The second I heard a loud crash from somewhere inside the house, I shot up from the bed. My eyes were barely adjusting to the bright sunlight that spilled through the curtains as they looked every which way, searching for whatever was making that racket. I grimaced as a sliver of light pooled across my eyes, the sun squeezing through the curtains I'd forgotten to shut last night when I practically passed out the second I got home.
I heard the crash again, and I cursed under my breath when I recognized the familiar stomping of feet as my youngest brother running down the hall.
I rose from the bed, scratching my bare chest as I looked over at the watch I had on my nightstand: 7:00 AM.
That sounds about right, I thought to myself sardonically with a nod.
The sound of my phone buzzing on my nightstand made me roll onto my side and look at the screen. The grin that stretched across my lips was instant as I read my best friend's text.
Renee: Hey sleepyhead :) can't wait to see you and the boys this weekend. Bella's excited too, believe it or not.
I hummed, still smiling as I typed a quick reply as I rose from bed.
Carlisle: Hey you, same here. Emmett can't stop talking about hanging out with Bella, it's as if he's known her his whole life or something. Jasper's not saying much but what else is new?
Placing my phone down on the nightstand, I made my way into the bathroom to freshen up for the day. The entire time, I couldn't stop thinking about Renee and her kid. They'd been gone for so long, I didn't think my best friend would ever come back to our hometown. Living in another town and deciding to take a six month vacation to god knows where, I didn't think I'd ever see them again.
Not that I'd blame them, considering...well, everything.
This'll be the first time the boys will be meeting Renee and Bella however, so that's something to look forward too. The last time all of us had been together the kids had to have been toddlers so I was pretty sure they didn't remember much of each other. I made it a point to pay a few visits throughout the year of course, driving to Tacoma to be there with them for Renee and Bella's birthdays or to simply see them every now and then. Though in the past two years, things had changed drastically and my frequent visits became rare.
Pulling a shirt on as I made my way out of my bedroom, I spotted Emmett running back up the stairs and into his room. I knew what the problem was without having to ask.
As I reached his room, I grinned at my kid brother with mock affection, "Getting a late start again?"
His black hair was a curly mess, longer than usual, and a slice of toast was bouncing about in between his teeth as he scanned the floor of his bedroom.
"I do recall telling you to put an alarm last night." I said as I ruffled Emmett's hair, earning a jab at my side while he tried to grab his backpack.
"Yeah, yeah. Lecture me about it later. Coach is already going to let me have it for missing practice." He called from inside his room, throwing scraps of clothes he'd left on the floor around as he searched for his shoes.
I shook my head, unsurprised by the usual routine my brother had every morning as I went downstairs.
Having worked four night shifts in a row was slowly killing me, especially since I had kids to watch over. I needed to make sure I got them to school on time every morning. More so considering our brother Jasper would gladly skip school any day.
I worried about that boy constantly, and though I didn't say it out loud, he knew it. But, unfortunately, that seemed to cause a bit of a rift between us lately.
I was nearly knocked off my feet when Nana, our bulky Saint Bernard, pushed me aside, ramming his head against the back of my knee in the process.
"Whoa, boy!" I stumbled as he ran to the back door, his tongue hanging out as he panted with anticipation. His long fluffy tail was wagging nonstop as he waited for me. "Everyone's in a rush today, huh?" I sighed as I made it downstairs. Seeing how pressed he was to go outside, I opened the door and watched as he quickly ran down the steps.
He disappeared around the grove of trees surrounding our house to do his business. As I moved to close the door slightly, I could hear his booming barks echoing, followed by the squawking of birds. I rolled my eyes, grimacing as the squawking continued.
He loved messing with those poor birds. I dread the day he'll catch one of those poor creatures and bring them back home. Nana would be proud of himself for it too, wagging his big tail and panting happily.
Shaking my head, I turned around to see Emmett stumbling down the stairs with his backpack in hand. I noticed the wrinkled flannel shirt he had on, which I was sure he picked up from one of the piles of clothes he had on the floor.
He whipped his head back and forth, "You seen my shoes anywhere?"
"Which shoes?" I snorted, arching a brow towards the pile of sneakers by the door.
I started up the coffee pot while he dug through the collection of said shoes.
