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Through The Open Door

Summary:
Characters/Pairing: Cullens - canon pairings
Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama, AU
Spoilers:Includes content from all 4 books + Midnight Sun
Summary: It was just a normal, stressful day. That is, until this Twilight fan walked through a door and ended up in the Twilight-verse. What would you do, if you ended up in Bella's life - if everyone in Forks thought you were Chief Swan's daughter - if nobody, not even the Cullens, knew the difference? How do you live someone else's life when you know what's going to happen - or, at least, what should happen?


Notes:
Summary: It was just a normal, stressful day. That is, until this Twilight fan walked through a door and ended up in the Twilight-verse. What would you do, if you ended up in Bella's life - if everyone in Forks thought you were Chief Swan's daughter - if nobody, not even the Cullens, knew the difference? How do you live someone else's life when you know what's going to happen - or, at least, what should happen?


4. Chapter 4

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2330   Review this Chapter

I’d expected the Cullens to be beautiful. I’d expected their house to be breathtaking. What I hadn’t expected was the overwhelming longing I’d feel to belong to this family once I was inside their home and surrounded by their presence.

Alice showed me into their living room, where Esme walked forward to welcome me. “Hello,” she greeted, a warm smile lighting her face.

“Hi, Esme,” I responded. “It’s wonderful to meet you,” I added with fervor. She continued to smile pleasantly, but I saw her glance at Alice, as if asking Alice if she had told me her name beforehand.

As she did so, I glanced behind her at the rest of the family in the living room. Emmett and Rosalie were seated on the couch, closest to me. Emmett had his arm wrapped behind Rosalie, who sat ramrod straight, arms folded over her chest, watching me. I guess that was just about as welcoming as I could expect from her. At least she wasn’t being openly hostile towards me. Yet.

Emmett, on the other hand, was relaxed back into the couch and his eyes seemed to roam the room, looking at nothing in particular. Conversely, Jasper stood in what reminded me of a military stance, staring boldly at me. He was positioned past the couch the housed Emmett and Rosalie, his stance and penetrating stare indicating stress. Or maybe I was just feeling stress from him. Whatever it was, I got the impression that if I made one wrong move – if I seemed a threat to his family in any way - I wouldn’t even have the chance to see him lunge before I died.

Slightly to the left of Jasper, stood Edward. I tried to control my body’s reaction as best I could, but I couldn’t help it. He was absolutely breathtaking this close. I couldn’t take my eyes off him as I waited for him to have some sort of reaction to my presence. While my body was busy swooning over this godlike creature, my mind remained calculating, waiting for one of the responses I knew had to come. Either I would be like Bella and he would loose control at the smell of my blood or I would just be plain old me and he would hear my thoughts.

Before anyone could begin asking questions, or worse, try to keep up the charade, I asked, “Is Carlisle around as well, or is he still at the hospital? I’d like to speak with everyone at once, if possible. That way I don’t have to repeat my story…It’s going to be hard enough to spit it out once.”

Esme seemed a bit startled at my statement, or at least I thought she did. She froze for a few heartbeats. And wasn’t that supposed to be what they did when upset? The pause seemed awkward, as I waited for someone to respond.

It was Alice who broke the silence. “Carlisle will be here shortly…,” She began and I turned to watch her walk from me over to Jasper. “Why don’t you just give us a brief rundown of what you’d like to discuss, while we wait for him. The suspense is absolutely killing me,” she added with a light giggle.

“Really!?!,” I couldn’t help but respond with bubbly, genuine surprise. Alice raised her eyebrow with a slight smile as my reaction indicated that I’d taken her comment for its true meaning: that she hadn’t foreseen what I was going to say. At her response, I let out a nervous laugh, letting my eyes drop and rocking back on my heels (having leaned towards her during my outburst). I guess it wasn’t such a surprise Alice was in the dark. I really hadn’t devoted much time today preplanning what I would say to them. It seemed more important to come to terms with what was happening to me. At least, that’s what I’d told myself. If I was being honest, I’d avoided thinking about this moment because I dreaded it so. I was terrified of their reactions once I explained myself – terrified of their rejection.

