Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Angel's Embrace Chapter 40

"Wow, that's just beautiful," I sighed, looking out the window of the limo. "When was the last time you were here?"
"Early nineties. Right, Edward?" Jasper verified, leaning over to look out with me. Edward nodded, playing with a lock of my hair. He had been quiet since we landed. The four of us were sharing a limo, following two more cars out of the city of Rome. The lights of the night streaked by outside the tinted windows but from what I could see, it was gorgeous.
"Enough, Alice," Edward frowned, shaking his head. "It's not important."
Jasper and I looked at each other and then back to our spouses. "Spill it," we both said, folding our arms across our chests.
"If it's not important," Alice smirked, flipping her tiny hand in the air, "then you can share it. She won't be upset."
"Oh hell," I sighed, scooting back over to sit by my husband. "What is it?"
He glared at our sister and she ignored him completely. "I thought about coming here once," he mumbled, looking down at his hands and then out the side window. "If you had really died jumping off that cliff..." His voice trailed off.
"For what?" I asked, putting my fingers to his chin and making him look at me.
"He would have asked the Volturi to end him," Alice growled, sticking her tongue out at him when he sighed dramatically at her.
"Right," I nodded, a smile playing on my face. "Can't live in a world where I don't exist."
His eyes snapped to mine, hard and angry, but softened when he realized that I completely understood. Relax, baby, I sighed, my brow wrinkling as I brushed his hair from his forehead, placing a soft kiss there. You could have told me. I get it.
"Really?" He whispered, his head falling back to the head rest. I mirrored his position with a nod.
"They would have turned you down," Alice smirked. "And you would have caused a huge scene. It wouldn't have been worth it."
I couldn't help but laugh. Alice could really take the sting out of some tough conversations. I completely adored her for it.
"Hmm," Jasper mused, looking back out the window as the city faded into countryside, "Eddie losing his temper...who would have thought?"
I snorted, looking up through the sunroof. It seemed every star was twinkling brighter here than on US soil. It looked amazing.
"You think they're funny?" Edward growled in my ear.
"I think you have a temper and a flair for the dramatics," I smiled, cupping his face and kissing his nose. "But I lived and you didn't come here. No blood, no foul. Didn't you say that once?"
"I did," he said, fighting his smile. He was so ridiculously handsome. God, I loved him with a sickness sometimes. He heard that thought, his face softening completely. "Me too, sweet girl," he sighed, snuggling closer to look out the sunroof with me. "They do seem brighter here, you're right." He picked up my hand and kissed it, laying his head on my shoulder.
Alice and Jasper whispered to themselves on the other side of the car, leaving us alone. Edward nuzzled my neck, saying, "We could see some things before we leave, my love. I could show you Verona."
"Romeo and Juliet?" I asked, giggling that he would think of that first for me to see. Not Rome or the Vatican, not even the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No, he wanted to show me where Shakespeare was inspired to write my favorite story of all time. "Nice," I smiled, biting my lip. The joy that flickered across his face at my acceptance was too sweet. "They say it's just a rumor, that it's not really the real balcony," I pouted.
"Doesn't matter," he smirked, "people flock there anyway. And you can almost see the whole thing play out around you."
"There's a statue of Juliet there," I laughed, knowing he would know what I was talking about.
"Yes," he chuckled, "they say if you rub her right breast, your love life will increase." His smirk turned deadly as his eyebrow rose sexily. I couldn't help the air that rushed out of me, which only caused him to chuckle darkly and place an open mouth kiss to my neck.
"Poor, poor Juliet," I sighed, "if she only knew..."
"Violated by millions of tourists," he cracked up.
The window went down between the driver and the back of the limo. Edward's laugh stopped abruptly and his attention focused on the announcement that was being spoken in Italian.
"We're almost there," he sighed, sitting up straight. "He said that Demitri wants to be dropped off together in the underground parking facility. We are to walk in together."
We all nodded, accepting Demitri's orders, but we turned to Alice by habit. She frowned, "Nothing tonight. No one reveals themselves. I imagine they will wait until Marcus is inside. They know he's coming with new 'friends'."
"They'll wait out the situation then – get a feel for why we returned with him," Jasper nodded, frowning up at the sunroof when we entered into a long tunnel. With the tilt of the car, I could tell we were going underground. Stone walls were the only view out the windows. Out of habit, I took Edward's hand.
The underground garage echoed as we all got out and slammed the car doors behind us. Marcus stood in front of us, a serious expression on his face. "They know I'm alive and coming home, they have no idea as to why I'm bringing you. Carlisle, you haven't been here in years, but your old suite is yours. The rest of you...we'll get you settled."
"Thank you, Marcus," Carlisle sighed, looking towards the sound of footsteps approaching us. His eyes instantly flickered to us, his family.
