Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or locations that belong to Stephanie Meyer.
Author's Note: I finally decided to write a Twilight fic. It's my first Twilight story so I hope you guys like it.
I also don't know any Italian or French so I'll be relying on my good friend Google to translate for me as the story progresses. If there are any errors with the translations, you know who the culprit is.
Hope you enjoy!
VOLTERRA: THE CITY OF LOVE
CHAPTER 1: The Incident
"Ahhhh!" I scream, toppling out of bed, crashing down onto the hardwood floor. "Ow…my ass," I rub my behind with a sour face.
"Bella?" my uncle comes running in with panic written all over his face. "Not again?" he sighs at me when he sees my embarrassing state, shaking his head for the false alarm.
He helps me up, fixing the disheveled bed head I have as I sit down on my bed sheets. "Sorry, uncle Aro..."
"Another bad dream?" he asks sympathetically, smoothing out my hair.
"Yeah," I reply quietly, a hint of embarrassment in my voice. "I can't stop dreaming about vampires and werewolves for some reason?" I shrug.
In my dream, it's always a constant battle between them, with me in the middle of it and territory lines crossed by each kind. It was the strangest thing to dream about given the fact that I didn't believe in such nonsense. I loved watching The Vampire Diaries, but this dream was nothing like it. It was more raw and rip-your-head-off kind of real.
"Do you think you'll be alright? I need to head to the airport early tomorrow morning."
"Yeah, I'll be fine," I nod. "Sorry for waking you….again."
Aro smiles and kisses the top of my forehead. "You think that dream catcher Jacob gave you would be working by now," he smirks. I turn to my headboard where I have it hanging and just stare at it.
Jacob Black is my best friend back home in Forks, Washington. It was a birthday gift and something to remember him by when I moved to Los Angeles, California to live with my uncle. I thought I'd give my dad, Charlie, a rest from watching over me for a while so I decided to live with Aro. He is my mother's half-brother who grew up in Europe and has a home in London, Paris, and Volterra. He always travels to Italy whenever he has free time, which is rare. He is a well-known director and doing press for a new movie he's making. Tomorrow he's flying off to Volterra, Italy to do more press there for the movie because that's where the majority of the filming is taking place.
Most of it is still on the hush-hush, even who the main character in the movie was going to be. He doesn't want to cast any big names and is looking for fresh talent and new faces—which puts Tom Cruise out of the picture. Aro also wants someone young and handsome with the acting skills to pull off the role. He says he'll be away for three months when the actual filming starts so I have the huge house he has all to myself.
"Good night, uncle Aro," I yawn.
"Good night, Isabella," he closes the door behind him. I cringe as he leaves. I hate being called Isabella and he knows that, but it never stops him from saying it. I think a part of him is amused every time I shudder at the name my parents gave me. "It is a beautiful Italian name, very proper and regal," he'd say with his soft British accent. I always muster a smile, pretending to agree, letting his words drift into one ear and swiftly out the other.
Bella is the name I go by and prefer over Isabella. I, for one, am not Italian and really didn't feel I deserve to be called Isabella. That name is for someone tall and beautiful—a glamorous woman that makes heads turn as she passes by like Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor—when they were in their prime. The kind of name that, with one wink, would make a man melt right in his expensive Armani shoes. Just the mere whisper of it makes females rage with envy as I laugh in my fur coat on the red carpet with paparazzi cameras flashing everywhere.
But, nope. That wasn't this Isabella. She is average sized with an average face, brown hair, and brown eyes and clumsy—the one trait that sticks out like a sore thumb. I usually never go a day without tripping on my own shadow or getting a bruise in the strangest of places on me. And so, the incident with falling out of my bed is normal. Whenever I have a bad dream, on the floor is where I can be found, or sometimes at the foot of the bed sleeping upside down. I am a total mess at night!
The very next morning Aro doesn't bother waking me, leaving a note on the counter instead with his good-bye and a whole wad of cash to make sure I didn't starve to death. His assistant will take care of his bills like she always does so I can still count on the water and electricity while he's away. The amount of money he left I really didn't need since I have a part-time job at Starbucks, which is close enough to walk to. Aro is very accommodating and I appreciate that about him.
