Bella never goes to Forks, instead living with Renee and Phil throughout high school. During her 3rd year at NYU, she is studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Her life is forever changed when she is compelled to visit Volterra; stumbling into a world she never dreamed could exist. AU, OOC, MA, Bella/Jasper

A Note from Mae

I am an avid fan of Twilight fanfiction. I've also been a fan of writing my own stories from time to time. So I decided to combine the two and recently started writing my own fanfiction. Feel free to check out my profile on FFn.

This blog is primarily for additional info and pics to accompany my story, Unfathomable Bonds. This is my first multi-chapter fanfiction story and I'm very excited about it.

If this story sounds interesting to you, please check it out. If you do, please feel free to let me know how you like it.

Lots of love, Mae.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its affiliated characters; I just like to play with them. I also do not own any of the artwork discussed in any chapter of this fic. I am merely using them in one way or another for the purpose of my story.

Friday, December 17, 2010

UB Chapter 10 - Didyme

Chapter 10 – Didyme

Bella POV

I was drifting in and out of dreams for a while before reality fully set in and my eyes fluttered open.  Rolling onto my back, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, yawning and stretching from head to toe in the oversized bed.  I nearly moaned at the feel of the satin sheets sliding against my bare skin.  With no other clothing, I’d had to sleep nearly nude.  It had felt a bit decadent, but I had been so tired that it barely registered to me before passing out.

Glancing at the bedside table, I noted the time was nearly three in the afternoon.  “Wow,” I said and giggled.  It wasn’t like I had to be up for anything specific, so I took my time, snuggling under the covers for a few more minutes before my bladder demanded I rise. 

Slipping out of the bed, I padded across the room and through the door that led to the bathroom to use the facilities.  Once I’d finished, I went to the sink and splashed some water on my face and rinsed out my mouth, rubbing my teeth as best I could without a toothbrush or toothpaste.  I made a face in the mirror as I considered how awful my breath must smell.

Turning around, I grinned and went to the large tub.  Like a kid in a candy store, I turned the knobs, fiddling with them until the water coming from them was hot but not scalding.  Then I went in search of towels, finding some on a shelf along with some floral smelling bath salts.  Grabbing two packages of bath salts, I tossed their contents into the tub with the water and smiled as the floral scent wafted through the air of the bathroom.  When the water reached the proper level, I turned it off and discarded the last of my clothes.

Gingerly I entered the tub, hissing a little at the initial heat.  But as I sat in the tub, sinking until the water reached my neck, I sighed with pleasure.  Actually, it was more like a moan.  I lay back, eyes half closed and thoughts adrift as I allowed the heated water to soothe my aching muscles.

I considered everything I had learned last night - or this morning, I suppose it was.  Vampires.  That was something Sera and I never once considered.  Who would have, though?  Marcus was out in the daylight.  Or, now that I thought about it, the days had always been overcast when we’d been outside with him.  That sneaky bugger.

Regardless, real vampires are nothing like the legends say, except maybe the strength, speed and blood drinking thing.  But all the other myths were truly useless in the discovery of real vampires.  Whatever they were doing to keep their existence a secret has obviously been working very well for them.

Now I had a choice to make, not that there was really a choice to make.  I don’t want to die.  I’m so young and there is so much I still want to experience in my life.  I want to grow up, finish school, work on my art, maybe try my hand at writing a novel, travel… Would I have to give up these dreams if I were to be changed? 

I sighed again, exasperated.  At this point I had more questions than answers.  Deciding to discuss it with Marcus later, I continued my bath, scrubbing my body and hair with the sweet smelling soap before allowing myself to relax once again.

When the water started to cool, I sat up and flipped the lever for the drain.  Standing, I wrapped a towel around my body, the water swirling around my ankles as it rushed for the drain.  I stepped out onto the mat and used the other towel to wring the water from my hair.  I would really need to get some clean clothes…and a brush would be lovely. 

Thinking of clothes made me wonder what had happened to my purse last night.  And we hadn’t called Hayley or Kelli.  They would worry.

