Chapter 8 - A Passing Time

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Lily quickly found herself settling into the school year. School never really changed much. Lily found herself bouncing between her family and her new human friends between classes. She was significantly closer to her Biology friends than any other classmates. It was a nice change of pace. It was refreshing to have some genuine friends outside of her family. She grew more frustrated with her family's need to maintain distance from others. She did her best to work around these restrictions and spend time with them outside of school, but that always presented challenges. After some convincing and a little bit of charm, she won Carlisle over. He was usually easier to win over since he really did try his best to make sure his wards were happy. He knew this was important for her development. He shouldn't be trying to limit her. He now offered to occasionally pick her up after work when he had appropriate shifts. This allowed her to go to the movies, the occasional basketball game, or a random hang out at someone's house. Lily was relishing in the new freedom.

The more time she spent outside of her family, the easier it was for her friends to notice slight differences between her and her supposed family. For instance, her friends were slightly confused as to why she called her parents 'mom' or 'dad' while most of her siblings referred to them by their first name. She tried her best to avoid answering their questions. She felt uncomfortable answering any questions without consulting her family. She was afraid of creating contradicting statements. She knew there was no way she could tell them the truth. The truth was she was the only kid who had been there since she was a child. Eventually, she said she had been the youngest to move in and that she never had a great relationship with her biological parents. She offered no elaboration and no one asked. Family issues were always hard. Everyone already knew the children had all supposedly joined at different times.

Lily was excited to celebrate her fourteenth birthday fairly early in the school year. She was excited about where her life was headed. She liked her new freedoms and her new connections. Of course, the family still came first but she didn't have to blindly follow them anymore. She had two separate parties, one with her family and another small one with Becca, Micheal, and Amber. She always treasured the gift her family gave her. She didn't think she was materialistic, but gifts were always small reminders of their care. It was still relatively new to her. She never expected the Cullens to give her anything, but that was never the case. It made her sad for her younger self that thought the lack of attention was normal. Knowing how difficult this time always was for her, her parents always made a point to have at least one of her presents involve the Cullen crest in some manner as if to reaffirm her place with them. They never wanted Lily to doubt her place in the family. They knew they couldn't prevent it from happening completely, but that gift always seemed to make the girl the happiest. Lily needed reassurance more than she realized.

While the rumors and gossip surrounding them continued, Lily found it easier to ignore as the year progressed. Emmett was right, you do get used to the increased attention. Lily came to accept that outsiders could never understand her family's dynamic and would never stop trying. They were a family, but at the same time, they had all lived lives outside of each other, all except Lily, who honestly had a hard time remembering any of her life before the coven took her in. She figured there wasn't much to remember.

Every member had a different relationship with the others. Lily viewed Carlisle and Esme as her parents but others did not. While all the children respected the older members as authority figures, some had strong memories of their families before they were changed, Rosalie and Jasper being two that processed some of the strongest. They tended to view the other members as friends, or a mate when it came to Alice in Jasper's eyes, instead of family. Rosalie never had a good relationship with her family and it tainted the entire concept for her. Her family had no problem using her for their own gain. She could not trust family, but she could trust her friends. Jasper, on the other hand, had fond memories of his family before the war. Sure, they were a little too eager when he wanted to join and he suffered the price, but they were unaware of what would happen to him. It felt wrong to replace them. A deeper part of him did not believe he deserved a family again.

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