I was alone again, naturally. Carlisle had spent the night in the ER, and all of my children were at school. This was my least favorite time of the day. Of course, being immortal did affect my outlook on 'time', but normally it moved a little faster when my family was home.

Like always, Carlisle had left a note taped to the bed frame. I ran my finger over his intricate calligraphy, tracing the delicate curls and sweeps of ink across the page. My husband wasn't one for showing off; being magnificent just came effortlessly to him.

My Dearest Esme,

I apologize for staying away from home for so long. I will return home at a quarter after one. I took care of the weeds in the garden, but I left the rest of it to you. I know how you love your tulips.

All my love,


I slid the letter into the nightstand drawer, adding it to the orderly pile of letters that Carlisle did not know I kept. After dressing hastily, in a simple tunic that Alice had bought me, I hurried downstairs. The home was reasonably clean, but I needed to make it magnificent. Alice had seen a guest in our home tomorrow, and it was important to make her feel at home. I had not asked much about her; we all knew everything that there was to know.

Her name was Bella Swan, and she was the only person capable of penetrating Edward's stubborn shield. She was also the only person capable of threatening Edward's self-control, but I did not worry about that. My son underestimated every aspect of himself, and he never gave himself enough recognition. I had never seen my son so blissful, and I was simply elated to hear him laughing with Emmett again.

I had to admit that I was curious. Clearly this Bella was not an average teenager. She had to be something special, something more than regular. What kind of person did it take to be adored by Edward Anthony Masen Cullen? Yes, she must be spectacular.

Three o'clock came quickly. I could hear Rosalie's BMW piercing the freeway before they came within a mile of our home. Seconds later, Alice was leaning over the balcony railing, waving to me giddily.

"The home looks beautiful, Esme," she complimented me, wiping a speck of dust that I had missed off of the stair banister. I ran over to stand next to Alice just as Emmett and Rosalie came strolling in, hand in hand.

"I want the place to look nice," I sighed, running my hand over the freshly-sanded balustrade, "I hope that she likes it." Alice smiled reassuringly, patting my hand consolingly.

"She'll love it," my raven-haired daughter promised, standing up on her tip-toes to kiss my cheek. I patted her hand in return. All there was to do now was wait.