I couldn’t stay with vampires. That was insane. I shook my head in answer to Carlisle’s question “It’s impractical” I sighed. “Why?” he asked. “It’s dangerous and I sleep and eat and…” He cut me off gently “Wait. Take a moment to collect your thoughts. Come up with a list and we’ll go through it.” I stayed in his arms quietly and made my list. I nodded when I was done. He smiled encouragingly “Go ahead” I decided to start with one that had to do with his family, rather than my safety. “I have to eat and sleep it would be a significant incontinence for you.” Esme shook her head “Renesmee eats and sleeps” she reminded me. Touché.
I moved onto my next concern “Either you will always have to be careful or I will always have to be ready to die.” Carlisle frowned “We’re willing to keep our guards up” He vowed. “Jasper” I said simply, hoping a rapid fire of objections would discourage them. Esme flinched, but Carlisle remained calm “He thinks he’s on the right track. He told me that he’s going to try something new in the next few days. There’s been noticeable improvement.” That was true. Sporadic, but noticeable.
I tried another that had to do with their family “You already stick out. You can’t add me into the mix.” I said. “One person won’t change things that much” Esme disagreed. “I don’t look like you” I continued. “Esme and I are foster parents” The vampire doctor reminded me. “If you decide to stay you can change your mind later. We won’t hinder you.” He added. I looked up at him. I couldn’t doubt the sincerity, but that only reminded me of another objection “What if I’m not good enough?” I challenged “What if I don’t meet your expectations?” Carlisle answered “Then we’ll reevaluate. We’ll make sure our expectations are reasonable and see what we can do to help you. Do you have any more objections?”
I sighed. I’d saved my biggest objection for last. I think, seeing as your children were here first, it’s too much to ask them to put up with all the inconvenience.” I said quickly. Carlisle nodded “Would it be agreeable to ask them how they feel?” he suggested. “Like a trial?” I asked, picturing myself in front of a jury of Cullens. He nodded, though he seemed unsure that “trial” was the right term. I nodded. Much as I hated to leave, this agreement should help cure the crazy idea of me staying. “Get some sleep” Carlisle instructed, brushing some hair out of my face. I nodded, suddenly tiered.
The next morning I woke to find that Esme hadn’t left me. She walked with me downstairs where Carlisle explained the idea of me staying, my objections, and the trial. Renesmee ignored the suggestion to think carefully and said I should stay. Emmett voted next. He thought I should stay. I was surprised, but they were both spontaneous people. Bella said it wouldn’t hurt to try for awhile. Edward nodded. Alice hugged me “Stay” She smiled. Jasper hesitated a moment before nodding sharply. Rosalie looked slightly reluctant to speak “I don’t want her in this house” she said firmly. It hurt more than I’d expected, but I kept my face smooth. Jasper was nice enough not to give me away. Carlisle looked pained and a few of them looked angry. “Aww, Rose” Emmet began, but she cut him off. “I want her in the family just not in the house.”
We all stared at her blankly while Edward said “Oh, I see”. Rosalie quickly defended herself “She should be nearby, but not in the house. It’s too dangerous. Maybe we could build an add on, but if she’s right here all the time there will be accidents. She needs a place to go when the boys start fighting or someone looses their temper or one of the dogs phases. A safe place. Plus it would be a place to eat and sleep.” She looked at me like she thought I would be offended “Would that be OK?” At that moment, I wanted to hug her. The idea was still dangerous, but Rosalie had made it doable. Of course, where would I find the money for a house?
I wanted to stay. I really did. Yet it was such an absurd idea for both me and them. I tried to tell myself that I could always leave if I had to, but spending an extended period of time here would make leaving more painful than it had to be. Carlisle suggested that I take my time to decide. As much time as I wanted. I went to my room for paper to organize my thought, but I was interrupted when Bella knocked on my door. She walked inside and said hello, then glanced awkwardly down. She was holding a book “Romeo and Juliet” We laughed quietly at the coincidence. “It’s a pretty name” She told me. “It’s not my real name” I said conversationally. She looked surprised “What is it?” She asked. I shrugged “I don’t remember. I used to change names every time I moved. That became unnecessary when I started moving farther. For awhile I alternated between Sadie and Juliet and before that I went by Martha, Sarah, Ruth and a few others. I’m not sure which one my parents named me. It might have been something else entirely. It never really affected me much. My closest friends usually had nicknames for me and my family called me baby”. As far as I could remember “Baby” wasn’t in English, but I didn’t mention that.
“One day I was out walking and someone asked me my name. I saw that book in a shop display and said “Juliet” then ended up getting used to it. Later, I heard someone say that Juliet would never grow old. They meant it because she was a great literary character, but I thought it was funny.” Bella laughed, but she seemed to find my situation sad.”Your family changes names when you move too” I pointed out “Whitlock, Cullen, Hale… Names can be important, but given my situation it’s not really a big deal.” In fact, I loved my Juliet name. I’d read the Shakespeare play, but the big reason I like it was the way my friend said it. Bella smiled, but didn’t seem convinced.
We talked a few minutes and I gathered up the courage to ask her how she’d joined the Cullens. I knew that she was the only one of them who’d had a choice. Her choice was more difficult than mine; she gave up her life. She said she loved Edward and was what do what it took to stay with him. In the end Renesmee made it necessary to change, but she would have done it anyway. As a human, Bella had been a thousand times more defenseless than I was, yet she was a million times braver.
After Bella left, I wandered outside for some fresh air. Rosalie was in her garage. She called out to me “What do you think of the separate building idea?” She asked. I walked near here “If I stay it will be much safer and more convenient.” I reassured her, then I couldn’t help fishing for information “About how much would that cost? If I paid the interest do you think you could help me get a loan? I don’t have the ID to deal directly with a bank.” She flicked her wrist “Don’t worry about that. We would take care of you.” She said, as if it was obvious. I felt guilty just thinking about it. “We have no problem with that. We even have Alice to help predict stock changes.” Rosalie said confidently. That made me feel a bit better. If I didn’t have to worry about the house, all I really had to worry about was eating and sleeping. Oh yeah… and the fact that the vampires could kill me any minute.