Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        


I'M BACK AFTER A LONG DELAY! THIS IS THE SEQUEL TO LOST. THESE ARE MY AWARDS FOR LOST:#1 MOST FAVORITE STORY AND HAS BEEN SINCE OCTOBER 2007! #3 MOST READ #7 MOST REVIEWED Summary: Simmons is introduced to a certain female vampire that we all know. He has been a player, but what happens when he meets her? ~~~~~~LAST CHAPTER AND EPILOGUE~~~~~~~ Chapter 15:MAGNIFICENTChapter 16:(EPILOGUE) HEADLINE

Wow! This sequel has been a long time in coming. I want to thank everyone for keeping this story alive. I have loved reading every single one of your reviews! I have had everything from awesome people translating LOST into other languages, to yucky people plagiarizing my story and calling it theirs. No kidding! I started this just a few months after LOST, but I didn't think anyone would want to read it. It was just for me. But, I kept writing and many asked for a sequel, so . . . . . . . . If you hate it, I will understand. 3 REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT READ THIS STORY: 1. SIMMONS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER, EDWARD AND BELLA ARE ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, BUT IT IS IN SIMMONS POV. 2. IT HAS BEEN LIKE A YEAR AND A HALF SINCE MANY OF YOU HAVE READ LOST. FOR SOME IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY, BUT FOR THE ORIGINAL READERS, YOU MAY NOT EVEN CARE ANYMORE! 3. I CAN'T THINK OF ANOTHER REASON. SO I GUESS THERE ARE JUST TWO. Lost is long, and I would never make you read it again. To help the original readers, I have given you a quick summary: Bella and Michael Simmons worked for a NYC firm called Berkshire-Hathaway. Bella was heartless and vowed to take down C-Corp Edward was C-Corp (yikes!) Bella had started to date a hot guy named Thomas Vaughn Bella ended up breaking Vaughn's heart Bella gave Edward back his company - after she put Edward through a lot Bella left to be with Edward after she quit the Firm Bella and Edward got married (yay!) E & B set Vaughn up with his first love from High School - Kristin Roberts Alice is very mad that she was not Bella's bridesmaid - it was Simmons Lola is the boutique owner who helped Bella pick out her dresses Rosalie wants Bella's awesomely expensive shoes - - - - - - - Simmons is a player, but he is also sweet and intelligent He is a 6'2 surfer boy from California He is very hotly handsome *Lucky for you this story is about 20,000 words shorter than LOST *THIS STORY IS ALREADY DONE. I WILL UPDATE EVERYDAY!


Rating 5/5   Word Count 6094   Review this Chapter


- - - - - -

Edward burst into the house. "Alice, how could you not see this coming!"

Alice was standing in the entryway with Jasper beside her, looking at Edward with apologetic eyes.

"I wasn't watching for anything like this," she explained. "The Volturi appeared to be coming here with the purest of intentions."

"How could you not see the Volturi planning to take Bella and Tanya!" Edward roared.

Alice was small, but she did not back down from Edward's tirade one little inch. I had never seen Edward act like anything but the perfect gentleman. Not even in the conference room when Bella was taking his company from him did I see a hint of this behavior. It was shocking.

"I saw the Volturi coming to Russia," Alice explained. "But all I saw was a vision of them showing their sympathy because of what they did to Nikolai. It seemed that Marcus and Nikolai's father were close at some point in the past, and Marcus wanted to explain himself. The next thing I knew, Felix and Demetri were ambushing Bella and Tanya in the forest. There was no other warning."

Edward stormed past Alice and she turned and followed him.

"Edward, while you were gone, I've been concentrating very hard on the Volturi's intentions. I think we may be looking at this wrong. I believe the Volturi have been waiting patiently for a chance such as this for a very long time."

Edward whirled around with his eyes wide. "What do you mean?" He demanded.

"Think of it Edward, I have never seen the Volturi step in and interfere like this before. I think they had an ulterior motive for taking Tanya. How many thousands of times have vampires killed each other? Unless it turns into turf wars like with Jasper, they don't care to get involved in such trivial matters. Did the Volturi care when you killed James to protect Bella?"

Edward's eyes narrowed. I was wondering what in the hell they were talking about. Edward killed a vampire for Bella? So, Tanya killing Stefan to save me was like, a normal thing for these people?

