When a nerdy older man, Owen Orious, comes to Forks to begin life anew, destiny ties his fate to the Cullens. Unknown to him, Owen's family possesses deep secrets of their own, and all the while danger lurks in the shadows. Can true love stil triumph in the end?
2. Future Promises Chapter 3
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Chapter 3: Nice Normal Family...Yeah Right
How do you think he does it?
I don't know!
What makes him so good?
The Who 1969
I followed Alicia's directions exactly as she guided me to the Cullen's house. "Ok...so tell me again about your family? What's the situation?" I asked her, already worried about seeing her cousin again...and meeting her folks.
Alicia frowned, and seemed to cringe at my question, as her mind raced to give me an answer. "Well...Dr. and Mrs. Cullen...that is, Dr. Carlisle and Esme...they've kind of adopted all the kids in the family. Emmett, Alice, Rosalie, Jasper, Bella, Edward, and Renesmee are all actually their adopted children. My cousin deeply loves Renesmee and they've been together for a pretty long time."
"How old are Dr. and Mrs. Cullen?" I ask, astounded that they would have so many kids.
"Pretty young...Dr. Cullen and his wife are only in their early 30's, but they love kids...since they can't really have any of their own."
"Don't they take offense to your cousin...who looks like he's maybe 25...dating their adopted daughter...who might be 17 at best?" I asked, frowning on the idea myself.
Alicia blushed and smiled as though she knew something I didn't. "No, not at all. Jacob is very loyal and a good friend to the family. Oh! Turn here!" The car skidded badly, as my foot slammed onto the break, and I turned into an almost invisible driveway, shrouded by an overgrowth of trees, moss, and other plants. It was bad enough that the roads were soaking wet and that this driveway was almost hidden, but to make matters worse my eyesight and hearing kept coming and going. One moment I would be listening to Alicia talking about this and that, the next minute I could hear every word of some conversation in a house we passed. It was like I was Superman...and my senses couldn't make up their minds to be normal or ultra powerful. I really wanted to just get away. All this crap happening to me, and instead of figuring things out, I'm on my way to meet my potential girlfriend's family. There was something about Alicia though; her touch, the way she looked at me and the change in her voice when she talked to me. There was something about it all that drew me to her and made me want her.
We drove down the long driveway, coming upon the Cullen's huge house. I whistled in amazement at the size of it. "Gee...some place they've got here..." I gasped.
"Well, Carlisle is a doctor...he's one of the best, and built quite a fortune for himself!" Alicia commented, the obvious pride and admiration she held for this guy, clearly in her voice.
I parked the car and climbed out, going over to the passenger door to help Alicia, as any gentleman would do, but my senses went nuts again. I groaned and slammed my eyes shut, as I tried to block out all the sounds I was hearing. Unfortunately, I thought I heard my name once or twice...and it seemed to be coming from inside the house. I listened carefully, hearing everything that was being said.
"JACOB! This is all your fault! Why on Earth would you go to a place like Wal*mart for??? I know tons of places far better than that! If you would have just told me that's where you were going, none of this would have happened! You know how hard it is for me to see you...worse yet; I didn't see this Owen person coming at all!"
"Please, don't yell at Jake, Alice. We were just going to run in real quick, grab the parts for Jake's motorcycle, and get out! Poor Alicia just imprinted on Mr. Orious! It isn't anyone's fault!"
"Still though, this was a very bad idea. Bringing a human here...do we have the self control to keep from killing him? Remember all the problems we had with Bella."
"Edward, have faith in yourself. I know that everyone will be strong for Alicia. We will treat Owen just as we treated Bella, with kindness and respect."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence Carlisle...it's just that..."
"Aw, who cares, Edward? This is the greatest thing to happen to this family! I can't wait to meet the guy! Heeheehee, hey Jacob, tell us again about what a dork he is! I really wish I had been there to see your expression when Alicia fell for the guy!"
"Shut up Emmett."
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....!!!"
I blinked my eyes and managed to break myself out of my eavesdropping...or whatever it was I was doing. Was that really what was going on in the house? Did I really hear all of that? I looked at Alicia, who stared at me with concern.
"Are you alright? Are you feeling okay??" She asked me, her musical voice filled with concern.
"Oh...uh...yeah...sorry about that, Alicia. I just, um...had a little bit of trouble there. I think I must be coming down with a touch of the flu or something." I lied, wincing a little at how lame my excuse sounded.
