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Thanks a lot !!!

"Carlisle!", Edward was calling very loudly all around the house, holding a folded letter in his hand, "Carlisle!"

"What's up, bro?", Emmett peeked his head out of his room, "Dad's at work, I think."

"Dammit.", he snapped the letter on his leg, reading it again to himself.

"What's wrong?", Emmett smirked, coming closer, "America's next top models bothering you again?"

Edward looked so flustered that he didn't even have it in him to give a decent comeback.

He found himself asking Emmett, "What does this mean?"

"Let me help you read the big words, little brother.", Emmett snatched the letter and read it out loud.

"The order of Volturi has taken the case of Victoria Spears vs. Edward Cullen into advisement and has approved said case be tried on November 21, 2008 at 11pm Central standard time at the address below. Each party may be allowed one speaker in

his or her defense. Any sentence given is final and irreversible.", Emmet read, then said to Edward, "Oooh, you sound like you're in trouble."

"Victoria, James' girlfriend.", Edward pointed to her name, looking confused.

"Oh Dude.", Emmett looked sorry for Edward, "She reported you for killing James."

"Reported me?", Edward shrugged, "What could that do?"

"You killed another vampire, that's against the laws of the Volturi, you know that.", Emmett stated.

"It was self defense, he damn near killed Bella.", Edward said.

"She's human.", Emmett pointed out, "They won't care about her. We're allowed to feed off humans. To them, she's like a pizza. They only care about vampire deaths."

"I'll call Carlisle to come home now." Emmett grabbed his cell phone, "This is an emergency."

"Where's Bella?", Carlisle looked around the dining room table as the Cullens were about to start having a very serious family meeting.

Edward looked strange, then said, "I didn't tell her about this. I don't want to do this to her until I'm sure I need to."

"Edward, this is very serious.", Carlisle looked at his son like he'd lost his mind, "You can't leave her out of this."

With a silent swallow, Edward looked away, not answering.

"Edward?", Esme wore super worried eyes, her hand almost shaking, "Listen, it's going to be alright."

"How…", Edward clenched his fists, "How am I supposed to tell her this?"

Esme couldn't contain herself, she hurried over, putting her arms around her first vampire son, stroking his hair as he closed his eyes, holding her tender hand in his.

"They can't do this to us! To him!", Esme nearly cried, still clutching onto Edward. She was shouting this to Carlisle, wanting him to fix this now, "Edward is a good boy! I won't let them hurt him!"

"This sucks." Emmett growled, hating to even think about it. He knew a lot about what the vampire laws were, he didn't think Edward knew many of the different penalties involved, but there were some twisted things they could do to punish their kind.

"Yes it does." Carlisle agreed, "But we can get through this as a family, this is one of those times when we have to lean on each other and stay strong. Alice, call Bella and tell her to come over please. Don't say anything about why."

"No, I'll go get her.", Edward began to stand but Carlisle stopped him.

"No, Edward." Carlisle said gently, "There are some things I need to say before she gets here."

Alice left the room and began dialing her cell phone as Edward watched, sitting back down in his chair.

"I know you like to sugarcoat things for Bella." Carlisle began softly, "And most of the time, that's fine. But this isn't something you should hide from her. She should be told the whole truth. It's kinder that way."

"You want me to tell her that if I'm found guilty, I could be destroyed?", Edward almost yelled back, "Or some other horrible thing they choose for me. She won't take it well, she'll go insane for the next week until the trial. And she can't even go to the trial! How much more crap can I pile onto her shoulders? It's a miracle she's still with me now, after the whole James thing."

"I know, Edward." Carlisle's eyes were filled with pain, "But she's stronger than you think. We will all be there for you, no matter what happens."

"No.", Edward looked up at them all, "This is my trial. Bella is my girlfriend. I won't have you all go with me and say you were a part of it too. They'll kill us all."

"Edward…" Esme started to cry, still standing close by, "Don't say that. If something happens to you, our family is destroyed anyway."

