Back in the safety of her room Ariadne was pleased to note that it was still very early and she had plenty of time to
collect her thoughts and prepare herself to serve her mistress. She regarded herself in the mirror and what
she saw reminded her of the first time she had met Kieran. There were leaves in her hair and although
she still looked like the seductress from last night it was apparent that the
seduction had already taken place.
Closing her eyes she recalled the weight of Aro’s body pressed against
hers, his gentle, caressing touch and as she did her palm stroked a line across
her stomach creating a dull ache from his absence. A soft moan escaped from her
lips, what had she done? She was an
adulteress. Frantically she began
removing the dress and filled her wash basin with water. Taking a sponge and soap Ariadne started to
methodically cleanse her self, every stroke reminding her of him whilst also
washing his scent from her body. She
poured out the bowl after washing her face and neck stopping to finger the
necklace at her throat before washing her hair and rediscovering the hair comb
still fastened securely at the back of her head. Two pieces of beautifully
crafted jewellery with very different meanings; at least to her. Ariadne took out the comb and placed it on
her wash stand. She then washed and
rinsed her hair with the remaining water in her jug before towelling then
combing through the tangles leaving it to hang damp around her shoulders. She quickly dressed in her dark blue Volturi
uniform just as a quiet tap was heard at her door. For a moment Ariadne was filled with fear. Who could want to speak to her so early? The tap came again slightly louder this time
and she cautiously unlocked and opened the door. “I’m really sorry to call so early.” It was Carlisle
he had already changed out of his golden attire and was dressed very soberly in
black. “Oh Carlisle,
come in.” She smiled, relieved that it was her friend and not some assassin
sent to punish her for her crime. “I’ve
been very concerned for you since you left the ball last night. I know there is something going on between
you and Aro.” As he said this his face became grave and slightly disapproving.
“Which of course is none of my business.” He continued smiling sadly. “But as
you don’t seem to understand the danger you are placing yourself in I would
like you to tell anyone that asks that you were with me last night.” Ariadne blinked hard at Carlisle
hardly able to believe what she was hearing.
How did he know she was with Aro?
“Why would you do that and how do you know?” she gasped blurting out her
thoughts to him as she had done before without fear. “Ariadne my dear.” Carlisle
replied taking her hand in his and patting it in a brotherly manor. “I have
known Aro for some years now and have never seen him take the slightest
interest in any of the women who have come and gone here in Volterra. Indeed he tries to hide his interest in you
also but I have seen him seek you out with his eyes in a room and caught his
smile when he finds you. Recently I have
also witnessed him touching you which is something he rarely does unless he
wants to know what a person is thinking and usually he makes it very obvious
not the secretive touches that I have observed him give you.” Ariadne hung her head. “Carlisle, I
don’t know what to say. Do you think
anyone else has noticed?” Had they been
so obvious? It was difficult for her to be objective about this. “For now I think your secret is safe although
I do not approve and would urge you to discourage him.” Carlisle
observed her with sternness as he said this but Ariadne could feel that he was
genuinely concerned for her safety and that any disapproval he might feel
towards their adultery was secondary.
“Oh Carlisle, I know it’s wrong but it
is so difficult. Aro and I share a
tactile gift which means we can’t hide our feelings. I could say that I don’t love him but he
would know that I was lying just by touching me. I’ve even tried avoiding him but he finds me
and I do love him.” Carlisle’s
face softened as he began to understand the connection that had formed between
his friends. “So you have the same gift
as Aro?” He asked slightly shocked by her confession then he looked down at
their connected hands. “Not quite.” She
replied and explained her gift to him.
“So you are gauging my emotions not reading my soul?” He laughed patting
her hand again. “Not that I have
anything to hide of course.” He joked.
“I’m guessing Sulpicia doesn’t know about this gift?” He continued
eyeing her with caution. “No of course
not.” She replied. “Good, make sure that
she doesn’t find out either. I have to
go now and I believe you have your duties also.”
“Thank you for your kindness.” Ariadne whispered throwing her arms around him and kissing his cheek. Carlisle smiled and hugged her back awkwardly.
“Now don’t forget, you were with me last night in the woods.” He winked theatrically at her making her laugh as he exited her room.
Ariadne knocked on the adjoining door to her mistress’s room stealing herself for any reaction from Sulpicia.
