The Forgotten Children – Twilight – Part 1
This is not a typical love story, although love plays an intregral key. It's been hastily typed with many common errors.
Synopsis: It's been 40-50 years since the Cullen's separated and left Forks. Now they are returning to their old home to live as a family again. But something has changed. A mystery seems to unravel before their own eyes. Things of the past will reappear and threaten to haunt them.
A Stranger Appears
"Winter'…. Rosalie thought. 'Long drawn out nights that seemed to last forever.'
Not that she had much to complain about, she'd have Emmett and he always kept her entertained during those long nights. She and Emmett had been living in Portland, Main for almost twenty years.
Rosalie had spoken with Esme and Carlisle two weeks ago.
Rosalie asked, "Emmett, are you sure you want to go back? It's been nice with just the two of us."
Her husband, Emmett, studied her for a few seconds. "C'mon babe, you know you want to go back, we all do. We haven't lived in Fords for almost forty years now."
Rosalie sighed. She knew he was right; they both had been homesick for a long time now. They were homesick for the clean smell that permeated Forks and its nearby beaches and forest. Homesick for their family, which hadn't been all together in decades.
Emmett gazed lovingly at his beautiful wife. A dramatic change had overtaken Rosalie when Renesmee had been born. This change was further augmented when after ten years Renesmee had reached her maturity. Emmett knew that his wife longed for Renesmee to be a child once more so that she could hold her in her arms again.
Emmett had watched as his wife distanced herself from reality, from her family and friends. He alone could snatch Rosalie from those despondent mood swings. So Emmett had suggested moving back to Portland for a while, which ended up being close to twenty years.
During this time Rosalie had rebuilt her mental self, realizing that she and Emmett would never have what Bella and Edward had, which was Renesmee. Renesmee had mended a broken place within Rosalie's heart. She was no longer bitter about the things she couldn't have…but accepted the cards that were dealt to her.
She pondered the conversation she had with Esme. Esme wanted to move back to Forks since they'd all been gone for so long. The house, along with the gardens would probably have to be overhauled…. not to mention the four cottages that dotted the property.
Yes, Rosalie would go back to her family; she had never been without their presence for such a sustained period of time. Everything was basically packed and ready to go, while she pondered what was worth taking, Emmett had scurried about and had almost everything packed and boxed. It was crazy that they were driving across country. Emmett would get frustrated at the slow pace and floor the moving truck, while Rosalie drove her smaller car. Although it would be a long trip, she knew she was ready for Forks and her beloved family.
"Why are you so nervous?" Carlisle asked as he looked lovingly at his wife.
Esme cast a serious glance at her husband and said, "It's been ages since the entire family has been together. This means a lot to me Carlisle."
Carlisle knew that Esme's heart had shattered when the "Cullen Clan" had slowly drifted apart and went their separate ways. It had been around forty years ago and they all knew they were becoming conspicuous. It got to the point of ridiculousness when Carlisle and Esme claimed to be in their early fifties when they appeared more in their mid-twenties.
Forks was no longer safe, so the family would disband as they had in the past, and eventually come back together.
Alice and Jasper were the only children that stayed with the Cullen Family after they broke apart. And that's how Esme viewed all her adopted children… as her own children.
Carlisle knew it had taken pieces from her heart to separate, but now they were moving back home to Forks. "Was Canada, that bad?" he teased her.
"I'm just happy that we're becoming a family again. Beyond happy," Esme said.
Carlisle, Esme, Jasper and Alice had been at the Fork's family home for almost a year now. They had replaced the broken windows, the rotting wood, added a new coat of paint and had basically given their previous home a huge make-over.
Soon, Rosalie and Emmett would be back home.
Alice and Jasper had completed all the repairs to the cottages, so that Bella and Edward, Rosalie and Emmett, could have their own "home away from home" if they so had chosen.
But something still wasn't right. There was a sweet pungent odor in and around the house.
The smell had reminded Esme of the wild honeysuckle of her youth. As she was arranging all the new furniture in the living room, she could have sworn she heard music… or was it somebody singing? The harmonies were so alluring that she stopped and searched in and around the house.
When she spoke to Carlisle about it, he had confessed that he'd been hearing the same sound, almost daily, from the moment that they had returned to their old house. Carlisle had told her that he searched for the strange musical sounds, but had found basically nothing.
Carlisle told Esme, "The only thing I saw was a dirty, grubby little boy, I gestured for him to come, but Jasper came around the corner, and when I looked back, he was gone."
Jasper had recalled the incident as well because he had not smelled any human scents nearby. Despite these strange circumstance, the small family of four had rebuilt parts of the main house as well as the cottages as they listened for the mysterious melodies.
The next day Esme spoke to her family, "I saw him too, but only for a second, before he disappeared into the thicket. I would have gone after him but I was afraid I'd scare him."
"I haven't seen any visions out of the ordinary," Alice said, "But I think it was a good idea to just let him go. He's probably just the child of a neighbor, or his parents were hiking and he took a wrong turn. There's lots of possibilities," Alice finished.
Carlisle looked at his three family members and forced himself to be silent. He didn't know why, but he hesitated to admit that he had seen the child many times. That once while in the garden he saw and beckoned the child to him. The boy had come to stand right beside him taking Carlisle's icy hand in his own.
