So, new chapter. It's short-ish. Not sorry. I feel like the story has been moving a bit slowly, so I hope this is a bit more along the lines of "action." Enjoy.

The next few days passed by in a blur of boredom and monochromatic actions that blended together in a sea of forgettable nothingness. Every morning Gianna would come in with a silver tray laden with breakfast and a box containing a single outfit that I was to wear for the day. Whatever for, I had no clue, since no one saw me but her. At noon she would return with lunch and at approximately six, with dinner. And besides that, nothing, interminable and incessant nothing.

It was madness.

On the fifth day, finally something changed.

Gianna entered the room with breakfast as normal, but this time instead of throwing me an apologetic glance and quickly departing, laid down the box with clothing and began to pull its contents out—a simple crimson dress and, oh god, black pointy heels. I was going to die in those, metaphorically and quite possibly, literally.

"Here," Gianna said, "Eat quickly and get dressed. The masters have requested your presence in the throne room in one hour. I will return for you then." With that she gave me one last pitying smile and walked out of the room, the now familiar sound of a lock sliding into place echoing behind her.

I blanched at the food, choosing to ignore it for the time being as my stomach was turning and twisting and I felt nauseous. Were they finally going to kill me? I had been wondering for days now, why I was still here, why they kept waiting. Were they waiting on the Cullens? Oh god, I had betrayed them, betrayed them all, betrayed Edward. What if they were dead? Would the Volturi kill them? After Aro's statements the days before, I did not doubt it.

I quickly shut down my thoughts before I could go any farther. The last days in this room had been awful, for all I had was my thoughts and they, like cruel demons, would not let me forget that I was weak, that I had told Aro that it was the Cullens who revealed the secret. I was the one person who could have kept the truth from him forever and I was weak and told him. The past days had been consumed with my thoughts of all the awful and terrible possibilities of things that were going to happen to them. I remembered Caius' cruel smile from when I first arrived here and did not doubt that he was capable of a variety of heinous and nefarious acts. I shuddered.

I had also wondered if these past days of nothingness had been a form of torture in and of themselves, a softer torture directed at the very breakable human. I, left to my own destructive thoughts, had spent the better parts of this time crying and crying, sobbing out Edward's name and begging every deity I could think of for mercy and forgiveness. Left for long enough in this state, I was sure that I would descend into depression and eventual madness. I just wanted to go back to my mom and go home and curl up in my stupid, purple bedroom in Edward's arms, falling asleep with the knowledge that I was safe and free from wondering if each day would be my last, if instead of Gianna stepping through that door, it would be a red-eyed monster with the intent to kill.

Keep your wits about you, Bella. You've got this.

Except I didn't have this. This was it. Like it, it. Today was the day I had been dreading since they locked me up in this infernal room; today was the day that I would die.

The thought of it nearly sent me into tears once again and I hoped, that maybe, just maybe, the Cullens had shown up and made everything all right and that I would be able to go home.

You have to hang onto that hope.

Looking at the now cool food, I thought of the irony of my not eating what might just be last meal. Toast and eggs. How dreadfully boring. I didn't even like eggs.

Ignoring all my racing thoughts, I focused all my energies on getting ready, albeit which didn't take much, and told myself that I was determined and strong and no matter what was going to happen I was not going to beg and I was most definitely not going to cry in front of those stupid, evil, spawn of the devil vampires.

Not quite an hour later, the door to my room burst open and instead of an immaculate Gianna walking through in her pencil skirts and clacking heels, a very flustered and slightly disheveled Alice burst through the door, spiky hair in a disarray that still, somehow, managed to look flawless.

"Bella!" she yelled, "Oh thank everything, Bella, Bella, Bella, you're all right!"

Tears swum around my eyes as I breathed in a sigh of relief and I smiled widely, hope surging out from within every bit of my soul. They had come to save me!

"Alice!" I exclaimed, "You came to save me! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh fuck, I'm so sorry for getting myself in this mess and saying who you were and making you come all the way out here. Alice, I've been so scared. This is the worst thing that has ever happened, this is ten times worse than James, god, I'm sorry. Where is Edward? Is he okay? Alice?"

"Shh, Bella, you've got to listen to me, okay?" Alice asked, smoothing back my hair and pulling me to sit next to her on the bed. "This is really important and I am so sorry that things have to work out this way, but trust me, it's for the best."

I was scared now, confused to say the least, and I felt some of my exuberance fall at her words. "What do you mean? Is everything okay? Is Edward okay?" I said, hysteria rising as I truly looked at her, at the blackness of her eyes that were starting to fill with venom tears that would never fall, at the shadows underneath them, and the gauntness of her skin. She looked sick. And vampires didn't get sick, they were flawless, they were perfect.

"Alice?" I whispered, tears starting to fall out of my eyes.

"Easy, it's going to be all right, okay?" I nodded, not really finding any comfort in her words, but trusting in her nonetheless. "Bella, you've got to listen, I don't have much time and this is extremely important. Don't interrupt me, I know this is going to sound shocking and awful and please, remember that I can see the future, right? It is going to be okay."

With these last words she looked me in the eyes, pleading with me to understand her and to listen. I nodded my head, gulping as I did so, as my whole body filled with dread. No, this wasn't going to be good. "But, is Edward okay?" I asked.

