This is the FGB auction winner for the LL outtake. Meikela won this baby and wanted to see the story of Edward's adoption, mainly the scene of Edward playing the piano for the first time. I hope I did it justice, girl! Thanks again for bidding on me!
"So, I hear you two are trying to adopt. That's wonderful news!"
I smiled across the table at my friend, "Yeah, Henry, we just started the process with the agency last week. My beautiful wife and I are very much looking forward to starting our family."
I wrapped my arm around Esme and gave her a little squeeze as she laughed softly, "Finally! I can't wait to hold our little baby in my arms. As you know, I come from quite a large family so I want lots of children some day. Then I can have lots if little grand children running around and…"
Henry laughed, "Sounds like she has it all planned out there, Carlisle."
I smiled over at my stunning wife, "Sounds like a good plan to me." She smiled back at me, her eyes so full of love that it simply took my breath away.
We chatted for a bit longer until Henry was eventually walking us out through the rec room, "Carlisle, Esme…it's been so good seeing you today. Thank you for taking the time to come have lunch with me, it's so difficult leaving here for lunch…you just never know when one of the children might need me."
"It's really no problem, Henry…we'll be sure to come back again soon, won't we, dear…" I turned to Esme but she wasn't standing there. I looked up and saw her slowly walking towards a small boy, staring out the window as if he were seeing the world outside for the very first time. His lips were barely moving as he hummed lazily, seemingly oblivious to everything around him except for whatever he gazed at from the windowsill.
He was a tiny little thing, so pale that I wondered if he had actually been outside before, his hair was all over the place as brilliant shades of red and bronze glimmered in the sunlight...but what I noticed first, was his eyes. Bright green eyes that reminded me of my father's eyes…unfortunately, I had inherited my mother's hazel ones.
Esme crept slowly, seemingly transfixed by the small boy. He eventually noticed that she was coming closer and quickly tightened the grip he had on his knees that were pulled closely to his chest. He began rocking back and forth so she abruptly stopped. She looked over at me as she took a deep breath.
I smiled because I knew by the look in her eye that if it were at all possible, this boy would be coming home with us. I nodded and she beamed brilliantly. She turned back to the boy who continued humming. I couldn't figure out where I had heard that tune before…
Then she began singing softly, "Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff…"
The boy stopped rocking and peeked up at her. His eyes were wide, filled with fear and curiosity and longing…so many emotions brewing like a thunderstorm behind those eyes.
She kept singing very softly as she slowly got down on her knees and folded her hands in her lap. His head tilted slightly and his brows furrowed a bit as he studied her inquisitively.
She smiled and softly spoke, "I love that song…I used to sing it all the time when I was a little girl…I just love Winnie the Pooh…"
I barely heard him as he asked, "Why?"
She kept very still as she spoke up at him, "Well, I guess it's because I grew up with it. My mom used to read it to me all the time and I just adored Eeyore. He was always so gloomy…I just wanted to give him hugs all day long so he would feel better. Why do you like Winnie the Pooh?"
He looked back out the window and sighed, "Um…well…I guess it's because…in the story, the 100 Acre Woods is imaginary and Pooh and all his friends aren't real. Christopher Robin just has such an incredible imagination that he's able to have adventures with his toys that seemed intrinsically real to him. I always thought it would be nice to have an imagination that good. Not that I had any toys when I was a child but still…"
I heard Henry whisper, "I've never heard him speak that much before…"
I whispered, "He seems to be a very bright young boy…"
Henry nodded, "He is…"
The boy relaxed his arms around his legs and Esme smiled, "That's fascinating, dear…who is your favorite character?"
Now a slight pink blush covered his cheeks and a soft somewhat crooked smile came to his lips, "Um…Tigger…"
Esme laughed softly, "Well now, Tigger is quite a character…"
He nodded and blushed a little deeper, "Yes, he is…he's…funny and exciting and he thinks he's the coolest thing in the 100 Acre Woods…I think he's the coolest thing too…I wish I had his confidence…"
Esme brought her hand up over her heart and whispered, "Darling, you're the most amazing little boy I've ever seen…"
He, once again, tightened his grip around his legs and looked back out the window, "No…I'm…um…I'm n-not good…I'm bad…"
She shook her head, "No, sweetheart…you're an absolute angel…"
His head whipped up and he stared at her with such a curious expression, "Do you…um…do you believe in…um…angels?"
