Carlisle Cullen sits in his home office staring at a medium-sized package addressed to him. He looks for a return address, finding that it was sent by Izzy Alistair. He's never met anyone by the name of Izzy Alistair much less given her his address.
With his curiosity getting the best of him, Carlisle picks up his letter opener and opens the box. Inside he finds a short letter and a leather-bound journal. He takes both items out of the box and looks at them curiously. He puts the box on the floor beside his oakwood desk.
The first thing he reads is the note, which is written in a swirling print.
I miss you and most of the family. Things have changed since you left— when I got lost in the woods— when I almost died of hypothermia. I was put on bed rest for several days after that event. Things got worse from there, unfortunately. When all of you left, a part of me left with you. I'll admit I'm not proud of all that happened after.
I went into a catatonic state for a long period of time to try and deal with everything I was feeling— not feeling. I wouldn't eat or drink anything, I stopped talking. I was practically a walking corpse.
Things got better for a while. I started hanging out with Jacob Black on the Quileute Reservation. Then something happened and he didn't want me to come around anymore. He claimed he was dangerous and he was necessarily wrong.
At that point in time, it became clear that I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. But instead of seeking help, I jumped off a cliff at First Beach. Luckily, Seth Clearwater saw what happened and immediately came to my rescue.
With the help of Seth, Sue, and Charlie, we decided it was best if I moved away from Forks to start my life over. I did, I left Forks. I left Washington altogether. I finished out my high school career online and even graduated a semester early. I went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and became a pediatric surgeon.
I've also started writing as a way to relieve stress. My first novel is about to be published and I couldn't be more proud of myself.
Your family left me broken, but I picked up the pieces and became stronger. I've changed for the better. I've made a life for myself and learned not to let people walk all over me.
I've made some awesome friends along my journey and travels and reunited with others. Victoria left me alone after you all moved, not before coming and apologizing to me. Turns out James wasn't her mate. Laurent visits often and has also changed for the better. He's switched to animal blood and is Irina Denali's mate. Though I'm sure you already knew that.
This will likely be the last time you hear from me, but you never know, maybe one day our paths will cross again.
With forgiveness and love,
Isabella Swan Alistair
I've included a journal from the time you left to just a few months ago. This isn't meant to hurt you in any way, just a way to show the strength I gained.
Carlisle sits in shock. Never in a million years did he think that Bella would try to get in contact with him and his family. His family hasn't seen her in almost twelve years. He thought she had forgotten about them but clearly, she took the time to track him down.
Putting the letter down, he carefully picks up the journal unsure if he wants to read about her pain first hand. He always thought of her as a daughter to him and to read that she went into a catatonic state is almost too much for him to bear.
Carlisle takes an unneeded breath and opens the latch on the journal reading the first entry.
November 4, 2005
My shrink is making me keep this journal to "help" me get better. Personally, I think it's a load of crap. Nothing is going to make me better.
She told me to write about what I "feel." The problem is, I don't feel. I block off my emotions, to protect myself. There's only one thing I feel and that's numbness and pain. There's a lot of problems that come with blocking out my emotions. I have horrible nightmares and wake up screaming. I know it scares Charlie.
I don't see how writing is going to help me get better, but I guess I'll find out.
Carlisle leans his elbows on his desk and runs a hand through his hair. Reading about her bottling up her emotions hurts him deeply. She used to care so deeply for those she loved and you could always read her emotions on her face. He has to remind himself that she seems to be doing better now. Turning the page, he reads the next entry.
November 22, 2005
I found another way to deal with the numbness. It's a way to feel... something. When I drag a blade across the thin skin of my wrist it feels wonderful. Charlie doesn't know and neither does my shrink.
I'm still not eating, I'm not starving myself to get thinner, I just don't see the point in eating. What's the point of living when you don't feel anything? What's the point of living when everyone you love leaves you? What do you do when the kids at school make fun of you for "not being good enough" for your boyfriend?
There's only one way to answer these questions: there isn't a way to deal with them. I have no reason to live. Maybe Victoria was right when she said that I'm just a pet and a waste of space.
Until next time,
Carlisle stops reading unable to continue. His body shakes with dry sobs. It's their fault that Bella became self-destructive, why she started self-harming. He can't help but think that he knows exactly what all of her behavior leads up to.