Alice stepped closer. "Tanya told us all about the feud between the Volturi and Alexei. We know that the Volturi have wanted Alexei gone for a very long time. The problem is that Alexei has many young strong followers, and they would stand and fight if the Volturi were to strike at Alexei."

Edward's whole family had moved into the room, and were listening intently.

"Now, the Volturi finally have their motive to demand that Alexei step down."

"What is the motive?" I demanded.

Alice looked at me and then at Edward. He nodded his head and Alice began to speak.

"When Nikolai killed Olivia, there was a small amount of publicity. Then, when Zachary Conner went missing, public awareness increased even more. Of course, when the posters of Nikolai went up all over Moscow, we all know the reaction the public and the vampire world had over that. But, now that your face is all over the news we have . . . . "

"What?" I interrupted. "What do you mean my face is all over the news?"

Edward turned to me. "Last night, a station ran a five minute piece on Nikolai. The reporter explained how mysterious it was that not only was the detective in charge of Olivia's death killed; but that there were also two people missing that were also connected to Nikolai. They spoke about Zachary Conner for a moment, but then they posted a picture of you, and the reporter spoke about you at length."

Alice continued. "More than once, the reporter said that you gave a report to the police that vampires were involved in Olivia's death."

"Oh no," I murmured.

It made more sense that Edward had been so eager to take me on a drive this morning. He didn't want me to turn on the television.

Alice sighed. "The Volturi are outraged. They are demanding that Alexei step down immediately. He has been in hiding ever since your stunt," Alice pointed at me, "but now, he will most definitely come out of hiding."

"Oh, I see," said Edward.

"What, what do we see?" I demanded.

Edward looked at me. "Alexei will come to Tanya's rescue. As soon as he finds out that the Volturi have taken Tanya, he will be furious, and he will make a stand against them."

This didn't make any sense to me. "Edward," I said, "Alexei seems so selfish, why would he care so much about Tanya that he would risk his life to rescue her?" I asked.

All in the room exchanged knowing looks with each other.

"What?" I demanded.

Edward turned and looked at me. "In his own twisted way, Alexei has been in love with Tanya for centuries. He has wanted her to rule with him and be his wife."

I was frozen.

Alice turned to me. "The Volturi knew about this, and they have found the perfect opportunity to use the information. The Volturi are using Tanya as a pawn to draw Alexei out. Alexei will most assuredly come to save Tanya."

I stood looking at them all. I was dumbfounded.

"Were any of you ever planning on telling me about this?" I shouted.

"What do we do?" Jasper asked quietly.

"My concern," said Esme, "Is how far the Volturi will go to incite Alexei. Would they cause harm to Tanya to push Alexei to his limits?"

"What will Bella and Tanya do if they are backed into a corner?" Edward breathed.

Jasper turned to Edward. "At least we know the Volturi are not planning to hurt Bella. I am guessing that Bella was the first to come to Tanya's rescue, and they were both taken."

Carlisle stepped forward. "I should go alone. I will talk to Aro, Marcus, and Caius myself."

"No!" Esme took his arm, gripping tightly. "You will not go there alone."

Emmett spoke up next. "I say we kill everyone we meet until we get to the ones holding Bella and Tanya."

Rosalie looked at him and rolled her eyes. It wasn't a bad plan, in theory.

All of the sudden, Alice began staring off into space. Her eyes seemed to be focused on something far away. She grabbed Jasper for support, and then whispered, "I need pen and paper."

In a blink, Esme was by her side holding what she needed. She quickly began sketching something that she was apparently seeing in her mind. It was fascinating to watch. At times, she didn't even look down, but just let her hand flit around the paper adding whatever her mind saw.

We were all gathered tightly around her, struggling to find anything recognizable about what we were seeing. Then, all of the sudden, the picture began taking shape. I knew exactly what she was drawing. I was so surprised that I jumped back a step. All eyes, but Alice's were on me.

I moved in and pointed down at the paper, "I've been in that room!" I exclaimed. "I was there a few months ago for a party. I was bored, looking for a way to leave without anyone seeing me, and I took a wrong turn, sending me into this room." I pointed up to the side of the paper. "There were engravings on the wall, over here. . ."

