So, surprise, surprise. I decided to start a new story. It's been in my head for a long time now, and I just wanted to finally get it written down and posted.

I'm hoping that I have good enough ideas for this story. By the way, this was all a spur of the moment thing. I got this one conversation between Bella and the Cullens planned out in my head, and I just had to write it.

Hope you enjoy :)


Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

Chapter 1

Edward

I shoved my suitcase haphazardly into the trunk of Carlisle's Mercedes, trying to keep my annoyance from bubbling to the surface.

Three weeks ago, Alice had gotten a vision of our family receiving an invitation to a ball being held in Volterra, Italy. The Volturi, who were basically the closest thing vampires had to royalty, had invited anyone and everyone to this particular celebration of sorts - for what, I had no idea.

I, unfortunately, couldn't weasel myself out of going because:

a.) I really didn't want to get on the Volturi's bad side.

And

b.) Alice had a good feeling about us going to this ball. Something I learned to never question over the years.

Although my family and the Denalis would be the only 'vegetarians' - or animal drinkers - at the ball, which made me uncomfortable, it was still a way for us to socialize with various other vampires. Having spent the past four years around no one else but my family and the humans of Forks, Washington, it would be a pleasant change to greet some new faces.

Plus, there had to have been a few human-drinking vampires out there who didn't know another way of life, but would be open to the idea.

That was Carlisle's main reason for deciding to go - so that he could save a few vampires from living like monsters. He was also eager to catch up with his old friends Marcus, Caius, and Aro, also known as the leaders of the Volturi - the kings of the vampire world.

Carlisle had gone to them in the early days of being turned, living in their home – or palace, rather - for a while. That was until he grew tired of the constant screaming from humans being drained, week after week. I still didn't understand how he had survived for such a lengthy period of time. The way he had described it had sent a cold chill down my spine. I hadn't been able to stop myself from visualizing the scene.

I hoped the Volturi would at least be polite enough not to satisfy their hunger in the castle while we were guests. We would only be staying for a week or two, and I really didn't want to have that kind of image engrained permanently in my head.

Going through a dark phase in my own life, I understood that human blood could be hard to resist, and that some vampires simply didn't have enough willpower to change their diet. But that time for me had long gone. The dull ache in my throat had subsided over the years, and I no longer had an overwhelming urge to drink human blood. I had, after all, once been human, so I didn't particularly enjoy 'the kill', no matter how vile the human.

I let out a long, drawn-out sigh, already anticipating what the ball would be like.

These events never failed to bore me, and I couldn't help but mentally cringe at the thought of one or two persistent females relentlessly flirting with me throughout the night – that particular prospect was the main reason I avoided social gatherings whenever I could.

Being a mind reader didn't exactly help the situation either.

But I was outnumbered – I could either whine all day, or live with the fact that I couldn't possibly get out of going on this trip. I decided to be mature about it, following the rest of my family's suit in sliding into the back seat of the car.


My family and I exited the airport after what felt like the longest, most disturbing flight I'd ever taken. I had felt an insurmountable amount of relief being greeted by a taxi van, ready to take me far away from that memory. It was difficult trying not to reimagine the thoughts racing through the stewardess's mind. Thoughts centered on me, and then my brothers when she had caught sight of them. I really wished I could've had a better distraction than classical music.

After successfully packing our suitcases into the seven-seater, we all hopped in, forcing a couple of stumbles to make us appear more 'human', and preparing for the relatively long drive that awaited us. I was happy to zone out and listen to a new album I had just downloaded, needing my space from classical music for the moment after that flight.

By the time we reached the castle, I wanted nothing more than to get settled in, left to my own devices in solitude. Naturally, that was asking for too much; I had to once again remind myself to keep my expectations of this trip as low as possible.

The human porter at the entrance immediately relieved us of our baggage, though they weren't the least bit heavy – more of a hindrance than anything. I almost felt bad for the guy while he struggled to lift Rosalie's many overloaded suitcases onto the cart. Almost – until I got a glimpse of his thoughts, immediately needing to distract myself once hearing his vulgarity. Man, I could not catch a break today.

I expected the familiar burning sensation in my throat to continue as we made our way through the entrance. The Volturi usually employed humans to do all the mundane chores: transport the luggage to the various guest bedrooms, answer the phones, greet the guests, etc.

However, there was no burn.

Instead, my senses were overwhelmed by the most incredible scent: a mixture of strawberries and freesias. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and sigh with pleasure after getting a whiff, wondering where that wonderful aroma from coming from.

After a moment with my thoughts, I wrinkled my eyebrows in confusion. I could hear a steady heartbeat coming from down the hall, so I knew that the scent belonged to a human. But I wasn't at all affected by it.

