Hey guys! I know it's been a year! Holy cow! Somehow life just got in the way of writing and I hadn't really gotten any time to sit down and write properly. Many things have happened like graduating school, enrolling in University as well as family members becoming ill. So my life has been a bit of a soap opera.
I hope you enjoy this chapter and once again I am truly sorry that it took this long to post. I will forever be grateful to the reviewers who consttantly amaze me with their kind thoughts and words. Thank you :)
Renesmee had fallen asleep in my arms on the first night and Bella had taken her to bed when she stopped stirring. Emmett had calmed down from his earlier mood and was now sitting next to me on the couch watching television. It was odd sitting around watching tv, there were only three televisions in the castle so I didn't watch them much. They were always on the news channels to watch for any suspicious behaviour so they had never really held my interest before.
But now, Emmett was watching football and screaming at the referee. I was very amused at his outbursts, he was acting almost human.
The first week was hard because I had to earn everyone's trust but it slowly started to get easier. The wolves still refused to go anywhere near me and I was grateful. They were too unpredictable, almost like newborns.
Renesmee had taken a liking to me and took it upon herself to make sure I always had something interesting to do. Today we were painting. We were outside in the small clearing looking out at the horizon, the sun was starting to set and luckily there weren't any clouds to block its rays. My skin was sparkling and it reflected onto Renesmee's face. Her bronze curls shone in the sunlight, and her cheeks were filled with a lovely blush as I watched her while she painted. I had learnt from Emmett that Renesmee had inherited her blush from Bella. I had also heard from Bella that Emmett always made an effort to constantly make her blush when she was human with crude and inappropriate jokes. I had laughed at that one for about a minute.
Renesmee's canvas was placed on her very own easel (the Cullen family always made sure Renesmee had the very best, so when she had gotten the idea to paint, Alice had ordered the easel for her over the internet. It had cost an absurd amount of money and I'm sure Renesmee wouldn't have minded if she had to paint without it but Alice had insisted). It was facing away from me now and I had a feeling she didn't want me to see it so I resisted the urge to take a peak for a second time.
I know from my human life that I had not had any talent when it came to drawing or painting but now I was able to paint the sunset perfectly.
"I like being able to draw, I was hopeless at it when I was human" I told the cute little girl sitting next to me, laughing at my memories of failed drawings.
Renesmee just giggled and looked away from her painting to smile up at me. Showing her perfectly straight, pearly white teeth.
"Well I'm finished. What about you?" I asked her after another two strokes of my brush. I tried to lean back to catch a glimpse of her artwork but Renesmee quickly realised what I was doing and repositioned her canvas.
"Wait, ...I'm ...nearly...done!" Renesmee slowly said each word, concentrating on her painting.
"Can I look now?" I was eager to see what she had drawn.
"Okay on three we both turn our paintings around." I nodded
"One...two...three" And we both laughed as we turned out paintings around. I gasped at what she had drawn. It was a portrait of her family, everyone was there, even the wolves. Everything was so precisely drawn I would have sworn it was a picture if I hadn't seen her paint it. But what surprised me the most was that I was in the picture standing next to Emmett smiling slightly. Renesmee had added me into the painting. My frozen heart warmed at the site of it.
"Oh, Renesmee" I gushed and got up and reached my arms out to her. I lifted her from her seat and swung her around in a circle. She started laughing as I pulled her in for a huge hug.
I carefully placed her back on the ground and knelt down in front of her.
"Can you stay Ashleigh? Can you please?" She asked me, looking up at me with her warm chocolate brown eyes.
"I, I don't think I can stay Renesmee. Things are very complicated and I don't think the wolves like me very much" I laughed slightly, trying to stop her from crying. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes as they started spilling over. I wiped one away with my thumb.
"I can take care of the wolves. Jake will like you if I tell him to" She crossed her arms and stuck her bottom lip out. She was just too cute.
I laughed, I don't think any amount of persuasion even if it was from Renesmee would be able to get Jacob to like me.
"You can't make them. But I promise to come back and visit." That I could be certain of, there was no way I wasn't going to come back. No-one could stop me, not even Aro.
