How are we? I hope we're all well.
Here is another update and I only read over it twice because I was so excited to get this to you, so there may be a few errors so for that I'm sorry but I really really love this chapter!
Thank you all of those who have reviewed (keep it coming please!) and followed and favourited!
If any of you are new here let me know what you think, I'd love to hear it!
If anyone wants to hear more from one character let me know too and I'll see what I can do. My goodness I love this story at the moment, I have so many ideas and know exactly where I'm going with it.
Now, I have a CHALLENGE for you all! If you can comment on each chapter and let me know your favourite moment in that chapter that would be awesome! I'm doing a little tally and I'd love to hear from you!
Anyway, thanks everyone and I hope you enjoy!
"Papa what are you talking about?" I ask, my breath barely a whisper above the blood rushing through my ears. I look over at Elija, he is trying to keep a cool appearance but I know him well enough to know that he is just as shocked as the rest of us. His eyes are wide and he has sat up straighter, his spine now a wooden ruler in contrast to his slack appearance prior to this news.
My eyes sweep over the Alice, Jasper's hand sitting on her knee and his lips in a deep frown.
"I'm talking about, my dear, a glorious union between the Royal family and the Cullens." He claps his hands together and I bite my lip, my eyes now dancing over to Edward. He's watching his father with murderous angst.
The room is eerily quiet, the only sound is the ticking of the clock and the cracking of Carlisle's face as his evil smile darkens the room.
"No." Alice surprises us by standing and shaking her head, her short hair swaying. "I refuse to this." Alice stands her ground and I find my heart swelling as I watch her braveness.
"Excuse me, Alice." Carlisle says through gritted teeth his eyes daring her to stand up to him again.
"I'm not marrying Elija." She takes a small step forwards and I notice Jasper's fingers twitch as he wants to reach out to her. He wears a sad frown and his eyes are defeated.
"You dare defy me in front of the King after I have just organised a wonderful opportunity-" Carlisle's voice booms through the room and my father raises his hand to silence him.
"Please Carlisle, giver her a chance to justify herself." My father nods at Alice and gestures for her to continue speaking with patient eyes.
"Thank you, your highness. I cannot marry Elija as I'm already… I'm already engaged." Gasps fill the room, surprise written on everyone's faces other than Edward, myself and Jasper.
"What do you mean you're already engaged!?" Shouts Carlisle. I stand and take my place next to Alice. I will help her case even if it runs the risk of having my father angry at me… it's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last. Even if I have to endure his punishment.
"Jasper proposed to me and I said yes." Her voice betrays her and I hear that she's getting nervous.
"Right well, did Jasper come to ask me my permission?" Carlisle directs his gaze to Jasper who straightens his back. I discreetly wrap my arm around Alice's waist to comfort her.
"No. No Carlisle I did not."
"He asked me. And I said yes." Edward stands from where he's sitting and takes a step towards Carlisle, his features pulled into a rather intimidating appearance which causes my heart to flutter.
"You? Why would he ask you?" Carlisle snorts and paces back to where my father is standing, now with a very forlorn look upon his face.
"Probably because he knew I was looking at what would make Alice happy, rather than what would be best for you." Carlisle pulls his lips into a menacing scowl and turns away from his son to begin pacing.
"Well," he begins, taking his place once again next to papa. "Now that I know of this, I feel it is my duty for my family and the future of our families that I express my displeasure of this pending union," Alice holds her breath and I too mine. "Alice you will not be marrying Jasper. You will be marrying Elija and that is final."
Chaotic arguing fills the room as we all talk over one another. My mother and Esme both sit off to the side whispering fervently at each other while my eyes dart around the room at everyone who is now of their feet and shouting at one another.
Alice is hyperventilating by mysids while Emmett is comforting Jasper whose face has turned bright red. Edward is in Carlisle's face spitting at him with every word he says. Rosalie has her eyes pinched shut and her hands on her belly.
"Silence!" Papa's voice booms over everyone and the room is filled with an anxious quiet. "This is a carefully curated union between the royal family and the Cullens and I believe that it is in the best interests of Carlisle's family for him to decide the fate of dear Alice."
"Oh, but Papa-" I begin but his eyes turn on me in a look I've seen many times before.
"If you utter another word I assure you, you will receive punishment Bella!" I cower into myself my hands subconsciously moving to my wrists.
"Leave us, we have much to talk about." Carlisle waves us off and we all scurry out of the room, everyone besides our mothers that is.
I usher everyone quietly to follow me up the stairs and into a small drawing room where we can discuss what in the world just happened.
Emmett helps Rose into a chair with great caution and Jasper holds a mortified Alice tightly in his arms. Edward seems to be unsure as to where he should stand, we hovers beside me before looking at the chairs with debate clear in his eyes. He gives in and hits down with his elbows on his knees, hunched over while his mind turns over the recent disaster.
