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Caramel: The Musings and Adventures of a Miss Charlotte Marigold And of a Dr. Carlisle Cullen

Summary:
"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... Caramel Author's Note: Caramel is now finished! Thank you for your support, everyone!


Notes:
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.


15. Fifteen

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2420   Review this Chapter

Fifteen

“Carlisle – the channel!” said Natasia after they raced about 100 miles from the border of Switzerland and France.

“I’ll have to skim the surface of the water. But we have to be across that channel before the break of dawn, or so help me, I know those vampires will have us. I have done it before.”

“You’ve carried her across the channel?”
“Yes.”

“But at the beginning of winter?”
“Dammit,” murmured Carlisle. “In autumn. The channel should not be heavier, should it?”

She shook her head. “I would not know. But the water will be colder, that is for sure.”

“What about your violin?”

She laughed. “I have a water-proof case.”

“Water-proof?” asked Carlisle, furrowing his eyebrow. “I had no idea that had been invented.”

“Not by humans, no. Nikolai constructed it for me. Velvet on the inside, steel on the outside.”
“Does the Moscow Coven participate in a lot of these experiments?”

“Yes,” she replied. “Sergei is the most curious of all. And he is a pyromaniac.”
Carlisle smirked. “I do not understand how any vampire can posses a preoccupation with fire. Charlotte borders on pleasantly warm or hot. I am afraid I have no experience with fire as a vampire, but I can only imagine what an open flame must be.”

“Not as bad as The Children of the Moon,” commented Natasia. “Though they smell human, their skin rivals an inferno.”

“Hmm,” said Carlisle quietly. “Children of the Moon? Werewolves?”

“I suppose that is the western name for it, yes.”

“And you have had interaction with these creatures?”

She sighed. “They are our natural enemies. The Children of the Moon run rampant in my country, especially close to Siberia.”

“But why do we rival them?” asked Carlisle curiously.

“We are the only ones who hold it within our power to destroy them, and they with us. Though, I must say that the past few fights have been victories for our side.”

“You fight them?”

“Not on purpose, no,” she grinned. “But they like to hunt near us, and that is always dangerous. Even if there is an animal edge to their blood, accidents can happen.”
“Yes, I understand,” replied Carlisle quietly.

“Why is it that you do not consume human blood?” asked Natasia at last. The question had been burning in her mind for a long time, ever since Pyotr had returned to St. Petersburg and informed the coven of Carlisle.

“I find the idea positively revolting. I was not created because I asked for it, I was changed by force. I hated what I was the first few decades and I found other means of strengthening myself. I have never tasted the blood of humans.”

“Never?” she asked, shocked.

He shook his head. “But it has not been easy. Loving Charlotte is not easy, either.” Carlisle looked down at the sleeping young woman in his arms.

Natasia smiled. “It is especially endearing? The scent, I mean?”
Carlisle sighed. “It is perfectly beautiful and almost…well…luscious. It takes all my strength sometimes to keep from killing her. Her life is so fragile.”

“I understand what you say. She seems more fragile than most – and still, more strong.”

“Very strong,” whispered Carlisle. His eyes left the landscape of the forests and traveled to Charlotte’s sleeping face. “She has endured all of this for me, and she is happy to do it.”

“She loves you,” said Natasia simply. “She will do anything to keep you near.”

“But doesn’t she know that I will stay near her anyway, and that she can only exist to make me happy?”

“I’m sure she knows. But she loves you with the same intensity that you love her.”
“She’s the woman I wish to marry,” he whispered. “But I do not have the heart to change her.”

“If it is what she wants, how can you refuse her?”
“She deserves to have a normal life.”

“She has chosen you. If what you told me before was correct, she gave up her home and her family to follow you here. Are you going to allow her to age as a human and consequently live without her?”
Carlisle sighed again. “I do not know how I could live without her. I suppose I would ask someone to destroy me.”

Natasia glanced at him. “You would intentionally have someone murder you? Just because your human died?”

He nodded. “Surely you must see how much she means to me.”

“I do. But then again, I do not think I shall ever know the love between the two of you.”

“Someday,” said Carlisle hopefully. “If you are ever involved with the humans as you think you will be someday, you may meet a young man worthy of your time.”

