Disclaimer: The Twilight series/universe/characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
The Twilight Twenty-Five
Thetwilight25 dot com
Prompt: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Pen Name: GetDrunkOnVictory
Pairing/Character(s): Charlie, Marcus, Aro, mini-Bella, Sue, mini-Edward, mini-Alice, Esme/Carlisle, James/Victoria
Fun Facts: This was the first prompt I started writing, the last prompt I completed, and the longest one I've written.
warning: Tissues may be needed. Enjoy!
Charlie Swan stood at the window of the police station watching his little girl bounce around the open trunk of his old station wagon, standing out in her red Hello Kitty poncho and bright yellow rain boots.
"What's Bella up to, Chief?" one of the deputies, Marcus Volturi, asked coming up next to him.
"She setup a lemonade stand in the back of the wagon. You better go out there and buy some." Charlie side-eyed him before turning to the rest of the station. "That goes for the rest of you, too. I want all of you to buy at least two cups today."
Bella, like most other six-year-olds, had decided that she wanted a puppy. Not being able to deny his baby girl, Charlie had stopped by the veterinarian's office to find out how much that puppy would cost. Knowing that he would end up being the one to take care of the dog, he told Bella that she needed to raise her own money to prove to him how much she wanted a puppy.
It had been raining steadily all morning and it was getting colder this time of year; as much as Charlie wanted to stand out there with an umbrella over his daughter, he was forced to watch her from the front window because she had demanded that he remain inside. It was something about him scaring away business. He just had to make sure to hide whenever she began to look his way. It wouldn't look very good if the chief of police had to be reprimanded by a small child.
About an hour later, Charlie found himself scrambling to get to his desk as Bella pushed her way through the front door and shook off some rain onto the front carpet.
"Do you need anything, Bells?" Charlie asked the little girl while he walked over to hang up the wet poncho she had pulled off.
"No," she replied before walking up to Marcus and tugging on his trousers. "Mr. Marcus, will you keep an eye on my lemonade stand while I go to the bathroom, pretty please?"
"You don't trust your dear old dad to watch your stand?"
"Nope. The point is not to drink all the lemonade, Daddy," she told her father with a little scowl that caused a little wrinkle between her eyebrows before turning back to Marcus. "So, will you?" she asked a little impatiently. Charlie was easily able to recognize her wiggling as the beginnings of her potty dance.
"Of course, Miss Bella, anything I should know?" Marcus knelt down to her level and pulled out his notepad, poised to take notes.
Bella tapped her chin in thought then explained her recipe, told him that her price was fifty cents, and that there were "abso-positively no discounts" before running off to the bathroom.
Marcus shot Charlie a sheepish smile and went outside to do the work requested of him from his new pint-sized boss.
Charlie was still grumbling at his desk about how he wouldn't have drank all of the lemonade when Sue Clearwater, the dispatcher, threw a crumpled paper ball at him in order to get his attention.
"Aro Volturi is on line two and says he has some information for you."
"Sorry, Sue," Charlie apologized, the tips of his ears reddening as he picked up the phone. "What can I do for you, Aro?" Aro Volturi was the eldest of the Volturi brothers and the chief of police over in Port Angeles, while the twins, Marcus and Caius, were deputies under Charlie in Forks.
"We had detained a man by the name of James Hunter after receiving several complaints that he was watching children in the park. Unfortunately, he escaped this morning and we now believe that he may have found his way to Forks …"
While Charlie continued his conversation with Aro, Bella had returned from the bathroom and relieved Marcus of his duties. Returning inside, Marcus was called over to Sue's desk to respond to a call about a stolen car. Shelley Cope's mother-in-law reported the car stolen at least once a week and they have long ago stopped filling out the reports for her false claims.
The station was running at its usual pace and continuing their day-to-day operations when the peace was disrupted by a shriek that was quickly muffled by the slamming of a car door. Charlie and Marcus immediately dropped what they were doing and rushed outside to check on Bella, but they were only able to see the car speeding away as it carried a crying, young Bella Swan in the back seat.
Charlie took off after the car on foot and was even able to fire off a few shots before it became impossible to catch while Marcus thought to pull out his notepad and copied down the license plate number. By that time the entire station had filed out and stood in shocked silence for a few minutes as they watched their chief of police fall to his knees in the middle of the now deserted street.
