Thank you to Robstenfanpire for being my beta on this story. I am ever grateful for her input and advice and for helping me to get it into a presentable shape. I did fiddle with a couple bits after she looked through it so any mistakes are mine.
I've just moved the Prologue into Chapter 1 as I was getting annoyed with Chapter 4 being on Chapter 5 etc.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters in Twilight. I'm just borrowing them to have some fun.
"What the fuck, Mike!" I yell.
"What? I didn't do anything, Bella!"
"Then why the hell did he run off like that? What did you say?"
"All I said was 'congratulations'. I've no idea why he reacted that way."
"You must have said more than that. What did he say? Why was he here?"
At that point a black Ford pulls up to the curb and my best friend starts to climb out.
"Don't bother getting out, Ang," I instruct, "we're going NOW."
"I'll speak to you later, don't think I won't get the full story when I get back. There's more to this then you're telling me," I yell back angrily at Mike as I climb into the car.
I turn to Angela. "Well, what are you waiting for? Let's get going."
"Where are we headed?" Like the good friend she is, she takes my irrational bossiness in her stride, knowing I'll explain all soon enough.
"Seattle. The airport. I have to head him off. He was here Ang. He came here."
"He was here? Why? What did he say?"
"Please. I'll fill you in as we drive. I can't let him get away." My voice is pleading and I'm almost on the edge of tears. I think she gets my desperation and starts the car.
As Angela pulls out onto the highway I look down at my hands and notice for the first time they are shacking. My whole body feels tense.
'So it's true?' Those few words he said echo round and round in my head. Why had he come? Why had he left again so suddenly after just one glance at me? Would he ever forgive me for what I'd done?
There is only one way to get these answers. I can't let him get away again.
Chapter 1: The Vacation
It was only a day into the vacation that was designed to heal me, when I realized it wasn't going to work.
"When are you coming home? I miss you mom." My son's words from our conversation earlier this evening play over and over in my mind.
"I know sweetheart. But I'll be back home before you know it. Think of all the fun you're going to have with Gramps and Sue." I tell him.
I knew in my heart that this was for the best and that I would be a better mom going forward because of it, but it also broke my heart. How could I leave them so soon?
"But they don't read bed time stories as good as you, and I miss your cuddles." My son whined.
After the day I had, and after hearing his words, I was so close to rearranging my flight home to leave as soon as possible. It didn't help that my eldest son had said all of two words to me before declaring he was going upstairs to play his guitar. His attitude, though, was no change from the norm and something I knew I would have to tackle once I got home. Another thing I needed to be strong for, and to be strong I needed this break, so I resolved to see it through.
"So what did you get up to today?" At their young age they are easily distracted and I needed to get off topic before I broke down and cried in front of them. That would not help them to cope with the separation at all.
"We went to the park and I chased a squirrel," broke in my daughter, clearly excited to tell me about her day. She then launched into a play by play account of the great adventures of the afternoon, including the near disaster of the too slippery slide and the giant ugly tree with the fairies in the branches. We ended the conversation with virtual hugs and blown kisses and lots of declarations of love. They currently needed a lot of reassurances of my love and I was more than willing to give this to them.
I'd arrived in sunny, lively Los Angeles the previous evening, full of hope for how this time away would pan out. I was going to start by throwing myself into the tourist scene, soak it all up, and recharge my batteries. That first evening, I'd only had the energy for a quick stroll around the neighborhood to shake out the kinks from travelling all day and get a feel for the area.
This is the first time I've visited LA and it is a far cry from my new base in the Pacific North West. But in some ways it feels more like home than the small town of Forks, Washington does at present. Having spent the last eight years in Miami I've grown accustomed to, even fond of, the heat and lack of rain. Even though it is the middle of summer the weather in Forks is still frequently wet and the temperature struggles to get into the 70's.
After a brief look around that first evening I'd gone back to the quant hotel where I'd reserved a double room. I was staying in Burbank, also known as the suburbs of LA. It was slightly off the tourist scene, but it suited me. The amazingly friendly owners seemed eager to quiz me on why I was visiting the city, obviously curious about what brought me to Los Angeles all alone. I'd been deliberately vague, not ready to share my life story with others, and they didn't push me.
The truth is, it was pure blind luck that lead to me getting washed up on these shores. I'd used the tried and tested technique of closing my eyes and sticking a pin a map. Once I'd opened my eyes and discovered my destination, it had seemed as good a place as any and promised to offer lots of distractions to keep me entertained over this ten day trip.
That first night I was keen to get a good night's sleep, as I had a lot of sightseeing scheduled for the next day, including a tour of the houses of the rich and famous. The plan was to keep busy for the first couple of days to clear my head and to have some fun. I had a carefully laid out and detailed itinerary that I hoped would achieve just that. I knew I would miss my kids, but they were safe and having a wonderful time with my father and his wife back in Forks. They would be kept busy and I knew it was also the best strategy to stop me from missing them.
However, after the fun, I knew I would also need some down time to think and get my head back in the game. So when I return home, I can be the mom my kids need me to be going forward.
After all I now need to be both mom and dad for them.
I was pleased to see the small hotel dining room was still serving when I returned from my walk. So I went straight in and ordered a burger and fries with all the condiments, after all you can't go wrong with a burger. I then settled back in my seat and pulled out my phone to read one of the many books I had downloaded.
The hotel dining staff seemed to sense I wanted to be left alone that evening; they didn't disturb me until I was finished. It was still early, but I was exhausted, so I decided to go to sleep. After all, I had a busy day planned for the morning. I was extremely grateful for the exhaustion, thinking it would perhaps allow me to get a full night of restful sleep, something that has been severely lacking the last few months. My eyes closed as soon as my head hit the pillow and it looked like I was going to be in luck.
