Amor Vincit Omnia
Latin for "Love Conquers All," Amor Vincit Omnia will follow the life of Esme and Carlisle throughout history put forward by Stephanie Meyer.
A continuation of "Bridging The Gap" it will consist of a series of snap-shots through the eyes of Carlisle or Esme.
Following canon of Pre-Twilight and the four novels of The Twilight Saga.
2. Bodies and Minds
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3009 Review this Chapter
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
The half moon in the black sky above me cast the street in a doleful white as the shop shutters clattered noisily in their brackets. My footsteps tapped alone on the cobbles of the sparsely populated lane as I briskly walked in the direction of home. It was only when I removed the brass pocket watch from where it lay, that I noticed the late hour. Esme would be worried.
Tugging my jacket tighter around my torso, I quickened my pace. Passing one of the few public houses on the alley, I was assaulted by the revolting smell of liquor and ale. The intoxicated, slurred jeers of the inebriated gentlemen were the humdrum, buzzing noises from within.
Where the majority of the voices in the gaggle were indistinct, a few stood out. I picked the owners to be the group of heavily drunken men seated in a darkened corner of the small room.
"Do you want to get out of here, see what we can pick up?" The first gentleman enquired of his friends.
"After this drink," his red headed companion answered, with a drunken hiccup.
Concern washed over me, clouding my judgments. I found myself sat at the bar, nursing a glass of brew in my cold hands. The three voices of the group stood out all the more above the rabble inside the bar.
The first man, clearly the most sober lounged back in his chair looking out of the window, with concentration etched in the deep lines of his tanned face. His two companions, equally intoxicated, drowned their obvious sorrows in their respective pints of the amber liquid before them.
Through the eyes of the first man I watched the street through the murky pane of glass. Nearly ten at night, the lane was practically deserted, save the few drunk men who stumbled aimlessly from bar to bar. The pale man with his head on the table, sitting to his right, started to snore quietly as the observer's stance straightened.
There's one, he whistled, his lewd thoughts zoning in on a young woman who hurried past the window. Nudging his drowsy companions he threw his head back, drowning the remaining liquid, his mouth twisting in response to the bitterness of the beverage.
Together the three of them stumbled from the bar, their footsteps clattering unsteadily upon the cobbles outside. Throwing a few dollars onto the tacky surface of the bar, I left the offensive liquid well behind as I set off in pursuit.
Think of Carlisle, I reminded myself as I sank into the shadows under the overhanging awnings of the shops. I was hard pressed to maintain the level of composure Carlisle believed me to have as the chasing group became nearer to their goal. Their derogatory internal thoughts bounded against the inside of my skull; their shameful, impious visions of what would happen only added fuel to the fire.
"Hey, sweetheart," the dirty blonde jeered.
Their potential target turned, her dusty brown eyes widening in fear as her wooden heals clacked rapidly on the concrete floor. Oh God, not me, she cried to herself while she clutched her bag tighter to her bosom.
Think of Esme. I pleaded with myself surrounding me with the love that my mother and father felt for me while the men in front of me laughed at the lady's anguish.
Already bristling with a simmering rage I was pushed forth as an image of my adoptive mother in this situation came to me. However, in that sense the chaser was the one man she had put her trust in, he was the one she was married to. It was not too hard to see women just like the flaxen haired woman down the lane from me and the caramel haired woman who would be worrying about me at home, in this situation nationwide.
The three men, even though three sheets to the wind, were a lot quicker than the poor girl and soon had her cornered in a dark alleyway. The sounds of other's footsteps far behind us, back up the street.
Her delicate arms trembled, while her chest heaved with shaking sobs. Tears ran from her eye, as she pushed herself further and further onto the rough wall.
I had to remind myself of the route I had led for nearly a decade. The reason why my eyes were golden, now painted a dark black with thirst and anger. Carlisle. His love and his pride were the only things that have kept me on the right track. Just because I had a gift that could distinguish between the guilty and innocent did not mean that I had the ability to play God with human life. Both stopped me from running forth and throwing the men into the wall at the end of the alley. Both stopped me from showing myself for the being I was, and driving my parents from this town.
"Aren't you a beauty," the first man from the bar drawled, eyeing her like a piece of meat, a horse to buy. His cronies chortled ludicrously in response.
Her heart pounded faster in her chest. Showing resignation, her shoulders dropped as her eyes fluttered closed. I am going to die. Goodbye Fredrick, goodbye mother... Her terrified thoughts continued as I remained crouched in the shadows of the alley.
The red headed moved forward, running his hand through her hair, petting her. As he raised his hand a second time I'd had enough. Pushing all thoughts aside, I said a final prayer for strength.
