A/N: I do apologize for the late update, but as you know life can be bothersome with all its updates. Enjoy the chapter and know that I'm already working on 13 so you will not have to wait very long. As always, don't forget to review!

Chapter Twelve:

BELLA & ANGELA

The Grand Canyon turned out to be a bust, much to Angela's disappointment. I should have anticipated the traffic and the tourists. Neither of us was fond of the idea of being surrounded by so many people just to see a canyon, but I hadn't and the hour we spent cramped between sweaty bodies and screaming kids had us both gritting our teeth. So after a few pictures and a short skywalk we hopped back in the car, disappointed and wondering where to go next.

"We could always visit Phoenix Bella," Angela offered as she leaned her head back against the headrest and closed her eyes. We had the air conditioner cranked up and I couldn't help but mimic her movements and enjoy the cold air. "It's only three hours south of here."

I felt almost embarrassed that I hadn't thought of that first, after all how many times had I stared at the rain hitting the window in Charlie's house and begged myself to go back? For years, even with the Cullens to distract me, I had longed to see my home again, to be back in the hustle and bustle of the big city where no one stopped and stared at you. You could get lost in the sea of people and not one person would catalogue your every move to spread it around in the afternoon gossip talk.

The very thought made me smile and I couldn't help but agree. "They have the cutest shops downtown." The thought of the shopping downtown instead of the small shops in Port Angeles or the expensive designer stores that Alice preferred had me sold in a heartbeat.

"Alrighty then, to Phoenix we go." She grinned and put the car in drive.

As expected the afternoon that followed was spent with a wide eyed Angela and me grinning harder than I had in years. Seattle was the biggest city Angela had ever been to and Phoenix was easily two or three time the size. She was having a blast getting lost in the crowd while I had slid back into big city life with surprising ease. For hours Angela and I walked up and down the streets of downtown and in and out of shops that I had once shopped in with my mother. Angela had been great as she approved or trashed outfits I picked out, some foolishly silly just to keep her entertained. Without realizing it I had purchased an entire wardrobe and blown through a healthy chunk of the cash in my purse.

It wasn't until we were shoe shopping that Angela said anything about my impromptu spree.

"So Bella," Angela drawled slowly as she held up a cute wedged sandal and eyeing critically. "Not that I'm complaining, but why the sudden spree?"

I shrugged as I sat on one of the stools and tried on a pair of dark brown leather cowboy boots that reached my mid-calf and smiled. "I spent a long time trapped in dreary and drab." I was tired of feeling like I was still dressing for Forks. Phoenix inspired me again, I couldn't wear jeans and long sleeve tops in the scorching heat I had missed so much.

"Well," Angela said as she dropped yet another pair of shoes onto the pile she had built. "I'm sure Emmett would be happy."

My smile dropped a little and my heart gave a brief pang. I missed Emmett very much and I would kill to see him. Most days I was tempted to use the credit card that burned a hole in my wallet because I knew he would be able trace it and find out where I was. It was something that Emmett would do. But while I desperately wanted to see him there was also a very real chance of all of the Cullens tagging along and I wanted to run into Victoria more than I wanted to see them.

"Yeah," I replied as I slipped off the boots and added them to my pile. "I think so too."

After our day tour in Phoenix the backseat of the car was full and my freshly painted toes were hanging out the window as the warm wind whipped by. Angela hummed quietly to the classical music that floated from the speakers softly and I was nose deep in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, one of the few books I hadn't been able to part with when I had left Forks. The battered copy full of highlighted quotes and dog eared pages was one of the few books that felt like home as I comfortably slid between the pages.

I didn't bother asking where we were going but as we crossed into New Mexico I couldn't help but set my book down and take in the desert that surrounded us, bathed in rich gold's as the sun set. There wasn't much to do here unless you enjoyed seeing some old Native American homes built into the cliffs, but even that was hours to the west.

PETER & DEMETRI

"You are sure we should stop?" Demetri asked hesitantly as the glaring yellow police tape surrounding the abandoned gas station came into view. Human law enforcement tended to be extremely nosy and he knew from experience that they could be alarmingly observant when properly motivated.

"Never been wrong before," Peter grumbled in response. Obviously he wasn't thrilled about the idea either.

The truck rolled to a slow stop on the side of the rode a few hundred yards away and Demetri wasted no time in stepping out. Peter was beside him the next second, tension surrounding him like a storm cloud. Neither one of them had picked up on Bella Swan's scent or tenor in the last twenty hours and Demetri couldn't help but wonder if she had been harmed here.

