A/N: I have been holding on to this story for quite some time, though I have no idea why. I really do love it and hope others give it a chance too. *Fingers crossed*
-Il Demone Bellissima-
*Chapter 1 – Edward's Great Expectations*
Thursday Night - Edward's Point of View
"When are you going to be home, Carlisle? We all really want to meet our new sister," Rosalie said excitedly, though clearly nervous over the arrival of the newest Cullen.
"What's got you so worked up, Rosie? Can't wait to braid her hair, paint her toes, and have naked pillow fights," teased Emmett. I rolled my eyes at my single-minded brother's comment. Emmett barely flinched when Rosalie smacked the back of his head, feigning hurt with a silly smirk on his face.
Their relationship always seemed to devolve into sex one way or another, but I knew the truth about how completely in love they truly were. My giant brother was eternally entranced by his beautiful wife despite her constant irritation with him. Conversely, Rosalie adored her husband because he never judged her harshly for her emotionality; instead he seemed to love her more for it. I had been idealizing my perfect companion for so long that finding myself on the cusp of all that I stood to gain with the arrival of our new sister, Rose and Emmett's strange relationship took on a whole different meaning to me.
"I just have a good feeling about my new sister. I mean a newborn choosing to be a vegetarian amongst human-drinkers shows some serious balls. I can respect that. Plus that will make the boys vs. girls ratio around here perfectly even," she explained confidently.
Emmett scoffed. "Even if there were twenty guys to you three ladies, we would still lose the vote. I'm not too embarrassed to admit I know when to let my woman win in the interest of 'Little Emmett' winning in private. He's definitely not a sore loser. Well, maybe he'd be sore if I was human, but…"
"We don't need to hear details about 'Little Emmett'. The lust he induces is plenty for me," Jasper complained, thankfully breaking Emmett's train of thought.
"Jealous, Jazz?" Emmett asked jokingly. I couldn't help but notice the almost imperceptible nod of Jasper's head and bittersweet side-long glance at Alice.
Everyone in the family knew Alice was withholding on Jasper: both physically and emotionally, and had been for a very long time. Although the deterioration of their marriage had been evident for more than the past fifteen years, the week before Carlisle left for Italy things took a turn for the worst.
When Alice's visions became erratic and spotty just before our "father" was summoned to Volterra, my psychic sister was beyond frustrated. She took it out on everyone around her - especially Jasper. Though her odd behavior became almost like a routine over the past few years, it had been getting progressively worse since moving to Forks. That fact alone proved ironic since it was Alice who had adamantly insisted we move here in the first place. Carlisle had made the case that the Quileutes wouldn't make things easy for us despite the longstanding treaty we had forged with the wolves, but Alice practically had a temper tantrum stating that "we have to be in Forks or everything will be ruined".
In the past, Alice's behavior only became that petulant when she would be hit with an intense vision about something she found tremendously distressing. On several of these occasions she wouldn't share her thoughts or offer an explanation for the panic Jasper deemed to be hitting her with the force of a tsunami. No matter how much I tried to persuade her to share, she fully concentrated on blocking her mind from me, effectively rendering my gift useless in gaining insight into her erratic behavior. What made matters worse was that she would subsequently lock herself in her room only to come out after a day or two looking very relieved while acting as if she hadn't behaved strangely at all.
Most notably, Alice had an "episode", the most severe one to date, which was so lengthy that we were all concerned for her mental health. Thankfully it occurred over the holiday break from school in November so there was no need to explain her extended absence to the administrative office. When she finally left her self-imposed isolation, abounding with apologies for her past behavior and ready to return to school after Thanksgiving Break, I grew concerned for my sister after reading Jasper's mind. He was disturbed by the sense of accomplishment he felt coming from Alice when she left her room on that occasion, something we never could explain.
