Hello…anyone out there. I am so sorry for the loonnggg break but I am back! See Authors note below!
I want to give a HUGE thank you to my darling Beta! Yuki Sakura-Chan! She's my girl and I HEART her immensely! She polishes each chapter up to shine just for you! Except this chapter, all the mistakes are mine!
It should be clear by now that I don't own anything...but it sure does own me!
He yanked the horse to a quick stop in the middle of the road and turned the best he could to me.
"Yes, hitched Bella," he said with a smile. "I want to marry you."
I should have never left. My thoughts were angry and bitter, filled with a rage that I couldn't even begin to understand myself.
"Damn it all to hell," I bellowed out, the words carrying ever bit of anger that I was feeling.
No one seemed too surprised at my outburst; all of the men in my front yard were feeling' the same way.
"Now, Charlie," Paul Banner said as he approached me. "I know that you've got every right to be upset but we are going to find her."
"I should have never left them unprotected," I bellowed.
"You couldn't have known that something like this would happen," Tom Stanley pointed out.
"One of those damned Cullen's took her," I seethed, my mind dredging up the weird experience we had, had just this morning on the way to church. James Cullen and that no good injun, Jacob Black, had stopped us and made veiled threats at my family. Now I was going to find them and string them up from the nearest tree.
"We can't be sure that is what happened," Paul pointed out. "She could have gone on down to the Brandon's house."
"Yes and conveniently broke two glasses on the steps before dashing' off," I gritted out. She had been taken, every sign pointed to it. "Isabella isn't some fickle woman; she wouldn't have left a mess or left Abigail here without a word to anyone."
My daughter was mature beyond her years, having to grow up quick when her mama passed away.
My heart clenched with the thought of my late wife, she would have known what to do right now. Isabella reminded me so much of her, her take charge attitude and stubbornness came straight from her mama. I couldn't bear the thought if I lost her too.
"I will admit that all of this looks suspicious, but let's not jump to conclusions," Tom said nervously, bouncing from one foot to the other.
"How about if this was your daughter, Jess," I said angrily. "Would you want everyone to be calm or would already have a lynching party lined up?"
I took his silence as his answer. Before I could really start getting worked up, the Newton's carriage pulled up to a quick stop in front of my house. Michael had dutifully followed me to town earlier and back home again but when we had found Isabella gone he had sputtered out something about getting his Pa and was gone.
"Charlie, what do we know?" The Elder Newton bellowed as he exited his carriage, Michael tumbling out behind him.
"Isabella's gone," I echoed the same words that were on repeat in my head.
"What do we think happened?" he questioned as he came closer, his sharp eyes taking in the broken glass and blood.
"She was taken," my voice shook more then I liked to admit.
I could hear the Abigail's soft cries coming from the house, Benjamin was in there trying his best to sooth her.
"And what are we doing about it?" he asked turning his angry eyes onto Tom Stanley and Paul Banner.
"We're trying to assess the situation," Tom sputtered out.
"Assess what?" Michael Senior groused. "The fact that my daughter in law has been kidnapped and you two spineless twits are just standing around here giving her poor pa a hard time."
I couldn't be too concerned that he was calling Isabella his kin, since it was only moments from happening when all of this went down. Plus the fact that the Newton's carried more weight in this community would be a blessing in helping find my baby girl.
Michael Junior shifted nervously behind his father, not seeming to know what to do to help.
"Now, we aren't giving Charlie here a hard time," Paul stated. "We were just trying to figure out the best strategy in finding her."
"I'm glad we are on the same page then," Newton Senior boomed out as his meaty hand slapped down onto Paul's shoulder. "But I've already got a plan."
"You do?" Tom stuttered out.
"Yep," Michael Senior said with a grin. "We are going to get a posse together, find the Cullen that took her and hang him from the nearest tree."
"Yes, hitched Bella," he said with a smile. "I want to marry you."
My breath caught in my throat and if my heart didn't feel like it was going to explode out of chest I would have thought I was dreaming.
"Bella?" Edward's cautious voice broke me out of my thoughts.
"Yes!" I blurted out.
"Yes?" a grin spread across his beautiful face.
"Yes, I'll marry you," I wanted him to know that I wanted him as much as he wanted me even if it wasn't a proper proposal.
Before I could say anything else, Edward, hopped out of the saddle. Once his feet hit the ground he pulled me down against him.
"What are you..." but before I could finish the statement his lips were pressed against mine firmly and with more passion then I had ever felt before. I responded with the same vigor, nothing holding me back now. I loved this man with my whole heart and always would.
Time seemed to escape his, his mouth continued to work mine. His tongue coming out to dance with mine, a foreign feeling at first but I caught on to after a few moments.
