OT #2. June 2012: Edward.

A/N: This is the out-take that was most requested: Edward's point of view of their first time together. I didn't want to write this unless I thought it could bring something more to the story, so it took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to frame this.

I really hope you enjoy it.

A song: These Boats, by Bobby Long. It's my most favourite. Ever.

"Edward, hun, are you almost ready to go?" Bella's voice rings through my apartment as she lets herself in. I'm immediately aware of the slight edge to her voice; she's nervous, but why?

"Yeah, almost, sweet girl. Oh, love, do I need to wear a tie?"

Bella appears in the doorway, her dark eyes sweeping over me quickly. I catch the spark of lust in her eyes, and I smirk cockily. I've never felt particularly handsome; I know I don't usually make sufficient effort with my personal grooming to fall into that category, but the way Bella looks at me makes me puff up slightly with pride.

"I don't think so," she murmurs as she crosses the room quickly.

"You look beautiful, Bella" I tell her, my breath catching. She's stunning, truly, in a sleeveless dress of deep purple that cinches at her waist and flows gently to her knees. Her dark hair is gathered over one shoulder, and I notice with relief that she's forgone lipstick. My lips seek out hers immediately, trying to express the adoration and love I have for her with each gentle kiss.

She pulls back, giggling.

"I didn't put this on yet, in the hope you'd do that," she grins, holding up a tube of lipstick.

"Well, if you're going to put that on, I'm going to need another kiss first," I tell her seriously.

She smiles and rolls her pretty brown eyes, but immediately tilts her face to receive my kiss. Our playfulness quickly escalates to passion as our lips dance and tongues share gentle caresses. Bella hums softly, and I answer with a groan, my hands seeking out her waist and pulling her closer. When I finally release her mouth in order to take a breath, my sweet girl quickly takes a step back, her cheeks colouring.

"We can't go to dinner all mussed up, Edward," she chuckles, the nervous edge to her voice returning.

I pretend to pout and she laughs at me, making her way to my bathroom. I trail after her, watching as she carefully applies the vibrant red colour to her pretty mouth. She catches me watching her, smiling at my reflection as it hovers behind her.

"I like this," she tells me, turning to face me, and indicating the white button down and charcoal blazer.

"Uh, thanks," I mutter. "Are you sure jeans are okay, sweet girl?" I check, indicating the dark denim on my legs. Whilst I'm more comfortable dressing casually, I don't want to embarrass Bella if we're going somewhere swanky.

"Definitely," she smirks. Her slender fingers cup my cheek, before moving to trace my jaw, and she sighs softly. My girl can't keep her hands off my face when I'm clean-shaven. I don't understand it, but I'll never ever complain about having her hands on me. I capture one of her hands and bring it to my lips.

"I love you, Bella."

"I love you too, Edward," she smiles. "Happy Birthday, baby."

I can't help but smile at her term of endearment: she doesn't use it often, but I do love it when she does.

"We should go," she sighs. I hear the nervousness in her tone, and I wonder whether I ought to call her out on it. I study her as she fidgets with her dress, and begins twirling a strand of dark hair around one of her fingers. I decide to let it go for now. Perhaps she's just nervous about a gift she's planning on giving me. I offer her my arm, and she laughs her sweet laugh as she links her arm with mine.

We enter the restaurant hand in hand, and the cause of Bella's nervousness becomes apparent immediately.

"Edward! Edward! Surprise! Happy birthday!" My sister launches herself at me with her usual brand of overwhelming enthusiasm. I take a quick step to the side to protect Bella from my sister's violent embrace.

"Hey Katie, it's so good to see you," I smile, kissing her cheek gently. Bella catches my eye as I hug my sister, her shy smile speaking volumes.

"You planned this?" I ask her over my sister's shoulder. She nods, her sweet blush spreading across her cheeks.

"Katie, let the boy go! Oh, Edward, lovey, look at you. Happy birthday, son!"

"Hi Mum," I kiss my Mum's familiar cheek as she pulls me into her embrace.

