I think this whole diary writing thing is becoming contagious. The whole family plus the wolves are keeping track of their daily lives. I never thought my life was that interesting really. Well if you disregard all the constant drama. I have kept medical diaries of possible cures and breakthroughs but something about myself? Hmmm….well I guess I’ll just have to try and see and hope that I don’t bore you to death. I am sitting in my study writing this and just thinking back to when I had first transformed my beautiful wife Esme into an immortal. So much was going on at that time. Not to mention that despite being a relatively smart man, it took forever to figure out what I was actually feeling for Esme. I guess love or the definition of it cannot be found in medical books.
Just thinking about her, makes my heart sing and me smile. I’m glad Edward and Bella are at their cottage, because I doubt he would have wanted to hear all that’s going on in my brain. Sometimes all the love makes him feel a little woozy. I’m so happy he’s found Bella. So I’m going to start this new diary by telling you about what it felt like those first days, weeks, and months after Esme became one of us; a vampire.
November 5, 1921
As I waited for Esme and Edward to get back from their errand, I was glad they were getting along so well. Though I had no idea where they had gone, I somehow sensed that Edward needed a maternal influence and Esme was the perfect woman to give him just that. I stood in my study and looked out the window. Quickly enough I was lost in thought. I thought back to when I first encountered Esme as a little girl when she had fallen from that tree and broken her leg. Something about her kind, soft eyes made some part of my soul flutter. Vampires aren’t supposed to have souls or so the myths and legends say. I disagree. I truly believe that even when our hearts stop beating upon total transformation, we keep our souls if we so choose.
She was but a young girl and yet I knew that I would never be the same after seeing her just that one time. I knew she would grow into a lovely and loving woman. I also knew that any man that would become her husband would be extremely lucky to have her. Never in my wildest nightmares did I envision her with the brute she ended up with and who ultimately cost her her true love and her precious child. Even her very life, I shuddered at the thought of the memory of it all. That’s the other thing sometimes I wish vampires didn’t have. Unlike humans, our memories post transformation never disappears. We go for decades, centuries, and even millennia remembering every little thing.
I decided to not dwell on the evil and thought more of what it felt like seeing Esme again in the morgue and deciding to turn her. I was selfish, I admit. When I saw her so close to giving up and dying…….I couldn’t bare it. Those young soft, kind eyes were in my head. I felt something inside me turn over. My soul, my dead heart, seemed to take off like a million galloping horses. No! I couldn’t let her die! I remember thinking the word “Mine”. But how? What did it mean? She wasn’t mine! She was someone else’s. But she was there all alone. She jumped off a cliff! A cliff!! Why would my Esme jump off a cliff?
There I went again with the word “mine”. I had a decision to make. I had to save her and there was only one way. She had to become one of us. I would turn her but not there…..not at the morgue. I wanted her as comfortable as possible for what she was about to endure. So I grabbed her body in my arms and whisked her away to our house. Edward was surprised that I had brought her but not much as he had already heard my thoughts. He looked at me knowingly…..a little too knowingly it seemed, then smiled a bit, nodded and walked away.
Turning Esme was hard. Just watching the change and knowing she was scorching inside was almost too much for me to bear. I hoped against hope that she didn’t feel much of it, considering the state she was in. But one never knew. 3 days later, she opened her eyes and I had to say…..that turning over feeling inside of me repeated. When she looked at me, all of my words left me….all thoughts. I couldn’t speak for a few seconds as I watched her take everything in. It was as if the world had changed for me. And I guess it had. I finally figured out what I was feeling…..some smart guy I am….even from the very beginning when I first met her as a young girl.
I loved her.
I loved Esme.
I was totally and completely in love with her.
Now what? What if she didn’t feel the same? Of course not right away. First she had to get adjusted to this life of ours. But would she? What if she hated me? I couldn’t bear the thought. A sudden panic seized me inside. But I couldn’t let her see it. I didn’t want to scare her anymore then she already was.
Coming back to the present, I shook my head and smiled. I remember how I felt at that moment. I sort of felt like a scared, human teenager about to tell his school crush that he liked her. I never thought for one instant that any one, human or vampire would ever make me feel so unsteady and uncertain. I mean I was the intelligent one with centuries of experience and yet here was this newborn making me feel weak in the knees just by looking at her. Every sound she made, every twitch of her face, every word she spoke just made me want to stare at her and hold her. And when she laughed…….well that was the most beautiful sound in the world. Nothing could compare to that. Not the most divine music or sound of nature. Esme was an extraordinary and magnificent being. And I hoped that someday she would reciprocate my feelings.
Ice skating with her was heavenly. Holding her body close to mine was the best feeling in the world. I loved how she would almost blush if she could when I would say something to her or stare at her just a little longingly. When she had to stop in the woods on the way back, I was petrified I had done or said something to scare her. Then when she said she had to say goodbye to someone, I knew what she meant and let her have her peace. However, being absolutely selfish and yet wishing her no harm, I watched her from a distance and listened to her words. They broke my heart all over again. I truly wish for her happiness. I will do everything in my power to make her happy……even if she chooses to leave me. I can’t even bear the thought at this point though.
Their approaching footsteps broke me out of that last unpleasant thought as I watched them run through the last bit of forest and come toward the house. Something was off. Edward was the picture of composure though still looking fierce. And Esme was looking triumphant and had a very odd look of a mixture of danger, sadness, and finality on her face.
I was downstairs a second later and waiting for them as they came through the front door. They looked at each for a second then back at me. Edward opened his mouth to say something but Esme put her hand on his arm to stop him and stepped forward to look into my eyes. She then spoke very softly as she recounted every detail of what happened. My eyes grew wide as she spoke and her voice got faster and faster as if she was spitting out the last of the sordid and dirty details quickly so they would leave her body and soul forever. After she was done, she looked down ready for whatever consequences were to come.
I thought only for a fraction of a minute and then lifted her chin with my hand so our eyes could meet. I told her that she did what she had to do and it was very understandable. I also told her I was glad Edward went with her and that she didn’t face this alone. I told her that if I went with her I probably would have done that to him myself if not worse so it was a good thing she went with Edward. I laughed a sad and angry laugh when I saw the look of shock on both of their faces. I didn’t have to be a mind reader to know what Edward was thinking;
“how would someone like Carlisle ever lose control and kill anyone?”
Well I never have but when it comes to Esme and exacting revenge on that scumbag who hurt her……believe me, I’d do it without thinking twice. Justice is too good for someone like that. I think Edward understood that too as he nodded slowly when our eyes met. He then muttered something about needing to hunt again and ran back out before we could say anything but not before smiling at me with his crooked grin and giving me a wink and tilting his head toward Esme. I smiled back.
I then looked back Esme who was looking slightly dazed and a little bit confused, took a very deep and unnecessary breath before asking with as much confidence as I didn’t feel:
“Esme, will you do me the honor of going out with me?”
Carlisle’s Diary ~ Looking Back Part II ~The Date
As I was writing the entries, Esme walked into my study. She didn’t say a word. She looked at the diary, then at me. She smiled. I then noticed that she was carrying something in her hands. I looked at it and realized it was her diary. It was my turn to smile, though I’m sure I was already doing just that.
I can’t help but smile whenever she’s near. Esme’s diary and mine are quite different-looking, and yet each convey our personalities perfectly. Hers is a beautiful hunter green suede with golden lettering and a design like that of a forest. Mine, though also suede, additionally has leather and is brown and burgundy. It was so sweet for Edward and Bella to get both of us these beautiful journals to chronicle our daily lives in. Esme was very excited when she received hers on our anniversary. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to do with mine. Until now.
As I looked at her beautiful eyes, she sat near me and opened her diary to a blank page. She was going to write her next entry. Usually she sits outside on the swing that is attached to one of the big trees we have in the backyard. Today though, she wanted to sit with me. I’m definitely not complaining. The best part of our relationship is that we don’t have to say anything to each other and we still know what the other is thinking and feeling. So as I watched her pen start to fly over the page, I got back to the entry I was writing.
Where was I? Oh yes, I had just asked Esme to go out with me. Oh boy. Talk about a heart pounding moment. I shook my head and let my thoughts drift back to that day.
November 5, 1921
“Esme, will you do me the honor of going out with me?”
I waited tensely as what I had just asked was digested by Esme. Her beautiful eyes went wide and, if she could have blushed, I’m sure she would have been as red as a tomato. I was still holding her chin and was looking at her with so much longing that she knew she had to answer me. Finally she stammered out a “Y-Yes-s,” and smiled. I hugged her, and she giggled. It was the cutest giggle ever.
I felt like I was a teenager. Talk about walking on cloud nine. My heart soared into the heavens. I could do this. I could make Esme happy.
“Do you have a place in mind?” she asked.
I thought for a moment. Since she had only recently been transformed, I knew she wasn’t ready to interact with humans just yet so after thinking for another fraction of a second,
“How about a picnic in the woods?” I said.
“Wait, but vampires don’t eat human food.”
I laughed. “Who said anything about human food?”
I could tell she was extremely puzzled. But I had already figured it all out in my head. I asked her if tomorrow would work for her and she nodded eagerly.
“Wonderful. I’ll get everything ready and come and get you.”
I was beyond ecstatic. I was going make this a picnic she was never going to forget!
November 6, 1921
I’d been running around like a mad man making sure everything was perfect. I knew Esme was up in her room getting ready. I was wondering what she was going to wear. As vampires we don’t get cold, so even when it seems like cold weather for humans, we can wear summer clothes. Of course we don’t when we are in the presence of humans so they don’t start wondering about us.
But I digress, so I finished getting the location all set and flew to get Esme. I knocked on her door and waited. I was surprised to find myself breathing heavily. I didn’t really need to breathe let alone like I was running out of air.
Then the door opened…..and Esme stepped into the hallway.
She absolutely took my breath away. She wore her hair under a mesh barrette. She had on a yellow dress with white polka dots and a slim white belt at the waste. The dress fell just below the knees and she wore white shoes with little bows on top. Very minimal makeup but enough to make her eyes pop. I don’t know anything about makeup but I know that I would remember what she wore and how she looked for the rest of eternity.
“Esme, you look radiant!” I exclaimed.
She looked down quickly and smoothed out her dress a bit.
“Thank you Carlisle. I’m glad you like it.” She smiled.
“Shall we go?”
“Yes, I’m ready.”
I took her by the arm and tucked her hand into my arm and we walked down the stairs and out of the back door. Then we ran, with her following my lead. It didn’t take long for us to reach the location I had preselected. Her breath caught as she looked around.
Before us was a little patch of earth, with trees all around and a little brook nearby. I had placed candles in strategic locations to add to the glow of the place. I let her walk around and look at the picnic blanket and the book that was lying on top of it. Before she sat down, I retrieved the little gift I got her. I walked over to her with it behind my back. I then handed her the bouquet of red roses. She gasped.
“Oh Carlisle! They’re beautiful! You didn’t have to!”
“I know that. I wanted to. And their beauty doesn’t compare to yours, my dear.”
She looked down again and then at the flowers. She took a deep breath, inhaling their aroma. She briefly closed her eyes. I was doing a little dance in my head while I watched her enjoy the simple gift. I wanted to give her so much more but didn’t want to frighten her with the extravagance. I figured there was plenty of time for that. I put my arm around her and turned her around so that we could walk over to the blanket and sit down. After she was comfortable on the blanket, she looked over to the book I placed there and asked:
“This is a little photo album I’ve had for many centuries. I wanted to show you a little bit about me and how I’ve come here. I’m a lot older then you. I was born and transformed in the 1600s.”
Her eyes grew wide. I smiled.
“Yes, Edward teases me sometimes about what an old man I am. But when you’re a vampire, age doesn’t really matter. I know that if I took away the whole vampire thing, you are actually older than me by a few years I believe.”
I saw her do the calculations in her head. When she caught me staring, she looked down. She did that a lot. I wonder what she’s so embarrassed about. She’s absolutely perfect. I opened the book to the first page that was a drawing of me as a baby. She ran her fingers over the picture.
“Carlisle, you were such a beautiful baby. It even looks like you still. I mean not that you look like a baby….” She stammered off into silence.
I laughed and shook my head. “No no, I know what you meant. Esme please feel at ease with me. You can say anything you want. It’s ok, you won’t make me angry, I promise. And you’re right. I do still look the same though a lot older.”
She exhaled a breath in a “Phew” type of move. “I’m sorry Carlisle. I’ll try.”
“Stop apologizing! It’s okay. Be at ease.” I smiled, my most relaxed smile.
“Yes, I know. I will. I’m s–….” Then she giggled.
And then I did something, I immediately was regretful and fearful of. I figured the only way I would get her to stop apologizing was if I kissed her. And I did. Nothing long but just a sweet small kiss. The feel of her lips was like connecting to heaven. They were as soft as a feather pillow or the clouds in the sky. I didn’t want to stop but knew I had to. When I pulled away, I was instantly afraid I’d gone too far too fast. What if I scared her? What if she wasn’t ready for it? What have I done? I stared at her with what must have been real fear in my eyes.
“Esme, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s too much too soon, I know.”
I swallowed hard. A big gulp.
Then she did something I was totally not expecting. She put one finger to my lips to shoosh me. Then she took a deep breath and said:
“No, please don’t apologize. That was…very nice. You have been an absolute gentleman this whole entire time. I’m ready to move on. And I think…..no I know…..I’m ready to move on with you.”
I wasn’t at all sure I had heard correctly. Especially not that last part. Esme was ready to move on? With me??? As I struggled to wrap my mind around all that, all I could do was stammer out:
“Are you sure???”
Now it was her turn to nod and shake her head at me with a little giggle. I will never get over how adorable that giggle is.
“Yes I’m sure. I’ve been trying to figure out how to thank you for all you’ve done for me. I . . . I’m very nervous when it comes to talking about my feelings. But I have a feeling that you and I feel the same for one another. And that kiss was very nice.”
She looked down again. Meanwhile, my thoughts were going a million miles a second. She took the opportunity of my silence to move a little bit closer to me. I looked into her beautiful eyes. I thought I was going to drown in that gaze of hers and had to shake myself mentally to focus on what I wanted to ask and do.
“May I kiss you again?”
“Yes. You don’t have to ask permission.”
And we kissed. This one was deeper and more passionate. I still consider that being our first real kiss.
I was so lost in thought about that date and that kiss, I didn’t realize Esme had finished her diary entry and had moved closer to me so she could read what I was writing. I only felt when her hand touched my face and I looked over to her. She had that little glint in her eye. Then she kissed me on the tip of my nose and giggled. That did it. I grabbed her and kissed her hard. Lord knows us not needing air, came in really handy in these kinds of moments.
Our blissful moment was interrupted by a knock on the study’s door. I broke the kiss at the same time as Esme, we both smiled at each other and I said:
The door opened and my beautiful, wonderful granddaughter came in. She was only 6 years old but looked like a 14 or 15 year old. Nessie looked at us both and sheepishly retorted:
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything?”
“No not at all honey,” Esme said to her with a broad and loving smile.
“Nothing that can’t be finished later,” I mumbled mischievously under my breath.
“Oh okay! Good! Grampa Carlisle? I was wondering if you could tell me a story?”
“What kind of a story would you like for me to tell you, Nessie?”
“Well, Jake and his dad have told me the stories about the Quileute legends and where their family comes from. I was wondering if you could tell me the story of how you became a vampire and what your life was like.”
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she asked. But I was surprised to see Jacob behind her. He smiled and also entered the study. Both of them sat cross legged on the floor in front of me. I took a deep breath, stood up, and walked over to a little shelf in the other corner of the room. I opened the little door and took out a book. I smiled to myself as I remembered sharing this book with my love on our first date. Now I was about to share it and its stories with our newest generation; one of them being our so-called enemy but in reality just a part of the family.
I walked over to the two kids sitting on the floor, handed Nessie the book, sat down, took a deep breath…..and started thinking back.
To the very beginning.
Carlisle's Diary, Return
I love being on vacation as much as I love being a doctor! Esme and I spent two weeks on the island. We spent the whole time exploring the island, swimming, and making love. The weather was beautiful. We were sparkling and we didn’t care. We would swim deep in the water, around coral reefs, and saw different fish. Even came face to face with a barracuda. It just looked at us with a bored expression and swam on. I was able to really enjoy my life without thinking about what was going on.
We have called home and heard that Nessie had her cast removed and was getting her full strength back in her leg. Charlotte’s parents had arrived and took her back to Texas to heal from her horrific attack. They have been trying to persuade her not to come back here, but Charlotte wants to. Her boyfriend is here and she really likes the hospital. But for now she’s back in her home state recuperating. I don’t want to seem selfish but I’d love for her to return to us. She’s a sweetheart and has made the hospital a much more cheerful place to be.
My family was handling things at home just fine without me. While we were still on the island, we were sitting by the waterfall one day and this beautiful bird flew by. I realized that I really wanted to sketch it. So I’m going to ask Alexander to give me a tutorial on drawing so I can draw beautiful things too. I’ve always admired artists. Coming home was bittersweet. We love our little island and it’s such a perfect escape from everyday life, but we have to return to our family and my job. Bill can’t handle the hospital and this aftermath alone.
So after another boat ride, 14 hour flight, and short trip in a town car; we were back in Hanover and in our driveway. The family came out to welcome us home. Nessie bolted out of the house first and ran to me for a hug.
“Welcome home grandpa and grandma! I missed you both very much.” Nessie said hugging first me then Esme.
“Thank you sweetheart.” Esme said kissing Nessie on the top of the head.
“How was it?” She asked.
“Wonderful, it was nice and warm and beautiful as always.” Esme related. Everyone smiled.
Edward and Emmett helped carry our bags inside and took them upstairs. They didn’t have to but I had a feeling that we were missed. I noticed that two people were missing from our family and those were Bella and Leah. As soon as I noticed their absence Edward said that they were on their usual hiking trip. They said that they would try to get back for our arrival but must have gotten stuck somewhere along the way. As soon as Edward started worrying that something was wrong that they weren’t back, Keith called and said that he had been flying in the area and said the two of them were sitting on a log talking. He didn’t want to bother them so he just flew by without them noticing him. All was well.
We did have two sour pusses in the house. One was Alice because Bella was spending so much time with Leah; she felt that she was losing her best friend. I couldn’t believe it! Alice was actually jealous! And of Leah out of all people! Everyone including Bella had told Alice that no one would ever replace her and the only reason she and Leah were spending so much time together was because they had a ton in common and were still discovering it now that all that bitterness had been put behind them.
It was so refreshing to see Leah finally letting go of all of her ghosts. She was hardly ever angry anymore. The only time we saw her frowning was when Seth would play a practical joke that she would find annoying. Otherwise, she was always smiling. She was an incredibly pretty young woman when she smiled. Even Jacob felt better about having her in the pack because now her thoughts weren’t on how bitter she was and how much she hated her life; but on her next hiking trip with Bella or her next date with Keith. When that was brought to her attention, she would blush and look down. She’d still apologize for being such a “bitch” for all those years. At this point, its water under the bridge for us all.
The other sour puss amazingly was Nessie. I noticed her moping around the house seeming out of it. Not even Jacob could cheer her up. I had to get to the bottom of it. So as she was pacing in circles around the living room, I stepped in front of her and stopped her mid thought:
“Alright Renesmee, what is it and don’t tell me nothing?” I only called her by her full name when I was serious. She looked up at me with wide eyes, took a deep breath and said:
“I think Michelle has another best friend or someone secret in her life.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Because she’s on her cellphone a lot all of a sudden and she’s texting someone and when I ask her who she’s talking to, she doesn’t tell me.”
“Maybe she has a boyfriend or something.”
“But why wouldn’t she tell me? Why hide it from me?” Nessie asked.
“Well she is allowed to have other friends, doesn’t she?”
“Yes but why keep it secret? Even if she had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t get jealous. I’d be happy for her! I think she doesn’t trust me.” Nessie pointed out sadly.
“I think that she trusts you. I just think that when she becomes comfortable with whatever it is, she’ll tell you. Just don’t bug her about it. Give her some space and when it’s right, she’ll tell you.” I said with a smile.
I’ve heard Jacob talk to Edward about it; apparently Nessie feels like she’s not good enough for people. She thinks that she isn’t good enough to have a best friend like Michelle. No matter how many times Bella and Edward had told her, she still feels like she’s no one special. I don’t know why this sudden feeling of sadness has befallen my granddaughter but I was hoping that it wasn’t a long term thing. Could a hybrid suffer from depression? Something to look into in my journals later.
As if my thoughts were being read, the doorbell rang, Rose opened the door and there stood Rogue. She smiled and Rose invited her in promptly. Rogue’s eyes landed on Nessie then on me.
“Welcome home Carlisle. How was your trip?”
“Thank you, it was much needed. Thank you for recommending it.”
“Listen, I didn’t want to bother you tonight but I had a feeling something was up and was wondering if I could speak with Nessie alone.” Nessie’s eyes got wide.
“Is there a problem?” I asked concerned. Rogue smiled.
“No, but I figure I can help with teen angst.” She said and winked at me.
I understood. Nessie grabbed her jacket and followed Rogue outside. Rogue then put her arms around Nessie and flew into the air. They flew for a little while until they were on a mountain in the region. Finally Rogue touched down. She motioned Nessie to sit on a rock near her, which Nessie did. They sat quietly for a while and then Rogue spoke:
“I know that you have been feeling inadequate recently. I wanted to talk to you about that. Whatever you tell me stays here on this mountain just between the two of us. I know sometimes it’s hard to speak to family.” Nessie nodded.
“I don’t know…..I just feel weird…..like not good enough….you know?”
“Not good enough for whom?”
“I don’t know……my family……Michelle……you guys…..” Her voice trailed off.
“Alright let’s start at the beginning; why your family?”
“My family is full of these kick ass vampires who are so strong and powerful. I feel a little too human sometimes. My boyfriend is a werewolf as is Seth and Leah which makes all of them just strong and powerful.”
“Well, here’s something you have to realize. Strength doesn’t come from muscles or gifts or talents or powers. Strength comes from the heart. Yes your family is a combo of vampires and wolves but they all have normal human qualities just like you. They are all capable of love. And love is the most important thing. Being powerful isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, believe me.”
“Yeah right! You can do anything you want! Even create tornadoes! You can fly and heal people, how is that not amazing???” Nessie asked incredulously.
“Because it’s too much responsibility, Nessie. Because my power comes with a heavy price; I have the lives of over 1 million Watchers in my hands. They all depend on me. Don’t get me wrong, I would never trade who I am for a regular mortal life. But it’s not all fun and games as you saw when Michelle got hurt. You have an amazing life Nessie, you know why?”
She shook her head. Rogue smiled.
“Because you get the best of both worlds!” Nessie looked puzzled. Rogue continued. “You get to be both mortal and immortal all at the same time and very few people have those. I think there are like 5 of you in the world. There are over a million of us and many millions of vampires plus a whole chunk of wolves. But there’s only 5 of you guys and each one is unique. On top of that you have a gift of projecting images and questions through touch. Do you have any idea how special that is? Nessie, you don’t have to be strong or immortal or powerful. All you have to do is be you. Be Nessie; love, care for, listen, and just be you. And every single person who hasn’t fallen in love with you will.”
By the time Rogue finished speaking; Nessie had tears running down her face. Rogue put her arms around Nessie’s shoulders and let her cry all of her frustrations out. Rogue just stroked her back and smiled into the distance. She knew all of this all too well. She remembered long, long ago when she was still mortal having the exact same conversation with her mother. Back before she was chosen; she was still just dating Alexander or he was courting her rather. She didn’t understand how someone so handsome would have any interest in someone as plain as her. Her mother had smiled, wiped away her tears, and said the same thing she just told Nessie. When Nessie’s sobs abated a bit, Rogue was brought back into the present.
“Alright well that takes care of 75% of your issues. Why are you doubting Michelle or how does she fit into this equation rather?” Rogue asked as Nessie looked at her sheepishly.
“Well she’s keeping secrets from me and I don’t like it. I feel like she feels she can’t trust me. I tell her everything and now I feel like we’re drifting apart and it hurts.” She whispered the last part and looked down.
“Well, I can give you some relief of that. Michelle trusts you completely. She loves you like a sister. Yes she does have a secret but just like with you, I can’t say what it is. When she is ready and I think it’ll be soon, she’ll tell you exactly what it is. The only thing I ask is for you to have an open mind. She’s pretty terrified of your reaction; actually of the reactions of your whole family. We, Watchers already know and are fine with it.”
“Is it something bad?” Nessie asked surprised.
“No. It’s just something she needs to tell you herself.”
“Ok. I understand.” Rogue smiled at her.
“So are you alright with everything or is there something else you’d like to get off of your chest?”
“No, I think I’m alright now. I think I have to walk around a bit to clear my head, but I’d rather do that near the house. It’s getting a bit chilly up here.” Nessie said shivering.
“Yes, the wind is starting to pick up but then again we are on top of a mountain.” Rogue said and winked…..Nessie giggled.
Then Rogue put her arms around Nessie again and off they went back to the house. When the landed outside of our house, they hugged and Nessie ran into the house while Rogue flew to her own home. Nessie really seemed different; Bella and Leah were back by then and the first and Edward were waiting for Nessie to get back. When she looked at them, it seemed like there was something much lighter about her. Whatever had transpired between her and Rogue seemed to help her in a positive way making her parents breathe a sigh of relief; I joined them in that. Just then, the doorbell rang again. Nessie went to open it and was surprised to see Michelle standing there.
“Hey Nessie, how are you? I was wondering if we could talk. I have something to tell you.”
Ringing the door bell and waiting for someone to open up was really hard. I had no idea how Ness or her family would take my news; my secret. I’ve had this secret for a long time. I mean technically it wasn’t a secret as my parents and the other Watchers knew. But ever since the Cullen family has come into our lives including the wolves and Nessie became my best friend…..well it became a secret.
Then Nessie opened the door, obviously surprised to see me. I took a deep breath and stepped into the house. My parents had wanted to come with me to support me but I wanted to do this myself. I was after all an adult. Yes I was 17 when I was chosen but that was 500 years ago. So I guess you could say I’m something like 517 years old.
I saw the whole Cullen family plus wolves in the living room just sitting around. They looked up and welcomed me inside. I sat down on the couch and Ness came up and sat next to me looking concerned. Boy, I hoped they were open minded people. Carlisle spoke first.
“Michelle, do you want us to leave you and Nessie alone?”
“No…..I mean what I have to say…..you all need to know…..or rather….I want you to know. Everyone else does.”
“Alright then, whenever you’re ready. No rush.” He said with a comforting smile. I gulped again and started talking.
“Well, I know that Nessie has been feeling like I’m keeping something from her and that I don’t trust her enough to tell her. And half of that is true and that’s the first part. I do trust you Ness…..I’m just scared that what I have to say, you won’t accept and I’ll lose you as my friend.” I said looking down.
“No way! You haven’t killed anyone in cold blood or harmed someone have you?” Nessie asked me.
“Of course not! Why would you even ask that?” I asked surprised.
“Because that’s the only thing I won’t accept about you Michelle……other than that anything you tell me, I’ll accept.” She said surely. I on the other hand was not so sure….but I knew I was stalling. I had to just spit it out.
“Stop stalling Michelle….whatever it is…..we can take it.” Leah said. She was sitting on the other side of me. Everyone else nodded.
“Yeah, I am stalling aren’t I? Well, Nessie you have been noticing that I have been on the phone a lot texting and speaking with someone. I have. I’m guessing everyone has been thinking I have a boyfriend…..it’s something like that. I actually…..um……have……a girlfriend. I like girls instead of boys.”
There was silence as I knew they were digesting it. Alice spoke first:
“So you’re saying you’re a lesbian basically.” There it was…..the “L” word I was afraid to speak out loud for fear of the reaction. And here Alice just said it.
“Yes Alice. I am a lesbian.” I said and just held my breath waiting for their reactions.
“That’s it?? That’s the secret, you were afraid of telling me….telling all of us???” Nessie all but screeched. I nodded.
“OMG…..Michelle! I don’t care who you date or who you like or what your preference is! I was scared that you had like another best friend or something!”
“No way Ness! You’re my only best friend.” I said with a small smile.
“Oh goodie!” She clapped her hands like a little girl and everyone laughed. I still had no idea how the rest of the family felt. That part was answered by Rosalie out of all people.
“Michelle, I think I can speak for the rest of my family when I say that it doesn’t matter to us. We accept everyone regardless of whom they like or who they marry or who they are. I’m sure the wolves feel the same.” Said wolves nodded and smiled.
“I mean come on Michelle, you were afraid to ‘come out’ to a bunch of wolves and vampires? Doesn’t that seem a bit strange that you’d think we wouldn’t accept you because of who you like to date?” Said Seth.
“Seth is right, you’re in the middle of a supernatural cluster-fuck—pardon my French—and it’s kinda par for the course for things to be different around here.” Jacob explained and everyone laughed again.
Then Nessie hugged me followed by Leah, Seth, Jacob, and everyone else. I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it! Or maybe I could. I had been thinking of the worst case scenario for so long, I never thought about the best possible outcome; that they would actually be alright with it. That Nessie wouldn’t abandon me. I have dealt with homophobia years ago and since then have been very careful about disclosing that part of my life. But the Cullen family and wolves have become a part of my extended family so I felt like I had to tell them.
Especially, now that I had a girlfriend in my life.
“So…….tell us!” Nessie was saying, bringing me back to the present.
“Tell you what?” I asked with a blank stare.
“Tell us about her! What’s her name? What’s she like? Duh!” Nessie said rolling her eyes.
“Oh…..ok…..well she’s also a Watcher and I’ve known her for the last 15 years but we’ve only been seeing each other for the last 5. Her name is Kim and she lives in Oklahoma. She was very close to that killer tornado in Moore. Obviously she got the hell out of dodge but she has also been a volunteer with the Red Cross so she was one of the first on the scene. That’s how we met originally; through the Red Cross. She is 307 years old. So I’m older in that caliber but she was chosen at the age of 27 so she looks older.” I explained.
“Oh wow that’s really cool! Will we ever get to meet her?” Nessie asked curiously.
“Yeah. She said she would come up here once she’s no longer needed in OK. With all of these tornadoes, it’s a crapshoot really.”
“It is tornado season.” Jasper explained, speaking for the first time. I almost forgot he was in the room. Everyone nodded. Then I yawned inadvertently. It was time to wrap up the night.
“Alright, it’s definitely past a lot of people’s bedtimes apparently. So let’s go get some rest everyone.” Carlisle said.
We all got up and Nessie hugged me; I hugged her back. I was very grateful to have met her. Everyone else then lined up to hug me and Emmett joked that it looked like the receiving line for the president. We all laughed and then we left. I was ready to fly home, Ness and her parents were walking back to their cottage and the wolves were making their way back to theirs. As I stepped outside, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I flew into the air with a huge smile on my face and was ready to get some sleep; stress free for the first time in a while. It was good to get stuff off your chest.
A picture of Kim and I is below. Hope you like it and her. She’s very special to me.
I think it was very brave of Michelle to come to us with her secret. I can understand how hard it must have been to keep it from us. Not everyone is open minded and there are plenty of ignorant people out there who just like to hate for the hell of hating. Some humans remind me of the Volturi. They wanted to punish and exact pain and harm on people for their own entertainment and pleasure. It’s quite sickening. But we’re not like that. We treat everyone equally. We were told by Michelle’s parents that Kim may move up here permanently so she could be closer to Michelle. That and the fact that NH is one of the few states where it’s legal for gay couples to marry; if that was to ever happen between them of course. I’m sure Alice would get a serious kick out of planning that wedding. Hell, what wedding does she not get a kick out of planning???
Moving on; our house is a lot fuller then it usually is. The Denali clan is visiting. We do these trips back and forth to each other a few times a year. Only Carmen and Eleazer weren’t with us, they had been invited to the Amazon rainforest by Zafrina and Senna. I don’t know what they were doing down there but they would tell us at some point. So it was only Kate, Garrett, and Tanya at our house. Kate and Tanya were pretty used to the wolves by now and Tanya had a great time teasing Seth. It made Leah very happy because now Seth was getting a taste of his own medicine with the practical jokes and she was getting a reprieve.
It turned out that this visit was more than a social visit for them. Tanya had been feeling a little out of it and wanted to speak to me in person as well as in private about it. So one particular day when everyone was hunting, patrolling, or hiking, she and I sat outside on the porch and had a conversation.
“Alright Tanya, what’s been bothering you?” I asked gently. She sighed and looked out into the distance.
“I think I may be losing my mind.” She said.
“What makes you think that?” I asked surprised.
“I think I’ve been seeing things?”
“Well maybe not necessarily things……” she said cryptically.
“Tanya, I can’t decipher what you’re saying….so you’ll have to just come out and say it.”
She looked at me with anguished eyes. I couldn’t understand what she was so afraid to tell me. What she said next stunned me into silence.
“I’ve been seeing Irina. She’s been coming to me.” She said quietly.
I didn’t say anything because I had to wrap my mind around what she had just said. I mean Irina was killed by the Volturi, everyone remembered that. So if what Tanya was saying was true and I knew she wasn’t lying or making it up. It had rattled her enough to come to me in person. So there was only one explanation; she was really seeing Irina. That my thought of heaven existing was real.
