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Changing Tides

Summary:
Changing Tides Banner Living a life of perpetual misery, Esme escapes from her abusive husband to find a life worth living. She has no idea that she'll find life in mortal death and love in the arms of an incredibly handsome doctor named Carlisle Cullen.


Notes:
This story was completed with the help of the biographies provided at http;//www.twilightlexicon.com to ensure that canon is followed Disclaimer: All characters, base plot, twilight series are the property of Stephenie Myers. I've been in love with the books for a while now, and out of sheer interest in the other couples, I decided to write this one on Esme and Carlisle. I do not own the canon characters nor do I take credit for any affiliation with the "TWILIGHT" series. Changing Tides banner created by JokesOnJane.


10. Chapter 10

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3262   Review this Chapter

Chapter 10

Esme suddenly felt nauseous as Edward's strong, firm grip held her where she stood. He seemed even more worried than she, which was unbelievable considering the circumstances. How had Charles found her? Why was he here? Was he going to try and take her home? Would he try to kill her?

"We won't let him take you," Edward murmured quietly, his voice harsh and icy, though he wouldn’t look at her. He was staring through the kitchen wall in the direction of the front door. Esme stared at him, looking frightened but Edward seemed to be listening to something else- probably Charles' thoughts.

Suddenly, it dawned on Esme that of course Charles couldn't take her. She was a vampire now! She didn't need to be afraid anymore. It was an empowering idea; even if Charles did manage to get her out of here somehow, he couldn't keep a vampire in his home for very long. She was much, much stronger than any human.

Edward gave a soft groan, closing his eyes as he heard her thoughts. "No, Esme, it's not that simple. For one, he's furious. He knows you're here. If he sees you... if he sees your red eyes... it'll be bad. We also need to worry about the town uncovering the presence of vampires."

"Good evening," Carlisle's voice sounded pleasantly from the other room. There wasn't a hint of anxiety in his voice and Esme allowed herself a hint of relief to hear his calm voice. If he wasn’t worried, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad...

"Where is she?" Charles sounded murderous, and in spite of her new-found strength and speed, Esme felt the familiar pang of fear out of habit. She wanted to crumble to the floor and hide from the world so that Charles wouldn’t get near her.

"Excuse me?" Carlisle asked, his tone etched with something Esme had never heard before, and it sounded very unlike him. Was it anger? Was it hatred? Whatever it was, it was characteristically not Carlisle.

Charles wasn't giving up. "You know who. At first I was informed she was dead, but then I heard...” he trailed off, paused and then bellowed:”You are keeping my wife hostage in there, and I want her back!"

Carlisle was quick on the return, keeping his voice firm. "Sir, I don’t know your wife, and therefore I couldn’t possibly be holding your wife hostage. I haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about, so kindly remove yourself from my property."

"LIAR!"

Esme hung her head, biting her lip. Edward's grip tightened on her. Why was he holding her here so forcefully? Didn't he realize she wouldn't go willingly? Edward was tugging her backwards again. She glanced at him worriedly but his expression scared her too. She was backed against a wall with Edward’s steel grip on her forearms.

"Leave. Now." Carlisle told Charles in a low but dangerous voice.

"Esme!" Charles yelled. "I know you're in there! Come out this instant! Come out, or be removed!"

A faint tinny scent had reached her and Esme felt her body go rigid. She suddenly realized why Edward was panicking more than Carlisle. Her throat started to burn and Edward slammed her back against the wall when she leaned forward to try and get a closer smell. He stood in front of her, his dark eyes boring into hers to hold her focus, his grip like manacles on her arms. "Don't- move." Edward told her firmly.

The smell was getting stronger, burning, making Esme thirsty. She'd never tasted human blood before, nor did she truly want to, but her body certainly held no displeasure at such a concept. Esme closed her eyes, trying to hold onto the bit of sanity she had within her. She knew in her heart she didn’t want Charles to be hurt. She didn’t want to hurt anybody.

"Esme," Edward whispered coldly, hearing her thoughts. "Don't. You can't kill him. They'll kill you... they’ll stake you. You'll risk our lives too. Is that what you want? Think of what it'll mean if you give yourself over to the blood. You're not a murderer."

