Disclaimer: Down own any of it. My world, their characters. Capiche?
Word Count: 2,754 Words
Song: Until It’s Gone by Linkin Park
They all nod and as they disperse, Caius settles down outside his rooms. He will not leave his mate, wanting her to have a restful night and not to have the stress of the bond on her already frail shoulders. He grabs the reports Alec and Felix left for him and he starts reading up on his little mate.
Bella wakes the following morning to a room alight with sun and flowers around her. She blinks a couple of times but the wildflowers scattered all over the room do not fade.
They were not powerfully scented, which was good since there were so many, but then the linen curtains blowing in the room also indicated that the doors to the balcony were thrown open.
All in all, it was a calming way to waken with only a slight murmur of the city that must be on the other side of the castle.
Stretching and checking her body, Bella gets up and heads out to the balcony.
When she makes it there she jumps a little. There are two ladies sitting outside with a table set between them for breakfast and an empty chair meant for her.
Both ladies were classically beautifully. One is dark haired and had large pouty lips. Her straight, dark hair fell to her waist.
The other lady was blonde and she was as opposite as you can get from her companion but still be in that beautiful category in that classic train of thought for what made a woman beautiful.
They were sitting in the shade but as one made a slight movement, a hint of sparkle was there to verify that they are vampires. Not that their beauty was not a hint either. They both had that slight otherness you learn to associate with vampires.
But the darker haired lady looked up at Bella and told her in accented tones, “Welcome, Isabella. We both wanted to meet you to thank you for our freedom as well as clear up a misunderstanding that my Mate seemed to cause between you and Caius.”
Blinking, Bella walks forward into the sun and she only glances once behind her before sitting down at the table for breakfast with two vampires; one of which she assumes is her True Mate’s wife.
And she thought this would be a calm morning.
Athenodora looks over the woman who is now the center of Caius’s world and is thankful that it is not her.
She has hated her place for the last century and as much as she loves their family, she cannot take anymore of being locked up. If she would have known all this time that her supporting Sulpicia would lead to her being imprisoned…
No, she is relieved to be out of the tower and will be doing whatever it takes never to go back. Besides, the little she saw of the outer world and especially hearing all about this woman in front of her has her anxious to be a part of it. To be this mystery girl’s friend.
So she patiently waits until Isabella starts to eat and then calmly tells her, “We never married. There is nothing there really. I was getting ready to tell him that we will need to separate. We haven’t had sex in a century.”
Whatever Bella was thinking was not even close to what Athenodora said. She spit up the orange juice she had been drinking and was blinking at her in shock.
Sulpicia frowns and asks Athenodora, “Dora, I don’t think it is supposed to come out of their nose like that. Did you break her? Caius won’t be happy if you broke her. Neither will the other boys.”
Unable to think, Bella is just blinking at them until her nose really starts to burn from the orange juice propelled out of it at high volume. She then scrunches up her face and grabbing a napkin, turns away to blow her nose and hopefully stop the burn.
The two other ladies just watch her, but when Bella looks back at them, she can see the amusement in their eyes.
Dora tells her, “Call me Dora. My name is a mouthful. As it is, I wish to thank you for the freedom from the tower. Aro told us what you said. He was also for the first time in a long time, mournful that he had ruined his brother’s first day with you.”
Bella took a hiccuping breath and told them, “And some of that was Caius’s fault too. He could have told me also. What did either of them think I would do with that information?”
Sulpicia and Dora give each other a look and then turn their head to stare at her.
Her eyes narrowing, Bella asks them, “Yes?”
Sulpicia folds her hands in her lap. “Many woman would have gone with it. In fact many, too many to count, have done so in the past. But it says much to us that you had honor not only to us, but to yourself. It is rare nowadays.”
Unable to help the snort, Bella tells them, “Apparently. I was refusing because I got out of one relationship where the man controlled me but at least I wasn’t a dirty secret. If he is married to you, then I don’t want to be involved with him if he can’t at least give me that.”