As if on cue, Alice began filling in the details I remembered. I pointed to an exit at the right end of the room, and Alice added it as well. Everyone stared at me again.

"They're still in Russia," Edward gasped.

"They haven't had time to get out of the country yet," Carlisle breathed.

Alice suddenly came back to us. She looked up into our eager faces. "Bella and Tanya are doing everything they can to help me. Up until now, they were blindfolded, and left alone. As soon as they see or hear anything, they are sending it to me. . ." She began trailing off again, and then she breathed in sharply. "A plane has left Italy, and will be landing in Moscow in two hours." She let out a gust of air. "They will send a helicopter to the rooftop, and Jane will be on it. They will take them to the airport, then fly straight back to Volterra."

Everyone began moving then. In about ten seconds, they were back in the room with cell phones and car keys. Edward was right in my face. "Can you tell us the address of the building?"

I blew out air in frustration, "I was taken there by a driver and was on the phone for most of the way. The name of the building was an unfamiliar Russian name. I can guide you there, but I can't tell you the exact location right now."

Rosalie huffed, "We have to bring him with us?"

Edward gave a short nod, "Apparently."

"Hey! I was going no matter what!" I said forcefully.

No one listened to me.

"We are going to need some sort of initial distraction," Carlisle said quickly. "I can only assume the building will be heavily guarded."

I had an idea. "How about having Rosalie walk up to the building in that dress she wore to the ball in New York last year . . . ."

Everyone stopped what they were doing and were staring at me silently.

I swallowed embarrassingly. "Or . . . uh, you know . . .whatever . . . ."

Emmett looked at me menacingly. Rosalie raised an eyebrow at me.

Jasper nodded his head, "Not a bad idea," he said appreciatively.

"Aro and the others have never met Rosalie, they would not recognize her." Carlisle added.

"It will work," Alice said in a sure voice.

Rosalie turned her back in a huff as she headed up the stairs. "I'll find something to wear, and I'll get ready on the way," she said harshly.

At that comment, everyone began running out the door. Emmett stopped at my side and said, "Dude, when this is over, you and I are having a little talk."

I opened my mouth to speak, but only air came out. Luckily, at that moment, Edward scooped me up and said, "You'll be riding with me." The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the front seat of his Audi, pealing out of the driveway.

He was on the phone with Carlisle most of the way out of the canyon while they devised a strategy that would get us to Bella and Tanya with the least amount of risk. As we came close enough to see the city lights, I had my first twinge of fear at what we were actually attempting to do.

The fear was not for me. It was all for Tanya. Vampires, at least from my experience, were a volatile lot that thrived on protecting their own. Each side would fight to the death. Of that I was sure.

Edward hung up the phone with a loud, frustrated sigh, and I asked him if he had any news.

He let out what seemed a large stream of profanity too fast to be intelligible, and said, "Alice keeps seeing Bella, and if she stays on her current course, she could very well end up in a battle with just herself fighting Felix and Demetri."

"Should I be worried about Bella, or worried about Felix and Demetri?" I asked anxiously.

Edward looked at me from the corner of his eye. "Fair question," he growled. "I fear for anyone who gets in Bella's sites when she is really angry, but Felix and Demetri are the principal guards of the Volturi. They have been guarding them for thousands of years, and they have yet to be defeated. She has to know we're coming for her, but she can be the most impatient . . . Bella's anger could get her . . . ."

He trailed off, and I felt the tension rise. I personally didn't think anyone could get the best of Bella. She seemed unbeatable in everything she attempted. She did have one weakness though, one thing that could cloud her judgment. Her anger. In the boardroom she had always managed to channel her rage into victory, but when it was added to her impatient nature, I was able to understand Edward's fears. I couldn't imagine what Edward would do if anything were to happen to her.

Edward and I were in the lead as we came into the city. I gave him instructions for the exit that would take us to where the building was located. I then told him in as much detail as I could the fastest route to the room Alice saw in her vision.

He didn't slow down as we raced through the city, and I was so scared for Tanya, I found it hard to sit still in my seat. Edward called Carlisle one more time to make sure everything was set, and then he began to tell me in meticulous detail everything I needed to know about the plan.