However, it didn't to last. I suddenly woke, jolting upright in bed. I knew it was a dream that awakened me, but the content was disappearing fast, leaving me with a vague feeling of loss and a desire to be held. But there was no one to hold me; there hadn't been since that night back in May, when my life as I knew it ceased and I had to start to plan a new future, one without him.
As I lay there in the still of the night, listening to the sound of the air conditioner, my mind was flooded with memories from that day and I found myself curling up into a tight ball, as the tears flowed down my face. The nights were always the worst. Waking up and finding him not there was like a new wound to my heart every time. Knowing I would have to spend another day alone without my best friend, my confident, my crutch, and my biggest supporter ripped me to shreds and the loneliness threatened to consume me.
After lying like this for what seemed like hours, but probably was more like thirty minutes, I gave myself my usual talk. You know the one - how wallowing in self-pity was not going to bring him back and that I needed to pull myself together, if not for me then for my kids (my kids now - not ours!).
Wiping my face, I made my way into the bathroom and looked hard at myself in the mirror. The sight was not reassuring.
My eyes were red and swollen from crying and I looked tried, like I had not slept well in weeks, which I hadn't. I used to get told I look younger than my years, but with the stress of the last few months I doubted this is now the case. I allowed myself to look down from my facial features, taking in the rest of my body. It wasn't fairing too much better. I was thirty-eight now and I had a body that went with it. Over the past twenty years my weight had fluctuated between 130 and 190 pounds. I'd gotten down to about 150 before May, which was the thinnest I'd been in ages and I felt good, although I still had a way to go to be totally rid of the tummy roll and the thunder thighs. I've not climbed on the scale since that day, but I can tell by the tightening of my clothes that the combination of comfort eating and not managing to find the time to exercise is taking its toll.
I also carried the battle scars of three pregnancies. My stomach displayed a multitude of stretch marks, resembling waves in an ocean when viewed from a great height. After the birth of my daughter, it had taken me a while to feel comfortable enough with my body to even get naked with the lights on in front of my husband. I couldn't imagine letting anyone else see me without clothes, even if I ever felt ready to move on, and could find someone to take on a middle aged woman with three kids.
I let out a big sigh and turned away from the mirror, pulling my robe tightly around my body.
From experience, I knew sleep was not going to come easily, so I decided a warm shower may relax me and allow me to sleep.
It didn't work! An hour later I was still tossing and turning. Dawn was fast approaching, so I decided to give up and return to the story I had been reading earlier on my smart phone. At least it would stop my mind from wandering to dark places. Living my life vicariously through fictional characters was the best I had now. At least with the romance books I chose, I was assured a happy ever after.
Before I knew it, morning had arrived and I was making my way to breakfast and the cheerful hotel staff.
My first full day in LA was taken up with city tours and a rather tacky, disappointing "celebrity" tour that had promised to show me where all the stars lived, but really consisted of us looking at high walls and hedges surrounding large houses reported as belonging, at best, to B-listers. My favorite ones were those now occupied by none famous people, but where someone in the limelight used to live. I wondered what the current occupants thought about the endless stream of tour buses stopping outside their home, allowing Japanese and European visitors to try in vain to get a clear picture of their house, just because John Wayne lived there once for two months back in 1974.
In addition, everyone else on the tour was either in a group or a doting twosome. After the first half an hour of watching the couple next to me spend more time sucking on each other's faces, rather than did listening to the tour guide. I knew I had to change seat. I went to sit near the front of the bus.
But this was not much better. Here I found a group of young girls talking excitedly. From what I could gather, which was a lot as they were not being quiet or discreet, they were just out of college and on a girls' holiday before they all started work, for the first time. I envied them, their optimism and excitement for the future. I remembered being where they were; it now seemed such a long time ago. However, their endless talk about some guys they'd met in the bar the previous night and whether they should or shouldn't meet up with them again soon started to drive me insane. It only served to remind me that I had no idea about the rules of the modern dating scene. Not that I had any desire to date at the moment.
All in all, the tour itself was very disappointing and I found the experience more than a little depressing. It had done nothing to keep my mind occupied, instead allowing me a lot of time to think, something I'd hoped to avoid today. So after returning to the hotel, I realized I was once again wallowing. It looked like there was going to be no quick fix. So after a little time pondering the best way forward, I decided the only course of action was to see the grieving process through.
I could get through it in ten day, right? Then be ready to get back to my kids and get on with my life? I know I was ignoring the fact that I hadn't managed to do it in the last three months, but I'd been too busy for it then, right? With ten days to just concentrate on me I could do it, couldn't I? Well time would tell. So, Step 1: Embrace the grief. To me, that meant, drowning my sorrows in the bottom of a glass, preferably a glass of very strong alcohol.
This is why I now find myself in a bar, just down the road from my hotel. It's only twenty-four hours after I arrived in LA and I'm already on my third, or was it my fourth vodka. The bar is off the usual beaten track and seems to be mainly frequented by locals who all seem to know each other and they are all having a good time. I watch them meet and embrace, sharing stories of their days and getting on with their lives. They all seem happy, opposite of how I feel.
Embrace the grief. Yep, I knew I had to do that much.
A/N This is an Edward Bella story with a HEA. There are a few bumps in the road before they get there, but they will get there I promise. I will be updating regularly on a weekly bases. The story is nearly all written (it just needs some editing by me and my Beta before it can go live) so I promise to finish and not stop till it's done.I'm a new writer so any feedback is much appreciated, good or bad. I hope you like it.