“This is insane,” Rosalie repeated again, strutting past the dining room and into the front sunroom.
She had been roaming from the sunroom to the dining for an hour now, finally being able to vocalize her dissent from the night’s activity and discovery. The morning light had come and glimmered through the large windows hours ago. Since then Jacob, with the rest of the wolves, had gone back to the cottage. Renesmee was with them, troubled still over what information she had been able to get from the others. Bella had gone with her to the cottage and only returned recently. She stayed at Edward’s side in the living room, shielding him for the privacy of everyone. It wasn’t really needed since most were being forthright with what they were thinking.
“How can you just accept this? Are you even thinking?” Rosalie demanded from the front room.
Carlisle stayed seated in the dining room chair, staring at the oak wood table and listening to her movement. It was the only thing he could do, his mind was bouncing between ideas and excuses. None would satisfy her. Esme stood in the corner behind him, poise to spring up at any moment. Rosalie’s anger has been climbing all morning and it made Esme uneasy. Emmett stood in the doorway watching her pace back and forth. He tried a few times to get a word in, but mostly just waited. Alice and Jasper camped by the front stairs, on a mission to see what all this led to per Rosalie’s demand.
“Like, do you even know this woman enough to take her word for any of this? So what if she has our eyes! So did Alice and Jasper before they came to us!”
Carlisle silently nodded. “I really can’t explain it, but I believe what she is saying is genuine. She came straight to me at the hospital.”
Rosalie came back into the room and slammed her hands on the table, the wood cracking at the base. “So can I if I know the doctor’s last name!”
Emmett was instantly beside her just as Esme wrapped an arm around his shoulders. There was a moment of cool down, Emmett pulling her away from the table. Carlisle remained silent. Rosalie puffed a few times, darting her gaze everywhere except for at him. After a few minutes, she went back to pacing through the rooms. Emmett went back to the doorway.
“Can you trust this woman? Who is she Carlisle?” Emmett asked gently.
Carlisle shrugged at the table. “Best way to answer that is my sister.”
The silence was terrifying. No one knew how or what to ask next. Nothing was calming Rosalie and besides the anger, she had several good points being made.
“Okay, so sister. Why does she care about what happens to you?”
Carlisle broke from the table to look at Emmett, confusion on his face. “I’m not sure I’m following.”
Emmett bobbed his head as he spoke. “I’m not saying anything vindictive or anything but like, you’re killer old Carlisle. Love you but it’s true.” There were a few chuckles in the house. “Being that, why now has this decided to rear its head? And why would a ‘sister’ come to find you in order to circumvent a problem suddenly?”
Carlisle paused to ponder it but Edward sounded off from the living room.
“She said it had already happened to her. She made rash decisions she thought would keep everyone safe but it didn’t.” Then lower. “It was odd about how she went on doing it all.”
Emmett nodded his head to the information, not entirely convinced. “So what says that you’ll be any different?”
Rosalie paused beside him with a truly worried look. She then looked to Carlisle, the words failing her again.
Esme let out a defeated sigh and started to rub his shoulder in absent thought. Carlisle went limp at the thought from Emmett, the worry and trouble slowly eating away at him. He didn’t enjoy this, none of this. His family was wracking their brains around an issue of his, it made him feel exposed. There wasn’t anything he could find endearing of it. It all just crept at him as selfish. He didn’t want that. He stood up and went to the window, turning his back to the rest of the family.
The forest was still in the bright sunlight, the trees spanning miles in every direction from the house. The window was propped open, only the slightest, and from the crack, Carlisle could smell the fresh sap and the wet grass. The pack’s scent was barely there anymore, only Jacob’s scent was there, faint. Below the window was a small gardener’s box with some flowers planted in a quinte row. From the brisk wind, he guessed that the poor things wouldn’t last for long. Maybe a few days and then a cold snap would kill them. Still, the pale blues and eggshell flowers were pretty. They reminded him of the colors Carine wore yesterday.
My sister, Carine Cullen. His head was spinning at the idea of having a sister. He couldn’t remember much of his human life, but he would have remembered a sister. Or that his dad was gone for long periods of time. Or there being another woman around them. But no, nothing came up in his mind. Not before, and not after the terror. And being so close in appearance, to an uncanny level, there had to be a reason. He couldn’t place it but there was something, familiar about her. But was it safe around her?
Edward moved into the other room. “She seems to have hope that Carlisle can avoid the mindset she had, and therefore the mistakes and assumptions she made.”
Carlisle turned back to his family as Edward and Bella appeared in the living room doorway. They stood adjacent to Rosalie and Emmett. Edward was deep in thought, Bella’s eyes glazed on him in concentration.
“There were some things she knew. The reaction from Rose,” A few glances went to the angry woman. “The protectiveness of Esme and I.” He felt Esme slide closer to him, their hands brushed each other. All he did was nod in Edward’s direction.
Edward paused for a long moment, his mouth parting a bit. Almost like he was trying to speak but wasn’t able to. Carlisle eyed him just as long, silently calling for his son within his own mind. After a minute or so, Edward cocked an eyebrow and shook his head. “I don’t know.” He admit in a huff. He then lightened up with a smile. “She sure wasn’t expecting Jasper.”
