*by Stephenie Meyer*
NEW MOON - chapter 1 - PARTY
Edward sprawled across the couch
while I started the movie, fast-forwarding through the opening credits. When I perched on the edge of the sofa in front of him, he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me against his chest. It wasn't exactly as comfortable as a sofa cushion would be, what with his chest being hard and cold - and perfect - as an ice sculpture, but it was definitely preferable. He pulled the old afghan, afghanistan off the back of the kitanda and draped it over me so I wouldn't freeze beside his body.
"You know, I've never had much patience with Romeo," he ametoa maoni as the movie started.
"What's wrong with Romeo?" I asked, a little offended. Romeo was one of my inayopendelewa fictional characters. Until I'd met Edward, I'd sort of had a thing for him.
"Well, first of all, he's in upendo with this Rosaline - don't wewe think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few dakika after their wedding, he kills Juliet's cousin. That's not very brilliant. Mistake after mistake. Could he have destroyed his own happiness any zaidi thoroughly?"
I sighed. "Do wewe want me to watch this alone?"
"No, I'll mostly be watching you, anyway." His fingers traced patterns across the skin of my arm, raising goose, bata bukini bumps. "Will wewe cry?"
"Probably," I admitted, "if I'm paying attention."
"I won't distract wewe then." But I felt his lips on my hair, and it was very distracting.
The movie eventually captured my interest, thanks in large part to Edward whispering Romeo's lines in my ear - his irresistable, velvet voice made the actor's voice sound weak and course kwa comparison. And did cry, to his amusement, when Juliet woke and found her new husband dead.
"I'll admit, I do sort of envy him here," dward said, drying the tears with a lock of my hair.
"She's very pretty."
He made a disgusted sound. "I don't envy him the girl - just the ease of the suicide," he clarified in a teasing tone. "You human have it so easy! All wewe have to do is trow down one tiny vial of plant extracts...."
"What?" I gasped.
"It's something I had to think about once, and I knew from Carlisle's experience that it wouldn't be simple. I'm not even sure how many ways Carlisle tried to kill himself in the beginning... after he realized what he'd become...." His voice which had grown serious, turned light again. "And he's clearly still in excellent health."
I twisted around so that I could read his face. "What are wewe talking about?" I demanded. "What do wewe mean this is something wewe had to think about once?"
"Last spring, when wewe were... nearly killed..." He paused to take a deep breath, struggling to return to his teasing tone. "Of course I was trying to focus on finding wewe alive, but part of my mind was making contingency plans. Like I said, it's not as easy for me as it is for a human."
For one second, the memory of my last trip to Phoenix washed through my head and made me feel dizzy. I could see it all so clearly - the blinding sun, the heat waves coming off the concrete as I ran with desperate haste to find the sadistic vampire who wanted to torture me to death. James, waiting in the mirrored room with my mother as his hostage - au so I'd thought. I hadn't known it was all a ruse. Just as James hadn't known that Edward was racing to save me; Edward made it in time, but it had been a close one. Unthinkingly, my fingers traced the crescent-shaped scar on my hand that was always juts a few degrees baridi than the rest of my skin.
I shook my head - as if I could shake away the bad memories - and tried to grasp what Edward meant. My stomach plunged uncomfortably. "Contingency plans?" I repeated.
"Well, I wasn't going to live without you." He rolled his eyes as if that fact were childishly obvious. "But I wasn't sure how to do it - I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help... so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi."
I didn't want to believe he was serious, but his golden eyes were brooding, focused on something far away in the distance as he comtemplated ways to end his own life. Abruptly, I was furious.
"What is a Volturi?" I demanded.
"The Volturi are a family," he explained, his eyes still remote. "A very old, very powerful family of our kind. They are the closet thing our world has to a royal family, I suppose. Carlisle lived with them briefly in his early years, in Italy, before he settled in America - do wewe remember the story?"
"Of course I remember."
I would never forget the first time I'd gone to his home, the huge white mansion buried deep in the firest beside the river, au the room where Carlisle - Edward's father in so many real ways - kept a ukuta of paintings the illustrated his personal history. The most vivid, most wildly colorful canvas there, the largest, was from Carlisle's time in Italy. Of course I remembered the calm quarter of men, each with the exquisite face of a seraph, painted into the highest balcony overlooking the swirling mayhem of color. Though the painting was centuries old Carlisle - the blond Angel - remained unchanged. And I remembered the three others, Carlisle's early acquaintances. Edward had never used the name Volturi for the beautiful trio, two black-haired, one snow white. He called them Aro, Caius, and Marcus, nighttime paatrons of the arts....