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Learning to Fly

Summary:
Bella's made of tougher stuff than Edward gives her credit for, than even she gives herself credit for. After being left by Edward with a few empty parting words, Bella picks herself up and dusts herself off. Fury has made her strong, and she's about to show everyone that Isabella Marie Swan is not the kind of girl to lay down and take it.


Notes:
Contains Strong!Bella, possible Edward bashing, possible OOC, slowburn Jasper/Bella, explicit language, and OC side protagonists. Can also be found on fanfiction.net


1. Prologue

Rating 0/5   Word Count 713   Review this Chapter

"Everyone has choices to make; no one has the right to take those choices away from us. Not even out of love." - Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Prologue

"Goodbye, Bella. Take care of yourself."

It wouldn't stop repeating itself, rattling around her brain with an unforgiving insistency. The last thing he had ever said to her, just a passing but final goodbye, take care of yourself. Like it was that easy, like she should be grateful for his concern for her wellbeing?

"Come for a walk with me."

So innocuous, so simple, and still so very wrong. She'd been dreading it for days, knowing something was changing between them but unable to figure out what. Or how that something would manifest.

"Bella, we're leaving."

But she didn't get it. Why? Because it was for her own good? Because he didn't want her anymore? Well, that didn't make sense, everything he said contradicted it. How did he know what was best for her? He was what was best for her, didn't he understand? She loved so wholly, so absolutely. She put every fiber of her being into her love for him. That was how she did things. She put her entire heart into it. That was how she loved, and he just... Pretended like that wasn't even the case, like it didn't matter.

"That's everything, I suppose. We won't bother you again."

Then he'd taken them from her too.

Alice.

Jasper.

Esme.

Carlisle.

Emmett.

Rosalie.

All of them, gone, because he thought that leaving was what was best for her. Because he couldn't let her make her own decisions. Being a perpetual klutz hadn't anything to do with her ability to think for herself. It was bullshit. She loved the Cullen's like they were her own family.

"...a clean break would be better for you."

Like it was that.

Damn.

Easy.

God, she was tired. Tired of everyone always thinking they knew what she needed, of everyone leaving her behind, of never knowing what was going on because no one would tell her anything, of everyone deciding she wasn't strong enough to handle anything more than weak little human Bella concerns. Tired of sitting around and letting them walk all over her while she cowed and played their game of protect the precious baby Bella. She was tired of being tired.

For the first time in a month, she looked into the mirror at herself and vowed to decide for herself this time.

And she decided enough was enough.

Bella went to her closet, throwing open the door with a force that would have impressed her had she been paying attention, and yanked out the suitcase. With a heave, she tossed it onto her bed and unzipped it almost frantically, stomping to her dresser and grabbing an armful of clothes and panties and bras and whatever else happened to be in there before stuffing it all into the suitcase. A few more trips back and forth, and it was full, so she zipped it back up and stared at it for only a minute longer.

She looked in the mirror again; she remembered what she looked like after Edward had shattered her world. Confused, lost, helpless, hollow. And now, her face was flushed with exertion and probably retained anger, her cocoa brown eyes sparkled with life, with purpose. She wouldn't be helpless or lost, not anymore. She would find herself, and she would live for herself.

Her eyes narrowed with determination. This was it, this was her turning point. This was where everything changed. And maybe it was for the worse, or maybe it was for the better, but it didn't matter, because she was making this choice and no one else.

Turning, Bella calmly took a hold of the suitcase's handle, grabbed her wallet and her keys as she went through the front door of the house, and loaded up her truck. She got in the driver's seat before switching on the ignition and backing out of the driveway, driving away from home, a new sense of accomplishment flooding her gut. This was right. This was what she had to do.

"It will be as if I never existed."

She smirked at herself in the rear-view mirror.

Like hell it would.