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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...


9. Chapter 9: Maria Arrives

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2232   Review this Chapter

Sean’s POV:

I hate it when girl vampires sit down on my lap, throw their arms around me, bury their head in my chest, and start sobbing...I just never know what to do! Well, that really didn't happen very often...ok, this was actually the first time. But when Alice came back into the kitchen and did just that, I was horrified. I thought that somehow I'd managed to mess up again. Which seemed impossible, since I'd just been sitting here drinking my...uh, lunch. But then, maybe I had messed up. I was good at saying or doing the wrong thing with Alice, after all. So I figured that yeah, I probably had messed something up somehow.

Had Edward been listening in on my conversation with Maria? Was it the fact that we drank human blood? Were my shirt and my pants clashing? Alice did have a great fashion sense, and I didn't. Maybe that was it.

I awkwardly put my arms around her, and patted her back. “Shh, sweetheart! What is it?” I whispered. “What did I do this time? Whatever it is, I'm sorry! Please tell what I did, so I can be sure to never do it again!”

She stopped crying and giggled, smiling at me. “Don't be so paranoid, silly boy!” she said. Then she grew serious again. “It's not you...its Jasper. He—he's coming home, and he's bringing...he's bringing Robyn with him, and they’re going to live here with us, and--and th-they got m-married!” Then she started crying again, only softer this time. Now I understood. Stupid Jasper! Couldn’t he have waited until AFTER Bella and Edward? Sheesh! I fought down the paranoia of Alice running back to Jasper. Actually, I guess I should be thanking him on the one hand…Alice couldn’t run back to him now that he and…what was her name? Robyn—now that he and Robyn were married. But still…he and Alice had been together for so long. What was he thinking?? Why couldn’t they have waited until after Edward and Bella tied the knot? He would be hearing from me once he arrived! But in the meantime, how could I get my poor Alice to stop crying? I tried to think of something—anything—that would cheer her up. I could always tell her I loved her…er, no…not quite able to say that yet. But what else? Then it hit me...

“Um, Alice—Maria will be here on Thursday, and she was hoping that you and she could go shopping?”

That did the trick. Alice sat up. “Maria will be here in TWO DAYS?!?” She shrieked. “And Jasper and Robyn will be here by then, too! That’s not enough time! ESME!!” Alice cried, racing into the other room. I sighed and smiled. I knew that would work. I could hear Alice in the other room telling Esme that they had to get started on fixing Maria’s room, and cleaning house for Jasper and Robyn, and could Esme PLEASE help, since Alice was sooo busy with the wedding plans already. I heard Esme agree enthusiastically, and they rushed through the kitchen and into the garage. A few seconds later, they were speeding down the driveway together.

Bella and Edward walked in and sat down across from me. “How did you manage that, Sean?” Bella asked, wide-eyed. “Sending Alice and Esme literally running out of here to go shopping! That’s amazing!”

I smiled sheepishly. “Well, Alice came in here crying, and I’m always at a loss when women cry, so I just thought of the first thing I could to cheer her up—shopping. “ I winced as I said the word, and Edward smirked. “Your daughter really has you wrapped around her finger, doesn’t she?”

I sighed and nodded. “Yes, she certainly does. But really, I had no excuse for not getting in touch with her before I did. She was worried sick!”

“You had an excuse,” Bella said, smiling. “Alice!” I gulped.

“And so she made you feel guilty, and agree to give her the credit card,” Edward said, still smirking but thankfully changing the subject.

I nodded again. “And stay out! Good grief, what does a guy have to do to get any privacy around you?” I muttered. I supposed I could just mind slam him, but that would hurt, and I didn’t want to antagonize his family.

He laughed. “That does sound painful…Ok, Sean—you win! I’ll try and keep out. But that was pretty amazing the way you got Alice to calm down! Nothing she likes better than shopping.” Then he smirked at me again. “Except for maybe you, that is! I think she’d pick you over shopping any day! You should be flattered.” He turned to Bella. “Time to get you home, love,” he said, and they walked out hand in hand. Bella called goodbye over her shoulder.

I ruefully watched them go, and shook my head. Now those two really need to get married, I thought. Well, in a couple more weeks they’d be doing just that. I cringed at the thought of the word “marriage.” I knew what would eventually occur to Alice—Bella and Edward were soon to be married. Robyn and Jasper were already married. And if Maria liked Alice—well, it would be over for me! Maria was constantly bugging me about my getting married. She would come in to the living room (usually whilst I was watching tv), flop down on the couch, sigh loudly and dramatically, and declare, “Daddy, I want a mom!” I shook my head. It was hard enough for me to resist just one of them. So If Alice and Maria joined forces against me…I shook my head again.

The rest of the day passed quickly. Alice and Esme came home, and spent the afternoon cleaning and decorating like crazy. They seemed to enjoy it though. Eventually, the rest of us got roped into helping out as well…all except Carlisle, who managed to “suddenly” be called in to the Hospital. Convenient, that. The next day passed all too quickly also, but I spent it with Alice. She didn’t leave my side all day…which, no offense to her, got just a little tedious after a while. But I didn’t say anything. I knew she was nervous—about whether or not Maria would like her, and over seeing Jasper again, and meeting Robyn.

Soon it was ten AM. A taxi pulled slowly down the long, winding driveway that led up to the Cullen’s house. I was standing out in front, waiting, almost like a condemned man before he’s led to the electric chair. Alice, perhaps sensing my fear, stood next to me, holding my hand tightly and smiling brightly. Either she’d had a good vision regarding Maria, or she was trying to be happy for me. The rest of the Cullens were nearby…Edward and Bella were standing on the porch with Esme, whilst Emmett and Rosalie were looking out the window. I think Rose was a little concerned that Maria might eclipse her own beauty. Emmett had his arm around her. Carlisle was on the phone in his office.

