Chapter 24 - Hello
Author's Note: Thanks to all who have kept reading the story so far. I hope that you continue to enjoy it. I will be going back and editing some of the earlier chapters to fix spelling and gramatical errors, and possibly editing a bit to make it flow better.
I can't honestly say that waking up in a hostile environment was high on my list of things to do, but it seems to be something that I've been doing frequently. I was lying on a wood floor, and I could hear the sound of a fire nearby, but I couldn't find any other clues to figure out where I was. The vampire's power was wearing off, but my movements were still sluggish. Unfortunately, this meant that my powers were still down, which provided me with nothing to fight with. Opening my eyes, I saw that I was not alone.
"Hello William," said a cold, high pitched voice belonging to a vampire sitting in a chair at the center of the room. There were three other vampires behind him. They were all located in front of a lit fireplace. "I've wanted to meet you for some time now."
A vampire who must've been standing behind me placed a hand on my head. Pain beyond anything I've ever felt erupted through my body like a fire. I don't recall if I screamed or not. The agony stretched on for what felt like hours before the vampire ceased its torture.
The vampire who had greeted me leaned forward in his chair. "I don't like to be kept waiting," he sneered before another round of torture ensued.
One week later…
Staying in Volterra had been tense, although uneventful. We were staying in one of the hotels on the outskirts of the city - Villa Porta all'Arco. It was a quaint bed and breakfast that housed many tourists and travelers in addition to Edward and myself. We'd spent the week toying with Alice's visions and hoping to escape a visit from the Volturi.
Sam and the other werewolves weren't exactly keen on leaving their land unprotected, but Seth, and surely Jacob, would be able to come stay with me if needed.
It was currently night in Italy, and Edward was currently holding a video conference with Alice, Jasper, and Carlisle.
"Emmett and Rose are out searching for a trail with Jacob," explained Jasper. "We're currently strategizing the best way to take on these vampires. Unfortunately they seem to be one step ahead of us."
"It's as though they know how to work around my visions Edward," said Alice. "Although I can see William's future, it's always tenuous at best. I still have the one vision of him being forced to torture Emmett, but that's the only one that's concrete."
I thought of something that caused me to interrupt the conversation I'd been trying so hard to stay out of. "How come Alice can see William now, but not Jake?" I asked.
Edward glanced briefly at me, the look on his face indicating that he appreciated the question.
Carlisle cleared his throat before speaking. "I believe that part of this may be caused by their genetic make up. Vampires are made up of 23 chromosomes, humans 22, and werewolves 24. It's possible that because William's powers cause him to change his DNA, Alice can see him because she's come into contact with him and is now attuned to his unique pattern, although like she said, her visions are usually tenuous at best. Jacob's extra chromosome block's Alice's vision from working, and also grants him immunity to our venom."
"This is all guess work though, correct?" inquired Edward. "I thought that William was the only known hybrid vampire in existence, aside from the child Bella is carrying of course." He smiled affectionately at me before gently placing a hand on my stomach, causing me to blush, but smile widely.
While we were 'vacationing' in Volterra, I had been thinking of baby names, and imagining that the baby might look like. I kept seeing a little boy with brown hair, a heart shaped face, and green eyes. My mind had developed this image of Edward, myself, and our baby boy. I could see Emmett tossing him up and down in the air, much to the delight of the baby. I know Alice would enjoy the extra shopping opportunities, and Rosalie would absolutely love babysitting.
Then I changed the image to a little girl. I could see similar events unfolding but with subtle differences. Rosalie would be teaching her how to flirt, and Edward would be warding off boys with Jasper's help, as Emmett laughed. Since the baby would be part vampire, he or she would be able to defend themselves well.
"I suppose you can't see anything regarding the pregnancy," Edward asked Alice, breaking me out of my thoughts.
"I can see Bella during the pregnancy, but I can't see the child birth or the baby," Alice stated. "I'm assuming that's because my visions require contact with the hybrid to work."
"Alright," Edward said," keep looking whenever possible."
"Edward, I've been thinking that it's about time for us to relocate," said Jasper. "One reason is as security measure. Another is so that we can keep up our image."
Edward nodded. "It might be a good idea," agreed Edward. "Carlisle, I'm assuming you've given this matter some thought?"
