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Feb. 6th, 2013

Though My Eyes Could See - Prologue

Disclaimer I do not own anything Twilight. All credit goes to Stephanie Meyer.

Summary: grief-stricken Bella flees Forks to live with her father in Wyoming after her mother's tragic death and to escape from the betrayal of her step-father. In this beautiful, strange new environment Bella is given the chance for a better, happier life. But is she strong enough to overcome what she lost? And will she be able to resist the passion of a ruggedly handsome cowboy who could be the key to helping her heal? Follow Bella through her journey in her search for strength and with it, the beginnings of a whole new life.

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."

Henry Ellis

~*~

Prologue

"Mom?" Bella whispered with a channel of tears trickling down her cheeks, "please, don't…don't leave me."

Clinging to her mother's life with the last of her strength, Bella laid her head on Renee's chest and closed her eyes, choking back an agonized sob.

"You said you would always be there for me. You said you woul fight. I thought you were strong enough…yo ar strong enough! Please, don't leave me like this."

A faint sigh was whispered in her ear and with a start Bella lifted her head to stare down at her mother's frail, pale face. Renee's eyes were open now; a light shade of blue flickering listlessly in the dim light of the hospital room.

Hanging on to the ends of hope, Bella squeezed her mother's hand, smiled faintly, and whispered softly, "Mom?"

"Bella…" Renee blinked at her daughter lovingly, unfortunately it being the only gesture she could make. Bella had to lower her head in able to hear the words uttered from her mother's mouth, and even then it was a weaker attempt than before.

"I love you…stay strong."

Bella's eyes widened and as she turned her head to gaze into her mother's eyes never did she imagine it would be the last time. Her dark, chocolate brown eyes filled with fresh new tears as she watched Renee take her last breath of life and in that moment a chasm of grief rose inside her, causing her to cry out in anguish.

Pushing away from the bed, Bella pressed her back against the wall and stared down at Renee's lifeless body, her weak lips moving slowly to form the words, "You promised me you would fight. Yo promised." With fresh tears streaming down her face, Bella crossed her arms and sucked in a deep, shaky breath.

How can I stay strong now that you're gone?

Closing her eyes, Bella whipped around and began pounding the wall angrily with her fists.

How could you leave me? How?! This isn't how it was supposed to go! Damn you! Damn cancer!

After a few moments Bella stopped, her hands sliding against the wall as she started to sob.

"Bella?"

With a gasp, Bella whirled around and stared across the room to meet the penetrating gaze of her step-father, Phil. He was looking at her solemnly, carrying a folded up piece of paper in his hands.

She shot him a glare and whispered brokenly, "She's dead…Renee's dead."

"I know," Phil murmured softly, taking a step forward, "I'm so sorry."

"No," Bella snapped, "you're not."

His eyes widened slightly, before clouding over with pain. "And why do you say that, Bella?"

Bella shook her head, wondering why he bothered asking her when he clearly already knew the answer. H wante her to say it out loud, as if it wasn't already horrible enough!

"You're despicable," Bella growled angrily, striding towards him until they were face-to-face. Sticking her chin up, she stared at him and declared fiercely, "You know exactly what you've done yo sick, lying bastard If you had truly loved her all along she would've been strong enough to fight it!"

"Fight what?" Phil said quietly, "The sickness? Bella, those kinds of things can't be controlled. It was bound to hap-"

"No, i wasn't!" Bella exclaimed, glaring at him with a strong, deeply fueled hatred. "If you wouldn't have done it, she would have been happier. She would'v fought harder You pathetic, ignoran man Do you even know what yo did?" Before he had the chance to answer, she sucked in a short breath and cried, "Yo kille her!"

Phil's worn out and troubled face transformed into a blank mask of shock. Following that was a wave of outrage, and then lastly an expression so filled with sadness Bella had no choice but to glance away.

"I will never forgive you," she whispered firmly, clenching her hands tightly into fists. "You may have had a part in Renee's life, but you wil neve stand a chance in mine."

And with that said, Bella grabbed her jacket and keys off the chair beside the bed and strode past Phil, swiftly fleeing the room. She couldn't stop the sobs as they escaped her lips, making it difficult for her to breathe. Flinging open the door to one of the stairways, she took each step one at a time to avoid falling and possibly cracking her skull. All she wanted was to get the hell out of there.

By the time she was out of the hospital she headed towards her car in the parking lot, nearly running straight into the path of an oncoming car. It swerved, the screech of tires against the pavement resounding loudly in the air, but she didn't stop. Her heart was pounding heavily inside her chest and the slippery tears that cascaded down her face blinded her vision, leaving a drop of agony with each step she took.

A million thoughts flooded her mind, each one seeming to detect a place in every beating of her heart. After what felt like days, she finally managed to find her old red pick-up truck. With a shaky sigh of relief Bella unlocked the door and slipped inside, immediately resting her head against the back of the seat.

Finally…a place in which she could jus let go.

Wrapping her trembling hands around the steering wheel, Bella closed her tear-filled eyes and let out several short, heart-broken sobs.

She's gone…actually gone And with this in mind her whole body convulsed with grief and a single, dreadful thought floated to the surface.

