Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Rating is due to talk of rape and suicide.
Beta'd by the very kickass TwiDi
Was part of the Fandom For Texas compilation.
When I was fourteen, my parents died; a car crash that had changed my world. Peter and Charlotte Brandon were never given the chance to tell me that I was adopted. Instead, a bitter old woman that I once loved and called Grandma told me as I stood beside their graves—watching their bodies be lowered into the ground—that I wasn't her grandchild and that I could go back to where I'd came from. According to her, my parents would have still been alive if they had never adopted me. Still, I didn't understand how a drunk driver running over into their lane was my fault. Even the court had appointed a therapist that assures me that it was not.
After the funeral, I was put into foster care; moving from one family to another for the next two years. I was lucky that none of the horror stories of abuse happened to me while in the state's care. I never felt like a member of their families, but then again, I never felt like some pervert was going to molest me in my sleep.
At the age of sixteen my life changed forever, again. While walking home from school, a car started hydroplaning wet roads of my hometown in Seattle and almost slammed into me. The driver had rushed over to me; and I looked into the face of Esme Cullen for the first time. Even though I assured her that I was fine, she still called nine-one-one and rode with me in the ambulance. There she demanded that her husband come to do my check up. Later, I'd found out that he was the Chief of Staff at the hospital, and a brilliant surgeon. At that time, I'd just thought he was hot, and really, really nice. After wrapping my sprained wrist he inquired if anyone had notified my parents about what had happened; and was outraged when he found out that 'said parents' had told the head nurse that I should catch the bus home and that they'd see me later. I explained that the couple had five other foster children and couldn't really toss everything aside for my sprained wrist. Dr. Cullen pulled his wife out of the room saying they needed to talk for a moment. Half an hour later they drove me home together. Two months after that, they had finished going through all the legal loop holes to become my parents, and for my 17th birthday I became Alice Cullen.
The benefits of being a Cullen had far exceeded the 'having my own bedroom' and 'credit card' concepts that came with moving in with them. I got a home for the first time in ages. I gained parents and a sweet older brother who welcomed me to the family by giving me a really cool tricked out laptop. My older brother, Edward, was 27 when I'd first met him. Around 10 years my senior, he still lived close by our parents. Meaning he lived in the guest house in the backyard and called it his crib. A genius when it comes to computers, and as handsome as his— I mean our father… but Edward didn't really socialize. Esme was always trying to hook him up with some pretty girl from a good family, only to have him dismiss her because she didn't know the difference between ROM and RAM. He claims that this was basic computer 101; and that he could never be with a girl who didn't understand computers—at least on the basic level.
Edward's computer genius-ness came in handy on my 18th birthday when I'd told him that I really wanted to know who my biological parents were as a gift. He hacked a few servers and a couple of mainframes and was able to come up with a final list of possible biological mothers. Due to records not being completely computerized at the time in the small town I was born in, he wasn't able to give me an exact name. However, four names stuck out. All four had given birth either a day before or on the day of my birthday. All four had female babies up for adoption.
The first on the list was Heidi Santos. After meeting the almost six-foot tall woman, and finding out that she had an open adoption and knew her child, I wrote her off the list. Next I met with Gina Miles, though it was quick to see I wasn't Ms. Miles's daughter either, seeing as I'm pasty white and she has this awesome coco colored skin. She was nice though, and told me she hopes one day to meet her daughter. Heather Morgan was number three, and she rudely told me there was no way her perfect genes were passed on to a shorty like me. She informed me that her baby was over 10 pounds at birth and 21 inches long. The way she rambled off facts with pain in her eyes nearly crushed me. Even if she was a rude bitch, it was clearly because she missed her baby. Mina James, my last hope was Asian, so after meeting her I felt my hopes crash.
At least until a month later when Edward walked into my room and tossed a file on my bed.
"I think this one is it…" he trailed off and I opened it up to see what he was so excited about. She was perfect! This had to be her. It fit—it all fit.
