Thanks for all those that are still around, continuing to read, review, alert, and favorite. I'm so completely blown away by you. For those newcomers, I'm so proud to have you aboard. (You guys aren't even reading this are you? I'm naked, I'm naked, I'm naked. teehee)

Music Inspiration: "I Never Told You" by Colbie Caillat

Polyvore is my profile.

**Disclaimer:** Anything that should belong to Stephenie Meyer is hers, I own nada. No copyright infringement intended.


"Chapter 20: You Came to Me"

BPOV

In the first week of Edward's and Emmett's absence, I rarely leave the bed except for work. I cry until I have no more tears left to shed and my cheeks are permanently weathered by their stains. There's a void in my life that Alice and Angela desperately try to fill, but I'd rather be left alone to suffer. I clutch to my phone like it's the life-raft that will keep me afloat, anxiously waiting for the phone call that never comes. An abyss of despair washes over me and I sluggishly navigate through the darkness, searching for the one thing that can pull me towards the light. I live in a daily fog, existing but not really alive.

Near the end of the second week, I'm able to get out of bed easier as the haze of misery begins to dissipate. I don't check my phone every three seconds to see if I've missed his call or worry myself with grief because he hasn't. I'm still merely surviving, but it's not quite as hard. The bookstore proves to be a good distraction and I offer to work overtime on occasion. Slowly, my appetite comes back to me, and the liveliness of my friends causes a small grin to appear on my face sporadically. They're the best support system a girl could hope for, and I feel fortunate to have them. I convince myself I can do this, mostly because I don't seem to have a choice.

On the weekend of the third week, I fly to Phoenix to see my parents. I cling to my dad in the airport, letting his warm embrace surround me and I feel loved for just a little while, my heart full. Later in the evening, I'm laying my head in my mother's lap, my sobs drowning out the sound of the television until my heart crumbles, feeling as though it will never be repaired. I thought I had been doing better, but I was only kidding myself. My heart aches with knowledge that Edward's going through this same thing, but intensifies further because the hollow in my chest isn't over him. Renee tries to assure me that everything will be okay in the end. "Good things happen to good people, honey. Just you wait and see. The person you are meant for will come to you," she whispers while running her fingers endlessly through my hair. I try to take comfort in her words, and wish on a shooting star that night as I stare out into the blackened skies. "Please," I beg softly, "Don't make me hurt anymore." I shouldn't be asking for a reprieve, though. I deserve to feel this way.

It's on a Wednesday in the fourth week when Alice marches into my room at Angela's apartment and throws open the curtains, pulling up the blinds, the warm Austin sun shining brilliantly throughout my previously dark room. I groan and pull the covers over my head, whining and begging her to let me wallow. She refutes by flopping down on the bed and begins tickling me until I give her my undivided attention. Her hands fly animatedly around her head as she shouts her speech about "Carpe diem" bullshit and makes me laugh loudly for the first time in over a month. Hope. I finally have hope that I'll be able to pull myself out of this funk.

In the next week, I search for a place of my own and grow ecstatic when I hand over the deposit for my studio apartment, getting the keys for it in return. It's nothing outlandish, just a quaint little one bedroom, one bath residence with barely a living room or kitchen to speak of, but when I add a few of my belongings and drape the curtains over the window panels, it feels like home. I spend hours decorating and lounging on my couch that my parents bought me as a house-warming gift, reflecting over the weeks that have passed and suddenly realize that I can be alone, and possibly be... happy.

Over the next month, I set out to do what I said that I would on the morning I realized I was in love with Emmett McCarty. I start living for myself. The leaves are turning from dark green to the vibrant oranges and yellows accustomed with the changing weather. The Autumn air breezes through the streets and I get swept away in it, breathing it deeply into my body and allowing it to soothe away the worry of time. My mind drifts to Emmett, and sometimes even to Edward, wondering what they're doing and if they're okay? Reluctantly, I gave up on the notion of Emmett and I over a week ago. Too much time has passed and I hope he and Rose are thriving in their life together. There's still a pang of heartache lingering, but that's inevitable. Regardless, I just wish them well.

