Disclaimer: No, I'm still not Stephenie Meyer and what does that mean? I don't own the alternate universe known as Twilight.
A/N: This chapter has been updated multiple times. You may be reading it for the first time, you may be here because of a notification or you may be here because I've finally posted the sequel and directed you here. Whatever the case read and enjoy the final chapter of Abduction!
It had been a little over five months since she'd last seen him and in that time not much had changed. She'd gone back to school, gotten a job at Newton's Outfitters and had continued with her life as best she could.
Her thoughts refused to cooperate though and she often found herself wondering what he was doing. She wanted to know where he was. She wanted to contact Alice or Jasper, or even Emmett, but not only did she not know how, it would have been dangerous for them.
So, as much as she wanted to be with him, or at least know how he was, it seemed that it wasn't going to happen.
She was trying to move on.
Now that she was home again Bella was doing better in school than ever before. She spent much of her time concentrating on her work and currently had straight A's. It served as a nice distraction from her thoughts about Edward, but the term was nearly over and soon she wouldn't have American History and Advanced Algebra to turn to for assistance.
There was however one thing she wouldn't miss and that was being the center of attention.
Bella had not been surprised; her ordeal was the biggest thing to have happened in the small, sleepy town for decades. It had been annoying to say the least, as well as a little painful. Everyone wanted to know about the person who had taken her.
She'd always refused to say anything and after a time they lost interest in receiving the same answers, or lack thereof, and had given up. They'd moved on to the trivial dramas of everyday high school life. To say that it was a relief would be an understatement.
Once the novelty of her return had faded, she'd allowed herself to try dating. She went out with a boy from the Quileute Reservation whom she'd known for quite a long time, Jacob Black. It didn't last. He was nice enough and they were still friends, but she cared for him the way one cared for a brother. He was certainly not a lover.
He was nothing like Edward.
She poured all excess time into work. She took any hours she could get under the pretense of saving for college. No one had ever questioned her motives and Bella suspected that Mike, who was a classmate of hers and the son of the stores owner, as well as her coworker, would have put an end to any questions asked by his mother or father. He was rather friendly with her, a little too friendly actually, but she didn't have the heart to say anything about it to him.
Her mother had returned to Jacksonville with promises to fly her out to visit sometime over the summer. She had resolved to take her up on the offer, hoping the change would be a sufficient distraction.
She and Charlie had fallen back into their old routine. He went to work in the morning, she went to school. She came home and made dinner while Charlie watched which ever game was on television. They would eat together in silence and she would then do the dishes while her father went back to worshiping the TV. Homework followed and then it was time to sleep. The monotony, though she appreciated the stability of the relationship, didn't do much for her depression.
On the outside it looked as if life was continuing as normal for Bella and no one seemed to notice her abstraction.
She preferred it that way.
Edward was having a much more visible reaction to the separation. Not knowing exactly where Bella was or how she was doing was painful and he made no effort to hide it.
He'd thrown himself into his work and it was all he did. For hours upon hours he would sit locked away in his study not allowing anyone, even Alice, in.
Edward was hoping that after a sufficient amount of time had passed he'd simply become numb to all sensation. He wouldn't be able to feel the pain then.
The past five and a half months had been hell. He thought about Bella all the time. He'd almost come to wish that he hadn't ever met her in the first place. He'd been prepared to miss her, but this was so much more than that. Every breath was a struggle. What he felt was pure agony.
He was trying to give her the existence he knew she deserved, the life she would have had if he'd never entered it and he shouldn't have; he deserved the anguish he was feeling now. He was sure that he'd ruined her life and that this was his punishment.
Still, it was getting to be too much.
Sometimes he'd find himself beginning to scheme ways to get her back or wondering if he should check on her. So far he'd been able to talk himself out of the impulses, but he didn't know how long he'd be able to resist.
Currently he was seated in his sitting room with the lights off and the curtains drawn. The fireplace was lit and he was staring into the glowing flames wallowing in self-pity.
It was times like these that his thoughts turned down darker paths.
He was berating himself for his stupidity and ready to go on a real self-loathing jag when suddenly the door flew open. He jumped at the sound of it banging against the wall as it opened. Alice streaked into the room and stood in front of him.
"Edward," she said. "Stop this moping right now. Wait 'til I tell you what I saw!" She was hopping up and down as she spoke.
