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Chapter 3- Bonding Time

"Good morning all!," Karen smiled as she walked down the stairs and found Edward and Carlisle sitting in the living room.

"Good morning," Edward smiled back.

"Good morning. Sleep well?," Carlisle asked.

"Very well, thank you. I was just wondering where the others are. I know that I saw other people with you when you took me in," Karen said.

Karen moved to sit on a couch next to Edward and Carlisle.

"The others happen to be a part of this family. There's Esme, my wife, and Emmett, Alice, Jasper, and Rosalie, my other children. Those are the ones you saw. They are actually out hunting today. They should be back by tonight or tomorrow morning," Carlisle smiled.

"Oh? That's cool. Well, I would go to work today...if my clothes weren't still wet...," Karen sighed.

"Yeah...sorry about that," Edward said.

"That's alright. I'm sure I can miss one day without someone complaining," Karen grinned.

Edward and Carlisle chuckled lightly.

"Oh! Where's that ID card? I need that," Karen asked suddenly.

"I put it in your bag," Carlisle said.

"Thank you. I appreciate it," Karen said.

"Are you feeling better? You didn't look well last night," Edward said.

"I'm feeling okay. I can already tell that I'm going to have one hell of a cough. Other than that, the fever's dissipated. I guess I'm lucky that I found you guys in that storm. I walk to work and when that storm came down suddenly, I didn't know what to do. To make things even better, I didn't have lunch yesterday. When I walked in the cold and windy air, my blood sugar dropped, making me weak. Anyways, I'm fine now," Karen said.

"You're not a very good doctor towards yourself," Edward grinned.

"Well sorry! You know what they always say. Doctors make the worst patients. I can't help that," Karen smiled.

"How about you get something to eat now. You must be hungry," Carlisle suggested.

"I am, but I don't want to be a hassle. You guys are vampires...you don't have food here," Karen said.

"We do have food here. My girlfriend is a human and she spends time here, so we always have food in stock," Edward explained.

"Oh! You naughty boy! Watch out for her...humans are delicate," Karen laughed.

"You took that words right out of my mouth," Carlisle smiled brightly.

Karen laughed lightly and Edward grinned.

"I'll make my own breakfast. Don't worry about me," Karen stood up.

"Have fun. I'm not a good cook anyway," Carlisle said.

"I second that," Edward said.

"Thanks...," Karen said sarcastically.

Karen made her way to the kitchen and made some breakfast for herself in about 15 minutes. When she went to the dining room table to eat, Edward and Carlisle sat with her and spoke.

"So...where are you from? You're not from around here; right?," Carlisle asked.

"No, I'm not. I'm actually from Spain. I haven't been out of Washington in over 150 years. Spain just doesn't have a good background for me," Karen said.

"So you didn't want to be changed?," Edward said.

"Not really. It just happened, I guess. I wasn't even thinking of changing at the time. I had a few vampire friends, but they never hurt me. I was in Spain majoring in medicine in college. I wasn't even considering this type of lifestyle," Karen smiled sadly.

"I'm sorry. But, that makes you Spanish. Can you speak it?," Carlisle changed the topic.

"Yeah! I am bilingual. I only learned English after I've been here for 10 years. When you don't age, you have a lot of time on your hands," Karen said.

"You sound just like Alice. You two will probably hit it off right away," Edward smiled.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the family. You seem like a nice bunch of vampires. I must say, I'm glad that I'm here and away from Italy," Karen breathed deeply.

"The Volturi?," Carlisle asked.

"Precisely. Spain, as we know, is close to Italy. When the Volturi heard I was changed and they heard that I was only half human, they tried to capture me and make me join their guard. I fled here instead and they left me alone," Karen said.

"What about your family?," Edward asked.

"I didn't have the guts to face my parents and tell them that I was now only half human. I faked my death during the wave of Spanish Influenza and fled Europe. I only went back once when they died. Don't worry though...they weren't too close to me. They wanted me to be a lawyer. When they heard that I wanted to be a doctor instead, they kind of left me on my own. Still, I loved them and I always will," Karen smiled.

"So...for the remainder of their lives...your parents thought you were dead?," Edward raised his eyebrows.

"Basically. You should have seen my act too. I outdid myself. They didn't even grieve too much over me," Karen said.

"But...you still would have had a heartbeat. How did that play out?," Carlisle asked.

"When I was a newborn vampire, I didn't have any human qualities. I was just like you two. As the years progressed, I became more and more human until I finally stopped and was stuck half way. I know that I'm a complete extrovert," Karen sighed.

"That's a good thing...in a way. The blood lust is probably less than if you were a full fledged vampire," Edward said.

