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Love Unto Family

Summary:
One Shot Cullen Challenge How did Edward feel the day he took Bella to meet his family? And what was going on behind the scenes that Bella never knew about? This is that fateful meeting, written from Edward's point of view.


Notes:
This story took me the better part of a week to write... I hope it does well in the challenge. Good luck to everyone else that entered!


1. Chapter 1

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2387   Review this Chapter

I was taking Bella to meet my family.

It was a strange thought; a vampire taking his human girlfriend back to meet his vampire family. It spelled disaster, surely.

And yet, I was rather excited. My family – Rosalie excluded, of course – were all terribly excited for her visit, especially Esme. The rest had already met her at one point, whether at school or during ill fated trips to the hospital, but not in the capacity of my girlfriend.

I smiled inwardly at that word as I looked over at her, fidgeting in the passenger seat of her ancient old truck as I drove. I cared for her so much, loved her more than anything in my existence.

The word ‘girlfriend’ paled in comparison to the way I felt about her. Love, wonder, unbelievable joy, soul mate – none of them even came close to describing the way I felt about Bella and I’s relationship.

Truly, it was unfathomable that she should feel the same way. Yet, she assured me she did. It was a severe lapse in judgment on her part, yet I planned to take advantage of it for as long as I could.

We rode in silence the whole way to my family’s residence, she staring out the window at the impressive scenery, and myself watching her, and occasionally the road when she caught me looking.

Bella’s nerves totally confounded me. If she were nervous about meeting a houseful of vampires – well, that I could comprehend. But she claimed that wasn’t what accelerated her heartbeat and made her shake in fear. She wanted them to like her. Sure, they might kill her, but that was all right, so long as they liked her. I shook my head ruefully. Would I ever be able to understand her?

Her heart beat accelerated alarmingly when I turned down our drive. Her face paled even further when the house came into her view, amazed by its majesty.

I will admit that it was a lovely sight to behold, even if one had seen it a hundred times. A large white house, three stories tall and well proportioned, nestled into the primordial forest and nearly hidden by trees was timeless – a truly panoramic view.

“Wow,” she breathed, regaining use of her speech faculties.

“You like it?” I wanted her to like it so much. The mansion, my family, myself… It was obvious that she did indeed, like it, so I gave her a crooked smile and ran around the truck to open her door, as a true gentleman should.

I watched as she fumbled for a reply, worrying so much about what I thought of her that she phrased her responses very carefully. I wished there was a way I could reassure her… nothing she said could ever change the way I regarded her. Nothing.

“It… has a certain charm.” She sounded pleased with herself.

Bella had obviously not been expecting the large, beautiful and open space Esme cultivated for us. Well, it was hardly a stereotypical vampire abode, I supposed. I understood her surprise. I chuckled, playing with the horse tail she had pulled her hair into earlier.

“Ready?” I clarified, leading her up the shaded path to the porch.

“Not even a little bit – let’s go,” she said, chuckling and smoothing her hair nervously. Why would she worry about such a thing when she was already perfect?

“You look lovely,” I assured her. How could she doubt it? How could a creature as ravishing as she not realize her beauty?

I found myself reaching for her hand as we walked up the porch step, and experienced a small thrill when she exhibited no signs of revulsion or fear at my cold touch. Her hand was so small and warm in mine, and I was sure she would yank away from my cold, dead one. But she didn’t. In fact, she seemed to enjoy the contact, and clutched my hand like it was her last life line.

Is she going to be alright, Edward? Carlisle’s thoughts impeded on my own as soon as we stepped into the living area. I gave a small shrug in reply, concentrating on Bella.

“Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella.” My voice echoed throughout the room in the awkward silence, breaking some of the tension and allowing Carlisle to make the first move, his thoughts giving away his nerves.

“You’re very welcome, Bella,” he began, his eyes darting to me and back to her. He raised a hand tentatively, and I willed Bella to take it. Carlisle was the least frightening of our family, so kind and gentle all of the time. How could she accept me if she couldn’t accept him?

To my great pride, she showed no fear as she shook his hand. “It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Cullen.” She told him sincerely.

“Please, call me Carlisle.” My father was very pleased at her reaction, I could tell. He smiled again, and made a gesture to Esme to come forward, too fast for Bella’s feeble human vision to catch.

I sighed in relief as she came towards Bella as cautiously as Carlisle had, and Bella seemed quite at ease.

“It’s very nice to know you,” Esme said, her motherly voice soft and non -threatening.

“Thank you,” Bella smiled charmingly. “I’m glad to meet you, too.”

I looked around for the remainder of my family, questing outwards with my special talent.

Rosalie and Emmett were outside, and weren’t coming in. Emmett was as anxious as the rest to meet the woman who had finally captured my heart, but Rosalie was dead set against it. She hated Bella with a passion, and resented the fact that we were letting a human in on our charade. Of course, she was keeping Emmett away, as well.

I shrugged mentally. I couldn’t care less what Rose thought – she and I had many battles over all of our years together, and I didn’t expect that to ever end. It would have been nice for Emmett to have been able to meet Bella, though… he would have undoubtedly found her as amusing as I did.

Alice and Jasper, though, were right upstairs, waiting for some sort of signal that they could come down. Jasper had fed extensively before hand, so I only experienced a small amount of trepidation as I read his thoughts. He wouldn’t hurt Bella. And, even if he did lose control, there were enough of us to prevent him from attacking.

“Where are Alice and Jasper?” I asked the room, letting my query serve as their signal.

They appeared at the top of the stairs, Alice looking excited. “Hey, Edward,” She called, blurring down the stairs and skidding to a halt next to Bella.

