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CHAPTER 16

Jacob stood in James's Casino office looking straight ahead his dark eyes not even blinking, legs straight and arms crossed in front of him. He was the picture of calm, but inside he was nervous, and worried concerning the failed hit on the Cullen's, especially when he was unable to kidnap Bella Swan. It had not been his fault, for Cullen was a lucky fucker, escaping the barrage of bullets without so much as a scratch, though he had to leave Jared behind to take the fall and is probably dead by now; Cullen was notorious for not leaving his enemies alive. When James first let him in on the plan Jacob was all for it until he learned that Bella could get hurt.

James wanted him to take the Cullen's out and wound Edward so he could watch Bella kidnapped before his very eyes. What sounded good at first turned into something sick the more James went on about, Bella and what he wanted to do to get back at Cullen?

Jacob knew he was a bastard and treated her terribly, but deep down he saw Bella as a friend that he still loved, and did not want any harm to befall her. When he saw one of their people hiding in the shadows grab Bella, and then see her suddenly fall to the ground he had felt so much fear for her in that moment that he quit firing and told Embry to drive. James never told him that Bella would be in the middle of it all, that she could be the one hurt over this. James just fucking did not care who got hurt just as long as he got his revenge.

Therefore, he stood there in James's presence bleeding from minor wounds, from when the car crashed, listening to him rant, raves about his failure to carry out something so simple as to kill or wound Cullen, and bring his girl to him; not Cullen's girl but his. It was as if James had become obsessed with Bella, almost to the point he wanted her for himself, and Jacob was not happy with James getting anywhere near her in that way.

"Explain to me what happened?" James asked looking intently at Jacob.

"There was a slight slip-up, I…" Jacob replied cut off by James.

"A slip-up, what the fuck, I do not pay you to make slip-ups," James bellowed, breathing heavily.

"Alright, James just chill out…I can fix this," Jacob tried to appease.

"Fix this," James spat. "I should have known better, than to trust you to do this one simple thing." He said as he thumped his fist hard on the top of his desk. "You failed Jacob, I gave you plenty of time and ammo to do the job and you failed. Not only that you left Jared gets captured, while you ran like a fucking scared little girl." His voice was cold, as he continued glaring at him, tapping his fingers on his desktop. "Ask me why I should even spare your life right now, go ahead ask me."

"I-I…" Jacob stuttered, not knowing how to answer him.

"If I did not know any better I would think that you still had feelings for the Swan bitch," James said in a steely voice.

Jacob stiffened, how the fuck did, he know that, he thought to himself.

"You thought I did not know," James said coldly.

"No, she's…nothing to me," Jacob, replied.

"Well then why did you not bring her too me? What is so hard about obtaining what I want?" James sneered.

Jacob just stood there not sure how to answer him. "What you want?" he asked instead.

James nodded, "Yes."

Jacob stared at him in disapproval, thinking James did have a darker motive for wanting to kidnap Bella… he was right James was obsessed.

"Why are you targeting her," he asked.

"I already told you why," James, sneered.

"This is crazy…I mean I hate Cullen to but to use a totally innocent woman to exact your revenge."

"If you know what's good for you, you will not say another word to me about this."

"It's almost like you have an ulterior motive." Jacob continued ignoring his warning.

"Get out," James spat, rising from his chair.

"But, James-"

"Get out." James roared, pointing toward the door. "Before I have you killed."

Without another word, Jacob quickly exited his office and wondered getting involved with James had been such a good idea after all…

..

It was Monday morning, and three weeks after the terrible incident at Calypso.

Edward sat at his desk in his office, with a grin on his face, other than the attempted hit and kidnapping, he had enjoyed his time spent with Bella and his family; and was more than happy that she had fit in so well with them. Everyone other than his grandfather, had fallen in love with her, saw what he now saw in her.

It was crazy how much of a good mood he was in after the rollercoaster of emotions he had undergone since the attempted hit made against him. Even his henchmen were shocked into silence when he laughed after reporting to him the status of the interrogations of his men including family members. They were unable to discover the mole, either the bastard was very good at lying, or they were not on the inside after all. His grandfather was furious still not speaking to him and he did not care. He needed knocked down a peg or two, made to realize he was not the one in charge any longer, and was over stepping his bounds. His father understood and had no hard feelings toward him and even said he would have done the same. However, he was still not giving up and would have his men and all of his houses monitored twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, until the mole was ratted out.

The men sat on the opposite end of the table staring at him as if he had lost his mind; they were so stunned that they did not speak for at least thirty seconds.

Edward, shook off his thoughts clearing his throat, and sat up straighter in his chair, before saying in an authoritative voice,"We need to make sure we take extra precautions. Since the attack the feds have been cracking down on all of us, and I am still not giving up the search for the mole, even if the interrogations were unsuccessful."

He could still feel the men's shock when they left his office a few moments later, but he could not make himself concerned with the failure to find the mole when he was in love for the first time in his life, and was now planning to ask the woman he loved to marry him.

He had not asked her yet. The main reason for that was he had been too confused about his feelings to admit that he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. He had rather shown his hand; by saying, he wanted to be with her and he cared deeply for her, but was not in love with her. He knew that she was under the impression that he only wanted her as his lover, admitting a long time ago that he was not marriage material. Then again, she had not slapped him and walked away instead shocked him by telling him it did not matter.

