Author: PiedPiperOSIB PM
In 1659, Marcus Volturi's wife was kidnapped. 350 years later, Edward Masen is hired to uncover what happened. Edward's quest uncovers more than he bargained for as love, family, history, and treachery collide during one unforgettable summer. AU-AH.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Edward & Bella - Chapters: 12 - Words: 90,517 - Reviews: 263 - Favs: 242 - Follows: 313 - Updated: 08-17-12 - Published: 07-10-10 - id: 6129300
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello and welcome to Neutral Buoyancy! This is my first fan fiction story. I am not your typical Twilight fan fiction author (male, husband, father), so I hope that you will give it a read and let me know with a review if you like it or not.
This story will be mostly told from Edward's and Bella's perspective. However, this first chapter is brought to you by Carlisle.
I would like to thank NowForRuin for beta'ing this story and guiding me along this path. Being a newbie, I have not made her job easy, but her guidance has been invaluable. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Disclaimer: Neutral Buoyancy is a Twilight inspired work of fan fiction. It is provided for entertainment purposes only. Twilight is the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The story that follows is the property of ThePiedPiper.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
A feeling of relief flooded through me when I entered the kitchen. Another long shift at the hospital was over, and I was finally home. Today had been complete and utter shit, but tomorrow I would be off, and I planned to spend it reconnecting with Esme. I leaned against the cold stone of the countertop and sighed with disappointment; I hated that Esme was alone so much. Coming home in the dead of night, knowing that Esme had spent the day and evening on her own, it made my heart ache. My Esme was a saint. She'd never once complained about my schedule or the many hours I spent at the hospital. She was truly the heart and soul of our family. She was a terrific mother, a devoted friend to many, and an attentive lover to me.
I missed her terribly.
With Alice and Bella off at school and Esme alone in our bed, it was nights like this that made me question why I still pushed myself so hard at the hospital. I loved being a doctor. It defined me. However, as I stood alone in our moonlight kitchen, I couldn't help but ponder if it was time to push the doctor in me aside, and focus on what was really important…my family. Esme, Alice and Bella would never ask me to choose between medicine and them. I couldn't bring myself to regret my choice of career, but I missed so much of my family's lives already. I dreaded missing any more.
Shaking off the melancholy of my heavy thoughts, I pushed away from the counter and flipped on the kitchen lights. After my eyes adjusted, I noticed a note on the counter written in my beautiful wife's elegant script.
Please call Laurent at 305-555-1212 regarding Marcus' journals.
Leftovers are in the frig…MW 3 minutes on high.
I will see you in bed.
I stared at the note for a few moments, re-reading it several times. After an eighteen-hour shift at the hospital, I was having a hard time making sense of the note.
Who the hell is Laurent and what does he know about Marcus? More importantly, what journals could he be talking about…Marcus never authored any journals that I know of.
I opened the refrigerator and grabbed a beer from the door. After opening it, I took a long swig, and continued to contemplate Esme's note. I was unfamiliar with the area code, so I pulled out my phone and did a quick search.
Coral Gables? I don't know anyone in Coral Gables.
I checked the time on the kitchen wall clock. 1:20 am. It would be 4:20 am in Florida.
Hmm…how pissed would this Laurent be if I called him now?
A moment later, I found myself subconsciously dialing his number. Before I hit "send", I cleared the number and chuckled at how impatient I was.
Yeah dipshit, it is insanely early in Florida…and insanely late here.
With the decision made to call tomorrow morning, I retrieved the leftover container from the refrigerator and heated it per Esme's instructions. After the microwave dinged, I grabbed my food and sat down at our kitchen table. I ate in silence while I continued to think about the note.
Is it possible Marcus kept journals of his travels?
If these journals do exist, what condition will they be in after three hundred and fifty years?
Could these journals lead me to Marcus' whereabouts, or at least, shed some light onto what became of his quest?
How did this Laurent get my number, and how did he come across these journals?
Is Laurent aware of my connection to the Volturi family?
What the hell did I just eat?
The last question caught me off guard. I'd been so consumed by my thoughts I couldn't for the life of me remember what I'd just eaten. My clinical training kicked in as I analyzed the residue at the bottom of the dish.
Let's see if twenty-five years of medical expertise can help you out of this one doc? Hmm… looks…brown and non-descript…most likely cooked animal of some type.
