**This chapter is in Edward Cullen’s point of view. It will be for this chapter only. The rest of the story will be told in Bella Swan’s point of view.**
I walk down the corridor of the stone castle after Aro, Caius and Marcus refused to end my life. The love of my life was gone. Dead. The last memory I have of her is of her broken hearted expression as I left her in the woods. I told her I didn’t love her and she wasn’t good for me. I could hear her calling for me as I ran away from her. What I told her was a lie. The blackest of blasphemy. It had to be done. She was not safe in my world. I will never change her. I will never take away her soul. She deserves a human life. I could never give her children, I could never make love to her without killing her. Now she is dead and the light in my world has gone out. I have no reason for living.
As I walk down the corridor, I decide to go ahead and execute my alternative plan to end my life. Exposing myself to the humans would guarantee a death sentence by the hands of the Volturri. They would never allow exposure to humans to go unpunished. It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Volterra. I can hear the sounds of the festival outside. Crowds of people are celebrating St. Marcus day. I unbutton my shirt as I walk towards the doorway at the end of the corridor. I am about to step out into the light with my shirt open, showing off my glittering skin to the humans. Surely, it won’t take long for the guards to kill me.
It didn’t take long at all! I can hear my love calling me in the distance, “Edward!” My undead heart could have started beating again as I heard it again. This time it was louder, “Edward!” The smell of strawberries and freesia engulf my senses. She appears before me and what I saw beguiles me; Bella is the most beautiful angel. I grab her to me and hug her tightly. She grunts and pushes against my chest.
“Edward! You’re hurting me! Step back!” I let her go and look at her. Instead of the look of love I usually found in her eyes when she looked upon me, I find an anger and a coldness that wasn’t there before. I am so confused.
“You’re not dead?” I ask. She shakes her head.
“No, I’m not dead.” She then glares at me. “Get your ass back in the shadows, Edward! You’ll get us both killed.” She tried pushing me but I just stand there shocked at her words and demeanor.
“Bella…” I say. She just glares at me once more, crossing her arms and walking toward the shadows of the corridor. I quickly follow behind her.
“Bella” I try once again to talk to her. She stands leaning against the stone wall with her arms crossed over her chest. She refuses to look at me, instead focusing on the wall opposite of us.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
She purses her lips, looking in my direction. She sighs and hisses out “Alice.” Her face forms into a scowl as she speaks “She showed up at my house thinking I was dead, then she had a vision of you coming here and offing yourself. She dragged me along for the ‘Rescue Edward Mission’.” She glares furiously at me and turns to look at the wall again. Anger was radiating off her.
I could hear Felix, Demetri and Jane coming and I whisper to Bella “The guards are coming.” She shrugs as if she didn’t care. I quickly stand in front of her protectively as they approach.
Jane, Felix and Demetri appear before us. “Edward, is this the human you couldn’t live without?” Jane says mockingly. I growl in warning at her. Jane just smirks while Bella steps out from behind me. It is then I notice that her scent is slightly different. It’s no longer just strawberries and freesia. There is also a musky scent added. Perhaps a hint of bourbon? She stepped up to the three guards, introducing herself. She seems to have no fear, nervousness or shyness about her. She seems to have charm them as all three smile at her and introduce themselves. While the introductions are being given, I take notice of her her outfit; it wasn’t something I had ever seen her in before and doesn’t quite match the Bella I once knew. She is wearing tight, black jeans, a fitted sweater that barely grazes her upper thighs and black calf length boots. The jeans and sweater shows off her body, making me remember that I was a man. Her hair was shorter and layered with bangs. On her wrist I can see a silver bracelet with a locket on it.
“Aro will want to meet you, Bella” Jane says and she hen glances at me “He wants to talk with you.” Her voice is formal and cold. She turns back to Bella, “It’s a bit chilly in the castle, and you may want to put on your jacket.” She makes a gesture to the jacket Bella is holding in her arms to emphasize her point.
