Hi guys, it was so nice to hear back from you. I'm amazed at how many of you are still reading…thank you. If you forget parts of the story, go back to chapter 16…it has summaries for the chapters. You guys really got me pumped with your reviews so here's the next chapter…we're back to BPOV. Enjoy!
"I love you," she moaned as her body spiraled into bliss.
I called her name as I reached my release and lost myself in her. Pushing back her sweaty hair, I kissed her lips gently.
"I love you too, sweetheart," I breathed against her lips.
Chapter 29 - Revenge
It felt like I was in a warm, safe cocoon as consciousness finally hit me. I opened my eyes, only to close them again just to savor the moment.
I snuggled closer to Edward as the sunlight warming my back triggered goose bumps. The warm arm around my shoulders shifted, his hand rubbing my arm. "Cold?" He said in a low tone, voice husky from sleep.
I lifted my face from his chest, peering up to find him smiling at me warmly. I shook my head, patting his bed hair down before replying. "Nope, just having an out of body experience."
Edward grinned, moving back to rest his head on his hand. "Hmm, I may know something about those."
I mirrored his position, grinning back at him. "I'm sure you do, Professor Cullen. I heard you specialize in them."
"Oh, what I'd like to teach you," Edward said, winking as I flushed at his brazenness. He leaned in to peck me gently on the lips.
"Thank you," he said quietly in a more serious tone than the light moment we had just shared.
"Don't embarrass me by thanking me, Edward. I should be the one thanking you. You made it so beautiful for me despite what happened-"
"Don't," he stopped me with his fingers on my lips. "It doesn't matter. It never did."
I died a little there, so I moved to hug him. He wrapped those thick protective arms around me making me feel like the safest woman in the world.
"I love you," I murmured into his shoulder. Edward kissed the side of my head, before tightening his arms around me.
"Bella…," Edward began, stroking his fingers through my hair. "I don't want to live here anymore. This city holds nothing for us but sadness and losses. I want to take a new start, away from here."
I moved out of his embrace, and we both sat up in the bed. The sheet covering me fell away, and I moved to grab it out of instinct. Edward stopped me by placing hand over me.
"Don't," he began, shaking his head. "You're beautiful inside and out," he said, gently caressing my right breast.
Smiling sheepishly, he continued, "Besides, I'm really enjoying getting acquainted with your body."
Shaking my head at him in humor, I smiled. Men, I thought to myself.
I straightened, thinking about what Edward had proposed. Would it really be a good idea to move away? Could it really be that easy to uproot our lives and start over?
There was so much to consider…even basic things such as could we even afford it? Financially I wasn't in a great place either, the job at the library wasn't even enough to make ends meet. The media attention with the whole Mallory fiasco had deprived me of my sole job reference as I had only worked with Paxiou since graduation. Needless to say, my reputation preceded me. Although Edward had stepped in at the right time and salvaged my image by negating Lauren's allegations, most people in New York would be wary of hiring someone like me.
"What are you thinking?" Edward asked, pulling me from my thoughts.
"About moving away…it's going to be hard. But I think…" I trailed off, thinking of the apartment that I had sold, and the return I had gotten off it would afford us some advantage.
"You think what?" Edward asked.
"I think it will be a good thing," I said confidently, mind made up.
He gave me a dazzling smile, before taking me in his arms. "I'm glad, Bella," he said excitedly. "So glad," he repeated, squeezing me more firmly. I smiled, stroking his back.
"Just watch, Bella. I'll make it up to you and finally be a good husband," he murmured contently.
Eyebrows furrowed, I moved out of his embrace. Shaking my head, I took his confused face in my hands before kissing him.
"You already are a good husband, Edward. I couldn't have asked God for anyone better," I reassured him before kissing his cheeks.
He smiled, but his eyes betrayed him and revealed his sadness. "I still can't provide for you," he murmured.
"Money doesn't matter," I said earnestly, grasping his hands tightly. "We'll make it through this tough time together. Our relationship is more than enough for that."
He didn't agree, I could tell but he wisely chose not to say more and changed the topic. "So where do you want to go?" He said, leaning back.
"I don't know. Maybe to a different state like Washington?"
"Hmm," he said non-commitantly.
"When did you want to move?" he asked, still lost in his thoughts.
"Soon," I said, "I'll have to talk to Mrs. Cope at the library."
And there was one more thing that I had to do. This time it was something for Edward.
I had a personal score to settle.
I had to pay a visit to Aro.