The car halted a few feet away from me. The back door swung open, and Maria flashed into my arms with a shriek of “DADDY!” She nearly knocked me over. Alice pout her hand over her mouth and giggled. Maria was hugging me so tightly I could barely breathe. And talking so fast I could barely understand her.

“DaddyohdaddyI’vemissedyousomuch!IfyoueverEVERdothattomeagianI’llkillyou!Iwassoworriedaboutyou!NoneattheAgencyknewwhereyouwere!Imissedyou!” That’s just a small sample of what she said. After several seconds of this, She finally disentangled herself from me, and turned her bright, violet eyes on Alice. “Is this Alice?” She cried, and then flung herself onto Alice, nearly knocking her over as well. Maria was a few inches taller than Alice, so the sight was a bit humorous. Then she stepped back and said, “After all these years, someone finally caught Daddy’s attention! You’re beautiful! Oh, I’ve told Daddy for decades that I’ve wanted a mom! I think you’ll be great!!”

I chocked. Alice beamed. Bella and Esme laughed softly. Maria turned her attention to them. “Wow! There’s lots of people here! It’s only been me and daddy since 1886. I guess I’ll have to get used to lots of people being around, since Daddy said we’re going to live here now.”

Esme came forward and hugged Maria. “Welcome to our home! I’m Esme. And this is my son Edward, and his fiancée Bella,” She said, turning to the others. Edward and Bella came, and Edward shook Maria’s hand, while Bella hugged her. Then they all went inside.

I sighed in relief. “Well, so far so good,” I muttered. Turning to Alice, I said, “And I’m sorry about that ‘mom’ stuff. She’s been bugging me about that for I don’t know how long!” Alice stepped closer, her eyes glowing. “Well, I don’t know,” she murmured. “I think I agree with her on that one!”

I sighed. “Alice, please—not now! You’re just upset and sad that Jasper got married already. I—uh, we don’t want to rush into anything! I mean, concentrate on getting Bella and Edward married, and then we can talk some more. I promise.” I was desperately trying to stall, but I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would be forced to choose between my fears and old broken heart of the past, and Alice and the future.

Alice sighed. “Ok. You’re right, I guess. Let’s go inside and see how Maria is getting along.” She linked her arm in mine and we walked up the steps into the house. As we entered, I heard an extremely rare noise—the sound of Rosalie laughing! And not a snide laugh, either, but a genuinely happy laugh! Maria was staring at Rosalie in awe. I looked at Edward, and raised an eyebrow.

Maria has been complimenting and flattering Rose since she met her, he thought to me. Plus, she was admiring Emmett’s muscles, and going on and on about how cute a couple they are, and how she loves Rose’s clothes. You coached her well, Sean. I heard Rose’s thoughts when Maria first arrived, and she was really jealous! But your daughter has managed to get on her good side. Rose is happier right now than I’ve seen her in a long time!

I sighed. Well, that went better than I had hoped! But then, Alice suddenly stiffened next to me, in the throws of yet another vision. I still wasn’t used to that. This one didn’t last long, though. Alice relaxed, and shook her head. Then she sniffed like she was going to cry again. “Jasper and…Robyn are nearly here,” she murmured, looking at the floor. Maria shot me a worried look.

Should I do it now, Daddy? She asked mentally. I nodded. Maria walked over to Alice and took her hand. “Alice?” She asked in a sweet voice. Alice slowly looked up at her. “I was wondering if you would take me shopping? I wasn’t able to bring many clothes on such short notice, and Daddy promised me I could go once I got here.” She shot me a scathing look. “He owes me, after all, for not letting me know where he was for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!” I cringed again.

Alice smiled a bit sadly, but the light had returned to her eyes. “Of course we can, Maria! Oh, I am going to love having you around! Maybe later you’ll let me do a makeover on you?” Bella groaned, Edward chuckled, and Maria clapped her hands delightedly. “I’d love it! Let’s go!” She came over to me, and held out her hand, a wicked smile on her face. I cringed a third time, took my wallet out, and handed over one of my platinum credit cards.

Alice laughed. “It’s ok, Maria! I can cover the shopping!”

Maria shook her head and waved her hand dismissively. “Psssh! Daddy’s a freaking Millionaire! He can afford it!”

“Yeah, and you know how I got to be that way?” I muttered. “By saving, not spending!” I handed the card over. “Still, I did promise. And it was wrong of me to make you worry like I did, so off you go and enjoy yourselves.” Maria hugged the credit card to herself and squealed. “Thank you, Daddy!” She kissed my cheek and ran outside, calling over her shoulder, “Come on, Alice! I can’t wait!”

Alice came over and kissed my other cheek. ‘Thank you,” she whispered. “I know you’re doing this to distract me. And guess what—it worked!” She turned and called for Maria. Within seconds the two of them were speeding down the driveway in Alice’s Porsche.

Edward walked over to stand beside me at the window. “A millionaire?” he asked. “So why were you on the bus when you arrived here?”

“Well, unlike you Cullens, I understand the meaning of the words ‘blending in’, and choose not to flaunt my material possessions. I mean, really—a yellow Porsche? In a tiny town like this? And all your other cars, like the one you bought for Bella?? Please! That’s not ‘blending in’!

Edward laughed, then suddenly grew quiet. “What’s wrong?” Bella asked, coming up to him and putting a hand on his shoulder. Edward sighed. “Jasper and Robyn will be here in a couple of minutes,” he announced…