Chapter 3-What are you? EPOV

The very first thing I noticed when I got to school was the fact that no one was paying us much mind today and all their thoughts were focused on the new arrival. I almost laughed out loud when I saw from one of the boys' minds that her arrival was somewhat extraordinary, though I was sure it was slightly exaggerated in his mind. I snuck a look at the girl's bike and was reluctantly impressed with it.

Still I tried to put it out of my mind for now and concentrated on looking for any suspicious thoughts involving us. There was none, big surprise there. I did get a few glimpses of the new girl's face from the various minds I was looking at. Wow, she's so beautiful. Wonder if she'd go out with me. I seriously was getting tired of these obsessive thoughts of her, and the various lewd fantasies were very disturbing.

Miraculously I managed to make it to lunch without hitting on of the boys through a wall for their various crude fantasies about the new girl and my sisters. I really didn't want to think about them so after I got my prop and sat down I contented myself with staring at the crack in the ceiling. Sometimes I really hated my 'talent', I didn't want to know how much my brothers and sisters loved each other or how hot the new girl was; I just didn't want to know.

I was the only odd man out in my family and I knew my parents wanted me to find someone very badly. Esme hated seeing me alone, she was so sure I was terribly lonely but I could handle it. I had spent the last hundred years alone any more would not make that much of a difference. It wasn't like I didn't get offers, Tanya for one, but I just wasn't interested in anyone like that. What was the point? Tanya was beautiful but she was too shallow for me, too much like Rosalie for my tastes.

I wanted someone who I could be myself with, someone who didn't think about themselves obsessively or think about having relations with me. Besides, it wasn't as if I deserved something as special as love, I was a monster without a soul why would god give one such as me a gift like that. I killed people, I hunted them down, and I wasn't as good as Carlisle believed me to be I deserved to remain alone for my crimes.

Before I could get too into my thoughts about remaining alone for all of eternity I heard that horrible girl Jessica say our names, and the got my attention. I shouldn't be so surprised she spotted them, she's pretty but I doubt Edward would have anything to do with her. I mean, he rejected me. I bet she was in a gang. I turned my gazes to them and took in the new girl, well, took in what I could see. However, I couldn't hear anything from her and that was strange since people very rarely thought of nothing. I concentrated on her and still…nothing it was like she wasn't even there.

She was eating a shiny red apple, but I could tell she wasn't enjoying it, the barely there tensing in her shoulders told me that. If I didn't have such great eyesight as a monster I was sure I wouldn't be able to see it at all. She brought the apple up to her mouth and I was just about to dismiss her when she said something that caught everyone's attention. "Silly Vampires, food is for humans." It was barely more than a whisper but we all heard her loud and clear.

Everyone was staring at her now, trying to see if she was a threat to us, Alice looked to me and thought what do you hear from her? I was distressed to know I could not help them, I couldn't hear anything from this girl! I shook my head and Alice tensed, she got that unfocused look in her eye…she was trying to see something. When she snapped out of it she looked like she was a shade away from panicking and she shook her head at me. My stomach clenched, I couldn't hear, Alice couldn't see, in desperation we both turned to Jasper at the same time.

He was already staring at the new girl, a concentrated look on his face but after a minute he turned to face me shock clearly written on his features. Great, I couldn't hear her; Jasper couldn't feel her and Alice couldn't see, who the hell was this girl? Then as if to mock us she laughed and practically bounced out of the cafeteria and before I could even consider following her the bell rung. I didn't want to go to class but I couldn't leave now, it would raise too many questions.

Begrudgingly I made my way to biology and prepared myself for the onslaught of boredom that it was sure to bring. I was nervous, who was this girl? How did she know our secret? Where did she come from? I had all these questions without a way to get the answers and it bothered me. I sat down and waited for the day to finally end. I mildly thought of escaping so I could inform Carlisle of this new development when the new girl walked in.

She hadn't noticed me yet and that was frustrating in a strange way. I immediately tried to read her mind again hoping to solve the mysteries of this girl but it was fruitless. I was scowling by the time she noticed me, and the teacher directed her to sit next to me. She glared at me in response and locked eyes with me all the way to the seat. I took the time to really take in her features and I was speechless when I finally really looked at her.

Rosalie was beautiful, so was Tanya, but there was something indescribable about this girl. The way her hair flowed and the way her eyes heated up as she glared at me. I was somewhat disappointed when she sat down and used her hair to hide her face from me. It was then I realized that she didn't smell appetizing, just really appealing that was beyond words. I couldn't stop staring at her, she was a mystery and that was a thrilling and terrifying thing.

I was used to knowing things about people that no one else did, and with that came knowing almost everyone at first glance. I didn't and couldn't know her without going about it in the old fashioned way. She made me feel so utterly…normal…and that was a feeling I hadn't had in such a very long time. I wondered what exactly she was because she certainly was beyond humanity. As I watched her she shifted around biting her lip while twirling a piece of hair in her finger…I found all this oddly adorable and very distracting.

She giggled at seemingly nothing and it made me curious, what was she laughing at? Now more than ever I wished I could hear her thoughts. The bell rang and she got up to leave, something in me rebelled I didn't want to see her go. Desperate I grabbed her arm to stop her and used way too much force. Had she been human I would have shattered her arm, I was horrified at myself I hadn't mean to be so forceful.

"Sooo, you gonna tell me what this is all about or are you just going to continue to grip my arm?" she asked lightly and I dropped her arm quickly still in shock of what I could've done…had she been human. I was sure now that whatever this girl was she certainly wasn't human. "I wanted to talk to you, will you wait after school? My family wants to discuss something with you." I said to cover my slip-up of strength. I was somewhat surprised when she said almost casually, "Sure."

The rest of the day went painfully slow, waiting for this confrontation and to see if we would have to move on again. This Bella girl knew our secret, she could expose us with just a few words and then we'd be in terrible danger. Yet, for some reason I couldn't bring myself to think negatively of her. While the rest of them were getting ready for a battle I was thinking of ways to avoid this fight and surprisingly Alice was also.

