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Edward never came back. Seven years later, Bella is a tough, heartless corporate girl in New York City. She has taken down many businesses and never lost. Now, she is about to take down C-CORP. Who is the mysterious owner? Who is "C"? She will find out, and she will destroy him. Who is the monster now? Can she be saved? The story is done. I will update everyday! THIS IS IT GUYS! THE LAST CHAPTER AND EPILOGUE! (SNIFF)



Rating 5/5   Word Count 4449   Review this Chapter

(Edward POV)

Okay, I realized that I made another mistake. I never should have asked Emmett to come to New York. I should have known that he wouldn't treat it seriously. That was a very long night. Emmett didn't come back until 3:30 in the morning. Whether or not he made Bella smile, it was going to take me 1,000 years to blot out the image of Emmett holding Bella that close to him. And the way he placed his hands on her hips . . . he was lucky I didn't tear him apart. He defended himself by saying he was helping. That was not the kind of help I expected from my own brother. His claim that he was just trying to prove a point and give me courage was so idiotic that I didn't even know what to say to him. He seemed to be having fun with all of this. I should have asked Alice. All she would have done is take Bella shopping. If he didn't go home within the week, I was going to ask Rosalie to come here and get him.

Now, I had other worries.

The last week had been a morbid form of torture. Vaughn had taken Bella on two dates in one week. I abhorred with everything in me seeing her with Thomas. But, I also loved watching her when she wasn't so guarded, as she was when she was around me. The part I detested and feared the most, was that with each date, they seemed to be getting closer and closer. Vaughn's feelings for Bella were nowhere close to the intensity of my feelings for her, but they were indeed very strong. He was playing his game well, trying to lure her in slowly so that she wouldn't run. Much to my distress, it appeared to be working.

He'd had a home game this last Sunday and he was honored with MVP. He was feeling pretty good about things. On their dates, autograph seekers would approach them and Thomas would always graciously comply. I wondered how Bella felt about that. With me, she was doomed to no sunlight, only shadows. Secrecy was a way with my kind. Here, she was thrust into the spotlight. I wondered if she would prefer this life with Thomas to constant evasion.

Tonight was their third date. He took her to the American Ballet Theatre and when they came out, he kissed her forehead longingly and gave her a ballet shoe covered in diamonds and attached it to her bracelet. I wondered how many more charms would be added.

This was getting to be too much for me. I needed more than to just be a shadow in her life. I had to have a tie to her in some way. She didn't want me, I had accepted that, but an idea had been playing in my head. Maybe if I stayed here after negotiations had ended, I could become her friend. Then, it wouldn't be such a strange thing if she bumped into me every once in a while. We could see each other every now and then. I could hear her voice and still look into her beautiful eyes and hear her laugh. I would still be able to hear her heartbeat. I would stay and be whatever she wanted me to be. She could have any part of me that she wanted.

I would be there when she had children. I could be there for all the major events of her life and cheer her on and encourage her. And when she became old I would still be able to take of her in some small way. And when she eventually, inevitably . . . . I couldn't even think it. When she died . . . . . I would be there. I would be there to hear the last beat from the most beautiful heart the world would ever know. I would follow. I would find her.

Vaughn then took her to Tavern On the Green. I had always wanted to take her to that restaurant that was tucked into a corner of Central Park. They had a long, quiet dinner and then they went on a carriage ride through the Park. Just two more dates, and then Vaughn would ask her the question. I couldn't imagine at this point, that she wouldn't accept him, and everything that would surely come with it.

It was a cold night, and they were huddled close to each other and sharing a large, thick blanket. In Thomas' mind I could see him looking down on her. Her chestnut hair nestled close to his cheek. I felt sickened at the thoughts going through his mind. Then he began to speak.

"Bella, I am falling for you."

She stiffenend immediately, and I watched with surprise the panic that was on her face. He quickly started to speak again.

Just calm down, I know we haven't had our five dates yet. No pressure, I swear. But Bella, before I fall any further, can I just ask you a question? I hate to bring this up again, but it is really troubling me." He seemed nervous as to what her answer would be.

"Okay," she said. Her voice was muffled under the blanket.

"I just can't get out of my mind the image of how you looked at Edward at the Waldorf. Bella, you have never looked at me the way you looked at him that night. I hve asked you this once already, but I just need to know. Are you still in love with Edward Cullen?"

He was in torment waiting for her response. I already knew the answer. I cringed inwardly and waited for her to reply.

It took her a moment to answer. When she began to speak, her voice was soft and serious. "Do you have anyone from your past that you can't forget?"

He felt uncomfortable for a moment and then I saw the face of an attractive teenage girl with long black hair named Kristin come into his mind.

"Well, there was this one girl that I dated all through my Junior year of High School that I think about now and then. She moved away and I never heard from her again."