Bella nods, putting on the jacket. My eyes widen at how sexy it was. It is a man’s motocross jacket in black leather. She puts it on and inhales the scent. Her lips turn up into a beautiful smile as she rolls the sleeves. Alice suddenly scampers into the corridor, pausing to take in the scene.
Jane acknowledges her. “Come along, then..” she says and starts leading the way. I attempt to wrap my arm around Bella’s shoulders; she looks at me coldly shaking her head. “Don’t.” she simply says.
I take my arm back and let it fall awkwardly to the side. Alice quickly catches up to us and walks along side of me. I look imploringly at her, trying to get her to see a vision of me asking her what is going on. Her face goes blank for a second, then she looks at me and glances over at Bella. Her thoughts came to me; She’s quite peeved I brought her here. She didn’t want to come. She didn’t want anything to do with me when I showed up. I practically kidnapped her, Edward! The last vision I had was of her was yesterday when I saw her jumping off a cliff. Obviously, she survived that. I haven’t been able to see her before that… I don’t know what has happened since we left!” She shrugs her shoulders, glancing over at Bella once again. She was walking at a brisk pace, head held high, toying with a necklace. Feeling our gazes she looks over at us, tenses up and lets the necklace fall. She then turns her head back towards the direction we are walking. The guards lead us to an elevator and it isn’t long before we are in the throne room facing the three kings.
Aro’s eyes looks us over, as a sly grin graces his face. With an obvious display of false cheerfulness, he greets me, “Hello Edward, so nice to see you again.” His eyes look to Bella and he walks over to her, “You must be the lovely Isabella.” He gently takes her right hand and shakes it. She simply nods at him, her face wearing no expression whatsoever. I hear her heartbeat speed up slightly. He holds her hand in both of his, attempting to read her thoughts. Bella tenses momentarily, but otherwise remains indifferent.
He meets her eyes with an expression of disbelief, exclaiming, “How amazing!”
Bella smiles slightly at him and asks curiously, “Did you see anything?”
Aro shakes his head no. He is about to let go of her hand when he suddenly freezes. His eyes fall upon her hand and with his finger he lightly brushes it against the ring she is wearing on her middle finger. It seems to be a Lapis Lazuli stone surrounded by diamonds. Bella grins widely as Aro’s head snaps up.
“Is it spelled?” he asks. Bella shakes her head in response.
“Not yet” was the verbal reply. He gently smiles and nods his head as he steps back. What is so special about a Lapis Lazuli ring and what did Aro mean by ‘spelled’?
Aro walks over and sits on his ‘throne’ next to Marcus and Caius. He took Marcus’ hand and it was then that I notice I can not read anyone’s thoughts. This has never happened to me and it is quite frustrating.
I am about to ask about the significance of Bella’s ring and what is going on when Aro speaks “Edward, you nearly exposed us today. Are you aware that the punishment is death?”
“No!!!!” Alice shrieks and frantically moves to stand in front of me. “You can’t kill him!!” Aro chuckles lightly, with a gleam in his eye I could not decipher. Alice inhales an unnecessary breath as she continues to speak, “Edward thought his mate was dead!! He wanted to die because he couldn’t live without her! It was a mistake! She isn’t dead!!”
Aro coldly looks at her. “Silence! I was not speaking to you!” he growls out. He looks at me. “Answer the question, Cullen!” He orders.
“Yes, I am aware.” I answer, trying to sound confident. Aro walks over and stands directly in front of me. “Do you still wish to die?” he asks bluntly. I glance over at Bella, who has sat down on one of the marble benches. She’s drumming her fingers on her knee.
I look at Aro. “No I don’t wish to die. I’d like to have an opportunity to work things out with my mate.” Aro brings his hand to his mouth, seemingly deep in thought as if deciding something. He turns to Bella.
“Isabella dear, do you wish to work things out with Edward?” He gives her a small smile as if amused. She glances at me and then to Aro.
Offering a small smile of her own, she shakes her head and with a wicked gleam in her eye, says “No.” My heart shatters into pieces at her response.