Smells…savory with a hint of herbs…maybe thyme. Wait! Wasn't there also something white in the dish too? Yes, definitely something white…or orange. Oh, Shit! I can't remember.
I shook my head in disgust. I constantly told Esme that she didn't need to make dinner for me, but true to form, she ignored my request and did it anyway. She loved taking care of the girls and me. The least I could've done was pay attention to what I ate so I could properly acknowledge her efforts. I felt like a douche, and I knew I took her contributions and sacrifices for granted too often.
I took another swig of beer and swallowed too quickly. A hiccupped belch burst up my throat and into my mouth.
Ughh…wait a minute…hmm…maybe it was meat loaf…with…mashed potatoes? That might be it.
I could only hope Esme wouldn't ask me too many questions in the morning.
After putting my dishes in the dishwasher, I made my way upstairs and got ready for bed. After my shitty day, I should have been tired. However, thoughts of the note, and the possibility that I could obtain Marcus' journals, were still swirling through my mind as I slipped in beside Esme. As I lay there, I became aware of how restless I was. After another ten or fifteen minutes, I was starting to worry that my fidgeting might wake Esme. I really needed to sleep, so I pushed the thoughts of Laurent and the note from my mind. I needed a distraction so I turned onto my side, and spooned up against Esme's sleeping form. I took a couple deep breaths in an attempt to overload my senses with Esme's essence.
Ahh…Esme is my favorite distraction.
As I breathed her in, Esme stirred slightly and pressed back into me. She mumbled a groggy greeting and then slipped back into sleep. A few moments later, my mind was clear of my obsessive thoughts as sleep quickly found me.
- NB -
The next morning I woke to the aroma of breakfast in the air. I dragged myself out of bed and opened the bedroom curtains. I gazed out the window at the unlikely scene before me. It was mid-November and instead of rain, fog, and cloud cover, the sun was shining like a spring day. Forks had been my family's home for over twenty years. November mornings like this were rare.
The weather, and the smell of coffee and bacon, put a smile across my face. I grabbed my robe and made my way down to the kitchen. Standing in the mid-morning light, Esme had her back to me while talking into the receiver of the cordless phone. The sunlight lit Esme's profile and I couldn't imagine anything more glorious. I walked up behind her and wrapped my arms around her body. Esme jumped slightly, surprised by my presence, but leaned back into me as I nuzzled her silky hair and inhaled her floral scent.
"Alice dear, your father just woke up so I am going to go. I will let him know the good news, sweetie."
I couldn't discern any words from the muffled voice on the end of the receiver, but I could tell from the pitch that Alice was pretty damn excited about something.
"Ok sweetie, I love you too. Bye."
Esme hung up the phone and spun around in my arms. She reached up and kissed me deeply. Over twenty fives year of marriage, and she still kissed me with the same desire we'd had while dating.
God, I love this woman.
We eventually broke from the kiss after the need to breath overruled our amorous desires. Esme nestled her head under my chin and sighed into my chest.
"What time did you get in sweetheart?"
"A little after one," I replied. I remembered that I had spaced out while eating last night so I wanted to direct the conversation somewhere else before Esme asked how my dinner was. "So…what good news do you have for me from Alice?"
Esme released me from her embrace, looking up at me with a big smile and excitement dancing in her eyes. "I'll tell you while you eat."
Esme prepared my plate while I sat down at the kitchen table. After I had consumed my first bite, I cocked my eyebrow and nodded to let Esme know she could start telling me Alice's good news.
"Oh boy! I hardly know where to start!" Esme practically squealed. "So I'll just say it. Carlisle, it appears that our Alice…has met someone, and she will be bringing him home for Thanksgiving!" The last part squeaked from her high and fast as Esme hopped up and down on the balls of her feet, quietly clapping her hands in excitement.
My mood soured immediately.
Wait a minute. I thought this was going to be good news.
If my mouth hadn't been full of food I would have said as much, but seeing my shocked face, Esme continued on before I could swallow and speak.
"His name is Jasper, and he is also senior at UW. Alice didn't tell me much more other than he is slightly older than she is. Oh…and they have been dating since the beginning of the school year." Esme's smile reached ear to ear.
Well, at least one of us is happy about this.
