Music: The Island Awaits You, My Name Is Lincoln, Mass Winnings, all by Steve Jablonsky
The Last Minutes
by Anton M.
My ragged breathing was quelled with Edward's strong hand, his well-built body close-packed against mine. I felt his inaudible breathing next to my ear as he towered above me, closing my view and protecting us both. His greenish eyes locked into mine as we stood around a corner, anticipating the right moment to vanish completely and turn into action. It was quiet.
Suddenly, a creaking sound echoed in the white empty odeums, making us freeze. It was time. Plan B had to be turned into reality, there was no escape. The original plan had ignominiously failed and we had to pay for that; nobody had failed a mission in our team before us. Until now.
I moved beside my partner Edward, his hand still on my lips making sure I wouldn't breathe too loudly. It was my biggest flaw - it went beyond training. I'd already considered it something that I couldn't change with Edward around. Of course, I couldn't tell him that. Engaged to be married, he seemed happy. I was in no place to bring him the truth of how I felt. I couldn't burden him with such an unsuitable request to acknowledge my condemned feelings.
'Ready?' his lips moved, letting me observe the room behind his bullet-proof vest. The guards we'd taken down were laying on the cold ground, but footsteps came closer. My eyes followed the person's shadow as it started to climb downstairs, step by step.
I inclined my head, motioning an agreement. Edward took me into his arms and gave me enough leverage to plunge myself into the shaft. I was always the first one – he persisted on that two months ago, the time we started working together. Regardless of his bigger danger, it was probably one of the only things he was completely inexorable about. To Edward, chivalry came naturally.
The downcast was filled with cobwebs, but I didn't have the time to think of them, I couldn't have cared less. I felt Edward's body brushing against my back after he'd lifted himself up into the small tunnel, having more difficulties with fitting in here than I did.
"You okay?" I sought for an answer before dust got into my throat, making me cough. He immediately put the coverage back into its place after my alert eyes met his. I tore my eyes away, moving as smoothly yet swiftly as I could. The map had shown us that our destination was a thirty metres away. We had to make it. Hoping they hadn't heard us - me - was our only chance.
The vagaries made us slow down, but eventually, we found our way to the destination - The Black Room. I glanced at the clock before letting myself look down, under the dark latticework. It was much higher than I'd expected, so much higher, or should I say deeper? The realisation made me lift my eyes at Edward, gazing at me.
"How much?" he questioned urgently, not even thinking about looking down. I didn't want to make him feel unease, but I knew I couldn't lie to him. Edward held a much too significant place in my heart, even if he didn't have a clue. I knew he cared for me, but not in a way I craved for.
"Twenty feet," I muttered, contemplating on different ways of shinning down in the middle of the room where a little glass pyramid was waiting for me.
"Twenty–" he inhaled, "feet? You're not going in there!" he demanded. I sighed and shook my head. He knew this job was dangerous, but he had never forbid me from doing my job.
"Why? I've done this before," I held his eyes, feeling a sudden wave of boldness coming over me to prove myself. "And I'm the only one who can do it."
He opened his mouth, but closed it as his eyes filled with sadness.
I shove the hatch aside after opening it, not thinking of the seriousness of my actions. Handing the other side of the rope over to Edward without looking at him, I started to attach the rope around me into an immovable knot, making sure I did everything right. Concentrating helped to distract me from thinking that this might be the last thing I ever did. A knot.
A knot that I would be incapable of disentangling. I wished my clock hadn't broken and Edward's burnt, I wished I'd chosen another profession, I wished I'd met Edward before he met his future wife, I wished I'd had courage to tell him how I felt before all of this. I wished he felt the same. I wished...
"Set?" he inquired, a pain in his eyes I hadn't noticed before.
"I think so," I retorted under my breath, checking, re-checking and tightening the rope around me to see if everything fit. It did. I gazed at Edward, trying to memorise every last bit of his jaw, eyes, nose, lips... everything. If this was going to be the last time I saw him...