Before he could ask the child his name, Carlisle heard Esme and Alice heading in his general direction. The child began to struggle to get lose from Carlisle's iron grip. Not wanting to distress the boy, he had let go and the child seemed to disappear behind a group of trees.
Carlisle had said nothing of this experience, fearing that the rest of his family would not return. He wouldn't blame them; the entire thing seemed odd and bazaar. Besides, he felt a strange protectiveness about this child… something familiar that he just couldn't pinpoint.
Rosalie gazed at the lovely new furniture as Emmett unloaded the truck with their things.
"If you feel more comfortable in your cottage, then don't hesitate to stay there," Esme said.
"No, I think Emmett and I need to be with the family again. I realize now that I've been very selfish monopolizing Emmett," Rosalie said.
Esme eyed Rosalie… she was deliriously happy that Emmett and Rosalie had decided to move back into the big house. But, in her heart of hearts, Esme couldn't see the old, vain, pigheaded daughter she once knew.
Esme watched Emmett as he blurred in and out of the house, moving at such a speed that she even had trouble seeing him.
'Well, at least Emmett was the same Emmett,' thought Esme She had heard him make plans earlier to form a hunting trip with Jasper.
"Alice, when are Edward and Bella due to arrive?" asked Rosalie.
"Hmmm…" Alice closed her eyes, "They should be here sometime early tomorrow. There's not near the rush for them since they've been staying with the Denali clan," Alice continued.
"Well…." Rosalie said, "So what's been going on with all of you lately?"
Alice and Esme gave each other a thoughtful look. Alice began with a laugh, "We were beginning to think the place was haunted. We'd hear things like music or singing, and sometimes…. we'd think we saw an apparition."
Emmett had stopped to listen, "What do you mean an apparition?" asked Emmett.
Alice looked at Emmett and said, "It's only happened a couple of times…. I'm sure that there's an explanation for it."
Emmett looked pleased… possibly a new hunt?
"Relax, Emmett, it looked like a little boy, he was probably just lost," said Alice.
Esme looked worried and said, "Well… if it's just a child, he shouldn't be hanging around our kind, it's just not safe."
Rosalie was intrigued; she hadn't smelled any humans nearby, or any strange vampire scents for that matter. Rosalie rolled her eyes and looked at Esme, "Well… Are we starting over again? Am I going to be in high school or what?" she asked.
Rosalie loathed going thru the high school thing, all the kids knew there was something weird with the Cullen kids. She could visualize herself with Emmett and her siblings pretending…. yet again.
"I'm not sure," Esme said, "Carlisle is working at the hospital tonight and we need his input as well as Edward and Bella."
"We probably won't stay here as long as we did last time," said Alice, "The only werewolves still around are pretty old and have not morphed in ages. If we stay here too long, more of the tribe will start to turn as well," she finished.
'Well maybe we shouldn't stay here too desperately long,' thought Rosalie, 'We were here around five years before they appeared last time.'
Emmett smirked and said, "C'mon Rosalie, lets all go out for a hunt tonight. Jasper said there have even been bear sightings since we've been gone." Rosalie smiled at her husband, he took her hand and they raced into the looming night.
The next day Bella and Edward drove up in their black and gold MVD.
Emmett could hardly wait to see his favorite brother and his newest sister. Emmett's golden eyes locked onto Edward's flat black gaze.
Emmett said jokingly, "Geeze, Edward, Are you trying to starve yourself?"
Edward smiled a toothy grin and bear hugged his brother. Bella raced to Esme, Rosalie, and Alice and hugged each of them.
"I'm sorry, we just haven't had the time to eat in a good while," said Bella as she hungrily eyed the nearby forest.
Carlisle and Jasper raced out of the house to welcome the newcomers.
"I'm afraid that we'll have to go further out into the forest," said Jasper, "the animals have figured out we're back and won't come anywhere near the house," he said. "He's pretty much right," said Carlisle, "when we first got here there were birds nesting in the trees, and evidence of deer, but once they got our smell they all but disappeared."
They spent the day and night reminiscing. Bella told them how Jacob and Renesmee were doing.
"We haven't seen them in a while, but they can travel and not be noticed," said Bella enviously.
"All those years of me wanting to be a vampire, and now I can't just go out in day time… It sucks!" Bella laughed.
"Well, you asked for it!" chimed in Edward as he put his arm around Bella and kissed her head. "We'll have to go hunting as soon as possible," said Edward.
Edward could feel his throat burning for release; his mouth was coated with venom.
"We just went hunting yesterday," said Emmett, "but we can go again."
"Nahhhh! We'll just run out and grab a quick bite to eat!" Edward said with a laugh.
Edward and Bella left the house just as the sun began to rise.
"I've forgotten that this place can be really beautiful at times," said Bella.
"Why don't you take the trail to the right – and I'll take the one to the left… that way we can herd the animals to each other," Edward suggested.
Before Edward could look over at her, Bella had already descended into the forest.
Edward began to run with the speed of a blur. He got well into the forest when he abruptly stopped in his tracks.
He took a big intake of air. Edward hadn't hunted in the forest of Forks for decades but he had to stop and figure out what was wrong. There was a strange scent in the air. What was it? He didn't know because he had never come across a scent like this one before. It wasn't human…. But there was a sweetness to it that reminded him of…. Edward couldn't believe it; he hadn't smelled blood so sweet since high school.
