Edward straightened his tie, then tugged on the cuffs of his starched white shirt before opening the door to the warehouse, where all the families were meeting. Each leader of the family was allowed to bring with them their consigliere and one guard. As he stepped in, he was met by four large men in dark suits. “Name.”
“Cullen,” Edward said, his voice cold as ice.
Edward was excited to bring justice for his family’s murders, finally. The day after he had informed Bella and Charlie about Renee’s lineage, they were packed and on the plane back to Chicago. Bella had been quiet since receiving the information and he didn’t want to push her. She was sitting beside him on the plane, staring out the window.
He leaned down and placed a kiss on the side of her head. “I love you.”
She turned her head towards him. “I love you too.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Edward asked.
“Not yet,” she murmured.
“Okay, but know I am here whenever you are ready,” he confessed.
Bella gave him a little smile, then turned back to watch the clouds go by. It wasn’t the fact that she was upset with Edward; she needed to figure out what she wanted to do with the fact that she was possibly the blood leader of the Volturi family. The same family that brutally murdered the love of her life’s family. How could he not feel some hate towards her, because in her veins flowed the murderous blood of the Volturi? He hadn’t said anything about it, only saying that he loved her.
Her mind kept going back to the question of whether or not her egg donor was dead; which by mafioso law meant that she was the leader of a crime family. She didn’t know how to be a leader, damn it, she was an author and a wife, Edward’s wife. He knew how to be a leader, but could she just say, “Here, dear, you run the family that killed your parents?” How could she ask him to do that? But if she didn’t run the family and Edward didn’t either, who would? Would it be someone worse than Aro? Would they come after Edward? God, she couldn’t live in a world without him.
She felt his hand brush up against hers. She laid her pinky on top of his, drinking in the connection that pulsed through them. It gave her a calming effect, letting her know that he would be there for any decision she made.
They landed in Chicago and were met by a contingent of guards and a bulletproof Hummer. Edward wasn’t taking any chances. Charlie would be staying with them at Edward’s mansion. When they arrived, Edward assisted Bella out of the car.
“Welcome home, Mrs. Cullen,” he whispered into her ear, then swept her up.
“Edward,” Bella squealed. “What are you doing?”
“Carrying you over the threshold,” he replied, giving her one of his crooked smiles. “Charlie, would you get the door?”
Charlie chuckled, shaking his head. “You make me sick.” He groaned as he opened the door.
Edward carried Bella over the threshold, then placed her on her feet. “This is now your home. Do with it as you will, except in my office.”
“Hmm, I could see an eighties theme happening here,” she said, trying not to laugh.
“Ah, okay,” Edward stammered.
Charlie let out a cackling laugh. “Ed, she is joking.”
Edward wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tight up against him. “I will make you pay for that.”
Bella looked up into his crystal green eyes. “I look forward to the punishment.”
“Fuck,” he groaned.
Bella giggled. “Daddy, let me show you where you will be staying.”
Emmett came up behind Edward. “Jacob is here.”
“What?” Edward asked, shocked over the news.
“Yeah. He said that Aro is going crazy trying to find Bella and Charlie.”
“FUCK! Where is he?”
“Your office,” Jasper said.
Edward headed towards his office. When he walked in, he saw Jacob sitting in the chair with a black eye and busted lip.
“What happened?” Edward asked.
“The fucker has gone completely batshit crazy. If he doesn’t like what you say, he hits you. Hell, he shot one of the housekeepers because she was dusting to loud,” Jacob explained.
“Does he know that his sister is Bella’s mother?” Edward questioned.
“No. I happened to say something about a photograph of his family and he just chuckled. He said that his sister had been a disgrace, but he took care of that problem. I think he killed her,” Jacob disclosed.
“Damn,” Edward groaned. If this were true, Bella was the rightful leader of the Volturi family. He didn’t doubt that she could do the job, though he had a feeling that she didn’t want it. He had allowed her time to work it all out, but with this information, he needed to know what she was going to do. When they went to the conclave, the documentation and Bella herself would have to come forward.
“Sorry, man,” Jasper said.
Edward walked around his desk and sat down. He would talk to Bella in a little bit, now was the time for him to make the call. “Jasper, did you get the cell number for Mario Santorini?” Mario was the leader of the Santorini Crime Family of New York. He was the grandson of Matteo Santorini, who had signed the Blood Oath of the Unified Families. His name was at the top of the list.
