Heavy in Your Arms I
If there was ever an unfair mistress in the world, it would be life herself. You see, there are moments that happen in life, small and seemingly minuscule occurrences compared to the grand scheme of fate's design. It's hard to comprehend that those occurrences could somehow and someway build up together and create some major altering event, one that holds the power to completely modify the axis and very rotation of your world. For me, this was one of those moments and one that I was in no way shape or form ready to deal with.
I felt my tattered and worn black converse shoes move against the archaic and weathered cobblestones, although how I was able to move my body forward truly beyond me. My whole being, my mind, my soul or what was left of it was aching and void of any feeling as I was dealing with the strain of a ridiculously strong emotional whiplash. To my right, my best friend and pixie extraordinaire walked silently beside me. No words fell from her mouth but I could feel her concerned glances she shot at me as she noticed my increasing fatigue with every step. To my left, the man I had once loved with every fiber of my beating heart walked, his gaze fixated onto me. I could not move my eyes to meet his desperate gaze. How could I? He had left me. Thrown me aside as if I was trash, nothing but a hinderance and a burden to everyone I had thought was family.
Despite my feelings of unprecedented hatred for the person who had left me so shattered, I could not bear for his family to suffer an eternity of pain due to his once more selfish acts. Despite my initial feelings that had come up when Alice shared her vision with me after our fateful and rather embarrassing reunion, I had agreed to go with her to rescue the most selfish and immature vampire in existence, and it had not gone without a cost.
While I had stopped Edward from exposing himself to the humans, the act itself did not go unnoticed by the Volturi guard, who now had expressed the need of a meeting. It did not take a genius to know that it was because of my involvement as a human and a concern about exposure that our presence had been requested and now my future was in the hands of ancient vampires, who likely would be less than enthused to know of the events that led to this point.
As Edward, Alice, Jane, Demetri, Felix and I all got into the elevator, I sighed in annoyance as I felt myself be pushed closer against Edward. He reached out and pulled me into this iceberg of a chest before running his nose throughout my hair, closing his eyes in bliss.
"Do not worry, my love. It will all be okay." He murmured softly in a way that had once calmed my nerves and would have acted like a natural tranquilizer. However, not to my surprise, all I could feel was anger. How dare he speak to me in this way after everything he had put me through? I pulled back sharply from his grasp, obviously taking him and Alice both by surprise as I distanced myself as much as possible and crossed my arms tightly, clenching my jaw tightly as I didn't trust myself to speak.
Not soon enough, the doors of the elevator opened and I found my feet moving past Jane as there was only one set of doors at the end of the corridor and it was obvious as to where the destination was. I felt Alice's cool hand rest against the small of my back, urging me to slow down my pace. My curious eyes shot to hers, who looked back at me with nothing but love and concern.
"Bella, please. Stay close to me. Your future just went blank and I cannot, will not lose you know that I have you back in my life." she murmured out softly and I felt myself relax under her touch. While it had been true that Alice had also left me, she had at least come back and was being honest with me. She at least wasn't treating me like a child. I knew I should still be livid with her as I was with Edward, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Staying mad at Alice was nearly an impossible task. It always had been and likely would always would be. For some odd reason I felt it in my bones that perhaps I was not the only one had fallen victim to Edward's games. It is true that my self-preservation had always been lacking but I knew that I made up for it with my intuition and my intuition was screaming loud and clear, something about this was all wrong.
"Okay, Alice. I trust you." I heard myself reply back earning a grateful and reassured smile from Alice who simply moved her hand down from my back to intertwine our fingers with one hand, the other pushing the large wooden doors open with relative ease.
My eyes moved around the relatively large and decorative circular room, and I felt my heartrate increase somewhat significantly as my eyes locked onto the ancient vampires who sat on their assigned and rather ornate decorated thrones. I watched their movements with caution as I saw their scarlet eyes and knew that they drank from humans. The thought that I was very well on the menu caused a sinking feeling begin in my stomach. Was this the reason why my future went blank, was this my foretold and fateful death? On their own accord, my fingers tightened against Alice's, and she pulled me closer to her so our shoulders were practically touching.
