AN: Thanks so much to our awesome beta, ysar! Also thanks to StupidLambTanya, MinaRivera and SabLuvslogan for pre-reading this week! Tanya's having back surgery soon, so please keep her in your thoughts. =)

Chapter 24: All In


And I'm all in, nothing left to hide
I'm falling harder than a landslide
I spend a week away from you last night

And now I'm calling, calling out your name
Even if I lose the game, I'm all in,
I'm all in tonight
Yeah I'm all in, I'm all in for life


All In by Lifehouse


The next morning, Bella woke alone and confused. Reaching out, her fingers slid across the cool sheets where Edward's body should have been. Instead, they came across a piece of paper. She smiled as she read his words stating that he'd gone for a run with Emmett and would be back later.

She sat up, yawned, and stretched her arms above her head. After glancing at the clock to reveal it was mid-morning, Bella reached out for her phone, deciding to get a few calls out of the way. The first was to Aro Volturi, who was surprisingly accommodating when she pleaded to leave L.A. sooner than originally planned. He remarked that he had a daughter of his own and was sure that putting her well-being first would always be the right decision.

Buoyed by the positive results of her first conversation, she squared her shoulders and made her next call to James.

After a few minutes of back and forth, making sure she was indeed feeling all right, Bella approached her main goal of the conversation tentatively.

"We need to talk about some things, Jame."


Twenty minutes later, Bella stripped down and immersed herself into a steaming shower. She was half-way through washing her hair when the door slid open, startling her into a panic. A completely naked Edward rushed in and pulled her into his arms.

"Shit," he muttered near her ear. "I'm sorry, Princess. I didn't mean to scare you."

She swallowed, taking a shallow breath, and gave him a shaky smile.

"It's okay," she mumbled.

He gently caressed her back, feeling her heart still beating fast where their chests touched.

"No, it's not," he argued. "After what happened yesterday, I should've known better than to sneak up on you like that. I'm sorry."

"Seriously," Bella replied, "I'm fine, just a little startled. It's really not a big deal."

She stretched up on her toes and pulled his head down to kiss him lightly. Her fingers ran through his damp hair, urging him closer. He groaned and settled his hands on her hips, molding their bodies together under the warm spray. Her tongue slide across his, causing Edward to pull away, breathing heavily.

He rested his head against her forehead and sighed.

"Slow down, baby," he whispered into the air. "We shouldn't rush anything."

Bristling, she pulled away slightly and looked up into his eyes. The love and concern she found there all but melted her annoyance.

"I'm not broken," she whispered hoarsely. "Yes, Jane was scary and crazy as shit, but I'm fine. Right now what I need is for you to hold me and love me. Please don't treat me like I'm made of glass."

Understanding washed across Edward's face and he smiled. "I love you," he whispered as his lips brushed hers.

Their kiss quickly became passionate, eliciting moans and roaming hands by both parties. Edward gently pressed her back against the shower wall, hitching her leg over his hip for better access. His fingers had just slid teasingly across her clit when a sudden banging against the door started.

His movement halted, and Bella whimpered, rubbing her hips closer to his body, looking for friction. "Ignore them," she moaned.

Her boyfriend shot her a sexy smirk and continued to stroke her slick flesh. She bit into his shoulder lightly to keep from calling out. The banging started again, and Bella flung her back against the wall.

"GO AWAY!" she yelled. "There's like, four other bathrooms in this house!"

"Scrappy?" Emmett called out, his voice filled with mirth. "Sorry to, erm, interrupt, but the fuzz are here to talk to you."

Edward eased her leg to the shower floor, giving her a rueful smile. "Rain check?"

Bella pouted playfully, swatting him on the ass when he turned away. "I'll hold you to that Mr. Cullen."

"And I always deliver, Princess." He winked as he laid one last kiss on her lips.

The pair quickly finished their shower, dressing in record time. When they made their way downstairs, an older man in uniform stood silently in the living room. Noticing Bella's entrance, the officer offered her a cautious smile.

