Hello Sister, Goodbye Life
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight saga. All recognisable characters, content or locations belong to their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: When 25 year old Bella Swan is given custody of her infant sister after the death of her parents, Bella finds herself way over her head. When she meets 28 year old doctor and single father Edward Cullen, she finds that raising a child alone is possible, though it's a lot easier with a second pair of hands. Inspired by the film Hello Sister Goodbye Life but has an original plotline.
If they weren't already dead, I might just kill my parents for listing me as legal guardian of my eighteen month old sister in the events of their deaths.
The Living Years
So Don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in,
You may just be okay.
The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
They had me when they were eighteen, Madeleine when they were forty two. Somewhere between both births, Charlie managed to build up a successful law firm from scratch while Renee created an interior design company.
Now, as I sat on a pool chair, staring down at the water, I wondered what the hell they were thinking – making me Maddy's legal guardian. Christ, I could barely keep a fish alive for more than a week; I don't know how they thought I could keep my one year old sister alive. People I didn't actually know milled around the house and lawns of my parent's home while talking to other strangers about my parents. Sometimes they approached me, sometimes they didn't. Most times they just gave me pitying looks as I tried to attend to my little sister, dressed in a little grey dress beside me.
Their funeral had been that morning and this was more the reception – if you could call it such. There had been a slide show presentation – courtesy of Dad's work associate and partner/family attorney Billy Black – and there were appetizers being offered on silver platters by caterers hired – again by Billy Black – for the "ceremony".
Maddy stirred in my lap, wrapping her little arms around my neck as someone sat down beside me. Turning, I found that it was Rosalie, my best friend and other sister, this one not actually blood related. She'd practically lived with my family when we were growing up and was just as shattered when she found out that they'd died as I was. She had her blonde hair in a French braid and wore a pair of aviators.
"God, take off the sunnies, loser, you're at a bloody funeral, not the races." She sighed, but removed the sunglasses, hooking them onto the front of her dress between her boobs.
As I was moving to reprimand her again, Billy wheeled over in his electric wheelchair and stopped in front of Rose, Maddy and I.
"Bella," he said, "I need to talk to you about the custody arrangements for your sister."
I nodded and gave Rosalie a look that said leave. She did so, mouthing the words 'I'll be back' as she headed for the cocktail bar set up in the bar Charlie had installed just off the kitchen in my senior year of high school.
"Did they make changes or something?"
"No," Billy chuckled, "I just found a letter from your father. I think you should read it – it's addressed to you."
I accepted the letter and pulled it out of its envelope.
If you are reading this, it means that your mother and I have passed away while Maddy is still a minor and you've learnt that we gave custody to you.
Now, before you go off and have a fit in front of Billy about it, I want you to hear me out. The reason why we gave custody to you was because we felt that no one could raise her the way we wish for her to be raised but someone who was raised by us. We discussed it a lot and had agreed on that. Along with this, we felt that no one else could love Maddy more than you could, no one else could tell her stories of her father's lame jokes and mother's more eccentric designs than you.
Our final wish, love, is for you to raise your sister the way we raised you – to love her as your own and give her the world full of love that you both deserve.
Don't ever forget that we both love you more than life itself and we would have done anything for the both of you.
With all my love, your Father
Wiping away the tear that fell from my cheek, trying not to jostle my sister, I nodded, handing him back the letter. Billy slid it into his pocket and reached over, patting my arm.
"You can do this, Bella," he assured me, "I know you can, Charlie and Renee know you can, Rosalie knows you can and Madeleine needs you; don't let her down, girl."
I nodded, holding my sister close to my chest and swaying back and forth. Billy wheeled away as Rosalie returned, holding two cocktails in hand. "I hope one of them is for me," I said, indicating to the two drinks in her hands. She nodded, swigging down about half of her cocktail.
"How many of those have you drank already? God, we've only been here an hour, Rose."
She rolled her eyes, placing the full cocktail glass in my free hand. "This is only my fourth, thanks for having so much faith in me, bestie."
I sighed, resigning myself to the fate that my friend would become an alcoholic sometime in her life, not without one final comment, though. "Cocktails are meant to be drank over a long period of time, not four within one hour."
She didn't respond, though, as she was swigging down the remainder of her cocktail. I sipped my own, pretending that I didn't know the somewhat tipsy blonde making her way back to the bar. As I took another sip, having made sure that Madeleine was still asleep so that she wouldn't witness me doing so, a woman with caramel hair and a somewhat maternal aura about her approached me with a man with platinum blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.
I looked up, nodding and smiling politely at the couple.
"I am Esme Cullen and this is my husband, Carlisle; I worked with your mother and we were two of your father's clients. We just wished to pass on our sincerest condolences and we are sorry for your loss."