"What are we going to do?" I ask, receiving the confused looks of Emmett.
"I'm sorry, princess, but why are you willing to help us?" Jasper gives a light chuckle and Alice rolls her eyes. "What? What's funny?"
Rosalie chimes in, putting her hand delicately on Emmett's knee. "Please tell me you recognise her."
"What? No, have we met before?" I bite back a smile and Emmett looks as confused as Edward did when he first saw me. Clearing my throat and putting on my best english accent, the one I used when I was in the manor. It was quite funny really, the more days I spent there the more natural my accent became.
"Emmett, do you really not understand who I am?" Emmett's eyes pop so far out of his eyes that I'm worried they will fall out and roll across the floor.
"Bella! Guys it's Bella!" Despite what had just occurred in the other room, we all managed a weak chuckle.
"We know, Emmett." Says Rose, her hand resting on his thigh.
"You know, Rose?" Asks Alice as she manages to pull a sad smile to her face.
"Of course, I knew from the moment I saw her, I just didn't know if we were allowed to say anything."
We move on from the revelation of my identity once again, Emmet's face with a constant look of surprise and confusion.
We fail to come up with a solution to Carlisle and my father's stupid arrangement and are interrupted during our discussion by my brother waltzing into the room.
"There you are," He drones as he sinks into one of the unoccupied chairs by the window.
"What do you want Elija? We're busy." I say, eyeing him carefully while everyone else maintains their silence.
"Busy plotting how to ruin fathers plan of my arranged marriage?" He raises his eyebrows, telling me that he can read me like an open book. "I knew you'd be plotting and to be honest, it's a lost cause - everyone knows that once father wants something, he gets it. No arguing. No questions. Just business."
"That's not true," I counter, rising to my feet and going to stand in front of him with my eyes narrowed and arms crossed.
"Yes it is, and look Alice and I may as well get married doesn't mean we actually have to get along or be faithful to each other." He shrugs and Alice stands.
"That's not the kind of person I am, and besides," She reaches for Jasper's hand and he watches her with utter adoration. "I'm already spoken for."
"Elija, if you have nothing to tell or help us with then please, get off your hind quoters and rear your way towards the door." I snark, pulling his arm and pushing him towards the door. He chuckles as I slam the door in his face.
As the door slams against the wood I'm met with the same force of pain I'd had earlier this morning. It temporarily blinds me and I have to press my face against the cool door to collect myself. I suck short pained breaths in and my ears ring causing me to miss entirely the hurried words of Alice in my ear.
"Bella? Bella! Bella, do you want to sit down?" She takes my forearm and guides me to the armchair she was previously sitting in. As soon as I sit on the cushion, the pain is gone, just like earlier.
"Bella what's wrong?" Edward asks, kneeling down in front of me and everyone watching me with concern.
'Hmm? Nothing," I lie and of course Edward see's right through me pursing his lips and waiting for me to explain myself. With a sigh and roll of my eyes I rest my chin in my hand as I tell him the details.
"This morning I had a sharp pain but it disappeared quickly and it happened again just now… I really don't think it has been that big of a deal." I waver everyone's concerned faces off but Edward is now reaching for my face to examine my eyes.
His touch sets my heart racing and even though it is an inappropriate time I want to lean in and press my lips to his with so much passion. But I can't let that happen again.
"Well, your pupils look fine and you aren't pale. I'm not sure but I'd like to ask you a few more questions… perhaps in private?" A wave of anxiety fills my belly as he looks at the rest of our onlookers with a dismissive glance and they get up to leave.
Alice and Rosalie give me a wonder filled look and Emmett looks jolly that he now knows I'm me.
When we're left alone the only sound in the room is my erratic breathing. Even to this day Edward still makes me nervous, but in a splendid and wonderful way. Just thinking of him gets my heart racing and excited, only he and Renesme have the abilities to do that.
"What else is it? You're not telling me the whole story." He's still sitting in front of me on the floor and I gesture for him to get up off his knees.
"It was an awful pain in my stomach that ripped all the way up to my chest. It's so painful that I couldn't hear or see anything temporarily." As I speak Edward presses his fingers to my throat checking my pulse - to which he smirks at slightly as it jumps at his touch.
I watch him intently. He's so engaged with his knowledge as he counts my pulse and I find myself so incredibly attracted to his mind, to his beautifully kind hearted nature.
"Has there been any blood in your urine." He asks and I feel the mood die.
"I'm trying to determine whether or not your kidneys are healthy Bella."
"Well, I can't say I examine it but I shall next time I… well I need to excuse myself."
His hand still rests on my neck with his fingers gently stroking my collar bones sending shivers down my spine. I revel in the way his fingers travel up to my jaw and his eyes find their way to my lips. I tilt my chin up in his direction subconsciously and he leans in his lips so close to mine.