"It's a miracle," the man breathed, looking at Marcus, who was wearing an unreadable expression. "Marcus, welcome home," he smiled, taking Marcus' hand and kissing the top of it.
"Ah, Stephano," Marcus smiled, "let me introduce you to my company." Stephano froze at the sight of Demitri and Carina, fear flickered across his features and he mumbled what could only be a curse in Italian.
"Peace, Stephano," Demitri smirked. It seemed he liked to see the fear and respect. "Times are changing. There's no need to fear Felix anymore." This statement seemed to bring comfort to Stephano, but his crimson eyes stayed sharp, a smile spreading over his face.
"Thank you, Demitri," Stephano bowed slightly. "Marcus, all the rooms you requested are ready. Imelda saw to it."
"Excellent," Marcus nodded. "Meet the Cullens," he smiled, placing a friendly hand on Emmett's large shoulder. "Emmett and Rosalie, Jasper and Alice, Edward and Isabella, and Carlisle and Esme."
At the sound of Carlisle's name, the vampire's eyes widened. "I've heard of you – heard stories of when you were here."
Carlisle smiled graciously with a quick nod. "I'm sure," he chuckled.
"You were a legend," Marcus smiled and then turned back to Stephano. "Would you please see that my friends have everything they need? And arrange for a meeting in the auditorium tomorrow morning. Every resident and employee should attend. No exceptions."
"Yes, sir," he smiled. When he turned to lead us down the hallway, Marcus locked eyes with Edward and then Jasper.
"It's fine," Edward nodded. "He's more interested in hearing how you survived than anything else."
"He's nervous," Jasper shrugged. "But I would be too," he chuckled, slapping Marcus' back.
"Good," he sighed, "I see his loyalty, but I wanted to make sure."
The walls of the dark hallway were damp as water trickled from somewhere above and down to the floor. Our footsteps echoed around us as we followed Stephano through the winding paths. I realized that in reality, the place was built for never having to step foot in the sunlight if necessary. For a moment, I wondered if there were passageways all over the city like this – underground, allowing one to get to anywhere without going outside.
"Yes," Edward smiled and nodded, squeezing my hand.
We made our way to a reception area. The human facade was immaculate, perfect. A human walking in those doors would never know that they were entering in the lair of many vampires. We were on the street level, glass doors to our left and a reception desk to our right. I bit back a smile when Rose snorted. The receptionist was, indeed, a human. And she was extremely pretty. Her dark brown hair was curly and pulled half up with tendrils in her face. Her eyes were a deep brown, but sharp and intelligent. She was petite, wearing a beautiful black dress that showed off a graceful neck and smooth olive skin. She looked so young, eighteen or nineteen at most.
"Marcus," Stephano stopped, "this is Elena. She's new to the company." Her eyes widened and her heartbeat increased at the sight of the last royal Volturi brother. She stood nervously.
"Sit, sit," Marcus sighed. I could tell that he wasn't used to being the one in charge or having all the attention on him. I imagined that Aro held that role with pride and arrogance. "It's nice to meet you," he said flippantly.
Elena sat back down, looking down the line at us. I heard Edward snort as she eyed the men in my family. When her gaze reached my husband, her heartbeat increased and her eyes dilated. For once, couldn't the women crush on Jasper or Emmett? Just once? Even Carlisle would be a welcomed change – he was handsome too, for God's sake.
Edward's silent laughter at my side did not go unnoticed and I elbowed him for eavesdropping. He gripped my hand, squeezing it and then bringing it up to his lips for a kiss. With a quick and silent turn of my wedding ring, he told me everything. When I looked up into his handsome face, there was a smile playing on his lips, but the raised eyebrow asked the simple question.
Yeah, yeah, I smirked, I'm it...no one else. Does she know what she works for? He nodded as we started to follow Marcus and Stephano. Apparently, we missed the last of the conversation, but that wasn't unusual for us. And we don't scare her? He shook his head, avoiding her stare as we walked by her desk. Interesting.
A few more turns and up a few flights of steps and we were in what looked like the residential part of the castle. There was a sitting room in the center and doors on each side of the long stone hallways. Carlisle and Esme were across the hall from the room we were led into, Jasper and Alice on one side of us and Emmett and Rose on the other. Marcus left us, heading further upstairs.
Before we entered our room, Stephano stopped us all. "He said you are free to come and go as you please. If you need to hunt," he paused, catching sight of our eyes, but didn't falter, "it must be done outside the city. Those are the rules."
"Thank you, Stephano," Carlisle nodded, "I still remember how to traverse this place, so we'll be fine." Stephano left us and Carlisle turned to his family. "Don't hunt tonight, stay close."
