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Just trying out the new mood theme...
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New Desktops (1280x800)



Love this image!  Too pretty!  Whatcha think?



Slightly different - but here is the same image in blue. 

Emmett Desktop



Originally created for for the Twilight Secret Santa community.  Enjoy!

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New Desktop



This was made using two images I found on the web.  I thought they looked really pretty together.  Enjoy!

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Playing around with Gimp



and....



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The Prince's Bride

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Whatcha think?  Interested to read... which title do you like best?  The Prince's Bride, The Prince or The Prince & His Bride??

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Always & Forever fun...



I love Wordle!  If you'd like to create your own go here!

I apologize for not posting the epilogue sooner.  It's coming... I promise!

Always & Forever - Chapter 3

Thank you once again to RedIsNewBlack, my beta, editor, friend, and everything else!!!  I truly can't thank her enough for her help on this story.  Whether it as encouraging me to write, fixing plot holes, coming up with an ending... thank you!   :)

This is part three... all that's left is an epilogue.  I'm glad you've enjoyed it so far and please review, it's nice to hear what you think I did well and what I can improve upon.  Happy reading!

 

Always & Forever
Chapter 3


Emmett’s envelope found a permanent residence on the table in my entryway.  I was bound and determined to make sure the contents would remain locked away.  No matter what.  I knew my heart couldn’t take whatever the contents said, and I didn’t want any reminders of that night, so the envelope remained unopened. 

I had tried to forget that night at the club with a passion, but things kept popping up to remind me.  Whether it was hearing an old song on the radio, walking by the coffee shop or an advertisement for the deli where we had stopped for food, things kept reminding me of my past.  The past I longed to forget and had successfully avoided for five years, and my more recent past and encounters with the Cullens.  Despite the sudden barrage of memories, I couldn’t wrap my head around it or figure out how everything had turned out so wrong in a matter of minutes. 

The moment Emmett walked back into my life everything went haywire.  My normal, plain, black and white, boring existence was suddenly alive with color again.  The world I left behind years ago caught up with me, and all the broken bits and pieces were thrust back into my face once again.  The mess I left behind had finally caught up to me and was there before me all neatly packaged in that little envelope. 

A week had passed.  I went to work each day.  I did my job.  I cooked my food.  I was surviving, not fully living, existing.  I was broken.  Damaged at best.  I had been broken before so this was nothing new.  I would just have to work a little harder at living with the pain and burying the past.

Seeing Edward had been amazing.  He was even better than I remembered.  It felt so good to see him again, but I knew it would just hurt us both if I went back now.  I had already hurt him time and time again, and I was used to constantly beating myself up.  I thought seeing him again was the worst thing that could happen.  I was wrong. 

That’s why when another letter arrived a week later I was sent into yet another tailspin.

It was lying innocently on my floor having been shoved through my mail slot. 

I knew who it was from.  The return address was left blank but the stamp and the postage mark on top indicated it was from back home.    And if that wasn’t a big enough clue, the familiar scrawling script told me all I needed to know.  The letter was from Edward.  Part of me was desperate to tear it open, but I refused.

Do I open it?  That would be like opening Pandora’s Box; a dangerous and risky scenario I didn’t want to face.  Or do I shelve and forget about it like Emmett’s envelope?  That would be the safe option, the smart option.   I didn’t know what to do.  I was absolutely and utterly conflicted.

Finally, I made up mind and kept doing what I’d been doing for the past five years, avoiding my past. 

