I feel so bad for Carlisle. This has been one insane month. Ashley—or Carrie—was absolutely nuts. The day after that final showdown happened, Carlisle sat in his office for what seemed like 9 hours. No one went in there except Esme. She said he was either staring out the window or at the wall. He barely said anything; she said his eyes were pitch black and that he had to hunt, but he didn’t move. She’s extremely worried as we all are. Having lived in the human world for these many millennia, I’ve had to put up with all kinds of things.
I’m currently sitting in my own house waiting on that final report from Scott, who promised to fax it as soon as he got everything he needed. Scott Kramer has to be one of the best agents I know. He’s always on target, always thinking with his head, and using his intuition. I think he was glad Ashley was caught, considering he’s been working on her case since the very beginning.
My own history with him is quite simple; I worked for the FBI for 15 years. I graduated from Harvard Law School with a degree in Criminal Justice and was immediately recruited into the FBI. Scott was my very first partner. We got along great, and even Alexander liked him a lot. He’s like my mortal brother.
Now here’s something that may shock you: Scott knows about us—as in he knows we’re immortal. He’s the only one in the FBI who does. I didn’t want to tell him but it turned out that I wouldn’t get a choice in the matter. When we lived in Washington DC, there was a particularly aggressive group of vampires in the area which we had to try to get to behave. Corin was in charge of these idiots. All was going well until one night when they somehow managed to give her the slip. She was trying to find them and, as I had that night off from work, I went to help her. To make a long story short, we found them all right; they were about to make a meal out of my partner, Scott. Well, obviously that wasn’t going to happen, and as you know how vampires are defeated, Corin and I fought them off and then finally just ashed them. Of course, Scott saw the whole thing.
That took a lot of explaining. At first I thought of just scrubbing his mind, but he had physical wounds he couldn’t explain, so after making him swear on his life—literally—I sat him down and laid it all out for him. It took him a while to process it, but he was surprisingly calm about everything. He said he was indebted to me for saving his life, so he wouldn’t tell anyone. After 15 years with the feds, it was time for me to move on as I wasn’t aging and that was starting to become apparent so I decided to “retire.” Everyone was sad to see me go, but I promised to be a consultant if they needed anything.
This was the first time I’ve seen Scott in about a decade or so. He’s recently divorced with three grown up daughters who are married and one already has a baby boy so that makes him a grandfather. He also knows that my real name is Rogue and not Rose. But he still calls me Rose to play it safe, which I don’t mind. When we were still working together, he would tease me sometimes and call me Rosie. I had threatened to castrate him if he called me that again. But it still makes me smile when I think about it. He really is an awesome guy.
As I was finishing up that last sentence, my fax machine beeped and I knew his fax was coming through. I got up and walked over to it. It started spitting out paper one right after another. I stood there thinking about him and everything we had gone through and seen together. Sometimes I miss that life, other times I’m glad I’m not working there anymore. Finally, the fax spit out what looked like 20 plus pages of the final report. I picked it up, stapled it, sat down and started to read. It took me about an hour to get through the whole thing. As if on cue, when I finished reading, my phone went off and I saw that it was Scott. He knows me still all too well. I picked it up with a smile.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive,” he said.
“Isn’t that Shakespeare?” I asked.
“Something like that. So what do you think?”
“To say that I was surprised by it, would be a lie. The only thing that surprises me is how long she was able to get away with it.”
Scott knew that it wasn’t an accusation about his inadequacy as an agent, but just my general observation of the situation, so I didn’t have to worry about offending him.
He chuckled on the other end. “That makes two of us. How’s Dr. Cullen doing?”
“Eh. He’s kind of locked himself in his office in the house. I think he needs time to process everything. He really wanted to know the whole report but I’m wondering if I should even mention it to him now. I mean it’s a lot to process for someone unfamiliar with this whole playing field. He’s hardly an FBI agent,” I said thoughtfully.
“True. But he deserves to know what he has been dealing with, you know? He needs closure. Hell all of you do!” Scott said wisely.
“You’re right. You know, you always know the right thing to say. I’m glad that hasn’t changed.”
“Well you know I’m the same old boring Scott. I mean look, I’m even a grandfather now! Talk about an old geezer,” he said, laughing.
I laughed with him. “Oh stop it! You’re not boring and hardly an old geezer. I saw how some of those nurses were looking at you, agent Kramer! You still got it.”
“Well they can never compete with you, Rosie. I’m not a dashing immortal like Alexander, either,” he teased.
I growled. “You call me that one more time and I’ll fly over to that office of yours and hamstring your ass, you got me?”
“Yes ma’am!” he said smartly.
“All right, you dork, I’m going to go to the Cullen’s now and tell them what you were able to reel out of Ms. Nutcase.”
“Have fun. Give my regards to the Cullen’s,” he said seriously then.
We said goodbye and hung up.
I then left my house and walked the 4 miles to the Cullen house. I walked faster than most humans, but didn’t want to fly. It took about 15 minutes to get there. I rang the doorbell and Bella answered it. When I walked in, I could see the whole family already there as well as well as my Watchers and husband. The only one missing was Carlisle, but just as I entered, I saw him coming down the stairs. He looked beyond pale and again I had second thoughts about coming here. But Amy and Corin nodded encouragement, so I walked into the living room and sat down on a chair that Jasper had pulled out for me. I thanked him and waited until everyone was seated.
Then I began to speak. “Thank you for all gathering so swiftly. I do have the report with me. Because it has a lot of legal language, I’m going to just summarize it for you. Also because you all knew her as Ashley, we’ll call her that. Calling her Carrie will confuse everyone. Are you all okay with that?”
They nodded, so I continued. “All right, so Ashley is originally from California and that’s where her truth ends. Everything else is a lie. She wasn’t an orphan; she came from a very big, very rich family. She has a younger brother as well as parents and a host of uncles, aunts, and cousins. She does not have an RN license. She has had many different aliases like this Ashley one. She’s wanted in California and Oregon for everything you can imagine. Her rap sheet is a mile and a half long. Her warrants include fraud, impersonating a medical professional, ID theft, harassment, stalking, assault, attempted murder, and murder.
“On top of that, she’s also very mentally ill. She has something called Munchausen by Proxy or MBP. MBP is an illness when someone purposely makes someone else ill so they can then help them recover, or save them, just to gain attention for saving them. Most of the time you see MBP in child abuse when mothers make their kids ill on purpose so the doctors would pay attention to her and treat her child. It’s very sick. But it has been seen in health professionals or those who are pretending to be health professionals.
“This explains the coding of the patients at the hospital and how she would appear in the nick of time to save their lives just to receive the praise and attention her sick mind craved. It’s like an addiction. You see people addicted to drugs or alcohol but this is an addiction for attention. She has charges in Sacramento for doing the same thing. Unfortunately for her, this time she didn’t do her homework correctly. She had expected that if she was caught she would be sent to a mental hospital or serve life in prison. She hadn’t researched NH properly. This state has the death penalty. And the agents are working with those in Oregon and California to extradite her to face those charges first then bring her back here and have the prosecution pursue the death penalty, which they fully intend to do.
“They haven’t executed anyone here since 1974, so this will be the first time, but they don’t intend to let her get away with just life without parole. But I’m getting off track. I’ll explain the legal tactics later for those who are interested. Her family has disowned her so she’ll have to foot the bill for the attorney herself. She had made her family believe that she was dead, going as far as sending fake cremated ashes to them so they could have a memorial service.
“She is also famous for using arsenic to poison people. She first poisoned Melanie during her baby shower luncheon, followed by Betsy just days after. She was testing out how much to put into each food item so her victims would get sick but wouldn’t die. Then she just went all out with that bun cake.
“Then there was the case of stalking you, Carlisle. The first day she met you, you became her target, the object of her affection. Everything she did was so that you two would be together. In her sick mind, you had a relationship. She’s done this multiple times, including actually killing the wife of the man she was stalking in Sacramento just so they could be together. It was fatal attraction at its worst. The day you went to visit Charlotte to get her blood, she was already there, and she saw Charlotte, then was stunned to see you there—which made her violently mad enough to stab Charlotte, because she thought you preferred Charlotte over her. She dyed her hair brown so she could look more like Esme. They even found clothes in her apartment that looked just like something Esme would wear. Her intention was to get Esme out of the picture and replace her as your wife.
“Meeting me on your property definitely didn’t fit into her plans, and in fact, she was scared a lot and started to really try to figure out how to maximize her plans without attracting even more attention, but obviously that didn’t work and all of her planning spiraled out of control, which is how we caught her. She has had a car since she moved here but when you drove her to her apartment that first time in the rain, it was all preplanned ahead of time. She left her car at her apartment and since no one saw her drive it, they wouldn’t know she had one until the Ski Party, which is when she claimed she leased it. Every single move she made was planned in advance. They found stacks of notebooks in her apartment with people’s work schedules; she knew what you did almost every moment of your day at the hospital.
“The agents also found multiple other ID’s from different states with different aliases and social security cards. She was a woman on a mission. And her mission was murder and lust. She was literally a one woman crime wave. She got all of the fake credentials by literally holding people hostage with a gun and telling them that they had to pretend that they were doctors. I mean you’d think she thought of everything. She never anticipated the bonds of family and friends. That and obviously she picked a vampire to have her crazy crush on.
“So that’s the gist of it. She killed 3 people in California; I believe a total of 6 here. She didn’t kill anyone in Oregon, but that’s where she got her start in ID theft. She’s responsible for 9 murders that we know of and Scott said he was contacting headquarters in DC to see if any other agencies had any similar cases that were unsolved. That evidence and information is still being gathered as we speak.”
When I finally finished speaking, no one was breathing. Not even those that needed to breathe. Everyone was looking at me with wide round eyes. I just let them all process everything. I knew that would take a while. The rest of the Watchers and I decided to leave them alone so they could really think this through.
Before I left, I said, “Carlisle, I know this will take a while to get over but and this is just a suggestion, you and Esme need to get away for a while. Like leave the country type of away. Go somewhere you can recover your strength and sanity.”
They looked at each other and Carlisle nodded lightly.
We Watchers quietly left the room and let the family have their time. We flew to our houses and all touched down simultaneously. We all then had a group hug and said goodbye. Alexander and I sat on the porch and watched as Carlisle and Esme jumped over the river on their way to go hunting. We both knew that he would feel better when he was fed. I really hoped both would take my advice and go on vacation. They deserve it. Alexander and I just sat on the porch, mostly in silence. Now that all secrets have been revealed, it was time to heal; in mind, body, and most importantly soul.
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Ashley was on the property. She was just caught by Rogue, of all people. Those were the thoughts whirling around in my head. We were thinking of running out the door to go see what was going on, but we were stopped by Amy. She walked into the room and, without saying a word, moved her arm in circular motion. Right before our very eyes a light appeared, which turned into what looked like a TV screen of sorts. We could see Rogue and Ashley facing off against each other. Amy was showing us what was happening through a portal. Not only could we see what was going on, but we could also hear them.
Rogue spoke first. “What are you doing here?” Her voice was as cold as ice.
“I—I . . . was waiting for Carlisle.” Ashley’s voice faltered. She’d never called me by my first name before.
“Oh, really? Well Carlisle isn’t expecting visitors.” Rogue’s face was solid ice. She betrayed no emotion other than that of an ice cube. We knew that expression all too well.
“Well, he’ll want to see me,” Ashley said confidently.
“I highly doubt it. I think you’ve caused enough trouble.”
“And what are you, his guardian or something? I don’t remember ever meeting you. You don’t seem like family,” Ashley said cockily.
“No, I’m not family. Nor am I his guardian. I’m the last person on planet earth you want to meet. The fact that I caught you here out of everyone else is actually too bad for you. You may have gotten away easier if it were someone else,” Rogue sneered.
“Gotten away? From who? You? Please!” Ashley looked at Rogue as if she was speaking to a child and laughed. This was going to hell in a hand basket by the minute. Rogue was in her face in under a second. Ashley gasped by her super speed. Rogue towered over her. I had forgotten to mention that she was about six-foot-one. Alexander towered around six-foot-five.
Rogue then spoke through clenched teeth, her voice getting lower with each word. “Well, actually, I won’t do anything to you. Physically that is. Though it would be incredibly satisfactory for me—and for Carlisle as well—if I crushed your fucking throat, you insane piece of shit. But you will get yours in due time. So while you still can, and before I change my mind, get the hell out of here!”
Ashley stared at her with wide eyes, as if she was staring at someone who was possibly even more insane then she was. Of course Ashley didn’t really understand her own insanity. I was just hoping and praying Rogue’s eyes didn’t flash orange because at that point all hell would break loose. Ashley wouldn’t stand a chance. Hell, she didn’t stand a chance now! No one did. If we were all honest with each other, if we were ever to face off against Rogue, we’d be toast. Corin actually told us that one time Rogue got so pissed that she made a volcano erupt. Plus when Jacob asked what would happen if Rogue used all of her powers to their full potential, Amy said that she could destroy planet Earth. So no—I don’t want anything like world destruction over someone like Ashley.