Katie's excited chatter continues as I shake hands with my Dad, clapping him on the shoulder.

"Oh, lovey, look at you! Ooh, you're just adorable. I love this dress! Gorgeous. Eddie, I love her. Marry this one, yeah? Then move back to London and make beautiful babies, and I can be your nanny, yeah? Auntie Katie, I like the sound of that!" I pull back from my Dad, trying to catch my sister's eye as she continues to babble. Bella's cheeks transform from petal pink to scarlet as my sister's animated babble continues.

"Oh, and look at you, Edward, goodness me, I can see your face! Lovey, I love you even more for managing to get my brother to shave. I don't think I've seen him clean-shaven since I started kindergarten!"

"Katie –" Mum chastises her.

I wrap my arm around Bella's waist, pulling her close. I feel her relax slightly at the contact, and it thrills me, knowing that my presence eases her nerves.

"Oh hush, Mummy, it's alright. Bella's going to be family. Can't you see it? Look at them," she smirks, gesturing at the two of us. "Watch the way they look at each other. They have forever written all over their faces."

"Katie, love. Settle down." Dad reprimands my sister gently, and she pouts, winking at Bella, who smiles, ducking her head. Not wanting Bella to feel uncomfortable, I clear my throat, and introduce her to my parents, in person, finally.

"Mum, Dad, this is my girlfriend, Bella Swan. Bella, this is my mum, Esme, and my dad, Carlisle."

Mum beams at the two of us she pulls Bella out of my arms and into her own, greeting her gently. Dad winks at me as he too hugs my girl briefly, kissing her cheek softly.

"It's so wonderful to finally meet you face to face, Bella," Mum smiles. "We've heard so much about you for so long now."

"It's lovely to meet you in person, Mrs Cullen," Bella replies, her soft voice filled with genuine warmth.

"Please, sweet girl, call me Esme."

Katie chatters away with the hostess, and before long we are seated, sipping champagne and perusing the menu. Katie pouts a little about the fact that she's not permitted to imbibe, but she quickly forgets her pique, chatting animatedly with Bella.

My heart thumps wildly in my chest as I watch Bella charm my family. The sweet girl, of course, is completely oblivious to the effect she has on people. She remains soft-spoken, though I can see her blossoming as my family sets her at ease with their delighted acceptance of her presence in my life. Mum and Katie bombard her with questions about her upbringing and her plans for the future, but thankfully avoid mentioning Bella's marriage to Jacob.

The girls barely touch their meals as they continue to chatter, until finally I put my foot down, noticing that Bella has tried three times to put the same forkful of food in her mouth, and has each time had to pause to answer another question.

"Mum, Katie. Enough. You'll have years to ask Bella all the questions you want, but please, let her eat her dinner."

Mum beams at my declaration, and Bella squeezes my knee in thanks as she finally manages to consume a few bites of her meal.

"Years?" My head snaps up to meet my Dad's steel blue eyes at his quiet question.

"Years," I confirm. "I'm never letting her go, Dad. I couldn't. I love her. I thought I'd have to spend my life watching her love someone else, and now that I know she loves me …" I shake my head, unable to find the words to articulate the overwhelming joy and completeness I feel knowing I have Bella's affection.

Dad looks at me thoughtfully, and I can feel myself bristling at his appraisal. His gaze drifts to Bella, watching as she talks and laughs with Mum and Esme. She's relaxed completely now, thanks to Mum and Katie's obvious interest in getting to know her, and you'd never know she's only spoken to them once previously, and that through a computer screen. Actually … she must have spoken to them in order to set up this surprise for me. My heart swells with love and wonder as I realize my shy, sweet Bella has called up my family to arrange their visit to the States. I know how difficult Bella would have found making that call, and that she would put herself through that discomfort for my sake … she's amazing.

"She's amazing," Dad murmurs, his soft-spoken words echoing my thoughts.

"I know," I agree, reluctantly dragging my eyes from Bella and back to my Dad's face.