"Rough morning?" He shot me a warning glare with his deep green eyes as he detected my amusement. Even though I was still slightly ticked they couldn't wake up without having me banging on their door every morning. "I told you two to sleep early last night. Why don't you listen?"
"You know, it wasn't entirely my fault," Emmett rushed out, waving one of his hands around while the other kept digging, "Jasper, get out here, or I'm leaving without you!" He called down the hall, where our brother was probably still sleeping in his room. As he cursed under his breath I heard him complain, "Why can't Nana leave my shoes alone for one freaking night?"
"Maybe he ate them. I wouldn't be surprised, he's done if before. I'd be sure never to let him lick me again if I were you. Considering how funky your feet must smell," I mumbled as I grabbed a coffee mug and two thermoses from the cupboard.
As he struggled to reach one of his shoes from under the counter, he begged, "Can you please help me out here? I'm gonna be in trouble if I'm late again."
"Alright, alright," I smiled, pushing myself off the counter. I walked down the hall where there was a single door to the left followed by a single window at the very end, giving a full view of the lake surrounding our small house. There were times when I wondered if one day the constant rain we had here in Forks would swallow us up whole.
I didn't bother banging my fist on the door this time and opened it, only to see that Jasper wasn't in his bed. Though the sheets were a bunched-up mess and the blinds were shut, I knew he hadn't spent the night here since I left for my shift yesterday. I shook my head, already feeling a headache coming on.
I was preparing to rip into my brother the second he came home, a speech I was sure he knew by heart by now, until I heard the bathroom door open on the far left side of his room. Seeing a thick fog waft out, followed by Jasper, who wore nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. He barely looked at me as he ran his hand through his hair and pulled up the blinds. I leaned against the doorframe, taking in the fresh bruises on his cheekbone and ribs that were revealed as soon as the pale morning light shined down on them. The three sparrows wrapped around his forearm camouflaging with the black and blue bruises.
I slowly felt my blood boiling as he stared up at me with his cool blue eyes. Neither of us saying anything, a standoff of sorts.
He continued ignoring me while he went to the dresser to pull out his clothes without any urgency. In contrast to Jasper's calm demeanor, our little brother was blowing a gasket in the kitchen right now.
"Are you going to give me the usual speech or just enjoy the view?" Jasper asked as he pulled a black t-shirt over his head. His blonde hair was unruly as the strands fell over his forehead, settling over his jaw as droplets dripped down the ends. In his eyes, the cold gaze he shot at me told me he wasn't in the mood to have this conversation again—too damn bad.
"I think you're growing a little too used to it by now, so maybe I'll change it up this time. I was thinking you'd give Nana a bath tonight and then you'll do the laundry, the basket is looking a little too full. I'd wear gloves and a mask if I were you, who knows how long Emmett's been wearing those socks," I said sarcastically when I recalled seeing the laundry basket overflowing with dirty clothes last night.
"I heard that!" Emmett hollered.
"Sure, mom. Anything else?" Jasper quipped.
Tilting my head to the side, I looked back down the hall where Emmett was trying and failing to wrestle one of his shoes out of Nana's mouth. The dog didn't seem to care that Emmett was stressing out this morning because he growled playfully and tried to yank one of the shoes out of his hand while the other was tucked under his heavy paw.
For some reason, my brothers always had the same chaotic energy every morning. Well...when Jasper wasn't sporting fresh cuts and bruises from his fights, that is.
"Get ready for school," I walked out of my brother's room and shut the door behind me—not wanting to hear another word of Jasper's sarcastic quips I knew he was getting ready to fire. I fished out two bags of sandwiches from the fridge I had prepared last night for them, knowing neither of them would think to do so. I chucked both bags onto the kitchen table for Emmett to stuff in his backpack before pouring the hot coffee I was dying to have into the thermoses. One for Emmett and the other for Jasper. I may be exasperated at the latter for running off and getting into fights again, but he was still my brother, and I had to take care of him.
However, that doesn't mean I won't find an effective way to dish out a punishment for him soon.
