Irish's Note: Wow, are we really here? The last chapter? Well, I hope it lives up to your expectations. I've had the best time writing this and I have a few people to thank.

I couldn't survive without my Naughty M. She's my right hand girl and I can't imagine my life without her. M, I love you baby girl….my little perverted bestie.

To the faithful, Heather, Soph, Shell, Amber and Carol. You girls have given me such support and love and I can't thank you enough for your friendship.

To my cheerleaders, Heather A and Jaime, who have gained nothing while pimping this story out but did it anyway. And Jaime for the awesome banner she made. Girls, ya'll rock my world.

Thank you all for the reviews and lovely words, keep an eye out for my new story that I'll be posting the first chapter for hopefully by the end of the weekend.

Much loves,


Chapter 37: I Won't Give Up

Bella's POV:

It's been a week, seven days of wandering around my apartment…lost. Seven days since I've gotten anything that resembled sleep, and the few hours I have are filled with restlessness and the dreams. Dreams of his blood on my hands and watching him fade right in front of me. I always wake up crying screaming out his name only to be alone in what I used to consider my bed. It's foreign, cold and lonely.

I couldn't even bear to go back to our house to remove what little bit of personal items that were there. Emmett did that for me. I couldn't go back there and see it with him not being there with me.

I stare out the window clutching my coffee cup remembering the chaotic mass of people pacing the waiting room at the hospital that night, hoping for any news on Edward's condition. I sat like a catatonic mess with his blood still staining my skin and clothes in a macabre painting. Alice sat with me for a long while whispering words of encouragement in her soft melodic voice.

That night, I gained bits and pieces of Intel from Emmett and Carlisle as we waited, shocked to hear that Dean was responsible for the final nail in the Volturi's coffin. It seems he contacted the FBI after seeing the young Asian girls sold to the highest bidder. The agencies had enough on the bastards for them never to see the light of day again. Dean spilled everything and lead agents to documents, weapons, drugs and a shit ton of money. Caius ranted like a lunatic as he was led away and Aro cried like a baby.

I cursed myself as I felt the splash of tears on my cheeks and wondered when they were going to end. I never meant to fall in love with him, hell; I didn't even realize I had until he lay bleeding to death in front of me. I mean I knew he occupied my every thought and my stomach did flip-flops whenever he would flash that crooked grin at me. A bittersweet smile played on my mouth remembering our time together how charming he was, how playful and passionate. I missed him…I missed us.

Jake has been just as heartbroken by Edward's absence as I have. I watch him pace back and forth in front of the front door, whining pitifully. He's done that since Emmett brought him home that afternoon. He gives me these questioning looks as if he's asking where Edward is.

"Jake, c'mere boy." I call to him softly, but his steps don't falter as he continues his vigil. "Jake, c'mon baby, come." I say again a little louder, my voice cracking with emotion and still he paces, his whines rising louder into the stark silence of the apartment.

"Jake, goddamnit, he isn't coming back! Edward's not coming back!" I sob sliding to the floor in a heap, mourning what could have been. Mourning a relationship that was staged, it wasn't real it was part of my job I say to myself silently, trying to rationalize to my poor heart. I'd taken an indefinite leave of absence from the agency. I just wasn't ready to go back yet and Ben was so understanding, allowing me all the time I needed to get back to good.

Jake's wet tongue swiped up my cheek as I threw my arms around him and let go of all the fear and sadness, pouring it out into tears and deep ragged sobs. "Oh, Jakie, how in the fuck did we get here boy? What the hell do I do now that I'm in love, huh?"

Emmett has been my shadow since it happened. At least once a day, he's at my door just checking on me, taking Jake for walks and generally being his big loveable self. I think he's worried about my mental stability. Hell, even Rose has called and dropped by. The awkward pauses in our conversation cathartic in a way that I think both of us understood.

I swipe furiously at my cheeks, wiping away the rivulets of tears coursing down them recalling coming face to face with Mr. Masen Senior at the hospital. I never imagined that I would meet Edward's father in that situation, to see him burst into the hospital corridor and his presence commanding immediate respect and attention. I could see the strong resemblance he and Edward shared…the strong jaw, the aquiline nose and those penetrating eyes. Even though his hair had long since turned different shades of grey and white, you could tell it had a mind of its own, just like his son's. My breath caught watching the elder Masen run his hand through it as he listened intently to Carlisle updating him on what'd happened. I saw his handsome face go ashen as the reality of the situation fell down around him. His strong stature wilted somewhat as his shoulders sagged. For whatever reason, his commanding gaze swung to me and I found myself squaring my shoulders involuntarily.

I don't know what I expected, but the wetness glittering in his eyes wasn't it. I saw the devastation and hopelessness echoed there and it shook me to the core. I felt as if my air was slowly being cut off as I clawed at my throat. I knew instantly I had to get out of there. I looked down to my hands and saw the darkened stains marring the otherwise smooth surface. I had to go…and I had to go then!

I stared out the window as I remembered how I broke away from Alice's grasp as she pleaded with me, calling my name as I took quick steps down the hall and out the door. By the time the doors swung closed behind me the sobs took over as I stumbled over to the waiting cabs parked in a line on one side of the sidewalk. Collapsing onto the seat, I tried to hold it in. I did…until the cabbie asked as he pulled away from the curb, "Hey lady, are you okay?"