So the letter and Emmett’s envelope sat on my table, both silently taunting me waiting for me to open them.  Begging me to open them.  But I refused.  I had been stubborn for years, and I was determined to be stubborn for years to come.

~~~~***~~~~

I knew Emmett had flown back home.  And I knew Edward had gone with him.  At least, I hoped he had.  Emmett never called to tell me but I knew he was gone.  From our discussions at the deli, he had told me of Rose’s impending due date and I knew Emmett wouldn’t leave her alone for too long.  I still hadn’t opened the envelope he had thrust into my hands that night at the club.  And I still hadn’t opened the letter that Edward sent me.

Two weeks passed.

Then the second letter came.

It had the same flowing script and there was no return address. 

Part of me wondered if he wrote the same thing and sent it again since he received no reply.  But I knew he wouldn’t do that.  He was never the type.  If he had something to say he would say it once; he was deliberate and persistent but he would never repeat himself.

Another week passed and another letter came.  This carried on for the rest of November.   I had six letters now and today’s made it seven.  It joined the growing pile of envelopes on my table.

It was mid December when I got a phone message from Alice.

“Bella,” there was a long pause, “You missed Rosalie’s birth.  She had a beautiful baby girl.  I know she and Emmett really wanted you there.  I did too, but you’re busy avoiding Edward and the rest of us.  I just thought you should know.  Oh, and we miss you!  Call me sometime.  And on another note, open the letters.  Please?”  The message ended as she hung up the phone.

My eyes fell upon the collection of envelopes.  Perhaps, it wouldn’t hurt to open them, one of them at least.  As terrified as I was about what they would say, I really wanted to see what he wrote and sent me.  I promised myself that I would only read one.

I reached for the most recent one, but quickly put it back.  My fingers traced over the crinkled envelope from Emmett.  The rain from that night had caused it to shrivel up a bit.

Grasping the blade of the letter opener, I slid it under the edge and ripped the envelope open. 

My hands were shaking as I poured out the contents onto the counter.  A thick piece of paper and a short note on lined paper fell out.  I picked up the letter first.

Bells,

I’m sure a lot of shit went down tonight that you weren’t prepared for.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for things I said, did, whatever they may be.  I’m sorry.  And I’m especially sorry for surprising you with Edward.  He had no idea you were going to be there.  I just want you two together, to be happy again. 

He’s miserable Bella.  You’re miserable.  Together, you two could be happy.  He loves you.  He always will.  I don’t know why you can’t see that.  I know you love him too.  Don’t deny it.  I see it in your eyes when you think about him.  For some reason or another you’re convinced he deserves someone better than you.  You’re wrong.

For a long time I was in love with you.  Did you know that?  You were the one who made me change my playboy ways.  Rose and I were on and off, as you know.  But you were dependable and caring and willing to listen, everything she wasn’t back then.  I craved your company and soon I fell long and hard for you.  Rose was the furthest thing from my mind and I finally saw what Edward had seen all along.

You know he told me about you the first time he met you in biology class?  He said you walked into his life and his whole world was going to change.  He thought you were beautiful and intelligent.  All together perfect.  I dismissed it as the ramblings of my younger inexperienced brother.  But I was wrong.  He was right all along.  You are perfect Bella. 

Perfect for Edward.

You brought him out of his shell.  He used to study all the time.  Whether it was for school or composing music, that’s all he did.  Study, study, study.  When he met you he was happy and outgoing, cheerful even if you can believe it.  He saw you for the wonderful person you were from the first moment he met you and he fell in love. 

We both know Edward is stubborn, almost as stubborn as you, and when something comes into his life and changes it for the better he is bound and determined not to let that thing go.  You’re that thing.  Edward will never love another.  He will always love you Bella, no matter what you say, how much time passes, or what happens.  He will always love you.

Now don’t get worried that I love you.  I do.  But as a sister.  When I fell for you I was desperate for a listening ear at first and you provided that.  Rose and I had split up and you were there for me.  It was great having someone to talk and confide in.  I got to see you as the wonderful girl my brother fell in love with.  And I realized I could never take that away from him.  He loves you the way I love my Rose. 

Which brings us to today.  Time’s passed.  Things have happened.  Things are still happening.  I want you at my baby’s birth.  I don’t care about the past I’m looking to the future.  I’ve enclosed a plane ticket and I’m hoping you’ll be on it.

I love you Bells.  See you in Forks,

Emmett

I set the letter down with a caring hand.  I knew once again I had disappointed Emmett by missing the birth of his daughter.  But I knew he would be willing to forgive me as he always did.  I picked up the plane ticket.  The date had expired obviously, but the sentiment was still there.  A part of me longed for home as it always did, but to go back was to give in to my heart.  I wasn’t sure I was ready for that yet. 

