Chapter 39

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Standing in a trance-like state, Edward stared down at his helpless father; turning over in his mind all the treacherous things that he had done. Edward focused on just the last few: abducting his beloved, using her for blackmail, tricking him and locking him up in an old shed, forcing his hand...

His father deserved his fate.

Standing close enough to see the fear in his father's eyes, Edward fixed a pensive glare on him.

He could see no reason why he should help save his father. Yes...he could just let him slip to his death...wouldn't that solve all of his problems?

"Edward..." Elizabeth's voice sounded far away, beckoning him from his thoughts. His eyes shifted to where she held fast to his father's arm.

Elizabeth... After all he has done to you and your family... Why should you even yet hold to him now?

Because she knew it was the right thing to do.

And he knew it, too.

"Edward, help me, now!" Elizabeth's piercing cry cut into his mind, jerking him out of his reverie, and he dropped down beside her. Edward met his father's pleading gaze, reading the relief in his eyes as he reached out. Taking hold of his father's arm, Edward hauled him up and over the crumbling edge. Elizabeth collapsed limply, her face in her arms. His father let out an agonizing cry as Edward dragged him back several feet, laying him on his back.

"Edward..." His father struggled for breath and reached out with his good arm and caught Edward's jacket sleeve. Edward paused, his gaze settling on his father's painful expression. "Thank you..." he groaned weakly.

Edward let his gaze linger a moment longer before silently leaving his father, and turning to see about Elizabeth's condition, went to where she still lie, face down.

"Elizabeth, darling..." he knelt down beside of her, gently touching her shoulder. "Are you hurt?"

She cradled her face in her arms, as quiet sobs racked her body. Edward softly stroked her back.

"Elizabeth..." Unsure of the extent of her injuries, Edward decided to chance gently lifting her into his arms; he rolled her over, scooping her up behind her knees and shoulders, and cradled her against his chest. She threw her arms around him, clinging to him; and quietly cried, burying her face into his neck.

"I'm so sorry...about all of this..." Edward held her close, relishing the feel of her in his arms. "It's alright now, it's over. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."

My God, thank You... Thank You for keeping her safe, and for bringing us back together.

"Edward, I..." Elizabeth sobbed into his neck, "I thought...I might not see you again." She still held tightly to him, which Edward found to be quite comforting.

"Elizabeth, look at me."

Slowly, Elizabeth loosened her hold, pulling back enough to look into his eyes. Edward studied her beautiful dark eyes, framed by her tear-lined lashes. She looked delicate, yet wildly ravishing with her hair half falling down, her dirt and tear-streaked face, and disheveled dress.

"I'm here now, and I won't let anyone hurt you again, especially my father."

"Oh, Edward..." she moved a hand to his cheek, stroking the prickly beginnings of a beard on his face. "Thank you...for coming for me."

He grinned at her touch, remembering that he must look like a grizzly bear. "My heart would allow me no other choice." Edward rose and carried her over to a rock and sat her upon it, kneeling in front of her. He ran a hand through his hair and dusted off his jacket. "I'm afraid I'm a bit of a mess, I've been a little busy for tidying up...and for sleep," he laughed lightly.

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