The room went light with chuckling. Jasper and Alice joining beside Emmett and Rosalie, the two brothers fist-bumped quickly.
“I may have overdone myself then. I wasn’t expecting Carlisle to go feral on us.” Jasper jested lightly.
Carlisle couldn’t help but laugh with the room, happily embarrassed.
The house silenced instantly when the doorbell rang out. Rosalie took a quick step towards it but Emmett placed his arms around her, lovingly but restrictive. Jasper eyed to the front, and then to Carlisle with a poised face. Alice tried to give him a smile but fell short of a grimace. Esme squeezed his hand and stepped for the door. He held tightly, stopping her and looking at Edward.
“She’s here.” He said grimly, almost regretfully.
Carlisle turned with a smile at Esme. “It will be fine.” He gave her a quick kiss on the top of her head before nodding to Edward. Effortlessly he slid to her side. Jasper hung back in the side room, leaning on the bookshelf and absently reading the spines of the books. They gave each other small smiles but neither abandoned their positions.
Taking a deep breath he opened the door and met Carine smiling on the porch.
She gave him a smirk. “Do you remember me, Carlisle?”
He rolled his eyes and chuckled. “My little sister. How could I forget?”
She ducked into her hand for a moment, peaking out to him. “Little? Oh dear, you’ve already started running with the narrative.”
He nodded confidently. “I think it’s a great detail to the story. Why not have a bit of fun?”
She agreed enthusiastically. “I believe there was tea offered?”
He went to nod before freezing completely, glancing into the side room with Jasper in it, and then absently at Carine. He listened to the others, hearing a few shuffling and one set fluttering over to the kitchen. After a few seconds, with soft tinkling of fine china cups, the footsteps went off towards the back of the house.
He blinked and looked down the porch to a quint sitting area by some bay windows. On the table was a small tea set with two cups, a decorative kettle, and a tray, all in a pastel blue and white. He gestured to it and led Carine over to it. They took seats beside the table and for a moment eyed the decorative piece.
“This is so cute.” Carine awed in a whisper. She gently traced the rim of one of the cups with her finger. “I got one of these a while ago. Green and white, Hale accidentally chipped it once. They wouldn’t stop apologizing to me.” She chuckled lightly and looked to Carlisle. “They never mean the damage they do, don’t they?”
Carlisle took a moment to think. Hale. Rosalie? It had to be since Jasper had only adopted the last name for the sake of coercion within the family. A small memory came to mind where he had unpacked the set when they had moved houses. In the midst of placing it, Rosalie had absently turned into him. There was no time to move and they bumped into each other. There was a crack on the bottom of the tray because of it, kept together with some industrial glue and precision handling. Now it was barely noticeable but Rosalie was panicked in thinking she had broken the fragile thing. It took a bit of convincing to calm her and to not apologize to Esme either.
He nodded slowly. “She’s a good girl. Once you get past the thorns.”
Carine kept looking at the cup, lost in thought for a moment. With a brush of wind rustling through the porch, she looked up. “Where would you like to start?”
There was a few seconds of hesitation, and then “Anywhere I guess.”
Carine nodded and sat up straight. “I don’t know how father-”
“Not him.” Carlisle quickly and roughly cut in. “Sorry, anywhere but him.”
Carine didn’t speak again, just stared at him, waiting.
Carlisle sat back and closed his eyes. “The ambassador. Who is he?”
“A man I hadn’t seen before. Ebony hair, sickly skin, they had unkempt nails and a salt-watery scent to them. But not like at sea, or on a beach. More like under the water like a fish of some sort. It made me recoil like some wolves I had smelled once.”
Carlisle opened his eyes, fading in and out of his mindscape.
“Nearly took down a pine because of it. But it wasn’t as potent up close. Just enough to keep reminding me that they were there.”
“What did they sound like?”
“Tired.” Carine’s face narrowed in concentration as well as confusion. She was relaying the meeting in her mind as she told, and every emotion came clear on her face. “They never seemed interested in the conversation or what was being said. If it wasn’t for the odd scent, I wouldn’t have remembered them for the entire time.”
She paused, then looked to Carlisle.
He looked off, letting the silence cover for him. “It was a him?”
“And you don’t know him?”
There was no verbal answer. Carlisle turned to see her shaking her head.
The silence held longer this time, and during it two sets of feet came to the front. Jasper propped open the door for Alice who had a silver tray and a kettle in her hands. Steam came from the spout. With a big smile, she glided over to them and put the tray on the table, sliding the decorative one to the back. She flashed the smile at Carine, who after a second of eye gaze, gave one back. After a quick turn to Carlisle, who gave a half-smile, Alice stood up and clapped her hands.
“You were promised tea. It would be rude to leave you empty cupped.”
Carine bowed her head in agreement. “Such thoughtfulness miss Cullen.”
Carlisle peaked back to Jasper, whose eyes were entirely on Alice. Only after a few seconds did Jasper turn his gaze to Carlisle. Instantly he turned back around, feeling a pang of interest in what was being talked about. He chuckled to himself.
“Awe, you don’t have to be so formal.” Alice giggled. “We’re all family here aren’t we?”
Carine shuffled in her seat. “Of course.”
