A/N: Haylo people. It is a lovely Thanksgiving day here, or a lovely November 27, 2008 if you're not in America. It's about four in the morning, and I've spent the last four hours writing this because it wouldn't get out of my head and I thought it was amusing. Plus, I like obscure holiday fics. ^.^ So, enjoy my subtle humor, clichéd metaphors, and strange idea for how the Cullens celebrate Thanksgiving. Hopefully the characters are not too horribly OOC. T'is in the third person. Pre-Breaking Dawn. One-shot. Enjoy! And R&R, pretty please? Happy Thanksgiving and/or Thursday!
The Great Turkey Hunt
A Twilight Series Fanfic
Bella stared in awe at the large, feather spewing crate that sat atop the front porch of the Cullen household, a confused look plastering itself across her face. Her eyes were wide as she leaned against the open passenger side door of Edward's Volvo, wondering why the Cullens had a large, gobbling wooden crate full of air holes. Sure it was Thanksgiving, but the Cullens didn't eat turkey. They were vampires for heaven's sake! Sure, they were vegetarian vampires with highly competitive natures, but what use would they have for a bunch of live birds? They couldn't eat the meat, and the last time she'd checked her vampire family rarely bothered with the likes of birds as a source of blood. Too many feathers...
"Edward?" she started, never once letting her eyes leave the crate. "Why is there a box of turkeys on your front porch?"
Edward chuckled lightly, appearing at her side and gently grabbing her elbow to lead her into the house. He was wearing that crooked smile that always made her heart melt, and his topaz eyes were alight with humor and a bit of mischief. "You'll find out soon enough Bella. Don't worry love."
He kissed the top of Bella's head when her quizzical look turned into a glaring pout combo. Bella really didn't like surprises. Of course, the reason behind the box full of turkeys was more so a Cullen tradition than it was a special treat for Bella. There were a few aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday that the Cullens insisted on keeping alive, mainly at Emmett's insistence. Since Bella would be spending the holiday's evening down in La Push feasting with the Blacks, Edward and Alice had thought it a good idea to let her share in their usual holiday festivities during the day. Unfortunately for Bella, Alice insisted that she be kept in the dark about what exactly she would be witnessing and participating in today.
"Bella! You're going to love what we have planned!"
Speak of the devil, cunning little Alice was dancing towards the front door at lightning speed as her enthusiastic voice filled the foyer. Her thin arms wrapped around the fragile human's waist for a tight hug before she grabbed Bella's hand and dragged her away from a flabbergasted Edward, leaving him standing in the door frame.
"Alice!" he snapped, following them into the living room. He took a seat next to Bella on the couch Alice had deposited her on, wrapping an arm protectively around her shoulders. "Calm down before you hurt someone."
The order fell on empty ears, though it did earn an indignant huff from the only human within the house. Alice was too busy bouncing around the room, calling for the various members of her family to assemble now that their guest of honor had arrived. The first to appear was Esme, who had been puttering around the kitchen with a collection of cleaning supplies. On the fourth Thursday of November she always felt some sort of overwhelming magnetic pull towards the kitchen, though she never cooked in it like it deserved. She had no reason to cook Thanksgiving meals any more. Instead she would polish the pots till they shined, wipe down the countertops till they sparkled, and dust the fine china until it was spotless.
"Hello Bella," she greeted in her musical tone, smiling affectionately at the girl. "I'm so glad you're joining us today."
Next came Jasper and Carlisle. Jasper entered the room from the back yard, coming to a halt next to Alice as she flittered in place. Carlisle, at the same moment, glided down the stairs from his study. Both gave a pleasant greeting to their guest as they settled into the room, waiting for the final two members of their family to arrive so that Alice's impatience would stop attempting to overpower Jasper's control of the household emotional climate.
It took a few minutes, but Emmett and Rosalie finally emerged from their bedroom with matching scowls of annoyance on their face. Clearly a private moment had been interrupted. At the sight of Bella, however, Emmett broke out into a grin as he bounded down the stairs calling out a, "Happy Thanksgiving!" Rosalie merely rolled her eyes and joined the rest of her family in the living room, taking a seat in a plush leather armchair.
"So… Are you guys going to tell me what's going on now?" With pleasantries out of the way, Bella was almost as impatient as Alice to let the cat out of the bag. The sooner she was clued in to what was going on, the better in her opinion.