"Mary Alice and Edward Anthony, you come into this kitchen right now!" Esme Cullen yelled out for her two mischievous young children.
"Yes, Mommy," they said together walking into the kitchen, the picture of innocence. Esme was not easily fooled. Being exactly ten months apart, Alice and Edward were Irish twins, but they caused the same amount of trouble any pair of identical twins would.
"Would one of you care to explain why Floppy is sitting in one of my kitchen cabinets?" Floppy was a brown and white rabbit that Carlisle's sister, Carmen, had given to Alice for her birthday the year before. The same rabbit Esme had just found sitting in the large pot she had planned to cook pasta in.
"She's hiding from Sherlock," Edward said as if it should have been obvious. Esme took in a deep breath before looking back at them. It had been a long week and she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to go through this with them right now. "All right and where is Sherlock?" The, now nine-year-old, black Labrador was a gift Carlisle had given to Esme a few months after they had begun dating.
"Hiding from Mittens." A grey tabby cat with white paws that Edward and his best friend Bella had found in the park as a kitten.
Esme rubbed her forehead and asked them where Mittens and Sherlock were now. "Sherlock is in the bathroom and we put Mittens in Dad's office." Carlisle, who had, until now, been sitting at the kitchen table hiding his chuckles behind the Sunday paper, immediately jumped up at the end of Edward's sentence and ran to his home office to see what type of damage had been done.
Serves you right for laughing, Esme thought with a smirk.
Esme had just knelt down to explain to her children why pets did not go in the kitchen cabinets when the phone began to ring. Living in such a small town, she thought it best to answer the phone now rather than deal with five more calls later, all wondering why she didn't answer this one.
"The two of you sit right there and don't move," she instructed, pointing to the kitchen table that Carlisle had abandoned before walking over to the kitchen phone that hung next to the door leading to the garage.
"Cullen residence." Esme made sure to keep an eye on Edward and Alice a she answered the phone. It wouldn't be a first if they tried to sneak off while she had her back turned in the hopes that she'd forget why she was upset.
"Esme, it is Sue. We … There's … Can … You and Carlisle should probably come down to the station." Esme had never heard Sue as a loss of words. The woman was normally so composed and her calming influence made her the perfect candidate to serve as the town's dispatcher. Hearing the distress in Sue's voice, Esme quickly ended the call and sent her little devils to get ready before walking off in search of Carlisle.
Arriving at the station soon after the phone call, the Cullens walked into what can only be described as chaos. Only a handful of people were employed at the station, but with all of them there and in the midst of various conversations while shuffling papers between the fax machine, printer, and every available surface, the station looked even smaller than it was.
Sue noticed the Cullens first and grabbed her box of activities that she kept under her desk for when Bella was there. She called the children over to her and led them to the snack counter tapping Charlie's shoulder on their way past him.
What looked like an argument between Charlie and Marcus ended rather abruptly as Charlie motioned Esme and Carlisle to follow him into his tiny office. Charlie was normally not a man known for expressing his feelings, but they could see the utter anguish on his face, the unshed tears in his eyes, and the way he seemed to sag as if carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. At noticing this, Esme collapsed into the nearest chair and allowed the silent tears to slide down her face before Charlie even had the chance to fill them in on what was happening. From the phone call she received from Sue to the devastation that was the town's chief of police, Esme knew that whatever they had called them in to tell them was very bad and more likely than not had everything to do with a certain tiny brunette. The last time they had seen a distraught Charlie was when his wife Renee had passed leaving him behind with a cranky two-year-old that was still being potty-trained. Even then Charlie looked nowhere near as devastated as he did right then.
Placing a comforting palm on his wife's back, Carlisle pleaded with Charlie to let them know what was going on.
"I … um …" Charlie paused to clear his throat. "I received a phone call this morning from Aro over in Port Angeles. They had a man in custody by the name of James Hunter. Aro said he might be in Forks. He … uh …" Charlie stopped the pacing he had been doing since they entered his office and sat down in the worn chair behind his desk. A few tears escaped before he continued in a much rougher voice, "Bella was taken this morning. She was in the parking lot selling lemonade. We all thought someone else was keeping an eye on her. It was only a few minutes. It's my entire fault. I should have insisted on staying out there with her or forcing her to sell from inside the station. I –" A small sob escaped him before he could muffle the rest as he laid his head in his arms on top of the desk. Esme quietly rushed over, clinging to him and whispering comforting words while her own tears dampened the back of his uniform. Too shocked to do anything, Carlisle collapsed into the chair Esme had vacated.
