May 22, 2013
Looking back on the events that went down earlier, I think Mark and his mate could have received a more appropriate welcome from the Cullens. Rosalie and Alice had had to restrain their squeals at the sight of the human woman’s belly, all their animosity forgotten in the expectation of possible gurgling sounds and piercing cries of a newborn. Emmett and Jasper had, on the other hand, relaxed very little.
“This is Katherine, my wife,” Mark announced after the initial wave of shock and surprise had passed. “Are you Carlisle Cullen?”
I looked to Emmett and Jasper, and with their nod, turned to Mark. “No, but I am his son, Edward. Carlisle is on his way here. This is Emmett and Jasper, and their mates Rosalie and Alice, respectively. That wolf is Jacob. He’s a brother too.” I introduced everyone to him, and he seemed to relax further.
“Okay, can you please call off your . . . Can you please call off Jacob? He’s scaring her.” Mark pointed to Jacob, who, as if on cue, nodded and walked off into the forest to phase back into his human form.
“How long until Carlisle gets here?” Mark asked once he had affirmed that Jacob was not going to be phasing again.
“A few minutes.” I nodded, “Please, come in.”
We moved around to let Mark and Katherine pass, and I noticed the way she was cradling her belly. My guess was that she had decided to keep the baby, much like Bella had, and Mark had had no option but to go with it.
Esme and Nessie, having heard the commotion, were already standing and pacing in the living room, but their anxiety turned to wonder when they saw our new guests.
“Oh my . . .” Esme gasped when she caught sight of the man, and I knew instantly what she was thinking. As for Nessie, let’s just say that she was about to take fan-girling to a whole new level.
“Esme, Nessie, this is Mark and his wife, Katherine. Mark, Katherine, this is Esme, my mother and Carlisle’s mate, and Renesmee, my daughter.” Once again, I made the introductions.
I had pretty much been expecting the surprised glance from Mark when he heard who Nessie was, and the realization of the truth of the statement when he registered her scent. It would have set me on edge had it not been for his golden eyes.
“You’re her father? Her biological father?” He asked me, and I saw Katherine eye Nessie apprehensively at his question.
“Yes. I’m her biological father.” I nodded and smiled. I had been once where he was now, so I knew he needed the reassurance.
“Where . . . Where is her mother? Your mate?” He asked next, glancing furtively at Katherine.
“Well, we’ve landed ourselves in a bit of a pickle, if I may put it like that. My wife Bella, as of today, left for Forks, the town where you just came from. It’s her birthplace. She is visiting to solve a few matters that arose unexpectedly.” I nodded and explained as tangentially as I could.
“You mean . . . she’s alive? She’s well?” the hopes on Mark’s face were hard not to notice.
“Well, as well as can be for a vampire.” I nodded.
“She’s a vampire?”
“Yes. She was turned shortly after she gave birth to our daughter.”
“Oh, okay.” The lines in Mark’s forehead faded slightly, and he sighed in relief and exhaustion.
That seemed to spring the family into action.
“Oh, dear! Where are my manners? Come on! Sit down, sit.” Esme sprung into Hostess mode, and everybody hovered in the main area with our guests.
“Do you want anything, darling? Something to eat or drink?” Esme asked Katherine, who looked at Mark before saying, “Just a little water, please.”
“Of course.” With that, my mother, ever the generous hostess, slipped toward the kitchen.
I should have expected the next question at some point, but it was still embarrassing to hear my daughter say what our minds were obviously thinking, “Has anybody ever told you that you look a lot like—”
“Tom Hanks?” Mark smirked slightly, and I thought Alice swooned behind me. “Yeah. A lot, actually.”
Beside Mark, Katherine let out a small giggle, the first sound that we heard her make since she arrived.
Esme arrived with Katherine’s water after a few seconds, as well as cookies and brownies. Leave it to Esme to make her guests happy.
There was silence for some time after that, as the only sounds in the room were the gulping down of water and a small swish as Jacob arrived after getting dressed, standing guard behind Nessie. I noticed Mark give him a cautionary glance and then grimace. The smell was too much for him perhaps.
“So . . . how far along are you?” Alice piped up, clearly having never have heard of wrong questions.
