Needing To Let Go

Graduation

A/N: So this is the last official chapter of this story and I can't believe that this story is already almost complete! As I said at the end of the last chapter there is a bit of drama in this chapter! Please know though that it will be resolved in the epilogue ;)

(No recap for this chapter since this is two years ahead in the future for our Bella)

Now here is the final chapter of Needing to Let Go.

Bella POV:

I can't believe that it is finally that time; high school graduation was today. A lot has happened these past two years; my mom and dad died in a car accident. Then there was the whole almost losing our house from not being able to pay the bills, don't even get me started on the freak thunderstorm that had sparked a tornado that all but totaled our house. Just when we thought that our life would go back to somewhat normal daily life my grandmother, Lily, had decided that she didn't like how my life was going with my brothers, Jasper and Emmett.

Oh and did I forget to mention that Rosalie is now officially a part of our family. Yes, they got married in the summer between my junior and senior year. Emmett even was able to legally adopt Bentley as his own son, my nephew. Turns out that Bentley's biological father had no desire to be a part of Bentley's life, and all but signed the needed paperwork with little fuss.

Speaking of Bentley he was now almost three years old, and loves to talk up a storm to whoever listens to him.

I couldn't decide what to wear under my graduation gown; I had a choice between a knee length dress with a faint flower print on it or to go with a more comfortable dress pants and dress blouse. This was one of those few occasions that I was relieved that Alice would be coming over any second now.

I was so happy for my brother and Alice. It wasn't until our senior year that Jasper and Alice finally made their constant flirtatious encounters into a full-fledged relationship; at least to them it was finally official. I swear it was like they were afraid to be in a real relationship. But I suppose it was because all that time Alice was 'underage' and with us living in a small town, and it had gotten around rather quickly that Jasper was seeing the 'new doctor's underage daughter'. I swear sometimes people could overreact over the smallest little thing.

"Isabella Swan get your butt down here! There's another college letter here for you!" Emmett bellowed from the foot of the stairs. I had taken my guidance counselor's advice and applied to all the different colleges that had caught my fancy.

I hurried down the stairs at a hurried pace and snatched in from my oldest brother's hands before he could open it first. He did that with the last one from Notre Dame and I all but had a heart attack when he got so depressed and made me believe that it was one of the rejection letters, or those 'fun' letters you get that say you are on the wait list. Then I realized that this letter arrived later than the other ones, hopefully I was still able to enroll for the fall.

This college letter happened to be from the school I wanted to be accepted to the most, the University of California, Berkeley. I did my research and after a lot of thinking I deiced to major in English Literature. I had read that it had a high ranked English Literature department, and I had managed to get enough scholarships in order after I cleaned up my act and actually made it to all of my classes without skipping any.

I found it strangely refreshing how the seven of us, Edward and Alice included of course, had grown up and managed to get where we wanted to be with everything.

"Open the letter Bells, we're all dying with anticipation. This is the school you've been waiting impatiently for." Jasper said with a kiss on my cheek. I took a deep breath and took in a good long look at the letter I held in my hands.

I carefully opened the letter that would more than likely change my whole life. I had just got it opened, and I froze; I couldn't bring myself to go further, I mean what if I didn't get in? What if I did get in? What would I do? I mean as I thought more about this, the more I realized that I would probably have to say goodbye to Edward.

Edward.

Both of us had avoided the whole conversation about what we would do if we were still together come graduation. Neither of us wanted to address the big academic elephant in the room when it came to whether or not we would try and make a long-distance relationship work or not. I know that it was always a hard thing to do, to keep a relationship going when there were miles separating us.

"Well what does it say Bells, enough stalling we're all waiting on pins and needles here?" Emmett snapped as he snatched the envelope back from me and took out the letter. I immediately felt a surge of happiness when I saw Emmett pull out a thick folded letter. I think that when the letter is thicker that meant it was an acceptance letter; or it could a wait list letter.

"What does it say Em? Come on tell me, it can't be that bad!" I shouted a bit too loudly and grabbed the letter back and quickly scanned over the piece of paper I held in my hand.

'Dear Ms. Isabella Swan,

It is with great pride that I inform you of your acceptance to the Berkeley City College…'

I didn't bother reading further, I had been accepted to the school I so much wanted to!

All of us immediately broke out into fits of laughter and hollers of celebration at the fact that I got into the school I so wanted to be accepted into.

"Congrats baby sister, it's going to be oddly quiet with you off partying it up at that fancy schmancy college, but I'm happy for you." Emmett said with a warm smile that even managed to reach his eyes.

"Oh Bella, I'm here to make you look beautiful – well not that you weren't already…" I just chuckled at how Alice fumbled over words trying to correct herself. I just shook my head and led her up to my room so I could get her 'Barbie makeover' over with.

I almost didn't want to tell Alice about my getting into Berkeley, not that I didn't want to, but that I knew that she would feel obligated to tell Edward before I could get a chance to and explain everything to him. For some reason I was terrified of how he would react when I got the nerve to tell him.