"Indeed," Jasper chuckled, looking around and taking Alice by the hand. She froze for a moment, her brow wrinkling and then smoothing out into a wry smile.
"They'll leave us for the night," she smiled with a sigh. "But tomorrow's meeting might be interesting."
"I see that," Edward frowned. "We'll be needed by Marcus' side," he said, turning to Carlisle, who nodded like he thought as much.
Edward shut the door behind us as we walked into our room. It smelled of new furniture and fresh paint. "Did all of this burn, you think?"
"From what I saw in Marcus' mind, yes," he smiled, looking around. It was extraordinarily beautiful. With a castle feel, but a homey warmth, the room was decorated in what seemed to be antiques and linens in gold and reds. However, the french doors to the balcony were too much for me to resist.
A warm breeze blew my hair back as I walked out into the night air. I couldn't help but smile as I took in the beauty of Volterra down below. We were a few hours from sunrise, so the lights of the village were breathtaking. Terracotta rooftops spread out below. "That's beautiful," I sighed, leaning back into Edward when he walked up behind me.
"Not with you standing here, it isn't," he chuckled, moving my hair aside to kiss my neck sweetly.
I snorted, but turned in his embrace and wrapped my arms around his neck. He pressed his forehead to mine. "What did Alice see?" I asked, kissing his nose.
"Some unusual reactions tomorrow," he said, kissing my lips lightly. "Some people will be shocked or scared, but she didn't see much past that."
I nodded, leaning my back against the balcony wall, pulling his body flush to mine. I kissed his lips softly, taking his bottom lip and suckling it. Just as Edward turned his head to deepen the kiss, there was a knock on our door. I grunted in frustration, but he chuckled, rubbing my wrinkled brow. "It's one of the servants," he smiled, biting his own lip.
"'Kay," I sighed, following him back inside the room as he opened the door. My face softened at the most adorable old Italian lady standing there with a pile of towels in her hands. She was human and looked to be in her late sixties or early seventies, talking to herself in Italian. Edward's eyes gleamed with amusement, answering her in her own language.
"I speak English," she grumbled, shooting him a sharp glare. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. "I brought you some towels," she sighed, walking into the bathroom. With a sigh, she stepped into the doorway with a bottle in her hands. "The name's Imelda," she said, finally looking at me. Her eyes widened and she dropped the bottle in her hands. It shattered at her feet. She was only in sandals and I was afraid she'd get hurt.
"Let me help," I said, grabbing one of the towels. "Don't move, you don't want to cut yourself."
She mumbled in Italian nervously, her gaze shifting back and forth from me to Edward. He frowned, but it was in sympathy. I wiped up the liquid and picked up the glass. "Non abbia timore. Voi won' la t be รจ punita," he said, holding his hands up. "She thinks she's in trouble, love."
"Oh no," I shook my head, turning to her. "I just didn't want you to get hurt," I smiled, guiding her into the room.
She turned to Edward, forgetting her English, it seemed, and asking him a question. He smiled so sweetly and answered, "Isabella." He turned to me and whispered low, "You reminder her of her daughter."
"Oh," I sighed and frowned, knowing that the only humans allowed to work in Volterra had to be without family. Carina had told stories to me, Rose and Alice ages ago. I winced, looking up at him. His face confirmed my suspicions as he tucked my hair behind my ear.
"Fitting name," she smiled, shaking her head and finding her English again. "My apologies, Isabella," she smiled softly, her wrinkled face suddenly showing an ancient sadness. "You remind me of my Amadora."
"No apologies necessary," I smiled. "How long have you been here?" I asked as she went around the room, making sure that everything was in its right place.
"Oh, let's see," she smirked, trundling back into the bathroom. "Over twenty years, I guess. I've seen it all, I suppose," she chuckled sweetly. "I try not to pay much attention to things around here, but things have been strange lately. Felix," she huffed, "stupido." There was no translation needed on that one.
Edward smiled, a soft laugh escaping him as he leaned against the dresser. "She reminds me of Miss Gail," he laughed, shaking his head. I smiled widely, nodding in agreement. She did act like the old lady I used to work for in the tiny bookstore in Port Angeles. Edward had adored her, telling me she had no filter from her brain to her mouth – that everything she thought she would say out loud.
"I'm glad Marcus is home," she huffed, bagging up the garbage that contained the remnants of the broken glass bottle, "he was always more polite than his brothers." She truly spoke without thinking. We could have been the wrong vampires to say these things to, but she either didn't care or could tell she could trust us. "And Demitri, that handsome thing..." I giggled, shaking my head at her. "Always the better person than Felix."
She walked up to me, a soft look on her face. "I think you have all you need...at least for the night," she smiled, "you let me know if you need anything. My door is the very last one on the end." I nodded and Edward thanked her, holding the door open for her.
