Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks Be My Escape and Bronzehairedgirl for a great beta and to Alphie for her help in planning.
This story is set during the Twilight timeline after James was killed. It's for Jesseh, Samurph and In Love With Forever. Thanks, girls.
By Any Other Name
by silly bella
Bella's cast limited her activities even more than her clumsiness, so we were spending the evening watching television. Right now, that meant syndicated reruns of Friends. She seemed to find it interesting enough, and I enjoyed watching that beautiful smile light up her face and spread into laughter. I should have been paying more attention.
"You weren't really watching any of that, were you?" she asked as the closing credits played.
I shrugged. "I was watching you," I sighed. Bella was far more interesting than any television show.
American Idol was about to start, and Emmett was urging Rosalie to come watch it. She really didn't want to spend the time with Bella, and resisted at first. Eventually Emmett persuaded her and they both came downstairs and sat with us. I kissed Bella's forehead and pushed a loose tendril of hair behind her ear. Rosalie rolled her eyes.
Emmett guffawed at some of the worst performers. "We should get you on there, Edward."
"Yeah, I'd like to hear what Simon would say to him," Rosalie smirked. It would be funny to hear your brother ridiculed on national television. At least, I'd enjoy it.
"Right. The perfect way to be inconspicuous. Participate in a popular television reality show. No one would notice at all," I sneered.
"We could Goth you up, Edward. You know Alice would have a blast with that. And you could use a fake name." Emmett was plotting. Even Bella stared at him incredulously, her eyes wide with disbelief.
Before I could respond, the rest of my family arrived. They'd been hunting. It was mostly for Jasper, but the rest had gone to keep him company. They joined us in front of the television as the show ended.
Bella glanced at me with a ridiculous grin. "Did you ever have any pets when you were human?"
Pets? I thought about her question, sifting through vague impressions of my human life. "Well, my mother had a cat. I helped take care of him."
"What was his name?" she asked.
"Thor's Mighty Hammer," I mumbled after pausing for a moment to allow more details to surface.
Rosalie laughed. "What a name for a cat," she sniffed disdainfully. Was the cat as prissy as you?
"It was a registered Persian. My father gave it to my mother. She liked Norse mythology. And we didn't call him Thor's Mighty Hammer. We just called him Hammer." I glared at Rosalie. She was only behaving that way because it was Bella who'd asked.
"Anybody else have a pet?" Bella looked around the room.
Jasper nodded. "I had two, I guess. But then, so did most young men. I had a hunting hound named Zeke and a stallion I called Bold Turk. That horse was a beauty."
It was a fine-looking horse. It stood tall, a chestnut stallion. I could see it through Jasper's thoughts. That horse had been something special to him to have such a clear memory of it from his human life. And the dog, a type of hound I couldn't recognize, that rubbed against his leg in devoted affection. Pleasant memories. I felt a little guilty, but he, realizing what was happening, grinned and shrugged.
"I had a hunting dog, too," Emmett jumped in. "Rufus. I loved that dog."
His memory wasn't surprising: a hunting trip with the dog. But what I actually saw was quite unexpected. Emmett led the dog to a still clear pool for a drink. In the mirror of the water, I could see Emmett. A much younger Emmett, but Emmett, just the same, his youthful face still that of a child. Rosalie interrupted this picture of his past when she shot him a horrified glance and muttered, "You loved a dog?"
"What? He was a great dog!" Emmett defended himself. "Every boy needs a dog. It's like a rite of passage to manhood."
Rosalie turned to me and snickered. "I guess that's why Edward had a cat."
"Ahem." We all turned to Carlisle. "I never had a dog. But I did have a horse. He was as fast as they came, and I called him Storm." Carlisle looked a bit nostalgic and I could briefly see his horse, looming large and black in the night. Barely the flash of a memory, but a memory, all the same.
"What about you, Rosalie?" Bella spoke cautiously. "Did you have a pet?"
Rosalie smiled. I saw her holding a small yellow bird in her hand, stroking the feathers along its back lovingly and whispering to it. It was a side of Rosalie not many people ever knew. "I did, actually. The sweetest canary you ever saw. That bird was beautiful."
"And what did you call her? Or him?" Bella asked.
"I wasn't terribly original. Her name was Goldie. Or maybe it was a him. I wasn't quite sure how to tell," Rosalie mused. It was Emmett's turn to laugh. At least, until Rosalie silenced him with another glare.
Alice pouted. This is not fair. "I never had a pet. At least, not that I remember."
