Six Weeks Later -

"And so it is with dignity and respect, that I step down from my post as CEO of Dyco Technologies. In light of recent events, I've decided to take some time off and focus on what's important in my life. I thank you all for your support during these trying times.

I am fully convinced that there are no two women better suited for this position than Rosalie Hale, along side Tanya Denali. They are my best hope for continuing the merger, and keeping the initial vision, created by Edward Cullen and myself, in tact. Together, I look forward to a brighter, more technologically advanced future. Thank you for your time."

As I watched myself on the satellite TV from the deck of the Mississippi Queen, I smirked at the choice to wear the arm sling even though my shoulder had already healed. It was Rosalie's idea, thought it would draw sympathy from the press. And it did.

But it wasn't long until the cameras turned their attention back to William Dean, afnd started following Rose, who had quite the scandal going on with Emmett, the son of notorious murderer, Carlisle Cullen. His brother's 'death' had brought them closer together, or at least that was the story the media was running with.

Carlisle's trial was set to start in three weeks. Like Tanya had said, I wasn't needed. The video evidence was enough to put him away for the rest of his life.

"Bells, you want a beer?" Jake yelled from the cabin.

"Sure!" I shouted back. I stretched behind me and relished in the basking glow of the sun. It felt warm against my skin, stinging and beautiful.

We were just off the coast of Florida, and we'd arrive in St. Lucia in a few hours. Jake pushed himself between the boxes of all my crap and trotted up to the chair next to me, handing over the Heineiken in the process.

"You excited to see him?" Jake asked, taking a deep breath.

"Of course." I smiled. "But Jake, listen. You can't tell anyone about this, okay? Alice maybe. But no one else. You gotta' swear it to me again."

Jake glared at me. "I'm going to pretend you said 'Thanks for driving me all the way down here, Jake. I don't know how to operate a boat and you really bailed me out here.' Yeah, that's much better."

I laughed and touched the scar on my shoulder. "That works too."

"Isabella Swan's resignation was to be expected, Randall. I mean, c'mon, she was shot. In her own office. Her husband died right in front of her. I'd set sail for paradise too."

"Don't listen to this shit anymore, feel me?" Jake sighed, grabbing for the remote to turn the damned thing off

"Completely."

When we pfulled up to the marina in St. Lucia, I was immediately stunned by the beauty of this place. Absolute paradise. The water was crystal clear and the sky a brilliant blue. The beaches were a perfect shade of alabaster, and I knew then and there, I'd never want to leave. Even if Tanya was sending me on a wild goose chase, this seemed like the perfect place to start over.

"I'm looking for King Pygmalion?" I said to the port attendant. I expected her to stare at me blankly and shrug.

Instead, she smiled and handed me a map. "The King Pygmalion statue is about ten miles down this street right here. Make a right on Port Jones, and it's in the middle of the circle." She highlighted the road and circled the location.

"Okay, thanks." Jake and I grabbed a cab and headed that direction.

But, when I got there, I realized it was just a plain ole' statue of this guy in robes carving another statue of a girl. It was in the center of a traffic circle surrounded by old brick buildings, housing coffee shops, restaurants, art studios, and the like.

Art studios.

Oh shit. Oh shit.

I looked around, glancing at each shop suspiciously. Where was it? Where was it?

I passed a window with a light blue canopy over top that read "Galatea Portraits," and sure enough, there was the drawing from our wedding night right out front. Me, wearing nothing at all, lounging in the honeymoon suite bedroom wrapped in all those sheets with the Las Vegas skyline behind me.

"God Damn," Jake snorted. "He's amazing."

"Bella?" came a voice from the shop door.

My heart literally skipped a beat. It was him.

Oh my god. It was him - really, really him.

It took me two seconds to realize this was actually happening, and another heartbeat before I had my arms wrapped around his neck.

"I thought you were dead," I murmured.

He chuckled and pressed his lips to the side of my head. "Sorry for the shock. It was a necessary job hazard."

I didn't say anything in response, just kissed him and held him close, damned determined to never let him go.

Hours later, basking in the glory of post-sex euphoria, I realized I actually was never going anywhere ever again, that this was what I'd dreamed of all those months ago, that this was my heaven. The reporters had it right. I did run away to paradise, and I was never going back.

"Hey, there," Edward murmured, lifting his head from the makeshift bed we'd built on the deck of the Mississippi Queen. "What're you thinking about?"

"Nothing," I immediately answered. "Everything."

He smiled and licked his lips, looking out to the water next to us. My eyes followed the line of his profile, the curve of his forehead, the swell of his mouth, and all the way down his lean body to the way his dick lay flopped to the side, glistening from our last romp.

"Alright," I murmured. "It's time you come clean. How did you do it?"

"Do what?"

I raised an eyebrow. "You know what."