At least nine different scents were woven around the taped off parking lot but none of them were the human Demetri was looking for. Inside however was a very different story. The old and out dated counter as well as the wall of cigarettes had been sprayed with blood and the floor about three feet away had heavier pools that had dried and crusted. Demetri glanced at his longtime friend and suppressed a shudder when he was met with black eyes glittering in a deadly fury.

Of the nine scents outside only five of them were in the shop. Demetri had concluded that the shop keeper behind the counter had been killed; due to the sheer amount of blood on the floor behind the counter and that a second male had been either injured or killed where Peter stood. "She was here." He stated this as if it were surprising to him and Demetri wisely kept his sarcasm to himself. The war-born vampire was teetering on an edge Demetri had seen many vampires lose their existences to and he was not about to join them. So as to give his friend the illusion of a private moment Demetri turned and inhaled deeply for the first time.

What he found was the ninth and final scent. An allure so mouthwatering, so delectable, that Demetri actually had to wipe venom from his chin as it pooled in his mouth and spilled over his lips. Sultry whispers over aged red wine seemed to engulf him in a storm of smoky spiciness; his red eyes rolled back into his head as his lids slipped shut and Demetri was thrown back in time.

The sun had just sank into the intoxicating arms of Morpheus and the silvery light of the moon had become doused in the golden glow of the hundreds of candles that decorated the large dining hall. The sight was one to behold, the polished marble floors gleamed and the white stone columns gave way to a terrace with a sculpture of the great Sophocles surrounded by great green plants and flowers of every color imaginable. Twenty five of Greece's most notable and influential people sat around a large wooden table filled with every kind of food Demetri had ever tasted and many that he had never even heard of. In the corner was his father, a hearty man whose face was pink from the wine in his goblet, talking to his mother with a hungry expression. Her curly raven hair spilled around her face and elongated her high cheek bones. Deep blue eyes that were identical to his own sparkled in merriment, flicking to him every so often in silent question. Each time the answer was the same, he had not chosen a bride.

The girls of his father's choosing had grouped together like a pack of animals, each only there for the bolster in confidence it gave them and each of them willing to tear the other's hair out for a chance at producing his heir. Demetri gave one last uninterested look before his eyes turned to the familiar dour face of his younger brother, Ambrose.

"Smile brother, for shortly this will be your party and you shall finally be forced to grace the company of a female." Ambrose said nothing as Bion and Callias laughed heartily beside them, instead he pierced Demetri with a dark glare before turning away.

As quick as the memory had come it faded and Demetri was thrown back to the present with startling force. While he had no physical need for breath his lungs sucked it in with a loud and harsh whoosh, causing the pooling venom to be sucked back and Demetri choked, apparently breaking Peter from his brooding. The blonde vampire laughed just as Bion had, loud and emphatically. It was all Demetri could do to keep his legs from collapsing underneath him and he grabbed the rack nearest him as he inhaled once more, slowly this time, and lost himself in the addictive scent.

"Demetri?" Demetri heard Peter call but his voice sounded miles away and was laced in a plethora of questions. Questions Demetri had no answer for.

"Who is she?" Demetri asked quietly, feeling like he had been struck by lightning, every nerve ending had flared to life for one glorious moment before overloading and exploding. He could feel the ghost of a tingle in the tips of his fingertips and now without it he felt strangely empty.

"Who is who?" Peter asked, completely lost. He was fairly astounded when his friend shot him an annoyed look.

Demetri didn't answer as he straightened up and Peter watched him turn around and wipe his chin with a cloth he had pulled from his pocket. Crimson eyes went wide as whisper of a word came to the forefront in his mind. Mated. "No fucking way," Peter gaped at his friend and felt his mind go blank in shock when he received no refutes.

And then he laughed. Only this time it was the kind of laugh that had venom pooling in his eyes, blurring his vision, and left him gasping for unnecessary breath as his fist slammed down on the counter, shattering the glass. His prudish friend who had pined over Heidi for centuries had found a mate...a human mate. "This is priceless." Peter finally managed and laughed again at his friend's exasperated expression.

'They're traveling together.' Yodameister made a sudden appearance for the first time since he had called Demetri and those three words had Peter snapping his jaw shut so hard that it was audible; the laughter dying as if he had snapped its neck.

"What are the odds of our mates being friends?" Peter felt as dumbfounded as Demetri looked. But no more than a moment passed before a predatory smirk curled Demetri's lips.

