This is a story of good intentions, fatal mistakes, true love, and how Carlisle Cullen unintentionally impregnates his son's fiancée.
Contrary to popular opinion, Carlisle did not immediately jump at Edward's offer.
In fact, despite his superb hearing and inhuman focus, he wasn't sure he'd heard it right.
"Pardon?" he asked, looking up from his desk and blinking in confusion at his oldest, and in many ways, youngest son.
Edward didn't falter.
He was sitting across from Carlisle in his study, a somber look on his perpetually boyish face, and giving the entire meeting a very formal air. This was not him asking a simple question, or even stray advice, but a serious discussion that would require all of Carlisle's focus.
You would think that would be warning enough. Sadly, Carlisle was getting used to it. These kinds of talks had become increasingly common since Bella Swan appeared in their lives.
First, there'd been whether or not they should kill the girl for seeing too much. Then, Edward's inner conflict over whether to draw her in or leave her to her own devices. Then what to do with the serial rapist in Port Angeles. Then, when Bella was in too deep, how to best keep her human and if they even should. Then, Edward's conviction that they must leave Forks to force Bella into a normal human life. Then, Edward desperately railing against Carlisle's decision that, like it or not, Bella was going to be a vampire.
After nearly two years of this, Carlisle wasn't sure why Edward even bothered to ask for his advice.
By the time Edward confronted him, confronted the family, he'd usually made up his mind.
Sometimes, Carlisle agreed.
Carlisle certainly hadn't thought they should murder Bella Swan for having the misfortune of nearly being crushed by a van. Her being a witness was unfortunate, her stubborn refusal to dismiss the event even more so, but that didn't necessitate her death.
However, when it came to Edward's crusade to keep Bella human—
It was a noble endeavor and Carlisle didn't begrudge him his opinion.
Some, like Emmett, embraced vampirism with open arms. Others, like Rosalie and Edward, resented their existence and Carlisle for forcing it on them. Carlisle couldn't say he knew Bella well, they'd only had one in depth conversation, but he had the feeling that for all Edward had told her, she didn't quite understand what she was getting herself into.
None of them did, not until it was already too late.
More, given Edward's extreme beliefs on the nature of a vampire's soul, to turn Bella into a vampire was to bar her entry into the afterlife.
Now, Carlisle had long grappled with the state of his own soul as a vampire. In the beginning, he'd thought like Edward did. Certainly, vampires were more inclined to the murder of sentient beings but—He did not think that he was soulless, that he was damned to be a blight on this world whether he liked it or not. He could still choose his path, it was hard, but he could do it.
In choosing to preserve mankind, he liked to believe he could be worthy of them, if not the afterlife itself.
That said, it wasn't just about Bella anymore.
Edward had given Carlisle an impossible choice. When Bella died, he would do everything in his power to follow. To allow Bella to remain human was to knowingly condemn Edward, his oldest companion and friend, to death.
More, the Volturi knew about her now. Carlisle and Aro had always been close, friends even centuries after they parted, but Aro believed in his laws.
He'd given Bella time and spared Edward and Alice. Whether this was as a gift to Carlisle, acknowledgement of Alice's visions, or because he was intent on recruiting the three of them was hard to say. Regardless, Aro had let them walk, but they were on borrowed time.
Edward was still convinced that he had decades before they inquired after Isabella Swan. Carlisle didn't know if this was wishful thinking or if he really thought the Volturi had completely forgotten the human lifespan. Aro would know exactly what Edward was hoping and would make sure to check in shortly.
More, thanks to Victoria, they'd arrived in Forks only a year later. If she wasn't turned shortly after graduation, in only a few weeks—
Carlisle would certainly be held responsible as leader of his coven. Edward, as Bella's mate might be held even more culpable than Carlisle. The entire coven could be destroyed over something Bella desperately wanted to happen anyway.
They, Caius most likely though Carlisle feared Aro, had already tried to use Victoria's newborn army to wipe them off the map even without Bella as an excuse.
Still, take the Volturi off the table, take Edward's suicide off the table, and Carlisle still couldn't say that Bella shouldn't be a vampire.
If Bella and Edward were to have any real future, love without constant fear and self-restraint, then Bella had to be turned. Edward couldn't go back to being human and their relationship couldn't last the way it was now.
Carlisle didn't necessarily like it, he wished that Bella lived in a world where this choice wasn't made for her, but at least it was what she seemed to want anyway.
Edward was a different story.
That's what Carlisle had thought Edward was here for.
He knew Edward had been desperately trying to get Bella to postpone being turned. Edward wanted to get married, go to college, do normal human things before Bella had to spend a decade in isolation to control her thirst.
He knew Bella wanted Edward to be the one to turn her, but if he refused, then Carlisle would do it in his stead.
He thought Edward was going to demand Carlisle reconsider, that he picture the human future that didn't exist for Bella anymore, and that he'd make one last desperate push to change Carlisle's mind now that they were against the clock.
Instead, Edward asked for something much worse.
"I know how it sounds," Edward said, lifting his hands in defense, "But I need you to listen."
Edward took a breath to steady himself, "Bella—Bella wants a wedding night, when we get married, she expects a wedding night."
