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Stained Glass Soul

Summary:
png She falls from a tree. She falls from a cliff. She falls in love. The love story of restless newborn vampire Esme Anne Platt and the shamelessly saintly Doctor Carlisle Cullen. Romance, religion, and rebellion ensue. Pre-Twilight, Canon.


Notes:
This is the story of Esme's transformation, how she faces the challenges of being a newborn vampire, reconciles her faith in the afterlife, and falls in love with Carlisle Cullen. (Canon-compatible). Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


2. Healed and Gone

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Chapter 2:

Healed and Gone

The doctor would be here soon. They kept saying that.

The doctor will be here soon.

Never before had Esme imagined she would be so desperate for any one person to arrive at her house. But she certainly was now, waiting with her leg hitched up in the most awkward of positions on the sitting room sofa. Having been dropped several times by the well-meaning farmhands who had gallantly carried her in, her leg was most likely in worse condition than it had been before.

She realized far too late that she should have never worn her best dress while climbing a tree. The ends had been torn - all that pretty sunshine-yellow lace ruined - Mother would be certain to have a fit. Bits of grass and dirt stuck to the fabric, making her look like a child's rag doll that had been dropped in the yard. A rag doll with a broken leg. And now when Esme looked down at the mangled mess of crooked bones, she wondered if it would ever be the same.

Her eyes prickled with tears at the thought of losing her leg. Positive thinking was so very overrated.

And so what would happen if the doctor never did arrive? What if she were to wait here for the rest of her life, and never be serviced by her right leg again? What if?

Oh, but this was sure not to happen. Doctors could be trusted, after all.

Esme sighed woefully as the final flickers of lightning flashed outside the windows, illuminating the empty parlor with eerie blue sparks. She waited for the clap of thunder to follow, but it was not so loyal. Instead, a distant grumble sounded, like an old man stirring in his sleep.

Reaching for her glass of water, Esme winced as a shudder of sharp pain reached from her leg to her middle. Every way she tried to turn, something would hurt. Her eyes were watering enough to make her thirsty, but she couldn't reach far enough for that glass that taunted her on the table beside the sofa.

She needed someone to rescue her.

As if by a miracle, sounded by the final chime of the clock, Esme's sensitive ears picked up the clip-clop of several pairs of shoes on the old checkerboard tiles in the foyer. A moment later, the bustling housekeeper slipped through the doors to the parlor, discreetly fanning her round face, which had flushed to resemble a ripened peach. With a squeak of a voice, she informed the dim room's only occupant that the doctor had arrived.

The teenager swiped at her teary eyes with a forceful finality. She refused to be seen by the doctor looking so broken and immature. She could be strong if she only held her head up high.

"I'm afraid she's been without attention for nearly two hours, now..." The housekeeper chirped as she moved to light the way for the physician with a shallow candle.

"Poor child." The two words were spoken in the softest, most lovely tenor voice Esme had ever heard.

Suddenly, she had forgotten all about needing that glass of water.

She did not dare move her head for fear that the tiniest movement might cause her more pain, and so she was utterly unprepared for the sight that suddenly entered her field of vision.

He must have been the doctor, but... this was entirely preposterous. The entire room seemed to change, the air itself became chilly, tremulous. Everything was so... different.

Esme was unable to tear her gaze away from the strange man as he crossed the room with unmatched grace. In a series of impossibly deft movements, he removed his gloves and shrugged his dark overcoat off of his shoulders. Waiting on his heels already, the housekeeper took the discarded articles of clothing a little too eagerly into her plump hands.

He turned around, and Esme took a breathless moment to look at her doctor for the first time.

He was as pale as a lily, with unusually brilliant blond hair, and looked much too young to be a fully certified physician. And even though Esme had only watched him for less than a minute at the most, he was quite easily the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on.

He just didn't even look like a real person. Like something out of a painting, perhaps – but even that was too mundane – some sort of wingless angel in disguise as a physician. A prince straight out of a fairy tale book. He looked so intimidating, so untouchable in his stinging perfection that she was almost afraid of him.

He was suspiciously attractive.

His sympathetic gaze fell on her where she lay in an awkward sprawl across the sofa, and Esme flushed madly, turning her eyes down before she could allow them to wander any more over that face which she'd perceived to be perfect at first glance. She told herself adamantly that all of the commotion had simply gone to her head. It was only the poor lighting in this room that played a trick on her lightheaded gaze.

But with the hasty addition of an oil lamp by her side, Esme was startled to find that her doctor was only more handsome in the light.

He seemed to positively glow in the candlelight, his hair shining like gold silk, his snow-white skin luminous, just tainted with the faintest rosy hue on his cheeks. His lips were that same shade of rose, shyly deeper in color. They were set in a perfect, concentrated pout as he shifted the leather bag to his lap and quickly searched its contents. His eyes were covered by surprisingly dark lashes; his brow, while narrowed severely, somehow still managed to look inexplicably soft. Everything about him was ethereal, soft, and gentle. Even the way he moved.

