Caramel: The Musings and Adventures of a Miss Charlotte Marigold And of a Dr. Carlisle Cullen
"There was something very, very strange about this Carlisle Cullen, and she was determined to figure it out by the end of the evening. It was not often that such a mystery crossed her path, and Charlotte was not about to allow Dr. Cullen to cross hers without so much as an inquiry." Dr. Carlisle Cullen has been a vampire for nearly 150 years. He's established himself as a neutral of the Volturi, a 'vegetarian' vampire, and as an unsuitable husband for any young woman of the upper British crust by 1778. But Charlotte Marigold seems to find herself fiercely attracted to him when all the other young women flee... Author's Note: Caramel is now finished! Thank you for your support, everyone!
Disclaimer: All characters from the Twilight series are not mine - they belong to the genius of Stephenie Meyer. I am merely a humble writer who lets her imaginations run away with her.
Rating 4/5 Word Count 2497 Review this Chapter
Pyotr seemed to materialize on the deserted street corner of St. Petersburg. This was his favorite place to hunt. Regardless of the name, he could always find a beautiful girl in the alleyway, and he adored the fear that he saw in her eyes the moments before he murdered her.
This evening was no different; a girl younger than most he had sabotaged sat, crying, outside of her parent’s small home. He would be the helpful killer this time. Pyotr would comfort her and tell her everything would be all right. He would meet their eyes, and he would lean in to give her that mysterious first kiss, but he would miss and pierce the skin below her jaw instead.
But tonight was different. In that alleyway, there was not just a young woman about to catch her death, there was also a vampire.
Pyotr caught Caius’ gaze. He had never met a member of the Volturi before, but he had been taught to recognize the signs of their coven. The commander of the present coven Pyotr belonged to said that all of the Volturi possessed paper-like characteristics in their skin, wore black, billowing cloaks, and always had bright crimson irises. This vampire seemed to fit the description.
Caius seemed unfazed with the encounter, and with one last wink at the girl, he annihilated her, breaking her white neck first and sucking her dry.
Pyotr’s face contorted with anger and thirst. This city was his territory, ruling class be damned.
“She was mine,” said Pyotr when Caius was finished.
Caius shrugged lazily. “First come, first serve. An unspoken law.” Caius had shifted the conversation into fluent Russian, as even though he was not at all intimidated by Pyotr, he certainly did not wish to offend.
“This is my territory,” growled Pyotr, changing to his first language with ease.
“Ah, you are a part of the Nikolai Coven, are you not?”
“Well, you must have been gone with I first met with Nikolai.”
“Yes. I returned only today after being on my own for a few years.”
“Your reasons for return?”
“There is…a conquest I wish for Nikolai to digest.”
“Would you mind if I came to hear such a proposition?” asked Caius politely.
“Somehow, I find it imperative for me to comply. Since you are apparently a member of the Volturi…”
“Lead me to Nikolai, please.”
Somewhat grudgingly, thirst still unquenched, Pyotr sprinted through the forest outside of St. Petersburg to his coven’s dwelling.
Standing on guard was Fyodor, the largest and burliest of all the coven.
“Pyotr?” he asked, his dark eyebrows furrowed.
“Yes. And I am sure you recognize Caius of the Volturi?”
“Of course. Nikolai is inside. What is it you wish to speak with him about?”
“Fresh blood. Perhaps the best I have smelled for hundreds of years.”
Fyodor furrowed his eyebrows all the way and moved to the side, exposing a stone door. “Enter, then.”
Pyotr led Caius through the midnight darkness. He slammed his fist upon the rock as a password. The vampire on the other side, presumably Natasia, rolled the second stone away from its place.
“Pyotr?” she asked in a surprised tone. She did not move from her place in front of him. “They…they said you would never come back to me,” she whispered, her deep burgundy eyes sinking to the floor, long lashes distracting him for a moment. She tucked her beautiful, white-blonde hair behind her ear.
“I must talk to Nikolai, Natasia. Please move. I’ll talk to you later.”
She looked as though she were about to cry, but nodded and moved away.
“Pyotr Tvietski? Strange. I was under the impression you had had enough of our little coven.”
“I have some news for you,” began Pyotr.
“Why have you brought Caius back?” inquired Nikolai.
“I’m extremely interested in Pyotr’s theory, Nikolai.”
“Of course. Caius, the curious one…”
Caius chuckled. “You obviously have not met my dear friend Aro? I look too quiet for words compared to him.”