She nodded, "I do. Do you?"
His eyes tightened and he gazed back outside the window, "I used to…"
She looked back at me again with sad but hopeful eyes and once again, I simply nodded. She nodded back, our message clear with one simple look…we have to try and help this boy…
I started to walk over when I saw him pull himself close again, rocking and whispering.
I stopped as Henry held his arm out in front of me, "He's very afraid of men…"
I swallowed the lump in my throat and took a step back. Esme looked up at the boy, "It's okay, honey…he's my husband…his name is Carlisle. My name is Esme…you have nothing to be afraid of."
Henry took a step forward and the boy's eyes flashed to him, "Edward? It's me…Dr. Parker. You know that you're safe here…"
The boy's eyes whipped around the room as if he were following something that we couldn't see.
He shook his head and clamped his hands over his ears as his eyes squeezed shut. Esme's frantic eyes searched mine and I didn't know what to do…the sound of thunder rang in my ears as the building slightly shook from the lightening that crashed outside. Chicago weather was funny like that…it could be beautiful one second and storming the next.
The boy…Edward, stopped rocking and lowered his hands. His eyes opened wide as he stared out the window in awe. His hand slowly crept up until it was lying palm down on the glass window. Gently he rose onto his knees and pressed his other palm to the window as well. Then he closed his eyes and laid his cheek against the pane.
Henry walked slowly over to him, "Edward? Would you like to go outside?"
Edward's eyes flashed open and he nodded with more energy than I had seen from him before.
Henry smiled, "Nurse McClendon, can you please escort Edward outside in the court yard for a few minutes?"
The nurse nodded and smiled as Edward jumped up and quickly followed her.
Esme got up and walked over to us, "Henry, are you really letting him go outside during this storm?"
Henry nodded, "Yes, Esme…he's completely safe, I assure you…he really loves thunderstorms. It's one of the only things that can calm him down naturally…"
I spoke up now, "Do you know why he likes thunderstorms?"
Henry sighed, "Unfortunately, I don't…he won't tell me."
Esme grabbed my hand and looked up at me, "Honey…we're on the same page, right?"
I smiled down at my beautiful wife, "Yes, darling…same page."
She threw her arms around me and laughed, "I love you so much, Carlisle…"
I hugged her back and smiled, "I love you too, my sweet Esmeralda…"
"Henry, we want to adopt Edward…"
Henry furrowed his brows and took a deep breath, "Esme…Edward would require a lot of attention if he were adopted…so much attention that it might be difficult trying to raise multiple children in the household…he's also eight years old…I know that you said you wanted a baby…"
Esme shook her head, "I was wrong…he needs me…us, Henry…that beautiful little boy is so lost right now…we'll do whatever it takes…"
Henry gave a soft, somewhat forced, smile, "Go downstairs and talk with Dr. Morris…she's in charge of all adoptions here. Once you've inquired about him, let her know that I would like to go over his history with you and then I'll discuss his past and treatment with you before you make any decisions."
I nodded, "Thank you, Henry."
We raced down the stairs and Esme stopped when she saw Edward outside the doors…the nurse was standing off to the side of him holding an umbrella as he dropped to his knees in the thick mud and turned his face up to the sky. He smiled softly as his eyes shut.
I heard Esme's breathing catch and before I knew it, she was walking out the door.
I stayed back underneath the awning as she walked straight out into the storm, fearless.
Slowly she came to Edward and crouched down. His eyes opened and he looked at her with questioning eyes. She smiled, "Hello, sweetheart…I'm Esme, do you remember me?"
He nodded slowly and looked back at the nurse. She smiled, "Go ahead, Edward…just like we've practiced."
Little by little, his hand extended to Esme and he looked at the ground as he spoke, "Hello, ma'am…my n-name…is um…Edward M-masen…and um…it's a pleasure to meet you."
She took his small, wet hand in hers and gave it a small shake, "Edward Masen, it's a pleasure to meet you, as well. My name is Esme Cullen and that dashing young man standing over there under the awning, is my husband, Carlisle Cullen. Edward, we would like to adopt you…"
His brows furrowed, "Why?"
She smiled, "Because I think we need you and I think maybe you need us too. You see, it wasn't all that long ago that I was going through something pretty horrible and Carlisle helped me through it…he never gave up on me, even when people were telling him that he should…he always had faith in us and I have faith that we can help you…"
Edward looked over at me for just a second before dropping his gaze again. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Um…have you…um…do you know what's wrong with me, yet?"