We would be parked three blocks down and come by way of the rooftops. Using her "gifts", Rosalie would distract as many guards as possible, creating a distraction that would get the others into the building undetected. Edward would be busy gleaning information from every mind he could, anything that would tell him the layout of the building, and where Bella and Tanya were.

Edward and Carlisle had surmised, that their presence in the building wouldn't go unnoticed for long. This could pose a potential problem for Rosalie. There was a chance that the guards may begin to attack her if they believed that she had something to do with what was happening inside. Emmett would be keeping a close eye on her.

My job was simple. Stay on the roof and be as silent and motionless as possible while they rescued Bella and Tanya. I would have no part in the rescue. I was trying not to be offended by that.

We passed Novy Arbat Street and things began to look familiar. I knew we were very close.

"We're almost there," I said nervously. "Two blocks to the right, and then up a half a block on the left."

Edward called Emmett. They immediately pulled over, and Emmett got out, leaving Rosalie to drive the rest of the way alone. Emmett jumped in our back seat and we circled around to the left and drove into a deserted parking garage. Carlisle followed about a mile behind us, so that we wouldn't attract too much attention.

Within seconds, we were out of the car. Edward had me on his back and we were waiting on the roof of the garage for the others.

As soon as Edward had Carlisle in his sights, he looked back at me and said sternly. "Complete silence." He then launched himself onto the next rooftop. Every instinct made me want to yell out. I was in absolute terror as we cleared rooftop after rooftop at dizzying speed. Every time we were airborne, I would see blackness underneath us and small streetlights streaking by. He would land with feather light accuracy after each leap, and then we would be off again. There was never a hint of exertion from Edward. Not a grunt or even heavy breathing. If I hadn't been so frightened, it would have been the most exhilarating experience of my life.

We landed on the roof of the Vneshtorbank, the building across the street from where Bella and Tanya were, and Edward came to a graceful stop as he let me off his back. I fell to my knees, and shook my head to bring back my equilibrium. My body was trembling as I fought off the nausea, and I forced myself to recover. There was no way I was going to get sick on this rooftop.

The others arrived shortly after we did, and then I watched with envy as they silently took their positions. Their eyes were completely focused. In them, I saw none of the kindness or the refinement I had come to know. They were hunters. They were killers. Each of them was crouched, ready to spring, and I backed away in admiration and awe.

It was true, I had no place here. They exceeded me in every way. They would save Tanya and Bella tonight, not me. I picked a spot, near the roof's edge, where I wouldn't be in their way, and sat down. I was noisy and clumsy in comparison to their stealth.

I watched Edward closely. I was looking for any sign that something was wrong. But for the moment, all I saw was supreme concentration. His eyes flickered and danced as he perused the minds of all in the building. At times, his eyes would narrow and his lip would twitch, and I knew that his mind was calculating things at an amazing rate.

It was so silent on the building that I heard Rosalie's car pull up and her door shut. I watched the muscles in Emmett's legs tighten. His fingers flexed with anxiety and it was clear he was ready to launch himself down the 15 floors to the ground if he felt Rosalie was in danger.

I ever so slowly raised my head to look over the edge. It was too high for me to pick out anything specific. It looked like there were four individuals standing closely together, but I couldn't hear anything, or determine what was happening. It was frustrating. I watched as Emmett smiled wryly, and Jasper jolted in response to something happening on the ground, and then I saw two more individuals come walking around from the left side of the building. They were all gathered around Rosalie, and I felt a sense of satisfaction that my plan seemed to be working.

"The plane will be here in 40 minutes," Alice said in a tense voice.

I heard Rosalie's laugh ascend up to us, and I knew from experience that the guards were captivated by her.

This seemed like the best time to attack. I whispered to Alice, "Why aren't you going in, Rosalie has five guards with her."

There was silence for about 30 seconds, and then Edward raised one hand up by his head. Everyone tensed. At that moment, I saw two objects drop from the roof and land softly about ten feet from the group. As they began walking, I realized they were more guards. Before I had time to process what I was seeing, Edward gave a quick nod and threw his arm down. Without a sound, all six vampires were no longer beside me. I watched with complete wonder as they landed on the rooftop of the building and immediately disappeared.

Now came the hardest part. Waiting. I hunched down in my position as I tried to work out the stiffness in my leg. I realized with humor that if a stray vampire decided to attack me, the only weapon I would have in defense was my leg brace.

