Go back and read the last 2 or 3 chapters? Please? I know I had to:) This is the last chapter. Enjoy!
Chapter 19 Lost Time
"Tonight we are focusing on a bizarre story that we began covering nearly six years ago. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, we have brought our viewers a tribute story on temporary Forks resident Edward Masen, remembering the teenage boy who touched so many hearts before his untimely passing. Why, some have asked, is the death of a 16 year-old boy something so news worthy? Why would we continue to cover the death of someone so "unimportant", or "inconsequential" as Edward Masen? To be honest, after we ran the original story on Masen's death almost six years ago, we believed that was the end, just a quick story on the tragic death of teenager. But after the story ran, we received letters and calls. There was something about Edward Masen that touched hearts and minds. Our viewers wanted to know more about Masen, but also more about what happened to Masen's girlfriend, a bright and beautiful young lady who took his death hard, and wound up in a psychiatric hospital. The questions continued to pour in, and so we decided to follow up every year there was a continued interest. We thought last year would be our last story.
"We were wrong.
"Many of you will remember when the story broke last year regarding Seattle's top mob boss, Aro Volturi, and his sudden arrest. The previously un-touchable lord of the underground drug and crime ring was finally put on trial for his involvement in thousands of "un-solved" cases in the Seattle area. Murders, drug smuggling, and distributing disappearances were all linked to this man. Aro Volturi and many of his men were finally going to get justice. But what turned the tables on this king of the underworld? Well, the capture and subsequent jailing is thanks to a one Mr. Edward Masen. No, he did not come back from the grave, in fact, Mr. Masen was never actually dead.
"The parents we all thought belonged to Edward Masen were never his real parents. Masen's FBI agent parents were murdered before Masen moved to Forks . Their deaths led Edward Masen into an undercover operation in Forks, Washington. His "death" was a part of his mission. It was a death that was necessary to the top-secret operation in which he was heavily involved, this was a death that had been planned from the moment he stepped foot within Forks city limits, a death he always knew would have to happen. What hadn't been planned? Falling in love with Isabella Swan, a classmate at the high school he was attending during his time on the project. When the time came, Masen had to "die" and remain dead, as an integral part of the operation. With heavy regret, and not without an attempt to back out of his mission, Masen said goodbye to his love, leaving her with a ring and a broken heart. Masen had lived in the shadows, not ever allowed to reveal that he, Edward Masen, had never actually perished in the car accident we all thought had claimed his life. Swan continued on with her life after a rough year, believing that her high school sweetheart was dead.
"Five years later, not long after we ran what we believed was our last story on Masen and Swan, the two were brought together in the most bizarre of circumstances. Her university professor shot dead moments before she was to meet him at his apartment, Swan was taken by Volturi and held hostage. Masen, who had been following the going-ons of the Volturi for years in an attempt to bring down the drug lord, was the one to discover Swan's whereabouts. And so, after years of separation and not knowing he was alive, Swan was reunited with Masen. What followed was a love-story for the ages."
I rolled my eyes as pictures of Bella and I graced the screen of my bedroom television. Tangled up in sheets, Bella threw the remote at me.
"Is that the story they decided to go with?" she asked, pulling the rubber band from around her hair and shaking her long locks from side-to-side. I watched in silence as the sheet slid down just slightly, revealing the tops of her breasts.
"Edward, is that the…" Bella threw her ruffled hair back, her words trailing off as she glanced at me questioningly.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" she laughed, pulling the rubber band back and aiming it at me playfully, squinting one eye closed as though taking aim.
"It's just…" I gathered a handful of sheet and smiled innocently before pulling hard. The sheet whooshed off, and Bella squealed in mock terror, attempting to cover her naked body, a body I now knew very well, as I rose to my knees towering over her, fingers flexed and ready to tickle her.
But instead of attacking my shrieking girlfriend, I just stopped and dropped my hands. Cowering behind her own, Bella paused and looked up at me, her expression transforming to one of concern.
"What's wrong?" she asked quickly, propping herself up.