Natasia laughed. “You remind me of my human father. Is it strange for me to say so?”
“A little. But I have always wanted to be a father. I take that as a compliment.”

“Good.”

They ran in silence for several hours, watching the sun slowly begin its ascend to the already formed clouds. Before long, it seemed, half the day had progressed, and they stood on a hill looking at Paris.

“She has to see this,” whispered Natasia. “It is too beautiful to be missed.”
Carlisle kissed Charlotte’s forehead and brushed her hair away from her face. Her eyes slowly fluttered open. “Are we there yet?”

He smiled. “No. But we’re in Paris.”

“Paris?” she gasped, stretching at once and leaping to the ground. “Oh my goodness! Paris!”

“I wish we could stay so you could see the city. It is truly beautiful in the evening.” He embraced her from behind and kissed her cheeks.

“Have we lost them?” she murmured.

“For now,” commented Natasia. “They probably stopped to see where we deviated from the path.”

“Right.”

“You are safe,” Carlisle whispered in her ear.

“I know. I am always safe with you around.”

Natasia sensed Charlotte’s romantic side and took out her violin, softly playing a waltz behind them.

“Will you dance with me?” asked Carlisle softly, smiling.

“Is that the proper punishment for knocking a lady off her feet?” asked Charlotte, grinning.

Carlisle chuckled. “My mistake. I only teased that dancing with you was a punishment, but I can not longer pretend.”

“I have been knocked off my feet with love for you since we shared our first dance. I am certain of it.”

“And you attempted to never see me again,” he whispered.

“I was stupid. And scared. Horribly frightened.”

“And you are not frightened now? With a whole coven of vampires after you?”
“I am not frightened. I am with you,” she whispered, burying closer into his chest.

Natasia’s waltz faded.

“I hate to ruin the moment,” she interrupted softly, “But we really should go. We’ve already stalled too long.”

“You’re right,” sighed Carlisle.

As if on cue, Charlotte’s stomach rumbled. She touched her waist and bit her lip. “Sorry!”

Carlisle sighed. “You have not eaten a full meal for too long.”

“Since yesterday,” she replied regrettably.

“She has to eat, Natasia.”

The Russian woman nodded. “I know. A café, perhaps?”

“Oh, I would love to go to a Parisian café! It is so…Bohemian!”

Carlisle grinned. “A Parisian café it is.” He was about to pick her up, to carry her down the hill, but she smiled and began to run down the hill herself. “Charlotte, there’s some snow! Your feet will freeze!”

“Then let them!” she announced joyously. She took the big pin out of her hair, allowing it to cascade down her shoulders. “I’ve no reservations anymore! We are in one of the most romantic cities in the world! Why should I bother to care about the snow or anyone else?”
As Carlisle watched his love trot across the hill, he smiled and chuckled to himself.

“Why are you not following after her?” asked Natasia, smiling at Carlisle.

“Should I be?”
“She’s asking you!”
“She has done no such thing!” he rebutted, confused a little.

Natasia rolled her eyes. “Men,” she whispered. “Look at the way she is walking! She’s inviting you with flirtation! Go! Follow!”

Without another word, Carlisle sped down the hill and caught up to Charlotte. In a huge fit of giggles, he picked her up and swung her around.

Natasia watched from the hill as the two headed into the enchanted city. Was it truly possible for two people to love and adore each other that much?

She knew that she had been foolish as a young vampire, especially in turning down Nikolai. He deserved to have a woman like Alexandria, a woman who was at last comfortable with herself and not afraid of who she was, who she had been, or who she could be.

There were so many instances in which she hoped she could remain the Natasia of her human life. Even as a human, her anger had sometimes gotten the best of her. As a vampire, her anger had almost entirely left her, but the thirst, the uncontrollable thirst was the replacement of her anger, and sometimes, too much to bear. Almost always too much to bear. Even when Charlotte was not around, the smell of her blood still lingered in Natasia’s senses.

She knew that she would not lose control, especially with Carlisle around. He was so good, too good almost, and she could never take his love away from him. That was something she would never, ever forgive herself for.