"You don't have to do this, you know," he uttered, tightening the clap of the rope around him before looking at me with the same expression.
"And lose my job?"
He huffed. "This isn't about your job anymore, you know it never was. There's a bomb under there," he motioned towards it, "an invention that should've never been made, and you're about to steal it. How can you be so calm?" The penetrating look in his eyes didn't leave my face, and I wished he could hear my thoughts, just this once.
Because I love you. Because you didn't choose me, although it was never an opportunity. Because it wouldn't matter if I died, nobody would miss me. I love you.
"We're going to get through this," I inexorably replied, not certain of it myself as I suppressed the will to gulp. My only aim was to soothe Edward. If my biggest flaw comprised my breathing around him, his was a true affliction in some situations, situations like this one. My presence had nothing to do with his fear of heights.
Our boss - his father didn't know about it, nobody did. Except for me. He wouldn't have been given assignments with me if they had and for some unfamiliar reason, he liked working with me. Liked... If only he knew. I raised my chin and smiled at him, a 'tradition' as we called it. He immediately grinned back, as if everything would be fine by doing so. But I was grateful for his effort.
He made sure he was firmly placed - his legs in front of him and hands holding the rope.
"Remember Burnett?" he questioned, addressing my favourite philosophy. Who would've thought fairy-tales could be useful?
"Yes, Burnett indeed. You shall know if it doesn't work..." I trailed off, cautiously starting to lower myself out of the narrow shaft as my legs skilfully wrapped around the rope-like sting. The Black Room's light focused on the middle of the room, turning my attention to the pyramid. My tight black clothes were a necessary protection against the heat of the friction and I gripped the rope with my hands, climbing down.
Edward's actions halted and I raised my head to see the reason. His expression was somber, but there was so much concern in his eyes that my imagination started to create a whole different meaning behind it.
"Bella, Burnett always works. Always," he insisted.
My mouth could only form a simper, but my voice didn't let me down. "Drop the key, will you?"
"And you, break a nail!" his automatic answer echoed slightly before he helped me completely out of the shaft. The musty air was similar to the one in the downcast and I vacillated mildly, getting lower. The lasers started in the middle, but I opened my dust box and found a place where I could land on my feet. Not wavering was all that mattered. 'You will not waver...'
I exhaled as my feet touched the ground and gave Edward a thumbs-up, but never untangled the special black string that held me. There was nowhere to go from here if anything went wrong. I felt Edward's eyes on me as I strategically unfolded the mystery of all the locks, having already passed the lasers. I took a deep breath and locked my eyes with Edward's before opening the most important lock.
'Here we go...'
The slight 'click' was accompanied by a silent beeping, signalling that I had ten minutes. I had to get this right - without unnecessary rush, but no lingering, either. Trusting my mind and inner clock was the key. Burnett.
It was essential to remove a different part of the coverage in every 30 seconds; no more, no less. I concentrated so hard that my surroundings seemed to disappear, the silence intensifying. Halfway to the object, I heard something other than beeping and felt a tug from the rope. Forcing myself to remain calm, I took a glance at Edward, still counting the seconds. He tautened the string before I heard his hushed voice.
That simple word was enough to cause my eyes to stop at the moving wall, slowly closing the space around me.
Time. I needed time. Opening the lock and removing another cover reminded me to focus on the bomb again. 'I will not let this place explode. I will not ruin Edward's life.' I already heard voices from the wall as a crack let some light into The Black Room. I had less time than I thought. I definitely wouldn't make it. The bomb would have to explode. I could manipulate enough to minimise the explosion, but I wouldn't make it myself. Edward tightened the rope again, his voice alarmed. "Leave it, Bella. Leave it. We need to get out."
I shook my head, unlocking yet another cover as I counted down from four minutes. Four minutes to the last part of our mission.
Edward obviously didn't agree with me because he started to pull me up. "Bella, start climbing, we need to escape. We failed," he muttered quickly. He was going to survive this, I would make sure of that.
