Noelle jumped out of bed and ran to the window. “It is not snowing,” she cried. How was she going to be able to make her wish if it didn’t snow? After getting dressed, she went to the kitchen to find her mommy and Alice drinking the yucky coffee.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” Bella called out.
“Morning,” Noelle whispered.
“What is wrong?” Bella asked worriedly.
“It is not snowing.”
“Oh. The weatherman said it might start around lunch,” Bella divulged.
Noelle smiled but decided not to get her hopes up until she saw it. After breakfast, her mommy got dressed in her work suit.
“I won’t be long, but you and Alice go have fun shopping with Jasper,” Bella said hugging Noelle tight.
“I will. I love you.”
“I love you more,” Bella urged.
Bella headed out the door, passing by a man that was going into Dr. Cullen’s apartment. She only saw the back of his head and he had unique colored hair which reminded her of Edward. Shaking her head, knowing that she was just imagining things, she hopped onto the elevator. Peter helped her hail a cab and she was off to work. She was nervous but excited about her new job. She only hoped that she wouldn’t have to put up with Men Only Club. Studying and working hard, she had proven that she knew her job and knew it well. Paying the cabbie, she got out, took a deep breath, and walked in.
Alice was floating on a cloud. Her evening with Jasper had been beyond perfect. She never thought she would ever meet a guy that would make her feel safe, however, that was what Jasper did the entire evening. It was easy losing track of how far they walked, because one minute they started down the block and the next minute they were in the elevator, three hours later. Never had she talked so openly to any man and Jasper was open about his life, past, and future. He held her hand during the entire walk, opened doors, and when they got to her door when they returned, he didn’t try to kiss her. Instead, he kissed her hand and told her that his heart was finally content.
“Aunt Alice,” Noelle said pulling at Alice’s hand. “Are you okay?” She didn’t know why Alice had this goofy smile on her face. It was similar to Uncle Emmett’s face when he let a stinky fart and denied he had let it.
“I am great. Are you ready to do some shopping?”
“Yes. Did you count how much cuss money I have?” Noelle asked.
“Your Mommy has a potty mouth,” Alice giggled. “You have one thousand, two hundred and fifty-five dollars.”
“WOW!!” Noelle exclaimed.
“I know, right. But I also have something special to share,” Alice began.
“Jasper was so impressed that you wanted to use your money to buy gifts for sick children, that he is going to match your money. So you will be able to buy double the gifts.”
“WOW!!” Noelle yelled again.
“If it is okay with you, he would like to drive us to the store,” Alice suggested.
“Sure. He talks funny, but he is nice.”
Alice chuckled. He did talk funny, but his accent was part of his charm. “I am going to shoot him a text and let him know.”
Alice texted Jasper, who responded immediately. Five minutes later he was at the door and escorted the ladies downstairs. They waited with Peter, while Jasper went to get his vehicle. Ten minutes later, a massive black, four-door Dodge pickup, with an extended bed with a matching cover, pulled up to the door. He jumped down from the driver’s seat and ran up to Alice and Noelle.
“Come on ladies, let’s go shopping.”
“Mr. Jasper that is a big truck,” Noelle gasped.
Alice’s eyes grew large. Noelle was right it was a big truck. “How are we going to get up in that?”
“Like this,” Jasper said taking out his remote and pushing a button. Suddenly a set of running boards appeared from beneath the truck.
“That is so cool,” Noelle declared.
They walked over to the truck and Jasper opened the back door and inside was a brand new child seat. Alice was stunned. “When did you do this?”
He looks down at Alice with warm caring eyes. “Early this morning. Miss Noelle’s safety is now my priority as well.”
At that moment, Alice’s heart surrendered to Jasper. This man had touched her unlike any other man had in her entire life. She knew that she was safe with him and he would never allow anyone to harm her. Reaching up she placed her arms around his neck and placed a kiss upon his lips. The warmth radiated throughout her body to her soul.
Jasper was shocked at first by Alice’s kiss, but he quickly deepened the kiss, pouring all his feelings into it. If he had any doubts they melted away with this kiss. Alice Brandon was his missing piece.
“Are you done sucking face?” Noelle giggled.
They pulled away and smiled. Jasper whispered in Alice’s ear. “We will continue this later without prying little eyes.”
Jasper opened the front door for Alice and helped her up. Even though the truck had running boards, she could get her short legs into the door. He knew where he was going to take them and that was FAO Schwarz. Making his way around the busy streets he turned onto 5th avenue. Pulling into the Icon Parking Garage, he stopped the vehicle.
