Chapter 24:

BPOV:

"What are you laughing at?" Edward asked, staring at me in amusement as I giggled in to his chest.

"I was just thinking about all the different shades of purple my Mother would turn if she knew what I'd just done." I grinned.

Edward chuckled. "I'm assuming she wouldn't approve of me." His smile looked a bit strained.

My smile faded and I pushed myself up so that I could look in to his eyes properly. "Her opinion doesn't matter. You don't know the kind of woman she is. You wouldn't want her approval, trust me."

"And your Father?"

"Same, if not worse. He sold me to Lord Black to pay off a debt, remember?"

His eyes darkened at the reminder and his grip on my waist tightened. "You never told me what happened when you went home. With…Lord Black."

My heart fluttered at the possessive look in his eyes. "Nothing happened."

His eyes narrowed. "If you say it like that, I'll just make it worse in my head."

I sighed. "Really, Edward. I went back, my parents forced me to talk to Lord Black. He tried to force me to marry him, I got away, and came back to you."

"Bella." He said warningly. "What do you mean by 'force'?"

"Edward, nothing happened!" I said exasperatedly. I knew that I was still hiding a little from him, but I wasn't sure how he would react if I told him what had happened.

Edward frowned. "Why won't you tell me? What the fuck happened?"

I hesitated, fingering the lines on his chest. "He said that he thought you'd bedded me and that it would reduce my value. When I refused to talk about that, he told me that there were other ways of finding out." Edward's grip on my waist tightened almost painfully. I didn't dare look in to his eyes. I knew they must have gone dangerously dark. "But when he tried to touch me, I kicked him between the legs. I grabbed his sword and told him to stay away from me." I finished with a small smile and looked up at him.

His teeth were grit and his jaw clenched. "You shouldn't have had to fight him off." He said lowly. He turned away from me, his green eyes stormier than I'd ever seen.

"But I did!" I frowned. "Edward, I got away from him and I'm here with you now, what's the point of dwelling on the past?" He stared at me seriously. "Do you think it'd be alright for me to commit one last murder before I give up pirating?"

"No." I said firmly, but with a smile. "Stop. Nothing happened and he's gone for good now."

"He better be." Edward growled, pulling me closer to him. "If he ever shows his face again, I can't be held responsible for my actions."

I blushed, unable to hide my attraction for him when he was so possessive. I didn't know why it affected me like this - after all, he was threatening another man's life - but it was just so…sweet.

Edward, ever in-tune with my emotions, shot me a knowing smirk. He took pity on me, however, and changed the subject. "So what happened after you left Black?"

"I went straight to Uncle Alec." I said, latching on to the new subject quickly. "I told him that I was…in love with you."

His eyes widened and he let out a low whistle. "And how did he take that?"

"Not as bad as I thought he would, actually. Once he heard me out and learned of what Lord Black had done, he was perfectly willing to take me back to you. I guess he figured you were the lesser of two evils." I grinned.

Edward barked out a laugh. "Only when it comes to you."

I smiled softly at that and continued. "I was on a ship that very night. It was really sudden. Uncle Alec had thought it best to tell as little people as possible. I only told my friend, Angela, that I was leaving. I even had to change out of that god-awful dress that my Mother had squeezed me in to on the ship."

"That eager to see me, were you?" He murmured with a small grin.

I rolled my eyes. "I have to learn to watch out for hidden compliments when I'm around you. God forbid that head of yours get any bigger."

Edward quirked an eyebrow. "You already know how big my head is."

I stared at him in confusion while he laughed. "What does that mean?"

"Nothing an innocent girl like you should ever know." His lips twitched in amusement.

I stared at him in bewilderment. Edward Cullen was a very strange man, I realized.

When my baffled look only served to make him laugh even more, I scowled. I didn't like being laughed at. He took one look at my pout and quickly leaned up to kiss me, effectively removing all thoughts I may have had.

"How many children do you want?" Edward murmured against my lips.

"What?" I laughed, pulling away from him.

"You heard me. How many? Four? Five?"

"Five?" I sputtered. "No thank you. My Mother could barely manage me. I'd be perfectly happy with two or three." I eyed him. "I didn't know you wanted children."

