The Lure of Esme
All Human....Carlisle and Esme get pregnant against all odds - what callenges will they face, especially when someone from the past pays them a visit? *CURRENTLY NOMINATED AT THE TWILIGHT AWARDS*
I don't own twilight - Stephenie Meyer does.
2. Chapter 2
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It was in between patient rounds while I was sitting at my desk at work, lost in thought about my wife. It had only been a few weeks since we'd found out she was carrying twins, but it seemed much longer than that. Every thought I had was about her safety, and the safety of the babies, which of course made my days seem endless.
As excited as I was, I couldn't help but think of the past as well – about how devastated we were when we lost them. I could still hear her cries of pain and see her tears of sorrow as if they were yesterday. What if it happened again? Would we be able to get through this again? How much more difficult would it be if we she lost them now that we have the kids? Of course I told Esme not to worry, and of course I didn't want her to worry...trying to keep myself from that habit seemed to be an entirely different situation.
I was brought out of my trance with a tap on my office door.
"Doctor Cullen," Serena my nurse said, "There's someone here to see you."
"Thank you. You can send them in." I didn't bother inquiring as to who it was - I was fairly friendly with everyone in town.
Applying my signature to another stack of paperwork, I heard my door creak open, and looked up expectantly. My expression instantly froze on my face.
"Carlisle...long time no see," the distantly familiar voice sneered. "How have you been, friend?"
"Aro." I quickly tried to recover my composure. "Aro, how are you? What brings you here?"
Almost instantly, I was taken back to my college years, to when I'd first met this man standing before me. Aro had been my roommate. At first, we got along brilliantly - we were both Pre-Med, both extremely excited. We shared similar interests in literature, as well as other trivial matters. After a while, we did discover that we differed slightly in politics, and his dislike for the sports I loved became apparent as well, but neither of these interfered in our friendship. Most of our free time was spent together, whether it be politely arguing political takes, or working together on homework. We became quite close, for a while.
It wasn't until our junior year that things began to change. Aro started to date a girl, which was perfectly fine - she was quite lovely, as well as sweet. They quickly became involved in a relationship, which evolved from minor to major over the course of the year. By the beginning of our senior year, they were inseparable.
I had never been happier for Aro - he seemed completely blissful. There were a few moments, when my concern would rise to the surface - if he couldn't reach her, or if she wasn't home when she said she'd be, he would become slightly agitated...upset, really. But we were in college, and under stress, and almost as soon as he'd become upset, he'd dismiss it, and say how silly he was being. He'd convince me that he was fine, and that he was only upset because he was worried about her - if she'd make it home safely, etc. It seemed reasonable to be concerned about her safety.
About a month before graduation, things definitely changed. One night, Aro was out on a date with his girlfriend, when he suddenly returned home, clearly distraught. When I asked him what was wrong, he was seething...he went on about how she was planning to go overseas for an internship upon graduation, about how he didn't think she'd actually ever get the internship, and how she couldn't possibly leave him here. He was irate, really – saying how she was everything to him, and completely ungrateful for all he'd done. He uttered about how she'd done nothing but use him for the past year and a half. It was unnerving; I did my best to calm him down - I knew his girlfriend loved him, she was just excited about a new opportunity for her life. Anyone graduating college was looking for such opportunities - it was really no different than being accepted into law or medical school - it wasn't her fault that hers would take her overseas.
That night, I was able to eventually calm him down - or so I thought. We were sitting in the living room of the house we rented, and he'd finally come around to reason, saying of course I was right, and he was overreacting. About twenty minutes later, he dismissed himself, saying he'd been so ridiculous about things, he'd been too upset to eat, and was starving. He said he was going to run by the local burger place, and asked if I wanted anything. When I replied no, he went on his way, and I headed off to bed.
About two days later, as I watched the news, I was horrified. Aro's girlfriend had turned up missing. What was even worse, was that Aro suddenly appeared more light-hearted, less worried...I knew he had done something, something horrible. I tried to talk to him about her disappearance a few times, many times...but his behavior was very odd, and unstable. One moment he'd cry about it, the next he'd be enraged about it. One night, after we'd been out at a party, and he'd had too much to drink, he said something he shouldn't have, something I knew he didn't remember saying:
"Carlisle, I miss Anna. She was so beautiful...do you know, I used to love watching her in the rain?" Aro said quietly.
I hesitated, wary of where this would lead. Honestly, at the time, he was a bit scary. "I'm sorry, Aro..." was all I said in reply.