"I don't care Alice," he replied, his voice monotone. He seemed to look right through her.
She sighed dramatically and continued on despite his lack of interest. "There's a house for sale, in Forks," she noted that his eyes darted to her face for just an instant. "This will be good Edward, I can feel it. You must buy that house," when he didn't answer her she grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. "Edward! Listen to me! You and Bella are meant to be together, you messed it up the first time, but you can fix it!"
He pushed her away from him. "Alice! That is enough, now please leave."
"No," she declared. "I've given you plenty of time to be all dark and brooding and now it's time to get over it. Bella misses you just as much as you miss her. Fix this. She is my friend and I love her too."
"You have no idea what you're talking about Alice," he hissed, glaring at her.
"Oh, I don't? You're not the only one with money and an interest in Bella, Edward."
"What are you saying?"
She shrugged. "What do you think I'm saying? I've never been wrong before Eddie, why bet against me now?"
He made a face. "Don't call me that," he swatted at her halfheartedly and then sighed. "Are you really sure Alice?"
He looked so helpless that she almost cried.
"I promise you," she leaned down and hugged him. "I'm more sure than I've been about anything since Jasper."
She left him to his thoughts after that.
He had to admit that it was true; Alice had never been wrong about one of her 'feelings' before, but then again there was a first time for everything. If she was wrong this would cause him even more pain, all of it unnecessary. If she was right it would be the end of his suffering.
This wasn't just about him though, it was about Bella. He couldn't understand how she could want to see him again.
School had ended exactly two weeks ago and nothing much had been going on. Bella had too much time on her hands and that meant too much time for thinking. She was currently on the job, working an extra shift. The shop was having an unexpectedly busy week. A movie was shooting down at First Beach in La Push, 'Dusk' or something, and giddy teenage girls dragging their along boyfriends had been coming in and out for hours. Mike had just gone out on his break.
Presently she was standing on a step-stool and restocking the disposable camera display. They were selling like hot cakes. When she heard the faint ringing of the bell announcing that someone had entered she called out, "I'll be with you in a second."
All was quiet for a moment and quiet meant that whoever had entered wasn't some annoying, giggly girl. Bella silently thanked God for that. She'd had more than her share of annoyances for the day.
"Hello there," a voice said from behind her. She jerked forward, nearly falling off the stool and into the display. A pair of hands shot out and caught her before she could knock it over. She climbed down once she was steady and turned to face the person who had saved her.
"Please be careful!" he chuckled. "How did you ever survive these six months without me?" Though outwardly he exuded calm he was secretly more frightened than he had ever been in his entire life. If she rejected him now his life would surely end.
Bella was so shocked at seeing him that for several minutes she was unable to answer; finally she found her voice. "E—Edward?" He looked just the same, he still had emerald green eyes and his hair was the same utterly unique shade of bronze. She wasn't sure why that surprised her.
He dazzled her with his crooked smile. "Yes?"
"You—what are you...?" she struggled to string a coherent sentence together and then decided that it didn't matter. She flung her arms around him and held him in a death grip.
He held on to her just as tightly and murmured, "I'm sorry."
"You had better be," she looked up at him, her face flushed. "What, I mean why...?"
"Alice," he said simply and Bella nodded in understanding; Alice was explanation enough.
They stood there staring at each other, neither willing to look away first, until Mike made his badly timed appearance.
They broke apart, both turning red in embarrassment.
"What is it Mike?" she snapped.
Mike quickly assessed the situation. He'd come back to tell Bella that they were going to close early, his mother was leaving, and to ask her if she wanted to go up to Port Angeles with him to catch a movie. Now he thought it might be best if he omitted that last part. "You can leave, I'm going to close up shop."
"Oh, thanks Mike," she nodded to him. "See you here on Friday," she'd grabbed Edward's hand and towed him toward the door.
Once outside Edward led Bella to his silver Volvo. "Isabella," he said formally. "If you would be so kind as to accompany me to my new home, I will explain everything to you." He was never going to force her to do anything ever again. From that moment on he would seek her consent for everything he wanted to do.
She didn't hesitate when he opened the passenger side door and allowed him to lean across her to fasten her seat belt. She even, in a moment of possible insanity, pressed a quick kiss to his cheek as he moved past her on his way back out of the car. He was unable to hide the goofy grin that stretched across his face.