"No, Edward," I gazed at him, taking a knife out of my pocket. "Go." I cut the rope and fell three metres before I bended myself for the impact and succeeded.
"Bella? What the hell are you doing?" Edward yelled. I shook my head.
I ran to the opened pyramid and I got there just in time to open another cover. I already saw dim light on the other wall from the corner of my eye. A crack on the wall proved that the massive door (half of the wall) was opening. I had less than a minute before they'd see me. I needed to find a way to get out, there had to be a way. I would take it with me. I abruptly broke the glasses surrounding the pyramid, grabbing the heavy bomb along with the covers.
As the seconds passed by and the light from the seemingly endless stairs started to lighten the room, I saw that the floor was made of regular-shaped laminates. The stuffing was as orderly as the laminates, except for a barely noticeable laminate a few metres from where I stood.
Cowering over the laminate, I heard a thump. I tilted my head and the view made my stomach feel uneasy: Edward had landed next to me, his eyes determined and fixed on me. He kept his posture calm, but I knew better.
"Do you want to die, is it your purpose to kill yourself?" he asked, taking the heavy bomb from me after he'd opened another lock. I gulped heavily, not understanding why he was here, why he wouldn't escape when he had the chance.
"Why did you come?" I questioned, avoiding his eyes as I tried to scrape the stuffing between laminates. A closed room like this one was bound to have a weak stop in case of their own emergencies. It hadn't been difficult for me to find it, but getting under the floor took skill and patience, and even if I filled the first requirement, I had little time for the second one.
Edward crouched next to me. "We're supposed to work together. Do you know what together means?"
I couldn't bring myself to reply to his disappointed question. I had not wanted him to risk with his life like this (not that what we'd done so far would've been a game of tick-tack-toe). After a few seconds of searching, Edward pointed at a little unapparent hatchway a few laminates away from where I'd scraped the stuffing. The voices got closer and the room lighter.
In a matter of five seconds, Edward ripped the hatchway open and pushed me into it. He jumped in a moment after, closing the hatch with a thud. It was pitch-black under here, but I could tell it was a tunnel that had to be leading somewhere. The damp air felt almost suffocating.
"Where are they?" A voice yelled above us. "There is no place to go from here, where the hell are they?"
My stomach dropped to the sound, I realised it came from a person I knew, a person Edward knew. My breath was abrupt as I tried to focus on removing yet another cover in the darkness. The tunnel felt cold and wet.
"Look!" Someone must have noticed the rope. "They could still be in there!"
Footsteps retreated, but I looked - without actually seeing him - at the place Edward must've been.
"That was, that was..." I muttered, pulling him with me to escape before immense doubt washed through me. Why in the world was I putting my life in danger if our boss turned out to be someone we barely knew? My erratic thoughts mingled.
"I know," Edward murmured, his voice forced calm. Even with our doubts, we started to run toward the dim light in the end of the low tunnel.
"I mean, that was... your father - that was Carlisle we heard," I uttered, not caring about the volume of my voice anymore. If our boss, Edward's father was not the person we thought he was, what purpose did we hold? I could think of nothing. We could blow ourselves up and it would all have been for nothing.
He tightened his hand's grip around mine before we reached the end of the stony tunnel. In front of us extended a dark body of water, the deepness and dirt almost deceiving us that it was a lake. Our research contradicted.
"Do you trust me?" Edward came closer and hugged me briefly, quickening my breathing. He looked from my one eye into the other, searching for an answer. "We still need to deactivate the bomb."
"I know. I do trust you," I emphasised my answer. He motioned towards the body of water before unlocking another cover. We were two minutes away from the real deal; it had to be deactivated exactly at zero or not at all. If we failed, it would take another one minute for it cause real damage.
Edward ripped his jacket off, signalling that I should do the same. I followed his actions, automatically counting seconds, just as I always did. Edward held his arms around me as he tried to get the rope away, damaging my ability to breathe once again. His hands fumbled, and as he failed to unwrap the knot around my waist, he gave up and cupped my jaw. "We'll get through this."
