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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

UB Chapter 8 - Reprieve

Chapter 8 – Reprieve

Bella POV

I couldn’t get the words to stop echoing in my head.  ‘Put to death.  Put to death.  My heart had jumped into my throat at those words.  My fingers were now gripping the arm of the chair so hard that I could feel the hardwood imprinting on my skin. 

Part of me wanted to jump up and run from the room – escape – but rationally I knew that wasn’t an option.  Not only was it the coward’s way out, but from what Marcus had just told me, there was no way I’d make it to the door before they caught me.

Feeling a warm hand cover mine, I looked up to see Sera’s worried face.  “You gonna be okay, chère?  You need some water?  Or a shot?”  She smiled, a little half smirk while rubbing my hand and trying to coax me out of my stupor.

“Yeah, a shot would be good right now.”  I laughed, the sound a bit strained.

Marcus spoke next, reaching out to take my hand in his.  “I was not given a choice, Bella.  Indeed, many of us are forced into this life regardless of what our wishes may or may not be.  Although I regret the manner in which this news was delivered to you, to both of you,” he said, glancing at Sera, “I will not lie and tell you that I am not pleased by the current results.  I no longer need to hide my secret from either of you.”

As Marcus spoke, I concentrated on his words, taking long, deep breaths to steady my nerves.  “I can understand that, Marcus.  I just…I mean, what kind of choice is that though?  Become a vampire or die?”  My voice started out calm and even, but by the end I was speaking louder and at a higher pitch.  I felt silly for freaking out about this, but really, I thought I had cause!

Marcus’ head lifted and he looked at something behind me.  I twisted in my seat to see the door open a fraction and Felix step inside.  He gave Sera and me a small smile before addressing Marcus.  “Master, your brothers are on their way.”

“When they arrive, please invite them in, Felix,”  Marcus told him, glancing toward me.  “I believe you would be more comfortable staying here for the moment, but my brothers are eager to meet you both.”

I frowned at him, curious.  “Why do they want to meet me?  I thought you said you had no family left.  I’m so confused.” I deflated a bit in the chair, leaning back and giving a weary sigh.

“Not to worry, my dear.  There is much that has been revealed to you this evening and not all has been pleasant.”  Marcus patted my hand.  “Aro is the brother of Didyme, and while Caius is not related by blood, his mate, Athenodora, is sister to Sulpicia, who is mate to Aro.  Aro, Caius, and I have been close for some time, thus we use the term ‘brother’ to denote our affection for one another. 

“There are two reasons they wish to meet you.  For one, Sera is my mate and you are my mysterious blood kin, which makes you all the more intriguing, most especially for Aro.  He has always been an admirer of the unexplained.”

“And the other?” I asked, now curious about these men Marcus called brothers.

“As leaders of our world, they hold a vested interest in both your decisions regarding-” Marcus began, but I put my hand up, stopping him.

“Wait, what?  Leaders?  Like the President or King or something?”

“Most often we are described as kings, so I believe that term could apply, yes,” Marcus answered with an air of nonchalance. 

At this, Sera interjected while I sat wide-eyed.  “Whoa!  You’re a king?” she asked, tugging on his arm to make him look down at her, which he did.

“The Volturi are the vampire form of government.  We both construct the laws by which we survive and enforce them.  My brothers and I are the leaders of The Volturi.”

Sera put a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes.  “Okay, now I think I need that drink too.”

Marcus looked incredulous.  “You are unaffected by the news that I am a vampire, yet you are distressed by my position within The Volturi?”

Her hand dropped to her lap as she looked at him.  Her shoulders lifted a slight bit and she looked sheepish as she replied.  “Well…yes?”

I sat in a state of shock, my only expression tonight it seemed, as Marcus threw back his head and laughed - not just giggled or chuckled, but really laughed.  No one said anything as he did so, we just stared in shock at the reserved, quiet, stoic man who had suddenly burst with his amusement. 

His laughter was contagious, though, because Sera smiled wider and wider until she finally burst into giggles with him, his arms circling her and pulling her close. 

