Sunday, January 5, 2014 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 20 & Pics

Chapter 20
BELLA
“Edward, we’ve still got movement on that island,” Rose stated just as we reached Finn’s ship.
“Aw, fuck,” Edward hissed, shaking his head. “Copy that, Rose. Gimme a sec.”
We tied off next to Jasper’s dinghy, and Edward immediately went into action.
“Dad! Get up top, toss down some rope. We gotta help Nicholas to the deck. There’s no way he’ll be able to climb,” he ordered. “Then I’m gonna go back…take care of whoever’s left.”
Carlisle was up and out of his seat quickly, clambering up the side.
Nicholas flinched when I applied more pressure to his shoulder, but looked to Edward. “Don’t,” he grunted, shaking his head profusely. “You don’t need to go back. There’s only one boat. You just have to destroy it. It’s docked on the upper west side of the island.”

The rope fell with a thump to the side of the rubber boat we were in. Edward secured it underneath Nicholas’s arms, giving it a tug to alert Carlisle.
“You don’t have to pull me. Just keep me from falling. My legs and right arm still work,” he instructed.
Edward smirked, telling that to Carlisle through the com link as he braced Nicholas against the ladder. “Up you go.” He turned to me, grabbing my waist. “You’re next, sweetness.”
“You’re not going back alone, Edward,” I snapped, pointing to the ladder. “I don’t give a fuck who’s left. You first.”
His nostrils flared, but he sighed deeply. “Rose,” he grunted over the com link. “Where’s that movement?”
“On the west side of the island. Looks like a boat dock,” she replied.
“Have they reached the boat yet?” he asked.
“No, they’re moving slowly, so you have time to get to them,” she stated.
“Edward!” Finn yelled from above. When we both looked up, he said, “Get up here. I’ll swing us around that way. We gotta head that way anyway.”
Edward nodded, lifting me up onto the ladder. I scurried up to the top, where Carlisle was waiting to lift me over the railing. Edward was right behind me.
“How close can you get us?” I asked Finn.
“Pretty close, Bella, but not close enough you can get to shore. What’cha thinkin’?,” he asked as Paul secured the dinghies on the side deck.
“Just get me over there. I’ve got an idea.” Once he left us, I turned to Edward. “I need my bow and about four arrows. They’re in the cabin. Meet me at the bow.” I swung around to Carlisle. “I know you want to check on Boris, but I need your help. I need some rags and something flammable.”
“I got it!” Paul offered. “Come with me.”
He led me to a side storage door, yanking it open. Inside was what looked like tools and spare parts, and it smelled of oil and fuel. He snatched up a few clean rags and then handed me a little can of lighter fluid and a lighter from his pocket.
“Perfect. Thank you,” I said rushing around him, but I could hear him following me.
Edward was already where I needed him to be. The sound of the ship’s engine was growling around us as we started to move.
“Rose, where’s our guy?” I asked, ripping up one rag into four strips.
“At the dock. If you’re gonna move, you need to do it quickly. You’re closer than you were, but not close enough,” she advised.
“Ten-four.”
“Wrap the strips around the ends,” I told Edward, but he’d already started to copy what I was doing.
In less than sixty seconds, we had four arrows ready to go, and Edward doused the ends in lighter fluid. We were making our way around the west side of the island, our pace picking up. When we were just past the spot we’d originally landed at the start, a dock and a rather impressive yacht started to appear.
Edward snatched up the lighter, but he leaned close to me, handing me a bare arrow. “Aim for that fuel can on the deck first. Spill that shit everywhere. Got me, sweetness?”
Taking the arrow, I pulled back, aiming for the five-gallon tank that was sitting just under the railing. There was a metallic thunk when it hit, and a fine stream of gasoline shot out, creating a puddle around it.
Edward handed me the first arrow with the rag, and I held it out for him to light, which he did. “Here goes nothin’,” I stated, my eyes locking onto my target: the center of that now very large puddle of gas.