Jasper may be rebellious, but he never fought me on how I disciplined whenever he pushed me far enough. Grounding him was out of the question since he'd sneak out anyway, but making him do two weeks worth of chores didn't sound so bad. It's way better than what our father would have done to me if I went against his wishes back then. This was nothing compared to how I was disciplined. I grimaced at the thought of either of my brothers being exposed to that sort of treatment now.
Violence was something I always wanted to shield them from, ever since I became their guardian.
Too bad it seemed to find Jasper anyway...
Emmett was finally pulling his black converse on, though they had been slobbered up nicely thanks to Nana when Jasper walked out of his room.
Even though Jasper had gotten ready for school much later than Emmett had, the boy looked as if he didn't have a care in the world. The only sign anyone would have that he'd just woken up would be the mess of hair he had that never seemed to stay in place. The complete opposite of me, when my blonde hair was cut short and was easy to maintain.
I eyed the bruise on his cheek and reached into the cabinet next to the fridge to pull out a bottle of painkillers and a bottle of gel I'd bought to treat bruises. Though I was a cop and got into enough physical altercations to gain a few punches myself, I wasn't nearly as bruised up as Jasper.
Jasper rolled his eyes but reached for the ibuprofen I offered, and before he could walk away, I grabbed his hand and made him look at me as I said, "Use it this time, and you better come home tonight. We have a lot to discuss."
"Getting your ass handed to you again, Jazz?" Emmett smirked as he finally settled down from his frantic running about and sat on the floor, running his hand over Nana's head, calling a truce with the mutt he couldn't help but love.
Jasper was taking a drink of his coffee as he murmured in response, "Not as much as your girl did to you, I hear. Or should I even call her that now that she's free?" He smirked as he saw his taunting worked when Emmett stiffened.
"Right," Emmett breathed as he ran his hand through his hair, "I don't know why I keep forgetting you can be an ass in the morning."
"And you're lovely in comparison," I added with a grin.
Emmett ignored me as I turned around to pour myself a cup of coffee while he mumbled, "She didn't break up with me. I broke up with her. It was a mutual decision."
"So," I began, taking a sip of my coffee finally, "Renee and Bella are coming on Friday night and they'll be leaving on Sunday. I hope you guys haven't made too many plans this weekend so you can spend some time here."
Jasper cast a sideways glance, but said nothing.
Emmett positively beamed, "Hell yeah I'll be here! I want to reunite with my best friend."
"Your best friend? You hardly know her," Jasper murmured as he drank his coffee.
"Hey, don't knock my childhood memories. I remember her enough! She was a bit of a cry baby and liked to rewatch Beauty and the Beast over and over again. But she was funny, I remember that very well."
I hummed in acknowledgement, surprised Emmett remembered as much as he did. I do recall Bella liked watching Beauty and the Beast on their TV every time I came by to visit. Until she eventually outgrew it. I didn't know how to tell my brother that the little girl he remembered wasn't the same kid anymore. That she probably would never be that girl again, after everything...
But it wasn't my place to reveal Bella and Renee's private life.
I glanced at Jasper, finding him looking at me with that same unreadable expression of his as he rose and pulled his backpack over his shoulder, "Let's go," He waited until Emmett was bustling down the hall with Nana hot on his trail before turning to face me, "I'll be here."
I watched my brother go with a grateful nod, hoping that somehow meeting Renee and Bella again would shed some much needed light on my younger brother. Because I had no idea what else to do to steer him on the right path.
I tried and failed to hold back a grimace as the familiar, airy voice of Tanya Denali called out to me.
I'd just started walking towards my truck at the end of shift when she noticed me walking past the front desk and immediately ran after me. Flagging me down the same way she did every time she saw me. Tanya was the station's receptionist, often looking bored out of her mind every time she answered calls and did her nails which I was pretty sure was against dress code. Chief wasn't thrilled with her work ethic but Forks was a small town, which meant finding another person to employ was hard.
Tanya was also notorious for flirting with every man or woman that caught her eye at the station. Which wasn't a bad thing for those looking for the attention from the attractive blonde...but I sure as hell didn't reciprocate her interest. I thought I'd made that perfectly clear every time I kindly rejected her offer to go out.
Not that I wasn't looking to date but...with the boys and working nonstop in hopes of getting a promotion to detective, I didn't have the time.
I slowly turned to face her with a forced smile, "Hello, Tanya."
