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A Journey: Finding Love

Summary:
A journey of vampire and human mates finding one another throughout time. Spanning from the 1800s to the 2000s. Of love, death and drama that follows into making a family for Carlisle. Canon couples. (Read Inside for the important message)


Notes:


1. Charleston, South Carolina 1801

Rating 0/5   Word Count 8010   Review this Chapter

(This is my first Twilight fic, so please be kind to it! Welcome to the official first chapter. Almost 80% of this story is written in Carlisle's POV. Annlisse is a new character, but she I S NOT (I repeat IS NOT ) the main character-never will be. This is about the Cullens and how they found each other. I really wanted to write about how each of them met and in a bit more detail and their change from human to vampire. The books are great but I wanted a bit more. Call this a prequel if you wish to the next book that will be more about B/E -This one isn't. Bella doesn't show up till the last 2 pages of the story. If this is NOT your cup of tea, please hit the X button on your upper right corner or the back button on your immediate left. Please and thank you.

As always: I don't own any of this! Enjoy! (Almost 80% of this story is in Carlisle's POV. Everyone but Esme has a POV.. I will do hers, if asked.)

Carlisle POV-Charleston, SC 1801

The first time I met Annlisse, I was living in Charleston, South Carolina. The year was 1801 and the world was changing for the Southern states. Slaves came in abundance and the slow trickle of immigrants from Europe never kept the population stagnant and the growth rate was tepid. I had bought a small townhouse above an apothecary shop and offered my services as a physician. All I asked of him was privacy, which the owner offered freely to me.

Somewhere down the long line of my life, medicine called to me and I dove head first into the world. I believed myself a scientist when, in fact, science was laughable to most in the community and only 'scholars' prided themselves on being scientists. What made me different from the regular human physicians was my keen sense of smell and hearing. I could tell if something was truly wrong with a patient whereas a human would dismiss it and concentrated on the philosophy of the four humors.

It was an unusually cloudy day that May when I met her. She was standing in front of the butcher shop waiting for it to open. I felt no attraction to her but I instantly knew she was one of my kind. The pale skin, the way people moved away from her, her posture, and the way she would go completely still when no one was paying attention to her. To me, finding another of my kind was an honor. A way to make connections around the world.

Straightening my jacket, I stepped around the humans that were milling around this early hour and proceeded to make my way over to her. As I passed the humans, most cut a glance at me. The blonde doctor that had the most unusual eye color imaginable. Dust kicked around me from passing wagons or random horse. Stopping just a few feet from her, I could tell by her stance, she knew I was standing behind her.

Taking an unnecessary breath, I ignored the comments from the townsfolk. I knew that she was new and they believed the new doctor was easing his way into her life. I minutely shook my head at their antics. I would never understand humans! Taking the few extra steps, I watched as the butcher opened the door. He saw her waiting patiently and gave her a nod and opened the door wider for her.

Seeing me, he nodded as well. I tipped my hat and his rough and bloody clothing. The smell of blood hit me like a rushing wagon, but I hesitated. It was never my intention to taste human blood, although; this was animal that was smeared on his smock. I watched as this woman disappeared into the butcher's shop. I strained to hear the transaction that was taking place. She was buying blood. Who would have thought of that? Animals were in abundance but I had a feeling this was for something different and this sparked my curiosity.

I was lost in my thoughts about this vampire woman that I barely noticed she was leaving the butcher's shop. Her eyes cast a glance at me and I saw they were as golden as mine. This shocked me. I had suspected she fed from humans. Her eyes would be red. I wasn't prepared for this. Giving me a soft smile, she recognized what I was instantly.

Scoffing, she adjusted the basket on her arm, "I suppose there isn't a use in hiding it, is there?"

"No, not really…." I mused giving her a tiny smile. She returned one to me. "Might I implore you for a walk?"

"You may. I must drop this off at my home." she informed me politely. Taking her cue, she began to walk toward, what I assume, was her home. Stepping close to her, I kept a proper distance, but I was intrigued. For the safety of keeping the secret, I didn't ask about herself. Nor did she ask about me. We walked the two blocks in comfortable silence. Both of us ignoring the stares of the townspeople.