Alice was all too happy to oblige. "As you know, Bella, it's Thanksgiving today! We don't exactly keep up with the usual traditions for this particular holiday, but we have developed one of our own. Since you're going to be one of us soon, I convinced Edward that he should let us introduce you to this particular tradition."
Bella chanced a glance at her vampire beau, suppressing a giggle at his exasperated expression before looking back to Alice expectantly. She quirked a brow, silently inquiring what exactly this tradition was. Instead of Alice answering, however, it was Emmett's booming voice that broke the brief silence.
"Have you ever been turkey hunting, Bella?"
She shook her head no, and Emmett took that as a sign to continue. "It was always a McCarty tradition to catch Thanksgiving dinner. There's nothing like the taste of a freshly caught turkey, slow roasted in the over with garlic stuffing and a honey glaze, for a human anyway." Thanksgiving had been Emmett's favorite holiday as a human. What overgrown bear of a man didn't like a holiday dedicated to overeating elaborate home cooked meals and playing a rowdy game of football?
"We've sort of picked up Emmett's tradition of turkey hunting," Alice chimed in as her burly brother was distracted by the memories of human food he no longer enjoyed. "Of course, we've made a few modifications to fit our lifestyle, but the basic idea is still there. You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey after all!" Her bell like laughter was accompanied by Emmett's booming laugh and a slight chuckle from Carlisle and Jasper. Esme silently smiled while Rosalie rolled her eyes, examining her recently manicured fingernails. Edward had let a small frown decorate his lips, still not one hundred percent pleased with introducing their tradition of turkey hunting to Bella.
Bella's expression was rather identical to Edwards as she spoke up. "You want me to hunt turkeys with you guys?" Her voice sounded incredulous. 'How did Alice ever get Edward to agree to that?' Edward, being the overprotective, loving boyfriend that he was, never let Bella tag along on his little hunting expeditions. Did that mean that there was more to this tradition than met the eye?
"Um, not quite…" Alice's voice sounded sheepish as she wrung her hands behind her back. "You'll be hunting a turkey, yes, but you won't be with us per se…"
Emmett took over the explanation. It was his tradition, after all. "We'll each be hunting our own turkey. The first to successfully catch and kill his or her bird and return to the porch decides where we shop on Black Friday. Each turkey has a colored scarf, and you can only go after your assigned turkey. If you slip up and nab someone else's bird, you automatically become that person's bag boy for the day and must carry all of his or her purchases."
The emotions flickering across Bella's face easily betrayed her astonishment. She was shocked, confused, awed, annoyed, disgusted, scared, and curious all at once. Shopping was a strange prize, considering Alice was the only true shopaholic in the family. Then again, the clashing tastes of the Cullens could easily lead to Black Friday shopping being an effective punishment. Not only did they have to compete with all the greedy humans, but the only situation Bella could think of in which more than one member of her vampire family could be content would be Alice and Rosalie browsing for designer clothing. She could see how the bag carrying thing could be annoying though, and judging by the grimace that had flickered across Emmett's face as he'd mentioned that particular rule she could only guess that he'd accidently finished off Alice's turkey one year instead of his own.
"Let me see if I got this right. So you guys want to me to run after some overgrown bird, kill it, and then tag along for a shopping trip on the worst shopping day of the year?" She felt Edwards grip on her shoulders tighten as she stared wide eyed at the rest of the Cullens. They had to be nuts! First of all, Bella hated shopping whether it be for herself or someone else. Secondly, after a rather traumatizing shopping incident with Renee one year she'd vowed to herself to never ever again go shopping on Black Friday. Thirdly, she had no desire to kill a turkey. As long as she was human, the only blood she intended to spill was her own and that was only due to her many clumsy moments. Speaking of clumsy moments, the thought of having to run around the Cullens' yard, chasing after some stupid bird all for the sake of a little holiday competition made her stomach flip. That bird would be flapping circles around her as she repeatedly tripped and stumbled over her own two feet in what she could only imagine as pathetic attempts at catching it.
"Bella, love, you don't have to participate if you don't want to." Edward's velvet voice shook her out of her terrifying albeit comical daydream. It was also met with a few annoyed grunts from some of the other family members, as well as a slew of complaints and encouragement.
"But I already put a pretty scarf around her bird's neck!" Alice.
"Aw come on. Don't spoil all the fun Edward." Emmett.
"If she's going to be a Cullen then she might as well start acting like one now." Jasper.
