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Chapter 6: Maternal Instincts
After we returned from our day-long hunting trek out in the woods, Carlisle called us in to the new dining room for a family meeting. The dining room wasn't as worn as the living room; it had emerald green (though slightly faded) carpet, chipped wood-panel walls, and a dining table, supposedly antique, with wooden claw-foot chairs.
We came in at our own pace, sitting where we would have back in Forks. Esme and Carlisle were already sitting when we walked in. When we sat down, everyone had their own feelings and emotions. Alice was really excited, Jasper was quite happy for her, Emmett was grinning and Rosalie was haughty and pissed-off. I could tell that Rosalie still didn't like the idea of moving here. And frankly, I agreed with her.
When Edward finally came in, he looked calm. He glared at me when he caught track of my thoughts. You seem to be okay now, bro. I still don't see why we all had to leave Forks. Jackass. I added that last line after his glare. Don't act like you're mad at me, bro; you're the one who made us all leave. He gave a small growl and I curled my lip up, slightly baring my teeth.
"Ahem," Carlisle coughed and we turned our attention back to him. "I think we need to choose what we are doing during our stay here. I will be at the hospital and I have decided that I will start teaching at Cornell soon." He turned to my older siblings. "Perhaps you might like to study there, Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper?"
Emmett and Rose exchanged looks.
"Well, Carlisle, we were thinking of taking another honeymoon," Emmett admitted gently. "Not going straight away, but we were thinking of going to Europe for a while."
Rosalie nodded, agreeing with her husband. "I could study engineering until we are ready to go though."
"And I might go study philosophy," Jasper chipped in. "It's a quite interesting topic and I would really love to learn more about it."
Carlisle nodded his head and looked at Alice. "Alice, what about you?"
Alice was quiet.
"I'm not exactly sure," she admitted. "But I would like to find out more about my human life by using that tape James made last year."
Last year, during the whole drama with James, he had tried to use a video camera to record himself torturing Bella, but while he was doing so, he revealed crucial information about Alice. Apparently he had met Alice when she was human, while she was in a mental hospital for suffering from visions. Alice had smelt to James like Bella had to Edward; beyond mouth-watering. But to protect her, an older and compassionate vampire had turned Alice. She had no memory of him or her time in the asylum. Only that tape had cleared up what she didn't know.
I could understand what Alice wanted. She wanted answers. Why was she put in a mental hospital? Why did her parents do such a thing? What had happened to her family? She needed to know these things.
Esme nodded her head as she spoke. "Of course, Alice. We understand."
Carlisle glanced at Edward. He didn't speak, but Edward answered. "No Carlisle, I don't want to."
My father nodded, Edward obviously had been listening to his thoughts, and then he focused on me. "Shayla, what are you doing to do?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I don't look old enough to get into university, though I'm not at the right age anyway, and I don't really want to go back to school. I might have a year off, and then maybe… I don't know… go travel for a bit…" I shrugged again.
My parents agreed with this and after another quick discussion of what Esme planned to do to the new house, we were dismissed.
I went to my room to move the rest of my things in. Jasper and Emmett were shooed out of their rooms by Alice and Rosalie, so I invited them into my new room to help me unpack my stuff. The problem was that they were not very good at following my particular method of organization.
"Hey, hey, hey!" I yelled at Emmett as he attempted to stick one of my many posters on the wall. "Pink goes over there…" - I gestured to higher up on the wall, slightly to the right, where my other posters of singers and bands were - "Up between Katy Perry and My Chemical Romance, and just below Jessica Mauboy!"
"Picky much?" I heard him mutter darkly in reply, before he removed the poster and stuck it where I had directed him to.
I went back to patiently unpacking my other belongings, such as my small collection of books. They were mostly fantasy novels, such as Harry Potter, Eragon, and a few that were concerning vampires like The Vampire Diaries. They, my siblings, had scoffed and laughed at me for reading such untrue tales, but I quite enjoyed struggling not to laugh at the ignorance humans had for my species.
My species… what had I been reduced to? Referring to my kind as a species? Moving away was the worst idea that had ever been suggested in our family's time.
I could feel myself getting more and more desolated and depressed as I thought about our decision and I sighed with sadness. But then a wave of great calmness and happiness crashed over me. I shot a sly grin at Jasper, who was smiling slightly as he pretended not to pay any attention to me, while he sorted my CDs into alphabetical order in the CD case in the corner of the room.
"Jazz, stop screwing with my emotions," I said to him, widening my smile into a grin as more emotions soared through me and replaced those less desirable feelings. Pain, sadness and irritation disappeared to be replaced by calmness, happiness, and joy.
I couldn't help but smile fondly at Jasper, and that wasn't his doing. Jasper was my favourite brother, not to bag on Edward and Emmett, but Jasper… he was always there for me. He took me on my first hunt, helped me after I killed my first human by accident, and even taught me how to be out in public and how to drive. Basically, he was a brilliant older brother. Emmett and Edward were too, but… Edward was too depressed all the time and Emmett was always joking around, never being serious. Though I loved that about Em, there were times when that just got plain annoying.