What was the most mind boggling was that Ashley was not leaving. She continued to stand there, staring at Rogue. Though to her credit, with Rogue’s last speech, she took a step back. But then she did the dumbest thing anyone could do. With a wild cry, she hauled back and swung a punch at Rogue.
We all gasped.
Of course Rogue caught her fist without even really moving much. She then wrenched Ashley’s arm behind her back and pushed her hard enough to have her hit the ground hard. Ashley fell with whimper. She looked at Rogue with real fear for the first time.
“GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” Rogue bellowed at her, pointing toward the road. Ashley scrambled to her feet and ran away from the property as fast as her legs could carry her. She looked back to see if she was being followed. And she was, but not by Rogue. To make her point, Rogue whipped up one hell of a wind that chased Ashley all the way back to her car and didn’t abate until she jumped into her car and peeled onto the road back into town. Good Lord.
With a sigh and a shake of the head, Rogue floated into the air and flew toward our house, arriving just in time to see Amy close the portal. We all looked at her with round eyes. What the hell just happened?
Emmett and Jasper and the others had gotten home, and after everything was explained, they went into the garage and brought a huge amount of large garbage bags into the house. We each walked around the living room and picked up a flower arrangement and threw them into the bags. We wanted them out and gone as fast as possible. However, before we destroyed them, Rogue took a photo of them all with her phone and asked to keep the stacks of cards that came with them. She said she’ll explain later. As we were cleaning the botanical garden out of our house, Rogue’s eyes lit up and she snapped her fingers.
“Wait what’s the number for what’s-his-face?” she said.
Amy looked at her blankly. “What’s-his-face? That narrows it down dramatically,” she said sarcastically.
“You know, what’s-his-face at the FBI?” Rogue said digging through her purse to find her phone.
“Oh, you mean Scott Kramer?” Alexander supplied.
“Yes! Him! I have his number! Bingo!” Rogue said triumphantly. We all looked confused as she dialed his number then looked at me.
“Hey Carlisle, what is Ashley’s last name?” she asked.
I had to think for a moment, clear my head, and focus. “O’Donnell. Her name is Ashley O’Donnell,” I told her.
“Thanks!” she said and continued to dial. Just then the house phone rang. Esme went to field it and when she picked it up, she put her hand over the receiver and said that it was for me.
I went to pick it up. “This is Dr. Cullen.”
“Carlisle! It’s Bill! Listen we need you at the hospital as soon as possible.”
“Charlotte was attacked; stabbed in fact! She’s in surgery right now. And there are more FBI agents here than in the whole Silence of the Lambs movie. Another patient nearly died but he was able to survive; the best part was that he was able to ID who had tried to kill him! Carlisle . . . it’s bad. It’s really bad!” Bill sounded heartsick.
He was about to get even worse news. I told him everything that happened at my house between the botanical garden, creepy as hell notes, and Ashley’s whole showdown with Rogue. Well I left a lot about Rogue out and said that Ashley got into an altercation with one my neighbors and close friends right on my property. I heard Bill gasp over the phone. I started to get nervous; Bill was hardly sleeping and really anxious over this whole mess. The last thing anyone needed was for him to have a heart attack or stroke. I told him I’d be right there. Just then Rogue got off the phone with her FBI friend.
Her face looked concerned. She said, “Carlisle, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ride with you to the hospital. Scott is actually one of the agents at the hospital. I think the shit has finally hit the fan.”
Alexander, Amy, and Corin asked to tag along. We all piled into my car after I kissed my wife and hugged my family goodbye. I reassured them I’d let them all know what was going on as soon as I knew. They also knew that nothing would happen to me considering who was accompanying me to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Bella herself called Michelle’s house and asked for her to come over to our house because Nessie was very scared and she needed extra reassurance. Michelle flew out the door as soon as she hung up the phone.
We drove in mostly silence. I couldn’t wrap my brain around everything Bill had told me. It was almost midnight at this point. We reached the hospital in record time and saw that he was not exaggerating about the amount of federal vehicles in our little parking lot. You would think you were on the set of Law & Order or something. We all jumped out of my car and walked swiftly to the front of the hospital, which seemed like it was being treated like a crime scene of epic proportions. But we were able to get through. As Bill was waiting out front for us, I introduced those with me, while Rogue introduced herself as Rose Melanides. She mentioned she was a friend and former colleague of Agent Kramer, which made me raise my eyebrows. Rogue worked with the Feds? Alexander mumbled that she would explain later. I didn’t even bother to question. Bill then nodded seriously and led us into the hospital where a chunk of agents were milling around.
Rogue noticed and waved at who we figured was agent Kramer. He smiled and walked over. Once all of the introductions were made, we got down to business. We started by explaining to agent Kramer about what happened earlier—the same story that I told Bill—plus about all the other insanity between the coding and dying patients, the poisoning of the medical staff, and me being the object of a crazy stalker’s affections.
We went up to the patient who nearly died that evening. Bill and I walked into the room as I was his actual doctor, and the others stayed outside the room in order to not spook him.
“Mr. Yang, how are you feeling?” I asked quietly.
“Oh, much better, Dr. Cullen, thank you for asking. I wasn’t so sure a few hours ago though.”
“Can you please tell me exactly what happened and what you saw?”
“Well I was just napping when this pretty nurse walked in. She told me that she was giving me medication in my IV, but I remembered what you told me: that I didn’t need any other medication until the following morning. When I told her this, she smiled and said that the doctor was mistaken and that this medication would help me sleep. She then put the syringe with whatever the substance was into my IV and walked out. Seconds later, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I started gasping for air. I couldn’t yell but I had my cane nearby and after using what strength I had left, I reached out for it and grabbed it, then I started banging on everything I could with it. I knocked a lot of those machines over and they started beeping loudly and then I remember passing out just as a bunch of other doctors ran in and started screaming to get a crash cart. I don’t remember anything else.”
Bill and I looked each other. I’m sure Bill was feeling the same thing I was but we weren’t going to show that to the patient; he’d had enough trauma for one day.
“Tell us, Mr. Yang, what did this nurse look like?” I asked gently.
“Well, she had blue scrubs on, her eyes were blue-green and her hair . . . well it was brown but like a strange brown. Sort of like it wasn’t her natural color and it was done poorly. I know all this because my wife regularly gets her hair done and I have to sit and wait for her for hours in that salon, so I have seen bad hair jobs and good ones, and this woman’s was done pretty badly. She was probably about five-foot-seven. I hope that helps you, doctor,” Mr. Yang said and yawned.
We left his room to let him get some rest. He described Ashley to a T. It also explained why Rogue was able to tower over her being six-foot-one, if Ashley was only five-foot-seven.
We reconvened in the hallway along with agent Kramer, but Bill’s pager went off and he went to find a phone, returning only a few moments later telling us that Charlotte was out of surgery, awake, and talking. I all but jogged down the hall toward the ICU. The others followed suit. When I entered the room, my heart seized. Their lay our vibrant, happy Texas cowgirl, all bandaged up and looking as white as the pillow she was laying on. Her boyfriend, Ben, the resident from Gastroenterology, was sitting by her bedside clutching her hand. I was already told her parents were called and they were taking the next flight out. He looked up at me with eyes that looked out of their mind with grief. He loved her. I touched his shoulder and he nodded. As if she felt us all in her room, she opened her eyes and smiled.
“Howdy . . . Dr. Cullen . . . ,” She whispered then cleared her throat.
“Oh my dear. What happened? Who did this to you?” I said leaning over her asking while also checking her vitals.
“She’s crazy. She’s absolutely psycho,” Charlotte said. I didn’t need to ask any more. But why would she go after Charlotte?
“Ashley did this?” Bill said incredulously behind me.
Charlotte nodded then spoke again. “She followed me into the parking lot after my shift finished. She called my name and when I turned around, I saw her brandishing this large butcher knife. She started screaming at me that I was stealing you, Dr. Cullen, away from her. That you were her’s and no one else’s. I said I had no idea what she was talking about and that you were married and that I had a boyfriend that I loved very much. She said it was all a lie and that she saw how you made a house visit to me when I was sick, and even gave me a hug on the way out. She said that I wouldn’t do it to her. I wouldn’t take you away from her. I tried backing away but she lunged at me and just started stabbing and slashing. I begged her to stop . . . she finally did when she saw other people walk out and stare at her. At that point she ran away. Those people saved my life. They ran up to me and got me back inside into the hospital. I lost consciousness. They told me I lost a lot of blood and that I was lucky I was where I was.” She was sobbing by the time she finished speaking. I hugged her. Poor girl.
At that point her boyfriend came around and held her after I let go. Rogue then turned to agent Kramer and said that she wanted guards posted by Charlotte’s door until Ashley was caught. He nodded and made a phone call. Just then I saw Jacob, Nessie, Michelle, Bella and Edward walking down the hall toward us. I was puzzled until I saw that Nessie was holding the bear Charlotte gave her when she broke her leg. We all let her pass as Nessie walked into the room alone and walked up to Charlotte who looked up at her in surprise.
“Hi Charlotte. I’m sorry that crazy witch hurt you. Here, I brought you the bear; I named him Courage. He will make you feel better. I don’t need him anymore. I also made him a cute cowboy outfit just for you. My Auntie Esme taught me how to crochet.” She then gave Charlotte, who by this time had tears streaming down her face, the bear while everyone who could cry—including Nessie—did. My granddaughter was an angel upon this earth.
“Thank you, darlin’. That’s so sweet of you,” Charlotte said through her sobs. Nessie hugged her. Ben was crying, too.
“All right Nessie, let’s let Charlotte rest. Thank you for doing this but you guys need to go home now. We have a lot to figure out here.”
She nodded softly, and left with the others who came with her after hugging me as well as the other Watchers.
Just in the nick of time, a nurse walked up to me and gave me some paperwork. As I looked at it, things started to fall into place. Charlotte’s blood work had finally come back from her food poisoning. I let Rogue and agent Kramer look at it. They looked at each other then at me, and then stepped away for a moment as I processed what I was looking at. Charlotte had been poisoned with arsenic, as were the other 4 nurses that were out that day. It would explain all of their symptoms: the horrible stomach pain, the sweats, the vomiting . . . .
Rogue and agent Kramer then gathered all of us together and decided to tell us what they had found out. For starters, Rogue had given agent Kramer that stack of cards that came with the hundreds of arrangements—thankfully no longer in our house—as well as sending him a photo of what our living room looked like before we tossed that stuff out. Hell we even burned it!
But I digress. It turned out that Ashley had a few warrants for her arrest in several states. To make matters stranger, her name wasn’t even Ashley O’Donnell; it was Carrie Cunningham. I honestly didn’t think I could take any more surprises. The one thing my mind lingered on was how ironic it is that her real last name has the word “cunning” in it, all things considered. So now the only thing that was left was to catch her.
At this point agent Kramer had called all the other agents into the lobby where we were and a strategy was put together. They decided, with my permission, of course, to use me as bait. She wanted me, and she would have me . . . well, sort of.
We all imagined she was more or less in hiding and wouldn’t answer the phone to just anyone; she might be insane but she wasn’t stupid. She knew the walls were closing in on her. But perhaps if I was to call and coax her to come to my house to talk, the agents could nab her in my front yard. I would have to be the best actor I could be. So we decided on that. I would drive home with the Watchers where they and my family would stay in the house while the agents would surround the entire perimeter of the property. They would wait for a signal from me. I would try to get a full confession out of her, or as much as I could, then I would scratch my head with my right hand and at that point they would surround her. Lord I hoped it would work.
Rogue told me that if that didn’t work, she herself would take her down. Oh boy. I don’t know what is worse. For Ashley or Carrie or whatever her name was, I imagine Rogue was worse. But they also told me to not slip up and call her Carrie because then the jig really would be up. So it was decided. I went home. I actually asked the Watchers to drive my car home; I wanted to run. I needed some air before I was going to do what we just decided on. I got to our house before anyone else anyways. My family knew what was going on, as well as what was going to happen, and waited anxiously inside the house along with the Watchers. Rogue told me when the agents were all in their respective places and then I picked up my house phone and dialed Ashley’s number.
She picked up on the second ring.
“Ashley?” I said, trying to keep my voice light and calm.
“Oh Carlisle, it’s you! I knew you were going to call!” she said breathlessly.
“Yes, of course, I was very worried about you,” I lied. The feds were recording the call.
“Why?” she asked.
“Why? It’s been a pretty wild day. I know about Charlotte,” I said.
“Oh, that. She’s alive, I take it.”
“Yes. Listen, I wanted to talk to you in person. Not over the phone.”
“In person?” she asked. I was hoping she wasn’t getting suspicious.
“Yes, phones are so impersonal. I want you to come to my house.” I told her, holding my breath.
“No! You have that crazy neighbor who nearly killed me! And all I wanted to do was see you,” she screeched.
“Oh, don’t worry about her, she won’t bother you again. I told her you were a friend of mine.”
“Just a friend?”
“Yes. Please come to my place, Ashley. I care about you and I don’t want you to get hurt.” I put some sort of inflection of passion into the plea even though all I felt was extreme revulsion. It worked.