How will I ever be the same again?

If you'd like to continue reading this fic check out my fanfiction page here http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1377692/Love-Well-Spent

The link below will take you right to the story. Thanks for reading! And don't hesitate to leave a comment/review, I always appreciate feedback. :)

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8876022/1/Though-My-Eyes-Could-See

Dec. 6th, 2012

Sustainability

( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

Mar. 28th, 2012

Hunger Games Fic - Peeta, My Hope

Peeta, My Hope

. . .

I wake up to him screaming.

My eyes meet the darkness the moment they flutter open. It doesn't take long for my eyes to adjust, and once they do I turn my head towards Peeta. He is sitting up in bed, hunched over and panting. I wonder how bad his flashback was this time, but decide not to ask him. I can easily tell by the way his body is visibly shaking that it had been long and ugly. Pain shoots through me, hard and fast, but instead of focusing on my own affliction I reach out and lay my hand on top of his.

"Sssh, Peeta. It's okay."

Hearing my voice, Peeta lies back down and turns to my side. I lift my hand and place it gently on the side of his face, staring deeply into his soft blue eyes filled with so much hurt and confusion. I caress his cheek gently with my thumb, brushing it back and forth against his warm, flushed skin. And soon I hear his breathing start to slow down, falling into a regular rhythm. His eyes become clear and focused once again and I smile, knowing that he is back.

"Katniss," he whispers.

Reaching out, Peeta envelops me in his arms and pulls me closer to him, embracing me as a child would embrace a teddy bear. I find it hard to breathe pressed so close against him, but I force myself to stay put. I close my eyes and lose myself in his presence, finding comfort in the fact that he is here. He is not alone in his suffering and neither am I. No matter how many flashbacks from the hijacking invade Peeta's mind, he will always have me to hold to quiet the pain. And whenever the nightmares, which mainly center on Prim's death, start to press in on me, I know I can count on Peeta to wake me and murmur soothing, reassuring words in my ear until the horrid pictures in my mind finally decide to fade.

"Stay with me, Peeta," I murmur. I lift my head and gently kiss his lips. "I'm here."

~*~

It is a beautiful day, sunny and with not a cloud in the sky. Peeta and I decide that it's a perfect day to go plant some more flowers for our garden, which is located at the front of my house. Ever since we started it about a year ago it has grown quite considerably. We both take pride in it and tend to it in every way we can, especially during the spring when its beauty is the most startlingly profound.

After digging a couple holes about four to five inches deep into the ground, we throw the flower seeds in and start filling the holes back with soil. Once the holes are completely packed, we begin adding the mulch. I glance over at Peeta who is silently working beside me and then all of sudden I find myself smirking mischievously.

Stopping, I sit back and point to something behind him. "Hey Peeta, look!"

As he turns his head in that direction, I grab a handful of mulch and chuck it directly at the back of his head. Immediately he whips around and stares at me with wide, startled eyes. And then slowly, he grins.

"Oh, so that's how you want to play?"

I gesture to Buttercup, who is stretched out on the ground beside me, and say, "He did it."

Buttercup lifts his head and hisses fiercely.

Shaking his head, Peeta scoops up a pile of mulch with both of his hands and I use this time to spring up and make a run for it. I can hear his feet pound the ground behind me and I brace myself for the hit, knowing that in any second it will come.

And it does. I let out a short gasp the second I feel the mulch hit my neck…and then I hear it. Peeta's laugh. It rings loud and true, replenishing me with a strong sense of peace. The kind of peace I thought I'd never feel again. I lift my head up to the sky, still running, and think of Prim. Instantly I wish that she is here, and I envision her laughing as she runs alongside me. It hurts to imagine it, so I quickly push the hurt aside and instead focus on the here and now. It's no use thinking of Prim in that way. Rather, it is best to think of her looking down on me…on me and Peeta, and seeing how happy we are. Yes, that is how I will imagine Prim. Smiling down on us. Because deep down in my heart, I know that she is.

I snap out of my thoughts the moment I feel a clump of mulch hit the side of my face. Scowling, I whip around and face my assailant, my eyes fiercely narrowed. Peeta stops running the second I turn around, blinking at me uncertainly as I continue to stare at him, contemplating my next move. I notice his hands are empty, free of mulch, and I snicker.

"Well, well, looks like you've run out of mulch. Whatever are you going to do now?" I taunt.

Peeta takes a small step towards me and then leans down, lowering himself into a firm, defensive position; all the while never breaking hold of my gaze. He knows I'm up to something, something clever, and I smile because as a matter of fact, I am.

"Try it," Peeta demands, "I dare you."

"Is that a challenge I hear?"

Before Peeta has the chance to respond, I spring into action. I know he didn't expect what was coming because as soon as I shove my hands hard against his chest, causing him to immediately fall backwards, I see his eyes widen with surprise. The second his back is flat on the ground, I fling myself on top of him and start to kiss his neck, the spot I discovered where he is most ticklish. It kills him every time.

And no mistaking, it kills him now. "Argh! Katniss!" he exclaims, twisting desperately underneath me as I continue to kiss his neck, not in just one spot but in several, wanting to painlessly torture him as much as possible. However, after about thirty seconds he has enough and grabs both of my wrists tightly with his hands. I open my mouth to protest, but before I can he whips us around and pins me to the ground with his body.

