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May 30, 2013
While sitting in my study, I look out the window toward the lake. I've been a complete mess ever since I found out about who Bella truly is. I don't know what to think or how to even feel. I'm so angry with her for lying to me and betraying my trust. Why would she lie, what did she hope to gain out of it all? Were her feelings even sincere, all the things she said to me, the way she acted with Gracie—Gracie...She was so upset and couldn't understand why Bella would leave her and not say good bye. Seeing that light turn off again in Gracie's eyes was the hardest thing I've had to endure. It's one thing for me to be crushed and completely heartbroken, but not my sweet innocent girl. My jaw tightens and hands ball into fists just thinking about how Bella crushed my Gracie's heart.
My anxiety doesn't stop there. On top of what Bella has done, I also have to deal with Alice trying to take Gracie away from me. It will NEVER happen.
Slumping back into my seat, I go over all that has happened over the last few months. The Bella I know would never have done anything I'm accusing her of. Could it be possible that Bella had nothing to do with Rose's death? Is that what she was trying to explain to me that night?
"Fuck," I spit as I rake a hand through my hair. What the fuck have I done?" I say out loud, running a hand over my face. "I probably ruined everything. How can she possibly forgive me after the way I spoke to her? I threw her out in the middle of the night with no place to go! What if something would have happened to her?
"You're such an idiot Cullen!" I berate myself.
I hear a knock on the door.
"Come in." composing myself thinking it might be Gracie; I look up as the door opens. Tanya walks into my office carrying what appears to be mail.
"Good Morning Edward, I thought you might like to go through today's mail." She bats her eyelashes at me.
"Good Morning Tanya, please just set it on the table, thank you."
Coming around my desk, I begin sorting the mail. Halting my actions, I pick up a rather Official looking envelope. It's addressed to me. Opening it up and reading its contents, I see that it's a formal invitation to a ceremony being held at the White House in Honour of the fallen soldiers. With a shaky hand I place the invitation back on the table, my head is reeling with the possibility that I will see Bella again. What will I do, what will I say to her?
June 3, 2013
I made flight arrangements for Gracie and myself to fly into Washington D.C. on June 4th and stay at a hotel near the White House. Packing the last of our clothing and Gracie's backpack, I figured I should take things to keep her occupied during the flight. I had asked Emily a good friend of mine and cousin to Jacob, Gracie's father, to give us a lift to the Airport the next morning.
Arriving in Washington, and checking into our hotel, I order room service for dinner. I know my nerves are on edge in anticipation of what's to come tomorrow. I'm so nervous to see Bella again and after the way I treated her I wouldn't blame her one bit if she refused to even speak to me. I know my chances aren't that great, but I'm determined to apologize—grovel for her forgiveness if it is the last thing I do. I'm in love with her, my heart and gut tell me she isn't to blame for my sister's death and I'm willing to do just about anything to get her back.
Waking up the next morning with my heart in my throat, I dress in the black suit I wore for Rose's my tie in the mirror, I reach for my cufflinks. They were given to me by my father; silver with a black C on them. Running a hand through my hair, "Always a mess," I huff. Trying to pat down the unruly locks, I hear the phone in the room ring.
"Papa, do I answer it?" Gracie yells out.
"Sure honey, it's probably the front desk letting us know the taxi is here."
Once we arrive at the White House, I reach for Gracie's hand.
"Gracie, I need you to stay with me, and not wander off, okay? This is a big place and beautiful little girls can get lost really easy here."
"Okay, Papa, I won't wander, I promise. But, what if I have to go to the bathroom?"
"Well then we both can go together and I will wait right outside the door, little missy." I chuckle. "Let's go find our seats."
Looking around I scan the crowd for Bella, frowning when I spot her name on a chair, but, she is nowhere in sight. Feeling a little disappointed, I was hoping to see her before the ceremony began. The President begins his speech and requests a moment of silence. After, he starts to speak very highly about a heroic soldier who risked her own life in hopes to save the lives of her fellow soldiers. He describes how she went above and beyond the call of duty in her efforts, his words are very moving. Shifting in my seat I look around for Bella, I still don't see her; I begin to panic thinking she may not show. Maybe she knew I would be here, and didn't want to see me.
"Serves me well," I whisper quietly.
I'm brought out of my rambling when I hear Bella's name being called out by the President. Snapping my eyes back to the stage, I see Bella walking up the stairs. My heart leaps and breathing hitches. Good Lord, I had forgotten how truly beautiful she is.
I'm holding onto my chair, knuckles white from how hard my grip is. All I want to do is run up there and fall to her feet and beg her forgiveness; tell her that I'm in love with her, even if it is in front of all these people and national TV.
I watch Bella receive a Medal of Honour without blinking. I don't want to miss a beat or risk her disappearing on me. I catch Bella looking in my direction, a timid smile playing on her lips. I follow her eyesight and see that she's looking at Gracie, and Gracie is waving at Bella.
After Bella is awarded her Medal, the President begins awarding the families of the fallen soldiers. Gracie and I are the first ones to be called up. Releasing a breath, I walk up the stage hand in hand with my niece. Thanking God that Bella is still on stage, I greet the President and thank him in Rose's honour for the Purple Heart. Never taking my eyes off of Bella, I walk past the President to the other end of the stage, stopping right in front of her. Her eyes snap to mine, she looks scared, almost as if she wants to run.
I find myself reaching up to touch her cheek.
"Bella, can we please talk?" I beg.
Jerking her head back, her eyes are angry.
"No, you made yourself very clear, you had no interest in what I had to say. And right now, is not the time for this conversation, Edward." Bella spits out.
Closing my eyes, I knew I was going to get resistance from her, which is why I had my mind and heart set on not leaving until I pleaded and grovelled at her feet. She deserves this apology from me and she is going to get it whether she wants it or not. So, with that thought I drop to my knees in front of the President of the United States, National Television and the hundreds of people in attendance.
"Oh My God, Edward. What are you doing, please get up," Bella whispers in a rush.
"No, I need to say this...please. I'm so sorry for all the hurtful things I said to you, I was a complete idiot and utter asshole. I was so blinded by my anger that I failed to realize what was staring me right in the face. I didn't give you a chance to explain yourself, and I am truly sorry for that." I look at her, praying that she believes me.
"I don't blame you Bella, I know what you did for Rose and the rest of the Soldiers. I know you risked your life to try and save them. I would have known this three weeks ago had I stopped and allowed you to explain."
Bella has her hand covering her mouth with tears streaming down her face. Reaching up to wipe her tears away, I grab her hand and bring it to my lips kissing her open palm.
"Bella, I know I hurt you, it breaks my heart just thinking of the pain I caused you. I'm sure you probably won't forgive me right away, but I beg you for the opportunity to earn back your trust and your forgiveness. I'll do anything, Bella. Please, I love you, I need you," I whisper.
She sucks in a breath as if she can't believe what she is hearing. Taking her silence as a refusal, I close my eyes as my head hangs low. Feeling a hand on my cheek, I look up and see Bella has fallen to her knees in front of me.
"Edward. Yo...you love me?" Bella asks through her tears.
Grasping her head with both of my hands, I smile at her and lean in, placing a soft kiss to her lips.
"Yes Bella, I love you, we love you." I gesture towards Gracie.
"Please come home, come home with me Bella. Help me save Gracie?"
Meanwhile back in North Carolina, a scream full of rage can be heard. Alice who couldn't believe what she was hearing runs to the TV just in time to witness Bella's answer…
"Yes, I'll come home with you. I love you too, both of you very much."
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