“Yeah,” Jasper answered, writing it down and handing it to Edward. “Are you going to call now?”
“Yes. I have waited long enough for this day,” Edward advised. “It is time.” Taking out his phone, he dialed the number. On the second ring, a deep voice answered.
“Who the fuck is this?” Mario growled.
“My name is Edward Cullen and I want to register a denuncia,” Edward said.
Mario couldn’t help but gasp. His father had told him about the agreement between the families and that at any point, he could be called. “Alright. Where?”
“Chicago,” Edward answered.
“Tomorrow evening. I will text you the address,” Mario said, his voice void of emotions. The agreement stated the conclave had to meet in the city that the complainant named and had to be within twenty-four hours.
“Thank you,” Edward said and disconnected the call.
Once the call was over with Mr. Cullen, Mario went over to the safe and opened it up. He took out the tube that held the parchment that was a copy of the Blood Oath. Unrolling it, he looked at the name under his grandfather’s. Fuck, it would be Pete Riccio’s grandfather. Finding his number, he called Pete. The process continued until Stefano Conti called Aro Volturi.
“Hello,” Aro answered.
“Mr. Volturi, a conclave has been called,” Stefano said.
“What the hell is a conclave?” Aro barked.
Damn, Stefano thought, he would get the stupid one. “It is a meeting of Bosses.”
“Oh. That sounds like fun. Is there going to be awards or something?” Aro questioned.
“Something like that. It will be tomorrow evening in Chicago,” Stefano explained. “I will send you the address and details that need to be followed.”
“Sure, whatever,” Aro murmured, thinking about what kind of praise he was finally going to get from the other Bosses. He would be recognized for taking out an entire family. After hanging up, he stood up and screamed. “JAMES!”
James came running into his father’s office. “What is it, Dad?”
“I am getting an award,” Aro beamed.
“Award? For what?”
“I am finally getting recognition for getting rid of an entire family. No other Boss has ever done that,” he proclaimed, puffing out his chest.
James was confused by what his dad was talking about, but then again, the man had some serious mental issues. Over the last five years, he had noticed his father’s mind deteriorating. He had become even more violent if that was even possible. James had been on the receiving end of the brunt of his father’s temper on several occasions. “Oh and when is this happening?”
“Tomorrow evening, here in Chicago. I need to get a new suit,” Aro exclaimed.
James plastered on a smile. “Alright, Dad. I am sure we can find you something perfect.”
Jasper was Edward’s second, so he came with him and Emmett came as the guard. Bella was waiting in the car with Seth for the text from Edward. Once the conclave received the documentation, they would want her to be here as well.
“Mr. Cullen, no weapons allowed passed this point,” the guard instructed, bringing out a metal lockbox. “If you will place all of them all in the box, we will lock them up and give you the code.”
Edward, Jasper, and Emmett pulled out their guns, laying them in the box. The guard shut the box, turned the tumblers and handed the combination to Edward. “Mr. Cullen, I assure you that your guns will be safe.”
“Thank you,” Edward said.
“They are through those doors,” one of the guards instructed, pointing to a set of double doors.
Edward straightened his back and put on his most serene face. Pushing open the door, he walked towards the group of men sitting at a long wood table. He was shocked by the room. From the outside, he thought it was just an abandoned warehouse; however, it had doors and rooms. This room was large, with minimal lighting, which gave it an ominous feel.
“Mr. Cullen, step forward and give us your grievances against Aro Volturi,” Mario Santorini instructed. He was sitting at the head of the table. Caius Cullenello held the original parchment of the Blood Oath, but the other signers of the Oath had written instructions as to how to conduct a conclave, down to where each family sat. Since the Cullenello family were the ones who had brought the families together all those years ago, they were bestowed the supreme right to sit at the table head and lead the conclave. However, since it was the Cullenello or Cullen’s in this case who called for denuncia, the right then fell to the Santorini family.
Edward looked at Jasper, who handed him first the cylindrical leather case, which held the original parchment of the Blood Oath of the Unified Families. Unrolling it, he placed it on the table and Jasper then handed him the documents concerning his family. Angela had kept the few newspaper clippings that she had personally clipped after the attack. She had been thankful that she had because years later, all the articles disappeared.