"Carlisle, will you be my speaker at the trial?" Edward decided on this.

"You don't even have to ask that, son." Carlisle replied, "Of course. I will do everything in my power to make this go away. Alright?"

"Alright." Edward agreed, "I trust you. But if we lose, we lose. It's no one's fault, so I don't want you blaming yourself if it goes bad. I want you to make sure Bella is taken care of."

"Of course, Edward." Carlisle said without hesitation, "She's family."

"Bella will be here in a few." Alice came back in, sitting down in her chair again.

"What did you say?" Edward asked.

"I just said we're having an important family meeting and we'd like her to attend." Alice informed.

Edward didn't mind that, it was good, and true also.

"Okay." He said quickly.

"Emmett" Carlisle pointed at him, completely serious, "I don't want any screwed up jokes during this whole ordeal. Got it?"

"Dad, come on," Emmett sounded angry, "I would never joke about this. Edward is my brother."

Edward gave him a weak smile, thanking him for that sentiment.

"Don't worry Edward." Rosalie said the words but still looked very angry, "If they hurt you, I'll go destroy the whole place with a blowtorch."

With a chuckle, Edward said, "Thank you Rosalie. I know that comes from the heart."


When Bella rang the bell Edward leapt up to get the door, ahead of Emmett and Carlisle.

"Hello Bella." Edward smiled as he opened the door, instantly kissing her cold little lips and nose, his arms around her winter coat.

"What's going on?" she smiled back, smoothing the back of his hair with her mittens.

"An important meeting." Emmett grabbed Edward's shirt, yanking him away from Bella, "You are getting more and more like me every day." He said to Edward, "Can you ever NOT touch her?"

"No." he admitted, laughing a little as she walked with them towards the dining room.

Emmett whispered something harshly into Edward's ear as Bella tried to eavesdrop but they spoke too fast for her to keep up.

"I know!" Edward snapped back at his brother, pushing Bella's chair in for her at the table, sitting beside her, taking a deep breath.

"Okay.", Carlisle took a breath also, "Now that Bella is here we can start over from the beginning. Thank you for coming, Bella."

"No problem." She answered, getting a super big smile from Edward as he kept watching her, not Carlisle.

"Edward received a letter today from the order of the Volturi." Carlisle said flat out, making Bella's face deflate in an instant.

"It's from the law department." Carlisle went on, watching her face, "It seems Victoria has pressed charges against Edward for killing James."

"What?" she cried out right away, trembling and looking at Carlisle, then Edward, "She can't do that! He tried to kill me, it's a simple case of self defense!"

"Don't get upset, Bella.", Edward whispered, taking her hand in his, but she wasn't listening.

"The laws for humans are different than vampire law." Carlisle pointed out, "In vampire law, it's acceptable to kill humans, it's their way of life. But killing another vampire, is a very big offense."

"Carlisle.", Edward warned him to be careful, he was upsetting Bella. But it was too late.

"What do you mean, Edward could go to jail?!" she was shaking and shouting, little tears brimming around the corners of her eyes as Edward tried to soothe her in vein.

"Bella, please calm down…" Edward tried to say softly between her shouts.

"No I want to know!" she stood up, looking at Carlisle.

"Stop upsetting her Carlisle!" Edward raised his voice, frowning at his father.

"Edward please!" Carlisle shot him a look of surprise, "She's talking to me, I have to answer her."

"Carlisle!" Bella wanted answers and now.

"There is no jail for vampires." Carlisle informed, "There are…other ways we are punished for our crimes."

"What ways?!" she was crying now, but still angry and loud.

"Don't Carlisle!" Edward warned, standing up, pointing at his father.

"Shut up Edward, I want to know!" she stood her ground, readying herself.

"There is starvation, mutilation," Carlisle named only the big ones, leaving out the biggest. Death.

"Mutilation?!" Bella screamed, her raging eyes filled with tears as Edward tried to hold her shoulders and turn her towards himself.

