Disclaimer: All Twilight Saga characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. Unless stated otherwise. The plot to Temptation belongs to me, respect artistic creativity please. This is a non-profit story. No copyrights infringements intended.
WARNING: this chapter has a lot of angst and heartbreak, but some comfort! Read at your own risk, and don't moan about it!
Without further ado, 3rd person's point of view
(Paragraphs in italic are flashbacks)
Bella sat on the edge of her bed, in hot trailed tears. She couldn't believe she did it. Couldn't believe she got the courage to say it. But she did. She was pushed to the edge, and she finally jumped. And it hurt; it really did hurt so fucking much to do it. It hurt so bad to accept it. But she kept telling herself over and over in her mind that it was the right thing to do.
Bella broke up with Edward Cullen.
And it was ugly.
Edward didn't acknowledge the break up. He left her house in denial. Thinking if he returned back in the morning to her, then it would be like their fight never even happened. But it did. To say it out load was the final burning seal. Bella already accepted that they were just not destined for each other.
Edward didn't want their relationship in the same way Bella wanted them to be. That should have been his first clue that they couldn't work. For a century old, fast-thinking vampire, Edward Cullen was so slow.
When he came through her window, in the most grim mood she has ever seen him, she half expected it was for an entirely other reason.
They were both wrong!
"What are you doing here, Edward?" Bella asked and cringed when she caught Edward wincing. He felt Bella deemed his presence unwelcomed. She was just inquiring. Why did he feel the need to view it as hurtful? It slightly puzzled her.
But then again, now that she looked back, for the past month their time spent together in this house was scarcely limited.
Shaking the hurt from his face, Edward stared at her, fuming once more. His eyes tense as they bore into her. "Are you going through some sort of rebellious phase, Bella?" he narrowed his eyes while questioning her. Edward never took her for the rebellious teen, but then again there was a time when he rebelled against Carlisle, and shuddered in memory of that awful bloody mistake.
Bella flinched at the randomness of such a question. "No. Why?" She asked, quirking an eyebrow, feeling utterly stomped. But otherwise, she tried not to fluster.
Edward crossed his arms. Oh how he wished he could read her mind right now. "Well if you say so, because I have half a mind to question your sanity at taking up the Volturi and their overly unwelcomed offer. Why did you accept? Are you trying to intentionally hurt me?" Edward took Bella's safety at heart; he just wished she did the same.
He can protect her from the outside world, but he couldn't protect her from herself. No. That was a two-person job, it would seem. And Bella offered no assistance, just more distance than Edward ever saw her put between them. And he was the master at keeping a distance.
Edward had a black belt in fighting off Bella's little wanton hands, once upon a time. Though he never admits it, but he secretly enjoyed their little tryst at amateur seduction. Even if the outcome was a disappointment for both parties. Now, however, it was a different story. It was Bella who pulled away, barely reacted or responded. Her mind was either elsewhere, not in the moment, or simply never in the mood.
That should have been his second clue. They were not physically compatible.
"I accepted because ….. it would be best to be cooperative with them and the sooner it would be for them to leave." Bella replied almost mechanically. Like something you memorize and rehearse over and over. She bluffed, but the jaunt signs were there.
Edward laughed with no hint of humor, and a load of sarcasm. "Oh please! Even you know that was a fit of nonsense." He retorted. She didn't meet his gaze, and her voice faltered. Two sure tells that she spoke absent truth.
And that's where it went down hill. Because a thought crossed Bella's mind and it got her baffled.
Bella raised her eyebrow, and took a daring step forward, cocking her head to the side. "How did you know I accepted?" She asked, scrutinizing him. Edward's face suddenly hardened, and he tried to give nothing away.
But Bella didn't stop there. "Alice is here, and Carlisle dropped me off barely less then five minutes ago …" She trailed off when she saw the look on Edward's face soften to guilt.
By god! If the boy could blush he would be scarlet with the look of embarrassment and shame marring his perfect face.
Now it was her turn to be livid. "You followed us didn't you!" her tone unquestioning and all accusation. Edward had the decency to hang his head. Busted.
Bella's voice rose in octave, she was angry and she couldn't rein it in. "You were eavesdropping on the whole conversation. You just couldn't resist, cant you? Couldn't wait till Carlisle told you! Couldn't wait till I told you!" she was having a fit, but oh my god, if her buttons weren't being pushed right now.
The sun was slowly setting over the thick fringe of trees across the horizon. Bella had been crying for a solid two hours, but time was certainly lost on her. A loose concept in the face of much bigger consequences. All the tears, loud sobbing, and the entire duration of it gave her a blasted headache. She was also dehydrated and her throat felt heavy with the constant hiccups.
As she dragged herself up from her bed, Bella was glad she was alone. She didn't need anyone to witness this pathetic display of cathartic crying. She needed the freedom to liberate herself from the sadness and pent-up emotions. She needed to let it all out. Holding it all in would only bring her down, and depress her. No, certainly not.
This is necessary, she thought.
However, she just didn't bank on her crying to last this long, as she crept her small self from the bedroom to the bathroom. She splashed cold water on her face and took pain-meds to relieve the headache, and possibly allow her to sleep earlier than anticipated. Bella tried to dry swallow, but gagged on the pills. She marched her butt back to the bedroom, and grabbed the water bottle she had before, and this time took the pills properly. After a big chug and swallow, she threw herself on the bed, hugging the pillow.
Bella thought the tears would stop by now, she can't possibly produce more. She sighed with defeat because she was so wrong if she thought that would have been the end of it. As more flashes of Edward demeaning Bella's respect as a compensation for her wellbeing skimmed her mind, she couldn't help but scowl.
