One of the unknown female vampires working for the Volturi, Clare Fredwin challenges everything the Volturi stands for. When her past comes back to haunt her however, she must choose...
2. Chapter One - Sun Kissed
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I felt the sunlight caress my skin, its tendrils wrapping around every exposed inch of my body.
A smile played on my lips as the sun tried to find my golden brown eyes, which were hiding under my pale lids.
The sun’s glare was somewhat overpowering; I could see the faint glow from under my eyelids.
The cold, gentle hand stopped my movements, leaving a patch of my skin icy cold.
“You may open your eyes now.”
My reaction was somewhat delayed. I wanted to open my lids, to see and feel the sun without the restrictions placed upon me. To tell you the truth, however, I was nervous, scared even.
What if this didn’t work?
I finally prised my eyes open, the glare of the sun overwhelming as spots flashed before my eyes.
I blinked several times, adjusting to the midday light.
Demetri stood to my left, ablaze with millions of speckled diamonds shining off his skin. Demetri’s skin was always a cause for fascination – he was pale, yet his skin still had a touch of olive to it – a tribute to his former, Romanian self. His black hair hung loosely around his shoulders, the gentle breeze lifting up strands.
His eyes were a wine red and he was smiling – a rare moment for Demetri.
“Can we please get this over with?”
The harsh, feminine voice belonged to Heidi, concealed in the shadows of the building. Though the garden was empty, she was more of a danger to herself – and to us – in the shadows. Her eyes glowed red also – but this time a more brilliant colour.
Her words – and thoughts – were poisonous, venom dripping from her pupils as she glared across the garden at Demetri and me.
I sighed. We had all agreed that it was best if I did this. Heidi, who was supposed to be my friend and ally in this place I call hell, still simmered from not being chosen.
And now she was deliberately letting her thoughts betray her, giving my head an ache – something that I had not felt for some time.
I slowly lifted my arm up in front of me, turning my palm so that it faced the sun’s searching rays.
I had originally though that it would not work. I expected to see the all too familiar sparkle that I had lived with all these years glistening off my arm, but not this time.
A sight that I had not seen in for a hundred and forty three years stood in front of my disbelieving eyes, hovering in mid air.
I brought my arm down closer to my face, turning in this way and that.
My arm, and my hand, didn’t sparkle. It didn’t glitter like a diamond smashed into millions of pieces.
For one minute I was transformed into my former, original self.
The city walls were high, casting an afternoon shadow on the Piazza dei Priori. The clock in the centre of Volterra struck three, its sound an echo that reminded me of Big Ben, of home.
A wave of homesickness swept over me, causing a pang in the pit of my stomach.
“No,” I scolded myself gently. “You chose to come here. This is your journey, the adventure that you wanted.”
I knew I should not have come alone. Mrs, Elson, though, insisted on having a rest. One did not come to Italy for a rest however, and after staring out of the window and wistfully admiring the scenery for a considerable amount of time, I found myself wandering the streets of Volterra alone, exploring the ancient city.
I deliberated in the busy town square. If Mrs. Elson was to awake and find me gone, she would have a fit.
Around me, tourists had gathered, old travel guides of Italy clasped tightly to their hands.
Nearby, a cluster of young girls – all chaperoned of course – stood giggling amongst each other, their eyes trained on a group of young Italian men who were playing a raucous game of football.
I found myself following their gaze, watching the men play, their long legs darting here and there as they fought for the tattered ball..
One of the boys suddenly looked up, sensing that someone was watching the game. He looked directly at me, curiosity crossing his olive coloured face.
I blushed, averting my eyes as Mrs. Elson had once instructed me to do. The Italian made my mind up for me: I would go back to the hotel.
I crossed the square, hoping that I would get back to the hotel before Mrs. Elson woke up.
I stopped at the crossroads. Turning left would take me down past the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, where I would need to turn right again, and consuming precious time. I bit my lip, staring ahead at the alleyway.
I knew it wasn’t the done thing – an unchaperoned girl in the late 1800s walking down a deserted lane, away from the crowds of civilised people. However, now was not the time to think about social rights and wrongs. Each minute I spent deliberating was a minute in which Mrs. Elson could be spending in frantic worry. And if Mrs. Elson was in a frantic worry, then the first person she would turn to would be…Aunt.
My stomach dropped. I’d never be allowed out again. Aunt would marry me off to that old fogey Parson and I’d have to make tea every day.
I made up my mind, and continued on the path straight ahead, glancing around me before darting into the alleyway.
Though the sun was still shining, it was darker in here, the tall, stone buildings blocking most of the sun out.
I hastened my step, longing to be back out in the security and warmth of the sun, my hands turning white as they clasped my parasol.
I came to the end of the lane, turning left down the small, deserted cobblestone street. The sun was more visible here, more warm.
I carried on, enjoying the last of the quiet. I smiled to myself. Mrs. Elson had arranged for us to dine with old friends of hers tonight.
I looked up, a yell reaching my ears. It came from further up, followed by a series of cries. I wasn’t far away, and could see two young men, standing just inside a lane off the street. They were arguing in the rough Italian I had come to recognise, and I stole a quick glance as I rushed past.
About three things happened all at once. As I walked past, glancing at the men, the one somewhat hidden by the shadows pushed the other man away, causing him to step back into the street. The street became lighter, as a wispy piece of cloud passed the sun. Pure panic crossed the faces of both men, and as I came to a stop I understood why.
Time seemed to move slowly, as my mind tried to grasp what I saw before me.
The young man stood arms out in front of him, his black hair unruly about his face.
I gasped. He was beautiful – a god; the statue of David in real life. It was not his beautifulness that made me gasp in shock.
His body literally sparkled, glittering like crystal, His body moved up and down slowly, in response to his rapid breathing. His arms and face shining like a diamond kaleidoscope.
As my hand came up to my mouth, the man in the shadows looked up, the gorgeous, sparkling one turning his head.
I felt a strangled scream stick in my throat as I gazed petrified into two pairs of glowing red eyes.