TITLE: The Broken Road Leads Home


PAIRING: Demetri/Bella

SUMMARY: Bella & Alice save Edward from himself and the Volturi at the eventual price of Bella's humanity, but Bella doesn't get her happy ending. Edward does not return with them. Time passes and Bella heals with the help of the rest of the Cullens. What happens when a certain member of the Volturi Guard is sent to see if she is still human? An unexpected second chance at love will be revealed. Rated M.

DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters.

Visit the Contest C2 to read all the entries: http(colon)//www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/I_Get_Off_in_Volterra_Contest/76267/

I choked back a sob as Edward turned and walked away, the crowd of people in the busy departure terminal parting to make way for him. Before my first tear could slide down my cheek, I felt strong cool arms pull me close. Startled, I looked up into the concerned golden eyes of Emmett.

That look, so out of place on my happy-go-lucky brother's face, broke down any defenses that might have held back my sorrow. Collapsing against his chest, I soaked his shirt with my tears.

I don't know how long he held me in that bustling terminal in the middle of SeaTac, swaying gently, but, eventually, I could feel my other brother's calming touch as Jasper gently stroked my hair, forcing serenity through his touch. As I calmed, I noticed that they had surrounded me in an impromptu group hug. I had lost Edward again, but I would still have the rest of my family back.

Eventually, we made our way out of the terminal and into Emmett's red Jeep. I sat sandwiched between Jasper and Alice. Alice clutched my hand tightly in hers and gazed out the window, seemingly lost in thought, while Jasper rubbed soothing circles on the back of my hand with his thumb. I soaked up the peace he was exuding and was somewhat amazed that he seemed so at ease with me now.

"Don't be so amazed, honey," he murmured with a chuckle, "I'm plenty old enough to control myself without his bloodlust magnifying things for me."

I flinched at the mention of Edward, no matter how obscure. Jasper squeezed my hand gently.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I didn't mean to mention him."

"It's OK, Jasper. I'm glad it's easier for you to be near me now," I replied, forcing a watery smile.

I would not allow Edward to break me again. This time I had family to help me get through it.

Exhausted, I stifled a yawn and leaned back against the seat. Jasper shifted his body slightly and gently pulled me over to lie against his side.

"Sleep, honey. We're not going anywhere without you, I promise," he whispered, draping his jacket over me and rubbing my shoulder soothingly.

I could hear them all murmuring too quickly and quietly for me to understand, but I allowed myself to relax against him and slept.

I smiled broadly as Alice flitted gracefully across the stage, diploma in hand. Emmett's loud cheering was obnoxiously endearing. The list of names droned on until, finally, taking a deep breath, I stepped onto the stage. I managed to cross it and take the offered diploma without tripping over my own feet and grinned wildly as Emmett, Jasper, Jacob, Quil, and Embry all hooted and hollered for me. We were finished! Alice and I had graduated and I would be leaving to head to the University of Washington at Seattle in just 4 weeks.

Charlie hugged me tightly as I made my way over to my adoring fans.

"I love you, kiddo. I'm so proud of you!" he whispered before releasing me.

"I love you, too, Dad." I replied, tears stinging behind my eyes.

I had graduated with honors and been accepted with a full academic scholarship and a small grant to cover incidentals. I was proud of my accomplishments and I was a different woman now. I was reasonably content, maybe not actually happy, but fine.

"Come on, Bella! It's party time!" Alice trilled, running over and pecking Charlie on the cheek before dragging me toward the parking lot.

"Slow down, Alice! Human back here…" I whispered, grinning broadly.

She just laughed and shoved me into the backseat of Jasper's Navigator. She hopped into the front next to Jasper and we headed to the Cullen's.

"Oh my God! Alice, it looks amazing!" I exclaimed as we walked into the living room.

"Well, I figured you only graduate once from High School," she said with a sly wink.

I rolled my eyes and walked into the kitchen to help Esme. She was standing by the center island, arranging hors d'oeuvres on platters.

"Hi, Esme. Can I help with anything?" I asked.

Esme quickly wiped her hands on her apron and wrapped me in a motherly hug.

"Hello, Bella. I'm so proud of you! I was just getting the hors d'oeuvres onto the platters. You can do the ones on the counter over there if you'd like, dear," she replied, smoothing my hair in a very motherly gesture before returning to her platter of what appeared to be some sort of deli pinwheel.