"Hey, Jake," I answer my ringing phone. I hold it in place between my cheek and shoulder to dig through my purse for my sunglasses as the bright Los Angeles sun almost blinds me on my way out the door. I've become used to the dark and dreary weather of Forks and have to readjust my eyes again to the sunlight. It makes me feel like I was living in a cave all those years in the Northwest.
"So, did Aro leave yet?" he asks. I told him about Aro's plans last week.
"Yeah, he just left this morning," I yawn.
"Bad dream again?" he snickers on the other line. "You always sound tired like this whenever I call you."
Jacob knows me all too well. Jake is two years younger than me and sprouted to a good seven-foot-something when puberty finally caught up to him. I hate looking up at him because my neck would cramp up whenever we were in long conversations so I always make him sit. We became very close when I moved to Forks from Phoenix, Arizona, both our dads best friends, so it was only natural that we grew close. He's has a crush on me for a long time, but he's more of a brother to me and he understands that and accepts it. He's my best friend and no one knows me better or could make me feel better like he can. I talk to him practically every day.
"Vampires and werewolves again," I sigh.
"You know those are just urban legends, right?" I can see him raising an eyebrow by the tone in his voice.
"Hey! Isn't your tribe descendent from wolves?" I remark.
He let out a short, scoffing laugh. "Even though it's the legend of our tribe, they're just scary stories, Bella."
"Well, if you start sprouting a fur coat and a tail…" I start to laugh.
"Yeah, that'll be the day! Well, anyways, I thought I'd just check on you since you'll be alone for a few months. Why don't you just come back to Forks until Aro returns? We all miss you. I miss you."
I shake my head, adjusting my sunglasses. "No can do, Chief. I have a job here, remember?"
"It's only part-time! And, besides, you're just making coffee."
"So, what? It's a job!" I defend my barista skills. "I may not make much, but they have good benefits. What if someone said to you, 'Oh, you just change the oil' in cars?" I shot back.
"Hey! You know I can do more than that," he sounds more offended than I do at his jib. Everyone knows Jacob is the best mechanic in Forks and probably in the entire Puget Sound region.
"I know that," I roll my eyes to the sky. "I'm not doubting your mad skills, I'm just saying, I do more than just make coffee."
"Oh, yeah?" he challenges me. "What else do you do then?"
I straighten my posture as if we were talking face-to-face. "Well," I clear my throat, "I bring people happiness."
"What?" Jacob bursts out laughing. "You bring people happiness? How so?" The way he sounds makes me seem like I'm delusional.
"Most of the people that come in can't function without their favorite type of coffee, latte, or tea. Even the kids go crazy when they stuff their faces with whip cream. We're people pleasers. That's our job—bringing happiness to people one coffee at a time," I chuckle to myself, pretending I was a spokesperson for Starbucks.
"Sure, sure," I hear him shuffling things around on the other line.
"Jake, what are you doing?"
"Trying to find my other shoe. I gotta drive my dad over to your dad's. There's a Seahawks game they wanna catch on tv."
"Jacob! You almost ready?" I hear Billy's voice in the background.
I almost forgot it was Saturday. Billy, Jacob's dad, is usually over at the house on the weekends keeping Charlie company now that he's alone to fend for himself again. He isn't much of a cook so I prepared most of our meals. I only hope he eats more than Harry's famous homemade fried fish that he brings over occasionally. I didn't understand how my dad can have that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, I suppose I never will since I prefer to eat food without a face.
"Hey, Jake, I'll let you go. I'm almost at work anyway. I should really also look both ways before crossing the street in case I trip on my shoe and get hit by a car," I say sarcastically joking, which, knowing me, could really happen. Thank God for medical insurance!
"Okay, Bells," he laughs softly. "Be careful. I'll talk to you later. Love you."
"Love you too…bye." I press end on the touch screen. I got used to saying 'I love you' to Jacob since I really did love him. He is a great guy and someone I'm very comfortable around and tell practically everything to. I probably also say those three words more to him than I ever do with Charlie.
