Saving Bree Tanner The final chapter.

The sweet, wet smell intruded my nostrils automatically. I ran faster, searching for the person who promised to quench the macabre burning in my throat. Whoever it was had some seriously goodsmelling blood. My lips curled back over my teeth, and an instinctive snarl tore its way up my throat. I was single-minded as I tracked the scent. I remember what Rosalie told me, of course. But as of now I didn't give a damn. I had to get that blood. Then reality and compassion kicked in. I opened my eyes and froze mid-breath cautiously. "I cant . . . I can't hunt them," I spit through my teeth. "They deserve to live." The burn in my throat tried to make me think otherwise, but I successfully ignored it. "Yes," Esme agreed, wrapping her hands over my shoulders. The house was in view now, and I was out of oxygen. The burn in my throat got more pronounced. Wanting to calm myself, I forced in a blazing breath through my teeth. We were walking at a human pace toward the white mansion, and I refused to let myself get sidetracked by the burn, or the scent. I tried desperately to keep my hold on humanity. I focused my mind on what Rosalie said to me. Humans deserve to live; we all used to be one. Esme traded her hold on my shoulders for my left hand. Rosalie took my right, and I squeezed both of their fingers. I sucked in my last breath and prepared myself for anything. When we entered the front room, I held onto the hands around mine tighter to restrain myself. I hesitantly took a breath. It burned madly. I swallowed. And then she came into view, with the mindreader's arm wrapped protectively around her. Then I saw the pulse thudding in her neck. I stiffened. "Hey," she whispered softly, searching for my gaze. "I'm Bella." A hiss threw itself up my throat, and out between clenched teeth. Bella cringed back into the redhead's chest. I replayed Rosalie's words again in my mind. "I'm sorry," I said through clenched teeth. Bella smiled. "It's okay, Bree." I successfully ignored the blood rushing to her face, and kept my expression locked in her eyes. Keep your hold on your humanity, I told myself. "Bella . . ." the redhead said, worry making his forehead crease into lines. "Why don't you go into the kitchen with Alice and Jasper and

the others?” His eyes flickered in my direction beofre Bella could even notice. “Sure,” she said, blood filling her cheeks again. She waved to me and left the room. I was grateful for her departure, but I didn’t want to talk to the redhead alone. He was just so . . . intimidating. Esme and Rosalie darted toward the kitchen also, and me and him were completely alone. Great. I whimpered quietly. He walked forward. “Bree,” he said. “Thank you so much.” He took my hand. I cleared my throat. “For?” “Letting me know about Victoria,” he answered. I winced a little at her name. “It’s nothing,” I whispered, letting go of his hand. “You’re the one who saved my life.” I stared into his golden eyes. He took me into his arms, a friendly but comforting hug. “I know,” he said quietly, pulling away from me. “Why did you do it?” I asked curiously. “Because . . . I couldn’t stand the thought of them killing you. Once I heard the truth in your mind, I instantly realized you were innocent and deserved to have a chance at life.” He smiled an uneven smile that melted my heart. “Oh . . . I should have died, though. I have no reason to live. By the way, what’s your name, mindreader?” All of the humor vanished from his face, as if someone took one of those rubber erasers and scrubbed it off. “Everyone deserves to live, Bree,” he said. “And my name is Edward.” “No,” I said, beginning to get mad. My anger peaked as I named off the reasons. “Diego’s gone, Fred’s gone. I have nobody.” “That’s not true,” he contradicted me. “And Diego is not gone. He’s in the cottage behind this house.” Violent joy surged through my dried out veins. “Really?” I asked Edward, gripping his hand. “Diego’s here?” He squeezed my fingers. “Yes, Bree.” I hugged Edward quickly and darted off behind their house. Then I saw him. There he was, my own miracle, my purpose in life, standing just outside the door of the little rock-house. I leaped easily over the river thing, and I darted into Diego’s arms. “Oh, Diego,” I cried. “How did you get here?” “That redheaded mind reader saved me.” I owed Edward so much more than a life. “How?” I asked eagerly, desperate to hear his voice. “Riley was about to kill me . . .” I flinched. “And he took me right

out from under his nose.” He chuckled. I flexed my arms around him and buried my face into his chest. He lifted my chin and kissed me with so much fierceness that an earthquake could have shook the earth and I wouldn’t have noticed. “I love you,” I whispered against Diego’s lips. And then I knew I was home.

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