Oh, my God, I can't believe we're already at the end of this part of Anna and Beth's story! This part was changed the most from the original draft, and I am delighted with how it has turned out.




A place called home

For weeks, Esme had been hard at work in her studio, and now Carlisle knew why.

"It's lovely, Esme," Carlisle said when she showed him the design. "Did you have someone in mind for it?"

His wife smiled bashfully. "You're going to think I'm awfully sentimental."

"Never." Kissing her cheek, Carlisle's interest was immediately piqued. "Who will this house be for?"

"Sooner or later, Renesmee and Jacob will want a place of their own, don't you think?" Esme said, smoothing the design on her desk. "And…I'm considering a similar design for Beth."

Carlisle was surprised. "Has Alice said when she will return?"

"No." Esme sighed. "She's been having visions about Beth, but they're never clear."

"It sounds like Beth is confused." Carlisle sighed. "We can only imagine what she's going through."

"Poor girl," Esme said forlornly as Carlisle's phone began to ring. As he read the caller-ID, he had to smile.

"I am about to find out," he said. "Hello, Beth."

"Hi, Carlisle!" The young woman sounded a little breathless. "Is now a good time?"

Carlisle frowned. "Yes. Is everything alright?" He could hear the hum of a jet engine in the background.

"Oh, everything's fine." Beth hesitated. "Okay, not completely fine. Um, actually, I just wanted you to know that I'm sorry, but I… won't be coming back to Forks yet."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Beth," Carlisle said. What are you doing to her, Aro? "Renesmee is excited to hear about the wedding." Carlisle's beloved granddaughter called Alice only yesterday to hear any news and came away disappointed as many times before.

"I'm sorry," Beth said sadly. "Things have gotten…complicated here."

Carlisle met Esme's concerned gaze. "May I ask how?"

Beth gulped. "The Romanians have resurfaced."

"The Romanians?" Alarmed, Carlisle froze. Esme's hands flew to her mouth. "Are you sure, Beth?"

She sounded a little offended. "Yes, Carlisle. A hundred percent sure! One of the Volturi's envoys betrayed them, and – and she reached out to someone called Radko who knew them. We're going to Prague to find him."

"You're already on your way?"

"Yes. I – I thought you should know. Nessie showed me the Romanians in her memories."

Carlisle frowned. "And you… want to be a part of this, Beth? To help the Volturi?"

"Well, that's the thing, Carlisle." Another pained pause. "I don't think it's about what I want anymore."

Is Aro making you say this? Carlisle's hand tightened around his phone. "Beth, if the Volturi is making you do something you're not comfortable with –"

"What?" He heard Beth gasp, and her voice trembled, revealing a frightened young woman backed into a corner. "What – What will you do? Oh, no. No, don't answer that. I've made up my mind. I – I have to do this. I'm sorry…"

"Beth –"

"I'm sorry I didn't meet you guys first. Thank you for everything." Beth gave a sob before the line went dead.

Carlisle slowly lowered his hand. He stared into Esme's anxious face, for once not knowing what to say.

"What can we do?" Esme asked tremulously.

Carlisle raised his head. "It would seem that Beth has made her choice," he said. "She is staying with the Volturi. We can only hope, for Nessie's sake, that she survives what is coming."

"What's coming, Carlisle?" Esme breathed.

Carlisle's throat was tight with dread. "War," he said. "I fear another war is coming."

The end…for now