While he's upset, Carlisle can't help but be glad that the rest of his family has gone on an extended hunting trip.
Once calmed down enough, he continues to read.
January 3, 2006
I just got out of the hospital for the third time in the last two months. The first time, I cut too deep into my wrist and needed stitches, which happened to include a 24 hour psych hold. The second time was after I overdosed on my medication. This time, it was a failed suicide attempt. Charlie's doing the best he can for me. He's taken all the razors and knives and has them locked up. He keeps my medication under lock and key and watches me take them. I know I'm really scaring him. But none of that will stop me. If there's a will, there's a way. I know that he would be better off without me.
Carlisle once again stops reading to process what he's read. He can't help but feel heartbroken for the girl that his family caused so much pain. He doesn't understand why she even attempted to contact him after all these years. They don't deserve her forgiveness.
He turns the page to read the next entry.
February 14, 2006
I have not been admitted into the hospital for over a week. Baby steps, right? But when I am, the stays have become longer. I've started hanging out with Jacob again. He's helping me rebuild a couple of motorbikes... reluctantly might I add.
My nightmares aren't as bad anymore and I'm starting to eat more regularly now. It's not a lot, a meal every other day.
The last time I was in the hospital was on the 5th. I needed an IV of fluids and nutrients. They tubed me and forced food into me.
Charlie threatened to send me to mom in Jacksonville. I took the threat seriously. Mom wouldn't know how to help me... not like Charlie and Jake are.
My shrink sees me three times a week now. She says I'm slowly making progress. Today we talked about my plans to go to college next year. As long as I stay on course, I should graduate this spring. I told her I think I want to major in science and teach elementary school kids.
My friend Lily, who I met during one of my stays in the hospital in Seattle called and checked in on me today. It's been almost a month since we last talked to each other. She wants me to come out and visit her when I get better. (She may be waiting a while.)
I'm still writing emails to Alice even though her address no longer exists. It helps just as much as writing in here does. I write about my day and it makes me feel at least a little bit connected.
I'm going to La Push later today to hang out with Jake and Seth.
Maybe life does still go on after the people you love leave.
"I never thought I would need bravery in the smallest moments of my life. I do."
Carlisle smiles slightly seeing that she's made a new friend and that she had Jake and Seth. He knows though that this moment of happiness won't last forever. He knows that something causes another downhill spiral for her. He also can't help but frown at the fact that she has been hospitalized more than three times within a four-month period.
He turns to the next entry.
March 2, 2006
Something's changed. Jake has been acting weird lately. He's quick to anger and irritable. No one else has seemed to notice except for Seth and I. We're worried about him. I'm trying to stay positive and hope that it's just a phase. The last time we talked was after I wrecked my motorbike. I wasn't hurt or anything, just a small cut to my forehead. We didn't tell Charlie what really happened. Seth has been coming over to the house to hang out with me. He's like the little brother I never had. We watch movies and make cookies together all the time. And with his appetite, I've been eating all the time too. I'm, dare I say it, happy. Seth seems to know how to bring out the best in me. He's coming over this evening to watch Disney movies and eat an insane amount of popcorn and snacks like we do every week.
Carlisle lets out a small chuckle at the excitement Bella felt in that entry. It seems like this Seth kid has been her saving grace. He's glad she found someone who can make her happy. As for Jake, Carlisle can't help but wonder if he was a shapeshifter and that his "magic" was awakening. As far as he knows, there hasn't been a pack of shifters since his family signed the treaty with the Quileute's.
He reads the next entry.
March 12, 2006
Today I am writing to you to let you know this will be my last entry for today will be the day I leave the earth. I can't take it anymore. Now that Jake has cut off all ties of communication and told me not to return to the Reservation and Seth has been forbidden from hanging out with me, along with the Cullen's being gone, it's become too much. I've lost both my current lifelines. I'm drowning with no way back to the surface. All I feel is excruciating pain. Why was this the way my life had to go? I'm sorry for not trying harder, for not getting better. I'm sorry. Goodbye world, goodbye sun, and moon, goodbye Jacob, goodbye Seth, goodbye friends, and family. Goodbye forever.
