AN: Dates are important.

Do you trust me?


Shadowboxer Epilogue - EPOV/BPOV

May 24th 2010

BPOV

January 5th, 2010

The sky was an ominous cloud of purple and black. It was frigid and icy today. The rain pelted down against the slick grass, wet thwacking noises created a cacophony in the otherwise silent graveyard. A small mass of people huddled around the open grave as a minister said final words of peace and love.

My face was numb from the January cold as I burrowed deeper into the trench coat. I had been fussed over and reasoned with, but I refused to wear anything besides the simple black dress that he had loved so much. Underneath I had on garters and lace underwear that he had peeled off me and admired. The black pumps I wore were sinking into the mushy ground but I stayed silent and still as they began to lower him into the earth. I'm sure my toes were freezing and I was close to hypothermia but this was for him.

"Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil…"

A small sob broke free through my armor and I buckled. Strong arms enveloped me and I looked up into the eyes of his long time friend and trainer. He gazed back at me with infinite sadness as he held me up.

He fought so hard. He had won but it wasn't enough. The damage that was done to his brain was irreparable. Despite the surgeries to stop the internal bleeding he had slipped away on the table that was designed to save him.

His red hair had seemed Technicolor on the dingy faded blue hospital sheets.

When the casket was finally in the ground I stepped forward and more hands gripped me. My arms, my back, my waist. His friends and my friends helped me to take those final steps as I dropped a red rose into the earth.

I couldn't watch them cover him up. I couldn't watch the dirt seal him in the ground like that. I would follow Heathcliff's example and dig him out, hold him to me and beg him to come back.

"Bella?"

My mind was simply numb now; an empty vessel of what it used to be.

"Bella? Where are you?"

I couldn't fathom the rest of my life without his embrace, his vivid green eyes peering down at me and his vibrant smile, lighting up my world…

"Bella, really? That's so depressing. I didn't die!"

Edward's head was level with mine as he leaned over the back of the couch and read over my shoulder.

"Seriously, Edward? This is a creative process! Stop reading over my shoulder. You're such a lurker."

"Whatever. Creative process my ass. I didn't die so stop with all that depressing shit."

"I'm sorry, but clearly the story is about Eric and Bree. Eric got brain bleed or whatever, I'm not being very technical or specific about that… and he dies. It's sad and moving and that's how it's going to end."

"Oh right. Eric, who has red hair, green eyes, and a past almost distinctly identical to mine. It's not me at all. I think Bree needs a re-write by the way. She's not plain and what was the word you used? Homely? She's radiant. She's passionate…unbelievably sexy and caring and I think you should write in how awesome her cooking is. Speaking of cooking, are we going to eat soon? I'm fucking starving."

Edward plopped down next to me on the couch and his hand slid up my back, under my hair, and clamped around my neck. I tried not to moan when his fingers started to knead my tense muscles. He was deviously good at that.

"Since when did this become Edward Masen's book, huh? This is Bella Swan's book. I'm writing what I want to write and if my main characters happen to have characteristics you don't like then too bad. And I'm a little upset you seem to think so highly of Bree. Something you wanna tell me?"

"Well, stop for the night. I missed you all day."

Before I could start the argument we both knew was coming, he slid his other arm under my knees and scooped me up, placing me on his lap and wiggling till he was comfortable.

"I'm trying to finish this. I only have like…two more chapters before it's done. Then I can start to edit it and then I can submit it for publishing. Please? Just…another hour? Then you can do with me what you will. I have to write this when it comes to me. Please?"

"But I'm hungry."

"Oh that's a big boy! Whine. Fine, I'll make you a PB&J."

He narrowed his eyes at me and I giggled. He knew I was full of shit. I couldn't ever just make him a PB&J unless he asked for one.

"Ugh, whatever. You're making the salad."

I jumped up off his lap, leaving him hissing like I actually hit the junk, and ran into the kitchen.

"You almost hit the jewels!"

"Almost doesn't count!"

After a few more moments of him grumbling, I could have sworn I heard him fiddling with my laptop.

"What are you doing in there?" I called.

"Nothing." His reply seemed too innocent and I turned to go back into the living room and check on him just as he strolled through the doorway.