That Irina was in heaven and had some sort of message for her sister. Before I could say anything, she spoke again:
“That’s why Carmen and Eleazer went to see Zafrina. They wanted to know if that type of thing was even possible and Zafrina is a very spiritual being. If anyone had a connection to that world, it would be her.”
Well that explained the absence of the other two and what they were doing in Brazil. I was very curious as to what they would find out. I always admired Zafrina and I know she and Bella had gotten close when the amazons were here for that battle when Irina lost her life. We saved Nessie and our family from destruction but at the price of Irina’s life. So now I wondered about this vision of sorts Tanya was having.
“So when Irina comes to you; what does she tell you? Does she actually say anything?” I asked. She nodded.
“At first she didn’t say anything. She would just come and stare at me. I wasn’t even sure it was her. And she would always come when I was alone. Never when the others were there. Finally, one day near our house…..I was just walking around, ironically thinking of her and all of a sudden she stepped from beyond the forest. I was so startled I literally fell. She walked….no more like floated over to me and smiled. I felt instantly at peace. I wasn’t afraid anymore. She looked at me and the first words out of her mouth were ‘please forgive me.’ I told her I wasn’t angry at her, I knew she was talking about what happened before she died. I told her I wasn’t angry, that none of us were. I had gotten off the ground by then. Then she said ‘I’m alright. I’m safe and happy. I’m with mom.’ That shocked me. She said she was with our mother! That made me instantly happy. She was closest with her. It was what she said next that surprised me. She looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Don’t be afraid to love. Even someone who seems unlovable.’ When I asked her what that meant, she just smiled repeated it and drifted away. Then she vanished. I have no idea what that meant. I still don’t.”
When she finished recounting the event, my mind was racing. I had no idea what that meant either. ‘Don’t be afraid to love. Even someone who seems unlovable.’ Hmmm……obviously Irina was trying to give Tanya a message of something that was to happen in the future. But what exactly did it mean? Maybe Zafrina would have an easier time deciphering that. Tanya, had come to me to see if my medical expertise could lend a hand in this. But in all the centuries, I’ve never heard of spirits coming to vampires. The Watchers weren’t home and said they would be gone for a while so I couldn’t ask them. I had a feeling Rogue would know something about this. Lord knows after walking the earth for something like 3,000 years, she must have seen and heard it all!
Tanya and I just sat there looking baffled but composed. This was definitely different. Just then, we saw the wolves return, they had phased back and were walking and joking with each other. Suddenly, the smiles on their faces faded and they whirled around to the east. Without warning, all three started to run due east and phased back into wolves almost simultaneously. They disappeared into the forest soon after. Tanya and I looked each other; wonder what that was about? But we both stood up looking wearily into the forest for any signs of danger.
“We have company.” I heard Edward’s voice also come from the east.
He must have heard the wolves thoughts as they raced toward what I understood now was a new scent. He, Emmett, Rose, and Jasper had gone hunting and were just returning when they were nearly run over by the wolves. Kate, Garrett, Bella, Nessie, and Alice went hiking. They were still a good ways away and I felt good that they wouldn’t be here for whatever or whoever was our new visitor. This was sort of like déjà vu for when the Children of the Moon were here. Edward read my mind and shook his head.
“No, the scent belongs to a vampire. He’s alone. The wolves are thinking they recognize the scent but can’t place from where. Looks like he changed course and is running here with the wolves giving chase; he should be entering our backyard in a few seconds.”
Just then a vampire did breakthrough the forest line. We were standing in defensive positions with Jasper and Emmett at the front, prepared for anything. At first none of us recognized him because he looked so different; younger and in different clothes. The wolves came to a halt behind him growling menacingly. He held out his hands to them pleading.
“Please don’t hurt me! I haven’t come here to cause you harm!”
It was when he turned his head to look straight at me and our eyes met that I realized in total shock that I was looking at Marcus!
Holy smokes! Marcus! I know I was not the only with the stunned expression. As everyone stood frozen, someone had to say something. I realized that someone would have to be me.
“Marcus! Um…I’m sorry for the silence but it’s just so shocking to see you here!” I finally managed out trying to shake the cobwebs that seemed to have blocked a path between my brain and mouth.
“I’m sorry Carlisle. I didn’t mean to startle you or your family. I’ve been coming this way for a while. I finally made up my mind after speaking with Rogue.” Marcus answered still holding his hands up towards the wolves.
“You spoke with Rogue? When?” Edward asked.
“A week ago I would say. I finally got the handle on those cell phone things. She had come by to see me when she was in Greece resting. She told me about the Children of the Moon. Nasty business, that. So she gave me her number and told me to call her if I needed anything. I always admired her. Alexander is a very lucky man. So I called her a week ago and she said that she and the others were leaving and I could come see you.” He explained.
At that point before we continued to question him, I waved off the wolves so Marcus wouldn’t be so stilted. He nodded toward me and relaxed as the wolves sauntered back into the forest to phase back and put some clothes on. We were also joined by the others from there hike and to say they were surprised to see Marcus, was an understatement. Just looking at Marcus made me think a lot has changed since we last saw him. For starters his hair was a lot shaggier looking; it also appeared shorter. He looked like he had a bit of stubble on his face; he probably drew it or had something put on that was fake. Whatever it was, it looked pretty authentic. He was wearing a white shirt with rolled up sleeves about 1/4th up each arm. He was wearing jeans that looked slightly faded and they were tucked into tan cowboy boots. He had a chain of some sort around his neck and a leather bracelet on one wrist and a watch with a leather strap on the other. A picture of the before and after is below.
Marcus was actually looking modernized and quite handsome. Edward heard my thoughts and nodded; he agreed with me. Marcus’ eyes were pitch black however and that worried me. Why hadn’t he fed? Finally, I invited Marcus into the house. We were doing what Jacob would often describe as “standing around like freaking statues”. So it was time to sit down and hear the rest of this story as obviously there was more of it or he wouldn’t have come here. Once everyone was inside and seated or comfortable at least we waited for Marcus to tell us what he was doing here. Emmett and Jasper still stood by him just in case he would try something though it seemed highly unlikely considering how outnumbered he was.
“I know you are wondering what I’m doing here. I obviously haven’t come to harm you. Actually, I have decided to leave Greece altogether. There is nothing for me there anymore. I can’t live there because it reminds me of Didyme and I can’t go back to Volterra because that’s not home either. So after careful consideration, I decided to try something new. I wanted to come here and learn from you Carlisle.” He gestured toward me.
“What do you mean?” Bella asked.
“I want to try this ‘vegetarian’ lifestyle of yours. I realized that you were right all along, Carlisle. When you first came to us all those centuries ago and tried to persuade us to change our food so to speak, we should have listened. I should have listened. Killing humans for their blood isn’t good enough for me anymore. That’s why my eyes are pitch black. I haven’t fed in a long time. I couldn’t stomach anymore what I used to eat.” He said. We were all astonished by this revelation of course.
“What made you have your epiphany?” Tanya, who was standing next to Kate, asked curiously. He glanced at her as if for the first time.
“Well it happened in Greece actually. I was out hunting and realized that I would have to cross a river to get back to my home. There were boats I could take but I realized I had no money with me. A kind, old human man granted me access to his boat so I could return home. He saw my red eyes but pretended he didn’t see them. I had a feeling he knew what I was. This man risked his life ferrying a vampire across the river for free just out of the goodness of his heart. I thought about it all the way across that river. My God…..what have we been doing all these millennia? We’ve been destroying families! That’s when it all changed for me.”
I know we were all processing what Marcus was saying. He actually wanted to become a vegetarian. Wow! Talk about a 180. Of course I was willing to teach him if he was willing to learn.
“Alright Marcus. I’m definitely willing to help you with that. As you are in obvious need of immediate feeding. So we’ll take you…..um Edward, Emmett……and erm……..Tanya?”
I don’t know why I mentioned Tanya’s name but it’s as if something told me that that was the right thing to do. Great…..now I’m hearing things too? Tanya looked up at me surprised but then nodded like it seemed logical for her too all of a sudden. I could see the wheels turning in her head. Wonder what was on her mind? So when everyone assembled it was Edward, Emmett, Seth decided to go in wolf form, Tanya, Marcus, and myself; we walked outside of the house after quick hugs and kisses from family. I could tell more than one person was anxious about this little outing of ours.
Then we took off running. I was in the lead with Marcus in the middle surrounded by Edward, Emmett, and Seth. Tanya was running sort of between Marcus and me. Marcus understood he was totally surrounded by some of the most powerful members of our family because until he was fed properly, we were still weary of him. No matter how docile he was, as he always was actually, none of us could forget that he was once a member of the Volturi. And they had caused us pain and suffering. They nearly cost us our very lives if it wasn’t for the intervention of Rogue and her Watchers.
I got the feeling that he wanted to start fresh. And he did reveal that he had always voted against our destruction but because of the other two “chuckleheads” (Seth’s phrase) was always overruled. We, unlike the Volturi, gave second chances to people. Especially if they proved trustworthy. The thing about Marcus was that, the other two were always in charge and barking orders that none of us really ever got to know Marcus alone as his own individual self. I think he came here partly because of the whole trying something new and also because he wanted companionship from people he admired but could never get close to because of the other two “numb-nuts” (Jacob’s phrase). Soon enough my thoughts were interrupted with Edward saying we’ve come to a prime location for lions, deer, and bears…..oh my!
“Alright, well let’s start here. You’ll watch how Carlisle does it and let your instincts take over.” Edward was explaining.
“Now watch me and follow what I do.” I said as I closed my eyes and focused on the sweet smell of a nice juicy bear about a mile to our west then I took off running after it. It was just sitting there as we all approached. I had the others climb up the trees and hang out up there while I stalked the bear. It felt that danger was near and it stood up on its hind legs and roared. Yeah ok….nice try there Yogi but you’re no match for me. Then I flew out from my perch and tackled it to the ground. Then I just latched on to its neck and drained dry. Very soon it was lying on the ground lifeless. Edward chuckled from his perch on the tree. When everyone looked up at him, he pointed to Seth who was perched high on a boulder and said:
“Seth was just thinking that now that bear is dead, we can use him for a rug in one of the cottages.” Everyone laughed. Good ole Seth could let out tension in any situation like air out of a balloon.
“Good one Seth!” Emmett was on the ground in seconds and bumped his fist to Seth’s nose.
“Alright gentlemen and lady.” I said nodding toward Tanya who smiled.
She and Marcus were perched on the same tree only different sides. I noticed something interesting then. Marcus couldn’t keep his eyes off of Tanya. Well he was trying very hard in fact. He didn’t want her to catch him staring but a few times she did and I could tell that there was major conflict on her face. It made me for a second think about the message Irina had given Tanya last time she visited her; ‘Don’t be afraid to love. Even someone who seems unlovable.’ Is this what she meant? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I could tell Edward’s eyes were all but bugging out of his head…..oh right….he wasn’t around when we had that conversation. I shook my head like not now.
“Alright, Marcus, so do you have any questions or do you want me to show you again, though granted I’m full but maybe someone else can.” Seth grunted and that was a no brainer really.
“I’d like to see one more time and then I can try for sure.” Marcus said cautiously.
“Any volunteers?” I asked.
“I’ll do it.” Tanya surprised me by flying out of the tree as if she was shot from a slingshot. I don’t think she was particularly comfortable with Marcus just yet. Especially with all that staring.
“Alright Tanya…..what’s on your menu today?” I asked with a wink and she giggled. Edward just then turned to Marcus with a puzzled expression on his face. Whatever Marcus was thinking got him really confused. Poor Edward he is really out of the loop.
“Ummmm……I think I’ll try a lion.” All of the men whistled with appreciation. “What? You think girls can’t wrestle a little itty bitty lion? Isn’t this the 21st century…..women’s lib and all?” Everyone laughed.
Then Tanya bolted south and we all ran after her. When we smelled a lion nearby, we all got back up on the trees and Seth found a giant log to perch himself on. This time Tanya took over stalking the creature. And stalking was the best way to describe it. I mean it looked a bit like a seductive dance with the beast. And just like that it was all over, she attacked him with a speed of a lightning bolt. He didn’t stand a chance. She was very proud of herself when she was done; so much in fact that she drop-kicked the lions body into the forest.
“Any questions?” She asked dusting her hands off and looked at her appreciative and awestruck audience. The awestruck member of the audience was Marcus.
“So Marcus, what about it? Want to try?” Emmett asked.
“Might as well. I will definitely not be anywhere as good as you. So please let me know if I’m not doing something right.” Ironically he was looking at Tanya the whole time he spoke and then he finally looked at me very nervously. I clapped him on the back and said:
“Don’t worry, just use your instincts. It’s not human blood but it’s blood nonetheless so your body will still crave it. Now close your eyes and try to take in everything you hear.”
Marcus did as he was told and his eyes flew open moments later and he pointed to the north.
“Are those deer?” He whispered to me.
“Correct!” I smiled and we all took off running with him leading the way and me running beside him.
Once we nailed the location of the deer, we took to the trees and boulder for Seth as it was Marcus’ turn to take over. He hesitated only for a second and then attacked with extraordinary speed and strength. He was proving to be a fast learner. He drained all 7 deer before he was done. He had gotten some blood on his white shirt but nothing to cry home about. He did fantastic. As he looked up at us, his pitch black eyes were now slowly turning gold like ours. And he sighed, closed his eyes, and just stood there as he took in the sensations of becoming strong again but with a different food source. One that was acceptable to him now. Then he opened his eyes and smiled up at us triumphantly. We all came back to the ground after that and each of us came and shook hands with him. He definitely proved he was willing to learn.
I knew that it would a few more of these trips before he became 100% comfortable with this hunting process. He was welcome to live in the guest house that we had standing empty on the grounds for now and then who knows where life would take him. But I had a feeling he was going to become a natural in no time. Just then, Marcus’ cellphone rang making all of us jump. He had forgotten to take it out of his pocket. He fished it out and after looking at the number smiled and answered it:
“So how did you do? Are the deer to your liking?” The female voice on the other end said.
“Actually a lot better than I thought I would. I mean Carlisle nailed a bear and Tanya took down a lion so mine was very small compared to theirs.” He said modestly.
“Don’t underestimate yourself. You’re headed toward a wonderfully happy life, my friend. Just trust yourself and trust your instincts.” She said. We were still trying to figure out who he was talking to.
“I thought you didn’t use your telling the future power?” Ok well that was a huge hint…..he was talking to a Watcher and only one came to mind….Rogue.
“In this case I had to and considering Carlisle had just figured out who you’re talking to, please tell him and the rest of the family we all send our love. We will be home in a bit.” You could tell she was smiling.
“I think he heard you loud and clear. I hope you return soon. I want to talk to you about something.” Marcus said softly.
“Yes, I know.” She chuckled as Marcus rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“Yes, I figured you would. You Watchers can’t let us normal folk alone with all of your powers.” We heard Rogue laugh out loud at that one. It had all of us all smiling.
“Alright guys, have fun hunting I got to go, the others are waiting.”
With that they said goodbye and hung up. Marcus shook his head. After 3,000 years of knowing each other, he still couldn’t get a handle on Rogue’s powers. I wondered how long it would take the rest of us. Edward grunted at my thought. I was just really glad the Watchers were on our side. They were the most powerful allies we could have on planet earth! After our hunting trip was over, we headed back toward the house. The others wanted to know what happened so Seth, after phasing back, gave them a play by play. Everyone wowed especially on Tanya’s kick ass moves. But all were happy Marcus succeeded in his first vegetarian hunting trip.
Then Esme and I took Marcus along with the bag that he was carrying over his shoulder which we didn’t even notice until we got back. Talk about preoccupation. He said he was carrying some clothes and a few personal items. He figured once he settled permanently somewhere, he could figure out things like clothes and furnishings. Well the clothes thing would have to be expanded while he stayed with us too. Alice promised to take him shopping which made a lot of women groan. Bella and Leah actually volunteered to tag along because for starters they wanted to keep Alice in check and secondly, they seemed to understand Marcus’ style and wanted to make sure Alice adhered to that instead of just getting a whole closet full of Gucci and Versace when the poor man just preferred some Levis.
That night with our new guest in his guest room and everyone at their respective homes and rooms, we had a lot to think about. I laid my head on my pillow with Esme next to me. And even though, we don’t sleep, I did close my eyes just to rest them……about 20 minutes into my day dream if you will…..who would pop in my head…..Irina. She smiled at me, nodded but didn’t say anything. It was weird but it was like I knew what she was thinking. Finally she did speak: ‘Help her Carlisle. She is afraid of risking it all. Tell her never to give up and to start everything with a clean slate.’
Hmmmm…..now I was sure that she had to be talking about Marcus. I couldn’t push him and Tanya together. It’s something they have to figure out on their own.
But if I have to be the catalyst to making sure Tanya doesn’t make the biggest mistake in her life by running away……so be it. We shall take it a day at a time and see what happens.
As I’m running through the forest, hundreds of thoughts are racing through my mind. I know Marcus is running behind me. He’s too afraid to run next to me. I didn’t think I was that intimidating. I don’t even have a gift like my sister Kate. It’s not like I can zap him or anything. But I think even subconsciously I know why he’s weary of me or of my reaction to him rather. I may not be the smartest vampire on earth but I wasn’t born yesterday either. I think that Irina’s message that I couldn’t decipher before had to do with Marcus. I mean before he told his unbelievable story today regarding being related to Alexander, all I could do was to equate him with the Volturi.
And how could I not? My first memory of Marcus was when he and the Volturi came and killed my mother and the immortal child she created without our knowledge. I know she did it so that the Volturi would spare our lives since we knew nothing about him. Why had she created him? Didn’t she know that immortal children were one of the biggest no no’s of our existence? She was risking her life and she knew it. Just thinking about that time made me shudder. I know that movement startled Marcus because he looked at me confused as we continued to run.
But now with this new revelation, even that event is questionable. Sure Marcus was there, but did he ever say anything? No he hadn’t had he. He was there only in bodily form but now thinking about it through none frightened or panicky eyes, he was barely noticeable. He just stood there; I remember Bella mentioning during that battle where Nessie’s life was in danger that his expression seemed bored. It wasn’t bored though; it was vacant. As in no one was home upstairs, if you get my drift. It was this same way he looked as Aro, Caius, and Jane cruelly destroyed my mother and that child. At least they spared the three of us. Irina never got over it. Even her relationship with Laurent, if you could call it that wasn’t a fulfilling thing. She cared for him much more than he ever cared for her. I think he used her in order to get closer to the Cullen’s; his only real alliance was with that bitch Victoria. Which makes the fact that the wolves got rid of him all the more understandable.
It makes me ache so much that Irina never found happiness and met such and early and untimely death. My only consolation is that she’s with our mother now. Maybe she’s finally at peace and that’s why she had come to me with that message of hers; “Don’t be afraid to love. Even someone who seems unlovable” . And that brings me back to Marcus. If he hadn’t told us everything he had, he would not only seem unlovable but actually be unlovable; he still would be a total and complete monster to me no matter what anyone else says. That would then beg the question. If he was a monster and we didn’t know all of this stuff, would Rogue have executed him like she did the other Volturi members? I’m sure she would have. She, after all, knows him and knew them for 3,000 some odd years.
Now though everything had changed. I noticed his attraction toward me almost from the beginning of his arrival here. And I must admit I have felt something for him too. But until he told us what he did, I still considered him the unlovable monster. Now I can’t think of him that way. But can I change such a horrendous past now that it has changed? Can my heart forgive a soul just as innocent as myself now realized? I don’t know if I can answer those questions but perhaps he can help me. That’s why I asked him to join me. We really needed to talk.
After running for about 20 miles north, I finally stopped. Marcus stopped a few feet behind me and waited for me to figure out the next step. I closed my eyes and took a nice deep breath. Then a breeze came in from the east and with it a nice juicy smell of bear. Oh yeah baby! Let’s get it on! I took off running east after it and Marcus followed suit. When we were about 120 yards from the bear we stopped, I looked at the bear and pointed him out to Marcus who smiled, nodded, and ran up the tree to stay out of my way.
Showtime! I crept up on the bear as it was walking around. It felt that something was near him and whirled around. He lunged at me but I dodged him without a problem. He tried again with the same result. Marcus laughed, getting the bear’s attention. Just as the animal looked up at Marcus, I flew at it and went straight for the jugular. 15 seconds later; game over. I was full; that was a pretty large bear. Now it was Marcus’ turn. He came down from the tree, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. With the wind blowing nicely it didn’t take long before he smelled a cougar. He took off like a bat out of hell after it. I followed him with a smile.
The cougar was sitting on a tree branch. I scampered up on a tree not far from it so it couldn’t see me. Meanwhile, Marcus moved ever so slowly and then he did a movement so new to me, that it took me a moment to digest it. Instead of just leaping onto the branch or swinging from higher branch onto the one the cat was perched on, he hopped onto a rock, cartwheeled over another rock and then leapt into the air while performing a full somersault and then landed on the branch where the cat was up to this moment laying lazily. Talk about some serious Cirque du Soliel! I wasn’t sure whether he was just being creative or trying to impress me or both.
Needless to say the cougar was startled by all the theatrics. It screeched at him. Marcus just smiled and sauntered over to it. Then with one fell swoop he had the animal by the throat and had sunk his teeth into its neck. Yum! He was done with the big cat sooner than I had finished with the bear. At least he was full. He then hopped off the branch lightly; no more cartwheels. He started walking south and I followed him, wondering where he was going. Before we knew it we had reached a river and a bluff overlooking it. He sat on a log and I joined him. We sat like that in silence for a while. Finally with a deep sigh he spoke:
“I know you must hate me.” He said softly. I was stunned.
“Wha…..I don’t hate you……where did that come from?” I asked him.
“Because of your mother and your sister. We killed them…..destroyed them. You can never have them back.”
“Yes….they’re gone. But Marcus, you didn’t kill them. They did. The Volturi did.” I said slowly.
“I was with the Volturi. I did nothing to stop it. I allowed all of it to happen.”
“I understand that. But you said it yourself today; you are related to Alexander and you always voted against the killings. So even though physically you were there, you didn’t actually DO anything.” I said.
“Do you truly believe that?” His voice sounded hopeful yet incredibly unsure.
“I do. I must admit when you first arrived I still kind of wanted to kick your ass into next week. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just didn’t seem right especially after what Rogue had already revealed about you before she destroyed the Volturi. And then after you told us the rest today, I knew I had to look at you through different eyes so to speak.” I explained. He was staring at me by this time.
“Does…..does that mean……you forgive me?” He asked astonished.
“Yes that’s exactly what I mean. I forgive you Marcus.” I said looking him straight in the eye.
He hung his head than and his shoulders started going up and down like he was crying. He was dry sobbing and I just wasn’t sure what to do. But I just trusted my instinct and it’s as if suddenly I heard Irina’s voice in my head again urging me to do it. That’s when I put my arm around his shoulders and started to sooth him. Poor man; how much he suffered…..not too many people have. I mean to lose his wife at the hands of her own brother and not even know it until Rogue revealed all. 3,000 years not knowing…..it’s horrendous. At least with my mother and Irina….I knew who was responsible and I had some sort of closure. Especially after Irina came to me and told me she was safe and happy as was our mother. But Marcus never got that chance at peace. He finally was able to speak again.
“Tanya, I wanted to tell you this but was and am petrified of your reaction. I don’t want to scare you away.” He said looking at me. Our faces were inches apart.
“Tell me what? I’m a tough broad, you can tell me anything.” I asked softly; though in the deepest part of my heart I already knew.
“I didn’t think it would be even remotely possible after losing Didyme. I didn’t think my heart would work again or feel the same way again. Well same way but at the same time different. What I’m trying to say is that as soon as I saw you that first day of my arrival, my dead heart turned over like it hadn’t in 2,500 years. You’re so strong, have a wonderful personality, sense of humor, and are breathtakingly stunning. Somewhere between that day and today…..I….I fell in love with you, Tanya.” He was looking at me so earnestly, I wanted to cry too.
“Oh Marcus. I don’t know what to say.” I spoke in a whisper.
“You don’t have to say anything…..I understand.” He said with a sigh and started to look away. I put my hand on his cheek to bring him back to looking at me.
“No…no….that’s not what I meant. Please let me finish. I have felt something for you too. I was just too afraid to think about what it could be. And then after you told us all of this new stuff…..it made me think that my feelings for you could actually be possible and they wouldn’t hurt me to have. That they would in fact help to heal both me and you.” As I was speaking, his eyes got rounder and rounder until there were nearly coming out of his head.
“So does that mean….that you actually…..could like me?” He said his voice shaking so that it was barely audible.
“No. It means that I could actually love you.” I said. When those words left my mouth, they felt so right.
I think it took Marcus a good 5 minutes to process what I just said to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. I kind of had to giggle internally at his reaction. Men were so silly sometimes. But in this case I can understand his fear. He’s not thought about love in thousands of years and had been a totally empty dead shell and now here was his opportunity to actually find and actually receive love after all. To affirm my last statement and make him understand I was very serious in fact, I then said:
“You’re not unlovable anymore. You’ve never been. You just needed and need to figure that out. I already have…..for both of us.” That got his attention back to the present. Finally he looked at me with a face so full of love and passion it took my breath away.
“May I…….may I…..kiss you?” He asked gently. I didn’t even hesitate.
And with that he put both hands on either side of my face and tenderly kissed me on the lips. Then the kiss deepened as both of our passions took over. It felt so natural to kiss him. When we finally parted we just sat there holding each other, knowing full well neither of our lives would ever be the same; in a good way. Neither of us was alone anymore. And how freaking amazing was that? We smiled at each other.
Then without warning a pair of arms grabbed me from behind before I could even react. By the sound of Marcus’ gasp I figured the same thing happened to him. Before I could even attempt to fight off my unseen attacker I was lifted into the air and was high above the trees.
Then I heard:
“Greetings folks! Figured you’d both need a lift home?”
It was a female’s voice who I instantly recognized; Rogue! I looked over to see Alexander holding Marcus who by now was smiling from ear to ear. I looked behind us and saw the full armada of Watchers flying behind us in a tight formation all smiling. They were home! And didn’t that just make everyone instantly happy. Now everyone was going to be happy to have everyone in one place.
As we sored across the sky, I happened to look down and saw a translucent silhouette floating above the ground. She looked at me and I knew it was Irina bidding me her final goodbye. I had fulfilled her message to me and now she was free to go enjoy the afterlife with our mother. She smiled and blew me a kiss and I returned the gesture. Then I whispered:
“I love you Irina. Be at peace always.” And with that she disappeared. As we continued to fly toward the house, I sighed gently. Everything was falling into place in my own life finally and so I just relaxed and enjoyed the view.
The Watchers are home! And they brought Tanya and Marcus back from their hunt. When they flew in, it was one hell of a sight to see. Edward said that Tanya was thinking that it looked like an armada of warriors flying in a tight formation. It was also cool how they brought the other two home. It seemed that their hunt had gone awfully well considering the fact that they were not only standing very close to each other, but they were holding hands.
I think Irina’s message was dead on. I really hope nothing but the very best for Tanya and Marcus. They deserve to find happiness. I’m very glad that they were able to put their pasts to rest. I knew that they would soon be leaving. So we wanted to spend as much time with them as we could. We had heard from Carmen and Eleazer since and Tanya explained that we had figured it out on this end. Amazingly Zafrina had come to the very same conclusion as we all did regarding why Irina had come to Tanya. She had a special message and she wanted her to move toward the one man who could make her truly happy and leave the sadness behind; Marcus.
As soon as the Watchers touched down, everyone ran and hugged one another. Nessie squealed when she saw Michelle. Those two hugged until I thought they would pass out from not breathing. I watched from the porch and Rogue stood a little ways away and watched as well. She was smiling and her eyes were full of ancient wisdom. What I thought at that moment was how even keeled she and I were. I was considered the patriarch of my family while she was the leader of the Watcher armada. When our eyes met, she read my mind and smiled in answer. I walked off the porch at that point and walked over to her; we hugged each other without speaking. Sometimes words were just not needed.
I then shook hands with Alexander and made my rounds ending with Michelle who opened her hand and gave me a little marble elephant she had gotten in Africa. The Watchers had brought us each a gift of some sort that had elephants included in them. Apparently, elephants were considered symbols of good fortune and luck in Africa as well as other parts of the words. We all loved our gifts and said thank you. Who would say no to a symbol of good luck? Lord knows with everything that was always happening in our lives, we could use all the luck the world could provide under the circumstances.
Other than Michelle and Nessie the other two that seemed to be incredibly happy to see each other were Alexander and Marcus. The two cousins were off to the side talking. With the sheer amount of people in our front yard, you couldn’t hear what they were talking about. Corin and Seth were holding hands and talking excitedly. Keith was off to the side waiting for Leah and Bella to return from their walk, which happened a few minutes after the Watchers return. As soon as the two ladies broke through the forest and Leah saw Keith, she shot away from Bella’s side like a bullet out of a gun and bolted into Keith’s waiting embrace. Bella just walked at a slightly faster pace with a smile. She was happy Keith was home too; she knew how much Leah had missed him. Wolves without their imprints were not themselves and though she tried to keep Leah’s mind occupied as much as possible, she still knew how lonely she felt. Leah of course appreciated Bella’s efforts immensely.
Now that everyone was together again, Esme called on Bella and Rose to help her in the kitchen to create a welcome home feast for our arrivals. After planting kisses on Edward and Emmett respectively, the two smiled at each other and flew into the kitchen after Esme. Since it was a beautiful day, Edward, Jasper, Emmett, and I brought out tables and chairs to have the meal outside. Alice meanwhile grabbed Nessie and Michelle to help her decorate for an impromptu gathering. In an hour everything was ready; the food made, decorations which consisted of a zillion candles hanging from trees, little sconce like shapes also adorning and crisscrossing overhead, and soft New Age music playing from our backyard invisible speakers. Everyone who ate was sitting at the tables next to their significant others and just chatting away while we vampires sat at the tables as well just chatting while the other indulged in the amazing food Esme and the ladies prepared.
Amy and Peter brought back wine from South Africa that they wanted to have the wolves try. Edward even let Nessie have a bit since Michelle had a glass as well. It was Nessie’s first taste of wine. Just then Rogue stood up with a glass of wine; she came over and brought it to me. Before handing me the glass, she waved her hand over it and something sparkly and shiny fell into the glass. Whatever it was dissolved instantly; then she handed the wine glass to me. I looked at her with raised eyebrows. She better than anyone knew that vampires can’t eat or drink human food because of the fact that our bodies don’t absorb it. But she persisted. So I took the glass with everyone staring at me. Well everyone but the Watchers who were watching with little knowing smiles on their faces.
The thing that surprised me first was that usually human food or beverages don’t smell pleasant to me but this wine, smelled well….like wine! So I took a sip of it and was absolutely stunned when instead of tasting like a nasty sweet beverage, it tasted like pleasant semi sweet wine. It was the first time I had wine………….since being turned!!! Oh my lord! But how???? How did Rogue do it??? Everyone else…..all the vampires and werewolves……well anyone who wasn’t a Watcher or Peter……anyways were staring at me as my face must have gone through the gambit of expressions and emotions. Edward spoke first:
“Carlisle? Are you saying that actually tasted like wine to you?” He all but whispered in shock.
“Yes it tastes like wine and pretty good wine, I might add, if my memory still serves me.” I said and took another sip.
“Can I try?” Bella asked.
She was the last out of all the vampires in attendance to be turned so she would definitely remember this better than the rest of us. So I handed her the glass and she took a sip.
“Holy crow! This does taste exactly like wine! Rogue, what did you do to it?” She asked looking at our cheeky Watcher leader who was giggling nearby.
“Oh come on now….I can’t be giving all of my secrets away now.” Rogue said with a giggle.
“All of your secrets?? We don’t know any of them other than the fact that you’re super woman!” Seth squeaked nearby only to be shushed by a laughing Corin. Everyone else laughed too.
“So what does this mean exactly?” I asked uncertainly.
“Well, after speaking with everyone else, I’ve decided to give you guys a choice. Basically, I can make it so that you can actually consume human food without being revolted or having the need to throw up. It won’t fill you and you’ll still need blood to sustain yourselves but at least it’ll make you fit in more with humans. You won’t always have to avoid the food situation anymore. Of course it’s up to you. It’ll also make cooking for Esme, Bella, and Rose a lot easier since they can now taste what they are cooking and not just guess that it’ll taste good. You can enjoy human food the only difference is that unlike the wolves, us, or Nessie human food won’t fill you. You will still need to hunt. But at least you can enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then to relax.” Rogue explained as we all listened with our mouths all but hanging open.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Actually none of us could. For centuries and millennia even if you count Marcus, we’ve all assumed that eating human food would never be possible again. And here we had the opportunity to feel more “alive” if you will. I looked at my family as in all of my family and we all took a few minutes to decide. The Denali’s were ok without this new advantage as they never went out into the human world much as is, with Alaska being so remote and all. Besides, Carmen and Eleazer were not with us and couldn’t take part in this new prospect. Rogue said that if they changed their minds, they’d be more than happy to fly out and do what needed to be done. Everyone agreed to this.
