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Bridging The Gap

Summary:
The story of Isabella Swan and Edward Cullen is very well known. However, what about that of the heart and soul of the Cullen family?
The vague outline of Esme's human life, put forward by Stephanie Meyer, leaves a lot to the imagination.
What happens between each of these guidelines? What is the attraction between the eternally youthful pair, the glue that holds them together?

When Esme Platt jumped from the cliff in 1921, she thought she had nothing left to live for. As she goes through the fiery transformation, and comes out the other side she finds two men who will forever change her outlook on the life she lost.

When the worlds of the preternatural and humans collide what are the aftereffects? A continuing story of pain, love and learning to trust the world once again. Continues through the Pre-Twilight life of the Cullen "parents."
Canon, EsmexCarlisle,


Notes:


1. Malevolence

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2637   Review this Chapter

It's funny when you watch the motion pictures; when the hero dies their life flashes before their eyes. I used to scoff at the idea while my girlfriends blubbered. How could they always remember their one true love or the significant days until that one moment? How could someone, when staring down the barrel of a gun, remember all these things and not the impending doom?

I look out at the expanse of Lake Superior from my very own, exclusive viewpoint on the edge of a cliff. Now that I actually faced death, I wonder if I had been wrong. Maybe my life would flash before my eyes. Or maybe not...maybe I would get to choose my final thoughts. The wind at my back gave a persuasive puff, rocketing me forward towards the edge, even as the rock crumbled under my grimy, bare feet, I battled this force. I may have said it was corny, but as I watched the sun set on the day and my life as a whole, my life did indeed flash within grasping distance of my face. Although most of my memories caused me anguish, I relished this along with the physical pain in my muscles and my feet because it took some hurt away from that which had caused me to come here. I urged my unconscious to show me my good memories, but it didn't listen; instead, it dredged up the most painful ones.

*****

I was born in 1895 in the town of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Now if you asked my girlfriends what their most life changing experience was, they would say their lives changed when they married or when they gave birth. Mine, however, changed about six years prior to my marriage. Most memories of my childhood and adolescent years were beaten to a bloody pulp as was the body holding them. However, this one day has stayed with me up until this day. Where my parents and friends were slowly losing features in my memory, his face stays put. If I try hard enough it is his wheat hair and topaz eyes I can see in the sun as if he's calling to me, like the angel he appeared to be. I can just make out his scent and his voice saying my name in the chill wind as it blows past me; causing goose bumps to rise upon my skin. Dr Carlisle Cullen was my personal angel, my protector, my mental savior.

After that day, I grew up. Watching Dr. Cullen walk away from me and the life he led in Columbus while I stood by helpless was enough to change my life around. Although it is embarrassing to express, I had far more feelings for the kind stranger than I cared to think. My heart blossomed through his kind and soothing words, as my broken leg healed thanks to his cold and perfect hands. I eventually grew up from the sixteen year old who had grown accustomed to climbing trees with the boys as opposed to knitting with the girls. I grew, I learned, I dreamed; dreams varying from finding my own Carlisle Cullen to moving to the newly expanding west on the railroad to teach in the schools of the new towns.

Each and every one of my previous dreams came crashing down around me when I met Charles, giving way to a new set which all stemmed from this first meeting. In him, I found someone who pleased my mother and a man to whom my father more than willingly gave my hand. He was someone who possessed a higher degree of hope than any other man I had come across since I started to dream. I may not have loved him, but I told myself repeatedly that I would never see my angel again no matter where upon the earth I tread. I married him because my parents taught me that you could learn to love someone just as you learn to read and write, just as my mother had with my father. Charles loved me, I think-or was a very good actor-and cherished me from our courtship months to our wedding, so I put all the feelings I had in my heart aside and I listened to my brain. Now, I wish I had listened to my broken heart.