"But you won't have to come back and visit if you never leave!" Renesmee shouted and stomped her foot on the grass. I tried to hide my smirk at her behaviour because she was genuinely upset.
"It isn't up to me. If I stayed I would be placing you and your family in great danger." I explained, I didn't want to tell her the complete truth. After all she was still a child, she didn't need to hear how dangerous it actually was.
But she looked up at me with her brown eyes and they held too much maturity for a person of her age.
"What would happen? If you stayed?" She asked, wanting more details.
I sighed and chose my words carefully.
"The Volturi would surely get suspicious of my whereabouts and come looking for me. Both Caius and Aro wouldn't hesitate to prosecute your family given the chance. I would be forced to choose and there would be many lives lost" I didn't want to think about what I would do in that particular situation. Before I even knew the Cullen's I had tried to protect them so it only made sense to choose to fight with them now. But could I do that? Would I be able to turn against my creator? My mate? I sighed, Demetri would need a lot of convincing if he was going to join me with the Cullens.
"Would you help us Ashleigh?" I looked away from her and saw Edward and Emmett standing on the back steps. They were awaiting my answer as well. How was I supposed to choose?
"Renesmee, the Volturi is all I have ever known. My mate is part of the guard, I'm a part of the guard..." I stopped and her eyes started to tear up for the second time today. She thought I would abandon her family.
I smiled slightly at my next words. "But Emmett is my family now too. I love him and for some strange reason I've come to love you too, little miss" I giggled and grabbed her into my arms. It was true, this little girl had stolen my heart within the first 10 minutes of our first conversation.
I continued, resting my chin on the top of her head as I spoke.
"I would do everything in my power to protect you and your family Renesmee. But you have to promise me that you will let me go when I need to leave. None of us want a war." I said sternly.
She tilted her head up and looked at me.
"You would choose us?" Renesmee smiled brightly as she learned of my intentions. Her arms wrapped themselves around my neck and squeezed tight. I hugged her back and smiled.
"Yes. Do you promise Renesmee? Can I count on you?"
"Yes, I promise." She giggled and jumped down from my lap, running to meet her father in the middle of the field. Emmett appeared in front of me and picked me up in a bear hug.
"Would you really choose us?" He asked me, I had to smile at the way he sounded like a small child.
I sighed and rested my head against his shoulder.
"If it came down to a fight I wouldn't...couldn't go up against any of you." I paused thinking "Okay, maybe against the alpha for a little payback but other than that I couldn't hurt anyone. But I would love to go up against Jane." I smiled and laughed as I pictured her coming up against me in a fight. She wouldn't stand a chance, without her power she had next to no skills in combat. She relied too heavily on her ability to incapacitate people and that would inevitably be her downfall.
I had no doubt that Edward was paying close attention to my thoughts, getting all of the information he could about the Volturi's weaknesses. He would want all of the odds stacked in his favour if it came to a fight that involved his family.
"But your mate, would he fight with you?" Emmett hesitated, knowing this was a touchy subject for me.
"I don't know. The guard is his life but he would never go against me. I don't want to put him in that position ever Emmett. If we try to leave the guard, they'll kill us." I hugged my older brother tighter around the waist and sighed. His huge hands rubbed my shoulders and he pulled me back.
"Fingers crossed it never comes to a fight" He smiled but I saw the truth in his eyes. He and I both knew it would end in a fight. We would all be forced to choose a side sooner or later and some of us would fall in doing so.
Death in war was inevitable.
I stayed with the Cullen's for as long as I could. I had come to love them all like family and it was hard saying goodbye. Especially to Emmett and Renesmee.
My suitcase was packed and already waiting for me at the door. Esme was the first to squeeze the life out of me.
"Ashleigh I've absolutely loved having you here! When do you think your next visit will be?" Esme beamed at me and I laughed as I returned her huge hug.
"I'm not sure Esme but I'll try to make it soon. I've loved every moment I've spent here. Your hospitality has been lovely. Thank you for making me feel so at home" I gushed as she quickly kissed my cheek and passed me onto Carlisle.
It was a quick hug and we both pulled back after a few seconds. His warm smile was something that I would miss dearly; both Carlisle and Esme just had a warm and homey air to them, they could make anyone feel at welcome.