For five minutes, I watched Rosalie continue to entertain the guards, and then there was a change. One guard launched himself up the side of the building to the third or fourth floor, and then began to climb rapidly, vaulting himself up each windowsill. Three more guards ran around to the back of the building, leaving the last three guards standing in front of Rosalie. For a moment, the three just stood there facing her, and then I saw one spring out of position and come at her. In a blindingly fast movement, I saw her slam the man down onto the cement and turn and kick the next one coming at her. The first guard was getting back up again as she sent both of her legs crashing into the third guard and then throwing the first guard on top of him. I could hear the impact of each blow, sounding like two large boulders being smashed into each other.

All three guards were up now and coming for her. I was almost hanging out over the roof, powerless to do anything to stop them. At the moment all three landed on her, I breathed out in relief as Emmett came crashing out of a third story window. He landed on two of the men and with a mixture of revulsion and gratification, I watched Emmett and Rosalie rip the three guards apart. I backed away when I heard the high-pitched screams and prayed that nothing like this was happening to Tanya or Bella. It seemed like it would be a miracle if everyone made it out of this alive. When I turned back, Emmett and Rosalie were gone, and I was alone.

I kept my head down as I searched every window looking for a sign that would let me know what was going on. I could see nothing. The rooftop was freezing. The wind was cutting right through me and in our rush to get here, I hadn't thought of trivial things like a jacket.

My teeth were clenched as I fought the chattering, and as I sat there in the early morning hour, the only thing that kept me sane was the mantra I kept repeating over and over to myself.

Please let her be all right.

Please bring her back to me.

Please let me hold her again.

I will do anything, anything to have her.

Please don't take her away from me.

Then, as if in answer to my silent begging, I got a call on my cell phone. I jumped as it vibrated and my fingers fumbled anxiously to pull it out of my pocket. I recognized Jasper's number.

"Yeah," I whispered anxiously.

"I'm okay." It was Tanya. Her voice was intense, and she was in a rush.

The air escaped out of my chest as I heard her voice. I needed to feel her, to touch her. "Come to me, now." I commanded.

"Not yet, I am going to save Bella," she said quickly.

What was I supposed to say to that? I wanted her in my arms so badly that I ached, but how could I stop her from helping to save Bella?

"I love you," she said rapidly. And then she was gone.

Something felt different when she hung up. I felt a strange foreboding; as if something was about to happen that would change everything. My body became tense and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I tried to tell myself that Tanya would be fine. I had just heard her voice. I just needed to calm down and wait this out. I hated the waiting. How I hated the waiting.

Then, I saw something move in the shadows. I looked around me anxiously. My throat tightened as I backed up against the edge of the roof. I had no escape.

Suddenly, he was there. He looked about twenty years old. His hair was very short and it was so light that it looked almost white. It made his red eyes stand out all the more.

In his soft smooth voice he spoke to me. "What is it about these Cullens and their fascination for humans?"

I was glued to my spot. I was frozen, unable to think of what my next move should be.

"There is one good thing about those freak vampires, they always seem to be carrying a snack." He found his comments very humorous and his eyebrow raised as he laughed softly.

I couldn't believe I was in this situation again. This time, there was no hope for me. I was even more helpless than when Stefan tried to kill me. My right leg was in a cast, my left leg was in a walking cast, and both of my arms were still in slings or bandages. Even if I could run, there was nowhere for me to go. I was trapped on this roof with no way to fight back.

When I made no attempt to speak, he showed mock concern and then his mouth turned into a sneer. His eyes narrowed and he lowered into a crouch. His fingers twitched as he anticipated the kill.

I jumped as the cell phone began vibrating in my hand. I had forgotten I was still holding it. It was Jasper's number again, which meant it was probably Tanya. There was no way that I was going to get her involved in this. She had saved me once, and Stefan's coven had almost killed her for it. I refused to put her in any more danger because of me.

The vampire's eyes flashed down to my phone, and then back up to my face. The phone stopped vibrating and immediately began again. If I didn't answer, she would know something was wrong. I was hoping that this vampire wasn't as sadistic as Stefan, and would just make it quick. One pounce and a snap of the neck was all it would take. But something told me that these blood drinking vampires had a flair for the dramatic. That centuries of boredom made them crave more than just blood. They also needed excitement.