"Ms. Dwyer, I'm Captain Daniels from the L.A.P.D," he spoke in a quiet, yet commanding voice. He pulled a badge from his pocket and offered it for her to inspect.

"Is everything all right?" Bella asked with trepidation.

Captain Daniels offered her a reassuring smile. "So far, everything seems to be in order. Jane Pressman is under twenty-four hour surveillance in a psyche ward, and her brother is in custody for being an accomplice to your kidnapping. Apparently, he also has a fetish for strangling women during intimate moments, and his sister blackmailed him into helping her." The man shuddered slightly before regaining his composure.

"As for why I'm here today, I found myself reading over your report this morning and wanted to come and personally apologize for my department's mishandling of your previous complaint a few months back. After some digging, we found that the officer who'd originally handled your complaint was bribed by the Pressmans to "misplace" your report. That man is currently suspended while Internal Affairs investigates the situation."

Bella nodded and swallowed the lump in her throat. "Okay, thank you for coming out here to set the record straight. I do have a question, if you don't mind."

"Go right ahead. I'll do my best to answer."

"I'm planning on moving in a few weeks. Out of state," she clarified. "Will that interfere with your investigation?"

"I don't foresee that happening," the captain reassured. "We have confessions from both of the Pressman twins, so I doubt you'll be called to testify or anything. I'll give the D.A. a call and inform her of your situation. She'll give you a call and let you know for sure."

After seeing the captain out, Bella collapsed on the couch next to Edward and released a sigh of relief.

"I can't believe this almost over. I'm so tired—mentally and physically," she mumbled into his shoulder.

Edward wrapped his arms around her and kissed her head gently. "Everything will be fine," he murmured comfortingly.

A few minutes later, Emmett entered the room with a wide smile, holding something behind his back. Bella eyed him warily before speaking up.

"What's with the shit-eating grin, Shaggy?"

Emmett whipped a dvd case in front of his body and presented it like a model would. "I know you're stressed out, so I figured that we could pop in The Princess Bride and relax for a little bit. It's still your favorite, right?"

Bella's heart melted into a puddle of goo as she lifted herself from the couch and threw herself into his arms.

"Yes, it's still my favorite. I can't believe you remember that!" she laughed lightly as she squeezed his waist.

"Ha, you made us watch that movie over and over that one summer. I bet I can still quote it, too."

"Is that a challenge?" she asked, excited to spar with him.

Emmett grinned and nodded. "You're on, Scrappy!"


Halfway through the movie, Bella was leading Emmett by two quotes when the door opened, and James walked through it.

Bella looked up as her friend plopped down into an arm chair, letting out a huge sigh. She'd been curled up on the couch, next to Edward's side while they watched the movie with Emmett.

She clicked pause on the remote, earning a disgruntled "Hey!" from her cousin, which she quickly stifled with a glare in Em's direction.

"How'd it go, Jame?" she asked quietly, eyeing her friend in concern.

James rolled his eyes and huffed dramatically. "About as well as I thought it would. Mom cried, and my father expressed his extreme disappointment at my choices, lecturing me about how he'd known all along that Hollywood would ruin me."

Bella let out a small sigh, moving to sit on the side of her friend's chair. She leaned into his side and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I feel bad that I encouraged you to talk to them."

James shrugged, giving her a small smile and patting her leg gently. "Don't worry about that, Iz. It was the right thing to do. To be honest, you were totally right."

She shot him a questioning look. "What do you mean?"

"It feels like this giant weight has been lifted from my shoulders," he replied. "I should've come out a long time ago. I'm tired of hiding who I am."

Emmett's brow furrowed in confusion. "Wait, wait. You told who what?"

"I went over to my parent's house today to tell them that Izzy and I aren't really together, and I'm bisexual." James laughed ruefully. "My mother was more upset about not getting Iz to pop out any beautiful grandbabies."

Bella scrunched up her nose in distaste and shook her head. "No offense, Jame, but ewww."

James laughed and nodded. "No offense taken. I totally agree with you."

Sensing there was more to the subject, Bella nudged her friend softly. "And your dad?"