We when arrived, she headed into her house and I waited at the end of the steps for her. She wasn't gone long, maybe a few minutes before she reappeared wearing a large straw hat. It complimented her. This time, she took my cue and I led her toward a deserted area where I knew no one would bother us. Taking a seat under a shady tree, she eased herself beside me. I looked over at her and instantly I was nervous.

"I'm Carlisle Cullen." I offered as an icebreaker.

"I'm Annlisse Howard." she replied as politely. The questions that were milling around in my mind were ready to burst forth from their prison.

Then she chuckled. "You know, for two people who are dying to know about each other; we're awfully quiet."

If I could blush, I would have. "Yes, that is true. If I may ask, how old are you?" I had expected her to be affronted but she only smiled at me.

"I'm just a little over two centuries old. If you want exact numbers, I'd say…" she paused and thought quickly for a second, "Two hundred and twenty. Yourself?"

"I'm a bit younger than you dear. I'm close to one hundred and forty years."

"Interesting." she supplied. "What brings you to Charleston?"

"Traveling, but I have a semi-permanent home in town."

"You're a nomad?" she asked. Now we were finally getting the pesky questions of out the way.

"I suppose you could call me that." I offered. "This is my second city I've lived in since moving from Italy."

She raised an eyebrow but said nothing. I think she knew of where I was talking about. I shuddered from the rush of memories that flooded me from my time in Volterra. I cast a glance to the sky and realized we would have to take this conversation inside. The sun would be breaking shortly and the heatwave would usher in.

"I've been here for while now. I tend to stay at least a decade at a time in a city." My eyes widened at her assessment. "Yes, I know. It's a long time between cities, but I do stay out of the way."

"How long have you been feeding on animals?" I inquired. This was turning out to be a fantastic day for me. Here was another like-minded individual that I could easily lose time talking too. Her mouth set in a thin line as I asked my question. I had a feeling that whatever caused her to changed diets wasn't something she was proud of.

"Nearly thirty six years now." She confessed quietly. The admission clouding in her eyes.

"Have you had a rough transition?" I didn't care if she had fed off humans for so long, I was curious how she was handling it. The control to keep oneself from feeding off humans was hard but with the right mind and self-control; one could do it.

"For the first few months, yes. I spent over two centuries feeding on humans. I learned how to feed off them without killing them."

My eyes widened at this. For a vampire to feed off humans and not kill them was unheard of! I have never heard of one who could do it. Not even during my time in Volterra. Vampires far older than me still killed their human victims.

I watched her but she refused to squirm under my scrutiny. I'm sure she felt like she was under microscope. To find someone like her was rare. Extremely much more rare than someone like myself. Now that I knew this, I was curious if she had any gifts.

"I know, I know...I can see your brain bursting to know." she chuckled mirthlessly. Apparently this was a well kept secret that she probably never told anyone. To know you could feed off humans without the trails of death that followed...Of course she would keep it a secret. Many vampires relished in killing their victims. I nodded my head enthusiastically for her to continue.

She held up her hands like I would understand. "Not only did biting cause messiness, it caused death. I remember I figured it out about a century ago. I wasn't truly hungry but I knew I could feed. I had lured a young male away from a party I was invited too and proceeded to seduce him. But the smell of blood was overpowering my other senses and I had to taste." She paused seeing my expression. "I knew I was in full view of swarms of humans so I used my nails and cut a scratch on the juncture of his neck and shoulder where I tasted him then. Sealing the cut with venom, I sent him on his way. It wasn't till the next night when I realized what I had accomplished. I had fed without killing."

Her story fascinated me. Extraordinary! I was hooked on to her every word. I could see how it could change how vampires fed. Many of them would succumb to this new idea but many-especially the older ones or those who enjoyed it-would rebuff her idea. It was truly indeed about self control and self-awareness. She was fully capable of separating the urge to kill from the urge to satisfy her thirst.

I fed off animals knowing I could never take a human life. With this new found information, I could truly try to feed off humans. But as soon as I thought about it, I felt sick. The duty I had to myself and to the humans prevented me from even attempting. There were so many things that could go wrong. Especially with someone like me who's never tasted human blood. She was watching me process this new discovery and I could tell she was trying to keep herself from laughing.

"I-I'm sorry. I don't know what to say! You're ability of self-awareness is extraordinary." I begun to praise her.

