5th October 1918
It had been a week since I had met Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Yet in that week so much had changed, it seemed as though it was a lifetime ago.
And then I realized, it was.
"How long can we stay Dr. Cul—Uncle Carlisle?" I asked, remembering the story that we where living as we rode in the back of a taxi through the streets of Chicago. "However long you need Edward, this is your trip remember," my companion instructed as we rode through the streets. "The memorial service starts at five, so we have a few hours before we have to head to the church.
The Memorial Service; my time to say good-bye to people I barely remembered. There was really only one was I was going for; and for that person I was returning to my home. Possibly for the last time. And I couldn't remember practically anything about it.
"Alright," I answered in a bored voice as I stared out the window through my dark shaded glasses. Carlisle was making me where them while we where out in public. My red eyes could cause quiet a scene he thought, wearing these 'sunglasses' would cover them nicely and if some did have the courage to ask why I was wearing them, or why my eyes burned with crimson blood, Carlisle would simply answer "He became blind after the influenza, let him be." And I was completely ignored and the subject quickly changed. Also we were being permitted to go out due to the rain and clouded skies that held over us. The rain fell lightly, ending every now and again, while the clouds held firm blocking any rays of sunlight. Sparkling would not be a believable side effect from surviving the influenza. I hadn't been out in the sun for at least a week, I didn't know what would happen when I ever was—Carlisle said it would defiantly cause a scene.
It was still going on. The influenza that had killed my mother and father, the illness that had led to my becoming a vampire was still raging within Chicago. It had been two days. Two days of sleepless nights, of lying in a dark room trying to remember what had happened—now we where going home. Back to my home.
I couldn't remember much about my human years. Carlisle said that was normal, transformation was our major memory of such a time. But Carlisle was telling me what I had been like, what my mother was like, and I could remember faintly. That's why I was going back to my home on 254 Cherry Lane; I had to get my mother's belongings before we carried on somewhere else, which would have to be something I must grow accustomed to. I would forever be trapped in time as a Seventeen-year-old boy as Carlisle was halted in time in his twenties. I could remember mother faintly, but out of my memories, her faint image was the strongest.
"Here you are gents, 254 Cherry Lane," the cab driver said as Carlisle handed him some bills. I stepped out of the car and looked up at the house. So this was home, I thought, looking at the somewhat familiar building. The window boxes where still full of flowers, the house showed no signs of what the inhabitants inside had borne for weeks. It seemed to be untouched by the hands of time; a safe haven possible, perfection after my days of torture.
"Edward, Edward Masen is that you," I heard a voice calling for me from the steps of the house next door.
There stood a woman I'd imagine was a little over fifty. She looked at me and her breath was taken aback, She ran down the steps rushing into my arms, don't hug her tight Edward, just lightly, extremely lightly, no need to crush her. I could hear Carlisle thinking. That was another odd thing about this—try as I may, I could hear people's thoughts. It was extremely odd and boring at times, everything though was so new to me. I nodded and gently, I hugged the old woman.
How is it that you have survived when my Quincy and Sammy did not? She thought sadly to herself with anger in the end. "I'm sorry about your sons Mrs. Whitiker," I answered, remembering the woman. She had been mother's friend, she had been my friend's mother, I thought. Carlisle told me about Quincy on the way over, apparently he lied about his 'recovery' the day before I became a vampire in hopes I too would find strength to recover. I knew I should be feeling sad, horribly torn up by his passing; it left little effect on me. I couldn't even remember what he looked like. I knew he thought life was a game of cards, sang a horrible bass, but all the same, he was nothing now in my memories."My sympathies rest with you also Edward, your dear father and mother—I don't know what I will do with out Elizabeth and Susan—"
"Sherrie," I corrected. Still very ignorant isn't he? She thought, looking up at me with false kind eyes.
"Yes, her too," She waved on. "Good Heavens boy, take off those shades, it's raining, no sun today. Who dose he think he is? Wearing shades in the rain after families have been torn apart. He was always ignorant, just like his mother could be, God Bless Her Soul--
Cue Dr. Cull—Carlisle. Instantly he walked to my side, seeing my arms tighten. "I'm sorry, he will not be able to do that Madame. He lost his sight in the influenza. His eyes are too delicate to be exposed to any form of light"
"And may I ask who you are?" Here I think I'll be able to get Elizabeth's table cloths and china and the dead rises against me, I tightened my fists as she thought. Mother sure had her taste in friends, I thought bitterly, trying to block the woman out of my thoughts. Don't loose your temper Edward—hold it in. I'll talk to her and you go inside, close her mind by closing yours. I gave another nod and signed quietly as Carlisle came to the rescue.