An hour later we had chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus and salad on the table and were going to town on our food. I was famished and realized that I hadn't eaten since early this morning and it was close to eight at night.

"So, are you really going to kill me off?"

"Would you get off this? It's not you."

"I think it's utterly depressing you're killing him off. I mean, why would you do that to Betty?"

"It's Bree and because I feel like it. It just makes the story more real. I mean you, you got lucky. How many people can go in, fight that many rounds, get hit in the head that many times, and only come out with a few bruised ribs? No one. Really, it's more for the integrity of the story."

He hummed and shoved more mashed potatoes in his mouth, a thoughtful expression on his face as he moved his fork over a chunk of chicken.

"Technically, I broke one rib and fractured another. Three were bruised."

"Details. You know what I mean."

"Why are you veiling this story with other people's names? Why not just write it with us in it the way it happened. Bella finds Edward in gym, Bella falls madly in love with Edward. Edward sweeps Bella off her feet and fights the villain. Edward wins. They get married, have ten kids and they live happily ever after. The end."

I snorted and loaded my mouth full of chicken and mashed potatoes before I have a chance to reply. Clearly, if I were left to answer him without thought I would've insulted him and that's the last thing I wanted to do. Children had become a sore subject.

"I'm writing it the way I want to write it, Edward. And we're not married yet nor are ten children ever popping their way of this vagina."

His face scrunched up when I said 'vagina' and I giggled a little.

"Psh, I'll be lucky if one kid pops its way out of there."

"I'm sorry what? You were mumbling, I didn't quite catch that."

"Nothing."

"It's not 'nothing' if you said it. Just say it again, louder…and more clearly."

He looked at me balefully before taking his plate back into the kitchen.

I breathed in deeply. I could feel the tantrum coming on and I needed to be reasonable this time.

"Are we going to talk about this, Edward?"

He stood at the sink and I saw his shoulders tense before they drooped and he hung his head.

"Why not? Just tell me - why not? It's not about supporting a baby, it's not about the timing. It's something else that you're not telling me. I want this with you. I want to have a kid with you. I want that."

I sighed and sat down on a stool at the breakfast bar. This argument had been going back and forth between us for months. It wasn't that I didn't want to have a baby, it was that I wanted to enjoy the time that Edward and I had together before we thought about the stress of having a child to take care of.

That, and Emmett was still talking about Edward fighting in Vegas. I wouldn't put myself through that while being pregnant. Until we were both safely away from that world entirely, I wouldn't even consider trying.

"What's wrong with us now? Why do we need a baby right now, Edward? Why can't we just wait and be together for a little while before we start trying for a baby?"

He walked over to me and wrapped me up in his arms. I knew he would concede. He didn't really have a choice. I'm positive if he could find a way to impregnate himself he would do it.

Fucker.

"I just want everything with you. I want a family and the big house and white picket fence. I want that."

"First of all, we will have all that. You just need to give it time. Second of all, if you ever bought or built a house with a white picket fence I would smack you. That's so dumb.

We didn't do normal or average, Edward. We went the most unconventional route possible. I don't think we can do normal now. Who says our happily ever after has to have a passel of kids and a miniature white fence?"

He laughed a little and squeezed me tighter before nodding against my side.

"Edward, I love you. We'll have kids. Just not right now, okay? And Jesus Christ, not ten. You might get two out of me, but I draw the line there."

He laughed louder and kissed my neck before humming a nameless tune against my skin.

"Well, even if we won't be conceiving anytime soon, I still think we should practice. Train for the event…you know. Pelvic thrusting is imperative to good form."

I was going to giggle but his tongue darted out and wet, open mouthed kisses were slowly making their way down my neck to my breasts.

I stood slightly confused and extremely turned on in the kitchen wearing nothing but some yellow panties. With way too much practiced skill, Edward had my shirt and sweats off in record time and a hand in my panties.

How the hell does he get them off so fast?

"I'm..ooooh, wait, I'm not done writing my…right there…yeah…but I still have two more….fuck, harder…."

"Mrs. Masen I am going to get that re-write out of you if it's the last thing I do."

I was going to tell him I wasn't Mrs. Masen yet, but then I felt my bare back hit the counter and yelped at the cold feeling. The sensation of ice on my back had me reeling to run but Edward's hot arms were wounding around me before I could get a foot in front of another.