I set the ticket down and grabbed the first letter from Edward.

Gingerly I tore into it and pulled out a single sheet of paper with writing on both sides.  It was faded yellow with age.

I love you Bella.

Always and forever,

Edward

I flipped the letter eager to see what was imprinted on the back. 

I had never taken music lessons but hanging around Edward enough had taught me a thing or two about music.  He had scribbled his note on the back of a page of his composition music.  There were notes all across the page, not as if I could make any sense of them, but I knew the notes when put together would play a beautiful melody.  How he expected me to play it, I had no idea.

I noticed a little bit of writing in the margins with an arrow pointing to a bracketed section.

Needs to be lighter, softer.  Think of Bella’s smile that first day in bio.

My cheeks flushed.  This music was obviously very personal to Edward.

Disregarding the promise to myself, I tore into the next envelope to see what he had written.  There was a second sheet of music but the notes were arranged in a different order.  My eyes scanned across the page for any little notes.  I found one in the bottom right hand corner.

Klutzy, stumbling into my arms.  More staccato at the beginning but smooth and languid at the end.

I flipped the paper over and searched for the accompanying note.

I love you Bella.

Always and forever,

Edward

My promise to only open one was long forgotten as I ripped into each envelope desperate to see his words and the music.  If only I could play… I sighed and read the contents of the third letter.

Her blush is beautiful.  Her eyes are sparkling.  Her laugh is tinkling. 

The same message was inscribed on the back.  Never changing.

The fourth one mentioned my hair and how he dreamed about running his fingers through it again.

Brown, warm, caresses my fingers.  Silky soft tendrils.

The back message was still there in his perfect expressive handwriting. 

The fifth letter was from two weeks ago.  The composition looked more recent than the previous sheets.  The paper was whiter, thicker, and more sturdy.

I found the comments in the margin and my heart stopped.

She’s gone.   I’m all alone again.  Somber.  Slow.  Depressed.  Pianissimo.  Dirge.

I was cautious to turn the page over.  I found like the rest of the letters he had jotted down a note on the back in the center of the page but it was slightly different.

I still love you Bella. 

Always and forever,

Edward

I didn’t know if I should open the sixth and seventh letters.  The notes, while familiar in message, worried me.  Was he truly never going to give up on us? 

With shaking hands I opened the sixth letter.  The note in the margins was concise.

Ending needs work.

The music notes stopped halfway down the page.  I could tell he had stopped mid thought and that this was a recent addition to his composition.  In the top half of the page there were parts scribbled out, erased, and emboldened.  He was still editing it.  It wasn’t finished.  Just like our love. 

I finally realized something.  It seemed so simple; I wondered how I did not come to the conclusion sooner.  Edward and I would never be finished. 

The point Emmett had been trying to drill into my head finally hit home.  Edward would love me for all time.  He could forget my flaws and foolish actions because he loved me.  Just as I resigned myself to always loving him from afar, Edward vowed he would love me no matter what the circumstances. 

I may have left him years ago because I was foolish, afraid and felt he deserved better, but he didn’t care.  And I finally understood that.  Edward loved all of me, just as I loved all of him.

I had been a coward too many times in the past but I wouldn’t be anymore.  I turned over the unfinished work and found the familiar words.

I love you.

Always and forever,

Edward

I didn’t fear the last letter any more, so I tore into it without any abandonment. 

It was different.  There was no music, no loving notes just a date and a simple message.

December 22, 2008

Bella,

It’s been five years.  Six unanswered letters.  Billions of attempted phone calls to your cell, only to hang up each time.  But I finally realized something.  You don’t love me and I have to accept that.  So, I’m giving up.  I will always love you Bella, but I understand you don’t feel the same.  I’m sorry for pestering you all this time.  Forgive me and be happy with your life. 

Always and forever yours,

Edward

The world stopped in that moment.  My knees hit the hardwood floors beneath me and I clutched the letter to my chest.

I was incensed and heartbroken.  How dare he?  How could he just up and give up like that all these years?  It wasn’t right.  I had figured it out.  He loved me and he was just giving up.  Like that?  It wasn’t fair!

I reached for the letters and held them to my chest.  I didn’t care that I was sobbing over the music, over his heartfelt words.  I wanted him, all of him, to love me as I desperately loved him.

I knew I had hurt him time and time again, but part of me knew that he would always love me.  To suddenly have that pulled out from you, a constant in your life, it shatters everything.  I had to make it right again.  I had to go back.

