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I'm Always in This Twilight

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Living in Forks, Washington my whole life hasn’t been completely terrible. Quite boring, sure. A little repetitive at times, yeah, but I think it's far from terrible. Living with my dad has always been easy. He’s calm and stays in his own lane. But when it comes down to his girls; well, he’d do just about anything.

He was heartbroken when Renee took Bella and left for California. He missed them terribly everyday, but it never changed the way he felt about me. He still loved me with his whole heart. Even when there was no one else left, we always had each other.

With my mother, he lost the chance to ever really be ready, or even excited for a child. She just dropped me off on his doorstep a year after completely disappearing on him. He figured he’d never hear from her again. Well, I guess he hasn’t, but one day there I was, crying on his porch.

I don’t believe my mother ever planned on keeping me, even if I had turned out the way she believed I would. I ‘cried too much’ was all her note said, followed by an apology. ‘I was never ready for a long term relationship and definitely not ready for a child..’, or something along those lines.

 However, Renee gave him time to fall in love with the idea of a new child. She gave him time to feel ready, and right when it started to feel right, she took Bella away from him, leaving yet another open wound.

I wasn’t old enough to remember all that much of Renee, I was three when she left. Her laughter was contagious; when she was home the house felt lighter. When Bella was born, I think Dad was just happy to have a big family again. I was excited to have a friend we didn’t have to drive 30 minutes out to the reserve to see.

Everything was so good for a few months, but I think Renee got bored. She packed up Bella and left me and Dad to fend for ourselves again.

I did try to reach out to her once, my mother. When I turned 16, my dad mentioned that he could get a hold of some contact information if I ever wanted to meet her. I guess I was just curious, so I sent her an email. I told her who I was and I gave her the house phone number in case she wanted to call.

She never responded.

She never called.

When I’m at work sometimes I’ll convince myself she’s a customer, but I don’t think she actually is.

I still keep a calendar up, counting down the days to summer. Bella hated the rain and didn’t want to spend her summers here, so Dad and I started vacationing in LA just to see her for the summer.

Most of the time though, it was just me and Dad. I had some friends and a few boyfriends here and there, but I liked a little bit of solitude. Believe it or not, I liked just hanging out and watching the game with Dad. It was a pretty sweet setup; I’d cook dinner, he’d turn the game on, and, when it got too late, he’d wake me up from my nap on the couch and move me to bed. 

Bella called me towards the end of December and told me she thought her mom would be happier if she could travel with her new husband. She asked if I thought it was a good idea for her to come live with us. I was just excited to have my sister home.

I knew she’d be sad to leave Phoenix, but I tried to make it better for her. I helped Dad pick out new sheets for her and I set up my old computer in her room. I just wanted this to be good.

“When we get there don’t crowd her,” Dad coached “I don’t want her to feel overwhelmed.”

“I know” was all I said in reply, looking out the window on the drive to the airport.

I let him have the first hug.

She hadn’t changed much since the last summer I’d seen her. The car ride was mostly silent. Dad tried to mumble some conversation, but it died quickly. Even after we got home I didn’t want to bother her too much. I went to my room to let her unpack a little. After some time I knocked on her door.

“Hey Bells”

She smiled at me and set her stuff down “Hey Y/N” 

“How are you feeling?” I hesitantly asked, wanting her to feel comfortable. 

“It’s a bit weird, you know? It feels like tomorrow I’m starting my life over.”

“I bet,” I sighed. “Forks High is probably very different from your last school, but I’ve never been anywhere else. I’m sure you’ll have a great time.”

“For some reason I doubt that,” she laughed “but thanks.”

“No problem!” I laughed with her “on the brightside, you don’t have to ride with Dad in the cruiser.” 

“Small victories.”

Before leaving the room, I asked “I’ve gotta make some food before work, do you want anything?” 

“It’s kinda late, isn’t it?”

“Cafes open late for the shift changes. Keeps the town's finest caffeinated. I’ll be making Dad something anyway.”

Nodding she said “Makes sense. Uhm yeah, but you don’t have to bring it up. I’ll come grab some later. Thanks Y/N” 

“Anytime, love you.”

“Love you too”

I shut the door behind me as I left, made a pot of spaghetti, and went to work.

 

~~

 

Every night, I worked at the only restaurant in Forks open past 8pm. As a barista at Spoons, it was usually my job to close the store. We stayed open until midnight, which made it a great place to take a break.

Every night around 8:15pm, Dr. Carlisle Cullen comes in, gets a black coffee, and sits at the same table. Most nights, we talk, laugh, and spend a good amount of time together, before he’d sit down and do some work on his laptop. I always figured he’d just gotten off work and was doing some boring paperwork.

“Good evening, Ms. Swan.” He smiled at me and I lost my breath. No matter how often I saw him, he always took my breath away. He had a supernatural kind of beauty.

“Dr. Cullen! It’s good to see you!” I smiled back at him as I started to pour his coffee. “I think you can call me Carlisle, we see each other just about every night”

“Oh! Of course! But then I insist you just call me Y/n” I was doing all I could to keep my cool right then, as he looked at me. “How was work?”

“Slow, but a slow day at my job is always a good thing. Your sister moved back into town today, right?”

“Oh yeah, she’s the same age as your kids. Maybe they’ll be friends” Knowing that he had remembered something I had mentioned a few days ago, made my heart flutter. He was stunningly beautiful, and he paid attention to me? If he wasn’t careful, I’d fall in love with him for sure.

“I think Edwards is around her age, but mostly he keeps to himself. She might have a better chance making friends with Alice. She’s a bit younger, but they're in the same grade. Rosalie and Emmett are seniors this year. I guess it never occurred to me until now, but I’ve never asked your age. I thought you were still in school.”

I tried not to let my shock show. It’s always small talk between us. I guess I also didn’t notice we didn’t talk about personal stuff much. A lot of his personal information was common town gossip. 

“I Uhm, I’m 20, since September” 

“ So, not in school? Or in College?” He pressed

“I did some college at Peninsula, but it wasn’t really my thing” I was rambling. “ I want to be a published author, so I feel like I don’t really need a degree and a bunch of debt for that.” I chuckled and looked away, kind of embarrassed. He asked a question not for your life story Y/N. “Oh right, It’s $2.37”

“I didn’t know you wanted to be an author. I think it suits you. Thanks for the coffee.” He smiled that heart-stopping smile, dropped down a five like always, and sat at his favorite table. He got to work while I spent the rest of my shift trying to think of anything but his warm eyes and strong hands and stunning smile.

 

~~

 

That was the first night I dreamt of Carlisle Cullen.  

 

~~

 

Bella came home from school and came into the kitchen; I'd been making food that would be easy to warm up when Dad got home. 

“Hey Bells! How was your first day?” I smiled over my shoulder at her.

“Fine,” She sat down at the table with a huff and dropped her bookbag down next to her. 

“Oh no, were people nice to you?” I’d hoped they’d greet her with the same kindness I’d seen during my years at Forks High.

“Do I smell bad?” She asked abruptly, lifting her shirt to her nose.

“No? Though I don’t make a habit of smelling you.” I jokingly replied, “Did someone say you stink?” 

“No, it's just,” she looked frustrated, “this kid. It was just weird I guess.” She sat there for a second longer before storming upstairs. 

“Dinner will be ready by 6! It’ll get better!” I called after her. I heard her door slam and mumbled to myself. “Hopefully”

 

~~

 

That night at work Carlisle wasn’t there.

 

~~

 

There continued to be no sign of Carlisle, and I continued to keep my distance from Bella while she settled in. Knowing that she had a rough first day, I tried to avoid the topic of school. She didn’t talk to me much about school either. I knew she was making friends, though. Some of them, she mentioned, I knew from my senior year, but I was never really close to anyone. I was always better friends with the teachers than the students.

Just when things were finally reaching some kind of normalcy, I got an urgent call from dad.

“Someone almost hit Bella with their van.” Was all he said when I answered the phone.

“Oh my god, is she okay?” immediately dropping the pan I'd been washing.

“They’re telling me she’s fine, but I gotta get my eyes on her. I’m going to the school and then I’ll escort the ambulance to the hospital. Will you meet us at the E.R.? I’m going to have to fill out paperwork and accident reports, and I don’t want her to be alone.”

“ I’ll be there dad, no problem. I love you.” I took a second to catch my breath after we said our goodbyes. Once I got my shoes on, though, I was out the door and on the road.



~~

 

When I got there Bella was yelling at the nurse that she was fine and she could just go home. They took her to a room to run some tests, so I stood in the hallway. 

She got back in the room and gave me a rundown of what happened. I wanted her to rest, but she swore she was fine. She did shut her eyes and for a minute it looked like she might actually doze off.

“Is she sleeping?” Just looking at him I could tell that this is Edward, Carlisle’s son. They have the same color eyes.

“No but she shou-” I started

“Hey Edward, I’m really sorry-” Tyler, the boy who almost smashed my sister began, but Edward put a hand to stop him

“No blood, no fowl.” Well some fowl right? He almost killed someone today! Why was he being so nonchalant about this? “So, what's the verdict?” He asked, turning to Bella.

“There’s nothing wrong with me, but they won’t let me go.” She complained

“Because they have to be sure, Bella. I’m grateful they’re being so careful.” I tried to reassure her. She didn’t seem convinced.

“She’s right.” He shifted to look at me, “ You must be Claire. My fathers mentioned you. I’m Edward.” My eyes widened and I nodded.

“That’s me.” 

Carlisle has mentioned me. Me! To his family . Bella looked confused but just changed the subject. 

“Hey! How come you’re not strapped to a gurney like the rest of us?”

“It’s all about who you know, but don’t worry. I've come to spring you.”

Right then, the man I had been dreaming about, but hadn’t even seen in over a week, walked around the corner. He smiled at me before turning to Bella. I was thankful for the first time that day, to be in an E.R. because I’m fairly certain my heart stopped. I busied myself looking down and playing with my hair. 

He gave Bella a once over and made sure she was still feeling fine. 

“Can’t I just go back to school?” She asked, cringing. I made a mental note not to baby her ever.

“Maybe you should take it easy today.”

I followed her gaze to Edward. “Does he get to go to school?” she glared

“Someone has to spread the good news that we survived.” Edward smiled at her smugly.

“Actually,” Dr. Cullen corrected, “Most of the school seems to be in the waiting room.”

"Oh no," Bella and I said in unison and I buried my face in my hands.

Carlisle raised his eyebrows "Do you want to stay?"

"No, no." Bella insisted and stood up, but she lost her balance. Carlisle caught her arm and I jumped up to catch her as well. He shot a concerned glance my way, then back to her. "I'm fine" she tried, again, to assure us.

"Take some Tylenol for the pain" he said.

"It doesn't hurt that bad."

"Sounds like you were very lucky" Carlisle said as he started signing her chart. I stared at his hands, focusing unintentionally on the way they moved.

"Lucky Edward was standing next to me." We all glanced at Edward. Who kept his eyes on his father. They looked at each other for a long moment and then Edward nodded once. Carlisle looked back at Bella's chart.

Once he cleared Bella to leave, Edward and her stepped into the hallway "Can I talk to you for just a second, alone." I asked Carlisle. "I'll make it quick."

"Of course Y/N. How can I help you?"

"She's really okay?" 

"Just a minor bump on her head. Medically speaking, she'll be just fine." I nod but the knot in my stomach doesn’t go away. "Do you work tonight?" He asked, trying to pull me out of it.

"I, uhh, yeah. I close like every night."

"Good. I'll see you then, then." He set Bella's chart down and winked at me, before picking up Tyler's. "I'm afraid you'll have to stay with us a bit longer." 

As I walked away, all I could think was, did Carlisle Cullen just flirt with me?.

 

~~

 

Seeing that it was only 5pm when I got home and I didn't have to work until 8, I was actually going to lose my mind. I could not wait to see Carlisle again. I tried to work on the book I was writing, but I could not focus long enough to even get a sentence in. Instead, I sat on the couch and stared out the window while Bella tried to calm Renee down on the phone.

I'm glad Dad called Renee. If I were a mother, and if I have any say in it I won’t ever be, I would like to know if my daughter almost got smashed to death by a teenage boy in a hippie van. I'm glad he didn't ask me to call her, because I would have, and then Bella would be mad at me like she is with him. While Bella was blowing off steam in her room, I was daydreaming about a man I hardly knew.

A very small list of things I almost know about Carlisle Cullen

  1. He is around 30 years old
  2. He moved to Forks about 2 years ago after his wife passed away. (I do not know how she passed)
  3. According to town gossip, which is known for exaggeration, they married at a really young age. They started fostering children right away, but when she passed, Carlisle adopted all five of them.
  4. He only drinks black coffee.
  5. He's the best doctor the town has ever seen.
  6. He's the most gorgeous man I have ever seen. (Which is an opinion, I know but if you grew up in Forks, it's basically common knowledge.)
  7. None of these things are reason enough to fall in love with someone and I'm not. I am not falling in love with a man I do not know. Definitely not.

At 6:30, I decided I was too distracted to cook and ordered pizza for Bella and Dad. I was also too anxious to eat, so I took a shower and did not think about Carlisle one time.

When I finally got to work I immediately started working on side tasks, hoping to pass the time and not just anxiously await his arrival. 

I realized I never thanked him today, or Edward for that matter. I know he was just doing his job and Bella wasn't in any kind of life threatening condition, but it still meant a lot to me.

An hour before close, I'd almost given up hope that he would actually come in. I thought, maybe I’d over-thought it. Maybe I’d read more into it than was actually there. When I had officially given up hope, he walked in the door. 

"I'm sorry I'm here so late. Paperwork from the accident today got the better of me. How's Bella feeling?"

"She's good, I think." When he smiled at me the way he did then, I thought I could actually fall in love with him. Or combust. Both were very plausible. "She's a bit mad at my dad for calling her mother, but I think she'll make a full recovery, thanks to you. Did Edward seem okay too? Bella said he was with her."

Which wasn't exactly what she said. She swore to me, when only I was with her on the drive home, the last she saw, Edward was next to his car but he pulled her away from the van and she didn't get hit. The way she changed the story only when other people were around was a bit odd.

"He's doing just fine. A bit shaken, but I think he'll make a full recovery" smiling after quoting me. I blushed and handed him his coffee.

As he set the five down he asked. "You said Bella's mother earlier, is she not also your mother?"

"Oh no, my dad met my mom about a year or so before I was born, but she left pretty quickly. Once I was born she just dropped me off at his house, and disappeared. Renee is Bella's mom, but after Bella was born she left, taking Bella with her." What was it about him that made me talk for much longer than he asked? He just asked a yes or no question and there I stood, rambling on and on.