“Uh . . . well, I only discovered it three days ago, but . . . it seems to progress faster than . . . normal ones, the pregnancy, I mean, not the baby.” Katherine hesitated through her entire speech, and the lines on Mark’s forehead reappeared.
Nobody had a chance to explain any further as we all heard the sound of a car halting in front of the house, and in the next moment, Carlisle appeared in the doorway, still clad in his light blue shirt, dark pants and white coat.
If I had thought Nessie’s reaction had made Mark uncomfortable, that was nothing compared to what Carlisle did.
“Edward, what is happening? I smelled a vampire in the doorway . . . what—HOLY HELL, WHAT THE FUCK IS TOM HANKS DOING IN MY HOUSE?!”
I saw Katherine jump a little, and I was sure my family’s mouths were hanging open.
“I loved Philadelphia. Touched my heart man,” Carlisle, I kid you not, actually put his hand on his heart and sighed, and I was almost one hundred percent sure that Mark was thinking of bolting out of here the first chance he got.
“Carlisle, that’s not . . . he’s not Tom Hanks.” Jasper put his hand on Carlisle shoulder, fighting a grin like all of us. Who knew Carlisle had a dude crush on Tom Hanks?
The excitement faded away from Carlisle’s face like a grin disappears from the face of a three year old who has just been told that Santa isn’t real.
“He’s not?” Thank God vampires couldn’t cry. I wasn’t sure how much of that I could have handled, especially from Carlisle.
“Uh . . . no,” Mark could not have looked more flustered. “I’m Mark Wellington. This is my wife, Katherine.”
Carlisle’s expression pretty much resembled that of a school girl’s who had been given an opportunity to talk to her crush but had screwed it up. He would have blushed fifty shades of red if he could.
“Oh . . . Well, this is awkward.” He chuckled nervously. “My sincerest apologies to you. I . . . I’ve always been somewhat of a fanatic.”
“No kidding,” Rose jested, and Alice nudged her in agreement.
“It’s all good. But, that’s not why we’re here.” Mark stood up and shook Carlisle’s hand, who noticed Katherine only then.
Almost immediately, Carlisle’s gaze went to Katherine’s bump, and a small, surprised smile graced his lips as he shot me a knowing glance.
“And what do we have here?” Carlisle took off his coat and sat down in front of the couple, who, to be honest, were looking like deer caught in headlights.
“Uh . . . well, I . . . we were hoping you would . . . say something.” Mark said.
“I will, but I need to know some things first.” He snapped into his fatherly mode immediately.
“We figured as much.” Mark nodded, “Katherine and I, we met in London. I am a psychiatrist by profession—”
“Like Hannibal Lecter.” Emmett sniggered, and earned a warning glance from Esme.
“Well, sort of. She says that a lot, actually,” Mark smiled weakly, “but as you can see, I don’t . . .” he gave Katherine an uneasy glance, “hunt people. Well, not until the past hundred years. I have to say, you are quite popular among the . . . vegetarians . . . they hail you as the Father of the Vegetarian Movement . . . well, in a way.
“I heard of you when I was passing through Italy in about 1903. Um . . . some members of the Volturi had been talking about you and your “different” lifestyle. They said that you had been practicing medicine for quite some time then. I tried it out of curiosity, and fortunately, it sat well with me.
“Katherine was one of my patients.” I heard the ladies say a silent ‘Aw’, “I had never heard of any kind of relationship between a vampire and a human until then, other than the customary predator-prey one. I always thought we were the only ones, Katherine and I.
“We got married three weeks ago.” Mark sighed. “I honestly didn’t know this could happen. I mean, logic says so. Just . . . I had no idea what to do, when she told me that she was . . .is pregnant.
“So, I started researching, asking people, reading, looking. My friend, Alastair, told me that he’d seen the same thing happen with you people about four years ago. He told me that there was a hybrid living with you. He didn’t know much, but it was enough. Apparently, the Volturi is very ticked off by you and your coven. Alastair told me he had been with you for some time when you were congregating everyone to fight the Volturi. He told me to go to Forks, but when I got there, the shape shifters told me that you had moved to Atlin.”