"You're so beautiful," I replied simply leaning down and taking her face between my hands. She had no idea what she did to me—well, that wasn't exactly true. I ignored the lustful grin Bella threw downwards and continued to focus on her face.
In the months that had flown by since our reunion, Bella had been amazing. We had been amazing. There had been rough spots, sure, there had been a lot to deal with, but we were making our way through them and growing stronger by the day. And after weeks and weeks of persistence, I had finally convinced Bella to move in with me. We had pretty much been spending every waking (and non-waking) moment together, so not only did it make sense, but it felt right. And Bella had agreed profusely, especially after I drove her crazy in bed night after night...and then morning after morning…and day after day.
I hoped the honeymoon phase would never end, and with Bella, I was positive it wouldn't.
"What are you thinking about?" teased Bella, her hand working its way through my hair, as her other hand went to the button of my cargo shorts.
"Mmmmm, you." I dipped my head down and kissed her softly on the lips. But soft wasn't going to satiate Bella this morning, and she quickly pulled me closer, her warm tongue finding my own as we both moaned softly. My right hand slipped from her face and moved down to her naked left breast, cupping it gently. Bella moaned more loudly, and I pulled my mouth from hers with a grin.
"Come on, sexaholic, we've got to get ready for Jasper and Alice's."
"Just five more…ten more minutes!" responded Bella, biting her lower lip and looking up at me from beneath her upper lashes.
I groaned and jumped back from the bed.
"No! You are not allowed to use your baby lamb eyes on me!" I laughed, stepping out of my undone shorts. "We're already late!" I said glancing at the clock on the bedside table and heading towards the shower to start the water.
"Prude!" yelled Bella behind me, throwing a pillow at my retreating form.
My face was beginning to hurt from all the smiling I was doing while in Bella's presence. She blew me away, every moment we were together, which had been many. The longest time we'd been apart since the day Bella had come to my apartment, had been when Bella had driven back to Forks to talk to Charlie. We had agreed that it would be best (and probably safest for me), if she went down the day before to tell Charlie that I was alive. I drove to Forks the next day to do what I could to explain myself to the Chief. It had not been an easy few days, Charlie had been outraged at me. But the most difficult time had been those 24 hours without Bella. Charlie's wrath had been much more pleasant than the pain of no Bella.
She was a part of me. She always had been and she always would be. I think, in the end, Charlie had understood that, just as I understood that he would probably never completely trust me. I got it. Bella could forgive me and move on because she loved me. But Charlie loved Bella and I had hurt her deeply. He would never forget that…and that surprisingly didn't bother me. Anyone whose priority was Bella, could be as weary of me as they wanted.
The water now warm, I turned back toward the bedroom and to find Bella looking for her bathrobe. I lumbered toward her and scooped her up, throwing her over my shoulder barbarian style.
"Hey! Edward!" She shrieked when she realized where we were going. I slapped her ass a couple times, causing her to shriek even louder and then put her down under the shower water, closing the door behind me, a sly smirk on my face. Two steps forward and I had Bella pinned up against the shower wall.
Right where I wanted her.
"Prude?" I echoed her earlier word, lifting her slightly by her slim hips, and pressing her back against the tiled wall. Even in the shower, with the water cascading around us, I could feel the heat of her desire against my own. I thrust forward quickly and Bella gasped quietly and then moaned, her eyes closing, her head tilting back. Her legs wrapped around my back, her hands braced flat against the tile as I continued to thrust, more deeply now, one hand under Bella's ass, the other rubbing her softly. I watched Bella's face and when I saw she was close, I slowed my rhythm, knowing exactly what would do it for her. I loved watching Bella cum, her face one of such open and pure beauty, and as her moans became almost frantic, I felt myself reach the plateau. The second I felt Bella clench around me, I lost it.
We fell apart together.
"You guys are late! Why are you guys so late?" asked Alice, her hands dancing around like hummingbirds as she pulled me down for a hug. I knew she was excited and nervous and wanted everything to be perfect today. I grinned sheepishly and looked over at Edward, my cheeks filling with blood.
"We…sorry, we ah. Traffic? Sorry Alice." I laughed weakly at my complete inability to come up with a good excuse.
