This story is Non-canon/ AU: Alternate Universe / OOC: Out of Character

Rated: M

This story is a completed one shot.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author-mama4dukes. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Summary: When Bella Swan abruptly breaks up with Edward for suppressing her ability to make choices, it forces Emmett to take a good, hard look at his life within the conformist household of the Cullens. Is he happy with his life? Or does his destiny lie elsewhere? What choice will he make?

Choices

Emmett's POV

Leaning against the wall, at the far end of the high school gym, I observed the human kids pretending to be royalty for one night. Alice was sitting at our table along with Rose and Jasper. We were waiting for Bella and Edward to arrive at the ultimate American teenage rite of passage: the senior prom.

A couple of minutes later, they arrived and Alice's face took on a pinched expression.

"What's the matter, Ali?" Jasper, the once great major of the Southern Vampire Wars turned lapdog to his wife asked.

"It's Bella. She's not wearing the dress I chose for her. Edward likes blue. She knows that!"

Bella was wearing a form fitting fuchsia colored gown that hugged her curves. A long slit, which ran halfway up her thigh, showcased her heavenly legs. She looked hot—undeniably hot.

Immediately, the eyes of the human boys shifted from Rose and Alice to the fresh vision of beauty, who had just arrived. Mike Newton stared in absolute awe of Bella, as she walked inside with Edward Cullen, grade-A certified, Victorian jackass.

The couple of the hour approached us.

Alice was the first to greet them. "Bella, you're not wearing the dress I picked out for you. You know Edward likes blue."

"Yeah, well, I liked this dress better. I saw it at the mall and fell in love with it. Besides, I don't really like blue."

"You bought a dress at the m...m...mall?" Alice asked, horrified.

"Yes, is there a problem?"

"Yes! Your dress is so...so...cheap looking. I handpicked the blue silk dress for you, and special ordered it from Europe. I saw that Edward would love it."

"Perhaps you should have worn it then. I didn't like it at all. You can return it. The tags are still on it and it's sitting in the trunk of Edward's car."

"I knew I should have helped you get ready!" Alice seethed. "You told me you'd wear the dress I picked."

"I didn't make any promises. I told you I'd think about it. I didn't like your dress. I told my father and he took me to the mall and let me pick out one I liked. My prom. My choice. Deal with it!"

Rosalie, then, decided to pipe in. "Why you ungrateful little brat!"

"Bitch," Bella muttered under her breath as she turned and made her way towards Angela and Jessica.

"Love, please watch your language. It's so unladylike when you swear. It lacks grace," Edward called after her.

Bella shook her head in exasperation. I saw that her hands were balled up into fists as she walked away.

"I don't know what her problem has been lately. She doesn't listen to my advice, she's been using coarse language a great deal, and she doesn't even allow me into her bedroom at night. Even today, I had to talk her into letting me pick her up for the prom. When I suggested she permit Alice to help her prepare for it, she told me she had already made plans of her own so I needn't worry. I assumed that she made an appointment at a beauty salon. Instead, I found out she got ready in La Push with the assistance of one of the imprints of the Quileute wolves. She looks like a common harlot in that dress. It shows off too much of her skin, and I detest the color pink."

"I don't know Eddie. Her dress looks pretty normal to me. Everyone else seems to be dressed in a similar fashion," I noted.

"That dress is made of a cheap polyester blend. I went to the trouble of finding a designer gown for her, one I knew Edward would like, and she repaid me by showing up in a dress from the mall," Alice scoffed. "Besides, Emmett, you know nothing about fashion!"

Bitch, I may not know fashion, but I know a hot chick when I see one, and hot is something you will never be—you little, prepubescent, control freak midget.

I observed Bella by the punch bowl. Mike Newton offered Jessica, Lauren, Angela, and her punch and added a splash of vodka from a fifth he had stashed in his tux jacket. Edward noticed this and immediately made his way over to her. He yanked her arm roughly and pulled her off to the side. I could hear him chastising Bella who responded by downing the punch and asking Mike for another.

"You know something, Bella. I refuse to watch you behave in such an unruly manner. I'm considering just taking you home and not allowing you to participate in the prom."

Bella got a sneaky smile on her face. "That's fine by me. I didn't want to come in the first place. It was Alice and you who insisted I needed to attend the prom because it would be one of the last human experiences that I have. Are you ready to leave now?"

Edward replied between gritted teeth, "Since we're here, I will allow you to stay. Just stay away from those people!"

"Do you mean my friends? No, I don't think so. Why don't you go and socialize with your...family." I noticed she emphasized the word family.

"Isabella, I don't appreciate..."

"Hey, Bella, do you wanna dance?"

"Yeah, sure, Tyler."

Bella took off for the dance floor with Tyler Crowley, leaving a stunned Edward gaping, open-mouthed, at her. He soon returned to our table to pout.

After her dance, Edward went to retrieve her and grabbed her roughly by the arm. He dragged her over to where our group was sitting.

"Bella! I insist upon you staying here with us instead of with those ridiculous teenagers. You may dance with Jasper, Emmett, or me only."

"Now you're telling me who I can and can't dance with?"

"Yes, Bella, it's for your own safety, and I would prefer it if you didn't associate with those commoners."

Bella smiled sweetly at Edward then winked at me. "Edward, I'd like to dance..."

"That's wonderful, love, let's..."

"...with Emmett." Edward's face fell. I stood up, ready to hit the dance floor.

Rosalie's eyes narrowed in an attempt to intimidate her. "He doesn't have my permission to dance with you."

Rose didn't intimidate Bella at all. "Oh, that's right, I forgot how insecure you are, and how Emmett doesn't have any choice, but to do your every bidding. You kind of remind me of the Dark Sith Lord in Star Wars. You control Emmett's every movement and he does everything you say. On top of that, you're so insecure that you consider everyone a threat. I mean, honestly, do you think that I can really out-do you in the looks department? It's okay, I'll just sit here and twiddle my thumbs."

For the first time, my bitch of a wife was stunned into silence. Bella was right, though, I was never given any choices. I was my wife's bitch. Pathetic. Oh, and Bella blew Rose away in the looks department everyday, her honest personality was reflected in her looks while Rose donned a permanent bitchy scowl.