Dora smiles gently at her. “Bella, he is yours. I never owned even a part of his heart. He has waited a very long time. I am what they would term a friend with benefits; however, the benefits part ended a long, long time ago. I don’t think I have even seen Caius until earlier in about a decade.”
Bella’s eyes widen and she looks down. Is this what she has to look forward to? In time, will she slowly be abandoned?
Dora cocks her head to the side, trying to see what had Caius’s mate upset now. She could hear him tearing up a room and wonders what had happened.
A second later, Marcus walks out on the balcony and shaking his head at the women there, grabs Bella and seats her in his lap as he takes her seat.
Holding her close, he tells her softly, “Caius is tearing up his rooms in a rage. What happened il mio tesoro?” (My Dearest – Treasure is the word but it means my dearest.)
Bella just stills and he sighs.
Looking up at Dora, he tells her, “My dear, however did you and Caius be such good friends for such a long time, and you learned nothing of watching what you say?”
Sulpicia and Dora look at each other again and then back to him. “Whatever do you mean, Marcus? I was only telling her how Caius and I haven’t been close in decades.”
He closes his eyes as Aro comes up to the Balcony. He walks over and touching the women on their shoulders, he looks at Marcus. “Can we not do anything right by her?”
By this time, Bella is not paying any attention to them, thinking instead of how she gets caught up in these situations.
Later that night, Demetri is watching over his mistress as she lies on the bed looking at nothing. He shakes his head and wonders how they will fix this. She did not eat and has not answered anyone. Caius left the castle once his rooms were nothing but splinters. He had only left this room untouched and Demetri suspects that it was only so his mate had a place to rest.
While he tried to think of something, anything, he hears the outer door open and he looks up, hoping that his Master was coming to fix his Mate.
Instead, Peter walks in. He stops and rocks on his feet, watching over Bella. After a few minutes, he sighs and rubs his hand through his hair.
Carefully moving, Peter walks to the side of the bed and crouches there. “Bella?”
He tries again, louder. “Bella.”
He frowns and then says her name in a shout, “Bella!”
She blinks and then looks at him.
“What the hell are you doing now?”
Frowning, she sits up and asks him, “ME? What am I doing?”
He lifts an eyebrow at her. “Yes. You. The one who threw Caius into a fit so huge that there is nothing left in any room but splinters. You, who has the rest of the castle walking around on eggshells and Marcus and Aro angry at the two women who only meant to help. So yes, what are you doing?”
Glaring at him, she admits, “Wondering what the big deal is with Mating? Why would anyone want it?”
Peter just blinks at her and finally, with a slight cock to his head and his eyebrows raising up, blurts out, “Whatcha’ talkin’ ’bout Willis?”
She sighs. “Everyone acts like it is so great. But it seems to me to be a prison of some sort. I mean, what is the great thing about it if you get ignored in a couple hundred years by your other half? I should have known there was a catch somewhere.”
Peter looks at her, then over at Demetri. Both of them are confused. Demetri asks her, “Why do you say this?”
Shrugging, Bella look away. She has no idea why she would want to stay here. She had thought mating was the ‘happily ever after’ deal, especially with how Caius was at first. But was it worth becoming immortal if she’d still end up alone?
Completely lost, Peter looks at Demetri for anything he could tell him.
Staring at his Mistress in shock, Demetri tells him, “I have no idea. Maybe talk to the Queens?”
Looking down at the woman he thinks of as a little sister, Peter nods. He leaves the room, looking back at his sister wondering if this is fixable. He turns and goes to grab Charlotte.
Talking with his mate on the way to where the Queens are now, Charlotte tells Peter, “I don’t know what they could have said to her to give her the idea that he would leave her, but you are right. We need to find out what was said so we can solve this. She is going to make herself sick and not want to turn which would kill Caius.” She looks worried, remembering how adamant that Peter was that they become subjects of Caius. That he will be extremely important to them.
They turn the corner and Marcus is standing before them. He lifts an eyebrow as he asks, “What are you doing here? I thought you were going to talk to Bella?”
