Epilogue - Two Years Later
The past two years had flown by.
Both Bree and I had been welcomed into the Cullen coven with open arms and for the first time in nearly a year, I had felt like I truly belonged somewhere. There was still a bit of animosity between myself and Bella at the beginning, but we were able to be cordial with one another and eventually, we became friends. I’m not sure what finally made her see reason. Perhaps it was that she realized I was no threat to her; perhaps it was even that I treated her like an equal instead of like a child. Hell, it could have been both. Who was I to say?
Spending the first year with the Cullen’s so they could teach me how to act in society and feed off of animals was quite the experience. The world as I had known it had changed and now I had to start from the beginning. I suppose this is why they call the first year of a vampire’s life the “newborn” year. Doing things like driving or writing had to be relearned. The proper way to hunt an animal had to be learned. I also managed to observe several different ways of interacting with humans, and in the months that followed, I got the chance to try all of my new skills out.
Carlisle and Edward had wanted to wait another full year before they were ready to introduce Bree and I to the human world, but Jasper came to my defense. If anyone would know how thirsty I was, or how much of a danger to society I was, he would be it. After a rousing debate that I wasn’t even a part of after more than five minutes, I took the opportunity that their distraction presented in order to test myself.
We had moved from Forks to a rural city in Canada. I didn’t know the name of it, nor did I really care, considering I hadn't done so much as leave the house or the surrounding woods without a chaperone, but this little town did have a rather busy mall that Edward and Bella frequented. So, I headed to the nearest town just to walk around. If I did well and there were no incidents then I may even visit that mall.
I could smell the stench of humanity long before I reached the edge of the little town, but there was no covering the scent of the blood in the air. I had to keep reminding myself that this is what I had wanted. I had wanted to be tested. I had wanted to prove to myself that I had what it took to be around humans without wanting to feed from them. I knew that keeping that bloodlust under control was the only surefire way I was gonna be able to see my kids again and I’d be damned if anyone was gonna stop me.
Well, according to Edward I was damned regardless, but that wasn’t the point.
I was only gone from the Cullen’s for two hours, but in that time I was able to blend in extremely well with the humans around me. No one stopped me, no one took a close look at me, and no one really cared that I was even there at all. I took the lack of human interaction to be a sign that I was ready to stop being put on house-arrest, but when I returned to the Cullen house, all hell had broken loose.
Jasper and Edward were facing off in the back yard when I made my way onto the property. They were both growling menacingly at each other as the rest of the family stood by on the porch and watched. I could see a large hole in the side of the house and the glass sliding doors leading to the back yard had been shattered. Obviously someone had been tossed through it, and I bet I could guess who. I don’t know why Edward was stupid enough to think he could take Jasper on, but for whatever reason, they looked like they were ready to rip each other apart. However, once I was close enough for Jasper to feel and smell me, he turned away from Edward - not scared in the least that Edward might attack him - rushed to my side, and gently lifted my face to his. I thought he would kiss me, kind of a ‘welcome back home I missed you’ kiss, but instead turned to look at Edward smugly and simply said, “Told ya she wouldn’t slip.” and it was at that moment I knew that we had to leave the Cullen’s for a while.
I was astonished and insulted that Edward of all people would think I would need to be watched like a child. When I realized that it wasn’t just Edward that thought that way, but Carlisle and Esme, too, I was completely over the Cullen’s. I was physically older than Carlisle, and the same age as Esme. I had given birth twice. I had even managed to build some semblance of a life for myself before this happened to me and every decision I had ever made was being taken into question.
I was a mature adult dammit and they couldn’t seem to see past my “newborn” status in order to see the real me.
Jasper felt my frustration and annoyance with the whole situation and took me for a hunt. I didn’t really need to, but he felt like it would relieve some anger and aggression.
I tore down a few trees, threw boulders, and even fought with a Grizzly bear to see if that would alleviate the foul mood I was in. However, it wasn’t until after I had drained the bear and Jasper and I had made a new clearing in the forest (decorated with bits of clothing), that he suggested that we move down to Texas with Peter and Char.
