*sniffles* so this is it…I never imagined it would take a damn YEAR to write this fic. And I apologize to everyone for my epic failure in posting delays. It was never intentional.

I realize there were many reviews that I did not reply to for last chapter. If ffn(dot)net would get there shit together I would have received notice of them…again NOT intentional.

See you all below…THANK YOU!


"If I was your vampire
Certain as the moon
Instead of killing time
We'll have each other until the sun
If I was your vampire
Death waits for no one
Hold my hands across your face
Because I think
our time has come…"

If I Was Your Vampire: Marilyn Manson


16. Time Passes

~Denali, Alaska: Four years later

Twilight.

The safest and easiest time of day for a vampire, but also the saddest. Each dusk a jarring reminder that another day has passed, and that another is not looming too far behind.

There had once been a time when I abhorred the darkness, the loneliness; begging for the blinding light of day even if mundane because I knew he'd be there…he was always there. But now…now the predictable nights return was my welcomed solace and my much needed friend.

Like so many times before, I breathe in the picturesque scene before me, reveling in its surreal beauty. The soft pinks and oranges surrounding me are beginning to fade into the western distance; their departing hues reminding me that in fact time does pass. Though here, atop this snow covered mountain, one would never know.

Behind me a celebration occurs; each moment, each second, has and still is being captured and frozen into future glossy-finished memories; allowing time to cease its dragging lull momentarily. But for me, the spectator, it still moves on lethargically slow and painful; aching like the pulse of blood behind a bruise.

But pass it does…

The music still blares, the bass thumping; an unwelcome echo throughout my being. The beautiful gowns that were primped to perfection only hours ago are now wrinkled and forgotten from hours of celebration. Regardless, smiles are still worn. Words of praise and joy are still spoken, and familial bonds continue to strengthen further.

For all intents and purposes I had sworn to myself that today would not be like every other day. I had made a promise to myself that I would not allow one second to be wasted on my transgressions –at least if not for myself then for my family. But of course, just like yesterday, and the day before that…I can't. I can't stop thinking of Edward. I won't stop thinking of Edward.

Because his memory is all I have left…

Feeling defeated, a normal emotion for me, I try in vain to calm the anxiety that is threatening to take over my body. Thankfully, Alice is too occupied with the guests to take notice of my ever decreasing layer of lipstick. Though, I can't say the same for my teeth that are now covered in sheer rouge due to my incessant biting.

The cake has been cut, the bouquet thrown –leaving me to my own devices. I am now merely waiting, patiently, for my allowed dismissal.

Before me the sun slowly crosses the sky, its final time for the day. I watch as it nestles itself into the distant horizon, its final rays catching the crystalline snow below. In the near distance an obscured patch of barely visible snow catches my attention. It's glimmering steadily in the lingering sunlight. Hillside shrubs and black cottonwood trees shroud the area from prying eyes. And even with my heightened vision I can barely make out what is more than likely a large, embedded, glittering stone refracting what little light remains. It appears to be deeply buried within the snow, and within seconds its sheen fades just like the setting sun; the darkened sky casting quickly an ominous shadow upon the once sparkling blemish.

Above me the iridescent stars begin to shine with splendid fervor. I narrow my focus instead on its sea of calm, already distracted from my earlier musing. These same stars have heard my nightly confessions for the past four years now –never questioning, never judging.

I realize I am not completely alone, but am far enough away so that no one will hear just how insane I have become over the years. But I know that I need to release this heavy weight that crushes my chest, even if for just a little while. So I push myself further into the shadows and I begin my nightly ritual the same way I did last night, and the night before that…

"I'm sorry, Edward."

Silence.

Of course I wasn't expecting a reply. I know he's gone –a reality that I caused alone. But I still refuse to accept his absence. I just cannot imagine him never coming back.

"Bella, I promise…," he had said, hesitating momentarily. "No. I SWEAR that I will never hurt you, NEVER abandon you."

My body shudders at the reminiscence of past words of promise and his voice. Sigh…his voice; its sateen smoothness is still so precise with perfection in my memories –as if Edward himself were speaking them to me yet again. Nonetheless, he is gone…and as much as I want to imagine his return, I know my thoughts are nothing more than desperate dreams, already shattered and broken.

With a silent sigh I look upon the shimmering specks above me. I imagine that it is Edward's beauty looking down upon me forgivingly as I begin to relive the day's earlier events…trying to include him as if he were still here.

