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The Invisible Wife

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I shouldn't be feeling like this. I know it's wrong. I have absolutely every reason to be happy…a husband, three children, and a gorgeous home. I don't have to work, so I'm free to devote myself and my time to my family and friends. So why do I feel like I don't matter, like no one even sees me, and that if I were to disappear…no one would even bother to notice.

I used to be a happy person. I used to smile and see the joy in life. Now I force the smiles and fake the laughs. I'm not quite sure how things got like this, and I don't know how to fix it. I just want to be able to care again, feel something…anything other than sad and worthless. Maybe I should try talking to Edward again. I tried once but he was so caught up in his work I don't even think he heard me…

"Edward please…can't you see that I'm unhappy? I feel like I'm dying inside." I plead with him, watching as my husband barely pays me any attention as he continues to read over some new research report in our home office.

Sighing, Edward looks up at me. "What could possibly be so wrong in your life that you're unhappy Isabella? I work damn hard to provide for you and the kids. You have everything you could ever want. You don't have to work and we have a staff who maintains our home so you don't have to. Your days are free to do with as you please. Do you know how many people would kill to trade places with you Isabella? Just be thankful that you have such a good life, stop whining, and more importantly stop wasting my time over this trivial nonsense."

"Edward, you don't understand. I'm lonely. I feel like you don't even remember I exist half the time. You're either at work or on some business trip or locked up here in your office. The only time I see you is when we are at some event for the kids. I miss my husband. I need you back." I try to fight back the tears, but they fall anyway. I just want to scream at him, he won't even look at me when I'm talking with him, trying to get him to see that I need him to make me feel loved again, feel important. He doesn't look though, I don't even know if he heard me.

"Bella, if you're that lonely why don't you spend more time with Alice and Rosalie."

I wish I could make him see, the girls are too busy with their own lives. Rosalie never was one who was easy to talk to and she just opened up her third restaurant here in LA, and Alice just had the twins a few months back. My parents, well, all they tell me is to be a better wife and be thankful I have it so good so it's not like I could go seeking advice from them either.

"You know Alice has her hands full with the babies right now and Rosalie is far too busy with the restaurant having just opened."

Looking up at me, Edward huffs as he pulls his glasses off his face and tosses them on the desk.

"Then I'll buy you a puppy Isabella." He grits through his teeth, clearly getting frustrated by me trying to have an actual conversation with him. A tense silence settles over us for a moment as he just stares at me. "Is that all?" He questions, effectively dismissing me.

I knew he wouldn't listen or understand, so I don't know why I'm so upset by how he reacted. I rush out of his office, shutting the door behind me and head to my room where I lock myself away for the next hour as I cry. I cry for myself for feeling how I do, I cry because I feel like I've lost my husband, and I cry because I'm not quite sure how much more of this I can take…something has to give.

Two days after that train wreck of a conversation, I woke up to the sounds of a soft whimpering and scratching sound. Getting out of bed, I found that as usual Edward has already left for the day but sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed was a golden retriever puppy in a box with a red satin bow around its neck. Attached to the bow was a note, scrawled in Edward's messy handwriting that said "Hopefully now that there is another girl in the house you won't feel so lonely." I wasn't sure how to feel about what Edward wrote on the note, but I fell in love with that puppy all the same, and named her Clara.

Edward…my husband…I love him, really I do. I just wish he would actually pay attention to me once in a while, make me feel like I'm important to him. He hasn't made me feel like that since before Michael, our middle child was born. Edward worked for his father's company, Cullen Pharmaceuticals, or CP as it was more commonly known within the industry. Edward used to travel for work a lot, talking at doctors conventions and such trying to get more clients for his father. Most of the time I would travel with him, and we always managed to have fun together even though Edward was working.

Once I had our first son, Elliott, I started staying home when Edward would have to travel. We had both agreed it wouldn't be the greatest idea to travel with a baby, but every time Edward came back home to us was wonderful. He would look at me and Elliott like we were the only two things in his world. He would not only tell me he loved me, but would show me every chance he got, taking me out on romantic dinners, or just bringing flowers home for me at the end of the day. They would always be sunflowers, because I was the sun that lit up Edward's world. At least that's what he used to tell me…

Pulling up to the house after dropping Elliott off at school, my heart skips a beat. His car is here…Edward is home. I can't help the smile that breaks across my face as I rush to shut the car off and get inside the house. I have missed him so much. He had been away for a week in Georgia for some conference, but from what he said when we talked over the phone, everything had gone really well and Edward had managed to secure eight new clients for CP.

Bursting through the front door, I see my gorgeous husband waiting for me, holding a huge bouquet of sunflowers for me. How he always managed to find them, even when they were out of season was beyond me. In an instant, the flowers are left on the table by the door and Edward has me scooped up in his arms, peppering my face with kisses as he tells me how much he missed me. As much as I hated when he had to travel for work, I always loved the homecomings.

Edward carries me down the hall to our room and gently places me on the bed. "I missed you Bella" he whispers, his eyes full of love as he looks at me.

"I missed you too Edward" I murmur back before kissing him. We take our time with each other, reconnecting, our hands roaming and recommitting each other's bodies to memory before making love for most of the morning. Realizing the afternoon is drawing close and that Elliott would need to be picked up from school soon, I move to get up and get dressed. Edward reaches for me, pulling me back into his embrace as he nuzzles and kisses my neck.

"I missed you so much Isabella. I hate when I have to leave you and Elliott for work." He softly says into my ear.

Bringing my hand up and caressing his cheek, I tell him "I know Edward. But I know you love your job and Elliot and I will always be here waiting to welcome you home."

Placing a quick kiss on his lips, I hop out of the bed, head into the closet and throw on some clothes. Walking back into the room, I toss some clothes towards Edward, who is still lying in bed, a lazy smile on his face.

After getting dressed, Edward wraps me in his arms as he says "I love you baby. You're the best thing that ever happened to me."

Turning in his arms, I give him a kiss, but quickly end it, knowing that we have to leave soon to get Elliott from school so that we won't be late.

"I love you too Edward…always." I whisper in reply. "Now come on, let's go pick up our son. I'm sure he'll be excited to see that his Daddy is home.

Right around the time that Elliott turned six, Edward's father died, and he took over the business. He started staying at work longer, and going away on longer business trips, but I understood. Edward was determined to make a name for himself. He didn't want to ride on the coattails of his father's reputation. Edward worked so hard, and he managed to not only prove himself, but took CP to new heights, expanding the company to an international level. I was so proud of him for all he had accomplished. He was happy, and it made me happy to see him be so successful.