As I dressed for work, Edward busied himself with making breakfast. He was unaware of what was going on in my mind. This was probably a good thing because he wouldn't let me step outside the house if he did.
Edward claimed that he hated Aro. Still it was hard to imagine that anyone could despise Aro the way I did. He repulsed me to no end. Things could have been so different for Edward if Aro had only accepted Elizabeth with Edward.
It hurt to know what a deprived childhood Edward had led. Life had been unnecessarily harsh to that little boy. For a child to grow up with the belief that he was unwanted was despicable. And to be led to wrongly believe that his mother hated him was just downright cruel.
His strained relationship with his mother till her last moments was a great regret from what I could tell. So much sadness, anger, regret…all of it could have been so easily avoided.
All of it traced back to one cause.
Someone had to be the mirror so that he could see all that he had done. All the heartache he had caused.
That someone had to be me.
I may have not been rich enough to financially harm him in the way he had harmed Edward. Still I could hit him where it hurt most. I wanted to emotionally destroy him the way he had wrecked emotional havoc in our lives.
I wanted to play his emotions like he had mine. I wanted him to hurt the way Elizabeth had.
A knock on the door startled me. I opened the door to find Edward in his pajama pants. For a moment, I lost my train of thought as my eyes gawked in awe at his physical perfection.
He snapped his fingers in front of my eyes. "Daydreaming?" He asked, mischievous smile in place. I flushed, embarrassed to be caught staring.
Resting his hand against the door frame, he leaned in closer. "I'd be more than happy to accommodate some of those dreams," he whispered in a low voice.
"Edward!" I said in mock anger but couldn't stop the smile that spread across my face.
"Your breakfast awaits you, madame," Edward replied in a French accent, spreading an arm to gesture me forward.
The breakfast was delicious in the form of crispy buttermilk pancakes. I had been unaware of Edward's culinary skills.
He helped me with my coat at the door. Turning around, I smiled up at him.
"Thank you for the best 'morning-after'," I said cheekily.
"Glad to be of service," he replied proudly. I had to laugh at the look of satisfaction on his face.
"It's so good to see you laughing," he said, a far-away look in his eyes
"I must go now, I'm getting late," I said. Putting my hands on his shoulders, I pushed myself up on my toes to kiss his cheek.
He turned his face so that our lips could meet. Lingering there for a few sweet seconds, I breathed his scent.
"Bye," I whispered against his lips before hurriedly turning and leaving before I got anymore delayed.
"Of course, I understand," Mrs. Cope said, gently patting my hand. "This will be good for both of you. I'm sure of it."
"I hope so," I said, although the hesitation of taking such a monumental step was creeping in.
"Stop overthinking it, Bella. In life you just have to learn to go with the flow," she said and I nodded.
"So when do you plan to move?" She asked.
"About a month or so. Of course, that's only if it's okay with you?" I asked.
"Yes, it should be alright…I think I'll be able to find a replacement for the library," she replied but then took me by surprise by hugging me while saying "Although it is unlikely they will be half as good as you."
I hugged her back tightly. "I'm really going to miss you, Mrs. Cope."
I stood on the side walk and stared up at the tall tower. Aro Enterprises.
It was funny how unfair life was. On one side, there was us who were relying on Franco for a place to live. And on the other side, there was Aro, a malicious, evil man who was getting richer by the minute.
Clenching my fingers around my hand bag, I moved towards the entrance.
Progressing towards the receptionist, I firmly said, "I'd like to meet Aro Volturi," before she could greet me. Her pale face was masked with heavy makeup, black shiny hair restrained in a bun.
With a plastic smile, she replied. "Do you have an appointment, ma'am?"
"No," I said. She pursued her lips, trying to formulate an appropriate response.
"I'm afraid he doesn't meet visitors without appointments," she said apologetically.
I smiled sardonically before leaning across the counter. "I'm sure he'll be more than happy to make an exception for me. Tell him that Bella C-…Bella Masen is here to see him."
There, that would give him something to think about, I thought, smiling to myself.
The receptionist blinked, before picking up the phone. "Good afternoon, Sir. Ms. Bella Masen is requesting to see you."
"Yes, Sir. I'll bring her right up," she replied, disconcerted.
After putting the phone down, she stared at me questioningly. "Mr. Volturi would love to see you, ma'am."
I smiled. "I'm glad to hear that."
The interior of the building was as sleek and modern as the outside.
"Just through those white doors there," the receptionist gestured.