Alice held out a hand to her. “Alice.”
Carine carefully took her hand and shook it. “Carine. Cullen.”
“Brandon. If that makes any difference.”
Carlisle watched as Carine’s face changed, almost like a light had been turned on. With new eyes, Carine looked Alice over.
“Yes. Yes, it does.” Carine said with an excitable pitch.
The excitement spread quickly to Alice.
“We are very determined to help Carlisle in this situation. I’m looking for all the possibilities and futures.”
Carine softened and tilt her head to the side. “Look too far ahead and you’ll see the destruction. Look too close and you’ll see the hopelessness. Your Carlisle doesn’t need to secure his future, it’s his past he must regain control of. I don’t think you have a gift for that.”
From the corner of his eye Jasper shuffled in his stance, his calculated posture lost. Alice opened and closed her mouth, a bit startled by Carine’s words. Carine was not troubled by the look, almost expecting it. She smiled once more.
“Thank you, Alice. But moral support and family trust will be more beneficial.”
It took Alice another few seconds to respond. “We shall see.”
She turned quickly on her heels as Carine softly shook her head, now conscious of Jasper waiting at the door. Once they were inside, she scooted the kettle against the tray until it hit the wall of the house.
“I think we should move to a more private location.” She noted with a turn into the bay windows and looking to see who was hovering in the living room. She smiled at Carlisle. “You would do well if you trust them. They can’t help if you bubble it all inside.”
He briefly laughed. “I thought we didn’t have the gifts necessary for help.”
“Not in this chapter we don’t.” Carine got up and walked over to the Grey Lexus by a corner of the driveway. “But what your side of the family lacks, they make up for in exquisite loyalty, trust, and love for you. I wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating that.” She opened the door, waited and looked, and then gestured for Carlisle to come join her.
He stood up and walked to the edge of the porch, studying her. “Did you underestimate them?”
Carine stared for half a second before sighing, resting her head on top of the door. “I underestimated a lot. Myself, my family, I thought it would be okay if I had kept them out. And even near the end. . .” She took a long breathe in thought, her shoulders giving a quick shiver during it. “I know before everything happens, you need to trust someone. I’d like that to be me.” She smiled wide at him. “And who’s better than your own self?”
Carlisle chuckled and stepped off towards the car. Inside her head a pair of hesitant heels, followed by a paced pair. Glancing at the door he saw Esme watching him, Edward perched right over her shoulder. She was upset and made no effort in hiding it. Edward was focused for a long minute before looking to Carlisle in a pleading manner.
I’ll be back. And I’ll explain what’s new. He said in his mind.
The Lexus was ready when he finally sat down. From the tinted windshield, he noted the other hidden faces. Emmett’s in the bay windows, Rosalie impatient behind him. Jasper slipping behind Esme from the other shoulder. Bella peaked from upstairs. None of them could hide the panic on their faces. Staring at Esme as they pulled away, he couldn’t breathe.
They arrived at the house at twilight with the front window curtains drawn in pale tan. The large log cabin, a mansion Renesmee had called it, was highlighted in reds and yellows as the sun set. Inside the car, with tinted windows, they watched the sunset for a moment. Both were trying to force the anxiety away. Carine was silent, a glazed stare intent at only the waning sun. Carlisle could not think of a single thing that would put her at ease. He heard then shuffling inside, a small and soft heartbeat close to a more rapid one.
“There is something before we go in.” Carlisle started, rolling down a window with a breeze hurrying in. On it was the unfortunate stench of the wolves, freshly laid and near. He saw Carine stiffen and he quickly continued. “They are just here as friends, you are in no way in any danger. I promise you.”
Her eyes slid to the house as the scent settled inside the car. Gag worthy at first but doable after a few moments. It was automatic that he would reject the smell, just like of human blood. But he also knew the wolves personally and met some of their families, felt the love that they held for each other, and the respect they held for him and his family. Carine had none of that.
“I promise as long-”
“I hope so.” Carine suddenly snapped. She was out of the car instantly and stood at the garage door, stress now visibly hanging off her shoulders.
Carlisle was slower, taking in the directions of the scents and the movement of the others inside. Emmett’s heavy shuffles were closest with Jasper’s more thoughtful steps nearby. The small flats of Alice were sliding in place off to the side with an impatient tap of Rosalie’s. Behind them was surely Edward concentration on their thoughts and Bella with Renesmee. Jacob had to be just as close, the heartbeats being almost musical. He couldn’t hear anything of Esme, and his mind blanked on where she could be.
He took a swift breath, nothing of her scent nearby either. He shook his head which caught Carine’s attention.
“Also . . .there’s is another.”
She nodded slowly. “What is it?”
“Something you have never seen. And you don’t have to, but it is in the house.”
Carine took a slow look towards the front door and then back to him. “Must we go in then? I’d rather not touch upon more of your life. It’s not right.”
The solemn tone from her shocked him for a moment, but he recovered. He gestured to the side of the house to the encroaching pine forest. Carine dashed off without a glance back.
It wasn’t what I thought it was. False alarm. Hopefully, Edward would keep everyone settled and believe him.
