Sunday, September 1, 2013 | By: Drotuno

In Pursuit Chapter 32 & Pics

Chapter 32
Bella POV
I clicked open a file on the computer and began looking through the spreadsheet that popped up, hiding a yawn in my elbow. I’d barely been at work forty-five minutes, so I wasn’t quite awake yet. We’d had a good weekend, but Edward had kept me up late the night before, so I wasn’t at all ready for Monday morning to come around – but come around it had.
A knock on the door frame had me looking up. I smiled when I saw Carlisle. “Hey! What brings you here so earl—”
My words died when he stepped inside and shut the door.
“Carlisle, what’s going on? Is it Edward?” I felt my heart drop to my stomach and my throat close, making it hard to swallow. “Did something happen?”
“No, sweetheart. Edward’s fine. But I do have some news.” At my nod, he said, “Al called me. A bomb...”

My brain went fuzzy and I leaned down, putting my head by my knees as Carlisle’s words ran together and became background noise for the pounding in my skull. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up – or both.
“Breathe, Bella,” Carlisle said as he suddenly pressed his cool hand against the back of my neck. “Just breathe. He’s fine, sweetheart.”
Sucking in a deep breath, I choked and coughed, sitting up to force the air into my lungs. When I felt like I could speak, I said, “Sorry.”
He shook his head. “It’s okay. I understand. Ready to hear more?” I nodded again, and he smiled, patting my shoulder before moving back around to the other side of the desk. “As I was saying, a bomb threat was called in to the Federal Office Building – about half a mile from the hospital. He, Edward, and Jasper have been called out with the Marshals Service to help empty out the building while the bomb squad goes in to do what they need to do. Edward didn’t have time to call, but he ordered Al to get a message to me to give to you.”
I swallowed, nodding. “’Kay,” I croaked out softly. “Tell me, please?”
“Edward said, and I quote, Get your ass to my parents’ house. I love you, baby. I’ll be safe. Please, stay with Mom until you hear from me. And Jasper asked that you tell Alice he loves her and she should stay with you and Esme until he comes to get her.”
I nodded again, my brain feeling fuzzy. I shoved it back, needing a clear head.
“He’s gonna be fine, Bella,” Carlisle said when I looked up at him again. “My son is damn good at his job, and Al will make sure he and Jasper are safe, but you need to be strong for him so he doesn’t have to worry about you while he’s down there, okay?
“’Kay,” I whispered, pulling open my drawer to grab my bag. “Are you leaving?”
He shook his head again. “I have to stay in case there is a bomb and it goes off. We’re the closest hospital, so we’ll be the first stop for any that need treatment. Esme’s at home, and she’s expecting you and Alice. Rose and Emma are headed there as we speak, since Emmett will be busy at the station.” Looking at me with a raised eyebrow, he asked seriously, “Are you okay to drive? Do I need to have someone drive you?”
“N-No,” I stuttered, shaking my head. “I’m okay. I’ll call Alice and tell her on my way.”
After looking at me for a moment, he nodded. “Okay. Then come on. I’ll walk you out.”
I murmured my thanks and let him shepherd me out.
As we passed my boss’s office, I started to stop, but he said, “I’ve already explained to Ms. Robinson that you’re taking off for a family emergency. You’re cleared to leave, sweetheart.”
I nodded, quickening my steps as we left the office.
Carlisle stayed with me as I made my way to the parking garage. I didn’t even think about driving Edward’s car until it came within sight.
“Ed...Edward’s letting me borrow his car until I’ve saved up enough for the down payment on my own. I’m not—”
“I know, Bella,” he interrupted with a chuckle. “He explained.”
I smiled, fumbling with the keys when I pulled them out of my purse.
Carlisle took them from me and unlocked the door before handing them back to me. “Have faith, Bella,” he said as he pulled me into a gentle hug. “He’ll be fine. I know my son. He’s strong, and he has something worth coming home to, so he’ll do everything in his power to get back to us.”
I clenched the back of his shirt in my hands and nodded, inhaling his scent – a mix of laundry detergent, soap, and male – which calmed me as much as anything could at the moment. I felt protected, almost like my own father was holding me and telling me everything would be okay.
Finally, I let him go and stepped back. “Thank you,” I said, swiping at my cheeks to brush away the tears that had fallen.
He waved away my words and pulled the door open, giving me a gentle nudge. “Go, Bella. Call Alice, and the two of you go to Esme like Edward asked.”
