A secret and mysterious cult is stealing artifacts across Europe, all with a goal made in the middle ages in mind. And that goal deals with only one thing. Vampires. Bella Swan is the only person in the world with the full knowledge of vampires, and is joined by her fellow agents of Zeta to try and stop the cult from spreading. But when a run in with her past occurs, will her duty be the only thing pushing her to fight?
All things from Twilight are Stephenie Meyers. All things from the Sigma Force novels (like the idea of Zeta) are by James Rollins. Everything else is by me.
7. Words of Travel
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2541 Review this Chapter
Secret Valentine by We the Kings
“Ah, fresh air!” I exclaimed as I stepped out of the plane, my limbs slightly stiff from sitting still for so long. I took a deep breath of the chilled air, feeling my lungs rejoice in the clean, not-stale air. It was around noon here, but thick clouds covered the skies, luckily.
Morgan laughed, and reached forward into the Porsche he would be driving, and pulled out a black helmet, the type that covers your entire head. The visor was specially tinted so that I could see everything going on outside of it, but no one could see my face. I blinked and looked up at him. “This one’s really good quality. The only seam on it is where the visor is.”
He nodded. “We don’t want it to break, do we?” he said with a small smile. My eye’s widened and I nodded quickly.
About two months ago, another agent had been on a bike, and someone rammed into her from the side, sending her down hard to the cement—head first— and she’d been a coma ever since, just because her helmet broke along the seams. It was a bad day for a lot of us, and we'd been given quite a few driver's safety leaflets.
“Okay then, I guess I’ll meet you guys at the hotel,” I said with a smile, putting the helmet on securely. Just as I was about to turn for the black bike, a cold hand shot out and wrapped itself around my wrist.
“What are you doing?” Edward hissed, so quietly I could barely hear. He had a dark look on his face, and his eyes seemed a bit blacker than they were yesterday.
“Um…” I had forgotten the almost insane need he had to protect me in the year he’d been gone, since I'd spent so much of that time having to learn to take care of myself. “I’m going to the hotel, you know, on the motorcycle.”
He seethed at me, but before he could reply, Morgan spoke. “Don’t worry about her. She’s really good with motorcycles. I think she’s only had one big crash, and it wasn’t really her fault.” Morgan’s voice was calm and soothing, but I still winced when he mentioned the crash I had had in Rio de Janeiro, and the probable mental images going through his head as he spoke of it. That really wouldn’t help, especially if he was thinking of me almost dying in a ditch, having cuts in all the worse places to have cuts, my blood slowly seeping out of me and killing me.
I touched Edward’s arm. “I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”
He took a deep breath. “Can I ride with you? That way I can keep my sanity?” he murmured so quietly I could barely hear. There was the anger in his eyes from the thought of me being injured, but also a tenderness that I knew came from his desire to keep me safe, the desire that stemmed from his love for me.
I bit my lip, though I wasn’t sure if he could see through the visor of the helmet. I looked up to his eyes, and was immediately lost in them, even thought they were tinted darker from my helmet. “Yeah, sure,” I managed to get out.
He beamed at me, and then turned to Morgan. “Do you have another helmet that I might borrow?” he asked politely. Morgan just blinked and shook his head.
“Um, none like the one Bella has, but we have some normal ones in case of emergencies,” he said uncertainly. “Why do you…” he trailed off for a moment, and then rolled his eyes at me. “Oh God Bella, does he have to be with you 24/7?”
He didn't see the cheesy smile I sent his direction. Instead, he caught the helmet Meka threw at me. “Why don’t you stop to see a certain someone on the way to the hotel? She lives around here, doesn’t she?” I asked.
As usually, Morgan’s face went beet red, and he just scowled at me and got into the driver's seat of the Porsche. Meka laughed loudly, causing a certain finger to be raised from the window.
“Okay guys, we’ll see you at the hotel. It’s the Agrihotel Il Palagetto, right?” Meka paused while getting into the car, and nodded.