The next thing Edward knew his mouth was full of venom…. it was actually dripping from his mouth.
The next second he was crouching and ready for the hunt. Edward began to stalk the dim forest, occasionally flinging himself from tree to tree.
Edward jumped down on his haunches…his eyes glowing like two black coals, his hands had become daggers. He smelled a wildcat nearby.
Edward focused on the scent and moved like lightning. He caught site of the wildcat at the same time it saw him. He knew that it was terrified of him but he would kill it quickly so that it wouldn't suffer.
Edward scampered after the animal as it jumped over a boulder and into a cavern.
Edward smirked to himself. He knew this cavern well, it was very shallow, and it would be easy as pie now.
Edward let the hunter in himself take over as he entered the cavern blocking its exit. As he pounced on the cat he smelled the other scent… so, it was hiding here as well.
The wildcat scratched at him, but it could have been gentle caresses as far as he was concerned. Suddenly he felt the wildcat go limp as he sucked the last bit of blood from its body. Edward tossed the dead cat aside and turned his attention to the other animal.
Edward was stunned that in front of him, leaning against the rock wall was a child. A boy of no more than eight, with dark hair and blue eyes so dark they could almost be black.
But Edward was already too far into the hunt and couldn't stop. As Edward hissed and prepared to strike several things happened at once. He spied a hideous monster; blood surrounding its loathsome face, the eyes in the face seemed like two empty holes burning with fire.
It took Edward a second to realize that the monster he'd just witnessed was from the mind of the child. Then he saw the boy close his eyes and look away while he shook in horror.
STOP! Edward commanded of his inner monster. Edward's mind was reeling, he was in hunt mode, he could NOT stop.
'Was this even real?' Edward thought to himself. He reached out to touch the boy on his shoulder. Edward's rational mind came to him as the boy's dark trousers became darker… as the smell of urine assaulted his nostrils.
Edward struggled to put on a "human" face to the child. But it just stood there shaking, waiting for the end.
"Who are you?" Edward hissed. He was surprised at his own voice… he'd meant for it to be kind, not wicked.
Edward swallowed then tried again, "Please, who are you? I'm sorry if I scared you."
The boy opened his eyes, turned and gazed up at Edward.
Edward praddled on with more question, but he only received silence, hearing only a fast drumbeat in the background.
Edward should be hearing the child rant and rave inside his mind. Edward listened closely. Nothing. Edward studied the boy, despite his soiled clothing and wild hair, he thought the child unusually beautiful. Lustrous dark brown wavy hair to his shoulders, the unusual dark blue eyes, his pure paleness.
Wait! Could it be possible? He stopped and listened again, realizing that the quick drum beat was the racing heart of the boy.
'No,' Edward mused to himself, 'definetly not an immortal child.' Edward reached down to pick the boy up and began speaking doing his best to sooth the boy. "Let me take you home, maybe Carlisle or somebody will know you and be able to help you." The child submitted to him and just stared Edward in the eyes.
Edward ran but not too fast as he didn't want to further frighten the child. He eventually approached the house and entered, seeing that Esme and his siblings were in the living room alongside with Bella.
Everything came to a standstill the moment Edward walked in with the boy.
Bella looked questioning at Edwar, "What's going on? Who is that?" she asked pointing toward the boy.
Soon Edward was assaulted with question after question. He sat the grubby little boy on the floor.
Edward began, "I was hunting and came across him, and I have NO idea who he is. He won't talk, I've asked who he was, where he came from, and his name." Edward looked almost irritated, "He's answered none of my questions. I'm going up to take a quick shower and a change… I guess I scared him and he wet himself," Edward quickly left.
Esme and Rosalie tried to ascertain the same questions that Edward asked but received no answer. The boy just looked around staring at the vampires... he seemed to study Emmett, Jasper, Alice, Esme, ending with Rosalie.
"Esme, I'm going to give him a bath, can you help?" asked Rosalie.
"Of course," replied Esme.
Together, they took the boy to the master bathroom and bathed him, wiping away the dried blood on his feet and ankles. His skin was snowy white and it almost seemed to glow as from an inner light source. Rosalie dried his hair and began drying the boy's skin as Esme fetched one of Carlisle's undershirts. Esme began dressing the boy in the undershirt as Rosalie watched.
"He's so incredibly beautiful," sighed Rose.
"I was thinking the same thing," Esme said, "I've never seen another human remotely like him. He doesn't even smell like a human."
Together, they took the boy downstairs where he sat on Rosalie's lap. Edward had come back down freshly showered and he and the other vampires looked at the boy, all with a loss for words. The boy returned their stares then shuttered when he saw Edward.
Edward got up, went over to where Rosalie held the child, he went to his knees and but his hand on the child's back.
"I'm very sorry that I frightened you like I did," Edward said, "I would never try to hurt you on purpose."
The boy turned his midnight eyes to Edward's, and then he did the most astounding thing… he smiled. If Edward had had a heart he would have thought that it had broken in response to the boy's smile. Edward couldn't help but wink at the child and chuckle.
"Something's just not right," said Jasper and continued, "He just doesn't smell like a human, although it is a pleasing smell."
Rosalie said, "I wonder if he's hungry? Do we have any food yet, Esme?"
"I don't think so," replied Esme, but I can get him some water. Esme returned with a glass of water, which the boy drank thirstily.
"Well…what should we do with him?" asked Emmett.