I was practically choking on my breakfast. I held up my index finger requesting that she give me a minute to recover. After a hard and painful swallow, I was finally able to speak.
"She has been seeing this…guy…since the beginning of the year and we are just hearing about him now?" I croaked.
Esme nodded. All I could do was snort in response as I felt my face get warm from the anger rising through me.
"His name isn't 'guy'. It's Jasper dear," Esme scolded me as I rolled my eyes.
No shit his name isn't 'guy'…but if I call him by his name he becomes real, and would much rather he stay fictional.
"Alice didn't want to jinx anything so she kept quiet about him until she was certain he was," Esme paused as she made finger quotes in the air before continuing, "the one."
Those two words made me lose what remained of my appetite. I pushed my plate away from me, hoping that I would be able to keep down the breakfast I had already swallowed.
Esme continued as I festered in silence. "Alice really didn't want to give out too many details, but she wants him to come home with her for Thanksgiving to meet us…formally. Of course I told her we would love to meet him, and he is welcome to share Thanksgiving with us."
The scowl on my face must have been fierce; Esme's brows dipped as she glared at me, and said in her best "you listen to me mister" tone, "Carlisle, you need to give this boy a chance. Alice was so excited on the phone! Although she didn't say it, my guess is she deeply in love with him."
Great! The "L" word…otherwise known as every dad's worse nightmare!
I pushed myself away from the table and walked over to the large window overlooking the back patio, being sure to stomp my feet with each step. I let in and out a few huffs of breath, trying to curb my growing frustration.
I knew Alice was no longer a child. She hasn't been one for a while. She was twenty-two, and graduating from college this year. Suddenly my stomach clenched as the melancholy feeling from the previous night overtook me.
My Alice is no longer my little girl. She's…a woman now. Wait…that means Bella is too! Shit!
This obvious epiphany hit me hard, like I was sucker punched in the gut. I wasn't ready for Alice and Bella to go out into the world and start their lives.
Neither Alice nor Bella were my flesh and blood, but I couldn't have loved them more if they were. Esme and I couldn't conceive a child of our own, but we felt blessed to have both girls in our life. We adopted Alice when she was an infant. She and Bella had been life long friends when tragedy struck and circumstances allowed us to add Bella officially into our family.
Alice and Bella may not have been actual sisters, but they were just as close. I never told the girls, but I what looked forward to the most, were the weekends that they came home from school. I always made sure to trade shifts at the hospital so that I was home at the same time. During those all too brief visits, I had my family together and I was happy. I knew it was selfish of me, but I had hoped that Alice and Bella would stay at home after college…at least for a little bit.
God, I have wasted so much time.
I may not have been around as much as I should've while they were growing up, but I wanted…no, needed…to spend as much time with them as possible before they embarked on their adult lives. I knew my little girl well, and Alice was never one to get too involved with her boyfriends. If she was bringing him home, she was beyond smitten.
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply as a montage of memories of Alice and Bella floated through my brain.
Esme holding infant Alice in her arms after the adoption was finalized.
Alice in pig tails planting flowers with Esme.
Esme and I attending a princess tea party hosted by Alice and Bella.
Alice and Bella trick-or-treating in matching witch costumes.
Alice waking Esme and me up at four on Christmas morning to open gifts.
Alice bringing me breakfast in bed for Father's Day and then spilling the entire tray on me and the bed.
Alice and Bella selling cookies for Girl Scouts in the hospital cafeteria.
Alice begging me to take her and Bella to some boy-band concert in Seattle that they just had to go to.
Me getting called down to the police station to get Alice after she wrecked her car into Charlie Swan's police cruiser a week after she got her driver's license.
Bella crying on my shoulder at Charlie's funeral.
Me treating Bella's minor cuts after a near miss with Tyler Crowley's van in the school parking lot.
Alice and Bella dressed up for their high school prom.
Alice calling me to pick up Bella and her from a high school graduation party after their boyfriends got too drunk and passed out on them.
Alice and Bella waving a teary goodbye to Esme and me after we dropped them off at college the first time.
During my silent reverie, Esme had walked up behind me and placed her hand on my lower back in an attempt to comfort me. The heat of her hand was soothing, but not nearly enough to break my foul mood. I opened my eyes as I started to speak towards the window.
