I own nothing, everything belongs to Stephanie Meyer.

A/N mama4dukes has taken over as my beta in this story, you all know who she is, so, go give her stories some love. LetsJustDance is my pre reader and she also beta when she can and Mama4dukes is unavailable or I can't bring myself to disturb her. She is a very busy lady.

The Warlord (uncensored version) Ad Vitam Aeternum (uncensored version) and Inevitable (improved and uncensored version) are also being posted in AO3 (archive of our own) under the same pen name.

Chapter 34

The Warlord's Mate

Jasper POV

Several hours later we had said our goodbyes to most of the guests and only the Volturi, the Romanians, my brothers-in-arms and a few other trustworthy covens remained with us in the complex, as they had been invited to my binding ceremony. The Volturi wives were on their way and we expected them the next day. I was glad that they were coming, Isabella was curious about them, and they were literally jumping up and down in glee at the prospect of meeting my mate. Alice, as Marcus's most recent concubine, had yet to be seen, she was being kept in his quarters and not yet allowed to leave.

For what I had been told by Marcus she was feeling deeply regretful about her manipulations and wrong doings and was sincerely ashamed of her behavior, after having seen and felt the consequences of her actions. It was her interference that had caused Edward to kidnap my mate and kill her father. The fall of the coven that she had come to love as a family had been a huge blow to her and she had no one left in the world but the Volturi. She seemed to have accepted her fate as a concubine, the loss of her standing in the guard and my mating with Isabella. At least Marcus had told me that she had confided to him that she would do anything necessary to regain our trust, and that he had felt no deception on her part.

She had sent a message to Isabella trying to explain her actions and asking for her forgiveness, but Isabella had refused to read it. As far as we were concerned it would be a long time before she was allowed to be in our presence or life for that matter. We chose to rarely even acknowledge her existence.

Marcus reeked of her every time we met and he had just come back from visiting with her, a smirk on his face and a sated atmosphere around him. It had been a while since I had felt him this relaxed and I was happy for him; it seemed that this arrangement was working well. She would not replace his Didyme, but would make his life more interesting. The only time I had been near their quarters I had scanned her emotions and felt nothing but regret, resignation, longing, sadness but also a certain feeling of satiation and a little contentment. She went into this relationship with her eyes wide open and knew exactly what would happen to her liberty and independence, it would be hard for her but once she came to terms with her new life, she might even find a certain level of happiness with Marcus. He was not a cruel man…she could have gotten much worse punishments for her crimes.

Currently, Peter, Emmett, Eleazar and I together with our Masters, were lounging comfortably in my living room, drinking one of Peter's blood-drink experiences, an especially good blend of A-positive mixed with a fifty-year-old scotch. Marcus, Aro and Caius liked it and immediately asked Peter for the formula. We were taking this relaxing time to speak about the state of the vampire world. Things were moving into place and I felt like I finally focus on my binding with my mate. Bastien had just landed and was incarcerating Victoria for me to handle later.

Carlisle and Esme were in their cabin, getting their affairs in order before moving to Volterra. Edward had been put back in his cell after having been fed and healed to the best of our abilities. His empty eye socket had been sealed so that he wouldn't weaken due to the venom loss, but he was now permanently disfigured.

His arm that I had permanently damaged in the fight had been removed again and reattached in a way that allowed him to be function, but he had almost no feeling in that hand. Chelsea was already with him, working her gift and destroying his resistance. Unlike the rest of the guard his bond would not be temporary. At the same time he would be taught about our world, costumes and traditions. I think that even though he despised the boy, Aro wanted to make him a productive member of our race, but he would always be bound as a servant.

I couldn't care less! He was no longer a threat and if he ever tried anything ever again he would be dead, that's the end of that story.

A big part of my mind was on my mate. She had been elated with Edward's sentencing, even though she was not aware of the true nuances of the bond or its consequences. As I went to accompany my guests to their planes, my mate, Charlotte, Carmen and Rose had gone back to the house to spend a quiet time and to recover from the tension of the day. The four of them were fast becoming very good friends and I was happy for my Isabella. Alexis had gone to greet her mate, Bastien, and to spend some time alone with him, since he had just returned from the mission.

My attention was diverted from my thoughts as Aro addressed me.