"I am Edward's Uncle, Carlisle Cullen. I married Mr. Masen's sister Caroline a few years ago and I'm Edward's closest kin," Carlisle answered quickly and with exactness, no doubt in his voice as he extended a hand for a gentle handshake.
"How long will you be staying," Mrs. Whitiker asked with what seemed good intentions, Not long enough to want to stay—that house would be perfect for my son Derek and his Melinda—
"I plan on keeping the house. It is in my parent's will that I am to inherit everything from the house to the kitchen spoons, I intended to keep my inheritance," I snapped quickly. I watched as suprise flashed Mrs. Whitker's face, how did he know I was thinking that—I continued on furiously. "Although my uncle and I will be gone for periods of time, this house will forever be owned by a Masen," my words rang with assurity and confidence. "If you will excuse me, I need to go inside, my eyes hurt," then fuddling with my best dignity, I stumbled into my home having just done the best interpretation of a boy who had just lost his sight.
I could still hear Carlisle, "We're going to stay till New Years for sure, but I want to take him to my country home in Wisconsin, it will do him plenty good to have clean fresh air to breath..."
Oh we had fabricated a fair story. Carlisle was my Uncle who would be taking me in with him as he traveled to a small town in Wisconsin or Michigan. But I was going to keep the house, and my mother's belongings, he was confidant I would want both of them. In addition, I could use the Chicago house if I ever needed some time by myself, or I needed to unwind a bit, Carlisle believed I should always be permitted to own home. The place that at one time had been my refuge and sanctuary. I stepped into the house taking off my glasses. I found a light switch, and suddenly the room was cascading with light. The room smelled like it had been unoccupied for days. The wooden floor was getting dusty.
I walked down the hallway that would lead to the kitchen to be stopped by a note that lay next to a vase of now wilted daisies.
Edward and I should be home by six to get ready for the Opera. I'll see you at the end of the day but until then have these daisies to help you think of your boys
Eddie and Edward
I set down the note, Eddie—father had written that note to Mother, the day that he died. His elegant script seemed to hold the loops and twirls of other happy days that no longer existed. Days when life and light had filled the home; it was now empty and the daisies reflected how life had been for us; it had fallen apart to a state of disarray.
The phone dangled from its hook, looming over the floor of the kitchen from where mother must have dropped it before rushing to the hospital. It seemed odd, being in my home once again. Paintings hung on the wall that I had passed I was sure thousands of time, only now it was alien to my eyes. Watercolors of balconies in Tuscany, pansies that I had seen in the window box. I left the kitchen and began to return to the front of the house. Walking up the stairs, life seemed to stand still. The hallway was dark; I touched an oil lamp, twisting a knob that filled the room with light.
A French door was open. It seemed most familiar too me. Entering, I found a room that I could remember it had her touch. Her style, It was mother.
On the day bed rested her copy of Sense and Sensibility, forever stopped at chapter 48. Lying across the arm of her daybed was a blue satin night coat that although long since abandoned still carried her smell—Lilacs and Freesia. I sat down on the corner, stroking it gently. My eyes cast to her table that lay next to it, were sat a photograph, A man who I could fainly remember called Father, his hand claspped in Mothers. Mother. She smiled beautifully, I could feel her. She was smiling as I stood to her side in the picture. I was making her happy. Father and I were making her happy. I waited for the moister to fill my eyes, but they remained dry. I saw the Piano, dust accumulating over the ivory keys; instantly thoughts of Claire de Lune filled my mind. It was her favorite, she loved it. I turned around yet again and saw that the window had opened slightly, a gust of wind sending papers flying from a desk set up in the corner.
The typewriter sat at top the desk; it's red paint shining.
It had been her little pest; I walked behind it, lightly letting my fingers dance along its keys. Mother had hated it—That was probably my most vivid memory of her. Was that horrible? To only remember someone that you loved so dearly only by something they hated?