I turned and began to arrange cubed cheeses and a variety of crackers onto the platter that Esme had indicated. Soon enough, classmates from Forks High began to arrive. The rest of the evening passed in a blur of dancing, food, and laughter.

Alice closed the door behind Tyler Crowley and bounced back into the living room. With an exhausted sigh, I sank down onto the sofa and closed my eyes.

"Don't you fall asleep on me just yet, Isabella Marie Swan!" Alice exclaimed.

"Not asleep…yet," I mumbled.

"Good, because we got you a present and you need to open it," Jasper replied softly.

I peeled my eyes open and saw a visibly excited Jasper, Alice, Emmett, and Rosalie gathered around the sofa. Jasper held out an elaborately stuffed gift bag.

"We thought a bag might be best," he commented dryly, a slight grin lighting up his face.

I smiled back and took the offered gift. Pulling out the tissue paper, I removed a plain white envelope and a small white box.

"Open the envelope first, Bells," Emmett said, bouncing like a kid at Christmas.

I peeled open the envelope and removed a glossy brochure. My confusion must have been quite evident, because they all rushed to explain.

"It's for a new housing complex in Seattle," Rosalie began, giving me a tentative smile.

"Open the box now, Bella. It'll make sense after that," Alice trilled from her perch in Jasper's lap.

I set the brochure on the coffee table and popped the lid off the box. Nestled in a bed of tissue paper was a key ring with my initials and the Cullen crest. It held two keys.

I could feel the tears building behind my eyes, threatening to spill over. They would never know how much it meant to me to have been given their crest. I was officially a part of the family now.

"Don't you want to know what the keys go to, Bells?" Emmett asked with a grin.

Oh! OH! No, they couldn't have done that…could they?

"You…you bought…me a…house?? And a car??" I stuttered, overcome at the generosity they had always shown me.

"Well, it's not just for you…we're coming, too, if that's OK?" Rosalie replied hesitantly.

"All of you? You all want to come to Seattle with me?" I asked.

"Well, Carlisle took a new job in New York and Esme is going to go with him, but Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and I are going to come with you. Is that OK, Bella? We just want to stay with you…" Alice explained, looking at me hopefully.

I jumped up off the couch and threw my arms around her and Jasper, before doing the same with Emmett and Rosalie.

"I would love nothing more than to have you all there with me!" I exclaimed.

Alice's eyes became unfocused for a moment before she smiled broadly.

"Bella, we are going to have so much fun!"

The summer passed quickly and soon enough classes had begun. Since we were all beginning together, I had at least one of my siblings in every class. My favorite was the survey of American history class with Jasper. It was hard to do poorly when your friend lived through most of the material firsthand!

Things were going well. I had finally started building a relationship with Rosalie and found that she was an interesting and fun person once you got through the somewhat prickly exterior. Alice was, of course, still Alice. I suffered through occasional bouts of Bella Barbie, but I wouldn't have traded them for anything anyway. Emmett was still my goofy big brother. He made sure that I didn't take myself too seriously and I loved him for it. He was also one of the best at pulling back from the edge if I let thoughts of Edward pull me down. I could always count on Emmett to toss me over his shoulder, literally, and force me to do something fun. Usually, Emmett's idea of fun involved video games and, thus, I was now the envy of many a college game geek.

Of all the Cullens, though, Jasper had become my dearest and most valued friend. Who would have ever thought that we would share so much in common? He had become more important to me than any other friend I had ever had. His gentle manner and dry wit never ceased to sooth me. I was lucky to have him in my life. I knew that he had lived in incredible darkness and that the darkness had changed him, but beneath his sorrow and remorse, there was a pure and beautiful soul. I was proud to call him my friend and brother.

My thoughts, and studying, were interrupted by a sharp knock at the front door. Emmett and Rosalie had gone hunting and Jasper and Alice were spending some time alone upstairs in their room. Jasper and Alice were so private and reserved in their affection to each other around the rest of us that I knew they needed the time alone, so I stood up from the dining room table, where I had strewn my exam study materials, and walked towards the front door. I was definitely curious about who was on the other side. We obviously didn't get many visitors and none of our friends or family had called about coming for a visit. I reached for the doorknob, certain it was probably Jared or Embry needing a place to crash after a long night patrolling and then a longer day of classes.