After a lengthy discussion, and him being honest enough with me to tell me that even though he had seen everyone as family and was truly grateful to everyone for teaching him how to handle his bloodlust after the Southern Vampire Wars, he was ready to leave the Cullen’s for the time being. He had learned as much as he could from them, plus the monotony of repeating high school over and over, with the addition of being around hormonal and emotionally-charged teenagers all the time, was taking its toll on him. He was ready to go and I whole-heartedly agreed.
The following week, we packed our bags and headed down to Texas.
Peter and Char lived on about fifty acres of land that had once belonged to Jasper’s family. Once the property became available for purchase in the 1970’s, he had decided to keep it in the family and purchased the land hoping to eventually set down roots here. He had started to build a house on the property with Peter’s help, but Alice kept distracting him from finally finishing. Instead, he had handed everything off to Peter and Char and told them to make that home theirs.
He also told me that he was excited by the prospect of starting a new life with me and finally getting around to finishing the house he wanted to build, with my help of course. I was thrilled that he would want my help with a project like this and I knew that this would be a true home that we could make together.
Six more months passed while Jasper and I built our dream home. Peter and Charlotte helped tremendously with gaining all the permits and drawing out the blueprints. We had decided on a two-story house. Simple and understated, but very homey. All the actual building - I was shocked to realize - was handled by Jasper, though I did help as much as I could. Peter tried to help too, bless him, but I think he was more a hindrance than actually being of any use.
The day we officially moved in was the day that Jasper had told me the other project he had been working on. He had been in touch with his lawyer, Jenks, and had information on what had happened to my kids after my “death”. What I heard was what I expected, but that didn’t mean I had to be happy about it.
Turns out that the information he’d been able to find was court documentation for custody of Connor and Clayton. My family had put up one hell of a fight, but unfortunately the court system wanted to keep the boys with the only biological parent they had left. The only stipulation was that they had to stay in the state of Georgia until they both turned eighteen.
So Chris, feeling petty, had moved the boys from Rome, in North Georgia, to Statesboro, in South Georgia. A four hour drive for my family to even see them. Bonus petty points for Chris refusing to let my family see the kids after he won custody.
That bit of information obviously wasn’t in the court documentation, Jasper’s lawyer was just thorough. I don’t know how he managed to get the information, but I wasn’t going to question his methods when they worked.
This whole thing stunk to high heaven and just meant that our biggest worry now was getting my babies back and I had no clue how to do it.
The way I saw it, our options were slim. Option A was going right up to Chris' house, demanding the boys, and bringing them back here without being arrested for attempted kidnapping. Option B was similar, but involved sneaking in at night, taking the boys, and having Chris wake up the next day to no children. That could only end with their pictures being plastered all over the national news as victims of a kidnapping, so that was out. Option C though, that one was by far my favorite. This particular plan involved sneaking into Chris' house at night, taking the boys, and killing any other adult we came into contact with. Jasper soon pointed out that my family would then panic when they couldn't find the boys and the word "kidnapping" came up again. 'Round and 'round we went.
It was actually Char who came up with a plan that might be feasible enough to actually work. The only thing we needed in order to enact this plan was, believe it or not, Rosalie. The specific technique behind this plan was something neither Rose, nor myself had ever attempted, but the idea was very similar to what the both of us could already do.
The plan was to hypnotize Chris and his wife into believing that the boys were living with my family, and it was their decision all along. I could see about a million different ways that this could go wrong, the main one being that it wouldn’t work at all. However, I was willing to give it a try.
Jasper wasted no time calling up Emmett and Rose and before a full day had passed, they were pulling up in the driveway. Once they had toured the new house, Jasper got down to business. He explained that we would need Rose and myself in order to make the hypnosis work the way it was meant to. Personally, I was under the impression that we knew everything there was to know about the way a Siren’s gift worked, but Jasper wasn’t so sure. Researching the history behind the myth a bit more, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t how the words were said, but the words themselves that had the power. I’m not sure where he came up with that theory, but I was willing to bet that he may have a point.
I remembered all the times I had used my gift and I realized that I had always had a specific song prepared for the situation I was in. The words of the song were always what I used to get the reactions I had hoped for. Singing, dancing, and even confessing were all done with the words already within the song. As far as I knew, there weren’t any songs out in the world that would make your ex give up your children without a fight, then think it was their idea the whole time. Frankly, it sounded like a bad Country song. I was just missing the pickup and hound dog.
