Jasper: You are not stupid. *quickly reassuring her the second the words left her mouth* No one in this family is stupid, except for Gabriel, and he's so far beyond stupid, I would dare to call it moronic. I will say it again, you did the right thing by not giving him the key when he asked for it. I can only guess at what he wanted it for, but that small, brave action on your part may have just saved his life. There's a reason Emmett and Rosalie don't want him driving right now. If he were to get drunk again, if he were to drive drunk...as long as he doesn't have that key, then there's one extra layer between him and potentially lethal consequences. I think he had him give you the key as more of a symbolic gesture rather than to make you the responsible gatekeeper, standing in the way between Gabe and freedom. Either that or in his anger with Gabe, he completely forgot that you already had a key. If it makes you more comfortable, I can take Gabe's key and hang on to it. And believe me, if you never want to see that belligerent bully again, I'm not going to make you. I don't even know if I can stand the thought of having to face him. *this time the growl that boiled up in his chest managed to make it out his mouth into an audible announcement* If he wasn't so breakable, I swear I would... *cutting himself off when he realized what he was about to say, what dark thoughts he was about to admit to in front of his daughter* I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. But you are my baby girl, and when someone hurts you, it's like they hurt me. That is one thing that the Major will not tolerate. He knows only one thing, and that's how to defend against attack. And he sees this as an attack against someone he loves. Gabriel should actually be very afraid for his life right now. *tempted to sweep her up into his arms as they moved down the hall, but it would be very odd to see him carrying her out of the school and it might raise one too many questions. Again, he walked right past the office, trusting that Emmett would do what had to be done to legally sign her out of school for the day.* I ran here. Do you mind if we take the Highlander back? *he accepted the keys when she shakily handed them over to him before helping her inside the vehicle* Are you hungry? Do you want to stop for food anywhere? Or go through a drive-thru? *when she just shook her head, he let the silence between them linger as he thought back to the journal he was working on before her call had come in. He had been hypothesizing about what kind of newborns Robyn and Gabe might make. Initially, it had just been an exercise to pass the time, but then he considered sharing his thoughts with Robyn, hoping that it would help her make her decision. The recent news about Gabriel, however, had him completely rethinking how the boy would turn out if he were to be changed. Especially if that change came sooner rather than later, and now, now he didn't know if he even wanted to undertake the task of training a newborn Gabe. It would not be a fun task at all. In fact, he may even prove to be one of the most difficult newborns he'd ever met, and that was saying something.*8/12/2017 #361 Report
Dr. Kelley: *Exchanging a contentious look with the other man when he finished speaking. The coach had neglected to tell him that other parents had come forward about this issue until this very moment, despite the fact that they'd spent almost a half hour behind closed doors preparing for this meeting. The dean knew what this was about; he didn't want to risk all of the boys that had clearly taken part in this incident—the story he was trying to sell was almost ludicrous. It would have been far more believable if the parents had all claimed that their children had been elsewhere, rather than claiming all their children watched a single teammate imbibe so much alcohol and weed alone. Still, the coach's main concern, as it should have been, was for the football team and it's players. The dean recognized the money and prestige the team brought the school. It's members tended to be generous donors and the team was part of the The Ivy Preparatory School League. However, the dean was nothing if not a stickler for the rules, and having a team of such high caliber came with the heavy obligation of keeping it that way* Rest assured, I'll be making calls as soon as we end this meeting to have a random drug test issued for all members of our sports teams. *He could see Coach Martinez stiffen beside him, the only confirmation that he needed to know that if his fellow staff member didn't outright know the story he was selling was a lie, then he at least suspected it* And, I'll have to make some calls about hiring a new football coach. That's going to be a hassle. But, I'm afraid we do have a no tolerance policy for drinking and drugs at Horace Mann. Knowing what I do, I'd be under obligation to test him come Monday, you understand. *It was the smallest of mercies, but he would give the family a chance to withdraw before Gabriel could be expelled. He fully intended on expelling each of the other boys who had been involved in the incident, the ones who had tried to cover their own behinds by throwing Gabriel to the sharks. He knew the kinds of families he catered to, but when the elite tried to promote such weak moral character in their children, the school head was more than happy to show them that dishonesty didn't pay. That thing wasn't tolerated, not at his prep school, not when these things were brought to his attention at least. It was the same attitude his predecessors had, and it was the thing that he believed had kept the private school as prestigious as if had been for long* I cannot speak for Notre Dame, of course, but I suspect as my college suggested that the scholarship money promised was dependent on Mr. Cullen's position on our team. I'm very sorry, and I can't thank you enough for bringing this awful situation to our attention.
Emmett: *Stiffly nodding as he understood the situation that was being presented to them* Well, thank you very much for meeting with us. Dr. Kelley. Martinez. *Purposefully not addressing the coach by his title when it became apparent that the man had turned on their son as soon as the opportunity had been presented to him. It wasn't like he could really blame him, with the way his son had been acting lately, but he wasn't about to congratulate him either, especially when, to his knowledge, every other member of that team was just as bad as his son was becoming. He didn't touch the brochure that the man had offered them, either. If they were sending Gabriel to rehab, and that was a big if, they were going to do it through Carlisle, not this two-faced fiend* We'd like to pull Gabriel from school effective immediately. We'll be taking Robyn with us for the day as well, but just for the rest of the day. *Without any explanation for the latter, he led Rosalie by the hand that he was still firmly holding out to the office, where they would wait for their son to meet them before they took him home, standing there almost woodenly, having to remind himself to blink and breathe so that his statue-stillness didn't frighten the receptionist*8/12/2017 #362 Report
Robyn: *She stared quietly out the window on the drive home, a frequent pastime of hers on the longer drives the Cullens made across the country. Most of the family could tolerate being on an airplane, but they found it more enjoyable to drive when they would take to the open road instead. Every few years they took to the highways to move, and other times they would take family trips far out of town, often visiting national monuments or parks that weren't too terribly far from wherever they were living. Robyn had always loved to take in the scenery, the different trees the different styles of buildings, trying to find out what kinds of plants were growing on the farms they past, what kinds of animals were roaming the fields. She liked to watch the sun set and the sky turn blue in twilight just as stars started to dot the darkening sky. But, today, she wasn't looking at the little nuances of life beyond the glass window. Today, she wasn't seeing much of anything. She was all cried out, and now she just felt like one of the t-shirts Emmett would wear when he help Rosalie work on a car, one that had been worn and washed so many times it was wearing thin, with holes along the seams. One that had been stained so many times, you couldn't be sure what was a smudge and what was part of the design of the shirt. When she finally did speak again, they had already been sitting in the garage for several quiet seconds before she reached a hand over to where his still rested on the wheel* I don't want you to hurt anyone... *Realizing that she might have made a mistake as she corrected her wording* I don't want the Major to hurt anyone. Not... Not Gabe, at least. Maybe he deserves it, but... It wouldn't be right. *Sighing as she enveloped his stronger hand in her own, feeling steadier with the contact. She always felt better when she was closer to Jasper. She always felt safer, and strangely, she still did, death threats and all. Of course the words had chilled her, she wasn't made of stone, she was made of something far softer. Still, she knew that whatever came, he would never hurt her. It almost seemed silly, that she was so afraid of a human boy, when a vampire who had fought and killed countless other vampires was sitting right beside her, making her feel like the safest person on earth* I just... I never wanted to be scared of him, you know? I love him. He's isn't just like a brother to me... He is my brother. And I don't know why he would do this. I don't get it. I would never— *She could feel tears stinging at her eyes again, but she blinked them away before they could fall* I would never hurt him. I wouldn't even let Jasper hurt him. You'd think the least he would do was not bury a knife in my back. *It was a bit of a melodramatic way to phrase it, she knew, but that was the way it felt. It felt like he'd hurt her because she'd let her guard down, because she let him, and feeling that way about someone she cared about just made her heart ache* We should go see Carlisle. He'll be wondering why I'm home so early anyways. *Giving Jasper a look that was all big blue eyes, her still tear-stained face speaking for itself* Do we... Do we have to tell him? I... I don't think I can. *It had been hard enough to confess to Jasper, hard enough to tell the truth to the person she trusted the most, when it came down to it. It had been the truth, but she knew without asking that it had soured his opinion of Gabriel, perhaps for good. She knew that he had always believed the young man to be good, deep down. Although he called Gabriel nephew, in many ways, he thought about Gabriel as a son, just like she thought of him as a brother. Jasper had been the one to bring them home in the first place. And it was whatever he'd seen in them that had led to them becoming a part of the Cullen family. And at the moment, it felt like that family was getting torn apart. It had felt like perhaps it had been falling apart shortly after her grandparents had died, with so much of her family becoming distant, or in Alice's case, literally remote. But, this was different. Gabriel was lashing out in every direction. At Rosalie, with his words. Physically, with her. Even at his own body, with the drinking and drugs. And Robyn wasn't sure how many hits they all could take before everything came shattering down. It wasn't just Gabriel that scared her. It was the ramifications of what he'd done, the ramifications of what her honesty would continue to do*8/12/2017 . Edited 8/12/2017 #363 Report
