Disclaimer: I don't own Stephenie Meyer's characters.
A/N: I intended this to be a lot more humorous than it turned out. So, I removed the exclamation point from the title. It's just an alternative perspective of the Cullens that came to me as I was brushing my teeth. Enjoy.
The sunrise illuminated the treetops behind our cottage. Beside me, Edward squeezed my hand and in my peripheral vision I could see him giving me a small smile. I returned the gesture, and my beautiful husband put his arm around me. Bliss.
From behind me footfalls came. I turned, and, sure enough, about 100 feet away Renesmee was running towards us, her arms outstretched.
"Mommy!" she shrieked as she jumped into my waiting arms. The force of her moving body sent us careening into a rock formation. Giggling, my daughter and I brushed ourselves off, though for some reason the back of my head throbbed where I had smacked it against the rocks. Edward walked over to where we were laying on the ground and picked up Nessie, amusedly smirking at her.
"Is there any reason you came over to see us, darling?" he asked her sweetly, though there was a glint of something in his eyes that I couldn't discern; it almost looked like malice. I quickly brushed it off.
"Yes, Daddy," Nessie intoned pleasantly. A beat passed.
"And what would that be?"
"Well," Renesmee began, plucking the petals off of a daisy, "There are some men at the house."
Alarmed, Edward's eyes immediately
narrowed at this. He took our daughter by the shoulders.
"What kind of men?"
Renesmee shrugged. "Men with uniforms."
Before I could say anything, Edward was off like a flash toward the main house. Renesmee and I followed, but I couldn't help but feel a small cramp in my side as I sprinted.
We trailed Edward to the front of the Cullen mansion. To my horror, there were several police cars situated on the drive, and two officers were leading a handcuffed Rosalie to a squad car. I could see from where I was that Jasper was already in the car, ashamedly looking out the window at me.
I picked up Nessie and hurried over to one of the officers- Officer Frank Callahan, I knew. "Officer Callahan," I said, as he turned to me, his mouth quickly forming an o, "What's going on?"
Immediately, Callahan grabbed my wrist and pulled me into one of the cars. I was holding my daughter on my hip, so she was dragged along with me. "I have the Swan girl," he kept repeating into his handheld radio, "I have her and the daughter."
I tried to rip my arm out of Callahan's like I knew I could, but for some reason, I was unable to. I struggled and clawed at his burly biceps, but he wouldn't let go. Nessie just clung to my neck.
Officer Callahan shoved me into the back of a squad car a little rougher than was necessary, locked the doors, got into the driver's seat, and drove away from my home.
"Hey!" I yelled, trying to force the door open. No such luck. I tried to break the window with my fists and elbows, but they wouldn't so much as scratch!
Defeated, I turned to the man driving the car.
"What are you doing!" I asked him loudly. Nessie cowered at my side. I thought briefly about giving Callahan a quick punch to the neck through the grille that separated us somehow, but I didn't want to take the chance of hurting Nessie or myself in the resulting car crash. Also, if I couldn't break the window, I probably couldn't break through the metal partition. So I stayed stationary.
When we got onto the main road, Callahan finally spoke. "Everything will be explained when we get to the station, Miss Swan."
This frustrated me. "I'm not Miss Swan, anymore, Mr. Callahan. I'm Mrs. Cullen. You should remember this- I remember writing your address on an envelope with a wedding announcement in it."
I received only silence from him. Sighing darkly, I looped my arm around poor Nessie's shoulders and turned my head to look out the back window. Behind us, several police cars followed, sirens off, in a somber parade. I could see Edward in the car directly following ours. I squinted. He was holding his face in his cuffed hands.
We didn't stop in the Forks station, and it was then my heart sank- we were going to the one in Port Angeles. The prison with the high-security cells. The prison with the electric chair.
When we finally arrived at the jail, Officer Callahan opened my door and, gentler than before, helped me out. I coldly took his hand and tried to break it with a squeeze. No success there.
