The Twilight Saga

Edward left Bella in New Moon and never came back. Now Bella has a plan for moving on with her life...

 

This is a CLOSED discussion for easy reading. This is a work in progress, I of course would LOVE to hear your comments, so please post them here, (I will post on both threads with new chapters):

 

http://thetwilightsaga.com/group/fanfiction/forum/topics/new-horizo...

 

 

Disclaimer. ** All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer **
WARNING: **There is direct text from Stephenie Meyers Twilight Saga**
*It is not my intention to steal anything from Stephenie Meyer*

 

 

 

PREFACE

You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward this - the monsters, the enemies.

But how could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one?

How could you, if it was someone you truly loved?

 

*****

 

Chapter 1: Goodbye Forks

 

“Happy Birthday Bella” Jacob said towering over me as he stood in my doorway. He was holding a pink frosted cupcake in the palm of his hand, lit with a single candle. I smiled up at him, this was the perfect gift -no party, no celebration -just my best friend, a cupcake and a quiet evening in, on my last day in Forks.

 

“Make a wish -preferably before the wax completely covers the thing!” he said teasing.

 

I quickly blew it out, and then stepped aside, letting him in my tiny apartment “Jake, I’m a little old for making wishes. But thank you.” I reached up around his neck, giving him a peck on the check.

“Your only twenty Bella, and your never too old to make a wish!” He answered me, rolling his eyes at the same time.

 

He walked into the kitchen and went to the cupboard where I normally kept my plates, when he opened the door and had a brief moment of shock and then looked around, finding the boxes.

“You already packed up the kitchen?” he sounded a little confused.

 

“Jake, I’ve already packed up the whole apartment” I answered him, fanning out my hand towards the empty space.

 

“Oh” he nodded, slowly dropping his head.

 

“Jake…”

 

“I know, I know. I just thought maybe you would have changed your mind” He cut me off, knowing I would just repeat the same thing that I have been telling him for almost a year now.

 

“Well, I haven’t and I’m sorry”


 

“Don’t be sorry Bella, I’ll just miss you that’s all” he smiled a weak smile at me, trying his best to hid his disappointment.

 

“It’s only college Jake, it’s not like you’ll never see me again” I lied.

 

“Yeah, college in Britain!” he scoffed.

 

“Whatever Jake!” I rolled my eyes and smiled at him, lightly punching him on the shoulder -which still managed to hurt a little.

 

I remembered back to a summer not that long ago when he kissed me without my permission. I unthinkingly punched him in the face and broke my wrist, after that I only had to fight him off for a couple more months before he got over the ridiculous idea of us being together.

 

Thinking about that made me chuckle, so I shook my hand like it really hurt -he remembered too and laughed back, shoving me very lightly on my shoulder, just enough to make me stumble back and laugh a little louder.

 

We split the cupcake and spent the remainder of the night on my tiny sofa talking and watching bad TV.

 

*****


 

The next morning Jake and I drove over to my dad and Sue’s -my step-mom’s house, so the three of them could drive me to the airport to see me off.

 

About a year after Harry Clearwater passed away, Charlie and Sue where married. They both had loved Harry so much, that when he died they ended up spending a lot of time together, and eventually falling in love. They made each other happy and seemed to be perfect for each other, which allowed everyone to accept it so easily, no one looked at it as wrong or in a judging way.

I really like my new step-siblings too, we all got along really well. We were like the brady bunch -minus three.

 

After the long drive to the Seattle airport I had just enough time to check in and say goodbye to my family and best friend.

 

“I love you guys, thank you for driving me” I said to all three of them.

 

“We love you too sweetheart” Sue smiled, holding out her arms for me to hug her. We exchanged a quick hug and a kiss on the check before I let her go.

 

“I love you Bells, I’m really gonna miss you” Charlie grabbed me into a tight hug, his voice was horse as he fought back tears. Hearing him like this broke my self control and I began to weep.

“I love you too dad and I’ll miss you very much” I choked out between breaths. We stood there holding each other for a few minutes, neither of us moving to let go, Jake finally spoke up.

“Bella, your going to miss your plane” he said quietly.

 

“K” I whispered back, moving to let go of my dad. He still held on for a few tight more seconds then let me go, but not before kissing me on the check. “I love you, you call me as soon as you get there” he said sternly, looking me square in the eyes.

 

“K dad, I will. Promise” I tried to smile under he hands that surrounded my face. He bent down and kissed me one last time on the forehead before letting me go.

 

As soon as his hands were off my face Jake picked me up in a bear hug, squeezing me so tight I could barely breath “Jake…can’t….breath….” I managed to get out.

 

He laughed and set me down and then pulled me back into a hug, this time light enough that I could return his affection. I buried my face in his chest as I began to cry again. He was my rock, the one I counted on most in my life and I would miss him terribly. He bent down and kissed me on the top of my head, then resting his check there for a while, until I caught my breath.

 

He pulled me in tightly when I started to pull away, then let me go after giving me another kiss on the head. “Love you Bells”

 

“Love you too Jake” I replied, my breath hitching on the words.

 

I was holding Jakes hand when I started to walk away, neither of us letting go, until we had to when the slack ran out, both our arms falling heavily to our sides when our fingers slipped from each other. I walked threw the gate and turned to look at them one last time whispering the words ‘I love you’, I knew Jake would have heard me, but to my dad and Sue it would have looked like I only mouthed them.

 

I turned and continued to my boarding gate, leaving them and Forks behind me.

 

*****

Once I reached London, I did as I promised and called Charlie to let him know that I had made it safe. We talked for a few minutes before I called to talk to Jake, he sounded happy to hear me but still had sadness in his voice.

 

When I hung up with them I went to the desk to check in for my other flight, the one that would lead out of the UK.

 

(1/11/10)

*****

 

Chapter 2: Volterra

 

Once the plane landed at my final destination, I grabbed my two small bags and headed out of the airport to find a cab. Between the drive and my search it had taken me three hours until I found the place that I had always intended to come.

 

I was scared and nervous, but completely accepting in anything that was to come. I had decided on my fate long ago, it was a decision I had made, and had been planning and intended to keep. So as I walked up to the guards, not letting the hammering in my chest detour me, I confidently walked up to one of the men, looked him square in the eye and said

 

“I am here to speak with Aro”

 

It was just after dusk, dark enough for a vampire to be out in the open, but there were very little people on the street. He looked down at me, with amusement, confusion and shock fleeting across his cold face, then he squinted his eyes at me ever so slightly before answering “Excuse me?”

 

“Please, I must speak with Aro, your master. I have come a very long way, and with the information I hold, I’m sure he would like to speak with me as well.” I said, trying my best to sound confident, as if I actually had something he would want.

 

He continued to look at me with a bewildered expression on his face before looking up at his partner and nodding towards the door. The other vampire gave him a nod in return and went into the castle.

I took in a ragged breath, trying to calm myself. I never really expected it to go this far, I had hoped but didn’t think it would, a new wave of butterfly nervous erupted in my stomach as I tried to keep my breathing and my heartbeat under control.

 

Several minutes had passed, long enough for my nerves to die down, only to be replaced with despair. They were not going to let me in, and I would have to find another way to get what I wanted. All this time and planning was now wasted, and I had no back up plan.

 

The vampire guard must have noticed my change in demeanor, he chuckled softly with a grin “What’s your name?”

 

“Bella” I answered him softly, all hope and confidence from my voice “My name’s Bella” I looked down, trying to squish the urge to run away and cry.

 

He didn’t say anything else, we just stood there continuing to wait, in the dark and silence for someone to return with any news.

 

Finally after what seemed like an hour the other vampire came back out, he walked up to me, looking at the other guard and then telling me “Follow me”

 

I stood there, I was confused, I had been waiting out here for such a long time that I was sure I would be sent home, and when he said ‘Follow me’ it didn’t make sense. After a few seconds of both of them looking at me like I was a crazy lunatic, the guard who had been standing with me finally spoke again.

 

“Bella. Aro will see you now” he said slowly, as though I were a child who needed specific directions to understand, which was apparently the case.

 

“Oh, right. Ok” I mumbled out.

 

They looked at each other and shrugged before walking, one in front of me the other behind. We walked into the castle through the massive wooden doors and down several different halls, making our way deeper and deeper into the castle. After several minutes of walking we finally reached a room, I was shocked to find a human women at the reception desk. She smiled a gentle smile at me and then giggled at the vampire who walked behind me.

 

We walked through the last set of doors before reaching a room. It was round with three large chairs set up in the middle of the room. I recognized the men in them immediately as the vampires from a painted portrait that I once saw.

 

The two guards I had walked with, took me to the center of the room facing the three vampires, one standing on either side of me.

 

The vampire in the middle smiled a kind smile and stood up walking towards me “What is your name dear?” his voice was velvety like all the other’s I had heard, but raspy having an old sound to it.

 

“Bella” I said timidly, tipping my head towards him as if he were royalty.

 

“And why have you come here Bella?”

 

“I..uh..I” I shook my head, I had no idea what to say to him. I knew why I had come, and I knew what I wanted from them, but I had no idea how to explain myself or ask for what I wanted.

 

“Don’t be afraid dear Bella. My name is Aro, you asked for me by name. Now there must be something I can do for you, it’s not everyday a young human girl come’s knocking on the Volturi’s door asking to speak with one of the leaders.” He was still speaking softly, his words kind and curious.

 

“I..I’m sorry…I don’t…know what to say…where to begin….I” I couldn’t form a coherent thought let-alone a sentence.

 

“Why don’t you start by telling me how you’ve come to know my name and where to find me” He smiled a gentle smile.

 

“I knew a family, who had spoke of you and your coven.” I told him, flinching on the word family, hoping he would not ask me any names.

 

“Family? What family do you speak of?” he looked confused, and my chest began to writhe in pain. I had yet to speak any of their names aloud, not even a last name, and my body instinctively began to react on the impending doom, so taking the natural precaution, one that I had become very used to, I tightly wrapped my arms around my chest -in a hopeless effort to hold in and prevent the burn.

 

“Cullen” I whispered out as quickly as I could, wincing at the sound of the word, then tightly clenching my jaw.

 

“Ah, Carlisle. My dear old friend, how is he doing?” He asked apparently oblivious to my pain.

 

“I wouldn’t know, I haven’t seen them in two years.” I told him as calmly as I could, closing my eyes, forcing away the pain and then opening them again to look at Aro’s face.

 

“Ah, I see. And are they why you have come here today?”

 

“No.” I told him flatly -and in complete truth. They were not the reason I had come.

 

“And how’s that?” he asked curiously again.

 

“They are the reason that I know, but not the reason I have come. I came for me.” I was gaining some of my confidence back, remembering why I had come in the first place.

 

“You came for you? And what can we do for you, Bella”

 

“I want you to change me”

 

 

(11/1/10)

*****

 

*****

A/N:

This is a CLOSED discussion for easy reading. This is a work in progress, I of course would LOVE to hear your comments, so please post them here, (I will post on both threads with new chapters):

 

http://thetwilightsaga.com/group/fanfiction/forum/topics/new-horizo...

 

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

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Chapter 3: Decisions, decisions

“I see” the ancient vampire Aro said to me. He looked at me wistfully for a few short seconds then turned to walk towards the throne he had been seated in just moments ago.

“This is ridiculous” one of the others spoke up, he was just as ancient looking as the other two, but had hair so light is was almost the same color as his pale skin. He rose his hand and with a flick of his wrist and spoke to the guards “take this out of my sight.”

“No! Wait…“ I started to speak while instantly having the two guards from the gate grab me, getting ready to usher me out the door. “Please..” I tried to finish.

“Now brother” Aro spoke, effectively stopping the guards in there tracks “let us hear the girl out, after all she did come all this way.” he spun back around to face me again, smiling and raising his hand towards the guards this time. They released me, but didn’t move away.

“Her reasons hardly matter Aro, the fact is, is that she knows, the law claims her.” The blond vampire continued.

“Bella” he indicated to me, not responding to the other vampire.

“I, …I came here in the hopes that you would change me” I stuttered out “but if you won’t, then I have another request.” I paused to take a deep breath before I could continue. I of course knew that if they were not going to change me, the fact that i had let them in on the secret that I knew of there existence, they would never let me leave alive after that. I knew this, sure, but stating it as a request was another thing all together.

