Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
A/N: I do not reread what I write because I'm lazy. So there are errors, so please excuse and ignore them.
Heidi kept looking at me expectantly, waiting for my response. I had no idea what I was going to tell her. I knew that I wanted to tell her that my intentions were to put up with the three for a year and then leave and live the rest of my life, both as a human and vampire, with the Cullens. I had decided that now that it was known that a human knew of vampires, Edward would have no choice but to change me, other words his family would be at risk of being killed and he wouldn't do that.
"Don't think too hard about Bella, I'm only playing. Although, I would like to know how you like this place so far." Heidi said, thankfully changing the subject.
"Well, what I've seen so far, this seems like a really nice place." I answered truthfully.
This place both outside and even inside the castle, seem like a really nice place to live. It's all beautiful and it's just something that I could never see in Forks, probably in most of the US. I would love to see more of this place, especially since I'll be here for a year.
"I remember when I first came here I fell in love with the beauty of it." Heidi said.
For a moment she seemed to look off into space, like she was reminiscing of a time long passed.
"How long have you been here?" I asked, breaking the silence.
I didn't want to sit here; bored while Heidi drifted off into space thinking about something that probably happened long before I was even born.
"A while." Heidi answered, not really snapping out of whatever memory she was in.
"Were you always a part of the Volturi?" I asked, trying to start some sort of conversation. That question luckily snapped Heidi out her reverie.
"No, I was part of another coven at one point. That coven has long since been broken up though. I didn't know where I wanted to go and I happened to be traveling through Italy at the time and was spotted by Sulpicia and she offered me a place in the Guard." Heidi explained.
I like talking to Heidi. She has no problem giving me facts and sharing her story. I know she doesn't have to and I feel like I'm becoming a gossiper since I want to know more about their lives, all of them, but they've all lived so long that I'm sure they have seen a lot of things and have lots of stories to share.
"I thought they don't leave the castle?" I asked, briefly remembering Edward mentioning at one point that the leaders of the Volturi never leave their castle.
"Just rumors. They leave a lot, it's just no one really sees them outside of the castle because they don't want to spotted. They do go outside though, whenever they want." Heidi answered.
Heidi looked just past me and she seemed to not even hide that she was clearly looking at something over my shoulder and listening to something that I had no chance in hearing. It only lasted a couple seconds until her focus was on me again.
"Are you finished?" Heidi asked.
I would have taken offense to it, but before I had the chance to I looked a little closer to our surroundings. The way the sun was coming down now, the way back was getting a little full of sunlight. So Heidi would have to be careful to make sure she didn't get in the way of the sun. If I hadn't noticed that I would have felt rushed, like Heidi was trying to get me to go back to the castle prematurely, but I can understand why she would now; she doesn't want to get exposed.
"Yeah, I'm good." I answered.
Heidi wasted no time in paying for everything and just like Alice used to do, hooked arms with me and started to lead me towards what I'm guessing is an entrance to the castle. This wasn't the same way I had left but I'm sure there are multiple ways to go in and out of the large castle. I'm sure there are even more hidden ones like the one I had first used with Edward and Alice.
The walk back into the castle was a silent one. Heidi didn't seemed bothered about not talking and I was happy just looking at the new scenery of the town and then eventually the castle. If I had to be honest, I would have to say that for most of the walk I was thinking about why I was okay with Heidi hooking our arms like she did. She did so with a familiarity that I didn't think we had.
I had only ever been this close with Alice, friend wise; I wasn't even really as close to Jacob as I was with Alice. Yet, here's Heidi, hooking our arms like friends, like we've known each other for a while. I didn't know what to think about it. I didn't know if I liked it or hated but I didn't pull my arm away. I kept it there. I didn't want to replace Alice as my best friend, but having a friend here wouldn't be all that bad.
When we finally got back to the castle, and had already started to weave our way through the halls, that was when Heidi finally deemed it appropriate to break the silence we were in.