"Edward's right Bella. You have a right to refuse." Carlisle.
"Don't worry Bella dear, it's not as bad as it sounds." Esme.
The only one who hadn't voiced an opinion was Rosalie. For a brief moment all eyes turned towards her, expecting some sort of snide, sarcastic remark. The beautiful blonde merely shrugged her shoulders, however, and continued examining her nails. She'd learned a while ago that her opinion didn't matter to the silly human girl. Now that everything was said and done and a date for Bella's change had pretty much been set, she saw no reason is wasting her breath. If Bella truly wanted to be a Cullen as badly as she'd claimed, she'd probably participate anyways. The girl had a habit of not wanting to offend her loved ones, regardless of how those decisions affected her own personal well being.
Edward sent a glare towards his sister, reading her thoughts. That glare only darkened when Bella proved Rosalie right, though he was more frustrated with himself for letting his easily breakable sweetheart participate in such an event. It was Bella's choice, and if he tried to deny her of it then he'd not only face her wrath but the wraths of his family as well. Most of them got easily annoyed whenever he tried to make her decisions for her.
"I'll participate." Bella tried to make her voice sound enthusiastic, though she couldn't keep all of the glumness out of it. She set a determined look on her face though, making eye contact with each of the Cullens for a brief moment before turning to peek at Edward's worried gaze.
"Are you sure, love?" He searched her face for any sign of fear or uncertainty, finding none as she nodded her head in response. His beautiful Bella was going to take on a turkey all for the sake of his family.
With a sigh, Edward stood up. He lightly tugged Bella to her feet as he turned to address his family. "Let's get this over with." They then headed towards the front porch, quitting the house with the rest of the family in toe.
Once everyone was situated around the large, hole filled, gobbling, feather spewing, slightly wobbling crate, Carlisle took over as the one in charge. He cleared his throat out of habit, automatically gaining everyone's attention. "Your turkey color is as follows. Alice, yours is pink, though you already knew that. Jasper, you have black. Emmett, blue. Rose, yours is red. Esme has yellow. I have orange. Edward gets green. And Bella, yours is purple. Once the turkeys are released into the forest we will have five minutes until the start. The first person to deposit the corpse of their bird back in the crate shall be the winner. Understand?"
As everyone nodded their heads, Carlisle lifted the large crate and disappeared into the woods before Bella had the chance to blink. He returned momentarily with the empty box, having set loose eight wild yet well dressed turkeys into the surrounding wood. "The five minutes start now," he calmly stated as he set the box back on the porch before moving to stand next to Esme.
Those five minutes seemed to stretch on forever, and their restlessness was only intensified by Jasper's gift. Emmett was raring to go, having pulled himself into a sprinter's crouch in order to dash off at the first second he was allowed. A large, childish grin decorated his face. Rosalie stood next to her husband looking bored. She had never been fond of this particular tradition, but it made Emmett happy so she did her best to not grumble about it. Alice was bouncing on the balls of her feet, already planning out which shops they would all go to and in which order after she won the contest. That is, if she won the contest. Her foresight did not work so well when it came to discerning the objectives of scatterbrained birds with strong flight instincts. Jasper was just to Alice's left, concentrating on keeping everyone's emotions in check. Occasionally he would spike the anxiety for his own amusement, but for the most part he was trying to keep the stretch of five minutes as calm as possible. As for Edward and Bella, Edward was trying to get her to change her stubborn mind while Bella was mulling over the best way to kill a turkey. She'd never been hunting before, unless digging up worms for fishing bait fell under that category. She'd never intentionally killed anything either, aside from the occasional pesky mosquito.
"Time's up. Go!"
Carlisle had barely finished speaking as his family sprung to life. Emmett, Alice and Jasper had all taken off at a dead sprint for the woods, motivated by a love of competition and the prize of a shopping trip. Esme had leant up to peck Carlisle on the cheek for good luck before dashing into the woods herself, in search of the turkey with the yellow scarf. Both Rosalie and Carlisle had taken a few extra seconds to fine tune their plans, wanting to get this event over with as soon as possible. The "Great Turkey Hunt," as it had come to be known, seemed to steadily spiral further and further into chaos the longer it lasted. For being stupid birds, those turkeys were rather good at avoiding being caught.