The woman had turned him inside out, since the first day that he had met her. His blood still heated, and sizzled from their stolen kisses and moments together ever since. After the hit and the realization of his new found love for her he had pondered the last three weeks how to go about asking her to marry him. With another award-winning smile, he laughed aloud, he felt positively elated today, nothing getting to him. Very soon now, he was going to put to rest her fears of him not returning her feelings, and worrying that he might be seeing other women. She had nothing to worry about, he craved only one woman and that was, Bella.

One day later, he was playing over the reasons of confessing he loved Bella with a diamond ring in his palm when the door to his office opened and Jessica strode through it. Edward sat back in his high, backed leather chair, surprise swelling quickly to disgust. For Jessica stood before him with a very determined look upon her beautifulface.

"What do you want?" he asked in a chilling voice, quickly opening a drawer to his desk and placing the diamond ring inside to hide it from her prying eyes.

"Why have you been ignoring me, Edward?" Jessica asked, in a sultry purr.

He was surprised as her hands rose and began to unbutton her already form fitting blouse, to land at her hips revealing she was only clad in a see through blue bra and left little to the imagination.

"I thought I already explained that to you." He grated out.

She was smiling seductively at him her ruby red lips pouting as she brazenly licked them; she slowly caressed one of her hands over her pert breasts and lower.

Jessica gave him a puzzled frown, "Don't you want me?" she asked. Not wanting to believe that what he said to her months before was very true.

"What do you think?" he grated out through clenched teeth as he tried to avert his eyes from her see through lingerie. He was aware of Jessica's eyes roaming over his body, and actually felt sickened.

Jessica ignored his last comment as she slowly stocked toward him, to stop in front of his chair. "You and I have had this thing between us. Now all the sudden you're ignoring me," she said with what was supposed to be a sexy, whine. "I mean…we have been so close… then all the sudden…nothing," she said.

He watched as she sat down on the chair in front of his desk. Her legs parted, giving him full view of her female covered mound. One long nailed hand flying up to her chest and calling attention to her abundant cleavage, exposed by the see through so-called bra

His eyes widened, and then narrowed. Now in the past Edward would have been all for this type of seduction from a woman taking from her what she offered without hesitation or much regard for feelings, but not since Bella.

"Jessica," he said in a warning tone.

"Oh, darling," she cooed. She was up and around his desk in a blink of an eye to stand before him. She pouted, sliding a hand lightly over his chest, and shoulder. "I've missed you so much."

Yes,Jessica and he had shared some crazy nights together, but over the last months there had been very little between them, he had thought he had made that clear when he threw her out of his bedroom many months ago, apparently not.

"Jessica, I-"

Jessica put a finger to his lips to silence him. "I want you Edward, and I know that you want me," she said before pushing her breasts in his face.

Edward stiffened, his hands fisted at his sides. He was unable to speak from the anger bubbling up within him, as his facial expression hardened and his emerald green eyes darkened and sparked.

Fucking bitch, she knew that he did not want this with her any longer.

Barely able to control himself he placed his hands on her shoulders and roughly pushed her away from him. Raising his head to look directly into her eyes, he gave her a cold, hard stare.

"You thought wrong." he said tersely as he dropped his hands back down onto his lap, and watched as anger flashed in her blue eyes.

"You don't mean that," she gasped as the meaning of his words finally sunk in.

"I've told you…that I no longer want you."

"How can you do this to me? I yearn for you. You'll never know how desperately I still want you," she cried.

He shook his head.

"Oh, Edward!" she whimpered, "How could you?"

"I've moved on, a long time ago. What we had is in the past," he said harshly hoping she got the point.

"Come on Eddie," she tried to persuade reaching out to run her fingers through his hair, "You and I are meant to be together."

He caught her arms and pushed them down roughly, "I said no! Get that through your fucking head," he snarled.

"But why?" she demanded. Then she stiffened, as something dawned on her. Her eyes narrowed on him. "It's that fucking bitch isn't it?" she sneered.

Edward tried to control the anger racing through his body for daring to call the woman he loved a fucking bitch. Even though he was raging on the inside, he sat in his chair with controlled silence, not showing Jessica how much she was angering him.

"You want her don't you? More than me," she growled.

"Yes," he said simply.

A sultry, predatory smile formed on her lips as she suddenly straddled him on his chair. "I can make you forget about her," she cooed, as she flung her arms around his neck to pull him toward her. "I know you want me."

Oddly enough, he did not, not anymore, and he wondered what he ever saw in her, and all those other women he had slept with over the years. He was disgusted with her with himself for even letting her touch him.

"Jessica," he said roughly, "It's over, and it's going to stay that way."

"I'll make you want me to stay!" she cried as she slammed her lips upon his.

He froze for a moment in shock before the shock turned to irritation and disgust. He pushed Jessica none to gently from his lap, where she tumbled into unattractive heap on the floor and rose up out of his chair.

"You fucking bitch, what part of we are over do you not understand," he bellowed.

He stepped around Jessica glaring up at him from the floor, but was stopped when she gripped onto his pants leg and held on tight.

"No you do not mean that," she pleaded. "We are meant to be together."

"Let go," he warned her in a deadly voice, "Before I make you."

"No! I love you, Edward. I know that bitch could never give to you what I can." She cried, desperately.

