Sorry for the late update. Between invading relatives, boycotting FF for the bs their pulling with M rated stories and my muse running off to a tropical island to sip Mai Tai's without me its been a rough few weeks. As always its not mine, I'm just having my wicked way with Stefanie Meyers characters.

Chapter 9

"What's taking so long, we've been waiting for hours?" Edward was pacing, unable to contain his frustration. They had arrived early this morning and were immediately shown to a guest room until they would be summoned and no one said a word or gave them any indication of when that would be. He just wanted to get Bella and take her home. She had been here for well over two months and he was done with her little tantrum, he gave her time and now it was time for them to move on with their lives.

"Edward, you need to calm down. Remember we are here as guests. I don't know what is taking so long but we will find out soon enough. You need to prepare for the possibility that she doesn't want to return with us. Aro has assured me she is here of her own free will and very happy with her life now."

"She is my wife Carlisle, this is not a matter for discussion, she belongs with me, if she wants to stay its because they are forcing her to, you know about Chelsea's gift they must have done something to her." He continued his pacing and stopped only to look at his sister, "Alice, please?" she just shook her head.

"I already told you we shouldn't have come but you refused to listen. I won't look anymore I…I just can't, I'm sorry." In the beginning Alice kept a constant vigil on Bella's future, every time she got a vision it just hurt her more and more, she saw Bella growing closer to everyone in the Guard, especially Demetri. The final straw was when Bella decided to invite Heidi to go shopping, it wasn't a big deal but it hurt Alice more than she cared to admit, that was the day she stopped looking for Bella's future.

Edward just glared at her and continued his pacing; he was so deep in thought on what he was going to say to Bella he didn't hear the knock on the door. "Edward, its time, Aro wants to see us now," He looked at Carlisle and nodded.

"It's about time." The Cullen's with the exception of Rosalie and Emmett who chose to stay in England all filed out of the room and followed the person who delivered the summons, Edward read his mind hoping to get some answers but all he thought about was when he was getting his next meal, making it obvious he was not part of the guard. They entered the throne room and his eyes immediately scanned the faces looking for Bella, when he couldn't find her the last of his patience snapped.

"Aro, where is my wife, this has gone on long enough, she belongs with me and I've come to take her home" he couldn't ignore the hisses that sounded throughout the room, all of a sudden everyone's mind was filled with the same thought, Bella wasn't going anywhere, there were only two exceptions, Caius who could care less and Jane who couldn't contain her hatred for his wife and wanted her to leave.

"Carlisle, it seems young Mr. Cullen has forgotten his manners, perhaps you should remind him exactly where he is an who's presence he is in." Edward quickly bowed his head; a change in tactics was obviously necessary.

"I apologize for my rudeness Aro, I have been distraught without my mate and I am eager to see her." Aro stood up and walked to him, taking his hand and looking in his eyes, he gave nothing away as he searched through his memories and realized his Bella had been keeping secrets of her own, but he would discuss that with her later, it was something he would keep between them. He released his hand and muttered "passion indeed" causing his wife and several members of the guard to chuckle.

Confused, Edward questioned him. "I don't understand?"

"No Edward, that much is blatantly obvious, but neither here nor there, especially now." Edward couldn't help but notice the arrogant smirk that crossed his face before he caught himself and resumed his poker face, "I am sorry you have been distraught, but Bella came here of her own free will, she is free to leave whenever she chooses and she knows this. I can guarantee we have done nothing out of the ordinary to win her favor, Chelsea's gift does not work on Bella any more than Jane's does, she is a mental shield but then again I'm sure you and your family already knew that" Carlisle stepped up to answer Aro's unspoken question.

"We assumed she had a gift but had yet to explore it, we were giving her time to adapt to this life, we didn't want her overwhelmed"

"And there in lies the problem my old friend, Bella is her own person, she is fully capable of making her own decisions and knowing what she can or cannot handle, she is not breakable, and I mean that quite literally. I'll have you know she has become a personal student of Felix in hand-to-hand combat and has excelled beyond all of our expectations. She refused to partake in our diet, was quite adamant in fact, she hunts outside the walls on a regular basis and sometimes I have special game brought in just for her. She makes her own decisions."