“My name is Edward Cullen and I am the only child of Carlisle and Esme Cullen, and grandchild of Caius Cullenello. On a cold, snowy December day, when I was just six months old, Aro Volturi led an attack against my family. Not just my father, but my mother and every single member of our family. After he executed this breach of the law, he went as far as to erase all information about the Cullen family, eliminating any and all traces of the Cullen Family’s existence. My father and grandfather had taken the precaution of hiding certain documents and journals for me to find when I was old enough.”
“How did you survive?” Mario asked.
“My mother gave me to my nanny and stood guard at the secret passageway, giving up her own life to ensure my survival,” Edward answered.
The men at the table looked at each other after hearing Edward’s reason for calling for the denuncia. “Mr. Cullen, why did you wait so long to come forward?” Stefano Conti questioned.
“I was unaware of anything concerning my heritage until I was in high school. I hadn’t become aware of the existence of the Blood Oath until a few weeks ago. A young author researching history for her next book, happened upon one of my grandfather’s journals when she was in Italy and started asking questions. Aro was notified about the inquiries and sent a hitman after her. Thankfully, her father taught her some self-defense moves and I was able to get to her before she was seriously injured. She helped me locate our family’s ancestral home, where I found the room where our grandfathers met and held the first conclave, signing the Blood Oath,” Edward replied.
“Gentlemen, I believe it is time for a vote. All those in favor of granting Mr. Cullen the right of vengeance, say aye,” Mario announced. The ayes echoed through the room. “All those not in favor say nay.” The silence was deafening.
“Mr. Cullen, you have our blessing and as you know, you have the right for blood,” Mario explained.
“Thank you, gentlemen. There is another issue that I must make you aware of. While in Italy, I came upon information that Aro Volturi is not the blood son of Lorenzo Volturi. He was adopted as a baby,” Edward informed, then smirked. “Though Lorenzo and his wife did give birth to a little girl three years later. This child grew up, married, had a child; and it seems that Lorenzo’s daughter has been murdered by Aro himself.”
“Do you have the documents that prove this claim?” Pete questioned.
Jasper handed Edward the birth certificate and the baptismal record, who then placed them on the table for the leaders to review. While they did that, he texted Bella and told her it was time for her to make her appearance. A short time later, Pete looked up towards Edward.
“Do you know what happened to this child?” Pete asked.
“Yes. Her name is Isabella Marie Swan,” Edward said, then the door opened up.
“Cullen. Isabella Marie Swan Cullen,” Bella called out, walking into the room. She was the epitome of power and grace with Seth protecting her back.
“Cullen?” Mario questioned.
“Yes. Edward and I married in Italy,” Bella answered.
“Did you marry her because she was the true leader of the Volturi?” Stefano asked.
“Hell no. I didn’t find out about her mother until after the wedding. A guest at the reception happened to know both my grandparents and hers. I did some digging and everything I have here was discovered. I married her because I love her.”
Bella walked over and he wrapped his arm around her. “I know he married me because he loved me and it doesn’t matter that I am a Volturi.”
“Are you prepared to take over after today?” Pete quizzed.
Bella took a step forward and looked around the table at each of the men. “I have given some serious consideration about that fact and to be honest, I know I don’t have the skill to be a leader. Despite that, I have decided to allow my husband to take control in my stead.”
Edward didn’t know that had been her decision. He had allowed her to come to the decision all on her own. Leaning down, he whispered in her ear. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I am an author, not a Boss,” she murmured back with a smile.
“Are you saying you are joining the two families?” Pete inquired. He wondered just how many recruits Edward had brought into his secret family and if they were as many as he thought, the combined family would be massive.
“Yes. I know that he will be the leader that the Volturi have needed for a long time,” Bella declared.
“Alright then,” Mario said. “Edward, we recognize you as the leader of the Cullen/Volturi family.” Mario looked down at his phone. He had received the text from the guards out front that said that Aro, his son, James, and one guard had arrived. “Gentlemen and lady, the Volturi have arrived.”
“Mrs. Cullen, why don’t you sit back there in the dark until the time comes to announce the true leader of the family and the families joining,” Stefano said.
Edward leaned down and placed a kiss on her lips. “I love you.”
“I know. Make the fucker pay,” she whispered then walked over to the far wall where the light didn’t reach. She could see everything happening, but no one could see her.
