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LOST 2

Summary:
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


Notes:
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!


15. MAGNIFICENT

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5755   Review this Chapter

Chapter 15 - MAGNIFICENT

~~~~~~~My first cry, it was a joyful noise.~~~~~~~~

- -

I was born,

I was born to be with you,

In this space and time.

After that, and ever after,

I haven't had a clue.

Only to regret, this foolishness,

Can leave a heart black and blue.

-

Only love, only love can leave such a mark.

Only love, only love can leave such a scar.

-

I was born,

I was born to sing for you.

I didn't have a choice.

But to lift you up,

To sing whatever song you wanted me to.

I give you back my voice.

-

Justified till we die.

You and I will magnify,

The magnificent.

Magnificent.

-

Only love, only love can leave such a mark.

Only love, only love unites our hearts.

-

Justified till we die.

You and I will magnify,

The magnificent.

Magnificent.

-U2, Magnificent

- - -

It was early morning. The sun had not yet risen over the Denali Mountain Range that could be seen from our bedroom window. She was obviously not asleep, but her eyes were closed. She was calm. Tranquil.

I watched her.

There was nothing else. Nothing else would ever hold me like this. Only her. She had changed me, in every way that was possible. I lived for her now.

I was born to be with her.

She stirred, and I reached out and ran my hand over her cheek. She turned to me as she opened her eyes and I greedily pulled her to me.

"Hello husband," she smiled.

"Good morning, Mrs. Simmons." I kissed her forehead.

"How are you this morning?" I whispered against her lips.

"Quite perfect," she whispered back to me.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" I murmured into her hair.

"You can give me forever," she smiled down into my neck.

I sighed in a pout. "That's not long enough. Isn't there anything longer you can ask me for?"

She brought her face up to look into my eyes. "If there was anything longer, I would ask you for it."

"And I would give it to you."

I kissed her then.

We had just built our own house not far from the main house where Tanya's sisters lived. We had been on our honeymoon for several months before we came to see her family. I could see how happy she was here, and we decided to stay. We had been back for a few months now, but her sisters were used to not seeing us for a day or two at a time. They were great about not intruding. It looked like today was to be another one of those days.

Around nightfall, we made our way outside. We saw two familiar cars parked in the main garage, Edward's car and Emmett's jeep. We smiled and ran over.

Bella was at the door before we had a chance to open it. "It's about time, Simmons. We've only been here since last night."

"Why didn't you let us know?" I asked.

Bella raised an eyebrow at me. "Edward warned us. You might as well have put a huge "Do Not Disturb" sign on your front door."

I looked over at Edward. He gave me the man salute. I gave him a big mental thank you and he nodded and smiled.

"We didn't think you were coming until Saturday," Tanya commented.

"We're here early," Emmett said, stating the obvious.

"Carlisle and Esme come with you?" I asked.

"They're in Europe, Carlisle has lectures in Oslo and Brussels," Jasper answered from the couch.

I didn't see Rosalie anywhere. I was sure she was here, but I wouldn't be searching her out. I squeezed Tanya's hand. She was probably thinking the same thing.

Tanya gave me a quick kiss and went to find Irina and Kate. I looked back at Bella, and smiled. I hadn't seen her since she had been the best man at my wedding. After that, we had left rather quickly for our honeymoon. I gave her a tight hug, and then followed her over to where Edward sat on the couch

After we sat down, she gripped my arm and looked straight at me with a serious face and asked, "How is everything?" I knew she didn't mean with Tanya. She was talking about my adjustment to this new life.

I took a deep breath. I had actually been encouraged at how well I had taken to all of it. There was definitely a craving for the blood of humans, but Tanya had prepared me well. She had been the best and most patient of teachers.

"Everything is going better than I expected," I said with a smile. "I haven't really been around people. Most of our honeymoon was spent on an island. I saw people twice, and I dealt with it."

"What about the airports," Bella asked tentatively.

I gave a slight laugh. "Tanya never let go of me the entire time. I was worried when we first walked into the crowded, hot airport in Chile, but I handled it fairly well. Tanya just talked me through it. I think she was more nervous than I was."