Carlisle stops reading. He knows she survives but reading her suicide note still hurts. He glances at the bottom of the page and sees that the next two entries are addressed to her parents. As much as he feels it's wrong to do so, he reads those entries as well.
I'm sorry for leaving you so soon. I know that you love me with all your heart. I just can't take it anymore. I've tried getting better, but every time I'm happy, something comes along and rips it out from under me. I need to leave this hell they call earth. Please keep living your life without me. I'm sorry you never got to walk me down the aisle and that I never gave you grandchildren. I'm sorry I left you without a proper goodbye and I'm sorry I didn't tell you I love you enough. By the time you read this, I'll already be gone. I can't tell you where I am. Please remember I love you.
Love your daughter,
I'm so sorry for leaving without a goodbye. I had to go. It was my time to leave the earth. I wish you and Phil the best life together. I'm sorry I couldn't stick around longer. You were the best mother I could ask for. Please keep living your life to the fullest. Never forget I love you and you will see me again someday.
Carlisle doesn't know how to respond to the notes, he doesn't even really process them. Again he can't help but feel like this is all his fault. If he would have just put his foot down and told Edward they were staying, then maybe she wouldn't have gotten to the point where she felt like her only option was suicide.
He turns the next page gently.
March 20, 2006
After my third and hopefully final failed suicide attempt, I have decided that it's time I get away from Forks and the bad memories associated with it. After Seth saved me from drowning after jumping off one of the cliffs at First Beach, I realized that maybe if I leave Forks or Washington state all together I may be able to actually heal. So here I am packing my bags with no set location in mind. Lily's going with me on this adventure. We leave tomorrow to start our new lives. That's all for now.
Carlisle can understand her reason for leaving Forks. His family caused her so much pain and suffering. From James attacking her to them leaving her without so much as a goodbye. It's something many of them will regret for the rest of their lives.
Carlisle moves onto the next entry.
May 1, 2006
I've settled into my new home. Lily and I drove across the country and up in Florida with my mom and Phil. They were more than welcome to let us stay with them. Mom took instantly to Lily and has decided that she is now her mom. Mom is so happy to have me home with her. Even if it is only for the summer. During all of the craziness that I call a life, I forgot about my college applications. I received acceptance letters from a few of the colleges I applied to, but ultimately I decided on the University of Pittsburgh. I've also finally decided on a major. I want to go into medicine and become a surgeon. A big leap for someone who used to pass out at the sight of blood, but it turns out that depression can cause one to get over such an ailment. I have my good days and my bad days, but I'm getting better. Do I still relapse sometimes, of course, but that's all part of the healing process. Though through my time with Lily, I've learned that even when life tears you down, there is always something better on the other side. A kind man once told his son that if there's a will, there's a way. And while of course this quote isn't original or even his, it still is my mantra and inspiration. Of course, this same man and his family left me, but that's beside the point. I think I'm ready for the next chapter of my life. I'm ready to finally move on. To let go of everything from my past.
Carlisle can't help but smile reading about her finally being happy with where she's at. That she was moving on. That she was going to college in the fall. He also can't help but be a little sad that he wasn't there to see her get to the point she's at. He's curious why she wanted to go into the medical profession. He wishes he could ask her these questions.
He turns the page.
September 25, 2006
I'm almost through my first month of college. Lily keeps in touch from Michigan State. I've made some awesome friends and my roommate is amazing, she's quiet but very smart. I'm enjoying all my classes so far. Seth has come to visit me and explained why Jake had acted so weirdly. Turns out the legends were true. I have yet to forgive him though. He knew I could keep a secret, yet decided not to tell me. I'm learning who I am and who I want to be. It turns out the Forks was the worst place for me to be. I knew that from when I left Pheonix to go live with Charlie. I'm, dare I say it, happy for the first time in months. Like genuinely happy. I know I'm going to have good days and bad days and that's okay. It means I'm healing.
Carlisle smiles, this is the Bella that he remembers. He knows that in that moment of her life she decided she was really ready to let go of the past and look towards the future. He flips to the next entry seeing that it comes almost a year and a half later.
May 9, 2008
It's been a while. I somehow managed to lose you in the moves from dorm room to dorm room and then to my apartment. But I found you tucked in an old Tupperware box filled with old textbooks. Life is perfect. I have a really great group of friends, I'm living in an apartment with one of them, Kierra her name is.