I feel like I know her from somewhere Edward…. I just can't place it though. She thought to me as we walked to my Volvo, everyone else's thoughts were nowhere near the same line. Emmett was thrilled, spoiling for a fight to test his strength, Jasper was cautious but ready to do anything to keep Alice safe including tearing Bella apart…for some reason this didn't sit well with me. I had to resist the urge to growl threateningly at the two.

Rose's thoughts were shallow as always, she was upset because she thought that Bella might be prettier than her or at least more mysterious. She was also concerned about her family and peeved that she was comparing their looks when she should be concentrating at the situation on hand. Still, the tension was thick as we waited for the school to clear out and everyone was ready for a fight.

We didn't know what to expect, who was this girl, what was she, how did she know our secret and where did she come from? All these questions and more went through our minds, it was particularly hard for me since I was used to always getting answers without having to ask. I wanted to know her and I didn't have any idea why…it was very frustrating and exciting at the same time.

After what seemed like eternity the parking lot was cleared out and we made our way to Bella who was casually leaning on her bike. We were very tense waiting for anything. When we did get a good distance from her we stopped but she was giving us the strangest look. "Relax," she said giggling and I almost chuckled with her she looked so cute, "I'm not going to do anything bad to you guys!" I couldn't take it much longer; while we did relax a bit I couldn't handle waiting another minute. I blurted out my thoughts, "What ARE you?" She just giggled again not at all offended about my outburst.

"Why don't you tell me?" she said coyly and it made me feel slightly embarrassed, had I been human I would be blushing. Rose being ever so, Rose, fashion stated the obvious, "We wouldn't be asking if we knew," she sniffed a bit in irritation. Instead of being angry like I thought she would be Bella surprised me again, "I like you! You definitely got sass!", she laughed then and I felt so happy. Hearing her laugh was amazing, I should have wondered why her laugh could do this to me but I was just too absorbed in it to really care.

All the emotions were getting to Jasper, the anxiety was running so high he didn't have much patience, "Just tell us how you knew we were…what we are." Still, it was what we all wanted to know, it was screaming in their minds and it made me all the more anxious to know. Especially since I couldn't get any answers from her until she verbally answered them, it was something I just wasn't used to and it frayed my nerves.

She didn't think much about our nervousness, smiling like that; I had to resist the urge to smile with her, "but its so much more fun making you guess! Besides I already know what you all are! I mean could you be anymore conspicuous? Seriously, you all could use some lessons on how to act human." That got everyone's thoughts going like crazy, after all we had been among humans for so long how could we not appear to be human still? We were conscious of things that most vampires would never spare a thought of and yet…we weren't good enough to fool this girl.

It must have shown that we didn't have much patience left in us for not a moment later she sighed and said, "Fine ruin my fun…I'm one of you too, you know, venom and all!" Bella gestured to her body to prove her point and it was only then that I realized she didn't have a heartbeat. She just seemed so alive, so vividly alive it was hard to imagine her the walking dead and even now I couldn't really accept what she was telling us. Alice couldn't take it anymore, she was so used to knowing everything it unnerved her not to know, "What, how? You don't look like any vampire I've ever seen!"

Bella just shook her head and said, "Seriously Alice, did you never learn discretion? I'm just better at pretending than you guys…obviously," she held out her dainty hand, "I'm Bella and I do believe none of you have properly introduced yourselves! Society today!" The way she talked, I could hear it now, just the barest shadow of another time and an accent that had long since passed. It was a mark of a true vampire; we are often displaced in this new world that continues to change while we remain frozen and unchanged.

Emmett being who he was laughed at her and shook her hand enthusiastically, "I'm Emmett, I like you already!" she just laughed along with him and held her hand out to Rose. I didn't really know what to do, I felt awkward and nervous in a way I had never felt before. Rose, of course was reluctant to accept this bubbly happy…pretty vampire, "I'm Rosalie." Bella wasn't going to stand her standoffish behavior though and pulled the girl into a hug. Rose was fighting a smile and by her thoughts I knew she already liked Bella very much, she just didn't want to admit it.

"I'll call you Rose!" Bella was really just amazing; Alice couldn't wait to get to know this woman and was already planning a shopping trip. I couldn't help but dread it a bit, shopping with Alice was always somewhat frightening. Alice didn't want to frighten her potential friend off though, and since she didn't know how she would react to an, 'Alice hug' she simply held out her hand to shake. Bella seemed to know and held out her arms for her to fly into them.

That's when the strangeness occurred, Alice felt like she had been in this woman's arms before, like a fuzzy memory or a dream she had forgotten. Then Bella started to trace the butterfly pin in Alice's hair gently and we were all amazed that she didn't bite her head off. Alice was a sweet person but something about that hairpin, she would always freak out if anyone even tried to touch it. It had been something she had brought over from her human life, something that she loved deeply. "You know Alice I wish you'd remember me already so I could ask you how you ended up like this?"

I could tell Bella hadn't meant to say that, but the reaction she got was immediate. Everyone tensed; the questions that exploded from their minds had my head spinning. Alice's human life was very much a mystery to all of them, especially Alice herself; it was something that always bothered them. Not remembering some things was natural but Alice had no memories at all. Bella must have noticed how tense we had gotten because not a second later she said, "Seriously, what is up with you guys?"

When she looked down at Alice and saw her disheartened expression Bella scooped her back up in her arms and began to hum. I was completely surprised to realize I recognized the tune; it was from Debussy and one of my absolute favorites. Alice loved it too, and often begged for me to play it for her. It always helped to calm her down and make her feel better when she felt down about anything. I began to wonder if it was this mysterious woman who had fostered that love in her.

Alice began to think the same things and pulled away from Bella's arms to stare intently at her face. Her thoughts were centered on remembering this girl, and what she meant to her. However, as much as Alice tried to remember the woman before her, she just couldn't and it was frustrating her to no end. For a girl used to knowing all the answers to NOT know something as important as this was eating at her.