“Oh yes, I’ll come now. See you soon, sweetie,” she said in a very tawdry voice.
We hung up.
Everyone got themselves ready in their respective locations. I have never prayed in my life or at least not in my vampire life but I started praying that this worked and ended well without anyone getting hurt. Soon enough I heard her car pull into our driveway.
I left the house and walked over to the front yard and she followed me there. We stood a few feet apart. She threw her arms around me and tried to kiss me. I held her back.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you want to?” she asked, confused.
“Later. We need to talk first,” I said.
“About everything that has been going on in the hospital. I don’t like secrets in any situation.” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word relationship.
“Well, I’m guessing you know I stabbed Charlotte. That little bitch was trying to get between us. Like hell! I wish I fucking killed her! She’s too cheerful. She has no idea what a hard life even looks like. Stupid blond bitch!” she spat vehemently.
“All right, what about the others?”
“OK, so I poisoned a few others here and there—big deal! They lived, didn’t they? Pathetic parasites!”
“What about the patients, Ashley?”
“What about them?”
“We’ve had a serious increase in deaths and coding patients.”
“Yeah so? I saved them! I was always there and I saved them. They should give me a fucking raise or promote me to fucking doctor.” She laughed, but it was a crazy laugh, like someone on the verge of losing control of reality completely. It was getting dangerous.
“Enough about the hospital and all that garbage,” she said, “when are we going to be together?” At that point, I scratched my head with my right hand giving the agents the signal.
“We’re never going to be together, Ashley,” I said and stepped back.
“Wha—?” She started saying as all of a sudden agents swarmed from all sides.
“Freeze! Hands in the air! Get on the ground now!” they yelled at her.
As I stepped even further back, one of the agents physically face-planted her into the ground when she failed to comply. They quickly searched her, determined she didn’t have any weapons, handcuffed her, and lifted her off the ground as she stared at me with wide eyes, her mouth hanging open.
“You set me up. YOU SET ME UP?! WHY? I JUST WANT TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER!HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I LOVE YOU!” She screamed and howled.
“Carrie Cunningham, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You are allowed to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you.” Agent Kramer read her Miranda rights.
At the sound of her real name she stopped screaming and went sheet-white, looking at me with wide eyes. At that point I think she realized it was over and no amount of yelling, screaming, or insanity would get her out of this one. At that point, Esme, Rogue, Alexander, Bella, Edward, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice walked out of the house and came to stand beside me in a show of solidarity. Jasper, Emmett and Rogue, looked at her like three giant cubes of ice; especially Rogue, who was grinning the most evil grin you could imagine. Esme wrapped her arms around my waist as I put an arm around her shoulder and held her very close to me. Here was the only, real, eternal love of my life.
It was at that point that agent Kramer came forward, shook hands with Rogue and told her he’d fax her the whole story when he had it from Ashley, aka Carrie. Rogue thanked him.
Ashley, meanwhile, was trying to catch my eye and I refused to look at her as she was being led away surrounded by four agents. I turned around and with my family beside me and my wife in my arms, walked back toward the house and up the stairs of the porch, into the house, and closed the door without looking back. She had taken more away from my family, friends and coworkers, and I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of taking any more of our time that night. I was interested in that final report, too, and Rogue promised she would tell us everything when she got it. I wanted closure already. As we all sat in the living room, now devoid of the flower arrangements from hell, we realized the sun was coming up. What a night. People started to disperse. I made one final call to the hospital to tell Bill all went off without a hitch and he breathed a palpable sigh of relief. After that, I went into the backyard and lay down on the hammock with Esme. That’s where we stayed as we watched the sun come up.
It was finally over.
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I have been in my home office for the past 9 hours just staring at the wall and trying to figure out how to write everything that has happened in the last 3 days. I haven’t spoken to anyone in my family . . . even Esme. After everything that has happened, she said that if vampires could turn whiter than they already are, I was the color of snow. Ever since then I have all but locked myself in my home office and stared out the window. I can’t believe . . . I can’t put into words . . . I . . . will try to tell you all of it, but it’ll take more than one entry for sure.
Last I wrote in here, Nessie broke her leg after falling off a motorcycle she thought she could ride. I tell you, teenagers! Plus we had that weird encounter in the ER between Charlotte and Ashley. Since then, Nessie has mastered the crutches and even hops around on one foot sometimes. Emmett teased her about how silly she looks hopping around. Her response? She smacked him upside the head with her crutch. That sent everyone—including Rosalie—into a fit of laughter. That has been the only bright moment in this whole mess. Well, that and the return of Alice, Jasper, Rogue, and Alexander. Now our family really is complete.
So the day after that, Ashley called out sick saying she had a cold, and Charlotte called out with food poisoning. All right that was fine. Then a huge flower arrangement arrived in my office; it didn’t have a note. At first I thought someone had made a mistake and it was meant for someone else but when I asked the delivery guy about it, he said it was addressed to me. Hmmm, strange. I went about my rounds only to return to my office to find three more flower arrangements; none of them had cards. I decided that it was a bit weird, so I gave them to some of my patients, who were very happy to receive them.
Then Betsy came into my office with a puzzled expression. She said that 4 other nurses called out with food poisoning from other floors. Apparently, the source of this was traced to a bun cake in one of the break rooms. But no one knew who brought it. On top of that, my phone’s voice mail line was blinking. When I listened to it, it was Bill Connolly. He told me that in the last 36 hours, throughout the entire hospital, there were 8 code reds, 3 of which didn’t make it; 4 were saved in the nick of time by Ashley who was working the night shift along with another nurse. This was a very large number. And it seemed to be increasing. Bill was suspecting foul play, as was I. But who would want to harm the patients and why?
Betsy and I discussed it at length. Something weird was going on and we needed to get to the bottom of it. We couldn’t get the authorities involved until we had cold hard facts that this wasn’t just some really freaky coincidence but that someone was intentionally trying to harm or kill the patients. As we were discussing this my office phone rang. It was Charlotte.
“Dr. Cullen. I hope I’m not interrupting you,” Charlotte said. She sounded awful.
“No, not at all, Charlotte. How are you feeling?” I asked, concerned.
She sighed. “Actually, pretty darn rotten. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Do you need something? I can make a house call or do you want me to send an ambulance?” I was sitting there gripping the phone. Betsy sat looking at me with wide, worried eyes.
“I don’t think that’ll be necessary—I hope. I think I have it under control. I’ve been throwing up a lot . . . food poisoning sucks.” She all but groaned.
“Charlotte, do you mind if I put you on speaker? Betsy is here with me.”
“No not at all.” She waited until I put her on speaker. “Howdy Betsy.”
“Hi, honey. I’m so sorry you’re feeling ill,” Betsy said, voice laced with worry.
“So what is it Charlotte?” I asked.
“Well, I have always trusted my gut Dr. Cullen, and it has never failed me. I don’t think this was just a run of the mill food poisoning. I think it was done on purpose. Especially since I heard from the other 4 nurses out; our symptoms are exactly the same. I was wondering, if you haven’t tossed that bun cake out, if you could test it for something,” she said.
Betsy and I stared at each other in shock. Could it be? Could this be deliberate? What the hell was going on in this hospital? Instead of helping people we had patients coding left, right, and center. And now our nursing staff was being poisoned? Unfortunately, we had tossed out the bun cake, but I had another idea.
“We’ve tossed the bun cake, but I want to do something else; I’ll be at your house in about 10 minutes. I want to draw your blood and have it sent to the lab to test for every poison out there that has these kinds of symptoms. Is that all right with you?” I asked.
“If it’s not too much trouble, absolutely!” Charlotte said.
“No trouble whatsoever. But let’s keep this between us three. I will only let Bill know, as he’s the director of the hospital and needs to be kept abreast of every issue. But otherwise, no one else here knows anything. We all good with that?” I asked them both. They both agreed.
I then grabbed the blood drawing kit in my office along with some anti-nausea medication and ran out of the the hospital to my car. I put it in drive and zipped out of the parking lot. I didn’t bother paying attention to the speed limits and was at Charlotte’s condo complex in the 10 minutes I promised. I got out and locked my car. I didn’t know why, but I felt like I was being watched. I couldn’t see anyone, though. I followed the signs to where her door was and rang the doorbell. Charlotte opened the door and was even more pale and gaunt then I thought she would be; this was bad. She let me in and then looked right and left before closing the door. Before I could ask why she explained.
“I just had a very interesting visitor: Ashley. I didn’t know how she figured out where I lived. Only you, Dr. Connolly, my boyfriend, and maybe Betsy know where I live. I haven’t really told anyone. She not only found the condo, but the right door. Usually people get lost but I felt like she’s been here before. She literally rang the doorbell a minute after I hung up with you. It was spooky,” she explained quietly.
“What did she want?” I asked with raised eyebrows.
“She wanted to see how I was feeling. I asked why she couldn’t just pick up the phone and call. She said she was in the neighborhood. Why would she be here? She lives on the other side of town and isn’t she out with a cold? Like . . . it doesn’t make sense to me,” she voiced, shaking her head.
She was right. This was weird.
I walked over to a table and proceeded to open up the testing kit and Charlotte sat in the chair next to me, extending her arm for me to draw blood. I told her about the code reds and the sudden increase of them. She was just as puzzled as I. She mentioned she felt like she was in the twilight zone. No kidding, I felt the same way. While we were talking, I drew her blood, and then gave her the proper medication for nausea, which she took gratefully. Afterwards, I walked over to the door and as she opened it for me I wished her well, giving her a small hug before leaving. I walked to my car still feeling like I was under a microscope and looked around before getting in.
I got back to the hospital and sent the blood work in myself, filling out the paper work and everything. I also mentioned that this was a time sensitive issue and was a priority above all else. I still knew that, because this was not your run of the mill blood work panel, it would take the lab a day or two to get it back to me. I still felt like I was doing something to help solve at least one mystery. Now, how the hell was I going to figure out what was going on with the coding patients? This was giving me a headache, and I haven’t had one since becoming a vampire.
I decided to look at all of my patients and then just go home. Betsy promised to finish up whatever I didn’t finish. She figured I’d had a long enough day. Before I went home though, I stopped in Bill Connolly’s office, closed the door, and had a nice long talk with him about all of this. His eyes were just as wide as Betsy’s when he’d heard the whole Charlotte story. We were going to be extra vigilant about who’s on which shift and who’s where in general.
When Bill and I finished talking, I bid him goodnight and went home. The sun was just setting so it was still relatively bright outside as I got into my car and headed home. What a day! As I pulled into the driveway, I was looking forward to a quiet night at home . . . that was not to be. I saw Esme sitting on the porch; Alice, Jasper, Bella, and Edward were with her. They all looked concerned. Now what?
“Carlisle, you better come inside,” Edward said.
“Why? What’s going on? Is Esme okay?” I asked, looking at my wife with fear in my eyes.
“I’m fine honey, but you should go inside,” Esme said with a sigh. She pointed toward the living room.
“Wha—“ I didn’t get a chance to ask the question. As I walked into the living room and my mouth all but dropped open. You couldn’t see the living room, actually. Because in every nook and cranny there were flower arrangements. It looked like hundreds of them. Then Esme handed me a huge stack of little cards that had come with each arrangement. As I tore my eyes away from the temporary botanical garden that was now my living room, I was finally able to focus on the cards. As I read each one, a chill ran down my spine. Here’s what some of them said:
“You mean the world to me.”
“You’re so sexy.”
“I can’t wait to get you alone. It’s only a matter of time.”
“She was never good enough for you; I’m better.”
“You are mine, now, and forever!”
“We belong together.”
“I love you!!!”
As I took everything in, Edward brought over a chair that I all but slumped into as Esme came up behind me and started rubbing my shoulders. To say I was tense was an understatement. I think a boulder would have been softer at this point. The ironic part is that none of them were signed with a name. It was just a little message scrawled on a little white card, and that’s it. There was, however, no doubt in mind about who sent them, as well as those that came that morning to my office at the hospital. Those were just the first salvo before the overwhelming flow came to the house. Esme said about 4 trucks came simultaneously and delivered them all.
No one else spoke; we just took it all in. Then suddenly, Alice’s head snapped toward the door and her eyes narrowed. Edward’s followed suit. We all looked at them and waited for an explanation. Then I saw a sly smile appear on Alice’s face.
“She’s on the property,” Alice said, her smile was downright evil.
“What part of no trespassing does she not get?” Bella muttered.
“Ashley is here?” I whispered.
Alice nodded. “But unfortunately for her, she has just come face to face with the worst person she could have run into out of all of us here.”
When we didn’t say anything but continued to look at her with a blank expression, she said, “Rogue.”
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After that awful experience at the Ski Party with Ashley, I called Betsy into my office as soon as I arrived to work that morning. When she stepped in I closed the door. I told her everything that had occurred, including the run-in with Ashley at the supermarket when Esme and I were shopping.
