NOTE: The names of the characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just changed them a bit. This story came from a nightmare I had, so Bella sounds sort of like me. This is my first time writing anything I'm sharing with the world. I've done a bit of research on some things and will continue to do so as/if the need arises. I hope you like it!
A Different World
Chapter 1: Traveling
Monday morning; Forks, Washington; the middle of January. I am not a morning person, and definitely not on Monday morning. That particular morning I had plans to go to Cottage Lake; a suburb just outside Seattle with my mother Renee', my brother Marcus, and his two sons, Justin and Jonathan. We were all living in my mom's modest two story house which is quite chaotic at times, but it's alright, I could handle chaos.
"Are you ready yet, Jonathan?" I prodded my youngest nephew from the bottom of the stairs. "Your appointment is at 10:00 and everybody else has already eaten! Hurry up!"
"I'm almost ready, Aunt Bella!" he shouted to me down the stairs. It was a miracle that Renee was ready. She took forever just to get ready to go to the grocery store; I figured she was just as anxious about this appointment as the rest of us.
I was 21 and had just moved back home from the University of Oregon in December, graduating with a BA in Art History. I made extravagant plans to attend grad school the following year. Meanwhile, I took a year off to help my brother and mom with my nephews. I missed them all so much. Marcus lost his wife in a horrible car accident earlier that year. After the death, my brother sank into a deep depression and was hopeless to his boys. My mother went to visit them one weekend three months after his wife died and found their living conditions appalling – no food in the house except sugar and salt laden snacks and the house looked like it hadn't been cleaned thoroughly since his wife was alive. My mother insisted – rather demanded – that they all move in with her until Marcus was more equipped to care for his boys.
When their mother died, Justin was 11 and Jonathan was 8. Justin was always a very active kid, heavy into sports and loved physical activity. When he came home from school he did his homework and whatever we chores we asked of him, and when he finished we wouldn't see him until the streetlights came on and dinner was on the table. He kept his cell phone with him so we could call and check on him and make sure he was alright, and he was. He was almost always at the neighbor boy's house or just down the street at the community park. When Jonathan was born the doctors informed us that there was a problem with his heart; he was on medication from the day he was born. Within the past couple months of the year, his medication either stopped working or caused him to have fainting spells. It hurt my heart to see him having such trouble; he was never able to run and jump around like other boys his age and to add fainting spells on top of everything else I am sure made him feel like quite the outcast. Marcus and Renee' were always on my case for babying him too much; I couldn't help it… He was my 'baby'.
"Dammit! Why does Cottage Lake have to be so fucking far away?" Marcus asked rhetorically.
I just laughed. He was lucky our appointment wasn't any earlier than 10:00. If we didn't get a move on we would definitely be late. Cottage Lake is four hours away from Forks, so I was happy to get everyone out of the house at 5:00, concerned about rush hour and winter road conditions as we approached the city. What did they do when I was away at the University? I couldn't imagine how they functioned since they relied on me to be the mother hen since I arrived. I performed almost all the cooking and did most of the housework, but I let them fend for themselves when it came to their bedrooms and laundry.
I insisted on driving, I cannot relax when anyone else is driving. I had been in too many car accidents where other people were behind the wheel, I've never been in an accident when I was driving. We had to go through the city so I would definitely be more relaxed if it was my responsibility.
Traffic was pretty good for a Monday Morning and I was pleased as I reached the middle of Seattle when all of a sudden cars started slipping on ice and veering left and right. I tried to peer through the falling snow at several figures I saw standing about ½ a mile away, and I was instantly frightened. I placed my foot back on the gas pedal, ready to floor it to get through the awful mess, thinking to myself: you can do this! Everything will be fine… keep driving. As soon as I had that thought and my foot touched the pedal, I was paralyzed by a man in a long, heavy, down-filled coat banging on my window. Another man approached the other side, held a shotgun up to our old car, and told us to get out.
"What's going on here?" Marcus demanded.
"Everyone out of the car!" the man on Renee's side of the car shouted.
"Just do as they say," Marcus told us. We quickly got out of the vehicle and stood next to Marcus.
Thankfully we were under a freeway overpass which blocked some of the wind. It was 8:00, I had a fleeting question in my mind as to why Seattle so quiet at this hour on a Monday morning, but that question was quickly thrown out as I stood by Marcus, Renee and the boys in front of the man with the shotgun.
The man handed us off to a group of seven men with guns standing in front of a large group of people who were presumably pulled out of their cars as well. We were all backed up against the wall of the overpass.
"Daddy, what's going on?" Justin asked his father.
"I'm not sure, son. Stay close." He tried to reassure him. I stood next to Jonathan with my arm around him. To my right was Renee'.