"It's alright if you don't remember me, my little pixie-girl," Bella said gently, I marveled at her kindness, "when I left I told you it's alright if you forgot me…because I could never forget you!" Alice was stunned, she wanted more than ever to know her…to remember knowing her. Bella traced the Hairpin in Alice's hair and said, "I gave this to you the day I left, I remember finding you crying that day. When I asked you why you said it was because you were going to forget me and you really didn't want to." Bella didn't notice us; Jasper had a pained expression on his face his thoughts solely on Alice.

He wanted to comfort her but he didn't want to interrupt the moment Alice was having with this Bella girl. "I'm sorry, I have a hard time remembering my human life…it all just darkness for me," Alice's thoughts were full of regret and sadness, she wanted to remember this girl so badly. "Don't be sad I'm sure if I spent most of my time in a cationic state most of my human memories would be gone too! You're still my pixie-girl though!" Bella said as if it would make things better for Alice. The pixie-girl took in surprising stride and instead she was mostly worried on how Bella would react to Jasper.

It was weird, Alice may have known Bella once but still to have her care so much about what Bella thought of her was strange for me. Alice was usually a free-spirited woman, not caring one way or the other if someone thought badly of her; but she cared what this woman Bella thought. It was slightly unsettling to notice that I cared very much too because I couldn't hear her thoughts, it made me worry.

"This is my husband Jasper! I hope you'll like him!" Alice said bouncing around acting normal while inside she was nervous as all hell. Bella giggled as if she knew Alice was nervous and said, "If he managed to capture your heart I'm sure he's a good man,". She smiled at him and shook his hand; I didn't understand the feeling the rose in my chest when she smiled at him. I had to fight down a growl, and I had no idea why.

Just when I thought I couldn't take her looking at him anymore she turned her eyes on me and I froze. Her dainty little hand was held out in waiting but I couldn't seem to move. I finally got my body working and took her hand in mine. It was like her touch had set my body on fire, I wanted to pull her in and crush her to me. Her small hand was held in my large one and all I could say was "I'm Edward" I felt stupid immediately. She just smiled at me, if I had a heart I knew it would be racing at that moment.

"Nice to meet you properly Edward I'm Bella!" She said and then she stepped back taking her hand from mine, I was disappointed by the loose of contact. I didn't show it though, at least I hoped not but Jasper did send me a sideways look. "Would you come over tonight to meet our family?" Alice said after a moment, her mind was a flurry of plans, shopping trips and games. It made me smile a bit but Bella didn't answer immediately, she just sat on her bike studying us for a minute.

"Sure pixie-girl, I'd love to meet your family," She put a finger to her lip, I couldn't keep my eyes away from her mouth after that, "but first let me slip out of my humanity!" Now that surprised me but I guess I was getting used to it. Bella was anything but predictable; it made being around her exciting in a way. Still I wondered at her phrasing, "slip out of her humanity"? It put images in my mind that made me feel terribly guilty and no better than all the other human teenage boys. I tried to put it out of my mind but once it was there it continued to creep up on me.

Especially since I was still staring at her, "Well I can tell I make you uncomfortable because I look so…well you know. I just thought that it might be best if I showed up without all this on!" She smiled at us and swung her legs over her bike straddling it, that didn't help me at all. "So I'll head over to your place around six, okay?" She said while revving the motor of her bike and I couldn't help but find the whole picture she was presenting very appealing. It may have helped that I couldn't hear her every thought but it still was driving me up a wall.

I wanted, no, I needed to know if it was just me that felt this way about her or if she felt something towards me too. The attraction I felt towards her was strong and I couldn't keep my eyes from her for more than a minute. "WAIT! You don't know where we live!" Alice said distressed at the idea of waiting until tomorrow to see this woman again. She giggled a bit and asked, "Well which one of you is the fastest?" Alice didn't even think but just blurted out, "Edward, why?", then Bella smiled a bit and said, "Good, hop on Edward!" She patted the place behind her.

When I didn't move she started laughing, Emmett was thinking I was going to have to sit in the 'bitch seat' and was about thirty seconds away from bursting out laughing. "Well, he's the fastest! I'll take him home, get changed and all that, then we'll run over to your place! That is…if that's alright with you Edward?" I didn't answer for a minute weighing my options, really Emmett's thoughts made me pause a bit dazed. However, looking at the perfection before me a realized that I didn't mind, so I said so out loud, "I don't mind."

I tossed my keys to Jasper 'cause I wouldn't let Emmett drive my Volvo after what he thought of me and sat down behind Bella. "Hold on tight," she said while revving the motor and pulling the visor down on her helmet. I put my hands lightly on her waist, I felt ashamed because of all my thoughts earlier. However, Bella wasn't going to allow that and she forced me to hold her tighter, it was glorious. I was plastered to her back when she sped off, "I hope you don't mind going fast!"

She was laughing as she weaved through traffic; I gave into the feeling of holding her close to me barely paying attention to where we were going. It felt right having her in my arms like this, I got lost in the feeling of it. It amazed me how perfectly her body fit into mine, like two puzzle pieces. The ride ended way to fast for my tastes when I realized we were there I had to force myself to let her go. "Okay so I guess you'll be getting the grand tour before anyone else!" She smiled again, dazzling me.

Bella took off her coat and boots twirling around barefoot for a moment, enchanting me. She took my hand and led me around the house pointing out various rooms. She would show me the inside for a minute before she took me to the next. I wasn't paying much attention I was too absorbed in the feel of her hand in mine once more. That is until she got to a room she tried to sneak past me so I questioned her on it, "What's this room?" Bella ducked her head hiding behind her hair; I didn't like that as it hid her pretty face from view. But it was also so cute and endearing, "Oh, that's just my dance studio/music room!"

She said something else to me then but was too distracted to say anything back. Everything that had happened had gotten me thinking, and I wondered in thought standing as still as a statue. I had plenty of chances to be with someone, many vampire women had shown interest in being my companion. Especially, Tanya of the Denali clan, but not once had I thought of pursuing them.

