I was going to post this update yesterday, but instead spent hours trying to dye the green out of my daughter's hair. It was electric blue, but had faded to a moldy green color. Evidently, blue is the hardest color to get out of hair (it was a semi-permanent dye – it was supposed to wash out completely.) After several hours we were successful and now her hair is a beautiful Marilyn blond (thank God!)

Thanks as always to for polishing up my writing.

I'm anxious to hear what you think of this chapter! It is not yet the end – one more, I think, to go.

Disclaimer: SM owns. I don't.

Though I was nervous, I felt a surge of power with the tiller in my hand. I eased it closer to my body, feeling the sailboat groan as it shifted direction, forcing its way through the resistant waves. I tightened my grip as the swell lifted the prow of the boat into the sky. I held my breath until the boat lunged downward, dropping heavily, slapping against the water. Salty spray spurted over the sides and into my face.

I gasped in surprise and wiped the water from my chin, squinting into the sun to where Edward was perched, his shoulders vibrating with laughter. He shot me a sympathetic gaze as he pulled on a heavy rope, wrapping it around a winch at the side of the boat. I was trying to concentrate on steering, but I couldn't stop from looking at the way the muscles on his arms stretched as he worked.

Even though this was our second time out sailing, I was still amazed at how confident and graceful Edward seemed on the boat. The hull was a natural extension of his body, as if he were in total command of its motions. I found his skill on the boat incredibly attractive. I was surprised that even at the mercy of the wind and the waves he made me feel safe and comfortable.

It was still hard for me to believe that we were here on this beautiful boat, sailing across Casco Bay in Maine, on the opposite coast from which we started. It had been a huge surprise when Edward had received the invitation from his grandparents to visit them at their vacation home. It was even more surprising to find that Edward's grandfather owned his own beautiful thirty-foot sailboat and had been sailing all his life. It appeared that sailing was in Edward's blood.

I loved to see him so relaxed, so free of tension. As the hull cut across the waves, the wind lapping at the sails, I truly felt like we were leaving our pasts behind and surging forward into the future.

For the first time in my life, I was actually beginning to get used to feeling safe and easy in my skin. Having Edward at my side grounded me in a way I never knew I needed. And now I would never go back to the way things were before.

Edward and I had been inseparable since Alice and Jasper's wedding, making up for lost time, trying to replace painful memories with new ones. I almost couldn't believe that I was capable of feeling so much happiness. I found myself doubting that it would last. And yet I forced myself to believe that I deserved this. I deserved to feel whole for the first time in my life. It was a fairytale, but it was my fairytale and I was going to hold on tight and make it my reality forever.

Our fairytale began the night of Alice and Jasper's wedding. It had been a magical night.

Even though Rosalie had discovered our hiding spot and interrupted our conversation, Edward had said enough. I was so reassured by Edward's words that I truly believed we were getting our second chance to be together. With the assurance that we'd have more time to talk when the wedding was over, Edward and I returned to the festivities. We agreed to commit to giving our attention to celebrating first, reconnecting later.

We danced many more dances, we drank more champagne, we ate slices of the divine cake, and enjoyed every moment of our time with Edward's family. At one point when Alice was distracted dancing with her new husband, Rosalie and I escaped to Alice's bedroom. It only took us a few minutes to transform it from her childhood room to a romantic retreat from the emotional whirlwind of their wedding. We lit dozens of tealight candles, turned on some rhythmic Egyptian music at low volume and draped gauzy fabrics over the canopy of her bed.

As soon as we were done, we signaled Jasper. In response, he excitedly swung Alice off her feet – eliciting a squeal of surprise – and carried her away. Though it was their wedding night, they only had a few short hours to sleep before they had to get up to drive back to the airport in Seattle.

Since he'd left all the wedding details up to Alice, Jasper had taken on the job of planning the honeymoon by himself. He hadn't revealed their destination to Alice yet, wanting it to be a surprise. But before he'd purchased tickets, he'd asked Rosalie and me our opinions on his idea so we knew where they were going and had tried to hint at it with our decorations.

As I fluffed their pillows and lit the last few sandalwood-scented candles by their bed, I wished that I could see Alice's reaction when Jasper told her that he'd booked them a luxury cruise down the Nile in Egypt. It was the absolute perfect kind of vacation for Alice – exotic and stimulating, but also romantic and relaxing. I almost wanted to get up early to see her excitement, but I had a feeling that I wouldn't be available.