"Esme and Alice are going house hunting tomorrow," he answered, nodding. "We're considering Maine."
I zoned out again. I know that pregnant women get tired easily because they are supporting two, but my body seemed to be in full on pregnancy mode, complete with the odd craving for rare steaks and raw eggs (which I'd been denied, much to my displeasure). I'd gained more weight, but I tried not to be overly concerned about it. I'm sure it's just a normal part of being pregnant with a part vampire baby.
Edward must have noticed that I was tired because he ended the conference call. Closing the laptop, he smiled at me. "Bedtime for the human?" he asked.
I nodded and he swept me out of my chair and had me in bed one second later. Wrapping a blanket around me, he put his arms around me. As I fell asleep, I heard him whisper, "I love you," and then softly humming the lullaby he'd written for me what feels like an eternity ago.
In our attempt to appear like normal tourists, we viewed some of the sites on a particularly cloudy day. We entered one of the older monuments following a tour group, and I was met with the sight of a statue of four men – all of whom I'd seen in the past year.
"The statue of the ancients," began the tour guide, an elderly woman with gray hair, "was sculpted in the likeness of the four men who allegedly built Volterra. They were revered as gods in their day."
The statue was dead on, and showed that none of the men had changed since it was created. The only things that were different about the vampires now were their clothing. "This is one of the few pieces remaining of the old era," said Edward in a low voice. "Aro had it created during the peak of their power. It was an ego boost for him and the others – immortalized in stone, just like them."
I took all this in. Aro had always been the one who seemed to be in charge, so for him to create a work that could possibly outlive even him was completely in-character for him.
"I'm actually surprised that he didn't have Carlisle removed from the sculpture once he left the Volturi," continued Edward.
"Would he really do that?" I asked him, a bit shocked that Aro would do something like that.
"Out of all of the leaders of the Volturi, Aro is the most vindictive. However, he harbors a hope that Carlisle will one day return to the fold, bringing with him Alice and myself."
I shuddered, imagining Edward in black robes and blood red eyes. Sensing my discomfort, he put an arm around me.
"That day will never come," he promised me. "The Volturi are too stuck in their ways, and they can promise me nothing that would make me join their ranks. I already have everything I could ever want."
Despite the color that crept onto my cheeks, I smiled at his words. They brought me the comfort that I needed and let me know that somehow, everything would be alright. The baby would be born perfectly healthy, I'd be turned into a vampire as soon as I'd recovered from labor (I was already shuddering at the fact that I was still human and almost two years older than Edward), and William would be found.
"What are you thinking?" he asked me, a curious look on his face.
"I'm thinking about the future," I replied honestly, looking at him.
"Which aspect of the future?"
"All of it," I replied. "The baby, becoming a vampire, your family's current struggle, everything."
"Don't worry about any of that," he said soothingly. "We'll find a way to take care of everything and make sure the baby is born healthy."
We went through the rest of the building, and then drove back to the hotel in Edward's rented sports car. Unfortunately, we were in for an unpleasant surprise when we walked up to the main entrance. He placed an arm in front of me, sniffing the air.
"Wait here," he said, walking inside.
My mind raced as I considered what could be inside. He wouldn't have stopped me unless there was another vampire. Had the Volturi found us? Was Edward about to be ambushed by the vampires that had kidnapped William? He emerged from the bed and breakfast holding an envelope. He held it out to me and I took it, removing the letter from inside. It was short, and written with elegant penmanship.
I hope that you enjoy your stay here in Volterra. Hopefully you will find the time to visit us at the Capitol.
I looked up at him after reading the letter. "What does this mean?" I asked him.
"It means that we have another problem," he said irritably. "Aro undoubtedly wishes us to pay him a visit, which could risk exposing your pregnancy."
"Would he be mad at us if we didn't go?"
"He would consider it an insult. More than likely, he's already a bit irate that we haven't called on him sooner, but he'll be nothing but pleasant when we visit." Edward stared at my stomach intently, as though he was waiting for it to explode. "I want to give you an ultrasound. The fetus seems to be developing abnormally fast for someone in your stage of the pregnancy."
There went my hope than he hadn't noticed anything wrong with me. "How would I be able to get an ultrasound test?" I asked. "It's not like we can walk into any hospital and hope that there's nothing abnormal about the baby. It is half vampire after all."