"Ah, little Alice. What a surprise to see you in Volterra, though I wish it was under better and more pleasant circumstances." The vampire spoke with a tight smile as he rose from his baroquely designed stone throne and made his way forward, stopping only about a foot away from me.
My eyes took in his appearance. He looked very much unlike the Cullens and not just due to his clouded vermilion eye color. I knew as a vampire he would be pale but I found him to be even more pallid than the Cullens. His skin appeared to be almost delicately bleached, and I wondered if he was more fragile than my former family. His long inklike hair contrasted greatly against his snow like skin.
"I do apologize, where are my manners? Welcome to Volterra, Isabella. My name is Aro and I am one of the three kings of the Volturi. Behind me are my brothers Marcus and Caius." He paused as he motioned to each of them who simply nodded politely, their curious gazes fixated on me. I met their gaze and offered a small smile before my eyes darted to the left and found a woman standing in the corner. I felt my heartbeat still for just a moment as I looked deeply into her carmine eyes. She stood at about 5'3 in height, and had long light layered brown hair that cascaded down to the small of her back. She wore black slacks and a wine red colored corset, covered by an open satin black robe with matching red and white articulate designs running up the sleeves.
' Oh my good god, she is absolutely stunning even for a vampire. I think she could even give Rose a run for her money.' I thought to myself as I watched her head tilt to the side quixotically as she sucked her bottom lip between her teeth and nibbled in apparent deep contemplation before exiting the room, quickly and suddenly ushered by Jane, who looked over at Edward with pure hatred. I felt my eyebrows furrow at her reaction, what was that all about?
Alice seemed to sense my distress over the emotions I was feeling while staring at the departing gorgeous but obvious lethal being and she moved her thumb against the top my hand in small circles, obviously in an attempt to reassure and calm my nerves. This small act of reassuring affection did not go unnoticed by Edward though, whose golden eyes instantly began to darken, resembling obsidian in just a matter of moments. His deep warning growl built up from his chest and escaped through snarling lips causing Alice to shoot him a rather disapproving look.
"There is no reason to be acting in such a manner, Edward. I suggest you calm down. This is hardly the place for this conversation. Besides, all of this is a direct outcome of your decisions after all. If you desire to be mad at someone, I suggest you look in a mirror." she uncharacteristically snapped at Edward, who rolled his eyes.
"No, we are in this position because of you and your faulty gift. If you been able to accurately see the future for once, I wouldn't have responded the way I did." he retorted with a huff and I felt my hand grip tightly against Alice's as anger began to build up within me, my eyes finally leaving the direction of where the vampire had been across the room to glare at Edward with pure disdain. How dare he talk so poorly of Alice and try and place the blame of this situation on her? Almost sensing how close I was to shattering every bone in my hand from punching his stupidly perfect face, Alice only held me closer, stopping my premediated movements entirely.
"I wouldn't have needed to see her future at all if you had not been a fool and forced us all to leave her without a second thought. I told you it was an arrogant and ignorant decision and you did not heed my warnings." She retorted back and suddenly the realization of her statements were simply too much to bear. I snatched my hand away from Alice with strength I did not know I possessed and shoved my hand through my hair. Was this true? Had they truly not wanted to leave me after all? Had it all been a rouse, nothing more than a game?
My spur of the moment action caused Alice to tear her now darkening orbs to meet my own, confusion laced across her face. Did she not realize the bomb that she had just dropped on me?
"You- you wanted to stay? Edward told me that you all were leaving because you were tired of me. That I was no good for you. That you all were tired of having to act human to appease me. He said… he said I wasn't wanted." I found myself admitting through slightly trembling lips as Alice's eyes widened at my admission before once more shooting daggers at her brother with her eyes. I heard her snarl for the first time, and watched as a shimmering liquid began to drip down the corners of her lips with curiosity.
Alice was about ready to launch herself at Edward in an apparent fit of rage when Aro cleared his throat, causing all of us to focus our attention back to the more pressing matters at hand.
