Carlisle's/ Clara's/Bella's POV: An inspiring 13 yr old girl becomes Carlisle's newest patient and quickly wins his affections. When her mother suddenly dies, Carlisle instantly steps in to care for her and makes her one of his own.
4. Chapter 4: Settling In
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Four weeks after Jasper’s last visit, Clara was well enough to leave the hospital. She had steadily gained seven pounds and the feeding tube was removed after only two weeks of use. Soon, she was able to walk around for brief periods on her own, as long as someone was with her at all times. This rule had been put in place by Edward after he received a frantic call from Alice while on his way to the hospital for a visit. Apparently, and with full knowledge that it was my night off, Sunny had attempted to fill the water pitcher on her nightstand herself instead of calling for a nurse. Fortunately, Edward was able to save Clara from tripping over her IV stand and breaking her wrist, as Alice’s vision had foretold. We all kept a better eye on Sunny after that.
The day before Clara was to be discharged, I sat the family down in our dining room for a family meeting. I had no doubts about whether they would be capable of handling Sunny’s permanent presence in our home. There were, however, some details that I felt the need to clarify.
First, was Clara’s medication schedule. Her chemotherapy treatment had been adjusted and she was no longer receiving her treatment through an IV. She now was receiving her treatment in pill form, which had to be taken at specific intervals throughout the day. I printed out a chart with the specific dosages and times. Esme and I had gone over it thoroughly the night before this meeting. Regardless, I thought it would be better if everyone were on the same page.
The second item on the agenda was Clara’s diet. Unlike vampires, human children had to eat three times a day, everyday. Due to Sunny’s illness, she had to stick to relatively bland foods such as rice and chicken. I printed out a list of acceptable foods, passing them around the table. Edward had informed me that Bella had volunteered to help in any way she could. I was sure she would be a tremendous asset while we all adjusted to this unfamiliar process and I was exceedingly grateful.
Next, came the matter of activity. Clara was allowed to go outside so long as she wore a warm jacket and a hat during the entire outing. These outings were to be no more than an hour each, after which, she must rest or at least engage in a less strenuous activity such as reading, watching a movie or playing a board game. I wanted to make it clear that Clara was to rest throughout the day, regardless of her protests. I was realizing myself, that she could be rather independent and stubborn when it came to this topic. Since everyone was privy to the water pitcher incident, I was confident that no one would fold on this point. I also was quite confident that keeping Clara busy would not be a problem for anyone. They were all quite skilled when it came to staying occupied.
The other item on the agenda was to remind everyone of Clara’s frailty. She was much more vulnerable and fragile than the average human and they would all have to be mindful when handling her. Although everyone was very used to Bella’s presence at this point, Sunny was much more fragile because of her cancer. Adding the topic into the discussion gave me some peace of mind.
Lastly, I felt I had to reiterate to everyone how essential it was to maintain his or her human façade at all times. Clara, being as perceptive and bright as she was, had already noticed things about us that had me a bit on edge. It was vital that they give nothing away. I wanted Clara to see us as nothing more than a normal, loving family. I was certain that this was a non-issue. Still, I felt better having said it.
The only thing left to do was to prepare the house for Sunny’s arrival. A bedroom was set up for Clara next to my office. Esme and Alice had taken it upon themselves to fill the closet with an entire new wardrobe for Clara. Her weight had fluctuated so much during her hospital stay that none of the clothes she brought with her fit any longer. Now, Sunny had a selection available to her that was so vast, I was certain that she could wear an entirely new outfit everyday for the next ten years and never wear the same thing twice.
Alice had also taken on the task of decorating Sunny’s bedroom. She had herself locked in there for days, only emerging once to grab the charger for her cell phone. When she finally finished and let me see her work, I was speechless. The room had been painted a soft, sky blue with clouds floating across the ceiling and the walls, creating the illusion that they were flying through the air on a clear, sunny day. Crepe lanterns in the shape of stars in varying sizes hung from the ceiling in a multitude of subdued, pastels in hues of pinks, oranges, and yellows. Strings of white lights were intertwined through tall, potted cypress trees in the two corners of the room across from the bed. The bed was queen sized and fitted with linen sheets. Every color from rich, deep red to lush emerald green lined the fabric from top to bottom, giving the affect of a rainbow draping itself over the mattress. The headboard and footboard were white and ornately carved with stars and moons crowning the outside edges. The rest of the furniture was the same bone white as the bed. The bureau, two nightstands, and vanity were oversized with various knick-knacks adorning all the available space. Three beanbag chairs were set against the wall at the foot of the bed: one in cherry red, one in lime green and one in sapphire blue. The entire effect astounded me. Sunny would be beaming.