He reached down and wrapped his fingers around her neck. Jessica gasped in surprise at his sudden man handling of her, "I warned you Jessica," he hissed.

His only thought was to get this crazy fucked up bitch away from him and out of his office.

"Please," she gasped out, her hands tearing at his hand wrapped around her throat.

At least she let go of his pants leg.

He almost laughed. Did she not realize how pathetic she was to him right now? "I said get the fuck out," he said harshly. His fingers tightening on her throat, and giving her a small shake.

"No," she said glaring up at him defiantly.

"Have it your way," he said cruelly. Then finally pried his fingers from around her throat and quickly stepped around her. Before reaching for his phone on his desk and dialing a number.

"Please don't," she wailed.

Edward glared daggers of fury at her, "Yes Felix I need you in my office now."

"You-you bastard!" she screeched. After he hung up his phone and stood smirking evilly at her.

The door opened and in walked Felix.

"Felix I want you to escort Miss Stanley out of my office and off the premises," Edward said as he pulled Jessica roughly up off the floor, only still clad in her undergarments.

Felix's eyes widened when he got a good look at Jessica, and Edward chuckled with dark humor at her expense. Stupid bitch serves her right, he thought.

"You selfish son of a bitch at least let me put my clothes back on." She did not even try with the tears this time, furious from his rejection of her.

"No I do not think so, act like a whore and you shall be treated like one," Edward said handing her off to Felix. "Oh and Jessica consider yourself fired I want your stuff packed and removed from your office within the hour. When I come back from my meeting, I had better not find one sign of you being here or there will be dire consequences," Hesnarled.

Jessica's eyes widened, "You-you wouldn't…dare," she gasped.

"I just did," he said darkly. "I forewarned you a long time ago not to pull another stunt like this." He shrugged his shoulders in mock sympathy. "You were stupid to not heed my warning. Consider yourself lucky I am not having you killed."

Without giving her a chance to reply, he nodded to Felix whom quickly took a hold of her upper arm and pulled her none too gently toward the door.

"Please, Eddie! I can make you happy!" Jessica cried, trying to dig her heels into the plush carpet.

"Felix, get her out of here before I do something I will regret," he said, and watched Felix escort her out of his office and hopefully out of his life for good…

..

JAMES LUCAS was seething with anger, over the last few weeks after the failed hit and kidnapping; for he could not stop, thinking about the way Jacob accused him of having an ulterior motive for wanting the Swan woman. It was no one's business but his own how he operated using Cullen's girls as advantage, and he was never going to stop. However, this one seemed to interest him more than the others ever had, and he found himself thinking that it would be fun to have his way with her. It would be fucking hilarious to watch the most feared mob boss lose his shit knowing his woman was now his enemies. He just had to get Cullen's woman to see his way of things, and then she would be his for the taking.

He had been right to think Jacob had been too weak to go through with his plan especially when he found out that his precious ex-girlfriend Bella Swan was involved. Yet Black needed money, and since he once dated Bella Swan and knew her so well, he seemed the best person to kidnap Cullen's mistress. Now he wished he would have used Volturi to watch over her, and kidnap her three weeks ago.

Speaking of mistresses, he knew that Cullen kept a harem of them. His mole informed him months before that he had overheard a heated discussion between Cullen and his latest mistress. Cullen had made it clear that he no longer wanted her in his life and dumped her, throwing her out of his home, and he suspected it had to do with Bella. Word had gotten back to him that Miss Stanley had tried once again to seduce Cullen at his office and once again rejected her. Bitter and angry from his second rejection Jessica would do anything to get back into Cullen's good graces or for that matter seek revenge. He fingered the pendant that hung around his neck and smiled. All he had to do was wait patiently until his men hunted her down and brought her to him, and then he would have the perfect person to help Isabella Swan see her precious man in a new light.

..

It was three weeks later after the shooting incident; Bella's injury healed nicely and was barely noticeable any more. Anthony had barely left her side since the shooting, except when she was at home with her parents. He still did not feel comfortable speeding time with her there because of her dad's behavior toward him, and on those days, she missed him terribly.

She decided to take it upon herself one day to introduce Anthony to her parents by having a sit down dinner at their home, for it was just over three weeks ago that she had gotten to meet his family and it was only right that he should meet hers. Her mother was happy that she had finally found a man, but her father was being stubborn about everything that had to do with his daughter dating, and was unwilling to treat him with respect, which led to their worst fight yet when it came to her relationship with Anthony.

"I do not want you dating him anymore," Charlie said to her a couple evenings before her planned dinner with Anthony and her parents. She was sitting on their couch watching TV when Charlie decided it was the best time for this discussion.

"How many times do I have to tell you dad that it does not matter what you say, I'm still seeing him."

"I'm telling you Bella there is something not right with him, I just have that feeling and you know when I get that gut instinct its always right." Charlie said thinking back to many years ago before his brother and son was killed in the cross fire of a gang war. He had felt it then too, but ignored it, and was not about to make the same mistake twice. He could not live with himself if something should happen to his daughter or wife too.

"You do not even know him," Bella argued.

"Why did you not feel the need to tell me that you were in the middle of a shootout while with Masen?"

"Because I did not think it was that big of a deal."

"See," Charlie, said pointing a finger at her, "That is the reason I do not have to know him to know there is something wrong."

"I am not breaking up with him."