I nodded - not entirely believing - but as an attempt to assure myself. He let go of my face, looking at the body of water. "For how long can you hold your breath?"
"Slightly more than one." I frowned, trying to take deep breaths to calm my body and mind.
"Good. I'll help you on the way, you know where we're supposed to go," he replied as I told him to take off another cover; he was fully aware that I'd show him the right time to unlock it underwater.
"Drop the key!" I attempted a smile. I had almost accepted the fact we would probably not make it. Acceptance postponed the fear I was bound to feel, given the choice of life and death. If I knew death was inevitable, I would not have time to be so afraid.
"And break a nail," he uttered, genuinely smiling back at me. I wasn't sure if he was just that good an actor or really found a cell in his body that thought we could make it. But it didn't matter.
I took the deepest breath my lungs could endure before we jumped off the little cliff and straight into the freezing water. Edward was holding the object in his hands as he looked at me underwater, giving me a thumbs up.
We started to swim, as efficiently and fast as we could. The cold water felt like someone was sticking sharp needles into my face and body, but I was concentrating on seeing as far as possible. It had been part of my training, and focusing helped. The water continued, dark and freezing. I'd signalled Edward to unlock the cover twice before I realised we would not make it even to the ground to have the chance to ultimately counteract the bomb.
I was so out of oxygen that I started to gulp water down just to get through this. Edward swam right next to me. I knew he would've been faster than me if he wanted, but he was determined not to leave my side. He noticed my lack of oxygen just after I'd torturously gulped down the first draught of water.
Closing the space between us, I fully understood what he meant by 'helping me on the way' only a moment before it happened. He gripped my neck, pressed his lips on mine and blew air into my lungs. Even as a professional and necessary touch, it was still much more than what I'd imagined. Without looking back, Edward started to swim again, his swift thrashes moving the water around me. I quickly recovered from my haze and followed him. Getting a new boost of energy, I sped up. He noticed and mirrored my actions. A moment later, I signalled him to take off another cover, the antepenultimate.
After moments of seemingly endless swimming, I saw light at the end of the endless water; my lungs pressing against my ribs from the lack of oxygen. The Burnett-technique told me that death would be inevitable because, with our current speed, it would take us more than thirty seconds to get there, but we couldn't counteract it underwater; it simply wasn't possible. Like me, Edward had to be out of air. The last strokes took more effort than the first ones, but I pushed myself through them. I hit the surface at the same time Edward did, both of us gasping for breath.
"We..." I breathed gravely, "...are," I collapsed in the shore, not even bothering to check where we were, "...late."
He sat beside me, out of breath just as I was, and bitterly muttered, "I, I know."
The now revealed bomb sat beside us, the bright red clock already counting down. Three minutes of waiting were ahead of us, three minutes of the torturous acknowledgment that these would be the last moments of our lives. We'd completely failed the mission. Edward and I had been given detailed directions, we'd practiced this for countless of times and we still couldn't come through. We had known that if we failed to unlock the covers at the right time, the first five minutes would be a warning for the real deal. But we didn't fail to unlock them at the right times. Our problem became the final unlocking, which came too late.
And we would pay for it with our lives. I sat up, realising with regret that Edward was about to die because of my actions and inactions. But inevitably, I would be the cause of his death, the one person I deeply loved.
"It's a trap," Edward's incisive voice cut my ears, turning my attention to the cave. The only light came from up above. The place was similar to a round room, but instead of walls, we were surrounded by a brown rock, a cliff. The map had lied to us. I raised my eyes to meet Edward's and saw the regret and sorrow in them, the complete remorse of what had happened.
"I'm sorry," I whispered as I rounded myself into a hump, trying not to think of my guilt, burning me from the inside. I failed miserably. My throat became hoarse from holding back the tears. Nothing would decrease my self-condemnation. I would've rather become die twice if that were possible than be responsible for his death. I fought back a sob, feeling the burn of my guilt.