It was harder to aim with the flickering flame at the end of my weapon, but I did my best. Pulling back on the bow, I aimed toward the back near the engine. The arrow hit the mark, immediately engulfing the back of the yacht in flames. I locked my sight on the next target, the satellite up top, which also happened to be the roof just above the ship’s wheel. That sent a rather weak-looking man out of hiding, but I could see that he was fatally wounded. The engine tried to start on the yacht, but failed, and I could see why... Most of the engine was in flames.
“Tell Finn to floor it. There’s one more gas can or oil can, and it and the engine are about to blow,” I said to either man at my side, but it was Paul that called the order in on his radio.
“Now, baby,” Edward urged me.
Letting the arrow go, I whooshed out a breath when it hit its mark. I gripped the railing when Finn gunned the ship’s engine. We were safely away when the boat, now completely engulfed in flames, exploded. It sent a fireball high into the sky, taking the dock and the man on board with it.
Edward chuckled, kissing the side of my head. “My baby’s got a new toy,” he taunted against my skin, but there was a sexy purr laced through his tone.
“Mm, indeed,” I said with a grin, kissing his lips. “Thanks for your help. I’m gonna go check on Boris and Nicholas.”
“If you’re talking about the old man the others brought on board, he’s stable, but he needs a hospital,” Paul, who I’d completely forgotten was there, piped up. “We’re heading to Svalbard. It’s a province of Norway, an island just west of here. It’ll take a few hours, but Finn gave the old man some nitroglycerin. I don’t know about the Brit you brought with you.”
I nodded and started to walk away from the two of them, but I stopped to turn back to Edward. “I guess El can meet us there.”
“Yeah, I’ll get a message to him, sweetness,” Edward agreed.
I took no more than two steps before I heard Paul’s snide remark. “Boy, you are one pussy-whipped bastard, aren’t you, sunshine?”
Before I could react, there was an unmistakable sound of fist meeting flesh, quickly followed by the snap of cartilage and a groan. Just as I rushed back to Edward, he was pulling his fist back again.
“Stop,” I grunted, pulling back on Edward’s arm.
I realized that Edward had merely been waiting for an excuse to hit Paul, but the pompous asshole seemed to be picking a fight, and right now – just after a mission – Edward would gladly give him one. He was standing there with clenched fists, his jawline rolling with each grit of his teeth, and his eyes were cold, deadly.
“Are you insane?” I asked the man with blood now running down his face, the whole time pushing back against my very pissed off husband. “What the fuck is your problem?”
Paul stood up, and now I was trapped between two raging pitbulls, neither looking like they’d back down.
“I can show you pussy-whipped, motherfucker,” Edward warned low, pointing over my shoulder.
“Edward!” I snapped, pushing with all I had against him. “We’ve got better things to do than worry about someone whose opinion just doesn’t fucking matter.” I said the last three words through gritted teeth, tossing a glare at Paul over my shoulder.
When I looked back to Edward, he was still pissed, but his dark eyes were locked onto my face. I gave him a pointed look, willing him to calm the fuck down. They were two men that were trained to fight, to kill, and I honestly didn’t want to see who’d come out on top. Though, my money would always be on Edward.
“Yeah, go on, pretty boy,” Paul taunted, using Mickey’s nickname for Edward, but it was the shove that the asshole shot at my husband over my shoulder that caused me to move on instinct.
I grabbed his arm, twisting hard, and bent his wrist back as far and as hard as I could at the same time my knee met his crotch. Paul fell to his knees.
“I’ll break it, and then you’ll be shit outta luck on this ship,” I told him, my face inches from his, and I twisted my grip that much harder. “Or…you can get out of my face, get us to this island, and you’ll be rid of us.”
By now, the deck had flooded with our crew and Paul’s. Everyone was surrounding us, and Jasper and Emmett were grinning, their arms folded across their chests.
Finn walked up to Paul, leaning down over him. “What did I fucking tell you, Paul?” he asked him, giving me a quick glance. “I should let her do it. Carlisle warned you not to underestimate her, and I told you to keep your shit in check. Now look…hmm? She’s got you by the balls.”
Mickey, however, sauntered up, wearing a smile on her face. “What’d he do, Bells? And who broke his nose?”