"Yes you will," Charlie said. "Or I'll make you. Has he threatened you?"

"What…no, you cannot do that, I'm a grown woman. I will pick and choose who I can date not you."

"Bella see my reasoning, please I care about you and do not want to see you get hurt emotionally or physically. I'm telling you for your own good, get out before it's too late."

"I love him, dad." Bella whispered. "It's already too late."

"Then do not expect me to accept him, I do not approve of him and never will."

"Dad, please," Bella pleaded, trying to get him to see reason. "I do not understand you. Why can you not accept him when you were able to accept Jacob, and look where that got me?"

"No, Bella I've made up my mind and it will not be changed." He said getting up and storming out of the living room. Mad at his daughter for not understanding where he was coming from. If it were the last thing he did, he would find the underlying cause of whom Anthony Masen really was. He had that sneaky suspicion, and being a police chief had its advantages, he would not rest until he was certain Bella was safe.

Bella sat there in shocked, angry silence trying to figure out what had just happened. It hurt terribly that her father, whom she loved deeply, could not accept the other man in her life; she did not want to have to choose between them if that day were ever to come, because she knew without a doubt that it would be Anthony. She just hoped that everything would be okay come time for the dinner or she did not know what she would do.

Two days later

So much for getting along Bella thought…for the look her father was throwing at Anthony told her that he was not going to be nice. She watched as her father's eyes traveled from her to glare upon the man who was the cause of their current problems, prowling around their living room. Even now, his presence demanded attention, radiating authority, and power in their small living room. It had not been easy to convince her father to let Anthony come over to eat dinner, and he still was not convinced that the man did not mean to harm her or cause any trouble. Somehow, he gave in and actually let him into the house, though he would not give them any privacy.

Charlie kept repeating under his breath that he thought Anthony was "Bad Company."

"Why do you keep saying that?" she questioned him in a low voice.

"Because," her father said then glanced over in Anthony's direction who stood close to their fireplace, "There's just something about him…I'm telling you that man is trouble."

"Surely you realize that if Anthony wanted to hurt me he'd have done so?" she asked.

"That don't mean…I have to like him," Charlie grumbled.

"Charlie, why don't you give Bella and Anthony some space and come in and help me set the table," Renee' asked as she stood from the sofa and headed toward the kitchen.

Charlie continued to sit on his rocker glaring at Anthony who had turned from looking at the pictures to return her father's glare, neither willing to give an inch.

"Charles Swan, do not make me come in there," her mother yelled from the kitchen.

Charlie stood up to stand in front of her, "I'll be in the kitchen," he paused giving Anthony another hard glare, then turned his head back to look down upon her, "If he tries anything…anything at all you call me, you hear?" He said as he leaned down to give her a quick peck on the forehead before straightening up.

"Dad," Bella half-whined half warned.

"Better to be safe than sorry," he replied. With one last death glare in Anthony's direction, he turned and walked out of the room, leaving her alone with Anthony.

Bella left out a sigh, glad to have some peace from her overbearing father. She turned her head to look in his direction, "I'm sorry for the way he's acting."

"Are you feeling today, Bella?" Anthony asked, ignoring her apology. He stood near the fireplace gazing at her his emerald green eyes glowing, for a moment she was helpless to look away.

"I'm fine...my wound is almost nonexistent, now?"

He flashed a bone-melting smile, walking toward her. She felt the sudden flutter of her heart, as she watched him lower himself to sit close to her on the sofa. His eternally watchful gaze roved over her face, causing her to want to curl closer to him than she already was.

"I missed you?" He said in a seductive voice. His hand caressed her cheek then temple where the small bandage covered the cut on her head.

Bella smiled, "I miss you all the time, when we are not together."

He laughed wholeheartedly, causing small goose bumps to form on her flesh at the sexiness of that sound, "I'm glad, that you're feeling better." He said running his hand soothingly down her arm smirking.

Bella could feel herself grow weak at the sight of that damned sexy smirk of his, and those smoldering emerald green eyes that she could get so lost in. She closed her eyes to try and bloke the sensual memory exploding in her mind of just how much she explored those tantalizing lips of his with her tongue. When the silence that had fallen between them became unbearable, she slowly opened her eyes to look upon him again, and tried with difficulty to read his thoughts, only to find that she came up with noting. Though she could not deny that since the shooting, he was showing her more affection than he used to, especially in public.

"I'm sorry, but what may be obvious to you, is not to me." She said huffily folding her arms across her chest in a small act of defiance.

"I'm here aren't I, does that not say anything to you?" he asked, as his dark eyes glittered dangerously, possessively into hers, an unnamed emotion shinning deep in there depths. "I mean I am willing to take your father's abuse to be with you tonight."

"What?" she gasped, not sure what he was getting at?

"You're mine, you belong to me," he said in a possessive voice, "Even if your father thinks otherwise."

"Anthony, you-you just can't say things like that," she whispered through a suddenly dry throat. The sexual tension in the room rose alarmingly between them, as they stared into each other's eyes. She had not known they had gotten so close until her mother's voice snapped her out of her Anthony induce stupor, and realized they were about to devour each other right there in her parents living room.

"Bella dear, dinner is ready, please bring our guest in so we can eat," Renee called from the kitchen.

Anthony gave her a disappointed pout before he stood and offered his hand to help her up, "Let's not keep them waiting, god knows I need not give your father more ammunition to use against me tonight."