Rosalie gave him a glare and said, "He doesn't have anybody, why would he be in the forest all alone?" Rosalie smiled and looked at the boy, "I'm thinking that I should keep him."
Everyone in the room looked at Rosalie in abrupt surprise, especially Emmett. "Babe," he said, "We can't just take some kid out of the woods and claim he's ours."
"We really need to know who… or even what he is first." Bella said. She looked at her husband, and said, "I was wondering why we never met up in the woods… I guess I see why now."
"I've just talked to Carlisle," Esme said, "I told him about the boy and he's bringing some food from the hospital cafeteria."
Edward was beginning to feel stifled in the living room, so he walked across the room to the grand piano and began to play.
The boy appeared mesmerized by Edward's playing. The gentle harmonies of classical music began to drift through the Cullen home, calming its occupants. Emmett picked up the remote and turned on the flat screen, putting it on mute, searching for a football game.
Edward stopped playing and tilted his head to the right saying, "I think Carlisle finally made it back from the hospital."
Momentarily, Carlisle walked upstairs still wearing his doctor's uniform and holding a sack in his left hand and said to Esme, "I brought the boy some food, I hope he likes it."
Carlisle handed the sack of cafeteria food to Esme, then she and Rosalie took the child into the kitchen.
Edward had already entered the family room and was seated on a couch beside Bella. Carlisle seated himself in an easy chair across from Edward.
Edward knew Esme had partially explained about the boy, so he quickly filled Carlisle in with the details of his hunting trip that morning.
"So," Carlisle said, "nobody knows his name or where he's from?"
"No" Edward replied, "there's nothing in the news or online about a missing boy of his description."
"And we're reluctant to bring his presence to attention to the media," Jasper stated.
"Edward," began Carlisle, "You can't read the boy's mind for any information?"
Edward closed his eyes and sighed, "No, the only thing I was able to read from him was when I first saw him." Edward eyes lowered in shame admitting, "I saw myself through his eyes… how I can't stand to see myself… as a monster."
"Awww, cheer up bro," said Emmett, "We're all the same as you. In fact, I probably wouldn't have been able to stop myself like you did."
Carlisle nodded to Edward and said, "Very few of us could have stopped ourselves while in a hunting frenzy. I'm very proud of you Edward."
"I never saw any visions of him either," Alice said worriedly. "But I recognize him, he's the same boy we've seen and heard for the past couple of months."
"I recognized him too," added Carlisle.
Edward looked confused, "So you guys have heard him talk before?"
"No," Alice said, "We never heard him actually speak, but occasionally we'd hear music as if someone was singing."
Edward appeared puzzled at his thoughts. He finally spoke up, "Well, we can't just keep calling him 'kid', we need to either figure out his name, or just make something up." Edward grinned at Bell. "I know, I know… I'm not the person to go around handing out names with my track record," she teasingly said to her husband.
Finally Rosalie and Esme returned from the kitchen towing the boy along with them. Rosalie sat on the couch beside Edward and Bella, and placed the boy on her lap.
Edward smiled at the boy and asked, "Was he hungry? Did you get him to eat anything?"
"Yes," Esme said, "but he's apparently vegetarian… I mean a 'real' vegetarian. He wouldn't touch anything with meat. He was hungry, he scarfed down the mac-n-cheese."
"Okay," said Emmett, "So, what are we gonna call him 'til we figure out who and what he is?"
"Maybe we could just try out a few names until we find something that fits," said Alice.
She made her way over to Rosalie and knelt in front of the boy. She looked into the boy's dark blue eyes and placed her hand against her chest and said "Alice." Then she patted Edward's knee and said, "Edward."
The boy watched her with intense fascination. As Alice introduced each Cullen to the boy, he reached up and touched her mouth, then her throat. All eyes were on the boy as he opened his mouth mimicking Alice.
"Look!" Alice cried out, "He's trying to talk!" However no sound came from the boy.
Rosalie watched the boy for a few minutes then said, "I don't think this is going anywhere." She said her name aloud, then placed her hand against her chest. She then placed her hand gently over the boy's heart and asked him, "You?"
The boy just looked into Rosalie's golden eyes. Alice jumped up and ran to the bookshelf returning with a book of names.
"Ohh, that's the book of baby names you gave me when I was pregnant with Renesmee," stated Bella.
Emmett formed a crooked smile on his face, "Yeah, it did a heckofa lotta good back then too!" he snickered.
Alice sat down on the floor so everyone could see the names. Carlisle looked intensely at the child as names were read from the book… or someone said a favorite name. The child seemed to grow tired as time went by and he paid them no heed.
Suddenly Carlisle's face became animated; he looked at the boy and said, "Christopher?"
The boy suddenly looked at Carlisle almost as if he recognized him. The boy, Christopher, removed himself from Rosalie's hold and walked across the room and sat at Carlisle's feet, laying his head against Carlisle's leg.
Every vampire in the room gazed at Carlisle in surprise. Esme, who was seated on the arm of Carlisle's chair, began to rake her fingers through the boy's silky dark hair. "How did you know his name?" Esme asked in wonder.
"I really can't explain it," said Carlisle, "but when I was human, I was planning on naming my firstborn son, Christopher."
Carlyle looked at the boy who rested his head against his leg. Carefully laying his palm against the boy's cheek, he added, "It was only a wild guess."
