An Unresolved Past

This story starts off five years after its prelude: 'Life is never what you expect it to be'. Bella is now Caius's mate and they are both very happily bonded. WARNING: This is an adult version of twilight and will have sexual submission and violence (after all; the story revolves around vampires). This is not for the faint of heart; it is very dark and has sexual content. 18+

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the creator of these intriguing characters but has nothing to do with this story.

Chapter 48 – Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another *– Emma Goldman

The trip back to Volterra was a lot less frustrating as the trip to the airport with Bella and Caius in the back seat of the limo as Edward drove. The night sky was beautiful and the atmosphere in the car was peaceful after the tempest of emotions they had all gone through. The tinted privacy glass was raised to give Caius and Bella their much needed solitude.

As soon as the tinted glass was raised Caius took hold of Bella's hand stroking his thumb along her index finger and enjoying a moment of serenity.

Bella was very nervous, constantly shifting herself on the backseat and looking out of the window while allowing him to stroke her hand. Caius saw and felt her anxiety and after about 10 minutes decided to confront her, his voice cautious as he asked "Isabella I can feel your tension; is something wrong? Or are you now so captivated by Aro that you no longer want me?"

She looked timidly, her eyes sad and soulful as she replied "I have warmed Aro's bed almost as long as you have been gone. The last few months even willingly and in doing so I have betrayed our bond".

He slowly wrapped his arm around her and caressed her cheek with his right hand as he muttered "You think I am not aware of this? Edward and the others explained your situation; it was unavoidable. When all odds were against you, you must do what was necessary to survive! It was the one thing I taught you in the short time we were together. I am actually proud that you never gave up and loved me enough to send the others to find me".

Silence around them was deafening and after a moment Caius added "According to Edward it was not without extreme cost; because of your love and loyalty, Aro and Dragus almost destroyed you. I wish I could have come earlier to prevent it but it took me a long time to regain my memory".

"Is that why you took so long to come back to me?" She murmured.

"Yes it seems Aro wanted assurance that, should I survive the fall; all memories be erased. He sent someone to do that and just before she completed the job the icy ledge broke off sending me into the water. I do not know what happened after that but whatever transpired, it took me almost years to recover and when I did, I found myself climbing out of the ice cold water".

He then delved into his pocket and finding the object he slowly pulled it out of his pocket and displayed it to her saying "Remember this? Thanks to my lucky charm I felt I was part of this world and knew that you were an important element in it; a safe haven so to speak. Inadvertently it gave me the incentive to search for you in a world that was totally alien for me".

Bella finally smiled and leaned over giving Caius a tentative kiss. Caius sighed, this was how it should be. All these months he had been lost and searching; now he was home. The bond was still strong and giving into the moment he cupped her head and deepend their kiss.

In the meanwhile both Felix and Alec rode with the prisoner; Felix for his strength and Alec for his gift to subdue Dragus.

Alec quickly subdued Dragus when he tried to use his gift on them. For Alec it was not only because of his orders but also for revenge. In his minds eye he could still see Messalina chained against the wall and lifeless. Alec himself had never been remorseful of human death but now he realized that he still had some humanity in him for he has fallen in love with this shy and sympathetic woman.

The fact that Aro allowed Dragus to do this would always haunt him. He had always seen Aro as a father figure, he had been there for his sister and him when they were on the pyre and the villagers were out for blood. He had avenged them and taken them under his wings. That was why the twins were devoted to him; Alec was in turmoil.

Felix was amazed at how the world had turned upside down in a matter of 3 days. It was difficult to wrap his head around it. Why had Aro risked so much for a woman? Felix didn't like change and everything had changed since Bella had joined them. First Caius and then Aro; both seem to have fallen under her charms; he couldn't see why.

He was released from his ruminations when Alec said "Can you call Marcus and tell him we caught the bugger and we are on our way back to Voltera?"

Edward had called Carlisle from the limo to tell them they had caught Dragus just in time and the Bella was safe and sound. When to Alice Jasper and Carlisle were waiting at the front door for the cars to arrive and Caius was more than grateful. Bella did not relish the though of going to the throne room with Caius and he more than understood. So he quickly pulled Alice aside asking "Alice, I have heard you are in my guard; please help Isabella back to our suite. I have to help Marcus clear up this mess".