“Why Bella? I love you and you love me. We are mates. We belong together.” Bella loudly snorts at this and crosses her arms.
Alice angrily stomps over to her and gets in her face, “Do you not care what happens to Edward?! I thought you loved him!”
Bella coolly glances at her. “Get out of my face, Alice.” Each word is spoken slowly with a hint of a threat behind it. Alice stands up shocked and steps back. Bella then looks around the room and licks her lips. As she makes eye contact with Aro she asks, “May I speak freely?” He nods. She stands up, walks over and stands next to him. She nervously bites her lip. “Thank you, Aro” He nods again. She continues to nibble on her lip and wrings her hands. After a few moments she seems to have quelled her nervousness. She begins to speak, “You left me, Edward. You told me you didn’t love me, that I was no good for you, a distraction. You told me you didn’t want me and then you turned around and abandoned me in the woods all alone.” I hear quiet gasps of shock throughout the room that would barely be heard by human ears.
Bella glances around and sighs. She then continues to speak, “You broke my heart, Edward. You made me feel worthless. It wasn’t just you that did it… It was your whole family! I thought they were my family too, and I thought they LOVED me!” Bella’s eyes glisten as she shakes her head and takes a deep breath. “I did truly love them, they were the brothers and sisters I never had; Esme was the mother I always wished for. You took all that away from me, Edward! It took so long to get over you and your family… I was so depressed after you left, that Charlie got desperate and sent me to Virginia to live with my Aunt Jenna and Uncle Ric. Luckily for me, it was just the thing I needed. Uncle Ric and Aunt Jenna became my new family. They helped me see my self-worth, they helped me gain confidence. They loved me unconditionally. They encouraged me to try new things. I met an amazing group of friends, and with their help, I moved on. I fell out of love with you and I forgot about your family. I am happy with my life, now…Happier than I ever dreamed I could be!”
She smiles warmly and her eyes dance. “I met someone new.” I wince, feeling a heavy weight on my chest; I could almost hear my heart break. She looks into my eyes with a bit sympathy. “I love him more than life itself.” she says earnestly. She pauses and inhales a breath, then a sparkling smile falls upon her lips, one that lights her whole face. “He’s not perfect…” She shakes her head minutely, “In fact, he’s probably the biggest ass on the planet… I absolutely hated him when I first met him, but I was so unexplainably drawn to him! It was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before…” She tilts her head thoughtfully, as if lost in thought. Marcus gets up from his seat, steps down and walks over to her, placing his hand on her shoulder.
He gently smiles at her. “Do you know what my power is, young one?” She nervously bites her lip, shaking her head no. “I can see bonds between people. For example, I can tell that Edward and Alice have a familial bond towards one another. I can also see the bond you have with the man you are in love with.” She quirks an eyebrow at him, questioning him. Marcus smiles broadly at her. “He is your soul mate, Isabella.”
Bella smiles brightly while she fingers her ring. She sighs happily, the joy on her face is palpable. “Wow” she whispers and I hear mostly everyone chuckle under their breath.
It was then Alice speaks up, “He can NOT be your soul mate!! I saw you as one of US! You belong to Edward!!” Jane steps forward; I watched in horror as Alice crumbles to the ground grabbing her head. She starts screaming. I look over to Jane and see a sadistic smile upon her face. Aro gently touches her arm.
“That’s enough, Jane.” He orders.
Alice stands up, almost stumbling. I wrap my arm around her waist to help steady her. “It would do you good to remember your place, Alice Cullen.” Marcus sneers at her. “Never question MY power. It is absolute and does NOT change. Unlike you, what I see is real and tangible. It’s not based on decisions. The future CAN be changed. Your gift has made you arrogant, Miss Cullen. Edward and Isabella are not soul mates. They have no bonds tied to each other. If Isabella was his mate, he would have never been able to leave her. Isabella would have never been able to fall in love with another. Soul mates only have one great love and that is for each other. If one dies, it is not uncommon that the other will follow because the pain is just too consuming. They cannot live without the other.” Bella stands behind Marcus nodding in agreement.