My eyes wandered over to Jasper. He was the newest to convert to our 'vegetarian' lifestyle, and he still struggled to refrain from succumbing to his vampiric senses.

But one glance at him told me that he was as calm as ever.

Though his demeanor didn't seem affected, his thoughts were running in the same direction as mine:

"Why isn't this blood calling to me?"

I shook my head, just as baffled by this as he was, but deciding to continue following my family regardless. My questions would be answered soon enough.

I sighed, continuing to follow the group, finally making it to the receptionist's desk. My mind was immediately consumed by a bell-like, melodic voice. The strawberry-freesia scent intensified, confirming that this was in fact the girl that the scent belonged to. Unfortunately, a large, blonde figure stood in the way of me finally getting a glimpse of her.

"How old are you again?" the blond asked, appearing to play with one of the paperweights on the desks, not seeming to note our presence at all. Or if he had, he was doing a brilliant job of ignoring it.

The only way for me to accurately describe her voice was, angelic, but her tone was blunt, clearly uninterested, "Sixteen." My forehead creased. They were hiring teenagers to work now? I felt the little respect of the Volturi I had left immediately leave me.

I wondered what would become of this girl when they grew tired of her. Would they change her? Or drain her? I frowned at both options.

I tried listening out for her thoughts, but only heard the ones of my family. Again, I tried zoning out of my family's thoughts, but the only other thoughts I came across were of the perverted blond in front of me. Straightway, I tuned those out, keeping down my shudder. Great, that was now three times in a single day that I had been scarred by someone else's thoughts.

Still, I was greeted with radio silence, as if this girl was on a different frequency than everyone else. Or maybe it was just me?

The blond whistled, "Okay, we can get past the legalities. When can I take you out?" My hands balled up into fists. Everyone was fully aware of what he really meant when he posed that question. I couldn't believe how disgusting people were nowadays. Where was the respect?

"There are other people waiting for help," getting no reaction from the blond, she continued.

"I promise that I will get someone to forcibly remove you if you don't leave," the girl said, frustration ringing clear in his voice. I was amazed at how she was managing to keep her cool despite these ridiculous advances. Rosalie would've dealt with a similar situation entirely differently. In fact, I could tell she was getting ready to, by her clenched jaw and balled fists.

It was lucky that the blond wasn't too persistent. "Fine, whatever," clearly, he did not take rejection well.

Upon making eye contact with his red irises, my own eyes narrowed, before actually realizing how brave this girl had been for standing up to a guy who could've easily killed her with one move.

My family wore similar expressions of disgust on their faces as the guy left our sight, but finally, we were allowed the chance to zone in on the girl all of this ungodly attention had been directed to.

My jaw went slack, and I felt weirdly frozen, just staring at her. I physically could not tear my eyes away.

I wanted more than anything to find out what she was thinking, to understand what that adorable frown on her face meant. I couldn't for the life of me understand why I was being blocked from her thoughts - it was frustrating being blocked from anyone's mind, but especially someone whose mind I wanted to read more so than anyone else's.

Her mahogany hair fell down in soft waves, framing her heart-shaped face. Upon seeing us, her face relaxed, and she took a deep breath, gazing at each of us with her chocolate brown eyes – beautiful eyes that suited her so well.

"I'm terribly sorry about that. It took some time for him to get a hint," she laughed, and I had this weird desire to make her laugh again, as if I could live happily hearing that sound on repeat for the rest of eternity.

As soon as that thought entered my mind, I snapped out of my reverie, thanking God that none of my family members were mind readers as well. My thoughts about this girl could've made them send me in for a psych evaluation. What was I thinking?

I shook my head, attempting to clear it. Rosalie spoke up, "Why are you apologizing? I was tempted to rip that guy to shreds for you."

The girl blushed. My eyebrows rose, and again I felt like my eyes had been glued to her face. Her blush only seemed to increase the inviting aura that surrounded her; she looked so pure and innocent.

"Thank you," she smiled politely to Rosalie, who easily smiled back.

And then I was staring at Rosalie - along with the rest of my family - shocked that was being so kind to the girl. Rosalie usually hated humans, and she didn't hesitate to show it. It was more of an intense envy than hate, actually. After all, she had been robbed of her own chance at humanity when she was turned, and she still hadn't fully gotten over that fact.

Her sudden change in attitude had probably appeared because she felt very defensive when it came to aggressive and unwanted attention from the opposite sex. That only seemed right considering her past.

"I guess you all must be the Cullens?" it came out as a question, but we all nodded, not concealing our astonishment at her comprehension. How did she know? Random people must walk in and out of this place every day. This girl was full of surprises.

She glanced at me, and for once in my entire life, I felt self-conscious – like I actually cared what her opinion of me was. After noting my expression, she explained with a small smile, "Your eyes gave you away. And I know that the Denalis aren't coming until next week."

