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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.


11. Chapter 11

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5010   Review this Chapter

Chapter 11

The next three days made her forget about the sadness she felt at the few mortal things she'd be giving up- being around Carlisle made sure of it. It was strange, almost surreal to have him come home to her and show so much interest in her. He spent all of his free time with her, talking with her, answering every question under the sun about this way of life. When they weren't talking about this or spending time with Edward, he seemed dedicated to their relationship and getting to know her.

Every time his fingers brushed her skin the touch burned her sensitive skin, and the few times he'd kiss her in a day she felt consumed by the feelings he stirred in her. It was hard to believe that only a short while ago she was living with a man who kept her merely as his maid, a play toy, a servant, and a piece of arm candy.

Charles.

That was a problem, and Esme knew that beneath Carlisle and Edward's calm, they were worried too, in spite of the fact that Charles had not followed through on his threats or made any contact. Carlisle had gone looking for him but determined he’d left town. Esme had suggested that because Charles knew he now had a problem bigger than himself, he might have left on the decision to pretend his wife was dead.

Still, according to the world, Esme Platt was dead. According to the hospital morgue records, she had died of multiple injuries and aspiration, and Charles was legally widowed. However, if he did involve the authorities, Carlisle’s work to hide her survival would be reversed and difficult questions would be asked. After all, there were nurses who saw her and how badly injured she was. She knew people would begin to speculate on how odd the Cullens were and how Esme could possibly have survived her injuries.

When Esme confronted Edward and Carlisle about this, they glanced at each other in defeat of trying to spare her the truth. They didn’t necessarily want to uproot their lives if Charles had disappeared.

"Why don't we just leave then? Before he comes back?" Esme asked nervously, wringing her hands as she sat on the sofa.

Edward answered, pausing his piano-playing. "Because it'll give the police a reason to think we did kidnap you. Even though he left, he may not have left quietly. They'll come after us if we suspiciously leave town right away, and we can't afford that. We will leave, but we have to let them see us first so they don't think we're running away when people start to talk."

Esme grimaced at the idea of what people would be talking about. It was bad enough to hear Edward joke about how much attention Carlisle had attracted from women just by working at the hospital. The Cullens already got too much attention. "So what do we do then?"

Edward resumed playing the piano. "We wait. Carlisle's given his two-weeks notice at the hospital. We'll leave as soon as the police hear that you want to stay with us."

Esme was still confused. "But they'll know I'm alive. Isn't that bad?"

Edward nodded, his face tense. "Yes, but it's unavoidable. Besides, the world can't think you're dead forever, Esme. You'll soon get bored of being cooped up in the house. We'll have to go and file you for divorce at town hall as well, so you'll legally be freed of Charles."

Esme frowned at him since she knew he was reading her thoughts and he was dodging answer the question she was asking.

Before she could confront Edward on this, Carlisle had come into the room. "Try not to worry," Carlisle told her soothingly. His hand captured hers and he squeezed it gently, his thumb gently brushing hers. "We'll take care of things."

"I hate being such a bother," Esme complained irritably. “I’ll be thankful when it’s all over.”

Carlisle smiled grimly. "When you've lived as long as I have, you'll see that this kind of problem is a frequent one. You’re not a bother, sweetheart.” He kissed her cheek and squeezed her hand.

This was how most of these conversations went.

*~*

11:36 pm

Esme glanced at the grandfather clock against the wall as she slowly descended the stairs in the living room. Her face was set in a frown as she tried to hone in on the distant, out-of-focus noises she'd been hearing for the past fifteen minutes. She was home alone for the time being while Edward and Carlisle hunted, and Esme had been immersed in a book when she started hearing whoever it was, figuring some teenagers were drunk and venturing the woods behind the house as they occasionally would. Still, something about it was bothering her.

