbed the door so I couldnt shut it. Where are you going? He asked me after taking a drag of his cigarette. Home. How long are you going to be mad about this? I looked at Jasper and Alice, who were sitting in the cab staring at us, patiently waiting to leave. I didnt like arguing with Edward in front of other people. Its not just today, Edward. Youre in a bad mood all the time. And you always take it out on me. I need a little break from you. He squinted his eyes at me and nodded. Fine. He slammed the door shut and the cab pulled away, leaving him standing there on the corner. Im sorry, you guys. Its okay. Alice patted my knee and leaned her head on my shoulder. So howd you get him to come? I asked Jasper, who was staring out the window. You dont want to know. Nothing shocked me anymore, so I kept prodding. Tell me. Jasper scratched his head and loosened the tie around his neck. Well, basically I tried to reason with him. He didnt budge. I knew I wasnt gonna be able to talk him into it so, I let him you know and I waited until he was too tired to fight me back and I threw his stupid ass in the shower, clothes and all. He just gave up after that. I rolled my eyes, disgusted. Its pathetic. Yeah, well, Carlisle and Emmett were pissed that he was so late. Its like he has no respect for anyone anymore. They were talking about something I dont know what, but I have the feeling somethings gonna happen soon. Yeah, Ill believe that when I see it. Because nothing was fucking happening. Besides for Edward getting worse. When we got back home, I stayed up drinking for a little while with Alice and Jasper. When they retired into their bedroom, I sat in the living room and tried working on my book. It was hard for me to concentrate when my mood was so shitty. At almost midnight, I heard a light tapping on the door. I had nodded off sitting up, and I didnt realize it until the sound woke me. I dragged my feet toward the door and pulled it open. Edward was standing there, looking disheveled and still in his suit from dinner. His tie was loose and the top couple of buttons of his shirt were open, revealing a small v of his chest. I had to fight to keep my hand from reaching out and touching it.

What are you doing here? I want to talk to you. My weakness for Edward got the better of me, and I let him in. He walked over to the sofa and sat down. I stood there, arms crossed, waiting for an explanation. Stop being so angry. No. I stood there, stoic. Youre exaggerating. No, Im not. I need you to stop. Please, stop doing it. Do it for me. He put his elbows on his knees and scratched the back of his neck. Im trying. How? Tell me how. I sat in the armchair across from him so I wasnt tempted to give in by the close proximity, or his smell, the little V of his chest that was enticing me. Look at me! With Carlisle fucking making me pay for everything I barely have any money to buy it anymore. And my bodys not used to it, and Im on edge 24/7. Well maybe you should just STOP, then. I stood up and walked over to the sofa so I was standing in front of him. I dont know how much more of this I can take. This isnt you. The way youve been treating me its not fair to me. I dont deserve this. I do everything I can possibly do for you, and youre not giving back anything. Well, now you see why I didnt want you getting involved in the first place. He tapped his foot against the ground nervously. I didnt expect that youd stick around through this, anyway. Are you kidding? I told you I wasnt leaving. Are you trying to make me go? He shrugged. If you dont want me around, then tell me. Dont treat me bad and try and push me away. I just dont want to hurt you. I dont think its good if youre here through all this. I I love you too much. Edward hadnt told me he loved me in weeks. It made my heart start pounding. He was telling me he wanted me gone, but because he loved me. I didnt know what to do, or say. Fine. You want me gone, Im gone. But this is your choice, not mine. And then I let my hand brush against his chest, because I didnt know when the next time would be that Id be able to do it. And I felt tears coming, so I scooted closer to him on the sofa and wrapped my arms around his neck and I buried my head into his

shoulder so he wouldnt see me crying. And he hugged me back, and ran his fingers through my hair, and he groaned. I dont want you gone. I leaned back, and saw the look of defeat in his eyes. He looked the same way that I felt. The two of us knew that our love for each other was stronger then this, and that we would fight through it no matter how painful it was. Because it was painful. He hurt me, and he hurt for hurting me, and neither of us had any control over our actions. Because I shouldve left him. And he shouldve stopped for me. But we were both too weak without each other. He leaned in to kiss me. And I let him. And he rubbed his fingers across my cheek to wipe away my tears without moving his lips from mine. And I wallowed in his smell, and his taste, and way my hand felt as it pressed into the back of his neck. And then I pulled away from him and climbed onto his lap and hugged him again. Because I was scared. I didnt want to be away from him. I didnt want him leaving me. I didnt want him to be broken anymore. I nestled myself into his body, and he hugged me back and didnt move or ask me questions. I knew he could feel that I was afraid. Now that I knew him, I couldnt imagine life without Edward. No matter how hard life with him was. Youre the only person in my life thats ever loved me. He said it so calmly and quietly, I barely heard him. That small sentence made my heart ache. I squeezed him tighter and whispered into his ear, That isnt true. Yes it is. My parents never have. All Ive ever done is disappoint them. And Emmett he only cares because he knows its true. Because he feels guilty and he has no other choice. No ones ever loved me for me, the way you do. Edward continued on, telling me stories about him growing up and how he always felt inferior. How he lived his life feeling like an object in his parents world, instead of a person that deserved to be shown love and affection. He told me that hed felt different since he was a teenager, that he knew he was sick, and that when his parents shouldve been showing him attention and concern, they ignored him and cared only about how Edwards behavior and achievements appeared to people on the outside. He always felt like they were ashamed of him, or dissatisfied with him. He said that Emmett only started paying close attention and worrying when he talked about suicide. I couldnt imagine how alone and desperate he felt. I sat there, listening intently, not saying a word, just letting him vent about everything he had held in and never told me. Of course, the drinking and drugs seemed inevitable when he explained to me how it made him feel. It was an escape from his life. From the feelings that constantly plagued him. When anyone looked at him, they saw Edward Cullen. The perfect, wealthy, talented, smart son of a successful surgeon. He was charismatic, and beautiful, and gifted, and funny. It wasnt surprising that even with his problems, hed gone on and

become so triumphant in his career. They didnt see that inside, he was struggling every single second of every day. He explained everything that hed done without me asking. Even why hed been so promiscuous over the years. He claimed it was a temporary escape for him, just like the drugs were. It was confirmation to him that on the outside he was this perfect man- he could have any woman he wanted, but because he was so self-loathing, he thought nothing of himself. And hed sleep with them when need be, and not speak to them again more than a couple of times, because it was a defense mechanism. He felt like if anyone got close to him and found out how he really was, theyd think the same thing of him that his parents did and make him feel the same way. Everything that Id seen him do had some kind of explanation behind it that seemed perfectly logical when he said it with his own mouth. He said that the only reason Carlisle cared now was because he was afraid that Edward was going to die, and that their family would have to carry around the rest of their life that their son had died at a young age because he was a drug addict. That everything was only about what other people thought. I dont know how much of that was true. Im sure that Edward believed it to be true- hed spent a majority of his life being depressed and Im sure he tricked himself into believing that. I couldnt accept the fact that people could care so little about their child. They didnt seem that way to me. But, I didnt tell him that. The fact that he believed it made me indescribably sad. This is part of the reason why I care about you so much. If you didnt come along I dont know how much longer I wouldve lasted. Just the fact that theres someone like you out there gives me something to live for. I cried, and didnt let him go, and I kissed him and told him I was never leaving him. Because I wasnt. Not after tonight. Not after hed opened up to me so much. You have nothing to worry about, Edward, I put my hands on either side of his face and looked directly into his eyes. I love you. I love you so much, there arent words to justify it. Theres nothing that you could do to make me go. You dont ever have to worry about me. Im here to stay. And for the first time that night, he smiled, and then he nodded, and I felt hope that things would be changing soon. We both fell asleep there, wrapped in each others arms. Little did I know how wrong I was. * Sudden Decline JPOV Edward! I shouted his name as I walked into his apartment. It was silent. All the lights were off and he wasnt in bed. It had been snowing since the night before, so the sky was still dark. I saw a slither of light on the floor that was seeping through the bathroom door. Hello? I yelled again, listening for a response from him. Nothing. I dropped my suit on one of the barstools and headed toward the bathroom, shoving the door open without

knocking. My fucking mouth dropped open when I saw him. What the fuck are you doing, bro? He was sitting on the bathroom floor, knees bent and leaning over. One of his pant legs was rolled up to his knee, and he was holding something in his hand. Fuck. Help me. He looked up at me, frustrated. No. Fuck no. Just fucking help me. His eyes were dark and he looked paler than usual. I shook my head and stepped backward. Theres no way. What the hell are you doing, anyway? Youre supposed to be getting clean, and I come here and youre fucking shooting up on your bathroom floor? What are you thinking? I was pissed at him. This shit had been going on for far too long, and I honestly believed him this time when he said he was stopping. Edward dropped the needle on the ground and put his face in his hands with desperation. Its fucking cheaper this way. I cant pay for it anymore, now that Carlisle, that shithead, is making me pay for everything myself. I felt sorry for him, looking at him there on the floor, so pathetic and desperate. He didnt realize what he was doing. None of the shit people were trying was helping him. Not his parents, who tried to force him into it by not giving him any options. Not Emmett, who was too preoccupied with the wedding now to worry about Edward. Not Bella, who was too obsessed with him to threaten to leave him. He was just gonna keep doing it until someone actually manned up and did the right thing. I was too scared to be that person. I didnt want him hating me. I took a deep breath and crouched down next to him, grabbing the needle. This is fucked up, Edward. And why your leg? So no one sees it. Here, He took the needle from me, which was already prepared and jabbed it into his leg. I watched him pull the plunger back and the liquid suddenly turned pink. Just push it. I feel like too much of a scumbag. I didnt want to be the one to tell him that doing that shit was as scumbaggish as it comes. Have you ever done this before? No! Just fucking do it. I pushed the plunger down and pulled the needle out of his leg. Never again, Edward. You dont realize what you just did to yourself. I stood there in the bathroom, watching him. I could see him visibly relaxing, his eyes drooping and his head leaning forward. Get up. We have shit to do today. I walked out of the bathroom and headed straight to the kitchen, toward Edwards liquor cabinet. Eight in the morning wasnt too early when you were dealing with fucking

messes like him. I chugged some Jack straight out of the bottle and leaned against the counter, ashamed of myself. I knew better. I shouldve refused. I shouldve tried to talk him out of it. This was only gonna make shit that much worse. A couple of minutes later he came out of the bathroom, dragging his feet. He changed quickly and dropped onto the sofa, sighing. Dont fucking tell Emmett about this. Or Alice. Im not. I picked his keys up from the counter and twirled them around my finger. Lets go. Carlisle said not to be late. He threw on his sneakers and his jacket, grabbed his tux from the closet, and followed me out of the house. We sat in the cab, not talking to each other the entire time. In Edward's defense, he was trying nto to pass the fuck out. When we pulled up in front of the tailor, Carlisle was already waiting outside. Hey Carlisle. I waved as I walked past him into the tailor. He looked at Edward, whos head was aimed down toward his feet and said nothing. Emmett was already standing inside in his suit, the tailor yanking at his sleeves. He instantly noticed my somber expression and frowned. I shook my head, signaling to not even bring it up. Slowly, Edward started to compose himself more and more. We changed into our tuxes and while we stood there and waited, he started to seem like his normal self. Suddenly, Bella walked in and his face lit up. Hi! She hopped up to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him like she hadnt seen him in months. It had only been hours. "Edward, look at you! You look amazing." He rubbed his eyes and yawned as Bella pulled him in front of the mirror and winked. I had no idea how she was so happy and awake that early in the morning. "Why are you here again?" I asked her as Emmett and Edward chuckled. "I'm Edward's date." She gave me a dirty look. "I don't really think this is an occasion that requires a date." "Shut up. And your sleeves are too long." I gave her the finger and crossed my arms over my chest. I watched as she spun around so she was facing Edward and smoothed the collar of his jacket. He grabbed her waist and walked forward before pressing her up against the mirror and kissing her before Carlisle cleared his throat. "Edward. Not appropriate." Bella blushed and slid by him. "Sorry."

It was so weird, the way that he acted around her. Since Id known him, Id never seen him be so gaga over a girl. I knew that Bella was the key to fixing him, but she never wanted to talk about anything to any of us. Rose and Alice made her feel uncomfortable about it all the time, so I kind of didn't blame her. Emmett smirked at Edward as the tailor started sticking pins into the hem of his pants. "Is it possible for you to do anything without Bella anymore? I mean, does she sit in the bathroom with you while you're on the toilet too?" "Fuck off. You're just jealous I'm gonna look better than you at your own wedding." "Yeah, okay. Wait until this bad boy is done. I'll look fresh." Emmett licked his finger and slid it along his collar as we laughed at him. Ridiculous. The wedding was fast approaching. We were already mid way into November. There had been no notable drama since the engagement party that I knew of, so Edward didn't make a big deal about having to be there at nine in the fucking morning to get our tuxs fitted. Especially when Bella had somehow gotten involved. Everyone was in a pretty good mood, except me, since the bastard ruined my morning and since I was so tall and lanky every part of my damned tux needed to be hemmed so they were saving me for last. "Edward, your psychiatrist called yesterday. You need to get your prescription renewed." Carlisle always had to bring shit up at the worst times. Edward leaned his head back in frustration and groaned. "Uhh. Can we talk about this shit later?" "Just tell me when you want to go in." "Never." I chuckled. "Edward, it's 20 minutes twice a year. Stop being dramatic." Carlisle rolled his eyes. "I don't like her." "We can get you another doctor." Emmett butted into the conversation. "I don't think he's gonna like anyone who tells him to stop using." Edward agreed with a shrug. "He's right." Carlisle sighed and put his hand on his forehead. "Well, Edward, there's an obvious solution to that."

"Here we go." He threw his arms up in the air with exasperation. Carlisle always had to start with him, every time they were together. "No, I'm done. I'll make the appointment for later this week." "Whatever." Edward looked in the mirror again and called the tailor over. "Am I done here?" "I have to adjust your inseam. Let me just finish with Emmett..." "Okay." Edward waved his hand at him and turned to me. "Is nine too early to get a drink?" I shook my head at him and laughed. I already had one. "Jasper." Carlisle didn't think it was funny. That was like the fifth time he'd reprimanded one of us since we'd been there. As soon as the tailor finished with Edward and I, we changed and headed outside. It had gotten dreary out and the snow was falling heavier. Okay, I have to go to work. Are you gonna come by later? Edward nodded at Bella and kissed her, before hailing a taxi. Bella, Ill share a cab with you. Alice needed me to pick some papers up for her from the store. Bella looked at me curiously. She knew I was lying. Okay, She opened the door and got inside. Bye, Edward. I followed behind her and slammed the door. She looked at me, cocking an eyebrow and waited for an explanation. What papers? I gave the cabbie the address to the girls apartment and she frowned. You need to do something. I scratched at the back of my neck with anxiety and shook my head. Its been months since you found out. Why arent you doing anything? What am I supposed to do? She asked me, worried. I shrugged. What happened, Jasper? Nothing Im just- I think you should say something to him. Like what? Like get clean or Im leaving you. Bella sighed and clenched her jaw. Im not leaving him, Jasper.

Oh, okay good. Maybe hell just fucking die then, since everyone is too much of a pussy to take charge. Bellas eyes grew wide and she shoved me, angrily. Dont talk about him like that! Youre supposed to be his best friend. I am his fucking best friend! Thats why Im here talking to you right now. Youre the only one who can do anything for him. He doesnt give a shit about what anyone else has to say about it, only you. Do the right thing, Bella. What is the right thing, Jasper? Please, tell me. Because I have no fucking idea. She stared at me, waiting for an answer. The right thing is to do whatever you can possibly do to help him. Youre not doing that. Im trying- Youre not doing anything! Youre fucking lovesick. You love him, and because youre so obsessed with him, you just sit there and push it all to the side because you dont want to fight with him, and youre too afraid to be without him. So youre letting him think that this is all okay. Maybe if you actually stood up to him, hed do something about it. She sat there, thinking about what I said. Im not just going to bring it up and start with him for no reason. I mean, maybe the next time something happens, and it effects me, then Ill say something. Yeah, well I have a feeling that somethings gonna happen very soon. Bella put her hand on my cheek and turned my face toward her. Tell me what happened. No. Lets just say things are getting worse. And Im fucking scared. Do something, Bella. She squeezed the bridge of her nose between her fingers and closed her eyes. Then, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. What are you doing? Im calling him. Im gonna ask him what the fuck happened- Are you stupid? I grabbed the phone out of her hand and she sneered at me. Then its gonna seem like youre attacking him. Thats not gonna do anything. Just trust me. I reached my hand out slowly and gave her back the phone. I cant leave him. He trusts me. If I leave him Im scared of what will happen.

Youre not going to leave him forever. Tell him that. Tell him youll be there as soon as hes clean. I saw a tear fall down Bellas cheek. I dont want to. I cant leave him. I cant do it. Well, then you figure out something to do. Because shits getting serious. Its only gonna keep getting worse and worse, unless someone does something. Okay. The cab pulled up to the curb and I handed Bella a twenty. Call me when you decide what to do. She nodded and I watched as the cab drove out of sight. EPOV I stared at Bella as she flipped through US Weekly calmly. Ugh, Britney looks awful. I looked down at the picture and nodded. Yeah, shes a mess. Whats the matter? Bella noticed the blank tone in my voice. I fucking hate being here. Why? She dropped the magazine on the waiting room table and wrapped her arm around mine. Because. I hate being anywhere where people are criticizing me. I hate the fucking medicine. I hate talking about my parents. I hate talking about the drugs. I just hate being here. She sighed sympathetically. Carlisle said its fast. Just get it over with. She combed her fingers through the hair above my ear before craning her neck and kissing my cheek gently. I turned and smirked at her. Edward, are you ready? The receptionist stood at the entrance to the hallway, waiting for me. I made a face at Bella and walked through the doors. I followed the receptionist to my doctors office and made my way inside. Hi, Edward. Its good to see you. The doctor was a middle aged woman. She was kind of a MILF, but I hated her on principle. She reached her hand out and shook mine firmly. "So, how's life?" She folded her hands and placed them on top of my file as I plopped into the leather armchair on the opposite side of her desk. I shrugged. "Pretty solid." "Has anything major happened since the last time we met?"

"When was that?" "May." "Uhhh. I don't know? Well, I have a girlfriend now." She smiled. "I knew something seemed different about you. Tell me about her?" I squinted at the diploma on the wall behind her, trying to figure out how smart the bitch was. "Her name's Bella. She's 24, she's a writer. She just moved here from Washington in June... I don't know?" "How'd you meet?" "She's best friends with Emmett's girlfriend... fianc, whatever." She nodded. "Emmett's getting married?" "Apparently." "How do you feel about that?" I scratched my head and smirked. "I don't really care." "How's your relationship with him been?" "Up and down. He's tired of me. But when I try to tell him to back off, he worries and gets angry at me." What do you mean back off? I tried to think of how to explain it to her. Hes always worrying about me. He feels responsible, or something. And Bella she told me, more or less, that Emmett wasnt ever going to have normal relationships or whatever because he was always preoccupied with taking care of me. So I told him to go ahead and marry his girlfriend. I pretty much forced him to stay out of my life. "What about your parents?" "They're themselves. Nothing new." No? Nothing worth talking about. How do they feel about your girlfriend? She pushed her glasses closer to her face as she waited.

Uh I dont know? I dont talk to my parents about things like that. I exhaled loudly. They dont think I should be with her, Im sure. They think I should focus on my problems instead of her. She flipped through my file and took a deep breath. "Edward?" I raised my eyebrows. "Your father says you're still using heroin." I nodded. "Talk to me about that." I tapped my foot against the chair. "I want to stop. I'm going to, soon. I've been trying. My parents are making half assed attempts to help me, too." "What have they done?" "They stopped paying for my apartment. I can barely afford it on my own, so they figure that'll be motivation for me to stop." "Has it been?" "I don't know? I'm still doing it, just less now. I've kind of... weaned myself down." "Edward, you know you have to completely stop, right? There's no other way." "I know." "Does your girlfriend know that you're an addict?" "Yep." "How does she feel about it?" "She wants me to stop. But she doesn't talk about it, or bring it up, or judge me. As long as it doesn't effect her, she doesn't mention it." "How often does it effect her?" I sighed. "Pretty often." I rubbed my eyes and frowned. Whats your relationship like? What do you mean? I mean, how do the two of you interact with each other? Fine. We get along really great. She understands me better than anyone ever has. And we fight sometimes, but shes really tolerant. Of me. She empathizes with the way I am, and she loves me regardless of all this shit. I sat back in the chair and grinned, satisfied with my answer.

"Hmm," She continued flipping through the file. "So, how's the medicine working for you? Are you still having side effects?" "Yeah. I hate it." "Why?" "It makes me feel weird. Numb. Like I have no feelings at all. And it makes me tired. And shaky. And it fucks with my memory." She scribbled something down on a piece of paper. "Okay. Well, are you taking it regularly? Do you ever miss doses?" "Sometimes." "Purposely?" "Yeah." "Because you don't like how it makes you feel?" I nodded again. "Okay, well, I'm going to lower your dosage. But you have to take it regularly or the side effects won't fade. And I'm scheduling another visit in eight weeks." I sighed and grabbed the new prescription from her hand. "Are we done here?" "Yes. But, Edward," She stood up from her desk and walked over to me. "I think- and I'm telling you this as a mother, not your doctor. I think you really should look into detox. You'll be surprised at how everything in your life will change once you're clean. I know from experience that people who are bipolar often turn to drugs and alcohol as an out, but the people that I've seen that have cleaned up are completely different. Your disease will be so much more manageable when drugs aren't involved. It won't be an obstacle in your life anymore. Trust me." I gulped and smiled. "Okay Thanks. See you in eight weeks." Bella stood up and met me as I walked back out to the waiting room. We both shivered as we walked outside and the cold air hit us. So, how was it? Fine. Whatd she ask you? None of your business. I chuckled as she glared at me. Nothing. Same shit. She asked about you. Oh yeah? Whatd you tell her?

I told her about that thing you do with your tongue. She shoved my back as we descended down the stairs to the subway. She did give me a new prescription, though. She lowered my dosage. Maybe this time itll make me be nice. Doubt it. She giggled as I threw my arm around her neck and messed up her hair. Edward, Christmas is only a month away. So? So, I have to go visit my mom. Since Charlie is coming here for the wedding in January, theyre making me see her for Christmas. Do you want to come? I looked at her and scrunched my nose. No can do. Why not? You dont even like your parents. We got onto the subway and sat in the far corner. Can we talk about this later? She sighed and nodded. Where are we going now? To drop this bad boy off. I held up my prescription. And then wherever you want. Your place? I nodded. After dropping off my prescription at the Duane Reade closest to my apartment, we ran upstairs, shaking. It was fucking freezing outside. Bella started heating up water on the stove as soon as she walked in. Lets take a bath in the Jacuzzi tub! What? Come on! You have that huge, pretty tub and you never even use it. Itll be fun She winked at me and peeled her jacket off, dropping it on one of the barstools. Not that I didnt want to have sex with Bella, but lately Id been doing it in the dark when the lights were off, just to make sure she didnt see anything. Technically, there wasnt much to see, yet. I had a few small scabs on one leg and a bruise on the other one. I doubted shed even know what it was if she noticed it. You just get in. Ill finish making your tea. She skipped over toward the bathroom and within seconds I heard the steady stream of water. I waited by the stove for the water to boil, trying to weigh my priorities. Option One, have hot Jacuzzi sex with my girlfriend. Option Two, have my girlfriend find my track marks and flip the fuck out. I grabbed the mug and booked it toward the bathroom. The room was full of steam and Bella was sitting in the tub, her hair wrapped up on top of her head. She grabbed the

mug from me and smiled as I sat on the edge of the tub, only putting my one foot in the water. Why arent you coming in? Id rather just watch you. I grabbed the soap and pulled one of her legs out of the water, gently moving my hands up and down it. Edward? She took a sip of her tea and looked at me. Hmm? The wedding is coming soon. I know. Its so weird that Emmetts really getting married. And I cant believe Im stuck with Rosalie for life. She giggled and rested her leg on mine, making a wet patch on my jeans. Do you want to get married? I smiled. Yeah. To me? She pursed her lips playfully. Hopefully. When? When Im clean. Bellas smiled faded and she dropped her leg back into the water as she sat up. She got onto her knees and put her wet hands on either side of my face, pulling my head toward her. I love you, Edward Cullen. I know. She grabbed the bottom of my shirt and pulled it over my head. Okay, hold on, Ill get in. I waited until she sat back in her spot before I stood up and pulled my pants off. I quickly stepped into the tub and dropped down so my legs were submerged. Bella laughed and spun around so she was laying between my legs, the back of her head resting on my chest. I exhaled, realizing I was safe for the moment. We should do this more. She squeezed my thigh under the water and I bent my head down and kissed the side of her neck. Okay. Edward, everythings going to be okay. You know that right? She sounded so convincing. She made it sound like everything was so easy.