"I am so sorry, I just hope he behaves himself, you should not have to go through this-"

"Bella he's your father he has every right to be protective of you, whether I like it or not. Be thankful he cares about you."

"Oh I am, it's just…never mind," she said as she guided him into the dining room and over to their chairs where Anthony pulled her chair out for her before seating himself.

She scowled when her father left out a disapproving grunt, as he glared daggers at him across the table. What was his problem, Anthony was treating her like a lady and it still did not meet with is approval, she prayed for strength and patience to get them through this dinner tonight.

The dinner was tense as they sat eating; Bella's mother had asked Anthony a few questions about his occupation, which he answered, and shared a few things about his family, and it was not going to bad until her father, decided to drop a bombshell.

"So when were you going to tell me why I had to find out through my employees that you and my daughter were involved in a shoot-out down town about three weeks ago Masen, is that why my daughter came home with that bandage on her head, did she get hurt?" Charlie asked glaring at the both of them.

"Dad," Bella cried. "It wasn't our fault. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Why do I get the sneaky suspicion that someone was at fault here?" Charlie asked, glaring at Anthony.

"It's nothing to worry about, Mr. Swan. I had it taken care of…it was nothing," Anthony answered her father.

"It was nothing you say. Nothing when my daughter got hurt because of it?"

"I'm telling you that I had the situation under control, Chief Swan," Anthony said as he glared at him from across the table.

"Situation, Why is it that when you are around my daughter bad things seem to happen, Masen?" Charlie asked curtly.

The easy smile and teasing glimmer in those emerald green eyes was gone. Bella noticed the glimpse of sadness before he closed his expression. She frowned, angry with her father for using that accusing tone of voice with Anthony and puzzled at the sudden emotion from Anthony after all he was not too much of the sentimental type when it came to his emotions.

"I cannot help that I am a very wealthy man, sir." Anthony said coldly. His hands fisted under the table to try to control his temper.

"Humph," Charlie snorted. "I know a lot of wealthy people and they don't seem to have near as much trouble as you do…you want to explain to me why that is?"

Bella watched Anthony's jaw clench with suppressed fury, as he glared across the table at her father. "I don't know sir, if I did there wouldn't be any more problems because they would be taken care of," he answered.

"That was the best bullshit answer I have ever heard." Charlie sneered shaking his head in displeasure.

"Take it as you will, but I meant what I said."

"Dad that's enough please stop. Anthony has done his best in trying to take care of me. You know I am a danger magnet…that I have always been, so stop pestering him." Bella scolded her father coming to Anthony's defense.

"Bella, don't," Anthony warned.

"No Anthony, you do not deserve him speaking to you like that."

"This is my house and I have a right to speak to him any way I want. If he does not like it he can leave."

"Dad," Bella cried.

"Bella, it's alright your father has a right to his opinion." Anthony tried to sooth her.

"That's enough," Renee' yelled, getting everyone's attention, "This is supposed to be a happy dinner to get to know Mr. Masen. I do not think it hospitable to sit here and attack him when he has the best interest in our daughter. So will you at least try to get along with him, so we all can get through this dinner?"

"Humph," Charlie mumbled as he scooped a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth and sat there glaring the rest of the time between Bella and Anthony.

Bella made eye contact with Anthony and mouthed, "I'm so sorry" to him; she was embarrassed by the way, her father was treating him. Anthony just smiled, and winked at her letting her know he was okay. She just prayed that no one tried to kill each other before the night was through.

Once everyone finished eating her mother rose from the table and began, collecting there plates. "Bella, dear why don't you help me in the kitchen," She asked.

"But…"

"Now, Bella I need to show you something, and I very well can't do it from the dining room now can I?" Renee' said.

Bella glanced back and forth between her mother, father and Anthony. Not sure, she was ready to leave the men by themselves. Anthony gave her a slight nod and a reassuring smile.

"Very well," she said somewhat reluctantly before following her mother into the kitchen to clean the dishes while Anthony and her father remained in the dining room.

"I do not think it wise to leave them alone," Bella said worriedly, glancing toward the door.

"Bella, leave them alone, or they will never have a chance to bond. Your father is stubborn, but he does wish the best for you, just give him a chance."

"I have tried mom, but I don't think dad likes Anthony at all."

"Then he'll have to get over it. That man is really into you, could hardly take his eyes off you the whole evening."

Bella blushed, If only it were true, she thought wistfully...

Meanwhile in the dining room.

The two men sat in silence after the women left the room. Edward felt the heated glare from Charlie boring into him from across the table he wanted to tell the police chief to pound salt, but knew he could not, not with Bella one room away from them.

"Why did you not report the incident yourself, Masen" Charlie asked.

"I did not think it was relevant, no one got hurt."

"What about my daughter,"

"Bella suffered a slight graze to the head. I had my father whom is a doctor take a look at her and he said she would be okay. Believe me Mr. Swan if it would have been bad Bella would be receiving the best medical care I could get her."

"My cop intuition is telling me not to trust you. Or for that matter let you anywhere near my daughter." Charlie said glaring at him. "I do not want you to see her anymore."

"I'm not going to stay away from her," Edward snarled in a clam deadly voice, his eyes narrowing to slits.

"What if I make you?" Charlie threatened.

"You can threaten me all you want Charlie, still not going to happen."

