Disclaimer: not mine
"Hey Charlie," Bella greeted as she answered the phone. "Charlie?" she demanded in alarm as she heard the shaky breathing.
"She's gone," he admitted.
"Who's gone?" Bella moved to her room and grabbed her suitcase to start packing, happy that cordless phones had been around for a few years now, they were a lot more convenient.
"Renée…she took Bella."
Bella swore softly, this was everything she had feared. "Alright, I'll be on the first flight out. We'll find them, she has no right to take Bella from you."
"But I thought…"
"I'll be careful to stay out of sight, but you need me," she told him. As soon as she had a flight arranged she'd call Adam, he was good at finding people and he had just returned to America after some time in Egypt of all places.
"Okay," he agreed shakily.
"Just hang in there." She hung up and called the airline, then Adam, and then the law firm she kept on retainer.
If Renée thought she could just waltz off with little Bella without a fight she had another thought coming. Little Isabella was as much Charlie's daughter as she was Renée's after all. Not to mention he was the one with a steady income, stable job, and a house.
Billy kept a close eye on Charlie, so did Harry. They kept him as busy as possible, out fishing with them when he wasn't working or down at the Res for bonfires and the like. He hadn't been overly fond of the girl, but he still hadn't seen this coming at all. Divorce was one thing, but to just take their baby and vanish? How could anyone do that?
He'd sent word out to a few other reservations, those they kept in contact with, to be on the lookout for Renée and baby Isabella. Billy knew Charlie would have put out alerts with the police too. Someone had to find them.
Adam triple checked what he had found and sighed softly, shaking his head. This was going to kill Bella, but he'd have to tell her. She'd been so excited when she'd told him about Charlie naming his daughter for her, getting to be in the life of her family again since the young man knew the truth. Now it was all gone, all because a selfish woman decided to leave her husband without a word and take their baby with her.
He'd never met Charlie but the news would be devastating, especially with his parents declining health. Bella couldn't stay with him all the time either, not when Lizzie Swan was a lot older than she now looked. The only reason the id hadn't been killed off was in case of emergency, if anything had happened to Charlie and Renée then she could have easily taken custody of their daughter.
Unless Charlie remarried…Bella's family line would die with him. The Whitlock's had already died off, to lose the Swan's as well would break her heart. But with what Renée had done, would Charlie ever want to try again?
Charlie sat silently beside Bella, staring down at the ground so far below. He'd never actually been on a plane before but there was no excitement, nothing. He didn't want to believe it, couldn't, but Bella was so sure the news she'd received was correct. How could they be so sure it was them though? How could he beloved daughter…be gone?
Bella sat stood beside Charlie as he stared at the grave stones. Renée had been buried as a Jane Doe, little Bella beside her. "Do you want to have them moved to Forks?" she was more than willing to pay for it, but he shook his head.
"No…" he took a deep breath. "We shouldn't tell anyone."
"What?" she frowned in confusion.
He looked over at her. "Nothing can bring them back but…" he took a deep breath. "I can tell everyone in Forks that Renée took Bella, that's the truth, but I can leave Forks once a year, like I'm visiting them," he murmured before kneeling to place the bouquet he'd brought. It felt wrong to leave without putting flowers down, even for Renée. She might have left him, but they'd still been married and he'd loved her.
"Charlie why…" her eyes widened. "Oh Charlie, just because I'm not using Lizzie Swan anymore doesn't mean I'm going to just vanish on you."
"I know, but another decade and you'll need a new identity. Here's one that is completely official, you'd just have to supply school and medical records for the intervening years."
"Charlie…are you sure?" she asked, resting a hand on his shoulder, and he nodded. "Alright. You change your mind though and it's okay."
Everyone in Forks was relieved when young Charlie Swan returned with news that his wife and baby daughter were fine. The divorce papers soon arrived and he signed them without a fight. Though people were surprised he didn't seem to be fighting for custody when he was the one with a proper home and job. Everyone who knew him knew how much he loved his daughter.
Alice stopped, staring out over the mountains, a smile spreading across her lips. Finally! She was so happy for him! Jasper deserved to be happy like the rest of them were, no matter what he said. He hadn't known any better when he was with Maria, as soon as he'd known there was another way he'd done his best to only hunt the worst of humanity and then he'd jumped at the chance to switch to animal blood. Yes, he occasionally slipped up but so did most of them. None of them had spent so long giving in to their bloodlust like he had, so of course it was going to be a bit harder for him to adapt to a 'vegetarian' diet. The only one of them who came close was Edward and he'd only given in for three years, not the decades upon decades that Jasper had.
