The Boy in the Backyard by mariescullen
Summary: When Bella's 6-year-old daughter stumbles upon Peter, a young dirt, stain-filled boy in her backyard playhouse, she's determined to help him. Meanwhile, Bella notices something odd about the new doctor at her work. As Peter's story unwinds, his fate is ultimately left to the family that took him in, but Bella has no intention of giving up the boy in her backyard.
Eventually this story will contain mentions of abuse, etc. I will provide trigger warnings for sensitive readers.
The woman in the window looked down at the ground, grasping portions of her long-braided hair. The deep chestnut tendrils contrasted against the cold stone of the walls below. It was a long way down, the wind whistling taunts of terror as the princess peered over the edge. The figure of the woman was familiar, Charlotte thought, as the scene played out in her head.
A man—tall, dark, and handsome no doubt—checked out on the list of requirements for a prince. This man was special, but not for her. She couldn't make out his face underneath the freshly polished knights' helmet or hear his voice over the whine of the white stallion he tied to a chopped down stump a few strides back.
The knight approached the tower, glancing up to take in the challenge. The aged masonry gleamed with a height that challenged those of redwoods in the hills of California—her mom took her there once to visit Grandpa Charlie, and they were the tallest trees she'd ever laid her eyes on—but this wasn't her challenge. This challenge was for the prince and the princess.
"Won't you let down your hair, Princess Isabella?" A voice said, muffled by the heavy silver of the mask. The knight raised his hand in honor, urging the woman to consider his request. Funny, she pictured his voice deeper, not…so…girly.
The princess peered farther over the edge. Charlotte's mouth curled into an automatic smile as she squeezed her eyes tighter. The face of her mother gazing out from the top of the tower was somehow humorous to her.
"Excuse me, kind Knight, what did you say? I can't hear you from all the way up here," the princess yelled, cupping circles around her ears.
"I said, what have you got there, Charlotte?" said even more feminine voice of the Prince.
With a gasp, Charlotte's eyes snapped open. Her arms tensed from the position raised in the air, using the angle to get a better view of the words on the page. She lay there on the pale rug in the foyer. Her own chocolate brown locks were neatly braided down her back, shoved untidily behind her ears—all thanks to the Princess herself (her mother) and her knowledge of her daughter's recent obsession with Rapunzel.
The click of heels on the wooden stairs causing Charlotte to drop the book. She was no longer alone; this is what must have interrupted the fantasy in her head. Her babysitter, Jessica, must have finally emerged from coating her lips with some sort of sticky goop in the bathroom upstairs.
Six years of age (six and three quarters if you want to be specific), can't touch the top of the kitchen counter, and prefers to spend her afternoons in the magical places her fairytales take her, Charlotte Swan was not your average girl. Her mother wasn't due home for a few more hours and to be honest, the lamp on the bedside table was brighter than the babysitter stationed to look after her.
"I'm reading the book Mom gave me," Charlotte responded rolling her eyes.
Jessica bent down to examine the now discarded book while pulling Charlotte to her feet.
""Rapunzel? A little mature for a kid like yourself, huh sweetie?" Jessica took the book away and made her way to the enormous bookshelf located in the hallway, directly off of the foyer. She scanned the books, looking for a better choice for the six-year-old, who currently was sitting on the bottom step, arms crossed and pout face on.
"Mommy says I can read those books," Charlotte claimed in her bell like voice, looking down at her knees.
"Why don't you try something along the lines of Green Eggs and Ham? It's a good read, I promise!" Jessica chuckled to herself and handed her the all too thin Dr. Seuss book.
"What do you feel like for lunch, kiddo?"
"Food!" retorted Charlotte. She'd gotten the love of the language of sarcasm from her mother. Jessica's eye roll could practically be heard as she headed towards the kitchen.
Jessica Stanley, Bella's "best friend" worked as a teacher's aide at the local elementary school, but it being summer, she was automatically assigned babysitter duty.
Charlotte climbed the staircase to her bedroom and sprawled on the bed, tossing "Green Eggs and Ham" on the floor.
"Charlotte, why don't you go outside and play for a little while? Your mom will be home in a couple of hours." Jessica called up the stairs as she came out of the kitchen and went into the living room to make herself at home on the couch, "lunch will be ready soon."