No. What do you mean, no? I mean, no, I dont know that everythings going to be okay. Bella sighed and wrapped her fingers around mine, squeezing tightly. Why not? Because. Theres so much I need to do Ive fucked up so much, and I just dont know if I can do it. I cant see my life after Im clean. You know? It seems so far away. I know it seems like it, but its not far away. Itll be hard, but worth it. Im telling you. She turned her head to the side so she was looking at my face and she raised her eyebrows. Can I ask you something? What? When are you going to do it? Detox? Yeah. What are you waiting for? I shrugged. I dont know. Im scared. Im just not ready. I will be, soon. Okay. She wiggled her foot around, making the water splash. So, can we talk about Christmas now? What about it? Please come with me. To Phoenix. I shook my head. I cant go. You have to understand that. There was no way I was going with her to Arizona. I couldnt go on a plane, unless I planned on going to jail for carrying that shit with me. And if I didnt, Id start going through fucking withdrawal at her Moms house and be puking and shit. No, thanks. Edward She groaned and I could see the wrinkles in her forehead from her frowning. I touched her cheek, trying to cheer her up. I dont want to be away from you for that long. I hate just being away from you when Im at work, or at home. And this is across the country. For days. How about this? I took a deep breath, willing to compromise. Im not going. So, please dont ask me again. But, I put my finger under her chin and tilted her head up so she was looking at me. I was thinking why dont you just move in? Her mouth dropped open and she blinked a few times. I laughed and waited for her response.

You want me to live here? With you? Yeah. I shrugged. Youre always here anyway. Rose and Emmett are going to be moving in together in a month. And Alice and Jasper are probably going to do it soon, too. Unless you dont want to- No, its not that. What? I cant afford to live here, Edward. I couldnt just live off of you. Its not really fair. I looked down at her and laughed. Are you serious? Im paying for it anyway. What difference does it make? If you want to feel like youre chipping in, buy groceries or something. Pay the electric bill, I dont know. Bella sat up and looked at me. She held her finger up to her mouth and tapped it a couple of times as she thought. Are you sure about this? She narrowed her eyes at me. Yep. I didnt hesitate. Okay! Ill do it! But lets not tell our parents. And Im going to wait until Rosalie moves out, too. Yeah, whatever. I laughed as she squealed with delight and hopped into my arms, kissing me with excitement. I wasnt entirely sure about what I was doing. With her always there, I was going to have less time alone. We couldnt have any secrets. But for once in my life, something was bigger than my addiction. Instead of the drugs, I was waking up in the morning for her. She had become the most important thing in my life. And I was going to do whatever I had to do to make sure things stayed perfect between us. Trouble BPOV I pretty much ran off the plane to see Edward. The four days I spent in Arizona were torturous, and all I wanted to do was see his face. My flight was delayed, and since my phone was dead I didnt get the chance to tell Edward I was going to be late. So when I walked through the gate and didnt see him there, I was confused. Before going to pick my bags up, I stopped at a pay phone and called him. Hello? He sounded half asleep when he picked up. Edward? Where are you?

Sorry. Im almost there. Almost there? What the fuck? Edward, my flight landed twenty minutes ago and it was over an hour late. What happened? He yawned. I was tired. I fell asleep and lost track of time. Tired clearly meaning high. I sighed. Whatever. Im gonna get my bag. Ill meet you outside. I hung up without waiting for a response. I reminded myself over and over on the walk to the baggage claim not be angry. This was what the consequences were, and unless I was going to put my foot down, I just had to deal with it. It was draining me, though. There was a constant fight going on inside my head between how much I loved Edward and how much it was worth it. And how much I loved him always won. Edward was waiting for me in the drop off zone. He looked like shit. He had a hat on, and the dark purple bruises under his eyes were more defined than ever. His skin was eerily pale, and if it was even possible he seemed skinnier then the last time I saw him. I figured all those things just seemed more noticeable because it had been awhile since Id seen him. I didnt want to start a fight, so I smiled and dropped my bag as I ran up to him and embraced him. I buried my nose in his shirt, breathing in as much of his smell as I could. He kissed me long and hard and all my troubled thoughts just kind of floated away. Is everything okay? I asked him on the way back to the apartment. Our apartment. Yeah. Why? You seem tired. He shrugged me off and said nothing. How was Renee? Shes good. Very good. We talked about you a lot. Whatd you say? He stared out the window, seemingly disinterested in the conversation. I slid closer to him and weaved my fingers through his, basking in the close proximity to Edward that Id missed so much. I tried to explain to her what you looked like in person, since I dont think pictures do you justice. She was shocked by the pictures, though. She said shed never seen such a beautiful man before in her life. I let out a laugh as Edward smirked. I told her how

good you were to me. How much I love you. How amazing you are at everything you do. And I told her we moved in together and not to say anything to Charlie yet. Your dads gonna kick my ass. I wont let him. I snuggled closer to Edward and rested my head on his shoulder for the rest of the ride. As soon as we got up to our apartment, I unpacked all my stuff and hopped in the shower. Despite the long flight and how tired I was, all I wanted to do was be near Edward. Knowing he was in the other room, I finished up as speedily as humanly possible and jetted out to the main room. I didnt even bother getting dressed. He was standing at the kitchen counter, looking through index prints from a shoot hed done when I was away. That ones really good, I said, pointing to one. Yeah, I like it. He circled it with a sharpie. I dont like this one. Or this one. He went through the pages, circling and slashing out thumbnails with the marker. Oh, that reminds me! I got you something. He raised an eyebrow as I ran to my suitcase, clenching the front of my robe closed. I pulled out the wrapped box and dropped it on the counter. Merry Christmas. He looked at the box and rolled his eyes. I thought you said we werent getting each other gifts. I know, but I found this and I couldnt not give it to you. Edward ripped the paper off the package eagerly and looked down at the unmarked box. He lifted the top and his eyes widened when he saw what was inside. Bella how He was speechless. I felt proud. Do you like it? Do I like it? Are you serious? He held the camera up to the light and spun it around. How where Well, Renee made me go up to the attic with her to take down the Christmas decorations and when we were up there I saw a box I guess my grandfather was like, an amateur photographer or something and he used to collect cameras and most of them were in bad shape, but he took really good care of this one. So, I looked it up on Google and I saw it was really rare and I figured youd appreciate it. Renee didnt really care giving it to me. He didnt say anything, he just kept staring at it and holding it up to his face.

This is amazing, Bella. Thank you. So much. He carefully put it down and grabbed my face, pulling my lips to his. I may have gotten you something, too. You bastard. I knew you wouldnt listen to me. Even with his little situation that was going on, Edward was always looking for ways to spend money on me. He walked into the kitchen and pulled open a drawer. I watched him shuffle through it for a minute, and then he slid a piece of paper across the counter to me. I held it up to my face and gasped. A couple weeks before, Id been looking through Forbes and there was a list of expensive hotel suites in New York. Edward was sitting next to me, and I went on for a good five minutes about how cool it would be to stay in the Louis XV suite in The Plaza one day. He laughed it off, and I doubted he was even listening to me, but there it was, in front of my face, a reservation for two nights. It cost thousands to stay there per night. I held my hand up to my mouth and shook my head, not believing he did that for me. Youre ridiculous. I jumped into his arms and squeezed him as tight as I could, trying to show my gratitude. He laughed and kissed the top of my head as he pulled away. Go get dressed, He said, lifting the edge of my robe. I shook my head and pouted. Why dont you get undressed? Edward was wearing a hoody on top of his flannel shirt, and t-shirt. I hated the layers. I tried pulling off the zip-up, but he pulled his arms away. Stop not now, Im not in the mood. I looked at him with disgust. Not in the mood? I havent seen you in days, and- Its only been four days. Im just tired. Something was wrong. Edward never refused sex with me, not when he was drunk, or tired, or even when he was sleeping. I could shake him awake and hed get up and do it if I wanted to. It can be fast. He laughed and shook his head. Stop, Bella. I dont want to. Well, I do! I tried pulling at his sweatshirt again, but he took a step back from me. Edward. I wasnt taking no for an answer. Carefully, I took a step toward him and ran my fingers through his hair, starting at his temple and working back behind his neck. I let my hand

fall gently to his shoulder, and he didnt move away so I stood on my toes and kissed underneath his jaw. I placed small kisses across his cheek, pressing my body against his with longing. I felt him go hard under his jeans, so I knew he wanted me too. Please, Edward. Gently, I slipped his sweatshirt off his shoulders and heard it fall to the ground. Step one: complete. Instead of kissing his lips, I stuck the tip of my tongue out and gently licked the corner of his mouth. I heard him moan quietly, so I grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the bed, not moving my body more then a few steps from his. I spun around and pressed his shoulders down so he was sitting on the edge of the bed. Cautiously, I knelt down so I was on my knees and untied his shoes, pulling each one off slowly. I was afraid if I started to go crazy hed change his mind. My fingers traced the waistband on his jeans, and I unbuttoned them, motioning for Edward to lift himself so I could pull them off. He did, but he pulled me up by my elbows so I was standing in front of him, between his legs, and he shimmied out of his pants on his own. My heart started beating faster as I looked down at him, sitting there in his boxers waiting for me. I sat down next to him and scooted back so that I was sitting in the middle of the bed. Edward rolled over so that he was hovering on top of me, and without hesitating he stuck his hand inside the open slit in my robe, kneading his hands gently along my chest, making me quiver. All the yearning and desire I felt every time we were together started swelling, and I pulled him down to me, kissing him as passionately as I could. His taste and his smell made me melt, as always, and even the slight prickling that I felt from his stubble as he moved his face down the side of my neck made me groan. I lifted my arm and grabbed a handful of his hair, yanking him forward and pushing his head closer to my body. I sat up suddenly, my robe completely open, and I pulled my arms out of it. I needed to see his body, in a way that I couldnt describe. As I fiddled with the buttons on his shirt, he unexpectedly froze and swatted my hands away. Stop. His mouth was in the crease between my neck and my shoulder, and he didnt look up when he said it. No, take it off. I hated having sex with Edward when I couldnt see or touch his entire body. I felt like it was a waste. Nuh-uh. He continued kissing my neck and moving his tongue along my skin, trying to distract me. It worked for a few seconds, but that was all. Instead of trying to unbutton his shirt, I was ready to just rip it off. I tried, and he caught my wrist, squeezing it unreasonably hard. Oww. He didnt let go. Whats your problem? He asked me, like I was the one who was acting fucking weird. Um, whats yours? Why are you making this so difficult?

He got on his knees and rolled his eyes at me. Bella, I told you I wasnt in the mood. Youre being difficult. Well, it seems like youre in the mood, I said, pointing at his crotch. He looked down at it and said nothing. Something was going on, and it was pissing me off. I was tired, and I missed him, and he forgot me at the airport, and all I wanted to do was have normal, naked sex with my god damned boyfriend and he was making it too hard. I knew I was being a baby and probably making a big deal out of nothing, but I felt the tears start coming. He sighed and moved closer to me, pulling my head to his chest. His clothed chest. Come on, Bella. Why are you crying? Because, I love you and you youre rejecting me! Im not rejecting you. Stop crying, theres no reason to be upset. He moved the hair from my face with his hand and kissed my forehead. Then, just fuck me already, I cried, yanking at his shirt. Stop. He somehow managed to grab both my wrists with his one hand and keep the other one wrapped around my body. I couldnt move so I just kept crying and I shoved my elbow into his chest. Edward! Take your fucking shirt off, now! I was in hysterics. I ripped my hands out of his grip and started clawing at his shirt, accidentally scratching the side of his neck, making it bleed. He was getting angry, and I didnt care because I was too fucking tired of side stepping around all of his erratic emotions. His face was turning red, and he kept moving my hands away when I tried to touch him, and suddenly he just blew up and shoved me back gently so I couldnt grab him. Fine! You want me to take my shirt off? Fine! He furiously yanked both shirts over his head and left them in a small pile next to him. His chest was red in patches from my roughness, and he was breathing heavily through his flared nostrils. I started in astonishment, suddenly realizing what was going on. I felt my mouth drop open, but I couldnt comprehend everything fast enough to close it. Edward what I reached my hand out to try and grab his fingers, but he pulled away from me. He looked down at the bed, ashamed. I realized then that I had two options. I could listen to what Jasper said and get up, get dressed, and run, showing him that unless he changed I wasnt going to stay with him. Or, I could sit here and comfort him, and show him that I loved him and prove to him that I would stand by him no matter how much worse he was getting. Neither option seemed like the right one. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. A really hard rock and a really hard place.

Come here. He shook his head at me and made no attempt to move. Slowly, I crawled forward and kneeled in front of him, sitting on the heels of my feet. I grabbed his hand and pulled it to my face, gently kissing his palm. His breathing started to slow a little, and his frown loosened. I straightened out his right arm and ran my fingers along the different colored bruises and the cuts and scabs that trailed his once perfect limb. I did the same thing with the other one, gulping when I saw it was worse. I shook my head, trying to figure out what this meant to me. Why? He shrugged and tried to pull his arm out of my grasp, but I held it steady. I turned my head and rubbed my face against my shoulder, trying to wipe off the excess tears that I couldnt stop from falling. I stared at the track marks for a few more seconds before I dropped his arm, which fell limply beside him. Then, I inched forward and wrapped my arms around his neck, leaning forward so my head was against his chest, the way it was before. He sighed and enfolded me in his arms, resting his lips against the top of my head and breathing into my hair. I love you, Edward. Edward and I had a thing with each other, that we didnt often say I love you to each other, unless we needed to emphasize it. It came in handy at times like this. I know. I turned my head and kissed the center of his chest, pushing him down so he was lying against the pillows. He stretched out his legs and I straddled them and I moved down his torso, planting kisses along the planes of his chest and his stomach and down his happy trail, until I got to his boxers. I pulled them down and wrapped my mouth around him, because even though I knew it was inappropriate and we shouldve been talking, I needed him to feel good. After a few minutes he pulled me up by my shoulders and kissed my forehead before rolling on top of me. He wasted no time pushing into me, and I indulged in the feeling of Edward gently moving in and out of me, because Id waited for days and I needed him so desperately. It wasnt the full fledged, rough, fervent sex that we always had. Instead, he was slow, and gentle and the difference had an even bigger effect on my body then it usually did. When we were done, he rolled onto his back with defeat, and I rested my head on his bare chest, grasping his hand and kissing each of his fingers and his palm and his wrist over and over. I was at a loss. A deadlock. No matter what I did at that point, it was wrong, and all I wanted to do was lie there in bed with Edward forever and pretend like we had no problems and that everything would be fine as long as we had each other. Unfortunately, morning eventually came. Neither of us slept, or even moved. We just laid there, holding each other all night in silence. Because Edward knew that everything was different now, and I knew everything was different, and I think we were both trying to figure out where to go from there.

Bella? It was almost nine when he said something. Yeah? He sat up, shivering and moved his glorious, naked body under the blankets. I followed and cuddled up next to him as close as I could. Lets talk. Okay. I combed my hair through his fingers as he sighed. Im not getting better. I see that. I spoke the words quietly into his chest. I think I should set a date. You know? To do everything. I nodded and kissed his shoulder. Its December 29th today. So, I dont what its gonna be like or how long its gonna take, or how many weeks after Im gonna be you know? I was thinking like, maybe after the wedding. What do you think? Yes. I didnt need to say anything else. Im not going to a detox center. Im just gonna do it here. Really? Yeah. I want you to be here. With me. I gulped. Can you do that? Just me? Like alone? He nodded. From what Carlisle tells me, best case scenario is that its just like a really bad flu. You can handle that, right? Yes. I was lying. I didnt know that I could handle it, but Id try. For him, Id do anything. Whats the worst case scenario? I dont know. I read that you can get medicine to help you through it. Can Carlisle- No. I dont want anything. Im not giving this up to just become addicted to Methadone or some shit like that. I didnt want to say anything, but I knew that was going to make it was harder for him. Okay.

Just please stick with me for the next couple of weeks. I need you. His voice sounded like it cracked, and I didnt want to look at him because I was afraid to see him that upset. Im not going anywhere. Ive told you that repeatedly. You should know by now. Thank you. He kissed my forehead and pinched a lock of my hair between his fingers. Edward, why why are you shooting up? He didnt say anything about it and I needed to know. Because, talking to people, everyone said it was cheaper that way, and I was bugging out and desperate, so I tried it and yeah, its cheaper but I feel so much more fucked up now. And I cant go back. How long have you been doing this? I dont know a month. I sighed and slapped my hand to my forehead. How blind am I, that I dont notice these things? I fucking live here. I hid it well. Obviously. So what happened? Your arms werent like this before I left. Edward lifted up the blanket and bent his knee, revealing a bunch of scabs and bruises that Id neglected to notice. I felt sick. Ugh. I hate this, Edward. Youre ruining your perfect body. He laughed, but it was more of an ashamed laugh then anything. I know. Im fucking stupid. I didnt argue with that. Bella, I love you. I dont tell you that enough, but I do. Im so sorry for everything Im doing to you. I promise you, as soon as Im better, Ill make it up to you for the rest of your life. You dont need to do anything. Just being with me is enough. It was the truth. We laid there together in silence, finally falling asleep. Turn for the Worst BPOV

Throughout my eight months with Edward, Id had more emotional highs and lows then I knew what to do with. Over time, it was like wed almost become the same person; when he was ecstatic, I was ecstatic. When he was despondent, I was despondent. Id also begun to notice a pattern. The miserable times were always preceded by really happy times. I could give example after example of specific highs and lows, but the point is that I shouldve been more careful and more aware. I shouldve been paying closer attention. I shouldn't have let it go as long as it did after learning the truth about Edward. Emmett and Rosalie were getting married on January 31st. Edward had promised that soon after the wedding, he was going to get clean. I was literally counting down the calendar days, minutes, hours and seconds. As the wedding got closer and closer, life got more and more hectic. Whenever I wasnt working, I was doing something for the wedding, and Edward just sort of got pushed to the side. When I think about it, I blame myself for Edward's downfall. I should have made a point of giving him more of my time and been there, giving him support and motivating him to stick to the decision he had made. After all, the decision he had made was one of the hardest he ever had to make and would probably be the hardest he would ever have to make. I shouldve been encouraging him, and talking about it to him often, and checking up on him as much as I could to make sure he was alright. A competent girlfriend should know when something isnt okay. Well, as okay as it could be under the fucked up circumstances. She should be able to spot a problem in a second. Of course with Edward, it seemed like I was riding the Coney Island roller coaster of his emotions, and I didnt really notice when one dip in the ride got lower than another. * So, please just do that for me, Bella. It would help a lot. I was only half paying attention to Rosalie. It was nearly midnight, and I hadnt seen Edward since before I left for work that morning, and flowers or whatever she was talking about to me seemed kind of insignificant. I mean, it was her wedding and all, I was her maid of honor, but I couldn't help that my mind was elsewhere. Yeah, sure. Do you need anything else? I was hoping shed say no. I was the worst maid of honor in history. Nope. Just what I told you about the flowers. Oh, and of course dont forget to pick up my dress tomorrow. Flowers and the dress. I got it. I stood up from Rosalie and Emmetts dining room table and started shrugging into my jacket. Thanks, Bella. Youve made things so much easier for me. I dont know what Id do without you. She stood up and hugged me before planting a kiss on my forehead. Its no problem, I said, looking around to make sure I got everything. I had tried all night not to seem distracted, but the later it got, the less I cared.

Um is everything okay? Rosalie leaned forward and whispered to me, touching my arm sympathetically. She made it a point to lower her voice enough so that Emmett, who was sitting right in the other room watching some game, couldnt hear her. Yeah, Im fine. Apparently I said it with a lack of enthusiasm, because she wasnt convinced. Really? She asked again. I nodded. Bella, listen, She put her hand on my back as she started walking me toward the front door. I know that this whole thing has been really hard, and Ive been less than empathetic. I dont want you to feel like you cant talk to me about stuff, because even if I disagree, youre my friend, and Ill always be here for you, okay? I dont want you to feel like you have to hide stuff because of the wedding and all the planning and everything. No, everythings okay, I lied. Truth is, since I'd gotten back from visiting my mother and discovered Edward's latest secret, things were getting harder by the minute. Every time that I thought nothing could get worse, somehow Edward surprised me. My latest issue with him stemmed from his lack of discomfort when it came to shooting up around me. Where at first he was ashamed and embarassed with himself, he gradually began showing no remorse whatsoever. I couldn't help but to think that I was somehow responsible- he's managed to take my lack of a reaction and somehow translate it into tacit permission for him to do what he wanted. Okay well, Ill see you tomorrow right? I nodded again and forced a smile. I felt awful about everything. I really was honored that Rose had chosen me, and I wish I couldve put my all into helping her with everything. But even without the wedding, I was having a hard time dealing with everything that was going on in my life. It seemed like Edward took up 95% of my time and energy, and everything else had to be squeezed into that last little 5% that I had left. Work. My friends. My family. My book. The wedding. Everything. As soon as I walked onto the sidewalk, I tried calling Edwards cell. No answer. I tried calling the apartment. No answer. This wasnt uncharacteristic of him. Lately hed been more out of it then Id ever seen him, but I kept ignoring it and biting my tongue because I knew the end of everything was near. Or at least I hoped the end of everything was near. On my walk to the subway, I called Jasper, who had been keeping in close contact with me behind Edwards back because he was constantly restless and worrying. Jasper wasnt convinced when I told him about Edwards plan to get clean. He said hed heard it from

him plenty of times before, and somehow it never worked out. I didnt want to tell him, but I had faith in Edward that hed do it not just for himself, but for me. This time he had a passionate reason for trying. Also, I didnt want to admit to myself that there was a chance Jasper was right. I started to feel melancholy on the elevator ride up to our apartment. For the past couple of weeks, Id pray every day before opening the door that hed be there, still alive. He was usually passed out every time I came home, and Rosalie's experienced with Edward had burned a permanent scar in my mind, so I always expected the worst. Today was no different. My chest tightened as I slowly cracked the door open. The lights were all low except for in the living room, where the TV also contributed to the light, casting a dim, blue haze across the room. A normal person would drop their stuff, turn the lights on, and take off their coat and shoes. Not me. I ran to the sofa, where sure enough, Edward was unconscious, needle still in his arm. It was the sick, twisted routine that Id somehow found myself in without realizing how I got there. I yanked the syringe from his vein and discarded it on the coffee table before gently slapping his face. I did it a couple times, to no avail. Eventually the slaps became harder until I reached my emotional threshold, and I put my hands on his shoulders and started shaking him, putting my entire body weight into it. Only then did I see his eyes flutter and hear a light moan escape from his mouth. Edward, get up. Im home. I spit out the words with spite, which I immediately regretted because being angry was useless. Anger was just an emotion that got in the way and caused me to lose touch with common sense. Sorry, He muttered, rubbing his eyes with his palms. What time is it? Time to stop falling asleep with needles in your arms, I murmured under my breath, still not fully calmed down. I left the room to undress and change into my pajamas. Id learned to do things like that as quickly as possible, since Edward could pass out at any second and not want to get back up. Luckily, when I rejoined him on the sofa he was groggy and clearly worn out, but he was awake. I took a deep breath and sat next to him on the sofa, ready to battle it out. I didnt know how many more days I could come home to the Is Edward Breathing? game and not have a mental breakdown. I made sure there was space between us on the sofa so I wasnt distracted by his smell, or the light freckles on the bridge of his nose, or his eyes. Whenever I tried to say something important, those little things always made me lose my train of thought. You cant keep doing this. It was just a little burp of the word vomit I was holding back. Edward slowly turned his head toward me and looked down at me, the green of his eyes glowing through his thick lashes. I looked down at my feet to try and fight my bodys urge to move closer to him.

Without saying anything, he limply stuck his arm out and pinched a piece of my hair between his index finger and his thumb, slowly running through the length of it and then tucking it behind my ear. I was transfixed for a minute, but before he could touch me again I smacked his hand away. It bothered me that I was subconsciously careful not to touch his arm roughly. That wasnt something that shouldve been learned. It wasnt normal. If you keep doing this, you will die. I cant keep running home to make sure youre breathing whenever you dont answer your phone. He kept his eyes on the TV and said nothing and instead of continuing on with my well thought out lecture, I gave up. There was no talking to him. There was no reasoning with him. Trying to compromise with him like I would any other person was just a complete and utter fucking waste of energy. Because as much as I tried to deny it, there was no way to reason or compromise with a junkie. And that's what Edward was. Why are you sitting over there? He asked me, patting the space between us. As if Id just been sitting there, talking to myself or something. Once again, I was reminded of what Jasper had said, and how I was too fucking soft and too much of a pushover and how I didnt fight for him because I was scared and obsessed. I just wanted to slam my head through his glass coffee table because no matter what, I was- Always. Fucking. Wrong. I slid over to Edward and he draped his arm around me, and I leaned my head back into his shoulders. He turned his head to the side and rubbed his stubble on my cheek and kissed my temple, and slowly I felt myself calming. I had two options when it came to how I felt- I was either logical and on edge when I was without Edward, or calm and happy and completely fucking useless when I was with him. For too long Id played the denial card and sat there, afraid to leave his side, and now it was biting me in the ass. Jasper was right- I was the only one who had the power to do anything and now itd become my fault because I was too much of a scared little bitch to use the power to my advantage. To his advantage. Edward lifted the hand that was around my shoulder and started combing his fingers soothingly through my hair. I knew what happened when he did that, so I twisted my head to the side and planted a kiss on the side of his neck, underneath his jaw, and I let the well-needed rest encompass me. * I enjoyed my mornings with Edward, because in all reality, it was the only time of the day that I knew he wasnt fucked up. He usually waited until I left for the day to do whatever he had to do, and after that he wasnt the same. It was times like those that reminded me why I was so in love with him; when he was himself, he was calming, and funny, and sweet, and Edward. He literally was my other half. I think that was why Id been in so much pain lately? Because he was. My other half was dying, and I wasnt myself anymore unless he was there. The intensity of our relationship was starting to scare me a little.