Esme spoke softly, "We haven't spoken to the doctor yet, if that's what you mean…but I assure you, Edward, that it won't matter…we want you as our son…"
He shook his head, "No…I'm, um…once you speak with the doctor…um…you'll see that I'm not…there's something wrong with me…I'm b-broken…"
I wiped the wetness from my eyes as Esme smiled softly, "No, darling, you're not broken…Edward, I understand…I was damaged too but damaged things can be mended…even damaged hearts and souls. Will you consider becoming our son?"
He opened his eyes and just stared at her for a few minutes before sighing, "Talk to the doctor first…"
Esme nodded, "We will, honey…we're going to do that right now. We'll talk to you soon, Edward."
She stood up and walked back over to me when he called out softly, "Um, hey…Esme…what, um…what damaged you?"
She turned and smiled, "I promise I'll tell you about it when you get a little older, dear…now please consider going back inside before you catch pneumonia."
He smiled shyly and looked down with a soft nod.
She came back over to me, dripping wet as I pulled her close and whispered, "He's quite beautiful, isn't he?"
She nodded against my chest and whispered, "He's simply dazzling."
We quickly went to Dr. Morris and before we began the paperwork, she asked that we speak to Henry regarding Edward's condition first…stating that she had done this quite a few times before until the couples learned of his case and walked away.
I'll admit that I was curious to know what had happened to the child to cause people to walk away from him…but it was just a formality because I knew Esme and I were in this for the long haul.
Henry told us Edward's story…the little they knew anyway because I was sure there was much more locked away in his mind. He told us of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his father and the neglect of his mother…he told us of events that took place the night Edward's father murdered his mother and repeatedly abused him…he told us that Edward suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and was almost completely socially dysfunctional.
He told us that Edward suffered from delusions and auditory hallucinations…that he saw demons and heard them taunting him…he didn't understand the origins of Edward's demons but gathered that it had something to do with the religious background his parents seemed to have had.
He said that the young boy was incredibly smart and sweet but he often didn't live in the real world…that he spent hours just staring out the window and trapped inside his own mind. Therapy hadn't been working because the boy simply wouldn't speak about his past so all they knew was what the crime investigation had uncovered.
Edward's chance of recovery was 50/50...he could either find a way out into the real world or he could regress so badly that he would go catatonic again, like he had been for months when they found him. He had been at the hospital for two years and was just now beginning to speak, mostly to Nurse McClendon but recently to him a little as well.
He was amazed that Esme had gotten him to speak so much, he was usually very skittish around strangers. He wasn't exactly discouraging us but he wanted to make sure we knew that adopting Edward would completely change our lives and test us in every way.
I smiled, "With all due respect, Henry…I think that having any child should change your life and test you in every way. We will do everything in our power to help Edward as if he were our own child because once the adoption is final, he will be."
The process took a couple of weeks and in that time, we visited Edward every day. I had to sit in a chair across the room but Esme had managed to procure a spot right next to his bed. She would talk mostly…just ramble while he watched her in fascination. She told him about her childhood and about her parents and brothers and sisters…he seemed completely intrigued.
The day that we took him home, was the closest I had been able to get to him and even then he tensed badly at my near proximity. The first few weeks, he wouldn't leave his room at all. So instead of eating at the kitchen table, we started having carpet picnics in his room. He seemed to enjoy them, although he was still leery of me. It broke my heart and I wondered if he would ever know me as his dad. My father was a wonderful man and I always hoped my son would look up to me as I had him.
Soon after, the nightmares began. We would wake in the middle of the night to screams and cries, only to find our little boy huddled in the bathtub with his pajamas on, soaking wet and shaking. It was those times when he was lost in his world again and it sometimes took hours to get him to come back to us.
Esme home schooled him the first year, although he didn't really need it…he was very bright for his age. He could read anything and comprehend it all. The first time we brought Chinese food home, we tried to teach him how to eat with chopsticks but neither of us could get it right. He turned the package over, read the instructions, and then ate his entire meal with them. He was simply captivating.
However, he was also very socially awkward and try as she might, Esme couldn't get the other parents she knew to keep weekly play dates with him. The other kids thought he was weird and didn't want to be around him. Edward was a very lonely little boy.