However, all too soon I am interrupted. I can smell her before she approaches. Tanya. Her warm vanilla scent wafts over to me in the early evening breeze; the unnatural floral perfume she wears, though pretty, does nothing to hide the innate sweetness that marks her…marks Edward. Quietly, she leans up against the railing of the balcony as I am, her forearms resting before her on the ledge.

"Thank you," she says softly, as she looks out upon the vast expanse below us; her and her sister's, Kate and Irina's many acres of property. I try not to inhale too deeply, not wanting to smell what my body still craves so desperately, even if her scent is miniscule in comparison to Edward's.

"Thank you for what?" I ask, my expression bemused as I turn my head to meet her gaze. I try to stifle the ache in my chest by ignoring it all together –a failed attempt of course.

"For this," she waves her hand behind her where all our friends and family are happily celebrating. "You and Alice did a beautiful job. Carlisle and I love it."

She begins to sob, dramatically pulling a baby-blue handkerchief that has been monogrammed with Carlisle's initials from her bosom. I smirk, shaking my head as I watch her softly press the corner of each eye as to not damage her makeup –though collecting nothing.

Some things never change…I think to myself with a laugh.

I know her emotions are nothing but joyful as she leans into me playfully; our naked, strapless shoulders touching. It took us so long to get back to this, our easy friendship…too long.

"It was a beautiful service, Tanya," I say with pride. "I'm so happy for both of you."

And I am that's not a lie.

After being forced from Volterra, my obvious plans a complete failure; I was made aware of the extent of Tanya and Carlisle's relationship. And like the selfish, petulant child I was…I trivialized their emotions and left. My belief at the time was such as: why should I be the only one to suffer?

I was beyond warped.

I needed to be alone. So I did just that; leaving my family so that I could get my shit together. I traveled around the globe. Living off the grid, in unimaginable conditions. I didn't deserve the life of luxury. I didn't deserve to live comfortably while Edward was going through god knows what. But in the end not even my own personal exile worked. Nothing worked. My life was over.

I know I was the catalyst for my own demise. I didn't need a fucking seer as a sister to know that. I made some horrible mistakes in regards to my family, to myself…but most of all to Edward.

Edward

Even thinking his name educes such strong emotions. I won't lie and say I haven't tried to erase his memory and all that it encompasses from my entire being. For so long I have tried to forget him: his face, his voice. I've tried to move on. What a fucking fool I was to think that that would work. The more I tried to forget him, the more my vampiric memory would torture me…over and over.

Still, to this day, his beautiful face assaults me whenever I close my eyes. His voice echoes like a siren within my head…mind you it is a heavenly torture, but a torture nonetheless.

I didn't forget Edward. I could never forget him. Over the years, I have only grown to love him even more. Even with the knowledge that I will never again be able to tell him just how much; let alone apologize for all my faults.

I still remember it like it was just yesterday. The moment I had given up any and all attempts to wipe Edward and all recollection of him from my mind. I had gone to Alice pleading and begging for her to help me. My regrets had weakened me, but it was my ever increasing love for Edward that helped me to actually open my eyes.

I just needed something. A glimmer, a thought. Anything that would tell me he was okay…alive.

"Please, Alice." I cried. "I know you can do this. Try to see Aro, Azrael, anyone!"

Alice looked at me with a pained expression on her pale face. "Bella, it's not that I don't want to. Believe me, I do. It's that I can't…all I see is black. It's always black."

I know I am responsible for the events that led to that fateful day. If not for my complete disregard of Edward's feelings, and strength, we might possibly be celebrating our own wedding right now. Either way, that was the last and only time I had asked Alice anything in regards to Edward. I knew the strength of Aro's talents, as well as Edwards…we would never know how he was. I would never know…unless I was meant to. And to make matters worse, I could never go back to Volterra now unless personally requested…Aro's last parting words relayed by Felix as he dumped me in the darkened ally outside their hidden lair.

"If and when Aro requires your services," Felix said with a smile, "I'll be sure to fetch you personally."

After my one and only pleading fit towards Alice, and coming up empty handed; I did my best to remain out of Alice's head, allowing her and the rest of my family the privacy they so desperately deserved. It was hard…for all of us. Their sometimes virulent thoughts would hit me out of nowhere, never ceasing to remind me of my wrongdoings –all of which I will no doubt pay for, for all eternity.

"Are you alright?" Tanya asked, pulling me from my reflections.

"Sorry, I guess I kind of zoned there for a second." She shook her head and smiled tightly –she knew but would never push.

"Hey, I know you wanted to head out early. But I know Carlisle still wants to have a dance with his daughter," she giggled. "You were his first born, you know?"

