Chapter 24

Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter and I'm sorry for the time gap. School, friends, holidays, and general procrastination all contributed to my unexpected hiatus. I hope you enjoy the chapter.


I believed that the gas pedal would soon give out from the pressure that Alice seemed to be exerting on the stripe of plastic as the countryside sped by in a blur of unidentifiable color. Beside her, Jasper was ridge from what I could only assume were the raging emotions that were most likely flowing through the cramped metal tube. For in the back seat sat Edward and Tanya, with me sandwiched in the small space in-between the two seats, effectively marring the feeling of absolute happiness that I should have been experiencing. Instead, there was simply an awkward silence as Tanya looked determinedly the dark window and Edward sat stiffly beside me, with his hand grasping mine as if he never intended to let go.

In the mist of this tension, I stared at mine and Edward's entwined hands. Before, our relationship had not had the time required to develop into what it could have been and we had only began getting to know one another. However now, with eternity literally stretched before us, I frightened and excited me as to what the future could hold. It was hard not to allow my mind carry me off with the prospect of this glowing promise, however I had to reminded myself that nothing ever came without a cost. After all this was not a fairy tale where Snow White goes riding off into the sunset, but reality, or at least a version of it.

The main thing that allowed me to remained grounded from my fantasy was sitting right beside me. Rapidly, her topaz eyes broke from the glass and briefly met my own, before returning to her original pose. I should have been absolutely writhing in anger after all that her actions had put me through, however I was simply mentally tired and ready for the entire ordeal to be over. Throughout the past couple of weeks I had literally been to hell and back again and had dealt with all the many extremes of emotions. That life that I had in Alaska seemed no more than a vague dream now and it would be hard enough reestablishing my life there, let alone with Tanya in it. However, from this side of the experience, I could only looked at this woman in pity, due to the fact that I could not even imagine the level of desperation she must have dealt with to even consider betraying her family and friends in the way she did.

"We're here," Edward quietly whispered into my ear.

As his voice pulled me out of the recesses of my mind, I realized that Alice in fact, stopping next to a sleek, sliver plane that was parked on the outskirts of a small airport and that the soft purr of the engine had been silenced. I say Edward minutely nod in Alice's direction and her return a small smile as they concluded what I could only assume was one of their mental conversations. In the next second, Jasper and Alice had disappeared into the aircraft and Edward had exited the car and was holding the door open, waiting patiently for me to follow his movements. As I left the car, I noticed Tanya going, not in the direction of the plane, but toward the door that led to Alice's abandoned drivers seat and realized that she had no intentions of following us. Her shoulders were held awkwardly as if she was trying her hardest to show no signs of in defeat, making me come the conclusion that this was not her decision.

Just then, either Alice or Jasper started the jets of the airplane with a monstrous roar and a large gust of wind that caused my hair to begin to fly wildly and obscure my vision of Tanya's forlorn expressions as she glanced at our ride home and placed herself in front of the wheel. It would have been so easy to just allow her to drive away and pretend that she never existed, but I do not believe that I could have lived with that choice. And so I turned away from Edward's form and made an irrational spilt second decision that I myself did not even completely understand.

Tanya's POV

As the car halted, I realized that my time was officially up and that this would be the spot that the Cullens and I permanently parted ways. My heart twisted at the thought of once again being left without a home, however I refused to give them the satisfaction of making a scene. So, while everyone was preparing to leave, I slipped into the driver's seat and stared morosely at the endless stretch of highway in before me, trying not to envision the prospect of the upcoming months that would be spent in solitude. I would have driven away without so much as a backward glance, yet a soft tap on the window hindered my planned escape.

"I was under the impression we were in a hurry, something about running from an Italian mob of vampires," Bella said, "and I doubt the airport would mind if you just left the car here."

"What are you talking about," I muttered annoyed to be impeded with the girl's meaningless chatter. I did not even bother to take a glance in her direction, not wanting to see the expression on her face.

"I meant that it would probably take awhile for you to park the car," Bella mumbled, clearly becoming flustered in her speech.

My temper flared at her sarcastic words and I finally turned to glare in her direction as I replied, "I have to go."

I tapped on the gas, however her hold on the side of the window tightened and the car remained motionless, while the engine revved. Anger and humiliation welled up and I realized that I needed to get as far away from this place as possible before whatever it was that was holding me together at this moment broke and could expose any trace of weakness. I saw red as, I turned to confront the ignorant child that was putting me through this unnecessary disgrace.

"Let go of the car," I growled menacingly.

"No," she responded, lifting her chin in a defiant manner, "the plane is about to leave."

"I don't know if you have been informed, but according to the great Cullen clan, I seem unable to board that particular plane," I spat.

"They are not going to just leave you here in Italy," Bella said, as if stating a simple fact of life. Her naive attitude on the subject only proving to upset me further.

"They can and they will," I said, wanting to end this pointless conversation and leave before I committed another action that I would be made to regret, "now let go before I make you."

Her eyes flashed dangerously at my words, however she lifted her hands in surrender and bit out, "have it your way then. Run away from your problems and tear your family apart that seems to be your forte, after all."

"I just refuse to go where I am not wanted," I replied at her dig.

"I amazed you would give up the ones who loved you so easily," she retorted.

"It's not like I really have an option," I snapped.

"Maybe I am giving you an option," she lashed back.

"And maybe I don't want your charity," I replied.

"Look, it's your choice, but I'm not going to beg. You are in the wrong here and you know it. I'm just giving you the option," she stated harshly.

I narrowed my eyes to mere slits as I took in the absurdity of the situation, where the girl that I had so desperately wronged was standing before me with a reprieve. It was utterly ridiculous, however here she was offering me my old life without any conditions or benefits to herself. For a long moment we stared each other down as a war raged in my subconscious between my pride and my undeniable need to be with my family. I just couldn't bring myself to trust someone who would be so idiotically selfless and I briefly considered why she would do something so stupid.

However, I quickly came to the conclusion that the why's didn't particularly matter at the moment, especially acknowledging the fact that every second that ticked by had the potential of death to us all. I could not imagine that Aro and Caius had taken the news of our departure as well as Marcus and here we were standing on an airfield wasting valuable time.

Finally I broke the heavy silence, "we should probably leave. Wasn't it you that just said that we are short on time."

"Yes," she replied in a flat voice, "I believe I did," before spinning around and disappearing from view.

So, I stiffly got out of the car and made my way to the plane, comprehending that the girl had by no means forgiven me, only pitied my situation. My entire being rebelled against the very word, however this was the one instance where I would just have to shallow my wounded pride, in order to achieve my desired end.

I will try to get the next update out before the end of next week, however this story is coming to an end.

Reviews are always appreciated.