No Turning Back
So here it is: the final instalment. My apologies for the delay in getting this out.
Thanks go to my beta, Mxpi1970, for the quick turnaround, to Lutzisnutzforme for pre reading this final chapter, and a big thank you goes to I'm Random Girl for my very first recommendation on FFN.
. All characters are owned and created by Stephenie Meyer.
Lyrics are taken from the songs by The Bravery and Death Cab For Cutie. I own nothing but a bad singing voice used daily on the drive to work.
CHAPTER 10 / EPILOGUE
This time is ours
If I could hold this moment in my hand
I'd stop the world from moving
I'd stop the clocks from turning
This time is ours
Inside a frozen memory of us
And we are motionless, motionless
This time is ours.
Renee adored Emmett.
As I began the task of packing up my clothes and belongings she hovered, almost vibrating with happiness. However, with all the excitement, she proved to be less than hopeless at packing, handing me shoes when I asked for books and at one point handing me a wet towel when I asked for my bathrobe. I had to stop what I was doing and sit her down on the bed, so that she could gush all over again.
"He's just so handsome! And he loves you so much! And he's a jock, too!" She hugged me tight. "Baby, I am just so unbelievably happy for you – you so deserve this and I really think he will treat you right. Now, are you sure you're ready to go back to living with your dad?"
Charlie hadn't been quite as understanding about the whole 'relationship' concept. He had mumbled and groused and generally let me know how unhappy he was with the whole arrangement. But I also knew how happy he was to have me coming home to Forks.
It struck me as funny how Forks was now home, and Phoenix was just the place where I grew up and finished high school.
The next morning we had driven back to the airport in Alice's rental car. Emmett and I were wrapped around each other in the back seat, unable to bear being more than a hairs breadth apart now that our enforced segregation was finally over.
During the flight home I stayed awake, memorising every inch of his beautiful face as he stroked my hair, his fingers sliding down to caress my cheek, my neck and my lips. I ached for him. Our fingers entwined, each playing with the others, unable to stop touching for even a second. I still felt disbelief that our painful separation was suddenly and abruptly over. Despite my overwhelming desire, I didn't dare reach up to kiss him for fear of what that might lead to in such a confined and public space. I heard Alice's groan as she moved to a seat further down the small, otherwise empty, first class cabin, and I knew her visions were going crazy, as was I. When I looked back to see if she was okay, I heard her muttering softly: "I knew I should've caught an earlier flight..."
At the terminal, Jasper was waiting for us, the Bentley's engine already quietly purring. I followed Emmett into the back seat, somewhat nervously. Catching Jasper's eye in the rear view mirror, I smiled weakly.
"Thanks, Jasper." I nodded self consciously.
"No worries, Bella. I had to come get Alice anyways; it's not like I was gonna leave you guys to walk home."
"Dude, you know you wouldn't dare. Alice would kick your ass! Right, sis?"
"Well, all I know is that he would never leave a lady," she said, impishly. "He might well leave you though, Emm - if you annoyed him enough."
Jasper smirked but said nothing, raising his and Alice's joined hands to his lips in a sweet, gentlemanly gesture.
"Yeah, yeah..." Emmett pulled me tighter to him as he let the comment slide, too happy to care.
Snuggled into Emmett's neck, I watched as Port Angeles slipped away, the view turning greener and lusher as the Bentley ate up the miles toward home.
My mind suddenly clunked into gear as the word sank in. Where exactly was my home now? At the Cullen house, with Emmett? Or back with Charlie?
I couldn't see Charlie allowing me to live with a boy until I was an old, married lady, but at the same time I didn't want to be parted from Emmett ever again. Not even for a day. Alice's sweet voice startled me out of my confusion.
"Bella, when we get back to Charlie's we need to get you packed, and I suspect you're going to need my help."
"Packed? But, Alice – I'm not even unpacked yet. What's all this about?" My face must have been a picture; Emmett's chuckle and Alice's tinkling laugh reverberated around the car.
"No, silly. You need to pack for your trip. Don't worry; I've talked to Charlie to smooth the waters. He likes me, I think." Her smile lit up the car, and I looked at Emmett in confusion. He smoothed my hair back from my face, his hand cupping my cheek.
"I've booked us a trip – we leave tomorrow for a little 'you and me' time. I think we deserve it, don't you?"
Arriving back at Charlie's, Alice practically dragged me upstairs, leaving Emmett and Jasper to unload the rest of my belongings.
The first thing I noticed was that nothing had changed since my hasty departure. My pictures remained on the walls, the rest of my books on the shelves. There was no sign of the terrifying episode that had unfolded here; it could all so easily have been a bad dream. And yet it was all still crystal clear to me. I breathed deeply, my hand on my chest, as I tried to calm my thoughts.