A muscle ticked in James' jaw in an obvious effort to restrain himself. "At first, he yelled about how I was making all the wrong choices and how Hollywood was to blame. When he realized I wasn't buying his bullshit, he started insulting me about how I was damning myself to eternal hell, and how embarrassed they'd be when the whole world found out that his famous son was a fag."

James spat out the last word with venom, his temper on the edge.

"I'm so sorry," Bella whispered, hugging him tightly.

James's shoulders sagged in defeat, his anger sliding away. "He doesn't matter, Iz. You've met him before; I've never been good enough for him."

"I know," she replied softly, "but it doesn't make it right. They're your parents, and they should love you unconditionally, even if they disagree with you. You deserve better than to be treated like that."

James squeezed her waist. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Iz."

"Oh, you'd totally be lost," she joked in an attempt to lighten the mood.

James chuckled and shook his head. "Well, the hard part's done. Now when do you want to go public?"

Edward, who'd been silently observing, sat forward with his eyes lit up in hope. "Go public?" he asked, failing to hide the hint of excitement in his voice.

Bella bit her lip and returned to her seat next to him. "Yes, go public. If recent events have taught me anything, it's that I'm going to live my life with whatever happiness I can get. While I do have my obligations in regard to my career, my priority is to my heart and our relationship."

She cupped his blushing cheek with one hand. "You will always be first." She ran a finger over the rosy skin. "I love this blush," she whispered so only he could hear.

Edward's face broke out into a wide smile as he gathered her in his arms. "I love you so much, Princess," he responded, brushing his lips against her own.

Bella rested her head against his chest and smiled. "I know. I love you, too."

After a quiet moment, Emmett piped up and ended the silence. "So what are you guys going to do? Stage a public break up?"

James smiled. "Nah, I think I have a better idea. We could kill two birds with one stone and do an interview."

Bella grinned and leaned forward excitedly. "Like with Barbara Walters? I've always wanted to do an interview with her!"

He nodded, grinning along with her. "Exactly. We can do a side-by-side interview. I come out of the closet, and you stay by my side to show your devotion as my best friend. We've never confirmed being a real couple, so this will be an explanation for that. We just need to run everything by Tanya and make sure we're not stepping on any toes with what we say."

Bella nodded, sitting back against Edward's chest. "I think that's a great idea. It ties into the Seattle concert perfectly!"

"Seattle concert?" Edward and Emmett asked simultaneously.

"Shit," she mumbled with a giggle. "That was supposed to be a surprise."

Emmett waved his hands, urging her to keep talking. "Continue! What concert in Seattle?"

"I've written a new song, and I'm going to unveil it live at a concert in Seattle in three weeks. Between now and then, I'll be busy packing up my things and finding a new place to live. From there, I'm taking a short break to finish up the new album before doing a tour this summer."

"Inconceivable!" Emmett cried out, grinning like a fool.

Bella sat back and rolled her eyes. "How long have you been waiting to use that one?"

Her cousin shrugged sheepishly. "Since I picked up the movie."

"On that note," James started as he rose to his feet, "I'm heading out to make some calls and get the ball rolling."

Bella stood and wrapped her arms around her friend. "Are you sure? You can hang out with us if you'd like the company."

James smiled and kissed her cheek. "Nah, I'll be good. I'll swing by tomorrow, maybe we can do lunch?"

She nodded and walked him to the front door. James paused for a moment and reached for her hand. "I'm only going to get all sentimental this one time, so enjoy it." He shot her a cheeky grin before lifting her knuckles to his lips and pressing a small kiss on her hand.

"You've been my closest friend for years, Izzy, and I'm going to miss you so much. But by the same token, I want you to be happy, and being with them makes you happy. And if you don't keep in touch, I will never forgive you."

Bella felt tears sting her eyes and reached to hug him tightly. "I love you, Jame. I swear I'll stay in touch."

James nodded and composed his face into his normal happy-go-lucky self. "Ok, then. I'll see you tomorrow for lunch, dear."

