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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...


4. Chapter 4 What An Idiot!

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2538   Review this Chapter

I hate love! Well, ok—I don’t actually hate it. It can just be extremely painful and bewildering at times, as anyone who’s ever been in love knows. Just look at Edward and Bella and Jacob! It brings out either the best or the worst in people, and sometimes both. I am ashamed to say that on the particular occasion I am about to relate, it brought out the worst in me...

We stayed in Volterra for a couple days. The Volturi had people out watching us the whole time, but they kept their distance. Edward and Jasper had voted to go straight home, but I wanted to get a little sight seeing in while I was there. Rosalie wanted to stay, too, and convinced Emmett to go along with us, because she said it was romantic being in Italy. Whatever. At least it helped me get to play "tourist" for a couple days.

We stayed at a really nice hotel, but for the life of me I can’t remember the name. Probably because it was in Italian. But it sure was nice. I got some great pictures of the city, even though all I had was that disposable camera. Maria would like the pictures...she always wanted to travel. Edward spent most of the time pouting, and talking to Bella on the phone.

The flight back was uneventful enough. Since Felix was safely dropped off with the Volturi, I was able to relax a little more. Jasper was quiet for most of the trip, while Edward seemed extra chatty. As for Emmett and Rosalie—well, let’s just say it was a repeat of the first flight, and leave it at that. We all sat together, and unfortunately I somehow ended up in the middle seat. And despite my pleading with Edward and Jasper to PLEASE switch places with me, neither of them would. In fact, they both seemed to get a perverse delight out of my discomfort at being right next to the King and Queen of make-out. Or else, it was pay back for making them stay in Volterra longer.

When the plane landed in Seattle, we headed toward baggage claim with the rest of the crowd of passengers. Only Rosalie had checked any luggage—the rest of us just had carry-ons. Don’t get me started about Rosalie and her vanity. She’s not really as bad as she seems. The others walked on ahead while I let my feet drag. I was glad to be back and all, but at the same time I was rather nervous. What sort of welcome should I expect? I’d liked the farewell, but that might have been an aberration. I had been too scared to talk to anyone on the phone, even though Edward had said that Alice wanted to talk. I’d just told him to tell her hi for me. Maybe she was offended.

By virtue of being so far ahead of me, the Cullens had arrived at Baggage Claim when I got there. Bella and Edward were hugging and murmuring to each other. Emmett and Rosalie were talking and laughing with Carlisle and Esme. Jasper and Alice—they were standing there staring at each other, smiling. As I watched, Jasper reached up and gently caressed her face. Alice’s smile deepened, and she closed her eyes. For a few fleeting seconds, jealousy surged madly through my brain. Then, guilt at having been jealous. They’d been together for a long time. Maybe Jasper had come to his senses, and decided to stay. Heck, I couldn’t blame him! And who was I to stand in the way of true love and all that? No one, no one at all! I must have misunderstood something before I left, something else that Alice had meant other than what I had thought. I mean, lots of people kiss for reasons that aren’t romantic in nature.

Disgusted with myself for entertaining such adolescent ideas, I decided to leave. No, I decided I HAD to leave! I didn’t belong here with this tight-knit family that had been together for so many years. Time to go. Back to Chicago where I belonged. Sighing, I picked up my bag from where I had dropped it. Edward. I said mentally. He looked over at me. Please tell your family I said goodbye. A puzzled expression crossed his face, and he opened his mouth. But before he could say anything, I shifted out to the taxi line. Some poor guy had just opened the door of a cab, and luckily happened to be looking down to pick up his suitcase when I appeared between him and the door, sliding inside and shutting the door. Ignoring his angry protests, the cab driver turned to me and said, "Where to, pal?"

