I sat in the back seat of a black Hummer as Emmett careened down the road trying to get away from the burning house as fast as possible. I felt frozen. I could feel Alice's arms around me holding me tightly and I could feel Esme's gentle touch as she stroked my hair, but inside I felt numb.
Everything I had known-real or not-had just gone up in flames. The last thing I had heard Will say to me was that not all of it was a lie; that most of my memories were real, just edited, but his love for me was always real and never a lie. I had not seen his face when he said it; Emmett had been holding him back with his thick, strong arms while Edward attacked him. At that moment, Esme had led me out of the house right before I had heard Anna let out a bloodcurdling scream. Seconds afterwards, the rest of the Cullens had come running out of the house and before they had even reached the car the house had exploded into flames.
Even though I knew that the love I had felt for William had been false, something planted in my own heart would not let me rid myself of those feelings so easily. Yes, I hated him. Yes, I hated Anna. Yes, I was glad that I would never see them again and they would never be able to control or make me feel whatever suited their every moment's need. But yet I still felt the love, no matter how unreal it was. I hated myself for still feeling that way. And so I decided that I would rather feel nothing then feel that damned love I still felt for him.
I turned to look back at my angel but she looked more like a statue that some Greek sculptor had created then the Bella I loved.
"Bella" I quietly called her name but she showed no response. She was being held tightly by Alice and Esme who were desperately trying to comfort her. I was instantly envious of them. I wanted to hold her, to stoke her hair…but she would probably not respond to well to me right now.
Give her time, Carlisle commanded me with his mind.
I gave him a quick look letting him know I had heard him. I hated that I would have to give her time. That sicko and his sister had hurt her far worse then I would have ever been able to do to them with my hands. I had taken no pleasure in destroying them. I had thought that it would have, but there had been none of the sweet pleasure I had anticipated.
I kept my eyes trained on Bella without even blinking. She seemed completely oblivious to everyone and everything around her. I suddenly was afraid that what I had done to Anna and William had hurt her more then they had ever hurt her. Maybe the love that had been installed in her was there permanently. Maybe she would never forget what she had been forced to feel. Maybe she now hated me because of what I had done to William, maybe she would have wished to be with him no matter how much of a farce it would have been. If she now hated me, I would leave. She would need my family, or at least Alice to help her through this.
"We are at the airport." Emmett stated the obvious, cutting through my thoughts.
Alice never released her hold on my waist as we climbed out of the Hummer. I felt someone grab my hand and squeeze it tightly. I looked up to see who it was, and saw that it was Rosalie. She gave me an awkward smile and whispered "I know you are confused, but we are your real family and I swear that none of us will let anything hurt you anymore." She then released my hand and walked ahead of me hooking arms with Emmett. Any other time I would have been touched by the compassion that Rosalie had just shown me, but really I could not muster the strength or the courage to let myself feel anything at the moment.
We walked up to the front desk to buy our tickets. I could hear Carlisle's voice talking to the lady as if he was far away, as if he was standing at the end of a long tunnel. "I need eight seats on your earliest flight to Seattle Washington please."
"We ah, well we ah, have a flight leaving in an hour to New York that you can um catch a connection flight from there to um Seattle." The women said stumbling over her words. I did feel a slight twinge of sympathy for her. She was having trouble focusing on just Carlisle. Her eyes kept darting between Edward, Carlisle, Jasper and Emmett. I quickly squelched my feelings for the lady though; I did not want one silly emotion to open the flood gates for others.
"That will work perfectly" Carlisle said smoothly "Thank you"
"Um ok I just need to see ah passports quickly." The women said trying to regain some of her composure.
"Yes of course" Carlisle said as he passed over everyone's passport but mine. I realized numbly that I did not have it. Mine would be just ashes now at the bottom of the rubble.
"I need hers also" The women informed Carlisle, pointing to me, clearly having regained her composure.
"Well you see," Carlisle murmured his voice so velvety that I saw the women go to pieces all over again. "My daughter has just suffered a terrible tragedy. I and my family had to race over here from America as fast as possible to bring her home, but unfortunately the tragedy included a fire and we lost her passport. Is there any way that you can kindly let her pass just this once?"
"Of course, poor dear, yes go right ahead." She said with absolutely no resistance as she passed Carlisle our boarding passes.
We stepped out of the line and walked towards security. Well, we might have got past one weak woman but there was no way we were going to get past security I thought, though I couldn't seem to bring myself to care. I was not sure if I really wanted to go back to my past at the moment. I was wrong about the security though. With a little help from Rosalie, they were able to get me past with no problem.
I walked past security and towards our terminal as if I was a zombie. I snuck a glance at Edward and the way that his bronzed hair fell in his face in that perfect wind blown way almost made me choke up. I was now even more confused then before. I knew that I had loved him once, well I guess technically twice, so it would only make sense that I would be attracted to him, but I did not want to feel that way towards anyone right now.
