First off - I am so, so, so, sorry! I'd been meaning to upload an author's note informing every single one of you that I was having a kind of busy time with work lately and I had minor surgery plus recovery. I won't go into it all as I will end up dwelling into personal details.

Now, my work has kind of settled down and from now up until September, it will probably result in me only being able to really create new chapters & upload new chapters possibly every Sunday and maybe the odd one during the week if I have a quiet week.

After September I will be on more of a free schedule as I lose one of my jobs so I will be down to working two days until I can find a more permanent full time job. So when that happens, I'll be able to put up a more flexible schedule to upload on here.

Now this chapter isn't extraordinarily long which I was going to do to make it up to you, but I thought just get this one out here to let you all know I haven't given up on this story, or on you guys.

So I hope this is my return back and I hope you like it!

Read & Review :)


"You are quiet today."

I turned to look at Jane as she spoke to me, sitting on the bench to the side of flowerbeds in the courtyard. I was sat on the grass looking over the small pond, trees and flowers that were situated in a small courtyard hidden away from public.

"I'm just letting my thoughts catch up with me," I replied, looking back as I stretched my legs. "It's relaxing here when I thought it wouldn't be."

"The gardens are the most relaxing place to be."

I agreed with that as I lounged back on the grass, looking up at the clear blue sky as I let my thoughts filter through my mind. I didn't know when I would have the courage to face Aro again and I knew at some point today I would see him. All night I had wondered what he was doing…

"If you are trying to avoid him, it won't work," she said suddenly, causing me to look over at her to wonder how she knew. "Word spreads like fire in this place. The guards know almost anything they wish to know about."

"Surely that isn't right. I mean surely Aro or Caius would protest that, as well as Marcus. That's private business."

Jane chuckles, her bright red eyes watching me as I assess her, before turning to look back at the ground, watching the daisies blow to the side in the calm breeze. I couldn't yet quite get to grips with being here and not being attacked by any one of the red eyed vampires. Jane seemed to not only follow me around, but she appeared to hate doing it, so I was surprised she actually conversed with me.

I decided she wasn't going to answer me so I just paid her no more attention. My mind was still reeling over everything else, and I could really use the time alone out here, excusing Jane, to think of what was now going to happen with me. But that was short lived.

I heard some noise behind me and turned to find Dora, Caius' mate, walking out. She had her long brown hair plaited to the side, a long black Volturi cloak billowing behind her as she made her way to me, pausing briefly to look at Jane before taking a seat on the ground beside me.

"Jane, leave us," she told the stoic blonde behind us, who in turn paused only momentarily before retreating into the castle. "Hello Isabella, I'm sorry I haven't yet formally introduced myself to you but my husband kept me busy."

I looked over, blinking, trying to think up why this could yet be awkward. Edward had told me very little on the wives, only that Dora was the only one existing at the current time. I had been told very little about Marcus' mate, but I was told that Aro had no one.

"I'm sorry if I'm scaring you."

"Oh," I stupidly replied, shaking my head. "You aren't scaring me, I was just… thinking. Sorry, yes, I know who you are."

Dora smiled, looking out ahead of us, her eyes following the daisies movement. She seemed to relax out here as her body now didn't hold that pride that she was obviously brought up to have.

"Your arrival here has confused a lot of our guard but it has pleased me. I have been so alone here, apart from my husband and brothers of course, but I need a female to live my days with other than Corin or Chelsea."

I frowned at the mention of Corin, I had heard briefly about all of the main guards of the Volturi from the Cullens, and I knew of Corin's power. I wonder if her power was active now on Dora and keeping her loyalty to this coven … but I wouldn't have to worry about that, surely, since no powers worked on me.

"You don't have to be so … withdrawn around us, Bella," she rasped, finally drawing my attention to just how beautiful she was. She was just as mesmerising as her husband but her personality was the complete opposite. "You can at least open up to me."

I smiled at the offer, nodding my head to her, knowing at least I would have her, Felix and Demetri that would help me settle in here. I didn't know where Aro fit in yet since I was quite unsure on how that would work; he had already tried to bite me and I was always nervous around him.

"Before I met Edward, things for me were a little different," I told her, letting myself fall backwards to lay on the grass. "I hardly saw my father after the age of six. I used to spend my summers with him before then gradually stopped going to see him, spending my time with my mother. It was when she met her current husband Phil that I decided to go back and see my father again."

"Why?" she asked, looking down over to me, her light blonde hair curled over her shoulder. "Why would you just choose to stop seeing him then return after years apart? Why not just cut him off?"

That stumped me. It must have been a long time since she had been around her parents, and I knew that was true.

"Because he is my father. I still love him even though I stopped seeing him for a while and my mother wanted to spend time with her new husband travelling around for his baseball."

"Humans surprise me, they really do," she replied softly, her voice drifting away as she turned to gaze outwards before standing up, looking to me. "Well, enough laying around, I'm going to escort you back in. I'm sure my brother is worrying."

I nodded, standing up and moving to follow Dora back inside. I never took the time to fully appreciate how beautiful this place looked when I arrived the first time nor did I the second time, it truly was magnificent with all the gold framed paintings and drapes.

I continued to follow Dora until she stopped just short of the door which I recognised as being Aro's. I didn't quite know why I was here so soon after what had happened but then I had only being around Edward when he was in control, he would run away when he fell to his hunger.

"Do not worry so much, dear Bella, I can hear your heart beating ever so fast," Dora said, smiling. "He is very much impatient to speak with you, it seems you have enthralled my brother. He is a lonely man since his wife left him."

He had a wife? I blinked, slowly making my head nod before walking through the door she opened for me, looking in to find Aro sat on a chair reading a book. His head lifted so he was looking directly at me, his eyes a bright red.

"Isabella," he purred, smiling, lifting his hand to gesture me over. "I'd first like to apologise for my behaviour before. I was out of control since I hadn't gone to my feeding in time. You were in safe hands though, trust me."

"It is fine, Aro. Things happen I guess. Edward never showed me what he was like when he hadn't fed, he insisted I stayed away from him and his family before his hunting trips."

He lightly smiled before standing up, walking to me, his body towering over me as he gazed down at me, making me look like the deer caught in headlights. He leaned down, taking a few sniffs of me which had me confused before he smirked.

"I can understand why he wanted away during a hunting trip or near to one," Aro replied, taking my left hand before leading me to a chair to sit down. "You smell delicious if I say so myself. Now, tell me, are you still in love with Edward?"