“Er… I’m not really sure how to begin… or even how to summarize what I’m going to say in a manner that won’t sound crazy.” I glanced up quickly at that, looking at Alice and worrying for a moment that I might have offended her with the comment about sounding crazy. But, then I quickly realized that she didn’t know about her past yet. At this moment in the books, she was blissfully happy, thinking that her life began with visions of Jasper and her family. And here I was, about ready to ruin that.

“I guess the only way to start is to just… jump in,” I said, staring at my wringing hands. “I’m horrible at lead-ins so I apologize if this comes off very blunt at first…,” I took a deep breath and held it a few seconds before slowly letting it out, down towards my shoes. Rip it off, just like a bandaid, I said to myself.

I looked up, straight into Edward’s eyes. “I know you are vampires - vegetarian vampires, that is. And I know this because, up until this morning, I lived in a world where I was someone else. Someone who read about your lives in story books. Because of these stories, I know about your past and I know about things that will happen in your future. I know –“

And then 4 things happened almost simultaneously. 1) The front door behind me opened as Carlisle arrived home. 2) A breeze blew through the open door, catching my hair and whipping it into my face as it continued past me straight towards the opposite side of the room, where Edward, Alice, and Jasper stood. 3) Edwards eyes widened as he caught my scent. 4) Alice yelled, “Stop him,” as Edward’s body coiled to spring.

I didn’t have time to register what happened next. One minute I was watching Edward’s eyes change from penetrating to maddened and the next there was a crash, the sound of glass breaking, and I was being grasped by Esme as she shielded me behind her body. Peeking around her shoulder, I could see Edward, already being hauled back out of the room by Carlisle, Emmett and Jasper. Alice stood before the struggling group, trying unsuccessfully to catch Edward’s eye and talk him down. A small end table that had been next to the couch now lay overturned. Fragments of broken glass from the lamp that had been on the table lay scattered across the carpet.

As I watched Edward thrash around, trying to shake off the hands that restrained him and growling as his efforts failed, I had a strong sense of déjà vu. I felt the need to check and make sure I wasn’t bleeding and covered with cake somehow, but my eyes refused to leave Edwards’. Inch by inch, Carlisle, Emmett and Jasper managed to drag him further from the room, but Edward never stopped struggling against them. I could hear them murmuring to him, trying to talk reason into him. Alice’s voice was strict as she ordered him to stop breathing, to calm down, to look at her… but his black eyes never left me.

I was surprised to find myself feeling guilty, as I watched the boys finally manhandle Edward out of my sight. I should have warned them beforehand that Edward might respond this way. It was callous of me to just walk into their house knowing I was throwing the dice as to how he would react to my scent. The shame washed over me as I glanced at Rosalie’s face. Her expression was accusing, reminding me of how she had behaved venomously towards Bella in the beginning… and how Bella’s presence had torn their family apart time and time again.

And now I was causing the same kinds of problems. Would Edward feel he was forced to leave town now, because of his reaction? Would I run him out of his home just as Bella had? If I ended up staying around the Cullens, would Rosalie leave as well? How long before a papercut sent Jasper after me?

My eyes drifted back to the floor in shame. It was selfish of me to force myself into their lives like this. I’d assumed that they’d want to know about their future. Somehow, I think I thought I could help them. But it seemed like I would probably end up doing the opposite. Maybe I should have left them alone – just gone to school and pretended to be Bella, sans Cullens.

I felt a hand cup my cheek and looked up from the pile of broken glass I’d been staring at. It was Esme, looking so concerned for me that it made my heart give a squeeze at the motherliness of her gesture. “Are you alright, dear? You must be so frightened,” she murmured as her eyes searched mine.