Betsy’s eyes grew wider and wider as I spoke; I was sure they were going to pop out of her head. I knew that Betsy believed me and we decided that, in order to not start any weird rumors or have a scandal on our hands, she would rotate Charlotte with Ashley and have me work closely with the former, as opposed to the latter. She, herself, was going to keep an eye out on Ashley. When I asked her where Ashley was that morning, Betsy said she came in on time humming to herself and had gotten straight to work. Last she saw, Ashley was headed to the ER. I knew I wouldn’t be working there today so I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a snafu at home and I still ended up in the ER.
Here’s what happened: While Jacob, Seth and Leah were running patrol, Nessie decided to sneak into the garage and take one of the old motorcycles that Jacob was working on restoring. She decided that it would be a good idea to take the thing out for a run. Mind you, she has never been on one before. So to make a long story short, she got on it, turned it on, drove it out of the garage, quickly lost control, and was sent flying into the air, landing badly on her left leg and breaking it. The wolves heard her scream from about a mile away and raced back home. They all phased back and Jacob flew to her side, followed by the other two. Leah quickly ran for a car. When it arrived, Jacob loaded her into it with Seth in the passenger seat.
While Leah was driving to the hospital, Seth called Edward and Bella, who in turn called Rose, Emmett, and Esme. All of them converged in the emergency room. As I was walking through one of the wings, I heard my name being paged over the loudspeaker to come to the ER immediately. I didn’t hesitate and jogged toward the elevator wondering what it could be. When the double doors opened and I entered the ER it didn’t take me long to figure out where I had to go, as most of my family were in Area 5 surrounding Nessie on the bed. She was crying as Bella held her.
“What happened?” I asked, surprised.
“She broke her leg when she fell off a motorcycle,” Jacob explained as Nessie continued to sob on Bella’s shoulder.
“What the hell was she doing on a motorcycle?”
I looked around as everyone looked at Nessie, who gulped down another sob before she finally spoke. “I . . . I . . . th—thought I . . . c-could just ride it around the back-k-y-yard. I-I didn’t realize it was going to go so fast. I didn’t press anything. Then all of a sudden it just started going fast on its own and I lost control and fell.” Her eyes didn’t meet mine. I could tell she was embarrassed.
“And where were you guys during this whole episode?” I asked the wolves.
“Patrolling. We heard her scream from a mile away and raced back,” Seth answered. Jacob shuttered at the memory.
“Well, let me have a look. Can you guys give me some room please?”
They all moved aside except Bella, who was still holding Nessie’s hand. I started by making sure she was breathing properly and that the fall didn’t give her a head injury. When all of that was done, I moved down to the obvious location of the break. As I touched it, Nessie let out a cry of pain. Just then I heard someone clear their throat behind me. When I turned to look it was Charlotte, who was smiling and holding a medium sized purple teddy bear that lit up and moved its arms and legs.
“Hi ya’ll! Nessie, I brought you this bear so that you could hold it while your uncle checks you over. That way you won’t feel the pain that much.” She handed the bear to Nessie, who took it gladly with wide eyes.
“Thank you. Can I k-k-keep him?” Nessie asked.
“Of course you can, honey!” Charlotte said with a smile and a wink. I gave her a grateful nod and she moved to the side waiting for my direction. She could tell this would be a handful.
“All right, Ness . . . I’m going to send you to x-ray to see how bad it is, though I imagine it’s a clean break—which means we won’t have to operate. But I want to make sure this is correct. Charlotte will you please call up to radiology and tell them we have a patient with a fractured lower leg that we need an x-ray stat.”
“Right away Dr. Cullen,” she said and hurried down the hall to the phone. I turned to my family.
“Nessie, what were you thinking?” Edward asked firmly. “You could have really hurt yourself! You’re not entirely immortal.” That last part was whispered.
“I . . . guess I wasn’t. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. I’m sorry Daddy, Mommy, everyone,” she whispered through her tears.
“Oh, leave her alone, Edward! A broken leg is punishment enough,” Esme pointed out to Edward, who ran his hand through his hair in exasperation.
We stood there talking amongst ourselves or soothing Nessie. By that time, I had given her some morphine in order to ease the pain and she was feeling a bit woozy, but still clutched that teddy bear Charlotte gave her.
I was standing next to Rose and Emmett when I felt the latter stiffen in response to Esme doing the same. I then noticed everyone looking in a certain direction and followed their gazes. There stood Ashley, her coy semi cocky smile suddenly turning unsure and even a little fearful as she took in Emmett who, if looks could kill, she wouldn’t be dead but in a lot of pain. She actually took a step back. She hadn’t met him yet; she had only met Esme, Nessie, and Jacob. Here stood quite a brigade of people who didn’t look friendly toward her at all. Little did she know, this wasn’t even everyone.
That’s when I noticed her hair. I hadn’t realized that it was different. It was still curly but it was no longer blond. It was now a light brown color and it parted differently. I wonder why she had colored her hair. Who knew what went on in that head of hers; that’s when I remembered Edward, who was looking at her absolutely puzzled.
Before anyone could say anything, Charlotte appeared and said, “They’re ready for her in x-ray Dr. Cullen. I’ll take her up if you wish.”
“Thank you, Charlotte, I’ll come too. This is a good chunk of my family, by the way,” I told her with a small smile.
“A good chunk? You mean there’s more of you? And I thought we had large families in Texas!” she said, surprised. Everyone laughed. I knew that Ashley was listening. Didn’t care though, I wanted her to know how large we were.
“Yeah, there’s two more in Sweden on a second honeymoon, plus our neighbors/significant others who are like an extended family of sorts—but they are doing different things today,” Rose explained.
The others introduced themselves.
“Wow!” Charlotte said again, impressed.
We then proceeded to wheel Nessie down the hall toward the elevators without giving Ashley another look. Well, I didn’t look, but Emmett did. He later muttered that she looked angry and a bit afraid. I guess she wasn’t happy that she wasn’t acknowledged.
“Oh well, tough shit,” said Jacob.
Charlotte was filled in on the events by Betsy so she knew what was going on but was the absolute professional.
“What’s up with her hair? I thought she loved being a blonde?” Charlotte wondered while we were all sandwiched in the elevator on the way up.
I shrugged. “Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure.”
Everyone either nodded or grumbled consent.
We reached the proper floor at that point. Charlotte and I wheeled Nessie toward the radiology lab where the x-ray was waiting and a smiling radiologist got her all prepped for it. The family and I waited outside; it didn’t take very long. When the x-rays were developed and I took a look, turned out that I was right. It was a clean break and she would need to be in a cast for about a month or so; less than most humans as she does heal faster but not fast enough. We then wheeled her back out and down to the ER where she was put into a different location so that Charlotte and I could put the cast on her. She was already falling asleep and I wanted the family to take her home soon.
It didn’t take long to put her in the cast. After it was on and dry, everyone signed their names and put cute little messages on it. Charlotte drew a little stick figure with a cowboy hat and boots with a smile and holding a teddy bear. Nessie wanted to save room for the others, including her best friend. Michelle had heard by then and wanted to come to the hospital, but we assured her that she could just come visit Ness at our house when she got back.
Just as we were finishing up, a code red sounded in the area a few feet away. I saw Ashley scramble for the crash cart and start working on the patient. Charlotte ran off to help. By the time I arrived, they had managed to get the patient breathing again. I congratulated them both. For some bizarre reason, though, Ashley was pissed instead of feeling happy. She all but pushed Charlotte out of the way as she walked past.
“What is your problem?” Charlotte demanded.
“You are!” Ashley said and walked away in a huff.
“What the hell was that about?” Charlotte asked. No one could answer her. But I had had enough. I followed Ashley into the hallway and called her name. She turned around, her face still flushed.
“What is going on with you, Ashley?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she barked, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I want you to listen to me, and listen real well: that kind of behavior in my ER is unacceptable! If I see you talking to any other staff member in such a manner, I will personally have a talk with Dr. Connolly. Do I make myself clear?” I said through clenched teeth.
Her face was still contorted in anger but then gradually it was as if someone pulled the plug on her expression, it started to shift until her eyes were wide and she was as white as a sheet.
“Oh my God . . . I’m . . . I’m very sorry, Dr. Cullen. You are right. Charlotte was only trying to help. I think I was so in the zone with trying to save the patient that I just over reacted. I’ll apologize to Charlotte when I see her later. It won’t happen again.”
“It better not,” I warned, then turned around and walked away leaving her staring after me in the hallway with those same wide eyes and open mouth.
Shortly after the confrontation I forgot all about Ashley as I discharged Nessie and sent her home, along with the others. I gave my reassurances that I would be fine. I finished my rounds and as I was going into the locker room to change into street clothes, I saw Ashley talking to Charlotte. I heard her apologize and Charlotte nod once or twice, offering a small smile.
I managed to get changed and leave without incident. When I got home everyone was in Bella and Edward’s cottage as Nessie went straight to bed after the hospital. When they saw me, they all stepped outside to talk so we wouldn’t wake her. I’d given her some knock out drugs so she would sleep through the night without pain.
When we were all out of earshot, Edward started talking as he knew what my question would be. “I know you’re wondering why I was so puzzled when I was reading Ashley’s mind. The reason being was that, unlike a regular a human being, her mind was so busy that you couldn’t pick up on one single thought. It’s like multi-tasking for the brain. I have never witnessed anything like that. I don’t think she even realizes she does it. The only thing I was able to discern was that she was afraid of Emmett. But that one I think was obvious to everyone.” Emmett grinned and Edward continued. “I think she got pissed at Charlotte because she wanted to save that man herself doing it her way, and she thought Charlotte was going to get in the way. Not really sure what that thought process was about. Human beings are still quite mind-boggling to me.”
“She seemed sincere in her apology to me and to Charlotte. But it seems like her behavior is getting weirder and weirder as the days go on. I have no clue what she will do next,” I said.
“Well, I told you she was a drama queen. Maybe that’s part of it,” Rosalie thoughtfully.
“You could be right. Some people just like that extra attention. I guess we have no choice but to wait and see,” I sighed.
At that point we all hugged and said goodnight. It was after 10pm, and though night and day bleeds into one for us, it seems all this extra drama at the hospital has been draining me mentally. Who knows, maybe after Alice and Jasper return, as well as Rogue and Alexander, Esme and I may take a little vacation of our own.
I’m glad Nessie wasn’t badly hurt. Teenagers aren’t always the smartest—and that also goes for hybrids! For now, I’m just going to go and relax after this long day with my beautiful wife.
Have a good night!
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So I kinda hijacked Carlisle’s diary in order to explain this better to all of you. I adore Carlisle, but he sucks at celebration details! I finally put my and Jasper’s vow renewal together! So obviously, I know you would want all of the amazing details. I have all the photos of everyone’s clothes below. It was to die for. OMG, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Neither Jasper nor I told anyone what we wanted to do and we asked Bella to shield our thoughts when Edward and the Watchers were around. Rogue and Alexander returned home to hugs and a huge welcome. So I was super excited to include the two of them in our master plan. What we decided to do was basically combine a classic movie and the time when Jasper was turned. In other words, Gone with the Wind meets Civil War head on!
I took it upon myself to order all of the clothes for everyone. Because this was just a vow renewal and not an actual wedding, we didn’t need any justice of the peace. However, Rogue volunteered to make it extra special for us. We of course had no idea what that meant, but she said it would be awesome.
For a few days before hand, we banned everyone from the backyard while we got the surroundings ready for reception and the ceremony itself. And then the day before the actual event, when the Denali clan plus Garrett had arrived, we gathered everyone—family, Denali, and all the Watchers—in our living room to give them their clothes and explain how things were going to go. This is how that conversation went:
“Thanks for coming everyone,” I said grandly. I heard a few grumbles.
“Alice, will you tell us what’s going on already?” Bella asked impatiently.
“Patience is virtue. OK, OK—don’t look at me that way,” I told my family, who seemed like they were ready to hang me from the rafters.
“Any day now Alice!” Edward grumbled.
“All right . . . sheesh! So as you know Jasper and I have been planning our vow renewal. And it’s all complete now. We have a theme and everything,” I exclaimed.
“Quelle surprise,” Emmett muttered.
My, my, my family was grouchy today.
“Awww come on guys! Cut Aunt Alice some slack. This is a special time for her, even if she does love to go all out!” Nessie defended me.
I love her! The rest of the family grumbled their consent. The Watchers said nothing. I kind of wavered in my resolve to spring this concept on them, as they were so negative today. Jasper felt my hesitation and started to radiate peace. I could have kissed him. I knew he always had my back no matter what and would hamstring anyone who would try to ruin my special day . . . erm . . . I mean our special day. Edward heard my thoughts and his face softened.
“All right shorty, continue. We won’t interrupt anymore,” Jacob said with a wink.
“OK, where was I? Oh yeah, the vow renewal theme. So I was thinking that this time I want to make it special for both Jasper and I instead of just my own theme. So I have come up with Gone with the Wind. It’s romantic and it took place during the Civil War, which is when Jasper was turned. I have already bought everyone’s outfits and I thought that the Cullen/Denali men could dress like Confederate soldiers while Jasper will actually have his officer’s uniform and have the Watcher/wolf men dress like Union soldiers, while the women all have different Scarlett O’Hara dresses. How does that sound?” I asked anxiously.