"She's," I pointed to the door with a giggle, "adorable."
"Yes," he nodded, "she thought the same of you." His smile was sweet, but his eyes showed a touch of sadness.
"Tell me?" I asked, grabbing our bags to unpack. I knew we were staying for a week at the least, a month at the most, so I thought I would hang our clothes up.
"There's not much to tell," he shrugged, sitting on the edge of the bed and taking his acoustic guitar out. "She wouldn't allow the thoughts to linger. But you did remind her of her daughter. Apparently, the father was an American soldier. That's how she knows English," he smiled, setting the guitar case on the floor. "He was killed in what looked like Germany, but the daughter died of an illness," my husband sighed, looking down at his hands as he picked a out a soft tune.
"She likes it here," he said, continuing to play, "they respect her and she them. It's a roof over her head and people to care for." I laid down beside him, but the opposite direction, my head at his knees. He looked down at me, "She knows what we are, but it doesn't bother her. We're all children in her eyes, despite how old we might be." He smiled at my snicker.
"So she's happy?" I asked, tracing my finger down the seam of his jeans on the outside of his thigh.
"Mmhm," he nodded. "Very."
"What about the one downstairs?" I smirked, my stomach jerking when he poked me with a chuckle.
"She's...different," he sighed, shaking his head. "She saw every man in the room as a means to an end. She's looking to be one of us. Immediately," he frowned. "She wants to leave her life behind."
"So," I urged, laughing when he sighed and rolled his eyes. "It's a good thing you married a shield, handsome," I teased. "I have to keep that sexy ass body for me and me only."
He huffed a laugh, shaking his head. "Yes, my love," he snorted, setting his guitar down and kneeling over my upside down head. I laughed, reaching for him. Slipping my hands into his hair, I brought him down to kiss him. It was different, deeper upside down. For a split second, I wondered what else might be deeper in this position. With a gasp, Edward pulled back from me. His eyes were coal black as he traced a finger over my lips. "Can we try?" He growled, a low husky sound that went directly to my center.
"We can do whatever you want," I smirked, licking my bottom lip and taking his finger inside my mouth. I dragged my teeth down, suckling the very tip. I felt my own eyes blacken as he tugged his shirt off over his head. I sat up, pulling my own shirt off and soon we were both naked. I hung my head back over the edge of the bed, beckoning him with my hand. A feral sound met my ears as I pulled him closer by his cock.
"Oh, love," he chuckled darkly, his fingertips brushing ever so lightly over my nipples. "This won't take long, I assure you. You in that position," he sighed wantonly, shaking his head, "I'm close just imagining it."
"Good," I chuckled, placing a long slow lick to his tip. "Heaven forbid you don't enjoy it," I growled, my hands grabbing his thighs and pulling him all the way into my mouth. I could feel everything this way. Every twitch, every thrust I felt all the way to the back of my throat. His whole body vibrated with a deep purr and I moaned as his hands cupped my breasts.
"God," I breathed, watching my wife's mouth take me all the way in, her throat expanding with my size. We started slowly, my climax already so close that I could feel my balls tighten. "Fuck, you feel amazing this way, baby," I breathed, my eyes squeezing closed to stave off coming too fast. It was all for nothing. She moaned around me again and pressed her thighs together, the scent of her arousal filling the room. Even though I knew I couldn't hurt her, this position was intense and I felt like I could snap her neck at any moment. "I'm going to come so fucking hard, love," I growled, tweaking her nipples. A snarl erupted from me as she cupped my already sensitive balls.
"Oh shit," I groaned, leaning over her, my forehead hitting her stomach. My hips flexed as I tried to fight off my climax. She felt so amazing this way. There was no holding it back. I came with a low, deep growl, my mouth open against her skin.
Bella turned around on the bed, pulling me up on top of her. "More, sweet girl," I whispered, laving my tongue around her hardened nipples. I planted my elbows at the sides of her head, her perfect legs wrapping around me. My eyes rolled back as she scratched her nails down my back to my ass.
"Good," she moaned, gripping my ass and pushing me in, "because I want you. I've wanted you since the plane."
"Oh God, yes," I growled, bracing my hands on each side of her head. Her hands slipped up and down my back, finally resting on my shoulders. My renewed erection brushed against her sensitive nub and she growled low. She held me still, grinding her hips to give herself friction, her mind completely focused on how good it felt. "I know," I grunted, sheathing myself deep within her. "I could smell your sweet pussy calling for me," I growled, biting at her neck. "It was all I could do not to ravish you in the bathroom."
"We've joined that club already, baby," she moaned, her nails digging deep into my skin as I swiveled my hips just enough to hit that sweet spot inside of her. "Jesus, right there," she gasped, her head flying back and her eyes fluttering closed.
