January 28, 2013

Chapter Twenty One


Your eyes do not deceive you. I am totally updating. Those who wish to throttle me, please form a line to the left. Those who wish to love me anyway, please form a line to the right. Those who fit both categories, please report to my pants because you have the right idea. 

I love you all for your patience and understanding during the wait. I hope Roughie & Isabella make it worth it for you guys. But first, a reminder of where we left off..............


“Did... did you get to see Josie?”

“Not exactly.”

I'm confused by his answer. He scratches the back of his neck and tucks his hands into the front pocket of his jacket. 

“I did go to see her, but not the way you probably think.”

He's talking in circles, nervous and reticent.

“She lives in Sacramento. With... with her biological father.”

Oh God. Edward...

~o~



Songs I rocked to write:

”Ghost Towns” by Radical Face

”Outside” by Staind

”Me Over You” by Lucia (YouTube only)


BPOV


The pang of sympathy I feel is unexpected. Everything I know about Edward and Josie collides with this revelation about a pain I'd already known to be great, and without meaning to, I speak my realization aloud.

“She isn't yours.”

His reaction is swift and severe, a familiar darkness morphing his features. It's a flicker of foretime that startles me, and the heat of his glare scolds me before he utters a word.

“Don't say it like that, like she wasn't my daughter. She was. I raised her. Me.

Sternly, he shakes his head back and forth at me, emphasizing his claim by repeatedly jabbing his index finger into his chest. The outburst is reflexive, like they're words he's had to say before; an attack he's had to guard himself against more than once. Considering what he's just told me, it makes sense. Though I meant no harm, I'm overcome by a sense of remorse.

“No, I- I didn't mean it like that. Of course she's yours. I-”

Fuck.” His shoulders lose their stiffness and he slumps back against the bench, roughly scrubbing his hands over his face. “Look, I'm sorry, okay?” But it's forced. Flat. Obligatory. I don't want it.

He turns his head in my direction but keeps his eyes on the ground. “I know you didn't mean it like that. I shouldn't have said anything about it at all. I just...”

He shakes his head and huffs out a low laugh. It's humorless and makes me fidget uncomfortably.

“I don't know what the hell I was thinking, actually.”

And he doesn't have to elaborate. I did this. He's fed up with me. His eyes fall closed before he speaks to me in a tired voice. “I can't do this today, Isabella. I have to go.”

He's on his feet and walking away from me before I can respond. I feel a biting impulse to stop him from leaving, yet I can't bring myself to move. Just a few weeks ago, the sight of him storming away would have felt like a victory. It would've brought relief, not panic. And though he's done this before, only to return again, something about this morning feels different.

Permanent.

The thought causes me to shoot up from the bench and go after him. I can think about the whys later. The closer I get, the harder my teeth clench in nervous desperation. As much as I yearn to feel the pressure of adequate words on the back of my lips, I taste nothing but failure on the end of my tongue. My hands shake with an urgency to get something right somewhere with someone. Just one fucking thing right. Because there's a finality in the space between us. It's as tangible as the trees and the grass and the water.

This is it. I know - I just know - that he's stretched too thin. I've bobbed and weaved and ducked and dodged as long as possible. He's headed back to his corner.

I should want it. I should let it happen, let him go. But I don't. I can't. He's the only thing I have. My lips part before I'm ready, and I clumsily present him with my debility... yet again.                

“Wh- What do you want me to say to you, Edward? Just... tell me what it is you want to hear! What do I do?!”

When he stops and turns to face me, I can see that the fight in him is dead. The flame that licked and lashed mere moments ago has been smothered out, its wisps of ash resting at my feet.

“Nothing.” He hesitates a beat. “Anything.” He shrugs.

He wraps his voice around the last word tighter than the first. It's a plea he seems resigned to the futility of but extends to me anyway. When met with my silence, he blows out a frustrated puff of air through his lips before angling himself away from me. He steps forward, as if to leave, only to whip around again. When he strides back to me, it's with purpose. There's a flicker of a flame in those eyes that brings me relief.

Don't stop fighting.

Stopping right in front of me, he pulls something from his back pocket and I look down to see him flipping through his wallet. When he finds what he's looking for, a folded piece of paper, he replaces his wallet and fixes his eyes on mine intently.

“I trapped you five years ago, Isabella, and I will not do that again.” The conviction in his voice is so potent that I flinch. “There's no consequence this time. No catch. I shouldn't have pushed you the way I did when I first came here. I know that now. I just... I'm trying, okay? I want... I want to know who you are. But you have to want to give that to me.” His head dips down a fraction, silently beckoning my eyes back to his. With great effort, I manage to hold his stare. “You're in there. I know you are.”

So unexpectedly that I don't have a chance to resist, he lifts my hand, turns it palm up, and places the slip of paper on it. I barely register the chill of his fingers before they're gone, my hand left opened between us.

“I'm not perfect, Isabella, but I'm not the same man I was then.”

He turns and leaves me to stare down at the paper, curiosity and fear circling one another for supremacy. The former wins, and the three words I find folded up in white cause my fingers to jerk. The thin, worn square flutters to the ground. I close my eyes and ball my fists as I feel, yet again, my perspective of Edward Cullen shift without my permission. My hands drop limply to my sides, and I open my eyes to find the words laying there at my feet. A reunion I never asked for. A memory I can't ignore.

The scribble of faded blue ink made by my own hand.

The towel I'd thrown in.

The end.

I'm sorry.

Isabella



~o~



Distractedly, I step out of the elevator, never looking up as I approach the large, round desk between mine and Kate's offices. I pause, barely hearing Leah's greeting as I scroll through my phone.

No missed calls. No new messages. No new voicemail.

It's the longest that Renee's ever ignored my calls. Sighing, I slip my phone into my pocket and slide my arms out of my coat.

“Anything while I was at lunch?”

With a nod, she passes a few small, pink message slips to me. I don't find anything in the pile significant enough to distract my mind for long, just call backs from clients and a few requests for consultations. Ten minutes on the phone at the most. Damn it.

“There was also a delivery for you. I left it on your desk.”

I assume it's just couriered documents or samples as usual but am surprised to see a large bouquet of flowers sitting on the corner of my desk. My stomach tightens.

Renee?

There's a small card tied to the vase by a bow. I hold my breath and flip it open.

Dear Ms. Swan,

Please accept these as a token of our sincerest thanks. You did a wonderful job with Julie's
party, and we could never have given her the celebration she deserved without your help.

Happy holidays to you and yours,
Donald & Annette Graham

I lean against the edge of my desk, knowing how ludicrous it is to feel this humiliated by words that are meant to praise.

I observe the colorful arrangement. Clients tend to like the idea of the meaning that a flower, or combination of them, can be symbolic. It's for this reason that I've grudgingly learned the message behind several of the more popular choices for occasions. Out of habit, I analyze the language of the bouquet.

Tiger lilies can stand for wealth and pride. Yellow roses, signify joy and friendship. Blush chrysanthemums communicate cheerfulness and optimism.

But it's the last flower that makes me yank the card free from the bow. The small purple flower is used sparsely; a mild accent to the larger, grander petals of the those around it.

The anemone. A symbol for fading hope. Meant to convey the feeling of having been forsaken.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

You and yours.

You.

Just you.

You're no one's Julie.

I crumple the card in my hand and squeeze until I can feel my pulse in my fingertips, throwing it into the trash can with more force than necessary.

Without looking, I slide my fingers beneath the desktop calendar behind me, pulling the small white square free. This thin, weak paper that should hold little significance has me anchored in place. It's flimsy between my fingers, and I wonder how many times he's unfolded it. I remember his touches...  the heedless way he manipulated by body to suit himself. How could those same hands have possibly handled this withered scrap delicately enough to keep it in one piece?

”I'm not the same man I was then.”

I wonder how many times his eyes have read these two words that I left behind so long ago. Has he ever run the pads of his fingers across the wrinkled surface this way, too? Did he look to the indented swirls of ink, searching for answers the way I am now? How long has it made its home in his wallet? How long has he carried it and why? Why? It goes against everything I remember about the man he is. Was?

Was.

Was.

The man he was before...

”I'm not the same man I was then.”

I'm not blind. I know he's changed. But why does the thought paralyze me? The noise in my head comes to a halt as an answer slithers its way inside.

You found solace in him. You knew what he expected of you. He forbade emotion. Affection was off limits. He had no idea that those things were already dead and gone, that you weren't capable of defying him. There was sweet, sweet relief in the knowledge that you couldn't possibly have failed at that.

Except you did, didn't you? You failed. You let it in.

I close my eyes against the onslaught of images from that night.

A wet marble floor littered with limp flowers and shattered glass. The anguish on Esme's face as she fought against Carlisle and screamed her son's name over and over. The flash of red and blue lights across the face of a man I never thought I'd see again. The bewildered expression on his face when he saw me standing on the lawn. The way everything blurred through my tears before I ran.

