May 6, 2009
The chaos didn’t last very long, actually. The Volturi and their guards froze, standing there with the most oddly twisted expressions on their faces. It looked as though they were battling between enmity and sympathy.
I, too, gave up the battle. I wasn’t sure if it was because I wanted to see what they were thinking, or if the looks on their faces amused me. No one got destroyed. Felix, however, has a few chunks taken out of him and my bite marks, like Jasper’s, will remain. It took me longer than it should have to realize Charlie was causing the Volturi to feel sympathetic. They were literally unable to harm us–even though they wanted to.
Charlie is able to control exactly who is affected by his power. He’s practiced enough that he can just think of the person, his victim, and they will feel too much sympathy to hurt anything. If the Volturi had plans to hurt Nessie, Charlie’s gift could possibly have been the only thing that would have stopped them.
Aro was quick to realize what was going on. Charlie stood there, his eyes beaming brighter than theirs, his face focused, bitter. Every Volturi member in the room became more and more loving as the seconds passed. The ferocity vanished from their faces, slowly dripping off like molasses.
Aro, with an endearing grin on his delicate-looking face, kept his milky eyes on Charlie as he spoke. “I don’t believe I’ve ever felt this harmless in my life. I feel as though I truly love everyone.” His smiled slowly widened. “I can see you are a very gifted family. All I wanted was for you to join our coven, to help make us stronger. It would be so . . . convenient for you to join us. I’m sorry I have gone to such great lengths in my attempt to have you join us.”
Carlisle, the most reasonable one of us–and the one who has known Aro the longest–began to speak, holding his hand just slightly in front of himself. “Aro, I hope you know that I certainly didn’t create my family in hopes that we would be more powerful than your coven. That was never my intention. However, we do live a completely different lifestyle than you do. It would be going against everything we believe and everything we’ve worked hard for to join your coven. I hope you’ll understand.” He paused momentarily, giving Aro a chance to digest everything he said, then continued. ” I want you to know that if you ever need our help, we will be there. Not as part of your coven, but if you asked for our help, we would be there. We, too, do not want our kind to be exposed. So, if you ever need help making sure that never happens, we will be more than happy to help . . . as long as you return the girl, safe and unharmed.”
Aro jolted a little, as if Carlisle had just reminded him that they had Renesmee. He motioned for one of his guards to come over to him, then asked that she bring Nessie back out. I gnawed at my lower lip nervously, hoping that Charlie could keep his special gift working. At this rate, we could get anything we wanted from them. I only had one thing on my mind, though. I needed my angel back in my arms, safe.
The guard left the room, and was back before I even had a chance to look away from where she was standing. My beautiful Nessie was in her arms. I was frustrated, though. I wanted her in my arms. I wanted her to be home with Edward and I. I wanted to watch Edward sing her to sleep, his angelic voice soothing her, making her drift off with a tiny grin on her face.
Aro and the guard conversed for a moment. Edward was listening to what they were saying, and the look on his face slowly lit up with each thought that crossed Aro’s mind.
I looked at Edward, widening my eyes, raising one eyebrow curiously. He got the hint and mumbled a quick summary under his breath. “Aro wants to return Nessie to us. He just has one condition.” He stopped talking before he told me the condition. Thanks, Edward.
I flickered my eyes between Aro and Edward, growing anxious, hoping Edward would fill me in on the rest. He didn’t. I didn’t push it any further, though, once I saw that he was blowing a kiss to Nessie. He looked so perfect. So loving.
I waited, impatiently, for Aro to speak, growing more hopeful every second that the beautiful mini angel in the guard’s arms would be free to come home with us. Alice stood to one side of me, holding onto my arm, also becoming more antsy with each second that whisked by.
We were all mostly afraid that Charlie might not be able to keep his power working. He’s never had to keep it going for this long, and he looked as though he was starting to get a headache. Either that, or he was getting agitated. Either way, we had to hurry this along, just in case.
I grunted loudly, getting Aro’s attention. He raised his head to see where the noise came from, a smile tugging at one side of his mouth as he finally spoke.
“I apologize for the wait my dear friends.” He motioned for the guard to bring Nessie towards us and began again. “I want you to know that I truly mean no harm. I guess I got a little selfish, and for that I apologize. I will give the girl back at once, under one condition.” I was afraid to hear the condition, especially since it was notably absent in Edward’s brief summary.
“I will give the girl back as long as you agree to help us if we ever require your assistance, your special gifts. You see, with your gifts, we would be much more successful at keeping our kind concealed. If you will agree to that, then the girl will be handed over.” His cloudy red eyes moved slowly this time, back and fourth between Nessie and Carlisle.
We all looked at each other and Edward read everyone’s thoughts, except mine. But he already knew my answer. I would do anything to have Renesmee back. Everyone else agreed, too.
Edward whispered something brief to Carlisle, who then passed the message back to Aro. “Like I said earlier, we will absolutely help you out when you need us. We never intended to become the enemy.” Carlisle’s voice was curt and contradicted his smile.
Before he could say anything else, Aro warned him of the consequences of the agreement. “You do know, my dear Carlisle and friends, that you could lose a family member in your attempts to help us. It does come with the territory.” He shot his milky eyes down at the ground with feigned concern.
“We understand, Aro.” Edward’s voice was like velvet. I could see that this was coming to an end, and Edward’s short response was a clear indication that he, too, was becoming impatient, anxious.
I was confused when Edward looked back at Charlie and asked him to release his power. Charlie was confused, too, but complied. I assumed Edward felt safer now that the agreement was made, and he wanted to make sure they would stick to their word. It would be pointless to have them agree to something while under Charlie’s power, only to have them go back on it as soon as he released it.
Everyone’s face hardened as soon as Charlie stopped controlling them. I even heard a few hisses. Aro’s face was still joyous-looking, though, and he asked the guard to place Nessie in my arms. I was careful not to hold her too tight, although it was hard not to. We all crowded around her, taking turns holding her. I kissed the top of her head more times than I can count. Edward scooped her out of my arms and told her which songs he was going to sing to her once they got back home. She smiled, her eyes lighting up with each word. Esme held onto Renesmee while Edward and I stepped forward to thank Aro, begrudgingly. He was baffled by the love we all poured out to Renesmee, by the humanity he saw in all of us. After he said goodbye to each of us, he asked Jane and Alec to escort us back out.
Alec tried to make small talk with Charlie along the way. “That’s quite the gift you have there. I actually felt as though I would be unable to harm a human, no matter how thirsty.” Charlie wasn’t up for talking. He flashed a half smile that didn’t meet his eyes and choked out an almost painfully sarcastic, “Mhm.” I laughed. One thing you can never accuse Charlie of is being fake. You always know what he’s thinking.
We were welcomed back home by Jacob curled up on the floor beside Nessie’s bed, weeping. He looked too big to be curled up in such a vulnerable position. When he saw that Nessie was with us he shot up and I could have sworn her wiped a small puddle of tears from the side of his face.
Nessie was in his arms in an instant, laughing with her tiny hand placed gently on his cheek. She was showing him everything that happened through her thoughts. His face was like watching a movie in fast forward, and the expressions went up and down as he processed everything she showed him. Nessie removed her hand from his cheek, looked up at his russet face and said, “I love you,” before yawning and laying her head on his shoulder.
“I love you too, Nessie.” Jacob’s face was warm and full of relief.