“We will walk from here,” he told Alice and Noelle. He handed the attendant the keys and a hundred dollar bill with a wink. He rounded the truck and opened the door for Alice then took Noelle out of her seat. They walked the few blocks to the store.
Noelle stood outside the store with her mouth open and her eyes just as large. She had never seen anything like it.
“It is magical,” an older woman said to Noelle.
Noelle turned towards the voice and was welcomed by a warm smile. The lady had reddish-brown hair with streaks of grey and her eyes were the same color as hers. As her mother called them “green crystal”. “It is. My name is Noelle.”
“Hello Noelle, my name Esme,” the lady said.
“Esme? I’ve heard that name before.”
“It is short for Esmeralda. I love your name. It is very pretty,” Esme said. The little girl was stunning, but she couldn’t get over the fact that she looked familiar.
“I was born on Christmas day and my mother thought I was her very special gift. I am going to be five,” Noelle explained holding up five fingers.
“Noelle, who is your friend?” Alice asked as she walked up beside her. She had been watching, but the lady seemed to be having a good time speaking to her.
“This is Ms. Esme. She thinks this place is magical and so do I,” Noelle exclaimed.
“Hello, Ms. Esme. I am Alice and this Jasper,” Alice said.
“Are you Noelle’s parents?” Esme asked, not seeing any features similar to Noelle.
“No. I am her nanny and this is our friend,” Alice explained.
“Oh. Are you visiting New York?” Esme questioned.
“No. We have moved to New York for Noelle’s mother’s job. They just arrived a few days ago, but we are on a mission today,” Alice said.
“Mission?” Esme asked.
“Miss Noelle is using her cuss jar savings to buy presents,” Alice began.
“No, she is buying gifts for the children in the hospital at New York-Presbyterian,” Alice answered with a proud smile.
Esme was shocked. This little five-year-old was spending her savings to buy gifts for sick children. Then she remembered the type of jar, cuss. “Cuss?”
Alice giggled. “Her mother has a bad habit of cussing.”
Esme laughed. “My son does as well.”
“Oh. Does your son live in New York?”
“Oh yes, all his life. He is a doctor at New York-Presbyterian,” Esme proudly said.
“What is his name?” Jasper asked. He had been quietly allowing the ladies to talk, but hearing that Esme’s son was a doctor, his curiosity was piqued.
“Dr. Edward Cullen,” Esme answered with a smile.
“Mrs. Cullen, I am your son’s friend, Jasper Whitlock.”
“Oh my stars, I didn’t catch it when Alice introduced you. It is a pleasure to finally meet you,” Esme said as she stepped up and wrapped her arms around him and gave him a warm hug.
Jasper was taken back by the hug. Ed had told him how his parents were all about their station in the city, but this woman was nothing like that.
“Aunt Alice, can we go shopping please?” Noelle asked tugging on Alice’s hand.
“Noelle, remember your manners,” Alice instructed.
Noelle’s bottom lip came out. “Sorry.”
Esme came back over and patted her on the head. “I am sorry to delay your shopping trip, however, I wonder if I might join you?”
“You have a grandchild?” Alice asked.
“No. Edward is our only son and he is pining away for a lost love,” Esme murmured. He had not been the same since his vacation from St. Barts. When he returned he was sad and depressed and was wearing a woman’s delicate swan necklace. A few years back, the chain broke and she convinced him to encase the swan in a protective shell. He carried it with him every day.
Jasper knew that Edward wasn’t happy, he could sense it, but it didn’t know it was because of a woman. Next time he saw him alone, he would talk to him.
“I would like to help with your gifts for the children,” Esme told Noelle.
“Yeah!!” She screamed grasping Esme’s hand and headed towards the door. Alice and Jasper followed behind them smiling.
They began their shopping. Emmett had sent them a list of names and ages. Soon they were having a grand time. Esme had commanded to see the manager. Once he saw who it was, they were given three staff members to assist in their adventure. When they were ready to check out, Noelle’s mouth fell open by the total. Alice handed the clerk Noelle’s cash, Jasper handed her his credit card for the matching total, then Esme handed her credit card for the remainder plus the cost of wrapping each gift.
“It will take us several hours to wrap all the gifts,” the manager instructed.
“Can you call us when they are ready for pick up,” Jasper asked. “We would like to pick them up tomorrow since we want to deliver them to the hospital.”
