A walk turns into a rescue. A rescue into a life. A life full of discoveries. Carlisle/Esme
Thank you addiction_to_fiction for the betaing job.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 4/5 Word Count 3827 Review this Chapter
The flowers bloom when you are near.
A rose's beauty is nothing compared to you.
Oh, my soul, my love, don't leave me here,
Now that I have discovered you
And the delight that we share together.
The look on Carlisle's face made Edward take a step backwards. He had never seen such a look, it was crazed, panicked. He felt a lump of fear nestle in his stomach.
"I cannot let her die," Carlisle growled.
Edward looked over at the broken woman on the couch. She would have been pretty, had she not been covered in blood or her jaw bone broken in. Her matted hair was a caramel colored and her skin pale from being inside. The smell of her blood assailed his nostrils, making it hard for him to concentrate, but he did not want to leave Carlisle alone with the woman. He might do something she did not want.
"She wants to die," he finally said. "She wouldn't have jumped had she enjoyed living." A cruel comment, Edward knew, but anything to make sure Carlisle did not do something stupid.
"I am required to save anyone who is hurt. It is my oath," the doctor snapped back.
"Then try to save her with medicine. Don't save her like you saved me." With that last bitter retort, Edward left the room.
Carlisle heard the door slam, almost loud enough to break it. He cringed slightly and looked back down at the woman. Her chest was barely rising and falling with her breath. He knew she did not have much time. He also knew that there was absolutely no way that any medicine would save her now.
When he had decided to take a walk that night, he had no idea that something like this would happen. All he wanted to do was clear his head after another argument with Edward, but had happened upon this woman standing on the base of a cliff. She was dressed in a thin nightgown and he could see her shape outlined by the moonlight. Her hair had been free and whipping around her face. It was a stunning picture and had given Carlisle a pause. He had not been sure at first what she was doing there until she lifted her foot. Unused to switching into vampire mode he had not reached her before she jumped. Panic had slammed into him as he jumped down after her, landing on his feet next to her broken body. He could smell the blood coming from her, weak, but still warm and rushing through her veins. He had done the only thing that seemed possible, taken her home.
Now she lay here, limp, on his couch. There was something vaguely famlier about her, but he could not place it. He could have treated her once, but after hundreds of years of treating humans, they easily blended together.
Wait, Esme...that was her name. He remembered her now. It had been ten years since he saw her. How could he forget about the young woman who broke her leg while climbing in a tree? Tree climbing women where rare. It was a highly improper endeavor. She had been brave too, and not shy about him touching her leg. In fact, she had helped him maneuver through the thick skirts she wore. She even had joked that she should wear proper clothing next time she decided to climb a tree. What had happened to this beautiful, cheerful girl to make her want to end her life?
He could smell her blood beginning to wane and cool off and her breathing slow even more. He was thankful that she was passed out and could not feel how much pain she was in. Pain, he felt it, somewhere in the middle of his chest where his useless heart lay. A strange throbbing was building up and he knew if she died that it would forever be there. Nothing would be able to take it away. Was the cure of his pain worth seeing her in it? Would she hate him for not allowing her to end her life now or ever? He did not know, nor did he care. He had to do this.
He reached over and gently brushed the blood soaked hair from her face, debating the safest place the bite her. She groaned slightly when he took her hand and brought it to his lips. Kissing her pulse point gently, he sunk his teeth into her wrist allowing her human blood to coat his tongue. He gagged slightly at the taste, before resting her hand across her chest. Then, picking her up, he took her into his bedroom and laid her on the bed. Her breathing picked up suddenly and she began to shiver a little. He cringed and sat beside her, stroking her hand and whispering comforting words to her. Sometime around midnight he could sense Edward standing in the doorway. The younger man growled and stalked away. The sound of breaking china could be heard and the door slammed again. Carlisle knew he would not see Edward for a few days.
He looked back at the woman in his bed. She was sweating, but that would stop soon. He did not go to work the next day or the day after that. Gradually, she stopped being fitful as the pain lessoned and then stopped completely. Then, at sunset of the third day, her eyes opened.
She stared up at him with confusion. "I-I know you. Dr. Cullen?"
He smiled softly at her. "You remember me."
"I never forgot." She paused and looked down at her body. He had changed her into one of his old shirts which hung to her knees, covering her mostly, yet modestly. "What happened?"
