May 31, 2013
Boy do I have a lot to tell you. As the day of the ski party arrived, we were all getting ready to either go or do other things, when I got a call from Alice in Sweden. She said she had another vision and to be careful on slopes. We figured it would be an avalanche, so we decided to stay clear of the real complicated slopes and tell the others the same. Then, just before 5pm, we—Esme, Jacob, Nessie, and I—loaded all of our ski equipment into our flatbed truck and took off toward the little inn that would be hosting our party. We all looked really stylish; I will avoid using the word spiffy or I’ll get another eye roll from Jacob. I have no clue what’s so “uncool” about that word. Teenagers!
Anyways, when we arrived at the slopes, some people were already there, while others were coming directly from their shifts at the hospital. As soon as I got there, Bill Connolly took me aside and told me that we lost patients in the hospital. Both went into cardiac arrest within 2 hours of each other. Bill thought that was strange because neither of these people came in with heart troubles. I thought this was strange as well, so I asked if Bill wanted to have autopsies performed on them both. He said that that would be improbable as both were Jehovah’s Witnesses and they had some strict rules about that kind of stuff. Of course we had to follow with their wishes and those of their families. That put a bit of a damper on the party. But as more people started to arrive, we decided that we weren’t going to mope around but rather enjoy this time with our coworkers and families.
I’d already met Bill’s wife Donna previously, and as both of their children were either in college or already grown with a family of their own, it was just the two of them at the party. Charlotte brought her new boyfriend. Melanie brought her husband, the two nurses from NYC brought their husbands and Shandy brought her two adorable 9-year-old twin girls. Betsy was feeling better but wasn’t up to skiing so she just came with her husband to watch the rest of us do our thing. Ashley drove up in her own car. I didn’t think she had a car. But within the next half hour or 45 minutes everyone was assembled.
We decided to make all of the introductions before heading to the slopes, I did mention that there were possibilities of avalanches and told everyone to steer clear of the complicated slopes. I had a lot of heads nodding in agreement. Once all of the introductions were made, we got our gear and headed toward the slopes. Nessie, Esme and I were on skis, while Jacob had a snowboard that he’d mastered since we moved here. The first time down the slope it was just my family and I. Then Bill and his wife joined us for the second round.
Later on we had a male vs. female race. The women beat us into oblivion. Esme, being an avid skier, out-skied everyone. She made it to the bottom in record time, followed closely behind by Nessie and Ashley tying for second place. Jacob all but rolled down the hill after his first tumble; his eventual landing sent Nessie into a state of giggles to the point where she fell off her own skis. We were all kind of laughing at him at that point. He looked like a cross between Gumby and a giant bouncy ball. Nessie whispered in his ear, which Esme and I—with our keen vampiric hearing—overheard. She told him she pictured him in his wolf form on that snowboard doing the same thing and it made her laugh even harder. Esme and I smiled at that one. Jacob started grumbling but looking at Nessie, he couldn’t stay angry too long and started laughing along with her. Finally he pulled her up with him and gave her a giant kiss.
We all headed back up to the top and it was time for people to decide whether they wanted to eat or continue skiing. Esme and I opted to keep skiing and let the humans enjoy the food. She and I had a very romantic run on the bunny slope, much to the hoots and cheers of Nessie and Jacob, not to mention Bill and Betsy. That was the best. At one time we thought someone was following us but when we checked, it seemed to be just a rabbit trying to get away before becoming squashed. I still had a very uneasy feeling about what Bill told me previously. But there wasn’t much we could do.
After we returned back to the top, we started mingling with other people and at that point Ashley approached me after she was in what seemed like a deep conversation with Nessie.
“Hey Dr. Cullen. You and your wife are amazing skiers. Your niece says she thinks you should try out for the Olympics and from what I’ve seen, I don’t disagree. I was wondering if you could give me some pointers. I feel like I need a “Skiing for Dummies” book.” She shot me an appreciative smile.
“Aw . . . come on Ashley, don’t sell yourself short. Everyone has to start somewhere. A good chunk of my family avoids skiing like the plague. You should talk to my daughter-in-law Bella. If you put her on skis, she’ll fall over before she even moves an inch,” I told her with a laugh.