Bella frowned and looked perplexed for a moment. I wished I could tell what she was thinking.
"Esme, how about you?" Bella waited patiently for the answer.
"I had a cat. She was black and white, nothing special, like a Persian. Just a sweet little mouser that I called Daisy." Esme smiled, thinking about sitting contentedly in a tree with a large cat on her lap as the sun shimmered over them through the leaves. Both she and the cat seemed at perfect peace. "And what about you, Bella? Did you ever have a pet?"
"She had goldfish," I grinned. "Three of them." Bella blushed.
Emmett's brow furrowed in confusion. "Bella, what exactly is it about having three goldfish that would cause you to blush?"
"At first it was just two fish," she explained. "Salt and Pepper. But Salt died, so I had to buy another fish so Pepper wouldn't be lonesome. It was Salt Two. Then both of them died." Emmett chuckled and the furrow in is brow disappeared as Bella continued, "Pepper lasted the longest. A whole week. I guess he was a sturdy fish."
"Why the sudden interest in pets, Bella?" Carlisle asked.
Bella shrugged. "Just something I saw on the television earlier. Nothing important." She was silent for a moment then started questioning us again. "What about where you lived? Do any of you remember the name of the street you lived on when you grew up?"
"You know, I sort of know the answer to this. Jasper found that asylum where I was on the Internet. It was on Ninth Street in Biloxi, Mississippi. I'd like to go there some time and see if I can find out more about myself." Alice seemed happy to participate. Happy to have learned one small piece of her history. I tried not to think about how she had learned it.
I was worried that Bella might think too much about where Alice had learned about her past, so I jumped in quickly, "I lived on Fillmore Street in Chicago. It was named after President Millard Fillmore. It's still there." I knew exactly where it was. I still owned the house, even if I didn't have much reason to go there.
For some reason, that information made Bella grin insanely.
Carlisle touched Esme's cheek. "Esme lived on a farm on Darling Road when she was young." Esme leaned against him, smiling. I tried to pull out of their private thoughts, which had nothing to do with Esme's home.
"And what about you, Carlisle? Where did you live in London?" Bella's voice was eager.
"Queen's Gate," Carlisle said proudly. "In Kensington. What about you, Bella? Where did you live?"
For some reason, Bella didn't look happy. "Bridal Wreath Street," she murmured, decidedly disappointed. "Jasper? Your turn," Bella prompted.
"My family's farm was on Jasper Road." He grinned. "I believe Jasper was a family name." A long, dusty road flashed through his mind.
"We had a family farm, too," Emmett laughed. "It was on a country road. Piney Butt Loop." Rosalie winced at the name. Bella giggled as she covered her mouth with her hand. Emmett scowled. "What's so funny about that? There were lots of pine trees."
Alice raised her eyebrows. "And apparently lots of butts." Emmett narrowed his eyes.
Bella's voice, in an attempt to contain her amusement, was almost a whisper. "What about you, Rosalie?"
"Beaver Street." Rosalie was curt, fighting the memory of her home and family. She missed them as much as she wanted to be human. She wasn't happy about the question, but at least she answered. Again, Bella raised her hands to her face.
"Why are you laughing? What's so funny about where Rose and I lived when we were humans?" Emmett raised his eyebrows.
Bella stopped trying to hold back her laughter. Her whole body shook for a moment. Finally, she spoke. "It's just that on that last episode of Friends, they were talking about stripper names."
I knew I should have paid more attention to the television. But Bella was so damn distracting.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Rosalie snapped. Edward's little human talking about strippers. He must be mortified at that coming out of her mouth. She glanced in my direction. Or maybe that's what he likes. Talking about strippers. I raised my eyebrows and scowled at my sister, wishing that for once, she could hear what I was thinking.
"It's a joke. It's supposed to be funny." Bella's face was bright red. "Your stripper name is the name of your pet and the name of the street you grew up on."
Emmett caught on immediately. "So I would be Rufus Piney Butt?" He cut loose a belly laugh. Rosalie shook her head impatiently. "And Rose would be Goldie Beaver!" Emmett shouted. How appropriate. She glared at him as the rest of the family laughed.
"I didn't have a pet." Alice pouted.
"You're welcome to use one of mine, since I had two," Jasper offered.
For a moment, Alice perked up. Then she frowned again. "So I'm either Bold Turk Ninth or Zeke Ninth?"
"I kind of like Zeke Ninth," Jasper whispered. Emmett chuckled. "Then I can be Bold Turk Jasper," he grinned proudly. "I can sort of keep my own name."