Her statement confused me even further. "How do you know so much about... vampires? I didn't know they clued in the receptionist like this," I spoke my thoughts aloud, realizing a moment later how rude it had actually come out.

Thankfully, she wasn't offended at all, but rather, now it was her turn to appear surprised. Realization dawned on her face and her mouth formed a small 'o' - it was one of the cutest things I'd ever seen - before she clarified, "Oh, I'm not the receptionist. I'm just filling in for her while she's gone to run an errand. I'm Bella."

Bella - 'beautiful' in Italian. It suited her perfectly.

"It's lovely to meet you, Bella," Esme smiled warmly.

"Likewise," Bella returned the smile.

"So um, Bella… who exactly are you? I feel like I'm missing something important," Jasper spoke up, his eyebrows lifted.

She furrowed her eyebrows together, and it seemed that her next words were her thoughts spoken aloud, "When Felix said you guys were out of touch with the vampire world, he meant really out of touch."

Our expressions remained blank, and Bella deliberated for a moment.

She then sighed, "Well, you guys are probably wondering why a random human is lurking about in the Volturi right now, for no apparent reason." We all nodded simultaneously.

"Right," she sighed, "well, I'm not exactly… human," she spoke cautiously, awaiting our reactions. I arched my eyebrow at that. What did she mean? Of course she was. I could hear her steady heartbeat from across the desk.

She plowed on, observing our disbelieving expressions, "No, I mean, I am. It's just… Not completely. I'm half human, half vampire." Bella finished. We all stood there, even more confused than when she had initially started talking. Was she joking?

Carlisle spoke for the first time, "How is that possible? And why would Aro, Caius and Marcus allow you to stay here, when the most important rule in the vampire world was broken in order for you to be created?" His face was contorted in an expression of complete bewilderment, and he too, seemed to be thinking out loud.

"You should know the answer to the first part… same way all children are created. And as for your second question, probably - and this is just a guess. Probably because one of them is my father," I could tell Bella was trying to explain this without shocking us too much. She spoke slowly, gauging our reactions every few words.

What?

That was the sole thought buzzing around my head.

What?

It took a few minutes until I could actually process her words, and it was only then that I realized it was the only theory that actually made sense. Her scent didn't make me crave her blood, and she didn't cower away from us. In fact, her personality was similar, if only slightly, to one of the kings of the vampire world. The way she was funny, and witty…

"You're Aro's daughter, aren't you?" I asked making her head dart up to stare into my eyes intensely. I stared right back, even though it felt like my dead heart was palpitating.

"Yes, Edward, I am," she said softly. My name rolled off her tongue wonderfully. I wanted her to say it again, and again, until…

My eyes squinted. "How do you know my name?" See, this is where the whole mind-reading thing would come in handy. So I wouldn't have to ask so many questions. I felt like I was being a pest.

Was someone shielding her?

Her striking blush returned before explaining to all of us, "I did background checks on everyone before we sent out the invites. So, I know almost everything about everyone. Your powers, et cetera. I didn't want total psychopaths attending." She shrugged, making us all laugh.

"Just partial psychopaths?" I clarified.

Bella laughed, making me smile in turn, "Yeah, basically."

I mentally cringed. Was I... flirting? It was like I had no control over my mouth around this girl. Words came flying out before I could really think about them.

She bit her lip, shifting her eyes to each of us, "So, you all probably have more questions."

We all nodded, almost simultaneously, "Well, lucky for you, Gianna just came back." As if on cue, an older woman who was most definitely fully human walked in, looking extremely frazzled.

"Bella, thank you so much for doing this. I completely forgot to pick Bruce up from school. I'm a terrible mother," the receptionist said, unaware of our presence.

Bella stood up with a kind smile on her face, "No, don't say that. I completely understand. My parents almost always forgot to pick me and Jace up from our extra-curricular activities." She rolled her eyes, apparently recalling the memory.

Jace? Who was Jace?, I wondered.

"Good luck with the rest of your work," Bella said goodbye to Gianna as she waltzed up to my family.

The receptionist had seemed to relax, until she noted our appearance. Instantly, she was quickly peering down into the work on her desk, looking busy, and trying to look oblivious to our presence. I didn't blame her. If I was human, I would be terrified to make eye contact with anyone around here.

"I'll show you to your rooms," Bella started, before continuing, "oh, and if you want, you can start the questions now." She led us to a pair of large, oak doors, and opened them. The last time I had visited this place was about thirty years ago, yet not a thing had changed. Everything still stood in all its Roman glory.

Large white pillars were raised in each corner of the room. There were several doors leading to different quarters, and a winding staircase was placed on the right side of the foyer, leading to a floor above.

Emmett started off first, "So your mom and dad, was it a one-night stand?" My family and I snapped our heads in his direction, with similar expressions of shock.