I shook my head and smiled, too, before peeking over at Jasper to see him chuckling, though I couldn’t hear him.  My smile widened, and before I knew it my laughter joined the others’, feeling a good bit of the tension I’d been retaining fall from my shoulders.

As the laughter eased, we heard the door to Marcus’ room open.  We turned to look at the newcomers.  Two men strode toward us with Felix following behind them.  With the sconces lighting the room, I noted all their eyes were the same vibrant red.

Like Marcus, both men were pale and tall.  One strode ahead of the other.  He had long, dark hair that fell neatly down his back and aristocratic features – high cheekbones and expressive eyes.  He was smiling as he approached and I found myself wanting to smile back at him.  He wore a contemporary suit that I remembered seeing in one of Hailey’s magazines a while back. 

The other man stepped forward in a swirl of black robes over a simple, red, button down shirt and black slacks.  They seemed just as well made as the other man’s clothes.  While Marcus and the other man were dark-haired, this man was blonde - not just blonde, but that really pale platinum blonde that some women would die for.  It hung in a long fall along his face and emphasized his expression, which I couldn’t quite make out.  It was as if he couldn’t decide to be bored, worried, or angry.

“Marcus!  And Jasper.”  The first man greeted as he moved in an elegant stride across the room.  I had a fleeting wonder if he danced before he spoke again.  “And this must be your lovely mate, Seraphine.”  He stopped in front of Sera and held his hand out for hers.

Sera stood up, as did Marcus, and she stuck her hand out.  She shook the man’s hand, smiling as he laid his other hand over hers and looked down upon her.  “That would be me.  The one and only.”

The man was quiet a moment, holding her hand as his smile brightened.  “Lovely to meet you, my dear.”

“Aro, Caius,” Marcus greeted them in turn, first the dark haired man holding Sera’s hand then the blond behind him.  “Allow me to formally introduce my mate, Sera, and our friend, Bella.”

I stood as well, giving them each a small smile and a little half wave with my hand.  “Nice to meet you both.”

Aro finally let go of Sera’s hand and turned to me.  I gave Sera a questioning look, but she just shrugged.  Marcus stepped up to her and circled her waist with one hand, pulling her close, while Aro put his hand out for mine.  I gingerly raised it and put it in his.

He smiled, patting my hand gently.  “It is good to finally meet you as well.  I have heard so much about you both from Marcus.  I am even more delighted now that I have met you.”

“That can’t be good,” Sera muttered under her breath.

I pressed my lips together and tried not to laugh while Aro just chuckled at her.  “Oh, I see you are just what my brother needs, Sera.  I am quite grateful to you for bringing him back to life, shall we say?” 

“Oh, my pleasure,” she replied with a wink.

Aro chuckled briefly and glanced my way again.  “You, my dear, are a very interesting young woman.”

I tilted my head a bit at that.  “I am?  How so?”

His eyes shifted to the others in the room before returning to me.  “It seems…your mind is closed to me.” 

At Aro’s statement, the other three men in the room glanced at me in shock while Sera and I stood there looking, as usual for the evening, confused.  “Well, I would hope so.”

Caius chimed in just then, his rough voice holding a cynical note.  “How is that possible?  Is it a trick?”

I raised my hand, confusion still my dominant emotion as I tried to figure out what was going on.  “Could someone explain to the humans in the room, please?”

“Forgive me, my dear,” Marcus interjected then.  “As you may recall, I mentioned earlier that some vampires have certain abilities.  Aro is also gifted.  His ability allows him to see the thoughts and memories of a person by mere touch.”

“Well, spank me with a feather,” Sera exclaimed just then.  “So you just read all my thoughts?”

Aro chuckled again, finally letting go of my hand.  “Yes.  It is a precaution we take for safety, you see.  All the Volturi are scanned, as well as any guests who may stay for extended periods of time.  And, as you can imagine, we do the same for anyone of questionable character or intentions.”