Before I could speak, Emmett poked his head around the door.
"We'll meet you ladies back at the house." He looked at me and his smile faded as he registered the look on my face. In a second he was in the room, folding me into his arms. "It's all over now," he murmured, kissing my hair and rocking me gently. I breathed him in, allowing his scent to calm and soothe me as only he could. After a moment, he relaxed his hold and leaned back to gaze into my eyes. I gave a weak smile, and he tilted my chin up to tenderly kiss my lips before leaning his forehead into mine. Despite the uneasiness I felt being back in that room, I still had to focus on reining in my reactions to him as my heart rate started to accelerate. I took a deep breath.
"Ok, you go and we'll meet you later. Is that the plan?" I looked from Emmett to Alice and back again for confirmation.
"Yeah, that's it," he replied, grinning at Alice. With one last, sweet kiss, he disappeared back downstairs where Jasper was waiting. Jasper seemed relaxed; I guessed that all the happiness swirling around him now must feel very soothing after all he must have endured over the past few months.
I turned back to Alice, surveying the room once more. All looked as I had left it, except for the mountain of shiny packages on the bed. Boxes wrapped in rich, glossy carrier bags spilled all over the purple coverlet. It looked as if Alice had bought up most of Port Angeles along with half of Seattle, judging by the labels I could see. My mouth dropped open and I gaped at her.
"Alice, what have you done?"
She bounced happily.
"You can't go on holiday without new clothes, Bella! There's something for every occasion here. Don't argue with me - I know your size, and these are going to look simply darling on you!" She bit her lip innocently. "Such a shame that so many pieces won't survive the trip..."
She reached over and picked up a deep green carrier bag. "Let's start with this..."
Charlie came home as we finished my packing. We greeted each other in our usual stilted fashion, but it was obvious he was happy to have me home. I was surprised to realise that, as Alice had implied, he sounded fine with the idea of my forthcoming trip with my friends although he was a little sad that I was leaving again so quickly. I hugged him, assuring him I would be back before college started. I also wondered if mom had mentioned to him that I was going away with just Emmett, rather than the whole group... I was guessing not.
Back at the Cullens', I was greeted enthusiastically by Esme and Carlisle. As Esme hugged me tightly, I noticed how relieved they both appeared to be.
"We're so happy that you're back, Bella. We were so afraid that you might have... moved on, and not wanted to see us again." She hesitated before continuing. "Emmett was so desolate without you, sweetheart. We really feared for him."
As the hug broke, I looked over at Carlisle, seeing the pain etched on his face at the memory of our last meeting. He pulled me into a gentle hug as I tried my best to reassure him.
"It's ok, Carlisle. I got checked out like you said, and everything healed. Well almost everything."
He looked at me in concern. I smiled.
"The last part healed just yesterday," I whispered, as we turned to watch Emmett saunter into the room, his head down, a contented smile on his face.
"It's been a long time since we've seen him smile," he said, his hands sliding down my arms to grasp my own. He rubbed the backs of my hands with his thumbs, reassuringly. "I hope the two of you will be happy as Esme and I."
I flushed. I was getting the seal of approval from Emmett's 'father'. Nothing could mean more and I sincerely hoped that, one day, Charlie would feel the same.
Edward held back, looking contemplative. When he stepped forward, he pulled me into an awkward, most uncharacteristic hug before whispering into my ear:
"I cannot believe how much he missed you. There just aren't words."
My eyes clouded, and I blinked hurriedly.
"Thank you, Edward. I think I needed to hear that."
He released me, smiling his shy, crooked grin. I hoped that one day he would find someone to love; Edward had been alone too long.
As Alice reappeared with Jasper, music filtered through from the lounge room.
"Come on, guys! Tonight we celebrate!"
The water lapped lazily around the yacht as I lay back on the deck cushions, eyes closed, breathing in the fresh, salty air. I felt, rather than heard, Emmett creep back, his bare feet making little noise on the deck. He knelt down, the clink of glass alerting me to his closeness. I opened an eye carefully, peering over my shades with a small smile. He proffered a tall glass of orange juice, poured over ice, with more on standby in a small ice bucket.
I sipped the fresh-squeezed nectar, marvelling at how domesticated he was becoming on board. My Emmett had hand-squeezed me fresh orange juice, with absolutely no destruction of the galley at all. A miracle!
He leaned in and kissed my neck, before mouthing the spot below my ear that made me come undone. My hand wobbled, the juice dangerously near to spilling all over my white bikini, before his hand retrieved it, placing it in the bucket out of harm's way. My hand found his bicep, my thumb tracing the curves of his muscles before gripping hard as his breath in my ear caused my heart to skip and stutter.