Shortly after the company's expansion, I got pregnant with Michael. That's when things started to change. Edward was happy about having another child and seemed proud about having another boy, but for the most part I was on my own during the pregnancy. My friends Alice and Rosalie helped with decorating the nursery. Edward didn't even know which room it was in until I went into labor and he needed to go grab the car seat to take with us to the hospital.

Edward had pulled away as my pregnancy progressed. I chalked it up to a combination of my hormones being out of whack and Edward just being busy with trying to take CP public on the stock market. It just seemed to me that for the most part, I only saw Edward on doctor appointment days or evenings when there was some gala or charity event that we were supposed to attend, and even then, it wasn't like it used to be. Once Michael was born though, it seemed like everything was good again. Edward doted on me and the baby, he smiled all the time, and he even took time off of work. He took off a full month after the baby was born, and then for the second month, worked from home. I thought things were finally getting better. I was wrong.

Edward seemed frustrated with me all the time, complaining about how I ran the house. He didn't realize how hard it was to take care of things when you are juggling an eight year old and a six month old, plus trying to maintain a six bedroom home and put dinner on the table. I had always prided myself on taking care of our home by myself. I never liked the idea of having someone else clean my house, especially when I knew I could take care of it myself, at least until I couldn't anymore…according to Edward that is.

We were supposed to be having several of the board members from CP over for dinner. Elliott was in the middle of a solar system project for school and Michael was sick with a cold and running a fever. In the midst of it all I lost track of time and forgot to get everything ready. Edward had left work early that day and came home to find me covered in paint and glitter glue trying to soothe a crying Michael, and Elliott had all of his things for his project spread across the dining room and kitchen. I had been so busy looking after Michael and then helping Elliott that I hadn't had a chance to even clean up the kid's stuff that was all over the house, let alone start dinner.

I look up, startled as I hear the front door slam shut. I check the clock and it finally dawns on me that today was the dinner with the board members. Edward told me he would be home early and he needed me to make sure the house was cleaned up and that the dinner was prepared for our guests. Nervously, I meet his gaze and I can see the anger written across his face. I try to stutter out some sort of an apology but am quickly cut off by Edward telling me one thing…"Don't." His voice is menacing, and I know better than to even try to explain at this point.

Quickly, I try to make the best of things and start trying to pick up the clothes, toys and various other things that are strewn about the den, kitchen, and dining room. In my rush to get as much done as possible I hear Edward talking to Elliott.

"Hey Buddy" he says, in a much happier tone than the one he addressed me with. "Mommy and I have people from my work coming over for dinner. Do you think you could be a super helper and take your project to your room to work on for now? I promise either me or Mom will help you with it later on if you need us to."

"Sure Dad" Elliott replies. He loves his father, and is always willing to do anything for him. I watch as Edward helps Elliott move his things to his room and then stop in Michael's room to check on him before coming back into the dining room where I am. I swear I can feel the tension rolling off of him. I listen as he calls a catering company, who after being told that Edward would pay triple the normal cost, agree to have dinner ready at the house by seven. After he gets off the phone with the caterer, he calls a maid service and offers them an obscene sum of money if they can send a crew to the house right away and have it ready before our guests arrive at six. Once he's off the phone, he just stares at me, his face devoid of any emotion, his demeanor eerily calm.

"Seriously Isabella?" He demands. "One night. I need you to take care of things for one night and you can't do that for me? You know how important these dinners with the board can be. Are you deliberately trying to ruin me?"

"Edward, I'm sorry. I just…with Michael's cold and trying to help Elliott with his project…"

"Just stop, Isabella!" he yells. "Clearly you can't handle taking care of everything at home, and now I've been left to clean up your mess like always. After tonight we are hiring a permanent house staff to take care of things. This is not open for discussion. I will not have your forgetfulness and incompetence ruining everything I've worked so hard for. You can take care of the children…unless you start screwing that up too and make me hire a nanny."

I don't know what to say or how to respond. My apologies will only fall on deaf ears. My vision blurs from the tears, and no matter how fast I try to wipe them away, they just keep falling even quicker. Edward's words have cut straight to my heart. I feel like the disappointment that Edward clearly thinks I am.

"Isabella stop crying, get Elliott and Michael settled for the evening and then go get ready for dinner. Our guests will be here in a few hours." Edward tells me, his voice cold and distant.

Afraid of getting him even more upset, I just nod and leave the room to go and do as I'm told.

I guess that's when I started feeling different. I felt so bad about almost ruining Edward's dinner. I tried apologizing afterwards, but he just dismissed the issue, saying it was done and over with already. But it wasn't done, he managed to find ways to remind me of how I failed him, how he had to come and clean up the mess I made. I felt like a failure. I had always been able to make Edward happy and take care of our home and now it seemed like I couldn't any more. I tried talking to Alice and Rosalie, but it seemed like they didn't understand or couldn't be bothered with my problem. Alice just told me to brush it off, that Edward was probably just having a stressful time at work, and that I should be happy about not having to worry about taking care of the house anymore. Rosalie just told me to talk to Edward about it since it was mine and his problem and not hers.

I tried to make the best of things, but each day when the staff showed up it was like it was a reminder of my failure, my weakness that I couldn't take care of my own house. Edward was staying later and later at work too so I was barely even seeing him anymore. It was as though we were just two people living in the same house. At one point we went three weeks without even seeing each other, and another time we went almost two months without even exchanging so much as a hello. He was always a good father though, and made sure he made time for the boys, took them places, and showed up for all of their important school events. It was as if he had forgotten all about me, as if everything else overshadowed me, and I was just lost somewhere in the background. I felt invisible.

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The more time that passed, the further Edward and I drifted apart. I was desperate for us to reconnect. I loved my husband and I knew that deep down he loved me too, we just seemed to have gotten lost along the way. I tried talking to my parents about it but all they told me was to make the best of things, that no marriage was perfect, and that I shouldn't talk about my feelings the way I was because airing my dirty laundry like that wasn't appropriate. I was so afraid of losing Edward. I couldn't imagine life without him. We had known each other all of our lives, and had been together since we were sixteen years old…

I was so excited about tonight…junior prom…and Edward was going as my date. We've known each other since kindergarten, and have been the best of friends. He was the one person who really understood me, who knew all my secrets and I knew all of his. He was the only person I felt like I could truly be myself around, but now I want more with him. I've felt like this for a while, every time he looks at me, or smiles or laughs I get butterflies in my stomach. Rose and Emmett tell me that he likes me too, but I'm not sure. I did decide though I'm going to tell him tonight, I just hope it doesn't cost me our friendship.