I travel with Jasper and Alice on my weekends off. They're nature enthusiasts, exploring different parts of Texas that were still left undiscovered by me. On one particular weekend, we venture south of Austin into Texas Hill Country. As we drive along the long stretches of highway that weaves in and out of limestone and granite hillsides, my eyes quickly scan over the lightly colored boulders carved and divided by the asphalt. It's oddly beautiful. We arrive at Pedernales Falls State Park and grab the small packs that contain our water and grid maps, tossing them on our backs. We set out on the hiking path, coming across different types of wildlife that seem unaffected by the tourists, continuing to graze the hill in search of food. The atmosphere is fresh, saturated with the smell of turning soil and falling leaves. The temperature is perfect, the chill of the air a suitable contrast to the heat of my body and the burn in my muscles as we climb higher and higher. Even though my agility has improved over time, I periodically lose my footing on a loose stone and fall forward. I can almost conjure up the image of a strong, calloused hand reaching down and engulfing mine, pulling me back up and righting my place in the world. The thought is fleeting though as I shake it off and continue on my trek. Eyes ahead, always moving forward, no looking back. Every now and again, I'll catch Jasper and Alice hugging or kissing, the intimacy of their connection bittersweet. Journeying across the countryside and feeling free in nature, reveling in its beauty at its purest form, wasn't quite as breathtaking when you didn't have someone to share it with. Finally, we reach the top of the large stoned mountain that overlooks the most translucent turquoise water I've ever seen; it's unreal, majestic. As I stare down into the water, crystal clear to the very bottom and seemingly untouched by time or dirtied by contaminants, I feel the phantom embrace of familiar arms snake around my body. I shiver involuntarily and pull my arms around my midriff, hugging myself tightly as I try to slow my stammering heart and close my eyes. A strong breeze blows in from the right through the large trees, pushing my hair wildly around my face, and if I listen carefully, I can hear him whispering against my skin. I can picture him here, his eyes shining more brightly than the water below, and we fit. He would have appreciated this place. I still miss him.

The current date is November 11th, and it's been an entire two months since I walked out of my old apartment and out of Edward and Emmett's lives. The weather is blistering outside, an unusual cold front for this time of year is moving through the deep south, and I'm huddled in my living room next to the old furnace. Sitting on my couch, hunched beneath a dozen blankets, I'm deeply engrossed in a riveting new series when a knock sounds at the door. My brows furrow together, wondering who would be there. I had just gotten off the phone with Angela who said she and Alice were bored out of their minds, the store dead with most everyone staying indoors today, so there's no way it could be either of them. Getting up and stretching, I hope like hell it isn't a salesperson.

Shuffling toward the door, I unlock it and pull it open, stifling a gasp when I see the statuesque blond on the other side.

"Rose?" I question weakly, my voice barely audible to my own ears. My mind can't seem to comprehend that she's actually here, in front of my home.

She tugs her trench-coat closer to her body while tapping the heel of her shoe and answers, "Yes. Now, Jesus, aren't you going to invite me in? My nipples could cut through glass in this fucking air."

I shiver then, my thin shirt doing nothing to warm my body against the freezing temperatures, and instantly remember my manners. "Oh yes, please come inside."

I step to the side and she brushes past me, unbuttoning her coat and unwrapping her designer scarf away from her neck as she saunters into my living room. She lets her eyes wander over the various surfaces before she turns back to me. "Nice," she says, waving her free hand around before placing her scarf on my coffee table.

I smile and explain, "Well, it's not much by many people's standards, but it's enough for me," before adding, "It's home."

I plop down on my couch and move my bedding aside, motioning for her to sit as well. I pick up my hot chocolate from the table and take a sip before asking, "Just coming from work?" I don't know really where to start and I'm curious about her reason for being here. I'm slightly nervous, so this seems like the best place to start.

She smooths her hands down the front of her black trouser pants before taking the seat next to me and replies, "Um, yeah. They let us go early today because we're supposed to be getting a few flurries this afternoon." She stops abruptly, her eyes continuing to scan around my home, and I begin to fidget with the coffee cup, running my chilled hands over the heated, smooth surface.

"I remember hearing something about that on the weather this morning," I respond, my eyes lifting to watch her. "So... how have you, uh... been?" I question, hating the way my voice falters at the end.