"It's not. I knew what I had to do. I could have easily stepped away but I didn't. I don't now, and didn't then, feel like dying. I continued to do this until 1765 when I stopped feeding off humans." she interrupted me downplaying the praise.

Like I said...an extraordinary creature.

"There's a lot about me that you probably wish to know, isn't it?" she asked unaware of the start of the breaking clouds.

I gave her a minute nod of my head, "Of course there is, but we'll have to talk inside. The clouds will break soon."

She glanced at the sky unaffected. "Oh. It is a bother for you?"

I looked at her incredulously. A bother? She knew what our skin would do if sunlight touched it. How we would sparkle in the sunlight. The attention we could attract. Her face was unreadable unlike the entire conversation. Perhaps another secret that she didn't wish to share? But I'm sure, with time and patience, I could get it out of her.

Now I sounded insidious.

She sighed realizing what she had said in front of me and started to come to her feet, "Of course, you are right. I'm sorry about that Carlisle." she apologized to me. I wasn't sure why but she did. I stood to my feet fluidly and rubbed my hands together. Humans were close and I knew it would look improper if we were caught alone.

"So how do we do this?" I asked her.

"I could always have you escort me back to my home and we continue this discussion there unless you have other business to attend too?"

"Not today. Unless they come by my practice. Many of them have learned that if it's a nice day, I'm not going to be around."

She pursed her lips in thought. "Good cover. I've used it. I know it looks improper that I don't have a chaperone, but really what can a human say that I'm sure I haven't heard yet?"

Shaking my head, I knew exactly what she was talking about. The rules of society were conformed to appearances and the validity of a female's virtue. It was ridiculous but I let the humans keep to their ideals. She gave me a mischievous smile and I curiosity sparked again.

"Meet me around eight at my place. We can finish talking then." she offered an alternative to me. I nodded and realized this was the safer way to do things. Escorting her back to her home, I left her there promising to return that night so we can finish our conversation. If the day were still cloudy, I would have leisurely strolled through town, but I had only minutes before I was doomed.

Rushing as quickly as I politely could, I made it back to my apartment above the apothecary. Closing the door, I sighed in relief as sunlight streamed into the room making it glow. Alone, I didn't feel the need to rush to close the curtains, but I did so in case I had someone come in for medical treatment.

I had discussed my theories with other doctors but I was waved away with a laugh. Things like washing hands and cleaner living, I believed would be the best outlet to keep diseases and colds at bay. I wasn't inclined to do as they wished me to do so I set out my own practice and wrote pamphlets under a pseudonym to promote better living conditions. Of course my efforts were in vain except for the local midwife would wholeheartedly agreed with my theory.

The day trickled by knowing that I had a meeting tonight with Annlisse. I would learn more about her and she I. She looked quite young to me. I must say she was probably no older than eighteen when she took the change. I also didn't know if it was voluntarily or forced upon her. With any likelihood that since was over a century old, it was accidental. Like mine was. But unlike her, I was able to fend off human blood. Whoever changed her, didn't teach her or didn't know the alternative. She must have learned it on her own.

I had several people come in with common cold, strep throat and even one small girl came in with a case of the measles. Lucky for my vampire immune system or I would have died ages ago from all the diseases and colds that came from the human population. Many were 'treatable'. Bed rest and fluids is always what I offered but many were skeptical if it took them away from their daily lives. The only one that seemed to listen was the family of the little girl with the measles. I had visited her home during a small break of clouds that formed over Charleston.

My quick diagnosis of the measles was far too quick for the parents who were determined that it was something else. Since there weren't vaccines or medication to help this girl, I offered what I could and left the family. I knew in time, that she would either get well or die from the measles. It was a harsh truth that I didn't want to recognize but I knew that, in this instance, I couldn't save everyone. As a doctor and a humanitarian, I wished I could save every life I came across, but there are times that I knew I wouldn't be able too. I would only be able to save whom I could.

Leaving the house, my bag clutched in my hands, I slowly made my way back to my office. My heart was heavy that the little girl was most likely to perish from this horrible affliction. If she had it then she must have contracted it from another small child. I desperately hoped this would not become a measles epidemic in Charleston. They were common but once the spread was done, there would be a lot of grieving parents.

I kept myself busy once I returned from the home. The wait was maddening to me. I wanted the day over to be able to speak with Annlisse again. The doctor in me was fascinated and wanted to learn more but the vampire in me saw a potential ally. In all my long lonely years, I have traveled in great distances across the world; never finding anyone that I could form a coven with. I had a feeling this was the same for Annlisse.