Bella answered back after letting out a sigh. "That is exactly what Edwardwas to me. He was my first love . . .and then he left."

Through Thomas I saw deep pain in her eyes. It was the pain Jasper had told me about. It was the pain she never let me see. She swallowed hard and said quietly, "It was hard,but I found my way again. Time has a way of slowly forcingyou to accept and move on."

"So, you have moved on?" He was encouraged.

Her eyes looked haunted. "That party at the Waldorf was the first time I had seen him in seven years. She closed her eyes for a moment and then said, "He had told me he loved me so many times, and then everything changed. He told me I was no good for him. He promised me I would never see him again." Her eyes tightened painfully. She swallowed hard and then said, "I was just taken a little off guard that night at the Waldorf. I am doingmuch better now." She had a faraway, empty look in her eyes.

Thomas was almost ebullient in his relief at her answer. He believed her. He obviously didn't see what I saw in her face.

"Can I ask you one more question?" He asked. Bella nodded her head.

"You just said Edward told you he loved you. Is Edward still in love with you?" He was nervous again.

Without pausing, she answered him, emphasizing each word with conviction. "He never loved me."

I felt all the air escape out of my lungs as I tensed with astonishment.

"Are you sure?" He asked.

She had seemed so sure of herself. I was surprised Thomas doubted her answer.He bit his lip and said, "I saw the way he looked at you at that party, and the other day at your office."

Bella tried to speak, but her voice broke, finally she said, "If there is one thing I am sure of this in this world, it's that Edward Cullen doesn't love me now, and he didn't love me then. I was nothing more than a simple diversion to him."

I sat on the cold snowy ground and put my head in my hands. All this time, she had really believed it. There were sobs finding their way out of my chest. I clenched my teeth and snarled at myself.

Through my mind came the scene I had played a million times. I watched her eyes dim and desperation take on a life of its own as I stood there behind her house and told her I was leaving without her, promising I'd never come back. I had said I would always love her, in a way, but that I would have plenty of distractions. I had told her that where I was going was not for her. Two miles away from her I had collapsed on the ground and curled in on myself to fight the pain, but she never knew that. She had spent the last seven years in her own hell, just like me. I was the only one that could have fixed it. Instead, I curled up in a ball in a slum in Brazil, and licked my wounds in Ireland. She had been fighting through every day. She had been the strong one.

They were walking slowly down the sidewalk approaching her building. He held her close to him rubbing her arms. I held my breath to see if Bella would again say good-bye to him in the lobby or if this time she would invite him up. I had been encouraged by the hug and the peck on the cheek she had given him after every date. I had taken great joy in the desolated thoughts that ran through his mind every time he watched her get on that elevator alone.

Tonight, his thoughts ran wild for her. I gritted my teeth and watched helplessly from across the street. She was turning after saying good-bye, but then he pulled her back and put his hands on each side of her face. They stood motionless for a moment staring at each other, and then he moved in and she didn't stop him.

I set my jaw and watched as his lips touched hers. The kiss was at first very calm, but it changed into something much more. I felt an involuntary growl building in my chest. My thoughts turned shockingly murderous for Thomas and I felt the burning venom rise like hot lava in my throat as my muscles tensed in my back and the monster in me fought to spring and attack. I painfully swallowed at the venom pooling in my mouth as his hands moved across her body pulling her ever closer. At first, I fought against the image, turning my head away. I couldn't bear to see it. But ultimately, I did the only thing that kept me sane. I closed my eyes and went into his mind and felt all I could of his closeness to Bella.

I felt her soft lips and the warmth of her skin as her blood pulsated through her veins. I felt her body against his and groaned inwardly as he pulled her still closer to his body. I could feel the curve in the small of her back that I loved so much. His hands moved up her sides and my fingers flexed as I felt her ribs and then her arms and shoulders. I whispered her name as he ran his hands along her neck and face. And then, my jaw clenched as I felt Bella put her warm hands on his cheek. My head was bent down into my hands and I felt a cry escape from me as her lips parted for a moment as she kissed him. I could feel her, smell her, taste her. I was lost in the kiss. And as much as I hated it, I felt so empty again when she pulled away from him and ended it. I was left breathless sitting in the cold winter night all alone, longing with every part of me to feel her again.

I opened my eyes and stared into the lobby. She was looking at him and I was in agony to know her thoughts. Was she realizing she loved him? Would she pull him close and start kissing him again? Was she about to take his hand and lead him into the elevator? I felt myself crumbling at each thought. What would she ever want with me if she could have someone human? Someone warm, with a heartbeat and a pulse. Someone who didn't crave her blood. Someone who didn't have urges that in a careless moment could take her life. Someone who could give her children and grow old with her.

