AN: I'm back! Sorry for the long absence. Being pregnant, not to mention lack of creative juices left me without any inclination to write. But I'm back and ready to start updating again. So here we have the next chapter of Immortal Desires Can Be Deadly. In this chapter, we have the Volturi's arrival and the talk between Bella, Carlisle and Marcus. Sort of like a therapy session which is much needed after the events in the last chapter. Now I know that some are eager for some action between our two lovers, but not this chapter. Carlisle and Bella are still getting to know each other and so the hesitancy lingers. But not for long, I promise.

So without further delay, here is Ch. 15 of Immortal Desires Can Be Deadly

Ch. 15: Welcoming the Volturi & a Talk with Marcus

Everyone also froze as the doorbell rang. Carlisle was tense and held me close as he turned to face the door. He had positioned himself to where he was slightly in front of me, but still holding me close. As I looked around and saw my sisters being held in the same way, I realized that they were protecting us from a perceived enemy. I knew that was the Volturi at our door since all of the family was in the room with Carlisle and me.

Still, I understood their fear. Carlisle had told me stories about the Volturi and I now knew about the Volturi's habit of breaking promises and executing covens for supposed violations. I had my own fears about them coming here. I feared that the rest of my family would be punished because of Edward not turning me as he promised he would. My biggest fear was that Marcus would tell us that I wasn't Carlisle's mate and would either kill me or take me away and turn me. No matter what happened, I wanted to stay with the Cullens.

The doorbell rang again, breaking my train of thought. I put a hand on Carlisle's shoulder and said, "Carlisle, answer the door. We can't keep them waiting." That snapped him and the others out of whatever trance they were in and Carlisle released his grip on me. Kissing my forehead, he whispered, "Stay near Jasper." and then headed for the door. As he walked away, the fear I had pushed aside for Carlisle's sake reared its ugly head once more. Good thing I have an empath for a brother.

Jasper came up behind me and I felt his gift reach out to me. Once I was more relaxed, he asked, "What was with the large dose of fear Bella? You aren't scared of them are you?" "Jasper, I am only scared of two things right now." "What's that?" "I'm scared that either you all will get in trouble for Edward not turning me or…" "Or what Bells?" "Or Marcus is going to see that I'm not Carlisle's mate and they'll either kill me or take me away." Jasper was silent for a few moments and in that silence, I heard Carlisle welcoming the Volturi and leading them to the stairs.

Jasper broke the silence by saying, "Bella, you know that Marcus has seen the bond between you and Carlisle. He wouldn't lie about a bond ever. As far as getting in trouble for what Edward did, I highly doubt it. He made the promise with no intention of keeping it and since they know just what he is capable of, they know that whatever he's said in the past was probably a lie. They can't hold that against us. So just breathe Bella and let the chips fall where they may."

I smiled, nodded and took a deep breath before sitting back down on the love seat. The voices I had briefly heard downstairs got louder as Carlisle finally returned, followed closely by Aro, Caius and Marcus. As I looked upon the three vampires who held my fate in their hands, I found myself shocked my Marcus' appearance. The last time I had seen him in person, though brief, he had been solemn, bored and generally disinterested in everything around him. Now, he seemed happy and more interested in the eternal life he still had ahead of him. He caught my eye and the smile he gave me was large and real.

Carlisle made his way back over to me and kissed my head before turning to our guests and asking, "May I offer you something to drink? I have the usual offering and also animal blood." All three made their selections from Carlisle's collection of liquor and then sat in the chairs that were remaining after the rest of the family resumed their seats. After a few moments of silence Jasper asked, "So where is your guard? I didn't sense them when you arrived."

Aro said, "They will be here by tomorrow. Demetri recently found a rather gifted newborn while dealing with a vampire issue in Russia. He wanted to train her control both thirst and gift wise before bringing her along. Her gift may be useful in dealing with young Edward." "What is her gift exactly?" "She has a strange gift. How I can best explain it is that she can change her appearance at will and keep up the charade as long as she feeds well during that time. Also when using the gift, she takes on the memories of her appearance as well." Before he could say anything else, Alice gasped and said, "Oh Marcus, she's stunning. Oh, and Demetri will be here tomorrow with her. Her control is amazing." We all chuckled at the look of love and pride on Marcus' face.

Marcus turned slightly and seeing me wrapped tightly in Carlisle's arms, turned back to Aro and said, "Brothers, perhaps we can tell them our ruling in regards to our judgment made during Isabella's last visit. Then I will need to talk to Carlisle and Isabella alone." The way he said alone told me that he meant business. Jasper nodded and said, "I'll be happy to take Aro and Caius to a safe territory to hunt. After they meet Sam of course."

Both Aro and Caius agreed before Aro stood and said, "The first time we met Isabella, the decision regarding her mortality was assured by both Edward Masen and Alice Cullen. We were also assured that it would happen quickly. Yet here we sit and Isabella is still mortal." I grabbed Carlisle's hand hard. This was it, my worst fear was coming true.

My fear held until I saw Caius roll his eyes before saying, "Aro, quit scaring the girl. You're pissing off Carlisle." Indeed, Carlisle's eyes were as black as death and he was growling low and deep. Aro seemed to realize that he had gone too far in whatever joke he was playing and said, "However, with the new information given to us, as well as the fact that it was not Isabella's true mate that gave us that assurance has led us to decide that Carlisle, as coven leader and Isabella's true mate, will have the final say in when Isabella is to be turned. No punishment will be levied against this family for Edward's deception."

