The Basement Files

IC Time: June 4th sometime
Location: Overheard from the Cullen Basement
Synopsis: Bella does laundry and she overhears a conversation between Esme and Vincent about the thieves and werewolves!
Submitted by: Bella

Vincent hesitates a little, but takes her arm. He is silent as she mentions that nothing valuable has been taken, and doesn't speak again until he's seated. "Well…ah…" He trails off, uncertainly. After a moment, he clears his throat, "Okay, well. This is very important, Esme. Some very strange things have been going on in the church. I need to talk to someone…reliable." Of course, by reliable he would mean someone who isn't possibly a figment of his imagination. "I…Your name came up on a list. And I have reason to believe…" He hesitates again, his face brightening slightly with a feverish blush of embarrassment. "I…Esme, are you a werewolf?" he blurts, unhappily.

Esme is aware of the disappearance of valuable objects, though nothing in the Cullen house has gone missing, not yet, at any rate. Esme settles herself on the couch, the cushions shifting slightly beneath her as she moves, otherwise, she is very quiet, making no sound at all. Though upon his question she nearly laughs, but manages to stifle it. "A werewolf, Father Vincent? Who is filling your head with such absurdities?" she questions, this she really wants to know the answer to, so she can have a good sit down with them later.

The color drains from Vincent's face as she answers, and for a moment he looks very much like he might be sick. It passes, as quickly as it had come, but he remains pale and a bit shaken. He doesn't answer her question, however, his voice becoming a bit more strained as he asks, "Then do you know of anyone who is a werewolf? Are you aware that they exist? I…do you have /any/ idea of what I'm talking about? I have it on good authority that the people on this list are either werewolves, or friends of werewolves, and…" He trails off when he starts to sound slightly desperate, trying to get control over himself. "I just need to know," he finishes, weakly. "From someone reliable."
"Breathe, Father," Esme's words, although gentle, are firm and authoritative. "I need to know who you were talking to, who told you," she requests. She knows, but she won't say a word until she knows /who/ told him. "I know I'm not answering your question, and I intend to, as soon as I know who thought to fill your head with these notions."

Vincent is breathing. He's breathing more than enough, in fact, but he very purposefully slows himself down. Nothing would be more embarrassing than to hyperventilate in the living room of a respected member of the community. Or you know…Esme's living room, anyhow. "I can't tell you that," he replies, with a humorless burst of laughter. "I…Esme, I need to know if you know of the things I'm talking about. Because I was witness to…to something very unbelievable. And it's either real, and you know it, or my next stop is the hospital. If it isn't real, I'm not in any fit state to be leading a church…"

Esme sighs, again. "Father, I'm sorry, but I just can't answer your question without knowing who told you of all this," she notes, resting her cold hands in her lap, shaking her head a little as she speaks. "If you can simply answer that question, or give a hint, maybe I can answer your question…"

Vincent sighs a little, and shakes his head. "Esme, you don't understand. It's a matter of priest-penitent privilege," he explains, with an apologetic expression. "I /can't/ tell you who it was, on the off-chance that she actually exists…" He trails off, uncertainly, and finally says, "I can tell you what I experienced, if it helps. And then you can either confirm that it's true, or you can accompany me to the hospital…" He hesitates, but then continues in a rush, before he can loose his nerve, "One moment, this person was speaking to me, and there was a sound, like…sucking wind. And in the next moment, a large…dog. Wolf. Something was touching my hand. It was the biggest such creature I can imagine. I just can't believe that such a large canine exists, and even if it did, would it casually nuzzle my hand, as tame as you like?" he asks, his hand twitching slightly in memory.

Esme nods. "I do understand, Father, perhaps more than you would think," though the last bit is said far too quietly for Vincent to hear. She does, however, listen to what he has to say before the woman sighs and gets to her feet, pacing lightly towards the window-wall, where she stops and looks out, hands clasped behind her back. "It would," she responds to her question after a few moments, realizing that it was a true werewolf who told him this. "But I would highly recommend that everything you've said to me not leave this house."

"Esme do you have any more washing powder?" Comes the chiming voice of Bella from somewhere in the house. "I seem to have run out down here." It seems Bella's own penence for ripping up the washing is to do loads of them for the next week or however long Esme allows her. Esme would recognize the voice from the basement, off the kitchen. It is only then that Bella notices the guest in the house and she suddenly goes quiet and a door slams.

A cautious but almost over-whelming look of relief floods Vincent's face. "Esme," he says slowly, "I had absolutely no intention of spreading this around town, either way. Just…I don't trust myself right now. Are you confirming that what I experienced was…" And suddenly, a voice sounds, causing an exagerrated startle response in the priest. His nerves are just not what they should be right now. When the door slams, leaving a gaping quiet, he has to take a moment to catch his breath. "Ah…I…I didn't mean to inturrupt anything…"

Esme's eyes fly wide open as she hear's Bella's voice. "Give me a moment, Father," she requests before she speeds out of the room, thankful that the priest can't see her. "Bella," she whispers from outside the basement door. "There's more under the sink, in the cupboard, down there. Please, stay here, lock the door if you have to. Just remember, don't breathe," she gives in a blur of words before she speeds back up the stairs, having heard every word of Vincent's. "What you speak is true, but I'm not at liberty to say anything beyond that, it's not my secret to tell," she gives, saying nothing more on Bella's appearance.

Bella is already far away from the door when Esme comes down to check on her. "I am alright…" She whispers though Esme would be able to hear her. There is no sound of movement for a time before she holds her breath and tries to focus on the task at hand. The smells of washing powder to overpower everything else should she takes a breath.