She couldn't see much, not enough to identify who she was, but the vision was clear enough in other areas. Jasper would soon find his mate? From the surroundings it looked like they would be returning to Forks, well for the first time for her and Jasper. She only recognised it because of the house, though Esme was obviously going to update it after they arrived as there were differences to the old photos Edward had showed her. It made sense; Forks was a good place for a vampire. Would she be willing to switch to their diet, or did she already follow it? All Alice could make out was long dark hair and a slender figure, significantly shorter than Jazz but not as short as herself.
Now she just had to keep the secret until they met. Good thing she had gotten good at hiding things from her husband. Jasper couldn't know or he'd end up sabotaging the whole thing, possibly on purpose. He carried so much guilt, she knew a lot of the time he believed he didn't deserve a mate but it wasn't true.
In a split second of shock, Bella felt something sharp pierce her throat before her shield kicked in, sending something flying. She slapped a hand to the stinging flesh, feeling the wound healing already. She turned to see an incredibly pale young man…with blood red eyes. He licked her blood from his lips before grimacing, screaming in pain until he went still, body crumbling away like old stone. What the hell? She rushed back to her apartment and grabbed the phone, getting no answer from Adam.
She quickly dialled the international number, waiting, relieved when it was picked up. "Amelia?"
"Bella? What has happened little one?" The older immortal asked, worried.
"I…I don't know exactly. There was this sharp pain in my throat then my shield kicked in. it was a man with red eyes…he was screaming and then he just…"
"He was a vampire Bella, surely Adam warned you about them," Amelia answered her, and Bella sat down, eyes wide.
"Oh…" she swallowed hard, remembering what Adam had told her so long ago. "He did, but I've never seen one before." Honestly, she'd forgotten all about those stories over the years since she'd never seen anyone who matched the description.
"We don't tend to run into each other very often. Our blood is fatal to them, unless given willingly. As soon as he bit you he sealed his fate. Their venom stings a little but it can't change us for obvious reasons," her friend explained.
"I see…thank you," she sighed in relief. It wasn't her fault, if he hadn't attacked her, he would have killed someone. But could she condemn someone for just trying to survive and if vampires needed blood…
Amelia laughed. "I'm always willing to answer your questions dear friend. Now, go have a warm bath and a good meal, doctors' orders."
"Yes ma'am," Bella laughed and hung up. A vampire, it still felt crazy, but they existed so why not creatures from myth?
Emmett glanced up at his wife as she worked, smiling softly. Despite how prickly she could seem to others; his Rosie had such a big heart. She'd done it for all of them, except their two newest family members. Alice had proven impossible to track, she'd woken in a forest too far from any civilisation and remembered nothing from her life, except that her name was Alice. And Alice was not a rare name, if she'd had a really rare name then they might have been able to find something.
Jasper's family was proving a lot easier. There'd been that newspaper article about the death of his last living relative and Edward had come across a picture of Jasper in a civil war history book. There'd been a picture of his wife in some old records that Rosalie had found, she'd been pretty. Dying in childbirth…he was glad that had never been a danger for his beloved wife but it also hurt to know how much she longed for a child.
Did…did Jasper remember his wife? Did he know of the baby? Would it hurt more or less to find out if he hadn't known?
Bella opened the door and looked in on Charlie as he slept. She was worried about her many times great nephew. Every year he would come and visit her for a few weeks before returning home to Forks. Little Bella would have been eleven now and Charlie had never truly recovered from loosing them, no matter how she tried to support him. It had been made worse when his parents had died close together although he had recovered better from their loss, because they had lived long, full lives.
Jasper looked up as Rosalie approached the door to his study, putting aside the book he'd been reading to offer his sister a smile. She had a box with her and felt hesitant. "Rose?"
"This is for you," she put the box on his desk. "I uh…I went through all of the records, tracked every lead down I could."
He frowned in confusion and reached out to open the box. "Leads for what?"
"Your human life and your family," she answered softly, and he was glad the others were out as he froze, eyes wide. "I've done it for everyone. Alice has proven impossible to track though since she has no memories of her human life and Alice is such a common name. It's yours to do with what you please but this gives you the option." She approached and kissed his cheek before retreating.