"So Jasper, I am delighted with your little mate. She seems to have grown into herself these last few weeks. She is so mature and wise that I hardly believe that she is not even eighteen, and I must say that she is perfect for you; I saw a vicious, mean, vengeful little streak in her that I rather enjoy seeing in a woman. She is definitely your mate. " He stated happily and I could feel his appreciation and curiosity over my mate. Caius and Marcus nodded their agreement at his statement. I grinned at their words.

"Yes Aro, this whole ordeal changed her profoundly. The death of her father hurt her deeply; her kidnapping and abuse destroyed what was left of her naivety. The final stroke on her innocence was finding out the truth about our world, and Carlisle's lies and mistakes. She is much more mature than her age would suggest and she has been making me very proud."

"Ah, Carlisle, what a disappointment he turned out to be for us. What a mess he made of everything." Stefan sighed and sadness enveloped our previous joyful mood. I must have projected my confusion as Aro looked at his brothers and then at the ancient masters, seemingly having a silent discussion and at their almost imperceptible nods, stood.

"What I am about to say has been a secret for a long time inside the Volturi. A secret kept honoring our love for Carlisle and the good heart that we thought we knew, but at the same time it has been our greatest shame and regret. Only we, in the inner circle, are aware of the principal reason for Carlisle's profound distaste for our world." His emotions were also tinged with the same sadness that now had spread to all the Masters.

"We met him in the year 1698. He was a young vampire, with a passion and a view of the world that fascinated anyone who listened to him, humans and vampires alike. He was so young and naïve, with such a need to be a hero, to save people, to retain his humanity and with such a fascinating soul."

"His curiosity and intellectual thirst were a breath of fresh air in our old coven and he conquered us all. I remember as if it was today when he stepped on our doorstep in Volterra with his golden eyes, having heard of us from Alistair, whom he had met in England. He walked inside our throne room without fear, full of righteousness and firm in his beliefs. He had a Bible in his hand and he looked like a fallen angel, beautiful as sin, wanting to learn more about what we were and what our place in the world was, secretly hoping to convert us all to the animal diet as it meant the salvation of our souls. I loved him since I first laid my eyes on him." Aro stopped by the window and lost himself in thought looking at the lake whose dark waters shimmered in the late afternoon sun.

Marcus continued where Aro had left off a thoughtful, sad expression in his face.

"We welcomed him and stimulated his thirst for knowledge. It was with us that he learned all that he needed to survive in our world, our traditions and history, our secrets and laws. It was with us that he acquired an education. It was Aro who paid his way into the best medical schools in Europe and Asia and it was Caius who helped him to get internships with the greatest minds in the world at that time. He stayed with us for about twenty years."

"He was like a beloved annoying younger brother, full of enthusiasm, misguided ideals and morals, trying incessantly to make us see his vision of the world, and we took it upon ourselves to teach him, to show him that things are not always black and white, that there are shades of grey in everything and that not all sinners are evil and corrupted and neither all saints are good and pure."

"We had heated debates on religious, historical, ethical and sociological questions that lasted for weeks on end. We were acquainted with and frequently visited the biggest genius of that time and he tagged along, learning and enquiring about everything. Do not be mistaken, we still upheld the laws of secrecy but in those times we had not much to fear from humans, so we allowed ourselves to mingle more and to dismiss any suspicion about us not being entirely human as eccentricity." He smirked and the others laughed. I knew that at the time there were many more humans that suspected about our existence than now.

"It happened after one of our trips to Paris, in November of 1720," Stefan continued," we had the habit of leaving our domains from time to time to see the changes in the world and to visit old friends. We went to Volterra to say hello to our old friends and when we left the city a few weeks later, Carlisle asked to accompany us. He was intrigued by our history and he wanted to learn more about our coven and country, or so he said, and we welcomed him."

"We arrived in Romania a few weeks later. It was the end of January. Winter was at full force and he stood in the castle for weeks on end, learning our language and immersed in our old books and parchments, only leaving to go hunting, not mingling with anyone else besides us two. It was after one of those hunts that he came across one of our protégés. She was Cecilia Mari Patraescu, a distant cousin of the Ghica family of the House of Wallachia. The Patraescu family was part of the small nobility of our Transylvania and their patriarch was our bound vassal. Like all Romanians they secretly believed in the old traditions and legends and showed us the proper respect and submission, paying their tributes of protection and favor in silver, gold and silk, but also in servants and beautiful women."