What was it about Bella that made me drop my guard that crumbled all those walls I have built up around me? I didn't know, it couldn't be just because I couldn't hear her thoughts. Though that aspect was as equally annoying as it was fascinating I knew that it wasn't just that. Even appearing human Bella enchanted me with her beauty and her personality was so bright. It was like she was the sun and I was a starved flower, I had to be close to her.

Being in her house didn't help me clear my mind enough to think, her smell while still new was everywhere and it enveloped me. I couldn't think with her smell distracting me constantly and diverging my thoughts. "Hey. You know you could have moved? You didn't have to stand there the entire time!" Her voice startled me, I hadn't even heard her coming. I hadn't realized until then how much I relied on my talent.

However when I caught sight of her I stopped breathing, I stopped moving, all I could do was stare. Her beauty was more than enchanting, words fell short of describing the perfection that she was and I couldn't have moved or said anything if I had tried. She ran down the stairs and stopped before me. It only made things worse, her being so very close to me; so beautiful, so dazzling I found it hard to think coherently. "Are you waiting for something or can we go now?" She asked almost teasingly, and I snapped out of my funk then.

She looked up at me then and our eyes caught each other for the first time. I couldn't look away; I fell into her eyes, utterly lost in her in every way. At that moment I knew, I knew why I felt like growling at Jasper and any man she looked at. I was falling for Isabella Swan, and I was falling fast. As if she heard my thoughts she looked away, brow slightly furrowed as if she had something on her mind. It killed me that I couldn't know what she was thinking in that moment. I went out the door with her following me, we weren't speaking just running and I was lost in thought.

At first I didn't notice that I was not holding back, I was running freely and she was running right next to me as if it were nothing. I was pleasantly surprised considering I was the fastest in my family. It was somewhat liberating to be able to run like this with someone, I couldn't help but smile a bit at it. I got ahead of her at the end but I suspected that was because Bella wanted a moment to prepare herself.

Everyone was waiting for us in the front room, all except for Carlisle whom was in his study reading one of his favorite medical journals. I called him down so that he could be here when Bella arrived inside, he came down the stairs, book in hand, and I almost laughed. He was like this sometimes when he was absorbed in something, probably working on a case for work. I hadn't noticed Bella come in until I heard her sharp intake of breath, which was soon followed by one from Carlisle.

He dropped his book he was so stunned, his mind was so chaotic, and in frenzy, I couldn't make heads or tails of it all. Everyone was stunned by their reactions to one another, no one could guess why. It was like they were frozen, they just kept staring at one another, they didn't move or speak just stood frozen. Finally after what seemed like an eternity Bella whispered, "Carlisle…". And just like that Carlisle's thoughts were cleared, he thought of nothing acting on pure instinct.

"Bella…" he said raising his arms making me wonder just what it was he was about to do, "Bells, my little bird, is that really you?" I immediately didn't like that, who were they to each other, and more importantly what the hell was happening here. Everyone's thoughts mirrored my own. Esme's thoughts were nervous, she had also caught the 'my' comment and like me she didn't like that at all. Suddenly as if a jolt went through her Bella cried out, "Carlisle", and jumped on him. He caught her easily but fell to the floor on impact, it was almost as if he had been expecting the move.

Seeing him holding her didn't sit right with me, I hated that he was holding her, hated it even more when he started to say, "Bella, my Bella," over and over. I clenched my fist trying to keep my anger in check; this was Carlisle but still I HATED that he was holding her like that. That should be me, Esme's thoughts mirrored my own I realized in horror. However, where I was angry Esme was hurt and nervous. "Promise me this isn't some cruel illusion Carlisle, promise me you're really here." Bella said her voice cracking.

I hated this, I didn't want to be here but I couldn't look away. Who was this woman, this Bella, and more importantly who was Carlisle to her? He held her tighter in his arms and kissed the top of her head, I wanted to hurt him then. "I'm here, I'm here Bella, my little bird". He said it so gentle; it was like a lover's caress. "How are you here?" She asked I wanted her to look at me, not at him. He tucked her under his chin and I would have given anything to trade places with him, anything. "I could ask you the same thing my little bird, how are you here with me?"

She pulled back from him for a moment, head tilted to the side as if she was seeking something from Carlisle. He must have thought so too because he asked, "Yes, Little Bird?" She answered with, "Carlisle, why do you smell like potatoes?" He looked startled for a moment and then he did something he almost never does, he laughed, long and loud. I don't think I had ever heard him laugh like that, no one in the family had ever, in fact, from their thoughts. Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore and yelled, "What the hell is going on!"

Bella looked startled when she realized we were in the room also, she hid behind her hair and leaned into Carlisle a bit more saying something incomprehensible before turning back to Carlisle ignoring us. "How did you become a Vampire Carlisle?" She asked instead of answering me, us, choosing to ignore us all together. I could not have said then why that hurt so much. Esme was in a right state, Jasper helped her a little but her thoughts were so loud.

Carlisle saw how hurt Esme looked but his thoughts were still on holding Bella and never letting go. Finally it was Bella who stepped up for them both. She kissed him on the cheek, I thought I saw Esme flinch, "Perhaps it would be best if I were to go for now, I believe there is some explanations that need to be done before we can have our reunion." She got up from his lap and suddenly his thoughts were panicked. He didn't want her to go, he wanted her to stay, he didn't think about catching her hand he just did. "Don't fly away little bird I just got you back." I had never seen Carlisle like this, and it scared me.

Carlisle was a reserved man, he wasn't the type to be openly affectionate to anyone and that he was being so with Bella disturbed me. I wasn't the only one thinking so as Bella kneeled before him resting her forehead on his own. Everyone in our little family was in such a frenzy I couldn't think straight if I tried, too many questions and not enough answers. "This bird knows the way home now, and I'll come back in the morning when you've had a chance to explain." This seemed to reassure Carlisle so he didn't try to stop her when she left without a backwards glance.

