Chapter 4 - A New Beginning

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And so, the next stage of the Cullens' life began. To say that the adjustment was easy would not be truthful. In reality, there was a learning curve for all those involved.

After the excitement of their hunting trip on Saturday, the family was at a loss of what to do the following Monday. Even though Jasper was able to obtain forged documents for their newest addition, they thought it was too early to announce her arrival. For starters, they did not know if her disappearance would spark any sort of investigation.

It was still unknown if anyone had discovered her parents. It was too risky to return to see what happened to them. They found it odd that they had heard no news in regards to the missing vacationers. It wasn't a rare occurrence in this part of the country, but it still always managed to make the news. They had been able to gather from the girl that they were originally from Oregon, but she was unsure of when they were supposed to return home. She failed to provide any sort of address or unique features that could help them identify where she lived. The Cullens tried their best to allow Lily to tell them about herself within her own time frame, but it was hard. There were so many questions that needed answering. There were too many holes in her story.

Everything was a part of some intense waiting game. They couldn't plan ahead without more information. Alice couldn't see anything since no decisions had been made. The one thing they all agreed on was to not overwhelm Lily. She still tended to panic at certain times. Esme was usually able to calm her down rather quickly, but it made everyone uncomfortable. She had started spending more time with others, mainly Emmett, but she was more relaxed when Esme was still in her line of sight.

As everyone gathered in the early hours of Monday morning, they looked towards their leader, Carlisle, for direction. He looked around at his family, "You must know. This doesn't change anything. We still have to blend in here. It is still too early to move. It will raise too many suspicions if the girl is declared missing."

"What is taking so long anyway. We weren't exactly subtle in our fight." Rosalie stated plainly while sending the look towards Emmett.

"Hey, you were the one who suggested an animal attack! I was just more than happy to oblige." Emmett smirked.

Carlisle shook his head in exhaustion, but also affection. "That's beside the point. You should all get ready for school." Carlisle turned towards Emmett who let out a chuckle, "That includes Rosalie and you as well, you know. You made the decision to take classes and you will attend them."

"Wait. No, that's not fair. I promised Lily I was going to make our handshake today. Don't take that from me. I've been working that angle for..." his voice quiets as Alice struck his arm playfully.

"Emmett, go to class. That handshake wasn't happening today either way." Emmett scuffed at his sister but stopped protesting.

"Esme, you can handle her today right." His wife agreed quickly. He took her hand in gratitude. "Well then, everything appears to be settled."

"Carlisle, she will have to go to school." Edward gave his parental figures a pointed look.

"Yes, of course, we know. We have no intention of depriving her of an education. We will evaluate how much she knows and then enroll her in the next few weeks. Less chance of anything wrong happening then." Esme supplied. Her family nodded in acceptance. No one liked to argue with Esme. To be honest, they had no idea how to place the girl in school. It would be better to evaluate her at home. Esme had a hard time believing she was eleven, but Lily seemed sure. She didn't hesitate when giving a birthday, but she said she couldn't remember what grade she was in. It was just another piece of the puzzle they were trying to solve.

"I am going to head up to the hospital. Have a good day in classes today. Lily should be up fairly soon. Let her know what's happening and we will take it one day at a time." Carlisle did not love the plan, but it was the best they could do.

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