"Bella is a sex maniac. How did you not warn me of this, Alice?" Whispered Edward, his eyes wide and feigning innocence, as he leaned down to hug Alice. Alice beamed over at me from above Edward's shoulder and threw me a thumbs up.
"Bella? Keep it in your pants!" she admonished teasingly. I grinned when Edward turned to look at me, his eyes motioning dramatically to a nearby closet door.
"No! No sex at my engagement party! All closets are off limits for you two!" Alice exclaimed, throwing herself in front of the closet door and shaking her head vigorously. Edward laughed and took my hand in his, squeezing it playfully. During our first few weeks back together, I didn't ever think he and Alice would ever be able to hold this type of relationship. But now…they wouldn't stop. And I kind of loved it.
"Is that Bella and Edward? Alice, get them in here quickly, they brought their friends!" called Emmett from another room. I looked behind me and sure enough, news stations and camera crews were parked outside the Cullen property gates. Ever since the story had broken regarding who Edward really was, and his role in the Volturi crackdown, we had been followed mercilessly by reporters and their crews, hoping to get an interview. We knew it would die down eventually, but it was annoying being followed all the time. Even Oprah wanted a piece of the story! But all we wanted was normalcy—something neither of had had in a very long time.
Edward pulled me forward and into the Cullen mansion. As we made our way forward into the huge house, I beamed with pride at my best friend. She looked beautiful, dressed Grecian-like in a white flowing strapless floor-length dress. She had somehow managed to braid the front sections of her shoulder length hair in a band around her head and she looked stunning. She had set a theme to her engagement party-which surprised no one-but as I entered the large living room and then looked out and beyond at the guests on the huge patio, the effect was almost magical: all the women were in white, all the men wore black.
Everything was perfect and I told Alice as much.
"You think?" she fingered her large, sparkly diamond nervously and looked around the room, her eyes, I knew, searched for Jasper. And as though he felt it, Jasper suddenly materialized from the crowd, his arm slipping around Alice's waist as he smiled over at Edward and I.
"Jasper, everything is…amazing," I smiled up at the blond man who had gone from a virtual stranger, to an amazing friend in the span of mere months. I stepped forward and hugged him tightly, wanting to convey to him everything I felt. I wanted him to know he was one of us now. Even if Edward still had trouble with their relationship, he was trying hard…and I knew they would be okay. I pulled back, and Jasper nodded down at me. He understood.
Edward shook Jasper's hand, taking his eyes off me to smile at Jasper. I watched Edward's face carefully, noticing a change. Usually, although Edward wasn't consciously aware of this, he was always more tense around Jasper. I could see the small muscles in his face tighten-he could never relax around Jasper. But today, suddenly, none of that was there.
"Who'd have thought?" he said quietly, and Jasper understood that, too.
"Never in a million years," he responded, looking from Edward to Alice and I. We were kind of a story. A really unique, happy story. I put my arm around Alice's shoulders, and smiled widely.
"Hey kids! Over here! We need some pictures!" called Esme from the French doors, her SLR camera focused and already clicking in our direction as she caught the many candid moments. Jasper rolled his eyes good naturedly and followed as Alice practically leaped towards the patio spouting something about lighting and angles.
I smiled at Edward and took his hand as we wound our way toward the patio to watch Alice and Jasper pose in the beautiful back gardens.
"Edward! Bella!" called a voice. Edward and I turned together to see Charles Masen standing with a couple of his own agents, and Jasper's friends and co-workers. It was weird to see him standing among his men, all looking equal in their black suits. I was still slightly daunted by the power he held, despite the fact that he and Edward had been spending a lot of time together. Although Edward was having a harder time with his relationship with Jasper, things with Charles were pretty much the opposite.
"Hey Charles!" I called, as we changed directions to say hi.
I watched as the two embraced with a manly back pat, smiling happily. Charles pecked me quickly on the cheek, his eyes shining.
We had gotten in the routine of going out for dinner with him every Tuesday night. In between dinners, he and Edward spent time at Charles' place, digging through boxes, looking at pictures, and building a very naturally developing relationship. Edward was ecstatic with his uncle, and watching them together always told me it was very much reciprocated.
