A/N: This is my very first fic!!! Feel free to critique but please be nice :) Chapter one is mostly plot... the good stuff starts next chapter, so read on! and comment!
The sun shone steadily through the floor-to-ceiling window of Edward's room, and if Bella had her eyes open, she would have seen it glinting off his skin like thousands of tiny diamonds.
"They're here" Edward gasped as he sat up, breathing heavily. Bella squeaked as she began to fall sideways off his couch, displaced from the sure stone circle of his arms; one shot out and caught her waist midair.
"The Volturi?" she asked when her heart had restarted, terrified voice tinged with anticipation. He said nothing, and that was answer enough. Carlisle and Alice were suddenly in the doorway talking so quickly that Bella didn't even try to understand. The arm that had caught her now crushed her to his side; she didn't mind.
"NO!" Edward shouted so suddenly and loudly that it made her cringe away from him.
"Bella," Alice said in a defeated tone, "Are you ready?"
"Nooo," Edward moaned again. He tuned Bella to face him, "You are not doing this! We'll run away! We'll get on a plane! We'll lead them off our course! We'll-"
Alice interrupted him, "You know you can't beat them Edward. You know that. If you try to run, they'll just kill…" she trailed off, lost in a vision. After a meaningful glance between she and Edward, he began to murmur, "Oh god, oh god." He crushed her head beneath his chin.
"Bella, you know we won't let them hurt you," Esme reassured her from the doorway. She nodded shakily.
"They're here" Alice whispered, closing her eyes, crestfallen. A cold wind swept up the stairs, stirring up hair and piercing clothing. Aro and Caius stood where Esme had been a second ago; she was now at Carlisle's side.
Aro grinned, but it lacked the proper emotion to meet his eyes. "Edward," he intoned mockingly, as if he were scolding a misbehaving child, "You haven't made good on your promise." He drew out the last word in two sing-song syllables. Edward, who now stood in from of Bella protectively, emitted a low growl from somewhere deep in his throat. Caius stepped forward in order to avoid a serious conflict. "It's your choice Edward. One: you change her, two: we change her, or three: we kill her. Take your pick."
"Bella," Edward's voice cracked he turned to her, dark eyes conflicted. "Bella," he murmured again, only for her, trailing his icy fingertips from her temples to chin. Carlisle, Esme, and Alice formed a protective circle in from of them. It's not fair Bella thought, We have to share this moment in front of them.
"Who do you want to do it Bella?" came Carlisle's voice, eyes still intent on the uninvited guests.
"Edward?" Bella asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"You know I will," he replied in a hard voice after a few moments, his eyes boring into hers.
Aro stepped toward them, clapping his hands like an eager toddler. "Lovely! We'll see you tonight then?"
"Tonight," Carlisle sighed regretfully and nodded. Another blast of cold wind; they were gone. Nearly as quickly, Alice, Carlisle, and Esme were all downstairs, at least trying to give the impression of privacy. Bella and Edward stood in the same spot: arms wrapped about one another, touching head to toe. Normally, they would both be electrified by the contact, but now, they only sought each other's comfort.
"You know I've entrusted you with my heart and soul," Bella whispered, her temple resting against his chin. "Now I get to do it literally." She tried to make light of the situation with her words, but the anticipation she had felt earlier was being replaced by a cold dread that seeped in at the edges.
He let out a harsh laugh that held no joy. When he spoke, he grew progressively louder and enraged. "Do you even realize what you're asking? I'm going to kill you tonight Bella. I'm going to kill the only woman I've ever love-" he hesitated, and took a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself. After a few moments he asked, "Are you afraid?"
She couldn't stop the tears from spilling over now. "Yes-" she swallowed, trying to relax the thickness of her throat, "But I know that after this, things will be so much easier for you… for us."
"Come on and lie down," he said, pulling at her hand. When she asked why, he replied with a faraway look in his eyes, "So you can sleep one last time."
She shivered with the knowledge that she would never sleep-or dream-again. "I don't think I can," she admitted quietly.
He nuzzled his cheek against hers, his lips feather-light against her ear, repeating in a haunting fashion the same word he had said in the godforsaken tunnels of Volterra. "Try." Bella shivered again, but this time not from fear. She knew he was trying to calm her down, but that one word (in his voice) felt like the ultimate seduction. He could have asked her to jump off the cliffs again in a hurricane at that moment and she probably would have.