Quick AN:

SOOO SORRY this update took so long. School is a bitch. Then I went on a much needed vacation before summer school started. I will try to be better with updates, but no promises. Thanks for sticking with my story! You guys rock.

Also, as a reminder, this story has a lot of swearing in it. I may consider toning it down here and there, but that decision is up to me. Normally I don't swear this much in my writing, but this story just kind of demanded it.

***Story Timeline: I googled when St. Marcus Day (the fictional holiday in New Moon) takes place and it said May 19. So when Bella gets back to Forks it will be right before HS finals, then summer break. According to some flight calculator, the flight from Seattle to Italy is approximately 12 hours, so 24 hours round trip. Since Bella really wasn't in Italy all that long, with a little time added for travel to and from the airport and what went down in Volterra, lets just say she is away from home for about 36-48 hours. So we are all going to pretend that she left sometime Friday night and returned sometime Sunday. Charlie will be under the impression that she was at Angela's for a "study party and sleepover." I don't want her to return home grounded. Honestly, who leaves the country without telling their parents something?

Lastly, it is amazing to read all your wonderful reviews. They are like instant mood boosters. I, also, fully support reviews that provide constructive critiques. Not flames.

Now on with the chapter!

Bella POV

The ride to the airport was quiet. I was not capable of or willing to partake in any idle conversation and Dimitri seemed to sense that any effort to engage me would be unsuccessful. I was too busy thinking about recent events and my subsequent heartbreak.

I was roused out of my inner turmoil when the car's engine shut off. I glanced out the window ready to quickly exit the car to avoid tying up traffic in the terminal, but was met with other immobile vehicles.

"We're in a parking lot," I dumbly stated turning to look at Dimitri.

"Yes, we are." Dimitri smiles. It's a genuine smile, but there is a bit of mischief in his eyes. He is teasing me in way that old friends would to try to get the other to smile after a rough day.


"I am going in with you and I would prefer my car did not get towed. Thus, the obvious solution is to utilize a parking lot."

"But why are you going in with me?" My brain can't seem to come up with a logical conclusion.

"To buy your ticket." Dimitri states simply. "Or would you rather pay your way home yourself?" He adds smugly.

Oh. Duh. "Oh, the latter is not preferable," I respond, realizing there is no way I could afford a ticket home. At least not without the stupid Cullens or calling my dad, but lets not open that can of worms.

In the next second, Dimitri is opening my door for me. I hurriedly stand from the car and we walk into the airport. As we stand in line to purchase my ticket home, it is again silent between us. However, when we were in the car the air was slightly tense with my emotions, it is now peaceable. We quietly shuffle forward in the line until finally we reach the front. I'm surprised when Dimitri asks for a first class ticket on the next flight to Seattle. When I try to say that I don't need such lavish accommodations, all he says is that, "Aro and Marcus insisted."

I'm taken aback that they would care for my comfort in such a way. The absence of the third king is not unnoticed.

When all is said and done, Dimitri is hugging me as we depart in front of security. I hug him back as to avoid being rude, but am stunned that a vampire I barely know has pulled me into a hug to say goodbye. Especially a vampire of the royal guard.

"I cannot wait until I see you again, Bella." Dimitri states sincerely.

I lift my questioning gaze to meet his eyes. "You're not going to come to Forks to eat me are you?" I ask only partially joking.

Dimitri grins. "No. . .but you do smell divine."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I've been told. I should periodically bottle my blood and sell it. I'd make a fortune." I smirk. He laughs and shrugs, "I'd buy it." "See perfect plan. Who needs college," I grin.

He smiles, but then his eyes quickly fill with worry. "However, as appealing as the profits would be, I would advise you refrain. We wouldn't want anyone to attempt to seek the source of such an exquisite elixir," Dimitri says with all seriousness. "Besides, Aro would simply have a fit," he adds on to lighten our exchange, but the warning and concern remain.

"Have no fear. I may roll with vampires, but I do have a sense of self-preservation." Dimitri nods.

"OK, bye then. Thanks for everything. Tell Aro and Marcus thank your for their generosity."

"You are most welcome and I will. However, it really isn't that much. The cost of your ticket is comparable to a penny for them, if that much."


We both say bye one more time before I make my way through security. I wave to Dimitri from the other side before he is lost in the crowd. I turn and slowly make my way to the gate.

