I own no part of the 'Twilight Universe' … only the idea to this story. This is strictly for fun.
Hello you all. It has been too long and I am so sorry to have kept you waiting almost half a year, though it really didn't seem so long to me. I hope you had terrific holidays and a good start in Real life is a real pain in my but right now. In April I have to take my last exam, so I am in the middle of my learning ant it is just too much stuff that I have to know by then. This being said: Sorry for the shortness of the update.
Also a humongous Thank you, to all reviewers, those who favourited me and pm'ed me. Sorry I could not answer personally; I just had no time.
Bella finally begins to understand her insecurities and is on her way of recovery. At the end of the last chapter she asks Marcus indirectly about the Cullens:
When I finally found my voice again it was just barely above a whisper when I asked: "Did Aro touch Victoria? Do you know?"
Chapter 45 (Marcus' pov):
On the one hand I was relieved that nothing life-threatening had happened, yet on the other hand I was shocked to hear her hushed words. How in Pluto's name had she come to think of that of all things?! I was reluctant to tell her, to further her agitation, to explain the whole situation to her.
"Shh, Bella … calm, my dear. You need to calm and let your heart slow," I coaxed. She still looked beseechingly at me, her brown eyes dark with pain and unshed tears, trying to glimpse the answer hidden in mine. But I would not have her stressed further. I just didn't know what would agitate her more: being told, or not being told. When her fear didn't abate and I remembered my promise I knew I had to let her know at least some of the situation, although I personally thought it was too early for her to know.
"Listen, it is beating like a humming bird's wings, and I can literally smell the fearsome anticipation. Please calm and we will talk about it unhurriedly, without ruffle or excitement. Have a little compassion for your heart," I tried to allay her nerves. After a moment that stretched too long she nodded and - to my dismay – closed her eyes. She seemed to internally gather every last ounce of strength and composure as she took a deep breath in, held it, then let it out slowly. I was transfixed as I watched her repeat that action twice more and was astounded to see the tight grip she had on the armrest loosening, and her stiffened posture relaxed to some degree.
She nodded again and opened her eyes; it looked as if steel had molten itself into them. They had hardened. I was astounded at her inner strength and terrified of it at the same moment. I knew then I had to tell her, prove my honour and sincerity or any trust she had built so far would be lost forever. Our bond was still too fragile to remain unaffected by such a seemingly inconsequential lie of omission. I would never risk our happiness. I would stand by her no matter what came out of this conversation.
"Very well. Are you feeling better? Are you ready to have this conversation?" I asked her and observed her every reaction to my words.
She nodded nervously and I believed her to be as ready as she would ever be.
"Good." Where would I begin?
"Let me go back in time a little for my explanation for you to better be informed of events that have occurred in past days," I commenced. At my words she relaxed some more, obviously reassured I would give her a truthful answer.
"After you informed us of this woman and her goal to end you," (at this I couldn't suppress the sharper edge to my voice, still angered at what this witch had done and had planned to do to the lovely young woman in front of me,) "we instantly put the guard on high alert. At this point in time we had already taken you under our protection and we do not take our responsibilities lightly." As she began to clench and unclench her hands in her slowly rising anxiety I daringly placed mine to cover hers, to calm her fears. I was utterly elated when she gifted me with a nervous smile in answer and leant a little closer.
"The guard managed to capture her in town and bring her here before my brothers and I. As we take the role of law enforcers very seriously, it is exceedingly important we know all about the truth in every trial," she tensed again. I decided to get it over with as quickly as possible.
"So to answer your questions, yes, Aro did read her mind and we do know about the coven and all she knew. Rest assured though, no action has yet been taken against those who wronged not only our codex of secrecy but you as well. Shortly before we ended her existence, her mind betrayed her growing insanity. She was a liability to our race and would certainly have caused exposure sooner rather than later."
I sat with baited breath as I saw the emotions run rampant in her eyes. She was clearly conflicted. I didn't dare disturb her in the process of sorting her feelings. The gods knew I also had needed to do a lot of that lately.
After minutes of sitting in silence, she wanted reassurance, "They are really not harmed?" Her eyes were hopeful and I was glad I could alleviate her fears further. Swiftly I got up and knelt in front of her to bring us eye to eye. Her left hand rested in mine and I gave a small squeeze.
"As I said, we have undertaken nothing in retribution yet." Her happiness was palpable and I hated myself for the next words I would speak, yet I had to convey to her the need for the coming trial.
"As the daughter of a policeman you must be aware of the universal validity of laws. We, the Volturi, will have to address this matter sooner or later in trial. No one is above the law. We cannot simply bend the laws that have been known for centuries to suit our own designs …" I had to pause to care for her. This conversation was taking a terrible toll on her and I cursed her ever-wondering mind for coming up with this question at such a stupid time.
"Shh, Bella, please, hear me out," I urged as I saw hot tears glisten in her glowing orbs. She took a shuddering breath and the first tear fell. I caught it with the thumb of my free hand, trying to wipe away the proof that I had hurt her despite my intentions. She couldn't even look into my eyes.
"Bella, you ought to know better than I that this is no ordinary case of exposure. There is much to take into consideration, many details that are not even known yet. So do not worry my dear, or blame yourself for our knowledge. You held true to your word and betrayed nothing. It will be many days to the day of the trial and you will have to be in better shape for it," I attempted to assuage her. First I thought with no success but then she looked up at me suddenly with a calculating stare.
"So …" she sniffed, "you are keeping me here as a witness? Is that why you are treating me so kindly?" Her eyes, slightly reddened, pierced mine with a questioning stare. Unwittingly she had given me a partial out to another question I didn't want to answer. I praised the gods for this opportunity and took it.
"No … and yes. It is a little more complicated than that but it does play a small part in it. We would of course let you bear witness if you so wished," her face brightened at that and I was astounded by the roller coaster that were her emotions yet again. How a small person such as she could feel so strongly and so many things was beyond me.
"So they won't automatically be sentenced to death?" she queried further.
"Not … necessarily," I replied haltingly.
Yes! Usually they would have been … at the very least the boy. But I could not tell her that … not at this time … later perhaps, when our bond was stronger … when her emotions had cleared she might see it differently, and then perhaps I might postulate a capital punishment. I would have to wait and see how it played out. In the meantime we would work on her health and on building up her self-esteem.
"For now be assured that nothing has happened and we will keep you apprised of the situation. And in the meantime I want you to recover, to not think about this, to have your own concerns in mind for once. Can you do that? Lean back and let it all go, Isabella, I will take care of all for you, if you'll let me. I will take care of you. Nothing would please me more but to see you healthy and happy," I prattled away and only stopped myself when I had already said too much.
Luck was with me it seemed, as her emotional turmoil had obviously tired her out and a loud yawn escaped her.
"Rest now. I think you have had enough excitement for one day. Let me help you to bed, yes?" She nodded tiredly, but soothed. Cautiously I lifted her on to the bed, mindful not to get any wires knotted. It only took another assurance and a few more moments for sleep to claim her. I sat next to her resigned to keep watch and dissecting the conversation we just had.
Thank you for staying with me! And thanks, SIERRABEAR, for your never ending support!