Carlisle ran and followed Carine’s scent easily. A mile or two in he found her standing under a hammock of pine. He stopped short of her, taking his own umbrella of pine. By now darkness had covered the land and only tiny insects moved among them. To the west there was a faint, sleeping heartbeat of an animal, but with the wind he couldn’t know the species.
He snapped out of that thought quickly.
“Carlisle you don’t have much time. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner, I-I” Carine started fumbling her words but after a moment, she took a breath and went on. “I didn’t succeed. I ruined everything I had. But it doesn’t have to be the same for you. We don’t have to fall for the same thing.”
He nodded. “I appreciate the warning, I do.”
“Carlisle?” She said in a whisper, her voice partly being taken by the breeze. “Did you see father die? With your own eyes?”
Everything stopped. His mind paused in thought as her words came down on him. His father. What did his father- who was she? He could feel a powerful annoyance- no anger- rise in him.
His father, the man who had no qualms about hurting others. Innocence, guilty, it never mattered. Nothing mattered except the agenda the man had. A pit opened in his stomach despite Carlisle’s desperate attempts to ignore it. To ignore all the swirling emotion inside of him. His composure was cracking over a simple question, and he hated it.
“Yes, why?” He asked breathlessly, lost in the overpowering emotion.
Carine shook her head. “Carlisle, think. Did you really or did you leave before it happened and just heard about it?”
A sickening feeling came over him. Remorse, embarrassment, revulsion, and guilt. It shook him. The horrid, loathsome memories of his first few years in this life came flooding back. They were at best desperate and at the worst idiotic attempts, especially since soon after he knew the real way he could have truly left and never did. The repulsive image he always saw in the stream. The harsh words of his father ringing in his ears. His father’s words never left, they just hid in the fog, waiting. Waiting for what? He tried to never know and always circumvent anything that came close to its reason.
Carine took a tentative step towards him with her hands up. “Carlisle, I know it’s not something you want to think about but we have to. We can’t keep lying!”
A loud snarl ripped past his lips before he could think and echoed throughout the woods. His vision blurred and a harsh thought came to his mind. Not to run, but to fight. He wasn’t sure what there was to fight though, it was just them out in the woods. Carine’s words hurt in a special spot though. He never wanted to be a liar, or to be perceived as one.
And then almost on call, there were feet running to them.
“Carlisle!” Two voices yelled in unison. One in front; Carine. One behind; Edward.
They stopped beside him with Jasper sliding into a crouch effortlessly. Emmett was on the other side poised just as quick. Carine ignored them, or ignored their stances, with her sharp gaze locked onto Carlisle. A delicate hand on his shoulder alarmed him to Esme, he still couldn’t stop seeing red. His muscles were tight, and venom pooled in his mouth in anticipation. But for what? His mind wasn’t releasing that, it was primed for only one thing.
“Carlisle! It doesn’t have to be like this! You can stop him.” Carine pushed. She dared take a step, Jasper was far too capable and hid nothing.
A screaming memory came back to his transformation, the agony burning inside of him and being locked inside the darkness. Where was his father? Looking? Planning? The man wasn’t known for pity or grief. Who was worthy of Father Cullen’s grief? His son? Never.
“Carlisle,” Carine whispered quickly.
The name only brought back another memory, of his father. He awaited on a path for someone, a mob surrounding him in a hellish red landscape. Gold rained from the sky and sprinkled onto the trees. It was mosaic in a way , and horrifying as his mind walked towards the scene. He wanted out. Out. Out quick.
“I can’t. I’m not.” He said with harsh stutters. “I can’t.” He turned away from her but a growl from Jasper snapped him back.
Carine had tried to take a step, the look of unadulterated fear in her eyes.
He shook his head quickly, not sure if it was towards Jasper or Carine. “Please.” He said in a whisper. Then lower, “please.”
Carine clasped her hands together. “I’m sorry Carlisle. The pain is not intentional. But I have failed already and I can’t bear the thought of you doing the same. We’ve already been alone for so long!”
The sincerity in her voice is what kept the small piece of his mind away from complete take-over from the rash emotions running through him. Alone. Failed. The words were raw and filled with regret, it was something he had known and tried so hard to keep out of his own speech. It was almost antagonizing to hear it. He hated to hear it from others, even strangers he’s barely met.
“Carlisle,” Esme whispered beside him, trying as gently as she could to pull him closer to her.
He tried to take comfort in it, but it was only a little help. “What do you mean?”
Carine lowered her head and brushed a lock of hair out of her face. “I didn’t get a heads up when he came. It was horrible and my family was the victim of my selfleshness. I barely saved our relationships. My husband won’t trust me anymore, he averts his eyes away. Sometimes in confusion, sometimes in fresh pain. My children are a mixture of anger and grief. It’s like I was already lost to them, maybe I am.”
The words seem to calm him down. His mind focused on the placings of the others, noting how close and tense each one was. He rolled his shoulders back into a more relaxed position and laid a hand on Jasper’s shoulder. He took a step towards Carine while in thought.
“I’m so sorry Carine. Please tell me what I need to do.”
Carine looked up, the pain shimmering in her golden eyes. “You need to remember what happened that night Carlisle. Because when he comes, you’ll need the truth to get rid of him.”
“Rid of who?” Jasper suddenly cut in. It made them both blink in shock.