"YOU LET HER ROAM AROUND UNATTENDED, SHE COULD HAVE BEEN HURT?" all Edward could think about is how she could have been injured or even worse even killed.

"Mr. Cullen this is the last warning I will give you, your outbursts are becoming tedious. No, she does not roam unattended, she has her own guard when she hunts but he only accompanies her because she wishes it and desires his company not because she cannot take care of herself. You all fail to understand this is the reason she left you, you coddled her, or better yet in her words smothered her, she was treated like a child, deemed incapable of making her own decisions. Since she has joined my guard she has blossomed, I am personally working with her on her gift; she has many friends and has even developed several close relationships, which include my wife and I. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her." He paused for a minute before continuing.

"She has expressed her desire to stay. I know you have read it in my mind Edward and seen her request and yet you still plan on encouraging her to return with you, you may try and if you succeed she is free to leave, but know this I will kill every single one of you myself before I let you take her against her will, is that understood?"

Edward was speechless, he didn't know what to expect now so he just nodded his head and tried to gather his thoughts. All of a sudden a door to the left opened and laughter filled the room as Heidi entered followed by Demetri and last of all his Bella. He couldn't believe the changes in her. He looked her over from head to toe she was breathtaking. She was beautiful and confident, she was glowing and her eyes were filled with happiness. And then he noticed her hand in Demetri's. When he really looked again he couldn't help but notice the way her and Demetri were looking at each other as they walked across the room, he tried to pinpoint his thoughts but failed, the voices in his head were overwhelming, it seemed Bella had wormed her way into almost everyone's heart.

The Cullen's watched in shock as Bella and Demetri took their normal places next to Aro and Sulpica, it was a position of honor. Only Renata was normally allowed that close. Aro kissed her cheek before handing her over to his wife, Sulpica immediately pulled Bella into a hug, asked her why she was glowing and laughed when Bella covered her face with her hands and turned into Demetri's chest, his arms instantly went around her while he whispered in her ear making her giggle. Edward was enchanted and furious all at once.

"Demetri, I kindly ask you to remove your hands from my wife and I will only ask nicely once, your behavior is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. Aro how can you allow this knowing she is married and belongs to another?" Heidi started to laugh, thinking to herself if a simple hug was "inappropriate" how would he define everything else Demetri had done to Bella, her thoughts only fueled his anger more. He glared at her, growling and she immediately thought of something else as Felix stepped in front of her doing some growling of his own.

"Edward, what part of me telling you that Bella makes her own decisions did you not understand? Isabella has chosen to take Volturi as her surname, therefore she belongs to no one but herself and who she allows to touch her is quite frankly no one's business but her own"

"SHE IS MY WIFE! SHE CAN'T JUST CHANGE HER NAME AND MAKE THAT GO AWAY!" Noticing Edwards anger was becoming volatile Demetri took a couple of steps forward pushing Bella behind him, he knew she could take care of herself but he couldn't help himself, Edward was a threat in more ways than one. The rest of the Cullen's seemed to be in shock. They were unable to accept the reality of the situation, that Bella was no longer theirs.

"You need to calm down Cullen or I won't let you anywhere near her" his voice was low but menacing. Bella couldn't seem to find her voice or her courage, she held onto Demetri's hand like a lifeline, everything about this situation was wrong and she didn't want to be there. She knew she was stronger than this but they had been such an intimidating force in her life for so long she couldn't help but revert to the girl she once was, at that moment she hated them for being able to make her feel so weak.

"You won't let me? I thought she made her own decisions, apparently that includes deciding to bed the entire guard" Aro sat back and watched the show letting Edward dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole. Any chance he had at winning Bella's affection and convincing her of returning to England had been sufficiently killed with his insults and obsessive need to treat her like a possession not a person.

"You better watch your tone Cullen, you will not speak about her like that and let me assure you, she is not bedding the entire guard" he let his mind fill with all the thoughts he had been working so hard to keep to himself, images of his time with Bella filled his mind, him bringing her to the ultimate pleasure over and over again, her screaming out his name. He gave Edward a cocky smirk before whispering "Just me!"

