Disclaimer: Don't own Twilight.
So a note on the last chapter—I was trying to keep this as close to SM's official history as possible, tho I have deviated twice so far (double fail). I know Esme is supposed to attempt suicide, but I thought about it for a while and I just wasn't convinced that she would do that—I couldn't make it fit her character (at least the way I'm writing her character). I am also a firm believer that there are things authors don't know about their characters—once they make the page, characters become their own people. So maybe SM missed what really happened to Esme: an attempted murder made to look like a suicide ;) Take it as you will…either way, it's a new (hopefully exciting) twist!
Ok—now that that's out of the way, here's some more Dr. Cullen for ya! And as always, thank you for the lovely reviews. You are all too sweet 3
It was the end of Dr. Cullen's shift but he had gotten word that the medics were bringing in a suicide. Because he was considered to be the best doctor in town, he was asked to stay and see if he could help the poor woman.
When the ambulance pulled up, he climbed in the back and instantly recognized her smell. But when he looked at the body he could hardly believe it was the girl he remembered. Esme, he thought, what have you done to yourself?
"She jumped of the cliff, Doc," said one of the medics, "I think all we need from you is to pronounce. I didn't feel a heart beat when we arrived at the scene and that was a good while ago."
Carlisle barely heard the words of the medic and didn't understand their meaning. He was overwhelmed by a numbness bristling from the core of his person. He took Esme's bloody hand in his. Oh my dear.
And that's when he felt it—the faintest pulse. It was no wonder the medics had missed it. He could only sense it because he was a vampire; a homing device for such things. He had already made his decision and moved quickly.
"Take her to the morgue," he commanded. The medics look frightened by his sudden determination and quickly unloaded Esme from the back.
"Oh, and 6:52pm," Dr. Cullen checked his watch. The medics hurried off and he paused to give them a chance to put her away.
"What are you doing?" he asked himself. "Are you really going to turn her?"
Yes. Yes had always been the answer. He turned made his way to the morgue, praying that she was able to hold on to life just a little bit longer.
By the time he arrived the medics were gone. The room was cold and stale but at least empty of life. There would not be a witness. Except for Esme of course—he could hear her heart beating a soothing rhythm. He walked to her side and stood over her body.
"Esme," he whispered, "I haven't forgotten you these 10 years."
She lay motionless and for a flash he wondered if she would remember him when she came around. But Carlisle didn't let that worry sit with him for long.
"I'm going to do what I should have done then. I promise to take care of you through this, but it will be painful and I'm so sorry for that."
Carlisle cupped her cheek in his hand—it was beautifully warm. He let the feeling linger in his palm, savoring this precious last moment with human Esme.
"Darling, are you ready?"
Again she showed no sign of awareness. She would not put up a fight. Slowly he leaned over her, taking in her sent. He needed to prepare himself for this—it would be infinitely harder to stop himself with Esme than it had been with Edward. It suddenly felt that all his years of restraint had been leading up to this moment. Remember yourself, Carlisle. If you drink all her blood, you won't get to keep her. Having her for the years to come will be much more enjoyable than a few seconds of lust.
Carlisle placed his lips on the soft skin of her neck and drew in a deep breath. The smell was more glorious than anything, but in that instance a very human self-control took hold and he knew he could do it.
"Esme, I'll see you soon," he whispered into her ear.
He bit into the soft flesh of her neck, her carotid artery bursting blood into his mouth. He heard her inhale a sharp breath but she was too weak to do anything else. But ahh she had the most luxurious taste—so intoxicating. This is Esme. Carlisle placed a hand on the opposite side of her head, gently stroking her cheek. She must be in pain, he thought. Her warmth coursed through him, relaxing his muscles and clouding his brain.
After 30 seconds he withdrew, panting and trying to compose himself. She wasn't squirming in pain but that was due to her poor human condition. But, just to be sure the venom was working—and just to taste her one last time—Carlisle indulged in her for few more seconds. He then carefully picked up her limp form and quickly left the hospital, running through the woods to his home. No one saw them leave.
Consciousness returned to Esme like waking up from a nap when you hadn't known you were sleeping. Her body felt like it weighed one million pounds. She inhaled sharply and looked around before sitting up. Everything was so clear—it was as if a veil had been lift from in front of her face and she could finally see the world as it was. She was in a beautiful room—a library with cherry paneled walls. She had never seen this room before. A rustle from behind her caused her to sit up—much faster than she thought possible—and turn towards the noise. She was suddenly unable to breathe. There by the window, lounging against the wall in all his glory, stood Dr. Cullen.