I smiled softly, getting the feeling that this woman truly meant what she was saying. "Thank you," I whispered as Madeleine began to stir.
"I'm here, Maddy," I assured her, beginning to sway her back and forth, meanwhile placing my cocktail on the small table by the chair and smiling apologetically at Mr and Mrs Cullen.
"Where's mum and dad?" She was still sluggish from sleep and didn't remember our conversation the night before.
"Maddy, mum and dad went away, remember? They can't come back."
She looked up at me through big blue eyes she'd inherited from mum, her lower lip beginning to tremble. Fuck me. She was starting to cry. I couldn't stand crying kids. Again, what the hell were my parents thinking? As her whimpers turned into sobs muffled by my chest, I shut my eyes, not willing to see the pity in the Cullen's'.
"Don't cry, Maddy," I pleaded, swaying side to side, my crying sister in my lap. "Please don't cry? Bella doesn't know how to deal with you when you're crying. Please don't cry?" I whimpered, not knowing what the hell I was doing. What'd mum do? What'd mum do when I used to cry? Hum... she'd hum a song. What the hell was that song she used to hum? Desperate, I began to hum the first child friendly song that came to mind – Puff the Magic Dragon. Madeleine was screwed.
I supposed I sounded like mom or something, because Maddy's sobs began to quieten until, thank mercy, she nodded off to sleep again, leaving my shirt with questionable cleanliness and a despairing sister for the world of dreams. Lucky bitch.
I opened my eyes to find the Cullen's, now with Rosalie, looking at me, worried. Esme had a small smile on her face, one that I recognised to be of pride. What the hell could this woman be proud of? I was a failure to woman – I didn't know the first thing about parenthood and didn't carry a maternal bone in my body.
"Bella, you didn't finish your cocktail," Rosalie sighed, exasperated, picking up the cocktail and downing it in one.
"God, Rosalie, that's like, your sixth drink since we got here, I think that's enough for today."
"Honey, Royce and I just broke up; I think I'm allowed to get hammered."
"Not at a funeral, idiot!" I hissed, "And most certainly not at this funeral!"
"Why not? I'm just drowning out my grief with alcohol. Grief from Charlie and Renee's deaths as well as my and Royce's break up."
"If you want to get plastered, Rosalie, go and do that in my bedroom, away from the guests."
She sulked off and I smiled apologetically at the Cullen's, wishing I could sulk off with her. "Sorry, Rosalie was really close to my parents and it did hit her hard."
Carlisle chuckled and said, "She reminds me of my son; he'd do very much the same thing in a situation like this."
"What're you saying, Carlisle, he has done the same thing in three situations like this," Esme contradicted. "Honestly, you'd think he was raised by a pack of wolves."
I laughed, though I wondered if a pack of wolves could do a better job than I could. Probably.
I looked up, staring up at the greying sky – it was going to rain soon and people were beginning to move into the house. Getting to my feet, I said, "We should get inside, it'll begin to rain soon."
We made our way into the house – mansion – and the Cullen's got lost in the crowds. People were beginning to leave and, slowly, our house was back to being nearly empty. Maria, the housekeeper who'd been like a second mother to me, was beginning to clean up the mess – not that there was much – and the caterers were beginning to pack up in the kitchen.
"Maria, I have no idea what I'm doing. Are you sure you can't stay? I'll pay you double time, please, I don't know what I'm doing."
"Darling," she said in her heavily Spanish accent, "I have four children at home and as much as I love you like I do them, I have to go and feed them."
I pouted and she shook her head at me. "You will be fine, Isabella," she assured, "You have food that can be heated up in the fridge, when Madeleine wakes up, you just let her play in the kids room – do not leave her alone – and when it's time for her to go to bed, read her a story."
I nodded, watching in despair as Maria exited the house, shutting the door behind her.
Sulkily, I stalked into the living room to find Rosalie asleep on the couch and rolled my eyes, looking to the TV screen to see Pimp My Ride on. Naturally.
Rosalie loved her cars as much as she loved alcohol and it was a common occurrence to see her passed out in front of Pimp My Ride, Top Gear or any other car show, the alcohol having knocked her unconscious.
I carried Madeleine up to her room and tucked her in before moving into the study and leaning back in my father's tan leather swivel chair. He'd sit me in his lap while in this chair and spin me around until I couldn't stand straight and my stomach ached from laughing so much.
Briefly, I let my grief encompass me, only allowing a tear to drop from my closed eyes before pulling myself back together and assuring myself that I could do this, even though I felt I really couldn't - a positive attitude and all that.
Who was I kidding? I was screwed,