Exchange program promises a year of free education in Italy, and Bella can't refuse such a chance. She want to forget Forks' wetness and rains. Forget forever. Too much memories and now too much pain. Sometimes Swan dream about waking from a nightmare, where the life is as easy as it was before.
But now, in the middle of the flight, looking at the signed papers, she starts to doubt. Slight panic starts crawling into her heart.
"Calm down, Bella. You are just overwhelmed." Repeating it like mantra.
"Benvenuto in Italia!" guide's voice is high and melodic. Too musical.
She shakes her head and follows the group to the dormitory, but there is no time to unpack things. They are going to the excursion, and Rebecca - her roommate - is bouncing with happiness.
Tuscany, she decides, is a really beautiful region, and buys an album with photos. There's something there, and you can't tell in words. Something like ancient magic, because there must be something magical here.
There are a lot of people on the square. People from ebony to ivory are walking and sweating under the hot sun.
In the castle itself it's cold and a bit creepy, and Bella unconsciously rubs her scar, and then hides her hands in her pockets.
She can't tell where the light comes from, but it slowly turns dark gray instead of black. They were in a low, arched tunnel. Long trails of ebony moisture seep down the gray stones, like they are bleeding ink. Swan is shaking, and at first she thinks it's from cold.
"Throne room is just after the corner." the guide announces.
And she hears this her voice again, and this time turns around. Blood red eyes are staring back at her, and the girl stumbles and then freezes in place. She can't even move a finger.
Swan is shaking, and now she knows it's from fear.
Newspapers are screaming about a fire in the dorms, which has killed twenty three lives, and Bella can't find her boots. And she somehow thinks that the hell itself would have appealed to her more.
Day after day passes, and she wonders why is she still a mere human. Day after day she is sitting in the library and reads old books, sometimes glancing out of the window longingly.
"I've signed up a contract for education…" She mutters, powerless, wonders how ultimately life can change, and kicks the leg of the table.
"You've signed up the contract with the Devil, miss Swan." raven-haired vampire corrects, coming from shadows, and in a blink of an eye he is standing near the window. Aro. His name is Aro. Of course. He smiles and looks at the sky.
"You've signed up the contract with the Devil, Isabela, and you can't find a better mentor."