“Of course, Sir.”
Walking out of the shop, Esme turned to Noelle. “Thank you for giving me the joy of helping you today.”
“I liked it. But would you like to go with us when we give them out?” Noelle asked.
“Really?” Esme squeaked.
“Yes,” Noelle said with a bright smile.
Esme gasped at that moment. It had been bugging her all-day that there was something familiar about this precious little girl, but when Noelle smiled up at her with those green eyes, she looked just like her son. It couldn’t be. “Excuse me, but I didn’t get your last name.”
“Swan, like the big white bird,” Noelle explained.
Esme couldn’t believe it, there was no way this child was Edward’s. However, not only did she look just like him, but her last name was Swan, like the swan necklace that he carried with him for his lost love from St. Barts. She needed to talk to Carlisle. Reaching into her purse she pulled out a card and wrote her number down and handed it to Alice. “I look forward to your call.”
Esme looked at Noelle with a smile and suddenly Noelle wrapped her arms around her waist. “Goodbye, Ms. Esme.”
Esme stifled back her tears and wrapped her arms around Noelle. “Goodbye, Noelle. Alice, Jasper take care of this little angel.”
At that moment Alice suddenly recognized how much Noelle resembled Esme. Strange. However, it was very touching how she hugged Noelle. “Ms. Esme, would you like me to take a picture of the two of you?”
Esme gasped. “Oh, would you? I would love that.” She reached in her purse and retrieved her phone and handed it to Alice.
“Smile,” Alice said as she took the picture. Looking at the screen it was even more startling how much they looked alike. It couldn’t be, however, she had heard of people with stranger look-alikes. “Would you send me a copy of the picture?”
“Of course,” Esme said taking her phone. After getting Alice’s number, she texted her the photo. “Please don’t forget to call me.”
“We won’t,” Jasper proclaimed.
Esme began to walk away, but hesitated after a few steps, to take one last look at Noelle. In her heart, she hoped that by some miracle of fate, that she was her granddaughter.
Jasper took Alice and Noelle out to lunch. After lunch, they went on a carriage ride around Central Park. Noelle was so excited at all the sights, that she hardly stayed seated. Alice had to put her foot down and make her stay seated while the carriage was moving. When Noelle finally calmed down, the rocking motion of the ride rocked her to sleep. At the end of the ride, Jasper carried her back to the truck and carefully placed her in the car seat and secured the safety latch. Noelle didn’t wake up, even when they arrived back to the apartment or when they placed her in her bed.
Bella thought she was only coming in to get her keys, identification, and fill out her tax forms, however, she was stuck in the office of the President and CEO Doctor Marcus Volturi. He looked like he was in his mid-fifties, tall, long angular face, and the strangest gray eyes.
“Doctor Swan, we are very excited to have you as a part of the NYPH family. Doctor Ness did his job well, but we are looking forward to seeing what new ideas you have for the department.”
“Thank you. I am excited to make a difference in the lives of your smallest patients,” Bella proclaimed. “I was planning to initially observe the staff in order to assess the strengths of each one of the team members. Depending on those observations, there may be some required reassignment of personnel into other positions to ensure the most productive outcome in patient care. I’m aware that initially these reassignments may be met with some opposition, however, you hired me to lead and to improve the efficiency of the operations of the Neurology Department.”
“Yes, that is why I hired you,” Marcus said with a smile. Several of the other doctors who had heard he had hired a young woman to be the department head, grumbled that no woman would know how to do the job. However, she already had friends at the hospital and they would be supportive. “How is your daughter enjoying the city?”
“She loves it,” Bella said with a smile. “Noelle is excited to see snow for the first time. She asks everyone she meets when is it going to snow.”
Marcus chuckled. “I was born and raised in New Mexico, so I didn’t see snow until I came to New York for college.”
Suddenly the phone on Marcus’s desk began to ring. “Excuse me,” Marcus said and answered the call. Marcus was informed that Bree Tanner was being medi-vacked to the hospital with life-threatening seizures. He had met Bree and her parents three years ago when he was making rounds with Dr. Cullen. She was a lovely five-year-old with dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes, however, her tiny body was being attacked by multiple sclerosis. Bree had become important to Dr. Cullen and himself. After ending the phone call, he concluded his meeting with Dr. Swan, however, Bella stopped him. She knew she wasn’t technically to begin working until the first of the year, but the apparent urgency of the child in question left her with the desire to offer any assistance she might be able to provide.
“Dr. Volturi,” Bella called out.