“I hope that I won’t ever have to meet him, then. What is on your mind, Pyotr?”
“I went to Austria in my wanderings,” began Pyotr.
At his side, Caius clenched his fist. Could it involve Carlisle and his new, human wife?
“And while I was there, a fragrance greater than any I have smelled in two centuries drew me. Sweet, soft, delicate, feminine…”
“And you killed her?” asked Sergei, the youngest of the Nikolai coven, sitting to Nikolai’s right.
“No. She had a protector.”
Everything clicked together in Caius’ head.
“Dr. Carlisle Cullen, he called himself,” finished Pyotr with disgust.
“Hmm. And you want her?”
“I thought that perhaps you could enjoy her…as a peace offering between us.”
“If I may ask something about this girl?” interjected Caius. Pyotr and Nikolai stared at him. “What did you say she was named?”
“Charlotte, I believe.”
“Yes, that would make sense,” murmured Caius.
“Carlisle said he was Charlotte’s protector until the Volturi decided to change her into a vampire.”
Caius laughed, shocking all the vampires in the room. “Did he?”
“It’s a lie?” breathed Natasia.
“Of course. They’re lovers, you see,” continued Caius. This time, the entire room broke out into tinkling laughter.
“A human and a vampire? Lovers? I’ve only read legends about such worthless drabble and even then, the vampire had intentions to kill the girl in the end!”
“You will not believe the intentions of Carlisle. He does not even drink the blood of humans.”
“What?” asked all the vampires in disbelief.
“He drinks the blood of animals. And he is incredibly intent upon protecting her life.”
Nikolai met Caius’ eyes. “You’ve smelled her too, I presume?”
“It took all my strength to keep from destroying her. Delectable, just as Pyotr states.”
“Would you like to accompany us?” asked Nikolai.
“Excuse me?” asked Caius.
“Well, if for some reason, she does not appeal to me, it would be an honor to hold her while you ravish her.”
Caius shook his head. “I should return to Volterra. Aro and Marcus are awaiting my return. But we will all be interested to see if you succeed in your hunt. Feel free to run to Italy and alert us of the outcome if you wish.” Caius outstretched his hand for Nikolai to shake. “Good to see you again, Nikolai. I am glad to have met all of you. Best of luck on the endeavor.” He ran from the cave.
Nikolai smiled at Pyotr. “I would not dare fight with you will we entertained a member of the Volturi. For that, you are extremely lucky.”
“Thank you for your mercy, Nikolai.”
“It will never happen again,” replied Nikolai fiercely.
“Why do you not destroy me now?”
Natasia gasped in the corner.
“That is why I won't kill you now. Natasia has been worried sick about you.”
But Pyotr did not even look at her.
“And besides, I want you to lead me to this woman. If I do not desire her, you may have her.”
“Thank you, Nikolai. It is more than I deserve.”
“Damn right it is.”
Natasia continued to stare at her mate with glowing eyes.
“I think Natasia would like to speak with you, Pyotr. She’s been rather annoying without you here.”
Natasia looked to the floor, ashamed of Nikolai’s biting words.
“I told you I would return,” growled Pyotr, still not looking at her.
“No, you did not,” she whispered. “You left before I could realize you had gone.”
“That is your own fault. You and your stupid music-“
“It takes my mind off things. If I control my thirst for long enough of a time, I could play in a symphony in a hundred years-“
“Listen to yourself! A vampire amongst humans? Your heightened awareness of tone, pitch, rhythm and emotion be damned, Natasia. You do not make any sense!”
“Then why is it that everyone else here is entranced by my music and you are not? You said you fell in love with my heart, my music and my beauty! How can you fathom to criticize me after you told me you loved and adored me?”
At last, he met her gaze. “I do not love you.”
Natasia gulped, fire in her eyes. “Permission to leave, Nikolai?”
“Permission granted,” he replied, as though he expected she would ask.
“Where are you going?” demanded Pyotr.
“Vienna,” she snarled, returning to the room with her violin case in her hand. “Perhaps I can help Carlisle and Charlotte. I would rather help them than have any more involvement with you.”
“You are welcome back here at any time, Natasia,” invited Nikolai.
“As long as you employ the likes of Pyotr, I refuse to return.”
“Charlotte, there is a letter for you,” announced Carlisle one morning as Charlotte sat at the small table in the kitchen, eating a modest breakfast.
Charlotte furrowed her eyebrows. “I thought you told the Volturi to explain our situation to my parents?”