She was so frustrated. Because that was nothing new. However, it was also the last straw.
They kept bickering back and forth like hens. Edward stated he followed and listened in on Bella and Carlisle's conversation out of sheer worry, and utter protectiveness toward his girlfriend. But Bella countered that he just didn't know how to draw the line between her safety and respecting her sense of privacy. He almost, always, had to insert himself in everything she did. She clawed for her independency, and her right to make her own choices. But somehow it was a moot point when it came in Edward's mind. His opinion is the only thing that mattered in their relationship. Period.
When Edward saw how much what he did was upsetting Bella, he tried to reach for her hand in comfort. But Bella pulled away, clutching her hands to her chest. "No!" she yelled. Edward winced again, that this time Bella recoiled from his touch rather than gently pull away. Something he was so familiar with, pulling away.
But he covered it with fury and purpose. To what was he so purposeful for? Bella had no clue. "Bella, what has gotten into you?"
Bella took a deep breath before she answered him. "I don't know what you mean." she swallowed the heavy lump in her throat, her voice broke slightly.
If she needed the clarity, Edward would make their situation pretty clear. Because her mood, her change, it was something he didn't like. She didn't act this way before. And he had half hoped that with their return, things would be back as if nothing had happened. No damage was done. Their lives would continue to rotate on its original axis, and all was right with the world again.
Edward planted his foot. "Let me make it clear then, shall I?" he retorted but Bella stayed silent. He wouldn't need her permission to continue.
Edward never needed Bella's permission. He always did what he wanted. Whether it was to her face, or behind her back. This situation was no different, Bella thought bitterly.
"For the past month since we returned, you have rarely come by the house, barely spent time with any of us, not even Esme or Alice, and especially not me!" Edward clutched his hands to his chest, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt. "You are constantly in your room, isolating yourself from the whole world. And you have shut me out completely."
He turned from irate to exasperated in a split second. His emotions were all over the place. "You barely let me hold you, kiss you, touch you." He reached out, clenching and unclenching his hand as though he longed to grab something yet he didn't know what or how. But he still continued. "Since we returned, you allowed me to stay few little nights with you. So few I could count them on one hand." he held up his hand and stuck out his fingers at her. "Three nights in almost a month." His voice dimmed to a sad whisper.
It was in that moment, that Bella felt the utter and complete realization of what their situation has become. She hugged the pillow harder. More tears dripping down her cheeks and staining the white cover.
With a silent understanding Bella knew that she was breaking this boy's heart. And the more time she gave to this relationship, which no longer held true meaning, the longer the hurt between them grew. Bella had to let him go, but unlike Edward's way, Bella was much more merciful on the boy.
Bella chewed her lip, focusing firmly on not biting down hard enough to draw blood. Because the next words leaving her mouth were going to be one of the hardest things she would ever say in her entire life.
She opened her mouth, almost flattering in her resolved, but she cemented herself for whatever was about to happen. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
"I think we should be apart." Bella spoke softly, and in the gentlest way possible. This wasn't in the forest, and this sure as hell wasn't a lie she said to protect him. Bella tried her best not be as heartless as Edward had been when he left her in the woods. She would give this separation the justice it needed.
Edward's head snapped up, and were he to be human, that whiplash would have been painful. "What?" He breathed, his black eyes gazing at her in total disbelief.
"We are not working out, Edward. You must see that. And I need to be on my own. I need space. I need space." She repeated, almost to herself and for his sake and benefit to acknowledge.
Bella wanted to look away from him, but if she did, Edward would think her to be insincere. But right now, Bella wanted him to know that these words ring with nothing but the reality of what they let their situation become. So she held herself firm and looked straight into his bottomless pits of eyes.
Edward's jaw clenched hard, as he slowly rolled it around. "Don't say things you don't mean, love." He uttered tensely. These words could be the result of her antagonism, he thought.
"You can't call me that any more." Bella shook her head. Endearment titles will only make her mislay the determination she built up, and she needed to grip herself strong.
When Edward saw the penetrating strength of her brown eyes pierce him, his entire demeanor slumped. "Why?" Edward whimpered, Bella's words finally sinking into his comprehension.
"Because my feelings for you, Edward, are not the same feelings I had before you left me." Bella elaborated. She knew he wasn't distracted and he wasn't dense or slow to grasp. His vampiric mind works inhumanly fast. He just refused to believe such words would be coming from her mouth.
"Why, Bella?" Edward pleaded again, like a broken record. He just couldn't understand.
Bella was a little more considerate and offered him a choice. Were it was Edward in her shoes; he would make the choice for her. "Do you really want the foul truth, Edward? There is no coming back from it. We can end this peacefully ….. let us end this peacefully instead." She tried to offer, to persuade. She hoped his consent would be mutual to her own, but clearly she was wishing for the moon, the stars, and the entire cosmic system.
He could refuse, leave now with this bit of heartache rather than dig up old wounds, more specifically Bella's old wounds. The loose flap that sealed that gaping pit on her heart threatened to unleash its fury upon her. But she would gladly take it, for him.
Although deep down Bella wished he would say no. But since when did Bella get what she wanted? And she proved herself right when Edward nodded his head for her to spill.
Deep breathe. Steady gaze. Here she goes.
When Bella opened her eyes, she looked to him with a strange hard gaze, that Edward was not accustomed to seeing in his Bella. "I cant be with you anymore, Edward, because you are a bastard. You left me. And you took with you the people that I love. I didn't just love you; I loved all of your family. Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Carlisle, Esme and for the life of me, I don't even know why, but even Rosalie!" Bella didn't realize it, but she was outright yelling in Edward Cullen's completely stunned face.