“My father,” Carlisle answered grimly.
His family froze. In terror? In disbelief? He couldn’t know. He was too focused on accepting the idea; the idea of seeing his father again. In all of his new life, he had tried not thinking about the man. The last time he had seen the man . . . it was a bit of time after finding the deer. In the beginning, it was just mindless wandering around, trying to rationalize what to say. How to say it. Nights he would hunt just outside of the village’s range of hunting and by day the leftovers were sent to the neighbors to harvest. It was the small things that he did to get through the endless days. When he would go out of the area to find new reading material, his village wasn’t too keen on anything other than the religious texts, there was always a pang of guilt for abandoning them. He knew that they were all safe, the original vampire that had bitten him was long gone to the east in a fit of panic and pain. There was nothing to get now from the village.
“When is he coming?” He asked in thought.
“I saw him during a full moon. Him and an ambassador in the woods.” Carine spoke. Carlisle was too lost in thought to see her. All he could see was the village again.
“I thought they were ghosts. Or other supernatural beings. But in the moonlight, I saw them clearly. He hadn’t changed, the solemn look of his face, the mercy that was missing from his eyes. They were so dark.” There was a quiver heard in her voice. “Endless abyss. They walked like they weren’t touching the ground. I was absolutely terrified. Earnest was so close and I couldn’t make a sound.”
“Damning another to the sight will bring two to hell,” Carlisle noted in a breath.
There was a moment of silence before Carine went on. “They moved down the hill towards me, wordless and silent. There was never a heartbeat from father, just from the ambassador. When they came to the sight of me, the ambassador was shocked. Father wasn’t. He knew. Somehow, he knew.”
The forest went silent and after a minute, Carlisle pulled out of his mind to find Carine lost in her’s. There was an urge to wrap an arm around her, to comfort her. But he refrained, instead of glancing back at his family. Jasper was fazed, instantly locking eyes with Carlisle. He had no words to help explain any of this. Edward wasn’t much help, looking conflicted and confused at what he was watching inside their heads.
Esme was the only one with comfort in her eyes, though her body was tense with worry. She glanced at Carine a few times, the stiffness in her shoulders was something rare to see. He held a hand with her’s, looking over her head into the darkness.
No one knew what to make of things. And he couldn’t help them. Any of them.
“The full moon won’t be here for a few more weeks. I still have time.” He looked to Carine. “How long can you stay?”
She looked wearily between the faces of his family. “I don’t know.” She said low.
“I’ll help you if you need accommodations.” He offered.
She shook her head. “Thank you. I think I can find them easily.” She chuckled to herself, but when she looked back at him the laughter died. “Maybe we should reconvene when it’s light again.”
He felt a light squeeze from his hand. He nodded in agreement. “I’ll be at the house. We’ll have tea.” He smiled genuinely at her, truly hoping for the best despite the emptiness that clung to him now.
She nodded in agreement, took a long last look around, and then bounded away inside the forest. It was a few minutes before her footsteps went silent.
Go back to the house. I’ll be right behind you. Carlisle thought to Edward.
Quickly the boys left, leaving Esme nuzzling against his shoulder. Her warmth was comforting. Her silent insistence to give him comfort was impenetrable. He couldn’t look anywhere except the darkness of the forest, his mind ravaging through old memories he never wanted to go back to.
I have failed already. How many times had he said that before? And what did this familiar stranger know? Why did he trust her? Trust her with anything?
Esme pulled him out of the thoughts and closer to her. Their faces were inches away with a large smile crossing Esme’s face.
“Hello.” The smile was contagious.
“Hello.” She said breathlessly.
He closed the distance between them with a kiss, the darkness vanishing at the touch of her lips. Nothing mattered for the moment except her. Her gentleness, her patience, her demands. He wouldn’t ignore even a twitch of her fingers tracing along his cheek. Pulling her tighter, he could feel every movement against him. She giggled and paused to caress his cheek. Flawless, nothing would compare to the love she always had for him. No matter what happened around him.
“They’re worried.” Her eyes searched his as she spoke, watching them intently.
“Of course.” He snickered playfully.
She went on to guide him back, laughing lightly.
There were only a few seconds of warning for him; the fast pacing of feet, a panic voice distinct from the menagerie of others. One woman, a nurse that went by Mrs. Robinson, tried to keep pace with another person. He could hear the hitched breaths the nurse took as they tried to meet the measured paces of the other. As her voice came closer, the rest of the voices quieted, and a thundering of hearts hinted at startle, alarm. What was here?
Who was here?
Carlisle peaked at his phone in his coat pocket, the screen lighting up but no notifications on it. He smoothed over the papers on his desk and absently brought one closer. In a few moments, Mrs. Robinson and the source of her chase were right outside his office. Still, the nurse was trying to stop what came next.
“Miss, he is busy you can’t see him! You aren’t family!” She said in a hurried voice.
The door opened and the source stepped in. Shoulder-length silk blond hair that matched his own, full lips with a blush of red tinting them against the unnatural paleness of the skin. Gold eyes met gold eyes, one shocked and one apologetic. The woman was dressed in a baby blue knit dress with long sleeves with small brown boots clicking on the floor. He slowly got to his feet and raised a hand just as the nurse got to the woman’s side.