He gently removed my sunglasses. "Why, Miss Swan – anyone would think you liked that..."
I groaned in response to the softly whispered words that had me shuddering with longing, my hand sliding up to the soft hair at the base of his neck. In the far recesses of my mind it still seemed insane, and almost shocking, that I could hold a vampire's mouth to my neck willingly, trustingly, and allow desire to override common sense.
Hot, unashamed desire. The things this man does to me...
His mouth inched slowly toward mine, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. My breathing was ragged as I anticipated the feel of his lips on mine. If I had learned one thing with Emmett, it was that anticipation was no match for reality; the moment his tongue touched my lower lip, my body arched up to his, craving his touch and the relief that only he could provide. The kiss was feather-soft, the tip of his tongue tasting me before he crushed his lips to mine, claiming my mouth fully. I truly understood how it felt to be devoured. Emmett didn't hold back, didn't pause, didn't question. He just knew instinctively what I wanted and needed, and gave it.
Every nerve ending thrummed as he possessed my mouth unapologetically. My hips were starting to weave, wanting, demanding, more. Lying next to me, his fingers skated down my side leaving shivers in their wake, my nipples hardening painfully in response. Feeling my jolt of shock, his hand swiftly moved to cradle my breast, making me cry out as his thumb grazed the peak. Breaking the kiss, he moved at a leisurely pace, dropping slow kisses and nips across my collar bones, his tongue tickling and tormenting as he traced the edge of my bikini, before losing patience and ripping it from my trembling body. My hands fisted in his hair as his cool breath tickled my overheated flesh; my breathing coming in short gasps before stopping completely as his lips found my rosy nub and started to suckle. When my lungs started working again, they burned with the effort.
I wanted him everywhere. I wanted his mouth on mine, his hands on my skin, his flesh inside me... but communicating this to him was proving tricky; the only sounds I was capable of making were little whimpers of submission and need, the volume of which were steadily rising as he played my body like a Stradivarius. As he worshipped first one breast then the other, my stomach undulated, encouraging him lower, ever lower...
His tongue made a cool sweep down my writhing stomach, heading ever closer to where my body begged for him. Forcing my eyes open, I watched him ravish my body with abandon, seeing his nostrils flare at the scent of my arousal. For a moment he stopped, inhaling deeply before his nose made contact with my flesh through the flimsy, utterly pointless scrap of material. I wanted to wail with frustration and need, and yet it was all I could do to keep forcing air in and out of my chest. With a low, lustful rumble, the material was ripped apart and his tongue touched my heated flesh with a hiss of pleasure. My whole body jerked up off the cushions as his tongue teased and tasted my folds, moving so delicately as if I were a precious, fragile flower.
"Please..." It took all my energies to whisper my plea; he responded, his mouth moving over my damp flesh as his tongue flickered over my singing nerve endings, causing fire to spread through my limbs.
"Need you... Emmett... Please..." My throat felt raw, the oxygen burning me as I dragged it into my starved passages. I could see the desire in his eyes, his all-consuming need for me and I craved it. He was my drug and I could never get enough of this high. The heat from his gaze was enough to cause sunburn, and I met that look with an equally feral one of my own. His erection was escaping the insufficient material of his bathing suit; he pulled them off swiftly, finally removing the last barrier between us.
Crawling up my body, never breaking eye contact, he lifted my legs, throwing them over his shoulders. As I felt him at my entrance I groaned loudly, wanting him, my patience exhausted. The air between us was heavy and intense as slowly, so slowly, he pushed into me. I tried to make him thrust; needing to be filled, pillaged, pounded... but he held my legs still, using them as leverage to maintain his slow momentum. My thighs were flexing, desperately trying to encourage him but he was determined to thwart me. His leisurely, shallow thrusts were so teasing, so promising; the sheer size of him stretching me was almost enough to tip me over into orgasm... almost. But Emmett knew exactly how to prolong that feeling, holding ecstasy at bay until I was on the verge of screaming, my hands balled into fists.
When he suddenly slid his arms under my hips, lifting me up, I was disoriented to find myself straddling his kneeling form.
My god, that's deep... ungh...
Pulling me into a deep, drugging kiss, he grasped my hips firmly, rocking my body into his until I found the momentum on my own. I had never ridden Emmett before; this was unchartered territory for me. I flexed my butt muscles and continued to rock into him, feeling him so deeply within me that I moaned, wantonly, into his mouth. He held me steady, encouraging my movements; growing braver, I circled my hips and was rewarded with a throaty groan.
