Chapter Twenty-Nine

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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 Edward trying to help her. In reality, he's the only one who can. He's been in her shoes. Esme could help her, but it needs to be him. Plus, we're finally, FINALLY going to have the wedding and some citrusy time. It's been far too long, don't you think?

Chapter Twenty-Nine


The room was dark, save for a fire lit in the fireplace and a dim light over an overstuffed chair. Bella was curled up, writing in her journal. It was Halloween, two and half months since my abduction and what should have been our wedding. Almost everyone, except for Bella and me, were at my parents' home for a Halloween party. Bella didn't feel like going and honestly, neither did I. I wanted to use this time to talk to Bella, to help her confront her demons. I pushed up my glasses, making my way into the living room. Bella stared into the fire, her brow furrowed, the pen tapping gently on her lips.

"Penny for your thoughts, dolce?" I asked, walking toward her. She jumped, looking back at me with a slight scowl. She resented her nickname, not at all feeling like the sweet girl I'd met over a year ago. "I see you writing, love."

"Don't call me dolce," she said, closing her journal and her voice taking on a cold edge.

"Why not?" I asked. "You are mia dolce." She sighed, leaning her head against the chair and curling into a tighter ball. "Bella, come with me."

"I'm comfortable here. I just want to be alone," she answered.

"Too bad, so sad," I said, taking her hand and pulling her up. I took her spot on the chair, curling her on my lap. "Every day, dolce, I see you. I hate that you're sad, empty. That's my fault." It will always be my fault.

"No, Edward, it's not," she answered, looking at me, but her eyes were dead. "It's Royce and Stephan's fault. Not yours. Never yours, baby." She wrinkled her nose. "I just hate feeling like this. You're alive. You're healing, but I can't shake ..." Her eyes were welling with tears. "Why can't I stop seeing Royce? What I did to him?" She shuddered and tears spilled onto her pale cheeks.

"Would you change the outcome? Would you not kill him and have this war between the Bratva and the Consortium continue? My death?" I asked. She blushed, shaking her head and she let out a strangled sound. I held her closely, kissing her neck and inhaling deeply, allowing her scent to calm me. "Bella, you are still sweet, good, and perfect."

"I'm not," she scoffed, hastily wiping her cheeks.

"You are," I said, taking her chin and forcing her eyes to mine. "Bella, you are strong, beautiful and it was that strength that saved me. I would have died out there, without you." I kissed her and stood up. "Come with me, love."

"Where are we going?" she asked, confused.

"You'll see," I said, taking out a set of car keys. I threaded my fingers with hers, putting on a coat and we went out to my car, my Volvo. I helped her into the passenger seat, walking to the driver's side. Backing out of the garage, I made my way to the city, driving to what was once the center of the Bratva in Chicago. It was once a shining jewel, filled with powerful men, enslaved women and a deadly fighting ring. Now? It was a crumbling building, abandoned by the cowards left behind after word of Royce's death had reached the building.

"Why are we here?" she asked. "Wasn't this Royce's stronghold?"

"Yes, and we're here because I want you to see what you helped do," I said, taking out a gun from the glove compartment. Bella stiffened. "The Bratva have been demolished with no discernable leader, but there's still a threat. This is not a safe neighborhood." Her eyes were still on the gun, the gun that she'd given me for my birthday. I slid the gun into a holster on my belt and got out of the car. Opening the passenger side door, I held out my hand. Bella took it, her eyes wide. I threaded my fingers with hers and made my way toward the building.

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