I nodded and slid down into the seat, holding my skirt out of the way so Carlisle could close my door. He stepped away as I started the car, and I watched him in the rearview mirror as I drove away.
Once I got several blocks away from the hospital, my gut clenching at the sound of sirens and sight of passing emergency vehicles, I stuck my Bluetooth headset in my ear and hit the button on my phone to call Alice.
After six rings, just before it switched over to voice mail, she answered breathlessly, “Bella? What’s wrong?”
Immediately, my tears began flowing again, blurring my vision for a second before I blinked them away. “Alice...” I told her what Carlisle had said, ignoring Alice’s gasping cry and ending with, “You need to leave now, Pix.”
I could almost picture her frantic nod as she said, “Shit, shit, shit! Yeah, I’ll meet you there.”
After telling her I’d see her there, I clicked off the call, barely holding myself back from hitting speed dial one for Edward. Instead, I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, concentrating on getting to the safety of Esme’s house.
When I pulled into the driveway a few minutes later, Alice turned in right behind me. With shaky hands, I climbed out and met her beside my car, pulling her into a tight hug as I finally broke down sobbing. She was shaking like a leaf, her own tears falling and soaking my shirt.
I heard a door open, but didn’t look up until Esme spoke, her voice soft, from beside us.
“Come on inside, girls. I have some tea made up, and we can watch the news while we wait to hear from the boys, okay?”
Alice and I nodded, and she stepped between us, putting her arms around our shoulders to guide us to the house.
“Rose and Emma got here a few minutes ago, and Katie’s here – she’s home sick from school, so Al asked me to watch her. So we’ve got plenty of company.” She opened the door to the house, ushering us in ahead of her.
Rose was standing in front of the couch, rocking baby Emma in her arms. She looked up when we walked into the living room. Smiling sadly, she said, “No news yet.”
I nodded. “I had the radio on in the car.”
A rough cough from the other couch drew my attention that direction, and I looked over to see poor Katie lying under a blanket, her gaze trained on the television. We’d met her the night before at dinner. She was a beautiful little girl, with long, straight blond hair and blue eyes, but right now, she looked absolutely pitiful – flushed, dark circles under her eyes and a red nose that looked sore from blowing a few too many times.
“Katie, sweetheart,” Esme started, waiting until she looked our direction. “You remember Bella and Alice, right? They’re gonna wait here with us, okay?”
Katie nodded. “’Kay.” She turned a tremulous frown in our direction, and even from across the room, I could see the glassiness of her eyes. “Aunt Esme said Edward and Jasper are with my dad.”
I smiled, trying to look reassuring, and nodded, moving over to the little girl. Squatting down, I said, “Yeah, sweetie, they are. I hear you’re feeling pretty rotten, huh? It wasn’t Aunt Esme’s cooking last night, was it?” I teased, winking at Esme when she playfully huffed.
Katie giggled, shaking her head. “No, Aunt Esme’s a good cook. Dad said I just have a cold.” She coughed hard, her face turning red from the effort, and struggled to sit up. I held out my hand, and she took it, using the leverage to pull herself to a seated position. “Will you sit with me, Bella?”
“Of course,” I answered with a smile, setting my bag down and scooting her blanket out of the way so I could sit down beside her.
She immediately curled into my side, her warm cheek pressed against my arm as her eyes went back to the TV. I pulled my arm free and wrapped it around her, tugging her so she was resting more comfortably against me.
Alice sat down on my other side and clutched my hand while Esme settled on the other couch beside Rose, taking a now-sleeping Emma from her arms. The baby was oblivious to the tension the rest of us were feeling as we watched the video footage from downtown Seattle.
“Police from the East and West Precincts are continuing to block traffic and evacuate residents from the area,” the way-too-perky blonde reported from outside the cordoned-off area downtown.
“Emmett,” Rose breathed, and I looked over to see her eyes closed tightly.
Esme murmured to Alice and me, “Emmett works out of the East Precinct.”
I nodded and then looked back at the TV as the reporter continued speaking.
“According to a source inside the police department, agents from the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as the FBI, are on scene. There are approximately two hundred people currently in the building, and the federal agents are working to get everyone out.”
A newscaster still at the TV station asked the reporter on scene, “Mitzi, any word yet whether a bomb has actually been found?”
“Jim, word came down just a moment ago that an explosive device of some sort has indeed been found in the mechanical room in the basement of the building. No word yet on the size or type of the device. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I hear more.”
