July 17, 2017 ~ Surprise Discoveries
Edward couldn’t believe what was before him. Mentally thanking Angela for making him learn Italian, he read the document with ease. His mind was racing over the fact that the rival families had come together at one time to sign and pledge with their blood to uphold the rules of the mutual agreement.
“What is this?” Jasper asked, stepping over to Edward.
“It is a Giuramento di sangue delle famiglie unificate. Damn, I had heard tales of this, but never thought they were true,” Edward said. His father had mentioned them briefly in his journals. Maybe it was something he needed to tell him face to face.
“What does that mean?” Alice asked.
“It is in Italian, which translates as Blood Oath of the Unified Families,” Bella replied.
“Parli italiano?” Edward quizzed.
“Sì,” Bella answered with a smirk licking her lips. She loved hearing Edward speak Italian. His voice was raspy as it pronounced the long vowels, and it caused a serious case of arousal where she was concerned, and by the look in his eyes, she knew she was having the same effect. “I have a talented tongue.”
Fuck, could she be any more perfect for him. He would have her speak Italian when he makes love to her or to enjoy her talented tongue. Oh, the possibilities. But he had to be mindful of their current company, and keep his thoughts focused on the information in front of him for now.
“It is an agreement between all the mafia families that they would abide by this set of rules, however, if someone breaks the rules, they will be brought before the families, in the form of a tribunal, to face their punishment,” Edward explained. “Killing of women and children are forbidden, especially wives and young heirs, or as it is written, Principi or Princes. Older male children are bound by their grandfather’s oath and are subject to the prescribed punishments once they reach the accountable age of eighteen.”
“So are you telling me, that the other mafia families will come together to make Aro pay for what he did to your family?” Emmett asked.
“But why hadn’t they done this when it happened?” Jasper wondered.
“A member of the family who was wronged has to step forward and register a denuncia, a complaint. Since everyone thought everyone in the Cullenello family was dead, the other families didn’t have a surviving family member to request justice,” Edward said.
“What makes you think Aro is going to comply with this contract?” Alice asked.
Edward pointed down to the paper. “Every family signed the contract and placed a blood print beside their name. This right here is Aro’s father’s name.”
“HOLY SHIT!” Emmett boomed.
“How do we get the other families involved?” Bella questioned.
“I have to send out the code to the first family listed on this oath, they, in turn, will send it to the next, and so on. A conclave will be called and Aro will have to attend, where the families will hold him accountable for his actions,” Edward smirked.
“What is the code word?” Bella inquired.
Edward read more of the document which explained the rules, the purposes, and how to enact a conclave and register the denuncia. He found the word and smiled. It was perfect. “Traditore, which is traitor in Italian.”
“Fucking perfect!” Jasper gushed.
“What will be the penalty for Aro?” Rose asked.
“Blood for blood,” Edward growled. For the last few years, he had been picking away at Aro’s hold on the city. It would take him years to be strong enough to challenge Aro and there would be bloodshed on both sides. He needed to keep all those who had joined his family safe. He hoped that the other families would allow him to pass judgment against Aro. Over the years he had imagined killing Aro and how he would do it, now he might have a chance to do so.
“What about his family members?” Emmett quizzed.
“I don’t know. I am sure I will find out more once I make contact with the first family to invoke the conclave. I’ve never met any other mafia leaders and of course, they don’t know that I am alive,” Edward hypothesized.
“They are going to be surprised,” Rose laughed.
“I know you are Edward Cullen, the only child of Carlisle Cullen, and the only remaining member of the Cullenello family, but they think you are dead. How are you going to convince them?” Bella probed.
“I have my father’s ring, all the documentation that my father hid all over the city, and now this. The other families will recognize this immediately and know that Caius Cullenello was the protector of the document,” Edward explained. “I am going to wait until we get back to the States to start the process. This house still might hold some other details that might be helpful and I really want to spend more time in it. You don’t have to stay, go enjoy Italy.”
Bella took hold of his hand. “I’m staying with you.”
Edward smiled. He knew that even before she said it. She was as curious as he was about what they might find. “I thought you might.”