Edward sat just next to me, close enough to feel his warm body beside me. "Don't say that, Bella."
"But I am. So, so, incredibly sorry. For all the things I did or didn't do, and for your life... for everything," I muttered, biting my lip so I wouldn't break down in front of him. But why was I fighting? In a few minutes, it wouldn't matter anyway.
His eyes met mine and his voice was unfairly comforting. "It wasn't your fault. We're a team, remember?"
"But I'm responsible for your life, your life, Edward. I know how much you wanted to create a family," a tear escaped from my eye. "How much you dedicated yourself to this job, to your father, to everything! I never meant to take it all away from you. I never did..." the tear was followed by others as it turned into sobbing. I failed to force it back, and my chest heaved as I wept aloud, not even pretending to bring myself together. "It's my fault, my only! I deserve it, but you..." I gulped. "Y-you deserve better."
He took me by surprise by putting his hand on my waist, holding me as I sobbed into his chest. I knew I'd make it all wet, but it wouldn't matter to this point. I breathed in short gasps before his hand tightened around me. "Bella, if I could have ever chosen the person I wanted to die with, it would've been you."
"Don't make fun of me," I chided, semi-joking.
I searched his eyes. "B-but why?"
His took a moment to look away from me as I anticipated the answer. "Bella–"
Loud beeping intruded his voice, and I felt like kicking the damn bomb. I took a moment to look at him, but his eyes stopped on the clock. My breath caught. This was it. This was going to be the last moment of my life. And I was going to spend it with the man I loved, who didn't even know it. I suddenly felt the need to share it with him. It couldn't be held back anymore. I wasn't going to have to deal with rejection because there would be no time for that. I stared into his green eyes as I heard the beeping get louder.
Edward caught a strand of my hair and attempted to tuck it behind my ear. It wouldn't stay there.
"Bella–" he started, but I cut him off.
I whispered, "Edward. I love you."
The look in his eyes was impenetrable as he opened his mouth.
I closed my eyes and felt Edward stiffen as he held me. I hugged him and felt his body press against mine. I could feel his heart beat. I could feel his breath on my neck. It seemed that I could sense everything. But seconds passed and after a moment of confusion, I came to realise that it should've been over. I opened my eyes.
The little screen just flickered. I waited for the explosion to take our lives, but it didn't. Nothing happened, nothing at all. And then a sharp blistering light hit us - I even saw it after I'd closed my eyes to the vivid light. Edward held on to me more tightly. Suddenly, voices rang my ears; many, many of them. I opened my eyes in relief. Was dying not as painful as I'd feared? But to the sight that was in front of me, I would have probably taken death before it.
What the -?
People gathered around us. Edward unwrapped his arms from around me and we both observed our surroundings. It was our team. Our agency, all of them. They were eyeing us, their voices loud, happy and victorious as they joked with each other. I shared a glance with Edward and saw the same mix of confusion and relief in them. I felt slightly relieved that he didn't know what was happening, either, but it was a futile feeling.
I blinked rapidly.
Emmett walked towards us in that wandering way of his, as if he were in a bar. "Eddie." He nudged him forcefully. "Nice job on the escape." Emmett locked eyes with me before looking at his little brother again. "But pathetic last moment of your life. Pathetic, did you hear me? You could tell her that you wanted to die with her and not tell her what really matters? Pathetic."
I couldn't understand him, but I couldn't cope with much at this moment. Why was our team here? Were we in danger at all? I stood up and saw Edward do the same. I noticed I was shaking from the cold, but it didn't matter. Carlisle paced - proudly, I might add - towards us, but I was so angry at the time that I completely understood Edward's next actions. Edward had calmly approached him with a smile on his face as Carlisle grinned back at him.
"I couldn't be more proud of you, Edward. Congratu–"
Edward punched him straight into the nose. Carlisle's hand shot up to his face, an unbelievable look in his eyes. "Aren't you relieved?" he uttered, checking if anything had broken, but nothing had.