“Shit,” Alice cursed softly beside me. “I was really hoping it would turn out to be an empty threat.”
The rest of us nodded.
I was a wreck inside as I thought of Edward being in the building where a bomb could go off at any moment. It seemed like I’d just found him, and now, there was a possibility that I could lose him. The thought made me sick to my stomach, and I had to grit my teeth in order to keep from losing it completely. I’d promised Carlisle I’d be strong for Edward, and I would – even if I felt as weak and helpless as a kitten.
Twenty minutes later, the reporter was updating the news desk that there was no word of any updates yet, when a loud sound came suddenly from behind her, along with gasps and cries from the people around her.
The room around me was absolutely still and silent as the reporter looked frantically around her and said, “Jim, it sounded like there was an explosion in the Federal Office Building. I repeat, a bomb has gone off in downtown Seattle in the Federal Office Building.”
I gasped out a strangled, “Edward,” as my tears began to fall again.
Edward POV
“Everybody! Listen up!” Uncle Al yelled from middle of the bullpen. Once all the activity around him came to a halt, he rubbed his face. “I need everyone to gear up. Now! Seattle PD has received a bomb threat at the Federal Office Building. We’ll be working with them and the FBI to clear out the people inside while the bomb squad verifies whether or not it’s a true threat. Be ready to roll out in two minutes!”
Jasper and I looked at each other and then to the map on the wall of the city.
“Fuck me running,” I growled, standing up from my desk and following Al to his office.
“I ain’t got time for bullshit, Ed,” he stated as he snatched up his gun holster and shield.
“No, but you do have time to call my dad, Al. Do it. That’s less than half a mile from the hospital,” I argued. When he opened his mouth to snap at me, I held up a hand. “I’m not fucking stupid. I know he’s needed there and would never leave. I want Bella at my parents’. Now.”
“And tell her to grab Alice on the way,” Jasper piped up from behind me.
Al nodded, picking up his phone. “Any message you want him to give her?”
“Umm, yeah. Tell her: Get your ass to my parents’ house. I love you, baby. I’ll be safe. Please, stay with Mom until you hear from me.” I waited until he nodded and looked to Jasper, who gave his own message for Bella to pass along to Alice.
Once we heard him say, “Carlisle,” into the phone, we spun around and headed into the locker rooms.
I adjusted the ear piece in my ear as Jasper flew through the streets. We were lights and sirens and a long caravan of marshals in vans, buses, and SUVs. The local PD had already blocked off the street, and the media was already starting to gather a few blocks down, not to mention there were choppers in the sky, both media and law enforcement.
Jasper pulled to a stop, and we launched out to find Al, who was already receiving intel from what looked like Seattle PD. Al spun to face us, placing his ear piece in his ear.
“I need you in three teams,” he stated, holding up three fingers. “Cullen, you and Whitlock take a team to the back side of the building through the loading dock. You’ll be in charge of the center portion of the building. Johnson, your team in through the front door, taking the west side. Lewis, you’ll take the east side. There’s a side entrance...” He trailed off when we were approached by another officer from PD.
“The bomb-sniffing dogs found something, sir,” he told Al. He swallowed thickly. “The basement... The whole damn thing is rigged.”
Al turned back to us. “Finish emptying that building. Go, go, go!”
I spun to my team, which consisted of not only Jasper, but the three people that had helped me on my last fugitive recovery – Collins, Crawford, and the only girl on the Seattle team, Pope. “Alpha Team.” I spun my automatic weapon from my back to my front. “My team, on me!”
We double-timed it around the side of the building to the loading dock at the back. There were three main bay doors and an entrance door. All of them were cracked wide open and the bays were empty, so we called it clear.
The building was decorated in that old art deco shit, all brass and bright colors and antique-looking. Since we had the most floors, we took the stairs and started at the topmost floor to work our way down. We found a few stragglers left behind and made sure to get them out, but it was already pretty damn empty. The next few floors – eight through six – were definitely empty. On the fourth floor, we scared the absolute shit out of a poor cleaning woman that hadn’t heard the alarm due to the fact that she was in the storage closet with headphones in her damn ears.
By the time we reached the main lobby, we were winded. With Kevlar vests, heavy weapons, sidearms strapped to our thighs, all those motherfucking stairs, and the adrenaline, we were just about to sweat to death. The power had been cut, per protocol, so the still, warm summer was pushing in on us from every fucking side.
