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The Pillars On Which We Built A Family
Chapter One: It All Falls Down.
With a heavy sigh, I fell back into my chair, joining my hands so that my fingertips touched. It pained me greatly to step foot into this house without my daughter; without my precious Sophia.
The night I had just lived through had been hell to say the least. Being a military man, there was very little that could frighten me but when you get a call from your godfather telling you that your daughter had been admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, your heart stops. The fear of not knowing if she would be okay paralysis you and the dread of having to face the fact that somewhere along the line that you failed your child leaves you in gut-wrenching pain.
Truly Sophia Alexis Whitlock was not my child by blood but she was my daughter and my baby girl in every other way that counts. I had made that very clear to her the day I asked her if I could adopt her. I had spoilt her beyond even her wildest dreams and loved her with no boundaries. She was my world and I made sure she knew it.
When my wife, Alice told me she had a daughter, I was stunned. Never in the three years off our courtship did she even hint to the fact that she had a child but when she confessed to me that Sophia existed, I silently pledged to give that little girl all that she could have desired but now when I was staring down the barrel of the hypothetical gun, I realized how much I had failed her; how much I had failed my darling Sophie.
The first words my God-father said to me as I ran into his office were 'Two more ounces, Jasper and she would be dead.' The bluntness of that statement coupled with the fact that my daughter; my fourteen year old daughter had almost killed herself left me numb. I crumpled to the floor in his office. It was easy to ignore the pain that scorched through me when my knees hit the cold and unyielding terrazzo flooring but the pain in my heart…not so much.
"When can I see her?" I choked out as my tears fell.
"Now." He said; sympathy colouring his voice as he hooked his arms around me and helped me to stand. "But before you go, I want to tell you this. She's been asking for her mother."
"Alice isn't here?" I asked in outrage. The thought of my wife not being present at my daughter's bedside allowed unbridled rage and fury to course through me.
"No she's here but Sophia does not want Alice anywhere near here. Any time Alice enters the room, Sophia starts screaming at her. I have never seen so much rage in Sophia. She doesn't have much strength. The fact that we had to pump her stomach should be an indication of how weak she is but she fights when Alice enters. Esme said that when Alice entered the room the first time, Sophia threw her phone at her and told her to call her mother. When Alice heard her demand, she literally paled. She tried to brush it of but the damage was done. Alice is hiding something, Jasper." He said as he threw on his lab coat.
"Do you think that Alice isn't Sophia's mother?" I asked, shocked by what I was hearing.
"No. When Esme told me that, I had Sophia's blood compared with the sample we have on file for Alice. She's her mother but haven't you wondered why, for the three years you were with Alice, that you never meet Sophia before the engagement party?" He asked as we walked down the corridor together.
"No. I never have." I answered honestly.
"Maybe you should." Was all he said as we entered my daughter's room and my thoughts on the matter ceased as I took a seat by my sleeping daughter's side.
It was only when I was kicked out of the hospital for the night did I contemplate what my Godfather had said and now as I sat in the quiet of my home; alone and without any interruptions did I make my decision.
Without shifting from my position, I reached out and picked up the phone at my side and called my always reliable employee, Jefferson Jenks.
"Goodnight, Mr. Whitlock." He answered on the first ring.
"Goodnight, Jenks. I am sorry about the late hour but I need for you to do a bit of investigating for me." I sighed heavily as I picked up a picture of Sophia that was next to me.
"Nonsense Mr. Whitlock. How can I help you?" He asked and in the background I heard the rustling of papers.
"I am assuming that you have heard about what has happened tonight?" I asked; my voice breaking at the thought of what had happened.
"Who hasn't?" He sighed heavily. "The daughter of the chairman and C.E.O of the world's largest mutli-national co-operative group is admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. It's on every channel."
"Carlisle said two more ounces and she would be dead." I relayed. "But besides all that I need you to look into Sophia's life for me. I need to find out where she was before she came into my life."
"Interesting request, sir." He murmured. "Any reason as to why this is coming up now?"
"Sophia is acting up. She doesn't want Alice anywhere near her. According to Carlisle, Esme said she threw the mother of all tantrums when Alice arrived to see her. The doctors told Alice to stay out so that Sophia can rest. I just need this information to see if there is a reason behind it." I sighed heavily.
"I will get this to you as soon as I can."
"Thank you. I'll be at the office. Send whatever you find there." I said before hanging up the phone and then rushed through my dressing routine; hoping to spend a few hours in the office to distract my mind from the fact that my daughter was lying in a bed in the hospital until I can join her again.
"Is it true?" My brother, Peter asked as soon as he and my father burst through my office door.
"Yes." I responded gravely. "I was now going to call everyone." I said softly as I held up the receiver in my hand.
"How?" My father stuttered out as he dropped into one of the seats in front of my desk.
"I don't know. I haven't spoken to Sophia yet and Alice isn't saying anything." I answered.
"The poor dear. Where is she? Is Carlisle her doctor?" Peter questioned as he helped himself to some scotch.
"Yes, Carlisle is her doctor and he has her in a private room in the ward grandmamma sponsored. We'll have to do some damage control though. The media is going wild with this. I'm sorry father. I had no….." I started to say before he cut me off with a grunt.