Jasper had determined his estranged wife's emotions conveyed such a strong sense of triumph that it bordered on the peculiar, especially since Alice had been involved in an emotional overload for close to a week despite the casual manner in which she tried to move past the incident afterwards. He and I never spoke about it specifically, but I knew he was keeping a peripheral view on the situation and that made me feel better. Despite my qualms with my potentially violent brother, he remained a loyal and vigilante protector of our entire family. It was good that all of the atrocities he had committed in his life before coming to the Cullens could be helpful in times of strife. It was one of his most redeeming qualities actually.
A few weeks after the incident I asked Alice what was troubling her since her mind still seemed unusually guarded from me. She was very cryptic about what had occurred during that enigmatic week and promised it was absolutely the last time she would ever have to endure those types of visions again. She said everything had finally worked out and the "problem" had been "taken care of" even though she wouldn't specify what the issue was in the first place. However profound Alice's visions had been, she blocked them from me at every turn, stating that "what was done was done" and she had "a brighter future to look forward to now".
Ignoring my thoughts on Alice's strange behavior and the current side-conversation between Em and Rose, I tried to refocus my siblings on the point of Carlisle's call. "Anyway," I announced in annoyance, "I'm sure she will need time to acclimate to the idea of being around humans since she'll be attending school with us so soon, as per your wishes of course." I was pleasantly surprised how successfully I maintained a respectful tone with my father while I was passively attempting to question my new sister's ability to assume a human role without incident. How could she be expected to attend high school like my father intended so soon after leaving the depravities of Volterra? The amount of faith he was putting in her was absolutely ridiculous considering he had only known her for around six weeks total.
"That won't be an issue at all, Son. Our little one has absolutely no interest in human blood. It's actually more like she has an aversion to it. In fact that was a major part of her issue living in Volterra, but we're definitely not going to get into that over the phone. Please just get the requisite paperwork tomorrow and let them know she will be there on Monday. And to answer your question, Rosalie, we will be arriving sometime in the next few days, more than likely tomorrow night if everything goes as planned."
"Is she there now? We would love to talk to her," Esme asked with a beaming smile as she met the eyes of her other surrogate "children". My mother couldn't wait to meet the girl that had captured my father's attention so whole-heartedly. 'I know he's attached to all of our children, but I can tell that she's different… My new daughter needs a mother so badly. She's vulnerable and innocent, but Carlisle says she's incredibly powerful too… I hope she accepts me. It's nice to be needed.'
I must have given Esme a curious look after picking up her thoughts because she smiled pleasantly before switching her mind over to gardening techniques to cover up something I obviously wasn't supposed to know. I was certain Carlisle must have secretly shared more information with his wife than he had with the rest of us since we all thought the newest Cullen was just an ordinary orphaned newborn vampire who was surprisingly interested in our vegetarian lifestyle. He hadn't even shared her name with the rest of us yet, wanting her to make her own introductions to the family when they finally arrived on their extremely indirect route back.
"Sorry, Esme, but she went out dancing in town with the Denali sisters. They said they wanted to give her a 'proper send-off' and won't be back for some time. The Denalis have really taken to her, as I'm sure you all will too." As much as I respected our family's patriarch, I couldn't help but wonder how Carlisle could be so reckless as to let a newborn go into town being supervised by three sex-crazed vampires?
"Woah Dad, did you really let a baby vampire run off alone with three succubae?" Emmett asked incredulously, almost like he read my mind.
"Don't worry, Emmett, she's very responsible and is quite capable of keeping herself safe. You'll just have to trust me on that for now though. Besides, if anything she will be a good influence on the Denali girls. Now, I really must be getting back to Carmen and Eleazar now. We will see you all very soon. Stay safe, my family," he said solemnly before ending the call.
Alice slipped into a vision the moment Carlisle disconnected the phone. All I could make sense of from her hasty thoughts were palm trees and rack after rack of clothes and shoes. When she regained her focus, she turned to Rosalie with a knowing smirk.