“If you won’t change me, then please, when you kill me, all I ask is that you do it quickly.”

They all stared at me in shock, even the one guard next to me, he turned his head towards me so quickly that it made me jump in surprise.

Aro’s booming laughter a moment later was another surprise to me. “Ha, ha, ha! You’re very brave!” he said to me.

“So you knew by coming here today that you would not leave alive? Is that what you would have us believe?” The blond vampire spoke to me directly this time.

“I knew it was a possibility, yes.” I answered him.

“And yet here you stand” Aro indicated towards me with both his hands. “Fascinating.” he said to me with a strange, unsure look on his face. “So what do we do with you now?”

“She knows too much.”

“Yes.” Aro agreed with his brother, then slowly began to walk to me.

Had I honestly expected anything different? I questioned myself now as death approached -pale and cloaked in black like the reaper. Instinctively I recoiled from him, taking a stumbling step back.

“Don’t be disturbed,” he reassured me. “I mean you no harm.” He eyed me with bright interest, lifting one hand out. “May I?” he asked.

Despite Aro’s over politeness, I didn’t believe I really had a choice. I was horrified at the thought of allowing him to touch me, and yet also perversely intrigued by the chance to feel his skin, freezing flesh that had once been such a comfort to me. I raised my hand out to him as a strange wave of excitement eagerly pushed me forward.

He reached out and took my hand, it was hard, but felt brittle -shale rather than the granite I had been anticipating- and even colder than I expected. He firmly held on to my hand, while wrapping the other over top of mine as his filmy eyes smiled down at me, it was impossible to look away.

Aro’s face altered as I watched. He’d been confident upon his approach and in taking my hand, but then it wavered and became first doubt, then incredulity before he calmed it into a friendly mask. “Interesting,” He said aloud while still holding onto my hand, “So very interesting.” he spoke again as he released my hand and drifted back.

“Aro?” the other vampire asked. Aro didn’t speak, instead raised his hands out if front of him; the others relaxed.

Aro continued to drift with a thoughtful expression around the room, his eyes flickering from me to some of the others. Then, abruptly, he shook his head.

“A first,” he said to himself. “I wonder….Jane, dear?” he turned.

At first I thought the tiny vampire was a boy, but the face was too pretty. The wide-eyed, full-lipped face smiled as she drifted to Aro’s side “Yes master” she asked him, her childish voice tinkling around the room.

“I was wondering, my dear one, if Bella here is immune to you.”

Jane turned toward me with a beatific smile; the guard next to me stiffened, and the room fell very quiet.

I meet her gaze, not sure what was happening. Jane was smiling at me now, and it all clicked together. They were testing out their gifts on me, first Aro and now Jane. I shrank back, waiting for whatever was going to happen. I was sure it would be painful.

She glared at me, her jaw clenched with the intensity of her focus.

Nothing happened.

Jane hissed in frustration as Aro began to laugh once again. “Ha, ha, ha! This is wonderful!” he clapped his hands together.

Jane’s upper lip curled back over her teeth as she leaned forward like she was preparing to spring. “Don’t be put out, dear one,” Aro said in a comforting tone, placing a hand on her shoulder. “She confounds us all.”

Whatever was meant to happened, didn’t, and although Aro seemed pleased by this, Jane continued to murderously glare at me.

“Well Bella, it seems you have given us much to consider!” he beamed as he spun back around the room to stand in front of his brothers. He held out his hands toward them, the two that were still seated in their thrones now stood, each one taking a hand. They stood like that for a few moments before the silence was broken.

“What?” the white-haired one hissed.

“Caius, surely you see the potential,” Aro chided him affectionately. “I haven’t seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec! Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?”

Caius, who had been scowling furiously, relaxed.

The room fell silent again as another agonizing moment passed.

Why was this taking so long? I couldn’t figure it out and I didn’t expect it to be such a trial. I grew more and more stressed as the seconds ticked by, wondering how much time would pass before it was too much time, before I was out of time. I took a deep breath; filling my lungs, would it be my last? Would this room be the last of the world I would ever see? Will these people, with the unnerving crimson eyes, be the last I look into?

Does it matter? I asked myself after speculating. I’ve made my peace, I knew there were only two ways out of this for me, both of which I was ok with. I didn’t have a death wish, no, of course I truly wanted to live, but not like this, not anymore.

I wanted to forget, I wanted to be rid of my pain. Pain that I couldn’t -no matter how hard I tried, get rid of. Faces that I wanted to stop seeing, or rather, one face that I wanted to stop seeing.

Human memories faded, and could be forgotten all together once you were changed into a vampire, or so I had been told. And since I did in fact want to live, it seemed the only way to get both, be turned and forget. Or die trying. These were my options, this was why I was here. And that I was ok with.

Today I would finally get what I wanted, what I’ve been waiting for. Peace.

I had been so lost in thought that I didn’t realize that they had finished their discussion; their silent gathering about my fate, and were all looking at me, waiting.

I looked up at Aro, who was quite obviously the leader here, as I expectantly waited with them for him to speak.

Aro smiled, happy again, his eyes bright with excitement. “Do you have any final thoughts or a last request?” he asked me cheerfully.

I felt heavy; weighted as I answered him.

“No.” I simply stated, lowering my eyes, slightly cowering my head as the room settled in around me.

“Don’t fret my dear,” he spoke right next to me now. “It will all be over soon.”

And it was. Everything went black. And then I began to burn.

(11/19/10)
*****

 

Chapter 4: The letter

 

 

Knock. Knock.

 

“Just a minute!” Billy Black yelled from the kitchen, he had just wheeled himself in there to make a sandwich when there was a knock at the door. He closed the refrigerator and had to set everything down on the counter before he made his way into the living room to answer it.

 

“Who is it?” He asked before opening the door to the unknown stranger.

 

“UPS” The man on the other side of the door replied.

 

Billy opened the door, a strange look crossing his face, it wasn't often that anyone in his house ever received anything via shipping.

 

“I have a package here for Jacob Black.” The man in the brown uniform said.

 

“Jake!” Billy yelled over his shoulder “There's someone at the door for you!” he said while backing up out of the door way.

 

Jacob stumbled sleepily into the living room wearing only his boxer shorts. He had been asleep for the last several hours after being on patrol all night, when the sound of the knocking mostly woke him up.

 

“Yeah?” He said the the UPS driver.

 

“I just need you to sign here please.” The man said to Jacob holding out a digital signature pad to him.

 

Jacob scribbled his name and handed the machine back the delivery man and took his package from him. “Thanks.” He said before closing the door.

 

“What's that?” Billy asked him from the kitchen.

 

“I dunno know.” He answered him while ripping open the package.

 

Inside the generic brown box was another slightly smaller white box with a letter attached to the outside of it. The paper inside the envelope was thick and felt expensive. Jacob unfolded the piece of paper and on it read:

 

 

October, 13 2012

 

 

Mr. Black,

 

This is to certify that Miss Isabella Swan was a customer of our bank. She maintained a safety deposit box with our London Branch; Bank of England, since the date of; September, 15th 2007. As instructed by Miss Swan; the account was to be closed and all contents mailed to one Jacob Black if no activity occurred after five (5) years of listed date. In view of this, after several attempts to reach Miss Swan, the safety box account has been closed and mailed per instruction.

 

Sincerely,

 

Steve Meyer

 

Steven Meyer

 

Bank of England

Threadneedle Street

London EC2R 8AH

 

 

Jacob read the letter once more and then again out loud for Billy. Billy stopped mid bite as Jacob read the letter. After staring at each other for several long second, Jacob tore into the box, as if to find Bella, his long lost friend, in there herself.

 

Jacob ripped the top of the heavy white box off to find a closed envelope on top of the pile of things that were there. It was addressed to 'Jake' written in Bella's messy handwriting.

 

Jacob held the letter, rubbing his fingers over the script several times before finally turning it over to open it. He was gentle with this letter, taking extra caution when opening it.

 

 

Jake,

 

Hey. I hope you never get this, but if you are reading it, it means that something bad has happened, and I'm so sorry! You know I love you more than anything in the world right?, but Jake I had to do this for me. I hope you understand. I'm sure you know now that I didn't go to college in London, I lied to you about that and I'm sorry. I can't tell you where I went, it would put you in danger, but know that I am completely ok with whatever has happened! I needed peace Jacob, you know what from, and I went to find it.

I wish I could have told you, but I knew you would never have let me leave. I had to do this Jake, I had to do it for me, please try and understand. If you're reading this it's probably because, well, like I said, it's not good, and since this won't get to you for 5 years, I'm sure you've already assumed as much. Please don't do anything reckless or stupid! It won't change ANYTHING! Please Jacob. Promise.

I love you, you are my best friend, and I love you so much Jake!Take care of yourself and Billy, and watch out for my dad k? And don't tell him I sent this to you.

 

Bye Jake, Love you.

 

Bella

 

*****

(12/3/10)

 

Chapter 5: Ciao Bella

 

It was late, the sun had gone down hours ago and I still wasn't ready to leave. I loved the library at the University of Pisa, it was perfect. It had that old book smell that I love so much, thousands of them lined up on shelves, each filling the room with there perfume, just waiting for me to read them. All of them unique and beautiful in there own way, millions of words just waiting to be absorbed.

 

'Nerd.' I chastised myself.

 

It wasn't unusual for me to stay late, most of the cleaning staff was used to me being here by now, but tonight was later than ever, I didn't want to leave.

 

Today was the last day of the semester, and there would be no more classes being held for two weeks, and that's only if you signed up for extra credits. Most of the student body wouldn't be back for months. So I had two weeks to find something else to do with my time, all 336 hours to fill, with what I had no idea.

 

I heard the night guard and the janitor discussing me before he finally made his way into the library, so with a dejected sigh I started to pack up my things as he entered the door.

 

“Perdono singorina?”

 

“Si?” I said to him while stuffing books and papers into my bag.

 

“Io dovere chiedere lei finire la sculoa per favore.” He seemed a little abashed that he had to ask me to go, so I apologized and hurriedly went to leave. “Si, certo! Scusa!”

 

“Ma certamente! Grazie della sua comprensione”

 

“Addio” I said to him as I passed through the door of the library.

 

“Ciao Bella!”

 

The door to the courtyard was only a little ways from the library, so I turned to wave at the two men who were staring after me, before disappearing outside.

 

Once out of sight I began to move more quickly, and before too long I was outside the city limits and at my small house that was located near the Tuscan countryside.

 

“Hey B!” Felix greeted me as I walked in.

 

“Hi Lex” I responded while flipping on the lights. I know that it's completely unnecessary but I'll never understand why vampires don't use lights when humans aren't around.

 

“Taking more classes?” He asked me while fingering my pile of forms and papers required for the next year. I was immediately glad I'd already turned in all my summer forms, the pile would have been double, and so would have been the teasing.

 

“I already told you that last time you were here.” I tossed my bag on the chair and went over to grab the pile from him

 

“I know.” he smiled at me; his big goofy brute grin, dropped the stack of papers just as I was getting ready to grab it and threw his arms around me, trapping me in a big bear hug. “But I can still hope!” he said to me before bouncing me around the room.

 

“Felix!....Don't break me!” I was finally able to get out after forcing air back into my lungs.

 

“Right B, like that's even possible” he grinned at me again before giving me a quick peck on the cheek and letting me go. “You could have gotten away if you really wanted too” He said with a final wink.

 

“What are you doing here anyway?” I asked.

 

“Why! Isabella Marie Swan, I am shocked! Is that anyway to speak to a guest in your home?” He taunted me with fake dismay.

 

“You're hardly a guest Felix. More like a nuisance, or a pest...” he threw a pillow at me before I could finish.

 

Of course he knew I was only teasing him, the same way he always teases me. Felix is the best. After my change it took most of them several months to warm up to me -some of them still thawing, but not Felix, he and I immediately clicked. At first I was afraid that he might like me too much, but I soon realized that that just wasn't the case, we've been close ever since.

 

He's always reminded me of someone though, like an older brother, but I could never put my finger on it. That probably has more to do with the fact that I don't remember anything from my human life, and less about me forgetting a specific person, than anything else. Since of course there were no specific people to remember, maybe he does remind me of my older brother?

