Title: Bloody Morning: The Sixth Chapter

Characters/Pairing: Volturi : Alec : OCs

Warning/Spoilers: Swearing sometime!

A/N: Okay, so I realize I've fallen off the face of the earth. My bad! But what I discovered was that I accidentally skipped the REAL chapter five, so you darlings are going to have to backtrack one more to get the new chapter. The good news is, I'm on the eleventh chapter now, and I have a clear view on where I want this to go. No more "let's-paint-the-house" filler chapters. :)

Dedication: To Aly-la-Advisor, for putting up with my erratic PMs, questions and plot bunnies. Thanks for everything. :D


· The Sixth Chapter ·


"But I've only been here a day!" I hissed once I got a grip on what was happening. "Maybe you misunderstood them?"

Kiera shrugged, a frown marring her face. She glanced at Anastasia. "Did they decide to kill her, or are my ears failing me?"

An orb floated by the clock, and I was shocked to discover that it was half-past midnight. Anastasia pursed her lips. "Your ears aren't failing you," she replied, staring at me. "You just entered the conversation at the wrong time. Which reminds me . . . Camilla, I need to talk to you. In private."

"Uh, sure." I nodded, and she led me into the kitchen with Kiera frowning after us. I leaned against the counter and smiled, watching the yellow orbs lighting up random places in the kitchen. "What's up?"

She took a deep breath. "I need you to promise me that, no matter what, you'll act like you're oblivious to the supernatural world. That you won't make a scene in public whenever you see a Volturi guard."

I started to nod, then stopped myself. "Wait, what did you see?"

"Just trust me," she said. "I swear you'll find out later."

I narrowed my eyes. This was an unusual request of her to make. Clearly she was hiding something from me, but I didn't know what, exactly. I didn't know whether to trust her or not.

"Fine," I consented, sighing. "I promise that, when regarding the vampires of Volterra, I will pretend to have no idea what the questioner is talking about. I'll pretend to have no clue about the supernatural world."

"So let this be our oath, only to be released by death," the witch murmured. I felt a sharp stab on my wrist and jumped away from her. My wrist was bleeding. Why, that. . . .

"What was that for?" I shouted, holding my injured wrist. She didn't answer me. Instead, she grabbed my wrist and stretched it out, putting her hand on mine. A powerful feeling I couldn't describe rushed through me.

My eyes widened. Oh, shit. This was a blood oath—why didn't I see it before? Anastasia must've been serious about whatever she had seen. I'd never participated in a blood oath before, but I knew it was to witches what swearing on the river Styx was to the gods in Greek mythology.

The glowing orbs swirling around us blinked out, one by one, until we were in total darkness. Then, there was one bright flash of lightning, blinding me. The loudest thunder I'd ever heard boomed outside, actually rocking the house.

I blinked, and suddenly all of the orbs were back, my wrist was healed, and Anastasia was facing away from me.

"It is done," she announced.

I couldn't have stopped a shiver if I tried.


The next day, three men from A Little Bit of Everything came to my house and said they were here to replace the floorboards. The witches had kicked me out of the house when they found out so they could oversee the projects, and told me to go do something productive.

It was Friday, so I couldn't go talk to the girls because they were at school. I decided that I would get refrigerated groceries today, since the electricity bill was supposed to be paid this morning, and then run. So I grabbed my stolen red wagon and headed for the grocery store. I was humming a song when I entered an alley.

"So . . . you're the famous wagon stealer my family's been talking about," a voice said. I froze, looking around, until my eyes rested on a boy about my age. He was tanned, with black hair and gray eyes. He was smiling, but I didn't relax.

"Can I help you?"

"I just wanted to introduce myself to my family's wagon thief," he said, nodding to the wagon behind me. I pursed my lips, embarrassed. "I'm Emiliano Bancroft."

"Camilla," I muttered.

"What a pretty name. Mind if I join you on your stroll, Camilla?"

Well . . . he was kind of cute. And I could fight him off if he tried anything. That, and his name sounded familiar for some reason. I couldn't remember why, though, so I just shrugged. "Okay, whatever. I'm just getting groceries, and then I'm running."

He snorted. "Beats being at school or in the house."

"And where do you go to school?" I asked. He moved to the side and I continued on my journey to the grocery store.

"Dante Institution. You?"

"I'm . . ." I hesitated. What should I tell him? "I'm homeschooled sometimes."

"By who?"

"My relatives give me notebooks and expect me to study them. They give me tests occasionally," I said. It wasn't totally a lie, but it wasn't the complete truth, either. I pushed the guilt out of my mind and kept walking.

"Um . . . okay. Weird way of being homeschooled. What are you doing in Volterra, then?"