"You…" I couldn't talk, I was so excited.
"Want me to drive?" Nodding, I rushed into his arms and squeezed him for all I was worth. This had to be her.
Another year. Another rainy Thanksgiving with the more functional side of my family. My new sister-in-law Rose once again is bitching about the Crowley's, who she works for, and how they are going to bankrupt their car dealership/repair shop. My brother Emmett, pretending to listen to her as he scopes out the food I'm putting on the table. My Dad checking in at the station to make sure everything is still calm. Not that much happens in Forks on Thanksgiving. Except, that one year Mike Newton got into his Dad's liquor cabinet and ran streaking down Main Street. I'm still wishing I had eye bleach from that spectacle.
"Earth to Bella." Em snaps his fingers in front of my face, pulling me out of my thoughts and back to placing the sweet potato casserole on the table.
"Sorry, did you say something?" I ask and he laughs.
"Yeah, kid, I asked if you needed any help."
"Could you grab the turkey?" He pats my head, and rushes off to get the main part of the meal.
"Bella, are you ok?" Rose asks, and I smile.
"I'm fine. Just tired. I've been up since five this morning getting everything ready. And I didn't get to sleep last night till around one." My ex thought it would be fun to keep calling me all night, begging me to come back to him.
"Are you going to be up to going to P.A. in the morning for some Black Friday shopping? Wal-mart has laptops on sale and I have my eye on one for Em," she whispers.
"I'm there. They have that buy-one-get-one-on-flannel shirts and fishing rods half-off, so one stop shopping and I have Dad done for Christmas."
"I swear that man has more flannel than a lumberjack." She rolls her eyes laughing. I nod in agreement.
"He does love to rock out in his flannel. I'm still surprised he didn't wear it to your wedding." We both laugh at that, remembering how uncomfortable Dad seemed in his suit, tie and plain white shirt.
"Good times?" Em asks, placing the food on the table.
"Yep," I assure him.
"Food ready?" Dad asks as he pulls up a seat. With that we say grace and get our Thanksgiving on, so the guys can watch the game while scarfing pie.
"I spent way too much money." I groan as Rose and I fight the other exiting shoppers to get out of Wal-Mart's parking lot.
"Girl, I know what you mean. Master Card just loves me at Christmas time. I charge it with the best of them this time of the year."
"I actually didn't charge anything this year, amazingly. I put twenty five dollars away a month since December last year, and added to it when I had some extra left over. I ended up with a nice tidy sum for buying gifts, without having to worry about owing someone for it."
"That's actually a really great idea Bells." She looks thoughtfully at the road. "I think Em and I might do that for next year. We have the house down payment fund, but honestly cutting out using the cards will help us out with securing a mortgage in the long run."
"Yeah, it will. Between the two of you though, I'm sure you'll get a mortgage with no problem."
"God, I hope so, living in that one bedroom apartment is getting old. I want a yard so I can make Em cut the grass shirtless."
"Eww, Rose! That is just nasty, that's my big brother you are talking about undressing!" I complain, but laugh all the same. The rest of the drive home is much of the same; Rose talking about what they want in a house and me being supportive.
"I'll call you later," she says as she drops me off at home. I wave and run inside to start wrapping my gifts before nosey nelly—a.k.a. Charlie—gets home. I swear he is worse than a little kid when it comes to Christmas presents.
"Hey, Deke," I greet the old dog lying on the floor. About five years ago, Dad decided he needed a hunting dog. Went out and actually paid for a blood hound. That is how we got a very cute three month old Deke. Deke should also be called the worst blood hound in the world. Unless it's in his dish, or he is hunting for someone to mooch from, Deke doesn't hunt. One time, Dad tried to take him hunting and Deke refused to get out of the truck. The next time Dad got him out of the car and Deke ran crying away from a squirrel. That's about the time Deke became a fishing dog, he gets in the boat and sleeps while Dad fishes. It works for them. He also sucks as a guard dog. Someone knocks, or you hear a noise, Deke gives a half assed bark then goes back to sleep. But you can't help but love the old guy.