"I'm sorry" he looked genuine. 

"It is what it is, I suppose. It's nice to have Bella home." I laughed awkwardly, trying to shift gears to a more light topic. 

Carlisle smiled back at me. "I think Bella seems like a great girl. She's caused a stir in this small town, but it makes it feel a bit more… alive."

"She really has. It's not everyday a new person moves to this town." Making him laugh was my new favorite thing to do.

"And then almost dies a week later" I laugh with him.

"Nope, that's just bella." I was so scared to ask, but I wanted to know more about him. I wanted to ask what he does when he's not at work, and what's his go-to music station on his drives home. My fear got the better of me and I hesitated just long enough for him to take over the conversation.

"I don't think I'll ever want to stop learning new things about you" my eyes shot open and I looked away blushing. "There's something about you Y/N. I'm just intrigued to know more." He kept his eyes on me as my face just got hotter. 

I nodded "Uhm yeah same, with me. About you. " I knew I was mumbling and I mentally face palmed at the word fumble.

Against every hope in my body he said "I do need to head home though, I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Sounds like a plan" I smiled at him, only a little disappointed 

"Have a good night, Y/N" He smiled at me and I did the stupidest thing I think I've ever done.

"You too!" And I shot him finger guns. He chuckled and walked out the door. I hit my face on the closet wall. 

 

~~

 

The following day I was plagued with the memory of my choices. Someone I had genuine interest in, who had equal interest in me, witnessed my finger gun attempt at being cool.

Circling back to the heart of the matter, he wanted to know more about me. I just stood there stammering my way through poorly structured sentences. It was all I could think about.

Well that and the way he smiled when he said my name. The way that so much of him remained a mystery to me and yet, he wanted to know more about me .

I was lost in thought when the phone rang, I almost missed it. I hoped it would be Carlisle. 

“Swan Residence” I chirped

“Oh, Hello Y/N, it’s Ms. Cope, the nurse at Forks High School.”

“Oh no..”

She laughed “Everyone’s alright. I was just calling to tell you or your father that Bella started to feel a little faint today in biology while they did blood typing. Edward Cullen was nice enough to offer to take her home. They should be there soon.”

“Okay. That’s nice of him” a sigh of relief “ thank you for calling. I hope you have a nice day.”

“You too, dear.” 

After she hung up I leaned against the wall and took a deep breath. While I stood there I saw his headlights turn into the driveway. It was like any other day, raining, dark clouds covering the sky. Bella stayed in Edward's car.

They sat together for a long time, just talking. I tried not to stare out the window too much. I didn’t want them to think I was snooping.

I was totally snooping.

I saw her open her door a little bit later and she slammed the door and stomped inside and I pretended to be finishing the dishes so as to not look like I was watching.

He smiled at me as he drove away. 

When she shut the door behind her, all I could think to say was “So.. Edward Cullen, really?”

“I don't think he even wants to be friends.” She just rolled her eyes and plopped down on the couch. “Just yesterday he was all ‘we shouldn't be friends’ '’ she deepened her voice to mimic his, “and then ‘do you wanna go to Seattle with me?’ like he’s actually giving me whiplash. Then today he invited me to sit with him at lunch just to be like ‘maybe I’m the bad guy.’ Like what does that even mean?” She just looked at me for my input.

“Then for him to save you from fainting and bring you home early?” I hesitantly ask.

“Exactly! I just don’t get it. I don’t get him . And he says I’m hard to figure out.”

“I get the feeling.” I blushed slightly and sat next to her.”

“Uhm, yes, please distract me from my boy problems with yours. Who’s caught your eye?”

“It’s just.. Well, it’s Carlisle-”

“Cullen?!”

“Yeah..” her eyes went wide at that. “I know. He’s always been a regular at the café and he’s always been like a little flirty, I guess, but I don’t know like anything about him but god do I want to and also he acted like he wanted to see me yesterday at the hospital and Edward said Carlisle has mentioned me, I guess, to like his family and I don’t even know how to feel about that. He also said never wanted to stop learning things about me.” I took a big, deep breath and  I looked at her to gauge her reaction.

“The only single Cullens have got us bad.” she laughed and then sat forward placing her face in her hands. I would have panicked if she wasn’t shaking with laughter.

“ Oh my god, so, so bad.” I laughed with her “Shoot, I've got to work. Do you mind managing dinner for tonight?”

 

“Yeah, you’ve gotta go see Carlisle” she said while suggestively raising her eyebrows, “I’ve got dinner”

“Ooor, I have to go do my job.” I laughed and rolled my eyes. “Do you have plans tomorrow?”

“A small group of friends are going down to La Push Beach, and I planned on going with them. I invited Edward and you should come too. It might be a good chance to ask some questions about Carlisle'' she said suggestively again.

“Haha, thanks, but no thanks. I actually need to go to Port Angeles. There’s a farmers market and I need to get more fresh veggies in dad’s diet.” I said “If you didn’t have plans I would have taken you with me.

“Yeah I don't think the lettuce and tomato on his burgers are gonna cut it.” She laughed. 

“Definitely not. Have fun with your friends. I’ll see you tomorrow night, Okay?”

“Totally.” 

 

~~

 

At work I was counting down the minutes till Carlisle came in and when he finally did it was like a breath of fresh air. Without even thinking about it I started his coffee.

“Hey Carlisle, How's it going?” I asked, sounding way too up beat to be casual. I tried to not wince as he laughed.

“Good evening Y/n. I’m doing well. How are you?” He smiled at me.

As I struggled to form a coherent sentence, I handed him his coffee. “Good, yeah, I’m great.” I let out a nervous laugh. “Bella almost fainted at school today. Because they did blood testing. She's bad with blood, but I’m actually starting to think she might be a danger magnet.”

“Quite a dangerous thing to be in Forks.” he replied looking at his cup for a second then back to me.

“I’ve always thought things were kinda slow here. I guess it’s just her.” I laugh

“You have no idea” he smiles and sets down a five before picking up his coffee.

I just wanted to know more about him and I didn’t want the conversion to come to a close yet, so I asked “Of all places, why did you choose Forks?” Then I remembered his late wife and I immediately regretted it. “If you don’t mind me asking. You totally don't have to answer.” I looked down at my hands and mentally face palmed again.

“Are you asking because you wouldn’t choose Forks?” He asked 

Definitely not, I shook my head.

“I chose Fork because it was once my wife's favorite place. She loved it here and we’d visit often, or at least drive though. She loved the sound of the rain in the leaves. So much so, that eventually I fell in love with it too. After she passed, I thought it would honor her if her family were to move here. To rebuild our family where a large part of it began.” He smiled softly “It’s been nice, just me and the others-”

As he was speaking, Edward and two other boys, whose names I did not know, walked in “There you are Carlisle.”

“We’re taking Edward… Hiking to get this mind off that girl.” The bigger one said and the small blonde smacked his arm. I checked my watch, it was 11:22pm, why would they go hiking this late? Also was he talking about Bella? Edward sharply turned his head to me; panicking, I turned back to Carlisle. Edward furrowed his brow looking confused.

Carlisle just chuckled when his eyes drifted back to my face. “Family calls. It was nice talking with you tonight, Y/n. Will you be here tomorrow?”

Before I could answer, “Oh, You’re Y/n? I’m Emmett and this is Jasper.” The larger, brunette one stuck his hand out and I shook it hesitantly. It was freezing, which just added to my questions of why they were going hiking. “It’s nice to finally meet the girl-”

“Alright, Let’s get going. Have a good night Y/n.” Carlisle grabbed his son by the back or the shirt and smiled at me before hauling him out the door.

I stood there staring at the front door for a solid 5 minutes, replaying the encounter over and over in my head.

 

~~

In my bed that night. I stared at the ceiling asking the questions to myself I could never actually ask him.

What was the rest of his sentence before the boys walked in? Why were they going hiking at almost midnight when it's, at best, 40 degrees out and raining? Why was Emmett's hand so cold? What was Emmett going to say that made Carlisle feel the need to stop him? What was Edwards' problem with Bella? Or was he even talking about Bella? Or was it a problem at all? Why did Edward look so confused before I looked away?

And why, knowing and seeing all of these red flags, why was I still so intrigued to know more about this family? About his family? Isn’t the first step to recovery admitting you have a problem?

~~

 

Knowing all I had to do, I took the day off work and got an early shower before heading to Port Angeles. If Carlisle went to the café tonight, I'm sure Katie would work as a substitute. Though I did hope his hiking trip would keep him occupied so I wouldn’t miss a chance to see him again.

Also knowing my 1990 Toyota Corolla’s days were numbered, I packed extra safety supplies. Jumper cables, spare tire, first aid kit etc. I was on the road by 9am with all of my fingers and toes crossed, praying that it’d make it there and back. 

I made it to a good parking spot that was central to all of the places I needed to go, and started for the farmers market. The weather was actually kinda nice. I bought a pretty blue and turquoise necklace for Bella and lots of fresh fruits and veggies, two cartons of farm fresh eggs that I could keep in the cooler until I got home.

I stopped at my favorite book store, and hit a few more stores before heading back to my car. I secured my goodies in the trunk and got in. I turned the key but the poor thing didn’t make a single noise. I laid my head on the steering wheel and assessed the situation.

My complete lack of car knowledge made this a little troubling, but I tried the key again. Lights, but no sound meant the battery was okay, right? I popped the hood and stared at the engine hoping someone would stop with some kind of answer.

A very nice couple came out of the market not too much later. He tried to jump start my car, but it refused to turn over. He told me my engine was probably dead and offered me a ride home, which I thanked him for, but turned down. I told them my Dad was on his way. They didn’t need to know I hadn’t called him yet. I knew he would be when I actually did call. I thanked them again and they went on their way.

I didn’t want to bother Dad yet, he was still at work. Instead, I grabbed the cooler from the trunk and went to a local café to just sit and read for a while, before I’d bother dad.

 

~

 

The sun started to set and I’d decided I would call dad in about 30 minutes and sit in my car till he got there. He’d probably call a tow too but I wouldn’t let him pay for it, it’d probably be over $200 to take it back to Forks.

I packed up my things around 6:30. I didn’t want to occupy the space for too long. I got to my car and tried to get it to turn one more time, just to be sure, but still no luck. I sighed and went to pull out my phone to call my Dad when an all too familiar, shiny, black Mercedes pulled into the spot next to me.

I knew it was him. I leaned my forehead on the steering wheel again hoping maybe it was a coincidence, or at least that he wouldn’t see me. I wanted to be invisible.

I knew he was there but I still jumped when he tapped on the window with his knuckle. So I put on a brave face and got out of the car. I tried to smile at him, but I'm sure he could read me like a book.

“Hey! How’s it going? It’s like, super crazy to see you here.”

“I’m doing alright. Are you okay?” He smiled back at me but I could see the genuine concern there.

Play it off. Keep cool. “ Oh yeah, I’m good. I came out to the farmers market and lost track of time in the café. Got a good book and a coffee. Just about to head home.” Nice

“But your car won’t start?” Fuck, he saw right through me.

I laughed, “Not even a little.”

“Is your father on his way,” His smile lighted

I panicked “No, but I was about to call him.”

“I could take you home”

More panic. “Oh, thanks, but I wouldn’t want to trouble you. You just got here, I’ll be fine.”

“It’s no trouble, Y/n. I found what I came to town for anyway.” He hesitated, “I wouldn't feel right leaving you alone in the city after dark.”

He made a fair point. One I hadn’t thought of. Not to mention all the recent deaths. Plus, alone time with Carlisle Cullen didn't sound too bad. He was safe, and hot, and also, occasionally flirted with me. So I nodded.

“You’re right, if it’s really no trouble.”

“It’s truly not.”

Nodding again I said. “I’ve got a cooler.

“I can also take your cooler home.” He laughed and helped me get my things from the trunk. “I promise it’s okay.”

“Thank you” I handed him the cooler and he put it in the trunk of his car. Then he walked me to the passenger door and held it open for me. I locked my car door before getting into his car.

As he walked around to his side of the car I breathed a sigh of relief but I was still very anxious about the hour car drive alone with him.

“So what brought you to Port Angeles?” I questioned as we got on the road.

“I…, I was just passing through actually.”

I nodded, though his answer confused me. Before he said he ‘found what he was looking for’. I didn’t press him further.

He looked at me for a split second, then back at the road. “Can I ask you something?” I nodded. “Do you stay in Forks for your father?”

“Yeah, I don’t want to be another person he loves, who just up and leaves him .”

“I understand that. It’s very kind of you, but you can’t plan on staying home forever. You’d want to get married, have a place of your own? Maybe children,” he continued

“Sure, eventually. I’m not really a kid kind of person, though. I guess I never really thought about going anywhere unless my dad did too.”

“So, if you could, Where would you go?”

“If there were no restrictions, there's no where I wouldn’t go. I’d never stop moving. As of now, I’ve never left the west coast. Just Washington and California.” I looked out the windshield at the winding road before us, the roads I’d know my whole life. “I think I really want to see Barcelona... I know why you chose Forks, but where else would you go?”

He smiled at me. “If there were no restrictions, right?” I nodded, “Barcelona does sound nice, If you’d allow me to follow you.” I blushed at that and just stared at him for a minute.

“Have you been flirting with me, Dr. Cullen?” I asked, a bit quieter than I had previously been speaking.

“Am I that easy to read?”

I let out a soft laugh “No, not at all.” 

He laughed as well and the car fell silent. I paused before changing the subject. I pointed at the radio system that was on, just muted, “May I?” When he nodded, I turned on the sound. I was determined to find an answer to some of my questions tonight, while I still had the opportunity.

Soft jazz music was what it was left on. The kind of music that played in the café or in elevators. “Is this your go-to station?”

“It’s pretty much all I listen to. The music in the twenties just felt more alive somehow. More human.” He said, staring out at the road. I turned the music down so we could hear it but could also hear each other.

“I think it’s beautiful.” more hesitation. “I uhm…, I actually learned to play alto saxophone in high school because I've always thought jazz was beautiful.” I chuckled.

“I have always been more of a piano guy myself, but then again I’ve never heard you play saxophone.” He chuckled too.

“I never said I was good… Carlisle, How old are you?” I asked

“Hard to say. Here I’m around 33.”

“What? How is it hard to say?”

“I’m 33, Y/n” He laughed at me.

“Well now, I’m not convinced.” I laughed with him.

“Good. It’ll keep you thinking about me.”

Not a single thought passed through my head before I said “Like I need help with that.” It took everything in me not to smack my hand over my own mouth. 

“Oh really now?” he said through his laughter.