"Jasper, son, let me handle the press. You take care of my granddaughter. We need to get to the bottom of what is causing Sophia pain before she does this again. Do you even have a hint as to what triggered it?" He asked as he passed a shaking hand through his graying hair.
"Esme apparently witnessed Sophia throw her phone at Alice and demand that she call her mother. I have Jenks looking into it."
"That's strange." Peter commented as he looked over at me.
"I know. Dad if you want, I'm heading back to the hospital to see if I could talk to Sophia….you could tag along." I said as I stood up.
"No, son. You go talk care of your little girl. I'll do some work here and then head over with your mother. And remember," he said as I bent down to hug him. "I love you." And just like that, with a few words uttered by Jonathon Whitlock, I found the strength to carry on.
It surprisingly did not take that long for me to get to Seattle Grace Memorial Hospital. I had to go through the back entrance due to the amount of paparazzi present. I knew that they wouldn't be allowed entry into the hospital but that did not stop my heart from clenching when I took in the sheer number of them present.
"Good morning Mr. Whitlock." One of the nurses greeted as I entered the hospital. "Sophia just got up. She should still be awake when you get there." She smiled as she pointed down the corridor.
"Thank you." I murmured as I all but sprinted down the corridor to get to my daughter.
However, I halted my steps when I saw my wife slumped onto the floor.
"She doesn't want to see me." Alice sighed as she looked up; her brown eyes filled with tears; the brown eyes I once fell in love with.
"Why?" I asked as I reached down to help her into a seat.
"I can't….. I just can't. God how I've screwed up." She cried out; allowing her head to fall back onto the wall with a resounding thud. "I screwed up my marriage and now I've screwed up my relationship with my daughter. God! Only if I hadn't been so jealous of her." She all but screamed.
"Who, Alice?" I asked somewhat harshly.
"No one." She responded hastily; her eyes wide with fear at the fact that she had let something slip.
"Alice!" I growled out. "What have you done?"
"Nothing." She squeaked out before she gathered her belongings and ran off.
After taking a few moments to gain control off myself, I made my way into Sophia's room. She was awake and was seemly engrossed in watching the latest antics of SpongeBob and Patrick.
"Princess." I murmured as I reached the side of her bed.
"Daddy." She responded as she turned her head to look at me. "I'm sorry daddy. I didn't mean to." She cried out as her hand reached out to hold onto my jacket.
"Oh princess." I cooed as I pulled her into my arms; allowing her to cry. "I'm here princess. I'm not angry and you have nothing to be sorry for."
"What happened, Sophia?" I asked when she finally settled down.
"Mother took me to some garden party at the Rochesters and was telling everyone how I was at the top of my class and was considering going to Harvard and how James asked me out. You know…the usual. I didn't take it on but then we were coming home and she started yelling at me about how I disappointed her and embarrassed her just because I told Jessica, Mrs. Françoise's daughter, that I couldn't go out with her this weekend. When we got to the apartment I asked her if I could still go send the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Whitlock, she just tripped. She was so angry, daddy. She told me that she should have left me in the hospital after I was born or maybe get an abortion; that how she didn't want me." She cried out as she clung onto me.
"Your mother, Alice, said this to you?" I asked; both shocked and pained at what I was hearing.
"Yeah," she hiccupped. "She said she was young and stupid when she had me and that you wouldn't want me either 'cause I told her that I wanted to move back home with you. She said that you shared no blood with me so you wouldn't care; that you wouldn't be my daddy anymore."
"Okay, one thing at a time." I said as I exhaled a sharp breath. "If you want to move back home, Sophia, you can do just that. If that is what you want I will call your Auntie Rose and Auntie Char and ask them to move your stuff back from the apartment." I said as I looked at her.
"Please, dad. I don't want to live with her." She said as she cuddled closer to me as I wiped her tears.
"Fine I'll do that. Now, was the drinking in relation to what you just told me?" I asked as I played with her hair.
"Yeah. After she called me everything hurtful that she could think of, she left me by myself. I took a sip of some wine she had in the fridge and it helped clam me down and then one sip turned into two and before you knew it, I found myself in the liquor cabinet and I had the vodka in hand." She shuddered.
"Okay." I nodded thankful that Sophia was at least letting me in. "You know that is not happening when you move in. No alcohol until you're twenty-one." I said softly; placing a soft kiss on her head.
"No alcohol period, dad. I'm sorry." She whispered.
"Princess, it's okay but I want you to know that you will always be my little girl and I love you. Don't listen to Alice. I love you more than you could imagine. You're a Whitlock. I adopted you and in the eyes of the law you're just as much as mine as you are hers. Do you understand?"
"I'm not hers. She's not my mother." Sophia spat bitterly.
"Sophia Alexis! Where is that coming from?" I pulled back to look at her.
"She may have given birth to me but that's all she did." She replied, lowering her head.
"Princess, talk to me. What am I missing?" I asked as I took her hands in mine.
"I can't, daddy. I just can't. She would be so disappointed in me if she knew what I did." She mumbled as she turned away from me.