"So, where would you like to go? We have to wait until the sun's a little further down and then we can back into if you want or you can just do something here?" Heidi asked as we apparently walked aimlessly.
"I'm not really sure." I answered right away.
I'm still not a hundred percent sure on what liberties I'm allowed to take around here. I know they've, the leaders, have said I can do what I want, but I'm just not really sure. I feel weird, and rude, for just coming in here and walking around this place like I own by doing anything I want. That's just not me and well, it's rude.
"Well, I know Athenodora is in her garden, so you can go there and visit her. Didyme is in her study re-reading a book and Sulpicia is in her office reading. So you can go to one of them or you can off and do you own thing." Heidi suggested, not so sneakily giving suggestions that would put me with one of the leaders.
I hadn't really wanted to see any of them, since what they did earlier was more than what I wanted to happen. But a walk through the gardens sounded nice. It really was a pretty place; Athenodora had done well with not only taking care of it but also putting it together. The design of the garden is just amazing.
"Would it be possible if I could read a book in the garden?" I asked hesitantly. I know Heidi's point of pointing out where the three women were was so that I could spend some more time with them and more than likely talk with them, but I think reading sounds like a good thing right now. I can see myself wasting hours in that garden just reading. Although, I'm not sure how long I would be able to handle it because there's not really a comfortable spot since there's only the uncomfortable looking benches and the ground to lay on to read.
"Of course, you can do what you want. Do you have a book in mind and I can let you find out a spot to read in the garden while I get the book or do you want to browse the library?" Heidi asked, surprising me a little.
I hadn't thought she was allowed to leave my side, to leave me alone for protection. I guess though, since Athenodora said it was her own private garden, she wouldn't be allowed to go in there. That and Athenodora is in there, so I'm sure she would be able to protect me if a random guard member decided that the garden didn't need to be so private.
"I would like to read Wuthering Heights." I answered quickly. It's my favorite book and I think getting lost in its familiar world would help to make me not so nervous about being here away from everything that I know and love.
"I haven't read that one." Heidi mused as she started to lead me, towards the garden I'm assuming, with more of a purpose. "I know where it is though, or at least the general area."
I only nodded my head in acknowledgement before falling into silence again. I wasn't really sure what to talk about with Heidi, especially since I didn't really know her. With Alice, at first she did most of the talking until I got to know her better and then the conversation just really flowed easily between us. I don't know if it will be that way with Heidi, but I hope so unless I want to get used to the silence whenever I'm not with one of the leaders since I don't predict Jane being a conversationalist.
Heidi led me right up to the door that led to the garden, but didn't go in with me.
"She knows you are in there, so if you need anything, just call out and she'll be there." Heidi explained as I walked into the courtyard turned garden. "When I get the book, I'll give it to her and she'll give it to you when you ask for it; when you picked out your spot to read in." Heidi explained.
I thanked her for getting the book for me before I walked further into the garden. I want to try and explore this place a little more and try and figure out just how big this garden is. I may end up asking Athenodora to show me where the fountain is that she showed me and read there. Although, she did say that was a place that she liked to escape to, it wouldn't feel right to just take over her space. I'll just have to find a place that I like; I'm sure a garden as big as I've been told it is will have more than one fountain.
The path I took was lined with the same kind of flowers, what kind of flowers, I have no idea but they are pretty. I'm sure if I were to ask, there's probably a reason that Athenodora had the same flower put down this path whereas the other path she had taken me down was lined with different flowers that told her life story.
As I walked further down the path I did run into a couple different benches, but none of the locations with the benches seemed like a place I wanted to just relax and read. I decided to take a couple turns onto side paths, hoping that veering from the path I was on would lead someplace else. Luckily, I was right.
I eventually ran into a dead end on one of the smaller paths I had veered off into. This dead end was a half circle shape and was completely shaded by trees. I couldn't see any part of the sky and I completely fell in love with this spot. The kind of trees and flowers that Athenodora had planted here seemed to let out a fragrance that had me totally relaxed. I didn't recognize the types of trees or flowers, but it all blended so well in this shady sanctuary.