“Do you happen to have a child-lock on this door? I’ll just see myself out.” I knew my face was as red as a beet and I pretended to reach for the door handle. He just continued to laugh at me.

“No, no. It’s okay, I completely understand.” my embarrassment faded a little with that comment, and I continued to smile at him.

“I only ask because you talk about the twenties like you lived through it.”

“And if I told you I had?” he questioned, a bit more serious.

“Well I guess it would make sense why it’s hard to say your actual age. However, you don’t look a day over 80.”

“Thank you?” He was really laughing at me now.

“And we don’t live in a play-pretend, so my money’s on that you’re just a jazz enthusiast.”

“You’re right, in a general sense. Is there a music genre that speaks to you in that manor” 

“We’re in the same boat. It’s part of the reason I love the café so much. It’s the only music we’re allowed to play”

“We’ll just have to add that to our list of similarities.”

The road was long but it was also very beautiful. I hadn’t really noticed before, I had been too focused on getting my car to and from without it breaking down. When I looked back at Carlisle, I stopped to actually look at him. I wished I could read his mind, or even read him at all. I think I just wanted to know what he saw in me.

In him, I saw a giving, kind hearted man, who would do anything for his family. Who would see just some girl on the side of the road with a dead car and make sure she got home safe.

And that’s me. Just some girl.

Before I knew it we were turning into my driveway. Bella’s truck was there but Dad’s cruiser was not. I was really glad I didn’t call him.

“Thank you again.” 

“It’s been my pleasure, Y/n. I’ve enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with you.” He held my hand with his own and for a second I thought to turn the air down, his fingers were freezing, but I was more distracted by the fact that he was holding my hand.

“Me too, though I don’t know why you do. I’m sure you could be with anyone you wanted right now.” 

“I want ,” he put emphasis there, “to be with you. I want you to be a part of my life.” he smiled softly and looked into my eyes. I couldn't help but look back at him. His hand reached up and rested on my cheek as he leaned in closer to me.

“Are you about to kiss me?” My voice was small, barely above a whisper.

He chuckled “If it’s alright with you.” He was just inches from my lips.

“Yeah, yeah. That would be fine.” I nodded and he laughed again and then his lips were on mine. He was slow and deliberate. Almost as if he had been waiting forever for this very moment. Without breaking the kiss, I parted my lips and he deepened kissed without hesitation.

I thought I could sit here, in his car, kissing him forever . Even wanted to, but out of the corner of my eye I saw the headlight of my dad's car turn into the driveway. I pulled back and laughed, as I did he placed a few smaller kisses to my lips.

“I suppose you should head in, before Chief Swan panics about why the town's doctor is in his driveway.

“If I have to" I giggled, realising my hand was tangled in his hair, I didn’t move it. “I’m sure he’ll just assume Bella tripped over air..”

“He’s waiting for you to get out of the car. Let me help you with your cooler.” 

I sit straight in the seat again and bury my face in my hands “Oh right the cooler...”He laughs and gets out of the car. I continued to sit for a moment just stunned, he opened my door and snapped me out of it.

As I got out, so did my dad. “Y/n! Are you alright” he looked me over, checking for obvious signs of danger. “Where’s your car?”

“Currently, it’s dead, in Port Angeles. A guy said the engine was shot..” I followed his eyes to Carlisle, who was standing next to me and giving me an encouraging smile. “Uhm, Carlisle saw me stranded, and offered to give me a ride home.

“Carlisle?” He seemed a bit more calm now that he knew there was no immediate threat. “Well, thank you, Dr. Cullen.” he looked at him. “Here, let me get that.” Offering to take the cooler. Carlisle handed it to him, before turning to me. 

“Will you be returning to work tomorrow?” He asked

“I… Don’t actually know now. I am scheduled, but I might not be able to get there.”

“If it would help, I could have Alice drop her car off tonight.”

“You really don’t have to do that, hones-”

“Y/n” the way he said my name made my heart stop for a second.

“Hmm?” my voice cracked.

“It’s not a problem. My kids carpool to school most days anyway.” he smiled. “I’ll come with her to drop it off and give you the key.”

“I-”

“Have a good night, Chief Swan.” He smiled at me and I just stood there with my mouth a little open. Dad shot him a wave and Carlisle got back in his car and drove away.

Dad turned to me. “So, since when are you on a first name, car borrowing basis with Dr. Cullen?”

My eyes widened “Dad- don’t” I let out a nervous laugh, making a b-line for the door. “It’s a new development.”

“You like him?”

“Goodnight Dad.”

“No no, it’s fine, Y/n. It’s just, he’s a father,” He followed me. When did he get so fast? “And his kids are Bella’s age.”

“I’m sooo not talking about this.” I started up the stairs.

“Y/n”

“Dad?” I paused.

“Just be careful, alright?”

I continued, “Sure Dad.”

“In… every aspect”

“Oh my god. Nope, not having this conversation with you. Night Dad!” I quickly shut myself in my room. As soon as I heard my dad return downstairs, I let out a breath and  whispered, “oh my god.”

I braced my back against the door and slid down it, holding my knees to my chest, followed by more hushed “oh my god! oh my god !”

I might have been in shock. I felt like a teenager again. 

Soon, this man, who I was definitely not falling in love with, was going to lend me his daughter’s car. For the foreseeable future. 

I continued to sit there on my floor for a while. Just replaying the event. Trying to convince myself it was real. I think I lost track of time. I’m not really sure how long I sat there with my arms around my knees just staring at the floor.  

When I heard the knock I rushed down the stairs and flew the door open only to instantly regret it when I got so light headed I had to lean hold the door frame to stay up right. I closed my eyes. 

“Y/N? Are you alright?”

“I, Uhm, I just stood up too fast. Got dizzy,” I blushed, stepped out onto the porch, and shut the door behind me. “I’m good.. You really don’t have to loan me a car” He held out the key to the shiny blue Prius that sat in the driveway.

“I am aware that I don’t have too. However, if I don't, who am I going to buy my coffee from?” he joked. I couldn’t get over his near constant flirting. It felt nice to be wanted.

“Hmm Katie, she usually covers for me. She’s very nice.” I laughed. 

“I’m sure she is, but I can’t do this with Katie” He leaned in to kiss me, but the Volvo from the side of the road laid on the horn. Carlisle’s lips never actually met mine but his laugh brushed against my lips. I still lost my balance and leaned against him. “Edward has been biting my head off these last few days, I should go before he comes out.” He placed the key in my hand. “I’ll see you, tomorrow” This time he actually gave me a quick kiss before stepping back.

“Thank you again. For everything..” Blushing, I pushed my hair behind my ear.

“Anytime you need anything, I’ll be here for you. Sweet dreams, Cara”

And with that he walked away. I would only have dreams of him. As he got in the car he shot me a wave, after waving back I ran my hand over my face.

“Fuck..” I muttered as they drove away and I could have sworn I saw him laughing.

 

~~

 

I was at my computer, frantically looking up what it means when someone calls you Cara, when I heard a knock on my bedroom door. Bella quickly walked in and shut the door behind her.

“Dad said he caught you making out with Dr. Cullen in the driveway.” I snapped my head up to look at her with wide eyes. “Oh my god were you?”

“Maybe.. Yes. I didn’t know he actually saw us!” I leaned my elbows on my desk and put my face in my hands. “It wasn’t the original plan.. It just kinda happened..”

I gave her a run down of today's events and she giggled and freaked out with me. At the end of my long winded story I sighed and tried to cool my face off.

“Y/N... What if, I don’t know.. Just forget it.” She bit her lip and looked at the floor

“No, what is it?”

“It’s dumb” She shook her head before walking over to my bed and plopping down in the center. “It’s just.. What if they aren’t who they say they are?” She breathed a sigh of relief, like she was dying to get this off her chest and I was just the first person who would understand. She tried to shrug it off.

“I don’t think thats dumb Bella, but why do you think that?”

She breathed in a deep breath and started “I know Edward was nowhere near me when Tyler spun out, but then he was and he says he was and he pushed the van away. He said it was adrenaline but I don't think it works like that. And the first day I met his eyes were like jet black When I asked he said it was the fluorescents, but again I don’t think that's how it works. He’s ice cold and their eyes are all the same color, but they aren’t related, but they are dating each other and that's weird” she sighed again.

“Hmm, I never really thought of it that way, but I have a theory..” After a second she looked up at me. “Maybe it’s a sex cult.” Bella starting laughing “No, like maybe it’s drugs and elitism and sex.” We’re both laughing very hard at this point. I didn’t actually believe that, but now that she’s said something it felt a bit hard to ignore. “Do you have a better theory?”

“Well I was thinking something like” She paused composing herself a little “Vampires?” 

“How is that better than a sex cult?”

“I don’t even know anymore. But I still think something is up.”

I walked over to her and put my hand out. “20 bucks says sex cult.”

“Okay deal,” She shook on it. “ What if it's both?”

“If it’s both, you'll donate to a blood bank and I'll donate to a rehab center.” I joked

“Oh my god, totally. Deal. I kinda hope it's neither." Though the way she was laughing, I could tell this was weighing heavily on her.

"I mean vampire sex cult or no, Carlisle is still crazy hot." Another round of infectious laughter and before long she went to bed. Leaving me with my thoughts, I at least hoped that it was just a mixture of teenage angst and maybe a little overthinking, not a sex cult of ridiculously attractive vampires. Maybe.

 

~~

 

That night I dreamt of Carlisle again. We were dancing to a song that sounded close to Dream a Little Dream of Me, but there were no lyrics, just smooth, jazz music played.

He spun me around his living room occasionally leaning down to kiss me or place soft kisses on my forehead. He smiled and as the song faded he leaned down and whispered in my ear "Since the first moment I walked into your cafe I've only thought of you. You are everything to me and for that, I am eternally grateful to you, Cara."

He dipped me and leaned in to kiss my neck. It felt real. I could feel his breath and his lips grace my neck. I could feel my heartbeat quicken. 

My heart broke just a little when I woke up the next morning in my room, alone.

My dead car was in its usual spot in the driveway

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Carlisle Cullen was the best person on the planet.

Second, there was a part of him- and I didn't know how dominant that part might be- that was a complete mystery to me.

And third, I was absolutely not falling in love with him.



~~

BELLA'S POV

 

“What would you say to meeting my family?” she gulped “Are you afraid now?” He sounded hopeful.

“Yes,” She admitted; how could she deny it - he could see it in her eyes. 

“Don’t worry.” He smirked “I’ll protect you”

“I’m not afraid of them,” She explained “I’m afraid they won’t like me.. Won’t they be, well, surprised you would bring someone... like me... home to meet them? Do they know I know about them? And what about Y/n, does she know about you guys? Will she be there tonight?”

“My family knows everything. Y/n on the other hand is a different story. Carlisle doesn’t think she knows anything, seeing how she is also hard to read, we can’t be certain.”

“You can’t read her mind either?” She asked. He looked a bit confused before shaking his head

“Not all of the time. There are times when I can hear her just like anyone else but then she’ll sort of turn off?”

“Like she stops thinking?”

“More like she kicks me out of her head, but she shouldn’t even know that I can hear her thoughts, it’s just a running theory.” she nodded at his response “Carlisle would like for her to come today, if she’s free. He also wants to be the one to tell her about us, if she doesn’t know already”

“I haven’t told what I know and she has wildly different theories. She’s not one to go digging. Will it be harder for you guys? If there are two of us?” Bella was more concerned for her sister's safety than anything else at the moment.

He chuckled “No, Y/n will be fine. My family did take bets yesterday on whether or not I’d bring you back.”

 

~~

Y/N POV

 

Three days of relative normalcy went by while I drove around Alice's car. I used my savings to put some money down on a 2003 Corolla that would probably last a little longer this time. 

Three days of normal work and also so, so much kissing Carlisle. On my breaks we would sit in his car and kiss until my lips were sore. We would kiss like we couldn’t get enough of each other. When we were inside he would stand by the bar and talk to me pretty much all night long.

I knew Bella’s relationship with Edward was progressing as well. When I got out of the shower and headed downstairs I wasn’t too surprised to see him. 

“I’ll always want you..” she was saying “forever” 

I felt bad for listening so before I overheard anything more, I announced myself. 

“Good afternoon, Y/n” Edward greeted me, ever so formal.

“How's it going?” I smiled and eyed Bella who just blushed and looked away “What are you guys doing today?”

“I was actually going to ask you, on behalf of Carlisle, if you and Bella would be interested in coming to meet the rest of our family?” Edward asked.

“I uhm..” Brushing my hand through my hair, I hesitated. I did work tonight but I wanted to get Alice’s car back to her. Though I was sure I knew most of his family already-

“I believe he would like to introduce you a bit more formally.” he interrupted my thought. I was afraid he could see my concern painted on my face. I sharply looked at Bella, who looked confused, then to the floor. Formally? What did that even mean?

“Right. That sounds.. Good.” I tried to sound convincing and not terribly confused. “As long as someone is willing to take me home before I have to work tonight. I can follow you in Alice’s car to return it.” 

“That’s a really good idea. I’m sure Carlisle wouldn’t mind bringing you home” She looked at me with a smile on her face and raised her eyebrows. Not subtle at all. “We should go get ready” She then took my hand and pulled me upstairs.

 

~~

 

Bella was ready before me and I heard her go back downstairs to Edward.

Getting dressed was easy. Calming myself down, however, was proving quite difficult. 

What did Edward mean when he said ‘introduce me more formally’ and how did he always seem to read me like a book, even when I've said nothing aloud.

Trying to pull myself together, I splashed some water on my face. I brushed my teeth and combed through my hair. I kept my clothes pretty casual, but a bit more formal than what I’d wear around my own home.

I looked myself over again and decided that I felt comfortable in my skin today and that everything was going to be fine. I took a deep breath and headed back downstairs.

“You’re incredible” I heard Edward say to Bella. They met me by the door.

“I’m ready when you guys are.” I grabbed the keys and headed outside, expecting to see Edward's Volvo in the driveway but it wasn’t there. I turned to him “Did you not drive?”

 

“I uh, I parked down the road and walked. I didn't want to be in Mr. Swans’ way” he replied.

“Also, I haven't really told Dad about us yet. I didn’t want him to ask too many questions.” Bella added. I just nodded, confused, and went to Alice’s car. “I’ll follow you guys.”

Watching Edward drive to his house I kinda realized the gravity of the situation. Carlisle was inviting me to his house to introduce me to his whole family as the person he has feelings for. 

I also had feelings for him. Feelings that were stronger than I was willing to admit and that scared me, so, so much.