For a second, I toyed with the idea of telling him the truth, just to see what he would say. Almost immediately, my throat closed up. I couldn't speak, or swallow. Even breathing was a struggle. I felt my eyes widen with panic and tried to take a breath. Holy God, what was going on?

I dropped the truth idea, and somehow I could breathe properly again. Emiliano was looking at me strangely. "I just moved here. It seems like a nice town," I whispered, clearing my throat.

He nodded, accepting my answer. "Cool. So did my cousin, Lance. He's living with us for the time being."

I smiled, grateful for the subject change. "Lance? That's an odd name. Where's he from?"

"America." I had to resist rolling my eyes and continued smiling politely. "His mom's in a hospital 'cause of cancer and his dad's in Iraq, so he was sent to live with us for the time being."

"Oh." I wasn't sure what to say to that. "I . . . that sucks."

"Yeah, it does."

We turned the corner, entering the main square of Volterra—and I stopped dead. The Palazzo dei Priori chimed ten.

I'd found what Anastasia saw last night. It was wise of her to make me take the blood oath. My mouth went dry at the sight. Emiliano touched my arm. "Camilla? Are you okay?" he asked.

No, I wanted to say. No, I'm not. How could the Volturi be so heartless?

Heidi had given her death tour again—but this time it was to children.

Twenty or so African girls, plus five adult women, were following Heidi, who was in the safety of the shade. The eldest child couldn't have been older than twelve. And I had a sickening feeling that there was no Isaac or air vent to save them this time.

One girl turned around, saw me, and waved. She probably came up to my waist. I couldn't bring myself to wave back. They had no idea what they were walking into—what horror awaited them in the slaughtering room.

I had to do something. I couldn't just watch them march to their deaths.

I tried to take a step forward, but my legs wouldn't move. My hand seemed to be glued to the wagon handle. It was like I was frozen in time. I couldn't even scream a warning to them, or beg Heidi to spare the children.

This had to be what the blood oath was. Anastasia had been serious about this. In that moment, I hated her for keeping me from saving one of the girls' lives. But then I knew that she was just protecting me from the wrath of the Volturi.

When they were out of sight, my body unfroze. Emiliano eyed me, looking uneasy. "Are you sure you're okay, Camilla? You looked like you were going to be sick for a minute there. Or cry. Or both."

I swallowed hard, refusing to break down in front of him. "Do those tours happen often?" I asked thickly.

He looked uncomfortable. "Oh, yeah, all the time. Once every two weeks or so."

"And no one cares?"

"Why should they?" he asked, sounding genuinely puzzled. "It's just a tour, Camilla."

Just a tour. He said it like it was no big deal. I tightened my grip on the wagon handle and walked on. I promised myself that I would find an alternate path to the store—one that didn't involve the Palazzo dei Priori or witnessing Heidi bring innocent lives to an end.

Emiliano and I kept up a lively conversation for the whole journey until I was back at my street. He wasn't a bad guy, really. It was just that the little girls following Heidi like lost puppies were engraved in my brain and I couldn't keep my thoughts off of them. I sighed and plastered a fake smile on my face.

"It was a pleasure talking to you, Emiliano," I said sincerely. He grinned.

"Rest assured, the pleasure was all mine." I started grinning ridiculously at his words. "Until next time, Camilla?"

"Ciao!" I watched him go with the same silly smile before someone cleared their throat behind me.

Gemma was glaring at me, her arms crossed. She was still wearing what I guessed to be her school uniform. She didn't look pleased, and I was too shocked at her sudden arrival to say anything. What was with people and popping out of nowhere these days?

"Gemma!" I said, surprised. "Uh . . . what are you doing here?"

I could see her eyes narrow behind her golden sunglasses. "Didn't know your dad was a fat guy who's been hitting the happy juice," she said nonchalantly, not uncrossing her arms.

Now I was confused. "What on earth are you talking about?"

She pointed to the house behind her. "That was the building you told me you lived in. Care to explain?"

Oh.

Shit.

I laughed. "No, I didn't," I said, pointing to the house on my right. "I said I lived in that one."

Her eyes were now officially slits. "Uh-huh. Cut the bull, Cam. I just wanted to invite you to a pool party tomorrow, at noon. If you want to come, that is."

I swallowed. "A pool party? But I don't. . . ."

How could I tell her I didn't know how to swim? Everyone knew how to swim. I'd be the biggest loser there was.

Gemma raised an eyebrow, silently prompting me to continue. ". . . have a swim suit," I finished lamely.

She tsked. "So Loretta and I will take you shopping. I'll call you so you can meet us outside of wherever you live."