I went to the back of this hidden area and laid down on my back. The grass in this area seemed to grant the ground just enough softness to where even though I was lying on the ground, it wasn't really that uncomfortable. Before I could gather the courage to call for Athenodora, I will admit that I was slightly afraid to call for reasons that I'm not entirely sure right now, I heard just barely noticeable footsteps approaching me.
Athenodora was letting me know that she was approaching.
"This place is really relaxing." I commented to let her know that I knew she was here.
The footsteps instantly stopped and instead I heard her sitting down next to me. I knew that this scene could turn romantic very quickly, after all Edward and I did spend a lot of time in similar positions in our meadow, so I kept my eyes looking straight up and away from the ancient vampire next to me.
"There are a couple places similar to this one scattered around the garden." Athenodora commented in an uncharacteristically tired voice. I didn't even think of what I was going to say to that, if I had I would I have preferred to just stay silent and eventually ask for the book that she supposedly has.
"What's wrong?" I blurted out. My face went red right away from my sudden question.
It's not that I thought I was rude for asking, it's actually a common thing for people, friends, to ask. So, the question itself is not what embarrassed me, it's the fact that I asked that I'm concerned. Just yesterday or even really just a few hours ago, I doubt I would have asked how any of them were. Doing that builds a stronger connection with them and that's not what I want to do. I have to keep separated from them so that I can make sure that their plan for me doesn't happen. I have to keep indifferent or even just plain mad at them so that I can return to Charlie, to Forks, to the Cullen's and most importantly, so I can return to Edward.
"We just happened to come across some information about something that we would rather not have heard." Athenodora vaguely explained. I was more than happy to leave it alone and at the time, it seemed like she was to.
I was just about to ask for the book; since what I thought was an appropriate amount of silence had passed since I had asked her what was wrong had passed, when I felt something heavy land on my stomach. She had tossed the book on me.
"Thank you for passing this on to me." I said, not bothering to say anything about her tossing a book at me. I'm sure she really wouldn't have cared what I had to say about it anyways.
"It's no problem, it's not like Heidi is allowed in here." Athenodora said with a wave of her hand.
I turned over, away from her, and propped myself up on my arms to start reading. It didn't take me long to lose myself in the novel's world and ignore my surroundings. I would have been happy to stay there until I either got hungry or tired, but something hard lying gently on my back took my attention away from the fantasy world I had fallen into.
I looked behind me, barely turning my upper body to look and saw Athenodora laying down with the head on me. My first reaction was to roll away from and get her off of me. But I didn't move. I just stared at her for a couple seconds. She seemed much more relaxed than what I'm really used to seeing. It seems like this garden washes away all her worries and calms her down into a… well, into a nicer person. She doesn't seem like the strict uptight person that I first met.
Ignoring her, I went back to reading. It's not so wrong to have her lay her head on my back. Friends do that all the time, I'm sure of it. So, I guess I can be okay with it. I mean, it's not like she's hurting me or anything.
The next time she moved, I almost screamed because the only indicator I had that she moved was her voice suddenly right next to my ear; so close that I could actually feel her breath. I know I at least jumped at the sudden closeness, but at least I didn't scream, that would have been more embarrassing.
"What are you reading?" Athenodora asked.
It took me a couple seconds to be able to calm down again so that I could answer her. Before I did though, I not so subtly shifted away from her. This was followed, and I should have known she would do this, with her laying moving, but moving closer to me than she was last time. I could actually feel her body pressed against mine and I hated to admit this, but feeling the coldness seeping from her body to mine felt really nice.
"Wuthering Heights, it's my favorite book." I answered, for some reason added the last part. There was no real reason why I should have told her that, but it just seemed like the thing to add on.
"You love reading, don't you?" Athenodora asked as a whisper. While she asked, obviously the question was a distraction from what she was doing; she moved her arm to drape around my waist and pulled me slightly closer to her.