I'm doing really well in my classes. I've managed to keep a mostly A/B average. I'm happy with where I'm at in life. I got a cat that my roommate and I take care of. We named him Ash. Mostly because he looks like he fell into the ashes of a campfire. He's black and grey with just a few spots of white. He manages to keep both Kierra and me busy.
I've only been back to Forks once since I left. Dad was doing well. He's dating Sue Clearwater. Harry Clearwater had a heart attack and passed away shortly after I moved away. I've kept in contact with Seth and it turns out both him and his sister, Leah, phased. It was a surprise to the whole tribe when she phased. They have never heard of it happening before.
It's safe to say I've been clean from not cutting for a little over a year. I've finally gotten the help I desperately needed. I see a therapist once a week and got put on anti-depressants that actually work. My therapist says I'm making progress and am really starting to let myself process my trauma. Turns out there is a lot more to deal with than what I thought. From my family life to the Cullens leaving it's a lot to work through. Slow and steady. One day I will be ready to face all of it.
Here's to the future.
Carlisle chuckles reading about how she managed to lose her diary. He had no idea that Harry Clearwater had passed. But how could he, he wasn't in Forks. The fact the wolves were still phasing even though there weren't any vampires in the area is concerning.
As for Bella seeing a therapist, he can't help but be glad she sought out help. She shouldn't have been trying to go through everything on her own.
Without reading any of the passages, he looks at the dates of the next few entries seeing that they are written less often.
He reads the next one.
May 20, 2009
I have no excuses this time, other than that I've been busy. It's graduation day. I finished my undergrad and will be starting medical school in the fall. I'm so excited for the next part of my journey. I've made plenty of friends. Kierra and I have been going steady for the last year. She makes me so happy. She's been the best thing for me. We're renting a house just outside of Pittsburgh while I go through med school. She's done with her own schooling for the time being. She majored in business and has a job lined up with a small startup company. We're starting to plan our future together, our hope, our dreams, where we want to be in the next five years. Of course, a lot of it depends where I get accepted for my residency.
In a strange turn of events, Victoria tracked me down. I was concerned when she knocked on my apartment door one day out of the blue. She came to apologize for what she did when she was with James. Turns out he wasn't her mate and that he was just using her for her evasion power. She promised that no harm would come to me from her. She even said that she would avoid drawing attention to herself to keep the Volturi from finding out about me. We still keep in contact. She seems to be doing well.
Charlie and Sue got married a few months ago. I knew it was coming and so did Seth. So now I have an amazing step-brother and step-sister. I went to Forks for the wedding and reconnected with Angela. Turns out she is also planning on going to med school.
I'm still seeing my therapist regularly. It's definitely helped. I have abandonment and trust issues that we are working through. I can now say I am two years clean. The scars on my wrist serve as my reminder that the past was real. I look at them as my battle scars now instead of as something ugly. I don't know when I will next write.
Carlisle is shocked about Victoria. The last thing he expected was for her to apologize to Bella. I mean Bella did say in her letter that Victoria apologized to her. He's also surprised about Bella dating her roommate. It turns out he really didn't know her as well as he thought he did. He can't help but be happy for her though. She's moved on from Edward and seems to be in a happy relationship. She made it so far in the last four years of her life at this point. He can't help but be proud of her.
With only two entries left Carlisle moves on to the next one.
June 6, 2014
It seems that I'm only sharing big life events now. I made it through medical school with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, literally. I'm currently packing up my life for the fourth time in eight years. Kierra and I are heading for London, Ontario, Canada. I was accepted into Victoria Hospitals residency program. I will be spending the next four to twelve years there. I honestly can't wait. Charlie and Renee are super excited for me. They are so proud of how far I've come over the last eight years. I went from being a depressed teenager to a strong woman. Kierra and I have been talking about getting married and the possibility of children. We've both agreed that we would hold off on children at least until I'm close to finishing my residency.
The next part of our journey is still a bit of a mystery, but we're ready for it. As for my therapy sessions, my current doctor got me in contact with a doctor in London, Ontario. I'll have my first session with her a week after we get all moved in. I love my life and can't wait to see where I go from here.