Nessie and I were taken to a large door near the entrance to the jail. Callahan punched a code into a keypad by what looked like a very heavy door.
We were lead into a smallish room, and another officer immediately took Nessie from me. I gave a cry of protest, but it went unheeded. The officer holding my daughter didn't leave the room, but walked over to a corner and sat Nessie down onto a stool.
Angry, I looked into the center of the room and saw a strange scene: my father, in full police garb, and my mother sitting at a metal table. From the black streaks running down her cheeks and her red eyes, it appeared that my mother had been crying.
"Bella," my father stood up and it looked like he was going to hug me. But, a female wearing a red pantsuit put her hand on his shoulder. "Not now, Charlie." He sat down again.
"Could someone please tell me what is going on!" I shouted, my anger spilling out. "Why was my family arrested? Why are we at the Port Angeles maximum security prison! And who in God's name are you!" I directed this comment at the pantsuit woman, whose hand was still on Charlie's shoulder.
She walked over to me slowly and gestured for me to sit down. I did so, albeit loudly, scraping the chair loudly against the floor.
The pantsuit woman cleared her throat. "My name is Dr. Philomena Seward. I am a clinical psychologist, and I specialize in the deprogramming of former cult members."
"That's very nice," I intoned through gritted teeth, "But what does that have to do with me?"
Dr. Seward cleared her throat again. "Well, Isabella, there's no easy way to say this, but… the family you've been living with for months? The Cullens? They're a cult."
I lost it.
"What! Are you insane? The Cullens aren't a cult, they're-, I'm-" I sputtered, standing up. The psychologist did the same.
"Vampires?" she offered.
I gaped. "How do you know!"
She suddenly grabbed my hand. "Oh, Bella," she said sadly, "The Cullens aren't really vampires, and I must say, neither are you."
I ripped my hand from her grasp.
"I am," I said stiffly, "Just look at me! I even look different! More beautiful than before, and none of you can deny this!" My glance darted to my parents, and I locked eyes with my mother. She promptly began to sob.
"Bella," Dr. Seward shook her head, "Please take a seat again. There is a lot of information I need to relay to you."
I complied grudgingly.
"Well," she said, "It all started ten years ago-"
"Wait," I interrupted, "Are you telling me that Carlisle Cullen, the most gentle and sweet man in the world, is a cult leader akin to Jim Jones or L. Ron Hubbard?"
"No," Dr. Seward said, "I'm telling you that Esme Cullen is a cult leader akin to Jim Jones or L. Ron Hubbard. And like I said, it all started ten years ago…"
In 1998, a Los Angeles movie make-up artist named Linda Anne Parker became obsessed with vampire culture and the like- we're talking Anne Rice novels, Daracula, you name it. Linda- who was 26 at the time- became slowly convinced she was a vampire, and began to go by a "vampire-y" sounding nickname: Esme Cullen. Over time, she starting wearing more and more of her makeup, and this altered her appearance from an average-looking woman to a hauntingly lovely one.
Parker realized that if she wanted to grow her own "coven" she would need accomplices. Her first accomplice, or victim -it depends on which way you look at it- was a young aspiring actress with the name of Jennifer Rose Hale. Miss Hale was unlucky in finding acting jobs because though she was very pretty, she had no discernable talent for entertainment. Disillusioned, Miss Hale was drinking heavily one night when Miss Parker approached her and told her that about her plan to start a coven. Hale agreed and took the "glamorous-sounding" name Rosalie.
Miss Parker's doctor was next- Dr. Jonathan Carroll, better known as Carlisle Cullen. He was the one that provided the pharmaceuticals the "coven" members used to believe they had special "powers." In 2000, Parker and Carroll married, and legally changed their names to Esme and Carlisle Cullen.
In 2001, a lumberjack with an anger problem was recruited by the lovely Miss Hale- Mr. Roland McCarty; known to you as Emmett Cullen. Soon after, Miss Hale and Mr. McCarty married and changed their names to their monikers. All along, they were being fed a steady diet of drugs with their meals.