"Ok, something's up Bells, your face is even more scrunched up than normal when I give you my makeovers." God, I hated how perceptive Alice could be when she wanted to be. I suppose it was now or never; I need to tell her about me going to Berkeley for school.

"I got accepted into Berkeley College. I'm thinking about accepting, and majoring in English Literature." Lay it all out there, no sugar coating. Alice deserved the cold hard facts. But I felt my stomach do a few flips when she didn't automatically congratulate me. Was she angry with me? Did she think I was making a mistake? Maybe she was so focused on curling my hair that she didn't immediately process what I told her?

"Bella…that's amazing news! I can't believe that you got into Berkeley! I mean isn't that school a top academic school or something?! I'm so happy for you." Alice said. After finishing the curl she was working on she gave me a tight squeeze from behind. "Did you tell Edward yet?" Of course she would have to ask that she was his sister; adoptive sister maybe but still his sister.

I let out a long breathy sigh.

"No, I just found out today, a few minutes before you came over actually, so I haven't had the chance to tell him yet. Do you think he will be mad at me? I mean we didn't really talk about what would happen after high school. We may have had mentioned it in passing, like we could go to the same college or something like that. Oh Alice what do you think he'll say?"

Ok I knew that I was starting to panic a bit too much too early. I mean I hadn't even talked to Edward yet, and I was pretty sure that he would be ok with me going to an out of state college if that was what I truly wanted.

"OK, we finished your hair, now all that's left is the makeup, and then you put on the dress I bought you, and instead of the heels I painstakingly searched for to match your dress I will allow you to wear the ballet flats you so desperately want." Alice said with a playful smirk. She knew how much I detested the kind of high heels she made me wear, and she knew that I nearly twisted my ankles within a few seconds of putting them on. So I think it's safe to say that she got a sick kick out of seeing me stumble around in those high heeled shoes.

After much giggling and putting on our makeup, Alice and I heard giggling and whispering coming closer and closer to my bedroom door. Then all at once my door burst open and all of my friends came barging into my room and we all started giggling and laughing.

"Hey Bells, hey Alice, can you believe it? We're actually graduating today! I am so looking forward to all of us going to Kansas State in the fall!" Then I remembered all of us talked about going to the same school, and either finding an apartment on campus or being able to share the same dorm.

"What's wrong Bells, you look like you could throw up any second; you aren't sick are you?" Emily asked as her expression softened and took in my appearance more closely.

With a deep sigh I told them that I wouldn't be going to Kansas State with them like we talked about, instead I would be going to Berkeley.

"Wow, that's amazing Bella! That's an amazing school! It doesn't matter; we can still Skype at least once a week or something!" I smiled and hugged Emily and felt tears prickle my eyes. I was so relieved that my friends understood and were happy for me. I knew that they would be, and I knew that they wanted me to be happy.

"Hey, kids we all better get going the graduation ceremony starts soon and I'm pretty sure that you kids need to be there a few minutes early!" Jasper hollered from the bottom of the stairs up to us. We all hurried down the stairs and out to our cars with our caps and gowns in tow.

Thankfully the ride to the high school wasn't all that long, especially since I opted to ride with Alice in her canary yellow Porsche; an obvious graduation present from her mom and dad. The whole car ride to the high school Alice gushed incessantly gushed about how beautiful her car and how fast it raced down the country dirt roads.

When we finally arrived to the high school the parking lot was packed to its capacity and then some. It was as if everyone invited the entire town to the graduation. I knew that our class had a good amount of kids, but this seemed a bit excessive. I just hoped to god that I didn't fall flat on my face when I walked up on stage to accept my diploma; but I wouldn't put it past me to do so, I do tend to be somewhat of a klutz.

We were told to all go to the auditorium for a brief meeting before the ceremony began in the gymnasium. The teacher that was in charge of our class came up to the podium and proceeded to give us the rundown of how things were to go; we were to file in two lines alternating boy and girl in the lines and once everyone was in the gym then we were permitted to sit down. Then the usual stuff would happen; the class president, then the salutatorian, and finally the valedictorian would give their speeches. After all of the speeches had been made we would then begin receiving our diplomas.

I searched around for Edward; I hadn't seen him since I got here. I know that I had been with Emily, Raven, and Alice, but he was nowhere in sight. Just then I got a glimpse of that luscious reddish-brown hair, he was sitting with Kaleb and Jackson closer towards the front of the auditorium.

We were dismissed and had ten minutes until it was time to start forming the two single file lines. I hurried down to meet with Edward and when I got to him he looked as if he were sick or something. What could have him so upset that he looked as if he would vomit any second?

"Are you ok Edward? You look three shades of green." I attempted my best cheerful face, but even that couldn't put a smile on his face. He could barely look at me. Did I do something to upset him? I mean I don't think I could've done anything for him to all but freeze me out.

"Why didn't you tell me you were thinking about going to a college so far away? I mean I know we never really talked about what we would do after high school, but I thought you would've at least had the decency to tell me before you told your friends that you were going to Berkeley!" Edward all but shouted. I couldn't but cringe away at the harshness of his voice. I was afraid he wouldn't take the news too well, but I didn't expect him to be this upset.