“The reservation is under the name ‘White,”” he told me. I nodded and hopped on my bike as he got in the passenger seat of the car, and he and Morgan were off. I turned on the bike, and glanced back at Edward, who was holding his helmet in his hands and staring at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Would you mind if I drove there?” he asked, his voice very quiet. I could tell at once that something was wrong.
“Why? Is there an issue with my driving? I mean, yeah, the crash you saw in Morgan’s mind was bad, but it was mostly just superficial, and wasn’t my fault.” I was assuming that he didn’t want us to crash, which slightly miffed me, though I knew that his fears were based on the facts that he knew.
His eyes narrowed slightly, and he shook his head. “I wasn’t asking because I doubt your driving skills, though that could be added to the reason. I’m just slightly concerned about where we’re going. The hotel that we’re going to, it’s just outside of Volterra, isn’t it?” The name of the city rolled off his tongue like poison.
“Yeah, Morgan said that he thinks that might be the next place the thieves hit, since it’s got a history of harboring vampires during the Middle Ages - at least until a guy apparently ran them all off. His name was St. Marcus or something like that.”
Edwars's expression became pained. “That’s because there is a long history of vampires there, though Marcus never drove them off. He’s one of the leaders of the vampire world.” His voice was cold as he spoke; I almost didn’t want to hear what was going through his mind. I blinked at him, gaping like a fish, as he went on. “And for you all to be there, especially you, is suicide. If they found out you knew about us, it would imminent death for all of you.”
“Why would we be in trouble for knowing?” I asked, thoroughly confused. Many people seemed to know, maybe not the whole, but snippets of true vampire natures. Why would we be killed for that? I got off the bike, sliding my helmet off so I could listen to him better.
“Because there is one simple rule in the vampire world, and you are an example of it being broken,” he said, his voice hard, and his eyes distant. He looked at me intently, but I just stared back at him stupefied. When he saw I had no idea of what he was talking about, he continued. “The one rule is to keep the secret...to keep the secret from humans...like you.” He shook his head slowly at the sky.
I just stared at him for a long moment. What was he talking about? Why wouldn’t I have been told this, back when I had wanted nothing more than to become like him! Knowing the one big rule would be rather important when deciding to becoming a vampire, wouldn’t it? Or had his whole family truly supported him when he said he wanted me to remain a weak, slow mortal? Did none of them truly want me to be part of their family and had only gone along with it since it was what Edward wanted? Hurt lashed through me, and I turned my face away from him so he wouldn't see the pain spark across my face.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me about that? It seems pretty important,” I said indifferently, hiding the emotions washing through me. He didn’t answer at first, and I thought that he was lost in thought. Suddenly his arms were around me.
“Don’t hide from me, please,” he pleaded anxiously with me, pulling me to his chest. I glanced up at him, and saw that he was looking down at me, his eyes hypnotic pools of gold. “I can’t bear for you to hide from me,” he whispered, pressing his forehead against mine.
I was…confused…as usual from his odd mood swings. A second ago we had been discussing the fact that it was suicidal for me to go to Volterra, and that there was much more of the vampire world than I realized. Now there was a sudden urgency between the two of us. Even if I'd wanted to reply to his request, I couldn’t have. Something was pulling me, pulling me forward, bringing my lips to his…
Ah. It was like a light switch had been turned on after briefly being plunged into darkness, the immediate relief you feel after regaining your sight, seeing that all is well. And all was well; I was better than I'd been in a year, I felt as if he'd never left me at all. Such a feeling of relief from a simple kiss. His lips moved tenderly against mine, less cautiously than he used to, and I could tell he felt the same as I did, felt the same relief, the same sense of security from the reconnection of this intimate action.
After awhile though, I knew his control must have been waning. He pulled his face back from mine gently, and stared at me with utter love and adoration in his eyes. “I love you,” he whispered, as if talking too loud would take all the peace and tranquility of the moment away.
I smiled softly. “I love you too,”
Again, it seemed my phone wanted to be thrown to the ground and smashed to pieces. Just as Edward began to lower his head again to brush his lips against mine, my phone went off. I swore under my breath, and Edward pulled back, a smirk on his face.