Sera frowned a bit, her lips twisting in thought as she stared up at the tall, imposing man.  “It’s incredibly intrusive.  Even though I can understand, it’s still one hell of an invasion of privacy.”

“I am aware of that.  However, it has been extremely effective in verification of information gathering or oath taking.  We must know if we can trust what we are told, and as we have the means to do so, we utilize them.”

My expression mirrored Sera’s as I spoke up.  “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”(1)

Caius began to speak then, but Aro raised a hand to stop him. 

“You are quite correct, Bella.  This is why I limit its use as I do.  I do not use it for mere curiosity, and I do my best to simply verify what I need and move on unless more is absolutely necessary,” Aro explained.

“But how do they know they can trust you with everything else you may see?” I asked, a little piqued at the discussion but enjoying the debate nonetheless.

Aro actually laughed at that.  “You have a very quick mind and I am quite impressed, Bella.  You are quite correct, as well.  There is no way for anyone to know that I won’t reveal their secrets except by my reputation.  Unless there was something that threatened my family or my people, then a secret is a secret!”  He cut me off when I began to reply, starting to warm up to the argument.  “Perhaps, my dear, we could debate this topic at another time when you are more rested and alert perhaps?  There are other matters to discuss and I can see that you are both exhausted.”

I glanced at Sera and saw how tired she looked.  Circles were starting to form under her eyes and she was leaning against Marcus.  I turned to Aro.  “Agreed.”

“Perfect.  Now, has everything been revealed?” Aro asked, turning to Marcus for confirmation.

Marcus quickly looked at me before raising his hand to Aro’s.  Aro seemed to ‘listen’ for a moment before a delighted smile crossed his lips.  He looked excited as he released Marcus’ hand, his eyes flickering to Jasper then back to Marcus.  This is exciting news indeed.”

I glanced over to Jasper but his expression seemed as confused as mine.  When I turned back, Aro was speaking with Sera.

“I understand you are eager to join our family?”

Sera smiled and stood a little straighter.  “If that’s what’s gotta be done to be with Marcus, then of course.”  Her tone was matter of fact. 

Marcus and Aro both smiled down at her and I looked over to Caius to see his reaction.  Surprisingly, though his face was a blank mask, his eyes seemed to be alight, as if he were happy for Marcus.  When he caught me staring at him, I smiled at him and he scowled.  For some reason, it made me laugh and I turned back to Aro and Sera’s conversation.

“I am quite pleased to hear this, my dear.  We can work on the details later, after you have had some rest.  In the meantime, please enjoy your time with us.  No one will harm you, and if you have need of anything, you have only to ask.”

“Thank you, cher.” Sera smiled at Aro and then raised her eyes to Marcus.  “But I have all I need right here.”

Marcus smiled and squeezed her tighter to him. 

“Now, Bella,” Aro began.  “I understand you may require more time to make your decision?”

I looked at Sera, whose eyes were on me as if pleading with me to just go for it, but I turned away and looked at Aro.  “I…yes?  Maybe.  I don’t know.”  I felt so confused and frustrated with myself that I couldn’t make a decision.

Aro cast me an indulgent smile.  “It is not an easy decision, I am aware.  While we do hope that you choose to join us, my dear, I do not wish to pressure you.”

I felt a wave of despair wash over me for a moment before it disappeared.  As I glanced at the others, I noticed that the brothers had turned to Jasper.  After a long moment, they turned back to us.

Aro clasped his hands in front of him.  “Very well.  It is decided then?”  His eyes fell on Caius and then on Marcus.  “We will postpone details on Sera’s change for now, at least until Bella has made her decision.”  Both men nodded their ascent and Aro turned to me.  “Will the end of the week be enough time, my dear?” he asked.

I took a deep breath and nodded.  “I will have an answer by the end of the week.  But…may I ask a question?”

“Of course,” Aro replied.

“Would it need to be immediately?  I would like to finish my courses and perhaps see my father once more before…you know, if I do this.  I mean, I won’t be able to see him again, will I?”  The thought nearly brought tears to my eyes, but I blinked them back.