"Problem, gentlemen?" I asked stepping into the light. All three eyes widened in wonder, as the small woman's creaked open in fear.
We will just wait for him to leave and we will have her, the sandy haired man with bronzed skin thought. "No sir, no problem," he stammered.
Clenching my jaw in disgust, I let out a low snarl. Each of the group jumped in alarm, fear driving their hearts to an extreme pace as they scattered from the alleyway, their imbalanced footsteps running in the opposite direction.
He must be an angel. The woman, their prey, dusted her dress off. Tracks of tears still lined her red cheeks as they threatened to bubble from her eyes. "Thank you, sir," she whispered meekly. Giving me a wide berth, she scurried on her way, in the opposite direction of the group.
She would be safe now where people in her place would not. For many there is no savior. Living in such a small town it is not often that I would come across something like this. Yet, I cannot say it is the first time and it certainly will not be the last. Where it is unusual to witness such acts, the greedy, desire filled, wanton thoughts of drunken men are habitual for one such as myself. My gift has given me an insight into small town life that a lot of people do not see.
What is the use of my gift if people like those men walk free?
Carlisle is merely impressed by the presence of it, where I know there has to be a reason why I was given it. If it weren't for it people like the woman tonight would be hurt and killed worldwide without a soul knowing what happened to them on that faithful day. Yet, I knew that even though I was bombarded by the thoughts of sufferers and the guilty alike I could do nothing about it. I had to stand in the shadows and watch and listen as this would happen. It was too risky to expose myself like I did tonight.
I burned with a passion for righteousness. My gift was just that, a gift. I had been presented it for a reason, and I would find that reason.
"This is not natural, Carlisle!" Edward had seethed, marching stubbornly in a circle in front of my desk. "We are entirely designed for the purpose of consuming human blood. If we were meant to hunt animals, they would not smell so repulsive and we would not have to force ourselves to choke down their blood."
This had been the first time Edward had come to me with reservations about the life style we led, yet it had been far from the last. It pained me to see my son in such anguish. Initially, I believed that this rebellion was his form of resisting what he had become - what I had made him. It caused me great pain to know that whatever I tried to do, however hard I attempted to make him stay, there was always something else pulling him away from me.
Gradually, over the course of the six years Esme and I had been married Edward's continually dark irises had become a habitual occurrence. Often straying further from the house than necessary, I could not help but believe that this was my doing. After our wedding I found that my need for Esme was never really fulfilled, neither could it ever be. Even after love making, there was always a carnal desire to be connected with her once again. Yet, was Edward's darkening disposition a cry for help that I had unintentionally missed developing? Was it that as I satisfied my wife at night, Edward was willowing in his own concealed melancholy?
Where I could not apologize for loving my life, I was hugely apologetic about how - if this was the case - Edward had become detached from the pair of us. Our diet was not as fulfilling, physically, as others were, of that I knew. Emotionally, however, it was the only way I could bear to continue in this existence. Knowing that even after how much I had tried to ease human suffering, there was some people out there in the world - and a part buried deeply within me - that were driven to live off this sustenance and nothing else caused me great pain. Yet, even though I harboured these beliefs I would not force them upon anyone else. It was distressing to know that Esme and Edward alike may have only been here, living this life, because of the burden they felt towards me. Both may have remained because they felt they were linked to me, and with this bond they could not venture off my beaten track.
"Edward?" My wife's voice, which had just been humming a delightful melody stopped abruptly. The only noise in its absence, were the even footfalls upon the staircase.
Rising from my chair, I prepared myself for what was coming. Esme's alarmed voice did not hold the gentleness that it normally did when undertaking an ordinary greeting. Edward's footsteps, however slight the change may have been, gave a different impression than the level-headed boy who left for his school early this morning. The boy in question stood before me within an instant, the door of my office slamming shut behind him. His familiar black eyes looked back at me, but the kindness that normally softened them was absent. Stiff jawed, Edward's posture highlighted nothing but anger and agitation.
Edward? I enquired, hoping to find out what had driven the naturally placid boy to such limits. Snarling in an unknown fit of rage, the young boy whirled. Reaching behind him, he grasped at one of the many framed work of arts that I had collected over the years. In a brash move, he launched the portrait at the wall behind me, so it smashed and crumbled at my feet in bits.
As suddenly as the swooping anger had possessed him, it all but dismissed him from the hold. Crumbling to the floor, Edward sat vulnerably, leaning tiredly against the wall. "I can't do this," he whispered to the room, his shimmering dark eyes looking but not seeing. Crossing his arms across his face, he whispered, "I can't do this, anymore," once again, through the barrier of closed elbows which sat against his face.