He smirked and rolled over to his stomach, balancing his weight on his elbows. "You said I had three options - Die, Go to Jail or Run. I chose the first option."

"And you couldn't tell me - why?"

"It had to seem real. You had to be heartbroken. I'm sorry, I know I broke my vows - or whatever. But that was the only way to bring down Carlisle without implicating me. I figured, if he killed me, what then? It's all on him." He leaned down and pressed his lips to my shoulder, softly kissing the tender scar where two bullets had entered and exited my body cleanly. "I am sorry you got hurt in the process. I was expecting him to freak out after he shot me, not turn around and shoot you too."

"Yeah, but how did you do it?"

"It's quite astounding what you can do with a security clearance and two months of free time."

I shook my head and sighed. "So you can never go back to America?"

"Not anytime soon, but it's because I don't want to be recognized. Not because my paperwork is illegitimate or anything," he replied, a small undercurrent of sarcasm in his tone.

"Uh huh," I teased. "And Edward Cullen?"

"Oh, that guy? That's just somebody we used to know a long, long time ago. I thought that bloke died, didn't you read the papers?"

"I saw him shoot you. I saw the blood explode from your chest, felt it on my face."

He leaned in a little closer to me, those green eyes sparkling in the moonlight's reflection off the water. "Did you, really? Think, Bella."

"I - I don't know. I thought there was. I was covered in it."

"Let's say I know a guy who knows a guy who makes gunshots look real for a living. How did he do?"

"Didn't the ambulance pick you up or something? What happened when the cops got there? How were you pronounced dead? I just - I've spent a month and a half trying to figure it out. It doesn't make any sense."

"Then, stop trying to figure it out." He smirked and rolled on top of me, forcing his legs in between mine. Pressing his face closer, he brushed a hair out of my eyes and smiled. "I've got more important things for you to be thinking about."

"Oh yeah?" I snorted. "Like what?"

"Like - do you want to tie me up this time, or vice verse?"

I giggled and pushed to my right, rolling us over so he was underneath me. I grabbed his wrists and pushed them above his head, pinning them there with one hand. With the other, I grabbed his dick and positioned it perfectly between my legs. A slickness still lingering from the last session, I decided I wanted to take him again right here and now. But this time would be on my terms, terms that had been on the top of my 'to-be-avenged' list for months.

"Since you broke your vows and your promise and everything, I figure you owe me," I started.

"Uh oh," he purred, kissing the end of my nose. "And just what should my punishment be?"

Slowly sliding down on him inch by inch, I smiled and brought my lips centimeters from his. "For the next twenty four hours, your orgasms belong to me. You do not come until I let you."

He laughed and kissed me, moaning the slightest bit from the friction of my skin on his. I rocked against him, rotating my hips just the way he liked. He shivered and moaned again, to which I shook my head and sighed.

"Remember, Mr. Masen, those tight little squeezes, those distinctive moans, those fingers in my hair, they belong to me," I murmured.

He chuckled, and pushed against me, hands still pinned above his head. "And what will you do if I disobey?"

I shook my head jokingly. "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I wouldn't do that if I were you."

At that, he rolled us back over so I was under him, thrusting ever so delicately in and out, in and out. I was panting, drawing my fingers down his back with a frenzy.

Before I knew it, I had reached my climax and could tell Edward was almost there himself. But, like a good boy, he waited until I gave him the go ahead before having his release.

We fell asleep under the stars, wrapped completely in each other, and as I drifted into unconsciousness, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. Everything was as it should be. Finally.

A/N: Thank you all so much for reading my little story here. I hope you enjoyed it. And let me just say something about the ending. Right around Chapter 19 - 20, I pretty much had to decide how this was going to end, and believe me, I've tried to think of several other scenarios where Edward Cullen doesn't die. But ultimately, it all came back to this. This was how it had to happen. In order to redeem Edward's character, and logically clear his name, he had to go. But I couldn't really do that to you, could I?

I am planning on posting an alternate ending on my blog in the near future. When I tried to conceptualize how things would end around Chapter 8, I sort of sat down and wrote a theoretical ending. It goes nothing like what I've written, but should you like to see it, I'll have it up soon.

Now, for some personal thanks. To my betas: Rose, Pam, Leigh, and Jenny, thank you so much for your help with this story. Comma's are my worst nightmare. Good thing I have you lovely ladies backing me up. The story probably wouldn't be what it was without you. To all my readers, new or one-shoters, thanks for your patience and support. It's been a roller coaster, but I hope a good one.

Be sure to check out my blog (link on my profile) for all my updates. I'm working on some original fiction at this point, so if you're interested in reading that, I'll be posting some of it on there. I will be continuing to update La Vita Nuova as I write it. I believe there are 8 Chapters posted and 14 written so far, so be sure to check that out. I do hope you enjoyed it, and take care. Please let me know what you think in the reviews. Cheers!