"Are they planning on killing us? Why?" I whispered into Renee's ear. She just looked at me and did not say a word. I thought she was about to cry. We stood there against that wall for another ten minutes when one of the men shouted, "Is that highway blocked off now? We don't have all day!"
"Yes, Sir!" a very young boy replied. He looked not much older than Justin, who just turned 11 on December 20th. We were filed up the on ramp of the express way on the other side of the over pass and led to a huge old brick building across the service drive. No one spoke a word. We entered the building from a basement door that faced the service drive. Once inside, I was instantly reminded of the basement of the old elementary school I attended back in Forks as a kid. Thankfully the temperature was warmer in the building than on the street but I am certain all of us in that group felt cold from the vibes they were getting in this place. Everyone stood in this long dark hallway for about a half hour before the line started moving. As me and my family got closer, I noticed children were being separated from the adults and I panicked instantly. The children were being led to an oddly bright yellow room and were told to stand facing against the wall as their parents were tearfully pried away from them and pushed out another door. There had to be 30 kids in this room and I could feel my heart racing and wondered if Jonathan's was going to be ok. When it was our turn to enter the room I stood right by our boys and held onto them for dear life. There was no way in hell I was about to be separated from them. When the men in the room dressed in military fatigues threatened our group of parents, telling them to leave, I didn't make a sound but kneeled facing the wall in between Jonathan and Justin crying my eyes out. I saw through my tears that Renee' and Marcus were pushed out of the room like the rest of the parents. My brother looked at me as I kneeled beside his boys and I had a feeling I would see him soon, but I wasn't sure about seeing Renee again. I was terrified. As my cries became louder, one of the men approached me.
"You must leave with the rest of the adults! On your feet…. NOW!" he screamed at me. I didn't stand up, but turned my tear-stained, reddened, face to look at him and said, "I cannot leave them! This one," holding Jonathan in my arms, "has a heart condition! We were on our way to take him to a specialist in Cottage Lake! He is about to run out of his medication and will most likely need a new prescription. You can't make me leave him!" I pleaded with the man. He sighed and called a heavyset woman over to where we were. This woman did not look friendly at all despite her appearance. She was dressed in jeans and a button up plaid shirt. "Go ahead and take these three to your office."
The heavyset woman did not tell us her name, but led us to a large room, devoid of people, and looked like a day care play room. The boys sat down on a brightly colored rug in the middle of the room while the woman whipped out a clipboard which seemed to come out of nowhere and began asking me questions about Jonathan's health. I reiterated our plans for the morning and gave her as much information as I knew about Jonathan. She asked about Justin's health and I told her he was as healthy as a horse to my knowledge. "All right, wait here." She told us quite plainly. She picked up a walkie talkie and I strained my ears to hear what she was saying. After a few minutes the boys relaxed and began leafing through books on the short shelves near the round rugs they were sitting on. Oh to be a child and be so innocent, I thought as I looked at them lovingly. Then my thoughts turned to my mother and Marcus. Where were they taken? Just what the hell is going on here? Someone better give me some answers. As soon as I finished that thought, a short, spiky-haired, smiling woman bounced through the door
"Hi! I'm Alice!" she beamed at the three of us. Finally a friendly face, but it seemed very odd and she caught me off guard.
"Umm… Hello." I murmured.
"What's your name?" She asked.
"Isabella Swan." I stated simply.
"And your boys-they're so handsome!" She exclaimed.
"They are my nephews. Justin," I patted his back, "and Jonathan."
"Aww, they're so sweet!" I wondered how she could tell; they hadn't spoken a word to her and barely looked at her. "Come with me, we're gonna have so much fun!" I nearly glared at her. This place was getting more bizarre the longer I stayed. Strangely enough, I felt kind of comfortable around this 'Alice' woman and was relieved to be around someone who wasn't scaring the crap out of me and the boys. I decided that I would ask her about what the fuck was going on here after we got to where she was leading us. By the time we got out into the hall, all the people were gone.
"Where did everyone go?" I asked.
"Oh it'll be ok. They're fine." She waved her hand in the air.
She seemed to be so nonchalant; these assholes were basically kidnapping carfuls of people on the highway! Was Alice nuts? I began to wonder. We took an elevator to the 6th floor of the building and were lead to a room with six or seven beds, a television with a DVD player hooked up to it, toys for children, and a wall with four book cases, completely full. "Wait here," Alice told us. The boys sat down next to me and we all cried, wondering what happened to Renee and Marcus. After an hour or so, the boys fell asleep after being awake at 4:00 this morning. Seeing them sleeping so peacefully, I drifted off involuntarily and was awoken with a knock upon the door. I didn't move a muscle, wondering what was in store for us now. A man with short, curly blond hair came in the room and asked, "Are you hungry?" I nudged the boys awake and asked them if they would like something to eat. Both boys groggily nodded their heads. "Yes," I told the man, "Thank you very much."
