A/N:

So, last time there was a pretty mean cliffhanger. The whole Bella, Volturi situation... sorry about that :P Just stick with me, okay. I'm nowhere near the end yet and am sure there are some interesting developments on the horizon.

We may even check in with Jacob in this chapter.

This one is for Tassia, who didn't judge me after dragging her into the world of fanfiction and even gave it a chance. Thanks for listening to my ideas (even though I kind of didn't give you the choice, while you were stuck with me in my car).

I hope you all like it.

You know which characters belong to SM by now… right?


Chapter Eleven

Bella POV

The smile spread wide across my face as I felt the blood drip slowly from my lips. I looked down, following the river of red, and found two wide green eyes staring back at me. Life draining out of them with every passing second.

My smile increased as the eyelids fluttered, a small moan escaped from my lips as I could control myself no longer. I bent down to the pale flesh and sunk my teeth into the cooling skin. Blood, the life-giving fluid, pooled in my mouth once more. I gulped hard, pulling away every last drop, noticing how nothing before had ever tasted as good as this. Nothing from my previous life could compare.

The body was empty. I knew instantly when it happened. My mind forced me to stop, even though it was the last thing on earth I wanted to do.

I looked down once more, marveling in my kill, and saw that it wasn't completely dead. The eyelids fluttered once more, and again I found myself staring into the deep green depths of my prey. The smile formed on my lips involuntarily.

"Why?" The croaky whisper seemed unearthly loud in the once silent room.

It took me by surprise, this noise. Where had it come from?

I looked down into the pleading eyes of the dying prey. It's lips parted, begging, as it questioned me once again. That's what had made the noise. It was speaking to me. Imparting its final words as it lay dying slowly in my arms.

I refused to answer the thing. It wasn't worthy of knowing me. I knew that now. After so many years of wondering if I had ever been good enough, I knew that I never had been. Bu now, things were different. I was good enough. It was everyone else that was inferior.

"Why..." its breaths were coming in gasps as it still continued its questions. I knew it wouldn't be long before the speaking ceased. It was only a matter of moments.

Averting my eyes from the thing, I stared into the domed ceiling and at the fading light of my first day. The sun barely catching my skin, but enough to light rainbow prisms that danced on the walls around me.

Suddenly, there was a noise that shook me out of my daydreams. Something that brought me back to the present with an unhappy thud. A reminder that I didn't want to have.

"Bella..."

Was the last word uttered by the now dead thing in my arms. I looked down as its eyelids shut for the final time, bronze hair flopping into it's closed eyes. Body limp but, I noticed for the first time, dazzlingly beautiful even in death.

"Edward."

The realisation hit me so fast that I could feel the blood I had taken rush back up my throat and onto the floor beside him. His blood. His wonderful, living blood. I had taken it all to sate my own hunger.

I had killed him...

It was then that I started to scream. Eyes closed, lungs bursting with sorrow.

When I opened my lids once more to look down at the broken body in my too strong arms, it was gone. There was nothing. An empty space. A hole, never to be filled, like the one in my own heart.

The domed ceiling had also disappeared, along with the light.

It was dark. Too dark.

I felt it then, that I had been placed in a bed. Unfamiliar. Sheets tangled around my legs, pillow thrown onto the floor.

Had it?

Had it only been a dream?

At first I wasn't sure, but then I realised it was true. It couldn't have been real. My Edward was a vampire, immortal. I could never take his life. But I also knew what had triggered the dream. I understood then where I was.

Volterra.

I had betrayed my whole family by coming here.

I had asked to be turned, in exchange for my service to Aro's guard.

And I'd had the love of my life locked away so as not to interfere in my death.

What the hell was wrong with me?

As I sat, pondering, there came a knock on the door. A loud repetition of three raps. The door began to open without my approval. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I knew that the time had come, there was no turning back.

I gulped, my throat too dry and thick with fear.

Dear God, I began to pray for the first time in years, make sure I'm okay. But that wasn't the only thing I asked for, this was the preliminary request. Getting the attention of a deity that may or may not exist to help me with my most pressing problem.

Please, I begged, help Edward.

There was no time to ask God to keep watch on the Cullens as a figure entered my room and consumed my thoughts completely. I was only allowed a brief moment to imagine God, high up in heaven, laughing at the spectacle I was making of myself.

"Calla Bella," his voice purred as he devoured me with his eyes. "It is time you were getting dressed. Aro is waiting for us."