"Cecilia had been one of those. She was sent to us as a concubine, in hopes that either Vladimir or I would mate with her and in doing so acquiring favor and protection for her family. She was barely sixteen, a savage beauty, with sparking black eyes, hair as dark as night and skin fair as cream. She was a bit too young for our taste, but already considered ripe and ready to be a woman, and I cannot say that we were not aroused by her as she danced in front of our entire coven. She was young but ambitious for power and eternal life and willing to be ours as she had been taught from a young age." Vladimir stood and bumped his brother's shoulder, both of them chuckling as their emotions took a turn to mischievous.

"Vladimir and I both enjoyed Cecilia very much despite her obsession with becoming immortal. We shared her and made her our first concubine for about two years before our interest in her charms dwindled and we were distracted by another beautiful and intelligent woman, more mature than her; she was, after al,l only one of many young women with the same upbringing and destiny."

"We didn't kill her once we lost interest, and we allowed her to stay with us until we found her a good husband as it had been agreed with her father, if she was not to mate with one of us. We hadn't decided about immortality for her, even though she had been with us for almost six years when Carlisle arrived. There was something unsettling about her, an odd coldness in her eyes that created an uneasy feeling when the topic of making her one of us was brought up. In time she became even more beautiful, a master in the arts of love and of pleasing a man, but also educated in the arts, science and philosophy, as well as dance, music and languages. She had a sharp intellect, and a quick tongue that enchanted anyone who talked to her."

"It was a surprise when a flustered Carlisle ran into the library one night, after having been gone for a whole day, saying that he had found a new friend. By the scent on his clothes it was evident to us that he had met Cecilia. We asked for no explanations as he continued his friendship with her and they became closer and closer. Carlisle, at the time, was a bit confused about love, as he was…" he looked at Aro, who smirked and nodded, smugness filling him,"… fresh out of Aro's bed, his first lover."

Wow…I never suspected Carlisle had been trapped in Aro's web. We all laughed, Aro loved sex, and his mate Sulpicia loved to watch him having sex with both men and women. Sometimes he allowed her to join. I had been there once. His reputation of being a demon in bed is well deserved. And to know that Carlisle had been his lover was…well…strange, to say the least. We were talking about Carlisle, after all!

"But soon after the start of his liaison with Aro and Sulpicia, guilt and remorse overcame him. He felt disgusted by his desires and needs. Confused by the pleasure he felt and ashamed of it. When some of the guards commented on his hot nights with Aro, he lost it. He felt dirty and disgraced, and wanted to run away from all temptation represented, at least in his mind, by Aro. We believe that is why he asked to come with us to Transylvania, using his thirst for knowledge as an excuse. His morals and religious background refused to accept that like all vampires he could desire and lust after a male, seeing it as a hideous sin, a dirty, hideous, shameless affair. "

Stefan continued. "Cecilia believed him to be easy prey and became convinced that he was her ticket to immortality. She took every opportunity she could find to try and seduce him. Carlisle, being confused about his sexuality, filled with guilt and self loathing, hating his needs and desires, managed to keep their relationship chaste. He hated his needs and desires, but he was completely besotted with her. In their secret encounters she painted us as horrible monsters that took her as a child and never allowed her to be anything more than a bed warmer, distorting the truth so that he pitied her more than he already did."

"It was a distraught Carlisle that came to us pleading for her freedom months later. He never openly criticized our way of life but we could see his displeasure and censure at our conduct as time went by. The open sexuality of our coven, particularly our means of securing beautiful, young women from their families, shocked him. Also our lack of Christian religious convictions disturbed him, so he was an easy and willing mind for her to manipulate towards her ultimate goal. He asked for our permission to leave with her, and that confused us. We knew that she wasn't his mate, so we denied his request."

"He was stubborn though, and his disapproval of us became more and more evident as the months passed. It was starting to put a strain on our friendship with him. His arguments for her liberation came crumbling down when we, tired of all drama, told him that we would allow him to leave with her under one condition: change her into one of us and take responsibility for her, as a companion, leading her into immortality. That was his breaking point. As much as he loved her and wanted her freedom he wouldn't turn her. He told us that he couldn't damn her soul and change her into one of the monsters that he perceived us to be and that, instead, he would be leaving in the morrow destined to the new world."