"Your sister knows nothing of forever, Edward, but she's right."

"I know."

Dad sighs, pushing back in his chair and rolling his eyes playfully as the three girls excuse themselves to use the powder room. I'll never understand why using the bathroom is such a social event for women.

"I remember the first time you told us about Bella … and her … situation … you know?"

I nod, remembering the few weeks I'd had to spend in London sorting out my visas and signing with my label in March last year. It was absolute agony, being away from Bella for that period of time, knowing the hell she was dealing with back at home: battling both depression and an abusive husband.

March 2011: London

"Edward, can we talk?"

I slide into the chair at my parents' kitchen table, where Mum and Dad are seated, watching me expectantly.

"Sure, Mum. What's up?"

"Sweetheart, I'm worried about you. There's something going on with you that I can't understand. I've been watching you this week, son, and there have been times that I've seen this … transcendent joy overtaking your features whilst you're thinking, and other times, it's sheer and utter despair. Is there something you want to talk to us about, love?" Mum's green eyes are filled with concern as she watches me struggle to answer her.

"You know we'll support you through anything, Edward," Dad adds gently.

I nod my head, sighing as I try to formulate my explanation.

"Last year, I met this girl at one of my shows …" I begin. Mum smiles slightly, but her expression saddens as she watches me tug at my hair in frustration. "She's amazing, yeah? She's beautiful, and she's so sweet and kind and selfless, and she loves my music and I can talk to her about anything." I stress the final word, and Dad nods, understanding that I mean she's aware of my battle with depression.

"I love her. Deeply. More deeply than I ever thought it was possible to love another person."

"But?" Mum prompts gently.

"She's married, Mum." Mum and Dad's shocked expressions are exactly what I expect, but I raise my hand to silently beg them to let me finish.

"Please, please, let me finish. If she was happily married, I could deal with it. I love her enough that, though it would be excruciating, I just want her to be happy. I could walk away, knowing that she's loved and treasured and cared for, even if it isn't me who's able to give her that." I swallow harshly, trying to fight the tears that threaten to spill over.

"But, she's not. She's married to this absolute dickhead –"

"Edward," Dad's voice is laden with warning, and I shake my head at him.

"He's abusive, Dad. Not physically, he doesn't hit her or anything, but he's just, excuse me, Mum, but he's fucking awful. He manipulates her and he essentially treats her as his live-in maid service, and she's really struggling with depression at the moment, and … fuck … " I trail off, unable to continue to speak with the lump that's developing in my throat.

"Listen, Edward, son. You have to be careful. I'm sure she seems lovely, but has it occurred to you that she's actually manipulating you? That she's not just using you –" Dad cuts himself off as he processes the murderous expression on my face.

"Edward, dearest, I hate to say it, but your Dad's right –"

"Enough." My voice is surprisingly calm for all the emotion I'm trying to hold at bay. "Just, let me explain. Please."

Mum and Dad nod warily, and I sigh before I start to speak.

"I knew Bella was married before I met her, a'ight? She came and saw me play in Portland, and Leah met her there. And then she came to see me again in Seattle, and Leah convinced her to introduce herself to me. We just clicked, yeah? We spent hours talking; we talked about music and politics and poetry … everything. We kept in touch via email and the occasional phone call as I toured, and it was only a matter of weeks before I considered her one of my closest friends. To be honest, I fell in love with her almost immediately, but I knew I could never do anything about it. She was already married, and I made a conscious decision to never put her in a position that would make her feel uncomfortable, or to make her feel as though she had to choose between her marriage, and our friendship."

I take a sip of my rapidly cooling tea before I continue.

