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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.


9. Nine

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2388   Review this Chapter

Nine

At dawn, Carlisle slowly touched Charlotte’s face and hands until her body stirred from her nightmarish slumber. It had certainly been a long night. She had awoken several times, she had screamed and moaned various things in anguish, always waking up and burying herself into his chest.

The journey to Italy strangely kept Charlotte almost completely awake. Carlisle had to stop running and make sure Charlotte was not on the verge of heart failure, as the muscle was pounding so hard within her chest that he was sure it would stop.

But once they reached the ancient Italian city, Charlotte was mesmerized by its sheer beauty. And truthfully, Carlisle could not blame her. All humans were drawn to it in the same way that they were attracted to vampires. It held a certain, innocent charm whilst still maintaining a dangerous and breathtaking air.

“Where exactly do they live?” she asked at last, the question being the first words out of her mouth since they left England.

“Underground,” he replied, pointing to a bell tower in the middle of the square. “They lure travelers and intellectuals down there for a historical research project…and they never come back.”

She looked up at him with a horrified expression.

“Perhaps I should let you down now,” he murmured, gracefully placing her on her feet. He kissed her cheek. “Be strong. I shall be as strong as I can for as long as possible.”

She met his gaze, and the two embraced for a few moments.

When Carlisle approached the door to the Volturi’s dwelling place, the guard met his gaze.

“Carlisle Cullen?” he asked with a strong Italian accent.

“Si,” replied Carlisle, “E un ospite, Charlotte Marigold.”

“Vegono,” said the guard, stepping away from the entrance.

As they walked down the stairs into the depths of Volterra, Carlisle took her hand. “Do not let go, no matter what happens,” he instructed quietly.

Charlotte could not respond.

Two large vampires stood in front of a pair of carved, wooden doors. They growled as Charlotte approached them, but Carlisle spoke in fluid Italian again, and they relaxed.

“Dr. Carlisle Cullen?” announced a musical voice. “So happy you could come.”

“I am pleased you invited me. I was not expecting to see you for at least another two hundred or three hundred years in the least.”

“Yes. And you brought your…friend, as promised? This is definitely her, I presume?”

“Of course. May I formally present Miss Charlotte Marigold of 18 Park Place, London?”

Still hanging onto her grace, Charlotte stepped forward and curtseyed deeply.

“And Charlotte, this is the Volturi – Aro, Caius, and Marcus, who you have already had the pleasure of informally meeting.”

Caius and Marcus bowed for several moments, but Aro zoomed forward to stand directly in front of Charlotte. He met her gaze with frighteningly red eyes, and kissed her hand.

Charlotte did her best to keep from gasping and screaming, for Aro’s hand and lips were so cold on her skin that it resembled being doused with ice water. A violent shiver ran through her as he released.

“Dear me, you certainly are a frightened young woman, Miss Marigold. I cannot imagine why.”

Caius and Marcus chuckled softly in the corner. Charlotte’s dilated eyes looked to Carlisle in question.

“Ah, you have not told her of our abilities?” Aro asked Carlisle softly.

Carlisle cleared his throat softly. “Forgive me.”

“For now,” said Caius.

“Aro, as you may have noticed, has the ability to read minds through touch. When he touched you, for example, he read every thought you ever had, as well as the thoughts that occur to you at the time.”

“Yes,” purred Aro. “Your mind is not as complex as I would assume, Miss Marigold, however, it was very clear how much you love Carlisle.”

Marcus sniggered.

“Marcus sees relationships. When he first found us, he was able to see every emotion between the two of us, every…” he paused, “physical aspect as well.”

Charlotte’s cheeks colored. “There seem to be no secrets kept from anyone here.” She looked around the room, and found that the Volturi were looking at her rather hungrily. “And C-Caius?”

Carlisle looked to Aro, who cleared his throat. “Caius’ distinct talent is still undetermined, but he is certainly an excellent tracker. He would have originally gone to find you, Miss Marigold, but we were rather interested in Marcus’ analysis of your relationship. And…” he hesitated, smiling, “I was rather intrigued to meet you myself. Caius would have killed you on the spot.”

Carlisle zoomed in front of Charlotte and growled low in his throat.