Emmett was enjoying this. He pointed to Carlisle, "Storm Queens's Gate? And Daisy Darling?" Carlisle and Esme didn't seem amused. Emmett grinned at Bella. "Pepper's not bad, but Bridal Wreath? Pepper Bridal Wreath? It doesn't have the same kind ring to it as Rufus Piney Butt." Bella and Emmett laughed together.
I knew it was coming. Emmet looked at me and raised his eyebrows. "Hammer Fillmore?" He burst out laughing. Rosalie and Jasper followed suit. I own you, now!
Alice laughed at first, but then her eyes turned to slits. She crossed her arms over her chest and presses her lips together in a grim little line. "That's just not fair. I end up with Zeke Ninth and the one-hundred-and-five-year-old virgin ends up with Hammer Fillmore? There is no justice in this world. No justice at all." Jasper put his arm around her to calm her, but it had little effect. "Zeke Ninth. It's not even gender correct!"
"Hammer Fillmore," Emmett snickered. Rosalie leaned in beside him, giggling along with him.
"All right, Rufus Piney Butt and Goldie Beaver, give it a rest." Clearly, it was wishful thinking on my part. They might never let this go.
"I don't think so, Hammer," Emmett gloated. "That's a lot of ammo. Can't blow it all at once. Thanks, Bella. Or should I say, Pepper?" Maybe I should start calling you Hammer all the time. Wonder what they'd make of that at school? It might be funny to watch you explain it. Or try to. Because I know you'd never tell anyone the real reason.
Bella glanced at me, her face glum. She sighed apologetically.
"Zeke Ninth," Alice muttered under her breath and shook her head. I still can't believe I ended up with a name like that and Edward has one like Hammer Fillmore.
"It's OK, Alice. My stripper name is pretty bad, too. What kind of stripper has 'bridal wreath' in her name?" Bella tried to appease Alice, but to no avail.
I couldn't believe Alice felt so upset about a stripper name. A stripper name! It's not like Alice would ever want to be a stripper. And all the while Alice complained, Emmett teased Bella.
"Maybe that's what you could wear as a stripper, a bridal wreath." He grinned. He enjoyed making Bella blush. For some reason, he found it hysterical. It was working quite well right now, as Bella's face lit up like a tomato. Watch her blush, brother. You know how much you like it. And he was right. While the cause was annoying, I did enjoy the result.
By now, Emmett was laughing so hard I could barely make out his muttering. I could, however, hear his thoughts quite clearly. Hammer Fillmore. Hammer Fillmore. Hammer Fillmore. Even Jasper was laughing. Oh, no. Jasper was laughing a little bit too much. And then everyone joined in, Alice giggling nervously, Rosalie snickering and shaking her head and Emmett cackling with increasing volume. Bella doubled over, gasping as tears welled in her eyes. Even Carlisle and Esme chuckled at my discomfort. I breathed deeply, holding off my own laughter as Emmett punched Jasper in the shoulder and pointed at me. Finally, I gave in, unable to restrain myself any longer.
With Emmett's mirth feeding this hysteria and Jasper spreading it, there was no telling when this might end. My best option was to get away – and take Bella with me. I pulled her into my arms, and she leaned her head against my chest to stifle her laughter. I carried her outside to my car. She stopped giggling and gasped for air.
"Sorry I embarrassed you," she whispered
I couldn't help grinning. "I think you embarrassed most of us. Including yourself." She blushed, and I ran my nose along her neck then against her jaw. The scent of her blood made my throat raw. I could hear my family inside, their laughter unabated. "But there are some benefits to your being embarrassed. It makes you blush." I kissed her forehead, reveling in the warmth.
"So I'm forgiven?" A hopeful grin spread across her face.
How could she think she'd done something that needed forgiveness? I kissed her again and nodded.
"That's good to know," she paused, pressing her lips against my ear as she whispered, "Hammer." It was so simple to make her happy, even if it was at my expense.
The name of your first pet + the street name of your first home is your stripper name. I know it's in a movie or a television show. I just don't know which one, so for the purposes of this story, I'm going with Friends. If you know what it's really from and want to correct me, I'll be happy to change it and thank you for you help.
I also want to thank Be My Escape and Bronzehairedgirl, who not only are marvelous betas, helped me find real streets in the towns where the various Cullens claim as their hometowns during the time that they lived there. Yes, I mean they found these real streets on historical maps. And thanks to Alphie, who helped me decide what type of pets each of the Cullens would have.