Her eyes shoot to mine, her gaze hardening slightly as she searches my face. "I've been better."

"Oh... well, how is-" I start, but my words are quickly masked by hers.

"Do you mind if we just cut the bullshit?" she interrupts and I gulp forcefully.

"S-sure, okay. We can cut the... bullshit," I reply as I place my cup down on the table.

"I'm leaving Emmett," she says, her conviction harsh and unwavering.

My eyes immediately go wide and I can feel my jaw drop. That was the last thing I ever expected her to say. I expected for her to march in here, rip me to shreds for fucking her man and breaking her best friend's heart, but this... I didn't see coming at all. I'm completely flabbergasted and I flounder, searching for anything to say to fill the silence.

"Rose, I... I don't even-" I stutter, my eyes instantly falling to my lap as I snap my mouth closed.

"You don't have to say anything. I just need you to listen, no interruptions," she demands, and I slowly nod my compliance.

"Edward didn't come to work the day after you two broke up. I left the office early because I was worried about him, you know how he never misses work? I went-" she pauses to clear her throat, her voice softening as she continues, "I went to check on him... and he was so broken. I found him in his old bedroom at his parent's house bowed over in the corner next to his dresser with an empty whiskey bottle next to him. He smelled and looked like shit, drunk out of his mind and so alone. He just kept mumbling about how he fucked everything up and how his life was over, and it was so hard to hear through his slurring and his crying."

She stops and looks up at me, her eyes filling with tears as she recalls the memory. I'm crying because I did this to him. I know I hurt him, but thinking it and actually knowing the extent of the damage I caused are completely different. He was never one to drink, an the image of an empty whiskey bottle makes my stomach churn.

Leaning her head back, she sniffles and bats away the moisture trying to slide down her face. "I didn't want to end up like him. I didn't want to be left lonely and crushed, drinking myself into a stupor in a corner in my old bedroom at my parent's house like a pathetic, love-sick idiot whose heart had just been trampled on. I refuse to be that person.

"Emmett came home and I was already there. Do you know he ran straight past me, didn't even see me sitting in the living room, and flew around the house bellowing out your name as he rushed from room to room?"

She lets her watery, butterscotch eyes dart to mine, and even though I know the question is rhetorical because there's no way I could have known, I still shake my head no in response.

"It was obvious to me when he noticed all your stuff was gone because he was dashing toward the door, his keys jingling in his hands in tempo with his stride. He was going to go after you and I was going to be left with no one. I panicked. I called out to him and he whirled around, startled by my presence. I told him that he needed to give you space, that you had just been through a really bad break-up and that you'd need some time to yourself. God, I know it was selfish, but I needed him, and I hated that he couldn't see that. I hated you for making him blind.

"He said that he was going to take a quick shower and that we needed to talk when he got out. I knew what was coming, and I couldn't stand the thought of him walking out on me. Images of Edward in his room from earlier that day kept running through my mind, and I knew that even if it took me getting down on my hands and knees begging him to stay, that I was going to do it. I don't grovel, ever, but I was willing to go the lengths for him.

"While he was in the bathroom, his phone started vibrating and chirping from the kitchen counter. The longer it went unanswered, the louder the noise seemed to get. It was like I was trapped in some place and time, where nothing else existed except for that damn cell, and the fucking ringtone just kept echoing in my head. I finally jumped up and ran to the kitchen, snatching it off the island. I've never, and I mean never, gone through his his phone, but I did. I saw your text message and I was so furious at you. He was mine first and you... you were going to steal him right out from under me. I couldn't let you."

She lets her head roll forward again, her breath whooshing out of her in a rush while pity and shame warps her gorgeous features. A single tear glides down her cheek and I'm taken aback by her emotional outpouring. To others, one tear wouldn't mean much, but for someone like Rose who bottles up everything, always keeping this empowered persona about her, it truly shows the amount of anguish that she's handling at the moment. All of her defenses are down, and this is the girl that no one gets to see.

"I deleted the message. I guilt-tripped him in to staying with me and he was none-the-wiser that you wanted anything to do with him. He stayed with me because I was an obligation," she says, dropping her face into her hands and her body crumples before me. My hand shakes with the need to reach out to her, to try to take some of her pain, but I'm afraid she'd reject my sympathy. Her next words slither between parted fingers and I have to lean in close to hear them.