"ESME!" Charles' shriek of indignant fury woke Esme from the call of his blood and panic replaced blood lust. She cringed at the sound of his voice and made a whimpering sound. Edward loosened his grip slightly, and stepped closer protectively.

“I’ve got you,” Edward told her, still holding her gaze. “He won’t take you.”

"Leave at once!" Carlisle was telling him loudly now. "Leave or-" And then there was running that broke over Carlisle's voice, and Esme felt her anxiety spike at the same time that the sound of a human pulse began hammering in her ears.

Edward began pulling at her toward the back screen door, but Esme wasn't sure she could leave. Her feet hesitated while her mind screamed to escape it. She wanted the scent to come closer and she inhaled deeply, fighting her panic to get away from Charles.

"Charles!" Carlisle was yelling as Charles wound his way through the house.

Edward pulled hard and managed to drag Esme back several feet again toward the door. His strength did not compare to that of a newborn. "Esme, please. Think. Focus. Think of Carlisle... you know what he would think," he pleaded in a loud whisper.

Furious, angry, thirsty and burning, Esme stumbled backwards to the door as the light of realization burst through the urge to hunt Charles. She did not want to hurt the people who had saved her. She took Edward’s hand to run but they didn't reach the back door in time. Edward had thrown it open with one hand clutching Esme's hand when Charles rounded the corner and spotted his wife, shouting her name.

The scent filled her nose and lungs and overwhelmed her once more, but Edward's grip on her arm kept her sane enough not to move. She kept her chin and eyes down and held her breath as Edward whispered for her to do, but she feared what would happen if he got any closer...

"There you are!" Charles snapped. "I've found you! Running from your husband, drugging me, turning family against me... I've faced enough shame on your foolish hands! You come to me this instant!"

"Get out of our house!" Edward told Charles in a cold voice. "She does not want to leave with you. She won’t be going anywhere with you."

"Take your hands off my wife." Charles stormed forward but Edward was in front of Esme again, arms spread protectively as Esme cowered against the wall, her eyes still shut.

"I'm not going with you!" Esme told the floor in a shaking voice, still refusing to inhale. She had to hold onto her sanity. It was her only chance.

"How dare you!" Charles moved closer, but then froze, mid-step at the growl-like sound in Edward’s chest and at his realization of Carlisle standing behind Charles looking furious.

He opened his mouth to say something when Carlisle moved to stand beside Edward. He spoke clearly to Charles. "You will leave my home now. Esme has made it clear she doesn't wish to leave with you."

It all happened very fast. Charles swore and raised his fist and swung it toward Edward in a roar of fury. Edward was too fast for him and grabbed his fist mid-air and pushed it aside. Esme gasped and opened her eyes before she could think about it. The sound of Charles attacking Edward and Carlisle made her forget she shouldn’t let Charles get a proper look at her eyes.

“What?” Charles breathed disbelievingly, immediately noticing Esme’s bright red eyes. He stared at her, torn between fright, disbelief and his fury.

Charles was looking around the room, looking flustered, furious and indignant all at once. He seemed to regain some of his anger, but he still stared at Esme. "I will not leave. I... I haven't the idea what you've done to her...”

His eyes raked her over, taking a step back. “You’ve changed... your skin, your hair... your face..." Horror was passing over his face as he stared at her demonic red eyes. His lips moved but no sound came out, and he reached up and grabbed the golden cross that he wore every day around his neck.

“Release her!” Charles still demanded, his voice sounding less commanding. “She’s my wife! She’s legally bound to me!”

Esme had had enough. She clung to Edward’s arm, afraid to leave him in case the sound of his pulse tempted her. "I'm not leaving with you, you monster!"

"Leave." Edward bit out through clenched teeth. "Now."

At the moment, Edward looked like a dangerous predator who was moments away from ripping Charles' throat open. Charles moved fast, making one more maddened attempt to get at Esme. Unfortunately his mortal speed was nothing to that of Edward and Carlisle who each grabbed an arm and stopped him from getting close to Esme. Still, he pushed close enough that Esme inhumanly slid out and jumped back like a cat toward the other corner of the kitchen and a hiss filled the room. Her hair had tumbled over her shoulders in long tendrils that framed her angry red eyes and clenched, exposed white teeth. Her arms had extended and she dug her nails into the wall like claws to hold herself there.

