Well, here it is, the final chapter of seeing Christmas. I hope I can write the story of the future of Joy and the Cullens. Put me on author alert. The story will be called Seeing Joy, I think. But tomorrow I start back to work, fifty hours a week, so let's all hope the muse sticks around.
Thank you all for your love of this story and your gladness about Rosalie getting her deepest wish. If I write seeing Joy, you'll see much more of all the other characters, including Edward and Bella. Thanks for reading and for all the reviews.
As soon as Mrs. Allen had left, the family scattered, and a seeming explosion of activity ensued. Standing in the middle of the living room, like a tiny general, Alice began to direct them all.
"Okay, Emmett and Rose, back to the hospital to tell Joy the good news. Edward and Jazzy, go get a Christmas tree, the biggest one and best smelling one you can find. Oh, Carlisle, you should go with them too. Esme, do we still have those ornaments from the last year we spent Christmas here? Oh, never mind, we need to get new ones, don't we?"
She closed her eyes briefly.
"Yes, yes, new ornaments. Bella, You and Esme should go over to that fancy Christmas store in Port Angeles, because they have the perfect ornaments. I saw that you would suggest getting different shapes and textures, and that place has what we need. Carlisle, why don't you go bring down your nativity scene before you go with the boys? I'll get the furniture moved around to make room for the tree. Well, what are you all waiting for?"
Laughing, they rushed off to do their various errands.
"This will be a Christmas like none of us have ever had before," Carlisle said, as he browsed through the Christmas trees with Edward and Jasper. "I'm happy for Emmett and Rosalie, and all of us for that matter, but I'm still concerned."
"Your concerns are valid," Jasper replied, "but there's no stoppin this train now."
"We'll all have to be careful," Edward said. "I think we should all hunt tonight before Joy comes home. Bella says that we need to get her used to moving around on her own, teach her safe mobility right away. That's where we could have more potential accidents in the beginning."
"So we need to make sure Joy keeps that little cane in her hand for a while. What does Bella say about padding sharp edges for a while?"
Edward grinned at Jasper.
"Well, you remember how she was while still human. The idea of cushioning things for a blind child goes against everything she believes. But at the same time, she knows we need to minimize the risk of bleeding, so she thinks we could try, until Joy is comfortable and safe moving around on her own."
"She must have hated agreeing to that," Carlisle smiled as he thought of Bella's reaction.
"Oh yes, she hates it. Look, how about that tree?"
"That looks like a good one. Now remember, Alice said it has to smell good. Who's gonna sniff it?"
Edward and Jasper flashed a smile and Carlisle and then settled down to get the tree.
"Too bad we have to do the human thing and buy it and have them help us put it on the jeep," Edward said. "It would be fun to run this home on my back."
"I swear since Bella came into your life, you act more like a teenager than you did in all the years before," Jasper answered.
"Isn't love a wonderful thing?" Carlisle said to nobody.
"That's enough out of you old man."
"Who you calling old? I'm only 300 years old or so."
"Seriously," Jasper said, once they had stopped laughing, "I think Joy will like this tree."
"I'm sure she will," Carlisle replied. "Poor child. I wonder if she's ever had a Christmas tree or even a Christmas before now."
"She will have one from now on," Edward said, determined.
"Come on, let's get this tree home and finish getting ready to welcome home our new family member."
Carlisle strode away.
By evening, the house was ready. The tree stood tall and beautiful in the living room. The nativity scene was on the mantle, and a large Christmas stocking hung there, waiting to be filled to overflowing. The room smelled of pine. The floor under the tree was already covered in presents. Edward was just hanging some bells, so Joy could make them ring and enjoy the sound.
Esme stood back, looking around at everything.
"It's beautiful," she said. "The best we've ever done. Emmett, did you really need to get her a stocking that is practically taller than she is?"
"Of course! Nothing is too much for my daughter."
"You'll have her spoiled rotten in a week," Rosalie said, suppressing a grin.
Emmett dropped his goofy personae and became quite serious.
"I'm thinking Joy hasn't had much spoiling in her life, hasn't received many presents or been told that anyone loves her. I intend that she will never doubt that she's loved and wanted, not ever again."
Rose flew to him and flung her arms around him.
"This is why I love you so much. You make me laugh no matter what, but when I or any of us really need it, you know how to be serious and even wise."
She kissed him fervently, and for a few moments, they were lost in the passion that always burned hot between them.
Carlisle cleared his throat, bringing them out of their bubble.
"I think we should all go hunting now. Joy will have her final tests and get her cast off sometime tomorrow. You both can go spend the night in her room after hunting and be there for everything, ready to bring her home."
