bellarosa.

Slowly, carefully, I glided toward the dirty window on the north wall of my study. There was a crack originating at the bottom of the pane and shooting angrily upward, splitting my view of the dismal fog outside. I ran my fingertip along the windowsill, lifting it and studying the individual particles of filth on the contours of my fingerprint. I lifted the finger to my lips and blew the dust, freeing its hold on my skin; I watched in boredom as the unique fluttering specks danced aimlessly in the breeze before settling as the air stilled and drifted slowly down.

I placed my hand on the contours of the rough stone walls, wishing that I could feel the cold damp discomfort but knowing this could never be.

I embody cold.

I am ice.

So goes the mantra of the new Bella Swan. Or should I say, Bellarosa.

I turned slowly, relishing the taste of the fine silk as it caressed my porcelain skin. Only the finest for a queen; I looked down at the flawless white fibers as they effortlessly cascaded from my shoulders, hugging my hips then ending in a pool on the faded red oriental rug.

I smiled at the beautiful décor. My lovely Alice designed the room for me, ever the designer. Sitting atop the overwhelmingly exorbitant carpet rested a rich mahogany desk, thick and heavy and solid—all things that I know not of. Upon it were scattered various novels and textbooks I had been scanning earlier that evening. I spent most nights here, in the cold confines of my dusty study, trying to further acquaint myself with knowledge.

Dawn was arriving. I felt the warmth of the sun's rays as they awakened and cautiously licked my back. I smiled as thousands of facets of light reflected across the stone walls, warming my icy skin and breathing life into the musky chamber.

I glided fluidly to the deep oak bookshelf, my feet silent on the thick rug. I sifted through the old books quickly, without much interest. The shelves extended far above my head, reaching ever heavenward towards the high stone ceiling.

I didn't react when I heard muffled footsteps growing louder as the clicked along the hallway. Whoever it was could not overtake me.

I heard a faint knock on the giant, heavy redwood door. I smiled at the light tapping; it was a knock I recognized. "Enter," I said, my voice quiet. I knew she would hear.

I heard the door protest as the tiny vampire pushed it open. "Bella," she said in greeting, her voice sparkling like wind chimes.

I turned to face her, smiling easily. "Alice. You look stunning, as always."

She laughed and spun once, laughing happily as her navy satin skirt flared away from her narrow hips. Her white ruffled shirt was tucked into the band of its high waist, and she wore a rich red peacoat and wickedly high stilettos.

"As do you, of course. You should, considering the fact that you're wearing an Alice original," she smiled and looked me over. The neckline was modest, cutting straight across from shoulder to shoulder and ending in flowing ruffles on my shoulders. The back, however, was completely bare; the fabric tied with a simple ribbon across my shoulder blades then hung loosely until it met at the base of my spine and continued to flow until it reached the floor.

I nodded, then raised an eyebrow. "Where's Rosalie?"

She looked down, shuffling her feet and avoiding my gaze. I waited, knowing she would answer. "She's with James. He brought a young vampire up from Germany who we've had our eye on. She keeps threatening to blow our cover."

I pursed my lips. "Well, I'll see about it. Maybe I can use a little persuasion to get the kid to stay with us for a while and learn the rules."

She laughed and nodded. I loved being with Alice. I loved that I could drop the act, the facade that I portrayed to strike fear in my kind. I could laugh and smile and joke with Alice or Rosalie. They would never betray me.

"Very well, then. Have James meet me with the child in the Grand Hall," I paused and smiled. "You might need to help him with that." I feigned concern. "I wouldn't want him to hurt himself."

She grinned and slipped out the door.

I sighed. The room seemed to grow dim, as if it sensed her departure—she who embodies the sun. Her warmth seemed to melt my frigid nature; her departure left me frozen once again.

I gained my composure and stepped out of the safety of my study, barefoot, into the drafty corridor. The gentle breeze melded the soft silk of my dress to my body, accentuating my narrow waist and sultry hips. I closed my eyes as the air lifted my stray caramel curls from my high cheekbones, inhaling the sweet smell of dust and fresh rain.

I flitted quickly and silently down the empty hallways, turning sharply and often in order to reach my destination. In seconds I arrived at the double doors separating me from my obligations. I exhaled slowly, preparing the carefully cultivated mask of cool indifference and superiority.

I used my gift for the first time that day, pushing the magnificent hardwood doors open with my mind. Telekinesis was my favorite of the three gifts I possessed, as well as intimidating and lofty.

I glided slowly into the breathtaking circular room. Upon coming to Volterra I had chosen this chamber to be the Great Room without consideration; its ornate décor, exceptional architecture, and striking gilded designs give it noticeable precedence over the other wings of the palace. My eyes flickered up to the intricately patterned domed ceiling, admiring silently and quickly the unique gold inlay and dazzling height.

I nodded slightly toward Emmett—my personal bodyguard—and Rosalie, who both bowed deeply as I entered. I ignored the mocking smirk accompanying Rosalie's bow. I made my way gracefully to the platform near the rear of the room where a gilded chair waited, its prominence reflected in the giant mirrors that stood behind it.

