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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:


7. You Found Me

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3081   Review this Chapter

"A soul mate is someone who has the locks that fit our keys, and the keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for whom we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life."
-Richard Bach.

Two weeks later
Carlisle POV

The warm, Wisconsin sun ascended above its barrier of tree tops, smiling at me as it bathed my limbs with a radiant glow of warmth while I rested upon a lichen-covered boulder. The long, discolored grass that surrounded me danced in the ever warming springtime breeze. Over the past month I had learned to observe the aesthetic temperament of nature a great deal more. At one time the soil had just been the bare substance of the earth, it was the structure that I merely skimmed as I searched for the one place I belonged. Now, upon discovering such a place, the ground and everything upon it provided the framework for the prospect of an improved existence.

It was a possibility that this change in my mentality was a result of the woman who now shared my house. Esme had become, over the last fortnight, a true "Cullen". I was beyond delighted that she now, emotionally, possessed my family name, we were now bound in at least one way. I had always sensed the hidden connection that affixed her to me but now it felt like I was attached to her. I was hers in the way that the earth and everything upon it belonged to God. She held my mind, body and soul; she just did not know it yet. I became hers as soon as her eyes, like rubies, met mine on that first day of our new life.

Our future, as a family - Edward, Esme and I, on this Earth could stretch into infinity. There would be the trials and tribulations of any human life, yet onwards we could proceed, together, as an entity. I never really understood the concept of a family in the past. The thought of a woman I could love and call my wife, and a child we could call our own, was cast aside as I aided my father, the only semblance of family I had ever known for a number of centuries. I never truly appreciated my opportunities until the choices were taken from me. I knew when I found the copper haired boy with the piercing, emerald eyes what had been filched from me I recognized a mere three years ago, what I now know with Esme, that once I had him in my life I could not live without him. Only this time, my being revolved around the feminine affections of the caramel haired beauty, as opposed to the way I relied on Edward for familial love. I had proven to myself time and time again that I had the capability to anything I set my mind to, no matter how outlandish and arduous it may be. Yet, without her by my side, whether that being as a treasured acquaintance or in a romantic sense, I would once again become nothing.

While I knew, beyond all doubt, my feelings for her, I was still rendered somewhat timorous of expressing them due to the looming uncertainty of her feelings for me. What if the outcome did not correspond with the selfish dreams that buzzed in my mind? Was it too forward of me two weeks ago to kiss her forehead upon seeing her after her week away from my presence? Could my private, undisclosed declaration of fondness be yet another self-seeking wish from the second selfish man in her life?

If it did transpire that my emotions were one sided, what would I do? What could I do? There would be no hesitation on my part in regard to my feelings, yet I could not be so narrow-minded that I would disallow movement on hers. If she did not return my feelings I would never, could never, waver from my belief that I needed her to be near me. I would push my thoughts aside and live with them, contained for eternity, as long as we could still be a family and I would hope and pray like I never had before that one she would change her mind.

If she left me upon discovering my feelings, I would lose that half of my heart that warmed when she was near and buzzed when she touched me. It was the same for Edward. Over the past two weeks, Esme had become close to my son and became the only companion he had besides myself. If she were to leave our life would crumble. Shamefully, I would not be able to act like the father Edward regarded me as, if I were deprived of her presence. Does this mean that my feelings could be explained as love? Was it a dependency on the endearing woman from a decade prior? Whatever my thoughts could be described it pulled at my anxious, unbeating heart as I tried to make sense of the world these emotions had transported me in to.

"It's obvious," a familiar voice remarked from close by. I looked up to find Edward making his appearance through the dry, bramble bush. His teeth glittered, as did the dazzling facets of his diamond skin, as he stepped into the small clearing.

I see you bagged that mountain lion, I concluded, noting how his eyes were now a molten gold from a fresh kill.

"Don't change the subject," he smirked, settling himself in the grass before me. His eyes stared into mine for an immeasurable amount of time before either of us broke the silence.

