Four Related One-Shots
1 of 4: Meeting Mom ~ Edward remembered, too late, that his eyes were blood red these days. Her scream reminded him. 2 of 4: Family ~ His arms reached for her slim waist without any input from his brain. Her cool fingers were in his hair. This time it was her thought process that broke him out of it. He has to love me. He just HAS to! 3 of 4: A New Addition ~“I think you’ll be alright, though. You look pretty tough.” Edward said this flippantly, and then wondered at the wisdom in choosing that tone of voice. Through his pain, the huge, bedridden man SMILED at him. “Wait’ll I’m out of this bed, and I’ll show you tough.” 4 of 4: An Overdue Apology ~ "How did you know it was me?" Edward asked, opening the door with a smile. It was a familiar question, but he never got an answer. He never had, in all these years.
4. An Overdue Apology
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1554 Review this Chapter
"How did you know it was me?" Edward asked, opening the door with a smile. It was a familiar question, but he never got an answer. He never had, in all these years.
Carlisle only smiled back and closed his book, very clearly thinking about the text he’d just read – repeating it to himself. Edward thought his smile looked smug. It was a game between them, after all the time they’d known one another. And Edward still wasn’t winning it. He shook his head and sat down. “If you have a moment, I really need to talk to you,” Edward said, suddenly feeling just as he had in the weeks after he’d first been changed. He lowered his eyes to the desk, glad he’d waited until the house was empty before approaching Carlisle with this.
“About the Swan girl?” Carlisle asked worriedly. Edward had only just come home from Alaska. The family was trying very hard to give him his space. Even Rosalie had agreed to a mostly unnecessary hunt just to give Edward some peace and quiet. She knew that her thoughts tended to grate on him, just as his personality tended to grate on her. The difference, of course, being that Rosalie didn’t have to constantly hear what Edward was thinking.
Edward shook his head as all of this flashed through Carlisle’s mind. Vampires thought so fast that if he wasn’t used to it, it would be nearly impossible to take it all in. And that, of course, was nothing. When the whole family was together it was complete cacophony inside his head all hours of the day and night. Usually, he was perfectly equipped to handle it. Today, he was thankful they’d all taken a day out of the house. He smiled again gratefully, and Carlisle’s worried expression melted away.
“Yes and no. Brought about by her, I suppose, but – Carlisle, I owe you an apology,” he said, shifting gears quickly. He regretted it at once, however. Carlisle completely misunderstood.
“You don’t owe me anything,” he disagreed warmly. “Everyone understands why you left the way you did. If anything, we all owe YOU, for managing to restrain yourself so that we could continue to live here.”
Edward politely waited until he finished speaking, because he needed the reassurance on that topic as well, even though that wasn’t what he’d come to apologize for. “Thank you. But the apology I’m talking about has been much longer coming than that.”
He watched Carlisle tense slightly, and then dropped his eyes. This was a topic that was never mentioned between them. In eighty years, they hadn’t spoken of Edward’s time away from the family – away from Carlisle. Nor had they spoken of their relationship during the years that preceded that desertion. But Edward had already apologized for leaving, repeatedly, if Carlisle recalled correctly.
Edward’s smile turned grim as he heard these thoughts, but he ignored them completely. Carlisle was right. He HAD already apologized for that, and he’d spent decades trying to atone for it. He knew he would spend decades more.
“I lied to you when I left,” he said quickly, before he could change his mind. He heard Carlisle’s thoughts go silent, and ventured to look up at him. “I didn’t leave over the diet. Or, not entirely. I never told you –“ he shook his head.
“What didn’t you tell me, Edward?” Carlisle asked quietly. But his mind was roaring. How bad must it be, if Edward had waited so long to tell him this? Had he hurt him in some way? Had he driven him away?
Edward winced, surprised at the turn Carlisle’s thoughts had taken. “It wasn’t your fault I left,” he assured him quickly. “You couldn’t help thinking about her, and it was ridiculous for me to be hurt by it.” He had been so young, then, emotionally as well as physically. Carlisle had changed him when he was only seventeen. In all his seventeen years of life, he’d never so much as kissed a girl. The Great War – which he had wanted desperately to join – had dominated his thoughts from the time it began, when he was fourteen. Of course, even if he’d remained human, he would not have been able to enlist. He was too young. And too honest to lie about his age. And there’d been his mother to think of. More than anything, she had wanted him to stay home. The Spanish Influenza had given her that wish, though the imminent end of the war would have served as well.
