Yes, I'm aware that it's like a week + after I promised to update and I am very sorry, but here you are.
"Are you nervous?" Emmett asked as we entered Port Angeles. I shook my head and watched buildings wiz by, and people disappear one after another.
"Nah, why should I be? It's not like my parents will be there." I pursed my lips and rolled my eyes. Coming down was completely unnecessary, what the hell were we going to do with an empty house? It wasn't like we'd have any problems with a small space and some walls.
"I don't know, like it's your childhood home, dude." I stuffed my hand into my pocket and clenched my mothers bracelet in my fist.
"You remember what it looked like? The house?"
"I mean, I remember certain parts of the house but they were all inside."
"Well that's no help."
I huffed, "Oh you fucking think so?" I knew that little tidbit wouldn't help but he asked...
"It's pretty cute." Em said with an affirmative nod. "I looked it up on Google maps."
"Yeah?" He nodded and I smirked.
"I think this is it-" he glanced down at the GPS and nodded. "This is it!" He thrust an arm over my chest, his thick fingers pointing to a modest looking house with a huge yard. I looked out at the house with just a slight feeling of recognition. The building was the same but there had been so many changes that it looked like someone else's home. I don't know what I had been expecting, but not that.
"What the hell happened?" I whispered to myself, clenching the keys in my fist. "Are you sure this is right?" Emmett nodded and parked the car. I stepped out on to the warm concrete and lifted an eyebrow at the house. It didn't look like it'd been empty for eight years. There were flowers planted, and opened windows and fresh paint.
Did Carlisle and Esme sell my parents home?
Could they do that?
The house was dark for the time of day. It didn't seem like there was any activity going on except for distant giggles from a neighbors yard. Emmett walked up next to me and placed his hands on his hips.
Man I wished we'd brought Bella.
I needed a hug... Or a slap or something.
"Jeeze, what's your deal?" Emmett asked like the dumbass that occasionally resurfaced every now and then. I turned to him, wide eyed.
"Someone is living in my parents house! What the fuck?!" I went to head up to my house when he stopped me with a hand on my arm.
"Dude, if there are people in there you need to chill out." I glared at his hand before yanking out of his grip with an unwilling nod. I tugged a hand through my hair and pulled open the passengers door, reaching beneath the seat to grab the water bottle filled with vodka. "Well that's probably not the best idea..." I flipped him the finger as I took a shot.
And then another to quell the nerves that were unconsciously swarming in my stomach. Maybe I lied earlier because with every breath I took now I was growing increasingly more nervous.
Emmett began patting himself down and scowling, "I can't find my damn..." He continued to mutter and I ignores him, walking steadily to the house. I wasn't going to wimp out. I had to do this for Bella, Emmett and myself. We'd be split if I were too much of a pussy to enter, so there was only one solution.
To go in.
Emmett made a fuss behind me and I just powered on. He would thank me later, I was sure of it. I knocked loudly on the door of the house that should have been vacant. Hell it was my house anyway.
I pulled out my key and turned it in my hand as I waited. Emmett clomped his way up behind me and was saying something quickly under his breath. I slid the key into the lock and his hand came down on my arm.
"Are you sure this is it?" He sounded nervous, more so than I did pre-shots. I nodded and gave him a look that told him to chill the fuck out. It was my parents' house after all. He nodded and took a deep breath before focusing on my hand. I bit my lip as my heart began to race as I too stared at my hand. It was weird because no matter how much I willed my fingers to turn the key, they didn't.
"Anyyyy day now, champ." Emmett taunted, his voice soft and unsure. I rolled my eyes and turned the key to the left before pushing the door open. I was hit with an unfamiliar scent as the air rushed from the house. I frowned and stepped over the threshold, allowing myself to fully take in my surrounding. Things remained virtually the same inside. Even the furniture.
It was strange looking around the relatively bright home. It was always dark in my dreams and seeing sunlight flood the room was a welcome change.i gasped as I spotted my fathers favorite chair. A news paper laid next to it on a small end table and I smiled. It was all to easy to see my parents moving about the house. I could picture my mother complaining because the couch wasn't high enough to vacuum over and my father snagging her from her work to entangle her in a warm embrace.
I shook my head and stumbled backwards, pinching the bridge of my knows. Who would live in their home and not disturb one thing on the inside? I looked at the walls to see my parents same photos on the wall, as well as the collection of pictures lining the wall that led up the staircase. They were all of me, but they increased with every year before finally stopping at nine. Those pictures stopped just as the nine year old boy had.
Now I stood in front of the stairwell, a matured, puberty riddled, young man.
I turned to look at the fireplace where something was severely out of place. I wasn't sure what it was, but something on that mantle wasn't right. I couldn't remember exactly what was off because its been years, but upon further inspection I discovered what it was.
A silver framed picture sat in the middle of the ones containing my family. A dark haired woman and my father half hugging and looking to the camera in the picture. Both wore bright smiles that drew out my own. I felt Emmett walk up next to me and stop in his tracks.
