Hello all, and welcome back to Restraint for the last time!
I want to thank each and every one of you reading this, and especially those who have reviewed. You all have kept this story alive and thriving! I've had lots of fun exploring these characters and I'm so happy you all care enough to follow them through their journey.
Note: I got a review from Ashley, asking for the name of one of my favorite stories mentioned on my profile. Sadly, your email didn't show up, since ffnet disables all links. The thing is, I went looking for the story, and I couldn't find it on ffnet. It's called "In the Deepest Space" by loss4words but it's not on the website anymore… but I found it on blogspot (here's the link: loss4words81 . blogspot 2010 / 10 / in – deepest – space – chapter – 1 – last – breath . html [just remove the spaces]). If the link doesn't work, just message me and I'll try once more. There is another story out there called "Written in the Stars" by: Lissa Bryan that is on the website, and is similar in some aspects (but don't get me wrong, the two stories are completely different, and amazing in different ways). Both stories are so great. Hope this helps!
Disclaimer: Twilight stuff belongs to Mrs. Meyer, and the plot belongs to David Denneen and Dave Warner. Except for the last chapter and epilogue—those are mine.
THREE YEARS LATER
"That'll be three-hundred forty three dollars and sixty two cents." The cashier declares, encasing the little red dress with protective plastic and carefully arranging the matching red stilettos in the bag. Her costumer doesn't hesitate to hand over a black, shiny credit card. She scans it, and it of course goes through. As if any card from a Cullen would be declined, she remarks internally.
The cashier watches as the dim overhead light is captured by her costumer's colossal wedding ring. She hadn't met Marie until now—oops, Bella, she corrects in her head. It had been the talk of the town that with her new marriage, the new Mrs. Cullen had announced that with her new husband, she was acquiring a new title as well. Something about starting fresh and spiritual rebirth for a healthy marriage. She goes by her middle name now. She sighs to herself, people who are filthy rich do anything to change up their dreary lives sometimes, don't they? The Cullen fortune was well known in the Pacific Northwest, even after most of the family dispersed to different parts of country, so news of Edward Cullen's new little wife spread like wildfire. Many of her coworkers speculated that Bella Cullen would be stuck up and vain, but she doesn't see it at all. She's pleasantly surprised to find that she seems sweet on the inside, though she certainly knows how to carry herself and treat those around her like a pro.
But she won't tell her coworkers that. She just started here last year, and isn't fully established into the tight knit circle of coworkers here. She used to work part time as a bartender at this raunchy club called Twilight , but after the owner was mysteriously abducted, then found later in the trunk of a truck, at the bottom of Lake Crescent, she decided she had to make a life change. So she quit her job, left her addict boyfriend, and moved to a quieter town, Port Angeles. There weren't too many high end stores at this end of the state, but this was definitely the ritziest outside of any stores in Seattle or Tacoma. She was thankful to have such a good job in such a time of economic depression.
"Thank you, and enjoy your fabulous outfit, Mrs. Cullen." She says brightly, hoping to leave a good impression with Bella. She wants her to come back—as long as this store had Cullen business, it was sure to stay afloat. They wouldn't have to worry about attracting other costumers. Wherever Bella Cullen shopped, there was business.
Bella smiles at her softly. "Thank you very much for your help, Bree. And please, call me Bella." Bree grins in return at Bella's informality.
When it registers that Bella called her by her name, she smiles wider; she is flattered that the Mrs. Cullen had taken the time to notice her name tag. As she studies her wide, brown eyes, a bell goes off in the back of her head. Something about her face sets off a flag in her memory.
"This is probably impossible but—have we met before?" She doesn't think she has; she certainly would have remembered. Bella's smile drops for a fraction of a second before she's all smiles again.
"No, I don't think so."
Bree blushes, feeling stupid for troubling Bella. "I'm so sorry, Bella."
"No problem—see you later!" Bella exits the store, holding her merchandise, without so much as even a glance back.
An hour later, Bree is closing up the shop. She passes by a mirror while she checks to make sure everything in the store is secure; she stops to inspect her appearance, as any female would. Bree smoothes out her black blouse, but stops when she notices that she's not wearing a name-tag. She exhales shakily when she remembers—she left her nametag on her kitchen table this morning.
Bella wipes the proverbial sweat off of her brow as she walks away from the store; it was nice seeing Bree again. She and Bree never conversed much back at Twilight, but she seemed like a kind girl. Bella wasn't worried that she had accidentally let her name slip. She was positive that, even if Bree noticed, it wouldn't make her jump to conclusions. Bella had almost mastered the art of burying her past.
It's almost nightfall, Bella realizes with a sigh. She'd parked all the way by this vintage book store, and decided to walk down the boardwalk before shopping for her outfit for her and Edward's date night coming up. They'd been married for nearly two and a half years now, and yet her heart still flutters when she gets ready for a date night with him. He'd been hinting at wanting to have children, and she figures he'll officially bring up the subject for discussion at said date night. Bella isn't sure how she feels about kids at this point in her life, but she was certainly open to talking about it with Edward. She could talk to Edward about anything—over the course of their relationship, they'd fallen into easy companionship. They were easily each other's best friends.
