Chapter 4: Decisions and a Party

Caius returned three days after I met with Marcus and Aro. He walked into his studio to find me painting. He seemed happy to be back and quietly walked up behind me. I went to get a different brush and his movement caught me by surprise. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I must have said something unpleasant because the words that came out of his mouth were full of laughter. He said something like "You remind me of an angry snarling kitten with their claws bared, ready to strike". Of course I couldn't help but laugh as he made it sound funny. He pulled me into a hug and said he was glad to be home because he missed me more than I would ever know. I told him I knew how he felt as I was miserable while he was gone. Next thing I knew he was kissing me so tenderly, awaking passions so deep, I literally saw stars. Edward never kissed me like that,as he was afraid of putting me at risk or possibly killing me . Caius pulled back knowing I had to breathe and decided to look at all of my creations I painted while he was gone.

He seemed to appreciate the effort that went into them and commented on the detail in each piece. He said the use of color was comparable to that of Monet and Renoir. He saw the portrait of him done from memory and was rendered speechless. I told him his brother's said the image was lifelike I captured the exact shade of crimson in his eyes. He didn't know what to say. When he snapped out it, he said he had one to show me. He left the room to retrieve it and returned with a covered canvas. When he removed the cover I saw myself. I had never seen a painted likeness of myself before and was amazed at the detail, right down to the flecks of gold in my eyes and streaks of red in my hair. I didn't know what to say, I was speechless. I told him I loved it and said we had a few things to discuss.

His expression was unreadable as we walked out of the room and toward his study in a very uncomfortable silence. Once we were seated, I told him we needed to clear the air between us and learn to be at ease around each other. He agreed and then he told me his feelings on the day we met. He approached it with these words: When Jane, Felix, and Demetri escorted you into the throne room; I knew you had an idea of what we were and decided you were a liability. You knew too much about us and felt you should be killed. But as you stood your ground and told us what you knew and thought about us, my opinion of you changed. I decided to get to know you before making my final decision as how to deal with you. Bella, the way you handled us that day is nothing short of miraculous. No one has ever approached us without fear and you managed to do just that. Believe me, you had our undivided attention. I felt you were sent from the devil himself to destroy me or make my life miserable. I have to tell you that all of those feelings are gone now and I don't think my life would be worth much if you were not in it. I don't know how to explain it but you must be some sort of a sorceress, you have me under your spell and if I were to try and live without you it will surely end me.

I told him I was no witch or sorceress and he cast a spell on me. My reply to him was this: From the first moment I saw you, I was held captive by you and realized my life would never be the same without you. See, what I saw was a man that had been hurt very badly and I wanted to show you that all women were not like the one who did you so wrong. Beneath that cold tough exterior of yours, is a man who is capable of giving an enormous amount of love and will go to any length to protect his family and the most precious possession he has; his mate. If you were to turn me away I would ask for death instead of my change. I couldn't live here and not have you in my life as anything more than my lord and master. Caius, I don't know when it happened or why but I fell in love with you, it really hurts when you are not here. I want to spend eternity with you as more than one of your guards or as your lover. Your brother has told me you are no longer married to Athendora, but where do I fall into your plans of the future? I can't live like this anymore; this wondering is slowly killing me.

He spent a few minutes thinking over what I said before talking my hands in his; saying he loved me, he missed me while he was away, and wanted us to begin a relationship as more than just friends. He explained that the physical part would come just before my change and would considerably strengthen afterwards. After we finished our talk he made his way to see Marcus to discuss what I already knew of our bond.

The next day covens from all over the world were arriving at the castle for my birthday celebration. Aro had told me he planned an extravagant ball for the event and would announce that I was to become one of them. He told me Caius had something planned for me but didn't have any idea as to what it was. That had me stumped and wondering what he was up too. As I was walking back to my chambers, from meeting with Aro, I heard Alice's sing-song voice. I turned around to come face to face with the Cullens. They all greeted me with hugs and told me how much they missed me except for Edward. When I had asked what his problem was, Carlisle told me that he was told by himself, Esme, and the brothers not to cause me any trouble or be difficult in any way. I spent the rest of the evening with them and most of the following day to catch up with my other 'family'.