"Alice. Edward. It appears as if there is some sort of discord that does indeed need to be addressed but this is hardly the time or the manner in which to do so," Aro paused as both Alice and Edward lowered their heads sheepishly and apologized, " Now then. Edward, while we were prepared to allow you to leave after your little failed stunt, knowing that you not only exposed a human to our world but then left her and did not assume responsibility forces me have to reconsider my previous gracious offer."
I looked at Alice felt myself trying to communicate a thousand different words to her as her eyebrows furrowed in thought. I knew she was frantically trying to look into my future and I was stalling as I refused to make a concrete decision until the very last minute. As much as I loathed Edward, I knew that I was the catalyst to this situation. If I did not do anything, then he surely would fall to the hands of the Volturi and I did not want the family to have to suffer because of him. While they had left me, it became obvious that I had been correct, they all were pawns in his game too and if I let him die, he would be getting off too easy and more than anything, I wanted him to suffer and there was only one way I was positive I could make him hurt, hurt more than he hurt me.
It was more than just revenge I was seeking though. Granted, I knew that I would never see Charlie again or Jake. My life would be over as I knew it. But more than anything I wanted him to be forced to live and deal with the consequences of his immature and selfish actions. No longer would he be able to run and escape from the outcome of his decisions. I knew that Alice would likely be upset but I loved and cared for her enough to do what needed to be done to spare her pain. She may be livid at Edward now, but he was her brother and I simply could not be the reason why the family was torn apart. I moved my gaze back to Aro and took a couple of tentative steps forward, watching as his eyebrows raised in surprise.
"Aro, please. I ask humbly that you remove the Cullens from this equation. They may have made mistakes and broken laws but I am prepared to correct all of it and gladly will if you swear that you will spare them" I said with as much strength a devotion that I could muster.
"Bella, no! You don't have any idea what you are saying! Please, we are not worth this!" She screamed and attempted to rush forward to secure me back to her side but was stopped as Demetri reached out and gripped her tightly by her neck, effectively stopping in her tracks, her golden orbs widened with pure fright.
"What is your proposal, young one?" He asked with fascination as he watched the scene unfolding in front of him with awe.
"If I am turned, then no laws will have been broken. Is that a correct assessment?" I found myself asking, forcing myself to not try and comfort my obviously distressed best friend.
"That would be correct, however, knowing that the Cullens have already abandoned you in the past, I would not feel comfortable with you leaving with them and have them watch over you during your unstable and chaotic newborn years. Being turned would correct the crimes and the Cullens would be free to go, but you would need to stay here at least for a few years until I am positive that you could leave this castle without losing control and breaking our laws of conformity." He stated after a few moments of thought, causing Edward to roar loudly, the rather animalistic sound echoing off of the chamber walls. I felt myself flinching at the sound and heard a new growl take place from somewhere in the castle, but not currently in the room.
" She is my mate, and you cannot take her from me. That is one of the laws too, is it not?" He yelled at Aro, causing his eyes to flicker from mine to his.
" I find it rather intriguing that you claim this human to be your mate when you left her alone? Surely you understand that mates would not be able to inflict that amount of pain onto their own." He reasoned with a shake of his head, causing Edward to become more frantic.
" Regardless of the pain it caused, I did it because of my extreme devotion to her. I did it to protect her." He argued back and I felt my eyes roll in annoyance. I had just about enough of the Cullen's misguided attempts to protect me.
"Come closer then, young Edward. Time will tell the truth. I can see that miss Isabella is dead on her feet and I see no reason to make her suffer any longer." He instructed and Edward blinked a few times before walking forward and placing his hand into Aro's, who closed his eyes.
"Ah, what a shame. You are so blinded by her being your La tua cantante that you yourself are not able to see what her fate would be. Or have you known this truth the entire time and manipulated the family to ensure your desires are not disrupted? That is the only way Alice would not have seen this vision come to be, isn't that so?" he asked with a sigh in disappointment and let Edward's hand fall from his own and reached for my own, to which I complied.