What do you think of this one? I spun the catalog that the florist had given me around to Edward and he shrugged. Its nice. He was no help. He tightened his legs, squeezing me between them. Boutonnieres and corsages were the last thing I wanted to be thinking about. Open, Edward directed me, leaning over from the spot where he was perched on the counter to stick a half eaten strawberry in my mouth. I bit down on it without looking up at him and kept concentrating on my flower duties. I rested the book on his lap and kept flipping the pages as Edward fed the both of us breakfast. Ohm! Look, at this one. Which one do you like better? I moved the page back and forth as he furrowed his brow, squinting at the book. Hush uh that one. Yeah, that one. Really? I asked. I dont know, Bella. Every single one in there looks the same to me. I let out a giggle. I know. Me too. I slid the book onto the counter and took a step further between Edwards legs. I rummaged through the bowl of fruit salad and decided on a pineapple, sticking it between my teeth and winking at Edward. He dipped his head and bit off half without even touching my lips. Hey! He laughed, hopping off the counter and grabbing my waist, before spinning me around and lifting me onto where hed just been sitting. Lets have an Edward and Bella day today, He said with a smirk, leaning in and nibbling on the side of my neck. Ugh I wish I could. I pulled at random pieces of the hair on the top of his head that were sticking up. I have to go order these stupid corsage things so theyll be there on time and then I have to pick up Rosalies dress and then Im having dinner with your mom. He stopped kissing my neck long enough to look up and he frowned. Just cancel. And then he started back where he was, nipping and licking his way across my collarbone. No, theres stuff I have to talk to her about. Stuff meaning Edward. Esme and I had been secretly meeting every couple weeks so I could give her insight as to how he was coming along. I was absolutely dreading today's meeting.

Whatever. This time he spoke the words against my skin, not allowing he to be distracted. I felt the warmth of his fingers skim across my arm as he swiped the strap of my nightie down, moving his lips tenderly across my shoulder. His hands inched up my legs, from where they started at the place my knees were bent, trailing up the top of my thigh, and then hooking into the band of my underwear. I lifted myself and then pulled my one leg out, stretching my other leg straight ahead of me so he could pull them the rest of the way off. Edward stood there, just staring at me for a minute before I clenched the front of his t-shirt between my fist and tugged him toward me. I tasted pineapple and strawberries as I skimmed the tip of my tongue across his lips. Suddenly, all the muscles in my body contracted when I felt Edwards warm touch, as he slid his fingers in and out on me. I felt the corner of his mouth curl up against my lips as I let out a sigh. Just stay with me, Edward groaned into my ear, strategically moving his fingers deeper inside of me. I cant, I gasped, struggling to try and make a cohesive sentence. Edward stopped kissing me and touched his forehead to mine. Just get the dress and do everything else tomorrow, he whispered. I closed my eyes and shook my head. I heard the jingle of Edwards belt buckle and I looked down, watching him undo his pants so they dropped dangerously low on his hips. He wrapped his long fingers around my waist and pulled me forward, until my butt was on the edge of the counter, level with him. Sex isnt gonna distract me today, I warned him as he lowered his boxers. Id been sleeping with Edward for five months and I still wasnt used to the extreme yearning my body felt as soon as I looked at him uncovered. Okay, He said with a smirk. Without a warning he pushed himself into me, making me gasp. Edward! He chuckled against my neck, kissing his way up behind my ear. Listen, I tried talking to him between his thrusts and my moaning of his name. You can come with me? No. This time he didnt even lift his mouth off mine to say it. Why not? Just shut up, B. So I did. I managed to persuade Edward into taking a shower with me, so I could spend as much time with him as I could before I left. Even though I was going to be going back and forth all day and I knew I would see him again soon but that knowledge wasnt enough

because I knew what hed be doing as soon as I left the house. It wouldn't be the same when I got back. I went to the Florist first and ordered the flowers, flirting a little with the owner so that Id be sure they got there on time. Thats all I needed, was Rosalie bitching about some crappy, trivial corsages. I ordered the ones that Edward picked. It took longer than necessary, so instead of going home for lunch like Id planned, I jumped in a cab and flew uptown to pick up Rosalies dress. Thankfully all I had to do was pick it up. Rosalie had a shoot all day so that meant I didnt have to stay there and help her try it on for the third time. It took her 25 minutes just to get into to the dress and then there would have been the time it would take to make sure the alterations were right. I dropped the garment bag into Emmetts arms when he came to the door and tried to get out of there as soon as I could, before he stopped me. Bella, wait, He grabbed my arm with his free hand that wasnt holding the dress and pulled me into the apartment. I sighed and stared at him as he hung the dress up and walked back to me. Is my brother okay? Yeah. It was hard for me to lie to Emmett. But I did because I knew that he had better things to worry about right now, like the wedding. If I told him the truth it would kill him. Itd be another thing that happeend to Edward, which he blamed himself for. Are you sure? Because, lately youve seemed low and the only time youre like that is when he does something. Did he do something? I shouldnt have been surprised that Emmett was so intuitive, because hed been dealing with Edwards problems for years and years before I came along. So, I looked down at the floor and shook my head, before meeting his eyes and giving him a big, fake smile. Everythings okay. I swear. I turned toward the door and twisted the knob, but Emmett slammed his palm against it and spun me around by my shoulders. Alright, Bella, I was hoping youd just tell me the fucking truth, but since youre making this difficult, Ill ask again. Hows my brother? Actually, let me reiterate. A couple days ago when we were together, Edwards sleeve rode up and I saw his fucking arm, so tell me, how is he? I gulped, not knowing what to do. And then, in typical Bella fashion, I started hiccupping and sobbing uncontrollably. I dont know what to do! Instead of Emmett consoling me, like people usually did when I cried, he just kind of looked at me and shook his head with pity. Now you know how I felt. No, its not the same hes hes out of control. Im afraid, Emmett. Im scared, every single day that somethings going to happen. And he said hes going to detox after the wedding, but at this point Im terrified that he wont even make it there.

Emmett looked down at the floor, grabbing the bridge of his nose. I have to tell my father about this, Bella. No! No, please, dont. He trusts me, and hes going to try for me- Im afraid that if Carlisle gets involved he wont want to do it anymore please, Emmett, promise me you wont say anything! No, Bella. Im sorry. I tried to catch my breath, gasping between my sobs, You cant do this, Emmett- Bella! He grabbed my shoulders and shook me, trying to make me understand. I get why you think what youre doing is okay, but lets face it- nothing weve been doing is right. None of us. Its time to give up all the shit- the threatening, the shame, the denial, the sitting around and ignoring it. It all needs to stop. He was probably rightt, but once again, I had the feeling that forcing Edward would be pointless. I didnt say anything though. I racked my mind for some way to fix what I did. Im having dinner with your mom later, Ill talk to her. Please, let me talk to them. Somehow, I got Emmett to agree with me so that he would let me leave. Once again, the weight of Edwards problems was entirely on me. I cried to myself the entire taxi ride back to the apartment. When I got upstairs, Edward was asleep on the bed. I dropped my purse on the floor and sat next to him, putting my palms on his back to try and shake him awake. He mustve just fallen asleep, because he got up without much effort. Why you crying? He asked me as he flipped over, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Um, I sighed and pulled my jacket off. I went over to drop off Rosalies dress and Emmett knows about all this, I said, gently skimming my fingers over his arm. He asked me how you were and- And, what? Whatd you do now? What did I do? Holy shit, my patience was running low. I told him you werent doing well and that I was scared. Because I am. I also told him I that I dont know what to do. Edward gave me a malicious look and stood up from the bed, stomping over to his closet. What are you doing? I asked him. He threw on a sweatshirt and his jacket, ignoring me. You cant leave. I ran in front of the door, blocking it with my body. It was a stupid move, because if Edward wanted he couldve just lifted me up and tossed me out of the way with little effort.

Why wouldnt you just talk to me about this shit? Why do you have to go running to him? He was trying not to yell, but I felt how forced it was. I didnt go running to him, he asked me! And anyway, I do try and talk to you. All the time. You dont want to talk to me, so how am I supposed to know what you want me to do? Edward closed his eyes and exhaled slowly, tilting his head toward the floor. Just let me go talk to Emmett. He was visibly calmer. It was against my better judgment, but I stepped to the side to let him leave. I dont know why I thought it would be okay. Edward kissed my forehead before leaving and looked deep into my eyes. Im sorry, Bella. I didnt know what he was sorry for and the second he said it I got that feeling in my stomach. You know that gut feeling you get when you just know something bad is going to happen, or has already happened? Your not sure what it is but you know that you cant do a fucking thing about it? After he walked out of the apartment and the door clicked shut behind him, I leaned my head against the wall, my mind a blank and complete loss as to what to do. Was there anything I could do? Everything was silent. It was the calm before the storm. Missing BPOV I tapped my foot nervously on the floor of the taxi, in a vain attempt to try and keep calm. It seemed impossible. I just knew something wasn't right. I had to leave the apartment to meet Esme, but it had been two hours before I eventually left and Edward hadn't come back during that time. Edward wasnt answering his cell, but I hadn't gotten a call from Emmett or Esme or anyone else yet, so I was trying assume everything was fine. I was hoping that he had just gone to Emmetts and that theyd talked things through, and that when I returned home from dinner, he'd be waiting. It seemed far fetched for some reason, but I was crossing my fingers. The restaurant was a little, elegant French place uptown that was way out of my budget. Esme always paid, so I never said anything. As soon as I walked inside, I realized I was completely underdressed. Id been too distracted to pay any attention to details like that. The host looked me up and down, making me feel slightly uncomfortable, but when I said Esmes name his demeanor toward me instantly changed. He took my jacket before leading me through the dimly lit restaurant, smiling and making polite conversation. Esme was waiting at a small, private booth in the far corner, dressed impeccably, her smooth hair pulled back neatly.

"Hello, Bella," she said, standing up to hug me. I was just about to call you. "I'm so sorry I'm late. There was traffic and the cabdriver seemed to be intent on taking the longest route possible to get here," I explained as I sat in my seat, sighing. She looked at me for a couple seconds before sliding a menu across the table to me. "Give us a minute, please?" She gave the waiter a polite smile before he slipped away. "Are you alright?" "I'm fine." Was it so visibly obvious that I was a wreck? I felt like every person I'd seen in the past two days had asked me the same question. Even the cabbies and the guy who worked at PinkBerry. I looked over the menu, the main reason being that it was a distraction from Esme's maternal glare. My mother gave me that look when she knew something was up. I couldn't eat if I wanted to. My stomach was flipping and having to lie to her was only making it that much worse. "Where's Edward?" Boom. She wasted no time dropping the bomb. "Um, I'm not sure to be honest. I was running around all day and when I got back to the apartment he was out. I haven't been able to get in touch with him. I ordered the flowers Rosalie asked me to, the florist assured me that there would be no problem having them delivered on Saturday and then I picked up the dress. " I was rambling on and lying because I was trying to give myself time to think about what I was going to tell her. I knew I'd promised Emmett that I'd be honest, and as much as I was dreading the upcoming conversation, I felt too responsible for how far it Edwards situation had deteriorated and I forced back the guilt that was overpowering my rationality. Great." Esme nodded. My distraction worked for the moment. "It's so soon. I can't believe we managed to pull a wedding together in such a short period of time with everything that's going on... It's a relief that we've made it without any catastrophes. Knock on wood," She said, hitting the table for emphasis. I gulped and forced a smile, the throbbing gut feeling I had since Edward left the apartment refusing to subside. Before the waiter even had a chance to come back and take our order, I felt my phone vibrating in my purse, and at the same time, I heard Esme's phone start ringing on the table. My stomach dropped. She frowned and looked at her phone as though she had the same feelings I was dealing with and was afraid that it would bite her hand when she picked it up to answer it. Instead of searching through my bag to answer mine, I chose to just listen to her conversation. After she pressed the talk button, I could hear yelling coming from the earpiece and I began to feel as though everything was happening in slow motion. Esme's face suddenly took on a panicked look as she tried to comprehend what was going on.

"Jasper, I can't- tell him to stop yelling," she said, clearly trying to remain calm. "What happened? I'm with her now? Where are you? Is he okay?" Esme put her hand on her forehead and shook her head. "Maybe I should take her home... He doesn't sound like he's being reasonable. I know... Okay, I can't hear, I'll be there as soon as I can." She snapped her phone shut and stood up. "What's wrong?" I asked, stuttering. She motioned for me to follow her and flew out of the restaurant. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to stay pretty collected. Esme didn't say anything until we got in the cab. "I don't know what happened. There was a lot of yelling and Jasper didn't really explain anything." She was lying. "Where are we going?" "Home. To my house," she clarified. "Is Edward there?" Esme just shook her head, apologetically. * APOV I was sitting at the dining room table, doing paperwork for the store when Jasper came barging into the apartment. He looked visibly distraught. Silently, I stared as he plopped into the chair next to me, burying his face in his hands. Whats the matter? I asked, slightly afraid. He sighed and tapped his hands on the edge of the table. I dont know what to do. Jasper didnt need to say who he was talking about, because it was painfully obvious it was Edward. I felt a pang of nervousness in my chest as I slid my papers to the side, leaning over the table so I was closer to Jasper. What happened? Id tried to remain as neutral as possible when it came to dealing with anything related to Edwards problems. There were multiple reasons for it. For one, I wasnt as close to him as everyone else was, so besides for hearing other peoples accounts of their experiences with him, I knew nothing of how desolate his situation had become or the extent of his addiction. I figured that unless I was directly effected, the best thing that I could do was just sit there and keep my mouth shut. Yeah, I had opinions- my main one

being that Edwards parents needed to take more aggressive action and stop depending on Emmett and Bella. But to me, uttering things like that out loud did nothing, except state a problem without offering a solution. I had no suggestions as to what his parents could do. I didnt know Edwards life story, so I doubted I could offer much help. Another reason I tried not to get involved was because I felt like I was caught in the middle- Rosalie was strictly against Bella and Edwards relationship, and taking any type of side or stating my opinion would only cause a rift in our friendship. In a way I felt like I was the glue that was holding us together. Rosalie was never going to be at ease with their relationship, and Bella was never going to leave him, so I was constantly the mediator when it came to the two of them. The last reason for my lack of involvement stemmed from Jaspers position in everything. He was frantic, constantly going back and forth between sticking up for Edward, and sticking up for Emmett, and I knew he held some internal blame for how Edward had become. He was in a hard place. Edward was his best friend, so he had a static allegiance to him, often causing him to just step back and be silent instead of speaking his mind to Edward. As far as Emmett went, Jasper sympathized with him because hed seen Emmett repeatedly make an effort to do what he thought was best for Edward, and he always lost. Both of them felt horrible, and both of them were at a loss as to what they could do next, so the matter was often pushed to the side and overlooked. But as hard as everyone tried to ignore it, Edwards circumstances were like a cloud that loomed over everyones heads constantly. Only when it started raining did people acknowledge it was there. I recognized right now as one of those times. Im scared for Edward. Shits getting worse. Im worried that if we dont do something now, something horrible will happen. Why? He shook his head at me and moved his eyes from mine, glaring down at the table. Jasper, I cant help if you dont tell me whats going on, I whispered, reaching out and grabbing his hand. It was cold. You cant say anything. I wont. Jasper went on to describe to me in detail how hed discovered earlier that morning that Edward had started shooting up, due to Carlisle cutting him off financially. Before Rosalie had told me about Edwards addiction, I had no idea that he was involved with anything like that, because in my mind, junkies were crazy, and dirty, and stole from people, and whatever other stereotypes Id seen in movies. But, according to Jasper, Edwards composure was fading, and he felt like it was only a matter of time before he hit an all-time low.

The first thing that went through my mind was Bella. My instincts told me that I needed to protect my best friend. At the very least, I had to warn her. But Jasper had made it a point to tell me I wasnt to inform her of anything yet. He said hed told her in so many words on the cab ride there that something was really wrong, and that shed gotten the hint, since she broke down and started begging Jasper for answers. That infuriated me. Why would you make her feel that way? I said, sighing. This isnt her fault. Youre making her feel like its her responsibility to do something. Now, if something happens to Edward, shes never gonna forgive herself. And she doesnt even know, specifically, whats wrong with him. Shell figure it out, he muttered. I feel like hell do anything for her. So if she leaves him, maybe hell finally wake the fuck up and- No. No, its not gonna do anything. Hes not a normal, rational human being. His entire life is controlled by his addiction. Dont you guys get that? Why wouldnt you tell Emmett this, or- He told me not to tell Emmett. I cant betray him like that. Jaspers head lolled back and he stared at the ceiling, flustered. You wouldnt be betraying him. Youd be helping him. Really, Alice? He said, rolling his eyes. Would Emmett even do anything? I dont know, I mumbled, my mind short of any advice. * Im not helping. Rosalie sat on the sofa, her feet propped on the coffee table, lazily flipping through the channels. I walked over and grabbed the remote out of her hands, shutting off the TV. Rosalie, get up, I whispered. Youre going to start a fight. Is that what you want? Yep. I rolled my eyes and grabbed her arm, trying to yank her off the sofa. She swatted my arm away and stood up on her own, sighing. Fine. This is fucking stupid, though. You remember me saying this, right now- this is fucking stupid. Its gonna end bad. Just shut up, I said, pushing open the door to Bellas room. She was standing in front of her closet, pulling things off of hangers. What can I do? Rose asked her, not even attempting genuine enthusiasm.

Umm whatevers in the bookshelf, can you just throw it in that box? Bella pointed at an empty cardboard box in the corner as Rosalie nodded. She haphazardly started tossing the books into the box, catching Bellas attention. I tried to remedy the situation by running over to the box and putting the books in neat piles, but Rosalie had already gotten Bellas attention. Is something wrong? She asked Rosalie, dropping an armful of clothes onto her bed. No. Rosalie tossed another book into the box without looking and almost hit me in the head. Bella frowned at me, but I just shrugged. Um Rose? Whats going on? Are you sure this is a good idea, Bella? Rosalie stacked up whatever books were left on the shelf and carried them over to the box. Bella stood there, silent. Shes just worried, Bella. You know I trailed off, waving my hand in the air like it wasnt a big deal. Rosalie, Bella called her, patting the bed. Hesitantly, Rosalie climbed over the piles of stuff on the floor and sat next to Bella. I love my boyfriend. More than I can explain to you. Were open with each other, and we dont have secrets, so moving in together really isnt going to change anything. Not for the worst, at least. I closed my eyes at the mention of them not having secrets, because it wasnt true. But Bella believed it to be true, so I kept quiet. I know youre scared for me. And you know that I appreciate you caring so much. But you just need to let me do what I have to do, and support me. Please. Rosalie looked around the room, clearly struggling in her head between what was right and wrong. Finally she gave in and nodded. Okay. But, please Bella- dont ever feel like youre stuck there. If anything happens, dont feel ashamed to tell us. And you can always move back here if it doesnt work out, right Alice? I nodded and smiled at Bella, whos mood had clearly deteriorated. After packing all the boxes, we started bringing them down to the lobby. Bella had borrowed Edwards car, so we filled it up as much as we could, and Rosalie and I hailed a cab. Im gonna wait in the car with the boxes, in front of the building, Bella told us. Youre probably gonna get there before me, so just go upstairs and get Edward. We nodded and got in the cab. As predicted, we pulled up to Edwards building before Bella did, so Rosalie and I went upstairs to get Edward.

I have a bad feeling about this, Rosalie muttered in the elevator, mostly just speaking her mind out loud. I shrugged and didnt answer her, because in a way I felt the same thing. We knocked on Edwards door and stood there, waiting. He came to the door and stuck his head through, frowning at us. Oh, hey you guys got here quick. Uh hold on a minute. He tried to close the door on us but Rosalie sneered and pushed it open. Edward stood there, taken aback, before turning around and retreating toward his bed. Rosalie was instantly suspicious, so she followed him. Whats the matter? Nothing- go wait over there, he shouted, not turning around to look at her. I tried to do damage control, so I scurried across the loft, following them. Edward was rummaging through his dresser for something. I watched as he pulled out a zip-up hoody and turned his back to Rose to put it on, but his attempt was in vain. She got a clear view of the beginnings of track marks on his arm, gasping and covering her mouth. What the fuck- Shut up, Rose. Just shut the fuck up. Edward cut her off and zipped the hoody up, walking back to the kitchen. Does Emmett know about this? No. And you arent going to tell him. What about Bella? No, he said, his head sagging in shame. I felt sorry for him. Roses fists were clenched, and she just looked at me, shaking her head. I told you, Alice. See what I mean? Just mind your business. Both of you, Edward said, his eyes darting from Rosalies to mine. The tension temporarily lifted when Edwards phone started vibrating on the counter. Hey, he said as he picked it up, looking down at the floor. Ill be right down. He hung up and dropped the phone back on the counter. Shes downstairs. Rosalie and I went through the motions of the move, helping as quickly as we could without mentioning anything. Edward made it a point to keep throwing daggers at Rosalie with his eyes, silently threatening her. We didnt have to worry about Bella

noticing anything, because the second she was in contact with Edward, it was like everyone else wasnt even there. The whole thing just screamed trouble to me, but what could I do now? More and more I was beginning to understand Rosalies point of view, because Bellas dependency on Edward was almost frightening to me. I was scared to see what shed be like if something was to happen to him. When it was time for Rosalie and I to leave for the night, she took Bella into the hallway to say goodbye to her. As soon as the door closed I looked at Edward and shook my head. I dont get involved you know this. But arent you worried about her? Even a little? Edward stared at me, speechless. After awhile he looked down at the ground and shrugged. Shes not worried. Why should I be? In all fairness, she doesnt know everything. Im going to tell her soon. And Im going to get clean, and this will all be over with- He stopped talking when the door opened and Bella walked back in, smiling. Rosalies waiting by the elevator. Okay, I said, grabbing my purse and heading toward the door. Bye, guys. Ill see you tomorrow, right Bella? She nodded and hugged me before I left. Rosalie and I stood on the sidewalk, waiting for a cab. She was pacing back and forth, trying to think up some kind of a solution. I should tell Emmett. No, I told her. Dont. Emmett almost didnt propose to you because he was too scared of what was going to happen to Edward if he wasnt around. This is only going to reiterate the fact that he was right. Lets just give him an Edward break for a little while. Why dont you talk to his parents? Yeah, youre right okay, good idea, lets go. Rosalie hailed a cab and I stood there, shaking my head. No. I meant you go. Not me. * Somehow it was an hour later and I was sitting in the Cullens den with Esme and Rosalie. Carlisle was working, but Rosalie insisted that it was better if he didnt know about anything. She never informed Esme of how Edwards addiction had evolved, but she implied that things were going downhill plenty of times.

Do you think them moving in together is a bad idea? Esme looked at Rosalie, then me, then Rosalie again. I stayed silent. I just think Bella is kind of making think Edward that his lifestyle is okay. Shes almost being too supportive of him. Instead of making things better, its making things worse. Way worse. I nodded, because Rosalie was completely right. I dont know what I should do. Hes an adult, I cant force him- Hes your child, I interrupted, angry. All I heard from these people was excuse after excuse and no action. It was ridiculous. Hes your son! And he needs help. Someone needs to do something. And I know youve been dependant on Emmett, but hes not watching Edward anymore and now the responsibility is all on Bella, and its just not right. You and Carlisle have to do something. Esme sighed and looked down at the floor, her face full of guilt. Alice, its much easier said than done. Weve always thought at the time that what we were doing for Edward was best, and now we see that it wasnt, but our hands are tied. Its too late to try and fix our mistakes. I shook my head and pinched the bridge of my nose. Im sorry- I dont mean to be disrespectful, but what exactly have you done? Ever? Rosalie kicked my chair, but I didnt acknowledge her. Edward is a complicated person. He always has been. It isnt that we havent triedweve tried everything. Weve tried yelling. Weve tried taking away his stuff. Weve tried forcing him to get help. Weve tried begging and pleading with him. Weve tried just ignoring it. Any time weve made any attempt, he just gets angry and distant and worse. Lately weve run out of ideas. Whats left to do? Send him to jail? I cant do that. I love Edward its just too late to go back and fix things now. Youre right. So start new. Like, how about you keep in touch with Bella and help her a little bit? Maybe be a little more involved in whats going on in Edwards life. Bellas mother is across the country, Im sure shed welcome some support from you. No one is as close to Edward as she is. Esme thought about it and agreed. Okay. Ill talk to Bella. And you should make sure Edwards taking his medicine, Rosalie added. Pay closer attention, because I doubt he is. And please, dont tell Emmett we had this talk. After the wedding is over, if things havent gotten any better, he can start getting involved again. Esme nodded. Okay. Thank you, girls, for coming over. I appreciate all the concern. I know how hard this is on everyone.