"Very clever, Katniss Everdeen," Peeta murmurs, and touches his nose to mine.

"Wasn't it? I think it was my best attack strategy yet," I say with a grin.

Peeta smiles and I feel a burning warmth pass through me from my head to the very tip of my toes. It moves through me like electricity, striking every part and in turn igniting a fire within. Surely he must feel it too, because suddenly he's staring at me deeply with an intense look in his eyes, and it causes my heart to furiously begin to pound. I've felt this before with him - a long time ago when we were still in the games, but this time it felt so much more…stronger.

Peeta kisses me then, hard and passionately, and my body trembles slightly in response. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I pull him closer so that his chest is brushing mine and so that every part of us is now touching. I feel him breathe my name against my lips and in return I murmur his name, bringing us closer.I can feel his heart pounding wildly against mine and I sigh softly, knowing that I will remember this moment, this memory, for as long as I live.

"Peeta," I whisper. I lift my hand to lay it gently on his face.

He stops kissing me and lifts his head to gaze softly into my eyes. "Yes?"

"I need…I need to ask you something. And you have to promise to answer honestly."

Peeta nods and assures me that he will. I bite my lip, feeling my heart race even faster than it did before, and I close my eyes for a second to gain some last bit of courage.

"Katniss," Peeta says gently, reassuring me that it's okay, that there is no reason to be scared.

But there is every reason to be scared. Because what I am about to ask could very well change everything. But most importantly, it could change us. And what would happen if it did? Would we go back to being cold and impassive? The way we were after Peeta was rescued from the Capitol? Honestly, I don't know if I would be able to stand it…if I would even be able to look at Peeta without falling apart at the seams.

But isn't it worth knowing? Don't I deserve to know, especially after all we've been through? I had to ask…I had to, in spite of my heart being at stake.

I open my eyes, stare deeply into his, and finally find the courage to ask.

"Peeta, do you…do you love me?"

I expected him to stare at me in shock, possibly even pull back a little. But instead he merely gazes down at me calmly, a hint of a smile appearing at the corner of his mouth. And then the next thing he does is say something that literally causes me to gape at him in astonishment.

"Katniss, I have never stopped loving you. I know it seemed like I hated you after I was hijacked, and at times I did, but my love for you was still there even though I couldn't feel it. The Capitol may have had the power to give me false memories, but what they couldn't do was erase the very memories I had of you…of us. And yes, at the time I didn't know what was real and what wasn't, but now I do. This past year you've helped me reach the crucial point where I'm at now...and I've never been happier." His eyes soften and he lowers his voice to murmur earnestly, "Don't you see, Katniss? The way I look at you? I will always love you."

I feel tears start to prickle at the back of my eyes and I make no effort to blink them away. "Really? So you…you love me as much as you did before…before the hijacking?"

Peeta shakes his head and says, "No, I don't love you as much as I did before the hijacking. I love you more…because now I understand you more than I ever have. I've seen you for who you truly are, flaws and all, and-"

I press my lips against his, cutting him off. Fresh tears streak down my face and fall onto his cheeks, but he doesn't seem to mind. He sits up, pulls me into his lap, and kisses me passionately with all of the love in his heart. I'm crying, not simply because I'm happy but because his response was more than I could have ever hoped for. It is his response which gives me hope.

No, it isn't his response, I realize suddenly. It's him. Peeta Mellark is my hope, and always has been. From that day all those years ago when he threw me that burnt bread, to where we are now, lovingly wrapped in each other's arms. I can't believe how far we've come – how much we've surpassed. I feel amazed. Completely triumphant. But even more than that I feel…alive.

"Katniss?"

I stare into Peeta's bright blue eyes, shining with so much love, and smile at him. "Yes?"

"Now it's my turn to ask you something."

I nod and say, "All right."

"Promise to answer honestly?"

"I promise."

He gazes straight into my eyes and asks softly, "Katniss, will you marry me?"

I don't have to think about my answer, because I already know it. And I think he already knows it too, because all of a sudden we're kissing again and I'm laughing, and he's laughing, and Prim is looking down on us, smiling and laughing with us too.

And even when the time to answer has long since passed and we're sprawled out together on the grass nestled in each other's arms, I still say it. Not because I feel the need to speak it out loud, but because I think the world deserves to know.

"I love you, Peeta Mellark."

For that is one thing I know will never change.


Feb. 6th, 2012

Writer's Block: Tough Choices

If forced to give up one, which would you choose: love, friendship, or family?


You can't have friendship or family without love. I'd choose to keep love, so I wouldn't have to give up either. :)

Jan. 2nd, 2011

His Eyes Were Green - Chapter One

  Chapter One

"Bella, you're doing it again."

Bella glanced up from the clutter of photos on her desk that she had so strenuously been staring at for the past fifteen minutes and turned to raise an eyebrow at her best friend and coworker, Alice.

"Doing what?"

"Biting your lip. You always do that when you're feeling stressed, which tells me as much as it tells you, that you're working yourself too hard. When was the last time you've had a full night's sleep, may I ask?"