Vincent doesn't understand what that was all about, his brow furrowing in confusion. He senses that there is something going on just beyond his perception, but no matter how hard he strains his ears, he just can't quite hear…. It must be his imagination. By the time that Esme returns, he is frowning with confusion. "Hm? Oh well, you don't need to worry about that. I've had it all explained to me. I suppose it makes sense to go after the human friends of werewolves. It'd be awfully difficult to hurt them directly." He's just relieved that he's not crazy, that's all.

Esme heard Bella's words before she departed the area, nodding. "That's a girl, Bella, tell me if you need anything, Sweetie. A shirt of Edward's, anything," she gives, gently, all too quiet for Vincent's ears. "If only you knew, Father…" she mumbles, rather quietly, but not as much as when she spoke to Bella. "Don't you worry about us Cullen's, Father, we're a very self-sufficient, resiliant little family," she states.

That little reminder does have Bella searching through the laundry, not content until she is wearing one of his shirts. Surrounding herself in the most distracting scent she can think of. "I got one…" She calls out to Esme, perhaps just on the edge of Vincent's hearing. Little reasurence, her voice sounds…mostly steady as she immerses herself in the smells of the family and detergents, anything to keep her mind off of tasty human above her head.

Vincent smiles vaguely, and shakes his head. "I know you are. And I'm sure that you have admirable protectors. I think I might have to have a talk with mine, though," he says, with weary amusement, still tense from his earlier emotions, but slowly managing to settle down. "The lady who drove me is quite curious about the woman who was perched on the church roof for half a day yesterday."

Esme offers a light laugh as she hears Vincent's words, though she acknowledges Bella first with a whispered, 'Good girl, Bella, I'm so proud of you'. "I wouldn't worry about it, Father Vincent. Things in Forks, as you've seen, are a little more complicated than they seem," she gives. "Just let those who are aware of everything sort it all out."

After some time the door of the basement opens, just a crack. Yes Bella is testing herself in increments. The sounds of her moving around the basement continue though, powder being poured, the washing machine being turned on. Clothes being sorted. Some things Vincent would hear, somethings only Esme would.

Vincent nods a little, uncertainly. "I'm…sure. But it's rather difficult, isn't it? I mean, I'm kind of caught up in it whether I like it or not, aren't I? They're using the /church/ dumpster as a dropping point," he says, turning his troubled mind to the situation, now that he's reassured himself that he hasn't lost his mind. "Not to mention that they threatened me in my own church. How am I supposed to not worry about that? What if someone innocent gets hurt in all of this?" Because Vincent isn't an innocent caught in the middle, apparently. Ahem. "Do you think I should close the church until this is settled? I'm sure that I could come up with a believable reason…"
Esme smiles as she hears Bella moving around. A few whispered words of reassurance are sent her daughter's way, though her eyes remain on the priest. "I know, Father Vincent," she gives with a faint nod of her head. "I've heard of this. Don't close the church, I'm sure that someone is keeping an eye on the church and it's denizens," and if there isn't yet, someone will be soon.

There is a creak of the door opening wider before Bella goes back to her basement chores. Her quiet movements barely registering on the floor above. Occasionally though the words she hears cause her to pause and listen, tempting her upstairs, but she restrains herself for now.

Vincent gives a tense smile. "Are you sure? I mean…I know that someone is watching, but it seems to be tempting fate a bit to have people coming and going. Perhaps I'll just close the church outside of services. People sometimes come to the church at very odd hours, looking for…you know. Help, usually. But it's not going to be very helpful if they walk in on someone poking around in there, is it?"

Esme offers Bella more quiet words of assurance before she can only shrug at Vincent's. "If it's what you think is best, Father, than do what you need to, but I'm sure that there's someone keeping an eye on the church," or on the whole town. "Try not to think on it too much, I know it's hard, but it'll work out."

Vincent nods a little, uncertainly. But then he takes a careful breath, letting it out slowly. "Okay. Well, if you think so. I'm sure you know a lot more about this than I do." He gives a troubled half-smile. "I hope this isn't what it's /usually/ like. I can't imagine being this worried all the time." And he starts to stand, his cane still in hand, but just a little disoriented. "But I should really be going. My friend is still out there, and I shouldn't keep her waiting too long."

Esme takes heavy (for her) steps back towards Vincent, should he need any help out of the living room. "Honestly, Father, if I were you, I'd forget the whole thing. Ignorance really is bliss," she points out in her typical, melodica voice. "This is a peaceful town, even if it may not seem so."

Vincent smiles faintly, "If you say so," he replies, shaking his head. "But suddenly, a lot of very confusing things make sense." He accepts her help, taking her arm to be led back to the door. Being unfamiliar with the house, it just seems safest that way. "I'll take your word for it and leave it to you. I guess the only thing it really changes is that I know about it," he comments, with a sigh. "Thank you, Esme, for your patience…"

Esme opens the door once they reach the entrance and nods. "I know, things seem very odd right now, Father. Just keep a few things in mind. Not everything is what it seems, and those who should be the bad guys are sometimes the good guys," she gives, her words are intentionally cryptic, of course.

Vincent considers this for a moment, uncertainly. "I…suppose. I'll keep that in mind…" he replies, confused. Maybe someday her words will make sense. But once they reach the doorway, Vincent is able to find his own way back to the idlign care. "take care of yourself, Esme," he offers, quietly. "I hope to see you and your husband in church, sometime soon. And whichever one of the kids that was down in the laundry room," he offers, as he carefully makes his way back to the car.

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