“Edward,” I sneered, gripping Paul’s wrist that much harder.
She grinned, shooting a glance over my shoulder. “Meh. He’s only thinking with his dick, Bellsy. Small thoughts, but still…”
I couldn’t help but laugh, but Paul got pissed off.
“Bitch,” Paul growled.
Before he could move, Mickey grabbed his misshapen nose, tweaking it just enough to cause Paul to scream and tears to flow from his eyes.
“Ah, ah, ah…” she sang at him, putting her boot on his crotch. “You’re not in a position to be callin’ names, buddy.” She leaned in closer, shaking her head and tsking at him. “Stop staring, keep your mouth shut, and do your job. Trust me when I tell you that even if you were the last man on earth, your shit wouldn’t be man enough for the job. I’d go back to women.”
I snorted, shaking my head and letting Paul go, and I heard chuckles all around us. Mickey was most likely telling the damn truth, and I didn’t even bother explaining to him that he came nowhere near Edward in comparison of…well, anything. I turned around to see the man in question looking rather contrite when he met my gaze, but I knew he was still tense, his temper on a razor’s edge.
“You two need to stay away from each other.” I held my hand up when Edward opened his mouth to argue. “I get it. I do. But I don’t want to have to explain to Eleazar the disappearance of one of his operatives. That won’t be pretty, especially considering he sent them to help us.”
Edward smirked, but thankfully kept his mouth in check. He simply nodded.
I looked to Carlisle. “How’s Boris?”
“Stable, but he needs a hospital. We’re a few hours away.”
“And Nicholas?” I asked, rolling my eyes when no one had an answer. I simply walked away, bracing myself for the feeling I got when I made my way down into the galley.
“That’s some fine moves you got there, Miss Bella,” Nicholas muttered, looking at me warily. When I gave him a curious look, he pointed toward the galley window, which would’ve given him a perfect view of what had just gone down.
“Thanks,” I whispered, pulling him down into a chair. He’d removed his jacket, but his shirt was all torn. “Someone cleaned you up.”
“Me, but not all that great, actually,” he replied. “They were a touch busy with the older gentleman.” I started to ask, but he held up his hand. “He’s okay. They settled him into the infirmary bed.” When I held up the bandage, he added, “Yeah, if you don’t mind.”
I shed my thicker coat, looking up when people started to trickle into the galley, but I went back to Nicholas. I helped him out of his shirt, tossing it in the garbage. Looking at his wound, I could see the bullet had shot straight through his upper bicep. Conversation broke out around us, but I concentrated on him.
“There’s no bullet,” I told him softly, cleaning the two open wounds. “You’re kinda lucky. When we get to this island they’re taking us to—”
“No hospital,” he begged, looking up at me. “Just…patch me up as best you can. Please?”
“You need stitches,” I argued.
“Then have at it.” He waved me on with his uninjured arm.
I huffed a laugh. “It won’t be pretty, but I can get the job done.”
He gestured to his bare chest, where there were a fair amount of other scars and bruises. “I’m not gonna win any beauty contests, Miss Bella.”
Laughing softly, I got to work, using the basic skills Esme had taught me. He actually could’ve won a contest or two. He was handsome, his British accent only adding to his charm. He had light brown hair, gray eyes, and long eyelashes. He had a calm demeanor – a polar opposite of Paul, who oozed aggression. And he was a tough bastard, because he took my stitches like a champ, even without anything to numb it.
“Where’d you learn how to fight?” he asked, wincing when I gave him another stitch.
“I was trained FBI,” I told him, smiling when his eyebrows rose up. “I just didn’t graduate from Quantico. Everything else, my husband taught me.”
Nicholas laughed, leaning around me to see Edward grinning before sipping a cup of coffee. He was sitting with his dad and Jasper, looking rather smug at that statement. Actually, they all looked pretty damn smug at the moment.
“Would you have broken his arm?” he asked me, pointing to Paul, who had apparently gotten someone to snap the cartilage back into place. He was now merely nursing a bloody nose with a bag of ice, though his eye was already bruising. He looked like a pouting child.