She padded downstairs silently, trying to figure out where she could best hear the noise, but it filled her ears everywhere she went, not getting any louder or quieter. Several minutes passed as she searched the house for a good spot, curious as to who was near the property line and making such noise at this hour. It wasn't like she needed sleep, but it was infuriating nonetheless. She knew she was just being overly paranoid, but she couldn’t help it. Charles' sudden appearance back in her life had made her this way.

Suddenly the noise faded and the chattering stopped. Esme let out a sigh of relief and turned back to the stairs, satisfied that whoever it was must be leaving. She couldn’t finally get some peace.

The sound of glass shattering made Esme let out a surprised scream as the large kitchen windows were shattered into a million pieces and the noise of intruders filled the house. Esme stood frozen in shock, the smell of human blood and the pounding of many pulses bombarded her.

Instinct tempted her to go toward the clearly angry mob who were pulling themselves into the house, kicking shards of glass aside as they went. It wasn't their pitch-forks, long wooden stakes, cloves of garlic or torches that startled her into consciousness but the man who led the mob- Charles. He stood in the kitchen, stake in hand, wearing a murderous expression.

The mob rounded the corner and for a moment, there was a stunned, awkward silence as they came face to face with Esme. The torches flickered under the kitchen lights, and men shuffled their boots, getting into position as they held their weapons high into the air. Some looked extremely nervous, others looked angry, and there were even a few excited faces. Esme, however, had her eyes focused on Charles.

"Esme," Charles breathed out, his voice edged with fury and hatred. He glowered at her, his face pallid and etched with something else, but she couldn't identify it.

"Charles..." she heard herself say. She felt like a caged animal as the mob formed a semi-circle behind Charles. Her feet stayed planted to the floor as she eyed the mob and Charles cautiously, calculating how to best escape, but it was hard to think with the smell of blood and sweat.

"Well?" A burly man in front shouted angrily. "What are you waiting for? Strike before the creature gets us!"

Charles shook himself out his shock, but his expression seemed a little less murderous. It was as if he had a heart after all underneath all the ice in his chest. How could he kill his wife? She was so beautiful now- so flawless... she was alluring, perfect. He moved forward a few steps, admiring her.

"Charles, please, no..." Esme said pleadingly, barely able to speak the words as they rushed from her mouth. She could hear about thirty human hearts pounding at once, and it was maddening. It was too much and she feared that she would snap and have to face Carlisle's disappointment. They weren't here to stop her now. She reminded herself not to inhale.

"It's only right," Charles bit out by way of apology. He glanced down at the large wooden stake he held. He tightened his grip and Esme heard his heart continue to accelerate. “Though it IS a shame?” His eyes were full of a dark desire as he admired her. “You’ve never looked so beautiful as you do now.”

Esme opened her mouth to speak when he raised the stake to plunge it into her chest. She screamed, and with inhuman speed, she ran, terrified. She made it upstairs before they could reach the staircase and she threw open the door to Edward's room and locked it behind her. She tore the balcony doors open and flung herself to the grass below, landing gracefully on her feet like a cat.

It was easier to think outside in the cool night air. She knew that the wooden stakes wouldn’t hurt her, but there was something in his eyes that terrified her. Carlisle told her that her new body could not be harmed, but when faced with Charles; a fear that she carried with her deep in her chest, and along with the smell of human blood, she couldn’t think.

She realized she might have a hope if Edward happened to be close enough that he would hear her thoughts, though she had no idea what kind of range he had.

Edward, Edward, please be listening! She pleaded, screaming out to him in her mind. Come back, please. I need help!Charles is here!

Esme ran around to the side of the house but froze when she was faced with five men, all of whom were armed with stakes. She turned to leave but her feet wouldn't leave the ground. She wanted to hunt, but she also wanted to run. In her head she was screaming, but she couldn't tear her eyes off the men or run from the pounding of their pulses. She was so very thirsty and she hadn't fed today. Her demanding mind began to reason with her conscience. If she attacked it was only self-defence, right? She wouldn’t be giving herself over to the blood if she were only defending herself.