I could fix that.
I stepped aside people and approached Edward, standing now next to him. Carlisle made an attempt to ease my mood. "Bella, you did such a wonderful job at–"
My fist hit his jaw. "That's all I've got to say." I grimaced - hitting was painful! - and turned around, seeing a sad Rose approach me. I was so confused by all of this. I sat on a rock and took my head into my hands. I must've been losing my mind.
"Waiting for some guy to jump out of the bush and yell: 'You're on candid camera', huh?"
I nodded, not answering Rose who sat just next to me. She looked at the shapes of Edward and Carlisle, arguing with each other. I shared the direction of her eyes through my short hair, but ran my hand through them to ease my bewilderment. I turned to Rose, postponing the unavoidable. "Did you..." I motioned towards a happy Emmett, laughing at something, "also go through with all of this?"
She scratched her neck, looking uncomfortable. "Well... we almost did."
"Yeah... Emmett failed to let me go in that tunnel, so we both went down, we found another way. But we are not as good in timing that you are, nobody is. We were a success until the removal of tenth cover," she grimaced. "And I guess Emmett did break Carlisle's nose once he saw Carlisle was on 'the other side'," she made quotation marks with her hands.
"I think he deserved it," I found myself saying, feeling Edward's eyes on me and quickly turning to look at Rose again to avoid any emotion I could see in them.
"At first I thought so, too. But it does show us what we're capable of better than any other mission, and you're the first ones to get as far as you did. You and Edward together, you're the perfect team."
I lowered my eyes because we were not going to be a team after I'd spoken to Carlisle.
"So this was all a setup? Months of planning, taking the guards down, spying, hiding, crawling... all of it?"
She shook her head. "No, you misunderstood me. This was an exact imitation of the real deal, just without the actual bomb. The place belongs to the people we talked about, the guards were real, everything was except for the fact that the real bomb is not in The Black Room. Carlisle found a way to make it our little practicing area, he even made you believe he was one of them, didn't he?"
I bended my head forward as an agreement, yet I couldn't help but persist, "But I failed. I made us fail because I couldn't – I didn't..."
She put her hand on my shoulder. "Everything you failed in, was unplanned, right? Unexpected?"
"Yes, but I should know that stuff, I didn't prepare enough..." I was fully aware of Edward's and Carlisle's eyes on me, but I didn't want meet theirs. Rose crouched in front of me and put both of her hands on my shoulders. "You couldn't have known those things. They were purposefully wrong on your research papers. The information about the amount of guards and everything else were intentionally given wrong to you. Plan A was never supposed to work. But you came through, just as you always do."
"Not 'buts', this is the first time anyone has ever followed through all of this, and it definitely calls for a celebration!" she uttered delightedly, standing up. "Congratulations!"
I shook my head and hid my face into my palms, not wanting to face Edward. I touched Rose's arm slightly and got her attention. "Did you, I mean, happen to hear... what I told Edward?" I whispered so quietly she leaned forward, trying to hear what I'd said. She nodded and inclined her head toward Edward who was still gazing at me as he sat on a rock in another corner of the room. "You need to talk to him."
An unwanted blush crept on my cheeks. I was horrified of the prospect of our whole team knowing about my unrequited feelings toward Edward. I had no intentions of facing him, yet around talking.
"I think I'll skip," I muttered, continuing to avoid Edward's eyes.
"Bella," she insisted, "just do it. You might be surprised."
"By what? By how many different ways there is to ditch unneeded love? How I am such a disappointment for falling for a guy that is taken? How he doesn't want to work with me anymore?"
"I hadn't realised before how much of a drama queen you are." She chuckled as I nudged her. "He'd never stop wanting to work with you. Just talk to him," she repeated before going to accompany Emmett.