“I would love to review Bree’s chart and possibly provide an assessment,” Bella requested.
Marcus was shocked at first, but relieved that this young woman was the real deal. Many candidates had a tendency to provide the desired answers during the interview process to get hired, but Dr. Swan had been upfront and honest. “I would love your assistance.”
“Wonderful. Let me call my nanny and explain to her that I will be a little late,” Bella stated.
“Certainly,” Marcus replied and stepped away.
Bella called Alice and explained what was going on. She said that Noelle was taking her nap after a morning full of shopping. Bella thanked her and told her she would keep her up to date.
“I am all set, other than a lab coat,” Bella announced.
“Come with me, your coats should be in your office closet,” Marcus explained.
“Oh, I didn’t realize I had an office to myself.”
“Yes, it is next door to Dr. Cullen, who is the Pediatric Surgery head. You will like him, his work ethic is much like yours. I really think you will make a great team,” Marcus remarked. “Come let me show you and then I will introduce you to Bree.”
When Noelle woke from her nap, she had been having a wonderful dream that it was snowing and she got to make her wish. Swinging her little legs over the bed, jumping down to the floor, she took off to find her mommy and to look out the window. Getting to the living room she didn’t see her mommy, however, Alice was sitting by the fire. Looking out the large window she saw what she had been waiting for, SNOW! Running to the window, she placed her hands onto the glass and stared at the tiny white flakes falling from the sky.
Alice had heard Noelle walking into the room, but was waiting for her to see what was happening outside. Getting up she walked up behind her and got down on her knees so she was eye level with Noelle. “What do you think?”
“Oh, Auntie Alice it is so pretty,” Noelle sighed. “Can we go outside?”
“In a little bit,” Alice answered. “Jasper will be back in a while and your mommy is busy at the hospital helping a sick little girl.”
“Rats, she is missing the snow,” Noelle grumbled.
“Honey, it will still be around when she leaves the hospital,” Alice explained. “Would you like a snack before we go outside?”
“YES!!” Noelle yelled. “Can I have some fruit and hot chocolate?”
As they were finishing their snacks, Jasper had returned. He had checked in with his office and made sure that everyone had tied up any loose ends and were ready to close until January third. It was time for his hard-working employees to spend time with their families. He didn’t have any living family, his parents had died when he was just thirteen and he had been placed in a foster home until he reached eighteen. He had worked two jobs to pay his way through college. He started JW Security with one client, however, one became ten, ten became a hundred, and soon he was the leading company for cybersecurity. He always spent the holidays alone, but this year he was looking forward to spending it with Alice and her friends.
“Hello, ladies,” he sang.
“JASPER, IT IS SNOWING!” Noelle screamed.
“I know sweetie. Would you ladies like to go play in it?” Jasper asked.
“YEAH!” Noelle yelled jumping up and down.
Noelle was bundled up with her new snow boots, puffy jacket, scarf, hat, and matching gloves. Her eyes were sparkling with excitement. They made their way outside and Noelle just stood and looked up to the falling snow.
“Let’s go to the park,” Jasper urged. He knew it would be a great spot for Noelle to enjoy her first snow. Jasper and Alice kept a tight grip on Noelle’s hands while walking carefully on the snow-covered sidewalk until they reached the park.
“Go have fun, but keep us in sight,” Alice instructed as they released their grips on her hands.
“Okay,” Noelle chirped, then turned and took off running. She loved the feel of the snow on her face. It was so magical and she just knew that this was going to be what it took to have her daddy to become unlost. Running over to the tree that was in the middle of the park, its branches already becoming heavy with snow, she giggled because it reminded her of an ice cream cone. Looking back, she saw that Jasper and Alice were seated on a bench making goo-goo eyes to each other. Standing in front of the tree she took off her glove and held out her palm. As soon as a snowflake fell onto her palm she closed her eyes and began her wish.
“On a magical snowflake, I have only one wish. My wish is that my daddy not to be lost anymore so he can come home to me and mommy. I miss him and so does my mommy; even though she doesn’t say it,” Noelle wished with all her heart.
Edward had been on the other side of the tree when he heard the angelic voice of a child. Stepping closer, he overheard her wish and was overwhelmed by it. What kind of man would leave a child? Walking around the tree he took a look at the child. She was bundled up, but her long reddish-brown hair hung below her hat. She turned her face towards him and looked upon his face. When he saw her he gasped, his heart skipped a beat. It was like a dream come true.