Bella rolled her eyes but proceeded to contemplate Alice's question. For some people it would seem like a simple question, but to someone whose days and nights merged into one long blur, the answer could prove to be difficult. This was her very first day of operating her portrait photography business – it had taken her years of hard earned sweat to get her up to this point, and now that she had finally reached her goal, everything seemed to be happening so fast. She could hardly get a decent night's sleep when there was just so much to do and so little time to do it. She wanted this business to be a success; she had worked too hard and long for it to become anything but.

Not bothering to frustrate herself further, Bella shrugged her shoulders and glanced back down at her work. "I don't need a full night's sleep, four to five hours is enough for me. And of course I'm stressed; it's only natural after starting my own business and all. What do you expect?"

"I expect you to not die," Alice said dramatically. "Stress has a limit, Bella, and you are spiraling dangerously close to the edge. And I, as your best friend, am not going to let you destroy yourself."

Bella let out a deep sigh of exasperation. "Alice, honestly-"

"When was the last time you've been out on a date?" Alice demanded, propping her hand on her hip.

"No Alice, I refuse to discuss my social life with you," Bella said adamantly, picking up one of the photographs and pretending to study it. This conversation was taking a turn for the worst, and she was not about to let it go on any further.

"Hmm, maybe that's because you don't have one!" Alice exclaimed, her eyes flashing in irritation. "Seriously Bella, look at yourself! Your hair is a mess, your clothes are dirty, not to mention stinky, and in relation to all else there are bags under your eyes. You may not have to wear makeup Bella, but natural beauty only goes so far."

Okay, now she was starting to get annoyed. Didn't Alice have anything better to do with her time than constantly criticize her? Dropping the photo back down on her desk, Bella straightened her back and turned, her eyes narrowed and her arms crossed.

"What do you suggest I do then, Alice? Drop all my responsibilities and go skinny dipping with some hot, random guy on the street? Dress up and party at a club till four o'clock in the morning? I'm not twenty-one anymore Alice, I can't just have fun anymore. I have photographs to take, appointments to make, and a business to run. I don't have time to date. I use to, but not anymore. This-" Bella swept her hand out in front of her, indicating the large studio, "is my life now. Okay?"

"No. Not okay," Alice remarked, stepping forward. "This may be a big part of your life Bella, but it's not all of it. It can't be. You deserve so much more, and you know it."

"Yeah?" Bella snapped, her throat beginning to burn while struggling to hold back the tears that were threatening to come. "Well I had something, someone, who was a big part of my life, but he's gone now. I've moved on. This is what I need, not some stupid romance that'll never last."

Alice shook her head, amazed as well as dismayed at how much Jacob's unexpected death had changed her best friend. She was no longer the happy, wishful-thinking girl Alice had grown up with, but instead a woman whose heart had not only been broken, but whose spirit had been crushed and dampened. It was a sad case, but it was one that if treated carefully, could be easily restored.

"I'm sorry to hear you say that," Alice murmured, lowering her gaze to the floor. "I wish there was something I could have done that would have prevented Jake's death, but it was inevitable. Soldiers die every year, Bella. Jake was great at what he did, but he couldn't have stopped that helicopter from falling, you know that as much as I do."

Her voice softened as she added, "And even though your life with Jake is over, it doesn't mean your life with any other guy is too. Give someone a chance, Bella. You might be surprised."

A single tear slid down Bella's cheek, and with a small huff she swiped it away with her hand and said brokenly, "I don't want to give anyone else a chance. Don't you understand, Alice? I don't want to risk being hurt again."

"So what if you get hurt again?" Alice stated, tilting her head slightly to the side. "Getting hurt is a part of life, you can't avoid it. And you can't avoid love, as hard as you might try. Love is a part of life too, and right now that's what you need. I demand you to try and find it."

Bella snorted. "Alice, please. You're not helping."

Alice sighed. "Fine, I'll go and leave you to your work. Oh, by the way, you have an appointment with a possible customer in five minutes, just unless you've forgotten."

Bella blinked. "Oh. Thanks."

"No problem."

Alice walked to the back door of the studio, then turned around and called over to her, "Oh, and Bella?"

"Yeah?"

"I may not be helping you, but at least I'm not the one who is refusing to help herself."
 
 

Me? Refusing to help myself? Was Alice kidding? She was doing all she could to help herself by starting this business…at least financial-wise. So what if she didn't have a social life? At least she had friends. She might have forgotten to stay in contact with some of them, but she could easily get back in touch with them whenever she felt like it. Besides, she had Alice to keep her company, and for now that was enough.

Wasn't it?

Shaking these troublesome thoughts from her mind, Bella glanced down at her watch. Five minutes, Alice had said. Like her friend had pointed out, she had completely forgotten all about her last appointment of the day. Rubbing the fatigue from her eyes, Bella started to organize the mess that was quickly dominating her workspace. Just one more hour, she told herself, stifling a yawn. One more hour and I can go home and take a long, hot bubble bath. And quite possibly a glass of wine. Or two.

Completely immersed in her preoccupation, Bella didn't hear the front door of the studio creak open and then close shut. Her attention was focused solely on her photographs until an abrupt, pleasant sounding voice nearly made her jump right out of her skin.