Before you ran like the coward you are, like the failure you've always managed to remain.

I slide the paper down into my open palm and stare at it. It would take so little to destroy it. I could rip it to shreds and burn the pieces. My fingers twitch at the thought, but I instead fold it up and slide it into my pocket on the way out the door. Once the decision is made, it's heavy and unmoving. I grab my coat, purse, and a few files to work on from home before turning the lights off and rounding Leah's desk.

“I'll be leaving early, Leah. Can you please reschedule my last two appointments for Monday?”

She stares blankly at me for a few seconds, surely taken off guard. I never take time off. I never leave early or even take vacation time.  “Um... Okay. Sure, Ms. Swan.”

I'm relieved when I pass Kate's office door, and her office is dark. I'm supposed to be staying late and meeting with some clients about the Hurley account. I know I'll have some explaining to do, but I can't be bothered with it right now.

~o~

“Good evening, Ms. Swan. How are you?”

“Fine, thank you.”

Lies, lies, lies. Tell the lies that hide you, Bella.

“I'm glad to hear it. You can go on up, ma'am.”

Confused, I motion to the phone Marcus has just picked up and placed against his ear.

“You don't need to...?”

“No, ma'am. I'll let him know you're here, but Mr. Cullen has instructed that you be let up without question.”

“I, uh... I see. And... how long ago was this?”

“I'd say somewhere around, oh, a month or so…?”

The gesture, however simple, strikes a chord. It settles over me like a mist, present enough to sense yet too weightless to be burdensome. I feel suspicion tugging but ignore it. The possibility that I may be  unwelcome here after what happened this morning begins to fold in on itself, losing its power over me and becoming less intimidating than it was just minutes ago.

I've lost myself in thought but emerge when Marcus' voice reminds me that I'm not alone.

“Is everything alright, Ms. Swan?”

“Yes... Yes, everything is fine. Thank you.”

He nods politely at me as I walk toward the elevator doors. Once inside, I press the button for the top floor and take a deep breath, readying myself for whatever I find on the other side of his door. I have to stop myself from reliving the memory of the last time I was here, choosing to focus instead on his insistence.

”I want to know who you are.”

I recall his words again, letting them guide my feet to his door, and quell the fear that flares inside my chest as I raise my hand and knock. I fidget and wait. I hear a faint barking sound from inside, and realize that I'd nearly forgotten about his dog, Paul.

When a minute passes with no answer, I knock once more. Paul's barking is coming from just the other side of the door now but still no answer. A phone begins to ring from inside as I eye the doorbell but decide against it. Surely if he was home, he'd have answered by now. I begin to step away when I hear Edward's voice, muffled but stern, growing closer to the door.

Quiet, Paul. That's enough. Go lay down!”

Even though his commands are being directed at the dog, I can't help the small part of me that stands at attention in response to the authority in his voice. I find myself straightening my posture and swallowing thickly in preparation for seeing him again. When I finally do, I register three things that slow my thought process to a near crawl.

Shirtless. Barefoot. Wet.

A pair of dark gray sweatpants hang from his hips, a black towel over one shoulder... and nothing else. Surprise is evident on his face, but my attention is snagged by the slow and steady path that a drop of water from his still wet hair is making. It drips from his sideburn, over the edge of his jaw, and down the slope of his neck. Just as it comes to rest in the dip of his collarbone, my own name from his mouth startles me and I bring my eyes back to his face. Trying to clear my head of whatever fog I've wandered into, I blurt out the first thing I think of.

“You were in the shower.”

I immediately feel foolish. My palms begin to sweat as I search my thoughts for a way to compensate. Looking down at himself, he lifts the end of the towel and wipes it down his neck and across his chest.

“I was. I didn't hear the door.”

He seems uncomfortable all of a sudden, as if he's just remembered something. Raking a hand through his wet hair, he backs up and widens the door in silent invitation. I walk past him as he closes it behind me. From the top of the two steps that lead down into the living room, I turn back to him as he comes to stand next to me. His scent wafts in my direction. Discreetly, I take in my next breath deeper, inhaling his humid, clean smell.

The sound of Paul whining comes from somewhere in the back just before the phone begins to ring again. Edward lifts his chin in the direction of the hall.

“That's probably Marcus-”

“I'll just wait in here.”

We speak at the same time, cutting one another off. He smiles somewhat awkwardly before nodding and starting down the hall. I step down into the living room, noting that our interaction just now was almost identical to the last time I was here. Before my mind has a chance to dwell on how that visit ended, the absence of something catches my eye and I stop short.

I stare down at the four circular impressions left behind in the carpet. They serve as the only evidence that it once sat here, aside from my memory. It was here before. Weeks ago. I'd been unprepared for the surge of remembrance that seeing it again brought on. How Edward followed my gaze to the chaise lounge. The exact moment that our thoughts aligned, recalling that Saturday evening so long ago. The first one of many.

“On your knees. Bend over it.”

My recollection of his heated command is interrupted when I hear the soft padding of his bare feet behind me. I look up from the vacant space in front of me to see his reflection in the window, a black t-shirt now covering his torso.

“Isabella?”

As usual, he stains the sound of my name with caution. I let my confidence feed on his unease and ask before I can overthink it.

“Where is it?”

He's quiet for a beat and then...

“I got rid of it.”

“Why?”

“You know why.”

I do. I'm grateful that he doesn't explain himself.

The note.

The access at the front desk.

The chair.

They're testaments to who he is now, to who he isn't anymore, and their impact is staggering. They're subtle messages. Meant to comfort? Aimed to convince?

They don't miss their mark.

With my back still turned to him, I walk closer to the window. My eyes follow the patterned dots of light that the traffic below us creates, trying to avoid Edward's reflection in the glass as he waits – patient and still, so unlike the last time we stood in this spot together. My eyes close on their own as a blur of bare flesh traipses behind them, and a stream of foul words spewed through vicious whispers echoes in my ears. I open them to find him closer than a moment ago. 

He can see my face in the glass just as clearly as I can see his, and his eyes squint as he watches me carefully. Suddenly, I feel like I'm suffocating in my silence. Like every unasked question, every restrained curiosity, every word that's been extinguished before it could be spoken is strangling me. It all bears down on me with a weight that forces the breath in my lungs out through my clenched teeth.

Out of nowhere, I'm being smothered by my own hand. I've convinced myself that investing in this – in him – is nothing more than admitting defeat. Is it really that black and white? Could my indulgence mean abdicating control?

There's only one way to find out.

Closing my mind off to the risk, I begin to speak... and it feels like breathing again.

“I put what happened so far from my mind. I erased it from myself, Edward. I erased you. For years, you didn't exist and then there you were, on my porch telling me you were sorry.” He stares at my reflection silently as frustration bleeds into my tone of voice. “And you kept coming back. Over and over. Why did you keep coming back?”

“I could ask you the same thing, Isabella.”

His unhesitant reply stuns me, and my breath catches. The way he maintains eye contact with my reflection is a challenge. 

I bite.

“I didn't think... It was never supposed to go as far as it did. It was just a - a means to an end.” I abhor the way my voice shakes as I explain myself. The words feel wrong. Inadequate. Weak. I compensate the only way I know how. “You were just supposed to be the cruel asshole that paid me to fuck him.” I ignore the rapid blink of his eyes in the glass as he looks away, feeling satisfied as my blow lands just where I'd intended it to. The feeling doesn't last, a quick wave of shame following close behind it. A spontaneous momentum nudges me forward. “I didn't know they were your family. I was stuck and scared of failing out of school when I was so close. I couldn't let that happen. I wouldn't. So I kept my head down and did my job. There and here." He's looking at me again. "I minded my own business. I tried so fucking hard to mind my own business.”  I say everything as it comes to me; random fragments of memories I'm unaccustomed to embracing. It hurts and heals all at once to breathe life into them. I don't know if it makes sense to him, but I don't let that stop me. “I couldn't quit the program. I just had to ride it out. And it worked, too. But Alice... She knew. She caught me with your picture, told me to keep my mouth shut. And I was so close to graduating. I was so close. But then I saw the video...”

“Video?”

“Esme was watching it. Josie was a baby, and you were rocking her. And singing...” His eyes fall closed, shoulders sagging, and I know that he's remembering it, too. That the images in our heads match right now. “And you were this... whole other person, Edward.” His jaw flexes again. “This... normal, happy man. It just all fell apart after that. I couldn't stop wondering what could possibly have happened to turn you into... what you were. I tried to, but I couldn't turn it off. And I just... I didn't have any other choice than to stop coming here.” My thoughts turn back to the slip of paper in my pocket, and I feel a surge of anger toward him for its existence. “You kept it. All this time, you kept it. Why? We were... nothing. Why would you do that, Edward? You shouldn't have done that-”

“I didn't even know you'd left it. I never saw it. When you didn't show up again, I just figured that was it.”