"Hey, Bella, do you want to dance?" Mike Newton approached her.

"Oh, I'd love to, but I can't. Edward said I'm not allowed to associate with any commoners."

"That's fucking rude, Cullen! I'm sorry we can't all have fathers who are doctors, be all rich, hoity-toity, and drive Volvos and Beamers like your ass." Mike, then, turned to Bella. "If you change your mind, come on over to our table on the other side."

"Sure, Mike. Thanks."

"Bella, that was uncalled for. You know that we try to maintain friendly terms with the humans in this town!" Edward looked feral.

"I'm trying to stay on friendly terms with them, too. That's why I was honest with Mike. He's really a nice guy, you know."

"Bella, I admire the fact that you're honest, but in this case, I would have preferred it if you would have given him a different excuse. You can be completely honest with us, though, we're your family."

Well, that's fucked up. The little shit's telling Bella to lie to her friends.

"I'm so happy that you feel that way." Bella took a deep breath before speaking again, "Edward, I no longer want to lie to you. I've grown tired of your controlling ways, and I've had it up to my neck with your condescending attitude. I can no longer pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm breaking up with you Edward."

"What?" We all shouted. Even I was a bit surprised by that one.

"Oh, you all seem to have a hearing problem. I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU, EDWARD CULLEN!" she shouted, loud enough for everyone at the prom to hear her over the music. They all turned and stared at Bella and Edward.

"Love, I don't think you're thinking straight."

"On the contrary, this is something I've been considering for weeks now. I'm being truthful when I say I honestly can't stand you anymore."

"Love, you're a mere teenager, you..."

"Exactly, I'm a teenager and I've decided I'm tired of pretending that I'm a mature adult when I'm not. I am choosing to take my time and enjoy my humanity for a change."

"But the Volturi, you promised..." Alice started.

"Pish posh, you, yourself said that they won't come and check up on me for years. You said you could stay ahead of them with your visions."

"But, love, I was going to ask you to marry me."

"Helloooo! Teenager here. I'm too young to get married. Besides, I want to live my life a little more before I even consider marrying someone. I want to go to college, have a career, date a few guys, and travel. When I finally do decide to get married, I want to make sure that my partner and I are emotionally, mentally, and sexually compatible. I want to live with him for a few years and make sure he's someone I can commit to for the rest of my life. Then, I want to get married under the glistening Hawaiian sun on a beach in Maui. Can you give me those things, Edward?"

Edward was speechless.

"I didn't think so. Good luck, Cullens. Buh-bye."

The rumor mill started churning as soon as she walked away. Edward and Bella had gone from becoming the couple of the hour to the biggest break up news of the school year. Hopeful girls approached Edward like vipers all vying for the opportunity to be his next girlfriend. He declined all requests opting to wallow in self-pity instead.

Bella, on the other hand, walked with a happier, lighter step than ever before. She was dancing up a storm with every guy who asked her, and she had truly become the belle of the ball. People were giving our group nasty looks as they walked past our table because of Bella's blatant honesty to Mike about how Edward called everyone 'commoners.'

Our entire group kept our eyes silently trained on Bella. We were stunned by what just happened. Somewhere along the line, Bella had developed a backbone and she handed Edward his ass.

Rosalie broke the silence by speaking. "What a fucking bitch! I can't believe that she said those things about us and broke up with Edward after all our family has done for her."

Yeah, right. I think Bella's done much more for our family than anyone. She was the one who risked her life to go and save Edward's ass from the Volturi because my wife got all excited thinking she had committed suicide and died.

"Rose, I don't think she based her decision on the family. I think it was based on how happy she was with Edward. Clearly, she wasn't." Jasper stated. "This is the first time I've actually felt genuinely happy emotions from her rather than anger and frustration."

"Are you siding with her Jasper?" the pixie bitch asked, outraged.

"I'm just stating the facts. Bella's been miserable ever since you guys got back from Volterra. The only time I've felt any semblance of happiness from her is when she's around Emmett. She's been the most miserable around Edward and you."

"What? She loves me. What about Rose?"

"Bella has hated Rose from day one so she plain doesn't give a fuck about her. She gets annoyed by Carlisle and Esme trying to take the place of her parents and she doesn't really know me."

"What the hell have I ever done to her for her not to give a fuck about me?" my wife asked.

Duh, I don't know, threaten her? Perhaps be a vindictive, jealous bitch without ever saying one nice thing to her? My wife was full of herself and rude, yet expected people to be kind to her and worship her as if she were God's gift to the world.

Bella wasn't like that. She was sweet, all natural, and always spoke the truth. Lately, though, she'd grown into herself and had learned to shoot from the hip. She was no longer the docile, obedient girl Edward wanted for himself. She had become his worst nightmare and my ideal woman.

Alice started sobbing and Jasper was comforting her. "It's okay, Alice, you'll find a new friend one day."

Sure, buddy, replace the word 'friend' with 'Barbie Doll' and you'll find Alice's ideal buddy.

"Emmett, I want to dance!" Rose demanded out of the blue. "Let's go."

"Well, I don't want to dance." I was in a bad mood. The family would probably leave Forks again. The last time we left, the pain in my chest felt like daggers stabbing me alive. I had no idea what it was from.

"Emmett! I said I want to dance!" my wife yelled.

I stood up, got up in her face, and roared, "And I said that I don't want to dance! Go fucking dance with golden boy Eddie if you want to dance so much. His ass could use a bit of cheering up!"

Our table was, again, the center of attention. I apologized to everyone at the prom and sat down in a chair away from my family. I saw Bella shake her head at my family and look at me with sympathy in her eyes.

The prom soon started winding down. We were all ushered out by the faculty. A motorcycle pulled to a stop in front of the high school gym. All eyes turned to the lone rider who was clad in jeans and a skin tight t-shirt. He strode up to Bella and hugged her. "Are you ready to go?"

"Yep, I'm outta here guys," Bella told her friends. He placed a helmet on her head and she climbed behind him on the bike, hoisting her skirt up and exposing her creamy thighs.