“May I ask a question?” my sister asks. Marcus and Aro nod. “If Bella is not his soul mate, then why did Edward want to die when it was thought she died?” She plants a self-satisfied grin on her face. “You said soul mates could not live without the other because the pain is too great.”
It is Bella that speaks. “Your brother is a brooding, narcissistic, depressed fool.” Alice glares at her and there is a sprinkling of chuckles throughout the room. Bella glares back at Alice. “You know I’m right! You can deny it all you want! He has never been happy with who he is, he has never been happy to be a vampire. He THOUGHT he was in love with me, so he used that as an excuse to come here and be a martyr to love. He never once stopped and thought that your vision could be wrong, he never stopped to think of the ramifications of his actions. All he saw was the excuse he needed to die.” I am completely stunned by her accusations.
“Bella! I do love you! I could never live in a world you don’t exist!”
She simply rolls her eyes at me. “Edward, tell me, what exactly did you love about me? Was it my blood or the fact you couldn’t read my mind?” I am shocked at her question.
“Bella..I love everything about you. The way you blush, how intelligent you are, the way you are selfless, your beauty, your smile, I love how you giggle when you find something amusing. I love how your smile could brighten even the gloomiest day.” I smile at her and attempt to dazzle her. She simply laughs at me.
“Edward you love me because of my beauty and my smile? My intelligence? You make me sound perfect. It only goes to prove this theory I have that you were more in love with the idea of love than being in love with me. Would you love me if you saw the real me? I doubt it! Truly, I do. You want a perfect lady like from your time.” She shakes her head. “I was never truly myself around you. I always felt too scared to do or say anything around you and your family. I was so insecure, so much that I never let my true personality shine through; I tried to be what you wanted me to be. The girl that you think you know and love isn’t me. My aunt and uncle taught me to live life, to enjoy it. They taught me that it was okay to be who I am. My friends encouraged me to get out there, try new things, and take risks. They broke me out of my shell. My uncle gave me self-defense lessons… I have to admit I’m pretty bad ass now.” She smirks at this.
“I’m sure you find the idea appalling since you thought I was a damsel in distress. You never saw me! You want to know me, really know me? “My friends took me out to party and guess what?” She gives me a pointed look and then smiles. “I got drunk and I had fun. Yes, I’m sure it’s shocking to picture me, Bella, drunk and dancing! Yet, I did it and made happy memories that will last me a life time.” Her face erupts into an even bigger grin “My boyfriend’s brother took me for a bike ride, and yes we went way over the speed limit. That was one of the best days of my life. My best friend even encouraged me to join the cheerleading squad!” She laughs at the memory and her eyes are gleaming. The image before me takes my breath away.
She takes a deep breath and her expression turns solemn. “I’m also not the sweet, innocent girl you knew, Edward. You were such a prude. Always chastising me when I wanted to take things further. Every time you rejected me, it stung and made me more insecure. I found a man that wants all of me, he lets me know he wants me. He makes me feel beautiful and sexy. With him, I feel like I can take on the world! I am free to be myself with him. Yet, he still loves me; just the way I am. It’s the same way I love him… I love everything about him, the good and the bad.” She licks her lips and bores into my eyes.
“With you Edward, you tried too hard to make everything perfect. Love isn’t flowery meadows or reading poetry. It’s not fancy birthday parties.” She shakes her head. “It’s not lullabies! I’m sorry, Edward. Your idea of love and mine are entirely different things. It’s not a romance novel, it’s looking at someone and knowing that they love you as much as you love them. There’s passion, there’s adventure, sometimes a little danger. It’s knowing with just one look that there will be nothing else for you. The search for ‘the one’ is over. There could never be another. That’s what I feel with Damon.” She sighs and smiles looking down at her ring as her fingers brush against it.
I feel a knot in my stomach as I realize I have lost her forever. I swallow thickly as I ask my next question. “If I had not left, do you think we would still be together?” She doesn’t say a word and shakes her head no. My hands tremble as I gather the strength to ask the next question. “Are you going to marry him?” She laughs. Loudly.