Natasia sighed and flopped back upon the cool ground. Perhaps she wanted to save Charlotte for Carlisle, but perhaps she wanted to save Charlotte…for herself.

No, that was ridiculous! Charlotte was definitely the human with the best smelling blood, but she was so innocent and pure of heart that it almost killed Natasia herself to think that someone was after her. It would be unforgiveable to destroy her.

Then why had she chosen to escort them to Ireland?

At last, the obvious dawned upon her. There was no history with Carlisle and Charlotte. She loved that there was no prejudice between them, and that the dramatics of the entire situation were focused on Charlotte, not Natasia.

Natasia had no idea how long she sat there upon the wet, cool grass, but it was taking Carlisle and Charlotte much longer than expected. Had they deviated from the café and gone instead to make love somewhere?

“She is here,” spoke a voice in the silence.

Natasia sat up and looked around with narrowed eyes. Four vampires had surrounded her at once, all smelling the air.

“Thank you for the lead, Natasia,” growled Pyotr in Russian. “Were you foolish enough to believe that you would confuse us?” He laughed.

“What you do not yet understand, Natasia is that because you shared a physical union with both Pyotr and I, we can always smell you,” explained Nikolai, appearing at Natasia’s right side.

Pyotr leaned over and stroked her cheek with false adoration. “It seems I am not the only one with a pathetic obsession.”

“Stop it,” she whispered, slapping his hand away.

“Aww, I understand. You’re around people who you think care about you! You are an egotistical, narcissistic little witch!”

“Get away from here,” she urged, turning to face them. “All they want is protection and privacy – to live their lives with each other! Is that so much to ask?”

“A human and a vampire? Have you any idea what you are standing up for, Natasia?” demanded Sergei, standing next to Nikolai.

“I have a perfect idea of what I am standing up for,” she whispered violently. “It is something that I never had.”

“Of course not! I wasn’t a complete idiot! I wasn’t about to have a romance with you while you were still human!” interjected Nikolai.

“And instead you obsessed over me! How is that love, Nikolai?”

“It isn’t. But you are and were beautiful. Worth any obsession.”

Pyotr snorted.

“Do not dare insult me, Pyotr. Do you have any idea how much you have hurt me? How much I thought you meant to me?”

“I never told you I loved you.”

“Sometimes actions speak louder than words!”

He scoffed. “All of our actions, you whore?”

Natasia raised her hand to slap him but he caught it. “Do not.”

She narrowed her eyebrows. “Who are you to order me around this way?”

“I ordered you around when we were lovers,” he delivered evilly. “And you listened, and did not even bother to ask me if I loved you.”

“It was assumed,” whispered Natasia.

“You should know better than to assume.”

Her eyes drifted to the floor.

“Where are they hiding?” demanded Nikolai.

“I don’t know,” she replied, biting her lip.

“Sergei?” asked Nikolai.

“Liar,” he whispered through his teeth.

“Fyodor,” continued Nikolai. The strongest of all the vampires caught Natasia and bit her shoulder. She screamed and attempted to wriggle out of his grasp.

“I will ask you this question again, Natasia, and if you do not answer with a sufficient reply, I have no issue destroying you. Though, I must say, I would hate to see Fyodor destroy you under my order.” He sighed. “Such promising talent…

“Now, where are they?”

Silence captured the small circle. Natasia sighed. “They told me they were going to a café.”

“Sergei?”
The young boy nodded.

“Which café?”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“Doubtful,” said Nikolai, turning to Sergei. “Does she tell the truth?”

Sergei nodded, though it was very obvious he was unhappy about doing so.

“Is that all they told you?”
“Charlotte was hungry, and she headed down the hill, and they said they were going to a café…”

“Thank you, Natasia,” said Nikolai, edging up to her to kiss her cheek. “You have been a great help to us, however cowardly you may be.”

She gulped, her eyes narrowing. “You dare to call me a coward?”
“You cracked after only one bite. I would hate to see how easily you would save your life if Charlotte’s was on the line.”

“Her life is on the line, thanks to you.”

“Oh, how silly of me to think it was not. I suppose you win the award, then,” he finished, smiling. “Pyotr, you recognize Charlotte’s scent. Find her. Bring her to me.”