Alicia frowned, not believing a word of it, and gestured for me to come with her. "Ok...let's go..." She said, still sounding worried.
We walked to the house, side by side, and my hearing once again picked up, and I could hear everything being said in the house.
"Ok, here they come. Remember everyone; try to make Owen feel welcomed. No funny business, Emmett!"
"No funny business Esme, I promise...hey Edward...what's the guy like? Please tell me he's even worse than dog boy said!"
"Well??? Out with it!"
"I...I can't hear anything from him, Em. Nothing. It's just as bad as it was with Bella."
"So...Alice can't see him...and you can't hear him...that can't be good."
Just as suddenly as it had come, my super hearing was gone again, and all I could hear were the natural noises of the outside world. I glanced at Alicia, just as we came to the door, and she was biting her lower lip. She had an expression on her face...and I almost wondered if she'd heard the conversation as well. I opened my mouth, to ask her...but quickly shut it again. No sense in making myself sound any worse than her family obviously already thought I was.
Alicia opened the door, took me by the hand, and led me inside. I looked around at the big beautiful house and the huge assortment of objects collected all about. There to meet us first were a lovely couple...obviously Dr. Carlisle and his wife...but much younger looking than I would have guessed. They were full of smiles, and stood with an air of dignity, as if they'd welcomed guests to their home many times before.
Off to their left was a pretty built guy and an absolutely breathtaking young woman. The guy seemed to be trying desperately to hide a smirk, while the girl was much more withdrawn and perhaps worried or concerned.
On Dr. Carlisle's right, stood another youthful couple, a tall quiet looking kid, and an extremely petite little girl with spiky dark hair. The kid nodded and smiled at me respectively while the tiny pixie gal just stared with curiosity.
Next to them was another teenaged couple. I was rather taken back...the young man had copper toned hair exactly like Renesmee, and his dark haired girlfriend shared almost the exact eye shape. It was almost as though they were all related somehow...but Alicia told me that each kid in this house was adopted...that they had all kinda found someone to pair up with and none of them were directly related. Both of them had a hint of worry etched on their faces.
Speaking of Renesmee...she and Jacob stood together, yet far apart from everyone else. Both were rigid and stiff, their expressions filled with deep concern and anxiety, definitely more so than anyone else in the house. I was aware that Jacob was protective of Alicia, but this was a bit much I thought. For some reason, deep inside, I felt very happy. I had caused this nice family a bit of chaos, and I found that to be wonderful. I had never felt this way before...I was always quiet and unassuming, never trying to make trouble or hog the spotlight. Why was I enjoying myself doing it now? More disturbing to me...and I understood better why I felt this way, everyone in the room, with the exception of Jake and myself, had the exact same honey brown eye color.
My eyes scanned the room over and over again...but I saw no signs of Alicia's father or mother. I wondered why they wouldn't be here, since she'd just talked to her father on the phone...wouldn't they want to meet me as well? Dr. Carlisle came over to shake my hand. He inhaled deeply through his nose, and hesitated shaking hands with me. He looked at my face, his eyes filled with confusion. His voice broke a little during his introduction...something he obviously wasn't used to happening. "Excuse me, I apologize...hello Mr. Orious. I'm Carlisle Cullen. Welcome to our home." His hand was cold...although there was a tiny tinge of warmth to it...like a rock being held close to a fire or something. For a brief moment, it reminded me of how Alicia felt all the time...but the cold quickly overwhelmed the heat and remained that way.
"Nice to meet you, thank you for having me. This is a pretty cool place you got here." I complimented. I heard a snicker or two from the built guy at the word "cool." Ignoring him, I continued. "You can just call me Owen, by the way."
Carlisle smiled and nodded. "Let me introduce you to the rest of our family, Owen." He gestured first to the woman next to him. "This is my lovely wife, Esme."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Owen." She told me, smiling so gently and so kindly, that I had to keep myself from just hugging her right then and there. She kind of reminded me of my mom I suppose. "Alicia tells us you are from Ohio. I'm from the Columbus area, myself."
"What? No shit?? I'm from a little town northwest of Columbus! Go Bucks!!!" I blurted out with in a VERY uncharacteristic manner, even lifting my fist to give her "five" before I realized what the hell I was doing. The poor woman could do nothing but stare in horror at my filthy language and crude way. Quickly I tried to backtrack and correct myself. Already I could see the built guy hiding his face in the kitchen while his stomach shook with uncontrolled laughter. Jacob hid his face with his hand, definitely embarrassed, while everyone else just gasped. "Uh...what I meant was...that's very cool." I corrected, sighing and feeling more stupid than I ever have in my entire life.