"I hate that you have clothes on and I don't. It's so weird."

He snorted and peeled his t-shirt off and kicked his shorts down.

"Better?"

I hummed and dropped down to my knees. If there was anyway to shut Edward up and make him a puddle of man goo it was kneeling down in front of him while I was naked. I'm sure the combo of bare breasts and my face being crotch level was what did it. I grinned as I stroked him through his boxer briefs. His eyes were trained on my hands as they moved over him, one cupping his balls and tugging while the other squeezed him firmly.

My fingertips slipped into the waistband and yanked down before he had a chance to object. His breath left him in a whoosh as the cold hair of the kitchen hit his skin.

"You don't have to…fuck…don't stop, baby."

It's hard to grin with a cock in your mouth.

*_*_*

EPOV

December 26th, 2009

I straightened up the living room, deciding the tree was not salvageable and neither was the dining room table. Which was a shame 'cause Bella and I had christened some damn good times on it. I would need to get another one soon. I felt shitty sweeping up all those ornaments. I would have liked to keep them. One caught my attention. It was still intact with a hairline crack at the top. It had 'Christmas '09' written on it in silver glitter. I set it up on the bookshelf softly, with the utmost reverence.

After I did as much cleaning and straightening as I could, I went into my office and pulled out my cell phone. I dialed the number with determination.

"Yeah?"

"I need your help. Meet me at Galway's in thirty minutes."

I hung up, grabbed my keys and scrawled a note to Bella in case she woke up early. I shrugged on my leather jacket and headed out the door.

I would take care of Phil if it was the last thing I did.

**

Galway's was surprisingly not as empty as I thought it would be on Christmas Eve. It wasn't crowded per se but it wasn't desolate like I imagined it would be. Lonely people who had no family to celebrate Christmas with were lined up on bar stools nursing drinks. I didn't see one beer bottle. A small ache in my chest started to settle as I thought about how I could have been one of them. If I had never met Bella, I could be sitting at that bar right now, making my way through a bottle of scotch or whiskey. But I wasn't, I was here in this bar looking for a way to avenge the angel sleeping in my apartment right now.

I slid into a booth in the back corner and tried my best to relax my shoulders while I waited. Despite how far back into the bar I was, the cold air from the door still hit my neck. I firmly held my body still in an effort not to turn and look at whoever came in. My fingers drummed on the table top and my leg was bouncing quickly as I tried to channel my energy. I was cooling off from the initial anger and shock of what Bella had told me, my body still buzzing with adrenaline.

"What's going on?" Emmett immediately asked as he slid into the booth. I raised my eyebrows at Jasper as he slid in next to him.

"I had to call him. He knows more people than I do at this point. I gathered from your tone that you needed help badly and help that might include other contacts."

Jasper's voice was all southern comfort as he looked at me seriously, an air of concern about him.

"Bella just told me…look I can't get into that right now but I need to take care of someone."

Emmett just nodded his head but Jasper looked at me with apprehension.

"I don't think it's a good idea to be gettin' riled up about somethin' like this so close to the fight. I think…"

"I don't give a shit what you think. You either help me figure this mess out or I find him myself and kill him. I would rather do this the right way, well, as close to the right way as possible. The guy is a sick fuck and I know it can't be that hard to fuck him up without physically touching him. However, I am not opposed to flying to Florida and beating his ass till he can't fucking breathe."

Emmett watched me carefully and I could see no argument from him. Jasper on the other hand was looking at his hands that were folded on the counter-top carefully. I could see his mind working frantically for a way to get me off this crusade. They didn't even know why I wanted to do this.

"He hurt her, Jasper. He fucked with her head and he made her feel ashamed of herself. He took advantage of a child, Jasper. She was a fucking child."

It was as much as I could say without telling them the whole story but I could see that I had them with me now. Jasper's nostrils flared as he nodded curtly. He wouldn't argue anymore.

Emmett pulled out his cell phone and began to make calls. He would occasionally write down a number on a napkin and thank the person on the line before getting off and dialing another number.

Jasper surveyed me from across the table. I tried to sit still under his scrutiny but it was hard.

"You really, honestly love her don't you?"