He drove at breakneck speed through the tiny town. Bella gripped the edges of her seat so tightly that her knuckles turned white. She was not enjoying this part of their reunion.
"Edward," she whispered. "Slow down."
With a slight huff of annoyance he let the needle drift downward. "I hate driving slow," he complained.
She glanced at the speedometer, it read just below seventy. "This is slow?"
He ignored her question, rightly assuming that it was rhetorical. Instead he allowed the speed to drop down to sixty miles per hour, a nearly unbearable rate and muttered to himself, "I must really love you."
Bella heard and blushed, but didn't say anything; he'd obviously not meant for her to hear him. She looked out the window instead and, putting her hair to one side, hid her face from his view.
She wondered where they were going. They rode in silence and soon passed over a bridge at the Calawah River and she noted that they were going northward. Houses flashed past them, growing further apart and larger as they drove. Soon there were no houses to see at all.
Bella was contemplating breaking the silence when Edward turned off the road onto an unmarked pathway that was nearly completely obscured by ferns and other greenery. He drove down the winding lane for quite sometime and Bella wondered if he was lost and just not saying anything about it. Trees pressed in from either side, but gradually they began to thin.
At first Bella thought she was looking at a small clearing, but soon came to realize that it was actually a large lawn. Six ancient looking ceders, three on each side, shaded what must have been an entire acre with their huge, sweeping branches. She was so busy trying to see the tops of the trees through the window that she didn't notice the house until the car stopped.
It was three stories tall, rectangular and probably a hundred years old. It's soft, faded white paint added to the timelessness of it all and a deep porch wrapped around the first story.
"Do...do you like it?" He sounded very nervous, as if worried that she would answer in the negative.
It took Bella a moment to formulate an answer that would properly convey her astonishment. "Um, wow."
Edward's dazzling smile made another appearance and he led her inside.
It was just as amazing as the outside, though clearly in the construction phase
It would be very bright and very open; walls were being removed to create a large open space. The south-facing back wall could hardly be called a wall as it had been replaced entirely with glass and she could see across the lawn to where the wide river stretched. The floors were wooden and the ceiling high-beamed.
Once Bella had gotten over her initial amazement she shook her head, trying to clear her mind. There were things that needed to be discussed.
She looked to Edward who was watching her carefully, waiting for her to comment.
"It's beautiful," she told him.
"Liar," he said. "It's a disaster." He was unable to take any pleasure in her approval. He was too tightly wound, too on edge about the conversation that they were about to have. "I've got no idea how long all this is going to take, but now isn't the time to discuss that.
"Come with me please," he let go of her hand and walked over to a set of folding metal chairs. "Please sit."
She did as he asked.
He paced back and forth before her, unsure of how to begin. Finally he decided that he would just have to start at the beginning. "Isabella," he said. "I told you before about why I took you, do you remember?"
She nodded and quietly answered, "Yes."
"And do you understand why I sent you back?"
She frowned slightly. "I think so..."
He held up his hand to stop her from continuing. "I will explain it more fully then." He took a deep breath and began. "I came to the realization that I had made one of the, no the, biggest mistake of my life. I shouldn't have taken you Bella, it was wrong. I just wanted to make it right," he sighed. "But apparently I've made a mess of things again." He shook his head. "I don't understand though…?" he stopped and looked at her.
She knew what he was asking. He wanted to know what had made her feelings change.
"I'm...I'm not sure," she muttered, turning red. "I don't know how it happened, really." She looked up at him quickly to gauge his reaction to her words. "I didn't understand the full scope of what I was feeling until you sent me away."
"I'm sorry," he murmured. "I shouldn't force you to tell me."
"No, it's alright, I just don't know how to explain myself."
"It doesn't really matter anyway, but," he hesitated. "Could you, maybe, say it? Alice told me, but I'm not sure I can believe her. And also because, well, it would be nice to hear it."
For a moment Bella didn't know what to do. Well, that wasn't exactly true, she just didn't know how to do it; she settled for the least embarrassing, simplest way of saying what he needed to hear.
"I love you, Edward. I really love you."
For a few minutes he was quite unable to reply. He'd been waiting for what seemed like forever to hear those words come from her mouth. When he could speak he got down on his knees in front of her, took her hands in his and said, "I love you Isabella Marie Swan, I always will, and I promise to go about it the right way this time."
