Colors swirled dramatically in the large open space of the ballroom as the moon moved slowly across the sky. The Volturi delighted in throwing extravagant parties, balls, and masquerades. But this occasion was particularly special – especially in the mind of their feared leader, Aro.
For tonight was for his dear love, Lis.
Though the girl had but stumbled into Volterra on a whim – and was lucky to have missed the tour group – he found himself giving this human a closer look. Something about her was…different.
Tonight was the yearly celebration of her birth. And he was sure to make it a spectacular affair.
The Volturi ballroom was splendid, indeed. A sprawling room full of gilded gold, shining jeweled chandeliers, and a grand staircase at the head of the room, staring on the second story and descending down onto the dance floor below. A string quartet played unobtrusively from the side of the staircase, the music wafting through the air over the large group of dancers and socialites.
The guests were donned in masks, making their identities hidden. Many foreign languages were heard as the guests chatted to each other. But the most important guest had yet to arrive…
Carefully guarded, Lis readied in her chamber with the help of Renata and Heidi.
"Ow!" she gasped quietly as Heidi none-too-gently pulled the laces of her corset.
"Softer, Heidi." Renata squeaked, her own shyness reflected in her hands – clung together in front of herself. She looked nervous being in the same room as the girl that had stolen her Master's heart.
Heidi sniffed impatiently, finishing the last lace on the corseted dress before sweeping around to the front of her and fluffing the skirt. Lis stood on a raised stool in the middle of the room, standing still whilst Heidi and Renata flitted here and there, readying her for the masque.
"Is he coming to get me?" Lis inquired lightly, still afraid to speak in front of the women she'd only met about two hours previous.
"No," Heidi replied shortly as she adjusted the hem to lie straight in front of her feet.
"Because he isn't," she snapped, standing upright to survey her work. Renata gave a tiny smile from the other side of the room. The gown was a shimmering sapphire with silver hems and decorative stitching across the numerous skirts and cinched torso. The sleeves were slightly off of her delicate shoulders, and hung off of her wrists in graceful bells. The fabric clung to her arms, giving her a very elegant appearance.
"You're beautiful," Renata gasped softly, her tender smile still on her lips.
Lis looked down at her appearance, her eyes wide, and full of awe.
"…Wow…" was all that she could muster.
"Come, come, he's awaiting you." Heidi bristled impatiently, holding the door to the drafty corridor open. Renata took Lis' hand and helped her off of the stool. She teetered uncertainly in her shoes for a moment, but then recovered, standing as straight as she should.
Renata bowed with a small giggle. "My lady,"
Lis giggled also, clutching her fluffy skirt. "Is it normal to be so nervous?"
"I would say so. I'm not much for social gatherings myself…and don't you worry about being protected. You will be watched and guarded always."
Though the thought had not crossed Lis' mind until now, the concern was filling her entire head. A human in a group of vampires - it would be too easy for one of them to merely push her behind a pillar and be done with her. But surely, they would be on their best behavior…?
Renata took Lis' hand again, snapping her out of her train of thought. "Are you ready?"
Lis nodded; this was it.
Renata escorted her down the corridor while Heidi clacked noisily in front of them – in her own scandalous dress that accentuated every curve of her body, and showed enough skin to make a nun swear.
They neared the extravagant doors at the end of the corridor. String music could be heard through them, only heightening Lis' nerves. Heidi threw open the doors easily, and strutted into the grand ballroom. As the room opened up in front of Lis, she stared in adoration and excitement.
The ballroom was absolutely filled to the brim with people – er – vampires…
They swirled about with their dance partners, colors flashing across the room. The sound of glasses clinking filled the silence between the songs as many of the guests held glasses of blood of many different types.
Lis' eyes moved across the expanse of the room, searching for him.
Aro spoke in gentle French to a small group of guests, smiling genuinely at a comment from their leader. He was donned in an expertly tailored emerald and gold-highlighted suit with a golden cravat, and a mask to match. His hair was pulled into its usual elegant half-up half-down style, the length of it settled over the fronts of his shoulders.