"I-I do." I answered, keeping my answer short and sweet. Hopefully this will clue her in that I would rather not talk with her right now.
I tried to move away from her, I shouldn't be this close to her anyways because not even Alice and I ever laid like this next to each other, but obviously Athenodora had other plans. Keeping me from moving away from her, she put her chin down on my shoulder and looked at the book, probably reading the page I was on.
"I guess you'll eventually spend a lot of time in the library. I'm sure Di will love that; she loves that place." Athenodora commented.
I started to panic slightly and I wanted to come up with a way to get away. It wasn't that I was uncomfortable with her practically laying on me. I wasn't even concerned with how our positions would look to someone else if they happened to see. I was concerned and slightly afraid that I didn't actually mind being here next to the ancient. A part of me, a much larger part than I would like to admit, actually really liked being here next to her.
"I think I'm going to go make me dinner." I quickly said, this being the first thing I could think of to get away from what I was starting to feel about what's going on right now.
"What a shame, I was very comfortable." Athenodora said with a sigh of clear annoyance. She quickly stood up; taking the book I was reading with her and held out her hand to me to help me up. "I'll walk you there. I actually think that Gianna is already there preparing something now."
I hesitantly took her hand and she effortlessly pulled me up. It wasn't until we had left the dead end that I realized that I hadn't even tried to remove my hand from hers. I didn't intertwine our fingers; that was definitely all her, but I didn't mind having my hand in hers. I'll have to do something fast because I'm actually starting to get afraid that I'm really starting to get used to these women and I don't want to be.
The walk to the kitchen was silent and as we got closer to our destination, I started to feel more and guiltier about what I had done with Athenodora. I know we didn't actually do anything, but I still felt like I had done something wrong since I had gotten so… comfy, with her and I'm still with Edward. So I'm confused about how I can feel that way with her when I shouldn't be, I just can't be.
But that's another thought that has threatened to take over all my thoughts. Am I really still with Edward?
I mean, I did come all the way here to save him and obviously we were both really happy that we were able to see each other again. But, he did leave me and even though we hugged and clinged to each other, well I more or less clinged to him and he just held me in a none clingy way, but I wouldn't necessarily say we actually got back together. I mean, he literally left me and took my family away, there's definitely some talking that needs to be done about that. I know I was really happy to see and I don't regret being so happy about it, but before things could have gone back to normal we would have needed to talk about what he did. There's no choice, because he left and because of how easily he left me and took his family with him, I'm actually a little afraid of easily he would be able to do it again while I'm still human. I'm concerned and I shouldn't have to feel that way about our relationship, so obviously we would have needed to talk.
But we didn't get the chance to. The Volturi leaders took away our chance to reconcile and go back to normal.
With them though, without having to even be in their arm, which is something that I shouldn't allow to happen too often if at all, I actually feel safe with them. Even when I'm not in their presence, I feel safe just being here in the general are around them. With Edward, I did feel safe, but there was always that underlining feeling that I was walking a very thing line of being safe and being in danger and all from the same person. I understand that Edward was really tempted by my blood and I really did have all the confidence in the world that he wouldn't hurt me, but the feeling was still there and it shouldn't be. With the three ancients, I feel like I could cut myself and bleed all over them and they would mind helping get me cleaned and patched up, I feel like they wouldn't be tempted that much by my blood. Edward though, he wouldn't and based off of history, wouldn't be able to stay in the same room or even same general area as me until I'm all patched up and even then it would still be risky for him to be there.
"Good evening." Gianna greeted as we walked into the kitchen. I hadn't even realized we were already there.
Athenodora didn't bother to respond to Gianna's greeting and before I could, Athenodora was talking to me.
"I'm going to go now because I really don't want to be around this rank smell of your food –" Athenodora started but was cut off. I don't know what he goal was by starting off a conversation that way, so I'm kind of happy she was cut off.