I was relieved beyond reason when she said goodnight and went in the elevator alone. I stared at Thomas enviously as he hailed a cab and drove off.

My fingers were clenched in tight fists. My senses were stretched tight and I was still full of adrenaline from being in Thomas' mind when he kissed her. I replayed the whole scene again in my own mind. She was going to fall in love with him. I put my head in my hands as I felt her kiss one more time. I relished it and yearned to taste her again on my lips.

But, then my thoughts drifted back to our kisses.

There was something different about this scene, about the kiss with Thomas that I was struggling to make sense of. And then I realized what it was. The way Bella had reacted when kissing Thomas was completely different from how she had behaved when she kissed me.

She had never pulled away from me.

I was always the one that had to reluctantly end our embraces. I remembered how her hands had tangled themselves into my hair and her arms went tight around my neck. How I could hear her heart stop and start again, and feel her hot breath all around me every time I kissed her. She had fainted in my arms. None of those things had happened when she kissed Thomas. Was it just youth or reckless abandon that had made her react that way so long ago?

I wasn't so sure.

Could it be that there was a clue in all of this? Did she still love me? Was it only me that could bring out the rapture and feelings of true love just as she did for me?

And what about when Thomas told her his feelings for her were deepening? She'd had that panicked look on her face, which led me to believe that maybe her feelings for him weren't as strong as I feared they were.

I felt my adrenaline kicking in again. But for a much different reason.

I was not going down without a fight.

I was done. I was done watching from afar and torturing myself with the unknown. I was done feeling sorry for myself. I was done living in the past. I wanted a future, and I wanted it with Bella. I had to tell her how much I loved her and wanted her with me and would never, could never, leave her again. If we were meant to be together, and would only be our happiest when we were reunited forever, I was foolish not to take the chance.

I stared up at the top of the building where I saw a light flicker on. Bella was inside, thankfully alone, but not for long. I sat on the bench and gazed up at my sanctuary.

She was the closest to Heaven that I would ever be. If there was a chance of having Bella forever, I would find a way.

I was going to fight for her. I wasn't going to fight fair.

And I would start tonight.

- - - - - - - -


Long awaited darkness falls,

Casting shadows on the walls.

In the twilight, how I am alone.

Sitting near the fireplace.

Dying embers warm my face.

In this peaceful solitude

All the outside world subdued.

Everything comes back to me again.

In the gloom,

Like an angel passing through my room.

Half awake, and half in dream,

Seeing long forgotten scenes.

So the present ones seems to the past,

Now and then become entwined,

Playing games within my mind.

Like the embers as they die,

Love was one prolonged good-bye.

And it all comes back to me tonight,

In the gloom.

Like an angel passing through my room.

I close my eyes,

And my twilight images go by,

All too soon,

Like an angel passing through my room.

In this peaceful solitude

All the outside world subdued,

Everything comes back to me again,

In the gloom,

Like an angel passing through my room.

I close my eyes,

And my twilight images go by.

All too soon,

Like an angel passing through my room.

Angel Passing Through - Sissel

- - - - - -

(Bella's POV)

My lips still felt a little bruised from kissing Vaughn. I got off the elevator and unlocked my door. I could hear the silence pushing in on me. The clock was the only sound.

Tick, tick, tick.

I closed the door and stood there in my entryway struggling in my mind with what my next step should be. I felt my coat lay on a chair. My purse was placed on the table, but yet, all I could think about was the kiss Vaughn had just given me. I was cold. I felt a shiver run through me and I wrapped my arms around myself.

Make a fire, I heard my conscious mind call out. I turned on a light to see in the darkness, and I went over to the fireplace and turned it on.

I hadn't kissed anyone since . . .

My fingers absentmindedly ran across my lips.

I had tried very hard to kiss him back. I had mechanically placed my hands on his face and tried to give with my lips the answer he was so fervently waiting for. I had talked myself into believing that this, being with Vaughn, was what I had wanted.

One kiss told me I was terribly wrong to think I could even attempt it.

Nothing would ever be able to compare to those cold, hard lips that ever so gently lingered on my own. Now I knew.

Kissing Vaughn had almost seemed like a betrayal to myself. My heart was screaming for the one that made it fly. I kept waiting for the rush, the heat, the commanding need to be closer and feel Vaughn's lips on mine and run my fingers through his hair. There had been none of those things.

Not one.

I remembered falling in love, it was the easiest and most intoxicating experience I had ever had. I'd never had to force one feeling, or one pounding heartbeat. The only problem I'd had was trying to rein my feelings in.

I hadn't, and couldn't, fall in love with Vaughn. If I couldn't feel these things for Thomas Vaughn, things weren't looking very good for me.

I made my way into my bedroom. My mind was completely pre-occupied as I dressed in my pajamas and then came and sat on the floor in front of the fireplace. I wrapped my arms around my knees and watched the embers dance and weave. I was slowly mesmerized by the flames.