The sky darkened and I added my coat to my attire. Even though it was May, the nights tended to be a little cooler. This was only a prop. I never needed something like this, but it felt nice to blend in. Exiting my home, I quickly rushed down the street toward Anneliese's home. One would think I was hurrying to meet my beloved, when in fact, that wasn't the truth. I carried no flowers, no tokens of affection.

Climbing the steps, I looked around before knocking. I wasn't surprised when the door opened mere seconds later. She was expecting me. Unlike myself, she had changed into a different gown. I said nothing as she stepped aside to let me in her home. Unlike my own, her seems to radiate warmth. It was inviting. I lived a life of a bachelor.

Instructing me to take a seat, I did so and watched as she left the room. Coming back a minute later, my nose perked to the smell of blood. This must be from her purchase this morning. She gave no indication that she was feral to her own hunger. Taking a seat across from me, she was a picture of elegant and poise for this time.

She graciously poured two goblets full of blood and I fought myself to keep my composure. Taking it, I kept my hands from shaking. This type of blood drinking was unusual and new for me. Although, I do see its advantages. It does lower the need and thrill of the hunt. Something, I'm sure I cannot live without. It's ingrained into my habit. She watched me carefully-as well as I would if the situation were in reverse. But her eyes were filled with caution; making sure that I didn't, indeed, lose control of myself.

However, I intended to prove her wrong. Bringing the cup to my lips, I inhaled only minutely before taking a sip. My eyes never leaving hers. When the first taste of blood touched my tongue, I bit back the growl that threatened to erupt. Once it slid down the back of my throat, it was then that I could finally think.

"Interesting way of consuming blood, isn't it?" she asked a smile hinting around her mouth.

"Truly it is." I agreed with her. "I would have never thought to feed like this. Is it difficult to acquire the blood?"

"Not at all. With enough coin, the butcher never speaks a word. I care not what he thinks of its uses for me." she replied without care.

I only nodded at her. Her words were true. I know that she is a vampire but her methods were new to me. I would never hold her upon a high pedestal. There could be something very dark to her nature that would displease and cause suspicion. Like a scientist, I felt that I could learn something from her. Glean new knowledge that could infinitely help my way of life.

In all and all, I am no better than someone trying to better my station in life.

"But why not hunt like the rest of us do?" I asked her with caution finishing my goblet.

"I do, however; this is a fail-safe for me. It helps if I go too long without blood. In lieu of feeding from humans." She explained finishing her own goblet. "I won't risk human life if I can help it, Carlisle."

Her own opinions were similar to mine. It is another reason why I refused to feed on humans. The frail life of humans and their own progress is what keeps myself from consuming them. It would be them; not us, that would bring the world into something more. I wasn't sure if it would be for better or for worse.

"And neither would I. This is a smart way to keep oneself from losing control around humans. I commend you for your idea."

"And I commend you for your stride to try to make the world a better and cleaner place." she said to me. My eyes widened at her admission. "Yes, I asked around about you. Many have eagerly told me of your antics toward medicine. They may condemn you for your ideals but I think they will far more likely be kinder to the human race in the future. Carlisle, I am no fool. I may be a woman-young woman in this society, but I try to keep myself informed."

I nodded at her again. Clearly, the years have opened her eyes that she was not to be a fool among this society. I was like this. I reveled in my younger years and was blind to the world around me, but now that I was older, I kept my eyes open.

Leaning further back into my seat, I gave her a small benevolent smile. What it would be like to form a coven with her. To be like a daughter to me. In a time of need and companionship rather than romantic. This would be the start of 'blending in' that I was unaccustom to. Clearly she was as well.

"I have to ask you, I know this may seem impertinent, but as a scientist and a doctor I am wholly curious about you. Do you have any powers?"

"Do you, Carlisle?" she countered refusing to answer my question.

"No. I brought nothing but my compassion with me when I changed." I confessed. In my early years, how I longed for a gift, but I came to realize that my compassion was a gift on its own. In this knowledge, it is where I find myself in medicine.