"Oh please Dora, it's not that bad and it's not like you've had centuries to get used to it." Sulpicia said as she glided into the kitchen.
Athenodora's hand was still firmly clasping mine, so I was a little shocked when Sulpicia walked up to me and grabbed my free hand. Sulpicia got to me just as she finished talking and without hesitation, she leaned in and kissed both of my cheeks in greeting. Instantly I felt my face burn up and I looked away from both of the grinning ancients. I know that kissing cheeks is a common greeting in some places, but I feel like that's not a typical greeting Sulpicia does and that it was a greeting just for me.
"A full face blush from just a simple kiss on the cheek. I wonder what we'll get when we kiss much more pleasing areas." Athenodora mused out loud, not at all helping with my blush.
"I'm not sure, but I'm very much looking forward to finding out." Sulpicia responded but was kind enough to quickly change subjects. "I'm actually here to replace you Dora, I have a request to ask of her and I just thought I would join her for dinner. I'm sure Di would be more than happy to have your company." Sulpicia said.
With my blush finally, and thankfully quickly, gone, I managed to look back up and was happy that the attention wasn't fully on me. The two leaders kept looking between each other and me. They both kept a firm hold on my hand though and actually seemed to be a little closer than they were when Didyme had first arrived.
"I'm sure she would." Athenodora said in a dry voice, obviously not convinced. "But I can take a hint; apparently you think Bella wouldn't be comfortable with the both of us seducing her at once. I think your wrong and that it would be fun, but I'll leave as you request." Athenodora said in a blunt manner and made sure to watch my face go red again.
I tried to remove my hands from their grasps, but they apparently had no intentions of letting go just yet. I was actually very proud of myself that I managed to not turn away from them, but I think I did that more out of focusing to get my hands free from theirs to end the physical contact than any actually bravery on my part.
"Thank you Dora." Sulpicia said with a smile.
"Very well, goodbye Bella, I'm sure I'll see you again tomorrow." Athenodora said. Clearly not one to be outdone, Athenodora copied Sulpicia's actions and kissed my cheeks, although her lips landed slightly closer to my mouth than Sulpicia's lips did. When Athenodora leaned back, she smirked at the bright red blush I was now sporting.
Athenodora left the kitchen after giving my hand a soft squeeze and giving Sulpicia a smirk, probably from how close she had just kissed to my lips. Sulpicia didn't pay her much mind though and once Athenodora was past us, Sulpicia just led me over to where Gianna was stirring something on the stove. Luckily it seemed like the other human didn't pay attention to anything that had just happened. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure she heard everything and probably watched a little as well, but she was at least acting like nothing had happened.
"Do you need any help Gianna?" I asked, hopeful that I could do something that would detach me from Sulpicia.
"Well, I'm actually almost done. All I need to do now is just mix this all together. If you want though, you can gather the plates and of course get something to drink." Gianna said, thankfully adding something for me to do when she saw my face start to form a pout.
"Okay, I'll do that." I said and eagerly pulled my hand away from Sulpicia's.
I walked over to the cabinets that held the plates and reached to get them, luckily I was just tall enough to reach them. Once those were on the counter, I grabbed the appropriate silverware and last I pulled out a glass and sat in next to the plates on the counter. Before putting the items on the table, we would fill our plates ourselves and then carry it over to the table anyways; I went to the fridge to get a drink. Naturally the one I wanted was now on the lowest shelf and in the back. At first I didn't realize why it was moved since Gianna and I were the only ones here who would drink it and Gianna's drink was on the fridge door shelf, but Sulpicia was quick to clear up my confusion, though not necessarily on purpose.
"When I found out you normally had the same thing to drink, I had hoped you would be the one to get your drink instead of myself because right now I believe I have the best view in the whole castle." Sulpicia remarked.