Carlisle shrugged. “Perhaps your mother wished to send one last letter. I doubt it’s the Volturi; if they wished to get in touch with us they would send one of the guard.”
Sighing, Charlotte opened the envelope. At once, she recognized her mother’s perfect cursive handwriting, and smiled a little sadly to herself.
“Who is it from?” asked Carlisle politely.
“My mother,” whispered Charlotte.
Three strange men appeared at my door this morning. They called themselves members of the “Volturi” and told me that I would never see you again, as you have been banished from the country because of your involvement with Carlisle Cullen.
The house is very quiet without you here, my dear. I know that, over these years, we have had major differences concerning nearly everything, and over the past few weeks, many arguments involving Carlisle. If you are now wed to him as the Volturi reported, I know you have made the right decision with your affections. You always knew how to follow your heart, and I know now that you have been led to one of the most wonderful men in the universe.
Marriage is not something to take lightly, nor is the physical relationship that comes with it. I know you understand all of us, as I have told you a thousand times what a marriage will and must entail. If he loves and adores you as I believe he does, the relationship between the two of you can only grow more beautiful with time and affection.
For all the years you were mine, Charlotte, I did not appreciate you for the child you were and the woman you have now become. You are intelligent, strong, beautiful and the pride of the Marigold family. I know that you will make a wonderful Mrs. Cullen.
May the Lord bless you, Carlisle, and the beautiful children you may have together.
All my love, Mama
Charlotte read the letter twice and realized that tears were on her cheeks. It was a short letter, yes, and she did not think something like it would cut into her emotions, but it certainly had.
Was this the same woman who had chastised Charlotte for loving Carlisle only a few weeks ago? The same woman who had dragged Charlotte to ball after ball since the night she turned sixteen?
The fact that she may never see her mother again hit her all at once. Silent tears turned into sobs, alerting Carlisle immediately.
“What is it?" he whispered, hands on Charlotte’s shoulders from behind. He read the words of Mrs. Marigold, peeking over Charlotte’s head, and took a deep sighing breath of sympathy. He took the letter out of her hands and picked her up in one swift movement, carrying her to the chaise in the living room.
“I am n-n-n-never going to s-s-see her again, am I?” she whispered.
“I am so sorry, my darling,” he cooed, wiping a few stray hairs away from her face.
“It is not-“
“Yes, it is. It is all my fault. I pursued you, thinking that all of our differences would work out-“
“But I am the one who fell in love with you,” replied Charlotte, a finger on his lips. She took a deep, shuddering breath. “I will be all right, just allow me a few moments to gather myself.”
“I do not want you to collect yourself. Cry as you need to. And if you wish to return to London without me, I understand.”
“What?” she asked quietly, meeting her eyes to his. “Carlisle.”
“Yes?” he replied, exasperated.
“I chose you. I will choose you for the rest of my life. Do not dare say that I will be better of without you. That is ridiculous. I love and adore you. My mother wrote me the letter as a peace offering, because she understands what it is like to be so in love with someone that you cannot think straight. That is how she is with my father. That is how I am with you.” She leaned up and met their lips. “Besides, I promised I would never leave you.”
He smiled. “I believe I promised you that I would never leave.”
“Well now the pact is double fold. I will not leave you, either.”
Their foreheads met.
“When was the last time you hunted?” she whispered, desires welling up in her again.
“Last night after you fell asleep.”
It was the perfect answer.
She pulled him closer to her and he put his hands in the familiar curve of her waist, kissing her with that intensity both of them loved and craved.
“Today?” she breathed, in between kisses.
“Today,” he agreed, picking her up into his arms again, heading for the stairs.
The moment Carlisle set foot in the bedroom, he heard a polite knock at the door. He released his lips from Charlotte’s and growled.
“What?” she asked, giggling a little.
“We seem to have a visitor.” He softly placed Charlotte on the bed and kissed her forehead. “Stay here. I shall return shortly.”
He ran down the stairs and composed himself before opening the door. He paused at the handle, realizing that no heart beat on the other side of the door. Had he imagined the knock?
Or, more importantly, was this a trap?
He narrowed his eyes and whipped the door open. “Yes?”
The perfect beauty before him stared at the ground, shining white blonde hair covering parts of her inherently gorgeous face. “Are you Carlisle Cullen?” she asked at last, finally looking at him.
“I am Natasia Kuzmenko. I have…I’ve come from Moscow to tell you that the woman you love is in danger. They are coming.”