We sat down in some plastic chairs in a section that was sparsely populated and the few people that were sitting around us got up quickly and walked away, their basic instinct to survive unconsciously telling them to get away from the danger sitting so close to them.
"Can I join you?" Came a low but friendly voice. I turned to see it was Adam. Surprising everyone including myself I jumped up and hugged him. I had no memories of him but I felt the overwhelming need to trust him.
With us standing there, me wrapped in his faithful embrace I knew that he was my best friend. I did not need my memories to know that. "It will be okay kid" he said as he kissed me gently on the cheek. In that instant, a memory came flooding back of him and me standing on a board walk on a sunny day in California. We were laughing at the puzzled expressions people were giving us. We were standing out in the beautiful weather, the sun was shining brightly and Adam and I were standing under umbrellas. Adam had refused to stay indoors that day so he had finally convinced me to go out with him. His persuading words had been, "It will be okay kid."
I pulled back from Adam and gave him a small smile. I could tell that it gave him and everyone else hopes that maybe I was not completely lost. I had to admit that it also gave me a sense of hope also. Maybe actually feeling emotions was not as horrible as I had thought it would be.
I watched as Bella pulled away from Adam and walked over to sit down in a secluded corner. I heard Alice's thoughts of wanting to go to her but I stopped her with a look. I knew that Bella had had some kind of breakthrough and she would need time to think.
"How are you?" I asked to distract myself, turning towards Adam. I didn't need to ask, I could tell from his thought that he was a mess. He may have not been lied to as much as Bella, but lied to none the less.
"I will be alright" he said quietly as if he was telling himself that, more then me. "I just need some time. "What is the saying, time heals all wounds."
"Something like that" I replied. "What are you planning on doing now?"
"I don't know." he replied flatly "I don't need to worry about finances because I invested a lot with Collin and William." he cringed when he said William's name and I did not blame him. "I don't know where I am going to go though. I don't think I could face Collin right now, maybe in a hundred years when we are all gray and wrinkly." He joked. I was glad that he still had his sense of humor.
"You could come back to Forks with us." Carlisle offered, coming to stand with me and Adam.
"Thank you, but I would not want to intrude."
"Don't be ridiculous, you would not be intruding. Besides, I really think it would help Bella if you were around." I assured him.
"As long as I would not be intruding, I would not want to be one of those guest who out stays their welcome."
"You would not be outstaying your welcome, because you would not be a guest." Emmett said, grinning wryly as he gave Adam a slap on the back.
"You are like a brother to Bella, so that makes you our brother, making you family." Jasper added stepping up on Adam's other side.
""So really the family would not be complete without you. Plus, Emmett needs someone besides us to pull his pranks on. We already know all of his stupid tricks." I joined in, trying not to laugh at the look of horror on Adam's face as he contemplated Emmett and his practical jokes.
"Welcome to the family." Carlisle said with a smile.
I had my eyes closed when I felt someone sit down next to me. I knew it was Edward instantly by his intoxicating smell. I had a sudden memory of me sitting in a car with a tan coat, saturated with his smell, draped over my shoulders.
I opened my eyes and was shocked by the intensity of his beautiful topaz eyes. "You smell the same." I blurted out. I was thankful that I could not blush anymore because I knew I would have been red as a fire truck, but his eyes made me feel like I could tell him anything.
The look on his face was one of complete shock and I couldn't blame him. "Do you remember?" was all he was able to say, but I noticed he had moved a fraction closer.
"Not much, I just remember your smell really. I also remember sitting in a car, wearing a tan coat with your scent."
"They say that smell is one of the strongest triggers for memory." He told me, giving me a crooked smile that made me forget how to breathe.
"Well too bad I don't have a smell for every memory. It would sure speed up the process." I had not noticed how close we were to each other. Edwards face was only inches from mine and our knees almost touched. I could feel his hand on my cheek and I leaned into it wanting to be as close to him as possible.
"You will get your memories back." he said, sounding so sure "And if you don't, we have an eternity to make new ones." I looked down at my hands, he sounded so confident, but what if he was wrong? I felt an unknowing sense to trust him, and it was hard to resist.
"Bella please don't look away from me. I have lost you twice, I do not want to loose you a third time." I could sense the fear in his voice. I did not want to be the cause of this angel's fear. I looked into his golden eyes and gave him a reassured smile.
"Edward, will you do me a favor?" I asked shyly. I wondered if he would agree to what I was going to ask of him, if he would understand my reasoning.
"Anything Bella, I would do anything for you." He replied smoothly in an irresistible velvety voice.
"Don't make me go back to Washington." I felt him stiffen and start to pull his hand away and I quickly grabbed it, not letting him go. I realized he had taken my request the wrong way.