I left the bathroom, still toweling my hair dry, and frowned at the sight of my dress on the chair by the window.  I really didn’t want to put dirty clothes on my now clean body.  I had a sudden thought, which had me smiling, as I dropped the towel in what looked to be a hamper by the door to the bathroom. 

My bare feet sunk into the thick carpeting while walking into the living area and over to the phone by the couch.  I lifted it from its cradle and dialed the number that Jasper had left on the pad there.  He answered after one ring and I felt a frisson of pleasure at the sound of his voice.

“Well, good morning, princess.  Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, the bed was lovely.  Thank you, Jasper.”  I bit my lip, feeling nervous speaking with this man for some reason.  Correction - this vampire.

“Now, there’s no need to be so formal, Bella.  Besides, I have something for you.”  As he said the words a loud knock sounded at the door, startling me and making me jump.  “Open the door, princess.”

I crossed the room and opened the door to find Jasper standing there.  He really was an attractive man.  He had one hand on his cell phone, holding it to his ear.  His other hand was half in the pocket of the black denim covering his legs.  He wore a dark blue sweater with the lapel and tails of a white button down shirt peeking from underneath.  His feet were encased in a well worn pair of black cowboy boots.  He looked absolutely gorgeous standing there with his hair in slight disarray and a few stray curls falling in his face.  But his eyes…they were blazing with an emotion I couldn’t name.

“Jasper,” I greeted, feeling breathless.  I fisted my hands to keep them to myself, only then remembering the phone that was still in my hands.  I looked down and ended the call, leading to another reminder – I was still in a towel.  “Fuck,” I cursed, feeling the blush spread from my face, down my neck and over my chest.  “Um…” I felt so awkward standing there in nothing but a towel.

He cleared his throat as he snapped his cell phone shut and pushed it into his back pocket.  How can a move so simple be so sexy?  But it was.  Crap.  Focus, Bella!

“Bella,” he greeted.  “I thought you might like this.”  He leaned down to pick up a suitcase that I’d just noticed had been sitting on the floor next to him.  It was my suitcase. 

I smiled, forgetting my near nudity.  “Oh, thank you, Jasper.  I’d dreading having to wear that dress again.  How did you get it?” I asked as I stepped aside, allowing him to enter and place the suitcase on the floor next to the coffee table.

“Master Marcus thought you both might prefer some of your things from home to make you more comfortable.  So, he had Mistress Sera call Hayley - one of your roommates, I believe?” I nodded.  “She and your other roommate put together the suitcases.  Felix picked them up this afternoon.”

“Well, I’m so grateful,” I told him, and I really was.  Looking down at my towel-clad body, I blushed again.  “Um, I’m just gonna go…change.” 

I grabbed my suitcase and hefted it into the bedroom, throwing it on the bed before opening it.  I grabbed a pair of jeans, a red camisole top and a white sweater.  Digging through to the bottom, I found a pair of white sandals and smiled. 

It only took a few minutes to throw on the clothes, so I decided to take an extra few to throw on some make up and run the brush through my hair.  I had found a bag of accessories with various clips and ties, so I pulled my hair up into a simple ponytail and wrapped it with a red scrunchie.  Then I tossed on a minor amount of eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss.

With a final glance in the long, free standing mirror in the corner of the room, I made my way back out to the living room and Jasper. 

He was standing next to the door still, his head down as he spoke into his phone.  I could hear him speaking, but it was too fast for me to understand what he was saying.  Seeing me, he spoke again and then closed the phone before returning it to his pocket, his eyes moving up and down my now clothed form. 

“Master Marcus wants me to take you on a tour of the castle, if you like,” he suggested.  “Unless you want to do something else?”

I shook my head and smiled, reaching back to dig my hands into my back pockets in a nervous gesture.  “I’d like to see Sera and Marcus at some point, but a tour would be nice so I don’t get lost while I’m here.”  Then I added under my breath, “However long that will be.”

A look I couldn’t recognize crossed Jasper’s face, but it was quickly covered.  “Well, then I can give you a tour first and then take you to Master Marcus and Mistress Sera.”

