Happy At Last
One-shot Cullen Challenge. Esme's feelings on meeting Bella and the events that took place beforehand.
Challenge entry. Please review and tell me what you think!
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1704 Review this Chapter
Happy At Last
“Esme, Esme! Where are you?” Alice shouts.
“I’m in my room,” I answer at a normal level. ‘And Alice, dear, there’s no need to yell. Be assured, I can hear you,” I add as my daughter bursts through the door.
Her hair is sticking out all over her head, and there is a manic twinkle in her eyes. She’s extremely excited about something, I can tell.
“Esme, you’ll never guess!” she squeals in enthusiasm. She obviously can’t wait for my answer, and says, “She’s coming! Esme, she’s coming!”
I’m confused, and raise my eyebrows delicately. “Who’s coming, Alice, dear?”
“Bella is, of course!” she replies happily.
My dead heart swells in my chest. Bella is coming! Edward must be serious if he’s bringing her to meet the whole family.
“Oh, Alice, really?” I ask, delighted.
‘Yes, Esme! Aren’t you excited? You’ll love her!” she answers, twirling about the room on the tips of her toes.
“Of course I will,” I say. “I never had any doubt about that. As long as Edward loves her, that’s all the matters to me.”
Alice smiles at that. “I better go and tell Emmett and Rose. She won’t be happy about this.”
“I know,” I sigh. “She’ll just have to get used to Bella, I suppose.”
“ Yes, she will,” Alice answers with conviction, “because Bella will be here. A lot.”
I smile to myself as Alice leaves the room.
* * *
“Mum?” Edward calls softly as he knocks on my bedroom door.
“Come in, dear,” I answer. I hear the door open and close gently.
It’s very early in the morning; so early that it is still pitch black. In the faint moonlight, I can see Edward’s bronze hair is dishevelled. I guess that he has just run from Bella’s house.
I pat the bed, and he sits cross-legged next to me.
“I just wanted to talk to about Bella, Mum,” he says.
“Of course, Edward,” I reply. “You know you can always talk to me.”
He smiles gratefully, and then continues. “I really, really like her, Mum. Bella means the world to me.”
I interrupt him. “I’m so happy for you Edward. You know how worried I get about you, being the odd man out for so long.” I smile sheepishly, and nod for him to carry on.
“I love her, Mum, and that scares me.” He twists his hands around in his lap. I reach out and hold then tight in mine.
‘Edward, my son. You love her. What’s wrong with that? You may be able to read my mind, but I can’t read yours.”
“We’re… different.” He smiles slightly at his description. “It would kill me to hurt her in any way. Sometimes I think that she would be better off without me.”
“Edward, no one could be worse off for knowing and loving you. If you love her as much as you say you do, and I know you do, then you can do her no harm. Your love will protect her.”
“I’m serious, Edward. You don’t want to hurt her, so you won’t. Trust me on this one,” I smile.
He looks down at his hands in mine and sighs again. I release one of my own hands and gently lift his chin so that he is forced to look me in the eye.
“Trust me, Edward. It will work out fine.”
He stares at me for a long while. ‘Okay,” he finally says.
I grin widely from ear to ear. “So,” I say. “When are you bringing her over?”
“Sometime after breakfast. About ten, I’d say,” he says, not trying to hide his own beautiful smile. “Mum, I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
“Neither can I,” I reply excitedly.
He grins, and then his smile fades, just slightly. “Rosalie’s left, hasn’t she? And Emmett too?”
“Yes, dear. She thought it would be for the best.”
“Okay.” He processes this piece of information. “ Well, I’d better go and speak to Jasper.”
“Okay,” I nod, understanding.
He gets quietly up off the bed and walks softly to the door.
“And, Edward?” I call.
“Try to be nice to him, okay? He’s trying very hard.”
“Yes, Mum,” he says, in a perfect imitation of a spoilt child.
I laugh quietly as he leaves the room.
* * *
I choose my clothes careful in the morning, I pick light colours that complement the house I decorated myself. I choose Carlisle’s out fit so that it matches mine, and lay it out on the bed.
I’m just adding jewellery when a pair of pale, cold arms snake their way around me waist, and a kiss is planted on my neck.
“There’s no need to be so nervous, love,” Carlisle says comfortingly. “Bella will love you, I’m sure.”
“I don’t want to scare her away, that’s all,” I admit. ‘”I think she’s very brave, coming here to meet a houseful of vampires.”
“No one could be scared of you, Esme.”
I slap him playfully and pull out of his iron grasp.
“Get those clothes on, Carlisle. Bella will be here soon, and I want us looking our best.”