"I could track her to the ends of the Earth. There is nowhere they can hide now." Peter felt his own lips curl and he turned to leave knowing Demetri would follow. They had mates to track.

BELLA & ANGELA

The White Sands motel was probably the worst motel I had ever stayed in; in fact it might have been the single worst motel I had ever seen. It looked like one of those pay by the hour joints that you saw in movies where druggies went to get high and prostitutes took dubious looking men to turn tricks. I glanced at Angela and found her looking at the rundown motel much like I was, with a whole lot of distaste and suspicion. "It looked nicer on the Internet." She offered weakly and my head fell back against the head rest.

I did not want to use the bathroom here, let alone sleep, but this was the only motel for miles, the others all bunched together in town and we had already decided we wanted to be in the middle of nowhere if we had the chance. "Why don't we check in and see if the inside is as bad as the outside. We could always run into town and grab a few things if need be."

So we grabbed our purses and made our way to the office. The walls were a dingy, dirty yellow color and the air was stuffy and smelled of cigarettes. The only circulation that I could find was the old metal fan that looked to have been made in the seventies on the check in desk. "Hullo," a male voice came and as I took a few more steps a man came into view. I couldn't stop the cringe that twisted my face so I ducked my head and let Angela do the talking.

"Hello, how much for two nights?" It was like walking into a cliche. The man had a thin, lanky frame and his hollowed cheeks gave the impression of a junkie. He had on a nasty yellowish shirt that appeared to have been white some point in time or another and a jaw full of a week's worth of scruff peppered with gray that matched the thin greasy hair on his head.

Oh how I didn't want to make the hour drive twice a day or else I would have walked right out when the guy spit a fat wad of dark brown stuff into an empty Aquafina bottle and said, "Fifty a night miss."

Angela looked to me and I shrugged noncommittally. "Do you have a room with two beds?"

And just when I thought this place couldn't get any worse he replied with, "Nope."

"We'll take one room for two nights." The man nodded and turned to grab a key off the hook from the wall behind him.

Angela turned to me and grabbed my arm, "Are you sure?"

"We already drove into town and back; let's just see how the rooms are. If we need to we can just leave." She nodded and handed the guy her black card as he laid the key on the counter. My eyes followed her hand and I could have stopped it if my body hadn't locked up as he processed the card.

Would he come? Would they follow him?

My breath caught in my throat and a delicious mix of anxiety and adrenaline pumped through my veins. I felt like I was on a roller coaster just waiting to be dropped in a free fall.

"There we go, jus' sign here miss." Angela took the card and grabbed a pen to sign the receipt. I grabbed the key from the counter and turned over the plastic key chain, we had room seven.

The entire four minutes it took to move our car down three spaces in front of our room and retrieve our bags my heart was thumping wildly, as if the Cullens would somehow pop into existence and come walking up the sidewalk. However they quickly faded from my mind as Angela unlocked the door and pushed it open. Inside there was a double bed to the left with a picture of an ocean overhead that was a cruel taunt to the luxurious beach side cottage that we had fallen in love with. To the right was a stiff floral print couch next to a small TV on an outdated stand. And in the back was a small bathroom, the sink and the mirror separate from the toilet and shower. All in all it wasn't too terribly bad because I hadn't expected it to be so clean, but it was depressingly lacking in the décor.

"I'll take the sofa," I offered as I set my duffel bag on the stiff cushions.

"Are you sure?" Angela asked with a dubious look. "We could share the bed." I managed to bite back the laughter that bubbled its way up my throat and shook my head silently. It was hot enough in the middle of the desert without Angela becoming my blanket.

EMMETT

Emmett was enjoying a rare afternoon alone, with the others having gone out to hunt he had decided to use this time to plug in his gaming system and take out some very repressed anger on some German Nazis. Time alone like this had become a rarity in the Cullen household now that the family had once again come together under one roof so he had no intention of wasting the refreshing silence or the relaxing flow of his thoughts that he did not have to monitor for a few precious hours. He also had no need for false smiles or old jokes that he knew the others saw through.

No one dared even think about the tension that charged the atmosphere, surrounding and suffocating them as each vampire went about their lives as if Forks had never happened. It was the unspoken law. But deep in the recesses of Emmett's mind, layered behind mindless babble and sexually exploitative memories that never failed to keep Edward from digging any further, lay the hurt, the anger, the guilt, and the overwhelming need to shout at each and every Cullen, including his mate.