Once she composes herself from her laughing fit, she shakes her head no and adds “But he is my forever…” She looks at me warily.
I am shocked and blurt out without thinking, “So you are going to live in sin for the rest of your life? What if you get pregnant? The child will be a bastard!” She scowls at me and I can see anger lace her features.
“Who said I want children? Even if I did, he can’t have any, so it doesn’t matter. If it were even possible to have a child, he or she wouldn’t be a bastard, Edward.” She glowered at me as she takes a step back. It’s then I feel many pairs of eyes boring into me, including my sister. She mutters under her breath “Idiot.” I turn to look at her and her expression is full of fury. I then look at Bella. Just the idea of her not being married and having children breaks my heart. She deserves that happy, perfect human life.
“Bella, I left you so could get married and have children. You should live the happy, human that life you deserve.”
She returns my look with a glare and crosses her arms over her chest. “Did you not just hear a fucking word I said?” My eyes widen in shock and I hear chuckles from Felix and Demetri. “I said I didn’t want children and I don’t need to be married! Damon is my forever. That is all I need or want. Your narcissism is showing again, making it all about you and what you want. Sorry Edward, I am going to do what I want with my life. It’s my life, my choices, my decisions.” She shrugs her shoulders. “Deal with it” she sneers out.
She sighs and looks to Aro. “I must apologize if I wasted any of your time. I had just intended to get a few things off my chest and make things perfectly clear as to why I am not giving Edward a chance.” She gives Aro a slight bow.
He nods and claps his hands. “Let’s get on to the sentencing, shall we?” He grin is malicious as looks towards Alice and I.
As Aro walks to his seat to join his brothers, Alice and I glance at each other. Fear is in her eyes. I try to once again read her thoughts and I hear nothing. I look for Bella and find her seated on the marble bench, once again. She was looking towards the ‘Kings’. The three oldest vampires in the world confer among themselves while we wait in silence.
Finally Aro speaks, “You know your crimes, do you not?” Both Alice and I nod.
“Your sentence is either join us for a 100 years as members of the guard or be stripped of your gifts, then being sent on your way. You must know that with the second one, you will be watched closely. One slip up and you will be destroyed. Isabella, while I do not hold you guilty of any crimes, I must ask that you be changed.”
“No!!” I say “You will not take away her soul!”
Caius thunderously roars “Cullen! How dare you question our decision? You will abide by what we say. We are the law, and you are teetering on thin ice as it is. I must advise you strongly to keep your mouth shut or you shall be a pile of ash.”
Bella glances at her ring and looks up at Caius, Aro and Marcus. She draws a deep breath and says “It shouldn’t be a problem, but I must ask that it wait until after graduation. I live in a town where there is a council that hunts vampires and it would not do to arouse suspicion and the matter must be handled delicately. I’d also like to finish high school as a human” Alice grins and looks at Bella.
“We’ll change you then, Bella! We’ll help you through the newborn year!” she chirps happily.
Bella looks at her and narrows her eyes. “Who said that you’ll be changing me, Alice?” Her head turns back to the ‘Kings’. “Does it have to be a “Cold One” that changes me?” she asks nervously.
“No, my child. It doesn’t… As long as you are turned into a vampire in the near future and you give us your word that you won’t expose us.” She lets out a breath and slightly smiles.
“Thank you, Aro. You have my word that I’ll be changed sometime after graduation, I won’t expose you or the others.”
She looks over to us with a smug smile. Why did she call us “Cold Ones?” and who will change her? She doesn’t know any other vampires, does she? “Who will change you?” I blurt out.
She just gives another smug smile and asks Aro “Do I have to answer him?” Aro shakes his head and gives her a smile. Marcus winks at her and Caius chuckles. It seems everyone knows something we don’t. I don’t like it. Bella sits back and a look of relief crosses her face.
“What are “Cold Ones” Alice asks to no one in particular. Aro chuckles.