“Well in that case, that makes me feel a lot better. I can at least waddle a bit and slide downward.”
“I’d say you do much more than that. I mean you came in second place with Nessie in the race. But I would definitely be up for giving you pointers. When do you want to go?” I asked.
“Um . . . well, what about now?” She looked around and then back at me.
“What about the food? You must be starving.”
“Oh no! I’m stuffed beyond capacity, plus I had some food at the hospital before coming here,”she explained.
“Wait, you were in the hospital before this? I didn’t think you had a shift today,” I asked, puzzled.
“Yeah, I decided to pull a few extra shifts just so I had some more money in the bank. This cross-country move has stretched me a bit too thin; why with all the stuff, renting the apartment and leasing the car. Doesn’t hurt, you know?”
“That is true, my dear. Were you in the hospital when the two patients passed? Bill informed me about that.”
“Oh, that. Yes I was, but I was already in the locker room changing to come here and when I heard the alarm go off, I didn’t get to the one in time and other one happened before I started my shift. It’s sad. But you can’t save them all.” That last sentence came out kind of flat for a caring nurse.
“Yes it is quite sad, but we do try to save as many as possible,” I reminded her. “Well let’s not stand around here anymore talking about this morbid stuff. You wanted me to give you some pointers. What exactly are you having trouble with?”
“Well, pushing off without falling is a big one, and then taking corners—not even sharp ones. I always seem to lean the wrong way and fall or just miss the corner altogether.”
“Alright then, let’s go and I’ll show you.”
With a wink at Esme and a nod toward the others, we slowly skied over to the beginner’s slope where I started very slowly showing her the proper way to ski. When she pushed off, she used her knees and her weight. After about two or three tries, she seemed to be getting the hang of it. Then we started skiing side-by-side slowly as I explained how to take a turn without over compensating and ending up on your butt or missing the corner and maybe hitting someone, or a tree—which wouldn’t be pleasant either way. The first few times she fell but got up and dusted herself off then started concentrating again.
Then a very bizarre thing happened. She and I were skiing next to each other and I was on her right side and we were to turn left, she must have not calculated properly but the next thing I knew she started falling and, as I grabbed to catch her, I ended up on top of her in a tangle of limbs. We were facing each other. I started to jump up, but not too fast in order to avoid revealing my speed, but the look on her face stopped me. It wasn’t one of panic, pain, or surprise even. Her eyes were half lidded and she looked at me with what I could only describe as a woman who was in a romantic predicament with a man and was waiting for the man to make the first move. My eyes widened, and then I really did jump up and pulled her up with me. I chose to ignore it and started to dust the snow off myself as she stood there looking at me, staring.
“Ashley, I think that’s enough for today,” I told her. “I think you got the gist of things. It’s time for us to head back to the others.”
“Of course, Dr. Cullen. As you wish.” She all but purred. I looked up at her and the look in her eyes told me that she had gotten what she came for . . . whatever that was. I guess she really didn’t get the hint that I’m a one woman man after all. I’ll just have to keep a watchful eye on her.
I skied back up and joined the others. I didn’t even bother waiting for her. Esme saw my face as did Nessie, Jacob, and Betsy. And it didn’t escape Bill’s attention, either. He raised an eyebrow in my direction and I shook my head at him. My family quickly surrounded me and Nessie touched me to project her thoughts of confusion into my head. I told them I would explain everything at home. They said they were willing to leave if I was, but I had to stay to support Charlotte in her endeavor with this party.
We hung out for another 2 hours just shooting the breeze, but this time I didn’t leave Esme’s side and we sat down on a log as Esme stroked my arm and had lain her head down on my shoulder when someone started a bonfire.
Ashley continued to stare at me but I refused to meet her gaze. I was pretty angry at her devious ploys. I was even willing to bet at this point that she knew how to ski pretty well and this was her way of getting me alone. This little nurse thought she could take me on? HA! She had no idea who—or what for that matter—lived out in those woods. Hell none of them knew they were sharing their bonfire with two vampires, a werewolf, and a hybrid half vampire/half human girl. They had no idea of the clan of vampires living outside of town, not to mention the other clan of supernatural Gods.
