Thank God I'm pretty;
the occasional champagne I never asked for,
the occasional admission to a pretty little bar,
invitation to a stranger's car...
with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied,
which only means that when it's dark outside
I have to run and hide- can't look behind me...
Thank God I'm pretty.
Ah, if only I had known then what I know now.
If only, some few hundred years ago, I had been a bit wiser. Perhaps a... touch less vain.
Maybe I would have been spared this existence.
My name is Athenodora, and I am the wife of Caius Volturi. When I met my white-haired lover, I was naught but sixteen: flighty, foolish, stupid. Back when I was alive, some hundreds- maybe thousands, I do not bother to keep count- of years ago, I was a princess. A true princess of a bloodline as royal as any could be. I do not remember much of my old self anymore, but some things are impossible to forget.
I remember my father's face as clearly as though he has been with me these past many years. I did not realize it at the time, but he was so much kinder a father than I had ever deserved. I was a vapid, silly little girl with vapid, silly little fancies, yet he catered to all my whims without complaint. I exploited his kindness, of course- I had finer clothes than any royal; silk and velvet dresses with insewn jewels and precious metals. New gardens were grown around the castle monthly, perhaps weekly, by my will and destroyed if the flowers did not bloom quickly enough (they rarely did). I had maids tending to all my whims whether it be night or day, no matter the hour. My father just watched for my happiness and was glad if when he saw it. I did not even have to take lessons in manners and etiquette the way all other princesses did; all I had done my whole life was doll myself up.
I also recall, with stunning clarity, my vanity and self-absorption which lives on to this day. I would stand for hours before my mirror, combing my cornsilk-blonde hair or applying rouge carefully to my lips. I ignored all common customs and had my maids ready me scented baths every morning so that I might be sure my hair was as soft as silk and smooth in texture. And then I would dress in gown after gown, staring at myself in the mirror, judging which one complimented my more than perfect figure the most. And then, I am slightly ashamed to say, were the times that I just sat in front of the mirror and stared at myself, in love with my own reflection. My skin was a soft shade of peach, my hair long and white-blonde. My eyes were large and the bluest of blue, framed by long black lashes that one with my haircolor should not have had. A slender, dainty nose led down to perfect double-bow red lips that were always curled in a contented smile when I watched myself. And I am still vain enough to describe myself in so many words.
And, lastly, I remember him.
My father had called a ball to celebrate the day that I turned sixteen, and it was the most momentous occasion of the year. Nobles from all over Europa came to see the festivities and indulge in all the comforts my father had paid for, all arriving under the guise of coming to wish me well. I didn't really care all that much- I enjoyed the way that all the kings and princes watched me, lust and infatuation burning all of their thoughts to ashes. But that was just a game to me as well; I didn't really care how they felt. I simply loved being adored.
And let it never be said that I tolerated anything less.
The sixteenth anniversary of my birth is as dim as the rest of my human memories, but I vaguely recall spending the whole day preparing for the ball to come. I enjoyed fretting about my appearance, straightening every hair that the wind blew into my face. I must have reapplied my rouge and powder at least a dozen times in the hour before the ball. I even kept pacing around before the mirror, constantly standing at profile, smoothing my hands down my flat stomach and acting worried about my figure. Looking back, the expressions of my ladies-in-waiting held much more malice under their false cheer than I noticed.
And the unveiling... Ah, when I walked down the grand staircase to the sound of the orchestra. I was a vision, I'm sure. Everyone stared at me in amazement with glossy eyes, acknowledging me to be the most divine creature on the Earth. I delighted in the knowledge inwardly until I saw them.
The three men were standing towards the back of the grand ballroom, but it was impossible not to notice them. Their white skin glowed in the light, ('nearly sparkling,' I had mused) and they were simply the most beautiful people I had ever seen. This was back before their appearances were faded by time and power, while they were still strong and commanding by appearance. Gone were the thin skins and milky red eyes; they stood tall, strong, and proud. And their faces... they were more beautiful than any work by one of the old masters. One of the god-men caught my eye specifically- the one with hair as white as snow, although he could not have been past thirty years of life. His expression spurned me and sent me back with a vengeance- he looked bored. And not just bored, but disgusted as well, and superior. I wanted to prove my worth, and therefore I made up my mind to seek him out and show him more closely my beauty. Surely then he would not scoff!
After a few dances with faceless men, I managed to pull myself from their claws to search for my mysterious scoffer. But the white-haired not-angel proved quite elusive, and after some twenty minutes I retreated to the gardens for a moment alone. I bumped into one of the men on my way out, but didn't think much of it because it wasn't him. I didn't see his surprised gaze on my back or the smirk forming on his lips. How was I to know I had bumped into a mind-reading vampire who knew of my sudden obsession with his friend? And what's more, how could I have known he was also looking for fresh blood to join the Volturi?