With his hands in his pockets, he shifts and looks away from me.

“I found it later.” He takes a deep breath, and I sense that a piece of the puzzle I didn't have before is coming. Something akin to excitement fans out through my chest. I hate how good it feels. “I was arrested and spent that night in a cell. It wasn't until I was out the next day that I found your note. I don't know why I kept it, Isabella. I couldn't just throw it away. I would just sit and read it over and over and had no idea what the hell you were apologizing for. What did you have to be sorry about? What could you possibly be apologizing to me for?”

I jump right in, knowing that hesitating will kill my nerve.

“Alice asked me. She wanted to know if you were okay. And I lied. I lied to her and said you were fine. I could have told her you needed help.”

His nostrils flare with his deep breaths, and he pins my attention with his stare. He hadn't expected me to answer him, and my words catch him off guard. They catch me off guard.

“It wouldn't have mattered.”

“You don't know that. Your mother? She seemed so miserable and sad, and I could have-”

“I do know, Isabella. I was too far gone by then. Trust me.”

The air thickens with silence. I cross my arms over my chest and Edward raises his hands to scratch through his hair roughly. He looks as if he's about to speak when the phone rings. He walks into the kitchen to answer it, and I take the opportunity to turn around and face him.

“Hello?”

He's got the phone tucked between his ear and shoulder as he picks his wallet up from the counter and pulls cash from it.

“Yeah, send him up.”

He ends the call and replaces the cordless phone back in its cradle before walking around the bar and down into the living room. Gesturing to the front door, he looks at me.

“I ordered some takeout. Are you hungry? I mean, you're welcome to...” He scratches the back of his head and waves a hand in the direction of the coffee table.

Too much, the familiar voice of fear whispers in my ear. Walk away.

Edward is watching me closely but not expectantly, no doubt prepared for me to run. His hesitance to ask me a simple question irritates me, but I can't blame him either. In the wake of my rambling bravado, I'm left feeling defective. Abnormal. And I'm overcome with the desire to prove him wrong. We've had meals together before. This really is no different. I manage a small smile and nod.

“I could eat. Sure.”

His eyebrows lift a little in response, and I count it as a small victory that he seems surprised.

I can do this.

The doorbell rings, and Paul begins barking again from somewhere down the hall. Edward starts toward the front door, and I look around for the best place to sit. I eye the living room furniture, but the coffee table is covered with scattered papers and an open laptop. I look to the bar in the kitchen and the dining room table, both of which look immaculate and unused. Edward reappears with a brown paper bag in each hand, and before I can ask him where I should sit, he's juggling both bags with one arm while sliding everything on the coffee table all the way to one end. He sets the bags down on the cleared space and leans over to shift a few blueprint tubes that I'm just now noticing out of the way. He turns to head into the kitchen and asks me what I'd like to drink.

“Water is fine, thank you. Do you mind if I use your bathroom?”

He clears his throat and nods before pointing in the direction of the hall by the foyer, and I know he's thinking about before. About the intolerance he always had for my presence once he was through with me. About how using the restroom was a privilege I was never given.

“Yeah, go ahead. It's the second door on your left.”

Once in the hall, memories close in, accompanying me like a shadow.

Him taking me from behind, hard and fast, against the wall in the hallway.

Slowing my pace, I drag my fingertips across the wall beside me and then across my cheek. With perfect clarity, I recall the force of his thrusts and the tenderness in my jaw the next morning.

I eye his closed bedroom door a beat longer than necessary, waiting for it to appear as looming as I remember it being. It doesn't, but the memories push through anyway.

Being rushed into his room in the middle of the night and bent over the foot of his bed, face in the mattress. Over the dresser. Over the chair in the corner. On all fours on the carpeted floor, palms and knees burning from the friction. On my knees, gagging and breathless.

The bathroom is pristine; marble countertops and travertine tile floors and walls, spotless down to the neatly folded hand towels. The window at the end of the tub is a smaller version of the view from the living room. Leaning down over the sink, I close my eyes and press two handfuls of water against my face. The chill of the water on my heated cheeks causes my eyes to well up. Reaching blindly for a towel, I pat my face dry, turning my back on the mirror before I open my eyes. I don't want to see them right now. I'll lose the nerve that I need to do what I'm about to.

When I step out from around the corner of the hallway, I freeze, not wanting to alert Edward yet. He's hunched over the coffee table. Several open containers of food sit between two plates, one of which is directly in front of him. The other is at the head of the table in front of the armchair. He places spoons into each container before dropping a small stack of white napkins down next to them and disappearing into the kitchen. He returns with two glasses of ice water and sets one beside each plate before appearing to survey the setup. He leans down to adjust the distance between the plates, moving them farther apart before moving them back to their original positions. I can only see his profile, but his brow is furrowed and he seems torn. I decide to put him out of his misery, making sure my steps are heavy enough to announce my return. I feel his eyes on me as I round the coffee table, and he only sits once I've done so in the armchair to his left.

“Help yourself to whatever. There's a little bit of everything. Do you like Thai?”

I look down at the open containers and plastic bowls as he begins to fix his plate. At how much there is.

All of this food is just for you?”

He nods his head and swallows the bite he's chewing. “Leftovers. I don't really cook, so...”

I nod back and barely pay attention to what I spoon onto my plate while I try to think of something else to say to him.

“So... How is your family?”

He stiffens. It's subtle, but I see it.

“I wouldn't know, actually.”

My food is forgotten as my eyes fly to his face. He avoids my stare, picking up his empty glass and gesturing to mine.

“Did you want more water?”

“No. Thank you.”

He turns for the kitchen, and I watch his back as he fills his glass.

“What do you mean, you wouldn't know?”

He stills for a moment, and it's obvious that the subject is an uncomfortable one for him. I can relate, but I let the selfish part of me win this one. If we're talking about him, we're not talking about me. He comes back to the living room and sits down, pushing his plate away and looking out the large window in front of him.

“I haven't spoken to any of them since Alice's wedding.”

“What?”

He shakes his head, and for a second, I don't think he's going to elaborate but he takes a deep breath and looks at me.

“I just... can't. I can't go back there. They hate me, and they should. Besides, it was a condition of my sentence-”

“Sentence?” Surprised, I blurt the word out a little louder than necessary. He nods, and I don't miss the look of shame on his face.

“Uh... yeah. Criminal trespassing and vandalism. I guess Carlisle had had enough by then.”

He stares down as he fists one hand at a time and cracks his knuckles into his palm. I find myself actually feeling... angry. It comes out of nowhere, but I think of Edward's face that night. The agony in his voice and the obvious pain he was in. I can't quell the hostility I feel for Carlisle Cullen right now.

“How... How could he do that?” The face of my own father flashes behind my eyes without my consent, and I hate that he's here. I hate that he can still monopolize my thoughts.

Edward's eyes narrow at me, probably trying to gauge the change in my mood.

“It wasn't his fault. I spent a long time being angry with him. But... He did what he had to do. I think it was the only way he thought he could reach me, the only way to help me.” He trails off, and I leave him to his memories. I don't belong there unless he invites me. “And he did. I got mandatory anger management and the rest is... history, I guess.”

Mandatory anger management. I'm not exactly well-versed in criminal law, but I suspect that Alice's reception wasn't the only mark on his record.

“Alice and Jasper? And Esme?”

I can't help it. I'm baffled. A part of me just automatically assumed that since Edward was trying to make amends with me, he'd have naturally done so with his family. I can't help wanting to understand it.

He's looking down and cracking his knuckles again, shaking his head. “I haven't heard from them since. And Esme. She, uh...” He scratches his cheek and wipes a hand over his mouth. He's stalling to find the words. In this simple, seemingly insignificant moment, I can see the hurt. It's in the way he avoids eye contact and clears his throat repeatedly...  swallowing it all down and waiting for that bloom of emotion to pass. “She tries. Everyday. She...” He clears his throat again. “She's never stopped trying, but I just... I can't.” He takes a deep breath and sits back on the sofa before looking over at me with a feigned, forced lightness. “So, yeah...”

I’m gripped so tightly by the fist of sympathy that I can only stare at him. Sympathy for Edward. Sympathy for his family. But Esme stands out from the rest of them right now because of the words reverberating inside my head.

She tries. Everyday. She's never stopped trying.

I think of Renee and the call list on my phone. Of the dozens of times I've dialed her number – just today – and the absence of even one returned call. 

Not even one.

“Isabella? Are you okay?”

I blink my way back to the moment. “No... Yeah. Yes. I'm fine.”

“Are you sure?” His concern is apparent but suffocating. I need to go.

“Yeah, I'm just tired, I think. I should go.”