I picked out a purple dress for tonight, Edward always told me I looked pretty in purple. Looking out the window, I see Edward's car pull up and I try to look calm even though I rushed to the door. Just as he climbs the front steps, I open the door and can't help the cheesy grin that creeps across my face when I see how handsome he is. He's even wearing a purple tie to match my dress.

After he places my corsage on my wrist, my parents take what seems like hundreds of pictures of us before we leave and head off to the prom. Just as he helps me into the car I hear him whisper that I look beautiful. I can tell by the look in his eyes that he means it, and for the first time ever, I truly feel beautiful. Not because I was dressed up, not because some boy said it, but because it was Edward…he made me feel beautiful, and no matter what else happened, I would always remember this.

All night long, I keep trying to get enough nerve to tell Edward how I feel, but the timing never seems right, plus Edward seems nervous about something and a little standoffish. He's still a perfect gentleman, dancing with me throughout the night, and we manage to have fun, but I can tell that something is up with him.

Before I know it the prom is over and we're back in Edward's car heading back to his house. Our parents agreed to letting us have a small group of our friends get together afterwards, and Edward's parents gave the okay to use his house. Hearing the crunch of the gravel beneath the tires snaps me out of my thoughts and I realize I need to talk to Edward before everyone else shows up.

Edward parks the car in the garage and we head inside. We get to the living room, sit on the couch, and I take I final breath to try to calm myself before speaking.

"Edward…can I talk to you about something?" I ask nervously.

"Sure Bella. I um…I actually wanted to talk to you about something too." He replies, trying to avoid eye contact.

His wanting to talk to me makes me worry. Does he already know what I'm going to say? Is he freaked out? Does he not want to be friends anymore now that he knows? The little confidence I had built up leaves me in an instant, and I do the only thing I can think of…I ask him to talk first.

"Oh, umm well…you can go first Edward." I mumble.

He starts to say that I should go first but the look on my face and my shaking my head convince him to just talk. Taking my hand in his, he begins to speak as I try to contain the giddy feeling I have from him holding my hand.

"We've been friends a long time Isabella, and I don't think there's anyone who knows me better than you. I love that I get to call you my best friend but…" he trails off, seemingly struggling with his words, and I try to brace myself for whatever he's going to say next.

"…but I want more. I want to be able to call you my girlfriend." Edward whispers the last part so low I'm not sure I hear him. He wants me to be his girlfriend? I can't help myself and launch into his arms, hugging him tightly. Edward seems caught off guard by my actions, but hugs me anyway. Neither of us say anything for a while, but finally he moves me so that I'm looking at him.

"I take it that was a yes to being my girlfriend?" He chuckles.

"Nothing would make me happier Edward" I whisper back to him.

We were so happy together in the beginning, and for a long while afterwards. Edward was my perfect match. He could complete my sentences, and I could complete his. We always seemed to know what the other was thinking. Then again, things were much simpler when we were sixteen, back before having to juggle three kids and a home, before Edward had to run a Fortune 500 company, before everything fell apart and I was left feeling like a failure. We were both lucky enough to come from well off families so we didn't have to work, our parents gave us everything we wanted or needed.

Our biggest worry was making sure we did well on the SATs. The summer before senior year of high school was amazing, and the school year flew by for us too. We were even luckier because our parents seemed more than pleased that Edward and I had gotten together. Before we knew it we were heading off to college. Edward and I agreed that we didn't want to be separated from each other. We applied to the same schools, eventually deciding on Stanford. Most people will say their best memory of college is the day they graduate, but not me. Mine would always be the night in May of our freshman year, the night of our two year anniversary, when Edward asked me to be his wife…

Walking hand in hand with Edward, I snuggle closer into his arms as I think about everything he did for me tonight. The flowers, the romantic dinner, playing his guitar and singing for me. It was the perfect way to spend our anniversary. I still can't believe we've been dating two years. It seems like just yesterday that we were at our prom and he asked me to be his girlfriend. As far as I was concerned, it was the best decision I had ever made.

After dinner, Edward asked if I'd like to go for a walk in the park near campus, which led us to being here now, watching as the sun set. This park had become our spot over the course of the school year, Edward and I spending weekends here studying together or just relaxing. This place held so many good memories for us. Leaning into Edward, I kiss him on his cheek.

"I love you Edward. Thank you for such a perfect night." I whisper to him.

Stopping us in our tracks, Edward turns to fully face me as he speaks.

"Anything for you Bella, I love you. Being with you these two years has made me happier than I ever thought possible. I know we're still young Isabella, but I can't see my future without you. I don't want a future if I can't have you by my side. I want it all with you."

Edward drops to one knee and pulls out a box, opening it to reveal a diamond ring, causing me to feel as though the wind has been knocked out of my lungs. As I try to breathe, I feel the salt on my lips from the tears that are streaming down my face from the sweet things Edward has been saying, and the reality of what he's doing now.

"Isabella Swan, I love you. I don't want to spend another day without you. I promise to spend every day of the rest of my life showing you just how much I love you and just how much you mean to me. Will you marry me?"

My mind is reeling from the fact that Edward has just proposed and as I look at him, he looks so nervous waiting for my answer, like he's about to throw up or pass out or maybe both.

"Yes" I whisper. "Yes, I'll marry you Edward" I say again, more confidently this time since Edward seems to not have heard my first yes. As soon as he realizes my answer, he places the ring on my left ring finger and scoops me up into a hug, spinning me around as he peppers my face with kisses. I've never been happier than I am in this moment, and can't believe how lucky I am to be able to call Edward mine for the rest of our lives.

"Bella, you've made me the happiest man in the world tonight" he tells me as we head back towards campus. We walk back to my dorm in relative silence, the only things we manage to say to each other is an occasional murmured "I love you." There's so much I want to say in this moment – I want to tell Edward how happy he has made me, how much he means to me, and how lucky I feel for getting to call him mine, but I can't seem to form the words. I can only smile as I look at the ring on my finger as I try to wrap my head around the fact that I'm engaged, that Edward isn't my boyfriend anymore, he's my fiancé.

Our families were over the moon for us when they found out we were engaged. We agreed to remain engaged for two years, and decided to get married before senior year started. It seemed fitting seeing as we became a couple before our senior year of high school, that we would become husband and wife before our senior year of college. Everything seemed to be going perfectly for us. Edward and I had job offers waiting for us after we graduated, Edward working for his father's company, and me working as an art teacher at a private elementary school. Our wedding was absolutely perfect and everything I could have ever dreamed it to be. Every time I look at our wedding photo hanging on the wall in our bedroom, I think of how happy we were then, how carefree.