However, I did see a glaring problem with this plan and no matter how much I wanted to ignore it, I had to remind everyone that Edward was affected by what I could do without words. The song I had chosen when I first met the Cullen’s was instrumental and it had Edward playing an invisible violin without me having to do a thing.
This reminder was not a welcome one and sent us back to the drawing board. Several hours of discussion followed and the only thing that we had come up with was just to Google songs that even remotely used the word Hypnotize. I couldn’t think of anything better to do at that point, so I took that as my queue and started doing research. Bands like Coldplay, Wang Chung , and even Fleetwood Mac had songs that I got lost in just looking for the right one.
An untold amount of time later, it hit me that short of writing my own song, I didn’t think I was going to find one that fit my needs. Peter however, had been doing some thinking and he had sworn up and down he had it figured out. His theory wasn’t the words that put my victims into a hypnotic state, but the sound. The actual notes themselves. He proceeded to drag me outside to the front yard and told me to sing any notes that I felt like. When I asked why, he replied with a snarky, “I’m your guinea pig woman! Just do it!”, so I did.
The first thing that entered my mind was a C scale, so note after note I sang and note after note, nothing happened. We tried again with a different scale, A this time and still nothing. E was the third one and yet again, nothing. I even tried arpeggios with no effect whatsoever.
Angry about my failure and extremely thirsty from the toll it was taking on my throat, I took the opportunity to hunt. As frustrated as I was at Peter for making me try something that seemed doomed to fail, I was more mad at myself for not having the skill to achieve what I wanted to. Jasper found me not too long after and after expressing my frustrations, he felt like he had the answer. He wanted to try the same thing again, but this time he wanted to add a little...emotional assistance.
Jasper explained that all of the situations that I had needed to use my gift were times that I’d had heightened emotions, he felt like adding an emotional element to what we were trying to do may make all the difference. Feeling a bit run down and option-less, I thought it was worth a try. Apparently I was willing to experiment as much as I could in order to get the appropriate response.
A skeptical as this idea was, I was also willing to give it a try. Especially with Em and Peter being the ones that I was going to try to hypnotize. Jasper would stand behind me and influence the emotions that I was feeling, while Rose and Char would see if anything happened with either of the guys. This seemed like a simple enough test, just to see if I could get them into some sort of trance-like state. Once that was accomplished, the rest would just be implanting ideas into their minds.
We started off slow with the same set of scales I was doing earlier, but this time I could feel my teeth clenching together, my body was lowering itself into a crouch, my shoulders and neck were becoming tense, my fists were clenched and trembling slightly, and I could feel a growl beginning to build in my chest. Anger. The notes I was supposed to be singing had gone from a lovely and flowy melody, to me just growling the notes out at the guys ready to rip their heads off. Anger was clearly not the way to go for this.
Next, we tried another set of scales and this time I began to feel a shortness of breath, a heightened sense of awareness, I had a slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach, an extremely dry mouth, and a ringing in my ears. Fear. I don’t think this one would work very well. I wanted to be able to stand my ground, not run away from the confrontation.
Not satisfied with the reaction, I felt a new change. This one felt like I was being wrapped up in a warm blanket. I was fully relaxed and didn’t have a care in the world. Contentment. I was perfectly fine with this, but it didn’t last long before another sensation started taking over and all I felt was joy.
Disgust, Surprise, Anticipation, and Trust soon followed. I thought that trust was going to give us what we needed because it would be the emotion we’d need to have this succeed. Indeed, having trustworthiness on my side did work to an extent, the guys were more willing to be influenced, but the hypnosis never actually happened.
After playing around with my emotions for another couple of hours and adding in the possibility of two or more, we finally landed on one that might just be what we needed. It was a mixture of Confidence, Surety, Determination, and Empowerment. The “I Know I Can Do This And Ain’t No One Gonna Stand In My Way” mixture. It was apparently effective in that it kept both Em and Peter under long enough to have Rose experiment a bit with just saying what she wanted them to do. Did she tell them to act like chickens? Yes.
They did. For an hour. It was glorious.
