Thank you to the readers who have stuck with me till now :)

Disclaimer:I do not own Twilight or any of its characters; Stephanie Meyer does.

Chapter Nineteen


"Get her! GET HER! Eddie, you're letting her esca-DAMN IT!"

"It's not my fault! She freaking bumped my wheel, what the hell Bella!"

"Language boys," Esme says from outside.

"Sorry," they both mutter quickly.

"Don't get all antsy with me just because you can't win against me," I say to both of them, opening my mouth to accept another grape from Alice.

It's Wednesday, and we're all sitting around the TV, playing some game that Emmett had bought during the weekend and had been dying to try out with us.

Rosalie has her nose in some car magazine while Jasper is watching the game with an amused smirk. Emmett and Edward are sharing the largest couch while Alice and I are on the love seat with her on my lap and a bowl of grapes on hers. She takes another one and pops it into my mouth as soon as I've swallowed. According to her, it's fascinating to watch me eat.

"I want a rematch," Emmett demands, already hitting the buttons to set it up.

"No way, we've played five rounds already, I need something fresh."

He sticks his tongue out at me much like Alice does and for a moment they actually seem related.

"I'm gonna go help Esme in the garden," Edward says, putting down his controller.

"Oh come on Eddie, you can't pick flowers over Xbox."

Edward chuckles on his way out the door. "Sorry Em."

Emmett sighs dejectedly and slouches in his seat.

"Don't worry Em, we can play guitar hero some time and I know you'll have a chance to beat me at that."

"Just you wait Isabella Swan. The day will come when you lose to me in Street Racer, and when that day comes…" he trails off with a glare before moving to switch the game, putting it in single player mode.

"Wanna go outside and hang out with Esme?" Alice asks, putting another grape in my mouth before I can answer.

I roll my eyes at her. "Yes, now enough grapes. I'm gonna pop."

She chuckles before placing the bowl down and grabbing my hand to pull me outside with her.

"Hi Esme," she says, sitting down under a tree and pulling me down with her. We cuddle in our usual position, with me behind her and my arms wrapped around her and my legs on either side of hers.

"Hello dear. How are you two girls doing?"

I shrug, "We're good. Just haven't hung out with you in a while." Edward is a few metres away, plucking out weeds slowly from a patch of some flower I don't know the name of.

Esme chuckles gently while clipping her rose bushes at human speed. "Well you're welcome to stay as long as you like."

Watching her tend to the garden with such patience and care is calming somehow, and I find myself relaxing against the tree while Alice plays with my fingers. She's like the perfect mother, kind, gentle, loving but with enough spice thrown in so her kids don't walk all over her. She reminds me so much of my own mother that it's hard not to see her in some way as a second mom.

"You make a great mom, ya know," I say, still watching her hands as she trims her roses.

"Thank you dear," she says with a kind smile. "It's hard when you have this bunch for kids, I'll admit," she looks pointedly at Alice who just huffs and sticks her tongue out. To Alice that's the ultimate comeback, and so far she has ended so many arguments with the simple gesture.

"Well you're pretty good at it, so you should give yourself some credit."

"Where's your mother dear? I don't think you've ever mentioned her."

I shift uncomfortably and turn to look out into the dense forest not too far from where we are. "She died when I was eleven," I mumble. "Car crash."

"Oh honey I'm so sorry," she says with sympathy on her face. Alice stops fumbling with my fingers for a moment and turns around in my lap to embrace me and kiss my neck lovingly.

I shrug weakly. "It was long ago." I sigh, wanting to change the subject. "So how'd you become a vampire anyways Esme? You've never talked about it."

She smiles weakly, "It's not a very nice story to tell dear. I was abused by my husband for years before I ended up pregnant with his child. I had a feeling it would be a boy, so I named him and even made tiny little clothes and everything. Even my husband seemed less angry all the time once I got pregnant. A few weeks before I was supposed to give birth, I had a miscarriage. My husband had gotten home drunk one night and one thing led to another…"

I felt anger spread through me and a growl threatened at my lips. Who in the right mind would ever hurt Esme? She's the sweetest person I've ever met.

"Anyway, I fell into a depression after that. Then finally one day it was too much for me, and I tried to commit suicide. I jumped off a nearby bridge, but the fall didn't kill me. Carlisle was working at a hospital in that town at the time, and he found me barely breathing. I don't remember much beyond when I jumped off, but I remember waking up and Carlisle's face being the first thing I saw," a loving smile adorns her face as she talks about him. "He had only turned Edward by that time, so in some ways I now had the family I always wanted. A wonderful son, and loving husband. It only got better since then. Admittedly, not everyone in our family who was changed was given much choice, but it worked out on its own. Fate does that sometimes."

Alice keeps her arms around me for a little longer until it starts getting late and I have to go home.

"It's getting late; I'll see you around Esme," I say, pulling her into a tight hug.

"Take care dear," she says with a smile, putting away her gardening tools.

Alice and I drive in silence to my house where she helps me finish off some of my history homework. The entire time, she's rolling her eyes at the history books, telling me how much they got wrong and how much was put in there just to add effect.

"It must be cool to have been alive all those years," I comment once we're done.

"Sometimes," she replies, wrinkling her nose adorably. "It's not nearly as much fun when you're alone. In some ways I was always the odd one out. Rosalie has Emmett, Carlisle has Esme, and even though they're not mated, I've always felt like Edward has Jasper. I think if those two were human they would have ended up together."

She lays across the bed with her head on my lap while I lean against the wall. "Well you have me now," I say with a smile, stroking her hair.

"Yes I do, and I don't plan on ever letting you go Miss Swan."

"Good, because I don't think I could ever be as happy without you, now that I know what it's like to have such a wonderful girlfriend-slash-mate."

"I am pretty wonderful, aren't I?" she says with a teasing grin.

We stay like that, just talking like we always do until it's late enough for me to start preparing supper for Charlie and myself. I eat before he arrives so I can say Alice ate with me; wouldn't want a repeat of the other night.

Finally, Charlie arrives and shortly after Alice leaves to drop her car home. When I make my way upstairs, I find her laying sideways on my bed with her eyes closed and her legs dangling off the edge.

I quickly change into my sweatshirt and shorts, handing Alice another one of my shirts to sleep in and soon after we're both cuddling under my blankets, speaking softly until I finally fall asleep.

A/N: A bit of Bella/Esme interaction in this chapter and just a bit of fluff added in. Feedback is appreciated :)

Oh, and what do you guys think about the changes? The main plot hasn't changed, just some details that tie it together better.