It was only a few moments after Alice and Jasper disappeared that Edward found me and began to lead me to the front of the house. "Where are your things?" Edward asked anxiously as we stood in the entryway.

"I left them in my car."

"Wait here. I'll be right back," he said, quickly leaning down to plant a soft kiss on my cheek before darting down the stairs.

A thrill of excitement fluttered in my belly as I waited for his return. We were finally going to have our moment. I shook out my arms in an attempt to expel my nerves, my eyes falling to the book that I'd absently placed by the front entryway when I'd arrived. It served as another reminder of how much Edward and I still needed to discuss. I grasped the book, studying Alice's drawing on the cover, and relishing in the sense of pride I felt in seeing my name on the bottom corner, printed in bold, blocky letters.

As soon as I heard Edward coming back up the stairs I tucked the book under my arm. I'd wait for the right moment to share it with him.

"I guess I should have asked before I got my suitcase," Edward stammered nervously. "But…will you come somewhere with me? I mean, for tonight?" I was momentarily stunned by his doubt. He seemed so uncertain of my answer. Didn't he know the depth of my feelings? Perhaps this was it…the next step forward into our future. It was a big step. But I was sure I wanted to take it.

"Yes, of course," I said, reaching forward to take his hand. "I'll go…wherever you want." His answering smile was so heartfelt I had to look away. I felt a twinge of fear. I wanted this so badly; my feelings were overwhelming.

I couldn't wait for the next chapter of my life to start. I was ready to rise above the numb apathy that I'd lived with for so long. The numbness had been my coping mechanism, carrying me through the difficult times in my life. I never had anything to lose when I wasn't really feeling. Now, it was different. I was allowing myself to feel…everything.

My heart was at risk, but I only had to look back up at Edward's piercing green eyes to know, without any doubt, that he was worth it. Being with Edward was worth risking it all.

"Let's go," I said, tightening my fingers around the book under my arm.

As soon as we transferred my bag into Edward's car, a steady drizzle began to fall. Except for the rhythmic patter of the raindrops and the scraping swish of the windshield wipers, we were silent on the drive to our mysterious location. Though I was nervous, the movement of the car lulled me into a comfortable trance.

When we turned down a narrow, unpaved driveway, my heart sped up and I widened my eyes, trying to figure out where we were. I could feel my hands tremble so I slipped them under my thighs to hide them.

"We're here," Edward announced as we turned onto a short narrow bridge that led to a paved road. I could see a large structure in the distance, welcomingly illuminated.

"Where are we?" My eyes were wide and my mouth was open in awe at the sight of the large house. It was a huge, two-storied, log-cabin style house with huge columns made of broad tree trunks. Several oversized lanterns with soft, amber glass shades hung over a wide porch that appeared to stretch around the entire perimeter of the house.

I noted the inviting rocking chairs on the porch that hinted of lazy times to come as I stepped out of the car. Thunder rumbled nearby, jolting me so that my legs automatically moved toward the house.

"This is actually Billy Black's house," Edward replied as he reached into the car's trunk to retrieve our bags. He started to move more quickly as the rain began to fall, gesturing toward the house so that I would seek shelter.

"Billy's?" I asked as he met me by the front door with our bags.

"Yeah." He fumbled with the keys in his hand, searching for the right one. "Um…your dad…actually recommended it to me."

"What? Charlie?" I was processing this information as Edward finally got the door open and ushered me inside in front of him. I was momentarily stupefied by the opulence of the surroundings. There were so many things competing for my attention that I struggled to take it all in.

The entire interior was decorated with deep masculine colors, framed with dark wood accents. All the furniture was on a massive scale – huge couches, oversized chairs and ottomans - seemingly designed to provide the ultimate in comfort.

There was an enormous chandelier that hung over the center of the room with dozens of mica shades that cast the room in a soft glow. But the light from the fire in the fireplace – the biggest one I'd ever seen - overshadowed the impact of the chandelier. The stone hearth was large enough that I could stand inside of it, each of the round stones bigger than the size of a basketball. I approached the chair closest to the fire and sat down, sinking into the engulfing cushion. "Oh wow," I exclaimed, finally noticing the massive wall of windows that spanned the back wall of the house. "What lake is that?"

By the faint light of the moon I could just make out the tree-lined lake, lights from a few other houses dotting its perimeter.

"It's Crescent Lake. Jake Black bought this house for his dad a few years back. Your dad said he doesn't like it much though. Too fancy or something. So he doesn't spend much time here and rents it out. They use it at Christmas and for holidays. Otherwise, I guess he stays on the Res."

