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Welcome to Volterra

Summary:
"Caius, surely you see the potential. I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?" - Aro Edward is gone. Jacob never came to Bella's room. She is alone. What happens when she goes to Italy for her senior class trip?


Notes:
This is my second fic and my first attempt at a multichaptered fic.


4. 4: Italy

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1125   Review this Chapter

I spent the flight from New York to Italy going over the group's itinerary and my escape plan. Luckily, the itinerary wasn't jam packed with guided tours; it also included free time to explore on our own.

Our tour of Italy started in Rome and included stops in Florence and Venice. My escape was surprisingly easy to plan. On March 19th, the Feast of Saint Marcus, we had a free day in Florence, which is located near Volterra. Through some Internet research, I found out that all the hotels in Florence would be running tour buses to the Saint Marcus Day Festival. I was even able to reserve a seat on the bus leaving from the Silla Hotel, where our rooms were booked, online.

I just needed to be able to execute my plan without anyone knowing. Always eager Mike might try to tag along, deluding himself into thinking it was some kind of date. Or knowing Angela, she might offer to accompany me so I wouldn't be alone. But this is something I needed to do on my own. I refused to put anyone else in danger.

After eight and a half hours, we finally arrived at the airport in Rome. We spent another half hour at the baggage claim, and then boarded the motor coach to the hotel. This time I wasn't so lucky. The seats were in pairs. Angela sat with Ben and I was stuck next to Mike.

Since the rest of our day was free to spend as we wish, Mike was trying to get together a group to go out to a nightclub. Jessica, bubbling over with excitement, began discussing what to wear with Lauren and Katie. They were dying to meet some hot Italian guys with sexy accents. Eric, Austin, and Tyler were in, happy they didn't have to worry about the legal drinking age here. Angela and Ben were in, too. But, there was no way I was going. As a natural klutz, I never voluntarily go anywhere that involves dancing.

Mike practically got down on his hands and knees and begged me to go. When will he learn? I mean will this boy ever give up? It is all beyond ridiculous now.

To Jessica and Lauren's delight, I told him that I was exhausted from traveling and needed to sleep. It wasn't a complete lie. I didn't get any sleep on the plane and we had a seven o'clock breakfast followed by a morning tour scheduled for the next day. I needed to rest.

The next morning Angela and I were the first ones to arrive at breakfast. We each grabbed some pastries and a coffee as we waited for the rest of the group. As the others slowly trickled in, I noticed that Angela and I appeared to be the only ones without a hangover.

After breakfast, we boarded the tour bus. Our first stop was Trevi Fountain, a huge fountain depicting Tritons guiding Oceanus' shell chariot, taming hippocampi. We all threw coins into the fountain. According to local legend, if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they will return to Rome someday.

Our tour also made stops at the Greco Roman Pantheon and Piazza Navona, where ancient Romans went to watch games. Our final destination was Saint Peter's Basilica. As we walked through the great church, an architectural wonder with its large dome, famous tombs, marble altars and columns, and beautiful statues and artwork, I looked but did not truly see. I knew I should be paying more attention to the magnificent sight before me, but my mind was somewhere else. This was my first time out of the United States, my first time farther from home than Albuquerque, and I was barely here.

We had the rest of the day free. I needed to keep busy. So, I decided to hang out with Angela, Ben and Austin, who left the party crowd. We did some shopping and ate dinner at a cozy little café that we found.

The next day went by much the same way. We had breakfast at the hotel, followed by a morning tour of the Coliseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Again, I looked but did not really see. It was almost like I returned to my zombie state, going through the motions of my life but not really living. The only difference was that this time I was not free from the pain, the constant ache in the hollow of my chest, where my heart once resided. I spent the rest of the day with Angela, Ben and Austin.

On the fourth day of the trip, we traveled to Florence by train in the morning. Then, we had an afternoon tour of Pisa, including the Square of Miracles and Leaning Tower. Afterwards, I returned to my new room at the Silla Hotel. It was smaller than the one in Rome, but the bathroom looked like it was recently remodeled.

The next day was March 19th, Saint Marcus Day. I wanted to do whatever I could to prepare for my visit to Volterra. Plus, I needed to keep busy; I didn't want to think about what tomorrow would bring, death or immortality. I retrieved my backpack from under the bed, throwing in a change of clothes and my purse, double-checking my wallet for my money, identification, and bus ticket. I took a long hot shower to calm my nerves. I blow dried my hair, dressed in my favorite sweats and a t-shirt, and brushed my teeth.

With nothing left to do, I went to bed. Too anxious to sleep, I tossed and turned on the queen sized hotel bed. When Angela returned to the room, I laid still, regulating my breathing, pretending to sleep, and eventually drifted off.

*******

I was in a dark square, surrounded by a sea of red. I ran through the thick crowd of red cloaks, looking at all the faces as I passed. I was searching for someone, but I didn't know whom. I kept moving until I suddenly broke free from the crowd. I heard a loud chime. I realized I was under a large clock tower, when I froze. I found the face I was searching for. It wasn't the face of anyone I knew; yet the features were very familiar. The unknown face stared at me with a pair of crimson eyes and with a wicked grin said, "Welcome Bella, we've been expecting you."

I bolted upright in bed, my eyes flying open. I was in a cold sweat and breathing heavily. I quickly took in my surroundings; it was just a dream.