"You have some nerve coming into my home and acting as if you already belong. What are your intentions with my daughter?" Charlie asked in a steely voice.

"I… wish to someday marry her," Edward said clearing his throat, feeling a little uncomfortable with Charlie glaring at him.

"Mary her," Charlie asked mockingly.

Edward nodded not breaking eye contact with him; he was not going to give this man the satisfaction of backing down. The police chief did not know whom he was dealing with; if he were not Bella's father, he would be dead right now for his disrespect toward him.

Charlie leaned forward in his chair resting his elbows on the table "Are you going to continue working non-stop in your business…putting her at the bottom of your list of priorities when you and Bella get married?" Charlie asked.

Edward met Charlie's eyes, with a heated glare of his own. "What do you mean?"

"Well I was just wondering how a very prominent businessman such as yourself, would be there to take care of my daughter and possibly your children when you are always being called away to 'take care of business' as Bella would say. Wouldn't it be wise to think about stepping down, if you two were ever to get married?" Charlie paused to give him a pointed look, "You do want children someday I take it?"

Edward nodded his head, and thought long and hard about how to answer him. Charlie had no idea what kind of business he was in, stepping down was completely out of the question. He had a responsibility to produce an heir, a son, someone he could hand the reins over to once he was unable to lead anymore, and until that happened there would be no stepping down for him. He wanted that son to be a part of him and Bella, and he would not settle for anyone else. Though he knew whether he had, this man's blessing or not, he would still ask Bella to be his wife.

"I'm undecided, because at the moment I have no one to step down and give my business empire to. Maybe if I ever have a son I might give it to him but right now, I don't really know." He replied.

Charlie shook his head, "Well you better make sure you discuss this with Bella before you agree to get married." He said. "Because I won't stand by and watch you make her unhappy."

"She won't be unhappy, and as for being safe I have hired her security team to watch over her," Edward sighed.

Charlie huffed, "Well will see about that, because that seems to be all you do."

"I have done nothing but protect and care for, Bella." Edward grated.

"As far as I am concerned you haven't. My daughter has been in constant danger ever since she met you, and I don't like it."

"You think I want her to be in danger?

"Hmm, I don't know what it is about you boy, but I am having a lot of trouble liking you."

"You're entitled to your opinion."

"Humph…" Charlie grumbled.

"So do I have your blessing?" Edward asked.

Charlie made a sputtering noise as his face reddened in anger. If looks could kill, Edward would be dead right then.

Edward gave a humorless chuckle, "Just know this Charlie no matter what you say it will not stop me, from doing what I please."

At that moment Bella and her mother's laughter, stopped Charlie in what he was going to say next as both women entered the room. Bella noticed that both men were glaring at one another and she wondered what could possibly be wrong.

She sat back down reaching for Anthony's hand under the table and gave it a light squeeze. He turned his eyes on her squeezing her hand and giving her his famous lopsided smile.

"Oh Charlie don't they make such a cute couple?" Renee' asked in awe.

With a disgusted grunt, Charlie threw his napkin down on the table and pushed back his chair, "No they don't," he said as he rose from the table, and headed for the door. "You're not worthy of my daughter, Masen." He flung at him.

Edward lifted a brow at her father's parting shot, knowing he had just gotten his answer to his earlier question, without any doubt, the police chief was not going to grant his blessing for him to marry his daughter…but then when did that ever stop him when he wanted something?

He glanced at Bella and realized that she seemed to be in shock at her father's words. He was suddenly flooded with doubts. He knew that he was not respectable enough, was very different from the man her family and friends pictured for her to marry. If he was not putting on this sham of being someone he was not and really showed her who he truly was, would he be fighting a losing battle trying to be a part of her life? Hell, the old man would never let him near his daughter if he knew who he really was.

Bella seemed to snap out of her shock and rose from the table, "Char-dad where are you going?'

"I have to go to work…thanks for cooking dinner tonight, I'll see you when I get home." he said and leaned down, to peck her on her cheek before moving to do the same to his wife. When he stood up straight he gave Anthony a hard glare than turned back to look at Bella, "You could do so much better," he muttered before walking out the door.

Bella stood there gaping at the door and wondered what had gotten into her father.

"Oh my," her mother gasped in dismay, "I'm so sorry, Mr. Masen I don't know what's gotten into my husband. If you'll excuse me I need to go have a talk with him," she said as she quickly headed out the door in the direction Charlie had just exited, leaving Bella and Anthony alone in the dining room.

"Do you think that I am unworthy to be around?" Anthony asked deciding to put his concerns from earlier to the test.

"What?" she asked, looking at him in confusion?

"Apparently your father thinks I am not worthy of you," he said, "I want to know what you think."

Bella flushed, embarrassed that her father had even said something like that to him…and wondered how he could even think that she would see or think of him in that light. After all his family had been nothing but accepting of her into their home and lives….well all except his grandfather.

His eyes narrowed into slits of black fury, "So it's true then?"

"Anthony, I-"

"Damn it!"

Bella stared at the hard look on his face. Her failure to answer his question immediately had not only angered him, but had hurt him as well. She had not meant to do that.

The silence stretched between them, until his patience caused him to start pacing back and forth across the room. "I can't believe that you're letting them dictate who you can and cannot date. Fucking pathetic," he snarled.