"And Charlie recommended it to you?"

"I saw him when I first got to town. I stopped to see Emmett at the station and he was there. I asked him if he knew of any properties for rent near town. I might have distorted the truth a little and told him that I needed a nice place for some relatives to stay for the wedding. Really, I just wanted something special…for us."

"Wow. Weird," I muttered, thinking of my dad and wondering just how rich Jake must be now.

"Would you like some wine…or…" Edward offered, running his hand nervously through his hair.

"How about some tea?" I asked, thinking I'd rather be alert for now.

"Sounds good," he smiled. "I'll put on the kettle." He headed down a long hallway, calling over his shoulder as he disappeared from view. "Why don't you explore a little while I get our tea?"

I could feel the fatigue of the day hit me as I pushed myself out of the chair, but I shrugged it off. This was an important night. I could rest later.

I peeked down the hallway toward the grand kitchen, catching a glimpse of Edward with a bright red kettle in his hands. That familiar tug was there: that need to gravitate closer to him. But I forced myself to turn away before I became consumed with watching him. We had time, I reminded myself. This night was ours.

"Herbal or black?" I heard him yell as I glanced through an archway into a small sitting room at the front of the house.

"Black," I yelled back down the hallway. I needed the caffeine.

I pushed opened the door behind me to find an elegant bathroom with an antique vanity and fixtures. The wall was covered in a Victorian embossed paper that made me feel like I'd stepped back in time. I caught my reflection in the oval mirror above the sink, surprised to see the look on my face. I looked tired, but happy. But more than that…I looked pretty. I felt pretty. More pretty than I'd ever felt before.

I tucked my hair behind my ears and turned off the light. I was about to turn around and continue my tour of the house but Edward stepped into the hall, two steaming cups in his hands.

"Ready?" he asked. We'd waited long enough.

"Yes," I said, taking the cup he held out to me and following him back into the vast living room area.

He sat down on the large couch, nodding to the space next to him. The warmth from the fire curled around me, sinking into my bones. I sighed as I held the warm cup between my two hands. I kicked my shoes off, tucking my legs underneath me and angling my body towards Edward.

"While I was making our tea I realized that I haven't yet asked about you…how you're doing…what you've been up to since we last saw one another. You've been on my mind constantly these past few weeks." He took a sip from his tea, then placing it down on the table at his side. He pulled his fingers through his hair and I was struck with the notion that he suddenly seemed guilty.

I was about to answer his query when he spoke again, his voice just a whisper. "I have to admit something." His gaze watched me as I tilted my cup to my lips, travelling to catch my eyes.

"I checked up on you. I called Alice nearly once a week, digging for information. I'm fairly certain that I irritated the shit out of her. She really didn't give me much," he reassured. "But she hinted that you were making some changes in your life too. And said that you were working on something together. That book…that you were holding in the car…was that it?"

A spasm of shock hit me and I flinched, hot tea spurting out of my cup and onto my legs. I had no idea that he'd noticed the book. I wondered if he had been as distracted by studying me as I was by him. What else had he observed about me?

"We should change out of these clothes. So we can be more comfortable," he suggested, pointing to the large damp spot on my dress.

Edward insisted that I change in the master bedroom while he took the guest room next to it. I barely took in the stone fireplace - a miniature copy of the one in the living room - or the romantic white linens on the king-sized bed. I was anxious to get back to Edward. I only hesitated a moment before slipping into my cotton pajama pants and a grey tank top. I wanted to be comfortable for the rest of our night together. I wanted to be myself.

Edward and I both chuckled when we met in the hallway. His grey sleep pants and white t-shirt were like the male version of my night clothes. In fact they were so similar to mine we appeared like catalog models for a sleepwear clothing line. Somehow, even as Edward grasped my hand and tangled his fingers with mine, this thought made me even more at ease in his company.

We returned to our spots on the couch and I snuggled a little closer to him than previously, my desire to touch him overpowering any lingering trace of shyness. He must have felt the same compulsion as he reached out to caress my cheek, slowly tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.

"Tell me about the book, Bella."

And so I did. I told him how Alice and Seth had approached me and how excited I'd been to take part in their project. I tried to convey how inspired I'd felt by Alice's artwork and the beauty of the Quileute legends and how everything felt right in my life for the first time in so long.

When I showed him the mock-up of our book, I swelled with pride. I felt like I'd put a part of me into each thought and every word and I couldn't wait to share it with him. The look of awe and admiration on his face as he carefully flipped through the pages gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment. That he liked the book, that he saw the beauty in it, was more important to me than anything. I didn't care if it made money or if it was read by one or thousands of children, I was proud of what we'd created. And if Edward liked it too…that was the icing on my cake.

