AN: This chapter will be a long one, half in Bella's POV and the other half in Paul's POV. I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I loved writing it.
Many thanks to my betas Jazzys-Confederate1861, Stealth Liberal and more than thanks goes to mauralee88 who had the time and patience to edit the majority of the chapters. All of them contributed to make the story better.
A special thanks goes to Georgia Dawgette for listening to my ramblings about the story, though, she was really good at not asking for previews. I'm glad we can work together on imPerfect love, but it was We Belong that brought us to know each other. (Un abbraccio amica di penna...)
Thanks to everyone who took the time to review, and a special thanks to everyone who took the time to review each and every chapter. Hopefully, I won't disappoint anyone by ending the story here, but I think it's time.
I'm not planning to add an epilogue or write a sequel.
If you like my style, then take a moment to read imPerfect love, a Jared/Bella story and Will you be mine? a Sam/Bella story. I've now started to write two more, As fate would have it, Embry/Bella and Away from the sun, a Jake/Bella. I hope you'll like them as much as We Belong.
On with the final chapter...
Bella was a wreck, Sam wasn't meeting her eyes and he wasn't answering her question. "Sam, do I have to ask you again?"
Sam finally looked at her and said, "He is still 'alive'."
Bella felt her knees give away, luckily for her Paul was there to catch her. "Easy there, kitten." She detected surprise in his voice and suppressed anger. He must be furious that they didn't kill Edward.
Paul took her in his arms, and went to sit at the table. "Now, explain. Tell us the whole story." He growled.
Sam took a deep breath, and then started speaking. "When we arrived at the house we found him sitting on the stairs of the porch. He seemed totally shocked. Alice went to him, and he started sobbing in her arms. He said that he was sure Bella loved him, and that last time had been a huge misunderstanding, that's why he had taken her with him. Apparently he realized that Bella didn't love him anymore when he found out that she had run away."
Bella was listening carefully; she knew that Edward might have tried to trick them once again. "So what happened next?"
Sam sighed, and went on. "I was still debating about his fate when we heard someone coming. Alice told us that they were the Volturi, they are kind of vampire royalty. There was a little blonde female, Jane, who said that one of their kings, Arco or Ardo or something..., wanted Edward and Alice to be part of his guards. Obviously, Alice politely declined; but Jane didn't take no for an answer. She was going to use her power on Alice when Edward suddenly stood up and said that he would go with Jane; but he would join only if they let Alice stay. Jane agreed, getting one was better than nothing."
Bella felt Paul pull her closer. "And?" she asked.
"When they left, Alice explained that when a vampire joins the guards, he must stay for two hundred years before leaving again. I think it's enough time for us to be all dead," said Sam. "Alice told me that she would keep an eye on Edward and if she saw anything out of the ordinary, she would call us straight away. She told me to tell you that she loves you, and she is sorry about everything. You'll see her again, she promised, not just right now."
Bella nodded, and put her head on Paul's shoulder. His warmth, and his presence were comforting her. Edward was finally out of their lives, they were free to be together. "Thank you, Sam. If you hear from Alice tell her that she knows where and how to find me."
Paul whispered softly, "Shall I take you home, kitty?"
Bella didn't know if she was ready to face her father, to see the room where she had spent so many nights with Edward. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself. She could do it, she was strong; and she had Paul. He had been amazingly supportive, and she appreciated and loved him even more. She needed to be worthy of him and his efforts. "Yes, thank you, but Paul... what do you think about it?"
Paul sighed, "Honestly... I would have preferred to be sure a hundred per cent that he wouldn't try anything else. But I trust Sam's judgment of the situation." Then Paul smiled at her and after said his goodbyes to take her home.
While they were leaving, Bella heard Jacob call her name. She turned and met the eyes of her very sorry best friend. "What is it, Jake?"
Jacob was looking at her with his puppy eyes. "I just wanted to apologize once again for my behavior... I'm really sorry, Bells."
Bella smiled softly. "I know you are... but can you accept me and Paul? Because our bond is not going to go away..."
Jacob smiled sheepishly. "I promise I'll try. And I want to apologize to you too, Paul, I didn't mean all the things I said. You are a honorable man and my brother, and I'm sure you'll make her happy."
Paul smiled back. "It's okay, Jacob, thanks for your words. I'm glad I can call you my brother."
Then Paul took Bella's hand and led her to his car, and started to drive to Forks. After a few minutes of silence he spoke. "So, kitten, I was thinking that the tribe has a nice cabin in the depth of the forest. I could organize a weekend for us there, would that be okay with you?"
Bella felt a blush starting to rise in her cheeks. "I would love to. I can tell Charlie that I'll spend the weekend at Emily's."