Edward, Alice, and Jasper rushed out to stop her. "Love, I can't allow you to go home with Jacob on that motorcycle. It's unsafe."

So, this was Jacob Black—the wolf Edward hated above all.

"First of all, don't call me 'love' anymore. Second, I don't think my safety is your concern, Edward."

"Love, I promised your father that I'd bring you home safely."

"Charlie knows I'm picking Bella up. I was watching the game with him when Bella called for a ride. Now, get out of the way, Cullen."

"Don't talk to my brother that way, dog!"

"Why don't you mind your own business, blondie?"

"How dare you speak to me that way? You have no idea what I'm capable of."

"And you have no idea what I'm capable of."

Bella decided to make her opinion known at this point. "Can you please leave us alone and get out of the way? Why does it matter to you who I go home with? I'm on the back of a motorcycle and if you're lucky, he'll crash and I'll die on the way home. That'll make you happy. Oh wait, but you'll still have an eternity to live with your bitter self. I feel so terrible for Emmett. I'd hurl myself into a fireplace if I were stuck with you."

"Why you..." Rose tried to get into Bella's face. Jacob got in between them. "Do it, blondie! Take a bite out of her. I dare you!" It was then that I noticed five, huge hulking Quileute boys lurking in the background all staring us down.

Jasper held Rose back. For some reason, I didn't give a damn if Jacob Black ripped Rose's head off and burned her to cinders. I'd had just about enough of her self-absorbed, bitchy attitude.

"We'll discuss this later!" Rose seethed at me through gritted teeth. I just rolled my eyes at her.

I watched Jake and Bella speed away from the prom. She flashed a sad smile in my direction—a smile goodbye. My heart jolted as she began to disappear from view with the boy. I became increasingly angry at the thought of the two of them together.

Bella is meant to be a vampire. My vampire. Mine. Where did that come from?

We got into our cars and made our way home. Esme and Carlisle saw our distressed faces and asked what was wrong as soon as we walked in.

I was upset for a different reason from everyone else, but I wasn't about to admit to it. I started running scenes of fucking Rose through my brain so Edward would stay out of it. The thought made me sick to my stomach. I decided to go for a hunt, far away from Edward's prying mind.

I ended up near La Push Beach, but still on our side of the border when I saw Bella, still dressed in her prom gown, partying it up with the wolves and their imprints. She looked beautiful. She looked happy. She looked like my girl.

I let my mind go. I thought about those beautiful thighs wrapped around my body. Her core would be dripping with anticipation of what I was about to give her. I'd stroke her thighs tenderly, making her moan—aching for me to take her. I'd tempt her, tease her, make her beg until, finally, I'd let her have me—all of me, deep inside of her depths until we both reached our peak. And she'd scream my name out in ecstasy while I sink my teeth into her…

Damn it! What the hell is going on with me? What is this control that Bella Swan has over me?

I looked beyond the boulder and caught sight of Bella again. Jacob Black had just tried to kiss her. I felt my anger instantly build up within me.

"No, Jake. I don't feel that way about you. I'm not ready."

"Bella, come on. How long are you going to make me wait? I love you."

"Jacob, you know as well as I do that you can imprint at any moment. I'm not willing to take that risk. My heart's been through hell and back already. It can't handle any more pain."

"I thought you were sure about breaking up with Cullen."

"I'm positive about breaking up with Edward, but that doesn't mean I want to jump right back into another relationship again. I need time to heal, Jacob. And even after, I'm not so sure if I want to get involved with you."

"Why not, Bella? Is it because I'm not a bloodsucker? Is it because I'm a wolf?"

"You know that's not true. Look at what happened to Leah and Sam. Are you willing to risk both of us going through that pain?"

"Aargh! Why? Why me? I never asked for this life. I never chose to be a wolf! What the hell happened to my choices?" Jacob cried in anguish. He was screaming in agony.

Bella wrapped her arms around him. They sat down in the sand, Jacob burying his head in her chest, crying; screaming that his right to choose his own path in life had been taken away from him.

I thought about what the boy said. He had a point, an excellent one. Rose took my choices away from me when she asked Carlisle to change me. She got to choose the man she wanted. The same choice wasn't offered to me. As a vampire, the choice to feed from humans wasn't even offered to me. As a Cullen, we were expected to toe the line, pretend we were human, and feed from animals. Was it the choice I would have made? Probably not. I craved human blood. I wanted human blood. Bella's blood. My blood.

I finally made my way back home as dawn approached. It was Sunday and a rare sunny day in Forks. I found out we weren't leaving Forks until graduation. Edward wanted to pack up and leave immediately. Carlisle made an executive decision, and declared we would not be moving until after graduation. It would appear too suspicious to the humans. Edward was ordered to try to make up with Bella. After all, Alice and he had made a promise to the Volturi that she would be changed. We didn't need any trouble from them.

Around noontime, I felt a crushing blow in my chest. I actually doubled over from the pain. I had no idea what it was from. I felt like I was on death's doorstep.

On Monday morning, we began our daily routine. We arrived at Forks High to be met with stares from all of the humans.

"Did you hear the news?" Lauren asked Jessica. "Bella Swan has packed up and left Forks. She's moved to Jacksonville to live with her mother."

"Bella," Edward whispered. I could tell that his heart was broken, but mine was taken from me and now resided in Jacksonville.

"I knew we should have taken care of the brat at the first sign of trouble!" Rosalie stated.

Bitch.

"I'm with Rose. Now we have the Volturi to worry about. We should have taken the bitch out the moment we found out she was Edward's singer. Look at how she hurt Edward and my Ali," Jasper agreed.

Selfish fucker.

Alice and Edward didn't say a word. I just turned and walked away. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I was in physical pain. The pain in my chest was searing me like a hot poker and I had a sudden urge to kill everyone between here and Jacksonville—until I got to my Bella.

When we arrived home that afternoon, Carlisle had already heard the news of Bella's departure.

"Alice, you'll have to keep up with your visions so we can stay one step ahead of the Volturi."

"We'll be okay. I've seen it. I can no longer see Bella anymore. They'll think we disposed of her."

How callous can she be to the girl who was supposedly her best friend up until yesterday?

