Time continues to pass as I care for Isabella. We have the occasional visit from the family or Whitlocks, but mostly, I try to keep my little mate as comfortable as possible.
As the time draws nearer for Isabella to wake, I can not wait to start our forever together. There’s only one major thing in the way of that beautiful future. Thinking back to Aro’s visit and Isabella’s thoughts, I can’t help but chuckle and think that my tiny mate is going to be one hell of a firecracker. I mentally make a note to have that pyre ready for Isabella’s revenge bonfire.
There are roughly 5 hours left of Isabella’s turning when her breathing suddenly picks up. Her body stiffens against mine, but before I can feel even slightly alarmed by this development, Demetri gasps, “Gone. All gone. Sir, it’s Milady's shields.”
I calm, now understanding the reason for both her breathing and stiffness, saying to Demetri, “I know it must make you uncomfortable to lose so many at once, but we knew this would happen. Let me know the instant you can sense everyone again.”
Demetri can be heard taking a breath to calm himself, then offers simply, “Of course, Sir.”
Only seconds later, Demetri calls softly from near the door, “Major Whitlock is requesting entrance, Sire. He says Lady Isabella is calling for him in her emotions.”
I quickly allow him to enter after making sure Isabella is covered, then see Jasper rushing to the chair at Isabella’s bedside. He takes her hand as he whispers near my mate’s head, “I’m here, Li’l Darlin. Everyone’s nearby, so ya should be safe to do what ya need to..”
The room fills with peaceful waves, then Jasper looks at me. “Sorry. She needs the peacefulness she gets from contact with ya, but amplified. It’s just easier if I blanket the room.”
I assure him, “You will not hear a complaint from me, Major. Isabella’s needs are top priority to me, as you well know.”
Time slowly continues to pass until suddenly several things happen at once. Demetri and Jasper both let out a relieved breath, Demetri tells me he can now see everyone again, and Jasper quietly slips from the room with a nod to me as Isabella’s heart rate skyrockets.
The instant the door clicks closed, Isabella’s heart stops. It takes less than 2 seconds for her to bolt upright in bed with a gasp, then she lets out an extremely impressive growl. The sound coming from my newborn mate is both scary as hell and extremely arousing.
My heartbeat was racing. Racing so fast it was almost a single note instead of a thrumming. Then it just… stops. I quickly run through everything swirling in my head and let it settle, but with how fast my brain now sorts through information, it takes less than 2 seconds before I’m sitting upright. I gasp as a single thought settles at the front of my mind, then growl deeply, “I hope that pyre is ready, because that fucking twit is going to die!”
The scent and sight of my mate suddenly steals my attention, and I find myself crawling into his lap as my heart fills to bursting, “You.”
It’s only a whisper, but my voice still cracks with emotion as I continue, “You really love me. I was so… so scared, Caius. I tried so hard to make it work. I didn’t know if you’d make it in time, and I was so fucking scared I was going to die. That we weren’t going to get our forever, and our journey would be over. It can’t be over, Caius.”
Caius gently calms my trembling form as he wraps his arms around me and promises, “That’s all over now, Sweetling. You are here, strong, and alive. I do love you, Isabella. More than all of eternity would allow me to show you. As for our journey… well, this is just the beginning, my sweet little mate. We now have eons to love each other, eons to continue our journey together, and eons to explore to your heart’s content.”
My face lights up in an ear-to-ear grin, then I whisper as I try to cup his face in the barest touch, “Eons. I really like the sound of that. I love you, Caius.”
My lips meet his, just a brush, yet I’m instantly melting into his arms as the scent and feel of my mate surrounds me. I hum into the kiss, but Caius pecks my lips twice before placing his forehead against mine. “Sweetling, how much do you remember?”
I bite my lip as snippets of conversation and Caius’s voice echoes in my mind, then look into his eyes as I say surely, “Everything. Corin… she was using her power against me… against us. Well, trying to, at least. It didn’t work right, probably because of my shield. That was why I kept having those damn headaches, but I didn’t realise it in time. And Edward. That fucking maniac. She snuck him into the castle, didn’t she? He abducted me from the bedroom… took me through the mirror. He kept saying he knew he and I were mates and no one could convince him otherwise. That you raped me and tried to ruin me. Then when I tried to prove to him that you and I were mates, he went ballistic. He said there was only one way to be together without interference. I didn’t know he meant to drain me until he was already going for my throat. I fought. I tried so hard, Caius. Kicked and screamed. My shield wouldn’t kick in. Not until it was too late. I think it finally worked as I passed out.”
Caius nods, encouraging me while soothing his hands up and down my arms, so I say, “You found me. You actually yelled at me.”
I chuckle and brush my lips against his, then whisper as my fingers wind into his silky hair, “You saved me, Caius. You fought for me to stay with you. I remember hearing Dem and Jane at different points…” I gasp before asking in a rush, “Jane and Char! Tell me they weren’t punished for my mistake, Caius. I was the one who sai-”
My dashing vampire pecks my lips to hush me, then promises, “They were not punished, Sweetling. All was explained. For your information, it is now law that if security is thought to be jeopardized in the slightest, waiting is no longer allowed, and will be punishable. If you had come to any one of us, Isabella, you may never have been abducted.”
I nod my head, ashamed of my previous actions, “I know, and I agree. No more waiting.” Then I continue, “Jasper and Peter visited. I remember Jasper telling me that Edward was caught. I was afraid he was still out there, because up until then, I hadn’t heard anyone say aloud that he was caught. Then you explained. And Cia… she came. Marcus didn’t come until after I let Jasper know my suspicions about Esme. None of them know I’m still alive, right?”
Caius ghosts his fingers down my back, and I suddenly realise I’m nude, but that’s secondary to the sudden burning in my throat. My hand goes to rub the burn away, but Caius kisses my throat, “No one knows, Sweetling. Right now, let’s get you fed. We’ll talk more after you’ve had some blood, alright?”
I nod, then let Caius help me into my robe. As he’s tying the sash, I ask in all seriousness while rubbing my throat, “And the pyre… you know I was serious about that, right? I wasn’t kidding about dancing on his ashes, Caius. Edward needs to burn. I don’t really care that it was me that he messed with. The point is that he tried to come between mates. Known mates. You can’t tell me they all didn’t know the day of their sentencing. I may not have known the full extent of my bracelet’s meaning then, but they did. Edward knew. Esme surely knew… and there’s no way in Hell that Corin can get away with trying to say she doesn’t know. Yet they still tried to come between us. That’s one thing I won’t let slide.”