Edward continued to fuss over Bella's participation, watching her carefully as she attempted to jog into the woods. He wouldn't forgive his family if she got hurt during this stupid little game they insisted she play. Unfortunately, Bella didn't like his hovering and chastised him for worrying too much. She was determined to complete the task at hand and she was too stubborn to accept Edward's help. With a sigh, the dazzling vampire sulked into the woods after his own bird, deciding that he would turn his prize over to Bella if he managed to win.
Even with vampire speed, mind reading abilities, future sight, careful planning, and years of practice hunting animals, the turkey hunt lasted far longer than Bella would have ever guessed. It had been well over an hour now, and still no one was victorious. Those scarf wearing birds were just so dang elusive! Edward was fast, but his bird was faster. Emmett's jump and tackle approach often caused him to miss by a mile. Jasper's idea to herd his turkey back to the box was proving impossible due to lack of herd mentality and the fact that turkeys just were not sheep. Esme had come very close to catching one of the birds only to realize the clump of tail feathers in her hand belonged to a turkey that was not wearing a yellow scarf. Alice's annoyance at not being able to tell what her turkey would do was affecting her reactions, and Rosalie had been distracted by her reflection in a small puddle on the forest floor and insisted on fixing the loose strands of her hair before resuming her halfhearted chase.
Out of all of them Bella seemed to be making the most progress. She'd initially tried running blindly after the purple scarf and its wearer. That resulted in stumbling over a fallen branch, tripping and catching herself on a tree, and then stepping on her own shoelace that sent her sprawling head first into a patch of muddy leaves. Her palms were scraped, her clothes were dirty, and all the exercise was making her hungry. After landing sprawled on the forest floor for the umpteenth time, she'd dragged herself into a sitting position and decided it was time for a break. She crossed her legs, finding it amusing that she was sitting "Indian Style" on Thanksgiving, and pulled a granola bar out of her jacket pocket. As she sat there nibbling away at her snack, her curious, plump bird began to wander closer.
"Now you show up," Bella muttered, eyeing the turkey with disdain. Absentmindedly she picked off a few small pieces of her granola bar and tossed them towards the feathery fiend. It instantly gobbled them up before wandering closer in hopes of receiving more free handouts. Bella again tossed the turkey a bit of food, a smirk playing on her lips as she watched the bird hop closer and closer. It wasn't long before the thing was practically eating out of her hand. Setting the rest of the bar on the ground at her feet, she patiently waited for the purple scarf wearing turkey to come even closer.
"Ah ha! Gotcha!"
Her cheered filled the clearing she'd been sitting in as her arms encircled the flapping fiend, effectively preventing it from escaping. She wrapped one hand around its neck, though not tight enough to choke it, while the other pinned its body to her own. She couldn't find it in herself to actually kill the turkey. Instead, she got to her feet and attempted to carry the struggling creature back to the house.
It must have taken her a good forty-five minutes to reach the edge of the woods. Travel was slow going thanks to the struggling creature and her clumsy nature. Twice she tripped, nearly losing the bird. She was constantly spitting feathers from her mouth as a wing or tail wacked her in the face, and her right arm was bleeding in a few places from where she'd been pecked and scratched. Still, she couldn't help feeling triumphant as the house came into view and none of the Cullens were within sight.
"Edward? Alice? Esme? Carlisle? Emmett? Jasper? Rosalie?" She loudly called each of their names as she walked up the porch steps to inspect the still empty crate, the turkey held securely in her arms. It was several minutes before any of them had appeared, and by then Bella's turkey had settled down. It was cooing quietly from her lap as it took an afternoon nap.
"Damn it! No! Stupid bird! Go left! No, your other left!" Jasper came sprinting out of the woods, chasing after his turkey like a rancher rounding up his runaway cattle. It was rather comical the way the two of them zigzagged through the yard, the turkey always just out of reach as it moved towards the house only to suddenly change its direction and try to dark back to the safety of the woods.
Carlisle and Esme were the next to appear, both chuckling about something as Carlisle carried both of their birds to the house. Briefly they spared at glance at Jasper's futile plan before reaching Bella on the steps.
"Hello dear," Esme greeted as she watched Carlisle place the dead birds in the crate. "Have you been waiting here long?"
Bella looked up and shook her head no. "It's only been ten minutes or so, and Jasper showed up within the last five. How'd you two manage to get your turkeys at the same time?"