I stand, and he follows my lead. I wonder if he isn't feeling as weakened by today as I am. Silently, we walk to the front door.

“Thank you for dinner.”

“You're welcome.”

I slide my arms into my coat and pick my purse up from the table in the foyer. When he opens the door, I step forward, only to stop at the sound of his voice.

“Thank you for coming, Isabella. I know that... Well... Just, thank you.” He tiptoes around the words, as if I'll somehow detonate. Or run screaming. And I guess I deserve that, really, because either way, he's not too far from the truth.

“You're welcome.”

I've never been anyone's Josie, and I'm nobody's Julie Graham. But I could try to be Edward Cullen's friend. It's got to be better than the nothing I am right now. And with the way he's looking at me, I can almost see it. I can almost believe him. So I reach out... and take what I can get.

“Edward?”

“Hm?”

“I hear The Haymount is open for breakfast on Saturday mornings now.” I watch as he works out what I'm asking without asking. Tomorrow is Saturday. “Just so you know. Since you don't cook much and all...”

He keeps his smile casual and small, but it's not without effort.

“Right. Yeah. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try it out.”

He beats me to The Haymount by less than a minute, thereby cheating me out of the opportunity to open my own door. Again.

~o~

If you don't remember, The Haymount is the little diner where they've shared a couple of meals before.

So.......whaddya think? Theories? Questions? Boos? Gimme whatcha got.

~jada~

139 comments:

Nix said...

What is going on?!

Oh man this mystery is killing me. I love how now, instead of seeing refusing him as victories, she's seeing her small acceptances as victories. I guess they both shock Edward just as much. Bella is growing.

And Edward? I hurt for him. I just really hurt for him. And he's trying so hard and it's exhausting. I guess they both are.

This update totally improved my sucky Tuesday. Thanks Jada!

Lotta said...

Thank you! That's all.

Roxy said...

omg!! finally hon...so amazing i love that B&E are trying, they seem more confident with each other now;)

dorothy said...

Your writing is still amazingly good. Thanks for this great installment and for sharing your talent

Nora said...

Oh god...as much as i am thrilled to find this update in my mailbox, i am totally lost on how the story started. So i guess i'm gonna have to reread from the beginning. Izzit bad..? Sorry jada but nice writing as always ;-)

iluvlil_lion said...

Oh damn!! I couldn't believe it lol but I fed the chapter!! Edward and Bella still have a long way to go but seriously Bella needs a break she need to be happy!! And Edwards situation just breaks my heart!! :( I can't wait for the next chapter!! :D

Sharkjumper said...

It's been so long since the last update... Though I haven't forgotten the story, I tried reading the previous chapters again, but it's not my memory that sabotages my thoughts. Sadly, I'm not emotionally connected with these characters anymore... But I do hope to get back my mojo for Roughie by next update. Either way, congrats for getting your groove back, Stella! I hope your muse stays with you... ;) Xxo

Marisol Ferreira Simões said...

Unexpected, but oh so welcomed! Thank you! It made my day.

saraamin said...

Indeed thank you for updating on My miserable Tuesday :)

sassykassie1 said...

Love the update! Oh man I just want them to communicate, open up.. not hold anything back. Mostly for selfish reasons, so I can know what the hell is going on! LOL

Stephanie said...

Baby steps. Slow burn. I'm glad that things are moving forward. Thanks for the update!

carolamex said...

Wow, what a come back! These two are sooooo damaged and I love how they are growing and moving forward even if its at baby steps. My heart hurts for them both. But I am starting to see a tiny little light at the end of this dark and black tunnel they are walking. I'm excited that u have not given up on this story and in Waveward. Thanks J, hoping for more to come. Xo

bakergirl24 said...

Good morning Jada, welcome back. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to finish this story or just leave it. I am so glad you decided to update.

It's good to see that these two are starting to communicate. They have a lot in common. Both are damaged goods. I have questions. Hell, I think we all do. Josie for one. He stated that she was not his. Was that the beginning of his downfall? Was he lead to believe that she was his and found out later that she wasn't? Why won't he talk to Esme? Does he feel to ashamed to talk to her? Maybe Bella will be able to help him with that. Hopefully she will point out that he actually has someone who cares.

As for Bella, is it just me or does it seem like she misses the sex? I sometimes wonder if she misses the complete loss of control. She controls everything in her life, I think she craves turning it over to him. I guess the big question is...If this is going that way, will Edward be able to give that to her? In a healthy way.

Thanks for sharing. Once again, I am so glad you are back. Take care and peace. T.

Christy said...

Well, I wrote a really thoughtful review that got eaten by the interwebz when I tried to post, so I'll just quickly say that I echo carolmex's post--I hope they find their solace in one another, and in bakergirl's post--if they do get back to the physical aspect of their relationship (in the future--I'm so glad you aren't pushing that aspect of the story and are focusing on repairing the emotional damage they each have), I hope they can explore it in a way that's healthy and doesn't leave them more broken than they already are.

You're an amazing writer. Thanks for sharing your work!

ContentedTwiCow said...

I was so excited to see this updated! You know, normally, I can't remember a fic that doesn't update at least every two weeks - but I completely remembered all that had happened in this one - that's how much I've enjoyed it. I hope if you're considering publishing stuff for money, you know your writing is good enough - because it totally draws me in.

Very interested in what's happening and looking forward to a reunion with Edward and his family. I hope that the biodad loves Josie as much as Edward does and that they can all someday get along and have time with her.

Alice's White Rabbit said...

So glad to have you and Roughie back. You have been missed.

I was as surprised as Bella that he kept that note all these years. But, it seems to have opened up the roads of communication between them. That's got to be a good thing. It's a start.

I was so glad that they both have pushed themselves beyond their comfort zone and talked about things they never would have in the past. It is SO needed. Especially Bella reaching out at the end to offer him her friendship. Such a huge step.

I certainly hope she can get him to reconcile with his family. At least, his mother.

Thanks, Jada!! Again, glad to have you back.

Glitter said...

Loved it, loved it, loved it! I can see that they both need nurturing and intimacy, but how will they work that out? Isabella wants to turn over the control, but Roughie probably won't be comfortable with anything remotely like they were before. I suppose they'll have to learn to TRUST each other...which will be monumental for both. can't wait to see how you reconcile this :-)

Olena said...

You made my day! No, week! Who am I kidding, my month! I missed it so much! I literally squealed out loud when I saw it in my inbox! :)

It's like pulling teeth with these two. But it's understandable considering their past. I was surprised about his family too, I also assumed he made up with his family. And Esme? That little bit "She tries, every day" just broke my heart. I hope Bella convinces him to let his mother in.

Olena

Jennifer said...

Lovely Jada,

I woke in the middle of the night and checked the time on my cell phone and saw that I had a FYW update waiting for me…I was so very excited, I’m surprised I actually fell back to sleep. That being said, I’ve missed this story so much. I can’t remember when I started reading it…perhaps when there were only about 12 chapters posted…but I became so invested in it…especially when I had nominated it for Fic of the Week on TLS and it won and I got to write up the review. ..and that was definitely over a year ago. Anywhoooo…hooray for updates!

I feel so heartbroken for these characters. They hurt so much, it makes me sad. I was proud of Edward when he bridged that gap and told Bella he was a changed person from who he used to be and then I was equally proud of Bella for having the courage to go back to his apartment to the scene of the repeated crimes.

Crimes of the heart, of course…even though at the time neither would have ever admitted it…but their hearts were always involved in some way or they wouldn’t be standing in front of each other years later and struggling to find the right words and a way to reach out to the other. What happened all those years ago most definitely scarred their hearts, whether they care to acknowledge it or not.

I so hope they can find their happy ending together…and it not be ugly or tainted or awkward. They deserve to be able to share hugs and kisses and have sex again as an expression of love; a love that they so desperately crave after all the sadness and ugliness that their home lives have dealt them. I know it will take time but I’m hopeful that they will get there; and that you’ll continue to write the story until that part so that we can see them happy and healthy and with each other having given their hearts to the other.

Thank you so much for the update. I look forward to their next step toward one another.

Xo, Jen aka Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy

Keye Cullen said...

Chapter 21:

Oh. Em. GEE!!!! An update!!!! I am so excited!!! And yes, I want to be in both lines! *snort*

*glares at ANYONE even thinking about interrupting me while I read this LONG awaited update*

So...he raised her but he was not the biological father....*confused* Okay Edward...spill it!!!!

Blows me away:

“Nothing.” He hesitates a beat. “Anything.” He shrugs.

He kept that piece of paper? Why? Geez this man is so damn complex and annoying and so many other adjectives that I cannot write down at this time.

Well now this little tidbit sure is interesting:

“No, ma'am. I'll let him know you're here, but Mr. Cullen has instructed that you be let up without question.”

Great sentence:

It hurts and heals all at once to breathe life into them.