 

Regardless, even if there are people out there from my human life, they could never be apart of my existence now, so it doesn't matter. All I really know about my life before this one is my name, my human age and why I was changed. Anything else doesn't seem to matter much, I'm happy, so much so I can't imagine anything before this life that would have been worth looking for. So I haven't. Well, and I can't, it's one of the laws, but I don't want to anyway so it doesn't bother me.

 

“Did you need another break from the Ice Princess?” I laughed at him while he was making faces over my summer class schedule.

 

“Always.” he said with mock shivers, running his hands up and down his arms as if to warm himself up.

 

Jane has that affect on people, not me, but other people definitely. She's never been able to get to me with her power, even when I mastered the ability to completely pull back my shield, she's never been able to really use her ability on me. I've let her -once, and that was enough, and I only allowed it to happen for a fraction of a second before my instincts took over and shut her out. It's not even a choice really, my ability reacts to the attack and protects me.

 

She's definitely one who's still thawing out to me. I can only guess that it's because she doesn't have the same power over me she holds over everyone else in the guard, and Felix agrees with me on that, but he thinks it's something more. He thinks Aro's fondness of me has a lot more to do with it than anything else.

 

Aro; although he never forces people to stay with him, has also never before let a member of his guard be 'on call' either. I'm the first. After the first couple of years with them I started to get bored. My presence isn't required full time like Jane or even Felix is, that's when I started to search for something to occupy my time.

 

I couldn't really do much in the human world, I'd thought about a job but I'd be limited to what I could do, and that seemed just as boring as sitting around the castle all day, so that's when I decided on school. I'd already read through the library in the castle, and had taken a few online courses when I finally found myself looking into the University of Pisa.

 

Surprisingly it didn't take much convincing for Aro, Caius and Marcus to agree (so maybe there is a little something to Felix's theory) and soon I was off taking classes, getting called back for visits every couple of months and more often if my duty required it.

 

“You know it's just because she likes you so much more than anyone else Lex, that's why she treats you so differently.” I continued to tease him, he hates it when I put them together in an imaginary coupling.

 

“Hilarious.” he sneered while giving me his death glare “Maybe when we get back to the castle the four of us could all get together, Jane, me, you and Demitri, we could double date.”

 

“Ouch.” I flinched internally at the thought. Jane is to Felix as Demitri is to me, but not, at the same time. He always makes me incredibly nervous and uncomfortable, something else I couldn't put my finger on.

 

“Actually B, Aro wants you to come home for awhile.” he said stretching out on the couch, obviously it wasn't an emergency “he 'requires your assistance' '' he finished with air quotes.

 

“Why didn't you just call? I could have been there hours ago?”

 

“Break from the Ice Princess remember? Jeez Bella, try and keep up!” I threw the pillow back at him.

 

“Well, we should go then” I stood up from where I was sitting “I can see you had a snack before coming here, but I'll need to hunt.” I chided him while pointedly looking in his glowing eyes.

 

I had become used to their eating habits, and tried to be as light about it as I possibly could, but it was still hard, mostly I just tried not to think about it now.

 

“Hey, I tried it your way Bella.” He jumped up from the couch, unaffected by my jab.

 

“You could have tried it longer, maybe you'd even like it by now”

 

“Ditto.” he chaffed as I cringed.

 

In the beginning I didn't know there was another way and it is true, I killed and drank from humans my first years as a vampire. I hated it. I hated it so much, that after my newborn thirst began to wane and I could more easily control it and the need to consume, I began to starve myself. I would go weeks upon weeks without so much as a drop of blood until the need completely took me over and I gave in to the thirst.

 

It was just over my second year with the guard when I meet someone who lived another way. Her name was Irina, she had to come to the Volturi to report to them, something I wasn't allowed in on.

 

I was still new to the guard and wasn't included in all of their business dealings, but afterward had been introduced to her. She had the strangest color of eyes I had ever seen, nothing close to what I had become used to as a vampire, and so I questioned her about it.

 

That's when she told me about her family, how they all lived, only drinking from animals in the forests. She said that her family lived among humans, interacted with them on a daily basis. At first I thought she was ridiculous, but she told me of another family that lived like hers did. I was so intrigued by the idea, and disgusted with my own eating habits that I asked her to take me hunting.

 

It was disgusting. But I found that it didn't make me feel sick and there was absolutely no guilt tied to it whatsoever. So I continued on, and soon my eyes were the same weird golden color of topaz that hers had been when we meet. And I've never looked back, it freed me, that was really the moment I had realized my bliss. Before I was happy with my vampire life, but not completely, and after meeting Irina everything changed. I was truly happy, and with my new eyes and diet, I found myself able to interact with humans like she had said, and now I do.

 

“Are you coming or not? I am more than capable of going by myself.”

 

“Oh I know Bella, but yes, I would love to join you for dinner. Thank you for inviting me.” He teased.

 

I rolled my eyes as we headed into the wilderness and back to Volterra.

 

(12/13/10)

 

Chapter 6: Wanted

 

I was glad to see Felix's eyes had at least lost the blazing glow of red by the time we were back at the castle in Volterra. He was a good sport and feed from two large game while I hunted my fill.

 

We had entered through the underground tunnels and had just exited the elevator when we ran into Demitri. We were laughing fairly loudly at our own joke when I spotted him. He was as cool and composed as he ever was, turning slightly away from the newest human receptionist toward the sound of laughter, something I was sure he knew nothing about. He gave us (me) a once over, nodded and then turned his attention back to the woman. I looked up at Felix just as he looked down at me, he rolled his eyes which caused us both to start laughing again like a bunch of idiots.

 

I grabbed onto Felix's arm in an effort to get us out of the room faster, we'd almost made it when Demitri suddenly appeared in front of us.

 

“Something funny?” he questioned in his controlled voice.

 

I looked up at Felix again, he knew how uncomfortable around Demitri I was, and all joking aside he always bailed me out when it came to him directly. Of course I could hold my own, I was excellent at hiding my emotions, but whenever possible I let Felix take over for me.

 

Felix smirked at me then looked at Demitri with a shrug “It's nothing, just an inside joke about Bella's weird eating habits.” he looked at me again, and with his free hand (the one I wasn't clinging to) ruffled my hair like a little kid. “You wouldn't get it.”

 

I smacked him in the arm and fixed my hair, catching Demitri's sight. He didn't look convinced, he just stared down at me with that impassive gaze of his.

 

After a few uncomfortable seconds he finally spoke “Bella, it's nice to have you back where you belong.” With that he nodded to me, looked at Felix, turned and walked away.

 

Demitri was one that didn't agree with me not living with the guard twenty-four seven, and he never hid the fact that he didn't approve either. He thought that I should always be here with them and didn't understand my need for other things, or more specifically -school.

 

When it was first decided that I was allowed to leave and live outside of the castle he objected fervently, so much so he had convinced Caius and had Marcus wavering, both who had originally agreed to the idea with very little effort on my part.

 

After a much heated debate Jane finally spoke up, taking 'my side' saying that I was right, I wasn't needed the way the rest of them were and I should be allowed to go. I of course knew it was for her own benefit, but I didn't mind if she were helping my case.

 

Felix agreed with Demitri, but he did it for other reasons; he just wanted me around, but in the end he knew it was something I really wanted and needed to do so he agreed with Jane. Ultimately it was Aro who changed Caius and Marcus's minds (back), whenever Aro agreed to something or believed in it, they usually followed his lead, trusting his judgment entirely.

 

The strain between Demitri and I only grew after that, which I was even more grateful for my leave because of it. And each time I come home, he makes sure to say something to me about being 'where I belong'. Ugh.

 

After Demitri was out of sight I feigned fainting and fell against Felix, which caused him to chuckle as he bent over to scoop me up and fling me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

 

I started to squirm and bang on his back to let me down when I heard a quiet snicker behind us, I lifted my head to see the human receptionist covering her mouth with a smile. I smiled back at her and held my finger up to my mouth 'shh', I winked at her while quickly and quietly telling Felix to let me down.

 

He heard her laugh too, so he didn't hesitate when I told him to put me down. Jane would be furious if she knew we were acting so unprofessionally in front of the help, not to mention what Demitri would say.

 

We quickly left the room once Felix had put me down, not talking, touching or even looking at each other.

 

We made it a little further down the hall before I finally said to him “I should go see Aro before you get me in real trouble”

 

“Ha! Please Bella! I don't get you into trouble”

 

“Oh really?” I asked him sarcastically.

 

“Yes really, before you showed up there would have been none of this non-sense -super shield.” He raised an eyebrow to me, a gesture of challenge. He was exaggerating of course, but I remember my first year or so here, it wasn't as 'laid back' as it appears to be now.

 

“If you were to leave” He continued, “they'd put my shackles back on! Like in one of those labor camps!” he laughed, but there was an edge to his tone, truth of some degree laced in the words.

 

We were back to teasing and joking as we rounded the last corner before getting to the meeting room. Demitri was on guard at the door, catching the tail end of our conversation.

 

“Lucky for you then isn't it detainee that I have no intentions of leaving!”

 

“Glad to hear that Bella.” Demitri said looking down on me, again catching me in his sight. “Does that mean you'll be staying indefinitely then? Dropping school and the ridiculous idea of a college degree?”

 

“No. It doesn't mean that at all Demitri.” I finally had to respond to him. “Will the elders see me now?” I continued so he couldn't respond to me about the topic of my schooling.

 

“Of course, they've been expecting you.” He knew what I had done, you could see it in his eyes, but he was too professional to go back to a dropped topic when business had been presented to him.

 

He led us the rest of the way and into the large room where the leaders were waiting. As soon as the door began to open I instinctively pushed out my shield, wrapping up Felix first and then including Demitri, immediately glad I did when we were fully in the room.

 

“Hello Jane, so nice to see you again.” I turned to look in her direction. As soon as she was able to fix her eyes on me she instantly began emitting her power, trying to catch me off guard. When that didn't work, she quickly moved onto Felix, knowing that would get a rise out of me.

 

I turned back to Demitri when I saw the beginnings of frustration appear on her face, he was looking at me when I turned around “And you can thank me later.” I said to him, watching his reaction as my words sank in. Realizing she'd turned on him he looked away to face her, understanding and relief evident in his features.

 

“Bella dear! How wonderful to see you” Aro said blithely, holding out his arms to me.

 

“Father” I adorned as we embraced.

 

Aro preferred the one's he sired to call him something more affectionate when in private, only wanting for formalities when on duty.

 

“I'm so glad to have you home with us dear one” He pulled back just enough to kiss the top of my head. “Let me see what you've been up to since I saw you last.” With that we pulled back to smile at each other.

 

He gently took my offered hand into both of his, I pulled my shield back just enough to let him read me without exposing Felix or Demitri.

 

I'd been gone for just under three months since my last visit, so it wasn't but a few moments later he released my hand with another approving smile. “Ah Bella, you make me proud. I see you've completed your Bachelors degree is Philosophy. Are you planning on accepting the T.A. position after next year?”

 

“I haven't decided yet” I said to him taking back my hand and moving toward the others. “It might be difficult at times with the sun. And of course my duties here.”

 

I walked over to where Marcus was still seated “Bella” he said to me affectionately, rising from his throne. “It's so nice to you, I trust you have been well since our last visit?”

 

“Yes Uncle, thank you.” I said to him as we released from our hug.

 

I was the only one who called Marcus something other than his name or master. It was not something that was asked, but since the first time I addressed him as Uncle, he's never objected to it. Instead, seeming as though he enjoys it, or even appreciates it. After losing Didyme I was told he withdrew from everyone, barely taking an interest in his own life, much less everyone else.

 

Because of his loss and sadness I've always felt connected to him, a kind of kindred spirit of sorts, I'd always felt close to him because of it, I applied it to family terms and decided Uncle fit him best, and so Uncle he's always been to me.

 

Caius on the other hand was nothing but Caius. Closer to my own age than Aro or Marcus he never held the same reverie for me as the other two had, I'm sure if asked he would say the same of me. He's never treated me any differently than the rest of the guard, but never worse either. He was very steady in his position, very little gray area with him, if any at all. Always polite, but not warm.

 

“Hello Caius.” I said turning to face him with a smile.

 

“It's nice to have you here with us once again Isabella.” He greeted me in his usual evenness.

 

“Thank you, I'm glad to be home.”