He turned the last page, his fingertip caressing the final words before he closed the book and placed it gingerly on the couch between us. "Why are you crying, sweet girl?" he said as he wiped away the tears on my face. I hadn't even realized that I'd been crying. "The book is just beautiful…amazing. I am so incredibly proud of you." He looked determined, but concerned as the tears kept flowing from my eyes.

"Bella?" he questioned. I shook my head to let him know that it was okay.

"I'm just happy," I managed to mumble through my tears.

"I'm so glad," Edward whispered into my neck as he placed his arm around me and pulled me closer so that I was leaning in to him. I relished the feeling of our bodies melding together. I fought the urge to squish even closer, to climb up onto his lap.

It finally seemed like all the pieces of my life were falling into place. I felt a sense of contentedness that I'd never before experienced. And a huge part of that was due to the man who held me securely in his arms, the man who saw the real me – with all my emotional scars and insecurities – and still cared for me.

It was almost perfect. But there was still a boundary that we had to cross. There was still something – someone – between us. And I was feeling greedy. I had my happy ending within my reach and I was forging forward. I had to know what I was still up against.

"What happened with Heidi…at the retreat," I asked, shifting the focus of our conversation.

"I was wondering if you would get around to asking me about that," Edward teased mirthfully. I hit him lightly in the chest, not truly affronted and even a bit relieved by his lighthearted tone.

"So where did I stop off at…oh yeah, I believe we were kissing," he replied, leaning toward my face as if to kiss me again. Even as I held my arms out to stop him, my chest fluttered in anticipation and a surge of heat flushed my cheeks.

"Hey," I chastised. "I need to hear this."

"Kissing later, then?" he smirked, his green eyes sparkling.

"Kissing later," I agreed, lowering my hands from his chest.

"Heidi was um…high when you got to the center? And you said something about the man who ran the center?" I prodded, trying to get him back on track.

"Oh yeah, evidently it's not unusual for new patients to go through detox at the center. They prefer to have it happen when a medical and psychological team is present to help with the process."

An image of Heidi popped into my mind – her hollow look, her terribly thin arms. "Did she agree to stay right away?"

"Not exactly. She was silent for the first hour or so that we were there. But she followed directions, and while we were given a tour of the facilities, I could tell she was slowly taking it all in. She didn't say anything until we got to the end of the tour and stopped into the main office."

"What did she have to say?"

"Well, Benjamin…he's the one who runs the center – actually, he owns it," Edward clarified, shaking his head as if to clear his thoughts. "Um…I'll tell more about that later," he assured before returning his initial statement. "Benjamin greets all the new patients, assesses their needs, and explains the details of the programs they offer."

"He paints a very clear, convincing picture of the center and its success rate. He's very good at his job," admitted Edward. He seemed almost reverent in his description of Benjamin and had me curious as to the nature of their relationship.

"You sound like he impressed you too," I offered.

"He did. He is very charismatic, quick-witted, but even tempered…calm. Without even a word from her, he quickly figured out what Heidi's issues were. He was sympathetic, but he was also very direct. He told her that she needed what they offered and that he was absolutely positive that they could help her turn her life around."

"Did he convince her?" I was curious what her response had been or if she even responded at all.

"It was strange. At first, she was very stiff and almost absent. But as he began to describe what he imagined she was going through, she seemed to relax and loosen up. When he told her that he was sure that he could help make her happy again, he actually walked up to her, kneeled and grabbed her hands. She was so shocked that she gasped and instantly began to cry.

"And she just kind of folded in on herself, dropping her head to Benjamin's shoulder and cried for several minutes straight. I almost felt like leaving the room, but Benjamin gestured for me to stay and after a few minutes she sat back up. And it was almost like she was a different person – she looked sad, but she looked awake and determined, I guess," he said uncertainly, like he was still trying to understand it.

"It must have been a relief to her…I mean, to have someone make that promise to her," I said.

"Yes," Edward agreed with a look of shame. "I could never give her that. I could never make her happy. Our relationship was built on lies and feelings of obligation. I blame myself for allowing her to get so bad. If I'd only been honest with her - with myself - sooner, I feel like I could have prevented…"

"It's no use regretting the past. You did help her. You might have done it sooner, but we can't go back and change things. We just have to do the best we can now. And you have. You found her help."