Instinct began to take over. The smell was too intoxicating. She was fighting a losing battle, tilting her head to the side with wild eyes, her lip pulling back over her teeth as she stepped forward. Esme inhaled deeply and was rewarded with the smell. The sound of their hearts hammering only spurred her on and she moved closer again, eager to ease the burning in her throat.

Esme snarled when one of them raised a cross-bow and another called out Charles's name as he fired, missing Esme by a long-shot when she darted away with a hiss. The sound of Charles’ name gave her some sanity again and she ran past them in a blur toward the forest. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, eager to get away.

“I am not an animal,” she whispered to herself, denying her instincts once more. Esme wasn’t sure how many times she could do this.

She knew that succumbing to her desires to attack humans would not only mean losing Carlisle, but it meant that Charles would win. If it killed her, she didn’t want to give him that satisfaction of ruining her life if she were to lose Carlisle.

She plunged herself into the forest, desperate to get away and hide herself. When she could no longer smell the blood, she chose a tree and climbed easily up the mossy trunk and perched herself in the highest branch that would hold her weight. She could hear the mob's angry pursuit as they were shouting furiously in the distance, calling in unison for the death of the vampire.

She watched anxiously as the mob entered the forest, spreading out to cover more ground. She moaned, wondering where Edward and Carlisle were. She needed them! She wasn’t sure she had enough self-control to walk away without hurting anyone tonight. Especially if they kept attacking her when she was being possessed by her desire for blood.

"Don't breathe," she told herself quietly as a group came closer to where she hid.

She refused to become a murderer. She briefly wondered if she should run again, but she found herself unable to leave the tree when her carnal instincts told her to stay put. Unwillingly to go lower to tempt herself, but unable to leave without being seen, she remained crouched against the tree trunk.

The torch lights came nearer and the men’s voices became distinguishable to her. One group past her tree without seeing her, and she felt hope. Perhaps they wouldn’t find her and they would leave? Anytime she was able to smell a hint of blood, she would turn her nose into the tree and breathe in the smell of the bark to keep her mind from being intoxicated with the instinct to hunt. Her throat was on fire now. She knew this was her last chance to keep her mind sane.

A large group began walking by her hiding spot and she cringed as the scent of blood overpowered even the smell of the tree bark. Too many of them were pumping with adrenaline; their scents were alluring. Esme peered down and could see that one of the men had a large white bandage wrapped around his arm. She suspected he’d fallen or perhaps been accidentally injured by someone in the mob. However it had happened, he was openly bleeding, and he smelled delicious.

Before she could think about what she was doing, Esme found herself leaning out to the smell as they passed, inhaling deeply.

The sound of a gunshot ricocheted through the forest and Esme didn't need to look far off before spotting Charles with a shot gun in one hand and a stake at his feet. He’d seen her lean out and he aimed the gun again and fired. It was a great relief to her that she was bullet-proof and easily dodged both bullets. Unrelenting, he came closer, still shooting at her. Esme stood on the branch, perfectly balanced and looking down at him with a strange sort of pride in that he could not hurt her.

"Come down!" He screamed up at her. "Face me! Let me end the curse for you!" Was he trying to be helpful for once?

Some of the others began shooting at her too. Esme stayed where she was until she groaned as she saw the man with the cross-bow return, this time aiming a large wooden stake at her. With no other choice but to jump or to have her waning patience tried by guns and cross-bows, Esme jumped the hundred-feet to the forest floor. She intended to run fast enough to get past the mob, perhaps destroy the cross-bow. Even though it couldn’t pierce her rock-hard skin, it was a brutal machine that she wanted to snap in the man’s face for trying to hurt her when she hadn’t hurt anyone.