“Pope, you and Crawford check the reception area. Jazz, you and Collins are with me. We’ll check the stairs heading down to maintenance in the basement.
I heard Johnson’s team call an all-clear, and not long after, Lewis’s team did the same. The metal steps heading down the stairs were lined with members of the bomb squad, though the main team was deep in the basement.
The first officer closest to me faced me when I said, “Building’s clear of civilians. What’ve we got down there?”
“Six of them. Six motherfuckers down there...sir,” he answered, swallowing thickly. “All timers, all strapped to the pipelines. They’ve disengaged four of them so far.” He pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “They’re some sort of homemade bullshit. You know, household chemicals, can be found on the Internet... That type of shit. One would cause some damage. All six? Serious trouble. They could crumble the foundation of the whole damn building.”
“Copy that,” I said, gesturing for Collins and Jasper to head back up to the first floor. “Alpha team to Chambers,” I stated over the radio once we were back in the stairwell, and the rest of my team appeared at the door.
“Yeah, Ed. Talk to me.”
“The center section of the building is clear. Bomb squad has six...count ’em six bombs down here. Four have been disengaged. Homegrown.”
“Ten-four. Get your asses—”
He didn’t get to finish. A loud pop, a rumble of the building, and a bright flash caused us to hit the deck. Smoke started to ooze under the door from the basement, filling the stairwell with the sickly, acrid smell of burning chemicals. But it was the sound of metal falling that made me yank the basement door open.
Debris and metal and concrete were everywhere, as were the officers down there. Some were already stirring. Luckily, the pipe that was destroyed had kept the fire down to a minimum.
“Edward, damn it! Answer me!” I heard Al over the radio once the noise settled down.
“We’re gonna need buses. I’ve got two, four, injured down here.” I spun to Jasper. “We need them up and outta there. Now! If they can be moved, get ’em up to the lobby.”
The next few seconds were a blur. The officers on the stairs were the least injured, so Pope and Collins tended to them and helped them out the door. Jasper and I worked our way down into the basement that was slowly filling with water, but not just any water. It was from the return line, so it smelled foul as all hell. Crawford practically had to carry the next guy up and out, due to what looked like a broken leg.
As we worked our way toward where the blast had originated from, the stench of blood met my nose. It was much stronger than the burning chemical smell. It seemed the squad member actually disengaging the bomb took the biggest hit, but at least he was conscious, trying to sit up.
“Hang on, hang on,” Jasper told him, lifting him up out of the water just a bit and pulling off his blast equipment. We saw the problem. One of the valve knobs had shot off the pipe and punctured his leg on impact like a bullet wound.
“That was the last one, but we gotta move,” the guy rasped, his name patch reading “Snow.” He pointed above us, but it was too damn late.
“Jasper! Cover him!” I yelled at the same time a fair amount of pipes let go from the ceiling.
We both fell over Snow, and I hissed, squeezing my eyes closed as the thunk of metal hit my head, but despite the ringing in my ears and the sting of a cut, I was okay. So was Jasper, when I glanced over at him, though there was a rather nasty gash on his arm.
“God damn it!” I snapped, shaking my head to clear it, but lifting Snow up just enough to pull him to a drier spot. I removed my belt, securing it around the guy’s upper thigh to slow down the bleeding. Looking up at Jasper, I snapped, “I want out of this motherfucking basement!”
He grinned and nodded. “No shit. Let’s carry this guy up, yeah?”
“You okay?” I asked, gesturing to his arm.
“Please,” he scoffed, rolling his eyes. “I’ve had worse in training.”
Chuckling, I nodded, wrapping Snow’s arm around my shoulders while Jasper did the same with his other. “On three. One, two, three,” I grunted, and we lifted the officer up.
Negotiating the stairs wasn’t easy, especially when they gave an eerie creak as we ascended them, but we made it eventually. The lobby was chaos, but we were met by an EMT with a gurney who helped us load Snow up on it.
Stepping out the main front doors and into the street, I shook my head, which was pounding right along with my heartbeat. It looked like Armageddon outside, with choppers flying as low as they could, law enforcement officers every-damn-where, and fire and rescue running past us. But it was Al that was the first to make it to us.
“You scared the fucking shit outta me, kid,” he snapped, but his eyes raked over both of us. “Don’t ever do that again.”
Grinning, I fell down onto the curb, touching my fingers to my temple, where they came away with a touch of blood. “I need a fucking cigarette. This quitting shit is for the damn birds.”
