Chapter 1 - The sentence

So I had been able to save Edward from exposing himself to the crowd but now, as we followed the two small vampires who were steering us deeper in the castle, I was still wondering if we would all make it out of here. Alice and Edward kept me between them and from what I had heard of the Volturi I was grateful for the gesture although I knew that if the Volturi wished me dead, there was nothing that Edward or Alice could do to help me.

We finally arrived in front of two large doors and after a moment's hesitation the female vampire accompanying us opened them ushering us in. I kept my head down and held on to Edwards hand as if it were a lifeline, which to me actually was. I had been around vampires now for almost a year (at least before the Cullens had left Forks) and yet you never feel anything but inferior to their sort. They all possess a beauty and strength that attracts you to them like a moth to a flame. For them we humans are only a meal ticket. Thankfully the Cullens did not feast on humans they had accepted and protected me as a part of their family but I knew all their protection amounted to nothing if the Volturi were involved.

I was standing in front of the Royalty of the Vampires, who had the strength and means to totally destroy anyone and anything they wished. I felt the stares of all the vampires burn me and decided that I would not let myself be bullied. If I had to face them I would at least do it with my back strait and my chin up so I looked up to the three men on the thrones in front of me. I knew now why Edward and Alice had warned me not to say or do anything as I looked from one to the other. I saw their eyes scrutinized the human before them and I knew every motion I made and every word I said would be analyzed and judged and I doubted that it would be in my favor.

The one on the left was the oldest and I could see he was, for the loss of a better expression, bored out of his mind. He looked at me with total apathy, his body was a shell with no expression or life and I wondered; 'how could someone live an eternity like this?' All of a sudden I saw his eyes as they leveled out with mine. There was a strange look in them as if I were a puzzle that had to be explained but then the expression passed.

My eyes roved to the middle chair and saw that this person was a little younger but his expression was that of a child in front of a candy store and as he was looking at Edward and me I felt a creepy sensation come over me as if I were the candy.

As this person came towards us Edward stood his ground but pushed me behind him. As if that would help! We were in the belly of the whale and if it decided to swallow us whole it would happen no matter what.

The man smiled at Edward and asked for his hand. I was perplexed and that was probably visible in my facial expression so Edward explained "Bella this is Aro and he can read my thoughts by touching me".

"So Edward" said Aro in a voice filled with delight while looking me up and down "Bella lives, I can feel your rejoicing at seeing her alive and healthy. So this is the one you have lost your heart to?"

Aro took a couple of paces towards me and smiled reminding me of falcon ready to pounce. He then turned his eyes towards Edward and asked "May I?"

"I think it best you ask her," Edward proposed in a flat voice.

I looked at Edward and my fear reached its peak; 'what the hell were they talking about?' I wished I could make myself invisible. I was never one to be the center of attention and now was definitely not the time to start.

Edward, understanding my alarm in my eyes explained "Aro wishes to read your thoughts"

"Yes, of course, how rude of me!" Aro exclaimed "Bella would you please do me the honor?" Aro asked while holding his hands up. Despite his politeness I didn't believe he was actually asking no it felt more like something I would not be allowed to refuse.

I raised my hand cautiously; trying to stop the tremors I felt coursing through my body. My hand was swiftly taken by both of Aro's cold ones as if to catch me before I changed my mind. Then everything was quiet in the room and I saw his face as he concentrated on my thoughts. My attention was suddenly caught by something moving behind him and it was then that I finally noticed the third brother. He had long snow white hair and was leaning forward in anticipation of Aro's conclusions.

Aro's face showed a display of various emotions first of concentration, then disbelief and last of all amusement. He then began to laugh with delight as he said "Edward is right, Bella is special. I cannot catch a glimpse of her thoughts".

Now it was official, I was a human freak amongst vampires as well as my own human peers.

He then turned to the small woman that had escorted us to the chamber and asked "Jane?"

She smiled and said "Master?"

"Could you please try?"

She turned to me and then all of a sudden Edward lost it and tried to attack her but before he had a chance to come close to her he crumbled to the ground. His face turned into a mask of agony as he thrashed about the floor. I couldn't understand what the hell was happening but I saw Jane staring at him with a serine smile on her face so I knew she was the cause of it. The situation was all so surreal but I soon understood that this had something to do with Aro's request and screamed "stop, please stop; whatever you wish to do you have my permission".

Aro's eyes shot over to me and then he signaled Jane. I braced myself for the worst and waited for what seemed to be ten minutes but in actuality was probably only 10 seconds. I was taken out of my concentration when I heard Aro laugh and clap his hands, then I looked up to see Jane.

She was looking frustrated and angry and when I sent a questioning look to Edward he smirked and I recognized a small show of pride and triumph in his eyes.

I was then allowed to nudge closer to Edward as Aro walked toward his brothers to discuss our situation. Edward was smiling encouragement to me and I felt the love vibes he sent through the small squeeze in my hand.

The three brothers took their time and I caught their muffled murmurs but couldn't hear anything intelligible (human hearing) but all of a sudden I felt Edward go ridged beside me. I gave him a perplexed look but all the life had gone out of his face. I tried to nudge his hand so that he would look at me but when he turned my heart dropped. All the life had gone from his face and it was replaced by a sea of anguish. What the hell happened and what were the brothers discussing!

Aro walked towards me and said "Edward has been asked to join our little company but has refused". With that said Aro then turned towards me and put his hands together "And young, beautiful Bella…. What do we do with you?" he whispered while observing me.

"Aro, she's a liability," The white haired brother said. He had taken his seat again and he sat comfortably with his legs crossed. His snow-white hair was a strange contrast to his youthful face and as I looked towards him I made a mistake of looking into his crimson eyes. They held no sign of any emotions and I felt my skin crawl as he looked back with an arrogant and cruel glance.

Edward hissed beside me which made me jump.

Aro then announced "The law lays claim on Isabella Swan". His voice was thick and he looked at me saying "you will make an excellent addition to our ranks". With that he turned and pointed to his servants. "Take her away and give her a room in the west wing"

I was dazed and I felt like I was in a slow motion movie detached from my emotions. This couldn't be happening.

The white haired brother jumped out of his chair instantly pacing towards Aro "That was not what we discussed!" he shouted.

Aro looked untouched and annoyed by his furry and then announced "Caius you will take Isabella into your ranks and she will be yours to take care of. We will discuss it further at a later date". And with that he dismissed Caius who glared murderously at me, his eyes saying he would show no mercy when he got his hands on me.

Shit that was all I needed and seeing Caius's expression made me freeze in fright. I began to pull myself closer to Edward and looked into his eyes pleading for help. This was a nightmare to beat all nightmares I couldn't stay here; I wanted, no needed to leave.

Edward was now furiously hissing as he pulled me behind his body in an attempt to keep me at his side.

"Come, come Edward" Aro said "you know that even you are subject to our laws as each and every one of us. If you keep this up we will have to take extreme measures"

While Aro was speaking I saw a large and extremely vicious looking vampire come up from behind and tried to warn Edward. Before I had a chance to say anything the man grabbed Edward and held him in a bear hug as another vampire came from behind me to pull me away.

I screamed but the vampire holding me just clasped his hand on my mouth as he literally dragged me away. The last thing I saw was the desperation in his Edwards as I was taken.