“Maybe,” I said with a breathy laugh, but it wasn’t in humor. “Most likely by accident. My reaction to someone touching me without permission is…quick, and unfortunately, out of my control,” I stated rather cryptically, grimacing at the thought. “He reached over me, and I reacted. I would’ve done it to just about anyone on this boat without thinking.”
The whole galley went quiet at that statement, except for the sound of Tex in the galley kitchen. He was cooking away, wearing a content smile on his face as Alec helped him.
Before he could ask what had happened to me, I turned the tables on him. “How long were you undercover?”
“Three years,” Nicholas sighed wearily. “Three miserable fucking years. Excuse me…”
Chuckling, I said, “No worries. The men behind me aren’t exactly choir boys.”
He laughed, nodding a little, but went on. “It started simply enough. I was just supposed to gather a list of George Stefan’s customers, but then they wanted me to keep going, especially when they heard about some uranium that was about to become available,” he explained. “Things went crazy when Stefan screwed Vladimir Stahl over. And now, I’m assuming with the U.S. involved, my investigation is shot to hell.”
“We were asked to pull you out by your people,” Finn replied, shrugging. “Though, we couldn’t touch you where you were.”
“Perfect,” he sighed again, smiling when I finished rewrapping his arm. “I’m just ready to go home. I miss London.” He glanced down at his shoulder, flexing his fingers gingerly. “Thank you.”
“Mmhm,” I hummed, putting the first aid kit back on the table after packing it up. “I still say you should get it checked, but I’m used to stubborn men, so…do what you want.”
He grinned when the boys in my crew – including my husband and father-in-law – all burst into laughter.
“Okay, time to eat,” Tex called from behind the counter. “Mickey, Bella…ladies first. The rest of you jackasses can wait.”
There were jibes and teasing, but every man allowed Mickey and me to go ahead, though Edward was right behind me in line to get a plate.
“You okay, sweetness?” he asked in my ear. When I nodded, he kissed the back of my head. “When we get to Svalbard, Dad’s plane will fly us home after he’s settled Boris into the hospital. He’s already made the call, baby. Okay?”
I nodded again. “Okay. And El?”
“He’ll meet us at the hotel Alice has already booked us in,” he told me.
Looking in his eyes, I could tell he wanted to say more, but he didn’t, and that was most likely because we were surrounded by loud chatter and hungry people.
So I kissed his lips, whispering, “Tell me later.”
He smirked. “Yes, ma’am.”
~oOo~
Svalbard was pretty. There was no question about it. Apparently, it was a tourist location for skiers, so the hotel that Alice had put us all in was really beautiful, with warm stone fireplaces, thick wooden beams, and windows that overlooked trees and mountains.
The island itself was no bigger than the state of West Virginia. The port in which we’d docked was located in a bay on the western side of the island, and luckily, the hospital had been close by.
I stepped out of the shower, feeling a thousand times better. I was on solid ground, off that damn boat, and warm for the first time in what seemed like a week, but really, it had only been a few days.
I brushed out my hair, pulled on some pajama bottoms and a tank top, and stepped out into the room. I smiled at the sight on the bed. Edward was stretched out, his arms behind his head, making his black T-shirt rise up to show off his stomach. His eyes, though, were staring unseeingly at the ceiling.
“I didn’t think you’d be back yet,” I said, dropping my bag down in the chair.
“Boris is in emergency surgery,” he answered softly. “Dad’s still there. He wants to wait before we leave.”
“Well, it’s only fair, Edward,” I told him, plugging my phone in to charge.
“I know,” he sighed, and when I glanced over at him his eyes were on my every move. “I’m just ready for this shit to be over.”
“It is,” I countered, coming to stand beside him. “It’s over. Well, it will be once Finn gives that crate to Eleazar.”
“That’s done, too. El’s at the hospital with Dad,” he replied, his eyes raking over me.
“Excellent, then all we have to do is wait for word on Boris’s surgery,” I said, leaning down to kiss his lips. “I certainly can’t complain about staying here.”