"Yes, and he never fails to remind me," I looked towards the party solemnly. "I'm going to miss him, miss you both."

Tanya rubbed my shoulder soothingly. "Bella, you act like you'll never see us again. It's just an extended honeymoon," she laughed wistfully.

"A year on an island is more than an extended honeymoon, Tanya."

She laughed lightly before pulling me in for a hug. "Sorry, I'm being over dramatic," I said with a shrug. As much as I selfishly wanted both Carlisle and Tanya to stay, I knew they needed this break more than anyone.

The past two years that I had been back home were tense to say the least. It took a lot for my family to trust me again. I had hurt them, all of them. Yet they still stood by me, forcing me with their love out from the life of solitude I was living –while helping me mend a broken heart that could never possibly heal.

My family had become my backbone. So, now that two of them were leaving, even if temporary…the loss was being felt exponentially.

I held my shoulders back high and took a deep breath, trying to appear confident. A very faint musky, yet sweet scent entered my nostrils with the crisp air, bringing forth an immediate response of goose-bumps to rise upon my skin.

"Do you smell that?" I asked, eyes wide, nostrils flared at the wind. Tanya looked at me pensively, deep concern etched within her brow, sadness glazing her eyes.

"No," she answered flatly with a quick shake of her head, sniffing at the air while her body began to retreat slowly. "I don't smell anything unusual."

"Hmm, are you sure?" I asked again, leaning over the wooden ledge, peering out into the darkened landscape. My body was on alert, trembling slightly with a buzz of anticipation; my subconscious failing to believe that what had passed my senses was nothing more than a fleeting perfume.

I knew that smell…

"Listen, take a moment, Bella. I'll let Carlisle know you'll be there soon, ok?"

"Thanks, Tanya. I just need to shake this weird feeling," I explained, glancing at her momentarily. She smiled softly then began to walk away.

"Hey Tanya," I called out to her causing her to turn back around; her snow-white gown pirouetting around her.

"Yeah?"

"You make a gorgeous bride."

It was true. She was absolutely stunning. Carlisle was having a hard time keeping his thoughts pure and his eyes off his new wife…but too often his thoughts escaped him…I couldn't blame him.

thank you…She thought before walking away.

I watched as her form gracefully merged into the melee of party guests. Carlisle sensing her return immediately dove upon her, literally sweeping her off her feet. His smile was pure elation, as was her own. I was truly happy he found what had been missing for so long: happiness and love.

Too bad I would never find my own.

Turning around with a heavy sigh I returned to my hidden post. My periwinkle, chiffon gown pressed against the sturdy rail as my upper body leaned onto the ledge. The sun had been completely set for a few minutes now, and the indigo blue canvas above was filled with welcomed darkness.

Allowing myself one more minute to clear my senses and bask in the serenity of silence before having to return to the chaos of people's thoughts; I closed my eyes, and inhaled deeply. The aroma I had smelled just minutes before had returned with a cloying vengeance –it had gotten closer.

Quickly, I opened my eyes, taking in my surroundings. I paced the perimeter of the blackened outer deck; my body and my senses alive for the first time in so long. I could sense someone was there, definitely a vampire, a male, and one who had not been involved in the festivities of the day.

I tried to listen to any thoughts he may have been projecting; drowning out the sounds behind me so that my focus was firmly situated on this uninvited guest. But as hard as I tried I just couldn't read him. The scent was more than familiar, agonizingly so; its sweetness rested on the tip of my tongue. As soon as I returned to where I had been standing just moments before, my world imploded on itself.

Edward. It was his scent, but it wasn't…it was missing something.

I laughed aloud when I realized that I was more than likely experiencing some form of delusional psychosis. It wouldn't be the first time. Tanya would have noticed another vampire, especially one who had not been invited.

The thought of just how fucking absurd my mental state had become had me nearly cackling in the dark corner. Yeah, this looks healthy. Who would have thought that vampires could go crazy over phantom scents? But something still didn't sit right. No matter how much I tried to deny what I felt, or what I smelled, it was still all too familiar…

"Fuck!" I growled, shoving myself away from the rail. "Why can't you just be here? I just…I just wish I had one more moment with you. There's so much I need to say…but, I need you here…with me to do that," I whispered to the chilly air, hanging my head, finally allowing my sadness to swallow me whole.

I am…A rogue thought answered, the voice melodic and sweet.

"What?" I asked, looking around in utter frenzy now. The voice, that voice…

"I am here. I have been…for a few hours now," he said, as he made his presence known amongst the shadows, though remaining in the distance; head hung low, face hidden.