"Esme," he smiled.
Esme closed her eyes, rubbing them and patting her cheeks. When she looked again he was still there.
"How are you feeling," he began to cross the room to her side.
Esme couldn't find words to describe her feelings. When he finally reached her side, Dr. Cullen picked up her hand to hold between his. Another moment passed before she could speak.
"I-I don't understand," she stammered. Whether it was the disorientation of waking up from a forgotten sleep in a strange place, or simply the shock of seeing Dr. Cullen,seeing him again, Esme was unable to control her emotions and burst into tears.
"Dear," he whispered, stepping even closer and placing a hand on her cheek to wipe away the stains, "Shhhhhh. I can explain everything. I know you must be confused and that you must wonder where I came from."
"You vanished 10 years ago. I was never going to see you again—I've accepted that."
"I know—I know that's what was supposed to happen."
His words surprised her. She glanced up, searching his face for their meaning.
"What do you last remember, Esme?"
She closed her eyes and grew more disconcerted when her mind stayed blank; she didn't remember anything. Esme strained for her thoughts, any thought, but she could think of nothing beyond the room she was in and the man who stood before her.
"Dr. Cullen—" she began.
"Please, call me Carlisle," he smiled.
"Carlisle," his name rolled off her tongue like a rhyme, "I can't. I can't remember anything."
"Well you remembered who I was when you woke up—that's something. How did you know it was me?"
Esme's mind jumped—she remembered a small dark space. The back of a carriage, it was; her family's old carriage. That's where she first saw him, how could she forget the moment? Her mind skipped to her hospital bed where he hovered above her, to their last goodbye; to meeting Charles shortly thereafter; to marrying Charles to please her family; to Charles' abusive behavior; to his going to war then coming home again; to the baby—and then it all came flooding back and her eyes grew wide and terrified.
"You remember," he murmured.
"Yes—but Carlisle, how am I still alive?"
"Well, that's a story in itself, but I want to hear what happened to you first," he gave her such a deep stare and she found that she had no choice but to continue.
"Where do I begin?" Esme shrugged her shoulders, "I was married to an abusive husband. He went to war and it was during that time that I realized the monster he was—when he returned, he seemed different and I hoped it was true. I became pregnant, he fell back into his old ways, and I ran away and came here—well, I don't know where we are right now, but by here I mean Michigan. I had the baby, who then died four days later."
Esme looked down at her hands. The thought his tiny body; his little finger nails and fragile lips slowly turning blue; the life slowly being suffocated from him…
"I'm sorry, Esme," Carlisle placed a hand on her back and slowly began to rub small circles.
"I was really down after that and stayed home for days. Then one afternoon I decided to go for a walk. To my favorite overlook of Lake Huron and I found peace for a moment…until I turned around and there stood Charles."
Carlisle's body stiffened—this was not the story he had been expecting to hear. It was much worse. Esme sensed his change and looked up, suddenly frightened.
"You're scaring me," she whispered, "you look like you did when you told me goodbye."
"I'm sorry," he looked away shaking his head, "It's just—I thought I knew what happened to you, but I fear I didn't get the right story."
Esme looked away and exhaled.
"What story did you hear?"
"That you attempted suicide by jumping off that cliff."
Esme pursed her lips.
"No. I was in quite a state but I wouldn't have done that."
"So what happened?"
"He shoved me off the cliff."
Carlisle looked at her, not speaking. What could he say to that? What do you tell someone who has been murdered? He wanted to pull her towards him, to wrap her up in his arms. But he realized he had made the biggest mistake of his sorry half-life. He should have never turned her—wherever she was going had better than the life she would now have to live. It would have been one thing to turn her if she had attempted suicide, but this was different.
"I'm so sorry," he murmured.
"I actually feel quite well," she forced a smile, "and no broken bones or bruises…it's a bit of a miracle!"
It seemed absurd to her that this should be the case.
"Actually," she continued, "my throat is the only place I feel any discomfort—it hurts rather bad, like the time I had strap throat as a child."
Carlisle smiled a sad smile.
