Chapter One - Request

Carmen's POV

"Oh Tanya, you are so unattractive with that jealous pout on your face," Kate said, giggling. "Garrett and I are not skilled in keeping our feelings private. We are new at this."

Garrett chuckled, tilting his head slowly to the side and nuzzling his face against Kate's neck. Tanya, Eleazar and I could hear the sound of Garrett's lips sliding slowly over Kate's granite-like, smooth skin. Kate squealed, acting as if she could not be bothered with such a display of romance with other people in the room. The three of us - Eleazar, Tanya and I - could see past the façade. Eleazar and I laughed lightheartedly in unison, while Tanya glanced away.

"Garrett!" Kate scolded, lightly slapping his shoulder. He snapped out of his reverie and a most gorgeous smile spread across his thin lips.

"I apologize, sweetheart. You know I don't have nearly as much control as Eleazar and Carmen." Tanya scowled at this comment.

I switched my bright, topaz eyes to hers and smiled. "Tanya, they are quite new to this." I patted her shoulder lightly as a comforting gesture.

She grunted, "They ought to get a room if they are having such a difficult time gaining control."

My eyes widened slightly and I sighed. My silent heart had always gone out to my dear sister - her life had been filled with sorrow, with the occasional bright moment in between. Losing her own mother to justice, and then later losing her sister to the same people whom she had watched slay her mother and her mother's illegal creation, was quite scarring; and it had certainly scarred Tanya. Perhaps it had scarred her most of all, leaving a hollow in her heart that could never be filled.

Sasha had always tugged at my mind, and I suspected that she tugged at the mind of my husband as well. Sasha had lived long before mine or Eleazar's time. Sure, Tanya, Kate and Irina (before she suffered the same fate as Sasha) had tried their hardest to give us an appropriate description of her, but they had never reached even half way describing her before the sisters would break down in dry, mournful sobs and be rendered unable to even speak her name for the next month or two.

While the sisters had their connection to the Volturi, Eleazar and I had ours - in fact, Eleazar had been the third highest-ranking guard to the Volturi before we met and fell in love. Eleazar had always harbored a deep passion for keeping the secret our kind safe and sound from humankind, but destroying the many who were willing to break this one, simple law had its toll. By the time we met, the guilt - along with the guilt of murdering innocent humans, merely for a meal - had his stomach doing endless somersaults and his mind strained with indecision. But finding me helped him discover his life's true meaning - finding peace and serenity. After spending six months living with him while he simultaneously served Aro's great purpose, he had finally made his choice. Leaving the Volturi to begin a new life with me was crucial. This settlement was what eventually led us to the Denali sisters, who changed our lives so very much (for the better).

I had delved so far into my memories that a new scent lingering in my nostrils was the only thing that pulled me back into reality. I blinked twice and glanced up at Eleazar, whose face had contorted itself into a rigid, confused glare.

"Jane," Kate hissed.

Tanya's eyes widened, turning to stare at Eleazar. After all, since Eleazar had known Jane for almost a century, he was the only one who could have a possible explanation for this surprise visit. I could practically hear the wheels in mi amor's mind turning, trying to think up Jane's reason for making an appearance here.

"I do not understand…" Eleazar muttered under his breath. "We have committed no crime, and the Volturi does not just send members of the guard to check up on covens. Visiting the innocent is a complete waste of time."

"Perhaps Aro wants something from us," I whispered. Eleazar took my hand and squeezed it, rising from the sofa, easily pulling me up with him.

He gazed down at me for less than a second and we both maneuvered swiftly towards the door. Approaching the door, I reached out, turned the handle and swung it open, only to see a small, smiling Jane gazing brightly up at Eleazar. The young, porcelain doll-like girl paid me no mind at all.

"Ah, Eleazar!" Jane exclaimed, her gleaming smile an obvious façade of annoyance. I figured that Jane did not like Eleazar as much as she used to since he had left the Volturi. She considered anyone who had the nerve to willingly leave such prestigious ranks unworthy of her attention. "Just the person I was hoping to see."