Looking back now though, I wish I could speak to my younger self, warn her of what lie ahead if only to make sure she was better prepared to handle it all, because I know that at the time if anyone would have told me just how far Edward and I would fall, just how far apart we would become…I never would have believed it. I thought Edward and I would always be happy together, I just never realized how wrong I was to think that, and I never would have thought that in reality, I would be left feeling more alone and isolated than I ever thought possible, questioning if my husband, the love of my life, still loved me or even knew that I existed anymore.

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I had always wanted to be a mother. Elliott was definitely a surprise for Edward and I, as I ended up pregnant with him right around our second wedding anniversary. Edward and I had enough money between both of our trust funds so that it wasn't a big deal for me to stop working once I found out I was pregnant. Edward was excited beyond belief about becoming a father. We did everything together from the doctor's appointments, to decorating the nursery, to the Lamaze classes and reading all of the books about pregnancy. He was the perfect father to be. Once Elliott was born, Edward was the perfect father and was more than helpful with diaper changes and 3 am feedings.

We both wanted to have more children, but decided to wait until Elliott was older and in school. As much as we loved our child, the thought of having more than one under the age of five running around the house was more than either of us could handle. Once Elliott started school, we decided to start trying again, but things got put on hold once Edward's father died and he had to take over Cullen Pharmaceuticals. Edward was busy doing damage control from his father's unexpected departure and trying to establish himself as the new head of the company.

Edward was working hard, and eventually it all paid off. He managed to expand CP internationally, and one night in the midst of our "celebrating" his success, the condom was forgotten. I was ecstatic to be pregnant again, and at first Edward seemed pleased as well. We both knew it was a bit of a crazy time for me to be having another child, but we still thought of it as a blessing. Edward seemed happy to know we were having another boy but it seemed however, that Edward's excitement would end there. As supportive as Edward was when I was pregnant with Elliott, he seemed to be the complete opposite with Michael…

"Thank you guys so much for helping" I say as I turn and face Alice and Rosalie. Looking around the now completed nursery, everything looks absolutely perfect. I'm glad the nursery is finally done, and not a moment too soon since my due date is about a week away.

"It's no problem hun. We were more than happy to help" Alice tells me as she offers me a hug.

"Bella you know we were happy to help you get the nursery ready, but how come Edward didn't help this time? When you were pregnant with Elliott he was barely letting you lift a finger to do anything." Rose asks.

As soon as the question is out of her mouth, I look away. I don't know what to say to my friends, how to explain that Edward has been so distant with this pregnancy.

"Oh Rose, you know how busy he is now that he's running things at CP. He barely has time to breathe anymore." I try to explain, trying to convince myself that what I'm saying is the truth, when I know it's a lie.

Shortly after we found out we were having another boy, Edward started pulling away. He would smile when the baby was mentioned, but he never asked about the doctors' appointments or anything like he did with Elliott. I would tell him about them and he would always just say that he couldn't come to the appointments because he had some business meeting that he couldn't miss, but personally I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that playing a round of golf with board members was more important than the doctor's appointment. After all was said and done, I think he only made it to half of the appointments, and even then he was usually late. When it came time to start the nursery he just told me to use the credit card to buy whatever I wanted and choose whichever room that I wanted for the nursery.

Sighing, I shake myself out of my thoughts and look over to Rose and Alice, glad to see that they seem to have believed the lie.

"OK girls, I think we've all worked hard enough. What do you say I order us some food and we relax for a while?" I suggest to the two of them. They readily agree and we head off to the kitchen to sort through the take out menus.

Several hours later, I'm awoken from my sleep when I feel my water break. I shake Edward awake telling him the baby is coming. It takes him a moment to realize what I'm saying, but once he does, he kicks into action…getting dressed, calling our friends and family, and arranging for one of them to come and stay with Elliott.

Edward helps me out of the bed and grabs my bag that I packed for the hospital. Just before we go to head downstairs to leave, I remind Edward to grab the baby's car seat and bag from the nursery. Nodding his head, he runs halfway down the hall before turning around and coming back to me.

"Which room is Michael's nursery babe?" Edward asks.

I try to fight back the tears, but my voice cracks when I answer him, telling him it's the room across the hall from Elliott's. Edward's question just reminds me of how distant he's been, that he doesn't even know which room will belong to our new son. Edward hears the change in my voice and sees the tears building up and asks what's wrong, but I play it off as just pain from a contraction, not wanting to start an argument about how he hasn't been an active participant in this pregnancy or marriage for the past six months.

We make our way downstairs, promising Rose and Emmett that we'll call them as soon as the baby is born so they can bring Elliott to meet his little brother. Edward helps me into the car before getting in himself and speeds off towards the hospital, steering with one hand while the other holds mine the entire way. As we drive, I look at him and I can see the excited smile on his face.

"I love you Isabella, always. Thank you for giving me another son." He says as he briefly looks towards me before refocusing his eyes on the road. His words are touching, and I can tell by the way he looks at me that he means everything he said. I can only hope that things are beginning to change, starting to go back to how they used to be.

We get to the hospital and are quickly moved up to the maternity wing and into a room. Shortly after we arrive our families show up and the doctor checks me, letting me know I probably had another hour or two before I would need to push. After several hours and lots of pushing, screaming, and crying, Michael Carlisle Cullen is born. Edward and I couldn't be happier, and I let my own tears flow freely as I watch my husband holding our new son as he looks at me with tears in his own eyes as he whispers softly to me "Thank you."

Once we brought Michael home, it seemed like everything was good again. Edward doted on me and the baby, he smiled all the time, and he even took time off of work. Edward took off a full month after the baby was born, and then for the second month, worked from home. I thought things were finally getting better. I was wrong. Once Edward started going back into the office, things slowly went back to how they were before the pregnancy. He worked long hours only to come home and continue working in the home office. I saw him briefly…in the mornings on his way to work, occasionally at meal times, or when we had required social events or school events for Elliott.

While Edward was home, it was easy to handle things around the house. He would watch Michael while I straightened up the house or would he would help Elliot with his homework so I could get dinner started. On weekends he would even take care of the boys so I could rest for a while. I guess he just didn't realize how hard it was to try and juggle everything on my own. Once Edward went back to working, I was the one who had to do everything…taking care of Michael, the house, helping Elliott with his school work, making sure dinner was on the table, running all the errands. It was a lot to handle, but I loved every minute it. I felt like I was born to be a mother, and I was finally coming to terms with the fact that Edward had said he didn't want more children, that he thought our two sons were enough.