"Bella, you're late," is the first thing Lauren says to me when I walked in the door.
I look at my watch to make sure. "What are you talking about? I'm early. I still have ten minutes to spare."
"Well, I know how you can be slow at times with putting your things away and we get really backed up with customer orders so you should try to be earlier next time," she replies as if she is making some sort of point. "You should look at me as a role model. I did get employee of the month. You won't get anywhere if you're always late."
I scoff at her words, shaking my head. I really want to punch her in the face. Lauren never liked me since the day I set foot behind the counter. On my first day, I accidentally bumped into a customer as I was cleaning the counters and spilled his frapuccino on him. I felt bad so I made him another drink, given it was my fault. I later found out that he was Lauren's ex-boyfriend who she was still drooling over and our non-flirtatious, non-romantical, interaction set her off. She's wanted my head on a chopping block ever since. That guy coming back the following week asking for my number didn't set well with her either.
"Bella," Eric places a hand on my shoulder to distract me away from her. "Go clock in and put your stuff away. I'll take the orders. You can do the register today."
"Thanks, Eric," I half-smile.
"No, prob," he smiles back.
Lauren rolls her eyes again at Eric's nice gesture toward me. He is like a sweet older brother that always tries to keep the peace between everyone, even though he is only a few month older than I am. He's been there the longest and is close to being promoted to supervisor. Everyone knows how foul Lauren's attitude is but she was good at putting on a fake happy smile for the customers, which the managers like and got compliments on. That's the only reason why they keep her.
"I don't know why you're always so nice to her," she snaps at Eric as I walked in the back room.
"Give it a rest, Lauren, and just do your job," he answers, quietly snapping back at her as the customers start lining up for their morning coffee. I grin a little knowing that she wasn't going to talk back to him since he has seniority over her. The managers like her but they love Eric. One word from him and she'd get the boot!
The day goes fairly smoothly with minor accidents, like bumping into counters or occasionally Eric, as I try to maneuver around him toward the espresso machine. Lauren only works part of the day due to an appointment she has so I didn't have to deal with her sourness for very long. Some say she is getting an ugly mole removed to which I just laugh hysterically at. I bet that mole wants to get rid of her—not the other way around.
"Alright, Eric. I'll see you tomorrow!" I wave goodbye as I leave for the day. Saturdays are usually the busiest day for us since it was the weekend. It surprises me how many people come in with their kids and all the baby strollers parked by the tables. This is LA so, of course, all the MILFs have their sunglasses on with their tight tops and cleavages showing a mile down their shirts.
By the time I get to Aro's house, I see a BMW parked by the gate and know exactly who it belongs to. The door swings open before I even have time to touch the handle and trip forward, bumping into the person stepping out. Luckily, she catches me with both hands before I completely crash on top of her. "Bella, are you okay?" she asks, slightly caught off guard by my sudden weight against her.
"Yeah…I'm fine," I answer with rosy cheeks, fixing the strands of hair out of my face. "Hey, Jane. What brings you here?" I try to gather myself quickly and smile. Jane is Aro's assistant with a key to the house in case he needs her to get something for him while he's busy at the office or travelling. "I thought you were in Italy with my uncle?"
She walks back into the house with me with her padfolio securely under one arm. I swear that thing is glued to her because I never see her without it. If I took it from her she would most likely claw my eyes out. It has all of Aro's appointments, itineraries and contacts. She probably even has his birth certificate and a vile of his blood in there.
"My flight is tonight. I'm just sorting out some last minute things before I leave. Your uncle forgot a page of the set design he was looking over so I came by to pick that up."
"And, to check up on me…right?" I give her a knowing look. My uncle worries about my safety when I'm alone and sometimes sends Jane over to make sure I'm still alive and breathing.
Jane smiles at me, looking guilty. "You know how you uncle is. But, I didn't come over just for him. I wanted make sure you were doing okay, too," she rubs my arm.