Which reminded me….what exactly did she have to do to bestow us with this new element of ourselves? Rogue reading my mind as always just asked all of us vampires who wished to partake in this little ceremony to come stand in a circle and hold hands. My whole family came together and we held hands. Rogue stood in the middle of our circle. She put her palms together in an almost prayer like position and then lifted her hands just like that toward the sky. She closed her eyes and suddenly she began to glow. Brighter than we’ve ever seen her glow before; she was glowing this very yellow gold color. All of a sudden we felt this glow envelope us all. I could hear a cell phone going off in the distance but no one was reaching for it. Everyone just sat their transfixed at the glowing orb of light that surrounded the Cullen clan.
It felt like you were being showered with sparkles. That’s what it felt and looked like. I sort of understood now what she had done with the glass of wine because she was doing the same to us now. We were her glasses of wine. She was changing us, some part of our vampire DNA to allow for us to be more human even if in this small part. I know that a few people within our circle were thinking the same because I saw more than one person with tears glistening in their eyes. Than the glow disappeared and we were able to see each other and Rogue fully again. We were all given a piece of garlic bread to test if whatever mojo she put into us was working. I remember smelling the garlic bread and it smelled divine. I was the first to bite into it and what do you know, it tasted delicious. The others followed suit and closed their eyes as if they had died and gone to heaven.
Food tasted like food! It didn’t taste nasty and disgusting anymore! Now if I felt like having an apple just to enjoy the taste of it, I could! The wonders never cease when it comes to the Watchers. Finally we all became aware of the incessant ringing of a cellphone which turned out to be Rogue’s. The ringtone she had for it was Guns N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. Apparently she loved Slash’s guitar riff at the beginning so that’s what was repeating itself over and over again. She frowned as she picked it up and looked at the number. Her eyes looked very serious and concentrating as she stepped away to answer the call.
According to Edward, he couldn’t read her mind as she had blocked him off. So something was up. But we couldn’t focus on that because we were all too busy tasting everything at the table and each time a new flavor hit, our taste buds would sing with joy. It was quite an adventure. Everyone was enjoying themselves and/or laughing at our reactions except for Amy and Corin. They were fully concentrating on Rogue. I guess that’s what happens when you are second and third in command of a powerful leader. If something seems off, no matter how happy and jubilant the surroundings are, you are always on alert. It’s not even that she said or did something that got their attention; it was just that they were so used to it that it was like second nature to them. The other Watchers including Alexander paid them no mind. Everyone was used to this. If something was to happen, Rogue would tell them so they just continued to laugh at us the whole time.
When Rogue got off the phone she came back to us. Her face was serious and thoughtful. Everyone stopped talking and looked at her. She sighed, looked at me, and said:
“I think it’s a good thing that I did this with you guys now because you are going to need that whole bottle of wine as soon as I’m done telling you what’s doing, Carlisle.” Before I could ask what she meant by that she continued:
“That was Scott Kramer. Remember him? The FBI agent I worked with? Well he just called because Ashley has been extradited back here to stand trial for her crimes here. She’s already gone to trial in both Oregon and California. Well they weren’t trials because she pleaded guilty for a lesser sentence. Oregon gave her 5-10 years, California 25 to life with the possibility of parole, and here the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty. Both states agreed to let her come here for the final trial. The absolute minimum that she can get here is life without the possibility of parole and that’s what her defense attorney wants. But the prosecutor isn’t buying the plea bargain. They aren’t offering her anything. Reason I’m telling you all this, is because the prosecutor wants you to testify against her. He will be calling on Charlotte, Betsy, Bill Connolly, Melanie, Carol, and Shandy from the hospital as well. Scott wants me to take the stand just to put that last nail in her coffin so to speak.”
As I listened to her explain the whole litany of legal lingo, I can’t say I was surprised. I knew sooner or later this was going to happen. And she was absolutely right; I will need that bottle of wine which Edward handed me without hesitation. Everyone was frowning now. It never ceases to amaze me how one phone call or one thought can make such a wonderful evening go from pleasant to unpleasant in the matter of seconds. I poured myself the glass and sat there staring into the distance and remembering again all that nastiness as it happened. I knew I would have to give Rogue an answer soon enough. I didn’t want to be subpoenaed by the prosecutor.
But for now I just stared at the growing twilight, lost in thought, and sipped the exquisite red South African wine.
I drag my fingertips over the skid marks left in the parking lot. They angled out onto an uneven course before disappearing – they went South, I think. The pattern even indicated an expensive car too: maybe an Audi.
It was at times like these that I was glad for night schooling. I not only educated myself in the medical sciences, but I had unlimited time to devote myself to other subjects. Even just a trivial insight to forensics gave me the basics to work with; a stepping stone toward my understanding of crime scenes. It was only just barely starting to become useful, but I was relieved with its presence.
It seemed like immoral stupidity to kidnap someone in such an expensive car, but then again, they probably hadn’t intended it like that at first. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew they had come to reason, but ended up with an unconscious patient in the trunk of their car.
Guilt ate away at me knowing Mary-Lynette could be mortal danger. I had told her our secrets, even against my own recommendations, and could have gotten her kidnapped – or worse: dead? I put my head in the flat palm of my hands, wishing I could rub away all of remorse and shame.
“You worry too much, Carlisle. We will find her,” Alice says as she puts a consoling hand on the small of my back. Even with such a fragile looking appearance, Alice never let her emotions get in the way of business. It was her way of shadowing any sensations that may be unwanted, masking them with a virtuous innocence.
“Thank you, Alice.” A ghost of a smile lingers on my lips at her self sufficient confidence. “Have you seen anything that may be of help?”
She presses her fingertips to her temples, rubbing them in a constant circular motion as if to encourage one of her bone-crushing visions. I admired my daughter for her constant courage at defeating the pain to help.
“I can’t see anything,” she admits defeated, her arms falling limp by her sides, brushing at the angles of her hips. “All I’m getting is a blockage.”
“Do you have any idea how to skim or get past the blockage, Alice?” Jasper questions, appearing behind her shoulder like some avenging angel. His scars gleam golden in the lamp-light and it’s close to blinding.
“Give her a break,” Rosalie interrupts, her tone strict with command. I had become used to Rosalie’s haughtiness in situations and I stood up, flexing the cramping muscles in my thighs. “If you keep pestering her, she’ll not find a thing.”
My fingers run through my hair methodically. “Rosalie is correct, I’m sorry for pressuring you, Alice,” I apologized, everyone’s eyes watching me curiously. “That was not my intention.”
Alice laces her fingers together, each polished nail sharp and manicured. Although it’s a comparative gesture, she looked at ease and keen to aid us. There was not even a sigh of injury from my unpleasant ambiance. “Don’t worry, Carlisle. I’m fine – you worry far too much. Now give yourself a break, we’ll finish looking around,” she says in a tone of fictitious impatience.
Obeying her words without hesitation, I step away from my son and daughters. The air was thick and smothering, and I felt almost as if I were being suffocated – pressure building behind me eyes and a challenging heat that felt like breathlessness rising in my chest.
Taking long, deep breaths the fire was ebbed away and lucid, patent air filled my lungs and the space between the bones of my rib-cage. It felt like my lungs had been vacant – having been holding my breath for so long – and then unexpectedly I find a breath of sweet release. My inner organs no longer felt restricted and I glorified in this sensation.
Next to me was a small abundant plain, which would have flourished in the daylight. The large oak tree had neither shed its coat of leaves or its bark starting to crack, as if it were sweating with the heat, yet the latter was more common. However it was in the prime of its youth. Its roots speared out into the ground and were later displaced around in weaknesses in the concrete. I put my palm to its trunk, feeling the rough bark scratch against my skin. It’s comforting to be so close to nature, yet know I would never be a part of it. Around me; flowers have withered in the warmth and the jewel-colored petals no longer dripped pollen from its tips. Encompassed by such conflicting scenery made it harder to concentrate – I was caught between mourning over my mistakes and the agonizing troubles that made my heart clench into a painful fist.
Mary-Lynette’s old car sits idly a few footsteps from me; it’s large, battered frame a shrouded silhouette in the darkness that only made the appearance of the car park more eerie and menacing. Some damage had been inflicted to her vehicle – her engine having been smashed so it could no longer be used – but it was nothing that left a trace of evidence. It was just a silent heap of rusted metal like it would be on any normal night.
Except it wasn’t any regular night, yet everything seemed to be in its original conventional order: car parked and it still smelling like stale perfume, cheap soap and doughnuts, door to her apartment still locked and no signs of an immediate struggle.
I can hear Rosalie talking to Jasper in a low mutter as her voice is carried by the wind:
“Do you not think he’s taking this a little too far?” her lips move accordingly to the opinion she is voicing. “Her being gone could be an advantage, since she could expose our secret. Never mind that she’s apparently an ‘Old One,’ whatever the heck they are.”
“She may have a connection to Carlisle’s past? As stable as his thoughts are on the subject of his history, I believe there’s a part he doesn’t understand and this girl – Mary-Lynette – is the key,” Jasper was protesting.
Rosalie’s expression became pinched. “I’m sick of dreaming of this girl constantly, if I’d known she was to be kidnapped I’d gladly have joined in,” she retorted bitterly.
I held a quiet growl between my teeth, watching the two through a hooded gaze. “We understand it’s frustrating, myself and Alice are worried about Carlisle, but this is what he wants to do. Plus, there’s the added consequence of our exposure now so she must be found.”
“Of course,” she replied aspirated, throwing her hands in the air. “This is like Bella Swan all over again.”
Every sound, including their voices, was amplified by the hollow walls of the apartments, it directing eddies of wind to swirl around myself and the idle car. For a brief moment, something stings my nose and then it recedes almost directly – it was a strong, acidic smell that burns the back of my throat and my lips become dry and cracked. If I were human I would feel that white hot pressure thudding at the back of my skull, the black spots crawling against my vision and then nausea would rise up and grip me tightly.
My muscles locked tightly and my nails dug deeply into the tree so hard that four perpendicular holes were left in the trunk. I licked my lips as recognition hit me. The solvent had been used since the early 19th century when closing off nervous systems and as a sleeping gas in hospitals, especially when painful surgery or procedures were to be endured by the patient: Chloroform.
“Rosalie, Jasper,” I shouted within a moment, already crouching on my knees with my hand stretching underneath Mary-Lynette’s car. The small piece of material was clenched within my fist.
I lifted it to my nose and sniffed experimentally. I felt like almost gagging at the smell – it made my throat burn even worse like flames licking up my throat, until it roared like a furnace. Water would die it down, but blood was the only solution to cure the insatiable fire that raged inside.
Holding it in the air between two fingers, I held it toward my son and daughter. Rosalie wrinkles her nose while posing a hand at her hip, “A piece of clothing, Carlisle. Knowing this place, teenagers will be all over it like a breeding ground.” Rosalie was never subtle with her opinions and they were never in sync with my own, however I had grown used to her outlandish objections and frivolous tendencies. I loved her as any equal.
“Smell it,” I persist, holding it closer. “I found it underneath Mary-Lynette’s car.”
Jasper leans closer, but not close enough to make his throat burn like my own – he was the youngest of all us vegetarians and we were still unsteady with his stability, but I knew enough to trust his military skills in such a moment of crisis. His jaw twitches, “Chloroform,” he responds.
“You what?” Rosalie commands frankly. She repeats Jasper’s motions but her escape from the smell is more theatrical – holding her nose as if to block the smell and jumping a few feet back, until she stands by Alice. “You have got to be kidding me! These people are so old-fashioned.”
“Where do you think they are holding her – Mary-Lynette I mean?” Jasper looks at me through a cascade of honey-combed hair that had fallen over his eyes. He pushes it back hastily to see my momentary stutter of emotion.
Handing the drugged rag to Jasper, I brush my hands against my slacks. “I don’t know, Jasper, but there has to be some more evidence inside of her apartment.” I walked toward the locked door, feeling the cold metal of the handle in the flat of my hand before I snap it open. Then door swings inwardly with an ethereal sigh. I look at them before stepping inside, “Keep looking. There must be some more clues.”
The interior of Mary-Lynette’s apartment was dark and silent. As I stepped inside I closed the door behind me with a click and surveyed the area. There was a match-box living room with an old tattered couch and small television, the kitchen wasn’t either at all promising. It was almost as if she was living in a motel. I searched high and low and yet there was no sign of anything to suggest her heritage, or why she had been kidnapped.
One door remained closed and even though I felt like I was invading someone’s most precious privacy, I opened the door and stepped into the bedroom. It was bare of any poster’s you would expect from a teenager girl, no clothes scattered across the floor and it was barren landscape except for some sparse furnishings. It looked almost like a monk’s room.
“You must help me find you somehow, Mary-Lynette,” I pleaded with the dark. I knew there would be no response, but hearing the silence still made it alarming.
From a quick moment of chance I caught sight of something lodged into the mirror on her armoire. With advanced vision I picked it up with careful fingers, smoothing out the edges. The color had faded so it merely a scramble of black and white and ash; I brushed it away with gentle fingertips finding that it had been in a fire as the Polaroid image was warped. The photograph showed a happy family: an older woman with short blonde cropped hair, lines of age starting to appear underneath her eyes who stood next to a man with dark hair and the same olive shade of eyes that Mary-Lynette had, and sitting on his shoulders was a small girl clutching at his hair tightly-fisted hands and – a younger boy with tanned skin and the deepest brown eyes standing in the middle, and smiling. Mary-Lynette had never mentioned having a brother, had she?
Curiosity pulled at my mind, but I threw it back as I came back to my senses: Mary-Lynette had been kidnapped and we had to find her, and soon. Slotting the picture tenderly back into place, I moved toward her desk. Opening the laptop it was password locked so I quickly gave up. The scattered papers gave no hint – they were ranging from rent to laundry bills.
Just as I was about to leave, my foot kicked something underneath the desk. Crouching down and ducking underneath the desk, I pulled away a large oak box from the shadows. Brushing away the dust, a small crest was carved onto the top of the wooden box: the Ouroboros, or the snake swallowing its own tail. I only remembered the symbol faintly, but it was enough to rouse my dormant suspicions. Unlocking the chain; I opened it and had to take a deep breath, my silent heart racing at new speeds.
“What have you been getting yourself into, Mary-Lynette?” I asked aspirated.
The thin gold chain hung from a single finger, dangling in the air and the golden-embossed “V” shone with an inwardly glow that seen a paralyzing fear shoot down my spine until it was iron stiff. The Volturi Crest. Why did Mary-Lynette have a Volturi Crest? With my other hand I pulled loose a long black clock, with a matching “V” clasp just below the dark hood. Books were stacked in neat rows at the bottom of the box.
“Carlisle,” Rosalie shouts from outside, her fist pumping a rapid rhythm of pounds against the door. “Come out, we have a lead.”
Her sudden interruption stunned me and I quickly piled everything back into the box, my hands almost trembling with anxiety. Determinedly picking up the box and placing it under my arm, I left for the door and once outside let the cold air hold me in an icy embrace.
“What have you been found?” I asked quickly, eager not to draw attention to the wooden box.
Jasper was eying me and was about to ask about the box, but his words were never heard as Alice burst forth in a flurry of zeal. “Carlisle, we have to hurry,” her words morphed together with her fast paced words. “Mary-Lynette doesn’t have a lot of time.”
“What is it, Alice?” I pull my hand from hers and she tries to pull me along. “What did you see?”
“They’re going to kill her,” Rosalie puts a little too bluntly, leaning against Mary-Lynette vehicle with her elbow against the hood of the car. She’s admiring her fingernails with inspecting eyes, feeling far from her voice.
Jasper hands a small phone toward me. I take it in my hand with caution. “We also found this, but the riddle is off little help. We already know who has her,” he retreats toward Alice who has already pulled the car door open, and was rearranging weapons into a black duffel bag to take with us. She was an unstoppable storm.
I click a button on the phone and the screen alights. There was only one text message available and I scrolled through the options to find it. What I found was as Jasper said, a riddle, but it meant something we didn’t understand: Be silent and still. The repetition of the “s” made it sound as though it was a hiss – but text messages couldn’t be that menacing, but obviously this was. Mary-Lynette had been frightened?
The phone was placed in my pocket, it a constant and materialistic reminder of how much we needed to save this poor, and helpless girl. “Where are they holding her, Alice?”
“It’s an old compound some miles from here,” she replies a little breathlessly. Her appearance is ruffled and it’s the first I’ve ever seen her so eager to move. “But Carlisle, it’s nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s been completely redesigned so it’s a maze of corridors,” she admits, the distress now like an added thin whisper to her voice. It was tempting to hug her and repeat my compliments to her courage and admiration, but we didn’t have time. Alice would understand.
“If that’s the case, we can’t take my car. It would be too obvious as they are seemingly waiting for us, so we need to be conspicuous,” I looked toward Mary-Lynette’s car but I knew it would no longer work.
“We will need to regroup immediately,” Jasper orders quickly, crossing his arms around his chest decidedly. “Edward can help us locate where about Mary-Lynette is within the building.”
Alice’s head snapped up from the ground, her face looking a little paler than usual. “Edward and Bella are still busy with the wolves, we cannot bother them.”
I give a heavy sigh of regret, “Alice is correct,” I entreat. “We cannot bother them when they are fully in cooperation with the wolves in helping them. I would take Mary-Lynette’s car, but it’s broken –”
“No it’s not,” Rosalie’s voice is so sudden from her previous silence after relating how close to death the girl was – and how much the guilt and fear was eating away at me. I had left her for this? How could I have let her leave alone, and without protection from the hospital? She taps the car’s bonnet, “All fixed.”
Gratitude wells up inside of me until it’s like a balloon inflating inside of my skull, until it’s just a bundle of hot pressurized air. “You fixed her car, Rosalie?” That’s when I see the grease stained rag nearby her feet and why she had been inspecting her nails – Rosalie had purposely fixed the car.
“As much as I’m sick of hearing of this girl and detested fixing this hunk of junk,” she gives the tyre a quick jab of her shoe for emphasis, “I would never want any harm to come to her.”
She is sombre, eyelashes brushing against her cheeks as if she’s brushing away tears that should be welling up at that moment – when she remembers what happened to her. I walk over to my daughter and take her hand, my fingertips brushing against her wrist as I mutter my “thanks”. Rosalie brushes me off after a smile pulls at her lips, “Are we going to move or stay and be sentimental all night?”
“Rosalie’s right, we should move. To stations,” Alice punches the air in mock humor as they clamber into my car, the weapon’s bag in the back seat.
Jasper’s in the driver’s seat, hands tight around the wheel and I lean inside, “Stay behind me and keep the headlights switches off.”
Alice snorts in laughter, “In that old car, you’ll be the one needing to catch up with us.”
The car growls as the engine starts up and I stride toward Mary-Lynette’s old, battered car. I hear Rosalie shout my name from the window and the next moment I’m catching the car keys in my hand, “You’re going to need them,” she bellows. “You’re not very good at hijacking cars.”
Once they drove off to avoid and ease the doubt of any of the people living within the apartments, I walked toward the car with the keys in hand; the box under my other arm and myself determined and ready to deal with whatever came face-to-face with me when finding, and freeing Mary-Lynette.
Before the trial even started I was asked not to be in the courtroom for the whole entire thing, as we weren’t sure how Ashley or Carrie would react. It wasn’t really known if she would behave when I took the stand, but that’s a risk everyone, including me, was willing to take. I didn’t think I wanted to be there, to tell you the truth. Hearing all of that from the beginning, was just way too much even for me to handle. None of the others from hospital were going to watch the trial either. They were going to come, when it was their day to testify and that was it.
The only one who pretty much sat through the whole trial, was Rogue. After being in law enforcement for such a long time, things like that were still of great interest to her. She was with the feds for 15 years but was apparently also a consultant to the CIA for another 20 at some point, years ago. She knows government secrets we can’t even imagine. But of course, you know her…..our enigma…..she’s not going to tell us anything. Not like we want to know the government’s secrets. We have our own to keep and live with.
But I digress. I, along with Esme was going to attend Rogue’s testimony because we wanted to see how she handled it to better understand what we would have to do. This was all new territory for me. I had never participated in the human world that much. But thanks to Ms. Cunningham, none of us immortals had much of a choice. The trial had started on a Monday and by Wednesday they were ready to start with the eyewitnesses. So that was the day Esme and I went to court because Rogue was up first. We had received our order of testifying. Rogue, then Agent Kramer, then Mr. Yang who was allowed to give a videotaped deposition since he was still in the hospital and nobody including the judge wanted to jeopardize his health.
After Mr. Yang, it was Bill, Shandy, Carol, Melanie, and Betsy. Followed by the 4 nurses that Ashley poisoned, and then it would be my turn. After I was done, the DA was bringing the 3 residents that saw Charlotte being attacked by Ashley in the parking lot and who ultimately saved her life, and lastly Charlotte herself. I had spoken with the DA; the defense had very few if any witnesses to bring forth; other than a slew of psychiatrists. In any case it was going to be interesting.
So Wednesday, Rogue took the stand. Esme and I sat in the very back row behind the DA. Just before she took the stand, the bailiff asked everyone to rise.
“Would everyone please rise for the honorable Judge Justin Hollister.” Than the judge walked out of a little room and sat down in his chair before the court.
“Please be seated.” He said. Everyone sat down. “Will the prosecution please call its first witness.”
“The prosecution calls Rose Melanides to the stand.” The DA said.
Rogue walked into the courtroom looking sharp; she had a black suit on with a red business shirt underneath. Her long black hair was done up in a French braid and she had very minimal makeup. She was also wearing low healed black shoes. She looked like she worked as a top ranking manager at Morgan Stanley or something. The bailiff walked up to the stand which she was standing next to.
“Please raise your right hand.” Rogue did. “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Yes I do.” She said without hesitation. Afterwards she sat down on the witness stand. She had her by now famous poker face that betrayed zip emotion.
“Mrs. Melanides, can you please tell the court what you did and do for a living.” The DA who was standing not too far from her said.
“I worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington DC for 15 years and since then have continued to be a contract consultant for them as well as other agencies both domestically and internationally.” Rogue said clearly.
“Thank you. Now would you please tell us how you came to know Ms. Cunningham or Ashley as you knew her?”
“By accident actually. I moved to Hanover with my husband and family fairly recently. We live about 3 miles from the Cullen property. We became friends with the family almost immediately and I was on my way to see Dr. Cullen and his wife when I caught Ms. Cunningham sneaking around on their property.”
“What do you mean caught sneaking around? Can you please be a bit more specific please?” The DA said.
“Certainly. The Cullen’s are very private people and have ‘No Trespassing’ signs all around their property. To have someone hiding in the bushes spying on the house isn’t exactly something that happens every day.”
“Could Ms. Cunningham been invited to visit the Cullen’s? Do you think it was a misunderstanding?”
“Absolutely not. Ms. Cunningham was stalking Dr. Cullen. He never invited her to his property. And even if he did, a normal person would walk to the front door not hide behind the bushes in front of the house near the mailbox. Besides, Dr. Cullen was surprised to hear that she was there. He told me himself he never invited her and was even surprised she knew where he lived as no one from the Hospital had ever been to his house and other then Mr. Connolly and his head nurse Mrs. Keller, nobody knew his address either.”
“Can you please tell the court what happened after you found Ms. Cunningham in that location?”
“I asked her what she was doing here, to which she lied and said that quote ‘I was waiting for Carlisle.’ For starters, according to Dr. Cullen, she had never called him by his first name before and secondly, why would anyone wait for someone hidden in the bushes? When I called her out on it, she became nasty and belligerent.”
“Did she leave soon after?” The DA asked.
“It took a little convincing but she eventually left, yes.”
“You have worked with Agent Kramer prior to this, isn’t that correct?”
“Yes he was my partner during all my years with the FBI.”
“Whose idea was it to use Dr. Cullen as bait to lure out Ms. Cunningham in order to arrest her?”
“His; Agent Kramer’s that is.”
“Thank you, no further questions.” The DA said and as he walked back to his seat, he acknowledged the defense and said “your witness.”
The defense attorney looked nothing like the crisp and polished DA. He was a man in his late 50s wearing an old graying suit and tie. He had horn rimmed glasses. Because of the sheer amount of people in the courtroom, I couldn’t see Ashley properly. The one thing I could see was the top of her head and it was blond again. The defense attorney stood up, buttoned his suit jacket and stepped forward toward Rogue who continued to sit on the witness stand and wait for the cross-examination. The poker face never betrayed an ounce of emotion, she was the consummate professional. The jury could see that. The jury itself was surprisingly diverse, given our small town. There were 7 men and 5 women. 4 of the jurors were African American and one was Asian. It was obvious that a few were students at Dartmouth.
“Good morning Mrs. Melanides.” The defense attorney said.
“Good morning.” Rogue replied.
“Mrs. Melanides isn’t it true that you attacked my client while she was on the Cullen property and you omitted it from your previous testimony to cover up your actions?”
“Absolutely not on both counts. I answered the questions I was asked for starters.”
“You physically attacked my client, did you not?”
“I acted in self-defense. When I told your client to leave the property she hauled back and attempted to punch me in the face.”
“You verbally threatened my client with bodily harm if she didn’t leave and then you nearly broke her arm and pushed her to the ground and kicked her, isn’t that true?” His voice rose dramatically.
“Absolutely not, your client is lying."
“Or perhaps it is you who is lying, Mrs. Melanides!”
“That all depends on how you look at it and who is on trial here.” Rogue replied, her eyes narrowing. Uh oh.
“You didn’t answer the question.” The defense said.
“Objection! Badgering the witness!” The DA hopped up and said.
“Sustained. Mr. Woods, stick with the questions. The witness is not on trial here.” Judge Hollister warned.
“No further questions, your honor.” Mr. Woods said and returned to his desk where Ashley was sitting with a cocky smile on her face. It was the first time Rogue had looked at her. But instead of getting a rise out of Rogue, she would be disappointed as the DA said:
“Re-direct your honor.”
“Mrs. Melanides, apparently there has been some confusion with this fight according to Mr. Woods, would you please tell us exactly what happened?”
“Certainly. As I mentioned, when I asked repeatedly for Ms. Cunningham to leave the property, she hauled off to punch me in the face, thanks to my extensive knowledge of martial arts, that didn’t happen as I caught her fist, brought her arm around to her back and then pushed her to the ground. I did not kick her or any other way cause her bodily harm. She ran back to her car shortly after that. That was the end of our confrontation. The whole thing from the time I found her crouched in the bushes to when she ran to her car lasted a maximum of 7 minutes.”
“Thank you Mrs. Melanides, no further questions.”
“If there are no further questions from either parties, you may step down Mrs. Melanides.” The judge said. Rogue nodded and got off the witness stand.
She walked past the DA with whom she shook hands and proceeded to walk toward where Esme and I were sitting. Ashley’s eyes followed her the whole time and they grew wide when she saw Esme and me getting up just as Rogue passed us and followed her out the door. Neither I nor Esme spared Ashley a glance, though I could feel her eyes boaring a hole into the back of my head. Next to take the stand was Agent Kramer, who was waiting outside of the courtroom to be called. Rogue approached him and he smiled.
“Nice job Rose! I loved how you put the defense in his place. She actually had the balls to say you kicked her! Cry me a damn river!” We all laughed.
“Thanks Scott. You’re up next so do what you do best…..play poker!” She said with a smile.
“Aye Aye boss!” He said with a salute. Just then a bailiff came to get him. “Showtime! I’ll give you a call once I’m done. Tell Alexander I said hello.”
“Will do. Good luck and kick ass!” She said with a wink. He nodded and disappeared into the courtroom.
We then exited the courthouse altogether. Esme and I had come by car and Rogue had apparently flown there. But we invited her to drive back with us. She agreed. I knew it was still a few days before it was my turn to testify. Rogue said that Agent Kramer would probably spend at least 2 days on the stand as he’s the lead investigator in this whole case. There’s a ton of paperwork and Ashley’s giant list of charges to go through and process. So according to Rogue, it won’t be until the following week before I get to go up there and tell my story. The whole family promised to be there as did all of the Watchers. I have no idea where the heck they will fit everyone. But at least I get to enjoy a few more days before reliving that nightmare on the stand.
In the coming days, the others would testify about everything they knew, saw, and experienced. Because Ashley poisoned pretty much everyone accept Carol, Shandy, and Bill, there was a lot to talk about when it came to her favorite poison of choice; arsenic. As each testified and left the stand, they said it was like lifting a giant boulder off of their shoulders. It took longer than a week to go through all of those people before me. The 4 poisoned nurses had just finished up their testimony which was short compared to some of the others. I knew that the following day it was going to be me on that stand. Oh boy.
As Rogue had said previously; ShowTime!
The day after Rogue told me, told all of us that I was asked to testify in court against Ashley, I was still trying to figure out what was to be done and said. I mean I obviously had to do it; there wasn’t exactly an out. I had to testify. I told Rogue I would do it while the rest of the family looked on worriedly. She called Scott Kramer and told him to relay my message and consent to the prosecutor. Now we had to wait and see what would happen. We knew that Ashley was in the county jail awaiting the start of the trial. The prosecutor had over 400 pages of the indictment ready for the judge to read. She was already been found competent to stand trial. Her attorney had tried to get the grand jury to rule that she was legally insane but the fact that she had done this in multiple states and was convicted in both, threw that notion out. So now she was going to stand trial.
Meanwhile, our Denali cousins had left. Marcus left with them as he and Tanya were now all but inseparable. I had a feeling there was going to be another wedding soon. Alice was all but jumping out of her skin with joy of that prospect. Marcus was very grateful for everything we had done for him. He had had lengthy conversations with Alexander and they had gone on quite a few walks together prior to his leaving. So the neighborhood was a bit quieter but not by much. When you have Watchers and Wolves plus some Vampires, quiet is not something that happens often.
What made this upcoming trial bearable is the new gift that Rogue bestowed upon us; the ability to digest, taste, and enjoy food and beverage. My family and I went to the grocery store and stocked up for the first time ever. Then Esme and I went to the wine store and bought some amazing wine. We plan to go wine tasting after this trial is over. So when we had the Watchers and Wolves over for dinner, everyone was able to eat and drink. We had hunted the previous week and were full that way but it was still nice to enjoy a few glasses of wine and enjoy some of Esme’s exceptional cooking. On this particular night she made lasagna, Greek salad, eggplant parmesan, and garlic bread. For dessert she made tiramisu and an apple pie. Everything tasted absolutely heavenly.
I have determined that my favorite things to eat are green apples, chips and salsa, lasagna, and green tea ice cream. I also love semi-sweet red wine. I never thought I’d utter those words again after being turned. Being so used to saying that my favorite type of food was a nice juicy lion or bear was normal. But having a perfectly grilled steak or filet mignon is definitely a new thing for us all. Rogue, it turns out, was a great cook and Alexander would often brag about her cooking. She made killer stuffed peppers. They were absolutely delicious when she made them for us. As soon as Esme tasted them, she immediately wanted the recipe, which Rogue jotted down for her.
Getting down to business, Rogue told me that I had an appointment with the prosecutor and she said not to worry because he was just going to prepare me for the trial so I would know what to expect. So the next day, I got up, put on a suit, and made sure I looked like the consummate professional. I got into my car and drove downtown to the office of the District Attorney (DA). My appointment was at 10am. When I got there, I parked, walked into the building which looked like a very modern office building made out of primarily glass and after checking in with the guard and going through the metal detector, took the elevator to the 5th floor. After that I walked into the office, said who I was and sat down. I didn’t even have to wait 5 minutes when the DA walked out and introduced himself.
“Dr. Cullen, thank you very much for coming. My name is Christopher Allen and I will be trying this case.”
“Thank you Mr. Allen. Anything I could do to help.” We shook hands.
“Please follow me. We have everyone set up in the big conference room.”
“Everyone?” I asked as I followed him.
Before I could get the answer I was seeking, we had gotten to the conference room which was all see through because of all the glass and I saw some familiar people sitting there. As soon as they saw me, their eyes lit up and they all stood up; before me were Bill Connolly, Betsy, Melanie, Shandy, Carol, and Charlotte. I walked into the room and walked over to Charlotte first. I was so thrilled to see her here even under these circumstances. I could tell she was still very slim and limping a bit but her eyes were shining again and her face was split into an ear to ear grin. I felt like she was another one of my children. As we hugged, I saw Betsy wipe tears away. We all remembered the night we almost lost this sweet, sweet girl.
“Well howdy, Dr. Cullen. Fancy meeting you here.” Charlotte said with her usual bright sense of humor. Everyone laughed; even the DA.
“Hi Charlotte. It’s so good to see you. How are you feeling?” I asked.
“Eh well you know, getting stronger each day.” She replied with a smile.
“Well that’s wonderful to hear. Does that mean you will be coming back to the hospital or have you decided to stay in Texas?” I asked tentatively.
“Naw….I can’t stay in Texas…..too hot remember? No I’m coming back here. Now I kind of have to anyways.” She said with a little wink to the others.