She smiled thinly at me, her eyes never betraying her. I suspect she's had a hard time gaining the trust of anyone that's crossed her path. Vampire or human. Her posture was rigid but I could tell if she needed to flee, she would do so in a heartbeat. Fingering a ring on her left hand, she contemplated answering me. I would give her all the time she needed to confide in me.

The ring, itself, was something I was curious about as well. It wasn't an ordinary ring, this I could tell. There was something about it. It was the third time I've seen her play with it since I sat down. In my mind, I thought back to everything that we talked about and her reaction to the impending sunlight is what caught my attention. When she said it, she glanced down at the ring. Was it an amulet or something?

"Carlisle, I mean no disrespect, but I'm not sure if telling you that I have a gift is a smart idea…" I opened my mouth to protest, but she held a hand up to silence me. "Not that I don't trust that you would tell anyone. It's a factor that has been used against me in the past, but for me it's something that I would share with people close to me."

I couldn't fault her logic. If I had a gift I would be selective about who I would tell too. It could be a dangerous thing to tell someone about a gift and have it used against you. My love of knowledge was used against me and for that I nearly paid the price for it.

Then an inspiration came bursting upon me. What better way to get to know one another than to form a coven? Covens for vampires were naturally small consisting of two to three persons. Maybe it was selfish of me to even think I could convince her to form a coven with me to gain the knowledge of her gift. Maybe I was lonely and was in desperate need of companionship. Whatever my reasons were, they were purely selfish. I have tried for ages to be as unselfish and self-sacrificing as I possibly could, but this opportunity has presented itself before me and I wasn't going to overlook it.

But would it take time to get to know her before she gave me an answer? From her being so young when she was turned, and the time period, I'd say she had a poor relationship with her human family. Whoever turned her gave her the knowledge to survive but left her to her own devices. She had no other guidance other than herself and luck. It amazed me how she was able to sneak through the world unchaperoned and without a family.

The things a female vampire has to endure to make it in this world.

"If I may…" I spoke up quietly. Her eyes zeroed on mine waiting patiently. "I do realize that we don't know another well enough…."

"No, we don't." she interrupted me.

"Hear me out, please?" I pleaded. She nodded her head minutely at me and I sighed and continued. "I know I don't know much about your life before we met today but I do have a feeling that you've been alone for quite a long time. Without guidance or companionship. It's the same for myself. However, whatever you may think, I do not have any romantic feelings for you."

She raised an eyebrow at me but said nothing. Either she found this intriguing or humorous.

"Annlisse, I would like to propose an idea to you. I would like to start a coven." I said quietly. "I realize that a coven is no larger than two or three persons, but one day I would like to have more included. That would mean a mate for the both of us. Or if we decide to go a little crazy and add more to the coven." She gave me an undecided look. I realize, that unlike many vampires, she was very expressive.

"Carlisle, I'm not sure. I mean the idea and the logic behind it is sound. It would be a way to move through this world without the pressures of being alone and, well...vulnerable. Might I have a few days to think over it?"

I nodded, albeit, too eagerly. "That sounds like a good idea to me. I can leave you to your thoughts?" I offered her. She nodded at me, but stood to escort me from her home.

Stepping lightly down the small flight of stairs, the night surrounded me and as I walked back toward my home, I briefly wondered to myself if I had made a mistake in suggesting to join a coven with her. On a positive note, it would greatly benefit the both of us. I could gain a daughter and she a father. One I felt that she needed in her life. Neither of us would ever have to worry about solidarity.

Though, solidarity was inevitable unless you were mated. Vampires roamed freely through the world. Many staying on one place for a long time before packing up and starting over. I, myself, only stayed for a few short years before I left. I knew Annlisse's stay was far longer than mine. An unmarried woman with no chaperone nor parents. It was quite unheard of! Of course being as old as I was, this did not bother me.

The issue of trust weighed heavily on my mind. I was easy to trust those around me. Eager to give up myself to learn more about others. I gain, they gain. However, this didn't seem to be the issue. I quickly gained a small respect for her security. The time with the Volturi should have taught me to be more wary and secure of others. It didn't. No matter how they tried to break me, I wasn't going to let them.

The days flew by and for the first three days, my eyes kept a sharp eye on the door. Hoping that it was Annlisse coming by to say she would take me up on the offer. Of course, she never showed. I wondered why it was taking so long for her to chose a new path. The endless stream of humans coming in and out of my office kept my mind occupied.