"We've enjoyed having you here Ashleigh, come back whenever you can. Stay safe" Carlisle smiled and patted my back before wrapping his arms around Esme's waist.
I then turned to Alice who squealed and crushed herself to me. I returned her enthusiasm and smiled brightly as she pointed to my suitcase.
"I packed a few new outfits for you. I'm expecting you to stay in touch too. I don't know how but I'll be watching for you. Try sending messages to me. I love you!" She squealed like the little pixie she was and I laughed and nodded.
"Of course Alice and thank you. I love you too pix" I laughed as she huffed at her nickname. Emmett had introduced that nickname to me and well, it kinda stuck.
Jasper offered me a handshake and a brilliant smile before wishing me a safe trip and handing me off to Bella.
"Everyone's basically said everything already but I've really enjoyed having you here Ashleigh. You've been excellent with Renesmee and I love you for that. Please visit soon" Bella smiled and I nodded and accepted her hug. She stepped away slowly and pulled her long brown hair away from her face.
Edward hugged me next and patted me on the head, effectively messing up my hair. I scrunched up my nose playfully at him and he smirked.
"I plan on hearing from you soon. Don't take crap from anyone back in Italy okay? We've all loved having you here, you know you're welcome anytime. Renesmee will be happy to share her room with you" Edward smiled at his daughter who was now beaming up at me. Her curls were bouncing up and down as she nodded her head in agreement.
"Please Ashleigh! We can share a room and everything when you come back!" Her brown eyes beamed and I ducked down to wrap her in my arms. I kissed her on the nose and she giggled.
"I'd love to share a room with you Renesmee. I promise I'll come back as soon as I can." I promised and joined our pinkie fingers together. She kissed our joint fingers and smirked.
"Now it's a promise. I love you Ashleigh" Her cute little voice chirped as she smiled at me.
"I love you too my favourite little squirt!" I hugged her again and laughed as she kissed my nose in return. Carefully I placed her back on the ground and smiled at Jacob who quickly regained hold of her. I nodded a farewell to him and he did the same for me but added a smile.
He still didn't like me but the smile was promising, right? I saw Edward smirk as he read my thoughts. I held in a laugh as I turned to Rosalie.
Ahh, another person who was still not very fond of me. I had no idea why but Rose still hadn't opened up to me. Everyone else in the Cullen family had eventually taken down their walls and let me in. Hell, even Jasper liked me now! But Rose refuses to accept me.
I awkwardly smiled at her and said a goodbye.
"Bye" She replied just as awkwardly with a slight smile. I held back my sigh and turned to my brother. I saw him frowning at me and I didn't even bother stopping my eye roll.
"Emmett you know I have to go back. Stop sulking already" I joked and wrapped my arms around his waist. Slowly he softened and joined me in the hug, placing his arms around me.
"I know but I just got you back and now you're leaving again" He pouted and I nodded.
"Yea but I'll be back before you know it. We've got an eternity to catch up Emmett. I love you big brother" I beamed and he leant down to kiss my cheek.
"Love you too sis. I'm gunna miss ya" Emmett smiled down at me and his dimples were now in full force. Squeezing his arms around me one last time he eventually let me go and I stepped back towards the door.
Picking up my suitcase I turned around to stare at the Cullen family one last time. Good bye felt too final to me so I waved and with a smile said a simple.
"See you all soon" and left the huge house.
Quickly I put the suitcase into the hire car I had picked up yesterday and started the drive to the airport.
The plane ride was boring as ever but at least I had my ability to focus on. I meticulously went through my memories and thought of new scenarios to show Aro. I had to replace the memories I had made with the Cullens with fake memories of me travelling the globe to show Aro.
That took me an hour and for the rest of the long ass flight I focussed on my situation with Demetri. For the first time in months I allowed myself to really think about what was happening.
I tried to come to terms with the fact that right now Demetri had a child. Was I okay with that? I had no idea.
I already knew Demetri's point of view. He had told me he didn't want the child when he left all those months ago. Had his opinion changed? Maybe.