"Looking back now, seeing how much he seemed to vanish before my eyes every single day, I can see that I lost him long before he ever tried to leave. He's been yours this whole time, no matter how much I tried to disregard it. I was in denial. I just thought he needed time to forget you. I started trying to cook, I went to all his games, I took up running with him in the afternoons, but he always appeared so fucking distracted. I just can't do it anymore, though. He barely says a word. The light that I was so drawn to from the very first time I saw him has long went out. He's a shadow of the person he used to be, and by holding on to him, I'm the one making him all but disappear completely. I love him enough to let him go, so I am."

I'm left speechless in wake of her confession. Both of our faces are soaked with trailing tears, our hiccups the only remnants of our conversation as a stilled silence permeates the small room. I don't know about her, but I sure as shit could use a hug. Cautiously, I move closer to her, slowly wrapping my arms around her shoulders. I sigh in relief when she places her palms against the middle of my back and leans further into my embrace. Squeezing her tighter for a second longer, I ease away and grab her hands.

"Rose, I can't go back in time and change things and sometimes words don't mean shit in this life, but I honestly want you to know how truly sorry I am. About every single thing. I never meant for all this to happen or for things to turn out the way they have," I apologize, hoping my words sound as sincere as they're meant to be.

She pats my hand and quickly wipes away her tears. "I know that, and I'm sorry too. Who knows, maybe everything got fucked up for a reason," she states, shrugging her shoulders and standing up.

"As much as I'd love to stay around and indulge in my inner emo bitch, I better get out of here before the crazies hit the streets," she says, a genuine smile pulling at the corner of her lips. "Plus, I told Edward I'd stop by and help him with a proposal for work."

"How is- is he... okay?" I ask, my voice cracking as I fiddle with the hem of my shirt.

She ruffles my hair, much like a mother would her daughter and answers, "Yeah, I think he's going to be just fine."

Immediately I feel ten pounds lighter, like a huge load has just been lifted off my shoulders. I walk with her to the door and wait patiently as she fixes the buttons on her jacket and wraps the scarf around her neck. We exchange another quick hug, and I watch from my doorway as she walks to her car. Just as she reaches it I call, "Be careful, Rosalie... and thank you."

She waves and climbs in, a dense cloud rolling up from behind her car as the engine turns over. I'm shivering uncontrollably, but I refrain from leaving my stoop until her vehicle disappears down the street and turns the corner at the stop sign.

Once I'm inside, the outside world safely tucked away behind the three silver deadbolts on my door, I scrub my face thoroughly with palms before screwing my knuckles into my eyes. What the fuck just happened?

Suddenly, an intense pain radiates from my temporal lobes, possibly from the emotional drain of the day. I walk briskly to the kitchen and pop two Advil in my mouth, deciding to take a shower to alleviate some of the tension. I walk to my room and retrieve some pajamas, deciding to head straight to bed afterward.

Once in the bathroom, I turn on the water and change out of my jeans and shirt while I let the water heat up, the steam eventually filling the room and fogging up the mirror. I climb in and immediately start lathering my hair with shampoo, scratching lightly at my scalp while my mind tries to process that past two hours of my life.

One minute, I'm alone, living vicariously through the characters in the love story that I'm reading. I'm content with my life, resigned to the fact that the two greatest loves that I might have ever known have been removed from my life, and then a single second later, a solitary knock at the door changes all of that.

Rinsing the shampoo, I move on to the conditioner as I think back over Rose's words- how badly Edward had looked, how different Emmett is, but the most important thing that stands out in my mind is the fact that he had been leaving to find me... or so Rose thought. Why had he rushed through the house that day calling for me, what had he hoped to say? If I still had been there, what would it have changed? A million scenarios and questions are running rampant through my brain and eventually it all becomes too much, my skull actually feeling like it might implode from the pressure. I quickly wash myself and turn off the water, my body trembling as I hurriedly dry myself with a towel and pull on my pajama set.

