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.
8. Chapter 8
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2857 Review this Chapter
After dinner, I helped Esme into the car and drove home. My mind was still reeling about everything that had happened tonight; I'd been expecting a quiet dinner alone with my wife, and instead I had dinner with my wife and Aro. I wasn't sure what had surprised me more - the perfume he had purchased for her, or the ticket to the medical conference I was dying to go to.
Once we were home, I helped Esme to bed and joined the kids in the living room.
"Emmett, can I speak with you please?" I asked.
"What did you do now?" Rose asked Emmett, laughing.
"Nothing! I swear!" Emmett proclaimed.
"Right," Rose replied sarcastically.
"Carlisle, tell her I haven't done anything," Emmett pleaded.
"Rose dear, I just need to speak with him. He's not in trouble," I said with a playful smile.
"Yet," Jasper murmured under his breath.
I lead Emmett into my study and closed the door.
"Emmett, I need a favor, and I need you to not mention anything about it."
"Sure. What's up?" he questioned.
I sat on the couch in my study and rubbed my eyes. It had been a long night.
"I'm going away to a medical conference for a few days and I need someone to watch after Esme. Edward will be with Bella helping her study for mid-terms, and I know Alice and Jasper have plans. I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone so close to our delivery date - you know the problems we've had with the other pregnancies," I explained.
"No problem. I'd be more than happy to help. Did something happen at your last appointment?" Emmett asked, concerned.
"No, nothing like that. She's just close enough that if she wanted to go out, she would need someone to drive her and I just don't like her being alone."
"No worries. I don't have anything planned, and I think Rose wanted to go with Alice. Don't worry about it," he said.
"Thanks. One last thing, I need you to not mention it to anyone else. I don't want Esme thinking I'm leaving a babysitter."
"I'll use my natural charm on her - you know she loves it," Emmett grinned.
A few days later, I was standing in the garage with Esme. Her eyes were full of tears.
"Why are you crying, angel?" I asked quietly.
"I don't know. Just emotional, I guess," she replied.
"I'll only be gone until Sunday."
"I know. Part of me doesn't want you to go. Is that selfish of me?" she asked, smiling up through her glistening eyes.
"No. Part of me doesn't want to leave you as well. But I know you'll be safe here, and I'll call each night. You know I wouldn't go if it didn't mean so much for my career." That, and if I wasn't completely sure that Aro would be out of town as well, I thought.
"You'll call when you get there too, right?" she asked.
"Yes, of course. Please promise me you'll be safe these next few days."
"I will. I have a date with our bed and a few movies," she laughed softly.
"Perfect. I love you." I said, gazing into her eyes.
"I love you, Carlisle."
I pulled her to me, kissed her softly, and turned to leave. It was always difficult to part from your loved one, even if for only a few days. At least I knew she'd be safe.
The house always seemed empty when Carlisle was away. Sure the kids kept it noisy, but it never felt like home without him. After Carlisle had left for his conference, I walked back into the house, wiping the tears from my eyes.
"Esme, what's wrong?" Emmett asked.
"Nothing... I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" he asked again, walking over to me.
"Really, Emmett. I'm okay."
Later that night, Carlisle called to say he made it to the conference and that he ran into a few friends. I was happy to hear that he was enjoying himself.
The next day, I busied myself with preparations for Easter dinner. It would be the last big meal I made for the family, since the twins would be born a few short weeks later, and I was getting to the point where I didn't want to be on my feet all that long. The kids had gone off to do their thing, while Emmett stayed home with me. I knew he had wanted to go with Rose, Alice and Jasper into Vancouver for the weekend, but for some reason he stayed behind. Maybe Carlisle talked him into it. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed not being alone.
Once I had all the groceries put away, I made my way up to my room and settled in for a movie marathon.
It had been a few hours since we returned from the store. I decided to check on Esme, since I hadn't seen her since we got back. I poked my head in her room and found her peacefully sleeping in bed. I turned her television off and made sure the blanket was tucked in just right. If I screwed this up, Carlisle would never forgive me.
I had studying of my own to get done, but I found my way to the game room and flipped on XBox 360 and played Halo for a few hours. My concentration was interrupted by my cell phone.
"Emmett, it's me," Carlisle said. "How are things going? Is Esme okay?"
"She's fine. She's sleeping upstairs."
"I thought she might be - that's why I called your cell instead of the house phone - I didn't want to disturb her. Have you made dinner? It's almost seven."
"No. I will though. No! Don't shoot there!"
