Life of a Salesman
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all. I'm just playing with them.
Summary: Cullen Family Fluff! When a mysterious old man comes to the Cullen family door offering a strange bottle, will the Cullen's know what to do? AU, vampires, then human, then vampires, then…well, you get the idea.
Author's Note: Sorry for the break! I'm working on three (and a half!) stories at once so umm…yeah. Sorry.
Alice would alternate between shivering and sweating. That within itself was odd. vampires didn't sweat. They also didn't have heartbeats. Her pretty china doll pale face began to flush. With that flush, a hint of rose upon her cheeks, came the smell.
Jasper stopped breathing an hour ago. He wasn't about to leave his wife, no matter what. Alice had been in and out of consciousness, if anyone could even call it that, for most of the past two days. As much as the rest of the vampires in the house wanted to deny it, Alice was turning human again and, to Jasper particularly, she smelled sweet. Very sweet. So he stopped breathing. Nothing was more important in Jasper's mind than Alice. If Edward managed to be around Bella each day, then Jasper could be around his Alice. Of course, Edward hadn't been living off of human blood for a century, fighting and killing. Still, Jasper couldn't think of anything that even came close to being as important to him as Alice was. Perhaps the rest of his family but that was it. Human blood that came from the ones he loved so much wasn't something he wanted. Not any more.
Rosalie was downstairs arguing with her father. Carlisle hid the bottle quickly the second he realized what it did. They still weren't sure of all the side effects. Was Alice really turning human or was there something else, something they couldn't fully explain, going on?
"Why aren't you telling me where it is Carlisle?" Rosalie demanded. She was furious. Once again, her family was hurting her. The one thing she wanted more than anything else –to be human- was within Carlisle's power to give back to her and he refused.
"Rosalie, I've already explained. If Alice shows no adverse side effects," Carlisle began slowly, wishing to explain to his daughter how precious she was to him. How each of his children were precious to him. To see his little Alice upstairs so sick was hard for him to take. It was even worse than watching his children go through the change because there was no set timeline. He didn't know if Alice would ever wake up or if it would last only another day. There was no reference for something like this.
"Adverse side effects!" Rosalie scoffed. "She has a beating heart, Carlisle! She's human again," Rose told her father. Couldn't he see it for himself? He was a doctor for crying out loud! Alice may not be conscious –yet- but she was sweating. Her skin was already softer and didn't have the prism cellular shape that vampires had. Edward had placed water to her lips last night and only half conscious, if that, Alice gulped it down greedily. She wasn't a vampire anymore. She could have a child, if she wanted. Her hair could grow. She could change.
"She isn't awake yet, Rose. Until she is awake and I'm able to do a through physical, I do not wish for another one of my children to fall victim to this," Carlisle told her. Rosalie glared, scoffed, threw her hair over her shoulder and stormed out of the room. Emmett was right behind her. He had to calm his wife right now and then he'd go apologize to his sister, again. He'd been in Alice's room five times now, begging her to wake up and apologizing to Jasper. It took everything in Jasper to remember that they had no idea what that substance would do.
Carlisle slumped into the armchair in the living room. His wife, Esme, was quick to his side, placing a supporting hand on his shoulder. Carlisle covered her hand with his own, looking up at his pretty caramel haired beauty. "It's only that it gives her hope," Esme whispered to her husband, trying to explain their middle daughter's behavior. Bella was their youngest and Alice was their oldest in both of their minds.
"I know," Carlisle stated exhaustedly –not that vampires ever really got exhausted. So many times had he questioned his decision to change each one of those children that he changed himself. He even questioned his decision to change Esme but his wife had long ago put to rest any fears he had of her resenting him. He knew that Rosalie loved him as any daughter might love her father but he also feared that she saw him, sometimes, as nothing more than the one that took away each dream, each hope she ever had. Of course, it had been that vile fiancé that had taken all from Rosalie. If he had left her as she was, she would not have been with the family for so many years and given them so much love and her fierce protection.
"I shouldn't have bought that jar," Carlisle told Esme, his voice filled with anguish. Although he was not Alice's creator, he was very much her father. To see his daughter lying upon that bed with only unknowns surrounding her condition was more anguishing than anything else that Carlisle could dream up.
"You didn't know. None of us could have!" Esme said in comfort to her husband. "Even Alice didn't see it," she told him, brushing back his hair. At that, Esme remembered the queer look up on her daughter's face as she descended down the stairs. Rather than the happy little sprite that Esme knew and loved dearly, Alice looked confused and perplexed. Has she seen what would happen? If so, then why did she drink? Did she know what she would turn into? Back into?
Edward slipped past his parents again to fill a glass of water. Bella explained that she remembered water through the filter on the refrigerator tasted better than water strictly from the faucet. He would never want anything but the best for his sister who was lying upstairs in their father's study. He had taken to helping his father tend to Alice as much as possible. Bella helped out and had been staying at the house rather than returning to her house in the woods as well. Considering that no one knew what was happening precisely, they were all worried and trying their best.
Making sure to add three ice cubes to the water bottle he found, he only hoped some part of his sister might be able to instinctually grasp the straw and drink that way. If she did not wake in another day, Carlisle would have to place an IV in her. After that, it would be a feeding tube. Either would be disastrous in a house of vampires, particularly when Jasper refused to leave Alice's side. Edward had seen how black Jasper's eyes were starting to get and how he no longer breathed. Despite the pain, Jasper refused to leave and Edward knew well why. It was the same reason Edward could not leave Bella if it was her lying upon the bed ill. It didn't matter that Bella was his singer when she had been human, the smell of her blood meant nothing to him after that terrible incident where he thought she had died. The thought of loosing her…it was still too painful to even think about. Bella was fine. She was just downstairs with their daughter, Jacob, and Rose. She would be upstairs soon enough to check on Alice for the tenth time today.