"Bella …." Edward tried to pacify her.
She snapped. "Be quiet." Edward flinched at her forcefulness but held his tongue never the less. A first in their relationship history.
Bella did offer him an escape from this, but Edward didn't take it. And now they crossed the point of no return. She had to see this through. See it to the end. Despite the fact that Bella wished this situation would have ended peacefully. But Bella would never find peace from this. She was broken. Edward broke her. The whole family leaving broke her. Their return fixed nothing.
You can't glue a broken vase together and make it look like new again, its still a vase but no longer the same one you had. The cracks will forever be visible as a sign of the done damage. And this is how Bella felt. She was that vase, Edward broke her, changed her. From shiny and smooth, to jagged and cracked. It was Jacob that picked her up and glued her back, but the damage was now done. She is not the same Bella Swan anymore. She had the scars and the cracks to prove it. Inside and out.
Bella took a deep breath, to calm her self before she spoke again. "You know when you used to argue that you didn't have a soul, but I always told you that you did?"
Edward nodded, unsure of where this was going.
"You have a soul, Edward, it's in there somewhere but you do have it. However, it's a dark and wrecked soul. Because only a monster like you can do the heartless thing that you did to me." She shut her eyes tight. "Leaving me and taking the people that I love with you." Edward, again, winced at the hurtful words. But at least they were the truth. This was Bella's deep and dark declaration.
"But that's not the only worse thing." Bella whimpered. She could feel the tears stinging her eyes, as she opened them to gaze back at her long-ago Adonis. "None of them fought for me. None of them fought you to stay for me."
"They did fight to stay, Bella. They did! For you …. They did …. I … I swear!" Edward countered.
Bella shook her head. "Not hard enough." Her eyes rimmed with tears.
Edward cringed. However, he wasn't the only one wincing from Bella's words. Downstairs, in the Swan home kitchen, Alice sat listening. She made it perfectly clear, for Bella's safety that she would be close. The little pixie that was currently, and apparently, acting as Bella's unofficial yet self-appointed shield, offered to stay. Incase Edward, who had yet to hunt, would lose his cool. And Alice would have to step in before things went out of control. Now she regretted staying. The things she heard from her sister to be were hurting her dead heart. And if Alice could cry, she would. But that still didn't stop her eyes from glistening with venom.
"You brought me in, and then you pushed me out. How did you expect I would take it?" Bella looked down to her shaking hands. "I'm only human, Edward." And wasn't that the saddest truth.
"Bella, We can fix this. Please let me fix this." Edward pleaded.
"It's too late to fix it ….. you cant …. Cant fix me, Edward." Bella shrugged her shoulders, smiling sadly, tears painting her pale cheeks. The sight broke Edward's heart.
"I don't even know me anymore. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten who I really am." She spoke vacantly, with empty eyes, like a ghost, a voided shell. It scared Edward, frightened him. The predator was terrified, how ironic. He finally got a glimpse of Bella, of how deep his mistake caused her damage. But it only cemented his resolve to fix her all the more. And he didn't want to give her up, he can't.
Edward swallowed, choking, his throat felt hard. And it wasn't the thirst that bothered him. No, that little problem was trapped in another part of Edward's mind, behinds layers of pain, guilt and sadness.
"I can not … will not ….. No! I don't accept that we are through. That you and me are over." Edward backed away, one leg already dangling outside Bella's window. "These recent events must have taken a toll on you. You are just mentally and emotionally exhausted. Get some rest, I will see you in the morning." And then he jumped out the window before giving Bella anytime to say anything, or catch the gut-retching emotion on his face. The devastation Edward was feeling was palpable, and would have exuded an aura of black toxic mist should it ever manifest itself.
Edward didn't need to hear anymore. His mind wont be able to handle it. Edward came with the intention of persuading Bella to boycott Aro's proposal or any advances made by the Volturi during their entire visit. And should they increase and persist then he would suggest Bella would move into the Cullen house, as an extra precaution. But this was far beyond anything he ever thought would happen.
And that's how they left it.
Alice departed the Swan residence through the main door; she couldn't handle facing Bella as well. What she heard from Bella broke Alice as much as it broke Edward. Made Alice deeply regret not aggressing Edward hard enough when he told them they should leave last September.
Asshole, Alice thought as she closed the door to the house behind her. And she hoped Edward wasn't far off so he could hear her. Edward was only a few yards away. He heard Alice loud and clear before be broke off into a fast paced sprint to the Cullen house.
The Sun was well tucked and hidden away behind the trees; it was utter darkness around the neighborhood, in the Swan house, and Bella's bedroom. Bella couldn't even see far past her own hand, should she even have the will to lift it to her face other than to rub the tears away.
The edges of her eyes burned so badly from the salty tears and the constant rubbing. Her chest was convulsing with breaths she couldn't hold onto for long before she had to release them out. Bella was borderline hyperventilating.
So it was sure to say that she wouldn't be able to hear, nor see the presence of the dark figure that crawled inside through her open window. Because, truth be told, he was quick and swift and he was graceful. He wore black from top to bottom, a fitting camouflage for the predator to lurk in the darkness. His motives were predatory but for an entirely different reason.
Although, his agenda was shattered to pieces, the moment his vampiric flawless vision took in the sight of the devastatingly beautiful human his eyes has ever seen, and the sobs that were shaking her small figure right before his eyes. He froze, but only for a second before an unfamiliar sense went on autopilot and took over his facilities.