"Are you Bella Swan?"

Dear Lord! Placing a hand over her heart, Bella did her best to calm its racing rhythm, fearing that it would explode at any moment. Good job Bella, she told herself with a slight roll of her eyes. You lost track of the time, and as a result nearly gave yourself heart failure. Bravo.

The angelic sounding voice came again. "Did I startle you?"

Somewhat.

"No, it's fine." Finally, she turned around to face the man, forcing herself to give him a small, polite smile in acknowledgement.

Instead, as her eyes fell upon the man for the first time, her eyes widened and her smile vanished almost as quickly as it had come. Her heart resumed its furious pounding, and for the first time in a long time, Bella was rendered absolutely speechless.

The man was ridiculously gorgeous. And why shouldn't he be, with a voice like that? His face looked like it had been carved by an angel, and that bronze hair of his gleamed like nothing she had ever seen. He was dressed casually in jeans, a navy blue t-shirt, and a striking black coat that made him look considerably taller than he already was.

How could such a man like him exist? She wondered in eloquent awe, completely and utterly stunned.

At last her wide, wandering eyes met his, and in that moment her thoughts were consumed of Jacob, and she was immediately flung into the past.

The smell of the ocean filled the air. The sun was shining down hard on her back, but she hardly noticed. She was too busy wrapped in the arms of her boyfriend, Jacob, who was grazing his fingers softly down her cheek.

"Have you even realized how much you've made me happy?" he murmured.

"Of course," she whispered. "But you've made me happier."

He scoffed. "Impossible."

She rolled her eyes and poked him in the ribs. "Oh, yeah? Is it impossible for me to do…this?"

He let out a gasp and then a groan as a cold splash of water suddenly came into contact against his bare chest. By the time he had finished registering the shock, she was already halfway into the ocean. Letting out a loud, playful whoop, he hauled his ass in after her, grinning when he heard her high, impeccable laugh trailing infectiously behind her.

"You're in for it now, missy!" He waded further into the water until at last he was able to grab onto one of her body parts – which just so happened to be her leg.

He gripped her leg more firmly with his hands and gently pulled back. She let out a yelp and fell backwards into his arms. Chuckling, he dumped her head once, and then twice underneath the surface and then held her wet, soaking face in front of his so that he could kiss her passionately on the lips. When he finally pulled away from her, she was positively gasping with exhaustion.

"Okay…" she gasped, leaning all of her weight onto his chest and wrapping her skinny legs around his waist underneath the cool, refreshing water, "You caught me."

"And..?" He wiggled his eyebrows mischievously.

"Don't even think it," she remarked, narrowing her eyes at him. "There is no possible way you can convince me that I've made you happier whenI'mclearly the one who you've made happier."

He grabbed a handful of her hair and glanced down at the water pointedly. "All right then, I guess I'll have to dunk you again…and again…and again…"

She crossed her arms and smirked defiantly. "Go ahead."

And he did. Again, and again, and again, (while checking to make sure she was still breathing) until…

"All right, all right!" She clung to him after about the seventh time he had dunked her into the water, struggling to regain her breath as she exclaimed, "I've made you happier! There! I said it!"

"And…?"

She stared at him in astonishment. "There's more?"

He leaned forward and nibbled softly on her bottom lip, causing her to shudder. "It involves you…me…and the rest of our lives." He wrapped his arms around her cold, shivering body, and nuzzled his cheek lovingly against hers. "I'll give you a hint…it's three words."

Her eyes lit up, and a gentle laugh escaped her throat. "Oh,that?"She wrapped her own arms around his neck and snuggled deeper into his embrace, which he could tell warmed her up instantly. "I love you," she whispered softly in his ear.

He sighed deeply in contentment. "Yeah, that's it."

"Forever…that's a pretty long time," she murmured thoughtfully, weaving her fingers through his thick, dark hair.

"Yeah. But I'm thinking we could probably manage it," he murmured back, kissing her neck.

"Mhmm…or we could both end up going to hell," she joked.

He shrugged. "Either way…I'm going to love you. Now…tomorrow…and the next day…and the next day…."

She smiled against his cheek, and it was then that her love for him grew impossibly even more.

"And the next?" she guessed.

"No."

She looked up at him, blinking in confusion.

"Until I run out of days to love you," he answered finally, cupping her face in his hands.

Her big brown eyes softened, and in that moment, so did her heart. "Forever?" she questioned.

"Forever," he said, and confirmed his promise with a sweet
, long-lasting kiss.

The flashback ended, and it took all of Bella's will power not to lose it, right then and there.

"Have I come at a wrong time?" the man questioned, his beautiful emerald gaze watching her intently. "If so, we can always arrange the appointment for a different time. Next week, perhaps?"

"No." Bella immediately snapped out of it. "No, it's fine," she repeated. Everything is fine. His eyes are green…so what? A million other guys have eyes that are green…that doesn't change the fact that Jacob is dead.

"Good." Edward flashed her a bright, charming smile, momentarily catching her off guard. "I'm Edward Masen, a friend of Jasper's?"

