Author Notes: Thank you for the reviews and notification alerts. Everyone who follows this story, if you wouldn't mind reviewing, I would appreciate it. Just a couple of words to a sentence keeps me going! Still looking for a beta.
The Volturi were looking curiously at Edward and myself and it was making me slightly uncomfortable. Edward's head flicked up.
"Perhaps it would be better if Bella was not here for Heidi's arrival?" he suggested.
Marcus grinned. Aro smirked. "Of course," he nodded towards a female vampire. "Jehanna? Perhaps escort our new guests to their new quarters."
I heard some people approaching loudly. Edward held me around my waist and was pushing me along after Jehanna who seemed to be gliding along effortlessly. I nearly needed to jog to keep up. We were lead into a long hallway that was intricately decorated. Red seemed to be the theme colour for Volterra. I heard a shriek back behind me but couldn't be sure as Edward shut the door behind us.
My pace with Edward had slowed but Jehanna was already ducking into a room at the other end of the hall. I was preoccupied with all the art on the walls; the elegant silk red drapes and even the walls seemed to be artistic, hand carved masterpieces. Edward tugged on my hand lightly and I realised I had stopped walking. This place was just so memorising. We entered the room I saw Jehanna enter moments before.
"Call me if you need me. I'll let you get settled in and come by later tonight. We have much to do."
In a quick blur she was gone. I would be able to move that fast soon! I giggled. Edward looked at me like he was considering committing me to a mental institution. I rubbed his hand gently trying to reassure him. He still was stiff and on alert like he was about to commence battle.
I finally had a look around the room. Each item seemed antique. The bed, dressing table, a simple magnificent full length mirror, a wardrobe, it all seemed to be out of a elegant old fashion film. It was simply amazing.
"Wow," I breathed quietly. Edward motioned for me to sit on the bed. He sat opposite to me. I wasn't paying him much attention because I just spotted the dresses in the wardrobe. Though it was clear to me he was thinking about how to say something to me. I waited patiently.
"Bella, this hasn't gone too far that you can go back home," he said, a look of love and concern on his face.
I shook my head. "I want this."
Edward look pained. "I know you want mortality and a life with me always. But with these killers?"
I was slightly taken aback. Aro was very welcoming, and quite charming. This place was magnificent.
"They feed on humans, Bella," he said very gently. I realised he didn't want to raise my temper. I didn't want to fight him either. I just got him back.
"Carlisle co-existed with them," I pointed out.
"I swear to you, I will change you. Come back with me home," he pleaded. He sounded so sincere, and I believed him. I think he sensed my moment of weakness and added "Charlie and Renee will be so devastated if you just disappear. After you graduate, we can make to go off to college and you can give your parents a proper farewell. When you are absolutely ready."
It did seem to make some sense, but he had lied to me before. "You didn't want me," I whispered. "How do I know you wont change your mind on our way home?"
I stood up and went by the dressing table. I sat down in the seat in front of it, and opened a trinket box. I grabbed a hairpin and put it in my hair.
Edward was by my side and he whispered in my ear "I have always wanted you and never stopped needing you. I needed to help you let me go." I shivered as he stroked my arm. "A clean break," he added, and I felt like I was back in the forest.
I closed my eyes. I willed the images away and tried to make my face look neutral. When I opened them the hairpin was in Edward's hand, and he placed it back into the trinket box.
"You don't like it?" I added, not wanting to turn back to our previous conversation.
"It doesn't suit you," he said. I frowned. He added, "You are more modern than anything in this city."
I smiled weakly. I hope he thought it was a genuine smile. I'm not sure whether to take it as a compliment or not, but as arguments went, this sure wasn't turning ugly. He held my face in his hands and I could have just melted into his eyes. My heart acted erratically. As always.
"Anything you want, Bella, I will give it to you. Forever."
"I only want you to stay with me."
"Always," he said. "I promise".
I let him pull me in for an embrace. "Can we go home now?" he asked.
I pushed away from him. "No. Stay with me here. Please," I begged him. "I want to join the Volturi. I want to be powerful and knowledgeable. I want to be able to fight. And I want to protect the supernatural from the human world."
Edward never needed the ability to read my mind, most often my face gave me away instantly, and I was glad for that today. I knew my face would show the conviction I felt.
He would call it stubbornness.
"I don't understand," he mumbled. I could see him thinking again. I had a silly thought that he was going to throw me over his shoulder and run me through Italy against my will and then chain me down somewhere in a basement. A ridiculous thought, but for just one moment I wished he would. I stifled a giggle.
"You find me amusing," he accused. "Oh I wish I could read your mind just this once."
I grinned. "I think it would scare you away."
"Undoubtedly," he said. Teasing, so I didn't feel bad, even though I knew I should. I loved that he couldn't read my mind. I liked to have some privacy in my own head. The things I thought scared me, it really would scare him.
He grabbed me and before I knew it, I was on the bed, side by side with him. The tiredness overwhelmed me and I wondered if this is the last time I will dream. I hope I remember whatever I do dream. Edward strokes my hair.
"Tomorrow is the start of my life," I mumble to nobody in particular.
"The end of it," he corrects me. I sleepily look up at him. "Oh well," I tell him, "At least I will be pretty."
I drift away, and I can't be sure, but I think Edward said, "You already are the most beautiful being in this world."
I smile as I hear this, and I know for the first time in a very long time I will not have nightmares. I will have the most peaceful sleep I have had in months. Or ever. Fitting, for my last sleep in the mortal world.