"I knew things with her husband weren't great, but she never really talked about it too much. She never complained; it was just things she'd let slip that I picked up on. Little things, like him not letting her do something that she really wanted to. But I was more concerned about her mental health, to be honest. She started spiraling downward really quickly, and I was really worried. I told her about my own depression – all about it, my self-medicating, everything. And it became pretty clear to me that she was quite severely depressed. Rose was pretty certain her depression was related to Jake being an arse, but …" I shrug. "Bella finally confessed everything to me whilst I was in Pittsburgh. About how nasty and spiteful he is, how he treats her as his personal cleaner and cook and sex toy, and the awful names he calls her. I realized immediately that it was emotional abuse, but I just let her talk, and I kept telling her that she's not lazy, or useless or pathetic, but that she's amazing, and strong, and precious, and so, so special."

"And then, Leah, Emmett, Rose and I met him, just before Christmas. He's a bloody tool, truly; it took ever bit of self-control I possess not to punch him in the face at the way he belittled Bella in front of us all. Emmett was the same; he wanted to … uh … relieve him of his testicles." I can see Mum and Dad's skepticism morph into concern as I speak, particularly as they realize Rose and Em are able to confirm what I'm saying.

"I don't know what to do, you know? I don't know whether to tell her to leave him, and I'm terrified his abuse will become physical. It infuriates me. Bella's amazing. She's the most precious creature I've ever known, and I want to give her the world; I'd do anything to make her smile, but Jake, he just doesn't see. He's a fool, and he wants to keep her caged, and downtrodden. It's awful."

"Oh, Edward."

"That's why you asked about a referral for a psychiatrist then?" Dad asks quietly.

"Yeah," I nod. "I've always been grateful for what Em did for me; so I made an appointment for Bella, and I've been going with her to every appointment for the last few months. The doctor started her on anti-depressants last month, and they've helped her a lot. But, she's still got to go home and face Jacob every day, and it just crushes me, knowing how he takes her for granted."

I take in the concern in Dad's grey blue eyes, and the sadness in Mum's green ones, and the tears I've been valiantly willing away will no longer be contained. Hot, salty water streaks down my face as I sit in my parents' kitchen, confessing to them that another man is slowly destroying the woman I love more than my own life.

"I couldn't see how things would possibly work out for you, son," Dad's voice drags me back into the present with a jolt. "To be honest, for months I waited for a call from Emmett to tell me you'd crashed again. I didn't understand how you could do it; how you could spend time with her, loving her as you did, knowing that she was married to another."

"How could I not, Dad? How could I not take whatever she could spare me?"

Dad nods his understanding.

"I get it, now, Edward. Truly, and I'm so sorry I ever doubted you."

"It's fine," I shrug. "It was a fucked up situation."

Dad frowns at my expletive, but sighs again, tugging at his own hair.

"You two seem truly happy together, son. I'm delighted for you. Bella quite clearly adores you, and I can see how deeply you treasure her. It strikes me as quite wretched to delight in the death of another human being, but I can't help but be grateful that you have this chance to love her as she deserves."

Mum, Katie and Bella are making their way back to the table, and I notice the way my mother's hand gently clasps Bella's.

"Well, I think your mother approves," Dad murmurs, his lips twitching. I smile easily; I had no concerns that Mum and Dad would disapprove of Bella. I knew my girl would effortlessly draw them to herself. She's selfless and tenderhearted, gentle and kind; there's absolutely nothing to dislike about her.

After dinner, Bella and I farewell Mum and Dad, making plans to see them later in the week. They're here for a little over a week before they fly back to London, and an idea starts forming in my mind. I make a mental note to check Bella hasn't made any plans for her summer break. I don't think she has; I wonder if she'd like to see London in July…?

Bella links her fingers with mine as we wader back toward our apartments; her little body vibrating with nerves or excitement once again. I decide to distract her, pressing her against the door of her apartment as soon as we are inside, and kissing her soundly. Her little whimpers and moans drive me wild and I groan deeply as she wriggles out of my grasp, a cheeky grin stretching her full lips.

"Sit," she says, pointing at her couch. I shrug out of my blazer, and then strip out of my button down, leaving only the white v-neck tee-shirt, before I obey her command. I grin expectantly as I wait for my girl to come back to me.