Of course the house wasn't always perfect or dinner was a little late getting to the table, but all in all, the kids were happy and healthy, and Edward didn't complain too much so I thought I was doing a good job as a wife and mother. At least until the dinner debacle when Michael was six months old. That's when everything that I thought might be fixable came tumbling down. Sure Edward and I had had our share of arguments in the past, what couple doesn't, but this time was different. He said things, truly hurtful things that made me question every belief I held about myself, and he yelled at me, screamed at me really. It's a wonder that Elliott never heard any of it, but luckily as far as the kids and the public eye were concerned, mommy and daddy were still a perfectly happy couple. Things changed drastically after that fight. Every time something, no matter how small it was went wrong, Edward made sure to remind me of how incompetent I was, and how he always had to clean up my messes for me.

Eventually it became as if we were just two people living in the same house. At one point we went three weeks without even seeing each other, and another time we went almost two months without even exchanging so much as a hello. And although Edward was always a good father, and made sure he made time for the boys, took them places, and showed up for all of their important school events, it was as if he had forgotten about me, as if I no longer even existed on his radar. My biggest fear was losing my husband. I had always had him by my side, and didn't know what I would do without him, but enough was enough…I finally had to give in to the possibility that my marriage was dead and that I needed to try to move on without Edward.

Chapter Text

My parents were never really the understanding sort. When you come from families like mine and Edward's, you learn at a very young age how important your public image is. All my parents cared about was how we looked to the outside world. Problems were swept under the rug or money got thrown at them to make them disappear. I never saw my parents really be loving or affectionate towards each other. I think theirs was a marriage that happened only because my grandparents saw it as an acceptable match. Looking back now, the one true kindness my parents ever showed me was allowing me to marry for love.

Both of our families came from old money. Edward's father used the family fortune to found Cullen Pharmaceuticals, and as far as my family's money was concerned, it came from well-placed stock market purchases and business deals. Daddy was smart enough to invest his trust fund money in Apple early on and made a pretty profit from the investment. Suffice it to say that Edward and I wouldn't ever have to work a day in our lives if we didn't want to.

Coming from money carries certain responsibilities with it. Because of our financial status, we're expected to act a certain way, and associate with certain kinds of people. Our families are the ones who are always at charity galas, go to church every Sunday, and grace the society pages in the newspapers. I hated growing up that way. I was always so worried about pleasing my parents and doing the right thing and being perfect, that I'm surprised I didn't end up developing a severe case of OCD along the way. I guess that's why I should have known how my parents were going to react when I finally went to talk to them about the problems that I saw in my marriage to Edward.

"Isabella," my mother huffs. "I don't know what you expect from me or your father. These 'problems' as you call them are things you and your husband need to deal with, and I'm quite sure there isn't anything to worry about anyway. You always did have a flair for the dramatic. Are you sure everything is as bad as your making it out to be? I mean really darling, Edward is a good husband. He works hard, provides quite well for you and the children…maybe if there is a problem it's with you and your ability to be a good wife."

My father says nothing as my mother drones on and on about how wonderful Edward is, how he is a good husband. She just doesn't seem to get it though. She only sees the façade…the side of us that we display to the public. I'll give our parents credit for that though…they taught us well enough to know that regardless of what was really going on, we had to look presentable, look like an utterly happy couple when it came to stepping out in public.

I turn my head away from the two of them so they can't see the tears streaming down my face. Just once I wish they would really listen to me, really hear me and help me figure out what to do. Wasn't that what good parents were supposed to do? All I'm sure of now is that I don't want to be like my parents when it comes to my children. I just don't understand how my mother can sit here and listen to me pour my heart out, tell her how I feel like my husband has forgotten about me, how I feel like we've drifted so far apart from each other that I'm not sure if we could find our way back to each other, and still say that she thinks I'm being over dramatic or that the fault is mine for not being a better wife.

"Mom," I manage to whisper. "You don't get it. Edward's changed. It's like he doesn't even remember I exist. We barely see each other or talk anymore. Yesterday was the first time we said more than hello to each other in over a week, and that was just because we needed to talk about something regarding Elliott's school. I can't keep living like this mom. It's killing me inside. I think that maybe Edward and I might be better off if we get a divorce."

"Absolutely not!" shouts my father, finally reacting to what I'm saying. "Isabella, you know better. A divorce is not an option. You know how it would look publicly, and you know the Church's position on it. I will not allow my child to sully our good name because she's sad that her husband can't be at her beck and call. Just think of the field day the press would have with this! No Isabella, you will most certainly not be getting a divorce."

I hated this. I hated that my parents were more concerned with their image than me. Maybe that's why I fell so hard so fast for Edward. He was the first person who ever really paid attention to me, cared about what I wanted and needed, who wanted to see me happy. I think that's why this whole situation hurts so much, because I know who he used to be and who he is now is nowhere near the charming, loving man I had married.

"But Daddy…shouldn't I be allowed to be happy?" I question.

My mother responds before my father even gets a chance. "Of course you're allowed to be happy, but that doesn't mean you cause a spectacle that could be splashed across the newspapers while doing so. I thought I raised you better than this Isabella. You know how important our image is, and you should know better than to voice these sorts of issues out loud. These kinds of things are private matters. Whatever you issue with Edward is, be a big girl and figure it out, but do it quietly. It wouldn't be proper for these kinds of things to be aired out in front of the world for all to see."

After she's said her piece, my mother leaves the living room and heads into the study, effectively ending the conversation. Realizing I'm not going to really ever get them to understand, I quickly kiss my father on his cheek and make my way back home, where I end up crying myself to sleep.

After that colossal mess of a conversation with my parents, I thought long and hard about everything. I honestly couldn't care less what got said in the media if Edward and I got a divorce, but I was worried about the children, and even more so, how I would be viewed in the church. Growing up Catholic, there are certain things that get drilled into your head, and while Edward and I may not have adhered strictly to everything the Church had to say, I knew we both took our marriage vows seriously, and viewed them as not just a promise to each other, but a promise to God as well. We still attended Church each week, or when Edward was busy, I at least made sure to go with the children. I guess that's why in all my thinking about everything I kept hearing my father's voice saying 'you know the Church's position on it' over and over.

I struggled to try to sort everything out in my head. As much as I hated to admit it, my parents were right, at least as far as the Church's point of view was concerned. Divorce wasn't an option in the eyes of the church so I needed to try to figure out something, plus as I looked at my sons; I didn't want to make them have to worry about choosing between mom and dad. Things were always better when I was pregnant. Edward was more attentive, kinder towards me, and at least then he remembered that I existed. If only he would agree to try for another baby, maybe we could get things back on track again. I knew he wouldn't agree though, and I guess that's why I just chose to "forget" to take my birth control. I mean, no form of birth control is 100% effective, and hopefully once I got pregnant, Edward would be excited enough about the pregnancy to forget that I tricked him into it. The only problem was, Edward was so distant and barely home enough for me to even have a chance to get pregnant again.