We left the Cullens house, both of us unsatisfied at the slight progress wed made. Esme was clearly defeated; none of her and Carlisles half assed attempts had ever done any good. I knew the denial of Edwards problems stemmed from the fact that they were ashamed, embarrassed, stuck up socialites that cared more about their outward appearance than trying to help their son. And yeah, maybe theyd tried over and over, but they shouldve been trying harder instead of just giving up on him. Over the next couple of weeks, Rosalie and I noticed Bellas disposition become more and more dreary. We both avoided confronting her, since the wedding was so close and we were trying to avoid any tribulations. But it was clear she found out about how bad Edward was doing, and it was clear things were getting much worse. When we were together, she was never really there. She was always distracted, calling Edward multiple times, clearly anxious but trying to conceal it. Bella had told Jasper that after the wedding, Edward promised her he was going to go through detox, so we were all just trying to wait it out. It was far from surprising to me when the entire catastrophe happened. The event that eventually led to it was Emmett finding out. We were all drinking at my apartment, and when Edward and Bella were putting their coats on to leave, Edward slid his arm into his coat too fast, causing the sleeve and the cuff of his shirt to ride up his forearm. We all saw the look on Emmetts face when he saw the bruises, but he said nothing to Edward. A few days before the wedding, Jasper and I were having dinner when we got a frantic call from Rosalie. Alice? She was in tears, gasping for breath. Are you with Jasper? Yeah, whats wrong? I put the phone on speaker and set it on the table. We need him can you tell him to meet us at the Cullens house? Like, now. Emmett was yelling in the background, but I couldnt make out what he said. Shut up, Emmett! Rose, what happened? Jasper asked, holding the phone up to his mouth. Just go there, now. She hung up without another word. Jasper looked at me, his face drained of all color. What do you think happened? I asked him. I dont know, he muttered, grabbing his jacket and flying toward the door. I threw on my shoes and ran after him. Instead of waiting for the elevator, he flew down the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. By the time I met him outside, he was already sitting in a cab.

When we pulled up to the Cullens building, Jasper ran inside without even knocking on the door. Carlisles voice was bellowing across the house, so I followed it. He was standing in the kitchen, holding a towel up to Emmetts lip. I gasped when I saw how Emmett looked. Someone had beat him up, badly. He was bloody, and bruises were already visible, and his face was swollen. Rosalie was crying, and Emmett was arguing with Carlisle. I cant believe you did this, Emmett! What are we going to do now? Just go look for him! No, you should go look for him- you did this! Rosalie yelled from where she was standing behind Carlisle. He turned around to face her and put his hands on her shoulders. Rosalie, enough. Alice, why dont you go take Rosalie into the den? I put my hand on her back and led her into the other room. I waited until she was sitting down until I started questioning her. Emmett and Carlisles audible yelling could still be heard coming from the kitchen. What the hell is going on? I asked, trying to wipe the makeup off her face. Emmetts such an idiot, she said, shaking her head. He lost it. And he was completely in the wrong. I actually felt bad for Edward he was just standing there, all scared, and Emmett just kept pushing him and pushing him. He kept insulting him, and yelling at him, and telling him he was gonna call the police, and then he tackled him to the ground to try and see Edwards arms, and Edward cracked. They were beating the shit out of each other, and I was screaming, and they werent listening to me, and so I squeezed in between the two of them because I knew Emmett wouldnt hit me and it would give Edward enough time to move away from Emmett. And Edward left we cant find him. Im scared for him. A few seconds later, Jasper, Emmett, and Carlisle walked into the room, arguing about what to do. Jasper- did someone call Bella? I asked him. She was going to freak out once she heard Edward was missing, and I thought it would be better if we were all with her. Yeah, I did, shes with Esme. They on their way now. We all sat there, Rosalie and me silent while the three of them discussed finding Edward and what they were going to do with him once they did. Jasper tried calling his phone over and over, as if hed actually pick up. About fifteen minutes later, Bella came rushing into the room, freezing at the doorway and staring at us in horror. Everyone turned their heads toward her and stared in silence. BPOV

When we pulled up to their building, I ran inside. There were loud voices talking over one another that could be heard coming from the den. When I appeared in the doorway, out of breath, everyone just stopped talking, turned and stared at me. On the left side of the room, Rosalie was the first one I saw. She had clearly been crying, black mascara smudged under her eyes. Alice was latched onto her arm, rubbing her back. Carlisle was sitting on an ottoman, his head in his hands, looking more unkempt then I'd ever seen him. Jasper was in the middle of the room, trying to call someone on his phone to no avail. And then, on the right side of the room, I saw Emmett. "What the hell happened to you?" I asked, grabbing my chest and trying to breath. His lip was cracked and swollen and he was holding a bloody towel up to it. His right eye was puffy and a clear purple bruise was already forming. On his opposite cheek there was a big red welt that had a small cut in the middle of it. His shirt was ripped at the collar, revealing a bunch of deep, bloody scratches on his shoulder and chest. "I was just trying to talk to him," Emmett explained. "He fucking flipped out." I couldn't believe Edward had done that to him. I heard Rosalie's voice and my head spun to her quickly. "You were not trying to talk to him! More like you insulted him for two minutes before you attacked him! What did you think he was gonna do? You wrestled him to the ground and ripped his clothes off!" Wait, Rosalie was defending Edward? Did I step into an alternate universe or something? "I'm fucking sick of everything! No one's doing shit, and she knew about this and was hiding it-" Emmett pointed at me. "Um, hold on. Jasper knew too!" I wasn't going to take all the balme. Japser's eyes bugged out of his head as Emmett stood up and started walking toward him. So did Rosalie and Alice! He shouted. "No, no, no," Carlisle got up and stood in front of Jasper. "Enough of the blame game. This is no one's fault." Emmett was breathing heavy, but he went back to his spot on the sofa and shook his head. "You have no idea, Dad. His arms... I can't even think about it. I don't know how you looked at that shit every day," he said, looking up at me. "It's fucking disgraceful." If I wasn't completely flipping the fuck out, I would've given Emmett a bloody nose to match the rest of his face. Instead I just looked at Carlisle, my eyes pleading. "Where is he?" I asked. "Is he okay? How..." Too much was going through my mind for me to speak clearly.

"I don't know where the fuck he went," Emmett shouted, like he'd already said it more times then he wanted. "He's not in his right state of mind right now. You have to go look for him, Rosalie added. "I'm coming." Carlisle looked up at me and winced. "Bella, I think you should go home. Wait there, in case he comes back-" "No. I'm going. I can't just sit and wait. If you don't let me come I'll just go looking for him on my own." No one dared to challenge me. Carlisle sighed and pulled a set of keys from his pocket. "Esme, stay here. Alice, take Rosalie home and help her clean up. Jasper, come on, you're coming with us." After Carlisle directed everyone, Jasper, Emmett and I followed him out to his Mercedes that was parked in front of the building. I got into the back seat with Jasper, Emmett riding shotgun to navigate. "We'll go there first," Emmett said vaguely. We all knew what he meant. "Bella, call your doorman. Ask him if Edward's been there and tell him to call you if he comes home." I did what he said. Not surprisingly, he hadn't been there. I hung up the phone, defeated. Carlisle was stoic as he drove the car to the first place we hoped Edward might be, only nodding his head every so often to acknowledge Emmett's directions. Jasper nervously bobbed his knee up and down, contributing to my distress. Eventually the street got darker and I realized we were getting close to the placed Rosalie had described to me the first time shed told me about Edwards addiction. It was exactly as she had described; beat up buildings, shady people, and scary as all hell. Carlisle pulled up to the alleyway and turned off the car. My heart was pounding out of my chest. "Jasper, stay with Bella. The keys are in the ignition. If anyone comes over here, just drive away." Jasper nodded. Carlisle sighed and followed Emmett out of the car. I watched as their silhouettes faded into the darkness of the alley. "What happened?" I still had no idea what was going down so I asked Jasper. "I know as much as you." He threw his arm around my shoulders and I rested my head on his chest. It reminded me of Edward, it was a feeling that was both soothing and scary, because I feared him not ever coming back and holding me like that again. "I think the gist of it is that Edward went there angry... Because of something that happened with you? I think that's what Emmett said. Anyway, they started yelling at

each other and Emmett told him he knew what Edward was doing and that he was done trying to reason... Edward lied and said that it wasn't true, that he wasn't shooting up, blah blah blah. And then Emmett flipped out and said to prove it to him or something retarded, like that he was calling the police or some stupid shit like that. Edward tried to leave, Emmett pushed him to the ground and ripped his jacket and his sweatshirt off... I don't know. I think we all know better than to fuck with Edward like that. He flipped out. They ended up beating the shit out of each other. Rosalie had to get in the middle to get Emmett off him. Edward was out of his mind and he just fucking left. Rose called us, and that's all I know." I took in what Jasper said, but I was too spent to do anything except nod. We sat there in silence for a couple minutes. I was a zombie. I didnt even blink when I heard a wrapping at the window. Jasper reached into the front seat and popped the lock for Emmett and Carlisle. Emmett opened the door and slumped heavily in his seat, punching the dashboard. Carlisle shook his head and started the car. "Emmett, calm down. There's nothing we can do." "What happened? Was he there?" I asked questions, not giving a shit about the palpable tension in the car. "He was there earlier," Carlisle responded. "Yeah, and that stupid mother fucker in there-" "Emmett." Carlisle cut him off. "Enough." The silence returned. "Where we going now?" Jasper asked hesitantly. "Home," Carlisle answered. "Why? There's still a bunch of places we can check. Maybe he's-" "No," Emmett interrupted, his voice hollow. "He knew we'd be looking for him. He's not gonna be anywhere we know." Carlisle sighed. "There's no point in endangering anyone for no reason. We're just going to wait." "We can call the police," I suggested. "Somehow I doubt looking for a runaway heroin junkie is at the top of their to-do list," Emmett said snidely. "Emmett, stop. Bella, don't worry. It'll be okay." Carlisle tried reassuring me, but somehow I doubted that everything would be okay.

"Carlisle, can you drop me off at home?" Jasper asked. "Sure." "Do you want to stay with us?" Jasper asked me. I nodded. He'd moved into my old apartment with Alice and I knew if I was home, in Edward's apartment, all by myself and freaking out it would be dangerous. "Please call me if you find out anything at all," I asked Carlisle and Emmett as I got out of the car. I didnt honestly think they would, but it was worth the shot. "Okay. Same goes for you." Carlisle gave me a sympathetic look before pulling away. As soon as we got upstairs, I wasted no time flying into my old room and collapsing on my bed. I started sobbing so uncontrollably I could barely breathe. Jasper definitely heard me in the other room, but I didn't care. I was wallowing in self pity and guilt, trying to go through the past couple of months events to see if there was anything I could've done differently. I could've done so many things. I should've done so many things. I didnt. I was so worried that Edward would reject me because he would see me as just another person that was at his back about his addiction, which he didnt even see as an addiction or something that he needed to address. My dependency on and my obsession with Edward had caused me to act out with selfishness. I realized my lack of action was because I was concerned about myself. What would I do if Edward hated me for betraying him and threatening to leave our relationship? How would I feel if he wasn't there? What would happen to me if he did get his life together and didn't want me anymore? I handled everything completely wrong. My denial had eventually led to neglecting Edwards issues when I shouldve been helping him, because I was so needy, and so dependent on him. I didnt want to be the one to have to force him to change. I was so stupid. "Bella?" Jasper walked into the room and placed a glass of water on the nightstand. "Do you need anything?" Between my sobs I heard the beeping of my phone, signaling the battery was low. I needed my phone in case he called. "Can you ask Alice to stop at my apartment and grab my phone charger? Its plugged in near the bed." I'm sure he thought it was a trivial request, but he didnt say anything. "Yeah. Do you want clothes or anything?" "No, I don't care about that." I dropped my head back onto the pillow and kept crying. "Here, take this." He handed me a little white pill and I took it without asking what it was, desperate for any kind of release. My memory of the rest of the nights events were unclear. When I woke up in the morning, I'd almost forgotten what had happened, and it took me a minute to figure out

why I wasn't in my own bed at Edwards apartment. Everything came rushing back into my mind and my chest tightened. My head was rested on Jasper's stomach and I felt Alice on my other side, her hand clutching mine. I sat up slowly, my head feeling heavy, trying not to wake them. The two of them had stayed up all night, trying to comfort me and not leaving my side. Jasper was especially being supportive, but I think it was because he felt almost as horrible as I did, so he understood. I spotted my cellphone across the room, on the dresser. Someone had taken the liberty of plugging it in, thank god. I was holding my breath, praying that there would be a missed call or text or anything from Edward, but when I reached my phone there was nothing but a text from my father, reminding me to meet him at the airport later. I thought about everything that happened last night, Rosalies wedding and how everything was falling apart. The wedding was in four days. Four days. The bride was ready to rip the grooms head off, the groom was beat to shit by the best man, who was missing, the maid of honor was mentally unstable, and the rest of the wedding party was completely gob smacked. We were all caught up in the same nightmare with no possibility of waking up any time soon. I hadnt ever lived with a guy, much less a junkie, so the feelings that I felt at that moment were new to me. Id never felt more horrendous in my life. Its an odd feeling, when your significant other doesnt come home and isnt there when you wake up in the morning. When I was younger, I let my cat outside one day and he never came back that night. He wasnt there in the morning when I opened the door, either. When we found him on the side of the road, hit by a car, I wasnt really surprised. I knew that something had happened when he didnt come back that first night. It was a ridiculous comparison, but that was how I felt about Edward. I told myself the day before that I wouldnt start really worrying until morning, and it was morning. I felt dread. I felt despair. But most of all, I felt resigned. Id fought for what I thought was right, and I lost. I was ready to give up. I grabbed a blanket from the linen closet and laid down on the sofa in the living room to let Jasper and Alice get more sleep. Eventually, they woke up. They offered me food. The tried talking to me. Alice brushed my hair. They even called Esme and Carlisle to see if theyd heard anything. Of course, they hadnt. I was catatonic. It was the effect of knowing that something had happened to Edward, and that I was partly to blame. I didnt talk. I didnt move. I didnt sleep. I just sat there

all day, staring into space, thinking about Edward. My Edward. His eyes. His hair. His smell. His laugh. His generosity. They way he kissed me when he knew I was upset. The way he looked at me when he thought no one was watching him. The way his lips pouted when he was sleeping. The way his fingers felt against my skin. All of it. I tried to remember every day that Id spent with him, from that first time that I saw him, right there in that living room, to yesterday, and the look in his eyes before he left our apartment. I didnt want to move, or breathe, or even think anymore until I knew he was okay. When it was late in the afternoon and the sun had already started going down, I heard Jasper and Alices muffled arguing coming from the kitchen. I was too exhausted to even try and listen to them. A couple minutes later, Alice came into the room and kneeled next to me, water in hand. She gave me one of the pills that Jasper had the night before. Im pretty sure it was Xanax or something of the sort. I slid my hand out from the blanket to take it and threw it in my mouth, swallowing it without drinking the water. Um Bella? You need to go meet your Dad at the airport. Im not going anywhere, I answered Alice, my voice empty. Okay. She took a deep breath and stood up. Ill go. Jaspers gonna stay here with you. I have my phone, in case you hear anything. Without waiting for a response she knew she wouldnt get from me, Alice left the apartment. Jasper sat down on the floor, leaning against the sofa near my head. Pick a color, He said, holding up a deck of cards. I dont want to play. Okay I guess you pick black. He flipped the top card over onto the coffee table. King of clubs. Okay. I chose black too. He flipped the next card. Ten of diamonds. You lost. Jasper turned toward me and raised an eyebrow. I guess he wasnt expecting me to say anything. Higher or lower? He asked. Obviously lower. The next card he flipped was a two of clubs. Bella? What? I feel the same way you do. I want you to know that, Jasper cleared his throat and looked down at the cards in his hands. I pick lower.

Ace of spades. No one feels the way I do. I gulped and picked my head up from the sofa. I hadnt moved it for almost 12 hours. Hes been my best friend since I was a little kid. If this is your fault, then its mine too. Ive watched this go on for years. I pushed the plunger on the needle the first time he shot up, for fucks sake. Jasper scratched at his head, clearly irritated with himself. I guess its everyones fault. I flung my legs over the side of the sofa and lifted myself up, using Jaspers shoulders as support. Here, can you put these in the drawer if youre going in the kitchen? He handed me the deck of cards as I yawned. Groggily, I made my way to the kitchen to make myself coffee. I pulled open their junk drawer to put away the cards, but since my brain was foggy I pulled it harder than necessary and the whole drawer came off the tracks. I caught it before it fell to the ground, but I heard a clattering on the floor as something fell out of it. I shoved the drawer back in and looked around for what had fallen. In the corner of the kitchen, I spotted what it was. I walked over slowly and knelt down, peering at the two dice on the floor. A two and a five. And then I lost it. I remembered that day at the apartment, and how happy I was that Edward wanted to be with me. I loved him immeasurably but our happiness was suffering in exchange for his ongoing addiction. I become conscious at that moment of what I needed to do, and the realization of the events that were soon to come were agonizing. Jasper had to literally pick me up and carry me into the bedroom because I was collapsed on the floor. Luckily for me, the Xanax or whatever started kicking in, and because I hadnt eaten since the morning the day before, what happened after that was hazy for me. I know that Alice came in after she dropped off Charlie at his hotel, and she told me that shed lied and told him I was sick. Charlie didnt know about Edwards problems and it was a discussion Alice didnt want to take part in. Other then that, I had no idea what went on that night. The first time that I heard my phone beeping, signaling that I had a voicemail, I thought I was dreaming. It woke me from my sleep, but when I looked at the clock it was past three in the morning, and my phone was nowhere in sight. Then, as I was drifting back to sleep, I felt the phone vibrating in the bed, the ringer muffled since it was somewhere in the blankets. I felt around frantically, ripping apart the bed. When I threw the comforter in the air, I heard a bang against the wall. I ran over and picked the phone up from the floor. 1 Missed Call from some number I didnt know. 1 Voicemail from that same number. 1 Missed Call from a blocked number. I checked my voicemail first.

Hi, Miss Swan I dont know if you still wanted to know, but Mr. Cullen just walked by. He had bruises and cuts all over he didnt look good. But hes upstairs. Sorry to wake you. It was the doorman. I looked at the time the voicemail was from. 2:45. I still had time. He could still be there. I didnt tell Alice or Jasper I was leaving. I grabbed my keys and my phone, threw on Alices UGGs that were near the door, and ran outside. Id neglected to put on a coat, causing people on the sidewalk to stare at me. I had on pajama shorts and a t-shirt, and it was the end of January, and I didnt give a fuck. Edward was home. I was shaking the entire ride back to the apartment. It was a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and dread because I didnt know what to expect when I got home, and I wanted to yell and scream at him, hit him for doing this shit to me, and I wanted to kiss him and hug him and tell him I loved him, and I was going to force him, starting tonight, to get clean. I dashed through the lobby as soon as the cab pulled up, giving the doorman a wave and thanking him. The elevator couldnt have possibly taken any longer. I tapped my fingernails against the wall, trying to calm my trembling hands. I didnt even let the elevator open all the way before I tore down the hallway, trying to throw the door open as fast as I could. It was locked. That was strange. Edward rarely locked the door when he was home. My unsteady hands struggled with the lock and when I finally got it, I heaved the door open, making it slam against the wall inside. Edward! I shouted as loud as I could. No answer. The apartment was pitch black, so I turned on all the lights and looked around, figuring hed probably fallen asleep. He wasnt in the bed. He wasnt on the sofa. Edward! I called his name again, even though I could see the entire apartment from where I was standing. I ran over to the balcony, figuring he mightve gone outside to have a cigarette. No luck. It didnt make sense. The doorman saw me run by him- wouldnt he have told me that Edward left again? The feeling of desolation took over me all over again when I realized he wasnt there anymore. I took too long. I shouldnt have slept, I shouldve sat up and waited for the phone call. I felt sick. I headed toward the bathroom to splash cold water on my face, because I was almost certain I was going to throw up.

I turned the knob and pressed my shoulder against the door. It didnt budge. It was locked. I started banging on it as hard as I could, but it did nothing. I kicked it. Still nothing. I remembered once when I was in the shower and Id locked the door, but Edward got in any way and afterwards he had shown me how he did it. I darted to the kitchen and opened the drawer, throwing everything in it on the floor to find the stupid little metal rod. It was crammed in the corner or the drawer. After running back to the bathroom and shoving the rod into the lock of the door handle, I was finally able to open the door and look in. After that everything went black. Rock bottom, a Breakup and a Wedding BPOV After my initial shock, I tried to think as quickly as I could. I crouched down and put my head between my knees, waiting for my head to stop spinning and my vision to come back. The series of events that happened after that were a blur to me. Edwards lips were blue. His skin was drained of any color and he was hunched over on the floor. His face was bruised and scratched, like the doorman had said. By the time I had 911 on the phone, Id already checked to see if he was breathing. He wasnt. I touched his face and it was still warm. I told that to the operator. She said that was a good sign. She told me to check for a pulse. I pressed my fingers into his neck and told her I felt one. She said I still had to breathe for him until the paramedics got there. I put my phone on speaker as she walked me through CPR. Fucking CPR. Something I thought Id never have to do. How the hell did it get to this point? I dont know how long I was breathing for him. Although the operator told me to listen for the door, I focused all my attention on Edward, remembering that Id left it wide open. When I heard the door to the stairwell open and shuffling footsteps in the hall, I asked her if it was okay to stop doing CPR, and she said it was.

I ran to the main room and directed the paramedics to the crowded bathroom. I stood in the doorway, and one of the EMTs, a woman, stood next to me and watched me, sympathetically. I stared in silence as they bagged Edward, before they pulled out a syringe and prepared it. Narcan, the woman EMT told me. Itll wake him up. Should we just give him one dose? One of the paramedics working on him asked the other one. No, just do .04 mg. Hes blue, the other one said to him, trying to whisper the part about him being blue. I still heard him. I watched as they inspected Edwards arms, trying to find a vein they could use. His arms were so damaged they had to use one near his shoulder. They kneeled there and waited. The female EMT put her hand on my back. It was only a couple minutes, but to me it felt like hours. Edwards eyes fluttered open slowly, and then they widened. He swatted at the bag, and the one EMT pulled in from his mouth. He coughed a couple times, and then I heard his voice. What happened? The paramedic explained to him that he was at his apartment, that Id found him unconscious in the bathroom, and that Id told the 911 operator hed overdosed. Can can I sit up? Edward asked quietly. The paramedics nodded, and Edward slowly lifted himself and sat up on the floor, his knees bent. He kept his eyes on the ground, and then he glanced up at me. I met his eyes, and the look on his face was distraught. He couldnt look at me. He glanced back down at the floor and rubbed his eyes. We still need to take you to the hospital, the EMT explained to him. The heroin is still in your body, so when the Narcan wears off you may stop breathing again. They need to watch you. Okay, he said, not objecting. I walked into the kitchen and called Carlisle. He was immediately nervous when he picked up the phone, already knowing the reason why I was calling at four in the

morning. I explained to him everything that had happened and told him Edward seemed to be okay. He thanked me and told me I did a good job. I asked the paramedics what hospital they were taking him to, and I told Carlisle. He told me he would meet me there. He said he was sorry for what had happened. Edward put his coat on and walked out of the apartment with the paramedics. I was surprised that he was cooperating as much as he was. Id expected him to put up some kind of a fight. I followed behind them, shutting the door behind me. We walked downstairs and headed to the ambulance that was parked in front of the building. There was another EMT waiting down there. The driver and one of the EMTs that had worked on Edward got into the front, and the woman and the other EMT got in the back with Edward and I. The woman kept looking at me with pity. I didnt deserve it. No one shouldve felt sorry for me. This was partly my fault. How long have you been using heroin? The woman suddenly asked Edward. He shrugged and looked down at his feet. A couple years. Have you overdosed before? The male asked. Edward nodded. Yeah. Twice. What happened to your face? The woman asked him. I got into a fight with my brother. They werent writing anything down, and the things they asked him seemed to be more out of curiosity than anything. It was probably odd to them. I imagined when they got calls of people overdosing, they werent clean, rich, normal people. Was it because of the heroin? She asked him. Edward nodded. So what happened today? The man asked. I dont know. After I got in the fight with my brother it was two days ago, I think I went off and just did it all day long, straight for the two days. I dont even remember what I did, he said, furrowing his brow. I have Biphasic Cycling Bipolar- I dont know if you even know what that is, but Ive been fucked up lately. From the heroin. Like, worse than usual. And I wasnt taking my medicine, and I had an episode, and I dont know what the fuck happened. I cant remember. I sat there, stagnant, and just listened to Edwards sob story. I was tired of hearing it over and over. Bipolar. Heroin. Episodes. Medicine. Overdose.

I didnt want to hear any of it anymore. Do you do you want to stop using? The woman EMT asked him. Edward nodded. Maybe this will be your chance to do it. The woman looked at me. Your girlfriend probably would be happy. I know. Edward looked at me, but he didnt smile, and he didnt make any attempt to touch me, even though I was sitting right next to him. I dont know what I wouldve done if he did try. Have you been tested? For you know, HIV? I mean, this could effect her too. Edward looked down at the ground and shook his head. Ive only been shooting up for a month. I dont share needles. I only do it when Im at home, by myself. I never use with other people. This is sad, the woman continued. You have so much going for you. Youre so handsome your apartment is beautiful. Youre young, so Im guessing that means youre fairly successful. You have a beautiful girlfriend who cares about you. Youre very lucky. Edward just stared at the floor. Thank you. He took a deep breath and looked at the other EMT. Im starting to feel kind of tired. Really tired. Is that normal? Its the Narcan wearing off. Were going to put you in a wheelchair when we get to the hospital, he answered. Okay. When we pulled up to the hospital the male EMT led me to the waiting room before wheeling Edward in. He looked like he was struggling to stay awake. I stood with him at the counter as the triage nurse filled out all of his paperwork and put a bracelet on him. Another nurse walked over a little while later and wheeled Edward into a treatment room. She helped him onto a gurney she shook her head. How old are you? the nurse asked him. Im 24. Hmm, she said, scribbling something down on a clipboard. Thats not surprising. Why not? I asked her. Are overdose victims usually his age? The nurse looked at me and smiled. Yeah, sweetheart. We dont get forty-year-old heroin addicts in here. Theyre all dead.