“I am still wondering why Sam sent you here and didn’t tell me.” Jacob mused at the last part of the speech.
“It seemed they were dealing with some matters of their own. I only got there in the early hours of the morning today. It looks like someone found out about you: a human,” Mark explained, but did not question any further, even if he might have been tempted to.
Of course, Sam and the pack must have been busy calming Charlie down. Whatever Mark had told us, however little it may be, served as an indication that Bella was going to have a hard time dealing with Charlie.
“You said the Volturi were talking about Carlisle when you heard about him. May I ask if you’re, in any way, associated with them?” Jasper was the one to voice out our obvious concern. Things would take a whole new turn if Mark had any, even remote connections to the Volturi.
“Do you think I would be here if I did? The Volturi would have annihilated me a long time ago if they would have found out about mine and Katherine’s relationship, especially that Caius. I don’t even know how they think of themselves as royalty. Who gave them the authority?” Mark clearly looked agitated at the mention of the scum, but unfortunately, with our usual tools rendered useless, we had still no way to confirm if he was lying or not.
“I’m sorry if I come across as blunt, but it seems that your powers as a vampire negate all other powers in your vicinity. I mean to say that none of our powers are working with you. I am telepathic, and I rely on my mind to tell whether people have ulterior motives, but my powers have not been useful since you arrived. I can’t read your mind, or anybody else’s for that matter.” I saw Carlisle look at me in confusion, and then shock as he realized that I had never heard what he had probably been trying to tell me all this time through his mind.
An expression of curiosity, and then embarrassment passed over Mark’s face, “Oh, that . . . that would not be me. That’s Katherine.”
I was sure I heard somebody gasp, but could not tell who it was with my preoccupation of this latest revelation.
“Your wife has a shield?” Again, Jasper voiced out the question.
“I wouldn’t call it so much a shield as an antidote. I couldn’t believe it at first: a human with that strong a power. But it’s true. I, you should know, am a shape shifter. But I found out soon enough that none of mine or my acquaintances’ powers work if Katherine is anywhere near them in a two mile radius.” Mark explained, and I saw his hand grip Katherine’s waist protectively, and I knew the exact reason as to why. It was a shock that the Volturi didn’t know of her . . . yet.
“That strong?” Esme was, clearly, surprised.
“Yes.” Mark sighed, “It’s one of the reasons why I never joined a coven. No matter how innocent and unaffected they claim to be, the temptation of power is very persuasive.”
“You must have a really hard time keeping the Volturi off of your backs.” Rose said.
“We keep moving, now more than ever, but we have to be careful.”
There was again silence in the room as the information seeped in. Mark was the first one to break it.
“Carlisle, I’ve come a long way. I love her. That’s all I have to say for myself. And I need your help, Carlisle. Will you? Will you help us?”
Carlisle’s features softened immensely at Mark’s words, and I knew that whatever he was thinking had to involve our guests in our future.
“Of course, Mark. You needn’t ask me any more. You’ve come to us for help. And you’re going through some place that we’ve already seen. That practically makes you family.” Our hearts warmed with Carlisle’s demeanor. That man was a saint.
Mark’s grin seemed like it would split his face into two, whereas Katherine looked a little shy, but grateful nonetheless. Come whatever may, they were clearly grateful to have help.
“All right then, Katherine, dear, are you craving anything yet?” Carlisle smiled at the woman, and she blushed profusely.
Mark chuckled at her reaction. “We stopped at every Pizza spot on our way here. She’s been eating pizzas as if they’re evanescent.”
I saw Jacob’s face light up like a Christmas tree when he heard that.
“Okay, then, pizza it is!” Esme declared, and in the next second, Katherine was surrounded by the ladies in the house, asking what else she craved and what her favorite color was.
We had no premonition whatsoever that this simple arrival would set off a chain reaction of surprises in our lives. We had no idea that the events to come would make some of us test loyalties, drive some of us to the point of madness, and break others to the point of exhaustion. They would bring happiness and despondence all at once. But, how could we tell? The future, after all, is not set in stone, no matter how good of a psychic we might have in our family.
Therefore, for the moment, we enjoyed the company of our new and eternal friends.
Unaware and unprepared.
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