"Oh." Jasper was Alice's long-term boyfriend – she had always felt a bit intimidated by him. Impeccably handsome, big-shot lawyers tended to do that to some people, especially her. She nodded and murmured, "I see. It's nice to meet you, Edward."

"And you," he remarked, his smile widening.

She blinked, before clearing her throat and asking, "How can I help you?"

"I'd like to have a group portrait done of my family."

What? No self-portrait? Bella thought,considering how handsome he was. Surprising.

"How big is your family?" Bella questioned, rummaging around her desk in search for a pen or a pencil.

"Quite big," Edward stated, watching her as she failed to locate a writing utensil.

"I need a number," she said absent-mindedly, growing frustrated.

Finally, he drew a pen from inside his coat and handed it to her. "Here, allow me."

Glancing up, Bella eyed the pen cautiously before reaching out and taking it from his hand, careful not to make any contact. "Thanks," she murmured, before straightening up and gazing at him expectantly.

"Fifteen," he answered.

Bella gaped at him, and then quickly regained her composure. "Right. And is this your immediate family?" She began to write on a small notepad.

"Yes."

Okay, then. This should be interesting.

"How soon do you want this family portrait done?" Bella asked, forcing herself to look professionally into his eyes, despite the fact that each time she gazed into them, all she could think about was the man who she had lost her heart to.

"As soon as you can manage it," Edward said, and his eyes softened as he continued to stare at her. "You look tired," he bluntly pointed out, sounding concerned.

Bella blushed and glanced down at her notepad. "Yes, well, it's been a long day."

"Let me take you out," Edward offered, smiling at her in a warm, friendly manner. "I know a great place down the street that serves some fantastic wine. You look like you might need a glass."

"What?" Bella glanced up at him, startled. Did he just ask her out? Impossible. He was too handsome. Too nice. Too…too…too perfect.

"I, uh-no. No, I can't. I'm sorry."

Yes, you can, a voice inside of her said. To her, it sounded a lot like Alice.

"Please? It's the least I can do." His green eyes caressed her face, and a shiver ran down her spine.

"I…I…" Stop stuttering! You're not doing yourself any favors by acting like an idiot, she mentally chided.

"Thank you," she said at last, managing to stare calmly into his eyes, "I appreciate the offer, but I really can't. Things are…complicated right now. I'm sure you understand."

"Well, at least I tried," Edward murmured, and her thoughts went back to Alice and what she had said just several minutes before.

'I may not be helping you, but at least I'm not the one who is refusing to help herself.'

Bella frowned, knowing that Alice was right. But that didn't mean she should accept an offer from a stranger who she had only just recently met. Especially someone so…

Dangerously good looking? Yeah, that just about fit it.

"So is there a particular time and place you would prefer to meet for this family portrait?" Bella asked, coming back to safe, solid ground.

"No, but there is a time and place I would like to meet you," Edward said flirtatiously, leaning in closer.

Oh boy, this day just gets better and better, doesn't it? Bella thought bitterly, backing away from him.

"Obviously, you didn't get the picture," she said calmly, ignoring the way his lips turned up in amusement at her comment. "I said no. Now can we please finish this appointment or would you rather continue wasting my time?"

"I'd rather continue wasting your time," he replied honestly, causing Bella to stare blankly at him, before he stated good-humorously, "But instead why don't we finish the appointment?"

"Thank you," Bella said stiffly, wondering why he had to be so damn charming. It was really not helping matters at all. Glancing down at her desk, she picked up her planner and began flipping through pages.

"Now, I have a couple dates here that I could do that are next week. Is that too soon?"

"No, that'll be great."

"Okay. I could do Wednesday at three o'clock, or Friday at noon. Which will it be?"

"Wednesday would be perfect," Edward said, nodding. "I'll let my family know."

"Okay, and where would you like to meet?"

"You choose."

Bella glanced up at him skeptically. "Are you sure? Don't you want to talk to your family about this?"

"No. I have complete faith in you," Edward replied, and it took all of Bella's strength not to melt under his soft, penetrating gaze.

"Um-okay." Bella wrote down a couple things in her planner, and was surprised to see that her hand was shaking. Annoyed by herself, she closed it and set the planner back down on the desk. "Well, I guess we're finished then." she murmured, feeling quiet all of a sudden.

Hesitantly, she glanced into Edward's eyes and was surprised to see that he was staring at her with a look of total longing. Her cheeks burned with heat, and she glanced down at the floor in embarrassment.

"Well, Bella, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you. I'll see you here again on Wednesday. Oh, and Bella?"

She didn't dare look up.

"I think you're beautiful."

By the time she did look up, the utterly handsome Edward Masen was gone.

Mine - Twilight One-Shot // Bella/Edward

 "Go away Edward!"

Slamming the front door in his face, Bella stormed through the kitchen and up the stairs, her hands shaking so bad that she could barely get a grip on the staircase handle, stumbling more than once on the way to her room. A series of choking sobs escaped her lips, emphasizing the pain that had grasped her heart like an angry claw. Breathing, something that was so natural, had become an immense effort as she collapsed onto her bed and grabbed a hold onto the one thing that she knew she could always count on…her teddy bear, Lucky.