Edward gave me a look and I squinted my eyes at the nurse. I made a mental note to go out there and request a different one for him. She walked out and we both sat there in silence, not talking to or looking at each other. A little while later the doctor came in and started asking Edward questions. He told him they were going to keep him there for a couple of hours to watch him. That, like the paramedic said, sometimes when the Narcan wears off, people stop breathing again, and they wanted to make sure that didnt happen. While the doctor was still in there talking to him, Carlisle and Esme ran in. Esme was hysterical and ran up to Edward and hugged him. Mom, Im fine. I looked at Carlisle, who was staring at Edward with guilt. I stood up from the only chair in there, and let Esme sit in it. Come on, Bella. Lets go get coffee, Carlisle said to me. I followed behind him into the brightly lit hallway. Suddenly I broke down and started shaking and crying, because it was the first time through everything that night that I could let my guard down and freak out. Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder and walked me past the waiting room, where Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice all came running over. Rosalie and Alice were crying; Emmett and Jasper looked stunned and emotionless, like the entire situation had caught up with them as well, but they couldnt afford to indulge in a freak out. Is he okay? Jasper asked me. I nodded, because that was all I could do. Alice and Rosalie wrapped their arms around me, and Emmett just stood there. I wanted to tell him something to make them all feel better. But I couldnt talk. I just cried. Im going to take Bella to get coffee, well be back, Carlisle said, pulling me away from them. He led me to a smaller, private waiting room and sat me down. A minute later he returned, coffee in hand, and gave it to me. How are you doing? He asked. Not well. I took a sip of the coffee between my sobs. He patted my back and shook his head. Im sorry, Bella. Im sorry you had to see that. Me too, I said. I took another sip of the coffee and spoke the words out loud to Carlisle that I was dreading. I cant do this anymore, I mumbled. Im breaking up with him. Today.

Carlisle nodded at me and shrugged. If you feel like thats what you have to do, Bella, do it. Do you think that itll matter to him? Do you think itll make him stop? Or will it make him worse? Because if hes alone, and Im not there, and this happens again I dont want him to die. I dont know what itll do, Carlisle spoke softly. If hes going to continue to use, he cant be left alone. Until he gets clean, I think hes going to have to move back home. So dont worry about him dying. I sighed and blinked a few times, trying to clear my eyes of the tears. Okay. Everything isnt about Edward, Bella. Thats what a relationship is about. Theres two of you. I think hes failed to acknowledge that fact. Since youre always so quick to bend to fit his needs, hes almost taking advantage of you, and your kindness. He has a lot of growing up to do. You staying around, catering to his every desire isnt going to fix him. I know. I just feel like Im losing myself here. Im too dependant on him, and hes the worst type of person to depend on. Right now, at least. Everything that I thought I knew about myself has been wrong. Like, I thought I knew myself, but if you told me a year ago Id be in love with a bipolar heroin junkie I wouldve laughed. Now look at me. Carlisle raised his eyebrows and nodded. I just I love him so much, and I always thought that love was enough to get you through. That if you loved someone as much as you could, no matter what, you could get through anything together. I cant go through this with him anymore. Love just isnt enough. Maybe, maybe not. You and Edward need to figure that out for yourselves. I sat in the waiting room with Carlisle and cried. I dont know why. For some reason I felt like he understood how I felt. We were in there for around an hour when Emmett came looking for him. Dad, the doctor wants to talk to you, Emmett said. Carlisle stood up from his seat and looked at me. Are you alright? I nodded. When Carlisle left the room Emmett stayed standing at the door. Uh, Bella Edward wants to know where you went.

I took a deep breath and got up. Im gonna go talk to him now. I walked down the hall in a daze with Emmett, and stepped into Edwards room. Rosalie, Jasper and Alice were standing at the sides of the bed, talking about something. They all looked up and stared as I walked in. Do you guys think I can talk to him for a minute? Sure, Jasper said. The four of them left the room and closed the door behind them. I sat in the chair again, because I felt like if I was any closer to him my decision wouldve been swayed. I could barely look at him. Where were you? He asked me. In the waiting room. Why? I was talking to your dad. I sighed and looked down at the floor, tapping my foot against the tile. Okay I know right now isnt the best time to do this. And Im sorry, but if I dont do this now, I dont know if Ill be able to. I looked up at Edward, and his face was full of anxiety. What? Im moving back in with Alice. I dont want to be with you anymore. After the wedding, I dont want to see you. I cant do this anymore, and Im sorry. Edwards breathing got heavy and he sneered at me. What happened to Ill never leave you and You dont have to worry about me, Im here to stay. Huh? He gripped the railing of the bed so hard, his knuckles were white. I thought I could do it, but I cant. I didnt realize it would get this bad. I guess Im not as strong as I thought. You tell me you love me all the time. That you want to be with me forever. And then shit gets hard and you run. I dont know why I believed you. I do love you. Thats why Im doing this. For you.

Yeah, okay. Its true, I said, standing up. I stood next to the bed near his head and ran my fingers through his hair. Edward I love myself too. Ive put you first since I met you, above everyone, even above myself, and look at where it got me. Im miserable. Ive been a miserable, nervous wreck for weeks. You almost died tonight. I cant do this. Im sorry, I love you, more than anything in the world, but Im leaving you. Fine. Bye. He slapped my hand away from his hair and my heart sank. Walking out of that room, away from Edward was the hardest thing Id had to do in my life thus far. I met everyone in the waiting room, and tried to put on my bravest face. Carlisle had finished talking to the doctor and was sitting in a chair next to Emmett. Im done, I said, looking at my feet. I didnt sit down. You can go back in there if you want. Did you talk to him? Carlisle asked me. I nodded. Yeah. He didnt take it well. I didnt expect him to, but I have to do this. I sniffled and looked at Alice. Im leaving can you come with me? Sure, Alice said, standing up. I said goodbye to everyone and walked back through the sliding glass doors with Alice in tow. We got into a cab and I gave the driver Edwards address. Im going to stay with you until I figure out what Im doing, I told Alice. She nodded. Of course, Bella. You can stay as long as you want. Move back in. I dont know. I might go back to Forks I dont know. I dont know what Im doing right now. I dont want to think about it. I glanced out the window at the buildings whizzing by. I just have to pick some stuff up from the apartment. My dress for the wedding is there, and I need clothes and stuff. I dont want to have to run into him tomorrow or something. I know, Alice said, rubbing my arm. I gulped and leaned my head back on the seat. * EPOV How you feeling? I asked Emmett, patting him on the back. He sighed and gave me a nonchalant shrug.

Im good. How does he look? Alice asked me, standing up from where she was kneeling between Emmetts legs and taking a step back. I nodded and pointed at the mirror so Emmett could see himself. Wow, he said, touching his face. Alice slapped his hand away. Dont touch it! Its almost like my psychotic brother didnt beat the shit out of me a few days before my wedding, he said, chuckling. You started it, I muttered, sitting down in an empty chair. Alice took a deep breath and kneeled in front of me. Your turn, she said, patting at my face with some powdery shit. I sat there, silent, as she tried covering up the evidence of the past weeks madness. Where is she? I asked Alice, looking right into her eyes. She stared at me for a second and cleared her throat, looking down at the makeup in her hand. Shes at the church with Rosalie. Did you see her yet? Alice blinked a couple times and nodded. How does she look? Edward- I dont really think I dont feel comfortable talking about her to you. She doesnt want me to. I rolled my eyes and saw Emmett watching us in my peripheral vision. What? I asked him. Edward please dont make a scene today, he asked, shaking his head. Shut up, Im not going to. Truth is, I felt too hollow to show any kind of emotions. I felt completely empty. Id spent the past month being more fucked up than I ever had been in my life, and after all the shit Bella did for me, I kept pushing. And pushing. And now she was gone, and there was nothing I could do. I felt dead inside.

I wanted to die. I wanted to give up on everything. I saw no point in my life anymore if she wasnt a part of it. Yeah, maybe I was being melodramatic, but its how I felt. There was no other way of explaining. I was a walking zombie. Alice moved closer to my face again and was rubbing her finger gently over the bruise on my cheek. I winced a little because it still hurt, badly. My entire body was in pain from all the shit I had done to it the past couple days. Carlisle walked into the bathroom, fully dressed, and looked at us. Are you almost ready to go? He asked. Yep! Alice hopped up from the ground and stood next to Carlisle. Dont they look good. He nodded. Great. Good job, Alice. Im impressed. Get dressed, you two. Bye guys, Im gonna go to the church. Alice pecked Jasper on the lips quickly and waved to us. I sighed and stood up before unzippering the garment bag that held my tux. So, I said, taking the pants off the hanger. How is she? I spun around and looked at Jasper. He was already dressed and ready to go, so he was just sitting on the toilet, fiddling with his cufflink. Shes a fucking mess, Edward. What the hell do you think? I didnt break up with her, I said, stepping into my pants. Right. You only left her for two days straight without telling her where you were going, and went on a drug binge, and she found you five minutes away from being dead. No big deal. Yeah, I could do without the sarcasm. And I couldve done without Bella crying for the past four days straight while I gave her Xanax every four hours. He stood up from the toilet and put his jacket on. No offense Edward, but I dont think you really care how she is. I wanted to punch him in the face, but he was right. Id been so fucking selfish I hadnt thought about her at all. As I pulled off my shirt, Carlisle, Emmett, and Jasper all stared at my arms. The bruises and cuts and fucking scabs were worse then ever, so I expected it. I rolled my eyes and stood there, waiting for someone to say something. What? Go ahead, say whatever you want.

Silence. Put a shirt on, its making me fucking sick. Emmett broke the silence. Carlisle just shook his head and looked down at the floor. I shrugged into my shirt and finished getting dressed, feeling like a shithead for making everyone be in such a pissy mood on a day that was supposed to be all about love and happiness and blah fucking blah. We all lined up at the door, waiting to leave. There was a black towncar sitting in front of the house, waiting for us. Esme and Jasper walked out first, and I tried to follow, but Carlisle grabbed my shoulder. Hold on. He leaned against the front door, closing it, and Emmett stood behind me. What, I sighed, waiting for a speech or something. Instead, Emmett grabbed my wrists and held my arms behind my back as Carlisle searched all my pockets. Get the fuck off me! Not tonight, Edward. You can do without it for one night, Carlisle said to me, placing the contents of my pockets on the table in the entranceway. He confiscated the two syringes and the heroin, handing me back my cigarettes, my wallet, and my phone. Instead of throwing a shit fit, I reminded myself that it was Emmetts day and I took a deep breath, smoothing out my tux as I walked out of the house. When we arrived at the church, we still had awhile to go before the ceremony started. Esme was running around talking to people and checking to see that all the flowers and decorations and whatever the fuck else was set up right. Jasper and I talked to the photographer for a couple minutes, since he was someone I knew. Theyd asked me to take pictures, but I refused, so I recommended someone I knew was good. I saw Alice run out of Rosalies dressing room a couple of times to talk to Esme and Jasper. I even went into the room and talked to Rosalie for a couple minutes, but Bella was nowhere around. I started to get more and more anxious as it got closer and closer to starting. The first glimpse I got of her was when we were lining up to start. I was already waiting at the end of the aisle, and Alice and Jasper were standing behind me. Just before the music started, she scurried over and stood next to me, hooking her arm though mine without saying anything. Hi, I whispered to her. You look beautiful. She did. Her hair was pulled back, and the dress was a light green color that looked so good against her skin. Id never seen her so dressed up before. Bella glared at me. Thanks, she said, with no emotion.

The music started and we retreated down the aisle. I didnt want to let go of her when we reached the altar. We split and stood on either side. I stared at her the entire time, and she didnt look at me once. The ceremony was fairly quick. Emmett and Rosalie chose to keep it traditional, and didnt write any personal vows or anything like that. It was still pretty emotional. When they kissed, I saw Bella smiling and she wiped a tear from under her eye. She still hadnt even glanced in my direction. We walked back down the aisle, arm in arm again, and followed Emmett and Rosalie out to the front of the church. Everyone stood in the lobby, talking and greeting each other, and Bella slipped away from me to go stand with her father. Alice had pointed him out to me when he first got to the church. She left him standing with Rosalies parents, and as soon as she was alone I cornered her and forced her to talk to me. Why are you doing this? I asked her. She back up so she was against the stone wall and looked down at her feet. Edward, not now please, she pleaded, not looking up. Bella, youre killing me here. Please talk to me. Youre killing me too, she whispered, finally meeting my eyes. She looked the same way I felt. Defeated. Beaten. Desolate. Except it wasnt her fault. She didnt do anything to deserve to feel that way. Im sorry, Bella. Im so sorry. Please dont do this. Please come back home. I need you. She stared at me, impassive. I cant do this here, she said, gulping. I made my mind up, Edward. Thats it. Ive given you chance after chance and Im not going to stick around, waiting for you to kill yourself. If Im as important to you as you claim, you wouldve done something about this. Youve done nothing, except get worse. I cant help but feel responsible. I cant be with you anymore. Bella, Im begging you. Ill change, I will. Just give me one more chance. I love you- No, she said, shaking her head. No. No more chances. She looked around as the crowd slowly filed outside. I have to go, she muttered. She slipped by me and flew outside, out of my view. * BPOV

The reception was torture. Seeing Edward there, all miserable and sullen, and not being able to do anything about it was agonizing. I wanted to go up to him, and hug him and kiss him, and tell him how much I loved him, and how even though we were broken up, I was still with him, still thinking about him all the time. No matter what happened, even if we never got back together and lost communication, Edward was always going to take up a huge part of my heart. I wanted to tell him that. But, I couldnt. Even though it seemed like what I was doing was damaging him, the fact that he was begging me to come back only made me realize that Id made the right decision. He wanted me back. He wanted me with him. If he meant it as much as I thought he did, he would do what needed to be done in order to be with me. It was odd how the happiest moments of my life and the most horrible moments had been with the same person. But, I guess the reason why was because of how much I loved him. The good days seemed miraculous with him, and the bad days seemed horrendous. Only someone that you felt unspeakably strong for could have such control over your emotions. After the confrontation at the church, Id tried avoiding him as much as I could. My wall was crumbling, and I didnt want to give in. I tried my best to be happy, and I gave my speech, and Edward gave his, and thankfully everyone was having a great time and not worrying about us. For once. We lined up along the dance floor for another one of Emmett and Rosalies dances. The music started, and the lights dimmed, and I watched them intently, both extremely content that my friends were so happy together, and envious, because my relationship had shattered, and I was alone. And I didnt want to be. After the first verse of the song, other couples started streaming onto the floor. I felt a hand on the small of my back, and I heard his voice in my ear. Come on, Edward said, walking ahead of me onto the dance floor. I gave in. The wedding was almost over, Id done a fairly good job avoiding him up to this point, and I didnt know when the next time would be that Id see him again. I sighed and put my hand on his shoulder, and he pressed his hand into my back, and we grabbed onto each others free hand, entwining our fingers together. It was strange how I felt instantly calm being with him. I missed him so much. Right then, he was so close to me, and he looked so beautiful, and I could smell him all around me. I felt like I belonged there with him. It felt like I was home. Your face looks better, I said, staring into his eyes. The bruises were invisible in the dim lights. Alice put makeup on me, he said, smirking.

I nodded and moved closer to him, running my eyes along the contours of his face, taking him all in. I wanted to remember that moment, in case it was the last time I saw him. Id drank a lot, and I started to get emotional. I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and Edwards expression changed, but we kept moving, not breaking away from each other. Why are you crying? He asked me, softly. Because I miss you, I mumbled, sniffling lightly. Things dont have to be this way, he said. Youre choosing this. They do have to be this way, I retorted. He moved both of our hands to my face and he wiped away my tears with his thumb. What do you want me to do? I dont want you to do anything. You have to want to change. I do want to, Bella. Its just so hard. Life is hard, Edward. For some people its harder than others, I spoke the words so quietly it was almost a whisper. You know what you need to do. You do it, and Ill be there. No questions. He gulped and nodded at me. Will you do it? Yes, he said, not hesitating. When? I dont know. Soon. My parents are making me stay with them until Im clean, so soon. I felt relieved that Carlisle had actually stood by his words and was watching over Edward. Whats going to happen to the apartment? Edward shrugged. Its still there. Im still paying for it. You can stay there if you want to Im not there, so He trailed off. Thats okay, I said, trying to force a smile through my tears. Even though living with Alice and Jasper wasnt ideal, living in his apartment without him wasnt an option. It was his. Everything would remind me of him, every day, and I wouldnt be able to live my life as I normally would. Id be too depressed.

Please promise me that youll follow through this time, Edward. Please. I love you, so much every day without you is a struggle. Every second without you is a struggle. I need to know that we have a future. I need something to look forward to, to get me through this. I promise you, he said, looking into my eyes. I mean it this time. I could hear that the song was close to ending. I didnt want it to be over. I didnt want to let go of Edward. But I had to. Ill see you soon, okay? I choked out between my sobs. He nodded as I let go of his hand. I wrapped my arms around his neck and squeezed, pressing myself into him as hard as I could. I cried into his shoulder for a minute before I pulled away and grabbed the sides of his face, kissing his lips gently before walking off the floor and leaving him standing there. Separation BPOV I tried, in vain, to wipe the tears off my cheeks as I heard a light rapping on the bathroom door. Bella? Are you alright? Alices voice was low and groggy. I felt instantly guilty, knowing all my sobbing mustve woken her up. Yeah. You can come in, I choked out, scooting back from the floor in front of the toilet to lean my head against the wall. Alice walked in and leaned her back against the wall, closing it behind her and kneeling down in front of me. Are you sick? No, I lied, closing my eyes to shield myself from her concerned glare. Um why were you throwing up? I dont know, I lied again, not opening my eyes. I felt embarrassed telling her that I missed Edward so much it was literally making me sick to my stomach. It seemed slightly dramatic, and I didnt feel like having to justify why I was so distraught.

It had already been a week, and there was still no word from him, so I was convinced that my leaving the relationship was pointless. Edward wasnt changing, and it seemed like my absence had no effect at all. It was distressing, because he seemed like it was really bothering him at the wedding, and I was almost convinced that this time things would be different. They werent. The realization that Edward wasnt phased enough by my leaving to do anything about kicking his habits and getting his life in order left me no other choice but to get over him. Id done all I could, and I left it in his hands, and I wasnt going to wait around forever, no matter how fanatically in love with him I was. It was over. I know you probably dont want to hear this right now, but I think that today maybe we should go and get the rest of your stuff from his apartment, Alice said, cringing. She knew how much I was avoiding going back there, but the truth was, the longer I waited, the harder it was going to be for me. I needed to restart my life without Edward, instead of crossing my fingers and waiting for the day he came back clean and sober, since I was now convinced that day was never going to come. Yeah, well go today, I agreed, wiping the remaining tears off my face with the sleeve of my shirt. I hadnt told Alice yet, but I decided that if Edward wasnt going to do anything to get his shit together, I was going back to Forks to live with my dad. Living in the city was just a constant, never ending reminder of Edward. Has um Jasper talked to him? Alice opened her mouth to talk, but stopped, pressing her lips together and nodding. And? I asked. Hes staying with his parents, so he wont be at the apartment. That wasnt what was I was asking about at all, and Alice knew that, but I didnt push it. I knew that if Alice had any good news, she would have shared it. I composed myself enough to stand up and walk over to the sink to brush my teeth. Alice closed the lid of the toilet and sat on it, watching me sympathetically. Why do you think he hasnt called? I dont know, Bella. I mean I dont get it? If Edward gave me an ultimatum, I wouldnt care what the hell it was that he was asking me to give up. Id live in a box with him if thats what he wanted. Wouldnt you do that too, for Jasper?

Alice flashed a smile at me and nodded. Yes. I would. But again, Ill say the same thing- youre being too logical about this. Hes a drug addict. Hes not thinking the same way we are. Whatever, I muttered exasperatedly, shoving my toothbrush back into the cabinet. This love everyone always talks about isnt as miraculous as they say. Yes it is, Alice said with a giggle. Are you kidding me? Ive never seen two people who love each other as much as you and Edward do. Even with everything thats happened, when youre together its like I dont know, I cant even describe it. Its almost sickening. Hell come around, Bella. I cant wait forever, I mumbled, splashing water onto my tear-streaked face. Its only been a week. It takes what two or three days to detox? Thats all I want him to do. I get that its not the detox thats hard, its what happens after, blah blah, but give me a fucking break. Hes not taking any initiative. All I want is that one little bit of effort from him. If he hasnt done it already I doubt he will. Its not just a little bit of effort. Youre belittling it because youre upset. I rolled my eyes at Alice and shook my head. Its gone on too long. Im past feeling sorry. Hes suffering too, you know, Alice said, trying to reason with me. I didnt want to worry you, but Jasper said hes taking everything really hard. My heart dropped. I knew Jasper had seen him, but it took all my self control to not interrogate him and ask him every single thing that I could about Edward. I felt sorry for the people like Jasper and Alice and Rosalie whod gotten stuck in the middle of everything. Good, I answered her, my voice full of spite. It was the only thing I could think to say. We both stood there in silence as I drummed my fingers on the sink, dreading the day ahead of me. Lets just go do this, I told Alice. She nodded and gave me a merciful glance before following me out of the bathroom. * Bella, youre shaking, Alice said, noticing the keys jingling in my hand. I rolled my eyes and dropped my empty duffle bag onto the floor in front of Edwards door. I know. I feel like something traumatic happens every time I open this door, I told her, shoving the key into the lock using both my hands.

Hopefully not today She mumbled under her breath. I turned around and shot her a look before pushing the door open. The smell of the apartment instantly put a damper on my already sour mood. It smelled like him. I took a deep breath and marched toward the closet, leaving Alice standing in the kitchen. Its kind of messy in here, Alice shouted. I stuck my head out of the closet and looked around. The bed was unmade. Some of the curtains were left open. There were random pieces of Edwards clothes strewn across the apartment. I shrugged and went back to removing whatever clothes were left hanging in the closet. The night Edward was in the hospital, Alice had insisted on clearing out as much of my stuff as we could fit in the cab. Its never like this, I shouted back to her. A couple minutes later I heard her footsteps approaching. I was crouched on the floor, trying to zipper the overstuffed duffle bag. Whats this? Alice asked me, taking a bite of a granola bar. She handed me a piece of paper. It was on the fridge. I glanced down at the paper in my hand quickly before shoving it back at her. It was the hotel reservation Edward had surprised me with. Edward for Christmas got it for me. We were supposed to stay there. I thought back to the day I got back from Arizona and my chest tightened. It was the first day everything started going drastically downhill. Uh, its next month so if things dont work out with you two can I- No, I interrupted her, still struggling with the zipper. I cut her off because I didnt want to even think about a future without Edward, much less talk about one without him. Okay, Alice mouthed, giving me a strange look. She got bored of watching me trying to close up the bag, and eventually shoved me away from it. For Christs sake, Bella, just move! Alice stepped down on the top of the duffle bag and had it zippered without much struggle. Thanks, I said, walking past her. I started cleaning, skimming over everything in the apartment to make sure I didnt forget anything. Alice continued filling suitcases up with my clothes, insisting she do it on her own. I walked around in a bit of a daze, making the bed and picking up the laundry that was scattered around. Luckily Alice retrieved all my stuff from the bathroom, since I was still hesitant about going in there. It seemed kind of pointless to

clean, since I was moving out and Edward was living with his parents, but for some reason I felt weird leaving it messy. Bella, Alice shouted, calling me toward the living room. She was standing near an end table, holding a picture frame in her hand. Can we take this? I took the picture from her hand and looked at it. It was a picture of Alice, Rose and me that Edward had taken a few weeks earlier. Yeah, whatever. I tossed it on top of a suitcase that was lying open on the floor. Here, take this one too. She added a picture of me and Edward to the pile. I didnt want any more reminders of him than I already had, but I didnt argue with her. Okay, I dont see anything else. Do you want to take one more look around? Alice zippered the last suitcase shut and lugged it toward the door. I walked over to the dresser and searched through the drawers one last time. It was mostly empty, since Edward had clearly taken most of his stuff with him to his parents house. When I pulled open the bottom drawer, I spotted a shirt of his that hed left behind. I pulled it out and held it up, his smell filling the area around me. I tried as hard as I could, but my eyes filled up with tears and I broke down. Again. Alice walked over to me and kneeled down, rubbing my back. Bella, come on. Its gonna be okay. No, its n-n-not, I stammered, sobbing into the shirt. I feel like Im d-d-dying. Is it possible to die from depression? No. Not unless you plan on killing yourself. Please dont, because one person on suicide watch is already enough trouble. Suicide w-w-watch? Alice giggled. Sorry. It was a joke. More like OD watch. Not funny, I said, sniffling. Is he really that bad? I dont know, she said softly. I looked over at Alice and sighed, sticking the shirt back in the drawer. Just take it, She murmured. I looked down at the sad remnant of the Edward that I knew and clenched the shirt between my fists, finally succumbing and throwing it on. I put my jacket on over it and

stalked toward the door. When I walked by the kitchen counter, something caught my eye and I stopped. I scribbled something on a notepad and stuck it to the refrigerator with a magnet. Lets just go, I told her, picking up as many suitcases as I could and making my way toward the hallway. * When we got back to Alices apartment, I had no motivation to unpack everything, so I left all the suitcases piled in a corner in my room and dropped onto the bed. Alice came in a couple minutes later and silently laid down next to me, handing me a cup of tea. Thanks, I said, taking a sip. I was happy for the momentary distraction. At that point, anything that kept me from tears was welcome. Bella I know youre upset, but youre doing a really good job. I didnt think youd stick this whole thing out. Especially when I saw how upset he was at the wedding, I thought youd go back. I really think this is for the better. I nodded, sipping my tea and not saying anything. Alices words were reassuring, but when it came to Edward, who knew what was for the better and what wasnt? No one had any clue. That was why things were as bad as they were. Suddenly, I felt my phone vibrating on my lap. I placed my mug on the nightstand and picked it up, not looking at the caller ID. Hello? Bella! I was getting worried about you, Renee said, sounding relieved. Im fine, I told her, not adding in any unnecessary enthusiasm. You know, your father called me when he got back and told me that I needed talk to you. That you didnt seem right. Is everything okay? Not really, I said, explaining everything that had happened in the past few weeks to Renee in full detail. She listened intently, not judging or criticizing my choices or Edward. Well, Bella, She said when I finally stopped talking. It doesnt sound good. I know. Im thinking about moving back home with dad. Alice gasped at my words, but I held my hand up, silencing her. I just want you to do what you think is best for you. People cant help who they fall in love with.

