Sorry for the delay. I have no excuse. There is only one or two more chapters left fyi.

Chapter Thirty-Nine: Millionaires and Billionaires

I could still smell Bella's scent on me even though it had been a week since we held each other so closely. Her presence just seemed to linger on me even though she didn't leave her room much. She was playing the stock market again, which was a good sign. Ryan was still trying to flirt with her, but her softly worded rejections made me feel slightly better about his infatuation.

There was still no sign of the Volturi. Whenever Alice was far enough away to pick up a clear vision she checked up on them. I was still not sure how long we had though before they tried taking Bella away from me. I just didn't know what to do.

Would it be crueler to tell her that they planned on taking her from me, from us if we didn't cement our relationship? Or would it be worse to keep her in the dark and have faith that Bella will come around to loving me the way I love her and risk that we won't get together before they come?

I liked neither of the options, but they were the only ones I had.

"She's been a lot happier, from what I've seen." Edward said to me in passing. "It's only a matter of time."

"I know. It's just…" Edward nodded, knowing what I was thinking.

"You know, despite everything I'm actually jealous of you." He chuckled.


"You've been through a lot. I'm happy that you've found your mate, even if things aren't working out perfectly right now. I want what you two have, even if it means I have to go through all the hardship you two are currently in." I patted him on the shoulder and smiled.

"You're a great son. I have no doubt you'll find your soulmate some day, and hopefully under smoother circumstances."

"Thanks Dad." We exchanged a smile before he went off to hunt.

I sat in my office and let out a long sigh. Despite everything I truly am blessed- blessed with wonderful children who choose to stay with me even though they'd be fine on their own, blessed with a job where I can give back a little to the community, blessed with enough money to keep my family in a more than comfortable lifestyle… and most of all I'm blessed to have been given a mate. Of the three Volturi kings only one had ever found his true mate, and they have been around much longer than I have… they've lost so much more than I have.

Bella's clear laughter cut through the silence of the house, catching my attention. I slowly made my way upstairs towards her room. I knocked lightly on the door.

"Come in, Carlisle." Once again her scent overwhelmed me as I walked into her room. She was laying on top of her bed, on her stomach, slightly propped up as she looked at her laptop. She patted the spot beside her while rolling onto her side so that she was facing me. I laid down beside her, only a few inches between us.

"Hey." I said, not really knowing what else to say. Her smile grew bigger and I'm sure my own mirrored that. "So what's got you in such a good mood?" It was a stupid question, especially considering how it somehow seemed to point out that she was usually in a bad mood. Bella's smile faltered for a moment before she took my hand and placed it on the side of her face. I gently caressed her cheek, enjoying just having this small amount of physical contact with her. Bella's eyes slid closed.

"I was laughing because I somehow predicted how eight stocks would affect each other after I sold off a large share of one. I made millions in just under three hours."

"That's very impressive." I pulled her close to me and she curled up against my chest.

"Not really. This vampire mind you gave me does all the hard work." She tapped the side of her head lightly.

"You're too modest. I didn't give you that mind… it's more like…" I paused, trying to find the right words. "It's like you've been using an abacus your whole life and then given a calculator, it just makes things quicker. Both instruments are useless if you don't know how to use them, but you've been honing this skill-set for a very long time. You can do this because of your many years of work, not because you're a vampire." Bella didn't respond right away, and I could tell she was not convinced. "If it was just because you are a vampire, then there would be a lot more vampire millionaires and billionaires, but as it stands there are only a few. The Volturi got theirs from real estate and art, the Denali family through selling oil, I got my millions through my many years of being a doctor, and Alice brought billions to this family because of her gift." I kissed Bella on her forehead and her eyes lit up. "You're talented, brilliant, and an angel. Don't ever forget that."

"You're perfect, you know that, Carlisle?"

"I'm not perfect; I'm just telling the truth."

"And that's what makes you perfect. I love you, Carlisle."

"I love you too, Bella."

We exchanged a very tender kiss. I wanted to do more, but I knew she was still not emotionally ready for that aspect of our relationship. I could still see sadness in her eyes, sadness and fatigue towards this life I had unceremoniously given to her.

We stayed in her bed for hours, just chatting idly about lighthearted matters… and it was so peaceful, so vindicating, proof that I hadn't committed the ultimate sin by not letting her die that day she drove off the bridge, or all those times her heart stopped during her change.

Just talking in soft voices about the inconsequential things in our immortal lives… it was beautiful, but in the back of my mind there was a small nagging, a small voice that kept wondering if this would be enough to keep the Volturi from trying to steal her from me.

What do you think of Carlisle's explanation on her mind?