"I know you're going to be a little disappointed, but it looks like we're going to miss their arrival tomorrow, Rose. There's going to be a big storm over California for the next week which will provide plenty of cloud cover for us to finally visit. You and I won't get another chance to shop Rodeo Drive like this for a very long time if we don't take advantage now. We'll have to miss a few days of school next week, but we'll just say it was for the flu since it has been going around. I know you must be as sad as I am not to be here to meet our new sister, but this is perfect timing for the new spring season clothing lines to be released," Alice spoke rapidly, completely ignoring Rose's uncomfortable expression.
I already assumed that Rose's overwhelming excitement for the female newborn coming to live with us stemmed from having another opportunity to have the sister she always wanted but could never find in Alice. Alice had always been closer to me than she was even with her own husband so I was a little confused at her sudden enthusiasm to take Rose away at a time when so much was happening in the Cullen household. It was clear, however, Alice was very enthusiastic about getting away.
"Oh, well that kinda sucks since I was really looking forward to meeting her tomorrow-ish. Um, alright I guess. I have wanted to shop the L.A. boutiques for a while now. When do we leave? Maybe we should bring Em's Jeep so we have room for all of our packages," Rose stated, her voice strained.
"In two hours and we should just take separate cars so we can go to different stores and have plenty of room for our bags," Alice answered quickly, annoyed at her reluctant sister's half-hearted agreement. Rosalie nodded in understanding, thinking she was glad she wouldn't have to chit-chat with Alice for hours on the way there if they were in different vehicles. Mentally preparing herself for the physical and emotional pain of the mating pull which came from leaving Emmett behind, she hurriedly grabbed his hand to drag him to their bedroom for a quick romp before her departure.
As soon as Rose and Em shut their door, Jasper glanced at me before turning his attention completely to his estranged wife. "Why did you lie to Rose just now, Alice?" Jasper asked her quietly. "You're not sad about missing their arrival at all. In fact, you're… relieved, jealous, and so full of hatred that I'm actually kind of speechless. What the hell is going on with you?"
"Leave it alone, okay? I just don't want her here," Alice snapped.
"Why not?" Jasper asked, confused. "We don't know anything about her yet - not even her name. How can you so blindly hate someone you don't even know?"
"Fine!" Alice huffed, "She's the reason my visions have been so messed up lately. I'm sure of it. I see everyone together and then the spotty parts happen when she is nearby. I know she lives here because I've seen her room, but she's never in my visions directly… ever. No one is when she's around. When Carlisle got the call to go to Italy to… retrieve her, I thought she would just provide some entertainment for you all and then things would go back to normal, but this girl's wrecking things for me too!"
"Too? What are you talking about? Who else are you talking about?" I asked, taking in her wild eyed expression.
"It doesn't matter anymore. I just don't want to be replaced or forgotten because of this new girl," Alice said with an accusatory look to both me and Jasper. "I can already see the rest of you enjoying everything about your new little playmate and I don't like being cast aside. None of you seem to even care that my visions are disrupted by her. Don't I matter too?" My brother looked at Alice with more sympathy than I had seen from him towards her in a long time. He felt bad for her insecurity, but focused on the portion of her feelings that made him worried that her wounded behavior was a carefully calculated manipulation as he believed most things were in their marriage.
Getting the gist of her emotional palate from reading the mind of my suddenly tongue-tied empathic brother, I addressed Alice myself. I made sure to remain mindful of the frustration I would undoubtedly feel from losing my own inherent power since it had become such an engrained part of me. "Have you seen all of that in a vision, Alice, or are you just being paranoid?" I asked, carefully choosing my words to avoid any kind of inferred insult to the hot-tempered pixie.
Knowing his estranged wife always relied too heavily on her gift to interact with others, I could hear in his thoughts that Jasper didn't know what to say to avoid Alice's temper either. She had changed so much in the last few years that it was difficult to know what would set her off anymore. Sending out a blanket of calm, Jasper said evenly, "I'm sorry you feel that way, Alice. But don't you think we should at least give her a chance first? It's not like she's doing it on purpose, and maybe with practice she can learn to control it. You just need to look on the brighter side of things until then. Besides the fact that Esme hasn't been this happy in years, Rosalie's already been in such a better mood with the idea of a baby sister for her to play with that her usually heavy emotions have been awesome for me lately - Emmett too."