I walk briskly to my room and crawl under my down comforter, snuggling deep below the billowy material and close my eyes. Allowing myself to drift closer to sleep, I silently ask myself, "If I had just told him that I loved him that morning, would he be in this bed with me right now? Did he still 'care deeply' about me after all this time? If Rose really leaves him, will he try to find me?"


It's on a Saturday, a little over a week since Rose left my apartment, and I'm waking up for the day. I lay in my bed, tossing and turning in a weak attempt to fall back asleep, but it's hopeless. I flop onto my side and reach for my phone, my heart catching in my throat when 1 new text message appears on the screen. Opening it up, it reads:

U're going w/me 2 dinner 2nite. No back-sassing, lady.

Pick u up after 5 when I get off.

-Ang

I instantly laugh, rolling my eyes at myself for getting all flustered over a damn text. He still hasn't called, and I don't even know if Rose has broke it off with him... or if she is ever going to. I type out my response, agreeing to go, and once again find myself chuckling at Angela's persistence to get me out of the house. Over the past few days, she says I've been becoming reclusive, my axis revolving around my phone and my home, so afraid to miss out on the one thing I gave up eons ago. I have tried not to, but in the end it's futile. I'm stuck in a limbo, afraid to get my hopes up but too scared to move further forward. So, I wait.

I get out of bed, groaning as I massage my tense shoulders with my fingertips. My eyes move to the alarm clock which reads eight minutes until nine o'clock, and I huff. It's too fucking early to be awake on a Saturday, damn it.

I walk sluggishly to the kitchen, turning on the coffee pot as I pull out some bacon and prepare some toast for breakfast, carrying on with my morning routine as I have every other day.

Later in the morning, I step out of the shower and wrap my robe around my body. I'm towel-drying my hair when I hear a loud banging coming from my front door. I pause mid-fluff, my eyes shooting toward the door when the obnoxious knocking resumes, nearly startling the shit out of me as I strain my ears. I secure the rope around my waist and start padding barefoot across the floor, my towel still draping over my head and hanging past my shoulders. When I reach the living room, the raucous noise grows louder. I look at the clock on the wall, noticing it's just after ten, and figure the store must have been slow so Angela got off early and wants to do lunch instead.

When I reach the door, I start undoing the bolts while shouting, "Hold the fuck on, Angela, Jesus Christ!"

The knocking immediately ceases and I swing open the door, proclaiming, "Your ass wasn't suppose to be here until-"

I scream and stumble backwards, slamming back into the wall, and the towel falling away from my head as I appraise the large frame blocking my entryway. Long, muscular arms wrapped in dark thermal extend far above my head, grasping at the wood frame, while a head full of thick curls hangs between two massive shoulders. My knees begin to wobble and I fear I might actually pass out so I grip the doorknob behind me with one of my hands.

I gasp, covering my mouth with trembling fingers as my eyes fill with tears. I want to reach out, feel every groove in his arms and weave my fingers through the tangled mass above his head, to know with certainty that he's here, in front of my house and real. My limbs lock up instead, and I'm frozen in my spot, the solid wood of the door against my back, and I feel like I'm suffocating. Wordlessly, I beg for him to raise his head and slowly he does, but doesn't say a word.

I take the time, using the heavy silence transpiring between us to really look at him. He has dark circles under his eyes, his icy gaze dulled with emotion, and stress lines cause his lids to crease in the outer corners. His hair is the longest I've ever seen it, large curls dangling over his forehead and partially covering his eyes. Even though his shadow still dwarfs mine, he's lost weight, the sag in his dark jeans further evidence of my suspicions. Slowly, he licks his dried and cracking lips and my eyes move to capture the image in my mind.

He opens his mouth, his lips separating and I wait with bated breath to hear his voice and hope like hell that I'll be able to understand what he's saying over the thundering of my heart in my ears.

"Rose left me two days ago," he states very matter-of-fact, his brusque tenor sounding rough and hoarse when it reaches me.

I push off of the wall then and step closer to him and his eyes immediately scan my body, making my blood course significantly faster through my veins. My body feels like it's ten degrees hotter as I reach up and brush my hand across the coarse stubble etched along his jaw, his eyes instantly closing and his lashes feathering against the top of his cheekbones. He sighs and leans into my touch, making my heart skip a beat.