Taking the water bottle up this time, Edward took each step measuredly. He knew already that Jasper had heard him and knew who it was. In Jasper's thoughts, he already welcomed his brother. Edward was one of the few he felt no anger toward. "Any change?" Edward asked hopefully as he brought the bottle over to his sister's lips. He had brought glasses of water before but they were messy when Alice accidentally took too much in her half conscious state. She would spit it back out and her shirt would get wet. This might be more effective as a delivery means.
Jasper shook his head, not looking up from the face of his beloved wife. She was still pale but her cheeks were pink with fresh blood flow. Her skin no longer glistened because of the sun but because of the small beads of sweat that lay across her forehead. Her black spiky hair was slicked back with that same sweat and she would mumble in her current state, begging for something that no one could make out. Edward checked in her mind to see if he could see what his sister desired but all he saw was blackness and heard the sounds of screams in the distance. It was a memory that Edward knew well from his sister's head and he didn't want to dwell on it…or for her to dwell on it either.
Slipping the straw between Alice's pink, slightly chapped lips, Edward moved to cradle his sister's head so she could drink from it. It was effortless for him to do so and he did so gladly. He would do anything for the sister that provided him with so much sunlight even in the dreariest of days.
"Thank you," Jasper whispered towards Edward, his voice hoarse since he had not used it much in the past few days and given his currently emotional state. Jasper was trying to keep his emotional turmoil to himself but it was getting harder with each passing minute.
Edward looked up and nodded, still cradling his sister as one might a newborn baby, allowing her to drink down the water he provided her. Watching as the strange little pixie sucked down the contents of the bottle, he noticed her lips. Edward grimaced slightly. Chapped lips were known to break, to bleed. That wouldn't be very good. "I'll see if Alice has any chapstick in her vanity,' Edward told Jasper, remembering all the make-up she had for last year before Bella was turned. He then remembered that Jasper had not left Alice's side –at all- and had been gruff with Rosalie earlier when she offered to help change Alice into a different set of clothes. Jasper stated he didn't want anyone going through Alice's things. "If that would be alright?" Edward added.
Jasper looked up wearily to Edward and gave the slightest hint of a smile. Jasper knew, from the feelings coming off of Edward, it was only for Alice's own safety that Edward wanted to go through Alice's things. His only concern was the same as Jasper's, that of Alice's health. It had been different with Rosalie. Although some part of his blond "twin" wanted to help Alice, she was also jealous of her. How could anyone be jealous of the state his wife currently lay was beyond Jasper's understanding. He told Rosalie that, as long as Alice was still ill, there was little reason to change her and to leave. "That would be fine," Jasper told his brother aloud. Edward nodded back. He'd go and check the many bags of cosmetics Alice had for when she wanted to play beautician with Bella last year. Surely there would be some beeswax or whatever they use now for his sister's lips so they wouldn't bleed. If not, Edward would simply take Bella to the store so she could inform him of what to get. Alice would be taken care of.
A few hours and a stick of chapstick later, artfully applied by Bella, Carlisle came in to check up on his eldest daughter. Jasper knew the routine that Carlisle would go though. He would check her vitals, her temperature, kiss his daughter upon her forehead, and clap his son upon the back, telling Jasper that if he needed anything, to call upon him. The only thing that deviated from this every three hour routine, this time, was Alice.
Carlisle had gone to take his daughter's temperature when Alice's eyes opened. She blinked five times, showing her pretty gray eyes to both her father and her husband. Neither had known what color her eyes were when she was human because Alice had not known. Jasper thought they were the most beautiful things in the world. "Alice?" Carlisle asked his daughter, grabbing for his pin light.
Alice sat up and then jumped back slightly, hugging her knees upon seeing the two blond men looking at her. Where was she? What was she doing here? Where was everyone? A mix of images played in Alice's head as yet a third and fourth individual entered the room. Was the caramel haired woman a nurse? No. The second Alice thought up the question she answered it with one word. Mom. The caramel haired woman was her mother. But that wasn't possible. Mary Alice's mother gave her up. She didn't want her anymore but at the same time, Alice knew that was her mother, just not the same mother as the one had given birth to her.
"Yes, Esme is our mother," the bronze haired boy answered. Edward. Alice knew that name. Esme, the one he called our mother, clasped her hands over her heart and looked as if she could burst of joy. Turning to the blond boy now; Jasper. He was her husband. But how was that possible? Those from the asylum couldn't get married. They made sure you weren't fit for marriage once you left the asylum. They took away any chance you had at having babies. The bronze haired boy's eyes narrowed and then, Alice remembered.
She gasped. Everything over the past nearly hundred years came back to her in a rush. She remembered! She remembered! She remembered her house in Mobile and she remembered when her brother, Emmett, thought it would be funny for them to move to a "small town in Maine". She remembered her sister Cynthia and she remembered when Edward would tease her by changing his mind thirty different times so Alice could never get a handle on what he was to do next. She remembered her birth parents and her adoptive ones. She remembered her creator and her lover. She remembered it all, or, rather as much as her now human brain could handle.
"Alice?" Carlisle asked again, checking her eyes and her pulse at the same time. Her pupils reacted correctly for any human and her pulse was fast but normal.
Turning to the blond haired doctor –correction- her father, Alice looked up at him with big gray eyes and asked, "How long was I out?"
Author's Note: I suppose this chapter could best be summed up as "sad panda". Cute but sad at the same time. I wanted to show how the familial relationships interacted with one another. There will be more of Emmett, Bella, and Rosalie later on, I promise. I'm just trying to set the stage before I get to the fun stuff.