A fan fiction written by Ryuko Ishida
Ryuko: My second Twilight fanfic! Yeah! I've had this idea for some time; I just never got the time to work on it. So now, here it is, ladies (and gentlemen, if there're any). Hope you'll all enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: No, Twilight doesn't belong to me; it's the property of Stephenie Meyer.
Summary: She looked down at the menacing waters beneath her, and she felt nothing. Not even fear. She had nothing to lose now... At the brink of death, he pulled her back from hell and gave her a life she would never expect – immortality. Esme x Carlisle
Esme Platt stood, shoeless, on the rough edges of the grey boulder. Her trailing locks of caramel-toned hair were thrown around wildly by the strong ocean breeze as she took another small step forward. Now, she could see it – the dark, menacing waters lurking beneath her feet, claws of fluffy white waves crashed deafeningly as they rammed against the rocks, outstretched as if trying to drag her down into its hungry jaw.
She didn't as much as shiver when she felt her toes touching the very raw edge of the cliff. Closing her eyes, her brain was blank – pure white as no emotions tinted her insides. She could hardly remember the reason why she was standing here at this very moment, staring bravely into the eyes of death itself.
'Another step,' she told herself, but it didn't sound like her voice at all. It was as if someone was narrating for her, telling the story of her life – well, the ending chapter of her life, to be specific. The muslin dress that hung limply on her frail body fluttered dramatically, like ripples that further enhanced the effect.
Still, with no apparent emotions evident on her pale face, she closed her eyes tiredly and let herself go. She would embrace death freely, without a single struggle.
Wind whistled in her ears, like sharp, intense music playing against her will, and at that moment, a face flashed into her mind's eye.
'How strange,' she mused to herself as those haunting yet strange golden eyes stared back at her, the image managed to sustain through the years since she had last seen him. Time hadn't washed away her memory of him. However, time didn't allow her to think of his name as the transparent water fully enveloped her.
For the first time in a long, long while, Esme was free – free of always fearing the anger of her husband, of always clamping her mouth shut when she desperately needed someone to talk to, to understand her situation, of always being a dutiful, respectable daughter to her parents, of losing everything in her life.
Waves tear at her sides, dragging and tugging her around this way and that, unable to decide for itself. All this time, she didn't struggle. There was no need to. She relaxed her limbs, letting the current carry her to where it desired. She didn't forget to breathe – her lungs ordered her to – and obediently, she took a breath. Only water rushed in where air should have.
She let her breath go. A trail of silver bubbles sparkled in the dark as they rose higher and higher, leaving their owner lower and lower as she sank deeper into the ocean, deeper into her unconsciousness.
Finally, darkness overcame her vision, as if all lights were snapped off, and she lost all thought.
Someone was screeching right beside her ears, and she winced as the sharp sound traveled along the necessary ducts, echoing the louder into her head as if there was an amplifier situated in there. She felt so cold – wait, that wasn't it – it was the feeling one got when they got burnt and the heat was so intense that it felt like freezing on their skin.
She realized what the screaming was all about – it was her own voice, wreathing helplessly in agony that was beyond her understanding.
'Is this hell?' She wanted to ask, but she wasn't sure if there was anyone to answer her. She couldn't even utter a word with the screaming that was occupying her mouth and throat. 'Is this what dying feels like?' Flames licked recklessly on every inch of her body, and she couldn't figure out how this pain could take so long. Shouldn't the burning sensation vanish after it ran out of fuel or in this case, her body remains? Shouldn't she have fainted before this immense pain overtook her senses after her nerves got burnt off?
No one was likely going to answer her question.
Esme tried to pry open her eyes despite the agony that maximized on where her eyes were, but she saw nothing that could answer her inquiry. Faintly, though, if her eyes were not playing tricks with her aching head, she thought she could see someone – a man or a woman she wasn't sure – telling her calmly that everything was going to be all right.
She could hear no noise other than her own screams, but she could read the speaker's lips, bloodless and hard, and perfect. The next thing she knew, a pair of intense topaz-tinted orbs appeared.
'Dr. Cullen,' there was no doubt in her mind. Now she knew she was definitely hallucinating, even after she was dead. Was this even possible? This definitely wasn't mentioned in the Bible when she was attending church on Sundays. Or maybe she just wasn't paying enough attention.
Before another thought could drop into her mind, a wave of blindingly hot pain overwhelmed her frame. She shuddered and was knocked down once more.
When Esme woke up again, the pain had lessened to a degree when she could only feel slight irritation in different parts of her body. She ignored those nuisances and opened her eyes. Black claimed her vision and she panicked for a short second – not that she felt her heightened heartbeat as she usually would when she was in fear.
That was unusual.
She took a deep breath and looked around without moving a muscle; strangely, as if someone had turned on a backlight, shapes and lines became clearer by the second, their exterior outlines lighter in contrast to the utterly dark background. That was when she heard murmuring at the direction of what she supposed to be the doorway of the room she was occupying.