At nine years old, he started school for the very first time. He was nervous but intrigued by the notion of being around other kids…that's what he told Esme anyway but we understood that he was excited.
Until we got a call from the school that there had been an incident and Edward had been locked in a supply room closet for over three hours before the teacher realized that he had been missing. The school was very large and had many students per classroom and Edward had simply been overlooked. By the time they found him, he was rocking back and forth, softly whispering to himself while he clutched a pair of scissors tightly in his hand. He was covered in small cuts and scratches. He was catatonic for three days that time.
When we found that a few of the other boys had gotten together and locked him in the closet because they thought it would be funny, Esme nearly went to jail for assaulting their mothers. My darling wife was the sweetest, most loving woman you could ever know…but mess with someone she loves and then watch the Chicago girl come out in her quick. That was one of the reasons I fell in love with her…she lived in the real world. My world was made up of people I didn't like and money I didn't care about and rules that I didn't believe in. I chose her world where families cooked Christmas dinner together and would argue with one another only to end up in hysterics by the end of it…and where they stood up and supported each other no matter what.
After that fiasco, we put Edward in a small private school, figuring that smaller would be better…until he began coming home from school covered in bruises and black eyes. Once again we fought with the school who stated that this was occurring off school property while he walked home and there was nothing they could do.
Therapy still wasn't helping and he seemed to be regressing. Esme quit her job and stayed home with Edward full time. She would home school him and take him out to places like the park and the zoo to get him more acclimated to people. He was fascinated by the world around him and would spend hours just studying people, often telling his mom that he wished he could read their minds so that he could understand them.
Over the next year, he started calling Esme, mom. She was able to put her arms around him and hug him. He was beginning to talk to me some now but still not quite trusting. We could get him to come to the dinner table and even had family time where we would watch movies or play games. When he was around just us, he would do pretty good but when others were around, he simply shut down.
When he was ten years old, we decided to move to another town where no one had ever heard of the horrible things that happened to our son. I called my old college buddies, Adam and Jonathan, who settled down in Washington. Adam was a psychiatrist and knew of an opening for a Chief of Staff position at a small hospital in the town of Forks.
Esme and I researched it and thought it would be a perfect place to raise Edward…after all, it was one of the rainiest places in the U.S. and our son loved the rain.
We were having Christmas dinner at Esme's brother's house and then planned to move after the first of the year. Esme had gotten with a local realtor, Myra Newton, and found the perfect house. It had lots of windows and open spaces so that Edward would be able to see outside almost all the time.
I had my first breakthrough with Edward at that dinner. Esme and her sister, Carmella, had stepped out for a little bit to go and get some cold medicine for her younger niece who had begun sneezing and coughing earlier in the day.
We were on our second helpings and I enjoyed spending time with her family, they had welcomed me with open arms and treated me like one of them. We were laughing and talking when one of the kids knocked a plate to the floor. The crash got our attention as her brother jumped up to go and clean it up before one of the kids hurt themselves.
But Edward was already huddled underneath the table, rocking and whispering. I flashed Celia a look and she knew what I needed. She quickly but quietly ushered everyone out of the dining room while I crouched down beside the table and whispered softly, "Edward? Son, everything's okay…it was only an accident…please don't be afraid, son…"
He shook his head and I watched as his eyes darted around the room. I sat down on the floor and started humming Winnie the Pooh. After a few minutes, he closed his eyes and began to hum too. We sat there together for a good half hour when I heard his stomach growl. He hadn't been eating much. A moment later, Celia walked in with a plate full of fresh biscuits and a jar of honey. She handed them to me with a wink and slowly backed out of the dining room again.
I set the plate down and his eyes peeked open. I smiled, "When I was a little boy, we only had the most expensive honey, served in crystal glassware. I have found though, that this little plastic bear, holds the best tasting honey I've ever had. Would you like some, son?"
He nodded, so I scooted the plate over to him a bit. Very carefully, he took a biscuit and I handed the honey to him. He squeezed the honey onto his biscuit and took a bite. I swear he almost really smiled.
I smiled softly, "You see? Isn't that the best honey you've ever tasted?"
He nodded shyly, "Um…yes, sir."
We ate a biscuit and I looked over at him. His eyes met mine for a second before diverting back to the floor.
"You know what sounds really good, son?"
He shook his head and I smiled, "Milk. Would you like some?"