It was almost two months after I stopped taking my birth control that everything just got to be too much, and Edward and I had a huge blow out. I couldn't stand it anymore and one night during dinner after the children were in bed, I just blurted out the question of whether or not he wanted a divorce. Edward was adamant that he didn't want one, that things were just hectic at work. I begged and pleaded for him to try to be home more and he argued that I needed to learn to be more understanding and more appreciative of how hard he worked to provide our family with a good life. We fought hard that night, throwing plates and glasses, but by the time it was over, Edward and I ended up in our bedroom, with me pinned up against the wall as he took me roughly. I reveled in it, and loved every second of it. It was the first time in a long time that I felt any sort of connection to Edward. Afterwards we fell asleep wrapped up in each other after finally really talking to each other.

Edward agreed to try to be home more and I agreed to try to be more understanding about the demands of his job. Little did Edward know that I would end up pregnant that night. As much as I had accepted that Edward didn't want more children, all I could remember was how loving, caring and attentive he was when I was pregnant with Elliott, and how he was home all the time after I had given birth to Michael, so I made the decision to stop taking my birth control in the hopes that having another baby might help get us back on track. Needless to say Edward was beyond pissed when I first told him and didn't come home for a week. When he finally showed up again, he was happier. He told me he was okay with us having another child, but then followed that up with the announcement that he had gone and had a vasectomy to prevent any future "accidents" and that he wanted me to get my tubes tied after the baby was born just as an added preventative measure.

My plan of the pregnancy helping me and Edward get back on track was quickly shattered. As distant as Edward was during my pregnancy with Michael, he completely ignored this one, only acknowledging it when people would offer congratulations. He never asked me about anything having to do with the baby, or attended any of the doctors' appointments with me except to find out that we were having a girl. He didn't even offer to help pick out her name. I knew better at this point than to even ask if he wanted to help with the nursery, so once again it was me along with Rose and Alice who got the room set up and decorated.

Looking around Samantha's nursery, I can't help but smile to myself as my hands instinctively wrap themselves around my stomach.

"Don't worry baby. Your Daddy is going to love you just as much as Mommy does." I say to my unborn child. It's the one truth I know for sure. Edward may not have wanted this pregnancy, but I know he'll love his daughter…even if he doesn't love me anymore, at least not the way he used to. Sitting down in the rocking chair in the corner, I just enjoy the quiet of the moment as I try to will the dull ache in my back away. I have the house all to myself with Edward away on another business trip and the boys spending the weekend with their Grandma Cullen at the lake house. Out of nowhere, I feel a sharp pain and can't keep the grimace off of my face. I've felt this pain before, I know what it means, and now I really wish I wasn't home alone.

Another contraction hits as I try to grab my hospital bag from my room. I'm frantically dialing everyone I can think of…Alice, Edward, Rose and Emmett…but no one is answering. I'd call my parents but they are off on a Mediterranean cruise. Grabbing my bag I make my way to the stairs and just toss my bag down to the first floor. Slowly I make my way down the stairs, stopping when another contraction hits. I'm not sure at this point if I'm crying because of the pain or because I have to go through this alone. Finally I make it to the car, and make two more phone calls, one to my doctor to let them know I'm on my way to the hospital and the other to Edward. When his phone goes straight to voice mail, I leave a message pleading with him to come home because the baby is coming.

After I get to the hospital everything is a blur. I'm checked into a room and hooked up to a fetal monitor, but shortly afterwards, the nurses are calling for the doctor and there is talk about heart rates, and breach position, and things I don't quite understand. My doctor tells me that he needs to move me to the operating room, because he needs to get the baby out quickly. I try my best to keep my fear at bay but the tears come anyway and all I keep asking for is to make sure Samantha will be ok and for Edward because I'm just too afraid to be doing this alone.

I start shivering in the operating room as everything gets set up, and a young nurse, I think her name is Bree, comes to me with a sad look in her eyes telling me that she wasn't able to reach my husband, but that Alice and Jasper finally answered and they are on their way now.

"Please stay with me," I beg her. "I'm too scared to do this alone."

Bree just nods her head, takes my hand and sits on the stool that's near my head.

Just after the anesthetic is kicks in, I hear the doctor telling me he's about to begin the c-section. A few minutes later I feel tugging and pulling before the doctor says "It's a girl!" After that, all I hear is silence when I should be hearing my baby cry.

Turning to Bree I ask "Why isn't my baby crying?" My voice laced with worry.

"I'm sure everything is just fine." She tells me, but I can see it in her eyes, something is wrong.

I'm not hearing my baby cry, the nurse hasn't brought her over for me to see her…all I hear are hurried and whispered words amongst the doctors and nurses until I eventually hear someone tell someone else "Page the NICU and tell them they have a new one incoming."

I turn to Bree again, "Is my baby ok? Please find out if my baby is ok."

Bree squeezes my hand once before leaving my side to go find out what's going on. I feel so exhausted from everything that's happened, that despite how much I try to stay awake to hear back from her, I end up giving in to sleep before I ever get to hear what Bree found out. When I wake up, I can tell at least that some time has passed, as the sun is beginning to rise. I'm in a different room than I was in before, and I immediately panic, wanting to know what happened to my Samantha. My screaming for a nurse and my constant ringing of the call button gets someone in my room fairly quickly.

The nurse who comes in asks me to calm down as she checks my IV and my vitals. All the while I keep asking about my baby. After she finishes making a few notes on my chart, she explains that Samantha wasn't tolerating the labor well and when she was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped fairly tightly around her neck, and that even though she is doing fine now, the doctors want to keep her in the NICU for a day or so for observation. I ask to see her, but the nurse tells me it's too early, and that the doctors wanted me resting in bed at least until the morning, so I will need to wait a few hours before they will let me see her.

The nurse leaves after this, and I'm unable to fall back asleep. Looking around my room, everything looks sterile and untouched. I can tell no one has come to visit yet, which brings on a new round of tears as I realize I'm still alone in all of this when in reality I need the support right now. I try to go back to sleep, but I can't, so I spend the next few hours watching the clock as I count down to when I can hold my child.

