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The Lure of Esme

Summary:
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*


Notes:
I don't own twilight - Stephenie Meyer does.


3. Chapter 3

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The Lure of Esme - Chapter 3

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.

Esme.

No, no, no - this wasn't happening. I looked at Aro's expression - it was the exact same expression he carried after he met Anna. That expression wasn't a good thing. How would I keep him away now? Aro wasn't the type of person just to drop it - he would see something he liked and go after it at all costs. There was no way in hell he would do that with my wife. Not now, not ever.

"That, my friend, is Esme - my wife."

"Your wife!" he beamed. "She is beyond beautiful, Carlisle."

"Thank you. If you would excuse me, I need to check on my patients."

"Oh yes, of course. I will reach you perhaps sometime this weekend. I would love to meet your wife and family," he said, still gazing at the photograph. After another uncomfortable minute, he seemed to realize he was staring a bit longer than what would be normal. Abruptly, he set the picture back on my desk and met my gaze expectantly.

“We'll see what can be arranged," I smiled falsely. My weekend would be spent keeping Aro away from my family...if at all possible.

--

When I arrived home, I found Bella, Edward's girlfriend, cooking in the kitchen. The house smelled delicious, but I was curious where my Esme was. I needed to hold her in my arms. I needed to see her beautiful eyes, her warm smile; I needed her to calm me. My shift had ended badly - I was so distracted with the image of Aro, that I barely heard anything around me. My med students had to ask their questions numerous times; I asked my patients the same questions over and over. It was the worst day of my professional career in quite some time.

"How was your day, Carlisle?" Bella asked.

"Long. Very long. That smells good," I replied.

"Thanks. It should be done in about a half hour. I hope you don't mind. Charlie is working the overnight shift, and I didn't feel like staying by myself," Bella said self-consciously.

"You know you're always welcome here. Where is Esme?"

"She went up for a nap a little while ago."

"Where's everyone else?" I asked.

“Somewhere in the house. I'm sure they'll all come running when I say it's done," Bella answered, smiling at me.

"Probably. I'm going to go check on Esme."

"Okay."

I left Bella in the kitchen and worked my way upstairs. There I saw my angel laying on our bed, her arm draped over her slightly expanding belly. She was so beautiful. I didn't want to wake her just yet. Instead, I quietly shut the door and stood watching her. Every now and then a smile would grace her beautiful face, and I knew she was dreaming...most likely about the babies.

The love I felt for this woman was overwhelming. The thought of it made my heart stop and my lungs freeze. She would leave me breathless and not even know it.

Fear started creeping back over me when I thought about the events that happened earlier in the day. The thought of Aro and Esme made me shudder. I would need to make sure she was never alone with him. The only way that was possible, was to keep him away from the house. As easy as that sounds, I knew it would be next to impossible. He would insist upon meeting everyone and see what kind of personal life I built - even if I ignored him, I knew his persistency would win out somehow...he could be very resourceful when he needs to be.

There was a quiet tap on the door behind me.

"Dinner's ready," I heard Bella say.

I walked over to our bed, and sat next to Esme, brushing the hair from her face. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes.

"Carlisle? What time is it? I need to start dinner..."

"It's already started, don't worry," I murmured comfortingly.

"What? Is Emmett trying to cook again?" Esme started to get up, alarmed at the thought of Emmett in the kitchen - his few attempts at trying to cook anything at all had been disasterous.

"No, Bella's here. Did you enjoy your rest?"

"Yes. I didn't realize I slept so long. How was your day?" she asked, calming down.

I hesitated for a moment. "Fine..." I said, deciding not to alarm her - bringing up Aro, and having to explain the situation would only cause her stress - I needed to think about how to handle this before I said anything. We had the babies to think about.

"Are you sure?" she asked, uncertain. She knew me well enough to know when I was hesitating.

"Yes. Nothing to worry about," I reassured her.

"You didn't loose any of your patients today, did you?" Esme persisted.

"Thankfully, no. I assure you dear, everything is fine. It was just a long day...it's better now that I'm home with you," I whispered as I leaned over and softly kissed her forehead.

I helped her up from our bed and pulled her into my arms and breathed in her scent. It was heaven. She smelt of lilac, and it was intoxicating. She looked up at me and pulled her lips to mine. A few moments later, we made our way downstairs to dinner.

"Bella, this was delicious, thank you," Esme said as we sat at the table.

"Not a problem, I enjoy helping out," Bella smiled.

"Is Charlie working overnight tonight?" Esme asked.

"Yeah...I hope you don't mind that I'm here," Bella said quietly, glancing at Edward. He nodded, reassuring her that it was fine.

"Not at all, dear - you know you're welcome here. Remind me to put the leftovers in Tupperware for Charlie," Esme replied.

“Thanks. I made dessert, too."

"Damn, Bella, you're gonna get us all fat," Emmett teased.

"You're just lucky I made your favorite," Bella laughed.

