Chapter 16

Even though Alec tried repeatedly to get me to talk on the drive to the airport I didn't utter a word, I had nothing to say to him, my thoughts revolved around Edward once more. What would happen now, would they burn him? Was the torture of being ripped apart enough? Would they leave the Cullens to put him back together or would they bring the pieces of him back to Volterra? I hoped for my own sake more than anything it wasn't the last one.

"Isabella." Alec's voice floated through my mind, interrupting my thoughts for what felt like the hundredth time. "I know you're upset about what happened but you couldn't have done anything, he's not dead. He was just punished. Edward knew the price of breaking the rules." His hand wrapped around mine, he laced our fingers together, it was a comforting gesture.

A sigh escaped my lips as I looked up from our entwined hands and into his eyes, and a shiver ran down my spine, they were bright red telling me he'd fed recently and the only way that was possible was if he had fed in Forks. As if reading my mind he started speaking again.

"There was a tourist in town, they were traveling alone and as far as I could tell they had no one to miss them." He told me, in his own way he was trying to make it more acceptable. I knew he wasn't doing this for himself, he was doing this to try and earn my approval and in some ways it did. I liked that he was willing to try and change things for me and I couldn't expect him to change his whole lifestyle but I just wished he would feel bad about it. If I saw him feeling bad about killing people then it would give me a sense he was more human, I needed to see he had some kind of moral conscience. Once again he interrupted my train of thought. "I am trying Bella, I'm part of the Volturi hunting animals would make me weak and I can't be weak, too many people want to kill me." He told me, and I could see the pain in his eyes, I'd never thought of it that way.

"Okay." I said, quietly. I wasn't saying that I was okay with him feeding off humans; I was saying that I'd cope with it because it was the better alternative to someone trying to kill him. "But the Ed-.. the thing with the Cullens, he's not coming back to Volterra with us, is he?"

A shake of the head was my answer and I smiled slightly, relieved. "Thank God, I was so worried." I admitted, I felt a little better now. I wouldn't say I was happy again, I'd still seen Edward in pieces and nearly been attacked by my best friend but I was a hell of a lot better now I knew I wouldn't have to see Edward again, at least for a while.

"Does this mean you'll let me show you your surprise?" Alec asked, he was smiling at me, the expression on his face was a hopeful one and a tiny bit of excitement buzzed through me.

"It's a good surprise right?" I checked, I mean I know the chances of a bad surprise were low but I thought I should check, at least it made him chuckle.

He was grinning now, "Yes, it's a good surprise." He insisted. "I know going on a typical date with you is out of the question because we don't eat so I thought after your surprise we could head out to a little place I know. It's only small and I think you'll like it." He said.

I nodded, "I think I'd appreciate it then." I probably would have agreed to anything that kept me away from Caius longer though or anything that kept me in Alec's company when he was in such an infectiously happy mood like this.

Happily, Alec practically bounced out of the car and appeared round my side. Before I could get out he'd undone my seatbelt, lifted me into his arms and started to carry me toward a plane, the same plane that had brought us here. "You can go in first." He told me placing me down at the bottom of the steps. I gave him a quizzical look. "Trust me." And since I did, I walked up the steps leaving him to walk back to the car.

I'd just stepped inside when a set of arms embrace me, I froze ready to attack when I realised who it was. Felix. The grin that spread across my face was one of surprise and joy, oh how it felt good to have him here. He pulled away before I had a chance to hug him back though. "You've fed." Were the first words we said, which were followed up by, "And you've got lover boy twisted around your little finger, you my dear have been making a lot of progress." And now I remembered why I thought Felix was an idiot. "Aww, come on Bells!" Felix's grin was still firmly in place as he lifted me and placed me down in one of the seats without giving me any chance to protest. I couldn't help but smile as he sat opposite me though, he was exactly what I need right now someone fun. "Much better, now say something before I come to the conclusion you've become a mute."

"Well, if you ever let me get a word in…" I smiled, and he interrupted me.

"I let you speak!" He objected, "When you have something important to say. But you didn't." He informed me and I rolled my eyes, muttering the one word that would forever describe him. "Idiot."

Felix was lounging across a row of seats now, his head propped up on his arm. "Now back to the subject at hand, you and lover boy. He seems to be taking to his title rather well, don't you think? Of course, if it were me I'd have wooed you long before now." He said, sounding rather cocky.

"Wooed?" I repeated, stifling a grin. The thought of Felix wooing anyone was beyond me. "You could woo someone? I'd pay good money to see that."

"Please, you love me too much to see me woo someone." He said as if it were a fact. "Besides you're changing the subject again."

"What do you want me to say Felix?" I asked, because I honestly didn't know. I was happy enough just laughing for the first time in what felt like forever which in reality was probably only a couple of days.

"I want you to admit to me that you love him. That when you're around him birds sing and all that sappy crap, that's what I want, you to say because you damn well know it's true." He answered me, he was looking pretty smug and I was worried to find out why but there was only one way to deal with Felix when he was like this and that was honesty.

"Okay, I may just be falling for him but-" He interrupted me, which wasn't surprising he definitely liked the sound of his own voice.

"And the audience applauds!" He exclaimed, jumping up into the air his arms making a rather large and unnecessary gesture. "Enter lover boy from stage left!" Please tell me that didn't mean Alec was behind us, I was not going to tell him that yet. Glancing over my shoulder I feared the worst but no one was there and when I turned back Felix was in a fit of laughter. "You don't really think I'm that much of an ass? You looked mortified!"

I pursed my lips, I would not laugh. I wouldn't. But the more I told myself not to the more I wanted to and soon we were both giggling on the floor like idiots, Felix definitely brought out the childish side of me. "You shouldn't have done that!" I said, finally smacking his arm just hard enough to put my point across.

"Well, maybe you should just tell him. He's pretty insecure." I raised an eyebrow at him. "Okay. He's not but it would move things along and then I wouldn't have to play middle man!" he said, making me laugh again as he pouted. Pouting did not suit fully grown men, not at all.

"Sure, I'll tell him at some point. I'll tell him the day you have a date with a girl who isn't a bitch." When he started to interrupt I held up a hand to stop him, "And no you haven't before. From the two girls I've seen you date so far they were horrid and from what I've heard it's a trend." He was pouting again. "When I approve of her, I'll tell him."

A smirk was replacing the pout now. "Are you willing to make that a binding agreement?" I rolled my eyes but nodded.

"Sure." He grasped my hand and shook it.

"The deal is done!" He declared, dramatically and I giggled. The chances of this ever happening were minimal, I had nothing to fear. I was sure of it.

Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)

Author note: Wow, what's happened to me this new year? Suddenly I have two chapter up in the same week?! This can only be a good start.