I remember his smile of complete and utter contentment, and my mother's tears of joy, as I walked down the aisle in my flowing ivory dress by my father's side. We said the traditional vows to one another before the witnesses we had assembled between our families, but I now wish I changed the vows to anything that he couldn't pick apart with a fine tooth comb. His smile, which had been so wide, so utterly convincing, soon changed to a sneer, as the bliss of normal weddings melted into odium, and the bedroom door was closed tightly shut.

I heard stories of physical abuse, even in a small town like the one I used to live in. But never in the years before my marriage did I believe that this sort of abuse would find me. It did. The physical beatings that I took were not so bad now that I think back to them. The pain associated with them would decrease with time, and disappear completely; the scars and bruises I had won would vanish. Whereas the verbal abuse that came from his mouth alone stays with me, even until now and I dare say it will forever. Where the beatings opened up old fissures and branded my pale skin once again, verbal abuse would tear open my diminishing self-esteem and leave me cowering and broken under his raised hand and vulgar drunken slurs. I am still able to remember the different angles his face twisted up as the different emotions ran across it; jealousy, anger, loathing. He could even take me roughly as his own and only his, even though I had no intention or backbone to leave in the first place. I will always be able to remember the lashing sound, and the snap-like feeling of leather over my bare back and the pain of his rough hands, callused from yard work, on the skin of my face or neck, and the ever familiar feelings of the wooden grains under my fingers and knees as I kneeled before him every night. Each and every feeling was freshly imprinted in my mind like it had happened. However, all of these are not comparable to the pain that I am actually feeling now. I feel weirdly content that he didn't have the opportunity to take everything from me. He was not the one to give me the worst pain I have ever experienced, and the pain he did cause me I have learned to live with because I have felt it worse twice before, when the only two people I truly loved disappeared from my life.

I was hospitalized more times than normal for anyone, least someone of my age. The bruises upon my upper arms or thighs gave the tell-tale sign of marital abuse, yet the doctors were either far too oblivious or very heavily bribed to take any notice and just bandaged me up for the falls I was admitted for.

As my friends had children in their own happy marriages, I shrunk back into the shadows of my bedroom, waiting for the next time he would come home from a rather bad day at work and find petty things that would push him into a rage. Where my friends were able to confide anything they wished to their siblings, other friends, or parents, I learned to live a life of solitude in the large house with the six members of staff, who were the only people in on my secret. I found quickly after the fateful day of my wedding that my parents would do anything to keep Charles and I bonded for life. Even as I told them about the clandestine life that I was forced to lead in the confines of the house, or proved my descriptions to be the truth by the marks which were marring my skin, they turned their faces the other way. You are to be a good wife, Esme. You honor your husband, they continually preached to me. So with no parents, a slowly diminishing amount of friends and with nothing of any note present in my life, I spiraled downward, and accepted the punishments I was given with no pleading or crying.

The peaceful side of the earth, the side outside of that which I lived in came down around not only my feet but everyone's in 1914. The Great War started, the light dimmed more from my life as the propaganda posters appeared on brick walls and telegraph poles around the town, as my friends' husbands and some other town folk were drafted to the unknown world of Europe. The beatings I received generally decreased; at least the physical ones. For the years leading up to his drafting, Charles was the person cowering in fear in the house, lest the letter would find him to drag him into the type of wild and vicious world that I was a prisoner in.

It was auspicious that my mind was the only place anyone in my life couldn't enter. Mainly due to how my thoughts would have been drastically frowned upon once the big day arrived. I will always be able to remember the exact shape, size and the handwriting that appeared on the letter as it lay unopened and untouched on the doorstep like some foul smelling animal. I basked in the furious expression upon his face as he read the letter, his vehemence this time centering on the weak, meaningless piece of paper in his strong, brutal hands.