He nodded, "Um…chocolate? Please?"
Edward didn't care for chocolate much but he loved chocolate milk. I smiled, "Absolutely."
I scooted over and stood, a moment later he was crawling from underneath the table. I walked into the kitchen as he slowly followed. Once I pulled out the milk and the chocolate syrup, I looked down at him and smiled, "Have you ever heard of Mississippi Mud?"
He shook his head, "No, sir."
I wished like hell he would call me dad.
"Well, I had never heard of it either until your mom taught me how to make it. It's really very simple. Let me show you…first you pour the milk into the glass, making sure not to fill the glass…we have to leave room for the chocolate."
He looked at me curiously as I picked up the chocolate syrup, "The trick is to squeeze lots and lots of chocolate until the milk rises close to the top. Then stir…"
Once it was done, I smiled at him, "Would you like to try, son?"
He nodded, "Um…yes, sir but…um, I can't reach the counter."
He was still so small…
I crouched down so that I could be face to face with him, "I could pick you up and sit you on the counter, if you would trust me enough to do so?"
He furrowed his brows, dropped his head and pinched the bridge of his nose…he did this when he was warring with himself.
I whispered, "Edward…I would never hurt you…please tell me you know that…"
He dropped his hands and peeked his eyes open as he stared at me. A moment later, he whispered, "I know…but I…um…I'm still afraid…"
Not wanting to push him, I nodded and stood, "Let's do this…I'll go grab a chair and you can climb up here yourself and make your Mississippi Mud…"
I started to go when he shook his head, "No…I'm still afraid…but I don't want to be…"
He took a deep breath and raised his arms, "Um…please?"
I smiled and very gently lifted him up and onto the counter. He closed his eyes but once I let go, he opened them and smiled softly, "Thanks…um, can you hand me the milk?"
I smiled as I watched him make his chocolate milk. He was very serious about it and when he was finished, I raised my glass, "Cheers, son."
He raised his glass and clicked it with mine…I swear he almost laughed. We were standing there drinking our chocolate milk when Esme walked in. The look of shock and then happiness in her eyes as she saw us talking and being so close was priceless.
She joined us for a glass and soon after, Edward went into the other room to watch the other children play video games. They offered to let him play but he preferred to just watch.
The grown ups went back to eating and talking in the dining room. About an hour later, Carmella interrupted, "Do you hear that?"
Everyone quieted down and then I heard it, the soft plucking of piano keys. Celia turned, "I'll go check on it, none of the kids know how to play so maybe one of them is just playing around."
We started our conversations again when suddenly the sounds of Clair De Lune started playing softly.
We abruptly stopped and then Celia bounced back in the dining room, "Esme, Carlisle…you have to come see this! It's Edward!"
We jumped up and practically ran to the foyer. We stopped dead in our tracks at the sight before us. There sat our brilliant little boy, sitting on the piano bench and studying the song book in front of him intently. The song flowed smoothly except for when he needed to turn the page.
I whispered, "Darling, did you teach Edward how to play the piano?"
She shook her head, "I have no idea how to play the piano…"
Esme slowly walked over and he was so caught up in his music that he didn't even notice until she was sitting on the bench with him. He jumped and stammered, "I'm sorry…I shouldn't have touched the piano without permission…"
Esme smiled, "It's okay, Edward…you play beautifully. Would you play for me some more, please?"
He looked over at me and I nodded. He slowly made his way back to the bench and began playing again. Esme helped him turn the pages this time and he played the entire song almost perfectly.
When the song was finished, Esme was almost in tears as she gushed over him. He blushed and held his head down. While his head was down, his eyes closed and his fingers began moving over the keys once again. He played a hauntingly beautiful melody that I hadn't heard before.
I made my way over to the windowsill and sat down across from him as he played with his eyes closed. Esme looked at me, her eyes filled with awe and I'm sure mine looked the same to her.
After a few minutes, the song ended and his eyes opened. Esme smiled, "Edward? Where did you hear that before, son?"
He shrugged, "Um…nowhere…I just…made it up as I went."
She took his hand in hers, "Have you ever played the piano before?"
He shook his head, "Um…no, ma'am."
"How do play so well?"