Later, Mary Alice Brandon- alias Alice Cullen, and her "sensitive" boyfriend, Jasper Whitlock- alias Jasper Hale- were indoctrinated at the same time.
Finally, Kyle Anthony Mason, an old boyfriend of "Rosalie Hale's" was contacted, because Miss Hale thought that he was good-looking and "stupid" enough to round out their coven. He was intercepted after a modeling shoot, drugged, and taught that he was a vampire named Edward Anthony Mason Cullen.
Each of these poor victims was given elaborate back stories to explain how they got turned into a vampire, etc. Though to the outside world they were "the Cullens," Esme and Carlisle referred to their cult group as the "Giaour Vampires."
I brusquely interrupted Dr. Seward's story. "And where to I come in?"
Dr. Seward gave me an admonishing glance. "I was just getting to that part."
In the summer before you began at the Forks High School, the Cullens, who were living in a compound near Colorado Springs, Colorado, were being suspected of abnormal activities by the townspeople- something to do with the increased number of dead animals and even people in the area. The Gaiour Vampires consequently fled to an abandoned mansion which used to belong to billionaire Mark Francis near the Quileute Indian reservation.
The deranged "Esme Cullen" didn't want her coven to be alone in her fantasies any longer. She also knew that the Quileute tribe was falling apart from the inside out, and one day, began sending tainted candy baskets to the tribe, full of rich Switzerland chocolate that was laced with the same drug that kept her "coven" under her power. Once all the Quileutes were drugged, "Esme and Carlisle" traveled over there and brainwashed them into believing some of them were monstrous werewolves, the vampires or "cold ones" were their moral enemies, etc. "Esme and Carlisle" continued sending them the baskets once a week for the rest of the summer.
Then you moved to town, Bella. "Edward" saw you in class and developed an adolescent crush on you immediately. He began to do little things to you that you'd never notice- he slipped drugs into your food at lunchtime and then make it look like he saved you from being crushed by a car, for example. As you began to feel attracted to him as well- he is a model, after all- he fed you more and more drugs. "Esme" gave him permission to tell you about their "vampirehood."
My eyes filled with tears. My Edward- my husband, protector, best friend- was really some punk model who manipulated and drugged me into thinking he was a vampire?
I felt so betrayed and ashamed.
As you two began to get more serious as a couple, the Cullen/Hale "coven" coupled with the Quileute clan took more and more delight in making you believe these things. The "werewolves" and the "vampires" staged physical fights and verbal conflicts, and they even hired a large band of Italian actors to pose as the "Volturi."
You were given drugs when there were one-on-one combats, such as James and Edward's in Arizona, but "Esme" realized that she could never get the actors to fight with them. So, she had everyone pretend that your "shielding powers" stopped any physical fighting.
Dr. Seward stopped talking a moment and grabbed my hand. I didn't respond. "I'm so sorry you had to hear this like this, Bella. All I really have left to say is that obviously, you and Kyle Anthony Mason AKA "Edward Cullen's" daughter is not really half-vampire, but 100% a normal toddler, and that you are as human as the day is long."
"But-" My voice broke. "I- I was so beautiful as a vampire. I saw it."
Dr. Seward produced a compact mirror from her pocket. "Look into this mirror, sweetheart. The air in this room acts directly as an antidote to the drug the Cullens have been force-feeding you, while having no affect whatsoever on us."
I breathed deeply and opened the compact. Staring back at me was my almost-forgotten usual dark hair, pale skin, chocolate brown eyes, and too-full-for-my-face lips.
I closed the compact sharply and looked immediately over at Renesmee. My toddler was happily blowing spit bubbles as an officer shook a rattle at her. Nessie was still a cute kid, but not nearly as beautiful as before; she simply looked like any other pretty toddler, nothing especially special. I looked away.
"I- I kind of get it now," I said slowly, tears running softly down my face, "I understand now why Ed- Kyle forced me to marry him before turning me into a 'vampire'."