"Yes," Edward sighed, reaching out for me and pulling me closer. His fingers tangled in my hair, rubbing my scalp behind my ear. The sensation was so relaxing it made me feel like purring like a cat. I moaned instead, dropping my head to Edward's shoulder and wrapping my hand around his waist.

"So she agreed to stay?" I mumbled my question into Edward's chest.

"She did," he answered, pulling his hand away. I wanted to protest, but realized that it was for the best. His fingers were too distracting. "She signed the contract that Benjamin had drawn, and the only thing she said before she left the room is that her daddy wouldn't be happy."

"Oh, what did he say?" I asked, shifting a little so that I could see his expression.

"I thought I'd make her tell him, but then I saw that she wasn't going to be able to talk with him coherently for a while. So I called him myself."

"And?"

"He was pissed." It was funny to hear that word come out of Edward's mouth and couldn't stifle a giggle.

"He yelled a bit and told me that I had to bring her to him and that he'd find his own doctors to deal with her. He called me all kinds of horrible names but I just waited for him to finish so that I could tell him what I was willing to do. When he stopped his rant I told him that I wasn't bringing Heidi anywhere and that she signed her commitment papers herself. And that if he had a problem with her choices that he needed to come to her."

"Wow," I exclaimed.

"Yeah. But that's not all," he said with a mischievous look. "I told him that if he didn't want to lose his daughter forever that he needed to start making her a priority in his life. And that if he didn't come down to Santa Cruz to help in her rehabilitation that I would find a reporter to tell the story of how the great Aro Volturi tried to emotionally blackmail me into marrying his daughter."

"You wouldn't do that!" I cried, outraged at the thought. "It would only hurt Heidi more," I added as I scooted myself away from him.

"Of course I wouldn't. I would never do something like that," he said emphatically, pulling me back to his side. "I only told him that to get him to listen. I know it's horrible that I threatened him, but I had to get him to come to her, to show her that she means something to him."

"Did he come?"

"Right before I left Santa Cruz to come out here for the wedding, a friend of mine from the harbor told me that Aro and a small crew got his boat ready for a sail to Santa Cruz. He sublet his boat slip to someone else which means he plans to be away for some time." He smiled, his eyes crinkling happily.

"Well that's good," I stated, eager to hear the end of this story so that we could move on and not have to think about Heidi or Aro anymore.

"How long did you stay in Santa Cruz?" I asked, hoping to get Edward to wrap up his tale.

"Well, I actually stayed longer than I thought I would," he admitted with a sheepish look on his face.

"Why?" I blurted, again putting some space between us. I worried that maybe it was harder to say goodbye to Heidi than he'd thought. I was overcome with anguish as I braced myself for him to admit that he couldn't leave her, that she still factored into our future.

"I stayed at first because I wanted to make sure that Heidi was settling in okay. And I needed her to understand that I wasn't coming back for her. That she was starting a new chapter in her life and…so was I." Edward pulled my hand to his lips in a soft kiss.

"Was she okay?" I asked, only half interested in his answer as my heart soared in relief.

"She was distracted. She was sick at first…going through the whole detox process. I was planning on leaving, but I was unsettled…like I didn't have total closure with her. So I spent a few days in Santa Cruz, driving up to check on her progress. It was so beautiful and peaceful up in those mountains. I could easily see why the center is there…it's a great place for healing.

"You would think I'd be immune to the beauty of the forest after growing up in Forks, but it's less wet there…and warmer. I spent a bit of time hiking along the trails around the center and enjoying nature and thinking of…well, you mostly. Every moment I was away just made me want to run back here faster."

His words made me so happy. It gave me such a sense of relief to know that we we'd both struggled, that we both were anxious to begin our lives together.

I lifted my hand to his neck, my fingers searching for the tiny hairs on the back of his neck. "I was thinking of you too…all the time," I admitted. "So, how long did you stay…until Heidi was better?"

"Not exactly. At first, I wasn't sure what to do. Should I leave before she's done with detox, or stay so that I can talk with her when she's healthier? I thought about this a lot, especially when I was hiking around. It was so quiet; it was easy to get lost in your thoughts.

"I think it was Heidi's third day of detox and I was wandering around the forest by myself. I'd been hiking and thinking for about an hour when I finally decided that I'd done my best for Heidi and that I might have to wait for a very long time if I was going to get the kind of closure that I wanted. I made the decision to leave. I changed direction to head back to the trailhead when I heard a noise…like the shuffling of leaves…and turned to see a girl coming up from the path behind me.