Vladimir continued the story when Stefan stopped and moved to join Aro by the window, his face stony and his emotions pained.

"We convinced Carlisle to go hunt to clear his head and we sent for Cecilia. A few days earlier, a loyal vassal of ours who lived in a remote, but wealthy town, had contacted us asking for help finding a good wife. He requested a young woman of noble blood, educated, intelligent able to bare him children and help him lead his people. So we decided to offer her that choice as she, by this time, was of age to be married and to have children. Being the clever woman that she was, she knew that if she refused we would have to end her. So she agreed to that marriage without much of a fight at all and, with haste, left our presence to prepare her things."

"Under guise cover of saying goodbye, she awaited Carlisle's return from his hunt. Having lived amongst us for as long as she had, she knew that this would be the moment the when he would be most aroused and wild, therefore, more vulnerable to his baser needs and she seduced him. Carlisle was inexperienced in the ways of loving a mortal and until then, their relationship had not been of a sexual nature. His virginity had been lost to Aro, a vampire, in his last year in Volterra and he been with no one since. Drunk from the exhilaration of the hunt, freshly fed and wanting to release the frenzy of sexual energy that the new blood coursing through our veins provokes, he was no match for a seductive woman versed in the art of pleasure and love. He easily succumbed to her advances. She made sure to enflame him so much during their copulation that in the throes of passion he lost control and bit her in several places."

"When he realized what had happened it was already too late to stop her change and he panicked. We rushed to see what the commotion was all about and found Carlisle, naked as the day as he was born, sobbing in a corner of his room. Cecilia was naked on his bed, undergoing her change alone. The smell of sex and blood permeated the room. It was obvious what had happened but it was too late to prevent it."

"Cecilia's change took ten days, the longest time of which we were aware. We never knew why. Ten days of agony for her and ten days of trying to help Carlisle come to terms with what had happened. By our law she was his childe. He was her sire and responsible for her at least during her newborn years. He was supposed to guide her and to teach her the ways and traditions of our race. He couldn't come to terms with what he had done and convinced himself that she was better off without him. He considered her a mistake and didn't want her as a companion since she was a constant reminder of his lack of control, his first taste of human blood, and of his sinful lust, in resume, of the monster that believed that he had become."

"After much encouragement he finally accepted his responsibility for her. He stated that they would leave as soon as she had enough control to travel. He insisted that he could convert her to drink from animals, as he couldn't consider the alternative, and that if they stayed with us she wouldn't have the necessary stimulus to change her diet. We tried to make him see that as a newborn she would be bloodthirsty and violent and that it would be better if they were in a coven. We knew that animal blood would not satiate her, but he refused to listen to reason. He insisted that he would take care of her on his own terms. It was then that we realized that he had no idea of what he was doing."

"When she woke up she was more unstable than a typical newborn. The ten day's change had made her violent, irrational and angry. She refused to hunt animals and attacked one of our protected villages before we could intervene. We would have put her to death if not for Carlisle's pleas. She played cruelly with her food before draining it and it only served to enhance Carlisle's idea that we were all monsters." Vladimir's anger was now almost physical and I sent his way a small calming wave to get him focused, but it was Stefan who continued the tale.

"A year after her change, we were ready to kill her. She was creating havoc amongst the human population and we had a difficult time containing her. We had told Carlisle that she was too unstable to be controlled or to live and that he had to terminate her. But Carlisle refused to have her final death on his conscience, feeling guilty about her lost soul and for making her what she had become. On the eve of the day that we were going to terminate her, he just picked her up and fled. We were worried. We knew that he couldn't control her as we suspected that the ten days change had driven her insane and we immediately contacted the Volturi to have Demetri find and terminate her."

"But she had the ability to escape from Demetri," Aro interrupted frowning, he hated when someone was able to deceive his tracker, "and was impossible to capture. We never knew how she did it because we never had any indication that she was gifted. For a whole year we only managed to follow her and Carlisle by faint trails and a more evident trail of corpses that she left in her path through Europe. The humans linked the carnage to savage animal attacks and rogue bandits. Even though mortified and filled with remorse, self-hatred and guilt, Carlisle stayed with her and still wanted to help her, believing that he could convince Cecilia to embrace a more humane way of living, attributing her crazy bloodlust to her newborn year. He stood by her despite her insanity, cleaning up after her as much as he could. In his defense I must say that he kept our secret at a great personal cost."