"That's a relief," Edward stated. "I want to apologize to everyone for ever bringing that girl into our lives. She clearly wasn't good enough to be one of us."

I wanted to cry.

One year later...

We were living outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Life had gone on, and we were still playing the human charade. At least this time we were attending college. It was a little better, only slightly.

My relationship with my so-called family had worsened. I was sick and tired of the incessant talk about Bella. The entire family, including Carlisle and Esme, were now participating in making a mockery out of her. They referred to her as Edward's mistake or the white trash human girl. I could never partake in those conversations. I always felt like disemboweling them all.

I kept thinking back to that conversation I overheard between Bella and Jake. He was upset his choices were taken from him. So was I.

I never chose to become a vampire. I never chose to be with Rose. She had Carlisle change me so she wouldn't be lonely, so her pussy would get servicing every once in a while. Why do I have to live my existence out with the medusa from hell?

I was screwing around, playing X-Box, when Edward came home with a human girl.

"Everyone, this is Bree Tanner. She's my mate."

Alice started gushing about how they were going to be the best of friends. Even Rose and Jasper played their roles and welcomed her into the family. They had learned their lesson about being friendly to humans after Bella. When it came time for me to be introduced to her, I just walked out of the house. I had no time for the new human. I wanted the old human back. My human. My Bella.

Three months passed and Bree became a part of the Cullen family. I hadn't spoken one word to her. I didn't like her at all. She was Rose and Alice's little pet. Rose adored her because Bree was an ass kisser who kept telling her that there was no one more beautiful than she was.

I didn't see the beauty in my wife anymore. She was just a pretty shell with a blackened heart.

Bree was being changed today by Carlisle. This time around, the family wasn't taking any chances with the Volturi.

"Emmett," Carlisle stopped to talk to me, "I would appreciate it if you would help us with Bree when she awakens in three days."

"I'll think about it Carlisle." He sighed upon hearing my answer.

"Emmett, this attitude of yours has got to stop. Bree is a wonderful girl. She's so unlike that Bella Swan. She's refined, obedient, and I think if you give her a chance; you'll find that you like her."

Asshole.

Three days later, I was approached again, this time by Alice. "Emmett, it would be nice if you could be in the room when Bree wakes up. We could use your help."

"I've made my decision, the answer is no."

"Emmett, please. She's your sister."

"Fuck you, Alice. It wasn't my choice to change the little twit. You deal with her. Besides, isn't your husband the great Major of the Southern Vampire Wars? He should be more than capable of handling a mere newborn. There are six of you. You don't need my help."

I turned back to my X-Box and went back to ignoring everyone else.

Six months later...

Life droned on and on in the same way as usual except now we had Bree Tanner, excuse me, Cullen living with us. Edward and she had gotten married in front of family and friends, which translated to the Denalis and us, a month after her change. I could hear the family gathered in the living room talking.

"Oh my God, Edward! Whatever possessed you to get involved with this Bella Swan girl. She sounds like an idiot," Bree stated.

"Idiot isn't the word. She was a total bitch. I mean, she broke up with Edward in the middle of the senior prom and took off with another guy on his motorcycle. Who does that kind of thing?" Rose explained. To this day, she couldn't get over the fact that Bella didn't worship her.

"Obviously she didn't have a brain. I can't imagine anyone breaking up with my Edward. She's obviously a whore, too."

"A white trash whore," Alice added.

"The bitch has probably spread her legs to all of Jacksonville by now," Jasper chuckled.

Not funny. Not funny at all.

"Jasper, I forbid you to talk about Bella like that," Esme defended her. "Though you're probably right," she added, and then started laughing.

Oops! I spoke too soon. I guess Mama Cullen is a ruthless harpy, too.

"All I know is I'm glad we're done with that human. She was a horrible person. Esme and I are so happy we have you to call daughter, Bree."

That did it. My Bella was none of those things. She wasn't horrible and she wasn't a whore. She just dared to speak the truth, and those pretentious jerks downstairs had the nerve to talk behind her back.

"Thanks, Dad, and I promise to never become an unappreciative idiot like that Bella Swan," Bree replied.

I was raging inside. I wanted to kill someone. I wanted to kill all those who dared to malign my Bella. My mate. Mate. My mate. She has to be my mate. She's my mate.

I started packing a bag with a couple of changes of clothing. I grabbed the photo of my Bella, which I had stashed in my sock drawer and threw it in, along with my laptop and all of the cash in Rose's and my safe plus my Emmett McCarty documents. I slung the bag over my shoulder, grabbed my car keys, and the most recent wedding photo of Rose and me plus a photo album filled with pictures of us, and walked downstairs. I made sure to throw the Seattle Mariners baseball cap Bella had brought back for me from a game she went to with Charlie on my head.

"Emmett, will you be joining the family for once?" Carlisle asked.

"Yeah, we were just talking about Bella. What a joke!" Bree giggled.

"Don't talk about Bella that way. You don't even know her you little brown-nosing, money-grabbing bitch."

Edward and Jasper got up in my face.

"What? What are you gonna do? Rip me apart? Kill me? Do it, I don't give a fuck."

"Emmett, what the hell is your problem?" Rose asked.

"You're asking me what my problem is? I'll tell you what it is; it's you—all of you. I've had it with your superficial attitude. Your newest addition is the worst."

They finally seemed to notice the bag on my shoulder. "Are you going somewhere, Emmett?" my soon to be ex-wife asked.

"I'm leaving you."

"You can't leave me! We're married! You don't have my permission to leave."

"Well, guess what Rose? I'm choosing to leave." I threw her beloved photo album, the framed wedding photo, and my wedding ring onto the coffee table. I spit my venom onto the pile, struck a match, and threw it down. The heap of bad memories instantly ignited into flames. Rose started screaming in agony. It was a beautiful moment. The entire family was paralyzed in fear. I left them standing there watching the flames eat away at what was left of Rose and me, hopped into my Jeep, and drove away.

Eighteen months later...