He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Well, um…I've read a few books about music and piano…how to read notes and stuff…and um…I don't know…when I was playing I didn't really…think much…I just…I can't explain it…I'm sorry…"
I beamed for my son. That's what people didn't seem to understand…they always acted like Edward was disabled but in reality, he was incredibly gifted. I hated the pity I would see in their eyes as they said, "Oh, I'm so sorry…" over and over again. They may have believed there children to be "normal" but my child was unique and brilliant…little did they know that I pitied them.
Some of the other children came into the room as they played hide and seek. Edward cleared his throat, "Um…I think I'm going to bed. Good night."
"Good night, son."
"Good night, sweetheart."
Once he was up the stairs, I smiled, "Do you think it's possible to have him a new piano at the house before we move in?"
We were to move into our house at Forks after the first of the year, so that gave me a couple of days. Esme laughed, "Anything's possible, dear."
And indeed, it was possible because when we walked into our new home, Edward dropped his backpack and gasped. He walked over slowly and ran his fingers across the wood, "Um…can I…um…play it?"
I smiled, "It's yours, son. I would love for you to play it."
The next week, he would venture outside of his room to come downstairs and play while Esme was cooking in the kitchen.
But then he started school. The first few weeks were horrible. He would come home every day with a new bruise or bloody lip. The school was useless as always, stating that since it didn't happen on school property…
Esme started driving him to and from school to avoid the bullying that he always endured. He stopped playing the piano altogether.
We eventually found out the names of the main boy who was starting the harassment, his name was Mike Newton, our realtor's son.
Esme paid her a visit and threatened her with severe bodily harm if Mike touched her child again. I called a meeting with his teacher and principal, and kindly let them know that if my son came home again with so much as a paper cut, I would hire the best lawyer that money could buy and sue the district for everything it had. They knew I had enough money to do it so the bullying pretty much stopped.
But, the problems didn't stop.
He became more and more distant…the nightmares became more frequent. So, I had the piano moved to his room. When he came home from school and saw that the living room was empty, his shoulders sagged and he huffed a little.
I followed behind as he dragged himself up the stairs and to his room. When he opened the door…he smiled softly for the first time in so long that I barely remembered the crooked little grin.
He dropped his backpack and walked over to it. I leaned against the doorway and smiled, "I missed hearing you play it so I thought maybe if I moved it in here…you'd allow me to sit with you while you play…"
He looked over at me and nodded as he turned back to the piano. He pulled out the bench and sat down. I walked over and began to sit down on the bed when he scooted over on his bench as he whispered, "Um…you can sit here…if you want?"
I sat down next to him and he closed his eyes and began playing. I closed my eyes too and just got lost in his music. He played for a long time and it surprised me when I heard the music stop.
I opened my eyes and looked over at him. His head was down and he whispered, "I'm invisible…"
I furrowed my brow in confusion, "What?"
He sniffled, "At school…I'm invisible. They pretend as if I just don't exist. I know I'm weird…but they won't even give me a chance to learn how to be like them…how to be normal…"
I shook my head and placed my hand on his, "Edward…listen to me, son…you don't have to be like them, in fact, you're better than them because you're not fake, you don't lie, and you don't judge people. You are one of the most incredible people I have ever known…if they don't want to know you then it's their loss, son."
He sighed, "Dad, I know it's been a long time but do you remember what it's like being in the fourth grade?"
I smiled…he just called me dad…and he made a joke…my brilliant son.
"Well, let's see…dinosaurs were roaming the earth and man had just invented the wheel so…very funny, son."
He smiled a little, "I just…wish I had just one friend…just someone to talk to, other than you and mom…no offense."
I smiled, "None taken. I know how hard this is for you, son, but I want you to know that I'm very proud of you. You're unbelievably strong. I wish I could just fix everything for you…I would give anything to take it all away but I can't. I have faith that one day you're going to have some wonderful friends who like you for who you are because once someone takes the time to notice how extraordinary you are, they couldn't help but love you."
He shrugged, "Maybe…um…thanks for the piano. I know I'm, um…difficult…I'm really sorry…I wish I could change it…but I can't. I'm trying though. Thank you for…um, being so patient with me. You're a really good dad."
He wrapped his arms around my neck and I relished the very first hug I had gotten from my son. I whispered, "You're a really good son."
We let go a minute later and he sighed as he ran his hand through his hair, "Um…I'm kind of tired, I think I'll take a nap."
I nodded, "Okay, son…we'll wake you when dinner's ready."