"Bella, listen to me." Edward made her look up into his eyes, "Nothing is going to happen to me, I promise you. This is just Victoria trying to hurt us again. Once they hear the truth, they'll let me go. I'll come right home to you."

"I'm going with you." She said flatly, letting a tear fall down her cheek.

"No, Bella." Edward said tenderly, "You can't come."

"The hell I can't!" she raged again, "No one is taking you away from me again, Edward! No one!"

"Shhhh." Edward held her close, feeling her heart going crazy and her breathing getting all uneven and too fast, "Shhh, calm down, sweetheart. Nothing is going to happen to me. Everything is going to be alright. Breathe. Relax. Breathe out."

"Edward, how can you promise her that crap?" Emmett asked, taking away any chance at peace now. Edward's eyes widened and spun to him suddenly.

"Emmett!!" Edward and Esme screamed at the same time.

"I'm just saying!!", Emmett yelled, "He doesn't know that everything is going to be alright! I know a little about this stuff! It could end real badly."

"Oh thank you so much Emmett for sharing." Edward put his hands on his hips, glaring at his brother.

"No!" Bella screamed, shoving Edward away as he tried to hold her again, "Why are you lying to me ?! What are they going to do to you?!"

"Bella, look at me!" Edward almost shouted, putting his hands on both sides of her head, "Do you trust me?"

"Yes." She breathed, trembling as those golden sparkling eyes worked their magic on her again.

"Do you believe me?" he asked further, not letting go of her.

"Yes." She whimpered, "But—"

"Uh-", he cut her off, not letting her say anything else, "Will you stop crying and calm down?"

She tried but instead she let out a huge sob, so afraid of losing him again.

"Bella," Edward said more gently, "I need you now. I need you to be strong for me. Okay?"

At this, she clutched up all her strength and took a breath, blinking the tears away. Edward smiled at her proudly, placing a soft kiss on her quivering lips.

"That's my girl." Edward kissed her quickly again, helping her back to sit on the chair behind her.

"Edward, you could get killed there." Emmett said with true concern, destroying the small calm Edward had just built inside of Bella.

"KILLED?!", Bella screamed, leaping up to her feet again, "They could KILL you ?!"

Edward spun to Emmett, rage flaming in his eyes.

"I so am looking forward to kicking your ass later." Edward growled.

"What time is good for you?" Emmett grinned.

"12:30 available?" Edward asked, as if making an appointment.

"I can squeeze you in then, yes." Emmett agreed.

"Done." Edward closed the deal.

"Emmett, you're not helping here." Carlisle cut in now.

"You're the one who said be truthful!" Emmett reminded with a high pitched voice.

"Bella." Carlisle came closer to her, touching her shoulder as she sat back down, "This court of law is very different. Their punishments are harsh, at times, cruel. But I promise you I'll do everything in my power to make sure Edward is not harmed."

"Please let me go with you." She said in a deep cracked voice.

"I'm sorry, Bella." Carlisle's eyes became more sad, "You would not be safe or welcome there. This meeting is taking place about 2 hours away, not in Italy. In matters of criminal justice, they tend to come close to the vampire's dwelling place, in case they try to run. Believe me, I've been considering us all doing that. But we would be caught. And we'd all die."

"I will not run." Edward stated, "I didn't do anything wrong and I'm not ashamed of what I did. I will face this, head on. I'll tell them what happened."

"But what if they hurt you or kill you and I won't even get to be there or say goodbye to you?", she cried, more afraid now.

"Baby don't." Edward looked like he wanted to cry from seeing what this was doing to her. He stroked her hair and kissed her head, "Please Bella, don't cry."

"Give her some time, Edward." Esme came closer, stroking Bella's hair lovingly, "I know how she feels. I'm scared too."

Everyone review – and I'll post Edward saying goodbye to Bella and then next the trial ! It'll be great and a cool twist of what Edward's punishment will be!

I want to see if I can get about 30 reviews on this chapter.


Love, WindSinger