Bella walked up to him and grabbed his arm to try to stop him in his pacing, "Anthony stop! You have it all wrong-" she pressed her lips together to keep from saying anything else, that it didn't matter what anyone thought… that he was the one and only man for her.

Her gaze dropped, "Anthony how could you even think that I have questioned your respectability since I first met you?"

He laughed humorlessly, "Oh but darling you did at first, don't you remember?"

"Well I don't think that way anymore. I told you that I loved you and I meant it."

He took a step closer as he raised one hand to her face. "What are we going to do about this?"

"I-I don't know," she whispered, as tears formed in her eyes, "You make me feel things I've never felt before, but it's not enough, Anthony. I'm scared of losing what we have between us."

With a sigh his hand slid down to his side, "Yes, I suppose so."

"What do you really want from me, Anthony?" she struggled to keep herself calm.

"I thought that was obvious," he said as his gaze bored into hers, "I want the same thing that you do…Loyalty, commitment, devotion a lifetime of it."

Bella gasped, as a flood of pleasure erupted inside of her. She looked up at him through her wet lashes, "What are you saying?" she asked, not willing to hope.

"Bella I think we should get married."

"What, you don't mean that!" she cried, shocked beyond belief.

"Yes, I do. Bella there was something right from the start that you triggered in me. I will admit at the time I was unsure what these feelings were that I harbored for you. But now I know I want to live it with you."

Bella began to panic as thoughts ran through her head. He wants to marry me, marry me. However, he does not even love me!

"It's alright love, you don't have to give me an answer right now," he smiled ruefully. "I just want you to think about it, and trust your own instincts for a change." he leaned down to kiss her lovingly on the forehead. He turned away from her, "I'll be going now."

Thoroughly confused at this turn of events, Bella called his name as he headed for the door. He turned to look at her.

"Wait for me," she said desperately not wanting him to go before they worked this out between them. For the man had just asked her to marry him and in the next was trying to beat a hasty retreat.

She followed Anthony out the door down the stairs, and to his Volvo. Her parents were nowhere in sight but she did not give it much thought as she got into his car. Once inside he put the car in drive and took off. As they drove a small, silence fell between them until Bella could not take it anymore, and she turned her heard to look upon him.

"Anthony," she said softly. "What did you mean when you said to trust my own instincts when you have told me repeatedly that you do not love me?"

Before she knew what was happening, the car came to a screeching halt in some kind of deserted parking lot, and she found herself backed up against the window with his mouth on hers. She could feel his anger but also she could taste his need for her in his kiss, and she surrendered to it. With a desperate hunger and deep-seated need of her own, her arms went around him. Her body strained against his. Wanting became a mindless whirl of desire only he could ignite inside of her. She felt completely, utterly possessed by him. In long strokes, his hands ran from her shoulders to her wrists and back again. Her mouth burned from the urgency of the hard, hot kiss. All she could want was more.

When he lifted his head, she sagged against him, watching him while she struggled to catch her breath, while she waited for her heart to stop pounding loudly in her breast, as she fought the physical and sensual emotions and sensations spreading throughout her body from his savage kiss.

"*Dio(God) Bella," he moaned. "That's where you're wrong, I do love you."

When she blinked up at him in total non-comprehension, he continued, "You must know I'm in love with you."

Bella was afraid she had misheard. Had he just said he loved her?

"You love me?" she whispered in disbelief.

"Yes." he answered his voice heavy with affection.

Some emotion began spiraling inside her, at first slow and cautious, then singing and triumphant. "But all those months ago…when-when I told you that I loved you, you never said that you loved me only cared for me deeply."

"Why would I ask you to marry me, and tell you that I am in love with you if I didn't mean it?" His eyes burned with furious hope. "What use would that be? Besides if you remember right I told you I didn't know what love was that I would never say I love you if I did not mean it…if I wasn't sure."

Wearily, Bella met his gaze, and knew he was watching her. For once, she realized that he was not bothering to hide what he was truly feeling from her. The way he was looking at her with those hot smoldering eyes of his literally stole her breath and produced a tightening sensation in the pit of her stomach. He looked at her as if he wanted to ravish her, to take her home and make her his, he looked at her with tenderness and that unidentified emotion she'd caught shining in his eyes before. No man had ever looked at her that way, and it caused this strange mixture of excitement and panic, running along her nerve endings, and making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. In that, moment she was speechless as her throat became dry, and could not think of a single comment. She stood there lost in his eyes, realization dawning; that one unidentified emotion shining in his eyes was love. He loved her he truly loved her…. After all this time, wishing, hoping she could not believe it was true.

"All this time I thought you didn't love me…that it was some kind of power game you were playing with me," she whispered fervently.

"But…you must have known I loved you," he said sounding stunned. "Why would you have agreed to be with me knowing I may not have given you what you wanted?"

Her heart beating suffocating, she said, "How could I not think that when you were so careful to spell out the terms of our relationship. I did not hear or even notice any words of love mentioned when you stood in my living room the night you found me. Alternatively, when I had a moment of weakness and blurted out I loved you the night you and Jacob got into a fight at Eclipse. Or when I surprised you at work and told you that I loved you and it didn't matter, when you said that you couldn't say the words because you didn't know what love was?"