Now that we had figured out the right mixture, it was time to figure out the specifics of the plan. Figuring out this part took a while, but not nearly as long as I would have thought. Everyone wanted to come with me and Rose, but I knew that we didn’t have a part for everyone to play. Jasper just flat refused to let me go without him, Emmett was pouting in a corner because he wanted to be useful in whatever way he could, Peter was sitting in a chair and tilting it back so far it might break, all while grinning like the cheshire cat, and Char was just leaning against the wall, arms crossed, and shaking her head at everyone.
I didn’t care who all came with us, I just wanted to go ahead and go as soon as possible. They all could go with us and be spectators to the whole thing if they wanted. The details didn’t matter very much to me when I had bigger things on my mind.
The arrangement finally decided on would require Jasper, Rose, and I to pay a visit to Chris where Rose and I would put Chris and his wife under hypnosis. Rose would keep them that way while Jasper and I spoke to my kids. Ultimately it would be their decision whether or not they wanted to stay with Chris, or come back to Texas with me. Either way, we had to be prepared. Emmett had volunteered to keep watch over the perimeter and be on the lookout for any nosy neighbors, and Peter would drive the getaway car back to the airport. Char had chosen to stay here and prepare the boys rooms with clothes, bedsheets, blankets, and anything else she thought they’d need.
We headed to the airport that same day. There was no way I was going to be able to wait once this whole thing was finalized and everyone knew that. The plane ride to Georgia was horrible. Turbulence, not enough room to stretch my legs, people leaning their chairs back into my personal space, and I felt like I had been shoved into a syringe with the amount of blood I could smell. I’m sure my eyes were black as night when the plane finally landed and I practically ran out of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport just to be able to get some fresh air.
The next stop we made was to the Enterprise Car Rental to pick up the huge SUV Peter had rented for this trip. Apart from smelling like cigarette smoke and B.O, it wasn’t all that bad once the windows were rolled down and we started the long drive South down I-75. Getting down past Macon was the difficult part, but once we hit I-16, it was smooth sailing. I even got the chance to find a deer to drain while Peter filled up the gas tank about two hours before we reached our destination. Feeling much better, and far less likely to drain the next human I saw, we continued the journey to Statesboro and my boys.
Jasper had been able to find quite a bit of information from Jenks in regards to Chris and his wife, including but not limited to his current address. I had to admit that when we pulled up to the lot, there were many things I had expected to see; from a double-wide all the way up to a three hundred thousand dollar home. What I had not expected was to come face-to-face with the RV that was parked right in the middle of the lot.
That’s right. An RV. A recreational vehicle, if you will.
This whole setup practically screamed "I don't give a fuck" to anyone who happened by this place. To say I was appalled was an understatement. I knew in my gut that there were some people out there in the world that would have been thrilled by this home. Mobile or not, they’d be grateful and I’d be the first one to hand something like this over to them. However, I knew Chris made quite a bit of money before our divorce, and getting a proper loan for a hundred grand to build an actual home was not out of reach for him. Which begged the question why on earth was he living with his wife and two sons in a damn RV in the middle of nowhere?
I got angry. Rightfully so. And when Emmett made a move to get out of the SUV to go patrol the perimeter, I made a dash for the RV. It became apparent rather quickly that Jasper had sensed what I was going to do right before I actually did it and managed to stop me from tearing the place, and Chris, apart. Although I was grateful for my Mate stepping in like that - and dragging me to a wooded area to the left of the lot where I could throw a fit all I wanted - a part of me really wished he hadn't and I said as much. Perhaps I said it with a little more...vehemence than I had meant to direct at him, but he didn't bring it up. I knew I was going to apologize for it later anyway.
With a little extra emotional help, I was finally able to get my head back in the game and focus on why I was here. Emmett had patrolled around the perimeter a couple of times before he was ready to tell us what he knew. According to him, there were two heartbeats that he heard coming from inside the RV. And just so I was aware, they both were faster than a normal human adult's.
I didn't waste any time. I ran up to the front door of the RV, took a deep breath, listened to the heartbeats that Emmett heard, and knocked gently on the door. My sole focus was on the RV and the two people in it. The world could have ended in that moment and I would have never known it.
"Who is it?" I hear from Connor. I know it is him immediately. No other kid could sound like such an adult. He doesn't come to the door. In fact, he stays as far away from it as he can, which under normal circumstances I would have been impressed by.