"How do you know I was talking about you and me?" He smirked.

I glared at him. "So, you would rather I have children with another man?"

His smirk quickly faded. "So, three then?"

I smiled. "Two or three. And you didn't answer me. I didn't know you wanted children."

"Someone has to be around to pass on the legacy." He shrugged cockily.

"What if it's a girl?"

"Then she'll be like her Mother." He murmured, kissing me softly. "And the world needs more women as strong as her."

I blushed at his words and smiled, beyond happy with his response. The fact that we were lying here, making plans for children and for our future was the only thing that was able to distract me from the verdict that was certain to come.

Morning had arrived, but Edward and I had yet to move from our positions on the bed. I realized that I would have to get up sometime to go and speak to Uncle Alec, but a strong part of me didn't want to know.

It figured that if I could pretend that everything was alright, then it would be.

But the more logical part of me knew that just because I didn't know it, it wouldn't be any less real. Closing my eyes, I pulled away from Edward and sat up slowly. I kept the sheets tightly around my half-nude body and bent over the bed to rummage blindly on the ground for my breeches.

I heard Edward sitting up slowly behind me, but did my best to look away. I knew that if I glanced back at him, I would have no motivation to leave. I pulled on my breeches and buttoned up my shirt.

"Bella." Edward's voice was steady, placing a hand on my shoulder. "What are you doing?"

"I have to go talk to my Uncle." I told him softly. "James told me that he wanted to talk to me last night."

Edward was quiet for a while. I felt his lips press gently to my neck. "No matter what happens, Bella, I love you. You're the best thing that ever happened to me. And I never thought I'd be saying that about anyone."

"You're the best thing that happened to me, too." I said, feeling the knot in my throat grow larger by the second. "That's why I'm afraid of this conversation."

~•~

The walk across the dock and towards Uncle Alec's ship felt like it went on for miles. It might as well have, for the speed at which I walked.

My hands felt clammy as I stepped on to the deck of the ship and asked one of the passing, uniformed men to tell Uncle Alec that I was here. There was no need to tell him my name. Everyone knew me as the foolish girl who'd left Lord Black for a pirate.

I turned around and gripped the railing when he nodded and left to go tell Uncle Alec. The wood railings of the ship were smoother and less abrasive than those on Twilight. And it felt completely wrong.

The sea was completely calm, the tiny ripples that ran along the water dismissible. However, I'd long since learned not to underestimate the sea. I'd experienced firsthand how it could turn violent in a matter of hours.

I turned my hand and glanced at the faded cut that ran along the center of my palm from when I'd cut it on the railing during that storm. The storm that had led Edward to discovering that I wasn't a boy.

I smiled to myself when I remembered how angry he'd been and how scared I'd been of him. That was also back when I thought he'd killed his own Father. Back then, I'd known nothing of him other than the fact that he was a pirate captain.

I'd been so annoyed at my parents for being shallow and narrow-minded, while I'd judged Edward myself. I realized that it was very hard to change someone's mind unless they, themselves, wanted it changed. And at that moment in time, I hadn't wanted it to be changed.

I wanted to think of Edward as cruel and unforgiving because if I didn't, there would be no way to hold back my growing attraction for him.

Now, here I was, desperately trying to change what everyone else thought about him. The thought that this time tomorrow, Edward might not be here with me, was simply unbearable. I couldn't allow it to happen.

"Isabella?"

The voice was feminine and worried. I turned around and my jaw dropped when I saw Allison standing mere feet away from me. Her long black hair was tied prettily in the back and she looked just as she had the day I left home. Except her features were more tired and weighed with stress.

Allison.

"Allison?" I whispered, disbelievingly. "Wh-what are you-"

"Oh, thank God you're alright." She rushed towards me, wrapping her arms around me tightly before I could finish my question.

My brows furrowed in confusion, but I hugged her back gently. Having her here and hugging her like I used to reminded me of the good parts of my childhood. The good parts that didn't involve expectations and my parents. Along with Angela, Allison was one of the only people that had made me happy back home.

"Allison, I don't understand," I began, pulling away from her. "What are you doing here? How did you know where I was?"