"Should Jasper and I set up Renesmee's old room for him to sleep tonight?" questioned Alice.
"NO!" said Rosalie stunning her family with her severe tone of voice. She continued, "We don't even know if he sleeps… he could be like us and never lose consciousness."
"Then what exactly should we do with him then?" Bella asked.
"He's going to stay with Emmett and me tonight," Rose calmly answered.
Emmett gave her a severe look and said, "Uhhh…What?"
Rosalie's tone changed to one of pleading, "Please Emmett?" She then looked over at the boy beside Carlisle and said, "I'm afraid that he'll be afraid by himself."
Rosalie noticed that the boy had nodded off to sleep. She then looked down at her empty hands and confessed, "Okay, he sleeps, but I'm also afraid that he might leave."
Everyone in the room knew that Emmett would let Rosalie have her way… he always did. As her family began to talk, Rosalie strode straight to Carlisle and lifted the child into her arms. "I'm going on up to put Christopher to bed," Rosalie whispered never feeling happier in this second lifetime.
As the sun began to rise, Edward, Bella and Esme were still in the den.
Watching Rosalie last night had made Bella recall Renesmee as a small child. She was glad Renesmee was grown and with the love of her life. But, a part of Bella felt melancholy.
Esme had washed the boys clothing. "Look, there are no buttons or zippers just hooks and eyes. I haven't seen this type of clothing since I was a little girl," Esme said.
Emmett descended the stairs and looked over at them and said, "Well, I think it's official, I think I might be replaced by an eight year old."
They all snickered at his joke.
Esme's face became suddenly serious. "You can't blame her, Emmett… we all are somewhat enchanted by Christopher. But I'm worried about Carlisle. He's always been such a loving, compassionate person, but I can see that he's become emotionally tied to the child," Esme confided.
Esme looked at Bella, Edward, and Emmett, then said worriedly, "Alice and Jasper are searching the area for any clues but I feel divided. I know Christopher belongs with his family, but I'm not sure how that will effect Carlisle," Esme confessed. "He seemed in a daze when he left for his shift at the hospital."
Emmett gave everyone a serious look and said, "Not to mention Rosalie, she's already acting like he belongs to her. She laid Christopher between us and watched him sleep the entire night."
Edward noticed a look of pained sorrow that he'd never witnessed on his brother's face as Emmett said softly, "It's taken years for Rosalie to accept that Renesmee is grown and doesn't really need her." There was something of a sob coming from Emmett's throat as he said, "I don't want her to be hurt again, I don't know if she can take it."
Christopher had been with them now for two weeks. Esme and Rosalie had stocked the shelves and refrigerator with food, milk, and fruit juice. Alice had purchased an entire new wardrobe of clothes for the boy.
As the days continued, the Cullen's found themselves more drawn to Christopher.
They all knew that they had grown to love him, but Rosalie and Carlisle seemed to love him with an unknown intensity.
Jasper and Alice had discovered no clues to the origins of Christopher in the forest.
Bella decided to go for a stroll one morning. She missed the birds and squirrels that sang and clamored around when she was human. Now that she was a vampire, she hardly ever came across an animal that wasn't terrified of her.
Bella recalled the time that she and Edward took young Renesmee to a zoo. That had been a disaster waiting to happen. Most of the animals stayed hidden from them, or ran back to their interior cages. They had left the zoo feeling very despondent, however, Jacob was able to eventually take Renesmee and she'd had a marvelous time.
Bella rarely questioned her decision to become a vampire. Now she was on an even playing field with Edward. They were equals. But, rarely, her dim human memories would resurface and she'd miss parts of her mortal life.
It brought tearless sobs to recall Charlie. Towards the end of his life, she was forced to abandon him. How could she explain herself… still eighteen and Charlie pushing eighty? Bella would miss him to such an intensity that she'd sneak into the house, as Edward had done long ago, just so she could see Charlie for herself.. that he was ok… that he was alive.
Thank goodness Charlie had Sue to lean on. It was at times difficult to imagine that Sue had been her stepmother. While Bella made sure that Charlie was fine financially, it was Charlie's stepchildren who he ultimately relied upon. It was hard knowing that he was gone and she'd never see him again.
Bella choked back a heavy sob as her human thoughts drifted to Renee. She had to rely on her human memories of Renee since she couldn't allow herself to be seen by her mother. Renee had died three years before Charlie, not knowing that Bella had made her a grandmother. Bella had mixed feelings when she thought of Robert, her half-brother. She was happy that Renee had had another child to fill the void that Bella left. She had only met her brother once, at Renee's funeral. Of course he had no idea who she was, only thinking Bella a distant relative. Renee's bright blue eyes had shone brilliantly in Robert's face. He'd been born when Renee was in her mid-forties; a couple of years after Bella had become a vampire and faked her death. She and Edward periodically checked on Robert to ensure he was all right. He had married and had the grandchildren that Renee had so desperately wanted in life.
Bella had terribly wanted to go to Phil's funeral ten years later, but Edward had convinced her to stay away… that too many of her mortal family members might recognize her. Bella turned away from those ancient mortal thoughts and continued her walk.
Bella found herself at the Cullen house near Renesmee's old playground and watched as Rosalie lovingly pushed Christopher on the swing. Rosalie saw Bella and smiled welcoming her to join them.
Bella knew the pain that Rosalie silently endured, knowing she could never have a child of her own.