I thought for a minute. Train or bus? "Greyhound bus terminal," I said, handing him a hundred-dollar bill. "And the faster you get me there, the more of this you can keep." His eyes lit up at my statement, and smiling, he said, "Half way there already, bud!" With that, he pulled out right in front of a truck and drove like the Cullens all the way to the bus station. I went inside and bought a one way ticket, then sat in the waiting area. The girl at the counter had said the bus would begin loading in twenty minutes, and those twenty minutes couldn’t pass fast enough for me. The sooner I was on my way home, the better. Home. Funny, Alice had told me to hurry home when we’d parted at the airport on my way to Italy. She had been right, but boy had I misunderstood!

I was depressed. And tired—I hadn’t slept since I’d been at the Cullens house several days ago. I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and sighed. What an idiot I was! After all these years, how had I let my guard down so badly? Gah...forget it, it’s over. And I told my self I’d never fall again! Then, absurdly, my mind wandered to baseball. The All-Star Game was coming up soon. Maybe I’d splurge and go to it? That would help get my mind off the last couple of weeks.

"So, Sean—trying to leave without saying good bye?" Said a voice from behind me. I yelled and jumped about three feet out of the chair. Carlisle stood there with a slight smirk on his face. I glared at him, and sat back down. "I told Edward to tell you all good bye for me," I muttered. Carlisle sat down across from me and leaned forward. "Why did you leave?" he asked. "I thought you had decided to come and stay with us?"

I looked away from him. "I—I changed my mind." I muttered again. "I figured I must have misunderstood how things were." Carlisle smiled. "You mean you saw Jasper and Alice together, and figured you were wrong about how she feels toward you?" He asked. I nodded, and he chuckled. "Well, you completely misunderstood things, Sean. As we speak, Jasper is on his way to Alaska with Emmett and Rosalie. They are driving him up there and spending a little time with Tanya and her family. Alice was in a frantic state after Edward told us what you’d done, thinking that you were gone, too. She practically shoved Esme and I out the door to try and track you down. Edward took she and Bella home, and both Alice and Bella hoped we could find you, and convince you to come back home with us."

There was that word again—home. What was this, some bizarre sign or something? And why would Bella hope I’d show up? Bella...for some odd reason, a Dean Martin song popped into my head—"Return To Me". There was a line in there that said, "Return to me! Please come back, bella mia!" And odder still, I could somehow see Edward singing that to her! Not that she’d run off or anything, but still. Edward could be such a sap!

"So will you, Sean?" I heard Carlisle ask.

"Huh? Will I what?" was my oh-so intelligent reply.

Carlisle sighed. "Will you come back to Forks with us?"

I looked down at the ticket in my hand. I could still leave. I’d just told my self that I’d misread Alice’s feelings, but what if I had just misunderstood what I’d seen back at the airport, like Carlisle said? Why would Alice be frantic over my leaving if she didn’t really care? Would Carlisle lie? I doubted it. No point in keeping me around, if not for her sake. Did I really want to run away from this—from Alice—like I’d run away from everything in my whole, long, boring life?

I sighed. Standing, I picked up my bag, and looked at Carlisle. "Ok, I’ll come," I said. He smiled, and said, "Alice will be so glad." I thought that even if he wasn’t really their dad, he had sure stepped in and filled the roll wonderfully. I don’t think a real father could have loved his kids more than Carlisle loved his "kids". They were lucky. I’d never known my father.

A commotion at the counter caught my attention. A young girl stood there, begging for a ticket to Chicago. The woman behind the counter told her that the bus was full, and the girl began to cry. I looked down at my ticket. How convenient, I thought. I guess nothing happens without a reason. I must have gotten one of the last tickets. The girl sat down on one of the chairs in the waiting area, and continued to cry softly. I didn’t know why she had to get to Chicago so bad, and I didn’t care. I walked over. "Here ya go, kid," I said, handing her the ticket. She looked at it, then up at me through her tears. "Why?" she whispered. I smiled. "Because you need it, and I don’t. Have a good trip!" I turned and followed Carlisle out to the parking area.

Esme was waiting in the car. When she saw us approaching, she got out, smiling, and hugged me. I was rather surprised, to say the least. And as I had with Carlisle, I thought that the Cullens were very lucky to have her as a "mother". "We’re so glad you decided to stay, Sean," she said. I gave her a faint smile in return. After so many centuries of having no family, I was finding it hard to readjust to actually having one. I mean, I had relatives, but the never left Ireland, and were somewhat upset at me for having done so.