“I apologize. I have been very rude to our guests. Would you join us in the parlor, Miss Marigold, Carlisle?”

Slowly, Carlisle led Charlotte to the ancient sitting room and sat down next to her upon a leather-red loveseat.

“Now that we are all settled,” began Aro, sitting in a rocking chair with so much grace, it suggested he had been sitting there all along, “I am rather interested in several things, Miss Marigold.”

She gulped. “Yes?”

“So polite,” he murmured, sighing. “I would hate to destroy something so pretty…”

“Then don’t,” replied Carlisle, his eyes suddenly steely and black.

“Patience, Carlisle, patience. Silly me, I was under the impression that virtue was a skill you acquired when you became one of us…”

Carlisle did not speak.

“Now then, Miss Marigold. Although I have already analyzed your mind and love, I am still curious. Some questions remain unanswered.”

“Well, as I am sure you know, I am completely at your mercy. I have no choice but to answer anything you ask me.”

“Let us waste no time, then. I know what exactly drew you to Carlisle; the physical attraction, the ‘compassion in his eyes’ and the ‘politeness of his speech’ all fed your little crush especially. However, you never thought about why exactly it was that you stayed with him after you were informed of his inhuman nature.”

“Oh,” said Charlotte, biting her lip and tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear. She looked to Carlisle, whose eyes seemed equally as curious regarding her answer. “Well, I…I’m about nineteen years of age, Mr. Volturi, and-“

Aro’s and Caius’s laughs cut her off. “I know it is only customary to call one by his or her title, but here, it is only incredibly unnecessary. Please address me as Aro.”

She gulped again. “Right, well, I’m nineteen years of age, and…and where I come from, that is about marrying age, you see. And erm…I was never exactly talented in luring suitors, but I attended balls all the same. And one evening, Dr. Cullen caught my eyes.”

She was about to continue, but Aro held up his hand to halt her words. “Do you mean to say that Dr. Cullen has been a circulating suitor this past year for the British upper crust?”

Charlotte looked to Carlisle on how to answer. He barely nodded once. “Yes, he was.”

Caius growled and Aro closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath. “Interesting. Continue.”

“And well, there were some nasty rumors about him, as society ladies do not take a man who appears to be the embodiment of perfection lightly.”

“I wouldn’t imagine they could, no.”

“Being a curious person, I spent the majority of the evening figuring out how to approach him, but we sort of ran into each other instead. And…I don’t know…he just…” Color rushed to her cheeks, and all the vampires but Carlisle flashed evil grins.

“It is perfectly all right, Miss Marigold. We are only being rude because we have not seen a young woman’s blush in a while, and it is rather entrancing,” Caius smiled at her for a few moments. “But I’m afraid you have not answered Aro’s question, Miss Marigold. We know how you fell in love with him; we wish to find out why you stay in love with him.”

“I…” she sighed in frustration. “How does one fall out of love? I mean, I would not know, as Carlisle is my first love, but he is most likely a man who understands everything about me. And how, in heaven’s name, can I manage to fall out of love with someone who makes me feel whole every time I look at him, no matter what he is?”

“Very poetic, Miss Marigold,” said Aro at last. “Now to Carlisle.”

Carlisle slightly tightened his fingers around Charlotte’s.

“Is Miss Marigold your singer?”

Charlotte looked to Carlisle with furrowed eyebrows. “But I’m not a singer…”

“Your blood sings for me,” he murmured. “To answer your question, yes, I believe she is. Besides the normal attractive signs – irregular heart beat, flipping stomach, blushing…I believe that her blood is perhaps the most luscious I have ever smelled.”

“Hmm,” replied Aro, interested. “I can see how you are drawn to it. Very fresh, sweet-smelling…” He inhaled her scent for a few moments. “Exquisite. Velvet to the taste, I’m sure.”

Charlotte seemed frozen to the spot.

“And of course, I am interested to know how exactly she found out about your vampirism. I doubt you told her outright?”

“I did not tell her. But I…”

“You’ve been in London for too long, Carlisle,” said Marcus quietly. “The residents are wondering about who exactly you are.”

“How long have you been there, Carlisle?” asked Caius.

He sighed. “Too long.”

“Answer the question,” replied Aro darkly.

“About thirty years.”