Rosalie left the house, figuring he may wish to be alone and not wanting to be hit by his emotions if he did open it. Poor Jasper…he'd had a wife and a baby on the way when he'd gone missing. She'd seen the dates for them though, they had both died in childbirth. Jasper had family still out there though, at least they were descendants of his wife's family, so they counted to her, would he count them?
She felt so sorry for the poor young woman, long dead before Rosalie had even been born. The official date of Jasper being declared dead being announced lined up scarily with her and the baby's deaths. Grief could kill…and how guilty would Jasper feel? Did…did he even remember his wife? He'd never mentioned being married to any of them that she knew of.
Jasper stared at the box, feeling totally lost, glad Rose had left the house because he was sure he was projecting. He didn't know what to do. Did he really want to know what had happened to his family? He'd seen them only that once and even after leaving Maria he had never tried to track them down, or their descendants.
After what felt like days he finally took the lid off, finding an old photo on top, it was him and Isabella, likely their wedding day, and he ran careful fingers over the glass of the frame. They looked so young and happy. He found the pictures he had seen so long ago on the mantle, though they were likely copies. He'd seen his own picture in a handful of books on the Civil War but these felt more real. The box held copies of their birth certificates and those of their families and he was soon absorbed with the lives of the Whitlock's and Swan's. he was saddened to find his own family had died out with Mark Whitlock in 1959. The Swan's still existed though and that made him happy.
He was shocked to find a Charlie Swan living in Forks Washington, a town the Cullen's owned property in. Perhaps he should speak with Carlisle, see if he had interacted with any of the family the last time they were there. Charlie even had a daughter, Isabella Swan….a family name ever since his wife had died. There had even been some Jasper's in the Swan family!
Charlie couldn't help laughing as Bella glared at him, covered in mud. Maybe fishing hadn't been the best idea for a family outing? But then she grinned and his eyes widened. "Bella…" he yelped as she tackled him into the lake.
By the time they returned home they were both soaking wet and had all of one fish between them, but it had been a very enjoyable day. Part of him almost didn't want to go home on the weekend, but he had to get back to work. There was talk of a possible promotion coming soon, the old chief was retiring. It was a big responsibility, but he'd honestly never really thought he'd be put up for the position.
Carlisle smiled as Jasper joined him. He was glad that Jasper had chosen to join their family and remain, even as the only unmated male in the family. He hoped that one day Jasper would know the happiness the rest of them did, but he knew it could take decades or even longer. "Good morning Jasper."
"Morning Carlisle," Jasper offered a small smile. He then passed over a piece of paper and Carlisle accepted it, reading it quickly.
"The Swan family in Forks?" he asked, confused and curious.
"Rosalie went digging into my past," Jasper admitted quietly.
"Ah yes, she's done that for all of us over the years. It's something she enjoys doing." She was the one who kept all the records, it was something she enjoyed.
"I…" Jasper looked away, steeling himself, and Carlisle was concerned. "My wife was Isabella Whitlock, née Swan."
He hadn't known Jasper had been married but it shouldn't have been surprising given his age. During war many people married young and Jasper had been a well-respected soldier. "Jasper did the two of you," he hesitated, and Jasper shook his head, eyes pained.
"She died in childbirth; the babe was stillborn. It was after Maria took me. I've known that much since five years after I was changed, I stumbled across my family. I found our room and a partially written letter she'd been writing, and… the family graveyard. She had a younger sister though who did marry and have children. Some of her descendants moved to Forks. And her eldest descendant is now a police officer there."
"I am so sorry son," Carlisle stood and reached out to rest a hand on Jasper's shoulder, knowing he wouldn't accept a hug.
"Did you ever meet any of them when in Forks?" Jasper asked, and Carlisle moved away form his desk to sit on the couch, motioning for Jasper to join him and he began to speak of what he knew from back then.
Esme smiled as she went over the plans, an excited Alice studying them while Rosalie looked at some fabric samples. They were moving on and Carlisle had accepted a position at the hospital in Forks. She loved their house there and it would be good to go back. Though something about Alice's excitement said she had seen something good coming of the move there, though for once she was keeping her silence on what she had seen.
Some adjustments needed to be made to the floor plan, making it far more open on the main floor, adding some more windows, updating all of the bathrooms and kitchen, despite those rooms being unnecessary they still had to be worked on. While it was incredibly rare, there was the odd occasion when a human may come by and it would look very strange for them not to have up to date facilities. Besides, they did enjoy showering, especially after messy hunts or the boys had been messing around in the mud.