* * *
I see the old red truck pull slowly up onto the lawn from my bedroom window, and my heart leaps into my mouth. I swallow quickly and say, ‘Carlisle! Alice! Jasper! They’re here!” as I run down to the front room.
Carlisle runs down the stairs to join me near the grand piano. I straighten his shirt, and my own, all the while saying, “Just behave naturally, act normal, everything will be alright.”
Carlisle takes my hands in his. “Don’t be nervous, Esme. Everything will be fine.”
I take a deep, unnecessary breath as the front door opens.
Edward enters, grinning hugely, towing a small, slender girl by the hand. Though I can smell her blood strongly, it doesn’t bother me all that much.
Bella looks very nervous, and that endears her all the more to me. She has long, mahogany hair pulled back into a ponytail, large brown eyes and very pale skin. I smile welcomingly at her, but neither Carlisle nor I move any closer.
“Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella,” Edward says. I can hear the faint hint of pride in his voice.
“You’re very welcome, Bella,” Carlisle says, stepping carefully towards her. She steps forward too, her hand outstretched to shake his.
“It’s nice to see you again, Dr Cullen.”
“Please, call me Carlisle,” he replies smoothly.
“Carlisle,” she grins.
I see Edward relax at her side, so I smile and step forward to greet her as well. I hold out my hand, and she takes it willingly. ‘It’s very nice to know you,” I say, meaning every word.
“Thank you,” she replies. “I’m glad to meet you, too.” She smiles at me.
I hear movement at the top of the stairs.
“Where are Alice and Jasper?” Edward asks.
There’s no time to answer, as Alice calls, ”Hey Edward!” enthusiastically from the top of the stairs. She runs down them at vampire speed, coming to a sudden stop right in front of Bella.
Alice, I think. Please.
I glare at her, ad I realise that Carlisle is doing the same, but Bella doesn’t seem phased.
“Hi, Bella!” Alice says. My eyes widen and my mouth drops open as Alice leans forward to kiss her on the cheek.
Edward stiffens next to Bella, but Bella doesn’t seem to mind.
“You do smell nice, I never noticed before,” Alice comments.
Bella blushes a deep scarlet. I’m so shocked I don’t know what to say. By the loos of things, neither do Carlisle and Edward.
A feeling of ease spreads, and I notice Edward rasing an eyebrow at Jasper.
“Hello, Bella,” he says, keeping a safe distance between himself and Bella.
“Hello, Jasper.” Bella smiles at him, and then all of us. Her gaze settles on me. “It’s nice to meet you all – you have a very beautiful home.”
“Thank you,” I say gratefully. “We’re so glad that you came.”
Carlisle and Edward stare meaningfully at each other, apparently having a silent conversation. Bella notices, and looks away. I follow her gaze until it finishes on the grand piano.
“Do you play?” I ask quietly, nodding my head towards the instrument.
“Not at all,” she says, shaking her head. “But it’s very beautiful. Is it yours?”
This makes me laugh. “No,” I say. “Edward didn’t tell you he was musical?”
Her eyes narrow as she glares at him. ‘No. I should have known, I guess.”
My eyebrows rise in confusion.
“Edward can do everything, right?” Bella elaborates.
I glare reprovingly at Edward as Jasper snickers. “I hope you haven’t been showing off – it’s rude,” I scold.
He laughs, and my face softens. It’s so good to hear him laugh. “Just a bit,” he says.
Oh Edward, I like her very much. I knew you’d find someone eventually.
He smiles in return.
“He’s been to modest, actually,” Bella says.
“Well, play for her,” I say to Edward.
“You just said showing off was rude,” he objects.
“There are exceptions to every rule,” I recite.
“I’d like to hear you play,” Bella says quietly.
I grin at her. “It’s settled then,” I say smugly, pushing Edward towards the piano. He pulls Bella along behind him, and sits her down next to him. He gives her a long, irritated look, and then begins to play.
Bella’s mouth opens in astonishment, and I grin at Carlisle as Edward plays my favourite song.
We’ll leave you in peace, Edward, I think, knowing that he hears me. I take Carlisle’s hand and walk slowly up the stairs, the music following us all the way to our bedroom.
* * *
I sit on the couch in our room, nestled in Carlisle’s arms. I lie in perfect contentment.
“You like, don’t you, Esme?” Carlisle asks, breaking the silence.
“Very much,” I smile. “It’s good to see Edward happy. To hear him laughing so freely. I think Bella’s good for him.”
“Me, too,” Carlisle agrees. “He’s happy at last.”
I smile. “I like that. Happy at last.”
* * *