DISCLAIMER: I do not own any rights to this wonderful universe that Stephenie Meyer has created.
I looked up from my book as Alice whipped in to the house, Jasper following a bit more sedately. She had been bouncing around the house all day until Jasper had finally pulled her out to do some hunting, hoping this would work out the nervous energy.
We were all nervous, today. Edward was out in the woods with a human he had already thought of killing, and though Alice swore everything would be fine, the entire house was on edge. If Edward should slip and kill this girl, I feared for my son's mental state. He already thought himself a monster and killing an innocent would only serve to further strengthen this conviction.
My thoughts were pulled from their dark path as I watched Alice streak through the room, straightening a lamp shade here, tidying a pile of magazines there. I raised an eyebrow at Jasper but he simply shrugged, watching his wife with a smile. Alice in a good mood was irresistible. She finally stopped, concentrating for a moment, her eyes slightly unfocused as she gazed at something only she could see. When she finally blinked, refocusing on the room around her, she spun towards her husband, leaping the space between them in a blur, wrapping her legs about his waist and her arms about his neck, giving him an enthusiastic kiss.
Such an uncharacteristic display of affection...what in the world did Alice see happening?
She jumped down, angling her head up towards Rosalie and Emmett's room.
"Rose! Emmett! Get down here! We have to go to Seattle right now!"
Silence was the only answer, causing Alice to stomp a foot. "Rosalie Hale, get down here right this minute or I will pull all of your hair out!"
Rosalie's gasp was answer. She appeared at the top of the stairs, one hand protectively clutching her long swing of hair. "You wouldn't. And I don't want to go to Seattle."
"We need to be out of the house for the night, Rosalie. I've seen it. Please?" Alice begged.
Rosalie huffed, crossing her arms. "This is something about Edward and his human, isn't it? I won't be driven out of my home by that little girl."
Alice glared, hands fisted at her side, all humor and joy leaking from her voice. "Get your purse and get in the car, Rosalie, or else..."
"Or else what?"
"Plucked. Like. A. Chicken."
By now the entire household was staring at the two sisters as they glared at each other, both unwilling to be the first to look away. Rosalie finally did, however, a huff of annoyance escaping as she started down the stairs. "Fine."
Alice's cheer returned as she hustled everyone out the door, turning to face myself and Carlisle as we stood in the entry way.
"Edward won't be home till about three. Wait till he's on the piano before you try to talk to him, and don't let him know I told you he'd want to talk with you." The door slammed shut, opening again almost immediately. "Enjoy having the house to yourselves," Alice winked at me, the door once more closing before I could even begin to think of a response.
I turned to face my husband, his brow furrowed as he worried about what could possibly happen when Edward came home and needed to speak with us. I went to his side, one hand placed gently on his arm to pull his attention to me. "Alice wouldn't have been in such a good mood if it were bad," I stated, earning a smile in response. I leaned in to him, pulling him down for a kiss. "And she's right; we should take advantage of having the house all to ourselves for the next few hours."
The hours slipped past all too quickly and I found that the closer the clock hands moved towards three, the more nervous I became. What would Edward's mood be? What were we to say?
The sound of the front door opening pulled my head up from the house blueprints I was studying in an attempt to distract myself. I waited for Edward to say something in greeting but the only sound that followed was the soft whisper of his fingers against the piano keys. The song was new, the lyrical mood as unfamiliar to me as the actual notes themselves. I'd never heard Edward play anything like it. So soft, so gentle...my feet were pulled out the door and downstairs before I gave conscious thought to the action. What on earth had happened today to pull such strong emotion from my son?
I leaned against the doorway, watching as Edward's hands flowed over the keyboard, his eyes closed in concentration, a hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth. The song continued on around us, the notes weaving a peaceful blanket around me as I relaxed. Whatever had happened today had been good then.
The song came to a gradual close, the last notes fading away softly in to the still night air. I sighed, opening eyes I hadn't realized I had closed. "It's beautiful, Edward," I whispered. "What is it called?"
Edward turned to me then, the warmth and happiness radiating from his entire being making me gasp in shock.
With a laugh he was at my side, his strong arms wrapped around me as he swung me around, his happiness pulling the words from him in a rush. "It's called Bella's Lullaby, Esme. It came to me as I was singing her to sleep tonight." Lightning fast he placed a smacking kiss on my lips, pulling back to laugh again. "Esme, I can't wait for you to meet her."
I could only sigh in happiness as Edward pulled me to the couch, tucking me firmly against his side as he began to talk.
"She's like no one you've ever met, Esme. She worries over the smallest of things yet takes disaster in stride. She cries when she's mad and can't walk across a flat surface without tripping. But best of all," he sighed, one hand stroking along my hair, "is that she knows what I am and loves me regardless."