“What do you mean kind of have to?” I asked puzzled. She hesitated for a fraction of a second and then stuck out her left hand on which I saw a diamond ring.
“Ben proposed! We’re getting married!!!!” She said absolutely beaming.
“Oh my dear, that’s wonderful congratulations!” I said hugging her again.
“Thank you so much!”
Then the DA cleared his throat.
“I’m sorry to interrupt this but we really need to get down to business. There’s much preparation to be had before the trial.”
“Yes of course.” Bill spoke up. I quickly walked around shaking hands and hugging those in the room before taking my seat at the table. I was sitting between Charlotte and Bill. The DA than began to speak:
“I want you all to be prepared for what will happen in the court room. Ms. Cunningham will not be able to harm you or touch you as she will be shackled to the floor and table. She may scream something out but will be quickly removed if that happens. Do not be afraid of her. I will ask you questions regarding everything you saw and experienced. Do not leave anything out.”
He then proceeded to pass out a paper with questions on it. We all looked at them very carefully. I know I read each one at least twice before I refocused on Mr. Allen.
“These are the questions I will be asking you. I want you to familiarize yourselves with them. They are standard questions. Nothing out-there. However, when it’s time for cross examination, the defense will try its best to discredit you or throw you off track. They may even become belligerent. Your greatest impact is to stay cool, calm, and collective. Remember, the truth is on your side. We have a mountain of evidence but we need witness accounts too. I know that Rose Melanides will also testify. I will call her to the stand first so you can understand what it will look like. From what I gathered from Agent Kramer, Mrs. Melanides is a former FBI agent and that will greatly help our case as her record with the bureau is absolutely spotless and she has testified in many cases previously.”
He took a sip of water that was in a Poland Springs bottle in front of him. We all had bottles in front of us as well as pens and yellow pads in case we wanted to take notes. I saw that Bill, Betsy, and Charlotte were diligently writing on their pads as the DA spoke. Then Mr. Allen continued.
“As you know we have her on tape pretty much confessing to you Dr. Cullen of practically every crime. We have her interrogation by Agent Kramer, all of your eye witness accounts. Not to mention the horrendous attack on Charlotte and I’m so sorry that you will have to relive that on the stand but it’s the only way.”
“I understand. I want her gone.” Charlotte said gravely.
“And that’s what we are aiming for. I am not going for anything less than the death penalty on this one. We are also calling to the stand the three residents who found you in the parking lot after the attack and another very important witness is the patient Mr. Yang who survived Ms. Cunningham’s attempt on his life. As he has yet to be discharged from the hospital, he has graciously agreed to a video conference during the trial. I still want to speak with the judge on that one. Perhaps if the patient just gave a deposition as opposed to actually being present even via video. I do not want his health to suffer.” Mr. Allen said thoughtfully.
At that point he let us just take in everything he had said and process it. Afterwards, we all stood up and shook hands. He understood that we needed time to review everything and prepare properly. He also said that if at any time we had any questions to call him; he gave us each his business card which even had his cell phone number on it. This man was very dedicated to his job and he wanted to make sure this case was closed once and for all.
After we left the office we stood in the parking lot just digesting everything. We agreed that we would get together after trial as we had been asked not to speak to each other about it. No one wanted to give the defense ammo that we had practiced or made something up. We all wanted to have the trial go off without a hitch. So after hugging everyone, I got back into my car and looked at the clock, it was 1pm. We’d been in there for 3 hours. Talk about time flying by. I knew very much what I wanted to do and that was to go home.
I drove barely above the speed limit and when I pulled into the driveway, I sighed with relief. I sat there behind the wheel with the car turned off until I heard tapping on the window. I hadn’t realized that I was lost in thought still sitting in the car. When I looked up I saw that it was Esme, looking at me with concern. I smiled and got out. First thing I did was give my wife a real big hug and a very long very intense kiss. Then we walked back into the house where I headed straight to the kitchen, a location I almost never entered prior to Rogue’s little gift, and opened the refrigerator. There on of the shelves, in a Tupperware container, were two stuffed peppers left over from when Rogue cooked for us. While I got them out and warmed them in the microwave, Esme poured us both a glass of wine.
Then as I toasted my wife and as I chewed on the absolutely mouthwatering peppers, I explained to Esme everything that had happened that morning and what I had to do for the upcoming trial.
Today it’s my turn to take the stand. To show Esme how much it mattered to me that she was so supportive, I had two dozen red roses delivered to the house from 1800Flowers. She was very pleasantly surprised and gave me a huge hug and kiss for them. She put one bouquet in the living room and one in our master bedroom. I was set to testify at 10am and had asked a few days before if it was possible for my entire family to be there during the process. Of course the DA made sure to reserve seats for them all behind him. Everyone in my family went that day including all of the Watchers. Talk about a group gathering; in the first row behind the DA sat Esme, Rogue, Alexander, Amy, Keith, and Corin. Second row were Peter, Edward, Bella, Nessie, Emmett, and Rose. Third row were Jasper, Alice, Leah, Seth, and Jacob. And in the last row were Michelle and her parents.
I was standing outside of the courtroom gathering my thoughts before being called. Esme and Rogue stood outside with me. Esme kept rubbing my back to sooth me while Rogue was trying to keep me calm. And surprisingly, I was. I knew what I had to do, what I had to say up there. The defense could try to discredit me all they wanted but I wouldn’t let them win. At exactly 10am, the bailiff called me into the courtroom I took a deep breath and followed him in. Esme and Rogue walked in behind me and took their seats in the front row. I had one hell of a cheering section. I walked past the DA and defense tables where I knew SHE was sitting staring at me. I walked to the stand where I raised my right hand and swore to tell the truth, and then was seated. I was wearing a suit and tie that morning. The DA got up first and walked up to me.
“Please state your full name and occupation for the court.” He said.
“Carlisle Cullen and I work as a doctor at Hanover Medical Center.”
“Thank you Dr. Cullen. Can you please point out the woman who you knew as Ashley O’Donnell?”
I looked over at where she was sitting and pointed to her without blinking. She was wearing a flower dress with flats. Her hair was done nicely and she had make up on. She however was chained to both the floor and the desk. When I pointed at her, she blinked and smiled a hopeful smile at me. I directed my attention back to the DA which I could see out of the corner of my eye made her frown.
“Please tell the court how you became acquainted with Ms. Cunningham?”
“Certainly. The hospital was in the process of hiring new staff which included nurses and while I was out for a few days on vacation, Dr. Connolly hired her along with 4 others who have already testified. My first day back from my vacation is when I met her along with the others. Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Clark were both to work for me while the remaining three nurses were taken up to the NICU.”
“It was Ms. Clark who eventually became the object of Ms. Cunningham’s rage and was attacked by her in the parking lot, isn’t that correct?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“Only because she was trying to get between you and me!!! Don’t you get it?” Ashley said loudly from her seat staring straight at me. Everyone looked at her like she had two heads. The judge rapped his gavel.
“Order! Ms. Cunningham, you are to remain quiet during these proceedings, do I make myself clear?” The judge said sternly looking at her.
“Yes your honor.” She said quietly while her attorney was trying to quiet her down. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“Continuing, Dr. Cullen when did you notice something was out of the ordinary?”
“I would have to say it had to be around the time when my wife and I ran into her at the grocery store. When my wife and Ashley or Ms. Cunningham rather shook hands, my wife later told me that Ms. Cunningham all but tried to rearrange her knuckles. Like she was showing dominance. My wife having a pretty strong hand shake herself wasn’t fazed but still said that was beyond bizarre.”
“Yes that certainly is. What about in the hospital or at any gathering? Wasn’t there a Ski Party at some point organized by Ms. Clark?”
“Yes there was. That was another time when I felt Ms. Cunningham was acting inappropriately. She knew how to ski but insisted that I give her pointers which I was glad to do. However, when we got to a certain point she pretended to fall and purposely pulled me down with her. I can’t really describe the look on her face but it would be of that of someone who was ready and looking to be kissed. I was shocked and immediately revolted. She knew I was married and yet to still pull a stunt like that was ridiculous. I was feeling pretty uneasy after the fact. My family and I left the party not long after that.”
“Dr. Cullen, do you believe Ms. Cunningham is mentally ill?”
“No I do not.”
“Because she poisoned a good chunk of my staff multiple times, she killed patients, and had others code that barely survived, some with life long side effects. She knew the difference between right and wrong. Yes she stalked me and sent me a massive amount of flower arrangements with pretty creepy cards but I believe that she uses the insanity defense only to suit her needs. She knows perfectly well what she is doing. She attacked Ms. Clark with a butcher knife. She admitted to me that she did it as well as all the other things. I have been a doctor for many years, Mr. Allen and I know an insane person when I see one; Ms. Cunningham isn’t one of them.”
“But Dr. Cullen, in Ms. Cunningham’s mind, you were in a relationship. Wouldn’t that qualify her for the defense of not guilty by reason of insanity?”
“What goes on in Ms. Cunningham’s mind only Ms. Cunningham knows but from what I have seen these last several months, Ms. Cunningham used the whole insanity gambit to cover up her actual crimes of poisoning, attempted murder, and murder.”
“If you had to classify your relationship with Ms. Cunningham, what would it be?”
“I didn’t have any relationship with Ms. Cunningham. She was a staff member at the hospital, nothing more, nothing less.”
“A staff member??????????? You…..you……how could you????? I was the most important person in that hospital!!!! Why are you lying????Ashley sputtered and attempted to stand up but couldn’t due to her restraints. A few officers moved in to make sure she stayed seated.
“Ms. Cunningham! One more outburst from you and you’ll be removed from the court! Now sit down and be quiet!” The judge rapping his gavel said coldly.
While everyone remained where they were waiting for the defense and officers to calm Ashley down, I looked at my family who were all sitting there like statues just shaking their heads. Just then I heard a voice in my head; Rogue’s:
“Don’t worry Carlisle, it’s almost over. Just remember to remind the jury every chance you get that she’s a killer and not an insane one. She’s using all her yelling to throw the DA off track. Of course she still believes you are in a relationship but regardless, the most important thing is to keep hammering away at the point that she is a danger to society, has killed before, will kill again and has to receive death.” I nodded. The DA shook his head to clear it and looked away from the defense table to continue.
“Continuing, I hope all of these ridiculous outbursts aren’t hindering your testimony, Dr. Cullen.” The DA looked at me.
“Not at all, we’re all used to drama from her. One of my children called her a drama queen. Because when Ms. Cunningham doesn’t get what she wants, she throws these fits and tantrums. It’s quite childish really for an adult. It’s also a way she used her supposed insanity to throw people off of what’s really happening.”
“So are you saying she’s done this before to take attention away from something she was doing that was harming someone?”
“Correct. Most of the code red’s or poisonings would happen and then she would start acting out so we would pay more attention to her as opposed to those that were in need of our actual help.”
“Let’s go back to the night that all of this came to a head. Can you please explain to the court what happened?”
“For starters I arrived at my office to find one flower arrangement without a note. After doing my first rounds, I went back to my office to find 3 more. None of them had notes, at first I thought that they were sent to me by mistake but then when I asked the delivery guy who was still on the floor, he said that they were in fact for me. Because they didn’t have notes, I gave them away to some of my patients who were extremely pleased to have them. Why waste beautiful flowers when you’re in a hospital? Continuing, when I returned home, my living room was nonexistent because of the literally hundreds of flower arrangements that covered it. There were notes this time and they were beyond creepy. I’m sure Agent Kramer has already shared those with all of you.”
“After that, I had gotten an emergency call from Dr. Connolly saying that Ms. Clark had been stabbed, one of our patients coded and barely survived but was able to ID the woman who was in his room prior to his code red. I and Mrs. Melanides along with her husband and other family members then rode to the hospital where we all met Agent Kramer and the rest I believe you know.”
“What did you do with all of the flower arrangements?”
“After Mrs. Melanides took several photos of them and sent them to Agent Kramer, we took them out in large garbage bags and burned them.”
Ashley’s eyes grew wide at that last part. She mouthed “burned them”.
“Burned them? Isn’t that a bit severe?”
“I don’t think so. After everything that we have been through we didn’t want to wait until the next trash day and look at them.” I shook my head and shuttered at the memory.
“No further questions.” The DA said and nodded toward the defense “your witness.”
As the defense attorney was trying to determine whether it was safe to stand up since his client didn’t seem all that stable, the door to the courtroom opened and Agent Kramer walked in. He found himself a seat next to Seth. We nodded at each other. He then looked over at Rogue who felt his presence and smiled when she saw him. After that, he kept his eyes trained on Ashley. Rogue apparently texted him about Ashley’s outbursts already. He wanted to make sure he was there if anything else happened. Finally the defense stood up sighing softly and walked toward where I was sitting.
“Good morning, Dr. Cullen.” He said. This was the same way he opened with Rogue and then proceeded to badger her until the DA spoke up. I knew a lot was on the way but kept my cool.
“Good morning.” I said clearly.
“Tell me Dr. Cullen, isn’t it true that you gave my client a ride home from work her first day at work?”
“Yes it is true. It was pouring rain and she was standing by the bus stop getting soaked.”
“But Ms. Cunningham had a car.”
“That I didn’t know until much later.”
“You didn’t give any of the other nurses a ride home when most of them don’t have cars. Why single out Ms. Cunningham?”
“I am aware other nurses don’t have cars however, every nurse and doctor ends on different shifts so it’s not like I could just wait and give everyone a ride. Ms. Cunningham and I happened to end at the same time that day.”
“Isn’t it true that when you drove Ms. Cunningham to her apartment, you sat in the car for another 10 minutes or so getting to know each other?”
“Yes that is true. Is there something wrong with trying to get to know the person you’re going to be working closely with?”
“Of course not. But there is something wrong when you give that person hints that you are interested in them.”
“I beg your pardon? What hints?” I asked suspiciously.
“Well for starters telling my client that you know she’ll find that right person in the future and soon. You can’t see that as being a little too forward?”
“Objection! Council is reaching!” The DA said.
“Sustained. Mr. Woods stay focused.” The judge said.
“My apologies; allow me to rephrase. My client clearly felt that you were coming on to her with that comment.”
“I can’t control how someone will feel based on something I say.”
“Dr. Cullen, you are married correct?”
“Yes that is correct.”
“Very happily.” What kind of dumbass question was that? I thought to myself. Edward and the Watchers smiled after reading my mind.
“So you would never leave your wife for my client, is that correct, despite making her believe that you would.”
“I would never leave my wife for anyone especially your client. And I never said anything regarding leaving my wife for Ms. Cunningham. That is all part of her make-believe world where she pretends to hide from facing the truth about what she has done.” I said.
“WHAT???? Part of my make-believe world???!!! Are you out of your mind??!! You love me!!!! I know it!!! I feel it!!! You’ve smiled at me!!! You drove ME home! No one else EVER! Your wife is UGLY!!!! I bet you even sleep in separate bedrooms because of the fact that you can’t look at her!!! PATHETIC!!! I AM BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT FOR YOU!!!! I can make you so HAPPY!!!
Ashley was screeching at the top of her lungs by this point, as the judge rapped his gavel and ordered her to be removed from the court. Agent Kramer and Rogue jumped into the fray to assist the other officers. She was resisting as they were ordering her to stop resisting. Everyone was looking at her with wide eyes including the jury. As she was being literally carried away she screamed out again:
“HE CAME HERE FOR ME TODAY!!!! HE CAME TO SEE ME!!!! BECAUSE I’M BEAUTIFUL AND HE MISSED ME!!! I LOVE YOU AND YOU LOVE ME!!! I KNOW IT DAMN IT!!!! I KNOW IT!!!! I WILL KILL AS MANY PEOPLE AS I WANT!! FUCK THEM AND FUCK YOU ALL TO HELL!!!!
That last portion was howled so loudly that I thought the walls would shake. Holy hell…..what a freak! At that point the defense who was shaking from head to foot said no further questions and the judge dismissed me from the stand. He also called it an end for the day. From then on, Ashley wouldn’t be allowed to be present at her trial. She would sit in her cell while the others testified. That was a good thing especially for Charlotte who really was stressing about seeing her again. So I’m glad she went ape shit on me and caused herself to be removed from the room so that Charlotte wouldn’t have to deal with her. I couldn’t care less though granted that performance was something else and a half.
As my family and I left the courtroom and court house, I knew only one thing……I really, really needed a glass of wine or three!
I still remember the day when Edward was born. I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend how in the world he turned out to be a complete devil, when he had been so complacent in the womb!
Edward had been entirely at home inside me. In spite of what I’d heard from the ladies, he hadn’t started kicking until after the fourth month. Even then, he had been more content with sleeping in my womb rather than keeping me up at night with his juvenile escapades. The most I’d had to do was eat my weight in food, for that boy was forever famished. And he’d had a bit of a sweet tooth even then! I cannot until this day count the number of cupcakes, sweets and tarts that I consumed during the time when I was with Edward. Anthony had been only too willing to fulfill my wishes: he has a bit of a proclivity for sweets too you see.
It seems that he (Edward) underwent a transformation while coming into the world. Where my boy had been tranquil in the womb, he was the opposite outside of it. Now he won’t admit it, but my boy is a bit clingy. Anthony and I would know! He never spent more than a minute in anybody’s but mine or Anthony’s arms. We had had to have him removed from his nursery and into our bed because he wouldn’t go to sleep unless he felt us with him, and that he did! Even when he’d started crawling, he’d followed me around the house with his awkward tottering. It had only gotten worse when he’d started walking, because then he could catch hold of my skirt and not let go.
Mother is a bit disapproving of it, but I disagree. She says it would make him dependent: looking to me for everything. But I believe that is only his love, and his dedication. Edward, like me, is a passionate soul. He is a believer. He would pursue something to the end of the world if he wants it. For instance his engagement with the piano. He’d discovered the instrument at Anthony’s father’s house, and hadn’t rested until he’d learnt to play one of his rhymes on it.
Yes, clinging to me always can have negative consequences for Edward sometimes, but to me, it’s only a display of his love. If Edward clings, then he doesn’t let it go in vain. He always strives to please the one he loves, like the way he beams when we tell him how proud we are of him. That had consequences, even for a five year old like Edward.
Anthony and I have built him a treehouse! Lord knows that boy has been wanting one for about a year now, but I was scared that with his light footing and Mercuric velocity he could fall and get injured. But it’s been worth the wait it seems. The others will arrive shortly to celebrate his birthday today. Until then, the miniature Master is spending all his minutes up in the oak in our backyard. I have a feeling I would have to haul him out of there more than once now. . .
I frowned and smiled at the same time as I read through what my mother had written about me. She had made me sound like a clone of Alice, only much more hyped up than her. Don’t tell her I said that.
Birthdays in the Cullen Clan are always a big deal, no matter how old one gets. That is the one day when people are allowed to go “all out” (Alice’s words) for the party.
(Hint: Take the Waldorf Astoria, and add to it the grandeur of the Buckingham Palace, the opulence of the white house, and the findings of a gold mine: that’s pretty much what the our house had looked like on Carlisle’s three hundred and seventy first birthday.)
Knowing Alice, I knew that I would not get my wish for a quiet evening out on the porch at any rate, so I had prepared myself for the impact the next morning.
The day started out on a lifting (and raunchy) note. Bella and I made wondrous, magical, riveting love the morning of my birthday. She said she was making me pay for all the times I had tortured and coerced her into doing unspeakable things through sex, but in the end (as usual) it had been her who’d ended up forfeiting her authority.
What can I say: I am persuasive that way.
I had only just finished getting dressed for the day when I felt Bella creep up behind me and engulf me in her arms.
“Hello again,” I chuckled, and I could feel her smile.
“Hi, old man.”
Bella giggled at my antics.
“I wanted to tell you something before we leave for the house.” She turned me around to face her.
“Okay, let’s have it.”
She grinned so wide that I thought her face would split into two, “Be ready at seven.”
And then she kissed me on the cheek and flew out before I could guess what was happening.
I frowned at what she’d said, and not being able to find any meaning whatsoever to her words, I followed her, and soon, we were both sprinting through the forest with blinding speed. She wasn’t looking at me while running, but I could see her smile grace her face. I tried to look into her mind, but it was closed to me. She was thinking something, and I wanted to know what.
“What’s at seven?” I asked, barely out of breath in spite of going faster than Boeing 747.
“Oh, no, no, Edward Anthony,” Bella giggled, “You’ve given me my fair share of heart attacks with your surprises. It’s my turn now!”
With that, she sped up, causing me to redouble my efforts.
“Bella!” I called when I was level with her, but she just laughed.
Before I could get another word in, we had both reached the house. And but of course, I could see, even from here, that the interior had been decked out like the insides of Chateau Marmont. I could see the fanatic gleam in the eyes of the she devil that is Alice Cullen, and I rolled my eyes.
Bella looked barely surprised at the atmosphere inside the house, and I knew that she’d had a hand in this. I shook my head at her (she and Alice, when together, and in reasonable limits, could come up with brilliant ideas) and held her in my arms. When we reached the porch, she stopped and gestured with her hand for me to go in first.
“The Birthday Boy goes first.” She grinned.
I frowned and smiled at her at the same time as I opened the door, “I am seventeen only physically, if you—WHAT THE HELL?!”
Something bluish-green, gooey and slimy exploded all over me in that second. The shock robbed me off my mental faculties for a tiny moment, and I stood rock still, staring incredulously at my family’s wickedly gleeful expressions.
“What the f—what in the world?!” I screamed as soon as I came to my senses. It was only then that I realized that I (and the glass and carpet, which had been very meticulously covered with plastic so as to avoid being detected at the first glance) had been covered in sickeningly disgusting, horribly colored slime. The place in a three feet radius of me looked as if an alien had been tortured and murdered in the spot, drenched in a vomit hued liquid that looked almost similar to the remains of the Senator in X-men.
“What the hell?! It’s my birthday!” I shook my head, and more slime dripped out of it. I thought I felt some of it crawl down my spine and into my pants, and I shuddered.
My family—ever the traitors, by the way—were laughing their lily white asses off (even Esme and Carlisle).
“What the fuck is wrong with you people?! I just took a bath! It’s my birthday for fuck’s sake ” I shook my hands vigorously to rid itself of the goo—while Alice and Jasper stumbled over the couch and went down laughing (ROFL, that’s what it’s called)—and started to make way for the bathroom to take another shower.
“Oh, no, no! No spoiling my carpet!” Esme held me back.
“What, you couldn’t say that when they drenched me with fucking dragon vomit?!” I felt more slime drip down my spine, and quite frankly, it felt like a centipede crawling down the length of my body.
Just to be clear, I despise centipedes.
Esme pursed her lips together to hold back her laughter, but couldn’t, “I . . . I’m sorry, honey!” she certainly didn’t look so, trying to get her words out through her peals of laughter, “But it was worth it!”
“Happy Birthday, Edward!” Emmett called out to me from where he lay prostrate on the carpet, guffawing like a goddamn Baboon.
“Grow up, Emmett!” I grimaced at him, and walked out onto the porch and into the backyard to wash myself clean of the grime. I think some of it had made way into my ear.
If I could vomit, I would.
“Wait, Edward!” I heard Rosalie behind me, followed by everyone, “We have the water ready!”
“NO, thank you, I can—DAMMIT!” As soon as I turned around, a wave of water punched me in the face, almost knocking me off my feet.
Seriously?! Seriously?! Where is the flash of lightening when you need one?!
“FUCK YOU! ALL OF YOU!” I couldn’t even hear my voice among their laughter.
Well, at least I was clean.
I cleaned up following that utterly unflattering fiasco, after which it was time for the real presents.
Everyone had already gathered around the dining table when I came down after my shower.
“Hi, daddy!” Nessie embraced me before I had stepped onto the floor, and I glared at her.
“Really? You were laughing the loudest while I was trying to wash off the goo. I am already thinking of a punishment.”
“Well, you always say you don’t like us making a fuss on your birthday,” Alice called out while I walked up with Nessie, “This is how we retaliate.”
“Why me? Why not Bella? She’s the one who hates parties!”
“She’s better than you.” Alice just shrugged.
“Go to hell.” I shrugged.
But of course, my chastisement made them giggle even louder. Esme and Bella wheeled in a large birthday cake while Alice positioned everyone in the right places (so the pictures would turn out just right.)
“Really, now you get me a birthday cake?” I grimaced at them.
“Oh shut up, Edward! Just cut it!” As you might have guessed, that had been Jacob, whose words had the entire wolf pack nodding their heads. Savages.
I shook my head and picked up the knife as everybody broke out into a very tuned Royal-Philharmonic-Orchestra version of Happy Birthday. Nessie and Bella were on either side holding the knife with me. I took out a huge piece and stuffed it into Nessie’s mouth as confetti—thank God for that—exploded all over us.
Gift time followed after that. Esme and Carlisle got me a new Grand Piano for our cottage, since it had been deprived of one for some time now. Alice had gotten me a first edition copy of War and Peace (Mine had been destroyed in a quest for the latter, don’t ask me how), and Jasper bought me a rare Spanish guitar (he said I needed a change of instrument now). Emmett and Rosalie had, with great pains I assume, bought me a classic Vintage edition Rolls Royce. They’d also had it decked out with a special stereo to play music (It was playing hideous eighties music when I turned it on). Nessie, Jacob and the wolf pack had, with permission of the elders, gifted me a wooden, altered version of the Cullen Crest. Where our crest had contained only a lion thence, now it was bedecked with an intricate carving of a lion and a wolf. The design had been the produce of Nessie and Leah’s joint minds, and the mastery and woodwork was courtesy of the entire pack. I felt proud to have it: since it was a symbol of mutual harmony and a friendship that would last for eons to come.
The only person who had gone with not giving me a gift was Bella, who once again reminded me, after everybody was done, to be ready at seven.
Curious beyond comprehension, I asked her once again what she was planning. But once again, in wicked exasperation, she just shook her head and smiled.
Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
“Oh shoot,” Bella murmured as she looked to the sky, which had darkened about fifteen minutes ago.
I looked up with her, and saw that the sky was clouding up. Grey clouds were blanketing a dark blue background with celerity, and a steady, wet, mud-scented wind had started blowing.
Bella pulled out her phone, and dialed Alice.
“It’s okay. It’s just clouds. It will rain, but later in the night. You’re okay for now.” Alice said and hung up as soon as she’d picked up. Bella looked to the sky once again and breathed out a sigh of relief when she saw that clouds lacked fervor.
“Bella, what is going on? What are you planning?” I chuckled.
“Edward, don’t ask questions. Just keep walking.” She pursed her lips, and I saw that her worries about the weather were almost gone now.
In accordance with her directions, I had been ready on the doorstep of our cottage when asked, and now, we were ambling through the forest on the familiar path that led to our meadow.
We walked in silence for some time, listening to the intermittent cries of a night bird, obscured in the blanket of leaves and almost invisible against the nightly background. The only sounds apart from that were the soft wailing of the Atlin winds—cold and biting even in the wake of summer—through the vale and the crunching of leaves under our shoes.
At last, when we reached our meadow, Bella turned to me and looked me in the eye, “Happy Birthday.”
I smiled at her, conveying my soft, unheard thanks, and looked around, and was immediately astounded.
There, sitting in the middle of the little field—riddled with wild flowers and shrubs—was a perfectly round, large ice rink.
My eyes were as wide as they could go, “How . . . How did you . . .? It’s freaking June! Ha!”
Bella laughed at my reaction, “Don’t ask how. I just got them to install it in the middle of nowhere.”
The sound of my laugh at her words was both wondrous and incredulous.
“Bella, it’s . . . this is amazing!”
She grinned, “Glad you like it. It’s only for one night though: the ice will melt eventually.”
She shrugged helplessly at that, and I pulled her into my arms.
“This is . . .” Now, I hate this word, but my seventeen year old self got the better of me, “This is awesome!”
I cackled along with Bella at what I’d said, and she made a snide remark about lowering my standards before going off into a corner.
There, from the lap of some wild bushes in the corner of the meadow, she pulled out two pairs of ice skates and held them up.
“Want to skate?”
“Hell yeah!” I grinned at her and we put them on simultaneously, and before I knew it, I was pulling her toward the rink.
“Edward,” She tried to pull me back, “I can’t skate, okay? So you’ll have to teach me.”
“Don’t worry, I am an expert.” I showed her my pearly whites.
“Show off. I hope you fall and bruise your ass.” She rolled her eyes.
“Now, now, Bella,” I chastised her sardonically as we both stepped onto the ice, “Let’s not ruin my birthday.”
She laughed and held onto me tightly as, for the next ten minutes, I showed her the ropes. Bella had lost her inherent clumsiness since being turned—a fact that I both regretted and was grateful for—so she caught on fairly quickly. Before long, we were both gliding over the ice in patterns.
The entire scene looked something out of a fairy tale. Although the sky was blanketed with ominous clouds that I knew would burst forth soon, it did not efface the magic of our paradise down below. Bella had even had dried Carbon dioxide cubes installed, which, when broken, oozed dense white fumes that covered the entire rink, making us feel like we were skating on clouds. We skated with, around and about each other. At one point I even ran circles around her.
Eventually, we slowed down, and finally resorted to slow dancing on the ice, talking about everything and nothing in particular.
“Where did you get this idea from?” I looked around us, in awe of our own Dirty Dancing fantasy. This was almost unbelievable. It looked like my personal fairy tale come true. I could have bet that Disney couldn’t ever come up with an idea this brilliant. Bella and I looked like modern versions of Cinderella and Prince Charming, moving in harmony on that beautiful, surreal ice that engulfed us in both quiescent coolness and happy, exuberant warmth. It was, quite arguably, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, next to Bella and Nessie of course.
“I just wanted to see how you looked on skates,” Bella shrugged and then grinned, “You missed out last year, remember? You wanted to go skiing, but we couldn’t because Nessie had fractured her leg. I figured it would be next to impossible to build a skiing resort here, so I got you the next best thing.”
“Bella, this is . . . extraordinary.” I sighed, “Thank you.”
“No, this is not extraordinary,” She smiled at me wickedly, “This is.”
She pulled away from me and pulled out from her pocket a small remote, on which she pushed a button. The next thing I heard was the starting riff of a very familiar song, and I groaned.
She laughed again, “You like this song!”
She was right, though. The eighties had been unbearable for me with their transformation into a more grungy, hard style. But there had been some songs that had impressed me, even with a style that I was not accustomed. Aha’s “Take on me” fell into that category.
“That I do.” I smiled as Bella and I started moving a little faster, keeping with the tempo of the song.
“You know what this means, right?” She wiggled her eyebrows as we started flying again.
“You’re probably going to have to disco.” She shrugged.
Today was . . . interesting, to say the least. I had just broken the news to the Cullen’s that my dad agreed to go under the transformation. All were in favor for it — the only reason they were upset at first is because A) They had no clue there was a chance it could work, and B) They didn’t want Billy to do something that he didn’t want to do.
It was true that my dad was naturally born to hate vampires and everything they stand for.
I think he’s finally seeing what old-timey nonsense that is. Times are changing, and I don’t care how old he is. Anyone can see that.
Anyone can see that vampires and werewolves have been forced to ally with each other against irrevocable forces. Come to find out, hey! They aren’t so bad!
Not to mention — I kind of lost hope of hating vampires when I married a girl born into a clan of vampires.
In all seriousness though, I love the Cullen’s. Natural enemies be damned, they’ve become a second family.
A series of unexpected, and what we thought was impossible, events had caused us to make a bond, something unbreakable. We could no longer turn a blind eye to each others trouble; we had to be there for one another, because of our unspoken truce. Nobody is unhappy about it, either. It’s not like an obligation anymore, more like a need to protect one another. It comes more naturally to us now than hating each other ever had been.
Sure, we still smell revolting to each other, sickly sweet, wet dog — the usual. I guess our bodies just haven’t evolved as quickly as our state of minds.
Once the situation was explained in its entirety, they were excited.
Nobody was prepared to lose Billy, though we were all losing every ounce of hope we had left of any miracle. This new idea though, and my dad’s brave and humbling decision to follow through with it — it’s given us hope again.
Then I had to get to the really hard part.
I had to tell the pack. I know I said we have a new bond between each other, but I really don’t think they’re going to take one of their own turning into what is supposed to be the very bane of our existence that well.
Leah probably will, considering she had the bias of imprinting on a vampire, but the other . . . not so much.
Being a werewolf sucks in that, when I need a shot of liquor to calm my nerves, the high metabolism makes it virtually impossible to have an effect without downing a whole bottle.
I felt stiff all over, and during the whole drive to Sam’s I felt like I was gonna puke.
My main concern was Sam would somehow try to refuse it, and I’d have to decide to fight him over it, or back down.
I don’t think I’d back down for anything though — over my dead body will somebody come between keeping my dad alive.
I’d told everyone to be there at Sam’s for a meeting, that I had an announcement to make. I don’t think anyone was prepared for what I was getting ready to say.
“Jacob, hey! Here take a cookie. White chocolate macadamia, fresh out of the oven!”
Emily embraced me warmly and handed me a cookie the size of a dessert plate. I was too nauseous from the nerves to actually eat it, but I gave her a grateful look and took it from her out of politeness. I then gingerly nibbled off the edge, trying to act enthusiastic.