 

I went back over to stand next to Felix and Demitri, the room, after my greetings with the elders, silently shifted, formality taking friendly's place as we began into business.

 

“Now that we are all here Aro,” Caius addressed the room “we should proceed with the requisitive search to put this matter to rest once and for all.”

 

“Yes” Aro agreed with him as he began wondering the room. He did this sometimes when he was gathering his thoughts, weighing what and how to say what was on his mind.

 

“As most of you know, we've been watching a situation for a while now” He began and then stopped in front of me as he made a pass around the room. “Bella dear, this will all be news to you.” he told me before continuing.

 

“We've been getting increasing reports of an uprising within our race, a group who intend to strike against us. Today however we received information from a more reliable source than any in the past.”

 

A low but involuntary hiss escaped the lips of some members of the guard, the thought of anyone striking against us for simply protecting them was contemptuous. We didn't appreciate our duty, which we all took very seriously, being thwarted and undermined.

 

“We've been watching the situation, but only from a distance.” Caius continued “Our informants have given us all the information they have and they are no longer a reliable source for further investigation into the matter.”

 

“ A few nomadic members of our race have also reported notice of this group as well, but they too, are an unreliable source.” Aro added.

 

“It is time we set out ourselves to learn of this group of miscreants, they must be dealt with swiftly and decidedly, an uproar like this could undermine our entire society, expose us in dangers ways.” Caius informed us.

 

“However,” Aro took over again “They must be given the benefit of the doubt, our information must be pure and untainted, under our laws they must be allowed to defend themselves against false accusation.” He said, turning to face the guard members.

 

When a scouting party was sent out it always included Demitri, Felix, Jane, Alec and myself, he was pointedly speaking to us now.

 

“We need accurate information in order to ensue lawful dealings with this group. We trust that you will be very thorough in your analysis, reporting back to us before any action is to be taken.” Aro instructed before turning to go sit next to his brothers.

 

“Demitri you will need to inform Felix and Isabella of your course of action since they were not here when your strategy was decided on.” Caius informed us “Afton and Chelsea will also be accompanying you on this assignment. Although we don't anticipate trouble or expect you to defend yourselves, we are preparing for every possibility of advantage to you, because of the unusual nature of these reports.”

 

It isn't often that Afton joins our party, but his power can be of great use when in the right situation. He is a magnifier, but only when physically in contact with another who is actively using there gift, he then amplifies their emission exceedingly.

 

During a field test of our powers Afton was able to increase my shield expansion by double, which is very impressive considering alone I've been measured to emit just over a half mile in distance. Demitri was able to increase his sense of tracking, the distance is which he is able to pick up the sense didn't increase but strength of it did. Alec's ability increased in speed, taking only half the time it normally does to reach his targets.

 

No one was willing to test out Jane's ability with Afton's increase, so we can only assume her results are just as impressive as all the others.

 

I'm not sure of the reasoning for including Chelsea on the mission, she's never been on any other assignment before. I don't fully understand her ability, all I know is that she strengthens our bonds with one another, so I suppose that in theory she could be useful during an assignment like this one or even during a confrontation with an enemy, keeping use united and focused is never a bad thing when in the field.

 

“You will leave at Twilight.” Caius concluded.

 

As silently as business began, it ceased just as quietly.

 

Everyone split off, moving to finish previous discussion, while others began engaging in new ones.

 

Sulpicia and Athenodora came to me as soon as the meeting was over, the wives of Aro and Caius.

 

Sulpicia, although her mate preferred me to call him father when in private, was Aunt Sulpicia. In the beginning I had approached her more formally calling her Lady Sulpicia, but she quickly squashed that title, informing me 'Sulpicia will do', but she was more than just her name to me. Like Marcus, she reminded me of family, so with her permission I began addressing her as Aunt.

 

Athenodora was sister, like Caius she was very close to my human age, but unlike him she was very friendly and warm. She truly was like a sister, we talked almost as frequently as Felix and I do and when I'm home I spend equal amounts of time with both of them.

 

“Bella!” They both crooned as they approached me, each taking their turn for a hug.

 

“Oh it's so good to have you home with us again” Sulpicia thrilled.

 

“Thank you Aunt, I'm so glad to see you.” I smiled at her, giving her another hug. During my last visit I didn't get to spend much time with her, so I was truly happy to see her this time around.

 

“And you sister, why didn't you tell me you were coming! I would have meet you straight away!” Athenodora teased “Made you change out of these hideous clothes!” her and Sulpicia giggled at my attire.

 

And with that they were off, we talked about my schooling, what they have been doing since my last visit, what I will be doing when I return from my business trip, insisting that a shopping trip is on the schedule before I return to school.

 

We had been talking for quite some time when I finally noticed Felix impatiently waiting by the door. When I eventually made eye contact with him he gave me 'the look' I couldn't help but chuckle at him, he really looked pitiful.

 

“We better let you visit with the others.” Sulpicia tittered after seeing the look on Felix's face.

 

“Yes, we'll have plenty of time when you get back” Athenodora added “you'd better hurry, before he explodes.” She added quietly, as if he wouldn't hear her jab towards him.

 

“I guess, it must be something important by the way he's acting.” I teased. I could almost hear him rolling his eyes.

 

“Bye dear.” Sulpicia said excusing herself and rejoining Aro.

 

“Take your cell, call me when you get bored.” Athenodora winked to me as she was leaving “I have secrets to tell you” she added in a whisper.

 

I already knew that whatever they were, I didn't want to know.

 

“It's about time!” Felix hollered exasperatedly as I approached him.

 

“Oh stop! Now lets go before you make a scene.” I grabbed him by the arm and began dragging him out the door.

 

We almost made it, a few more steps and we would have been home free...

 

“Bella.”

 

I internally groaned, slowly letting out my sigh before turning around “Yes Demitri?”

 

“I need to talk to you.”

 

(12/16/10)

*****

Chapter 7: Itinerary

Demitri and I went down the hall into a private meeting room. After I agreed to speak with him he didn't say anything more after that, instead just leading the way to the room we were in now. I was a bit nervous to say the least, I had no idea what he would need to talk to me about, especially privately.

Once inside he closed the door behind us as I went across the room to wait for him to begin, he didn't say anything for a few moments, instead looked at me for a second and then started to pace around the room. He reminded me of Aro just then, looking deep in thought as he wondered the space before speaking.

“Bella,” he began, and then paused, as if to change his mind about whatever he was originally planning to say. “How, are you doing in school?” He finally asked.

I looked at him a little abashed, Demitri could care less about school or how I was doing in it, by the return look he gave me, I'm sure my features relayed as much.

“School's great...” I said to him anyway, it sounded more like a question than an answer.

“Good. That's good.” He continued uncomfortably. “I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying it. I know that I haven't been very supportive, but I'm still glad you are happy Bella.”

“I am, thank you.”

Another awkward silence.

“Was there something you needed to speak with me about Demitri?” I finally asked. More than anything, I wanted to run out of the room, but he was standing in front of the door at the moment, so instead I asked the question.

“Yes.” he said eyeing me. “I'm sorry, this is very unprofessional isn't it.” He seemed to be getting flustered and started speaking more quickly, it sounded like he was diverting from whatever he originally wanted to talk about and instead started with business. “I wanted to go over assignment details with you, I apologize for not getting right to the point.” he finished in a rush.

“OK, well, we should get Felix then.” I said taking a step forward.

“No. I'll speak with Felix privately.” He told me strictly. “I have some other things I need to speak with him about, it is just easier this way.”

“Alright.” I muddled concede.

I pulled out a chair at the small table that was in the office room and took a seat, Demitri came over and sat with me, filling me in on everything that I missed and what had been decided on for pursuit tactics.

We would be leaving tonight just as Caius had told us. Our current employment would take us over seas, into the United States and provinces of Canada. The leads we would be following spread out all over the northern and western hemispheres, and some in the southern as well. The majority of them were concentrated in the US, and would take the most time.

We had no way of knowing which leads would prove to be true, and were tasked with investigating them all. We would begin in the southern hemisphere, eliminating the smaller accounts first, then working our way up into the states before finishing with the provinces.

Our expedition would take much longer than I had originally anticipated, I was surprised by the amount of data we would be following up on and a bit concerned that we were only now being sent out to investigate. The witness testimony alone would take weeks, and that's only if they prove to all be false leads. Any concordant of facts would require more examination during our trip, continuing our search and increasing the amount of time to our junket.

I would not make it back in time for my summer class schedule and would need to cancel those before leaving. Demitri must have guessed I would be thinking of that once he finished telling me of our plans.

“If we had known it had gotten this far, we would have said something to you sooner Bella.”

“Of course Demitri, I know that.” I said to him with a smile, trying very hard to hid my chagrin. I was really looking forward to my summer classes and now it looks like I will not be able to attend them at all.

“I am sorry, if we didn't need you, of course you could stay.” He said to me with concern, I guess my disappointment was evident after all.

“Don't be ridiculous.” I told him. “You know that my duty comes first. Regardless, this is far more important than any writing class will ever be.” I told him very truthfully. Yes, I was upset, but never enough to stay behind and thwart my obligation.

My sense of loyalty must have pleased him; he smiled at me with such adoration that I had to look away. He wasn't one to display emotion and never have I seen him regard favor.

“If that's everything?” I stuttered out, allowing just a glance to his face. “I have some things to get in order before we go.”

“Yes, of course.” He said with a deep intonation of approval, while rising from his chair.

I was still so unnerved by his display I wasn't moving as fast as I should have been, he moved behind me to pull out my chair, and then to the door to open it for me.

“I'll see you in a few hours then Bella.” He smiled at me again with a nod before turning away.

I watched after him for a few seconds before turning to leave in the opposite direction. I walked a few feet down the hallway, still in a daze over our last moments together, before finally concluding:

“That was the weirdest thing ever.” I mumbled to myself as I headed to my room.

*****
(12/19/10)

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*****
Chapter 8: Break

The trip had taken longer than originally anticipated. After about three months of us being gone and with even more conflicting and misleading information, Aro finally called us home for a more 'thorough' report.

We had talked to several groups of people. All with the same basic information, but completely different at the same time. It has been very frustrating to say the least.

We had covered most of the states, even back tracking through some by the time we were called home, leaving some areas to return to at a later date.

Throughout our travels we heard some of the same things again and again, same story; different mouth. Some however were strange stories of collaboration between our race and children of the moon. We had yet to follow up on any of these accounts, dismissing them as ridiculous fabrications from some of our more creative members.

By the time we had made it home, it was yet another week later. Each of us had taken our private meeting with Aro, reporting to him silently and again vocally to all three elders, before finally reporting a third time as a group. This was the way it generally went with our debriefings, it seemed like over kill to me, but they felt as though it was the best way to get all the information, so much so they could almost attest to all events as if they had actually been there themselves if need be.

After they had all the information, they excused us for a private meeting of there own. During the short break we each split respectively to our private chambers before being called back to the bureau. After discussing the stranger parts of our informed dealings, they decided to send us out again to investigate further into the matter.

We left again immediately and followed leads that took us into Russia, Nepal, Angola, Argentina, Australia and then again to Canada, finishing up in the states before finally making it back to Italy. By the time it was all said and done we had been gone an additional three months.

Upon our arrival and after our promulgate, Aro informed us of his own material. During our course home he had received company; an old friend who had spent a ample amount of time with the Volturi many years ago, someone that Aro believed in enough to proclaim his information as proof.

His account would be that the race we were investigating were not children of the moon, but in fact something completely different, yet much the same. They were shape shifters, humans who could transform themselves into an animal appearance, and in this case; wolves, which would explain the stories that lead us to believe they had been children of the moon.

Aro's friend believed he could talk to and reason with the race of shape shifters, relaying that he had successfully negotiated a treaty with them in the past and thought of no reason they wouldn't be open to discussion now.

The whole of us were confused as to why Aro had agreed to let his friend embark on an emissary mission on behalf of the Volturi, and speak with a group that was set out to invade us, but Aro explained that his friend informed him the group was much larger than we had realized and that it would be in our best interest to engage them diplomatically, instead of as a threat. His friend believed he would be able to speak with the leader of the race and discuss the reasons behind there careful advance and hopefully find a peaceful solution instead, believing it all to be some sort of mistake or misunderstanding.