"I would never make you go anywhere Bella. If you would rather go back to your house in New York I understand. I will not stop you." He told me stiffly. I could tell it was killing him to say that.
"I don't want to go to New York either. I actually don't want to go anywhere that I have been. It is not that I do not want to regain my memories of my past and of you, it is just that I don't think I can handle going to those places right now. I just need time." I was holding his hands tightly within my own. I needed him to understand this.
"I am really confused right now. I loved William, I still love him. I know that it is fake, something that was pushed on me, but I also know that I loved you, and that was genuine and true. I know this because I can feel it when you touch me or look at me. I was lied to upon so many levels and yet I know I can trust you and that you will never hurt me. When I was with William I felt love but it was empty. Something was missing; I just did not know it. Sitting here with you feels more like true love then it did in any moment with him. I can not even remember our past, but when I let myself feel, all I want is to feel love for you. At first I did not want to feel anything. I did not want emotions because they hurt to bad; they have created so much confusion for me. But when I look at you, smell you or touch you I know that I can not go for the rest of eternity without feeling. Even though it has only been a few hours, I know that if you got up right now and walked away I would fall completely apart."
"I would never leave you. I couldn't, you are my angel. How could I ever leave someone as perfect as you?" He was on his knees in front of me and he had my face between his hands. I felt so safe with him. I could not remember our past but I could feel the love that we had shared… the love that we still had. And with that, I kissed him.
My head was suddenly dizzy. At first the kiss took Edward by surprise but he quickly pulled me to my feet and he wrapped his strong arms around me, pulling me tightly to his chest. I was grateful I did not have to breathe or I surely would have passed out from lack of oxygen. I melted into him and I wrapped my arms around his neck tangling my hands in his hair. We fit together perfectly, and with that kiss my world became right.
I remembered everything. I remembered not only my past with Edward but also growing up in Arizona, going on fishing trips with Charlie, moving to Forks. I remembered the most important day of my existence, meeting Edward. I remembered the attack, and my turning into a vampire. I remembered waking up and seeing William for the first time and asking for Edward. How William had taken my past the first time and making me forget when Alice came for me. I remembered the first time I met Adam and his family and also when I met Edward and the rest of the Cullens for the second time. I remembered remembering Edward again and once again loosing him because of William and Anna, and how much they had messed with my head these last couple days.
Edward broke away from the kiss first though it was with reluctance. I heard cat calls and whistling coming from behind me and I turned to see that it was Emmett and Adam. I gave them a quick glare and then I was almost knocked over by a tiny pixie like vampire. "I knew you would remember!" Alice squealed with excitement.
"Well that is a surprise. You being able to see the future and all" I remarked before giving her a tight hug. "But you are right. I do remember, I remember everything."
I was suddenly surrounded by everyone hugging me and welcoming me back from the "twilight zone", as Adam put it. Our reunion was cut short by the announcement that our flight was boarding. I felt Edward take my hand and give it a reassuring squeeze. "Bella and I are not going back to the States with you." Edward called to our family as they headed towards the boarding gate.
"What?" they all exclaimed in unison; turning to stare at us as if we where crazy.
"We will not be gone forever. Bella and I just need time to be alone." Edward told them as he smiled down at me, his topaz eyes burning into mine. I could get lost in those eyes and I was happy that I had all of eternity to stare into them.
"I bet you do." Emmett said with a sly grin causing, Edward to growl at him. I wondered what perverted image Emmett had playing in his mind. Then I noticed that Edward was not denying anything.
"I think that's completely reasonable." Carlisle smiled gently, stepping in between Emmett and Edward subtly. "But don't be gone too long. We love Bella too, and we just got her back. I'm sure Alice is making a list of malls to hit even now." He added, making me groan internally.
"We will not be gone for too long, I promise. Only a couple months or so." And when you are a vampire and have all of eternity to be with the ones you love, a couple months really do seem like a few days.
We watched as our family boarded the plane, and continued to gaze until the plane was in the sky and heading back to rainy Forks, Washington. "So where do you want to go?" Edward asked me with the crooked smile I loved so much.
"France." I answered with certainty. "I have always wanted to see the French country side."
"I love you my angel." Edward said ever so soft and velvety that it dazzled me.
"I love you too." I managed to say before he kissed me.
Well this was the final chapter. It is all over; don't cry because I know I am trying not to. I hope you all enjoyed this story, and the ending. I really can't believe that it is all over. Sniffle Sniffle. I do have good news though. I don't think I can let go of this story just yet or Adam for that matter. Soooo I might, and I am not promising anything, do a couple one shots, but I don't think there will be a sequel.
I just want to thank everyone that read and reviewed you really kept me going. I was going to thank those that reviewed all the time personally but with over 350 review I just don't have the time, but I want you to know that I know who you are and I thank you so much. You kept me going when I didn't think I could go on. Also I want to give a huge THANK YOU to my Bete, she was great.