It was delicious, but I couldn’t really appreciate the taste at the moment.
“Where is everyone?” I asked her, swallowing the bite of cookie, and it felt like shards of glass going down my dry throat.
“They’re all waiting for you in the den!” She went into the kitchen to bring me a drink, motioning for me to go into the den.
I made my way to Sam’s den, feeling like my feet were dragging in concrete. One step at a time, Jake. You can do this.
I read an article one time, that said: “Thinking encouraging thoughts to yourself helps you get through stressful situations.” Bullshit.
Everyone was seated on the overstuffed patchwork couches placed haphazardly around the room, facing the flat-screen, which was showcasing the Mariners game. Everyone looked up and smiled at me, though I still could feel a sense of sadness. They still thought I had to cope with the thought of my dad dying of cancer. Well, surprise!
I sat down on the armchair, so they knew I was ready to make my announcement.
Once they realized it though, I decided to stand up.
Yeah, this feels more formal.
“Hey everyone, thanks for coming.” I pushed out the words, my throat tightening. I swallowed, trying to regain focus on what I came for.
“Of course, Jake, what is it that you need to tell us?” Sam sounded concerned. He knew something was up.
Well. Here goes.
“I know that none of you, well maybe except for Leah, are going to approve of this, but the decision has been made. I’m just coming to inform you, because I do believe you have a right to know. My dad had told me he was deciding to quit taking the chemotherapy treatments. They were becoming too hard for him to handle and keep a good attitude at the same time. He told me he would rather die himself than a ghost of himself.”
Everyone looked grim, pity in their eyes.
“That’s not what I’m here to tell you, though,” I continued. “Carlisle and I have spent a lot of time discussing the matter, and we also have talked profusely with Dad, and we’ve reached our decision. With Dad’s permission, Carlisle is going to change him. Into a vampire.”
The silence was short lived.
“Have you lost your mind?” Paul interjected, his face scrunched up. I pursed my lips.
Everyone was shocked, hands over their mouths, jaws dropped.
“No, Paul. I haven’t,” I told him, looking him square in the eye. “He’s my dad, and he’s going to die. This is the last chance we have at any hope of him living.”
“He’s a Quileute! He won’t live through it!” Embry shouted exasperated. I looked at Sam. He hadn’t said a word.
“Carlisle and I have looked at the facts, and there’s a chance he’ll live. He never transformed into wolf form, not even once. Yes he has the blood in him, but the werewolf gene was never activated. We might be able to save him! I know you guys don’t want it, but he’ll still be Billy. He’ll still be my dad and—” I cut off short, choking back a sob.
“Jake, I don’t know what to tell you. No, I don’t approve, but I think that you’re going to this regardless of what I tell you. I don’t know whether your dad said this because of his delusional state, or if he sincerely means that he wants to try it. Either way, he’s your father, and if you think this is what’s best, then that’s what you have to do. We are still your pack, Jake. We are behind you.” At this point Sam had started tearing up too. Everyone looked pained, and I hated that I had caused it.
“Thank you, Sam. I’m sorry-I’m sorry you guys, I just thought you should know,” I said, and walked out of the den, and left the house.
I cried the whole way home, feeling so lost. Not to mention, emotionally drained. I didn’t know what to do, but this was all I had left. I wasn’t going to let my dad go without trying everything.
I got home, and Ness knew just how to help. After spending the remainder of the day trying to calm down, she’s helped me through it. I couldn’t think of anyone else who could support me the way she did today, or the way she always has. I’ve married one hell of a woman.
Thanks to everyone on Facebook who helped me with the idea for this entry! Also, just a side note, I don’t know how to make dream catchers so I did the best that I could, learning from the Internet. The color symbolism in this entry, I mostly made up since I couldn’t find Quileute color symbolism anywhere. The word bikà’watakwáyo is the closest Quileute word I could find to guardian and you can read about this belief here under ‘beliefs’ and I’m not sure that this spelling is completely accurate.
Tap, tap, tap.
“What?” I groaned as I rolled over in bed to see the clock; it was only seven in the morning and already someone was knocking on my door to wake me up.
“Leah?” My father’s voice spoke through the door.
“What?” I grumbled again.
“Get ready, will you?”
“For what?” I repeated, sitting up as I realized I probably wouldn’t get back to sleep.
“Well I seem to recall promising you to teach you how to make dream catchers a while ago. I thought maybe we could go do that today.” Dad’s voice is gentle, sincere, and it’s somewhat comforting to hear it—even if it is this early in the morning. No. It’s not comforting. What am I thinking? My parents don’t care, he probably just wants me to do extra chores or something.
“Dad. That was when I was ten. You’re a little late, don’t ya think?”
“Please, Leah?” Dad asks in a funny accent like he used to when I was little.
I hide my laugh with another groan, “Fine.”
Straightening the blankets, I crawl from my bed and get dressed quickly. I brush through my hair, leaving it down instead of my usual braid or ponytail.
Dad is downstairs at the table eating a bowl of cocoa pebbles—my favorite cereal, that I haven’t bought in years, but it appears like Dad got some to soften me up—as he waits for me. An empty bowl is in my spot with a spoon. Without saying a word, I pour the cereal and milk and sit down.
“I’m sorry I never got around to teaching you until now, ” Dad says as he takes his bowl to the sink and returns to wait for me.
“Doesn’t matter. I forgot about it anyways,” I reply with a shrug.
“Yes it does. And I don’t think you did. I think you remember a lot more than you say you do.”
“So?” My heartbeat accelerates, nervous that he sees past my lying.
Dad shrugs. “You never forgot when you were little either. When you were five, you remembered that you were supposed to have your birthday party in Makah after we had already had it here. You tried giving us the silent treatment for a week. But one morning you woke up and had forgotten all about that until lunch. You were so embarrassed—I took you to Makah for the rest of the day and everything was better, ” Dad finishes his story smiling at the memory.
I remember that too, but I don’t tell him so.
“You’re like your mother that way—so sweet and humble but can hold a grudge like no other, ” he says with a chuckle.
I finish eating and take my bowl to the sink.
“Ready?” Dad asks.
“Yeah, I guess.”
He holds the front door open for me and I go out to the car. He drives us through the town to the council meeting building. In the back of the building, there’s a room used for pottery and other arts our tribe does.
A few dream catchers and paintings hand around the room but most of the artwork goes to the museum safe down the street. In 1889, a fire had burned through the tribe’s land destroying nearly everything that they had. Since then, and since the technology has been gained, the tribe takes extra caution in keeping our culture safe from natural disasters as well as other technologies the world threatened to take over with.
We go inside to the back art room. A long table sits in the middle of the room and is lined with chairs. Along the back wall, shelves stretch from floor to ceiling holding art supplies, already-made pottery, and half made projects with names taped to the shelf in front of them.
Dad goes over to the shelves and starts searching.
Only council members have keys to the building, but anyone is welcome to use the supplies as long as they take care of them, clean up their messes, and write down what they used on the clipboard by the door so it can be replaced.
When I was little and Mom and Dad had meetings, Seth and I would paint in the art room. I always enjoyed it but as I got older I stopped coming. I think Seth still came occasionally but I wasn’t sure.
I join Dad at the shelves as he finds the thin strips of colored leather. He already has two metal hoops slung on his wrist.
“Pick a color,” he tells me. “The one that is you.”
I hesitate to decide. I had a willow dream catcher when I was little but as all the willow kind do, it collapsed as a symbolism of coming of age. That was a few years after I asked Dad to teach me how to make them. I don’t even remember what color that one was. As far as I knew, Seth still had his sky blue one.
“What color would you choose for me?” I ask.
“You have to choose. You can’t always depend upon others to make decisions for you.”
“Red, ” I say, taking not the bright red, but the darker maroon color from the shelf.
Dad grabs the white string to accompany the suede and sits at the table. I sit beside him.
“We’ll choose beads and feathers after we get the rim covered and the first row of web on.”
I nod and he passes me a hoop. Dad grabs a bottle of tacky glue from a tray in the middle of the table that holds pens, scissors and glue.
“Do the first loop and hold it while you wait for it to dry. After that’s secured you can do several loops at a time but don’t do so many that you can’t hold it while it dries, ” Dad speaks as he glues his first loop down and then passes the glue to me. “You can do it straight or on an angle. I find it easier when it’s angled.”
I struggle to glue and hold down the first loop but Dad just watches in silence. Finally I get it and he continues to loop the leather around his rim and glue it. I do the same when he is finished, realizing that Dad’s practiced hands make it look much easier than it is for me.
“The last loop will overlap a bit with the first, so cut the strip long enough for that. Then make a small loop around the top with the extra and tie it and glue it, ” Dad tells me as he glues his last bit of leather and then makes the loop for hanging.
He watches me do mine and then helps a bit when the leather doesn’t stick the first time.
“Okay, now the string. Tie it at the top, and then going clockwise, tie more knots. There should be thirteen when you finish. Thirteen for the thirteen phases of the moon.” Dad cuts two long pieces of string and hands one to me, then ties his string at the top of the hoop and continues down.
I do the same, trying to match my hands to his. My string tangles up and he has to help me several times to untangle it and fix my knots. With a sigh, I tie the last knot.
“Does it get any easier?” I inquire.
Dad chuckles. “That’s a matter of opinion. I think all of it is easy.”
I sigh again, “What next?”
He gets up and sets a bowl of beads and stones with holes in them on the table and then returns again with a clear box of feathers.
“Pick some beads—as many as you want. You don’t need a feather until the middle.”
Dad grabs a few random beads and sets them on the the table. I bring the bowl closer to me and carefully pick each one. As I do, he names of the symbolism of each color or stone.
“Red is for success.” I immediately throw the bead back in the bowl when he says that. “Why’d you do that?”
“I’m not successful, ” I say, avoiding Dad’s eyes. “I can’t even keep a boyfriend around.”
Dad fishes the bead back out and puts it on my string for me.
“You are. Sam had his reasons for leaving and it was wrong of him to do what he did. It had nothing to do with you though. He loved you, Leah, and he still does. You work well—at the store, in school. You know so much. You are successful, ” Dad insists. “Continue.”
I bring the bead up close to the rim, unconvinced by his words. “Now what?”
“Weave the string through. Make a hitch, here, like this,” Dad lifts his hands to demonstrate. “In the middle of that loop. Then do the same thing around the others. Add beads whenever you want.”
I nod, do a few more hitches and then dig for another bead. Dad glances up from his work.
“Yellow, for happiness.”
I sigh, “Why am I picking all the beads that aren’t me?”
“They are you, Leah. You just don’t realize it. Here—close your eyes. Reach out to the bowl and grab the rest of your beads. Choose them by how they feel, ” Dad says.
I fight the urge to roll my eyes but do as he says. He guides my hand to the bowl. The first few beads I touch all feel the same. I concentrate harder and find one that feels soft, like it’s made from clay. I open my eyes to see that it is clay, dyed a dark blue, close to being black.
“Navy, for courage. Pick another.”
I close my eyes again and find another bead. This one feels like wood; a sliver pokes out from it. I open my eyes. Green.
“Green, for nature. For earth and beauty.”
I repeat my actions, and find a white glass bead.
“White, for peace and serenity.”
“Okay, that’s all I want, ” I say.
Dad nods, “Finish the loops then. All the way until you get to the middle. Leave a hole anywhere from the size of a quarter to a dime, however you want. Some people make it determined by the amount of nightmares they have, bigger for more, smaller for less. That way the bad dreams go through and don’t get caught. Unless you use a smaller rim, then the hole is naturally smaller.
“Big then for me, ” I say.
I continue knotting the loops and get lost in my work until I get to the middle and realize how short the thread has become.
“Good,” Dad says. “Now the feather for the middle and for the ones going down. Choose.”
He lifts the lid from the box and I look through them carefully.
“Do I choose different ones or all the same?” I ask.
“However you like.”
“The same, ” I say and select four small white feathers with black tips.
“Eagle feathers, for protection, ” Dad says.
He shows me how to tie the feather into the middle and secure it with the glue and a bead. We add the three other feathers dangling from the bottom of the rim and put brown wooden beads at the top of each.
“Now you’re finished, ” he says, smiling. “You did good. See? That was successful. Now your bikà’watakwáyo can watch over your dreams too.”
“I don’t believe in bikà’watakwáyo anymore, ” I say quietly. Bikà’watakwáyo is a belief of our tribe of guardians that each person has. We have them to watch over and protect us. When I was little, I believed in them profusely, thanks to my parents and grandparents.
“No?” Dad asks surprised. “When did that change? You used to yell at the kids at school until they said that they believed too.”
I laugh. “I don’t remember that. When Sam went missing. Why did that happen if they are true? Sam’s guardian and mine would have kept him here. And when he got back, mine would have stopped the heartbreak. There has been so much that’s happened that I can’t possibly believe. Either they aren’t true or else mine just left me years ago.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, ” Dad says, his face soft and sad. “Maybe one day your bikà’watakwáyo will return to you.”
I look away, unbelieving. “Yeah, maybe.”
“I have a meeting this morning in a few minutes, ” he says, and as he does, I hear the front door of the building open, more people arriving. “Are you okay to wait here? Or you can take the car and I’ll get a ride home.”
I shake my head, looking around the room to see that the easels and paint are still here. “No, I can wait.”
Dad smiles a little. “Okay then. Here take this one too. Do what you want with it, ” he hands me his dream catcher. “I won’t be too long.”
Dad stands up and goes out to the meeting room, leaving the door cracked open behind him. I hesitate for a moment and then deciding no one will be around to see me, go to the easel and begin squeezing paint out onto a tray. I have no idea what I’m going to paint, so I just start splotching random colors on until they make shapes. I get so caught up in my work, I don’t notice when someone comes in.
“Looks good, ” they say, making me jump. In doing so, my brush taps against my nose. I spin around to see Jacob Black watching me.
“Sorry,” he says and uses his thumb to wipe the paint from my nose and then brushes it onto his jeans.
“That’s okay, ” I whisper.
“I like your painting. And your dream catchers. You made them?”
“I made this one, ” I say holding it up. “My dad was teaching me how. And thanks.”
“Cool. Can I see?”
I pass him the dream catchers and he looks at each one closely before handing them back.
“Awesome,” he compliments again. “Do you think you could make me one?”
“Sure. When do you want it?”
“Before the thirteenth. It’s my friend’s birthday.”
“Okay. I’ll drop it by sometime soon then.”
Dad appears in the doorway then. “You ready, Leah?”
I nod, “Just a second.”
I turn around an pick up a pencil, signing my name in the middle of the canvas on a blank spot. Dad leads the way outside and Jacob follows, being joined by his Dad.
“Bye, Leah, Harry. See you guys later, ” Jacob says as we climb in the car.
I nod politely and Dad starts to drive.
“Thank you, ” I say to Dad. “For everything today. It was . . . fun.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you had a good time. There’s more I could teach you if you want. Our tribe use to weave baskets so tightly, you could boil water in them.”
I nod. “Yeah, maybe we can do more sometime. I really liked this even though it was hard. Jacob asked me to make him one.”
“That’ll be good. Gives you something to do this week. Borrow my keys whenever, just let me know.”
“Okay, ” I say smiling with the hope that I will be able to paint more.
“Not far now,” Edward said as we sped through the woods. It was the middle of the night and usually I wouldn’t have been able to see a thing in the dim barely moonlit sky, but tonight I could see everything — which was probably a good thing at the speed I was running. I was so lucky that Edward had taken the time to check things out before we came here. The last thing I wanted was to bump into old friends or family.
“I’ve told you that won’t happen, he has moved.” Edward smiled, reassuring me.
After some time Edward began slowing. In the distance I could see the downstairs light of a house shining. Crouching down near the house, I asked Edward how we should proceed.
“Slowly. He deserves to pay for what he did to you.” His face was hard like stone.
Walking slowly towards the house, Edward informed me that Charles is on his own.
“What do you mean ‘On his own’? Who else would be there, Edward?” I asked slightly taken back by his emphasis on the word own.
“He has remarried since you left Esme; his new wife is visiting her parents tonight.”
As we walk I take a moment to consider how I feel about this new information. Does he treat her how he treated me? Was he still that cruel man I ran from? Quickly I asked Edward the one question that would prevent me from following through with whatever plan Edward had in place.
“Does he have any children now, Edward?” I stop as I look up at him.
Edward turns to look at me with a small smile on his face “No Esme, no children. But he loves her. He was in love with her before he married you. When I found him I took time to listen to his mind; he has always loved her but she cannot bare his children yet, although that does not matter to him.”
I stand frozen to the spot. Unable to look at Edward, I stared at the ground as the rage began to boil. How dare he? If he didn’t love me then fair enough, I hadn’t loved him either, but he didn’t need to treat me the way he had, humiliated me. He didn’t need to MURDER my Johnathon. He could have just divorced me, at least then we could both have been happy.
I was seething.
Now it was time, my turn for revenge. And trust me, he’s going to pay.
“Let’s go,” I growled furiously as I thrust my head in the air and began to walk at a faster pace towards the house, each determined step bringing me closer to revenge. I could feel the stillness of the woods around me. It was as though mother nature was expecting me. As I reach the path leading to his house I stop, taking a few steps back, breathing slowly. Edward stares at me with a confused look on his face.
“If I’m going to do this properly I don’t want to lose control . . . too much,” I relay to Edward in my head as an explanation. He merely nods to show his understanding.
“Slowly,” Edward whispers.
Retracing the last few steps I made, I return to the door leading into the back of his house.
One last look at Edward. “This is it.”
Edward smiles in encouragement.
I can do this; this is what I have been waiting eighteen months for — my revenge.
“Is that you darling?” Charles inquired.
How had he heard us? We hadn’t made a sound. Had we?
Edward shook his head. I decided to use this to my advantage. Calmly I pulled the latch on the door and slowly pushed the door open.
“Mmm hmm,” I replied. I could smell his blood; I could hear it pumping around in his despicable veins.
As I enter the kitchen he looks up at me, his mouth gapes open in complete shock at the sight of me. Very briefly he looks pained; that is the one look I cannot fathom, how is he pained?
Then he notices Edward walk in behind me and his fork drops onto the plate.
“What the hell? Esme? What are you doing here I thought you were. . . .” He stumbled looking for the last word.
“Dead?” I smirk, finishing his sentence. “No Charles, I am not dead. Did you know that I was pregnant when you killed Johnathon? DID YOU!?” I shout at him, all the emotions catching up with me.
“I– I . . . ” he mumbles. I can’t even allow him to mutter another ridiculous attempt at justifying his actions, instead I spring into action. Grabbing him by the throat I throw him out of his chair across the kitchen so that he slams into the wall.
“Don’t you DARE try to justify your actions to me Charles,” I hiss at him as he clambers around the kitchen trying to keep a safe distance between me and him. Crouching low I stalk him, hunting him.
“Es–Esme, please, please don’t . . . ”
“Remember all those things you did to me, Charles? The way you treated me? Do you remember those things Charles? Because I do, and now it is time for you to pay for everything you did. For Johnathon. For Robert. For me.” He stared at me unable to believe his eyes and ears.
“You ruined my life Charles, and now I shall ruin yours.” Crouching down lower I moved in closer.
“Esme?” Edward whispers so softly only I can hear him.
Lunging forward I grab Charles by his clothes, pulling back one hand to strike the first blow as Edward sucks his breath in in shock. The door flings open and there, in the doorway stands a woman, shock turns to anger as she registers what is happening.
“Nooooo!” she screams, and then shocks all of us as she leaps at me in a vain attempt to save Charles. Natural instinct takes over and before I even have a chance to think about how to react my hand has hit Charles across the face launching him across the room. In a split second I turn to defend myself against this reckless woman, forgetting that Edward is there to help. I must try to keep a handle on my emotions, my thirst.
As I grab her, her eyes widen in shock at the strength I possess. Focusing entirely on her I barely notice the pained screams from Charles begging me to stop. I sink my teeth into her neck as she writhes around trying to loosen my grip on her. I can feel the life being sucked out of her. She tastes all right, better than all right. Her screams begin to fade as the blood drains out of her. I hadn’t meant to hurt her, just Charles. But this will hurt him in the worst possible way.
My love for his love.
“Esme?” I finally hear Edward say my name.
Pulling away, I look down at the lifeless body laying on the floor, an innocent woman, a hole in her neck, her skin translucent and her eyes still wide open with fear.
Hearing a whimper from behind me, I turn to see Charles’ eyes shooting between me and the lifeless corpse of his lover. Blood is pouring from the left side of his face. In my haste to knock him out of the way I had actually ripped away the skin from that side of his face. His flesh underneath the skin exposed. He’ll be lucky to survive, and if he does he shall suffer the loss of his love and his face.
I am finished here, but strangely I find it difficult to move from the spot.
“Edward,” I whisper, allowing him to take my arm and gently pull me from the house.
We don’t speak the entire trip back. I want to think about my actions. The way I behaved was nothing like me. The pain and torture I had experienced at the hands of that man had all boiled over the top. I thought I had dealt with those emotions after the change, but obviously not. The moment I had seen him the memories all flooded back. Never will I allow myself to lose control again.
Looking back to my testimony, I thought that I handled myself pretty well all things considered. Ashley, though……well……not so much. To wig out to such an extreme where she had to literally be carried out of the court room was a spectacle to be seen for sure. After I testified and left the court room that day, I had in fact gotten a whole bottle of wine and went to sit with my family on the porch as we discussed what happened. I called Bill and Betsy and told them what happened. To say they were stunned would probably be the understatement of the month. But they too were glad that she went wacko on me instead of on Charlotte when she testified. At least poor Charlotte would get some form a reprieve without having to look Ashley in the eye.
Even though I said I wouldn’t be returning to the courtroom again until the closing arguments and so forth; all of us from the hospital went back to be there for Charlotte when she testified. Her parents had flown in for that part of the trial and her fiancé Ben was also there. She was very glad she had such a huge support system. Her testimony was so compelling and emotional that it brought several jurors to tears. Nothing the defense attorney said or asked could discredit her testimony. He gave up after about the 3rd question in. When Charlotte was dismissed from the witness stand, she walked with her head held high right out of the courtroom followed by pretty much everyone who had come to support her.
Finally, on a Thursday after both the state and defense had rested their cases; just as the DA, Mr. Allen, had predicted the defense only brought in doctors to show that Ashley was crazy but no actual family members or friends or colleagues; it was time for closing arguments. The defense went first. We were all there; Ashley wasn’t. She wouldn’t be allowed back in the courtroom until the verdict was read. And there was still the matter of jury deliberations. No one ever knew how long that would take; it could be anywhere from one hour to multiple days and even weeks sometimes. Considering there was a mountain of evidence to review, we had a feeling it would be a while before they would return. They were going to be as thorough as possible.
On the day of closing arguments, most of us piled into the courtroom to hear what both sides had to say. Rogue as mentioned previously, had sat throughout the whole entire trial. She was up to speed with everything both sides were doing. She also with her mind reading abilities was able to determine what the defense was going to say. She just shook her head and smiled. So as everyone sat down after the judge entered, he motioned to the defense to do his thing. Mr. Woods got up from his chair but continued to stay at his desk as he began to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. Today we have here a life we are trying to say. I am not saying my client isn’t guilty because she is. She even admitted that she is on multiple different occasions but she is not mentally stable to be found guilty. Every crime she committed, she did because of the different chemical imbalances in her brain. The doctors we’ve brought before you had classified Ms. Cunningham as a paranoid schizophrenic with borderline personality disorder who also has a severe case of Munchausen by proxy or MBP. My client didn’t and doesn’t have enough mental stability to understand that her actions have consequences. She doesn’t understand that by harming someone, you’re doing something wrong. To her it seems right because that’s how her mind functions. Ms. Cunningham does not deserve to be put to death for something she was never diagnosed properly with nor had treatment for. Ms. Cunningham needs to be in a facility where she can receive the proper treatment for her multiple illnesses.”
At this point he was standing before the jury speaking passionately and waving his arms dramatically. He then walked over to his desk and took a sip of water before continuing.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please find it in your hearts to see that my client is a victim too. She isn’t the monster the prosecution wants you to believe; she’s just a very sick person. And a sick person cannot and should not be put to death; it is inhumane. Please find her not guilty by reason of insanity. Thank you.”
The defense having made his point, went and sat down as the judge turned toward the DA, who hesitated only slightly to look over any last minute notes and then stood up and walked up to where the jury was sitting and looked straight at them.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are gathered for a very important reason here and that is to remember who the real victims were. The defense will want you to believe that his client is a victim when in reality she is a criminal with a rap sheet a mile long. His client heartlessly and cold-bloodedly murdered 9 people grand total in two states. For what? Attention or because she could get away with it? The defense would also have you believe that all her multiple illnesses caused Ms. Cunningham to become violent and that she didn’t know what she was doing. Yet she traveled through multiple states with multiple aliases that she stole from unsuspecting people. The only thing Ms. Cunningham is….is….ironically cunning. Just like her last name suggests. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, there are millions of people in America today that suffer from similar psychiatric illnesses that go untreated for years but live as law abiding citizens. What makes Ms. Cunningham so special? Absolutely nothing.”
He paused briefly so that his words would sink in, and then continued.
“She poisoned people, she tried to kill people, and succeeded on several occasions, she stalked someone, and she brutally attacked another person. She has held people at gunpoint in order for them to give her recommendations so she could get jobs. That’s not normal but it doesn’t make her insane either. An insane person wouldn’t be so calculating, going from state to state. Ms. Cunningham only became ‘insane’ when it came to something she didn’t like to hear like Dr. Cullen’s testimony or when things went on in the hospital as you heard from previous people’s testimonies. Have America’s worst serial killers been classified as insane? Look at Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, Gary Ridgeway, and Jeffrey Dahmer! What makes them any different from Ms. Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham killed more people than Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in Florida. There is absolutely nothing mentally wrong with Ms. Cunningham except a really bad acting job. Think of the victims like Dr. Cullen and his family, the nurses and staff at the hospital, the patients who she killed or who survived but will never be the same again, like Charlotte Clark who lost more than half of her blood volume after being stabbed repeatedly by Ms. Cunningham. Think about that when you are sitting in deliberation. This woman said……no screamed it herself that she will kill as many people as she needs to; not even wants to but needs to. Ladies and gentlemen, please help these victims and their families find closure and find Ms. Cunningham guilty on all counts especially capital murder. Thank you.”
With that, the jury filed out of the court. It was a very intense morning. The proceedings lasted 2 hours and it was only noon when we all made our way out of the court house. It was now up to the jury. We had done every single thing we could. Now all anyone could do was hope and pray. My family and the Watchers dispersed to our respective homes. I needed to hunt so when I mentioned that, I realized my whole family needed to go so we all went while Nessie stayed with the wolves. No one said a word as we picked off lions, bears, deer, and any other juicy animal that crossed our path.
There wasn’t anything to say. We all just prayed that the jury would see the light and convict her. Of course then we would have to go through the sentencing phase which was up to judge to decide whether that would be on the same day as the verdict or on a different day. It was also mean that those of us who want, can give victim impact statements. I know Charlotte and Ben both will as will Betsy, Melanie, and the 4 other nurses she poisoned. Mr. Yang still being in the hospital is sending his daughter to do it for him. I met her; she’s a sweet girl who was just accepted into Harvard Law School. She and Rogue had a lot to talk about on the subject. She wants to go into medical malpractice and that’s really no surprise all things considered.
After thinking about it very carefully and consulting with my family and Rogue who was sort of our in house counsel if you will, I decided that I would give one too. After all the havoc Ashley created in my life and the lives of my family, she deserved for me to give her a piece of my mind!
Just two days after deciding this, we got the call; jury was back with a verdict! It took them 3.5 days to decide on Ashley’s fate. So Friday as it were, we were all gathered in the courtroom, pretty much squished in because of family and relatives of victims. Rogue and Agent Kramer were sitting directly behind the DA in case Ashley would try something again. She was actually in court that day. She was wearing a lighter blue floral dress, with beige flats and a beige shawl over her shoulders. She had a dark blue brooch in her hair. You’d think she was some southern belle waiting to be called for tea or something.
After the judge called order, we watched as the jury filed in. Then once they all sat down, the judge looked at the foreman of the jury and said:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”
“We have your honor.” The foreman said.
“Bailiff please bring me the paper.” The bailiff did and the judge looked over it, frowned and nodded. He then returned the paper to the bailiff to return to the foreman.
“Mr. Foreman, will you please read out the verdict for the court.”
We all held our breath as the foreman put his glasses on, took the paper and took a deep breath.
“We the jury find the defendant Ms. Carrie Cunningham………”
It had appeared as a dream. I awoke after what seemed like months of rest, but in reality it had only been an hour.
Jacob glided across the field, almost like my father would. I crouched with an unrecognizable thirst.
“You’re eyes . . . they’re red,” Jacob boomed as he cautiously came near.
The glow, so bright, the illuminations reflected upon my almost perfectly eggshell-white complexion. Like a cheetah, I aimed then darted for my prey. The deer wasn’t as satisfying as I’d presumed, but curbed my insanity enough to keep me in one place. Jacob soared toward me in werewolf form, but kept some space between us.
This couldn’t be a dream if I had just woke up from one, could it? I couldn’t control my senses or sanity. I preyed upon two more deers before surrendering under Jacob’s care. We dashed to the house as a wave of brown and bronze hair disappeared past us. I’d hardly noticed it because I was more worried about getting home.
Sure enough, the Cullens were there, waiting as me and Jacob emerged from the frothy forest. Uncle Jasper and Emmet immediately grasped my arms and led me down to Grandpa Carlisle’s office. I was strapped and weighed down by my tempered Uncles. Grandma Esme, Aunt Alice and Rosalie wore expressions tinted with shock, unusual from their normal porcelain-perfect faces.
The people I loved the most, however, were absent.
“All right, Renesmee, let’s get a closer view of you,” Carlisle announced, inching toward me in a calm and collected manner.
“How is this possible? There’s no way she can be . . . “
Carlisle cut Jasper off with a wave of his hand.
“Where are my parents?” I demanded as Carlisle started his examination.
“I will notify you about that if you answer some of my questions first. Nessie, I don’t mean to irritate you, but we must know first what is wrong before I can answer any questions,”
Carlisle responded, checking my pulse. “What happened before you woke up?”
I pondered awhile. After all, I know my grandpa had the best intentions for me and he only wished to diagnose me so that I could be cured or treated properly.
All I remember was a quiet walk through the woods and the crackling of the leaves behind me. I knew I shouldn’t have walked by myself, but Jacob and his pack were constantly patrolling the area and it didn’t seem that dangerous on a crisp, cool Autumn afternoon. As soon as I shared this information with the family, Carlisle’s eyes lit up (and not in a positive sense).
“Excuse me, Renesmee, but I must examine your waist.” Carlisle peeked around my waist to reveal a deep bite. He suddenly jumped into action, attempting to clean the cut.
Moments later, however, Carlisle faltered in his attempts. “She is already infected by the venom, but her heart still beats safe and sound. I will continue with my research later. In all these hundreds of years I have never witnessed such an event. Then again, most vampires have never met a half-vampire, half-human. Esme, I recommend you suit her to a warm bath and some rest.”
“Wait! I’m thirsty! And where are my parents?” I commanded.
“We will provide you with elk blood in the time being, and then perhaps you can take a hot bath.” Carlisle finished, and Esme whisked me to the kitchen.
I awoke with the same thirst. However, this time Jasper and Emmet were there to capture me before I escaped out the door. I resisted their grip and was strapped down to a recliner. Esme fed me more elk blood and I was eventually feeling myself again.
I browsed the TV channels for some mere entertainment: a salesmen was pitching cookware on one channel, and on another channel they were hyping a new exercise machine. I finally settled on watching the daily news before eyeing Stephenie Meyer’s newly published book. But books didn’t interest me at the moment like my usual favorite –– playing the guitar. As folly as it sounds, all I really wanted was my parents.
“Hey, Nessie.” Jacob eased toward me on the loveseat. He was still my boyfriend and best friend, even though I was in this dark, hazy state.
“Hey, Jacob,” I greeted with a peck on the lips. This action threw him back a bit and a pang of caution faintly spread over his face, but swiftly faded and was replaced with warmth. I was a bit disappointed that even Jacob presented caution like that, but I couldn’t blame him, I was even frightened of myself.
“What’s wrong with me?” I asked helplessly.
“I don’t know. Carlisle should tell us soon. Nessie, just never walk in the woods by yourself again.” Jacob tried to manage his piquing anger, but it didn’t bother me. For once I was the monster.
“I’m sorry . . . I should have been more careful,” I apologized ruefully.
“Your parents fled to hunt after the immortal that bit you. Edward believes he heard the hunter. Bella agreed to follow and Jasper and Emmet left this morning to meet them.”
“What about you? Are you leaving?” I needed Jacob here. He was the one person that tied me to this Earth, the one person that made me feel normal despite my horrendous condition.
“I’m staying here, don’t you worry. I offered to stay here to guard you along with the rest of the family while Carlisle treats you. I also sent Leah and Seth out on double patrol.