"I love her. I'd die for her… and right now I'm doing this for her because she'd rather die than do it herself. I'm making this right. He deserves to fucking fry for what he did. I can't let this go."

Again he nodded and turned his gaze on the patrons at the bar. Emmett put his hand over the receiver of his cell phone and jerked his chin at me. I raised my eyebrows letting him know I was listening.

"Write down everything you know about this dude so I can get more info on him."

I took a napkin and the chewed up pen from Emmett and scribbled down anything I could remember Bella telling me about Phil. It wouldn't be hard at all to find him I was sure. I was devising a plan of action that was going to take time and effort.

After only forty-five minutes, Emmett had done all he could do at the moment and I was feeling antsy just sitting there in the booth. I felt like doing something proactive ;I wanted to hit something, anything. Instead, I stood to leave, the idea of being back in bed with Bella trumping any other desire.

*_*_*

BPOV

December 27th, 2010

"Really? You're going to start this now? Really? Edward…no…stop…stop! Just – hold on, just wait. Give me like two fucking seconds and I'll….oh my god I'm going to kill you. Give it back. Right now, just give it…what are you doing? What is that? No! Stop it. Stop laughing! This isn't funny; I'm being serious right now! If you…don't. Don't do it! Just give it back…put it down. I'll…I…I cannot believe you actually did it. You really just –"

I stopped and looked at him as he rolled around on the couch, laughing hysterically and banging his hand on the sofa arm.

Fucker.

My hair was tossed up in a knot, falling out around my neck and face. I was wearing a pair of Edward's old sweats and a tank top that had seen better days. In fact, I should probably start hiding it in the middle drawers so Alice didn't get her hands on it.

I looked at the flying envelope on my phone that let me know a text message had been sent. That mother fucking, cock sucking, son of a bitch.

"You were beat stupid weren't you? Or do you just miss having your head bashed in so much you wanna start shit with me now?"

He calmed down considerably at the look I was giving him. I was honestly pissed. In fact, I should be down right livid but he of course dulled those negative feelings when he acted like this.

Edward was normally so serious and these days when he seemed carefree and light, I wanted to join in and have fun with him. He pouted and slid his back down the couch until his head was in my lap and his legs were propped over the end.

"Don't be mad…"

"You are unbelievable. How am I going to explain that?"

"You just tell Justine-"

"His name is Justin."

"-Justine, that you're big, buff, incredibly strong fiancé, who used to be a cage fighter-"

"You never fought in a cage."

"- who would kick the Pope's ass for looking at you the wrong way, took your phone hostage and decided to write him a little message."

"Little message?" I deadpanned. "You told him that I found him offensive and that I was going to get my husband to beat him up. We're not even married yet. You met him once! And I'm positive he's gay."

"See, Justine."

".God. I cannot even talk to you right now."

I left my phone where it sat and decided to write Justin a message back later telling him that my idiot boyfriend got a hold of my cell and that I wouldn't mind meeting at the coffee shop down the street to go over notes.

Edward's protective nature was endearing and even though I thought of myself as an independent woman, I couldn't help but internally swoon every time he pulled stunts like this. I was livid, but I was still swooning.

I avoided his waving arms and weaved around the couch to slip into the kitchen and started to put something together for an early dinner. I heard Edward take the TV off mute and sighed gratefully that he had found something else to occupy his time.

It was the holidays again. While everyone was busy with Christmas and New Year's, weddings and engagements, I was still stuck on the one year anniversary since Edward's last fight.

I could still recall with perfect clarity the way the dull lights shone on his beaten body in the emergency room. I could remember the look of his eyelashes matted together with blood and how his fists were so swollen he couldn't move his hands once the tape was removed.

Edward had sustained minimal injuries considering how long he was in the ring with James. He had one broken rib, a few bruised ones, and one that seemed to have a hairline fracture in it from only a few x-ray angles…oh and lots of tissue damage. Thankfully, he had no internal bleeding and his doctor let him off with some painkillers and a promise to 'stay away from dark alleys on New Year's.' The idea that anyone built like Edward would get beaten that badly while being mugged was preposterous. I snorted and Edward grinned at me while Emmett's paranoid ass kept a solemn face and Jasper rolled his eyes at the comedy of the whole situation.

