Chapter Seven

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So, none of this is mine. I wrote the first chapter for a contest and now, I'm expanding it. What I own ... a condo and too many books. What I don't ... Twilight and all its characters.

Up next will be some of the fallout from the drama from the previous evening, perhaps some citrusy times (not a full lemon, but some exploration), and leading up to Christmas. We also haven't heard from Uncle Jimmy recently. I got a lot of kudos about having a James that's actually nice. So, I hope you continue to like him as the story progresses. I want him to stay good and from my plan (in my brain), he's looking to stay that way. A lovable uncle, who is devoted to his only niece and only family still alive.

Chapter Seven

EPOV

The car had barely stopped and I was out the door, flying up the stairs to my private suite. Opening the door, I slipped inside and I saw Bella curled up in a ball on the bed. She was wearing one of my button-down shirts from the closet. Her hair was splayed over the pillows and she looked positively angelic. She blinked at me sleepily, confused and beautifully befuddled. "You're home. You're safe," she breathed.

"I had to come back to you," I whispered, falling to my knees and cupping her cheek. "To have an angel in my bed ..."

"Hardly," she giggled, sleepily. "Cuddle with me, baby. After you shower. Did you have a cigarette or pick up smoking?"

I chuckled as she burrowed deeper into the pillows. I had, in the past, smoked, but only when I was really stressed out. "I'll be right back, dolce," I said, kissing her temple. She hummed, already back asleep. I quickly showered, tossing my clothes into the hamper and crawling into the bed. Bella rolled over, putting her head on my chest and snuggling to my side. Her left hand was laying on my belly and I saw the diamonds of her ring twinkle in the early winter moonlight. "I love you, mia cara," I whispered.

"Love you, too," she mumbled, almost incoherently. "You're safe. That's all that matters." She sighed, melting further into me and I smiled, despite the drama of the evening.

She loved me.

Yes, she said it while she was half-asleep, but on some subconscious level, she loved me.

And with that, I would do anything to protect her. I would kill for her. Die for her. Nothing was going to take this love away from me.

Nothing.

BPOV

I woke up, surrounded by a very cuddly and almost naked Edward. He was holding me so tightly to his body. I looked up at him, seeing a troubled look on his face. Even in his slumber, he was worried and afraid. I brushed his unruly hair from his forehead and looked at his muscular body. He was lean, but obviously in shape and took great care of himself. I traced my fingers along his torso, feeling the ridges of his abdomen and the muscles contracting under my touch. Edward caught my hand, kissing my fingertips before opening his eyes. "That tickles."

"Sorry," I said, looking up at him. His eyes were red and unfocused. "I just couldn't resist. You're so incredibly sexy."

He grinned crookedly, rubbing his eyes and then groaning. "I knew I forgot something," he sighed. "And thank you for the compliment. Though, it's you who is sexy, wearing nothing but my dress shirt and a pair of lacy panties."

"You looked at my skivvies," I scoffed.

"They were on display when I came home," he snickered, getting out of bed and stretching. I saw in between his shoulder blades, a tattoo. It was of the Italian flag, along with the American flag crossed over an image of Italy. I bit my lip, my panties flooding at the sight of his tat. He seemed so uptight, not one to get a tattoo but it made him infinitely sexier. He padded into the bathroom and came back a few moments later, wearing a pair of chic glasses. "Um, dolce, you're kind of drooling."

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