Bella ran a hand through his hair. "I know you will."
They stayed like that for a minute or so, each lost in their own thoughts, before she suddenly stiffened.
"What?" Edward asked looking worried.
"I just realized. I'll have to introduce you to Charlie," she looked horrified at the prospect.
Edward chuckled softly. "I'm sure it will be alright, we've made it this far haven't we?"
Bella nodded in agreement, but secretly she worried that her father might be the biggest of their problems yet.
Charlie was more of a hindrance than Edward had thought he would be. He was very against their seeing each other for extended periods of time. It was to be expected; they couldn't adequately describe their relationship to him, nor could they truthfully explain how they'd met or how long they'd know each other. Eventually though, after a few subtle bribes of fishing related gifts, Charlie warmed up enough to allow him inside the house and alone with his daughter.
They were progressing into more intimate territory and though Edward greatly enjoyed Bella's new enthusiasm he often found himself being forced into the position of the voice of reason.
"Bella," he admonished, pulling away.
"Not yet," she implored, stretching up on her toes to reach his face and trying to kiss him again. It had been too long since she'd last seen him. What with his new home undergoing remodeling and his needing to fly back and forth between his rented apartment in Tacoma and Alaska for the selling of the house, there had been little time to spend together.
With a sigh he allowed himself to be pulled back down and let her press her soft, warm lips to his once more before moving away again. "That is enough. Really. We have to leave now. Alice will never forgive us if we're late."
She conceded to his logic and followed him out of her small house and into the Volvo. They were picking up Alice and Jasper at the airport, apparently they had something important to tell them that couldn't wait any longer than necessary and, according to Alice, absolutely had to be told in person.
It didn't take as long as it normally would to reach Port Angeles, a little over half an hour, because of Edward's manic driving, and they made it in plenty of time for Edward to pressure Bella into eating. He was forever worried about her health.
Soon enough the flight they were waiting for came in and not ten minutes later Alice was flying through the airport toward them. She jumped first at Edward, because he was the closest, and then turned her attention to Bella upon whom she leaped.
"Oh Bella, we're getting married!" her voice was a high shriek and Bella fought the urge to cover her ears. "I can't wait! You will be my Maid of Honor won't you?"
"Of course," she said in surprise. "But wouldn't you rather someone else...?"
Alice was shaking her head before she could finish her sentence. "I can't wait!" she repeated. "And just think, you'll be next!" With a gasp she placed her hands on her heart. "You'll let me help won't you Bella? Plan your wedding I mean? I'll do anything for you if you let me, oh please!"
"You—my, what?" Her faced darkened instantly in embarrassment.
Edward had gone to help Jasper with the bags and the two men were just returning when Bella began blushing.
"What did you say to her Alice?" Edward questioned, his eyes narrowing.
"Nothing, nothing. She needs to stop being so oversensitive. I only asked her if I could," Bella slapped her hand over the tiny pixies mouth. It was a fruitless effort and Alice had turned her attention elsewhere anyway. "Bella! What are you wearing?" she asked, almost looking offended. "Did nothing I told you stick!" She grabbed Bella's hand and began dragging her toward the exit.
Jasper and Edward followed after their respective better halves.
"Are you sure you want to marry her? I won't hold it against you if you break it off," Edward offered.
"I appreciate the sentiment, but no." He did wince though when Alice called, quite loudly, for them to hurry up. She wanted to 'fix' Bella before anyone else had the chance to see her. "So, what about you and Bella?"
Edward automatically got defensive. "What about us?"
"Calm yourself, I didn't mean anything by it," his smile eased the tension. "You wanted to know what Alice was asking Bella didn't you?" He paused while Edward nodded. "Well, I'm about to ask you about the same thing, only in a more tactful way. Don't let on that you know, I've got the feeling that it will only embarrass Bella, but… Have you asked her to marry you yet? Or at least thought about it?"
Edward stopped where he was, his face turning as red as Bella's had and didn't answer. Once the shock of being asked passed he simply continued on to the car where Alice and Bella were waiting.
Jasper smiled to himself, he didn't doubt that the thought had occurred to Edward, but this would force him into thinking about it more thoroughly. It had been Alice's plan and it seemed that it was working because once they were all situated in the car neither Edward or Bella would speak unless spoken too, and certainly not to each other.