"You're confused," he finally concluded. It was times like these that I was partial to Edward's gift. I was satisfied to think that I could read my son, just like any good parent. I liked to believe that I could tell when something was wrong, but Edward still remained a half uncovered painting. The unevenness in power was sometimes frustrating because to him I was an open book, but at times like these that I was partial to Edward's gift because with his gift and his kind heart he could summarize feelings and thoughts better than anyone else I knew

"Carlisle, this is not something I should have to tell you. I cannot and I will not speak for Esme, but believe me when I say that she cares for the pair of us." I believed Edward to be right when he spoke. Like most things in our three years together, his gift has given him an insight into my life as well as everyone else's, yet he always stayed out of private matters in order to let people come to their own conclusions. Esme's mind was as just as much closed to me as it was open to my son; however, I would not have willed it to be any other way. I wanted the time so I can try to read her myself, page by glorious page, word by wonderful word.

"All I can really say, Carlisle, is that you alone know your own heart and you know where it lies just as well as I do. She is someone who has touched both of our lives and I already hold her at a high esteem. She is the mother that I never knew I would once again acquire and I love her as such."

My pride in my son blossomed at his unknown avowal. I had not expected anyone, least at such an early stage, to become a surrogate after his human mother, Elizabeth Masen, died. I had been in their presence for little under a day when I noticed the bond that ran blood deep between the human Edward Masen Junior and his mother. It was something that I had never understood at the time, how his mother had given her life, and her chances of restoration, just so she could ensure his survival once her soul left the Earth. However, Esme was an extremely lovable woman. She had the gift of love I believe, you had just to be in her presence to fall for the charm of her looks, mind and heart.

"Exactly," he continued, expounding on my thoughts. "Think back, Carlisle. I've seen your thoughts of your first encounter and I can see that even then you wanted her. When you found her for the second time, you again longed for her. When you were separated, Carlisle, being in your presence was unbearable. I don't need my gift to see that she has changed you so absolutely, it is a wonder you cannot see it. She is your soul mate, Carlisle. You cannot let her go."

Edward stood, seemingly content with his words, and disappeared lithely back into the forest without a backwards glance at me. My mouth hung agape, my eyes wide as I started at the spot my son had just recently occupied. The tepid air buzzed with the electricity that ran through me as Edward said those five words.

She is your soul mate.

~*~*~*~

The moon above us cast a white light that illuminated the secretive paths of the forest and the trees that framed where I ran. Ahead of me, Esme danced along. Her cream dress fanned out behind me, fluttering in the wind as the light danced over her silky, alabaster skin. Her butterscotch hair whipped around her face as she turned to face me, her dark eyes crinkled with joy before a glorious giggle bubbled from her lips.

"Catch me, Carlisle," she sang. Her slender legs, visible below the hem line of her dress, caught the light, bleaching them a dazzling white, as she nimbly tracked over the forest floor as she used her newborn strength. Before too long she was nothing but a perfume in the air as she disappeared into the forest while I followed sluggishly behind her, her smile still painted across my vision.

I rushed into the blackness of the forest, following the chilly breeze of nighttime that showed me Esme's trail. It pushed my slightly too long hair into my face and warmed the always icy limbs that hung past my upturned shirt sleeves. The trees began to thin as I heard the rush of water of the smooth shore line of Lake Superior and upon rounding a large oak tree, I found her standing with her back to me. Her slim fingers lovingly ran through the flowers that surrounded her lower body as she stared serenely out onto the water.

I walked over to her, my footsteps whispering over the fragrant grass. Her body drew me in quickly, so I was not suprised when I found myself within touching distance. I wound my arms around her, my clasped hands covering the expanse of the smooth plane of her stomach as I placed my chin on her shoulder. I was rewarded by a shy smile as she turned willingly into my always open arms, her thin limbs wrapping around my torso as she pressed her face into my shirt. I placed my nose in the space where her neck met her lithe shoulder and as the scent of the flowers in the open field bombarded me with their perfume, Esme's vanilla and lavender taste invaded my soul as I rocked the pair of us in the wind to the rhythm of her breaths against my heart.

Some could call me a masochist at this point in times. I was still unsure of her feelings as I flooded all my adoration into the small woman in my arms, yet if this was all I was going to be given, then I planned on trying my hardest no matter how much pain it ultimately caused me.

The wind around us changed as midnight approached and the steady tide that counted time quickened dramatically, showering us with the salty spray from the water. I changed my posture slightly, almost imperceptibly andwrapped her more securely in my arms, protecting her against the chilly wind that hit us now. Even though it would do nothing for her now, I had an impulsive need to protect the smaller female from any form of danger.