You’re safe here with me, always.” He kissed my forehead and held me tenderly.
“I’m back!!” It was Alice, along with at least ten shopping bags in her hands.
“Nessie, I spotted the perfect––”
Carlisle silenced her. He only did such a thing when he had something significant to say. Normally he had boundless patience. “I believe I have a theory of your condition, Renesmee. I do not know exactly what it is, but something is definitely there.”
Rosalie and Esme gathered around him, their golden eyes wide.
“From both blood sample A and B, I noticed something in particular. It’s strange, because your heart is still beating well, which means you are alive. Nonetheless, you possess qualities of a newborn vampire. I believe you have been infected by another vampire’s venom, yet somehow you’re immune to it in the sense that you are still alive. Your body is reacting to the venom like it would to any human, however. I’m concluding that you have a virus.”
“We can’t find them! They disappeared!” Emmett shouted as he whisked in through the door.
My parents were missing, and I was diseased.
We all held our breaths as you could have heard a pin drop in that court room. The only sound was the tick tock of the clock on the side of the room. The foreman was looking at the paper in his hand. The judge had asked Ashley and her defense attorney to stand as the verdict was read.
“We the jury find the defendant Carrie Cunningham……..” there was a slight pause and then he said “guilty.”
GUILTY! She was found guilty! The rest of what the foreman said was drowned out by the applause in the room and the sheer elation of practically everyone there. And she wasn’t just found guilty but on all counts! Guilty of impersonating a medical professional! Guilty of using a poison with the intent to harm! Guilty of stalking and harassment! Guilty of attempted murder! Guilty of premeditated murder! Guilty of capital murder! GUILTY!
After the verdict was read, the judge thanked the jury and dismissed them. He was going to determine the sentencing himself. At this point the defense had one last option and that’s to try and spare Ashley’s life; because the prosecution was going full steam ahead with asking for the death penalty. Now it was time for the impact statements. We really didn’t have an order of those so the judge gave the DA and those of us who had decided to do it some time to figure out in what order we were going to go.
It was decided that Charlotte was to go first to get it out of the way, followed by Mr. Yang’s daughter, the relatives of those people she murdered cold-bloodedly and finally I would go. I knew exactly what I was going to say. Before we went, Ashley’s attorney had a chance to address the court and after our statements, Ashley herself would be allowed to address the court as well as her victims. And you know something; I’m not calling her Ashley anymore because that’s not her real name. She may want to live in a fantasy world but even our immortal world is reality so from now on until we no longer have to address her or talk about her, I will call her Carrie!
The defense attorney stood up before the judge and said: “Your honor, my client has been found guilty but I implore you to spare her life. Death isn’t the answer. She will not learn anything if she receives the death penalty. And she won’t receive the necessary treatment for her illnesses. She deserves a chance to make amends and right her wrongs. Thank you.”
Well that was short, I thought as we filed back into the courtroom. Charlotte and her fiancé than Ben walked to the podium that stood between the defense and DA tables and addressed the courtroom in a statement she had written. Her hands were shaking but Ben was there to support her as we all were. This is what she had to say:
“Good afternoon your honor and everyone present. Carrie Cunningham doesn’t deserve to live. I have never been a real believer in the death penalty which is kind of ironic since I’m originally from Texas and that state executes people on a regular basis. But as someone said to me once ‘you’ll become a believer once it’s happened to you or someone you love or care for.’ They were right. Ms. Cunningham poisoned me and then brutally attacked me with a massive butcher knife that I believe you only use to slaughter sheep. Why? Because of a perceived notion that the object of her obsession liked me better than her. Even if that was the case, which it obviously wasn’t, who does that? Where does that appear in the world of logic? I truly believe that Ms. Cunningham is crazy but she’s not insane. She’s as crazy as Aileen Wuornos was when she killed 5 or 6 men in Florida because she wanted to rob them and used the guise that they all raped her to justify doing it. Was she insane? No. Neither is Ms. Cunningham. What Ms. Cunningham is, is ruthless, calculating, methodical, cold-blooded, and vicious. She needs to be kept away from society as a whole, even those in prison. She will do this and again. Please don’t let my suffering and the loss of our patients at the hands of this snake be in vain. Thank you.”
The courtroom was silent as the judge thanked Charlotte and all you heard were the sobs of the relatives of the victims. Carrie meanwhile just sat there stone-faced and all but glared after Charlotte as she walked back to her seat. Then all the others who went before went up to say their peace. Mr. Yang’s daughter’s emotional statement brought everyone to tears. Even heartless Carrie couldn’t glare at her. She just sat there with her eyes down. Maybe it was finally getting through to her that she wasn’t going to skate by on her “insanity” crap. Finally, it was my turn.
“Dr. Cullen, would please like to give us your statement?” The judge motioned me to approach the podium. At the mere mention of my name, Carrie’s head snapped back up and she looked at me with wide startled eyes. I walked up to the podium and addressed the court. I didn’t have any papers with me, didn’t need them; I was after all a vampire with a super memory. But of course they didn’t know that. But I digress.
“Thank you your honor, members of the court, ladies and gentlemen. I at first didn’t know whether I was going to be coming here today and speaking with you but then I decided to do it. I’m here on behalf of myself, my wife, and family but most importantly, I’m here for the people who cannot speak for themselves and those are the patients who were in my care and the care of the hospital where I work; all of whom Ms. Cunningham murdered. I’m speaking on behalf of their families for whom it is too hard to get up here and address all of you. As a doctor, I have witnessed death in many different forms; some more gruesome then others. As a doctor, it is my number one priority to save a life, to spare a life, to make someone better.”
As I was speaking, Carrie’s eyes started to get hopeful, maybe I would actually ask for leniency on her behalf. What she heard next, smashed all of her hope into little pieces.
“However, in this case……I do not wish for Ms. Cunningham’s life to be spared. I fervently wish that you, your honor, sentence her to death. She has brought immeasurable pain on my loved ones and those who I work with as well if not more for my patients and their families. That makes me very angry with Ms. Cunningham. It wasn’t her right to play God. The world contrary to her thought process revolves around the sun and not around her. Her obsession with me and perceived notion that I would leave my wife for her was childish and stupid. Ms. Cunningham is a narcissistic drama queen with a superiority complex and that’s where her so called mental disorders end. She’s very good at what she does having perfected her method in 2 other states before coming here. Your honor, this is a woman who even now as we all give our statements, still sits defiant and unapologetic. I beg of you, send her to where she belongs; and that’s straight to hell! Thank you.”
That last line elicited a gasp from Carrie as she tried to say something but couldn’t. Without even looking back, I then and sat next to my wife as the rest of my family patted me on the arms and back depending on where they were sitting or standing. The daughter of Mr. Yang as well as the families of the other victims all gave me grateful looks and nods of approval; I nodded back.
“Ms. Cunningham, this is your opportunity to address the court and your victims. Is there anything you would like to say?”
Carrie thought about it for a few seconds, than hopped up to her feet. She first looked at the judge then turned around and looked around the room until her eyes landed on me. She frowned. Then she looked back at the judge and said:
“Your honor is it so wrong to love someone and go after him when you believe he’s interested in you? Is that a crime? Hospitals are for helping people yes but hey….it’s life right? Shit happens! I don’t belong in hell. I belong alive and well and free. And all those people who called me names should all go to hell themselves! They’re pathetic! I know right from wrong and I know that I AM RIGHT!!”
With that she sat down in a huff and crossed her arms defiantly over her chest. As we all looked her with utter dismay. She was never going to admit it. If family members came to seek an apology from her, they were sorely disappointed. She wasn’t giving it up. Now it was time for the judge to speak. It seemed to me that he had made up his mind regarding the sentencing. A nod from Edward and Rogue meant my thinking was correct. Alright, well this was it. All or nothing! Two choices were on the table; life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have heard everything I had to hear today and then some. Ms. Cunningham will you please rise?” She and her defense stood up. She still had her arms crossed.
“Ms. Cunningham, the brutality of your crimes is unthinkable. Your lack of remorse, compassion, or caring makes me believe that you are a truly sad and soulless creature. You don’t have any concept on what compassion even is. If you are anything; it’s a total and complete psychopath. Therefore, my decision is thus. Ms. Cunningham, I sentence you to death by lethal injection. While you are waiting that date, you will be reprimanded to the New Hampshire State Prison for Woman until the date of your execution which will be decided upon at a later time. Your crimes leave me no choice and sparing your life is out of the question. You didn’t give your victims a chance at life; why should I give you that chance now? You will not have any further contact with any members of the staff at the hospital especially Dr. Cullen and his family; there will be a permanent restraining order placed against you on behalf of his family until the date of your execution. Your crimes are despicable and so are you. That is my decision. Thank you everyone for your hard work and effort. Court is adjourned!”
As soon as he said that everyone started cheering and hugging! We did it! We won the whole entire thing! And got the death penalty! As we were all cheering and talking excitedly, Carrie was being handcuffed to be led away but as usual she was determined to have the last word:
“So you think you are going to kill me? Yeah right! I’m invincible, you hear me???? INVINCIBLE!!”
The guards proceeded to shackle her completely so she wouldn’t be able to move as she continued to holler. Then out of nowhere, Rogue was right in front of her. She didn’t even care if anyone saw her lightning speed approach. Rogue got right into her face as Carrie’s eyes went wide.
“SHUT UP YOU CRAZY BITCH! IT’S OVER! YOU LOST! IT’LL BE NICE TO SEE THEM STICK THAT NEEDLE INTO YOUR ARM AS YOU GASP FOR YOUR ABSOLUTE LAST BREATH OF AIR…GASP….GASP….GASP…AND THEN DOWN TO HELL YOU GO! MAKE SURE YOU GIVE THE DEVIL A GREAT BIG KISS! HE’S RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY!”
Rogue whispered all of that into her ear through clenched teeth and in that horrifyingly deep voice of hers that she only uses when the shit hits the fan; it gives even vampires’ goose-bumps. So no one really heard what she said other than Carrie and all of the immortals in the room. The officers didn’t care, they just wanted to throw her in her cell until she was transported to the prison, lock the door, and throw away the key until her execution date. Besides, they all knew Rogue and knew that if she was up in someone’s ear, whatever she had to say wasn’t pleasant anyways.
After Rogue said what she said she turned and walked away without looking back. Carrie was standing there in shocked silence with her mouth gapping open as the officers had to push her to get her to move and took her out of the room. We all walked out of the courtroom and met everyone and I mean everyone outside of the court house on the steps where there was a ton of media that the FBI quickly moved aside so family members could quickly get to their cars. They all left very quickly, but not before coming up to me and thanking me personally for all I said and had done for them. Some even hugged me, like Mr. Yang’s daughter for example. I knew her father would be released from the hospital in the next week or so, so that was wonderful news. I would check up on him a few times before then.
Charlotte was standing off to the side with Ben and her parents. When most of everyone left except my family and the Watchers, they came over to me. Charlotte and I hugged. We didn’t need to say anything. But then Charlotte turned to Alice who was standing off to the side and speaking softly with Rose.
“Hey Alice?” Alice immediately focused her attention on Charlotte and walked over.
“Yes Charlotte?” Alice of course knew exactly what Charlotte was going to ask and was trying very hard to keep still. We all had to hold back our laughter.
“Now I know this is probably too soon and too soon for me as well but I was wondering, could you please help me plan my wedding to Ben here? Dr. Cullen has said on multiple occasions how amazing you are at those kinds of things. I mean I’m not ready yet to plan it but when I am…….and you know fully recovered…..I can’t afford a wedding planner they are sooooooo expensive.” Charlotte said. We all smiled.
“Really???? You want me to plan your wedding??? OMG I would love to!!! Just tell me when you’re ready and we can sit down at like a Starbucks or something and go over what you guys want or you can come to our house. It’s totally up to you! And don’t worry about the price, I don’t charge a dime for my extraordinary planning skills.” Everyone laughed at that one. Looked like our little pixie had another wedding lined up to plan. At least she’ll keep busy.
As we all hugged and before we dispersed, we had invited Charlotte, Ben, and her parents to our house for dinner the following evening, which they graciously accepted. Bella and Leah winked at each other as they were going to help Esme cook. Finally, this large dark cloud had begun to lift off of all of us. Even though there will be appeals on behalf of Carrie’s attorneys to postpone the death penalty; we hoped sooner or later it’ll get done.
This God willing that would be the last time we would ever see or hear of Carrie Cunningham!
“Don’t hold him like that, Jacob! You don’t hold a baby like that when you feed it!”
I shook my head and smiled as Jacob desperately tried to hold Abraham straight and in the right position so he could put the bottle in his mouth as Alice breathed down his neck.
“Hold him a little diagonal.”
“No. A little bit straighter.”
“You’re gonna drop him.”
“What the hell is your problem? I was doing just fine before you came romping about like a petulant pixie know-it-all!” Jacob rustled Abraham in his arms, who looked only too comfortable to be the cynosure.
“Oh, I know how fine you were doing. Any more and the bottle would have been in your mouth instead of his. I don’t know how you’re gonna bring up your kids. Nessie’s gonna have a hard time with you.” Alice clicked her tongue and shook her head.
“Okay, I am going to have to intervene here,” I interrupted their banter. “We have a long, long, long time before we can even discuss that.” I was only too glad Nessie wasn’t home right now. I don’t know how I would have handled that. To my utter surprise and discomfort, Jacob’s russet skin turned a deep shade of red, and I shuddered. I couldn’t imagine the kind of thoughts that must have been going on in his mind. It was only too blissful to have Katherine in the house in that moment.
Two weeks after they were born, all of Katherine’s kids were healthy and happy and plump. Abraham (whom people had taken to calling Ian or Abe) and Ewan (no need for a nickname there) were looking almost a year old. They were going to start walking any time now. Lucy (Come on, Beatrice and Cordelia are handfuls) was growing a little slowly compared to her brothers, since she had more human traits than any of her siblings. While Ian and Ewan slept through the night, Lucy got restless. She was the closest we’d come to having an actual human baby in the house.
We were still giving the kids human blood as they were too young to fend for themselves. Also, we were determined to be careful this time. We had never been able to get the stint with the Volturi out of our minds. Most of all, we still mourned the loss of our sister: Irina. She had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that had cost her her life. Katherine and Mark, along with the rest of us, had decided the kids would be allowed to go out only under adult supervision and close to the house.
In other news, Bella and I were now First Godparents to Abraham, Carlisle and Esme to Lucy, and Alice and Jasper to Ewan. Rosalie and Emmett were already Godparents to Nessie, and had politely backed out to let the rest of us to take the field.
Abraham’s second Godparent was Leah, who had formed an instant bond with the boy. Seth was only too delighted to have Ewan, and so was Jacob when he got Lucy.
Bella and I had still to divulge our intentions to the family. Surprisingly, it had been Bella who had opted for letting the matter stay under the rug for some time. She wanted to help Katherine and Mark with their kids (getting in practice for the second time, she’d said) and besides, she also knew it was important to talk to Nessie about how she would feel if she had a new brother. No matter how many years you put between siblings, the older one still feels jealous.
Nessie was used to being doted on, on being the only child in the family. Lately, though, she had been feeling left out, because someone other than her was the cynosure now.
I sit on the chair on my back porch, enjoying a rare, cloud-free sunset from the safety of my cottage. The green leaves are starting to acquire just the tiniest bit of brown in their hue, and I can smell the traces of rain that had barreled its way down last night. I love the smell of rain: musky, wet and fresh. It feels like waking up after a long, dreamless slumber, or maybe learning to see the world all over again. I know this sunset won’t last long, so I settle down more comfortably in my chair and feel the clairvoyant breeze ruffle my hair: wind that is speaking of the coming showers.
I have only just begun reading my novel when I hear the front door slam. In the next moment, there is a small whoosh and Nessie appears next to me, huffing. She is carrying her box which contains her favorite movies, and I remember that this evening is supposed to be her “Movie evening” with the girls. She puts the box down on the floor with a little too much force, and the contents inside rattle.
“Hi,” I say cheerfully, and she glares at me.
“Okay. You don’t want to talk.” I nod.
She sighs dolefully, and resorts to tapping her foot against the wooden patio. And just like that I know that my evening will be anything but quiet.
“If you’re not going to talk, then I request you to please stop tapping your foot. It’s interrupting my thoughts,” I say to her.
“Of course, everything I do interrupts someone,” she huffs. “Let me guess, you’re thinking about the triplets and their rooms, which everyone is thinking about too much, I might add.”
“No. Not really. You know that’s Alice’s job.” I shrug, having gotten an idea which way the conversation would go. “Speaking of which, why are you here? Aren’t Tuesdays your ‘Movie Evenings’?”
“They would be if anyone is interested.” Nessie makes a face. “I swear, Katherine’s kids are testing my patience. They ruined everything the moment they were born! All everyone ever talks about is how cute Abe is, or how loud Ewan shouts, and how much Lucy poops! How the hell are these things interesting?!”
Ah, the Older Child Syndrome. I am pleased that I was right.
“Well, they’re babies, Nessie. You know they’re born with a degree in the Imperius Curse: One look and people are ready to bow before them. They can’t help it.” I look at her from the corner of my eye, and find that I am nowhere close to finding the solution to her problem than I was fifteen minutes ago. Now, out of Katherine’s mental boundaries, I can see her thoughts as clear as day, and there is no mistaking that she is despising the fact that our family is paying more attention to the babies of ‘complete strangers’ (her words, not mine) than to her.
A sharp fear courses through me as I take in the picture her mind is painting. What if she behaves that way when we tell her what we’re planning? What of she hates her own brother when he comes? Will she think of him as a ‘complete stranger’? Will she have a hard time accepting our decision?
“It’s just natural, Nessie. They’re little. They’re like tiny, little . . . baby cicadas who have to be fed little worms by their elders.” I try to smile at her, but I can see the very famous “Duh” expression clearly.
“I don’t have any problem with them. They’re . . . they’re cute,” Renesmee sighs in defeat. “Katherine’s right. They’re little baby bears. It’s just . . . nobody ever pays attention to me anymore. I know that’s childish, but . . . I feel very lonely, Daddy.”
Uh-oh. Nessie used her name for me. She almost always calls me Dad. Daddy is a name that is saved for crises.
“Come here, honey.” I pull her into my lap, and she hides her face in the crook of my neck, all the while sighing mournfully.
“I just want someone to talk to, you know. Jacob and Seth are always playing with Abe, and Aunts Alice and Rosalie can’t take enough photos or come up with enough ideas. Even Mom blew me off today because she had to go into town to get things for them.”
I cringe internally at the way she says her last sentence, about Bella “blowing her off.” I am sure she must have had a good reason, but how would Nessie know that?
“It’s okay, honey. This too shall pass,” I chuckle. “They’ll grow up. And everything will be back to normal. But you might want to be prepared, hon.”
Nessie gives me a confused look, and I continue. “When Abraham, Ewan and Lucy grow up, you will be the one they’ll look up to. You’ll be their elder sister. You’ll have to set an example to them. An elder sibling is similar to a parent, Ness. Do you see how Sam and Emily’s daughter, Jackie, hangs on to your every word? So will be the case with them. You’ll be their teacher. You’ll have fun with them, because Lord knows what antics they’ll come up with.”
Nessie chuckles in my arms, “Uncle Emmett and Jacob are making a bucket list. They want to take Ewan to a strip club as soon as he turns eighteen.”
“Oh, we know he’ll do that.” I laugh, and Ness laughs with me.
“Ew, only Emmett can come up with a wish like that.” I heard Bella’s voice behind me as I was finishing with the incident, and I knew she had read the last sentence.
“Hey, you.” She came closer and leaned in for a kiss, which I gladly returned. “I hope you didn’t go to a strip club for your Bachelor Party.”
“There will be no comment on that.” I pretended to purse my lips, and Bella narrowed her eyes, which made me laugh.
“How was shopping, dear?” I asked her, finally closing my diary and making a mental note to finish the entry later.
“Oh, great!” Bella beamed. “The cribs are just perfect, Edward, although the sales lady gave us a weird look when we told her we wanted wrought iron cribs and not the wooden ones.”
I nodded at her. “All done, then?”
“Yes,” Bella put a few bags on the counter, and I saw one of the labels that said “Victoria’s Secret”. My inner Edward smiled slyly: It seemed my wife had done some shopping of her own.
“Oh, news update!” Bella clicked her fingers, giving me a look which told me she knew exactly what I was thinking about. “Alistair called. He’s coming here.”
“Is he now?” I couldn’t help the sarcasm in my voice. “Well, it seems that he doesn’t have a problem with hybrids. It’s just our daughter.”
Bella put the pan on the stove and started the chicken for Nessie’s dinner. “I know, Edward, that’s what I thought. Carlisle said it was okay, but it didn’t look like he felt it. He abandoned Carlisle . . . us . . . when we needed him most.”
“Why is he coming now?” I fiddled with an apple in the basket.
“For Mark and Katherine. He wants to see the kids. Apparently him and Mark are like brothers so . . .” Bella trailed off, but I could sense the contempt in her voice.
“Anyways,” I sighed, “I just wanted to remind you that Nessie has been feeling out of sorts lately.”
Bella stopped stirring the gravy. “Why, what happened? Did someone say something?”
“Bella, relax,” I placated her, “It’s nothing serious. She’s been feeling down because everyone is a little too much invested in the new ones.”
“What?” Bella breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s ridiculous, Edward! She knows they’re just babies!”
“You think I didn’t tell her that? But she needs attention too, you know. She’s our only child. She was kind of miffed when you went away for shopping with Esme. Tonight’s “Movie Night”, did you forget?” I raised an eyebrow, and Bella stopped all action at once.
“Oh my God.” She gave me a horrified look. “Edward, I completely forgot! Oh no, I am a horrible mother! I blew off my only child!” Bella flopped down onto the stool with her head in her hands, and my work began.
“You know”—I went around and took her in my arms—“the females in my family have a proclivity for over-reacting. I’m sure it’s fine, love. I handled it. Just be a little more present around her. Everybody is playing with Buzz Lightyear; nobody is paying attention to Woody.”
“You did not just compare her situation to Toy Story.” Bella grimaced at me. “I feel so bad, Edward. I’ll make it up to her, I promise.”
“Don’t say that to me. Say it to her.”
Bella sighed and nodded, then got up, turned off the stove and threw the gravy in the dustbin.
“I’m gonna make a cake for her, and we’ll have our movie night here: just the two of us. You might want to find a place to spend the night.”
“That’s not fair!” I groaned. “I get some privileges! I’m the messenger; I made you aware of the situation.”
“And I acted on your advice. What more do you want?” Bella gave a look, and I knew I would have to spend the night in the main house. Damn it, there went my personal Victoria’s Secret Show!
I grumbled while she cooked, and after some time, I remembered something very essential.
“You know we should probably tell her about our plans.” I took to fiddling with the apple again. “That she’s going to have a brother soon.”
Bella paused a little while kneading the dough. “You’re right, we should. Maybe when the hype about the new babies has cooled off a little. I mean. She’s already pissed off about being ignored. She won’t like knowing that it might not let up any time in the near future.”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “Have you thought about anything else, though? How we’re going to get a baby, that is?”
Bella put away the dough and washed her hands, all the while ruminating over something. Finally, she wiped them twice with a clean cloth and put it away, and took the seat across from me.
“I have been thinking about it. I thought . . . I thought maybe we could talk to Nahuel, you know? Didn’t he say that his father created a lot of vampire-human hybrids?”
I nodded. “Yes, he did. But Bella”—my voice made her look into my eyes—“we have to consider the possibility that getting a hybrid may not be easy. They’re not that common.”
Bella gave me a pained look, and then shook her head, sighing helplessly. “I know, Edward . . . ” There was a pause, during which she kept staring at an invisible bug on the counter.
“What was I thinking? I should have considered everything!”
“Hey, Bella.” I stopped her. “I am not saying it’s impossible. I am just saying it might be hard. We might have to wait. I mean, it’s not everyday vampires go around impregnating human women.”
Bella stared at me thoughtfully for some time, and when she spoke, her voice was feeble.
“What about . . . a human baby?”
I don’t know what my expression said, but it was enough to have her backtracking her words.
“Bella, listen to me. A human baby can risk exposure. You know what happened with Irina. She made a tiny mistake, and she had to pay for it. We keep moving every four years, and it’s hard enough to avoid others of our kind. We can’t expect someone to keep quiet if we run into them. The Volturi are very strict about exposure, and here we will be, bringing up a human child in a house full of vampires. They won’t leave without blood if they come again.”
Bella gasped at my crass explanation of the situation, and I looked at her remorsefully. I knew how badly she wanted to be a mother again, but these were some prospects that we just could not ignore.
“Okay, let’s try this. We let this stay for a while. We refrain from telling anyone about this. And in the meantime, I’ll contact Nahuel. I’ll ask him about all this. And if we have a chance, we can tell the family once everything’s finalized. How’s that?”
Bella looked disputed, but I saw the comprehension underneath her expression. “Yeah, that sounds right. We let it stay.”
“Yes,” I nodded firmly, “we let it stay.”
She looked conflicted but acquiesced nonetheless. “Okay.”
I knew that was not enough, so I engulfed her in my arms. “Bella”—I buried my head in the crook of her neck—“I want to be a father just as badly as you want to be a mother. I promise, I’ll try everything, okay? We’ll just have to be patient.”
She sighed and leaned into my touch. “Patience.”
“Patience.” I said, because I knew we would need that in the coming days.
Carlisle’s Diary ~ Independence Day – Cullen Style
“I AM NOT A KID ANYMORE!! STOP TREATING ME LIKE ONE! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL OVER THIS??? IT’S STUPID!”
I was sitting in my home office looking over some journals while Esme was sitting on the window seat looking out the window when we heard that followed by a slamming of the front door. We looked at each other. Hmmmm. Trouble in paradise?
“Renesmee Carlie Cullen! Don’t you dare speak that way to your mother and I!”
Edward’s voice was heard as the door was opened and slammed yet again. Time to go see what was going on before we no longer had a front door! Esme nodded as we both exited the office and were met in the hallway by a concerned looking Rosalie and a very puzzled Emmett. The four of us trouped downstairs as Edward and Nessie faced off in the living room. She was as red as a tomato with her arms crossed over her chest. Bella was standing behind Edward with a half angry; half concerned look on her face.
By then most of the family was gathered in the living room. Alice looked very upset which of course made Jasper unhappy. Leah and Seth came in after hearing the screeching from their cabin. Leah went to stand by Bella’s side and touched her arm in a comforting manner. Bella rolled her eyes at Nessie. Jacob was looking miserable on the couch. What on earth had happened? Reading my mind, Edward explained:
“Renesmee here wants to wear an outfit for her 15th birthday that both Bella and I feel is inappropriate for someone her age. It’s too revealing. Alice found it but didn’t want to show it to Renesmee because she knew how Bella and I would react, but she found it somehow and said she would wear it without our permission.” Edward finished the last part through clenched teeth.
Ah. The joys of parenting. I sighed and shook my head as Esme smiled.
“It is NOT too revealing…..it has flowers on the back! It’s not like I will be going out in it! I’ll be here at home with everyone!” Nessie retorted still looking angry.
“I don’t care if it has ducks on the back of it; it shows way too much skin for a girl your age! And that’s the last we will have on this subject! Alice and Michelle can help you pick out something age appropriate.” Bella said firmly.
“Oh you mean something with pigtails and white cotton all the way to my ankles so I look like a nun??” Nessie said in a nasty sounding voice which surprised us all.
“Ness, come on…..your parents are right. But anything you wear you will look beautiful in.”
Jacob stepped in to try and smooth things over only to get his head bitten off.
“Oh shut up Jake! No one was talking to you! You don’t know anything about this!” She yelled at him making his eyes bug out.
“ENOUGH! RENESMEE SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW OR YOU WON’T EVEN HAVE A PARTY! YOU’RE VERY CLOSE TO HAVING EVERYTHING CANCELLED YOU GOT THAT??”
Surprising us all, it was Bella not Edward who screamed that part so loud even Edward jumped. Nessie looked at her with wide round eyes and her mouth hanging open. Hell, we were all looking at her like that. Bella’s eyes were blazing as she took a menacing step toward her daughter that made Nessie scramble back a step. She was used to Bella being the one who smoothed things over when Edward laid down the law. She had never seen her mother that angry. Now Nessie was looking more scared then angry. We all stood firm where we were without betraying our emotions. But inside I knew all of us were cheering; way to go Bella!!!
“Renesmee, you are given anything and everything you need and want always. I will not have you turning into a spoiled brat because of something we didn’t want you to wear, do you hear me?? There are people out there that don’t have birthday parties or any clothes to wear to them for that matter. Not everyone gets what they want all the time! You don’t want us to treat you like a child so quit acting like one!” Bella said each word slowly looking at Nessie without blinking.
She sort of reminded me of Rogue at that moment. I had seen her talking to Rogue yesterday so maybe Rogue had given her some pointers on parenting. We certainly have never heard Bella take such a hard line before; Nessie deserved it though, she was really acting nasty toward the people who only wanted the best for her. I guess this is what it’s like having a teenager in the house. We’ve never had one so this was new to us. Bella being turned the last, knew what teenagers were like so she was the best to handle this situation. Nessie was standing there gaping like a fish at her mother who continued to stare at her.
“But…..but……” Nessie tried to say something but was promptly cut off.
“Not another word, do you hear me? I was not kidding Renesmee; I will cancel your party if you continue on this track. This subject is closed!”
At that point Bella turned her back on her daughter and walked away as Nessie’s shocked face dissolved into tears and she collapsed on one of the couches. This time though, none of us comforted her, not even Jacob who really wanted to but was all but pulled out of the room by Seth, Leah, and Edward. She deserved some time alone to think about what she had done and said. Nessie was beyond rude to everyone and though Alice felt horrible for inadvertently starting this, even she was surprised by how mean and hurtful Nessie’s words were especially to her parents and Jacob.
As we all walked out of the room, all of a sudden I heard a voice in my head; Amy’s. “Is it safe to approach the house or is WWIII still going on?”
I chuckled as did a few other people because I’m guessing Amy’s voice wasn’t just heard in my head but other’s as well. I answered for everyone that we were going to make our way outside while our mini drama queen was still sobbing in the living room. We made our way onto the porch in the backyard just as the Watchers approached. Well most of them anyways. Michelle’s parents were once again on a mission somewhere; Michelle was MIA so we only saw Amy, Peter, Corin, and Keith; with Alexander and Rogue very slowly bringing up the back. They weren’t flying, they walked. Keith and Corin quickly went to their respective wolves. We all hugged each other. In this half a year that they’ve been here, they’ve become closer to us then our Denali cousins. We loved each one of them and we know they felt the same way. We knew that we would be together forever. Wherever we moved, they were moving with us; and that notion made everyone very happy.
The Watchers kept a distance from Bella who was still seething. Even Edward was a little nervous about approaching her. The only one who braved that hurdle surprisingly was Leah, who after detaching herself from Keith, squared her shoulders and walked over to Bella’s side. She didn’t say anything as she just sat next to Bella. They sat there in silence for a long time until the silence was broken by yet another screech that made everyone jump.
“YOU DID WHAT??? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR EVER LOVING MIND??”
This one came from Rogue who faced off against her husband. Her face was white and her eyes were all but bugging out of her head. Her mouth was hanging open. Alexander looked very uncomfortable. Oy. Now what?
“Round 2.” said Amy rolling her eyes.
“Alexander may be sleeping on the couch tonight.” said Corin sighing and shaking her head as we all looked at them with confusion.
They just nodded toward the two standing facing each other. Even Bella who up until this point was sitting on the two person swing with Leah looked up with interest and her anger seemed to have passed; she and Leah looked at each other when Rogue first screeched.
“What……why…..you’re nuts!” Rogue sputtered.
“I got it for you…..as a way to show how much I love you.” Alexander said quietly. That calmed her down as she shook her head and touched his cheek with her hand.
“Silly man…….you didn’t need to buy me a damn island to show me that you loved me…..I know how much you love me, you show me that every day.”
We all looked at each other; Alexander bought Rogue an island? Well this sounded familiar as Esme looked at me and giggled because this was very similar to what her reaction was when I told her the same thing eons ago.
“What did you call it, Alexander?” I spoke up. That got their attention and they remembered that they had an audience, most of whom were smiling as Rogue got as red as a tomato.
“Rogue’s Isle.” Alexander said sheepishly as he smiled at his wife.
“Oh dear lord……how embarrassing.” She mumbled. At this point Esme stepped off the porch and walked up to Rogue and put her hand on her arm.
“It’s ok honey; now we both have islands named after us. When Carlisle told me he got me an island, my reaction was very much like yours but I’ve fallen in love with it and now it’s a very special place for the two of us as well the rest of our family. Edward and Bella even had their honeymoon there.” Esme said with a smile.
Bella smiled at that point obviously remembering the time and Edward knew it was safe to approach her. They hugged each other when he reached her. He kissed the top of her head. They both smiled at Rogue and Alexander who were standing in front of one another. Alexander was hoping that we would somehow get him off the hook for his little splurge because there was a little log lying near where they stood and he really didn’t want Rogue to use that as a means to smack him upside the head. Hearing his thought process she rolled her eyes.