"Well, I have an explanation for that but perhaps you would like to get cleaned up and properly dressed first?"
Esme looked down at herself and was mortified to see that she was wearing nothing but a hospital gown.
"Yes—but I don't thank I have any clothes here…" it was more of a question than a statement.
"You do—I took the liberty of picking some things out for you," Carlisle walked to a large wardrobe that, while matching the cherry wood of the walls, looked quite out of place in a library, "I hope you'll find everything you need in here."
Esme stared at him in disbelief. She was beyond confused.
"Where am I exactly?" she asked.
"My house," he moved towards the door, "take your time—the bathroom is just out here to the left if you want to wash off. I'll be waiting for you downstairs in the kitchen."
After Carlisle left the room Esme stood and made her way to the wardrobe. Inside was a selection of beautiful, stylish clothes sewn from elegant fabrics which were clearly expensive. It was as if Carlisle had raided the in-style rack at the department store. There were a few beaded flapper dresses, which were fun but not what Esme was in the mood for. She opted for a knee-length black skirt and a fitted white top. Boring but comfortable, and right now she was in the mood for comfort. No high-healed shoes, just flats. She wished there had been slippers.
Esme went to the bathroom to splash water on her face and wrists. But when she looked back at herself in the mirror she grew terrified. The person standing there looked vaguely like her, but clearly was not her. The reflection was of a much more beautiful woman than Esme, with strange crimson eyes. Esme shivered and slowly moved her hands to touch her face. The reflection mirrored her action. Esme reached out to touch the glass—just to make sure it was really there and there wasn't some strange woman playing a trick on her. The glass felt cool and smooth against her fingertips.
"I must be dead," she whispered to herself, "or crazy."
After refreshing in the bathroom, Esme went down stairs. The house was beautiful—the stairway was grand, dark mahogany splitting in two and curving down both walls of the large entry hall.
Her shoes clapped lightly against the floor. She had no idea where the kitchen was, but found it rather quickly after passing through a dinning room and a small reading room.
Carlisle was there waiting for her, frozen like a Grecian god leaning up against the counter with his arms folded. He was staring out the window and didn't seem to notice when she entered the room.
"Hello," Esme whispered, all of a sudden feeling shy and self-conscious.
Carlisle turned and smiled at the sight of her.
"Hello," he crossed the room, reaching her side must faster than she thought humanly possible, "How are you feeling?"
"I'm well, though my throat isn't easing up—it's actually getting worse. Maybe you could take a look at it?"
He smiled that sad smile.
"Lets go sit down in the living room."
"Okay," she followed him, "But this is making me nervous, you know. You're acting funny; things are funny. Should I be nervous?"
"Well are you going to tell me that I'm about to die? Because as long as it's not that I won't be nervous," she laughed.
"Oh I'm certain you're not about to die."
They were crossing the entranceway to the living room when a handsome young man appeared on the stairs. His pale skin and good looks gave him away as a relative of Carlisle.
"Edward," Carlisle moved towards the stairs, instinctively placing a hand on the small of Esme's back. She drew in a tiny breath of surprise and pleasure, and Edward glanced over at her with a small smile as if he knew what had just happened.
"Edward, let me introduce you to Esme."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Edward smiled. He took Esme's hand and placed a soft kiss on the back of it.
What a family, Esme thought, Edward is so handsome too—I'm shocked there aren't girls banging down the door of this house!
Edward smiled again, almost as if hearing her thoughts. Esme knew this was impossible but something about him made her uneasy.
"It's lovely to meet you. You both really do look so much alike," smiled Esme.
"You think so?" asked Carlisle, "In what ways?"
"Oh," she bumbled, not wanting to praise their handsome looks and glad when she suddenly caught sight of Edward's eyes, "Your eyes are the same unique color."
"Yes," smiled Carlisle, "Well come, lets not stand here all day." Again he placed a hand on her lower back to guide her into the living room.
"Edward, why don't you join us?"
"Edward," Esme smiled over her shoulder as they walked to the living room, "I believe you knew my friends back in high school—Margaret and Tim? Tim was on the baseball team—"
"Yes, I remember them," said Edward.
"They mentioned you a few times—though it didn't sound you all were that close."
"No, we weren't," he grinned.