Ever since she was five years old Bella had depended on Lucky to bring her warmth and a sense of comfort - she was currently sixteen years old, and Lucky had never once failed in doing this. Clutching the old, well-kept bear close to her chest, Bella closed her eyes and exhaled a long, shaky breath.

"Oh, Lucky," Bella whispered, a lone tear trailing down her cold, damp cheek. "I wish you could talk to me, just this once. I don't know what to do…I-I've never felt this way before. About anyone. And I don't…I don't understand. How can love hurt this much? If I'd known this would happen, I never would have given my heart to him. Never would have r-risked being hurt."

But it was too late. She had given her heart to him. She had risked it.

Now, the end result was not only a broken heart, but a lost love that she knew she'd never get back again.

"Bella? Bella, can you hear me? I know you're up there. Please, Bella…just open the window."

Exasperated and hurt, Bella sat up from her laying position, still holding Lucky against her chest, and frowned at the window. What was he still doing here? She had told him to go away. She couldn't see him anymore. Not now, not ever.

"Bella, please," spoke Edward's desperate voice, and another tear dripped down her face.

Wiping away the tears with the back of her hand, Bella stood up from the bed, carrying Lucky with her, and stopped to stand in front of the window. She brushed the dark purple curtains aside and then pushed up the window, shivering as a cold blast of wind immediately hit her skin. Once her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, she glanced down and noticed Edward standing directly below her window, his figure silhouetted by the gleaming, relentless light of the moon.

"Bella?" his soft, harmonizing voice rang like a sweet song in her ears, and she closed her eyes as a fresh wave of pain washed over her, momentarily crippling her senses and making her wish she was somewhere, anywhere but here.

"What do you want?" Bella whispered, knowing full well that he would be able to hear her. He always did have a knack for detecting the little things that other people would have instead just ignored. It was listening and comprehending that was the problem.

"I want you to come down here so that we can talk," Edward called up to her, wanting so much to just climb up the vine that ran alongside the side of the house and pour his heart out to her, Romeo-style. But he refrained from doing so, knowing that it wouldn't help matters but instead make them worse. Sighing, he closed his eyes and awaited her response. Granted, that was the only thing he could do.

"We've already talked, Edward. I have nothing else to say to you," came Bella's honest reply.

Edward groaned. "Bella, please, just throw me a bone here. I still have something to say to you. So will you please just give me the chance? I promise I'll leave you alone, if that is what you wish, after I'm through telling you what I need to say."

There was a long, awkward silence in which Edward felt like he was about to be shut down at any given moment, but to his surprise Bella told him that she'll be down in a moment and with halted breath watched her close the window.

The one minute it took her to walk out of her room, down the steps, and out the door was the longest, most excruciating minute Edward had ever endured in his whole entire life. Edward felt like his heart was about to bust right out of his chest as he caught sight of her moving form drawing closer and closer to him, until finally she was standing right in front of him, just close enough to touch. Close enough to kiss…

Focus Edward, he chided himself, attempting a reassuring smile on hispart. It did nothing to soothe his racing heartbeat, however, and he mentally cursed himself for acting so stupid.

"Well?" Bella questioned, crossing her arms and giving him a good, hard stare. "What do you possibly have to say for yourself?"

"Bella, I know you're mad," Edward murmured, gazing softly into her eyes. "I know that you most likely hate my guts right now, and I understand. But will you understand that I never meant to hurt you?"

"It sure didn't seem that way when you blew me off in front of all of your friends," Bella pointed out, narrowing her eyes at him.

"I'm so sorry, Bella," Edward voiced painstakingly, bravely taking a hold of her hand and placing it directly on top of his heart."If you could feel my heart, you'd know how much it hurts right now."

"Oh, yeah? What about my heart? Ever care to think about how it feels? You fucking tore it to shreds, Edward! You made me feel as if I meant nothing to you…as if everything we shared and have been through was just a game to you. Well, guess what? You won. Happy now?' Bella yanked her hand from underneath his and slapped him hard across the face, glaring at him as tears poured down her cheeks like a wild, rushing current, vigorous and unceasing.

Edward blinked, before lowering his gaze to the ground and muttering softly, "I deserved that."

"Like hell you deserved that," Bella managed to say underneath all her tears. "You deserve this too." Lifting her right leg, she stomped her foot down hard on his – not holding back - and watched in deep satisfaction as he winced.

"Okay, I deserved that too," Edward said with a nod.

"And you deserve this-" Bella shoved him aggressively with her hands and barely waited for him to regain his balance before she shoved him yet again. "And this-"

Before she had a chance to do what she had planned to do (which was push him into the bushes) he grabbed a hold of both of her arms and pressed her hard against his chest.

"What the-"

Edward crushed his mouth to hers, accomplishing his goal in silencing her furious protest. With her arms trapped in his stone-iron grip she had no way to pound her fists against him and demand that he let her go, but after just a couple of seconds her guard weakened and she fell limp in his grasp.

Heaven.

That was the only way she knew to describe it. She had died and gone to heaven with just a simple touch of his lips to hers. It was such a wondrous feeling in which she would never truly fathom, nor wish to explain.