"Who was she?" I asked, not expecting this turn of events.

"Her name is Tia. She had been at the center for almost two months and went out hiking at least once a day. When I came upon her she was just returning from her daily walk. I could tell that I made her uncomfortable, but since we were going the same direction it made sense to walk together."

I nodded in understanding, but was uneasy at the fondness clear in his tone. Was I jealous?

"We began to talk and though she was shy and uncertain, she seemed to warm up to me after a while. In that hour walk back I found out a bit about her life and why she found herself at the center. She's eighteen, but she seemed even younger…really naive. I won't go into the details of why she was there, but by the time we got back to the center, I felt sure that she would recover.

"When we got back, we got some bottles of water at the cafeteria and sat down at one of the sitting areas in the visitor's lounge and continued to talk. Tia was very rigid in her way of thinking. I asked her questions that would force her to examine her logic. I tried to help her to see that there are many different ways of looking at a situation, many different ways of understanding our lives.

"We talked in circles for a while until she seemed like she would accept that she might be wrong about some of her perceptions. I'll never forget the way she looked when she got up from the table and told me her head was going to explode. And then she laughed…and hugged me…and when she pulled back, she was crying."

The look on Edward's face as he recalled his conversation with Tia was incredulous, humble, as if he couldn't believe that he'd actually helped her. And yet I could tell that somehow this was a significant moment for him; his talk with Tia had miraculously reminded him of who he was and what he was capable of doing.

"You are so wonderful with people, Edward," I said. "I remember how much you helped me when I needed you. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't gone to our group sessions. I was so utterly lost and dejected, and you helped me – and everyone else - to see that all the horrible things we'd been through didn't define us."

"Thank you, Bella," Edward said before kissing me lightly on the lips.

"You have so much to offer," I asserted honestly. I could remember those days from the past so easily…all the pain, the loneliness, the fear. But Edward was a bright light, a beacon in all the darkness. He was my teacher, my doctor, my fantasy.

"I guess Benjamin thinks so too," Edward replied.

"Benjamin?"

"Apparently, he eavesdropped on a bit of my conversation with Tia and realized pretty quickly that I was giving her my own version of therapy. He was impressed with me…with the way I connected to her. I guess she hadn't spoken much since she'd been at the center and I was the first one to really get through to her." I smiled up at Edward, squeezing his hand to show him how proud I felt.

"Benjamin asked me to stay for dinner at the center as his guest so that we could talk. He was kind of mysterious about it and had me really anxious by the time the food came. We had some sort of vegan casserole - something Alice would love."

"Was Heidi there?"

"No, the patients in detox eat in their rooms."

"Oh."

"Anyway, as soon as the food came Benjamin asked me about my qualifications – what kind of degree I had, where I went to school, what kind of experience I had…and all that. He really is a great guy…so easy to talk to, but he gets right to the point."

"Which was?" I was getting eager to get to the kissing part of the night, but I was also still so curious to find out how Tia and Benjamin were tied to Edward's future.

"Well, he offered me a job," he said plainly.

"What? In Santa Cruz," I blurted, again shifting my body away to look Edward directly in the eye.

"No no!" he replied quickly. "I could never be that far away from you again," he promised, reaching out and almost roughly sliding me up onto his lap. Shocked by his abruptness, I wriggled against him. But when he desperately slammed his lips onto mine, I melted into his embrace.

We kissed for several minutes, getting lost in the intensity of our feelings. And yet I felt a tug at the back of my mind reminding me that I didn't hear the end of his story. I still didn't know what the future held.

"Edward," I murmured against his lips as I grasped onto his shoulders. His lips travelled down my neck toward my collarbone, his tongue tickling my tingling skin. "Please Edward…" He trailed soft, pillowy kisses along my shoulder. "Tell me…" His teeth nibbled my jaw. "Tell me what Benjamin said," I forced out with a breathy moan.

"Okay," he pouted, removing his lips, but tightening his arms around me so that I was pinned against his broad chest. "His center is doing so well that he's opening a second one on Bainbridge Island, just a short ferry ride away from Seattle. And he wants me to work for him. He thinks I'm overqualified, because I have more credentials than his other therapists, and evidently, there's a pretty high burn-out rate, but…it's a great opportunity for me. I mean, I can be helping people again. I can make a difference."

"I take it you said yes?" I asked with what I could only imagine was a huge, dopey smile on my face.

"I did," he whispered and then he kissed me. And again and again and again.

This is not the end. There is still more. Please leave a review!