After some prodding, Emmett, Rose, Jasper, and Alice agreed they would leave to enjoy the sites. Edward wondered if the electricity to the house still worked. He called the local utility company and found out the documentation they would need to restore service. Thankfully his grandfather had set up a trust that kept the taxes paid on the house and land, so they only needed identification and the title of the home.
Bella found the title in the safe along with the information for the law firm that handled the trust, and another journal which she handed to Edward. She knew he would read every word of it this evening and she couldn’t blame him. It held details of his family that he had never been able to receive from his father personally, all because of Aro. Fuck she wanted to kill the man for hurting Edward so badly.
After greasing the palm of the local utility manager, power was turned back on along with the water. Edward then contacted a local contractor who generously came out on such short notice, well after an envelope of money was stuffed in his pocket, to ensure that wiring and pipes could be used without the threat of fire or bursting. He informed Edward they were okay for now, though the wiring and pipes would need to be updated soon. Edward asked how much it would cost to bring the house back to its former glory. Bella’s mouth fell open after hearing the amount, but Edward reached in his pocket and pulled out one-third of the amount, signed the contract, and shook hands on the rest of the deal. The contractor left with a huge smile on his face but knew he better not try anything shady with Edward. He was a Cullenello after all; and though he hadn’t seen or heard of one around for many years, he knew the stories.
Edward stood in the middle of the living room and smiled. He couldn’t wait to see his grandfather’s home brought back to life. He could see his family coming over for years to come enjoying the home. Looking over he saw Bella standing by one of the large windows that led out to a terrace that overlooked the backyard. God, she was beautiful. Then an image came to him that hit him like a brick wall. He had imagined her standing here after the house was done and round with his child. Where had that thought come from? Wherever it was, he couldn’t think of anyone else he would want to carry his children. Bella Swan was it for him and he could only hope that she felt the same way.
“Edward. Edward. EDWARD!” She yelled after he didn’t answer her the first two times. What was wrong with him? He was standing in the middle of the room with a strange look on his face, like he was trying to solve the world’s problems.
“What?” He jumped.
“I wondered if you wanted to take a look around and see what else we can find, now that the lights are on?” She asked.
“I think that is a grand idea. Come on, let’s go see how my grandparents lived,” Edward smiled reaching out for her to take his hand.
When they walked into the kitchen, Edward turned to Bella. “What would you like to do here?”
“It is your home,” she replied confused by the question. As much as she would love to have a say in the remodel, she didn’t feel it was her place. Bella was totally clueless as to the importance she held with Edward and thought of herself as only a person that he had saved.
Edward wrapped his arms around her. “I know that this is too soon, but as my father wrote in his journal, your heart knows when you find the right one and I think your heart knows as well. Bella, I want you here, fuck, no I want you with me everywhere. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and not have you by my side. I want to laugh with you, cry with you, fight with you, so we can have make-up sex. As scared as I am that this world is too dangerous for you, I can’t let you go. I promise to be faithful to you always. Please say you want the same thing.”
Bella couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but the look in Edward’s eyes told her that he meant every word. Was she scared? Yes. But could she walk away from this man and never return? NO. He was her destiny. She was as sure of this as anything in her life. As she researched his family, read the journal, discovered this house, she had felt a connection to this family. She just didn’t realize the degree of importance until Edward had rescued her. So even with the knowledge of the machinations of the family business, she was going to endure the good, the bad, and the ugly of this side of his life and stand beside him. “Never in my life did I think I would be standing beside a man like you. Everything about you screams danger and to run far away. I am not naive to the fact that you have killed people in the past and you will continue to do so.”
Edward’s heart fell hearing her comments. He knew she was about to tell him she was leaving and never coming back.
Bella saw the look of defeat in his eyes. “And even after knowing all of that, I couldn’t see myself anywhere but here in your arms for the rest of my life. I love you, Edward Cullen, son of Carlisle Cullen, grandson of Caius Cullenello with all my heart and soul.”
A smile broke out across his face and passion took hold of him. “Oh, I love you too, Bella.” Leaning down, he captured her mouth in a kiss, that attempted to convey all his feelings to her. His tongue swept inside of her sweet mouth, stroking her tongue with his, then he heard her moan. Finally breaking away, both were breathing hard. “I would love nothing more than make love to you now, but I don’t want to get dust all over us. When we get back to the villa, I plan to show you how much I love you.”