I shook my head in wonder. "You know, it's strange. The craving is there, I can always feel it in the back of my mind, but it's not the strongest part of me." I stopped for a moment to find the right words.

"The strongest emotion I feel is for Tanya. My love for her far surpasses the craving for human blood. If I was changed into a vampire and I didn't have Tanya there with me, I am sure this would all be very different. But, loving Tanya like I do, it calms me; it keeps everything else in perspective. It keeps me in check."

Bella smiled. She took Edward's hand as she said, "You described it very well. I know just what you mean."

"What about your family?" Edward asked me.

That was a hard one. After Tanya changed me, I insisted that my family not think I was dead. At least not right then. I wanted to be able to talk to them one more time, give them a happier ending than me just disappearing in Russia. My parents were elated to hear from me after I had been missing for so long.

I had to admit, I had not been the best son. When I moved to New York, I didn't make any efforts to keep in touch. I had kept all of our conversations light and on the surface. I never talked about anything personal or important to me. I had been close to my parents once, and I let that slip away. I wanted to try and fix that before I "died". Now, it had been almost a year, and I still hadn't made any hard decisions where my family was concerned. Tanya said there was no rush, but at some point it would be unavoidable.

"Well," I paused. "I have talked to them more in the last six months than in the last five years combined." I sighed heavily. "It has been great, but I sometimes wonder if I have just made it harder, especially on my mother, for when I end up having to end it."

"Do they know you're married?" Bella asked.

I shook my head. "They know that I'm seeing someone. That's as close as I would let them get to the truth. They're pressing me to come and visit and they want to meet Tanya too." I laughed slightly. "I don't think there is any chance of us going to sunny Southern California."

Bella just looked at me sadly but Edward, I could tell, was deep in thought.

He took a deep breath and began. "Here is my advice for you, Michael. You didn't ask for it, and you certainly don't have to take it." He smiled at me before continuing. "Your parents would be happy to see you no matter what the circumstances. Make the visit on your terms, where you have more control over the surroundings. You could fly them to the Oregon Coastline for a weekend, for example. Your parents will notice a difference in you, but it has been five years since they have seen you. It would be a blessing to your parents, but it would also be a good thing for you and Tanya."

He leaned forward in his seat. "Your human memories are fading, they will continue to fade. Countless years are going to pass without you being able to see your parents. I wish I had your choice to make, to see my parents one more time. Make a memory of them in your new mind, and you will able to keep it."

I stared at Edward silently. I knew the story of how he made his way into this life, but I never took the time to think through how he felt about his first parents. He was right. I was only thinking about my fears. Tanya and I would talk about this and make plans to see my parents soon. Edward smiled at me.

He understood.

- - - -

Don't ask me how it happened, but somewhere during the night I ended up watching, "The Fast and The Furious" with Emmett in the theater room. He was hilarious. He knew the make of every car in the movie, and would yell it out every time a new car came on the screen. We were high-fiving each other and screaming at the cops to leave them alone. Rosalie came in once. She stayed for about five minutes and then rolled her eyes and left again.

When the movie ended, Emmett stood up and held his fist out to me. I bumped him as he said, "I better go find Rosalie, but hey bro, it's good to have you around. Especially with Tanya. Man, she is way happier now than she used to be. I count you as a brother." Then he left. I was very touched by what he said. I was beginning to see why Bella thought so much of him.

I looked at my watch. It was just about time for the morning stock reports to start. I couldn't break old habits. If I was around a television at this time of the day, I just had to check and see how Wall Street was doing.

The biggest story this morning was talk of a merger between TeleMark and Goff Systems. That was nothing new. I had been involved in a lengthy conference call with Hathaway about that very subject before my "car accident". I knew these two companies weren't serious. They were just trying to drive down the price of their stock so that they could buy them back at a cheaper price. Oldest trick in the book.

I paid particular attention to the stocks I owned. For the time being, I was in limbo, but at some point I would be liquidating all my holdings. I would talk to Tanya about seeing my parents, and there was a chance I could put off the inevitable for a few years, but I needed to plan for the future. I had to start moving my mutual funds out of their long-term programs and into shorter, higher yielding portfolios.

I was happy with my new life. Beyond happy. But I also couldn't help being saddened over the idea that I would never be involved in this world of high finance again. Actually that wasn't entirely true. I was only sad that Bella and I together wouldn't be able to be in this life. She had been what made it truly enjoyable and exciting.