"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!" Rose yelled, "WHAT WAS THAT LITTLE BIRD CRAP!!" At the same time Esme was asking, "Who is she to you Carlisle?" Alice was asking, "What's going on?" Emmett was asking "Got a girl on the side dad?" Only Jasper and I were quiet, mostly because our talents prevented us from doing much at that emotionally charged moment. Carlisle sighed and got up from the floor looking tired and older.

"How about I just explain some things to you now and then you bombard me with questions?" He asked while moving to sit on the couch. We were so stunned we just sat around him, ready to listen to his story. "I would ask that you don't interrupt me this is going to be hard to explain as it is," we all nodded to shell-shocked to do much else. "Well, first I think I should explain something to you all, I know you know a bit of my human life but I have never once divulged everything about myself in the life before I was changed. I told you of my career, yes, just so that you would know how I was put into the vampire's path."

Edward I would ask that you don't reveal all that I'm sure to think of during this tale. Carlisle thought to me, I gave him a small nod to show I had heard him. "I am sorry now I had not shared my life with you as you have shared yours with me," I wasn't sure who he was directing that towards, "but perhaps now that I know Bella is alive, in a sense that is, I can tell you all what had been previously too painful for me to reveal. I think I should start from the beginning, as it would make things much clearer."

"When I was a boy, ten or so, my father was called upon by a Lord to exorcise the Lord's infant daughter. You see, the infant had not stopped crying since her birth and with no other options left they had called upon my father. He had brought me along to assist, but the moment the nurse had put the baby girl in my arms she stopped crying." He smiled then and I got a fuzzy flash of a baby girl wrapped in silks.

"As you might have guessed that child was Bella, from that moment we had been inseparable. In that time it was popular for parents' to leave the raising of their children to others. So when they saw how Bella reacted to me they hired me on to take care of her for a time. I guess you could say I raised her but we really just grew together even after my time under contract expired." He smiled gently, thinking of a small girl, no older than six smiling in an ornate dress, the memory was fuzzy but there.

"Being in her presence, watching her grow was truly a privilege, Bella is unlike anyone I have ever met in all my years. She was such an amazing little girl. So kind and gentle, all her servants loved her dearly, everyone who met her did. She had this light that just drew you in," he smiled, "You know when she was eight years old one of the servants had brought their child with them to work, but the boy, no more than five, had gotten away from her. Bella found him in her mother's drawing room, unfortunately she had startled him and he knocked over one of Bella's mother's favorite vases. It broke; the boy had panicked and had started to cry. Bella didn't want to get him in trouble for something she thought of as her own fault so she hid him in the hall and took the blame."

"I think that was the first and last time Bella had ever been taken to the whip," we all inhaled sharply, Carlisle smiled bitterly, "You know what she said when I came to see her afterwards? She told me it was okay that she was hurt for now, because the little boy hadn't been. That was just the kind of girl Bella was, always selfless, always kind, quick to take the blame," he caught my eye, "she reminds me of you in that way Edward."

"I grew to love Bella, deeply, she was my closest dearest friend." He chuckled then, "You know the only thing we ever fought about was my job? Bella hated what I did, she told me over and over that anyone, vampires, werewolves, witches, anyone, 'could be good if only given the chance to be so'. I didn't believe so but she was so sure. In fact, she is the reason I tried to find a way to be what I became without resorting to killing humans."

"So she's like your daughter then?" Esme asked, sounding oddly hopeful. Carlisle looked pained, "No, we were betrothed once." That announcement made everyone's metaphorical hearts stop for just a moment. "Betrothed?" Esme said brokenly, looking devastated. Carlisle saw the look and panicked, grabbing her hand, "I love you Esme, don't ever question that!" She smiled shakily and nodded, still I heard from Jasper's mind how hurt she was at that moment.

"You have to understand, during that time a girl of Bella's status was expected to wed young, bear an heir and be a brainless kept wife. But that just wasn't Bella…" He smiled nostalgically then, "Bella was born before her time, and I have always believed that, she was a jewel among women then. Free-spirited, smart, rebellious, independent, I made my bid for Bella because I loved her enough to want to save her from the cage of an arranged marriage. I didn't even tell Bella of my negotiations with her father!" He laughed then, a light chuckle really, as if remembering some old joke.

"Yes, I practically raised Bella, but she was more to me than a daughter. She was a friend, a light in the darkness, the hope I kept in my heart and the standard in which I judged myself by," He smiled at our disbelieving faces, "yes, I have and probably always will measure myself by Bella. If you could only know her as I do you would understand there is no greater a heart. Her kindness knows no bounds, she is the one who inspired me to become a doctor," He smirked then, "When Bella was human she was clumsy, so clumsy it was a miracle she survived the age at all! I was constantly learning new ways to help her heal, its what got me into medicine later in my un-life."

"Forget all that crap I wanna know what the hell is going on with that 'little bird' crap!" Rose said impatiently, as always. Carlisle smiled, "Now that is a bit of a story, growing up Bella was always finding ways to escape her caregivers, governesses, ladies in waiting, you name it, and I would always be the one they called upon to find her. One day I found her in the woods by her mansion, she was IN a tree! I couldn't believe it. So when I asked what she was doing up there she said, 'I'm trying to persuade the birds to fly me away', now I couldn't believe my ears."

"So I asked her why and she told me that she wanted to go somewhere far away from here where she could truly be free of this. So not knowing what else to say I asked, 'so any luck?' 'no' she said, 'but I'll try becoming a bird next, perhaps then I'll be able to fly as the other swans do', I laughed at that and asked her, 'And what will I do if my dearest friend flies away from me?' she told me not to worry, that the day she got her wings to fly she'd take me with her. Since then I've called her my little bird, it is something of an endearment between us. A recalling of whimsical days dreaming of flying away, of birds and freedom."