I had come home from school one day—I remembered, and walked into her study, this room to her fiddling with it her first time. I remember reading what she had typed, she was worried for me, for something she feared was going to come and take me away from her. Could she have predicted this influenza? She had smiled while I played the piano for her, I had smiled because she was. That time, only a short time ago seemed to have taken place eons ago. Memories where going to fade... Carlisle told me to expect that. But I didn't want them to, I wanted them to live on as long as I was going to, which to my understanding, was going to be a very long time.
A page was left inside not yet freed from the iron grip of its captor. I stared down at the page, pressing the ejection button lightly.
...Oh to know that my Edward will find a girl that will make him laugh like his father makes me will be the highlight of my life. But I always seem to find myself thinking will someone ever be worthy enough of my son? Oh poppycot that's the thought of every mother isn't it? As if there can ever be a woman worthy of my Edward...
The gardens have to be my favorite part of the house next to Edward's Piano room. The roses are giving their last bloom and Mr. Masen and I sat up there looking at the stars and while doing so just simply taking time to be together and literally smell the roses. Oh Eddie... sorry typewriter, that's just my husband for you. He is a romantic. He tucked a daisy behind my ear (he knows its one of my favorite flowers) and then started to sing softly into the night. He'd never admit it but he has a very lovely music voice. Oh how I love my husband. I don't know what I would do without him. He's been this form of a romantic as long as I have met him. Some women are lucky when they marry, they marry a kind gentlemen which I did, only I have a kind, and loving one. My dearest Eddie. He seemed rather clammy though while we where on the roof, I begged him to go down but he is stubborn, a trait that I see our son has developed all too well. Nevertheless, all is well with that.
So this morning at 7, Mr. Masen and Edward headed off to the office. It is quarter after five now, and they should be home within a few hours. Before he left though, Mr. Masen left a fresh vase of daisies downstairs for me with a note for when he and Edward will be home. I'm so lucky to have married such a man aren't i? The Opera is at 7 this evening and I am both looking forward to it while dreading it. Looking forward because the opera is Carmen one of my favorites while dreading telling Edward about his papers. I spent all yesterday afternoon talking to Edna and she doesn't have the foggiest idea of Quincy's enlistment, it took all I had not to tell her. The house is all but silent, except for the sounds of ragtime playing on the gramophone.
Oh, Sherrie is coughing again. I hope she'll be all right tonight, I'm having Emily, Edna's usual companion come over to watch her tonight. I'll go check on her and make sure she is all right. Good bye for now my little typewriter... don't tell Mr. Masen, but you're not as big of a menace as I first believed. Maybe this newfound technology will help me in life—don't tell him I said that, remember.
I looked at the paper one last time, A draft? Is that one mother had foreseen, what she wasn't telling me? We where going to an Opera? Maybe I liked Opera as a human but the thought of it now sent chills through my granite body...Sherrie—she brought the illness to the home, or was it Quincy who had died a few days past?
I reviewed the paper once again. This was the only clue I had to what my life had been like with my parents. Soap spud fights in the kitchen during dishes, watching them do embarrassing dance moves—but they where happy, it seems like we where happy. And it had been snatched away. I'd never have that happiness again.
"Edward," I heard a familiar voice call from the stairs below. In a blink of an eye I had folded the paper into fourths, tucking it into the pocket of my navy blue dress coat. "Yes Uncle," I replied, unaware if Edna had invited herself inside with Carlisle before she made her move for my mother's china and linens.
"I'm sorry to rush you but we need to head down to Saint Thomas' Cathedral, the Memorial service is going to start in an hour..." his voice trailed.
That was another thing I wasn't fond of today.
It was my first day out of Carlisle's apartment and it had been spent walking in my past life. Now he that he had allowed me to return briefly to the home I had always—until recently anyway—known, he was forcing me to attended a Memorial Service for all those that had perished in the disease that had scourged and continued to scourge the city of Chicago.
"Carlisle," I whispered with frustration in the word, " I don't want to go."
Carlisle walked up the stairs, I could hear them slightly creaking as he did so. He walked in the room, and for a minute it seemed as though he was remembering my mother as well. He had told me about her during the past two days and I knew that they had had a special friendship, after his reminiscing he turned to me and had a look on his face that I'm sure if I could remember my father, would make me think of him.
"Edward Masen you are going to the memorial service—trust me, you will regret it if you do not. No matter what you are, no son will forgive himself for missing his mother's funeral," he spoke with demanding obedience. "The Cab is waiting, come on..."