"Connor? Sweetheart, it's Momma." I reply to the closed door. I feel Jasper walking up behind me. He doesn't say anything, but lets me know that he's supporting me in his own way.
"Momma?" I hear from Clayton, who seems to be a little more excited.
"Hush Clay." Connor shushes his brother under his breath. "My Momma's dead." He says loud enough for us to hear his voice crack a bit on the last word.
As painful as it is to hear it, under any other circumstance, I would have to agree with him on that one. Technically speaking I am dead. However, if I want this to go my way, I need to remember that details like that can wait for another time.
"No baby." I say to the still-closed door. "I'm right here."
"You don't sound like our mom." Clay responds, and I can almost see the look Connor gives him.
"I know Clayton, but I swear it's me." I respond trying to figure out a way to prove who I am enough for them to open the door. "I remember the last phone call we had together. You were staying at your great-grandmother’s house and Clayton answered the call. He had ice cream and chocolate syrup running down his chin. It surprised me that he was also the first of the two of you to fall asleep that night.”
“How do you know that?” Connor asks.
“I told you, baby.” I reply with growing confidence. “I’m right here. If you don’t believe it’s me, all you need to do is open the door.”
I could hear whispering and debating between the both of them and finally, I heard the lock click and I was staring into the eyes of my oldest son.
“Connor!” I quietly exclaim. “Hi sweetheart!” I kneel down to his level and open my arms for a hug. I’m smiling so hard that I feel like my face might crack.
Connor just looks at me. I can’t tell if he’s trying to parse together what he remembers of me to what he sees now, or whether he even believes it is me.
“What took you so long?” He asks as he runs into my arms. Clayton followed immediately behind and after two years, I was finally where I was meant to be.
Now all we needed to do was get back home.
“Boys?” I ask tentatively, “How would you feel about coming back home with me?”
“Is that where you’ve been all this time?” Connor asks.
I sigh heavily, “No baby, it isn’t, but that’s where I've been for the last year. Making sure I had a place for you boys to come home to.”
“Who’s that, Momma?” Clay asks pointing over my shoulder. I remember that I had felt Jasper come up behind me and I say, “That’s the man who saved my life and I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for him.”
Connor takes a long look at him and I can almost hear the wheels in his head turning. “I know you.” He says confidently.
“Do ya now?” Jasper asks simply.
“Uh huh.” Connor replies.
“Where is your Dad?” I ask curiously.
“No idea.” Clay responds.
“Ya mean to tell me your dad left ya here alone?” Jasper asks astonished.
“Yep.” Clay responds popping the “p” at the end.
I growl angrily and both of my boys look at me shocked that such a sound could come out of me. “What was that?” Connor asks, while Clay snuggles closer to me.
“I’m sorry about that boys. I just let my anger get the best of me, it seems.” I respond apologetically.
“It’s alright, Momma.” Clay says sweetly.
Time for a topic change, “Well, boys. Why don’t you go ahead and grab your things so I can take you home with me? You’ll still have to go to school, and you’ll still have chores and things to do, but I promise that I won’t leave you again. What do you think?”
“I don’t want you to leave again.” Clay replies.
“So does that mean you wanna go with me?” I ask him.
“Alright, why don’t you go ahead and grab all the things you want to take with you?” I suggest gently. Clay just nods his head and wanders into the kitchen area of the RV to go and pack his things.
I turn my attention to Connor, “What do you think?”
He’s very skeptical about this whole situation, but after thinking it over, he responds with “Clay’s going, and I’m still trying to figure out who this guy is,” he gestures over at Jasper, “and I know I’m not going to get the answers that I want if I stay here, so yeah. I’ll go.”
“Is that the only reason?” I ask a bit hurt.
“No.” He says giving me a sly cat-ate-the-canary grin that would give Peter a run for his money.
“Oh you little turkey!” I exclaim as he runs further into the RV, laughing maniacally the whole way.
“These two are gonna give me a run for my money, aren’t they?” Jasper asks as the boys fight over who gets to pack what.
“Well, you’ve managed Peter just fine over the past century, so mini versions of him won’t be too much of a problem, will it?”