At the front of the station, Edward and Alice were munching on sugar cookies and coloring while, unbeknownst to them, Sue sat watching them wishing that there was a way to always keep them this happy and carefree. She knew they would have to tell them what was going on, especially when they inevitably asked about the whereabouts of their best friend. Truthfully, Sue was surprised they hadn't asked already and was hoping she would be able to keep them sufficiently distracted until Charlie and the Cullens were ready to talk to them. She could already see how hard this whole situation was for Charlie and everyone else at the station, she couldn't imagine how hard it would be for such young, impressionable minds to learn that their best friend was kidnapped.
"Oh shit!" Marcus exclaimed looking at the papers in his hand not seeing the glare that Sue was trying to burn him with.
"Marcus Volturi, little ears have spongy minds and I suggest that you remember that."
"Sorry, munchkins. I really need to get this to Charlie and Aro." Marcus said absentmindedly as he walked over to the Chief's door.
Charlie and Carlisle had already composed themselves and Esme was wiping away the last of her tears by the time Marcus knocked on the office door. With a nod from Charlie, Carlisle opened the door and Marcus rushed in barely acknowledging the Cullens in the room.
"Chief, we found the car," Marcus announced slamming the papers he was carrying on the desk.
"Where is it?!" Marcus jumped at the surround sound shouting.
"Well … We didn't exactly find the car. What I meant was that we know who the car belongs to," Marcus stated nervously. "It turns out that old Mrs. Cope's claims were actually real this time. The culprit took the car from the library earlier. About an hour before … Bella."
"James," Charlie growled.
"We can't make assumptions just yet, Chief. We need to be cops first in this situation. We can't let out feelings cloud our judgment. You and I both know the things that can happen if we do and no one in this town wants that," Marcus said sternly as he and Charlie glared at each other. "I'm going to call the Copes to find out if they ever had some type of lo-jack or GPS put into the car, then I'll call Aro about putting out an APB." With that Marcus grabbed the papers off the desk and walked out the door.
Esme shot Carlisle a look, but before anything else could be said Edward ran into the office with little Alice on his heels. Edward went straight to his mother while Alice attempter to scale the length of her father.
"Mom, tell Alice that dinosaurs can't be purple," Edward begged with a look of disgust.
"Daddy, tell Edward that the girl dinosaurs were pretty and purple is pretty," Alice said the last word to her brother with a scowl.
Esme held back her giggle while Carlisle calmly explained to his children that since dinosaurs were there before people we can't be sure what colors they were so it is entirely possible that there were indeed purple dinosaurs.
"Whatever." Edward scowled at his smug little sister before turning to the previously silent Charlie, "Mr. Chief, where is Bella?" That one question sobered the entire room reminding them of why they were there and making Esme forget about chastising Edward on his word choice. The three adults looked at each other unsure how to proceed; not noticing that the perceptive children had already figured out the silence meant something bad.
"Daddy." Alice put her tiny hand on Carlisle's face, turning him to look at her. "What happened to Bella? Is she sick?"
"Not exactly, princess." Carlisle moved to sit in the remaining chair and glanced at his wife while Alice stood on his lap so she could see his face. "Do you remember when the Chief and Officer Caius went to the school and talked to you all about strangers?" Carlisle waited until both his children nodded their heads before continuing, "Some strangers may be okay, but some strangers can be very bad people, which is why you have to remember to always find an adult that you know whenever a stranger tries to talk to you."
"And you must never, ever go anywhere with them," Esme interjected.
"Your mother is absolutely right –"
"We know not to talk to strangers, but what about Bella?" Edward asked again.
"Well … this morning … um," Carlisle glanced over at his wife as he stuttered through an explanation. It was a very strange thing to see the normally calm, cool, and collected Dr. Cullen stuttering. "A stranger came by this morning and he saw Bella outside."
"Did Bella tell a grown-up about the stranger?" Alice asked quietly. It was obvious the little girl was worried, even if she didn't know why.