But as she stood up straight, the others were rushing toward her, and she knew it was over. Charles was shouting orders at the mob, telling them to hold fire and that he wanted to be the one to do it. Charles was moving towards her too quickly for her to focus on holding her mind. Her eyes kept scanning the mob, calculating her best victims and then escape route. She tried to shake her head clear, but she was too tired of running when the blood was so close she could taste it in the air.

Charles stood a few feet from her, wooden stake in hand. His face was pale and shining with sweat in the moonlight. Esme held her ground, an uncharacteristic anger rising in her chest. She felt her lips pull back and she bared her teeth, letting a growl escape her throat. She had no doubt in her mind that he planned to kill her right here in the forest.

"What have they done to you, Esme?" He asked in a softer voice, the anger turning all-to-suddenly to disbelief. "You're... beautiful, perfect... but they've turned you into a terrible creature. I knew the moment I saw your eyes..."

He was mere feet away and Esme felt herself go rigid, her throat burning and her teeth clenched, desperate to tear open his carotid and satisfy her desire to feed. It would be easy... and so rewarding. Suddenly he was reaching out to touch her and Esme held her breath, not daring to move an inch. She still held a miniscule of control that screamed at her not to move. Deep, deep down she didn’t want to hurt him. His shaking hand brushed through her soft locks of hair and Esme shuddered in disgust at his touch.

"You could control yourself..." he breathed, plotting, still staring at her."It's insanity... but I should take advantage of such beauty in a wife before I end things." He touched her face and then her hair again. Esme took a shaky step back from him, glaring at her husband.

Esme felt like a cat. Members of the mob who overheard called out to him in repulsion and outrage at such an idea.

Esme found her voice, enraged by his idea. "You won't touch me ever again!"

Charles smirked and made a grab for her hair to pull her closer but Esme hissed like an angry cat, her control snapping in a mixture of hatred and her determined instincts. There were six or so men surrounding her and three of them closed in behind her to hold her. Esme threw the first off easily as if he were lighter than a feather and grabbed the second’s arm and swung him into a nearby tree.

Crying out, Charles raised the stake and slammed it into her shoulder blade. He gasped in horror and shock when the wood cracked, split and fell uselessly to his feet. Charles’ attack broke all control. Suddenly, the men who tried to restrain her didn’t matter. The approaching mob didn’t matter; her arm darted out and her fingers wrung around Charles; neck. Snarling, Esme shoved him backwards against a tree, teeth barred. She lifted him up and stepped closer, her eyes narrowed maddeningly.

Charles gave a terrified gasp of air, his face turning blue as he suffocated under her locked grip. The sound of his heart beat coaxed her and she stepped closer. Someone shot at her back but the bullet bounced off. She turned her head to hiss at the mob before she angled her head, eyes widening in pleasure as she inhaled and leaned in, pulling her lips back to go in for the kill.

A voice called out to her but she ignored it. She wanted to do this. Her body needed for her to do this. She dropped her grip on his neck and restrained him against the tree trunk with one hand and lowered her mouth to his exposed throat, tasting the salt of his sweat and felt the pounding pulse of his carotid under her tongue. She growled in pleasure as Charles struggled helplessly under her hold, his eyes wide and terrified.

"Esme!"

Steel hands tore her away from Charles and suddenly Carlisle was there staring her in the face. His warm hands rested on her cheeks and he lifted her gaze up to his, making her mind reel with human thought. Carlisle was here. He’d stopped her.

"You don’t want to do this. You don’t.”

Esme let out a strangled breath, knowing he was right but her throat continued to burn and she wanted so badly to satisfy what her body was screaming for. Carlisle waited patiently, holding her and then reason trickled through her carnal instincts.

Carlisle was right. She didn’t want to kill him. She refused to be this person, newborn vampire or not. She didn't want to hurt other people, even if that person was Charles. Her eyes moved to Charles’ face on the forest floor. She noted he was breathing, but he lay unconscious mere feet from her. She also noticed Edward behind Carlisle checking the bodies of four men that she’d injured in her rage.

