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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.


9. Chapter 9

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2492   Review this Chapter

Chapter 9

Esme quickly found life at the Cullen home to be easy to adapt to. After spending a few weeks with Edward and Carlisle, she didn't care much for the life she'd left behind. She could remember her story, but it felt like everything had happened years and years earlier, instead of in the span of weeks. She still grieved for the loss of her baby son, but her new body could not cry. It was a deep relief that she neither understood nor wanted to confront. She was relieved for her relief.

Both Edward and Carlisle were a comfort to her by hearing their stories and learning from them. When she told them of her life with Charles, they both seemed saddened by what she had endured. If she was legally free of Charles, he could no longer hunt her. And more than that, even if he did manage to find her, she laughed at the idea of Charles facing three vampires.

Vampire.

It was still strange, but Esme found that this life already felt more ‘right’ than her first one. She walked about the Cullen home without fear, without restriction. She was her own person with rights and the ability to make her own decisions. The Cullen house was a decent size and she had her own room, her own bathroom, her own possessions, and she was asked what she wanted.

The current downside was that Carlisle had had to fake her death, so Edward and Carlisle were making arrangements to re-locate to a new town. Esme had felt terrible about this, but Edward had laughed and Carlisle shrugged with a smile.

"We move often, you'll find," Edward explained to her patiently. “We can’t stay in one location for too long otherwise people would notice we don’t get any older.”

"Once you're no longer a new vampire, you can return to work. You’d be terribly bored if you stayed at home for centuries.”

Esme shuddered at the mere thought of being a prisoner of her own house and a house maid for centuries and was grateful that she could return to the semblance of her old interests and previous life in the future. It was nice to think that she could teach again and be surrounded by young, bright minds.

Esme couldn't disagree with this point. Aside from hunting, she essentially kept to the house, not wanting to be recognized in town, especially in light of the changes to her physical appearance. The blood-red eyes would certainly disturb anyone she met on the street.

Esme spent a lot of time reading in Carlisle's study; learning from the many books he had in his miniature library. She and Edward would spend time together as well, playing board games or taking walks in the forest. He was also teaching her how to play the piano, which Esme truly enjoyed. She also found she loved to look through books about architecture and design. She imagined perhaps one day undertaking renovation projects; something she never would have been allowed to do as a woman.

One evening, Carlisle returned home from work to find Esme curled up on the sofa in his study, reading a book with an emerald green cover. She glanced up at him when he entered the room and she smiled at him in greeting, her finger resting on the spot where she’d stopped.

"Enjoying your day?" Carlisle asked, hanging up his jacket. He set his briefcase on his desk and eyed the book she’d been reading. He recognized it and wondered momentarily why she’d chosen to read that book.

"Yes," Esme replied. As she sat up straighter, the movement caused her long hair to tumble over her shoulders, framing her beautiful face and soft eyes.

Carlisle found himself caught off-guard by her shiny ringlets and the smell of roses that wafted off of her skin. He noticed the way her slender legs slid off the couch to the floor and the way she had folded herself against the arm rest, and the curve of her waist as she leaned up against it.

Esme felt his gaze and closed the book, smiling curiously at his expression.

"What is it? Do I have something on my face?" Her fingers brushed the skin around her naturally dark pink lips, hoping she didn’t have any remnants of hunting with Edward on her face.

Re-composing himself, Carlisle moved toward her, turning his eyes to the book on her lap. “You are interested in philosophy?" He asked curiously, hoping his voice didn’t betray the nature of his thoughts.

He sat next to her and lifted the book off of her lap and leafed through the pages, keeping his eyes firmly on the pages. “Aristotle had some interesting thoughts,” he commented conversationally.

“I haven’t gotten very far,” she admitted sheepishly. “Just starting on his thoughts on what makes a good tragedy.”