"You did?" Emmett asked eagerly.

"Yeah - chocolate cupcakes with whipped frosting and gummie worms on yours- just how you like it." Bella chuckled.

"That's it! you're never leaving the house again! Not when you feed me this good," Emmett said as he got up and went searching for the cupcakes.

"Oh and what, my food isn't good enough all of the sudden?!" Esme said.

“No, that's not what I meant -" Emmett said, freezing in his tracks. He looked around at the rest of us, unsure of where this outburst had come from.

"I spend all day keeping this house in order, getting anything and everything you guys ask for and now you're saying it's not good enough?" Esme asked, tears in her eyes.

“Esme, I'm sorry, I thought I was just helping out. I didn't want to wake you from your nap," Bella said, her eyes wide with concern.

"Maybe you should just move in and completely take over since obviously you do things better than I do."

Esme stood and hurried from the room. I looked over at Bella, who had tears in her eyes. Everyone was sitting in stunned silence.

"I'm sorry, Carlisle, I didn't mean..." Bella trailed off, unsure of what to say. Edward reached over and grabbed onto her hand, trying to comfort her.

"It's okay, Bella. What you did was wonderful. Thank you. I think Esme is just feeling stressed...and combined with the surge of hormones, she may just need some time to adjust."

I stood and went to find Esme. I knew she didn't mean it, and her emotions had gotten the best of her. Esme was standing by the gazebo in her garden, fidgeting with the rose bushes that were creeping in.

"Remind me next spring to tear these out. They're not doing so well here," she said quietly.

"Esme, are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

"You know Bella didn't mean any harm. She was just trying to help."

"And those hydrangea... they need to be torn out too. Come to think of it, this whole garden needs a re-do..." she trailed off.

"Esme?" I began again, wanting her to open up to me. Clearly, something was bothering her deeply; it was completely unlike her to become upset with anyone, much less when someone was trying to help.

Abruptly, she turned, and threw herself into my arms, sobbing. I held her tightly, trying to comfort her.

"Carlisle, I'm an awful, awful person - I can't believe I just said those things to Bella! I'm just so worried, and so scared...it's incredibly difficult, trying to not be stressed... I feel like I'm stressed out about trying not to be stressed, if that makes any sense..." she continued crying into my shoulder.

"Shh...of course it makes sense, dear. Everything is going to be fine. Don't worry about Bella, I'm sure she understands, as does everyone else," I soothed.

After a few moments, she quieted, and I led her over to the bench in the gazebo. We sat in silence for a few minutes, as I let her gather her thoughts. This kind of stress was exactly why I had chosen not to bring up the situation with Aro earlier...like she needed anything else to worry about. Eventually, she began to speak.

"I don't want to become less of a mother to our five wonderful children that we already have... I feel like I'm not doing enough for them, since I'm having to get so much rest. I suppose that's what made me overreact to poor Emmett's comment - I was worried that they'll feel left out, and I don't want that. Bella is such a lovely girl, so selfless and caring, and here I scream at her because of my own insecurities. I just want all of my children to feel loved equally..." she left off, staring at her hands folded in her lap.

"There's no way anyone could not feel loved around you, dear. This will be an adjustment - I understand your concerns, after all, we didn't have five other children when we were pregnant before. However, you need to remember that Edward, Emmett, Jasper, Alice and Rosalie all know exactly how much we love them, and they are old enough to help out around here - they want to, for goodness sake. They are just as thrilled about the twins as we are, Esme. Of course, Bella may as well be included - she's just as much a part of this family by now," I smiled warmly at my wife.

Hesitantly, she returned my smile, sighing. "Thank you, Carlisle. You're right... do you think Bella will forgive me?"

"Of course, dear - you know she will."

EsmePOV

After a while, Carlisle and I returned to the house. Emmett and Jasper were playing pool and Carlisle went to referee. Even though I had just woken from my nap, I was exhausted again and went upstairs, found an old Judy Garlin movie on television and climbed into bed. A little while later there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," I said.

Bella hesitantly walked in, closing the door behind her.

"I come with a peace offering," she said quietly.

I smiled hesitantly. "As if you needed such a thing, dear. What did you bring?"

She held out her hands. "Ben and Jerry's Cookie dough ice cream."

"Bella, I should be the one apologizing. I shouldn't have said that. I'm so sorry. Can you forgive me?"

"It's okay," she said handing me the ice cream. "I know you're dealing with a lot..."

"Would you like to stay? I'll share," I offered.

"Sure," Bella replied, smiling softly.

I pulled the covers down and Bella crawled in next to me.

"Edward is really lucky to have you Bella. I hope you know that. I also hope you know you're a part of this family, and your help is much appreciated - you just have to put up with an occasional irrational emotional outburst from me," I laughed lightly, hoping she understood how sorry I was.

“Thank you," Bella laughed softly with me, and I knew everything was fine.