The scene that actually met her eyes almost mad her turn and run. Sitting on the
couch beside his wife was Aro, washed and dressed in a black suit not unlike Carlisle had been.
His eyes were a very deep red indicating that he had fed fairly recently
and were also unreadable. Ariadne bowed
to him instinctively and then to her mistress.
“Ah, Ariadne.” He said rising from the couch, his hand extended
deliberately. “There seems to have been
some disturbance last night in the grounds and Sulpicia and I are carrying out
investigations in to the incident.” Fear
gripped the pit of her stomach. What was
he saying? She glanced up as her master
trembling slightly as she proffered her hand.
Relief instantly washed over her as he took it. His feelings were of deep concern and that
ever burning passion they had shared last night. He really was a good liar. Aro turned to Sulpicia still holding
Ariadne’s hand between his own. “Miss
Miller saw nothing my dear, she was with Carlisle.” Aro smiled apologetically at Ariadne before
releasing her and turning to kiss his wife’s cheek. “I must go now Sulpicia. If I find out any more about the incident with
Miss Borgia I will inform you immediately.”
He said hurrying out of the room.
“I’m sorry about that dear Ariadne, but getting Aro to find things out is so much easier than asking questions.” She raised one perfect eyebrow quizzically at
Ariadne as she said this. “So, you spent
the night with Carlisle?” Sulpicia beamed
triumphantly. Ariadne cleared her throat;
she had suddenly become very thirsty.
“Yes.” She lied, wondering how many more she would have to tell to get out of this situation. “May I ask what happened
to Lucretia?” Ariadne said quickly changing the subject. “Oh yes I didn’t explain did I?” Sulpicia
answered eager to share some gossip. “It
appears that the young Lucretia found herself a young man from our kind last
night. She was quite fortunate as the
gentleman in question, if indeed one can call him that; was not thirsty only
lustful. It seems that Miss Borgia is
not averse to entertaining gentlemen in that manner despite her youth and
somewhat elevated status for a human.
However she seems to have lost all memory of the incident and cannot now
identify her beau. She has solicited my
services to find him.” Sulpicia threw her head back and laughed musically
causing Ariadne to frown, surely this was a serious matter not one for levity.
“Ah the thing is my dear, I’m pretty sure that I know who it was. There is only
one person I invited who is capable of both the seduction and convenient memory
loss.” She said conspiratorially. “May I ask who that would be?” Ariadne asked
boldly, her curiosity getting the better of her.
“Can you keep a secret Ariadne?” Her mistress asked.
“Yes.” She answered truthfully. Just keep 'em coming she thought with chagrin.
“Well it’s someone you have already met and I’m afraid I got him to use his gift on you to keep my secret about the dress.”
Ariadne looked puzzled, she was pretty sure that her mistress was talking about
Kieran but what had he done to her?
“You don’t remember being measured or indeed seeing that dress until the day you tried it on, do you?”
“Umm no I only met him for the first time the day we collected your dress, didn’t I?”
An unsettling feeling, one she was becoming familiar with here in
Volterra began its slow decent into the pit of her stomach again.
“I’m afraid you’ve actually met Kieran on three occasions.” Sulpicia could see the
discomfort in Ariadne’s eyes on being given this information. “Oh please don’t worry my dear; I was with
you all three times. I just wanted the
dress to be a surprise for you. Say that
you forgive me.” She placated.
“So Kieran can erase memories?” Ariadne pressed.
“He can make you forget him altogether if he wishes. A most remarkable talent and of course a very useful ally.”
Ariadne didn’t know what to say but it explained why she had been unable to read any emotions from Kieran.
“You look like you need to hunt.” Sulpicia declared. “Your eyes are very pale my
dear. Why don’t you take the day off and
Ariadne was about to protest, then thought perhaps it was a great excuse to get away from Sulpicia’s prying questions
about what she had been doing last night and she really was beginning to feel
faint with thirst. “Thank you milady, I
am feeling quite thirsty. I believe with
all the excitement yesterday I quite forgot to hunt.”
“Then I shall see you tomorrow when I expect to hear all about what happened between you and Carlisle.”
Sulpicia said as Ariadne turned to leave.
Her parting words filled Ariadne with dread and she wondered how long
she would be able to keep up this charade.