And Edward… I loved him more than anything, but ever since that party, he had gone into a deep depression, even worse than the one before he had met Bella. I secretly wondered how she was doing. I made a mental note to check up on her one day, to see how she was coping. Deep down inside of me, a certain feeling of dread told me that she wasn't, that she was acting the same, if not worse, than Edward.
After unpacking everything I had brought, I shooed the boys out and back to their girls before I took the empty boxes and suitcases to the closet down the hall. It was empty, so I figured I was the first to be fully unpacked.
I went downstairs to find Esme in the dining room, already making plans to renovate. She eagerly told me her ideas.
"I'm going to knock out this room and replace this with glass, just like our old home, and then I'm going to move the dining room into that spare study downstairs and open this all up," she told me excitedly. "It's not just going to be a house; it's going to be a home soon. Would you like to come help me pick out some furniture later? We could go into the city too…" she then asked me.
I shook my head sadly. "No thanks, Mom, I don't think I could handle it. Some other time maybe?"
"Of course." She nodded at me before turning around and murmuring something about picking out either wallpaper or paint.
I dashed upstairs to the second floor, but didn't stop there; I went straight up to the top floor.
There was a short hallway here, with arch-shaped windows set into the walls, which led to a single room: the penthouse. Or better known now as Edward's new room.
I knocked on the door. Edward, you there, bro? I didn't hear an answer, but I did detect a faint trickle of his scent.
Edward… I tried to call him again, but there was no answer. I heard him walk across the room and move some things around.
Edward, I'm sorry that I'm trying to be pushy… but I'm just so worried about you, bro… Please talk to me.
I heard him stop moving around and then I heard him sit on the bed, its springs squeaking. But then I heard another sound, one I had not expected to hear. Sobbing.
Edward was crying.
I yanked the door open and rushed to Edward's side as he sat on the bed with his knees drawn up to his chest, his arms wrapped around his legs, and his face buried into his knees as his shoulders shook and dry sobs fell loose from his quivering jaw.
"Oh, Edward," I whispered, as I came closer to him. He made no movement to state that he heard me; there were only the rumbles of desolation echoing from him. I came closer still and I then came to stand before him. I sat down on the bed beside him before wrapping an arm around his shoulders.
Oh, Edward… Edward, you don't know how sorry I am. Sure, you may hear it in my thoughts, but you cannot feel in my heart how sorry I am. I wish I could take all of it back… I am so, so, so sorry.
I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him into my lap, like I was the older one instead of him. It felt weird, but surprisingly natural. Maternal instincts; they might have been buried deep, but they were there. I kept my arms around him, hugging him to me as he sobbed. I watched him, almost tearfully, as he cried. Oh, how it pained me to see him like this.
I kept saying his name, both mentally and vocally, as I shifted my grip on him to cradle him in my arms. I stroked his shoulder gently. I knew that he liked to be sung to, he always used to say that I had such a beautiful voice. "Na, na, na, na, nah… na, na, na, nah… you are the music in me…"
I kept humming and singing to him, like he was a young child, like he needed a lullaby to fall asleep. But he wasn't a young 'un. He was my brother, who had lost the love of his life – and it was all my fault. I hadn't realized that I was thinking of Bella, when all of a sudden, he started to growl softly.
"Sorry, bro," I whispered as I cradled him. He lifted his head for a moment before he wept into my shoulder. I hugged him tightly to me, telling him that it was okay to cry.
"Shayla…" a voice said from the doorway. I looked up to see Carlisle standing there in the dim light, his face barely lit up by the moonlight filtering in through the closed blinds.
"I heard him growling," my father whispered to me as an explanation. "Is he… okay?"
I glanced from Carlisle to Edward. Edward had stopped sobbing but his shoulders still shook. With a tilt of my head, I beckoned to my father to come over.
Carlisle sat beside me as he comforted Edward. That was my cue to leave. I slid him off me and into Carlisle's lap. My father wrapped his arms around Edward to comfort my brother.
I slipped out of the room and met Alice on the stairs.
"How is he?" she asked, though I knew that she would already know my answer.
I sighed with frustration as I leant against the rail of the staircase. "He's not good Alice, not good at all. He's destroyed himself, he's not Edward anymore. He's an empty shell without her… it was like before they met… but worse. And there is not a damn thing I can do to help him!" I felt like slamming my fist into the rail in frustration.
Alice caught my hand before I could do so. "That isn't going to help," she said sternly. "It's not your fault Shay, it's expected of us."
"I know that now… I only wish I knew how to help him," I admitted.
I stared up at the ceiling in sadness, where I could still hear the faint sobs coming from my sad, lonely brother, Edward.