It certainly hadn't been the case with Mr. Hathaway.

He had been furious when I quit. After I was changed, I called him and told him that I was not coming back. I felt that I owed him that much. He was already in a state when I called, because I had been missing for a month. He ranted about how he had molded me, and taught me everything I knew, and if I thought I was going to just pack up and go to another company, he would see to it that I never worked in the financial world again. He would ruin me. He accused me of conspiring against him all along, and that he wouldn't be surprised if I was working with Bella behind his back.

My parents? I wanted to stay close to them as long as possible. As for Sterling Hathaway? I wouldn't have minded if he thought I was dead.

After catching up on the stocks, I turned to another financial report. This one dealt mostly with international business. Before my change, I had been working on a deal between the Moscow based Nyatabank and the Swedish company Bjorgstog and I was curious as to how it was progressing. I was deep in thought when Bella came in and sat beside me.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey," I answered.

"You still have a passion for all this, don't you?" She stated.

"Mm-hmm." I didn't turn my head from the screen as I answered her. The information was just too interesting for me to break away.

"Yuri Nostov has done a good job with the Moscow Branch I see," she said.

Once again, I just nodded my head and kept my attention at the screen.

She began to watch with me. For about five minutes she sat silently and then I heard her mutter under her breath.

"What a crock."

I glanced at her and she began speaking rapidly. "If LeMeterien thinks that Chancellor Gregorian is going to let them get away with breaking their company apart without any repercussions from the French stock exchange they are bigger idiots than I thought."

I turned towards her and began nodding my head emphatically.

"I agree completely!" I began gesturing with my hands. "I mean how stupid does Cardonay think we are that we would just believe that he plans to restructure. It is completely obvious that he plans to sell out and take the money and run."

Bella was shaking her head. "Idiots," she lamented.

"Idiots." I agreed.

We turned back to the TV and continued watching. We stayed there for over an hour discussing what we saw, disagreeing at times, but mostly we were consistent in our views. I was surprised with the way she defended her opinions with such passion and ferocity. I had no idea that she was even paying attention to the world of high finance anymore. She knew as much as I did about the major players, and was completely current on buyouts and mergers.

After the show ended, we were still sitting on the couch debating over whether Serbia should let their companies stay private or made public and what that would do to their overall strength as a country, when Edward came walking in.

He looked at us thoughtfully. It was always fairly easy to tell when Edward was deliberating something. He was an extremely methodical man. He was brilliant, in my summation, and I looked up to him in many ways. But now, he seemed troubled.

"Is anything wrong, Edward?" I asked. Bella looked up at his face to see for herself.

He shook his head slowly. "No, everything is fine. I just came to take my wife out hunting, would you and Tanya like to join us?"

I stood up enthusiastically. Tanya and I had been holed up in our house for three days straight. I could use a good hunt, I needed to gain back my strength and see if maybe we could try for four straight days the next time. Edward raised an eyebrow at me. Embarrassed, I turned around and walked out of the room. I would have to remember Edward's gift and keep my thoughts for my wife in check. That was not going to be easy.

When we walked out of the house, the sun was just cresting over the giant mountain range. After a short discussion we decided to head North. Edward had a favorite hunting spot that he wanted to check, and we all agreed to follow him.

Aside from the night I saw Bella fighting right before I was changed, I had not really seen her behave like a vampire. I watched her running ahead of us with Edward, and I was amazed at how natural it seemed for her. It was like she was meant for this. When I first learned that Bella was a vampire, I didn't want to hear her defend this life. But now, I could see what she meant when she said that this was her destiny. That it was before, when we worked at the firm, that she hadn't really been living. She shined now. Bella and Edward were at their best when they were together. She and Edward were definitely "one". I hoped that Tanya and I were becoming as close as Bella and Edward were.

I looked to my right. Something in my senses stirred. I slowed down a little and when I turned back, I saw that Edward was staring in the same direction that I was, with his jaw clenched, and his face taut.

Far off in the distance, at least three miles away, I saw the herd. It was a large one. I smiled at Edward and he gave me a knowing look. Caribou was my favorite. By now, Bella and Tanya were turned as well. Without another word, we all began running.