Just as the door swung open, I heard Alice's panicked shout.

"Bella, wait!"

Before I could even take a breath or process who stood on our doorstep, I was shoved roughly behind a growling Jasper and a tense Alice. I had never heard Jasper sound so menacing and even Alice looked vicious.

Suddenly, Alice relaxed beside me and as I glanced over, I saw that she was deep in a vision. I laid one hand on her arm and the other on Jasper's shoulder, reminding them that I was there and that it would be fine.

"Jasper, calm down. It is Demetri of Volterra. He will not hurt Bella. He has been sent by Aro and we will reach an amicable agreement," Alice said, her eyes still unfocused as she watched our interactions unfold.

Gradually, I felt some of the tension seep out of Jasper's taut muscles. I started to step around him. I wanted to get a look at our visitor. I didn't remember meeting Demetri of Volterra when Alice and I had rescued Edward. I could remember Aro, Jane, Felix, and Alec, but I had no memory of a Demetri.

Jasper's arm shot out to prevent my movement and he shook his head minutely.

"Don't, Bella. Stay behind me, please."

"You must be Jasper Whitlock. I've heard many stories about you, Major. Miss Cullen, it is also a pleasure to meet you. Aro speaks very highly of you," the stranger stated politely in lightly accented English from the doorway.

I wondered where he had been from in his human life. Perhaps he had been from somewhere in Eastern Europe?

"I am Mrs. Alice Whitlock to my family and friends, Demetri. Though, at the moment, I am using the last name Cullen-Hale," Alice replied with a slight edge to her voice, "and my husband is known at the moment as Jasper Hale."

Jasper had not replied to the man's comment and was still growling softly. I could only imagine that he was too deeply into protection mode to interact civilly. Demetri must have realized this at the same moment as I, because he spoke again.

"Major, I have been sent by Aro, but I do not wish to fight with you. I can see you care very deeply for both your wife and the human girl. Let us go sit and discuss the compromise your wife has seen."

For some reason, I couldn't wait to see this stranger, Demetri, and find out why Jasper was so on edge around him.

"Fine. Do not give me a reason to regret trusting you with my family," Jasper growled in response and, still shielding me and Alice with his body, stepped aside to allow Demetri to enter our home.

We moved to the living room and Demetri sat stone still in one of the overstuffed chairs. I sat between Jasper and Alice on the sofa opposite him. I studied him surreptitiously through my lashes.

He was strikingly handsome, as all vampires were. His skin was pale and flawless. His hair was coal black and waved softly to brush the collar of his gray wool coat. I imagined that his eyes might have once been bright cerulean blue, but of course, now, they were a muddy brown, the vampire burgundy hidden behind contact lenses. He appeared to be slightly older than Jasper's physical age of 20, though perhaps not quite as old as Carlisle. It was hard to tell.

"Bella, you may look at me, if you wish. I am also curious about you."

His voice was soft and reassuring. I felt immediately comfortable with him. Strangely, it did not upset me to realize that. Of course, at his words, I felt a deep blush color my cheeks. How embarrassing to be caught staring.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude," I mumbled, meeting his eyes for just a moment.

As I did, a shudder raced through me. I felt like I was seeing his very soul and it was beautiful. He was not what I expected. The Volturi guard was terrifying to me. I would have to remember that he was not a friend. I shook away my reaction to his gaze and looked away with a scowl.

Alice squeezed my hand slightly.

"Demetri, please tell us why you are here," Jasper asked, glancing quickly at Alice.

"Very well. As I am sure you already know, I am a messenger from Aro of Volturi. He has sent me to check on Isabella's status, so to speak. Surely, you understand that an agreement was made in Volterra in March," Demetri stated calmly.

Jasper growled softly.

"It's fine, Jasper. Demetri has no desire to hurt Bella. He will stay with us here in Seattle," Alice replied.

Demetri looked slightly stunned at Alice's declaration. After a few moments, he cleared his throat.

"Well, Mrs. Whitlock, I suppose you've seen the outcome of this discussion and I have no desire to harm any of you or to cause unnecessary strife for Carlisle Cullen's family. What am I to do?"