Esme closed her eyes, torn between her burning throat and humiliation. "I... I couldn't..."

Carlisle gently eased her away from Charles with one arm around her. Edward nodded and Carlisle with a grave expression on his face and ran off in a blur in the direction of the house without a word. Esme stared after him, wondering what he thought.

Carlisle pressed a kiss to her forehead, relieved, and then quickly bent to check Charles. "He’s very lucky you have control,” he said as he assessed the man’s vitals. “I think he’s just passed out from shock. He’ll be alright.”

Esme stared at Charles’ limp body and Carlisle returned to her, looking anxious. “Come on, let’s leave before he regains consciousness. Edward will meet with us.”

They ran from the spot without looking back, darting impossibly fast past the trees and tangles of shrubs until they reached a point a mile from where they had come from. Esme briefly wondered if Carlisle and Edward’s arrival had scared the rest of them away. Carlisle took a moment to listen and make sure they’d gotten far away enough while Esme sat herself down on a rock, her whole body shaking.

"Carlisle, I'm so sorry," Esme told him in a whisper, staring at her feet. “I couldn’t control myself... I can’t believe I almost...” she trailed off, feeling sick. “That’s not who I want to be. I’m so sorry. Did I-” she broke off, mortified by the idea. “Did I kill... any of them?” She thought back to the four men that Edward had checked.

Carlisle hesitated. “One, but it was an accident, Esme.”

She said nothing and so Carlisle walked over to her, anxious to soothe her. He hated seeing her like this. He was scared that she might revert back to her feelings of hopelessness that had led her to the cliff. She’d lost so much already, and her life had only barely begun to feel worth living again.

Carlisle knelt at her feet and gently tilted her chin upwards so as to make her look at him. He needed her to understand that she shouldn’t feel guilty. "It isn't your fault. You're new, Esme. You haven't yet learned the control that Edward and I have. You can't blame yourself. I certainly don’t. You should be proud that you didn’t bite him or any of them. It’s impossible, but you did it. You knew how to escape.”

Esme swallowed the lump in her throat, unsure of what to say. She felt terrible, partly for hurting Charles, but mostly for nearly disappointing Carlisle. His disappointment would be far worse than any punishment she could endure. She couldn't imagine trying to live on her own if she were to be shunned from his life. She'd just found him, how could she have been so stupid as to lose him already when living with Carlisle had made her feel whole for once in her life.

"Esme?" His voice called her from her thoughts and she looked up at him again, startled by the warmth and intensity of his gaze. His golden eyes burned into hers as he rested his hands on her knees.

He frowned. "What's wrong, love? Esme, please say something, I hate this. No lasting harm was done to Charles, Esme." He hesitated, his face darkening. "And for all the pain he's ever caused you, he deserves far worse."

Esme hesitated. What could she say to this man? He'd saved her life, given her a home, and a new family. He'd given her another reason to live. Moreover, the way he made her feel gave her something to believe in. It gave her a purpose to life; something other than a servant and a wife.

"I'm sorry for letting it get the better of me," she told him sadly. "I'll..." she paused, feeling positively sick at the idea of the fate she was considering."I'll understand if I've disappointed you, and you want me to leave."

"Leave?" He repeated, dumbstruck. Esme nodded miserably and then he gave a short, dark laugh and shook his head. “Why? You haven’t done anything.”

Esme stared at him, horrified. “Carlisle, I killed a man tonight! I almost killed Charles... I’m a monster.” She got to her feet and moved away from him to pace as anxiety washed over her.

Carlisle followed her, unwilling to give up. He caught her shoulder and she turned into his embrace. He took her face in his hands and kissed her firmly without hesitation. Esme was taken by surprise at the intensity of this kiss, and it took her a few seconds to remember to kiss him back. When he pulled back, he was smiling wryly, holding her very close.