"So happy for you, Jazz," Alice said sarcastically, giving him an evil glare as she stepped towards him menacingly. "It's so wonderful that everything is working out perfectly for you, isn't it?" My pixie sister declared hatefully before turning on her tiny heels and fleeing towards the bedroom she formerly occupied with her husband who had long since taken up residence in his study.
As she stomped away, she was muttering under her breath quietly, "I was so busy taking care of the other problem… I just didn't see this bitch coming. I'm a seer. I'm not supposed to get blind-sided." Jasper sighed, exasperated, but scowling when he saw my questioning eyebrow raised quizzically at the interaction between the separated couple.
"Everything okay?" I asked him as compassionately as possible after hearing Alice slam the bedroom door unnecessarily.
"No. Ever since Carlisle was asked to go to Volterra to assist with that newborn, Alice has been incredibly hostile with me – even worse than usual." Jasper sighed in frustration and I suddenly felt a compassion for him that I hadn't thought possible. He must have felt that and my curiosity so he explained swiftly, "It was Alice's idea to start to distance ourselves from each other in the first place, and although she says she's fine with it I know she's faking because her emotions give off nothing but resignation and unpredictable amounts of jealousy. How do you make the decision to stay steadfast in envy? That's the state of mind Alice has been living in for years; I don't understand her at all anymore. Have you gotten anything from her mind that might help me figure this whole thing out?"
"No," I quickly refused with a clipped tone. "Sorry, but you know I'm not comfortable with meddling into relationships like that. Unless it affects the family I try to keep it to myself."
"Fine, Edward, but remember that little mantra the next time you invade my mental privacy and see something you don't like," Jasper grumbled before leaving to go to his study to be alone again. I couldn't help but feel bad for my brother. I knew Alice already signed the final divorce papers and was biding her time to give them to Jasper. The only thing I wasn't sure of was what caused the dramatic change in Alice and Jasper's relationship over a decade and a half ago and why was she bothering to wait to officially end their marriage after all this time.
"Hey, Jazz," I called out as he reached the top of the stairs, feeling sympathy for him as he plodded away. "The only thing I will say is that lately she's been thinking a lot about the past, nothing specific though. She's been reminiscing a lot over odd things ever since Carlisle left. I don't know if that's exactly helpful, but it isn't like I'm divulging any secrets either. I haven't been paying too much attention though since I've been distracted with thoughts of our new… um, sister. Did you know Carlisle thinks she should get along well with me?"
"Yeah, but just remember she's young in both human and vampire years and this isn't a pre-arranged marriage or anything." I smiled heartily at the prospect and Jasper chuckled at my obvious exuberance.
'Be careful, Edward. That kind of excitement typically leads to the kind of hormonal teenage experiences that you have been avoiding for over a century.' I growledat Jasper for laughing at my expense until I realized he was just using my plight as a momentary distraction from his troubles regarding Alice. Despite how uncomfortable I was with the subject matter, I forgave his taunting given the frustrating perpetual-limbo of his marriage. The fact that he still felt a sense of responsibility towards Alice, one that was completely unreciprocated, would make life very complicated.
Sensing my unease with the conversation as a perfect opportunity for some friendly brotherly antagonization, Jasper projected his pondering thoughts at me with a half-smile on his face. 'What would the movie version of Edward's lack of sexual exploits look like considering his advanced age? If a movie about a virgin could be so funny with only forty years of blue balls, how could almost three times that not be the blockbuster hit of all time?'
I growled at him again while Jasper walked away chuckling. "Thanks, Edward," he said before purposely contemplating a hypothetical cast for the fake movie about my enduring virginity.
A/N: I don't make money from these characters or concepts, but will happily accept reviews on this story as compensation. :) Thanks!