"Please, call me Alice. There are several things we need to discuss tonight."

Demetri, Alice, and Jasper talked late into the night and I eventually could no longer follow the conversation and leaned against Jasper's shoulder, succumbing to the exhaustion that was nipping at my mind and body.

Demetri integrated himself quickly into the family. He had reluctantly agreed to hunt animals while in Seattle so as to remain inconspicuous with the rest of the family. He was now enrolled in courses at the university as well, and it did not escape my notice that he had arranged his schedule to coincide with mine.

He seldom sat with us in class, but I often would catch his coppery eyes watching me from across the room. When I would catch him staring, he would always favor me with a smile, his eyes lighting up at the same time. I could not understand what the red-eyed vampire could possibly want with me, other than a snack. There was no love lost between the Volturi and me. I made sure to keep myself aloof and barely civil whenever it was necessary to interact with him. Sometimes, I would catch a fleeting glimpse of sadness in his eyes when I would ignore him or reply scathingly to one of his attempts to befriend me.

The rest of the family was somewhat protective and made sure to never leave us completely alone with each other. Though if Alice was Bella-sitting, she would make herself scarce and make sure we were near each other. She was up to something and she wouldn't tell me what. She would just smile at me indulgently and tell me to be myself around Demetri.

It was on one of these occasions that things changed between us. Alice flitted downstairs and called out that she was going to go for a hunt. Demetri was sitting in the living room reading a book and I was watching a movie on television. She winked at me as she shut the front door behind herself.

I shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. I did not want to be alone with him.

"I do not want to make you uncomfortable, but I do enjoy your company very much," he stated, fixing me with his gaze.

He settled back into the chair and opened his book again. I did not reply. Instead, I studied his profile as he read. He was quite possibly the most attractive man I had ever seen and the small glimpses of who he was underneath intrigued me even as I wished to be as far from him as possible.

Deep down, I knew it was irrational to dislike him; he had been nothing but pleasant and civil to me. I simply could not get the vision of the tourists being led to the dungeons of the Volturi Castle so they could become the guard's next meal out of my head. When I saw his not-quite-golden eyes, I was immediately reminded of his preferred food choice.

"Excuse me," I mumbled, rising from the sofa and leaving the room.

I made my way to the kitchen and pulled a can of soda from the refrigerator. As the door swung shut again, Demetri was standing just behind it. Startled by his sudden appearance and his look of fierce determination, I let out a small yelp. The can slipped through my suddenly sweaty palms. Demetri moved faster than my eye could track; he caught the can midair and set it on the countertop. His eyes burned into mine, irritation almost palpable in his posture.

"Have I done something to you, Isabella, of which I am not aware? I have done everything I can to make you comfortable around me, but still you remain barely civil at best!" he exclaimed, his copper eyes flashing.

I didn't know how to respond to his outburst. I had no rational reason for disliking him, but I did. I could not be friends with someone who preyed on people like me. I also was a realist. He drank from humans. He had done so before arriving here and, when his business with us was finished, he would return to Volterra and resume his preferred lifestyle.

"Well, don't you have anything to say?" he asked, his eyes calmer and searching mine for something now.

"Demetri, I would prefer to never interact with you again. I am civil only because I don't want to embarrass Carlisle. You eat people like me and I cannot condone that. You may be able to act in a civilized manner for a time here with us, but I know who you are underneath the façade you are currently presenting," I replied, trying not to flinch as I saw the hurt my words caused flash across his features.

Turning on my heel and trying to ignore the nagging feeling that I was being unfair to him, I charged up the steps and slammed my bedroom door behind me. I heard the front door slam and knew that he had also fled.

It was pitch black when I awoke, disoriented and unsure of what had awakened me. A creaking sound from the chair in the corner let me know I was not alone in my bedroom.

"Calm down, Bella. It's just me," Jasper said, from the gloom.

I sighed in relief as my heart slowed back into its normal rhythm.

"Um, not that I'm not happy to see you, Jas, but what are you doing?"

"Alice saw what happened between you and Demetri this evening. Don't you think you were a bit harsh with him?" Jasper replied.

"No, Jasper, I don't. I didn't say anything to him that was untrue. I don't like him. He's not a good person. You know how the Volturi are!" I replied, somewhat upset that he was chastising me.