He smiled against my lips, and I pulled back a little, but his hand dropped to his stomach before reaching down to adjust himself. He was already partially hard, and he adjusted it from the crease of his hip almost to the waistband of his jeans.
Smirking at him, I couldn’t help but tease, “Well, that didn’t take much.”
“It never does with you, sweetness,” he said with a chuckle, grinning when I captured his hands and held them down above his head. “But…”
Smirking, I raised an eyebrow. “But what?”
With a smiling bite to his bottom lip, he moved swiftly, and I squeaked when I found myself pinned beneath him in the middle of the bed. He smelled like the cold wind from outside, the sea air still clung to his clothes, and his woodsy scent came through, reminding me of comfort and home.
Giggling up at him, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “But?” I urged, wanting him to finish what was on his mind.
“B-But…d-dressed l-like th-this,” he sputtered sweetly, his strong thigh slipping between mine. “Dressed like this, smelling so sweet, you remind me of that first night in the mountain safe house.”
My eyebrows shot up. “You mean the first night I stayed in your room.”
“Yeah,” he purred, nodding a little before brushing his lips across mine. His face broke out into a beautiful smile. “You woke me up on the couch, remember? Tried to tell me how decent a roommate you’d make?”
Laughing softly, I cupped his face. “I feel I was pretty truthful.”
He chuckled. “We’ve been married for eight years, love. I’m thinking the roommate situation is just fine. And I honestly wouldn’t have cared if you were a slob or not.” He rolled us again, only this time, he situated himself against the pile of pillows at the headboard and guided me to straddle his lap. “I had you on my lap just like this, and you’d had such a shitty day…it was your first real panic attack. I didn’t want to fuck up or scare you or hurt you. I was scared to death, Bella, but I knew…right then…th-that I-I’d d-do a-anything j-just t-to k-keep y-you.”
Leaning in, I kissed his forehead before pressing my lips to his. His hands were everywhere, just like they’d been on the couch in his room so long ago, but his kiss, his lips, his tongue were the forceful man that drove me crazy with want.
I pulled back, reaching for his T-shirt, and he let me tug it off. “See, this is what I remember,” I teased him, running my hands flat over his bare chest. “I remember thinking you were this gorgeous thing, and I wanted to play with you so badly. Well, that and the fuck-awesome orgasm you gave me.”
He laughed again, leaning in to kiss up my neck. “Two, baby. I made you come twice…without even touching you.”
“God, I know,” I moaned, my eyes rolling back in my head as his tongue did things just behind my ear that made my whole body ache for him. “And the things you said you’d do to me…”
His grin was wicked against my neck. “I feel I was pretty truthful,” he echoed my statement from before, which made me giggle.
“Yes, yes you were,” I told him, cupping his face so that I could look him in the eye.
The green was flecked with gold from the fireplace behind us. His brows furrowed a little, and there was a tension in his jaw that probably wouldn’t relax until we were home. But through all of that, there was the same look he’d given me from the get-go, like I was the absolute center of his universe.
“All this from a boring pair of plaid pajamas,” I teased him, kissing his lips.
He shook his head, his face sobering up from our teases. “Not boring. And sometimes, it’s simply the way you smell, the soap you use or whatever. It made me crave you then, even when I couldn’t touch you the way I wanted. I-It m-makes m-me f-fucking c-crazy n-now b-because I-I c-can.”
“Please.” It was the only word I could muster with that honest confession he’d just given me.
I remembered with utter clarity the night we were talking about. I remembered the simple need and desire to be with Edward, but the inability to actually do what we both wanted. I also remembered tears and wishes for “normal.”
What I remembered most of all was finding what became our normal, until I’d conquered every fear.
Slowly, my tank top was peeled off, and Edward bent me back gently, kissing every scar he could or couldn’t see. He kissed spots that had me giggling and writhing in his firm grasp, and then he kissed areas that made me cry out his name and beg for more. And we weren’t even completely naked yet.