"Here, my beautiful girl?" I growled, hitting the spot over and over. Her whole body trembled under me, her breath catching. She was stunning as she arched up to me, her heels digging into my thighs.
"Yes, don't stop," she begged, her muscles clenching. My wife was close. I smiled against her neck, knowing what it would take to send her over the edge.
"Come for me, Bella, show me what I fucking to do you," I growled, biting her neck hard and driving deep within her.
Her whole body reacted, pulling me in and holding me inside of her. The only word that I could hear from her was the sound of my name falling like a prayer from her sweet lips.
Slipping her fingers into my hair, she brought my lips to hers. I rode out her spasms in long, deep strokes, continuing to ravish her mouth. Our tongues twisted together as she urged me onto my back. I wrapped my arms around her and rolled over. Her hair fell around us, blocking out everything but her beautiful face as she braced her hands on my shoulders.
I sat up, suddenly wanting to see her come for me again. "Again, baby," I begged, my hand slipping between us to apply pressure just where she needed it. "You're so fucking stunning when you come," I whispered, circling her clit and gripping a fistful of her hair. She arched back, her body already telling me she was close again. "Please, my love," I whispered into the soft spot behind her ear, laving my tongue down to her nipple. Sucking it hard into my mouth, she shattered over me.
I gripped her ass, lying back down and thrusting hard up to her until my own climax spilled deep within her. I rolled her to the side, pressing my forehead to hers and placing kisses to her nose and cheeks while she ran her fingers softly through my hair.
Hmm, Bella thought with a sweet smirk, it's nice to see Dirty Edward made the trip with us.
"Oh, yes, ma'am," I growled into her neck. "He begged to see Italy." She giggled, placing a nuzzling kiss to my cheek.
I sighed, frowning as Bella and our family walked down the halls of the castle. As our stepped echoed around us, I hoped that this wouldn't take long and that we weren't seen as a threat.
Just outside a set of double doors, Stephano stopped and turned to us. "Marcus would like it very much if you would sit up front with him. He's requested that you sit next to him actually, specifically Isabella and Emmett."
Both Bella and Emmett nodded, knowing that this would happen. They were there for protection. Emmett would give off an intimidating appearance while Bella would be using her shield. Carlisle and Demitri had warned us all that this would happen.
"No prob," Emmett smirked, wrapping an arm around Bella. "Let's go scare some people," he chuckled.
"We don't need them frightened," Jasper whispered to me. "We need honest thoughts and emotions."
"He's kidding," I chuckled. "He's liking the attention."
"I know," he sighed as the doors opened. "The whole room is nervous."
"I can imagine," I murmured, letting thoughts around me sink in.
Who are they?
Where's Felix and Jane?
I thought Marcus was dead...
Are we here for them?
"Damn," I sighed, "I hope he tells them everything. The humans are worried that we are 'ending their employment'." I raised an eyebrow at Jasper.
"Oh!" He snorted, shaking his head. "Is that what happens to them? When they aren't useful, they're dinner?" I nodded, taking a seat beside Bella.
"Shield him," Alice frowned, leaning around Jasper.
"Yup," Bella nodded. In her mind, it was smarter to shield the whole lot of us, but she wrapped her shield around herself, Emmett and Marcus only.
"I know you want to protect us all, love," I smiled when she looked over at me. "I couldn't love you more for it."
"I can't help it," she chuckled. "Instinct."
Her smile caught the attention of a few males in the front row. I frowned as I looked out over the small gathering. I noticed that the humans sat together on the opposite side of the room from the vampires. In total, there were only a handful of each.
I saw all of their minds, both human and vampire, take our looks into consideration. I saw the faces of my parents, siblings and wife fly to the forefront of every mind. I saw them all note that Bella's eyes were brown, but the rest of us were gold. Even Demitri and Carina's return was noted with a touch of fear. But most noticeable was the lack of Felix's presence.
"I know you all have questions," Marcus started in Italian and I translated for Bella. Standing up in front of them all, Marcus held up his hands in a sign of no harm meant. "I have a few announcements," he sighed, his face taking a sad appearance. "We have lost a few brethren in this long year. My brothers: Aro and Caius, Felix, Jane, Chelsea, Alec, Renata. And many, many more. The time for war is over," he frowned. "The Volturi has always been the law of our kind. It's time to stop fighting amongst ourselves and start learning from each other." Marcus' eyes flickered to me. He was seeing the connections around him. All of them seemed to be exuding loyalty, though a few connections wavered. One didn't exist at all. And he was staring at my wife.
A vampire in the front row sneered as he took in Marcus' words, but his eyes never left Bella. He took in her legs, her face, her lips, which caused me to reach over and place a possessive hand on her leg. She put her hand over mine, her fingers turning my ring. The vampire's eyes narrowed at me, a smirk playing on his face.