The first few months after that were hard on both of us. I stayed home with Edward and waited on him hand and foot. At first, I wanted to do it. I wanted to be there for him and care for him. He was hurt and I wanted to make things as easy as possible for him.

The fact of the matter was, we were both stuck inside. The winter weather was hard and especially since the cold caused his ribs to hurt if he was out for any length of time, so we never made plans to go out much.

I will honestly admit that was a big factor in what caused us to go crazy. One day we both just snapped and unfortunately it was almost the end of us. I began bitching about being cooped up inside. He started getting defensive telling me I was free to leave whenever I wanted. I tried to backtrack my steps after that and tell him that wasn't what I meant, but he was already upset about his body not cooperating with him. It was difficult because it was the first real fight we'd had that didnt have a good reason behind it. How do you win? You don't. You put down your pride and you say you were wrong and you move on. Thankfully we were adult enough to do that.

That was a turning point for the both of us. As little as that situation might seem in the grand scheme of things, it caused us to take a step back and really talk about our issues and how they affected our relationship.

I let him know that I felt insecure about our relationship sexually. He let me know about his fears on losing me. I informed him on how I felt guilty for 'hiding' beneath his protective nature. He confessed that he enjoyed coddling me too much. It was enlightening and we were still working on things. It was really strange to realize that Edward and I had only been together for a year and half. It seemed much longer than that.

Edward popped the question randomly one day while we were lying on the couch together.

With a lock of my hair twirled around his finger, he asked nonchalantly, "Would you marry me?"

It took me a few moments to register what he had asked and after I had beat down the screaming flailing girl inside me, I answered him back as calmly as possible.

"Eh, sure."

The funny part was how shocked he looked after the whole thing had happened. It was almost as if he hadn't realized he asked me in the first place.

I went back to school and so did Edward. While I only had a few more hours left before I was eligible to graduate, Edward was almost starting over. He still has issues with talking to me about his time in college but he's learning to open up gradually.

Since Edward's workout schedule had severely decreased, we had more time to spend with each other. This was a good and bad thing. The good side of it was that we were learning more about one another. It was nice to be with him and not have a match looming over us in the future. It was strange not planning for those types of things. Our life schedule was technically open. The bad side… sometimes it is possible for two people who are in love to be together too much. I also noticed that the more time Edward and I spent going out, the more defensive he became when other people approached us. Alright, to be honest, when other men approached us.

Apparently, the lack of exercise and physical violence was getting to him. He seemed to pick fights everywhere. Someone would look at me too long, or stare at my cleavage (I still say that one is a bust considering I don't have any cleavage), or make an inappropriate comment that only Edward considered inappropriate. It was a fine line but we were learning to walk it. The same way that I had issues with women coming on to him at the most random moments. I felt awkward instead of angry and I generally withdrew into myself leaving Edward to fend them off himself.

Despite all the little things that seemed to aggravate me about Edward, I was still just as in love with him now as I was when we first met. It was just such a powerful emotion that I wondered if I would feel differently ten or fifteen years down the road.

As I began to clean the chicken, I heard the volume on the television go up. The news was on. Edward's footsteps thudded into the kitchen and I felt his body heat behind me as I patted the chicken dry.

"What's for dinner?" He murmured into my ear.

I felt goose bumps break out on my arms and neck as his warm breath fanned over my cheek.

"I'm baking a chicken casserole." I muttered, still a little ticked he could be an ass and turn me into this mess within just a few words.

His hands flattened out on my stomach and I leaned back against him. We stood silently, his arms wrapped around me, my head on his shoulder, and his hips pressed against my back. I could feel the start of an erection against my lower back and smirked.

The only sound was our breathing and the newscaster on television.

"In other news, a breaking story tonight in Miami, Florida. Our reporter in the field, Casey Newman, has the story. Casey?"

"Major League baseball player Phil Dwyer of the Florida Marlins was arrested earlier this morning for a multitude of charges. Dwyer, the shortstop of the Marlins, was found to have stashes of child pornography in his home. A fellow player on the team is rumored to have turned Dwyer in. The identity of this player has yet to be divulged.

