Thanks to everyone who has asked me to repost this story. I appreciate you very much!
I had finally mended. Standing closely beside Edward, his hand in mine, was the antidote for my months of suffering. My love for him hadn't wavered in the time that we spent apart, and it appeared that he still loved me, too. How easy it was for me to forget the hell that I had been in just by seeing his face. Even as we stood together with Alice in the face of the most violent vampires that had ever existed, the Volturi, I couldn't imagine feeling more grateful. Even if those were the last moments of my life, I would be spending them with Edward.
After allowing Aro, one of the Volturi leaders, to try reading my thoughts (which he couldn't) I closed my mind to my surroundings. I focused only on Edward's face, the intensity of his eyes as he conversed with Aro, the frustration in his brow, and the way his jaw clenched when his anger peaked. I knew there were others around me, vampires who would like nothing more than to kill me, but I couldn't bring myself to look at them. They all seemed quite trivial in comparison to Edward. He squeezed my hand tighter as if he knew I wasn't paying attention. I quickly looked to Aro.
"So what do we do with you now?" he asked, his expression exasperated as if the decision was heartbreaking.
My stare was quickly diverted to a monotone voice to the right of Aro. This was the first time I allowed myself to look at the leader I knew to be Marcus from the painting that Edward showed me in Carlisle's office.
"You already know what you are going to do, Aro." Marcus said.
"She knows too much." I involuntarily moaned when I heard the third Volturi leader's voice, his deep tenor sent electricity up my spine. I turned to look at him and my eyes met his quickly.
"She's a lia…" he stopped mid sentence. I heard him take a sharp unneeded breath.
His eyes grew wider and his eyebrows raised in shock. I couldn't tear my eyes away from his gaze, not that I really wanted to. His brilliant crimson irises bored into mine. I felt something inside me lurch, as if to bring me closer to him. It felt natural to go to him, so I let the tug pull me forward.
"Caius, what is wrong?" I faintly heard Aro ask.
Caius slowly rose from his throne, his eyes never leaving mine.
"Speak, Brother!" Aro yelled impatiently.
Caius descended the stairs slowly. When he reached the bottom, he raised his hand for me to come to him.
"Bella, no." Edward whispered. He grabbed my upper arm tightly and pulled me to his chest. I tried to pull away from him but he held me tighter.
Caius looked from me to Edward and growled warningly.
"Edward, let her go." Alice said softly, putting her hand on his shoulder.
I used the time away from Caius' stare to truly look at him. I realized that if his eyes hadn't captivated me, any of his other features would have. His hair was white, as white as his pale skin. His nose and jaw looked as if had been chiseled from stone. His full red lips curled over his brilliantly white teeth as his growls became louder.
"Bella is MINE!" Edward snarled.
I watched as Caius' face twisted in rage. He crouched and roared violently. Though my ears were ringing from the sound, I couldn't help the slight grin that danced across my face. He was magnificent.
Edward released my arm and took a step back. In the back of my mind I felt hurt that Edward wasn't willing to fight for me, but all thoughts went blank when Caius' face returned to it's god-like expression and stalked slowly to me. He raised my chin with an icy finger so that my face was only inches from his. I felt his cool breath on my face and I shivered. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. His scent was sweet and smooth like chocolate, though a hint of cinnamon stimulated my senses causing me to moan yet again.
I opened my eyes when I felt him caress my cheek. His feathery touch trailed from my cheek to my jaw, then his thumb skimmed slowly across my lips causing them to part slightly.
"Si douce." (So soft)
His face showed mixed emotions, from surprised to curious. Before I could stop, my hand unknowingly raised and lightly touched his cheek. His eyes grew wide and he recoiled from my touch, removing his hand from my face as well. He shook his head as if he was awakening himself from a daydream. I heard a growl rumble through his chest as his expression changed into a scowl. He hissed at me menacingly then turned to leave. I heard wood splitting as he forcefully pushed open the enormous cherry wood double doors. He turned to me one more time with a look of confusion. "Mon diue, non mi!" (My god, not me!) he said, then left, his black cloak flared behind him.
I stood in shock, my hand still slightly raised. What had just happened? I felt as though I had been under some sort of trance, as if I wasn't in control of my thoughts or actions. But what I did felt right, as easy as breathing. And what was with that tug I felt from inside me? It felt as if I was drawn to Caius, like magnets. It was the strangest and most amazing experience of my life.
I looked to Edward confused. He looked defeated.
"Bella." Edward choked.
"Oh, dear." Aro said with a smile.
I heard a faint chuckle from behind Aro and looked to see Marcus staring at me with his mouth slightly upturned. Was that a smile?