Carlisle was a widower with five teenage children and I was only 20 years old. 13 years wasn’t that large of an age gap but it made me think. It didn’t change the way I felt at all, maybe it should. I was more worried that his family wouldn’t like me. What if they were still riddled with grief? I couldn’t blame them if they were.

Another wave of panic washed over me as we pulled into the driveway. The house was huge and old and stunningly beautiful. It was in the middle of nowhere, with so many windows and trees. There weren’t any cars in the driveway besides us now, but they had a rather large garage that I’m sure held all of their cars.

Looking over the house again my eyes fell on Carlisle who was smiling widely from the porch. When I went to get out he was already there holding my door open for me.

He took my hand and helped me out of the car. “Hello Beautiful.” I blushed and he quickly leaned in and kissed me.

“Hi” was all I could manage after our kiss. He always left me breathless.

“I’m glad you came. I wanted to ask you myself but Edward assured me he could handle it.”

“I had to return Alice’s car.” I smiled and wrapped the arms around his waist and tilted my head up to look at him. 

"Oh I see. How thoughtful" he chuckled and pressed a quick kiss to my lips before Edward and Bella walked up. Carlisle turned from me, one arm still around my waist, and held out a hand to her. "Welcome Bella."

"It’s nice to see you again Dr. Cullen" she shook his hand. 

"Please, call me Carlisle." He smiled 

"Carlisle, then" she nodded and looked more confident.

"Is everyone inside?" Edward asked.

"Edward!" A small girl, around their age came skipping out of the house. She kissed Bellas cheek "Hi Bella! Oh, you do smell good. I never noticed before.."

Carlisle stiffened and Edward let out a small hiss. Carlisle chuckled and said "Alice, this is Y/n."

"Oh, right, Sorry. I forgot she doesn't-" 

"Alright- let's go inside." Edward grabbed Bella's hand and led her inside. Alice followed behind.

Carlisle chuckled beside me and pulled me softly towards the house "I'm sorry about them."

"I don't... What?" I whispered

"It's... nothing. Alice can be a bit strange at times. I'll explain it later." His response didn't answer my questions and honestly left me with more, but we made it inside before I could press more. 

The inside was just as beautiful as the outside. Completely decorated with antiques and art from different decades. Everything was light and open and all together stunningly beautiful.

Alice went to the other side of the room and wrapped her arms around a blonde boy, who I'd met before, Jasper, I think. "Hello Bella. Y/n, it's good to meet you a bit more formally." He smiled but he didn't move or extend a hand. 

"Hey Jasper." Bella said. So Jasper was his name.

"You too." I started "Sorry I never really thought to come visit before." 

"It's alright" his southern accent was strong "we're all still figuring this out." He tilted his head towards Bella and Edward. "He's a bit protective," he said with a laugh.

"If Edward is protective, what does that make me?" Carlisle asked.

"The royal guard." Alice answered and everyone laughed with her. I noticed that there were only 6 of us in the room and that two of his kids weren't here. 

As if on queue Edward said "Rosalie is having a harder time with new people and Emmetts trying to reason with her." Again I wonder how he can read me so easily but I just nodded.

Alice and Jasper were talking to Bella when I caught Carlisle’s expression. He and Edward were looking at each other rather intensely. Edward nodded once and looked back at Bella, leaving Carlisle to catch my gaze. When he smiled at me I almost forgot the interaction, deciding; if they wanted me to know, or if I needed to know, I could trust that Carlisle would tell me.

"Let me show you around." He whispered to me and we all went our separate ways. Carlisle showed me the kitchen, apparently it doesn't get much use.

"Do you eat out a lot?" I asked

He hesitated, "You could say that."

The tour continued upstairs. As we passed he pointed out Alice's and Jaspers room then Rosalie and Emmett's. I guess it was a little odd that they were all together, and that Carlisle let his teenagers share a room, but hey, what I did I know, I'm not a parent. It wasn't my place to judge. Though it might help make Bella agree that this is a sex cult, and to pay up.

From another room I heard a laugh from Edward and then a much louder cackle from Emmett. Carlisle chuckled too. "It's nice to see Edward happy again, to hear him laugh. He was.. in a bad place before he met Bella."

"Oh! I'm glad he feels better with her. He seems good for her too, I mean other than the fact that he actually saved her life. It's good she has friends here. With Edward and the others, she has a normal social life here. It's good."

"Were you worried people wouldn't be nice to her?" 

"Well, no. More like people would either be way too excited over the shiny new toy or completely ignore her. This, with your family, seems genuine." I said as we got to a door that was slightly ajar.

" This is my office." He took my hand and led me in. It was just as open and beautiful as the rest of the house but the walls that weren’t covered in windows had floor to ceiling bookshelves. There were probably more books in there then I had ever seen outside of an actual library.

"It's lovely, Carlisle, really.." I was almost speechless. Almost. "Though, if your office is this nice, why do you come to the café?”

He laughed, “Well, I could say the café has the right ambiance, or that with 6 of us living here things get a bit hectic and the café tends to be quite quiet, however I think we both know it's the adorable barista that keeps me coming back.” He wrapped his arms around my waist and leaned in close to me. My face felt very hot.

“Hmm, Katie is cute.” 

“Ha ha. No, not Katie.” He chuckled and lifted me up, spun me around, and sat me down on the edge of his desk. 

Laughing, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Why, Dr. Cullen, you sure know how to take my breath away”. He really did. Even when he just smiled in my direction he rendered me breathless. He smiled and leaned in close to kiss me. 

Every time he kissed me it felt as if it could never grow old. I hated to interrupt,  but the questions in my head were eating away at me. “I do have a question though.” He smiled and nodded and let out a small noise of acknowledgement. “Earlier, Edward said that you wanted to formally introduce me, and then Jasper said it again when we got here. What does ‘Formally introduce me’ entail?”

“We don’t really keep secrets in my family. They know about you, and they know how I feel about you. I wanted them to really meet you.” His hand cupped my cheek and I found myself leaning into the coolness of it.

I was so scared to ask and yet, hesitantly, I whispered “How do you feel about me?”

“You mean more to me than I know how to put into words. I find myself falling for you more and more every second of every day. I want to be a part of your life for as long as you’ll have me.” 

“And if I asked for forever?”

“Then I’d give you forever.”

I kissed him again, my hand sliding up and into his hair, pulling him as close to me as humanly possible. I felt that rush of breathlessness again and the overwhelming urge to ignore it.

It was like there was a fire building between us. The more he kissed me, the brighter my world burned. Just when I thought the fire would consume us entirely, he pulled away and stepped back. 

“Come in,” he mumbled, swiftly straightening his hair. My face flushed and I hopped off his desk, running a hair through my own hair. I must have missed the knock.

Emmett peaked in “Alice says there's going to be a storm tonight and Edward wants to take Bella, You’ve either got to tell her or take her home.” Carlisle pinched the bridge of his nose. “Also, Hey Y/n! It’s nice to see you again. Am I supposed to call you mom now?”

“Oh alright, that’s enough of you, Emmett” Carlisle walked over to the door and started to push it closed. 

I blushed and said “I think we can just stick with Y/n.” I giggled

“Goodbye Emmett.” I could hear the boys laughing even after the door was closed again. “I’m sorry about him-”

“You don’t have to apologize for him. I get it. Boys will be boys, or whatever.” I laughed and held out my hand to him. “I should probably head out soon, I need to make dinner for my dad before work.”

He took my hand and walked closer to me. “That’s very understanding of you.” he kissed my forehead.

“I am, however, going to require a lot more alone time, in the very near future.” I looked up at him hoping he’d kiss me again.

“Oh I plan on getting you all to myself the second I can.” He did press a quick kiss to my lips.

“Hmm- I’ll hold you to that”

“I’m counting on it.” He laughed with me and led me out the door.

 When we got back downstairs, Rosalie was standing in the living room, mumbling something to Emmett. 

“I’m sorry I was rude before.” she started.

“You don’t-” I tried but she held up a hand.

“No, I do. It wasn't fair of me. If Carlisle can trust you, so can I.” She walked closer to us, “I’m Rosalie. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” she held out her hand to me and I gladly shook it. 

“I’m Y/n” I said, smiling back at her. Besides, of course, Carlisle, she was the most beautiful. She had the same pale skin and gold eyes and If I didn’t know better, they really could pass as related. Overall just shockingly gorgeous. 

“Thank you, Rose. Your opinion matters to me and I appreciate your effort.” Carlisle said to her. 

“I still think Edward is an idiot.” Then she turned and walked back to Emmett, grabbed his arm, and headed out of the room. Carlisle and I looked at each other. He just shrugged which made me laugh.

 

~~ 

 

When we were almost at my house I turned to Carlisle. "Your family is wonderful."

"Thank you. I'm very grateful for them, especially after my wife passed. I owe my life to them." He said.

"Carlisle?" My voice was soft.

"Yes?"

Still hesitant. "What was your wife's name?"

"Esme." He answered quickly but his voice carried a soft sadness. "I am honestly surprised I haven't talked about her much." He paused again, checking my reaction. "I thought we'd have forever, we didn’t get much time at all. She came into my life at a time when I believed I deserved to be alone. I met Edward soon after and the two of them helped prove I didn’t”

“She sounds lovely, you must really miss her.” my heart dropped a little when he talked about her.

“I do. It has been a very long time. I moved here, to Forks, to honor her while still letting go of the guilt and allowing myself to be happy again.”

“Guilt?”

“It’s quite a long story. Another time, perhaps.” I didn’t want to press, and as I looked around I noticed we had pulled into the driveway. He smiled at me and pressed my hand to his lips.

“I don’t want to replace her.” I was whispering again, I knew this conversation had to be hard for him. I didn’t even know if he’d been with anyone since her, it didn’t sound like it. I didn’t want him to be hurting.

“I know, and thank you for not trying to. I don’t want you to replace her either. You two are very different but I’ve been happier since I’ve gotten to know you.” He paused and sighed. “I really loved her, for a long time she was all I knew how to love. I still love her. It’s just different with you.” He looked into my eyes and my face flushed.

“What do you mean?” 

“I feel like everything in my life has led up to meeting you.” I didn't have it in me to hold back from him anymore. 

I kissed him again and again and I didn't get sick of it. For a while we stayed there, his hand on my face, my hand in his hair, until  he pulled back and chuckled against my lips.

“I think your father is waiting for you.” He placed another small kiss to my lips before turning to face the wheel again. I looked out the windshield and saw my dad standing on the porch staring at the grass. His hands were in his pockets and he was totally pretending to not watch us. I could tell by the whistling. My dad didn’t really whistle.

“Alright, I was formally introduced. Now it’s your turn.” I look back at him and smile.

“I’m ready when you are” He grinned

I swore under my breath and he let out a hearty laugh “Okay, ready.” Before I could second guess I swung my door open and got out. I rushed to the front of the car and he met me halfway and grabbed my hand. It took everything in me not to hide behind his shoulder.

“Y/n, Dr. Cullen, it's definitely great to see you again, totally not a shock at all.” Dad said only glaring at me a little. 

“Chief Swan, it’s a pleasure to see you again.” Carlisle offered his hand which Dad shook.

“Dad, I know you know Carlisle already, but I wanted to formally introduce him as my… as my boyfriend.” Though I hesitated, I realised it was true. If anything it was almost an understatement. 

He meant more to me than that.

I wasn’t ready to admit it, given that it had only been a little over a month, I had fallen in love with him. Maybe I was crazy, but as I stood there, with him beside me and his arm around my waist I knew I was in love with him. I felt confident in my decision to tell Dad about our relationship and smiled up at him. He returned my subtle smile with all the love and admiration he had to give. It took everything in me not to grab his face and kiss him till our lips hurt.

I looked back at my dad, who looked us both up and down. “You guys look nice together. Also I’m a cop... Also I own a lot of guns.”

I heard Carlisle’s soft chuckle, though my body went rigid, my face flushed, and I stared wide eyed at the grass. “You have my word, I have no intentions of ever hurting your daughter. She means a lot to me.” Carlisle said, his eyes drifting back to me. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from smiling like a huge dork. 

“Super.” Was all Dad said in response before turning and going back inside.

The second I heard the door shut, Carlisle’s lips were on my again. He kissed me like I had hung the moon, like it was keeping him grounded. 

It felt like a dream. I stood on the tips of my toes and held myself to his chest and every time he met me halfway. His hand held my face to deepen the kiss and when he broke it off it took everything in me not to chase him. 

“I’ve got to go. My family will be waiting for me.” he kissed the tip of my nose.

“What do you guys even have planned?”

“Just a game of baseball.” he said ever so nonchalantly.

“In the storm?”

He nodded. “More or less. The storm is going to pass over town. We’ll be playing in a field outside of town. We get less noise complaints this way.”

Confused, I asked “And you’ve convinced Bella to do this as well? Her and sports is like asking for an E.R. trip.”

He laughed. “So I’ve gathered. She’ll mostly just be watching. We’ll keep her safe, Y/n” 

“I know you will. She’s more of a danger to herself, anyway.” He placed another firm but quick kiss to my lips before pulling back. “Please be safe, I’m kinda crazy about you.” His eyes lit up at my admission.

“I’m always safe, but I’ll be extra safe if it means I’ll get to come back to you.” He kissed me one more time. “I’ll see you soon, Cara.” I watched as he pulled out of the driveway and stood there until I could no longer see his taillights. 

Dad was leaning against the counter with his arms crossed when I got inside.

“No-” I started, already laughing. He didn’t.

“You’re being safe? That’s all I ask.” 

“Dad please, I’m perfectly safe.” I lean against the kitchen door frame, matching his stance.

“Right. Well, just remember what I said last time.”

“I got it, Dad.” I gave him a thumbs up and then went to leave but I hesitated. “I think I might be in love with him.” I stood across from him with my eyes on the floor. His posture softened. “I guess I’m just worried. It feels too good to be true. I found someone who I have genuine feelings for, who seems to feel the same about me. Bella’s back and she’s happy too. I don’t know, maybe I'm just self sabotaging.” I ran a hand through my hair. Whispering this time, “Doesn’t it just feel too good to be true?”

He sighed. “I know what you mean kid, but we deserve something good, ya know?” He pushed off the counter and walked over to me, his posture lax and his hands in his pockets. I nodded “Just be honest with him about how you're feeling. It’ll work out.” He hugged me and placed his chin on the top of my head. The best thing about my dad is though he doesn’t say much it’s always exactly what I need to hear.

“Yeah.. we talk. We can talk. It’ll be okay. It’s probably not that serious anyway.” I say into his chest. 

“And if it is and he breaks your heart, I do own a lot of guns.” We both laughed and he pulled back to look at my face. “I’ve got your back, Y/n-n. Even when there's no one else left-” he started.