A few minutes later, she pokes her head out of her doorway, and I can see she has changed out of her pretty dress into more casual clothes.

"Edward? I need you to close your eyes, alright? And no cheating!"

I wink at her before clapping my hands over my eyes like a five year old playing hide-and-go-seek. Bella's silvery laugh swirls around me as I wait for her approach. Something heavy is placed across my lap, but I wait for Bella's assurance that I can open my eyes before I remove my hands from my face.

Looking down, I laugh exultantly as I realize exactly what lies across my lap. Unbuckling the case catches quickly; I suck in a deep breath as my eyes caress the beautiful curves of a Hofner J17 Cutaway Archtop. Bella giggles delightedly at my open-mouthed appraisal of the exquisite instrument she's chosen for me. I grab her hand and pull her close, kissing her fiercely for her thoughtfulness, before my fingers seek out the tuning pegs of my new guitar.

When Bella yanks the guitar out of my grip several songs later, I gape at her in protest.

"Bella, love? What –"

"My love, I wasn't done giving you your gifts. I knew I should have given you that one tomorrow," Bella giggles as I pout, looking at the beautiful instrument she's confiscated from my grasp.

"It's all yours, Edward, you can play later, okay?"

"Fine," I huff, feigning petulance. "Well, come on then … presents!"

Bella smiles nervously, and I pull her into my lap, puzzled by her sudden shyness.

"You're nervous, sweet girl," I murmur, as I trail kisses up her graceful neck. "Why?"

Bella gently presses her lips to mine, but pulls back quickly. She looks at her hands as she speaks, her words tumbling out in a rush.

"I, uh, I did something, Edward. For you. Well, for me too. And it's not really a new gift, I suppose, it's more just my way of showing what's already true. And, I, yeah … I'm nervous as hell, that you'll think it's too soon, but I know with utter certainty that my feelings will never change, well, they will change but only in the sense that they'll get deeper and stronger … And I'm babbling, because I'm nervous. Just, just let me show you and don't freak out, okay?"

I watch her carefully for a moment, trying to process her words. I have no idea what she's talking about, but there's not a chance anything she's done could cause me to freak out. I love her, I want forever with her, and nothing will change that.

"A'ight, love, let's see it then?" I wink at her, hoping to elicit another of her lovely giggles. I succeed.

My smile quickly becomes a frown as Bella starts unbuttoning her blouse. Capturing her wrists, I halt her progress, and she returns my frown.

"Love –"

"Edward," she sighs.

Feeling like a right git for ruining her plans, I sigh, dropping my hands.

"By all means, love, go ahead," I wink, and Bella shakes her head at me.

"I borrowed the words from you, hun. I, uh –" she breaks off, apparently at a loss for words. Carefully, she pushes her blouse to the side, revealing a small patch of black ink just above her left breast. I try to focus on the tattoo, forcing my mind away from the soft swell of her skin.

My life, my light, my love.

She …

Oh, Bella …

My Bella has inked my name over her heart. The same words I scrawled across the artwork for my CD, she has had marked indelibly into her skin.



She's claimed herself for me.

Declared our forever.



"So …" Bella murmurs, and I abruptly realize my silence is making her nervous.

"It's beautiful Bella, and a little overwhelming. Seeing my name, those words, written there, graven over your heart … " I shake my head, struggling for words. "I love you, Bella, so much."

Gently, reverently, astounded and humbled, I press a slow kiss to the place where my name marks her skin.

"I love you too, Edward. My heart is yours, it always will be. Happy Birthday, hun." Bella pulls my face to her own, kissing me softly on my forehead, before gently pressing a sweet kiss to my lips. I immediately deepen the kiss, trying to express to her the depths of love that I cannot put into words right now. Bella pulls back, her chest heaving as she gasps for breath. I watch as she squares her shoulders, and I see determination crystallize in her dark eyes.

"Edward, I have one more thing I want to give you."

"What is it, love?"



