A.N: So it's been forever, again I don't have a better excuse then writer's block, what can I say? It's a bitch. Anyways, I'm hoping to have gotten past the writer's block with this chapter because I already have outlines for the next couple of chapters.
As well just a reminder, I don't own twilight. I just own Eli.
Eli has always been a bit of a wild card when it comes to meeting new people. The first time he met Jane, he stared at her for a solid five minutes before asking her why she was so short. When she told him she didn't know why, he told her that answer wasn't good enough before telling me to run away.
So obviously, I had a legitimate reason to be nervous as Eli and I walked up to the Cullen's door. We had arrived the day before so we could get situated in our hotel and today we were having breakfast at Carlisle and Esme's estate.
Eli and I walked up the path to the house hand-in-hand and when we arrived at the door he knocked enthusiastically.
I have to admit I expected Carlisle or Esme to answer the door, so when I saw the hulk like, mass of pure muscle that is Emmett Cullen I was lost for words. Eli however, has never been stunned to the point of silence in his life. He narrowed his little green eyes as he took in the stranger before putting his hands on his sides.
"Who are you and what are you doin' in my grandma and grandpa's house?" I grinned, trying to hold back my laughter as a very shocked Emmett looked down at my little man.
"My name is Emmett and my mom and dad live here." Emmett finally answered. Eli pondered his response for a moment before a smile crossed his face.
"Are your mommy and daddy the same people as my grandma and grandpa?" Emmett nodded inciting a squeal from Eli.
"That means you're my uncle!" He screamed before wrapping himself around Emmett's leg. The giant football player lifted Eli into his arms before finally acknowledging me.
"Is he always like this?" I nodded.
"Pretty much." We've moved inside of the house now and Eli has gone from attacking Emmett's legs to hugging Esme and Carlisle.
I'm just glad Eli is so relaxed because I'm nervous as fuck. I don't know how to act around Emmett anymore. When we were younger we used to joke around and pick on each other all the time like we were siblings. We had goofy nicknames for each other and Emmett happily played the role of my big brother. After my break-up however, that all stopped.
Emmett is the only extra Cullen joining us for breakfast today. Alice and Jasper hadn't wanted Eli to be overwhelmed by meeting too many new faces at once and Rosalie was in bed with a headache.
Breakfast passes by easily thanks to the almost constant babbling of Eli. At times I actually had to remind him that he needed to eat and not just talk.
After breakfast Emmett asked if he could speak to me. Esme had captured Eli's attention with the wooden playground in her backyard so I said yes. I don't think either of us really knew how to start the conversation. Thankfully Emmett's filter broke before mine and he blurted something out first.
"I'm so fucking sorry Bella. I really am." I smoothed the black maxi skirt I was wearing while trying to think of a response.
"I'm going to be honest with you Emmett, it took me a long time to forgive you guys. And even after forgiving all of you I was extremely nervous about bringing Eli here. The last thing his little heart needs to experience is what I faced when you guys found out I was pregnant." Emmett nodded a solemn expression on his face.
"Thank-you for giving me a second chance Bella, hell thanks for giving us all a second chance. And if it helps at all know you have my full support now with the restraining order against my asshole of a brother. He's always been the angry one in the family but no woman should be hit."
"That means a lot to me Emmett, it really does." I moved to embrace Emmett and he hugged me back whole-heartedly, holding me tightly against his chest.
"I've been a terrible big brother but I promise Bella-boo, from now on I'm going to be available whenever you need me."
"Wait is that the zip code for Forks?" After my chat with Emmett, I sat down to tea with Esme and a very pregnant Rosalie while Eli ran off his energy with Emmett outdoors.
"Yes it is. I got it done when I was feeling homesick." I stretched out my good leg so the two women could get a better view of the numbers tattooed on the boniest part of my ankle.
"That reminds me of something. I'll be back in a moment." Esme wanders off, leaving Rosalie and me alone.
"Do you know if you're expecting a boy or a girl?" Rosalie is the living definition of a classic beauty and her pregnancy has caused her to glow.
"No, Emmett really wants to be surprised."
Outside the very man we're speaking about is chasing Eli around the backyard. Even with layers of glass in-between us and them I can still make out Eli's squeals of joy.
"Well whether you have a boy or girl I'm positive Emmett will be a great dad. He's great with children." I finish my sentence just as Esme comes back into sight with a rather large scrap book in her hands.
"I've tried to get my hands on as much of your work as possible but since I started collecting late, I'm afraid I haven't got everything." Clarity comes when she opens the book revealing photos from one of my first print ads.
"I don't know what to say." And it's true, I don't. She had told me much earlier that she had collected pictures of my modeling but I didn't imagine anything like this.
Some of the photos I see as I flip through the pages aren't easy to find anymore. There are even a few I've forgotten about like a perfume ad I did where the only color in the photo is the golden bottle I'm holding and the ornate yellow-orange sun that rests on the inside of my right elbow.