“Wow Alice. That actually sounds really cool. What kind of dress do I get?” Bella questioned. Wait. Did I hear correctly? Bella actually was excited about trying on a dress?
Edward laughed at my facial expression.
“Um . . . you get a very form flattering red dress. It has a train and some feathers at the shoulders. I think Edward will like it very much,” I told her with a wink.
Then before anyone could say anything else, I dashed upstairs and brought down over a dozen garment bags with dresses and uniforms. Each garment bag had a name on it of the person who would wear it. I handed them out to their rightful owners and watched as everyone ooo’d and ahh’d over their respective outfits. Some dresses were poufy, while others were very form-fitting.
Rogue had a very va-va-voom dress. Alexander couldn’t keep his eyes or hands off of her for that matter. Something told me that after the ceremony, Jasper and I aren’t going to be the only ones in the honeymoon phase, so to speak.
I don’t want to beat around the bush so I’ll just say it: A lot of people are going to get laid tomorrow night. I heard a lot of snickers from all of our mind readers in the room at that one.
So then I shoo’d everyone off to do their thing and asked them to be ready tomorrow at 5pm for a very vintage day. Jasper and I went back to our room satisfied that everything was ready for the next day. We decided that we were going to take another honeymoon. This time it’ll be my turn to choose where we go as our Japan trip was his decision.
After thinking very carefully, I decided that I wanted to go to Sweden to stay in their world famous Ice Hotel. We’d never done it before and it just seemed like a really cool place to spend our 2nd honeymoon. Since I got to pick the place, he picked the room, or suite rather. A link for the ice hotel and a photo of the suite can be seen below.
The next day, Jasper ran around the backyard to make sure everything was ready. I was getting ready in my room. My dress was a purple number that had a hoop skirt and ruffles. It was off the shoulder, so it did show a bit of cleavage. When I knew I was ready, I wanted to go see what the others looked like so badly that I skipped over the whole ‘bride is seen last’ thing. After all, I wasn’t a bride.
I walked down the hall to hear where most of the women were and followed the giggling to Carlisle and Esme’s master bedroom. I knocked on the door and opened it to see my whole family . . . well the female side of them plus all the Watchers and Leah. As soon as they saw me they oo’d at my dress, especially Nessie.
“OMG Alice, you look stunning! Just like Scarlett O’Hara,” Nessie gushed after giving me a hug.
“I think we all look like her in our own way,” I said, looking around the room with satisfaction. I did my job well, if I do say so myself.
“I’m glad you didn’t make any of us wear Mammie’s outfit,” Bella said with a giggle. Everyone laughed.
“Yeah, none of you could pull that off. So I decided to make your dresses all fit your personalities—more or less,” I said.
“I didn’t think my personality was poofy purple. But I’m glad my dress matches Nessie’s,” said Leah with a tight smile.
“All right ladies, it’s time,” Esme said, clapping her hands.
We all lined up, fluffing our dresses, making sure our hair and make-up was well-done and helped each other with a little shmutz here and there. Then, laughing and giggling, we all headed toward the back yard where the men waited.
Most importantly, my man.
He was wearing his Confederate officer uniform and hat proudly as he stood at the arch. Rogue proceeded to walk ahead of all of us and stand next to him in place of the justice of the peace. Then all the other ladies walked one by one down the aisle to the audible appreciation of the men.
We put the confederate soldiers on one side, and the union soldiers on the other—just for fun. As each woman walked down the aisle, she then turned and stood by her man in the section he was in. We had enough on both sides so it looked symmetrical. Before I came down, both sides started cracking jokes at the others expense.
Then Rogue called silence and I walked down with a very simple southern waltz being played from invisible speakers. My eyes were demurely lowered until I saw him, than he was the only one I could see even with so many people around. His eyes widened slightly when he saw me and took in what I was wearing. I walked the rest of the way and joined him at the arch with Rogue. His eyes remained wide.
He turned his mouth to my ear and whispered, “You—you look so beautiful.”
If I could have blushed I would have.
“Thank you, kind sir,” I whispered. He smiled his crooked smile.
“Anytime, ma’am,” he whispered back.
Rogue then cleared her throat.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have come together today to hear these two wonderful people renew their love for one another. There won’t be any solemn vows or rings exchanged. But each has written what the other has meant to them over these centuries and will now read for all to hear. Alice?”
Rogue gestured toward me. I cleared my throat, looked into Jasper’s eyes, and started to speak:
Jasper my love I know you aren’t a fan Of these gatherings And of my constant over the top Creations But you love me for me You protect me You make me whole Forget seeing the future I don’t need to see it When you’re around me I just want to live in the moment In your arms Surrounding me always I don’t care if we’re half way around the world Or in our own backyard As long as you’re with me I am at peace Thank you for making my Eternal existence Brighter and more powerful Then the rays of the sun You are my heaven on earth
As I spoke I heard people gasp, but I didn’t pay attention to any of them. I know they have never heard me be so open about my feelings for Jasper. But this was our vow renewal so open I was. Jasper, meanwhile, seemed to be glowing. If our kind could cry, I’ve no doubt that tears would have fallen from his eyes in that moment. Our hands were clasped together as we spoke to each other. That bond was never to be broken. When I had finished, Rogue turned to Jasper and without prodding, he started to speak his:
My darling Alice Words cannot express What your presence in my life means There aren’t enough ways Not enough words in the whole world You came into my life when I was ready to give up all hope You loved me before I even knew what love really was You are my queen And I worship the ground you walk on every day I may not express my feelings in front of others But in my heart I feel complete We both started with nothing And now we have everything Every day that I get to wake up next to you Kiss you Hold you I cherish with every fiber of my being I am very proud to be your man Your friend Your lover But most importantly Your husband Regardless of where we live And how many time we have to Change our names and relationships To me you will always be Mrs. Alice Whitlock I love you!
Jasper’s speech, I knew without even looking, had everyone’s mouth hanging open—well, except maybe the Watchers, who were just smiling and wiping away tears. If I could produce tears, they would have been streaming down my cheeks.
We had both just professed our innermost secrets regarding our feelings toward each other in front of the whole family, and for the first time, we didn’t care. This was as much PDA that anyone’s gotten from us, ever. And again we didn’t care.
After Jasper was done speaking, Rogue said, “Now that these two have professed their unconditional love toward one another, there’s a little ritual I like to do during these ceremonies. Will you both face each other and hold hands?”
When we did what she asked, she put her left hand on Jasper’s head and her right hand on mine. She then closed her eyes and started saying something very softly as both of us felt a sensation start to go through us, it was very warm and comforting. I also noticed that Jasper and I started to glow. Just like Charlie and Sue had when they were first chosen. I can’t put it into correct words what it felt like, but the only one I can choose is love. It felt like we were both bathed in love; that and warmth. It was like we were passing our love to each other through our bodies; it was as if I could feel Jasper and he could feel me. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Rogue is one gifted Watcher.
After that was over, the ceremony came to a close and Jasper and I kissed to cheers and clapping of our friends and family. Then we walked down the aisle with my hand through his arm, followed by the rest of our party. We had ample time before starting the reception, so Rose being the resident photographer, took a bunch of photos of all of us, both by ourselves and coupled or with family. Finally when we knew we had well over 1,000 photos in that camera, it was time to PARTY!
Because we had wolves, Watchers, and Nessie who ate, we had a buffet of southern style cooking and a Civil War cake that was cut up and given out to after dinner. We danced to waltzes and other Civil War era music as well as the theme to Gone with the Wind which was just danced by Jasper and I alone. Then we had enough of all of this vintage stuff and put in some David Guetta and Michael Jackson. Jacob and Seth even knew all the moves to “Thriller,” while Keith could do a mean Moonwalk, much to Leah’s delight, and our own. We are living in the 21st century after all! We danced and ate all night long. We finally realized that it was 3am and that Jasper and I had our flight to catch to Sweden. We’d be gone only a week.
We ran upstairs, changed into regular clothes, and with our bags having been packed the night before, came back downstairs just as a town car pulled up. I planned everything to a T. We kissed and hugged our family and friends and thanked them for making this day so special for us, and then we were on our way.
I’m currently writing this to you from the airplane. Jasper and I are in first class. He’s reading a book and I’m writing this in a notebook so that I could staple the pages to Carlisle’s actual Diary. He gave me permission, don’t worry. I wouldn’t just take his diary and write in it, nor would I read what he wrote; that’s a total invasion of privacy, and not something I do. Besides, I have my own diary somewhere. I need to dust it out one of these days. So anywho, I’ll end here. I’m sure Carlisle will fill you in on our trip once we get back.
Have a great week everyone! Happy Summer!
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Wow! What a wedding! Tanya, Kate and Carmen put together a simple but elegant Alaskan white winter wedding. No extravagance, just elegance. I know that Alice probably would have made it really spiffy but I think it fit both Kate and Garrett’s style.
They invited the Watchers as well, and therefore had a cake. I’ve put all those photos below for you to gander at. We were asked to wear regular formal clothes, no crazy themes here. Though from what I gathered, Alice and Jasper’s vow renewal does have a theme, and it more represents him than her—so that should be interesting.
On Saturday, when we all arrived early in the morning, Garrett and Eleazer were putting together the aisle and reception areas. We men quickly pushed up our sleeves and moved in to help, while the women went to help Kate get ready.
The wolves, their imprints, Edward, Bella and Nessie had come straight from Forks. Rosalie and Emmett had gotten there a day before us and had helped with the majority of the setting up. Rosalie had her massive manual camera ready for the photos.
Amy and Peter traveled with those of us coming from NH, and the Borelli clan came from Oklahoma. The only ones not coming to the wedding were Rogue and Alexander, as they were still in Greece and from what we heard, Rogue still needed the time out. Kate and Garrett understood perfectly. Especially, after they heard what had gone down with the Children of the Moon.
OK enough boring stuff, Alice is sitting next to me and pestering me to get to what she calls “the good part”, in other words, lots of gushing about the wedding details. As soon as I wrote this, I got the full stink eye, tongue sticking out look from our darling pixie. All right, All right, she’s threatening to take the diary and write it herself. Women . . . sheesh!
So what was I saying? Oh yes, winter white wedding or some version of that. Everything was being held outside and Eleazer had gotten himself a certificate online saying he can marry them. They didn’t want a justice of the peace. The aisle was very basically decorated with flowers and the arch was made out of tree limbs and also decorated with flowers. The chairs were made out of wood. The groom and groomsmen (Garrett had asked Jasper, Edward, and Emmett to be his groomsmen) had very basic tuxedos, though Garrett’s appeared to have a bit of black velvet in the jacket. The bridesmaids (Tanya being maid of honor, Carmen and Bella as the bridesmaids) were wearing knee-length light purple dresses with a deep V in the front. And Kate’s dress was very form-fitting, with lace embroidery. It didn’t have a train. Alice did her makeup while Rosalie did her hair. It was up in an up-do, very similar to what Amy had—just without the flowers and the back was done in a French braid.
The bouquets of the bridesmaids were white roses, tulips and baby’s breath, while the bride’s was the same but with red roses and reddish-orange tulips. The reception was held in their big ballroom/living room and it was decorated with fake white trees that looked very whimsical, with lights glimmering—but you couldn’t really tell where they were coming from. The cake was violet with what looked like lace mesh around it and similar violet and white flowers on top.
Unlike Amy and Peter’s wedding, Kate and Garrett wrote their own vows. So then we all ran off to our respective places to get ready. With vampires and Watchers it took under 10 minutes to get ready; the wolves were a different story. They took something like 30 minutes to 1 hour to do so. Leah took the longest, but Bella and Nessie helped her. It seemed that Leah and Bella were spending more and more time together. We heard that while both were in Forks/La Push respectively, they went to the movies together and had taken an afternoon to go hiking; just the two of them. Edward told us that they had gotten back in such good spirits that they said that once we all got back home, they’d find a path to hike there and make it a regular outing for them. Even clumsy Bella was actually enjoying the activity, more so, ironically, than when she did it with Edward.
I think that both Alice and Edward are feeling a little jealous that Bella has found a new friend to have fun with. Alice considers Bella her BFF and now Leah, it seems, has more in common with Bella than she does. Plus, Leah also hates shopping. And Edward, well he’s jealous because his wife is actually enjoying hiking, but she never did with him. It’s quite comical sometimes.
OK, OK—I’m getting back to the wedding or Alice may kill me. I’ve already nearly chased her out for being annoying and she’s my daughter!
But I digress. So once everyone was ready and seated, Edward had chosen some Mozart piece—that Garrett enjoyed very much—to be played from invisible speakers for the walk down the aisle music. First came Eleazer then Garrett, then Tanya on Emmett’s arm, Carmen on Jasper’s, and Bella on Edward’s. Then lastly came Kate. She looked stunning. Garrett—whose eyes were now as golden as the rest of us, having adopted the vegetarian lifestyle—looked at her as if seeing her for the first time, with awe and amazement. Kate looked really lovely. The dress she chose was a Vera Wang number, as were her bridesmaids’ dresses. Alice heartily approved. It was a brand named designer so that got Alice’s attention.