He was young in looks, but his mind was arrogant. He was used to getting what he wanted. And he had wanted the power promised to him by Felix. The fact that Felix wasn't coming back angered him. The fact that it was Marcus and Demitri that were going to be in charge completely enraged him, but also gave him a brief moment of fear.
Marcus' speech continued, introducing us and instructing them all to treat us with respect and honor. He explained that we would be here for a while, but not telling them when we were leaving. He wanted them nervous. He wanted them on their best behavior. He also neglected to tell them of our talents, something that was left out on purpose and extremely smart.
Another vampire caught my attention at the same time he caught Jasper's. Second row, Edward. That one is about to lose it, Jasper thought to me, catching my eye over Bella.
Before Alice's vision could formulate in her mind, he jumped over the front row, landing at Marcus' feet. "Master, forgive us," he begged, squealing as Emmett picked him up and away from Marcus.
"Easy, Agosto," Marcus smiled. "What have you done that needs forgiving?"
"We did what Felix asked of us. We thought you were dead," he whined, his mind completely filled with guilt and remorse at having to build a newborn army. "We didn't know, we didn't know," he chanted over and over.
My eyes flickered to the vampire in the front row, watching as he scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Excuse me, love," I said to Bella and walking over to Demitri. "Front row, third down. Who is he?" I whispered.
"Vittore," he sneered. "Figures you would hear unpleasant things from that mind. He was brought in by Felix, taught by him. He's lethal in a fight, but no talent to speak of. He was never a fan of the brothers, just Felix."
"He's going to be a problem," I said, my eyebrow rising. "I saw through Marcus' mind that there's no loyalty."
"Nor would there be. Relax, Edward, I've already taken him into consideration."
I nodded, watching as Agosto begged Marcus for forgiveness. I also noted that the minds in the room could tell that he wasn't allowed near his master. "Jasper," I said, turning to my brother. The poor vampire was beyond consolable.
Jasper nodded, sending a calming wave over the man. Agosto shivered, relaxing in Emmett's grip. "Thank you," he smiled, looking at Marcus. "We were told you were dead, that Felix was in charge. I cannot make up my disloyalty."
"There's no disloyalty, my old friend," Marcus smiled, "I hid myself for protection. And Felix fooled us all with his plot at taking over. Emmett, you can let him go," Marcus sighed. Emmett complied, but stayed close anyway.
Vittore reacted to that statement, his lip curling and his mind cursing Marcus' existence.
"What can I do, master, to make it up to you?" He begged, reaching for Marcus but not quite able to touch him.
"Find the vagabond known as Garrett," Marcus smiled, "bring him to me, Agosto. Then we'll be even, yes?"
"Yes!" Agosto beamed, "Even."
"Does he even know where to look?" Demitri chuckled in my ear. I nodded, folding my arms across my chest as Vittore was staring at Bella again and she finally noticed. Her face took on a cold, unreadable expression as she stared back at him. She leaned back in her chair, whispering to Alice.
"He'll try, but you'll kick his ass," Alice smirked. I couldn't help but smile. God, I loved my family.
"Nice," Bella drawled, her eyes flickering to me. He's a little unnerving, Edward, she frowned. I nodded to let her know I was aware of it.
As the meeting broke apart, all the employees came forward to welcome Marcus back and meet us face to face. Of course, Imelda sought Bella out immediately. "I have something for you," she smiled, cupping her face. "It was my Amadora's and I think it will fit you just right." Bella's smile was so sweet and kind as she thanked her and told her that she would come by later.
Vittore left the room without saying anything to anyone. Agosto was beyond pleased that he could find forgiveness so easily. We were all introduced to two more humans, Tessa and Luisa. Tessa was young and quiet, working the front desk with Elena, and Luisa was a middle-aged servant like Imelda.
"How come your eyes aren't red?" I heard softly beside me. Demitri chuckled with me as we looked down at Elena. It was pure curiosity asking.
"It's human blood that makes the eyes red," I said, noting that her heartbeat picked up. "We don't drink human blood."
"How do you live?" She frowned, looking up at Demitri.
"Animals," he answered.
"Oh," she said, her eyes widening. "That's what he meant about fighting amongst each other. Felix hated the thought of an alternative lifestyle. He said anyone different or living in a large coven had to die."
"I bet he did," Demitri chuckled. She smiled softly at him. It was a wry, intelligent smile.
"I kind of like that thought," she sighed, "Jane was always so cruel to them when the groups were brought in. Animals can't beg and cry," she shrugged.
"That's true," I nodded. My own curiosity got the best of me with the young girl before me. "Are you sure that's what you want?"