Alice nodded and put her arms around her friend saying "I am so happy they got you in time; I have heard about Dragus's vendetta and I was so afraid"

Relieved that Bella was now taken care of he turned and went to the throne room with Carlisle and Edward at his sides. He knew that Marcus was waiting there for his arrival and as he approached the throne room he heard the static of whispers. Vampires were often quiet and accepting of the hierarchy that had been put in place more that 3 thousand years ago. Now however, everything that they had supported was gone. Marcus was often despondent and was lost in his woes, Caius had been volatile and the last five years absent. Therefore Aro had taken the leadership role. It had been their fault, not his; he just filled in the gap that the other two kings had left.

As Caius entered the throne room accompanied by Carlisle and Edward, many coven members that had not yet seen him were shocked but they could see relief wash over Marcus.

The crowd had grown and Marcus was trying to keep everything from escalating. Many were not happy to find that Aro had been imprisoned and that Dragus had been living between them and escaped. They had difficulty with Marcus's explanation of the situation and also questions were raised over the presence of the Cullens.

Caius slowly and menacingly walked towards his throne and watched all those around him. He turned and graciously sat still not saying a word. When the buzz of whispers began to return he held his hand up and said "Now almost all of our coven is present I wish to say that Aro is now in prison"

This was met with disagreeable mumbling and Caius raise his hand once more declaring "We have no choice but to do this, as he has violated his position as king. He accused of treason, both towards myself and Marcus's former mate Didyme".

What will we do without Aro's guidance; he is the rock upon which all our powers lie.

Marcus then spoke "That is true, he has brought us prosperity and both Caius and I have allowed him to enhance his position in the Volturi not knowing that it would lead to this however, we can no longer trust our brother. We both promise you that we will offer our services and do what is necessary for the safety of the coven.

"Where are Alec and Jane" Heidi asked "They are loyal to Aro, have they been locked up too?"

This began a new wave of whispers which Marcus addressed.

Once back in the coven Alec and Felix brought Dragus to the prison, not close to Aro or Jane for fear he would use his gift on them. After that Alec swiftly went up to Athenodora's suite in the tower searching for Messalina

Alec had locked the door when he left Messalina. He was sure that chaos would descend upon the coven while he left with the others to get Bella and for him it was imperative that she was able to rest and recover from the treatment of Dragus.

Upon opening the door Messalina attacked, thinking Dragus had come back to further torture her but once Alec spoke she automatically stopped. Her eyes were now clear and she had lost the empty and fearful stare he had seen a couple of hours ago. As she started to comprehended what she saw a smile slowly graced her lips then she embraced him uttering "I'm sorry, I was confused the last thing I remember was being chained to the wall before Dragus left. After that I heard footsteps outside of the door and then nothing. It did surprise me that I woke on the bed and unchained and I decided I wouldn't let him chain me again."

Alec was so relieved that there had been no irreparable damage that all he could do was hold her as she continued to speak. Alec picked her up and carried her to the bed as he put her on his lap and comforted her as best he could.

They sat in blissful peace for a time when they heard footsteps approaching. The tenor of Edward's voice reached them saying "I'm almost sure he is here"

A moment later Edward opened the door and entered, Marcus and Caius behind him.

"Alec, we need you in the throne room" Marcus said then looking at the girl he saw fear permeated her face and she clutched on to Alec as she looked at Caius.

Caius's eyes had been on Alec but once he looked at the girl he was holding he shouted "That is the witch who erased my memory" and was about to attack.

Alec came between the two and was about to be skewered when Marcus shouted "Stop Caius, before you regret your actions"

"I will never regret banishing my tormentor from this world"

Edward quickly answered "Your tormentor was being tormented herself; she had no choice but to obey Aro. She proved it by trying to help Bella escape; that is the reason she was being persecuted."

This stopped Caius for a moment and Edward saw the relief in Alec's eyes.

"Please Caius" Edward continued "if you trust me, then allow me to speak with her; I promise to bring her to you later. In the meanwhile you and Marcus have to go to the coven before they become anxious".

Marcus then looked up at Caius saying "Let us go! As soon as we have calmed them you can finally look for Isabella". Then looking at Alec he asked "we need your help in the throne room."

Alec looked at Mesallina and hesitated but Edward quickly said "I promise that she will not be harmed"

Then Alec looked at Caius and Edward, hearing his fears he also looked at Caius saying " Will you help me here? Alec is only protecting his mate and needs your reassurance. Remember how essential he is to the coven"

Now Caius was not only observed by Alec and Edward but also Marcus who quietly said "it is in the interest of the coven that Alec stay with us destroying the girl will only cause disquiet. If what Edward said is true she is just as much a pawn of Aro's as the rest of us."