Aro groaned. “I assume then, that these…society ladies remember you from their youth?”

“I believe so. They have their…suspicions…”

“Yes, and is that how Charlotte found out?’

“Yes. And of course, she was curious, and asked me…and we were rather close in our relationship…”

“So you consented.”

“Yes.”

“And does anyone else know about this?” asked Aro softly.

“No.” Carlisle’s response was too quick.

Aro chuckled. “None of your thoughts are safe.” He leaned over and touched Carlisle’s finger. “Her mother?” he asked, a glazed look in his eyes.

Charlotte looked to the ground, averting Aro’s gaze.

“Marcus, go to London-,” began Caius, and Marcus disappeared from the room.

“No!” screamed Charlotte, standing up in horror. “Please, I’ll do anything – not my mother! Kill me, drink all my blood instead!”

Aro chuckled. “Sit down, you selfish, selfish girl. We shall kill you in due course.”

She gulped, tears in her eyes. “My mother is incredibly innocent in all of this…please do not kill her.”

Aro shouted something at Marcus in Italian, and he appeared back to the room.

“I believe I have a better proposition, Miss Marigold. You claimed you would do anything to keep your mother alive?” asked Aro.

“Yes,” she whispered, tears on her face.

“You and Carlisle must flee London. I do not care about the story you use to leave England, that is up to you. But you have chosen to love Carlisle. We are feeling merciful, for some odd reason, and I personally take pity upon you. Leave England within the next week.”

“Then what?” asked Carlisle, concentrated upon the conversation.

Aro stood up. “Both of you must live your lives in secrecy.”

Carlisle ran a hand through his hair.

“No doctoring,” replied Caius quietly.

He sighed. “I cannot do that.”

“Then watch your lady’s life fall apart piece by piece,” said Aro venomously.

Carlisle clasped both of his hands with Charlotte’s and gazed into her eyes for a brief, compassionate moment. “I love you.” He touched her cheeks tenderly. “Will you come to Austria with me?”

“What shall we tell my parents?” she whispered.

Half a smile lit up his face.

“Don’t worry about telling your parents anything,” said Aro. “I am sure Carlisle can convince them you are in ill health and require some sort of specialist. You see, Carlisle is rather good at convincing.”

Carlisle shifted his gaze to Aro. “You must promise us that all those we know will stay safe.”

Aro, Marcus and Caius stood in a group of three before them. “There are others who know of this?” asked Aro.

“Only those aforementioned.”

“Well, obviously, too many disappearances would be suspicious-“

“Please don’t harm any of them!” begged Charlotte somewhat hysterically.

“Do not worry, Miss Marigold. I will guarantee the safety of your parents, but anything more is too much to ask.”

She gulped. “All right…” She did not wish the society ladies to be killed, no matter how much she hated them.

“I cannot guarantee anything for that matter,” said Aro softly. “Phase two of the plan involves one of two things. One, a marriage between the two of you.” Charlotte blushed. “It is only proper, you know.” All three Volturi grinned at each other. “Option two, Charlotte is changed into a vampire.”

“No,” pledged Carlisle. He pulled Charlotte closer to him. “How could I ever inflict such pain upon a woman I love? And how…how would I…do that?”
“We would take care of it if you both chose such a path.”

“Never,” he whispered.

“Option three: we kill her.”

Carlisle narrowed his eyes and his irises turned black. “That is not an option.”

“I did not think you would like that, no.”

“How could you even ask?”

Caius smirked. “You never know. Love is a strange thing. I would have consumed her by now if I were you.” He took in the sweet scent of Charlotte’s blood again. “Fresh…sugary…charming…”

“Caius,” murmured Aro, a command to be silent more than a recitative of a name. “We will give you three days to make a decision. You will stay here in our guest chambers. And when you are hungry, Miss Marigold, you will find enough for your needs.”

“Thank you,” whispered Charlotte.

“I do not like this idea,” murmured Carlisle abrasively.

“Would you rather we made the decision for you?” asked Marcus brutally, stepping closer to Charlotte.

Carlisle stepped in front of her instantly. “No. These accommodations should be fine.”

“Good then. Good evening to you both.”

With some regret, Marcus and Caius followed Aro out of the room, the scent still in their noses as they exited.