"Esme... I've waited almost two-hundred and sixty years to find someone like you, you silly, beautiful girl. You're doing so wonderfully with your new changes, and soon you'll find your newborn instincts will fade. But until then, you cannot blame yourself, and I would never abandon you like that. I care too deeply about you."

"You do?" She asked in a small voice.

He nodded, kissing her again, still smiling. “I do. You were faced with a very dangerous situation, and you survived it. All my life, I’ve been searching for someone to share my way of life with me... someone who cares for other humans, just as you do.”

She felt warmed by this declaration and his lips pressed to her forehead and then again on her lips. He pulled back and watched her expression as he said in a lower, more hesitant voice, "And I think I can make you happy, Esme...if you gave me that chance?"

Esme found herself smiling at him, in spite of what had happened tonight. Carlisle wanted to be with her! He cared about her, and was attracted to her for who she was, and not for her family’s dowry or the way she looked in her Sunday dress.

"I wanted to ask you, though I know it's been a rather hectic night, and it's fast. I walked away from you ten years ago, and if I had known that the connection I felt to you then would be worth more than my own life then I wouldn't have left you to marry a man like Charles Evanson. I would have accepted your father’s offer to court you and taken you away right there and then.” He paused to catch a breath and then grinned. “Broken leg and all! I promise I'll never hurt you and I will spend eternity to try and make you happy if you agree to ma-"

"Carlisle." Edward was there, interrupting him.

Carlisle stepped back and Esme found herself unable to move from the shock at what she was sure Carlisle had been trying to do, but the moment was broken by Edward's arrival with several suitcases.

"They've set the house on fire," the younger vampire said tersely. "We need to leave Ashland. Even if we go back, they'll attempt to kill us before we even open our mouths to try and deny it. I’ve grabbed what I can,” he gestured to the suitcases and was pulling on a jacket from one of them.

"Thank you, Edward.” He grabbed two of the bags in one hand and waited for Esme to grab a heavy shoulder bag and sling it over her shoulder. He caught her hand and his fingers intertwined with hers. She tried not to smile her silly, lovesick girl smile but it was challenging.

"Where are we going?" Esme asked wearily, posing the question to either of them. She felt depressed at the idea of running again.

Edward shrugged and Carlisle laughed with dry, grim humour as he shook his head.

"Anywhere where the vampire myth is just that- a myth. Far from Ashland, though. We need to get far enough away so that word doesn’t follow us."

Carlisle caught Esme’s eye, noticing her anxious and conflicted expression, and smiled at her. Esme smiled back, forcing the last of her anxiety washed away. Wherever, they moved to, at least she’d be with him. She'd wait out the rest of her newborn days, but she'd never come so close to disappointing Carlisle ever again. Ever.

If he did want to marry her one day, she'd say yes, she was sure of it. Neither immortality or forever had any pull without him, or Edward. The details could unravel themselves, and nothing else mattered. Life could be a tragedy, but living it at a different angle seemed to make all the difference in hers. Life had had a tragic start but not a tragic end.

They started to walk away, as they couldn't afford to run at inhuman speed until they had better cover. Edward fell into step beside Esme and they walked across the grassy plain with the forest falling behind them, and the yellow and orange glow of the burning house behind that.

"Did you ever suspect that jumping off of a cliff would lead to being chased by an angry mob whose objective is to plunge a stake into your chest like some poorly written vampire novel?" Edward asked with a sad, teasing grin.

Carlisle frowned at Edward's joke, but Esme laughed, squeezing his hand in his. "No, Edward, I didn't. It is an interesting turn of events; attempted suicide to immortal life.”

"Life in a gothic novel," Carlisle interjected in dark humour.

Edward grinned crookedly and rested his hand on Esme's shoulder. "The tide has changed, Esme. Those waves are no match for you now."

"Poor joke, Edward," Carlisle sighed, again looking displeased, but Esme didn't mind. Her past was behind her, regaining consciousness in the forest to walk away from her forever.

And it was nice to belong somewhere at last.

Fin.