~~~~***~~~~

Somehow or another I boarded a flight home.  I didn’t care that I maxed out a credit card to pay for it.  I didn’t care about packing things to take home.  I just cared about seeing Edward and telling him that he was wrong to give up on me.  I loved him.  He had to know.

I knew Rose had the baby at the only hospital in town.  I rushed there and prayed that she would still be there with Emmett, coddling her bundle of joy.  I approached the nurse’s station and she raised an eyebrow.  I knew I looked like a mess, but I didn’t care.  She took in my bedraggled appearance and smiled softly.

“Who are you looking for?”

“Cullen.  Emmett and Rose Cullen.  She just had a baby yesterday.  Where is she?”

The nurse clicked her tongue and typed into the computer.

“Are you a friend of the family?”

I gulped.  I had never considered that I wouldn’t be able to see them.  I nodded meekly.  She smiled warmly at me. 

“Let me page Dr. Cullen to take you there.”

“No!” the outburst came from my lips and shocked the young woman.  “I’m sorry,” I glanced at her name tag, “Rita.  It’s just that I want to surprise them.  You know?  Is there any way I could have the room number?”

She hummed for a few minutes, deliberating before smiling.  “If anyone asks, I didn’t tell you.  Room 408.  Have fun!”

I don’t remember the journey up the elevator, or dashing through the hallways to find the ones I needed to find.  Why are hospitals so confusing!?  Thankfully, I saw Alice first. 

Her hair was still cropped short but styled in a cute pixie-like manner.  Jasper was standing beside her and smiling down at her.  He happened to see me first.

A grin split across his face and he beckoned me over. 

Alice looked up and gasped.  “You came?”

I took the first hesitant step towards them and nodded.  “I came.”  Alice ran down the hall and pulled me into an enthusiastic hug.  Jasper pulled her back into his embrace and she grinned at me.

Emmett stepped out of the room and looked at me with a Cheshire smile.  “It’s about time you stopped running.”  He reached out and put his arm around my shoulder.  “I’m glad you came Bells.  Now let’s go meet my daughter.”

I was led into the room by an eager Emmett and Alice followed behind me.  Carlisle and Esme looked up from the corner.  Rose was too busy coddling the bundle in her arms to look up. 

Carlisle approached me with an apprehensive look.  He took in my appearance and grinned, “You read the letters?”  I nodded with a somewhat tearful grin, and he pulled me into a hug.  “Welcome home Bella.”

After a few moments, he released me, and before I could get a word in, Esme wrapped her arms around me.  “My other baby has come home!  Well look at you, you’re skin and bones.  You haven’t been taking care of yourself missy.  Tsk but you’re still beautiful.  That obviously hasn’t changed.”

She ran her hands through my brown locks, “You changed your hair.”

I shrugged, “A bit.”