"I-I-don't-" I couldn't even form a coherent thought. Was this some sick fucking joke?

understand?...he thought, completing my sentence.

I growled in frustration. "Stop it! This is insane," I screeched, pulling on my hair, my thickened curls falling flat within my tightened palm.

"I don't know who the fuck you think you are," I hissed low so as to not draw unneeded attention. "But…whoever you are, or are trying to be…leave now."

"Bella…" he said softly, with reverence, and I nearly collapsed. It was definitely Edward's voice but it was so much more. It was melodic, and smooth, and its velveteen texture wrapped itself around my being like a sweet caress.

Oh my god…Azrael!

"Please, I am begging you…go," I choked, realization dawning on me now as to who exactly was standing before me. I could feel what little remained of my heart shattering within me as I fought to stay strong. "You have no right to be here, Azrael. None. At all." My teeth were clenched so tightly I was sure they would crack as I turned towards the ongoing party, ready to scream for my family.

But something made me stop…an image, thrown at me like a javelin; the first image and what I saw subsequently knocking me to the floor in pure anguish, leaving me gasping for air like a fish out of water.

Edward being dragged by Felix and Demetri into a dark, dungeon-like room as soon as me and my family were disposed of.

Edward being stripped to nothing while rusted, metal cuffs were forced upon his pallor wrists and ankles. His body held taut against a cold, grimy, limestone wall by chains; shivering, lips already blue from the dank coldness.

"Please…I can't," I cried, wanting the barrage of visuals to stop. My chest was so constricted; my silent sobs catching in my throat as my body sat crouched over on the wood planks beneath me, my head cradled in my hands.

I'm sorry…you need to see…he thought quietly before continuing with his mental assault.

"Oh, look…he's ready," Aro had said; his voice enthusiastic as he and Azrael stepped before a naked and restrained Edward.

"Fuck you!" Edward spat, venom spewing from his mouth with force. Aro wiped the offending liquid from his face before slapping Edward with enough vigor to knock his head into the brick surrounding him.

"I suggest you play nice, Edward. Unless you want to suffer…you don't want to suffer now do you?" Aro smirked, nodding towards Azrael who was busy setting up a table with what appeared to be large syringes filled with an unknown substance.

"What do you want from ME?"

"Edward…your father and I had always known that you held such immense power, strength…most of which you aren't even aware of. Which truth be told, is such a shame. But, no more. The time has come for you to take your rightful place where you belong."

"Let me guess. My rightful place is here, right?" Edward seethed, struggling in his restraints.

"I have no doubt that you will be my most formidable guardsman," Aro replied confidently. "But…in order to tap into your full potential you must complete the transformation," Aro further explained with nonchalance.

"Transformation?" Edward yelled. "Are you both fucking idiots? I thought you wanted me this way! Besides, I can't be changed, assholes! Don't you think I've tried? For fuck's sake…Bella drank from me constantly…I drank from her…"

"Shh, my son," Azrael said coming closer, pushing a metal cart topped with medical devices and the same pre-filled syringes Edward had noticed earlier. "It's not that you can't be changed…it's just that your body requires a large amount of venom to do so."

"So that's your master plan, inject me with a massive amount of venom?" Edward asked flabbergasted.

Aro scoffed, feigning sincerity. "No, dear child, the injections are for the pain. They are morphine…I am not that sadistic."

Aro tapped his chin, lost in thought momentarily while Edward's body began to tremble uncontrollably. No longer was his physical reaction's due to the bitter coldness that enveloped him but instead his quivering was due to unfathomable fear.

"I do hope that the morphine helps, for your sake, dear Edward. But not as much as I look forward to your survival," Aro cooed, as he snapped his fingers. Within seconds the room slowly began to fill with scarlet-eyed beasts. Male, female; each one licking their lips, bodies thrumming with excitement as they waited in anticipation for Aro's approval to advance.

"W-w-what?" Edward could barely breathe as he stuttered.

"Well," Azrael leaned into Edward's ear. "You aren't the first Halfling we've experimented on…most of the others die during the change…or from the intense pain brought on from being bitten…over and over," he shrugged, uncaring. "I can't wait to see what you surprise us with…I know you won't let me down now, will you, son?"