Alice bit her lip and looked away and my heart broke as she avoided my eyes, giving me the knowledge that something was very, very wrong. "Alice?"

"He's dead." It was a whisper.

The world stopped.

I drew in a sharp breath and closed my eyes, precious images of Edward flashing across my mind, him smiling and laughing and teasing me and kissing me senseless in our meadow while the sun shone brightly upon his diamond-like skin. He was eternal, he was my everything. It was not possible that he was gone.

"Alice, that's not funny, where is he? What happened?" I pulled out of her grasp, my heart beating frantically, everything slamming back into focus all at once. This could not be happening. "Alice!" I yelled. No, no, no, no. He wasn't dead, she was lying she had to be.

I stood up off the bed and ran toward the door, determined to run away and into that cursed throne room and demand to know where my boyfriend, where my love was, to demand to see him, and scream at everyone that this was the cruelest of all jokes.

Of course, Alice was in front of the door before I was even a quarter of the way there, hands outstretched to grab and pull me into an embrace that I no longer wanted. How could she? How could she tell me he was dead?! He couldn't be dead. He was immortal for fuck's sake.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. My mind began shutting down and I yanked myself away from Alice's arms and backed up into the wall, "Get away from me! You liar! He's not dead!" I screamed it as loud as I could, but the sad and sorrowful look in eyes told me that she was telling nothing but the truth. "NO!"

I sobbed, falling against the wall and curling into myself. He couldn't be dead.

"Bella! Bella, I know, I know how much this sucks, okay? But you've got to listen to me! Bella, focus!" She was shaking my arms now, trying to pull me out of the blackness of despair that I was slowly falling into. I shook my head, nothing else mattered anymore if he truly was dead. Sucks? That was the biggest understatement of my entire life. My world was ending, shattering all around me in broken, jagged shards and the only word she could think of with that perfect vampire brain of hers to describe this was sucks? No.

"Bella, no! Listen!"

I tried pulling away from her again, but her vampire strength prevailed and she yanked me up, sitting me down in the chair and forcing me to look at her. "Is he really gone?" I whispered, hoping that she might suddenly turn and laugh and say that it was all just a fabricated lie and that, of course he was absolutely fine, and I would stay mad for a moment longer, but then laugh and forgive her and leave the room to be held in his welcoming arms.

Edward, I love you.

"Yes," she whispered back. "You've got to listen though, okay? This is really important." I just nodded my head, the fight and the panic suddenly draining away from me as I for the first time, actually considered his death to be a real thing. It didn't matter anymore where I was or what was going to happen; without Edward my life had suddenly lost all meaning to it. Nothing mattered, my purpose was gone, life was once again meaningless.

"You are staying here in Volterra. I'm sorry, but no matter how hard Carlisle fought, we couldn't get you back, he wants you too badly. Aro is going to turn you into a vampire and you will become one of the guard, for a time at least. I do not think that you will see any of us for a very long time." She paused for a moment, holding back her own sobs before continuing. "But that is all irrelevant. Look Bella, this is important. You are going to be happy here—don't look at me like that—I can see it and not matter what changes, it is definitive in my mind. I know it sounds impossible, but things are going to happen and you are going to find happiness. You are going to change this place, slowly and in small ways, but change it nonetheless, and it will make you happy. Do you understand? Follow your heart, Bella. You're future is here and no matter how dark it seems now, it will become very, very bright. Please, do not despair. I lost a brother today and I have no wish to lose a sister as well to this madness."

I waited a few moments before responding, watching Alice take in the dead look in my eyes, "You're insane."

Alice sighed, pulling me into a hug, "I'm so, so, sorry Bella. This is my fault, I should have seen you decide to go on that stupid tour. I failed you and my family, I'm sorry."

I could feel the heartbrokenness in her voice and I knew that she thought this to be true, that somehow she was to blame for this lunacy that I had caused. "No, Alice, no this is my fault, there was no way you could have foreseen this, it was a spur of the moment-"

She cut me off, "Bella this is not your fault, Edward should have told why he forbade you to go here, instead of making into something mysterious and interesting. I should have seen this occur and realized what would happen and stepped in to explain to you why you shouldn't come within a hundred miles of this place. Do not guilt yourself, your curiosity was natural and inspired by our own foolish actions."

"I wish they had just killed me instead." I didn't mean to say it out loud, but it had been the prevailing thought that was pounding relentlessly in the back of my mind. I wish the Volturi had just killed me, eliminating the threat, and moved on. No one else needed to get hurt.

"Bella," Alice started, a stern look in her eyes, "I never want to hear you say that again. Promise me something, okay?" She cupped my chin in her hand, brushing back my tangled hair with the other.

"What?" I asked, doubting I would want to keep her promise.

"Move on, forget all that pains you and try, please, try to find the happiness that is just waiting for you to happen upon it."

"Alice, I don't-"

"Please," she was truly begging me now, a desperate look in her eyes. She wanted me to be okay, she wanted me to find happiness, even if it was away from her and her family.

"Okay," I whispered, looking away and giving a noncommittal shrug, acting as if I was just agreeing for the sake of agreeing, which I was. Except, somehow, something inside me yearend to be at peace and to be happy, even if it was in a gothic castle full of creepy vampires in dark, billowing cloaks, and somehow, despite my heart being torn in two by the loss of the man I loved, I meant it.

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Songs: "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues and "Tennis Court" by Lorde