Not that she was opposed to children. In fact, she felt warmth at the thought of a little child with Edward's eyes and her hair, or vice versa. A product of their love, living and breathing. Yes, they certainly would talk about it tonight.
She huffs at the thought of walking by the boardwalk all the way back to the car; she'd taken the scenic route in haste, she realizes. She could easily just cut through the industrial part of Port Angeles and reach her car in half the time.
Bella hears her phone ding, indicating she has a text message. She takes her phone out of her purse, quickly, and sees it's from Edward.
Hi, love. Just wondering when you're going to be home. Miss you.
Bella quickly types a reply. She knows he knows that she is shopping for something to wear tonight; his impatience makes her smile goofily. She makes a left, not really paying attention to where she is going.
Patience is a virtue, my love. I'll be home in an hour and a half at the latest.
She puts her phone away. When she looks up, she discovers, though, that she has gotten herself completely lost. Bella does a quick spin around, trying to see where she came from, but all she can see is unfamiliar warehouses and a few bars.
When her eyes rest on the most grotesque looking bar on the street, the door to said bar bursts open, and a group of drunken idiots stumble out not fifty feet from her. They are laughing at something that probably wasn't funny. She knows better than to ask for directions from them; even if they were inclined to help her, they didn't look like they could find their way out of a cardboard box if they tried, they were so inebriated.
Bella sees the sun setting on the horizon perpendicular from where came from; she knows that the boardwalk is on the west side of town. If she can find the boardwalk, Bella sure as hell can find her car.
She turns around and starts walking towards the setting sun.
"Hey you!" She hears a drunken voice call at her from behind. She shakes her head, groaning to herself. She grips her purse and shopping bag tighter, picking up her pace. "You're pretty…" Another calls and laughs. She hears footsteps approaching her from behind, and she realizes these men are insistent on making her acquaintance.
Bella squeezes her purse, making sure all her emergency items are prepared. She feels her switchblade at the bottom of the bag as well as her little pistol. Bella is always prepared, and she has enough fighting skills to knock someone's head clean off if they tried to take her on. She and Edward had seen to it that Bella was one force not to be reckoned with.
Bella feels the familiar itch and excitement in her heart when she hears heavy footsteps behind her. These pathetic, small time criminals had no idea what they were getting themselves into. She feels an itch at the back of her throat; if they are so bent on playing, she is game.
Bella doesn't go looking for trouble, she's no sadist, but she finds it, she is eager to show it just how wrong it is to hunt her.
She quickly whips out her phone and texts Edward.
I'm going to be later than I thought. Love you.
She knows that Edward will probably be here in forty-five minutes or so to make sure she's safe. Or to help clean up the mess. Or, if the game lasted that long, to join. He has over-protective tendencies; she's told him many times that she can handle these things on her own, but he won't budge. She knows he means well, and loves her so she doesn't complain too much when he gets like this. Over the years, he's gotten much better about worrying. She even secretly enjoys it when he joins sometimes; these experiences help them to bond and strengthen their love and devotion to each other.
She relishes the feeling of knowing that these men think they've got her trapped. She knows three of them have broken off from the group to intercept her at approximately the next intersection. She knows the two men behind her are keeping their distance on purpose; it's called herding. Bella occasionally looks over her shoulder, carefully constructing her expression to be one of trepidation, to give off the right vibe. She doesn't want to give herself away too soon and spoil the party.
As she rounds the corner, and discovers that she was right. The other three men stand there against the wall, waiting for her with enthusiastic expressions. She makes sure to look terrified.
She trembles in anticipation. She gets a strange high from putting what Edward taught her into practice. She gets a thrill from watching the reactions of people who try to control her when they realize she is two steps ahead of them, and they were actually the victims. She is God in these little worlds she creates.
She hears her heart pounding in her head, and it takes all of her restraint not to grin as the obvious leader of the group of thug steps in front of her.
"Where are you going, sugar?" He asks, studying her with the eyes of a predator. She looks up him with perfectly rehearsed doe eyes full of terror.
"S-stay away from me." She stutters and turns to pretend to try to flee. They all close in on her, with hunger burning in their eyes; though, their hunger is minimal compared to hers hidden behind the facade. She carefully catalogs each man in her mind, their apparent weaknesses, and a complete plan on how to defeat each one in the most rewarding way. These games most times didn't involve murder, it was simply too messy, and she's not looking to gain a long list of murders. Bella is a teacher at heart, and instills these lessons into her lessons with vigor. The most rewarding lessons are those taught to sex offenders; at least, to Bella they were. She will make them, especially their obviously cruel leader, pay for each and every ounce of pain they've caused to other vulnerable human beings for their own satisfaction.
The leader reaches out and grips her forearm and that's what seals his fate. Bella lets out a feigned yelp in agony. "Don't be like that, baby. We're just going to have some fun." He says lowly, lust emanating from every orifice.
Yes, she muses, fun indeed.
And that's all she wrote! She being me. That's really punny. How cheesy can I be?
The terrible rhyming was on purpose. I'm sorry.
Please, let me know what you thought of the epilogue and the story as a whole, and I'd like to thank all you wonderful readers for the last time, and my beautiful betas Lexie and Izzy.