"That's true. That part of it does work to my advantage. But, what annoys me is that I have regular human skin and super speed. When I go running now, I really have to watch myself. One little slip up and I could break something that easily. There are certain ups and downs to this state," Karen said.

"Is there anything else we should know about you? Just...if you want to tell us," Edward said.

"Actually, there's a weird fact that not many people know about. You two probably will find this strange, but it's worth telling you. Did any of you get to take a look at my arms?," Karen asked.

"No," the father and son answered together.

"Look," Karen demanded.

Karen pulled up her sleeves to reveal her two pale arms marked with scars. On her right arm, there was a long scar that ran straight down her forearm. On the left, there was a few smaller scars that didn't look half as bad as the one on the other arm.

"What happened?," Carlisle asked in amazement.

"Hm. You two will laugh at me," Karen smiled.

"I don't think that any scar like that would be worth laughing over," Edward said.

"I think it's funny. Maybe not at the time...but it's funny now," Karen smiled.

"Please tell," Carlisle asked.

"Alright. Well, I told you about how I've been in Washington since I was changed. After I came here, I eventually returned to school and became a doctor as I still am today. One day, on the job, I was tending to this little girl. She needed stitches. As we all know, it's not very fun. She was crying and carrying on as any little child would do. So, when I tried to give her the morphine, she got really scared and grabbed the nearest object to her...a scalpel. She pulled it off the table and, in a panic, stabbed me. Believe me, you don't have to be human to experience that pain. I had tough vampire skin at the time, so imagine how sharp that scalpel had to be. I had to get stitches done on myself without the morphine because of the venom in my blood. You never want to go through that. Today, when I still have to give stitches, I try to be a bit more careful," Karen said.

"No...morphine...but, that must...," Carlisle was at a loss for words.

"Oh yes. It hurts. There was 15 stitches total. So imagine having a needle pushed through your skin 30 times. Worst time of my life. I will never forget that day...," Karen trailed off.

"How did you survive that sort of...pain?," Edward asked.

"Screaming works quite well," Karen smiled. "As does squeezing the life out of somebody's hand."

"So...what about the scars on the other arm?," Carlisle asked.

"Oh...those? They are basically from other incidents as a human. Breaking my arm twice, dislocating my wrist...I was such a klutz," Karen grinned.

"You sound just like Bella," Edward said.

"Yes, you do," Carlisle said in agreement.

"I know. I'm an accident waiting to happen. You don't have to tell me what I already know," Karen laughed.

There was a bit of light laughter in the room.

By this time, Karen finished her breakfast and was just sitting there.

"Sooo...do you two work...or what?," Karen asked casually.

"I don't. I'm going through high school for the millionth time again," Edward said.

"I work at the hospital. I'm actually off today, but I'm working tomorrow," Carlisle said.

"Oh," Karen said.

There was a long moment of silence, then Karen realized:

"Wait! You're a doctor?!"

Carlisle just laughed lightly.

"Yes, I suppose so. Didn't I tell you?," Carlisle answered.

"No!," Karen pouted.

"Karen. I'm a doctor and I work at the hospital," Carlisle said seriously.

"Thanks for telling me! I spill everything about myself to you two and you never told me anything about yourself," Karen pouted again and crossed her arms.

"There's not much to tell about ourselves," Carlisle smiled.

"There has to be-," Karen stopped talking abruptly.

There was a second where she froze and took a deep breath.

"What's wrong?," Carlisle asked.

"Are you okay Karen?," Edward asked.

Karen didn't respond. She didn't move, she didn't blink.

"Karen?," Carlisle waved his hand in front of her face, trying to get her to react.

Karen just mumbled something incoherently, still frozen in her spot.

"Karen! What's going on Carlisle?," Edward stood up.

"I don't know," Carlisle stood up as well.

"Karen? Speak to me Karen. Come on," Carlisle held her hand and took her pulse.

"She was fine a second ago," Edward said.

"Nothing's wrong with her. She just seems to be in her own world," Carlisle said, perplexed by her sudden attitude.

Karen mumbled something again.

"What was that?," Carlisle moved closer to her.

"I...I...need...," Karen spoke louder.

"What? What do you need?," Edward asked in desperation.

"Need...I...need...," Karen mumbled again.

"You need to talk to me Karen. I can't help you if I don't know what it is you want," Carlisle said.

Karen didn't speak again. She just continued to stare into space.

All of a sudden, and without any warning, her head fell forward and she landed face-down on the table.

"Karen!," Carlisle and Edward echoed.

They jumped up and pulled her head back off the table.

Carlisle took a look at her face and her closed eyes and gasped.

"What's going on?!," Edward demanded, raising his voice.

Carlisle smiled a small weak smile before answering his son.

"She's sleeping."

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