"Look what I got you," I taunt him with a can of his favorite beef dog food. His tail thumps on the floor and he sits up giving two good barks. Because he puts so much effort into it, I pat his head and go dish up his yummies for him. When a knock sounds at the door, he gives half a bark then wraps himself protectively around the bowl. "Yeah, Deke, they came to steal your food," I tell him sarcastically.
I pop the door open only to see a short girl I'd never seen before in my life. Forks is small; and I know or have seen everyone in town. Her, on the other hand, I've never seen. I feel a little uneasy, I'm not big on strangers but it is likely that she just got lost and needed directions.
"Hi, can I help you?" She looks up at me with deep brown eyes.
"Isabella Swan?" I nod, and she fidgets and twists her fingers in her black hair. "The Isabella Swan who gave birth to a baby girl eighteen years ago yesterday?"
I can feel the color drain from my face and I step back ready to shut the door. I look at the dark haired girl and shake my head in the negative.
"I'm only thirty-two years old. I think you have me mixed up with someone else." Her face falls and I almost go to comfort her, before pulling back.
"But… but… it has to be you. We look so much alike," she cries out and takes a breath, looking me in the eyes. "I'm your daughter," she says with certainty.
"I don't have a daughter," I tell her with as much certainty, "I think you should go," I tell her gently, shutting the door. Walking over, I dial my brother's phone number. "Emmett..." I cry out, feeling the world go black.
When I woke up Emmett was sitting in Dad's recliner, beside the sofa where I was stretched out. I told him all about the strange encounter with the girl and he encouraged me not to worry about it. He stayed until Dad got home from work before going to pick Rose up at the garage.
Charlie and I had pizza for dinner, because I just wasn't up for cooking. It's not every day that a girl comes to the door and accuses you of being her Mother. It's not every day that you have to think about the past, and things you just don't want to remember.
Monday dawned bright. The sun peeking through the clouds and I hoped that it was a good omen that the week was going to be good. I met Emmett in the break room at work and we made plans to eat lunch together. I still love that we both were hired by Forks Elementary school. Emmett being the well loved boy's gym coach and me being one of two kindergarten teachers. Mrs. Webber, Pastor Webber's wife was the other one. Though she had told me many times to call her Paula, it felt weird after around thirty years of calling her Mrs. Webber.
My class was full of stories about Thanksgiving. Little Claire Marsh told us all about her Granny who kept pooting (in grown up speak, farting). Claire was absolutely fascinated by the noise and smell. I blame her two older brothers that she spends most of her time with. I had them both in my class and I swear farting/passing gas was the highlight of their days.
Lunch passed quickly. Emmett and I slipped out to go to Jake Black's deli/coffee shop. Jake is a childhood friend and we tried to give his new business venture as much business as possible. Luckily the food is great, so it isn't a hardship. Though, I could do without his wife Leah trying to hook me up with her slimy cousin Paul. The man has anger management problems that I just don't want to deal with.
Back at work, the day passed quickly and I was able to finish up all my paperwork and get home before 4:30. I decided to surprise Dad with his favorite beef stroganoff, and started cooking so it would be ready when he got home at 8. Deke's half bark got my attention. I tried to see what the lazy butt was barking at, and figured it out when a knock sounded at the door. I must have missed the first one. I quickly made it to the door, opening it and trying to stop my jaw from dropping. He had to be the most beautiful man in the world.
"Isabella Swan?" The beautiful stranger asks me.
"Yes," I'm able to get out past my drool.
"My name is Edward Cullen, I was wondering if I could have a few moments of your time?" His warm, silky and sexy as hell voice makes me nod and open the door wider. I may or may not have been thinking about spreading my legs wide for him as well. "Hey boy," he greets Deke who's sitting beside the sofa.
