Sorry as always for taking so long to update.
Unsignificant rant incoming: I actually continued to write for my other "project" (calling it a story isn't quite justified just yet). I had a story line all planned out but then I scratched it because I thought I had -the- idea. It seemed super interesting at the time (and it still is... I think) but it messes a bit with the actual real life time line. At first that didn't really bother me but then I realized just how much I would have to move events either into the future or the past. Long story short I don't want to mess up history more than I already do in that Jane/Bella project. Soo... I scratched that as well. Now I'm unsure if I should just continue with the old storyline or think of something completely different... So I gotta think about that some more.
ANYWAY: That's way this update took me this long to post.
This is quite an important chapter because it may or may not set the tone for future events.
Enjoy. Feel free to PM me or leave a review and tell me what you think.
All mistakes are mine - as always.
I can still feel her eyes on me long after Jane shut the door behind her. This must seem like the ultimate betrayal to her, but I have to listen to what Alice and the rest have to say.
They wouldn't risk coming here if it wasn't something important.
A few minutes after Jane left though, everyone but Edward and Alice also get up and make their way towards the door.
My eyebrows crinkle in confusion. "Wha- Where are you going? I thought this is important!"
The vampires just give me half apologetic, half encouraging smiles. A soft click sounds through the room as the door shuts behind them.
For a minute or two no one dares to disrupt the silence.
Alice and Edward are clearly thinking about how to start explaining their sudden visit. Or at least they better be.
I raise an eyebrow expectantly, crossing my arms and leaning back on the sofa. Finally Edwards sighs and runs his right hand through his bronze-colored hair.
"Bella, look, I know you think you've found your mate in that blonde bi-" Noticing my angered look and the slight huff that escapes my lips as I ready myself to leap to Jane's defense, the vampire quickly corrects himself. "I mean, in Jane. But we really, genuinely care about you. We want what's best for you. I want what's best for you. Living here with the Volturi isn't going to make you happy, Bella. It's dangerous. You have to come home with me."
That's why they're here? They don't like Jane? Or rather the whole Volturi clan?
No, that can't be everything. Edward might be conceited enough to believe I would come home with him if he only asks but the others can't be that blinded.
I straighten myself. This is going to be a difficult conversation for both Edward and I apparently.
"Look, I appreciate your concern but..." Before I can continue laying out all the reasons why living with Jane could never be something I'd regret, Alice interrupts me holding up a small hand. Her black hair bops softly back and forth as she shakes her head clearly frustrated about something.
"No, no, Bella. This isn't what this is about!" She then throws an annoyed look at Edward. "Just… let me talk, okay? Think about out priorities again while you listen."
Alice turns back to me and gives me a small smile. I've really missed her these… two days I've already been here.
"It's good to see you, Bella. You kind of seem to glow actually." Her grin turns teasing. I can feel a small blush making its way across my face. Happily thinking about crimson eyes and beautiful blonde hair I need a few moments to be able to focus on our conversation again.
"What have you seen, Alice? I know it must be serious. Where did the others go?"
I want to ask about another thousand questions, but Alice effectively stops the incoming flood of sentences by grabbing my hands and squeezing them reassuringly.
"The others went on a little walk together, out of earshot specifically."
My eyebrows knit in confusion. Why should they go somewhere they can't hear us on purpose?
Just then something Jane said trickles into my mind. Realization dawns on my face. Aro knows everything you ever thought about just by touching you. She doesn't want the Volturi to know what we talk about.
My gaze flitters to Edward at that. Alice seems to notice my look and starts explaining. "Edward already knows. I couldn't exactly keep it a secret from him for obvious reasons."
"Why wouldn't Aro just read his mind then? That seems like the most logical choice anyway."
Edward snorts and leans back on the couch. "Yes, that is a good question. We hoped you could help with that. Seeing as they haven't insisted on reading my mind yet – or anyone's for that matter – you did a pretty good job so far."
"Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to tell them? These old guys don't really seem like the type to listen to the human they've met twice so far. Especially since they definitely know that something's up with you dragging me away from Jane to 'catch up'."
Jane… I miss her. We've only been parted a short while, but my body seems to long for whenever we're not close. How am I going to explain this to her?
Another brush of Alice's hand takes me back to the present before my thoughts are completely consumed by my mate.
"We can figure that out later. Now you have to listen to me, Bella."