And then she opened her mouth and let him in…at the same moment the world happened to stop.

Fire scorched her from the top of her head down to the very tip of her toes, and as soon as this transpired a strange, rushing kind of feeling traveled through her, shocking her to the very core. Instantaneously her heart froze and then began to pound, wilder and more fervent than ever before.

This always happened. It happened the very first time she and Edward kissed, on the front porch of her house after the best day of her life, spent with him. It happened the time they had first confessed their love to each other, under the shade of an old oak tree near the creek where they had fished for hours on end. They never caught anything, but neither of them had cared. The day had been too perfect for them to care…

And it was happening now, after the worst fight the couple had ever endured.

What did this mean? What did any of this mean?

Edward broke the kiss slowly, before cupping Bella's face in his hands and saying to her in a shaky, passionate voice, "Bella, what I did was stupid, foolish, and wrong. I have never made such a horrible, idiotic mistake in all my life, and for my friends for that matter. Emmett and Jasper, they just…they just don't understand the bond that we share."

Wiping away a tear from her cheek, he leaned forward and kissed the spot, before pulling back and murmuring, "We're different, Bella. We're different because we've loved each other from the very start. I'll always remember the first time I saw you, sitting there in the back of the classroom all teary-eyed because you were mad that someone had stolen one of your favorite pens."

Bella sniffled, then laughed softly and shook her head at him. "I can't believe you would remember that."

"I remember everything about you, Bella," Edward replied softly. "I remember what clothes you wore the day I first met you. What your perfume smelled like, how you wore your hair, the way your eyes grew wide and then softened when you first saw me. It's all locked away safely right here-" he tapped the side of his head lightly with his fingertip, "and you know what else? I never plan on throwing away the key."

"The key?" Bella questioned.

Edward smiled. "You, Bella. You are the key."

"To what?"

"Do you really have to ask?"

"Edward," Bella persisted, growing impatient.

Edward laughed. "Okay, okay. You are the key…to my heart."

A long silence passed, and then a giggle sounded.

Edward raised an eyebrow, and then frowned. "What is so funny?"

"Sorry," Bella apologized. "I just think that that was kind of corny. But please, go on. Continue to confess your undying love for me; I so would like to hear it."

It took a moment for Edward to realize that Bella was joking with him. And that she was grinning, and that there were no longer tears falling from her face.

This meant, of course, that she had forgiven him. And that, by some God-given miracle, she still loved him after all the foolishness he had committed.

Never had he felt such relief.

"Oh, Edward," Bella murmured, wrapping her arms around him and resting her head against the warm, solid curve of his neck. "I hate you for what you do to me."

Edward smiled and leaned his head against the top of hers. "And what is that, exactly?"

"You make me want to scream, cry, rage, laugh, sing-"

Edward laughed and said, "I think I get the picture."

After a moment of comfortable silence, just standing there in the dark wrapped in each other's warm embrace, Bella lifted her head and gazed deep into Edward's soft, emerald eyes.

"Do you get what I'm thinking now?' Bella whispered, smiling in such a way that it made Edward forget to breathe, let alone respond.

"I'm thinking…you are the best thing that's ever been mine."

And with that said, she closed the space left between them and pressed her lips to his, sealing the perfect kiss and what would forever be, one of the most precious moments of their lives in which neither of them would ever forget.

Dec. 28th, 2010

His Eyes Were Green - Prologue

His eyes were green.

That is what I remember about him most of all.

Green was the first thing I saw when I looked up and saw him for the very first time.

Green was the color of the grass where we laid together all those warm summer nights, just staring at the moon and listening to the crickets sing.

Green was the color of his first car, an old beat up Chevrolet in which he was extremely proud.

Green was the color of my favorite Gummi Bears, the ones that he picked out of a whole bag just for me.

Green is what I feel when I am with him. Strong. Peaceful. Alive.

Green was the color of his high school ring, which to this day still held a very special promise.

Green was the color of his army uniform, which was designed specifically for camouflage. How ironic that it only made him stand out all the more to me.

Green was the color of all the traffic lights that I sped through on the way to the airport, where we met that night after a whole year and six months of being apart.

Green is the color of the helicopter that crashed, nine soldiers killed and none of which survived.

Green is the envy I felt for all those years he spent for his country and not for me.

Green, or was it grief I felt when I realized that I had lost him – the one who I thought I'd be with forever.

Green was the day that I wished it all away, making a vow that I would never again fall for someone like him.

So I moved on, pressed forward; told myself that I should just forget and find someone new, my friends and family thought so too.

It is the year of 2011, and today was the first day I started my career as a portrait photographer. I have dreamed of reaching this goal since when I was just a little girl.

Funny how I'm not as happy as I thought I'd be.

The day was long but successful. It all went so fast, like a blur. But right before I was to head home, I encountered one last customer.

A young man named Edward, who I could tell straight off was a very handsome man.

His bronze hair gleamed like nothing I had ever seen, and his face was shaped like one of an angel. How could such a man like him exist? I wondered in eloquent awe.

With butterflies dancing in my stomach, I smiled and opened my mouth to speak, meaning to greet him.

But when our eyes met I noticed something, and in that moment everything changed.

His eyes were green..