"How come you've never spoken of her, more importantly how is it I've never heard of her from you before today?" I asked unsure if I really wanted the answer. Carlisle hesitated, his mind blank, and I heard from Jasper's mind just how reluctant he was to answering the question I most wanted to know the answer to. "In all honesty I don't know why I kept her such a secret from everyone," he hesitated, "I think its because I wanted to keep her memory all to myself I didn't want to share her with anyone. Bella has always held a special place in my heart. I guess I didn't know how I could ever properly explain my feelings for her to you and I didn't want to bring up something that was so painful for me."

He got up then, a lost look on his face, his thoughts were in turmoil and so chaotic I couldn't keep up with them. Then quite suddenly he raced up to his study and came back carrying a wooden box. Everyone knew that box, that mysterious box that Carlisle wouldn't let anyone near…even Esme. He placed it on the table and gently opened the lid, everyone leaned a bit forward wanting to know the answer to this mystery.

It was a locket, plain, but very old. There was a certain beauty to it that I couldn't quite grasp yet and the way Carlisle held it, as if it was as precious to him as his very heart. "Bella gave this to me the day I left for London, inside there is an inscription in Latin that says 'never lose your way'. It was this locket that put me on the path I am today, it was the thing I had held onto through the years." He looked to all of us smiling a sad smile. "Have any of you ever wonder what made me wait so long before I turned someone to be my companion?"

Now that he had mentioned it everyone was very surprised at how long he suffered this curse alone. Carlisle had been well over two centuries old before he had resorted to turning me, and by then he was actually getting close to three centuries. "It was this locket and the memory of Bella that had held me back. After I had discovered I could live on animal blood I went back to visit Bella…" everyone inhaled sharply, "However, when I got there I found that she was missing and presumed dead. At the time, I had wanted to die. I was looking at this locket thinking about her one day and I realized that she would not have wanted that for me."

"I resolved then that I would prove to the world that Bella was right, I would be a good vampire and a good man. She was the light that guided me out of the darkness. And years later it was the thought of how Bella would react to the Volturi that had made me leave their company. This was the only thing I had left of Bella, I kept it with me always and it made me feel less lonely to have it near. Then when I changed Edward I came to realize I had been in mourning for her for well over two centuries…I thought it would be best for everyone if I let her go."

"So I didn't think of her, because it was so painful to do so. I didn't speak of her because it would have been like I was really letting her go then. I made excuses, avoided her in my stories, kept her memory close to my heart and I refused to share it with you all. My family, just because I was so afraid that if I did so I would lose what little I had left of her. It's complicated, very hard to explain, and even now I don't think I'm telling all of you the right things."

He looked at Esme then, eyes full of love and confusion, "When I had changed you Esme, at first it was because you reminded me a bit of Bella, like Edward had, but then I fell in love with you. Just you. I love you. Don't ever doubt my feelings. Bella was just in my heart first." Esme was hurt, but she was trying very hard to understand him. The sun peaked over the horizon; we ended up talking all night. Carlisle had spent the night answering our questions and telling us stories about Bella.

I wasn't sure how I was feeling about all this, for the first time in my life I had very negative feelings towards Carlisle and I couldn't understand it. What was it about this girl that changed me so, that made me feel so many different things at once? When it was finally time to head over to Bella's place everyone was a mix of so many emotions. Alice was so excited to be going to see Bella, while anxious to remember her time with her. Jasper was worried, about Alice and about what Bella's presence would do to our family.

Emmett was the most calm, surprisingly; he just wanted to know more about this new girl. Rose was jealous, and more than a bit spiteful of how Bella had disrupted our family. Esme was a wreck, she was worried about this girl and she was so hurt Carlisle hadn't confided in her about this girl before. Carlisle was all over the place, he felt guilty hiding his past but he was also so excited to be seeing Bella soon.

He kept thinking about the oddest things, memories of his dim human past fluttering in his mind and I had never seen him so happy before. Carlisle held Esme's hand and my family followed as I lead the way to Bella house. When we got there Bella was waiting for us at the door a smile on her face, her beauty left me dazed as we followed her into the house. She took us to the sitting room and we all gathered around staring at her intently.

Carlisle was sitting across from her and Bella seemed to only have eyes for him, a sad smile on her face. "To be honest Carlisle I don't know where to start, so much has happened since we parted ways as humans that it would take a very long time to explain everything." "Why don't you just start with what happened after I disappeared?" Carlisle said gently he was resisting the urge to hold her hand for Esme's sake, I gritted my teeth. "Ok, well when a messenger finally made it to my house to tell of your disappearance I was distressed, naturally I decided right then to go looking for you," Bella said with a sad smile while Carlisle sucked in a breath dreading that she was turned because of him.

"However, my father was having none of that and he managed to stop me as I tried to ride off to London skirts, corset, and petticoat still on from a social gathering!" She laughed then, but it was tinged with sadness. "My parents kept me under guard after that to prevent me from trying to search you out, eventually my grief about it broke my spirit a bit and I let them have their way. Mother finally got the brainless model lady she had craved, I spent two years walking around as if I had already died and my body just hadn't accepted the fact yet." Carlisle was trying so hard to keep from breaking down as he heard her story, trying very hard to keep his distance so he wouldn't hurt Esme more.

"When I turned seventeen I found out that my father finally had managed to arrange a marriage contract with some lord I had never seen nor spoken to. That is what managed to snap me out of my state; I didn't want to marry some man who would put me in a glided cage. I refused to let some else decided my life for me so I planned my escape, careful this time so I could get away. The night before my wedding I dressed in an outfit I had stolen from a maid, packed the things I couldn't leave behind, collected the money I had secreted away and headed out into the big world."

"I headed to the stream we always met by and wadded in the water hoping to throw off any hunting dogs they might send after me. I walked in that stream until I could no longer feel my feet, I was about a day into my traveling when I smelt it…blood, lots of it. I almost turned back then, but I couldn't make myself give up so I had stood there frozen. In the end the decision was taken from me when something cold and hard slammed into my back, biting me. I thought I was going to die. Something in me rebelled, and a managed to get away."

