Summary: Esme's past included an abusive husband… What if that "husband" had been unknowingly turned into a vampire, and he's come back, more than seventy years later, to reclaim his wife? After all, they were never "properly" divorced.
Author's Note: Esme is one of my favorite characters in Twilight/New Moon – the others being: Rosalie, Bella, Victoria (Yeah, I know…), Edward, and Jasper. And this story just came to me because I wanted a more 'unique' idea for a story – and a different character to shine on rather than Bella or Edward or Jacob. And a warning… I'm a slow updater. This takes place a little after twilight. But I might halt my other stories just for this one – Story in Esme's POV.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight/New Moon.
Chapter One – Face Down
I paced around the room, contemplating. Only a few hours ago, my family and I had been discussing Bella's ultimate fate while Edward was visiting her. Of course, I was happy to welcome Bella as one of the family; at ease with her becoming a vampire. If she was to die, –an old, withering woman– then Edward, my beloved son, would be stricken with grief, and the inevitable will come to pass… He'll suffer isolation and he'll withdrawal from me; from his family. It was hard enough when Edward had been by her side in the hospital, refusing to leave.
I remember getting off the phone with Carlisle… Bella had gone to her mother, unknowingly heading into a trap set by James. And I could imagine the dead look in Edward's eyes as images of a lifeless, blood-stained Bella filled his mind. And the thought of losing Bella made my stomach go into a wild frenzy of panic and fear as I waited for their return, safely, with Bella – alive. If I lost Bella, I lost Edward.
I couldn't lose another child… Not after last time.
"Esme?" a silky, concerned voice prompted.
Immediately, when Carlisle stepped into our room, a warm smile carved onto my face. I felt his compassionate embrace as his gentle arms wrapped around my body, pinning me to his chest. I could feel his cool breath tickle the side of my neck, and if I were human, scarlet heat would have painted my cheeks.
I turned around lightly, my skirt twirling, and was met with golden, dazzling eyes. The sudden dread that I've been feeling for the past hours suddenly dissipated, becoming nothing more than a soothing serene emotion, spreading through my body like… venom.
"What's wrong?" he whispered into my ear.
I brushed strands of chestnut-colored hair away from my face, my eyes closing. "Bella…" I sighed. "And Edward…" I looked up at him, somewhat pleading for a reason I couldn't comprehend. "He'll have to change her if he wants to remain by her side. But he's so…"
"Stubborn?" Carlisle's eyebrows rose as he smiled at me.
My lower lip twitched. "In denial."
"He's afraid." Carlisle raked his fingers through his blonde tresses. "He thinks of himself as a monster – he doesn't want Bella to live the way we do. He doesn't want her to suffer through an eternity of 'living' like us."
"We're not monsters," I murmured. "We're very much human." My eyes lightened. "We're very much human because we have feelings; emotions – happiness, sadness… love."
Carlisle grinned. "I think I like the last one…"
I sighed lovingly and let my hands slide up his chest. My forehead pressed against him as he held me tighter, his breath mingling with my mine as I leaned forward and balanced on my toes. His smooth hands cupped my face, a spark igniting between us. My heart, although non-beating, flipped, adrenaline racing through my body. The noise I had once heard coming from downstairs ceased as time seemed to halt. I felt his lips gently brush against mine. My arms wound around his back, holding him tightly.
"We're not monsters," I repeated, slightly moving away from him, eyes half-open. "Real monsters are people like murderers who purposely slaughter others for the sheer thrill of it, in their opinion. Vampires – it's in their nature…" I bashed my eyelashes. "But vampires like us opt for something less sadistic. How can we be monsters if we decide to take the road of 'greater good'? Choices are what make monsters…"
Carlisle rested his palm on my cheek. "You're right." He laughed half-heartedly. "You're always right."
"And Edward can dwell on the choice of changing Bella for long," he continued, his hand falling from my cheek. "However, it is his decision in the end. We may be able to voice our opinions, but he is the one who will ultimately decide what Bella's fate will be."