I giggled, practically snorting in my amusement.  “Mistress Sera?”

Jasper nodded and grinned.  “Yeah, they are big on old world etiquette here, so there are the Masters – Aro, Marcus and Caius – and their mates are the Mistresses – Sulpicia, Sera, and Athenodora.”

I laughed aloud now.  “Mistress Sera.  That’s funny.  I bet she loves that.”

Jasper smiled again at my laughter.  “I’m not sure if anyone has used it on her yet, but I bet it will be funny when they do.”  He turned toward the door, twisting the knob and holding it open for me.  “Shall we?”

I smiled again and walked past him through the door.  “Yes, sir.  Let’s see what you got around here.”  I heard Jasper laugh again behind me as he joined me in the hall and started my tour.

The next hour was filled with a variety of rooms.  I only got a peek into most of them, but it was enough for the purpose of the tour.  Some of the rooms held the old world style, like the throne room, ball room, music room and the gallery.  They were filled with elegance and ornate flairs in the furniture and décor.  It was beautiful but it often made you feel like you were stepping back in time when you entered them.  When I made that comment to Jasper, he just laughed.

They also had a pool and, believe it or not, a gym.  I asked why they would even need one and Jasper explained that they had a number of humans living and working in the castle.  The rooms don’t clean themselves, as he put it, and there were other tasks that the humans performed for them that were difficult for a vampire to carry out at times.  Or maybe they were tasks that were just simply tiresome.  Most of the humans knew what the Volturi were and they hoped to one day be turned. 

There was a modern game room filled with large TV screens and every kind of game you could imagine - often more than one - as well as a number of arcade games off to one side.  Jasper told me that the TVs were used more for the games before he led me to room that was decorated like a miniature movie theatre.  I laughed when I saw the popcorn machine in the corner.  When I asked about the room, he told me there were three of them in total in varying sizes.  One of the larger rooms ran movies nearly 24/7, he explained, and a new schedule was sent out each week, which included movies not yet released in theatres.

I was impressed and delighted.  I’d always enjoyed a good movie, and you can’t beat seeing them on the big screen like that.  I was grinning as he led me out of the room and down the hall to a set of doors that led outside.

The grounds of the castle were just as vast and beautiful as the inside, also with a mix of old and new.  There was every kind of plant and flower imaginable growing either out of doors or inside a large conservatory along the western edge of the castle. 

In various areas of the gardens, you could find a fountain, or a gazebo, or a set of what looked like ruins, and so on.  There was even a small patio off the kitchens with a grill and outdoor dining furniture that the humans used.

For as much as Jasper was informing me of various parts of the castle, he was mostly silent.  I wasn’t sure exactly why that was.  Did he not like me?  Or perhaps he didn’t like humans, but I didn’t think so.  He seemed personable when I did speak with him.  He was just a bit distant, it seemed.  Perhaps he had other worries that had nothing to do with me and I was just overreacting.

So, while I asked questions here and there, I mostly allowed the silence to reign.  Even so, I found I quite enjoyed being with Jasper, not simply because of my physical attraction to him but because when he did speak, he was charming, polite and intelligent.  The more I learned about him, the more curious I became.

We re-entered the castle through the kitchens, where Jasper introduced me to the cook and her assistant.  I sat and chatted with them for about twenty minutes while I ate a large sandwich the cook had made for me and drank down a bottle of water.  I hadn’t realized I was so hungry or thirsty what with everything else going on to distract me.

With my stomach full, we continued on, following the long corridors and going up a flight of stairs where Jasper told me the Masters’ studies were.  As he was showing me which study belonged to which Master, Aro exited from his.

“Ah, Bella.  How pleasant to see you again, and with Jasper,” Aro hailed us, an amused look in his eyes as he mentioned my being with Jasper.

“Hello, Aro,” I greeted with a small smile.

“Master,” Jasper addressed Aro formally.  “I’m giving Bella a tour of the castle.”

“Very good, Jasper.  Bella, how do you find our humble home?” Aro asked.