I could only shake my head negatively and mumble out the address to my apartment. My voice stuttering over the words to keep from telling him the address to the house, I couldn't go back there. I could never go back there.

I shook my head shaking off the memories of that night. It was a job. It was an undercover operation, that's all. I reiterated to myself and tried to ignore the small voice inside my head screaming 'no, it sure as hell wasn't!' I had to think that way, I had to disassociate myself from it or it would tear me apart. I listened to Jake's whines increase in intensity as he began to scratch at the front door. What the hell did he and Edward bond over? I don't really think I want to know.

The door rattled in its frame as the knocks reverberated through the wood. Jake barked excitedly, jumping up onto his hind legs like a damn circus feature. Emmett just can't stay away, for all his bulk and bravado, the guy wears his heart on his sleeve. I just got off the phone with him an hour ago answering repeatedly 'yes, Em, I'm fine.' 'why does everyone keep asking that?' were the usual questions I answered. He's worse than a mother hen.

The knocks continue and I hesitate for a second thinking I could ignore him and he'll eventually go away, right? The knocks quickly escalated to pounding and I knew it was futile to ignore him and given the fact that my dog was nearly in an apoplectic fit, I had no choice but to face him.

"Jesus, Emmett! I told you I was fin-" My words die in my throat as I take him in propped against the doorframe. Tall, lanky encased in low-riding jeans and a white wife beater beneath his leather jacket. I can see the stark whiteness of the bandages on his chest peeking out of the neckline. I shudder out a breath I seem to have been holding for the last seven days.

"Did you mean it?" He asks, and his voice washes over me and my hand flies to my mouth to keep the noise from escaping my throat.

"Edward, oh my God, what are you doing out of the hospital? Are you okay? Is it safe for you to be-" My voice catches as he holds up his hand for me to stop.

"Did you mean it, Bella?" He asks again and I can see the question in his eyes, the vulnerable look I know is rare for him. My mind scrambles to decipher what he's asking and it hits me like a ton of bricks. He's asking….he remembers.

"Y-y-yes, Edward." I say and I see the physical effect my words have on him as his whole stature sags in relief. "Did you get released or did you leave against medical advice? Edward, what the hell are you thinking?"

He advances inside, backing me up against the open door as I continue to reason with him. His one good hand grips into a fist and pounds against the door beside my head and it immediately stops my verbal diarrhea.

"Bella, I need to hear you say it….when I'm not bleeding to death at your feet. Tell me, Bella. I need to hear you tell me. To prove to myself I didn't dream it, please Bella." He says, his voice croaking with emotion as his forehead touches mine.

I've never said these words to anyone before, but I feel if I don't say them now, I'll burst. "I love you Edward."

His hand cups my face, drawing it up and I search those soulful eyes. I see the same thing I'm feeling mirrored back. "Again." He asks softly, his lips a hairs breadth from mine.

"I love you, Edw-" My admission is quickly cut off as his lips form to mine and the feeling I've been missing for the last seven days explodes in my mouth…..home. I feel like I'm home again.

I cling to him as if he's my last breath as his lips memorize mine and his tongue softly enters my mouth. I feel his hand in my hair, angling my mouth deeper against his and he feels so good. I thought for a moment, holding his bleeding body in my arms that I'd lost him and in that moment I grieved for what could have been. I watched as his family and friends fall apart and cling to one another in the hospital, waiting for any word of his condition and I felt like an outsider. I had to distance myself from him then, in case he never came back to me.

But, he's here….I'm wrapped around him and he's kissing me, pouring every bit of love and relief into me and I'm helpless as the tears fall down my face. His thumb brushes against my cheek and the smile on his face is radiant. We did it. We made it through the unthinkable, and we're both still standing on the other side.

"Care to give an injured man a happy?" He says waggling his eyebrows sporting a devilish grin.

"I think that can be arranged." I chuckle as we walk backward into my apartment and he kicks the door closed never breaking my kiss.

"I love you, Bella. I love you so fucking much, baby." He says with conviction as I softly push the leather jacket from his shoulders and he pulls my shirt up my chest.


"Fuckkk!" He yells, thrusting his hips up into my downward motion. He feels so good inside me and I feel the coil inside me twist tighter. My hands are perched on his thighs, arching my body as I ride him hard. My head falls back as the sensations roll over me.

"Look at me Bella. Look at me. I want to watch you fall apart." He grits out between clenched teeth. I hold his gaze as the coil inside me releases and every part of me tingles in that tell-tale sign of completion.

The sound from his throat is feral as his body stiffens beneath me and I feel his cock pulse deep inside. I feel boneless as I am mindful of his injury and tuck my face into the crook of his neck, twirling a finger around the sweat-laden skin of his chest.

I chuckle in completion and sated satisfaction and am thrilled to hear his same sound of amusement rumble from his throat. We lie here in a tumbled heap of entwined limbs and harsh breathing and it feels right….so unbelievably right.

"I love you." He whispers into the air, and I feel the conviction and truth behind those words.

"I love you more." I say playfully, propping my chin into my hand and watching his face as it registers fake outrage.

"I took a bullet for you, woman!" He says adamantly with pride.

"I let you fuck me in the ass!" I retort with a saucy smile.

"Damn, I guess we're even."