Good Lord these two are killing me. I am impatient and I want to knock their little heads together til they get that they need to communicate everything to each other like now. LOL

Thanks for the update. It was awesome. Tons of things are still unanswered but you will get to them when you get to them.

Can't wait to read what happens next.

Keye

tsm0836 said...

Your words, I have none to say how great they are. It feels if you don't breathe the right way everything will just crumble apart. Bella thoughts, I've never been anyone's Josie, and I'm nobody's Julie Graham. Just say it all. Hopefully these two will find in each other a way to heal. Bella may be able to convey to Edward how Esme may feel not having calls returned. I wll need to go back and rehash some of this story, but thank you so much for the update. Great stories never die, they just mature with age. Do hope that you are able to hold onto your creative thoughts and keep continuing this story.
Thank you for sharing your words.

jbabs2011 said...

Welcome back! The lengthy absence did not dampen or distort these two tragic figures who still rip my heart out. I was pulled in as deeply as before into the lives of these two who now stand on the threshold of everything dear and meaningful in life. I'm so hopeful their Saturday morning breakfast blossoms into something that will bring each of them a way out of their bleak loneliness and into the light, perhaps even together. Thank you for this, Jada! You're back. You've been so missed and this update is such a welcome one. Well done.

LuvRPatz4ever said...

Finally they are getting somewhere although I wish it was more. I hope we will get regular updates now. Gosh I just want to shake her and tell her to open up to him already. Thank you for the update.

Miss said...

Thanks for the update!

Charmain said...

Jada! So good to have you back Hun! I guess those tweeets got you going huh? LOL Love that Isabella will try to open up. I think Edward would be good for her. Bring her out of her shell. Can't wait for more! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't make us wait too long! Greatn comeback!

Jane Mantzalas said...

Wow .. These two can still pack an emotional punch. My heart hurt when she realised that Esme had been calling Edward every day while continuing to ignore Bella's calls. He kept the note! Gah. All the hurt, the memories, the insecurities ... I'm glad they're communicating a bit more. They need some happiness. Thank you for updating.

Vicki Clements said...

Thank you so much, I have missed these two and their angst. Answers are coming I can feel it. Love that these two might become friends one day and glad to see there is still some tension between them. he is trying so hard and maybe once he makes headway with Isabella he can make the next step with his family. Hope she will be able to make some steps to heal herself. She admitted to just "forgetting" everything she and he did, she can't live that way it will have to come out some day.

May said...

We still continue somewhere here. Thanks for updating although the translator of google does not cooperate very much. I believe that perhaps Beautiful helps Esme to be reconciled by Edward and that some day go so far as to have a relation between them.
From Spain.

Dahlia B. said...

My only complaint is that I want MORE!

My heart just aches for both of them. Ugh.

Another update soon??? Yes????

Tammy said...

I was so excited to see this in my inbox! I recently re-read this whole story and your timing is perfect.

I feel so much sympathy for Edward and I am a little frustrated with Bella. I really want her to open up to Edward about her mom and her misery. I kept hoping it was gonna happen this chapter, but I will keep patiently waiting.

Ambaro said...

I'm so glad you Finally updated :) You made my morning.

I think Bella needs to tell him about Renee, that might help him change his mind about Esme. I was surprised that he hadn't reconciled with anyone in his family even after such a long time. But hopefully breakfast at The Haymount might become a bit of a traditions.

Loved all the flashbacks when she was in his apartment.

Like everyone else I'm hoping the next update won't take as long, lol.


Jennifer said...

WOW!!! I can't thank you enough for updating!!! I like how you are slowly getting them closer...I'm waiting for the ball to drop on Bella and her family!!! How cruel of Renee and Charlie!! I imagine it's only a matter of time before she falls apart and HOPEFULLY Edward will be there to help her pick up the pieces!! Thank you sooooo much again and hope that the next update won't be sooooo long in between!!! Amazing chapter and the words that you put to paper...:)

Carol said...

I'm so happy to be reading an amazing update to this story. These two are so damaged and are trying so hard to rise above it all..I'm hoping they can do it. Thanks so much for a great chapter.

none said...

thank you so much for the update :)

kni nut 123 said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for updating!!

Because I'm greedy... Will you be updating regularly or will be waiting awhile again?

alba dolores gutierrez said...

Ohhhh jada, thank you so much for updating, and i feel like i had to talk to Isabella's character and tell her to pleaseeee ,try harder, and you please jada dear i need to knw, we need to know more about her life with the bitch rene, and i'm so happy they are getting closer, and i can't wait for the next chapy, but .. i will not going to nagg for it okay ?? heheheh mwah <3

aarp said...

Every time a new chapter is added, I reread the entire story. I know this story better than The Pledge of Allegiance.

It is the best in all of Fanfictionland.

Molli Monroe said...

My heart is in your hands with this one. Wonderful writing. You are amazing!

kat said...

"He's the only one I have"...to me, Bella's comment said it all. She's finally realized that she's not an obligation on Edward's part, she's not being ignored or looked over, he doesn't treat her with indifference. She needs that. She values him and his place in her life and she's finally giving herself permission to care about hi, She has for a while, but now she recognizes it and gives herself permission to feel that way.

I love her overature at his place. Always, Edward is the one to initiate any kind of meeting they have. I know that she was reaching out to him to make him feel better and to stay connected. It was her first step towards voluntary friendship with him.

It did my heart sooooooo good to see this update. I follow you on twitter, so I knew it ws coming. I know that RL gets in the way but I'm selfish enough to encourage you to not make us wait another year for the next chapter! Loved it so hard!!!!!!!

Evelyne-raconte said...

It's very nice to have you back, and a real pleasure to read a new chapter of FYW. I wish you all the best for 2013. Take care of you and come back soon.

Penny said...

Omg I am sooo glad you are back. God I have missed this story. Please don't make us wait so long next time. Chapter was freaking awesome. I feel so bad for Edward who is opening up to Bella at least when she asks him questions. I just wish Bella would open up to Edward about her past. I wish Edward would reach out to Esme. She loves him so as is obvious by her constantly trying to reach out to him. It must break her heart to have no contact. I hope that changes soon. This man needs his family so much and he seems so lonely. I hope they can both find the healing they need to mend the broken people that they are.

HopeStreet said...

I have re-read different parts of the last chapters maybe once a month while checking current bookmarks. It's so nice to have a new update to read.

These two have so much in common, though one expresses their emotions outwardly while the other absorbs them. Being friends is a good start for Bella since she avoids being a friend to anyone. I hurt for Bella. I don’t know why she tries so hard with Renee. I don’t think she’ll ever get what she’s looking for from her.

lynard69 said...

Bella needs to give a little more. I still hate that she justifies her lashing out to hide her issues.

Nancy said...

Thanks for updating and making my Tuesday better! I was so happy seeing this in my inbox that I stopped everything I was doing just to read it. There is still a lot of mystery and unanswered questions. It just keeps you coming back for more. Hope you update again soon.

Blondemel47 said...

Absolutely fabulous!! Fabulous writing too. Welcome back Roughie & Bella!!! (& Jada of course)!!Thank you so much for continuing this story - made my day when I saw the news this morning. I feel so invested in these 'guys'. My heart breaks for both of them but love how they're trying to move forward. Bella did really well to go over to his place & then make the offer of a breakfast meet up on Saturday. Slyly done - I loved it. She's slowly realising the feelings she has for him.... it'll take time but also guessing she's missing the intimacy of a relationship.
That could be interesting as I think she'd like him to take control & guessing Ed will be nervous.... but am so looking forward to getting there (hopefully)
I love how you're not rushing into anything tho but covering the emotional side of things first. Fabulous writing - so looking forward to more. Look forward to more Waveward too when you have the time - but praying for more Roughie more so. Take care
Blondemel47

FanFicCrazy said...

OH how I have missed Roughie.. I love him so.. I'm sucker for a broken man and even more for one trying to make it right.. Good for B for trying to help herself. What a fucking bitch Renee is.. UGH

Welcome back Jada! XO

frekles said...

omg-loved the update and the progress they are making. Just want to read more, so please keep going for us. This is one of the best stories I have read. It sparks the curiosity, the need to feel and know what is going on...your writing is fantastic. Never question your abilities or ideas.

Lovingrobpatz said...

Hallelujah!!! I was thinking about this story just last wk and wondering when we're u going to update. I'm so glad you did!!! I had to go and read the last chapter to really refresh my memory, but oh I'm so glad you are back!!! The shift in their relationship it's so palpable and I'm happy to see it and almost taste it. I'm glad Bella has decided to extend her lil olive branch to Edward. I feel so bad for him. He is so damn lonely, and he has changed. I can't wait for the next update, whether its next week or in a month, or six ;). See ya soon I hope

RocknElixir said...

You wouldn’t break my heart would you, Ms. J., cause suddenly, the stakes seem so much higher than they did just a chapter ago.