"Uh are these the people that live here now?" He asked in a strange tone. I shook my head and sat down the frame before snatching a different frame of my parents only and pulling the picture out of the frame.
"These are my parents." My voice was thick and my chest felt heavy. I ran my thumb over my moms face and shook my head. I slipped the picture into my back pocket and turned from the mantle.
"Man, you and your dad..." He stared at the row of frames with wide eyes. I smiled and nodded.
"Emmett, nothing has changed since they passed away. Every inch of this place is exactly the same..." Though, it lacked warmth though without my parents.
"That's good, right? That no ones here..."
"There's definitely someone here. It wouldn't be so clean and shit if it'd been left alone for almost a decade..."
"Well why would they leave your parents stuff the same? Are they like squatters?"
"Squatters don't pay or care to have the entire front facade of the house changed." Someone was generously overlooking serious upkeep. The question was... Who?
"Mom and Dad maybe?" Emmett answered my unspoken question. I shook my head because no one had that kind of jurisdiction over the house aside from me.
The front door to the house swung open and Em and I turned quickly. "Shit do we hide?!"
"We have a right to be here. They don't."
"What if they call the cops?!" I folded my arms over my chest and looked toward the approaching footsteps. A woman rounded the corner holding a toddlers hand, a messy toddler at that.
The baby looked up at us and squeaked, tugging on her moms hand.
"Jesus!" The woman jumped as she turned to look at us. The movement was so jerky that her hair flew across her face, the same dark hair that was pictured behind us. Her dark green eyes were wide and terrified as she clutched at her chest. The kids head whipped back and forth between us and her mom.
"Dude." Emmett whispered as the woman whipped out a can of pepper spray.
"Claire, go outside." She said in a tone that was strained. The little one gave us a cautious look before darting and leaving her mom behind.
"Look, there's not need for that-" Emmett gestured to the can and she held it up.
"You're in my house, I think it's pretty sensible." She obviously had no clue who I was, despite the pictures of my father that she had around the house. Even I had to agree that we were almost identical despite our ages. Maybe she was too shocked to connect the dots... If I were her and I'd walked in on two huge teenaged boys I would have probably freaked too.
But despite her oblivion I recognized her.
"Are you..." I started but I couldn't come right out and say what I really wanted to, she didn't know me well enough. That was her fault, though. I racked my brain for her name and reached deep into the repressed memories for a clue.
"Uh, I doubt you know her, bro."
"Carmen?" I blurted ignoring Emmett. The woman's head jerked back and she knitted her eyebrows.
"Am I on a hit list of some kind?" She whispered. My eyes narrowed as she confirmed what I'd thought all along.
"I don't..." Emmett's gaze was worried as he stared at me. "Think so?"
"I'm calling the police. This is breaking and Entering!" She pulled out a cell phone and I spoke up.
"Not quite, because I have a key." I held it up and her jaw dropped. "To my house." She gasped loudly and squinted at me.
"You two know each other?" Emmett asked. I wanted to fucking put my fist through a wall as I stared at the woman.
"She's my aunt." The aunt that put me into the system because she didn't want to deal with me. She watched me suffer through my parents dying and rejected me despite the fact that I had no one to go to. She flew in from wherever the fuck just to sign away her rights and leave again. She didn't even show for the funerals, nor did she have a hand in putting them together. She just disappeared.
Rage continued to build inside of me as I watched her cup her mouth and tear up. She acted as though I were her long lost nephew as opposed to her long disowned nephew.
"But... You're so old." She waved her hand down by her waist. "Last time I saw you you were this high."
"I was as tall as you last time I saw you. When you came back to sign away your rights to me I was ten." She was a short woman and I was being totally honest. Emmett winced at my side and frowned at my words and tone.
"Looks like you got to pick and choose from the will." I looked around the house, despite my knowing that it was mine.
"They didn't leave me the house, Edward."
"I'm aware. So why the fuck are you living here and changing shit?"
"Look, why don't you boys have a seat? We can talk this all through." Her hands began shaking as she looked up at me guiltily.
"I'm Emmett, we're brothers." Em said jovially, just completely in the dark as usual. She gestured to the couch and Em slapped my shoulder before sitting and getting comfortable. I begrudgingly sat next to him and shook my head.
"Can I get you boys anything?"
"Milk." Emmett said.
"Answers." We both turned to each other and looked at one another incredulously.
"What's so wrong with milk?!" He asked with a shrug.
"Shut up." I snapped and Carmen stepped out.
"I didn't know you had other living family..."
"She abandoned me. She is dead, in my opinion." I shrugged and he frowned so deeply that his dimples showed.
"Let's just move on." I sighed not wanting to speak of the disaster.
"So what are we going to do about Carlisle and Esme?" He complied.
"We kick her out. And we come here. Same plan, just cleaner." I ran a finger over the arm of a wooden chair. Not a speck of dust.