Finally nine a.m. comes and the nurse comes back to my room, offering to bring me to the NICU so that I can see Samantha. Getting out of my bed and into the wheelchair is painful as I feel the stiches in my lower abdomen stretch and pull. As I'm wheeled towards the NICU the nurse explains all the procedures I will have to go through before getting to hold Samantha. Once we get there, I scrub my hands and put on the required gown and head in so that I can meet my baby. As soon as I reach her, my heart stops. She's absolutely perfect and thankfully breathing on her own. The nurse helps get me situated into a rocking chair before handing Sam over to me. As soon as she's in my arms and I count her fingers and toes and see for myself that she is really okay, I feel like I can finally breathe again.

"Hi sweetheart," I coo at her. "I'm your momma, and I love you so very much."

I sit there, rocking and singing lullabies to her, just enjoying this time with her when I hear someone clear their throat. Looking up, I see Edward standing there, wearing a yellow gown of his own and looking like he hasn't slept in a week. His eyes have dark circles under them, his hair is a mess, he hasn't shaved, and from the looks of it, he's slept in his clothes.

I stop rocking the moment I see him, whispering out a faint "Edward…"

He rushes towards me, his own tears running down his cheeks as he wraps his arms around me and his daughter in a hug.

"I'm so sorry Isabella. I never wanted you to go through this alone. I got your message and got the first flight I could, but when I landed, I got a message from the hospital about delivery complications and the NICU. I've never been so scared Isabella. I've been such an ass this go around and I'm sorry. I don't know how I'm ever going to make it up to you."

Looking up at him, his gaze is focused on the baby. I know there's a lot that Edward and I will need to talk about, but now isn't the time.

Motioning for him to come closer I say to him "Edward, I'd like you to meet your daughter, Samantha Hope Cullen." He smiles at me as I hand him the baby, and looking at him and how he is looking at Samantha with nothing but love in his eyes, I can't help but hope that maybe there's still a chance for things to turn out alright.

Chapter Text

The doctors kept Samantha in the hospital for two days just to make sure everything was okay. Thankfully everything was just fine. No one really knew what caused the problems during my delivery; they all just said that these things just sometimes happen. I was never happier to be home than the day I got to leave the hospital with my baby. Edward had made arrangements with the Board of Directors at CP so that he could take an extended leave of absence. They all understood once they found out what had happened when Sam was born.

I think everything that happened was a wakeup call for Edward. We started talking to each other more, and we were really, truly communicating with each other. He admitted to needing to work on his priorities, and I admitted to needing to work on being more independent. Edward stayed home for three months with us, and it was some of the greatest time that we spent together as a family. He did occasionally show up at his office, just to keep track of everything, and occasionally would work a day or two from home, but for those three months, Edward's sole focus was on me and our family. Elliott and Michael loved having their dad around so much, and I think we were becoming a stronger family because of it.

Rose and Alice even noticed the changes in us, telling me when we would meet up for coffee to catch up how Edward and I seemed to be happier now more than we ever were before. It was true, we were. Things were looking up. There were still some cracks in our relationship that needed to be patched up, but I understood these things took time, we'd eventually get everything back to the way it should be. Edward had even agreed to see a counselor with me so we could work on our relationship together after I told him how I felt I was losing him and that I needed him to be a full partner in our relationship. The only thing he asked was that we kept the fact that we were seeing a therapist quiet, which I readily agreed to. I mean, it wasn't anyone else's business, so I had no problem with keeping it to ourselves. Our parents didn't even know.

Admittedly, I was nervous beyond belief when Edward said he was going to start working again. I knew we had made progress, but I wasn't sure we had gotten far enough in rebuilding us as a couple for things to stay on course now that Edward was going back to work. I worked hard to keep my fears and doubts at bay, not wanting them to invade my mind and sabotage the progress we had made so far. Edward was wonderful though. He made it home every night for dinner, spent time with the kids, and even made sure that he and I went out on a date night once a week. We were stronger than ever, and our therapist even said that it would be fine for us to move our sessions to an as needed basis. I guess I should have known better, seeing how good everything was going, that it wouldn't and couldn't last.

Just after Samantha's first birthday, Edward had to start working more often. It wasn't anything like how he used to be, but one or two nights a week, he'd miss dinner because of meetings at CP. I understood though, the economy was on a shaky footing and even thought the medical industry was relatively secure, there was still some damage control and some pre-emptive decisions that needed to be made. The straw that finally broke the camel's back though was when the economy completely and utterly tanked. It was a threat to CP's future. A crappy economy meant less people willing to fund or invest in the research that Cullen Pharmaceuticals engaged in to develop new drugs, a situation which could spell disaster for the company. Edward was back to working crazy hours and I could already feel everything we worked so hard to build starting to crumble around me.

I tried to stay positive, but Edward was so stressed from work, and I was stressed from trying to get used to completely managing three kids and a home on my own again now that Edward was working all the time, that the distance between us started to rear its ugly head again. I would attempt to make plans for Edward and I, or for all of us as a family, but Edward would just tell me not to bother, that he had too much going on at work that he needed to deal with. Within the blink of an eye, the old Edward was back. He made it to the kids events whenever he could, and as far as I was concerned…I was back to being unnoticed.

I tried asking him to go back to therapy with me, but he told me he didn't have time for that kind of bullshit when his company needed him, that his employees needed him to do his job so that he could try to keep them from losing theirs. After he said that I asked him what about what the kids and I needed, but he just scoffed at the question telling me that he would always be there for his children and that I had nothing to complain about since he provided me with a comfortable life.

He just didn't get it. I didn't care about how big the house was or the material things, or what kind of car I had to drive. I just wanted my husband back; I wanted to feel loved again. But the distance between us grew, the old cracks resurfaced, and seemingly, we were more distant from each other now than we were in the past. I tried to talk with Rose and Alice about it, but they didn't seem to understand my side of things, asking me what I expected Edward to do with the economy the way it was and him needing to do whatever he could to keep his company intact. Suddenly, I became the Debbie Downer in our group, and they started pulling away too. I can't blame them, all I ever had to talk about were my problems, and really…who wanted to listen to that every time we hung out.

I guess seeing my friends pull away was what made me realize how alone I really was. My parents certainly didn't understand or even care to try to, my husband was more like a phantom with how little I saw him, and my friends couldn't deal with me and my "insecurity issues" as they called them. I think this was when I started letting the darkness consume me. I started just running on autopilot. I stopped feeling, just doing whatever I needed to in order to make it through the day.