I know, I agreed. I have to go mom, but dont worry about me. Im not planning on swallowing any razorblades or anything. Not yet, at least. Thats reassuring, Bella. Please call me if you make any drastic plans. I will, I assured Renee, trying to rush her off the phone. Bye, Mom. I sighed and laid back down on my pillow, waiting for the outburst from Alice. Youre moving back home? Because of him? What am I supposed to do? I asked, holding my hand to my forehead. I cant stay here. I met Edward the day that I moved here. I dont have a life here without him. It just doesnt feel right. Alice stayed silent, her eyes shooting back and forth across the room. Maybe hell come around, I said, meekly. Hopefully it wont have to come to me moving. Alice nodded and smiled at me, but I could tell it was forced. * EPOV I laid in bed staring straight ahead, my eyes following the slithers of light that streamed through the blinds onto the ceiling. I didnt know what day it was. What time it was. I didnt know who was in the house. I didnt know when was the last time Id eaten, or showered, or slept. I just laid there, basking in my fucking despair and my mistakes and my lack of action. I tried not to think about Bella. I let her down. She was sitting there, waiting for me to get better, and I hadnt fucking done anything. I shouldve done something. I shouldve done what she wanted that first day, instead of being so scared and stupid and fucked up and controlled by the god damn drugs. As time went on, Id fallen more and more into my daze and I lost touch with reality. All I wanted to do was lay there forever and wait to die. I heard a knock at my door, but I didnt get up to answer it, or even tilt my head in the direction of the door. Even when I heard someone walk in and sit next to my bed, I didnt move. Mom said to give this to you, Emmett said, handing me a pill and a bottle of water. I sat up for a second and swallowed it down without a fight before lying back down. Esme thought this depression I was in was a result of the Bipolar, so she was trying to make sure I kept taking the medicine. It didnt matter. Medicine or not, I still felt dead and I still didnt have Bella.

Emmett didnt leave. You look like shit. I ignored him. Whend you get back? I asked him halfheartedly. I was too glum to even fake like I cared how his honeymoon went. A couple days ago. Uh no offense, but when was the last time you showered? I dont know, I answered, not caring. Bro, you dont look good. Maybe thats because Im not good. When was the last time you ate? I dont know, I answered honestly. Your bones are sticking out. Youre gonna die if you dont start eating. Good. Can you sit up and talk to me? Fuck, youre laying there like a corpse or something. Just get up. I winced at Emmetts loud voice and sighed, sitting up and leaning my head against the headboard. Emmett was shaking his head and trying to turn my cell phone on. That thing hadnt been charged in days. I looked at his hands and caught a glimpse of his ring. He followed my eyes and looked down at his hands, and then back up at me. What? Whats it like being married? He shrugged and scratched his head. Its good. So far. I dont really know, its only been three weeks and two of those were our honeymoon. When was the last time you left this room? I ignored him and continued with my train of thought. You think you did the right thing? Getting married? I nodded. Yeah. Hell yeah. I wont ever have feelings for anyone else the way I do for her. Why wait? Im 25, I make more than enough money to support her and even kids if she wants them- I mean, I could go into all the shit you dont want to hear about, but really, were happy, and it may seem stupid to you, but we love each other. We want to be together forever. Thats all that matters.

I gulped and nodded my head, not moving my eyes from the ring. Do you think Ill ever be normal, like that? Emmett frowned at me, and smiled at the same time. Yeah, Edward. If you want to be. I closed my eyes and scratched my head, trying to think. Emmett looked around the room and picked up a discarded syringe on my nightstand, shaking his head. You havent left the house in who knows how long. How the fuck are you even getting this shit? I bought a lot before I came here, I told him. He rolled his eyes and dropped the needle, before continuing to play with my phone. Wheres your charger? I reached behind the nightstand and pulled the wire out, handing it to Emmett. He plugged it in and within seconds I heard the beep of my phone turning on. Is there anything from her? I asked. I already knew the answer. No. But you have a shoot tomorrow and your assistant left you like 10 messages. I dont care, I said, waving my hand at the phone. You should. You start fucking up at work and youre done. Wheres all your stuff? At my apartment, I told him. I hadnt gone back there since Id packed up all my clothes and shit with Carlisle to stay with him. Well, get up, Emmett said, standing up from his chair. You need a shower. This room fucking reeks like cigarettes and I think you need some fresh air or some shit. Well go get your equipment and come back here later. I didnt want to go anywhere, but if I didnt get up right then and leave with Emmett, I wouldve had to go back to the apartment alone and that was the last thing I wanted to do. That place just reminded me of Bella and I wanted to get in and out as quick as I could. Emmett was right. I did look like shit. My face was sunken in and my eyes were dark and my skin was pale and I looked like a fucking zombie. I looked the same way that I felt. After I showered and got dressed, I walked downstairs to the kitchen where Esme and Emmett were eating breakfast. Hi Edward. How are you feeling, Esme said, standing up from her chair. She stood in front of me and put her hands on either side of my face, running her thumbs over the

dark circles under my eyes. I watched in silence as she looked me up and down, shaking her head. Eat something. Please. I shook my head and sat down next to Emmett. Did you take your pill? Esme asked. I nodded. Emmett reached into his plate and picked up a half of his bagel and set it on a napkin in front of me. You need to eat, he said, his mouth full of food. I sighed and took a bite of the bagel, chewing slowly, trying to swallow it down without gagging. I was too glum to argue with anyone. Anyway, it seemed to get Esme off my back. After breakfast, we got in a cab and headed to my apartment. The doorman seemed surprised to see me. I walked the familiar route to the elevator, and heard the familiar bell, and pressed the familiar button, but it all seemed strange. She was missing. And my life before her seemed foreign to me. I held my breath as I walked into the empty apartment. I dont know what I was expecting to see. It was cold, since Bella had probably taken the liberty of shutting off the heat since neither of us were there, and it was clean. I hadnt left it clean. Shed definitely been there. I headed straight toward the closet, where she had left a bunch of her things the last time Id been there. Everything was gone. I went to the bathroom, and her toothbrush and her shampoo and her hairbrush were all gone. I dont know why I thought everything would still be there. She even took pictures of the two of us and of her friends that shed decorated the apartment with. It was like shed never been there at all. What are you doing? Emmett asked as I walked from room to room, trying to find anything that shed left. It was really fucking bothering me. I was getting frantic, pulling out drawers and going through stacks of paper and searching through closets and shit that I knew shed never used. There was so many emotions going through me, I felt like I was floating. I was full of rage, and I was upset, and I was furious with myself for not fucking doing something sooner, before she was completely gone from my life. I was throwing shit on the floor from one of the drawers in the kitchen when I felt Emmetts hands on my shoulders. Edward, come on, he shoved me into one of the barstools and shook my shoulders. Youre flipping out. What the fuck are you looking for? Her! She fucking took everything! I didnt realize it, but I was so enraged I was tearing. I didnt care. Yeah, she moved out, Edward. Why are you so upset?

I fucked up, I said, shaking my head. I fucked up and now its too late and shes gone and- I stopped suddenly when I saw something stuck to the refrigerator. I pushed past Emmett and grabbed the piece of paper, reading it over a good ten times before I finally calmed down. Edward, I love you. Ill never stop waiting for you. Bella I sighed and wiped my face with my hands and placed the note on the counter. Emmett walked over and read it over my shoulder. Edward, I have to tell you something about that. The tone in his voice made my stomach drop. Im not supposed to be telling you this- Just fucking tell me! I screamed at him, scared of what he was going to say. Shes moving back to Washington. You didnt do anything, and its been almost a month, and shes not doing well, so shes going back. In two days. I crouched down on the floor and covered my head with my arms, ready to just fucking die. Emmett bent down next to me and patted my back. Look, you can still do something. In two fucking days? Even if I started detoxing today, shed be gone by the time I was done! What the hell am I supposed to do? Emmett leaned his head back on the cabinet and took a deep breath. I know what you should do. But Im only telling you if you promise to go through with it. Okay, I told him, desperate for any kind of advice. This is it, Edward. If you dont do this Im done. Im married now and I cant do this shit anymore. If you dont do what Im telling you to, you wont have Bella, or me, or Jasper, or anyone else that you care about. Youll be trapped at Mom and Dads, and youll be on your own. Fine, I told him. Ill do it. Whatever it is, Ill do it. For the first time, I honestly meant it.

* BPOV Youre done packing? Emmett asked as I flopped onto the sofa next to Rosalie. Yeah. I dont have that much stuff. I propped my feet up on the table and stared blankly at the TV. So, its your last night in New York. What are you gonna do? Sit and cry, I said, not exactly lying. It wasnt a cause for celebration. I wasnt moving somewhere else because of something good thatd happened; I was running away. This isnt her last night, Alice said, still in denial. Shell be back eventually. Right? I hope, I said, forcing a smile. All of a sudden my phone started vibrating in my hand. Everyone heard it and stared in my direction. Someone muted the TV. I looked down at my phone and my chest tightened. Edward I couldnt breathe. My eyes widened and I stared down at it, not sure what to do. Who is it? Jasper asked, breaking the silence. Its him, I murmured, my eyes still not moving from the phone. I couldnt move. Should I answer it? No, Jasper, and Alice said in unison. Answer it, Emmett said, getting odd looks from them. The phone stopped vibrating before I could do anything. I set in in my lap and pinched the bridge of my nose, shaking my head. Should I call back? Yes. Do it, Rosalie said, not hesitating. I didnt know what to do. It was such an emotional struggle for me to decide to leave, and I was afraid talking to him was only going to confuse me more. I knew that all it would take would be a few convincing words from him, and Id abandon my plan and get sucked back in to the cycle of misery.

I cant, I said, setting the phone on the table. Everyone sat there in silence, and no one put the TV back on. We all just sat there, not saying anything for a minute. I dont think anyone knew what to say. Im supposed to leave in the morning- Just see what he has to say, Emmett said, tapping his hand against his knee anxiously. It must be something important if hes finally calling, right? Do you know something about this? I asked, slightly suspicious. Emmett shook his head. Suddenly the phone started vibrating again. I huffed and swiped it off the table, hitting the talk button. Hello? Bella, he said with relief. Hearing his voice made my heart race. Yeah? Please dont go, he begged. Please. Edward, dont do this- Im sorry, he spat, interrupting me. Im so sorry. I shouldnt have waited this long. I love you, I really do, and I cant be without you anymore. Please dont go. I shook my head, and tried to steady my shaking hands. Rosalie noticed the tears forming in my eyes and started rubbing my hair. I have to. I told you this was it, and I have to stand by what I think is right. Im sorry. Come downstairs. What? Rosalie has something for you, take it and come downstairs. Im waiting in the lobby. He hung up and I pulled the phone away from my ear, staring at the screen for a minute. I turned my head toward Rosalie and frowned. He said you She nodded and stood up, motioning for me to follow her. She walked toward the front door and pulled something out of the coat closet. It was a small overnight bag. Whats in it? I asked her, grabbing it from her hand and slipping it over my shoulder.

Dont worry about it. Just go, she said, pushing me toward the door. I walked to the elevator, beyond confused. Rosalie and Emmett did know something. I tried to figure out what was going on the whole way down to the lobby, but I couldnt think of anything. When the door opened, I stood there, completely overcome with emotions, and too afraid to walk out. I took a deep breath and started walking toward the lobby. I spotted Edward pacing back and forth in front of the glass doors. He stopped short when his eyes met mine, and suddenly I felt like my heart was going to explode. Anyone else looking at him wouldve said he looked horrible. He was unhealthily skinny. His skin was so pale it was almost white. His eyes were sunken in and dark. But he was still Edward, and he was still beautiful to me. I had to stop myself from running up to him and jumping on him and hugging him and telling him how much I loved him and missed him and everything else that I wanted to say in the past month. I was leaving, and this confrontation was only complicating everything so much more. Edward didnt look happy to see me. I saw that as a bad sign. He looked downright terrified. I took a few steps toward him, and he took the rest, meeting me halfway. Come on, he said. He grabbed the bag off my shoulder and started toward the door. I stood there, because I didnt know where we were going or if I even wanted to go anywhere with him. Where are we going? I asked hesitantly. He stopped and his head tilted toward the ground before he spun around to me. Just come, he said, pushing the door open and walking outside. I followed behind him and watched as he tossed the bag in the backseat of his Volvo, which was parked on the curb. He opened the passenger door and stood by it, looking at me. I walked over and got in without a word, and he shut the door before walking around and sliding into the drivers seat. Edward, where are we going? You have to tell me whats going on. I have a flight in the morning- Im doing it, he said, his hands clenched tight around the steering wheel. Im ready. And I need you to be with me. Do you do you want to be there? It was what I was waiting for. I looked at him, at a loss for words. Yes, I said quietly, putting my hand over his.

Edwards face softened a little bit, and I heard him breath a sigh of relief. Okay, he said, stepping on the gas and pulling away from the building. Detox BPOV * Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. * I stood in front of the open glass doors, shivering. It was freezing outside, but my mind was racing and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore was soothing. When was the last time you did it? I asked him, not turning away from the ocean. It was the first thing that Id said to Edward. We rode the entire way to the beach house in complete silence. There was so much that needed to be said, neither of us knew where to start. At 3:00 this afternoon, he answered from his spot on the sofa. I pulled my cell phone out of my jacket pocket and looked at the time. 12:17 AM. So when does everything start? I asked him. I had no idea what to do, or what to expect. Id read as much as I could about it months before, when I still had faith that Edward would go through with it, but so much time had passed since then that I only remembered insignificant bits and pieces of my research. Soon. He didnt say anything else. I took a deep breath and closed the door before taking a spot on the empty couch. How do you feel now? Normal, Edward said with a shrug. That meant nothing to me. Edwards normal was never the same as anyone elses. I should call and tell my Dad Im not coming home, I said out loud, looking down at my phone. Charlie knew nothing about what was going on. I didnt feel like explaining

the whole story to him in front of Edward, so instead I texted Renee and told her I wasnt coming home, and to tell Charlie for me. Id give her the rest of the details some other time. I dropped my phone onto the coffee table and my eyes wandered over to Edward. He was looking into his lap, nervously twiddling his thumbs. I took a deep breath and stood up before walking across the room and taking the spot next to him on the sofa. I didnt touch him, and he didnt look at me. Youre nervous, I stated. He nodded slightly and sighed, slumping back into the cushions. Itll all be okay. Ill be right here, the whole time. Thanks. Whyd you want to be here, instead of a hospital or something? I asked him, curious. No ones around. I need to be alone, with just you, somewhere Im comfortable and calm. Oh, I said, still not fully understanding. Edward pointed at his suitcase on the ground. My laptop is in there if you want to use it. I didnt really prepare for this so I dont know whats gonna happen. I reached in and pulled it out without hesitation. I sat there for hours, reading everything that I could so that I knew what to expect and jotting down every helpful piece of advice that I could. Nothing was clear cut, but there were things that I knew I could do to help. When my eyes could barely stay open anymore, I looked at the time and yawned. You should go to sleep, Edward said, shutting off the TV. He pulled at his hair nervously and started walking toward the bedroom. I left the laptop and the pieces of paper that Id written on lying on the sofa and I followed behind him. When I entered the bedroom, Edward was standing in front of the mirror, his fingers pressing on the dark circles under his eyes. Wed barely talked, and we hadnt touched, and I didnt know how long it would be until he started feeling horrible, so I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms around his stomach, resting my head on his back. I felt his hands move over mine, and he squeezed tightly before I dropped my arms and walked over to the bed. He stayed standing there at the mirror, and looking at him standing there so clearly distraught but trying to stay strong was physically painful for me. I could tell he was hesitant about the whole thing, but instead of saying anything I turned my back to him, and closed my eyes, falling into a deep sleep. Day One

When I woke up, I looked around for Edward. He wasnt in the room. I brushed my teeth quickly and pulled my hair back before going into the living room, where the faint sound of the TV could be heard. Edward was sitting down, his head leaning lazily against the back of the sofa. I sat down next to him and noticed a light sheen of sweat on his forehead. Are you hot? He shook his head and continued staring at the TV. Why didnt you wake me when you got up? I didnt sleep, he muttered, his voice raspy. I planted a kiss gently on his cheek and collected all of my notes that were still lying where Id left them. I walked over and opened the glass doors, letting the cool air fill the room to try and comfort Edward a little. I have to go to the store. Wheres the closest one around here? Go out to the main road and make a right, he said, reaching into his pocket to hand me his keys and his credit card. I practically ran out of the door. When I got to the tiny supermarket, I flew up and down the aisles, grabbing food and other things that werent priority and then stopped in the medicine aisle. I looked down at the list Id made and tried to steady my shaking hands. I made the list myself and I had no idea if it was safe or not to mix all the things together that I was picking out, but I tried to match each symptom up with something that could make him feel better, even though he told me he didnt want any medicine. Advil for muscle aches. Dramamine and Imodium for his stomach. Multivitamins since he wasnt going to be able to eat anything. I found Sominex, and I figured that it could only help him, since he already wasnt sleeping and seemed irritable. When I finished cleaning out their drug supply, I checked out and sped back to the house. Edward was in the same spot as when I left, seemingly the same. That was fast, he said, standing up to help me unpack. I heard him sniffling so I handed him a tissue.

I popped two pieces of bread into the toaster and gave him a banana. Eat, I begged him. Please. Eat while you still can. He seemed hesitant but took a couple of bites of the banana before dropping it on the counter. I cant, he said, shaking his head. I dont really feel good. I slid the plate of toast in his directing and he looked down at it, disgusted. Edward, please. I wouldnt normally be so nagging and forceful, but he was already so much skinnier then the last time Id seen him, and I doubted hed had an actual meal in days. He took the plate and went back to the living room without saying anything. I finished putting away everything Id bought and I grabbed one of the sleeping pills and a glass of water. I handed the pill to Edward and he stared down into his hand and then back at me. What is it? He asked, through a yawn. To help you sleep. I dont want it, he said, trying to hand it back to me. Just take it. Itll help. He sighed and threw the pill in his mouth, chasing it with the water. I convinced him to move to the bedroom so that he could lay down and be more comfortable. His symptoms were already starting and it was only going to keep getting worse. Within a half hour, Edward had fallen into an uneasy sleep. He tossed and turned and kept waking up to tell me he was hot. Id opened up every window in the bedroom and had my coat on and I was wrapped in a blanket, but he was still sweating. I kept looking stuff up on the laptop and letting myself doze off for short periods at a time to keep my energy up. At around 6:00, when wed been in bed for over six hours, Edward gave up on trying to get any rest. He stood up from the bed, agitated, and walked over to the window. I feel like shit, he said. Before I could say anything back he stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door. After a couple of minutes I heard the shower turn on. I figured he was still trying to cool himself off.

While he was still in the bathroom, my phone started going off. It was Emmett. Hows he doing? He asked me, his voice full of concern. Fine right now. Is he near you? Hes in the shower, I said, letting out a yawn. So is he doing anything at all? I thought about that morning until now and told Emmett everything I observed. Hes cranky. His eyes are watery and his nose is running. He has a fever I think. I dont know, hes sweating and I have all the windows open and its freezing in here. And he cant sleep or eat. Emmett was silent for a minute. Call me if anything happens. I agreed and hung up, feeling slightly relieved. Apparently everything that was happening was typical. Edward was still irritated when he emerged from the bathroom. He started slamming the windows shut, shivering. Its freezing in here, he muttered, clenching the towel wrapped around his waist with one of his hands. I got up and closed the rest of the windows so that he could get dressed. He put on sweatpants and a long sleeved shirt and got back into bed, under the covers. The rest of the night progressed the same as the afternoon had, except Edwards symptoms were gradually getting more severe. I gave him another sleeping pill when it got late, but it had even less of an effect than the last time. I barely slept at all, since Edwards shivering and restlessness kept waking me up. In the middle of the night, I gave up trying to sleep and I just wrapped my body around his, trying anything I could to keep him from being cold. It didnt work, and he kept shivering, and I felt the goosebumps near his wrist where his sleeve had ridden up, but he didnt push me away. Day Two Are you alright? I asked Edward, leaning up on my elbow to look at his face. He nodded and tried to force back a tremor. Your eyes look weird. His pupils were so big that they overpowered the usually dominant green color of his eyes.

Im f-f-fine, he said, his teeth chattering. Ill be right back. I took the quickest shower I ever had and grabbed an apple and all of Edwards medicine from the kitchen. I handed him the lithium for the bipolar first, since I considered it to be the most important. I didnt even want to know what would happen if he had to deal with his bipolar symptoms on top of the withdrawal ones. Drink this, I said, handing him a bottle of Gatorade. He sat up and took one sip with his pill before dropping it on the nightstand, shaking his head. Stop, he said, swatting my hand away as I tried to give him another pill. Its just a Vitamin. You have to take it, I insisted. And you should drink that. The whole thing. He muttered something under his breath and popped the vitamin in his mouth before taking a few gulps of the bottle. I f-f-feel fucking nauseous, he mumbled, lying back down and pulling the blanket up to his chest. I stood over him and ran my fingers through his hair, and he went to slap my hand away, but as his hand hit mine he stopped and grabbed it, pulling it to his lips. T-t-thank you, Bella. For being here, and d-d-doing this, he said. Little did I know, that would be the last sentence Id be hearing from him for days. I nodded and got back into the bed. My body was exhausted and weak from the lack of sleep, so I crawled under the blankets and tried to force myself into getting at least a little bit of rest. It was 11:00 in the morning, and it was almost 48 hours since the last time Edward had used, so I knew he was going to start getting worse fast, and at any minute. I didnt remember falling asleep, and I dont know how long I was out, but the sound of Edward violently heaving into the toilet shot me awake. Disoriented, I stumbled toward the bathroom and leaned against the doorframe, looking down at him. Are you alright? He didnt say anything, he just kicked his leg out and slammed the door in my face. I leaned against the wall and tiredly slid down to the floor, waiting for him to come out. The heaving continued every couple of minutes for hours. I fell back asleep, sitting up against the wall waiting. When I woke up again, it was silent and dark outside. I jumped up and opened the door, pushing against it to see if he was okay. He was lying on the floor, his body shuddering violently and covered with sweat.

Come on, I said. You cant stay in here. The sight of him in there scared the shit out of me, and gave me a flashback to the day Id found him at the apartment. I used all of my strength to help him off the floor and lead him back to the bed. After catching my breath, I put a garbage pail next to him on the floor so he didnt have to get up again and I put ice cold water on a washcloth. When I walked back to the room to put it on his head, he was curled over, his hand on his stomach and wincing in pain. I put my hand on his face and held up a Dramamine pill, to try and make the nausea subside a little bit. Take this, itll make your stomach hurt less. He was too weak to sit up, so he just lifted his head and opened his mouth. I stuck the pill in and he swallowed it, refusing any liquid. Instead of getting back into the bed, I pulled a chair up next to him that was in the bedroom and just rested my feet on the mattress. He was uncomfortable enough as it was, and I was sure my body heat was only making him feel worse. I started reading through a book that was on the dresser, glancing up every couple of pages to look at him. It was getting harder and harder. Watching him there, in so much pain and helpless was almost impossible for me. I had to keep reminding myself that this was good for him, and that everything would be better when this was over. I couldve been selfish and cried and let my nerves take over, but I wanted him to know that I was there for him, that I was strong, that I loved him and that I could do this, because he was depending on me. A few hours later, Edward started to get really fidgety, not being able to stay still for more than a minute at a time. He kept turning onto him stomach and burying his face into the pillow, groaning and tugging roughly at his hair. He was shaking vehemently, and when he started sobbing I jumped out of my chair and kneeled next to him. His arm was bent backward, and he was pressing his hand so hard against his back his fingertips were white. Whats wrong? I asked. He didnt answer, instead letting out a low growl into the pillow. Is it your back? I saw him nod once, so I reached over and spilled a few Advil into my hand and shook his shoulder. Take this, I said, reaching onto the nightstand to grab a bottle of water. He took the pills from me and swallowed them down with the water, but within a minute, he was leaning over the side of the bed, throwing up into the pail. I held my hand up to my forehead, trying to think of something I could do. All the medical websites had said to give Advil to calm the muscle pain, but he couldnt keep it down. I went into the other room and called Emmett, not knowing what else to do.

