The Cullens are the ruling class of the Volturi, strict and traditional. What happens when Edward is ordered to go and meet with a new coven of 'Vegetarian' vampires called the Swans? Will he find romance with the youngest, Bella? AU!
8. Bella's History
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He knew my tricks and how to avoid them; his own tricks did nothing to me. In a way that made us good for one another, compatible if you will.
But as the next few days unfolded, I was becoming hesitant in believing his feelings towards me, and decided it was time for some reassurance.
“Edward,” I spoke calmly as I stood in my room on Saturday night, “We need to talk.”
“About what, dear Bella?” He was there in an instant, coming in through my window just as I had suspected he would.
“Us,” I replied simply, flopping – if a vampire can even do so – down onto my floor, and motioned for him to join me.
He obliged, and sat across from me with his head resting against the wall. “Go on,” he pressed after a moment of sitting in silence.
Little did he know, but he had interrupted my thoughts. I settled on asking him, “Do you like me?” My voice was barely a whisper, and I knew what he would say back.
“Of course I do Isabella, you know that,” he leaned forward, reaching for my hand, and I readily put it in his own.
Then he did something unexpected. He pulled me right up beside him swiftly and leaned in, his breath tickling my nose as he spoke in his beautiful melodic tone, “Now the question is, do you like me?”
“That’s the problem,” I muttered and tried to look away, but his crimson gaze held my eyes locked where they were.
“Liking me is a problem?” He looked genuinely confused, so I decided to clarify.
“Well Edward, I know I like you, but I’m not sure if you like me because of who I am, or because of why your father sent you here,” I sighed and snuggled into his shoulder, my head just below his chin.
He reached up to place his free hand on my hair and stroked it gently as he whispered, “You worry that I like you because I am obliged to? My dearest Bella that is so far from the truth it is a wonder it even crossed your mind… Then again, perhaps it is exactly what you should think. I am a monster, Miss Swan, and before I met you I was a terribly obedient and horrendous creature. But now, seeing the freedom you have, the life you are able to live… My world cannot possibly compare. If there were any way at all to leave my life behind and begin a new one here, and with you, I most certainly would do it.”
“But your father…” I shuddered to think what that man would do to Edward if he left Volterra for good, only to run away with the slander of the vampire world.
“I’m going to be honest with you Bella – not that I wasn’t before, but there is something I must tell you now. By all laws, I really shouldn’t be, but I will anyways.” Edward’s hand was grasping my own very hard now, and he seemed excited. I leaned back from his chest to look at him, and his eyes bore into mine as her spoke. “You see, I’m the crown prince of Volterra, and once Carlisle’s term is up in 500 years, I am to be ruler.”
“Yes, I knew that…” I began, but he interrupted.
“That may be, but were you aware that I must be married in order for me to rule?” My eyes widened involuntarily. This was sounding more and more like Ye Olde England, not Vampire City. “It’s true!” Edward seemed to sense my incredulity, “And since I am Carlisle’s first son, my position cannot be refuted. Don’t you see Bella? This will work; oh this will be glorious…”
He looked giddy with happiness, but I was failing to see his point. I allowed him to collect himself before I asked, “Umm… How exactly will this work to our advantage? You’re his ‘first son,’ no one else can take the throne but you, but you have to be married to get it? Is that right?”
He nodded vigorously, and drew my body closer to his as if he was somehow hoping to pass on some sort of knowledge to me through our contact.
“Bella!” He finally exclaimed, now holding me by the shoulders, “These laws Volterra has cannot be altered, and since I must marry and I must rule next…” He shook me slightly, and I finally caught on to what he was saying.
“…You can negotiate and set down conditions to be met before you – we – marry,” I smiled in understanding, and was about to kiss him, but I frowned and questioned, “You’re absolutely positive no laws can be changed? Because your father could suddenly pull out the King card and decide to have you executed or something…”
He shook his head slowly. “Bella, I have studied Volterrean law since the very beginning of my immortality, and there is no doubt in my mind that I am correct when I say it cannot be altered,” he looked at me with stern eyes as he spoke, but they soon softened back into molten ruby once more after he had proved his point.
He was holding me so tightly and looking at me with such intensity now that I was unable to resist. I threw my arms around his neck and drew him right in until our lips met.
I had never felt this way about another vampire before, and I was willing to bet he hadn’t either. His hands knotted in my hair and pulled me even tighter to him, deepening the kiss. Our venom intermingled, and I could literally taste his scent on my tongue. He had an utterly desirable one, like no other I had ever smelled – or tasted, for that matter.
Eventually, we broke off the kiss many minutes later, and we were both out of breath.
“I thought…since we didn’t even need to breathe…” I remarked quietly, large gulps of breath interrupting my comment.
“I know…it’s strange…” Edward’s breathing was just the same, and he laughed weakly, as much as his lungs would allow.
“So…” he began once I had snuggled back into his cold chest, “Tell me about yourself, Isabella Swan. Have you ever been in love before?”
“No,” I whispered softly into the hollow of his neck, and felt him shiver at the caress of my breath on his skin.
“So then what have you been doing for the past two hundred or so years?”
I sat back against the wall beside him then, curious. “How do you know how old I am? Wait, don’t answer that. I’m actually two hundred and twenty-one… And you want to know what I’ve been doing all those years?” I looked at him sidelong for his reaction, but he just smiled and nodded, looking genuinely interested.