Esme giggled as she gave a curt nod and motioned for Carlisle to recount what had happened. "We accidently ended up catching each other's birds," he began. "The two of them crossed paths and before we knew it I was strangling Esme's yellow one and she had her teeth firmly sunk into my orange one. You should have seen the look on Esme's face when she realized she was draining the wrong bird." He chuckled lightly, receiving a small whack on his arm from his wife.
"As I recall, you had a rather priceless expression as well, Carlisle. You looked like a little boy who'd been caught stealing from the cookie jar when you realized which scarf the bird you'd caught was wearing." It was Esme's turn to chuckle, and Bella joined in as she tried to picture the normally well composed doctor looking sheepish.
"What's so funny?" It was Emmett's voice that broke through the laughter, a small pout on his face as he realized he wasn't the first to return with a limp bird. Jasper was a few steps behind him, finally having pounced on his prey and snapping its neck in order to stop the ridiculous dance they'd been doing for the last two and a half hours. They threw their birds into the crate alongside Esme's and Carlisle's before examining the scene before them. "Hey Bella, you know your turkey is still alive right?"
Carlisle and Esme relayed their little mishap before all attention shifted to Bella. She sheepishly nodded her head as she gently stroked the feathery soft back of the bird, a nervous chuckle escaping her throat. "I couldn't bring myself to kill Chewy," she mumbled, a red blush staining her cheeks.
"Chewy?" It was Jasper who had questioned her, and he received a nod in response.
The skepticism in the next comment meant that Rosalie had arrived. "You named your bird?" She had one delicate eyebrow arched as she dropped her kill within the crate before leaning back into Emmett who had managed to snake his arms around her thin waist.
"Yes…" Bella began. "I was eating a granola bar after I got sick of falling down. Chewy here must have been hungry too, because she came right over and the next thing I knew I had her trapped in my arms. She scratched me up a bit on the walk back, but once we got to the house she settled right down and went to sleep. No one else was around when I got here."
"You were the first one back? That's amazing Bella!" It was Edward's excited voice as he chimed in, dropping his bird in the box before walking over to Bella and placing a light kiss on her forehead. He never would have guessed she would have been the first to return, and in that moment he was just so proud of her. Of course, he had to resist the urge to frown at her unkempt, slightly scabbed appearance. They would discuss the injuries she'd sustained from this little competition later, after his pride at her accomplishments had died down. "Congratulations love!"
The way Edward saw it Bella had won the competition. Sure she hadn't finished off the bird, but returning with it alive was even harder than returning with it dead. Plus, she was only human so it was understandable that she wouldn't have had the means to successfully kill the thing on her own. The others seemed to be in silent agreement, for their thoughts were along much the same line as Edwards. "So what are your thoughts on where we should go for tomorrow's shopping trip?"
Before Bella had the chance to answer Alice glided up the steps. She stopped in front of the human, hands on her hips and an angry glare in her eyes. From her ears hung a pair of turkey feather earrings. A few feathers had also been strategically placed in her hair as a rather naked bird hung from her left hand. "Isabella Marie Sawn you are not dragging us to Wal-Mart, the Salvation Army, or any other thrift stores! At least pick places I can actually shop!" The pixie like vampire unleashed the power that was her puppy dog pout, ignoring the giggles and rolling eyes of her family members.
Bella had to bite her lip to keep from erupting into laughter. It was rather hard for her to keep a straight face, especially with Alice looking so cutely pathetic. "Sorry Alice. I was first back and I get to pick where we're going tomorrow. I'm sure you'll find something to your liking in one of the stores… eventually." She gave her best innocent smile as the Cullens let their laughter flow freely now. "Now if you'll excuse me, it's getting late and Chewy and I need to get ready to head to La Push. I need to get home in order to bake a few pies before Charlie decides to try on his own and ends up blowing up the kitchen."
"You're taking a live turkey to a Thanksgiving feast with a bunch of werewolves? Are you sure that is wise, Bella?" Carlisle was the one pose the question.
Bella nodded her head, adjusting the purple scarf around Chewy's neck so that it could serve as a leash. "I invited her, and I think she's rather excited about attending. Now then, Edward, can you take me home please?"
The Cullens all stared at the human before them for a few seconds, speechless at what she'd just said. Finally, Edward managed to come back to his senses long enough to guide Bella to the Volvo and speed away to her house. Chewy had been safely buckled into the backseat, gobbling excitedly the entire trip. Only one thought ran through Edward's head despite his unique talent.
'Who on earth invites a live turkey to Thanksgiving dinner?'