“We’ll always have each other.” I finished. He smiled and kissed my forehead. It was just something we’ve always said. I knew he would always pick me up when I fell and I’d never disappear. He grabbed a beer and headed into the living room to watch a game. I went upstairs to get ready for work.

 

~~

 

By the time I came back downstairs, Bella was home, and introducing Edward as her boyfriend. I chuckled from the bottom step. Poor Dad, two new boyfriends in one day. 

“She’ll be safe with me.” I heard Edward say

“Is Y/n going? She didn’t mention it.” Dad asked. He sounded tired.

“She has to work.” Bella started, still shaking her head when I came into the room. 

“I hate to miss it. With Edwards' family there I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.”

“Yeah, super.” he took a drink from his beer. 

They both waved as they headed out the door. Dad and I followed them out onto the porch. A small part of me hoped Carlisle would be there, but he wasn’t.

Dad let out a low whistle when he saw the Jeep in the driveway. I was stunned too.

“Wear your seatbelts.” I yelled. They laughed but clearly buckled up before driving away.

Dad turned to me “You could’ve warned me. Edward and Carlisle? Both of you?” He was serious but still smiling.

“Sorry?” I said, laughing under my breath. “It really wasn’t my place to say, plus I didn’t think they were going to tell you today.” I admit I had to try very hard not to laugh.

“How’d they convince Bella to play baseball?”

“They must be wizards.” I slowly nod and we both laugh.

“Must be. Got time to watch the game with me before work?” he grabbed my shoulder and walked with me inside.

“Sure Dad.” By the time we reached the living room my head was reeling. 

When Emmett came into Carlisle’s office he said "you either have to tell her or take her home" and I didn't catch it at the time. Tell me what? Why did it seem so sketchy now? I trusted Carlisle to tell me if I needed to know.

I had all but actually convinced myself my boyfriend really was in a sex cult and that his son had corrupted my sister.

"That's game." Dad's voice pulled me out of my panic. "It was a good game. They played well." He looked to me for my input. I just nodded slowly and he laughed.

I didn't notice that quite a bit of time had passed. It had started raining. The sun had set and I had to be at work in 30 minutes. It was good that it was only 5 minutes down the road. I stood to grab my shoes.

"I should get goin-"

"Go away Edward!" Bella yelled and slammed the front door behind her. Dad was immediately on his feet.

“Bella?” Dad called after her as he walked quickly into the hallway. 

“Leave me alone!” I heard her door slam and I followed Dad upstairs. 

“What’s going on?” his voice was becoming more frantic by the second.

“Bella, are you okay?”

“I’m going home.” she shouted through the door. I could hear her rushing around.

“Did he hurt you?” He was mad. He turned towards the door. I put my hand on his arm hoping he’d wait, that he’d give her just a bit of space and time. 

“No.” she also sounded more and more frantic.

“What happened Bella? Did he break up with you?”

Another no, more shuffling, drawers slamming. I reached for my phone to check if I’d missed any calls from her or Carlisle but I hadn’t. I didn’t understand where this was coming from. She was really planning on leaving and didn’t plan on explaining. “I broke up with him.”

She unlocked the door and pushed past us to the bathroom.

“What happened?” he asked again. He was right on her heels. I was too shocked to move that fast. “I thought you liked him.” She stormed downstairs and we followed but I was a bit behind them.

I stopped half way down the stairs, watching from a distance. Dad had her arm in his hand. She was crying. 

I do like him- That’s the problem. I can’t do this anymore! I’m not like Y/n. I can’t put down anymore roots here. I don’t want to end up trapped in this stupid boring town like Mom! I’m not going to make the same dumb mistakes she did. I hate it- I can’t stay here another minute! ” 

“Really, Bella?” It was all I could say. His hand dropped from her arm. She glanced at me for the first time since she got home. I thought she might actually look apologetic, but she wouldn’t budge.

“Bells, you can’t leave now, it’s night time” He tried. My phone was ringing but I didn’t move for it. Dad tried to get her to give it a week, or to wait till Renee got home.

“Just let me go, Charlie.” It was the last thing her mother said to him when she left that night. My phone rang again. “It didn’t work out, okay? I really hate Forks.” Dad was frozen in the doorway. 

I heard her shout something else but then her truck roared and she was gone. 

“I need to call Renee,” Dad mumbled, his voice barely audible. I sat on the steps. My phone rang again, I almost didn’t answer. I didn’t know the number and I didn’t feel like talking. Logic took over and I figured it was work, considering I was now late. If they’d let me I’d just call out.

“Hello?” Out of breath and confused I answered.

“Y/n? Are you alright?” I wasn’t expecting it to be Carlisle or for him to sound so worried.

“I’m.. Fine. but uhm. What. The fuck?”

“I’m sorry, Y/n. I’m going with Edward to sort this out. Bella will be fine. 

“That doesn’t explain what happened, Carlisle..”

“When everything is settled, I’ll explain everything, I promise.” He sighed “I should have already. I’m so sorry, Cara.”

“I’m not mad at you.. I’m just confused. Dad’s hurt by the things she said. I can’t find a reason to justify it.” I wanted to see him, but I left that out.

“There’s a reason. I wish I could come get you and explain everything. Keeping you and your family safe is most important right now. I’ll call you when I get to Phoenix, okay?”

“Yeah, sure, okay..” I didn’t know what to say. My head was spinning.

“Will you stay home from work, for me? At Least until you hear from me again.” he asked.

“I planned on it.. But how am I not safe?” I whispered the last part. Dad has been through enough. He was still yelling on the phone.

“You are, right now. I’m just going to keep it that way, I promise.” He assured me. It was comforting.

I took a second to process holding my face with my free hand but the intrusive thoughts got the better of me. “Can I ask one more question?”

“Of course.”

“Are you in a sex cult?” He laughed at that, kind of hard, like it was the funniest thing he’d heard that day. It made me chuckle too. “I’m serious!” I was but his laughter was contagious.

“I know,” he responded, still chuckling. “No, not a sex cult”

“But you’ll explain when you get home?”

"I promise I will." His voice was serious again. "I'll call you soon, Cara" I quickly said goodbye and once he hung up I just stood there for a second.

Not a sex cult. He wouldn't lie. So I could trust that I was wrong. I just had to hope that what he would explain wouldn't prove Bella right either. 

I could hear Dad still yelling on the phone and I made quick work of calling out. Bella left and dad's upset. My boss was very understanding.

I walked into the kitchen and Dad was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. 

"I'm sorry. She'll come around."

"You don't need to apologize." He said in turn.

"I know, I just…" I didn't know what else to say

"I know" was all he said

We stood there for a long time. Neither of us saying a word, just trapped in our thoughts. The house felt so silent now. 

Today felt like a rush. I'd officially met all of Carlisle’s family and he confessed he was falling for me. I told Dad he was my boyfriend and that I was also falling for him. Bella had done the same with Edward. I had just enough time to settle down and watch a game with Dad before Bella came home, after breaking up with Edward, freaked out and left for Phoenix at 8pm. 

But Hey, it's not a sex cult. So, there's that at least. My mind was once again spiraling but I just tried to shut it off. I kissed dad's cheek and curled up with a blanket on the couch, the volume on my phone as high as it would go.

 

~~

 

I had the same dream again only this time he paused before leaning down to kiss me. I looked into his eyes and whispered a barely audible "please". He smirked and then kissed my neck. It lasted longer than before and when he looked back into my eyes he had blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.

 

~~

 

I woke up around noon to my dad letting Billy and Jacob in the house. They went into the kitchen and I tried to compose myself before following them. It was just a dream Y/n, you were spun up over the bet with Bella. I thought

Shaking it off I ran a hand through my tangled hair, wrapped the blanket around my shoulders and stepped into the doorway leaning against the closet counter opposite of them. 

"She'll come back, Charlie. And hopefully she'll realize those Cullens are bad for everyone." Billy said.

"They aren't bad. You don't even know them." How would they? They never even leave the reservation.

"And you do?" He had some nerve.

"Billy," Dad's voice sounded like a warning "Y/n is dating Carlisle. I don't see anything wrong with them. Bellas young and dramatic." He turned to me. "Have you heard from him?"

I stopped glaring at Billy to look at my Dad. The hurt and concern were still painting his face. It was killing me. 

I shook my head "but he said he would call, so I'm sure he will." Billy scoffed. I tried to be the bigger person and just leave. How was any of this their business? I understood them being here to comfort Dad, but I didn't need nor want their opinions on my boyfriend or his family. 

"I'm gonna try to actually sleep, I'll see you later Dad," I said before storming upstairs.

The more I thought about it the angrier I got. How exactly were the Cullens bad? Carlisle is a fucking doctor and the rest of them are teenagers. I felt like I knew them pretty well, thank you very much. Except, I guess, for the thing that made Bella freak out and leave.

Fuck.

All I wanted was for Carlisle to be here. I wanted to know what was going on. I felt helpless. It was driving me insane.

Everything felt fine. Emmett came in, said they had to tell me or take me home. I guess Bella already knew since she was given the same ultimatum.

Or she was, and when they told her she freaked out. Which is an option I hadn't really considered until right that second. 

Unable to bear it anymore, I picked up my phone and called Carlisle.

"Y/n? Are you alright?" It barely even rang before he answered. It sounded like he was driving with the windows down. 

"I'm fine. What made Bella freak out?" Straight to the point.

"She met a group of.. people. While we were playing baseball. They are bad. They threatened her. She left with Alice and Jasper to keep herself, you, and your father safe."

"What? She left by herself."

"She left your house and met Alice and Jasper before driving to Phoenix. I know it doesn't really make sense right now. There's a lot I can't explain over the phone. Can you trust me to tell you as soon as I'm home?"

"Of course I trust you. It's just wish I didn't feel so helpless."

"You are far from helpless. Can you actually do me a favor?"

"Anything."

"Keep this between us. Bella will be safe and we're going to get her home, but your father is safer the less he knows."

"I don't want to lie to him." I explained. "He's worried about her."

"I know, I'm sorry. I'm not asking you to lie, Just to only tell him what he needs to know. For his safety."

"I hate this."

"I know. I'll make this right again. I promise. I'll come home and explain everything."

"Everything?" I asked and he chuckled.

"Yes, Cara, everything."

"I have a lot of questions."

"I'm sure you do." Another soft laugh. "I'll talk to you soon." And then he was gone again. The tears I was holding back, finally began to fall. 

 

~~

 

I cooked the fish Billy brought over and tried not to think much. If Dad asked if Carlisle called, I'd say no, technically I called  him, and if he asked what was going on, I’d just tell him I wish I knew. 

All technical truths.

I hated this.

Once the food was ready I just went back upstairs. Not bothering to turn the light on. 

 

~~

 

There hadn’t been much of anything happening since I last spoke to Carlisle. The next morning Dad went to work and I cleaned the house.

I asked dad not to go to work but he said he couldn't sit around and wait for the phone to ring. 

I understood where he’s coming from. Renee took four months to call back. 

Carlisle called around 3pm to check on me. 

“Where are you?”

“Vancouver, currently. We’re on our way to Phoenix now.” I was taken aback by his response.

“I’m sorry… Why are you in Vancouver?”

“I don’t want to lie to you. Me and Edward ran to Vancouver to lead the group away. Rosalie and Emmett stayed in town for you and Charlie and Alice and Jasper are with Bella in Phoenix. Now me and Edawrd are going to meet them in Phoenix, assure everyones safety, then come home.”

“So this group, they're like murdery?”

“You could say that.” He said, softly.

”Oh my god! I could literally scream. Carlisle, this is insane. Are you crazy? You ran? To Vancouver? Like with your feet?”

“Not the whole way.” 

“Oh my god!”

“I’m sorry Y/n. I wish I had a better explanation. I promise-”I cut him off

“When you get home you’ll explain everything. I get it.” I sighed “You have to admit that this sounds completely bizarre, right?”

“I’m aware.”

“And yet I’m supposed to sit here and wait at home? No, I’m sorry, but no. I’m going back to work tonight. I’m going back to my completely calm and normal life, and if at any point you decide to get off the train to crazy town, you can call me.” Then I hung up.

I called my boss and told her I would be able to make it that night, left a note for my dad and got on the road. I had a few hours before work but I wanted to just drive.

 

~~

 

A little into my shift, I heard the door open and looked up, kinda hoping to see Carlisle, but it was Rosalie. Her heels clicked on the tiles as she walked up. Her arms were crossed. Based on body language alone, I could tell she didn’t choose to come here.

“Carlisle sent me to check on you.” she said.

“I can handle myself.” 

“You’re a bit out of your league.” she laughed softly and smirked at me.

“It’s not really a game I ever wanted to play. Look, tell him I’m fine, I’ll still be fine when he gets back. Thanks, but I’m okay.” I grabbed a towel and started wiping down tables. I was fed up.

She looked towards the door and seemed to soften a bit. “He really cares about you.”

“I know.. I care about him too. I’m just confused and tired and scared. It’s kinda exhausting being kept in the dark all the time.” I sighed “I’m sorry,-” but just like that she was gone. I just stood and stared at the door.

I had so many questions, like obviously who are they and what have they been keeping from me? Also I think Fairly obviously who are these mysterious murdery bad guys? 

How did they run, even partway, to Vancouver? 

How do they just appear and disappear? Bella said Edward was on the other side of the parking lot, the day of the accident and then he was there to push her out of the way. I was talking to Rosalie and then she’s just gone. How?

Why was Bella, a 17 year old girl with the worst luck on the planet, trusted with their secret? And I was supposed to sit at home and be okay with everything going on, without any solid information? 

Carlisle deserved a chance to explain. I knew this. I tried to focus on closing the café but I kept picturing him. 

The way he laughed even when things were serious, like he was just happy to be around me. His soft chuckles that I could feel against my lips before we kissed. The way he held my face, like he was so certain but still so soft. How much I wanted to be mad, and knew that I should be mad but I also wanted to run into his arms and cry while he told me everything would be alright.

 

~~

 

I was planning on going to work the next day, but I didn’t get out of bed. 

Hours went by and I just laid there, I left the light off. I tried to read, I tried to write but I couldn’t. Every thought kept circling back to him. Hours of just waiting, and checking my phone over and over, in case I missed something.

During the afternoon sometime, Dad knocked on my door. “I’m going to the station to do some paperwork. Will you be alright for dinner?”

“Yeah,” I said but I didn’t really plan on eating. “What are you going to eat?”

“I’ll just grab something one the way.” His face was harsh. He didn’t look like he had slept much. He was angry and sad and tired. We were both so tired. “Anything?” he asked and I shook my head. He sighed “I love you, kid.”