Bella makes her intentions clear as she straddles my lap, and crashes her mouth to mine. My body responds immediately, desire and longing rapidly firing through my synapses.




I respond to her demands immediately, my tongue plundering her sweet mouth, my hands moving to her hips to pull her closer. Bella's breathy moan draws a deep groan from my throat, and abruptly passionate frenzy overtakes me as my body declares its intentions.

Carefully, I lift Bella from my lap and toss her on to the couch, inserting myself between her legs as I hover over her. I look down at Bella, her dark hair spread across the leather seat, her lips swollen and her chest heaving. She's so fucking beautiful, and I still can't believe she's offering herself to me so freely. Keeping my weight on my arms, I lean forward to capture her lips again. Bella has other ideas though, and she shocks me as she abruptly pulls me down, hard, causing my elbows to buckle. She moans in approval as I collapse on to her, and I can't help the bucking of my hips as I surrender to her warmth and her desire.

As my lungs begin to burn, I reluctantly pull my lips from Bella's, panting as I desperately gulp in the oxygen I need. Bella's lips are exploring my jaw and neck and I hiss at the sensation.

"Fuck, Bella."

Needing to regain some semblance of control, I pull her hands above her head, pinning her to the couch. I devour her with my eyes, delighting in watching the swell of her exposed breasts rise and fall as she breathes heavily. I buck my hips again, just to watch her eyes flutter in pleasure and to hear the sweet moan that leaves her lips.

"Edward," she begs.

"Tell me what you want, Bella," I insist, desperate not to misunderstand exactly what she's asking, what she's giving me.

"I, ungh, I want you, Edward. I want you to, ohh, have me." She arches upward, her back bowing as she seeks out the friction her body craves. I groan my agreement, grinding into her desperately as I trail kisses down her neck, toward the sliver of torso that is exposed by her unbuttoned blouse. I release one of her hands in order to wrap her thigh around my hip. Bella begins to tug insistently on the hem of my shirt, and I pull back from her in order to remove it.

Bella sits up with me, her dark eyes following the movements of her hands as she explores my bare chest. The need snapping in her eyes is obvious, and again, I'm amazed at the way this woman makes me feel. She looks at me with such desire and lust, that I can't help but feel desirable, something I've never really considered myself to be.

I raise an eyebrow at her as I toy with the edges of her open blouse. Bella nods her agreement, her teeth worrying her bottom lip. Gently, carefully, I slide the blouse from her silken shoulders. Bella wiggles awkwardly, but I capture her hands before she can use her arms to shield herself from my avaricious gaze. I kiss her fingers softly, searching her eyes thoroughly.

"Are you truly ready for this, my love?"

"Yes, Edward. Please."

I nod my agreement; how could I deny her anything? I promised to trust her to know her own mind, and, as I have told her, I ache for her, desperately. I need her as much as she seems to need me. Standing up shakily, I help Bella to her feet. She frowns, confusion apparent on her lovely face.

"I'm not going to make love to you for the first time on your couch, sweet girl."

As soon as we reach her bedroom, I spin her to face the full-length mirror. I want her to see how incredibly beautiful she is to me in this moment. Bella trembles in my arms, her eyes fixed on my own. I begin to caress her exposed skin, my fingertips swirling gently across her chest. She shudders in a breath as I reach the tops of her breasts, and her eyes flutter closed.

"No, love, open your eyes: watch," I insist. I wrap my arm around her slender waist, holding her in place as my fingers continue to explore. Bella's head falls back on to my shoulder, and my lips immediately gravitate toward her exposed neck. Using my free hand, I carefully finger the clasp of her bra, watching her eyes for the slightest hint of reservation. I see none; there is only love and trust shining back at me.

Gently, I sweep the cotton away from her body, exposing her nakedness for the first time. I suck in a breath as my greedy eyes travel across her flawless flesh, drinking in her supple curves and the dusky pink of her nipples.

"You're so beautiful, Bella," I tell her, emotion making my voice shaky.