One appeared in front my face already lit, and I glanced up to see Pope standing there with a wry smile on her face. “Your girlfriend will kill you.”
“I know,” I groaned, patting my pockets for my phone, but when I pulled it out, a string of curses left my mouth around the cigarette between my lips because the bastard was waterlogged. “Fuck me. Jazz, gimme your phone.”
“Don’t bother.” He held his up, snorting as the damn thing dripped.
Al knelt in front of us. “I want you both to ride in on a bus and get checked out, and I don’t wanna hear shit about it. I’ll let the girls know you’re safe. I gotta call Esme, anyway, to let Katie know I’m okay.”
We both groaned, standing up slowly.
“I said no shit!” Al snapped, pointing toward the closest ambulance.
“You know, he’s awful cranky,” Jasper muttered, but he said it loud enough that Al could hear him.
“He needs to get laid,” I answered back, tossing my cigarette butt to the street.
“Eww, he’s old,” Jasper teased, ducking when Al went to smack the back of his head.
“I’ll show you old. Get outta my face and get that shit looked at!” he growled, but he was already pulling out his phone when we stepped up into the back of the closest ambulance.
The hallway of the ER was insanity. I caught glimpses of my dad as he worked on the officers that had been down in the basement, the worst off being Snow. Jasper and I stayed out of the way, though it wasn’t long before a nurse took him to an open bed to stitch up his arm. My head gave a dull throb, and I sat forward, my hands sinking into my hair. I wanted my girl more than anything, if only to tell her I was okay, because I knew she was probably losing her sweet mind.
My belt appeared in my vision, all stained with blood, and I took it, looking up to see my dad standing there.
“You probably saved his life,” he stated, tilting my head up and looking at the gash on my temple. “Leaving the shrapnel in there helped. We were able to stop the bleeding. He’s up in surgery to repair the damage to the muscle tissue.”
“Good,” I murmured, letting him flash a light into my eyes.
“You could use a couple of stitches, son,” he told me, “but you don’t have a concussion.”
“Okay,” I conceded with a nod.
He took me to an empty room and sat me down in the chair. He worked quietly, cleaning the wound and then numbing it to start the stitches. It only needed five of them.
When he was done, he turned my face to his. “I’m so very proud of you, Edward.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I whispered, smiling when he ruffled my hair lightly. “Um...can I use your phone?”
He smirked, rolling his eyes. “You don’t need to call anyone.”
“What? Yeah, Bella,” I argued, but he yanked the curtain back and gestured down the corridor.
The sweetest fucking sight rushed into the room as my dad walked away, wearing a silly-ass grin.
“Edward,” Bella gushed, rushing into my arms.
I buried my nose into the crook of her neck, inhaling deeply the scent that calmed me to my very soul. Fruit and flowers and something altogether just...Bella washed over me as her hands practically caressed every inch of my head, neck, and back.
“I’m okay, beautiful,” I sighed, nuzzling her neck. “I’m sorry I didn’t call. My phone...”
“I know,” she sighed into the top of my head. “Al told us.” Her warm hands flattened on the side of my face, pulling me back. Those deep brown eyes raked over the stitches my dad had just put in. “That’s almost in the same spot as before.”
Smiling up at her, I leaned in to kiss her lips. “Hard head, baby.”
She giggled, still holding my face and pressing her forehead to mine. “Oh, believe me, Edward, I know.”
“Love you, Bella,” I told her softly. “Sorry if that scared you.”
“It did, but...” she whispered. “I have faith in you. And I love you, too.” She sighed deeply, brushing her lips across mine. “When can I steal you? I want to take you home and take care of you.”
Home. The word struck a chord with me, and I hugged her tighter. Bella was my home. It didn’t matter where that was or whether her name was Marie Brandon or Bella Swan. There was no question or doubt in my mind anymore that I would follow her the rest of my life, no matter the obstacle. Whether it was her WitSec protection, my job, or even her career, I would be with her. Suddenly, I just fucking knew that it wouldn’t be much longer until I moved her in with me. And I wondered briefly if someday, she wouldn’t be opposed to one more name change. It wouldn’t be now, or the next day, but my heart settled in my chest knowing that I’d finally found my everything.
“Now,” I stated eventually, standing up from my chair and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Dropping a heavy kiss to the top of her head, I said, “You can make me one of your famous grilled cheeses.”
She laughed softly, kissing my cheek. “You know, I can like totally make spaghetti sauce now. This really hot guy showed me.”