"Edward, how could you? We are supposed to be family! If I had known the truth and if you had plagued havoc with my visions, I never would have pushed Bella to be with you in the first place!" Alice yelled at her brother, her golden orbs filled with betrayal and venom that would never be able to fall. I felt my eyebrows furrow in confusion but there was no time to ask what it all meant. My gaze moved back to Aro, who reopened his murky crimson eyes and he released his hand from my own.
"My, what an interesting turn of events. I am unable to see anything. In light of these events, I will let the Cullens go with nothing but a warning if you are willing to stay here with me and be turned. If you decline, then I am sorry to say that you will have to die. I simply cannot bend the rules for you. If I did, then I would have to do the same for every vampire who broke our laws. You understand, do you not?" He asked and I found myself nodding.
" You have my word." I confirmed before looking over my shoulder to meet Alice's distraught face, " I promise, everything will be okay, Alice, even if you cannot see it. This is the only way you get to keep me as part of your life. Trust me, I know what I am doing." I tried to soothe and she simply sighed.
"I am so sorry, Bella. I didn't see any of this happening. I didn't want this for you, not like this. If I would have known, I never would have asked you to come here. Please, Aro. I know that we are in no position to be making requests but I implore you, do not hurt her. She did nothing to deserve this." she pleaded as her eyes locked onto Aro's beseechingly.
"Please be calm, little one. No harm will come to her while she is under my care, I can assure you. Young Isabella is far too precious and valuable to hurt in anyway shape or form. You are always welcome to visit for as long as you desire or call during her newborn years. I have no interest in keep you from each other. Given everything, I don't believe I would have the power to even do so" Aro reassured and Alice finally nodded before relaxing slightly against the hold of the Volturi member.
"Very well. Now then, come with me young one and we will get you situated and ready for the change." He grinned.
I took exactly one step forward when I heard Edward scream out my name. I turned around in fear and surprise as he dodged the grasp of Felix and was reaching out to me.
" If I cannot have her, then no one will!" he growled out and I watched his hand reaching out for me, his venom dripping off the edges of his teeth, his eyes black as night. As there was nothing else, I could do, I simply closed my eyes and waited for the fateful impact. I laughed at the irony of this situation. I guess it was true what they say. No good deed ever goes unpunished.
I've never given much thought to how I would die. But dying in the place of the family I love seems like a good way to go. So, I can't bring myself to regret the decisions to leave home and finding myself preparing for my inevitable death in Italy.
Much to my surprise though, rather than feeling the sharp pain of teeth into my skin, I felt a pair of cool soft hands pick me up and run out of the throne room as the door flung open and crashed against the stone wall.
My eyes shut tightly as they could not stay open due to speed of which I was being carried. I found myself gripping satin robes tightly and buried my nose deep into the fabric, breathing in an oddly comforting smell of parchment and rose. I realized that we were no longer running and for the first time, my eyes opened and I looked up at the person who had saved me. It was none other than the gorgeous vampire I had first seen back in the throne room. Her eyes were dark as night, and her jaw was tightly clenched as she reached out with a free hand, opening a dark oak door and quickly walking in, shutting the door behind her with her right foot.
The room I found myself in was immaculate. There were several bookshelves from the floor the ceiling, completely filled with various hardbacked books. The hardwood floors were covered with luxurious red and gold colored rugs. There was a king sized poster bed, fitted with gold colored satin sheets and onyx designs, with long sheer covers hanging elegantly from the frame, tied neatly against the posts with a satin ribbon. I watched with curiosity as the vampire sat me down on the bed gently before briskly walking over to the nearby fire place and carefully starting a fire. The warmth and comfort that came from the dancing flames helped me to relax and I let out a breath that I did not know I was holding.
At the sound of my sigh, the stunning vampire turned her head and walked over to the bed, sitting next to me as she pulled me against her body, her nose burying itself in my wavy brown locks as she breathed in deeply over and over again, all in the while emitting a very loud purring sound, similar to that Alice had made when we were relaxed and away from Edward.
Eventually after a few moments the vampire pulled back slightly and opened her now crimson eyes to look deep into mine.
" Are you alright, Isabella? Are you hurt? Do you require substance or beverage?"