I was living in my family home in Gatlinsburg, Tennessee. I had purchased it years ago without Rose's knowledge. I had that, my Jeep, the cash from the safe, and the money I had socked away in the bank. I emptied all of Rose's and my accounts as soon as I left the Cullen home. I've had no contact from the coven whatsoever.

The pain in my chest was piercing. I needed my mate, but I still couldn't locate her. I had gone to Jacksonville to her mother's home. She had no idea where she was. Afterwards, I ran to Forks, but to no avail. Listening into conversations of the townspeople, I knew for a fact that Charlie Swan was consumed with finding her. Apparently, she had never returned to her mother in Jacksonville. She had run away. I went to observe the wolves. Bella Swan wasn't even a topic of interest. I ran into Jacob Black at the supermarket with his arm around a girl carrying an infant. True to Bella's prediction, he had imprinted. I approached him and asked if he had seen Bella.

"No," he said, sadly. "She left Forks after the senior prom to give me a chance at life so that I wouldn't be so consumed with her. If you ever find her, tell her I said thank you."

That may be nice and all, but what about me? I'm the one who needs her.

I was jogged out of my memories with the feeling of thirst. It had been a month since my last hunt. Human blood was more satisfying. I didn't have to go on weekly hunts. I could go for a month without feeling any bloodlust. I decided to run to Knoxville to seek my prey. A group of girls walked out of a bar, drunk and completely oblivious to their surroundings. One girl broke away from the pack and started heading in a different direction. She was listening to music on her headsets, blissfully unaware of the sinister human male following her. He was about to grab her and pull her into an alley so I pounced on him before he could put his hands on her, draining him until he was a mere corpse. I threw him into a dumpster and lit him on fire using my venom as an accelerant. That's when I noticed that the girl had doubled back. She was staring at me—the girl was...not just any girl...she was my girl...my Bella. My mate.

Bella threw herself into my arms in relief. She took my face into her small palms and looked into my eyes. Without saying a word, she started kissing me.

Something snapped in me. Whatever it was, it was primal and instinctual. I picked her up and started running through the night at vampire speed. The pain in my chest had dissipated and now I was chained to her by my heart. There were jolts of electricity pulsating wherever my body touched hers. Twenty minutes later she was in my house and in my bed. I ripped her clothes off and started checking her over for injuries.

My inner beast urged me to claim her. I had lost any sense of myself anyway so I started kissing those intoxicating lips of hers. Bella responded by kissing me back. We were soon a mess of hands, a tangle of limbs, as we moved in sync giving each other what we wanted, what we needed. Her cries of ecstasy sounded like heaven to my ears. I couldn't take it anymore. I gave into my instincts and sunk my teeth into the soft flesh of her neck—infusing my mate with my venom, changing her to be mine for eternity.

She looked poignantly into my eyes. "Emmett," my name was the last coherent thing she spoke as a human. After that, the screaming began.

Three days later, I was waiting for her to awaken when there was a knock on my door. Two vampires whom I'd never thought I'd see again were standing on my doorstep.

"We thought you could use some help with your newborn," the snarky Texan drawled.

"Peter, Charlotte. How did you know?"

Peter tapped the side of his head, indicating that his gift of clairvoyance had kicked in, and smirked as he invited himself and Charlotte inside. We heard Bella's heart begin to race and ran upstairs.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump...thump...thump...thump...thump. And then, it stopped. As if invisible cables were towing her up, Bella's torso was pulled upright. She opened her crimson eyes and scanned the room. As soon as she caught sight of Charlotte, Peter, and me she jumped off of the bed and crouched in the corner.

"Bella," I whispered.

"Thirsty." She clutched her throat and started shaking.

"Do you know who I am?"

"Emmett."

She peered up at Peter and Charlotte.

"Scared."

"They're friends."

"We won't hurt you, kitten. My name is Peter. This is my mate Charlotte. We're gonna get you something to soothe your thirst. You just hold on there, we'll be right back. Stay with Emmett."

It was still too soon to take Bella on a hunt. Thank heavens Pete and Char showed up. They would bring back a human for my mate. An hour later, I was sitting in the corner with my mate on my lap. I was holding her, keeping her calm, and purring into her hair.

Pete and Char arrived with a human. As soon as they walked through the door of the room, Bella pounced. He was drained immediately.

"Good girl. Do you feel better now?" Peter soothed.

"I bet you need a shower now, don't you?" Char asked.

Bella nodded. Charlotte extended her hand and led her into the bathroom. I heard her turn the shower on.

"She's pretty, your mate. So, she was Edward's human when you were in Forks? The one they keep maligning to this day," Peter asked.

"She was never Edward's human. She was always mine."

Peter nodded in understanding. "You made the right choice by leaving them. They're too caught up in their own lives over there. We visited Jasper two weeks ago; we won't be visiting him again. He's changed too much. He's been brainwashed by the coven. He's lost his soul and humanity."

I wasn't surprised. I knew this already. It was why I left them. "How is everyone?"

"They're living the same tired existence as they do wherever they settle. They live in Utah now. They're deluding themselves, pretending to be something they're not. Rose is dating a human boy she met in high school. He worships the ground she walks on, kind of like how you used to, until you screwed your head on straight."

"Why are you and Charlotte really here, Peter?" I asked, curiously.

"This existence can be lonely, Emmett. Trust me, I know. It's been just Charlotte and me since 1945. Sure, we saw Jasper every now and then, but you know how he has become. His mind has been clouded by that seer of his and he's completely lost himself by neglecting his true vampire nature. We needed some vampires we could call friends, and quite frankly, so do you and your mate."

Five Years later...

Volterra, Italy

We were waiting in a room off to the side of the throne room. We were all summoned to Volterra regarding the issue of Bella Swan now McCarty. The Cullens were in the throne room facing Aro, Caius, and Marcus right now. We could hear the proceedings from where we sat.

Aro was speaking. "So, what you're saying is that Isabella Swan has dropped off of the face of the earth and she is presumed dead. I wonder...why didn't you handle her death yourselves?"

Rose decided to speak, "The classless whore ran off with another man, jilting my brother during a high school prom."

"Ah and there was no way for you to catch up with her and take her out?"

"No, she disappeared on a sunny day so there was no way we could have followed her without exposing ourselves. After that, she was no longer visible in Alice's visions."