"I'll get the necessary materials shipped here," he replied shortly. "Hopefully I'll be able to run the tests by late tomorrow, or early the day after." Then, he relaxed, as though he'd made his mind up to think about everything later. "The most important thing is providing the baby with as much nutrients as possible. Are you hungry?"
Now that I thought about it, I was ravenous. "Yeah," I responded. "Do you think I'll be able to get some rare meat?" I asked hopefully.
Edward frowned but neglected to comment, opting instead to usher me inside and over to the dining area. He loaded up two plates with food, mainly meats with a few vegetables, and then set one in front of me.
"Thanks," I said picking up a fork and tasted one of the green beans before looking at Edward, who was staring intently at me. "If you want, you can go get your laptop and do some work while I'm eating."
"That would be rude," he said. "We're supposed to be a normal couple." He moved a few of the vegetables around on his plate before cutting up the lamb. "Besides, you know I enjoy watching you eat."
I felt the familiar heat enter my face, but continued eating. After I finished my plate, he quickly switched our dishes. I rolled my eyes, but smiled. I ate most of the contents on this plate as well. As soon as I was done eating, he rose, taking the plates, and placing them in the dishwasher.
As we walked back to the room, I wondered who had been sent to deliver the message from Aro.
"Who was in our room?" I asked.
"Felix," said Edward through clenched teeth. "Thankfully he didn't touch anything, or else we would have received more than just a letter."
I thought about the diary that I'd brought. One of Renee's gifts to me was an elaborate diary that she wanted me to use to 'write down all my experiences as a newly wedded wife'. If that hadn't been touched, then I was safe. I'd written down baby names, crossed quite a few of them out, and circled six of them. Edward had sworn that he wouldn't read it, but I wasn't quite sure if I believed that he hadn't taken a peak. I know that his desire to know my thoughts might provoke him into tapping into any source possible, including a diary. I checked under the mattress, and found that it was still where I'd tucked it earlier.
After another round of teleconferences, and a brief long distance call to Jacob, Edward and I settled down in the now familiar bed. Although I was fighting a feeling of dread at our meeting with the Volturi, I forced myself to calm down. Nothing would go wrong – Edward wouldn't let it. I looked him in the eyes before saying, "I love you" and semi hoping that he would somehow hear the thoughts in my head.
"And I you," he said softly as I closed my eyes.
I was in the middle of a forest and frantically searching for something – what, I didn't know. Then I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. I turned around and saw the Volturi standing behind me. Aro was smiling and Markus and Caius had smirks on their faces. To the side, Jane was holding a baby and feeding it with a bottle of blood. Her red eyes met mine, and a slight smirk appeared on her face. Behind her, Edward was being restrained by Felix, and Demitri. Alec was by his side, sneering at him.
Aro then glanced at Demitri and Felix and gave a small nod before they began tearing him apart. I began to run to him, but stopped when I saw William walking out of the trees behind us. His eyes were blood red, and he was holding a chain. I followed the path of the chain and saw that it wrapped around the neck of a huge werewolf – Jacob – forming a crude leash. Like William, Jake's eyes were red.
It was then that I heard Aro speak for the first time. "You have lost, and I am now the victor," he repeated, over and over.
My eyes snapped open and I immediately sat up in bed.
In an instant the light was on and Edward was looking at me, concern etched on his face. "What was it about?" he asked after I'd calmed down.
"The Volturi found out about the baby, and they'd taken him away from us. Then they killed you." I whispered the last part, as if saying if softly would make it less likely of an event.
"Him?" He questioned, ignoring my concern for his well being with a frown.
"In my dream – nightmare – it was a boy. And that's not all. William was in the background keeping Jake on a leash!"
He placed his arms around me and held me close. "I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening," he promised. "Now go back to sleep. I swear that in the morning we'll all still be in one piece."
I sighed before lying back down on the bed.
I know that it's a shorter chapter, but I'd either have to end it here, or about 12 pages later. The next chapter should be up sometime next month!
Please leave reviews! They are food for my muse, who seems to have come out of hibernation. lol. Also, for songs to listen to for this chapter, youtube search Daylight by David Hodges. It's amazing! That and Lullaby by The Spill Canvas. Both of which would be great songs for a soundtrack to this story.