“I am so sorry Dr. Cullen.” She said with a brief glance in his direction. She placed a hand on the woman before doubling back at him. Then at the woman.
The woman raised a delicate hand up. “Hey.” She squeaked out.
He couldn’t help but give her a small smile. His mind went wild with what he was looking at. He took a deep breath, tasting the air and the woman’s scent to compare it to the people he’s met before. It was soft like delicate silk but salty like the air in a coastal town in England. It was distinctly English, something deep inside wouldn’t allow him to place it anywhere else. Her eyes were the same shade as his, a bright and newly fed golden.
“Hello.” He exhaled. He eyed the nurse who was doing double takes between them. “Thank you, Laura. I can take this.”
She looked at him with a sharp worried look. “Are you sure? You said you were taking a break.”
The woman hid a small smile with her hand. He smiled politely at the nurse. “I’m sure. Thank you.”
The nurse took another look at them before scurrying out of the office, leaving the door a smidge open. He noticed it instantly and took a step towards it before stopping. His gaze was on the woman who bowed her head briefly before gliding to the door and shutting it fully. She never fully turned her back to him, and he kept to behind the desk with a hand in on his phone. Isolated, he could hear the absence of a heartbeat within the room, the light scraping of her heels as she floated about, and the heightened pitch of them as she walked just a bit faster than average. He covered his cautiousness with a smile and stayed ready for the vibration of his phone. If this was going to go sideways, Alice would warn him. Right?
“Hello.” She greeted him a few paces from the desk. She didn’t offer her hand instead clasping them together at her sternum.
He nodded and for a few seconds. They stayed quiet.
She shook her head. “I apologize for the intrusion. I don’t mean any trouble for you here. I know how rude it would be to bring inappropriate matters to the hospital but .. .” she paused and thought. “It couldn’t wait, unfortunately.”
He kept the smile on his face even though the caution had risen inside of him. Concern flashed across his face and he offered her the chair while pulling in his own to sit on. When she shook her head, the smile faded away. “I don’t understand.”
“Carlisle I’m afraid our first meeting can’t be of good news. And I only know because things are a bit different where I’ve come from.” She bit her lip. “Though I still don’t understand how I’ve come here in the first place.”
Carlisle opened his mouth to respond but there was only silence. His mind was too occupied with the riddle this woman was. Who was she? How did she not know how she came to the hospital? Or was she talking about the providence itself? Canada was a large country but- her eyes. He couldn’t gaze far from them. Golden like his, with a historic glaze to them as he did. His family always pointed it out that his golden was just a few shades off from theirs. Hinting at his age, playfully they would go between bolder and a lighter shade for him. He couldn’t understand it though. Their eyes did lighten and darken, but that was for their thirst. Seeing the woman’s eyes, her shade wasn’t for that, and he could finally understand the teasing.
“I-what is your name?” He shook his head quickly. “May I know your name? You know mine.”
The woman brushed a lock of pale hair back. “My name?” She took a breath, and he mimicked to know what she did. “My name is Carine. Carine Cullen.”
He stayed silent, the name ending all questions in his mind. The panic must have been viable on his face because the woman quickly spoke again.
“I mean you no harm, I promise you. I’m sorry to be ahead. I know this isn’t the greatest way to see each other for the first time but I’m-”
In her hesitation, a nurse knocked and poked her head into the room. Carine stayed still with just her shoulders moving to pretend to breathe. Carlisle looked expectantly at the nurse, removing the panic just as fast.
“Dr. Cullen? Do you have those reports for the east rooms? Dr. Michael was going to take over since you have a guest. . .” the nurse shyly looked to Carine.
Carlisle frowned before nodding. He was torn. Desperately he wanted to leave the room and Carine, walking as far as he could away from the look-alike woman with the same surname as he. But unfortunately, she had already laid the grounds work for something awesome and mysterious. He was really regretting how entranced he was towards the business.
The nurse nodded and shut the door behind her, leaving the two in silence again.
“Not here,” Carlisle said quickly as he grabbed his bag from the filing cabinet.
Carine watched in silence as he walked past her, switching out coats on the coat hook. When he opened the door, she was a few paces behind him. They walked out of the office and down the hall towards a nurse’s circle. There were desks in a geometric pattern in the open space and the people there were typing and gossiping about. As they came, some of the floor nurses hushed and made quick glances at them. Carlisle stopped at Mrs. Robinson’s desk who was entertaining some others at the moment.
“Laura. I’m taking off the rest of the day. Just put it in at PTO please?” He said quickly as he pulled out his phone. Edward was first in his messages and needed only one word to understand. MEET.
Mrs. Robinson looked at him with a worried gaze. “Is everything alright Doctor?” She eyed long at Carine.
He snuck a glance back at Carine, who was playing undisturbed very well, before turning to the nurse. “Yes. I’m afraid a family matter has come up.”
Mrs. Robinson narrowed her eyes at him. “Family? Is this . . ?”
He shook his head before she could guess. Any name would be wrong. Aside from the last name, Carlisle had no connection to this other being. No connection or relationship aside from possibly a stressed kinship at the moment. With another glance back, he saw a flash of panic calculation and thought pass the woman’s face.