He was by her side within seconds. Scooping her up in his strong massive arms, he trapped her in the prison of his steel embrace. Bella was momentarily disoriented as to what happened. The action occurred in the blink of an eye. One moment she was buried in her pillow, the next she was hugging the pillow while sitting in someone's lap. Her posture was rigid from the stiff shock and the moment of disorientation.
Bella gasped, coughing from the dryness of her throat as she looked up at her intruder. Aro's bright red eyes, fresh from a recent feeding, looked down upon her, and he would have joked on how her dark eyes looked of immortal thirst, had the situation been anything but dreadful.
Instead, Aro caressed the beautiful human's soft hair, cooing her to calmness, or at the very least some semblance of serenity to be able to speak. The poor human girl in his arms was shaking even from the slight hiccups her throat exuded. Something tugged and scratched in his chest at the sound. Something he was entirely unfamiliar, and all too uncomfortable with.
And the more he looked to the girl; the feeling within him grew intense. So Aro lifted his gaze and looked around the young girl's room. Taking in every aspect. Of course he had seen it several times from the Cullen boy's mind, and young Alice as well. But to be here in the flesh, so to speak, was a wholly new experience.
Aro was a hermit by his own nature; the world travel was a distant concept he never relished, nor entertained, outside the terracotta walls of his Volterra sanctuary. And why should he? Everything he ever wanted was there. Everything he ever needed was brought to him.
Yet here he was, many a thousands of miles away, across the vastness of the North Atlantic Oceans, and cuddling in his arms this little slip of a girl. He held his breath, too cautious that his heavy breathing would knock the wind out of her very own lungs. She was so tiny, so fragile in his arms. He was very proud and smug that at the very least, his millennia of delicate control had come in use in this moment.
"But …Wha.. What ….. why" The haze of shock and disorientation had slightly dissipated from Bella's mind, yet her conscious still couldn't formulate a proper sentence. And had it not been for Aro's extremely pale and translucent skin, which gave him an ethereal glow, defining the sharp profile of his face for Bella's foggy gaze to absorb, then she would have been screaming her shriveled lungs from the moment she saw the glow of bright ruby eyes.
Aro looked down upon the girl in amusement. "Were we missed, child? You were certainly missed." He chuckled as his fingers traced Bella's cheekbone, dancing gently across her face. "Oh …" Aro sighed. "The things you do to me, little one." He was almost as though he was wondering to himself. Compared to him, this girl was a child in age, an infant, a toddler, oh hell, she is a fetus to his three millennia age and then a few more centuries to add as chunk-change. And those had been the years Aro had bothered to count, but he knew he was older, much much older.
After his second millennia, Aro gave up trying to keep track of his age. He knew that somewhere along the timeline, he had passed his three thousand years, but when did it happen? He didn't give a care in the world. There was no need for it. He was already labeled as an ancient immortal, marked and considered a divine creature, then in later years a demon, and finally a vampire. History had many names for what Aro was, but Vampire was the one that had stuck, and seemed more appropriate till present.
Immortals were a rarity during Aro's earlier existence, but now they practically littered every corner of the world. Generation by generation. And should they cluster, they were called a Coven. Should they reside, they staked claim of territory. When had the world become so complex? It did not matter. Aro ruled over all and the vampire world was at peace. So all is right within reason.
But still, there were a handful of vampires that questioned Aro's age legitimacy, marked, as an ancient was no meek matter. And those fool of a vampires simply assumed his age via guess-imation, but one fact will always be recognized and widely known among his kind, bar putting a number on it. Aro is one of the oldest to walk the earth. He belongs to an era that was far beyond the time of the Christian's Jesus Christ, or the Muslim's prophets, even the Jewish messengers of god. That much could at least be said.
The squirming pile of warm flesh in his arms brought Aro back from where his mind had lurked. He slowly swallowed the vile fear that crept upon him. He had been carelessly musing, all the while forgetting what lay in his strong embrace. He thanked his lucky stars he subconsciously didn't flex his arms, and instead, remained completely lax. Aro looked down into the curious brown gaze, and let all emotions fade into a perfect peaceful visage.
Bella tried to speak, but instead coughed hard. Her throat was so raspy and dry. Aro's mild amusement evaporated, he frowned, sensing her hindrance to speak. He looked around again and spotted the bottle sitting on her nightstand, he deftly grabbed it and twisted the top with his teeth, spitting the cap somewhere across the room. It wasn't the most eloquent behavior, but dammit it got the job done!
"Drink." He commanded. "Drink it all. No peep out of you. Until you drink this entire thing. Drink, little one." He demanded, but tried not be overly obnoxious. He was already invading the girl's personal space bar an invitation. Not the most proper way to go about, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures? No matter.
Feeling no inkling of a fight in her to protest, Bella maneuvered the bottle from around the pillow she held, and drank and drank and drank.
All the while Aro was looking upon her, taking in her every detail. Her leggings clung to her like a second skin, barely enough to warm her from the cool air of the Olympic weather, despite it being within early June. Did this land know any hint of warmth? Needless to say, Aro wouldn't care less, for his own body was by far much cooler, but the girl was far from resistant. But she did not shiver so he dismissed the subject of her attire. Yet he still grew concerned; she was so incredibly tiny, had she always been this tiny?
Once Bella finished, she dropped the plastic water bottle with a thunk on the floor.
"Better?" Aro asked, meeting the Swan girl's wondrous dark gaze.