As Bella neared, Rosalie stopped the swing and took Christopher by the hand. "We were just out exploring!" Rosalie said with a laugh, "Why don't you join us?"
Bella followed and realized that Rosalie was heading for the coy pond, since Carlisle and Esme had restocked it with new goldfish.
Bella couldn't help notice the way Rose looked at Christopher as they walked.
"Can I ask you something?" Bella murmured.
Rosalie answered yes with a smile.
"I've always wondered why you and Emmett never tried to adopt?" confessed Bella.
Rosalie's face turned very serious. There was a bench under a shade tree near the coy pond. Rosalie sat down and placed Christopher on her lap. She gestured for Bella to sit with them.
Rosalie spoke to Bella in a confiding tone, "I've contemplated doing what Esme's done, making due with vampires as children… I just can't see myself doing that. I know Esme loves us like we're her own, but it's sorta been an act. We would pretend to be kids of high school age. I don't want that, Bella…. I want the real thing."
"Have you thought about adopting a real baby?" Bella inquired, "You could even change it when it became an adult.
Rosalie eyed her sister-in-law and said, "Of course I've thought of that only a million times! But Bella, don't you see how unsafe a human child would be in a vampire world? Even worse… what if the baby's blood was like yours when you were alive? You remember the effect you used to have on vampires."
Bella lowered her head, she remembered, and she had to admit that she agreed.
Rosalie continued, "But for some reason, Christopher's different. He doesn't smell like a human, he won't be a threat like a normal human child would."
Bella had to agree. Christopher didn't smell like food the way humans usually did. But he didn't smell like Renesmee either.
"If there's a chance I could keep Christopher, he wouldn't be so desirable for a vampire to make a meal of," Rosalie stated simply.
Bella understood, even though her family was 'vegetarians' every now and again one of them would slip and make a mistake. She knew that Emmett and Jasper had been weak-willed in the past. All the family had made the mistake except for Carlisle, Rosalie and herself. Bella even knew that Rosalie's record wasn't perfect since she had killed seven men. Rosalie had sought vengeance on her rapist and the two guards who were hired to project them. But Rosalie had killed them without spilling their blood, not wanting any of their filthy blood to become a part of her.
"I think I understand now," Bella said.
"I only see one problem," Rosalie confessed, "if Emmett and I decided to leave, I don't know if Carlisle would let me take Christopher."
Bella nodded at Rosalie, recalling that every time Carlisle came home, Christopher would struggle until he was in Carlisle's presence. It was obvious to everyone that the child loved and adored Carlisle.
Another week went by, but with a new discovery. Edward had sat at the grand piano and began playing. When he noticed Christopher standing beside him, he smiled at the boy and began playing classical. Christopher loved Edward's playing, but it was apparent that the boy was mesmerized when Edward played classical tunes.
As he played, Edward would sneak a peak at his small audience. Today, Rosalie had dressed Christopher in blue dress shorts, a bright yellow shirt, matching yellow socks, and a small pair of Buster Browns. His soft brown hair was parted on the left and fell in neat soft waves. Edward couldn't help but smirk; Rosalie was treating the boy like her own personal doll.
Edward was going through his mental menu of songs and began to play "Pie Jesu" when suddenly he heard the most beautiful clear soprano.
Stunned, Edward forced himself to continue playing as the boy sang. Suddenly, Edward was aware that his entire family had rushed in, looking as if they had appeared from nowhere.
The Cullen's attempted not to appear too "vampy" in front of the boy, however, this action surprised him and his midnight blue eyes grew wide as he stared in astonishment at their sudden appearance.
Jasper smiled, "I don't think I've heard anything so beautiful." His wife, Alice, who had a lovely voice of her own agreed with her husband.
Rosalie was about to open her mouth, when Carlisle asked, "How did you get him to sing, Edward?"
Edward began to answer his father, then he noticed the emotions emanating from Carlisle's face. All of his family looked rather stunned due to the beautiful voice, but Carlisle seemed unable to swallow, he actually swayed on his feet as if he might fall.
"I haven't the foggiest idea why he began singing," Edward began, "Maybe that particular song was familiar to him."
Despite their coaxing, none of them could convince the boy to sing again.
Later that night, Emmett went into his bedroom, where he found his wife watching the sleeping boy.
"Rosalie," Emmett whispered, "come downstairs and talk to the family."
"No," replied Rosalie without looking at her husband, "If he wakes he might get scared. He might leave us!"
Emmett knew this was just an excuse to stay with the boy. Rosalie had left the boy sleeping several times only to discover him gone, and after a brief search she'd find Christopher fast asleep in Carlisle's arms. Emmett knew his wife was jealous of how Christopher constantly sought out Carlisle.
Emmett put a hand on his wife's shoulder, "You need to come, it's a family meeting."
"What about?" asked his wife.
With one last look at the boy, Rosalie quickly arose and followed her husband. The entire Cullen family was sitting at the dining room table when Rosalie and Emmett joined them. Usually Carlisle presided over family meetings, but since he hadn't been himself, Jasper took center stage.
"We need to figure out what we're gonna do with the child, he can't stay with us forever," Jasper said.
Carlisle seemed to make a soft moan and Esme quickly took his hand.
"Why can't he stay!?" demanded Rosalie.