His mate was the worst of them all. Rosalie had been steadfast in her decision to support Edward's demand that they leave Forks. Emmett had begged and pleaded her to stay with him, that they couldn't just leave the girl who had grown to be his family just as much as Alice or Jasper, and while he could clearly see how much it hurt her to deny him, her mate, anything, she had. Rose had reminded him that while Bella had become family, his argument to stay, they had an obligation as family to care for her best interests. Bella was too young, too naïve to know the consequences of being part of the Cullen family. That it was best that they had left when she asked rather than her forgiving nature take over and her dream to become a vampire be rekindled. As much as Emmett hated his mate's logic, it had made a sick sense. No seventeen year old wanted children and Bella had only scratched the surface of the horrors their life could and did hold.

But that still did not assuage Emmett's guilt. Or the small part of him from resenting them all, himself included, for leaving. Things had been tense between them ever since.

Emmett threw the controller down on the coffee table in front of him. He felt the familiar cloud of gloom fall over him that appeared whenever his thoughts were allowed to stray down this dark path. The only bright spot in this whole mess was the fact that he had left her "the box". No one, not even Rose, knew about the safety deposit box and its contents. He had set it all up with Jasper's attorney Jenks and left it in his capable hands with a few not so veiled threats. That box was to go to Isabella Swan on her twenty first birthday, or if she cleared out her account in Forks.

That day in Rio when he received the text alert had been one of the happiest he had had since Bella's birthday disaster. Of course Rose had thought that he was finally getting over Bella, but as much as it hurt to lie to his mate, Emmett hadn't been able to correct her. His throat had closed and his mouth had gone dry, leaving him in an uncomfortable and unprecedented state of swirling guilt and fear. He would never forgive himself for lying to his soul mate, but he would also never forgive himself for leaving Bella.

Just as Emmett swore at the screen and crushed the plastic controller in his hands he felt his phone vibrate in his back pocket. Like every time before a single thought begged in his mind, 'Come on Bells, use the card and let me know you are okay'. He pulled the phone out and looked down at the screen. This time though, it read: ALERT! ISABELLA SWAN ALERT!

"Yes!" Emmett exclaimed loudly as a fist punched the air, knowing that no one was around to hear him.

'Use it as much as you want. It's all for you.' he thought. Just as that thought crossed his mind a loud growl came from the front porch. In a blur of a millisecond Emmett was behind the couch and crouched as the front door was kicked off its hinges. Edward was crouched in the doorway, venom pooling in his mouth, dripping down onto his chin, and his eyes were black as night.

"Why are you thinking of my Bella?" Edward growled loudly, looking a hair's width from lunging and Emmett prepared himself.

"She's not yours. You left her." replied Emmett in nasty snarl, probably more antagonistic than defensive but he had waited too long to say this.

"She is my mate; I left her so she could live a normal life. Like she wanted." He punctuated the last part in an echoing of snarls of a feral beast, his face screwed up in a a kind of torment that Emmett had once held felt pity for.

"Keep telling yourself that Eddie, you are the only one that believes it." Emmett knew the house was split, nobody knew what to do on the situation with Bella, but at this point his only intention was pushing Edward's buttons.

"She is mine!" Edward roared and lunged, barreling into Emmett and sending them both flying across the room and through a wall.

They wrestled, snarling and snapping at one another on the green grass until Esme yelled, "ENOUGH!" The shock of seeing her so livid was enough to halt their actions.

BELLA & ANGELA

The heat of the desert was scorching, so much so that Angela and I had forgone any thought of exploration of the mighty sand dunes and cranked the air conditioner as low as it would go. Unsurprisingly, that wasn't far. So I lounged on the stiff couch, finding comfort in its tight fabric that held me as I spread out my limbs and laid my book down on my chest. It was too hot to concentrate on the small words and my eyes kept drifting shut of their own accord. I fought to stay awake, but when I found Angela snoring lightly as an episode Maury played I gave in and sunk into a peaceful oblivion.

It was dark when I felt Angela tugging me awake and I hastily wiped the drool that had crusted at the corner of my mouth away. "Change your mind about the sofa yet?" She asked as she turned and opened the tiny mini fridge. My mind took a moment to process her question.

"Actually no," I replied as I sat up and stretched out my limbs. The stiffness of the sofa had actually been comfortable.

Two pre-packaged chicken salad sandwiches, a bag of chips, and some Pepsi was our dinner before Angela was eagerly pulling me out of the door of our room, her dark green sled with the Ninja Turtles faces on the bottom in hand. She had purchased it in town when we had stocked up on food under the defense that she was not lucky enough to have an invisible shield to keep her from harm whilst she sled down the massive dunes. I only snorted in amusement and yanked on my cowboy boots as she locked the door and tucked the key in her pocket.