Paul smiled and took her hand. "Perfect! This weekend, you get to meet my mum, and the next one it's just for us. What do you say?"
Bella was happy, Paul's mother seemed nice and kind. "Can't wait to meet your mum. She looked lovely."
Paul nodded, "She really is, she just got involved with the wrong man. Now, hopefully, she'll be better off, seeing as my father left for good."
"Are you sure he's gone for good?" Bella asked timidly, she knew that it was a sour argument for him.
"Positive." he growled.
Bella turned to look at him. Could he... ? "Paul? You didn't do anything to your father, did you?"
He sighed, and shifted uncomfortably. "I ... I didn't hurt him, if that's what you wanted to know... I might have threatened him with bodily harm..."
"Good! Then I'm sure he won't show his face ever again." she said, and then when she saw his shocked expression, she added, "Well, it isn't right to beat a woman or a child. I don't agree with violence, but you just scared him away. Though, if he comes back and threatens your mum, you have my permission to kick his ass."
Paul laughed. "Kitty, you are really unique. I totally didn't expect that answer. It'll take me a lifetime to figure you out."
She blushed more deeply, and then she whispered. "I wouldn't mind if it did."
His expression softened. "One day, kitty... I'll convince you to marry me, are you aware of this?"
She nodded. "When the time will be right, I might just say yes."
They arrived at Bella's house, and they saw that Charlie wasn't there. Bella took a deep breath and turned to look at Paul. "Well I'll see you later then."
He searched her face. "Are you sure you want to stay here alone? I don't mind staying with you."
Bella shook her head. "I would love for you to stay, but I need some time with myself to sort out a few things. I promise I'll call you later. I love you, wolf-boy."
He kissed her quickly on her lips. "I love you more, kitty."
The day of the dinner finally arrived. Bella had prepared a chocolate cake, and she hoped that she and Jenny would get along. After all, Jenny eventually was going to be her mother-in-law, of that Bella didn't have any doubt.
Paul arrived at six to pick her up, and they silently made their way to his house. They didn't need to talk, their relationship had evolved to the point in which they could stay silent, and it wasn't embarrassing or uncomfortable.
When Paul parked, he turned to look at her, and took her hand. "Remember, kitty, there isn't anything you need to prove. My mother will love you, but if she doesn't, you're still stuck with me."
Bella nodded, and bit her lip. "I hope she likes me."
They exited the car, and Paul rang the bell. Jenny went to open, and smiled welcomingly at Bella. "Bella, it's so nice to officially meet you. Paulie hasn't stop talking about you since he met you."
Bella blushed, but she noticed with great satisfaction that he did too. "Mum, is it necessary to embarrass me this way?" whined her beloved boyfriend.
Jenny laughed and said, "Oh, Paulie! Bella must already know all your flaws, she should find out about your qualities too. Paulie, here, is such a cuddly thing, isn't he?"
Bella saw Paul cringing. Cuddly? She laughed. "Indeed, Paulie really looks like a cuddly teddy bear." She saw that he glared at her for a moment, and then he laughed too.
Paul sighed and let Bella in. "Fine, team up against the poor innocent guy here. Whatever am I going to do with you two harpies?"
Jenny and Bella laughed, then Jenny said, "Paulie, you're anything, but a poor innocent guy."
Bella quipped. "I agree."
The meal went on splendidly. His mother and Bella hit it off wonderfully. By the end of the meal Paul knew that they were going to be great friends. He smiled, he couldn't imagine anything better than sitting at a table eating with his most important people in the world.
Paul reflected that he and Bella had gone through so much that it still baffled him how they managed to be there, in that moment, happy and whole.
He knew that the next weekend he was finally going to make her his. His wolf had laid low, knowing that soon she was going to be claimed for life. He wondered if Bella would be willing to be marked, that was something that they would have to discuss before anything else happened. He hoped to have enough self-control if she didn't agree.
"Paulie?" said a smirking kitten. "Where were you? I thought we lost you."
"Just thinking..." he raised his eyebrow, and he saw that Bella understood about what. The tell-tale blush appeared on her beautiful cheeks. She was going to pay for teasing him with the nickname that his mother used for him.
His mother laughed, and turning to Bella said, "I don't really want to know what he was thinking, but I might have an idea."
Bella blushed, and put her face in her hands. "Please, Jenny let's change the topic."
Paul joined his mother in her laugh. "Well, Bella, that would be pay-back for some of the teasing I had to endure for the whole night."
Jenny stood up, and started to take away the dishes. "Now, now, Paulie be nice with our guest." When both Paul and Bella started to help her, she added, "Don't worry about here, I can do it myself. Just go out and enjoy each other."