"Dwyer was taken into custody around nine AM and is being held at Miami Dade County Jail. He is pending trial without bail. Amongst the child pornography found in Mr. Dwyer's residence was evidence of child abuse relating to children that all know Mr. Dwyer personally. Mrs. Dwyer could not be reached for comment.

"The Marlins management team has released a small statement asking for privacy in a delicate time. They ask that until their player is in fact proven guilty of these allegations, the media hold off on making any accusations.

"From Miami, this is Casey Newman."

I couldn't breathe. I felt a tension mounting behind my eyes and my hands shook as I dropped the chicken onto the cutting board before washing my hands. My movements were jerky and I felt Edward's arms tighten around me protectively. I felt stifled. I felt trapped in the kitchen, standing between the counter and Edward's body.

I pushed back from the counter quickly and walked into the living room. My eyes looked at the television for a second, watching the commercial play on about laundry detergent before I flew to my laptop and opened it.

I began to Google the news clip I had just seen and was irritated when nothing came up immediately. I would probably have to wait an hour or two before the stories started to be posted.

I felt, rather than saw Edward pacing behind me. His hands ran through his hair and his steps made angry bangs on the hard wood floors.

"What… how could this happen. He promised he wouldn't say anything. How did this happen?! I mean, Renee, she's probably devastated right now. She probably…oh my God, she probably knows now…what if he…what if he had pictures of me? I mean, I never saw him take any but what if he did and she saw them? What does she think of me?!"

Edward was instantly in front me, his hands on either side of my face, holding me steady and staring into my eyes.

"No one knows anything about you. Nothing about you was in those things. I promise you. You're okay, okay? Everything is okay. He got what was coming to him. He'll get what he deserves."

I calmed at his words and as his thumbs rubbed against my cheek bones, I began to relax into the couch. Just as my breathing got under control his words sunk in and I sat up straight, staring into his eyes for the answers that I didn't want.

"How do you know?"

He took in a deep breath and shook his head minutely. I could see the fear in his eyes as he looked at me and instantly I stood and took a few steps away from him. This couldn't be happening to me. He couldn't have had anything to do with this. He couldn't have done this to me.

"Edward, what did you do?"

"I did what needed to be done. I did what I had to do. He had to be punished for what he did. What would you have preferred? My first thought was to find him and to beat the shit out of him; I would have killed him. He deserved this, Bella."

"So what? So you…God, I can't…you can't just do shit like this. You have no idea what you've done. How did you…exactly what did you do?"

My mind was frantically racing, trying to piece together every scenario that could have happened to get to this point. Did Edward plant all that stuff at Phil and Renee's? He couldn't have, he was here with me. How long has he been going behind my back and organizing this? How many people were involved? What did this mean for Renee now?

I was starting to feel that awful gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Bile rose up in my throat and I held a hand over my mouth and steadied myself on the back of the couch. Edward dropped his hands from my face to my neck. He cupped the back of my neck in one hand and steadied me with his other hand on my waist.

"I didn't do anything but make sure he was reported."

The room was almost at the point of fading to black, spots were showing up in the corner of my eyes. This couldn't be happening.

Renee…she was alone right now. She was all alone and…

"Renee…"

"…left Phil three months ago."

My eyes found Edward's face and I felt a rush of anger.

"You checked up on my mother? What if she was still with Phil? What then? Why did you do this? Why did you have to do this?! You couldn't have just let it go?!"

"Why? So he could do this to another little girl? So that he could get away with thinking that it was okay to hurt you like he did? I can't let it go. I couldn't. I had to make sure he was punished for what he did. I didn't do this to hurt you…Bella look at me…please. I didn't do this to hurt you. I did this because you deserve some sort of closure and I know you. I watch you sleeping, I know you still have dreams. I know you're still afraid that you'll see him. Now it's over. It's over. I got word a few months ago, your mother is in Missouri with her parents. She wasn't there for any of that stuff, that's why the reporter said she couldn't be reached for comment because they probably don't even know where she is."

His words were registering with some part of me but not my full mind. I couldn't even begin to comprehend the cluster fuck Edward had just created. There were so many people involved in this and I wasn't sure what the hell had happened. How did this happen.

"What did you do, Edward?"