"I'm Jasper, by the way,"
"Bella," I replied, stroking Jonathan's hair.
I inspected and divided the food he brought us: three turkey lunchmeat sandwiches, 3 bags of chips, a can of soda, 2 juice boxes, an apple, an orange, and a banana. I really didn't feel like eating anything as my nerves were still fried from being abducted earlier, and losing my mom and Marcus. The man named Jasper left us, and the boys began devouring their lunch. After they finished eating, they found a puzzle that interested them and they began assembling it on the white tile floor while I leafed through a book and waited… for what, I wasn't quite sure.
Time just seemed to drag on that first afternoon; I still had no answers as to what was the deal behind abducting all these people. There was a huge bay window behind the beds and I spent a lot of time looking outside. I didn't see any people out the window at all. Where were they? Someone was going to have to tell me something soon.
Around 5:00, I peered through the window on the door to our room just as a tall blond woman knocked on our door. She did not wait for permission to enter as Jasper did, but brusquely opened the door. I had a fleeting thought about why the people around here bothered to knock, they seemed to be able to come and go as they pleased, we were locked in this room.
"You're Bella?" She damn near demanded of me.
"Um... yes," I stated, it almost sounded like a question, and I kicked myself for being intimidated by her.
"Which one of the boys requires medical attention?" She sighed.
"Umm... Jonathan," I mumbled. Oh Christ! I did it again... What was with this woman? I was determined not to let her mess with me anymore.
"I received some paperwork from Theresa, the woman you spoke with down stairs. The paperwork says that Jonathan has a heart condition and that you were passing through Seattle to Cottage Lake to take him to a doctor's appointment because his symptoms have gotten worse. Is that information correct?"
"Yes, Dr. Snow."
"Alright," she sighed again. "Dr. Carlisle Cullen will be with you shortly."
"Fine," I blurted out. I started to demand some answers from the blond woman, but her overall demeanor suggested that if I were to ask anything about what was going on there would be some kind of confrontation. I wasn't willing to subject the boys to a heated argument after all they had been through that day.
Dr. Cullen came in shortly after the blond woman left. "I apologize for Rosalie's behavior. She doesn't think you've been here long enough to be allowed on the Sixth Floor. New citizens normally stay on the Fifth Floor until they've been acclimated to this new lifestyle. But, I spoke with my son and both of us agreed that you needed to be seen by me, instead of the doctors on the Fifth Floor. Rosalie mentioned you had an appointment with Dr. Snow at 10:00 this morning in Cottage Lake, he is a colleague of mine and has been helping me out on the Fifth Floor for quite some time; However, I am afraid he would not be able to do much for Jonathan-"
"What do you mean?" I interrupted the doctor.
"Dr. Snow is a well trained physician and has some experience treating a variety of heart conditions, but after I reviewed your nephew's information, I believe his heart condition has been misdiagnosed, if it was ever correctly diagnosed in the beginning."
My curiosity was sparked. "How can you tell without even examining him first?"
"I can't tell for certain of course until I run the necessary tests, but from what I read here," he explained, pointing to the form Theresa filled out, "these symptoms point more towards Long QT Syndrome. I'd like your permission to treat him."
"Well, since I'm not his parent, I can't very well give you permission to treat him, now can I?" I surprised myself at the way I was talking to this doctor who seemed to want to help us. "We were not alone coming into the city. My mother and brother were separated from us. I thank God that I was allowed to stay with the boys. I'll give my consent for treatment of Jonathan, but in return I want you to locate my brother and mother," I was preying on his curiosity of Jonathan's case and hoped I had found some leverage in our situation.
"Unfortunately, that is out of my control, but I do think it's highly important that Jonathan be tested so we know exactly what is going on and we can begin to treat it." He moved closer to me so that the children couldn't hear him speak, "If he does indeed have Long QT Syndrome, it's important that we get the diagnosis as soon as possible, if it goes untreated he may die," Dr. Cullen whispered. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
I groaned as he walked out the room. I knew how long doctors could take when they said, "I'll return in a second." How long would a few minutes take? I held Jonathan to my breast. "Are you ok, baby?"
"I'm fine, Auntie Bella," he replied. "Just a little tired. I've got a headache, too. Where's Daddy and Grammy?"
"I wish I could tell you, honey. But we're going to figure out where they are and we'll all be together soon, and then we'll get out of here. Why don't you go over there with Justin? He's got Legos!" I tried to sound excited as I placed my hand on his back to urge him forward.
"Ok," he mumbled.