The people were talking too low of her to hear, but now and then, Esme could make out several snippets of the conversation. She realized they were talking about her.
"She's awake," a male spoke out, his youthful voice but mature tone rang loud against the fragile silence.
'How did he know?' Esme wondered. Could he see in the dark, too? Or maybe she had moved without noticing it herself? Just when she was about to prop herself up, a voice stopped her dead.
"How're you feeling, Miss Platt?" His familiar voice – gentle and smooth – strike her as she found herself back in the little, ancient hospital back at her old home, as a sixteen-year-old, carefree girl, smiling bravely despite the throbbing pain that her broken leg was awarding her. It was that same voice that had asked her about her injuries years ago – the same voice that had never really truly left her mind alone throughout the time.
On top of that, he remembered her name!
"All right... I guess," Esme was afraid to turn and see if it was really him. She was pretty sure this was all part of the crazy illusion she had been having.
"That's good to hear," there was obvious relief in his deep, musical voice. "Since your pain seems to have just subsided, it's better for you to rest before your strength returns." She heard him turning around, ready to leave.
"Wait, Dr. Cullen!"
"You remember me?" Genuine surprise was obvious in his tone. Carlisle Cullen walked silently to her bedside; it was so quiet that Esme thought he had left except a tall shadow was cast on the white sheets of the bed. She timidly sat up; her head was always lowered as if the blanket was catching her utmost interest while her curtain of soft brown hair partially veiled her sight. She was so distracted by this whole almost-death experience that she didn't realize her movements were so fluid and graceful that no practice could achieve this effect.
She nodded, still unable to look up at him as she was embarrassed at her own abruptness. Looking straight forward, Esme realized one of the speakers from before was still standing at the doorway, his hair a copper mess, pale face and the same foreign gold-tint to his eyes. The nameless youth gave her a small, encouraging smile, nodded and left them alone to their own privacy.
Out of nowhere, Carlisle drew out a chair and sat down, his eyes never left her. He looked at her with wonder, which slowly turned to sympathy. Almost unconsciously, as if transfixed, he reached out, slow in the movement; he didn't need to scare the poor woman any further than he was about to. Gently, his cold hand cupped one side of her face; it fitted perfectly like two pieces of jigsaw puzzle finally finding each other.
Esme felt the smooth, long fingers and she tried, unsuccessfully, to inhale and exhale as normally as she could because as of the moment he touched her, she felt like she couldn't breathe. She kept her eyes straight, not allowing herself to look.
"Esme..." he hesitated. "May I call you that?" She nodded. "You've changed so much since I last saw you." Maybe it was her imagination, but she thought his honey-smooth voice sounded undeniably... sad. And why should he be? Besides, what did he mean by the last comment anyway? That was a rather rhetorical thing to say, wasn't it? She wanted to remind him that it had been ten years since they last saw each other; it wouldn't be that big of a shock to see changes, would it?
Still, Esme didn't dare voice it out for fear of the dissolved illusion. Anyway, she was too sidetracked by the hand that was still resting lightly on her cheek.
Without another word, he guided her head towards him, breaking the consolidated, invisible wall between them. She didn't resist – she couldn't, and the first feature she noticed was those eyes. Those familiar soft topaz orbs looked back at her earnestly, unchanged throughout the years. Then Esme took in the long forgotten face and realized her faint memory had never done him any justice, which only serve to increase her shock.
Though the gentle eyes were still the same, Esme definitely didn't expect this: his face was pale and just as beautiful as ten years ago and his golden locks were still a brilliant shade as she had remembered. In fact, there didn't seem to be any traces of age or vague changes on his flawless, perfect face.
A gasp unwillingly left her lips, uncovering her sentiment of surprise. She guessed Carlisle had expected that reaction from her, though, because he simply laughed quietly.
"You look just like -" Esme's voice was soft from disbelief, but he could hear as clearly as if she was speaking in normal tone.
"- Ten years ago when we first met? Like I haven't changed, never aged?" Carlisle finished her sentence. It seemed like Esme could do nothing but nod speechlessly. The blond-haired male sighed, and reluctantly placed his hand back to his lap. Subconsciously, Esme was beginning to miss the contact though his fingers provided nothing but the iciness that strangely seemed to comfort her all the same.
"I'm going to tell you something, Esme, but promise me you'll stay calm about it," he requested, his voice was always quiet but seriousness was skillfully laced within it.
"I promise." Nothing was going to surprise her after this.
"I'm a vampire," his voice was still the same monotone. Silence pursued. Carlisle couldn't really decide if this was a good or a bad response.
She couldn't put the foreign word on her lips yet. "As in those creatures that survived by sucking human blood?" Her voice, surprisingly, was still quite collected. If she was scared by this notion, she sure didn't show it – at least, not with her tone of speech.