“It suits you.  Frames the face and shows off your beautiful eyes.  You look gorgeous Bella.  You always have!  I’m just so glad that you’re back.”  My cheeks were burning from her praise.

Esme took a step back and looked at me seriously, “You are staying right?”

My answer was interrupted when Rosalie looked up sharply.  Her lips were set in a firm line.  I smiled timidly.  I knew she would be one of the toughest to win over.

I waved slowly, “Hi Rose.”

She licked her lips and glared at Emmett.  “I take it you had something to do with this?”  He didn’t answer her.  He just smiled, leaned in and kissed her forehead.

She turned her gaze back to me.  “Well it’s about time you got here!  What took you so long?  I had this baby yesterday!” 

Rose smiled and I knew her harsh words were in jest.  I was forgiven.  I stepped up to the bed and looked at the little girl swathed in a pink blanket.  Little tufts of brown hair were sticking out from under her beanie.  She was asleep in her mother’s arms.  The perfect picture of innocence.

“She’s beautiful,” I whispered and reached out with a finger to trace her warm cheeks, “just like her mama.”

I looked at Rose and she smiled.  With her free hand she wiped a tear away, “It’s the hormones you know.  I’m not actually crying.”  Her voice came out harsher than intended.  The moment was tense.

I slowly nodded my head in acceptance of her statement but even I couldn’t stop smiling when Alice and Emmett started cracking up behind me.

“Sure, darling.  It’s the hormones.”  Jasper’s smooth voice filtered over the room and set everyone at ease once again.

“Her name’s Lily.” Rose offered quietly.  She studied my face and bit her lip.  “Lily,” she spoke again, “meet your godmother.  That is, if she intends to stay around.”

She cocked an eyebrow and I felt the weight of her stare, and everyone else’s in the room, fall upon me.  I backed up and opened my mouth to speak, when Emmett clapped a hand on my shoulder.

“Let’s not push for answers now.  We have something to celebrate.”

The group nodded in agreement and everyone settled in to talk about little topics.  Esme pulled out some knitting needles and a skein of yarn.  Carlisle and Jasper were joking about the chance of Alice being pregnant.  Alice had settled herself at Rose’s bedside and was running her fingers through Rose’s hair. 

I felt a gentle tug on my arm and turned to look at Emmett.  He motioned for me to join him outside.  I took in the scene before me and quickly ducked outside to meet him.  He led me over to a set of chairs in the hallways.

“I know why you’re here.”

I nodded and fumbled with my hands in my lap.  “For Edward.  And Rose,” I quickly amended, “I thought he would be here.  But he’s not.”

“I need to know that you’re not gonna run anymore Bells.  I know Edward can’t take anymore of this.  You either leave town now, and he’ll be none the wiser, or you go to him and you stay by his side for the rest of your life.  Which is it going to be?  Run or stay?”

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves.  “I love him.”  Emmett nodded, but gestured for me to continue. 

“I’ve always loved him.  I never stopped.  It was just too much back then and I was so determined that he deserved someone better.  I always thought he would give up on me and move on to someone else.  I mean look at my parents.  They divorced when they got married super young.  I didn’t want that to happen to me.  So I ran.”

I heard Emmett sigh, “Bells lots of people get divorced.  And yeah, you had a tough time growing up with two parents in different towns.  It wasn’t the greatest example of romance and love and all that marriage mumbo jumbo.  But your parents aren’t anything like you and Edward.  Can’t you see the difference?”

“Now I do.  I really do.  Back then I thought we were just another couple right out of high school getting married, but I was wrong.  I was stupid, young, naïve, and afraid of making the biggest mistake of my life.  So I ran away.”

I looked down the hall to see Alice peek her head from the doorway.  She nodded in silent understanding that this was a moment between the two of us.  I heard the door click as she closed off our private conversation from the rest of the family.

