The Watchers are home! And they brought Tanya and Marcus back from their hunt. When they flew in, it was one hell of a sight to see. Edward said that Tanya was thinking that it looked like an armada of warriors flying in a tight formation. It was also cool how they brought the other two home. It seemed that their hunt had gone awfully well considering the fact that they were not only standing very close to each other, but they were holding hands.
I think Irina’s message was dead on. I really hope nothing but the very best for Tanya and Marcus. They deserve to find happiness. I’m very glad that they were able to put their pasts to rest. I knew that they would soon be leaving. So we wanted to spend as much time with them as we could. We had heard from Carmen and Eleazer since and Tanya explained that we had figured it out on this end. Amazingly Zafrina had come to the very same conclusion as we all did regarding why Irina had come to Tanya. She had a special message and she wanted her to move toward the one man who could make her truly happy and leave the sadness behind; Marcus.
As soon as the Watchers touched down, everyone ran and hugged one another. Nessie squealed when she saw Michelle. Those two hugged until I thought they would pass out from not breathing. I watched from the porch and Rogue stood a little ways away and watched as well. She was smiling and her eyes were full of ancient wisdom. What I thought at that moment was how even keeled she and I were. I was considered the patriarch of my family while she was the leader of the Watcher armada. When our eyes met, she read my mind and smiled in answer. I walked off the porch at that point and walked over to her; we hugged each other without speaking. Sometimes words were just not needed.
I then shook hands with Alexander and made my rounds ending with Michelle who opened her hand and gave me a little marble elephant she had gotten in Africa. The Watchers had brought us each a gift of some sort that had elephants included in them. Apparently, elephants were considered symbols of good fortune and luck in Africa as well as other parts of the words. We all loved our gifts and said thank you. Who would say no to a symbol of good luck? Lord knows with everything that was always happening in our lives, we could use all the luck the world could provide under the circumstances.
Other than Michelle and Nessie the other two that seemed to be incredibly happy to see each other were Alexander and Marcus. The two cousins were off to the side talking. With the sheer amount of people in our front yard, you couldn’t hear what they were talking about. Corin and Seth were holding hands and talking excitedly. Keith was off to the side waiting for Leah and Bella to return from their walk, which happened a few minutes after the Watchers return. As soon as the two ladies broke through the forest and Leah saw Keith, she shot away from Bella’s side like a bullet out of a gun and bolted into Keith’s waiting embrace. Bella just walked at a slightly faster pace with a smile. She was happy Keith was home too; she knew how much Leah had missed him. Wolves without their imprints were not themselves and though she tried to keep Leah’s mind occupied as much as possible, she still knew how lonely she felt. Leah of course appreciated Bella’s efforts immensely.
Now that everyone was together again, Esme called on Bella and Rose to help her in the kitchen to create a welcome home feast for our arrivals. After planting kisses on Edward and Emmett respectively, the two smiled at each other and flew into the kitchen after Esme. Since it was a beautiful day, Edward, Jasper, Emmett, and I brought out tables and chairs to have the meal outside. Alice meanwhile grabbed Nessie and Michelle to help her decorate for an impromptu gathering. In an hour everything was ready; the food made, decorations which consisted of a zillion candles hanging from trees, little sconce like shapes also adorning and crisscrossing overhead, and soft New Age music playing from our backyard invisible speakers. Everyone who ate was sitting at the tables next to their significant others and just chatting away while we vampires sat at the tables as well just chatting while the other indulged in the amazing food Esme and the ladies prepared.
Amy and Peter brought back wine from South Africa that they wanted to have the wolves try. Edward even let Nessie have a bit since Michelle had a glass as well. It was Nessie’s first taste of wine. Just then Rogue stood up with a glass of wine; she came over and brought it to me. Before handing me the glass, she waved her hand over it and something sparkly and shiny fell into the glass. Whatever it was dissolved instantly; then she handed the wine glass to me. I looked at her with raised eyebrows. She better than anyone knew that vampires can’t eat or drink human food because of the fact that our bodies don’t absorb it. But she persisted. So I took the glass with everyone staring at me. Well everyone but the Watchers who were watching with little knowing smiles on their faces.
The thing that surprised me first was that usually human food or beverages don’t smell pleasant to me but this wine, smelled well….like wine! So I took a sip of it and was absolutely stunned when instead of tasting like a nasty sweet beverage, it tasted like pleasant semi sweet wine. It was the first time I had wine………….since being turned!!! Oh my lord! But how???? How did Rogue do it??? Everyone else…..all the vampires and werewolves……well anyone who wasn’t a Watcher or Peter……anyways were staring at me as my face must have gone through the gambit of expressions and emotions. Edward spoke first:
“Carlisle? Are you saying that actually tasted like wine to you?” He all but whispered in shock.
“Yes it tastes like wine and pretty good wine, I might add, if my memory still serves me.” I said and took another sip.
“Can I try?” Bella asked.
She was the last out of all the vampires in attendance to be turned so she would definitely remember this better than the rest of us. So I handed her the glass and she took a sip.
“Holy crow! This does taste exactly like wine! Rogue, what did you do to it?” She asked looking at our cheeky Watcher leader who was giggling nearby.
“Oh come on now….I can’t be giving all of my secrets away now.” Rogue said with a giggle.
“All of your secrets?? We don’t know any of them other than the fact that you’re super woman!” Seth squeaked nearby only to be shushed by a laughing Corin. Everyone else laughed too.
“So what does this mean exactly?” I asked uncertainly.