Unable to help myself, I cup her full breasts, marveling at the feel of them in my hands. My thumbs brush across her nipples, and I groan at her body's responsiveness, delighting at the way they harden at my touch. Bella lets out a gentle moan that is my undoing. Spinning her to face me, I crash my mouth down on hers, desire fueling me as I seek to consume her.

"Are you sure, Bella?" I ask again, pulling back, urgently trying to reign in my craving for her.

"Yes, Edward," she gasps. "I want you. Please. I need you. I've already given you my heart; I want you to have my body as well."

Bella, as ever, knows exactly the words I need to hear, and I feel the lump develop in my throat. A single tear, traitor that it is, escapes my eye at the sincerity and love with which she imbues her declaration. Unable to speak, I kiss her again, walking her carefully towards the bed. Tenderly, I remove our remaining clothing, my eyes fixed on Bella's. Her deep brown gaze is filled with trust and adoration, and my heart soars as I grasp the truth of Bella's words. She is my life. She has my heart, now I want to give her my body as well.

My fingertips explore her body carefully, lovingly, learning how to play her music: learning how to draw breathy moans, squeals of delight, mewls of need and shudders of pleasure from her sensitive flesh. When I gently bring her to her climax, I am struck dumb by the sheer beauty of seeing her lost in ecstasy.

When her eyelids flutter open, Bella looks up at me, smiling gently as she cups my cheek.

"Love, are you sure?" I ask, one final time.


The breathtaking joy I find in joining my body with Bella's is beyond my ability to articulate. Becoming one with her; it is beyond compare, beyond description. Though we fumble awkwardly, seeking to syncopate our rhythm, there is something transcendent about knowing that I am inside her, surrounded by her. The physical pleasure is immense, but there is a dimension to our lovemaking that is entirely new to me, and I am assaulted by emotions so overwhelming that tears begin to sting the corners of my eyes. I fight them back, desperate not to lose sight of the angel in my arms. My traitorous body dives headlong into ecstasy and bliss well before I am ready, the force with which my climax crashes over me causing me to cry out in rapture.

As I fall, I am aware that Bella is there to catch me, her gentle fingers caressing my face, her soft lips whispering sweet kisses against my mouth. When I am finally capable of speaking, I try to stammer out an abashed apology, embarrassed that I could not hold back long enough for Bella to reach her own release. Bella quickly hushes me, reminding me that we have all the time in the world to learn each other's bodies, and discover each other's secrets.

Later, as I watch Bella sleep peacefully in my arms, I allow the tears to fall. They flow fast and heavily. The months and years of my life I have spent longing for the love of this sweet girl catch up with me in a rush, as I sob silently into her hair. The salty water washes across my face, cleansing me; purifying me of the despair I no longer need bear. She is mine and I am hers, and nothing can keep me from her. There is nothing, now, that can prevent me from expressing the depths of my love and adoration of my Bella. I will love her, unceasingly, with every fibre of my being, with every breath I take, and with every beat of my heart.

Well, my lovelies, that's that.

I can't express how thankful I am for every review, message and tweet I've received regarding this story. The way you have all taken this Edward and Bella into your hearts has truly humbled and amazed me.

Thank you.

I love you all so very much.

Shell xx

P.S. My new story, Expectations, is slowly taking shape. I had two ideas I was working on, and they were being very difficult, until I finally realized I was actually looking at the same story from two different angles. So, it's finally starting to come along nicely. I'll begin posting once I get a bit of a buffer of chapters.

P.P.S. I wrote a one-shot called Bass Ink for the Etched In Ink Fest. I'd love it if you'd check it out. You should also get over to etchedininkfest(dot)com and check out the other stories that have been submitted.

P.P.P.S. If you're not reading Dusty, you need to be. IT HURTS SO GOOD! I have rarely become as emotionally involved in a piece of fiction as I am with this one. Yellowglue and TeamBella23 are bloody amazing writers. Please read it, then fangirl with me over it. fanfiction(dot)net/s/7659651/1/Dusty