"Emmett, what are you doing? Don't you have a test coming up?" Carlisle asked warily.
"Yes...sorry, I was playing Halo," I replied guiltily.
"Why don't you start dinner and wake her, alright? I have to get back, but just let her know I called."
"I will. Cya."
I put down my cell phone and cleaned up a bit before going to head upstairs, only to find Esme coming down the stairs. I met her and held my hand out for her to steady herself with.
"Thank you, Emmett. What would you like for dinner?" she asked.
"Pizza or something? I was going to make something, but I haven't figured out what yet," I admitted sheepishly.
"Nonsense. You know I like cooking, besides, I won't be able to do it for much longer," she said, smiling back at me.
"I know. I just didn't want to burden you."
"You are not a burden, Emmett. You know that," Esme murmured as she patted the back of my hand reassuringly.
The doorbell rang.
"I'll get it. You sit and look at take-out menus - just forget the cooking, at least for tonight," I ordered, remembering Carlisle telling me to start dinner - if he knew Esme had ended up cooking for me after all, I'd probably be in trouble.
"Alright...Chinese sounds good," I heard her say as I walked to the front door. When I opened it, I was greeted with a familiar face.
"Good evening, Emmett. Might I ask if Mrs. Cullen is home?" Aro asked.
"Yeah, come on in. She's in the living room," I said, stepping aside to let Carlisle's friend in. He always seemed so polite - I could see how they had been friends in college.
"Emmett, dear, who is it?" Esme called.
I walked with Aro, who was carrying two large bags in his hands, into the living room.
"Oh, Mr. Volterra, I thought you were flying back home?" she asked, slightly confused.
"Hello, Esme. It's lovely to see you. You're looking quite well. In answer to your question, yes, that was the plan, but it turns out my former assistant took care of everything for me. She sent me the paperwork and all I had to do was sign. I hope you're hungry, as I brought dinner."
"Oh - well that was certainly considerate of you. Actually, Emmett and I were just deciding on what to have - you have good timing," she laughed softly.
"Oh, that reminds me...I have something for you, Emmett. I know you're into football, so I figured you'd like this." He reached into one of his bags and held out a small box to me.
"Sweet!! How'd you get this? This isn't even on store shelves for another two months!" I exclaimed, dinner entirely forgotten.
"Ah - don't worry yourself with such matters, Emmett - I have friends in many different vocations, so it was merely a matter of making the right phone call," he laughed lightly, smiling back at me.
"Wow. Thank you - Esme, yell if you need me, I'll be downstairs," I said, giving her a quick peck on the cheek before I turned and dashed back in the direction of the game room, with my new video game in hand. Aro was so cool.
"That boy of yours sure has energy," Aro said to me, chuckling softly.
"Why do you think we put him in sports?" I joked. "What did you bring for dinner?" I was famished.
"Ah... Here. I remembered your favorite. I hope that's alright," he replied, removing a box and setting it on the table.
Glancing at the label, I chuckled as I read 'Chicken Parmigiana.' "Yes, thank you."
I stood, moving towards the kitchen to get us plates and silverware. I barely made it a couple of feet before Aro stepped in front of me, blocking my way.
"Forgive me, but what kind of guest would I be to show up for dinner and have you do all the work setting the table? Please, Esme - relax, and go sit back down. I am perfectly capable of finding everything we need," he said.
I hesitated for a moment longer, and he began to speak again.
"Esme...I am here because I know how hesitant Carlisle was to leave you alone for the weekend - when my plans changed, I realized it would only be the least I could do to come here and keep my friend's wife company. Actually, I've come to think of you as my friend too; I hope that's not too presumptuous of me? I am quite sure it would put Carlisle's mind at ease if he knew I was here caring for you, helping out - please make my job easier by letting me do just that," he finished, meeting my gaze.
I paused, feeling guilty for making everyone feel that they had to help out, or watch over me. Shaking my head, I made my way back to the table. Of course I felt bad, but he had already gone out of his way to bring us dinner, and he was giving up his own time, on a weekend, to help out one of his friends - I wouldn't want Carlisle to think I was being rude, or unappreciative, after all.
"Thank you, Aro. You'll find everything in the kitchen. If you don't mind, would you take Emmett's food in there, and put it in the fridge, please? I think he'll be busy for a while," I added, laughing a bit. Aro nodded, collected the box containing Emmett's dinner, and smiled happily as he left the room.
