When we had left Volterra, I had felt as if perhaps, I could deal with what had happened to Carlisle. I was certain I would be able to face coming home without him in the house. However, when we got home, it was quite like there was a hole in my chest that wasn’t ready to close up. I had found that try as I may, I couldn’t get over the fact that my father wouldn’t be coming home from work at a certain hour. He wouldn’t be sitting in his office, working late into the night. Nor would he be there to ask for advice. No, instead there was an empty chair at his office desk. His clothes still hung in the closet space he shared with Esme and every place I turned, there was a reminder of where Carlisle should have been.
So, when I by chance found myself completely alone, I pulled out my photograph albums and began to sort through them. I had of course taken loads of pictures throughout the past sixty years I had been part of the Cullen Family. There were pictures of all of us in the 40s on up. Some of them were fun, some were solemn memories. Others were goofy. Like the baseball games we sometimes attended. I was so absorbed in the pictures that I didn’t notice when Baby Elizabeth crawled over my pile of pictures.
I laughed when she gurgled and picked her up. She tugged on my short hair. Then traced my necklace with the Cullen Crest and reached out for Bella whom had walked into the room. Most likely looking for little Elizabeth.
“I’m sorry she disturbed you.” Bella said softly taking the baby out of my arms. I smiled at my new sister in law.
“Elizabeth never bothers me.” I said picking up a photo of Carlisle and myself, right after I had finally meant him.
“Alice, I’m really sorry about what happened to Carlisle. I mean, I know I wasn’t as close to him as the rest of you were. But I’m really going to miss him too.”
“Of course you are Bella.” I said still staring at the photo.
“Do you want me to leave you alone?” Bella asked gently.
“No.” I said, and in truth I didn’t want to be alone. When I was with someone, it made it less likely that I would think about Carlisle. I wondered briefly if Esme felt the same way. Or if maybe she wanted to be left alone to deal with her grief. “It’s easier when someone else is nearby. Especially, you.” I said trying to smile.
“Maybe we should. . . I can’t believe I am going to say this, but maybe we should go shopping. Go out and have some fun? It might help. Charlie could watch Elizabeth.” Bella suggested and I couldn’t help but blink and stare at her. Was this the same Bella that I could barely get into a decent outfit let alone take shopping? I laughed.
“If you are actually suggesting we go shopping, than I better take you up on the offer.” I said putting my photos away. Perhaps shopping would help take my mind off things. Besides, Carlisle wouldn’t want me to be so sad. He’d want us to keep living life as we always did. And Bella asking if we could go shopping was a rare thing indeed.
“We can take the Porsche too!” Bella added. “And I know Charlie would love to see you.”
“Sounds good to me!” I said. “Come on, I’m going to dress you and Elizabeth up before we go! Have a perfect makeover for the outing.” I giggled.