OK. The Final Chapter, Edward POV. I want to say a huge thank you to every single person who reviewed with particular thanks to 'biggest-twilight-fan', 'La Boricua Cullen' , 'XxAlexisTheTwilightFreakxX', 'Amylove210' and 'A is for Angel' because they commented consistently and always made me smile. If I could mention everyone I would but there are way too many; you know who you are. I'm finally at a place where I'm happy for this story to end. I loved exploring everyone's' opinions and examining the story. Thank you for the encouragement, advice and love. This chapter is dedicated to every single person who reviewed. Thank you.
Bella was sleeping peacefully beside me. I had turned off the stereo and was listening to her heartbeat instead. It was slow and steady; soothing.
I took a deep Bella-filled scent and glanced back at her. She was pressed against the window, her body facing towards me. Her skin was cream in the darkness, her lashes thick against her cheeks; causing a shadow. She was so unbelievably beautiful.
My hand moved of its own accord, lightly picking up a stray strand of hair and tucking it behind her ear. It was blocking my view.
Her lips quirked up in an almost smile when our skin made contact. I grinned.
I was driving her home after a day in Seattle. She had been slowly closing her eyes for half an hour before she finally gave in and fell asleep. So stubborn.
My eyes went back to the road; unfazed by the darkness. She deserved a little fun. Something different. And though it wasn't the world; Bella had seemed thrilled about a day in the city with me. She'd eagerly looked through the book stores and ridden the ferry with me; not noticing how I stood awestruck by the image of her; her cheeks pink from the wind and her hair blowing wildly around her. I hadn't been able to keep my hands off her all day; I'm sure she was entertained by how I would randomly pull her to me or hug her from behind. She giggled uncontrollably when I picked her up and kissed her neck.
I chuckled at the memory. She really should be more aware of her laughter. Didn't she realise I would do anything to make her laugh and that her giggles only encouraged my madness? I was already planning our next trip.
"Mmm...He's being careful." Bella mumbled; capturing my attention.
I felt a wave of frustration. I wanted to wake her up and ask what she was dreaming about. Who was being careful? But there were dark marks beneath her eyes; evidence of her lack of rest. No, she needed sleep. My greed and curiosity would wait.
I reached up and brushed back her hair; barely seeing the tiny seven marks above her forehead; proof of the crash.
Time had done nothing to elevate the pain I felt. One of the many annoyances of my kind; perfect photographic memory. I could still see her by the side of the road, blood tricking down her face. Still smell the scent of her blood and the rain and mud. Feel her body – usual so warm but now so cold –shivering in my arms. Hear her broken plea "Edward." I had to take a deep breath and remind myself to be calm.
Bella is safe.
I had to look over and watch her for several minutes. I drank in the image of the girl – the only girl – and felt my body ease accordingly.
I was glad that I had fed the night before and wouldn't have to leave her for a few weeks yet. I'd only hunted the forest near Forks on small herbivores. It really wasn't worth the stress of leaving. But Bella was still sleeping when I returned; curled into a ball. She relaxed against my body when I slid in beside her. It was as Carlisle and Jasper had noticed; our bodies were harmonised.
I thought back over my family's actions this past fortnight. They had been everything I could have ever hoped for and I was in complete debt to them. All of them felt the unease caused by that accident and tried to help in every way they could. Esme and Alice fawned over Bella and even Rosalie had assisted me with Bella's truck. Emmet had been protective over her at school. I grinned. But Bella had handled everything with grace and bravery, as always.
Truly, I was honoured by each one of their relationships.
I was thankful that the hype at school had died down and not just for Bella's sake. I hated being reminded of the night every few minutes by the thoughts of random students.
But the stitches were fading and soon would disappear; the last physical evident of the crash.
That didn't mean I would ever forget or every stop worrying.
My love for the human sleeping happily beside me would never die, nor would my fear of her being in pain. My promise still stood. I would protect her. And so would my family.
And I would ensure she was always guarded whenever she rode in a vehicle.
I thanked whatever deity was out there that Bella seemed not to mind my lunacies too much.
I had to protect her. I promised.
Wow. It's finally over. Thank you. Love, me xx