Upstairs too needed a new layout as their family had grown by two. Alice basically needed another bedroom to serve as her wardrobe while Jasper needed his own space as well. It may be easiest to add an extension to the house and she began drawing up the plans, the girls adding their own input.
Bella smiled as she saved and closed the file. Done. It felt…good. It would be published, if accepted, under a pen name but it felt good to have it finished, even if it never was accepted by a publisher. The story of their family's was now written. It felt good to have it even just for her own record. Amelia and Adam both said she'd always remember but she still liked having it written, or typed at least. She thought Charlie might like a copy of it, she'd told him about life back then, but it'd be different to read it.
She picked up the framed picture on her desk, smiling softly at the photo. She didn't know where Adam had found it or how, she'd honestly forgotten all about the photographer who had come to their wedding. Having the photo, even in black and white, felt wonderful. Her desk was one she'd bought at auction twenty years ago…because it had been her fathers'. She'd managed to collect an item or two over the decades and while it hurt it was also good to have the links back to her family. But the photo was the only image of her and Jasper together.
Charlie opened his work email; he didn't really like computers but they were part of the job. He smiled when he saw he had one from Bella, reading through it. She'd finished her book, not that she'd told him what it was about. And there was also congratulations on getting the promotion, a promise of a meal out on her the next time he visited…or she came to Forks.
She'd been seventeen, almost eighteen, when she died, she couldn't really pass for fifteen, she'd spent too long playing at being older than her physical age. Unless she'd been practising acting like a teen? It had been a spur of the moment idea, for Bella to one day take on his daughters identity, but it felt right too. He missed them both even after almost fifteen years, even with what she'd done he had loved Renée, but little Bella… Sometimes he felt bad about not remarrying, carrying on the family. The Whitlock's were gone and now it looked like the Swan's would end with him.
Jasper followed his 'siblings' into Forks high, grimacing as he was immediately hit by waves of lust and jealousy. He hated high school! He heard Edward's soft chuckle and shot a mild glare at him, not like Edward had it much better. Jasper didn't want to know what the kids were thinking while feeling those emotions.
"You really don't," Edward whispered as they split up to go to class.
He was glad he had most of his classes with either Rose or Emmett, letting him sit with them to keep the humans at a distance. When lunch came they grabbed trays of food before claiming a table, making it clear they wanted to be left alone. A few braver souls approached but it didn't take too much to get them to leave with Jasper carefully tweaking their emotions. Not fear, he didn't want their fellow students terrified of them since that would bring too much attention.
Charlie smiled at the new Doctor, shaking his hand and thinking nothing of the chill to his skin, most doctors had cold hands. "Welcome to Forks, Doctor Cullen. We're lucky to have you."
"Thank you Chief Swan. My wife, Esme, fell in love with the town when the offer was made so how could I say no? The children will love all the forests around as well, they're very big on outdoor pursuits."
"You have children?"
"Five, three boys and two girls, all adopted. Rosalie and Jasper are Esme's niece and nephew and have been with us the longest. Then there's Emmett, Edward and Alice. They're all in high school," Carlisle explained.
"Jasper's not a name you hear much anymore," Charlie smiled slightly. How many times had the name popped up in his own family tree? Many of the names in the Cullen family were rather old fashioned and he wondered if any of them were like Bella. "My own daughter, Bella is in high school too."
"Maybe they'll become friends," Dr Cullen suggested.
Charlie shook his head. "She's living in Phoenix with her Mother at the moment."
"Ah, my apologies."
"It's alright, you didn't know," Charlie shrugged it off. "Well, welcome to Forks. Feel free to call if you need something."
Edward wrapped his arms around Alice, leaning back against a tree. Out in the middle of the nowhere it was just their thoughts and he could truly relax. They'd already hunted and they had plenty of time before they would need to head home. He smiled when she tipped her head back to look up at him, leaning down to kiss her. She made him so happy; he couldn't imagine his life without her anymore. "I love you," he whispered, making her giggle, lifting a hand to stroke his cheek.
"I love you too," she kissed him.
He closed his eyes and just let his mind drift. He wasn't looking forward to the start of the new school year, but at least he was in the same grade as Alice, occasionally they even got to share classes. It was why they played the younger siblings, so the two couples could stay together as much as possible at school. Having all five of them in one grade was too unbelievable even for adopted siblings.