Aro was dressed in a tan suit, cream shirt, and a bow-tie as he strutted into the warehouse. James had tried to get him to buy something nice, but Aro refused once he saw the tan suit. It looked cheap. When the guard demanded that Aro, James, and his guard put their gun in a lockbox, he went ballistic. He was yelling and screaming that he wouldn’t give up his prized gun. It was the gun that he carried for the last twenty-five years. The same gun that he had used at the attack of the Cullen mansion.
“Dad, they are not going to keep it. Just put it in the box, so you can go get your award,” James urged.
“Oh, my award, yes,” Aro beamed, putting the gun in the box and ran his hand through his hair.
James placed his gun in the box, as well as their guard, the box was locked and he was given the code to retrieve their weapons later on. Looking at his father, he wondered the real reason why they were here. There was no way that it was because his father was getting some type of award. Damn, that shit didn’t happen. Stepping up beside his father, they walked towards the double doors and entered.
“Oh look, James, there are so many here to recognize my accomplishments,” Aro chirped, stepping close to the table.
Edward had taken his seat at the table along with the other Bosses. When Aro walked in, his heart began to beat faster and he had to remind himself to breathe normally. Justice for his parents was so close now.
“Mr. Aro Volturi, are you aware of an agreement between the other families that your father would have signed,” Mario asked. Unlike everyone else at the table, Aro had not passed the rule of the family to his son.
“No, but my father was very independent and would never join forces with another family, the Volturi family is too powerful,” Aro said, his head tilted higher to make him better than anyone else.
Mario motioned for one of the guards to take the document and place it in front of Aro. “This is the Blood Oath of Unified Families, that each one of our family members signed.”
“So,” Aro sneered.
“It is an agreement between the mafia families whose signatures are on the document along with a blood print beside their name,” Mario instructed.
“So, this has nothing to do with me. I am the leader of the Volturi and the only one who was brave and wise enough to eliminate an entire family,” Aro boasted.
“You admit to killing the women and children of the Cullen family?” Stefano asked.
“Of course. I couldn’t allow not one of them to survive,” Aro confirmed.
James had been reading the document when he discovered the part that killing women and children was forbidden, especially wives and young heirs and if a leader breaks the agreement, it would be blood for blood. Once he read that he looked at his father. “Dad, be quiet.”
“DON’T TELL ME TO BE QUIET!!” Aro yelled, slapping James across his face.
Pete motioned to the darkness and in one fluid motion multiple guards moved forward capturing Aro, James, and their guard.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” Aro yelled as he fought to get free.
James didn’t even struggle and when the guard saw this he didn’t as well. Both knew that something bad was about to happen and if they cooperated, maybe just maybe they could survive. Aro continued to fight, screaming at the top of his lungs.
“Put something in his fucking mouth,” Stefano growled. One of the guards stuffed a white cloth in his mouth.
Pete looked at Edward and nodded. Edward stood and stared at Aro. “Aro Volturi, you have admitted to killing the innocent, which is against the rules that your father agreed to by his signature and blood. Mr. Cullen do you have something you want to say before judgement is performed.”
Aro and James’s eyes became huge as Edward stepped towards them. There was no way this was possible.
Edward took a deep cleansing breath. “I am Edward Cullen, the only child of Carlisle Cullen, grandson of Caius Cullenello, and the last living person with the blood of the Cullen lineage.”
“Fucking, impossible,” James murmured, as his father shook his head violently no.
“Very possible, because Carlisle Cullen was smarter than you, Aro. He hoped for the best, but planned the worst. I was taken out by a secret passageway and raised by a wonderful woman,” Edward explained.
“Aro Volturi, you are guilty of breaking the code and are hereby sentenced to death by Mr. Cullen’s hand,” Pete declared. “James Volturi, you are not censored. You will be free to leave after you witness your father’s fate.”
James was shocked, though he knew there was nothing he could. Well he would get his revenge at a later time. He was dragged to the side, while all the men who had been sitting at the table got up and made a circle around Aro and the guard who was detaining him.
“Remove his gag,” Edward demanded. The guard removed Aro’s gag and as soon as he did, Aro once again began screaming.
“YOUR FATHER WAS A FUCKING PUSSY, JUST LIKE YOU ARE!” Aro yelled.
Edward let his fist fly, landing a blow to Aro’s nose. When he heard the crunching noise of bone breaking he smiled. “My father was a great man, unlike you, you fucking cunt.”