“Ah ha!” Connor exclaims proudly, “I knew I had seen your face before, but I didn’t remember where. Now I remember!” He hollers as he grabs a book, flips it to a page, and turns it around for us to see.
On the page he’s happily pointing to, there is a black and white picture of a man on a beautiful black horse. The man is tall and proud-looking with a Confederate Major’s uniform on. The man looks extremely severe and I can’t help but let out a little giggle as I see a human version of Major Jasper Whitlock staring at the camera.
“It’s you!” Connor exclaims joyously. “You’re Major Whitlock!”
Jasper gently takes the book out of Connor’s hands and looks at the photo. “I don’t ever remember this bein’ taken.” He says in awe. He flips the book over to read the title and is shocked to read “Great Officers of the United States Civil War” on the front.
“Well, it looks like that sever expression hasn’t changed much in over a century.” I tease.
The expression he shoots back is one that clearly says “we’re gonna have a discussion about this later” and it just makes me laugh harder.
The boys don’t take too much longer to pack all of their things and before we know it, we’re on our way back to Peter and the car. He pulls up into the driveway just about the time I begin to wonder where he’s gotten off to. Jasper makes the introductions to the boys while Peter enthralls them with a story. I go off to find Emmett and Rose and tell them there was no reason for us to stay.
When I finally smell them, I smell another scent right along with it. I quickly follow the path they’ve laid and arrive about a hundred yards away from the RV. When I step through the little clearing I see that Emmett has Chris lifted high in the air by his throat. Honestly, I would be perfectly fine with Emmett just snapping his neck where he stands, but I don’t make it too far before I hear Chris’ whiny voice.
“I fucking knew you were still alive. Like a cockroach, you just refuse to die.” He says trying to hurt me.
I’ve moved past all of his hate for me and don’t respond with anything. That only makes him angrier. I’ll call the cops if you take them.” He threatens.
“Oh really?” I question sarcastically. “ Somehow, I rather doubt it. What did you think was going to happen? You leave the boys in an RV with no neighbors and a simple locked door and expect them to be safe?!”
“I didn’t know what I expected until this big brute showed up.” He replies gesturing to Emmett.
“Drop him” I demand and Emmett does so without question. “Go go wait for me by the car. Jasper and Peter are already there with the boys.”
Both Em and Rose flit out of the clearing at record speed and leave a very shocked Chris lying on the ground massaging his throat. “What are you?”
I flit over to him very quickly, startling him. “I’m dead.” I reply honestly. “Amanda Adams died two years ago. This is what remains of her. Now you have a choice, you can either let me have the boys without a fight, I can hypnotize you to make you believe that you gave them to me of your own free will, or I can kill you and save myself the trouble.”
“You wouldn’t kill me.” He replies back venomously. “You haven’t killed a thing in your life.”
“Oh really?” I stare into his eyes as my anger boils to the surface and I can see that he can see that my eyes are changing colors. “You don’t know anything about me Chris. Haven’t known me even when we were married. What do you possibly know about what I have or haven’t done?”
Chris sees his only chance and takes it, “If you take them, I swear to God I will let everyone know that you’re alive. I’ll tell everyone that you kidnapped my sons.”
“They were only your sons when they became some sort of sick benefit to you.” I reply acidly. “Never once did you actually care about them. If you had, they wouldn’t be living out in the middle of nowhere in a damn RV!”
“They’ll come after you.” He threatens vaguely. “They’ll arrest you. They’ll hunt you down. They may even kill you.”
“Alright,” I begin ready for this conversation to end, “To hell with the plan.” I grab him by the throat, lift him up, and say one last thing, “No one threatens me or my boys and gets away with it.” And with that, I snap his neck.
Making my way back to the car, I come across Rose, who just hugs me tightly and walks silently by my side. Once we make it to the car, the boys and Emmett are playing some sort of eye-spy game and I leave them to it. Jasper feels the rolling emotions within me and gently grabs my hand as he helps me into the SUV.
On the road back to Texas, boys now in tow, I can’t help but be amazed at this found family that I have. Two are my own family, it’s true, and one is the man I would trust my very being to, but I’ve never felt more content or happy in my life. I try my hand at adding to whatever game Em and the kids are playing and just revel in the feel of Family.
This will be my family for eternity and I’ve never been more ready to take eternity on.