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Suggested Listening: The Fray – Never Say Never
People crowed the lobby of the ground floor making it damn near impossible to gain access to the front door. It was times like this that made me want to live somewhere with more vacancy. But, I had no time to debate my choice of apartment buildings. I had to get to Bella. I had to stop her before she was too far gone.
So, I ran. I pushed people out of my way with a flick of my wrist. I spun on my heels avoiding baby carriages, and I dodged three year olds with baby dolls. Skidding to a halt as I slid out of the revolving door, I looked left and then right only to see mobs of people walking, talking, laughing, and smiling.
"Mr. Black," the doorman approached me. "She went that way." He pointed to my left.
I nodded my head. Without thanking him, I darted down the side walk making my way through the faceless crowd only to find the one face I was so anxiously looking for at the corner. Bella raised her arm and waved for a cab – any cab – that would take her far away from this place, from me.
My feet pressed into the cement sidewalk and launched me toward her. I focused on her chestnut hair, and her tiny body heaving in sadness. In my chest, my heart began to rattle as it cracked and distorted with the sight of Bella's sadness. Her sadness was my sadness, now. I could feel her tears dripping down my face.
I reached my hand up to my cheek and wiped away the tears.
She flicked her wrist again completely unaware of my proximity. My eyes caught a bright yellow cab pulling toward the curb. The panic blaze burning in my veins exploded like a nuclear bomb.
"Bells," I screamed. Her body froze, but I caught the slight gasp escape her chest.
Bella turned. Her red crying eyes spotted my own through the masses of people. For a moment, time stopped and my world shattered as I watched the tears of pain, regret, and fear leak out of her chocolate brown eyes. They dripped from her chin and onto the cold, hard sidewalk beneath my feet. Watching her cry, seeing her tears, flooded my eyes with my own. I lunged forward and wrapped her up in my arms.
"Please," I buried my face in her hair.
Bella reluctantly pushed against me. I pulled back only to find her own insecurities written across her face.
"Stop," her voice spoke barely above a whisper. "It's too late."
The bleeding wound in my chest gapped open. She turned her back to me, and took a step toward the cab in front of her. But I wasn't going out like this. I couldn't let her go without trying to stop her. I had to stop her.
I grabbed her arm firmly and spun her around to face me. I yanked the bag from her hands – not caring who saw me or how hard I had jerked. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that she knew how I felt, that she knew I was trying, that she knew I wanted this. I wanted her.
"No, it's not." Firmly, the words parted my lips.
Cupping her cheeks in the palms of my hands, I gazed deeply into her puffy red eyes only to feel my heart breaking more. I knew I was the cause of her tears. I never wanted to see her cry again. I swallowed thickly as her tears acted like magnets pulling my own out of the corners of my eyes and down my cheeks.
"Yes, it is," she tried to assure me I was too late, but I knew I wasn't. It was never too late.
"No, it's not," I whispered feeling her resistance to me being in front of her, watching her cry, fade away.
Bella blinked as her hand lifted up and grasped mine. Her mouth parted as a sob escaped her perfect lips. "Jake."
The way she cried my name, the tears pouring from her eyes, the pain she felt – it all exploded from me in my own silent sob that only she heard. "Bells."
"Don't let me go."
Tears dripped from her eyes like rain drops during a midsummer's day thunderstorm. I pressed my forehead to hers and squeezed her cheeks with my hands.
"I'll never let you go, Bells. Never."
The words poured from my lips in the most truthful statement I'd ever spoken. Through her eyes, I saw my reflection. It was the reflection of a man who had been brought to his breaking point. It was the reflection of someone who had learned his lesson. It was the reflection of the man I'd always wanted to be and I had this beautifully petite woman to thank for that.
Silently and with all the love I held inside for her, I opened the door to my heart and kissed her tear stained lips.
"I'll never let go."