?Edward," Rose turned to him, coils of trepidation churning in her, "will you—will come with us and listen to her thoughts when we tell her she will be coming to live with us., I want to know if she's glad or worried or whatever."
"Sure. I'll be glad to help. In future, I'll keep her privacy as I do yours, but I agree it could be important to know what she is thinking during this transition."
"Hello Joy, it's me, Rose. Emmy and Edward are here as well."
As she spoke, Rose moved to where Joy was sitting on her bed. She put her arm around Joy and pulled the little girl into her lap.
"Hi, Emmy. Hi Eward."
She wriggled off Rosalie's lap but continued to hold her hand.
"We have some news for you."
Emmett sat on the other side of Joy, reaching to hold her other hand.
Joy became still. Her muscles tensed up. She hung her head, letting the hair fall over her face as if she expected to hear something bad.
"She's scared," Edward said. "Bad things always come when people say they have news. Better tell her quickly."
"Don't be afraid, Peanut. We got the papers today, and tomorrow, you get to come home with us and live with us."
"She isn't sure if you really mean it." Edward continued speaking at vampire volume.
"It's true," Rosalie said, "you are coming to live with us. I promise."
"I don't hafta stay here anymore?"
"Nope." Emmett ruffled her hair.
"I don't have to go with my other mom and her mean fwend?"
"Never again." Rose said. "We're going to keep you forever."
"Okay." Joy climbed back into Rosalie's lap. "Will you wead me another story?"
"I don't think she really comprehends yet," Edward said.
"Probably not," Emmett replied. "Poor thing has had so many ups and downs and changes in her life before. It's gonna take time for her to feel secure I guess."
"Are you all right if I leave now? Bella and I are going to spend the night in our cottage, but we'll be at the main house ready to welcome you all home tomorrow."
Emmett grinned a wicked grin.
"Oh, don't let us stop you. Will the cottage still be standing tomorrow morning?"
"Emmett!" Rose snapped it out.
She nodded down at Joy, still on her lap and beginning to drift off to sleep.
"I didn't say anything."
Laughing, Edward left to return to his wife and some precious alone time. He could imagine that both his sister and Esme were going to be even harder on Emmett over his swearing and sexual innuendo now that Joy would be around. It was going to be fun watching it all unfold.
The cast was off; all the medical tests were done. Joy's things were packed, ready to be piled into the car. Rosalie had brushed Joy's hair, putting it in a pony tail with a red bow. She'd dressed her in a pair of jeans and a red sweater. Alice had sent a dress, but Rose wanted Joy to be comfortable and warm. It was cold outside, and Rose bundled Joy into a coat with mittens and a hood.
"Ready to go?" Emmett asked.
"Yes, can you go get the car? We'll wait in the lobby for you. Oh, did you get the car seat all set up?"
"Everything's ready. I'll be waiting outside."
Turning to Joy, Rosalie handed her the teddy bear Bella had given her. It was Joy's favorite stuffed toy for the moment.
A nurse came in pushing a wheelchair.
"I can just carry her out," Rose said.
"Hospital rules. Everyone has to leave in a wheelchair."
Sighing, Rose agreed.
"All right, Joy, it's time to go home."
"Where we goin'?"
"To my house, your home now. Remember, you're going to live with Emmy and me now. Forever."
"Okay, let's get you in this fun chair. You get to go for a ride. Hang on tight now."
With that, the nurse wheeled Joy out of the room. Following closely behind and keeping a sharp eye on the nurse, Rose hoped fervently that Joy would never need to see that hospital room again.
The Cullens waited excitedly for Joy's arrival. Carlisle and Esme stood with arms around each other. Edward and Bella held hands. Alice could hardly refrain from bouncing off the walls, while Jasper stood back, smiling at everyone, basking in the positive feelings flowing around him.
"They'll be here in seventy-six seconds!"
"Settle down, Darlin," Jasper laid a calming hand on his wife's shoulder, "you don't want to overwhelm Joy the second she gets in the door now."
"Here we are," Emmett looked to the back seat. "Sit tight while we get you out of there."
Opening the back door, he quickly unhooked the straps of Joy's car seat and helped her slide to the ground.
"Here's your cane," Rosalie said.
Clutching her cane in one hand and Emmett's hand with the other Joy walked with them toward the house.
"Okay, if you put the cane straight in front of you, you'll feel something. It's the bottom of the porch steps. There are five steps. Hear my voice? I'm going up ahead to the front door. Hold Emmett's hand, and he'll help you up the steps."
Rosalie spoke softly, trying to instruct Joy the way Bella had advised without putting too much pressure on her yet. In the house, the family could hardly believe the woman outside so patiently teaching the little girl was their same sharp-tongued, often bitter Rosalie. Carlisle and Esme exchanged a smile.