The unhinged young man sitting upon the floor shrunk into himself as I stood behind my desk, gently imploring. Edward, son, please sit. Over the sharp curve of his elbows his hair line rose in surprise. "Please?" I asked, gesturing pointlessly to the wooden chair beyond the oak boundary of my desk.
Heaving a great, yet defeated, sigh, Edward rose precariously, tumbling into the feeble chair which creaked uneasily. Throwing his hands once again over his face, his slim shoulders shook with powerful sobs. Never in all my years had I wished to hold someone so much. Reaching across the table with my hand, I wondered what had happened to ruffle my naturally unperturbed son.
"You do not see what I see, Carlisle," he whispered, ominously. His flat hand came flush with my own as he pushed himself forward, his eyes searching forebodingly into mine. "The world out there is not what you think it is."
Placing my own large hand upon my sons where it lay upon the desk between us, I sat in silence. Carefully guarding my thoughts, I let him continue. The connection we had shared disintergrated as Edward's black eyes left my golden ones. "I cannot take it, Carlisle. I need help. I want help. The voices; the visions." Squinting his eyes shut, as if what he spoke of were still attacking him, he continued.
"They should not be allowed to continue living, and yet we let them." His words were not angry, nor were they malicious. Where his voice was soft, and slightly resigned, the lilt of the Midwest held a steadfast quality.
Edward, every life is valuable.
In the wider scheme of things everyone was placed here for a reason. It was our duties to God, to those around us and to ourselves to find that one reason. Each of us stemmed from the same mold, we were made by God's hands to be of equal worth - no matter how much financial worth each of us gained. It was not for us to decipher how much one was worth, depending on their actions. Just as worth, and value do not discern the love we receive from God, and the emotional paths we could lead in life.
"Carlisle, you wrong." Steel nails biting into my marble flesh, Edward once again leaned forward so he leant precariously upon the extreme edge of the chair. "I had to watch as a woman was nearly raped thanks to these people. Believe me, they are not God's children."
Cutting me off, Edward's voice became more passionate. "Carlisle, what would you do if Charles was still a risk to Esme?"
Stilling my line of reasoning in one, my body immediately tensed beneath his. It was not something I could comprehend, nor was it something I wished to. She was safe now, and I would try my hardest to ensure her eternal safety. She was mine, mine to protect, mine to hold and nothing would change that.
"She is safe now, she is here with us," Edward continued. "But people, women, are out there going through what she did. I can help, I need to help them."
After leading my standard of living for nearly three centuries, and educating two others on the ways and means, it was as if we had almost become human once again. We lived with a constant fear about what we were, but with an endless amount of compassion concealed within us for the human beings we lived amidst.
You would not be able to -
"They deserve to die," he ardently uttered.
I knew Esme would be listening intently from her place downstairs, so I was unsurprised when there was a muffle of the aged leather book binding landing upon the wooden floor of our living room. Even in panic, my wife's footsteps upon the stairs sounded like a rapid rhythm. Crashing through the door that had recently rattled in its hinges my wife's honey-topaz eyes, just a shade darker than her hair, met mine moving swiftly, and dread-laden, to land on our son.
Dropping to her knees next to where Edward was positioned, she grasped fruitlessly at his arm, her fingers digging into the rough wool of his jacket.
"Edward, please don't leave us," her musical voice, her bell-like tone so suited to joy, became slightly disjointed with sobs as our son continued, doggedly to stare at me.
Patting his mother's, my wife's, dainty hand beneath his larger one he finally removed his resolute stare from me. "I will return, but I don't know when."
Choking on a sob, Esme's violet eyelids fluttered vulnerably closed. Edward, please, son rethink this. I asked him and him alone, as I made my way around to my wife. Taking hold of her thin, soft arms I pulled her gently into my arms; as I held her tightly around her slim waist, her legs trembling unsteadily, she sobbed into my chest. You are safe here, I thought, over the waves of Esme's caramel hair.
Resignation fused with sadness in the newly gentle depths of his eyes. "I've got to, Carlisle." Towering above me, the lean boy brushed his wrinkled jacket down with nervous fingers. "I...love you, both."
Heart-warming, eyes stinging, breathing ragged. "Edward-" I implored, as Esme pleaded the same name of our son into my chest. It caused me great pain that I was not able to help her this time, there was nothing in my power which could remove the grief she was feeling.
Calling internally to the tweed clad back which fled into the darkness, I crumpled helplessly into my wife's stable embrace. The glass shards that lay in a sea around us, only served as a reminder of our broken family, our shattered hearts as I tearlessly wept into my wife's neck.