Her features were pinched with worry. "I heard all about what happened to you. How you ran away, got caught by pirates, and then fell in love with the captain." She raised an eyebrow at me. It was her way of telling me that we would definitely be coming back to that topic. "Then he sent you back to protect you and you played the heroine and rushed back and…" She paused. "Why am I telling you your own story?"

I laughed. "I don't know." I hugged her tightly. It felt so good to have her back.

"Er, Bella?"

"Yes?"

"What are you wearing?" She furrowed her brows as she took in my crumpled shirt and breeches. "Does your pirate captain find this attractive?"

"It's comfortable." I defended.

"If you say so." She said skeptically, eyeing the fabric like it had done her a great personal injustice.

"Allison, what are you doing here?" I asked her again.

She smiled. "Saving you, of course. As usual."

"Saving me?" I asked, surprised.

"Well, saving your man, actually."

My heart thumped loudly in my chest. "What do you mean?"

"You see, I didn't really understand what was going on with you until a couple days ago when your Uncle asked my Father to loan him a ship on short notice. All I knew until then was that you had been caught by pirates, but that your Uncle had found you and was bringing you back. I had to eavesdrop to find out that you'd fallen in love with the captain. No one would tell me anything after that." She frowned, but continued. "So I took a page out of your rebellious book and demanded that my Father tell me what was happening. I threatened to go looking for you by myself if he didn't."

"You what?" I asked, laughing. I was shocked that she'd had the nerve to threaten her Father. He'd always been a sweet man, but she doubted any man would enjoy being threatened by his woman.

"I had to know what was happening to my best friend!" Allison giggled with me. "It worked, anyway. He told me that you were going back to your pirate love. You know my Father, he thinks of you like a second daughter. He was worried for you. He trusted your judgement, but he knew that it was impossible to have a smooth, happy ending when you're in love with a pirate. There's always that issue with the Guards. Father and I had a long talk, and we finally decided to write his cousin about voiding Edward Cullen of all charges."

"Your Father's cousin? The prince?" I repeated disbelievingly.

Allison grinned. "The very same."

I felt faint and clutched the railing behind me with one hand. "So…what-what does this mean?"

"It means that Edward Cullen is a free man." Uncle Alec's deep voice said from behind Allison. I turned to stare at him. He was smiling gently. "All surviving charges against him have been deemed void under the condition that he no longer practice piracy."

I stared at the both of them for what seemed like days. Slowly, piece by piece their words started to fit together in my mind.

Letting out a shriek, I grabbed Allison and hugged her tightly. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I laughed into her shoulder.

Uncle Alec chuckled and walked over to us, gently dislodging my arms from around her so that she could breathe.

"We're best friends." Allison shrugged, but her eyes were alight with excitement. "It's what we do for each other."

"It's true, then?" I asked excitedly Uncle Alec excitedly. "He's free for good?"

"As long as he doesn't pirate anymore." He reminded me sternly, but his smile hadn't faded.

"I'll wrestle the sword from him if I have to. I don't know if you've heard, but I'm quite the swordsman, myself." I boasted to Allison with a grin.

She laughed. "Yes, I heard about the state you left Lord Black in."

"Come on." I grabbed her arm. "I want you to meet everyone on Twilight."

~•~

"This is Alice, the only other woman on Twilight, and this is Seth." I pointed at the grinning man.

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Allison said shyly, curtsying.

Seth and Alice both raised an eyebrow at me and I shrugged with a grin. Allison had always been a better lady than I'd been.

"She's worse than you." Alice commented, stepping forward and eyeing her up and down. "We'll have to toughen you up while you're out here."

Allison's eyes widened and she glanced over at me for an explanation. Once more, I shrugged. That was just Alice's personality. Forward and blunt.

There was a small creak of the floorboards and I turned to see Edward leaning with one hand on the wall of the stairs coming up to the deck. He grimaced slightly in pain.

"Edward, what are you doing?" I cried exasperatedly, rushing over to help him. "Why didn't you ask someone to help you?"

I wrapped one arm around his waist, careful not to touch his wound. I pulled him away from the wall so that he could lean on me, which he stubbornly refused to do. He did, however, wrap one arm around my shoulders and pulled me close.