Carlisle frowned and gently took me by the shoulder, bringing me to the next couple. "Um...yes...uh...moving on..." He stammered. Esme stood back when he led me away, but before we were completely out of range, I felt a very gentle tap against the knuckles of my fist, and a playful "Go Bucks." whispered into my ear. Next we came to the built guy and the hottie blond girl with him. "This is Emmett and Rosalie. Kids, say hello to Owen."
Rosalie looked at me with disinterest and began to offer her hand, but Emmett leaped in front of her and shook my hand so much I felt like it was going to come off in his hands. "Hey, Owen, great to meet you! I'm Emmett of course, and I think it's really...cool...that you're here! I mean, from what Alicia has said, you're like one of the coolest guys ever!" he told me, obviously making fun.
I smirked, taking it all in stride. "Well, it's nice to meet you too, Emmett." I told him.
"Thanks man, that's really cool, y'know? Maybe we could talk about comic books and stuff later..." He continued, laughing, as everyone else rolled their eyes.
"Maybe, if you want to, Emmett." I said, smiling, but shaking my head at his goofy antics.
"That would be very cool! I have to tell you, I'm actually a pretty big super hero fan myself. Spider-man, Superman, Hulk, Batman...all the classics. I used to have this one comic were Superman fought Muhammad Ali, and..." but before he could keep droning on and on, the hot babe slammed him in the stomach HARD.
"Shut up, Emmett."
"Yes dear..." He gasped.
"I'm Rosalie Hale. It's a pleasure to have your acquaintance, Owen." She said, offering me her hand, which I gently shook.
Next, I was introduced to the spiky hair girl and her boyfriend. "Owen, this is Alice, and her boyfriend Jasper Hale." Carlisle informed me. Alice tilted her head to one side, and her eyes gazed off as though she were trying to go into some sort of deep daydream...but she suddenly snapped out of it, grimaced and sort of glared at me.
"Hi." She said with more than a little sadness in her voice, but she didn't offer to shake hands. Jasper was friendlier, even patting me on the shoulder as we introduced ourselves.
"Alicia told us that you're into games. If you want, we can go upstairs and play the new pinball machine we got." He told me.
"That sounds like fun! I'll have to take you up on that!" I said, politely, even though I secretly abhorred the idea. I hadn't played pinball since my mom passed away a few years ago. After her death I did nothing but play pinball games mindlessly...my friends in Ohio said I was amazing, but I wouldn't know. I always zoned out when I played and just tried to get my mind off of my mom.
Alicia, Carlisle, and I soon moved on to the last couple I wasn't familiar with, Edward and Bella. Bella was nice enough, not talkative at all, but polite. I remembered what I'd heard earlier about Edward not being able to "hear" me, whatever that meant. Carlisle formally introduced me to him and I smiled. "HELLO. MY NAME IS OWEN ORIOUS, BUT YOU CAN JUST CALL ME OWEN. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? MY NAME IS OWEN. OWEN! IT IS NICE TO MEET YOU." I shouted to him, trying to carefully pronounce every syllable that I spoke. I had absolutely no experience with deaf people, and I felt really bad not being able to communicate with sign language. Hopefully he could read lips and get the gist of what I was trying to say.
"Uh...hello? Nice to meet you?" He said in a confused voice. I looked at him, did he understand?
"Wait...are you even deaf?" I asked.
"No..." He replied, more confused.
"But...I thought I heard someone say you couldn't hear me..." I said softly, looking around. Everyone else just looked as confused as the two of us. I turned back to Edward.
"I...don't know who would tell you that, or why, but that's certainly not the case. I can hear you just fine." He told me, although there was something wrong in his eyes that gave him away.
I stared at him hard for just a few more moments before smiling apologetically. "Oh, well, sorry about that anyway, Edward."
Before anymore words could be exchanged Jacob and Renesmee approached, each offering their hands to shake. I hadn't noticed before, but Jacob was almost the exact opposite of everyone else. His hand was blazing warm; meanwhile, Renesmee's hand was slightly cool to the touch, but not as bad as the others, nor as chaotic as Alicia's. "Hey Owen, I just wanted to apologize one more time to you for the misunderstanding and all. Alicia is...well...very important to me and I love her very much. She seems to have taken a liking to you, and I hope that maybe you feel the same way about her." Jacob told me.