I let out a sigh of relief. One fear down, one to go. Jasper, Aro, Caius and the rest of the family stood and left. Jasper would first take them to meet Sam before taking them out of state to hunt. Once Marcus was sure that everyone was gone, he turned to Carlisle and myself and said, "I've observed your bond since our arrival and I've seen some oddities. Now for obvious reasons, your union is unconsummated and I would be cruel in trying to force you to do so. For a mating bond so new, it is remarkably strong. Yet I sense some cracks in it. What has happened since we last spoke?"

At Carlisle's nod of encouragement, I said, "My relationship with Edward was never an equal one, in any aspect. If there was something about me he didn't like, he made sure that it didn't happen again or that I didn't do it again. I lost so much of myself while we were dating. I gave up my friends, the way I dressed. I even gave up time with my father to make him happy." Marcus nodded and then asked, "Yet I sense a deeper issue here?"

Taking a deep breath I continued, "Edward was very stingy in regards to anything intimate. Kissing, touching, etc. At first I believed it was because of my blood, as he told me early on. Aro's explanation in Italy about my being Edward's singer seemed to reinforce that. But when he kept up the behavior after telling me that my blood no longer troubled him to that level, I began to have doubts about his real reasons for withholding even the simple affections from me. He made me doubt why he was even with me." "So his hesitancy made you doubt your own worth and therefore anyone else's interest in you, especially Carlisle's?"

I nodded and asked, "How could I not? No offense, but look at what I am surrounded by." Marcus nodded again and then asked, "Carlisle, what caused the most recent cracks? There is a tense feeling between the two of you. Small, but still present." Carlisle took an unnecessary deep breath before saying, "Due to Edward's attack on Bella, we've taken things slow as far as intimacy. I told Bella early on that she would have to show or tell me she wanted more before I would do anything. I was not going to cause her further harm merely to satisfy my own desires."

I stepped in by saying, "Unfortunately, Carlisle didn't know just how stilted my relationship with Edward really was. So when I attempted to show him that I was ready to move forward, he pushed me away believing that I was pressing forward to make him happy and not because I was truly ready. We've moved past it, but things are still a little tense. We both want to move forward and progress, but really we don't know how." Carlisle nodded in agreement with what I said and kissed my forehead.

Marcus leaned back in his chair and was silent for a few moments. After what seemed to be an eternity, he leaned forward and said, "First of all, just to ease your fears Isabella, the two of you are mates. In fact, your bond is one of the brightest I have seen in my many years on this earth. Second, I believe that the cracks in your bond are not your doing. Your bond was initially made during the worst of times. As you know Carlisle, normally when a mating bond is first formed, it is immediately consummated."

He stood, moved to the window and said, "The rape prevented your consummation, so your bond suffered because of it. Add the continued threats, stress from the outside world, not to mention the lack of alone time and it's no wonder you two are stumbling. You both need to be able to talk and be close to each other without interruption." He turned back to us and said, "Here is my suggestion. Set aside time each night for yourselves. Use that time to talk and to explore. Learn about each other emotionally and physically. It will bring you closer together and may also relieve some tension, yes?"

I blushed, quickly hiding my face in Carlisle's chest. Both Carlisle and Marcus chuckled at my reaction before Marcus said, "I think that tonight would be a good night for you to start. Tomorrow we will discuss everything else. Take the night for yourselves." He shook Carlisle's hand and kissed mine before leaving and following the same trail the others had taken.

I collapsed back on the loveseat and gently slipped off the heels I had worn. Carlisle knelt in front of me and slowly began massaging my feet. After a few moments of silence he asked, "What do you want to do Isabella?" I smiled and said, "First, I need a quick shower. Then I want to take Marcus' advice. Let's talk and explore each other. I know what I'm ready for and I honestly want to get to know you better in every way. Can we do that?"

Carlisle didn't say anything and for a moment I thought he was going to say no, but he didn't. He just stood, helped me stand and then led me out of the living room and upstairs. Going into my room, he led me into the bathroom and stopped. He moved to where he was behind me and put his hand on the zipper of my dress. At my nod, he slowly unzipped the dress and pulled the shoulders off just enough to where the straps of my bra were showing.

Taking my hair out of the bun it was in, he kissed my shoulder, my neck and my ear before saying, "Take your time. I need to hunt and shower myself. If you finish before I return, my room is at the end of the hall. Make yourself at home." I nodded, kissed the corner of his mouth, and then started to undress as he left. I removed my makeup and quickly took a shower, my excitement and nervousness making me rush. Getting out and drying off, I wrapped a towel around my body and then tried to pick out something to wear.

Not wanting to send the wrong message, yet still assure Carlisle that I was ready for this step in our relationship, I chose a pair of simple black boy shorts and a spaghetti strap nightgown that was comfortable yet sexy. I slipped a robe on and went to Carlisle's bedroom.

He had made the room inviting before he left to hunt. The bed, covered in dark green bedding, was turned down and the lights had been dimmed. A noise from the bathroom alerted me to the fact that Carlisle had returned. The running water merely confirmed that we were really about to do this. I slipped my robe off and got into the bed. The shower shut off just as I got comfortable.

Carlisle stepped out wearing only a pair of low slung pajama pants. As I stared at him I wondered. Could Carlisle and I do this without any problems? I hoped so, because I really wanted to touch him and from the heated look in his eyes, I could tell that he wanted to touch me as well.