“I love him Emmett.  Some part of me knew that he loved me too, but I was just too afraid of letting myself fall head over heals and being happy for the rest of my life.  Everything was too perfect!  All the books say love is supposed to be about heartache and togetherness and everything wonderful.  How could I fall in love at such a young age and not have to go through anything major?  I figured it couldn’t be love, just a rush of emotions, lust, anything.  I mean, no one meets their soul mate in high school.  It just doesn’t happen.  But, I was wrong.  I met Edward and he is the one for me, and I realize that I’m the one for him.  I was such a fool before and I caused so much heartbreak.  And then when he said he was giving up,” I paused and clutched my heart, “I didn’t know what to do.”

I swallowed painfully and continued with my rant, “He was such a constant in my life.  He was there.  Well, his love for me was always there, and to lose that was to lose everything.  I love him Emmett.  God I love him.  How could I be such a fool to let him go?”

The tears streamed down my face and I felt Emmett pull me into his arms.  With cautious hands he wiped a few errant tears away.  “Shhh,” he rocked me gently, “It will be okay.  I’ve got you.”

“I don’t know what to do Emmett.  I love him and he’s given up on me when I finally figured everything out.”

Emmett pulled back slightly but he still had his arms wrapped around my weak frame, “You love him.  That’s all you can do.  I don’t know if he’ll take you back Bells, I honestly don’t know.  I think he will and he’s a god damned fool if he doesn’t, but Bells he’s been hurt time and time again,” I tried to speak but he shushed me with a soft kiss to my forehead.

“I’m not going to go into that.  It’s something the two of you need to work out together.  But Bella,” he dropped his arms and pulled out an object from his pocket.  He carefully hid it from my view.  “I need to know if you’re going to run again.  Call me the protective older brother, but I can’t stand to watch either of you get hurt again.  So I’ll ask you again.  Are you going to run or are you going to stay?”

He dangled a silver key in front of me.  “Tell me the right answer and I’ll give you this and tell you where to go.”

Make or break time.  There was no time for doubts now.  Did I really want this?  Did I really want a life with Edward?  I had my answer.

“I might not have known what I was running from before, but I know what I’m doing now.  I’m running to the one I love and will always love.  I’m running to Edward whom I plan to stay with for the rest of my life, if he’ll have me.”

The key dropped into my hand and Emmett smiled, “It’s about time you stopped running.”