From the small motel the Great Sand Dunes had looked quite the sight, but as we climbed our way up, our feet sinking into the sand as we climbed, we found them to be massive. Even my shield was little help against it. But even if our legs were burning the joy I felt as I rode down, face first, out-shined any pain. With my shield firmly around me I somersaulted and leaped landing gently on my side as I rolled down the giant dunes, away from the motel. I landed at the bottom of the dune on my back and turned my head to Angela who was waiting patiently at the top for my go ahead. Once she was firmly wrapped and secured I shouted, "Go ahead!" and Angela leaped into the air, attempting to surf her way down with her green plastic sled.

"WOO!" I shouted in humor as she made it a few seconds before panic morphed her features and she fell back, rolling as I had, gently against the sand. That was how we ended up, two hours later, our heads side by side as we watched the stars. It turns out neither of us had ever seen a sight quite like it.

While I was from a big city where stars were few and far between, Forks also had never been a good place for astronomy with its near constant overcast. "Is that one the Big Dipper?" Angela asked as her hand pointed to one of the dippers. I was pretty sure it wasn't, after all it wasn't big at all. It was just a dipper.

"I don't think so," I replied, looking farther out.

We fell silent after that and I'm not sure what Angela was thinking about, but I couldn't help but feel tiny under the night's sky. The sheer number of stars astounded me and just watching them was fascinating.

"You ever think about mates Bella?" Angela asked after about an hour of solitude and I turned my head awkwardly to give her an 'are you kidding me' look. She half laughed and looked back at the stars, "I know but just the theory behind it. That soul mates actually exist…is so," she paused and for the first time I heard Angela let out a dreamy sigh, "I mean my mate could be walking around out there right now."

The snort that escaped me couldn't be repressed and I pulled myself off the ground. Looking down at her I said, "Alright missy that's quite enough stargazing for you." and reached down to grasp her hand and help pull her up. "Besides, even if they are walking the Earth at this very moment, the odds of meeting them are what? One in like seven billion? He could live in Russia and not even speak English."

Angela looked at me skeptically as she grabbed her sled, "You're very pessimistic." I couldn't help but laugh as we began our trek back, my shield only helping keep the sand away.

"No," I replied, "I'm a realist."

For most of the next day Angela and I slept with the thick heavy curtains drawn closed and the air conditioner cranked. It was about three when we woke and with the heat we decided to cuddle up in pajamas on the small bed and eat the large bag of gummy bears I had picked out while watching bad reality TV shows and mocking their stupidity.

Four hours later I was dressed in a sun dress I bought in Phoenix with my cowgirl boots to match and ready to go, but this time it was Angela being dragged out. She was doing her hair and then growling at the mirror and undoing it only to repeat the process. While I had a simple braid Angela had gone through messy buns, buns, ponytails, braids, and French braids only to growl in aggravation each time. In the end, after many threats of sand in sensitive places she decided on two simples braids and I was rolling my eyes.

People were just leaving as Ange and I made our way up the dunes, excited for another night of sledding, now more so because we were more confident. For the first hour we simply sled, waiting for the stragglers to pack up and leave. Finally we were alone and I took off and at a running pace I leaped into the air, landing on my knees and slid with the giggles of my delight trailing behind me in the wind.

"GO ANGE!" I called as I slid to a stop and wrapped her up. She surprised me by once again attempting to surf with the green sled and actually made it halfway before her look of cautious hope turned to panic and she flew forwards, tumbling gracelessly to the bottom, unharmed. "Nice," I drawled sarcastically earning the finger from her. Looking back up the dunes had my calves screaming in protest, my body was not used to the amount of work that I had been forcing upon it after wallowing in Forks for years. It made me realize how unhealthy I was even after the pack had resurrected my mind from the land of the dead. My muscles were not up to par with the athletic Angela who was already working her way back up. So I stopped and sat down, half way up, hot and sweaty with stray hairs that had worked their way free from the braid sticking to my face.

But then an idea popped into my mind, it came suddenly striking as fast as Angela rocketing down the dune. If I could move my shield, could I perhaps move it while I was inside it? When Angela was at the bottom and spinning round in the sand in her shield with a smile I concentrated on moving it. A shocked scream pierced the peaceful night air and I smirked rather smugly as Angela looked to me with startled eyes, hovering a good distance in the air. "Bella! Wha-" She cut off with a yelp as I focused every part of my mind, moving her slowly up the dune. In less than a minute Angela was hovering just over the dune with peals of laughter floating down to me as she spun around like a ballerina. "Higher Bella!" So I focused once again only to find that raising her up higher was already as easy as breathing. "It's stunning Bella!" she called in a delighted voice and I found myself wanting to see for myself the beautiful picture she painted with words of how stunning the dunes were at night.