I immediately snapped back to a standing position and nearly dropped the container holding my drink in the process. Doing my best to ignore the comment, I continued to poor my drink in my glass but couldn't help but see Sulpicia from the corner of my eye. She was leaning on the counter in front of the fridge and was staring someplace a little too low for my liking. Even though I wasn't used to people blatantly staring at me and actually found it rude when the rare person would… Mike… with Sulpicia doing the staring I actually felt special. A part of me actually liked that I was good looking enough to have Sulpicia look at me like she is and it actually fed my ego a little.
Gianna took this opportunity to talk with me about our days as I finished pouring my drink and once she was done, serving my dinner and then putting away the pitcher back in the fridge, while doing my best to ignore Sulpicia and her small chuckle at my attempt to not give her a 'show' again. Like normal, Gianna and I sat opposite each other and Sulpicia sat right next to me. As soon as there was a lull in mine and Gianna's conversation, Sulpicia spoke up.
"Since our afternoon was interrupted Bella, would you like to watch a movie with me?" Sulpicia asked as she twirled part of my hair around her finger.
"Sure, I guess." I answered right away. I couldn't think of anything wrong with watching a movie in the room Sulpicia had showed me. Friends do that all the time, so I shouldn't have any problems with it, plus it will be nice to relax after eating and depending on what we watch, it will help get me tired enough to go to sleep afterwards.
"Wonderful." Sulpicia said cheerfully as she stood up and started to leave the kitchen, instantly making me nervous. "I'll have to pick out a movie that I hope we both enjoy. I'll also have to make sure that my room is at a comfortable temperature for you." Sulpicia said, making my eyes grow wide.
"Wait! I don't want… to." I said, trailing off because she was already gone and Heidi was in the place with a smirk. Heidi talking was the only thing that made me ignore Gianna's polite chuckle at what had just happened.
"She's had that planned all day by the way. Don't worry about it though, you'll enjoy it. Sulpicia has a bigger TV in her room than the one we have to suffer with." Heidi said as she leaned against the door way leading out of the kitchen.
"I'd rather not spend time in her room though." I said with a small pout on my face.
"And she would rather you be there all day, but hey, everyone has to make sacrifices." Heidi joked, making me blush at what she was insinuating.
"Don't worry Bella, none of the Mistresses would ever over step their boundaries and push you past your limits. You don't need to be afraid of them." Gianna said and surprisingly enough, it actually helped to calm my nerves down a little.
The rest of dinner was eaten as slowly as I could with Gianna and me making small talk and with Heidi making the odd comment here and there. Once we were done eating, both of us humans cleaned up and then we both went our separate ways, Gianna to wherever she needed to be and me following Heidi to where I'm still not really sure I want to go at all. There's just this one part of me that is actually looking forward to going and for some reason I can't seem to ignore it.
In no time I was walking into Sulpicia's room and I instantly fell in love with it. It was exactly how I expected it to be. It looked like a mix of gothic, Victorian and regal looking furniture and of course it was huge. The bed was pushed up against the center of the far wall and the TV was opposite of it against the wall as well. Sulpicia was lying down already, luckily above the covers, remote in hand and a giant smile on her face.
"Come now Bella, I promise that I won't bite until you ask." Sulpicia said with an evil smirk, making me blush yet again.
Slowly and very much hesitantly, I walked over to her and sat on the bed and leaned against the headboard. Before I could actually make myself comfortable, Sulpicia, using vampire speed and strength, pulled me over to the center with her and had me cuddled into her side with her arm around my waist, my head on her shoulder and her head on mine.
"Perfect." Sulpicia said as she hit a few buttons on the remote that not only turned off the lights but also started the movie.
I really don't remember what movie it was; I know it was a romance. I remember laughing at how the leading guy failed once again at getting the girl. The very last thing I remember though is sliding down a little to be more comfortable, laying my head on Sulpicia's chest, wrapping my arms around her and falling asleep.
A/N: For those that don't already know and for those who care, the reason I haven't updated in such a long time is because I was having eye issues that made it difficult to see at all. Right now I'm pretty sure it's cleared up and hopefully it stays that way, so I'll be able to start updating a lot more frequently.