Bella nodded, and said the first thing that came to her. "You are in my room." Well, wasn't that already the most obvious thing? Aro had to suddenly laugh out loud, making Bella jump in his lap.
He would humor her. "Yes I most certainly am, child." He supposed he should state why he was suddenly invading her residence with no preamble warning. "Carlisle contacted me. I was ….. jubilant." Aro wondered if he should tell her he had to end his feeding rather shortly upon receiving young Isabella's response. But then felt it would speak too many volumes, and could be misinterpreted, so he thought none to voice it. "However, I did not come here with the expectation of discovering you in such a state." His eyes shined brightly with curiosity.
"Why so glum, little one?" Aro asked. And he was concerned, genuinely concerned. And slightly irritated. Were she not to mysteriously encompass the gift to block him, then he would have his skin upon her immediately. His face was much too skillfully passive to show it, yet his eyes conveyed it, unbeknownst to him.
Bella could see it. Once her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. How could she not? His ruby eyes shined like a twin beacon, a rapid swirl of magma. She bit her bottom fat lip, pulling Aro's attention momentarily to her succulent lips. She had the most kissable lips, warm, and full and luscious. Aro was mildly tempted, his cock slightly hardened at the sight. They looked especially rosy and swollen from her weeping session, he noted that immediately. He was most pleased that he had kissed her previously with such caution, yet able to relish her warm delicious mouth. It tasted so much like how her blood smelled. Oh she was so delicate, so easily soft to bruise. Aro could crush her with a kiss. But her most potent taste was that which lay between her legs. The taste gone from his lips, but the memory of it forever itched.
At his inquiry, the words were at the tip of Bella's tongue and it took so much mental will power not to spill it all out. Bella found she, yet again, was totally disarmed at the hands of this Vampire King. But little did she know that she was also chipping away the chink in Aro's armor. Little by little.
Because Aro never cares about the personal welfare of anyone, let alone even an acquaintance. But this little girl held a sequence in her little delicate finger and unknowingly it tugged at him. It pulled him to her. Was the girl aware of it? He better hope she didn't. The thought itself was a catastrophe. He already had the sense of responsibility to ensure she was secure and cared for, not by him then by Carlisle and his coven. And now that he has found her in such a state, his excitement would have to delay.
"Well …. Why. So. Glum?" he pressed her again, when she didn't speak. He asked her in a singsong voice, hoping that should be appealingly friendly enough so the girl would divulge.
Bella rolled her eyes, not at the playfulness of this well grown manpire, but by the interest in her. He was a vampire with many a distraction he could seek, but he was here, with her, in her little bedroom. Alone. And on his lap, hugging her damn pillow like a toddler. That last thought made a bright color paint her cheeks. It saturated the air, and Aro could see and smell it.
Aro waited and waited and waited. She said nothing yet. And patience wasn't Aro's forte.
He inhaled deeply, taking in Isabella's scent, but his senses caught another. Aro smirked, the type that made his eyes shine with mischief. "Visited by young Edward, were you?" He tilted his head, narrowing his eyes in mock chastising. "Girls should not have boys in their room." He uttered in a tsk tsk manner.
Bella frowned, biting her lip harder. "You're here." She stated boldly. Again with the obvious. Aro flashed her a wide smile. "I am the farthest thing for a boy, little one." Bella shivered. All the more reason she should not be positioned on his lap like a limp.
"I need to wash my face …. Please?" she suddenly found herself requesting. But only because Aro had an arm wrapped around her waist, and a hand pinning her head in place. She couldn't move away if she wanted, not without hurting herself, she thought. And the bruising he left, unknowingly, on her lower back thigh deliciously tingled.
Eyebrow raised, and lips pressed together at the girl's slight resistance to obey, Aro reluctantly obliged, and slowly released Bella from his hold. She clambered to her feet, dropping the pillow to the floor. She looked to the man sitting on her bed, with his elbows propped on his knees in expectation, and blushed. He looked so wrong, seated in her suddenly too small room. On her bed, with her lavender floral sheets.
Looking at Aro's dark clad figure, Bella's lips frowned. Black, the color of death and depression, and he somehow made it fashionably appeasing, yet sinful. Black turtle neck sweater, black knee length coat, back slacks, black shoes, and even the set of black leather gloves to match. Because he really couldn't pull the outfit off without a damn matching set of gloves. He had to keep his hands warm. Really? No!
And what was the over all look? Like a fashion runway funeral for the High Elite, where he probably kisses cheeks with Lagerfeld and Armani and Donatella and …. Bella stopped that train of thought right there. And rubbed her hands over my face several times in horror. Alice was rubbing off on her. Bella turned rouge to maroon under that pale satin skin.
Aro suddenly smirked, from moody to perked, in 2.79 seconds. But only to see that delicious blush spread farther down her neck ….farther and farther … all the way to her breas…
"uh ….. ok then." Bella nodded.
"Okey." Aro repeated the colloquial, suppressing a shudder at butchering the English language, while removing his gloves and tossing them beside him.
Bella all but stumbled as she ran to the bathroom across the hall. She halted at the door as the tension in the bedroom dissipated, and a sense of fear crept into her. A gist began to claw at her mind as her subconscious began to assault her with questions upon questions behind the reason of this sudden, and rather timely, visit from the vampire king.
Upon consideration, Bella never felt so lost in her entire life. A whole future she had planned was somehow gone info flames when she broke up with Edward. She was positive she might no longer be welcomed with the Cullens, because she was brought into their family as a prospected mate to Edward. Certain scary questions she didn't consider before were swarming in a flock with no real answers to thwart them with. Would the Cullens all cut her off from their lives again? Would it matter to her? Would they leave? Did they tell the Volturi? Is that why Aro is here? If the Cullens no longer wanted her, would she be denied immortality? Would they kill her? Again, is that why Aro is here?