I sat with a flourish, relaxing my posture and giving myself an air of lofty indifference. I heard the angry snarls of the captured vampire before she entered the room. I didn't blink as the far doors burst open, and James entered, holding the arms of an angry young vampire; the girl couldn't have been more than twelve when changed. Her skin was porcelain and milky white, her eyes fiery red. Her long, silky curtain of blond hair fell to her waist, partially hiding her tattered excuse for clothes. Her naturally beautiful features were mangled and twisted in hatred.

She looked at me as she growled, her eyes filled with amused disgust. "You are the terrible Bella Swan? Oh, I am so afraid. Please have mercy on me." Her words dripped with sarcasm.

My eyes hardened and narrowed. My intentions of giving her a chance to prove herself were rapidly disappearing. I saw Emmett stiffen and swell protectively, so I decided to act.

"Enough." My voice rang with authority, and her jaw audibly snapped shut. Her eyes widened as she felt the strength of my most feared gift: manipulation. She whimpered and clawed at her cemented jaw.

"Calm down, young one," I whispered, my voice now eerily soothing.

She breathed slowly, still silent. "Now, then. Would you care to explain to me your growing interest in terrorism of the human population? You will soon discover that here, in our world, there are rules that must be obeyed." I paused and cocked my head to the side in mock concern. "If you fail to abide by these rules, there will be fatal consequences." I smiled sweetly.

Her eyes widened slightly. "The humans are to remain ignorant. You will not reveal our kind to them." I commanded. She had no choice but to obey; I disliked manipulating people, but I would not allow her to destroy what my predecessors had fought so long to protect.

"Do you think you could manage to take a few lessons from James, here? Maybe he can teach you the way of our world." I gestured to her vengeful captor. He smiled maliciously and eyed her greedily, hungry for revenge after her demeaning antics.

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head vigorously. I sighed and looked away. "Very well, then. You leave me with no other choice." I lifted a hand.

She held out a hand in terror and fought my control. I sighed, "Speak."

"Wait, wait! I'll do it. I'll change. Just give me some time," she pleaded, her eyes now filled with fear.

I sighed heavily and pretended to consider deeply. "Alright. You will remain here with my coven for 6 years, facing discipline in whatever way James sees fit." I saw him grin evilly as she swallowed in fear. "If I receive word of any problems," I narrowed my eyes and let my voice drop to a whisper, "You will die."

She exhaled sharply and nodded.

I smiled again, returning to my impersonal friendliness. "What is your name, child?"

"Davis," she said softly. My brow furrowed. What mother in her right mind would name her daughter Davis? I quickly regained my composure.

"And your gift?" I asked.

She smiled and raised her chin. "I can tell when someone is lying."

I lifted one eyebrow. "A useful talent." Inwardly, I smirked. The girl would never be able to tell if I was lying. My final gift, my shield, would protect me from her.

I turned to address my tracker. "James, be gentle with this one. I would like her to be alive when she leaves your training."

He bowed deeply, attempting to hide his discontent. "Of course, Bellarosa." Beautiful Rose. I hid a smile at the endearment.

I nodded. "Take her away, then. I'm finished."

I held my rigid, icy expression as James led the child, Davis, from the Grand Hall. I gestured for Emmett to follow them, and I was left alone with Alice and Rosalie.

The door slammed shut with a crack, and I slumped in my throne with a sigh. They flew to my side silently. "I really don't know how much longer I can keep this up," I said quietly, wary of unwelcome ears. "I never wanted this."

Rosalie laughed loudly. "You? All you have to do is sit there and get worshipped. We have to do the worshipping." She rolled her eyes. "Do I seem like the kind of person who would worship anything?"

I fought a smile. "Fine! You be the queen, and I'll worship." I fell to my knees gracefully in mock adoration. "Oh, Rosalie, you're beauty shames my existence. How could I ever be worthy to stand in your presence?" I heard Alice's bell-like laughter twinkling prettily.

Rosalie laughed and pulled me to my feet. "No, you are the queen for a reason. You are the strongest, most powerful vampire in existence. That is why you rule here. That is why we came here. Because of you."

Alice looked around in mock compassion. "The strongest vampires in the world before yourself apparently had nothing on you."

She grabbed my shoulders, turning me to wall of mirrors behind my beautiful throne. "And I don't know what this putting beauty to shame deal is, because really? I mean, look at you."

And I did. I took in the beautiful silk dress that Alice had designed for me, the warm chocolate ringlets arranged intricately to cascade down my back, the flushed cheeks and slightly uneven lips.

But my signature, my trademark, my defining characteristic, was my eyes.

"Occhi del ghiaccio," Rosalie smiled. "Ice eyes."


so, possibly a one-shot. i haven't decided if i want to continue. there is definitely potential for a story here, but i already have one in progress and this was just a spark of inspiration i had to get out of my head. it all depends on what you guys think of it.

-a.