Shock had me pulling away to stare at Edward in horror. "Edward, you didn't tell her..." I trailed off, unsure how to continue. He merely laughed, looking up to include Carlisle as he entered the room.
"No, no I didn't tell her, she figured it out for herself!" He laughed again, jumping to his feet to pace the room. "Yet another wonderful thing about her. She met an old friend on the beach trip - a member of the Quileute tribe. She convinced him to tell her some of the tribal stories, and pieced everything together."
My husband sat next to me on the couch, turning slightly to face our son. "Edward, what did you mean she takes disaster in stride? What happened today?"
"Today? Only good things happened today. Do you remember when I followed her to Port Angeles? When I finally found her, she was facing down four men who were planning to -■
I interrupted, gasping when I realized what he was about to say. "She's okay? They didn't harm her? You didn't..." I trailed off. He was in too good of a mood for anything to have happened.
"She's perfectly fine," Edward assured us, a frown marring his face. "though I could have killed her for that little stunt. She knew she couldn't outrun them so she was going to face them and fight. Then when I took her to dinner, expecting her to go in to shock, she immediately starts talking to me like it's a normal first date! What do you do with someone who faces down rapists and kisses vampires like that's normal?"
"Kisses vampires?" I parroted, exchanging a quick look with Carlisle. How was this girl still alive?
"I don't know," Edward answered my unspoken question, dropping to the floor at my feet to place his head in my lap. "It was close there for a second when she surprised me, but now that I'm used to her scent..." he sighed, falling in to silence.
I trailed my fingers through his unruly hair, thinking through everything said and unsaid. I had no idea where to start, so I settled for asking the one question that was sure to bring another stream of information. "Anything else?" The vibration of Edward's laughter through my body had me smiling automatically. I had never seen him so happy.
"I am happy, and there are so many things to tell you," Edward pulled back, sitting cross-legged at my feet. "Why don't I bring her to meet you later today, so you can see for yourself the girl that has stolen my heart."
Oh, to be able to cry right now! Out of all of my family, Edward was the one I worried over the most. Even Rosalie didn't hate what she was as much as he did. How had this human girl changed my son in so short a time?
"I don't know," Edward sighed, leaning against my knees. "It drives me crazy that I can't read her mind, so she's constantly surprising me with her actions. What I think should upset her she laughs about, yet I take her running and she's almost ill. Her favorite book is Wuthering Heights and she dislikes going faster than the posted speed limit," he sighed again, turning his head to stare out the back windows.
The house was silent as the three of us contemplated upon Edward's news. So many things to say and ask. Where did I begin? It was a good thing that Alice had foreseen that her brother would need to speak with us without the interference his siblings would provide.
"Alice meddles too much," Edward muttered, pulling away before standing. He was halfway to his room before I could ask think to ask what he was doing.
"I promised her that I would be there when she woke," Edward's voice floated down the stairs. It was less than two minutes later that he was standing beside us, edging towards the door as he spoke. "We'll be back sometime in the morning, I'll call when we're about to leave. Don't worry," he added, bending down to place a quick kiss on my cheek, "she'll love you because I love you."
There was a quick flash of a grin then he was off, leaping across the river before I could draw a breath. I felt my husband's arms encircling me, pulling on to his lap to cuddle me as I thought through everything that had just transpired.
"How do we act, Carlisle?" I asked, tilting my head up from his shoulder to meet his gaze. "Even if she does know what we are, I don't want to do anything that would scare her away. Edward would never forgive us."
My husband chuckled, placing a gentle kiss on my lips. "We act like any other teenage son's parents when he brings a girl home for the first time. We'll just have to take our cues from Bella's reactions and remind our other children to be on their best behavior."
The sound of a loud truck engine pulling on to the drive pulled me away from a vase of flowers that I was re-arranging for the tenth time this hour. I cast a critical eye over the main floor of the house, looking for anything out of place. Please let her like us, was all I could think. Carlisle and Alice both had reassured me that Bella was stronger than most gave her credit for, but still...
The truck engine was cut, and in the ensuing silence I could hear a young girl's voice worriedly ask, "But what if they don't like me?"
Alice's laugh floated down to us from where she and Jasper were hiding in their room, waiting for the moment they could greet her. Carlisle and I were both afraid of overwhelming Bella at first, which is why we were the only two standing just inside the living room door. I focused on the front door, listening as they crossed the yard and came up the steps. There was a pause just outside the front door, and then it was opening, admitting Edward and Bella. He had her hand in his and was pulling her along, looking back and smiling as she hesitated. The look on his face was so full of love I knew in that instant that I loved this girl. She was lovely in a quiet sort of way, but I cared less for the physical self than I did for the whole. Anyone that could make Edward smile like that had to be a wonderful person, I thought, stepping forward to greet the daughter I hadn't known I was missing.