Carlisle nearly said something banal like "yes" or "go on" when Edward's words caught up to him.
Bella expected a wedding night, Edward had convinced her to marry him as a human, if that wedding night were to happen Bella would not make it to the next morning.
"Have you told her—" Carlisle started but Edward let out an angry sigh.
"I've told her a dozen times," Edward said, "She never listens. I don't know if she just doesn't want to or if I've been too controlled around her. Because I've never broken her arm before she thinks I have perfect control! She just doesn't understand how serious this is!"
He stood, began to pace angrily, "And I think—I know—that the only reason she's even agreeing to getting married now is because I won't have sex with her, won't personally turn her, unless she does! If she finds out that we can't have sex, then—"
"Then you won't get married," Carlisle finished for him.
Perhaps they shouldn't.
Edward turned to look at him, betrayed, clearly having caught that last thought.
Carlisle wiped his face, "I'm sorry, Edward, it was a stray thought. I—"
He sighed, there was no point in hiding it, "Edward, you shouldn't bribe someone into marriage."
"I'm not bribing—"
Carlisle held up a hand to stop him, "I'm sure you don't mean to, but dangling rewards over her head, things Bella sees as rewards, it's not a reason to get married."
Edward ran a hand through his hair, flopping back down into the seat, "You don't understand. Bella—she's afraid of marriage, the very idea of it. If it was up to her, we'd never get married. I—I love her, Carlisle, I want her to be my wife. I want to share every moment with her and I—If I don't do it now, if I don't have something to bargain with, then she'll never do it."
Carlisle let out a long sigh and offered, "Perhaps she'll change her mind."
Edward just snorted.
It was unlikely. Once you were turned, your opinions rarely changed on anything. If Bella went into vampirism disdainful of marriage, she'd likely come out of it disdainful of marriage. This would become a sore point between the pair of them forever.
Once again, Carlisle saw where Edward was coming from, but it still made him uncomfortable.
Bella had a right to her opinion.
More, she was so young. She was barely old enough to get married. If she'd been living this human life Edward wanted for her so badly, she probably wouldn't have even thought about getting married for another four or five years at least. They had time, she didn't have to get married as a human, she and Edward could wait as long as they wanted.
Instead it felt as if Edward was desperately rushing them into everything, trying to get it all in while Bella had a human heartbeat.
Carlisle rubbed at his temples, "They're just thoughts, Edward, I don't mean anything by them."
Finally, with a sigh, Carlisle said, "Not getting married isn't the end of the world, I didn't get married for nearly three-hundred years. Sit down with Bella, have a frank conversation, and see if she'll agree to a wedding without a wedding night. Perhaps just postpone the wedding night until after she's been turned."
Then giving Edward a chiding look, "And don't hold turning her over her head."
Edward slumped in his seat, "I never wanted to turn her anyway. I—She doesn't understand that it might not be possible for me."
Edward had endured a remarkable amount in these past few years. His control had grown in leaps and bounds thanks to Bella's presence. However, the one time he'd tasted her blood he'd nearly killed her.
"That's still not a reason to get married," Carlisle said with a sigh.
Edward let out his own sigh and glumly looked across at Carlisle, "That's not the real problem here. I—I told Bella to think carefully about what experiences she wants to have as a human. High school, college, it's not the same for us. She's been thinking about college—"
College, that was another four years, Carlisle didn't know if Aro would give them that long.
"—But she's been adamant about sex."
Neither of them said anything after that. Just let the words hang in the air before Edward could take them back to what he'd first said to Carlisle.
"I can't have sex with Bella," Edward said slowly, "However, if anyone can, it's you."
Yes, that's what Carlisle thought he'd said the first time.
In the background, the clock ticking on the wall was practically deafening.
"Does Bella know you're asking me this?" Carlisle asked slowly.
"No," Edward said, "No, I wanted to ask you first. If you agree, I'll tell her, I'll talk to her and—"
"Edward," Carlisle interrupted, feeling a pit of dread growing inside his stomach, "I cannot sleep with your fiancée."
"You're the only one who can," Edward insisted, leaning forward and placing his hands on Carlisle's desk, "You have the control I lack. More, I trust you. You'll be gentle and kind to her and you won't—You won't take advantage of her."
"I'm happily married," Carlisle pointed out.
"We'll talk to Esme," Edward insisted, "She, out of everyone, will understand."
Oh, would she now? Then again, who knew, maybe she would. The fact that Edward was even proposing this made Carlisle feel as if he'd slipped into an alternate universe.
Esme had wondered aloud, more than once, what it would have been like to have had a fulfilling marriage while human. Perhaps she'd be sympathetic enough to loan out her husband.
"You plan to be happily married," Carlisle pointed out, "What do you imagine Bella will say to this?"
"If she really wants sex as a human," Edward said, "Then she'll recognize that this is the only way."
"She wants sex with you!" Carlisle balked, unable to help himself.
"She can't have it with me," Edward snapped back, "This is the closest thing I can—"
"It is not close," Carlisle interjected, "Sex with another man, any other man, is not close!"