I closed my eyes, and soon felt a hand on my shoulder. I was about to shake it off when I realized that it was my mother's. Renee rubbed my shoulder blade gently. "It's okay, sweetheart. We were all fooled by the act."
Charlie spoke up. "Yeah," he said gruffly, "Their buckets of makeup helped. I always thought they did look a little unnatural."
My head shot up suddenly. "What about the strange deaths that have happened in the past year?" I asked, "Who was responsible for them, if there are no vampires?" It killed me to speak this last part.
Dr. Seward inhaled. "It was Miss Parker. She was the one who orchestrated and executed the murders, along with her husband. And before you ask, James, Victoria, and Laurent were all professional stuntmen that Parker knew from her Hollywood days. As you know, they were all pretty good actors, too."
My anger was suddenly diverted. My wrist had actually been broken, my heart shattered by Kyle/Edward on several occasions, and all for some stupid fantasy by a woman I loved as a mother.
"I have one more question," I said, "What is going to happen to the others? Though they did some terrible things, it really wasn't their fault; they were being drugged, like me."
Dr. Philomena Seward looked at me sadly. "They are being deprogrammed as we speak- though it will be extremely difficult, due to the high amounts of psychotropic hallucinogen they have consumed, it will happen in time. However, they have all lost a few years off of their lives they can never return, and will suffer psychological afteraffects most definitely. They will have to readjust to being mainly average in almost all respects, and this will certainly lead to depression. Also, this will go on their permanent police files. Unfortunately, it'll be pretty difficult for any of them to get or hold a job. They've just been through too much."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. These people's lives were ruined, and I had escaped only with a broken heart and dashed hopes.
I stood up sharply. "I need to go see Es- Miss Parker." And before anyone could stop me, I was out the door and down the hallway.
I moved briskly, for I knew exactly where I was going. The "confession" rooms where always to the far left of police stations. I peered through the small, square windows of each one, seeing a mix of my former family and various criminals, until I finally saw Esme's sneering little face. Using the code I had seen Officer Callahan "covertly" punch into the other room, I burst in. The attending officer looked quizzically at me as he stood up, but recognition flooded his face and he stood aside.
It was just me and Esme.
"Hello, Bella," she said false-kindly, her voice dripping with sarcasm, "Are you going to bite my neck now?"
I clenched my fists. She noticed the gesture.
"Mad at me, Bella? It doesn't matter. I'm insane. I'm clinically and legally insane!" she shrieked. Then, to my utmost revulsion, the woman I had thought was my second mother began to cackle, like a witch in a fairy tale gone wrong.
I moved over to her and poised my hand like I was going to slap her. Esme stopped laughing slightly and wiped tears from her eyes. "Going to slap me, dear? I'm sure I deserve it. I essentially tricked you into thinking an underwear model was a vampire who loved the smell of your blood! Go on. Just get it out of your system." Esme obediently closed her eyes and braced her face for a slap.
I balled my hand into a fist and obliged her.
Two months later
The spring air was crisp and seemed to make everything sharper on the University of Virginia campus. I breathed it in deeply as I strode out of my Calculus II class.
I headed for the parking lot to go pick Nessie up from the great day-care she went to when I was attending classes. She loved being with other kids her age, just being a little princess or playing house with them. I felt closer to her than ever before.
A notice stapled to a pole caught my eye.
'Do you like vampires?' it said in big, bold, red calligraphy.
I walked over to it and ripped it off to read.
'Enjoy vampire culture? Want to learn more about these undead figures of the night? Then come to UVA's first vampire club meeting. Held in the student commons Tuesday, April 6.' There was small illustration of the vampire Lestat on the bottom.
I let the paper go, and it fluttered in the breeze toward the dumpsters.
"Stupid vampires," I muttered to myself, unlocking my car.
A/N: All types of reviews welcome, flames included. And Lord knows there'll be a lot of those…