I worked at keeping my plans from my mind whenever I knew Edward was around. I didn’t want him to know, or to tell Carlisle. I busied myself cleaning the house, arranging the furniture and going out to walk when I felt my thoughts intruding.  Carlisle found me out walking and joined me, never saying a word. He would point out flora and fauna, telling me what he knew about them. I found myself distracted and intrigued by him and wanted to know more of his history.


When I asked, he paused, looking to the skies. There was an early winter sky above us, gray with no hint of sun. It took him a long time to answer, and I could see the pain in his face as he thought back.


“In 1663, I became a vampire. During my newborn years, I struggled with my conscience, not being able to take a human life for my own need and needing sustenance. The answer came in the form of the animals. I found that they were enough.  I left London and traveled the world, spending time learning medicine and healing. I spent time alone and with other covens of vampires.”


He took up our walk again, talking of all he had seen and learned to this point in time. He talked of Edward, and how his mother had known what Carlisle was and pleaded with him to save Edward. Until then, he had never bitten another human, or tasted their blood. He found that his strength was so strong at that point the taste of human blood had no appeal. By working with the ill, he had become almost immune to its effects.


He took Edward in as his son, teaching him as he was teaching me. He knew Edward, and to that matter myself, would struggle more than he had with the bloodlust for humans. He stopped beside a creek and knelt to the water, trailing his hand creating a wake.


“I wanted revenge on my father, Esme. He was the one who put me in danger; he was the one who caused this to happen to me. It took me a long time to realize that it was not so much a curse as a gift, that I could make it a gift and do good things with my life.”


He rose and stood looking into my eyes. A smile crept over his mouth.


“Your eyes get lighter by the day.”


He resumed walking and talking, turning us back towards the house.


“I never had a mother, Esme. My father lacked the ability to feel compassion. I lacked the ability to not feel it, for everyone and everything. The Volturi mocked me for it, tempted me, teased me. I enjoyed their company, the level of education, culture and life they had. But I was not one of them, I never could be.”




Carlisle stopped and turned me towards him, serious and stern.”


“They consider themselves the ruling class of the Vampire world. They are greatly feared by all vampires. They have a compound in Volterra, Italy where they decide the laws governing the vampire existence. The number one rule is always to keep our existence a secret. No humans can know. If they do, they must either be killed or turned.”


If I had any blood in me, it would have drained from my face.


“They sound awful.”


Carlsle’s face softened and he let my shoulders loose, sliding his hands down to capture mine.


“If you do not cross them, they are quite charming and entertaining. Aro is their leader and he can be delightful company. But, if you should meet him, and I am sure you will, remember he can be a dangerous foe, or ally. He can read everything in your mind by simply touching you. Past, present, thoughts for the future. You can hide nothing from him.”


I nodded. We returned to the house and I went to my room, settling in a chair at the window. Carlisle had just let me know he knew what I had been planning. I didn’t believe Edward had said anything, I just believed Carlisle was able to pick up on my unspoken cues. If I were to get my pound of flesh from Charles, I had to be careful about how I went about it. A new thought formed in my mind of what I was going to do. I had to do it now, before I lost my nerve.


I was out of the house and headed to the east in a flash. The time had come to act.

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