Last chaplet. I can't say enough to show how much I truly cherish all of the kind words and love for this story. I never expected this kind of huge response and I appreciate everyone who has read/reviewed/alerted this story. You are the best!
This isn't beta'd, pre-read, or had anyone look at it but me. Sorry for the mistakes. Lots of fluff that came from a dream I had and turned into this. Sort of-kind of based on Ancient Rome, but mostly made up. Completed in 8 chaplets.
Volturi City, Volterra
Vinalia Rustica, 422 BC
Isabella sat sweating as the August sun beat down on the arena. Before her, gladiators fought to the death for the entertainment of thousands. Her stomach churned as men ripped one another apart piece by piece. She did not care for this kind of so-called game. It was horrifying to her. Overcome with the sweltering temperatures and violent spectacle in front of her, she wished she could go back to the grape harvesting that had been performed earlier in the day in honor of the holiday.
Esme placed a hand on Isabella's arm. "If you are feeling unwell you might wish to return to the palace for the afternoon." Isabella looked at Esme's expression. Her peaceful smile gave nothing away, but Isabella had grown to suspect these were the times Esme was hiding a vision of hers.
Isabella nodded and rose, careful of how the fabric of her toga shifted around her. She had a secret she would not be able to keep for much longer, but would keep her silence as long as possible. Isabella already had an inkling Esme knew, but was keeping quiet for now.
Her feet carried her swiftly to the palace while her mind whirled. Four long months with only reports of heavy fighting weighed heavily on her. There was no word on how Edward fared and her nights were plagued with nightmares of his gruesome death. The last news from the fighting at the northern border was several weeks ago and she could not decide if this was good news or bad.
With a heavy sigh, Isabella lowered herself onto the bed she'd so briefly shared with Edward and hesitantly let sleep take her. A few hours later Isabella woke, crying once again from her terrible dreams - this time the Quileutes had ripped Edward apart, limb by limb, and burned his body, and was relieved to feel the slight drop in temperature as the sun lowered in the sky. She wiped her eyes and strolled onto the balcony, welcoming the breeze on her flushed skin. Her dress flattened against the small rounding of her belly that had just started to show three weeks prior. Isabella smiled and laid a hand on it. The babe she and Edward had created was blossoming within her. Her heart sang with joy at the signs that all was well with the child's development in her womb.
"Beauty?" Edward's voice yelled out and Isabella spun to face the room. Her heart was in her throat, had she truly heard her love's voice?
"Edward?" she called back and heard pounding footsteps coming closer. A sob broke from her lips when Edward appeared dusty and dirty with unruly, long hair brushing his shoulders, and at least a month's worth of a beard covering his jaw. He was still the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
"Edward!" she cried and ran, throwing herself into his open arms. "You are here and safe!"
"Aye, beauty. It is done and the Quileutes have surrendered to our empire. I am home, my love."
Tears flowed freely down Isabella's cheeks though she grinned widely. Happiness burst in her heart at being reunited with Edward again. She turned her face and peppered kisses along his cheek and jaw, aiming for his mouth as her final destination. Their lips pressed together and she melted in his arms with a contented sigh.
Edward ran his tongue along the seam of her lips, begging entrance that was joyfully granted. The taste of Edward on her tongue made a shiver of pleasure race down her spine. She tightened her grip in his hair and pulled herself flush with his body.
Edward jerked his head up and stared at Isabella with wide eyes. "Beauty, you feel … different?"
She giggled and arched into him, letting Edward feel her bump fully. "You mean this?"
"Is there … a babe in your womb?"
"Aye, my love. Your son or daughter grows within me."
Edward shouted out a laugh and scooped Isabella up into his arms. "Then you, my love, must be waited on hand and foot. After all, you are protecting the future Cullen heir with your body." He gently laid her down onto their bed and joined her, snuggling close despite his need to bathe. Edward shifted a hand to cover the small bump of Isabella's stomach.
"Our child flourishes from the shelter you give it, beauty. Tis my turn to care for you both. I am sorry to have missed even a day of your increasing, but nothing will part us now."
Isabella pressed her palm to his cheek. "You cannot know that, Edward. The empire may need you before or even after the child is born."
He shook his head. "Nay, nothing will take me from your side. You and the babe will have my unyielding protection. I have resigned my post with the end of this war. The empire has legions of soldiers able to protect it, but five years ago you stole the heart and the allegiance of this soldier. I am yours, just as you are mine, beauty."
Isabella smiled through her tears and kissed the solider who'd stolen her heart all those years ago. Edward was right; she was his as much as he was hers. Despite the titles they held now and in the future, he would always be her soldier and she would be his princess.
And that concludes this little story. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. You are the best readers in the fandom! Thoughts?