"But, um." I bit my lip. There was no way she wouldn't ditch me after this.

"Yes?"

"I kind of . . . don't have a phone," I admitted in a small voice.

Gemma's mouth dropped open. "Are you serious?"

". . . Yeah." I nodded.

It was true. I'd never had an electronic of any kind when living with the witches; and if I'd previously owned one in Potenza, it was gone now. I didn't have any contact with the outside world for those six years, and I was too busy training or studying anyways. Any leisure time I had was spent playing soccer with Isaac or running.

"Do you have anything electronic, or did you just live under a rock all your life?" she asked, pulling out her phone and texting something.

"My groceries are getting warm. I'll be back," I told her. She turned around, holding the phone to her ear.

"Hey, Loretta? Yeah. It's Gemma. Yeah, we kind of have an emergency. . . ."

I rolled my eyes and tugged the wagon over the boundary line. Hoping that Gemma wouldn't turn around anytime soon, I ferried the water and milk into the fridge. Luckily, the light turned on when I opened the door, so the electricity bill had been paid.

The witches and workers were nowhere to be seen, but I could hear hammering overhead. They were working upstairs, then. I could live with that. When I stepped outside again, finished with my task, Gemma was staring at me.

"You could've told me you lived here, instead of making up a load of bull," she said pointedly when I reached her.

I glanced over my shoulder. "Wait, you can see it?" I asked. Then my throat closed up and I couldn't say anything else.

"Of course I can, Camilla, you dumbass. It's a house."

I blinked at her, silent. She sighed. "Come on, we need to meet Loretta at Blum's." With that, she turned on her heel and started walking.

More confused than ever on how she could see it without the turquoise stone, I followed her. My throat wouldn't clear. Trying not to make it obvious or panic, I took several deep breaths through my nose.

Then, when I dropped the topic, my throat cleared up. "Why is Loretta coming?" I asked, clearing my throat. This inability to speak-or-breath thing was starting to get old.

"Because she has a great fashion sense and because you need to get to know her better."

I blinked, not expecting that response. "Oh. Well. Okay."

When we reached Blum's pizzeria, Loretta was waiting for us . . . with two shiny white Vespas.

Any dislike I had had for the squinty-faced blonde disappeared. She beamed when she saw us. "Ciao, ladies! Gemma, I know you do, but . . . Cam, do you know how to drive a Vespa?"

I shook my head. "No. But I really want one." I'd been taught to drive a car, though.

"Well, I guess there's no time like the present, yeah? C'mere." She beckoned me forward, and I peered at the Vespa controls. "So here's what you do. It's not much harder than riding a two-wheeler bike, except for the fact that the wheels are way bigger, and the brake is a pedal on the right side of the floorboard. See it?"

I nodded. "The left grip rotates forward, sort of like the opposite of a throttle. The shifting is done with the handlebar, and the gears are marked to make it easier for the driver. Neutral position is between the first and second gear. Usually, it's a 4-speed shift. However, this is a Vespa GTS 200 Super, so you don't have to worry about that."

It seemed simple enough. Then, "Want to try it?"

My mouth went dry. She had to be kidding. "Do you mean that?"

Gemma cleared her throat before she could respond. "Uh, Loretta, remember that emergency I told you about? We don't have time for driving lessons. In a few hours it'll be dark."

Loretta looked surprised. "Oh, right. Well, maybe some other time, Cam." She handed me a matching white helmet, putting hers on and getting on the Vespa. Gemma was doing the same thing beside us.

The blonde looked up at me. "Aren't you coming?"

Oh. Oh, right. I looked down at the helmet in my hands and fastened it on. It was an awkward process, climbing over the Vespa's second seat, but I managed to end up sitting behind Loretta. Now what was I supposed to do?

The Vespa sputtered to life and jerked forward. I gasped, falling backwards. The only thing that kept me from falling off was the metal rim behind me. As it started moving, I lurched forward and grabbed Loretta's shoulders. She didn't seem surprised at this, but I shouted an apology nonetheless.

I squeezed my eyes shut and clung to her shoulders for dear life. After what seemed like forever, the Vespa stopped.

"You can let go of my shoulders now," said Loretta. I pried my fingers off and opened my eyes. Gemma was hiding a smile behind her hand.

"Sorry." I scrambled off the Vespa and took off my helmet, handing it to Loretta. Then I looked around. We were in a parking lot surrounded by buildings. "Where are we?"

"Somewhere outside of Volterra," said Gemma, walking up beside me.

I was not pleased by that answer. "Well, why are we here?"

"Because," Loretta paused dramatically, jumping in front of me and spreading her arms out. "We're going shopping!"


Italian words/phrases:

Ciao - hello