I was never the type to show off, but I couldn't help myself. Before, I had let Edward take the lead, but now I was in for the hunt. I accelerated and was soon running by myself.

It was great to be a young vampire.

We closed in quickly. Almost too quickly. The herd truly never had a chance.

The leader turned and ran down a steep embankment and the rest of the caribou followed. I smiled and adjusted my course. I was now running parallel to the herd and I looked through them quickly, singling out the one I wanted. Gaining even more speed, I angled sharply and attacked. I bit, paralyzing my victim, as Tanya, Bella, Edward and the rest of the herd thundered past me. For the moment, I let my thirst take over. I drank greedily, and then raced on, demanding more.

It was mid-morning when we had finished burying the remains. We had followed the caribou for over an hour, satisfying our thirst. I turned to Tanya and saw that she had been watching me. I smiled at her, and she began walking towards me. Without saying a word, she kissed me. I clung to her as tightly as I could and heard her sigh.

"Ow." she smiled.

I chuckled against her lips. "Sorry."

She kissed me again and I forgot we weren't alone.

"So, we thought we'd head back . . . . Simmons, did you hear me?"

I broke from the kiss just long enough to answer, "I heard you, Bella."

"Were we that annoying?" I heard Edward ask.

Bella laughed. "Worse, much worse."

Edward took Bella's hand and began walking. "I need to talk to Bella," Edward said. "We'll see you back at the house, okay?"

Tanya and I waved at them and turned back through the canyon. We walked part of the way, not feeling the need to hurry. My thoughts turned to the night I was changed. Everything had been so uncertain then. I wasn't sure what would happen between Tanya and me. I wasn't even sure that I would ever see her again. Alexei wanted to kill me, and the Volturi were holding Tanya. It seemed that my world was dissolving. Like sand sifting through my fingers.

I would never tell Tanya, but I was secretly grateful to Alexei for forcing Tanya to change me. After he had hurled me ten floors down onto the asphalt, Tanya fought him off and came to me. Carlisle, Esme, and the others had seen everything from the roof, and before Alexei could get to Tanya, they attacked him and killed him. He did have some of his followers with him, but they all seemed relieved that this maniacal leader no longer had a hold on them. They fell back into the shadows and ran away into the night.

Aro and Marcus had come out to witness the burning of Alexei. When they were sure that Alexei was dead, they left peacefully. Alice had been right. All they ever wanted, was to have Alexei gone.

My memories of my childhood were fading. There were some experiences that I was fighting to hold on to; almost like they were sacred keepsakes that you would lock in a chest. But honestly, my most hallowed memory was the night I first saw Tanya walking down that stairway. It was as if I were sleeping until that moment. In a matter of a few hours she had changed everything. She was my angel.

I couldn't regret this life. There was no remorse. It was the right choice for me.

I held Tanya's hand tightly and kissed her fingers as the trees broke and our house came into view. Before I knew the truth about Tanya, there had been many dreams I had planned out for the both of us. Every time I saw our house, it was like a symbol. It represented that I had just about everything a man could ever want. I had almost everything that I had originally dreamed I would have with her as I danced with her at the ball. A future with the woman I loved.

We went back to our house to change. I was always quick with the shower. Tanya, as most women are, took a little longer. I was reading the New York Times online, when there was a knock on the door. It was Bella.

"Hey, what's up?" I asked cheerfully. I moved aside so that she could come in. It seemed that she was a little on edge.

She was fidgeting with her hands as she turned to face me. "I just wanted to come over and see your new place."

I looked at her suspiciously. "Okay," I said slowly. I waved my hand out and said, "Here it is."

She walked around, commenting and admiring. It was built a lot like a lodge with high timber frame beams and several large windows. She laughed at the large caribou that hung above the fireplace.

"Well," I defended, "If any humans come to visit, I can tell them that I love to go hunting and that caribou are my favorite, I will have that to back me up."

She turned and stared out one of the large windows. "Do you really think that any humans will ever visit you here?"

I laughed. I had to admit, we were pretty secluded. The only humans I had ever seen were flying over us.

"It could happen," I joked.

Bella didn't laugh. She continued to look out the window as she spoke softly. "It's a far cry from where we used to work on Wall Street, isn't it?"

I nodded my head as I ran my hand through my hair. "Yes, it is."