At one point during our meeting Aro had said “I know that with our talented guard members we have nothing to fear, but it would be such a shame if any of our supporters were to be harmed during a battle, when if instead we could come to some sort of peaceful resolution with the shape shifters. After all, we have done nothing to them to incite such an hasty war between our two races, I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to co-exist in the world and come to some sort of reasonable solution.”

Aro, afterward, informed us that we would not being going out for further investigation, but instead wait to hear from his friend and of any news on the matter.

We all had been gone for so long at this point, that we were beyond disagreeing with the decision and happy to oblige.

Aro didn't expect his friend to be back with any new information for several weeks, which gave us at least that long of a guaranteed break.

We had all spent so much time together, that immediately after the meeting was adjourned we again split off to our rooms for a much needed break.

During our investigative travels we would sometimes stay in hotels to clean up before moving to another part of a county, but once I was alone in my room I found myself longing for a nice hot shower; as if it had been months since I'd had one.

After soaking in a steaming bath for nearly an hour, I managed to convince myself to get out. I pick the most comfortable clothes I could find; old sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt, and threw my hair up in a messy bun.

Grabbing several books from my shelves and my iPod, I settled in my soft bed and let myself relax. I was blissfully happy, comfortable and content; nothing would have made me happier, except complete privacy.

I hadn't been settled or had gotten very far in my first book when I heard Athenadora's footsteps feathering down the hall.

Our private quarters in the castle were as sound proof as they could possibly be. A human would never hear anything, regardless if they were inside or out; but we were vampires, so although the volume was muted, it was hardly silent.

“Bella?” Athenadora knocked on the door.

“Go away Athena, I'm sleeping.”

“Oh come on! I haven't seen you in forever!” She whined.

“We saw each other three months ago and we've talked on the phone every week since, it's not as though we are strangers.”

“That doesn't count!” She retorted, after I reluctantly let her in my room. “We couldn't really talk while you were gone, but you're back; so now we can.” She smirked at me, throwing herself on the bed

“No.” I told her firmly looking straight into her eyes. I knew what she was wanting to talk about, it was the same thing she had been trying to tell me since before the first time we had left on assignment. Her 'secret' was driving her crazy she wanted to tell me so bad, apparently it would 'blow my mind' if I'd just let her spill it.

“Why not! You don't even know what I'm going to say!”

Athena was a horrible gossip, and although what she had to say was always true, I've also found through experience that it's always better not to know.

“That's the point! I don't want to know!”

“Come on Ell! It SO good!” She begged. “Please, let me tell you already! It's killing me!” She grasped my hands, squeezing them with feigned desperation in her eyes. “Please?”

“No. Now stop!” I chuckled at her pitiful expression. “Just let it go already, whatever it is, I don't care!”

“UGH! You are SO boring!” she groaned, flipping herself over so she was lying flat on the bed. “It's about you for Christ sakes! Most people want to know when it involves them!”

“All the more reason not too.” I told her dismissively.

I was curious, I'll admit, but I still didn't want to know; especially because it was about me. Obviously if it were really important, she would have told me right away, but this was gossip; so I wanted nothing to do with it. Not to mention the fact that it also involved Demitri. She'd let that 'slip' over the phone during one of our conversations, hoping it would entice me to finally let her tell me, but much to her dismay it had to opposite effect, after that I'd began refusing her even more adamantly than before.

“Fine.” She conceded and changed the subject. Athena was easily swayed that way, moving on from one thing to another. She'd never give up, but was too busy to dwell; she'd just save it to come back to another day.

After staying awhile longer, she moved herself from my bed telling me “After you've taken some quiet time for yourself, Sulpicia and I are still taking you shopping.” I groaned.

She rolled her eyes and went to the door “You have three days.” She said to me finally, and with a smirk shut the door behind her.

And three full days I did have...by myself, with NO interruptions. It. Was. Bliss.

*****
(1/11/11)

~Please Review, and thank you for reading!~

*****
Chapter 9: Unexpected

Felix, Alec, Santiago, Heidi and I were all returning from a weekend hunting trip a few weeks later. None of them particularly enjoyed the animal blood, but rather the sport of it. Over the years everyone had come along at some point, most of them a couple times only, but some of them more frequently.

This was my usual group of 'tag-a-longs'. The freedom and exhilaration of the hunt, as it turns out, was the biggest draw to the 'vegetarian diet'. Allowing yourself to succumb to the thrill of the hunt was an amazing release.

We had all come through the tunnels, like Felix and I had the last time I came home, and were greeted by Demitri.

It had been several weeks since our latest return and we were expecting news from Aro's friend any day now.

“We've received word” Demitri said vaguely. “When you've cleaned up, we are meeting in the gathering room.” He said looking all us over with dismay before turning to leave.

We were all messy and a bit disheveled in our appearance. Evidently we all had a really good time by the look of us.

We all quickly cleaned up and met in the conference room just as we had been told.

The room was crowed with the entire guard, a low murmur over the room as everyone conversed and speculated about the meeting and news.

I made my way to the front of the room to stand next to Felix just as Aro, Caius and Marcus came in. The room hushed at the sight of the elders as we waited for the meeting to start.

Marcus and Caius took their seats while Aro addressed the members.

“Welcome!” He enthused to the crowed. “We are so pleased that you all made it here today.”

Most of the guard had been called back from duty to be at this meeting. There were well over one hundred guard members under the Volturi and close to that number were here in this room. Over the last several years the elders decided to increase the guard members, allowing for more opportunity to keep order within the race.

Once word got out that the Volturi were 'recruiting' the castle had been swarmed with potentials vying for their chance to serve. We have quite an eclectic group because of it, some amazing talents and gifts could be found throughout the guard now.

“We have called you all here today to join us in an important journey we must all take together. We have discovered a new race of people.” He continued. “They call themselves shape shifters. As most of you know, this group had originally intended to move against us.”

Upon saying this the room once again erupted in a low hiss, circulating around the room, just as it had the first time we heard this information.

Aro raised his hands, patting down the air to quiet the room so he could continue.

“I know that this is a distressing thought, but we have new hope in settling this matter. A dear and loyal friend of the Volturi has negotiated a peaceful meeting with the group and it's leaders. After speaking with the shape shifters it was discovered that they had been misinformed and given improper information about us. The shape shifters we acting to protect themselves, under the false assumption that we were moving against them.” He paused for a brief moment.

“It has been arranged for us to meet in a central and neutral location so that we may discuss the matter and the possibility of a treaty.”

“We have asked you all here, not to join us in battle, but to accompany us in a united front to meet new friends.” He said to the group emphasizing the word friends before beginning to pace the room before continuing.

“This race is large and powerful. We do not wish to make enemies of them.” He said very deliberately, making it clear that this was the mission and nothing else, but then added “Of course if we should have to, we will defend ourselves.”

This was so different than anything we had ever experienced before and the first time the whole guard was called to one mission.

“We will leave for our journey in two days. You should use this time to prepare yourselves.” He finished.

Marcus and Caius stood from their thrones once Aro had concluded, the three of them retired to their private study which was located just off the room we were currently in.

Several conversations erupted all at once, once the leaders had left the room. This was a fascinating time for our people and the Volturi. Meeting a race we didn't know existed, negotiating a peaceful treaty with said race and the largest Volturi gathering in the history of the guard. The excitement and anticipation was almost tangible.

Felix and I were chatting with Chelsea and Afton about our positions for the meeting when Demitri joined us.

Afton would be assisting my ability during our confrontation so I could keep the whole of the guard covered at all times. Demitri informed us that while we were gone he had assigned positions to all the members based on their abilities and usefulness in defense and protection.

Our mind controllers would form the outer layer of our formation, followed by those with matter control. Our brute force and incapacitating members would round out last, with Afton, Chelsea, Alec and myself taking up in the center.

We discussed our strategy a bit more and once the details had been decided on I excused myself to my room. My nerves felt like they had been lit up with a match and I needed space from all the powerful emotions that were surrounding me in the room.

I had just gotten out of the shower and had dressed down in my sweats again when I heard a knock at the door. I hadn't heard the approach so I knew who it must have been.

I had just finished towel drying my hair, so I quickly ran a brush through the locks before going to open the door.

Demitri stood on the other side, he had his head down and as he began to look up at me I was immediately embarrassed by my appearance because of the look on his face. He had never seen me so casual. For Demitri it was all business all the time. I was mortified and regretted not changing before answering the door.

His eyes widened in shock before taking on a look I had never seen before.

“Demitri...” I began to stutter out “I had no idea you were coming, or I would have put something more appropriate on.”

When he didn't immediately respond, I began again, trying to apologize for appearance.

“I'm sorry,” I said to him “If you can give me just a minute I will change...”

“No.” He said cutting me off before I could even finish.

He then stepped into my room, causing me to take a step back at his sudden approach and closed the door behind him with one hand, while the other reached out towards me.

Demitri wrapped his hand around the side of my face, pulling me to him as he bent down, pressing his lips to mine.

His kiss was hungry; his lips strong and decided as they moved against mine. He wrapped his hand firmly around my head, while his other hand pressed solidly against my back as he pulled me to him, his big body heavily closing in around mine.

I was surprised by the kiss; dazed by the urgency and greed of passion and shocked by my response. I found myself reaching up to wrap myself around him, pulling us that much closer together.

When we finally looked at each other, still wrapped around one another, we just stared into each others eyes before finally breaking, and splitting apart, putting a huge gap between us.

I was across the room and had turned my back to him, facing the window as I fingered my lips, the taste of him still on my tongue.

“Bella...” He started to say and then stopped.

I turned around to face him after a few moments when nothing else was said. As soon as I looked at him, he instantly crossed the room, placing himself in front of me again.

“I didn't mean to force myself on you like that.” He said when I looked up at him and into his eyes.

“You didn't.” I assured him, my response was evident of that.

He raised his hand to my face, brushing away a wayward strand of hair from my eyes. “I came here tonight to speak with you, I didn't intend for that to happen.” He said to me, letting his hand linger.

“Of course.” I told him, beginning to feel embarrassed. I lowered my eyes, ashamed of my reaction, shaking my head as I brushed past him.

“Don't misunderstand Bella.” He said turning around reaching out to me, grabbing me to turn me back around to face him. “I've wanted to do that for quite some time now, I just didn't intend for it to happen like it did.”

“What?” I asked, letting the confusion I felt out with the word.

He smiled at my obvious bewilderment before explaining. “I'm not surprised that you didn't know, but I've been interested in you for awhile now.”

“Demitri, I didn't even think you liked me.” I told him honestly.

He chuckled at my admission, but continued “Bella, I came here tonight so that you would know of my interest in you. I've wanted to tell you for so long now, but have never found the right time. And with our assignment coming up, I needed you to know, I couldn't put it off any longer. I wanted to wait for the appropriate time to tell you, but I realized that with our jobs, there never would be and I wanted you to know before we left.”

He paused for a moment, while looking in my eyes “I would like very much if you would consider seeing me as someone more than just your working partner.”

I was looking at him, waiting for him to say anything more before understanding that he was waiting for me to answer. I didn't know what to think, and I didn't want to say anything is haste so I told him “I'll need some time to think, this is all so sudden.”

“I know, and I apologize for that, take whatever time you need.” He nodded in agreement.

We were still standing close together, his hands holding around my arms. This time when he bent to kiss me, he did it slow and deliberate. It wasn't as fueled as the first, but still powerful, his lips heavy against mine.

He pulled away slightly and whispered “But not too long.” He said with a smile, his cool breath tickling against my face.

Demitri then walked back to the door and turned to say “Goodnight Bella.” before disappearing out the door.

*****
(1/16/11)

Please Review

*****
Chapter 10: Meeting

“I tried to tell you.” Athena gloated while I waited for her to change.

“Well, you could have tried harder.” I said trying to sound stern. Her 'mind blowing' secret was that of Demitri's interest in me romantically. Apparently she had over heard and eavesdropped on a private conversation between him and Afton, and heard Demitri ask Afton for advice.

“So what are you going to tell him?” She said while slipping on her running shoes.

“I'm not really sure yet. It's all so...weird.” I shook my head in exasperation. “And it's Demitri!”

She laughed at me before getting serious and said “ Bella, I don't think he's as hard core as he appears to be, and I think he's been even more guarded around you because of his attraction.”