Carlisle shifted, nervous for the first time since he changed Edward. "How much do you remember?"
She laid back, hand coming up to play with one of the buttons on his shirt. "I-I remember jumping."
Carlisle nodded. "I found you."
She blinked. "How long was I asleep?"
She sat up quickly, black eyes wide. "But, I-how can that be. None of my bones were broken. I-"
"Nothing I could have done would save you as you were, Esme. I did what I thought was right. I hope you forgive me for that."
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"I don't understand."
"Why did you jump?"
"I-why would anyone jump, doctor?"
"Call me Carlisle, please. I understand, but what was the last straw?"
She was silent, blinking. "I-I should be crying. I feel like crying. Where are the tears?"
"You don't have any anymore."
"I don't understand."
"No, you tell me what's going on right now." Her voice was bordering on panic.
She jumped to her feet. The speed at which she did it surprised them both and she nearly toppled over. He caught her before she fell holding her as tight as possible.
"I feel sick," she muttered into his chest. "Sick to my stomach."
"I know." He sat her back down on the bed and watched as her eyes began to dart back and forth. "I need you to relax, get dressed and trust me."
"What did you do to me?"
Carlisle sighed and went to his closet, pulling out a pair of his pants. He dug up a belt from somewhere and handed them to her, keeping his back towards the bed where she sat. He could hear her shifting around and dressing, her eyes never leaving the back of his head.
When she stopped moving he turned around. "What do you know about vampires?"
"Y-you mean like Dracula?"
Carlisle rolled his eyes. "Something like that. That book is a load of rubbish."
Esme gave him a strange look. "Right. What does it have to do with anything?"
"I'm a vampire," he said bluntly.
Her mouth opened and closed rapidly. "You are a...are you insane?
Carlisle shook his head. "I could not let you die, Esme. Every instinct in my body screamed against letting you die. Believe me I have never felt like that before...and I'm a doctor. I had to...save you."
"What are you talking about? Are you saying you-?"
"I don't expect you to forgive me I don't even expect you to stay with me. I will teach you what you need to know and we can part ways if you wish." He held out his hand to her. "Come. We are outside of the town. It is safer to live that way. We shouldn't run into any humans."
"Isn't that the whole point?" she squeaked.
"For some, but I will teach you how to live as I do. Whether you accept that or not is your choice."
"You're serious about this?"
Carlisle gave her a long look before taking her hand and pulling her off the bed. He led her into the bathroom where a small mirror hung on the wall. It was rarely used, since Edward and he never used this room. He pushed her forward to look into it and she gasped.
Esme traced the line of her jaw with her fingers and looked closer at the pupils of her eyes. "No," she whispered. She turned around to stare at the man behind her.
Carlisle stood with his hands folded in front of him and his best caring doctor expression. For he did care, he just was not sure how she would react.
"I-I always thought your hands were to cold, even for a doctor."
Whatever he had expected her small attempt at humor was not it. He relaxed slightly and took her hand again. "Come, and let's get you something to eat. It will make you feel better."
She nodded and allowed her to lead him outside. She felt clumsy at first compared to his graceful hunting technique, but she soon picked it up. As the blood of her first deer ran down her throat, she could feel her senses getting stronger and her mind clearing. Soon, she was finished and allowed Carlisle to take her back to his home to clean up.
After she had changed, once again into his clothing, they sat at the kitchen table once again. Esme sat quietly while Carlisle told her about his life. About his father's church, the raids and his changing. His interactions with a vampire group in Italy and finding the boy Edward.
"What you must have seen," Esme breathed. "You lived through some of the greatest times in history."
"Yes," he said wryly. "And attended to the wounded in every war between then and now."
Esme looked thoughtful. "My life hasn't been half as interesting."
He couldn't help but grin. "Ah, but my dear, I have lived at least five times longer then you."
"True. My life...I probably should tell you." She paused to gather her thoughts. "I wanted to move west and become a school teacher, but my parents didn't think it proper for a single woman to live in the wilderness all on her own. My father pressured me into marring the son of one of is collogues. I didn't love him, but I didn't hate him either. I was indifferent. So I married him. I found out that the face he put on in public was not his real face. It was a mask to cover a devil. He abused me and I was never so happy to see a man drafted then I was him. He came back though and once again I was afraid. When I found out I was pregnant that was the last straw. I could not bring a child into that home. So I ran to stay with some friends until my parents got wind of my whereabouts. After that I moved here and taught school. My baby was born a week ago," she smiled slightly before it quickly faded. "He died the night you found me."