“I’ve got all night,” he reminded me softly.
“Fine…” I laughed and poked him in the ribs. It was good that both of our bodies were comparable to granite, or I would have broken my finger. “I’ll start from the beginning.
“I was born as a human in 1787, and when I was eighteen – 1805 – I was bitten. As humans, my family and I lived in London around the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution. My father was part of the British Royal Guard and was much upheld in his position, so we were fairly well off, as he was essentially considered to be a soldier. We weren’t exceedingly rich, but were substantial in our position. We were not affected by the masses of people coming into London from their lord’s lands, so we were not subject to the poverty that ravaged them.
“One night, Dad was outside the palace walls guarding right after the Change. (A/N: The Change Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace) A transient vampire was looking to hunt inside the walls, and in his thirst, bit my father first. He managed to run through the guard’s gate and down a secret tunnel before the burning became too intense to bear. He was gone for three days, and Mom and I had no idea where he was. Of course, you can guess what he was doing – completing the change from human to vampire. When he came home, we knew something was off, and when he bit me and Mom, I had no notion of what was happening. When I was changed, I felt the thirst burning in the back of my throat, intensified by the venom, and I still to this day cannot fathom how I am still alive. By all laws of nature, Dad should have killed me and Mom in his newborn thirst, but here I am: one of the walking damned. He told me it was ‘love’ that allowed him to change us so well; he said he would rather die than live without us.
“Shortly after my ‘birth,’ I discovered I had a talent. You already know what it can do now, but for the sake of this story I must explain what it was like at the beginning. At the very beginning, it was nothing. I could only get people who were lying to speak the truth. I’ve always been able to do it undetected, but like you noticed there are certain physical signs I give off whenever I am doing it. So it’s not completely infallible, but usually people are a lot less perceptive than you.”
“Bella,” he reminded me softly, “What can you do with it now? I know you think I know, but I would like it explained. And why doesn’t my power seem to affect you?”
“Now I can force someone to change their minds or think of something completely different, even if they don’t want to. But as to why your power has no effect on me whatsoever, I cannot hazard a guess. Perhaps everyone with a talent is immune…”
He shook his head slowly as I spoke. “No?” I asked, “Well then I guess I’m just an abnormality among abnormal beings.”
“Yes you are, very much so,” he replied, and I couldn’t help but think that my being different didn’t just pertain to my immunity to his power. “But continue Bella, please. When did you begin hunting animals?”
“Oh, about twelve years after being bitten. Mom and I were starting to feel the guilt, and Dad was getting frustrated with having to find criminals for us to feed off all of the time. I was certain there had to be an alternative, and finally my ever resourceful mother thought of something.
“‘Did not we eat animals in our human life?” she had asked us, “Wouldn’t it be almost the same if we were to drink their blood? It would be easier as well, I’m sure of it.’
“And with that, we migrated to the United States of America, a new country which was sure to be abundant with fresh game. No one would notice if we picked off a few deer or the like. We lived on the outskirts of Toronto for a while, being careful not to impede on the happenings of the public. We stayed out of their way, and they ours. As the years went on, we became more and more accustomed to satiating our thirst with animal blood, and eventually we decided to try our hand at living among humans. Before we did, we went to Alaska, and met a coven a lot like our own, except larger. I believe they were five strong when we left them.”
“There are others like you?” Edward looked at me in disbelief, but I just nodded.
“Oh yes, and they’ve been doing it for far longer than we have. As I was saying, we lived with them, and they were actually the ones who told us about your city. Ever since the female named Tanya told me about the ‘empath’ and the ‘psychic’ and the ‘pain-bringer’ and the ‘mind-reader,’ I wanted to meet them all desperately.”
“And here I am, the ‘mind-reader’ in the flesh,” he smiled and began stroking my hand with his stone cold thumb.
“After we lived with Tanya and her coven for a while, I decided I wanted to go to college. When I was human I had been unusually intelligent for a young lady of eighteen, so I assumed something like college would be simple for me.
“I went to Dartmouth for four years, and my family lived in Hanover during that time. As I completed my bachelor’s degree in English I lived among thousands of adolescent humans, resisting the temptation of them all. My parents were overjoyed, so we moved back to Alaska with the intention of living among the humans there, but we lived seventy more years with Tanya and her coven before we realized Alaska would be far too sunny a place to live among people. So my mother, always thoughtful and full of ideas, did some research, and discovered here. Forks gets about one hundred and twenty-one inches of rain a year, did you know that? Well anyways, it’s the perfect place for some vampires charading as humans, so we’re living here now, and I am going to graduate from high school in three years.”
“That was…interesting,” Edward struggled for a word to sum up what he felt for my story. “No, that was…amazing. I cannot even begin to understand how three vampires can live among humans without once giving in. I’m having a hard enough time not hunting as I usually do right now, and I know I can go home at anytime I wish – actually, no I can’t, now that I think of it.”
“Why can’t you?” I asked, truly interested, but he silenced my curiosity with another subject.
“I’ll tell you later. Right now I would like to tell you my history, since you have been so gracious as to give me yours.” He was smiling now, and I couldn’t help but forfeit to his request. I knew we would be sitting here the rest of the night, as his story spanned across nearly seven centuries.
“Hurry up old man; this is going to take forever.”
“We’ll have time enough, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it Isabella,” he laughed, and I had to join in.
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