Before my evening meal, Felix knocked on my door and said my presence was requested in the throne room. I followed him and we had a friendly chat as we always did. He is such a 'gentle giant', he only looks menacing as he's really harmless unless provoked. The guards were then dismissed and we made our way to Aro's study for a talk. We all sat down, I was asked if I made my decision, and I told them: "Yes, I have. I want you to know I have come to love everyone here in Volterra and have found where I belong. You are all my family and want none of you to think my choice came easily as it hasn't. I want all three of you to do it and here's my reason as to why. Marcus, my love for you is like the kind a daughter feels for her father. It fells like you are always looking out for me and you protect me as a father does. Aro, I love you as my big brother and can tell you most everything as a sister and would like for that to continue. And Caius, my love for you is vastly different than what I feel for your brothers. It is never ending like a circle and gets stronger everyday. You are the other half of my soul and I would never be able to survive without you. Now, if I have to choose one of you to be the one, I want you to do it the most Caius. Because what we have now and what we will have in the future is transcendent of time and will live on even if we were to die. When I begin the change, my only request is for you to be with me through it. As I want you to be the first person I see when I awaken". They all seemed pleased with my answer and Caius said he would be honored to carry out my request by initiating the change and staying by my side through it.

As we walked back to my room, holding hands, I felt extremely loved and cared for by this man. The moment we reached the door, he took me into his arms, kissed me, said he had to finish some letters, and I would see him later; but I invited him in saying he could finish them, while I was be dolled up before the party, the following morning.

We spent the evening together listening to music, talking, and dancing. At some point we snuggled up together on the couch and of course I got so comfortable that I dozed off in his arms. He gently picked me up and carried me to bed as I curled into his chest. I stirred a little and asked him to stay and had the first peaceful night of sleep in his embrace.

The next morning when I woke up, I found I was alone and must have dreamt of him holding me through the night, only to find a note to me on the pillow. I read his elegant script as it said:

My beautiful Bella,

When I left to finish my work, you were sleeping peacefully, and I didn't have the heart to disturb you. I enjoyed our evening last night and we shall see many more like it. I will be around should you need me, counting the minutes until you are in my arms again.

With all my love and eternally yours,

Caius

I smiled to myself, thinking this man is the most warm tenderhearted soul I have ever been blessed to meet. While lost in my thoughts, Heidi and Jane flitted into my room asking why I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. I told them of the previous night and said I was the happiest girl in the world. While I was showering and getting dressed they had told me of seeing subtle changes in the brothers over the years but nothing of the magnitude of the past few months. When I asked what they meant, Jane said to me, "Aro first found his happiness when Sulpicia came into his life and remained mostly unchanged except for the fact of enforcing our laws. He became like the ultimate judge of character and felt no qualms of extinguishing many of our kind for exposure. Marcus withdrew into himself and always seemed bored and not wanting to be bothered with the daily routines of helping him rule, as it pained him to be without Didyme. While Caius, in turn, went out on missions and was hell bent on bringing destruction of the werewolves to near extinction."

Heidi the told me of the recent changes, saying, "When you waltzed into the throne room to save the Cullen boy, the emotions were so high in the room I saw significant changes in the three. Marcus became entranced and intriqued by you and your behavior, as he had never seen anything like it before. Most humans shy away from us out of fear, yet you stood your ground and were not frightened at all. Aro was mystified by your presence and was amused by the things you said and was stunned into silence by your knowledge of us. And Caius, well he was angered by how you stood up to him and wanted to put an end to you because of your lack of fear. But Bella, I must say the changes you brought about here are nothing if not miraculous as Marcus smiles more and is more actively conversational, Aro has calmed down a bit and is happy about everything now, and Caius has changed so dramatically. He no longer yells at the top of his lungs and everyone seems to like new man in him. You have done wonders for him and made him smile and laugh more than I have ever seen him do. You have brought him to life and given him a reason to change. He truly loves you more than he ever loved his ex. Jane and I are glad to call you friend and sister because of all the good things you have brought here. Mostly what you did is accept us for who we are faults and all."