He smiled and licked his lips as he walked towards the only other furnishing, aside from the bed, in the room I had been given. Caius disappeared for a moment behind the large wooden doors, before emerging swiftly with an outfit.

"I think I can choose my own clothes..."

I hadn't meant to speak out loud, but it was too late. The words had escaped. I had wanted so badly to remain silent until I was powerful enough to defend myself, but my mind obviously had other plans.

"Bella," he laughed.

If I didn't know him any better, if I hadn't heard him kill innocent people, if his red eyes didn't burn my skin every time they passed over me, I might have been attracted to Caius. To his unfailingly beautiful face and angel-like voice. Though I knew it was all a ruse. A sick ploy to entrance his prey and hide his inner demon. A demon that I was so willing to become; because I knew that, without the Cullens' influence, Aro was sure to keep me as bloodthirsty as the rest of his guard.

"Just wear this."

Delicately, he placed his chosen ensemble on the bed. Even matching underwear with the gorgeous red silk dress he had picked out for me.

It was almost as if Alice were in the room with me at that instant, reciting all the positives of this dress in my head to convince me that I had to wear it. Though the spaghetti straps and flowing skirt to just below the knees wasn't what made me get out of bed, it was the knowledge of the killers awaiting my arrival that forced my hand.

"If you don't mind." I raised my eyebrow at Caius, wanting him to leave me in peace, but he simply smiled.

"Oh, I don't mind at all." His smile got wider as he strode towards me. "You go ahead and get changed for the festivities."

Holding my tongue, aware of the unnecessary attention I would draw, I turned my back to Caius and stripped down to the waist. I knew he was watching, could tell by the sharp intake of unneeded air as his eyes roamed my pale flesh, but there was nothing I could do.

I was at their mercy now… and I knew they would take every opportunity to revel in their power.

The lace of the red bra clung delicately to my small breasts, as if it would tear with a single movement. Clasping the back gently, I decided I would put the dress on before removing my underwear. My plan would have gone smoothly. If it weren't for the hand.

His hand.

The cold feel of an unwanted touch.

Silently, he had glided towards my turned back and taken advantage of my half naked state. First, he placed both hands lightly onto the base of my spine; then he began the movement. Circling my hips with his icy fingertips, dragging them slowly up the front of my body, prolonging the agony he knew he was causing me. Until, finally, he did what I knew he wanted. He grabbed hold of my breasts and squeezed. Gentle to start, becoming more needing as the seconds passed.

I would have done something. Wanted to do something. Anything. But I couldn't. My body physically couldn't move. I was on autopilot. My mind filling the space that should have been wanting to escape with thoughts of Edward. Crying out for him. His name echoing through the emptiness that was my shock.

The hands were elsewhere. I hadn't noticed through my terror that Caius had found something else to gain his interest. My jeans. Louder now was the voice in my head. Wishing desperately that, for once, Edward could hear my thoughts and come to my rescue.

He was undoing the zip. Oh, God. I couldn't stand it. Him. Their whole damn clan. I hated them all. Right at that instant I wanted to kill every last bastard in the Volturi and never look back.

Lower. His cold hands were testing the elastic waistband of my underwear. I held tightly onto my breath hoping that, if nothing else, the asphyxiation would kill me before shame did.

But there was no time.

As his hands began to slide the elastic down, there came a knock. One single knock.

Caius snapped back within an instant. Threw himself to the other side of the room. If I hadn't known better, I would have said he were panting.

"Yes?" His voice growled with annoyance.

"She has to be brought down now." Came a bored, non-descript voice from the other side of the mahogany. I couldn't even tell if the owner were male or female.

"Almost ready. Begin the preparations."

I gulped at his words as I quickly thrust the red dress on over my head and prayed that Caius and I would no longer be ever required to spend alone time together.

Jacob POV

It had been such a damn shame that me and Leah had to cancel our plans. Pack comes first after all. She had heard the urgent notice Sam sent and passed it on, taking her own sweet time as usual to change after myself. I hadn't seen her since. Not since she had told me Sam needed me. I was worried, of course, but I had to go.

Though, as I walked, my mind continued to wonder at all the things I could and would make her do for me. She was definitely not going to regret me catching her. All I regretted was that we hadn't had a chance to finish what we had started.

But, Sam had requested a meeting. With me and only me…

At first, I had been worried; until I realized he couldn't possibly know about me and Leah.

We were to meet in the forest, out by the beach. He wished to speak to me before addressing the rest. I was confused, intrigued. What could Sam have to tell that I didn't know of?

My mind was way too preoccupied to come up with it's own theories.

