I don't own Twilight. Stephanie Meyer does. Hurray for her.
"I really want you to meet her, Esme." My husband was almost dragging me down the sterile hallways, his stethoscope bouncing quickly against his chest, his hand gently encompassing my own. I don't think I'd ever seen him this passionate about a patient before. What was so special about her?
"Not to be rude, dear, but why, exactly?" I squeezed his hand as he sped up slightly. "Carlisle, please, just stop and explain."
"It's just…" He finally stopped, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He needed it, desperately. In two days, he had spent nearly thirty-five hours at the hospital, and when he was home, he only seemed anxious to get back. When he came to me in our bedroom at six-o-clock this morning, I was hoping for some sort of an explanation, instead I was dragged to the hospital.
"Just tell me what's going on, and I'll willingly jog after you, OK?" He nodded, taking another deep breath. I wrapped my arms around his waist, laying my head against his chest. I could feel his tight muscles, and I encouraged more breathing. "Please tell me."
"Do you remember all those weeks ago, when there was some news coverage of a mental institution in Mississippi?" I nodded. He closed his eyes and put his hands on my shoulder. "Well, we've kept the results of the investigation under wraps, so you have to promise not to go gossiping, OK?"
"Of course, get on with it!" He gave me a slight smile before drawing me in for a hug.
"As it turns out, the practicing psychiatrist was slightly off himself." Another deep breath, another crushing squeeze. "His diagnoses were off. His practices were off. His mind was off. He shouldn't have been given a license."
"What do you mean?" I buried my head in his chest, welcoming his too-tight hug.
"Esme, half the patients shouldn't have even been there. It was…more of a place to make people disappear than an actual healing facility." I could feel the tears building in my eyes. I remembered the institution from the news. It seemed so normal, well, as normal as a mental institution could be. Those poor people.
"His practices?" I asked, squeezing him tighter.
"Electro-convulsive therapy, regardless of the diagnoses. From what we've heard from the patients, it sounds like he derived some sort of pleasure from it." The tears finally spilled from my eyes, dotting his white smock. "The patients were removed from the environment immediately, sent into our medical care, and each one was given a psychoanalysis. Fifty-seven of the eighty-four people seen weren't even medically insane. Some are definitely traumatized, but a lot will recover."
"And the girl you want me to see?" It suddenly clicked. He's been ranting about one of his patients; she must be from the institution.
"She was marked as clinically insane by the psychiatrist and the institution, but passed all of our tests with flying colors." He pulled back, looking me in the eye and smiling lightly. "She's a sweetheart, Esme. Mind you, she doesn't like to be touched all that much, and she seems to shy away from bright rooms, but she's extremely…smiley for someone coming out of such a terrible situation."
"Why am I meeting her?" He looked to the side for a moment, chewing on his bottom lip, before turning back to meet my questioning gaze.
"She has absolutely no records of any family. We've put out missing person reports. We've tried everything. We've gotten no response from anyone. My guess is that she's one of those who weren't really put in the asylum to get better." I could see tears building in his own eyes. "God, Esme, I…I held her hand to take her pulse…and, and she looked at me as if it was the first time she'd ever been touched without being hurt. I talk to her as a person, and it's almost as if she doesn't know how to respond if you're not yelling.
"She's just, so sweet and kind and I can tell in everything she does that she's never gotten the same in return. I can't imagine why someone would just leave her in some sadist's hands.
"She's being put in the state's care, Esme, and I don't want that for her. I want her with us." He took my hands, squeezing them tightly. "I want her with us."
"Let's meet her, then." I wiped at his eyes, marveling at the moisture in them. I'd never seen him cry. He pulled me just around the corner, stopping for a moment before knocking, and slowly pushing open a small, heavy door.
"Alice?" I peeked around his shoulder, catching a glimpse of pale white skin before it barreled into my husband. He laughed, squeezing what appeared to be a small bundle of robes and tubes to his chest. "It's nice to see you, too, Mary Alice."
"Hi, Dr. Cullen." A muffled, lilting voice called from my husband's chest. I couldn't help but smile at the obvious display of affection. I watched as Carlisle pulled the girl back, and I got to take my first good look at Mary Alice. The first thing that struck me was that she was little. She couldn't have been much more than four-and-a-half feet tall. Her little hands swung slightly at her side, and her feet seemed to constantly move. Her hair was short and slightly scraggly looking, curling in to frame the small features of her face. Her nose was small and slightly pointed, lips slightly pouted, but her eyes were her most striking feature at a stunning blue. She was beautiful in her own way; she just needed to be cared for a little. First order of business, haircut.