He eyed me intensely. "Judging by the lack of tears, I'm assuming things didn't go as bad as they could have."

I smiled widely at him, suddenly remembering that he didn't know yet. "No, things didn't go too bad." I replied softly, kissing the corner of his mouth.

I looked up and saw Allison standing a few feet away from us, eyeing us tentatively. She looked a little shocked at the fact that Edward was standing half-naked. Growing up in respectable society, she'd never seen something like that. I couldn't wait to see her face when I'd told her what I'd done last night.

I grinned at her and gently pulled Edward up the stairs. "Before I tell you what happened, there's someone I'd like you to meet." I told him.

He raised an eyebrow at Allison as I led him towards her, clearly wondering what this new girl was doing on his ship. Years as a pirate had forced suspicion in to his nature. Allison instinctively shrank back at his less-than-warm stare.

I couldn't blame her. He was, after all, a pirate. And I'd had my fair share of intimidation when I'd first met him.

"Edward, this is Allison, my best friend growing up back home. Allison, this is Edward, he's my…he's my-er, Edward." I finished awkwardly, heat flooding my cheeks. Edward smirked down at me. "Anyway, Allison's Father is the Prince's cousin."

Edward's eyes widened. "What does that have to do with this?" He asked, his brows furrowed.

"When Allison heard about what had happened to me, she and her Father decided to write the Prince about letting you go. Thanks to her, all charges against you have been erased. You're a free man." I smiled widely up at him.

He stared back at me disbelievingly for a few seconds. "Just like that?" He said finally.

"Just like that. Well, as long as you promise not to pirate anymore."

He swallowed deeply and closed his eyes for a second. When he opened his eyes, he shook his head and looked over at Allison. "Thank you." He said genuinely.

Allison blushed and shrugged in a very un-ladylike manner. I grinned. It seemed that I was rubbing off on her.

Edward turned to me and cupped my cheeks gently in his calloused hands. Leaning down, he kissed me softly. I smiled against his lips and relaxed against him.

A part of me had been nervous about how he would take it. I knew that pirating had been a major part of Edward's life for the past few years. A part of me dreaded what would happen if he refused to give up pirating.

But it appeared my worries had been for naught. Edward had been telling the truth. The only reason that he'd gone in to pirating was to get revenge on Caius. Now that that was over and done with, he was willing to give it up and start life afresh.

With me.

When he tried to deepen the kiss, Allison cleared her throat awkwardly and I pulled away. Edward groaned in disappointment, resting his forehead against mine.

"Sorry." I said with a small laugh to both Allison and Edward.

"Right, well," Allison was still blushing deeply. "I think I'm going to sit with Alice for awhile. Just tell me when you're done."

"We will." Edward said immediately, pulling me close again.

"Wait, Allison!" I grabbed her arm. Ignoring Edward's insistent groaning behind me I pulled her close so that I could whisper in her ear. "Are you sure? I know that you're still not completely comfortable with being around pirates."

She shot me an amused look. "I'll survive. Besides, Alice doesn't look too intimidating."

"Don't underestimate her." I warned.

I glanced over at where Alice was standing by the railing with a heavy scowl on her face as she tried to get Seth to pay attention to what she was saying. Seth was staring amusedly over at where Quill and Embry were once again fighting with each other. I smirked. Sending Allison over to talk to Alice might not be such a bad idea.

Alice had done so much for me, the least I could do was give her someone to talk to.

"Okay, go ahead. But call me if you feel uncomfortable at any time or need something, alright?" I said firmly.

"She gets it." Edward rolled his eyes. I shot him a glare and turned back to Allison who looked rather amused.

"I'll be fine, Bella. You go celebrate." She glanced meaningfully at Edward.

I smiled at her and nodded, waiting until she was with Alice who looked beyond pleased to have someone that would listen to her. "Okay," I turned to Edward. "Now we can-"

His lips crashed down on mine before I could finish my sentence. I let out a surprised moan, clutching his forearms to regain my balance when he wrapped his arms around my waist and tugged me to him.

His lips were eager against mine, completely oblivious or uncaring of the crew that were on the deck. He backed me slowly in to the railing, his tongue already tracing my lips to deepen the kiss when he pulled away suddenly with a hiss.