“I love that idea,” she murmured.
“Come, we need to make some plans for what WE are going to do with the house,” Edward said with a smirk.
As they went from room to room, Bella took photos of each, so when they sat down they could decide on what they wanted. Uncovering the furniture, they decided that they wanted to try to save as much as possible in certain rooms. Couches and chairs could be reupholstered, while all wood pieces needed a good cleaning and polishing. When they walked into the master bedroom, they both gasped. The piece of furniture that stood out was the massive bed. It was a solid wood canopy bed with two posts at the foot with a pedestal and a large wood vase on top of it. The head of the bed had the Cullenello crest engraved into it. It was the most gorgeous bed either of them had ever seen.
“Oh my God Edward. I have read about a bed like this. In Italian tradition, the groom commissions the building of the wedding bed. The wealthier the family, the extravagant and ornate the bed.”
“ You are a wealth of information,” he said smiling down at her.
“I have done extensive research for my books,” Bella explained.
“Well I am impressed and we are keeping this bed,” Edward declared.
“Agreed,” Bella confirmed as she thought of her and Edward making love in it.
After exploring the rest of the rooms on the second floor, they decided they would come back tomorrow and look around in the attic. Leaving the house, Edward made a mental note that the first thing to be done would be changing the locks and securing the house. When they got in the car, they realized how dirty they were and chuckled over the fact. There wasn’t an inch of their body that wasn’t covered in dust. Bella’s long dark hair, looked like it had gone grey.
When they got back to the villa, no one was around. They went to their bedroom, stripped the dirty, grimy clothes off and stepped into the shower together. After the shower, they wrapped towels around each other and went back into the bedroom.
“How do you feel about going out to dinner tonight?” Edward asked.
“I would love that,” Bella answered.
“Great. Why don’t we get a snack and read some of that journal we found?” Edward quizzed.
“Sounds like a plan. You go relax on the terrace and I will be out in a few minutes,” Bella instructed. After throwing on a relaxing outfit, she went into the small kitchen, made a couple of sandwiches, sliced up some fruit, and grabbed a couple of bottles of water. She took the food to the terrace where Edward had gone. After they ate, she was tired and her ribs were killing her. “I am going to stretch out for a while. Let me know if you find anything surprising.”
“I don’t have to start reading this,” Edward said pointing to the journal. “We could go inside and we could lie down on the bed.”
“No, I am fine. The sun is very relaxing,” she declared.
“All right,” he stated as he began reading the journal. He had thought it would be more about the life of his grandparents, though it wasn’t. It was the Cullenello family rules on running the family and business. Most of the information was stuff he already knew until he got to the section about the requirements to be the Leader of the Cullenello family. As he read each one, he mentally checked off that he had completed it, then he read a requirement that caused his breath to hitch. To be recognized as the leader of the Cullenello family, he had to be married. “HOLY FUCK!”
Bella jumped up, grabbing her side when the pain stabbed through. “What is it, what’s wrong?” She winced out.
Edward looked at Bella and shook his head. How was he going to tell her what he just read? “I just read something that shocked me.”
Bella came over and looked down at the journal, but before she could see what shocked him, he closed the book. “Edward, what is the matter?”
He stood up and began pacing and running his hands through his hair. Why was this a requirement? He couldn’t understand why it was so important that he was married.
Bella watched him pace back and forth, mumbling to himself. She had to know what had upset him, so she opened the journal and began to read, then she saw it the rule concerning marriage, she too yelled out, “HOLY FUCK!”
Edward turned when he heard Bella scream. Glancing down he saw that she had opened the journal. Rushing back to her he took her hand in his. Looking down, he saw how perfect her hand fit in his. She loved him and he loved her, then there was no reason why they couldn’t get married. Getting down on one knee, he looked up at her angelic face. “You know that I love you and I would be honored if you would agree to be my wife.”
Tears filled Bella’s eyes. This was too quick. No one agrees to marry a man that she had just met. Looking down at Edward through her tears, she knew there was only one answer that she could give to his question.