“Love you too, Dad.” and then he went to work and I was alone with my thoughts again. 

Or I was, for a few hours at least, before Carlisle called. I didn’t have the strength to ignore it this time.

“I’m glad you answered. I was beginning to think you might hate me,” His voice was soothing. I was mad at myself for ignoring him for so long. 

“I could never hate you…” I tried to assure him. I don’t think I was as convincing. “Where are you now?”

“Seattle actually, we had a 4 hour layover that I planned on using to come see you. To take you away somewhere quiet, but my plans have been a bit delayed.”

I sighed, “How so?” A quiet moment with him sounded like just what I needed right now. 

“The guy we’re worried about is going to Renee’s house.” I gasped, my hand flying over my mouth. “Everyone will be fine, Y/n” Bella hasn’t been near Renee’s and they are far enough away for them to stay safe. Renee isn’t home.” His voice was very calm. “Edward is going to get Bella and they are going to go away for a while.”

“Why?”

“It’s hard to explain, but he plans on keeping her safe. Like I do, with you.” I could hear him take a breath. “Y/n?”

“Carlisle?” I breathed his name, just barely audible.

“When I first saw you, you were laughing at something a coworker said. You were absolutely breathtaking and when you turned to me and smiled I felt as though you were someone I’d always known. I knew, right then, that I'd never want to let you go. So, when your sister is safe, what do you say to Barcelona?”

My breath caught in my throat for a moment, I just paused. “When everything is safe again…” another, shorter pause, “If he’s going to Renee’s, how long before he comes here? Not to mention my dad just lost Bella. I have to be here for my family, but when Bella is home, I’ll follow you anywhere.”

“Of course. Your safety is my number one priority. I am going to do everything in my power, to make you and your family safe again. When I get home and get my arms around you I’m never going to let you go.”

“You better not” I tried to laugh around the tears that threatened to fall. “I’d feel safer if you were here..”

“I would too, but it’s better that he doesn’t know about you or my feelings for you. I’ll call you as soon as I have the chance. Stay safe.”

“You too…” then he hung up. I was alone with my thoughts yet again and as soon as the line was dead, I started sobbing.

 

~~

 

I spent most of the day crying and cleaning things that didn’t really need to be cleaned. I swept and mopped the kitchen and wiped down the windows. I dusted just about everything in the kitchen and living room. Anything to stop myself from thinking. Hours ticked by and then it was almost nine o’clock.

Then Dad got home.

He was frantic. He said Bella had been hurt. Something about stairs and windows. That she had lost a lot of blood. That she was being rushed to the ER. Thank God Carlisle got to her in time.

I knew there would probably be a different story when I spoke with them.

He said the doctor said she would be fine. The next couple of days would be rough, but she would live and she’d come home.

When Dad got out that she would indeed live. He sat down, placed his face in his hands and silently sobbed.

He broke and that, in turn, broke me. We sat there on the couch, leaning against one another, crying, and just waiting for the next call.

 

~~

 

It wasn’t long until Carlisle called my phone.

“Hello, Y/n?”

“Carlisle? It’s me and my dad. What’s happening?” I put the phone on speaker for Dad to hear. 

“She had a transfusion and an MRI. Things look good so far. It doesn’t look like there are any internal injuries we missed.” he said.

“That’s good.” I let Dad take over.

“Can I talk to her?”

“They’re keeping her sedated for a while. It’s perfectly normal. She would be in too much pain if she were awake.” Dad and I both winced. Carlisle continued, “She needs to heal for a few days.”

“Are you sure everything is okay?”

“I promise you, Charlie. I will tell you the moment there is something to worry about. She really is going to be fine. She’ll be on crutches for a while, but other than that, she’ll be back to normal.”

“Thank you.. I’m, I’m glad you were there.” My voice cracked a bit. I fought back tears.

“So am I.” His voice seemed to soften at the sound of mine.

“I know this must be putting you out-”

“Don’t even mention it, Charlie. I'm only too happy to stay with Bella till she's ready to come home."

"I'll admit, that does make me feel a lot better. Will… will Edward be staying, too? I mean with school and everything…" The slight hopefulness in his voice made me giggle. He just glared at me, the smallest smile breaking on his lips.

"He's already spoken with his teachers and they're letting him work remotely. He's keeping track of Bellas homework, too, though I'm sure the teachers will cut her a break." He lowered his voice a bit."He's gutted about all of this, you know."

"I'm not sure I understand. He- Edward talked you into going all the way to Phoenix?"

"Yes. He was extremely concerned when Bella left. He felt responsible. He thought he had to put it right."

"What even happened?" Dad asked, more and more confused. "One minute everything's normal , Y/n had gotten home, we were watching the game, then Bella is shrieking about liking your boy, and that being a problem and then she's running out in the middle of the night? Did you get anything coherent out of yours?"

"Yes, we had to discuss everything on the way here. I guess Edward told her how much he cares for her. He said at first she seemed happy but something clearly started to bother her. She got upset and wanted to go home. When they got there, she told him to go away."

This added up with when she got here that night. They must have used the travel time to get their story straight. Despite my best efforts, it did make me a bit mad.

"Yeah, I was there for that." Dad seemed frustrated too.

"Edward still doesn't understand what it was all about. They didn't have a chance to talk before…"

Dad sighed . "That part I get. It's some complicated stuff with her mother."

"I get that, but I think she might have overreacted a little." I added.

"I'm sure she had her reasons."

Dad's brow furrowed. I don't think he cared about her reason, but at least he seemed to buy it. "But what do you think about all of this, Carlisle? I mean they're teenagers. Isn't this a little...intense?" I guess it wouldn't make sense to him, given his information, this is a matter of teenage angst. When it was actually a matter of life and death, she probably acted the best she could.

Carlisle's laugh was breezy and as comforting as usual. "Don't you remember being seventeen?"

"Not really, no." 

Carlisle laughed again and it warmed my heart. "Do you remember the first time you fell in love?"

Dad was quiet for a moment, his eyes were soft when they fell on me. He didn't talk about my mother much, but I knew he loved her and loved her because of me. "Yeah, I do. Hard stuff to forget."

"It is indeed." Carlisle sighed. "I'm so sorry, Charlie. If we hadn't come here, she wouldn't have even been in that stairwell in the first place."

Dad interrupted. "Now, now, don't start with that, Carlisle. If you weren't there, she could have fallen through a window anywhere. And she wouldn't have been so lucky if you weren't close by."

"I'm just happy she's safe." I heard the hint in his voice, a small pitch that Dad probably wouldn't have picked up on, but I did. We were all safe. 

"It's killing me not to be there."

"I'd happily arrange flights-"

"No, that's not the problem," Dad sighed. "You know we don't get a lot of serious crime up here, but that nasty assault from last summer is finally going to trial and if I'm not here to testify, it would only help the defense." I put my hand on his knee. This was probably killing him.

"Of course, Charlie. There's no need for you to worry. Do your job, put the bad guy away, and I'll make sure Bella is back to you in good condition, very soon."

"I wouldn't be able to stay in my right mind if you weren't there. So thank you again. I'm sending Renee out."

"That's a wonderful idea. I'm delighted to get the chance to meet Bella's mother."

"I'm warning you now, she'll make a fuss." I giggled at that as well. As if he wasn't making a fuss. But then again it kinda needed to be fussed over. 

"That's certainly her prerogative as a mother."

"Thank you again, Carlisle. Thank you for taking care of my girl."

“Of course, Charlie. Y/n, do you mind if we speak privately for a moment?” Dad handed my phone back to me. When I took it off speaker, I could hear shuffling on his end, a few doors closing.

I went outside and sat on the porch. I could feel the cold air biting at my tear stained cheeks. 

“When are you coming home?” I wanted to know what really happened but also knew he wasn’t going to tell me over the phone. I'd still try to get as much information out of him as possible.

“Jasper is on his way home now. Alice, Edward, and I will be staying with Bella until she’s well enough to go home.” 

“How long will that be?” I was trying not to sound desperate.

“Alice says six days. My experience says she should be fine to go in five.”

“So I’ll hope for five…” I took a deep breath before asking, “and the big bad murder group?” 

“They won’t be a problem anymore.” A chill shot through me. He sounded so certain. I wasn’t sure if that was comforting or not. “There are no pending threats. Everyone is safe.”

“And you’re coming home.”

“In five to six days.”

“And you’ll answer all of my questions?”

“Even if it takes all night”

“It’ll take longer than that.” I said and he laughed

“I can’t wait.”

“Aren’t you going to get bored just sitting up there all day?”

“More so because you aren’t here, but I’m working with an old college on some cases here.”

“Oh, they’re lucky to have you.” I sigh loudly and dramatically. “I’m going crazy.”

“I know, so am I, but at least we’ll go together. It won’t be too long.”

“It's already been too long. I already miss you.”

“I’ll call you again tonight and every night until I’m home.”

“I guess that will have to do..” I could hear him laughing as he hung up.

 

~~

 

It did take six days. Six painfully long days. I did get to talk to him everyday, but it was usually brief and of course we never talked about what I really wanted to talk about. Dad got to talk to Bella. He was becoming more and more angry with Edward as the days went on.

So much so that when we finally got to the airport I was certain He was going to strangle him. I wasn’t really mad at Edward though. It’s not his fault. Bella is a hazard to herself. Though I had a feeling the story they were telling was a little different then the truth.

They couldn’t catch a flight earlier but Dad and I insisted on being there to meet them when their flight landed. Even though we still had a 4 hour drive home.

I cried when I saw Bella. She was still bruised and bandaged and it broke my heart. I wanted to squeeze her and never let go. Instead I just wiped my tears and gave her the softest hug I could manage.

“I’m fine Y/n, really.” she hugged me back and whispered in my ear. “How much do you know?”

“So little,” I rolled my eyes and looked to the ground. “I’m actually starting to go crazy.” She let out a breathy laugh and tried not to wince. I tried not to panic, looking her over. “I am, however, going to get every drop of information out of him the second I can.”

She nodded. “You should have been told sooner. I’m sorry. And Charlie?”

“He only knows what you guys have told him.”

“Good, that’s good. Thank you.”

“Of course.”

We finished our hushed conversation just in time for Dad and Carlisle to have everything settled in their cars. 

Seeing his face instantly put so much of my mind at ease. It took everything in me not to just start crying again. So much so that I didn’t also have the strength to not throw myself into his arms.

As soon as we collided his arms were around me, his hand going to the back of my head, my arms going around his neck. His face met the crook of my neck and he breathed in my hair. He said my name like he had been holding his breath since the last time he saw me. 

“Thank you. For saving her, and for coming home.” I whispered into his chest. 

“I promised I would.”

“I know. Just, Thank you.” he laughed and kissed my head. “You have so much explaining to do…”

“I know. Can I suggest tomorrow? I’ll come get you and we’ll go somewhere quiet. You should get some rest tonight.” He knew I’d barely slept since they left.

I hoped knowing they were home would help me sleep.

That didn’t mean I’d rather sleep than get the explanation he had been promising over a week. Or for him to be sleeping next to me but there was no way I could say that out loud so I just nodded and said “Tomorrow.”

He kissed my head again. I wanted to kiss him and try, just a little, to make up for the time we’d lost.

I could feel my dad's eyes on me so I didn’t. I just smiled up at him as we said our goodbyes. He once again promised tomorrow.

Alice promised to be over first thing in the morning to help. They had become close friends and I was so grateful.

My dad did not hate Alice.

He believed Carlisle was a gift from god.

And Edward was the enemy now. I was not getting caught in the crossfire.

 

~~

 

Bella was asleep before her head even hit the pillow. However, I was very much not. Knowing that Carlisle was home did help ease some of my restlessness but I still found it very hard to sleep.

I just paced my room until I couldn’t move, then stared at the ceiling until my eyes were too heavy and then I think somewhere around four in the morning, I passed out.

The next morning I could hear Alice and Bella laughing. I could smell coffee and If I was going to get through today, I would need coffee.

I hadn’t even brushed my hair or changed out of my Pjs. I just walked downstairs and peered into the kitchen where he sat. 

Carlisle and my father were having coffee like that was a completely normal thing to do. It couldn't be later than 10am.

“Good morning, Cara.” he stood when he saw me and held out his hand to me. I brushed past him.

“You’re early..” I couldn't help but smile at him. I really wanted this to be normal, but it all depended on the conversation we would have that day.

“I am, I wanted to bring Bella her medication, and Alice wanted to be here when she woke up to help out.”

“Coffee.” Was all I managed to say. He had enough reason to be here but that doesn’t mean I was excited for him to see me like this. He just kept smiling at me. I made my coffee.

“I figured it would be easier to wait for you and take you to the house when you were ready.” 

“Your house?” I asked, leaning against the counter. He stood across from me with his hands in his pockets. He looked insanely hot, which only made my appearance worse. He grinned at me and nodded. “Cool. I didn’t know you’d be here, looking like that. So I came down here, like this.” I sipped my coffee and gestured toward myself. He raised an eyebrow and chuckled.

“You look-”

“Nope.” I stopped him. “No opinions on my appearance.” Both he and dad laughed. I tried not to smile. I took another sip of my coffee and headed for the stairs. “Give me like ten minutes.”

Once I was mostly upstairs, I could hear them chuckle and Dad said, “She’s not usually this grouchy. I don’t think she’s been sleeping.” I closed my bedroom door before I could hear anymore.

I very quickly got dressed, brushed my teeth and hair. I tried to calm down. I’d met all of his family before, but now I would be getting answers. I didn’t know if I’d like them.

When I got back downstairs Dad and Carlisle were still at the table.

“She was in love with Peter Pan. She’d ask all of the time  if I’d take her to Neverland.” He was really laughing. Carlisle chuckled and his eyes fell on me as I walked into the room, the smallest smirk on his lips. Dad continues, “She wanted to go as Wendy for Halloween like four years in a row.”

“Dad!” I looked at him, wide-eyed. “One coffee date and you're already sharing my secrets?” He smiled and they laughed “Traitor.” I laughed with them and leaned against the doorway.

“Just a few,” he said over his own coffee.

“Are you ready?” Carlisle asked. I felt the pit of my stomach drop, but I nodded. He smiled but I felt like he could sense my fear. “I’ll go start the car, then. Charlie, it was nice to see you again.” 

“You too, Carlisle. See you around.” he waved and Carlisle kissed my forehead as he walked out. Once the door was closed Dad began “Carlisle, I like. Alice is great. Edward?” He shrugged and I chuckled

“He’s a teenage boy in love with your strong-headed daughter.” I said. “Not the enemy.”

He didn’t seem any less tense. “I guess not.”