"Bella!" called a voice from the kitchen. I glanced over to see Seth waving at me frantically. I grinned back and squeezed Edwards's hand.
"I'll be right back," I spoke, nodding my head in Seth's direction. Edward saluted Seth and continued talking with his uncle, their enthusiasm for each other's company never ceased to amaze me. Both kind of lone rangers apart, together they were like old gossiping ladies.
I found Seth pouring wine into a couple of glasses.
"Are you even old enough to drink?" I teased.
"Really? Is that the opening statement to a guy who saved your life multiple times?" laughed Seth, handing me a glass, and then grabbing another empty one from the white clothed table.
"What? I thought all that went out the window when you put that bag over my head and delivered me to Aro."
"Uhmm…that was to save your life- Bella, you always forget to add that part," Seth sighed heavily, but we grinned at each other affectionately. Seth had truly become like a brother to me. We teased one another mercilessly, but loved and respected each other. He was one of a few that I really did owe my life to. Without Seth, I wouldn't have made it out of the safe house alive and I would never, ever forget that.
"Bella, I brought Leah. I wanted you to meet her. But I kind of lost her already." Seth glanced around the kitchen looking confused. Leah Clearwater was Seth's older sister. The very sister who, I had later learned, had been held prisoner only three cells down from my own in Aro's basement. Aro, working with Jonze, had ordered his men to kidnap her many days before I was ever there, in order to blackmail Seth into playing the "right" part in his plot. Jonze had given Aro all the information he needed on Seth, and the rest had played out as he had hoped—except for the part when Seth slipped me a gun. Aro had certainly never expected Seth's loyalty-and neither had Jonze when he chose Seth from his more senior agents. Jonze had originally decided to have Seth take me to the safe house because he wanted me to come to trust the friendly, innocent looking Seth Clearwater. He thought this would play to their advantage later on.
They were so very wrong.
"Huh. Well, I guess she's with my mom. Who is probably with your dad. Such a small fucking world," Seth grumbled, still not amused that our parents were dating. But he was right. It was a small fucking world. I had known Sue Clearwater for a couple of years. I even knew that she had two kids living in Seattle, but I had never met them, and had certainly never connected the dots, even after I'd met Seth. In fact, it wasn't until two weeks out of the hospital, when I was visiting Charlie, did we all figure it out. That occasion alone could have made a perfect prime time sit-com sketch. And when Seth's horrified expression finally cleared, his sense of humor came back:
"Now how am I supposed to win over Bella when my mom and her dad are having family gatherings and sucking face? Awkward!"
I scanned the crowd of people for a girl that looked like Seth, but found my eyes settling on Edward in the next room. He was already watching me, his smile easy and carefree as he talked with Charles and some of the other agents. I marveled at how far we had come just in ourselves. Edward had been so broken, I didn't realize just how dark his life had been for so long until we began spending time together. Going out in during the day wasn't normal for him, and he was border-line paranoid when I started encouraging day time activities. Although he tried to hide his tendencies from me, I would catch him checking exits, studying strangers, and taking weird routes to get to our destinations, avoiding places he was used to avoiding, which, I soon found out, included many places in my life.
Edward had been terrified of walking past me on the street—scared that I would recognize him, but even more afraid that I wouldn't.
I smiled back softly and turned my attention back to Seth.
"I'm glad you guys could come. I know with everything your family's been through, and with Leah and everything…" I trailed off at Seth's quick nod. His usually bright, open expression clouded, and I knew he didn't want to think about it right now. Leah had been through some horrible stuff, thanks to the Volturi. She had been in constant therapy since, and Seth had taken a leave from work to help out his mom where he could.
"She'll be okay, she's making huge progress—what the hell? Is that Jacob Black?" Seth swore under his breath as he glared across the room. I followed his gaze and almost busted out laughing. Alice and Jacob had never hit it off…Alice claimed to have always known he just wasn't right for me—but she had no qualms about inviting him to her engagement party. I think part of her motivation was to have him see Edward and I together and happy. I had felt a little weird about him being there…not because of any lingering feelings over him (definitely not), but because I didn't want him to feel like I was pushing Edward and my happiness in his face.
