I'm taking Latin, did you know that Bella actually means the wars in that language.

Interesting fact.

Has anyone here ever seen Stardust? It's a movie. Made in 2007 and I still love it.

25 reviews. I'm serious this time. No more updates until then.

It couldn't be that bad, could it? Nicolai stood in front of a floor length mirror, holding her hair up with one hand and touching her scar with the other one. She'd seen them staring at her, at her scar. Was it really that odd?

Surely she wasn't the only one with something unsightly.

"What are you doing?" a voice asked from the door. She quickly dropped her hands and turned to the door, exhaling.

"Nothing." She said. Sky made her way into the room.

"If you're worried about that scar," She said, walking over to Nicolai and brushing her hair away from her face. "It's not really that bad. And, if you really hate it, you can always get Ren to fix it for you. She's like our resident plastic surgeon. But cheaper." She smiled and Nicolai couldn't help but grin back.

"I don't think I'll do that." Nicolai said.

"I didn't either." Sky said with a smile. She lifted up her shirt revealing a scar that slashed diagonally across her stomach. "I like it, though it makes it nearly impossible for me to show my stomach in public."

"Now, what do you want to do today?" she asked. "I'd suggest shopping; you still look like a hooker."

"I'll try not to be insulted." Nicolai said, dryly.

"It wasn't an insult, it was the truth."

"Well as long as it's the truth." Nicolai looped her arm through Sky's.

"Off we go?"

"Off we go."

"So what I'm about hand you is a credit card, more specifically, my credit card." Ren said, carefully holding out her card. It looked old and well used.

"I'm not an idiot, Ren." Nicolai said, snatching the card out of her hands.

"Keep snatching like that and I'll keep that credit card to myself." Ren said, heatedly.

But Nicolai didn't notice. For she was no longer paying attention. She did notice – with growing apprehension – the face of a man she had years – centuries, even – of her life avoiding. In that moment she knew that everything she'd worked for years of her life would be undone. Yet oddly enough she felt no regret.

Things will be as they were meant to be.

That's what Ren used to tell her. She hadn't believed her. In Nicolai's mind there was nothing you couldn't do, nothing you couldn't prevent. Yet as she stood there, staring at him and him staring in return. He smiled and she returned it with a small one of her own.

Finally, his smile seemed to say.

Took you long enough, her smirk replied because honestly how was she supposed to escape this time.

"What the hell are you smiling at?" Ren said, snapping her fingers in front of Nicolai's face.

"Nothing." She replied, easily. "Don't you think we should be going home?"

"We just got here." Sky said. "You haven't even bought anything."

"Who needs clothes?" was Nicolai's flippant reply.

"People who prefer not to be nude in public." Racy said, sarcastically.

"Just go." Nicolai said urgently. "I'll catch up later."

"And where might you be going?" Ren asked.

"Someplace I should've been a long time ago."

Maybe they say the sad look in her eye or maybe they just knew that this was a fight they would not be winning. Either way they turned and left – without a single glance behind them and Nicolai went to the man she'd spent years – to many years of her life to count – running from.

I wasn't sure what I'd expected but it certainly wasn't this. The politeness, the good treatment, the acting like I hadn't been the bane of his existence for the majority of his life. The mock-cheerful banter was nauseating and if I wasn't hell-bent on trying not to be killed I might have thrown up the venom that was swirling around in my empty stomach all over his obviously designer – Vera Wang, I was almost certain – shoes. She resisted the urge to curse him, his country, and his twisted little monarchy. Did I want to be in his stupid little private jet whilst his mortal flight attendants tried to shove their old, stale blood down her throat? No. Their eyes twitched as they stared at me, they must have sensed that I would much rather their blood. I licked my lips mockingly at them. They flinched and retreated back into the cockpit.

I enjoyed their fear, I could smell it, taste it on my tongue like a rich, silky cognac. It satisfied me more than blood ever could have. It sated the beast in me that screamed that I hadn't feasted in days. I reclined back in my chair and smiled – infinitely pleased with my most recent pastime.

Carpe diem.

I wondered how many days there'd be left for me to seize.

"Where could she have gone?" Ren asking, grasping her cell phone so tightly it cracked.

"I don't know." Sky said. And when Ren's gaze hardened she said, "Calm your nerves."

"Call the Cullens." Ren said, glancing around frantically.

"I'm sorry, what?" Bella asked, turning an ear towards her.

"I said, call them." Ren repeated in a low voice that bordered on a growl.

"Okay, okay." Bella said, holding up her hand in a placating gesture. She dialed a phone number.

"Hello?...Yes, Edward...Could you come over…Yes, immediately." Bella said, her voice thick with an English accent. "Yes, yes, I spent the whole of last year there…Come quickly, bring everyone."

She hung up the phone.

"It is done." She said. "Are you happy?"

"I will be." Ren replied. "When we find her." She spun on her heels and exited the room.

"Nicolai, darling!" Aro exclaimed, opening his arms wide like he expected me to run into them like some 1950s movie star. "It's been too long!"

"Yet not long enough." I replied, looking him up and down. "You're looking…" Old? Stupid? Surprisingly wrinkled for someone who is supposedly immortal? I settled for the truth that was least likely to end in attempted murder. "Royal."

"I just want you to know that during your last days of immortality here you may do whatever you want. Unless you want to join my guard." He said. I quirked an eyebrow.

"Are you threatening me?" I asked, an edge creeping into my voice.

"Threat is a horrible word."

"Well I just want you to know that I changed you. I am the reason you're still here today, not this castle, not your guard, not your so-called brother. Me." I said, touching my hand to the center of my collarbone. "And I could take you out this world just as easy as I kept you in it. You should be happy that I deigned to come here instead of escaping that pathetic, worthless piece of shit you call a guard. And I spoke to you and you now know that I have declined your offer, so leave me the fuck alone."

The glare bored a hole in the center of my forehead but I didn't flinch. There was nothing Aro – or all his infinite resources – could do to hurt me.

"Send Ren my deepest regards." He said. I turned around and exited the room.

"Will do."

"What do you mean you don't know where she is?" Ren yelled.

"Well, how were we supposed to know where she was?" Rosalie said indignantly. "WE weren't there."

"I did not spend ten fucking thousand years of my life missing her for this to happen!" But they were no longer listening. They'd only heard the first eight words of her last statement.

"Ten thousand?" Sky asked incredulously. Ren touched her wrist to her forehead and rested another on her hip.

"I wasn't supposed to tell you that."

I suck.

There is no other excuse for my actions. But I'm back now. And I don't plan on ever letting that happen again.