"Now for me," said the black haired one. He seemed to find the whole thing as exciting as a five year old finds Christmas. Which seemed to bode ill for me, if he considered someone like me a new toy. Is it bad that none of that seemed to matter while I was so close to Edward?
"He won't see a thing love. Alice already looked." I squeezed him all the tighter as I felt his grip on me loosening. I felt him chuckle slightly under me. I was about to ask him to walk me up there, when in a fit of pride, I decided to try not to be the most pitiful one in the room. I straightened up and turned to walk up to Aro. And Edward walked me up anyhow. How could I ever be so lucky?
A cold oniony hand took mine for a second, while Edward refused to relinquish my other hand, and the old vampire got a far off look in his eye for a moment.
"Incredible. Nothing." He looked at me thoughtfully. "I know that you hope Edward will be the one to turn you, but we would be glad to have someone of your talents. Would you like to be a member of our guard? Any of you really," he added as he looked out over our motley little rescue operation. "Well, except you," he said, having stopped on Matt, "Alice did show me how that would turn out."
"I'm sure you realize that I would never take it then," Matt said, smiling, as usual, as if he knew something I didn't.
"Are the rest of you equally certain? Bella?" I thought about the chance to live for eternity, to no longer have to have someone catch me every second of the day, to no longer be a burden on anyone.
"No thank you," I said, leaning into Edward. Seeing as I don't care about any of the rest of it, as long as I get to spend forever with Edward, it seemed a rather foolish question on his part. I looked around to see that all the rest of the Cullens and Matt seem to agree with me.
"Well then," Aro said with a sigh and a small smile, "You all are free to go. Do you need someone to show you out?"
"No, I think we can find the way," said Edward in a distracted voice. I glanced up at him (ok, I hadn't stopped looking at him the whole time) and saw that he was gazing at me. He gave me a quick peck on the cheek, before pulling away slightly.
"Let me talk to Matt for just a second," he said when I started to lean with him as he moves back.
I pouted. "Just for a second, love."
"Ok, but hurry back. Please?"
I watched Edward walk over and say something quietly to him. I saw Matt nod, before he clapped Edward on the back, whispering something to him. Edward nodded back, then flashed back across the room to me. "Shall we be going then?"
I nodded, and he led me out of the room at the head of our little group.
"I hope I see you all again," Ghiana tells our retreating forms.
"I'm glad you had this jacket," Edward said, pinching the orange sleeve. "it's freezing down here."
"It was Matt's idea."
"You'll have to tell me the whole tale when we get home," he whispered into my ear, and I felt my heartbeat speed up. Yet some how I felt more relaxed than I had in ages.
"What did you want to say to Matt?" I asked as we broke out into sunlight. It seemed we were in the Volturi's private courtyard, and there, waiting for us, was the car we had taken from the airport.
"Just thank you, and to make sure he was ok with how this turned out."
"Why wouldn't he be ok? Are we riding in the front or the back?" I turned back to see what the rest of the group thought, and found only Alice and Jasper standing behind us.
"He had to stay behind," Alice said, looking down while Jasper rubbed her back soothingly.
"No human can know about our kind and live. We were only able to get you out when I showed Aro a vision of you becoming one of us. And so he saw what would happen if he tried turning Matt. To put it mildly, it wouldn't have worked out well." And with that she collapsed, sobbing, into Jasper.
"What? We have to go back!"
"There's nothing we can do," Edward said quietly, his arms coming around my waist.
"No, we can't just leave him there to die!" I tried to head back the way we had come, and found that what I had taken for an affectionate gesture also served to imprison me.
"Bella, there's nothing we can do, and I'm not losing you again." As Edward said this, I found myself being carried into the car. I felt my struggles start to abate and a feeling of calm coming over me. Needless to say, I threw myself back into attempting to escape, now also angry at Jasper, who was still outside holding Alice.
"How could you Edward? How could you leave him like that?"
"I would do a lot worse for you," he retorted angrily. "And Matt understood."
You might have noticed, if you are one of my more avid readers, that there used to be an epilogue. But I took it down, because, frankly, I hated it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't this story anymore. So this story ends where I intended it to end originally. Bella and Edward are together and safe and both know that the other loves them, and isn't that what the whole thing is about? Any future readers, just ask for the outtake of Matt's death and I'll send it to you. And if you ask really nice, maybe I would even send someone the epilogue. But probably not.