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.
3. Fairytale of New York
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2168 Review this Chapter
"If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were."
- Richard Bach
Rochester, New York
The church sat upon the hill and the warm glow of many candles reflected the patterns of the stain glass windows onto the pure white snow. Through the open door that Carlisle and I walked through, came the delightfully rich scent of cinnamon roasted apples. Families crowded the pews, the children tucked in the many layers of knitted accessories as from far and wide across the town of Rochester they had travelled to the Christmas Eve mass.
As we took a seat in the richly varnished bench nearer the back of the fairly large chapel, Carlisle removed the superfluous woolen gloves from my hands; tucking them into his side pocket he latched his fingers with mine. A hush descended over the crowd as the preacher - a portly, middle-aged man - stood up to start.
Religion had far from been missing in my life, yet this was to be the first mass I had ever attended. I had recited prayers and psalms in school, and sang hymns in the small chapel of Reynoldsburg, Ohio all those years ago. My mother had been raised by strict Catholics, and my father reformed, intermediate Protestants. I, on the other hand, had been raised on slight Catholic views, with the occasional, sarcastic, dogged interference from my father. In all ways of life I had believed in a higher being, yet I was never so sure if it was God. Some would call an agnostic believer. Where I wanted to think that God was real, I was never given the knowledge, and proof, that he was. In fact, the "proof" I had searched for since that day when I met Carlisle Cullen at age sixteen, only seemed to turn me away from the benevolent God that many had found. Knowing now, that in the greater scheme of things the higher being had mapped out an unswerving future for me, I was hard pressed to doubt that God existed. Yet, a decade prior to this date, my indignant scoff would meet anyone who preached God to me. I had always wondered why, if you lead a respectable life you could still be punished just as if the way of life you led was impure. I had found God standing on the cliff-top of Ashland, Wisconsin.
Carlisle's views and past were slightly different than mine. Being brought up by an Anglican pastor in London, he had been forced into Anglicanism from a young age, just as my mother had with Catholicism. Bible never far from his hand, Carlisle's actions and thoughts never faltered from the pure and reputable tales the Bible would teach. Prayers would fall from his mouth, in the many different languages he had studied, and as each word passed off his tongue his eyes would light with a reverence. He would talk about God whenever he could. He would pray for patients, use God as the reason we continued this existence and thank Him when we were together - just as I did. He had told me that there was nothing in his life which had disproved God's existence, and after finding Carlisle I had to agree.
As if reading my thoughts the pastor opened the hymn book upon the pulpit at the front. All around me there was the shuffle of feet upon the flagstone flooring as families stood, eyes facing forwards. Stumbling to my feet in a rush, the hall around me was filled with the voices of the people. The sweetest noise, a baritone tinkling of bells, came from Carlisle. A glorious, half-smile graced his lips through which he sung the words of Silent Night.
"Merry Christmas, to all," the preacher cried. Scurrying footsteps fluttered past us from all directions, some towards the door where a chilly, breeze entered the warm hall, some walked down the aisle towards the alter. Families lined the spaces as they crowded to add their own lit candles to the growing pile, murmurings prayers of love, forgiveness or hope.
Looking into the flickering flame of a candle that a small girl had placed upon the chestnut wood, I prayed for the one person that needed it. Edward.
Carlisle led me from the hall, a hand pressed gently against the small of my back. The air around us, nipped at our already cold skin as Carlisle snuggled me closer to his side. Laying my head upon his shoulder, I could not help but pick up the crunch of snow under someone's light footsteps. Turning, I found a small girl, aged around seven, walking towards us. Her caramel hair curled from underneath her woolen hat, her rosy cheeks raised in a shy smile.
"Merry Christmas, Doctor," she sang towards Carlisle, before she turned and skipped towards where her family stood a few yards away. Pulling me closer to his side, Carlisle's lips pulled up in tender appreciation as he met the forest green eyes of her father and inclined his head slightly in thanks.
Rochester, a small town in the state of New York, seemed like the perfect place for us. While the inner city was large and almost always expanding, the outer layers of the town suited our lives well. While it was bigger than Ashland, Wisconsin it was small enough that we blended easily into the society. Moving away from Ashland was something that was entirely necessary, but it was something that neither Carlisle nor I were particularly pleased to do. Wisconsin was our home; both physically and emotionally. It was the place where both Carlisle and I had learned to live once again, and we had the view that if we left Edward would fail to find us. Staying far longer than we should have, mainly for our wavering beliefs that Edward would return quickly, we had decided upon the town and house just as the year nineteen-thirty was finishing.
The house we now lived in, although vaster in comparison, still had the homely feel I loved so much about our house in the forest of Ashland. It was surrounded by one of the few forests on the outskirts of Rochester, and fit easily into the backdrop of the trees. The hospital that Carlisle was now employed within was just a small drive away.
