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A bit of Carlisle/Esme fluff; somewhat more useful but spoilerific summary inside.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 857   Review this Chapter

She can’t settle. In consideration for Jasper – her deadliest and yet most fragile child – Esme retreats to the bedroom. She sits on the edge of the bed, very carefully, smoothing her dress out around her legs, folding her hands in her lap. She shuts her eyes and cannot even imagine the expression on her own face, though she has the feeling she looks more overwrought than appropriately joyful. A tiny sound escapes her lips, half a giggle, half a sob, and she slaps a hand over her mouth, squeezing her eyes more tightly closed. The hand that still rests in her lap trembles, then curls into a fist until her nails are digging into her palm.

Esme pushes herself up off the bed abruptly, eyes snapping open, lips snapping shut. She strides with tremulous purpose over to the bookshelves, skimming the titles for something challenging, something to engage her mind. The books they keep in the bedroom aren’t very good for that, of course – her favorite novels and his, mostly, though also here and there a theological treatise Carlisle found particularly moving or disturbing. Not things likely to be calming. She loves the hope that her husband’s faith gives him, admires the steadfastness of his devotion, respects the strength of his conviction – but loathes with every fiber of her being the idea that he believes himself in need of salvation. He keeps as many works he finds troubling as that he finds uplifting, and Esme would readily sell the immortal soul she’s quite certain she has, thankyou very much, for five minutes with her husband’s father and no witnesses.

This train of thought hasn’t helped her shaking, and she scans the shelves rather frantically for some more benign form of distraction. There is a book of garden designs gathering dust on the lowest shelf, and Esme grasps for it a bit desperately. She returns to the bed, throwing a glance back at Carlisle’s books as she goes, biting her lip. A watery, hiccoughing smile finds its way past her teeth, and then she’s settling very determinedly back to her seat on the edge of the bed, book in her lap.

Of course it falls open to a discussion of roses. Of course. Oh, my poor Rose. She slams the book shut, retreating from the bed and wringing her hands.

The sound of the doorknob turning makes her jump, and Carlisle knows her well enough to be watching her with quiet concern as he enters the room, closing the door softly behind him. Esme throws herself at him, breath expelled in a rush and arms clinging to his shoulders as tightly as she can. She feels a tremor go through him as his arms encircle her in turn, and it’s soothing, knowing she isn’t alone in this feeling of upheaval.

“Thank you,” she murmurs, voice catching, pulling back to look him in the eye. “Thank you,” she tries again, more firmly, “for the daughter you’re about to give me.”

His hands are still on her waist, flexing a little, as if reassuring himself of her solidity. His smile is lopsided and weary and as relieved as she feels. “Isn’t that usually the husband’s line?” he quips. Careless words, but there’s nothing careless about the way he watches her.

“Well, we’re unconventional,” Esme offers in response, and the half-hysterical giggles that she’s been trying to repress since Edward took Bella home finally can’t be pushed back. Carlisle folds her to his chest, head tucked under his chin, one hand rubbing circles on her back and the other stroking her hair.

“They’re okay,” Esme whispers in a voice that wavers and breaks and wants to burst into tears. “They’re all okay.”

“They’re all okay,” Carlisle affirms; it could be condescending, if it weren’t for the way the hand at her back clutches tighter, pressing her close enough to make breathing impractical. She feels his voice vibrating up through his chest.

“And we’re not going to lose her,” Esme goes on, with determined finality, as if saying it will cement the reality here and now. “We’re not going to lose her to some . . some accident, or illness, or . . or just age . . we’re not going to lose her.”

“No,” Carlisle says, and the vibration of his voice shudders through his whole frame, into hers, so that she can feel the conviction and the uncertainty and the guilt all together in her own bones, and pulls him tighter still, willing her faith into him - her belief in his goodness, in the rightness of their family together and whole.

She tilts her head up to him to find him looking down, asking for nothing aloud, but the set of his mouth is tense and his hands on her are growing restless.

“We’re all safe,” she murmurs, this time reassuring him, her hands wandering up and down his spine.

He murmurs something that isn’t words before his lips crash into hers, desperately needy and exactly what she needs all at once, and if this isn’t a sacrament, Esme thinks, then she doesn’t know what is.