Before Edward had a chance to growl out a response, Azrael had already sunk his teeth deep into the flesh of Edward's neck. Seconds later Azrael was pulling back, licking droplets of Edward's sweet nectar from his lips as Aro ushered the first swarm of vampires over…

"Come along my children…there's no sense in prolonging the suffering. I'm sure Edward would agree. Wouldn't you, Edward?"Aro said, leaning gracefully into Edward slumping frame. Slowly Aro lifted one of the large, pre-filled syringes and injected it directly into Edward's neck, and within seconds Edward's eyes were rotating behind their heavy lids.

"I promise, this should only hurt a little."

I stood up, my movements slow, methodical. My body tense, a spring woven too tightly and ready to snap. I could feel the growl building in my abdomen, as my body shook with immense fury.

"You let them kill him?" My question came out scarcely audible as I slowly stepped towards the intruder. "You let them kill MY Edward, MY mate?" My body was beyond trembling now. Even inhaling and exhaling was beyond my control.

"Look at me you pathetic piece of shit!"

But he wouldn't. He hung his head in obvious shame, his face hidden from my scrutinizing eyes. So, without so much as a second thought or wasted breath, I attacked; flinging myself into the darkened shadows, knocking Azrael to the ground with intensity. The sound of splintered wood echoed around me as I found myself straddled upon his chest, my dress now split at its seam, and my hands fisted within his hair ready to rip his head off.

My family, keen to the obvious commotion, quickly came to my aide. But through my reddened haze I could just make out Tanya's voice demanding they all return to the party and that she had things under control.

I felt the shift in the air around me as Tanya came to my side. With force she gripped my shoulder, effectively pulling my gaze to her. "Bella! What are you doing? STOP IT!"

"Stop! STOP? Are you fucking out of your mind?" I wailed back at her, glaring at her hovering form. "He let them kill Edward, Tanya. He deserves to die!"

"Bella," she whispered. "Look."

"Wha-?"

It was at that moment that I realized the man beneath was in no way defending himself. And when I looked to see why, the reality of my situation stared blatantly back at me.

"Look at him, it's not who you think," Tanya murmured, and my hands loosened from the strands of hair I had been gripping and slowly made their descent down his head and to his face.

I whimpered at the sight before me. Peering up at me, submissive and waiting, was my Edward. There was no mistaking it. His eyes still as I remembered but now alive; crimson waves mingled with the emerald stone I was so used to seeing.

I ran my hands across his pale cheeks; my fingertips alight with fire as they traced the contours of his features.

"Edward?" I sobbed, inhaling deeply; allowing his scent to flow through me, fill me, and breathe life back into my dead heart. "I thought-"

"Don't," he said, placing his index finger upon my lips. "Just…let me look at you."

As Edward took me in, his hands worshipping my face, I sensed the departure of Tanya. It was as though the scuffle that had just occurred never took place as the music still pumped with enthusiasm in the backdrop.

you have no idea what I had to go through to see you again, love…he thought as he brought his body forward and buried his face in my hair.

"H-how? How are you doing that?"

"Bella, please, there is so much to explain," he whispered, as he rose from the ground, his arms encircling me and bringing me with him. I hung onto him for dear life. There was no way I was letting him go, not now.

Edward walked us back to the corner I had been star gazing at not long before, and placed me atop the ledge. I could feel his body flush against me, and my body awakened with need.

I just need to feel you for a little while before I get into any of it…he thought and I cringed at his newfound ability.

"Please…j-just…stop thinking. Because that shit…that shit is just…I can't even fucking process that shit right now, ok?" Edward snickered in reply, causing my body to weaken into his embrace. I pulled back slightly, beginning to bite the lacquer off my nails.

"This is just impossible," I said aloud, though speaking to myself. "Four years…four years, and not one word…not one vision!"

"If you'll let me explain," he crooned, reaching a hand out to touch me.

With a heavy breath I stopped my biting and looked into his eyes. Edward ran his hand through his unruly hair before pinching the bridge of his nose. I watched as he quickly opened his eyes again, fear written deeply in its scarlet hue.

That's how I left him last…

"I didn't die," he said flatly.

"Obviously." Quickly, he shoved his hands into the pockets of his black suit.

"Why now though, Edward?" I whispered, my eyes fixed on the patent leather of his dress shoes. "What about Aro...Azrael? They just decided that it was alright to let you leave?"

Edward let loose a sinister laugh before showing me another image...

Edward awakening after a few days from his torturous transformation...

Aro and Azrael gleefully waiting…

Edward ripping the chains from the wall with ease…

Edward's movements cat-like, precise, as he took Azrael down in one sudden swoop…ripping his throat out and decimating the remaining flesh within seconds…

Aro grinning proudly, pleased. "Welcome to the family, my son."