Vampires also seemed to have a short fuse. I gambled on that and tried to speed things up by making him angry.

"Not tough enough to be in the real fight, so they sent you out here to battle with the crippled human?"

I figured that would make him mad. I was right.

He snarled as he straightened to full height and began walking towards me. He came within a few inches of my face and began circling me. Never taking his eyes off me. I felt his icy breath on my neck as he whispered, "I just like to be first to the dinner table."

I clenched my teeth and my hands balled into fists. Every instinct told me to run, to yell, but I was determined to make my last act a brave one. To look at him in defiance as he took my life from me.

In the distance, I heard a thumping. The helicopter was coming and all I could think about was that Tanya was still in that building. I turned as its bright lights shone down on the roof. It was hovering as I watched two figures, one hulking, and one as small as a child jump out of the helicopter and land gracefully on the rooftop. Like a blur, they were suddenly gone and in the building.

My eyes grew wide as I took a step towards the edge of the roof and gasped, "Tanya!"

Without a sound, the vampire was suddenly in front of me. His playfulness was gone. He grabbed me and slung me over the side of the building. We were fifteen stories high, and I quickly became disoriented. I was trying to tell which way was up as he quickly jumped from one windowsill to the next, slamming me into the hard brick wall every time he landed. My left arm smashed into the building at a bad angle and I screamed. He stopped on a large balcony and I fell to the floor as he dropped me and kicked me back into the shadows.

I was in excruciating pain. I righted myself as quickly as I could. I was backing up, using my right hand to push myself away from him. He was looking up, scanning the sky when suddenly he crouched and hissed as another vampire landed on the balcony facing him.

The first vampire bared his teeth and growled, "He's mine. I saw him first!"

The second vampire threw his head back and let out a growl that backed me up against the wall. "I have been waiting to taste this one for a long time,Joaquin," he snarled.

I recognized the second vampire. It was Alexei. If I had to choose from any vampire in the world that I wanted to kill me, Alexei would be last on my list. I hated him. I hated him for taking Tanya away from me that night at the ball, and all he had put Tanya through over the last year.

Stefan took a step towards me, and Alexei let out a growl that chilled my blood. The terror level in me rose even higher. I couldn't believe that two vampires were fighting over me. I reached up and frantically tried the doors that led from the balcony and into the building, but they were locked. I fumbled in the dark looking for anything that could be used as a weapon, anything that I could use to escape.

I heard another growl on the balcony. I turned and gasped in fear. This time the fear wasn't for me. It was Tanya.

She was furious. She jumped on Alexei and spun him. He went crashing into the side of the railing, sending cement and metal splintering in all directions. Without pausing for a second, she kicked Joaquin and sent him flying over the edge of the balcony. She began to run to me, but before she could get close, Joaquin slung himself back over the railing and threw her to the ground.

"No!" I screamed.

Alexei was now up, angling himself so that he could see both Tanya and Joaquin and thwart off an attack from either side. Tanya's eyes flitted from one to the other as she yelled, "Edward!"

The seconds ticked frustratingly by while I waited for Edward to come down and save her. The three of them faced each other in a circle, maneuvering and flexing to the other's movements.

"Let's leave right now, Tanya," Alexei breathed. "I'll take you anywhere you want to go."

Tanya had positioned herself in front of me, and I sat there motionless, trying to attract as little attention as possible from the murderous vampires.

"It's over, Alexei. You no longer have a hold on me," Tanya snarled.

To my great relief, Edward finally landed on the balcony. His teeth were bared and his eyes were blazing and without waiting another second, he launched himself at Joaquin. Edward was a blur to me, but amazingly enough, Joaquin spun around and deflected Edward's attack. He came at Edward from behind and Edward turned himself around, grabbing Joaquin and sending him crashing through the locked door. Before I could flinch, Joaquin was coming at him again, gnashing his teeth and arching his back as he growled.

With the door smashed in, I now had my chance to escape. Tanya was so distracted with protecting me that she was putting herself in real danger of being overpowered by Alexei. I didn't want to leave her, I wanted to kill him myself, but I saw no other way.