Soon, I was there. My feet crunching on a bed of pine needles and pebbles, where the land met the sea. The restless tide rolled ever on. Gentle. Content. Soothing. I felt my eyelids drooping watching its movement. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth…

"Jacob!"

I snapped myself out of my daydream and turned around quick. Sam was sat under a tree a few feet away, arms folded and slight grin on his face. I smiled back slowly as I walked towards him, trying to gauge whether the look on his face was a sad or happy one. I would hate it if he had bad news.

A flash of chestnut caught my attention, out of the corner of my right eye. Leah. She had followed me. I could hardly phase to yell at her in front of Sam, so I let it slide… For now.

"Hey Sam, what's doing?"

"Not much, not much." He continued to grin as I parked myself on some available floor by his side.

"So, you needed to see me?" I couldn't help my curiosity. I was worse than a child. Bella would have totally laughed… Shit. Not now. Not her…

"Yeah," he cut through my agony. "I've just received some pretty huge news."

I still couldn't tell if I should be pleased, or preparing war.

"Spit it out, what's the deal? Some new vampire crap to deal with?" It usually was.

"What? No!" Sam laughed. "Nothing like that."

"It isn't bad news then?" I waited before I felt relief.

"God, no. If anything, it is the best news of my life."

"Right." I was confused as hell. "Don't keep me in the dark, man. What's happened?"

"I wanted you to be the first to know. Then the pack. Then our elders, of course. They're going to totally need to know about this. Keep an eye on the developments and check on how things are doing…"

Sam was babbling and it was irritating the hell out of me. I knew he was happy, and I was glad for him. I just wanted him to open up.

"Sam, what's the big news?"

"Emily… she's pregnant."

Whoa.

Hadn't seen that one coming.

Shit.

Leah.

It was about this time I realized I hadn't spoken for a good few minutes. "Wow. Sam, that's awesome. Truly."

"I know, we're so excited. And, so everything doesn't crash down on us at once, we're moving the wedding date forward. We were thinking of next month, at the full moon. Emily's idea. We want you, Jared, Paul, Seth, Quil, and Embry all as part of the wedding. I want you all as my best men… if you wanted to, that is."

"Of course." I clapped him on the back. "Congrats, for everything man." Though there was something that still bothered me. "Hey, Sam?"

"Yeah, Jake?"

"You know about Emily, does anyone else know?"

"No."

"I mean, when you sent out the message earlier and were really happy and shit, did you maybe think about the news while at the same time thinking of meeting with me?"

"Fuck."

"I thought as much…"

"Leah."

"Yeah, man. I think she heard you. I haven't seen her since she passed on the message."

"Fuck."

"Don't worry." I could still see a streak of chestnut in the greenery ahead of me. "I'll sort it out. No worries. Just, don't phase for a while. Tell the guys to stick to two legs as well. At the same time as you give them the news, of course."

I smiled. I wanted to be reassuring. I was too consumed by Leah. The pain she must be feeling…

"Thanks, Jacob. You are a good guy. Come and find us when it's done. We'll be at Emily's."

"It's cool. You go. I won't be long." At least, I hoped I wouldn't be.

I didn't even notice Sam disappear into the trees, brown skin melting into bark and becoming indistinguishable. He wasn't what held my attention.

The chestnut streak was getting further away. Running. Leaving. Couldn't bear it anymore. I knew the feeling. I'd had to do it myself. When the love of my life married another. So badly, all I wanted to do was follow. Help ease the suffering in any way I could. But I also knew that she wouldn't be open to anyone right now. Wouldn't be open to anyone for a while.

Even though she was leaving, she took a part of me with her. I had to let her know there was something to come back to. It was all I had left.

I stripped quickly, phasing on the spot.

Her tears were louder than hailstones in my head. I wanted to cry with her, for her, but she would never allow it.

"Leah," I called out. Reaching for a mind that was closed and a heart that was breaking.

"Don't." Her mind howled while her throat made not a sound.

"You already knew, that's why you left me earlier. So, why torture yourself again by coming here? By listening to news that was only going to kill you."

"I had to know for sure…"

"I won't follow you."

"I don't want you to."

"I know. Just… come back, yeah? For me?"

But I got no reply.

All I heard, in the distance, was the mournful cry of a beautiful female. Sorrow finally spilling from her mouth. Tripping over her tail to get far enough away. Heart ripping into pieces as she ran. It echoed on the breeze, resonated through the pines, danced with the waves. Remaining in my ears long after she was gone.