Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Chapter 2: The Phone Call
Esme and Carlisle had told Social Services that they really couldn't take in another teenager. Although Emmett and Alice were doing a bit better, they felt as if they were just now making strides with Rosalie and Jasper. They were convinced that the two needed some more time before any further stressors were added to their lives. However, the phone rang one evening with another social worker on the line.
"Hello," said Esme.
"Yes, I understand… But, you see, we have five right now… Oh no… Bless her heart…"
Esme was silent for a long time, listening to the social worker's sob story. He was a little annoyed at the worker's ability to play on Esme's heart strings so easily. Esme was too softhearted for her own good.
"Well, I suppose that we could put her in with the girls…. I really should call Carlisle and check with him first. When will she be here? … All right… I should be able to let you know in an hour…. Okay… Goodbye."
Esme hung up the phone and turned around. He lifted his eyebrows questioningly.
"That was Mrs. Cope. They have another girl that they'd like for us to keep. She's… well she has some problems that need individual attention. Mrs. Cope knows that we have five right now, but everyone is doing so well, even Rosalie, that I thought maybe we could take Isabella in, too. She needs us."
"Isabella?" Alice asked. She had just walked into the kitchen with Emmett and overheard Esme's final sentence.
"Yes," said Esme. "She's another foster child that we might take in. I need to call your father and check with him before I call Mrs. Cope back, of course. It's an unusually difficult case, and I want to make sure he's up to it."
"Oh, you know if she's hurt then Carlisle will be up to it. He can't resist anything that gives an appropriate puppy-dog face," said Emmett cheerfully.
"Emmett, be serious!" said Alice giggling. She smacked Emmett's shoulder, even though he stood at least a foot taller than the tiny Alice. Emmett picked up Alice, threw her over his shoulder and turned to Esme again. Alice laughed and beat his back with her tiny fists until Emmett put her down.
"Umm… What's wrong with her?" Emmett suddenly looked a little nervous, probably remembering some of Rosalie's more violent rages before she settled down into her present state of uneasy coexistence.
"Well, Mrs. Cope said that she's very nervous around people…. She doesn't like to be touched… And she doesn't talk," said Esme sadly.
"At all?" asked Alice in shock. Esme shook her head.
"What happened to her?" Emmett barked out at the same time. Edward could see that his protective instincts were in full bloom, but he could tell from Esme's eyes that she would not answer him. Esme believed in protecting the privacy of all her kids. Both she and Carlisle preferred for them to tell their own stories.
He could see though that she had the same kind of sadness in her eyes thinking about Isabella as she had whenever she thought about Rosalie.
"I should really call Carlisle. Alice, would you get Rosalie, please, and Emmett would you go get Jasper? I want to talk with everyone when I'm finished with Carlisle."
He followed Alice outside. Rosalie was tinkering beneath the hood of Esme's car. He stood back and watched as Alice danced around Rosalie.
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression…
The scene before him faded way as he started to think intensely. He had always been able to slip easily into his memories…. It helped him deal with the anger that threatened so constantly to overwhelm him. Alice once told him that he lived in the past the same way that she lived in the future… He didn't know whether that was true or not….
He remembered when he first came to Esme and Carlisle those many years before. He remembered how he watched everything around him. He remembered how he discovered that he could … read … the thoughts of others around him …. through the emotion that showed in their eyes.
Eyes are so easy to read, if one is willing to pay attention.
Each of his siblings presents different difficulties for his gift. For instance, Emmett is unusual because he does whatever his eyes think, so Edward never really had to practice reading his eyes.
Alice is sometimes hard because he can never tell if he's reading the present or the future in her gaze. She usually tells him if he asks though.
Carlisle's are perhaps the easiest for him to read. He's so sincere that his deepest thoughts shine without there being a mask across his eyes.
Esme is the same way, even though he knows she hasn't told everything. But while she keeps her own secrets, what she feels about all of the kids in her care shows so easily it's almost like they're written in neon lights on her forehead.
Jasper is the hardest for him to read… He intentionally tries to hide what he's thinking. It's almost as if there's an opaque film across his eyes. They're not blank… just inscrutable…. Edward can sometimes catch a stray thought here and there, but it's never been enough for him to feel like he knows him…
Rosalie is just … different.
He's not really sure Rosalie was thinking very much when she came at the beginning. As soon as she crossed the door he could see that she was violently angry, and that she feared her anger because she didn't fully understand it. She was like a cornered animal, lashing out on pure instinct alone.
But he saw the questions in her eyes the same way Jasper saw the fear in her shaking hands.