His assistant has blonde hair, usually in a bun, and isn't very tall. I think I'm taller than her by an inch or two. She also looks like she's twelve with very childlike features. I'm not sure how old she is, but she could easily be mistaken for a minor, although she is older than I am—that much I know. But, I like Jane. She's nice and caring and takes care of Aro like I took care of Charlie. She basically keeps Aro's life organized since organization isn't really his forte.
My stomach grumbles ferociously at the first chance it gets to make my previous embarrassing moment with her seem like it didn't even happen. I quickly squeeze my stomach to silence the beast and let out an embarrassing smile. "Sorry about that. We were so busy today that I didn't have time to take a break."
Jane tries to be nice by suppressing a laugh. "I'm taking a red-eye tonight and have some time to kill. Why don't we go out and have some dinner? My treat. I'll even let you have a glass of wine. Just don't tell you uncle."
"Deal!" I happily exclaim.
Aro's assistant always takes me to these restaurants that make me want to eat everything on the menu. They weren't the type of places where a lot of celebrities go, mostly low key. I did see Cam Gigandet from Burlesque with a friend of his who was as equally luscious as he was at this small café she took me to once. I nearly peed my pants when Jane waved hello to him and he waved back with a smile like he knew her. "I know his agent," she had smirked. As for the wine, I am of drinking age, but I never really drink around Aro. Jane will let me have a glass or two with her, but on the low, because she doesn't want him getting upset at her for turning me into some kind of alcoholic.
"Just water for now," I say to the waiter as we sit down.
Jane orders a few appetizers for us and a glass of wine for herself. "Here's to a long, grueling flight," she raises her glass as I clink it with my water, chuckling.
"Are you flying by yourself?" I ask. "I thought you would all go to Italy together."
"There's still a few minor details I have to take care of here with some of the legal stuff so I stayed behind. It's more imperative for your uncle to be there now with the press and the buzz going on with the movie. I'll be flying with a few others I actually have to pick up after our dinner." She takes a sip of her wine and eats a piece of calamari on her plate.
"I really don't know how you do it, Jane."
"Do what?" she asks, still focused on her food.
"Take care of my uncle and pretty much everything else. You're a superhero aren't you?"
"Oh, Bella," she laughs at my joke, "don't be silly. It's my job and I love what I do. I like being in control of things and making sure things run smoothly. If they don't, there will be hell to pay! I'm a nice person by nature, but I do have my bitchy, demanding side. It's a requirement in this kind of business. Some people underestimate me because I look young for my age. I'm very adamant about what I want and it's always been something I've been able to pull off professionally. That's why Aro hired me. I take care of things he has no time for. And he's a good boss."
"I would run home every night crying if I had your job," I softly laugh. "I'm so clumsy probably bring nothing but disaster to all who cross my path if I have to deal with people the way you do and those negotiations you do for Aro." Jane isn't to be bothered when I call Aro by his first name when I talk about him with her.
"We all have our forte and things we are meant for, Bella. Don't rule yourself out just yet. You'll find that one thing you're good at when you least expect it," she winks.
We hurry with our dinner because she has to rush to pick up the two other people she's travelling with. She won't tell me who they are but says it's important they arrive with her. We say our good-byes in the car when she drops me off. "Tell my uncle I said hi!"
The house seems a lot bigger and emptier when I turn on the lights in the kitchen. Even though Aro is rarely home and I'm used to being by myself, this time feels different. This will also be the longest he's been out of town. It will just now be me and Marie, the cleaning lady that comes to the house once a week. It feels quietly strange inside and I don't feel like being at home on a Saturday so I leave again and walk to the small café located in the other direction of Starbucks. Yes, I was a traitor.
Don't get me wrong, I love Starbucks and all, but I like the atmosphere of this small café better and it is less crowded. I would have worked for them, but they had no health benefits and I needed all the coverage I could get! I hate relying on Aro so much, so working is the one thing I want to be able to do so I can afford things for myself. Café Twilight is also open late, hence the name. The décor inside consists of brown, gold and red with dim lights. It has sort of a renaissance theme mixed with a bit of gothic influences.