"He finally understood that she was beyond his help in Spain, when she decided to attack a small congregation that was gathered in the village church. She locked them inside, showing them that their Jesus could not save them…from her. Carlisle arrived too late and everybody was dead: men, women, children, from pregnant women to babies to old people. She didn't suspect a thing while she laughed and ripped the corpses apart to bathe in their blood until he ripped her head off and burned her to ashes. He burned the whole village and destroyed all evidence of the bloodshed before heading out to Volterra to be killed. He was well aware of his mistakes and unable to deal with the whole situation that he created."

Sighing heavily, Caius emotions swirled through disappointment, anger and weariness, but he continued the story from here. "Obviously, we did not kill him despite his actions and treachery. Aro read his memories and found him truly contrite and really didn't think that things would escalate so far out of his control. His regret, his attempts to contain the situation and controlling Cecilia, our love for him and his surrendering to our justice saved his life. He did clean up after Cecilia as efficiently as was possible and he prevented the exposure of our race. Her killing spree was attributed, by human authorities, to bandits, deceases- due to several plagues - and animal attacks. Only we knew better."

"We punished him for his actions, of course, by dismembering him and keeping him in the dungeons for a year, without feeding him. We could not make of him an exception of him and allow him leave unpunished. Many of the guards were aware that something was up with Carlisle because of our hunt across Europe for him, but only Demetri knew the whole case, and he had sworn secrecy. Carlisle never complained and when his punishment was over we handed him to Eleazar who was going to establish himself in the New World. Carlisle, ridden with shame, guilt, self-hatred and self-loathing, asked for permission to try to atone for his sins by using his extensive medical knowledge and training to help humans and we allowed it. We checked in on him from time to time, and he lived a secluded life, caring for the weak and the poor, making no effort to find more companions and keeping our secret. So, with time, we relaxed our surveillance of him and allowed him to find his path. It saddened us that he had cut himself off completely from us, and we only had knowledge of his life and whereabouts through Eleazar or the occasional nomad who crossed his path."

Aro took over the tale at this point, "he landed again on our radar in 1917 when he made his first companion, to most of our knowledge, Edward. In a brief letter he informed us of Edward's change and that he had taken him as a companion. His terms were so cold and distant that we suspected that our dear friend was a very different vampire from the one we had grown to love and that our friendship was possibly lost for good. The same procedure was repeated for each new member of the coven, a single letter informing of his other fledglings. We thought that all was within the norm even though the coven tried to live immersed within the human world. Only after the Medveyed tragedy did we realize that something was very wrong causing us to take action."

"I think that he wanted so much to be right about his choices that he became blind to anything else. His guilt over Cecilia and that whole sordid affair made him reject the vampire world, our costumes and our traditions. In the end all he did was cause history repeat itself. Maybe now he understands. I will certainly not allow him to continue to be a vegetarian." His emphasis on the word caused several snorts of amusement and groans of disgust from the vampires present." I will not turn him into a killer, per se, but he will follow our diet, nonetheless. It is time for his nonsense to stop. I order of you all, though, to keep this a secret" he looked pointedly at Emmet, Peter and me," it was after this mess that we became much stricter in our enforcing of the laws. Carlisle is our biggest mistake and the one that we regret the most. Our love for him got in the way of our laws, and has brought nothing but pain until now. It will not happen again!"

We all nodded our agreement. The emotional atmosphere hung thick and heavy with palpable sadness, disappointment and anger. There was an almost overwhelming sense of betrayal and incomprehension. You didn't need to be an empathy to sense it.

After the recounting of the whole story, my mouth was literally hanging open as was Peter's and Emmet's. I had never suspected anything like this from the so-called Saint Carlisle. And I was privy to a lot of privileged information! The man who had been a moral beacon for most of our race for centuries, had sired a vampire after losing control of his lust, that he had broken the law and unleashed her on the human world only because he believed that he could bend and control her feral and predatory nature by trying to lure her to his diet. That he was so convinced of his beliefs that he turned a blind eye to the insanity of his childe and ignored all that the ancients tried to tell and teach him because he thought that if he had been able to control the blood thirsty beast inside of him so could others. And the saddest thing is that it seemed that he had not learned his lesson: His diet and morals have no place in our race.