"She was mine, you know. Mine. Why would anyone want to go off to Paris to internship? Ridiculous...I could have given her the world, right here. My family, as well as me, could have given her anything." Aro hesitated. "But NO - it wasn't enough - never enough! No matter what I gave that bitch, it wasn't enough! Ha ha ha - she deserves what she got, Carlisle - she deserves it, don't ever doubt that." I nodded absently, afraid that he might actually be paying attention to me - having only a month until graduation, I was determined to remain 'under his radar,' as they say...I honestly just wanted to get away.
As I heard him take an impatient breath, I brought myself back to the present.
I could feel him studying my expression closely, so I felt I'd better get myself together and put on the charm. "Forgive me, friend, I forget my manners - you simply caught me by surprise," I chuckled. "I'm afraid I've been buried in relentless paperwork for too long." Smiling, I motioned to the stacks in front of me.
Aro continued to carefully watch my movements, smiling slightly. "No worries, Carlisle...we all have our moments, do we not? Anyway, I am in town on business, so I thought I would stop by and see you - it's been years, after all. The last time we saw one another was graduation, was it not? Yes, I am certain it was...such fun, college. It almost makes me feel old, remembering our antics. I attribute much of my entertainment in those years to having you as my roommate, believe it or not. Before I met you, I was...a bit introverted, if you can believe that, ha ha ha."
Clenching my insides, I smiled back at him, forcing a laugh. "That is indeed hard to believe, Aro - you were quite entertaining as well, you know."
"Ha ha, well, I don't know about that, but if you say so, how can I possibly argue with a mind as great as yours?" Aro questioned. I paused, not knowing exactly where to lead this conversation next. Truthfully, I'd like to lead it to an end - to get him out of my office, and far, far out of town.
Aro looked around him, taking in the contents of my office, or as Esme jokingly called it, my second home. "It seems that you've made quite a life for yourself, Carlisle. Are you happy with the career you've chosen?"
"Yes, I truly love helping people in any way I can. It's incredibly rewarding," I replied.
"What about the ones you can't save? Is it hard for you, when it comes to death?" Aro asked, gazing at me with intent curiosity.
This behavior, this type of question, was too much like the Aro that I remembered...it wasn't right. "Unfortunately, Aro, that is part of the job, and all of us deal with it in our own way. It can be difficult at times," I answered truthfully, hoping to satiate his odd curiosity.
He chuckled in response. "Probably one of the reasons I changed my major from Pre-Med to Law - somehow, I don't think I'd deal with loss well."
I bit my tongue, knowing the absurdity of that statement - true to one extent, insanely false to another. I had to get him out of here.
"Well, Aro, it was great to see you, however, I have to start making rounds to check on all my patients. If I'd known you were coming to town, I could have made arrangements to see you more...I apologize." Yes - could, not would. Could was definitely the key word in that statement, as I knew I would have avoided him like the plague.
Again, Aro studied me for a moment before responding. "Of course, my friend. If nothing else, I'm more than reasonable, and recognize when my presence is a hindrance - you have your work to do, and I won't get in the way. I do wish I could see more of you, though - I still have a few days left in town, so perhaps we can work something out? We are approaching a weekend, you know - surely you don't work on the weekends?" Aro questioned in a slightly condescending manner.
I hesitated. What should I do here? This was a very precarious situation...it had to be worded just right. "Well...of course I would love to see you again as well, but I do have some prior commitments I've made. We'll just have to see what we can do - you can call my voicemail, and I'll get back to you," I said as I handed him my card, which only had my number here at the hospital.
Aro glanced at the card in his hand, and then back at me. "Alright, Carlisle. I do hope - " he cut off in mid-sentence, his line of sight completely interrupted. Worried, I followed his gaze to see what had caught his attention...and was immediately greatly disturbed.
"Carlisle - you didn't say you had a family! I assume that's who all of these lovely people are? Look at all of you - all seven of you! Tremendous. How on earth do you handle that, along with your job?" he laughed. Suddenly, his expression became a bit more fixated. He was focusing on something in the photograph, which made me start to slightly panic. Maybe if he didn't say anything, it would be alright. Maybe he was just looking closer, not at anything in particular. No...who was I kidding - I knew that look on his face, the odd look that made my gut wrench. Before I could do anything else, he spoke.
"Carlisle, friend...who is this?" he turned the photo so I could see it, and pointed at one lone figure within. I looked, to see who he was pointing at.