I'm surprised when I feel a teardrop on my cheek. I've never been one for displays of emotion. Esme moves from her spot to wrap her arms around me.
"Thank-you." It's the only thing fitting to say in the moment. This woman could have chosen to have nothing to do with me, it's not like I was with her son anymore. Instead she bought gifts for my son and me, opened her house to us and had put together a scrapbook of my accomplishments. She hadn't just taken on the role of Eli's grandma, she had also taken on the role of my mother. Something that I was incredibly thankful for.
"Mommy, is Auntie Alice nice?" Eli asked from beside me in the car.
"Yes Superman, she and her husband are very nice."
"Uncle Em said she screams a lot. Is she gonna scream at me?" I shook my head trying to hold back a laugh. Out of the three Cullen siblings Alice had always been the most excitable. And from Emmett's description of her now, it seemed she hadn't mellowed out over the years.
"She doesn't scream when she's mad Sweetie. Sometimes Auntie Alice gets so excited that she forgets to use her words and she screams instead."
The car stopped and the driver opened my door before going around to let Eli out of his seat. We were meeting Alice and Jasper at their condo in a chic part of Seattle.
There was a pause after I pushed the buzzer than somebody, most likely Alice, squealed.
"Yes." She squealed again before unlocking the door and telling me to head on up.
Alice opens the door to her condo before I've even knocked on it, pulling me into a tight embrace.
"Oh Bella, I've missed you so much." Her once long raven locks are now styled into a short bob that frames her face and highlights her cheek bones.
"Are you my aunt Alice?" Both of our attentions are simultaneously turned to my youngster who is looking up at Alice with confusion.
"Why yes I am. It's so nice to meet you Eli." Eli looks at her a moment longer before turning to me.
"Mama, why is she so short?" I can't help but laugh; Alice has always been the shortest of the Cullens, measuring in at five feet exactly.
"I don't know Eli, some people are just shorter than others." Eli decides this answer is acceptable enough that he can hug Alice.
"It's nice to meet you Auntie. I'm sowwy you're short." Now both Alice and I are holding back laughter as we enter her condo. The interior of the condo is stylish but minimalistic, probably from a compromise between the two inhabitants who are polar opposites behavior wise.
Jasper is waiting for us in the living room with juice and fruit. Eli greets him enthusiastically, becoming immediately interested in the book that is open in front of his new Uncle. He does not believe Jasper when he says that his atlas has the name of every single country in it.
"Dat's impossible." He tells us all before turning his attention back to Jasper.
Alice and I take this as an opportunity to escape to her sewing room to talk.
"I've missed you B." Her words are soft and quiet and they hit my heart directly.
"I've missed you too Ali, I really have." She was the one who had tried to fill the role of Jake in high school after he had stopped talking to me. She was constantly inviting me to hang out with her, even when all she knew about me was that I liked Edward.
The two of us talk and catch up. She tells me about her career and how she's wanting to expand on the types of clothing she makes and I fill the pauses between topics with stories of Elijah. It's crazy how instantly we can pick up our friendship again. I had thought the visit would be a little awkward but it felt nice.
After showing me some clothing she was designing for her new children's collection, Alice and I head back to the living room. I am amazed to see my usually restless child sitting calmly beside Jasper as he points out all of the countries in Europe.
"Mommy, der are lots of countries I never even hearded of." He grins at me from beside Jasper.
"How the h-e-l-l did you get him so calm?" Jasper just shrugs.
"I'm good with kids." My heart aches for Jake at that moment, knowing he would say the same thing.
During the rest of the time with Alice and Jasper, Eli is spoiled with attention from the two of them and he loves it. He sits on Alice's lap while Jasper helps him pronounce the names of countries. By the time Eli's getting tired the three of them have become fast friends.
"You know what'd be cool?" Eli yawns as Jasper picks him up to take him to the car.
"If Auntie Alice and Uncle Jasper moved to the same city as me and you."
"That would be pretty cool Eli but-" Alice cuts me off before I can finish telling Eli that Alice and Jasper moving just isn't plausible.
"Actually, we have been considering it. My lease is almost up on my boutique here and Jasper recently got offered a position at U.C.L.A." She tells me quietly as to avoid exciting my tired angel.
"That would be great Alice, then you could open up a store in L.A." I tell her before turning my attention back to my sleepy child.
"Who knows Eli, maybe one day they'll move closer to us." I tell him as his eyes flutter closed.
"Poor guy, he's had such a crazy couple of days. He needed this though… I needed this." I tell the two of them after Jasper has settled Eli in his car seat.
And it's true I did need to see the Cullens. In the worst case scenario I needed closure and in the best case scenario Eli needed to connect with his family. Thankfully this went better than expected and now my family is bigger than ever.
Next up: Who's up for a little flash forward and some Christmas in June?