He froze when he saw her. She stood out among the rest – obviously because of her mortal status, but she was highlighted in his eyes for other reasons. The entire room smelled the human enter, and the conversations ceased almost immediately.
Lis paused, noticing every pair of eyes on her. Heat flushed her cheeks, and she only wished to run and hide from the attention.
But to her surprise…the entire room moved again. But this time, they bowed their heads in sync.
This was Aro's queen.
Aro smiled amidst the crowd, bowing his head also, as not to stand out. His plan was to sweep her off of her feet – by playing a little game of cat and mouse.
Lis inclined her head, trying to seem as elegant as she could, and began her descent into the ballroom. The music resumed again, and the vampires returned to their socialization. She looked for his trademark shiny, onyx hair, but the blacks in the room were completely surrounded by the grandeur of the outfits, making it all but impossible to point out particular shapes.
Aro's grin turned into a feral smirk, as his game began.
She finished the stairs, and walked slowly out onto the grand marble floor. The vampires around her seemed to pay her little to no mind, although, they did move out of the way as they danced around her, ensuring an open path for her. She looked around at the splendor of the vampire guests, feeling a twinge of envy at their graceful movements.
Her eyes searched the room still for him. Where was he?
The string ensemble finished their current piece, pausing for only a few minutes before lapsing straight into another. A cold hand touched her bared arm, startling her. She spun around, looking into the crimson eyes of a vampire she had yet to meet.
"May I have the pleasure?" he spoke through a thick accent. She looked down at his hand before slipping hers into it. After all, what harm could one dance do?
The vampire led the dance flawlessly, twirling her about the room. The rest of the ballroom seemed to do the same dance, making the room seem choreographed, and seamlessly beautiful. Lis looked elsewhere than the vampire's face, still looking for his perfect one…
The choreography of the dance continued, leading to partners being switched. She was suddenly handed to a different male vampire. This one was tall and had cropped blond hair. He gave her a polite smile, and continued the dance. Soon, the dancers emerged into two rows, facing each other. Lis looked side to side frantically, trying to learn the dance as it was happening.
The women walked forward and curtseyed to their partners, followed by the men bowing to theirs. They began to step in sync, the women encircling the men. The dance was one from Regency England – more about etiquette and propriety than actual skill or entertainment.
More and more males presented themselves to her as partners, but he was nowhere to be seen. Where was he? Did he come at all? Or is this some sick game?
Her current partner – a redhead with an Irish accent – dismissed himself, opening the way for yet another dance. This man wore extravagant clothing, more so than the current guests. His eyes were the same as all of the others, yet…different. They had a milky film over them – indicating his prolonged aged.
Her breath hitched in her throat as soon as he touched her hand. The electricity was palpable, and immediately she knew…
"Aro…" she whispered.
The man only smiled back, giving her hand a small squeeze.
The dance continued exactly where it has stopped, and he circled around her slowly. His hand brushed her waist, and she felt the cold even through the layers of fabric. Desire pooled in her core, quickly becoming noticeable and uncomfortable.
The things this man does to me!
His hands found her body, holding it gently as he began to dance around the floor with her, the line-dance having ended. The music swirled, making Lis feel weightless…
His hands gripped around her waist for a moment before lifting her above the air, turning her once above his head. She let out a small squeal of delight and surprise, putting her hands on his shoulders with a grin. He set her gently to her feet, and did not continue to dance.
"Come…" he whispered, releasing her hand. In the instant that she blinked, he had disappeared. She looked around frantically, sighing in dismay. That man!
She picked up her skirts in fists, and walked briskly around the room, searching for his elegant cloak. In exasperation – and the inability to breathe – she exited the ballroom, walking to the glass doors on the outside of the room, exiting to stand on the terrace. The cool air was a welcome feel on her flushed skin.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, exhaling into the night. The city of Volterra was indeed beautiful, much more than she had noticed upon her first day arriving there. The lights of the city twinkled through windows and across the hillside, reflecting their twin components above; the stars gleamed proudly, surrounding the gibbous moon.