Eleazer waited until both bride and groom were in their right positions and the bride had given her bouquet to Tanya before he began to speak.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to witness the exchange of vows by Kate and Garrett. They will pledge their love to one another by reading vows each has written for the other before exchanging rings. So Kate, will you please read what you have written for Garrett?”
Kate, with very shaky hands, took out the paper that she was hiding and unfolded it. Then swallowing through what was nervousness and tears she began to read, what turned out to be a poem:
Garrett, you’ve brought light Where there was none I thought love was a joke Something you read in sappy stories Not for me But I was wrong You made me feel Light as a feather I could finally be a woman A soft Emotional Vulnerable woman Because I have your strength To guide me through I can collapse into your arms And know you’ll hold me Never let go I am so glad that fate brought us together You are my beacon in the dark I promise to be the best friend The partner The lover you seek For all eternity I love you
If there was a dry eye before she started reading, there wasn’t one when she finished. You could hear sobbing coming from everyone, even some men. Garrett, if he could cry, would have probably collapsed in a heap on the ground. We were all moved by her sincere and loving words. Now it was Garrett’s turn.
He had too written a poem:
Kate, you are the sun In my dark existence My love in a heartless world My peace when things go bad My very life I wouldn’t be me without you You make me complete When you leave the room My heart leaves with you Even if it’s just for a moment The fact that you chose me For this forever of ours Is the greatest honor Ever bestowed on anyone You are my princess My goddess My one and only love I promise To honor Protect Serve And make you happy For all eternity I love you with every fiber of my being
There was a deafening silence after that one. All you could hear was sobbing. Even Eleazer had to compose himself while catching Carmen’s eyes.
Finally, he cleared his throat and spoke again. “Well now that everyone has officially cleaned up all the tissues within a 20 mile radius, let’s continue.”
Everyone laughed, including the bride and groom—who winked and smiled at each other.
“As I’m playing both minister and best man, I have the rings. Talk about multitasking.”
Again giggles from the crowd.
“OK Garrett, take this ring and as you place it on Kate’s finger, repeat after me; Kate, take this ring as a sign of my love and eternal fidelity.”
Garrett took the ring and said, “Kate, take this ring as a sign of my love and eternal fidelity.”
“Kate now take the other ring and as you place it on Garrett’s finger, please repeat after me; Garrett, take this ring as a sign of my love and eternal fidelity.”
“Garrett, take this ring as a sign of my love and eternal fidelity.”
“Now that the vows have been spoken and the rings exchanged, there’s only one thing left! I now pronounce you husband and wife. Garrett, you may kiss your bride!”
To hoots and cheering, Garrett picked Kate up and spun her around while he kissed her. Finally when they disengaged, she threw her head back and laughed. Then she grabbed her bouquet and they ran back down the aisle together with everyone clapping and walking after them. Just like with Amy and Peter’s wedding, while Alice took the rest of us into the reception hall, Rosalie took the couple and wedding party away around the property for pictures. It took a half hour to get the pictures Rose wanted before the wedding party entered the reception hall to cheering from the crowd.
They immediately walked onto the dance floor for their first dance which they chose as Shania Twain’s “From this Moment On.”(Link is below)
As they danced, camera flashes went off around the room. It was a very sweet moment. Dinner was served to those who ate, and they diligently cut the cake and handed it out to our food eating counterparts. Then the party really began, everyone was on the dance floor doing everything from salsa to some Middle Eastern music to the Black Eyed Peas. I really learned what My Humps meant that night. Oh boy. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss!
The party went on until 3am when it was time to send off the happy couple on their honeymoon. They were heading to Scotland for 2 weeks. Sounded like a lot of fun and we all teased Garrett about possibly buying/wearing a kilt.
His response? “I don’t need that kind of a breeze!”
Everyone roared with laughter. Then in a hail of rise and rose petals, the happy couple took one of their cars to the airport, with metal cans and toilet paper hanging off the back of the car with a giant “JUST MARRIED” sign on the back.
After it was all said and done, we knew that we were going to remain there the night and then go home the following day. So while we were there still, we helped Tanya and the others, clean up, while Bella put Nessie to bed and the wolves fell asleep in the den. The Watchers decided to rest as well, as they’d been traveling from large distances.
When all was cleaned up, Tanya went to her room to relax, as did Carmen and Eleazer. The rest of us just scattered around the backyard to enjoy the fresh mountain air and the snow in Alaska. It’s such a beautiful night. And this is where I am writing this entry. With Alice now satisfied that I had spared no detail of the wedding, she skipped off to sit near Jasper and play with her tablet thingy, now fully engaged in planning her own little wedding of sorts.
Amazingly, I’m tired. Not physically, but mentally. I think that this little time to really relax out here in these gorgeous surroundings is incredibly meaningful. I heard Bella make an awestruck noise and when I as well as the others looked in her direction, she was looking skyward. We followed her gaze and were also struck by the sky which was displaying a gorgeous array of aurora borealis (images below). The perfect ending to a perfect day. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.
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I wasn’t going to write until after the wedding of Kate and Garrett. But Alice came into my office the day after we received their invitation, with Jasper tagging along. She knocked on my door first.
“Come in,” I said looking up from what I was reading.
“Hi Carlisle, am I interrupting you?” She looked at me with a frown.
“No, no, it’s all right. What is it?”
“Well, Jasper and I have been planning our vow renewal as you know, and smack in the middle of it, I had a strange vision . . . it involved you.” She seemed anxious.
“All right. Can you be a bit more specific?” I said slowly. Esme who was sitting on the window sill looked over.
“Well um . . . my vision had something to do with a new hire at the hospital. They’re going to hire a new nurse and she’s going to be helping you a lot.”
“Well that’s not surprising as the hospital is hiring a whole bunch of nurses and other staff. Is there a problem with one of these new nurses?” I pressed.
“I’m not sure; all I can see is the decision that has been made, but for some reason it just makes me uneasy,” she said, unsure.
I stood up and walked up to her, as she looked up at me; I bent down and hugged her. Though a total pain in the butt sometimes, she was a very caring individual and I loved this little pixie very much. As much as I loved all of my children. Jasper felt my mood and smiled understandingly.
“Thank you, Alice. I will be cautious around any strange new nurses. Did your vision say whether perhaps she’s an alien or something?” I winked at her. She giggled.
“Well let’s see . . . in the past few months, we’ve gotten rid of the Volturi, met a new species of immortals, dealt with a crazy human who wanted to kill children, and faced off against the Children of the Moon. So I guess anything really is possible. Though I don’t want any alien invasions—that just sounds way too complicated,” Alice counted off thoughtfully.
“You think? I kind of figure that with the Watchers on our side, even the aliens would run for the hills,” Jasper added with a smile.
We all smiled at that one. Jasper was right. The Watchers were a force to be reckoned with. And that’s actually an interesting thing to ask them. They have been around for something like 3,000 years; in all that time, did they ever encounter any actual aliens? Forget the conspiracy theories, but you really have to be naïve to think that earth is the only inhabited planet in all of the cosmos.
I know that Jasper was a bit interested in UFO’s and all that other stuff so perhaps he can sit down with Keith or John who also seem to be UFO enthusiasts and ask them about the whole thing.
Alexander being the oldest male Watcher may know more. The women are all kinds of don’t want to know when it comes to that subject. I remember Jacob mentioning it once and Corin’s reply was, “We have enough to deal with, without adding those things to the list.”
And isn’t that the truth?
But other than this peculiar vision of Alice’s, which may or may not have any merit in the future, we feel we’ve been cleared of any supernatural attacks—for now. The Watchers don’t think the Children of the Moon will return as there aren’t that many of them to begin with. I was surprised to see 15 on this continent let alone here in Hanover. Plus these were hybrids from what Alexander explained.
They mated either with regular wolves or coyotes or possibly hybrids of the two as well to create their own supernatural hybrid. According to Alexander, the only way to kill the Children of the Moon, hybrid or not, was by burning them. Basically, the way that Rogue destroyed them is the way to do it.
As I was finishing that last thought, Alice decided that she’d taken up enough of my time and skipped back out of the room, satisfied that I now knew everything she had seen. Jasper followed her. They were going to go hunting. Now the house was really empty, save for Esme and I.
I don’t know if it’s even been this empty before. At least not since we’ve acquired all of our family members. It felt sort of strange. I think Esme felt the same way. Then remembering something, I picked up the phone in my office and dialed the number to the hospital. I asked the receptionist to patch me through to the Head Director on staff, who picked up on the second ring:
“William Connolly speaking,” he said in his most professional voice.
“Bill, it’s Carlisle, how are you?” I greeted.
“Oh hey Carlisle. I’m up to my ears in residents but other than that I’m all right, and yourself?”
Residents were sometimes the equivalent to giant high school kids maturity wise; in other words, they were royal pains in the ass who thought they knew everything without knowing squat!
“I’m doing all right. I’m just happy to have a few days of peace and quiet on my days off. Most of my family went away on vacation so I’m just here with the missus.”
“Oh that sounds like heaven on earth! Next time, can you tell your family to take ours with them?”
Again, I laughed. “I will let them know when they return. We actually got a last minute wedding invitation from our cousins in Alaska for this Saturday so they are all going to fly there from wherever they are. At least that should be interesting,” I explained
“Wow! That is really last minute. But who knows with kids these days. They change their minds 70 times a day. Good luck with that. Now I know you called to not just tell me about how much better your living arrangements are at this moment in time compared to mine. So what’s up?” He got to the point.
“Yes, so I was just wondering—I know we’ve been hiring people left, right, and center lately. What’s the news with the nurse hires? Am I getting an upgrade? I love Betsy but do admit she feels overwhelmed at times. Any help at all would be amazing at this point.”
I was pretty perfect at lying by now. Though that technically wasn’t a lie but I was more concerned about Alice’s vision.
“Yes! We have hired 5 new nurses. You will get a chance to work with all of them. Once you and Betsy figure out, which ones you work best with, then you can have them permanently on your rotation. I think you’ll get two. I know that they are a little short-handed in the NIC.U, so I think 3 will end up working there,” he said.
“That sounds perfect! Two extra people will be just what we need. Especially when I’m in the ER. What are they like? I mean credentials and such,” I inquired.
“I know 2 worked together in Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. They got tired of the insanity of the big city and have both moved up here. Ironically, without knowing the other was doing the same. They are sweet women that come highly recommended by their supervisors. Both are a couple years younger than Betsy. We have one from Vancouver, who married a man from NH and they decided to move here to have a family. She was considered to be smarter than a lot of the doctors in the clinic that she worked, so I think she’ll add wonderful points to our hospital; plus she’s great with kids so I’m thinking she may join NIC.U. That leaves two more. Let’s see now, hang on second . . .”
I heard the rustling of papers as Bill looked for what I presumed were their resumes. I smiled to myself as I remembered what Bill’s desk looked like. I was surprised he could find himself in that mess let alone anything else. It looked like a tornado had gone through his desk or a hurricane. But he was impeccable when it came to notes and remembering things. The man was a walking encyclopedia with a wonderful sense of humor and a terrific work ethic. He was also a huge prankster. You never knew when you’d find a whoopee-cushion or silly string in your locker or in your scrubs. Or he could ambush you in the hallway. It’s never dull at Hanover Medical Center! Finally, I heard him find what he was looking for and come back to the phone.
“OK, sorry about that—found them. One is from Texas and had just come out of medical school. She had graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She was tired of the heat and had been looking for a small town in the north. She also had a job offer in North Dakota but we offered her a larger salary and help with relocating. So she’ll be starting next week. Well actually, they all are. And our last hire is from Los Angeles. She’s tired of the earthquakes. She was working for a private practitioner but always wanted to be in a hospital setting, her boss had nothing but the best things to say about her. So I think we have a very diverse group from different places and with different things to contribute to our little hospital. In the order as I had described them to you, their names are: Carol and Shandy from NYC, Melanie from Vancouver, Charlotte from Dallas, and Ashley from LA. So that’s our nurse lineup for now. We’ll see how they do and if we need more, we’ll keep looking.”
“Thank you, Bill. That helps a lot. Listen, I’ve already taken up way too much of your time. You have to get back to your favorite residents.” There was a grumble on the other end that ended in a curse. I chuckled and continued. “So I’m going to let you go and I will see you next week. The wife is calling. Have a wonderful weekend and try to get some rest, will you?”
“Thanks Carlisle. Glad I could answer your questions. You enjoy your peace and quiet for both of us!”
After we both hung up I thought about what he’d told me. I liked that a lot. They all sounded very capable of completing the tasks at hand. I wondered which two were going to be working with me. I kept what Alice told me in the back of my mind. What could be strange about a new nurse? Unless she was a vampire and other than Melanie from Vancouver, the others all came from places where there was plenty of sunshine. So that couldn’t be it.
Whatever it was I was sure I could figure it out. And if not, as soon as whatever decision was made, Alice would warn me; in the meantime I would enjoy the peace and quiet. I heard Alice and Jasper return from hunting, only to realize that both Esme and I needed to go. So I’m going to finish this entry here and go get some deer in me.