July 3rd, 1916. The steam whistled around me as I stood on the platform with him. The conductors whistles rang through the fog, as the image of a stout man appeared. His loud drawl sounded through the air: Last Call. The sound and sight of Charles' luggage hitting the concrete startled my attention away from my brown, leather shoes. I noticed the look in his eyes only just before his mouth crashed against my own; relentless in its movements and hard as he bit down onto my lower lip drawing my blood once again. "You are mine," his vindictive, sneering voice spat into my ear before he turned, brushing past me in an instant. My tears fell, and I pressed my tongue softly against my damaged lip as his olive drab uniform disappeared from view; the heavy metal doors clanging shut behind him. As the other wives pulled out their lace handkerchiefs while running alongside the steadily quickening train, I stood still, my eyes hitting the floor once again. The veil from my hat hid the first small smile that had graced my lips in years.

He was away for two joyous years. News hit home of soldiers dying, and a grey cloud of misery rolled over our small town. However, in the town's dismay, I was the lone member of society with a trace of pleasure through my life. I was happy alone, strong and content. I dreamt of the day when the letter would find me, telling me of my husband's demise in battle, and in that time it would be the last time that I pretended. In all honesty, I desired for this dream to come true. However, when the news came of the Armistice treaty in 1918, I lost all hope that my wish had come true. The ever present God for most people had once again evaded me and was long gone.

The hollowness in his sunken eyes was an ominous sign once he stepped from the train on that cold December day. From this, I knew that my life, and everything that I had built up in the two years, was crumbling from its core once again; ready and willing to be torn down. The unusual scared and pleading screams that came from his mouth once I was safe in my dreams were enough to scare me. The sharp tang of whiskey on his breath as he breathed down my neck on a night, the drunken stumble of his leather boots on the wooden floor and the bloodshot look to his eyes appeared before his face twisted up with things from the past and the present. His broken and bruised hands did his bidding this time; he threw things, he hit and he strangled as I bordered the world between unconsciousness and consciousness as I hid under my blanket.

The sickness came next about a year after his reappearance. Every morning the same twisting sensation appeared in my lower abdomen as my feet hit the cold bedroom floor. I would stand on my feet; wobble faintly on them before I ran to the bathroom. It would then disappear for hours at a time, in which I ate and ate, and cried at mediocre things which didn't cause me pain. At first I believed it to be the after effects of the night before, or the extremely common twenty-four hour bug which plagued the doctor's surgery or even a late forming bout of food poisoning. It was one day which changed my whole beliefs.

The sick ran from my mouth as I wretched over the lavatory, perspiration mixing with tears as they dripped slowly from my chin. I stood quickly, softly swaying on my unsteady legs as I grabbed the cream basin and looked into the oval mirror placed above it. My brown eyes were sunken and bloodshot, while charcoal black bags appeared underneath. My skin was waxy with sweat as a tendril of hair stuck stubbornly to my forehead. I truly looked like I felt. I placed my clammy hand to my stomach; trying fruitlessly to quell the unease I felt. My small fingers hit something hard; like a defined bump as I probed my belly. I looked back into the mirror before swiftly reaching back to undo my dress which tumbled to my feet, leaving me standing in the bathroom in a silky chemise. It hung slack around my small, thin form all the way to my stomach where the pale pink stretched over a prominent shape. I looked back to the mirror and I almost didn't recognize the woman staring back at me. The tears in my eyes were out of joy rather than pain.

My body became gradually worse of the first few months of my pregnancy. The mental strain of carrying a child in a highly abusive relationship was vast, along with the physical pain of my many beatings and the favorable pain of bearing a child. The body he left me with in 1916 only began to scratch the surface of what my body resembled during my pregnancy. However, it was only when I saw the light purple bruises upon my lower torso, from my own hands, that I truly considered my escape route. I had tried the first four months to minimize any harm that my husband would cause to my babe and so when I saw the harm that I had managed to inflict by achieving my goal, I felt sickened. It was my job as a mother to protect and cherish that life inside me and if I was the one putting him, unintentionally, in danger then it should not be the life I should be forced to live or the world to raise a defenseless child.

With all these ideas in mind, and my life now centered on the tiny force within me; November 1920 became the first time in years that I started to dream again.