Rosalie: *her grip on Emmett's hand had noticeably tightened as first the coach and then the dean spoke, while they stood waiting for Gabriel to get to the front office from class, she couldn't help turning to Emmett in bewildered confusion* Did you know about Notre Dame? I knew Gabe was interested in going there, but I didn't know they had made any kind of formal offer, much less that they offered him a scholarship. I guess the point is kind of mute now, but I still wish that I had known. *not daring to talk about anything else at that moment. Notre Dame was easily the least intense topic of conversation to reflect on while they waited*
Gabriel: *confusion crossing his face when the note from the front office was passed to him saying that he was being checked out. Rose and Emmett wouldn't check him out, would they? Surely not. They had stressed the importance of school to much to be intentionally letting him leave early. But he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth, instead gathering his things and making his way to meet them at the front office. Before he got too close to them, he could tell that something was off about the way they were standing, their posture, the way Rosalie barely moved her lips as she talked, the near death grip they had on each other's hands. Something was definitely off about the whole picture. They actually looked the least human than what he had seen in a long time from them. It wasn't like them to be so careless in public. He could only imagine what had them acting this way. Were they mad at the school for believing the lies that the other guy's parents had undoubtedly told the coach? Were they finally ready to be on his side for once and take up for him? Or had something else happened? Something tragically wrong? Were they mad at him even more now than before? Or was it fear? Or worry? He seemed to be frozen in place as he watched them from a distance trying to decide if it was even safe to his physical person to be approaching them. But he knew they would never lay a hand on him. They wouldn't hurt him, not for the world. No matter how mad they got, punishment would never be physical in nature. They hadn't even spanked him when he was little. Probably because they were afraid of losing control and actually hurting him, but still, he knew that he would be physically safe around them, at least he hoped he would be, but he had never seen them like this before, it was kind of terrifying. When Rosalie turned her head and spotted him, her eyes were hollow, her mouth expressionless, but he knew that he was in trouble, big trouble, the kind of trouble he would probably never manage to work his way out of no matter how hard he tried. She walked toward him when it was clear that he wasn't going anywhere and ordered him to go clean out his locker leaving behind his textbooks and any other school property he may have, but to take everything else from his locker with him. Apparently, he wasn't coming back, ever.* Wait. Why not? What happened? *but he didn't get an answer, just a glare that could have melted an iceberg from his dad* Ok, ok, I'm going. Chill man. *holding up his hands in defense as he quickly did as they instructed and returned to the front of the school, only to be hurriedly rushed outside and ordered to sit in the tiny backseat of the porsche. The drive home was intensely silent, the kind of heavy silent that seemed to weigh everything down, the kind of silence that made one feel almost physically sick because of its intensity. They were about to round the last corner before getting to the house when he dared to speak again* Look, whatever's going on here, just tell me, give me a chance to explain. *but he was met with four stoney eyes meeting his own in the rearview mirror and a harsh command to be silent from his mom, she followed the command up by explaining that she did not want to hear his voice again until she specifically requested him to speak.* She's forcing me not to talk. This is bad. Like really bad. I'm kind of honestly terrified right now. Just let me talk, I can explain. Please. Give me a chance here. If you ban my voice then I can't even apologize for whatever it is that's all stuck up in your craw. *when they pulled into the garage, again, the command was simple from his mom. Inside. Upstairs. His room. Not to come out, not to speak, not to even move from whatever spot on the floor he chose until he received further instructions. He was too afraid not to obey, and chose to sit as far away from the door of his room as he could get, right beside the sliding glass door/windows that led out onto the connecting balcony. He briefly wondered if Robyn knew what was going on, and considered sneaking out and tapping on her door/window, but quickly thought better of it and stayed put instead.*
Jasper: *letting out a deep sigh after a long moment* I won't hurt Gabriel. The Major won't hurt Gabriel. Not even the Major would do something like that. The temptation is there, I won't lie about that, but if he were to react in any kind physically violent way, he would be no better than Gabriel. He won't stoop to that level. Maybe if Gabe were already changed, but absolutely not while he's still a human. That would be truly unforgivable. But he is going to learn his lesson one way or another. I just haven't decided how, yet. The Major has a few pretty creative solutions, but none of which I would be willing to execute as long as I stay in charge. I know how close the two of you are. And I would normally say that I'm pretty close to him as well. But today...today he lost every drop of respect and trust that I ever had for him. It's going to be a very long time before he can earn that trust back, and I don't think that I'm ever going to look at him the same way again. Not even in a hundred years. *helping her out of the Highlander and into the house, and up to Carlisle's office* He'll find out the full story sooner or later, but if you'd rather not say now, then you don't have to. I just want to make sure that you're ok. *knocking on his adopted father's door and waiting for permission to enter before so* Hey, do you have a minute to look at Robyn's shoulder. It's bruised up pretty bad, and I just need you to make sure that nothing more is going on there that I can't see.8/12/2017 #364 Report
(Good morning! Sorry I fell asleep on you last night. Hopefully I'll be all caught up by the time you get back from church!)8/13/2017 #365 Report
Emmett: *Slowly shaking his head at the proffered question about Gabriel's scholarship* No. No, he didn't say anything to me. Not about a scholarship. Not that he'd gotten in. He had to have gotten a letter, but the kids check the mail more often than not. Most of the things that come for us got to one of the P.O. Boxes, so it would have been easy for him to slip it out of the pile before we got the chance to see it. I... I don't know why he would do all this, especially if he had an offer from his dream school. Is that what this is all about? He had it made in the shade, so he didn't have to play by the rules anymore. *But, they didn't have much more time to wax poetic about what might have been, because by then, Gabriel was already joining then, looking confused as he approached, confusion turning to bewilderment when Rosalie revealed that he wouldn't be coming back. Emmett wanted to shake the young man, to demand that his son own up to his mistakes, that he stop pretending that he didn't know why this was happening, that he would stop playing innocent and waiting for them to confront him for what he'd done to Robyn, just like he'd forced Emmett to confront him about everything he had done the night before, and even then, he'd denied it as long as he could before he'd confessed. But, he didn't. Instead, he set his angry eyes on his son, but he kept his mouth set in a firm line, allowing Rosalie to speak for the both of them until they were home, and Gabriel sequestered to what remained of his bedroom. He didn't want to think about what had just happened, he didn't want to think about what was going to happen, either. Unfortunately, he was a vampire, with a mind that ran faster than any computer processor a human could ever hope to build. He couldn't avoid thinking about either of these dreaded subjects. He might be able to delay them with a hunt. The thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of the kill, the pleasure of the blood. But, once those primal instincts were satisfied, his mind would simply circle back around. It was inevitable* He just acted like he didn't know. Like he hadn't done anything. *He wanted more than anything to scream the words in a fit of frustration, but he wasn't angry anymore. He wanted to be angry, he wanted to possess the righteous fury he was sure his brother was chock full of at the moment, but instead, he just felt weary and disappointed. This whole time, he'd kept telling himself over and over that his son's eventful night out had been some kind of mistake. Maybe he'd meant to skip out on a night of homework at home. Emmett had believed that. Now, he wasn't so sure the beer and pot had been a surprise to the young man. He wasn't so sure that Gabriel hadn't planned to drive home knowing he'd be impaired the whole time* If he can pretend like something like this didn't happen to our faces, what else has he lied about? *He didn't want to think that about the young man, the thought was painful. The idea that Gabriel might have hurt his little sister, then gone to lengths to cover it up instead of apologizing, or explaining that it was a mistake was reprehensible* But, how could he not have known? If Jasper got a call about it, it must have been from a teacher, if not Robyn herself. Gabriel had to have noticed that something was wrong with her. This is right around the time they have classes together. Had classes together. *Shaking his head to himself as he wove his fingers though Rosalie's hand where they still sat in her porsche. He had only let go for an instant in the parking lot so that they could get into the car, and even that was borderline unbearable. He had spent three days with lava in his veins and a giant hole a bear ripped through his chest waiting to become what he was now. Once, he had thought that was the most painful thing he could ever experience. For a time, he felt almost invincible afterwards. But, then Rosalie and he had kissed for the first time, and she had made a confession. She told him her story, and the pain each word brought was worse than any physical pain he could imagine. He would have happily turned one hundred times over if it meant that he could erase even a little of the pain that had been inflicted on her the night she changed. He couldn't, but he often wished he could. Sadly, even he couldn't protect his mate from the past. Beside those two events, this was probably the third most painful moment of his life, the moment when he wondered what kind of man they had raised, the moment when he wondered how they were going to turn this around when their little boy seemed so far gone* ...We should check on Robyn. *He finally announced, after several long minutes where the pair simply sat together, trying to recoup, knowing that the hits were going to keep coming, and not knowing when they were going to stop. But, even as he said the words, he couldn't make himself go. He couldn't bear to face the damage his son had done.*8/13/2017 #366 Report