"What's wrong?" I asked him, worried.

He shook his head, grimacing softly. "Nothing. That tea James gave me yesterday is wearing off."

"We should ask him to make some more." I said immediately, trying to pull away from his iron-tight grip.

"Way ahead of you." James appeared suddenly at Edward's side, a mug in his hand. He glanced at Edward and raised an eyebrow. "You look like hell."

Edward glared at him, grabbing the mug from his hand. "Thanks, mate." He downed the mug in one gulp, sputtering slightly when he finished it. He thrust the mug towards James.

He accepted it, still eyeing him wearily. "You still look worse than when I left you last night. What the fuck did you do?"

My eyes widened in realization and Edward smirked.

James's eyes flickered from Edward to me and he curled his lip in disgust. "Ugh, for God's sake. You couldn't keep away from him for a few days till he got better?" He demanded, staring at me.

I stared at Edward fearfully. Was he hurt because of what we did last night? If it'd hurt his chances of recovery, I'd never forgive myself.

Edward simply rolled his eyes. "Give it a rest, James. It was my fault, anyway."

James turned his furious gaze back to Edward. "What if you overdid yourself? You wouldn't have felt pain because of that tea yesterday, either. What if you'd ripped the stitches and not known it?"

"Well, I didn't, did I?" Edward countered, his eyes flashing with annoyance.

James glared at him. "You're unbelievable."

"Whatever, mate. I'm a free man, now." Edward grinned.

"Yes, I heard." James's eyes were still cold, but his voice had lost some of its frost. "Where's the spoilt woman I have to thank?"

"Hey!" I frowned. "That's my best friend you're talking about!"

"She's sitting over there with Alice." Edward pointed in their direction.

James followed his finger and froze. His eyes widened and for the first time since I met him, James looked genuinely surprised. He exhaled slowly and leaned against the railing, staring intently at Allison.

"What's her name?" He asked me.

"Allison." I replied slowly, staring at him in confusion.

"Allison." He repeated softly, a weird expression taking over his hard features.

I met Edward's gaze and he raised an equally confused eyebrow at me. "What's wrong with you?" Edward asked him, ever the blunt one.

"N-nothing." He murmured. He shook his head as though trying to clear it. "I think I'm going to go find Jasper. We need to discuss what will happen to Twilight when you go to live in your Father's mansion."

A pensive look came over Edward's face as James left. "I'd forgotten about that." He muttered.

"About what? Twilight?" I clarified.

He nodded. "It can't very well be a pirate ship anymore." He furrowed his brows. "And we can't sell it. What would happen to the crew?"

I hesitated, biting my lip. "Well, if the crew would agree, I think my Uncle would be glad to take over. It'd be a merchant ship, of course, but it would guarantee some stability for the crew. And they'd be able to stay on the sea. I think a lot of them enjoy that."

Edward paused, looking intently at me. "And your Uncle would agree to this?"

I smiled. "Who would turn down the fastest boat on the sea?"

"It's a ship." He corrected.

I rolled my eyes. "Only you would know the difference."

He chuckled and kissed me lightly, but I quickly pulled back. He frowned. "What's wrong?"

"We should have never done that last night. James is right. You look worse today than you did last night. I'm not going to risk ripping your stitches."

He groaned loudly. "Oh, for God's sake, Bella, I'm fine. Don't listen to him."

I shook my head firmly. "Without him, you might not be here right now. I'm trusting his advice."

He dropped his forehead against mine and shook his head, strands of his bronze hair falling in to my eyes. "Once I heal, nothing's keeping me away from you."

I smiled. "I'll fight off anything that tries."

~•~

One week later

EPOV:

The feel of solid ground beneath my feet had a whole different meaning today. It would be the last time I ever got off Twilight as the captain. I turned around and glanced up at it.

The wood gleamed in the sunlight and the sails rippled in the wind, proud and majestic. I could still remember the first time I'd ever seen it. I'd thought it to be the biggest ship in the world.

It might not be the biggest, but it was certainly the most powerful.

