Phoenix, Arizona 1993
"What's that smell?" Edward heard the question in his brother's thoughts just as the sweetest smell he had ever smelled in his damned existence crossed his path. Edward and his two 'brothers' Jasper and Emmett were vampires on a hunting mission. It was uncommon for their kind to think of each other as family but they were. They were the Cullens, one of the strangest vampire covens in existence seeing as they considered themselves vegetarians. The other was their "cousins", the Denalis, who lived in Alaska. They did not hunt humans. At least, they were not supposed to. They chose to survive off the blood of animals. They were distinctive from others of their kind in that their eyes were gold but 'normal' vampires' eyes were red. It was the human blood that gave the eyes their red color.
The family consisted of Carlisle and Esme; Rosalie and Emmett; Jasper and Alice and Edward. Edward did not mind being alone. When Carlisle had changed him, he realized that he had the power to read minds so he knew the thoughts of those around him at all times so being by himself was a great reprieve for him. He was happy for his father and his siblings that they had found each other and he did not think beyond that. Every once in a while, he would wonder what it would be like to have what they had but no one appealed to him in all of the seventy-five years since his change. Until now….
"Edward, the smell", Jasper all but yelled the thought at him. Jasper could tell that although this floral scent was appealing to him, it was even more so to his brothers. Jasper had empathic abilities and he felt the strange pull that this sweet smell had on Edward and Emmett. More so, Edward, then Emmett.
"I can resist, but I want the other one" Emmett explained himself.
"I know, Emmett. Edward, what should we do?" Jasper looked to Edward for instructions on this one. Their vegetarian lifestyle was not working for them all the time. So on a weekly basis, the brothers would go in search of the much needed human blood that they all craved. During these expeditions, Edward would lead because he could read minds and they could weed out the 'bad' and save the good, therefore ridding the streets of crime. That was justification enough for these boys. Currently, they were searching for a serial rapist in the area. He was raping and killing young girls and they finally tracked his thoughts and feelings to this dark alley. He was stalking a very frightened little girl. She looked to be about six years old. Edward knew that something was off. Just like all the other times, he found himself in this predicament; he could hear the sinister thoughts echoing in the fiends' mind but he could hear nothing else. Maybe the girl was in shock.
"Emmett, now!" Edward screamed just as the man was about to grab the little girl. Any one of them could have taken him but they always let Emmett have the vilest creatures. He loved to toy with them as they'd toyed with their victims. As Emmett carried off the man, Edward found himself staring into the most beautiful brown eyes he had ever seen. Scratch that, there was not a shade of brown like this in the entire world. Brown was too puny a word to describe these chocolate orbs. She looked up at him with those eyes that were so trusting even after what just happened. He felt like a Superhero.
"Hello" he had to say something. He didn't know why.
"Hi," the small voice responded, reaching for him. What was he supposed to do but hold this beautiful creature? When he touched her, he felt a spark shoot up his arm. Suddenly the monster in him reared its ugly head and for a split second he thought he would drain the little girl right there. However, there was another emotion stronger than bloodlust. It was an overwhelming need to protect this child and to find where she belonged and return her.
"Bella, Bella, Where are you?" this frantic voice came from a woman bursting into the alley. OhmyGod OhmyGod OhmyGod OhmyGod, Charles is going to kill me if something happens to her. I knew I should have left her in Forks."This was the woman's thoughts as she searched for her daughter.
"Ma'am?" Jasper, the ever present, Southern gentleman stepped in to diffuse the situation. "My brother and I found this little girl on the side of the dumpster. Is this Bella?"
Oh my God, yes thank you", the woman said reaching for her child. She finally looked at the two men who found her little girl. 'Oh my, wow' were her thoughts but "Baby, how many times did Mommy tell you not to run off like that. You could have been hurt. Now, thank the nice men for finding you."
"No thanks necessary. We were just walking by and heard her crying and came to investigate. We are glad to help. 'Whoa, I thought the other one sounded good but that voice was like music.'
"Well, thank you anyway", the woman responded out loud while turning back into the building. As she was leaving, Edward could not help but hear her pray for a better job. One that was not so dangerous for Bella. One at a decent time of day so that she and Bella could be home by now. Just as they entered into the bar, the girl looked back, waved and smiled at him. He realized two things that day. One, he understood the protectiveness his brothers felt when it came to their mates and that there was an exception to his power because he heard nothing in the brown eyed angel's thoughts.
"I will confront them tonight. If they cannot refrain themselves, we will have to move" this was the first time since she and Jasper had found the Cullens that Alice had witnessed anger from Carlisle. The family knew what the boys were up to because Alice could see the future and she saw them.
"Carlisle, while I don't agree with the secrecy, they are doing a good thing. Especially, tonight. They will be saving a girl from a horrible death and even though her blood is almost unbearable to Edward, he will resist." Alice tried to explain.
"You see, Carlisle, there is no need to worry. You have taught them well. Edward, most of all, since he has been with you the longest." Esme secretly thought of Edward as her favorite son and she knew Carlisle felt the same way. Edward was already with Carlisle ten years before he found Esme. Edward was a big help to her during her terrible newborn years and again for Rosalie and Emmett. He was also understanding and compassionate toward her two new children Jasper and Alice who made themselves at home about thirty years ago among the Cullen Family. All of her children held a special place in her heart but Edward's was very special maybe because he had no one else thinking about him. She sometimes wondered if Carlisle was too selfish and desperate for a companion when he turned Edward that he didn't think about Edward's age. He was only 17 and now he was 17 forever. Whenever Edward heard these thoughts, he would counter with the argument that had Carlisle not changed him, he would have died to Spanish Influenza and she would not have had the pleasure of meeting him. Of being his mother, for all intents and purposes. When he made that argument, she gave in.
On the way home…
"That was great but…" Emmett trailed off when he noticed the looks his brothers were sending him. It was the look they all got when they were on the same page about something. After spending so much time together, they knew each other too well. They all knew that their weekly excursions were over and the vegetarian lifestyle was the one for them. They told Carlisle and the rest of the family as soon as they made it home. After that decision was made life flowed smoothly for the Cullen family. The kids attended the local high school all graduating again. They took a long vacation with their "cousins" in Denali and moved back to a place they had lived long ago. Forks, Washington. Alice was happy. No one could figure out why. Not even Edward.