"Dude, we can't just kick them out. She has a baby."
"It can go live with someone else for all I care."
"Why are you so mad?"
I ignored him, "Look, this is my house and in order for us to come here, she'll need to leave." Carmen came back in and gave me a wary glance as she handed Emmett his glass of milk.
"Edward, I know that you are angry. But you don't understand." I clenched my fists as they rested under my armpits. "I was only in my twenties when your parents passed away. I was young, and I had a lot of growing up to do. I still wanted to do things with my life and see the world. I wasn't ready for a child, much less a nine year old that I barely knew. I didn't want to be responsible for screwing you up." She leaned forward in her chair, resting her elbows on her knees and she clasped her hands together.
I was amazed that after all these years; After all the growing she did, All the sights she saw, All the things she did with her life...
She could still only think about herself.
I wasn't sure of what all I expected from her, but I knew an apology was at the top of the list. I also knew that she missed all of the other aspects I was looking for. That was a testament to how shitty her speech was- when you don't meet unspecified qualifications.
"And I was nine, with no parents." I wasn't trying to play the sob story, those were hard facts.
"I made sure you went to a good foster home." She said as though that made up for it.
"You were my aunt and godmother for christsake! You left me to the system because you couldn't stop thinking of you!" My voice was rising and it took all of my strength to keep my ass in my chair.
"When I accepted the title of godmother I did not think your parents would actually die, Edward!" I rolled my eyes. Because I didn't either.
No one did.
Because it just fucking happened.
"You were so damn worried about your last year in your twenties that you couldn't take a moment to wonder what it'd be like for me. A fucking disowned and mourning orphan!"
"Everyone makes mistakes."
"That was no mistake." I hissed. "But I assume you're going to say that your living here, in my parents house is a mistake too."
I mean what could she say? Oops, I moved in.
"Your parents let me live here in exchange for not contacting you." My eyes shot to Emmett who slowly removed his cup from his mouth, revealing a thin milk mustache. His wide blue eyes locked on mine, filled with shock.
"Not contacting him?" Emmett asked, pointing at me.
"About three years ago I searched nonstop for you. That was when I returned from England. I finally came back here and literally lived out of a motel room while I searched. And finally I ran into your father at the hospital when I went in for an ultrasound. He was bragging about you boys to a nurse and when he pulled out a picture, I knew it was you. " She smiled at the memory. "When I told him that I knew you he got very pissy. Said things about how I was too late, how you wouldn't forgive me... He didn't want you to feel uncomfortable or hurt so he promised me that if I let you continue to adjust and assimilate that he'd let me live here until you were eighteen."
"So what you are saying is, you once again, dropped me like a hot potato when it was time to choose."
"I was in a bad place." She grasped her forearm. I was so beyond disgusted that I couldn't stand to be around her.
"Listen, we came to check the place out because we'll be moving in very soon. So you and little bit need to leave." I said bluntly.
"They said I had until you were eighteen, I still have a few months! If not I'll be contacting your father." Emmett's eyes widened and my pulse raced as we realized that we had nowhere to go. We couldn't press for a house that was rightfully mine for fear of being ratted out. And my Bella was going to be moved states away.
I really didn't want to give up though.
"This house is mine by law. My father isn't a part of this at all!" I threw up my hands.
"But listen, if you start actively looking for somewhere else to live we can compromise." Emmett shrugged and I furrowed my eyebrows. I turned to thin with a silent "what the fuck" and he held up a hand, making me wait. "This place has what...?" He looked up around the room. "Four bedrooms?"
"Three and a basement. But one room is used as my office." She said like she actually owned the rooms we spoke of.
"We can be roommates." He smiled like we weren't talking to my deadbeat godmother.
"No." I said and looked to Carmen who appeared to be deep in thought.
"How would that work. We don't know each other."
"It's only a few months. That way, you can live out your stay, and we can all use the house." He shrugged and took another sip of his milk. Carmen looked at me with hopeful eyes.
"If Claire gets her own room, there are no parties, drugs or alcohol, and things stay sane... I'm fine with it." Emmett clapped loudly and grinned before lightly punching me in the shoulder.
"Carmen, looks like we've got a deal." He grinned and leaned forward, out stretching a hand. They sealed the deal and my eyes narrowed on their clasped hands. Emmett stood then and so did she, so I followed suit, letting her show us out.
Emmett waved and ducked out of the door, but as I went to leave a soft hand clamped over mine. I turned to see Carmen holding it with both and looking up at me, eyes pleading.
"I hope we can get to know each other better- have a new start." She shyly opened her arms for a hug and I remembered that same gesture from the last time I saw her. When she signed away her rights, and handed me over to foster care. I gave her a disgusted sneer and ignored her offering as I headed to the car.
When I opened the door Emmett was smiling at me. "Everything will be alright, Bella won't have to leave." I didn't know whether to thank him, pen punch him. So I just stared at the road ahead and pulled out my water bottle of vodka, knocking back a few shots.