“No – I mean, I’m alright. I’m sorry about Edward.” Her brow creased in confusion then so I continued to explain as Alice walked back into the room. “I knew that might happen when Edward smelled me. I’m sorry. I thought he’d – in the books he always controlled himself. I thought… I mean, I didn’t even know if I would be like her, but I thought that, even if I was, he’d be alright. I guess he didn’t have exposure and collateral damage to worry about here, though.” My rambling finally faded then as I took in the wide eyed stares of the Cullen females. Wow – I definitely must sound crazy. “I’m sorry. I know nothing I’m saying is making much sense. You must think I’m nuts.”

“Pretty much,” Rosalie muttered with an eye roll, finally settling back into the couch. She’d been the only one who hadn’t moved during the whole incident before. I couldn’t say that surprised me though.

With a slight sigh, Emse moved her hand to my shoulder and steered me towards the kitchen. “The boys might be awhile. Why don’t I make us some tea while we wait?,” she asked. Alice followed us into the kitchen while Rosalie stubbornly remained in the living room. “Is there a type of tea you prefer?,” Esme asked me.

“Something herbal,” Alice responded. I turned to look at her, my mouth half forming a smile and half opened in surprise. She winked at me, “I’m still good for some things.” I couldn’t help but laugh in response. I was relieved that she was at least dropping the pretense about who she was. And, in that moment, she had just seemed so… Alice. I couldn’t help but love her.

Once the tea was brewed, the three of us sat down at their large dinning room table. Alice sat to my immediate right and quickly began asking me about my shopping preferences. Aside from the fact that, yes, I did like to shop, there wasn’t much I could tell her. She kept asking what I thought about specific designers, but I didn’t recognize any of the names. Esme sat quietly to my left, keeping an empty chair at the head of the table between us.

Alice was just beginning to get frustrated with my lack of designer expertise when Carlisle, followed by Jasper and Emmett walked into the room. We all turned in our chairs to watch them enter and Esme, seeing the troubled look on Carlisle’s face questioned, “Is Edward alright?”

“He’s decided to go visit Tanya and her sisters for awhile,” Carlisle responded with false happiness. I looked back towards my tea as the shame washed over me again.

“Well, that’s nice. He’s been wanting to visit them for some time now,” Esme responded, matching Carlisle’s false tone of happiness. She tried to give a brave smile but I saw it waver. If she’d been able to, I would have bet that her eyes would be swimming with tears at the thought of Edward fleeing their home.

“I’m so sorry Esme,” the emotion filled my apologetic voice. “It’s all my fault. I didn’t mean for him to have to leave.” Unable to look into her sad eyes any longer, I looked back down towards my, now cold, tea. I could feel the guilt choking me as I thought of the pain I’d already caused this family I loved within just an hour of meeting them.

And then, suddenly, all the shame and guilt was washed away by a warming calm as Jasper took a seat on the other side of Alice. He gave a whisper of a smile as I met his eyes. My response was automatic and stronger than I would have anticipated: a grin lit my face as waves of gratitude, relief, admiration, and affection flooded my heart. Part of me worried that such strong feelings would seem inappropriate after having just “met” him, but I couldn’t help it. I’d been so worried that he would see me as a threat that I hadn’t been prepared to feel his acceptance. It opened up a floodgate to all the emotions of love and respect I had for both him and Alice.

“Don’t worry about Edward,” Emmett said as he sat down at the opposite end of the table. “He’ll be back after his broodfest is over. Or after he remembers that he’s more scared of being around Tanya than you,” he finished with a laugh.

My grin widened at hearing his laugh. Partly at the inside joke I probably wasn’t supposed to get and partly because he was just so Emmettt.

“Either way,” Carlisle said, clearing his throat tensely, “it seems there are some matters that need to be discussed.” He pulled out the chair between Esme and me and sat down as Rosalie entered the room to stand behind Emmett. Gesturing to me, he said, “The floor is yours.”