A Family for Alice - Outtake 2
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I'm just playing with them.
This outtake is from Chapter 21. Disciplining her the one time she has needed it so far was heartbreaking.
"What time, Esme?"
"Two more hours, precious."
She sighs, climbing on the couch to lie over my lap. "That's so wong. I miss Carwile now."
"I know you do, baby. I miss him, too." I run my fingers through her dark hair and then pull her up so I can give her a hug. "But we can do something fun while we wait."
That suggestion makes her eyes brighten, and I have to laugh. Carlisle rarely works on the weekends now that we have Alice, but he was on call today and had to go in. His promise to bring home pizza made the day more enjoyable for a little while. Until we hit the boredom mark about an hour ago.
"What we gonna do, Esme?" Alice asks, placing her hands on my face to give me a kiss.
I give her three kisses in return, loving her sweet giggles. "I was thinking we could make Carlisle some cookies. Do you think he'd like that?"
"Yes! Carwile wuvs cookies wike chocowate chip. We can make some?"
"That's exactly what I was thinking. How about you clean up your toys while I get everything ready?" Thanks to the boredom, there's currently half of a toy box scattered around the living room.
Alice agrees to the deal, so after another hug and kiss, I head to the kitchen to get our ingredients ready. I never cleaned up from lunch, so that has to be taken care of first.
Fifteen minutes later, I walk back to the living room and am surprised to see that none of the toys have been moved and Alice is nowhere in sight.
"Alice," I call. "Baby, where'd you go?"
I hear her coming down the stairs, and when she comes back into the living room, her arms are full of more toys.
"Esme, my tea set goes with cookies. I can make Carwile some tea!"
"That sounds great," I agree. "But I asked you to pick up these other toys. Can you do that please before you get any others out?"
"But Esme," she whines. "I want to pway this now."
My eyes widen slightly. I'm not used to Alice acting like this – like a normal five-year-old. Part of me wants to smile and hug her because I'm so happy she feels comfortable enough here to express herself. But the other part of me – the part that is used to handling kindergarteners – knows this is a test for me. Being a parent includes the good and the bad, and Carlisle and I can't just let her get away with everything. We're definitely more lenient than we probably should be for valid reasons. But I don't think I can let her get away with this today.
"Precious, you can play with that as soon as you put these other toys away. Listen the first time, okay?"
"No," she says, dropping her tea set and stamping her foot.
I know exactly which classmate she got this behavior from, and I know she knows better. I'm only left with one other option.
"Alice," I say sternly but keeping my voice soft. "No, ma'am. We don't throw a fit when we don't get our way. Go up to your room and think for a few minutes. I'll be up soon."
I'm expecting her to be upset, maybe cry or continue with her tantrum. What I don't expect is for her to freeze and back away from me as her eyes fill with tears. The look on her face completely shatters my heart.
She's terrified. Of me.
"Alice," I say slowly, reaching one hand out for her. It only startles her, and her sobs begin as she turns around and runs upstairs.
"Oh no," I whisper to myself. "Oh no, oh God, oh no." I can barely see through my own tears as I search for my phone in the kitchen. I find it and manage to dial Carlisle's number before sinking to the floor.
He answers on the fourth ring. "Hey, wifey. How are my two favorite girls today? Hopefully I won't be here too much longer."
"Carlisle," I cry, not able to say anything else.
Nothing else needs to be said; he's on high alert right away. "Esme. What's going on? Is Alice okay? Talk to me, baby."
"Car . . . lisle. She had . . . tantrum and I sent her . . . and now . . . afraid . . . I don't . . . know . . ."
"Okay, baby, okay," he soothes. "Take a deep breath for me. Another one. Good. Now, can you start over? Alice had a tantrum?"
"Mmhmm." I nod even though he can't see me as I sniffle and try to control myself. "I asked her to clean up her toys three times, and she refused so I told her to go to her room and think. But she was terrified, Carlisle. She must think I'm a monster, too. How do I even fix this?"
"Okay," he says calmly. "First of all, I doubt she could ever see you as a monster. I bet she was just surprised because she's never gotten in trouble here before."
"Should I take it back?" I'm at such a loss, but I want to do whatever I can to fix this.
"I really don't think that would work. We have to start correcting her when she does wrong, so I think this is good. Wait as long as you were going to and go up and talk to her. When I get home we'll talk some more, but if you need me, call me again, okay? Will that work?"
I stand up and grab a napkin to wipe my face. "Yeah, that sounds good. Thank you, Carlisle. I love you so much."
He chuckles softly. "I love you, too, Wifey. Everything will be okay. Tell Allie cat I love her and will see her soon with pizza."
As soon as we hang up, I go to the bathroom to clean my face up a little more. I look as heartbroken as I feel, but I pull myself together enough to go upstairs.
I find Alice on her bed with her head buried in her pillow. Cautiously, I lie beside her and scoot closer to her. As soon as she notices me, she cuddles up to my side, and the relief I feel when she wraps her arms around me is indescribable.
"I sorry, Esme," she cries. Sorry sorry."
"Shhh." I hold her close and place several kisses on the top of her head. "It's okay, precious. It's okay. I forgive you."