Carlisle: Of course. Please, do come on in. *Smiling warmly at the pair at the entered, his sharp, observant eyes immediately catching the way his granddaughter was almost hugging her right shoulder to her body, nor the way that Jasper was hovering protectively over her, standing far closer to her than he usually did. He gestured for the young woman to make herself comfortable on the chaise in one corner of his office that had become an impromptu exam table over the years. She dropped her backpack near his door before she complied, her eyes flickering downward when he asked what happened* It's alright. *He said, his eyes flickering over towards Jasper with concern, but the comforting smile never leaving his face* You don't have to tell me. Though, I'll admit, I got into quite a bit of trouble in my youth. I once tripped over a church pew, you know. *He felt a weight lift off of his chest when she the young woman chuckled at his recollection. He was sure the story would have been far less funny if he could remember why he'd been running, or what injuries he had sustained, but all he remembered was a comical flop that would have been the three stooges to shame, and of corse, being aded for an extended period of time afterwards* Would you mind unbuttoning your shirt for me? I just want to take a look, make sure it isn't broken or dislocated. I would hate for you to be in pain when you don't have to be. *His calm, pleasant expression never breaking as she undid the first few buttons on her button down. She was wearing a camisole underneath, but Carlisle was a professional, a trauma surgeon, he had seen worse. He had cut away the clothes of burn victims before, despite the standards of modesty in his day. He had made a resolution long ago not to let his thirst interfere with his ability to help people. If he could resist that, a little exposed flesh wasn't going to bother him. It was also his professionalism that kept his face from morphing into the horror he felt when the dark bruise on his granddaughter's flesh was exposed. If he pressed his hand to it, he knew he would struggle to cover the entirety of it, and he couldn't help but wonder how this had happened, especially if Robyn didn't want to tell him. She didn't play sports, and she wasn't clumsy, like Bella had been, so an accident seemed unlikely. Still, the idea that someone had done this to such a sweet young woman on purpose was harrowing. Even after seeing the things that he saw all day, even after his seemingly endless compassion for everyone he met, it was still painful beyond anything else to think about the ones he loved being hurt* This... May hurt. Forgive me. *His fingers touched the wound with feather lightness, each tiny flinch a grimace like one of Kate's shocks, sent straight to his undead heart. When he was finished his hand gently moved to caress her back for a long second before he moved away to allow her to right her shirt* There doesn't seem to be any kind of permanent damage. You don't have the kind of swelling I would associate with a bone bruise. If it does start to swell up, I could always take you to the hospital to get an MRI or an X-Ray to confirm that you don't have a minor fracture, but unless this injury was received in a fall, it's unlikely. *Looking between them curiously, but neither of them confirmed or denied his suggestion, which was more of a denial in his experience* I recommend ice— *Walking over to his medical supplies and activating an instant ice pack, gently handing it to Robyn so she could press it against the injury* —and rest. You don't play sports, and you're left-handed, so I'm not particularly worried about the latter... *Glancing at her backpack in the corner* But, these straps on your book bag might aggravate the injury. *If she wore it properly, with one strap over each shoulder, which he knew she didn't. She always slung it over her left shoulder, something which he had often warned about possibly causing a back injury, but thankfully that had never come to pass* If it's needed, I'm sure Jasper would be happy to purchase you a messenger bag in the meantime. You can wear it over your left shoulder and drape it across your body to carry the weight more evenly. *He pulled out two pills as well, and a bottle of water, holding those out to Robyn as well* Aspirin to help with the pain and any possible swelling. *Nodding to himself a little when she juggled the ice pack to take them, then pressed it right back to her shoulder* And if it mobility doesn't improve in a few days, we'll put you in a sling and take you down to the hospital for those tests.
Robyn: Okay. Thank you, Carlisle. *Smiling a little tightly, rising to excuse herself to her bedroom. But, the moment she opened her mouth to tell the pair where she'd be, she heard the door to Gabriel's slam down the hall. She jumped in place at the noise, then froze when she realized her reaction. Neither man said a word to her, so after a long, uncomfortable pause, she slowly turned to Jasper* Is it okay if I study in your room? *She didn't know why she asked. She knew Gabriel likely wasn't going to be allowed out of his room for a while. She could have locked herself up in her room, locked the window, pulled the curtains, but the idea that he might knock on her window, that he might give her another fake apology like he had before he'd asked her for his Highlander key back made her want to cry all over again. She just wanted to be somewhere where she wouldn't have to worry, somewhere she'd be safe. Form the first time she'd met him at six years old, Robyn knew deep down that that would always be with Jasper. No matter their differences, he'd never raised a hand to her, and today had proven that he'd be willing to rain fire down on anyone that did, even if that person was the former golden child of the family*8/13/2017 #367 Report
(It's all good, I passed out about two minutes after I posted that last one. :) I meant to have this up a lot sooner too, but things kept getting in the way.)
Jasper: *vigilantly standing watch over Robyn as Carlisle examined her, wincing along with her every second that the doctor spent inspecting the bruise, then finally it was finished and Robyn was handed an ice pack and given some instructions on resting arm for the next few days until the bruise had a chance to heal. He said a silent prayer to whatever entity that might be listening that rest would be all that it took and that Robyn would be back to her usual self in no time at all, and they could avoid any other tests or complications. He could hear it the instant Rosalie's porsche pulled into the garage and heard the order for him to go upstairs to his room and sit there until they were ready to talk to him.* It's just as well, I'm still much too upset to deal with him appropriately. And I suspect from Emmett and Rosalie's emotions they're about done with this whole mess as well. *briefly his eyes met Carlisle's. He knew without asking that his adopted father could hear Gabe coming up the stairs, could hear the extra heavy footfalls that indicated someone was stomping their feet rather than walking normally, could hear the huffs of angry air as it left his lungs, could hear the noticeable lack of footsteps behind him indicating that Emmett and Rosalie hadn't yet made it into the house from the garage, and even Robyn's human ears could hear the sound of his door slamming behind him. Carlisle noticed her flinch in the same instant that he did, but to the other man's credit, he didn't ask anything aloud about it. He quickly nodded his head when Robyn asked to study in his room instead of her own. He could only assume that she wasn't yet comfortable enough to be separated from that monster by only a single, thin wall. He was certain that Gabe wouldn't have to try too hard to break down that barrier. It wasn't healthy for Robyn to fear Gabriel like this, but it was completely understandable, and for now, he would take that into consideration.* Yes, that's fine for now. I have to talk to Rose and Emmett anyway. *waiting until Robyn had made her way down the hall to his room and slipped inside before turning back to Carlisle* Thank you. *hesitating a long moment, debating if he should say more or not. It was extremely rare to involve Carlisle in matters that concerned Robyn and Gabriel. Raising them, taking care of them, especially disciplining them had always been left up to him, Emmett, and Rosalie. There had only been one or two times when he had specifically asked for advice from the older vampire, and he wasn't sure that Carlisle could offer any words of wisdom in this case anyway. But he at least deserved to know what was happening in his own house. It was only fair.* Has Esme already told you about this morning? And what happened with Gabriel last night? *when Carlisle sadly nodded, it gave him the opening to continue* Robyn called me in tears from the girl's bathroom. She was gone from the house, gone from my sight for less than two hours. *he said the words sadly, with a level of stress he hadn't allowed himself to feel until that moment. If he had been there, Robyn wouldn't have been hurt. He could have stopped Gabe, somehow.* That bruise, she said Gabriel did it to her. She guessed that it was payback when she didn't give him back the key to the Highlander when he asked her for it. Believe me, it is taking every ounce of restraint that I have not to run in there right now and just laying into the kid. I don't care how bad it gets for him, that is never an excuse to hurt someone else like that. Rosalie and Emmett are doing their best to stay on top of things, and honestly I wouldn't be doing any better than they are if the roles were reversed. And I don't expect you to have any answers either, but I needed you to know what's going on. Not just because you'll hear it later anyway, or for medical reasons, but because you deserve to know. This is still your house, and I don't know how far this is going to go, but worst case scenario, I have every confidence that Rose and Emmett will remove Gabriel from the home before he can become a threat to the family.
Rosalie: I don't know, Em. I don't know our own son anymore. *lost in her own thoughts for a long time as Emmett was lost in his, but finally nodding her head when he suggested going to check on Robyn* Yes, we should. *but in spite of her words, it was still a long moment after that before she found the energy to actually open her car door and get out, painfully separating her hand from Emmett's for a half-second until they were both out of the Porsche and next to each other again, they walked silently, but united up the stairs to where they could smell Jasper's scent where he stood in the doorway of Carlisle's office, filling him in on the matter at hand. They had heard the last few things that he said, and while she knew that it was true, it was painful for her to hear, impossible for her to fathom leaving the family because of Gabriel* Oh yeah, Jas, and where are we going to take him? To Denali? To Peter and Charlotte? I wouldn't wish his current state of mind on anyone right now, not even my worst enemy, much less our cousins. And Peter and Char? They've wanted nothing to do with you, with us, since we brought humans into our family. Too dangerous. I guess we could ship him off to a military boot camp. That's what normal, human parents would do, right? ******, Jasper that is my son you're talking about!