"You were worried about exposing yourselves, yet you made it a point to make the same mistake and make our world known to two additional humans."

"Robert will be changed in a month. The date has been set. I've seen it. You can take a look if you like." Alice stated.

"There's no need for that. You said the same thing before about Isabella. Your visions are no longer trustworthy."

"So, after Isabella Swan disappeared, Edward exposed our world to Bree Tanner, but she was changed after a few months. Then, Rose, your husband left you for some unknown reason and you decided to befriend this human boy here, but you haven't changed him for three and a half years?" Marcus asked.

"Y...y...yes, b...b...but I w...will," Rose's voice faltered.

"He's not like Bella Swan, neither is Bree. They're both upstanding citizens and worthy of becoming vampires," Carlisle interrupted.

"I think your idea of worth and mine are totally different, my friend." Aro chuckled. "So, where is your estranged husband? We asked for all of the Cullens to appear here together with Isabella Swan."

"We don't know. He's disappeared off of the radar. Alice can no longer see Bella or him. We are assuming that they've both died. Since Bella is dead, it would fulfill Alice and Edward's end of the bargain, wouldn't it?"

"Absolutely," Caius spoke, his voice laced with excitement.

"Excellent!" Carlisle said. "May we leave now?"

"Not quite yet. I'd like for you to meet some friends of mine. Demetri, show our guests in."

This was our cue. I kissed Bella on the lips and took her hand before we made our way into the throne room. Their jaws dropped.

"Carlisle, let me introduce you to our friends. Mr. Emmett McCarty and his mate, Mrs. Isabella McCarty, née Swan," Aro stated with a brilliant smile on his face. "We were so honored when they showed up one day prior to your arrival. You were listening to their story, Isabella. Ms. Hale states that you're a classless whore, is this true?"

"Not really, but if I were, would it be a crime?"

"Oh, no, of course not, you may choose to be a classless whore if you wish."

"Thank you. I appreciate being given the freedom of choice. I have never been a classless whore, nor do I plan on ever becoming one. I have no idea where Rosalie got that idea from."

"I saw you, you left the prom with that boy on the back of a motorcycle. You abandoned Edward after all he did for you!" Rose cried.

"I simply informed Edward that I no longer wished to be involved with him. He and the seer were trying to mold me into something I was not. The boy in question was simply picking me up from the prom at my request. Is breaking up with someone considered a crime in the vampire world, Aro?"

"No."

"She stole my husband! Look at them! You're still married to me, Emmett Cullen!"

"I'm sorry, Emmett Cullen doesn't exist. My name is Emmett McCarty and this is my mate and wife Isabella."

Rosalie snapped, she lost control and started charging for Bella. She didn't even make it a quarter of the way before she was writhing on the floor in agony as a result of Jane's gift.

"Rose!" her human screamed. He tried to run for Jane. Idiot. She unleashed a small zap and the human collapsed onto the floor unconscious.

"I think I liked Isabella better when she was human. She was more of a challenge when she was afraid of me," Jane stated. "The last time I zapped someone, she cowered in fear. Now she just watches like it's the most ordinary thing in the world."

"Why, thank you, Jane. That's so sweet of you to say," my mate responded.

"Anytime, I give credit where credit is due."

Bree decided to speak then, "Why would you do this to our family? What have we ever done to you? This whore has brought nothing but trouble to the Cullens since she appeared in their lives!"

"Aro, I'm getting sick of everyone calling my wife a whore. Haven't we established that she isn't one?"

"She's with you knowing full well that you're a married man. That makes her a whore in my book," Jasper noted.

"Well, then. I suppose Rose is a whore, too. She's been with this human for three and a half years now."

"Silence! We are not running a divorce court here!" Caius declared. "In the case of Carlisle Cullen and family, I demand we deliberate." He turned to Jane. "Make sure the Cullens don't attack our guests."

The three Volturi kings left their thrones and walked to another room off to the side. It was obviously soundproof because we couldn't hear a thing.

We stood there silently twiddling our thumbs. The Cullens eyed the two of us with scathing looks. I smirked at them and kissed Bella fully on the lips, giving her bottom a good squeeze before stopping.

"Oh, I love a happy, romantic, mated couple," Demetri gushed at us before turning back towards the Cullens and glaring at them. They all looked down at their feet, and shuffled nervously.

A few minutes later, the three kings returned to their thrones.

"Carlisle Cullen, the time has come for justice to be served," Caius said in a commanding voice. "Face us to hear our decision regarding three counts of exposures to humans by your coven."

The Cullens approached the throne. Alice's eyes widened, she looked agonized at the vision she was obviously getting.

"Carlisle Cullen, from this moment on, your coven is hereby disbanded. You will never be permitted to reconvene and none of you will be allowed to form your own covens. You will now approach the throne as mated pairs when called upon. Robert Davis and Rosalie Hale."

My ex-wife approached the throne alone. Her mate was still passed out on the floor. "Rosalie, you will transform Robert immediately before leaving the throne room. If you are unable to perform the task yourself, one of our guard will do the deed."

"Please, Caius, the date's been set, the..." Rosalie begged.

"Silence! I am not finished yet. Never interrupt me and you will refer to me as Master. After Robert's change, you will serve out a sentence of no less than three hundred years here in Volterra. Robert will serve as one of our maintenance staff. You will be trained by Heidi to be a fisherman. You will lure humans into our castle to serve as our meals. After Heidi deems you've been sufficiently trained, she will be retiring as she has served us well."

"Please, that's inhumane, I can't..."

"You will do as I say, it's either that or death. Either way, your mate will live on as a vampire. Whether you choose to have him live with the pain of a deceased mate or not is your choice. You're lucky we're even giving you this much leeway."

Rosalie started bawling in agony. She was on the floor cradling her still unconscious mate.