“He hates me Athena. Or, at least I thought he did two days ago!”

“You've never seen the way he looks at you when your not looking. I have. That's not hate sweetheart.”

“ugh.” I groaned while flopping back against the chair I was sitting in. It had been two days since Demitri's admission and our kiss, and I wasn't any less confused about it now than I was then.

“Well, whatever you decided you'll need to at least come up with something to tell him fast, we are leaving in a few hours and you won't be able to avoid him any longer.”

“I know.” I agreed with her. I had been avoiding him since our conversation. I was really trying to give it the thought and consideration it deserved, but I was embarrassed to see him. “Is it supposed to be this complicated?” I asked her after a few minutes.

“I don't know.” She admitted. “Caius and I have been together for a very long time, and it was a different era. I'm not sure what the decorum is these days.”

“What do you mean?”

“Caius and I are very old Bella.” She laughed at me before continuing. “We when were beginning out, it was all very proper and deliberately slow. Those were the times we lived in, there were no stolen kisses or admission of feelings right away. Even as vampires we are still subject to our surroundings, and our relationships weren't on display the way they are now.”

I thought about that for a while and decided that that was what was missing. It was all very sudden and rushed, and I didn't really know Demitri expect for professionally, had we come from the time that Caius and Athenadora came from, we would have gotten to know each other before anything else ever happened.

Once I realized this, I knew what I wanted and had to do. I got up from my chair in a hurry to leave. “Thanks, I'll see you in a while.” I said to Athena before rushing out the door.

Everyone was getting ready to leave so I figured my best bet would be to go to Demitri's room to look for him there first.

Timidly I knocked on the door, and then began to wring my hands together in nervous anticipation. I heard him as he moved off his bed; the springs squeaking at the shift of his weight, followed by his soft steps as he walked to the door.

“Bella.” He said with a smile as he opened the door to greet me. “Please come in.” He gestured with his hand to his open room.

I had never been in Demitri's room before and found that I was strangely curious now that the opportunity had presented itself.

It was exactly how I would have pictured it, but more elegant than I would have imagined. All the wood was dark and heavy. The bed; a monster, with huge head and foot boards, the duvet a mixture of deep browns and tawny orange. A large antique writing desk and chair sat on the opposite side, while a seating area with over sized leather furniture was stationed by the window.

I took in the room with awe and wonder, hiding my chagrin at yet another misjudgment I would add to the growing list of erroneous assumptions I've had of his person.

I finally turned to look at him after taking in the full view.

“Hi.” I said daintily, giving him a shy smile.

“Would you like to sit?” he asked while gesturing to his sitting area.

“No, I'm alright, thank you.”

“Alright.” He said after a few seconds pause.

I knew I was being ridiculous, and causing myself further anxiety and embarrassment by not just saying what I had come to say, so I decided to plow through.

“Demitri, about the other night.”

“Yes?” He sounded eager as he straightened up and set his book down.

“I've made a decision. And after a lot of thought, I've finally understood my initial hesitation. I don't know you.” I said to him like a question.

“You don't know me?”

“I mean, I don't really know you. I only know you in a professional capacity, we've never gotten to know each other personally. I think that's why I've been struggling to understand how...” I didn't finish, instead I wafted my hand between us.

“Right.” He nodded in agreement. “I understand, that makes sense why you would feel that way. I feel as if I know you, I guess, I just assumed that the feeling would be mutual.”

“What do you mean” I wasn't sure how he thought he knew me if I didn't know him?

“You're open and are friends with the majority of people here, I hear your conversations and listen when they talk about you. I know you that way, and after eight years, I just felt at though we knew each other. But I see what your saying, you don't know me, I understand that.”

He sounded defeated after saying it, as though what I was saying to him was my way of turning him down. He turned away from me, looking in the direction of the window.

“I'd like too.” I said to him, feeling guilty by his demeanor, taking a careful step forward.

“What?” He said turning back to me.

“I'd like to get to know you. I'm not rejecting the idea of us...” I let the words air out again. “I'd just like to know you better, personally I mean.”

His responding smile was answer enough, he'd thought I was dismissing him and his interest; it was in his eyes, and now having that completely erased, there was hope and excitement -not just his, mine too.


*****

(1/17/11)

Please Review

*****
Chapter 11: Switzerland


The Island of Newfoundland wasn't Switzerland, but it was neutral. Or as neutral as we could get without being in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The location, admittedly was closer to their land, so an attack, if they were to advance with one, would be easier for them to accomplish. But we are better swimmers and have the benefit of being so close to the ocean, so it seemed fair.

We'd left in the three days that Aro had given us to prepare, and it took another two days to get to our destination. Our group was too large to travel together, so we ended up having to split up and then meet again before making our way to St. Johns.

Our contact site was in the middle of the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, two miles west of Laden Fields Pond. The meeting was to be held just after sunset. The shape shifters and their leader would meet with the guard and the Elders, with a neutral arbiter to negotiate and speak on behalf of both parties when need be.

After I went to Demitri's room and during our travel we had spent as much of every moment with one another as possible. In the last two and a half days we've done nothing but talk and gotten to know each other, I felt like I knew everything about him now, and likewise having told him everything about me that he didn't already know.

I was surprised at how easy it was to fall in to casual conversation with him. The first few hours we spent together felt like an interview, but after that it's been nothing but enjoyable. We have so much in common, I find myself wondering how I never realized any of this before. We should have been great friends after all these years, or possibly more considering everything I know now.

The most difficult part I found was explaining everything to Felix. He was speechless to say the least. I probably told him fifteen times that I wasn't crazy and that I hadn't been brainwashed or abducted by aliens. He's still having a hard time with it, giving me 'the look' every once in awhile, but he's been getting better. I've included him in some of our conversations so that he would know for himself that I wasn't 'on anything', as if that was even possible.

We traveled on foot from St. Johns to Laden Fields Pond, loosely in formation. Demitri had taken up walking beside me after about thirty minutes of us being in the forest.

“Hey.” I said to him once he reached my side, giving him a bright smile.

“Hey yourself.”

“Are you picking up anything yet?” I asked.

“Yeah, Aro's friend is there, but I don't know about the shifters, having never met them I have nothing to track.”

“How much farther?”

“A hundred miles or so, about an hour if we keep up this pace.” He smiled at me again. “So I was thinking...”


“Whoa!, don't hurt yourself man.” Felix cut in our conversation. He was walking with Afton, Chelsea Alec and myself, his position is to cover me if it's needed for defense once we reach the meeting site.

I chuckled at the jab, I couldn't help myself, but Demitri just rolled his eyes and kept on talking as if Felix has said nothing at all.

“...When we get ready to head back and if everything goes smoothly, maybe you and I could travel back together.” He looked over at me with a hopeful expression.

“We're already going to be traveling back together Demitri, you're gonna have to be more specific.” This time it was Chelsea including herself in our talk.

“Bella.” He said to me, ignoring the group again.

“If it gets me away from these fools.” I poked my thumb in their direction to indicate I was talking to all of them. “Then yes, I think that would be nice.”

“Good.” He smiled and nodded to me before taking my hand in his for a quick squeeze. He then returned to the front of the group to lead us the rest of the way.

After Demitri left, Felix 'snuck' up behind me and mocked me with air kisses in my ear, he didn't move away quick enough so I was able to elbow him in the side. “Knock it off you jerk.” I said through a quiet laugh.

*****

About forty five minutes later we were close enough to the region that I signaled Demitri I would be raising my shield, he slowed our pace and put us in a tight formation.

I'm not very tall, but I doubt I would have been able to see much even if I had been, there we're anywhere from thirty to forty guard members forming a full circle around me, all I was really able to see were different shades of cloaks and hair.

I knew that we had reached them when the worst burning stench I had ever smelt sliced through my nose and assaulted my senses. Nothing and no one -human, vampire or animal had ever smelt so bad, I guessed it had to be the shape shifters.

I didn't know how many of them there would be, but by the smell I figured there numbers had to have closely matched our own. Once we stopped moving and the stench was at it's strongest, I opted to quit breathing until we were through. It was really awful.

Aro, Marcus and Caius along with their immediate guards and the extras that had been assigned to them began to move forward to address the others.

“Carlisle, my dear friend, it's so good to see you again.” He enthused, I had never heard the name before and by his address I guessed that this was the 'old friend' that had negotiated getting us here today.

“Aro.” The man said “It's good to see you again as well, thank you for coming today.”

“Of course! We want nothing more than this matter to be resolved.” he continued “Are these our new friends? These wolves that appear before us?” He asked.

“Yes.” Carlisle answered him. “They will be staying in wolf form for the duration of our meeting.”

“And how are we to communicate with them?” Caius interjected.

“My son, Edward will translate.” Carlisle informed Caius, pleasantly ignoring his short statement. “He has the ability to read thoughts, and will very easily be able to interpret.”

“Edward, I feel as though we are old friends! I've heard so much about you.”Aro chimed with excitement at Carlisle's introduction of his son. I thought it strange for a fleeting moment at Carlisle introducing Edward as his son, our kind generally don't apply family terms to their coven members, but then of course, I call Aro father when in private, so I quickly dismissed the idea.

“Aro, it's a pleasure.” The voice that sounded like velvet which belonged to Edward said. As he spoke, his words were polite, but there was an edge to them, he didn't sound pleased to meet him at all.

“These must be the rest of your family?” Aro continued on in his friendly acknowledgment.

“Yes, this is my wife Esme, and Alice and Jasper.” He answered him. “Rosalie and Emmett were unable to make the trip.”

“It's such a pleasure. When this matter is resolved we would love for you to visit! All of you are more than welcome anytime.” Aro professed.

There was a short pause before he began again.

“Now, Edward, would you be so kind as to introduce us to our guests?”

There was a thudding movement; paws as they passed over bracken ground, before anyone spoke.

“This is Sam Uley.” Edward said introducing the leader of the shape shifters. “He is the leader who will be speaking on behalf of the packs.”

After the introductions, Aro proceeded with first asking how they came to a decision to attack our race. Aro was not one for indirectness, especially when it involved something as essential as a threat against our people.

The leader explained that he was informed by a member of his pack of a plot in which we planned to take over the world. They believe and have appointed themselves as protectors of the human race and were convinced they were protecting them from us and world domination.

If the situation hadn't been so serious, if would have been laughable. Aro explained that the idea had never crossed our minds, and that in fact The Volturi had themselves protected the humans from such tyranny not so long ago.

“Our world depends on the secrecy and concealment from the humans. We have never, nor do we plan to expose ourselves in such a vulnerable way.” He told them at one point.

The conversation continued with the shape shifters questioning Aro about reports and information that they had received that contradicted his statements of falsity. And after a very thorough account on Sams side, Aro answered each accusation with more compelling evidence to support our claim of obscurity than those that had originally been posed.

The exchange progressed with back and forth accusations, questions, answers, reports and accounts for nearly two more hours. I had gotten bored and frustrated after the first thirty minutes of debate and couldn't fathom why it was still continuing, and by the impatient shifting of everyone around me, I figured they all had felt the same.

As much as I wish I could have though, I couldn't allow my mind to wonder. For one; I had a job to do, I was still shielding the whole of us, and couldn't for a moment allow myself to be caught off guard. For two; I was entranced by the translator; Edward. His voice was the weirdest mixture of comfort and familiarity that I had ever heard, but also an unexplained sadness I felt at the sound. I was intrigued by the voice and the emotions that accompanied it.

I could tell by the frequent pauses from both sides and the increase of silent conferences with Aro and the leaders that the session was coming to a close. At this point, nothing but a solid vow on both sides had been agreed on as far as a treaty. It was decided that since we would not be taking over the world to rule the human race, they had no need to engage us in a full on war, and as long as that remained the case, the treaty would stay in effect.

The leaders were agreeing on this point when a loud feral snarl ripped through the silent weald, soon followed by the strangest sound I had ever heard; the ripple of flesh and fur as it contracted and reformed was absolutely bazaar. I didn't have time enough to really examine the sound or long enough time to wish to see if for myself because as soon as the pulsation happened it was followed by a death curdling scream that seethed of pain, horror and anger.

“NOOOO!!” the newest reverberation wailed. “You can't do this! We should be killing these leeches not negotiating with them!”