Jasper: *turning a glare on Rosalie that matched hers perfectly as the two twins stood facing off against each other, choosing to unleash a little of what they were feeling on the other instead of working together to figure things out between their children* And that's my daughter he hit!8/13/2017 #368 Report
(No worries! :) I'm really glad you were able to get on tonight!)8/13/2017 #369 Report
Carlisle: *His expression was the epitome of calm as quickly moved to stand between the pair, holding a hand up to each of them in a gesture that was meant to discourage them from attacking one another at best, and that would turn into a grip to catch them before they attacked each other at best. It wasn't that he didn't expect that they would fight. His children were like real siblings in many ways, and one of them was how often they tended to quarrel with one another. They often came to blows, but for a vampire, that wasn't nearly as dangerous an enterprise as fighting between humans was. Unless someone died, or fire was involved, a vampire would always recover from whatever was done to them. And the wrestling matches his children got into in the heat of the moment were harmless scraps compared to a real fight between vampires, he knew. Still, he couldn't allow them to battle each other in the narrow hallway in which they presently stood. The brick house that they currently resided in was a sturdy one, but it wouldn't stand up to even a friendly wrestling match between two indestructible creatures. Not to mention the fact that the children they were having their little battle of wills over were far too close to allow them to do this here, now* Take a breath and resolve yourselves to solving this in a civil manner, or take it outside. You know the house rules. *He had hoped that the pair would have realized right away that their fight wasn't with each other, that they didn't need to make an enemy out of one another over this, but to his dismay, Rosalie began to lead the way outside. If he were anyone else, he might have thrown his hands up in frustration at how quickly Emmett and Jasper followed. Instead, being the paragon of patience he was, he followed the trio to the yard, watching from a distance as they all screamed at each other, although no one had thrown the first punch just yet* This isn't going to get them anywhere.
Emmett: *Yelling with just as much vehemence as Rosalie and Jasper* We don't even know what happened! We only have one side of the story! *He knew that Robyn wouldn't have lied, not about something this serious, but Gabriel was still his son, he still felt the need to defend him, he still wanted to believe that deep down this was all some kind of twisted mistake* And even if he'd meant to push her, or nudge her... even if he was angry with her, I don't think he really meant to hurt her. He wouldn't do that. He couldn't. *He kept repeating the words to himself in his mind, as if that would make them true. He desperately wanted them to be. He could hardly reconcile himself with the idea that his son had essentially gotten himself expelled from school and lost his football scholarship to his dream school because of his rash, rebellious actions. But, as long as it was him that his son was lashing out at, not Rosalie, not Robyn, the idea was bearable. He could take the abuse. The thought that haunted him the most was that Gabriel had lashed out at the two women because he knew how much it would hurt them. Because he wanted to. Because he could. It was those thoughts he tried so hard to banish, even as his brother declared that Robyn had been too afraid to even go in her own bedroom because she was so afraid to be around one of the people she should trust the most* He's not going to corner her in her bedroom and attack her! He's not some kind of monster! *His fists clenched when the other man implied that he would be if he were allowed to be changed anytime soon* Not anymore than you are— *He didn't have the chance to qualify that statement with "not anymore than any of us are" before the Major finally lost his temper. At least, Emmett was fairly certain it was the Major. Jasper wasn't even talking anymore, he was just hitting him, bashing his fists and feet against the other man with such velocity and force that there was little Emmett could do other than weather the assault until his mate finally pulled the other man away. The Major shook her off easily, but Carlisle was able to get between the three again before the battlemaster could unleash any more of his wrath on the couple on his other side. It wasn't until their father stood between them that Emmett even realized that was what he wanted, that there was a reason he hadn't fought back when he'd been attacked. He wanted the other man to hit him. He wanted them to be even. There wasn't anything he could do to undo what Gabriel had done to Robyn, and he couldn't bear the idea of sending his son away in his last year with them as a human, but letting the Major pummel him? That he could do* Dad, it's okay.
Carlisle: *His voice sharper than usual* It's not. If today has taught us anything, it's that violence isn't the answer to our problems. I'm not blaming anyone, but this isn't the kind of behavior any of us should be modeling for either Gabriel or Robyn *Nodding behind him to the large windows that lined the house. Normally, the children wouldn't have seen their little spat. Gabriel and Robyn's bedrooms faced the courtyard, and the windows from the living room and kitchen showcased a view of the pool area. But, from Robyn's vantage point in Jasper's study, she could see everything, although she shrunk back away from the glass the moment she saw their heads turn towards her* This is... a difficult situation, I know. *Glancing to Rosalie and Emmett* If you should decide some... time away might be prudent, I'd be happy to lend the three of you Isle Esme for a vacation. *Holding up a hand before they could speak against the idea* It is simply an option, I wouldn't dream of telling you how to parent your child. Still, some quality time with his family away from the usual from life's usual distractions might be exactly what Gabriel needs. I do hope you won't dismiss it out of hand. *Slowly turning his head to face Jasper, not entirely sure if he was addressing his son or the dreaded Major, but knowing that he needed to address one of them in either case* I understand your anger. I would feel the same if any one of you were threatened. But, your anger won't help Robyn.8/13/2017 #370 Report
Jasper: *snarling and growling like a tiger that had just cornered its prey, and was about to pounce on it, but for some reason was still holding back, just teasing the prey, not yet devouring it like he longed to do. Even the Major had too much respect for the Coven leader to try and get around him to resume his attack on the object of his frustration, but if he didn't do something about the rage he was feeling soon, then he was going to explode, and he knew that no one wanted to be around him when that happened. He didn't need someone weak and pitiful like Emmett to take his anger out on, he needed someone who would actually fight him back, someone who would give him as good as he gave them, he needed a challenge. But he would take whatever he could get. It had been a long time, too long, since he'd had a decent battle with another vampire. All it had taken was the right trigger for him to lose control and now that he had, he didn't know how long it would be until he could pull himself back together again.* No, no, anger never helps anyone does it. It's what's done with the anger that helps people. If it's shoved aside, it helps temporarily, helps keep things all nice and tidy and civil, that's what Jasper wants to do, he wants to just shove it aside and deal with the matter at hand. But that's not what's good for him because it will come back again. Everytime he looks at that slimeball human who thinks it's ok to go around bullying those weaker than he is, it'll just keep coming back. No, anger doesn't help anything. But unleashing that anger in the correct way, unleashing it so that it doesn't weigh him down, that'll help. That is the only thing that is going to keep him from marching right back into that house and unleashing it in a way that everyone will regret later, a way that would permanently ruin this entire coven. So either get out of the way and let me take care of this in the only way that I know how, or I can't be responsible for what might come next. I don't care if Robyn is watching. I'm doing this for her. I'm doing this to defend her while she can't defend herself. You saw that bruise on her arm. Something like that doesn't happen by accident! She's scared of him. No, she's terrified of him! She is so afraid of him, she doesn't even want to be in the room next to him, much less ever see him again. If she didn't have school, I'd toss her in the truck and get her as far away from here as I possibly could. Just to get her away from him. I defended him, and this is how he repays me! It is taking everything in me to remind myself that he's too breakable right now to properly be punished for what he did to my daughter. To my Robyn.
Rosalie: *she had never been afraid of the Major, cautious around him, yes, respectful of his power, absolutely, but never afraid of him and tonight was no exception. She stepped forward so that Carlisle was no long between them, and humbly lowered her gaze as she spoke* Major, need I remind you that the slimeball human in that house is my son? But believe me, I am not ok with the fact that he's been acting like a total idiot lately. I'm just as angry as you are that he hurt Robyn. I thought that he knew better than that. I thought that he had more respect for other people and for himself. He will answer for what he's done, but he will do so on my terms, not yours. And if you even think about crossing that line, I will stop you. You are welcome to observe his punishment for yourself, but you are not invited to participate in it, and again if you have a problem with that, too bad, you don't have a choice. I will forcefully remove you if I have to, you taught me everything I know, and I can do it. Just try me. Now, go for a run, hunt, do whatever it is that you have to do to release that anger because when you come back, you'll need to have a clear head on your shoulders if you expect to be allowed to properly observe whatever punishment Emmett and I come up with in the meantime.
Jasper: *gnashing his teeth in Rosalie's direction when she stepped forward, but not attacking her outright, willing to hear her out* One condition, I have veto power. If I deem that your punishment isn't worthy of the crime that he committed, I can demand that you change it, or add to it. I won't dish it out myself, I'll leave that pleasure up to you, but I can say when I am satisfied with it, and if I'm not satisfied, then you must work at it until I am.