I pressed an open mouthed kiss to her neck, under which just thirty days prior her blood had weakly pumped. The soft pad of her nose ran across the prominent bone of my jaw while her tiny fingers played agilely with the loose cotton of my shirt at the small of my back as I lifted my head and placed my chin on the waves of her caramel hair. I looked out onto the expanse of the lake, the moon casting its shadow across the dark plane of water.

She is your soul mate, Carlisle, Edward's voice sang to me.

"Carlisle?" Esme whispered vulnerably into my shoulder as her arms tightened around my midriff.

"What's wrong?" I asked immediately, lifting my head from hers to seek for the sign of threat I had obviously missed. Her eyes flickered to mine in confusion, as her small hand grasped at the back of my neck. The vermillion orbs ofher eyes became hazy as they filled with the only tears that we could produce; they looked upon me with enough devotion that I felt like my heart would explode.

"Esme," I murmured, her name running off my tongue like it was destined to do so. Her eyes timidly fluttered closed as she leant towards me unconsciously. I closed the gap between our bodies more than willingly, her body fitting against my chest easily. I peppered the smooth surface of her forehead with kisses before moving back to look into her eyes, which flashed open and revealed a dark sea of thirst.

Taking a deep breath of unnecessary air, I pressed my palm into her cheek, marveling as she longingly leaned into my touch. With the fingers of my other hand I tipped her chin towards me, the allure of her delectable breath drawing me the rest of the way until my lips covered hers. Her arms maintained their place pressed against my stomach as I brushed my tongue, in an animalistic urge, against her lower lip, my hands finding their place at her slender waist.

As I drew away, my lips cried out from the lack of contact and her eyes fluttered open, revealing a hint of surprise in their depths.

"Carlisle?" she whispered uncertainly. Her hands played tenderly with the buttons of my shirt as her eyes looked everywhere but in to mine.

"I adore you," I whispered, the heavy weight of the declaration soon disappeared from my shoulders. Her smooth maroon lips dropped open, her tawny eyebrows rising in disbelief, and I knew in that instant she did not feel the same. As I watched the tears of venom well in her eyes, the understandable fear that I had said something that I would regret came true.

"That was too forwards of me, I'm sorry." My words came out in a rush as I hurried to rectify the situation. I was surprised as she fell into my chest, her body trembling with the force of her sobs as she clung to me almost painfully tight.

"Please don't cry," I pleaded, covering her back with my arms. "It doesn't matter to me if you don't feel the same, now or ever... Oh Esme," I moaned, placing my face in her hair, "I'm sorry."

I felt something wet and warm press against my neck. The woman in my arms shifted slightly, but made no attempt to leave the protective cage, until her head was pressed against my heart. "I love you," Esme mumbled softly, supporting the pronouncement I'd never dreamed of with a gentle kiss where my unbeating heart laid.

My arms wrapped around her as a euphoric sensation of bliss ran over me. I felt my own venom bubble in my eyes, wishing that I could expel the tears that Esme had brought to my eyes. I pressed my forehead against her, my breathing becoming labored with joy as I chastely pressed my lips against her nose and my eyes drifted closed. The heart that had remained dormant and untouched for so long now felt like it would beat in pleasure. As I opened my eyes and lost myself in the depths of hers I knew I had found my reason for living. I had found the only woman I had wanted to own my heart, the only woman I would willingly offer my life for; I had once again found the world as I swan in a beautiful sea of crimson.

"Carlisle?" she smiled, her small, flawless nose nuzzling with my own.

"Mmhmm?" The response came lazily from the content smile that remained cemented on my lips.

"Kiss me?" she murmured uncertainly. I was only too willing to oblige. The smile never left my lips as I framed her exquisite heart shaped face delicately in my hands and it didn't vanish as our lips touched for the second time. My heart leapt as her tongue met mine, her small hands greedily running through my hair as she pulled me closer than I ever dreamed I would be. I groaned needily as she captured my bottom lip between hers. Finally, the necessity to be a gentleman won out my raw, animalistic need for her and I pulled unwillingly away from her.

"My darling," I whispered into the place where her aromatic hair met her flawless skin. "My love," I drawled, swiftly kissing her cheeks. "My Esme," my lips met hers briefly.

She looked up at me and through her eyes I could feel the love she felt for me, the affection I did not deserve from a woman like her. "I love you," she uttered again, leaning her forehead against my collar bone.

"Forever."