Emmett! I shouted, relieved that he answered so quickly, even though it was late. Is everything alright? He asked me, noticing the panic in my voice. I dont know hes been throwing up for hours and shaking really badly and his back hurts so much hes crying, and he cant keep down the medicine- I dont know what to do. I heard Emmett relay what Id said back to Carlisle, and they conversed back and forth for a minute. You cant really do anything, he said. His bones are going to hurt. Just wait a little while and try and give him the medicine again. Yeah, but hes in so much pain- Hes going through withdrawal, Bella. Thats what happens. I heard Carlisle say something in the background. My Dad said keep trying to make him drink and if he cant keep anything down enough to take the pain medicine, tell him to take a hot shower. Okay, I said, trying to compose myself. Youre doing a good job, Bella. Stay strong. I hung up and walked back to the room, where Edward was still twitching in pain. I sat back down in my seat and clenched the armrests, keeping my eyes to the floor. I couldnt look at him like that. Your Dad said if youre in a lot of pain to take a hot shower. I heard Edward grumble as he rolled off the bed and started dragging himself to the bathroom. I followed behind him and pointed at the toilet. Just sit, I told him. He listened and sat there, his hands clasped together, shivering uncontrollably. I turned the shower on and watching him as I waited for the steam to fill up the bathroom. Why arent you talking to me? He shrugged and looked down at the floor. As the mist enveloped us, I bent over and started undressing him. His entire body was covered in goosebumps, and he winced in pain as I pulled the shirt off his back.

Sorry, I murmured, kneeling down to pull his pants off as he stood up. Apparently his legs were in pain too, because he groaned through his clenched teeth as he stepped out of his pants. Do you want me to come in with you? I asked. He turned his head and looked at me, his eyes hooded, and nodded slightly. Edward stepped into the shower and I heard him moaning in agony as I undressed. I jumped when what I think was his fist slammed against the shower wall, making a loud bang echo throughout the bathroom. I stepped into the shower and positioned Edward so his back was directly under the stream of water, and I turned the knob so it was a little warmer. He winced at the sensation, but I saw his face relax a little. Are you okay? I asked him. Edward put his hand straight ahead and was using his arm to support his body weight. His head was hanging forward loosely and the water was dripping down his face in little streams. He shook his head. If you dont talk to me and tell me what youre feeling, I cant help you. He didnt say anything, he just kept his head tilted toward the floor and trembled. Gently, I put my hands flat against his back and pushed with my fingertips. He jumped a little, but didnt push me away, so I kept running my hands up and down his back to try and soothe him. Even with the steaming hot water that made his skin red, he kept shaking. After a few minutes, Edward dropped his arm and stood straight up, spinning around to me. He didnt say anything, he just stared blankly. I dont know if he was in pain, or embarrassed, or just numb, but either way, I stepped onto my tip toes and pressed my lips against his softly. Then I stepped out of the shower and left him there, to give him space for a minute and let him break down if he wanted. Because I knew things were just going to get worse, and that he was trying to be brave for me. Day Three I let my head loll to the side so I could look at the clock on the nightstand. 1:42 PM. If I hadnt checked, I wouldve had no idea what time it was. The stress from how much Edward had worsened overnight, added to my lack of sleep, made me feel like a zombie. Everything was happening, right there in front of me, but I was in such a dreamlike state I couldnt talk, or move, or even cry if I wanted to. I just sat there and

watched Edward suffer, because I didnt know what else I could do apart from not staying by his side. Eventually I managed to pull myself together, and I walked over to the kitchen to try and eat something. I didnt want to stay away from him for too long, so I picked at a piece of bread and grabbed a banana to give him. The only good news was that hed managed to keep the water down when hed gotten out of the shower the night before, so he took the pills, including the lithium. The bad news was that it didnt do shit to help him. All of his symptoms were worse. His fever was ridiculous and he was alternating between cold sweats and just regular sweating, his constant shaking not letting up at all. He still wasnt talking, but he kept yanking at his hair and gripping the sides of his head in anguish, so I assumed that meant he had a horrible headache. Hed taken two more scalding hot showers to try and ease the pain in his bones and his muscles, to no relief. He kept curling up and holding his stomach, and kept staggering across the room to the bathroom, but I didnt hear him throwing up again. And that was all earlier. Since late morning, he hadnt left the bed and his groans and whimpers of pain were only increasing. I walked back into the room and placed the banana by his head. Eat that, I said, standing next to him. He threw his arm out violently and knocked it onto the floor. I walked to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face, to try and calm down and get back into the right state of mind that I needed to be in. As I was standing in front of the mirror, looking at my frightening reflection, I thought I heard the faint sound of something rattling. I shut the water off and heard the noise again, and ran back into the bedroom. What the fuck are you doing?! I screamed, slapping Edwards hand and making a handful of pills shower onto the floor. Hed dumped the entire bottle of sleeping pills into his palm and was attempting to put them in his mouth. It hadnt occurred to me not to leave the medicine on the nightstand, but apparently he was in so much pain he just wanted out. That killed me. I knocked the bottles across the nightstand so they flew across the room and clenching my chest, I grabbed my cell phone and dialed Emmett. I cant fucking do this anymore, I told him, my voice shaking. I cant. This is fucked up. I dont think hes okay- Hes fine, Emmett said, trying to assure me. It wasnt convincing. What happened?

He just tried to take a whole bottle of sleeping pills! Its because hes in so much pain, and the stupid over the counter shit isnt doing anything, and I cant do this. He wont eat or drink anything, and hes going to die. Hes not going to die, Bella. Im sure he feels like hes going to, but he wont. Yes, he is, and I cant stay here and watch this. This isnt the fucking flu, Emmett, and thats what he told me it would be, and the flu I can handle but this I cant. I have to leave here. Bella, are you fucking serious? His tone caught me off guard. Youve been waiting for him to do this shit. We all have. You were the push that he needed, and now youre just gonna bail? He needs you. Go sit by him, and stop being so selfish and weak, and suck it up and wait for him to be better. Youre going on four days. It isnt gonna be much longer. He wont even talk to me, I mumbled, knowing everything Emmett said was exactly right. I was being a coward, and I didnt care. I didnt want to see it anymore. Go give him the phone, he said. I doubted Edward would talk to him, but I walked into the room and put the phone on speaker before setting on the pillow. Edwards face left the pillow and turned toward the phone when he heard Emmetts voice. I left the room and closed the door, because even though I hadnt heard Edward talk in so long, I felt like I was invading his privacy. The echo of Emmett talking could be heard from where I sat in the living room, so I waited until there was silence again. Suddenly, I heard the sound of the bedroom door opening and uneasy steps coming down the hallway. I ran over and helped Edward to the sofa, where he dropped onto it and resumed his quivering and moaning. Dont fucking do that to me again, I said, referring to his attempted barbiturate overdose and ripping my cell phone out of his hand. Youve come this far. You cant just give up now. He turned his back to me and buried his head into the couch cushion. I went to the bedroom and grabbed the quilt off of the bed and my book, and I returned to him, covering his skinny, trembling body and taking a seat on the floor next to his head. It was a few hours later when things hit rock bottom. I looked up from my book when I heard his breaths becoming quick and shallow. My heart instantly started pounding, because I thought the worst had already come and I was sure that I couldnt take any more of it. His shaking became so violent that he was convulsing, his arms and legs thrashing forcefully underneath the blanket. Fuck.

I didnt know what to do. He needed something to calm his nerves, some kind of medicine, but it was already late and I was sure nothing near was open, and even if it was, I didnt want to leave his side for the time it would take to get there. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it as tight as I could, and I put my other hand on his face. Edward, are you okay? Should I call someone? There were tears rolling down his cheeks, but he shook his head. He was completely delirious. Not releasing my grasp on his hand, I got back down on the floor and sat there, defeated. My phone vibrated, quickly, signaling a text message. I picked it up with my free hand and read it. It was from my mother. Bella, hope everythings okay. Stay tough - remember the struggle. The struggle. I almost laughed when I read that. She had no idea what it was to really struggle for love. No one understood why I did everything that I did for Edward. My mother had given me advice on love since I was a little girl. When I was in elementary school, shed explained love to me vaguely. When you love someone, youll just know it. I think that tidbit of advice was directly related to my father. As Id gotten older, shed gone into slightly more detail. When youre in love with someone, you know because theyre all you can think about. Everything you do relates to them, and all you need to do to be happy is be around them. Yeah, okay. That one was for her new husband. And when Id had my heart broken by my first boyfriend, and she tried to soothe me over the phone, she gave me the most valuable scrap of advice that she ever had. It was the one thing she said that Id actually kept with me. Loving someone is never easy. Thats how you know how much you love them. The struggle. Im sure she regrets ever saying those words to me. Because in the last year, my entire existence consisted of struggles that I thought meant love. If I was smart, I would have disregarded any guidance shed ever given to me because just following that one little statement had put my life into a whirlwind of misery and denial. Sure, maybe she didnt intend for me to take her words as literally as I had, but it was my only justification for not giving up on Edward. As I sat there and watched his perfect face contorting and twisting in pain, and I grasped his hand as he shook and cried, I realized that my distant, flaky mother was the last

person I shouldve taken advice from. With every uneven breath that shot through Edwards pouted lips, my chest tightened. Hes not going to survive this. I tried to force the thought from my mind, but I couldnt deny it anymore. Its going to be my fault. This all is happening because of me. His hand was cold. I released my grasp and tried to wipe away the sheen of sweat that was covering his forehead. Before I could place my hand on his face, the face that Id touched and kissed and loved with everything in me, he screamed in pain. I couldnt sit there anymore. If I had to sit there, and watch it happen, I was going to die along with him. I felt the tears well up in my eyes. The tears that Id been pushing away for days. The tears that I knew were never going to stop once they came. I had no fight left in me, so I jumped up and turned away from Edward, so he couldnt see me cry. It was only going to make things that much worse for him. As I walked to the door, I sobbed for everything that Id been holding in. I reached out to turn the doorknob, but before I could go, I heard a raspy, pained voice call me from across the room. Bella, I closed my eyes and sighed. It was the first time hed said anything in days. Bella, please dont leave me How was I supposed to leave after that? I didnt know what to do. I crouched down on the floor in front of the door and sobbed. I was done trying to be courageous and strong and brave and whatever else Edward needed me to be. I just wanted everything to be over. Suddenly the door flung open, slamming into me. Bella! What are you- are you okay? Emmett bent down and helped me up from the floor, frowning when he saw I was weeping. Whats the matter? Look at him! I cant- Emmett shook his head and looked down at the floor. The disappointment in his face made me stop talking. I didnt feel bad, though. Id done all that I could do, and I wasnt going to let him make me feel like Id failed Edward.

When was the last time you slept? I dont know, I answered honestly. Emmett sighed and walked into the living room, kneeling down next to Edward. He pulled a bottle of prescription pills out of his coat pocket. Get me water, Bella, he said, shaking Edwards shoulder. Edward, take this. Itll make you feel way better. Im not taking that shit, Edward said angrily, attempting to shove Emmett away. Its not methadone! Its just Clonazepam, to stop the pain and to help you sleep. Just fucking take it. I held out my hand to give Emmett the water and he snatched it from me. Bella, go to sleep, he said, pointing toward the hallway. Now. But I dont want to leave him- You dont want to leave him? You were just hunched over in front of the door hysterically crying. I wasnt going to leave, I was just scared! Youre just tired, Emmett said, his voice getting softer. You both havent slept in days. Thisll help him, so go to sleep, hell be fine, and Ill wake you up when I leave. I took one last look at Edward, and he nodded. Feeling slightly relieved, I walked into the bedroom and collapsed, falling into a dreamless sleep. EPOV Day Four In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, And therefore thou mayst think my behavior light, But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true Than those that have more coying to be strange. I should have been more strange, I must confess, But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware, My true love's passion: therefore pardon me, And not impute this yielding to light love- What the hell are you doing? I asked Bella as I opened my eyes. Her mouth dropped open and she dropped the book in the lap. I I was reading you Romeo & Juliet. You told me you wanted me to keep talking and I didnt have anything to say, so, she shrugged and tossed the book onto the floor

and got onto her knees. I thought it would be appropriate because they had more problems then we do, but now that Im re-reading it, I think I was wrong. Mmmm, I said, agreeing with her. I tried to sit up, but an aching pain went up my spine. I winced and pushed through the soreness as Bella watched, a look of concern on her face. Finally, I was sitting upright for the first time in who knows how long. You look a little better, she said, giving me a weak smile. At least youre not shaking anymore. Yeah, I said, glad the convulsing bullshit was over with. I was still cold and a little shivery, my back and my legs were still fucking throbbing, my head was pounding, I was exhausted and nauseous and my every part of my body felt sore and weak. Still, there was a noticeable improvement from the night before. What time is it? Its almost 2:00. Its been 95 hours, Bella said, excited. I just nodded, because I was in shock. It seemed like it wasnt real. I hadnt done heroin in four days. I made it through the worst part of the withdrawal. I was almost sure I was about to die, and Id never feel so fucking awful in my life, but I made it through. This is the longest Ive ever gone without doing it. Since I became addicted, I told her. It feels so strange. How do you feel? Do you want anything? I want the Clonazepam. And some Imodium. And I think Im gonna take another shower. Bella nodded and walked into the other room. I forced myself to stand up and walk to the bathroom. I was so god damn tired and weak, I felt like there were weights strapped to my legs. When I walked by the mirror, my reflection seriously scared me. I didnt think it was possible to look any worse, but somehow I managed. I didnt care though; I knew it was only a matter of time before I was back to normal, or better than normal, and even though the past couple of days had been the worst of my life, by far, the whole thing would be behind me soon. Then, I could start my life over. I dont know how people did this shit over and over again, and still go back to the drugs. There was no fucking way I was turning back now. Not ever. Id messed up my life almost beyond repair, and I almost lost the best thing that happened to me because of some stupid fucking drugs and bad choices. I was done. I turned the shower on and sat on the edge of the tub, waiting for Bella. She returned with the medicine and a cup of tea.

Its herbal tea. You havent eaten anything theres sugar in it. Can you eat? Ill make you something- No, this is good. Thanks. She turned to walk out of the bathroom, but I grabbed her wrist. You were going to leave me, I said, recalling the night before. Bella shook her head and looked down at the ground. I could never leave you. I just couldnt handle it anymore. Seeing you in so much pain. I felt like it was my fault. Like you were only doing this for me, and I thought you were going to die, and Im sorry. Bella, I love you, but Im not doing this for you. Im doing it for myself, you were just the one who made me realize that I needed to do it. Then why wouldnt you talk to me? Because I dont know, I didnt want to say anything. I thought I could be strong, and I felt so fucking pathetic crying and yelling. I didnt want to scare you away, or make you feel worse I dont know. My head hurts, I said, dropping the tea on the counter and pushing on my temples. Bella walked over and moved my hands and started gently rubbing my head in circles with her fingertips. I closed my eyes and let the calm take over me. Youre moving back in when we go home, right? I asked her. There was so much we had to talk about and figure out before we went back to the city. If you want me to, she murmured. Yeah, I want you to. I never wanted you to leave. She sighed and dropped her hands, spinning me toward the shower. Um, just shower. We can talk when you get out. Ill be waiting out here. And drink your tea, she said before exiting and slamming the door. I dont know why I kept taking hot showers, because all it did was make my muscles feel a little bit better for a couple of minutes. Luckily, the Clonazepam started working while I was still in there, so I got out and quickly brushed my teeth before dragging ass back to the bed. I was so fucking exhausted I didnt even have the energy to get dressed. Bella noticed and walked over to my suitcase. What do you want to wear? I dont care, I told her. She tossed me a pile of clean clothes and I struggled to put them on. When I was done, she laid next to me in the bed and yawned. When was the last time you slept? I asked her.

Uh I slept the whole time Emmett was here. He got here at like 7:00 last night and left at 2:00 this morning. Well, Im getting tired so sleep with me, I said, barely able to keep my eyes open. Put your head on my lap, Bella said, and I fell asleep to her rubbing my head. Day Five Id been clean for 117 hours. We have to talk, I said, swallowing down the banana Bella was making me eat. When I didnt throw up the tea she kept forcing down my throat all night, she begged me to try and eat solid food. What about? She asked, drumming her fingers on the kitchen counter. I want you to tell Alice youre quitting and finish your book. She sighed and walked around to the other side of the counter so she was standing behind me and started massaging my shoulders. Okay, she agreed. Youre gonna stay with me, right? I asked, because I wasnt sure. Everything was different now and I wanted to know she hadnt changed her mind. Of course Im staying with you. Are you insane? Im not leaving you. Not ever. A feeling of relief washed over me, even though her voice seemed a little unsteady. Whats wrong? Youre not gonna leave me, are you? Now that youre going to be better, and things are different I mean, now that you dont need me- What do you mean I dont need you? Its just that I was always afraid youd go and find someone better, and I loved you so much that I just did whatever I thought you wanted and I put up with the drugs and everything for so long, but now that theres no drugs involved, how do I know you arent going to go and find someone else, and She trailed off as I started laughing. After everything weve been through together? I dont want anyone else, Bella. I didnt stay with you because of anything having to do with the fucking drugs. Ive been obsessed with you since the first time I saw you. If we could, Id stay here with just you forever. And Id be happy.

I reached over my shoulder and grabbed her hand, pulling it to my lips to kiss her palm. She wrapped her other arm around me and embraced me, and I felt the warmth of her lips on the side of my neck. I felt my stomach cramping up and I groaned. Solid food was a bad idea. Okay, she said, cleaning off the counter. Well try again tomorrow. Alright. I think we should go back home, I told her. I dont think I can drive, but, I feel okay enough to go home later. Its fine, Ill drive, she assured me, smiling weakly. I took another sleeping pill and we both took a nap, not waking up until it was sundown. Bella packed up all of our stuff and cleaned the house quickly, while I mustered up enough strength to walk to the car. To say that I was feeling better would be a lie; day by day I felt less worse than I had before, but it wasnt anything close to good. Even though wed just spent the worst days of my life at the beach house, I still felt wistful leaving it. Because the best couple of days of my life had been spent there with Bella, too. I didnt tell her, but that was why I chose to go there. I figured that the reminder of how happy I was when I was there and how happy my life could be always would be enough to get me through it. It seemed to work. Are you ready? She asked me as she climbed into the drivers seat. I nodded and squeezed her hand. She pulled out of the driveway, and I felt like a weight had suddenly been lifted off me. I turned my head and watched as the house faded from view, along with my past. Coming Home BPOV We didnt tell anyone that we were coming back home. I told Edward that I thought it would be better that way; he needed time to be alone and recuperate before he went back to his regular life. And that wasnt going to be anytime soon. He was better, but he wasnt anywhere near okay and hopefully the worst was over. I had the doorman bring our bags upstairs, and used all of my energy helping Edward up. The car ride was awful for him; he was uncomfortable, and still in pain, and he was getting irritable. But as soon as we got inside and he laid down, his demeanor totally changed and he started talking to me. I think we should go through the apartment, he said, scratching his head.

What do you mean? I used to hide bags all over the place when my mom would come and go through my stuff. I dont want to randomly find one one day and be tempted. I sighed and looked around. Alright. Ill do it, you just rest. Where should I start? Anywhere, he said, throwing his hand in the air. Just wherever. I started with his clothes. Sometime between when Id cleaned my stuff out of the apartment and when wed gone to the beach house, all of Edwards stuff had been moved back in. Most of it was still in suitcases, so I went through every single pocket of everything he owned. It took hours. By the time I was done, I had a small pile of contraband. Needles, bags, whatever. You name it, it was in the pile. Edward just laid there, watching me. He offered to help more than once, but I didnt want him going anywhere near any of it. After I finished with the clothes, I looked around the apartment for the next place to search. Go in the bathroom. Behind the door, count three tiles to the right and two down. I wasnt sure exactly what he meant, but I figured it out once I got in there. There was a loose tile, and behind it a small hole cut out in the wall with a bunch of shit stuck in it. I checked every single tile in the bathroom, the cabinets, the linen closet. Everything. It went on like that for the rest of the night. I went through every drawer, every cabinet. Every pillow, every cushion. By the time I was finished, the sun was coming up. I had a grocery bag full of stuff that Id found. I threw it in a garbage bag, along with all the alcohol in the kitchen and anything else I felt was bad for him. Okay, Edward. I think were good here are there any floorboards or anything that I should be ripping up? I joked. No. He didnt think it was funny. Not even wanting to risk it, I brought the bag right to the garbage shoot and let it drop. It was four days later that Id started to get slight anxiety from being in the apartment. I was going a little bit stir crazy. Edward had taken up chain smoking out of boredom, and he was walking around on his own. His eating habits still sucked- on a good day, hed allow me to force him into eating one meal. With the sleeping pills and the muscle relaxers, he was able to sleep through the night without any traumatizing nightmares or violent outbursts. It had been ten days, and I felt like it was time for him to start his new routine.

I hadnt kept in touch with anyone except Emmett, and the conversations that I did have with him were short and simple. Yes, Edwards fine. He feels like shit, but hes clean. I told Emmett that when Edward was ready to talk to him, hed hear from him. As far as the two of us were concerned, things were far from back to normal. I didnt know what our new normal was going to consist of, since Id only known Edward as a junkie. We didnt talk to each other a lot. When we did, we typically discussed the technical things. Like Edwards immediate plans for the future. When he was going to go back to work. How he needed to start therapy. We werent intimate, we didnt hug or kiss or touch each other the way we always had. But I figured that Edward was just uncomfortable, and he didnt know how to get back into things. He had enough going through his mind as it was, I didnt want to add relationship awkwardness into that. I could sit and wait for as long as he needed without saying a word about it. Do you want to talk to your parents? Edward had just gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed. He carelessly shook his hand around in his wet hair and shook his head. Not yet. I sighed and continued typing on my laptop. With all the free time I had, I was able to keep working on my book, and I felt like it would be done soon. At least I hoped it would be. Edward snuck up behind me and tried to read the screen, but I quickly slammed the laptop shut and spun around to him. You cant read it until its completely done. I dont know how its going to end yet, I said, wiping off a drop of water that was running down the side of his cheek. He raised an eyebrow and sat down on the stool next to me. Edward can I call Alice? Yeah, he said, nodding. Go ahead. I fiddled with my phone nervously and dialed her number. She picked up on the first ring. Bella! Hey Alice. What happened? Is he okay? Where are you? Did he really do it? She kept shooting off questions without letting me get a word in. Um, everythings fine. Hes getting better. Were at his apartment. Oh my God, I cant believe he really did it- Jaspers been so worried, and Emmett hasnt said anything. Can I can I talk to him?

I put my hand over the receiver and looked at Edward. She wants to talk to you, I whispered. He grabbed the phone from my hand and held it to his ear. Hello? Hey, thanks. I feel pretty crappy yeah, tell him I can call him no- no way. Were not having an Edward is clean party fine, I guess so okay, bye. He frowned and mouthed shes crazy before giving me back the phone. Hey Bella- I have to go to a meeting, but Ill see you later, okay? Alice hung up, leaving me confused. She said Ill see you later, I told Edward. Yeah, I told her wed go over there tonight. I figured youre tired of being stuck here with me and you missed your friends. We dont have to go anywhere if you dont want to, I told him, squeezing his forearm. Dont worry about me. No, I want to. He put his hand over mind and pulled. Bella, come here. I stood up and he pulled me between his legs and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me up against his body. I closed my eyes and basked in his smell that I missed for so long, and the warmth of his body, and just the feeling of him being right there, and being okay. It was everything that Id been waiting for, for so long, and I was so happy and content that it was beyond words. Youve been so good to me, he said, putting his finger under my chin and turning my head so he could stare into my eyes when he talked. I know that right now things are different. Were not the same as we were before but itll change over time. And well be better than we were before. I smiled at him and nodded. We already are better than we were before. * Alice told us that she was making dinner and to come over at seven, but I declined, knowing Edward wouldnt have eaten anything and it wouldve just made him uncomfortable. We stood in front of the door to my old apartment, and I saw him shift his weight from one foot to the other and anxiously shove his hands in his pockets. Are you okay? I asked him. I fixed the collar of his jacket as he nodded. Im fine. Alice yanked opened the door and hopped into Edwards arms immediately.

Hi! You look so much better, Edward, Im so happy for you! Come in, she grabbed his hand and pulled him into the apartment as he laughed nervously. Edward walked off into the living room and Alice turned around to look at me. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed me on the forehead before rubbing my arm. How are you? She whispered it, even though no one else is around. Good. Im really good. Alice smiled and led the way to the living room. Rosalie and Jasper were sitting there, talking quietly to each other. Whered they go? Alice asked. Emmetts talking to him in our room, Jasper told her. I sat down next to Rosalie and started talking to her and Alice about everything thatd been going on the past couple of weeks. After about a half an hour, Emmett called Jasper into the room. Alice, Rosalie, and I sat there and continued talking, until the subject couldnt be avoided anymore. Rosalie was the first to bring it up. How was it? It was a simple question, but the answer was beyond words. I cant even explain it, I said, shrugging. It was horrible. But the whole time, I just kept telling myself that this was for him, that it was for the better. That it would be over soon, and after it was we could finally go on with our lives and be happy. So how is it now? Rosalie asked. I wish I couldve said everything was better, but it wasnt. It had only been a week and a half, and although I wanted to believe things were okay, they werent. He was still depressed and clearly getting used to the way his body felt. It would be months before he was used to his new life. Its different. Not the same at all. But hes a different person now, and this is all new for him so, I dont know. His personality seems different hes way more quiet then usual. He doesnt joke around the way he used to, and he just seems closed off. I guess hes still getting comfortable. It takes time. Youre staying together though, right? Alice asked, clearly understanding that I felt unsure. I frowned and nodded. Yeah, of course. The way I feel for him hasnt changed. Its not ever going to.