"She tried to, princess, but the bad person took her away before she could."
"Where did they take her? Are they going to bring her back soon?"
Before Esme or Carlisle could think of what to say, Charlie had walked over and kneeled next to Alice and Carlisle. "We don't know where they took her, Alice, but we are all going to keep looking for her until we find Bella and can bring her back home." Alice threw herself at an unsuspecting Charlie and began to cry.
Sue quietly opened the door of the office a few minutes later and took in the scene before her: Charlie was clinging to little Alice like she was his lifeline while she cried, Carlisle was bent forward in his chair with his head in his hands, and Edward had buried himself against his mother while silent tears streamed down her face. Sue softly closed the door again and set off to make some coffee and hot chocolate for the sad people huddled in the office.
A few days later, the only things keeping everyone in the station from spiraling downhill were a couple of kids and a lemonade stand.
"Lemons aren't pink, Alice!"
"Pink is pretty! People want pretty things!"
Alice and Edward went at it for a few more hours before Sue finally dropped both jars on the table and handed each child a pitcher.
"Edward will be in charge of yellow, and Alice will be in charge of pink. You can sell both."
Alice and Edward wanted to keep Bella's lemonade stand open so she could still get her puppy when she came home. Of course, Charlie made sure to move the lemonade stand operations inside the station. It was a little hard to work around them, but no one was willing to put them at risk by leaving them outside.
It wasn't until a week later that they finally had a lead on James Hunter. He had been married to a Victoria Nomadic who had passed away the year before. Prior to her death, Victoria's aunt had left her a cabin located in the wooded areas surrounding Forks.
It took a couple more days for them to find an exact address for the cabin, but they finally had a possible location for the young Bella Swan.
Armed with Seattle's finest and the K9 unit, the Forks police department took off into the woods, heading toward their hope.
Isabella Swan, daughter of Police Chief Charlie Swan, was found yesterday at a small cabin in the woods. She was kidnapped a little over a week ago by James Hunter while selling lemonade outside of the police station.
James Hunter acquired the cabin that his wife inherited from a late aunt after his wife passed away from complications following a miscarriage.
James Hunter was apprehended at the cabin and now faces 30 years to life on counts of kidnapping and child negligence. After undergoing a psych evaluation, it was believed that Hunter was delusional at the time of the kidnapping, believing that his late wife would return to him after he was able to produce a child.
Isabella Swan will remain at Forks General under observation while being treated for malnourishment.
Charles Swan had not left his daughter's side since they were reunited a couple of days ago. It was hard for him to see his little girl in a too big bed, hooked up to an IV. He felt utterly useless.
Unbeknownst to him, two rambunctious children were on their way with a huge surprise for a young Miss Swan. They had done very well with Bella's lemonade stand and Edward had even broken apart his piggy bank filled with the money he had received for his birthday the month before. It was enough for them to get the best surprise for their best friend.
The door to Bella's hospital room opened slowly, revealing the Cullen family of four led by Edward holding a nervously excited puppy against his chest.
"Look what we got you, Bella!" Edward announced excitedly while presenting the shocked little girl with a half Siberian Husky/half Rottweiler bundle of joy decorated with a bright red ribbon around his collar. The brown, black, and white puppy sniffed the length of his new owner's body before licking her cheek once and plopping himself down next to her tummy as she giggled.
"I'll name him Jake," Bella declared, softly stroking the puppy's head.
They were lucky Carlisle was the chief of medicine at the small hospital and was willing to overlook a dog inside, but it was hard to believe that anyone in the small town wouldn't allow whatever the hearts of these three children desired.
AN: Thank you to my best friend, The Original Bella, for catching my mistakes and to Pandora's Box is Heavy for prereading and just generally putting up with me.
I have extra thanks for Mylisssa and her sassy 7-year-old for her assistance with early Bella, and to CrackedFic for his help with telling mini-Edward and mini-Alice what was going on.
I can officially label this complete! I am so proud of myself for actually completing this challenge. Thank you to every single person involved in helping me complete this challenge. I assure you that you were all important.
Find me on twitter: GetDOnV
I came up with back-stories for all of my entries so if you have questions, feel free to ask.
Don't forget to check out the entries from the other challengers. Just search for TheTwilight25 here on ffn and check out the community.