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The More things Change

Summary:
The Cullen family undergoes many changes--some people leave, some people arrive. Marriages, babies, and imprints confuse the issue even more.


Notes:
This is a sequel to "Home"...you don't have to read that to totally understand this, but it would probably help alot! Yeah, I know I sound like I'm begging for reads, but I'm just trying to be helpful! So go read "Home" if you get confused...


17. Chapter 17: Something In The Water

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2467   Review this Chapter

Sean’s POV:

I had just shut Rosalie up, when Maria was suddenly back--which was rather surprising, since none of us had heard her drive up. I guess we were just so caught up in what we were talking about that we didn’t notice it. And I felt terrible—I didn’t even notice the arrival of my own daughter! Gah, what kind of a father was I?

I watched as Alice ran over to hug her, and they whispered briefly. I smiled as I looked at the two most beautiful girls in the world, talking softly. Wow, was I lucky or what? Alice and Maria got along great. Alice would be an excellent mom for Maria…um, what did I just think? Was I thinking about marriage?? Yikes, better derail that train of thought fast!

Maria helped with that. She got nearly hysterical once she realized that Bella was pregnant…screaming and shouting about helping with all things baby. I shook my head as the three girls started jabbering about decorating and clothes and what not for the baby. Well, at least Bella seemed distracted and happier for the moment. Edward looked pained, though. Poor guy. Well, at least I’d never have to be in his position. Half breeds always came from a human Female, and Alice was already a vampire.

Wait—was I just thinking marriage again?? Oh boy. I shook my head, trying to clear it. Time for a breath of air! I stood and walked over to greet Maria. She had been so caught up in the whole baby thing that she hadn’t even said hi to me.

“Daddy!” She exclaimed, hugging me tightly. “Oh, I missed you! Even though it was only one day.” She smiled.

“Yeah,” I replied. “I thought you weren’t going to be here for another day or two? Why are you here so soon?”

“Well, Jennifer ended up having to leave for Aspen earlier than she thought…something about her grandmother’s party getting moved up because of health problems. So her family left yesterday. And I was able to get my tickets switched.” She winked at me. “Unlike you, Daddy, I don’t have an aversion to flying!”

“Wait—Sean is afraid to fly?” Jake exclaimed. Then he started laughing. I turned a frown on him. “Hey—planes crash, you know!” He kept laughing, and I huffed. “I’m going to get a breath of air. I’ll be out on the porch.”

“I’ll go with you,” Jake said. “It’s time to switch patrol with Leah anyway.”

“Be careful, Jake!” Bella called. Jake turned to her and smiled. “Aren’t I always?” he asked. I was already heading for the door, and Jake followed me outside. I paused at the railing, and Jake slapped my shoulder as he passed me, heading for the far side of the house. “Later, Sean,” he said. Then he disappeared around the corner. I lit a small cigar, and leaned on the railing, enjoying the quiet sounds of the forest at night.

Behind me, I could hear the baby banter continuing from inside the house. I shook my head. What was it about women and baby talk anyway?

After a few minutes, I heard footsteps coming around the porch from the direction that Jake had gone. They were lighter than his had been. Then around the corner came a girl with short dark hair. She looked so similar to Jake and Seth that I figured she must be this Leah Jake had mentioned. She saw me and hesitated a moment, a frown marring her otherwise pretty face.

She sniffed. Good Lord, she freaking sniffed at me! Gah…sometimes I really wish I hadn’t missed my stop in Seattle. Of course, all I had to do was take one look at Alice and that thought left my mind pretty quick. But still. I turned back to surveying the forest.

“You must be that half—leech everyone’s been talking about…the one who’s hooked up with the little bloodsucker.”

I cringed. I didn’t like hearing Alice disrespected. I slowly turned to face the new wolf. “Her name is Alice,” I said. “And you really should expand your vocabulary…there are several species of leech, and not all of them drink blood.” Then I took a closer look at her, and realized what she was wearing…some sort of bra looking thing, and very short shorts. My eyes widened, and I turned away very quickly. “Good lord!” I exclaimed. “Go put some close on!”

“I have clothes on,” she replied defensively.

“Barely!”

“What are you, some kind of prude?” She asked angrily.

“Not really…what are you, some kind of exhibitionist? Prancing around half-naked??”