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So I invited the Watchers and their families into our home for further stories and explanations. It was already really late, but even Nessie was determined to stay up to meet everyone and hear the stories. We were just introduced to Alexander, Peter, and Keith. And then another thing happened that we never expected. Leah imprinted on Keith! Now everyone in the wolf pack is attached to someone. No more single and miserable people. It will be nice not to have a grouchy wolf around. Though Leah has come a long way, she still has occasional attitude problems. I hope that her new found relationship will upgrade her mentality.
The only people missing were Michelle’s parents, but Rogue said that they had another assignment and were presently in Toronto, Canada doing well what else? Watching someone. Rogue mentioned that there were a few vampires acting out and they were just acting as backup to other Watchers. So now that everyone was seated, some stomachs started growling and Esme went to get dinner ready. She didn’t have anything ready as we weren’t even sure we would live to see the next day but with Bella, Rosalie, and Alice’s help, she whipped up a meal that would probably feed an extra-large human family for about a month. Since the Watchers also ate, everyone settled down in our dining room to dig in and talk some more. While the wolves, Watchers, and Nessie dug in, the rest of us just sat around and mingled. Peter, being a vampire, sat with us to talk.
I’ll take this opportunity to tell you what the men look like. Alexander has long black hair and light eyes. He’s very rugged and taller than the others. He wore mostly black clothing and has a very gothic air about him, but he’s incredibly friendly and couldn’t keep his eyes off Rogue. It was very obvious that he loved her.
Peter has blondish brownish hair that he ties in a ponytail. He has golden eyes just like us as he is vegetarian. His style of clothing is very vintage. You can tell he still loves the 1800s, but it didn’t look like a costume.
Keith looks a lot like the wolves, ironically. He has short brown hair, green eyes and is very buff. He wore very tight form-fitting clothes and appears as though he just walked out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad. (Photos of all of the Watchers are at the bottom of the entry.)
Alice was sitting near Peter, all but hopping up and down. When Peter finally looked at her she said:
“So . . . um . . . Peter, Amy told us that you two were engaged and have known each other since the 1700s.”
“Yes this is true. Why are you asking?” Peter said.
Edward and Bella groaned. They already knew what was coming.
“Be careful Peter what you ask with this one. She has a tendency of going a bit overboard,” Edward said. Alice swatted him on the arm.
“Oh shoosh Edward!” she said and then turned her attention back to Peter who was looking at the two of them completely puzzled.
“Well um . . . Amy said that you didn’t really have time or interest in planning a wedding. I assume you want to be married?” Alice inquired.
Amy, who was eating with the others, looked up and smiled. Peter looked over at her and she winked at him. Being a Watcher, Amy already knew where Alice was going with her line of questioning. Poor Peter, being a vampire . . . well, not so much. So he had to go through the whole Spanish Inquisition from Alice.
“Yes, Alice. I would love to marry Amy finally. But neither of us knows anything about planning a wedding,” Peter said.
“Well perfect! That’s where I come in! Anyone in my family, even those who bitch and moan, will attest that I am the best at planning parties, weddings and any other celebrations. All I need is your permission and to ask you both some questions about what you want and I take care of the rest! So what do you say?” Alice was speaking faster and faster as she got more and more excited. Jasper was grinning.
“Alice, slow your horses—they haven’t even moved here yet!” Bella said.
“Oh, right. But still. Building a house is easy and fast; planning a wedding needs to be done with absolute precision!” Alice insisted.
The Watchers and Peter were watching her with amazement. Then Rogue, Amy, and Corin laughed. Between reading minds and watching everything unfold, I have no idea how they could keep up. Edward’s gift is one thing, but when you have every gift or power—as they call it—and then some, I’m very surprised how the Watchers haven’t gone absolutely bonkers. Rogue apparently heard my thoughts because she looked straight me and said:
“Practice makes perfect.” She smiled and winked. Everyone stopped talking and looked at her then me.
“What was that about practice makes perfect?” Rosalie asked.
“I was wondering how all of you, Watchers, could read so many minds plus have all those other powers and not go bonkers,” I said sheepishly.
“Oh . . . yeah, practice. But when you have so much to do, you don’t pay much attention to all the extra voices in your head,” Alexander said between sips of wine. The other Watchers nodded. Alice clapped her hands. We were getting off track from what she really wanted.
“So what’s the verdict?” Alice continued to pester Peter and Amy.
“Well, I’m game if that’s what Amy wants,” Peter answered looking at Amy.
“Sure! I’d like to finally get married. And if we don’t have to plan anything, that would be even better. Because frankly, we have no idea where to even begin,” Amy admitted with a laugh.
“Oh sweet! I promise I’ll make it perfect! And yes I know, you have to move here first!” Alice squeaked.
Then she jumped up and ran to both Amy and Peter and hugged them. Everyone was laughing as she whirled around the room. That’s really all you had to do to make Alice happy, give her some kind of a celebration to plan. But she was right on one account, even those of us who moan about how all out she goes, she does make sure every event is catered to the taste of the individual or couple. She has yet to disappoint anyone and that includes Bella, who is as anti-anything-over-the-top-as-possible. By this time, everyone had finished and the wolves especially Seth and Jacob were yawning. Nessie stifled one as well, though she tried to hide it. It was at that point we all decided to call it a day.
The Watchers and Peter would return to Manhattan to pack up their things and come back here. We had volunteered to help them bring their things from New York to here so that way they could move faster. They were renting their penthouse suite so all they had to do was pay one month’s rent ahead of time and tell their landlord they were leaving. It wasn’t going to be a problem as the landlord knew they were looking to move out anyways and had already looked for future tenants.
They would temporarily move into Michelle and her parents’ home until their own would be built. We offered to put them up in our house but they declined. They said they didn’t want to intrude and it would be perfect because they could stay at Michelle’s home while her parents were away and then would vacate the premises before they returned. From what Rogue said, their mission in Toronto was going to last at least another 2 to 3 weeks. Michelle was all right being on her own, and now with a house full of Watchers, especially those she’s worked with previously plus was close with, she was very happy.
So with a round of good-nights, hugs and thank-yous—which included very intimate ones for Seth and Corin and Leah and Keith—our guests and saviors were gone.
Our Denali Cousins decided to go back home as well because they saw that we had our hands full with the new additions to Hanover. The next few weeks were going to be surrounded with building homes and moving in Watchers. But now after a group family hug and another round of good-nights, Nessie, Bella and Edward went off to their cottage to put Nessie to bed.
Jacob, Leah and Seth grabbed some more of Esme’s cooking and headed off to their cabin as well. Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett went to their respective rooms in their wing. And Esme and I walked slowly up the stairs, turned off the lights and walked to our room. We looked at the clock and it said midnight.
The day was over.
Esme and I walked into our bedroom and didn’t even bother looking at the bed. We walked into our massive bathroom and I started running the water. Esme found the Lavender bubble bath and poured it into the tub. Without saying a word, we both undressed and climbed in. After a day like today, words weren’t needed, extreme actions weren’t needed. All that was needed was a night of silence, peace, being close to one another and the never-ending scent of Lavender.
After our date in the woods, Esme and I were on cloud nine. It was like we were in the honeymoon stage all over again. Everyone thought it was cute except Emmett, who would make all sorts of disgusted noises. I swear he’s more immature than Jacob and Seth sometimes!
Today we were all in the living room. Michelle couldn’t come over for some reason and Nessie was just hanging out with the family and the pack. She felt sad because Michelle would always come over when they had free time but today she told Nessie that something came up with some relatives and she had to go away for the day. Happens.
So the afternoon started off quite uneventful. I was sitting in my favorite chair and was reading the New York Times while Esme was reading her new crocheting book that Alice had gotten her in Japan. Jasper was teaching Seth how to play chess, while Emmett and Jacob watched a football game. Leah, Nessie, and Bella were lying in the middle of the room on the rug putting together some sort of 3D jigsaw puzzle. None of us could make heads or tails of what it was supposed to be yet. Meanwhile, Alice and Rose were sitting cross legged on the floor by the couch playing with her HP Intel iPad, taking turns drawing out new patterns for fabric. Edward was the only one not attached to another person; he was sitting on the couch doing a cross word puzzle. It was the picture of family contentment.
Esme made a little noise and I looked over to her. She jumped up and ran upstairs. She came back down with her crocheting needles and started to work on the pattern she had just been reading and studying. I smiled. I knew whatever she was doing was going to come out beautiful. She felt my gaze and looked over. Smiling, she lifted up her things so I could see. I nodded. She went back to her work. Just then Alice hopped up, Rose had the tablet thing in her hands and Alice ran to get the watering can. I smiled. Esme had asked Alice to water the plants that we have around the entire house the day before.
We only had a small amount of plants in Forks but once we came here Esme and Alice developed a green thumb and decided to fill practically every room in the house with at least one plant. We had ferns, hydrangeas, and lord knows what other kinds of plants. I don’t even know 98% of the plants’ names. I know a lot of things but plants are definitely not my thing. And I’m not the only one. The boys refuse to go near them. Jacob is convinced that one of those plants came from the old movie Little Shop of Horrors and that it would eat him if he got near it. I believe that was a Venus Flytrap.
I can’t disagree, the thing is huge and it sits in the hallway on the 2nd floor opposite the window so it could get some light. I swear it grows every day! Jacob literally runs past it in order to get from one wing of the house to the other. I have never seen him walk past that corner ever since Esme put the plant there. We all of course tease him about it and Seth has even tried to push him into the plant. When there’s shrieking coming from the second floor, chances are Jacob is somehow involuntarily near that plant.
Before Alice ran off to water the plants she a walked over to Jacob, poked him in the shoulder, shoved the watering can toward him and pointed upwards. Jacob’s reaction was classic. He jumped in his chair and started saying no to her in about 4 different languages. He kept moving away from the watering can as if the thing had the worst case of cooties. Everyone was chuckling slightly. Finally with a sigh, Alice ran off to do her watering job. We all got back to our occupations. None of us noticed when Alice came back into the room. But she got everyone’s attention when out of nowhere she gasped, dropped the watering can, grabbed her head with both hands, and started shaking it back and forth.
“NO! NO! NO! NO!”
“Alice, what is it? What’s happening?” Jasper was at her side in an instant and was trying to get her to look at him. By this time the rest of us were crowded around her looking concerned. Was she in pain?
“Alice, honey, please talk to us,” Esme said soothingly.
“Oh my God….no…..but how…….why?” Edward gasped as he finally saw what was going on in her head.
“Edward?” I looked at him sternly.
Edward looked at me, then at Bella and then met Alice’s agonized gaze.
“The Volturi are coming. They are definitely coming to acquire and destroy. Aro is very happy . . . he’s finally found a way to get to us, to get us exposed and unprepared.”
“Well then we need to call our friends again and stand like we stood last time,” Rose reasoned. Everyone mumbled their agreement.
But Alice was shaking her head miserably. “They won’t get here in time,” she whispered. If she could cry, she would. I’ve never seen Alice this upset.
“What do you mean? When is the Volturi supposed to get here?” Esme asked.
The silence was deafening as we all took in that word. For a long time everyone stood frozen in shock not speaking.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait. How come Alice didn’t know about this ahead of time? Isn’t her gift to be able to see a decision once it’s made?” Jacob pressed.
He had a good point. We all looked at Alice then at Edward. It was Alice who spoke. Her voice was incredibly shaky.
“Because they have acquired two new members. One of them is the vampire Nessie saw in town here a few weeks ago. You were right, Carlisle, his gift is to mask his scent; he did it so he could spy on us and not get caught. The other one’s gift is a lot like Bella’s; he can hide the thoughts of those around him.”
“So he used his gift to hide Aro’s decision. Which was to come here and get us. And therefore, Alice couldn’t see what was to happen until the very last possible moment.” Bella as usual put two and two together.
“Holy hell! What are we going to do?” Emmett asked.
“Well, we can’t run because they’ll come and find us no matter what. And they’re just too close for us to escape anywhere,” Edward said.
“No. No. We aren’t going to run. We are going to face them,” I assured everyone.
“Carlisle. We can’t possibly win . . . especially now that they have two new members. We’re outnumbered.” Jasper spoke cautiously.
“Yes, I realize that. But if we run, then we’re cowards. I will do everything in my power to take out Aro before he takes me out. How many are coming?”
“Aro, Marcus, and Caius. Jane, Alec, Felix, and Demetri plus three members of their personal guard. And the two new ones; I believe their names are Jason and Josh. I think they’re also twins,” Edward said in a flat voice.
“Well then we will face them. I will not let my family be wiped out because of Aro’s own personal agenda!” I exclaimed angrily.
“Why do these jackasses want to screw with us now anyways?” Leah spit out through clenched teeth. She and Emmett then bumped fists. When it came to the Volturi, the two of them didn’t mince any words.
“Aro is convinced that we have been getting too much exposure because of the school shooting. Because our town is so high profile and that even Carlisle has given interviews regarding his patients that put him on international television. Aro thinks we’ve been exposing ourselves too much,” Edward explained.
“Isn’t he reaching a bit there?” Rose asked. Everyone nodded in agreement.
“All he needs is a little bit of something to find fault with . . . especially when there’s something he wants,” Edward answered.