I was going to keep a close eye on this woman. If she didn’t get the point, I would have to have a serious conversation with Bill.
Once my family and I got home from all of our respective outings, which of course included the Watchers, we had a discussion about what happened and we all agreed that we were going to be extra cautious. As soon as I was done talking, Amy reached for her cell phone and dialed a number. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was calling. After she was done talking, we waited to hear what was said.
“I spoke at length with Rogue about this situation and she said to keep a watchful eye on this woman. She sounds like she doesn’t take no for an answer. She also said that she and Alexander will be home as soon as they can. They have their hands full with the Watchers and some nomad vampires in Montana,” she said, rolling her eyes at that last part.
“I agree with Rogue, keep your distance as much as possible from her, Carlisle. I know you being the consummate professional won’t let it affect your work but when it comes to everything else, avoid her. Maybe she’ll get the point that way. If not then we’ll have to move to a plan B, whatever that is. Whatever happens, you know we all have your back.” Emmett voiced that one, surprising everyone.
“Thank you everyone. I just don’t understand what she could possibly gain from all this—other than attention. You think that’s what it is? She wants attention because she’s an orphan?” I’d already told them about her life story, as well as all of the others.
“Who knows? She is from L.A! She’s probably just a drama queen who loves to be the center of attention of hot men,” Rosalie grumbled then laughed. “Kind of sounds like me in my human days. But I would never even look at a married man. That’s just wrong.”
Just then the house phone rang and Bella went to field it. The rest of us continued to talk amongst ourselves.
When Bella got back she told us, “That was Alice. She was worried and wanted to make sure you were OK Carlisle. She was also asking if they should shorten their trip and come home. I said no, nothing has happened that we can’t take care of. She said because she’s never seen this Ashley in person she can’t pinpoint what her next move will be or if there will even be one. Which makes her a bit worried, but I did remind her that Ashley is human so there’s only so much she can do against an armada of immortals,” she finished with a laugh. We couldn’t disagree with her there.
With an exhausted sigh, I said I was going to retire to my room. Esme followed me and we all hugged and kissed on the way upstairs as the others started to disperse. But not before Nessie gave me the biggest hug and kiss and said, “Gosh Grandpa, we can’t catch a break, can we? Not even the humans will leave us alone. But don’t worry, we all love you and I will personally kick that chick’s butt if she hurts you! She didn’t look that tough, I’m sure I can take her.”
I had to chuckle at that and give her a hug back. My granddaughter really was a treasure to me. Edward smiled at that last thought of mine. I then looked around the room and then back at this little angel in my arms and said, “I hope it doesn’t turn into such a problem where violence needs to become involved. Besides if she does do something out there, because she’s human, we’ll let the human authorities deal with her. I think she should hopefully mellow out after tonight. In any case I will be incredibly cautious with her from now on. I will speak with Betsy in confidence about the problem and try to have her on different rotations than me. We’ll see. Let’s not worry until there’s something truly to worry about. All right?”
Nessie thought about my question for a moment or two. “Well she was very interested in our family history. I kind of felt like I was being interrogated but she did it with a smile. I do remember thinking that it just sounded way too creepy. I guess now we know why.”
I nodded at her. It was making some sort of sense. There seemed to be a lot of pieces to this wackadoodle puzzle (that’s Nessie’s word by the way) and we need to figure out what they all are before we try to handle the situation in any shape or form. For now I think our game plan was normal and we or I rather was going to implement it starting tomorrow.
I took Esme by the hand and we walked upstairs as I heard the others disperse amongst their own rooms, cottages, and homes. It was late and I was ready for my lavender bubble bath. Esme must have read my mind because when we got to our suite of rooms, she headed straight into the bathroom and I heard the water running a short time later. I smiled. This is one of about a million and then some reasons why I utterly and completely love my wife and wouldn’t change her for anyone or anything ever.
I walked into the bathroom, stripped and climbed into the warm tub where I was joined by my very beautiful and sexy wife. We lay there and I felt all of my tension ebb and flow out of me. I closed my eyes and let my mind and body enjoy the sensation of right now. What happened was the past and now I’m looking toward the future.
My only future, my eternity, the only way I could ever survive this forever of ours is with Esme. Period. End of story.
Have a good night everyone!
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