While I feel for Edward, I fear for Bella. She’s so alone in the world and has been subjected to a lot of trauma in the form of emotional abuse and neglect. What would happen to her if her only friendship fell apart? Does Edward understand the immensity of what he has set into motion here? I’d love an Edward POV right about now.

Thank you for this amazing update. I loved this chapter. It was so well written and moving. (The editing was also the best it’s ever been.) You really drop a reader right into the action, or should I say emotion? I feel like I’m watching your characters in close up, and I love them, warts and all. I can’t wait for more. But I will. xox

nkubie said...

While I won't pretend I didn't miss this story, I am just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to updating. I'd be a hypocrite if I complained. I'm just glad you're here now. I'd almost forgotten how much I love your words and the way you put them together. :)
___________________

And though he's done this before, only to return again, something about this morning feels different.

Permanent.

The thought causes me to shoot up from the bench and go after him. I can think about the whys later. --- Although she's not willing to explore, at that moment, why she doesn't want him to leave, it's such a big step for here that she's admitting it at all, let alone stopping him. She's making progress.

_____________________

And speaking of progress, Bella going to Edward's condo is a really, really giant step in healing them both.
______________________
I say everything as it comes to me; random fragments of memories I'm unaccustomed to embracing. It hurts and heals all at once to breathe life into them. I don't know if it makes sense to him, but I don't let that stop me. --- I felt so proud of her for opening up like this. This is the first time she's really opened up, verbally, to someone else.
______________________

Although there is still the detachment from Bella, it's such an ingrained behavior, it will take a lot of time and compassion for her to heal. She needs that human contact, connection, to allow herself to feel. But she's recognizing that in herself now and that too is progress.

_______________________

I saw the little bits of Roughie here, but I love Edward's progress as well. While his anger and control made for some very hot, sexy scenes early on, I don't think I could continue to see him that way throughout the story and stick with it. His evolution and apparent anger management issues needed to come about to make this a journey of healing for both of them. They're certainly on the path now. Making real strides. I love that!!

I will wait for as long as it takes for the next update, though I hope it's sooner rather than later. I really hope your muse finds you and stays with you!

xo
Nan

Cote de Texas said...

despite it being so long, i got right back into it - didn't even need to read the last chapter because of the short update! And boy, it really is a great one - because you took us back to the penthouse and we remembered the sex up against the window! the chaise! the bed! the hall! and it really was a reminder of where they were and they are now. and shock - hasn't seen his family in five years!!!! whoa. shocker.

anyway - you did good Jada. i'm begging you to give us a update tomorrow, but i know that won't happen. damn it!! but hurry anyway. I am so ready for the smexing to happen again!!!!!!!!

Joni

nkubie said...

I've never been anyone's Josie, and I'm nobody's Julie Graham. --- I forgot to mention how much this broke my heart, but it really, really did. I really want Bella to become Edward's Julie Graham. Obviously not as a daughter figure, but I want her to become to him someone that he cherishes and that he want her to feel that. I want her to feel that! So, so much!

Edub1973 said...

Excited and anxious...what I feel when I see that an update is finally available.

Consumed...I read and I hear nothing, see nothing and feel nothing but Roughie and Bella.

Pained...they are both so obviously hurting that I feel physically stunned.

Impatient...wanting Bella to make some type of move, say or do something MORE to move into further and/or more significant communication with Edward.

Greedy...given the length of time between the updates I just WANT more - more chapters, more time to see the evolution, more communication, more...touching - a fist bump, a pinky swear...something.

Afraid...that there will be several more months before we peek back into the lives of these incredibly flawed characters.

Hopeful...that the responses to your update spurs you into updating soonest.

Ginger said...

Thanks for the update, i love this story and am anxiously awaiting the next update, i love your characters and all the flaws they have, so many stories are of perfect edward and bella, i sincerely love this story....

boogieboo71 said...

I expressed my happiness for the update on twitter earlier, but this is the official area! Thanks so much for the update, I really missed Roughie and am glad to see him again. It doesn't matter how long it takes to update, "I'll be right here" (said in my creepy ET voice) waiting patiently. Your writing is wonderful so go ahead and take your time! Now I'll go sit quietly waiting for the next update.

Boogieboo71

JanShanFlo said...

Thank you for updating and sharing your story with us.

CullenBeauty said...

More! Please do update soon, this was great :)

bella ami said...

I will ALWAYS return to FYW!!! The mystery is way too intriguing to just flounce!
Wonderful chapter!
xoxox
ba

~Elli~Iris~ said...

Wow! Shock! So glad you found your muse again Jada. :-) I've missed not so Roughie anymore and Isabella. ;-)
Mjo progress. His wee daughter, not his by seed but by heart. How devistating to lose a child from such lies. It created the monster in him. A monster now tame, or on it's way to being tame. He is trying. He has a long way to go. But Isabella is in his heart some how. The onl one beside his mother that has evr shown him any care or smpathy besides what he put them both through. Isabella is beginning to heal too. Keeping it all buried meant she didn't deal with the feelings or resolve what he did to her. What she alloed him to do to her. What she thought in some way that she deserved. She got strong the only way he knew how, and that was to deny it every happened. It was something she endured to get through school. But also a part of her enjoyed it which seems to scare the crap out of her. And part of her felt for the broken man that she couldn't blend with the controling asshat. To know what she was sorry for. Sorry she didn't help him despite what he had done to her. The guilt that he needed help. She has a heart despite what her family did to her. The inddiference of a mother that she still "tries" to reach and a father that is too painful to recall. And edward with Esme trying every day, and yet he chooses to try to mend fences with Isabella first? What does that say? He won't let his on loving mother in. Yet. I hope it is yet. But he wants to resolve his past with Isabella. They both have unresolved feelings of passion, anger, fear, and maybe more? Could thre be more? Could they start as friends? Would it. Can It be MORE?
I hope to find out. :-)
Thanks for the new chapter in the new year! I'm glad you found the words and hope more come to you along with the time to put them down.
Now come over here, bend over, and prepare for your love tap. >;-)
Iris~Elli

sony said...

gracias por actualizar esta historia me gusta y quiero saber en que acaba.
por favor no tardes mucho en publicar el pxocimo capi.saludos

Lizde said...

Mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I still love the story so I was happy there was an update. Surprised too because I was sure you bailed on it and I'd pretty much accepted that. I'd like to be happy about this, but I can't shake the feeling that this will be it until 2014 at the earliest, and I'm kind of kicking myself for letting myself be drawn in again.

As for the actual content of the chapter. I'm glad she's trying to be a friend. That's progress. What I'm really looking forward to is when she finally starts talking about herself. She managed to successfully avoid it this time around, but he did say he wants to know who she is. That means actually letting him in. That's the chapter I'm holding on for. I hope someday I get to read it.

Mariana Frias said...

You make me so happy beyond happiness I am so glad you are still with this story... So thank you thank you thank you :)

tigger1 said...

So thrilled to see that this updated... still so complex and fraught with tension. Small baby steps have been taken. Will they ever be able to open up fully and help each other heal?
Thanks for continuing this!
EE

flyrbrd said...

Yay! So glad you are back! I love the progress they are each making. I can't wait for more ;)

Babsie said...

I've re read the story so far, amazing how you can miss little details. I'd love to hear Bella/Renee part of their story. I suppose all will be revealed in good time. Thanks for the update. Babs x

Rory said...

I was so surprised, but pleasantly so, to see your update. I really enjoyed reading it. I hated reading that Bella hasn't given up on her mom calling her back yet. I feel so sorry for her whenever I think of how alone she is and how much her parents both let her down. I am so glad that it seems she realizes that Edward is becoming the man he used to be before his daughter was taken away from him... that he is not the cruel man he was who hurt her anymore. It is totally realistic to me how gradually Bella is willing herself to take a chance on Edward given their history and hers too. They are both so damaged, but something stronger than both of them is drawing them together. Hope Bella realizes that she must be important to Edward since she is the oly one he has allowed himself to reach out to. I hope they can communicate a little more in the next update and I am looking forward to them working through their pain together and learning to trust each other...to love each other. Then maybe they will be able to reach out to Edward's family and he can make amends. Bella deserves to have a loving mom like Esme and if Edward and Bella get closer maybe he can help her let go of Renee once and for all. Thanks for the update.

MARTHA ORIZ said...

LA UNICA QUEJA O SUGERENCIA ES QUE ACTUALICES PRONTO POR FAVOR YA NO NOS ABANDONES POR MAS TIEMPO GRACIAS Y ME ENCANTO EL CAP SALUDOS CUIDAT HYASTA PRONTO

Sri Fanfic said...

Hey jada!

I finally read the story, I've been meaning to read it since ages, I'm a little awestruck to be honest.