"Sophia…." I started to say only to be stopped.
"I'm sleepy, dad." She said abruptly.
"Okay, well I'll be here when you wake up. I love you princess." I whispered as I kissed her head.
"I love you too, dad." She said and without having to look at her, I knew that she was crying.
Giving her some space, I moved off the bed and made my way over to a chair placed at the corner of the room. I pulled out my phone to check on the company's operations as well as send a quick message to my sister and sister-in-law to have Sophia's things moved back to the house. Thankfully, they were both way ahead of me and already had most of her things already in her room. Peter and my brother-in-law, Emmett, both sent me a message saying that they were handing things at the office for me with my father even coming out of his retirement to handle some meetings. My mother was already on her way with some clothing for Sophia. After all of that, I called on one of the nurses and asked if Dr. Cullen was available. She in return, said she would page him and not even five minutes later, Carlisle walked in dressed in a pair of his signature scrubs.
"Spiderman?" I asked with a chuckle.
"The kids love it." He responded with a smile as he sat next to me.
"When can I take her home?" I asked after a few minutes of companionable silence.
"Tomorrow. We're waiting for her blood-alcohol levels to go down and then Dr. Norman will need to speak with her." He sighed. "Did she say anything?"
"Yeah." I nodded. "I got some things out of her. Apparently Alice went off again; insulted her….even went so far as to say she never wanted her. She said Alice even told her that I wouldn't want her; that she wasn't mine. Apparently that got to her the most and then she went for the alcohol. She said she had a glass of wine and then one turned to two and then she couldn't stop."
"So I take it the divorce is still full stream ahead?" He asked as he steepled his fingers.
"It always was." I groaned out. "But this is too much, padrino. How dare she say that to her? After everything I gave to them both, after all the love I showered them with…..how dare she say that to my daughter?"
"I know, son." He comforted as he placed his hand on my shoulder. "Did she talk about the tantrums?"
"I almost got her to talk but then she pulled away. I have Jenks looking into it, though. I asked Alice too. She mentioned that it would have all been different had she not been jealous of her."
"Who's her?" Carlisle asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't know but Sophia mentioned a woman too. She said that the woman would be disappointed in her if she had known what she did."
"Seems this mystery woman may be the key to what is going on with Sophia." He commented just as I got a message.
Grumbling softly, I pulled out my phone to see that it was a message from Jenks.
"Jenks is here. Do you mind if I meet him in your office?" I asked as I stood.
"No, go ahead. Esme is on her way with lunch and I told her I'll be waiting in Sophia's room."
"Thanks." I murmured as I hightailed it out of Sophia's room and into Carlisle's office where Jenks was already waiting.
"So what do you have?" I asked; taking a seat on the couch.
"You're not going to like it." He commented before handing me a very thick file. "When Sophia was born, Alice didn't want her and dropped her off two weeks later at the home of a Charles and Renee Swan in Forks, Washington."
"Her parents? I thought she was the only one left in her family. Hence the reason why she had no family at the wedding." I asked; shocked at what I was hearing.
"Well she lied. Sophia lived there for ten years off her life, until Alice brought her into your family." He summarized.
"So the she Sophie's been taking about is her grandmother?" I assumed.
"No. the she, Sophia's been taking about is her aunt, Isabella." He said handing me a picture of who I assumed was her aunt but what I held in my hand left me breathless.
"Gorgeous, isn't she. You are looking at Alice's younger sister. When Alice dropped off Sophia, Isabella was the one who for all intents and purposes became her mother. She was the one who did the late night feedings and doctor's appointments."
"She's the mother Sophia wanted Alice to call." I said softly to no one in particular.
"One could only assume so." Jenks said. "Sophia was ripped away from the only family she ever knew. Alice used money she got through you and dragged her sister through the mud to get Sophia back to play mummy knowing how much family meant to you all."
"Oh God. How is her family now?" I asked not even grasping all he was saying.
"Devastated. Shadows of their former selves from what I have heard. I even called the attorney who helped Alice get back Sophia. You know her, Maggie Wilson. She said that after having to watch two officers pull Sophia from Isabella's arms, she knew she had done the wrong thing but it was too late to do anything. The damage had been done."
"Thank you, Jenks." I said as I stood; picking up the file as well.
"Certainly, sir. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"Yes." I swallowed hard. "See to it that the Swan family is brought over here and also see if Isabella is able to stay with us for a while."
"Off course and would it be too much of a bother if the Mrs. and I visit Sophia later? Catherine is insane with worry."
"Once she's awake." I said; shaking his hand and went off to look of Alice. Surprisingly, I didn't have to search long because I found her taking comfort from my family in the waiting room.
"Working when your daughter is in the hospital?" Alice sneered when I entered.
"No, Alice." I said as I passed her the file; indicating that she should open the file. "I was just collecting something from Jenks."
When she opened the file, I have the brief satisfaction at watching as fear filled her eyes as she looked at what I had given to her.
"So Alice," I said as I looked down at her; making no attempt to hide the fury in my eyes, "why don't you tell everyone about your family? Especially Isabella…. you know the sister who basically raised Sophia."