She was quiet for at least a full minute. I didn't feel like I should interrupt her train of thought with small talk. When she finally spoke, there was a little more volume to her voice.

"I really enjoyed watching the stock reports with you this morning. It was great discussing Kleinhoffen's merger. It had been on my mind and it was great to use you as a sounding board and hear your views."

I smiled.

"Anytime," I said.

"We sure made a good team," she commented.

"The best," I agreed.

She turned to face me now. She had a sly smile on her face. "I have been very encouraged with how well you have handled this change. I think the only person that's handled it better than you, is me."

"Is that so?" I challenged.

"Well, you've done great, but you haven't really been around enough people to test your strength," she observed.

"Why would I want to test my resolve?" I teased. "Why don't I just stay out here forever and not worry about ever seeing humans again?"

She tilted her head while she twisted her mouth, "That sounds like a lot of fun. Great life you have planned for yourself there, Simmons."

I was starting to wonder where she was going with all this. I looked at her suspiciously. "Is there a point to all this, Bella?"

She took a deep breath and furrowed her brow. "Well, if you must know, I have been thinking really hard about something, and I wanted to get your opinion on the matter."

I stepped forward. "What is it? What's been on your mind?" I didn't dare to hope.

Her mouth twitched a little. Her hands went to her hips and then she just blurted it out. "Over a year ago, you talked to me in my apartment about us going into business together. I never forgot about it, and I have seriously been thinking about your idea. Obviously a lot has happened since then, and we would both have to work extremely hard to prepare ourselves, but I believe we would be great . . . . what do you think?"

I tried to keep it together. If I acted too excited she might think that I wasn't capable of restraining myself, that I couldn't control my impulses. But, I couldn't help the big smile that spread across my face.

"Bella . . . .I . . . . yes. Are you kidding me? This is by far the . . . . . this is going to be great . . .WE are going to be great! Can you just imagine? Oh man . . . .we are going to take New York by storm! They aren't going to know what hit them! Yes!"

I think I got my message across.

Bella started to laugh. She came away from the window, and stood right in front of me. We both started talking at the same time about what we thought should happen, and where we should start. We were talking lightning fast when Tanya came into the room. I stared at her and realized I needed to discuss this with her. This wasn't just about me anymore.

I sat her down and started explaining everything to her. Bella would interject every once in a while, and soon the concerned look on Tanya's face turned into surprise. At the end of my speech, she stood up slowly and took my hands.

"You seem genuinely excited about this, Michael. Is this what you really want?"

I nodded sincerely. "Yes, but only if you want this, too. The way I see it," I turned to look at Bella, we hadn't discussed this part yet, but it seemed logical. "The way I see it, we have a good ten years of this, and then we will have to stop. Too many questions will be raised about why we haven't aged."

I kissed Tanya's hands as I finished. "Do you think you have it in you to live in New York City for that long? I don't want to do it if you can't be in this with me 100 percent."

She looked deeply into my eyes. One of her hands came up to my face. "I could never deny you anything. It sounds like a great adventure. I am with you 110 percent."

I picked her up and swung her around. She laughed, but when I brought her back down, she looked concerned. "Are you sure you're ready for this?" She asked.

"Will you help me get ready?" I asked her gently.

She kissed me then. "I love you," she whispered.

"I love you back," I said.

I turned and looked at Bella. "Is Edward really okay with this?" I asked.

She gave a smile and said, "I thought I was hiding my thoughts pretty well, but Edward can read me better than I think. This morning, when you and I were discussing the financials, Edward was listening. On the way back from hunting, he told me how much he loved hearing that excitement in my voice. So, he asked me again if I wanted to give this one more push. Do this for a few years, just like you said. I had to be honest with him and tell him that I wanted it very much. He is so wonderful to be so understanding."

Bella took a deep breath and punched me in the arm as she said, "So, I say, let's take it slow. There's no rush. Let's be methodical about this and when we're ready, we'll give them all a run for their money."

"After all," She added. "The competition has got to sleep sometime."

She raised her eyebrows and smiled a venomous smile that made my arms tingle. If Manhattan thought she was dangerous before, they were in for a serious surprise.

Bella turned for the door. "I'm sure Edward has been listening, but I'm going to go find him so that he can be part of the celebration too."