He thinks that Jasper reads people like he does. His gift is to see through the eyes … but he doesn't know how Jasper reads those around him…
Esme's respect for privacy has become a sacred law in the house – and while he thinks the idea is good in theory, it has exasperated the silence in which everyone lives – and he never felt that he could ask Jasper why he watches those around him so carefully….
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence…
Edward vividly remembers when Rosalie first came.
She had barely dropped her suitcase to the floor before she was screaming and throwing things, raging at Esme and Carlisle for telling her what to do – pushing them away before they could send her to the next home, instinctively feeling that offense was the best defense….
Rosalie feared what she would feel if they pushed her away and hurt her just like everyone else. And she hated herself for pushing them to do exactly what she feared. Fear, shame, and hatred were wrapped up so tightly in her that he's surprised she only threw things.
It also became very obvious in the wildness of her motion that Rosalie was sick as well. Her arms were like sticks, and her sunken cheeks flamed with feverish spots of color that stood out against her too pale skin. He could also see the deep scratches crisscrossing her arms through the thin fabric of her t-shirt.
The fight started because she refused to let Carlisle take her to the doctor for a check-up.
"It's my body!" she kept screaming over and over, her too-thin arms slashing the air for emphasis. "My body!"
It was in that moment, as he saw the conflicting thoughts in Rosalie's eyes that he knew that she both loved and hated her body… and herself…. She loved how powerful her beauty made her feel… so in control. Men fell before her. She was a queen, and she knew it.
And yet she hated that same body … hated it because it was so weak, so able to be over-powered by those same men who were physically stronger than she could ever be. She knew that it was a tenuous power that she held, one that only worked if men were in awe of her. If that awe faded, if their lust overcame reason … then there was no way she could win.
So by starving herself and cutting her arms, she got back at her body in the only way she knew how. She tried to kill the power that she held, because she hated weakness. That power was weakness. At the same time, she knew she was destroying the only weapon she had. Without it, she was utterly defenseless.
She couldn't stop because by behaving the way she was she could kill two birds with one stone. She could be in control of her own body… of her own life… hell, even of her own destiny if she managed to kill herself in the end, which might have been her purpose all along…. But by being in such firm control, she also punished the very beauty of the body that had caused all the problems to begin with.
And Jasper? Jasper had to sit and watch his sister self-destruct because there was nothing he could do to stop her.
He could see that Edward understood, though. They talked with Carlisle and Carlisle began giving her other things to control… She fixed all the cars… she cooked dinner…. She helped Carlisle with the household finances…. She found peace working with her hands, working with things that could be maneuvered and controlled the way she wanted them to…
And yet never once was she completely honest with them. Never once did she say "I need help" … "I need to be myself" … "I am afraid" … I am angry" … "I am in pain" … "Hear me" … "Help me" …
He had to guess at what was causing her pain… My God, he had to guess….
It terrified him to think of what might have happened if he had guessed wrong… if he had interpreted her actions in some other way ….
Anorexia seems to be a modern disease, but old phrases like "pining away" and "wasting away" suggest that it may have been around unnamed for a long time. Nobody seems to know what it's all about, though there are endless theories. Young anorexics want to strike free of parental control, they say, and where does it assume a more elemental form than in "take a bite for Mummy, a bite for Daddy"? So that is where they draw the battle line. The more desperately they are urged to eat, the more desperately they resist. Their bodies are their last citadel, and they are prepared to defend them literally to the death…
He heard the rich tones of Rosalie's laughter mixed with Alice's light giggles. He could see her arms under her rolled-up sleeves. The cuts were still there, but they were finally beginning to scab over and heal. Her cheek bones were filling out around her strong features.
"Rose!" Alice called. She ran up and wrapped her small arms around Rosalie's waist.
"Be careful, Alice!" laughed Rosalie. "I have grease all over myself!"
"We might have a new sister coming to stay with us," said Alice. She spun around the garage. "I have a feeling I'm going to like her a lot," she said contentedly.
Rosalie looked surprised and slightly apprehensive…. and possibly jealous.
He narrowed his eyes and studied her.
"More than you like me?" she asked with a tight smile.
Alice looked surprised and said, "I could never like anyone quite like I like you, Rosalie, because you're the only Rosalie I know!" Delighted with her logic, Alice started flitting around the garage again.
"Rosalie, if she comes, don't you dare make trouble. She sounds like she needs us. Don't hurt her," he said.
On the best of days her mind is a jumble. He didn't even want to try to guess why she would be jealous right now.
"I'll have you know I'll be perfectly kind," said Rosalie angrily.
But he could see the faint whisper of shame around her eyes.