Alice looked at her sister and said, "He's not a vampire. Sooner or later Christopher will get hurt living with a pack of vampires." Everyone looked down at the table.
"Rosalie, it's not just us who could be a danger to him," Edward said, "but our non-vegetarian friends, and the Volturi."
Jasper looked at his wife, "Alice, are the Volturi aware of Christopher? Is he in any danger?"
Alice gazed up from the table and said, "At this particular moment, no, they aren't aware of him yet. But Demitri has located Alexandra, and Aro's forcing her to stay with them."
Carlisle's mind went back several hundred years, when he had stayed with the Volturi for a period of time. The Volturi considered Alexandra partially insane, choosing to live in the wild and sustaining herself on wild animal. More often she would go for extreme long periods with no sustenance at all with eyes as dark as pitch. The Volturi tolerated her because of her unique and rare talent; she was an oracle, what some people would call a prophetess. Her talent closely resembled Alice's, but hers was a talent more mysterious. Alexandra would escape the Volturi for several hundred years…. then eventually the Volturi trackers would track her back down.
"Alexandra has no love for the Volturi, but it's only a matter of time before they discover Christopher," said Alice.
Rose took Emmett's hand giving him an alarmed look. Emmett gave the group his tough-guy look and thundered, "I don't think any of us would hurt Christopher, and if one of our meat-eating friends happen to drop by, then they'd have to get thru me to hurt him… and that sure ain't gonna happen!" Emmett responded firmly.
Esme responded gently, "Emmett, I don't think any of our friends would hurt Christopher, they wouldn't be attracted to his scent… unless he was hurt and bleeding."
Edward took a big breath of air and sighed, "But just what in the hell is he?"
Carlisle finally spoke up, "Although he has human aspects, he is not human… or at least not a normal human."
"How do you know that?" Rosalie asked.
"Because one night when he came to me, I took him up to my lab and studied him," Carlisle answered softly.
"Well," Edward asked, "Then what in the hell is he?"
"I really don't know," Carlisle confessed, "but the reason he doesn't eat meat is because his system can't handle it. His teeth aren't designed for meat eating… even his incisors are too blunt. Humans are omnivores, eating both vegetables and meat. But Christopher doesn't have the proper teeth, or the ability to digest meats. He has vocal chords, but nothing like humans or we have," Carlisle said softly.
Everyone at the table listened almost enraptured.
Carlisle slowly shook his head saying, "He has some human cells and DNA, but he also has vampiric cells and DNA… I admit I just don't understand it, but there's something else… cells and DNA that I've never seen before."
"Ahhhh," Jasper said, "that must be why he doesn't smell like most humans." He took a breath, "Perhaps that's why I've not been tempted by him myself," Jasper said as he looked down ashamed.
"He's also missing several bodily organs and most of his organs are on the opposite side of the human norm." Carlisle continued mystified.
"What do we do if the Volturi show up here?" asked Bella.
"Then, I'll take Christopher and run and try to hide him," stated Rosalie solidly.
Emmett looked at his wife and said, "You aren't hiding anybody anywhere – I won't allow them to hurt you or Christopher!" he bellowed.
"So," Jasper interjected, "are we all in agreement that we keep Christopher for now?"
The Cullens looked anxiously at each other. They were in silent agreement that Christopher had caused their stone hearts to feel alive again. They'd face the uncertain future together.
Christopher was with the Cullens for four more days, until the stranger appeared. He was slight, dark haired, dark eyed and possessed the same luminous skin Christopher had.
The Cullens were unused to visitors and were a bit dumbfounded when the stranger appeared on their porch and knocked softly at the door. None of them had heard or smelled a stranger nearby. Alice had no clue that the family would receive a visitor.
As Edward answered the door, the young man smiled kindly at him. "Hello. My name is Bennett and I'm searching for a young boy."
Edward noticed the man was dressed almost identical to Christopher's original clothing, wearing a plain white shirt with no buttons, a pair of black pants, and simple black shoes.
As Edward listened to him, he noticed that the young man seemed to stumble over his words. Esme came up behind Edward and invited Bennett to sit down at the dining table.
"Excuse me," Bennett said, "words don't always come easily to me."
"You're looking for a boy?" Esme inquired?
Bennett nodded as he watched the Cullens enter and sit down. "Yes," Bennett said, "He's been missing for quite some time."
Esme excused herself, "Let me call my husband, he's at work right now."
Jasper and Alice were already seated at the dining table when Emmett entered with his arm around Rosalie. Rosalie was hand in hand with Christopher.
Esme returned and alerted everyone that Carlisle was coming straight home.
Rosalie gave Bennett a wary look and asked, "Are you related to Christopher?"
Bennett went wide-eyed with shock, he glanced at the little boy and asked, "How did you know his name?"
"We just figured it out, Alice replied.
"Interesting," Bennett said. He held his hand out to Christopher, who walked around the table and placed his small hand in Bennett's.
Bennett studied Christopher carefully and asked, "Do you have his original clothes? That way you can keep his outfit."
Rosalie covered her face with her hands and sobbed, "He can keep the clothes… he can have anything he wants!" She looked into Bennett's eyes and begged, "Please… please don't take him!"
"Just where are you from?" Emmett interjected.
Bennett answered softly, "We're from Pennsylvania originally, we live in the Amish community there."
"Well," Emmett said snidely, "that explains his weird clothing."