The car that we had driven to the mass in shuddered to a stop on the gravel driveway. Walking into the sitting room I was hit by a sudden pang of sadness. Decorating the room with a luxurious pine tree, evergreen holy that hung from the banisters and glittering tinsel made me forget, for a time, that this would be Edward's fourth Christmas away from us. His stocking, hanging from the fireplace, hung so ominously and lonely. While Carlisle and I had a roof over our heads this Christmas and rejoiced in the company of the other; both of us were rendered incomplete and worrisome about where and how Edward was.
The first year that Edward left us was possibly the hardest of my existence. While the signs of his departure were easy to see physically, I also found a gaping hole emotionally. Losing a son once again weighed heavily on my relationship with Carlisle and I found myself either crying uncontrollably onto my husband's chest, or shunning all comfort he tried to offer me. Carlisle was home a lot more, shifts going unaccepted at the hospital and all regularity in his hunts disintegrated. If I locked myself away, so would he. There came times where as we sat together, his fingers soothing the jagged edges of my broken heart, tears would swim in his onyx eyes. Carlisle had always remained a collected force, where I was the complete opposite. In this situation, without his son most of his composure left him, his eyes turned into a melancholic reminder of those our son wore as he left, as the aberrant weeping from behind his office door became, sometimes, the only cue that my husband was in the house.
After coming to terms with the missing chime of the piano, his mocking repartee and joyfully bright hair Carlisle and I alike got on with our lives. I only ever felt complete when Carlisle was with me, so subsequent to that notion, the time we spent without Edward only, in some ways, brought us closer to each other.
Chiming midnight, the clock on the mantelpiece marked the start of Christmas day. Carlisle had always tried hard to ensure that on Christmas our day went untouched. Over the past few years, Carlisle had physically held himself from agreeing to any yuletide shifts at the hospital, and for this I was eternally grateful, especially now that Edward was absent.
"Merry Christmas, my love." Swiveling on the leather couch, I caught sight of Carlisle walking down the stairs. A playful glint lit his gold eyes, his lips pulled up in pure merriment as he hid a paisley wrapped package behind his back.
"Merry Christmas, Carlisle," I whispered into the cotton of his shirt, once he had settled next to me on the sofa. Setting the light box on my bare knee, he wrapped his arm around me, stroking patterns on my thigh with tickling edges of his fingers.
"Open your present," he murmured into my temple, as he nuzzled my hair with his nose. Turning to plant a reverent kiss to the skin on the underside of his jaw, I pulled the thin paper off the black velvet box. Lying nestled in white silk was an ornately decorated white gold ring.
"I felt bad for not getting you a proper engagement ring," Carlisle whispered, removing the box from my limp fingers. "I was so flustered by your return that I forgot about the formalities, and anything that stood in my way of marrying you was cast aside."
"It was perfect," I murmured, touching Carlisle's cheek with worshipful fingers.
"Still," he smiled, removing the ring from its resting place. Taking my left hand in his, he slipped the ring easily onto my forth finger so it joined the wedding band that had lived there for a decade.
"I love you, Esme Cullen." Without waiting for my declaration, our lips met. Melting into bliss, I was ignited with a simmering desire that never seemed to be sated. The whisper of flesh on flesh as our tongues met was accompanied by the quiet flurry of the white snowflakes that fell gently from the clouds.
Battling to maintain some semblance of equanimity, I nearly missed the first footstep upon the driveway outside. I groaned needily as Carlisle separated our lips. Laughing, Carlisle leant his forehead against mine. "It will probably be a neighbor wishing us a perfunctory, eager ‘Merry Christmas'."
After accepting the awkward knock on the door as their greeting, I stood up separating my fingers from Carlisle's greedy grasp. "Hurry back to me," he whispered with an indulgent smirk as I walked slowly over to the front door. The door knob squeaked slightly as I turned it, and opened the door with a welcoming smile.
What stood there had the power to stun me into silence, wiping the smile off my face instantly. Staring wide eyed and slack-mouthed at the visitor, I could not help put absorb greedily how the light bounced off his auburn hair.
"Edward! You're home!" I called joyfully, as I rushed towards him, clasping my arms around his waist in a fierce hug.
"Merry Christmas, Esme," he murmured into my hair as his hands slipped to my shoulders. The hole in my heart mended as I held him in my arms, his floral aroma surrounding me, unaware to my husband who stood impatiently behind me.
Releasing my son, almost with difficultly, I pulled him into the house. Edward's golden eyes glittered as they met Carlisle's, and my husband rushed forward and pulled his first companion into his arms. Sobbing into his father's shoulder, Edward's mantra came through.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
Planting a healing kiss to Edward's forehead, Carlisle gathered the both of us in his arms. "You've given us more than we could ever dream of, Edward. Thank you so much, for returning."
As we stood in the hallway of our new house, I knew that we were all equally changed. This time apart had done nothing but pull us closer together. We could not turn back the time we had spent apart but we could use it to our advantage. We could use the time we had been given back to put right our mistakes, to right our wrongs and move forward. However, for today, it was the day to stay in the arms of the two I loved. The son I had dreamed I would have and my unswervingly loyal husband.
I had just been granted the best gift for Christmas - time - and for that I thanked the omnipresent God.