“Do you have a photo of it?” She asked curiously.
Alexander nodded eagerly and pulled out his phone on which he had an aerial shot of the island (all photos are at the bottom). We all gathered to look at the photo; it looked like a very pretty place. While we were all gathered around Alexander looking at the photo of their new island and chatted amongst ourselves, Nessie emerged from the house. Her eyes were red and puffy and she had a bunch of tissues in her hand. She was very calm; the beast had disappeared. She looked around until she found her parents still standing together a little ways away. They looked at her but didn’t approach her.
Nessie took a shaky breath and slowly walked off the porch. She knew she had a lot of making up to do. We all watched her quietly. I could tell it took all of Jake’s power to not run up to her and hug her but Seth all but sat on him to keep him still; he didn’t really resist much. His brain was telling him to stay seated while his heart and his imprinted self was telling him to go to his imprint and make all of her pain go away. Poor Jacob. Jasper decided it was time to help and so he radiated calm in that direction which after feeling it, Jacob shot him a grateful look and they nodded at each other.
By that time Nessie had reached her parents, her eyes were cast down. They didn’t say anything to her but just watched her. Nessie finally took another shaky breath and looked up at her parents; mostly though she looked at Bella.
“I’m very sorry mommy and daddy for the way I acted. You were right; it was very selfish of me. It’s just a dress. I don’t really know why I overreacted the way I did. You only want what’s best for me always. I understand if you want to cancel my party, I don’t deserve to have one after the way I acted. I just don’t want you to be mad at me anymore……because that hurts a lot.” She ended that last part with a sob as more tears squeezed out of her eyes.
Bella briefly looked toward Rogue who nodded and smiled at her which confirmed my suspicions about them having the parenting talk yesterday. Bella then stepped forward and put her arms around her daughter as did Edward. They let her sob for a while and when that quieted down Bella pulled her chin up to meet her eyes and said:
“Apology accepted. Please Nessie; don’t ever talk to us like that again. We aren’t going to cancel your party. But you have to show us respect and trust that we know what is best for you, ok? More than my own life, remember?” Nessie nodded rapidly and cried again.
All was right in the world again; Nessie apologized to Jacob for being rude to him as well and he hugged her and almost didn’t let her apologize. In all the chaos, I had totally forgotten to mention the reason the Watchers and we were all gathering in our backyard; today is the 4th of July! America is 237 years old today. It’s older than a good chunk of my family; which is kind of funny. We will be shooting fireworks off in our backyard. Emmett is our pyromaniac so he set it all up; don’t worry we have a permit for it. So we have chairs and blankets set up for everyone who is interested. We are just waiting for the sun to go down. Emmett promised to make it the best fireworks spectacular we’ve ever seen.
“Wait a minute, where’s Michelle?” Nessie asked puzzled. The Watchers smiled. As if on cue, Michelle appeared in the middle of our backyard with a complete and total stranger. The stranger was a female; from the looks of it and the fact that she and Michelle were holding hands, I deduced this was Kim, Michelle’s girlfriend.
Michelle seemed very nervous as she and Kim walked toward us. Amy and Corin walked up to the two approaching women and hugged both. Kim was the total opposite of Michelle; looks wise I mean. Her hair was cut short and dyed jet black, she was an obvious tomboy. She wore a button down short sleeved plaid shirt that was a light blue color that was tucked neatly into khaki pants with a belt and shoes. She wore a very masculine looking watch on her left wrist. As they approached and the introductions were getting underway, Kim asked:
“Which one is Rosalie?” Rose who was about 4th one down the line for the introductions, raised her hand briefly and stepped forward. Kim explained:
“I was told you were good at fixing cars. That’s one of my favorite hobbies too.” She smiled and Rose’s eyes lit up.
“She’s right. She’s very handy; she can fix anything from an antique clock to a Ferrari!” said Michelle proudly.
“Wait how did you know Rosalie was good with cars?” I asked curiously.
“Heckel and Jeckel over there told me.” She said with a smirk and hitching her thumb over her shoulder toward Amy and Corin; who rolled their eyes and Corin stuck her tongue out at her making Kim grin. We all laughed.
Nessie who was standing a little shyly to the side got Michelle’s attention and Michelle introduced Nessie as her best friend to Kim. Kim smiled and said she’s heard all about her and how awesome a friend Nessie has been to Michelle.
“I’d like to thank you Nessie, for taking such good care of Michelle, especially when she got hurt. That really means a lot to me. I can’t always be there to protect her which sucks.” Kim sounded frustrated.
“So you heard about that whole thing huh?” Nessie asked.
“Oh you mean how she got that nasty scar on her leg? And how she was attacked by those four legged freaks and how Rogue went ape shit? Yep, heard all about that….got my bases covered.” She said and we couldn’t help but laugh. She had a very dry sense of humor.
Rogue laughed too but when her and Kim’s eyes met, something fierce and serious past between them and they both nodded at each other. I guessed that Kim was thanking Rogue for getting rid of the Children of the Moon and saving Michelle’s life; a nod from Edward meant I guessed correctly. Finally, we heard some throat clearing and looked to where Emmett was trying to get our attention.
“Oh I was just wondering if you wanted to see the fireworks or wait till next year?” He said impatiently pointing at the sky.
With all of our talking, we hadn’t realized the sun had almost set and we could do our fireworks spectacular. As we got situated and invited Kim to join us to which she whole heartedly agreed and she, Michelle, Nessie, and Jacob sprawled out on one of the blankets we’d laid out in the backyard. Esme had made some food earlier which everyone would enjoy after the show. Meanwhile, no one had noticed that Alice was feverishly working away on her tablet thingy. Finally, when she was satisfied, she walked over to where Bella and Edward were sitting and showed them. When they both smiled at her and nodded, she happily skipped over to where Nessie was sitting and shoved the thing into her face.
“How about this dress for your party, kiddo?” When Nessie looked at it her eyes got wide and she looked quickly at her parents who were both smiling.
“OMG, Alice! It’s gorgeous! I would love to wear that! Can I?”
“Of course you can! I got permission from the high counsel over there so now I can order it for you!” We all laughed as Edward and Bella rolled their eyes and also laughed.
Just then Emmett got all of our attention again and very dramatically waved his arms and as the first fireworks lit up the sky, yelled:
Most people think our lives got nice and quiet after the trial ended. Well most of our lives did yes. Not for Alice though. Literally the day after, she got a call from Tanya saying that Marcus had asked her to marry him and would she, Alice, come out and help her, Tanya, plan it. Alice of course squealed so loud I think you could hear her in Vermont! Of course, she took off like a bat out of hell. At first she thought of purchasing a plane ticket, then changed her mind and decided to run; finally Rogue solved the issue and said she’d fly her out as both she and Alexander wanted to go see Marcus.
Marcus really wanted for Rogue to officiate it, so Rogue got an Alaskan license in order to perform the ceremony. They took off that same afternoon. We were all really happy and excited for Tanya and Marcus. Nessie suggested that Alice should start a wedding planning business. She wasn’t far off there. I mean lord knew we had a whole chunk of them in the future and after Tanya and Marcus’, there was going to be Charlotte and Ben’s at some point. Not to mention the wolves and their imprints. But from what I gathered that was still a ways away and both Seth and Leah wanted to have their weddings in La Push. And Jacob and Nessie……well that one, Edward didn’t even want to consider. I guess we’ll just cross those bridges when we get there.
Meanwhile, Alice was on fire planning the wedding in Alaska. What made things very easy is that both Tanya and Marcus wanted a very simple wedding. The theme was Simply Green (photos of everything are below). Tanya didn’t want an engagement ring. Her jewelry was very simple and a wedding ring would suffice. Even her wedding dress was quite simple; it was silk and very form fitting with diamonds around the bust line and a short train. She didn’t want a veil. Bridesmaids’ dresses were green of the shoulder silk numbers that were knee length. The groomsmen outfits were just simple suits with green ties and white and green flowers in the lapels. Even the cake had a bit of green in it. The reason they chose what they did was because they were both simple people and they never wanted anything over the top.
So in less time then we could have imagined, we were told to saddle up and come to Alaska for the wedding. The wolves were invited too. It was all very impromptu because they didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Best man was Alexander with Keith, Peter, and me being the groomsmen. I was honored to be asked. Maid of honor was Kate with Carmen, Esme, and Alice as bridesmaids. Nessie was the flower girl. She was very excited. Rogue was presiding. The actual ceremony was being held inside their gargantuan ballroom and reception outside in the backyard where lanterns were hanging from lines and from trees. Two long tables would house all the guests and the couple would sit at a special table in the front. All very simple yet elegant.
Everything looked immaculate. Alice did another wonderful job. So those of us, who were just guests, took their seats as Edward sat behind the piano to play some soft Beethoven to everyone coming down the aisle. Nessie came first with white and green petals; Jacob couldn’t get his eyes off of her. Marcus and Rogue stood at the arch in the front. Then came Alice and Peter followed by Esme and I, then Carmen and Keith and lastly Alexander and Kate. Then all of the guests stood up for Tanya as she came down the aisle. Her hair was up in a beautiful up-do with a lot of hair cascading down. It was similar to what she had for Bella and Edward’s wedding but a lot more formal. Marcus’ eyes got so wide, we thought they would pop out of his head. She came to stand in front of him and handed her bouquet to Kate. They held hands as Rogue began the ceremony.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this event has been some millennia in the making and I’m proud to finally be officiating this day of bliss. The two people before me have come a long way to finding true love and even finding it twice. So please join hands and say the vows you have written to each other. Tanya would you read what you’ve written to Marcus?” Tanya nodded and then unfolded a piece of paper and began to speak:
Don’t be afraid to love. Even someone who seems unlovable.
That could have been said for the both of us
I never believed in love
Or rather never let myself believe
Then you came into my life
Someone I should have hated
But instead loved
The goodness of your heart
In the face of adversity
Made you a man strong as iron
With a heart of gold
In my eyes
I have never felt safer
More beautiful in someone’s eyes
Thank you for giving me
The world and yourself along with it.
As usual, everyone and their grandmother as Seth likes to say, had tears in their eyes. What Tanya had written was spoken so beautifully and eloquently that you couldn’t not get emotional and considering we didn’t have any full humans at this gathering, tears were relative. Marcus just stared at Tanya as if he was afraid that if he blinked, she would vanish. Rogue then after sniffing a bit herself, turned to Marcus and said:
“Marcus would you please read to Tanya what you have written?” He nodded and held both of Tanya’s hands as he looked straight into her eyes and began to speak:
ΚΑΡΔΙΑ ΜΟΥ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΟ, η καρδιά μου είναι γεμάτη από εσάς.
My heart is true, my heart is full of you.
Those are the words that came to me when I was thinking of what to write
They were the words that I suddenly remembered one of my siblings
When getting married said to his future wife
And it’s so true in this case
I walked for millennia
A figure of stone
Caught in my grief and bitterness
Thinking my eternity will be spent in this living hell
Until I set my eyes upon you
You were the comet that shot across my starless sky
Beautiful beyond words
My cold dead heart
Felt alive again
You brought me back
From the brink of my own destruction
Gave me something I never thought I could have again
Freedom to feel
You are my goddess
My princess in this world of unknowns
I love you more than words will ever express
It will be an honor to serve you the rest of my days
And cue the waterworks again. Even Rogue had tears rolling down her face. It’s a good thing Alice thought to provide every row with tissues! That speech was so powerful and beautiful, especially since he started it off with a phrase in his native Greek. After all that was said, Alice passed tissues around to anyone in the wedding party who needed them. I had forgotten to mention that among the usual guests we had the Amazons joining us as well; Zafrina, Senna, and Kachiri all made the trip for this wedding. All were smiling at the happy bride and groom. Rogue then got down to business again.
“Ok well that was lovely and all but you’re not supposed to make the officiating party cry…..that’s not in the contract.” She said with a sniff and everyone laughed. That lightened the mood again; well that and Jasper doing his thing to which Rogue looked over and gave him a grateful nod, he responded with a large crooked grin. Then Rogue turned back to the couple.
“May I have the rings please?” Alexander handed them over. They were white gold. The only difference was that Kate’s had a little diamond in the middle on one side while Marcus’ was just solid white gold all the way around.
“Ok Marcus take this ring and place it on Tanya’s finger and repeat after me; Tanya, with this ring I thee wed.”
“Tanya my love, with this ring I thee wed.” He slid it on her finger without fanfare.
“Tanya take this ring and place it on Marcus’ finger and repeat after me;
Marcus with this ring, I thee wed.”
“Marcus, with this ring, I thee wed FOREVER.” Everyone laughed as she slid it on his finger.
“Well, that went well.” Rogue said as everyone giggled. “What am I missing? Oh duh! I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride!”
As we all clapped and cheered, Marcus and Tanya kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed…….finally after some throat clearing they stopped giggled, Tanya took her bouquet from Kate and they ran up the aisle. The wedding party did their thing with Rose being the photographer. After which we all went toward the large open area in the backyard where the reception was to be held. It looked like a very fancy backyard gathering. The dance floor was set up and after everyone entered to applause, the newlyweds went straight to the dance floor for their first dance which was Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always.” The buffet consisted of Greek, American, and Mediterranean food. Now that we all had the ability to eat, we got to enjoy it.
The Denali clan had finally come on board with that as well and Rogue gave them the gift of enjoying food. So now everyone in Alaska was paired off as well. We were incredibly happy that both Tanya and Marcus found happiness in each other. Their honeymoon was to be in Greece. Tanya had never been and Marcus was eager to show her all of his favorite places. They were to leave that night. Alice made sure she booked a flight for them with minimal layovers. They were going to go from Anchorage to Denver, from Denver to New York City and from NYC straight to Athens. The honeymoon would last about a month. We couldn’t wait for pictures.
Meanwhile, we enjoyed the reception and the music. Marcus was actually an amazing dancer and had taught Tanya the tango. They looked really sexy on the dance floor, most of us who knew the dance, joined in while the others just watched with approval. All in all it was a very lovely evening. So now that we were sending off the next happy couple we were looking at Alice like ok, that’s another one done…..who’s next?
“Charlotte and Ben!” Said Alice with a huge grin. We all laughed; maybe we needed to really open a wedding planning business! And Nessie came up with the perfect name for it; Holy Weddings!
Hmmmmm……something to think about.
In the meantime, thank you for joining us here in Alaska for the wedding of our extended family members. I hope you enjoyed yourselves and have a lovely evening.
So I had to take Carlisle’s diary again because well it was wedding season and he just couldn’t explain things properly. Anywho, after the simply green wedding in Alaska, we had gotten back home feeling content and I thought I would actually have some one on one time with Jasper. Thought wrong! It turns out that Charlotte and Ben, knowing that we were in Alaska for our “cousin’s” wedding, started to really think about their own and didn’t want to wait. As Charlotte told me, “I got lucky. My life was spared so I could live it to the fullest and I don’t want to delay my life with Ben any longer.”
So with those words, I decided it was time to plan her wedding. What I was really amazed at was the fact that the happy couple had already done most of the thinking and planning; they knew their theme, colors, and so forth. So on a particular cloudy day, I invited them to our house where we had more than enough room on the porch to get down to business. They decided that they had wanted to get married here in NH as opposed to going to Texas because this was their home now. Ben is a native from NH though a different town. So when they arrived, I grabbed my wedding planning kit which basically was a notebook, pen, and my Intel Tablet and lead the way to the porch where we all got comfortable.
“Ok guys so what will it be?” I asked with a smile.
“Well for starters, thank you so much for doing this for us Alice, it really does mean a lot.” Charlotte said touching my arm.
“Oh it’s absolutely a pleasure to do for you both. You’ve been through so much this year that it’s the very least I could do.” It was true.
Charlotte had arrived here in NH looking for a new opportunity and to start a new life, which she did but with a massive hiccup. That hiccup shall remain nameless but she nearly cost Charlotte her life. Speaking of the hiccup, Rogue told us the other day that a date for the execution had been set; for October 31st of this year. Of course the defense is appealing so it may drag out for who knows how many years. At least we know it’s over with and we don’t have to see her ever again. We are all moving with our lives. A new nurse was hired in the hospital to take what’s her face’s place. This one was hired promptly because it turned out that she was related to Betsy’s husband and their family had moved up here. So Betsy’s got a relative in the hospital now. Everyone is happy; the woman is very capable and competent. But I got off track…..where was I? Oh yes on the porch planning Charlotte and Ben’s wedding.
“So what do you guys want to do or do you want my help to pick out themes and such?” I asked while scribbling in my notebook.
“No we’ve actually done a lot of homework on our own. We want to have a Texas theme. I want to wear white cowgirl boots under my dress and I want my bridesmaids to have short coral dresses with coral cowgirl boots.” Charlotte said with a smile.
“Oh neat! I can totally see that happening. Ooooooo and I totally know where we can have it!!” I squealed as I remembered.
“Where?” Ben was the one who asked.
“There’s this massive old barn that belongs to Dartmouth but it’s not on the actual campus.
It has this really old fireplace and I think it was used during the Civil War or something. It would totally work for your theme.”
“Oh wow. Can we go see it?”
“Oh for sure! I just have to call the landlord of it and ask it for the date you mentioned you wanted and then we can start planning.”
“I’m getting really excited about this now! It’s starting to seem real.”
“Girl, it IS real! You’re getting married. Now, let’s go with who you want in the wedding party and who you want invited.”
“Well we both want our siblings as the maid of honor and best man. We have a ton of cousins so those will be incorporated into the wedding party. We want Texas style cooking. A buffet would work perfectly. We trust your judgment.”
“All right, sounds good to me. You too can run along now, I got this covered. Do you want to go see the barn tomorrow? How are your schedules? Oh and where do you want to go on your honeymoon?”
“Our schedules are pretty open after 4pm tomorrow so yes a trip to the barn would work well. And for the honeymoon, this is a sad admission but neither of us have been out of the country and have always wanted to go to Spain so that’s where we would like to go.”
“That’s absolutely not a problem and Spain is soooooooooooooooo beautiful! You’ll both love it!” I said.
Then I let them go. I was excited to show them the barn tomorrow. I mean even though it looks like a barn, it’s so much more than that. Outside, yes it looks just like a huge barn but on the inside, it has a ton of potential. Besides, theirs isn’t the first nor the last wedding held there. Some people like that western feel to their celebrations. A half hour after they left, it started to rain and I realized I needed to hunt because that little burning sensation we live with on an everyday basis was turning into a little inferno and it was time to quench the thirst. I went into the house to see if anyone wanted to go with me or needed to go rather. And it turned out that both Bella and Rose needed to hunt so, we three women, took off into the forest behind our house to get some din din.
The whole time we spoke of all the weddings we’ve been to in the last year. I know Bella doesn’t want to think about it, but Nessie will at some point marry that pesky mutt and that’s yet another event I will be planning. I know that I have been feeling a bit jealous about all the time Bella has spent with Leah because I truly feel like I’m losing my best friend but out hunting it felt like old times, well old times with Rose acting a lot warmer toward Bella than ever before. When Bella gave birth to Nessie, something inside Rosalie melted. That stone exterior with the icy interior faded. The only thing Rose always wanted and couldn’t have was children and with Nessie she got the chance to live out that fantasy even though Nessie wasn’t hers. It made her truly respect Bella and really understand all of her decisions in a new light.
When we got back, full of deer and mountain lions, the other two went to do whatever they needed to do, meanwhile since it was now pouring, I didn’t want to stay outside, I went into my walk in closet and spread out on the floor with all of my stuff and continued to plan the wedding. Now I love planning these things but to tell you the truth, I needed a break. I don’t have a chance to spend any time with my family and especially not with Jasper. What I like is that Jasper has become more of an integral part of the family. He’s become closer with the wolves especially with Seth. But then again who cannot love Seth? He’s such a sweetheart even though he reeks. I wish the Watchers could fix the whole smell thing. I need to talk to Rogue one of these days about that.
In the coming weeks, Charlotte, Ben, and I saw the barn which they heartily approved and I moved fast forward with planning. The same day as we saw the barn, I sent out wedding invitations. Charlotte’s whole family was in Texas so they were flying here. Ben’s family was all over the New England states so they were driving up. Both parties extended the invitation to our family, wolves, and Watchers; which was incredibly sweet of them and we all accepted. I was having so much fun planning this one because I’ve never done a Texas theme before. So I found the perfect dresses and boots for the bridal party. Everyone was going to look stunning. I couldn’t wait! The groomsmen were all going to be wearing cowboy hats and boots too.
Finally the big day arrived! All the hotels in Hanover were booked with the guests from out of town. We had about 150 guests at this wedding so it was sizable. A Catholic priest was going to be officiating this one as both held their religion in high regard. I decorated the barn with a bunch of hanging lights and candles. Everything had a very Texas theme to it and was very ethereal at the same time. All of the photos are below and I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do! Their theme colors were white, beige, and coral. All looked really pretty together; very soft and very them.
I took my seat next to Jasper and Rose when I knew everything was perfect and it was time for the ceremony to begin. Ben looked very handsome in his black suit jacket and coral tie; he had jeans on that were tucked into his cowboy books. The groomsmen and bridesmaids all made it down the aisle to soft music coming from the invisible speakers I had so properly installed. I totally rock at this! Then it was time for the bride who wore a gorgeous lace dress with a train and a long veil, she came down the aisle to the “Here Comes the Bride” song. Her dad was walking her down the aisle and I could see that it was very emotional for both of them.
As this was a wedding for primarily humans, I hired an actual photographer and videographer. Everything was going to be done the human way. The immortals were the minority at this wedding. It sort of reminded me of Bella and Edward’s wedding. Theirs was a bit more formal than this one. Anywho, once the bride and the groom were next to each other the priest asked:
“Who gives this young woman to be married to this young man?”
“Her mother and I do.” Charlotte’s dad said and handed her hand over to Ben who took it and they stood facing the priest. Then the priest started off the ceremony with some prayers.
After which he asked the couple to face each other and hold hands, which they did after Charlotte handed her bouquet over to her sister.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to pay witness as these two young people join their hands in holy matrimony. Ben, will you take Charlotte to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, as long as you both shall live?”
“I do.” Ben said winking at Charlotte who giggled.
Charlotte, will you take Ben to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, as long as you both shall live?”
“I do.” Charlotte said demurely.
“May I have the rings please?” The priest asked the best man who gave them to him. They were very simple rose gold bands.
“Ben, place the ring on Charlotte’s finger as you repeat after me; Charlotte, with this ring I wed thee.”
“Charlotte, with this ring I wed thee.” Ben said as he put the ring on Charlotte’s finger.
“Charlotte, place the ring on Ben’s finger as you repeat after me; Ben, with this ring I wed thee.”
“Ben, with this ring I wed thee.” Charlotte said softly as she slid the ring on Ben’s finger.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, by the power vested in me by the state of New Hampshire, I now pronounce you man and wife; you may kiss your beautiful bride!”
As Charlotte blushed, Ben kissed her as everyone stood up and cheered. When they parted, they were both grinning from ear to ear. Charlotte retrieved her bouquet from her sister just as the priest said:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have the pleasure to introduce to you the new Mr. and Mrs. Ben Palmer!”
Everyone clapped and continued to cheering as the happy couple all but ran up the aisle and then everyone followed them out of that area of the barn. Then while the wedding party was taken aside by the photographer for pictures, the rest of us mingled and found our seating. Since I knew where everyone was to sit, I helped both the mortals and the immortals find their tables. I was and am after all the wedding planner! The buffet was to be served soon and so I had made my way into the kitchen area to make sure everything was running smoothly. We were going to have some serious BBQ-Texas style! Yum! I’m so grateful to Rogue for giving us our taste buds back…..it’s so nice to enjoy normal food again, even if it doesn’t fill us up.
Rogue heard my thoughts and smiled from across the room, meanwhile I was making sure the cake was in its proper place just as the wedding party arrived. They were introduced by the emcee. The bride and groom took to the dance floor for their first dance which they chose to be Faith Hill’s song “Breathe”. They looked so sweet together. Everyone stood around the outer rim of the dance floor and watched them; camera flashes were going off everywhere. I was extremely happy. Then the food was served and I felt like I had died and went to heaven. That BBQ which was served in about 15 different ways was to die for to say the least!
Everything had gone off without a hitch, the bride and groom sat at their royal looking country table and devoured their food. After which they made their rounds around to each table to thank everyone for coming. After cutting the cake and taking photos with the cute horseshoes that were on it, they fed each other the cake and drank the champagne. Then suddenly, someone stole the microphone and I heard some throat clearing. We all turned to the dance floor where Rogue was standing with what looked like a picture frame. She smiled at the happy couple and said:
“As part of my present to the two of you, I have written a poem which I have put into this frame; if you don’t mind, I’d like to read it to you now.”
Everyone nodded eagerly and took their seats. Rogue wrote poetry? Wow! Who knew? Was there anything she couldn’t do? But then I shut my brain off and concentrated on her. She stood there for a few seconds as soft New Age music started playing in the background; she loves her New Age. Then she closed her eyes very briefly and when she opened them it seemed like her piercing blue eyes were even more blue than thought possible. Then she began to speak:
Think of me
Hold on to me
Like someone afraid
For a harsh sea to
Tear us apart
For I love you
Be my life
So wrong sometimes
Is so right with you
Never letting go
Who needs angels
When living on earth
Today binds us
We are now one
May we look back
On this day
60 years from now
With nothing but pride
We are one
When she finished reading, I know there wasn’t a dry eye in the house or the barn I should say. Charlotte had gotten up with tears running down her face and walked over to Rogue to thank her and hug her as did Ben who you could tell was very much emotionally touched by the words. That was something else, Rogue then handed over the frame to the couple who thanked her again as she went to sit at the Watcher table. Alexander put his arms around her and kissed her.
After that it was time to get jiggy wit it! Literally, that was the first song that started playing when the emcee/DJ started spinning his tunes. Soon everyone was on the dance floor having a fabulous time. I just stood back and took it all in. I’m glad I got a chance to do this for them but I’m also glad that it’s the last wedding in a long time; I need a break. With that, I was dragged on the dance floor by Nessie and Rose where I remained for the rest of the night. Even after we sent the happy couple on their way on their honeymoon to Spain, we still stayed and danced. That was one hell of a wedding. I even got a cowgirl hat out of it! I looked at myself in the mirror…….I guess now I’m ready to go to Texas!
So we have a wonderful time during our 4th of July celebration. The fireworks, the food, meeting Kim finally, and having all the arguments settled. All that screeching wasn’t just giving me a headache but a few others were like enough already! First we had a like 5 months of human drama with that insane woman now we have teenagers running rampant in our houses. Rogue has thankfully gotten over her embarrassment of the island Alexander has bought her and we are actually all planning a trip there at the end of July. As in all of us; family, wolves, and all of the Watchers which includes Michelle, Kim, and both of her parents. There won’t be a single supernatural soul left in NH for 11 days. We can sparkle in the sun and be totally fine with it because like Isle Esme, Rogue’s Isle is also made only for visiting parties. The difference is unlike Esme’s island which is located off the coast of Brazil, Rogue’s Isle is located within the Maldives which are half way around the world.
Since there are 9 Watchers and 11 of us none Watchers, two will have to come back for those left behind because none of us will be traveling by airplane. Esme and I volunteered to stay behind as it would take about 15 minutes to transport everyone from NH to Rogue’s Isle via flying. But there are still a few weeks away before that happens. I’m currently writing in my diary sitting in the backyard. All of our more humanoid family members are complaining about the heat. Even here in NH it is a nice and scorching 86 degrees. But we do have the a/c going on full blast so it’s like you walk from the oven into an igloo. Nessie attempted to see if she could fry an egg on our driveway, but it had to be well over 100 degrees to do that so instead we had an egg run down our driveway like a small yellow eyeball while Nessie and Michelle collapsed in a fit of giggles. Edward with a sigh used a hose to wash it away.
I’m glad to say that after Nessie’s little dramatic outburst the other day, all has returned to normal. Who knows maybe it’s her hormones kicking in. After all, she’s technically built like an almost 15 year old even though she’s only 5. Last week we had another very dramatic occurrence in Edward and Bella’s house which sent Bella and Leah to the drug store for some certain feminine products. Nessie was so embarrassed as it was her first time, she didn’t come out of her room until everything was washed and cleaned and she herself was cleaned up and taken care of with all of the necessary new “accessories” as Alice called them.
Being a doctor though not an obstetrician, I knew all about the process girls went through when they hit puberty. This little monthly friend was just another one of them. Boys went through them too but without all the extra drama. Girls certainly went through a lot more changes and pain that’s for sure. Which after it happened, had both Bella and Edward visiting me in my office and asking whether since this had this very human trait; would this mean Nessie could eventually be able to have children of her own? I honestly couldn’t and still can’t answer that. Nessie is one of a very few kind; so therefore we don’t know how hybrids deal with pregnancy.
Furthermore, there was the topic of the fact that the sole object of her affection and vice versa was Jacob; a shape shifting werewolf. If werewolves when bitten by vampires can be poisoned, who’s to say that when hybrid DNA and wolf DNA mixes, something drastic may not happen? Thankfully we have a couple of more years to think about that as Nessie is only turning 15 and Jacob though who knows he wants to be her husband someday, isn’t in any hurry to go forward with that process. Besides, after this little oopsy happened and then the drama queen argument over the dress that I can’t help but think are related; the only thing Nessie is thinking full steam ahead is her birthday party…..and she’s even figured out what she wants. She announced it the other day when the whole family and some of the Watchers were just relaxing in our living room. Ready for this?
“I want a dog.” Nessie said matter-of-factly while sitting cross-legged on the couch and playing with her hair.
“You want a what?” Edward said surprised; she had asked Bella to shield her thoughts so her over reacting father wouldn’t go bananas.
“A dog, a puppy, you know four legs, a tail, adorable.”
“I get the concept of it, Nessie thanks.” Edward said sarcastically.
“You asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I figured it out; I want a puppy.”
“Why Nessie? You already have Jacob!” Rosalie said with a small smirk from across the room; to which she received a half menacing growl.
“Stop it Aunt Rose! Jacob is a person and a wolf…..I’m talking about a small adorable puppy who I can carry around with me everywhere and take care of and love.”
“Do you know how much responsibility a dog or animal is of any kind? They need to be fed, washed, walked, and played with, to name a few.” Edward checked off on his fingers.
“Again I say……you already do all that with Jacob!” Rose was not letting up. Nessie ignored her at that point.
“Yes, I know that. But I’m willing to do all of that. Besides, daddy, you know me to be a very responsible person. I clean my own room and sometimes even Jacob’s! I am learning from mommy and grandma how to cook. I’m a responsible adult or almost one and I think I can take care for a dog.” She was standing firm as Edward’s eyes narrowed. He noticed Bella was not backing him up; which could only mean one thing.
“You have already made up your mind haven’t you? And that’s why I’m finding this out only today because she’s asked you to shield her mind.” Bella grinned in response.
“Yep. I think all of her points are valid. She is a mature young lady, save that one slip up a week ago but we know those were the hormones talking which is par for the course with a teenager around.” Bella said making Nessie blush.
“I don’t like how the two of you gang up on me like this.” Edward mumbled. The rest of us just smiled. Edward continued:
“You and I are supposed to be the partners here.” He moved his hand between himself and Bella, who just rolled her eyes and shook her head.
“That is true dear but you don’t always think before you react and this was the only way to tell you without having you go ballistic.” Bella explained.
“Tell me? Tell me?? You mean spring it on me don’t you??” Edward said, his eyebrows almost taking flight toward the ceiling.
“Case in point. See what I mean?” Bella gestured to his overreaction. Edward shut his mouth and stalked out of the room. Nessie looked worried.
“Don’t worry honey, he’ll get over it. Sometimes I wonder if daddy gets afflicted by hormones too.” Bella said smoothing her hair while the rest of us laughed.
“Yeah he has a bad problem of the open mouth insert foot syndrome.” Alice added with a wink.
“You realize I can hear all of you right????” Edward yelled from across the house.
“Good!” Bella, Alice, Rosalie, and Jacob yelled back in unison making everyone dissolve in laughter again.
This is where I slipped out with my diary and began writing this entry. My family was nothing if not dramatic. But it would be great to let Nessie have the puppy. After thinking and writing that I heard Edward groan from somewhere in the house; sorry son! You’re fighting a losing battle here. Might as well give up and let the puppy search begin. Your daughter is going to be 15 only once. More grumbling from the house. I shook my head, he’ll learn sooner or later. Anyways, after thinking about the near future and all that still had to be done, I just kind of looked around the backyard and thought about how lucky I was.
I wasn’t paying much attention to anything around me when I noticed my entire family walk out of the house onto the porch first then the back yard. At first I thought they were just looking to get some fresh air; but it wasn’t until I noticed that they all looked quite concerned and with that thought the three wolves growled and phased simultaneously, standing in front of my family. I got off the swing and started to walk toward them. Corin and Keith were with us so they stood really close to the wolves and concentrated toward a certain part of the back yard.