Rosalie: *gnashing her teeth right back at him, and for an instant, it almost looked like things would come to blows between them again* No. The decision that Emmett and I make regarding Gabriel's punishment will be final. You have no veto power, no power to force us to add to it. Whatever we say, goes. Period. I am sorry that Robyn was hurt, and Gabriel will pay for it. But again, you get no part in that decision. Go tear up half the Canadian forest or kill an entire cave full of lions, but you are not allowed to touch me, my mate, or our child anymore unless you are fully prepared to face this mama bear. *for a second it looked like the Major would actually attack her, he was practically shooting daggers at her with his eyes, and even moved in her direction a few times, but finally, finally after a long tense minute, he turned on his heel and took off at top speed in the direction of Canada. She released the lungful of air she had been holding and practically collapsed into Emmett's arms as soon as he was out of sight, sobbing in the way that only vampires could for a long, long time* Oh, Em, what are we going to do? This is so, so much worse than anything else he's done. Even it was an accident, it's still so far beyond whatever he's done before. I don't know if I can do this. I can't...*shaking her head against his chest and dry sobbing even harder than before. After a long moment she became aware of the fact that Carlisle was still watching them* Carlisle? Thank you for the offer of Isle Esme, but we're going to have to politely refuse. An island beach paradise is a reward. Not a punishment. If we're going to have to leave to sort this out, then that kind of setting is not what we need. We'll figure something out, we just need to think. I don't know what else we can do to him, but there's got to be something, something short of cruel and unusual that will work, that will get through to him and satisfy the Major.8/13/2017 #371 Report
Carlisle: I'm less concerned with punishing him and more concerned with helping him find himself again. Perhaps he does deserve to be punished... It certainly wasn't fair for Robyn to be on the receiving end of his wrath, whatever happened. No one deserves that, especially not a young woman, especially by the hand of someone that she trusts. *It pained him just to think that Robyn had been abused by someone so near and dear to his own heart. The idea drew unwanted comparisons to the abusive life Esme had lived at the hands of her first husband, or the gang rape that had nearly led to Rosalie's death at the hands of her intended and his friends. Gabriel's actions were nowhere on the same scale, of course, but it wasn't the first time he had thought about the circumstances that had made such monstrous creatures out of such men. It made him uncomfortable beyond description to think of his beloved grandson in such terms, to wonder if these missteps were more than that, to wonder if they had done something very wrong in raising children, if being exposed to their nature, the tales of their past, had done something irrevocable to the children in their care. But, he did his best to banish such thoughts before they could reach their end. For better or for worse, they had decided to adopt the pair as a family, and he wasn't willing to give up on Gabriel just yet. There was goodness in the young man, he had seen it for himself, and he wasn't about to let that slip through his fingertips* I can't begin to guess at what might have brought on this behavior, but Gabriel is about to turn eighteen. I know the choice to turn was so easy for Bella, but perhaps it's weighing more heavily on your son than he lets on. You'll remember that when Edward tried to make the decision for Bella, when we all fled Forks to support his hopes that she would move on and live a normal, happy life, she too made rash decisions. It was what brought us back there. I know the circumstances are different, and I could be patently wrong, but regardless, if you don't think taking a break is the solution to his problems, perhaps time is. *His gaze turning to the woods which Jasper disappeared to for a brief moment before he turned back to the couple* ...I haven't spoken with Jasper about it just yet, but I think it would be safe. I haven't seen Aro since before I sired Edward. Even for a vampire, it has been a long time. I'm certain he has lost all interest in me by now, and it would be no greater a risk than we have already taken in raising them to postpone Gabriel's decision a few years more. If he is trying to fit all the foolhardy mistakes he can in his short time as a human, extend it, maybe without a deadline. Perhaps it would help him see the consequences of his actions through, perhaps it will improve his attitude. Perhaps not. Still, it's something I've been meaning to speak to the whole family about for a while. They already know our secret. By the Volturi's standards, we've already broken their highest mandate. There is no greater evil we can commit now. Continuing to be a part of Gabriel and Robyn's lives, whether they choose to remain human or not, will not change what has already been done. When I spoke to their upcoming choice to your mother, she was even less willing to part with them than I was. And you know how fond I am of both of them. I make no demands of either of you, I wouldn't presume to do that. What I mean to say is... Robyn and Gabriel will always be welcome in my home, however they choose to remain. But, I would implore you to think about the possibility of delaying Gabriel's change, in light of this. He's become... *His brow furrowed as he spoke. Even as he posed himself as diplomatically as possible, he knew this would be something the mated pair wouldn't be eager to hear. Especially with the rather spiteful way Jasper had spat it at them earlier. Still, it was true, and something that needed to be considered* ...volatile, as of late. And, I believe, in part, his actions have been made with the knowledge that the slate will be wiped clean when he comes of age, whether he chooses to leave and lead his own life or be turned. Think of it as a punishment, if you must. If what he wants is to be turned as soon as possible, this will show him that thoughtless behavior won't be rewarded.
Emmett: Honestly, I don't think Gabriel's ever even considered the possibility of staying human and leaving the family, and if he has, I don't think there's been any question in his mind about it for a long time. *Inching just far enough away from the woman who he still held close to his chest to exchanging a glance with her, all the while keeping his back to woods that Jasper had disappeared to, instinctively protecting her from the possible threat that was the Major, despite the fact that he hadn't fought the man himself. Maybe if one of his limbs had starting coming off, or the other man's teeth had buried themselves in his flesh, his instincts might have kicked in, but he wasn't sure if even now he could summon the strength to defend himself. Of course, his mate and his child were another story altogether* You don't think...? I mean, he had been acting... impulsively. And he's been so nonchalant about everything, like it's not a big deal. Maybe that is what's going on. He's doing a "Greatest Hits" of his human life. *Grimacing at the title as soon as it left his lips. It was an unfortunate metaphor given the situation, but that made it all the more relevant* Except, instead of doing all the amazing thing I would do—like gorging myself on that food they like so much, or going to a fair, or times square, or somewhere else terribly crowded, or napping in a hammock, he's trying alcohol, and drugs, and pushing around his little sister. *He couldn't be entirely sure why Gabriel was doing what he was doing, but this was the first somewhat reasonable explanation he'd heard so far, and so he latched onto it like a drowning man trying to stay afloat on a piece of driftwood* He is right about one thing. *He said with a sign of resignation* We can't turn him when he's like this. We can hardly control him now. As a newborn... *Shaking his head in horror at the idea. He had been an awful newborn himself. He'd had his mate by his side from the very beginning, and even she hadn't always been able to help him control himself in the early days. He always knew Rosalie would have had him wrapped around her finger if they'd met before he'd been mauled, he didn't know how they could expect to control their son as a newborn if they couldn't reign him in as he was*
Robyn: *She hadn't meant to watch the adults outside. Even after hearing them shout in the hallway, she'd meant to check her email to see what she'd need to do to make up the work she'd miss in the rest of today's classes. She'd meant to open up her borrowed copy of Hamlet and finish reviewing the last act. Instead, she had ended up staring, transfixed, as Jasper laid into her uncle, whirring around almost too quickly for her eyes to follow his movements, like the Tasmanian Devil, but before things could go too far, Carlisle had stepped between them. She had stepped back when they had all turned her way for a moment, but not far enough back so that she couldn't still see them, just far enough back that they couldn't still see her from their angle. She didn't know what to feel about the whole thing. She wasn't even sure if she felt relieved or upset that Jasper had run off in the end* He just hunted. Yesterday. *The part of her that felt abandoned argued. She wanted him there, with her, to protect her. Of course she knew, logically, that every other member of their family would, except perhaps Gabriel, she didn't know what to think about him at the moment. Still, her heart wasn't quite ready to listen to that argument yet. She plopped herself down into his chair with less delicacy than she had the day before, frowning to herself as she tried and failed to focus on the fantastic prose, instead turning to his laptop, her mod lifting a little when she opened it. The wallpaper was a photo of the two of them from last Christmas. She was wearing a red velvet dress that Alice had insisted she open first thing that morning, and Jasper was wearing a Santa hat she'd plopped on his head only moments before. Esme had taken the picture when Jasper had been too busy pretending to admonish her to notice. She was laughing outright, and even he couldn't help a smile, warmth seeping into his eyes even as he tried to glare at her. Her heart warmed at the image, and she found herself smiling despite the situation as she pulled the web browser up to log into her school email account*8/13/2017 #372 Report
Jasper: *he was the Major, he didn't throw tantrums, at least not tantrums that left half the forest around him completely flattened like some two year old who didn't get the snack he wanted. And yet, here he was. He had made it to Canada in record time, feasted on a pair of mountain lions and then proceeded to knock down every tree and smash every boulder he could get to in the abandoned, empty wilderness that surely no human eyes had seen in a very long time. His anger had just barely begun to diminish, and he was nowhere close to the physical exhaustion that he longed to feel, but there was literally nothing left for him to do here, instead he pulled out his phone and flipped through his contacts, seeing Alice's name first, but he knew that she was too busy with her human family to worry about dealing with him and his moods right now, so he continued to scroll past name after name, discounting all of them for one reason or another. Bobby and Susan. Peter and Charlotte. None of them would be interested in the trouble he was having with humans. Even the very last name on his list, Yuzuki, was someone he couldn't see himself calling. Not about this. He closed the contacts screen without actually dialing a number and tucked his phone back in his pocket* I can't go home until the Major stands down, and he's not going to do that easily. But home is exactly where I need to be right now. With Robyn. Maybe seeing her again, seeing that she's safe will get him to calm down the rest of the way. Maybe. And maybe I should just take it slow getting back home just in case. A nice, long run. That's what I need now.