Edward and Bella both loved Renesmee unconditionally, would Demetri's love for his child be the same way? I knew that if Demetri loved the child then I would too, anything that was half Demetri would be prefect in my eyes but it was also half another woman. I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Every time I look at this child in the future would it be like a fresh slap to the face? Would this child be a constant reminder of what I couldn't give Demetri, what I had missed out on?
The questions were endless! Would the child accept me? Would Demetri expect me to be the mother? Would the child hate me because I wasn't its biological mum? I had no idea.
All of these things were eating at my mind the entire flight back to Italy. Finally when the plane landed I hired another car and drove back to the city. The castle looked the same as always and I reluctantly parked outside and started carrying my suitcase into the west entrance. Luckily it was around one in the morning so I didn't have to put a lot of effort into being hidden. No human was out at this time of night, at least not near the castle.
I was greeted by a few members of the guard, welcoming me back as I walked through the castle walls. All too quickly I came up to the doors to mine and Demetri's room. No sound came from inside so I pushed open the doors and walked through.
I was feeling relieved but terribly home sick. I missed Demetri so much and I just wanted to see him. I decided to quickly pack away my clothes and as I was doing that I became aware of a fluttering heartbeat coming from down the hall. I knew that pattern, it was the heartbeat of a hybrid. Demetri and his child were coming.
I had no time to prepare myself. Shit!
I listened to Demetri's familiar footsteps and turned just as he opened the door. Demetri walked into the room and beamed at the site of me. My body instantly started to buzz just from the site of him. I had missed him terribly and I finally felt like I was home. I ran over to him but stopped a few feet away.
I had been completely distracted by his beautiful face and the overwhelming feelings caused by seeing him again that I had forgotten about the child. I slowly allowed my eyes to travel down Demetri's body.
In his arms was a baby, he had a gorgeous face with dark hair that perfectly matched his father's. The child was smiling and had his hands wrapped around Demetri's index finger. I studied his small frame and noted the similarities between him and Renesmee. They were both pale but wouldn't stand out in a crowd. He was very cute and he seemed to be developing well.
Lastly I looked into the child's eyes and gasped as I saw how expressive his brown orbs were. The baby's eyes glanced between Demetri and I and then he made the cutest little noise, halfway between a giggle and a hiccup. Demetri glanced down and smiled at his son.
I watched with wide eyes as Demetri placed a loving kiss on his son's forehead. He shifted his son's position a bit higher and leaned in.
"Leonardo, this is your mother, Ashleigh" Demetri smiled and looked up into my eyes. He was asking for me to be his mother, pleading with me that I would agree. His love for his son, Leo was so obvious and it tore at my heart. Demetri loved the son that another woman had given him. Leo came into this world having nothing to do with me, in fact I hadn't wanted it to happen. I felt terribly guilty.
But seeing Demetri now, seeing him hold his son in his strong arms and introducing me as his child's mother. I looked into his eyes and then into Leo's. My heart swelled with love, I couldn't provide Demetri with children, I could never give him a family but he can give one to me. Here he is giving me a chance to be a mother. My love for him grew ten times and I smiled and stepped closer.
I slowly traced little Leonardo's cheek with my finger and bent down to kiss his button nose.
"Hi Leo!" I smiled and felt Demetri wrap his free arm around my waist and kiss my forehead.
"I love you Ashleigh" Demetri whispered to me and I kissed him hard. We pressed our foreheads together after we pulled away and smiled. I knew in that moment that nothing would ever be the same. I now had a family to protect and much more to lose. But I knew I would fight, I would fight for my family at all costs because it was too important not too.
Images of Emmett and the Cullens flashed into my mind and I breathed deeply. They were my family now too and I knew I couldn't let them fall. It was in that moment, holding Leo in my arms whilst pressed firmly against Demetri that I knew I had made my decision. I would fight till my very last breath to keep my family safe.
AWW! So I know some of you expected there to be conflict with little baby Leo but I just thought this ending felt right. I wrote many alternate endings and decided to go with this one. For some reason I just thought that anyone who couldn't physically have children would be grateful when given the opportunity to become a mother, so this reaction just seemed more realistic.
What does everything think will happen with the guard? What is Aro going to do with these poor hybrid children?! hmmm?
As always thank you for reading and I look forward to reading your reviews.