"No," she held up her hand to stop him from saying anything more. "God, I wish I could cry."
"Please. I don't want your pity," she whispered.
Carlisle sat back down in his chair and sighed. "What did you want to do?"
Esme shrugged. "I wanted the life I dreamed of. A husband I love and five children."
Esme just shrugged. "I love children...can I still have them?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Oh," she looked back down at her hands. "That makes sense."
Carlisle reached over and covered his hand in hers. "I am sorry."
Esme blinked and looked down at their linked hands. "If I had to be saved, I'm glad it was you who saved me. I never forgot how well you treated me. Any other doctor would have scolded me for being improper, saying I deserved to hurt myself. You did not, you laughed."
"I was...amused, especially when it irked that father of yours that you were not repented for such a deed."
Esme laughed before going somber again, remembering her family and the baby she had lost.
"We must decide where you want to go. If you want you can go stay in the coven in Italy. They'd welcome you."
Esme looked up from the pattern she had been tracing on the kitchen table. "Can't I stay with you?"
Carlisle looked surprised and then pleased. "If you wish. I did not think you would want to be around me though."
"No. I want to. Y-you saved me. Besides I am guaranteed a good home with you and Edward."
"Yes," he squeezed her hand again before getting up. "I am afraid that we do not sleep or I would tell you to get some rest."
"What can we do?" she asked, sounding slightly outraged.
"Run really fast," a droll voice from the doorway said. Edward was standing there with a small smile on his face. "I'm Edward, welcome to the family."
Carlisle starred hard at Edward, trying to figure out if the boy was really as welcoming as he seemed. He could not detect anything and he knew Edward did not have it in him to harm her, even if he thought death was better then her existence. He, however, did not relax, her safety being on the forefront of his mind.
Edward flashed him an insulted look, picking up on his thoughts.
"Hello, Edward," Esme said with a beaming smile. "I'm Esme."
Edward nodded. "I've been in the need for a new mother."
Carlisle had a feeling that was what Esme needed and wanted to hear. He was correct if the beaming smile on her face had anything to say about it.
"All you need is four more children and that husband," Carlisle said with a laugh. "Unfortunately you will have to settle with me for the time being. Edward, I think it is time we moved again. They know us too well and I won't put Esme into the shame of living with a man she's not married to."
"Where are we going?" Esme asked, looking somewhat exited at the prospect of moving somewhere else.
Carlisle shrugged. "I'll find us a place."
"Esme Cullen has a nice ring to it," she said after awhile.
Carlisle found himself smiling again and Edward's eyebrows were lost in his bangs.
"Please," he muttered to the doctor. "Stop."
Esme, Edward and Carlisle moved back to Chicago, much to Edward's annoyance and pain. Esme, pretending to be Edward's sister, comforted the boy as best she could. Luckily, they did not stay long and Carlisle moved them to a smaller town eighty miles outside of Chicago because of the problems both his charges where having with the city. The smell of all the people in the cramped city, forced Carlisle to make more then one drastic move to control the undisciplined Esme. He knew he could not hurt her, but throwing her against the wall made him feel guilty, probably because he knew the husband she ran away with did the same thing. Edward also, was short tempered with the bad memories the city caused. There was also the danger of running into some who had known Edward.
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Once they were settled things went back to normal, Esme spent her time restoring an old antique table that came with the house and more then once Edward had to hit Carlisle over the head for becoming mesmerized by her fingers moving across it.
"You...need to-" Edward would start, but he would never finish his sentence, only shake his head as if Carlisle was a hopeless case.
Carlisle had come to the conclusion early on that he had some kind of infatuation with Esme. After all, she was the only appealing female vampire he had come across in his life time. No other vampire in the Volturi or any other coven had spiked his interest like Esme. Everything about her was perfect. Her laugh, her smile, the way she talked to him, the way she scolded Edward when he back talked. More then once during the day, he had to restrain himself from wrapping his arms around her and holding her to his chest.