"Thank you," I replied, moving towards the doors. Grasping the cool metal handle, I took a deep breath before turning it and moving inside.
Aro's thin figure was clad in a white suit and he greeted me with a smile of childish delight.
"Oh Bella, I'm delighted to see you here," he exclaimed. I'm sure you are, I thought wryly.
"I knew it was a matter of time before you came down to me," he said knowingly. I raised an eyebrow at that.
"Oh come now, a beautiful woman of your caliber certainly know what's best for her. Or for that matter who is," he said seductively.
"Sure of yourself, aren't you?" I asked, unable to mask the disgust in my voice.
"You could say that," he said cockily. "My dear, in my line of business, you have to pretty sure of yourself to acquire what you want," he said, staring at me fixatedly.
"Well, my dear Aro," I said, dragging the words sarcastically, "I hate to break it to you, but I'm pretty content with where I am as well as with who I am."
Aro laughed, the childishness of his voice grating my nerves. "Aren't you precious? All that fiery anger and self-rightousness."
"I'm not an acquisition to be made," I replied bitterly.
"Everything in life has a price," Aro said maliciously.
"Not me. You may have been able to sell out Edward's company but you'll never be able to buy me," I said angrily.
"What do you see in him? He doesn't have anything that can hold someone like you!"
"He loves me," I said, quietly.
He stared at me amusedly. "Love. Which era do you live in, sweetheart? You're in New York city and this is the 21st century. Love isn't going to feed you, you need money," he smiled secretively before continuing, "And I'm offering it. Lots of it."
"You're an asshole," I murmured but Aro was nonplussed.
"There's no shame in accepting something good that comes your way," he said charmingly.
"You know Aro, you may be very successful monetarily. But emotionally, you're a failure."
My words echoed in the suddenly quiet room.
"I pity you. You don't deserved to be loved. Maybe Elizabeth was lucky that you left her."
Aro turned around, face red with angry eyes. "Don't talk about Elizabeth. You don't know anything about her."
"No, you're wrong. I know everything. You made a mistake by letting her go, Aro. And now you'll always be alone."
Aro stared at me furiously as I continued. "Hurts doesn't it? You hurt me too by making a public scandal of what happened with me. Didn't you think of Elizabeth even for a second?"
I gave a short laugh. "No, you probably didn't. No surprises there. You'd have to have a conscience for that. "
"Aro, you may be richer than Edward but in reality you are so poor compared to him He has compassion and love but you, you're just a dark, hollow chasm."
Aro grinned evily, "You say this now. Give it a month. You'll come back running to me with your tail between your legs."
"No, I won't," I said quietly, throwing off Aro.
"It could have been different, Aro. You could have accepted Edward and Elizabeth. You could have flourished as a family. But your ego destroyed you."
"No! I would have accepted that bastard over my dead body," Aro shouted. "I would never have accepted another man's child. Elizabeth deserved to die! She got what she had earned by keeping Edward."
"You don't mean that…you're angry because you know I'm right. You know that you're lonely," I paused before continuing."Regret is painful. It stings like a fresh wound. I came here today, not to partner with you or to plot against Edward. I came here to give you a gift. And that's regret."
"It's gonna burn, Aro. Enjoy the solitude cause it's gonna last a lifetime."
With that, I turned around and walked towards the doors.
I stopped with my hand on the metal door, turning my head around to see a distraught Aro.
"Rot in hell, you bastard," I murmured before walking out the door and contently smiling as I heard it slam behind me.
I couldn't stop smiling as I exited from the elevators and turned to the right, widely smiling at the receptionist as she stared confusedly back at me.
But there was something that caught the corner of my eye and stopped my smile.
I turned around, just to catch a flash of bronze hair as it disappeared into the elevator.
I watched as the elevator stopped at level 50, the highest level…Aro's office floor.
Pressing the elevator button, I prayed I was wrong or mistaken.
As the elevator opened, I quietly tip-toed around the corner, coming to a stop at office's threshold.
Bending down, I peered through the minor gap between the doors.
It was a good thing that I was holding on to the door handles or I would have fallen back from the shock of who I saw.
It was Edward's grandmother. It was…
A/N: Thanks for reading. Surprised? I'm so excited to share the rest of the story with you guys…I have some more twists and turns coming up!
Okay…thoughts? Were you guys expecting Francine there? What do you think she is doing there? What did you think of the Bella-Aro face-off? Eager as always to hear from you guys…