Only a few minutes later, we were enjoying the wonderful food from the upscale restaurant we'd been at only days before. Aro had managed to find everything easily, and had set a beautiful table, including candlelight. He'd laughed, saying it was the least he could do for someone surrounded by five teenagers all day. He was very lighthearted and humorous, telling stories of he and Carlisle in college, which kept me laughing throughout our meal. He really was a nice person, and admittedly, it was nice to have the conversation.
Later, after a long evening of varying topics of conversation, Emmett eventually reappeared from the game room, looking dazed. He mumbled something about food, and made his way to the kitchen. Shortly after this, Aro decided it was time to leave, and I was exhausted, so I made my way up to bed. It had been a nice evening, and I couldn't wait to hear Carlisle's voice when he called the next day. He'd surely be thrilled to hear that I'd been having a decent time.
It was mid-morning the next day when I heard the phone ring, and eagerly reached for it. I'd been waiting for his call.
"Hello? Carlisle! I've missed you!" I exclaimed, so happily.
"Esme, I've missed you too, dear. How are you? How are the babies?" Carlisle asked.
"We're all fine. How's the conference?"
"I feel like Emmett when he gets a new video game. It's exciting to see all the new equipment, and the new possibilities for the future," he chuckled.
"Good. I'm glad you went," I said truthfully.
"Me too. Have you heard from the kids?" he asked.
"Edward and Bella joined Alice, Rose and Jasper in Vancouver since Charlie went fishing. That's about it. Emmett's been keeping me company, of course. Speaking of video games, he's been a bit preoccupied," I laughed softly. "Aro stopped by, and he brought Emmett some new game that is apparently quite difficult to get."
"Aro?! I thought he was out of town?" Carlisle exclaimed; he sounded alarmed, but I didn't know why.
"No... Apparently, his assistant back home took care of everything for him. He decided to stop by out of courtesy to you - he knew you'd hated leaving me alone, so he thought he would keep me company for a while - he was very considerate, he even brought dinner," I explained, trying to understand my husband's sudden mood change.
"Esme - I need to go. I'll be home very soon...as soon as I can manage. Perhaps you should get some rest - tell Aro you're too tired if he comes back over. I need to talk to you about something, but now is not the time. Will you please try to stay in bed and get some rest until I get home? And avoid any more...visitors?" his tone was still urgent, which was making me worry - what had him so upset?
"Alright, I'll try...but it's boring, just sitting around. Is everything ok, Carlisle? You sound like something's wrong..." I asked, trailing off.
He paused, clearly struggling with his response. "I'll be home as soon as I can, Esme. I love you," he said, then he hung up.
I could feel my blood starting to boil. Of course he would change his plans at the last minute. I should have seen this coming. If this wasn't an all-day conference, I would have brought Esme with me.
"How often has he been over?" I asked as I sat in my hotel room, talking on my cell phone.
"Just last night, as I said. He brought that game for Emmett, and food for us. Why?" she asked, sounding concerned.
"Emmett left you?" I asked ignoring her question.
"No, he was just in the other room, playing his video game. Eventually he came out, wanting to eat - he was funny, all dazed from playing so much," she explained, chuckling at the memory. "Shortly after that, Aro decided to leave."
"Nothing...odd happened, did it?" I asked, trying to control my emotions. It wouldn't do anyone any good for me to freak out over the phone, upsetting Esme, turning her into a paranoid mess. No...I would simply have to get home as fast as I could, then explain things to her rationally. I was still concerned about the babies' welfare, but this was too much - I would have to try to calmly explain to my wife why she needed to be alert, and stay away from Aro.
"No...he just kept asking me question after question. He told lots of stories of the two of you in school together, but nothing unusual. I eventually got pretty tired, but that was about it...is something wrong?" she was beginning to sound nervous. I had to calm her down - it wouldn't do any good to get her upset, especially when I wasn't there with her.
"Esme, everything's fine. Has he been over today?" I asked quietly, trying to even my tone out.
"No..." she replied cautiously.
"Perhaps just ignore it if he comes back over today - don't bother answering the door, you really need your rest. I don't need you worrying yourself. Besides - I wanted you to get your rest while I was away, and feeling obligated to sit up for hours entertaining an old friend of mine certainly does not fall under that category," I added, trying to make my request seem reasonable.
"Alright...Emmett really has been taking good care of me, you know."
“That's good to hear," I sighed.
Shortly after that, I ended our phone call. I needed to call the airport, and try to change my entire schedule in order to get home - to get to my Esme, immediately.