Aro seemed deep in thought, his eyes flickering back and forth between Marcus and Caius.

Caius scoffed, “You should feel lucky you are being given another option aside from death.”  His scowl had darkened and I frowned at him.

Marcus spoke up then.  “There is no reason I can imagine that Bella may not do this.  I have no fear of her betraying the secret, but if you have such a worry then you may assign guards to assure she does not.”

Aro took another moment before speaking again to me.  “We will consider this.  However, keep in mind if this is your intent; you will need to be guarded at all times.  We must protect our people.  Do you understand?”  At my nod, he turned to Sera.  “Would you also wish to finish your schooling with Bella?”

Sera frowned and twisted her lips again in thought.  “Maybe.  I think I would like to be changed when Bella is so we can go through it together.”  She held a hand out to me and I took it, smiling at her.  She really was a sister to me.

“Perhaps we should adjourn for now and allow the ladies their rest,” Marcus said as he wrapped Sera tighter in his arms.  She leaned her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes.  “Bella, accommodations have been arranged for you in the other wing, but you are welcome here to see Sera or myself at any time.  For the present time, each of you will be assigned a guard for your protection.”  He added the last part when he noticed we were about to protest.  “Not everyone within the castle will be immediately aware of your presence.  I do not wish to have an ‘accident’ occur.”

I smiled and leaned over to hug them both.  “Understood.  Thank you.”  I kissed them both on the cheek.  “Goodnight, you guys.”

“G’night, chère,” Sera said, hugging me back. 

“Sleep well, Bella,” Marcus told me.  “Jasper will escort you to your rooms.”

I felt my heart skip a beat and then hurry to catch up as I looked over at the quiet man against the wall.  I watched as he seemed to uncoil from his position and walk to my side before I realized Aro was speaking to me.

“Goodnight, my dear.  I look forward to our next meeting,” he said, smiling politely.

Caius stepped forward, taking Sera’s hand.  “Thank you,” he said gruffly, squeezing her hand lightly.

Sera seemed to understand and she reached out to give him a light hug.  “I’ll be good to him, cher.  I promise,” she told him. 

Caius stepped back and nodded once before glancing at me and doing the same.  He then ghosted out the door with Aro.  One second they were there and the next they were…gone.

I blinked.  “Wow.  That will take some getting used to.”  I turned to Marcus and Sera, waving one last time, and then I looked to Jasper.

“Ready, princess?” he asked, his voice deep but quiet. 

“Princess?” I asked as we walked to the door. 

He held it open for me, his lips quirking up just a bit in another smirk.  “In light of your relationship with Master Marcus, it seemed appropriate.”

“Oh.” I frowned.  “I don’t know that I want that to be common knowledge though.”  I became quiet as I contemplated the issue. 

Jasper fell into step behind me as we walked out and into a large outer room.  It looked to be a living area of some sort.  The furnishings and colors were the same as those of the bedroom – dark, handcrafted wood with cream and gold accents.  There was another fireplace on the far wall with a large painting above it and a sitting area made of couches and chairs to seat about a dozen people, but it looked more like a museum than a home, as if it were rarely if ever used.

I looked over to Jasper, not realizing that I had stopped to view the room with a sad eye.  “Everything is so…sterile.  It’s beautiful but cold.”  He didn’t reply; he merely nodded his agreement and waited for me to continue.  “She will be good for him, you know?”

Nodding again in silent ascent, Jasper gently took my arm, his cool hand seeming to burn a hole through the light material covering my arm.  My eyes flew to his and I stared into them, mesmerized by the deep crimson pools. 

He stepped back a moment later and glanced at the other door in the room.  “Shall I see you to your rooms, princess?” he asked.

I cleared my throat, hoping that the heat I felt on my face was not a blush but knowing it was a futile wish.  “Yes, please.”  He had called me  ‘princess’ again.  It almost sounded like an endearment and I found I liked it coming from him. 

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