There is so much that draws me in this story, I was aghast at Edwards callousness, Roughward was not easy for me to handle when this started. The sex scenes were amazing, very very well written because its so much easier to write a likeable Edward than it is to write Roughward.

But then I saw peeks into the man he was before, man who at that time appeared to have lost his baby girl. That broke my heart, I was so sad for him, not sad enough to like him even then because his cruelty was just not easy to ignore.

I started seeing him as a human after the 5 year leap, after I saw him trying to make amends. But this chapter really surprised me because I wasn't expecting him to be not in touch with his family.

But I guess somewhere it makes sense, he doesn't really know Bella, its easier to start making amends with her. He doesn't kniw the magnitude of how much and how deep he cut her unlike his parents who he knows he destroyed.

Bella, she a different kinda heartburn altogether. My heart weeps for that girl, no deserves what sahe went through.

You're an amazing writer jada, this is a brilliant story. I'm now going to be a part of the gang of ho's that bug the shit outta you for updates.


hugs you tight~

all my love
~sri

misshemrich said...

Please, please, please tell me there's an update coming soon! This story has just gripped me and won't let go. Is it crazy to think that they will eventually kiss or something?? *sigh* :D I love this story!!! I've read it all in a 24 hour time frame! Haha ;)

Debby said...

These are two very lonely people with sooooo much history between them.....together and separately. I feel so much empathy for them. Good job Jada....you have weaved Edward into someone to feel sorry for.

So glad to see this update....it was like running into a long lost friend....needed to do some catching up with but then it was all get caught up on what is happening now with promises of seeing each other soon.

Take care....thanks for sharing this intriguing story:)

lux123 said...

kdjfldajkjjdkl HAPPY-CREYINGGGGG bc firstly, you updateddd omggg (so LTP rn) and secondly, bc i felt like this ch was chock-full of bright fucking glimmering hope for Bella and ol’ Rough Rough :’3 :’3 :’3

i love that their tumultuous past and its scars are slowly being assuaged through this newfound connection they’re decidedly exploring, albeit hesitantly. but this is a novel thing for both. and sweet jeebus, it is painstakingly angst-ridden carnage on my poor, poor, gooey heart, but their progress and the possibilities of their future make it soar too. so i suppose i forgive you for your angsty-slow burny ebilness. ::hides bitchface::

“Because there's a finality in the space between us. It's as tangible as the trees and the grass and the water.” - ::heart clench:: ;____;

o O and one more thing....yk i def be fittin into both dem categories, but why yew be tellin ppls to report to yer pantalones when we both know yew no wear any?..

luv,
butternutter's licious

kamala23 said...

holy moly
thank you for updating
im obsessed.

i didnt think it'd happen
this was a bit like banging an old injury though.. you almost got over it and it was ALMOST out of your mind and then BAM. shit. that's there. and now i'm obsessed all over again.
so, no pressure, but ohmygod please update immediately
this storys so much more dynamic than i'd initially given it credit for. be proud. and be WRITING PLEASE!! xkam

MDtwiwriter said...

So glad you are continuing this story because it has haunted me. No really. I could never figure out why Bella kept subjecting herself to Edward's cruel treatment of her because it was so much more than the money. Plus what could turn Edward into such a monster and fuel his anger towards his family. There were clues but nothing that put all the puzzle pieces in place. So to get a glimpse into those answers feels really good.

I, like Bella, can't believe he has had no contact with his family since the incident especially since it's clear he has changed. These two seem so alone, it's tragic to walk through life with no one to love you.

When I first started reading this story I never thought I'd want these two to find comfort in each other. But here we are. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more updates soon.

Courtney said...

Ooh and now we know who Josie is. Poor Edward. And he doesn't keep in touch with his family either. That man needs a hug...by Bella, with her legs too. Lol! I Loved the lunch scene between them. Can't wait to read more. Thanks again bye for now.

Twi'd N True said...

Thanks for updating! It took me a while to read because I'm a bit obsessed with another fandom now, but I will always come back to this story until you finish it. This is an epic story and there seems to be a lot more to go. You're an amazing writer and I hope the inspiration to keep writing this stays strong. Much love <33

jbquinn said...

This was so worth the wait!

Heather Willis said...

It took me awhile to finally be able to read the update, as usual I loved it! I just love the way you write. Please let there be another update soon!!

BookWorm said...

Thank you! I almost cried when I whent to your blog and saw that you had posted a new chapter!! Love it. Again Thank you!!

Sandra

KD said...

God, so incredible. What a relief to know more, so thrilled by this update. Edward faced a horrible experience having his beautiful child torn from him. Bella is finally figuring out just how broken she is herself as well. Getting those flowers from the Grahams, recognizing the pain it causes to watch other mothers and daughters with loving relationships. She never had that, and the pain burns. What a pair these two are! Loving this, and will hold on with two hands awaiting future updates..anytime! Thanks, Jada.

Ѽ Hσɳɛy Cullɛɳ Ѽ said...

Thank you for updating!!! I saw it just the other day... I never stopped hoping you would continue this story... Please, please, please don't take as much time for the next update!!!
Take care *

bella stew said...

OMG he hasn't talked to his family since the wedding? That's awful... So Esme has been trying to reach him? Yes? Will Bella be the hero and reunite everyone? Not sure if it't this kind of story but I'll take it! lol

Since I received the story on my inbox on my way out to work and got mad cause I couldn't read it, I've been avoiding reading this. Maybe it's because the sooner I finish the longer the wait for the next one... *pouts*

IslandWomon said...

I just re-read from Chapter 1 and I must say this is one of my favorite fics! You write beautifully and I am loving being in Bella's head throughout this adventure in troubled mind town.....thank you for the update and I will anxiously await the next....I also will be happy to purchase this when it becomes a published novel and will happily watch as you become a well loved author!

despoina said...

hey!after reading all the chapters in a week, i finally decided to comment!this story is just...something different.i love the way you write and how you express Bella's thoughts and feelings.I think it's one of the best fanfics i've ever read, the story and the characters are really interesting and i hope you write an other chapter soon..it's the best gift for me to open my computer and see that you posted an other chapter:)

MDtwiwriter said...

I check in periodically to see if there is a new chapter. Please know that we are still out here and look forward to you updates.

This is a very different story and unusual Edward and Bella. It is clearly a very slow burn but and interesting story. I hope life is being kind to you and look forward to more of this story.

Rainransom said...

I waited 4ever to read the update after I leaped into space when I saw you had updated. I just couldn't succumb to this story without knowing there would be more..but I finally did and it was beyond perfect. You are a magical...magnificient writer who uses words so swiftly to change the mood or moment that I hold my breath til I feel shifted within myself from lack of air and of course your storyline. That basically means this story still rocks. I love all the guessing you leave us to do yet I hate to have to hold out and wait for another update. This story is in my heart. I yearn to see how you will weave these characters hearts together while continuing to make us burn slowly through your stripping and saving words. Rock on to the music you love and write when you can. I know how life can be all consumimg. I can't wait to read their fates.. Thank you for still updating as this story is unique and spellbinding in so many ways.

bloom said...

When are you going to update???

Renae said...

I love this story and I just finished re-reading it! I do hope you don't abandon it. I agree with someone elses comment that I feel somewhat disconnected only because I fear you will never update but I am willing to risk the disappointment if it means ANYHIN new from this story. It is so good and unique it deserves to be told and read. I hope you find your muse soon! Thanks for writing, I can only imagine how difficult it must be.

Mary A. Cullen said...

Love, love, love your writing. I hope you will be able to update soon! Thanks for sharing.

Melissa S. said...

Omg!
Didn't even know this had even been posted!*!
I will re-read it again it opened my curiosities about these 2 again!!

This is good enough to be publised!!!
I would be at Barnes the day it goes on the shelf!!

Unknown said...

Such an amazing chapter--such breakthroughs! PLEASE don't wait as long as you did the last time to post...it's just such an amazing story. Pleeeeease!

Olivia White said...

This is such an agonizing story. Edward fell in love with Bella against his will when he used her, and didn't realize it until he saw her face from the back of the police car. Bella obviously has never forgotten the way he made her feel , but her feelings were tempered with self-loathing from the rejection of her mother after her fathers suicide. She has lived with rejection her entire life, and it has set a precedent as to the lack of relationships. They will both have to overcome fears to allow this relationship to blossom, but they are both trying. They could be a comfort to each other over the holidays especially. I love your story.

Avalinahbby said...

this did not disappointment! I see you haven't updated in a while hope you didn't forget Bout this fanfic it's just too good to be abandoned. I hope you give it justice and ill continue waiting for the next chap!

roxnrollme said...

As always, I love this fic!! I'm hoping you'll update soon!!!

Starfell said...

simply amazing! Jada you're a great writer.I'd love to see this fanfic as a movie script!

Kni Nut said...

I know you are working on the next chapter and I can't wait to read it.