After another half hour, the three of them emerged from the room, all of them looking slightly distraught. Im sure that it was a bittersweet reunion for them. I need a drink, Emmett murmured, pouring two glasses for him and Jasper and sitting at the dining room table. We all sat around them, the tension almost suffocating. Okay, Alice said, breaking the silence. I know you said you didnt want a party or anything, but I think we should all talk about this. Okay, Edward said, tapping his hands on the table in front of him. I know that youre probably struggling with things right now, and emotionally this has to be hard for you. You used for a long time, and even though it made your life kind of chaotic, it didnt define you as a person. Everyone here loves you, even Rosalie in her own way, and I think that we should all go around and say something good about Edward, to let him know how important he is to us and lift his spirits a little. Edward rolled his eyes. Thanks Alice, but its alright. No, Ill go first. She thought for a second and took a deep breath. When I first opened my store, I was having problems getting it off the ground. One night, Edward and Emmett came here and I was doing paperwork and bills and stuff, and I was freaking out because I thought I was going to have to shut down. No one knows this, but Emmett and Rosalie went out to the store, and Edward sat with me and told me he knew a bunch of people from big newspapers and magazines that could help me with advertising. I knew I couldnt afford anything like that, so he told me that hed lend me the money, and whenever I made it back I could repay him. And obviously it worked, and I made all of the money back and when I tried to pay him back, he wouldnt take it. Rosalie shook her head in amazement. Why didnt you ever tell me this- He told me not to. And thats why I was always willing to overlook his problems and help him with Bella, because when I needed help, he gave it to me. Everyone around the table was quiet. Jasper broke the tension by taking a sip of his drink and clearing his throat. So, me Edward and me have been friends since we were really young. But hes always stuck by me and been there for me. Two summers ago, I was supposed to go visit my dad down south for a month. I hadnt seen him in years. But my mom got really sick, and I didnt want to leave her. So Edward volunteered to stay at my house with her and take care of her because he knew how badly I wanted to see my dad. Edward laughed and scratched his head. That wasnt a big deal, Jasper. Yeah, it was. To me. All of their stories were making me really emotional. I could see that it was breaking Edward down a little, but he needed to hear it. I had the feeling that he thought poorly

about himself, and for the past couple of days, he kept saying how bad he felt for all the trouble he put people through, and how he didnt know how everyone didnt hate him. This was the perfect way to make him see why everyone still cared about him. Rosalie was sitting next to Jasper. She smirked and looked at Edward. I dont really have anything to say. Youve been a pain in my ass since Ive met you. Rosalie, Alice scolded while Edward chuckled. If it wasnt for him, you wouldnt have met Emmett. Fine. Because of you I met Emmett. So, thanks for that. She grabbed Emmetts drink and took a gulp of it. Thanks, Rosalie. Edward said, shaking his head. Rose, stop it. Alice squinted at her and Rosalie sighed. Okay, fine. I have something. She giggled a little bit and looked at Emmett, then Edward. When Emmett and I first started dating, I went to Friday night dinner at your house. And when I told your parents that I was a model, they kind of freaked out a little. You and me were still kind of awkward because of the whole thing. She was referring to the fact that her and Edward had gone out a couple of times, and that was how she met Emmett. You saw how uncomfortable I was, and since you loved pissing off your parents, you started yelling at them about something stupid, just to take the focus off of me. So thanks. I was ready to run out crying before you did that. Edward cocked an eyebrow at her and nodded. It was Emmetts turn next. He looked at Edward and grabbed his shoulder and shook him a little bit before he started talking. I have too many things that Edward has done for me over the years. So Ill just say the most recent thing. He looked down at the table and took a deep breath. After the wedding, before we went on our honeymoon, I was helping Edward move all his clothes and shit back into our parents house. And while I was moving one of the suitcases, Carlisle noticed that our family crest thing that I always wore around my neck had fallen off. He and Esme started flipping out on me, because it was an heirloom or something, and I felt really fucking bad, so Esme has this famous sculpture that she got at an auction that was like $30,000 or something ridiculous like that, and Edward always made fun of it because the thing was so ugly, so he heard them screaming at me and he knocked the thing off the shelf and it broke in like a million pieces. Emmett laughed and looked at Edward. His ears were red and I saw his nose twitching a little bit, and then he pressed his palms into his eyes. They were so pissed they completely forgot about what they were yelling at me for, Emmett finished. I put my hand on Edwards shoulder, but he shrugged it off. Then, he pushed his chair back and jetted out of the apartment before anyone could say anything.

Should someone go get him? Rosalie asked. No, I said, shaking my head. Just let him be for a minute. Im sorry, Alice said. I thought it would help, I didnt mean to make him upset. I dont think hes upset, Emmett said. Hes just overwhelmed. We sat around talking for a little while longer, and after about twenty minutes, I put my jacket back on and grabbed Edwards. Im just gonna bring him home. Ill see you guys soon. I still have to get all my boxes from here. I said goodbye to everyone and took the elevator down to the lobby. Edward was standing on the other side of the glass doors smoking. I pushed through and handed him his jacket. His eyes were still red, and his cheeks were flushed from him wiping them. Are you okay? I asked him, putting my hand on his chest. He nodded and tossed his cigarette to the side. Lets go home. Edward leaned forward and kissed me before we walked to the curb and hailed a taxi. * Two weeks later I woke up shivering and looked at the clock. 3:48 AM. The apartment was dark, but I felt a gust of wind. When I sat up, I saw that the door to the balcony was wide open. I rolled out of bed and groggily walked over to it, where Edward was standing outside, shirtless, barefoot, and in just his sweatpants, leaning on the edge of the balcony and smoking. Whats the matter? I asked him, quivering. Nothing. I couldnt sleep so I was just thinking. I hopped up onto the concrete wall so I was facing him and yawned. What about? Edward took a drag of his cigarette and blew it out before looking at me. Do you like this apartment? I frowned and laughed a little. Are you serious? Of course I do. Its fucking amazing. Why? Its kind of a bachelor pad, dont you think? Well you are a bachelor, I said, shrugging.

Yeah, but you live here now. The wind whipped through the air and made Edwards hair blow in every direction. He stuck his hand in it and smirked at me. I instantly melted, because Id missed him looking at me that way so much. So what are you trying to say? He tossed his cigarette off the side of the balcony and watched it fly around in the wind, until it was out of sight. Emmett and I were talking, he said, wrapping his hands around my waist. I want to open up my own photography studio, and I planned on buying commercial space, but, I was thinking if were really going to stay together, we should buy our own place. Dont you think? I chuckled a little bit and played with a piece of his hair. Edward, I cant afford anything. I dont even have a job anymore. Ive been saving up money for years. I can still open my studio, just instead of renting an apartment and buying the studio, Ill buy an apartment and rent the studio. We can pick out something that we both like and that well want to stay in for a long time. I yawned again and ran my thumb across his eyebrow. So you think now is a good time to open up your studio? Ive been thinking about it for awhile, but Emmett suggested I do it now because that way I could control the people I was around and I wouldnt have to worry about running into my old crowd. You know? I was ecstatic that Edward was taking the steps that he needed to in order to stay clean in the future. Obviously, I was willing to support anything that was going to ensure that. Yeah. Well, sure. Its a good idea. Hes gonna help me if I need it, because he started his own company and he knows a lot about business and- Edward? Huh? Its four in the morning. Im freezing. Can we talk about this tomorrow? He laughed and helped me off the wall before I followed him back inside. We laid down next to each other in bed, and I closed my eyes. The only sound was our steady breathing and the whistling of the wind every few minutes. Before I drifted off, I heard him faintly call my name.

Bella? Hmm? Can you come here? I shimmied over to Edwards side of the bed and rested my head on his chest. He draped an arm over me and ran his finger up and down my side. I just feel like I need to thank you. For staying with me through everything, even now. I know Im still all fucked up, and Im boring, and pissy all the time but, I care about you so much. Even though I havent been showing it, I still do if not more than before. Edward had been clean for over three weeks, but things still werent very different from when wed first gotten home. Besides for the fact that he had a little bit more energy, and he was talking a little more, he hadnt changed much. Stop thanking me and feeling bad. This is what people who love each other do. After all Ive gone through with you, you think that you should be thanking me now? I should thank you for finally doing this. Okay, he sighed. I felt his fingers linger along the hem of my nightgown, and then he slowly started sliding his hand up the inside of it. Sadly enough, it was the most physical contact wed had with each other in weeks, and I couldnt control the fact that my heart started pounding rapidly. Edward leaned up on his side and skimmed his warm hand across my chest, stopping right over my heart and pressing his palm against it. Whats the matter? Nothing, I whispered. I laid there and stared at him for a second before I lifted my arm and let my hand glide across Edwards shoulder, over his collarbone, and then let it relax behind his head. I craned my neck forward and moved my face towards Edwards slowly, until our lips were almost touching, and he suddenly met me and pressed his mouth against mine, hard, forcing my head back against the pillow. I let my eyes slide shut for a second as his soft, warm lips molded against mine, and then I snapped them open again because I needed to see him. I needed to see every little detail of his face; the sharp corner of his jaw, the delicate fluttering of his eyelashes, the tiny wrinkles in the middle of his forehead that he got when he was concentrating. All of it. Edwards hands clutched the bottom of my nightie, and he tugged on it gently so I could lift my back, letting him remove it. I moved my hands from the sides of his face to his back and I crushed his chest against mine, just soaking in all of his warmth and his smell, and everything that was him. Everything that I missed and longed for all that time that we were apart. There werent words to describe the yearning and the aching that

had been building up inside of me. It was all right there, coming to the surface, and I needed to have him. Edwards face suddenly moved away from mine, and I felt his fingers around the waistband of my underwear. He slid them down my legs and kneeled next to me, not moving or doing anything. Edward- Shhh. Just let me look. His eyes roamed from my face, across my naked chest, down my legs. He placed both of his palms flat against my stomach and touched and embraced and rubbed every part of me, until I couldnt take it anymore. I pulled him on top of me and forced his sweatpants down, and then his boxers and then I didnt know what to do. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I felt a lump in my throat, and I tried to push it back, but before I knew it I was sobbing into Edwards shoulder. He rubbed my head and kissed the top of it to try and calm me down, but I had to cry. I shouldve waited, but I was so emotional at that moment, it was all I could do. He understood. I dont know how many times Id slept with Edward since Id known him. It wasnt that I never enjoyed it because I did. No one else that Id been with even compared to Edward. But the sorry truth of it was, every time we did it, there was always something there, looming over our heads. Whether it be the fact that he was depressed and I was trying to soothe him, or that hed gotten into an argument with someone in his family, or that I was trying to distract him from using, or towards the end, when Id try to make him sleep with me every day before I left the house because I wasnt sure if it would be the last time. For whatever reason, we could never really just do it, our consciences free and our minds clear and relaxed. Right now was the first time that we could actually enjoy it, without a hidden agenda, and just concentrate on being there in that moment and loving each other. Bella its okay. If you feel weird, we dont have to- No, I said, quickly cutting him off and shaking my head. I want to. Okay. He wiped the tears off of my face and shifted between my legs, and I watched his chin drop down so that he was looking at the space between us. I felt him, hard, brushing against the inside of my thigh, and then he was right there, so I took a deep breath and leaned my head backward and he pushed forward, as I let out the breath and kissed him. He moved forcefully, but gracefully, because that was Edward. He was beautiful and compassionate, strong willed and misguided, gifted and brilliant, intelligent and appealing, and most of all, completely fucked up. But regardless of all of that, he was perfect for me and I adored him. I sighed as I stared at his stomach muscles contracting as he moved in and out of me. My chest tightened at the feeling of his open mouth on my neck, in the middle of my palm, on my temple, around my nipple, on my shoulder. I

touched and squeezed and rubbed and kissed every part of him that I could, because this was it; he was mine, and I was his, and we were starting anew and our lives would never be the same. I suddenly felt proud of everything that Id done for Edward. Now, more than ever, I knew that Id made the right decision, sticking by him. I may have gone about it in the wrong way, but in spite of that, we were here, together and triumphant. I didnt want to leave his side, ever. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to have his children. I wanted to grow old with him and die with him and never, ever have to say goodbye to him again. I wanted him to be happy, forever. Because he deserved it. He spent most of his life suffering and being absolutely miserable, and I never wanted him to feel that way again. Edwards thrusts became deeper and more vigorous. I clenched onto the muscles in his back and reveled in all of it; his heavy breathing, the closeness, his fervent passion. His body instantly tensed up, and he groaned and sighed and kissed me over and over, and my body filled with contentment at the fact that he felt release, in more ways than one. He collapsed on top me of, sweaty and satisfied, and I caressed his head as his breathing slowed. It was more than just sex for us; it was the start of our new beginning. It was everything we felt and couldnt say in words. It was the bond that represented his new life. It was hope, and optimism, and bliss. This is it, Bella, he murmured into my ear. Youre it. Im not ever going back now. I promise. He didnt need to say it, because I knew, but stating it out loud to me had inexpressible importance that I appreciated. I know, I told him. I believe you. Because I did. * Epilogue 3 Months Later EPOV What if we dont like this one? Bella asked, clenching my hand. I dont know. I shrugged. We keep looking. Wed already looked at 12 different apartments, but none of them were right. Well, not right for her. I didnt really care either way. As long as she was happy, I didnt give a shit.

Cant we just buy that room we stayed in at the Plaza? I laughed at her and recalled the memory of that weekend. Uh probably not. Where exactly is this one? In TriBeCa. Its on the water, and its only a short cab ride to the studio, and its really close to Emmett and Rosalie. I dont know, the realtor says its nice. All of them have been nice, Bella said, rolling down the window. Just not right. She stuck her hand outside of the cab and smiled. Today was a good day, I noted. It was June, but it had been hot and sticky since May. Today was the only day that had been breezy and comfortable. It was also a year ago today that me and Bella first met, so I took that as a good sign. Yeah, it was. The cab came to a halt and Bella pushed open the door before climbing out and staring up at the building in amazement. Oh my god, she said, her eyes wide. Its beautiful. She spun her head around to look at the neighborhood. It was similar to where we lived now, only much nicer. There was a huge park across the street, on the river. The road was small and quiet. There were no cars on it except for the cab wed just pulled up in. The building was new and modern. Come on! She grabbed my wrist and ran toward the lobby. I have a good feeling. The building looked almost like a hotel inside. Except nicer. The doorman nodded at us, and I spotted our realtor standing near the elevator, where she said she would meet us. Bella sped toward her, excited. You made it! I just went up and looked at it, and I think youll really love it. The bedrooms are bigger than the last one, and theres this huge wrap around balcony, and its brand new! It hasnt been lived in since they built this building. I mean, the building is brand new, but this is really lucky because the penthouses are usually sold before- Penthouse? Bella asked me, interrupting as we stepped into the elevator. I just shrugged. The realtor frowned and continued her babbling. Anyway, its so open and bright She hit the top button on the elevator and we rode up, Bella glaring at me and shaking her head. I wasnt cutting any corners when it came to us buying a new place. Id saved up for years, the studio had a good start, and I had more then enough money to splurge a little bit. The doors opened to a small landing, with two double doors. The realtor had left it unlocked, so she pushed them open and Bella and I stood there, dumbfounded.

The realtors cell phone started going off, so she picked it up and pointed into the apartment. I have to take this- go have a look. Ill be right in. We walked hand and hand, staring at the space around us. The ceilings were high, there were windows everywhere. It was bright, and open and clean and simple; modern, but not excessively ostentatious. It had the same kind of feel as the loft, just a lot bigger, and more closed off. There were three big bedrooms, and three bathrooms, and the balcony was unbelievable. It wrapped around half of the apartment and had a skyline view of the city on one side, and a view of the river on the other. Can I ask you something? Bella asked me. Sure. You said you dont want to have kids ever. Why do we need so many bedrooms? Maybe I changed my mind, I told her, honestly. She smiled at me and blinked a few times before she took a deep breath. Edward I love it. Do you love it? Yeah, I said, nodding. Do you really love it, or are you just saying that because youre tired of looking at places? Bella pressed her face up against the window and stared outside. No, I really love it. Okay, then we have to take it. She hopped into my arms and squealed. Its a sign right? Because today is when we met and that has to mean something- are you happy? Yeah, of course Im happy. It wasnt a lie. Id been clean for three months, not faltering once. Id started my studio and everything seemed good with it so far. I was finally starting to feel like myself again. Wed had hard times, bad days, and a lot of struggling, but everything was falling into place. And it was all because of her. My therapist told me that on average, 4 out of 5 people continued using heroin after detoxing. I still hadnt. The temptation had been there, and Id thought about it plenty of times, but the fact of the matter was that I knew if I ever went back, my life would be over. Id have no family there for me, no friends, no girlfriend. Id probably be dead within a year.

Waking up every morning and seeing Bella there next to me way enough to keep me away forever. I planned on spending the rest of my life repaying her for all shed done for me. I guess its true what people say- that love conquers all. I made sure to thank Bella repeatedly for coming into my life in the first place. For never letting me down. For bringing out the best in me, even when I didnt know it was in there. For making my dim future suddenly bright. And most importantly, for loving me unconditionally and never giving up on me. Because that love allowed my heart to overrule my head, and in the end that was what saved me. I dont know what wouldve happened to me if she hadnt come around. I dont know if I wouldve ever stopped using, or if I wouldve died, or what, but all I know is that I wouldnt be anything like Id become. I had a group of friends that stuck by me through everything. I was able to start my own business because I didnt have any unnecessary distractions. I had a new relationship with my parents that I didnt think I ever wouldve. But most importantly, I had her. I had a girlfriend- or soulmate, because girlfriend and boyfriend didnt hold a candle to the kind of connection we actually hadthat loved me no matter what and made me see that my life was worth living. BPOV We decided on that apartment. Edward called Carlisle to tell him about it and to ask his advice, and we put in a bid. We rushed back to our apartment so that we could shower and change, because we were meeting everyone for dinner across town. It was a day of celebration for us; we were honoring the fact that today was the day the six of us became a whole. My life before moving in with Alice and Rosalie just seemed like a blur to me now. I was a different person. I was strong, passionate, and resolute. I was eternally in love. Edward had given my entire life a purpose. Edward stepped out of the shower while I was rinsing out my hair. My phone started ringing on the counter, so I asked him to answer it. Bella! He pulled open the door and shut the water off. Its Alice. I rolled my eyes and grabbed the phone from his hand. What Alice? Are you almost ready? We have reservations! Im getting out of the shower now, I told her. Edward wrapped a towel around me as I stepped through the doors. Ill be ready soon. Well, hurry up. Put Edward back on. I shrugged and handed him back the phone. He walked into the other room as I dried my hair and quickly did my makeup. When I walked out, he was sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed the same as always; his black t-shirt, jeans, and his Converse. It was ridiculously simple, but that didnt matter to me. My heart still beat out of my chest whenever I looked at him.

I got dressed quickly and we jetted downstairs to get a cab, because we both knew better then to piss off Alice when she made plans for a party. Edward said something to the driver before we got in, and the cab started driving in the opposite direction of where the restaurant was. Where are we going? I asked him. I have a surprise for you. Close your eyes. Huh? Close them! The last thing I saw was him smirking as I hesitantly shut my eyes. He clasped his hands over them for the rest of the ride. I know how to keep my eyes closed, thanks. Yeah, well, youll cheat. And youll ruin the surprise. The cab eventually stopped and we got out, Edward still not letting go. I didnt know where we were, but it was somewhere outdoors. All I heard were cars driving by. Okay, Edward said as we stopped. Stand right here. He spun me back around to the direction wed just walked from. Keep your eyes shut, okay? Dont open them. He dropped his hands and I heard him shuffling around. Okay, he said. Open. My eyes shot open and I realized instantly where we were. The bridge. It was where Edward had taken me on our first date, the day after Id moved here. The sun was almost down, and all the lights were turning on in the city. The sun cast a warm, orange glow over the skyline and the river. I didnt see Edward. Until I felt his hand tap mine, and I tilted my head down, and he was there, kneeling in front of me. My heart started thumping out of control and my eyes filled with tears before he could even say anything. I saw him smile and nervously open up the little velvet box. Bella, I- Yes! Edward laughed and shook his head. You didnt even let me say it! I dont care, yes!

He slid the ring on my finger as I cried and jumped into his arms. I heard clapping around us and then whistling and someone else crying. There was a flash of light from a camera. When I turned around, the four of our friends were standing there, watching. You guys knew? Alice, why didnt you tell me? It was really hard for me not to, she said, smiling and wiping a tear off her cheek. I turned back around to Edward and hugged him again, and kissed him and cupped his face in my hands. You really want to marry me? Yeah. Of course, he said, smiling. Id go do it right now if we could. We made plans to go to City Hall the next day. Neither of us wanted a lavish wedding or anything that went along with it; we just wanted each other. Officially and as soon as possible. After we left, we went to the restaurant for dinner and drinks. We sat outside on the patio of the restaurant, around a small, round table. When I finished eating I climbed into Edwards lap, so that we could take a shot to celebrate our engagement. Edward rarely drank anymore, out of fear he would slip into old habits, but he agreed to have just the one drink with the rest of us. Except Rosalie. She nixed her shot, and we all knew what that meant. She didnt mention it though, I think to avoid stealing the focus of the night away from Edward and I, and I appreciated that. After our shot, Alice was the first one to say something. Are you sure you dont want a wedding? I dont want one. Do you? I spun around and looked at Edward and he shrugged. I want whatever you want. Well can I at least buy you a dress? I wont go overboard, I promise. We still get to go to City Hall, right? Edward laughed and nodded at her. Yes Alice. You can get a dress. I dont care, I told her. So, you put a bid on the apartment? Emmett asked Edward from across the table. Yeah. Were definitely getting that one. You have to come and see it, its- Amazing, I finished, cutting Edward off. We can have a housewarming party, Alice suggested, clapping her hands together excitedly.

We laughed and nodded and then the table fell silent. Im really happy for you guys, Emmett said quietly, nodding at Edward. So am I, Rosalie agreed. Me too, Jasper and Alice said at the same time. And then everything was quiet again, as the six of us sat and reflected upon the last year of our life and how much everything had changed. There were fights between best friends and siblings that seemed to tear them apart. There was a family split down the middle, whos members never really understood each other. There were drugs, and near death experiences, and violence and there was endless amounts of pain. But somehow, it had all been remedied, and although the scars would always be there, inside of us, it was a beautiful reminder of how far wed come, and how much we loved each other. Because at a point, we were all willing to give all that we could of ourselves for someone else, whether they were right or wrong, because our friendship, loyalty, and love for each other was so resilient and powerful, we could do nothing else. Wed hit rock bottom, and made our way back up, and although it was a battle that Edward would be fighting for years to come, he knew that he wasnt alone anymore, and there was an important reason to keep going. Because he was loved, and he was worth it to all of us. When Edward and I got back to our apartment, he went and sat on the balcony. I ran to the kitchen and pulled out one of the drawers to retrieve the envelope that Id been hiding from Edward. I walked out onto the balcony and sat down in the chair next to him, and placed the thick envelope on his lap. So, I said, smiling. I was waiting for the right time to show you this, but I figured today would be as good a time as any. We found an apartment, we got engaged, and Rose and Emmett are having a baby! Did you catch that? Yeah, he said, laughing. I already knew. I rolled my eyes and pointed at the envelope. Well, anyway open it! Edward raised an eyebrow and slid the stack out of the envelope. I could see the bold letters on the top page from where I was sitting. Heartache: A Memoir His eyes widened and he opened his mouth to talk, and then looked down and started reading through it. I found a publisher for it, but I wanted you to read it, and give me the okay because technically its your story.

I sat there with Edward all night, until sunrise. He read through the entire thing in one sitting. He laughed, and cried, and asked me questions about things hed done that he didnt remember, and he apologized profusely. The book was a sort of healing for both of us. After that day, we pushed what had happened behind us, and focused on the prospect of our new life together. We got married two days later, and never once have I regretted our past. Our story was far from rainbows and sunshine every day, but real life rarely is. We have bad days and good days, we argue and we make up, we weep at what hed been like before and smiled at what hed become. We looked back on those days with pity and sorrow, and embraced the fact that that was who we no longer were: broken, and tied together in fear of losing each other. We were strong and unbreakable, and in love with each other, and always would be. We were together by choice and not by obligation. He was my life and I was his. Itd been that way since the day we met, and that was something that would never change. I stood by his side, and did what I had to do, because I always saw the person that was there, underneath the sickness and the drugs and the pain. Id fallen in love with him, with his soul, and if I had to, Id do everything all over again without a second thought, to have the life with him that I do now. He would always be mine, and Id always be his, and together we had the power to make it through anything life brought us. Together wed always be happy. *