Eyes on Fire
One and a half years. That’s how long it’s been since Edward Cullen had banished himself and his family from Bella Swan’s life, from Forks, from the one place they truly felt at home. A lot can change in that small amount of time, and it becomes painfully apparent to the Cullen’s when they come face to face with the girl they left behind, only she’s not the same girl anymore. In an effort to protect herself from the pain of her past, she has become more confident, self assured and fierce. She’s a fighter now and their fate, along with many others now rests in her hands. Will she save them or punish them for past grievances?
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2. Chapter 1: Summons
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Chapter one: Summons
Almost two years had passed since my family and I had left Forks and my human daughter, Bella, behind. One of my vampiric daughters, Alice, was gifted with the ability to see the future, and I had hoped that would be a small comfort once we left Bella. We had all assumed that Alice could check on her future and we’d know everything was okay, that she was doing okay. However, once Forks was behind us, Alice couldn’t see her anymore.
She would look for hours, just trying to get a glimpse of Bella’s future, but she never could, not after the vision in which Edward told Bella good-bye. I begged Carlisle to ring Forks Hospital and see if she was okay... if she was still alive. He did and she was fine. The doctors there gave out little information and only said that they had seen her once and she wasn’t terminally ill.
We couldn’t figure out why Alice was unable to see her, and I was reluctant to accept Carlisle’s answer for it.
“Alice, you’ve always been able to see our kind better than humans,” he said during another of Alice’s breakdowns after a failed attempt to get a read on her best friend and sister. “Maybe you could only see Bella so well because our futures were all connected, and now they’re not. Her life isn’t intertwined with ours, anymore, Alice. I don’t think you will be able to see her until she is connected to us again.”
None of us liked hearing that she was no longer linked with us in some way, so we all pretended that we hadn’t heard those painful words and returned to our activities.
Roughly a year later, Alice finally had a vision of Bella.
Alice didn’t recognize where Bella was in the vision, or what was happening. All she saw was Bella lying on a maroon quilt with a man dressed in black watching over her. Alice tried to push the vision further to see what was happening or at least to be able to recognize the man, but he was hidden in shadows and the vision faded out before Alice could see anything useful.
Six months later, we were still miserable without her.
My second son, Emmett, was no longer laughing and cracking inappropriate jokes. Instead, he played his video games quietly and stared at the front door, hoping that Bella would come stumbling through it and he would have his little sister back.
Jasper, my third son, wallowed in constant despair: not just his own, but also that coming from everyone else. He was almost incapable of changing other people’s moods anymore, and left the house as often as possible.
Emmett’s wife and my first daughter, Rosalie, wasn’t as impassive about Bella’s absence as she used to be. Rosalie had always had a hard time knowing that Bella was aware of the family secret and often made her opinion known to the rest of the family. As time passed, she started to leave the room whenever Bella’s name was mentioned and would cry quietly with Emmett upstairs in their room where none of us could see her.
But out of all my children, Alice and Edward had taken leaving Forks the hardest.
Alice was furious when she saw Bella’s reaction to the news that we had left. She fell to the ground screaming, along with Jasper, from the force of her emotions and the apparent pain Bella was experiencing. They had stayed like that for a few minutes, leaning into each other, crying, until Alice’s head suddenly snapped up. Edward stepped through the trees and onto the side of the road where we had waited for him with the cars. His hair was disheveled and his shoulders were shaking with his silent sobs.
Alice begged and screamed at him to reconsider, telling him that it wasn’t too late to go back, that Bella was going through worse pain than he was, worse than the pain of being changed. He didn’t stop, and his steps never faltered as he walked to Carlisle and took his car keys. He turned toward his Volvo without a word.
Alice snapped. She launched herself at Edward, too quickly for any of us to stop her or for Edward to react. She pinned him to the Volvo's hood and bit him on the back of the neck.
I couldn’t believe that my pixie of a daughter had just bitten her brother and ripped a chunk of his flesh off, leaving him with a scar that he would carry for eternity. We watched in silence as Edward struggled to get a good grip on Alice.
I think, somewhere in all our minds, we thought Edward deserved the punishment Alice was handing out, so we didn’t interfere.
A minute later, Edward threw her off and was driving down the highway as fast as he could. We hadn’t seen my eldest son since. We had tried tracking him, but every time we came close enough for him to hear our thoughts, he’d run. It would take us months to find him again, so we eventually left him alone.
My family and my heart were broken, shattered and - I feared - unfixable. Carlisle and I could do nothing to fix the heartache our children were going through, since we ourselves were too heartbroken. We had lost the child we’d had the longest amount of time and the one we’d had for the shortest.
And now this had been brought down upon my family.
“We have been summoned to Volterra,” Carlisle announced after reading the hand-delivered message we had received minutes ago from a Volturi guard.
“Summoned?” Emmett scoffed from his seat beside an aloof Rosalie.
“What for, Carlisle?” I asked, ignoring my bear of a son’s oddly goofy demeanor. It was nice, however, to hear him be a bit more like his old self again.
“A ball,” Alice chimed in as she made her way down the stairs quickly and folded herself onto the couch.
I frowned at the words. The Volturi had never before, to my knowledge, thrown a ball - it seemed highly unlikely, considering that vampires didn’t often dwell in large numbers and are very temperamental. My family, and the Denalis, a vegetarian coven that is made up of mostly females that lived in Alaska, were the largest vampire covens in existence aside from the Volturi themselves, as most of our kind traveled alone or in pairs.
“Yes, a ball in honor of Marcus, to which the whole family has been invited. We cannot refuse without insulting them,” Carlisle explained. He dragged his hand down his pale face as if to make the invitation, if you could call it that, disappear.
“Is there no way out of it, Alice? It could be a trap.” Jasper sounded anxious as he considered, from every angle, what this invitation could mean. I could almost see the wheels turning over and over in his strategic soldier's head.
I could tell just by looking at my husband’s eyes that he, too, doubted that this was a trap. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something more than a simple ball.
“No, Jazz.” Alice’s voice was but a whisper as she searched the future, her eyes blank and starry. “We have to go and it’s not a trap.” She beamed at us and met my eyes as she reassured me. “Everything will be fine.”
Without another word, Alice stood and danced her way back up the stairs, more happy and full of life than I had seen her in a long time. Just before she closed her bedroom door, she informed Rosalie and me that we were going shopping for dresses tomorrow.
Slightly stunned, I turned to Jasper, but he seemed as bewildered as I was and just shrugged. I sighed in defeat, both because I was confused about both Alice’s behavior and what the trip to Italy would mean. I pulled out my phone and dialed the airline to book our tickets.
“When do I have to book the flight for, Carlisle?” I asked, looking over my shoulder at him.
“We better be in the city late the night before Saint Marcus’ Day,” he replied grimly. He then kissed my cheek and walked outside, no doubt to call our lost son and demand he come home, so we could face whatever was to come, as a family.