I am not SM, nor do I own Twilight or the characters. They're just visiting my world.
It is with mixed feelings that I do what I'm doing. Wishing Star is an amazing story. That's what I've been getting from all your wonderful reviews.
I know where I want the story to go. And, have a vague idea of how I want it to end. Sadly, I've reached a rut. The manner in which I ended my last posted chapter made it hard for me to take it in the direction it needed to go and the characters weren't helping me out.
I have, therefore, decided to rewrite the story. Before you get your panties in a bunch, I'm not, and I repeat NOT, changing the storyline. There may be a compenant or two that I remove, or twink, but I'm not changing the road it's walking. I'm simply going back and adding detail to what I've already done. Adding more meat to the bone.
I hope in doing this that I improve the story and give more depth, both to the characters and the overall concept. I implore you to bare with me as I do this and continue your steadfast support. Hopefully in the end, it will be an even better story than it started out being.
Sighing, I looked at myself one last time in the square mirror that hung on the wall in my room; a room I shared with four other girls. It wasn't a remarkable one. The Home was an old Victorian house and I'd been lucky to get one of the turret rooms. There was a perfect window seat that I made full use of on rainy days and on those days I just felt like curling up and reading. The walls may have once been white, but now were yellowish and dingy.
The furniture was made of wood and a deep brown in color. There were two sets of bunk beds along one wall, the headboard against the wall and the rest of the bed facing out into the room. Along the opposite wall, set sidewise, was my twin bed. The door was between my bed and a window on the same wall. Two eight-drawer dressers stood against the last wall.
It wasn't the grandest of rooms, but it was a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head. Besides, I only had a little over two more years before I could leave. Not that I knew where I'd head. Mrs. Banner would more than likely be happy to keep me here. I was the oldest one at the Home and a great help to her. It would be something until I found a job and could support myself.
Taking a deep breath and letting it out rather heavily, I smoothed my hands down my blue jeans, they were faded and had a few tears in the legs, but I wasn't going to complain, and straightened my white T-shirt. Time to face the firing squad: twenty some odd children all under the age of eight. And, since a couple was coming by today, Mrs. Banner was going to need help keeping the children in order.
The bedroom door was never shut, except at night, so I left the room and started down the hallway. Mrs. Banner was waiting for me at the top of the stairs.
"The Cullens are here, Bella."
"The couple coming today. Come. They want to see you." Mrs. Banner started walking downstairs, me trailing behind.
"Me? Why do they want to see me?" I inquired as we started down the flight of stairs to the ground floor. The Home was four stories high and my room was on the third floor.
"They asked to see the oldest child here. That's you," Mrs. Banner answered turning right at the bottom of the stairs to head to the back where the dining room was. It was frequently used as a place for Mrs. Banner to speak with the families if she didn't want to do so in her office. And, since it was across from the playroom, it made it easy for the potential parents to see the children.
But, why would a couple want to see me? I never held much hope that I'd be picked for fostering or adopting. Who would want a plain girl such as me? But, if the couple asked for me, I had to go through the rigmarole of meeting and greeting them. As we reached the open dining room door, I tucked a loose strand of hair that had fallen from my ponytail behind my ear.
Mrs. Banner stopped for a moment, looking me over quickly, before nodding in approval and walking into the room. "Mr. and Mrs. Cullen? This is Isabella Swan. She's our oldest child here at fifteen."
I had stopped in the door way and walked forward, extending my hand. Mr. Cullen came forward from his position in front of the table and shook my hand. Smiling shyly, I spoke, "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"I'm going to leave you three to talk. I'll be with the younger children across the way if you need anything." Mrs. Banner walked out of the room, shutting the door behind her.
"Isabella –" Mr. Cullen started.
"Bella. Please call me Bella," I interrupted him, pulling out a chair and sitting down. They followed suit, Mrs. Cullen sitting across from me, and Mr. Cullen at the head of the table.
"Very well, Bella. I'm Carlisle and this is my wife Esme. Thank you for meeting with us." He had a rather musical voice, but I kept my gaze on the tabletop. This was going to end the same way it always did, them not wanting me and asking for someone younger. Why did I have to go through this? What was the point?
"It's a delight to meet you, Bella." Esme spoke in a soft, motherly voice. I glanced up and took a look at her. Her eyes were green, like fresh summer grass and she had caramel colored hair that fell about her face and ended at her shoulders. It looked soft and I wondered if it felt the same. I remembered my mother's hair smelling of peaches from her shampoo. I wondered what Esme's hair smelled like? Did she bake? Would it smell of the kitchen? Giving a mental shake of my head, I looked down again. I couldn't get attached or even think of it.
I folded my hands on top of the polished tabletop. This wasn't the first visit like this I'd gone through and it probably wouldn't be the last. Since my parents had been killed in the plane crash just after my eleventh birthday, I'd spent the last four years in and out of homes and meeting parents. It always boiled down to the fact that I was too old and I was sent back or passed over. I didn't hold any hope that it wouldn't happen again.