I giggled, “I’m not stopping.”  He pulled back and searched my face for any hidden agendas.  I grinned and pointed to the sneakers on my feet and grinned, “I’m running to Edward Em.  Now tell me where to go.”

~~~~***~~~~

Needless to say I got the address to Edward’s apartment.  Thirty minutes, a cab ride across town and the longest ride in an elevator later I was standing at his door.  I didn’t know if I should knock or just barge in.  I knocked softly and waited for the door to swing open.

I looked at the key digging into my palm.  Emmett must have given it to me for a reason.  I slipped it into the lock and softly turned the key.

Entering Edward’s apartment after all these years was not a feeling I can easily describe.  His sweet smell encompassed me and I took a deep breath to calm my nerves.  It felt like I didn’t belong among his collection of furniture, photos, and random odds and ends.  But the other side of me felt at home, at last.  I had finally found my place. 

I listened for the sound of the shower running but didn’t hear anything.  With wary steps I searched the apartment for any sign of life.  His bedroom was immaculate but empty.  I shut the door and returned to the main room.

I sank into the couch and clutched my head miserably.  All this way for nothing, I thought.  He wasn’t here.  I leaned back into the couch and felt the tears form in my eyes.  I gripped a pillow and curled into a ball.  He was gone, and there was nothing I could do. 

I knew my sobs filled the empty apartment and my tears soaked the pillow, but I didn’t care.  I only wanted Edward.

The lock turned and I heard the door opening. 

I sat up and tried to hastily wipe away the remnants of my tears.

Edward entered the apartment with a paper bag full of groceries.  He set his keys on the table and walked into the small kitchen.  He had no idea I was here.

I heard him shuffling about and I was dying to bound into the room and shower him with hugs and kisses but it wasn’t my right.  Not anymore.  I waited patiently and bided my time.

Soon, the sound of groceries being put away ceased and the apartment was filled with silence again.

“I know you’re here.”

I jumped, startled by the sound of his voice.

“How did you know?”

He emerged into the living room and raised an arm to sheepishly scratch the back of his neck.  “You still wear the same perfume.”

He sank into the easy chair kiddy corner to me.  “Oh.”  It was such an inadequate thing to say but I was floundering for words.  All the planned speeches and words I’d thought up were gone.

He took a deep breath, “Why are you here Bella?”

This was it. 

“Because I love you.  Always and forever.  I love you.”  I locked my gaze with his.  The sparkling green gems were shimmering with unshed tears.

He crossed the small distance between us and crushed his lips to mine.  Over and over again he pressed soft kisses to my lips, my cheeks, my nose, forehead, hair.  Short kisses.  Long kisses.  Deep kisses.  They continued to rain upon me.  My lips eagerly met his and I wrapped my arms around his muscular frame.  His arms surround me and pulled me down to the couch.  And still the kisses continued.  I was lost at sea, drowning in his arms, and I had never felt more safe and right than in that moment.

My hands were fisted in his hair.  His fingers were alternating running though my brown locks and wiping the stray tears away.  “I love you Edward.”  The words tumbled out as I kissed the strong column of his neck right below his ear.

Minutes, it could have been hours later, our reunion stopped when he pulled away from me to study my face.  I reached up to brush a lock of bronze hair that had fallen across his brow and into his eyes.  He watched me wordlessly as I pulled my hand back to rest it upon his chest.

The silence scared me.  I started rambling. 

“I’m sorry for everything and I love you.  I’m not going to run away again, ever again.  I promise.  I love you so much, it hurts Edward.  Please don’t give up on me.  Your letters were amazing and I’m sure the song is beautiful.  You wrote it, so it has to be.  Everything you write is beautiful.  Promise to play it for me sometime?  I love you.  Oh so much.  I love you.  Don’t ever doubt my love for you.  Got it?  And did I mention that I love you?”  My breathless plea was met by his smoldering gaze.  He pulled my head down to press a soft heartfelt kiss upon my lips.  When he pulled back his forehead rested against mine.  With a deliberately slow movement he stroked my cheek in a feather soft caress.

Our noses brushed as our lips were seeking each other in the dark night.  Finally they met.  Passion built between us quickly.  My hands were clutching his shirt and I was frantically trying to pull myself closer to him.  I was pouring all the love and emotion I had kept at bay for the past few years into our kiss.  He kissed me back with an eagerness and longing that had been missing years before.

Our limbs were tangled up in one another.  Due to my speech and our enthusiastic make out session our chests were heaving.  Somehow I had ended up lying on his chest with my legs cradled between his.  His long frame forced his legs to hang over the edge of the couch and I was settled firmly against his torso.

I blushed unwillingly and my favorite crooked grin made its way across his face.  His fingers found the hem of my shirt and slipped underneath it to trace the soft skin of my lower back.  I relaxed and laid my head upon his chest listening to the sound of his heart.  Lost in the moment, he continued to stroke a little pattern on my back.

The steady rhythm of his heart and the slow rise and fall of his chest was like a drug.  My eyes fluttered closed and I found myself drifting off to sleep within his arms.  Safe and warm.  Loved. 

I yawned and snuggled myself further into his embrace.   “I love you Edward.”  The words were slightly muffled by his shirt but the sentiment was there.  He understood.  I heard him chuckle softly above me and felt the rumble deep within his chest.

His warm breath tickled my ear and his gentle touch was like a butterfly’s wing.  “Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear you say that?  I love you Bella.  Always and forever.”





That's it... except for an epilogue which I'll post in the next few days.  Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoyed it... and please review!