She was silent a few seconds, just staring at me. Then she burst out laughing. “Ha! I like you, half-breed! It might be nice having you around here…a good change from all the stuck-up blood suckers.” She sat down in one of the porch chairs, still chuckling.

“What’s this?” A voice asked from out of the darkness. “My sister, our very own Leah, laughing?”

“I wish you lot would quit sneaking up on people,” I muttered as Seth walked up the steps. He smiled. “Sorry, Sean…didn’t mean to startle you! And how in the world did you get Leah to laugh, anyway? That’s next to impossible! You Irish people really must be magic!” Oh, if you only new, kid, I thought.

“Shut up, Seth!” Leah growled, the scowl returning to her face.

Seth held up his hands, the easy grin returning to his face. “Ok, sis! I give! I’m gonna go on inside and get me some more of that great tasting food to eat! I’m starved!”

“Ha! You’re always starved, little brother.” Leah said, shaking her head.

Seth said, laughing. He walked into the house. Leah stayed silent, and I lost myself in my thoughts again. I heard Seth greet the people inside with a loud, “Hello, everybody! I’m back! Did you miss me?”

“You were only gone a couple of hours, you know,” Bella replied, and I could her the smile in her voice as she said it. I smiled. She sure was a sweet girl. Too bad all this weirdness had to happen to her.

“Well, true,” I heard Seth reply. “But Jake said I could take an hour off and come get something to eat. Hey Edward, do you have any more of that—“ His voice suddenly broke off with a strange chocking sound. The house grew dead quiet…no one spoke for close to a minute. Then the silence was broken by a terse, “Well? What are you lookin’ at?” from Maria, followed by a “Uh-oh” from Bella, and a giggle from Alice.

Then more silence until Seth started stuttering, “I…I-I, ah, um, I…I”. Alice giggled again.

“Take a picture!” Maria yelled. “It lasts longer!” Then more stuttering, followed by a scream of, “QUIT STARING AT ME, YOU FREAK!” from Maria. Leah and I exchanged a confused glance.

Seth came stumbling backwards out the door. He staggered to the edge of the porch, breathing heavily, and shot a helpless look at Leah. Her eye widened in surprise. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” she whispered.

“What’s wrong, Seth?” I asked him. “Are you all right?”

He turned his gaze back to the door way. I heard voices talking urgently inside the living room. Seth was staring at the house with wide eyes, his mouth hanging open, and an awestruck look on his face.

“I think my lil’ bro has just imprinted,” Leah said, smiling slightly.

I frowned, confused again. “You mean, like a credit card imprint?” I asked, looking back and forth between the two. “Or one of those things that Kindergartners make with their hands and give to their mums for Christmas or Mother’s Day?”

Seth didn’t answer, and just kept staring at the doorway. Leah lapsed into silence and didn’t answer. She just kept her eyes on Seth.

“No, Sean,” said another voice out of the darkness. “Imprinting is what the wolves call it when they meet their soul-mate. It’s kind of like love at first sight, only much stronger.” Carlisle said, appearing at the foot of the porch with the others. Emmett was grinning, as usual. Jasper and Robyn went inside.

I rolled my eyes and resisted the urge to gag. “What is it with you people and all this ‘soul mates’ and ‘love at first’ sight baloney? Seriously—is it in the water around here or something? I’ve never heard such a load of bull in my life! And as old as I am, that’s saying a lot!”

Carlisle smiled slightly at my outburst. “You see, Sean, ‘imprinting’ is a very intense thing that happens the first time they see their other half, the one that is destined for them.” When he said “destined”, I nearly gagged again. “It’s like their entire world shifts and is focused around the one they imprinted on, and they would do anything-even die-for that person.”

“Well, why hasn’t he done this imprinted thing before now, then?” I asked impatiently. “I mean, he knows everyone that he just saw in the house. He’s seen them lots of times!”

“Not all of them,” Seth whispered in an awestruck voice, still staring at the house.

“Huh?” I said. Then suddenly it dawned on me. And at that instant, there was an extremely loud, very shrill scream of, “DADDY!!!” from inside. I was wrong…there was one person there he hadn’t seen before. “Aw, crap!” I muttered. I looked at Carlisle. “Um, does this mean what I think it means?” I asked him. “Did Seth here…’imprint’, or whatever it’s called, on Maria?”