Bella braced herself against the bathroom doorframe; her heart was beating so viciously. She swallowed the slight bile that rose to her throat. She had questions … so many questions. And it suddenly dawned on her that the answers all lay within her very bedroom, in the form of a handsome, tall, and dark vampire. Bella exhaled slowly and marched back to her room with more strength, than she could ever muster.
She halted for a second by the door, gazing at the vampire who somehow had not moved a muscle since she left the room. But to say he was on a standstill would be highly undermining the king. Aro never left the girl, he was attuned to her heartbeat, following her, and although she was pitter-pattering away from him, he was stalking her every motion with his other senses bar the sense of sight. Aro did it unconsciously, didn't need to question it. The girl was appealing right down to the to the flutter of her lashes, and constant lip biting. She really did do things to him he couldn't understand; yet somehow accepted them regardless.
Aro could feel the girl's eyes on his back. Hunched and propped on by his elbows on his parted knees. He had to smirk a little; he wanted to adjust his shoulder, sit straighter. Fidgeting, something he wasn't accustomed to doing at all. It was a human thing. The girl did things to him. She sure did. Did she know? She shouldn't know. But there was a connection, with no real definition. Aro felt it. Did Bella feel it too? She shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't.
Bella walked slowly around her bed, standing right in front of the king who was staring out her window, but met her gaze when she blocked his view. His smile dissipated in expectation of what the girl would say. And she looked like she had something to say. Was she ready to divulge the reason to why she was weeping? He was still curious. And if she didn't part lips on the matter …. Well …. Then Aro wasn't a long way off from making her spill words using his method. Aro always got his way. The girl was no short of that privilege. Yet what she uttered what not what he expected.
"Did … Carlisle tell you Edward and I are … no longer together?" Bella asked with no emotion on her face to be read. She was cautious, guarded. Curbing her vulnerable feelings. Ignoring the rapidness of in her chest.
Aro blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice. He opened his mouth, didn't even decide on what to say, so he closed it. He sat straighter and rubbed his hands together, as he scrutinized a very reserved pair of chocolate brown eyes. "I see. I was not made aware."
Not understanding where Bella was going with her inquisition, Aro felt the need to press the unconditional and unmovable fact. "This does not change your inevitable immortality." Though it goes without saying, the Volturi law is ultimate, definitive, and final. No exceptions given to anyone. Who would be obtuse enough to say no to the gift of eternal life? A slight period of excruciating pain is nothing compared to spending eternity unchanged, enhanced, the perfect image of epitome perfection sculpted and refined by venom.
"I know that." Bella stated gently. The law is the law. And a deal is a deal. Bella was woman enough to keep to her word.
"We have no problem then." Aro concluded. Frustration was getting the better of him. What was going through that girl's mind? Clearly the subject of the matter, whatever it was, wasn't over. And Aro grew impatient. Impassive be damned. His visage exuded it all. His frustration. Clear for the human to see and get straight to whatever she was breaching.
"Hypothetically speaking if I were to not join the Cullens …."
"I peg your pardon." Aro interrupted. If he wasn't focused before, now Isabella Swan had his full attention.
"I am speaking in a hypothetically supposed situation." Bella elaborated. Outside of Bella's change, nothing else was set in stone. Actually …. even the topic of Bella's 'change' was technically no set into stone either, if she really thought about it. It would be Carlisle that would change her, and Carlisle would not only do it for Bella, but it was ultimately for Edward and Bella to be together. She wasn't sure if such a promise would still stand. But should it not, then where the Cullens stood as one, Bella had to stand strong as well, even if she was going solo. And right now that status was in negotiation.
"Hypothetically." Aro uttered the word slowly. As though he was testing it's meaning, rolling it in his mind. He focused again on the girl. "You cannot, should not go through the change alone. You would be a newborn; you need to learn control and stability. You need your sire to teach you how to feed properly, timely, and regularly without over indulging. You need to keep your bloodlust in control." He explained. "No matter what dietary path you take." He added as an afterthought. Aro knew quite well that the way of the Cullens was much harder than feeding on humans. Animal blood did not sustain them in a prolonged time as human blood did, and so feeding was more frequent for them. The thirst was far worse. Should the girl choose such a path, she needed a veteran to aid her. It was the Cullen's demanded obligation to teach the girl such a way. Aro would make sure of that.
But where Aro was thinking of things in a certain way, Bella's thoughts ran a mile a minute in an entirely different direction.
Bella refused to let the utter fact of such a predicament envelope her mind completely, she had to think of it from an outside and logical perspective. Tried to not let her emotions get in the way. She didn't want to acknowledge the fact that she might have lost a family. She would be in tears again. She had to keep such emotions at bay, but that didn't stop her lip from trembling. The Cullens could survive without her, and they did so before. And Bella needed to do the same. She would survive by herself. Yes she would. Of course she would. She cant cry about it now, she just …. She cant be in tears again.
Bella didn't realize she was closing her eyes to keep the tears from overwhelming her again. So when she felt cold and strong fingers wrap around her hand, Bella jumped, startling her to peer at their owner.
"You are trembling, young one." And she was, she was shaking violently. "Are you cold?" Aro asked. Perhaps her garments are extremely light to truly warm her, he thought.
"I'm fine." Bella assured.