“You are a Cold one, as well as the rest of us.” Aro replies.
Alice glances to Bella “What did she mean by if it had to be a Cold One?”
Aro scowls. “There is more than one type of vampire, Alice Cullen. That is all you need to know.” Forcibly he adds, “Do you know what you wish to do?” We both sigh and take a deep breath.
“Yes” we say at the same time. “We do not wish to serve in the Guard.” I add.
“How are you going to take our gifts?” Alice asks. Aro shrugs nonchalantly.
“It’s simple, we will have a witch cast a spell. It will be irreversible, of course.”
“Will it hurt?” she asks.
Marcus answers with a solemn “No”.
“There are witches?” I ask.
I could hear Bella snicker. I turn my head and look at her. “Yes Edward, there are witches.” Her snicker becomes a full blown laugh. She quickly composes herself and looks towards the raised platform at Aro, Marcus and Caius. “I’m sorry, sirs.”
“Do you know a witch, young Isabella?” Marcus asks. Bella smiles warmly at him.
“Yes I do, actually. I consider her one of my best friends.” Alice looks at Bella astonished. I gasp in shock. Bella simply shrugs as I notice Aro looking towards a guard member.
“Please go fetch Lucy”. The guard bows and walks away. Everyone else but Jane exits the room. She stands in one of the doorways, standing guard. I decide I should go speak with Bella. If she is friends with a witch and knows another species of Vampire, it could be very dangerous for her. I must find out more.
I walk over to her. “Is there really another species of vampire?”
Bella glances at me, her tone cold as she replies “Yes.”
My curiosity piqued, I ask her “What are they like?
She shrugs and sneers at me “Nothing like you.”
Realizing she isn’t going to elaborate, I say what is on my mind. “My leaving didn’t do you any good, did it? You truly are a danger magnet. There’s another kind of vampire and only you would find them.”
She refuses to look at me, her expression impassive. I place my hands in the pockets of my trousers and sigh, then add “Keeping company with vampires and witches can be dangerous. You must know that by now.”
She looks up at me and seethes. “Those vampires and witches are my friends, my family.” She lets out a breath. “You have no right to be judging me or who I keep company with, Edward. You don’t know shit about me or them.”
I can not believe how harsh she is being and I cringe at her filthy language. “Bella, I get it, you’re angry and you don’t want to be here. Is it really necessary to be so crude?” She leans back against the wall and crosses her legs. She closes her eyes as if to calm herself down. She opens them slightly and looks at me.
“Must you be a pompous ass?”
This conversation is going nowhere. This is not the girl I fell in love with. What happened to my sweet, innocent Bella? Her whole attitude is starting to annoy me. Doesn’t she know better than to anger a vampire?
Alice walks over to us. Her voice forlorn “So Bella, you are serious about being turned?” Both of Bella’s eyes pop open as she looks at my sister.
“Yep.” she says, emphasizing the ‘p’ sound on the end.
She is so nonchalant about the situation that it’s infuriating. I clench my jaw and ask her point blank “And how would your soul mate feel about sharing his bed with a killer?” I’m hoping this will make her see reason. What she does startles me. She chuckles and her eyes dance with mischief.
“Oh, I think he’d rather love the idea.”
Before I could respond, the wide double doors open. The guard, a woman, Marcus, Aro, and Caius enter the room.
The three rulers sit down. Aro claps his hands and calls for Alice and I to stand before them. He asks us both individually if this is what he want. He nods at our answers and calls for his witch. A woman steps out from the shadows dressed in all black. She is very pale with dark brown hair and dark as night eyes. She stands next to us, looking towards Aro.
“You may proceed Lucy.” He waves his hand towards us. She stands before me.
“Kneel” she commands.
I do as she says and she lays her hand upon my head and starts chanting in a language I do not recognize. The lights flicker and a light breeze flutters about. She chants one more thing and the breeze stops. The witch removes her hands from my head and turns towards Alice. As Alice kneels before her, she repeats the same procedure.
After removing her hands from Alice, she speaks to Aro ,”It is done, Master.” and bows her head.