As the tips of my fingers continuously glide along the sharp angle of his jaw, my breathing accelerates as the moisture rushes to the corner of my eyes, blurring my vision. I blink them away, not wanting to miss a single second of him in front of me. The tears trickle down my face and I inhale deeply, his familiar scent making me feel dizzy, clouding my mind.

"You're really here," I whisper, the beginnings of a tiny smile making the corner of my mouth turn up.

With his eyes still closed, he exhales and brings his hand up to cover mine. He pulls my palm to his lips, gently pressing his mouth against the center and softly responds, "I am."

Then I remember what he had initially said and I feel like a total ass for disregarding his first attempts at speaking with me. I was so overwhelmed with him being here and trying to decide if he was real or not, that I botched my chance at apologizing.

"I'm sorry about Rose, so sorry about all of it. I did so many horrible things and hurt so many people, hurt you... and I just, I'm so sorry," I admit, my words running together and coming out jumbled, my mouth moving faster than my brain has time to process. There's a laundry list of things that I feel I need to apologize for, but I can't seem to gather my thoughts enough to get them out of my mouth. Most importantly, I understand that being with someone for as long as they were together and finally saying goodbye, it's never really easy.

He opens his eyes then, a subtle spark firing in his cerulean irises, his pupils dilating, and it makes my body tingle. I need to be closer to him, but I don't know if it would be appropriate to throw myself into his arms.

He stands up to his full height then and closes the immeasurable distance between us. He slides his thumbs across my face, touching my lips, my cheeks, my eyelids, painting imaginary lines with his electric touch and a chill runs down my spine, my whole body catching fire under his gaze and the feel of his hands on me after being without it for so long.

"Would you think of me as a bad person if I told you it didn't hurt me like it should have... that the whole time she was ending our relationship, I was elated because that meant I might could have one with you," he whispers in a single breath, his eyes dancing around the contours of my face, appearing as though he was trying to gauge my reaction.

An embarrassing sob escapes me then, the words I've imagined him saying to me every night as I dream finally floating across the space to my ears. My heart feels like it might actually explode in my chest because it's beating so hard. I can't help but smile up at him, a goofy-as-hell grin so big that it feels like it might split my face in half.

He smirks, a dimple wedging itself deeply into his cheek, and pulls me into him. I bury my face in his chest and grip his shirt tightly in my fist, drawing the smell of him in through my nose over and over again. I almost want to pinch myself because this can't be happening, even in my wildest dreams I wasn't able to capture his perfection. He runs his hands through my hair, his fingertips gripping my back through the thick fabric of my robe as he hugs me impossibly closer. A blush stains my cheeks when I remember that I'm completely naked underneath.

When I'm sufficiently suffocated, I ease away from him and breathe deeply, the cold air causing me to shiver. My fingers explore his chest, sliding smoothly over the notches in his shirt as they roam over the cloth, marveling in the feeling of hard muscle and sinewy tissue beneath. I look up at him again, unable to contain the small chuckle that rises from my fluttering stomach as I blatantly stare at him.

"I just can't believe you're real. I can't believe you came to me," I confess, feeling like an idiot when he openly laughs, a sound that I realize I've missed more than any other.

He cups my jaw in his large hands and leans down, his eyes holding mine as his words skate across the sensitive flesh of my lips. "I was never gone."

With that, his mouth meets mine, his tongue immediately beckoning entrance as it traces my bottom lip and I allow him to enter, my lips eagerly parting to accept him. The moment are tongues slide across one another, a warmth blooms in the pit of my stomach and my toes curl against the concrete flooring of my little porch. The taste of him is something I'll never forget and I hum through our connection. My fingers get lost in the curls at the base of his neck and time passes by slowly, my entire body and soul enraptured by the contact and the feel of his body against mine, his lips and tongue against mine, his hair sneaking between my fingertips. The heart beating forcefully in my chest is his to have, how ever much of it he desires. It's always been his.

We kiss in my open doorway for what seem like an eternity, at moments it's fast and heated and others it's slow and languorous, filled with passion and sensuality. When we finally pull apart, both of us are panting, puffy clouds of steam rolling from our mouths as we greedily gulp the cold November air. He leans his forehead against mine, but keeps his arms wound tightly around my body, his chest colliding with mine.