Carlisle moved to drag him out but Esme’s hiss and inhuman speed had done it.

Charles backed up, his face purpling. "I shall return with the police if this it how it is to be!"

The threat hung humorously in the air. It was clear he’d noticed that something had changed. The three vampires watched Charles turn on his heel and run from the house. When the door slammed shut, Carlisle and Edward let out a sigh of relief and glanced at each other- a nervous, unhappy look exchanged between them.

Esme gave a soft cry and slid to the floor to sit and calm herself. She buried her face in her hands, shaking her head in disbelief at what had just occurred.

"What now, Carlisle?" Edward asked tersely. Carlisle tore his eyes from the place where Esme and ran a hand through his hair in agitation.

"We shall handle it as we always have, Edward. We’ll leave.”

Edward nodded, glanced at Esme, and then at Carlisle, realizing that it was best for Carlisle to talk with Esme. Edward excused himself to hunt; he was strong, but being in such close proximity to humans still took a lot out of him.

Carlisle went anxiously to Esme and bent down to her level and tilted her chin up so she was looking at him. "Are you all right?" He asked quietly. “He’s gone. You’re safe.”

Esme shook her head and glanced at him, embarrassed to look him in the face. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “Sorry to drag you into this... I’m sorry that Charles will make us leave.” She hung her head, feeling the guilt swallow her up. It seemed that saving her had just given Carlisle more problems as a result.

Carlisle dropped to sit next to her and wrapped his arm around her. He was pleased when Esme turned into him, pressing her face into his chest.The scent of Carlisle filled her and wiped her adrenaline away, leaving her heart fluttering for other reasons. It warmed her insides and eased her guilt a little bit.

He used his other hand to gently stroke her hair. "Everything will be fine. We won't let him take you against your will. You’re safe with us."

"I know," Esme admitted softly against his sweater. "I can't believe how... powerful it feels. I hissed like a rabid animal..." she broke off miserably and to her surprise, Carlisle chuckled.

"Esme, that’s a natural reaction which you'll learn to control with time. I'm very proud of you for holding your sanity. You’re very new at this and we wouldn’t have judged you even if it had gone worse. You did so well.”

“I still feel terrible, Carlisle. He’s here and threatening you because of me! What if he comes back with the police?"

"Then you call tell the police that you don't want to go. They can't make you leave,” he reminded her. “You do have the law on your side, Esme. He was abusive toward you, and you left him and are here of your own free will.”

Esme wasn't so sure it would be this simple, but her worries vanished when she felt his lips press gently to her head. She didn’t dare look up now. His touch felt nice; it was definitely easing her negative emotions.

"You called him the monster," he mused softly, breaking the tension between them. He squeezed her arm and she finally looked up at him to see he wore a small smile.

"He was,” Esme sighed. “Though I’m sure he thinks we’re monsters nows.”

"And I am not?" The question was supposed to be teasing, but it just sounded ridiculous. Carlisle, a monster? She opened her mouth to tease him but then she changed her mind. She knew enough of Carlisle’s history to tread carefully. There was something in his eyes that suggested this joke was actually an attempt to hear what she considered him to be.

Esme smiled sadly now, shaking her head. "Carlisle, that could never be you. Or Edward... you’re not a monster. Charles was.” She paused, wording what she wanted to say carefully so as not to embarrass herself. “You’re a wonderful man... you would never hurt me like he has.”

His arm tightened protectively around her. "I won't let him take you away. I couldn't bear it if he did."

“You mean that?” She mumbled. “I feel just awful how much of an imposition I’m putting on you and Edward.”

The way he was looking at her told her that he definitely did mean that. She forgot the question; she forgot everything. In the silence of the kitchen, his other hand touched her cheek, pushed the hair behind her ear gently.