Without turning my back on the battle, I painfully got to my feet and moved through the doorway. I realized quickly that my left arm was now completely useless. All the work Carlisle had put in to rebuilding it with pins and screws was wasted. As soon as I was in the darkness, I turned and began to run. My right leg was screaming with pain, as I ran through the room, and I was about to open the door to the hall when I heard a scream outside. It was Tanya.

I panicked as I saw a third vampire attacking her, but her screams were not for herself, they were for me. Now that Alexei was free, he was coming for me. I looked past Alexei to Tanya. The hulking vampire had her in a death grip. Tanya's eyes met mine for a moment, and I thought how close we had come to having everything. I thought we had all the time in the world.

Alexei sprang at me, and then, as if she came out of thin air, Bella was suddenly standing in front of me. She crouched and snarled so loudly I had to cover my ears. Alexei never had time to slow down as he crashed into her. She grabbed him by the torso and slammed him into the ground. Before he could right himself, she took hold of him, and threw him out onto the balcony, where he fell over the edge and out of my sight. She turned to me and said, "Jasper will meet you on the roof. The others will be there soon." Then she ran outside.

I quickly moved down the hallway. I was desperately looking for stairs or an elevator, anything that would take me to the roof. If I got to Jasper, I could tell him to come and help Tanya. Once the others came, I would send them too. I ran up and down the main hallway and found nothing.

I anxiously turned back around. There was another hallway that connected to this one, there had to be stairs there, I frantically reasoned.

I turned down the other hallway, and there I saw it. At the very end on the right, there was the door leading to the stairs. Ignoring the pain, I ran. My hand was reaching for the handle, when the all of the sudden, from behind me, a door came crashing into the hallway. Wood and sheetrock were flying everywhere. I put my hand up to my face to keep the dust away as I tried see through the debris. And then, I yelled in panic. Alexei was charging at me.

When he saw that I was alone, he smiled jubilantly. Before I could take a step, he grabbed me as he turned and ran back down the main hallway.

"Michael!" I heard Tanya scream.

I desperately tried to free myself from his iron grip. It was as if a statue held me prisoner, and there was no give or weakness in its hold. Suddenly he stopped, and I looked in front of us to see Tanya there, blocking his escape.

Alexei became murderously angry. Behind Tanya, was a large window that reached up to the ceiling. Alexei launched himself over Tanya and crashed through the window, while I did my best to shield myself from the glass that was making jagged little cuts all over my exposed skin.

Tanya turned and jumped out of the window behind us, where for a moment, Alexei and I seemed weightless, then to my horror, we began falling.

Tanya jumped onto Alexei's back, and he turned and snarled at her as he fought to get her off. She had a tight hold on his neck with one hand, while the other hand was reaching for the arm that had the iron grip on me.

Alexei growled once more as I heard him say, "I will not lose you to a human!"

He snarled again, as he took hold of me with his free arm and hurled me out into the air.

Tanya turned to look at me. Her eyes were large and disbelieving. She used her feet to push off of Alexei, but he grabbed her and pulled her back. I didn't want to see the ground. I only wanted my eyes to see Tanya one more time.

"No!" She screamed.

And then I hit.

I felt everything crack and crumble inside me. I couldn't take in air. My eyes saw nothing but blackness and I knew I was almost gone.

Down a long tunnel I heard Tanya screaming my name. I tried to reach out, I tried to find her, but there was only pain and the struggle to breathe.

Then from somewhere, I felt cold hands on my face, and I could hear her voice. I used the last of my air.

"Do it," I gasped. "Now."

And that was all there was. I couldn't understand why I didn't see the bright light I'd heard about. There were no clouds, no tunnel, no music. All I had was a cold, lonely, quiet blackness.

And then, from far away came a warmth.

The warmth slowly spread through me, and I realized heaven must be near. I was at peace. I had done all I could to be with her. I would watch over her from above. I would take care of her.

Then everything changed. It began small, but quickly it spread to every corner of my body. There was nothing else. There was nowhere to run. I tried to escape, but my broken body would allow nothing. Every part of my mind was warped and throbbing.

Then I understood. I knew what this meant. I welcomed it. I savored it. I screamed, and I knew I must do my best to smother all signs of my pain. I did not want her to regret one second of this. I clenched my teeth and prepared to endure what was coming.

For all I knew was an inescapable, all-consuming fire.