Carlisle moved to ask how that was possible but Bella stopped him, "I'll explain how that was possible later but the important thing was I was bitten, alone and I was changing. I had never felt such pain before, it took everything in me not to scream my head off, and somehow I managed to make myself move. I couldn't tell you even now how I made my way to the hidden cave behind the waterfall more than a days walk from where I was bitten. All that was driving me was the need to get the hell away. I collapsed there and waited the rest of it out."

"I honestly thought I was dying, but I kept quiet so as to not alert anyone to my location. That was probably the hardest thing about the change for me…not screaming." Everyone especially Jasper was stunned, their thoughts whirling from awe to disbelief hearing of her change. "When I woke the world was different from the one I had left behind, I had sat by that river bank in wonder of it all and eventually figured out what it was I had become. As soon as I realized I was a vampire, something that killed others to survive I had frozen wondering how I was going to survive this new life. Then a heard a bird call from some distance away and I realized that humans weren't the only thing that had blood."

Carlisle was staring open mouth at her; to him it had taken Bella a few hours to figure out something that had taken him weeks to realize. He felt proud and a bit foolish it had taken him so long. "I decided then to feed off animals, of course after that I realized that I had an infinite amount of time ahead of me. So I began thinking of you, knowing that as I am now I could no longer seek you out because I was the monster you were hunting! Of course that devastated me, I had survived all that and now I wouldn't even get the chance to do what I had set out to! In the end I decided to pursue all the crazy little day dreams I had confided in you so I could feel close to you."

"The main problem with that was I realized that there were some things that would be hard to hide, sparkling skin and red eyes certainly stick out in a crowd right? I'll skip the details for now but I went around the world looking for ways to hide what I had become from the humans. Eventually I ended up in Egypt where a very nice woman named Nagah helped me develop the first version of my skin cream. After that the world was my oyster!" Bella laughed and got up motioning for us to follow her to another room. When she opened the door there was a flood of thoughts, Esme was thinking it reminded her of Carlisle's study. Alice was lamenting the disorganization and Rosalie was just confused. Jasper was wondering what everything in here meant to Bella and Emmett was more interested in what Bella would say next then the room. Carlisle was too absorbed in watching Bella to notice much about the room.

The room was relatively big; it had paintings lining all the walls along with a lot of various other odd objects. "This is my remembering room," She lead us over to the biggest painting in the room it was of Bella on a ship, smiling, a boy was in her arms and she was guiding him at the ships wheel. "When I had enough money I had a beautiful ship built for me I called her Destiny's Hand and I began my adventures on the high seas! I'm sure you remember me going on about the pirates Carlisle, well I decided I wanted to be one too!" She laughed then a twinkling of bells it made me happy to hear it. "The boy you see came on my ships some years after I had begun my pirating career, I really loved sailing the seas and teaching him all I could. When I decided I had to leave that life I gave my ship to him, he was a man by then and he took care of her."

Carlisle was studying the painting very carefully, it was enchanting really, the painting managed to capture how full of life Bella was and whoever had done it was very skilled. "Who painted this Bella?" She smiled softly never taking her eyes away from the painting, "An old friend, he was the first vampire I had ever met that adhered to my diet choices. He had stowed away on my ship one night and my crew found him out. They took him to see me and we hit it off, his name was Lucas he stayed with me for a time. He has a particular talent with the brush and I got this as a going away present when he left my company."

Bella took us around the room, explaining some of the paintings or odd objects. She just kept becoming more and more amazing to me; I couldn't help it. She told us of her goal of making friends, she showed us all the letters she had kept from them, the pictures she had taken, the hat she had shot off Jesse James, the backstage ticket Elvis had signed, all this and more. Still I was curious that she had not mentioned any of the other times she had met up with this Lucas through the years. The paintings were obviously his, and she had more then one done through the years.

"Bella I still am very curious about how you managed to escape your vampire assailant, you were human then and it is difficult to imagine you fighting off one of us," Carlisle said Esme's hand firmly in his own. He tried to keep the adoration from his voice but it didn't work all to well. Bella looked uncomfortable for a minute, it killed me not knowing her thoughts, and then she gave a little nod. Sighing she moved to lean against the wall opposite us next to a painting of her simply sitting on the ground of a forest somewhere. "To explain that I'll have to go back further than I had, to my tenth year of life and tell you the one thing I have ever kept from you," She had her eyes closed and she looked ashamed. Carlisle was confused, and hurt, he had thought he knew Bella inside out.

I managed to squash the feeling of triumph that he had not known all there was to this beautiful woman before us. "I was ten when I first moved something with my mind, it was quite by accident and it was a truly strange feeling," everyone was echoing disbelief thinking that no human could have powers. "As I got a handle on it I began to realize I could do so many things with this gift…or curse. I didn't know what to call it but I knew one thing: I could tell no one of my abilities, not even you, my most precious person. These powers were strange and foreign, had anyone known of them I was sure they would mistake me for a witch. I didn't want to force you to chose between your duty as a hunter/priest and your love for me."

"So I kept it a secret, trained it in secret so that I could control it if I needed to. It was this that saved me that day when I rebelled against the idea of dying I used my ability to throw my assailant away from me. Of course after I was turned this…talent…only caused me more problems because I had the damnedest time controlling it. A single whim had boulders flying through the air!" As she said this the things around us gain to move, until we had lost any semblance of recognition of the room's order. Carlisle's thoughts were in anguish, thinking about the burden this secret must have been for her. Thinking of how foolish he had been back then as a human and idly he began to wonder.

He knew had Bella confided this in him he would have left his chosen career of the time, he would have helped her and he would have never gone to London. In the confines of his mind he imagined how his human life could have played out, imagined marrying her, loving her, having children by her. It was more than I could bear, seeing it and knowing this may have once been his destiny. When he could handle his thoughts no more Carlisle gave into his urge and he took Bella up in his arms. "It would have never been a choice for me Bella, I hated it as much as you and I would have left…" he left his thought hanging but I could tell Bella knew what he was thinking.