He winched. "I was a fool Bella," he said, his voice shaking. His face was taut with something that looked almost like pain. "It's taken me too long to recognize it, and I fought it like crazy because of all kinds of stupid things I was held up on. But I think now I must have loved you from the first moment our eyes met in my uncle Aro's restaurant, standing there looking like an angel of my dreams."

"No," she said laughing at him. "That was lust."

"That too," he agreed coolly. "But I knew you were special, even then. You made a believer out of a cynic." He touched her hair, caressed her cheek. "I've loved you since I woke up in my Penthouse room to find you gone. I was just too stubborn, set in my ways and afraid to admit how much I wanted you-not just in my bed, but in my life…always and forever."

"You afraid?" she scuffed.

"What can I say, when it comes to you I am a coward," he confessed. "Haven't you realized that yet? I was scared to give a woman the power to hurt me, or wreck my life; Scared that I might fall for a pretty face, a shallow sexuality, a temporary madness. Every time I met a woman who attracted me, I was able to remain in control, to use them for selfish reasons than get rid of them…Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Alice said something to me about that," she said.

"She did?"

"She told me you had trouble with intimacy."

He grimaced. "I guess you could put it that way. I had never allowed myself to fall in love, never got out of my profundity. The feelings you aroused in me terrified me…After our first meeting I tortured myself alternating between doubts of your integrity and fantasies of making love to you. By the second night I was drawn in too deep, and told myself I needed to keep away from you…and we both know how that ended. After you ran from me, and I could not find you, I went through several kinds of hell. I knew that for better or worse I had to have you. However, it was the night that you almost were gunned down in front of me, the night I thought I lost you… that I knew it was more than that. I'm just sorry it took forever for me to realize it."

He watched her eyes widen, and gave a short laugh. "I can see that you don't believe me. Damn it I am such a fool!" He said before angrily opening up his car door and getting out leaning against the side of the car.

Bella followed quickly and walked around the car to stand facing him with a new determination. "No you're not!"

"I've certainly acted like one. Sometimes I think that you deserve a better man."

"I don't want a better man. I want you."

She smiled at him. The desire and longing in that smile erased his uneasy thoughts, of not being good enough for her. His heart beat faster.

"Let me show you how I feel about you." he said and placed his hands on her hips, drawing her to him until she stood between his thighs. He stared deeply into her eyes wanting to lose him in them "I need you so badly." His arms tightened around her, and he rested his forehead against hers. The warmth of her body penetrated into his. He breathed in the scent of her aroma mixed in with strawberries.

"I need you too," She whispered.

Overcome by the love and tenderness in her voice, Edward squeezed his eyes shut. He felt her touch the back of his head, and then her hands trailed over his shoulders and down his arms.

Desire came as a welcome song. He lowered his head and trailed his mouth across the hollow of her neck.

"I love you," she whispered. "I don't think I ever really lived until I met you."

"*Dio (God), I love you…So much." he said as he lowered his head and kissed her.

Bella wound her fingers into his disheveled hair, and her parted lips welcomed his, their breath mingling. When their mouths left each other, she said, "Was that so difficult to say?"

He laughed, "No it wasn't, and I will make you sick of hearing it."

"Never," she said.

So he said it again, between kissing her and then he said it several more times, and heard her whisper the same words to him, before even those beloved, timeless words became inadequate for their feelings.

Then he let go taking a small step away from her so he could look deeply into her eyes. His emerald greens shining into hers with love. He reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out the black box, opening it to reveal the diamond ring inside, and held it up in front of her.

"I want to do this properly. Please don't ruin it for me."

Bella gasped as he slid down on one knee, taking her hand in his, as he cleared his throat suddenly nervous.

"Isabella Swan?" He looked up at her through his long lashes, his emerald green eyes soft, but blazing into hers. "I promise to love you forever-every single day of forever. Will you do me the honor and marry me?"

Bella stared at the single solitaire diamond ring, sparkling in the sunlight with awe. She could feel the prickling of tears threatening to spill down her cheeks, as an overwhelming happiness over took her.

"Yes," she cried, and reached for him as he stood kissing him long and deeply.

"Thank you," he affirmed, as he placed the diamond ring on her ring finger and raised her left hand to kiss her ring. With a huge grin on his handsome face, he wrapped his arms around her and nestled her closer against him, not wanting to move. He savored the moment, the knowledge that this woman was his-to hold and cherish.

"Oh, love you just made me the happiest man alive." he said before he ravished her mouth with his, he just hoped that what had occurred over the last few months did not come to the forefront, causing a rift between Bella and his happiness. If she were to find out that he was a mob boss…He hugged her tighter to his chest, not even wanting to think about what might happen.

Bella gasped causing him to lean back to look down at her with concern, "Love what it is?"

"What am I going to do?" she cried panic in her voice.

"What's wrong," he asked when he saw her hesitate.

"We have to tell Charlie," she whispered.

His eyes widened, and then laughed at the expression on her face, "Love it does not matter what he thinks."

"But you do not know my dad."

He laughed again, "Don't worry, Bella you're stuck with me for the rest of eternity. I'm not going to let anything or anyone get in the way of our happiness," Anthony said, as he lovingly brushed hair back away from her cheek.

Eternity, Bella liked the sound of that she thought, as she let him buckle her back into the seat before he closed the door walked around to his side and got in, she just hoped he was bullet proof or this could possibly end badly for the both of them.

A/N: Hoped you all liked it wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.