I slam my hand down on the alarm clock to stop its incessant beeping before getting up and out of bed with a sigh. As usual, the other side of the bed, Edward' side is empty, the only sign that he came home last night at all is that the sheets on his side are messy, indicating that he actually slept here last night. I make the bed quickly before shuffling to the bathroom to take a shower and get dressed. I quickly go through the motions of getting ready for the day, not even bothering to really check how I look in the mirror or make sure I look okay in what I'm wearing. It doesn't matter, no one notices me, no one cares.

Making my way down the hall, I check on Sam who is still asleep, and then make my way to Michael and Elliott's rooms. Grumpily, Elliott makes his way out of bed to get ready for school and help his brother get ready as well. After seeing that he's definitely up and moving and not just going back to bed, I head back to Sam's room, wake her up and get her dressed. I smile as she hugs me, I love my children, they're the only ones who seem to know I even exist anymore. Once Sam is ready for the day, I head downstairs with her and get breakfast going for the kids. Just as everything is ready, my boys come into the kitchen and sit down to eat.

Once everyone is done with breakfast, I pile all three kids into the car and make my way towards Elliott's school to drop him off and then to Michael's preschool to drop him off for the day as well before running some errands and heading back home with my baby girl. Walking in the door, I sigh as I look around the house. I hate this part of my day, where I'm truly and utterly alone. I love my little girl, but I need more than just the connection to my children. I need to feel like I actually matter to someone. I set Samantha in the kid's playroom so she can watch Sesame Street and turn on the baby monitor so I can try and straighten up the kitchen and get the laundry started.

I go through all the bedrooms, collecting the dirty laundry. Once I'm in the laundry room I sort everything and get the first load of wash going before making my way to the kitchen. I stop in the hallway, looking at one of our family pictures that hang on the wall. It was from when Samantha was six months old. It was my favorite picture that was taken of us that day. I'm holding the baby, Edward is holding Michael, and Elliott is in between us, one arm wrapped around each of us. We're all smiling in that picture, happy…I haven't really smiled or been happy in a long time. I'm not even sure I remember what happy feels like. Lost in my thoughts, I end up bypassing the kitchen and head to the family room.

Sitting on the couch, I look around the room, at all the pictures on the walls, shelves and tables. Memories of family vacations, birthdays, and holidays surround me, and yet, I can look at each of these pictures and even though there might be a smile on my face in all of them, there is just a handful where the smile is actually genuine. I feel the tears start to fall, and immediately get angry with myself for letting the emotions through. I've been so good with keeping them hidden and locked away. It's been so much easier not feeling, that now when my emotions make their presence known, I feel like I'm being shredded to bits by how overwhelming the pain is.

Curling up into a little ball, I finally let all the walls come down as a gut wrenching sob escapes my throat. My body shakes as I cry. I feel like I'm mourning because I'm surrounded by the memories of everything I had, everything I've managed to lose. I don't want to feel like this anymore. I can't take it; I need to find a way to make it all stop. I want to be able to lash out and scream and break things, but I can't, it isn't an option. Samantha is here, and the boys will be home in a few hours. Plus, Edward would notice I'm sure and then I'd have to listen as he complains about my leaving him another mess to clean up and how I need to just stop being dramatic and moping around about every little thing.

I can hear through the baby monitor that Sam's show is almost over, and try to get myself back under control. I don't need my child seeing me like this. My chest heaves rapidly as I take in gulps of air to try to calm myself and I use the sleeve of my shirt to wipe off my face. Clearing my throat, I head to the playroom and play with Samantha for a few minutes before bringing her to the kitchen so she can have lunch. I set her in her booster seat before preparing her meal. After she finishes eating, I read a story to her. Halfway through she falls asleep, so I carry her to her room and set her down so she can nap.

Once Sam is settled in, I head back to the kitchen to try to straighten everything up. As I go to put a few things away in the fridge, I notice the date on the calendar, and a fresh bout of tears emerge. It's mine and Edward's anniversary. I didn't even realize it was coming up, and I'm quite sure that Edward didn't realize either, seeing as he noted on the calendar that he had some sort of business dinner tonight. I just feel so lost, so willing to give anything to make all the pain go away. I wasn't any happier not feeling anything, but this hurt is beyond torturous, especially when I know that there's no one for me to turn to about it.

I make my way to the sink, and start rinsing everything before loading the dishwasher. I get lost in my thoughts from the monotony of the task. All that I think of is how I wish my husband still loved me the way he used to and that I still mattered to him and my family and friends before my thoughts drift to how I need the pain to go away, I need to be able to stop feeling and yet at the same time I wish I could feel at the same time. I'm so torn and lost I just don't know what the solution is. I must be sobbing, because as my shoulders shake from crying, I manage to drop a glass in the sink, causing it to break. The way the light hits it, causing it to sparkle, it's as if someone was sending me a sign, there is a way for me to fix it all, to make the pain stop, to be able to feel again if only for a brief moment.

I pick up one of the larger glass shards and turn it over in my hand, tracing my finger over the edges, feeling its sharpness, realizing how easily it could slice through my flesh. I let the jagged edge press against my finger tip; I feel the bite and the sting as it pierces through my skin, a small bubble of blood forming where the cut was made. The pain of the cut is a welcome distraction from the all-encompassing ache in my heart, allowing me to forget it and focus on something else. The feeling of it lets me know I'm still alive, that I can actually still feel anything at all, but all too soon my anguish rears its ugly head and I stumble into it face first, feeling it all the more intensely this time.

I want the release, the feeling of being free from the weight of my emotional burden, but I don't think I can handle how the hurt seemed to double after the fact. I need something stronger, to make the pain stay away for good. Looking back and forth between my cut finger and the blood streaked glass, it's as if the pieces of the puzzle all come together and I can see the solution clearly.

I know I should be worried about my children, my boys who will be waiting for me to pick them up from school and my daughter who is sleeping upstairs. But the idea that I can make the pain stop seems to override every other thought in my head. I place the piece of glass to my wrist, placing some pressure and allowing it to puncture my skin. The feeling of being free of the worry and pain hits me like a train, letting me know this is right, this is my solution.

I press the glass deeper, feeling it slice further into my wrist, before yanking it across. The initial pain surprises me, causing me to cry out, the piece of glass falling to the floor, me following shortly after. I start to feel everything become hazy as I hear the front door slam shut.

"Isabella? Are you home? I need you to pull my blue Armani suit out for me for my dinner meeting tonight. I just came home to change." Edward calls out. I vaguely hear his footsteps as I watch the blood flow out of my arm and pool on the floor around me.

"BELLA! What the fuck did you do?" Edward screams as he places a dish towel and a firm grip on my wrist. As I drift away, I finally feel the relief, the peace in the knowledge that I won't hurt anymore.