Rosalie: *her gaze shifting between Carlisle and Emmett* I just don't know what to think anymore. If what you say is the case, then why didn't he just say so when we caught him. We wouldn't have liked it, but it would have been better than continuing to deny anything he did was wrong. He has to know that consequences from a human life always follow you into the vampire world. Along with a whole new list of rules and consequences. I don't think we've ever said it outright, but he has to know that. I've never heard of anyone who would put being a complete jerk to their parents and family at the top of their bucket list if they knew they were going to become a vampire in the next year. Clearly we have a lot more to talk to him about than I imagined. Although, I do agree, he can't be turned in this condition. But I don't know what keeping him human will do either. If we wants to be turned and we deny him that, he could lash out even more. But if he did this because he's changed his mind and didn't want to tell us outright, but force us into keeping him human and we give that to him, then he gets exactly what he wanted, and there's no lesson in that. I don't want to go in there and start throwing out all these random guesses about what's going on in his head. I want him to tell us what he's thinking without us having to drag it out of him. *closing her eyes and withdrawing into her own mind for a long moment in an effort to process Carlisle's theory and make some decisions regarding the possibility he presented to them* Ok, consequence for being expelled, we delay turning him until he can prove to us that he won't be an impossible to control newborn. Consequence for hurting Robyn, he takes over all of her chores until further notice. We give him the choice to tell us what's on his mind, to finally start talking to us about some of this instead of running from it. If he keeps clamping down, we keep pushing back his change. Even if it takes years. *pulling back to meet Emmett's loving gaze, silently asking the question of him if he was sure that what they were doing was the right thing*8/13/2017 #373 Report
(I'm going to try to get one more in before bed, but if I don't make it before then, I'll be sure to finish it first thing tomorrow.)8/13/2017 #374 Report
Emmett: I think... I think it's the best we can do right now. We've already rained fire and brimstone down on him... There isn't much more we can really do, especially if he isn't willing to open up. We've just got to cross our fingers and hope for the best. *Smiling minutely to his mate when she looked to him in question* Jasper isn't going to like it. I'm sure he'll pitch a fit when he hears that we're punishing Gabe for what happened by piling up on his chores. If it is Jasper that comes back. The Major would probably just drag me outside and knock me around again until he grew tired of it. There's a reason he wanted veto power. He wanted satisfaction. But, Carlisle's right. It's more important to get to the heart of this behavior right now than it is to punish him. As it is, I think we're doing as well as can be expected. He's still our son. It's not like we'd ever raise a hand to him in turn. It's not like we could just send him away. I would say he owes her an apology, too. I mean, he does, that's not in question. But, if she's really as reluctant to be in the same room with him right now as Jasper suggested, then I'm not going to force it. I do think it's a good idea for him to own up to it sooner or later, but I think the apology would be more meaningful if it came from a place of wanting to make things right, not being forced into making them right. It'll be it's own kind of lesson, see if he can lead himself to water for once.
Carlisle: Whether he remains human or becomes a vampire, I think we can all agree that we expect better of him than the kind of behavior we've been seeing lately. If there is something that is pressing upon him so heavily that it is causing him to lash out like he has been, I do wish he would reach out and share the burden. I know I haven't been as directly involved in his upbringing as I was when he was young, but I'd be happy to intercede on your behalf if he proves uncommunicative when the two of you speak to him on this issue. My door is always open, and I'm always happy to act as a sounding board when the situation requires it, for either you or your son.
Emmett: We appreciate the offer, Dad, but part of the problem is that he doesn't want to communicate with us. I don't want to encourage that any more. If he wants us to turn him, he's going to have to talk to us... If he wants to live out his life as a human, then he'll know that choice doesn't mean we'll be out of his life forever, that the things he says and does under out roof will still have consequences if he decides to stay here. *His tiny smile slip into a full one, if only for a moment when the other man clapped a familial hand on his shoulder*
Carlisle: *In the same moment he touched Emmett, he turned his warm gaze on Rosalie. He had always been very careful, very respectful in the way he opted more often that not to refrain from touching his beloved daughter, instead showing his affection with words and glances that betrayed his endearment for his second adopted child. It wasn't so strange for him, as a man who had been raised in an era when, more often than not, touching a woman beyond her hands, or the small of her back if one was dancing, was considered highly inappropriate. Although as a member of his family, she would have been exempt from those expectations, he help himself to them regardless, in honor of the struggle she'd been through. It had made him one of the only men she could stand being alone in a room with in her early days, before she came to trust Edward, before she met Emmett* As a father myself, I can tell you that I understand what a struggle this must be. Allowing Edward to leave our family and live as he choose, even for a few years, was agony for me. Knowing how much he regrets that time weighed me down for years. I often wondered if he would have left, if only I had said the right things, thought the right things... But, sometimes, children need to make mistakes for themselves to learn from them. Don't blame yourselves... And allow yourselves to forgive Gabriel when he realizes the enormity of what he's done. He'll need your support to forgive himself, to grow, and become the man I always knew he could be.8/14/2017 #375 Report
Robyn: *To her surprise, when she checked her inbox there wasn't much for her to make up for the day. Apparently the words "family emergency" were enough to soften up the art teacher who she now owed four assignments, the french teacher whose class she'd now missed four times in a row, and even the math teacher who had been so quick to single her out as a problem student. She would still have to make up her math quiz, and she had an art assignment her teacher had requested that she turn in "when she returned to school."* What do they think happened? I remember when Jasper told my teachers in Ohio that there had been a death in the family. I remember the pity they looked at me with every time they say me. I remember sloppy assignments that should have come back with a big red C and critical comments of how I could do better next time came back with consistent B, and not a single red line or note on the pages. I... I don't want this to be like that again. Nobody's dead. At least... Nobody that wasn't dead before. I just... I want to be a normal kid. *Snorting shortly at herself in laughter at the idea as she closed Jasper's laptop. She wasn't normal, she never would be normal. She knew that. Any chance of her living an ordinarily life had died with her parents. But, instead of spending the life of a troubled child being shifted from home to home until she aged out of the foster care system, she had been adopted by a loving family. They were certainly an unconventional family—and that was putting it mildly—but they loved her all the same. In her mind, that had always made up for the lies she had to tell, for having to pack up and move every few years, for all of the good and bad that came with living with a coven of vampires. There were times that she wished that the family was normal, and while at the moment she wished things were different, she didn't find herself longing for that exactly. She wasn't sure what she wanted, which seemed to be a theme in her life as of late* I don't even know what I want out of my life anymore. And why should I? I'm still so young. It's insane that the world expects us to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives when we've just graduated from high school. We don't know anything about the world outside of school. We don't know what it's like to be responsible for ourselves. How could I be ready to decide if I want to be a vampire or not in two years? Not even two years, it'll be one in October. *She sighed as she turned her gaze to the three-tier chess set that sat on a table between two chairs to one side of the window she had been spying through earlier* I bet Jasper would know. He's always ten moves ahead. Uncle Ed reads minds, and he even looses to him sometimes. *Standing as she moved to finger the pieces that were spread out over each level in a game in progress, surveying the position of each piece. The aggression that white was displaying suggested the he was playing Emmett. She knew from experience that an outright offense wasn't his technique of choice, and he always preferred to play black, allowing his opponent to make the first move so he could start his first turn with a sense of his opponent's tactics for the match already in mind*8/14/2017 #376 Report
(Hey there! I hope I see you on sometime tonight!! Let me know if you're stuck or you need a change of topic. I was just thinking that I would love to revisit the Opposites RP, or to try out a Game of Thrones or western inspired topic sometime.)8/20/2017 . Edited 8/20/2017 #377 Report
(Ugh! Life will not just leave me alone! So, less than a month after dealing with all the drama of my bio dad's death, my bank gets bought out. And it just happens to have been bought out by the biggest one in the state, where customers are just numbers, and not individuals, and no one wants to actually work for them, they do it because they have to. But we may not even have to worry about working for them since they have so many branches in my area anyway that most of our branches will be closed shortly after the buy out is finalized. I give it six months to a year before I'm out of work. But at least if I stick it out to the bitter end, I'll likely get a pretty nice severance package out of it. So, how's life treating you? And as for the RP, if you're ready to change to a different topic, that works for me too. I've never seen Game of Thrones, but we can try the Western one or go back to the Opposites one, either one is fine with me. I'll follow your lead. :) :) )8/22/2017 #378 Report
(Wow, that really is the worst luck! I'm so sorry. Buyouts are the worst. I remember the KFC where I had my first job at got bought out by someone new right after I left to go to college, and everyone I used to work with ended up leaving because the new owners totally changed the way compensation worked, making it next to impossible to ever make more than minimum wage. Even the managers got a pretty rough deal. I would say that I hope that the new owners aren't that bad, but it sounds like they aren't that great anyways. If I were you, I'd stick it out while I could, hopefully you would get a nice severance, and if you end up getting laid off, you'll be able to collect unemployment, too, while you wait on your next gig. As for me, I can't really complain. There's a lot of stuff going on with my family at the moment, but living so far away means I don't have to deal with family drama very often. Anyways, I'm going to go post something to the Opposites RP now. Feel free to reply here or there, wherever inspiration strikes you. :))8/23/2017 #379 Report