“You may leave now, Lucy. Thank you.”
Aro rises from his seat to a standing position. He walks over and stands before us. “The sun has set and you may leave. I must tell you that there will be no hunting in Volterra, human or otherwise.”
He turns to Bella, “It was wonderful to meet you, Isabella. I do wish it was under more pleasant circumstances. Please contact us when you are turned. You are free to go.” He smiles gently at her. He gestures towards the door “Jane will show you out.”
Bella nods her head and says “Thank you.”
The four of us make our way down the corridor, Jane leading the way. She leads us through a maze of corridors and to a door, which opens to a lavish reception area. She turns to Bella and hands her a slip of paper.
“It’s contact information.” She then gestures to two ornate glass doors. “That is your exit. Walk out and go to your right. It will take you right to the fountain.” With that, she turns her heel and walks off.
Bella rushes to the doors and walks quickly down the alley. We follow closely behind her. When we reach the fountain, there is a group of people standing around the fountain. Their heads snap up as they see us approach. Nine pairs of eyes showing obvious signs of relief as they land on Bella. Charlie Swan is one of them. There is one pair of ice blue eyes that land upon me and Alice. The man stands, dressed in black. He radiates power and danger. As our eyes meet for the briefest moment, I see anger and malice in them and I just know it’s directed at me. He may be human, but I felt fear of him. I had no doubt he would find a way to kill me if he wanted to.
“Damon!” I hear my angel’s voice say. Bella sprints to the group as the man wearing black turns his head towards Bella. His whole demeanor instantly changes. His features soften and he smiles at her as she runs up to him throwing her arms around his neck. He wraps his arms around her waist and hugs her tightly, leaving no space between them. “Bella.” He whispers with reverence and love. He takes her face in his hands and looks into her eyes. “Are you okay, cara?”
She smiles and nods. I watch as he hugs her once again. Stroking her hair and kissing her temple. His love for her seems to overwhelm him and he gently takes her face in his hands and kisses her. Her hands go from his neck into his hair. He lets out a barely audible moan and deepens the kiss. He wraps his arms around her waist, pulling her even closer to him. It’s as if he could not get enough of her and it seems it was the same way for her. My heart breaks at the sight before me, so I glance around at the rest of the grouping.
It’s mostly people Bella’s age, with the exception of Charlie and the two adults standing with him. I take another look at Damon. I realize he looks quite a bit older than Bella. He looks to be in his mid-twenties. I shake my head at this and wonder why Charlie allows her to date someone so much older. I was waiting for Charlie to clear his throat or say something, but he never did. He just chuckled shaking his head and looked at the man standing next to him. The man shared a wry smile with Charlie. “I never thought I’d see this side of Damon.” he remarks.
“Okay, Okay!! You can snog my sister all you want later! The rest of us want a hug!” This came from a pretty blond girl as she stepped up to Bella and Damon. The kiss ends and Bella blushes that beautiful blush of hers. Why did she call Bella her sister? She has no siblings. The blond pushes Damon aside and wraps Bella in a hug, squealing in her ear. Bella just smiles happily at her. The rest of the group encroaches upon them and they all take turns hugging Bella. A brown haired girl that looks remarkably like Bella and a brawny young man stand on either side of her. She looks at Charlie. He stands before her and kisses her forehead. “What happened, Bells?”
She lets out a huff of anger and looks to us. Everyone’s eyes follow her gaze. Damon’s cold, threatening eyes land on us. It’s rather unnerving how the man could make me feel fear with one look; he then smirks maliciously at me. He knew what he was doing! Charlie and the older man standing next to him are both scowling at us with their arms crossed.
Bella huffs again and lets out a long breath. “Well…” She begins slowly. “Pixie-pire over there showed up at Charlie’s house telling me she saw me jump off a cliff and die. Then she got a vision of Edward asking to off himself. She literally kidnapped me so we could come here and save his sorry ass.” She spout this out in one breath.
“Geez Bella!! Too much of Damon has rubbed off on you!” the brown haired boy exclaims.