“I love you, Dad. I’ll see you later.”

Carlisle was waiting by the passenger door. “You had coffee with my father…”

“Would you have preferred I spend that time asking to court you?”

“Ew, absolutely not.” He laughed and opened the door for me. I wanted to kiss him, but I was preparing for heartbreak so it was a luxury I didn’t indulge in. I just got in the car. 

Once he got in the car he continued. “I’d like for your father to like me.”

“I think he does… I know he does.” As we drove, I could feel my panic rising. I wanted this so much. I wanted things to stay good and domestic, just like they had been. I wanted to make this work. I pulled my knees up to my chest and remembered what my dad had said about communication. 

“I’m… I’m kinda freaking out.” my voice was soft.

His head snapped to me quickly then back to the road.

“I understand.” His voice was low, genuine. “If this is too much-” The speed of the car reduced slightly, like he was prepared to turn around. 

“No, I need to hear it.” I looked at him and then out at the road. “I’m just scared.”

I saw him nod. His hand grabbed mine, but neither of us said anything for the rest of the drive.

He broke the silence when we pulled into the driveway. “Everyone’s out for the day.” He was calm. He opened my car door. I felt my heart break a little. We walked up to the porch and he held the door for me. I followed him inside, walking straight to the living room.

“I was told you’d have a lot of questions.” He smiled at me but kept his distance, not wanting to crowd me, I guess. I looked around at the room, trying to find some shred of normalcy there. When I was here last, everything felt normal and right. Now that felt unreal somehow. 

I looked back at him, pushing back tears. “You’re not in a sex cult?”

“No-”

“Then what?” My voice cracked. I ran my hand through my hair.

He took a small step closer, his smile fading a bit. “I’m sure It’s the answer to a lot of your questions. My family and I, Y/n, we’re vampires.” and I lost it. Over a week of stress for an answer that had been there all along. I was laughing and hiding my face with my hands.

“Really?” He was clearly either very confused or very concerned with my response but he nodded. “Fucking hell.” My laughter continued.

“What’s going through your head?” He took another subtle step towards me.

“I owe Bella 20 dollars.” I was using my laughter to hide the threat of tears, though he probably saw right through me.

“Y/n-” I held up a hand to stop him.

“I’m working through it.” 

“Of course.”

“People have been getting attacked…” It was more of a statement than a question.

“Our kind. The group we met the night Bella left.” I nodded, slowly. “They were passing through and only stopped when they heard us playing baseball. One of them, James, caught Bella’s scent and saw the way Edward- the way we all protected her. He decided to track her down and kill her for sport.” I let out a harsh, shocked, laugh. “Everything she said that night was so he’d believe she left town and he’d leave you and Charlie alone.” 

“She didn’t fall down the stairs...” Again, not really a question.

“No.”

“He got to her.”

“Not… Exactly. She thought he had Renee, so she went to him.” I laughed again.

“Of course she did.” I paused to take a breath. “You said he wouldn’t be a problem anymore. How can you be so sure?” I didn’t want to, but I felt like I knew the answer. 

“Alice and Jasper took care of him-” I winced. “-while Edward and I worked to save Bella. He’s dead.”

I didn’t move for a second. I just looked at him. I took note of the bags under his eyes, his very gold eyes. I guess, putting it all together, it should make sense. His cold skin, his understanding of the world. All laid right there in front of me to see, and I’d missed it.

“You’re really a vampire?” My voice was soft and barely audible, but he heard me. He always did.

“Yes, but we're not like the vampires of common myth. We strive to be more human than monsters. We survive solely on the blood of animals. None of us have harmed a human in many years. Some of us have never spilled a drop of human blood.” He explained, somehow keeping his voice calm. My heart was racing.

“You?”

“Never.” That did help settle some of the worries I had.

“How old are you? Really?”

“365”

“Holy shit” I fell into the closet chair. “You’re so old. Oh my god.” and then the laughing started again.

I saw him kneel in front of me. Which made me laugh.

“I think I’m panicking.” I laughed some more “but what do I know, you're the doctor.” I processed that thought. “Oh my god you’re a vampire doctor.” I was wheezing. 

“Y/n” He said it like a warning. I think I stopped breathing.

“I owe my sister, who almost died, 20 dollars because my smoking hot doctor boyfriend really is a 365 year old vampire.” I could tell I was, in fact, panicking but I couldn’t stop it. I just kept laughing. I could feel his cold hand on my face then. Cold because he’s a vampire. I could hear him trying to calm me down but couldn't understand him over my laughter and the blood rushing in my head. My laughter was quickly turning into hyperventilation. My panic turning into a full blown panic attack, but none of it felt real.

He kept his hand on my face and his free hand went to my wrist. I knew he was checking my pulse. The room was spinning. I was thankful for the chair I had fallen into. Time moved so slowly.

I was working to slow my breathing, trying to focus on him and listen to what he was saying. “It’s going to be alright, Cara.” His voice was so soothing. "I'm right here." I pressed my face into his hand. I felt his lips against my wrist. 

I don’t know how much time had passed but when I finally felt in control again I mumbled, “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize.” His voice was still soft. “I know it's a lot to take in. You’re the first person I’ve ever told. I probably went about it the wrong way. I should be apologizing to you.”

“Bella?”

“She figured it out. Edward asked her on my behalf to not tell you.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to tell you myself.” His thumb wiped a tear off my cheek. My heart melted. “I understand if this changes things. If you’d like-”

I put my hand up to stop him again. “It probably should, but it doesn’t. You don’t want to eat me right?”

“Well, no.” He laughed.

“I mean in a vampire way…” That made him really laugh.

“I have no intention of eating you, in a vampire way.” 

I put my forehead against his, the smallest giggle falling from my lips at the implication. My hand rested on his neck. “What’s it like?”

“Like I just stopped 342 years ago, but everything else keeps going. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat or drink anything. My hair doesn’t even change. Yet everyday there’s something new.”

He paused. “Time is weird for us. I feel like I’ve known you all my life but also like we’ve just met.”

“You actually lived through the 20’s.”

He smiled a bit, and I wanted to kiss him. “I did. I guess that’s why I prefer the music for that time. For the first time I wasn’t alone anymore. I’d met Edward-” 

“In 1920?” my eyes went wide.

“1918, to be exact.”

“He’s over 100! Dating my 17 year old sister.”

“The change freezes your mental state as well. He will always be a 17 year old boy.”

“Oh, yikes.” I laughed a little with his soft chuckle. “And you changed at what age?”

“I believe around 23 to 25. It’s hard to put an exact timestamp on it. Time wasn’t as accurately measured as it is now.” 

“How did it happen? Was it awful?” I hated the idea of him in pain. Even if it was over three hundred years ago.

“I don’t have a clear memory of it, it’s been a very long time. I was young and living in a time where your father was the sole man of the house and basically your Ruler, until he died and the oldest boy became the man of the house and basically the ruler.” He kind of laughed and rolled his eyes. “My father was an insufferable man. He took up with the Protestants and hated the Roman Catholics. His main ambition in life was to hunt and kill ‘monsters’ which were usually just humans who he deemed either a witch, vampire, or werewolf-”

“Those are real too?” I interrupted. 

“Yes but-” He tried, smiling at me.

“Oh my god! Billy Black! Well I guess all of them, on the reservation. Are they werewolves?” I stood up unable to contain myself. He cocked an eyebrow and stood up to meet me. 

“That is not my secret to tell.”

“Oh they so are! That’s why they’re so weird about you!” I felt like I had infinite supernatural knowledge. No one can hide from me. I laughed again.

“Y/n?” He waited for me.

“Right, sorry.” I put my hand over my mouth to stop myself from interrupting again. He didn’t seem annoyed even a little. He just laughed and continued.

“My father was a bit disappointed to say the least when I didn’t want to take on the family business. I wanted to study and be a doctor. I wanted to save lives, not take them. So, in retaliation, he sent me on multiple of his missions to distract me.

“I was more thorough than he was. I managed to track down a coven. They were very old and hadn’t hunted in a few weeks. Months probably. They were weak and slow but still stronger than my team. They could have easily outrun us but they turned and attacked. The oldest of them bit me and left me for dead then killed 2 of mine. One of theirs ran off after the other. I just laid in the street.”

It really did break my heart listening to his story. Of all the people I’d ever known, he deserved this kind of pain the least. 

“I knew my father would destroy any evidence left of them getting away, even if that meant killing me. I was scared and suffering, so I hid in a pile of discarded old crops for 3 days.”

“And then you were a vampire?” He nodded slowly.

“The process is very painful and when I realised what I had become I wanted nothing more than death. I tried multiple ways to take my own life.” I gasped. I couldn’t stop myself.

“I didn’t realise immortality would make that nearly impossible. I didn’t want to be a monster, I wouldn’t let myself become something that I was raised to hate. So I hid from society and starved myself for a few years-” 

“Carlisle!”

“It was a long time ago, Y/n. I was a product of my environment.” He laughed at my shock but continued. “I was starving and weak and a herd of deer passed my hide-out. Without thinking I attacked them. Once the frenzy passed, I realised this was the solution, I didn’t have to be a monster. So I started surviving on the blood of animals. I came out of hiding. I found others like myself, but mostly I traveled and studied medicine. Started my own coven, who conveniently enough shared my desire to be good. And here we are.”

“Just a vampire and a human girl alone in his house in the woods?” His eyes widened.

“I’d never hurt you, Y/n.”

“I’m not scared you’ll hurt me.” I winced a little. As much as it pained me, worried me, the conversation needed to be had. I lifted my eyes. His golden ones still alight with concern. “Forever is a long time… for you.”

“It is.”

“At some point, we’ll have to make a decision.” I knew where this ended. For me, at least.

“We will, but we don’t have to decide right now. We can just be and when the time comes we’ll decide together. We’ll stand by our decision and do what’s best.” He held my gaze and ran his thumb over my cheek. “We’re in this together. As long as you’ll have me.”

I wanted to respond the way I had before, what felt like years ago now. I wanted to ask him for forever. But I couldn’t. Forever held a completely different meaning now.

So I shifted focus.

“What about Bella?”

He took a deep breath and sighed. “She’s very persistent in what she wants, Alice says the decision has been made. Edward hopes there's still time to change her mind.” He grimaced.

“She wants to be like you?”

“She does.”

“Would you do it? Change her, I mean. If she really wanted it.” I almost hoped he’d say no.

“We’d weigh all the options.” That wasn’t a no, I sighed. “I’m sure she’ll want it to be Edward, or Alice if he refuses. If Alice couldn’t, I’d consider it. Edward has chosen to love her, I won’t lose my son.”

I shutter at the implication behind his words. “Maybe there’s time.” I knew how strong willed Bella is. She’d probably win this battle. I wasn’t sure that being a vampire was the worst outcome for her.

At least she couldn’t kill herself accidently falling off a cliff. 

He kissed my head. His face had fallen and I could see just how upset all of this had made him. "If I had known. If I had just listened to Alice," My heart hurt to see the pain in his eyes. "Maybe I could have prevented all of this. I can't apologize enough for the way this has happened."

"Carlisle…"

"I know, I'm sorry. I wish I could go back and tell you sooner. I truly am sorry, Y/n."

I stood on my toes and leaned up to grab his face. "I know now. It's going to be okay." I was saying it to him but just wanting to feel it myself. I sighed as he held me. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm here." I kissed him and the way he kissed me back I knew he needed it. I wanted to wash his worries away. 

I was still so cautious. Still in shock but I found such comfort in him. Despite everything, here we were, his arms around me, his lips on mine. I felt like maybe, just maybe things would really be alright.

He kissed me with more passion than there had been before. Like he was finally sure he could be himself and that I wasn't going to run away. I kissed him and kissed him and kissed him. Until my lips were sore. Until I lost track of time. Until I forgot my own name. (I only hate this part a little)

 

~~

 

I don't know how long we stood there kissing each other. I also don't know when I ended up in his lap on the couch. 

Our kisses had slowed enough for me to notice the sky had darkened. From rain or the time I wasn't sure. Giggling, I asked, "what time is it?"

He laughed with me. "That.. is an excellent question." He looked at his watch. "It's just after 4."

Six hours. It had been six hours since I came downstairs at home. Six hours of answers and panic attacks and kissing. Mostly kissing. "Let me make you dinner." I bit my lip, a million questions dancing through my brain. He just laughed and kissed my forehead. I didn't have to say anything. "When you fall for a human, you go grocery shopping." He lifted me with ease and set me in front of him.

"You didn't have to."

"I know, but it does give me a reason to use the kitchen." He took me by the hand and led me to the kitchen. It was really beautiful and it would be a shame not to use it. Almost every wall we're covered in windows. You wouldn't need lights if it were anywhere other than Forks. Even with the rain it was beautifully lit and open. 

"If someone thought you were a vampire, seeing your house would really throw them off." I said, still looking around as we walked. 

"What do you mean?"

"It's just so light, and open. It's not what you'd expect. For a group of vampires.”

“What were you expecting?”

“Before today, I had no idea what to expect. I had seen your house before, but then I didn’t really expect anything abnormal.” He was pulling containers from the fridge that looked like homemade pasta and sauce. “Unless you were in a cult. Then maybe an abandoned church.” He laughed at that.

“For vampires, I’m guessing you’d probably expect somewhere dark, only lit with candles?” He pushed and I nodded.

“Yeah and coffins. Maybe some skeletons here and there.”

“Oh of course.” He chuckled.

“But it seems Buffy the Vampire Slayer lied to me about a lot of things.” I sighed, but his abrupt laughter made me giggle too.

“I’m sorry, what on earth is Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” I leaned on the counter for support. My arms were crossed and My mouth fell open. 

“How do you not know? It’s only the greatest show of this generation. There’s a movie too but I prefer the show. We are so going to watch it. We’ll rent it or something. Honestly, It’s kinda insane that you haven’t seen it. What if you were being chased by a vampire slayer?”

“I’d probably out run them.” He looked up from the stove and grinned at me. “What else has this show been teaching you?”

“Some things I already know aren’t true. Like, I’ve seen your reflection and you seem more… Indestructible than the vampires in the show are.”

“I assume you have questions though?”

“Like 1000…” I laughed

“Ask away.” 

“Stake to the heart?” 

“Wouldn’t penetrate.”

I shuttered, a little more relieved by that being a myth. “Super-human strength and speed?” I continued.

“That one is true.” He said and then he was in front of me. His hands on my waist. His lips on mine, he lifted me with ease and sat me on the counter but then he returned to the pasta.

“I kinda figured. With Edward and the car accident, and Rosalie at the café.”

“Rose at the café?” He looked at me again.