My head fell back as his lips found my breasts once more; the circuit of pleasure between my nipples and groin growing stronger and brighter, as heat and pleasure surrounded us like a thick, heavy cloud, spurring us on. Every movement I made rubbed my clit into his body; I was at boiling point, hovering on the brink as pre-orgasmic spasms lanced through me. Gasping with need, I leaned into his neck, holding him tight as I prepared to ride the wave threatening to engulf me. His hands held me steady as he thrust deeply upward – short, sharp movements that seemed to pierce my very soul. The wave hit, and I felt reality bend and warp as we became one; Emmett's roar of pleasure in perfect harmony with my own cries, everything around us becoming no more than a swirling cacophony of colour and emotion.
I stretched luxuriantly in the empty bed, opening my eyes to see the sun already shining on another beautiful day. I laid there for a moment, listening to the sound of the CD Emmett was playing up on deck as it filtered down the stairs, drinking in the view as I realised this was our last full day of our short Canadian break. All too soon it was time to return to reality... and college.
I had received a message from Carlisle saying I had been accepted by the University of Alaska, and I was just waiting to hear about my application for financial aid. Some serious strings had been pulled since my return to Forks; my application had been submitted well after the closing date, and it appeared that Carlisle had some serious 'pull' with the Board. So, all being well, I would be studying alongside the other Cullens: my family in all but name.
I heard the creak of the stairs as Emmett descended into the bedroom. His hair was wet, whether from the sea or the shower I couldn't immediately tell, but, doubtless, he had been to shore overnight to hunt bears on the mainland. He flopped on to the bed next to me, grinning from ear to ear, his golden eyes sparkling.
"Good morning, beautiful. Sleep well?"
I ran my hands through my hair, self consciously, wanting to look my best for him.
"Yeah. What are you up to, Emmett?"
"What do you mean?" He pulled back a fraction, trying to look mortally offended, but failing dismally as his signature smile spread across his face. Watching his eyes sparkle was like watching a glorious sunrise. I was so easily distracted. Shaking my head, I pulled myself together.
The song on the CD changed to one of my favourites.
"Emm? I can tell you're plotting something. Spill it."
He sighed dramatically. "You drive a hard bargain. What's it worth? Do I get a kiss first?"
I pretended to consider this suggestion before rolling into his arms for a long, slow, very suggestive kiss. I was pulling out the big guns. When I pulled away, I saw his eyes were hooded and dark. Mission accomplished.
"What are you hiding, Emm?" I asked again.
He licked his lip, tasting me there. Decision made, he stood up and walked over to the small fitted dresser.
He gently shut the drawer, his hands resting on the wood briefly, before walking back over to the bed. Holding out his hand to me, he pulled me to my feet, gathering me up into an embrace as we swayed to the song playing upstairs.
Meet me on your best behaviour
Meet me at your worst
For there will be no stone unturned
Or bubble left to burst
Let me lay beside you, Darling
Let me be your man
And let our bodies intertwine
But always understand
That everything, everything ends
That everything, everything ends
"This song kinda sums up how I feel about you, babe. I always want to be your man." His lips were at my ear as I melted into him.
"It makes me sad," I said softly, pulling back a little and stroking his cheek with the backs of my fingers. "I hate to think of us having to end one day."
"We don't have to end, babe." His lips touched mine so tenderly that I forgot everything in that moment until he spoke again, an odd cadence to his voice.
Is that fear?
"I was saving this for your birthday ... but I think now might be the right time." He held something in his hand, something I couldn't quite see.
"We don't have to end, babe," he repeated, gazing steadily into my eyes. "Ever."
He opened his hand, revealing a small package wrapped up in ribbon. I looked at him in confusion, before taking the object from his hand. I removed the ribbon, uncovering a small box. Opening it, I saw a rainbow flash across the wall of the cabin. It was exquisite. It was simple, elegant and perfect.
"Diamonds are like us, Bella: indestructible." He gently took the ring from the box and dropped to one knee in front of me. My mouth fell open in shock.
"Not everything has to end. Not if we don't want it to. Those months apart..." he shook his head, "I don't ever want to be without you again. I just couldn't stand it. I love you, my Bella. Marry me?"
I fell to my knees in front of him, kissing his beautiful lips until his worried frown softened and relaxed. Pulling back, his eyes searched mine, questioningly, hopefully, longingly.
I sucked in a breath at his gaze, my stomach fluttering in the face of a love so genuine that I felt ashamed at my unworthiness.
"You are all I want, Emmett. I've been yours since the day we met."
He placed the beautiful, cushion-cut solitaire on to my finger, where it would stay for evermore.
"I am yours for as long as you desire me, Bella."
He lifted me to my feet and pulled me into a mind reeling kiss.
When we parted, I looked at him and whispered just one word:
~~~ FIN ~~~