As she closed the door, she leaned back against it and sighed. She'd definitely miss James, but she was ready to move on with her life; she was ready to have her family back for good.

"Everything okay?"

Bella looked up to see Edward standing in the doorway, and she nodded. "Yeah, everything is fine. Just a little overwhelmed, ya know? There's a lot left to do."

He ran his hand across the back of his neck nervously, his adorable blush creeping onto his cheeks. "Yeah, about part of that," he replied with his voice cracking. He cleared his throat and shot her a small smile. "What would you say to skipping the place to live part?"

She gave him a confused look. "What do you mean? I need to live somewhere, babe."

He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "No, I mean why don't you move in with me? My house is almost finished, and I drew up plans to build a studio in the basement for you as a surprise."

Her heart started to beat furiously. "Are you sure?" she asked hesitantly. "I mean, that's a big step."

His face fell slightly. "Yeah, I'm sure, but if you want to wait—"

She cut off his words by walking over and pressing her lips against his.

"I want you, Edward," she whispered as she pulled back to look into his smiling eyes.

"I love you so damn much, Princess," he replied passionately.

"Are you guys going to stand out there and play kissy face all day, or are we gonna watch this movie?" Emmett called from the other room.

Laughing, Bella took her boyfriend's hand and led him the to other room. "We're on our way, Em."

Edward glanced down at her smiling face and couldn't wipe the grin from his own. "Indeed we are, Princess."


3 Weeks Later


"Hello, Seattle!" Bella shouted to the screaming crowd. "We're doing something a little different tonight, so please bear with me!"

She leaned over, lifting her guitar from it's resting position on a stool, and cradled it in her arms. She strummed a few notes before the band began to play along.

Edward watched, enraptured, for the next ninety minutes as his girlfriend sang and danced, all the while holding her audience in the palm of her hand.

"Thank you so much!" Bella called out at the end of her set. "You've been amazing!"

She stepped away from the mic and started to walk offstage when the crowd began to loudly chant 'Encore!'. She playfully ran back.

"One more?" she asked, and received on overwhelming yes. "How can I say no to that?" she laughed. "One second!"

Bella jogged over to where Edward was standing. She grinned as he shot her a confused smile.

"Have you ever heard of the term 'Grand Gesture'?" she responded cheekily, stretching up to kiss him swiftly before running back on stage.

His eyes widened in understanding as she gripped the microphone, glancing back at him with a grin.

"Okay, guys," she started, "this is a completely new song that I wrote for someone special."

She visibly swallowed and glanced over to catch Edward's eye. 'I love you,' she mouthed, laying her right hand over he heart.

Bella turned back to the crowd and began strumming.

All night, staring at the ceiling
Counting, the minutes
I'm feeling this way
So far away and so alone

The band joined in as she hit the chorus, the crowd going crazy. She closed her eyes, singing her heart out. When the second chorus hit, she looked directly at Edward and sang to him.

And I'm all in, nothing left to hide
I'm falling harder than a landslide
I spend a week away from you last night

And now I'm calling, calling out your name
Even if I lose the game, I'm all in,
I'm all in tonight
Yeah I'm all in, I'm all in for life

Her heart skipped a beat as she gazed at the man she loved. His face was split into a wide smile, and his eyes shone with happiness. Overcome with emotion, she dropped the mic as soon as the last word left her mouth, and rushed over to jump into his arms. Edward caught her easily, crashing his mouth into hers as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

Everyone backstage exchanged knowing smiles and looked away from the intimate moment. They'd been quiet about their relationship since Bella and James' interview aired, letting the drama surrounding it die down.

"I love your grand gestures," Edward murmured against her lips.

Grinning, she leaned her head back and laughed brightly. "I love you, Edward Cullen."


Chapter song: All In by Lifehouse (Also the Izzy Dwyer song at the end)

AN: I'm sad to say, but we're wrapping things up here. Only one more chapter to go, and I haven't decided if there will be a traditional epilogue yet (although I'm leaning toward no). No worries, a little bit from the three week gap between L.A. and Seattle will be mentioned in the next chapter, including Bella & James' interview.