He held his hands up in defense, "What? You can't tell me you weren't thinking the same thing." Admittedly, my train of thought had wandered across that possibility but I had thought it much too inappropriate to ask her. Unfortunately, Emmett didn't exactly have a filter.

Bella giggled, unfazed by the line of questioning, "Um, no, it wasn't. My dad was about to… feed on her, one day, but he didn't end up doing anything.

"She was different. My mom, Renée, wasn't scared at all of what was happening. My dad found that extremely strange, yet intriguing. She didn't seem to fear vampires, so my father decided to keep her around: first, as a receptionist. But eventually, they developed feelings for one another… and they got married. No one knew, except for Uncle Marcus and Caius.

"They didn't exactly approve of his decision, knowing that it was breaking one of their rules, but they didn't want to prevent him from being happy. My dad didn't know that it was possible for vampires and humans to have children. So after their honeymoon, he was shocked when she got pregnant-" and then she cut herself off, staring just behind us. I turned around to see a guy, about Bella's age with jet-black hair and pale blue eyes. "I thought you weren't going to be back for another two weeks," whoever he was, Bella seemed shocked to see him.

"I was expecting a little more enthusiasm, Bells," the boy feigned disappointment, as she laughed, walking over to him, "Shut up." He engulfed her in an embrace, and the two looked happy to see each other again, even though I was currently feeling the complete opposite of that.

What was this nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach?

"God, I'm being so rude. I was just explaining our existence to the Cullens. You can help me fill them in… unless you'd prefer to rest."

Unless my ears were deceiving me, Bella had just used the pronoun 'our', as in plural. As in, he was also half-human, half-vampire like she was.

The boy shook his head, slinging his arms around her shoulders. Again, I felt that sickly feeling making an appearance. I couldn't even hide it from Jasper, seeing him throw me a curious look after a while.

"Nah I wanna make up for all the lost time while I was away. I swear I'm never playing football ever again."

So, I was guessing that he had been on an exchange program of sorts playing sports?

"So wait, you guys are the Cullens? We've heard loads about you. Great to finally meet you," he removed his arm from Bella's shoulder, stretching it out for Carlisle to shake.

"I'm Jace, Bella's brother," he smiled, showing a row of perfectly straight teeth, and suddenly it all clicked in my head. How could I have not made the connection that he was Aro's son? The hair alone should've triggered it.

But that wasn't the only thing that happened after hearing that Bella and Jace were related. My whole body relaxed, I had no idea why it had been tense in the first place. I shouldn't have cared if Jace was instead Bella's boyfriend, or something. I didn't even know her.

I shouldn't care, I convinced myself. "So there are more of you?" Rosalie asked, eyes wide.

Jace laughed, "No, no. Just Bella and I. We're fraternal twins. There aren't going to be any more of 'us'."

I crinkled my eyebrows in confusion, "What do you mean?" Thankfully, I could read his mind:

"Finally some vegetarian vampires. Dad was right about them; they seem friendly enough"

He didn't answer my question in his mind, but at least I knew that Jace wasn't shielded like Bella. Could that be her gift? A shield?

Bella explained, "Well my dad realized the consequences of fraternizing with a human. He reinforced the 'no relationships with humans' law. He doesn't want any more abominations to be created." At the end, her voice dropped, and Jace bit the inside of his cheek as if recalling some distant memory.

"Your father believes that of you?" Esme asked gently, letting some of her shock seep through. Both Jace and Bella visibly softened under her tone, and I smiled knowingly. Esme just had that motherly effect to her, that made it impossible for anyone to be mad while with her.

"Well yeah, we weren't supposed to happen. Our mom had to be changed after our births, because we were basically breaking her body from the inside, due to our strength. Despite all of that, we're not vicious, man-slaughtering monsters, but my dad's convinced that if this ever happens again, the 'product' may not be as controlled," Jace rolled his eyes at the end, while I nodded in understanding.

I mean I kind of understood where Aro was coming from. He didn't know what would happen to the next half-human, half-vampire creation. For all he knew, it could end up being volatile. I highly doubted that, after meeting Bella and Jace, but I guess Aro was only trying to be smart.

"Don't get me wrong. My dad loves us, and he cares about us," Bella shook her head with a smile on her face, "He just doesn't want something like this to ever happen again."

I guess things had changed after all. Who knew Aro would ever have kids? Who he loved and cherished?

The twin siblings showed us to our rooms where we got settled in, and I got the distinct feeling that this trip wasn't going to be nearly as terrible as I'd initially imagined. Quite the opposite, actually.


So how was that? It didn't come out how I wanted it to. Hopefully, it'll get better. Please just give it some time

I love all reviews… good, bad. I just like feedback :D

Xoxo

LoveACullen