"Yes," she whispered, frowning down at her hands. "I have nothing else." Images of a angry man attacking her parents on the streets of Rome. She had witnessed the whole thing. She was grateful to the Volturi. They had given her a new family, though a strange one, and a sense of belonging. With a roof over her head and Imelda's cooking, she was glimpsing happiness for the first time in years. It wasn't that she really wanted to be a vampire, she just didn't want to leave the castle.
"Perhaps, you'll find something," I frowned, "this isn't always the answer." She looked up at me, her heartbeat flying.
"Maybe," she answered, sounding disappointed.
Oh, she likes you, Demitri teased. I sighed, looking over at him.
"Elena," Tessa called, smirking as she looked at who her friend was talking to. "Come on, we have to get up front."
"Ok," Elena sighed, looking at me again. "Let us know if you need anything. The front desk can get rental cars and train tickets if you want to get away for the day."
"Thanks," Demitri and I said, watching her friend tug her away and out the auditorium.
"You just can't help yourself, can you?" Bella smirked, folding her arms across her chest. "You just have to test their heart limits."
Demitri's head fell back with his laugh. "You're in trouble, Ed," he chuckled, slapping my back.
"You're one to talk, beautiful," I countered, matching her body language. "If there's a dangerous creature around, he's going to find you."
"Ha, ha," she snorted adorably, rolling her eyes. "Who was he?"
"Vittore," Demitri snorted, still fighting his laugh. "He's a close friend of Felix."
"Of course he is," she frowned. "Um, Alice and I are going back to Imelda's room, baby. I just wanted to let you know," she smiled.
"Yes," I smirked, "she has a gift for you, I believe."
"Eavesdropper," she scolded with a giggle and walked away.
"Come on, come on," Alice beamed, tugging my hand. We had to wait out a quick meeting with Marcus before we were released on our own. Imelda probably thought we forgot about her.
"Alright, ok," I laughed, allowing her to drag me from the auditorium. We were joined by Rose and Esme, both of whom wanted to meet the old woman that I had liked instantly.
"Come on, Imelda's waiting for us, Alice," I sighed, but smirked when my sisters laughed again. We wound through the hallways, ending up back by our rooms. We took a right instead of a left and knocked on the last door.
"There she is," Imelda beamed, coming to the door. I introduced her to my mother and sisters. "Well, come in," she chuckled warmly. Her room was filled with amazing smells. I could tell she was cooking for the rest of the humans. Large pots simmered over a stove in her tiny little kitchen. I could smell tomatoes and fresh bread. "You remind me so much of my daughter. You are even almost her size," she babbled, waddling over to a small closet. "I wanted you to have this. That handsome thing in your room won't know what to do with you in this."
"Oh wow," Alice and I gasped as Imelda held out a beautiful peasant skirt. The work on it looked hand-stitched. The colors were bright – almost as if it had been made yesterday.
"That's stunning," Esme smiled, spreading the material out to get a better look, "did you make this?"
"I did," Imelda smiled and nodded. "It was for my Amadora's sixteenth birthday. I figured Isabella could wear it the night of the Saint Marcus Day Festival."
"Oh yeah," Rose beamed, "that's tomorrow, isn't it?" Imelda nodded with a chuckle. "Fitting he came home now," my sister snorted.
"And a relief, to be honest," Imelda growled. "Hopefully, things will get back to normal."
There was a banging on the door, but whoever was on the other side did not wait for Imelda to answer. Vittore just slammed the door open. "Is my laundry done?" He asked, his lip curled in hatred until he saw she wasn't alone.
"No, Vittore," she scolded without fear. "I told you not until this evening. You have to have patience. Luisa is working on it as we speak."
"I have none," he sighed, his eyes landing on me. "Vittore," he crooned, bowing to us all. I was already put off by his stares from the meeting, so Rose and I folded our arms across our chests.
"Now you want to show manners?" Imelda snorted. He growled at her and took a step forward, but was met with four angry stares stepping into his path.
"Remember your place, Imelda," he frowned, meeting everyone of our gazes.
"Does it bother you that he just barges in on you?" I asked, turning to the old woman. She winced, but nodded. "Perhaps you would get better service from people if you remembered to be polite," I growled, raising my eyebrow. Alice snickered, but Rose nodded. Esme observed quietly, stepping back to place a protective hand on the old woman.
"Perhaps," he smirked, folding his arms across his chest, "but fear works just as well."
"Not here," Rose snorted. He glared at her, but then back to me.
"Nor here," he smiled. "Isabella, is it?"
"Please allow me to start over, Isabella," he said, his voice taking on a sweet tenor. This guy was a jerk. "Welcome to Volterra, ladies," he smiled.
It was too late. We knew what he was just from the way he treated Imelda. Esme snickered into a laugh. "We thank you, but as you can see, we were quite enjoying our visit with Imelda. I'm sure that she will let you know when your clothes are ready."