Bella squeezed my hand gently at my side. I glanced down and saw her smile up at me. Her eyes were alight with possibilities and her face was brighter than I'd seen for a long time. All the drama over Caius had taken it's toll on her, too.

I'd never get tired of seeing her smile.

"Are you okay?" She asked me, jerking her head in Twilight's direction.

I leaned down and kissed her softly. "Yes." I told her honestly. "It's not as though I'll never see her again. I'm not letting my kids go by without taking a trip around the world with her."

She laughed. "Of course not." She agreed teasingly.

I smirked.

"Ugh. You two make me sick." Emmett grinned, clapping me on the back as he got off. "You better have a room for me in that mansion of yours."

"Of course." Bella said immediately.

"Not bloody likely." I snorted. Bella glared at me.

Emmett laughed. "We'll see. After a couple months without me, you'll be begging me to come stay."

Emmett, Jasper, Alice, James, and surprisingly Allison had chosen to stay with Twilight. Emmett loved the sea even more than he loved woman, Alice and Jasper were just happy to be together, and James…well, James hated everything rich. That coupled with the fact that Allison had chosen to stay as well had basically made his decision for him.

It hadn't been easy for Allison's Father to say yes to letting his daughter go, but after a little persuasion from Bella and her Uncle, he'd caved with the condition that she visit him every two months.

It turned out that James had taken quite a liking to Allison. She was the only rich person that he seemed to be able to make an exception for. Luckily for him, she liked him too.

I had no idea why, seeing as he had very little amiable qualities.

Bella had simply shot me a meaningful look when I voiced my opinion about this. I'd have to ask her later what she meant by that.

Not now, though.

Bella was a little on edge. We were closer to her parent's house than we'd ever been together and it was making her nervous. She kept glancing over her shoulder as if her Father would appear out of nowhere and demand that she come home.

Uncle Alec had assured her that he would not let that happen, but it had done little for her nerves.

"Bella, I'm not going to let anyone take you from me." I whispered in her ear as we entered the pub.

She bit her lip, looking a bit pale but nodded. She squeezed my hand tightly and pressed herself closer to me as we pushed our way through the throng of people in the crowded pub.

I had no idea why it was so crowded in the afternoon. According to Emmett, the pub was the largest and most famous in the town.

Somehow, Emmett had managed to secure us a table in a secluded corner. Alice, Jasper, and Allison were already sitting when we reached them. Jasper grinned in acknowledgement while Alice shot Bella a tearful look.

She'd been very upset over the past few days when she realized that she'd no longer be able to spend every minute of every day with Bella. Bella had been the same and the two had been spending increasing amounts of time together to make up for it before they'd have to part.

So, it was cutting in to my time with Bella.

It annoyed the hell out of me.

But it pleased Bella, so I left her to it. As soon as we sat down, Allison, Alice and Bella huddled together and started talking. I scowled at the three of them and shot Jasper an annoyed look.

He simply shrugged, looking amused.

"Isabella? Is that you?"

I glanced sharply in the direction of the voice. It came from a tall, blonde woman wearing a tight dress that would never be considered acceptable in society. Satisfied that it wasn't someone from Bella's family come to whisk her away, but still on edge, I narrowed my eyes at her.

"Rosalie?" Bella's stunned voice came from my side. I glanced over at her.

"You know her?" I asked.

"Sh-she helped me when I first ran away from home." Bella got up and hurried over to where she was standing. "I can't believe you're here!"

"Me?" The woman raised an eyebrow. "I've always been here. Last I heard, you'd been captured by pirates." She glanced over at me and Jasper and narrowed her eyes. "You bastards better not have hurt her." She warned.

I glared darkly at her, angry that she would even insinuate that I would hurt Bella.

"No, Rosalie, it's okay." Bella laughed. "God, it's good to see you." She hugged her tightly.

The woman's eyes widened and her eyebrows shot up in to her hairline. "Er-yeah. Good to see you, too. I see you've changed. Not exactly the shy little girl I first met, are you?"

Bella blushed, clearly pleased by her words.

Behind her James and Emmett returned, each carrying a tray containing mugs of rum. James sat the tray down and quickly turned to Allison, barely even acknowledging the woman Bella was talking to.