Marcus spoke next, "Jasper Whitlock and Mary Alice Brandon, approach." The two of them stepped forward. "You have a gift, Major Whitlock, which we can use on the guard. Your sentence is three hundred years of service to the Volturi. As for your wife, we do not deem her gift to be useful, rather more of a nuisance. Her visions are subjective and there are too many variables involved, she will serve as part of our castle laundry staff since she seems to have such an unusually keen interest in fashion. It is all she is useful for. During the time of your servitude, Major Whitlock, I suggest you take the time to think about what it means to really be a vampire, and to learn to think for yourself, rather than relying on the visions of your companion. Yes, I said companion, not mate. I can see bonds clearly, and I do not see one between the two of you. She has been deceitful to you regarding your relationship throughout the years."

Jasper bowed his head in acceptance and stepped back with a shivering Alice. He sent his companion an immense amount of pain causing her to buckle to the floor. I saw Jane smile with delight at the sight.

"Edward Cullen and Bree Tanner Cullen, you may approach," Caius directed. "Edward, you have a gift, which is valuable to the guard as well. For your transgressions, you will serve as a member of the guard for a term of no less than three hundred years. During this time, your mate will serve as a member of the housekeeping staff. She really isn't worth much more than that."

Edward and Bree both gulped and moved back in formation with the rest of the Cullens.

Aro stood up next, "Carlisle and Esme Cullen, step forward." The two approached the throne. "Carlisle Cullen, for your transgressions, you will serve as part of the vampire medical research staff here in Volterra. We feel as vampires, we need to know about our anatomy as much as humans do. You will work underneath our chief scientist, Joham. Esme Cullen, you will serve as receptionist for Castle Volterra, and therefore be the frontline representative of the Volturi. The two of you will serve a term of no less than three hundred years. We will evaluate your progress at that time.

He addressed all of the Cullens. "For all of you, during your time here, you will not be allowed to venture off castle grounds without the presence of guard members. You will feed during castle feeding times only. I will give you a choice to feed from humans or animals—either way; you must feed on castle grounds only. You will not be allowed any contact with any acquaintances you may have on the outside, and you will wear clothing provided to you by the Volturi only."

Alice started howling in agony at hearing that.

"Shut her up, Major Whitlock!" Caius ordered.

Jasper knocked Alice out using his gift.

"What about Emmett? He exposed our world to Bella and he knew about Bree, too," Rose said spitefully.

"Yes, he did, but only after Edward Cullen exposed our world to her initially. I've read his thoughts. As soon as he figured out Isabella was his mate, he went to seek her out. He transformed her into a vampire immediately after he located her as our laws require. As for Bree, Emmett refused to associate with her while she was in residence with you, despite everyone in your family urging him to get to know her."

"But, that's not fair. You're forgiving him for..." Rosalie doubled over in pain as Jane sent her charge after charge of electricity.

"You will not argue with me, Rosalie Hale. I am your master and you will address me as such. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Master," she whimpered.

"Now, you have a task to do, either change your mate or we will do it for you."

Rose stood up and tried to initiate the bites, but she couldn't. She begged for privacy, but the kings didn't grant it. Fed up with her pussyfooting around, Caius ordered Felix to change Robert. He began screaming as soon as the bites were initiated.

Marcus turned to Felix. "Take the human to the medical laboratory to change." Then he called another guard member named Santiago. "Escort the Cullens to the servant's chambers, and have uniforms issued to them."

Santiago nodded his head and did as ordered while the Cullens followed with glum expressions on their faces.

Aro turned to us. "Well, Emmett, Bella, I understand you have plans in Florence with Demetri and Heidi this evening. Go to it and enjoy yourselves. Please visit us here again at Castle Volterra, and consider us your friends."

"Thank you, Aro," we both replied as we left the castle with our new friends, Demetri and Heidi. Peter and Charlotte were waiting for us at the nightclub in Florence.

"Demetri, Heidi, these are our friends Peter and Charlotte Skywalker," Bella said. Peter and Charlotte had changed their names from Whitlock to Skywalker after being disappointed with Jasper at their last meeting.

"Star Wars fan, eh?" Demetri asked.

"You know it," Peter chuckled. The two started talking about the Star Wars saga non-stop after that.

"After Heidi trains Rosalie Hale we'll be leaving Volterra. At that time, I want to change our last name from Volturi to Kenobi."

"Awesome dude! I told Emmett that he should drop his human last name and change it to Solo or Kenobi, but he refused."

"Hey, come on guys, McCarty's a good, solid American name."

We told Pete and Charlotte what happened in the throne room. They actually felt the punishment was too lenient. They thought Alice and Edward, at the very least, should have been decapitated.

For the rest of the night, the six of us danced the night away in Florence, and by the end of the evening, Demetri and Heidi had solidly become our friends.

Three hundred years later...

Demetri and Heidi moved to Tennessee a year after the Cullens were forced into servitude with the Volturi. They continued to keep in touch with many of the guard and the kings, so we were kept up to date on the Cullens. Demetri still served the Volturi on a contractual basis.

Carlisle and Esme were leaving Volterra. They had served out their sentences and learned their lesson. Carlisle was forbidden from ever forming his own coven, nor was he allowed to ever change another human into a vampire again. He was moving to England with Esme to live quietly.

Rosalie and Robert had gotten married, but since her attitude had been less than desirable in the first hundred years, she had another five hundred years added to her sentence. Alice and Bree were another two who had time added to their sentences, but they were stuck in Volterra for another thousand years. Edward and Robert were, of course, staying on since their mates were unable to leave.

Jasper and Alice were divorced within the first month. True to his nature, Jasper served on the guard honorably. He had met his mate Jane while in Volterra, and the two were due to leave the guard any day. They would be serving the Volturi on a contractual basis like Demetri was doing.

As for Peter, Charlotte, Demetri, Heidi, Bella, and me, we were one big happy family. Peter, Demetri, and I were able to cultivate my father's land again and we now ran a huge corn and soybean farm, which has been extremely successful over the last three centuries. We were now the largest corn and soybean supplier in the United States. We purchased surrounding farmland as they went up for sale so we were largely secluded. We all lived in separate houses, but ran the farm as one big family business through a corporate office staffed only by our mates. We liked to keep things in the family. Sometimes, our mates would come out and help us, especially during harvest time. Today was one of those days.

The six of us were coming up with a game plan for the day, when Demetri's highly tuned tracking senses were on high alert. "Vampires," he whispered.