Her deep crimson eyes shifted to me for a moment. Myself being the reason why Eleazar left the Volturi guard in the first place, she did not like me at all. And my maternal, kind and compassionate personality did not help the matter. I smiled softly in return of her glare. She scowled slightly and turned back to Eleazar.

Eleazar responded with a polite smile. "What brings you here, Jane?"

"You do." Jane lowered her hood from her face, revealing a tightly-pinned bob of blonde locks in the center of the backside of her head. She invited herself inside our home, and no one stopped her from doing so. All she had to do was utter one, small word and the person who stood in her way would fall to the ground, writhing in sheer agony.

Eleazar and I blinked, baffled by this statement. I could feel the intent, nervous glares of my family piercing my back.

"Perhaps I should clarify," Jane stated plainly. "Aro has gotten word of a newborn army being created by the Romanian Coven and the Egyptian Coven, in an attempt to overthrow the rightful reign of the Volturi and rule together in our place. Considering the fact that this is six people creating this army instead of one, and that Amun has a knack for training newborns to do his bidding," she nearly spat after speaking Amun's name, "this shall be the most powerful and largest assemblage of newborns that the Volturi has ever faced. Therefore, we are desperately searching for gifted vampires to add to our ranks and help protect the Volturi. Of course, we will need you to help us achieve this."

Eleazar almost began to respond to this, an expression of severe displeasure on his countenance, but Jane continued.

"Also, we would greatly appreciate your assistance in battle - I assume that by now, you know why." By now, Jane's smile had almost become a sneer. I could not see the expression on my own face after this lecture, but I knew that I was not happy.

Eleazar's lips curled back slightly and he spoke with a flare of irritation on his tongue. "But Jane, I left the Volturi almost two centuries ago. Aro cannot simply have you drop in and expect my services."

"He was merely hoping that you would help us for the time being. That is least you could do after Aro so kindly allowed you to leave…" Jane growled at me. I assumed that Eleazar could feel her gift just about ready to lash out and make me its next victim, because his stance became defensive and he gently pushed me slightly behind him. I could hear Tanya and Garrett gasp in the living room. Kate was speechless.

Jane glanced into the living room. "Will… Kate please join us here?"

Kate's upper lip curled to bear her teeth. "I shall not assist the Volturi. Nothing shall change my mind. Besides, Aro already has you, Jane. Your ability is similar enough to mine, is it not?"

Jane shrugged and returned her complete focus back to my husband, after having completely regained her sense of composure. "My dear Eleazar, please disregard the opinions and feelings of your wife and your family while making your decision. This is about you and only you - no one else." Jane's gaze touched on each member of my family, myself included. "If they choose not to accept your choice, they ought not be considered your family, and one ought not be considered your soulmate."

Eleazar's mouth opened, ready to contradict this allegation, but Jane again interrupted him. "You do not have much time to make this choice. I shall give you three days. Perhaps you ought to return to Italy with me, should you chose to aid us…" Jane mused.

Eleazar's eyes closed and he sighed, stress etching across his inhumanly handsome features. I said, "Perhaps Jane is right. This is your decision, mi querido, not ours."

He gazed down at me and spoke, strained. "Carmen, your decision is my decision."

Sometimes I wished that Eleazar did not depend on my judgments so much. I wanted so much for Eleazar to be his own man and to make his own choices, but he - being the loving husband that he is - always takes my opinion into account.

Jane rolled her eyes. "Listen to your mate." She seemed almost disgusted by the fact that she agreed with me.

Eleazar swallowed quietly and finally spoke, completely erasing all distress from his face and tone of voice. "I apologize, but I shall not help. Benjamin and Tia are mine and my family's good friends - I would not like to be part of the reason that they are slaughtered."

Jane nearly cried out by this. Instead, she smiled and nodded. "I see. I shall inform Aro of this unfortunate decision promptly. Good day, Eleazar. Tanya, Kate, Garrett, Carmen."

Us five nodded and with one quick swoop, Jane was out the door.

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