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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.


8. Chapter 8

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1861   Review this Chapter

Chapter 8

She burned for almost three days. When it finally stopped, Esme felt... strange. She was afraid to move, afraid she'd suddenly break. Had she suffered enough for her sins? Had God finally given her release? After a few seconds of consideration, she lifted a finger, and then another, and then wiggled all her fingers on both hands, sighing in relief when she felt perfectly fine.

With her eyes closed, she suddenly became aware of several things at once. One, the smell of lilacs and lilies and something else sweet that she couldn't identify. Still curious as to what kind of heaven she'd open her eyes too, another image flashed before her eyes.

A handsome, blonde man who sat with her, touched her cheek and spoke to her. She couldn't remember what he'd said or how long she'd dreamed about him, but he was a comforting thought. He looked much like the doctor who'd treated her when she was sixteen. A guardian angel, perhaps?

She continued to lay there until she heard movements somewhere in the distance and she became unsure again. She heard footsteps and murmuring voices; trees and bushes moving in the wind; a newspaper shuffling. She felt uneasy and anxiety tapped at her desires to get up and open her eyes.

Curiosity eventually got the better of her and she opened her eyes, gasping at the lights and in her strange surroundings. No clouds of heaven and no haloed angels in white? No great golden gate or white lights?

She was in a room with blue walls and a white trim. Behind her was a wide window with a heavy black curtain over it. Opposite the door was a large wardrobe, atop of which sat a plant and a small stack of books. There was a dark rug on the floor and a small book shelf by the oak door.

How strange, she thought.

As she looked around the room, another thing caught her attention- she could see differently and much, much better. Things were much sharper, and when she focused on the rug, she could pick out individual fibres if she stared long and hard enough. The colours were more interesting and she found that even looking at the blue walls intrigued her.

There was a knock on the door and Esme's attention snapped up, but she remained lying in the bed.

The blonde man was here- the doctor, what was his name? Her guardian angel... Esme felt mesmerized as she watched him enter the room- a blonde god in a pair of beige pants and a red shirt. He smiled at her- a charming smile with a set of very white teeth. She inhaled sharply and was rewarded by his scent, which was vaguely familiar to her.

"You're awake," he praised, obviously pleased. He still remained a fair distance with her, and this she felt grateful for. She had no idea why she felt so anxious, but she had no idea where she was or what was happening. Heaven was nothing like she'd expected.

Esme sat up in a fluent motion and pushed the sheets down to her waist. "Why did heaven put me in this room?" She asked in a wind-chime voice that sounded odd as her tongue moved around the words. She frowned at herself, wondering at her voice. She glanced down and realized that she wore a hospital gown.

The blonde man looked confused for only a moment and then he shook his head. "I know this is a little disorientating for you, but you're safe and healthy. You've healed quicker than I expected." He seemed to be fighting a smile that tugged on his lips. "And you're alive, not in heaven."

Esme stared at him for a long time, confused. "Where am I?" She finally asked in her new voice, relaxing in her mind's reminder that anywhere was better than whatever dark place she'd come from. She stared down at the large bed, the comfortable duvet, the cotton sheets under it.

"My home," he told her promptly. "My name is Carlisle Cullen." He smiled again in a kind way.

Esme nodded. "I remember you. You're the doctor." Carlisle smiled again and Esme felt a wave of calm over her. "I don't understand," she added slowly.

"What do you remember?" Carlisle encouraged, sitting himself on the edge of her bed. Esme hesitated at this action but decided she didn't mind. Carlisle didn't make her nervous. She felt disorientated and anxious, yes, but he was not the cause.

Esme stared down at her feet, considering the question and shifting through her blurred memories. What did she remember? Charles. Her family. Carlisle. Thomas. A baby. The rush of freezing air. Nothingness. Fire. Everything was so distorted and unfocused. The memory of overwhelming grief slammed into her, but she surprisingly shoved it aside immediately, not ready to confront it yet.

"They brought you into the hospital," he began gently in a calm, controlled voice, watching her carefully for tension. "And you were so badly injured from the fall off the cliff. There was no other way to save you." Esme slowly brought her eyes up to Carlisle's perfect, beautiful face, feeling slightly entranced by him.

"I couldn't let you die," Carlisle continued patiently. "Not when I remembered you were so happy and beautiful and a bright young woman."

Esme was caught off-guard. "You think I'm beautiful?"

Carlisle's lips pulled into a small smile. "Very much so, Esme."