Edward roared and launched himself at Demetri, the sound of rocks colliding brought Bella out of her stupor, she'd never wanted to see them again and here they were trying to force themselves back into her life, Edward had shown a side of himself she had never seen, he truly thought of her as a possession, she was happy, confident and now he was once again making her feel inadequate, like she had been wrong, a petulant child who needed to be punished. How did he do it, how did he make her feel so insignificant? She was about to stop their fighting when Demetri fell to the ground writhing in pain, her gaze immediately flew to Jane who seemed to be getting entirely too much pleasure from torturing him.

Without thinking Bella projected her shield to Demetri effectively stopping Jane's assault much to the surprise of everyone in the room, well everyone but Aro who just smiled at her like a proud father. "ENOUGH!" She screamed. The entire room was silent as she went to him making sure he was ok. Helping him up she wrapped her arms around him, drawing strength from him as he whispered words of love and assurances that he was fine in her ear. When she was sure he could stand on his own she laced her fingers in his and turned to face Jane who flinched when she saw the anger in Bella's eyes.

"Your days of throwing tantrums are over little girl, you abuse your gift at every turn and I will not allow it any longer, I don't care if I have to walk around shielding every member of this guard for the rest of eternity. I understand you hate me and to be honest I really don't give a shit, but you will not hurt those I care about is that clear? And if you ever use your gift on Demetri again I swear I will rip you apart and burn the pieces, I don't care how important you are to Aro, when I get done you will be nothing but ash." She had finally found her strength. She turned to Edward.

"And you, who in the fuck do you think you are?" he gasped at her language and immediately tried to correct her.

"Bella love that language really isn't…"

"Shut the fuck up and listen to me Edward. I am no longer your wife, Edward Cullen was married to Isabella Cullen, they both died remember? Isabella Swan Cullen is DEAD. You saw to that without my consent. And while I understand the need to fake our deaths for my human families benefit you never even gave me the chance to say goodbye. You don't love me; I am nothing to you but a possession, a toy. When I was human I was nothing but a pet, to all of you" she pointed at the rest of his family, "I was never a part of your family, an equal. I was a prisoner in my own home. But that's changed, I am Isabella Marie Volturi now, I am strong and confident and I can take care of myself. You brought me into this world but I will choose how I want to live in it. This is my home, this is my family and this is where I'm staying."

Some of the steam was running out of her, she noticed the hurt looks on the rest of the Cullen's faces. Carlisle, Esme and Jasper had never been anything but kind to her and didn't deserve this. Letting go of Demetri's hand she walked to Carlisle and Esme.

"I would like nothing more that to have you in my life, but it will have to be on my terms. I need to be my own person, I am truly happy here. I thank you for all you have done for me and my family in the past but my future is in Volterra, please understand." Esme wrapped Bella in her arms.

"I am so sorry Bella and I do understand, we want you in our life and we will accept whatever terms you set. We do love you, I am sorry I didn't realize how unhappy you were, I just wish I would have before you left us." She looked to Alice and Jasper who seemed unsure, she would give them time. She walked back to Edward.

"I'm sorry Edward but whatever we had, if it was ever even real is gone, I am willing to be your friend if you'd like, but nothing more. I'll leave that up to you." She was suddenly emotionally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to take Demetri to her apartment and make love to him. She needed to be close to him so he could make all the hurt and self doubt of the last hour go away. As they took their place next to Aro he took her hand and rubbed her cheek with the back of his fingers.

"I am very proud of you Isabella, you have done well today. You finally let go enough to harness the rest of your gift but even more important you have finally stood up for yourself" he kissed her forehead before turning to face the Cullen's. He just wanted them gone so they could go on with their lives but he knew it wasn't going to be that easy. "Carlisle old friend, it seems no further proof is needed of Bella's welfare, as you can see she is not only well but has decided to stay and of her own free will, I know she is important to you and you would like to spend some more time with her so allow me to extend an open invitation to you and your family to stay in Volterra as long as you please." Bella gaped at Aro, why was he doing this? She just wanted them gone, but she would not question him, she knew he had his reasons.

"We would appreciate that Aro and would love to take you up on your hospitality, thank you." Carlisle knew his family was going to need a few days to come to grips with Bella's decision, staying would give them the opportunity to make amends and hopefully leave on a good note.

"Edward NO! You can't do this, please?" Alice's outburst brought everyone's attention to Edward.

"Edward, is there something I can do for you?" Aro knew what was coming; he had seen it.

"Yes Aro, I want to stay and become a member of your guard."