"Umm… what is this about?" And my brain starts functioning a little bit. He sits on the sofa and I sit in Dad's chair. He pulls a folder out and places it in my lap. I didn't even notice him carrying it before; that's how mind-fucked his hotness had left me.
"Ms. Swan, a few days ago my sister stopped by your house," he pauses and I get the image of the small dark-haired girl in my mind. "Alice is impulsive and tends to speak without thinking completely. I'm worried that she may have scared you off. You see, we have reason to believe that you are her biological mother."
"I'm…" he puts his hand up to stop me.
"Ms. Swan, let me assure you that Alice only would like to meet you. She in no way wants to take away from your life now, and she isn't out for money. Alice has had a very difficult life. Her original adoptive parents were killed, and she was passed through foster homes before my parents finally met her, and subsequently adopted her," he pauses and I take my chance.
"Mr. Cullen, she isn't my daughter," I state firmly, "she is someone else's baby, not mine."
"Isabella, I hope I can call you that, five women gave birth and put their daughters up for adoption in the time frame surrounding Alice's birth. Four of them were easy to find, while the one attached to your name was a hidden adoption, I'm assuming because of your age at the time. The other four have all been eliminated as possible birth-mothers based on solid evidence. Of all the candidates, you are the one who seems the most likely as Alice's biological mother."
"Except for one thing," I deadpan.
"What is that?"
"I'm not hers nor am I anyone else's parent. I'm thirty-two years old, never married, without any kids. While, yes I've dated—I was… what thirteen or fourteen when your sister was born? My father is the Chief of Police, do you really think that anyone would have been stupid enough to try and have sex with me at that age?" I glare at the hotness before me.
"Would you be willing to submit to a DNA test?" Seriously?
"Dude, listen to me, she is not my daughter. No, I won't take your test. Nor will I be subjected to any more of this nonsense." I stand up. He may be pretty, but really all this drama is too much and I really hate thinking about things that happened eighteen years ago. "I think you should leave, Mr. Cullen."
"Isabella, if you are so sure that you are not Alice's mother, how would taking a DNA test hurt?" he asks, towering over me.
"What good would it do? It's a waste of time, money and emotions that are not needed. Read my lips, she isn't mine. And I would recheck your documentation, because the information in your file that has my name on it is false." I walk away and open the front door. "I'm going to say 'goodbye' one more time, Mr. Cullen, before I give my dog the order to attack." He doesn't need to know that Deke would just rush to his food dish to 'attack'. At least the dog looks like he is a guard dog.
"This isn't over, Isabella," he warns before leaving. I watch him through the peep hole as he gets into a sleek BMW—that probably cost more than what Emmett and I make in a year combined—and drives off. Walking to the phone, I dialed a number I never thought I would call again.
"I need you; someone is sniffing around about what happened eighteen years ago."
"I'll get the next flight out," was the only reply before the phone clicked. Sighing, I hung up the phone and walked into the kitchen to find Charlie's whiskey. It was going to be a long night.
December came in with wet snow, and no new answers. Edward even tried to get Isabella to talk to me and failed. I don't think I can remember Edward ever failing at anything. Heck, I can't recall Edward getting turned down by a female for anything before.
"Alice, maybe you should just let her be," Mom says in her sweet voice.
"I need to know, Mom. At this point I can't figure out why she is denying it. I mean, I get that she put me up for adoption, but she could just say that. I just want to confirm who she is. Plus, someday I'm going to have kids of my own and I'd like to have the family medical history." I point out.
"Wouldn't that be with your adoption records? It seems to me that family records came with the adoption papers when we finalized them." She is tapping her chin with her left index finger in thought.
Soon we are in Dad's study, trying to find the paperwork. After about an hour of going through Carlisle's mass chaos of an 'organizational system', we find the folder with my paper work in it. I try to find anything that might somehow confirm Isabella as my biological mother. But none of this really seems to do that. It basically says that mother is healthy white female; family has no history of certain cancers and about some heart defect.