But I turn away with all the power I have.
"No Edward," I whisper. "We can't do this. I can't do this." I bite my lip to stop myself from giving into the electricity between us.
"Bella, do you not understand that we have been given a second chance? That we've been brought together again by some supernatural power, by love… we are meant to be together."
"And how is that going to work Edward? We're both married and you know very well that I can't get a divorce and Tanya will die trying to ensure you never leave her." I stand and begin to pace in front of him and he rises from his knees.
"Bella, understand that we are destined to be together. We can't be away from each other. It's not written in the stars for us to be apart."
"Since when do you follow the stars?" I scoff slightly, allowing sad humour to enter my voice and he strides towards me so we are barely a foot apart, so I can taste his minty breath on my tongue.
"Since I walked into Versailles and saw the love of my life alive, healthy and standing there looking so god damned beautiful." He grabs my hand almost forcefully and presses it to his chest so I can feel his heart beating. "My heart has been dead, still and broken for nearly a year Bella. And as soon as I saw you again my heart started again. This is what you do to me, I don't worship you for your body I worship your soul, your heart, your mind. I love you. Why are you fighting me?" His face is pained as I feel myself breaking him again.
I'm rendered speechless from his words and try to think of the reason why we can't be together.
I'm married - well, that's not important; how many women have taken lovers?
He's married - to a witch.
I've his child… and he has his own, with another woman.
Our families will be in rival. How will the servants at the Manor think of me? I can't stay at the palace if we manage to unite somehow nor can I go to the Manor.
"Edward, it just doesn't work. Do you think I want to be with Felix? He is repulsive! When he touches me… I have to think of you, of your hands, of your lips otherwise I find myself sick to the stomach." I confess with sadness, thinking of how difficult the first few months of my marriage were before I learnt to think of Edward when I could to make it seem as though I was happy.
"Bella we can do this. We'll think of a way. I'll think of a way." A hopeful smile adorns his face. A true smile and he drops my hand gently from his chest, raising it to his lips and kissing my knuckles before leaving me in the room alone.
When I leave straightening my dress carefully and beginning to walk to my room to freshen up quickly before luncheon when I bump into Tanya. Fear and anger ripples through me like lava.
"Oh, I'm so terribly sorry princess." Tanya says curtsying in front of my and I feel a sick smile rising to my face as I realise I have power over he.
"Quite alright, I was distracted. It was my fault."
"I was wondering, have you seen my husband Edward? I'm not quite sure where he's disappeared to." She asks, looking around the gallery surrounding us.
"No, sorry I haven't, he left with the others. I was just in the room resting my feet."
She pears at me with squinted eyes, her golden hair catching in the noon light from a lead light window.
"Forgive me from saying so, but you look so oddly familiar… have we ever possibly bumped into each other some other time perhaps at a ball?"
"No." I dismiss her quickly, beginning to walk away effectively ending our conversation. "I've never been to England."
The day passes awkwardly with everyone avoiding each other and myself avoiding Edward like the plague.
Every time we come close to each other or he tries to catch my attention I scurry off in the opposite direction. He's frustrated, and heaven knows so am I but I've made up my mind.
I never thought I'd say it but Edward is wrong; it's not written in the stars for us to be happy, we've made our bed and I've washed the sheets… I just hope he's washed his.
"Bella," asks Alice, poking her head around the corner of the library, her eyes scanning to make sure she's not interrupting.
"Yes, Alice. Is everything okay?" I close my book placing my handkerchief inside to make sure I don't lose my place and rise to go to her. I notice she's holding a a dress in her arms, it's one I made for her and I can't escape my smile.
"Do you have time to fix my dress? You see I accidentally tore a hole at the bottom when I put my heel through it." She shifts the fabric around finding the small tear luckily placed at a seam.
"Of course," I laugh, taking it from her grasp and signalling for her to follow me upstairs and through a few corridors to a room I've stolen to make my sewing room.
It's larger than the one at the manor though it doesn't look like it. I have a wall with rolls upon rolls of fabric and my sewing machine by the large window which faces onto the gardens. Mirrors position themselves around the room and the cupboard where I store my artworks is open coincidentally showing a few dresses of the same pattern I'd made for Alice.
I gesture for Alice to take a seat and she deliberates before accepting whereas I take my seat at my desk, fiddling with a needle and thread.
"So, where did you go after you left the manor?" I hold my place, looking up at her with sad eyes
"I'm not sure that's such a good story to tell now Alice." I sigh, returning to my work.
"Please? I'm desperate to know Bella, no matter how sad, scary or difficult." She watches me with big doe eyes and I feel myself crumble under her gaze.
Thanks everyone for the love! Don't forget about the CHALLENGE! I'd love to know what you think!