"Bella! I was wondering when you were going to show up tonight," Benjamin, the owner, greets me. "The usual?"
"Yes, please!" I sit down in one of their plush booths and wait. I was thinking of renting a movie when my phone rings. "Hello?"
"Hey, Bella!" my friend Alice says on the other line.
Alice is a cute, short girl at four-foot-ten, with dark pixie-like hair I met here a while back who orders the same drink I do. She's here as often as I am and after seeing each other so much, we finally became really good friends. She is a fashion designer and stylist who dress celebrities. I've seen some of her dresses on the red carpet and they look absolutely amazing. She really has a keen sense for fashion, which can be seen in her own wardrobe. In the beginning she would discreetly examine my casual, plain outfits and from the look on her face, I know she wants to rip them off me and burn every last piece of clothing I own, right down to my very last pair of socks. "I would love to revamp your closet, Bella…please?" she would say to me, but I always refuse. She has enough celebrities to dress and some of the outfits she has in mind just weren't me. I feel too exposed in them. I love my graphic tees and jeans too much to discard.
"Are you busy tonight? Want to watch a movie with me?"
"I would love to, but I can't. I just called to tell you that I'll be going out of town for a few months. Well, actually out of the country!" she exclaims. I can tell she's excited but me, not so much.
"Really? It seems so…sudden? Is it for work?" I try not to sound too disappointed. Alice is really my only friend here in LA and with her gone, I will truly be alone. Aro's place has a pool, workout gym, and a theater, but I usually did those things with her. He was never home when she came over and I didn't like bragging about him so I skipped the part where I'm related to a famous director. Besides, all the family portraits are upstairs so no one would ever suspect I'm his niece. Maybe I can take up a hobby like knitting to keep myself busy?
"Yes, it's for work. I'll be in Europe. I was given an offer I couldn't refuse and I haven't been there in ages so it was sort of a win-win situation. I'm leaving tonight."
"Aww, I wish I could have seen you before you left and given you a proper goodbye," I frown.
"I know," she sounds as disappointed as I was. "I would have told you sooner but I've just been so busy with packing everything I need, new designs, my passport…well, you get the picture."
"Bella, your drink is ready," Benjamin waves it in the air before placing it down on the counter.
I pick up my drink and go back to my conversation. "Well, I'll miss you," I say to Alice. "Try to keep in touch, kay?"
"Of course I will! Who am I going to dish all the juicy gossip to while I'm there?" she chuckles softly. "I'll send you care packages, too. Europe is ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion!" I can picture my petite friend's eyes lighting up at the thought of getting me into an expensive outfit.
"Don't get too carried away...okay Alice?" I smile at the ideas looming in her head. She loves giving me free outfits from her collection, things she thinks I look 'fabulous' in, which are still in their gift boxes on the floor in my closet. I know what she's hinting at and it wasn't going to work.
"One of these days, Bella, I can see it. You might not appreciate it now, but you will. You'll be glad to have new things to wear that will have heads turning left and right. I just ask that you give me the proper credit when you're asked who you're wearing on the red carpet," she says, probably smirking ridiculously to herself. Alice always has these strange visions in her head and often times they came true.
I laugh softly at her words. "Okay, Alice. We'll see."
"Oh, Bella, I have to go! My ride to the airport will be here soon!" she suddenly says in a hurry. "There are some last minute things I need to pack. Take care of yourself! I'll call you when I land."
"Okay, bye, Alice. Have a safe flight," I reply and hang my phone up, placing it in my back pocket. I was about to walk out of the door until I realize I didn't pay for my drink. "Benjamin! Sorry, I forgot!"
"Don't worry about," he shoo's me away. "I'll just add it to your tab the next time you're in," he smiles and takes the next customer's order.