“Well, after speaking with everyone else, I’ve decided to give you guys a choice. Basically, I can make it so that you can actually consume human food without being revolted or having the need to throw up. It won’t fill you and you’ll still need blood to sustain yourselves but at least it’ll make you fit in more with humans. You won’t always have to avoid the food situation anymore. Of course it’s up to you. It’ll also make cooking for Esme, Bella, and Rose a lot easier since they can now taste what they are cooking and not just guess that it’ll taste good. You can enjoy human food the only difference is that unlike the wolves, us, or Nessie human food won’t fill you. You will still need to hunt. But at least you can enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then to relax.” Rogue explained as we all listened with our mouths all but hanging open.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Actually none of us could. For centuries and millennia even if you count Marcus, we’ve all assumed that eating human food would never be possible again. And here we had the opportunity to feel more “alive” if you will. I looked at my family as in all of my family and we all took a few minutes to decide. The Denali’s were ok without this new advantage as they never went out into the human world much as is, with Alaska being so remote and all. Besides, Carmen and Eleazer were not with us and couldn’t take part in this new prospect. Rogue said that if they changed their minds, they’d be more than happy to fly out and do what needed to be done. Everyone agreed to this.
Which reminded me….what exactly did she have to do to bestow us with this new element of ourselves? Rogue reading my mind as always just asked all of us vampires who wished to partake in this little ceremony to come stand in a circle and hold hands. My whole family came together and we held hands. Rogue stood in the middle of our circle. She put her palms together in an almost prayer like position and then lifted her hands just like that toward the sky. She closed her eyes and suddenly she began to glow. Brighter than we’ve ever seen her glow before; she was glowing this very yellow gold color. All of a sudden we felt this glow envelope us all. I could hear a cell phone going off in the distance but no one was reaching for it. Everyone just sat their transfixed at the glowing orb of light that surrounded the Cullen clan.
It felt like you were being showered with sparkles. That’s what it felt and looked like. I sort of understood now what she had done with the glass of wine because she was doing the same to us now. We were her glasses of wine. She was changing us, some part of our vampire DNA to allow for us to be more human even if in this small part. I know that a few people within our circle were thinking the same because I saw more than one person with tears glistening in their eyes. Than the glow disappeared and we were able to see each other and Rogue fully again. We were all given a piece of garlic bread to test if whatever mojo she put into us was working. I remember smelling the garlic bread and it smelled divine. I was the first to bite into it and what do you know, it tasted delicious. The others followed suit and closed their eyes as if they had died and gone to heaven.
Food tasted like food! It didn’t taste nasty and disgusting anymore! Now if I felt like having an apple just to enjoy the taste of it, I could! The wonders never cease when it comes to the Watchers. Finally we all became aware of the incessant ringing of a cellphone which turned out to be Rogue’s. The ringtone she had for it was Guns N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. Apparently she loved Slash’s guitar riff at the beginning so that’s what was repeating itself over and over again. She frowned as she picked it up and looked at the number. Her eyes looked very serious and concentrating as she stepped away to answer the call.
According to Edward, he couldn’t read her mind as she had blocked him off. So something was up. But we couldn’t focus on that because we were all too busy tasting everything at the table and each time a new flavor hit, our taste buds would sing with joy. It was quite an adventure. Everyone was enjoying themselves and/or laughing at our reactions except for Amy and Corin. They were fully concentrating on Rogue. I guess that’s what happens when you are second and third in command of a powerful leader. If something seems off, no matter how happy and jubilant the surroundings are, you are always on alert. It’s not even that she said or did something that got their attention; it was just that they were so used to it that it was like second nature to them. The other Watchers including Alexander paid them no mind. Everyone was used to this. If something was to happen, Rogue would tell them so they just continued to laugh at us the whole time.
When Rogue got off the phone she came back to us. Her face was serious and thoughtful. Everyone stopped talking and looked at her. She sighed, looked at me, and said:
“I think it’s a good thing that I did this with you guys now because you are going to need that whole bottle of wine as soon as I’m done telling you what’s doing, Carlisle.” Before I could ask what she meant by that she continued:
“That was Scott Kramer. Remember him? The FBI agent I worked with? Well he just called because Ashley has been extradited back here to stand trial for her crimes here. She’s already gone to trial in both Oregon and California. Well they weren’t trials because she pleaded guilty for a lesser sentence. Oregon gave her 5-10 years, California 25 to life with the possibility of parole, and here the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty. Both states agreed to let her come here for the final trial. The absolute minimum that she can get here is life without the possibility of parole and that’s what her defense attorney wants. But the prosecutor isn’t buying the plea bargain. They aren’t offering her anything. Reason I’m telling you all this, is because the prosecutor wants you to testify against her. He will be calling on Charlotte, Betsy, Bill Connolly, Melanie, Carol, and Shandy from the hospital as well. Scott wants me to take the stand just to put that last nail in her coffin so to speak.”
As I listened to her explain the whole litany of legal lingo, I can’t say I was surprised. I knew sooner or later this was going to happen. And she was absolutely right; I will need that bottle of wine which Edward handed me without hesitation. Everyone was frowning now. It never ceases to amaze me how one phone call or one thought can make such a wonderful evening go from pleasant to unpleasant in the matter of seconds. I poured myself the glass and sat there staring into the distance and remembering again all that nastiness as it happened. I knew I would have to give Rogue an answer soon enough. I didn’t want to be subpoenaed by the prosecutor.
But for now I just stared at the growing twilight, lost in thought, and sipped the exquisite red South African wine.
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