"Do you take me for a fool? You are crying." Aro's voice was hard. Eyes wide and piercing. But when Bella's hands went to her cheeks, he realized she wasn't aware of herself. Again, that light tether in his chest tugged at him.
Ignoring everything, Aro pulled Bella to him. It was easy as Bella was so weak and tiny. Her small figure crashed into his body, and he wrapped his massive arms around her. He hugged her gently to him. "Shhhh …" he calmed the girl, as she began to whimper.
Before he could even think about it, Aro placed a kiss on Bella's forehead, and then another and another, pleased when she wrapped her arms around his neck, the heat of her tiny body warming Aro's dead stone skin right to its core. Her heart beating right next to his chest, almost like it was his own, beating again after many thousands of years. He tightened his arms around her, pressing his face in the crook of her neck, inhaling her scent. She smelled so lovely.
They remained like this for a few minutes in each other's arms before Bella's shaky yet small voice cut through the comfortable silence.
"I will be ok. I'll be fine." Bella spoke carefully. "I can do fine on my own."
"I will have you consider that my offer still stands to join us, Isabella." Despite that Aro's lips were pressed on the girl's shoulder, Aro's voice did not waver in the slightest. Not even when Bella shivered as his cool breath traveled across her back.
"It might not be the life for me." Bella replied.
"What other lifestyle is there. Choices are limited." Aro smiled against her skin.
Bella had considered pursuing a certain lifestyle, something not Cullen wise or Volturi wise. "There is the Nomadic way." Bella responded.
That wiped the smirked right off of Aro's face.
Arms still wrapped around her waist, Aro pulled his face away from Bella, just enough to look at her to know if she was trying to be humorous, because that was no laughing matter to Aro. Bella looked serious enough. As serious as a wide doe-eyed girl can appear.
Aro flinched. His jaw clenched to a click, eyes grew intense and lips were pressed into a hard line. "That way of life is beneath you." He spoke rigidly. Trying to curb the growl bubbling in his throat. He deemed himself civilized enough to not growl like a wild beast.
Bella didn't seem to know why Aro's demeanor changed as she spoke, stating her point across. "I thought the Cullens, aside from your coven were the only family that took up residence. Aren't most covens or unmated vampires living a nomadic life?"
"It is not a civilized way of living." Aro stated again. And who would want such an unstable life. To travel from one place to another aimlessly, again, Aro didn't see the point. He wasn't a traveler by any stretch of the imagination. He didn't find the appeal in it.
Bella, however, grew more and more warm to the idea. " I mean … I never traveled, never saw much. Never been anywhere really. But I'll have all the time in the world." Again, Aro did not see the appeal. It was just mindless, aimless wandering.
It startled Aro, to find himself suddenly caring of what this girl was making of her choices. A nomadic life is something Aro wished upon enemies of the Volturi should they ever cross their laws unwisely. A life of eternal wandering, or eternal running. Like that thorn in Aro's thigh, that son of a whore Alistair! But that was a rancid name he didn't wish to think of in this moment.
Aro griped the girl tighter, placing his palm on her ribs he suddenly froze. Something was wrong. He lowered his other hand to her waist to verify what he stumbled upon, and when he smoothed his hand on her waist and over her hip, Aro's suspensions were confirmed. Aro wanted to kick himself for not noticing it sooner. But, honestly, the last time he and the girl were alone, he was not in his right mind, far beyond distracted by the temptations of this little human girl.
But the words that fell from Bella's mouth were like a cold shower. And just like that, from amusement to shock to anger. The more the fact seeped into Aro's mind, like the slow dripping of oozing warm honey clinging to every surface of his cerebrum, the more raged Aro felt.
He suddenly realized he was showing his emotions on his face, for the girl's eyes to see. But when Aro looked to the girl, she was asleep. She cried herself to sleep. But she fell asleep in his arms, so Aro liked that. He liked that a lot.
Gently collecting the girl in his arms, Aro rose from the bed and placed Bella's head on the pillows as delicately as possible. Lowering her fragile body without jostling her too much, before covering her body with the duvet. Still bent over the girl, Aro took one last lingering look to her peacefully sleeping face and gently caressed her before he lowered himself further and brushed his lips gently on her forehead, then made his exit from her room through the window and landed gracefully and soundlessly on the evergreen lawn.
It was night, it was late, and no one caught his inhuman leap on the Swan residence. So Aro stood there to ponder his recent eye-opener.
He would have had no method to confirm his suspicions had it not been for Bella's first visit to him in Volterra. Aro knew when his eyes first fell on Bella that she was a petite sized girl, she looked tired and slightly malnourished than the girl he first saw in Edward Cullen's mind. She was skinny. But now Bella didn't just look skinny a moment ago in Aro's arms, Bella was skinnier. She can hide that torso under those garments, but the feel of lined ribs and bones on skin absent human body fat were obvious to even meek inferior human eyes, much less skilled vampire hands.
So the fact that Aro has noticed it just now, and the fact that she was only but a near month under the Cullen's watch, begged a certain question. Who the fuck was keeping watch on the girl's wellbeing? She was nearly pale skin on bones!
As the green grass under Aro's shoes pressed outlines of his feet the further he grew still against the cool night air of Forks, more thoughts began to fester in his head.
Clearly, the Cullens, and all their petty lies and meek blend within the human society proved how careless they were for something that was happening right under their noses. Again, Aro didn't understand why he cared for the girl, yet he knew that he had a sense of responsibility to her. A responsibility he took upon himself the second he took the girl's virtue, and so Aro took it upon himself to take the girl under his proverbial wings. If she should wish to be with the Cullen Coven, then Aro would make sure she was well cared for. He trusted no coven more than that of his dear friend Carlisle. Clearly such valuable trust was misplaced.