Apparently, I had nothing to worry about.
Even from across the kitchen and into another room, I could see something between Jacob and the girl I could only assume was Leah Clearwater, a very pretty, feminine version of Seth. They sat on a couch together laughing at something. The way their body language spoke, I knew this would not be the last of Jacob and Leah. I grinned at Seth's scowl.
"How long has it been since she's smiled, Seth? Laughed?" I asked softly, touching his arm. I didn't want to make him feel guilty, but we both knew Leah deserved something good in her life. And I knew Jacob Black was something great. Seth's scowl disappeared.
"Long. Too long. But Jacob Black? He used to pants me in the cafeteria in front of Mindy Campell!"
"Get over yourself, Clearwater." I poked him and took a sip of the wine he had given me.
"After that, Mindy sure did," he muttered. But he was grinning, and when Jacob looked up our way and waved, we both waved back.
"So what's the top secret gossip on Jonze? Where do they have him?"
"If I told you, I'd have to kill you, Seth."
"Belllllllla, come on. I don't hear anything anymore on this stupid leave. Nobody tells me shit."
"He's locked up. Charles says he won't be seeing daylight for a very long time. He's not even going to be tried when Aro is tried. He'll rot away until after that—and then he's looking at a very long time behind bars."
"But he knows people…you think-?"
"Maybe. I don't know. But I don't think he'll be fucking with Edward again."
"It's not Edward I'm actually worried about." Seth's eyes serious, he trained them on me.
"Hey between the two of you, I learned some moves, okay? Nothing to worry about." I knew the worrying wouldn't stop, not for any of us, not for a long time. But I couldn't let it control our lives, we had to live for the moment, the day, the week. We had to live for the moments that meant something, the moments like today.
"Let's go find everyone," I suggested, grabbing my wine glass, suddenly desperate to be closer to Edward. I glanced back to where I had left him, but he had moved elsewhere.
"Be right there. I'm just going to go re-introduce myself to Jacob."
"Play nice," I warned with a laugh and a wave. I wove my way back through the living room and out the French doors just as Carlisle was clinking his wine glass with a fork to gather the crowd's attention.
People milled out at the promise of a speech, the huge patio overflowing onto the lawn and into the gardens below. I spotted Edward across the patio next to Charlie and Sue, his smile brightening the moment our eyes met. His eyes shone with excitement and I knew something was up. I shot him a questioning look, but he merely smiled even wider.
"I just wanted to thank everyone for coming to be here with Alice and Jasper and their families today. This is a momentous occasion for all of us and Esme and I are thrilled to be hosting you all here. Thank you all for coming to celebrate in Alice and Jasper's love."
Glasses clinked around me as we all cheersed.
My eyes on Edward, I watched as he cleared his throat and raised his glass again.
"As Jasper's best man, it is my duty to show you all how amazing these two people are. And so, if you all will find your way into the Cullen's media room, there will be a short slide show, created by Alice's wonderful maid of honor, Bella Swan."
My mouth opened in surprise, and I turned toward Jasper, whose mouth had also dropped. Jasper had asked Edward to be his best man weeks ago. Edward had not been able to accept at the time-he confessed to me that he didn't want to be best man if he didn't feel the role; it wouldn't be fair to either of them. Jasper had been disappointed, and I had been disappointed. But I understood, too.
Edward's revelation was a big step, and Jasper, Alice and I all knew it was a good sign. As people began filing back into the house to find the media room, I made my way to Edward and hugged him tightly.
"When did you decide?" I asked, pulling away and looking up into his green eyes.
"About thirty minutes ago when I watched you hug Jasper. That hug says everything, Bella. And I want to get on with my life, as the rest of you all have, and stop dwelling. I am lucky to have Jasper in my life. Even though it started out as a pretense, Bella, it was so much more than that in the end."
As Jasper approached, I grabbed a nearby Charlie and pulled him toward the house to let the two talk.
The day was definitely shaping up nicely.