He lowered his impossibly beautiful face to hers and finally, at last, he kissed her. The kiss was firm but gentle. His soft lips moved over hers, sending tingles of pleasures down her back and to the tips of her fingers. She lost all ability to think as he held her and kissed her tenderly. There was no doubting what he wanted or how he felt about her now.

Come hell or high water, she'd never leave a vampire for a monster of a human like Charles. He pulled back slowly, his eyes a molten golden colour and his face still very close to hers. It seemed to end all too quickly for her. She wished he'd kiss her again. How long had it been since she'd felt wanted by a man?

She edged closer to him, desperate to remain there with him. He chuckled deep in his throat as his fingers played with a lock of hair.

"I'm sorry if..." he hesitated and then said gently, "if that was out of line. I didn’t know how else to properly tell you I want you here and not with him.”

Esme managed to find her mind and her voice and she shook her head, feeling a ridiculous smile break across her face. “No... I’m glad you did.”

"Good." His fingers toyed with the lock of hair as they sat in comfortable silence. "The second I opened the door I wanted to throw him across the yard. I don't like how he looks at you. It’s not the way a husband should look at a wife.”

Esme nodded. “He never has.”

"It’s worse than that. He’s notice how you've changed. I don't need Edward's abilities to know what his thoughts are when his eyes rake you like that. It's wrong. He sees your beauty amplified, Esme. You've always been beautiful, but the change has made that beauty much more obvious."

Esme said nothing. She wasn’t sure how to respond to that. The jealousy and protectiveness was endearing, but it wasn’t like he ever had to worry. There was no competition. She rested her head on his shoulder and placed her hand on his hard, sculpted chest. She felt protected in his arms; more than she’d ever felt anywhere.

“A man shouldn’t look at a woman like that,” he was saying in repulsion. “He never deserved you.”

“I know,” she murmured. “Which is why I’m staying right here...where I feel wanted.” Yes, feeling wanted was definitely something she had missed out on.

Carlisle began stroking her hair again. "I know before you were turned you struggled. You went through so much. I’ve spent so many years waiting for the person who made me feel whole. Centuries of feeling the loneliness you must have felt. I don’t know how you feel, but having you here and in my life has eased that for me. I feel happier. I’ve waited forever for you, Esme.”

Esme felt the happiness well up inside her chest; she felt so happy she could cry. She'd never had someone who wanted to protect her like this. She'd never had anyone stand up to Charles or even believe the cruel things he'd done to her. It was strange to think that all her life she'd never truly lived until now.

Edward's attitude sometimes seemed to imply she should feel miserable about being immortal and a vampire, but she didn't feel that way at all. She felt something different but wasn't sure what it was.

Relief? Peace? Identity? She wasn't sure. Carlisle was only a piece of the puzzle, and even though she trusted every word he said, it was still hard to fully accept that he wanted her around.

Carlisle wanted her to stay, to be happy. He wanted her to do what she wanted. He wanted her to be herself and to find what made her happy. Charles had wanted her to wait on him hand and foot. Charles wanted her to be subdued, obedient, beautiful, and the perfect wife. He expected her to serve him his dinner and produce a male heir...

Her hands grazed her perfectly flat stomach and she felt a twinge of guilt for her baby. And now she'd never be a mother to anyone, and this was the trade. On the other hand, she knew she was already falling in love with Carlisle Cullen, and she had no desire to go back to her old life.

Looking back up into his face, she noticed he was watching her carefully, trying to read her for regrets or doubt. Shaking herself from her thoughts, she knew that she'd have to take the good with the bad. Life wasn't perfect. And she truly believed whatever happened was for a reason. If she'd stayed human, if she still had her baby, she'd spend the rest of her life on the run from Charles. If her baby had lived, he would live his whole life under Charles’ tyranny as well. Surely what had happened was for the best? It was tragic, but at least Nicholas was safe from Charles.

“We’ve got forever,” he reminded her gently. “We don’t have to rush anything if you’re not read-”

For the first time in her life, Esme dared to be brave. She silenced Carlisle with a kiss, sliding her arms around his neck and pulling herself up against him. When the kiss ended, they grinned at each other; too happy to say anything.

No, she thought confidently. The past was the past. I have no regrets here