"I didn't do anything really. I did some digging into Phil's past, his…interests. I found out what was going on with your mother and then I made a few calls. That's all I did. All that shit they found in his house…that was all him. I swear to you Bella, you will not be in this and I'm sure your mother will have nothing to do with this either, if she does, then that's her decision. Don't be upset, it's going to be okay. I promise you it's going to be okay."

Edward wrapped an arm around me and led me to the sit down on the couch. I let him pull me down onto his lap while my mind was still processing all the information I had gathered in the past twenty minutes. It was like I was underneath a heavy layer of ice and trying to claw my way to oxygen. I didn't know what to make of anything he said.

"What's going to happen?" I don't think I expected Edward to answer.

"He's going to go to jail for a long time. You…Bella, you weren't the only person who he did this to. You weren't the only little girl he terrorized like that. He's a sick fucking bastard and he's going to get his share of payback when he goes to prison."

I nodded but didn't really comprehend anything he said. I suddenly wanted to go to sleep.

In a daze, I stood as Edward's hands stayed on my hips, steadying me.

"I'm going to bed. I can't handle this. I just, I can't handle this right now."

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him nod slowly.

He walked behind me to the bedroom when my brain went on auto-pilot. I brushed my teeth, changed for bed, and slipped under the sheets silently. Edward followed suit and pulled me to him, holding me close to his chest and stroking my back firmly.

"I love you, Bella. I swear I did this for you. I did this so you could have some sort of closure."

I had no emotion to give him. I had no real response until my mind processed all that had happened.

"You did this for you, Edward. If you had thought about me, you would have let it go."

Rolling over I clutched at my pillow and willed myself to sleep.

*_*_*

March 13th, 2011

My eyes blinked unseeingly at the white screen in front of me. A smattering of text was blurring on the screen. I was finished. The story was finished. It sat there, idle and innocent, the cursor blinking and waiting for me to add to it or take away, always patient and understanding, always waiting for more words to expel.

I could feel my eyes stinging so I finally blinked but still couldn't focus on the task at hand.

After the night that I found out about Phil, weeks went by with Edward and I barely speaking to one another. I wanted to blame him for the actions he took and the part he played in Phil's arrest, but not matter which way I looked at it I couldn't.

While it wasn't his place to report Phil or to check up on my mother, his actions did have a positive affect that I couldn't deny.

Phil was no longer free to hurt anyone else. He was sentenced to five years in prison, two hundred hours of community service and a ten thousand dollar fine. He refused to be added to the sex offenders list but it didn't really matter. The whole incident got enough press coverage to ensure everyone knew what he did.

I was appalled to find out that he had not only been collecting child pornography but he had molested four girls who were now in college. There might have been more who never came forward, but the four who took the stands were strong when giving their testimony. I went to his hearing and sat in the back; Edward held my hand and kept an arm around my shoulders the entire time.

While I wanted to tell my own story, I just couldn't work up the nerve to do it. It was hard enough telling Edward, there was no way I was going to stand in front of an entire room full of strangers and tell them what happened. Not only that but I had no proof of the incidents happening like these girls did. Their photographs were found in Phil's house as well as some of their clothing and personal effects. As detectives dug deeper into the evidence, they found disturbing photos and videos he had taken when the girls were only sixteen and seventeen years old. I was proud of the girls' strength to get up and do what I couldn't.

It was a precious piece of closure to see him taken out of the court room in handcuffs. The only thing that weighed on me was not seeing Renee. She was suspiciously absent during the entire ordeal and while Edward told me he could get a hold of her for me, I declined. If she didn't want to be found I wasn't going to seek her out. I didn't know what to say to her or how to deal with the situation. Perhaps it seems like a coward's way out of the entire thing.

Again the cursor drew my eyes down to the screen and I looked at it as if I'd never seen the words 'The End' before. It was mocking me.

Is it really the end, Bella?

Edward and I were just getting back into a comfortable groove and while we had spoken a little about my distance, no major sit down conversation had happened. It was just how we did things really. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Being together was our main priority. Between the way that Edward and I had met and the way we were almost separated, we had learned to appreciate the time we had together. We had learned that it's important to just live and love. We realized that we could stress about where the money was going to come from, mortgages, bills, petty things that didn't really amount to anything. Or we could just live. We could just be happy with each other.