“Jacob!” The translator snarled. “What are you doing!”

“You.” the new voice bristled. “You did this! This is your fault!”

The turn of events had stiffened the guard, we were all now on alert at the change and commotion.

“Jacob.” Carlisle said. “This isn't the time.”

“It's the perfect time bloodsucker! We should have killed you a long time ago, instead of this!”

The same quivering sound followed a moment later; another wolf transforming into human form.

“Jacob, I told you to stand down!” The deep authoritative voice bellowed.

“No.” Jacob's voice commanded.

The whole of us were intrigued by what was happening, letting the curiosity get the best of us, some of the guard remembers began to shift around and stand up straighter on their toes to try and get a better look.

“Gentlemen” Aro spoke up. “I believe that this is the point at which we will part and leave you. Having concluded our business here with you, and seeing as how this has nothing to do with us..”

“This has everything to do with you vampires!” Jacob cut off Aro before he could finish speaking. “You killed her! That's the ONLY reason we're here!” he roared.

“What...” The question that fell out of the translators mouth was barely audible, laced and torn with tragic despair. “No. Your lying, that's not true.” he continued with such anguish my heart ached for him. The sound of pain in his voice tore through me like a knife, my reaction to his sorrow was puzzling, but I wanted to run to him, comfort him in some way.

“She's dead because of what you did to her you filthy bloodsucker.” He seethed to Edward. “And you killed her!”

Aro laughed loudly at the accusation “My dear boy, I am clueless as to who you speak of. I can assure you that I have never killed one of your kind before, believe me, I would have remembered.”

“She wasn't a wolf, she was human! She went to you and you killed her!” Jacob continued.

“Alice?” Edward breathed.

“I don't know, I don't know anything! I haven't seen anything in ten years Edward, I don't know!” A tinkling voice pleaded.

“Jacob! Starting a war with them now after all of this won't bring her back!” The unidentified voice spoke again.

“I don't care.” He responded deadpan.

“ENOUGH!” Caius interjected. “What is the meaning of this!”

“Jacob here believes that you killed a friend of ours.” Carlisle answered him calmly.

“Don't speak for me and don't you ever speak of her, she meant NOTHING to you!”

“Jacob, you don't know what you're talking about.” Carlisle continued to say to him, never once raising his voice or betraying any kind of emotion with his words. “Why do you believe that the Volturi killed her.”

“She's dead.”

“How do you know that?” The question was asked again.

“She would have never left me without another word if she weren't. She wouldn't have abandoned her friends or family; the people she loved. She's dead. There's no other explanation.” There was accusation in the words as he finally answered the question. “And the letter. A letter was delivered with her things after five years of her being gone. It was on auto ship. She said she was going to them, and has never been heard from again.” he finished saying. “She's dead.”

“No.” Edward hissed.

“Son, calm down..”

“NO!” He barked. “Jasper! Don't!” he said before turning on Aro, just as the wolf Jacob had “Did you kill her?!”

“Edward, I am sorry, but I'm still unsure as to who the both of you are speaking of.”

“BELLA!” He shouted at Aro. “Did you kill her!?”

Bella? I jolted.

“Oh my!” He laughed out loud again. “Is that what this is all about? The human girl who came to us so many years ago!” he continued to howl.

“Demitri.” He said impassively then finished saying “Carlisle, Sam. Please tell me that we are not here under false guise of war, when really are here over a girl?”

While Aro was speaking with the leader of the shape shifts and Carlisle, Demitri had made his way back to me. He didn't say anything, instead just held out his hand in the direction of Aro, indicating that I should follow.

“Aro, this is all news to me, as it is to you.” Carlisle assured Aro.

“No matter.” Aro swiped his hand in the air upon my approach. “This could have been resolved long ago, without all the theatrics had we known what you were after to begin with.” He said looking at the four that were standing the closest to him.

“My dear.” He turned to me, raising his hands to brush against my checks before lowering my hood and saying “Will you please assure these people that you are not dead.”


***

(1/21/11)

***

Chapter 12: Mistaken Identity


I had no idea what was going on, or why I was being put on display after just mere moments ago we had been in the midst of treaty negotiations. I was certain that this had nothing to do with me. I didn't know any of the other vampires that were in attendance; only the members of the guard and the leaders.

And I was absolutely positive that I had never met any of the shape shifters.

“Master?” I questioned him without looking from his face to the others in question.

Demitri had placed himself in front of me before Aro had lowered my hood, so I was still partially blocked from the wolves and the other vampires, I couldn't see them, so they were unable to see me.

“My dear.” Aro said to me. “The wolves and the Cullen's here believe that you are of an acquaintance to them and they are under the false assumption that you are dead.” He finished saying, moving his hand that was still caressing my face and placing it on my shoulder as he moved to the side. Demitri reluctantly followed Aro's lead; revealing the scene ahead of me.

“Bella?” a simultaneous gasp and holler were heard from several different sources.

At the sound of my name I couldn't help but turn my gaze to the advent. My first reaction was shock, I had no idea how many wolves were there in front of us, but it was astonishing. They were all different shades of neutral colors, ranging in size and height, but nothing short of the stature of a horse. I had never seen anything like them in nature before, it was obvious that they belonged to the world of the supernatural.

After quickly scanning the wolves, my attention was then drawn to the two shape shifters that were in human form. It was very obvious who they were; they wore nothing but cut off shorts – a condition of shifting I assumed, but at least they wore that, and for that I was great full.

Finally, I shifted my sight to the other vampires that were in attendance. They looked like my kind, but were also very different. I immediately noticed their eyes, all of them having the same color as mine; a strange ocher, darker than butterscotch, but with the same golden tone. They were vegetarian like me, there was no other explanation and I was shocked and excited by the prospect. They also had a casual presence about them, so very different that any other vampires I had ever met, even the Volturi still struggled with their easy appearance at times.

The vampire that instantly caught my attention was standing just off from the rest of them, his gaze so intense I felt the need to check my shield, he could have bore a hole through me.

He was tall and lean with muscle and untidy bronze colored hair, and he was devastatingly beautiful. Our kind are always alluring and ranging in perfection, but he was different; Adonis rather than Cratus in comparison. It was hard to believe someone so beautiful could be real.

“Bella” He said to me again; his voice like melting honey. Edward. I recognized the voice as the translator, now able to put a face to the name.

“Hello.” I said to him timidly, not sure of what else I was supposed to do, or what anyone was expecting.

“Do you know them?” Aro asked curiously, never taking his eyes from my face.

I didn't want to look away; Edwards gaze was captivating, but after answering I turned my attention back to Aro. “No.” I said abashed.

Aro beamed at my reply, but didn't have time enough to say anything in response to my admission.

“Bella?” Jacob, the shape shifter said to me taking a few steps forward. “Is it really you?” he asked me.

“I am Bella, but I think you may have me confused with someone else.” I said to him diplomatically. “I don't know any of you.”

When I said this to him, his face crumbled a little, like I had crushed all his hopes and dreams. I noticed from my peripheral that Edward also let his shoulders sag at my statement.

“It's me, Jake.” The shape shifter continued forward as if by his announcing it I would somehow know who he was. “Jacob Black, you have to remember me Bella...”

“I am sorry Jacob.” I said to him simply, not sure of what else I could tell the man.

“She doesn't know you.” Demitri said in a feral tone, placing himself in front of me as if they were a threat.

“Because you stinking leaches did something to her!” Jacob shouted at him.

“We've done nothing to Isabella that she's not asked us to do.” Caius said walking around to place himself on my other side. “If Isabella is the human you once knew, then she is here before you exactly as she wished it to be.”

“You lie!” Jacob said of Caius' explanation. “She doesn't remember me! She wouldn't have asked for that...”

“A side effect of her change.” Caius said to him dismissively.

I knew all of what was being spoken of, but why they felt the need to explain it to these strangers was perplexing.

“Bella” A tiny pixie female with spiky hair said to me while stepping around Edward and coming forward. “Do you know any of us?” She asked hopefully.

The others she was standing with spread out to stand side by side next to each other, displaying themselves to me. I carefully looked at the other four I hadn't already examined before looking back to her “I'm sorry ...” I held out my hand indicating to her for a name.

“Alice.” She said ruefully.

“I'm sorry Alice, I don't. “ I told her, then repeated myself for a third time looking them all over again. “I don't know or recognize any of you.”

“Aw, there, you see.” Aro chimed. “She is not the Bella you seek.”

“Yes, she is.” Edward said through a tight jaw, venom in his words. “And you know that.”

“Well, maybe she is –maybe she isn't.” He continued in his carefree tone.

“Why?” Jacob asked, still coming closer to me. “Why would you do this?”

Marcus took the liberty of answering him, he had a way of sensing things; binding ties of family, friends, loyalty, lovers and devotions. He had told me of my past a few times before; in the beginning when I cared enough to ask, but that was a long time ago and of no importance now.

“She was broken when she came to us, a shell of a person; hollow and empty walking in a barren sheath. Her pain and suffering were almost tangible, drawn plainly for everyone to see on the contours of her face.” He came over to me, placing a gentle touch of comfort on my back. “She was suffering.”

“She was seeking death.” Caius stated again, moving back over to where he came from. “She stands here before you because her request was denied.”

Edward let out an audibly shaking breath, then let his head fall forward, while the rest of his party were visibly shocked, Jacob looked painfully angry.

“She was,...special. It would have been such a waste to not save her, to cast her aside like everyone else in her life had.” Aro told them “We took her in; gave her new life, her memory loss was a happy occurrence from her change.”

After their explanations I felt the need to speak up for myself.

“Whether or not I knew any of you during the time I was human is of no consequence now.” I said to all of them. The fact that this assembly had turned out this way, because of some misplaced delusion to avenge me was disturbing and embarrassing. The whole front of war; the threat of annihilation to my race? over one humans loss of life? Unacceptable.

“I know next to nothing from my human life, and by the Elders description and perception, I would like it to stay that way.” I told them decidedly, I was a Volturi guard member and they should know where I stand. “I have been with the Volturi and a vampire for over eight years, if I meant anything to any of you, I wonder why I'm only just meeting you now? I know that if it had been someone I cared about” At this point I stepped forward to look up and stand next to Demitri. “I wouldn't have waited so long for answers.” I smiled at him before dropping my tenderness to turn and look coolly again at those who stood before me.

“I meant nothing to you then, and you mean nothing to me now.” I said to them finally, and then turning my back I raised my hood to proceed back to my station.

I'd only taken a step when Jacob the wolf hollered at me “NO Bella! Wait!” And then, as though he meant come to me, he took off running; slamming into my shield.

The force of his impact was so much so I turned to look in his direction, while holding out my hand, silently asking for Afton's aid.

He had been assisting me with my cover since the meeting started, but when I addressed the group, I broke away from him to stand next to Demitri.

Without hesitation, he grabbed my hand again and I instantly felt his reinforcement; strengthening my protection to the point in which it could have stopped a freight train.

In the beginning I was only able to block out mental attacks, but upon further examination and practice it was discovered I could physically block as well.

Jacob had taken a stumbling step back after his initial advance, looking as confused as a deer in headlights. He composed himself a moment later and began forward again, to stop short just as he had before, the invisible wall of my shield physically barring him from coming any closer.

“You will not pass the barrier, no matter how many times you try.” Aro chided him, Jacobs stubbornness was evident as he kept trying to push through with his hands. “Bella will only allow it if she chooses too.” He informed him with pride.

“I believe we are done here.” Aro voiced to the whole of us. I couldn't have agreed more; I knew I certainly was.

Various please and advances broke out among those who had claimed to know me, all of them coming closer just to be stopped at the threshold of my defense.

With Afton still holding my hand and Demitri protectively wrapping his arm around my other side, I began to slowly and deliberately push them back further into the thicket with the energy of my aegis.

I turned my back on them and continued to move away, hearing a finale and in unison “Bella, please...” from Edward and Jacob as we retreated back to Volterra.

****

(1/23/11)

****

Chapter 13: Full Disclosure

Our journey home was surprisingly smooth an uneventful. Neither the wolves nor the other vampires followed us.

Half of the guard split off once we reached St. Johns; Aro dispatching them to their previous assignments or something new he directed them to.

The other half had followed us home; doubling the security around the castle for twenty-four hour protection, just in case anyone had tried to follow.