She smiled and hugged him in return, "Ah but I didn't and look at how wonderful our lives have turned out for us. You have a beautiful companion, a family, a career you've always wanted and I have spent the last few centuries making the friends I had never been allowed. Hush Carlisle, it does no good to think of 'might have beens'." She murmured to him, running her hands through his hair before she backed away with a sad smile.

Still as Bella pulled away from him Carlisle couldn't help but think that the life they would have had would have been great also. It hurt me more than I thought it would to hear this coming from Carlisle and I vowed to never let his thoughts leave the confines of his mind. This would devastate Esme if she knew, because she, like all of us, could see how much Bella meant to him. Bella smiled a bit at him and pulled his arm to lead him over to Esme. Once he stood facing Esme, Bella took her hand and placed their hands over each other. "I am not blind Carlisle, and you cannot hide from me how much you love her. I know you as no other knows you and I am so very happy you have found her to make you whole."

Bella smiled stepping back then leaving the two holding hands staring into each others eyes, Carlisle had eyes for no one but Esme. It was in that moment Esme's thoughts relaxed, and began to hold a deep affection for the girl whom had captured her beloved's heart first. Bella was no longer a threat in Esme's mind but just a part of Carlisle. There was a deep understanding blossoming in her mind, one I could not fully comprehend because it was as much based on emotion as thoughts. It became apparent to Esme just what Bella was to Carlisle but I could not grasp it.

Clapping brought everyone out of his or her thoughts, Bella was applauding the two of them but there was no malice on her face or in her thoughts. She was genuinely happy for Carlisle and this amazed me enough to leave me breathless. This girl had spent most of her immortal life alone because she had not wished to leave the memory of him behind. She had carried Carlisle's memory with her, preventing herself from gaining a family as he had done and yet she held him no grudge for doing so. Here Bella was, smiling, laughing, applauding Carlisle's abandonment of her own memory as if it were a given.

For there was no doubt in me that is what Carlisle had done. When he had turned me, he had turned his back on the painful memory of this girl, his past. He had pushed her so far from his mind over the years even I had not known of her existence until yesterday afternoon. Carlisle had abandoned the pain remembering her had brought, Bella had embraced it, and the difference between them were becoming to glaringly obvious to me. Where Carlisle had lamented his turning, trying his damnedest to end his existence, Bella had accepted it for what it was and moved on.

Never before had I ever thought there may be someone as good a person as Carlisle but here standing before me might be the only person purer than him. She contradicted everything I thought a vampire was, Bella was like an angel, pure and virtuous. Beautiful, was all I could think, she was so beautiful inside and out it left me dazzled by it. I didn't think there was a stronger person, to go through life as Bella had was simply beyond words. Where we avoided making human attachments Bella sought them out, where we struggled to disguise what we were she fit in seamlessly.

Glancing around the room I took in the various pictures, all through time, full of Bella standing next to countless human friends. I took in the letters she had kept; the odd knick-knacks that I was sure had some stories behind them. It was overwhelming, it was inspiring, and never before had I felt so unworthy to be in someone else's presence. However, I was weak I could not bring myself to step away from her. "There is one thing I wish to know, that I think Alice wants to know the most, how do you know my wife?" Jasper's smooth southern voice drew me out of my musings.

Bella turned sad eyes to our little pixie girl, smiling and coming to stand before her. "Well, I guess that is a very long story. In 1914 I became a nurse for a mental hospital, mostly because I hoped to run interference between the 'doctors' and the patients there. I found Alice one night while making rounds, she was a mess. No one could understand what was wrong with her; she was catatonic responding to no one and nothing. That night when I saw her I was so upset on how she was being treated I immediately took over her care." Bella smiled fingering Alice's short hair. "Your hair had been so long when I had first seen you, all the way down to your ankles! So dirty and matted I couldn't save it so I cut it all off!" She laughed, "I'm sorry about that by the way."

Alice shook her head vigorously, "No I love it!" "Anyways, it wasn't to long after that I discovered what was wrong. I had wrapped you up in my mental shield one night, just to try to see if it could help you and frankly I would describe it as you waking up for the first time. You were in awe of the world, even that tiny dingy room you had been forced in." Bella cupped Alice's face and she leaned into the touch, "The problem was that as a human you could not handle living normally with all the visions you had of the world. Back then you were plagued with visions of the past, present, and the ever changing future."

"You tried to explain it to me once, you said it was like seeing everything that had been, is and will be all at once. It was so overwhelming that most of the time you didn't even understand what it was you were seeing. I hope that as a vampire it is better for you now?" Alice smiled and nodded, "Yes, though now all I see is the future." "Well, at least you are released from the prison of your mind now." Alice bit her lip, "Were you the one who changed me?" Bella looked at her horrified, "No, I am sorry Alice I have no idea how you came to be like me. I have never tasted human blood and probably never will. One day another vampire came to the asylum, a male; he was masquerading as a doctor. He did not like me hanging around there also and he got me fired. The day I left you told me that you would not remember me when we met again."

Our little pixie's thoughts were all over the place, she wondered about the mystery of her rebirth, and for the first time it truly bothered her not to know. However, she nodded and accepted it as a mystery best solved another day choosing instead to fall into Bella's arms. Bella just smiled cradling the smaller girl to her, humming a bit under her breath and it was then that Alice remembered something. It had the same fuzzy feel human memories always had but this was the first time something like this happened to her. She was remembering a room, with cold walls, and the feeling of cold arms around her. In the memory Alice thought she felt safe, then just as quickly as it had come the memory was gone.

Alice pulled back then returning to Jasper's side but from Jasper's thoughts she had not felt this content before. Jasper could not help but like Bella deeply for she made his dearest mate happy. "Now I have a question for you all! What is with the weird monster wolf living so near here?" For a moment every mind in the room went blank with surprise, wondering how in the world Bella managed to discover the Quileute wolves so fast. "Now, how did you find out about them?" Emmett asked surprise in his voice. "I was dancing down by the beach when one tried attacking me." "What do you mean tried?" Carlisle asked. "Exactly that he tried I'm more than a match for him and well, I've been around scarier things than a horse sized wolf."