Carlisle nodded, recalling some of his ideas. As he spoke, Esme watched his face, admiring how he was able to recall so much of Aristotle’s ideas. She wondered what else he knew, or how much he knew. She knew he had been alive for a very long time, and that he was already a brilliant physician, and he was studying cardiology to become a surgeon.

Yes, he was definitely a brilliant man. Brilliant, kind, and attractive.

Esme’s mind wandered to observing the way his eyes lit up as he spoke about something that fascinated him. She loved his golden hair, and the way it curled at the nape of his neck, and how some of the strands would fall into his eyes after a long day of being slicked back. His hair was healthy, shiny and she imagined it was soft. She wondered how it would feel to run her fingers through his hair.

She pursed her lips, imagining such a thing. She had never desired a man like this before. She’d never met someone like Carlisle; someone who fascinated her. Someone who was as nice, patient and friendly. Someone who actually cared as he did. Someone with the face of Angel Gabriel and a smile that made her want to smile.

Her musings were suddenly disrupted by her startled realization that he’d caught her staring. His golden eyes were focused on her own red ones. She also noticed he seemed closer. Had he moved or just leaned? His eyes seemed to be searching her face for something. His lips were slightly parted, and his hands positioned awkwardly on his knees, the book sliding and forgotten on his lap.

Esme remembered to breathe, and she inhaled, smelling, or maybe rather tasting, Carlisle's scent. He smelled of soap, hospital, and some kind of expensive cologne. He smelled wonderful. She leaned in subconsciously, though she had half a mind to run from the room. She’d never known herself be so calm, let alone to be brave enough to sit and endure this kind of tension.

"You look beautiful,” Carlisle told her suddenly, his voice catching. His voice was low, husky, even.

If she could have blushed, she would have. Esme shyly tucked her hair behind her ear, and murmured a thank you. It was hard to believe he’d said such a thing to her. Carlisle. The doctor who’d saved her once at sixteen, and then again a few weeks ago.

They looked at each other for another long moment before Carlisle, ever so gently, raised his fingers to her cheek and stroked the soft skin there. The touch was electric and her eyes fluttered closed as his fingers slid across her cheek to her jaw, and then his thumb glazed along her jaw bone to her chin before.

She opened her eyes again as the desire to be kissed overwhelmed her. When his hand dropped, the disappointment made her want to say something- anything- to encourage him. Didn’t he know that she wanted him his touch? Didn’t he understand that he was the only man she had ever felt these things for?

He was very close now. Esme inhaled again, pleased by the scent of him. She felt her body urging her to close the distance and kiss him, but she had never been forward with men. It just wasn’t proper, or so she’d been taught.

He smiled at her, taking an edge of the tension, but it was a troubled smile. The book dropped to the floor and they both jumped slightly at the noise. He bent to pick it up and Esme tried to keep her face composed to hide the disappointment there.

"I need to go freshen up," Carlisle excused himself, getting to his feet. "The smell of hospital is distracting me.” He handed her back the book and smiled, but the content emotion didn’t reach his eyes. She was desperate to hope that perhaps he felt the same disappointment she felt deep in her chest.

He left, leaving Esme staring after him, wondering what had just occurred. She ran her hands through her hair, wondering why he hadn’t kissed her. Wasn’t that the expected outcome after a moment like that? Or did he not think of her that way? Was that just a moment of friendship or understanding? Was she the only one with these feelings? This idea made her want to cry out. It hurt very much to think that he felt nothing for her?

Then again, why would he? He’d saved her because he’d remembered her, and he remembered that she used to be happy. He’d saved her because she had no other choice. He’d done her a favour. It had nothing to do with a romantic heroic action to be with her.

After taking a few moments to compose herself, she stood and moved into the main room where she found Edward pouring over several books written in a language she could not either recognize or read. She frowned over his shoulder and attempted to sound out some of the words.

"It's Latin," Edward told her amusedly, looking up from his studies. He read the confusion in her mind and smiled slightly. "We have a lot of time on our hands... I enjoy reading and learning just as you do. Except I’m not much a fan of Aristotle.”