Carlisle entered suddenly like a madman, and immediately calmed when he saw Christopher. Carlisle noticed the solemness of his family as well as the frantic Rosalie.
"Please Carlisle, don't let him take Christopher!" begged Rosalie.
Bennett looked sadly at Rosalie, then turned his face toward Carlisle saying, "My time is drawing near, Christopher and I will need to go soon. I'm sorry."
Carlisle looked at Edward, who shook his head, "All I hear is silence from him," Edward admitted.
Emmett looked at his suffering wife. He then stood up, crossed his arms over his gigantic chest and said to her, "Don't worry, I won't let anybody take him no matter what the rest of the family says!"
Edward looked at his father; he'd never seen Carlisle react like this as he shook his head helplessly into his open hands.
Esme gave Emmett a disapproving look and said, "You know we've all come to love Christopher the moment that Edward brought him home in his arms."
Edward looked at his brother and said aloud, "I agree with Emmett… Christopher stays!"
Instantly everything seemed awry and topsy-turvy. Suddenly Bennett stood up and in beside him was another. This young man looked much like Bennett, slight, dark hair, dark eyes, light skin, dressed similarly… but the kindness that had shown in Bennett's face was non-existent in this new person.
"Arvil, you said you'd wait in the forest for me!" Bennett said with a frightened look as his eyes danced from person to person.
Arvil looked at Bennett and his expression changed to one of caring, "I'm sorry, but my patience has disappeared! As in gone!" Arvil yelled!
This new person, Arvil, didn't seem to have the problem with words as Bennett did. He looked over ferociously at Carlisle. Christopher had crawled into Carlisle's lap after Carlisle had sat beside his wife. Arvil looked at the Cullen's as if he'd be sick any minute.
Arvil glanced at Bennett and commanded him to take the boy. Emmett snarled and was in a killing crouch in seconds. Several of the Cullens were about to join Emmett when suddenly Arvil gave Emmett a sinister glare. Emmett lay splayed on the floor eyes open wide.
A high keening sound emanated from Rosalie as she lay on the floor beside her dead husband. The rest of the family just stared in literal shock. Edward was about to attack when Arvil looked at him and said cruelly, "Don't even think about it mind reader."
Edward looked stunned. Arvil grinned at him and said, "Now you know how it feels to be the shoe on the other foot! Avril continued, "I know exactly what you're thinking, but you're in the dark when it comes to me!" Arvil laughed.
Bella laid a hand on Edward's arm as his expression changed to one of hatred as he gazed at Arvil.
Bennett crossed the floor where Emmett lay and kneeled down alongside Rosalie. "Return his life essence," Bennett told Arvil.
Arvil looked into Bennett's eyes and said, "You know what they are… what they really are! It makes me ill to be even this close to them!"
Bennett returned, Arvil's look and said, "Yes, I know what they are… but I also know that some of them strive to be better than they are. Some of them have actually turned against their very nature."
Arvil sneered at Bennett and told him to get the boy again. Bennett looked desperately into Arvil's face and said, "I know evil when I see it, and I know goodness when I see it too." He looked down into Emmett's dead face. "If you refuse to return his life force, then I will replace it myself."
"You wouldn't do anything so idiotic as that?" Arvil roared.
Bennett whispered something to Rosalie and moved her back from Emmett's body. Arvil watched in frozen horror as Bennett placed his hands on either side of Emmett's face.
"Stop!..Stop!," Arvil begged, then his pleading face turned into a glare as he looked at Emmett. Suddenly, Emmett arose from the floor as Rosalie rushed to him and enfolded him in her arms.
Arvil watched as Bennett walked softly to the table where Carlisle was seated. Bennett looked into Carlisle's mournful face and said, "I'm sorry," as he gently disengaged the Christopher from Carlisle's arms and quickly left the room without a sound.
"Your kind disgusts me!" said Arvil, and he immediately was gone.
They had planned a hunting party later that night, but nobody seemed to remember, or care. Hungry black eyes gazed into hungry black eyes, but miraculously nobody felt the hunger.
Edward felt too morose to attempt to play the piano, knowing he'd think of the lost little boy.
Emmett did his best to comfort his mate who sat on their bed. Rosalie held the blanket that she had swaddled Christopher in, and inhaled deeply of his scent.
Esme found it impossible to comfort Carlisle's broken heart since her own heart was broken as well.
Carlisle sat alone in his lab looking like a statue in mourning. Carlisle inhaled and tasted the sweet scent of Christopher from his lab samples. He'd tried to hide the love he felt for the child… a love that Carlisle didn't understand for himself.
Suddenly Carlisle felt a warm hand on his shoulder. Surprised, he turned and saw Bennett's sad eyes boring into his own.
Carlisle opened his mouth to speak, but Bennett quickly placed a warm finger over Carlisle's icy lips and said, "I can only stay for the shortest of moments," Bennett rushed on, "I'll be punished enough as it is. Try not to worry about Arvil… he has a good heart, he's just frightened of your kind."
Carlisle could only look back at Bennett with tearless dark eyes as he made mournful sobs.
"Listen…." Bennett said, "He'll be back… Christopher will some day come back to you!"
Carlisle looked down and shook his head beseechingly.
"I promise, he'll come back to you…. because… he's a part of you." Bennett confided.
Carlisle jerked his head up in confusion and astonishment, but Bennett had already disappeared.