“Your sister?” Mrs. Robinson finished reluctantly.
They both paused at the woman, aghast. Then they looked to each other and then back at the nurse.
“Yes. How did you know?” Carine said with a gentle smile.
Carlisle chuckled. “What gave it away?”
Mrs. Robinson relaxed and smiled. “Oh, you know. Something about your hairs told me.”
They nodded together before Carlisle waved her off and headed towards the elevator. Carine was in-suite and waited a few steps back from him. When the doors opened, he stepped on and stood by one side. Carine took the other side. He kept peaking at her, a thousand ideas and scenarios running through his head. Maybe she was a messenger of a friend? She definitely knew that this approach would startle him, no matter the gentility. But there was already a plan for him to meet her at a point, was it just not decided on until recently that caused Alice to not see it? Of course, the matter of it all was that until proven otherwise Carine has no intentions of harm towards him, so that could also hinder Alice from seeing the new arrival.
The elevator dinged and opened to a level that wasn’t the car lot. Instead, a group of gentlemen walked on. Instantly Carine was noticed by them and at mid-day, they were less cautious with their approaches. All while Carlisle remained invisible to them.
“Hey miss, you looking for something?” One asked with a smile.
Carine pressed herself to the wall and returned a small smile. “No, I’m on my way out.”
The gentlemen smirked at each other. The same man continued.
“Looking after old pops are ya?” He chuckled. “I promise we take our patient’s needs very seriously.” He scooted closer as the others wiggled up more room in the elevator.
He recognized the uncomfortable grimace that she did. It was the same one he would do when the nurses would go on. It was a small understanding of the subtext that bothered him and him alone. Now it was her. He unapologetic pushed the men apart and reached out one of his hands to her. With the other, he pressed the open doors button, rather forcefully.
“Carine, this is our stop.” He said while meeting eyes with the talker.
His friends eyed him as if he came from the walls, and the man was a bit annoyed by him. The doors opened immediately as they locked hands and Carlisle led them off the lift, leaving the men to grumble among themselves. Wordlessly they walked in tangent down a few hallways until they came to a stairwell, deserted and that went down to the car lot.
He was down several steps already before noticing that Carine wasn’t right behind. She instead was glancing through the small window into the hospital. He stayed quiet for a moment, thinking.
“Are we family?” He asked carefully.
She slowly turned to him and placed a hand on the railing. “In a way yes. We share a father.”
A sense of despair and anguish rushed through him, a sense that he had tried to restrain for a long time. The thought of his father was never a good one no matter how much he tried to avert to the good things Carlisle had witnessed. But there weren’t many, not when he was alive and not when he was changed and watching over his father. But the statement shook something in him he wasn’t okay with nor prepared for. There was a small hate he had for himself about how unrestrained the feeling was.
“I never thought he would go with anyone else.” He tried to make a small smile but it failed. “He made sure I knew . .” He couldn’t even finish, the remembrance sucking him into the space on the stair.
Carine slowly made her way down to him, pausing to keep a step between them. “He was still the man you knew. And the man that he was. But you and I? We’re just, different sides of one coin. To make things simpler.”
He gazed at her, the words reaching him but the meaning muddled. He felt more confused than anything else. He tried to think about any other family he had but it was so foggy, murky from the long years he had kept form thinking about. What other family had they shunned that could be the woman’s branch? Who was the woman? And what incidents had his father put her through? The thought made him freeze, understanding a part of her enigma. She had experienced the same things as he did, maybe the same, maybe more. Merciless to his son. Merciless to his daughter? Could – would a man do that to their own progeny just like that?
Esme came to mind. He remembered the absurd anger he felt towards her parents after hearing about the pressure they had put on her to get married. Married to Charles. To stay married to Charles after knowing what he had done to her. The helplessness she had felt and the lowest time of her life left alone in a hospital. Without her parents. Progeny didn’t seem to always matter in families, not to his, not to Esme’s or to Rosalie’s. Alice’s. The memory of Edwards’s mother appeared in his mind, desperately trying to save her boy in any way she could. To ask Carlisle to damn her boy, just to let Edward not die there like she was going to. The selflessness she had, the same he adored Esme for, it was his kryptonite.
He slowly nodded and walked down the stairs, his mind running from memories of the other’s unfair endings compared to his own, little snippets just being washed out by the emotion that sometimes flashed onto his family’s faces at different moments. The worry of Jasper when Bella wasn’t right behind them one hunt. Rosalie’s anger arising when she thought they had left Esme alone in an unfamiliar part of town. Alice’s anxiety when she was a few minutes off about his arrival home. His bottomless annoyance that arose when someone acted with inhuman harshness and callousness. No matter how quickly they acted someone always saw the slip. The mistake and the reality of themselves.
Once down at the car lot, it didn’t take long for them to get to his car. Carine seemed to know where it was as well as the make and model.
“I was thinking at the house. My family will give us space but here,”
“There are wandering eyes and ears.” She finished. Longingly she traced the finish around the passenger door.
He waited at the driver’s side door, watching her every move. Once she got seated, he took a deep breath and did the same. She kept her hands on her lap and her back straight, almost afraid to lean against the chair. As the car came to life, he chuckled which made her glance at him.