Esme smiled half-heartedly. “I’m still undecided on that topic.” She moved to sit across from him on the couch and leaned back with a heavy sigh. “I supposed I’ll need to find a hobby for myself besides reading.”

Edward set down his pen. “What did you do before?”

Esme thought for a moment. “I did a bit of knitting... but I was more of a house-wife. Cooking, cleaning, and visiting. Charles liked to keep us busy. We were either entertaining guests or out being entertained.”

She scrunched her face at the memory, disliking those memories from her past. "I've had a few teaching jobs and I loved that... and...” her next thought bothered her the most. “And I was going to be a mother, so I spent a lot of time preparing for that," Esme said softly, remembering to the baby boy she'd lost. It upset her that she could barely remember him now. How was it possible to forget his little face so quickly?

"Your human memories fade quickly," Edward answered her thought aloud. "You won't have to suffer over those memories for forever. You’ll always feel sad when you think about it, but it won’t cripple you.”

“That’ll be nice,” Esme murmured, satisfied at least with this.

Edward suddenly had papers in his hands and he passed them to Esme. "Divorce papers..." he said quietly."You might need them one day if people discover you survived that fall from the cliff. I’ve been meaning to give them to you."

Esme took them gratefully. "Thank you," she told Edward sincerely, thrown off-guard that he'd gone ahead and gotten these for her. “That was really nice of you to think of that.”

Edward smiled slightly, but quickly tried to hide his smile. "Not a problem. I can see your interests are elsewhere. "

Before Esme could ask what he meant, she heard Carlisle coming. Edward laughed so softly that she barely heard it. "You never did tell us that story," Edward said, breaking into her thoughts.

Esme turned to look at him, her eyes narrowing out of irritation. She didn’t like it when Edward read her mind or answered her thoughts instead of her questions. She also knew he couldn’t help it, and he meant well.

"Which story?" Carlisle asked, coming into the room with a newspaper.

Esme tore her eyes from Edward, worrying over how much Edward had heard in her mind as the relieved thoughts to have Carlisle near again entered her mind as quickly as she forced herself to forget them. "The one where you met Carlisle," Edward explained with a smile. It occurred to her suddenly how often Edward might be listening to her embarrassing stream of thoughts about her attraction to Carlisle.

"It's silly. I fell from a tree," Esme replied, mildly embarrassed, but determined to talk about this than remain on the thought of being attracted to Carlisle. Edward chuckled to her right, but Esme ignored him.

"Minor fracture to the femur and a sprained ankle," Carlisle recited perfectly, smiling slightly as he took a seat and tossed the paper on the coffee table.

Esme was surprised. "You remember? It was so long ago."

"Vampire," Carlisle replied dryly, still smiling. Edward made a noise of amusement and got gracefully to his feet, muttering something about needing to go get something. Carlisle ignored Edward and kept his eyes on Esme. “You’ll find your memory is one of the things that is significantly improved now that you’ve been changed.”

There was an awkward pause and then,

"I never forgot you...the handsome doctor," Esme blurted nervously before she could stop herself.

Carlisle opened his mouth to speak when a harsh knocked sounded at the door. Edward had re-appeared and growled, his eyes black as he stared seemingly through the walls toward the front door. He shot across the room to Esme's side, tugging her up off the couch and hurrying her into the kitchen with a grip that her instincts told her not to fight. He pressed a finger to her lips, looking very serious.

Esme felt every muscle in her body tense as she took a deep breath.

"Who is it?" Esme demanded in an angry whisper.

When he didn't answer her, she pleaded with him. "Edward, please, what it is?" The tension was maddening as the fight or flight instinct demanded she make a decision.

Esme could hear Carlisle was moving toward the front door with even footsteps. Esme waited, watching Edward’s hardened expression for a hint at the danger.

“Edward?”

Edward let out a long, even angry breath of air, turning toward the sound of Carlisle opening the door. "It’s your husband, it seems."