Gabriel: *the past two weeks had been nothing short of his own personal hell. He hadn't thought things could get any worse than his first week in that group home in Forks, but he was wrong. This was a million times worse than that had been. In the group home, and even before that, all the torture he had been forced to endure had been physical. But now his torture was more emotionally and mentally based. He was confined to his room for 22 hours a day. The two hours that he was allowed to leave were while Robyn was at school and even then, it was only to complete the necessary household chores. His meals were delivered to the room by either Esme or Emmett. The work he was required to complete in order to get his GED was delivered every morning by Carlisle when he got in from his night shift at the hospital, and each evening before leaving, he would grade the work and submit it to the state. Once all the assignments were completed, he would be required to go to the local community center to take the actual test. It would be the one time he would be allowed out of the house. Meanwhile, he was stuck here. This had to be what prison felt like. No prison would have been better than this. At least in prison he would have daily outdoor recreation time, access to a library and computer lab. But this, this was just...torture. There was no better way to describe it. But worse than what he was personally experiencing was the knowledge of what was happening in the rest of the house. He never saw his mom, or Robyn, or Uncle Jasper. He never heard any laughter or any conversation at all for that matter. The whole house was just silent, depressed, dark. He knew that it was all his fault. Sometimes, he wasn't sure of it, but sometimes, he had the idea that Jasper was manipulating his emotions to feel utterly downtrodden. Or maybe, he wasn't manipulating them at all, maybe he was projecting. But if that's how Uncle Jasper felt, then again, he knew that it was entirely because of what he had done to Robyn. If Robyn wasn't happy, Jasper wasn't happy, and that meant no one was happy. He was the root of all the trouble in the family now, and he longed to be able to fix it. But this time, there was no fix for what was broken. No fix at all. It was too late for that. This was something that no one was going to overcome easily. If he left of his own free will, his parents would be even more depressed than they were now, and that wouldn't be any good. If he stayed, then he ran the risk of enraging Jasper everytime the vampire saw him. There was no solution to this. He was doomed to a life of misery. All the Cullens were doomed to a life of misery because of what he had done. He was sitting on the floor against the locked balcony doors with his head in his hands and his closed as if he had a headache when a soft knock sounded at his door and his dad slipped inside and placed a plate of food and a glass of water next to him. He didn't even acknowledge the food, but he did quietly whisper to Emmett before he could leave the room again* Dad, wait. Don't go, please. I need to say something. I know it's not going to make any difference, but I'll hate myself even more if I don't say it. I'm sorry. *his voice cracked on the words as all the emotions of loss, loneliness, and bitter, raw regret seeped through* I'm really, really, really sorry. I didn't mean it when I said it before. But I mean it now. I messed up, big time. I'm such an idiot. You and Mom were right about everything. And... *shaking his head at loss of what else to say* You should have never adopted me. I'm just bringing pain to the family now. Robyn....I'll never forgive myself for what I did to her. And I don't blame Uncle Jasper for never wanting to see me again. I'm such a loser. I guess that's it...just...I'm sorry. *when Emmett didn't leave right away, and didn't speak back after a long time, he finally lifted his head from his hands to meet his Dad's intimidating gaze* I was the man at the door last night. *the confession causing a well of tears to start building in his eyes, but he wiped the away fiercely before they could actually fall. It was a recurring nightmare he'd had almost every night as a child, and one that his mom and dad knew very well after they had listened to him talk about it so many times. He hadn't had the nightmare for a long time, but it had come back last night, in full force and in rare form. It started with a ringing doorbell, and when the door was opened, a man, the man, would enter, and start hitting his mom, his dad, Robyn, Esme, Carlisle, everyone. And he was powerless to stop it. If he did try to stop the man, he would get hit too. But last night when the doorbell rang, he was the one who came into the house and started hitting Robyn, then his mom, then Esme, then Carlisle, then his dad, everyone in the house, he was the man ringing the doorbell, the man torturing the rest of the rest of the family. He was the bad guy, no one else, just him. He dropped his head back into his hands as slowly as he raised it, and waited for the sound of the door closing again as his dad left the room. Leaving him to munch on the cold, dry bread and stale cheese, and drink the warm water that had been allotted to him as his daily dinner rations.*9/16/2017 #380 Report
Emmett: *Closing his eyes and sighing when he smelt the salt in the air that signaled his son's tears, if Gabriel's words and the way his voice had cracked with emotion hadn't been enough to signal to him what was happening. Gabriel was finally seeming to realize it, but his punishment had been just as hard on the rest of the family as it had been for him. He and Rosalie went around in circles every time they talked, blaming themselves for their poor parenting, for having the gall to adopt a human child in the first place, for not being strong enough to send him away like Jasper had suggested. They didn't regret their decisions with Gabriel. They both agreed that the only thing they loved as much as they loved each other was their son—but recent events had made that love complicated. He and Rosalie both wondered if they'd made a mistake by entering Gabriel's life. Not because they didn't love him—but because maybe he was worse off for having them in his life. It hurt, just like he imagined it must have hurt Gabriel to think that he had ruined their family be being a part of it. But that was the only thing that thought like those did; they wounded everyone they touched. It pained Emmett even more to know that he'd had those kinds of thoughts too, even if it did seem they had finally allowed the young man to accept that he had done something wrong. Emmett stepped forward then, putting a hand on his son's shoulder and squeezing it gently* Don't say that. *He said, his voice just as affected as Gabriel's had been, although he couldn't shed tears the same as his son* We don't regret adopting you. We love you. You've brought so much hope, so much joy to this family, and nothing could take that away. *Slowly, he moved to sit down on the edge of his son's bed so that he faced him, hulking his head down purposefully so he could look Gabriel in the eye* You know all our stories. We're all adoptees ourselves. Me. Your mom. Edward. Bella. Alice. Even Jasper... We're all here because of Carlisle and Esme. We have the lives we do because of them... Do you think, in so many years, it's possible that we've never disappointed them? I've done things... Things that really can't be taken back. I've taken lives. I've visited violence where I shouldn't have. I've broken things that can't be replaced. You're not the only person in this family to ever make a mistake, and you certainly won't be the last. Yes, you should be ashamed. Yes, what you did was wrong. But, that doesn't make you any less a part of this family and it doesn't mean that there isn't anything you can do to ever make it right. You are not him, Gabe. *Meeting his son's gaze fervently so he knew the young man understood* You're your own man, and tonight I'm going to give you the chance to prove it. *Sighing as he stood offering Gabriel a hand up, feeling the tightness in his chest begin to ease when the young man allowed him to pull him up and into a hug, speaking as he wrapped his arm around the other man* Your mother talked to Robby a few days ago, and she promised she'd hear you out when you were ready to apologize. If you think you are, you can join her for dinner tonight and try, okay? Just... Try. *Giving his soon one last squeeze before he stepped away* If it helps any, I usually offer to let Jasper hit me when I know I've pissed him off. She probably won't take you up on the offer, but if nothing else, it'll show her you're sincere.9/17/2017 #381 Report
Robyn: *Despite what had been previously agreed upon, the compromise she and Jasper had agreed upon for her punishment had been lifted swiftly the morning after she had returned home with her shoulder covered in a hideous bruise. When she had casually mentioned that the debate team was meeting at Columbia University that weekend, Jasper—or the Major, maybe, she wasn't certain at the time—had all but ordered her to go. It was only a twenty minute drive, it was a chance to visit an Ive League College, and she would have plenty of supervision, since it was a school event. Considering recent events, hearing her classmates debate about the possibility of lowering the legal drinking age in the U.S. was a little difficult to listen to at first, but she found herself at least a little swayed by the argument that lower drinking ages in other countries bred more responsible behavior when it came to alcohol consumption, an argument that was backed up by statistics on drunk driving and alcohol poisoning in representative countries. She didn't know if she fit in with these confident, informed students that argued back and forth, but it was a distraction, and for the moment that was enough. When the next weekend the team was having another meeting at Princeton, and she took a look at the schedule for further meetings if they continued to win, Robyn realized that the Cullens had settled them in within about a four hour drive of ever Ivy League school in the country. It was heartwarming and unsettling all at the same time. She wanted to talk to Jasper, to beg him to give her a few more years to choose, like Emmett and Rosalie seemed to be doing for Gabriel, although he had little choice in the matter. At the same time, she avoided him. He seemed on edge every time they spoke. He was just as gentle towards her as he always had been, but at the same time, something about him was changed. She didn't know if it was the Major, or if it was just the palpable tension that everyone in the house seemed to be experiencing. Even Esme's smiles were dimmed of late, and although her bruise was finally starting to fade away, she still caught Carlisle looking on her with worry when they passed. This weekend, there was no debate team meeting to take her away from home, and she hadn't had the good luck of making any friends among them yet. So, she was sitting outside with her feet in the pool, her sketchpad discarded beside her, blank, beside her pencil and shoes*9/17/2017 . Edited 9/17/2017 #382 Report
Jasper: *he could see Robyn sitting by the pool all alone through the large glass doors that led to the back of the house, and for a long moment he debated if he should leave her alone or go join her. Something in the back of his reminded him that leaving her alone was what had been the root cause of the strain in their relationship before the whole Gabe acting out thing had happened. He never wanted to go back to that place again. It was that thought that prompted his quick change into a pair of swimming trunks before running out of the house and jumping in the pool, far enough away from where Robyn was sitting so that she wouldn't be splashed too much, but close enough to get her attention* Cannonball! *it was the both the loudest and perhaps the most at ease word that had been spoken around the house in days. He allowed the water to settle around him as he broke back through to the surface before swimming over to Robyn's side of the pool, his arms and legs sparkling as the sunlight bounced off his hardened skin.* Hey. Want to join me? We can race like we used to. No cheating, I promise. *at the odd look she gave him, he finally confessed his real reason for coming outside* I talked to Dr. Kelly this morning. You are officially caught up in all your classes, and back on track to maintaining your GPA. I'm so proud of you. *the smile that he wore for the first time in seemingly a year was proof enough of his words* He also mentioned that there's a college fair on campus next week and said you should think about checking it out. Never been a better time to be thinking about early acceptance, or something like that. Anyway, just thought I would pass it along in case you were interested. I'll just be here swimming some laps if you want to talk about it. *not waiting for an answer before pushing off from the wall to start his first lap around the pool. He knew that he was kind of dancing around the real thing he wanted to ask her, but he was still stuck on how exactly to bring it up. Did she want to go to college right away? He would support her no matter what, but he was starting to get a little anxious about what was in her head.*9/17/2017 #383 Report