I realized, as Edward and I left the hospital the day after New Year's Day, that my past was exactly that, my past. I had suffered through a traumatic event. I realized that. I had suppressed it and ignored it and tried to defy it but as soon as I just let it be what it was, I felt better. Without those events I would not be who I was today. I would not have gotten that job at The Ring. I would never have met Emmett or Jasper. I would have never loved Edward.

It's really quite beautiful if you think about it. Everyone's life is a series of events that leads to a finale. Every step, every breath, every choice, ever word, everything…it all leads you to one moment in your life that will alter you. That will make your existence. For me that moment was finding Edward. In my wayward search for towels, I found the rest of my life. It's not really a story to tell the grandkids but it's my story, our story and it's what makes us who we are today.

I could think of a million different endings to my life but none of them would leave me feeling this satisfied. None of those emotions would leave me feeling like my life was worth something. While I'm far from perfect, Edward had made me feel special. He made me feel worth the effort of saving. And we had saved each other time and time again. We were both determined to have our relationship work for different reasons but the drive was still there. We were not going to fail each other.

We might live a mundane life full of laundry, grocery lists, and hanging out with friends but for that short period of time our lives were extraordinary. We were living in a dream world where the consequences weren't ideal but they weren't ordinary. While I wouldn't want to ever repeat those events, I wouldn't trade them for anything. My life has been dramatically changed and altered and there was nothing I would do to change it. There was nothing I would do to avoid it or undo it.

With a shuddering breath, I closed my eyes for a brief moment before my fingers settled on the well known keys. My fore fingers finding the small indentions on the 'f' and 'j' keys. I bit the tip of my tongue before folding my hands in my lap and holding my breath.

Ctrl…A

Delete

I let out a breath.

What the fuck are you doing?

"Why not just write it with us in it the way it happened."

Why not?

I thought about it briefly and before I was aware, my fingers were flying over the keys. I would need to talk to Edward about this. I would have to ask him what he was thinking when he first saw me. I would have to write this the right way.

"My fingers shook as I cut the engine off. I felt around on the seat for my knapsack and quickly dug into the front pocket for the keycard that Emmett provided me with. I took in a deep breath and hoped like hell if I got caught I wouldn't get into trouble. I was dead tired and in dire need of some sleep…"

The End.



AN: I hope you enjoyed it. I had tons of plans for this epi where it was going to go on into a two part thing but in the end I felt this was the right ending for them. I'm thinking of maybe doing a sequel but if I did it wouldn't be right away. I want to get away from this story for a bit and branch out.

I want to say thank you to everyone who donated money to Alex's Lemonade. With your help we raised over $70,000 all of those proceeds will be going to sick children all over the United States who needs help battling cancer. Thank you so much for your donation and support!

I'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to Cheddah for beta'ing this and dealing with all my RL fail. She's been the biggest supporter of this story since the beginning. Without you I would have given up a long time ago. You have helped me in everything and I don't know what I'd do without you. If writing SB did one thing for me it made it possible for me to make a true life friend. Love you sugartits.

I want to give a huge shout out to all the girls from the SB T'd thread who were a huge influence and support base that kept me writing when I really didn't feel like it.

I want to thank the dozens of people who PM'd me when I was going through RL fail. People who were supportive and wonderful about waiting for the Epi and not hateful about waiting it out.

I wanna thank My Stinky Fruitfly for helping me whoosaaa this fandom. From the ugly, the crazy, and the downright retarded she has helped me back away from the computer. I owe her so much and so does my sanity. I have no idea how I would have made it without her. I LOVE YOU STINKY!

Thanks to all those who understood that this is just a story and that I do this on my free time and for free. To all the others who feel like I owe them something. Well, you got your ending didn't you?

For the last time with SB I'd like to rec some fics that I adore and love.

Family Ties by Becklyn23

ANYTHING EVER WRITTEN by ItzMegan73 just search her up on FFn and read all her stories. She's fucking awesome.

Volition by Rochelle Allison

High Anxiety EdwardsBloodType

Last Love Found by Oracle Vas

If You Could Read My Mind by Bella c'ella Luna

And a ton of other ones I can't really think of right now. Go read and don't get sucked into the frenzy of fics that have a million reviews. Ten times out of ten their all hype and are lacking in actual substance.