"Deep down I knew this day would come." I turned around and faced Esme, who wore a smirk on her face. Obviously, she found my discomfort amusing. My inner eight year old reared his head and channeled my annoyance. "But…I don't have to like it! We know nothing about him! I mean…he's…wh…what does Bella think of this guy?" I barked.
The smile from Esme's face disappeared as she propped one hand on her hip. In a sharp, annoyed tone she chastised me, "Since I just found out a little while ago, I obviously haven't spoken to Bella yet! Jesus, Carlisle! Why do you have to be such a child about this!"
Oh, shit! I've done it now…she's pissed!
Esme didn't show her temper too often, so when she did it was wise to listen. She was correct; I had been acting like a child…a selfish spoiled child…with a medical degree.
It is a good thing I am not a doctor of psychology…I would be my own worst patient.
Esme closed her eyes and took a deep breath. My wife had an uncanny ability to center herself with a single happy thought. I had asked her once what that thought was. Esme said that it varied from time to time, but she often used the memory of our wedding day to calm herself.
Yep, it's official…this woman is a saint and I'm such an ass.
After a couple of moments, a small smile ghosted Esme's lips and her eyes slowly opened. With her composure secured, she continued in a soft, nurturing tone.
"Carlisle…it's what Alice thinks of Jasper that counts. Not Bella. Not me. Not you. Just Alice." Esme leaned into me, and hugged me around the waist. The gentle squeeze of her arms wrung the ire from my body. "We need to trust Alice on this. She has never wanted us to meet any of her college boyfriends. Jasper must be very…important to her."
"That is what I am afraid of," I muttered in defeat.
I wanted Alice and Bella to be strong independent women, but I also wanted them to still need their dad. Deep down, I knew that it was the implication of this realization that I was upset over.
I am no longer the most important man in Alice's life. I don't like it, but I'll have to deal with it.
Esme slapped me lightly on the chest while softly giggling at my reluctant acceptance. She pulled away from me, and started to clear my dishes.
"Well, we will find out soon enough." Esme chuckled. "Oh!" She spun on her heel to face me. "Did you get my message that someone called yesterday about some journals?"
Grateful for the change in subject, I walked over to the far counter and grabbed the note.
"Yeah, I got it. To be honest, I have no clue who this Laurent is, and to my knowledge Marcus never left behind any journals."
Esme shrugged her shoulders as she replied, "Well, he seemed like a nice man when I spoke to him. He has a cute island accent. I guess he's from Jamaica or somewhere like that. He was very charming."
I frowned at the thought that Esme found anyone charming other than me. I knew it was childish to be jealous of a man's voice, but I wasn't above possessive thoughts when it came to my Esme.
Esme smirked at me as she obviously caught my slight pout over her comments. "Are you going to give him a call?"
"Yeah," I responded. "The number he left is in Coral Cables, so I guess I can call him now."
Esme walked over and gave me a peck on the cheek. "Well, go ahead and give him a call…you know you're dying to." Esme paused for a second before firing her parting shot. "Plus, it should take you mind off of Alice and her new guy." Esme smirked at me again as she turned to leave the kitchen. I reached out and swatted her backside as she walked away. She squeaked as my hand made contact, and then she skipped out of the room.
I refilled my coffee and walked down the hall into my home office. My excitement from the previous night hit me full force as I situated myself at my desk. I couldn't help the nervous shaking of my hands when I picked up my office phone and dialed Laurent's number.
After two rings, I started to worry that he might not be in.
Shit, don't tell me he isn't in…that'll just be cruel.
After a couple of more rings, a woman answered.
"Tradere Incorporated, Victoria speaking. How may I help you?"
The woman's voice sounded slightly annoyed and tense, so I answered her in my soothing, best bedside manner, doctor voice. "Hello, Victoria, my name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen I am trying to reach a gentleman named Laurent."
"Oh…" The woman now sounded surprised. "…just a minute, Dr. Cullen." The phone was silent for several moments, and then a man answered.
"Hello, Dr. Cullen! It is my great pleasure to speak to you. My name is Laurent Tradere. Thank you for returning my call." Laurent's island accent was obvious, and Esme had been right about his voice being light and charming.
"Umm…Hello. Yesterday I received a message that you wished to speak to me about some journals?"