Robyn: *She didn't have time to do much more than blink and shock and bring her arms up to protect her when Jasper jumped into the pool with scant warning. She expected a tidal wave of water to hit her, even from the opposite end of the pool, but it wasn't as bad as all that, really. Just a few stray droplets. When she lowered her arms to gape at him, he seemed to understand that the turn in his mood was a surprise to her. Before long, as he often did in the face of silence, he acknowledged the fact that he hadn't come outside with the express purpose of cheering her up. His first words did, she couldn't help herself. It always warmed her when Jasper told her that he was proud of her, the same way his disappointment had always made her insides turn to ice, but then he had started talking about college and... She couldn't help it. Her smile became a bit straining as she watched him turn to do his laps, his glistening skin lighting up the inside of the pool like the reflection of a thousand tiny diamonds coated his skin as it broke through the clouds it had been hiding behind. Thankfully, they had nothing to worry about. With the pool cornered by the house and guesthouse, and dense forest on all other sides, they were as sequestered away as they could have been in a place as densely populated as New York. She sighed as the heat of the sun prickled against her skin, pulling off her shirt and kicking off her shorts to reveal the blue tie-dye bikini she was wearing underneath. She slipped quietly into the pool and shamelessly splashed Jasper as he passed, laughing a little at his expression as he got a mouth full of chlorinated water. She didn't even feign innocence as he turned to glare at her* You did say, "like we used to." *She teased lightly, remembering the many times she had done the same to him when he had taught her how to swim. Ever time she'd gotten frustrated, she would smack him with water. Thankfully, he'd been patient enough with her despite her antics, and she was an accomplished swimmer these days. She could even float, something with was impossible for her vampire counterparts. And she did, lying on her back in the water and closing her eyes with a sigh* Honestly... I've been thinking about it a little myself. College. With the debate team going to Columbia, and Princeton—next week, it'll be Yale, it's getting a little difficult to ignore. *Forcing herself to open her eyes and look at him, even if it made the pit of her stomach churn with anxiety* I... I want to go. I want to have to whole human experience, you know? I don't want to have any regrets when I... When I turn. *It was the first time that she had said it out loud, admitted that she had made a decision one way or another. It wasn't "if" now. It was "when." Given recent events, she couldn't imagine leaving the only family she had left, not ever. Still, her voice was shy, quiet, as she allowed herself to admit that wasn't the only thing she wanted* Do you think... Do you think that would be okay?9/17/2017 . Edited 9/17/2017 #384 Report
Jasper: *turning so that he could face the human who had become his pride and joy over the years, and without a doubt in his mind, he firmly gave his consent* Of course it's ok. Roby, when we came up with that silly 18 year rule, we did it out of fear, fear that the Volturi would find out and expect us to have some kind of plan in place. We never actually considered what would be best for you. Just what would be best in the Volturi's eyes. But honestly, if they ever do find out, we'll take care of it then instead of trying to preempt anything. The last thing we want to do is rob you of the life you really want. If you want to go to college first, and then turn, we're not going to take that away from you. You have my full support in this. I promise. I can't wait to see you going to college, getting a degree, doing everything you love as a human. Your happiness is my happiness. Never forget that. And then, after all that, when you're ready, I can't wait to see you turned, to see you really become one of us forever. So, go to the college fair, bring home a thousand brochures, and we'll make sure that you get into the school of your dreams. *saying more with that one sentence than he had ever been able to say before. His love for her was more important than his fear of the Volturi. She would always be first, no matter what challenges they would face as a result.* Now, I'll race you to the other side. Go! *taking off at a moderate human pace without further warning*9/17/2017 . Edited 9/17/2017 #385 Report
Robyn: *She felt like the weight of the world had just been lifted off her shoulders when Jasper agreed with her just as easily as if she had asked him to pass her the salt at dinner. The feeling struck with the inane urge to cry and throw her self into his arms in relief, but just as quickly as the words had passed his lips, he was challenging her to one of their races and darting across the pool like it was nothing. She laughed haltingly as she turned and tried to catch up with him, but it was little use. Even moving at a human pace, Jasper was a faster, more efficient swimmer than she could ever be. He had a soldier's body, slim and strong. Even if he was still human, he would have bested her easily at any physical feat. Maybe not Gabriel—she tried not to let that thought dim her joy as she reached the end several seconds after he did—demanding a rematch* You didn't even count to three— *But then he took off again. She tried to feign anger, but all she could do was laugh as he insisted that he had gone on "three" like she'd wanted. It was the first time she had really laughed or smiled in too long, so she let herself enjoy it as she spitefully splashed him over and over ducking and turning her head away when he returned fire* That's—not—very—nice! *She gasped between splashed and laughter. And she couldn't stop smiling, even when she dragged herself out of the pool, soundly defeated and soaked to the bone*9/17/2017 #386 Report
Jasper: *easily hopping out of the pool next to Robyn and flashing over to the short table against the side of the house where Esme has stored a dozen different pool towels the day they had moved in. It was her way of telling the kids she would happily enjoy seeing them have fun in the pool but if they dared to drip any excess water on her new carpet, they would be in serious trouble. He wrapped one of the soft towels around his own waist before tossing a second one to Robyn. The whole thing happened so quickly, he shouldn't have been surprised when Robyn failed to catch it, and the towel ended up landing halfway into the pool completely defeating the purpose of using it to dry off. He grabbed another towel and this time he walked it over to Robyn and gently draped it over her shoulders instead* Sorry, I should have given you a little more warning instead of just tossing things at you at lightning speed. *Laughing at his own foolishness as he bent over to pick up the errant towel. If Emmett had been around, he was sure the other man would have taken the opportunity to kick his raised bottom and send him flying back into the pool, but he knew that Robyn was far too mature to try such things. Standing back up after just a second, he couldn't help noticing just how much of Robyn's exposed skin was pecked with chill bumps.* While that bikini may look really nice, it doesn't do much to block the wind when you come out of the pool. I might have have yo speak to Alice about getting you a one piece next time. *He would never admit it aloud, but keeping Robyn shielded from the cold wouldn't be his only motivation for requesting more fabric. Robyn was much too young and innocent to be wearing such a tiny bikini especially if there was a chance of her being seen by any males outside the family. It left far too little to the imagination for his liking.* Go get a hot shower to warm up. Esme will have dinner ready soon. *Hearing voices coming from the kitchen as Esme was telling Emmett the exact same thing, but Emmett's next words to their mother left him rather unsettled and for a second he considered not passing the message along to Robyn, and insisting they eat out that evening, but she deserved to know and she had made that agreement with Rosalie to at least hear him out.* It would also seem that Gabriel will be joining you for dinner. Emmett thinks that he's ready to talk. If you're ready of course. I can tell him to keep Gabe in his room another few nights. Maybe we could even go out tonight if you aren't ready yet. No one will blame you. Honestly I don't even know if I'm too happy with idea. *Meeting her eyes carefully, and reaching out to feel her emotions to get an honest read of how she felt about seeing and talking to Gabriel again.*9/18/2017 #387 Report
Robyn: *Using the towel to scrunch some of the water out of her dark hair as she shook her head in admonishment at the man in front of her* I'm sixteen, Jasper. If I can make decisions about going to college and becoming immortal, I don't think I need aunt Alice to pick out my clothes any more! Besides, that's why I was wearing a tank top and shorts, so I could cover up when it cooled down. *She knew what he was hinting at, of course, but as a beautiful young woman it was unsurprising that she was reluctant to cover up the body she had grown into. And that was besides how her recent incident with the "dress code" at school had chafed her on the subject of what was appropriate wear. After giving herself a quick rubdown, she leaned down to collect up the items she'd mentioned, slipping into the clothing, despite the fact that they were dampened by the action, and slipping on the flip flops she'd worn outside after carefully making sure both they and her feet were dry. Then, she picked up the towel, holding it in one hand and her sketchpad and pencil in the other as they began to head inside, only pausing an instant when Jasper mentioned that Gabriel was finally ready to apologize. The notion willed her with anxiety, but she wasn't afraid, not any more. She had been, at first, when the memory was so fresh, and the bruise on her shoulder was still so dark. But as the mark had faded from blue-purple to green to a pale yellow, so had the feelings that had accompanied it. The more she thought about it, the more sense it made that the whole incident was simply a prank gone wrong, much like the one Rosalie had once pulled on her fellow classmate. She hadn't completely absolved her brother of all responsibility, but she knew the sweet boy who had tried to protect her so long ago in that group home would never grow into a man who would hurt people simply because he could* No, I want to eat here. I'm ready. I meant what I said to Rosalie... I still love Gabe. He's still my brother. One mistake can't erase a decade of that—and even if it could—I wouldn't let it. I... I still don't really believe he meant to hurt me. Not... not physically at least. He wanted to upset me, he wanted to embarrass me, but I don't think he meant to hurt me like he did. Until he tells me otherwise, that's what I'll choose to believe. *She dropped her towel into the hamper that Esme had left beside that neat stack of towels, so she had a free hand to reach out and place on Jasper's arm, willing him to feel what he felt in that moment as she met his gaze, that she was afraid, not of Gabriel, but that the fracture that had ran through their family would widen tonight, instead of beginning to mend* Everyone makes mistakes. We've all made mistakes. But, Gabe is family. And family forgives each other.9/18/2017 #388 Report