He willingly unleashed a demon into the frail, helpless human world just because he didn't want to be responsible for the loss of a soul and he wanted to prove himself right. But the irony was that to protect her and his beliefs he allowed countless humans to die and that must have been unbearable to someone like Carlisle.

I could understand now why he acted as he did, why he kept his family almost hidden away, why he controlled every aspect of their life, and why he insisted so much on control, on humanity. Why he demonized all that we were, why he hated our world. To a man like Carlisle, driven by a profound religious nature, by a strong set of Christian morals and values added to a deep sense of humanity, to see, to witness, first handed, the uncontrollable urges of a newborn, the cruelty and insanity that sometimes marks our kind, our feral and wild nature must have wounded him deep and must have precipitated him into a hell of self loathing and hatred for what we are, for our instincts. From there came his deep desire to control our wild, bloodthirsty beast and to stay away from all those that lived with the traditional way, to stay far away from our race so that they could defeat their natural instincts and allow their humanity to came forward.

Although I didn't want to consider this very long, not it was important now, but what could have the newborn Edward, a Victorian boy of barely seventeen when turned, learned about himself as a vampire from his sire thoughts. What did he pick out from him about the race he now belonged?

I had a new understanding of things now. And in the end I pitied Carlisle. He would never be able to find peace in this existence if he loathed what he was, if he fought his nature every day. I could only hope that Volterra and the Volturi influence could help him a bit. If not, I would vote for his termination. It was of no use to permit his existence if all he did was to cause bloodshed of humans and death of misguided vampires because of his beliefs.

The conversation soon drifted away from all the drama provided by the extinct Cullen coven, all the men present needed to clear the air after such revelations. Around midnight the ladies, minus my mate, came down and Charlotte told me that Isabella needed to talk to me before going to bed. She dodged any further enquiry of my part, leaving me burning with curiosity. I said my goodnights to my guests knowing that Peter and Charlotte would keep them occupied and went up to the first floor.

My mate was waiting for me on the balcony. She was a vision in a green satin night gown that hugged her body in the most delicious way and that managed at the same time to keep her modesty and innocence. As usual, seeing her in our quarters, were she belong stirred the primal beast inside of me. My mate was with me, she was mine, and she carried my scent even though she had showered. But most of all, she loved me with all her human heart and soon would be mine for eternity. I was the luckiest vampire alive and even my beast purred at the sight of her.

"I was waiting for you. Did you have a good time with the others?"She asked softly while she walked into my waiting arms. I basked in the feel of her warm body in mine before sitting down in my arm chair with her on my lap.

"Yes, my dove. It was rather nice. You did so well today. I am so very proud of you. I wish you could have felt the emotions in that temple. You proved yourself as strong as any vampire, my Isabella. You are worthy of all the respect and admiration you received for your strength and dignity. You have gained many admirers today." She smiled shyly at me, happiness warring with sadness inside of her.

"I felt everything that I said. I needed the closure. I needed the closure for my father. I needed to speak for him. I will never forgive Edward for what he did and I am overjoyed that he gets to have eternity to regret it. Now I can move forward, his killer is being punished and I can heal. My dad would have wanted that."

"He would Isabella. He was a good man and he loved you so much." We stayed quiet for a while, simply taking comfort from each other as only mates can.

"Alice wrote me a letter. I don't know if you know, but Marcus gave it to me. I can't deal with her now. I can't read it. I can't find it in me to deal with the Cullen's…I am so disappointed with her and with Carlisle. It will take time for me to be able to speak to her and I will not forgive her, and as for Carlisle, how could he? How could he preach one thing and deliberately lead everyone into a life of lies? He thought Edward was better than anyone, he was his golden boy, and he could do no harm in his eyes. Maybe one day he may earn my respect again but for now..."she just shook her head her eyes filling with tears.

"Carlisle's reasons are his own, my mate. He will have the time, now that his so-called family is destroyed and his credibility is in shambles, to think about things and to try to adapt, to adjust to being a vampire. The Volturi will lead him onto the right path. He already took the first step when he chose to go to Volterra to protect his mate, knowing full well what was to be expected of him. Esme will help him. She will be a force to be reckoned with as the wives guide and teach her, you will see." I kissed her head as she snuggled closer to my chest. I heard the soft whispers coming from downstairs.