"I'm sorry Edward; I just got the letter today in the mail. I want to major in English Literature and Berkeley has one of the best programs. I thought you would at least be happy for me." I hated playing the guilt card, but he just wasn't being reasonable, it was like he was purposely picking a fight over something so trivial.

"I never said I was happy for you Bella, because I am happy for you, ecstatic even, I just wish you would've told me first." Edward sneered at me and stalked off leaving me completely and utterly speechless. Why was he acting this way? Why was he so angry? Sadly time had run out for me to try and smooth things over with Edward; we were told to form our two single-filed lines and zip up our gowns and get our caps put on correctly.

I felt sorry for the orchestra what with having to play Pomp and Circumstance repeatedly until everyone had filed into the gym and to their respective seats.

Time seemed to slow down as the speeches were made, but that didn't bother me. I was too focused on my fight with Edward. I still couldn't understand why he would pick a fight over him not being one of the first people I told about my news.

"…Travis Sanders…Nora Smith…Bella Swan…"

It was my turn to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. I paused and smiled for all the cameras taking my pictures with the principal. As I continued to walk off of the stage I made eye contact with Edward, but there was no spark in his eyes when he looked at me; they seemed to be dull and listless.

The smile I had on my face slowly fell and a grimace had replaced it.

Thankfully this was the last thing we had to do before we were officially graduated from high school. The principal made a quick and to the point speech and instructed us to turn our tassels to the other side of our caps and then presented us to our friends and family as the class of gymnasium erupted in a roaring applause and cheer. Immediately after the announcement the orchestra started up again and we filed out in the same way we came in.

When we all piled out into the lobby we were greeted by our family and friends congratulating us and giving us warm and proud hugs. I searched the sea of people and found Edward with his parents, and Alice had managed to find them as well. I started walking over towards them to try and make up with Edward, but Edward saw me and closed the distance between us and grabbed me by the hand and took me some place more private.

"Edward, I want to say that I'm so – "

"Bella, I think it'd be best if we don't do this now. I mean, you'll go off to Berkeley in the fall, and I'll be going off to school to become a doctor like Carlisle. We both know that long distance relationships more often than not don't work out. Whether it is communication or either of us finds someone else, they just don't work." Edward said straightforwardly. It was his voice, but I could tell that he didn't truly believe his own words. I sure as heck didn't want to believe them myself.

"You can't be suggesting what I think you're suggesting Edward. We could make it work, why don't you just give it a cha – "

"I've made up my mind Bella, I think it'd be for the best if we call this what it is, a break up, and go our separate ways. That way we can focus on our studies, and who knows, maybe one day we'll meet up again." Edward said. I could tell that this was hard on him, but did he have any clue what this was doing to me?

Did he realize how much he was hurting me right now?

He gave me a quick peck on the cheek, avoiding my puckered lips deliberately and quickly raced off back to his parents. I was just left there stunned; not sure what I should do I walked blindly through the crowd to try and find my brothers and Rosalie.

He left me.

He didn't want to try and make our relationship work; he gave up too quickly.

When I finally found Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie I saw Emily, Raven, Kaleb, and Jackson were nearby. I even noticed that Jackson's mom and dad were apparently back together trying to have a second go at things. For some reason that made the growing hole in my heart ache at the thought that Edward gave up; he gave up on us.

I put on a brave face as we all gathered around for a group picture of the five of us. When Alice and Edward walked out to the front of the high school Emily called them over and asked them to be in a picture with us. All the air left my body at that moment. It was more than likely that I would be forced to stand close to Edward, and be forced to take in his intoxicating scent. I hadn't gotten a chance to tell anyone yet that Edward had broken up with me, and I didn't think that it was the best time; not when everyone was so excited.

Thankfully the photo session finished quickly and I all but hurried to Rosalie's car. I climbed into the back seat next to Bentley's car seat and tears immediately fell down my cheeks. I thanked god that I was able to hold them back while I was around him. I didn't want him to see how much he hurt me; I didn't want him to get any satisfaction of it. I know that he didn't break up with me in spite, but I still didn't want him to see me crying.

After a few good minutes of crying I was able to stop and collect myself. I wiped my tears away and vowed that I would cry no more tears over Edward. I would do what he suggested. I would move on, I would focus on my school and become the best darn author I could and maybe even publish a few books if I was lucky.

Edward was, and always be my high school sweetheart. I will always hold a place for him in my heart, but I couldn't wait for him to see how unreasonable he was being. That wouldn't be fair to me, so I promised myself that I would put all of this behind me. I would make an effort to never mention Ed – him as much as possible.

I would show him how big of a mistake he made breaking up with me!

A/N: So what did you think? Yes, it is horrible! He broke up with our Bella! Now, don't worry everything will be resolved in the epilogue, which of course be Christmas themed. (I apologize if you do not celebrate Christmas, please do not be offended)

Please be sure to review and let me know what you thought of this chapter and how you think things will be resolved for Bella and Edward! :)

Happy Reading and a very Happy Holiday to everyone!

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