"You mustn't try to get up, Miss," he ordered soothingly, and she noticed with great surprise that she had involuntarily leaned upward at his approach – and felt no pain. "You will do fine to remain just as you are."

He had the slightest trace of a formal accent when he spoke, the voice of one who was quite clearly well-bred.

Every time he moved, even the faintest bit, it sent a rush of fragrant air washing over and through her. An intoxicating, crystalline perfume – something like vanilla, but far sweeter; a little like citrus, but far sharper. He smelled like the inside of a church, and a bit like the last day of winter.

He asked for her name, and she gave it, timidly. Never did her name sound so small as it did when she'd said it. But his kindness never wavered, and he introduced himself as Doctor Cullen, in that same gentle, cottony tone. Then he smiled.

There was no way for Esme's young feminine mind to comprehend how a man's smile could be so angelic. His lips were small, shapely, almost delicate. They set a strange contrast to the rest of his face, which was inexorably masculine, from the chiseled contours of his cheekbones to the elegant but firm angle of his jaw. The genial gesture drew her attention up into his eyes and she barely suppressed a gasp at the completely indecent shade of brilliant, honey-gold that gazed boldly back at her.

He was most certainly something unreal.

His exquisite eyebrows knitted together as he looked down to assess her throttled leg, tutting softly. Then he pierced her in place again with his gentle gaze and asked her how it had happened.

Esme stumbled along her response, suddenly having forgotten half the words in the English language. An endearing dimple flashed teasingly on the left side of her doctor's mouth as he politely looked away, having mercy on her in her struggle, and her pulse fluttered madly.

As a young and enthusiastic artist, Esme was tortued by the perfection of Doctor Cullen's every expression. Even then, with her leg in throbbing pain and her throat dry from lack of hydration, her fingers were trembling with the urge to garnish a canvas... full with this man's every feature. Impressionistically, she could do wonders with the inspiration his face instilled within her heart.

He murmured something about climbing trees not being a common activity among young ladies, and all she could do was drink in the delightful drawl of his voice as he spoke.

She watched his fingers moving, in eager anticipation, knowing that at some point he would be physically handling her. With a healthy dose of guilt, her heartbeat quickened at the thought. It seemed all too improper and nearly unthinkable for a man so unspeakably handsome, and a bit scandalously... virile... to touch her in any manner, no matter how clinical.

But not a second later, he asked her permission to feel for the break.

With a wordless nod, she granted him permission... to touch her.

Three cool fingers applied an almost frustratingly gentle pressure to the sensitive space of skin approximately two inches above her knee. If her leg had not been practically paralyzed, Esme would have jerked back in surprise at the chilly temperature of the doctor's skin.

His fingers pressed experimentally along the line of her calf, every time asking if it hurts here... or here... then maybe here...

She shook her head every time, because nothing that came from this doctor's exquisite hands could have ever caused her pain.

Until she flinched.

A tiny squeak of discomfort alerted him to the fractured bone and he braced both hands around her leg with a look of pity on his lovely face. He whispered a husky apology before he set the bones, but nothing could have prepared her for the brutal shards of pain that clawed at her helpless limb between his hands.

A regrettably embarrassing minute followed where Esme was reduced to the kind of blubbering, uncontrollable weeping more suited to a toddler. Her nerve-endings damned the beautiful doctor for causing such an uproar in her poor broken body, but her heart settled in the midst of her distress as he hushed her patiently with a gelid hand to her shoulder.

Esme's plans to be seen by the doctor as a mature and collected young lady were hopelessly ruined. But for reasons unknown she was unable to care anymore. It was all right to be seen this way. Everything in her doctor's face, in his eyes, showed nothing but divine sympathy and understanding. This expression of care without cause was so unlike anything she had received from those around her. It was intimidating in its intimacy, but so heartwarming it almost brought her tears of gratefulness.

When Esme finally collected the courage to look down, her leg was no longer twisted in sickly deformity. She cocked her head, with a swipe to her puffy pink eyes, and gazed fondly down at the leg she used to know.

He had fixed her.

Doctor Cullen took her leg and wrapped it securely, while she watched his enchanting butterscotch gaze in utter captivation. He tended to the rest of her bruises with a gentleness that made her stomach turn somersaults. He prescribed medications in his silk-thread voice and wished her the best of health with an exultant half-smile that obliviously fueled a year's worth of fruitless daydreams.

And then he swept the dark overcoat across his shoulders, slipped the gloves back over his hands, and left her to heal on her own.

He was gone before she had the chance to thank him.