I never reached my family as 4 vampires appeared out of the woods, the one in the lead, looked around until his eyes found mine as I gasped and the recognition and memories came flooding back. His clothes were old and shabby; his eyes were crimson red as were of those who were with him.
“Well well well……what do we have here?” The vampire said cockily.
“Carlisle, who is that?” Edward asked me without his eyes ever leaving the intruders face.
As the shock finally lifted……I managed to mumble…….
I drive through the streets in a good mood. It’s one of the rare sunny days in La Push, but that’s not why I’m happy. Actually, I would usually be unhappy on sunny days because that meant everyone would be outside enjoying the nice weather, so I’d have to stay in to avoid them. The reason for my good mood today is because Dad suggested I go make the dream catcher Jacob wanted. The building should be empty today, so I could have time to paint, too, and luckily, I don’t have to work today.
Finally I pull up to the council meeting building and go inside, leaving the door unlocked and pocketing the keys. I go to work on Jacob’s dream catcher first, choosing a smaller rim than the first I made. I use brown leather to cover the rim and black string for the web, only adding a couple of beads. After I’ve picked several more beads, I attach small brown feathers to the middle of the web and the bottom.
I have to say, the dream catcher looks pretty good for being only the second I’ve ever made, and this time solely from memory. Leaving the dream catcher on the table, I go to the easel where my painting still sits and pour some paints. Even though the painting isn’t finished, I don’t feel like I can continue to paint it since I’m in a different mood than I was when I started it. I hesitate, deciding to just leave the first painting for someone else and start a new one. After moving the painting to the shelf with a note saying anyone can finish or take it, I find a blank canvas and pour a rainbow of acrylics onto the paint tray.
I’m not sure how much time passes before I finally am satisfied with the painting and put my paints away. Quickly, I sign my name and carry the canvas and dream catcher out to the car, setting them on the passenger seat and driving towards home. I park in our driveway and then carefully pick up the dream catcher, tuck the canvas under my arm, and walk over to the Black’s house.
Billy answers the door a few moments after I knock.
“Leah! What a surprise, ” he says with a smile in his deep booming voice.
“Is Jacob here? He asked me to make him this. ” I hold up the dream catcher.
Jacob appears behind his Dad and Billy retreats back into the house. It’s the first time I’ve been over to their house in what seems like forever. I don’t like coming over when Rachel and Rebecca’s aren’t living here. It just seemed so empty and boring.
“Hey, ” Jacob says.
“I brought you this, ” I say as I give him the dream catcher.
“Oh, thank you. It’s beautiful. Now I know who to call for all of my dream catcher needs, ” Jacob says with a smile.
“Yeah, I guess. Do you think maybe you could do a favor for me?”
“Sure, what do you need?” Jacob asks.
“Meet me by my car at midnight tonight with your tools.”
“Um, okay. Are we altering your car or something?”
“Yeah. I need the engine to run quieter, ” I say.
“Can do. Thanks again for the dream catcher.”
“Yep. Well, see you later, ” I say, turning and walking back home.
I manage to make it to my room without anyone in the house talking to me and go about finding a spot to hang my painting. Finally I decide on a spot beside my window that covers up a spot of peeling paint. As I finish straightening the painting, I have the crazy idea that I should just paint my room—not one solid color, but an array of pictures. I quickly dismiss the thought, since I don’t plan to live here much longer and I’d probably just get in trouble for it anyways. To avoid spoiling my rare mood, I stay in my room for the rest of the afternoon, doodling and sketching ideas for more paintings.
I felt like I was rooted to the spot. Before me stood the vampire who had turned me that night so long ago when I had been hunting him with my group of vampire hunters. He must have thought he killed me. I never for a moment thought I would see him again. I focused on the new arrivals. The one who was staring at me and who first spoke said:
“My name is Ferguson. Looks like I didn’t do such a great clean up job all those years ago as you are still alive, and have a whole brood of golden eyed freaks!”
“What do you want from us? Why are you here?” I asked point blank. It was obvious, this wasn’t a social or positive visit.
“To finish the job. My friends here and I are or were good friends with the Volturi who seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth when they came here months ago. We were told about you and your ‘vegetarian’ bullshit lifestyle and that you had a bunch of gifted members. Not as gifted as us of course.” The others with him laughed.
I looked at Edward who was looking very concerned indeed. As was Alice who looked a bit frightened.
“Their plan is to destroy you, Carlisle, then move on to us by having Nessie for dinner and dispatching the rest of us one by one.” Edward said.
“So you’re the mind reader. Well read this…….we are unstoppable, we are invincible. So might as well just give up and go quietly.”
The wolves growled menacingly and tried to take a step forward, as did Jasper and Emmett but found that they couldn’t. Apparently, one of the vampire’s gifts was to root people in their places. Bella’s attempt to stretch her shield around everyone was futile as their gift was of the physical form as opposed to the mental. So now my whole entire family was helpless and I wasn’t even standing near them.
We did have two Watchers with us at the time; Corin and Keith who were watching them with intense expressions. They were the only ones still being able to move but not giving it away, as apparently these cocky vampires have never heard of them and they didn’t want to give them any more advantages. What happened next, no one in their wildest dreams expected even the Watchers who knew it all. Ferguson, without waiting for anymore conversation, launched himself into the air at me so fast; I couldn’t even follow it with my keen vision. The next thing I knew or felt rather was tremendously intense pain in my right arm. When I looked at it, to my horror, it was gone! My right arm was torn away from my body and Ferguson who was standing a little ways away was holding it and juggling it with a laugh.
I collapsed to the ground with a guttural groan, my eyes going blurry for the first time. I heard Esme screaming my name in the background but I couldn’t even focus on my wife. I have never felt such pain since the night Ferguson bit me to turn me. I tried to get up and focused on the horrified and agonized faces of my family. Esme was screaming and dry sobbing.
“Oh look, your little wifey wants to be with you. Don’t worry baby….once I’m done with your pathetic mate, you can be my wifey, how does that sound?” Ferguson cackled gleefully staring at Esme with a hunger that made me want to throw up.
“You will not touch her.” I said but my voice was weak and feeble which made him laugh even harder. Esme looked at him in fear.
“Or what? What will you do? See, my gift or power is that I have the strength of a newborn but the mind of a seasoned veteran, so I’m invincible to you stupid freaks!”
His companions waved their hands like get on with it already. Ferguson nodded at them and then moved a little ways away to launch him at me again for whatever it was going to be. I had never been this scared in my whole vampire existence. But just as he flew into the air, something got my attention; Corin and Keith’s eyes were glowing stark white. Ferguson’s companions noticed it as well but it was too late to warn him. He had already launched himself at me for a second blitz attack.
Just then a noise came whistling by in the air that sounded like a comet. It was the same color and the same speed. It went right through Ferguson! So when he fell back to earth we were all appalled to see that there was a perfect circular hole where his abdomen, ribs, and spine should have been! You could literally see right through him. Had he been human he would have been dead instantly. As it was he was wincing and writhing on his knees unable to get up.
“What was that about being invincible?” A voice came out of the comet. It was still glowing above the ground and then slowly it started to take human form and then the light faded to reveal none other than; Rogue.
Before Ferguson could react in any way, Rogue grabbed him by the right arm and leg and spun him around so fast that soon she was the one holding those two limbs and they were no longer attached to him or what was left of him anyways. He was laying on the ground a little ways away his face contorted in pain and now it was his turn to groan horribly; at least I could sort of sit up having still one of my arms. I don’t know why but at that point the strangest thoughts started pouring into my head like; I could never be a doctor again and how would I help my family with every day stuff. I was going to be useless. Who wants a one armed vampire? What if Esme fell out of love with me?
The three vampires still standing by the edge of the woods stood horrified and transfixed by the sight before them; there lay their fearless leader who had conquered all and now he was in pieces. And the one who put him there wasn’t even a vampire. Quite obvious of course that she was an immortal with strength beyond their wildest dreams. Also this explained what happened to the Volturi. Just then Rogue nodded at Keith and Corin whose still glowing eyes illuminated my family and suddenly they could move again. Practically everyone was by my side in under a second.
Suddenly there was movement behind us and we saw Amy, Alexander, John, Maria, Michelle, and Kim standing near Corin and Keith. All Watchers were officially in attendance. Amazingly, all of their eyes were glowing white like the other two; so white in fact that you couldn’t see their irises or pupils. Rogue refocused her attention to the two limbs she was holding in her hands and at the remaining 3 vampires standing by the trees who were trying very hard to override the command and make everyone immobile again which proved to be impossible.
Rogue’s eyes, that up until that point were still their usual piercing blue, turned to that glowing white as the others were, with a heave, she slammed the limbs at two of the vampires standing by the woods, instantly decapitating them and carrying their body parts in half a dozen different places. The third, looking horrified at what just happened, turned tail and sprinted back into the forest, followed by Amy and Corin. I knew he was not going to get very far. And by screams I heard under 2 minutes later, I was totally right.
Meanwhile, Ferguson was trying to somehow crawl away with the two limbs and half a torso he had left when Rogue leveled her glowing white eyes on him. Without so much as moving, she narrowed those eyes and Ferguson burst into flame. She was wearing the same dress she wore the very first day we met her on the battlefield with the Volturi. After the ‘garbage was cleaned up’ as the Watchers call it, they all focused their attention on me. Alexander found my arm which was lying a good distance away where it was flung when Rogue first got a hold of Ferguson.
I was feeling woozy and my vision was all kinds of blurry. I felt like half of my body was missing. I didn’t know what to think or do anymore, but as long as my family was safe, at that moment I didn’t care what happened to me anymore. All of our mind reader’s heard that last thought:
“Oh no you don’t. Don’t even think that way Carlisle. We didn’t destroy those assholes for you to give up so easily on us!” Alexander said.
“Honey, please don’t leave me. I love you; I can’t bear to lose anymore loved ones.” I could hear Esme begging.
“Grandpa…..please……” Nessie had dissolved into tears and was being held by Jacob and Bella.
No I couldn’t do that to my family, Nessie’s heartbreaking sobs melted my resolve, and especially not to Esme. I loved her too much to just give in to the pain. I’m a doctor for heaven’s sake. Just then everyone shifted and moved so that Rogue could kneel next to me. Alexander handed her my severed arm. Her eyes were so bright white I couldn’t even look into them because it was like looking at the sun. All of the other Watchers eyes had returned back to their original colors.
“Carlisle, I know my eyes are bright but you have to force yourself to look into them in order for me to do my job.” She said softly.
I complied though not before squinting in the beginning. Then it was if the white glow from her eyes just surrounded my whole being as I felt a small pressure and then a pop. Then my whole body was filled with warmth. After the warmth had subsided and Rogue’s eyes returned to their usual piercing blue, she smiled and nodded toward my right arm which to my and everyone else’s shock and amazement was once again attached to my body! I moved it around, up, and down……wiggled my fingers to make sure they moved. Everything was working well.
“You will feel mild tingling in your arm for a few days and your body will feel weak so I suggest when you’re up to it, you go hunting even though technically you don’t need it; it’ll just help the healing process move along faster.” She said matter-of-factly with a smile as Alexander and Emmett helped me to my feet.
I experienced what humans call vertigo when I got up and was helped into the house by pretty much everyone. The family and I thanked Rogue over and over again. She just shrugged; all in a day’s work as she calls it.
“I don’t want you guys to feel like you can’t take care of yourselves, that we have to come to you rescue each time, but when you get vampires with physical gifts as opposed to mental ones and/or when you’re outnumbered, that’s when we feel it’s our duty to step in. I know you are pretty badass and kick some serious ass!” Rogue explained with a smile. I shook my head.
“We totally understand, we knew we were in trouble as soon as we couldn’t move physically.” Edward said as Nessie and Esme shuddered.
“Well let’s let Carlisle go rest and we’ll see you guys tomorrow.” The Watchers all hugged us on the way out.
As I was helped upstairs still feeling woozy, Esme prepared our favorite lavender bath. I knew that would calm both of us down. The rest of the family went back to their respective houses to relax and de-pressurize from this insane day. I’m finishing this entry here because I am quite tired and Esme is here to help me into the bathtub. I hope your week is going better than mine.
I can’t reiterate it anymore about just how lucky I am to have my family…..all of my family……Watchers included.
Good afternoon. I’m sure everyone knows and understands how what had just happened affected Carlisle. But I seriously doubt anyone really understands how it affected me. Yes, I understand we have more mind readers in the area than ever before. But perhaps—other than Rogue—not too many people can read your soul.
So while Carlisle was out hunting with the boys—he was still feeling weak and was listening to Rogue’s advice about hunting more often to get his strength—I took an old notebook out from a cupboard that I used to write recipes on and decided to write out my feelings. No matter how much I adore Carlisle and how much I love speaking to him for hours and hours, some things just can’t be voiced through words. So just like others before me, I will write down what I feel and staple it into his diary for him to read and share with you. That way you can understand everything through my eyes.
Now you all have to understand, I didn’t care one bit about the whole Ashley/Carrie situation because as immortals, mortal drama doesn’t affect us. Yes I was very upset and sad about all the havoc she created, but when it came to personal danger for us, she was nothing but a flee. When it was all said and done, if she ever came after me personally, I would have just snapped her neck and gotten that over with. I’m sure you know I’m not a cold-blooded killer, but I will defend myself however I see fit if the need arises. Needless, to say I’m glad she is on death row and is out of our hair for good.
However, this whole ordeal with Ferguson and having my husband, my love, the very purpose of my existence, writhing in pain on the ground with his arm literally torn off almost made want to throw up and pass out at the same time. When Ferguson turned his attention to me saying that I would become his after he destroyed Carlisle and my family, I had the worst kind of flashback you can imagine. I felt like I was back in my mortal life and barely escaping the clutches of Charles, my horrific husband from that time. For a brief moment while we were all paralyzed, I felt like I was back on that cliff ready to jump.
I know Edward read my mind and the look of anguish on his face said it all. He remembers that time all too well himself. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that if it wasn’t for the Watchers saving everyone, it would have gone exactly the way Ferguson had said it would. I would have either run away from him or fought him until he destroyed me too. I would never have stood for being touched by another man, especially not someone as grotesque and murderous as Ferguson.
Amy had something interesting to say when she chased the last one into the forest after Rogue destroyed the other 3. She said that just before she decimated him she read his mind and figured out their plan. They had planned to come here, destroy all of us, then go to Denali and take care of our cousins after which—since there was apparently no more Volturi—create a full-blown newborn army numbering in the millions and take over the world! How sick is that? What they never counted on was the existence of the Watchers.
Ferguson wasn’t that much older than Carlisle. When Carlisle was turned, he was maybe about 30 years old himself—post transformation I mean. What made him go on this rampage and harm innocent people is beyond me. I sit here trembling as I write each letter, each word. Because our family is so large, and mostly all of the attention is focused on the more outspoken members, I am often left behind in a sense, or the background of my family. A lot of times that’s just fine with me, especially now that we have the Watchers here. We feel safer than ever.
Other times I feel that, even though I am loved, the people around me, save for the wolves who can’t get enough of my cooking, don’t really appreciate all that I do for them. I must admit that I often feel taken for granted; like I’m supposed to be there kind of like part of the furniture. I am Carlisle’s wife and that’s really it. What do I have really to contribute to this family other than being a chef to our oversized wolves? It’s like everyone has someone but me; I’m not talking about mates. We are all finally paired off. I mean when it comes to best friends: Bella has Leah—which kind of makes Alice jealous and it’s cute. Michelle and Nessie are inseparable. Kim and Rosalie have found a common ground with the whole fixing-of-cars thing. Amy and Corin are always together.
I have caught Rogue looking at me strangely a few times, but knowing that she’s a mind reader, I’m sure she’s figured all this out already. Sometimes, I just want to go for a walk and see if anyone, save for my husband, would even notice my absence. I think I’ll save that experiment until Carlisle is back on his feet 100%. I don’t want to be the careless wife who disappears just to prove a point when her husband needs her most. I will speak with Rogue first, though; I want her to know what is going on, if she hasn’t figured it, out and ask her to mask my thoughts so that no one will know what I’m thinking.
I’m serious about doing this experiment. Sometimes, my family has become so complacent that I fear I’m not a valuable part of the family. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go visit the Denali’s during my absence. They haven’t heard the entire Ferguson story yet. I haven’t traveled alone in such a long time. I wonder if I even have the nerve to do it. But I must, I have to show myself that I’m self-sufficient. This whole incident with Ferguson has shown me one thing: that tragedy can happen when you least expect it and you have to be able to fend for yourself.
I’ve always been protected by Carlisle, as he was the one who turned me, and Edward was already there. So I technically have never been on my own. As our family grew and expanded, I fell in love with every single one. I know in my heart of hearts that they love me too. The real question is: do they need me? Bella, Rose, Alice, and now Leah, know how to cook. Rose and Nessie can crochet and most of the ladies can tend to the garden. I need to go on this journey of self-discovery.
Who am I really? Who have I become? Can I survive without my family if the worst thing imaginable happened? I kind of understand the feeling of how human mothers feel when their children become teenagers and adults and no longer need them. I wonder how they deal with that? I imagine it’s far easier with humans, as they have short life spans compared to us immortals, and these things perhaps motivate them to take up sports or some other hobbies. I think I’m worn out from all the hobbies.
This scary event with Ferguson made me really want……no……more like need to reevaluate my life. It’s not the money, the large houses, the material things. I adore my family but I feel like I’m losing my sense of self. What do I contribute to this existence? In order to live a totally fulfilled immortal life and appreciate everything given to me fully, I must discover who I really am. I must understand whether my family really hold me in high regard or are they’re just so used to Mother Esme that I’m just there for sake of being there.
I’m not just a chauffeur. I’m not just the chef. I’m not just the wife of Carlisle the doctor, and I’m not just the mother, aunt and sister, or whatever story we are presenting at the time. But who am I? And I won’t be satisfied, nor will I stop looking, until I figure out the answers to those questions.
I hear Carlisle and the boys returning; time to put my best game face on and go tend to my husband. I really hope this hunting trip made him strong again so he’s back to his usual self. I firmly believe that this experiment will also strengthen the bond that Carlisle and I have. Complacency and lack of showing kindness towards others is deadly, even for immortals. As I walk downstairs, I see Rogue standing there. She is looking at me and only me and she nods softly. I nod back. Then I hear her voice in my head:
“Just tell me when you want to do it and where you see yourself going and we’ll do this. I completely agree that this is something you need to do. We all have moments when we question ourselves and our own identity. It’s a very important thing to know. And your family does need to figure out just how much you mean to them, which I suspect is a ton, but they need to learn how to show it. You’re absolutely right that ‘complacency and lack of showing kindness towards others is deadly, even for immortals’. So just give me a heads up and we’ll set this up. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep your thoughts as covered from everyone as possible.”
She then winks at me, greets Carlisle and the boys and walks on her merry way. They look at her then me with a strange gaze, shrug it off, then go into the living room. Carlisle greets me with a kiss and a hug and then proceeds to follow the others into the living room and sit on the couch. When he notices that I am still standing at the door and not following him, he pats the seat next to him. I sit down as he puts his arm around me.
“Is everything all right sweetheart?” he asks as the others don’t even bother looking our way.
I nod. “How was the hunting trip?” I ask nonchalantly.
“It went great. We think one more and I’ll be totally healed. Plus I don’t feel the tingling sensation in my arm or hand anymore, so that’s a plus! Perhaps I can get back to work next week,” he says with a big smile that melts my heart.
“That’s wonderful, honey. It’ll be good to get back to normal,” I say.
I feel bad that I will have to cause him heartache over my absence but I do feel this is the only way and I know my thoughts are covered totally by Rogue when I start thinking about this. Besides, she’ll be sort of shadowing me the whole time so I know if I get in trouble along the way, she’s not too far behind. It’s time to figure out who the real Esme is and whether she’s needed by people other than Carlisle.
I’m still trying to absorb just how blind I have been lately; how blind we all have been and selfish. It has seemed perfectly normal to go about our daily routine and not really realizing that one of our most beloved members, the only woman who keeps me whole in every way possible, has been feeling like she is no longer needed. Even worse, she feels like “part of the furniture.” The fact that I’m writing this at all is amazing considering this woman; my wife is still not here. She’s still not home. As I know all of you know more than me about this as she had written it down; I will tell you what happened from where she left off.
3 days after that hunting trip I had finally decided to go back to the hospital. I had a whole week off and it was actually Esme who called the hospital and spoke to Bill about my taking the time off. She said I was helping lift some furniture and a piece slipped and my arm was sprained pretty badly. Bill had said it was not a problem and even laughed when she said that she would staple my trousers to the floor in order for me to not go to work. I wasn’t going to go against her wishes; I liked all of my pants in one piece thank you very much!
Anyways, that morning I got dressed and was very happy to be returning to work. I hugged and kissed Esme on my way out of the door. She seemed a bit more quiet then usual but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I walked out and without looking back got into my car and drove away. Hindsight is 20/20 and how I wish now that I had looked back. Would I have seen her pain, would she have shown it to me?
I worked a full 9 hour day and had quite the variety of patients. Charlotte was back from her honeymoon and we took some time during lunch to talk about it and how much she appreciated everything Alice did for her. We were in a good mood even though we were both in the ER that day and boy did we have a zoo and a half in there. First of all, 3 teenager girls were brought in handcuffed to their respective gurneys because they’d apparently attacked another girl who finally got the nerve to fight back and she had hit them all with her tennis racket. She was also at the hospital because they had actually stabbed her. How she still managed to defend herself is beyond me.
After that we had 5 (not kidding) women go into labor within 7 minutes of each other; 2 were delivered via C-section. The others were natural births, one of which had quadruplets! After all of that, we had a few mentally ill people who had gone off their medication come in to be readjusted or sent to the psych ward for evaluation. One of them was convinced that I was a walking tree and that I had a tail which he was trying to grab; that was a new one for me I have to admit.
I then changed back into my regular clothes and went home, when I got there it was still relatively light outside. All of the cars were in the driveway, so I parked mine and walked into the house where most of my family was lounging around in one way shape or form. All of the Watchers were conspicuously absent though we knew they disappeared from time to time to do whatever. I didn’t give it much thought and went upstairs to change out of my office clothes into comfortable home clothes and my favorite loafers.
Expecting to see Esme, in our master suite I was surprised to find the rooms empty. As I changed, I felt that something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Needless to say, I went downstairs and joined my family who were all doing some various form of debating. Some were talking about parties while others especially the men, were talking politics. I sat down in my favorite chair and took out that day’s brand new NYT and started to read. I don’t know how much time had passed because I had already reached the business section of the paper when I heard Bella speak up:
“Um where’s Esme?” Everyone looked around, quite obvious that she wasn’t in the room with us.
“Well she isn’t in the kitchen.” said Jacob emerging from that room with a plate full of food.
“She isn’t anywhere in the house.” Edward said his eyes narrowing and as he listened.
“I did see her car parked out front when I got home.” I said with a puzzled expression.
“Yeah but the car hasn’t moved at all since you left for work grandpa.” Nessie said.
“What?? What do you mean it hasn’t moved? I saw her this morning around 6 am when I left for work.” A gnawing feeling started in my stomach.
“So what you’re all trying to say is that no one has seen her since?” Rose asked.
Rose then got up and headed toward the phone, she called the Denali’s who said she wasn’t with them. Then Rose called Esme’s own cellphone which we heard go off in the house, when we located it, it was lying on the table by the front door beside her purse which held all of her things including her ID, credit cards, driver’s license and whatever else a woman usually carries in her purse. She even left the keys to the house. We all stood there in absolute shock.
“She’s gone! She’s left all of her things and she’s gone! What if she never comes back?” Nessie whispered horrified. Bella soothed her but her face was incredibly worried.
Nessie’s words mirrored my thoughts which were now in a bunch of different places. What if something bad happened to her? What if Ferguson had more men and she was kidnapped somehow? Where was she, and if she was kidnapped, knowing Esme she would have left some sort of a sign to show us how to find her; but she hadn’t. It’s as if she disappeared without a trace…….on purpose. Which made me feel even worse. Why would my wife leave our family? Now the absence of every single Watcher was something that was weighing heavily on my mind.
“Alice can you see anything? Can you see where she is? Is she safe?” Edward asked. Alice concentrated but shook her head.
“I can’t see her at all. It is literally as if she fell off the edge of the earth.”
“Dear lord, if we only knew that she was alright. That’s all that matters.” I said sinking into a chair with my head and face in my hands all but hunched over. The rest of the family sat down all with tears in their eyes.
“She is fine.”
A voice echoed from what seemed like the entire room which snapped all of us to attention. Just then a light appeared in our doorway to the living room, the light dissipated to reveal Rogue. I knew then that my thoughts were confirmed that the Watchers had something to do with Esme’s disappearances or vice versa.
“Vice versa.” Rogue said reading my mind. Her face was blank but at the same it held a very disappointed expression; as if she was disappointed in all of us.
“Please Rogue, tell us what happened? Where is she? Why did she leave?” I asked.
“Do you really want to know?” she asked.
“Of course.” Bella answered.
With that, Rogue produced two sheets of paper and handed them to me, I gasped as I realized they were in Esme’s handwriting, my family gathered all around me so they could also read her words. There was almost instant sobbing. My lord, how could we have not seen this? Rogue had basically handed us the entry you folks read last. I felt like my dead heart was being ripped out of my chest.
As we all came to terms with the fact that our beloved matriarch felt left out and insignificant to the family and how she felt being taken for granted and felt invisible to all but me of course. Even Emmett, who almost never shows any vulnerable emotions, was blinking through tears trying very hard not to show anyone. The emotion radiating throughout the room was pain and guilt; and it wasn’t even Jasper’s handiwork. Jasper was having a difficult enough time controlling his own emotions, let alone trying to fix others. Rogue just stood there watching everyone digest what they just read.
Then she walked over to where our surround sound stereo system was and produced a CD that she then inserted into the little CD slot and music started to play softly. Before we could ask anything she said:
“Esme also asked me to play this song for you, and for all of you to listen very carefully to the lyrics.”
Then she turned the song up; it was Jewel’s song “Hands”; the link for which is provided below. We listened to the song as we’ve known it from the previous two decades but this time the words really hit home. It was if Esme was crying out through that song for us to see her and acknowledge her. My heart broke all over again. Then Rogue looked at all of us and started to speak.
“I’ve known about Esme’s plan since the very beginning. I also asked her to let me know when she wanted to do it so that I could cover her thoughts so none of you could read them or even locate her. The reason for her leaving isn’t just to see if anyone would miss her; it’s also a journey of self-discovery. She wants to know who she really is. Everything here isn’t good enough anymore. She is her own individual and she wants to know exactly who that individual is. So she decided to go on a soul-searching journey across the country to see all the beautiful things nature has to offer and to think and find herself. I’ve shadowed her the entire time so I know she’s fine. In fact, I was very proud of her when she ran into a nomad somewhere in Kansas or Arkansas.”
When she said that last part we all gasped. Esme encountered a nomad on her own? She must have been so scared, I thought. But Rogue shook her head.
“The nomad was from south of the border and was trying to find his way up north into Canada somewhere and must have gotten lost along the way, so he literally asked her for directions. She was very polite and efficient in her answers. I could see he was intrigued by her and even asked her to join him as he figured what would a woman be doing running around here alone. But she made it perfectly clear that she was married and going to visit cousins in Alaska. I thought I may have to intervene but she handled herself like a seasoned veteran, as she wished the nomad all the best and sprinted on her way. Of course all of this was before she nearly decapitated me with a hay bale!” Rogue said with a smile at the memory.
We were still trying to absorb everything Rogue had told us about how Esme handled herself with the nomad. And I cursed at myself; how could I have doubted her? Of course she could take care of herself. There I went again making her seem meek when she really was strong and self-reliant. Then Rose and I remembered something Rogue said and she asked hers first:
“Wait but I called the Denali’s and they said she wasn’t there and they hadn’t heard anything from her.” Rose said her eyebrows crossing.
“Of course they didn’t know because she never warned them she was coming. This was to be a surprise visit. And if my calculations are correct she should be already either arriving there or already there.”
“Wait if you said you were shadowing her the whole time, clearly you can’t be in two places at the same time.” Emmett said to which Rogue smiled.
“Amy’s with her right now. I have a second and third in command for a reason.” We nodded; made sense.
“Hang on a second; did you say she nearly decapitated you with a hay bale?” Jacob stole my question as we all looked extremely puzzled while Rogue laughed.
“Yep, your wife is quite the character when she lets loose which is apparently something that she doesn’t do that often around here for whatever reason.” When our eyes looked pained, she shook her head and continued.
“So as she was running along in Ohio or Kansas, don’t remember which, I made the mistake of becoming more or less corporeal. That’s when she was running through an open field and decided to kick some of those hay bales around. To make a long story short, she kicked one at me with such force; I literally dodged out of the way at the last minute. She hadn’t realized I was so close to her and after the fact she was horrified for a split second then fell to the ground in a fit of giggles. I couldn’t really keep a straight face either to tell you the truth. After that passed, we continued on our way; every time we passed that looked like hay bale she would let out a little giggle.”
We all looked at Rogue with eyes bugging out of our heads I’m sure. Then her phone vibrated a text message which she looked at smiled, and nodded to us. That meant, Esme was now firmly encased with our cousins and Amy was returning home.
“But when will she be back?” Nessie asked pointedly what all of us wanted to know.
“Well a good part of that depends on you guys. You need to take these days and really think about what she means to you, Carlisle excluded. That one is kind of obvious. Because when she does decide to come home, there has to be some sort of discussion or explanation about how things will be different around here. She of course has to be ready to come home and at this moment in time she isn’t. She would have gotten to the Denali’s earlier if she hadn’t decided to take the scenic route. She really wanted to make the most of her journey as she saw the beauty surrounding her. This was her way of doing something for herself and not having to worry what anyone else thought or needed from her. I can tell you that she enjoyed her trip there very much. She was even thinking of taking a dip in the Bering Sea prior to going to the Denali’s but there was a hurricane and she didn’t want to deal with that. So now you know all of it.”
Surprisingly it was Emmett who spoke next: “Esme’s right everyone. We have been neglecting and treating her like she’s just supposed to give us stuff. She doesn’t owe us squat. It’s actually vice versa. She makes this and every other place we’ve lived in a home not just a house with rooms. She feeds the mutts delicious food. She teaches everyone different things and makes our lives warm and comfortable. I know I for one don’t remember the last time I said thank you to her for something she did. Do you?” Emmett wrapped up his monologue with a question that had everyone thinking and a lot of people wide-eyed shaking their heads no.
“We’re really bad people.” Nessie said softly as Jacob hugged her.
“No Nessie we aren’t bad people. We are just inconsiderate people. We are so used to just doing things and running out the door we never stop and think where it comes from and who gave or brought it to us in the first place.” Alice said wisely.
“I think the only one who has consistently regarded and made Esme feel comfortable and like she belonged and cared for was surprisingly Jake.” Bella pointed out.
Jacob who usually hated being put on the spot looked up at everyone and said:
“That’s right. And you wanna know why? Because I lost my mother when I was a young kid. Esme has been the closest thing I had to a real mother since then. I will always cherish that. No matter whether she cooks enough food to feed an army; it’s not about the food…….ok some of it is about the food. But mostly is that even before we all became one lovey dovey family, she still always treated me and the rest of the wolves with respect and dignity. So that’s why I can honestly say that I love Esme as if she was my own mom.” Jacob finished speaking to a lot of round eyes and one knowing smile; Rogue’s of course.
So at that point Rogue left us all to our own devices so we could figure out how to proceed next. One thing was for sure, Esme wasn’t coming home until she was good and ready. The Denali’s were told about everything and they agreed she needed some away time. I meanwhile, felt like a zombie. It was nearly 1am by then and I had work the following morning; people had to get some sleep; those that could sleep that is. The rest of us just went back to our rooms to figure out what to do next and how to fix this one giant bad action or decision. We decided to regroup the following morning to discuss how to proceed onward. I guess we were all going to find out the hard way, would we be able to live without Esme and for how long? I wanted her back this second. But the others really needed to realize this more than me.
As I prepared to take a bath, I couldn’t even pour my favorite lavender bubble bath in as that was something we would always do together. Small things like that I missed. Her laugh when I would tell her a joke, our quiet afternoons in the backyard on the swing or the hammock; even our times hunting together. I guess one never realizes how much a person means to them or when they create memories until that person is no longer around. With those memories in mind, I walked out to the backyard to stare at the sky.
So while I sit here in the backyard not even wanting to go back inside and stare at the stars; I’m wondering what she’s thinking about. I’m wondering if she will come back soon.
But mostly, I just want to tell you guys to cherish your loved ones; be it friends, family, or a combination of both. You never know when your lack of attention will hurt that person enough to make them go away. Though I know in my heart of hearts, Esme will return to us, perhaps in your case it won’t be that easy. Do not take anyone for granted……EVER. Love, respect, thank, cherish each other; each day and each moment. People aren’t just objects you can come and use when you deem necessary and then toss back into the other choice pile. Because I don’t want my family’s heartache to be felt by any of you. Always remember that saying “you may lose the moon while counting the stars.”