"Were you told anything about us?" Carlisle inquired, causing me to look up at him. He had hazel eyes and wavy blond hair. His eyes looked nice. Kind. Though, they both looked as if they weren't even in their thirties.
"Nothing." I responded, shaking my head and looking back down at my hands.
"Well," Esme started, her voice soft and soothing; a mother's voice. "We have two sons. But, after I gave birth to the second one, the doctors told me that it would be unwise to try for anymore. My body couldn't handle it. So, over the years, we've taken in foster kids and adopted three of them."
"Our oldest three will be heading off to college come the fall, leaving the younger two behind. The problem is those two are a boy and girl. Not much in the way of hanging out with each other. Though they have some friends, all five of them are used to spending most of their time together doing things." Carlisle continued. A large family. It would be nice if they'd take me. I'd been an only child and always wondered what it would be like to have siblings to play with.
Esme's hand covered my own and I looked up seeing her leaning across the table. She patted my hands before pulling back.
"Why me?" I asked, shocking myself. I rarely, if ever, spoke during these meetings. If they weren't going to take me and were just seeing me for show, what was the point in saying anything? "I mean there are plenty of younger kids here."
"Yes," Esme spoke, sharing a look between Carlisle, before he finished. "We have a daughter about your age and though, yes, you are right, we could foster someone younger, we'd rather have an older girl."
"So, a friend for her?"
"That is the idea, but…" Esme let her sentence trail off and I could hear the "It may not work," unspoken, but still there.
May not work. "What if it doesn't pan out? What then?"
"We'll cross that bridge when, and if, we come to it," Carlisle stated matter-of-factly. Well, he was either very optimistic or a very good liar. I was hoping on the former.
"What we'd like to do is take you home with us for the week. Give it a try. See how you get along with everyone and how they get along with you," Esme offered. I whipped my head in her direction, eyes wide. Let me stay with them for a week? I'd never had a trial period before. Giving the family a chance to think about whether they wanted to foster me or not. I just went and was sent back.
"Does that mean, if I don't like…if I don't feel…" I started, unsure of how to word what I wanted to say…how to explain my thoughts. This was a chance to pick my family, to have a say in whether I wanted to be there or not. But, I didn't know how to verify my assumption.
Esme took the problem from my shoulders, answering my unspoken question. "If you don't like it there, you are more than welcome to say so and we'll bring you back here."
I started biting my bottom lip, looking between Esme and Carlisle. A chance. I was getting a chance. Hope. Hope that maybe I'd get the family I'd wished for. Hesitantly, and quietly, I asked, "How many kids did you say you have, again?"
Esme's smile lit up her face and made me smile in return. It was infectious. "We have our two sons, two adopted daughters and one adopted son."
Nodding, I thought over what they'd said earlier about ages. "How old are they?"
"The two oldest boys are eighteen, the oldest girl seventeen, the youngest boy sixteen, and the youngest girl fifteen."
My age! They were all around my age! Everyone here, outside of Mrs. Banner, was so much younger than I was. It wasn't that I minded babysitting and helping out, but, I desperately wanted to talk to someone my own age. To gossip and giggle. Looking at my hands once again, I debated my answer. I really wanted to do this. I wanted to have the chance. But, what if I liked them and they didn't like me? Then what? I'd be sent back most likely, spending my last two years living here.
Still, the opportunity. What if I didn't take it? What if this was my last chance? Would I regret it for the rest of my life? Looking up, I smiled and took a deep breath. "Alright. I'd like that very much."
I didn't think Esme's smile could be any bigger or brighter, but she proved me wrong. My answer obviously pleased her, as she got up and walked over to me, bending over and hugging me. Maybe this would work out. Maybe everything would be okay.
"Why don't you go pack your things and I'll speak with Mrs. Banner," Carlisle suggested, standing up at the same time as I and giving me a hug as well. Smiling shyly and biting my bottom lip, I nodded and hurried from the room, running up the stairs.
"Oh! Carlisle! She needs us!" Esme said softly, standing next to me and hugging me. "She looks so downtrodden. Poor girl."
I nodded my agreement looking down at her. This was one of the many reasons I loved my wife. She had such a big heart and loved so freely. If you were in need, she was eager to help. Leaning down, I kissed her forehead, thanking God that I had been blessed with such a wonderful woman. She was the perfect mother to our rag tag bunch and I had no doubts about whether there was room enough for Bella. There was.
I did have to agree, Bella did seem downtrodden. She'd looked as if she didn't expect us to want her or keep or. Chuckling, I thought about Alice and knew she would remedy that. Alice had the same type of heart as Esme: large. And, her bubbly personality made it very hard not to like her.
"What are you thinking about, Carlisle?" Esme's voice broke into my thoughts.
"Alice. How she would most likely remedy Bella's low spirits."