I just nodded softly. “When you asked her to check on me. She was there, and then she was gone.”

“She didn't mention that.” I just shrugged as he continued. “But yes, Edward was across the parking lot and ran to stop the van from hitting Bella.”

“That’s what she thought. I thought maybe she really hit her head.”

“He definitely put our secret at risk, but I’m proud he didn’t just let her die.” I winced and quickly changed the subject. 

“How about burning in the sunlight? I can’t really decide if that one is true. I’ve seen you during the day, but it's always raining here, which would make for a good cover up. Bella mentioned one day that you guys leave town when the weather is nice. So at this point I’m a little stuck.” He was laughing at me again.

“You’ve given this some thought?”

“As much as I could in the last like 3 hours.”

“The sunlight myth is actually pretty interesting. We don’t burn, necessarily, we just might look like we do. Our skin is much like marble in the sense that it has crystalized. Under the surface there are small crystals. So, in the sun, those crystals become more prominent.”

“So you… sparkle?”

“That’s one way of putting it.” He laughed, “I’ll have to show you sometime.”

It was my turn to laugh. “I’m going to hold you to that. I already can’t wait.” I thought for a moment. “Oh! Do you have a vampire form? Like do you look more evil and deformed when you're doing vampire stuff?”

He looked at me again, this time with so much confusion painted on his face. “No? You probably shouldn’t listen to this program. It might be filling your head with lies.” I laughed at him again. 

“Says the literal vampire.”

He was in front of me again, laughing and pulling me to him. His lips were pressed to mine and my fingers found his hair. Before long, we had completely forgotten about the pasta on the stove.

 

~~

 

I pushed a pin into Bella’s hair to keep it out of her face. “You look... absolutely beautiful.” I rested my chin on the top of her head and watched her face in the mirror. 

She really did look radiant. Especially compared to how she's looked for weeks leading up to today, but she had been through hell and she was about to finish her junior year. She deserved something good. Even if she didn’t know what was happening.

What Edward was doing was really nice. Sneaky and she’d hate it but nice. 

Confusion flashed across her face but she smiled. “Will you tell me now?”

“Nope.” I put emphasis on the p and laughed. “I’m a little shocked you haven’t figured it out.”

“Y/n! Please!” She begged, “You know I hate surprises.”

“That really stinks, but I gave my word.” I laughed and hugged her. She just sighed in defeat.

“Is he here?” Her voice was hushed, even though he could probably still hear her. I nodded. “Are you coming too?”

“No, Carlisle and I have sunny plans. Just you and the others.”

“Fancy triple date night?”

I ran my fingers over my lips pretending to zip them closed.

Bella huffed and put her face in her hands as Alice walked in the door and gasped. “You’re going to smudge your makeup.” Bella dropped her hands but didn’t sit up. “Are you ready?” 

When Alice was dressed up like this she looked more like a fairy than a vampire. She turned to me. “Edward is waiting downstairs with Charlie.”

“Then we better get down there. Quickly.” They both laugh and head downstairs.

Dad and Edward both stood and met us at the bottom of the stairs. Edward looked nice. His suit was perfectly tailored to him. Probably Alice’s doing. 

His face lit up when he saw Bella. His hand reached for hers. The love in his eyes could make me cry. 

Dad spoke first. “You look beautiful, sweetheart.”

She blushed and looked at her feet, one still in a boot. “Thanks Dad. Now, is anyone going to tell me what's going on?” She pushed. Edward and Dad chuckled. 

Alice opened the door. “Come on you two, we’re running late, Rosalie and Emmett are already there.” She turned and walked out, the others turning to follow. 

Dad stopped Bella to hug her. “I refilled your bottle of pepper spray.”

“Dad-”

“Just- Be safe. Okay?”

“Of course.” She looked away, “I love you guys.”

“Love you too!” Dad and I both responded as she walked out the door.

Once she was safely in the car and out of ear shot, Dad turned to me with a large smile on his face. “Our Bella, going to prom,” he said with a laugh. “Never thought I’d see the day.”

“It’s hard to believe, but she is only going because she doesn’t have a clue.” I added.

“And you,” He pointed to me, “Going on a hike with your very serious doctor boyfriend.”

“Ahh, to be fair, it’s only a hike.” I blushed. “It’s just sunnier up the mountain.”

“Sure, sure. When are you going?”

“I should probably head out now, I don’t want to keep him waiting.” I grabbed my keys off the hallway table.

“Love you kid. Be safe.”

“You too!” I called behind me.

As I pulled out of the driveway I saw Tyler Crowley pull in. Laughter erupted from my core and didn’t stop until I had made it to the Cullen house. 

Poor Dad.

 

~~

 

Carlisle met me outside. Dressed a bit more casually than I had ever seen him.

Honestly, he looked hot. A button up shirt rolled up to his elbows and jeans. He held my door open for me.

I got out of the car and threw my arms around his neck in a tight hug. I had missed him a lot over the last two days, more than I probably should have. He was only hunting for two days and yet here I was, desperate to get his arms around me.

“Hello, Handsome.” I said, out of breath and burying myself in his chest. 

“Hello, Beautiful.” He chuckled and breathed me in, his face falling to where my shoulder met my neck. I could feel his lips there briefly. “How did this morning go?”

“Bella left before they told her where they were going, but I’m sure he’s getting an earful now. She looked beautiful. Edward looked very nice too.”

“I’m sure they’ll have a great time.” He pulled back to look at my face. “Did you go to your prom?” 

The question made me laugh a bit. “Noooo, I never really wanted to.” I was going to return the question but figured he didn’t go to prom. “You probably went to like literal balls.”

“I did-”

“Ahhh, I wasn’t being serious! Oh no,” I laughed pretty hard at that “It’s so weird” I started walking for the tree line but he was on me in seconds. Wrapping his arm around my waist and pulling me to him.

“Where do you think you’re going?” His voice was low but playful.

“I was going on a hike. Think you can keep up, old man?” He let out a breathy laugh close to my ear that actually made me a bit weak. 

“Oh I can keep up. I just thought you might want me to lead the way.”

“Fair point…” I laughed with him. He took my hand and led me towards the tree line, definitely not the way I was going before.

“They still have balls now, you know.” He said.

“Sure, for rich people.” I added

“Of course, and sex cults.” He grinned at me.

I had to try very hard not to laugh at that. “Ha ha, very funny.” I smiled back at him. 

As we walked I held on tightly to his hand. Not so much out of fear I’d fall or get lost. Just so I could be closer to him. 

“How long is the hike?”

“It’s roughly 2 miles, mostly uphill. Around an hour, at a normal pace.”

“Hmm, an hour for me. Like a minute for you?” I said, then paused to process that thought. “You really ran to Vancouver. Like with your feet.”

He chuckled under his breath. “Vancouver's not that far. You could probably do it in about two days.”

“Oh, well if it’s just two days.” I laughed “How long did it take you?”

A smug smile crossed his face. “About 30 minutes.”

“That’s actually insane. How? I ran out of breath just saying ‘ran to Vancouver’”

“It’s a lot easier when you don’t have to breathe-”

“I’m sorry. What? You don’t have to breathe?” My shock made him laugh again. “I guess that makes the whole human blood smell thing easier.”

“It does. We breathe most of the time, though. It’s more of a habit than anything else. Also you need air to smell or talk, even.” He added.

“I guess that makes sense. It just all sounds so insane at times.” 

“I know. I’m sure from your perspective it would be rather hard to believe. I wish there was a good way to tell someone that you are a vampire.” I looked up at him. His face was flawless, but even without the lines I could see the worry there. Behind his kind eyes and soft smile there was the lingering concern that at any point, I might snap out of it and run away from this.

Run away from him.

I squeezed his hand and pulled myself closer to him. I wasn’t going anywhere. As crazy as all of this was, despite the fact that I probably shouldn’t, I just wanted to be with him.

“I think we're past most of the weirdness now. You can’t scare me off that easily.” He gave my hand a light squeeze. 

“Just making sure.” he chuckled.

“So, where are we going again?” I asked.

“Just up the mountain, out of the cloud bank. There's a clearing that overlooks the river.” He paused for a second then continued. “We all have our favorite spots up here. I want to show you mine.”

I nodded slowly, a bit nervous. “I don’t hike often. I’m not likely to fall off,” like Bella, I thought. “But I definitely feel better that you’re here with me.” He pulled our joined hands to his lips and placed a small kiss on my knuckles.

“And you thought I couldn’t keep up.” He joked

“Oh, I can keep up,” I looked up at him again and blushed. “Just not at a ‘Vampire hiking’ pace.” I giggled at my meaning and I think, if he could blush he would be.

“I could always carry you.” I shivered at the thought.

“What would that entail, exactly?”

“I would hold you and run. It would be faster and probably safer.”

“Hmm. Maybe on the way down. I’m enjoying the view and the time with you. Also I’m not too worried about my safety with you here.” I admitted with a small laugh.

He laughed softly at that. “Says the human dating the vampire.”

“Says the vampire dating the human.” I smile up at him, standing my ground. He quickly pressed a small kiss to my lips.

We walked and talked for a while. Just soft conversions about the birds in the trees and the way everything looks at different times of year. I loved seeing the forest like this, in the early spring when everything looked so alive. 

“The clearing is actually just beyond those trees.” he pointed with his free hand while still holding the other. That had become a regular thing since he told me what he was. It made sense. I knew why he was unreasonably cold for a person who is alive. He didn’t have to hide it anymore.

“You know, I am actually nervous about this.”

“Why?” He was usually very calm. It hadn’t crossed my mind that he might be nervous.

“In all my 300 years, I have never told a human what I am, let alone shown them. It’s as new to me as it is to you.”

“Was Esme like you?” I paused, hoping not to offend him or bring up painful memories. He gave me a reassuring smile.

“She was human when I first met her. She was 16 years old and had fallen from a tree.” he laughed softly “She broke her leg and was brought to the hospital I worked for at the time.

“She was very charming but very young and at that point I was fairly certain I was destined to be alone. That was before I met Edward. He helped me see otherwise. Around ten years after I met her the first time she was brought back to the hospital. She had gotten married to a terrible man and had a child with him. The boy didn’t live long and it broke her heart. She tried to kill herself. They brought her to the morgue.

“She was perceived dead but I recognized that charming girl I’d once met and could hear her faint heartbeat. She probably would have succumbed to her injuries. She might have even wanted to but I was so heartbroken for her I changed her.”

At some point  we had reached the trees and stopped. I listened to his story. With comforting glances. I held tight to his hand. He turned to me and looked me in the eyes before continuing. 

“She never- I don’t know. Maybe she did resent me. The only thing she had ever wanted was to be a mother. She lost her only child and any hope she had of more. Wouldn’t you resent the person who did that to you?”

“Carlisle…” I didn’t know what to say to be comforting, I didn’t know if he even wanted me to be. “I don’t think she would have, you gave her the chance at a family, when she had given up. She tried to kill herself. She couldn’t have resented you. It’s not possible.”

“Logically, I think I know that. She never let on any discontent. She loved Edward and the others as they came along. I felt like after everything, I owed it to her to love her. It was the least I could do.” He rubbed his free hand over his face and I think if he could cry he would be. I grabbed his arm and he let out a deep breath.

“In 1972, Esme was walking home after visiting me at the hospital. She came across an accident. There was a dying child whose parents had not made it. She turned the child.”

I tried not to let my surprise show. Though it was clear most of my vampire knowledge was fiction based, I knew vampire children didn’t go well. I continued to hold on to him, just listening.

“She took the child and fled to Rio. I told her to go. I knew, and she knew as well, the danger she put our family in, so I asked her to go. When a group of vampires, the closest thing we have to royalty, the Volturi, found out what she had done they killed her. They killed her and the child, and sent me a letter to tell me.

“It was more of a threat. ‘We know what your wife did and we won’t let it happen again.’ but they’ve always favored my family. It was let go but they will never forget what happened.”

“Carlisle, I-” I paused, my voice caught in my throat. “I’m so sorry.” he just shook his head and placed his hand on my cheek.

“I’m telling you this, Y/n, because I want you to know I never want you to feel that way. I have completely fallen for you in a way I never thought I’d get the chance to again. I love you, Y/n.”

My eyes went wide and I had to look away. I knew he could still hear my heart hammering in my chest, he could see how red my face got. He had just told me he loved me for the first time. I looked toward the trees, to the cliff beyond them, to the sun poking through the leaves. 

“I never want you to feel like you have to stay, or like you’ll miss out on the things you want because of me. Bella has decided she wants to be like us but you don’t have to make the same choice. 

“If we step out into the light and it’s too much, or if I come home from a hunt and it scares you to see me, I want you to do what's best for you. If that means leaving, I’ll let you go.” He was whispering at the end, holding my face in his hand. 

“You love me?” was all I could muster. 

“Very much.” He smiled at me. He dropped his hand from my face and took a step back, leading me into the sunlight. 

I felt the sun on my face and I closed my eyes, just breathing it all in. It was truly beautiful up here. I’d never felt so small. I looked behind me and he was still in the shade of the trees. Without letting go of his hands I took another step out into the light. He didn’t say a word, he just stepped into the sun.

It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Suddenly, I understood the fire myth. His skin looked like it held 1000 small fires, just dancing under the surface that poked through the surface in sparkles. Literal sparkles. I touched his face.

Despite the warmth from the sun, he was still cold. He leaned into my touch and shut his eyes. His arms wrapped around my waist. I leaned up and pressed my lips to his, only briefly and used the closeness to really look at him. I looked at his blonde hair in this light and when he opened his eyes again I looked deeply into them, the pure gold hidden there, and of course really looked at the fire dancing under his skin. Everything about him was impossible to describe and just so incredibly beautiful. 

“I love you, Carlisle.” My voice was hushed but I knew he could hear me. “I don’t want to run away. I love you and I want to be with you and if at some point we have to make a decision either way-” he nodded to say he’d caught on to my meaning. “We’ll do it together. For now, I’m happy. I’m here. I love you.”

“I love you, Y/n”

He kissed me then and we kissed for a long time. At times, I would stop to breathe and take in the view. I’d just enjoy the view of the water at the bottom of the cliff, and the man before me. Before long the sun started to set.

“I should get you home.” He said, begrudgingly, with a sigh.

“Hmm… I suppose.” I looked out over the cliff one last time then turned to him. “Is carrying me still an option?”

“Of course.” He pressed a quick kiss to my lips and the next thing I knew I was on his back. I wrapped my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck, laughing into his shoulder.

“Don’t let go, Beautiful.”

“Never.”

Then he ran and I took in the wind and knew, deep in my soul, that when the time came,
I would choose him.