Shadows loomed behind me and I could feel the warmth reaching me, but inside I still felt so cold. Tonight, when I was kissing Vaughn, I felt like Edward was right there beside me. I closed my eyes and broke my most hard and fast rule. I began to think of him. I pictured his grace, and loveliness, and felt my soul relax for the first time in so long.

I laid down on the floor, staring at the flames and lost myself in the memories that I was always trying so hard to fight.

I closed my eyes and felt the tears roll down my cheek as I picked out my favorite memory. The one that I pushed farther away than any other. The place where he first really touched me. The place where for the first time he laid his head on my chest to hear my heartbeat - the meadow. Oh, the meadow.

I still felt the slight breeze blow my hair and ruffle the wildflowers as I ran my fingers up and down his arm covered with a million diamonds. I could feel myself curled up in his arms and staying there until the sun began to fade. That night was the first I spent in the arms of my archangel.

The meadow was so far away from me, not only in distance, but in circumstance, that it seemed like a fairy tale from my imagination. Most of the time, this memory seemed airy and out of focus. Only tonight did it seem so real that if I reached out my hand I would feel cold marble on my fingers.

I let the memory of a hundred nights with him wash over me and wondered if I would have given myself to him so freely if I knew that he never loved me; if I knew that he would one day leave. The answer was a resounding yes. I wasn't sure that I had ever really had a choice. From the first moment I saw him, I yearned for him in every possible way.

As I lay there watching the lights dance in the fire, it was as if there were ghosts swimming around me, each carrying a memory, floating in, floating out. I would let this night be filled with Edward, but I knew that all too soon the light would come pouring in through the window marking another day. I would find reality taking the place of all that played before me this night.

Tomorrow would be painful, but right now, I didn't care.

How many days would I have? Life seemed so long without him. My mind replayed all the reckless things I had done trying to keep his voice in my head. Unkindly, time had also taken that from me. Gradually, no matter what I did, the velvet voice came to me less and less, and then became silent.

I knew that as time went on, my memory of his face would dim, it would gradually become more difficult to recall the precise texture and color of his hair. I would have to struggle to pull back the feel of his lips on my jaw. But, my heart would never forget. It would rebel and fight against anybody but the one that caused it to stutter, stop and start again. My heart would never love another.

I was struggling to find all the reasons I had given myself as to why I needed to get up everyday. This torture of loss was so strong. I wasn't sure how it was possible to feel all these years of pain and still be here. But tonight, just tonight, I would forget all the outside world and let it just be the two of us.

I felt my eyelids close and open again. I would soon fall asleep here, amidst all the scenes filled with him. My eyes were blurry from tears, but as my eyes drifted shut again, I could see Edward coming to lay beside me, his beautiful face was silhouetted by the fire, and I smiled. My dreams were beginning. I prayed for a long night filled with memories of my only love, my angel.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The next morning when I awoke, my cheek was burning. At first I thought it was from the heat of the fire, then I realized it was burning with an icy feel that had only happened when Edward touched me.

My head was completely filled with images that had passed over me during the night. My dreams had almost been unearthly in their beauty and had seemed so real. I could hear Edward's velvet voice speaking to me warmly in that formal, perfect articulation that could only be acquired in an earlier century. All night long he had told me in a hundred different ways how much he loved me. He had whispered how he wanted me forever and was so sorry for how much his leaving had hurt me.

In my dreams, I had whispered his name.

I rolled over onto my back, and realized I had a pillow, and there was a blanket on me. This blanket was off my bed, and I didn't remember getting it the night before.

I snuggled down into its softness, and as I took a deep breath, I could smell the delicious scent that was unmistakably Edward's. I closed my eyes and snuggled the blanket up to my face for a long moment. Then, as I came farther out of sleep, I realized that couldn't possibly be right. There was no way it could be Edward's scent. I inhaled again. Oh, but it was. It could never be duplicated.

I sat up on one elbow and felt the tears dried on my face. The sunlight was just pouring in my window and a streak of light ran across my legs and to the fireplace. I reached out onto the carpet to get up and was surprised to feel that the carpet next to me was ice cold. I slowly ran my fingers over it and marveled at how that could be. I curled my fingers into the loops and looked around me quickly.

My heart stopped for a moment, and then began again.

I got up and went running through my apartment. Everything was in place. I ran to the front door and it was locked. I threw it open and saw no one, nothing. I closed my door and slowly walked back to the place on the floor where I'd slept last night. Nothing happened, it was just my imagination, my dreams and reality intertwining and playing tricks on my mind again.

But why did everything about this space feel different? Unearthly and hushed.

My head turned from side to side again. There was no sound. Nothing.

It was like an angel passing through my room.