Mood music: "Life is Beautiful" - Sixx:AM

(Roll credits): "Cosmic Love"- Florence & the Machine (Both of these songs have perfect lyrics for this chapter so check 'em out if you want more insight into the characters)

Recap: James abducted Bella and revealed that he was the one who killed Edward's family, turning him into a vampire as a sort of trial-run to see if he could do it. He'd planned to kill Edward soon after but discovered Edward's mind-reading ability and decided to lie to him as long as he was useful. However, knowing the Volturi would likely be looking for him soon, he decided to use Bella to extort money from Edward along with a promise that he wouldn't hunt for James. Edward agreed but James stabbed Bella and made his escape. Bella was taken to the hospital but it was too late to save her. However, the doctor treating Bella was none other than Big Daddy C himself, and he had some ideas about how to save Bella (and a possible change of diet, hmmm…) Edward reluctantly agreed, fearful he was damning Bella but unable to let her slip away.


Open your eyes…

Open your eyes…

Six months later

"You sure you want to do this, Slush Puppy?"

"Slush Puppy? Damn, I loved those. I wish there was a frickin' deer that tasted like the blue slush puppy slushy. Maybe I should try I real puppy," I joked, turning toward Rose.

"Bella! Focus," Edward whispered.

"I bet they'd taste like kibble anyway," Emmett muttered.

Edward sent him a withering glare, but I could tell he was repressing a grin. I could tell a lot of things about him these days, after living with him as both a human and a vampire. I was suddenly overcome with the urge to hum "Getting to Know You" and had to bite back a giggle before sharply adjusting my focus and forcing myself to concentrate.

"Yes, I'm sure," I answered finally.

I let the sights and smells of the terrain seep into every level of my consciousness. The beach, the warm breeze, the gentle, thudding pulse of hundreds of small living creatures. But it wasn't the living creatures I was interested it; It was a dead one. Undead, specifically.

James lazed stone-still in the sandy shade of a makeshift shelter just far enough away that he could neither hear nor smell us in our secluded spot on the beach. He looked much as I remembered him-sharp featured and weasely- but he was now in high definition thanks to my super cool vampire sight. The fucker had relocated to a sweet little island getaway on Edward's dime. Blood money; My blood. I chocked back the think rage that suddenly swelled at the corners of my vision. I didn't resent Edward for the choice he'd made. In truth, I probably would have chosen it myself in that moment had I a voice to do so. But the fact remained I hadn't had that choice. My decision-my life-was stolen from me by the asshole up the beach in Bermuda shorts and a straw cowboy hat. Seriously.

Edward seemed to detect the slight change in my demeanor. "You okay?" he asked, his face pinched in concern.

"Yeah. Yeah. Let's just get this done."

He seemed to examine me for a moment before nodding once. He made brief eye contact with Rose and Emmett and then began a slow, purposeful jog toward James.

James sensed his approach and instantly flew into a crouch, sizing up the situation.

"What's wrong, James? Not thrilled to see your old business partner?" Edward's silken voice asked. "I'd think you'd be a bit more grateful since it was me who made this little…" he gestured widely at the sandy little island we were on "getaway possible."

"We had a deal, Edward," James hissed, trying unsuccessfully to hide the fear creeping into the tenor of his words.

"And we are, if nothing else, men of our words," Edward replied coolly.

"You're not still upset about that piece of ass I stabbed back in November, are you?" James sneered. "Really Edward, I know you're hard up but even a dumb fuck like you should know better than to get emotionally involved with some inconsequential little human snatch."

Edward stiffened and I assumed he was trying to control his temper so he didn't get sloppy, which was likely what James was banking on.

"I notice little Bella isn't with you today. Did she perhaps feel coming would put too much at…stake? Was she worried about my cutting remarks? Or did she just leave you after a real man like me finally put the wood to her. At least one of us got to stick something in her. So what was it, Edward? Was she a little dead on her feet today, or was she just a little…dead?" James curled his lips into a snarl as the last word.

Good. Douche thinks he killed me.

Edward didn't seem to be sharing in my positive interpretation of events and was shaking from the physical effort of not throwing the plan out the window and going ape shit on James. And suddenly it happened; Edward faltered in his self control and lunged, becoming a blur of snarling teeth and violently colliding limbs. I broke into a run, leaving the seclusion of my hiding place and yelling for them to stop.

James halted in a seeming deadlock with Edward, before a smile played on his lips at the sight of me.

"Well well well, Edward. You've been a busy boy," he whispered.

The sandy terrain beneath my feet gave way and I crumpled to the ground. James was on me in less than a heartbeat.

"Even as a vampire you're a clumsy bitch," he whispered with his teeth pressed to my face.