Her eyes seem to bore into mine almost pleadingly. Whatever it is it has the black-haired vampire really worried. A feeling of dread wells up inside of me but also warmth. The Cullens are genuinely concerned. Maybe I am part of their family.
"In my vision you decided to let Jane turn you. They… the Volturi uhm… everyone was really considerate- it was pretty intimate and sweet. You looked happy."
My confusion only grows. Are they here to be part of that? But that doesn't justify storming the castle like this.
"Bella, you can't let that happen!" Alice's voice turns urgent, pleading, desperate. "You can't let her turn you. Something bad will happen. Leaving here is the only chance to prevent that."
Horror makes its way onto my face. The idea of never being able to be a true mate to my blonde vampire…
I shake my head vehemently. "Alice, I know I might not be ready for it right now, but you can't be seriously suggesting that I leave her. I won't do that – not after years of searching." I take a moment to further contemplate. "And she won't let you take me away either. No, Alice, I love and trust you but that's not an option."
Everyone is silent. Alice and Edward seem to be frozen, unmoving, not breathing, not blinking – like two statues out of a Greek museum.
"What horrible thing is going to happen, Alice? Why can't Jane and I protect each other? We're both strong after the transformation."
The tiny vampire just shrugs. "You don't understand. There is no 'after the turning'. You just… vanish."
"What do you mean 'vanish'?"
"I don't think you'll transform into a vampire, Bella."
Stupid bunny munchers. I grumble silently. They won't take her. They won't convince her to go with them. She's my mate. She can't live without me.
Not for the first time I contemplate how strongly Isabella is able to feel the bond connecting us. She is still a human. Maybe she can live without me.
"Tsk… I will pull his pathetic teeth next time I'll see him. He doesn't need them anyway."
I knock more forcefully than I originally intended on the throne room's door and a loud boom sounds across the otherwise empty hallways.
As usual I don't wait until something can be heard from the other side but enter immediately coming face to face with my masters.
"Jane! We didn't expect to see you so soon. Where are our… guests and your dear Bella?"
I grit my teeth in anger though at the same time try to keep most of the feeling away from my voice.
"They wanted a… private moment to 'catch up', master. I left Alec in front of the room."
The three kings exchange glances with each other ultimately turning their attention back to me one by one.
There is no one else in the room. Typically, there would be at least half a dozen guards positioned throughout it but apparently my masters don't bother with keeping up that kind of appearances right now.
"Jane, there is something you must know." I straighten myself and nod attentively. Normally they wouldn't inform single guards about recent developments, but rather organize a meeting with a task group or every vampire in the castle, so whatever it is has to be related to my mate.
"You are already aware of our continued search for the last children of the moon. There are several packs still scattered around the world, most of them centered in the American continent though." I nod. My brother and I get regularly tasked with eliminating another pack or lone wolves.
"Recent reports show that there have been sightings in Italy."
"Near Florence and their tracks get closer. We cannot determine their numbers yet but it can be assumed there is a significant amount of members in this pack, maybe even an alliance between several."
Aro looks me sharp in the eye. All traces of his normal mirth and shenanigans are gone. Only the face of a stoic leader remains.
"We think it most… curious that the Cullens would arrive at a time like this – under such an unbelievable ruse no less."
"You think, they arrived here to lead an attack against us? With werewolves?"
Caius and Aro nod. Marcus looks a bit unsure but doesn't speak up or give any other indication about his disbelieve or lack thereof.
"Indeed. It sounds quite ridiculous, doesn't it? But Charlisle always despised our way of living, always making his anger and disappointment known. The mind reader boy wants Bella to be his mate, but he knows you would never let her go. They have always sympathized with wolf-creatures, be that shape-shifters or actual werewolves.
"Why don't you just read Charlisle's mind? Or the mind reader's?"
Aro looks thoughtful for a moment but ultimately shakes his head. "No, we thought about that as well. But right now, we have an advantage with them assuming we don't know about their plans."
A sick realization comes to the forefront of my mind. "Do you- do you think Isabella knows about this?"
All three kings are silent for a moment. At last Marcus speaks up. "I don't think so. You're her mate, Jane, and she is unwilling to harm you in any way. Her feelings for you – the bond between you – both of those are real. I can see that much. She seems suspicious but most of it stems from her need to protect her friends."
I only voice my agreement but at the same time can't shake the sliver of doubt that has manifested itself within me.
"What do you want me to do then? Shall I bring them here for execution?"