"Okay," Charlotte said, walking into the kitchen where back sliding doors were. She slid on her pink flip flops with ease and with a leap was out the back door and onto the porch.
The Swan's yard was big. Wild flowers surrounded the outlines of the property, adding color next to the tall, mossy evergreens that drew around the start of the forest. In the center of the yard sat a small yellow play house. Of course, it had a small, flowery welcome front and a window on the west side. Consisting of three small rooms: a kitchen, a living room, and a spare, the play house was Charlotte's safe haven when her mother was not around.
Her dolls and toys were already nestled into the small house, now along with the Rapunzel book she'd stolen off of the bookshelf. In the kitchen, she set down a plastic tea pot filled to the brim with whatever type of tea her mother had prepped for her the night before. Tea parties were a
daily thing in the Swan household.
Today, two guests, would make an appearance at Charlotte Swan's ultimate tea party. Lining up a crazy red-haired doll with a sowed on smile and a stuffed lion, she started to pour the cups of tea. However, redhair's glass was only halfway full when the small cup was dropped, covering the plastic floor in a slew of spilt tea (juice).
Charlotte couldn't help it. She wasn't expecting a third guest, especially not the dirty looking boy that was sitting in a chair on the opposing side of the room. This boy looked small, yet couldn't be bigger than her cousin Jake, who was six years older. His light blonde hair highlighted
with muck, stood out in many different directions around his pale face. His jeans were torn at the hemline and his shirtsleeves non-existent. Her doe eyes met his large green ones and they stared at each other for a while.
Charlotte scoffed, bending over to pick up plastic cup. She looked up at the boy expectedly.
"Well, are you going to just sit there or are you going to join me for my tea party?"
"Did you hear were getting a transfer here on Friday?" said Lauren, an RN who was filing down her nails.
"Yeah, I heard about that. Replacing Dr. Uley is he?" said Bella, who was scrambling around the room, gathering her stuff to take home. Her shift at the hospital had just ended and after 12 hours of being there, she'd wanted to go home and see her daughter.
"Sad to see Sam go are you, Bella?" Lauren laughed. She knew of the previous relationship between Sam and Bella, but she also knew how he'd been cheating on her in the break room with some physical therapist with big boobs and a low-price tag.
"Shove it, Laur." Bella said rolling her eyes.
"Send Charlotte my love!" Lauren laughed as Bella exited the nurse's station.
As she emerged from the hospital doors, she made her way towards the staff section of the parking garage in a hurry to get to her car.
The odds on getting home to quickly weren't in Bella's favor though, because a
blonde haired male quickly approached her as he was exiting his own car.
"Newton," she replied, eyes set on her little black Mitsubishi Lancer that was a daring four spaces away. Damn it.
"So, Bella, have a good shift?" Mike said, as he came up to her, making her stop dead in her tracks.
"Yes Mike, it was great. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get home."
"Come on Swan, what's the big deal with you and me?"
Newton was referring to the "relationship" they had, or so he calls it. He was interested, not horrible to look at, and she had a need to fill, but Charlotte wouldn't have it. According to the six-year-old, Mike looked like an oversized Ken doll. And Charlotte couldn't have her Mommy playing with those kinds of dolls—after all Barbie was for little kids.
"Mike, you know that Charlotte doesn't like you." Bella rolled her eyes as she neared the driver's side.
"Come on! What the little brat doesn't know won't kill her!" Mike complained.
"Oh, get over yourself Mike," Bella spun around to face him, now insulted that he referred to her daughter as a 'brat.' Newton has met Charlotte once when her grandpa had brought her down to surprise her mother with lunch. She quickly disliked him. "I wouldn't get with you if you paid
Hurrying to her vehicle, Bella got in and started the engine, giving Mike a death glare as she passed him by.
"Jessica! Wake up!" Bella yelled at her friend when she walked into the living room of her house. An internal panic rose when she found the house vacant of a bouncy little girl.
Jessica woke up, startled. "What's with the violent shakes?"
"Where is Charlotte?!" Bella said quickly moving in and out of the rooms of the first floor of their house.
"How long have you been asleep Jessica?"
"I fell asleep at like two-thirty or so." She replied, joining in on the search for Charlotte.
Five hours had passed since she'd seen the bright-eyed little girl.
A/N: Reviews are like cookies! I like cookies :)