Halfway there…just wondering if you’ve even left yet- Meka
I blinked, and read through it again, and then looked at the time on the phone and sighed. We should have been almost there by now. “Come on,” I sighed, hopping onto the bike and sliding on my helmet. Edward frowned at me and opened his mouth to speak, so I interrupted him before he could. “And no, this is my bike, so therefore, I get to drive it. Hop on,” I said, patting the space behind me.
He shook his head and slid behind me, putting his helmet on as he did so. He put his icy hands around my waist, and small sparks seemed to come from his hands, just like that time in biology, over a year ago. “Let’s go, and please, travel at the speed limit.”
I started the bike, muttering “hypocrite” under my breath. He let out a slight growl, and I tore out of the parking lot. I laughed as his grip became tighter.
“What, scared you might fall?” I called out teasingly.
“No, I’m scared you might,” he retorted loud enough for me to hear over the wind, his voice holding no humor. “When did you even learn to drive a motorcycle?”
“Oh, last December,” I said, shrugging slightly. “It really didn’t take long. I was still home more than I wasn’t, and a friend of mine taught me.”
“Really? I don’t remember anyone from Forks that could ride a motorcycle well enough to teach you how,” he responded, his voice harboring disbelief.
“Well, he lived in La Push. Jacob Black, you remember him? He’s the one that came to our Prom.” Something inside me told me to be very careful how to disclose any information I knew about the Quileutes, especially the pack.
He tensed behind me. “The son of Charlie’s friend, Jacob Black?” I nodded. “Hmm, so he taught you I’m guessing, in secret?”
“And you’re hiding something from me right now.”
Dang him and his ability to read my heartbeat. “Yep.”
“Are you going to tell me?”
His voice turned persuasive. “Why not? You know you can tell me anything.” I bit my lip. “Come on Isabella, I’m sure it can’t be anything that bad.” One of his arms let go of my waist, and rubbed up and down my arm.
“You were the one telling me to be careful not to drive. Distractions don’t help with that,” I snapped.
He laughed that perfect, gorgeous laugh that always made my insides melt. “You could just tell me, and then I wouldn't distract you anymore.”
I looked around. Ahead and behind us was open Tuscan road, with a few cars here and there, most of which seemed to be tourists. I carefully pulled over to the side of the road, anticipating Edward’s reaction to the news I was about to disclose.
“Is it that bad?” he murmured. There seemed to be a hidden pain in his voice, as if what I was about to tell him would confirm his worst fears.
“That depends on how you look at it,” I said calmly, and turned to look at him, pulling off my helmet. “Jacob was—is—a werewolf.”
There was a moment of complete silence. The wind seemed to stop, the birds quieted, the cars stopped passing. Then came the explosion I'd been waiting for.
“He's what?” Fury flooded through his voice. “You were friends with a werewolf? Do you know how utterly dangerous that is?” He trembled with rage.
I nodded. “Yes, it seems just as dangerous as the everyday life I lead with my job. Actually, it’s probably a bit safer since no on is actually trying to kill me in La Push.” He just glared at me for a moment, and I shrugged. “It’s true.”
He continued to glare for a moment, and then sighed. “Maybe you were right when you said I was fighting fate to keep you alive. Everything that has happened to you in the past two years would suggest that.” His shoulders sagged, as if the weight of that fate was pressing down on him, and not me.
I stared back at him, then I reached up and put my hand to his face, trying to convey through my eyes everything I felt. The pain I felt for his pain, the sadness I felt from his. I opened my mouth to speak, when my phone went off again.
You might want to hurry. Morgan’s ‘friend’ decided to call to tell him she’s going to see him at the hotel…I wouldn’t be surprised if we broke the sound barrier-Meka.
I laughed, and showed him the message. He chuckled, and the heavy look on his face was gone, mostly. Some of it remained in his eyes, and I vowed to make that go away. I slipped on my helmet, and restarted the engine.
“You know, it may not be fate trying to kill me, but to make me like you,” I said lightly, before tearing off onto the road.
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