"Friendly or unfriendly?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. It's Jane and Major Whitlock."

"I sense friendly," Peter said. "Keep us covered with your shield, just in case, Bells."

Bella nodded in acknowledgment. We men moved in front of our mates as we awaited Jane and Jasper.

Within five minutes, they reached the area where we were waiting.

"Major Whitlock, Jane, how can we help you?" Demetri asked.

"Please, we come in peace," Jasper stated. "We wanted to speak with Emmett and Isabella if we may."

"Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of all of us," I told him. "We have no secrets between us. We live in peace and harmony and would like to maintain what we've worked so hard to achieve."

"We understand that," Jasper said. "Neither my mate nor I want to disrupt what you have, we just...Emmett we want what you all have. We want to live peacefully and we want to have friends. And I'm here to apologize. I'm here to apologize for my actions three centuries ago. I wasn't myself, and not a day has gone by that I don't regret my actions. The things I said about Isabella were cruel, and I had no right to say anything, especially considering I never got to know her. My mama taught me better. I was swayed by Alice and the Cullens, but that's still no excuse. I should have thought for myself and spoke for myself instead of saying those cruel things about you. I'm sorry, Emmett. And I'm very sorry, Isabella."

"He really is sorry, you know," Jane said. "I even zapped him a few times three centuries ago for you."

"Um, thank you?" she stated it more like a question than a statement.

"Listen, Jasper, I can't exactly forgive you immediately."

"I didn't expect you to."

"But if you need a place to stay, you're free to stay in one of our guest bedrooms. Just keep in mind that we all work. We run a farm so we won't be able to entertain you."

"I don't expect to be entertained and neither does my mate, we'll help you on your farm. We'll earn our keep, and hopefully, I can earn your trust once again."

I looked to Demetri and Peter. They both nodded their heads.

"So, Peter, Charlotte, what are you doing here?" Jasper asked.

"We've been here for over three hundred years," Pete stated.

"Really?" Jasper looked surprised.

"Yes, really."

"May I ask why? I haven't seen you in over three centuries. It's a surprise to find you here."

"We first arrived in the area to assist Emmett with a newborn Isabella, and we kind of just stayed on. I consider these people my family."

Jasper nodded his head glumly. There was a time when Peter considered Jasper his brother, but that was all lost when he decided to blindly follow the Cullens. Peter and Charlotte both couldn't handle the attitudes displayed by the entire family and had completely lost their faith in Jasper at that point.

I decided to change the subject, "Why don't I show you to your room so you can get settled in. After that, I'm afraid we have to get back to work. You've caught us in the middle of harvest time."

"I understand, my father was a farmer," Jasper said. "Not one person was excused from work during the harvest."

I nodded my head, and led the newly arrived couple to the house. Demetri and Peter kept a hold of Bella. Clearly, they didn't trust Jasper or Jane to be near her yet. After showing them to their room, I quickly excused myself and made my way back to my family—we had a ton of corn to harvest.

I had no idea if I did the right thing by inviting Jasper back into our lives, but his apology was heartfelt, and his redemption appeared to be genuine. I knew for a fact that he'd been repeatedly lied to and brainwashed as a vampire—first by Maria, and then by Alice. Perhaps I felt sorry for him. I didn't know, but I knew for sure that continuing to hold a grudge was not conducive to leading a positive lifestyle.

I didn't want to be like the Cullens. The grudge they had held against Bella for breaking up with Edward led to their eventual downfall. For years following their break-up, they couldn't let go, and spun on the fact that she had dared to spurn their lifestyle. Their inability to let go made them bitter and spiteful. I didn't want to be like them.

I glanced up as I headed back towards the field. Bella was leaning up against the combine waiting for me.

"Are you okay?" she asked, stroking her finger down my cheek.

"I'm conflicted. I don't know if inviting Jasper into our lives was the right decision."

"I can't answer that question, Emmett. We'll have to wait and see. It's nice that you gave him a chance, though. Acceptance is the first step towards forgiveness. You're accepting Jasper's past faults as part of who he is. You're not forgetting them, especially now that he has made the choice to better himself."

I pulled her into my arms to kiss her. "Do you know, Bella? You're my voice of reason."

"Oh, Emmett. I'm not perfect. You know that I become irrational sometimes."

"No one is perfect, Bella. We all make mistakes. We just have to learn from them and fix what we did wrong."

She gave me a knowing smile. "You don't have to forgive him right away. Take your time to get to know him again. Listen to his side of the story. And remember, you always have a choice."

I shook my head. Bella had just given me guidance in her own special way. I had a decision to make. I could choose to be bitter like the Cullens did, hold a grudge, and let it tear me apart, or rise above it and be a better man. Either way, the choice was mine.

I kissed her one last time before climbing into the combine. I had a ton of harvesting to do, and plenty of thinking to do as well. I hated feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I detested Jasper for all those spiteful words he had said about Bella, but it happened centuries ago, he had served his sentence, and he seemed remorseful. She was correct. I did not have to make a decision about Jasper today. I watched as Bella started walking away, and already my heart started missing her.

"Hey!" I called out to her. She turned around. "Climb up in here with me. Let's spend the day together."

She smiled that beautiful smile of hers meant just for me, and hopped inside. I felt better with her beside me. She kept me grounded. With Bella by my side, I knew that I could weather any storm.

In this life, we are constantly faced with having to make choices. For years, while I was living with the Cullens, I let others choose for me, what I should have decided on my own. Bella realized this early on, and chose to part ways with them. It took me a while longer, but in the many centuries I've been on my own, I've discovered that it's the choices we make, that define who we are. The best choices are usually the toughest to make. Choosing to strike out on my own, and live life on my own terms, was the hardest decision I made, but the most rewarding. It led me to my destiny. It led me to Bella.

"Do you know? Choosing to be with you was the best decision I ever made, Bella."

She smiled and leaned up against me. I started the combine up and drove, knowing that no matter what choices I faced in this life, Bella would always be by my side, supporting me, and loving me without any conditions. It was how it was supposed to be. It was how we would love for all of eternity.

And they lived happily ever after…