Once on the plane, as I buckle into my seat and wait for take off, my heart clenches sporadically. I just know that the pain is caused by my impending departure that will separate myself from my mate, Caius, by a great distance and sever all ties I have to him. I close my eyes and pray for the pain to disappear. As the plane ascends, I glance out of the window to see the place that could have been my home one last time before the plane turns and it is lost to me forever.

By the time my plane makes it to Seattle, I am all sorts of pissed. The further I got away from Italy, the more I thought about Caius. The more I thought about Caius, the more I got angry.

I was irritated that another vampire had managed to fuck with my emotions. Edward was one thing, but Caius was supposed to be my mate and care for me above all others and he just tossed me aside like trash. Well, fuck him and his whore of a wife, Athendora. If he was happy with her, than there was no reason why I couldn't be happy with someone else.

A part of me knew that on some level, I was extremely hurt and heavy-hearted, but I refused to let those emotions overcome me. There was no fairy tale future with Caius and I refuse to be a bitch and wallow in misery until he suddenly decides I'm the one. Because that is not going to happen. It's just not. I already did the zombie thing once with Edward. Anger is a better emotion. It will keep me moving forward until I can forget about the sexy king that rejected me with little consideration.

Stupid fucking vampires. Although I seemed to belong in the supernatural world, clearly I was not meant to be romantically involved with any supernatural beings. From here on out I am only going to date normal, human guys. Hopefully, that will solve all my relationship troubles. I refuse to put myself in that position any more. I've been burned twice and that is two times too many.

Before I can really begin to panic about how I'm going to make it home, I see a man standing in front of a town car holding a sign with my name on it. I am instantly thankful that Aro kept his promise of providing me with a ride home and immensely grateful that it is not a Cullen picking me up. I still have his letter to give the Cullens, but I am tired and will save that for another day. I just don't have the energy for all their drama.

I greet the driver and he opens up the door for me to slide into the back. I settle down for the long drive.

When the driver pulls up to my house I am relieved to see that my dad is not home. I have no idea how I would explain not having any books or an overnight bag. I thank the driver and make my way inside.

I see a note on the kitchen table and decide to read it before heading upstairs to sleep for a week. Despite the few hours I was able to sleep on the flight, I am still tired from this trip. The note is from dad saying that he hoped my study slumber party was good and that he would be back from his fishing trip with Billy around seven.

In that moment I am so thankful I had the brilliant idea to fabricate an alibi before jumping on the plane with Alice. Even though Charlie didn't like the fact that I apparently forgot to mention my weekend plans with Angela, he let it slide since it was academic and Angela is such a "nice girl."

I put the note back down on the table and move to head up the stairs. I quickly reconsider my decision to go to my room and head for the couch, the less exhausting alternative. I'm knocked out not too long after my head hits the pillow.

Before I know it, I'm woken from my nap by my dad gently shaking my arm.

"Hey kiddo, a little tired?" Dad asks softly. A small smile is on his face.

I rub my eyes like I'm five-years-old and nod my head tiredly. "Yeah."

Charlie's smile widens at my antics. "I hope you and Angela found some time for fun and didn't study the whole weekend." I can see the concern in his eyes at me potentially having pushed myself too far. I smile at my dad. He really is a good parent.

"No worries, Dad. Just tired from all the studying and girl time. We stayed up late both Friday and Saturday night watching movies."

"Glad to hear you had fun, but early to bed tonight, so you can actually make it to school in the morning," Charlie says sternly.

I laugh. "Not a problem. That was my plan."

"Good. I ordered Chinese food. It's in the kitchen. Do you want to eat in the kitchen or out here?"

"Can we eat in here, Dad? I think I'm too tired to sit at a table." I grin. "Plus, we can watch the sports channel or something," I add.

Charlie laughs. "You don't need to convince me. I'll grab the food and plates. You just stay here and try to keep those eyes open for few more minutes until we can get some food into your system."

My stomach chooses that moment to make itself known. We both laugh at its grumbling. "I don't think that's going to be a problem."

Once Charlie places the food in front of me I dive in. After a few gluttonous bites I sense that I am being watched and I look up to see Charlie staring at me in shock.

"What?" I say with a mouth full of food.

"Did the Webber's feed you this weekend? I've never seen you eat so much so fast. Or maybe you have been spending too much time with Jake. That boy sure can eat." Charlie jokes.

It's then that I realize for the last couple of days I have only had the little food that was served on the plan. A couple of sandwiches and peanuts don't really go very far.

"Of course they fed me. I guess I'm just extra hungry tonight." I shrug before turning serious and glaring at Charlie. "Dad, are you calling me fat?" I ask aggressively.

