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):
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*
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.
“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.
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”
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):
Thank you for reading!
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.
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.
Chapter 4: The letter
“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
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.
Bank of England
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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...
I internally groaned, slowly letting out my sigh before turning around “Yes Demitri?”
“I need to talk to you.”
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.
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.