Esme tried to keep up a conversation with me, but I was pretty tired, and the hum of the car’s engine finally lulled me to sleep. Thankfully, Carlisle didn’t drive as crazy as his kids did, or I would have been too nervous to sleep at all! Next thing I know, someone was shaking my shoulder. I must have been having a really weird dream, because my eyes flew open, and I sat up yelling, "NO!!! Not the monkeys!" In fact, I sat up so fast that my head collided with the dome light of the car. "Oww!" I exclaimed, rubbing my forehead. Then I noticed that my stupid hard head had broken said dome light. I winced at it, then stuck my head out the door. "Uh, Carlisle? Uh, I-I busted your light in the car here...sorry about that!"

He looked back over his shoulder and chuckled. "Don’t worry about it. I think I can afford to have it fixed!" He kept walking towards the house. I sighed, and exited the car. I shuddered as I looked at the house. Somewhere inside, a spurned woman was waiting for me. I was not looking forward to the confrontation. How in the world could I explain just taking off like that? I entered the house like a condemned man would feel entering the gas chamber...ok, maybe not quite that bad, but close.

First people I saw were Edward and Bella. Bella looked happy to see me...or maybe she was just relieved. I don’t know. Edward, on the other hand...well, let’s just say the look on his face made me wince. And the tongue—lashing he proceeded to give me made me cringe. An old man (relatively speaking) like me getting chewed out so badly by a young kid (again, relatively speaking) like him? Yikes. He lit into me like you wouldn’t believe—didn’t I know what I’d done to Alice by just disappearing like that? Didn’t I know how much I’d hurt her? She’d sobbed for an hour! Was I really that heartless? I wasn’t good enough for her! How could I—well, I’m sure you get the idea. By the time he stopped, I was cringing, wincing, staring at the floor, felling about a foot high and wanting to crawl under the sofa and stay there.

I looked up hesitantly when I realized he wasn’t speaking anymore. Both he and Bella were glancing at the stairs. I gulped, and looked too. Alice was descending slowly, her eyes fixed on me. Did I say I felt a foot tall? Now, I felt about an inch tall. Her eyes were so sad, the look on her face like her dead heart had broken. I lowered my head in utter shame. Edward was right—I didn’t deserve her. I was a bug, not good enough to be wiped off her shoes.

She walked over to me, not saying a word. I knew she was there, because I could see her feet as I continued to stare at the floor. "Hello, Sean," she said in her musical voice. She sounded sad, happy, and uncertain. And it was my fault, damn me! Alice should always be happy, I told myself. She should never be sad! What the hell were you thinking, you ignorant, selfish, son of a—I looked over when I heard Edward snicker. You’ve got that right, Sean! He thought, smiling. Go on! Say something to her! Apologize for being such a bonehead! I looked back at the floor, afraid to look at Alice.

"I’m sorry I took off like that before," I muttered quietly, knowing she could hear me. "I-I just wasn’t sure what you thought of me. I mean, I’m a nobody, and not nearly good enough for you, and when I saw you with Jasper, I thought maybe I’d misunderstood you before—you know, before I left for Italy and all, which could totally be true, cause I get confused easy, and I sure wouldn’t blame you if you and Jasper got back together, I mean especially if I misunderstood about before, when mmffmghfhf!" I broke off when she slammed her lips against mine, and started kissing me like—well, like I’d never ever been kissed before! Not that I’m complaining or anything.

I heard Bella gasp in surprise, and whisper to Edward, "I never saw Alice and Jasper do that!" To which Edward replied, chuckling, "No, neither have I!" Alice pulled back, and glared at Edward. Then she beamed up at me, and said, "Come on, Sean, let’s go out on the porch where we can have a little privacy!" She shot another glare at Edward, who grinned back. Taking my hand, Alice practically dragged me outside...