Aro lifted his gaze up to look upon the starry night sky. He pondered his options, and it had two outcomes, two choices. He could either retreat for the night, back to his temporary residence in Seattle and strategize his next move ….. or …..
He could go directly to the Cullen coven and give Carlisle a piece of his mind. For making such a careless error, for allowing his boy to affect a human girl is such a deteriorating and withered state and not do a damn thing about it. Aro thought he would never live to see that day come, but it would seem it was doomed to happen never the less.
If Aro confronts them now he would be standing alone against a coven of seven vampires. A Volturi leader against seven golden-eyed vampires, but it would seem Aro's plan was about to change. For he thought that he came to Isabella alone, but within his excitement he didn't realize he was being, watched, or protected by his peers. A line of black cloaks slowly appeared from the tree line across the Swan residence. Aro smirked. He had the element of surprise within his grasp now. He looked to his guards and addressed them with a lazy, villainous wide grin.
"My children. Fancy a visit to the Cullen coven?" Aro spoke menacingly under the layer of bubbling brew of hot rage.
A line of faint chuckles erupted across his guards, so light they nearly carried over by the whistle of wind. And just like that, they suddenly vanished in a blur as they headed to their destination of the white house within the woods.
Later that Night
I groaned loudly, feeling the delicate nudge of someone's hand on my shoulder. I was having a rather lazy dreamless sleep, and quite honestly, I had no clue on how I had managed to fall asleep in the first place. Never the less, I slowly let my lazy drooped eyelids to pull back as I blurrily gazed at whomever roused me from my slumber.
My eyes immediately took in the sight of Jasper's shimmering blonde curls, illuminated by the gleam of the moonlight and the worry on his scarred yet perfect face. I slowly pushed myself off the pillows and Jasper pulled back to sit on the edge of the bed. I yawned and stretched, feeling the ache and ligament crack and protest before I let my hands fall to my lap.
"Jasper … what's wrong?" I slurred in my half sleepy state.
Peering at me with concern in his eyes and a pull at his brows, Jasper frowned. "Aro and his guards paid us a visit." Jasper spoke cautiously, almost as if he shouldn't be telling me this.
That sobered me up almost immediately. "What?!"
"He came to us. He spoke to Carlisle …. and he was mad, Bella. Livid to a point I have never witnessed before ….. before my peaceful life with the Cullens." Jasper swallowed then looked down to his hands, and I almost didn't catch that he had something in them clutched. Something dark and of leather material, my breath was caught in my throat, it was Aro's gloves. He must have left them here. Then suddenly all the events, which had occurred in my room, came crashing at me in ten folds and I paled immediately.
"It seems he has paid you a visit as well, before coming to us." Jasper's words broke at the end, and he looked sad. Then he pulled me to him and crushed me in a hug taking me, and the air out of my lungs, in surprise.
"Jasper!" I squealed. He went a little stiff but loosened his tight hold on me, sensing my inability to breathe.
"I'm so sorry Bella. I'm just so very sorry. Sorry. So very sorry." He kept repeating the apology again and again like a prayer.
I force Jasper to release me, which he did when he sensed by protest. But it was for an entirely different reason as I then went to garbs his shoulders and met his stunned gaze. Granted, I have never been bold in physical contact with Jasper before, but I needed to know what the hell was going on!
"Jasper, what happened? Why did … The Volturi came to you?"
Jasper offered me a sad smile. "Aro told us … well … he told Carlisle, of the state you have come to be since he first saw you in Volterra. He accused Carlisle of being careless. Nearly lost it completely when Edward tried to interfere." Jasper's gaze then shifted away to look everywhere but at me. He looked extremely uncomfortable.
There is more! My subconscious chided. And the little harpy might be right.
"Jasper ….. then what happened?" I asked slowly. Jasper looked to me as if he thought me to be reading his mind. And apparently I was right; there was more to this than he is telling me.
Jasper swallowed again before he spoke. "Aro is said … that …." He hesitated, stuttering. A first for Jasper Cullen. Stuttering. I never thought I would see the day.
"The Volturi is pending Edward for punishment on certain offences." He finally blurted out.
I blinked a few times before finally finding my voice. "I don't understand, Jasper. What offences? What did Edward do?" I demanded, cupped his strong jaw in my palms, but Jasper didn't flinch away from my touch.
Jasper sighed in defeat and blew his cool breath upon my face. I slightly shivered, but the sad smile continued to grace his lips.
"Aro is punishing Edward for his crimes of negligent against you, Bella." Jasper stated, meeting my direct gaze.
The story will resume from Bella's POV from now on. 3rd person's POV was done upon reader's request for a scene between Aro and Bella to get a proper understanding on Aro without going through his overly complex Point of view. 3rd person's POV was a challenge as you saw, but Aro's POV would haunt me because I would never get his character just right.
So now again, you guys have two choices. Feel free to decide via reviews, the majority will ultimately decide.
Choice#1: We see from Jasper's POV Aro's confrontation with the Cullens. (It doesn't really affect the plot, so its an extra chapter that we see Aro getting to tear a new asshole for the Cullens)
Choice #2: We immediately continue from Bella's POV and resume the storyline.
Choose away, and choose wisely!
And follow my pinterest (link on my profile) I post some seriously juicy fluffy yum yum stuff while I write chapters. So you get previews and hints about what I get to include in the next chapter before I get to update the actual chapter itself.