I detested this time period. It was far better than the ones before it, but it was lacking in something that I couldn't put my fingers on. The dredge of sickness that flooded my tiny place was nauseating and I was forced to keep a window open. With the strong heatwave that seemed it was never going to end and the sudden flash flood of rain that would come pouring in. It lasted for only an hour but it was enough to muddy the streets and make life around us miserable.

Only once did I see another vampire pass through the town. He was unaware that there were already two living here. At least, I assume Annlisse was still living here. It had been close to two weeks since our talk and I was becoming increasingly worried for her. I wanted this joint venture-finding someone I could possible talk to on an intellectual level that wouldn't laugh at my ideals of pushing forward to the future with medicine.

Or one that could share my ideals of abstaining from human blood. Living a life with substance and keeping face toward the humans as if we were human. To learn about another vampire's way of life was intriguing because no two vampires lived quite the same. Sure, we all drank blood. Nearly all of us fed from humans but there was a insignificant small percentage that fed from animals. Choosing the harder path.

I think this would be beneficial. Forming a coven and maybe one day adding more people to it. I'm sure I would find my mate and I believed that Annlisse would find hers. Only that was a mystery to our kind. When that right person ….that other side of the puzzle would find their way to us and complete the bond. I've only seen a few cases of mated couples. The trio in Volturi were all mated. It was an unusual experience to watch the males around their mates. Many of us, like myself, were nomads on the run and hiding from the humans. Not a life that sounded luxurious. Packing up and moving every few years to a new city to avoid being caught or someone realizing we weren't aging.

The rain pattered against the window of my office. I sighed, taking an unnecessary breath, and kept my eyes on the falling rain. Seeing every droplet that hit the buildings and the puddles. At the moment, the office was quiet. The last patient leaving only half an hour ago. I needed to hunt, but I didn't wish to hunt in this rain. I could always make the excuse I fell in the mud. A tight smile formed on my face and I sighed once again. The room around became still. The floating particles that danced in the room seemed to cease.

Someone was here.

Turning myself around slowly, in case it was a human, I prepared myself. Slipping on the jovial physicians facade, my body made a full circle to see Annlisse standing in the doorway. Her silk dress was in ruin from the rain and her coat drenched. She wore no hat, but a light blue shawl wrapped her shoulders. Her eyes were golden, but unblinking. Her lashes thick framing her face and I knew if there was something more to my affiliation to her then I would consider her beautiful. But, alas, all vampires were beautiful in some form or fashion.

"Annlisse," I broke the silence, "please come inside. You are drenched." I said before disappearing and returning in seconds with a towel for her to dry herself. Handing it to her, she smiled gratefully and began to wring her hair out.

"Thank you Carlisle." she said taking a seat on the small couch I had installed a few weeks earlier. I didn't care if she got it wet. To me it was another prop to make it look like I was human. I stood a distance from her and watched her movements. Slow and methodical, but she eventually dried herself enough.

"I've come to talk to you about your offer from two weeks prior." she started setting the towel in her lap further staining her silk dress with more water. I said nothing but motioned for her to continue. "I've been alone a long time-even in my human life, and your proposal threw me. I wasn't expecting anything of the sort." she gave me an apologetic smile. " I have taken the time and relayed on my past to learn that I can learn from those mistakes. Mistakes that have surely intensified my animosity to trust others. However, even knowing you for quite a few hours, I found myself sinking back into my old ways of trusting people."

"Can I trust you Carlisle?" she asked hesitantly but with full authority.

Could she trust me? Lord, I hope so. I think I could learn to trust her. Vampires are naturally solitary creatures that only form covens when they need the support of others to help with a task or to roam freely about the world. I wanted this based on trust and hopefully familial love that I have longed for. I sensed she wanted it as much as I did.

"You can trust me, Annlisse. But I will tell you now. I will make mistakes. I will say the wrong thing and I will anger you. Just as you will do the same to me, I'm sure. I have my ideals and ways of life that might seem too idealistic to you but I want to say that we can compromise and find middle ground. I'm a pacifist through and through and this is where I believe will anger you. I sense a great fire in you that will not bow down to that sort of authority, but I do think you are level-headed enough to be able to take a step back and assess the situation before acting." I replied giving much thought to my words.