“I am the great Aro Volturi, the legendary Boss of the Volturi family,” Aro sneered.
Edward heard the sound of heels clicking on the concrete floor and knew that Bella was going to make herself known.
Bella had been sitting in the darkness, witnessing the events that transpired in front of her. Aro was completely crazy and if he had been allowed to live, he would continue his evil ways of killing the innocent. She had been so proud of how Edward handled himself, he truly was a great leader.
Pete slipped away from everyone else and came over to where Bella was sitting. “Mrs. Cullen, it is time,” he whispered.
Bella stood, smoothed her dress, and straightened her back. “I am ready.” She walked towards Edward and as soon as she was right behind him, she placed her hand on his back.
Edward felt the warmth of her hand through his jacket. The energy that flowed whenever they touched, ebbed through his body, calming him.
Bella stepped around Edward. “You, Aro Volturi, are nothing. You are the bastard son of rapist Priest. There is not one drop of Volturi blood in your worthless body, unlike Edward whose veins flow with Cullenello blood.”
“That is a fucking lie, bitch,” Aro spat.
Edward reared back and punched Aro this time in face, causing his head to whip around. “Don’t you dare call her that, asshole,” he growled.
Aro looked up, his nose bleeding and now with his eye swelling. “Who the fuck are you?”
Bella smiled sweetly. “I am Bella Cullen or should I say Bella Swan.”
Aro gasped. “You are the cunt asking about the Cullens.”
Edward rammed his fist in Aro’s stomach causing him to bend over coughing up saliva and blood. Taking his hand Edward placed it under Aro’s chin and looked him in the eye, giving him one of his crooked smiles. “You will love the next part. Go ahead baby, rock his world.”
“Oh, I guess I should tell you that I am Renee or as you know her, Renetta Volutri’s daughter,” Bella said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Edward laughed out loud. “Unlike you, she has Volturi blood flowing through her veins.”
Aro opened and closed his mouth several times. How did he not know this? His fucking sister disappeared when she was twenty-two and was gone for several years. Then suddenly much like her disappearance she reappeared, though she was different. She was more outspoken and defiant to his rules. He had to make her pay, though he didn’t mean to break her neck. He had one of his men throw her dead body into the lake. Fuck he never liked her anyways.
“Baby, I need to finish this,” Edward said, placing a kiss to her temple.
Bella nodded and went over to one of the leaders who gave her a small smile. “You did good,” he whispered.
“Thank you,” she murmured, turning back to Edward.
It was time, Aro’s evil life needed to end now. “Hold him,” Edward demanded as the two guards captured Aro by the arms and held him tight. Edward began to beat Aro’s face, over and over again. Blood sprayed all over the guards and Edward. With each powerful punch, Edward thought of his parents and all those that had been affected by Aro’s evil. Stopping when his arms were so tired he couldn’t raise them anymore.
Aro’s head dropped down, blood pouring the open wounds and mouth. He hurt so bad that all he wanted to do was to close his eyes and sleep. How had it came to this? He had planned the perfect assault, but somehow this man escaped.
Edward turned toward the contingent of leaders. Each one now held a different type of weapon. He surveyed each one and made his decision. Taking it from the hand of Stefano, he stepped back to Aro. Grabbing his hair Edward pulled his face up.
“The devil has been waiting for your black heart and soul. However, I am going to disappoint him, because I am taking your heart.” Taking the knife, he plunged it deep inside of Aro’s chest, causing him to scream. Pulling the blade down he opened the chest cavity, letting go of Aro’s hair he reached in the chest, grabbing the heart, and pulled as hard as he could. The beating muscle gave way, coming loose from its confines. Edward looked at the bloody heart and smiled. Aro Volturi would never hurt anyone ever again. The two guards that had been holding Aro let him go, his dead body falling to the cold concrete floor.
Edward dropped the heart next to Aro’s body. It was done.
“Mr. Cullen, the Oath has been vindicated,” Pete said, handing Edward a towel.
“Thank you,” Edward murmured, wiping the blood from his hands. When he was done he looked around for Bella and when he saw her face, he rushed towards her. She met him halfway, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“Baby, it is over,” she whispered.
AN: And there it is the last full chapter of Words to Die By. Thank you to all those who stuck with me as I wrote this tale. There will be a short Epilogue which will be posted this week. As always, lots of love …. HeartforTwilight.