BUT... Am I allowed to ask how many more chaps until he is banging her against a window again? Because those were some seriously hot scenes that you wrote.

If not just tell me to shudddup and to be patient. I will try my best to listen.

Lizde said...

I occasionally check Twitter to see if you're still writing. I can't tell anymore, sometimes you say a chapter is coming soon and then months go by and there's nothing. I get it, life has a tendency to get in the way. I'd really love to see how this story ends though, so I was thinking that maybe there's a different way to approach this. It seems like you love Twitter and gifs. So why not tweet the story? You tweet all the time, and you seem to love gifs. Why not either tweet it a little at a time with gif illustrations, or create a series of gifs that tell the story? It could be really cool, and I've never seen it done before. This could open up a whole new way of writing fics. You wouldn't have to try to block it out as discrete chapters. If you create a basic outline so that you have a path to follow you could just let the story flow along and just post it as the words come to you.

honeycrunch said...

It is so sad that this beautiful story has not been updated for such a long period of time :-(((

iloveed said...

Please, Jada!!!
Keep going with the story.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,

P L E A S E !!!!!!!!!

iloveed said...

Please, Jada!!!
Keep going with the story.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,

P L E A S E !!!!!!!!!

Penny said...

Well we are coming up on a year now since the last update. I hope that means that is the magic number and one is coming. Please!!! I know I am not the only one who needs an update on this story. I think about it all the time wondering if this story will ever really be completed. I know real life gets in the way I just hope you are okay and everything is good in your life right now and Roughie will come back soon. Please!!!!!!!!!!!

Ccaajjaa said...

Wow, oh wow I couldn't beieve it when I saw an update & a great one, I do feel for your E & B. Not so long next time pleeeeaase.

Carissa said...

Please come back. I have fallen in love with these characters. They are so alone and so hurt. I have to see them getting some redemption. Please come back. I hope you are well and nothing bad has happened to keep you away so long.

Renae said...

Jada,
Just wanted you to know your fans are still out here waiting for an update. I LOVE this story and would love to see how you would finish it. This is one of the best tortured love stories I have read in FF. Please don't give up.

Renae said...

Jada, I just want you to know your fans are here waiting. I love this story and would love to see how you finish it.I would love to get an update. I hope you are well and find your mojo for these two tortured lovers/friends.

Gabriela said...

Hey Jada,

I had this craving the last couple of nights. It's actually funny because I just felt like I needed to read about this two again LOL I reread the last few chapters and I'm in love with both of them. I don't mean the puppy love because I want them to be together(cause that's all good and I do want it to happen) but I mean the actual individuals. They are so complex and they are trying to work through their own issues but at the same time they need someone to connect with. It's just... I love it. It's slowly becoming a friendship :)I hope you can update soon. Please don't forget about us. We miss them ;)

Laura said...

Just read your whole story again (not that I forgot much even though I have been reading it for three years). It's funny; looking at the dates you updated, I can clearly remember where I was at the time that I opened up my email in excitement. Take as long as you need in updating; we are all patiently waiting, and enjoying your wondering words already written over and over again!

iloveed said...

I'm happy to find you again, Jada.

Please, We are waiting for you... You know it!!!
We miss you. I miss you. I miss Roughie.

Muse said...

I still love you and this story and no amount of time will be enough to make me think differently.
Pls come back and give us hope.

BellaBedazzled said...

Please finish this wonderful story.

iloveed said...

what does it feel to have so many people waiting for your return? If you're not planning to finish the wonderful story, would be very nice to have a comment from you. It's very sad to be waiting and waiting... Feels like those old boyfriends who don't want to know anything more about us and made his life without us.
Sorry, but I fall in love with your story.

where dat update at though? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
where dat update at though? said...

JADA. Gurrrrl. I don't know if you'll read this seeing as you HAVEN'T UPDATED IN OVER A YEAR MHMMM (I have never been so hurt btw) but lemme just enlighten you. About three things I was absolutely positive: First, I had never waited so long for an update in my life. Second, Jadalulu had a gift- and I didn't know how dominant that gift might be, but I'd be damned if I didn't get a damn update soon. Third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably obsessed with Jadalulu's Fold Your Wings and I would haunt her from the grave if I died before she updated. Jada. It's been about 84 years. Damn, it's been so long that I can feel the gray hairs coming, never mind that shit I think I see wrinkles. You're about to be in trouble gurrrl. This is serious. I should start writing my eulogy because it feels like a whole damn century done passed since the last update, ok my time on earth is about to be up so please stop being stingy with those updates. I'll be waiting for that weave-snatching writing bye.

honeycrunch said...

Please please please let us have an update. We have been waiting so patiently. Please continue this wonderful story, Jada. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAASE

jbinsf said...

I check every few months for an update. Your story is genuinely one of the best I've read and i have read hundreds of fanfic stories. If we, the other commentators above, can do anything to help you get back to this story just let us know. We all love you and your creative talent.

Renae said...

I 100% agree!! If we as readers can inspire...bribe.....beg.....anything. This story is to great to be left unfinished! I am so glad I am not the only one stalking the story.

honeycrunch said...

Hey Jada, would you like to make us a REALLY great AND wonderful Christmas present - the most beautiful present I can imagine? Yes? Please update your story and you would make me so so so so so so happy for Christmas... Please Jada. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAASE

Bryna said...

So, every once in a while I check in here. I really think that a new chapter will happen. This story is too...too completely compelling to just hang out there. So I keep a little piece of hope tucked away, just in case...

iloveed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iloveed said...

WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? WHERE IS JADA? P L E A S E . . .

honeycrunch said...

Jada updates "Kill the Lights" but does not update FYW... what a shame.

Renae said...

I am still stalking FYW and still patiently waiting.....Love the story and all the comments that everyone is leaving for Jada. Please ... Please ..Please update or at minimum leave us a comment...let us know what you at thinking. We would love that! We love the story and I will wait as long as needed to see it completed/updated. My imagination is not as good as yours. Looking forward to anything you give us. xo

shaz ginns said...

I hope that one day you are able to finish this story. Good luck with all of your writing.

iloveed said...

http://www(dot)jadalulufyw(dot)blogspot(dot)com

Let's say “Hi!“ to Jada... to make her remember we are waiting for her.

Debi Nagle said...

So (not) very patiently waiting. Please don't forget us!

KazM77 said...

Just came across this again and was wondering. Do you think you'll get the chance to finish it. Enjoyed the story so far, would love to finish it. So much going on, the mind boggles :)

KazM77 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Hi! I just wanted to leave you a little note of encouragement to remind you that there are lots of fans out there still anxiously awaiting your return and your words. I hope that you can continue, but thank you for what you've written so far. It's been exciting!

Dove said...

Dang it...I was hoping this was finished. Read it in like 3 days..now I'm waiting for more :(
Hope you do finish it.

Suzy Freeman said...

Wow! I didn't realize I missed an update. What a treat!

Unknown said...

Best fanfic story I've ever read, and I've read a crapload... Such a shame it's only halfway written...

Karla Monge said...

Please finish this!!!!!

firefly7727 said...

I read all of these chapters in the past two days and got really sad when I realized they stopped. Please update!

MsHyde said...

This is really one of the best stories I've ever read. Really bummed it's incomplete. There's still such a long road ahead to themselves and to each other for the both of them, would've loved to follow that journey. Is there any chance you'll continue writing?

Kitkatt said...

Please finish😙 i feel like Bella on the brink unable to ride out my orgasm lol

Kitkatt said...

I am so obsessed with this story! Thank you for sharing and I know you will finish it, your an awesome writer. I will check and wait for another chapter, hands down the best fanfic I have ever read

nantucketyaya said...

Hello Jada,
I just thought it would be great to extend the sentiments of everybody who has ever read your work that we will read whatever you write. We have a soft spot for Roughie and would throw a TWIFic reunion of all the old gals upon it's completion!
Fond wishes wherever you are! Have a great day.
Jen
(Songirl)

Debbie Woodworth said...

Just found your blog and this story. Did you abandon it? Please finish it I was so enjoying reading it.

BellaTesoro said...

The first time I read this story was in 2011 and for some odd reason I came looking for it again. To see if by some chance I'd missed an alert. Sadly it is as abandoned as this Bella and Roughie are. I'm equally concerned for these incredible characters you've written as I am for the writer. I can't imagine what would cause an author to leave such lovingly crafted characters and story but I do know it's not my business. Certainly you have a real life that trumps your reader's desire to complete this story. And so I will leave you with positive thoughts and prayers that all is well in your world and the reason you've not come back to finish this story is for sound reasons. Know I appreciate you sharing your work and wish you the best. And yes, of course I'd love for you to some day finish this interesting story.
Thank you!❤️

karen.follett said...

Came back on the offchance that you updated. Wasted my time, again.