Emmett, however, grinned widely at me over the woman's - Rosalie's - shoulder. I could tell by the look in his eye that he liked this newcomer. A lot.

I rolled my eyes.

"Bella, aren't you going to introduce me to your lovely friend?" Emmett asked, charmingly stepping up to Rosalie.

She raised an unimpressed eyebrow at him while Bella laughed. "Of course, I'm sorry. Rosalie, this is Emmett. And that's Edward," She pointed at me. "Jasper, Alice, Allison, and James."

"You could have stopped after my name, Bella. That's the only one she's going to be interested in." Emmett grinned.

Rosalie scoffed. "In what world?"

Emmett barked out a surprised laugh and worked quickly to respond. Seeing my opportunity, I quickly grabbed Bella's arm and pulled her back in to the booth next to me.

"I didn't see that coming." Bella commented, watching Emmett try desperately to win over an incredibly stubborn Rosalie.

I rolled my eyes. "Please. It's Emmett."

Bella turned to me with raised eyebrows. "You're awfully quick to judge people. I wonder what Jasper and Emmett said about you."

I scowled. "What's that supposed to mean?"

She grinned. "Nothing." I was about to argue, but she quickly distracted me with a soft kiss.

I smiled back at her. I glanced around, suddenly annoyed by the loud talking and laughing. "Come take a walk with me." I said, grabbing her hand.

She looked surprised, but acquiesced. We slipped quietly out of the booth and I led her quickly out of the bar.

"Where are we going?" She asked, struggling to keep up with my long strides.

I slowed down a little for her benefit. "We're taking one last look at Twilight."

She glanced up at me curiously, but stayed silent as we made our way up the plank and on to Twilight's deck. I didn't stop there, I pulled her quickly down the stairs and towards the galleys.

"Edward?"

"Just wait." I grinned.

I pushed open the door to see that it was mercifully empty. I weaved us behind the counter and towards the storage room. I opened the door and pulled her in, shutting the door firmly behind us.

Bella shot me a confused look. "Why are we here?"

I smirked. "Don't you remember?" I walked closer to her, placing my hands on her hips and running the tip of my nose along her soft cheek. "This, love, is where we had our first kiss."

A wide smile grew on her face. "You remember that?"

"How could I forget?" I grinned. "You are just as beautiful now as you were then." I ran my thumbs along the sides of her jaw.

I lowered my lips gently to hers and that moment, in the place where we'd had our first kiss, we had the last that we would ever have on Twilight. And it was that moment that I realized that all my sins could be undone by her virtue.

Even the Original Sin.

AN: And that's how the cookie crumbles. After a year, twenty-three chapters, and over 180,000 words, it's finally over. I hope you enjoyed it.

If people really want it, I will write an epilogue with more information about James and Allison and Rosalie and Emmett, so leave me a review to tell me what you think!

This story would not be what it was, if it weren't for the incredible people that helped me along the way. So here goes my list of thank-you's:

First off, KhristenHartgrove, you're awesome. Absolutely awesome. Not only have you been there for me since the beginning and reviewed every single chapter of every one of my stories, you've also been the best person to go to when I needed encouragement.

Secondly, Erisa-san, you're so incredible. You really helped me get out there in the FanFiction community. Not to mention, you pimped this story endlessly. ;)

Fallingsnow87, the amazing banner-maker. Not only have you been a great reviewer, you've also inspired me with your awesome banners for this story and for Chasing Bella. :) She's been nominated for the Favorite Da Vinci award over on the TwiFic Fandom Awards, so don't forget to vote for her! She's amazing - .com

SoapyMayhem, for creating the banner that Original Sin is currently using. :) You've been kind enough to make me one even though you're super busy. So much love for that.

Meagan Gibson, you've been pimping me like crazy on Facebook and Twitter, and I love you so much for that! That's so nice of you. :)

Sam Cullen, for just being awesome and super supportive on Facebook and FanFiction.

Lastly, to all my reviewers to whom I couldn't possibly express how much their encouragement means. Your support is everything to me, so thank you so much! The ride hasn't always been smooth, but you've been there for me throughout it all, so thank you. :)

Review, review, review to tell me if you'd like an epilogue!

M-J