Jasper leaned back in the chair and sighed. He was projecting disappointment and it was almost more than I could bear. I couldn't understand why he would feel that way about what I had said.

"Do you judge me as harshly, Bella? There was a time in my life where it was quite common to see me with copper eyes," he said sadly.

I quickly jumped out of the bed and threw my arms around him. He did not return my embrace and as I pulled back to look at him, the pain in his eyes was crippling.

"Jasper, I would never ever judge you! You have overcome atrocious things in your past and you are a good man. You did not let that bitch, Maria, destroy you and you found another way!" I exclaimed, cupping his cheeks in my hands and looking directly into his eyes.

"Bella," he sighed, pulling me into his lap and snuggling my head under his chin, "we are all products of our pasts."

He kissed my cheek and carried me back to my bed. As he tucked the blankets around me, I thought about what he had said and I was ashamed. Perhaps I had treated Demetri unfairly.

"Don't be ashamed, honey. You are a smart and kind woman; you'll do the right thing."

He turned and walked slowly to the bedroom door.

"Jasper?" I called, as he turned the doorknob.

He turned to look over his shoulder at me, his eyebrows raised in question.

"What did Alice see?" I asked softly.

"The future, Bella, as she always does. It's a good one," he replied cryptically and left the room.

The next time I woke up, the sun was shining weakly through my bedroom curtains. The house was quiet and still and I wondered where everyone was. I got up and slipped on my robe and slippers before heading down the stairs to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I had no plans today since winter break had begin the week before.

The house was eerily quiet as I puttered around. I filled the coffee maker with water, scooped coffee grounds into the filter and watched the coffee begin to drip into the pot. As I was waiting for it to finish, I noticed a note stuck to the refrigerator.


We've all gone to Portland for the weekend to get some Christmas shopping done. You can call us if you need us, but you'll be fine. See you on Monday night.


I balled the note up and tossed it in the trashcan. Surveying my breakfast options, I grabbed a bagel and the bread knife out of the drawer.

"Good morning, Isabella," Demetri said from the doorway.

"SHIT!" I cursed as the knife bit into the tender skin between my thumb and pointer finger instead of the bagel I was aiming for.

I dropped the knife with a clatter and glanced up into Demetri's suddenly much darker eyes.

"If you can't handle it, get the fuck out of the kitchen!" I growled, crossing to the sink and trying like hell to stay conscious as the salty, metallic odor of my blood assaulted my nose.

The edges of my vision blurred as I began to lose the battle. Before I could process what exactly was going on, Demetri had lifted me to the countertop and was holding my hand under cool running water. I made the mistake of glancing down and groaned loudly as I saw the blood swirling down the drain.

Cold fingers forced my face up and I was again looking into Demetri's darkened eyes. He leaned in and I could feel his cold sweet breath against my neck. I whimpered pitifully, sure this would be my last moment alive.

"Where is your first aid kit?" he whispered, sending a chill down my spine.

"Drawer…by the stove," I managed to reply, off balance and terrified.

He returned and bandaged my cut and retreated from the room. I was left perched on the countertop, trembling from the adrenaline coursing through my veins. What the hell had that been? I needed answers. I had to apologize to him and figure this…whatever this was…out!

I took a few moments to get control of myself and then hopped off of the countertop. I could feel a pull towards him. Somehow, I knew he was on the deck. He sat in one of the chairs, hunched over with his head in his hands. He was the picture of despair. I felt something stir inside me as I surveyed his obvious sorrow.

"Demetri?" I called softly.

He did not react to the question other than to tighten his hands that were clenched in his raven black waves.

Jasper's words from the night before echoed in my memory. I could see now that I had misjudged Demetri. I had based my entire summation of his character on my prejudices against the Volturi and those that fed from humans. I crossed slowly over to him and dropped down to my knees in front of him. I reached out and tentatively touched his jean-clad knee.

"Demetri? Are you alright?" I whispered.

He dropped one of his hands to cover the one I laid on his knee. He caressed my tiny warm hand with his fingers. His touch was gentle, reverent, and, had I not known it to be impossible, loving.

"Do you know how my power works, Isabella?" he asked, his voice a raw whisper.