“This is such bullshit!” Emmett spat. I couldn’t disagree with him. No one could.
“Where and when will all of this go down?” I inquired.
“Tomorrow—at around 4pm in that field 7 miles north of our house,” Alice whispered. She sounded completely and emotionally spent.
“All right then. We’ll be ready. Jacob, you will have to escape with Nessie as soon as the fight starts. You have all the necessary papers,” I said.
“No! Wait a minute! You’ll be even more outnumbered without me! I can help!” Jacob protested.
Bella shook her head. “We can’t afford Nessie to get hurt. We have to try and save her even if we won’t survive.”
“Mommy no! I don’t want to leave you! Maybe I can help somehow. I’m not a child anymore! I can fight too!” Nessie whimpered. Bella put an arm around her and hugged her close.
“No Nessie, you are half human that means you’ll be the first to get hurt—or worse. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on fighting if I have to worry about you. None of us will.” The adults nodded.
With that we all broke into smaller groups and spoke in hushed tones. Nessie was still trying to persuade Bella and Edward to stay with them. When they firmly said no, she started to cry. As it was getting late, they said goodnight to us and along with the pack, walked back to their cottage to get some sleep. I doubted anyone would get any sleep tonight. So I guess my instinct was right after all when I was sensing something brewing on the horizon. I couldn’t believe that in less than 48 hours there was a huge possibility my family and I would cease to exist. Why was this happening? Why couldn’t Aro just leave us alone! He really must want our gifted members badly if he was going to all this trouble. For once I shared the packs sentiment; what a jackass! And I don’t even use bad words often. So that in itself says something.
Esme and I spent the night just lying there staring at each other. Trying to memorize every inch of each other’s faces and bodies. I started really praying and hoping that I was right all of these centuries; that we indeed had souls and that ours would go to heaven. That way my family and I could reunite in the afterlife and no one will ever hurt us again.
Before going to bed, I called Kate and Tanya. They were shocked and horrified. They said that they, along with Garrett, Carmen, and Elizear, would take off running as soon as possible so that they could try and get here in time. I thanked them and prayed that that would indeed happen. I know that Seth had called La Push and pretty much conveyed the same. We had a very small amount of hope but some hope nonetheless. And at this point, I’d take anything I could get.
The next day, we didn’t really talk much with each other. We knew what we had to do. At 3:45pm we took off from our house to the field where we knew all hell was about to break loose. The pack was in their wolf form and Nessie was sitting atop of Jacob as we ran. We were all mad as hell and ready to kick some serious butt. We didn’t care what we had to do, but we were not going to go down without a fight.
Finally, we reached the clearing. It was a gloomy day and the air smelled of fresh rain. We took our positions where Alice had instructed us. She pointed out from which direction they would appear from. I was still silently praying that our Denali cousins would get there in time before any serious damage was done our side.
Bella had her shield up and ready. Emmett flexed his muscles and scowled. The wolves mirrored his expression. Rose looked like a chip of ice while Jasper absolutely looked demonic. Edward stood in front of Nessie while Esme was standing behind me. I was concentrating on where they were coming from. Alice had been reassured that it wasn’t her fault and that she was tricked like the rest of us. So now she was determined to catch everything else the Volturi hid from us. We were ready. We were there to defend and win . . . somehow.
Now all we needed was a miracle as dark figures started to appear out of the gloom.
****DISCLAIMER: This entry will have some graphic details of the shooting as seen and described by Nessie so if you are sensitive to that kind of stuff, please skip ahead to the end of the entry. Thank you. ~xoxo Olga
“So as you know, Jake, Leah, and Seth were sick so I went to school alone. Thankfully grandma Esme drove me since she was going into town anyways. Nothing was out of the ordinary as I walked into the building. I met up with some girls from my class that I knew and spoke with and we went to our first class. It was the Algebra class that Jake hates so much.” I smiled at Jake who rolled his eyes.
“The first class was uneventful. My second class was the French class. We sat down and got our books out. The teacher, Mrs. Lounds, must have just said good morning when we heard a pop pop noise. We didn’t think anything of it because kids make all sorts of noise in the hallway on their way to class. Less than a minute after the first noise we heard more popping sounds, but these were coming closer and had a more metallic sound to them. We froze. Mrs. Lounds told us all to be quiet and stay still. She crept slowly to the door and looked out. She then turned quickly around and said, ‘oh my god there’s a boy with a gun! He’s shooting people. Get down! Everybody get down!’
“We all quickly got under our tables and tried not to make any noise. A few of the football players in my class quickly turned over a table that was on the side of the room and pushed it against the door so the shooter couldn’t get in. The rest of us just stayed where we were and I heard some students start praying. Then, without warning, a giant explosion rocked our classroom! People screamed. When I looked toward the noise, I realized there was a hole in the wall leading to the hallway! The shooter had some kind of a small bomb on him! He literally blew a hole in the wall because he couldn’t get through the door! Before I could react, this girl Michelle pulled my arm and half dragged me toward the closet in the back of the room. We climbed into the little closet area and closed the door. We could see what was happening but we were hidden from view and the closet didn’t even look like a closet so unless you knew it was there, you’d miss it. Mrs. Lounds was always happy with it because she said she bought it at IKEA and it was cool . . . Oh God, poor Mrs. Lounds.”
I had to stop talking because I had started to cry again. Grandpa Carlisle who was sitting not far from me, reached out and patted my knee.
“Nessie you don’t have to continue. Maybe you should wait until you feel a little calmer.” The others mumbled in agreement.
“No no . . . I’m OK . . . I just need to slow down when I talk—but I need to get this out of me . . . there’s so much to tell you.”
I took a deep breath and before I could say anything another glass of orange juice appeared before me. God I love my dad! I nodded a ‘thank you’ and sipped on the juice.
“Where was I? Oh yeah, Michelle and I hid in the closet. Then we watched with horror as the shooter stepped into the classroom through the hole he made! He had some kind of a rifle-looking thing with him. He was wearing brown pants, black boots, a black t shirt with what looked like a devil on it and a long trench coat. I recognized him instantly. The kid’s name was Frank Jordan. He was a sophomore at our school. I had maybe one class with him but didn’t really know him other than his name. He always seemed to keep to himself and had a few friends here and there. But he looked so different today. His face was cold and his eyes were blank. He looked like a zombie.
He briefly looked around the room and as Mrs. Lounds tried to get him to put his weapon down, he shot her multiple times in the chest. His gun spit out the bullets so fast . . . Michelle whispered to me later that she thought it was an AK-47. I don’t know what that is, but it was big and horrifying!
Mrs. Lounds fell and didn’t move. Michelle and I were crying and trying not to scream as Frank just looked around the room and started shooting, over and over and over! He wasn’t aiming anywhere just spraying the room with bullets. We were cowering, praying that we wouldn’t make enough noise to tip him off to our location. Oh God, I’ll never forget the screams of my classmates. They just kept moving out of the way but the more they moved the more they were shot. It was so loud!
We closed our eyes and our ears and were praying for it to be over. Finally, when it seemed that he had shot as many people as possible, there was a scurrying and screaming in the hallway that distracted him. He climbed back out into the hallway and started shooting at whomever was out there. I heard some more screams and the sound of people falling. At that point he moved away from our classroom and we heard his boots stomp down the hall and away from our class. We sat there…my heart was beating in my ears and I’m sure Michelle’s was, too. We didn’t want to move. What if he came back? But I couldn’t sit there in that closet while my classmates were bleeding just a few feet away. Maybe we could do something help them. Michelle hesitated, but then agreed and we both—very slowly, trying to make as little noise as possible—crawled out of the closet and toward our wounded classmates.
The first one I reached was one of the football players who had originally barricaded the door. He was lying on his side, moaning. He had bullet wounds in both shoulders and his leg. I tried to calm him down while I surveyed the damage. Mrs. Lounds wasn’t moving and one of the other students who wasn’t badly injured checked her and shook his head at me; that’s when I knew she was dead.
Another student who was lying near the window had horrific wounds. He had been shot multiple times in the abdomen and what looked like a part of his intestine was lying on the floor next to him. Michelle took one look at him and threw up. The other students had similar catastrophic injuries; a girl I knew from down the street had half of her head blown off and the brain matter was splattered against the far wall. I fought the urge to be sick but I knew I needed to focus. We had to get these people help and fast!
Suddenly, we heard a noise and we froze. What if the shooter was coming back? We had no chance to run back into the closet. We were exposed. So we just stood there, waiting. The next thing we saw was a head poke around into the room from the hole in the wall, then another, and another. We realized that they were members of the SWAT Team and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
We were safe.
Very quickly they motioned those of us who could walk to follow them.
‘What about the others?’ I asked. One of the officers said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get everyone out.’ ‘What about the shooter? Where is he? Was he alone? ’ ‘As far as we can tell thus far, he was alone. And we’ve neutralized him.’ ‘Neutralized? What does that mean?’ Michelle asked. The officers looked at one another and the one answering the questions said, ‘He wouldn’t put his weapon down when we ordered and proceeded to fire at us. We returned fire and he was hit. He didn’t make it.’
“As Michelle and I tried to digest all that, we were escorted out of the building where it looked like a war zone. There were cops and ambulances and SWAT vehicles everywhere. There were other kids streaming from various exits in the school; some were unharmed while others had blood all over them; whether it was theirs or someone else’s I couldn’t tell. I just kept walking . . . following the officers.
“Finally, when we were far enough from the school, I turned around and looked at the building. The windows were all busted, blood was everywhere. This could not be my school. It was horrible, just horrible. Michelle had stepped away from me at that point and when she returned she was crying. She told me that they are thinking he killed 45 people. It’s not confirmed, but that’s what the officers think. I felt so nauseous I wanted to pass out.
“Just then I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw Mommy, Daddy, and Jake. I forgot about Michelle and ran to them. After we hugged, I turned to look for Michelle and was happy to see her in the arms of her mom and dad. We exchanged a look as well as a smile and were taken away by our respective families. I mean she saved my life! If she hadn’t dragged me into the closet . . . I don’t even want to think what would have happened.
“There were so many media people with cameras and trucks. They were trying to get those cameras into my face as we tried to leave but Daddy made sure they backed off very quickly. Then we were reunited with grandma Esme in the parking lot and all walked into the woods so Jake could phase. I wanted to ride home on my Jakey-wolf. Seth, Leah, Aunt Rose and Uncle Emmett were waiting for us anxiously at the house. They were very glad I was OK. But after everyone hugged me, the full effect of what had happened hit me like a ton of bricks, and that’s when I really started shaking and crying. And the rest you all know.”
When I was finally done my story, everyone was just sitting there, shaking their heads. It doesn’t seem real, even now. People started to get up and talk amongst themselves. My mom stayed on the couch next to me, still rubbing my back soothingly. I love when she does that. It really helps. Jake got up and kissed me on the tip of my nose, then he whispered, “I’m so glad you’re OK Ness. When I heard what happened . . . my heart stopped. It was all I could do not to bolt out the door. My heart only got back to normal, I think, when I finally had you in my arms. I wanted to kill that guy! Well . . . if the SWAT Team hadn’t gotten to him first. I love you so damned much. I couldn’t live without you.”
I touched his face. “I love you too, Jakey. Yeah it’s definitely not a day I’ll ever want to repeat.” Then he kissed me on the lips. I was fully expecting my dad to start harping, but surprisingly he didn’t say anything until we pulled apart.
“OK now that all the making out is over, Nessie, you had a long day, it’s time for bed.”
I sighed and got off the couch, then turned to my mom.
“Mom, can you tuck me in?” “Of course, sweetheart! Come on, let’s get you nice and comfy.”
She smiled and hugged me. I then was hugged and kissed by the rest of the family just as the phone rang again and everyone rolled their eyes. Aunt Rose went to field it again. I was so tired I didn’t even stop to hear who she was talking to or what was being said. I just let my mom pull me toward the cottage. As she and I were headed out the door, Dad was still talking to Grandpa. Aunt Rose had gotten off the phone, walked over to me with a smile and said, “Well that was Alice. She and Jasper will be home tomorrow so expect to spend the whole day playing dress up!” Everyone laughed while Leah, Seth, Jacob, and even I groaned! “Awww come on! I need a break. No dress up tomorrow. Maybe the day after. I just want to have a quiet day tomorrow.” “Good luck spilling that one to Alice!” Uncle Emmett quipped.
I decided to not even think about that and, with another round of goodnights, walked arm-and-arm with my mom to our cottage.
“How are you feeling, honey?” “Very tired, mommy. Very ready to sleep.” I yawned for emphasis. She laughed.
Then we walked into our little home and I changed into my very comfortable cotton pj’s with little suns and moons on them and climbed into bed with a content sigh. Mom pulled the covers over me and sat next to me. We didn’t speak but just stayed together. I started to fall asleep soon after. She kissed me on the forehead and whispered, “More than my own life.” “I love you very much mommy.” I smiled and hugged her and kissed her back.
She turned off the light and I closed my eyes and fell asleep. I dreamed of kisses and forests . . . and a strange man standing far away watching me . . . with bright red eyes.