I was walking on cloud nine for awhile…but just like one of my patients once told me, life is like peaks and valleys and another valley was yet to come.
The summer was great, we spent a lot of time with Edward going swimming and hiking. He didn't have many problems that summer so things were good. He turned eleven and we started taking weekly trips to the a music store in Seattle where he would get new song books and CD's. He was still uncomfortable in public but at small places he seemed to do okay.
Fifth grade started and he began to back slide again. The nightmares came back in full force. We spent as much time with him as we could but he struggled so badly with school. He started spending a lot of time just staring out the window again.
Esme and I struggled as well. Edward would get better and then slip back and each and every time it happened, we were terrified that he might never come back to us.
Before his sixth grade year began, the school spoke with us about Edward's 'options.'
They thought that maybe a private school or a school that was 'better suited for his needs' would be a better option for him. It pissed me off because if everyone didn't keep reminding him that he had a problem, then maybe it would stop affecting him so much. Someone, other than his mom and me, needed to treat him like a normal kid.
So, I leaned forward in my chair and tried to remain calm as I addressed the principal, "Mrs. Kennedy, Edward is on the A-Honor roll, in fact, he's in all of the advanced classes. Does he give any of the teachers problems? Is he unruly?"
She tightened her mouth shut and shook her head. I smiled, "No, actually I believe all of his past teachers said he was the most well behaved and polite young boy they had in their class. So, please explain to me again, the rationality that your teachers and classrooms are not suited to educate a bright, respectable, good child?"
I won that round and they backed off of us that year.
Sixth grade was much like the year before. He had good moments and bad moments. One particularly bad moment was when he wasn't feeling well and was sent to the nurse's office. He hadn't been sleeping well from the nightmares and when he fell asleep there, he woke up with another one.
The nurse was shaken by the episode he had because when he awoke, he bolted out the door and out of the school to rainstorm outside. He fell to his knees in the grass and tried to get his panic attack under control.
Of course, all the children in the windows had seen it and it didn't make his situation at school any better.
So, the end of the school year came with another talk with the principal at the Junior High, where he would be going after the summer. He was turning thirteen and Esme and I were worried sick about him.
The summer was just beginning and I prayed every night that Edward would get just one good friend to help him through.
When Esme and I were talking about what the school had said, Edward said that he was going to the park. We were proud that he was brave enough to keep trying but also terrified that something could go bad.
It was like a double edge sword because we had to encourage him and let him do normal things on his own but at the same time, we knew the repercussions if things went bad.
I had to go to the hospital for a few hours and I called on my way home, to make sure Edward had made it back safe. She said he was home and she sounded very excited so I was hopeful that things had went well.
When I got home, she pulled me off into the kitchen and she glowed as she laughed, "He brought a friend home! A beautiful sweet little boy named Jasper! You should've seen him, honey…Jasper put his arm around Edward and he didn't flinch at all! And he was so charming and cute…"
I laughed as I held my giddy wife. I was giddy too.
I met Jasper at dinner and Esme was right, he was charming and sweet…but beneath those baby blue eyes, I could tell that this young boy was much older than his years. It was as if he had an old soul. Celia had said that once about Edward and I agreed. I saw the same thing in Jasper's eyes and hoped he would be the answers to my son's prayers.
The thunderstorm during the dinner seemed like just another little pull towards these two as Jasper's mother agreed to let him spend the night and Edward seemed happy too. He was still nervous, I could tell, but he smiled at dinner. A real smile, no shyness, no questioning…simply beautiful.
I was getting ready for bed when my darling wife entered the room in her robe and pajamas, carrying a candle.
"I peeked in to make sure they were okay and they were laying there talking about music they liked…this could change everything for him, Carlisle…this could be just what he needs…"
I walked around the bed and slid one arm around her waist as I gently took the candle from her and placed it on the nightstand.
I whispered as I took her ear lobe between my teeth and brushed the tip with my tongue, "Do you know what I need, my sweet Esmeralda?"
She undid her robe and purred, "The same thing I need…"
The old man, Peter, was right…life was like peaks and valleys and I prayed that we were nearing a peak…
At least I knew we'd be hitting a peak tonight…after all, they don't call me Big Daddy C for no reason…
FYI- Two weeks ago we took my son out to a Chinese restaurant...we tried to teach him how to use chopsticks...we failed miserably. However, he simply read the instructions and then ate his entire meal with them...Brilliant;)