Really lucky the Twilight vampires don't have these problems.
This week's chapter is called Volterra, which is obviously where Bella and Alice arrived in last week's chapter.
It's a bit touch and go but Bella and Alice make it into Volterra. The city is absolutely packed for the festival and it takes Bella a while to fight her way through the crowds where she finally reunites with Edward. Unfortunately the Volturi guards have some plans for the little gang after their heartwarming reunion.
Thoughts as I read:
I'm guessing from the chapter title that most of the action is going to take place in Volterra, but then again, a couple of chapters ago there was one called 'Funeral' and none of that took place at a funeral, so let's not get too excited.
There's a congested narrow road into the city and it's taking a while to get in there. Bella does what she does best and whines at Alice about the length of time this is taking.
"Alice," I whispered urgently.
"I know," she said. Her face was chiseled from ice.
Bella's momentarily distracted by watching lots of red flags and streamers blowing in the wind. Alice has to tell Bella that the guard might not let Alice in, which means Bella will have to go on alone and just keep on asking for the Palazzo dei Priori. And hopefully learn enough Italian in the next five minutes to be able to follow the directions she is given after saying this.
The Palazzo dei Priori is the clock tower and that's where Edward will be waiting to make his grand, and sparkly, entrance.
Alice ignores the guard who is telling her she can't go into the car park. That is until he taps on the window and tells her that it's only for tour buses and she'll have to park outside. Alice happily waves of gloved hand out of the window, presumably to demonstrate that she doesn't sparkle in the sunlight, but also to bribe the guard with a roll of money. The outermost note is a thousand dollar bill, which according to Wikipedia isn't actually a circulating note. Any Americans care to update me here?
The guard is baffled too, since he's asking 'is this a joke?' and quite frankly, I think it might well be. Clearly Alice is trying to glamour this guy into accepting fake money in order to let them park where they like.
And it works.
The guard doesn't seem to care that the money he's just accepted isn't legal tender and he waves Alice on into the city. Of course, they probably would've done better to just travel by foot since the roads are cobbled, narrow and filled with people walking. Their progress to the Palazzo dei Priori is not going quickly.
Eventually Alice tells Bella to just get out and head for the clock tower. She also mutters something about someone being everywhere. I'm guessing the 'they' she's speaking about are the Volturi guards who are anticipating trouble so are being extra alert.
Bella gets out the car and runs...
... straight into a wall of flesh.
And I've been watching way too much Criminal Minds recently because my mental image there wasn't of a crowd of people.
Anyway, Bella can't get through the crowd and the people it comprises of aren't impressed with her attempts to squeeze through. Finally a gap opens in the crowd and Bella is able to squeeze through. She winds up running through the fountain which gets her dripping wet and means that people on the other side of the fountain are a lot more willing to let her pass through.
When the clock tower bell starts chiming, Bella starts screaming for Edward and with each strike of the Bella we get another glimpse at the people in the crowd surrounding Bella. Until finally Bella spots Edward and realises that he can't see her.
Edward stood, motionless as a statue, just a few feet from the mouth of the alley. His eyes were closed, the rings underneath them deep purple, his arms relaxed at his sides, his palms turned forward. His expression was very peaceful, like he was dreaming pleasant things. The marble skin of his chest was bare - there was a small pile of white fabric at his feet. The light reflecting from the pavement of the square gleamed dimly from his skin.
Somehow Bella manages to barrel forwards and throws herself into Edward. He's a little bemused to see her there and it soon becomes apparent that he seems to think he's died once and for all. It takes Bella a couple of goes before it actually dawns on him that he's not dead, Bella's really there and they're now in a spot of danger because he was about to reveal himself to the assembled crowd, which the Volturi will be less than pleased about.
And speak of the devils, erm... vampires. Two men appear out of the gloom behind Edward. He tells the one called Felix that he's not broken any rules but they want to take him with them anyway. Bella is told to run along and have some fun, but since she obviously knows about Edward's situation, Felix and his pal invite her along for the ride too. She's not allowed to go free as that will violate their rules.
Oh and the other guy is called Demetri and he's keen for Edward to take up Aro's invitation to join the guard. Edward's now got other plans since the mere sight of Bella has cured him of his suicidal tendencies.
Then Alice shows up.
And her presence seems to help. The two guards are suddenly aware of the fact that there are people just down the open end of the alleyway who are blissfully unaware of the presence of vampires in their midst and realise they'd rather not do anything to change that belief.
There's a bit of posturing or something and then a child-sized woman named Jane shows up. They all follow her. As they walk along in her wake, Edward speaks to Alice about how she came to be there and we get a little recap of what Bella was up to prior to this point. Until they get to a hole in the street and Alice disappears down it.
Bella follows her, after some urging from Edward, where Alice catches her at the bottom. A second later Edward is down too and gives Bella a reassuring kiss and cuddle. Aww.
Bella's getting steadily more dramatic as we continue as well. They're walking off to meet their death and all that jazz. Except that's highly unlikely because we've got two more books to go. Then again, death clearly isn't a major handicap in the Twilight-verse.
We follow them along the corridor as it slopes steadily downwards, until they reach the thick door at the end of it. And the chapter ends as they all step through.