She only nodded at me. Her expression hadn't changed from my statement. This gave me a small chance for hope. I know she was mulling over my words carefully but what seemed like ages for anyone was but mere seconds for us.

A small smile begin to form at her lips that ended touching the sides of her face. This was new side of Annlisse. Happiness. I couldn't help but to return her grin. She was accepting my offer. "You know it's not often someone assess my character so quickly and quite accurately. Carlisle, I will say this; I may not always agree with your decisions but you will always have my loyalty. I realize that true trust takes time but we can always start small. I mean, we already have, haven't we?"

I nodded at her and grabbed a chair that was close by. Sitting it down, I took a seat from her. Oh, the possibilities now! For the first time, in a long time, things seemed to be looking up for me. Since I carried no romantic interest in her, I figured to myself this would be a father/daughter companionship.

"Indeed we have." I agreed with her wholeheartedly. "How do you wish to do this life? It will be hard here to tell everyone here that we are father and daughter. You're a bit too old for me to 'adopt'."

She chuckled and shook her head at the possibility that was set before her. "I think we carry on as we have until it is time for us to leave. Then we will leave together. Start over somewhere else. This country is still quite new that we can travel wherever we wish to go or we can go back to Europe."

That sounded well to me. It would make it easier. With my resources and I'm sure of her own, we could manage quite well for a while before we would have to do something drastic. Money was never an issue, but we would soon run out. Maybe we would strike it rich somewhere. I chuckled to myself at the prospect. Vampires with an inordinate amount of money being shown off to the world. It would never work.

"However, Carlisle, there is one thing I wish to discuss with you before we go skipping through the forest." Her light tone turned serious quickly. Her eyes hardened and I prepared myself. "In the few covens I've seen, there are bylaw and punishment for breaking said rules." I opened my mouth to protest. To remind her that I am a pacifist.

"This has nothing to do with us personally but if we ever-I mean, ever...have others join us then we need to have guidelines."

I sighed a little. I'm sure that whatever she had in mind didn't concern blood and wrath of killing off vampires nor humans. I couldn't see her doing it. Although, you never know what a person will do until they're pushed too far. A person may say they would never kill, but place them in the situation to be killed or kill. We will always go for the kill. That was inevitable.

"What do you propose? I know that we all have a common law from the Volturi." I mentioned casually. However, she didn't know exactly how many laws they did have other than the main one of 'Keep the Secret.'

"It's like this Carlisle," she started but thought for a second composing the words correctly. "There shall be a strict rule of privacy within our coven. No member may ever reveal Coven business to anyone outside the group. This includes the names of other Coven members, and meeting information or gifts that anyone has acquired through their change. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but soon-maybe one day we will find our mates. Be they human first or vampire. They will need to know this."

I nodded at her logic. The bylaw seemed relatively easy enough to remember. It was a bit more detailed than the original the Volturi gave us. "And what of the punishments?"

"That I haven't decided on, but I do know of a coven where a male found his mate that was human. She blurted a secret of theirs to someone she thought she could trust and before they corrected the error of the newly informed; a punishment was set out by her own mate." she replied. I could tell she was still thinking about how to go about it. "I know there are small factions that keep the peace and deal with minor infractions that don't require the Volturi's attention."

This was news to me! How have I not heard of these factions? You would think that with all my travels and my seventy years of living side by side with the Volturi that I would have learned of this knowledge. I frowned thinking about my words. Of course they wouldn't tell me anything like that. I wasn't' part of the guard or their inner circle. I was a guest and as a guest, I wasn't privy to much of their way of life. I only learned of the many laws from reading ancient text, but the main one stood out that we need to keep the secret.

Would there be one in North America or were these European factions? There wasn't much that I could now but to accept her offer of security. In a coven where there might be more than two of; we were bound to have a few with interesting or specialized gifts. Anyone finding them out from an outside source would leave us without the upper hand. The element of surprise would be taken viciously from us and therefore weaken us.

"Annlisse, I've come to realize something about you…" I smiled and shook my head. She raised an eyebrow by a fraction. "Each time I speak to you, I learn something new."

She chuckled shaking her head as well. "I'm not wholly omniscient, Carlisle. I just tend to hear more than I need too. I ask far too many questions that I should. Trust me, it's a far greater thing to be ignorant than to have unlimited knowledge."