"Thanks," I smile back and proceed to leave. I was looking down at my untied shoe and how I should tie it before I step into the unknown. An untied shoe in the dark streets for me meant saying hello to the concrete. I stop abruptly and bump into something—or rather, someone—again. My peppermint soy latte spills all over this person's leather jacket! Shock and embarrassment graces my face with my jaw wide open at the most predictable thing that could happen. If I was a cartoon character, my jaw would have dropped all the way to the ground ready to catch flies. I'm frozen. He clearly does not look happy. "I. Am. So. Sorry!" I throw my spilled drink away and run to get napkins to wipe the mess off his jacket. I am too mortified to look up at him.
"Don't worry about it," he finally speaks with a sigh. He takes out a handkerchief from his back pocket and wipes the rest off himself. I attempt to look up at him to see how upset he is and smile apologetically. He takes off his sunglasses, a typical LA thing to wear at night, and examines me.
He's gorgeous beyond belief and about a head taller than I was. He has bronze, unkempt hair, and beautiful green eyes with thick, curly lashes. His skin is paler than mine with high cheekbones, a strong jaw line, and thin lips that are curved into a crooked smile. I have to blink a few times to escape the mesmerizing control he has over me. "Are you alright?" he asks, still grinning. I turn crimson since no one could have mistaken me for staring at anything else but this perfect creature standing before me. I have never felt this flustered around anyone before.
"Umm…sorry," I finally manage to look away, letting my hair fall to cover a part of my face. "I really am sorry about that! I have a habit of being uncoordinated. I didn't mean to ruin your jacket. I can pay for it?" I figure I'd offer to pay for a new one, but judging from the quality of it, it looks really expensive. Crap! My entire savings will probably be depleted to correct this mistake. If Homer Simpson was here he'd hit me in the head saying, "D'oh!"
This perfect being looks at his sleeve. "It's just a jacket, don't worry about it. I can always get a new one. Besides, better your drink spilling on my jacket than my skin," he chuckles. Even his soft laugh is perfect. I don't understand what he means at first about his skin since I'm still thinking about how pale he looks, and then it hits me. The contents in the cup are hot and I could have burned him if it wasn't for the thick material he's wearing. My face turns an even brighter shade of red. "Listen, why I don't I buy you another drink since most of it is on my jacket and on the floor?"
I look up at him again, even more baffled by his words. I'm the one who ruined his jacket and he's the one offering to buy me another coffee? He takes my silence for a 'yes' and walks up to the counter to order. I follow quietly behind him as one of the other employees mop the area where the coffee has spilled. He didn't only have the face of an angel but is also a gentleman, which is hard to find in this city.
"I'll have an iced mocha and a peppermint soy latte," he tells Benjamin. "And for the lady…" he turns to me. As if he couldn't surprise me any further, he was ordering my favorite drink!
"Umm…the same. A peppermint soy latte," I nod shyly.
"So, that's one iced mocha and two peppermint soy lattes," Benjamin read back his order. He gives him the money and turns around again and smiles at me. He was about to say something else when his phone rings. "Excuse me," he moves to the other side of the counter. I'm not trying to eavesdrop but it's a small café and there aren't a lot of people around so I pick up a few words in his conversation. "Yeah, I know…I'll be right there….Yes, I know we can't be late…Relax! I'm not that far..."
I didn't know why my heart suddenly sank at that moment. The person on the other line was probably his girlfriend wondering where he is with her coffee, that's why he ordered two for himself. I mentally kick myself in the head for even thinking someone like me has a chance with this handsome man, who clearly would be taken or has a million girls practically flinging themselves at him. She is most likely as gorgeous as he is.
"Here's your order!" Benjamin gets his attention. He waves his thank you, continuing his conversation, which was much quieter now. It sounds like they are arguing. I take my drink and tell Benjamin to thank the man for me. I don't want to interrupt him and there is no point in exchanging names because he has a girlfriend, is also out of my league, and someone I will probably never see again. On my walk home though, I can't stop thinking about him, trying to remember every inch of his features, and can't help but wish that by some twist of fate we would cross paths again…
Author's Note: I just recently watched Burlesque for the first time and Cam Gigandet was so yummy in it. Haha. So, I had to add him. Anyways, what did you think of the first chapter? Should I continue? Do you want to read more? Well then, tell me!