Disclaimer:

I own no part of the 'Twilight Universe' … only the idea to this story. This is strictly for fun.

Author's note:

I do apologize for the immense wait. The only excuse I have: real life and my job - as much as I like being a resident - it really consumes almost all my time.

I have decided to update more often, with shorter chapters such as this one.

Previously:

Bella was informed that the ancients know about the Cullens' involvement.


Chapter 47 (Marcus' pov):

"You don't know about 'Alice in Wonderland'?" she asked, still wide-eyed.

"It's a story about a young girl, who finds herself in a dream world after she falls down a rabbit's hole … You must be kidding! Everyone knows 'Alice in Wonderland'! It's a classic!" she declared fervently, as she sat back up.

"I dare say perceptions of what is a 'classic' vary; I have to admit I have never heard of it," I explained.

She grinned at me with her eyes twinkling mischievously.

I smiled in response to her obvious enthusiasm. "Is it one of your favourites?" I queried to keep the conversation going as I took a seat in my usual place.

She nodded slowly, seemingly lost in thought, her eyes focused on nothing.

"It used to be when I was younger," she disclosed softly. "I remember my mum reading it to me before I went to bed ..." She drifted off smiling as she enjoyed her memory.

Obviously, not all of her past was painful. I took great delight in this discovery and made a mental note to encourage her to revisit happier times. Hopefully such conversations would not only allow me to get to know my mate on a deeper level, but to help her imagine happier times ahead.

Before I could say anything, she surprised me as she continued: "You know, I haven't read it in a long time. Do you think you have a copy here? I think I would like to read it again; it always fascinated me."

She focused on me again, still smiling slightly, her eyes soft. I marvelled at how such a small thing such as a simple smile … her smile … could warm my heart

"I'll have someone ask Aro; he will know whether or not this book is in our collection," I promised, and called on Felix to leave his post and find out.

While we waited for Felix to return, Isabella went on to explain more about the book and its background … what she liked and disliked about it. Listening to her, an idea formed in my mind, hoping more and more that Felix would be able to procure Isabella's treasure.

Only three minutes later Felix's knock sounded at the door and I bade him enter. Grinning smugly he presented the book to Isabella saying: "Lady Isabella, it is my pleasure to present to you the book of your desires … 'Alice in Wonderland'" … as he bowed deeply. My sweet mate squealed in delight and took the book eagerly. She beamed as she looked up to thank Felix who smiled widely at her enthusiasm.

After Felix had bowed to us and left, she smiled blindingly at me before she looked down and opened the cover lovingly. She immediately froze and slowly, carefully, laid the book down, then snatched her hands back as if burnt.

"What is wrong, cara mia? Is this not the right book?" I questioned, confused by her response.

Her answer was whispered: "It's a first edition … how can you simply give this book to me!? This is a first edition! I might damage it!"

"So, it is the right book, but not the right edition?" I asked haltingly, trying to understand her reasoning. "And why do you think you might ruin it? It is just a book. "Yes, but it is still a first edition and it's in pristine condition! It must be worth thousands of dollars. I can't accept something so priceless as a gift … I'd be afraid I'd tear it, or get it wet, or damage it somehow."

She looked at the book longingly.

I smiled and put my hand over hers squeezing gently. "Oh, cara mia ... it would be such a waste if this book was not read by someone such as yourself who truly appreciates its value and beauty. I can think of nothing more fitting. The memory of your mother reading this book to you is obviously a happy one. Perhaps we might read it together."

Isabella rewarded my suggestion with a huge grin: "Thank you, Marcus that sounds like a wonderful idea. I'd like that very much."

My heart soared as I made a mental note to be watchful for other opportunities to spend such quality time together.

"Well then, dear one, when would you like to start?" I encouraged carefully.


I truly love my beta!