I wrapped my arms around my knees and cocked my head forward, hiding my face. I felt incredibly stupid. What had I done? I would have to change my partner because of my idiocy, because of a simple moment of impulsive behaviour. I didn't regret what I'd revealed, but he would. He was a good person who wouldn't want to hurt me, which meant he'd want to change his partner. He would be either so disgusted by the thought of his partner, loving him, or so surprised by the fact that an unnoticeable person like me could love ever someone as perfect as him, that he would most probably start to avoid me. This only meant I had to approach Carlisle before he did or tell Edward I didn't mean it. Or both.
I took a deep breath to prepare myself for the biggest lie that would ever leave my lips. I could deal with that vain Mike instead of my Edward as a partner, but I still needed to have him in my life.
Standing up and approaching Carlisle, I received several congratulations to which I half-heartedly, but politely answered. I saw Edward standing up and starting to walk towards me. I hoped my guesses about him wanting to avoid me were true.
Carlisle immediately stood up and started apologising. "Bella, you need to understand that–"
I waved my hand as if this was not a big deal. "I do, I know it was necessary."
I sadistically couldn't feel sorry for the rash on his cheek, but he smiled. "Alright, how may I please you then?"
"Could I change my partner?" I hastily searched for an answer, praying for him to agree. His face became thoughtful, but he didn't have the time to answer me before I heard Edward's hurt voice behind me.
"Why?" he asked bitterly, his voice torn. I turned my face towards him and faced an expression I hadn't seen before. But needed to finish my talk with Carlisle.
"Is it possible?" I asked again, looking down in shame.
"She doesn't need a new partner," Edward persisted in a somber tone.
I felt Carlisle's eyes flicker between us before he uttered, "You two need to talk."
"No we don't," I murmured, not meeting Edward's gaze.
"Yes, we do." He emphasised his answer and signalled for Carlisle to leave us alone, which he did. I couldn't meet Edward's eyes and the regret in them, but I didn't know how I could work with him from now on, either. "Let's go somewhere we could speak privately." He took my hand into his and found a place around a corner. The room had turned into a bigger and more opened one as soon as our colleagues 'stepped in'. How they managed to do that would be a mystery to me.
I halted to a stop when we were out of our colleagues' vision. Edward looked down at me, his eyes stopping on the knot around my stomach before they locked into mine. I couldn't look away anymore. I gulped as I realised I'd have to lie straight into his face. My heart started to torture my mind, but I was unwavering to have him in my life.
"Bella, about what you said earlier..." he murmured, eyes never failing to eat into mine.
I put a hand into my little pocket, tearing my eyes away from his before I whispered. "I didn't mean it, I was just being impulsive. I thought we were going to die, I just... I didn't really mean it." I forced back the urge to look at him, but I couldn't. He'd see straight through my lie. I felt him stiffen before he started to close the space between us, I was in between him and the wall, and the wall had somehow come incredibly close.
"Y-you didn't?" His tone was so sad, yet somehow impenetrable, that I looked up again. I couldn't understand him.
"I didn't." I nodded, trying desperately not to show him how wrong that sounded, how much I didn't mean it. I sniffed a little, but held his eyes otherwise. From the amount of times his eyes flickered from my one eye into the other I almost thought he was trying to read my mind. He leaned into me, making my breath hitch, but all he did was place his hand right next to my head as he tilted his own head slightly forwards. He ran the other hand through his bronze hair as his voice sounded even... disappointed? My imagination must've been better than I thought.
"You didn't," he dolefully stated this time, not a question anymore. He inhaled a deep breath and let it out, but didn't open his eyes. I was surprised by how easily he thought I'd lie to him in the last moment of my life.
"But that'd be just ridiculous." I chuckled nervously, attempting to turn this into a joke and trying to see why he cared so much about my feelings when he was engaged himself. I didn't want to think of it, but the hurt in my chest was inevitable. He's engaged.
His eyes immediately shot up to mine, and this time I could see the full agony of them. "R-ridiculous?" His voice wavered mildly, but the emerald eyes were boring into mine. I only let a nod signal that I agreed, I couldn't trust my voice. He pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Edward, are you alright?" I carefully took his hand away from his nose, meeting the penetrating eyes again.