Carlisle went to open the door and welcome the new family.
"Here we are, Peanut," Emmett said. "We're at the front door. Ready to go in?"
Smiling, he led his daughter into the house.
"Welcome home, Joy!" everyone called out at once.
The voices seemed to come from all over. Frightened at the noise, Joy cowered, turning to Emmett and burying her face against him.
Emmett knelt and put his arms around the little girl.
"Hey hey, it's okay. Everyone is just excited to meet you, and they got kinda loud. But you know them all. Nobody here will hurt you. C'mon Peanut."
Eventually, Emmett and Rosalie coaxed Joy out of hiding and led her into the living room.
"Okay everyone, let's try this again." Bella said. "How about we each say hello one at a time, so Joy can get used to our voices."
She walked over to Joy. Getting down to her level, Bella took Joy's hand.
"Hi Joy, remember me? I'm Bella. And this is my husband Edward."
"You gived me the teddy bear." Joy held up her bear.
"Eward gived me the CD."
"That's right," Edward answered. "It's good to have you here Joy. I'm Edward."
One by one, they introduced themselves again, talking a little to help Joy get familiar with their voices. Slowly, she seemed to feel a little more comfortable, as she sensed no danger.
"How about we take you up and show you your room?" Rose asked.
"My room? My vewy own room?"
"Your very own room."
"How about a ride up the stairs?" Emmett said. He swept Joy into his arms and placed her on his shoulders. "Hold on. I'm your chariot, my lady, and I shall take you to your palace."
"Joy laughed and grasped Emmett's big shoulders in her tiny hands.
With the family trailing behind, Rosalie and Emmett led the way to Joy's room. When they stood in the doorway, Emmett slid Joy off his shoulder and placed her on her feet.
"Go ahead. Walk straight forward into your very own room."
Tentatively, Joy stepped forward. Rose and Emmett walked behind her. They showed her around, letting her touch all the toys and books, letting her stroke the quilt and feel the soft carpet. Joy's face showed wonder and excitement.
"I never had my own room before. You not kidding, Wosie? This is mine?"
'It is yours, sweetie. We all fixed it up just for you. You're home now, and you'll never have to go away."
Joy sat on the bed, her bed, all hers. Running her hands over everything, she sat quietly for a moment trying to take it all in, trying to believe it.
"In the hopatal, they told me about Santa Claus, that he brings toys and things to little girls like me. I thinked they were just lying' but now I think they were right. There must be a Santa Claus. 'Cause I wanted this so much."
All the vampires wished they could shed tears at the moment.
"You're home, Joy," Rosalie said, "and we are all so happy to have you."
After dinner, they all showed Joy the living room, letting her feel her stocking and touch the Christmas tree. Carlisle picked her up so she could feel the nativity scene and told her about the family tradition, promising that she would be the one to put the baby in the manger this year. She sat under the tree feeling all the presents. She rarely spoke, but Edward told them that her thoughts were all confused and amazed that this was all happening to her.
At last, Rose and Emmett took her up to bed and got her ready for bed. Rose tucked her in while Emmett began to read the old Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham. Joy liked the story and giggled at the various ways the narrator said he would not could not eat green eggs and ham. By the end, she was quoting as Emmett read, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am."
When Emmett closed the book, Rose helped Joy slide under the covers. Smoothing the quilt over the little girl, Rosalie thought that nothing could ever compare to this moment. If becoming a vampire meant leading her to this moment, this chance, the ability to give this child a family, she was suddenly grateful for what Carlisle had done so long ago. She must thank him soon. She had her Emmett, her strength her rock, and now she had the child for which she had longed so many years.
"Emmett, I love you so much. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always being what I need, and now for becoming a family together with me and raising Joy."
Emmett's grin flashed over his face, lighting Rosalie's world as it always had.
"You know you're my angel, Rosie. Ever since I first saw you, when you rescued me from that bear. And now, we're complete."
They smiled at each other from opposite sides of the bed.
"Ready to go to sleep now, Joy?" Rose asked.
"Remember, Rosie and I are in the next room. If you get scared, or wake in the middle of the night and need something, or don't know where you are or have a bad dream or just need a hug, just say our names. We'll be right here."
Joy snuggled under her covers, hugging her bear.
"Night wosie. Night Emmy."
They each kissed her cheek. Together, they watched till she drifted off to sleep, and then they tiptoed to the door. Looking back, Rosalie smiled.
"Goodnight, Joy. Welcome home."
Okay, that's it. Thank you all so much for coming on this little trip with me. It's been so great to see these characters again.
Happy New Year!