"Don't hurt him," I plead as Edward simultaneously yelled "Let her go!"

"Oh I'll hurt him, bitch. I'll hurt him plenty. But I'm going to hurt you first. See, that's your problem, you stupid, useless little cunt; You've always worried about the wrong things, when you should be worried about yourself."

"Guess we have that in common," I muttered.

"What?" he started to ask but I was on top of him before he could finish the word. Edward came behind him and put him in a tight hold, forcing him to look at me and allowing me to break away enough that I could put some space between myself and his disgusting…well…everything.

"You know what my problem really is, James?" I asked in a violent, sing-song voice.

He didn't answer and Edward tightened his grip, causing rips to form in the places where James' shoulders met his arms in a way that reminded me strangely of cracked, dried Play-Doh.

"What?" he spat back.

"My problem, is that they don't make an animal that tastes like Count Chocula. My problem is I'll never be able to get wrinkly or earn any stretch marks. My problem is I can never tease Edward about that disco ball thing his skin does, ever again. But do you know what my main problem is?" I softly placed a hand on each side of James' face, almost the way one might touch a lover.

Fear, for the first time, was undeniable in his eyes as they darted in all directions looking for an escape. I brought my face level with his and when I spoke, my lips were so close they ghosted over his.

"My main issue…my main problem, James, is that men. Just. Keep. Trying. To. Kill. Me."

James whimpered softly.

"But no worries, darlin'. 'Cause that shit ends now," I said and smiled.

And then I ripped his head off.

"Damn it, Bella!" Emmett roared from down the beach before flashing to my side with Rose on his heels. "We didn't even get to do our part!"

"Sorry," I said. "I guess I got a little over-eager."

His frown told me I was not forgiven.

"Hey, how about you rip off his arms? Would that make you feel better?" I offered.

His face exploded into a broad grin and I knew we were fine. He and Rose happily went about dismembering James as Edward built a fire.

"You okay?" Edward asked.

"You don't need to keep checking now, you know?" I answered gently. "I'm not so breakable anymore."

"Yeah, well, I'll always worry. And you sure were able to play clumsy realistically."

"Years of practice," I said with a smirk.

"So all that stuff you said to James…" he began but I held out a hand to stop him.

"…was true," I finished for him and sadness swept across his perfect features. I wondered if there would ever be a day in our eternity that he didn't blame himself for changing me. "But," I continued "I do get to spend every day of forever with the man of my dreams, and as trade-offs go, that's not so bad." I said with a smile.

"Even better than Pop Tarts?"

I paused and pretended to consider the question.

"Well…we talking the frosted ones?" I joked before he pounced on me, tackling to the sand. We laughed freely, feeling the weightlessness of the moment. His lips soon found mine and began their familiar dance as his hand snaked up my thigh.

"Oh, gross, get a room you two!" Rose yelled. We laughed and I retrieved James' head from the sand before regarding it briefly and pitching it unceremoniously in the fire. His other body parts soon followed suit and soon James was nothing more than a bad dream and some ash on a lonely shore.

"We'd better get back. Carlisle will worry if we aren't home by dawn," Edward said looking at the sky

Black smoke pillowed up behind us as we began to walk away.

"So, Bella, you got the guy, killed the monster and scored yourself as close to a 'happily ever after' as these stories come. What's next?" Rose asked.

"Well I… wait…did you just call me Bella?" I asked, stopping in my tracks.

She smirked. "Don't let it go to your head, Snow Cone, but… we're family now so…y'know," Rose said and looked as embarrassed as Rosalie Hale might ever look.

"Happily ever after? What do you think this shit is? A fairy tale? We's vampires, woman!" Emmett said jokingly.

"Well, even if it was a fairy tale, it sure wouldn't start 'Once upon a time," Rose said looking a little lost in the thought.

"Yeah, well, honestly, what kind of freaks would even want to read a story like ours anyhow? I have no clue how I'd begin it," I said, looping my fingers through Edward's.

"I do," he said seriously. " I know exactly how I'd begin it. 'Always so predictable. The thoughts of thugs were always the same. Dark, shifting melodies of abuse and lust and greed and betrayal…'"

A/N: Well, that's all folks. I know this was a short one but it's the story I set out to tell. Thanks for sticking it out and I hope it was worth your time. Your reviews have made my day, and I'll miss them. So whadda ya say? Leave me just one more, for old time's sake?

I'll miss these characters and who knows? Maybe I've even got a one shot or two to tell about them (like hey, whatever happened to that Emily skank Edward was out visiting when his family got slaughtered? Hmmmm…) or maybe even more adventures, someday. But for now, it's time to let them get some rest. Thanks again. Review! :)