The day that Clara came home for the first time, I, unfortunately, had to work a full shift at the hospital. I didn’t arrive at the house until almost ten in the evening. As I parked in the garage and stepped out of my car, I immediately noted two things. One was the fact that, even from the garage, I could smell nothing but the overwhelming odor of popcorn. The stench of it only intensified as I entered the main part of the house, seeming to fill every room and corner leading up the stairs.
The other anomaly to capture my attention was a sound that I hadn’t heard in too long. As I approached the staircase, the sound came again, louder and more distinct. It was Clara and she was laughing hysterically. “How’d you do that, Emmett? Do it again!”
I smiled to myself as I climbed the stairs and approached Clara’s door. Emmett, Alice, and Jasper were all gathered in Sunny’s room. Alice was seated on the bed next to Clara, a large, half empty, punch bowl of popcorn sitting between them. Jasper was lounging on the floor in the sapphire blue beanbag chair. I could see that he had made a point of pushing it next to the nightstand to give him some distance from temptation. Emmett was standing in front of them all, juggling Clara’s ever-present Mistletoe candle with such blinding speed that the object was no more than a forest green blur in the air. Clara was mesmerized but Alice and Jasper weren’t paying any attention to Emmett or his trick. Their eyes were locked on Clara, her own eyes filled with wonder. Clara herself was oblivious to their attention.
I heard her gasp as Emmett threw the candle behind his back only to reach out with lightning reflexes and pick it out of the air. He brought it back around to the front of his body and tossed it once, more slowly this time, so that the candle could now clearly be seen as he held it in his hand. He gently placed it back on the side table, across from Sunny’s bed, and grinned.
When he caught Clara’s beaming smile, the booming tenor of Emmett’s laugh joined the high melodious giggles coming from the child lying in the oversized bed across from him. “Pretty good, huh, kid.”
I smiled to myself as I finally entered the room. Everyone smiled in greeting to me then quietly filed out. Alice grabbed the popcorn bowl as she left, kissing my cheek before she slipped downstairs. I hugged Sunny as I seated myself on the edge of the large bed. “So, how have you been settling in, so far?”
She was still glowing with excitement as her eyes took in the room around her. “This is the best, most beautiful room I’ve ever seen!” She laughed and a deep blush filled her cheeks. “I must have thanked Alice and Esme a million times for all the clothes and Alice for decorating the room. It’s perfect!” She shook her head, still in awe of her surroundings.
Her joy was contagious. “Well, I’m thrilled that you like it so much. Alice worked for days in here, trying to make everything just right for your arrival. I’m sure she’s delighted that you’re so excited.” As I spoke, I took a thermometer out of my bag and placed it under Sunny’s tongue. When I extracted it, my smile slipped. Her temperature was one hundred and one degrees.
I reached over, placing my cold hand over her forehead then sliding my palm down her cheek. She shivered a lightly at my touch. “What’s the matter, Carlisle?” Clara was watching me intently.
My tone was thick with concern. “Have you taken your evening medication yet?”
I watched Clara’s reaction carefully. She frowned sheepishly at my question, the blush returning to her face. I could almost see her searching her brain for an answer that wouldn’t get her into too much trouble. “I’ll take that as a no, then.” I muttered sternly before she could speak.
Without another word, I reached over and grabbed her prescription and a glass of water off the nightstand. As she swallowed the pill, I frown at her intently. “Clara, I know that you’re not happy about having to go through this process but it’s the only way you’re going to get better. It’s vitally important that you stick to your schedule and take your medication when you’re supposed to. You know that, don’t you?” I scolded.
She nodded silently, frowning down at her sheets. “Yeah, I know.” she mumbled. “I just hate feeling sick all the time and it makes me so tired.” A huge yawn overtook her then, as if to prove her point. Her mouth settled into a pout when the yawn passed. She still was not meeting my eyes.
I sighed and stood; tucking her into bed then kissed her forehead lightly. “I need you to try, Clara, please. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
Her eyes finally snapped up to meet mine as my words reached her ears. I knew she could see the sadness touching my expression at just the thought of losing her. She snuggled down further into the warm sheets shivering lightly, her eyes searching mine for a moment. “I’ll try.”
I smiled down at her. “Thank you. I’ll see what I can do about getting you something for the nausea tomorrow.”
She returned the smile as another huge yawn stretched across her face. “Ok. Good night, Carlisle.”
I made my way to her door then, flicking the lamp light off as I left. I turned one last time to glance back at the little girl resting among the stars that shone from the lanterns on her ceiling. As I closed her door behind me, I couldn’t help but wonder what we would all do if she were gone.
- Shannon R
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