However, my happiness at Alice’s appearance diminished quickly as her thoughts took a turn. She was remembering the vision she had earlier that month…the one where Bella had been turned into one of us. I stiffened, but it didn’t dampen my sister’s enthusiasm.

“Hi, Bella! You do smell nice, I never noticed before,” she commented off handedly, making the owner of my heart flush.

We stood in another awkward silence, but just until Jasper made his way down the stairs, broadcasting a sense of calm and acceptance. However, in his head, he was in turmoil.

The scent of Bella’s blood was almost driving him crazy. Almost. He wanted to stay away, but didn’t want to seem rude. Jasper always wanted to be accepted, even when it was impossible.

“Hello, Bella,” he managed to greet her, but his voice sounded quite strained. He kept his distance, as per his orders. I trusted him with my own life, but Bella’s was something quite different. She was much more breakable.

“Hello, Jasper,” she responded buoyantly, responding to the attitude Alice’s husband exuded.

I could hear Jasper’s amazement at her lack of fear; we had been planning for him to have to relax her through his abilities. But, there she stood, at ease among monsters. My love truly was amazing.

“It’s nice to meet you all – you have a very beautiful home,” the astounding human continued, delighting Esme. Esme was extremely proud of our home, since she had renovated much of it herself.

“Thank you,” my mother said, standing proudly. “We’re so glad that you came.” Her thoughts spoke of an instant love for her newest daughter, and pride that her first son had chosen so well.

However, she was also worried that two of her children were hiding outside, refusing to meet Bella. I rolled my eyes, strictly for her benefit. She truly didn’t need to worry about them – Emmett was practically drooling to meet the girl that had captured my attention when I hadn’t wanted his wife. Rosalie was the only one that didn’t want to meet her at all, and I didn’t really care. She would scare Bella away for sure.

Did I want that? Did I want Bella to stay? She certainly would be safer if she ran away; I was a danger to her, and so was the rest of my family. It would be in her best interest to run away and never look back. I should want her to run. I should!

But the less noble, more selfish part of my brain fought against that reasoning. I would never be able to live happily without her now – she had changed me too much. I had been in the darkness for so long, and then, she was suddenly there, lighting everything up, so I could finally see. Colors, beauty, all of the world’s wonders were suddenly available to me. And to give Bella up would be to give all of that up. I wasn’t willing to, even if it was the right thing. Rosalie would never meet Bella.

Carlisle thought my name, and I immediately tuned into his thoughts. Others of our kind were coming. Three of them, according to Alice -- who was very rarely wrong. He wanted me to know so I could keep Bella safely away from their path.

I nodded slightly to my father, unable to worry about the danger at the moment. I was too happy right then.

While our silent interchange went on, Esme and Bella had struck up another conversation – about my piano.

“No,” Esme was saying, “Edward didn’t tell you he was musical?”

I made my expression very calm, guilty. I hadn’t told Bella about that part of my existence, though I probably should have during one of our questioning sessions. But, to be fair, she never had asked directly…

“No.” She glared up at me, a poor excuse of anger. “I should have known, I guess.”

Esme looked at her in confusion, questioning me with her thoughts.

“Edward can do everything, right?” Bella clarified wryly, sounding rather annoyed. I winced at the scolding in Esme’s mind.

Bella believed I could do anything? How ludicrous! Although, at the same time, it was rather awe-inspiring. To think that such an angel believed me to be above reproof set the adrenaline pumping through my body, and my chest to puff with pride. Love really blinded one, apparently.

There were several things that I couldn’t do – be with her without wanting to kill her, for example. Eat normal food for another. Enjoy conversations with people without knowing what they were really thinking. Read her mind. Things that I would kill to be able to do.

And the things I could do? I had killed for them. Many, many times over. And lost my soul in the process.

“I hope you haven’t been showing off – it’s rude,” Esme wasn’t done scolding me.

“Just a bit,” I joked, allowing the woman who had been my mother for nearly a hundred years to see how happy I was for an instant. Her face softened, then became smug.

I knew you would find love someday, my dear. She informed me telepathically.

I smiled at her, while Bella announced that I should play. Esme agreed, and in a whirlwind of movement, I found myself seated at the piano, staring at the keys. Bella sat smugly on the bench next to me, waiting expectantly.

I stared at her, exasperated by her speeches with my family. I showed off, did I? And then, she wanted me to show of more? In that equation, two and two would have equaled six.

I turned back to the keys and began to play, not sure what I should let her hear. I had written many songs that she had inspired… but would they be too much for her to handle? Would they frighten her?

So I chose the easiest. Esme’s favorite.

As the two interweaving melodies flowed through the room, my family disappeared from the room, all thinking that Bella and I needed to be alone. I couldn’t say that I minded. Being alone with this girl – woman – was all I desired for the rest of my existence.

I winked at her astounded expression, and understanding dawned on her beautiful features.

“You wrote this?”

I nodded. “It’s Esme’s favorite.”

For some unknown reason, her eyelids drifted closed; her head shaking from side to side. Of course, if hers wasn’t the only mind that I couldn’t penetrate, I would know exactly why she looked so forlorn. I gritted my teeth in annoyance, and resorted to speech. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m feeling extremely insignificant.”

Insignificant? How could she possibly feel that insignificant? She had inspired more in me than any other could ever hope to.

The music transformed beneath my fingers, turning from a quick, jiving melody to a soft, unbearably sweet lullaby of sorts.

The first song I had written after returning from Alaska.

The fist song I had written with her face in my memories.

The first song that would never have been written if she hadn’t been seated next to me in biology class that fateful day.

The first love song I had ever written.