Carlisle once more laughs at Bella's sense of humor. She always was clumsy, always covered in bruises and scrapes. He's so proud and happy for the girl he once considered a daughter and still does even though he doesn't deserve that title anymore. She blossomed into an amazing young woman after they left. He will always regret what he did to the poor girl, what he caused. She's in a healthy relationship with someone she sees herself spending the rest of her life with. She has a job that she has worked so hard to get, and she's traveling to another county for it.
With a deep unneeded breath, Carlisle reads the final entry.
July 24, 2018
It's official, I am now Isabella Marie Swan Alistair! Proud wife of Keirra Alistair. After nine years of dating, we are finally legally married. I couldn't be happier. She means the world for me and I would move heaven and earth for her if she asked. She got me through some of the darkest periods of my life and still stayed despite it. She's traveled to another country for me. I love her so much. We had such a beautiful wedding in Pittsburgh. We were surrounded by both our families and all of our friends. Seth, bless his heart agreed to be my best man. I couldn't think of anyone better for the role than him. He was there for me when I needed him most.
There, of course, were a few people I wish could've been there. As much as I hated them for a very long time, I wish Carlise and Esme were there for my special day. They were like a second set of parents to me, even after all the pain they caused me. I also wish my dear friend Lily could've been there. I know she was watching over me though and that she will continue to watch over me. She and her little boy both.
Speaking of Lily, I've finally started to move on. After she and her little one were killed by a drunk driver, I broke down again. But Kierra helped keep me afloat through it all.
I haven't spoken to Jake since I left Forks, but Billy came to the wedding. He's informed me that Jake had found his imprint and was happy. I can't help but be happy for him as well. I always knew we were destined to fail as a couple, despite never actually starting a relationship.
After four years, I've chosen my desired niche for my surgical fellowship, I'm going into pediatric surgery. The joy I get from helping children is something I never want to lose.
I also decided that I do want children, I want to watch them grow into amazing and kind adults. Kierra and I haven't yet decided how we will go about having children, but I'm not ruling out adoption.
If there is something I learned from the Cullen's, it's that family doesn't end with those you are blood-related too. I mean look at me, I have an amazing wife, friends that I consider family, and even a few supernaturals who would protect me at any cost, including Laurent and Victoria. I am the happiest I've ever been and am sure I will continue to be in the future.
I've let go of the pain and anger I held for the Cullen's (except Edward). I now understand why they really left, and it had nothing to do with them not wanting me, nothing to do with Edward thinking of me as nothing more than a playtoy. They left (except for Edward) because they loved me because they wanted me to have a future that didn't involve pain. They wanted me to have a chance to have kids of my own, to have a job that I love. I forgive them, they knew what was best for me, even if I didn't see it that way at first. I see that now.
I am thankful for the time I had with them, what they were able to teach me. They showed me what the unconditional love of family looks like. What I wanted my own family to one day look like.
Carlisle: the kind and loving father.
Esme: the patient, kind and understanding mother.
Emmett: the big brother who will scare off any threat and then turn into a giant teddy bear.
Rosalie: the fierce and protective older sister who would do anything to protect her family.
Jasper: the quiet and calculating brother who may not say much but will defend those they love.
Alice: the pixie who can make someone happy just by entering a room.
If my future family has any of the traits that this family has, then I know we will all be okay.
My dear, we've made it. It's time we start the rest of our forever. I think this will be my last entry to you, for it's time for me to start my next story.
Shuddering breaths is all Carlisle is able to get out after finishing the entry. If he could cry he would be. After twelve years, he's finally got the closure he needs. He knows that the girl he left behind in Forks is happy and loved by many. That she's ready to start her own family. That even after all the pain he and his family put her through, that she still has it in her heart to look up to them. And that she had it in her to forgive them. She hasn't just blossomed, she's thrived. It's all he could ever want for her .
He is troubled though, by her statement of Edward thinking of her as a plaything. He never did get the full story of what his son said to the poor girl that day. And Izzy didn't mention much of what happened that day in her diary. He would have to ask him.
Never in a million years did Carlisle think he would hear from the girl he considered family again. Her reaching out must have been her way of getting closure, as well as giving him his as well.
With shaking hands, Carlisle closes the journal. He exhales and for the first time in twelve years, he actually feels lighter, he now knows he no longer has to worry about Isabella. He knows she's in good hands.