"Marcus and the others send their regards and wish you a good night. They will see you in the morning when you go to meet the wives." Her peaceful emotions changed immediately to anxiety and worry.

"Oh, they are coming! I had forgotten! My God, they are queens, real queens! Oh, my God. We are getting married, well, vampire binding that is…and… and there is so much to do yet, and what if they don't like me?"She almost screeched, making me wince at the high noise, her emotions circling her like a hurricane and her heartbeat fast.

"Isabella, stop that," I chuckled as she bit her fingernails furiously and I had to sent her some calming and relaxing waves,"they are dying to meet you since I first told them about you. They love you already from all that they have heard of you. They have wanted to see me mated ever since I went to the Volturi and you will see that there are both quite nice and normal. I think that you will find them quite similar to Carmen, both are very kind, wise and elegant women." I kissed her forehead as she calmed. One day I would tell her of my past lovers, of the complexity of my affair with Caius and of my nights with him and Athenadora, of Peter, who had been a lover but now was as dear as a brother, and of my affair with Aro and Sulpicia, but not now, it was a private thing, my story to tell when I decided to tell it.

Anyway, it was in the past, there hadn't been anyone else in my bed since she accepted me. And if there would be someone in the future it would be with her knowledge and consent. Even if now it was very hard for me to even think of another male near her, Caius always says that 'eternity is a long time to be monogamous'. For now, however I was perfectly content in having only her. As much as she was mine I was hers.

I only had more diversified tastes and my mind sometimes wondered!

"As for the binding ceremony don't worry. Everything is ready. Everything will be alright. We will bind and then we will change you next September, on your birthday." I frowned when her emotions went on a rampage again. Anxiety, determination, longing, love, worry, a little bit of fear circling wildly. What was going on with her?

"Bella? What is going on? You're feeling…"

"I wanted to talk to you about my change. I have been thinking and….I talked to the girls…."

"Yes, and?"

She took a deep breath as if to steel herself.

"Jasper…Charlotte told me that that it is customary in the bindings to exchange venom, that the ceremony includes the vampires biting each other's neck to mark one another…and…hum..sex…"She choked the last word out and blushed furiously, causing my throat to burn, in answer. Embarrassment flowed freely around her and she was so red that she made me laugh. In some ways she was so innocent still.

"Yes, my Isabella. The marking of each other's bodies with their teeth is the equivalent to exchanging rings in the human world. Although I will give you a ring too…"I smiled at her as she peered at me through her lashes. The things that that shy look did to me, made me shift her from her position," and the marking is usually followed by the claiming, in which the couple manifest their love physically and the female is marked definitely by her mate, acquiring his scent definitively. Only then the mating is complete and the binding is eternal."

"But us…"

"It will be a bit different. You are human. I can't bite you to mark you and the final claiming will have to wait…" she interrupted me, full of strength and determination"but that is it…I don't want that. I want it to be complete. I want it to go through every step, just like any other vampire couple. "I looked at her in confusion. We had talked about this. As much as I wanted to I couldn't complete the binding as it was unknown what my semen, loaded with my venom would do to her. Our best guess is that it would trigger her change because the tearing of her hymen would open a wound and a direct access into the bloodstream. She seemed to see my confusion because she continued, firm and determined.

"Jasper, what are we waiting for? For me to be eighteen? It is just a number. I will never be eighteen, Jasper. I am way older. I feel way older. I feel so much. I feel like I have lived a lifetime. I want it to end now. I was never the child; instead I was always the adult. I took care of my mother and of my father my whole life. I know more about duty, sacrifice and responsibility than people much older than me."She kissed me softly and I was speechless, her determination and strength were something I only had seen in Rose and Charlotte. Seeing that I didn't object she continued.

"I love you and I want you, Jasper. I need you. I am tired of waiting. I am tired of being the weak human. I want to be like you. So I thought, if I am going to get married I want to do it the right way, not a mockery of the real thing, done because I am only human. I want to embrace this world fully. I want you to change me in the binding." I scanned her emotions to see if she was serious, but all I could sense was determination and resolve. How far she had come from the insecure girl of Forks. But I needed to clarify her demands.