"Yes I did! Dr. Cullen, you must be wondering how I came to have your telephone number so let me start there. You see, earlier this week I was speaking to Siobhan Cara of Christie's books and manuscripts department. Are you acquainted with her?"
Of course I'm familiar with Siobhan.
Siobhan and her husband Liam had helped me procure several Volturi artifacts over the years. She was very knowledgeable in tomes from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, as well as being an excellent bookbinder. Her husband, Liam, was an antique dealer that had a knack for tracking down obscure treasures.
If Siobhan sent Laurent to me, then he must have something good.
Now that my interested was piqued, I responded excitedly, "Yes, I am very familiar with Siobhan and her husband. They have helped me on several occasions. Do you work with her at Christie's?"
Laurent chuckled at my obvious enthusiasm. "No, I don't work at Christie's, Dr. Cullen. I'm an independent antiques and estate dealer. You see, I recently acquired the holdings of a large estate in Venezuela. I have been working with Christie's to auction off some of the estate's assets. Siobhan is helping me catalog and determine the value of the rather large family library. I don't typically deal in books, so I thought it best to contact Siobhan. During her perusal of the library's contents, she came across several journals from a sea captain of a seventeenth century ship named the 'Volterra'."
Holy shit! Actual journals from the 'Volterra'! This could be the biggest Volturi discovery in the last three hundred and fifty years! But, Venezuela? Is it possible Marcus came to the Americas? I always assumed his search ended off the coast of Africa. No way...there has never been any evidence that the 'Volterra' crossed the Atlantic...but what if it did? Holy shit indeed!
Laurent continued without any knowledge of my astonishment, "Siobhan was excited at this discovery, and briefly told me the sorrowful tale of Marcus and Didyme Volturi. It is a shame that such tragedy and sadness would befall them." His voice had quieted so that I could barely hear his lamenting.
Laurent paused for a moment as if he was contemplating Marcus and Didyme's misfortune. Finally, he resumed speaking in his smooth island draw. "Siobhan mentioned that she might know someone who would be interested in these journals…if I were willing to sell them separately. She explained that she knew of one person who would be keenly interested in these journals. Siobhan also explained that the value at auction of my Venezuela library wouldn't suffer from their exclusion. I contemplated this and decided to inquire further about the mystery person that would be interested in these obscure ship journals. So that, Dr. Cullen, is how I was given your number."
"I see." I could only manage a huffed response; my mind was still trying to grasp that Laurent might actually have authentic journals from the captain of the 'Volterra'.
Calm down Carlisle...remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Plus, these journals would be about three hundred and fifty years old. God knows what type of condition they're in.
After a moment, Laurent continued speaking. "So, does this sound like something you would be interested in?"
"Laurent, I am interested, however I have some questions."
Just some? How about a million or two.
"Of course, I will do my best to answer you queries, Dr. Cullen."
"Thank you. To start off with, how many journals are there and in what condition are they in currently?"
Laurent and I spent another hour or so discussing the three journals. Luckily, the estate library that they were found in had facilities for keeping old books preserved so the condition of the journals appeared to be at least readable. We both agreed I should speak directly to Siobhan to get her assessment of the journals' condition and authenticity. Assuming my conversation with Siobhan went well, Laurent and I agreed upon a price for the three journals, which was steep, but worth it if they could help me.
After I ended the call with Laurent, I walked out of my office and headed to find Esme. I couldn't help but smile at the good fortune that had befallen me. Discovering what became of my long forgotten relatives had been a quest many of my ancestors had undertaken. Unfortunately, Marcus' and Didyme's fate was still unknown.
I might just get lucky with this one.
End of Chapter Notes:
Thank you for reading and reviewing (hint, hint)! The next chapter will be brought to you by Edward and the mystery behind what happened to Marcus and Didmye will start to be revealed.
I was introduced to the Twilight universe because of my daughter. She will not be able to read this story because of its content, but I will be giving to her a PG-13 version of each chapter. Her input into my characters, and how they behave, has been a wonderful experience for the both of us. Thank you Lil'Piper!
I am on Twitter (PiedPiperOSIB), so if you are so inclined to follow me you might get a teaser or two. I also have a blog (piedpiperosib(dot)blogspot(dot)com) that I will be posting teasers, chapter pictures, and other goodies to.