During the journey I avoided any and all conversation about what had happened in the clearing. There were still to many ears around, and I didn't want them to know anything more than they already did. As it was the gossip would run rampant without fueling the flames.

When we finally reached the castle, without me even having to ask, The Elders and myself went to a private conversation room. They all looked at me expectantly as I paced around wanting for answers but unsure where to begin or what to ask.

Marcus and Caius had found chairs to sit in, while Aro stood patiently. “Bella” he finally said to me after several minutes of silence.

I stopped and turned to look at him, questioning him with my eyes.

“We will tell you anything you wish to know dear.”

“Who are they?” I asked him simply.

“Please sit.” he said gesturing to the empty chaise behind me.

“They are who they say they are Bella.” He told me plainly.

“What does that mean?” I asked him angrily.

“It means” Caius spoke up “That everything you know is this truth; but that the past has found you.”

“When you came to us, you were as we have told you; in pain and seeking death.” Marcus said to me, leaning forward on his knees while staying seated in his chair. “That truth can't not be changed. What we didn't know was why.”

“We do now, however.” Aro continued. “My first meeting with Carlisle told me everything about your past that we didn't know. Your association with the Cullen's and apparently the wolves.”

“Why didn't you tell me then?” I questioned him.

“Because child, as Caius and Marcus have pointed out; the truth and your pain, can not be changed. What would have been the point in us telling you anything that would cause you pain? You didn't remember them, and it is what you asked for by coming to us all those years ago, there was no point at the time.”

“So then who are they Aro? How did I know them? How did I know about you to come here? How and why did I know shape-shifters? None of this makes any sense!”

Marcus stood up and came to sit next to me, while Aro took each of my questions and answered them to the best of his knowledge.

“I only know from Carlisle's thoughts, but I will tell you all that I can.” He said before continuing.

“When you were human, you moved to a small town in Forks Washington to live with your human father. The Cullen's were living in the same town at the time. For whatever reason, you peeked their interest and caught the eye of Carlisle's son Edward. He befriended you, took you to his home, introduced you to his family. They liked you. They liked you enough to tell you that they were vampires.”

“What?” I breathed out.

“You were their pet, Bella.” Caius seethed.

“Caius.” Aro snapped at him before continuing. “Being human and keeping company with a group of vampires is a dangerous feat, you as it were, were in constant danger. Many times you had been hurt under their care, stalked and even hunted by other vampires who didn't like the association. You'd nearly been killed on more than one occasion because of the Cullen's affinity towards you.”

Aro stood and started to pace the room before continuing. “But, Edward tired of you. He used you and when he had his fill, through you out like yesterdays trash. He ordered his family to do the same and they left you.”

“Being human you were more attached to them than they were of you, we believe this is why you remembered enough about what they had told you to come here.” Marcus concluded.

“So I was some sort of pawn in a game?”

“So it would seem.” Caius said.

“And what about the wolves? How do I know them?”

“That, we are still unclear about.” Aro said looking at me expectantly. “From Carlisle I know that they were aware of their existence, and we know that you had an acquaintance with one of them because of your father, but beyond that we know as much as you do.”

“What about the treaty then? Was the meeting all just a lie so the wolves, could what?”

“Again, we know as much as you do. Regardless, we plan to uphold the treaty. What we agreed on hasn't changed, the initial reason to meet may or may not have been a lie, but the treaty is still in the best interest of us all.” Aro told me.


“And the Cullen's? What is to be done about them?” I asked.

“How do you mean?” Marcus asked me, still seated next to me in a gesture of comfort.

“They broke the law, they should be punished.” I said, looking only at Caius, if anyone would agree with me, it would be him.

His smile was my answer before he spoke. “Bella is correct, regardless of how long ago it was, they broke the rules.”

“Now, now.” Aro raised his hands in peace towards the both of us. “Caius, I understand why you would suggest or agree to this, but Bella, dear, this, for you, would be out of revenge.”

“Aro, I don't remember them to have feelings of revenge, Remember? I'm simply stating the obvious.” That wasn't completely the truth; I had to admit to myself, I was feeling a bit hurt, but the law was the law.

“We will not be punishing them.” Aro told us firmly. “Carlisle has been a wonderful ally and friend to the Volturi for many years. If anything, we owe him.”

“How's that brother?” Caius asked him.

“Aside from everything else he has done for us; including his most recent aid with the treaty, he has inadvertently given us Bella.”

“What?” I questioned him, almost sarcastically.

“If it wasn't for his son's interest and subsequent hurting of you, you never would have come to us. That we can never repay him for. But letting him slide with this one rule breaking would be a start.” He told us, very pleased with himself.

Smiling at each other, I moved to give him a hug. What had happened in the clearing had shaken me, but this was my family, this was were I belonged.


*****

(2/11/11)

*****

Chapter 14: Mind Reader


“Master.” Felix entered to main gathering room addressing his ruler with a small bow. “He is back again.”

Aro rose from his throne with a sigh and began to wander the room in contemplation. He needn't look to his brothers for advice on the situation; having discussed it several times before, he knew their position in the matter, and although Aro agreed with them, the idea of adding Edward to his guard was too exciting an idea to merely dismiss completely.

The first time Edward had come to the castle he was granted an audience with the Elders; but since has been denied. Aro's initial meeting with the young man was simple curiosity, he wished to know the boys gift better and to learn any further information he could about his daughter Bella. Upon discovering everything he needed to know about both, he dismissed Edward; leaving them both with an unanswered decision.

Aro knew that Edwards only interest in joining the Volturi was Bella and gaining unremitting access to her. And this was the only reason Aro has been hesitating. Having seen the memories, heard the thoughts and felt the emotions that were Edward and of his Bella, he knew that if she were to ever remember the love they shared, he would lose them both.

You see, Edward loves Bella; loves her more than his own life, he would trade and do anything for her; go anywhere; become anyone, as long as it was for her; to be with her; out of love for her.

Aro didn't understand this before, he believed that Edward had dismissed Bella, left her like so many others of his kind have done to humans throughout history.

Aro in all his years; all the thoughts and memories he'd ever seen of vampiric love, had never come close to experiencing this kind of depth before; surprised even by the intensity of it. The self sacrificing abnegation that Edward so willingly and unrelentingly put himself through just to be with her was enough to make Aro's mouth water. Only to follow it with the same reverence to keep her safe, putting himself through the most absolute agonizing deprivation that he had ever felt.

All this in the name of love. Unquestioned; unashamed love.

Aro himself couldn't understand how anything could be so great, and the possibility and risk because of it were just too high.

“Bring him.” He answered the guard finally.

Felix nodded acceptance of his order and turned to retrieve Edward to the meeting hall.

Aro, understanding Edwards gift, was now able to hide the things he didn't want to the boy to know; things that could still put him losing Bella at risk.

It was now several weeks since the meeting at Laden Fields Pond, and although he had convinced Bella to remain with them in the castle, he knew that he wouldn't be able to hold her forever. Bella was a strong willed, strong minded woman; stubborn as Edward had called her, and she had her own idea's about how she planned to spend all of eternity.

She was planning to go back to school; start a summer class schedule and accept a teacher's assistant position that she had been offered last year. She had promised them she would stay on at the castle with them until it was time, but refused to be held back.

“I can protect myself, I'm not afraid of them.” She had told the Elders while they were discussing her schooling, leaving the castle and the possibility of running into the wolves and Cullen's. They all knew she was right, she could more than take care of herself, just as they knew they could never keep her here. It wasn't within anyone's power to control Bella, she knew it and so did they.

Aro also needed to make a decision, to give Edward an answer so he would stop coming back, before Demitri and Bella returned from their vacation. They were do back any day now, and if it could be avoided, he wanted there to not be a chance meeting between the two again or ever if possible.

Several minutes of silence followed Aro's direction before Edward was brought to him, and as any good leader and host, he welcomed his guest.

“Edward, my dear boy, how wonderful to see you again.” The leader of the Volturi greeted his visitor.

“Master” Edward responded tightly, trying the word out on his tongue.

The greeting pleased Aro so tremendously he couldn't help but picture Edward standing guard next to him; a cloaked adviser among his other prized members. “You flatter me.” The Elder responded.

“I admire you.” Edward retorted.

They both knew that wasn't entirely true; the special bond of their gifts ensured that, but neither would respond or correct such simple falsities as these.

“We've given much thought to your request.” Aro continued without pause. “It has been a rather difficult decision to make.”

Edward, out of hopeful respect, didn't interject or interrupt Aro; even though he knew the answer to his request before he walked into the room, instead letting him speak the words aloud.

“You are unlimited in talent in ways I am not. To hear from a distance, it would be so convenient...” he trailed off in thought, again wavering on his decision before remembering the reason. “But, unfortunately we can not grant you what you seek. Allowing you to join our guard would be a conflict of interest as it stands now, and the risks far out weigh the benefits.”

“I understand your position, I do. But there must be some way for me to change your mind, prove to you that I would be an asset.” Edward tried diplomatically.

“I believe you would prove yourself worthy Edward, and your talent would be an excellent addition to our company, but of course you know that is not why you are being denied, and for that there is nothing to be done. It is unfortunate.”


“I see.” Edward responded solemnly at the finality of the decision. He had wanted nothing to do with the Volturi, avoiding them at all costs in his 123 years, but Bella was here, his love, his life were with these people, and now it was everything that he wanted.

Edward being crushed, and losing what little hope he had, would now have to find another way to be with her.

Since leaving his love that cold day in September, Edward has done little else but think of his Bella. She has been in his every thought, his every breath of every moment since leaving his heart with her in Forks.

For the first few years especially, it took everything in him and more to not go running back to her; beg her for forgiveness; offer a lifetime of servitude, just to be near her. Many times he had come close, so close, but would always make himself turn away, remembering the reasons he had left her in the first place.

She was more important than any suffering he was in, her life meant everything and he would do nothing to endanger it any longer or ever again.

But it was painful; tortuously painful, not be with her. She was his air to breath, his reason for laughter, all that he would ever see; his only hope and love. He could not risk her life, losing her was nothing compared to the possibility of living in a world where she did not exist.

So he stayed away, with an effort so great it could move mountains, he stayed away from his reason for being, so she might live the life he could never give her.

During the meeting, in those few moments he had thought he'd lost her forever, he ceased to exist, thought that in that moment he had died with her, and would make that a reality as soon as he could. For him, the world stopped spinning, the sun would never shine; the moon would never rise; life, love, meaning –all lost.

But an eternity of minutes later, life was anew; she was alive, gloriously alive and perfect as she ever was, standing before him. The sweetest sound of her voice, reverberating through his being, singing in his ears. Her intoxicating perfume; still holding the same addiction to him, warming his body and filling him up with her.

His Bella, standing before him, alive and well in her perfectly immortal frame. There are no words to encapsulate the joy that had overtaken him, or the agony that followed by her indifference.

It was worse than being away from her. As time heavily passed, it was a comfort for him knowing she would remember, hoping her memories would someday be fond; cherished reflections, that would mean something to her as they would always to him.

But this, this was nothing he was prepared for. She didn't know him, didn't remember any of the time they had spent together, the love they had shared. He was nothing to her and it was excruciating.

And in that moment, as she turned coldly away from him, he knew what he must have done to her. Knew with ever fiber of his being that this; what he was feeling in this moment, was exactly the punishment he deserved for doing it to her. He had left her pleading and heartbroken as he turned cold and walked away.

He had pushed her away, shoved her into this life with the Volturi, made her so desperate to end it all, that she had; completely wiping him and everything else out.

Not by choice, no, like Jacob had said, she would never willingly forget him or her father, but Edward, yes. She had chosen to forget him, to leave him and their past behind.

They had done this to her though, he knew, he didn't know how, but he knew. He needed to know, needed to fix it, so she would remember, so he could explain, make her understand, hope for her forgiveness.

She was now what he always wanted to avoid, but seeing her, he had to question himself why? Had he given her what she wanted –what she always was meant to be, they would be together now. Forever.

So with that, he had to try, even though he knew it would kill him for her to reject him, he had to try, he had to get her back, the Bella that he knew, the Bella that he loved, the one that had known and loved him too.

“Thank you for your time and consideration.” He bowed to the leader Aro, before turning to walk out of the room.

*****

(2/22/11)

*****

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