I laughed.  “Not all that humble, is it?”  My eyes twinkled and I could see he was amused.  “But I love it, actually.  It’s a beautiful mix of old world and contemporary styles, but it still adheres to functionality.”

Aro’s smile deepened.  “Ah, yes.  Many of us have lived so long that it is comforting to have things from or that remind us of our homes or other instances from our past.”  He held out his arm, offering for me to take it.  I did, tucking my hand in the crook of his elbow as he walked us along the corridor.  “Now, which rooms have caught your interest, my dear?”

I smiled.  “Well, I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie in that mini movie theatre of yours.”  We both chuckled at that.  “And I would love a better look at the art in the gallery.  We didn’t really go the entire way around.”

Aro’s eyes brightened at that.  “I think you should.  There is something you may like to see there.”

“I am sure you have treasures in there I would love to get my hands on to study.”  I grinned up at him.

Aro chuckled.  “No, not this particular piece.  I believe it will be of a more personal interest.” 

I couldn’t deny I was curious about this piece he wanted to show me.  I peeked back at Jasper, who was following us quietly.  He gave me a small smile and I returned it before facing forward again and letting Aro lead me back to the gallery.

The gallery encompassed the entire outer rim of the second floor on three sides.  We passed by a number of works, starting with the most contemporary and moving backward in time as we walked.  I was in awe, barely noting that my mouth was half hanging open as I stared at everything.  I even noted a number of works that were supposed to have been destroyed or had just disappeared.  But we didn’t stop.  Aro continued to lead me along until we reached the midsection of the southern wall. 

To one side were the huge, nearly floor-to-ceiling windows that covered much of all the walls in the gallery.  On the other side were two large doors with some sort of security device to the left of them.  Aro went to it and tapped a few keys until I heard the door latch trigger.  He turned back to me and then led me through the doors, opening them wide.

I knew there were a number of pieces in the room, but I could only focus on one.  I ignored all else and moved forward, raising one hand to ever so gently stroke my hand over the plaster of her arm.  “Didyme,” I breathed.(1)

The head was the same – the beautiful, serene look covered in a veil with a crown of flowers – but unlike the bust in Il Duomo, this was a full statue.  Didyme was kneeling, the veil covering much of the upper half of her body, the rest adorned in a simple gown from what looked to be Roman times or older.  I didn’t know.  In her hands was a small platter of, if I had to guess, fire. 

I had one hand to my mouth in awe as I viewed her.  I was still studying her when Aro came to stand beside me.

“She was so beautiful,” he said, his voice quiet and wistful as he, too, looked at the statue.  “She had a smile that lit up the room and a soft laugh that made you wish you knew what she found amusing so you could laugh along with her.”  He sighed.  “I miss her every day.”

“What happened to her?” I asked, my eyes moving between Aro and the statue.

“War,” he said, his voice bitter.  “War with the Romanians, many centuries ago.  They captured Didyme and attempted to use her as bait for Marcus.”  He looked down at me and took my hand before leading me to a small bench that was positioned not far from the statue.  We sat down and he continued.

“Marcus was not always as you see him now.  When we met, Marcus was a warrior, as were Caius and me.  While human, we fought the Babylonians.  That was over 3000 years ago.  At the time, Marcus was full of war and anger over the devastation of his homeland and the loss of his family.  When he met Didyme, she was exactly what he needed to soothe the beast within him.  As the centuries passed, Marcus let go of the pain of his human life and focused on the present.

“When my sister was taken, he went mad.  Much of the time, it is Caius who has the short fuse.  But taking Didyme…well, you can imagine how he must have felt.  So we mounted an assault with both victorious and disastrous results.  On the one hand, Caius discovered Athenodora, his mate, in the dungeons of the Romanians’ castle.  She was being held for feeding.  And through her, I later found her sister, Sulpicia, to be my mate.  For that, I allow that a part of me is grateful.  But the cost…” 

Aro paused and laid my hand on his, patting it gently.  Trying to offer what comfort I could, I chose not to speak as I waited for him to finish the telling.  He gave me a sad smile and covered my hand with his cool one.  “Thank you, my dear.  As I was saying, the cost of that battle was my sister.  We cornered the Romanians, but they distracted us by ripping her apart before our eyes and tossing her body into the fire.  Marcus and I roared in our grief, only able to watch in dismay as Didyme’s remains were reduced to a blue flame.”

