Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer

An update just one day later? Unheard of. :P At least this is longer than the last chapter :)

About the previous chapter, why do you think Edward can't read Bella's mind. I mean, a power is only supposed to have a limited range...right? Especially a shield... How do you think Ian's power works?


·§ Love Kills Slowly §·

"Once you had put the pieces back together, even though you may look intact, you were never quite the same as you'd been before the fall."

― Jodi Picoult ―


Chapter 17: Conversation


August 1, 2012


Bella POV


I was impressed by my self-control as I stepped into the Cullen mansion. Ian had been taking his role as a brother too seriously, constantly calling me 'sis' along with some other annoying nicknames. The urge to hit him was becoming indescribably strong, but I was able to resist so far.

"You're finally back!" Emmett said, getting up from the sofa. Then he caught sight of Ian. "With someone else?"

"Who's this?" Carlisle asked, smiling kindly at Ian.

"I'm Ian," Ian answered, smiling back. He glanced at me.

"He's my younger brother," I added. "We just met a few decades ago and I've always treated him like a younger brother."

"As she puts it, 'I'm too much of an idiot to be the older brother'," Ian said, laughing.

Carlisle chuckled, at ease. I supposed it was because it was so easy to have a conversation with Ian…much easier than with me. "Well, that sounds a lot like the bickering that takes place in my family as well," he said with a smile.

As they continued talking, I noticed that there were two lights outside of the house, in the backyard. Looking around the room, I realized that Alice and Edward were nowhere to be seen.

They must be in the backyard…talking about what?

Suddenly, I realized what it could be about. Why Jasper had been seemingly frustrated by trying to analyze Ian's emotions, and why Edward had been confused when he first stepped into the clearing.

Ian's power.

If Ian was in fact a shield, then the powers of other vampires wouldn't be able to work on him. If he was only a mental shield, then that means anything that affects his mind, like Edward's mindreading, wouldn't work.

But what about Alice and Jasper's powers?

Alice's could be considered kind of physical. She could see your future, which included you physically doing things, right? But then again, it depended on your choices, which were all in your mind.

Jasper's ability could physically impact how you act, but isn't emotion all in your mind as well?

No, physical shields might do other things. Like physically block people from approaching them, perhaps?

"So what do you think, Bella?"

I snapped my attention out of my thoughts and focused on what was happening right now. "I'm sorry, what?"

Carlisle was looking at me seriously. "When we mentioned the Volturi earlier, you said that you didn't know about them. Right?"

I nodded, remembering.

"Ian is also saying that he's never heard of the Volturi…" Carlisle continued, glancing at Ian. "It's not your fault, like I said, but it makes me wonder how responsible vampires are being about changing others."

Jasper chuckled. "I doubt our kind was ever too responsible about that, Carlisle," he said.

"Anyway," Carlisle went on, "I was suggesting if we should head over to the living room and we"―he gestured to himself and the rest of his family―"could explain who they are and what they do."

I looked at Ian thoughtfully. He hadn't heard about this Volturi either? "Well…I suppose it wouldn't hurt, would it?" I said with a small smile. I was smiling a lot more with Ian around, but it seemed like the Cullens passed it off as me feeling more at ease with Ian around.

Alice and Edward's lights entered the house again, through what I assumed was the back door, and they appeared one at a time from the other side of the staircase. Of course, had I not had my ability, I shouldn't have noticed them, even as a vampire.

"That's a great idea, Carlisle," Edward said, as if he had been listening the whole time. Which, with his ability, was entirely possible.

I noticed that Ian seemed to stiffen a bit whenever Edward was around. Was it because he could feel that Edward was trying to use his power on him? Maybe a shield could feel someone trying to get through…

Or was it something else?

In a few seconds, we were all seated around the coffee table in the living room. Fortunately, I wasn't sitting next to Ian―he was sitting on the sofa opposite to me, next to Emmett, with whom he had gotten along quite well with. Their sense of humor was equally annoying.

But I was sitting next to Edward.

And that seemed to be the only thing I could think about.

Exactly 6 and 3/88ths of an inch apart.

I tried to act like I was completely comfortable, which I was, but not at all nervous, which I also was.

Thankfully, Carlisle chose to start explaining who the Volturi were before I could have a nervous breakdown.

"The Volturi," he started, "Are the unofficial rulers―royalty, if you will―of the vampire world."