I looked at the room one last time, knowing that I would return in a few short hours. Gently, I shut the French door, and followed Carlisle down the stairs and after making sure that the house was securely locked, into the waiting Taxi Cab.
"Edward? Edward Masen?" A voice called from behind as we sat towards the back of the church, crammed with people who had all gone through series of loss in the last few days. I turned behind to see a boy who was probably around my age, with dark brown hair and matching eyes. "Edward, what's with your eyes?" the boy asked as he walked to where I was sitting.
"I lost my sight in the illness," I replied monotone, not wanting to give an explanation. He didn't want one, he just continued on. "It's good to see you pulled through—I heard that you had gone into the hospital, I'm sorry about your family. Nearly lost my brother we did, but Charles has always been lucky," the boy said sympathetically "Can I sit next to you? Mother was still recovering or she would have been her as well;" I had barely said any words to this boy as he just sat down in the chair next to me.
He smelled like a fine meal, yet I wasn't hungry and that was probably a good thing. Carlisle said that the blood that was left in my eyes would probably sustain me until we reached where ever we where headed.
"Who are you?" I asked, my dark shades hiding his facial features, I could only make out his hair and his eyes. "Did you loose your memory in the hospital Edward? I'm Jimmy, Jimmy Swan, remember from School? We had English Literature and Latin together..." I nodded as though I remembered him faintly and yet He could have been my brother and I wouldn't have known it.
"Well, we had those classes, I'm not heading back when the school reopens are you?" he talked too much I decided.
"No, I'm going with my uncle up north for a while to clear my lungs a bit—" I started, reciting the story that Carlisle had fed me for the past day.
"Really me too," he cut in. "My mother's sending me to my Grandfather's house in Washington, says we've been in the city to long, need to get some good clean air and no place better then Washington State huh? If you ever get up there, look up us Swans eh?"
I was sure that he would go on and on but thankfully the Service was beginning. "Friends—Neighbors, Fine People of Chicago, we gather together as brothers and sisters to mourn the loss of the thousands that have walked on to the presence of our Lord in the past week. . ."
I couldn't remember if I was religious growing up but the service seemed to drag on. Finally the names began to be read from a list as a church bell tolled in the rafters above us. . . . Michael M. Allison. . Millicent Beverly Benders...Samuel Richard Boster...Christopher Luke Cater... I watched as Jimmy seemed to shake his head as some names where read. Finally when we reached Robert James he looked at me and whispered, "That was once our whole lacrosse team...I'm all that's left, We're all that's left..."
The names continued. "Sherrie Kathryn Kelley" I said a small good bye to the girl that I could hardly remember, I think she had red hair, and she always listened at the door when I played the piano for mother; more names. . . . Katharine Leanne Luscot. . . Harry T. Marks. . .the time had come, My parent's where approaching.
I don't think I will remember what happened a week ago, when all these tragic events happened. I won't remember my best friend, the school I attended or even watching Mother and Father dancing in the parlor, probably in a manor that would have embarrassed me, to rag time but I will remember until the day that the world ends,
"Edward Andrew Masen II . . . Elizabeth Sophia Taylor-Masen"
The Church bells chimed their mournful chime, and I turned up as though I was staring at the ceiling. Through my covered eyes I looked up and mouthed a silent sentence that I hoped could somehow reach the floors of heaven that where releasing their tears through rain...
"Goodbye Mother—" I silently prayed, as I looked out the window and then towards my new found Uncle, awaiting what hand of Cards life was going to deal me next.
AN: And Thus Ends 1918. I know I'm going to get some comment on Jimmy Swan—if you want to believe he's one of Bella's great-great-whatevers, you can. I just wanted to pull someone in there from the end to show what was also going on in the city. I sorta feel like I should apologize to Jimmy, I felt like he was a Mike Newton for a while...oh well. Thank you so much for reading this little story of mine . I may continue on with this story, but this is how I had wanted to end 1918. It was Elizabeth's story. Elizabeth's view of the events leading up to the Influenza, the actual influenza. This is meant to be Elizabeth's view of Edward. Who knows, maybe we'll get Carlisle's version of Wisconson after this... young vampires do the darndest things eh?Oh well. Thanks for the reviews and the constant advice. I'll See y'all in another story!