"You know, this is never how I pictured saying this, but fuck if I can hide it anymore. Bella," he says, backing away from my face so he can look directly in my eyes. "I love you. I've known since that weekend you left to go to Phoenix after we had sex on the couch. I wish I would have told you then, but I just... I was afraid and I didn't know how you felt about me-"

I shut him up by launching myself at him, attacking his lips with mine, peppering tiny kisses all over his face, as I exclaim, "I love you, too. So much. So, so, so, so much!"

He sits me back down on my feet and we both start trembling, our teeth chattering when our bodies finally recognize the temperature. He tucks a dampened strand of hair behind my ear and motions his head toward the door. "We better get you inside and warmed up or you're going to get sick."

I lead him inside and show him around my apartment. We find ourselves in my bedroom last and he lays down, patting the spot next to him like it's the only place I belong. I lay curled against his chest and we talk for hours, catching up on each others lives and all the things we've missed. Eventually his hands find their way inside my rob, exploring my body, warm appendages rediscovering the places they've already been and paths they're eager to remember. He makes me come with his fingers, come with his mouth, and eventually we lay with our bodies intertwined as I whisper his name when he makes my body quake with pure bliss. He grunts huskily as he reaches his own release, placing delicate kisses on my lips as he tells me repeatedly, "I love you, I love you, I love you."

The best part is that I believe him, that I can feel intensely just how much he truly means it and I readily return the sentiment. He wraps the large blanket around our naked flesh, rubbing circles against my chilling skin as he jokes about us getting a bigger bed because one of us is going to fall off. My heart feels heavy because he sees himself here in the future with me, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry with relief.

After a while, I gasp and my eyes shoot to the clock. It's almost five o'clock and I hurriedly reach for my cell, dialing the numbers quickly as I wait for Angela to answer the phone.

"Afternoon, Sunshine," she greets cheerfully.

Just as I'm opening my mouth to respond, Emmett pulls my earlobe into his mouth and swirls around it with his tongue, causing me to squirm and giggle. "Um, Ang, I'm sorry- stop that- to cancel," I pause, laughing loudly into the receiver when he licks my neck before continuing, "so last minute, but things... sorta came up," I finish, sternly raising my eyebrow at Emmett and pushing him away.

"What the hell is going on over there, Bella? And I said no cancelling," she says exasperatedly.

Just then, Emmett leans in close to me saying, "Yep, things definitely came up and it looks like they're on the rise again." He pushes his cock into my thigh, causing me to gasp and snicker. I slap at his chest and I think I hear Angela drop the phone, the receiver sounding fuzzy for a moment.

Then Angela coughs and exclaims, "Ohmygod, is that Emmett?"

"Gotta go, Angela..."

"Bella, you whore! I need details. Alice, Bella is-"

"I'm hanging up now!" I shout, laughing into the receiver as I end the call.

I place my cell back on the nightstand and roll over in the bed, staring up at him as he smirks and beckons me with his finger. I crawl on top of him and lean down until my lips are even with his.

"That was a very naughty thing you just did, Mr. McCarty. You're lucky I love you as much as I do or I might just have to punish you," I say saucily, biting my bottom lip as I wink at him.

A shriek reverberates around the room as he rolls us over, pinning my body below us as he moves between my legs.

"Oh, I've been a bad, bad boy," he murmurs, capturing my lips with his and kissing me until I see stars.


A/N: So, this is the last chapter before the epilogue. I may be a little teary-eyed right now. I hope you enjoyed their reunion, you know I couldn't give you what you expected- or at least I hope it was an unpredictable ending. As for Rose, before you all get to harping on her, think about what you'd do to keep him around. I mean, it is Emmett we're talking about here. I'm just sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Thanks to the usual suspects- all the lovely people that provide me hours of entertainment on Twitter, big smooches. To my beta-wifey, Rhi (Live720), I can't believe it's almost over. *cries* Thanks for always being my number one cheerleader and hand holder. (Her fic, "Seventh Inning Stretch" is some goody goody Jake hawtness, just so you all know. Go read... like yesterday!)

Smooches,

Christina