He was mulling over these things one night, trying to put a name to the feeling, when Edward shook his head. "I thought you were a doctor," he muttered, getting up from the chair to go to his room.
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"You're supposed to be smart!" he snapped.
Esme looked up from the book she had been writing in. "What was that about?"
"Nothing," he said quickly, frowning in thought. "Nothing at all."
Esme just set her book down. "I need to go hunting. Will you come with me?"
Carlisle nodded and got to his feet. "I could use something to."
So it continued, Edward's cryptic hints and Carlisle's feeling that he was missing something completely. Esme seemed oblivious to all of this and continued on with her life as normally as she could. At times he could see her pause and look sad, as she looked back on her human life. Other then that, she seemed to fall right into the roll of a vampire.
He did not figure out he loved her until he thought he had lost her again. Edward had not said a word about what was going on in her head, but then he usually tuned her out, out of politeness. They both thought she had been coping well, until the night Carlisle told her about the rules.
"So, if I went on a rampage that threatened knowledge of out existence then the Volturi would call someone to kill me?"
Carlisle nodded. "It's happened before. I have done it."
This seemed to interest her and she leaned forward. "How is it done?"
Carlisle gave her a thin smile. "I'd rather not go into detail. It is not a proud time in my life."
"I understand," she said, leaning back and focusing on her book once more.
The next morning Carlisle could not find her. Esme had the habit of excusing herself to go lie in bed, where she would stare at the ceiling in thought until morning. It was something Edward had done too, for the first year of his vampire life, so Carlisle did not question it. When she did not emerge the next morning Edward went to get her.
"CARLISE!" he called, racing out of the room at top speed clutching a piece of paper. "This is bad," was all he said when he handed it to him.
The letter was written in Esme's neat hand and Carlisle felt a lump of dread fill his stomach as he read it.
I want you to know that this is none of your doing. I just can't keep living like this anymore. I thought living with you and Edward would help dull the ache of loosing my dreams, but I found it just made it harder. Seeing my dream so close to me, yet knowing it could never be is a lot more painful then loosing it. I love you, very much, even if you don't return it.
He starred at the note in shock, particularly the "I love you very much," part of it. "She-what?" He shook his head. "But, how could she not think that I didn't-"
"You didn't even know until now," Edward snapped.
Carlisle quickly pushed all thoughts of it out of his head. "I have to go get her."
"Yeah, Romeo, I think you do."
He shot Edward an irritated look instructing him to stay at the house while he went to find the tortured young woman of his dreams.
"Finally," Edward muttered.
Carlisle could smell Esme as soon as he went outside. The woman's scent had become so famlier to him that he would know it amongst a million others. He hurried, keeping out of sight as not to be stopped by the friendly people of the town. He found Esme in an alley, obviously trying to gather up the courage and stomach she needed to kill the poor unsuspecting man standing in front of it. Using his vampire speed, Carlisle ran past the man and had Esme half way down the alley with in seconds. He pinned her to the wall, mindful of her strength and glared at her.
"What are you doing?"
She was struggling against him, but to no avail. She had yet to know how much stronger then him she still was. "Let me go. I'm done! There's no reason for me to keep living. Let go!" She was screaming and kicking wildly and Carlisle nearly lost her.
Carlisle did not know what to do so he did what his instincts told him to. He brought her closer to him and buried his face in the side of her neck, resting is cold lips where he pulse point used to be. She stopped struggling instantly and gasped. "I need you," he murmured.
He could hear her intake of air. "Excuse me?"
He pushed her gently away so he just gripped her shoulders. "I need you. Forget Edward, just come back for me."
He had never seen such a shocked looking face as Esme's. Her eyes, now golden from her diet, were taking up a good portion of her face and her mouth hung open in what would be an unattractive expression should anyone else have had it.
"Why?" she breathed finally.
He smiled. "I love you. It just took me a long time to figure that one out. I'm only a doctor you know."
Esme laughed slightly before looking worried. "Is Edward...alright?"
"Yes of course." He wrapped his arm around her shoulder, making sure she was leaning as closely as possible to him. "A little worried about you, but he won't do anything to drastic. Especially since I have succeeded in finding you." He placed a kiss on her temple before they emerged from the ally and headed home.
"I love you," Esme murmured.