Laughing, Esme squeezed my waist, where she'd wrapped one arm. "That is defiantly true."
We left the dining room, finding Mrs. Banner in the room across the hall, where she said she'd be. She looked up as we entered, standing up from the couch she was sitting on. "Are you finished?"
"Yes." I responded.
"Would you like to meet one of the younger girls?" she inquired, walking over to us.
"No. We'd actually like to take Bella home with us for a one-week trial. See how she fits in with our family." I answered.
"You…one…Bella?" Mrs. Banner mumbled, sitting down on the nearest chair. The little ones in the room ignored us, all gathered around a movie.
"Is there something wrong with that?" Esme's brows furrowed in confusion.
"No, no. It's just," Mrs. Banner took a deep breath before continuing. "Bella's been with us for four years, since her parent's death. She's been in and out of homes. Mostly placed in houses that foster children, but…they always send her back after a couple months. With one excuse or another. Typically because they just don't want to deal with a child as old as she. Most foster families want someone younger. You can see my surprise. Though, I'm quite happy. Bella truly needs a loving family."
Understanding dawned on me. No wonder Bella had acted as she had. Esme's free hand flew up, covering her mouth, her eyes wide. If she'd held any reservations about Bella becoming a permanent member of our family or not, they were no more. Knowing this information, there was no force on earth that would prevent Esme from keeping Bella.
"Do we need to sign any papers?"
"No, take Bella home with you and at the end of the week call and let me know whether she will be staying with you or returning. We'll deal with paperwork then. Ah, Bella!"
I turned, Esme's arm falling away as I did, seeing Bella standing in the doorway holding a small suitcase. She didn't own very much. Esme hurried the short distance to Bella and took the suitcase, wrapping her arm around Bella's shoulders.
"Thank you Mrs. Banner. We'll be in touch," I said absently, watching Esme leading Bella out of the room and Home. Nodding my goodbye, I followed my wife out to the Mercedes, enjoying the sway of her hips. She was still as gorgeous as the day I married her.
She was beautiful. She had soft auburn hair that hung straight in her ponytail and chocolate brown eyes that drew your attention. Her skin was rather pale, but with the light coloring of her hair, it wasn't very noticeable. Why anyone would pass her over, I couldn't understand.
After hearing what had happened to her over the last four years, I wanted more than anything for her to fit in with my family, to become a part of my family. Not only did she look like she needed a loving home, but her history clearly said she did. Idiots. Every person who didn't keep her was an idiot. She was a gem. I knew that.
"Where do you live?" She asked softly as Carlisle unlocked the car before opening the trunk and putting her suitcase in it.
"In Forks. It's about a four hour drive from here. You can try and rest if you'd like. I'm sure there will be plenty of excitement at home," I told her, enjoying her shy smile.
As Carlisle backed out and got us on the road, I kept my eyes on Bella, who was looking out the window at the passing scenery. She glanced in my direction quickly before turning back to the window. "I've never been outside of Seattle since I came to the Home."
"Forks is a small town. Very quiet. We have a lot of space at our house. I think you'll enjoy it," I told her, reaching back to squeeze her hand. She nodded in response, squeezing my hand back. She remained awake until we were two hours out of town, drifting off to sleep then.
"She needs us Carlisle," I said, looking at my husband.
"I know, Dear." He reached over and laid a hand on my thigh, stroking gently.
"Rejected because of her age. The poor girl. No wonder she seems so reserved."
"She probably didn't expect us to want her."
Looking at her again, I felt a tug on my heart. "No matter what, I want her as my daughter. Carlisle, you have to make her our daughter."
He laughed softly, answering, "We'll see how the week goes and how she feels. If she doesn't want to be there, I won't force her, Esme."
Sighing, I turned to look out my own window, seeing we were getting closer and closer to Forks. I wondered what the kids had been up to and if they'd broken anything in our absence. Today was the first day of summer break and they'd been looking forward to it. Especially when they heard Carlisle and I were going to be going off for the day and leaving them to themselves.
As we hit Forks, I thought about whether we should have just stayed over in Seattle. We'd left at about nine and it was nearing seven now. Oh well, we were nearly home and I always preferred sleeping in my own bed.
As we turned into the driveway, I reached back to gently shake Bella. "Bella, dear, wake up. We're home."
She sat up, rubbing her eyes, before looking out the window. The kids were in the front yard playing ball, even though it was getting dark, pausing when they saw the car and waving before running towards the garage. Carlisle pulled in and parked.
I got out of the car, heading over to my children to greet them with hugs, before turning around. Carlisle was getting Bella's suitcase out of the trunk, but Bella was still sitting in the car. I walked over and opened her door, squatting down to look at her.
"It's okay. Come meet everyone."
She glanced over my shoulder, undoing her seatbelt, before taking a deep breath. I stood and moved out of her way as she got out of the car, standing up next to me. I wrapped my arm around her shoulders, shutting the door and walking over to my children.