Author's Note: This story examines the story of why Carlisle decided to make Edward a vampire - and its subsequent effects on their lives - the desire, the chaos, the hurt, the regret. It will be in 12 chapters.
There WILL BE sexual situations between two men. If this may offend you, hit the Back button now. I will not be responsible for damaging your sensibilities if you continue with this story.
As always, I own none of these characters and make no profit from this story.
Reviews are fuel.
Part One - The Look
Carlisle Cullen walked with a deliberate pace toward the hospital to begin his shift. He was not scheduled for duty tonight but he needed a distraction, on this night most of all. This was the one night of the year his human memories would come unbidden to his mind, and make his heart ache for the life that was taken from him. It was Christmas Eve and he was lonely.
How long had he led this life? He was beginning to lose count; the years were starting to blur together, but every face, every city, and every continent all seemed the same. Yet, each moment he could spend in the vicinity of humans helped to desensitize his nose, giving him some sense of control over the incessant thirst for blood that would always plague him. He chuckled quietly to himself, thinking that he might yet be able to prove to the others that living among humans was not an impossible task. It was a simple issue of mind over matter.
The air settled into a blanket of quiet over the city, heavy with the coming snowstorm. The only sound Carlisle could hear was the near imperceptible crunch of snow under his feet, and a few snippets of caroling now and again.
Turning down one particular street he had not used before, a light piano melody caught his ear - lush and sensual against the still of the night. Carlisle stopped to pinpoint the sound and heard another faint stanza emanating from the house two doors down, and he stepped forward in curiosity. There was a large gathering in the home, as lights burning bright in every room - probably a Christmas feast, he surmised.
It was a modest home, yet showed signs of wealth. The curtains were a fine French lace and there was a hand worked iron fence enclosing the front of the property, and the outside of the home was strung with evergreen and ribbons. Yet the most obvious sign of wealth was the electric lights that graced the home. The light bulb was not new to Carlisle, but having it in your home was certainly not for the middle class. Carlisle edged closer to the window, making sure to stay hidden in the darkness, straining his ears to hear more of the music coming from inside.
The scene was a jovial one, full of Christmas merriment. Several handsome young girls danced around the room with their suitors, sweeping their skirts as they twirled and laughed and blushed. They were tightly corseted in the fashion of the day, with hair upswept and soft curls framing their young faces. Servants stoked the large fire in the hearth which was decorated with evergreen and stockings. China cups of hot spiced cider and eggnog were being passed around the room, while the children chased each other around the legs of the adults.
He took another step closer, trying to find the piano player. He finally spotted him in the corner, but Carlisle was unable to see anything of him other than his back. He decided he would stop here and wait - he had to hear more. The music was . . . soothing to him in a way he had not felt in almost 300 years.
Carlisle saw a very young girl who couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 come bounding down the large staircase, running straight for the boy at the piano. At that moment the girl had reached her target, and the boy stopped his playing to reach down and pick her up by the waist, throwing her high into the air as he circled, eliciting wild peals of laughter from the girl. 'That music . . . was it from this boy?' Carlisle wondered.
Carlisle finally caught sight of the boy's face, and his breath hitched in his chest. 'Beautiful . . . my god, he is so . . . perfect,' he thought. The boy looked to be about 16 or 17, and he was very tall, yet lanky, as if he had just grown into his height and had yet to fill out the rest of his frame. His facial features were angular, yet not severe - still tempered by his youthful adolescence. But the most noticeable feature of all was the tousled copper colored hair framing his face. Carlisle could not tear his eyes away.
"Edward! Oh Edward, do it again!" the little girl cried out, reaching her arms up to the boy, "Spin me 'round again, Edward!" Her eyes were bright and she was standing on her tip toes, reaching out for the boy who had decided to tease her by raising his own arms out of reach. "Edward, you are so mean!" she cried out in laughter. The boy feigned hurt and shock, "I can't believe you would call me mean, young lady!" he said in mock seriousness. The girl hesitated for a moment, letting her arms drop to her sides as her smile faded from her face.
"Gotcha!" Edward screamed as he surprised her with a sudden grab, and proceeded to twirl her in the air again. Their laughter carried through the crisp air of the night as he sat her down at last. "I'm dizzy, Mary! I need a break. I'm only human, you know!" he said. "Why don't you run and get us some cider?" he said, sitting back down at the piano. The girl shook her head yes and barreled out of the room to find drinks.
The boy let out a long breath from the exertion, and ran his fingers through his hair trying to get it to stay out of his face. Carlisle could see the faint sheen of sweat that covered his forehead just as Edward pulled out a handkerchief from his breast pocket and began to wipe his brow. The crowd dancers had died down, moving into the next room in preparation of the Christmas feast, leaving the sitting room quiet and deserted.
Edward stared at the keys of the piano as he continued to wipe sweat from his face. Carlisle could only stand frozen in place, watching this human boy, this perfect human boy, performing the most menial of tasks, and yet it was the most breathtaking thing Carlisle thought he had ever seen in his long years on Earth.
And at that moment, Carlisle understood precisely why he bothered to keep his compassion for the human race. It was for this boy alone.
Then, as if God were listening to Carlisle's every secret thought, the boy stood up and made his way to the window, staring out at the snow - giving Carlisle an unhindered view. The boy peered out of the glass, his eyes roaming the street as if he were searching for something. His eyes locked on the very spot Carlisle was hiding in, as if he knew.
'It's impossible for him to see me, he cannot know I am here,' Carlisle thought to himself, but taking a careful step back. Just in case. But there was no mistake. The boy was staring right at him with those warm hazel eyes. Carlisle forgot to breathe.
"Edward! Aunt Ruth says it's time to come eat!" Mary bellowed as she ran into the room, latching onto his sleeve. Edward broke his gaze and looked down to the girl, flashing her a lopsided grin. "I'll be right there, Mary, you go on ahead," he said, shooing the girl back toward the dining room. Edward turned one more time to peer out of the front window before turning back and heading out of the room.
Carlisle let out the breath he had been holding, but still couldn't get his feet to move. 'I have to get out of here . . . this boy - he could be too much of a temptation,' he thought. A brief image of Edward's face flashed across his mind. 'If only I were not a monster,' he thought, 'I could be near you.' A second flash came, again of Edward, but this time he was pale, with dark circles under his eyes - now golden in color instead of honey - a monster just like he was.
Carlisle squeezed his eyes closed. 'NO! He can never be . . . like me!' His breath came faster and faster, and he felt the harsh edges of panic snaking up his spine. It would be so easy, to snatch him away, and create a companion for himself, one who was so perfect, one who would be with him forever. Hadn't he been lonely for entirely too long?
What had he become? Had the years of solitude and struggle against his nature finally driven him out of his mind? How he could be such a loathsome creature to think of making that boy into his companion, to take away his humanity, his hopes and dreams just so I won't be lonely anymore?
'This is insane!' he shouted in his mind, picking himself up and racing toward the park. 'I have to get out of here. Edward, you have nearly undone me and you do not even know it.'