Caius turned to Marcus and then to Edward saying "I will agree to this but there will be an investigation and if I find out she did this of her own accord; I will destroy her."

The next moment Caius, Marcus and Alex departed for the throne room. But before Alec left

he turned at the doorway saying "I will come back for you as soon as everything is settled"

She gave him a smile and then looked at Edward.

Left alone with Messalina, Edward confidently stated "I understand that you are the woman that wiped Caius's memory and that of my siblings Jasper and Alice".

At first Messalina had difficulty focusing on his words but when she did Edward also felt her shame as she quietly answered "Yes"

"Aren't you going to defend yourself?" Edward asked

She shrugged her shoulders her voice still stupefied as she inquired "Why? You can read my thoughts and know exactly why and how I did it".

Edward smirked as he countered "Yes and yet I also see a tidbits of information that has eluded us all until now. It seems that Aro was also behind Isabella's kidnapping using a willing Alec to do the deed and hoping that it would make her fear the outside world".

Instantly he felt her panic as she realized what these implications would do to Alec if others found out.

She stuttered as she explained "If you can read my mind fully you can see that at the time he did do it willingly but in the past years his has only been kind to her; in his own way protecting her from the harsh methods that Aro used to bend her".

Edward realized that her panic had blocked any mind-reading so he held his hand up in an effort to calm her saying "OK, OK …now please tell me the whole story"

Messalina was still recovering from Dragus's work and took a deep breath trying to calm down. A moment later began her tale "Aro's spies had stumbled across me in Seattle while searching for Victoria's followers; this was just after the Bella had joined the Volturi. Aro kept me away from the others to analyze my powers and when he realized the true potential of my gift he used it to erase Alec's memory of the abduction. You see Aro had been fascinated and aroused by Alec's memories and wanted of snuff out any and all of Alec's desire for her".

Looking up towards Edward she complained "He needed Alec but wanted Isabella; so to avoid any conflict with his protégé he decided to erase his memory. The added benefit being that it would conveniently cover his tracks, if Alec were ever to encounter you".

She concluded saying "Since then Aro has kept me in the background but close by, so he could make use of my gifts when he needed them. It was not my choice to hurt anyone; I was happy to live in the states. Aro however insisted that I could only profit from his protection if I stayed close and in the coven".

"It must have been difficult always living in the shadows" Edward replied.

"Once Caius left I was no longer restricted to my rooms" She explained.

"I see behind the story that you and Alec both seem to be attracted to each other" Edward probed.

"I have tried to avoid that as I wished to go back to America but it is impossible to deny the heart; after all, I know I can never go back to the way it was, being what I am. I also thought that going back would not be an option considering Aro's hold over me".

Edward was reflecting on her words and slowly began to explain "Between the two of us I wish to say Alec loves you and was devastated when he thought you had left him. Maybe he has finally broadened his horizon and his attraction to Isabella was just a passing passion as it was for me. It would be better to keep this information to ourselves and see what happens".

Messalina inadvertently let out a sigh of relief.

Looking at her he added "I will be keeping my eye on him, watching his every movement but I do want to give him and you a chance". He thought to himself that the coven's strength was based on the twins but deemed it unnecessary to state the obvious.

She nodded eagerly and stated "I understand Caius's anger; after all I caused Isabella and him enormous misery. I don't know if I can ever expect their forgiveness."

Seeing and hearing her distress he answered "there is something that you can do to compensate for the faults you have done".

Edward saw her keenness to please as he continued "Dragus has done damage to Bella and I think that it would be wise to help her by erasing that time from her memory. Even if it would slowly emerge in her downtime it will allow her to heal.'

Relief immediately replaced her fear as she said "I would do anything to help her"

Reading her thoughts he knew that her words were true.

He then held out his hand in a silent request and after a moment of hesitation she put her hand in his. They quietly left the room together and once they reached Athenodora's old room he stopped and held his hand up to Messaline in a quiet request to do the same. "I now need to help someone else"

A moment later he shouted to Alexia. "Alexia, it's Edward; are you alright?

"Edward, is it really you?" Alexia shouted relief colouring her question.

Leaning against the wall and placing his hand on the offensive barrier he responded "Yes my love and I am coming to get you; I will be sending the guards to break this stupid wall down. I have to leave you for now but I will be back as soon as I can to help. Are you OK with that?"

He could her her joyful voice as she joked "Do I have a choice? No problem; as long as you promise to come back for me"

He smiled at the wall saying "I promise!"

He then brought Messaline to the throne room and when they arrived he instructed her to tell Marcus her tale just as she had told him.

* Emma Goldman