This pleased her, but she was growing more and more aware of a different sensation- one of being incredibly thirsty. She was so parched it was burning the back of her throat.

"How did you save me?" She looked over her body and noticed her skin was unmarked and undamaged by the fall. "When did I jump?" A memory returned to her, much clearer than it had been before of her throwing herself off the cliff.

"You're different now because you've changed. I don't really care for the term, but..." he seemed to gather his courage. "I saved you by turning you immortal- into a vampire."

Vampire? Esme stared at him, knowing she'd heard him correctly, but still unsure of how to react. She considered how she felt physically, and decided she'd never felt better. Emotionally, it occurred to her that she felt free of that weight of grief she carried on her shoulders. She still felt sadness- but it was more of a blurred memory of her past.

It was, although she thought she ought to feel badly for it, nice to not be crippled with misery.

"Are you angry with me?" His voice sounded sad and that upset her slightly. She wanted to move closer to him, to comfort him, and suddenly she was next to him.

"That was fast," she murmured to herself, glancing where she'd moved from.

"You'll find a lot of things have changed," Carlisle said gently. He was watching her again with his golden eyes. She found herself staring into them, transfixed. Had they always been gold?

"Esme, I truly hope you can forgive me, but I simply could not let you die. You are, of course, welcome to stay here with myself and my son Edward."

"Your son?"

Carlisle nodded. "Adopted, sort of speak. I saved him too, from Spanish influenza."

A million questions swam around her mind, but she wasn't sure which to ask first. She found herself looking into his eyes, feeling... something... she couldn't ever recall feeling. She suddenly felt extremely hesitant and unsure. And before she could make up her mind with what to say to Carlisle Cullen, he got easily to his feet.

"Come, you must be thirsty and tired of laying in that bed. There are a lot of things you need to learn."

"I still don't understand," Esme reiterated uncomfortably.

"I will explain everything once you've had a chance to drink and to change. We'll talk downstairs."

Esme nodded, deciding she'd confront these strange feelings at some other point. She also wanted to remember her past and understand how she had come to be a vampire, though it was strange to think about. And being told that she was thirsty made her realize how bone-dry her mouth was and she touched her throat in discomfort.

Vampires existed? Had she fallen into a fairy tale or nightmare? Was she dreaming? Esme sincerely hoped it was neither; she felt good about Carlisle Cullen. Very good. Like he was someone she could trust in this world. The man apparently worked miracles. He saved her when she was a young girl of sixteen and fell from a tree. And he saved her again when she fell from a cliff.

He waited outside the room for her to change into a simple pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt and then smiled when she opened the door and stood before him again. She noted he smiled a lot.

His expression unreadable but she felt his eyes burn into hers as she followed him from the bedroom and into the hallway. They passed a bathroom which had a large mirror in it and Esme froze, stunned at her reflection.

Carlisle halted too, but didn't say anything. He let her learn her new appearance in silence. As Esme stared at the beautiful, flawless brunette staring back at her, she touched her perfect caramel curls, her defined cheekbones, her unblemished satiny skin with wonder.

Surely this wasn't real? How could she commit suicide and wake up alive, in perfect condition as a vampire, in the house of a man she'd found attractive several years before? A man who found her beautiful and told her she could stay here?

"Esme?" Carlisle finally said softly, calling her from her wonderment.

Esme snapped to the present, slightly embarrassed at her narcissism. Her eyes fell on Carlisle's golden ones regarding her and she turned back to the mirror for a second to confirm with horror what she'd realized the difference between her eyes and his was.

"Like blood," she whispered in the silence, horrified at her eye colour.

"It's not forever," Carlisle told her reassuringly, touching her arm. "A few months, perhaps. They'll change to gold. Come on, Edward wants to meet you."

"Your son?" Esme qualified curiously. He nodded at her and she considered all that she'd been told so far. She had no opinion yet of what had happened to her, but she knew that her life, whatever it had become, was far better than what she'd left behind.

"Your son...Does he look like a demon too?" Esme asked miserably, allowing Carlisle to lead her away from the mirror.

Carlisle chuckled. "No, in fact many women think he's a real catch," he told her.

"But he's a vampire too?" Esme pressed. "You saved him like you saved me?"

"I wouldn't have if there was any other choice in how I saved you," Carlisle told her sincerely, pausing at the top of the stairs. "I don't much like the word, but vampire doesn't entail being demonic."

"Vampire," Esme muttered in disbelief as they began to descend the stairs to meet Edward Cullen. "This is great... Bram Stoker has written my life story."