Carlisle looked thoughtful, but Edward’s own ruminations were drowning out his ‘voice.’ At least until he actually spoke. “I didn’t realize I’d thought about her so often.” It hadn’t taken him long to realize whom Edward was referring to.
“After you set her leg, you thought of her every day. You worried about her, wished you could protect her. It was the protectiveness, more than anything, that hurt.” He looked away again, embarrassed. Carlisle was the only person on the planet who could make him feel embarrassed. “I left because I was jealous. I’d thought you felt that way about me.”
Carlisle leaned forward a few inches so quickly that the movement created wind. “I did. Before I changed you, I felt exactly that protective of you.”
Edward wondered if that had all changed when he’d become a vampire. If maybe Carlisle’s fascination with him had been BECAUSE he was human, rather than in spite of it. But he got his answer without asking. Carlisle’s low voice had been intense in a way Edward hadn’t heard in decades. But his thoughts were even more so. How could I have hurt him that way? All I ever intended was to help him – to be there for him -
“I understand, now,” Edward said gently. And of course Carlisle was aware that Edward understood his thoughts as well as his spoken reassurances. He let himself lean across the table toward him. “I can’t stop thinking about her,” Edward admitted, excitement creeping into his tone.
This time Carlisle comprehended the change in topic instantly. “Bella Swan?” he asked, surprised. Well, of course, he wasn’t exactly surprised. He had, after all, listened to Edward’s shaking voice over the phone explaining exactly how the girl’s blood called to him. How hard it had been –
Edward nodded. “And not just because of her blood, though of course that’s part of it. But before I was even close enough to notice that, I looked over at her and felt protective. I realized what I was doing – how much I was thinking about her - as I drove to Denali. It reminded me so much of you and Esme. And I haven’t even tried to speak to her yet.”
Carlisle’s thoughts focused on the word ‘yet,’ and Edward responded to his worry without waiting for him to voice it. “I think I want to try, though. It’ll be hard. Her scent is painfully alluring.” He rather expected to be scolded. All of the family had been relieved that he’d managed not to kill the girl. He didn’t figure they’d be pleased to hear that he intended to actually talk with her, when clearly avoidance would be the safest course of action. Rosalie, in particular, was bound to be unpleasant about it. But he found that he really wanted Carlisle’s approval.
“Whatever you decide, I’ll be behind you,” Carlisle said quietly. He wanted for Edward to experience what he and Esme shared. It wasn’t right for him to always be alone. He wondered briefly if the guilt he still felt over the situation would be easier to bear if Edward had finally found someone to love.
Edward smiled and stood, understanding that as a dismissal, even if Carlisle hadn’t intended for it to be. “Thank you. That means a lot.”
Carlisle nodded and rose from his chair as well. Edward’s thoughts were already rushing forward, planning what he would say to Bella in Biology the next day, and so he missed the split second decision that took place as he turned away and opened the door.
“And Edward?” Carlisle said hesitantly. He turned back to face him again and found he’d moved out from behind his desk. Instinctively, he listened for the explanation from Carlisle’s mind, but it was curiously blank. He waited as Carlisle stepped closer and put a hand on his shoulder.
It had been so long since Edward had been kissed that it took him a moment to figure out that’s what was going on. By then, Carlisle’s lips were already on his, cold, unyielding, and more demanding than he recalled. His eyes fell shut a second later, and he put all his energy into resisting the urge to press against him desperately. He had missed this. He’d missed it for ninety years.
Carlisle pulled away first, and Edward stood for a fraction of a second with his eyes still closed, and his lips slightly parted, forcing himself not to pant. Carlisle tasted exactly as he remembered. He couldn’t help but be amused by the fact that the same thought went through Carlisle’s head at almost precisely the same time. He opened his eyes to meet a very intense gaze.
“Apology accepted,” Carlisle whispered, a slow smile spreading across his face.