"Is that your gift? Absorbing knowledge or mind-reading?" I asked intrigued.

"No, nothing that extraordinary, I assure you." she replied but laughed seeing my crestfallen face. I knew she was itching to tell me about her gift, but it was her past that kept her from revealing so quickly. "Oh, hell...we're in this together, aren't we?" she asked me.

I looked at her with surprise. "Of course we are, Annlisse."

"Then I might as well tell you about my gift. Or, I should say, show you." she smirked mischievously at me. I wasn't prepared for this. I suppose to everyone vampire there are different sides to them and I was beginning to learn Annlisse's sides. Her eyes looked around the room for something. I begun to fear my possessions.

Eyeing an open book across the room, she looked at me. "Can you please bring me the book?" I looked at her curiously but got up and strolled toward my open book. Picking it up, I walked back over to her and proceeded to hand it to her. When she shook her head no, I eyed her again. She was having far too much fun for my taste.

"Now, I wish you to toss it in the air…." she said quietly. Shaking my head, I tossed it in the air, and with a small intake of breath, her fingers twitching involuntarily, the book froze in mid air. Shocked, I looked at the book then back at her. Her grin was infectious. She seemed quite pleased with herself. Reaching on my toes, my hand caressed the book and it instantly fell into my open hands.

"You...you can freeze things!" I exclaimed becoming overly excited.

Clapping her hands in glee, the grin never leaving her face. "I can. By being able to use this gift when I needed it has helped me escape several tricky situations." Her face suddenly turned serious. "But I can do the reversal. I can make things explode…"

"Would you like to show that as well?" I asked interrupting her never noticing that her demeanor had changed.

"No. I haven't used that gift for almost forty years…." she mumbled softly. Her eyes were pained like she held a haunted past that she wasn't ready to admit to anyone. I couldn't help but to feel a little disappointed. How marvelous it would have been to see the other side of her gift. But the pain in her voice, kept me from asking any further. I needed to respect that privacy and in return, one day, I was sure she would tell me.

Part of me was in complete awe of her but a small part of me was completely terrified. Her gift could go both ways. For good or evil. Depending on how it was used. That was always the plight of many gifts. How to best used them. Some like Jane and Alec used theirs for evil. Others like the Amazonian coven used theirs for good. It depended on the person and the situation.

It amazed me how she hadn't been captured by the Volturi for her gift. It would come in handy during battle. If, and only if, it could be used against vampires. The exploding effect on our bodies, if it could penetrate it, would be devastating. The freezing effect as well could be just as bad. I wondered if it was only used for small objects or large scale areas?

This was something I was desperate to test out. Over time her gift could exponentially grow into something more. Maybe not an object or person, but maybe a whole city or crowd. The possibilities could be endless for her.

"How does your gift work?" I asked her quietly coming slowly from my thoughts.

"I'm not sure. It's a mental gift though. I'm aware that we bring something from our human lives into our vampire lives but this is something completely different. I have no clue how I received this gift." she explained to me, but the furrowed her face in concentration. "Then again, maybe it has to do with my experiences in my human life."

"So how do we do this?" I asked for her opinion.

"We do as we always do, Carlisle. Just this time we won't be alone. It's a start of a new life. A family…."

"A family…." My eyes widened in amazement. It was a word that I haven't heard of in a long time.

"I agree with your decisions, Annlisse. I have no issue with the laws nor the punishments." I said earning an eyebrow raise from her. The words flew out of my mouth before I could think about them. "However, whenever you find your mate, you will relinquish your position as co-founder of this coven."

She gave no indication that she was angry with my demand. I was completely blown away by my own words. I would have never thought something that like would ever come out of my mouth. But the images of my own father ruling his house stirred in me when we talked about having a family. It was what I wanted. I didn't know how I was going to rule over my own family-if we ever made that far, but I was going to learn as I went. Giving me a nod of her head, she submit to my demand. It was that easy. Of course, given her history and age, it was easy to see her fall back onto her old human ways.

It was settled. I looked over that the girl across from me and knew that a new chapter. Nay, a new adventure was upon me. Of course, now realizing that I had decided this, I wasn't aware that things would go as they would. The lives that we would meet. The situations that we would find ourselves in. My small coven would grow into something much larger and more defined as a family. A family that would see it's trials and errors and come out stronger for it.