Seth’s eyes moved to mine. “Th-that’s Maria?” He asked, awe and utter surprise plainly evident in his voice. “Wow!” He murmured, his eyes turning back to the house. He took a few tentative, off-balanced steps back towards the doorway. “That angel is Maria? My Maria? Damn, I am so happy right now! I—I can’t even say how happy…wow!”

“Wait—what’s all this ‘my Maria’ stuff?” I asked, moving to block the door. “What is that all about then?”

Seth frowned at me. “Move out of the way! I want to go back inside!”

“Sean, you’d better just let him go in,” Carlisle said.

I frowned at Carlisle, then at Seth, who was glaring now. I could take this young punk, I told myself. But then, he was really a good kid. And if what they were all saying was true, then…poor kid. Maria never had a boyfriend for more than a week, and that was just for…feeding purposes. I really didn’t know how she was going to take this news. Another, even more demanding “DADDY!” emanated from the house and I sighed again. “All right, boy—it’s your funeral.” I stepped aside, and Seth practically ran back into the house. I heard Maria yell, “Ew! Quit staring at me like that! What is your problem anyway? What’s going on? DAAAAADDYYYYY!!”

Emmett laughed. Carlisle shook his head, and Esme said, “Perhaps I can help calm her down?”

“You’re welcome to try, ma’am,” I replied. Esme smiled, patted my hand, whispered, “It’ll be alright, Sean.” Then she walked inside. Leah snickered. “Wait till Jake hears this!” She said, then got up and ran back around the side of the house.

“Gotta be something in the water,” I muttered to myself as I followed her in.

I must be a horrid father. I just must be! Because when I got inside, I had to fake a coughing fit, because I wanted to laugh at what I saw: Alice was holding Maria back from attacking Seth, who was being restrained by Jasper. Seth had a look of utter adoration on his face as he stared at Maria. “All I want is to be near you, love!” He said pleadingly, holding out his arms.

“Come near me, and I’ll rip yer face off!” Maria shrieked back. Seth only grinned wider. “Anything for you, my angel!” Maria growled.

Rose ran over to Emmett the moment she saw him walk in, and babbled at him. It took several minutes for him to understand what had happened, then he laughed. Rose belted him, screeched her babble, and ran upstairs. Emmett followed, calling out, “Come on, Babe! You’ve gotta admit it’s kind of funny! Don’t be mad!”

Maria finally calmed down. Seth did, too, but he kept just staring at Maria with a total puppy dog face (uh, no pun intended). Made me kind of want to gag again. That is, until Alice came back to sit beside me…then it was my turn to stare in adoration. Maria noticed this, and said, “Gah, Daddy! You look like Seth when you do that!”

Carlisle wore a confused look on his face as he watched Seth watch Maria. “I don’t understand something about all this,” he finally said. “I was under the impression that when the wolves imprinted, it was to perpetuate the species, or at least partly. But Maria is a vampire, albeit a different type than we are. But still, she’s a vampire…incapable of bearing children. This makes no sense to me. I’ll have to ask Jacob about it.”

Looking back, that should have been the first warning sign that my little deception was going to turn and bite me on the rear. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. It makes sense now, but at the time it went in one ear and out the other, as I figured it was just some mix up in the wolves “imprinting” thing, and therefore not my concern. Of course, as usual I was wrong.

But at that moment, two things happened that drove it from my mind immediately. The first was that Jacob returned, wanting to learn more about Seth’s imprinting. But before he could, Bella leaned forward to grab something she had evidently just dropped, and a sickening “Crack!” filled the room, and Bella went limp. Rosalie and Edward caught her, and then Bella let out a horrible scream, her eyes rolled back in her head, and she twitched in Rosalie’s arms, and puked a ton of blood.

Everything else was forgotten in an instant, as all attention focused on Bella. I saw Maria’s eyes widen…Robyn’s, too. And I knew why—the blood…it was everywhere! Heck, it was getting to me, too! “Um, ladies,” I said to Robyn and Maria. They both turned shocked and fear filled eyes to me. And yet, I could see the desire there, too—the desire for blood…fresh human blood. Better to not let poor Edward see that. Thankfully, he was too distracted by Bella to even hear their thoughts. Or mine, for that matter. “Would you care to join me in a breath of fresh air out on the porch?” The nodded mutely, and I ushered them out, leaving the others to tend to Bella…..