Bella smiled, and then said, "Thanks, Jenny for the wonderful meal. It was a pleasure to meet you."
His mother smiled back. "It was nice to meet you, I think you'll make my Paulie really happy. Thanks for taking a chance on him..."
Bella blushed, and whispered. "He took a chance on me first... I owe him my happiness. I promise I'll take care of him."
His mother seemed moved by her words, she cleared her throat. "Now, out of here! I hope to see you soon again."
Bella nodded and thanked his mother profusely again. Paul liked that his girl was kind, sweet and lovable. He knew his mother had been won over by her simplicity and natural beauty.
He took Bella's hand, and after bidding his mother goodnight, he walked with his kitten to the car. "I think it went well. My mother loved you."
Bella smiled. "I loved her too. She is really nice."
Paul drove her home, Charlie wasn't there yet so they sat on the sofa. Bella curled into Paul's side and he put an arm around her shoulders. They started to watch TV, but he was distracted by her proximity. It was taking all his self-restraint and more, not to jump her. Patience, just one more week...
"Kitty... there is something we need to discuss before we go away next weekend." What? Was he really going to ask her now? The wolf growled, he wanted to know now if she would be theirs.
Bella blushed, and looked up. "Okay."
He cleared his throat, how the hell was he supposed to say it? "I... that is... we... so..." He stopped, he was fucking stuttering. "Okay, here we go. Imprinting is not just a bond between two souls, there is a second component. The wolf. The man will claim the imprintee physically and mentally, but the wolf requests a marking. It can wait, I mean if you don't feel comfortable having another scar on your body yet."
Paul saw Bella look down on her wrist, where the scar of the bite was. She seemed thoughtful, then she looked up at him and said, "I didn't choose any of the scars I have on my body, but each tells a story, they're a part of my past. With you I want everything, Paul, I trust you with my life, with my soul and with my body. If the marking is part of our bond, then do it when you think it's the right time."
He closed his eyes, but tears sprung out anyway. He felt a feather light touch on his face, and then butterfly kisses. He opened his eyes to see Bella looking back at him with an intense expression. "You deserve to be loved, Paul, and I hope to do it for as long as I can."
He smiled at her. "I don't know what I did to deserve you. I love you, Bella Swan, and I plan to spend the rest of my life proving it to you. There is another thing left to say." He took a deep breath and then went on, "As a wolf I won't be able to age normally, so I decided that as soon as we are sure there isn't any other trouble... I'll quit. There'll be enough wolves even without me."
Bella looked at him with shock. "Paul! You don't have to do it for me... I understand it now, I'm not bothered much about ageing..."
He caressed her face and said, "I'm not doing it just for you. I want a normal life, I want to be able to leave this place if we so choose. I had my fights and my fun, but I don't need to be a wolf to be complete. I just need you."
She put her head on the crook of his neck. "I love you very much, and I'll support your decision, whatever it is."
He nodded and held her close. "Okay, then it's settled. I'll talk to Sam and will find out what I need to do to quit." he growled at her. "But it will take a long time before my inner wolf will be quite. Until then, you're stuck with both of us."
Bella laughed. "I wouldn't want it any other way."
Paul bid her goodnight a few minutes later. Charlie was just parking his car. They agreed that Paul would pick her up next Saturday afternoon, with the excuse that she was spending a girls-weekend out. He couldn't wait for it.
They arrived at the cabin, and he was feeling jittery. A look to his kitty, and she looked a mix between excited and terrified. He smiled, and took her hand. "Remember, kitty, we don't have to do anything you aren't comfortable with."
Her eyes softened and she said, "I want this, I want us... care to show me around?"
He took her and the bags inside. The cabin had a nice open-area with a kitchenette on the left, and on the right there was a sofa and a fireplace. The whole room was dark save for the light from the fire and from the many scented candles around the room.
Paul saw Bella looking around, and he felt a bit nervous, would she like it? When she turned to look at him, he saw that she had tears in her eyes. "Paul, this is so beautiful."
He smiled, and relaxed slightly. "You are beautiful," he said.
His kitten blushed, still not used to his many compliments, in a way he hoped she would never lose that trait of hers; it showed her innocence and her shyness.
Bella smiled at him and then said, "Can you give me my bag?" he handled it to her. She walked towards the bedroom, and before entering she said, "It'll take just a few minutes."
Paul nodded, and for probably the first time in his life, he didn't think he could speak. The wolf growled, did he just whisper whipped? He almost laughed, his wolf didn't take nicely to him being so affected by Bella.