It wasn’t until I was stripped of my pajamas and bare beneath him that I realized what he was doing. He was giving me everything he’d uttered in the dark room that night in the mountain cabin. He was kissing me everywhere: my mouth, with long, languid sweeps of his tongue; my nipples, grazing his teeth over them just to hear me gasp; and the inside of my thighs, grinning when I tried to force him where I needed him the most. But instead of giving in, he turned me onto my stomach and started over at my shoulders.
Strong, calloused hands cupped my ass, kneading it, spreading it, popping it lightly enough to cause me to squeak, but ache for more. Bracing a hand by my head, his fingers delved into me from behind, his voice deadly at my ear as my hips raised up off the bed, searching for more.
“I love making you this fucking wet, baby,” he whispered, dropping an open-mouthed kiss to my shoulder. “Come on my hand, sweetness. Show me what I do to you…”
In and out, his fingers curled deeply, occasionally slipping over and around my clit. I was on the brink of coming when the heat of his body left my back. My hips were yanked up so that I was on my knees, and I cried out when his mouth replaced his fingers. He kissed my pussy like he kissed my mouth – long, slow, deep – until his mouth latched onto my clit, and then I shattered beneath him, my hands gripping the covers of the bed as one of his soothed the middle of my back.
The unmistakable sound of his zipper broke me from my haze, and I rolled over onto my back, holding my arms out for him. He kicked out of his black jeans and crawled over me, settling between my legs.
I grasped either side of his face and kissed him. He tasted like me, but I didn’t care. Reaching down, he wrapped my leg higher around his waist, slipping slowly and deliciously inside me.
“Fuck,” he whispered, his eyes squeezing closed as his entire body was taut with the urge to thrust. “I wanted you just like this that night, sweetness.”
“Believe me, I did, too,” I breathed back, swallowing thickly at just how sweet he was, how honest he could be when it came to our relationship. I was grateful that hadn’t changed over the years.
His eyes opened to gaze down at me. “I’m not sorry. For anything we went through. I’d do it again. In a fucking heartbeat.”
Grinning, I kissed him again. “I love you, Edward.”
“Sweetness, I love you, too. And I’m gonna keep you in this bed as long as I can,” he growled teasingly into my neck. “You feel too fucking good.”
As he began to move slowly, my head fell back to the bed, and I knew he meant it.
~oOo~
EDWARD
I tipped the young girl delivering room service. She spoke not a word of English, but she stared wide-eyed at me from the doorway. There was no telling what she saw: my bare chest, my ink, my crazed hair, or maybe the love bite Bella had somehow left just below my bellybutton, which I barely remember her doing. That thought made me chuckle as I smiled and waved the poor girl away before closing the door.
“Oh, God…I smell coffee,” Bella murmured from somewhere underneath the pile of covers. “Please, tell me it’s not a dream.”
Grinning, I rolled the cart near the bed, falling to the edge of the mattress. “No dream, sweetness. I ordered room service.”
She fought adorably with the covers, finally popping out looking like sex incarnate. “Oh, now I know I love you.”
“Shut up,” I said with a laugh, watching as she pulled on my black T-shirt from the night before. As she wandered into the bathroom, I called out, “You’d better hurry. I’m starving, woman!”
She emerged a few minutes later, her hair pulled up into a ponytail, but still in my shirt. “You’re not the only starving one. Share, buddy.”
Chuckling, I handed her a cup of coffee, and we sat on the bed, picking off the same plate of eggs, toast, and sausage.
“Any news?” she asked, and I shook my head, reaching for my phone.
“Nothing yet,” I told her. “I forgot to tell you that Kurt’s here.”
“Here? As in this hotel?” she asked.
“Yeah, he and Irina will fly back with us to Anchorage on Dad’s plane.” I glanced over at her. “I think he’s gonna quit, love.”
“What? Why? What makes you say that?” she asked, sitting up next to me.
“Just before I came in our room last night, he asked if you and I could make time to speak with him. Soon,” I told her. My brow furrowed at just how sad that made her, but I cupped her face. “Baby, this job…this life isn’t for everyone. And he’s seen some pretty rough shit in his short time working for us. I get the impression that Irina wants to go back to New York.”