As we walked outside, I said, "So, do you have any ideas how we are going to pull this off? We will have to be the only ones in on our little "secret". We're going to need assistants and secretaries. Not to mention a legal team and such."

"I've been thinking about that too," Bella said. "I propose that we get Zach Conner to be our Vice President, he already knows all about us. What do you think?"

It was a great idea. "How are we going to find him?" I asked.

Bella looked at Tanya. Tanya looked up at me and smiled. "I know where he is, you can call him and see what he says. He may be a little reluctant at first, but he owes me big."

That was a story I couldn't wait to hear.

"Simmons," Bella said. "There is one more thing I would like to discuss."

"Sure," I said.

"I know this is the world of cut-throat deals and high-stakes finance, but I am no longer in this to bring men to their knees. I just want to be in this exciting business one more time, and find a way to beat the Hathaways of the world with cleverness and cunning, not cruelty and spitefulness. What do you think about that?"

"Bella," I replied. "I couldn't have said it better myself."

We walked into the main house and were met by Alice and Jasper.

"A thunderstorm is heading this way. It will be here around 6:00 this evening." Alice smiled angelically as she pleaded with her large eyes.

I looked at Tanya quizzically. I couldn't understand why Alice was so excited about a storm.

Edward came and took Bella's hand, and from the second floor I heard Emmett yell, "Hey Mike, if you can hit, you're on my team. You are screamin' fast right now."

"No way, Emmett. Totally not fair," Jasper was yelling up the stairs, arguing his case.

I looked back at Tanya, and she was rolling her eyes. "Baseball." She explained. "A thunderstorm is coming and we are going to play baseball."

"Sweet," I grinned.

- - - -

Later that night, after Emmett, Bella, Alice, Tanya, and I won the baseball game, I was sitting up in bed writing down as fast as I could all the thoughts that were in my head. There were financial reports scattered all around me, and I was compiling information that I felt Bella and I could start studying.

I could write much faster now. Facts and figures swam in my head without becoming muddled or lost, and I could compute at a much faster rate than before.

Bella and I were going to be lethal.

Tanya was lying down beside me. I looked over and saw that she was staring at me. Her look was concerned.

"Is something wrong?" I asked.

"There are a lot of beautiful women in New York," she said thoughtfully.

She said it as a statement, not a question. I just looked at her, not quite understanding. She continued.

"There are a lot of models and movie stars there, gorgeous women from all over the world."

I stared at her. I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing. Was it possible that she was worried about me finding someone else? Did she really think I could want anyone other than her?

My eyes grew wide. "Are you thinking that maybe I will be interested in the beautiful women in New York?" I asked incredulously.

She still had that same look on her face. "Emmett told me about the woman you brought to the Rainbow Room that night, and Jasper told me that you dated Giselle Bundchen." She rolled over on her back and one hand went to her forehead. "Giselle Bundchen, Michael. She is every man's dream."

I was a little speechless.

I pushed my papers to the side. I lay beside her and looked straight down into her eyes. She was magnificent.

"You are the only woman I have ever loved. You are the only woman I will ever love."

Her hand brushed over my cheek. She smiled a tiny smile, but didn't say anything.

"You know that, right?" I pressed. "I hope I show you everyday that you are my world."

"You do, Michael. You do. It's just that . . ."

I wouldn't let her finish. I took her hand and placed it over the silver scar on my neck.

After my change, my skin had been flawless. Except for a curious silver mark where Tanya had bit me. Where she had tasted my blood, and made me like her. It was the only thing that had remained.

"You feel this?" I asked.

She nodded her head.

"It means you own me. You have claimed me, and I am yours. I only sing for you. I was born to be with you." I kissed her then.

When my lips parted from hers, I spoke again. "Tanya, only love can leave a mark like this. Only true love."

She pulled me down to her again, and the papers fell to the floor, to be forgotten for a long, long time.

No matter what this existence would bring, I would face it with her. There weren't enough days in eternity to love her. I would selfishly take whatever was given to me, and still want more.

What does a man do when he gets everything his heart desires?

He grabs on with both hands and he never lets go. He fights to keep it, to make the most of it, and not waste a second. That was exactly what I intended to do.

For the rest of my days.