Carlisle opened his mouth as if he was trying to correct her, but stopped and said instead, "Technically, yes."
"That boy who was here awhile ago... Does he know that you're... you're a...?" She still couldn't word it out; it seemed too strange, surreal, even, that all those things she used to consider as bogus scary stories were actually a part of the reality. This, really, was a bit too much.
"Edward? Yes, he knows; in fact, he's one, as well." Just when this fresh thought that she was in the care of two vampires – which, according to those ancient legends, were supposed to be violent, bloodlust-driven, dark creatures – appeared, another thought hit her even harder...
"Then, am I...?" Somehow, Esme could already guess, but she needed someone to confirm this, to tell her what was truly happening to her. It didn't exactly make sense, now that she thought about it – she remembered air rushing by her ears, whistling a tune of inevitable death; the water rushing into her esophagus instead of air; the blackness that overwhelmed her senses; the burning sensation – she didn't comprehend how she could've live through that and was still breathing at this moment, with the exception of one reason.
She now looked at him for an answer. Carlisle closed his eyes, an unknown expression etched on his face.
"When I found you, you were on the verge of death. I didn't have a choice..." he stopped here abruptly, his eyes snapped open. Esme saw that his irises, which used to be a soft, liquid gold, were now hardened. "No... That's not it," his voice was so small that Esme had to lean in closer to catch his words. "I could've left you there, but I didn't. I acted out of my own desire."
Then he spoke a bit louder, his gaze – now a fluid radiance again – burnt with intensity that Esme found it rather difficult to look back but was magnetized by its force at the same time. "I didn't want you to die. I couldn't just sit there and watch as your heartbeat decelerated with every minute passing and your breath slowing down steadily without doing anything in my power to help you."
To have him verify everything, Esme was in a state of understandable shock. It was merely the fact that she was still alive, but not as a human anymore, that gave her this unreal sentiment. A short while passed, and this shock slowly set in and blended into nothing but a seemingly distant memory.
Carlisle thought she was just too mad to say anything back. He hung his head down like a guilty child's, "I'm sorry. I know an apology at this point won't change anything but..."
"I'm glad," Esme whispered softly. Carlisle perked up in surprise; he wasn't sure if he had just heard what he thought he heard. "Dr. Cullen..."
"Carlisle," he automatically corrected her.
"Carlisle, then..." the name rolled off her tongue smoothly. "I'm glad you gave me a second chance to life."
"You are?" He couldn't veil his doubt.
Esme's expression was thoughtful – calm. "I thought I've lost everything in my life when I lost my child – I ran away from my family, you see. My husband..." she paused, searching for the exact words. "He... he doesn't control his anger well and I didn't want our child to be brought up in that kind of family." Carlisle nodded understandingly.
"I couldn't find any other reasons for myself to live on after the poor child passed away – my mind was blank, inside empty." At this point, Carlisle saw that her eyes were no longer in this room but was staring into her past. "I held nothing back when I jumped down the cliff. But then I saw you." Her newly-tinted red orbs shifted back to her patient listener.
"You saw me?"
Esme laughed weakly at her own words. "In my head. I guess one would call that 'hallucination'."
"I didn't understand why you suddenly sprang into my head, but I felt strangely calm, and pleasant," she continued, a small smile lingering on her lips. "And then to see you again, for real this time, when I awoke from the pain..." She looked up only to see him listening intently. "You can't believe how I feel when I see your face after the encounter ten years ago, to find that I haven't been able to forget about you after all."
Esme looked down shyly, disbelieved that she had managed to confess her buried feelings in one breath.
"I still don't understand..." Carlisle's face displayed a speculating expression while absent-mindedly tracing the fine features of Esme's face; the slight shuddering he got from her was realistically satisfying. "... How you can take all this in so calmly."
He put on a more cheerful grin. "But I guess now I'll have the time in the world to try and figure you out, don't I?" The blond-haired vampire leaned down slickly and placed a tender kiss on her cold forehead. He was about to get up when he felt a sudden, rather forceful pull on his collar and before he knew it, his lips were on her marble ones.
He smiled against her lips and complied. Warmth was absent – an impossibility – but flames nevertheless poured through their non-existent bloodstreams.
"Well, that was unexpected," Carlisle mused a little breathlessly, fingering strands of her caramel hair while placing his cheek next to hers.
"You thought that was unexpected?" Esme smiled playfully, her voice teasing. "What about this whole immortality deal?"
He let out a light-hearted laugh. "I suppose you're right."
Ryuko: I know that was kind of OoC of Esme about the kiss, but imagine this: after realizing you're alive after a near-death experience, then see the man of your dreams that you've never manage to forget, anyone would let the long-forsaken passion free, right? Other than that, hopefully, it's not too boring.
Please tell me what you think in the comments!