“Oh, hell,” I sighed, shaking my head and guiding her out into the chaos that was the emergency room.
She giggled, leaning into me. “I’m glad you’re okay, Edward. Let’s get you home.”
I nodded, smiling down at her. “I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else, Bella.”
“She’ll kill you, you know,” Jasper chuckled, shaking his head as he handed over the manila envelope.
“Maybe,” I said with a chuckle, tucking it into the back pocket of my jeans and tugging on my helmet and sunglasses. “Maybe not...”
He backed away as I started the engine of my bike, and I tore out of the parking lot of the station. It wasn’t long before I was home, pulling in right behind my Audi. It was the Saturday after the bomb at the Federal Office Building. My schedule was rather erratic, but we were making it work. She’d spent the day with my sister, Alice, and my mom. They’d been out shopping. Bella said she was ready to start looking into getting her own car. However, she was waiting for me to take her.
“Baby, where are you?” I called once I walked in the door and dropped my keys on the table.
“Upstairs, Edward!” she answered.
I took the steps two at a time, stepping into my room. “Damn, beautiful, did you lose your mind or what?”
She laughed, glancing over her shoulder. “No, no...I just needed to get started putting my wardrobe back together. Some of my stuff from New York...” She wrinkled her nose at me, and I grinned at how adorable she was. “Anyway, how was work?”
“Boring,” I stated proudly with a shrug, shoving over a shit-ton of shopping bags so I could sit down on the edge of a bed. She opened her mouth, but I held up a hand to stop her. “I know, I know...boring is good.”
“Well, as long as you know.” She giggled, taking my hand and kissing my knuckles. “I got you somethin’,” she said, poking through a few bags to come out with black T-shirt. “Here, ’cause it seems I’ve completely stolen yours.”
Laughing, I held it up. It was a brand new Batman T-shirt. “Hey, it kinda matches my tatt.”
“I know!” she squealed happily. “I couldn’t resist.”
“Thanks, beautiful.” I kissed her, but then shoved some bags over so that I could lean back against the headboard. “Come here. I’ve got something for you, too.” Once she was situated between my legs, I handed her the manila envelope, saying, “I talked to Ben just after the bomb. He called to check on Jasper and me. We ended up talking for about an hour.”
I swallowed nervously because I wasn’t sure how she was going to take this news. Personally, it confirmed my suspicions, but Bella might see it as meddling.
“Anyway,” I said with a small kiss to her cheek. “He and Angela are still planning on coming this way for the holidays. They’re so looking forward to meeting my new girlfriend.” I smiled against her neck when she giggled. “But I asked him for a favor.”
“What?” She started to open the envelope, but I stopped her.
“Wait, baby...” I sniffed once. “He brought me up to date with Volturi. It seems the family is already starting to disband. So that’s good news, right?” I asked her.
“Yes, ma’am.” I nodded against her shoulder. “So the favor I asked of him was to find someone. I needed to prove something to you. And he did a fuck-awesome job.”
I ripped open the envelope and pulled out a few pictures and a piece of paper. Bella’s gasp worried me, but then she snorted a little as she flipped through everything.
“The first time I heard about Mike Newton,” I whispered against her cheek, “my first hope was that Karma was kicking his royal ass for doing what he did to you. My second thought was that I fucking knew it was his problem, not yours. See?” I tapped the paper. “The motherfucker’s been married and divorced three times – all stating irreconcilable differences. But here’s why.” I picked up the bottom picture and set it on top of everything else. “See that doctor’s name?” I asked her, and she nodded. “He’s an expert in erectile dysfunction.”
I snorted when Bella gasped and turned to face me. “Shut up!” she gushed, her face turning a little pink.
Grinning, I tossed all that shit aside and cupped her beautiful face. “You were never, ever the fucking problem. Do you hear me? You’re gorgeous and passionate and absolutely the most loving thing I’ve ever seen. So tell me now that you believe me,” I commanded, almost sounding angry, but I’d gotten my closure. It was important to me that Bella have hers.
She straddled my lap, smiling wickedly, but she picked up the stack of papers and held it up. “This didn’t matter to me, Edward. There was a time that I believed the things he said, but...” She dropped the papers and kissed my lips. “With you, I’m whole.”
I slipped my fingers into her hair at the base of her skull, pulling her in for a long, deep kiss. Fuck, I just loved this girl with ever fiber of my being. But what I loved most was that, together, we’d not only healed each other, but we’d also set each other free. There would be no more running.


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