"Dad, you have to see this!" I hear Edward shouts and I look up to see him laughing in the doorway. Dad gets to the doorway and starts laughing too. Mom and I look at each other and I think at the same time realize that we are surrounded by loose papers, our hair is messy and Mom has ink on her chin. We start giggling along with the guys.
"What in the world are you ladies doing?" Dad asks through his laugh.
"We found the family medical report with my adoption papers. We were just trying to see if there was anything on it that we can use to help."
"Can I see that?" Edward asks. I hand it to him and he grins.
"I can work with this," he says excitedly.
"Edward, hacking medical databases is a felony," Dad informs him in a strict voice.
"They'd have to catch me." He rushes out of the room and I take pause to look at Dad and he just rolls his eyes before motioning me to follow Edward. I rush over, kiss his cheek and dash up out the backdoor towards the guesthouse—a.k.a. Edward's Crib—to see what the genius has come up with.
To say my Dad was pissed about our houseguest was an understatement. In fact, when he laid eyes on Renee, I believe he even growled. My Mother was not Dad's favorite person. Hell, she wasn't any of ours. In my thirty-two years, I've probably spent the equivalent of two of them actually in my Mother's presence. However, due to the past being dug up, I needed her here right now.
"So, this girl and her brother keep showing back up?" Renee asks for the fifth time. My poor flighty Mother, she really doesn't retain things well if they weren't 100% about her.
"Renee, damn it, Bella has said that I don't know how many times," Charlie shouts, slamming his fist on the kitchen table.
"Oh, hush, Charlie, I'm just getting all the facts straight." Renee huffs. "Why don't you just tell them what they want to hear, so they'll go away?"
"I'm not going to lie to them, Renee, nor do I want to open up a bucket of worms. Alice, the girl, she'll want more than just knowing. If she really believed me to be her Mother, she would keep coming at me for the rest of my life to try and have some kind of a relationship."
"But, Bella, you're not her mother," Charlie reminds me.
"Dad…" I say with a sigh.
"Bella, just let them do their DNA test."
"No, Dad, I don't want my DNA out in databases like that. Nor do I want to have some gossip at Forks Hospital see me come in for such testing. Plus, we don't know what the results would say."
"Bella, I honestly don't know what to tell you." Renee huffs.
"Baby girl, I wish I could…" Dad is cut off by the doorbell. "It's probably your brother." He heads to the door, leaving Renee and I staring at each other in silence.
"How is Emmett?" Renee asks about her first born.
"Fine, married now. He sent the invitation to your P.O. Box, I guess you didn't get it."
"Sit." Dad is commanding and I look back to see the Pretty boy Edward and Alice.
"Shit." I can't help but mutter out loud.
"Bella," Dad says in a firm voice and then pointedly looks at the interlopers. "Tell them."
"Alice, I'm not now, nor have I ever been your mother." She glares a little bit at me.
"Why are you lying? I have proof, solid medical proof that you are my Mom!" She pulls out another manila folder identical in style to the one Edward left earlier that I had yet to read. "Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, my biological mother listed this on the family medical history. Franklin Higginbottom, your grandfather, had a severe case of the disease and died. It is a genetic heart disorder, a very rare one at that.
"How the hell did you get my Father-in-laws's medical records?" Dad demands, looking livid.
"Google?" She replies looking sheepish.
"I ought to lock your little ass up in jail. A, for harassing my daughter; and b, for illegally accessing medical files."
"Mr. Swan, Grandfather, please don't. Just hear me out. I can understand with Isabella being so young when I was born that the family doesn't want that out. I swear, I'm not here to hurt anyone, I just need the truth."
"Young lady, we are not your grandparents. Unless, my son's wife is with child we have no grandchildren!" Renee shouts, stepping away from the table.
"Submit to the DNA test and we'll walk away, no matter the results," Alice says. "I'll have my answers, and you'll have a life without having to worry about an unwanted child." Her voice laced with hurt and bitterness, I can't help but feel sorry for her.
"Alice…" I trail off with a sigh and Dad jumps up and starts pacing.
"She's not your mother, biological or otherwise," he says slowly. "A DNA test is just going to confuse you."
"Dad, you can't," I beg him and he shakes his head.
"She deserves to know, Bella."
"He's right, Bella." Renee looks so sad. "She went through a lot, and I have this feeling she has broken a lot of laws to get this far in her search."
"Please," Alice begs.
"Isabella, put yourself in my sister's shoes. How would you feel not knowing the truth about where you came from? She deserves to know, you know this," Edward states, his green eyes staring deeply into mine.
"Daddy, I can't." My Dad walks over and stands behind me, placing his warm loving hands on my shoulders.
"Almost nineteen years ago James Nash, a known felon and serial rapist, escaped from custody in Port Angeles. He and his accomplice Laurent St. John, ended up in Forks and took a group of girls having a slumber party hostage." Charlie takes a deep breath before he continues. "Eight young girls, ages eleven to fifteen were celebrating spring break. The fifteen year old was babysitting until the parent came back from taking his son to a baseball game. The criminals picked the house on purpose, because it was the home of the arresting officer. Nash took his time destroying each girl; in the end only six girls lived. He killed two of them when they tried to fight his sick games. Three girls ended up pregnant with that demon's baby. The pregnancies were hidden so that Nash couldn't find out about his spawn. Renee's younger sister Kate was the fifteen year old babysitter, and the only one of the three pregnant girls to give birth to a baby girl."
"Oh my God!" Alice exclaims, covering her mouth.
"Kate killed herself her freshman year of college. She was never able to get over the rape, never able to heal." Charlie squats down in front of Alice. "A DNA test would show a link to Bella, but she isn't your Mother."
"He saved me for last, making me watch, telling me it was because of my Father. Before he could rape me, a sharp shooter found a shot and killed Laurent, causing James to panic and try to run. He ran, taking Kate as his hostage. He was shot in his right shoulder, and lived. He's on death row in the Washington State Penitentiary. He keeps trying to appeal his conviction, claiming he was insane and Laurent was the real ring leader. Because we were minors when it happened our names and locations never made the media, never made the Seattle news because it was pretty much covered up." I explain.
"Alice, we didn't want to tell you this, kept hoping you'd give it up, sweetheart. Besides the fact that Bella doesn't like to talk about her past, we had to let you know that your father is a murderer and a child rapist and that your biological mother killed herself because of the things he did to her." Dad fills in.
"I'm so sorry," she whispers in a small voice.
"Never blame yourself," I tell her firmly. "James Nash is a disgusting excuse for a human being, but you are not him. Katie was wonderful, full of life and love. He took that from her. Don't let him take that from you too."
"She's right, Alice. Don't let the bastard have any power over you. That would be letting him win, letting his crimes against your Mother continue. I'm sure she'd never want you to lose yourself, or blame yourself because of the past and because of James." Edward pulls his sister into a warm hug. "I think we should go home now, Ali. Let everyone calm down and think things through."
"Alice, please listen to your brother. It's not your fault. Take some time and work things through. If you need to talk, I'm here." I assure her, though I'm not sure why I'm opening myself up to talking about the past. I guess it's because she is actually my cousin, and I still miss her Mom to this day.
"Can we keep in touch?" She asks in a small voice and I nod.
"Yeah, we can keep in touch," I assure her.
"Thanks, Isabella." She rushes over and pulls me into a hug.
"You're welcome, Alice, and I guess you should call me Bella, I mean since we are family and all." She squeals a little.
"Family. I like that, being family with all of you."
"Me too, Alice, me too." And in that moment it was the truth. I really was happy to have this piece of Kate back, and this piece of family in my life. And of course, the hottie that is her brother wasn't a bad addition to my life either.
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