Her body was soon encased by cold, however, when a pair of arms snaked around her waist.
"I knew I would find you here…" a voice breathed in her ear.
She leaned back against him, relishing the feel of his rock-hard chest and arms.
"I've been searching and searching." Lis whispered, turning her head to look at him. His eyes smiled down at her, reflecting the moonlight above them. It put a luminous shine on his raven-black hair, making it look softer and silkier than ever before. She lifted her hand and placed it gently upon his cheek, feeling the smoothness of his impenetrable skin.
He closed his eyes and leaned into her touch, as if relishing it for the last time.
"Are you enjoying the party?" he asked, turning his head to kiss her palm gently.
She smiled. "Much more now that I've found you."
He smirked gently, taking her hand off of his face to hold. He stepped away from her suddenly – standing proudly with his shoulders squared – and bowed deeply.
"My lady…may I have the honor of this dance?"
Lis giggled, not being able to handle herself. A blush lit her cheeks.
"Of course, my lord." She replied, curtsying back as flirtatiously as she could. He grinned widely at her, taking her hand and waist, and began to sway gently. There was no music, only the thrumming of her excited heart, and the occasional sound from the city below. They continued this way for quite some time, until Lis was snuggled against his chest, still swaying.
"I love you…" she whispered, grasping his cloak in her hand, feeling the softness of the exquisite material.
"As I love you, piccola," he returned, kissing the top of her head gently. "Happy Birthday."
She pulled her head away to smile at him sweetly. "My love?"
She bit her lip nervously. For days, she had been imagining his lips on hers…his hands roaming her body freely…the soft sounds of pleasure he must make…
And she wanted it.
He touched her chin, gently prying her lip out from between her teeth. "What is it?"
"I…I would like to ask something of you. For my birthday."
"Of course," he breathed, "anything."
She took a shuddering inhale. Now that the moment was here…she was frozen in fear.
She uttered the words before her courage failed her.
Aro's lips stayed still for a moment before the corners flickered up into a gentle smile.
His fingers held her chin still as his face neared hers.
"Qualsiasi cosa per te, mia bella principessa…" He spoke just above a whisper, his lips brushing hers before they finally met. He kissed her tenderly, and she reciprocated. A few moments later, her arms wrapped around his neck as his found her waist, hugging her close. He lifted her off of her feet, holding her completely against him. She moaned into his mouth, tasting him completely. He was of the sweetest nectar – of forests old and endless sheets of parchment.
He truly was a treasure.
He parted from her after an entire minute, still holding her against him. She breathed raggedly, completely and unequivocally, swept off of her feet.
"Again…" she demanded softly. He smirked, and obliged.
Hours later, they lied together under Aro's elegant canopy bed, her body curled into his. She lied only in her under-shift dress, and he, in a loose undershirt and silk pajama pants.
They snuggled together, just embracing the silence as well as each other.
"Aro?" she whispered.
"Thank you…for everything tonight."
He smiled gently, touching his lips to her temple. "You are more than welcome, my darling. I only hope it was enough."
"It was more than enough." She grinned, kissing the bared triangle beneath his neck. He chuckled lowly.
"When will you change me?" she braved the question, moving to lie her head on his chest.
"Tomorrow – as was our agreement." He answered, smoothing her hair down her back repeatedly with his masterful hands.
She nodded, hesitantly. "Okay…"
"You needn't be afraid, my sweetling. All will be well. And soon…you will be with me forever…"
"Forever…" she breathed.
"And for all time." He echoed, turning her head to kiss her lips again.
And it lasted for all time – the perfect forever.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed it, my dear! I know it's late, and I'm sorry. Happy Belated Birthday! I love you!
Amore - love
Piccola - little one
Qualsiasi cosa per te, mia bella principessa - anything for you, my beautiful princess