“He’s gonna follow her, huh?”
Smiling at her, I said, “I would’ve gone anywhere you told me to, Bella. So I can’t exactly fault him on that one. She’s a good person.”
“Oh no, she’s great,” Bella agreed, smiling. “I just…I guess I’ll always see him as the young kid trying to get his shit together.”
“And he did, love. He’s regulated his meds for bi-polar, he was paid very well, and he’s grown a helluva lot since he’s been with us,” I told her.
I sipped my coffee, watching my girl push the sadness away. To her, each and every member of Gravity was family, and to lose one was hard on her. Reaching up, I trailed a finger down the side of her face, tilting her chin up so I could see her eyes.
“Maybe I’m wrong, sweetness. Maybe he just needs time off,” I backpedaled, hoping like hell it would wipe the sad look off her face. “In fact, we could simply offer him that…like an open-ended leave of absence.”
She nodded. “Yeah,” she sighed deeply, sipping her coffee. “I just hate breaking up the team.”
Smiling, I pulled her to me, dropping a kiss to her forehead. “The team will adjust. I promise.”
I was just about to ask her what she wanted to do for the day, but there was a knock on the door.
“Edward, son,” my dad muttered from the other side.
Bella got up, pulling on her pajama bottoms from the night before, and I opened the door to see my dad looking absolutely ragged.
“Jesus, Dad, have you even slept?” I asked, but he stepped into the room with a shake of his head.
Bella guided him to the sofa on the other side of the room, handing him a cup of coffee. “What happened, Carlisle?” she asked, sitting beside him.
He sighed, looking up to me.
“Boris didn’t make it,” I surmised.
“He almost didn’t, but he’s stable now,” my dad replied. “The bastard flat-lined twice on the table, but they got him back.” He snorted humorlessly with a slow shake of his head. He took a sip of coffee, looking between us. “A quadruple-fucking-bypass.”
“Fuck,” I hissed, sitting across from them. “What are they saying?”
“They’re saying he needs at-home care, which he doesn’t have. And possibly a defibrillator put in…which they can’t do here.”
“What’s gonna happen to him?” Bella asked.
My dad gazed over at her, tapping her chin. “I’ll help him. I owe him.”
Smiling, I shook my head. “Do either one of you two old farts know exactly who owes whom?”
He flipped me his middle finger, smirking. “No, probably not.”
Bella giggled, kissing his cheek. “What do you need us to do?”
“Nothing,” he sighed. “He can’t be moved yet, so I’ve got time to convince him to let me help him.” He stood up. “Medically, it would be better if I could transport him to Seattle. He’s alone. If the situation was reversed, he’d do the same for me.” Bella stood up next to him, and he cupped her face. “Besides Charlie, Boris is one of my oldest friends. One of the few I’ve got left.”
“Then whatever you need, Dad,” I stated, knowing exactly who he’d lost throughout the years.
“I know you two – and everyone else for that matter – are ready to fly home. I just…I’d like another day to get some sleep and for Boris to wake up so I can talk to him. Then we can head home,” he stated.
“Not a problem,” I agreed, gripping his shoulder. “I’ll let the others know.”
Bella closed the door behind him, leaning back against it. “I guess we’ll have everyone meet us downstairs at the restaurant for lunch. We’ll update them on everything. I doubt anyone will have a problem with one more day.”
“Nah, probably not,” I said, sending a text to the crew for a meeting in a few hours. I set the phone down, saying, “Done. Now…” Bracing my hands on either side of her head, I dropped a kiss to her lips. “That still gives me a couple of hours before we have to act like responsible adults with meetings to have and kids to call and planes to arrange. Get that sweet ass back in bed.”
Bella’s giggle was adorable, but she wrapped her arms around my neck. “Make me, Cullen.”
“Okay,” I growled, reaching down to pick her up and toss her over my shoulder. I popped her ass before dropping her to the middle of the bed. “Never dare me, sweetness.”
“Shut up, Edward,” she chortled through her laughter. “Shut up and get over here.”
Chuckling, I simply answered her with a kiss.



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