I gazed up at the ceiling, drifting off. "I hope he makes the right choice."
As the night went on and Carlisle was forced to leave for the hospital due to an emergency, I thought of Bella and Edward again.
I've always wondered what it would be like if I were to have to make a life-changing choice. And the two options would be for my own good or that of someone I loved. Of course, I could never understand the feelings and thoughts Edward was mulling over constantly with Bella, I could very well understand how choices could affect someone, especially when that choice could lead you to your happiness or misery.
I once resided in a house with an abusive husband –when I was human– and everything I was forced to suffer through really did come to an end when I discovered that I was pregnant. And the mere thought of raising that child in a home with Charles Evenson, a man I could still remember, haunted my mind. He was and will always remain my nightmare.
Everything about him never left my memories. I guess you remember things you were most tormented by?
Charles was a friend of my father. He enjoyed public events and was greatly fond of being a gentleman, especially around women who he found to be, "More delicate than men, and should be treated with respect and space." His chin was hard and he strolled about town, clad in a neatly pressed suit everyday. He was brooding, tough-skinned man, although a bit lanky.
But it was his eyes that I most remembered.
To older women, – I could tell as a late teenager– thought Charles's brown eyes were alluring and captivating. They could charm a girl in a matter of seconds. But whenever I saw him, sitting in my father's armchair near the crackling fireplace, I saw a darkness barely hidden behind a mask.
Those eyes weren't brown, but black, as far as I could see.
And then the day came when my father pleaded with me to marry him. At first, I opposed the idea. Yes, Charles was kind and wealthy, but I wanted to marry for love, not money. But back then, love was always lost in a person's heart.
So, for my father's best wishes, I became Esme Anne Evenson.
It was a terrible second night with Charles.
I knew he was fond of being a respectful man, but to my shock, he was even fonder of a bottle of alcohol, the cold liquid emitting a foul stench that had always stung my nose every time I was near it.
He had lashed out with angry curses and sluggish movement. At first, I kept my distance, but when he 'summoned' me to him, I had no choice but to remain in his intoxicated presence that didn't seem to know left from right. I was startled and sidetracked when he had raised his hand –palm upturned– and sent it sailed across my cheek, sending me to the hard floor, tears welling in my eyes.
I shoved these memories away.
"Esme? Are you alright?"
I sat up from the couch and stared at my bedroom door.
Gingerly, the door opened, and Jasper stood before me, a worried look plastered across his face. After a brief look around the room, his eyes settled on me, nothing but distress and care in his golden eyes.
"I can feel what you're feeling from all the way downstairs," he explained. "Is everything okay?"
I stood up and sauntered over to him. Placing my hand on his shoulder, I stared at him with cheerful eyes. "Of course I'm okay," I assured, my arms folding across my chest. "Don't worry."
With one last smile, Jasper left the room, closing the door behind him, and I simply stood there.
"Change the channel, Emmett," Edward ordered in a firm voice, his arm snaked around Bella's waist. I watched with amusement –along with Alice, Bella, Jasper, and Carlisle– as Emmett and Edward argued over what to watch on the plasma Television.
We sat in the large living room, a sofa and a few seats scattered around. It was one of the bonding moments we shared with Bella. Warily, I glanced toward the staircase once again, desperately wanting Rosalie to stop sulking and come join us. The second Edward mentioned Bella coming over, Rosalie was in her and Emmett's room, doing everything possible to distract herself from Bella, the human, as she would normally spit with malice.
"But, why?" Emmett complained, gesturing to the TV screen. "The Dodges are playing the-"
"I don't care," Edward growled, grabbing for the remote. "Bella doesn't want to watch a sports game."
Emmett averted his attention to Bella. "Of course she does. Right Bella?"
"I don't want to watch sports, either," Alice chimed in, eyeing Emmett from her spot on the sofa next to Jasper. They sat a safe distance from Bella, for Jasper's sake. Although it was for the better, I never imagined Jasper attacking Bella. I doubt it will ever happen.
Edward glared at Emmett. "See. Now change to channel."
"Fine," Emmett grumbled haughtily. Raising the remote, he flickered through the channels. His eyes brightened when he fell on a certain movie, and in unison, Alice, Edward, and Jasper groaned.
Bella arched an eyebrow. "John Carpenter's Vampires, Emmett?"
"What's he doing to that blonde?" Alice squeaked, as a vampire (I imagined) hunched over a blonde woman, roaming certain areas with his… tongue? His sharp teeth gleamed, hot with venom, I hoped.
Bella made a face. "Ew…"
"I agree," Alice said, looking away from the screen.
Emmett stared at the scene, puzzled. "Is he raping her or biting her? What kind of vampire is he?!"
Edward, after glancing at Bella, snatched the remote and quickly changed the channel. He settled on a comedy movie after seeing Bella's muffled laughter, and leaned against the sofa, his arms still nestled around Bella's fragile body.
"Ha, so funny," Emmett muttered sarcastically.
Edward narrowed his eyes at Emmett. "Bella thinks it is, so don't be rude…"
"Oh, baby her, Edward," a voice sneered. Simultaneously, we inclined our heads, staring at Rosalie, who stood near the bottom of the staircase, her arms crossed as she eyed Edward. He let out a low growl. Bella cringed away, her eyes leaving Rosalie's statuesque form.
"No fighting," I warned in a stern voice, "You'll frighten Bella."
At the sound of Bella's voice, Edward sighed, and looked away from Rosalie, this time embracing Bella in an even tighter hold. Rosalie rolled her eyes and strode across the room in human pace, her golden eyes straying from Edward to Bella. I could see the flicker of darkness flash across her eyes.
"Rose…" Emmett stared apprehensively at her.
Her heated gaze flickered to him, then back to Bella again, resentment etching in her topaz eyes.
"What is she doing here?" Rosalie demanded in a low voice.
From the corner of my eye, I could see Bella shiver.
"She's a friend, Rosalie," Alice informed through slitted eyes. Rosalie flinched away for a second, but quickly put on her intimidating demeanor back on and gazed at Bella again. Edward shielded her from Rosalie's glare, placing her slightly behind his shoulder.
This caused a cold laugh to fly from Rosalie's mouth.
"Oh, right," she sneered, "Protect her in every situation."
"Shut up, Rosalie," Edward growled, standing from his position on the sofa. Bella inched away, and to her relief, Alice walked over and perched herself next to Bella, however not daring to look away from Edward and Rosalie.
Carlisle stood also, followed by Emmett (who still seemed unsure). "Rosalie, please," Carlisle begged quietly, stepping in between them. "You can't be like this. Bella will visit whenever she likes, and there's no reason to be furious about it."
"She's human!" Rosalie argued, pointing a perfect finger at Bella. "We're dangerous around her! Just because Edward 'loves' her, doesn't mean he has to make us all suffer. Being around a human is torture for me – for us!"
Alice hissed. "We can stand it, but it seems you can't. So if you can't handle it, just go back and hide in your room!"
"This is my house! Why would I have to leave if Bella's the one here?!" Her eyes traveled from Alice to Bella, and she took a careful step forward toward Bella, who shrunk away. Edward instantly blocked Bella from view, another growl ripping from his chest.
I rubbed my temples. "Rosalie, just please, for once-"
"No, Esme," Rosalie interjected, glaring at Edward.
"-Rosalie, calm down-"
"-Bella can be here if she wants-"
"-You're so selfish-"
"-Edward, Rosalie – settle down-"
All conversation ceased, and my eyes tore away from Edward and Rosalie, and to Jasper, who sat next to a motionless Alice. Bella had stood and stumbled away from them. Edward, with a sigh, sauntered over to Bella and curled his fingers around hers. Emmett placed a hand on Rosalie's shoulder and guided her away from Edward, his eyes trained on Alice.
Once Alice had regained her normal state, she stared at me in horror.
"What did you see, Alice?" Carlisle pressed, glancing worriedly at me.
In a split second, she was standing and staring at each of us, pointedly me, though. I swallowed the uneasiness in my throat and waited for her to speak, wondering how her horror was directed to me.
"Esme, you should-"
"Esme should what?"
My eyes trailed away from Alice, and toward the voice. A man –a vampire– stood near the front door, a vicious smirk on his hard face. He was dressed casually, and his dark brown hair was ruffled. He was tall and his eyes…
… His eyes were, although burgundy, held such familiarity to them, that I nearly chocked back a dry sob. Noticing my broken, distressed state, Carlisle sat down next to me, his arms comforting as he rubbed them up and down my arm.
"Who are you?" Carlisle demanded, anger evident in his usually calm voice.
He stepped forward, and before he could speak, I was standing in front of him, glaring up at him. My fists were clenched at my sides, shaking. When he slowly reached up to touch my cheek, ignoring Carlisle's low growl, I slapped it away, fuming.
"How are you alive? How are you a vampire? What are you doing here?" I shrieked each word, trying to ignore the fear gnawing at my heart. Instead of frowning and backing away, the smirk on his face grew.
"You're not supposed to talk back to husband," he said disapprovingly.
At this, Carlisle stood, somewhat controlling himself. "You're not her husband… anymore… And if you don't leave, now, then my family and I will have to force you to leave." Emmett and Jasper both stepped behind Carlisle, glaring at… Charles.
"Leave. Now," I ordered.
His eyes narrowed, and my eyes widened as flashes of memories plagued my mind. Before anyone could move, his hand had moved up, and he threw it across my face, knocking me onto my back, the wood splitting under me. Pain shot through my face as I remembered the pain from my human life.
But now that he was a vampire, it was much, much worse…
It seemed quiet for a moment, before a terrible, loud roar of rage vibrated through the room.
My eyes fluttered open in time to see Charles being flung backward by a furious, murderous Carlisle. The sounds of their brutal fight echoed all around me as growls came from them. Jasper and Emmett charged forward, grabbing for Charles.
Three vampires against one…
Charles didn't have a chance.
"Esme," Rosalie breathed, helping me up along with Alice. Edward held a protective stance in front of a terrified Bella. After I had gotten on my feet, I watched as my husband, Jasper, and Emmett wrestled with Charles. I was amazed that he was still in the fight, powerful enough to struggle against three thunderous vampires.
Edward growled, watching the fight.
"Stop," I begged, barely able to find my own voice.
A vase toppled over, shattering on the ground as Carlisle and Charles slammed into it. Emmett, grabbing Charles arm, finally managed to through him off. Jasper held Charles's other arm. Before I could run to Carlisle, Alice and Rosalie held me back, shaking their heads.
Suddenly, Jasper and Emmett froze, a dead look in their eyes.
"…Jasper," Alice called, terror lacing through her voice. Quickly, she and Alice were at Emmett's and Jasper's sides, waving their hands desperately and shaking both men, but they stood still.
"They're lost right now," Charles whispered tauntingly.
Alice glared dangerously at him. "What did you do?"
"It's my power…" He stared at me, smug. "I can make someone lost in their own mind, seeing anything I want."
I suddenly remembered how he allowed the public to see him as a kind, caring husband – to them, he was noble and would do anything for his wife. But to me, he was abusive, cruel and heartless… And now, he can force anyone to see what he makes them see.
I let out a sob.
With that power, he can easily make me lose myself in images of him; him doing anything he wants with me. And once again, Carlisle was attacking Charles. He was more violent that I've ever seen him.
Another tearless sob bubbled from my mouth when Carlisle froze, and a smirking Charles stalked toward me.