The living room was just as beautiful as the rest of the house, with a thick carpet and floor-to-ceiling curtains that framed tall windows overlooking a pond and large yard. A forest traced the property outline in the distance. Esme sank into one of the plush couches in the room and Carlisle sat down beside her.
"This conversation, I imagine, is going to be difficult for you," he began, "so I'm going to tell you the truth and it may take a little while for you to come to terms with it."
Ok, Esme thought, why not. The situation—sitting on a couch in Dr. Cullen's living room—suddenly seemed too surreal to be real; she wanted to laugh. Maybe she was dreaming. Carlisle glanced up at Edward, who offered him a smile and a nod.
"Edward and I…we're not human."
"Not human," Esme repeated after a pause.
"No, and let me give you an example," Carlisle stood and with one hand lifted the couch—with Esme still on it—high above his head. He did it in such a smooth, fluid motion that it felt like an elevator ride. He carefully placed her back on the ground.
Esme didn't say anything for a moment, partially stunned and partially reliving the first time she felt fear around him. I don't understand, she thought.
"Let me show you something then," Edward spoke up. Esme's eyes grew wide.
"What do you mean?"
"You don't understand," he repeated back to her, "You're still not convinced. So let me convince you further—"
I'm not sure I want to be convinced further, Esme thought.
"Well, I'm not surprised," Edward responded, and Esme felt a chill wash through her, "Pick a number between 1 and 1,000,000,000."
"Pick a number?" Esme repeated.
"Pick a number but don't say it out loud—I'll tell you what number you're thinking of."
Ok, she thought, here I go: 1027.
"One thousand, twenty-seven."
"Thirty-one thousand, two hundred and ninety eight."
Esme stared at him in disbelief. Carlisle sat down next to her, closer this time. She turned to face him, terrified.
"Esme," his eyes looked sad, "Don't be afraid."
"How can I not be?" she whispered.
"Have a little faith in me."
"So what are you then?"
Carlisle paused, looking deep into her eyes like he was contemplating something. After a moment he finally spoke.
"Humans call us vampires."
"Vampires," Esme's eyes grew larger and she shifted back from Carlisle, "should I be afraid?"
"Not anymore," Carlisle looked over at Edward.
"Not anymore," Esme repeated, "What exactly does that mean?"
"Esme, I know that you're going to be upset," Carlisle began, "and maybe angry, but I hope you know how much I care for you—I hope you can remember and have faith in that."
There was a moment of silence before Esme looked over at Edward and thought, He's about to tell me that I'm not human anymore, isn't he? That's why I'm alive. That's why I have no bruises or scars from my fall and why I have trouble remembering…
Edward nodded and Esme looked down at her hands. They suddenly looked so much paler than she remembered. She reached for one of Carlisle's hands and realized that their skin tones now matched.
She nodded her head repeatedly while a few moments passed and the weight of her new existence began to settle upon her.
"Edward," Carlisle broke the silence, "Do you mind giving me and Esme a minute?"
"Certainly," Edward stood and left the room.
"Esme," she was still looking down so Carlisle tipped up her chin with his forefinger and thumb, "please say something."
"I'm in shock," she whispered, "I'm torn. I'm just—I can't wrap my mind around everything."
"I know—I remember what it was like for me, though I had the advantage of already believing in the existence of vampires. For you—you've just turned into a mythical creature. It must seem like a nightmare."
They were quiet for a moment before Esme responded.
"But you're here, so it makes it a good dream at the same time."
Carlisle looked at her, turning over her words in his head.
"Do you see now why I couldn't stay all those years ago?"
"Yes—but you just did what you swore not to do then. You turned me into a…vampire."
"Circumstances were different."
"Hm," Esme furrowed her brow, "Well, I have two questions."
"First, how long have you been a vampire? Second, how many people have you turned into vampires?"
"To answer your first, I have been a vampire for 265 years. I was a human for 23 years before that."
Carlisle paused to let his words sink in.
"You've been around awhile," she smiled.
"And my second question?"
"I have turned two people. Edward and you."
"Two—out of all those years?"
"And was Edward your brother…as in, your real brother before you became a vampire?"
"No—In fact, we have more of a father/son relationship. We just tell people we're brothers because we look close in age. Plus it's the easiest story—we don't have to make up a dead wife. You see?"
"Yes, I suppose. But why haven't you turned more people? Why just me and Edward?"
"Now that's an interesting question to answer," replied Carlisle.