She cries for a few more minutes, and silent tears leak out of my eyes as well. I'm still not sure of what to do, but the fact that she's letting me hold her is enough for now.
When she cries herself out, I wonder if she's asleep until she sits up to rub her eyes. She gives me a tentative smile, and I place my hands on either side of her face, even more relieved when she doesn't flinch away from me.
"I love you, Alice," I say, kissing her red nose and her sweet little lips.
"Wuv you, Esme," she whispers before crawling on top of me and lying down again.
I lie like that for a few more minutes and then take her into the bathroom so I can clean her face with a warm washcloth. With that taken care of, I grab a soft blanket and go down to the living room so we can cuddle in the big chair.
Alice is calm and relaxed in my arms, so I figure it's a good enough time for us to talk.
"Precious," I start softly. "I know you were scared of me, but you don't have to be. Carlisle and I would never ever hurt our precious girl. If we punish you, we'll never hit."
The fact that I'm having to have this conversation makes my stomach hurt, but I know it's important for her to understand.
"You know how at school when I'm Miss Cullen, when someone gets in trouble they move their name to a different color on the stoplight?"
She nods, cuddling closer. "Uh huh. I'm green."
"You are always on green, precious, because you're a good girl. But sometimes you won't always act like a good girl. Like today when you wouldn't pick up your toys when I asked you to."
"That's not nice," she says, looking up at me with big, solemn eyes. "I needa pick my toys up."
I smile and give her a kiss, pleased that even though she was afraid, she still thought about what she did and came to the right conclusion.
"That's right. So that was like going to a yellow light in school. And you know how every morning everyone is back to green? Well, you're back to green now because you said sorry and know what you did wrong. And that's all that will ever happen."
I let her digest this information, watching her face closely for any signs of her not understanding. She seems to be getting it, though.
"And Carlisle and I will always, always love you no matter what," I add. "There's nothing you could ever do to make us stop loving you."
"I wuv you too, Esme," she says, nuzzling her head against me. "Can I have cookies?"
I laugh, finally feeling the knot inside my chest start to resolve. "Of course you can, baby. I'll finish getting everything together while you clean up. Deal?"
She agrees and quickly slips out of my lap to start cleaning up her mess. I can tell there's still some fear motivating her, but we'll just have to deal with that later.
When she finishes, she joins me in the kitchen, and we manage to get two pans of cookies baked and cooling before Carlisle gets home.
"Where's my Allie cat?" he calls as he walks in the door. "I've got a cheesy pizza with her name on it."
I help her down from her spot on the counter, and she giggles as she runs to him. I can't hear them greet each other, but after a few minutes they join me in the kitchen. Carlisle has his arms full with Alice in one and pizza in the other, but he doesn't look like he could be any happier. At least until I take the pizza from him and claim his other side.
"I've been waiting for this all day," he says as he hugs us both and alternates giving us kisses.
The laughter and smiles continue as we sit together and eat our pizza and then when we have a tea party with our chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Carlisle volunteers for both dinner clean up and bath time, but I stay in the bathroom with them while they play pirates. It's too entertaining to not watch.
Once we're all in our pajamas and ready for bed, we all lay in Alice's bed with the chosen book. But before we read, we talk to Alice again about what happened today. Carlisle basically says the same things I did, but I know it's good for us to repeat this. And we'll keep saying it until we don't have to anymore.
Alice is going to act like a five-year-old, and that's good. Everyone makes mistakes, and even though she's afraid of doing just that, it's unavoidable. She has us, though, and I so hope that helps her transition to a more normal childhood.
Alice falls asleep with a smile on her face before we even finish the book. After making sure her nightlight is on, we sneak out and go downstairs to cuddle on the couch. Carlisle wraps me in his arms and kisses my temple.
"Thank you," I say, throwing my legs over his lap. "For earlier. I couldn't have done it without you."
"You don't ever have to thank me for that, wifey. I'll always be here to support you. And I think you did perfectly. Alice seemed to really understand what we told her."
I sigh. "I don't think it's enough, though. We love her, and that's helping so much. There's no way to deny that. But I think she needs more than that."
"So . . . like what? A therapist?" he asks. "Isn't she a little too young for therapy?"
I shrug. "Maybe a family counselor would help. There's no way for us to know what all she has going through her head. I imagine some of it is completely terrifying." I shudder just thinking about what horrors that precious girl has seen and experienced in her short life.
"Let's look for one then," Carlisle says, kissing me again. "We'll keep on loving her like we are, but I think it's okay that we can't do everything ourselves."
I nod in agreement.
"And, we already have a village going on with our family," he adds with a laugh. "We'll just add one more to it. Allie cat won't have any choice but to be even more loved and perfect."
I laugh with him and am not surprised that my wonderful husband has made me feel even better. We made it over this hurdle, not completely unscathed, but still hopefully stronger for it. Alice knows we love her and for tonight, that's definitely enough.
A/N: I started posting this fic one year ago today, so I decided to celebrate with an outtake. I hope you all enjoyed it!
Hopefully I'll be able to get some more outtakes written in less time than it took for this one. Feel free to refresh my memory with your requests.
Lots of thanks to MelissaMargaret and anhanninen for being awesome like they always are.
And lots of thanks to you guys for sticking with me even when I'm super fail. =)