"Put me down," Angela's sudden demand caught me off guard and I opened my mouth to try and tell her not to worry, that I had her and that she was not about to fall, but she looked down to me and I could vaguely make out the terror in her features. "Bella now. We're not alone." Her words washed over me like ice water dousing the fire of fun I'd been having and in seconds she was by my side, both of us now protected under my shield.

"What do you-" My words cut off as Angela grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly. There, just over the horizon in the silvery light of the moon were two figures that I was sure had not been there before. No, not now...not yet...My chest constricted as if bound by barbwire and I felt my fight or flight instinct sending adrenaline pumping through my veins even though I knew I could not run. I wasn't ready yet. I had only just started this journey, had only just found Angela and my gift. I wanted...no I needed more time. Surely I hadn't been such a horrible person in a past life that I had such a short time of happiness, hadn't I had enough heartbreak to last three or four lifetimes?

I could feel Angela shaking beside me, her breath erratic and a single tear escaped her eye. Our postures were rigid as we watched them descend from the dune on the horizon and they slunk into the shadows like graceful shadows themselves, invisible to my human eyes. "No matter what happens Ange," I whispered to her quietly even though I knew that my voice would carry in the wind and betray our privacy, "I love you." I tried to convey everything I wanted to say in those three little words but it didn't come close, I had no other words for her.

"I love you too Bella," she whispered, her voice catching when the figures came back into our line of sight. Back in the moonlight were two dark figures crossing the desert slower than I knew was possible but still faster than any human could ever hope to travel.

My broken, twisted, and gnarled heart crescendoed into a rhythm so fast I could only feel a steady vibration. They were closing in now, sticking to the shadowed parts of the land but now they were close enough for our eyes to follow their outlines. My eyes strained against the darkness for any others but finding only the two figures drawing closer they searched in a numbing terror for fiery hair whipping in the wind. My baited breath released in small relief as it appeared to be two male figures and not Victoria herself. And though I knew our chances for escaping this were still slim and that our deaths would probably be swifter than if Victoria herself had come, I couldn't help but feel a raging determination explode within me. A refusal to die seeped from my core like a toxic yellowed gas, corroding away the metal wire that had constricted my chest until it rusted and disintegrated, allowing my lungs to work.

As the two vampires came within twenty feet of us I tucked Angela behind myself in some sort of instinctual attempt to shield her away from the danger that had chased me. And then the pair once again stepped into the silver moonlight only this time not seven or eight feet from us and my eyes were intuitively drawn to the taller rugged man in a black leather jacket. He had blond hair and a crooked grin that creased his flawless pale cheeks, crinkling his straight nose in such a way that sent my heart racing into a distant time. A time where I would wander in an abandoned park under the cover of night, to read in the moonlight on a painted swing set. A time when the leaves would blow in the winds of March, turning even my inelegance into the most beautiful dancer. The ghost of him seemed to cling to my most sacred memories, warming my very soul like the most luxurious bubble bath. He had a presence that scrubbed away every smudge, smoothed every scar, and filled every hole, seamlessly repairing me as if he were the collector and I was to be his most prized china doll.

For the first time in my life I felt a peace that radiated from my very soul.

I watched in silent rapture as he spoke, his thin lips forming words that floated through the air like a deep note of a cello, swirling around in my head before drifting away before any meaning lingered in it's place. And then pain erupted in my side and I was knocked out of whatever trance I had been spelled into and I looked to Angela whose brown eyes were slightly dazed and even though her eyebrows were knitted together there was a small smile playing on her lips.

"My names Peter Whitlock ma'am," the blond vampire drawled in a thick southern drawl that made my palms sweat, but I didn't let go of Angela's hand. I looked into the vampire's, Peter's, bright crimson eyes and realized I had heard that name before somewhere but it was like grasping at smoke, there but just tauntingly out of reach.

"And I am Demetri Volturi," I'm not sure whether the thick Italian accent or the surname shocked me more but Angela and I gasped in tandem. This dark haired man that towered over me and had glowing red eyes was a member of the Volturi. This man wasn't part of Victoria's schemes at all...we had been found out.