Stunned by her beautiful and velvet like tone, I could only gaze into her eyes, my tongue and mouth unable to function to create any words for a few moments as I gaped up at her.
"I- I am fine, thanks to you. I think you may have saved my life." I found myself able to say after a few embarrassing moments of silence.
"I simply could not bear to see you hurt. When I sensed from the hallway that pitiful boy move towards you with malice, there was no time for second thoughts. You needed to be away from him. I apologize greatly if I scared you."
"Who- who are you?" I finally found myself able to ask as she moved her fingers down across my check, stirring up a feeling that I had yet to feel begin to build up in my lower stomach.
" My name is Chelsea. I am devoted to the Volturi guard. I have the ability to manipulate and control bonds with everyone, with the exception of you." She replied quickly as she obviously saw the apprehension dance across my eyes, concerned that I had just become a pawn in a new game.
" No shock there, Edward couldn't read my mind either. He claimed that it was because we were mates but I am beginning to think that he lied, just like he did about everything else." I replied rather bitterly, and I felt a deep rumble begin in her throat.
" That fool. How dare he attempt to taint something as phenomenal as the mating bonds. You are nothing to him but a singer, which simply means your blood appeals to him greatly and in ways that are nearly impossible to fight against. You should count your blessings that he did not give in already and drain you. The fate of a singer is rarely a pleasant one." she growled out once more, and ran a comforting hand up and down my back, causing my muscles to relax under her fingertips.
"Well, that explains so much. I feel like I am such a fool for not realizing this sooner. Is this why he can't read me and why he refuses to allow me to be changed?" I asked after studying her for a few moments. While it was true that I had just met her, I felt as if I could trust her, so I had to ask.
" Yes and no. He would not have wanted you to be turned because the moment you were, your blood would no longer exist and thus you would lose your appeal to him. It's difficult to say what his intention was. If I had to guess though, his plan was likely to dazzle you until you reached old age and then at that time, drained you to satisfy the calling of your blood." She murmured and I felt myself shudder at her words, causing her to pause for a few moments to try and calm back me down, " The other half of your question is that you likely possess some sort of shield. Perhaps a mental one. There is no other reason why he would not have been able to read your mind or why I would not have been able to view your bonds back in the courtroom."
"Oh, oh Alice! Please tell me she is okay. I have no make sure…" I was cut off as her words reminded me of what had just occurred a few moments prior. Chelsea gripped me tighter and I suddenly had no desire to move at all except, if possible, to be closer to her. She let out another approving purr as I nuzzled into the crook of her neck, powerless to stop my actions. I had been starving for this type of affection for months and now that it was readily available, I could not deny it, no matter how much my brain was trying to tell me how foolish I was being.
"I swear on my very existence, Alice is fine. She was escorted out of the room to our guest chambers on the other side of the castle. She is going to stay here, and then call the rest of the Cullens to join. They will all need to be present for the trial, which will take place after you awaken from the change. Unfortunately, his decision to try and kill you is now in question and he has been restrained and is in the dungeons. I do not want you to be near him while you are a human, which is why we are waiting until after your change to judge his fate. You are not safe otherwise. So please, I beg of you. Do not leave my sight." She whispered and I couldn't help but look into her eyes and easily recognized a sense of longing.
"Chelsea… what are you not telling me?" I found myself whisper, trying to suppress back a yawn. Despite my efforts, the effects of the last twenty four hours and truthfully, the past six months were beginning to catch up to me and the fatigue was finally taking its toll. She seemed to notice this and quickly laid me down after pulling back the covers to tuck me in before she laid next to me above the covers.
"There is much we need to discuss but that is for tomorrow. For now, I want you to sleep and let your mind heal from all this emotional distress. I promise, you will be fine. I will be here when you awake and you will not leave my sight. You and Alice are both safe. Now, please. Sleep." Chelsea whispered out as she placed a feather like kiss onto my forehead and I found myself instinctively rolling into her embrace as she laid above the covers, and let out a peaceful and content sigh before the inevitable grasp of sleep finally took hold.