"Alice, I would like you to meet someone." Her blue eyes traveled slowly to mine, and I could see how nervous she was in the deep blue pools. She only met my gaze for a second before looking down at her feet, smiling shyly. "This is my wife, Esme."
"Hello, Esme." Her voice was small. I could tell meeting new people was hard for her. I put on my most friendly smile, tentatively stretching my hand out to her.
"Hello, Alice." She looked at my hand for a moment before lightly taking it in her own. Her grip was light, but surprisingly strong.
"Umm, Mary Alice." She said, almost in a whisper. Well, calling her 'Alice' must be a privilege you must earn. I couldn't bring myself to take it personally, though. She had been through so much; I could forgive her for not trusting me.
"Has my husband been taking good care of you?" Her eyes lit up at my question, and she seemed to nearly bounce when she answered.
"Oh, yes, of course!" Carlisle smiled at her. I watched as he guided her back to the little bed she had been staying on, untangling her from her IV tube. I giggled quietly when he started to gently scold her for jumping out of bed and getting tangled in the IV tube in the first place. It was cute, honestly. She was cute. He was cute. He threw me a look that very obviously said:
So, can we keep her?
I now have five adopted children. I have five adopted teenagers. Mind you, the fifth was just thirteen, but there was still that ominous 'teen' tagged on to the end. Despite what you'd first think upon hearing that I took on another teenager, I found myself scared not of little Alice's age, but of how my other adoptees would take to her.
I figured Emmet would be the nicest. He'd merely tease, making her uncomfortable at first, but in the long run giving her a more welcome feeling. Rosalie would be a little tougher, but would take to her soon after learning of her penchant for shopping. Edward would be critical at first, but I felt that he and Alice would have an excellent relationship in the long run.
It was really Jasper that I was worried about. Jasper, my fourth adopted child at age fifteen, liked routine. He liked calm. He liked things to stay the same. When I announced to my family that I was bringing another child into the mix, he hadn't said anything. He'd just left the room. I was scared, but I knew this could be good for him. This could be good for him, and for Alice.
I definitely had my doubts about bringing another child home, but I couldn't bring myself to explain them to the girl following me up the steps into the house, dragging her little suitcase behind her. She was nervous enough without me adding onto it.
I had let Carlisle ask her if she would mind living with us, and her reaction surprised us both. She had simply looked him in the eye and told him she knew he was going to ask, and her suitcase was already packed. The nerves had come later, when we told her about our other children.
Now, as I opened the door to find my family waiting on the other side, I knew she was more nervous about meeting them than I had ever seen her before. Her little fingers toyed with the handle of her suitcase, and her eyes studied the wood pattern of our floor. I felt sorry for her, on display in front of my family.
"Welcome home, Alice." Carlisle spoke up, and her shoulders relaxed a tiny bit. "This is my family. Our family."
"Would you like to introduce yourselves?" I asked from behind her. My family nodded, and Emmet quickly stepped forward, a huge grin on his round face.
"Hello, Alice! 'M Emmet!" He held out his hand, and she took a step back, smiling, but nervous.
"Mary Alice, nice to meet you." I could barely hear her voice, even in the quiet of the living room. Poor thing. Edward stepped forward next, a slightly smug expression on his face.
"I'm Edward. It's nice to have you in the family, Mary Alice." He didn't hold out his hand, he just bowed slightly. She seemed to like this form of greeting better, and she smiled at him shyly.
"Hi, I'm Rosalie. You can call me Rose, if you'd like." My only other daughter offered. In classic Rosalie fashion, she didn't even step forward, but she seemed welcoming enough.
All eyes then turned to Jasper. He was standing towards the back of the room, his face set in a stoic expression. He didn't step forward. He didn't offer his hand. He didn't say his name. He simply stared at Alice. I could see her shifting under his scrutiny. I was afraid of this.
I was about to interrupt when Alice surprised every single one of us. She stepped towards Jasper, her feet barely making a sound as she fairly danced over to his spot in the corner. What little sound there was quickly died away and the room was left in complete silence as Alice bravely held out her hand to Jasper.
"I'm Alice." Jasper's eyes grew to the size of saucers, and he seemed completely taken aback for a moment. I found myself holding my breath as I watched him, seemingly without even thinking, reach out to take her hand in return.
"Hello, Alice. I'm Jasper."
A/N-I really hope you like it! Honestly! I write for fun, and this was fun to write. Please leave con crit, it so much appreciated! I love hearing what readers think, what writer doesn't? So review! I make cookies for reviewers.
And I honestly don't know yet if I'm going to make this into a chapter fic. It seems set up to do so, but I'm really terrible and chapter anything. I tend to lose focus at around chapter four, and then people get mad at me. We'll see.
Thanks for reading!