"No, not really."

"I can feel the impression of your thoughts. I'm not a telepath exactly, nor am I an empath, but I can feel the "flavor" of your thoughts. It's how I am able to track anyone I've ever met across any distance. I can pick up the frequency of their thoughts from anywhere on the planet.

"I could feel the terror you felt in the kitchen. I can't seem to do anything right with you, Bella," he sighed.

He sounded so broken. Why did it matter so much to him? Why did I matter so much? I was nothing to him; just another assignment from Aro.

"Don't you understand, Bella? Can't you tell?" he asked, looking up and meeting my eyes.

I gasped; his eyes were shining with unshed tears. I was overwhelmed.

"I…I don't understand…"I stuttered.

"Would you like to know more about me? I am very old and I have been searching for something for many centuries," he replied, completely ignoring my implied question.

"Yes, tell me," I whispered, feeling a palpable tension crackling in the air between us.

"I was born in Albania in 1456. For many years, we had been fighting to keep the Ottoman's out of our country. Like most boys, I grew up hoping to fight and defend my country from invasion. I joined the Albanian military when I was 18. I was sent to Krujë Castle to serve in the defense forces of Skanderbeg's army. We fought valiantly for four years. Unfortunately, in 1478, when I was 22, the Ottoman army finally defeated us. I saw many of my fellow soldiers die in battle that day.

"I was also mortally wounded, but a strange woman came to me. I had never seen her before. She was terrifying and I thought she was a demon sent to take me to Hell. I remember that she treated me very gently, as if I was very precious and breakable. She gave me the gift of immortality and hid me in a cave near the castle.

"I burned alone for days and when I awoke, she had disappeared. I never saw her again. As soon as I could control my thirst, I fled Albania and everything I had ever known. I wandered all over Europe for the next 24 years until I finally discovered the Volturi while hunting in Italy.

"Aro was intrigued with my gift and offered me a position in his guard. I was very lonely by this time and I accepted his offer gratefully. I have served Aro and the Volturi ever since. They gave me a home and family when I had nothing.

"But, Bella, I am tired of the life I have in Italy. I am tired of fighting and killing. I want to live peacefully. Aro is allowing me to stay here with your family because he believes it is time for me to live a different life.

"I want to have some peace. I'm ashamed of the things I have done in my past and I want the opportunity to redeem myself. Alice and Jasper have been trying to help me come to terms with my feelings and have encouraged me to stay here and try the vegetarian lifestyle.

"I appreciate what they have done for me, but, Isabella, I am staying here because of you. I have been searching for my soul mate for 528 years…" he paused and looked deep into my eyes before continuing, "I am not searching for her anymore."

I shivered as the implication of his words connected with the awakening feelings in my own heart. Oh God! I had been so horrible to him. I had judged him before knowing anything about him! How could he ever forgive me? How could he still love me after everything I had said to him?

He gently wiped the first tear away from my cheek as it fell. He held my gaze as he leaned very slowly and cautiously toward me, tasting the flavor of my tears as he brought his thumb to his lips. His eyes fluttered closed briefly at the taste and I couldn't help the rush of desire that coursed through me as he moaned softly. His eyes snapped open and determination sparked in their depths as he swiftly crushed his lips to mine.

I wound my hands through his thick hair and tried with all my might to pull him more tightly against me. He deepened the kiss using his tongue to explore my mouth. With a quiet growl, he pulled me into his lap and I instinctively wrapped my legs around his waist.

He broke away from my mouth and I gasped great heaving breaths as his lips trailed down my neck to nip gently at my exposed collarbone.

"Please…Demetri…please…" I sighed, not entirely sure what I wanted him to do but absolutely sure I was where I was supposed to be and not wanting him to stop.

I could feel his cock pressing against my aching flesh now. I ground my hips down and into him.

"Dear God…Bella…" he moaned before attacking my neck with renewed vigor.

I wriggled against him, unable to stand the onslaught of pleasure he was delivering.

He rose fluidly with a sexy grunt and returned to his exploration of my mouth as he carried me upstairs. He paused just inside the doorway and met my eyes. I shivered as I saw the last ring of copper fade into inky blackness.

"Isabella, are you sure about this? I need you, but I will wait. If we do this, it will cement things between us. I will change you and never leave your side."