Upon arrival at the hotel were Alice and Jasper would be staying, Bella was pulled from the car by Alice who grabbed one of her bags and proceeded to drag her friend to the desk where she was given the card keys.
As soon as they entered the room she forced Bella into the bathroom and made her change into an outfit she'd meant to give to her as a present.
Alice, satisfied that Bella had been made presentable, allowed her to exit and they sat in the lounge area while the men placed the luggage out of sight.
Jasper tried to force a conversation to begin, but neither Bella or Edward were willing to try and keep it going. They were both still too embarrassed by, and busy thinking about, the wedding comments.
Bella had resolved to keep it too herself and not think about it until Edward brought it up, if he ever did. That thought in and of itself made her nervous. She wondered why Alice felt it necessary to bring it up the way she had. Could she have made it anymore embarrassing?
Edward was wondering if Bella was thinking about it and if so, what? He'd considered asking her before and he planned on doing it someday, but Jasper's mentioning comment made it seem more urgent. What point was there in waiting really? He knew that he couldn't live without her and she claimed that she felt the same way.
Already a plan was formulating itself in his mind and when he kissed Bella goodnight after returning her to Charlie he was thinking about how he could pull it all together.
Alice was more than willing to help with Edward's plan for proposing. He made reservations at the C'est Si Bon in Port Angeles and had found his mother's ring. Alice was taking Bella shopping and would then leave her with Edward as if their having dinner together was the only surprise; she had also taken on the job of buttering up Charlie before Edward and Bella were to speak to him.
All went according to plan. Bella didn't suspect a thing and when Edward got down on one knee, after nearly forcing her to dance along side other couples, she just about cried.
"Isabella Marie Swan, will you marry me?"
While sniffling Bella managed to respond, "Yes."
Applause ensued and Bella, of course, grew terribly embarrassed. When they returned to her house Alice decided that she could not contain herself, flung open the front door and raced to hug them as soon as they were out of the car.
"Oh Bella," she sobbed in her happiness. "Will you let me plan it, please?"
"Alice!" Edward chastened. "We've only just gotten engaged."
His words had no effect on Alice who plowed right on. "Better yet, we can double!" she shouted, running back to the house again where she gave a thoroughly confused Charlie a kiss on the cheek.
Bella watched her go in dismay and Edward seeing the look on her face said, "Don't worry, we can go to Vegas if you like."
She cracked a smile and shook her head. "No, we'll do this the right way. I just don't want Alice getting carried away."
"I don't know if it's possible to keep her in check when it comes to planning a party."
Bella shrugged. "Well, we can try can't we?"
Edward nodded at her and after a few deep breaths they officially broke the news to Charlie, who took it better than either had expected. In fact he laughed about it, claiming that as long as Bella was the one to tell her mother he had no problem with their plans and as it turned out Renee was more than happy, something that Bella hadn't been expecting in the least, and wanted only to meet Edward.
She did when the two flew down to Jacksonville where Renee made it known in no uncertain terms that she very much approved of Edward, much to Bella's alarm and Edward's amusement.
The weddings each went off without a hitch. Alice's was exactly what she wanted as was Bella's.
Alice and Jasper were married in Jasper's hometown in Texas in a large and expensive ceremony with more guests than Bella cared to remember. She'd met Rosalie, who was soon to be married to Emmett, there; the blond wasn't very fond of her and Bella didn't exactly count her as a friend, but they were able to put up with each other for Alice. Bella suspected that Rosalie was jealous of her position as Maid of Honor, but there was nothing that she could have done about that. It was Alice's day.
Bella and Edward chose to be married in the church that his biological parents had been married in. It was more of an intimate ceremony. Edward had paid to have everyone, meaning Charlie, Renee, Phil and the rest of Bella's small party, flown to Chicago; Bella had never asked him how much that had cost, nor would she. Together their guest list was just over thirty people. Alice had been able to restrain herself and kept the fanfare to a minimum and it was a beautiful day for a wedding.
It seemed that their life together, as husband and wife, would continue on in the happy fashion that it had begun, but of course nothing is ever as simple as that.
A/N: Stay tuned for the sequel. Unless it's already up, in which case go read it already!