“I promise you won’t break it. My children have been in this and it hasn’t broken yet.”
She barely eased up.
He frowned. “I believe you.”
They stared at each other.
“If you say you mean me no harm,” He released the breath and nodded to himself. “Then I believe you.”
Carine waited a long second before sitting back into the seat. She looked out the window with a smile, her posture lessening. He looked out the front windshield, a smile trying to come across his face as well, but failed.
There are many ways to describe Carlisle Cullen. To some, he is a dedicated father and physician of the Canadian providence. To others, he is the uncanny, good-looking man that is just too pale and quiet to be liked comfortably. To his family, however, he is generally a good-natured man who tries to pick the most reasonable – and well-meaning- choice for those around him. But one day when a visitor meets with him, his truth is called into question. Liar hasn’t been one of the ways to describe Carlisle, but should it?
NOTICE: This is an archive for a story posted else where. When available, I’ll post links here to my accounts later.
Its odd to see the mail come in and among it is the letter for the lease. I didn’t feel the year going. It didn’t seem like it’s been a year out from hell.
In some ways things have changed. I have a bit more courage to speak out on things I don’t enjoy hearing about and speaking out against wrong notions of actions. I don’t feel as guilty as I did if one weekend I didn’t want to go back for a visit. I don’t feel as bad to just lay down and sleep next to my rabbits, unsure where my head is.
That being said I haven’t had complete success. There will always be an elephant in the room. Things will go untalked. Partially because of me, partially because of them. What’s more outstanding is the realization that my own sibling isn’t free from the manipulation and bad behavior seen before. (Not that I was good candidate, it’s just been easier to stay quite after the first few incidents.)
When I think of a year, I’d like to think of how I’ve grown and developed. To say the least, I’ve grown quite and lonely. I’ve stopped journaling. Stopped writing. Somethings became too real and I just hid away again.
Anniversaries, for the most part, are usually a good time for look backs. For appreciation of what had been done. I’ve seen them as a pillar of traditions and how we can keep the same. But not this anniversary.
I want something more than what I’ve established. I just have to figure out how. Hopefully this website will be the first of many steps for the development I choose.
It’s been a long year for me. Every day brought challenges that I thought I could handle and get thru without any help. And for a while I did. And then I couldn’t.
Things don’t always go our way because our way isn’t the right way. It’s not the best way, it’s just the way we’re comfortable with. The way I was comfortable with was to just keep everything in my head and hope for the best. Maybe I was also hoping that in my sleep it would all go away.
It never did. On reviewing this site and if I wanted to keep this running, I found the journal entries I had made. Just three. Nothing too special, but they were real and raw. Something that sounded foreign to myself after reading them. While reading them I felt a pang of emotion that remembered from last week. The further I read and thought, the more the memory came back and eventually I wrote again. I wrote in my planner until I couldn’t write anymore.
It’s was freeing. Writing this was freeing. And as much as I want to say that I’ll be back around on this for certain, I can’t. The most I can say is how intoxicating the freedom this blog has given me. I badly want to continue. But freedom is exhausting, and being alive has never been my forte.
So I was minding my business going to work one night when there was a detour and an accident. So while going thru the detour I see this white little mess of a cat sitting right in front of oncoming lights. Just sitting there, like it had no idea who or what that was. Luckily I got to it first and stood in front of this car doing 50 in a 25 residential. (LIKE WHAT?!?)
It came right over to me and wanted pets and comfort, so it wasn’t feral. It was like snow its fur both in texture and in color. So I called my sister who was with my dad and together we got the critter into the bathroom. I then went to work after essentially locking the bathroom from my sister. Whoops.
So the next day . . . OH BOY!
No pet places that can check chips are open before 9am. So after google leading me astray in hopes that one was, I called animal shelter. But the thing is! I found it on county lines and the county I may or may not have found in is one they don’t rescue in. So I called animal control and the sent a truck to me. But when they came they told me the same thing, found on county lines and its the one county they don’t rescue in.They came all the way to my apartment just to tell me that. UGH
So at this point I was becoming a mess with its existence, sneezing and one of my eyes closing. So I looked up the closest shelter and went there. There was a line but fortunately it wasn’t too long. I begged the lady to help me and I guess from the sneezing to my eye twitching. She advised me to go to the next door with the cat and say you found it in the county we were in, and not the next one. I did and FINALLY THEY TOOK THE CAT!
I’m sorry but by then I was a sneezing, twitching mess that still needed to clean the bathroom before using it. I got out of there as soon as I could and went home. The entire thing lasted since 6am to 1pm, and I was tired. I never knew the rescue process could be so complicated. But at least the cat wasn’t hit by a car. It’s now safe.
I hope I did the right thing, but to be honest, I’m not doing it again. Sorry, but it’s not as simple as it seems.
The wig above is split equally, half blonde and half black. I use it for my family character whose family is mostly dark haired people. Fortunately one of those people, playing her older sibling, has blonde streaks in their dark hair. So it is believed that a younger sibling would want to copy that, cause in reality I do. Plus it helps that this character is neat, proper and creative so the hair wouldn’t be the odd one out. They also have tattoos and very unique stockings that go under her shorts.
I just can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so we can go back to live events.