I closed my eyes for a moment, needing to make sure of my answer. I searched my feelings. It was strange how the line between love and hate was often so razor thin. Just the night before, I had been sure I never wanted to see him again, but now…now, I couldn't imagine my life without him. I would spend the rest of eternity making sure he knew how much he meant to me. In his arms, I was home.

His arms tightened around me and I knew he was receiving the "flavor" of my thoughts.

"Yes," I answered simply, pressing my lips to his again; there would be time for talking later.

He laid me reverently in the middle of the bed and slowly pulled off my robe. I had slept in a tank top and boy shorts.

"So beautiful, vajzë e çmuar," he murmured as he pressed a soft kiss over my heart.

"What does that mean?" I asked softly, twining my fingers through his hair and stroking his scalp.

Our pace had slowed and he was now lying next to me with his arm wrapped around my waist and his cheek pressed to my stomach.

"It means "precious girl" in Albanian. It has been a very long time since I have had a reason to remember the phrase. My father often said it to my mother. I have never said it to any other woman. It is meant for my soul mate only.

"I want to make love to you, vajzë e çmuar. Will you let me? I need to show you my love," he murmured, his cool breath whispering across my overheated skin.

"Yes, Demetri. Please, I want to experience this with you," I whispered in response, tugging lightly on his hair and relishing in his answering growl, "Take off your clothes, Demetri, then come back to me."

I felt the rush of wind as he followed my instructions at vampire speed and chuckled softly when he settled himself over me again.

His lips found mine again as he removed my bra and panties. I moaned as his cool skin slid sensuously against mine.

"You are so warm, vajzë e çmuar. I can't describe how good you feel underneath me."

My response died on my lips as he sucked one of my nipples into his mouth and trailed his fingers down my belly. Reaching between my parted legs, he quickly dipped his fingers into my tight, wet pussy, stroking me and spreading my juices. He was completely hard now and throbbing against my thigh.

I was thrusting slightly against his probing fingers and panting against his chest, a light sheen of sweat covering my skin.

"I want to lick every inch of your skin, vajzë e çmuar, and see if you taste as good as you smell."

He rolled us to our sides and shifted my body away slightly, cocking my leg over his and opening me to him. I looked up at him with lust darkened eyes and licked my lips in anticipation. Demetri pulled his dripping fingers from me and stroked the head of his cock against my swollen folds.

Moaning softly, I pushed down against him and he was enveloped inside me.

"Demetri, baby, you feel so good inside me. I want you everywhere," I moaned.

As he pulled me tighter against him, his slick fingers slid down the crack of my ass, grazing my tightly puckered hole. He tensed, unsure of how I'd react, but I simply moaned softly and nipped at his collarbone.

He slid a finger against me again, pressing against my opening and I felt a gush of wetness as my arousal spiked in response. Trailing his fingers down to where we were joined, he recoated his fingers. I was slick now from his teasing and this time, he slipped inside easily. I bucked hard against his hips and wailed in pleasure as he filled me completely. Demetri began to thrust his finger gently and, when my muscles relaxed, he slipped another into me.

He had barely entered me, when I felt my muscles clench around him and my entire body convulsed in my orgasm. I sobbed his name deliriously and felt him shudder violently. With a roar, he spilled inside me, pulling me close and burying his face in the soft skin at the crook of my neck.

He stroked me gently as we both came down from our orgasmic highs. I kissed him and soothed his trembling.

He returned my kiss reverently and brushed the sweaty hair from my forehead, before rising and crossing to the bathroom to clean up. Returning a few moments later with a warm rag, he tenderly cleaned me up and lay down, curling my spent body to his and pulling up the blankets.

"I'm so sorry for how I've treated you, Demetri," I whispered drowsily, inhaling his comforting scent. He smelled like cinnamon, allspice, and fresh honey.

"Shh, e dashura ime. All is forgiven," he replied, tracing soothing circles on my hip.

AN: I used a few Albanian terms of endearment in this O/S. Here are the translations:

vajzë e çmuar – precious girl

e dashura ime – my darling/my dear

A big thank you also goes out to my two betas: mommybrook & Kitty Cullen-03. Thanks, bbs!

Thanks for reading and make sure to let me know what you think!