Peter gives him a small smile, and tells him, “She doesn’t want to be Mated. She thinks there is no use in it, that Caius will leave her in a couple hundred years. Demetri and I couldn’t get her to say anything else and unless we find out why she thinks this, it will not turn out well.”
Closing his eyes, Marcus sighs. “Come.”
He leads them to the doors and throwing open the door, he thunders to Dora, “You will talk to Bella and you will do it with these two in the room. Do you know what you have done?”
She is sitting there blinking at him, a book about computers in her hands. She finally says hesitantly, “No?”
He frowns at her. “Your words have Bella not wanting to turn. Caius is out of the castle doing who knows what after he has destroyed his rooms. Bella is rejecting him. You know what this will do to him. What did you think would happen when you told her that you two haven’t seen each other in a decade?”
Getting angry, Dora stands up in a rush and she tells him in a firm voice, “That we do not care for each other in that way. That there was nothing between us. She didn’t want to come between us. Now, I wonder why she would get the idea that a True Mating would be like that. Not from me! I haven’t said anything to her but try to inform her that we are done and have been for so long!” She is breathing hard, her eyes black. She is tired of being blamed.
Marcus just smiles and murmurs to her, “Nice to see you again, Dora. I missed you all these years.”
She just gives him a dirty looks and he chuckles. “But you are correct. There is more here I suspect than just your words.”
Charlotte and Peter look at each other. Peter sighs. “Its because she never has been wanted and loved just for herself. She is looking for ways for Caius not to be with her. She has been left behind by everyone, and frankly, I can’t blame her. With how she thinks, her background, your words just gave her mind the reasons.”
They all look at each other.
Marcus sighs. “So what can we do? Is Caius always going to have to deal with this?”
Peter leans against the wall, his arms crossed as he tries to think. But then his mate asks a question that makes them all look at her.
“Why would it bother him?”
With their looks, she shakes her head. “He has waited all this time for his mate. Why would it really bother him to have to work for her? Think of it – if she was human with no knowledge of our ways, would he try to court her or just change her and hope for the best?” She sighs. “Yes they are mated, but it doesn’t mean the fairy tale ending to it all. It means they need each other. I can see that turning to hate easily.” She stares at them all with a raised eyebrow. Why would they think True Mates any different than a mate?
Marcus clears his throat uneasily. “I was the only one with a True Mate and I think that is what the problem is. Didyme and I were in love by the time she became a vampire with me. So yes, we had the fairy tale.” His eyes turn dark, saying, “And that saying about ‘you never know what you got, until it is gone’ is true. Caius lives with watching me and thought that because he is in love with the idea of a mate, he feels the pull and everything else. But he is not thinking that to her, there is no pull that overrides everything. There is no her waiting for him for thousands years. There is nothing there for her really.” He looks sad as he realizes the pain his brother must be in.
Peter sighs as his head falls back to rest against the wall. “So we are basically dealing with two different issues. Charlotte is right. Caius needs to woo his little mate. We are also dealing with her not feeling the pull strongly and her life is not one to lead her into loving blindly. She did it once with one of our kind and got burned.” He closes his eyes as he thinks of the pain of his little sister is in.
A voice comes from the doorway. “If wooing is what she needs, I will do so. But we also need to deal with all of this pain from her life before. I need her but I need to realize she doesn’t need me at this time.”
They look up and the usually impeccable King is standing there with his hair lanky and a general air of despair around him. But his eyes have the familiar fire that most are used to.
Behind him, Aro is standing and he nods. “You need to use the wisdom of the last thousand years to be patient. To work with your little mate. She will fall in love with you if you are willing to work at it.”
Thinking, Caius slowly smiles. “All it take is a breath to build a glow. She accepted me fully for a small amount of time. I can work for that. For the chance for everything. To give us both that fairy tale ending.”
The rest of the room nods slowly as they agree to help him. There is nothing more important than making sure the two of them are happy. Forever is too long of a time to regret anything.