His mouth finally released mine causing me to gasp breathlessly, but he continued holding me close.
"I'm sorry," he said in any equally breathless voice.
"Sorry?" I asked in confusion.
"I'm sorry because once you said you would be my wife I couldn't not kiss you," he said with a chuckle. "And there was no way I could kiss you the way I wanted with us sitting on that horse."
My face bloomed with heat, even though he had just kissed the senses out of me. "You can kiss me that way any time you want."
"I plan to," he said with a cheeky grin.
His face grew serious, his eyes tracing over the lines of my face. "I love you so much, Bella. I will never forget the sacrifices that you have made to make me the happiest man alive."
"Oh Edward," I said with a happy sigh. "My love for you is so much more than anything I had to leave behind. Please know that. I love my family but my place with them was only temporary, but this right here is not."
He hugged me tight to his chest then. "I hope you always feel that way," he said so softly that I wasn't sure that I was supposed to hear it.
That evening found us in the dense woods, no signs of life for miles around us. My arms were secure around his waist and my head snug against his back. I tried to hold myself as still as possible, as the ache in my hips and buttocks were the worse I had ever felt.
Edward must have heard my whimper of pain as the horse bounded over a fallen tree.
"I'm sorry darling'," he said with pain lacing his words. "I know that this isn't something you are used to."
"It's okay," I said, not wanting him to feel bad.
"We are almost where we are going for the night."
I looked around at the rapidly darkening, dense woods and found it hard to believe that there was a destination point here.
Just as the last of the light was fading, a small shack came into view. The dilapidated state told me that it wasn't lived in.
"I know it's not much," Edward said as he yanked his horse to a stop in front of the small house. "But it's a safe place to rest our heads for a night or two."
Edward eased himself from the horse, before turning to help me down. The movement of shifting and swinging from the horse was enough me yelp out in pain.
"Oh darling," he said as he set me gently to the ground.
"It's okay," I said through gritted teeth.
"It's not but I'm sure that I've got something to help in here," he said patting the saddle bag. "But first stay by the horse, I'm going to make sure that the house is unoccupied."
He pulled his gun from his belt holster and walked towards the horse with more confidence then I could ever bolster. He shoved the rotting door in and his tall frame disappeared into the shack.
I held my breath while I waited for him, my eyes nervously skirting the surrounding dense trees. I felt like all the hidden eyes of the world were in them, watching me and waiting.
My whole body sagged with relief when Edward came back out the door, his gun resting back in his holster.
"It's clear," he said with a grin. "I'll grab what we need tonight and we'll make camp."
I watched as he untied the saddle bag before turning and handing it to me. I took it, hugging it tightly to my chest. He loosened the saddle, before swiftly pulling it from the horse with total ease. I watched curiously, as he swung the saddle onto the only part of the porch's railing that was still standing.
He continued working, pulling the saddle blankets and hanging them over his arm.
"I need to brush her," he said patting her flank with his free hand. "But it'll have to wait till morning."
I followed him into the house, staying close to his back. Not sure what to expect on the inside. But the darkness was even more intense in there and made it impossible to see.
"Stand right here," Edward said in front of me, his hand squeezing my shoulder before I heard him move away.
I listened to the sounds of his movements around the small space; he seemed to be looking for something by the rummaging sounds that hit my ears. A low oath escaped his lips when he met with an object that he didn't expect.
"Are you okay?" I asked quietly, the darkness making me a little shy.
"I'm fine, sweetheart," he said, closer to me than I expected. "Not as graceful in the dark as I am in light."
He rummaged around some more, before releasing a victory noise.
"Found it," he said with a chuckle. "If only people would learn to put things back."
Before I could ask him what he was talking about, a sharp sound of a match scraping across stone happened and the room was suddenly illuminated with a dull light.
I could see Edward now; in his hands was a beat up lantern that looks to have seen better days.
"It's old but it works," he said as he set it down onto a small table.
Inside of the house didn't look as bad as the outside. It was old and unlived in, but someone had taken the time to keep it clean and furnished with a few items. Outside of the small table that now housed the lantern, there were three wood chairs that sat around small dining table.
Edward took no time spreading the saddle blanket out onto the floor, before turning to me.
"Take a seat at the table and I'll get you something to for the pain," he said grabbing the saddle bag from my arms.
I gingerly walked towards the three chairs, choosing the one closet to him. It took everything I had not to yelp out in pain as I sat down. I hadn't felt pain like this in my whole life.
Edward made quick work of digging through the saddle bag. Out came a metal cup and then brown glass bottle.
I had seen something similar to it in Pa's room, but had never asked him about it.
"Before I give this to you, we are going to eat," he said pushing the bottle and cup to the side a little. "It'd be best for you to have something in your belly."
"What is it?" I asked, nervously eyeing the bottle.