I thought about how Alicia stood up for me against Hector in the office, and I nodded in answer. "To tell you the truth...I think I really like her too." I said at last.
"Owen, if you have time, would you like to stay for dinner and maybe catch the game with us?" Alicia blurted out, although she blushed immediately when nearly everyone else in the room shot her a glare.
"Well, if it's ok with everyone else." I said sheepishly. "What game's on?"
"The Sox vs. the Yankees!" She exclaimed.
"What else is on?" I asked, hoping that I hid my grimace at the thought of watching baseball...quite possibly the most boring sport ever invented by man, just behind golf and NASCAR.
"Well, let's see!!!" Emmett interrupted, grabbing a television guide and hopping over to us.
"EMMETT!!!" Rosalie growled at him, as though he were offending Alicia and me for some reason. He smirked and quickly shook it off, even dodging out of the way of his brothers.
"Oh ho! What have we here? The Incredible Hulk marathon is on sci-fi! Nothing says ‘cool' like watching 24 hours of Bill Bixby!" He said with a grin, still trying to get a rise out of me.
"Thor would kick the Hulk's ass." I said with just a hint of a smile.
"No he wouldn't! Didn't you see ‘The Incredible Hulk Returns?' Hulk beat the crap out of him in that..." Emmett argued.
"Oh, so Emmett, you must be pretty ‘cool' to know so much about all this stuff!" Edward jumped in, emphasizing the "cool" word by making bunny ears with his fingers. Obviously, Edward was trying to help me turn the tables on his big brother.
"I have seen that movie...and the fight was rigged." I teased.
"RIGGED? Are you out of your mind??" Emmett yelled.
"It was the Hulk's movie, so naturally the Hulk got to win. Had it been Thor's movie...or any other movie for that matter, Thor would have won." I replied, crossing my arms in defiance.
"You're completely insane! The Hulk is the strongest one there is, in the comics he..." Emmett argued, actually getting a little emotional about this whole goofy argument.
"Come on, Em! You've made all of us watch that movie on DVD a million times! We all know the fight was rigged!" Jasper jumped in, getting in his shots.
"BOTH OF YOU SHUT UP!!! I DON'T OWN THAT DVD!" Emmett yelled, getting madder and madder.
"Yes you do, when the rest of the family was gone, you made ME sit down and watch it with you!" Jacob tried to growl, but he was too busy trying unsuccessfully to hide his laughter.
Before Emmett could argue anymore however, Alicia reach out from behind me and grabbed him roughly by the shirt pulling him nose to nose with her.
"If you don't leave poor Owen alone, I'm going to ‘Hulk out' on you...you're not the strongest member of this family anymore, GOT IT?" She snarled at him.
"Heh...got it." He said sheepishly, but he seemed determined to win the argument. "But all I was going to say is that..." however, Rosalie grabbed him by the ear and pulled him away.
"You're not going to say anything! Alicia, why don't you and Jasper show Owen that game...let me deal with this guy..." she said, to which Alicia nodded and grabbed me by the hand, dragging me up the stairs, with Jasper closely following behind.
"The game is right up here Owen, you'll love it! Jasper, Emmett, and Edward supped it up to make it harder, but everyone has gotten really good at playing it!" Alicia exclaimed, as we climbed the nearly breathtaking beautiful stairway to the next floor. I was just thinking that everything about this house was absolutely gorgeous...until I saw it. There it was...off in a little game room with all sorts of other high tech video game equipment and entertainment. It was a yellow, black, and purple pinball machine...and adorning every side of it was The Count from Sesame Street. "THE COUNT'S PINBALL GAME!" read the top of the billboard. Just below it was the purple vampire Muppet himself, posed with the scoreboard in his hands, and his mouth wide open as if he were laughing and having the tie of his life.
Jasper walked over, grinning all the while, and plugged the monstrosity in. "We not only fixed it to make it harder...but to save our scores too. Ha ha! This machine can get pretty loud!" He told me.
"VELCOME TO ZEE COUNT'S PINBALL GAME!!!!! AH AH AH!!! PLEASE INSERT YOUR QUARTER NOW! AH AH AH!!" The machine practically screamed at us.