I didn’t realize I was crying until I choked on a sob.  Lifting my free hand, I wiped at my cheeks and sniffled.  After a moment, I got myself under control and took a deep breath.  “I am so sorry for your loss, Aro.  And Marcus…”  I sniffled again and shook my head.

“He was never the same.  He became melancholy, apathetic.  The only thing that has kept him going these many years has been his strong sense of duty, of responsibility to Caius and me…to his people.  He never laughed, never smiled, rarely spoke…until you, and Sera of course.”

I smiled at that.  “Yeah, she is one of a kind.”

“She is an enigma.  She both reminds me of Didyme and is the opposite of her at the same time.  Didyme had a quiet soul.  She was calm and soothing even in her enjoyment of life.”  He smiled in memory, but then his smile widened and he chuckled.  “Sera is so full of life.  She doesn’t want to miss a moment of its joys, which is exactly what Marcus needs to be taught.”

I grinned back at Aro.  “Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.  I think Marcus will be good for her too,” I said thoughtfully.  “Sera is always in such a rush to get to her next adventure that she doesn’t stop to ‘smell the roses’, so to speak.  I think Marcus will show her how to take a breath and enjoy the now as well as the future.”

Aro looked down at me with a thoughtful expression.  “You are quite observant for one so young.”

I blushed at the compliment.  “Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot.”

“So, Bella, tell me more about you.  Where are you from?  How did you come to be in Italy, and how did you meet my brother?” Aro asked.  I could tell he was genuinely interested.

“I’m just your average American girl, I suppose.  I was born in Washington State in the U.S.  I moved when I was a toddler to Phoenix with my mom and then again to Jacksonville when I was a teen.”  I smiled as I remembered my mother and her vibrant spirit.  “She died the summer after my first year at NYU.  She was a wonderful woman, for all her wacky ways.”  I laughed.  “And she’s one of the reasons I love art as much as I do.  She was always signing us up for different classes – dancing, tennis, art.”  I shrugged.  “I just fell in love with it and decided to study it in college when I went, so I did.”

“And your father?” Aro prompted.

“Charlie.  He’s a good guy.  I see him a few times a year, usually.  He still lives in Forks - that’s a city in Washington,” I explained.  “It’s a tiny, little town but really quaint.  Dad is the Chief of Police there.”  I looked up at Aro and saw him staring over my shoulder.  I turned to see Jasper returning the expression.  “What?”  I asked them, curious about their reactions.

“Forgive me, Bella.  It’s nothing to worry over.  We were just surprised by your mention of Forks.  Jasper was in the Seattle area recently and I have a friend who lives there with his family.”

My brow furrowed at this.  “A friend?  A vampire?  Should I be worried?”

Aro laughed and patted my hand in reassurance.  “No, no.  He is a ‘vegetarian’.  There is no cause for alarm, my dear.”

“Oh, good.”

“Please, continue your story, my dear.  How did you come to Italy?”

I returned to my storytelling, informing Aro - and ultimately Jasper - about the events of the last few months of my life – finding the picture of Didyme, coming to Italy, meeting Sera and Marcus, and ending with how we ended up in the alley with Laurent.  Much of the story was abbreviated, omitting the inconsequential events, but the important facts were covered.

Finishing the last of my tale, I turned to the statue again and smiled softly as I took it in once more.  “Thank you,” I said as I turned back to Aro with a smile.  “For showing her to me.”

Aro smiled back.  “Marcus mentioned your…connection, shall we say…to my sister.  I felt you could appreciate her beauty.” 

I knew he meant more than just the physical beauty of the art or the woman herself.  “Maybe you can tell me more about her sometime?”

“I would like that, Bella.”

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