"You see. I couldn't just come back. It took time…training. I needed to have complete control over my thirst and my powers," he stepped closer, his fingers lightly tracing the line of my jaw. "I inherited more than blocking abilities, Bella. I'm just as powerful as Aro, if not more so. You have to believe that I would have been here much sooner if I was able to."

I was stunned into silence. Edward killed Azrael. But what was more stunning was that Edward was a vampire.

"You killed Aro, too?" I asked, stunned.

"Fuck no!" he laughed. "Aro…god, Bella, Aro has been my mentor. As fucked up as that sounds."

There were no words. Absolutely none that could describe the emotions running through my body. It was obvious that Edward had a story to tell, and I was hoping that he would tell it sooner than later. But all I needed at this moment was to absorb his presence before I lost him again.

"So why today then, Edward? What made you come now?" I looked up to see his jaw tighten, his profile looking out into the darkened horizon.

"I was ready…and I was invited."

"You were what?"

"Tanya had invited all of the Volturi. I am sure she didn't expect any of us to show…especially me." Silence thickened between us but I still could not tear my gaze away from him. Even though I wanted so badly to confront Tanya for doing what she did without even telling me about it…I knew that if she hadn't then Edward wouldn't be here. That thought broke me. Knowing he was only here temporary, for her.

"Bella, please, say something."

"I'm not really sure what to say, Edward." I pushed him lightly from between my legs and jumped down. I straightened my torn dress as best I could before running my fingers through my now knotty hair.

"It's just…it's been four years, Edward. Four years of agonizing heartache!" I began to pace before him. I didn't want to argue. I didn't want to question why he was here now and not yesterday. Or better yet, not a year ago. But I couldn't squash the jealousy that was rising within me and the anger…the anger for being so naïve to ever think that he could have possibly been going through as much pain as me.

"Heartache? Do you think the past four years weren't difficult for me?" he asked, grabbing my arms so that I stopped before him. "Do you think I haven't been suffering? There are rules, Bella…I'm not like I was before…I am so much more now."

I went through hell to get back to you. I am forever indebted to the Volturi –Aro. I didn't have the choice…he finished in thought.

"How long?" I asked hushed.

"What do you mean?"

"How long will you be here…before you have to go back?"

Edward pulled me close, his arms wrapping themselves around my body, one hand holding my head against his chest.

Silence.

"There is no time limit now, Bella. And there never will be."

I looked up, his head bent down as his finger came to rest beneath my chin, lifting it up so that our lips were mere inches from each other.

Edward closed his eyes, inhaling deeply before placing his lips upon my own. "You have no idea how much I've missed you, Bella," he spoke onto my lips, his breath sending shivers up and down my spine.

"I missed you too, Edward. I'm so-"

"Shh," he said, catching my words with his parted lips. As soon as I felt his tongue trace my lower lip I was undone. I allowed him entry, my hands finding comfort in the familiar hair at the nape of his neck. Standing on my tippy-toes, even with heels, our mouths became one. Our tongues danced back and forth, teeth clattered, and lips suckled and nibbled while our body's fought to get closer.

"Damn it, Edward! I need you. I've missed you so much," I growled, my hands slipping beneath his suits blazer, my fingers undoing the buttons of his shirt as I hungrily kissed down his jaw. But all too quickly my motions were stunted as Edward grasped my hands bringing them up to his now swollen lips.

With a smile he kissed my fingers worshipfully, stopping to pay more attention to my left ring finger more than any other.

"Love, we have plenty of time, there's no rush," he whispered, taking my ring finger into his mouth, sucking on it gently.

"Why is that?" I asked, memorized by his action.

"Because we have forever now."

"Forever, Edward?" I laughed, smirking at his fantastical ideals.

"Forever and forever and forever," he reiterated, peppering my face with soft kisses as he did so. I cupped his cheeks, removing his lingering lips from my flesh and let myself get lost in the face I had been missing for so long. This man, this…vampire, was no doubt my soul mate. And as if the world had righted itself on its axis at that very moment –everything had become abundantly clear.

The last four years were never a means to an end, but something more. Something bigger than both Edward and I could have ever imagined possible.

It was the beginning. The beginning of our forever. It couldn't be foreseen, or read through the minds of others, or even felt…it just was. And it was just getting started…


Siiiigh….

My THANK YOU's…so many of you were supportive beyond belief. AND in all honesty if it were not for your consistent support with your amazing reviews, I would have stopped writing this a long time ago.

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