"But I thought that you wanted to wait a while, be older, and have some experiences as a human…"

"What experiences Jasper? I am already completely immersed in your world, and honestly I don't want to go back to the human world. It holds too much sorrow and pain for me. It only reminds me of what: I lost my father, my mother, friends and life. No. There aren't any experiences that I want to have as a human that I can't have as a vampire." Maybe she saw some skepticism in my face or she felt my hesitation because a bit of anger slipped in.

"I won't change my mind Jasper. It is my life, my body. They are mine and only mine and it is up to me to decide my fate. I know that in this world of yours males are all dominant. But I am here with you Jasper and I get it that your race is made of old vampires, most of you born in times were women were held barely above a pet, and your vampire instincts are so strong that you need to assert your superiority. And I know that it is hard for you to understand that even though I am young and human I have my own mind and I am not a dimwit. I know what is best for me. I know what I want. I am sure of my choices. I love you, God, how I love you, I am yours body and soul, and I promise you that I won't keep secrets from you; neither will I do something without talking to you first. I promise to always listen to your opinion and to respect it, but you must do the same. I am the woman that loves you, and will commit herself to you for eternity but I am also my own person. All I ask of you is your respect and support."

As she talked I observed her fierceness and I understood something. Times had changed, and even though my instincts as a vampire and my upbringing as a man demanded the submission of my mate to me, I could understand that for human women of this time and age a life of submission to a male would be a nightmare. This was a new thing for me, not many of us had mates born in this time. But maybe we could find a compromise, a way to make it work without crushing her spirit. Even though when she was changed much of her independence would fade, as her natural instincts would rule her, I could still honor her intelligence and wisdom by listening to her and by providing her with the ability to choose. Maybe I could start now walking this undiscovered path.

"I wasn't going to talk you out of it, Isabella. I just want to be sure that it really is what you want. There will be no turning back. The change is a one way ticket to hell and pain will be your constant companion. Afterwards you will live in a world were bloodlust and rage will make you wish for death. You will have to learn everything again. How to walk, to run, to breath, to dress and to write. You will have to learn how to control yourself and your body. You will have to learn how to deal with the loss of humanity and to live a life separated from the human world and from the human race, always in the sidelines, forever apart, never participating. You will have to learn how to deal with a life span that extends literally through eternity and find your happiness in it. You will have to create your own moral standards because you will prey on the weaker race and the morals and ethics of your former life won't apply anymore, lest you drive yourself insane. You will have to learn how to kill and destroy and to be okay with it. Do not underestimate my knowledge or concerns my mate. You may come to regret that decision, if you take it without being absolutely sure." I kissed the tip of her nose, but tried to convene the seriousness of the situation. She put her hands gently on both sides of my face and looked at me with so much love and adoration that I shivered.

"I am sure. I have thought about this, I know what I am getting into. I have asked the girls and thought about their experiences and how their life was. I am informed. I am making an informed decision. I want it all Jasper. I am sick of being human; I am tired of being afraid, and in pain, of being weak. Take me away from all this death, my mate. Give me a new life, give me your world; give me an eternity by your side. Love me and change me and let's begin our path together."

"Yes, my mate. Tomorrow." Was all said before I crushed my lips to hers sealing our pact.

A/N - Well, we are almost done. One more chapter to go. How about our Bella? I think that she grew a backbone and gave Jasper something to think about. Maybe she can change things a bit for females in this vampire world. And who knew that Carlisle had been such a naughty boy…hummm?

Next chapter - she meets the wives and they prepare the wedding. And well…I have some wicked ideas for Bella and Jasper binding. And I give you a small preview (please remember that it is unbetaed, so please forgive the many mistakes)

"The moon stood high in the sky as I saw her came down the torch illuminated path. Her naked feet crunched delicately the thousands of fragrant flower petals that covered the path. She wore a simple white dress that exposed her neck and chest generously, but elegantly, the bodice hugged her upper body, and flared in a lovely way to her knees, she was the epitome of grace and beauty; her hair was down, flowing down her back and in her head a small crown of incredibly small white rose buds. She wore no jewels, no makeup, and no perfume. She was the most beautiful …"

I hope you like it and until then, thanks to all of you that took the time to review and to PM me. I try to write as fast as I can but the muses are not always in the neighborhood and as you know school is about to start so my time will be reduced, but I will keep on writing, even if it is only a paragraph here and there.