The blond girl snorts “Snark isn’t the only thing of Damon’s that has rubbed off on her.”
Bella then blushes as red as a beet. Damon turns towards her and winks, a proud smirk on his face. The group chuckles and Charlie pipes up, “Too much information, guys. I’d rather not know what my daughter and her boyfriend do in their private time.”
Damon smiles and wiggles his eyebrows. “Actually Papa C, we do lots of things…”
Charlie gives him a mock glare “Cut it out, Salvatore!” Damon just chuckles and pulls Bella into his arms. He kisses her cheek. “What happened with the Volturi?”
Alice finally seems to have recovered her voice. She walks closer to the group, stands with her hands on her hips, glaring at Bella. “Exactly how much have you told them about us and the Volturi, Bella? You have seen how dangerous it is for humans to know about us.”
Bella shrugs her shoulders, glances up at Damon and then turns to Alice. “They know everything, Alice.” Her tone is scornful.
Damon speaks next. “It’s not like we didn’t know about the existence of vampires before Bella told us, Tinkerbelle. Who said we were all human, anyway?” His voice drips with sarcasm and his mouth forms into a smirk. For once in my life, I am wishing I could read minds so I could know what the group is thinking. As if he could read my mind, Damon looks at me and says, “Don’t even try to read my mind, Sparkles. Your Cold One powers won’t work on us.” I feel my anger and annoyance spike as Bella smirks and looks between Alice and I.
“What exactly are you people!?” I blurt out.
“Oh my good God, You don’t know?” the blond girl shrieks out.
“No, we don’t.” Alice shrieks back.
Another young man speaks up. “How about we take it back to the hotel? This is not a conversation to have in public.”
Bella grimaces and asks bluntly “Why do we need to have a conversation with them at all?” She rolls her eyes and sighs.
“Oh come on, Damonella, don’t you want them to know we can kick their ass?” the brown headed teenager asks.
Bella spurts out a giggle and shakes her head. She smacks the boy on the back of his head “Damonella? Seriously, Jeremy?”
He laughs at her as she playfully scowls at him “What the hell is up with that?”
He grins and winks at her. There are various chuckles and giggles throughout the group.
“Maybe if you hadn’t staked Katherine, then he wouldn’t be calling you Damonella.” The brown haired girl said. Bella grins broadly.
“The bitch needed to be taught a lesson and I was more than happy to give it.”
“Bad ass” Jeremy says proudly.
I am shocked and appalled at what I’m hearing. “You find killing someone funny?” I state, outraged.
Bella shrugs and nonchantly says “I didn’t kill her, I just staked her in the stomach. She deserved it.”
Damon grins and shakes his head, “Aim for the heart next time.”
I look at the group as we continue walking through the square. I sarcastically ask “Doesn’t staking a person in the stomach usually kill them?” Bella stops in her tracks and looks at me coldly.
“Not if they are a vampire.” I laugh at her.
“You can’t stake a vampire, Bella.” I say. Alice joins in with my laughter.
“Maybe you can’t be staked, but a real vampire can.” This comes from Charlie, whose brown eyes are glowing with anger. “I would watch how you talk to Bella, Cullen. No one here will put up with your shit. You are only here because we have questions and you both have answers. Drop the condescending attitude. There’s not a soul here that wouldn’t hesitate to kick your ass. Especially after the things both you and your sister have done.” I am flabbergasted at Charlie’s demeanor towards me. “Do you understand me?” he asks and I can only nod.
We walk a short distance to the hotel. Charlie instructs everyone to wait in the lobby as he walks to the front desk. Bella and Damon follow him. Alice and I sit together on a love seat. I can feel the animosity in the air, as various people in the group glance our way. Out the corner of my eye, I see Damon take a room key from the receptionist and he and Bella head for the elevators.
I watch them until they enter the elevator and the doors close. It seems to act as a metaphor for this moment in my life; a door closed on my past.
Special thanks to Cuinawen, who beta’d this chapter.