Paint The Silence
This story takes place in the middle of Twilight and New Moon, and is told from Esme's point of view. She tries to give Edward some advice, but it falls on deaf ears like always.
"I pray thee cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
as water in a sieve."
- William Shakespeare
The notes of the piano downstairs swirl gracefully around my head, making my sensitive ears perk up. Edward, I think with a knowing smile, and wonder what it is this time that has made him seek solace in the piano yet again. He's always been the type to bury himself in a new composition, cautiously trying out new melodies the way an author tries out words, searching for the one that fits perfectly into place. Only Bella could be behind this new piece. I can hear the soft harmonies, sweet and lilting, inspiring thoughts of another place and time. I can hear the way the music twists under his fingers, creating whatever he needs to express. As I paint with watercolors, my dear Edward paints with music notes.
I sigh and put down my paintbrush, taking a fraction of a second to evaluate the work I have just completed. A picture of a mother and child, the third this month. This particular one has the mother sitting in a large blue kitchen chair with her arms wide open, waiting to catch her young boy as he toddles toward her. The boy has rosy cheeks and messy black hair, and his eyes sparkle with the thrill of a new challenge. The mother looks just as excited, but her eyes hold a degree of fear the boy's do not: she knows he will soon grow up, and encounter challenges bigger than just walking. I study the mother's face, wishing for just a moment that I was her. She may be scared for her child, but at least she had one. Tearing my eyes from the painting, I again hear Edward's beautiful music all around me and walk toward the door, toward my very own "son."
As I make my way down the stairs, I see Edward concentrating intently on the piano keys. The notes bounce off our living room walls, making the white surfaces glow with newfound spirit. His eyes don't once glance my way, even though I'm sure he can hear my thoughts and probably could from upstairs. I tiptoe slowly toward him, trying not to break the perfect melody winding its way through the room. But then, as soon as I clear my throat, he stops and turns to look at me. I feel a little embarrassed that I've interrupted his playing, but his face isn't angry at all. It's more curious, searching for a reason to why I am suddenly standing near him. But then his features tense, and he averts his gaze.
"I'm fine," Edward whispers, and it's in that instant that I know he's not. "No, really, I am." But I can feel the expression of disbelief color my face, and know he knows I don't believe him. He sighs a big heavy sigh, and moves down the bench to allow room for me to sit. Time for some motherly advice. I take the place next to him and look at the shimmering white piano spreading out in front of me.
"Edward," I begin, the comforting words all but pouring from my mouth, "All this worrying is really not healthy for you. Bella will be fine. She is a little accident-prone, it's true, but she will be perfectly fine. I know her, and..."
"Do you, Esme? Do you really know her?" Edward interrupts, looking up and resting his intense tawny gaze directly into mine. "Because even I don't feel like I know her. Everytime I think I know what she's going to do, she does something completely different. And while I love that about her, it's so...difficult. She's difficult. Today we got into a huge disagreement about my changing her. She doesn't understand..." He trails off, bringing his eyes back to the ivory keys in front of him.
"Understand what?" I return the gaze, wanting to know exactly what's wrong. I have this urge to fix things, to make them better. It somehow works its way into everything I do, from gardening and interior design to my motherly duties. My children--or at least, that's what I call them--are often subject to this little quirk of mine, especially in their times of emotional need. Carlisle, what with his similar tendency to help people, is the only one who seems to understand. But when I am talking to Edward, with his intense passion to Bella electrifying his every word, I feel as if he gets it. He may be crazy in this desperate crusade to keep her human, but he loves her with every fiber of his cold being, and even if that means suffering on his part he will do anything for her. It is times like these when I feel closest to Edward.
A silence passes between us, and Edward seems unwilling to share his thoughts. But then they spill out, an unintelligible rush of sounds so jumbled I have to concentrate to hear them. "She's everything I never got a chance to be. She's running headlong into life, and I feel she has to slow down and go backwards in order to be with me. I want her to be human, to have all of the feelings and emotions I was denied." He looks at me quickly, and revises his statement. "Not that I feel I was denied anything...I mean, I had no choice, right? I was dying, and Carlisle saved me. But I want her to have a choice, and to experience pain and love and..."
I cut him off. "But she has love, Edward. She has you. No matter what you tell yourself, she is just as in love with you as you are with her. Maybe even more."
"It's not possible." He suddenly seems brighter, as though an internal fire has been lit deep within him. "She's everything I could ever want. She's so...warm." He closes his eyes, lost in his memories of Bella's warmth. After a few awkward seconds, I clear my throat and he opens his eyes, turning his head to look at me with an unexplainable expression.
"You need to tell her this. All of this. She loves you, and she has a right to know. You may be frustrated you can't read her thoughts, but imagine how she must feel: a beautiful vampire who tells her he loves her but refuses to live with her for eternity. She doesn't deserve that, Edward," I continue on, inspecting his face for any trace of resentment, but it remains impassive as stone. "You can't read Bella's mind. Don't take it upon yourself to determine how she does or doesn't feel about you. Young girls can be very predictable. Trust me, I was one once." At that last statement Edward lets out a low chuckle and looks at me with wide eyes. I expect to see denial, disbelief, maybe even rage, but all I see is overwhelming sadness. It radiates from every inch of him, enveloping me with familiar emotions. Uwilling to dredge up my own tragic memories of the past, I shake my head and concentrate on the pain-filled boy in front of me.
"Thanks, Esme," He smiles his trademark crooked smile, the one I've seen so much more of in the last few months, but it doesn't touch his golden eyes. He leans in, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and frowns. Then he slowly starts to play again, letting each note fall slowly through the silence like a rock through murky water. I take that as my cue to leave and slide off the bench, toward the stairs. But before I reach them, I turn and take one last glance at my surrogate son. He has no idea what he's up against. Bella will never let him go without a fight. The music stops and Edward throws a withering glance my way. I laugh softly to myself and slowly climb the stairs, waiting for the music to start again. She's your everything, Edward. Be with her, and be truly happy.
In response to my thoughts the piano begins its song again, this time tortured and filled with the sounds of internal conflict. Poor Edward; he doesn't understand love as well as he thinks he does. It takes two people to form a connection as strong as he and Bella have, but to him, it's entirely one-sided. As soon as he figures that out...well, he needs to figure it out, and soon, before he is completetly and utterly consumed by the torment that is true love.
With steady hands I pick up my paintbrush and start again, this time with a blank canvas and fresh paints. The vision of a mother and child again plants itself in my brain, but this time I refuse to succumb to it. I need something more real, something that's not just the blurred illusion of what could have happened. An idea strikes me, and I smile, a bright smile that makes every inch of me radiate outward. I know exactly what my next painting will be. Still smiling, I dab my brush into the shiny paint and start my detailed work. Pale skin, dark hair, it all is forever immortalized on the surface in front of me. Edward and Bella, I think to myself, as the images of two star-crossed lovers materialize from the forbidden dreams of my very own son.