Regardless, I had been sitting and watching the fountains for not a minute before icy hands were laid on my bare shoulders. "Were you perchance searching for me?" a silky voice whispered in my ear, and I gasped and arched at the combination of his delicious voice and smooth glass hands. I turned my head to stare at my white-haired enigma, and shivered once more. With my face so close to his, it was easy to see the strong curve of his jaw, the straight line of his nose, the captivating black of his eyes... He turned slightly as well, flashing me a nearly predatory smile that only served to excite me. Suddenly he was leaning down, running his cold lips over my neck as his hands pulled me up. I was too stunned to swoon as we had been taught to, but my trance broke as his hands rubbed over my shoulders and collar. I had felt my eyes flutter closed and had foolishly leaned closer, baring my long neck to him as an invitation- however, I didn't know exactly what I had invited him to do at that moment.
"Marry me?" he asked quietly, his cool air carrying with it a delicious smell falling from his lips to raise gooseflesh all over my neck. It would not have been quite as alarming to be so suddenly asked that then as it is now, but it was shocking nonetheless. Most would have said no. Smarter women would have said no. However...
"Yes!" I gasped, my weak human arms wrapping around his shoulders and my fingers twining into his hair. Everything was happening so quickly that my head was spinning; the world had ended and all that was left was him and his beautiful face and his dark eyes and his cool breath.
I only had a moment to feel his teeth pierce my flesh before the pain started.
Before I could let loose a scream, his marble hand covered my lips. I was too far gone to worry about my carefully applied rouge being smeared. He pulled me close, and suddenly wind was whipping my hair forward over his shoulder as my face buried in his shoulder, silent screams swallowed by the wind ripping from my throat. He had wrapped my legs around his waist so I was less of a hindrance, but I hadn't even noticed. I remember watching in a transfixed horror as red blood flew from my neck and into the air with the speed of his run.
And the pain! Oh, the glorious pain! I could not move, I could not breathe, I could not think without a fresh stab of pain tearing through my whole body! I had a few times accidentally burned my hands with candles, and I remember how much those tiny, harmless burns pained me... and then they were multiplied a hundredfold and spread all over me, inside of me, around me. It lasted and lasted... But he was beside me.
I still did not know him, but he sat by my side at all times. He spoke to me through my screams, petted my hair, washed away my sweat. He apologized once or twice, although he did not look truly repentant. I wondered at times if this was my own version of the beautiful angel Lucifer, shunned to Hell and forced to become the Devil. I did not dwell too much on the thought, because I could not think coherently anyway, but I still watched him. My pain seemed less intense when he was speaking to me or touching my hair or caressing my face. I barely felt the feathery touches, but I could imagine them. I thought of his cool marble hands on my shoulders and my pain seemed much dimmed until it was almost bearable. I couldn't understand what he was saying to me most of the time, but I caught snippets. He meant for us to be married. He thought I was beautiful. Those two thoughts calmed me even more, the disgrace that it is that vanity could make me feel so much better. But he was calling me beautiful, when I had thought he found me unimpressive... Yes, he was worth the pain. We could be beautiful side by side, have lovely fair-haired children...
The pain started fading from my fingertips. I had stopped screaming by now; it did me no good. And I wanted to hear him more. When I could focus on his silky voice, I was pleased at what I heard. He kept saying I was beautiful (my fingers and toes were then cold and strong). He said we would grow to love each-other (I could focus on the cold power in my forearms and calves). He said I would be his queen (the pain was only lingering in my torso...)
His name was Caius Volturi.
I sat up, suddenly feeling no pain. I was shocked for a minute, simply staring at my Caius with new eyes. I could see him so clearly, I could see the light bouncing off his skin reflected like little rainbows. And he was so exquisitely beautiful now that it almost pained my eyes... My shock lasted for half a second before the most delicious scent to ever reach me assaulted my nose. I turned my newly crimson eyes to the frightened young woman who had been pushed into the room. Before I could think, her skull was ground to a soft, bloody pulp as I bit her erratically, draining blood from her very heart, tearing her tender breast apart. And, oh, she tasted heavenly, the blood heady on my lips and spilling all over my front, bathing me. She was spent in under ten seconds in my greed, and soon another woman was pushed through the door. She was disposed of much the same way before I could think rationally, although even then my throat still itched and swelled as though I had fallen slightly ill. I dropped the unfortunate woman, stepping back.
"... Caius?" I asked weakly, trembling. Strong hands- no longer cold, but temperate- touched my arms, turning into a gentle grip as I leaned back against their owner. Although I suddenly felt weightless, more powerful than anything, I wasn't sure of my ability to stand after killing two women with my bare hands. "What am I?" I asked, turning my face to meet his eyes. They were deep burgundy now, glowing eerily down at me.
"You are one of us." He said, removing one of his hands from my arm. He gently brought it up to wipe the blood from my face delicately, although I doubt it was of much use seeing as the liquid was coating me everywhere. "You are a vampire, to live forever with us and rule this world." His voice burned me. He leaned closer when I turned my head away, hiding my face in my hands in anguish.
"You shall be my beautiful snow-white queen."
To be continued...
Disclaimer: I own none of this content, although I do own this idea and twist on Athenodora's story. I have also edited the lyrics posted above to fit the story better, but they are most definitely not mine. All standard disclaimers apply.