He did envy the other three for only having two years of high school left, he and Alice would be stuck for three. But he thought of all of them, Jasper had it the worst. Sure, he couldn't hear the thoughts that went with the emotions, but he also didn't have a mate to help him deal with everything. Edward shuddered to think how much worse it'd be without Alice at his side.
"Edward?" Alice asked.
"Just…thinking about how hard it must be for Jasper with all the emotions aimed at him, especially when they know he's single. I don't know how I'd deal with the thoughts without you," he admitted, and for a second he caught something in her thoughts, a flicker of one of her visions…Jasper…holding someone. "Alice?"
She winced. "You weren't meant to see that," she admitted.
"You've seen Jasper…his mate?" he asked in excitement. Why keep that secret?
"I know he'll meet her soon, here in Forks. But all I've seen of her is a vague image. Shorter than Jasper but taller than me, long brown hair, slender…but that's it. No idea of who she is," she sighed, obviously frustrated.
Edward frowned as he realised something. "Jasper's met the Denali's… which means his mate isn't like us."
She nodded, shifting to sit sideways in his lap, her head over his silent heart. "I still see Jasper with golden eyes, not red though. So either she'll change to our diet for him, or they'll somehow balance having different ones."
Edward was relieved to hear that. He knew how much his old diet still tortured Jasper's thoughts. For him to go back to it for his mate…it wouldn't be healthy. He was happy his brother would soon know the same happiness as the rest of them.
Billy watched Sam storm away, heart heavy. He'd known the Cullen's return would cause trouble for the tribe, might cause a reappearance of the wolves, and he'd been proven right. Why had his grandfather ever made a treaty with them? Though, he'd only had a pack of three at the time, the stories he'd been told mentioned five Cold Ones, so they'd been outnumbered. Was that why? Or had he truly believed they weren't a threat?
So far, it was only Sam and Jared, how long till others began to shift? And…Jacob…his son was alpha by right of his blood, but he doubted Sam would step back when or hopefully only if Jacob ever changed. He was too young at the moment; all Billy could do was hope they were gone before he was old enough.
They'd been there a year and a half already, sending the 'children' to school in Forks. How long would or could they stay? If the younger ones went off to college after graduation then people would be less likely to notice their lack of aging. But Dr Cullen wouldn't be able to pretend to be much past thirty at the most, would he? Still…that might be long enough to push the pack into increasing until Jacob was old enough.
"Charlie? How are you?"
"I'm fine Bella. How are you?"
"Good, my book is being published."
"Congratulations," she could hear the smile in his voice. "Same old same old here. The town has finally given up gossiping about the Cullen's, it's only taken two years."
"Ouch, poor them." She hated the gossip that came with being the new person around, though it had gotten better for her over the years. A young woman along was much more acceptable now than it had been back then.
"Definitely. I was wondering…"
"You need to move on to a new identity right? She…she would have been seventeen now, the same age as you are physically. And it'd be nice, to have the house not be so empty."
Bella hesitated. "Are you sure?" she had to be sure, she didn't want to hurt him. She knew he'd suggested it that day at their graves, but it'd been over a decade since then. Plenty of time to change his mind.
"As far as everyone knows, my daughter is in Phoenix with Renée. This place is too big for just me."
Bella thought it over, this was why he hadn't claimed their bodies after all. "Okay, I'll need a few months to get everything ready. To make it easier, it might be best for Renée to 'die' now."
"Handle it however you want."
"Okay, I'll see you in a few months," she promised.
Edward frowned as he heard everyone's thoughts. Chief Swan's ex-wife had been killed in a car accident. He felt sorry for the man, he treated their family well and wasn't scared of them which was nice. Especially considering how close he was to those on the Res and what they likely had to say about his family. Chief Swan's daughter…ah, she hadn't been in the car and would be returning to Forks to finish High School. He felt bad for the poor girl, though it would be nice to have the attention off of them.
When he got home he told them what he'd overheard and Esme went to work cooking up healthy, comforting meals which she then took to Chief Swan's home.
Alice smiled, the vision was a bit clearer, though she still couldn't see her she now knew it would be soon. Finally, Jasper's mate was coming to Forks in the next few months! She couldn't wait! She hoped they would all be such good friends. And with the new girl coming to school and taking some attention off of them, it'd be easier to hide the appearance of a new vampire in the area.