When they had finished I was in tears because they made me so happy. Then an angry Caius came in demanding to know why I was crying. The girls took their submissive stances and explained that they told me of all the changes they had seen. As he wrapped me in his arms and let me cry, he dismissed them and said they would be called in again after I was calm. He held me, stroked my hair, and whispered endearments to calm me down. He said no one would ever hurt me as it was his job to protect me and care for me as only a mate can. When I was finished crying I explained to him that they didn't upset me. I was crying for all the praise they were giving me for a job well done on bringing good changes here to our home and to the Volturi in general. Sure he tended to be possessive of me but he has never been and never will be controlling to the point of making my choices for me as they are my choices to make. Never in my life, have I felt this loved, not even when I was with Edward.

An hour or so later, the girls returned apologizing for upsetting me and they proceeded to keep me laughing and getting me going. The dress they chose for me was not something Alice would have chosen for me but it was just right. It was a Tony Bowls creation of royal blue shimmering taffeta, with a full floor length skirt and a jeweled black lace bodice. My make up was flawless and my eyes were done in seductive shades of blue. The heels on the other hand were Royal blue sandals with rhinestone accents and a 4 1/2 in heel; let's just say with my equilibrium problem, I really am a danger magnet. Heidi and Jane left me shortly after finishing up with me and disappeared to get them selves ready for the festivities.

While I was admiring their handy work, a knock on my door roused me from my dreaming of what could take place tonight. I opened the door and to my surprise the three most important men in my life were staring at me with a shocked expression. They were absolutely stunned into silence. Aro was the first to speak, shaking his head, saying, "You are a vision, never have I seen anyone, vampire or human, more beautiful than you are at this moment." Then Marcus came out with, "I have to agree with him, Bella, you look like an angel in blue." But I have to say Caius stole the show with this, "Cara, You are a breathtaking epitome of beauty and I just may have to keep you all to myself." I have to admit they certainly know how to make a girl feel good.

They escorted me to the ballroom that was filled to capacity with several covens from around the world. Of course I only knew the Cullen's and of course my "family". I was only drawn to the Denali Coven and Zafrina of the Amazon Coven after all the introductions were made.

I spent time with Rosalie and Emmett along with Carlisle and Esme. They seemed to be at ease knowing I haven't been harmed and I am very happy here in Volterra. Jasper came up to me and apologized for the party fiasco three years earlier and I told him that wasn't his fault knowing his ability and having the others bloodlust led to his attack on me. He said he was happy knowing I was alright and hoped that we could become real good friends after I was changed. I had no doubts of having Jasper as a friend. I explained that everyone makes mistakes and we have to learn from them in order to move on. With that he promised he would do anything to ensure my safety and only wished me all the happiness this world could give me.

Marcus came over and asked me to dance and I gladly accepted, desperately needing some form of escape and I couldn't fathom why. I thanked him for teaching me how to dance like a pro during our time spent in his office. He told me that every young lady should learn as it broadens the musicality and helps with poise and balance. Aro cut in and asked if I was having a good time; I told him I was to set his mind at ease. He said he wished he could see my thoughts but my mind was still as silent as the day I met him. My reply to his comment was for him not to worry sooner or later we'd figure out why my thoughts were mine alone. When the music stopped, he left me to converse with Carmen and Eleazar and I made my way out onto the balcony to get some air.

I stood by the rail wondering where Caius was, when he came up behind me and snaked his arms around me. I turned and looked into those burgundy eyes I grew to love and told him I was fine. He told me to go with him as he had a big surprise for me and I would love it.

We re-entered the ballroom where he led me to the middle of the floor and asked for everyone's attention. I couldn't figure out what was going on until he got down on one knee, taking my left hand in his, looking me straight in the eye and said these words, "You have managed to mesmerize and mystify me from the moment we met. You've brought humility, laughter and love into my life and these cold castle walls. Isabella Swan, I promise to love and cherish you forever, will you do me the honor of marrying me and making me the happiest man in the world?" Tears were falling from my eyes as he opened the box and presented me with a gorgeous ring with a 6 carat oval cut diamond surrounded by sapphires. I looked him in the eye and told him I would be honored to become his wife. With a gorgeous smile he slid the ring on my finger. Standing he took me in his arms and kissed me. The room erupted into cheers and applause for us. We were congratulated by everyone.

Tell me what you think,was it what you expected?