Charlie sputters and chokes down the food he was chewing to hastily deny such claims.

Seeing the horrified expression on his face breaks my facade of anger and I break out in a fit of giggles. "Sorry, Dad." I gasp out between laughs. "I couldn't resist. You should have seen your face!" I laugh before stuffing my face again.

Without pause, Charlie says, "Well, if you keep eating like that, you will be."

"Hey!" I yell.

"Gotcha." Now it's Charlie's turn to laugh and my turn to pout, but when he shoves an entire egg roll in his mouth we both smile broadly.

In that moment, I can't believe I once would have so readily given up my relationship with my dad as long as I could stay with Edward. How can you give up your family for a guy? I'm glad in the end, I didn't, even if it was not my original decision. It all worked out for the best I suppose.

The rest of our meal was filled with idle chatter about my fictional weekend with Angela and Charlie's fishing trip with Billy. After dinner, I kissed Charlie goodnight, before heading upstairs and promptly passed out on my bed.

The morning came far too soon for my liking, but I forced myself to get ready for school. The day passed uneventfully. Happily, I was able to get through the day without any contact from the Cullens as, following the charade they put on for the townspeople, Edward and Alice would be the only remaining Cullens to attend high school. In fact, I don't even know if the town knows they are back. Before I left, they were still gone, having moved due to Carlisle's "job offer" in Los Angeles.

Not feeling up to seeing the Cullens just yet, I went home once school is over. The Cullens can wait a little longer. If Aro thought that they needed to know as soon as possible about Alice and Edward's situation then he would have called them instead of writing a letter to be delivered by a human.

Pulling up in front of my house I'm surprised to see Jake waiting for me on the porch. It shouldn't surprise me as I am sure Jake wants to check on me after practically being kidnapped by Alice on Friday, but it does.

I grab my backpack and run up to Jake. "HI! Did you miss me?" I ask in a cheerful voice.

"Not really," Jake smirks, but then pulls me in for a bone-crushing hug. "I'm glad your back and safe," he breaths, relieved.

"Me, too." I pull away. "Come on. Lets go inside. I'll make some snacks and we can hangout."

"Sure, sure." Jake smiles.

I make myself apple slices and peanut butter, but knowing Jake and his bottomless pit of a stomach, I make him two large sandwiches and toss the bag of Cheetos his way.

He smiles thankfully before stuffing his face. He gestures that I should talk while he eats. I laugh before delving into my forced adventure. When I get to the part about Caius, I skip mentioning that I am his unwanted mate, for now. I want to explain to Jake my feelings about my future romantic life more sensitively than just blurting it out.

Before Alice returned, Jake and I had been making small steps towards a romantic relationship and after this trip, I know that it would be foolish to do so now that everything has changed. For whatever reason, I had previously been willing to dismiss the likelihood of Jake imprinting. Obviously, an error in judgement on my part. However, I now knew that I had a mate that lived in Italy, so there was no way that I could be Jake's soulmate.

Wiping his mouth with a napkin, Jake says, "I'm glad you didn't fall back into that emo vampdick's arms again. I know you hated his guts when you left, but I was afraid the reunion would reignite past feelings."

I narrow my eyes. "As if I could get back together with that control freak."

Jake throws his hands up in defense. "Still. I'm proud of you. You stood your own and somehow managed to leave alive. How did you manage that anyway? It wasn't very clear in your story. You were about to be executed and then next thing ya know, you're walking out scott free"

"Yeah, about that." I sigh. "Jake, they didn't just decide to let me free out of the kindness of their hearts. There is a reason—a big one—as to why I was let free." I pause not knowing how to continue. I don't want to hurt Jake's feelings because I know that I could have easily fallen for him before meeting Caius, but now that I know that I have some supernatural mate out there and knowing that the La Push wolves imprint, there just seems to be too many indicators that Jake and I are not meant to be together, romantically.

Jake's eyes flash in concern and anger. "Are they coming here? Are they going to force you to turn after you graduate from high school? TELL ME NOW!" Jake is visible shaking now as his fear and anger take over.

"No, its not that. I'm to remain human."

Jake stops shaking as he calms. Once all the tremors cease he asks, "Well, then why did they let you go?"

