"Amani," Carlisle began, "My name is Carlisle Cullen. You may remember that I spent a few years-"
"With the Volturi?" She interrupted in a childlike yet elegant voice. "Yes, Aro and the rest have spoken highly of you."
"They are very kind," Carlisle answered. "May I introduce to you my family?"
She nodded regally. "Of course." Amani turned and bounded over to her throne, randomly throwing in some little flips. She seemed like more of a playful goddess than a sadistic vampire. She was the strangest, yet most intriguing person I had met yet.
She settled in on her pillow and beckoned us forward. "Give me a brief history of yourselves. Oldest to youngest, please."
Carlisle, Jasper, Edward, Esme, and Alice gave brief outlines of their histories. Then it was Rosalie's turn. "Rosalie Hale. When I was eighteen, I was raped by my fiancé and his friends," she said, consciously making her tone emotionless. "Carlisle found and saved me. I found Emmett a few years later, and we have been married many times. The reason I'm here is because-"
"We will discuss that later, Rosalie," Amani decreed. "Next, please."
A flicker of rage flashed through Rosalie's eyes, but she swallowed it and retreated while Emmett said his piece.
Edward squeezed my hand reassuringly and then I spoke. "I'm Bella Cullen; I was Isabella Swan until last year. I met Edward and the Cullen's when they moved to Forks three years ago. We fell in love and were married while I was still human. I became pregnant on our honeymoon and was changed when our daughter was born. I've been a vampire for only a year now. I have the ability to block other vampire's powers that involve the mind." Amani's eyes bore into me.
"Yes, I heard that daughter of yours," she gestured to Edward and I, "caused a bit of a problem not too long ago. Correct?"
Edward took the opportunity to reply. "There was a large misunderstanding in which Renesmee was mistaken for an illegal immortal child. We resolved the issue with the Volturi and have been living our lives in peace."
Amani gave a half smile. "Good. Well, Carlisle, I must say I find your family simply fascinating. I find it only fair if I share some things about myself. I am Amani. I was changed three thousand years ago, when I was ten years old. I had this palace built for me by some friends of the Volturi years ago. I, like all of you, follow a unique diet. An old member of the Italian coven developed a mixture that satisfies my thirst and keeps me from decaying, in a sense, like Aro and the others have." That must explain her eye color, and how her skin and eyes have not taken on the odd quality that the Volturi's have. "The humans even have a name for it."
She looked at us questioningly. "No? Well, they call it the Fountain of Youth." She beamed. Who was this girl? The Volturi were putty in her hands and she drank from the Fountain of Youth regularly. I shuddered.
Amani's eyes flicked to me and she smirked. "Now, as much as I would adore discussing Rosalie's request, I have a visitor coming that I must attend to." A familiar knock on the door made her head snap to attention.
"Oh send her in!" Amani squealed. I was shocked. She actually seemed like a regular ten year old.
A similarly young looking vampire stepped through the doors. She had blood red eyes, and brown hair framing an angelic face. Her black cloak billowed behind her.
I reflexively shot out my shield to protect my family, and Edward's jaw clenched audibly. The rest of the family was battling with their fight or flight instinct.
Of course Jane was Amani's best friend. That was just our luck. Her presence would certainly make Rosalie's wish for a child almost impossible. It took all I had to refrain from throwing a tantrum or ripping Jane's head off. I could only hope that Jane deferred to Amani like the rest of the Volturi seemed to.
The two tiny vampires embraced and shrieked greetings. Amani glanced over at us, and then whispered something to Jane that I couldn't catch. She waved her hand dismissively at us. "Oh, you can go. I'll expect you back here at six tomorrow morning. Gustav will show you your rooms." She turned back to Jane, and the malicious Italian turned and glared at me. She smirked and then turned her eyes onto Edward.
He braced himself almost imperceptibly, waiting for the pain that never came. My ability to shield mental activity had only grown stronger.
Recognition flickered in Jane's glaring eyes and she stomped her foot petulantly, and glowered at me from across the room. Triumphant, I gave her a sweet smile.
She turned back to Amani and muttered darkly in her ear. Amani giggled.
"Bella." Edward tugged on my hand. "Bella, come on."
We retreated out the doors. I looked around at the splendor, but somehow it didn't seem so idyllic anymore.
Sorry for the late and crappy update! This is a kind of filler chapter. Rosalie's first test will be the next chapter, which I hope to have up in a few days. Hope your holidays went well! Reviews are much appreciated