"It's Laudanum," he answered as he dug around in the bag Ms. Katie packed for us. "It'll give you some relief."
He carefully laid out some of the food Ms. Katie had packed us. A hunk of dried meat, a loaf of bread and some sliced cheese. To wash it down, she packed a canister of apple cider.
"I know it's not much," Edward said nervously as he sat down in the chair opposite of me.
"It's perfect," I stopped his line of thinking.
We sat in silence for a few moments, both of us seemingly lost in thought as we ate our food. I didn't realize how ravished I was until the salty meat hit my stomach.
Once both of us had, had our fill Edward packed the left overs back into the bag.
"Time for some medicine," he said pulling the cup and bottle back to us.
I shifted nervously in my chair, which helped remind me exactly why I was going to be taking that stuff.
"It doesn't taste the best," he said as he uncapped the small bottle. "But it will help."
He poured some of the liquid into the cup before sliding it towards me.
"Bottoms up," he said with a chuckle. "Better to drink it quickly."
I wrapped my hands around the cool metal cup and brought it to my lips. I paused for a moment before quickly dumping the bitter tasting liquid into my mouth.
My body fought swallowing the horrid tasting medicine, but I forced it down and couldn't help the distasteful noises I made after it was gone.
Edward chuckled loudly at the look on my face.
"That was awful," I admitted once the bitter taste left my mouth.
"It sure is," he said with a chuckle as he tucked the glass bottle and cup back into the bag. "But you'll be thanking it in a moment or two."
He stood then and started moving about the small room, he double checked the door before grabbing one of the saddle blankets.
"Do you need help," I offered, despite the warm feeling that had started licking through my arms and legs.
"I've got this darling," he said as he shook one of the blankets out flat onto the ground.
"I know it's not much," he admitted as he turned back to me. "But it'll keep you warm."
I realized then that he was making me a bed. My heart swelled a little.
"It's perfect," because even if it was a stinky horse blanket, he had thought of a way to keep me warm and safe.
I tried to stand, but my legs felt funny and the whole room swayed.
"I've got you, darling," Edward's warm voice wrapped around me the same time his arms did.
"I feel funny," I chortled, laughter bubbling out of my mouth.
"Yeah?" Edward chuckled. "I'm glad that you're not hurting anymore."
"Your voice is warm," I said suddenly, not able to stop myself.
"Warm?" He asked as he eased me down onto the blanket.
"Yeah, like a warm breeze on a summer day," my words where looping together in a fuzzy way.
"If anyone's the sun, it's your darling," he stated, sounding so far away.
"Don't leave me," I said shooting upright, which made my head wobble a little.
"I'm not going anywhere," he was still crouched down next to me.
"Where are you going to sleep?" I asked looking around at the small room we were in.
"I'll probably camp out in one of those chairs," he said, nodding at the wooden chairs we had sat in for dinner.
"They're not very comfortable," I pointed out, the medicine in me making me braver then I normally was.
"No, they're not," he admitted after a moment.
"There's enough room on this blanket," I said, finally understanding the term "liquid courage".
"It's not proper, Bella," he said in, an unconvincing tone.
"Yeah and me running away with you was so proper," I chortled.
"Well, you've got a point there," he sighed. "I just want to do what's right by you, Bella."
"It's just to sleep, Edward," I said as a huge wave of drowsiness hit me.
"Fine," he relented, probably seeing that I was almost to sleep myself. "Let me grab the other blanket."
He made quick work of grabbing the blanket and the small lantern. It didn't take long before he was settled in next to me, the room going completely dark when Edward extinguished the lantern.
"Come here, darling," Edward said drawing my back into his chest. It should have been weird to be held so intimately but it was probably the first time in my whole life that I had felt like I was exactly where I belonged. Happiness coursed through my veins.
"I think everything is going to be okay, I said out loud.
"What do you mean?" Edward's voiced rumbled through my back.
"Just everything," my voice had an edge of drowsiness to it. "Us, your brothers, my family."
"I think that's the Laudanum talking," Edward chuckled.
"Maybe," I admitted, everything going a little foggy.
"Edward," I slurred.
I'm not sure if I even finished what I was saying, sleep over took me quickly and painlessly.
But the peace didn't seem to stay too long, nightmares took over. It was a dark world without Edward's warm nestled next to. I heard his cussing and frantic movements. I swear at one point the sound of a gun cocking and another man's voice filled the air.
And right before everything went completely dark; I could have sworn I heard Alice's frantic voice.
Hi! I'm back and for good! Lots of changes have happened in my little world as of late. I closed my pretty good business to be home with my family more, so I have a lot of free time on my hands…which means writing! Woohoo!
So what did you all think of this chapter? Let me know in a review!