I scoot closer to him on the couch and grasp Jake's hand. "Jake, you know that I love you and I always will." Before I can continue, Jake has jumped up from the couch in rage and glaring at me in disbelief, hurt, and frustration.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS. HOW COULD YOU? I thought we were on the same page? Making progress? You know I love you! I will always love you and protect you. How could you not give us a chance? Don't you love me? Just give us a chance. Give me a chance. Please! Bells. . .please." Jake pleads desperately.

My heart breaks. "Jake I can't." My eyes begin to water.

"Can't or won't?" Jake spits out bitterly.

"Jake, when I was in Italy, I met my mate. That's why I can't be with you." I hold his heartbroken gaze with my sad one.

". . . what?" Jake asks disbelievingly.

"The Volturi King, Caius. He is my mate."

"What? How? He denied you. How can he possibly be your mate?" Jake demands. I can tell that Jake is in denial and thinks I'm making this up to get out of dating him.

"I don't know. He's already happily married and doesn't want a pathetic human like me." I shrug as if that knowledge doesn't crush my mind, body, and soul.

"You are not pathetic. You are beautiful and perfect." Jake kneels before me and grasps my hands in his. He is always quick to defend me, even when it is myself that is putting myself down. Jake is such a good friend.

I move one of my hands from his and place it on his cheek. "But now you see why I can't be with you the way you want. I wish I could Jake. Really, I do. You are so kind and considerate and funny. You're my best friend. If everything was normal, being with you would have been easy. But it's not normal. There is undeniable proof that I am meant for another. Then when you pair that with the knowledge that you will imprint, there are just too many things that are not stacked in our favor. I can't be with you knowing that Caius is out there, even if he doesn't want me. Even if Caius was not in the picture, you could imprint on someone at any given moment. I know you say you won't imprint, but I can't take that chance. Where would that leave me? With another broken heart and with no best friend to put me back together. I'll always be here for you Jake, but that is just one thing I can't do for you."

Jake leans his head into my hand. "I understand." A single tear falls from his eye. I gently wipe it away with my thumb. I pull him up onto the couch and lean into his side as we quietly mourn what could have been our lives had it not been for the supernatural world.

Eventually Jake turns to me and cups my cheeks in his hands. "How this vampire king could not want you is a mystery to me. He is a fool."

My heart clenches in agony. "Thanks, Jake." I lean forward to rest my forehead on his chest. Jake quickly wraps his arms around my waist. "I guess I'm stuck with human guys. Perhaps I should give Mike Newton a chance" I halfheartedly joke.

Jake grunts and squeezes me tighter to him. "Or you could just become the cat lady. I'm sure Charlie would find that more preferable, too" Jake adds in an effort to lighten the mood.

I pinch his arm before sitting up. "If I become the cat lady, you have to promise not to bark at or chase my cats." I shake my finger at him.

"Hmmm, that could be a problem. How about dogs instead?"

We both chuckle softly.

I glance at the clock and see that Charlie will be home soon. I ask Jake if he wants to stay for dinner, but he declines saying that he has patrol after sunset. We hug goodbye and I tell him to be safe. He smiles and says he always is before heading out towards the forest behind my house.

I sigh sadly as he disappears into the tree line. I hear a wolf's howl shortly after.

I head into the kitchen to start dinner and wait for Charlie to come home. As I cook I think about Jake. I know he is hurting, but hopefully with time we can move past this.

Luckily for me, my feelings for Jake never had time to truly develop. They were there, but not all consuming. I was more sad knowing that I was hurting my friend and that had things been normal, being with Jake would have been easy.

The sooner he finds his imprint the better. It will make his life easier. Jake will get over his feelings for me and he will be happy with his imprint. . .while I remain alone and unloved. I shake my head to stop the train of thought that is bound to send me into a downward spiral.

Anger, Bella. Remember to be angry. That will keep the pain away. Well, most of it. Shut up! I slam my fists on the counter. Fuuuuuck. I'm losing my mind. I take a few deep breaths with my eyes closed. As I exhale on my last breath, my eyes snap open. I can see my eyes in the reflection in the kitchen window. They are fiercely intense. I almost don't recognize myself. From here on out I will not be weak. I will not back down. Nothing will get in my way.

I know it's not perfect, but I'm just really happy to be posting an update. Hopefully you all like it. I think I'm going to do the Volturi POV for the next chapter (probably Caius, but not 100% sure) to try to give a little insight there without giving too much away, I hope. If you have any suggestions, plot wise or writing wise, please let me know. I love hearing your guys' thoughts and opinions. Otherwise, I hope you can take the time to leave a comment to tell me if you liked the chapter. There really is no better reward than reading all your kind words of encouragement.