After a few minutes the door of the bedroom reopened and Bella came out wearing a long emerald night-gown. Paul swallowed, and he felt that his palms were sweaty. It would have been funny, if he didn't feel like a complete fool. He had had so many women, and now that he needed his usual wits, they were failing him.
The wolf smirked and offered to take over, but Paul knew that the only moment in which the wolf would come out it had to be during the marking.
Bella was shuffling her feet still on the threshold of the door, blushing and looking insecure. He had been staring in silence for far too long. He shook his head and then smiled. Slowly he walked to her and whispered, "I love you... you look absolutely stunning."
She blushed more deeply, but seemed unable to utter a single word.
Well, that made two of them. He decided that they both needed to relax. He led her to the sofa and while she sat there he went to turn on the stereo. Soft music filled the room. He looked at her and said, "Dance with me."
Bella stood up, he took her hands and put them around his neck. Then slowly he let his hands slide down her shoulders, until they reached her waist where they stopped. He felt her shivering and his arousal increased tenfold. His kitten was going to drive him crazy.
They started to sway with the music, Paul looked down at the exact moment when Bella looked up, their eyes met and locked. He slowly moved closer and kissed her on her mouth. The kiss started soft but progressed to passionate in a matter of seconds. Paul pulled away long enough to swipe her up in his arms, then he proceeded towards the bedroom.
When they arrived at the bed, he gently laid her down on it. After a moment he joined her. He started to kiss her on her mouth again, then he descended on her jaw and her neck. He could feel her heart beating wildly, and the scent of her arousal increasing. He slowly took off her night-gown, and looked at her for the first time.
She was blushing fiercely, but for once, she wasn't hiding from him. Paul felt his love for her swell, she trusted him completely, and he would make sure that she felt loved and cherished. They started to kiss again and after a moment he felt a soft tentative hand on his belt. He looked at her and nodded, so very slowly and with her hands trembling she opened the belt, and then unfastened his trousers. Paul stood up, and let them fall.
Her eyes were big pools of molten chocolate, she was biting her lip, and watching him in awe. "You are ..." she couldn't finish because Paul felt the need to be near her, and leaned in for another passionate kiss.
Paul didn't think he could be more nervous than in that moment, all his previous experiences had not prepared him to the emotion he would feel when finally making love to the woman who had so completely captured his heart.
He focused his attention on Bella, kissing and nibbling on her neck, then he slowly arrived at her breasts, but before going further he looked at her. Her dazed eyes understood his request, and she nodded. He kissed her breasts, first one and then the other. He took his time with it and Bella was writhing under him. Then he slowly kissed his way down until her navel, there he stopped again.
She looked unsure, but then nodded and he descended further. His kitten tasted amazingly, she was moaning and whimpering. He saw that she was trying to hold back, but he whispered. "Let go, kitty." she didn't need much more than that. She was a sight, laying there flushed and happy under him.
Paul crawled up to her,and when he reached her mouth, he kissed her fiercely. He looked at her then, "Are you ready, kitty?"
She nodded, he positioned himself at her entrance, then he chanced a last look at her, she was watching him carefully, but her eyes shone only with love and trust. Paul put his mouth on her shoulder. It was better to mark her as soon as possible, beside it would distract her from the other pain. He took a breath, pushed inside and bit simultaneously. She screamed and he stilled inside of her. He lapped at her shoulder, only the mark of his teeth was visible. "Sorry, kitty, I promise you, that this is the first and last time I hurt you."
She smiled at him. "I know..." then she willed him to move. He started to move inside of her, and the sensation was amazing. Now he knew the meaning of completeness.
By the end of their love-making they were both spent but happy. He was holding her in his arms, and sleep was claiming him. "I love you, Bella," he managed to say. The last thing he heard was, "I love you too, Paul."
He woke up to an empty bed. He stood up quickly and exhaled his breath when he saw that she was in the other room. His kitten was watching out of the window, covered only in a bed sheet. He went behind her and took her into his arms. She leaned back on to his chest.
The sun was just coming up, and its light was illuminating them in a soft glow. The sight was beautiful, but not as much as the woman in his arms, thought Paul.
"Are you okay, kitty?" he finally asked.
"Yes, I finally am." Was her reply.
They stayed there until the sun was well up into the sky, basking in their bond and in their love.
They both knew that their life was going to be happy and full. All the hurt that they both had suffered had turned them into better people, ready to face what the future held for them.
Paul would always remain a teaser and a tough guy, but when he was with his kitten he would turn into a considerate and amazing man.
Bella, very aware that happiness could be taken from her at any time, learned to live in the moment, she was less scared of the future and of growing old, because she knew that every day she would wake up and the first thing she would see would be Paul's loving eyes.