"I'll drop them off at your room, Vittore," Imelda nodded, walking him to the door.
He had been dismissed. And he didn't realize it until the door to Imelda's apartment was closed in his face. "He's an ass," Alice growled, looking at all of us. "And he's going to be a problem for Marcus."
"Yes," Esme nodded, "I'm afraid you're right."
Spending time with Imelda was fun. All of us were completely enamored with her by the time she led us to her door. I could imagine this was one of those times that Carlisle would blame my shield for pulling in someone I liked, but she was truly too sweet to resist. I left the skirt that she had given me, telling her that I would pick it up the next day to keep it as a surprise for Edward. Alice wanted to add a top for it. Imelda told us that we could find some shops open just after sunset just off the town square. We thanked her.
"Oh," Alice frowned. "And you aren't to be the one to deliver Vittore's clothes," she shook her head as we got to the door.
"It will be fine," Imelda sighed.
"No, please listen to her," I begged, taking her hands. "Let someone else take them, or go get one of the boys to go with you, ok?"
"Ok," she sighed.
"Promise?" I asked and she nodded, looking reluctant.
We weren't gone long at all – a few hours at most. It was nice to get out, having been trapped in vehicles, planes and the castle for the last seventy two hours. The shops we visited were beautiful and small. Every owner welcomed us, treating us well. The store fronts lined the narrow cobblestone streets where no vehicles were allowed.
We walked back up the steps to see quite the sight in the sitting room between the hallways. Jasper and Edward had pulled out their guitars, playing softly. I could imagine that they had started playing by themselves with Emmett sitting with them. But they were surrounded by vampires and humans, listening to every note.
I leaned against the wall watching my husband lose himself to his music. He was oblivious to his audience, except when he sensed my presence. He tilted his head up slowly, looking up at me through his long, beautiful eyelashes. The sweetest smile spread over his face. I couldn't help but smile back.
My eyes traveled over his growing fan club and back to him. He rolled his eyes, but continued to play. I snickered, shaking my head and biting my bottom lip.
"Thank you for the advice," I heard next to me. Imelda was staring up at me. "Vittore was going to be vengeful when I brought his clothes down. Your husband was nice enough to go with me," she smiled.
"Good," I sighed, glancing back his way. He and Jasper were picking out a sweet song. It sounded like something they had written themselves.
"Edward said not to trust him," Imelda whispered. "How would he know?"
"We are," I paused, trying to find the right words, "a talented family." I was hoping she would know what I meant. And she did. She smiled wryly and nodded.
"And he is certainly protective of you, though I don't think he has to be," she giggled like a girl.
"That he is," I chuckled, winking at him when he heard us. "He's been that way since I met him." He fought his smile, turning back to Jasper. I love you, my lion. I thought to him with a chuckle. He lost his fight with his smile. It spread over his whole face, making him truly look like the angel I knew him to be.
The heartbeats picked up in the room and apparently the lust, because Jasper looked up at me with a pleading face. I laughed, shrugging and shielding him from it. He chuckled, nodding happily.
The heartbeats belonged to Elena and Tessa. They both sat off to the side, whispering to each other about Edward and my brothers. Tessa's eyes glazed over as Demitri walked up beside me. So she was crushing on Demitri, while Elena couldn't take her eyes off of Edward. Some things would never change no matter where we went.
"Demitri," Imelda beamed, "I haven't had a chance to welcome you back. You let me know if you or Carina need anything," she smiled, wrapping her arms around him.
He chuckled, nodding and hugging her back before turning his handsome but amused face my way. "Our boys are the entertainment for this evening?" He laughed, nudging my shoulder with his.
"Apparently," I snorted.
As if his only purpose in the world was to drive me crazy, Edward leaned over to Jasper. "Wild Horses," he instructed, looking over at me with a deadly, sexy grin.
Edward, I growled, that had better be your last song for the night. I can't... I shook my head, looking at him intently. His gaze softened and he nodded. It means too much, baby. I frowned, my breath hitching.
His sweet gaze never left mine as he and Jasper harmonized with the song that meant a lot to us. It was different with the two of them, but just as pretty. Alice's eyes widened as she looked over at me. I laughed, shaking my head. We did love it when our boys sang.
They finished to soft applause and sighs from the girls. I sat beside Edward as they all begged for one more. I bit my lip, holding back my giggle as his face begged to play. "Go on," I chuckled, leaning into the kiss to my head.
"One more," he whispered in my ear, letting his lips ghost against my earlobe, "and I'm all yours, sweet girl." I smirked, a sigh escaping me as jealous glares came my way.
"You're all mine anyway," I laughed, dragging my tongue along my bottom lip. "Just play, silly."
"True," he chuckled, "so very true."


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