"No," he replied sorrowfully.
"Can I do anything for you?" I asked carefully. He murmured something I didn't catch.
"Nothing," he muttered, taking his hand away from mine abruptly. I found his behaviour puzzling, so I stayed quiet. If he had a fiancée at home, who was he to be sad because I didn't love him (which I did)? Then he took my jaw into his hands, turning my face towards him. "Look into my eyes and say it again."
I gulped heavily, not wanting to lie to him straight into his determined face. I decided to wriggle myself out of it as much as I could.
"Edward, it's not like it matters. You are going to create a family with your fiancée and have your happily ever after. I never meant to confuse you, I know you can't return my feelings–" my hand shot up to my mouth as I realised that I just spoke against myself, but Edward had already noticed.
He smoothly started to get closer. "What did you just say?"
I tore my eyes away from his and looked down while a blush rose to my cheeks. I seriously messed this up. "Can we just forget about it?"
"No. Forget about it? I don't think so. What is it that you said?" he insisted, coming even closer, the muscles of his hand seen through his shirt as he bend himself toward me.
"I-I said I didn't mean to confuse you and I know you can't return my feelings. I'm not blaming you. I'd just want to have the chance to still be around you, if that doesn't make you uncomfortable. I might get over it." I gulped at the impossibility. "But just don't–"
Edward put a finger on my mouth. "Would you shut up so I could kiss you?" My wide eyes must've encouraged him, because he only leaned in a little more before his warm lips were on mine. He pressed me against the wall, his hands finding the way behind my back as mine gently gripped his messy bronze hair, tugging them slightly and earning a moan. His eager lips begged for more before I suddenly realised what we were doing. I immediately pushed him back with force. His hurt eyes were on me.
"What are you doing?" I questioned with a little more strength than I intended.
His voice was pained. "Kissing you?"
"I'd hate to break it to you, but you have fiancée! I'm just a cheating material? She's a nice girl!"
He seemed relieved, but apologetic. "I broke it off two weeks ago when I realized I was in love with someone else."
That was like a brick into my chest and I closed my eyes briefly, attempting to calm down. The hurt voice that came out of my mouth didn't sound like me at all. "Why aren't you with her then?" I huffed.
He looked at me for a second before closing the space around us again. "But I am. And I will make sure you will never 'get over it'." He leaned in to kiss me once again. This was so unreal. I couldn't believe my incredible luck.
"We need to go," Edward whispered in my ear. "They're waiting."
"We got promotion, agent Swan," he smiled his crooked grin
"We did?" I grinned and literally jump on him. "That's fantastic!"
"Wow, you're eager," he laughed whole-heartedly before changing the subject. "But our next mission is the real deal."
"The real, real deal?"
"With your speed, I don't doubt us."
"Nothing beats your incredible timing skills, my Love." He took my hand and pulled me out of that secluded corner. Emmett walked in front of us with an unbelievably huge grin on his face.
"Jesus, Edward, you already had me thinking that our parents adopted you from a turtle. Glad to see you man up!" Emmett nudged Edward playfully before turning to me. "Take good care of him, will you? He might look tough, but he's a softy from the inside." Emmett paced off, probably searching for more food to consume. Edward glared at his back, but I could see a start of a smile on his lips.
"I love you," he whispered into my ear and made goose bumps trail all over my body.
I rose to my tiptoes. "I love you, too. And drop the keys, will you?"
He tilted his head back and laughed to our little joke from the first time we met. "I will, probably more with you around. Break a nail?"
"Nah, I have you around now." I approached Carlisle to get our new badges, hand in hand. He suddenly stopped and gave me a tight hug, brushing his hands against my back. He held on to me for a moment before letting me go.
"What was that for?"
His devious grin widened as he showed me what he got in his hands.
"You unravelled my knot!"
Edward took my hand into his again, never letting go of the rope meanwhile. "I'm here to unravel you, my knot."