Jasper and Alicia laughed and laughed, giving each other a high five, as if they were in on some private joke. "Can I play first, Jasper? Please? I want to show Owen how much fun it is? Please please please???" Alicia begged Jasper, like she was a little girl.
Jasper reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter, and handed it to her. "Check this out Owen, this is great!" He laughed.
Alicia laughed right along with him, and put the quarter into the machine. "VONE!!!!!! YOU HAVE INSERTED VONE QUARTER INTO ZEE COUNT'S PINBALL GAME!!! AH AH AH!!! SCORE AS MANY POINTS AS YOU CAN, AND COUNT ALONG VITH ME, ZEE COUNT!!!! AH AH AH!!" The machine bellowed. I flinched, pretending to be scared of the beast-like thing. Alicia pulled back the launcher, and the machine kicked into action. I stood off to Alicia's left as she hammered the buttons, while Jasper stood on her right. This family must have been gaming experts, had god-like reflexes, or cheated somehow, as "making it harder" was an understatement! First of all, there were five balls instead of just one, as is normal. Secondly, the balls were all very tiny, just barely able to even be hit by the paddles...and being small made them VERY fast too. If even one ball got past the paddles, the player still lost their turn...and the more balls that went past, any "extra lives" or "bonus balls" were lost too! I looked at the scoreboard, and was very impressed with all the insanely high scores. Alice was number one, followed very closely by Edward. The rest of the players had high scores too, but none of them were anywhere near as close to Edward and Alice. Emmett was next, followed by Jasper and Alicia. Bella, Carlisle, Renesmee, Esme, and Rosalie were the bottom scores.
After only a little while, Alicia allowed the game to beat her, and the obnoxious Count thanked her for playing, and tallied her score. She turned to me and gently led me to the front of the game. "Your turn! Give it a try Owen! I'll bet you can beat Jacob, he hates this game...and only because he's horrible at it!" She laughed.
"Hey, by the way man, don't feel too bad if you don't score as high...we've all...um...got a lot of experience playing this, so we're all really good." Jasper reassured me.
"Thanks..." I said, smirking. "Do you all want me to beat this bad boy for you?"
"Ha ha ha! What? What do you mean?" He laughed.
"Got a scarf?" I asked. Alicia ran off and got one and gave it to me. As both of them watched with suspicion, I tied the scarf around my eyes, until I was completely blind. "Quarter please." I said. A metal coin was pressed into my hand, and I slowly felt me way to the slot, and dropped it in. "VONE!!!!! YOU HAVE INSERTED VONE COIN INTO..." the machine blared once more...but soon I was in my old zone and heard it no more. I grabbed the release and let the little balls fly. The machine vibrated beneath me, as my fingers rapidly tapped the paddle buttons over and over again. I didn't hear the Count, I didn't hear Alicia or Jasper...all I could hear now was my mother's voice. I heard her sing the lullabye she taught me when I was very young. I heard her admonish me for gaining so much weight. She congratulated me when my high school grades were good, and yelled at me when they were poor. Through the blackness I could see her smiling at me during Christmas time after a visit from Santa, and at Easter when the Easter bunny would come. I heard her familiar chuckle and could almost feel her arms around me when she hugged me. The scarf became wet as tears began to flow...I mourned her again when she died. Suddenly I was out of the zone, and stopped playing the game. I patted the scarf around my eyes, drying them, and removed it. I looked at the score, 999,999,998. One point away from being maxed out, I always did that with every machine I played...so that someone could come along someday and beat me. The cursor blinked over and over again at the number one spot, and I typed in my name, "Orio" since it couldn't hold "Orious." It seemed my little spectacle gathered a good bit of attention...instead of just Jasper and Alicia, the entire household had gathered around me.
"Mr. Orious? Are you ok?" Esme asked, her voice filled with concern, as she placed her cold hands on my shoulders.
"Yeah buddy...heh...you really zoned out on us there." Emmett added, looking equally worried.
"I'm...I'm fine..." I told them, the sad memories still flooding through my brain. "It's just a...um...little thing that happens to me every time I play one of these things. I just kinda get to thinking of...stuff. It's nothing really. I'm cool. Sorry I worried you all...and...uh...sorry about this scarf..." I held up my former blindfold, which was sopping wet now with my tears. Bella took it.
"It's ok. Alicia, why don't you take Owen downstairs and get him something to eat. It's almost suppertime!" She said. While everyone else stayed upstairs, watching us, we went down and to the kitchen.