"Getting out late again I see," Tanya observed as she came to a halt a few inches away, her heels sinking into the gravel as she did and placing her hands on my chest to steady herself. I reached a hand out to ease her away once I made sure she wouldn't fall over. "Got any plans for the rest of the night?"
"Just go spend some time with my boys," I said, glancing towards my truck longingly. I really wanted to get home and sleep away the day, but I knew I couldn't do that with Renee on her way.
"Oh, I see...well, some of the girls and I are going to hit the bars in Port Angeles so I was wondering if you wanted to-"
My cellphone rang in the pocket of my jacket and I had to fight off the urge to smile with relief. Saved by the bell was an understatement.
"Sorry," I said as I reached into my pocket and looked at the screen, frowning as I noticed it was a number I didn't recognize. Tanya frowned, clearly disappointed but motioned that she was going to go back into the station when I made to answer the call. I didn't stop her. "Hello?"
"Good evening, am I speaking with Carlisle Cullen?" A feminine voice asked, the tone she used sounded professional and empathetic.
I almost groaned, imagining all sorts of trouble Jasper or Emmett must have gotten into at school and thus why I was receiving a call.
"This is him." I groused.
"Hello, I'm calling on behalf of the General Hospital in Forks regarding Renee Swan and her daughter Bella."
The name of my closest friend being mentioned made me blink in surprise. Suddenly a sinking feeling started in the pit of my stomach. I wasn't sure I was breathing as I waited for the woman on the other side of the phone to continue.
"The patients were brought to the hospital a few hours ago after a vehicular accident. You were the only emergency contact listed that we could find."
I struggled to find my words, "Are they alright?"
Then the specific tone of voice I heard on the other side told me everything I needed to know. It was the same one I had used before while visiting a victim's family whenever I brought them the bad news that their loved ones were gone. I shouldn't be phased by it...and yet.
My chest was barely rising and falling. My heart was pounding wildly as she said, "I'm very sorry, sir. The doctors did everything they could, but this afternoon, Renee Swan passed away. The injuries she sustained were too great."
It wasn't until the woman spoke again, asking if I was still there, that I realized I hadn't said anything for a while. It wasn't until I felt a dull ache in my chest that I felt myself leaning against the side of my truck, needing the support.
Oh my god.
"Mr. Cullen? Are you still there?"
I cleared my throat, "Yes, yes. I'm still here." I rubbed my hand over my face, feeling the way the slight stubble on my chin scratched my palm.
My best friend I've known for what felt like forever. The one that always had a big smile and those big round eyes that always knew when I was lying. The girl with the mischievous look on her face that would greet me every morning before class, trying to convince me to cause trouble somewhere and often resulted in us getting detention together. Nothing separated us back then, and I thought it never would until she moved to Tacoma with her husband after graduating high school.
It doesn't make any sense. Gone. How could she be gone?
"You said I was the only—what about Bella? Is she—" I was stumbling over my words. The question was almost impossible to get out.
The woman was quick to reassure me, "She is stable. She has been in surgery for some time now. The doctors will notify you how she is recovering once you arrive."
Right, because I was the emergency contact and the closest thing to family Renee and Bella had.
"Unfortunately," The professional tone she used seemed to be automatic at this point. "We are unable to contact the father. As I mentioned, you were the only emergency contact we could find, but is there any form of contacting him?"
"No, there isn't," I answered tersely. I amended as I ran a hand over my face, "He isn't in the picture."
Before I could think better of it, I told the woman I was on my way to the hospital. Once I hung up, I felt as if I'd been set on autopilot. Yanking the door open and climbing into my truck. I sat there, silent and motionless as I replayed the conversation I had moments ago.
Renee is dead.
Bella is in surgery. For what, I had no idea and it scared the shit out of me.
I rested my arms on top of the steering wheel as I stared at the flickering lights outside the station. Trying and failing to think about what I needed to do. I knew I was in shock as the grief and reality of the situation hadn't struck me yet even though it should have. I was a cop, I knew these things happened. Only thing is, you never think something like this will happen to you or a loved one.
Blowing out a breath, I put the keys in and switched the ignition on.
Then I called my brothers and told them everything.
Note: This will be a Bella x Jasper story