"The Cullen's have certainly outdone themselves, hey Bells?" spoke Charlie as we passed tables of food.
"Just wait till you see Alice's plans for the actual wedding, it's going to leave you speechless, "I responded squeezing his arm and smiling up at the man who brought me up.
"Just don't you be getting any ideas, okay? Edward has a long way to go before I'm willing to let him do anything crazy."
"So no to a Vegas wedding? No Elvis priest? Or we could elope…" I suggested, pretending to mull over my options.
"Bells, not funny."
"But you do know I'm crazy about him, right? And this thing we've got? Serious." Telling Charlie that I was moving in with Edward a couple weeks ago nearly gave him a coronary, but I had promised him we were taking our relationship in steps. Nothing too fast, nothing too crazy.
Not yet, anyway.
"I know, I know. And Bells, I hate to admit it because it means I was wrong, but I see the way that boy looks at you. He's learned from his mistake. He won't be letting you go again. Ever."
I grinned up at my dad and hugged him. That was as good as it was going to get from Charlie.
Later that night, I found myself on Edward's leather couch with my feet propped up, pretending to read a book, but actually watching as Edward consumed his own. Edward was not interested in furthering his career as an assassin and so, when he was able, he enrolled in college and quickly found his calling in forensic science. He was fascinated by thuman's ability to use science in order to solve crimes. He felt he knew enough about the darker sides of covering up crimes, and thought he could offer an inside perspective to the field. He wasn't wrong. His first research paper touched on the science of covering up a crime and how it can be an art form. He researched many known and not-so-known American killers, but it was his unique voice and subtle insight that had his professor speechless.
I'm not exaggerating when I saw Edward found the perfect field. He already had the credentials and experience.
I watched as Edward flipped a page of his text book, but eyes working over the words greedily. I knew every word he read would be easily retrievable even days weeks. He had the kind of photographic memory any student envied.
Alice asked me a few weeks ago if I was ever creeped out by the fact that Edward had killed dozens of people. And to be honest, this was something that had bothered me at first. On one of our first "dates", Edward took me to a movie. We held hands in the dark, and at one point I looked down at our entwined fingers and mentally flinched at the image that invaded my mind. Those hands, those beautiful, long-fingered hands, had pulled the trigger, squeezed the life, wielded the knife, on so many. Could I possibility get over that?
It seemed we might be doomed from the start. But Edward knew, as he always did, that something was wrong. When I confessed my feelings, he was silent a moment before being honest about what he'd done. Who he had killed. Every single person who had died at his hands, died because they did bad things to people who didn't deserve it.
"I know that doesn't make what I did right. Who am I to take the law into my own hands? But I want you to know that they were all guilty of something dirty. I made sure before I pulled that trigger."
I was surprisingly okay with it after that. His hands and fingers only brought me one thing, and I trusted them, and him to continue that way.
"Edward," I whispered softly, not wanting to break the comfortable silence that enveloped us both. And yet I had to find his eyes, his smile. I would never get enough of either and would always greedily seek them out when they were turned away from me.
Maybe I was greedy, but I was pretty sure forensics could wait until tomorrow.
Edward's eyes lit up as soon as they met mine. He tossed the heavy text book to the floor and came to me at once, leaning over my body and cupping my face gently between his strong hands.
"I love you so much," I whispered, my eyes on his. His smile appeared at once, as he stroked a finger across my cheek.
"Bella, my Bella. There are no words. You brought me back to life. Twice."
He leaned down and kissed me so carefully, so softly on my lips. As though I would break.
"I love you," he whispered between kisses.
It didn't take long for those soft kisses to ignite my passion. From outside the apartment, a cat scratched on the kitchen window, wanting in. But tonight, for a few hours at least, Mooch would have to wait.
We had a lot of lost time to make up.
A/N: Annnnnnd, that's it. Thanks for sticking with me on this one, guys. I know it took me a very long time to post this last chapter, but life found me and didn't let me go. I'm actually sick at home from life today, and what a great chance to finally publish this last chapter.
Again, I thank everyone who helped me and supported me along the way. I doubt I would ahve made it to the end without you guys:) You've all been amazing.