"Please, Carlisle, just—"
"No," Carlisle said, standing from his desk and throwing his hands in the air, "We're done discussing this. You're getting married in a few weeks. This discussion is over. Go and talk to your fiancée."
Carlisle walked out of his office, leaving Edward sitting bitterly inside.
Carlisle had meant it then.
He had fully intended to walk out and somehow force himself into forgetting that Edward had—had offered to pimp out his future bride to his surrogate father. In a few weeks Edward would be happily married, and they could pretend this whole thing had never happened.
Unfortunately, vampires never really forgot anything, and they had a lot of time to think.
Over the following days Carlisle found himself increasingly thinking about Bella Swan.
It was something that, strangely enough, he'd avoided for the past few years.
At first, she'd been an unwitting threat. Those first few weeks her blood had nearly been Edward and his family's undoing. Then Edward had saved her life, Bella the only real witness, and there'd been the fear that she might talk and enough of the townspeople might take her seriously.
Then she'd become Edward's girlfriend and it seemed best to let Edward handle things at his own pace. It was the first time he'd seen Edward happy, truly happy, in one-hundred years and he was adamant not to ruin it.
And why should he? They had seemed so happy together for those first few months.
As a result, the only time he'd truly talked to her was after her disastrous birthday. They'd discussed Edward, what he believed versus what Carlisle believed, the nature of vampires and religion, but they'd never really talked about Edward and Bella.
He'd never asked what she expected from the pair of them, what she wanted from her future, what she thought of Edward and what he thought of her. He'd known that she wanted to become a vampire, desperately, not only to keep up with Edward but the entire family. He knew that Edward's leaving had only made her more desperate to be turned. As if, should she become a vampire, he could never walk out on her. He didn't know much more than that.
He hadn't thought he needed to.
But as Bella's wedding steadily approached, he found himself unwillingly giving her more and more thought.
Just what had Edward told her? What had he told her about vampirism, about their family's way of life, about marrying him? He didn't think Edward lied to her, necessarily, but it struck Carlisle now that Edward was willing to leave out key details or distort facts for his own purposes.
More, what kind of a relationship could they possibly have when Edward was willing to give her away to his father? Even if he asked her consent, even if he asked for Carlisle's and Esme's, how could he even fathom it? It was as if Edward was convinced it wasn't him that was important, he was just a cold body that could be replaced by any man, replaced by Carlisle and Bella wouldn't even know the difference.
How could Edward believe Bella loved him, truly loved him, if that's what he thought of her?
And she did, Carlisle didn't have to talk to her to know it. Bella loved Edward with everything she had, everything she was. She'd been willing to sacrifice herself to save him in Italy, even after she thought he'd abandoned her in the cruelest way he could. When Edward had left her, when the family had left her, her entire world had shattered.
And Edward wouldn't talk to her.
The more days passed the more convinced Carlisle became that Edward wouldn't sit down and talk to her about marriage or about sex. Oh, he might drop a comment here and there, but he wouldn't have the kind of talk they needed to have. Edward wanted to get married too badly and it didn't seem to occur to him that Bella might end up resenting him for misleading her.
More, the real kicker, Edward wouldn't tell Bella just what he was willing to do to compromise over the sex issue.
Carlisle didn't blame him, how was he supposed to bring that up? Bella, I asked Carlisle to sleep with you on your wedding night, he said no, but just thought I should let you know that options exist.
Better to let sleeping dragons lie.
But they were getting married and Carlisle didn't think that was the kind of skeleton that should be thrown into a closet.
Edward was many things, many good and some bad, but Carlisle was sure he tried to present the best of himself to Bella. What would happen if, after having married him, after having turned Bella found out all the parts of himself that he'd kept from her? What if she found out that she'd only fallen in love with the best of Edward?
If Edward was willing to do this to her, to barter behind her back with Carlisle without her knowledge, then she had a right to know before she took her wedding vows.
Had Carlisle been in her position, he would want to know.
That was when the idea started to ferment.
Unfortunately, Carlisle couldn't simply tell her. First, he had no idea how to even put it. Second, she wouldn't believe him.
Why should she? It sounded completely ridiculous.
If Carlisle hadn't lived through it, he'd never believe it either.
Carlisle would simply be slandering Bella's future husband, not something he necessarily intended to do, and she'd never listen to him again.
Edward would have to tell her.
However, he never would unless it was already too late, unless Carlisle and Esme had both agreed.
Which meant Carlisle had to agree.
She'd say no, of course, but maybe it'd give Carlisle and Bella the chance to talk without Edward hovering over their shoulders. Maybe it'd give him time to find out just what Edward had told her and to present his own opinions.
He could reassure her that marriage could wait, that she didn't have to do this, no matter what Edward said or promised.
Besides, when else would he and Bella get a chance to sit down and talk before the wedding? The more Carlisle thought about it, the more this seemed like his only chance.
And if she stormed out and slammed the door in his face at least it'd get her and Edward talking.
And that was how Carlisle started down the path to Hell.
Author's Note: Because I am a terrible person with a weakness for cringe worthy romantic comedies and live for Edward being Edward and Carlisle sitting in the house that's on fire saying everything is fine.
Thanks for reading. Reviews are much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight