Making a Home
AN: I'm really glad that I've had the opportunity to sit on this, because although it was always my intention to go this direction, I feel like I've had the TIME (*hehe* maybe too much?) to sort out my real intent and give the story the attention it deserves.
On with the horror…
I walked to find Esme and Edward. Truly, I trudged like there were thousand pound weights in my shoes as I tried to think. My mind, unlike my feet, was a colorful and quickly spinning top. Our delicate subterfuge was breaking down. I had never had a whole person to hide before Edward… hiding myself was an easily sorted thing. I was by no means an expert at this yet... nor did I particularly want to be, all things considered.
Even more distressing, was that this was completely my fault. Esme was special to me, and I had wanted so desperately for her to feel that she wasn't losing herself, that I had done our small family irreparable injury. I had not even made it halfway to the stream when I sat on a fallen tree to muse what I would or could do.
Why had I even gone through the motions of establishing someone in the family that couldn't even be introduced? I had wanted her to feel normal. It was plain and simple, but now I could see the folly that my heartfelt decision had wrought. I couldn't even comprehend why I had put all of us in danger in such a real and functional way. Edward was going to have kittens when he found out what had just happened.
"Why would I be giving birth to baby cats today?" Edward questioned with a look on his face that suggested he found my thought humorous. "He doesn't want me to take out his socially challenged daughter does he?" They must have gotten impatient for the news and met me halfway; I guess that when Edward had "heard" me in his mind they had rushed forward to meet me. I got up slowly feeling every bit of my three hundred years.
Esme giggled at Edward's comment, and the two of them looked back at me with smiling faces that I knew would be gone in a few seconds.
"Edward…" I struggled to find the words in a way that wouldn't alarm Esme. My mind was a blank.
My son's face fell and he commented at last. "Good Lord, Carlisle. Whatever is the matter? You're looking a little ill, which for us actually means something."
"Language Edward," Esme ribbed with an uncomfortable smile. "Please Carlisle… whatever it is you can tell us."
I couldn't bring the thought beyond my lips… but I didn't have to. Charles Evanson… here! Charles Evanson, looking for his wife, whom was reportedly deceased. I couldn't even bear the thought of what the words would do to shatter Esme's new lovely confidence in me.
In the last few months she had blossomed and grown so much. She hardly ever cried anymore, and her smiles far outweighed her frowns by my own count. Her awkwardness with both of us would surely return now that we had proven to be such poor protectors. Would she even speak to me?
"You have got to be kidding me. Carlisle… tell me you're not serious!" Edward exclaimed with a look of confusion and panic. "We were careful. I was certain that we wouldn't have anyone suspect… there was a death certificate for God's sake," his words trailed off as my love's expression went from one of careful laughter to one of deep concern.
"Has someone suspected us of some wrongdoings?" Esme asked with a look of innocent concern. "I'm certain we can explain just about anything… unless someone witnessed us…"
"No one has caught us hunting Esme. I wish it were such a simple thing. I wish it were something that we could just sweep under the rug and move from. I suppose we could still do that. We could run, Edward." I looked at my son who shook his head in a positive fashion although he didn't speak and seemed to be pondering something his face becoming darker by the second.
I continued, "We can, and we will. We probably should go quickly if that is the case. We need to disappear as swiftly as possible. Find new names, new identities that no one can trace back to us. I'm sure we can find our way up to the Denali's now, like I suggested before. It's a perfect way to drop off the map completely."
"One thing is certain, we can't return here for a long while. If we go now it will confirm every suspicion that they have and then some," Edward concluded, his voice marred by what I could only discern as anger.
"Yes, Paradise will be lost to us as any kind of refuge for a very long time." I agreed with my son's observation. It was a terrible truth, and as I said it I couldn't help but wonder if there weren't parallels in the name and our lives.
I could live with anything as long as we were all together. Paradise lost? Maybe it would be lost to me completely.
Edward seemed to explode with agitation and he let out with a booming snarl, "Why should we have to uproot ourselves for that swine? Just kill him and be done with it Carlisle!"
Edward's passionate words were disconcerting and angering to me. It was not only because the suggestion was wrong and ill advised, but because there was a still small voice inside me that had suggested the same. I could imagine getting Esme's revenge easily. I would never drink the blood of an innocent… but could I bring myself to murder?
I was ashamed with that part of myself. That was the most selfish thing that I could imagine myself doing… and the truth of it was that I couldn't even really imagine it at all. I could not be a killer. It was against every code I had ever established for myself.
"Can't you see that this would be the wrong thing Edward?" I pleaded with my son to allow him to see my reasons even if they were giving me the fortitude to resist my own black desires. "If he were to disappear it would be a million times more damning! We would have to respond to questions we could not possibly answer! Moreover, I have not spent my existence saving lives to make allowances here or there in my morals for this and that. It is not… it cannot be, the kind of man that I am."
"What if it is the kind of man that I am?" Edward let the question hang in the air and my nonexistent heart shuddered and fell. Perhaps this would be the thing that would take his innocence from him, and it would not be for the sake of himself. How very much my son was like me in form and function, to want to do good by others. Yet, how very "Edward" as the man I've come to know, to take it upon himself to protect us as if we were his true family.
He could not do this thing, not in place of me… not even for the sake of Esme. I would not have my son be a murderer. There would never be a justification for the taking of an innocent life…
"He is NOT innocent, Carlisle. He is a monster!" Edward fairly shouted back as an interruption to my thoughts. "Don't deny it; I've heard you think it yourself. You are not above the observation!
"I agree with you on that Edward. He is a monster, but all life is precious and I would not have his blood on my hands… or yours. It is not just. It is not doing God's will." I whispered back. It was an interesting contrast; the volume of our passions seemed to ally themselves very aptly.
My angel had finally had enough and broke into the space between Edward and I. She laid her right hand on my chest above where my heart would be and her left onto Edward's shoulder as if she were afraid that he was going to go haring off to murder someone.
Holding onto him to keep him there just a while longer like the worried mother hen she always was. If she only knew how close she was to being right. I've seen conviction in Edward's eyes before. I was certain, as of right now, that Charles had no future if he was to find him.
Edward snarled at my thought and Esme was calm but wary and she came to the conclusion that he was angry with her. However, her hand did not move. I could only just see the tension in her shoulders that suggested her response. Obviously she would not see her new "son" hurt. It was in her very posture. Now, if only my first companion would make allowances for her feelings.
"Carlisle, Edward, I demand you explain yourselves! You can't just have this violent conversation in front of me and expect me to keep completely silent. What in the world has both of you so worked up? Killing who? Why?" Esme demanded.
"Esme, we need to be getting back to the house. We'll pack and go before anyone can question us or follow us. Let's go." I took her hand in earnest and tried to be as calming as possible.
"Wait, you can't just run me around and not explain. I will follow you anywhere Carlisle, truly, to the ends of the Earth. This is… oh…" her hand slid down Edward's lapel and hung by her side limply. I saw an answer click into place for her and I waited for her to be angry or scared. Esme stood stock still and did nothing for a very long moment but clutch my hand.
"Yes Esme, that's right." Edward answered a question she had formulated in her head, and I wished that I too could pluck her thoughts out of the ether, because waiting to hear her was agonizing.
"Someone that knows me as I used to be," her pause was brief but I could see that her mind was supplying Edward with hundreds of thoughts. "Someone from my past… that should believe that I'm dead?" Esme asked with a quiet and fearful voice.
"Yes." I answered before Edward, the word hanging like a dead weight in the air.
Esme's other free hand came up to grasp my hands tighter and if I had been human it would have shattered every bone. "Charles?"
"Yes." I left the repeated word hang again without further elaboration. Edward winced and looked at me with more anger than when he was shouting at me. I realized only then that my monosyllabic conversational skills were upsetting my love even more than if I'd written a novel.
"He's here to take me back?" Esme asked with a confused sort of panic. "Why? How would he have even known to come here?"
"He shouldn't by all accounts have known. We made up a death certificate. I filed all the right papers. He followed us… probably because the dates were so close. Edward and I moving out on the same week must have seemed suspicious to him. Maybe he was here to avenge you? Perhaps he thought us murderers?"
Edward stopped still for a moment and seemed to digest that thought. I was about to suggest our departure again when Edward interrupted, "We are murderers Carlisle. Born murderers, and I am of the opinion that now would not be a bad time for us to exercise our nature."
"No Edward!" Esme shouted. "I won't have you making such a horrible mistake, especially not for me. Maybe we could just tell him to leave us alone. Maybe he won't even recognize me like this. I have changed a bit… maybe not enough to fool him into thinking I'm a different person…" Esme was thinking out loud her voice becoming wobbly, her countenance drifting off into thought again.
"Esme. This isn't your fault," Edward insisted. After a small pause he continued, "that's ridiculous. We want you here. We want you to stay. It's too late anyway, for us to make up anything at this point would be counterintuitive. Everyone in town knows your name even if they don't know what you look like. It would hurt us both if you were to go. Carlisle even more than you know, if you were to disappear, he would be beyond himself."
My long dead heart shuddered at the very thought of her leaving me. What would I do then? Could I continue in my old life now that I had known this strange sort of paradise? "Please Esme… please don't leave me again." I could hear the desolation in my own voice and she must have heard it too, because she buried her head into the space between my shoulder and my neck.
"No… I could never. I'm sorry I even entertained the thought. What if I were to talk to Charles? Edward could hold me down and you could keep him across the room from me. We could say that an accident has made me sensitive to light and we could keep the drapes closed to make it harder for him to distinguish my features…" Esme rambled.
"Esme, I'm not certain you are ready for such a close encounter with a human being. As with Edward I was going to slowly immerse you in public settings. Like a park very close to a denser forest. Somewhere you could escape to if things became too difficult. This is tempting fate," I answered her thoughts with my own.
"Who cares if she eats him?" Edward questioned.
"That is not helping, Edward!" I cast angrily over Esme's shoulder. I took my hands from Esme and ran them through my hair, casting around my head for some obvious solution that I was missing in this entire situation that would be the remedy for everything.
Edward's face turned to a mask of roiling emotion. "There is someone at the house Carlisle. Someone who is looking for you, but I don't think it's Charles the thoughts are so confused, disjointed. No… it's Sinclair."
"Estelle?" I queried. "She really should be on bed-rest now. It's very close to her due date, and I'm certain she's not ready to deliver."
"No… It's Thomas, Estelle's son." Edward looked puzzled and then his eyes grew wide with horror.
"What is it?" Esme immediately seemed to want to protect the son of the pregnant woman. "Is he hurt? Has something happened to the child? Is it the mother? What of the baby?"
Edward closed his eyes as if trying to block out the world, or trying to focus I could only guess at his intent. He looked up at me with the most broken and disgusted look, "It's horrible Carlisle! He has witnessed a murder! Remember when you said that Estelle was getting into accidents? She had mysterious balance problems? They weren't such a mystery after all. I should have come with you… I could have stopped this. I would have seen the darkness in him immediately. Mathew Sinclair pushed her down the stairs after beating her savagely with some kind of blunt instrument."
Immediately I shifted into my physician's mentality. I could find a way to save people today instead of planning some horrible execution. "How long ago has this happened? Is there any way…"
Edward interrupted, "his mind is clear enough in this, Estelle wasn't breathing and there was so much blood… there's no way she's still alive Carlisle, and there is very little hope at this point that the infant is still with us. Thomas stole the car… but he's only ten. He was lucky that he got as far as he did. He got lost… abandoned the car at the road and ran the rest of the way here on foot. I'm not sure if he's been harmed. His sister is still at home Carlisle. He couldn't find her… she might not be…"
I was stunned into silence. What could make a man decide to do such grizzly things to his own flesh, let alone his wife? I looked to Esme and tried not to imagine her in Estelle's place, but every time I closed my eyes in reflexive blinking I saw her lying twisted at the bottom of nameless stairs, the strain of an unborn child heavy in her stomach and surrounded by a halo of blood. This is the kind of man Charles was. This was almost my Esme's fate. Saved only by her own sense of self preservation in an instinct to save not herself, but the precious life growing in her womb.
"That is what you are trying to save!" Edward exclaimed, with an obvious shudder of anger. "Protecting either one of these… creatures is beyond logic."
I didn't want to debate this right now. It would be pointless and there was a scared child somewhere on our property. I wasn't sure what condition he was in, and if Esme were to accidentally hurt him I would never forgive myself, and something told me neither would she.
I recognized his anger and in my mind I begrudgingly agreed with him, but killing would always be wrong, "Regardless of that, Edward, we have to do what we can right now. Let us get back to the house immediately. I can still be of some service to Thomas. He has seen… terrible things."
Even if Edward disagreed with my theories, he agreed with this point and he immediately ran back toward the house. I looked at Esme with a profound sense of what she might be thinking, feeling, at this moment. "Stay here Esme. I will come for you as soon as we have sorted these terrible truths. We will decide what to do about Charles later."
I began to run in earnest after Esme gave me a pained look and a nod of understanding. I ran for only a few seconds when I heard two shots from some kind of firearm and then an even more horrible sound, a booming and unquestionable shriek of rage from my son.