The death of her child drives Esme to suicide. At death's door, she is saved by a man who has before played a part in saving her. But in order to live, she must first die. Three days can change everything. One-shot. CxEs. REVISED.

xoxo ei

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


The Next Three Days

I stared down at the sea. It was beautiful, dangerous tempest; the waves were roaring and tossing violently. A strong current was running under.

All the better. It will be painless. Above, the wind wailed and moaned. I steeled myself. Three, two…one. I jumped.

For a few split seconds, the wind whooshed by my ears, achingly loud. All I could see was the gray-blue of the ravenous water below. Then I hit a length of land, slamming hard against the rocky protrusion.

"Shoot!" I muttered. I'd forgotten that there was a little bank here, jutting off the side of the cliff. I was surprised my body didn't smash to pieces. But the whole length of me hurt like…the dickens! Unwillingly, a groan trickled out of the side of my lips. The fall had definitely fractured something.

I felt wetness on the side of my face, near my temple and I moaned again.

Maybe I was already dead. Maybe this was hell. If it was, I thought, re-analyzing the surroundings; it was uncannily earth-like. Then again, I wasn't surprised that I was in hell. After all, Charles had told me that I would inevitably be going there often enough. He didn't have to say it anymore, only think it, I could tell often enough what he meant to say but didn't.

But where was the fire and brimstone, or the ice and rimy winds?

Beside me I could hear the familiar drip of blood. I closed my eyes. I'd let Charles down so many times. Miscarried more than once and I'd gone and lost the poor child this time. Of course, that might have been of the 'stress' he had...caused.

"Is she dead?" A voice came from beside me. I didn't open my eyes. These were presumably the devil's servants.

"No, but at the rate she's losing her blood, she will be very soon." A different voice.

"You should have picked a different woman, Carlisle. She's…people will notice. She's not exactly plain." The first voice again. He, they were both he's but this was one sounded like a boy, sound annoyed and frustrated.

"Picked? Picked?! Edward, there's wasn't any will in this. I couldn't let her die. It would have been even worse." A pair of arms jostled me and I realized someone had picked me up and was now running. I opened my eyes. But I couldn't really see anything. My eyes were stinging from the passing air and tore up, blurring my visions. In addition, I couldn't see properly. Everything had a reddish-brownish tincture. The person who held, he was freezing. I could feel his arms and the coldness oddly burned against my hot skin.

"Not as bad as what we're going to put her through. Here, lay her down." I was laid down on a cot.

"Now," The second voice, deep and sultry, neared my ear. "Listen, please. My name is Carlisle. I am going to save you. But before you can live, you're going to have to die."

"That's not going to make very much sense, Carlisle." The boy named Edward said irritably.

"Yes, yes. Alright." He again started to whisper in my ear. "I'm very sorry about this. But to let you die would be such a tragedy." He sighed and shifted and held me up his hands. Suddenly I could feel him touching my throat with...his lips.

I panicked but then, instead of whatever I expected, the man bared his teeth and bit at my throat. He easily tore the skin and what I felt next was something so strange, so amazingly different I can't really describe it. I fell limp in his arms, the blood rushing to my head and all life and energy draining from me. Not only that both from the place we were connected, there came wild tongues of lightening that shot across my body and left it tingling in instinctual anticipation of some terrible to come.

"No," I whispered. At the sound of my voice, he tore away from me, shaking. I could see him clearly; he was just a few feet away. And I couldn't believe my eyes. He was also the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He sighed.

"I can do it!" He breathed to the boy. "I won't kill her."

He looked down on me with fear in his wild eyes and picked up one of my wrists. Quivering, he took my delicate arm in his strong hands and caressed my veins with his lips. That time I was able to see him when he used his teeth to slit my wrist open.

Even though he was slowly draining the life out of me, he was still the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. In fact, at that moment when his instincts collided with his humanity, he looked more enchanting and comely than ever before: so in battle with…himself; so powerfully determined to stay calm.

His eyes were starting to change. I could see it happening. They slowly went from warm gold to vibrant claret.

I knew in an instant I would follow this man to the ends of the earth. I would die for him. He could do to me whatever so he desired and I would never hold it against him.

When his teeth left my skin, I reached up with my other hand to wipe away the small bead of my blood that had collected and pooled on his bottom lip.

My hand never reached him, for at that precise moment, the pain began. The screaming scorching inferno enveloped my body, burning me out from the inside.

The pain. It was unbelievable. Unendurable.

"Don't…no!" I whispered. I couldn't see him. Everything was spinning. But I felt the gentle brushing of his hand on my face stop. My head began to throb.

I gasped. And when I breathed, it felt my lungs were going up in flames. It stung. It burned. My body shook, frantically trying to relive itself of the pain. But I felt like I was being torched alive.

"No, please…" I cried. My back arched and my nails dug into cold bed sheets.

"Shhh…I'm here. I'm right here…" He stroked my hair back from my pasty face.

"I can't see you…I can't- I can't see…" I whispered. His voice sounded so far away. Everything was so far away. I screamed loudly. I tossed my head to the side and screamed into the pillow. He yelled out in shock. My body began to shake viciously. And though my pain nearly impaired me to do anything but cry out in agony, I felt his strong arms pin me to the bed.

"Stop it! Make it stop!" I wrenched my eyes to a close.

"Darling, look at me! Look!"

Until I feared I would lose it, I was never thankful for my life; for Charles, for mother and father and my brother who went and returned from war, but not mine. One does not love breathing until he drowns.

My eyes began to tear. It felt like my air supply was gone entirely. I choked. I was sure I was turning blue.

I reached for him. He took tight hold of my hand. I coughed more. It made my head throb. I tried sitting up, but Carlisle pushed me back down.

"No!" He said forcefully.

Was he trying to kill me? Should I be thankful? I wanted to die, didn't I?

"Just close your eyes…and try to relax."

Relax?!

But I closed my eyes. I tried to relax. And I 'relaxed', in the case of a bizarre definition of the word: screaming, crying. Hoping for this whole ordeal to be over.

Then my body was buffeted with agonizing spasms that made me gasp for breath. He covered my body with his own and pressed my face to his chest. I jerked about, unable to control limbs.

When the seizure passed, I threw my sweat soaked face against his chest, exhausted, begging for his cool, icy touch.

Sometime after that, Carlisle left the room and Edward came in. He no longer look foreboding and displeased. He compassionately wiped my face and held me like a child. When I fell to the floor and he easily picked me up and placed back on the bed.

Terror and excruciating pain caused and endless stream of tears to roll down my cheeks. I was sobbing so hard that my body shook as if I were having another seizure. Then, Carlisle stalked back in, his face set, jaw determined. He steadied my trembling face with his hands.

"It's alright, it's alright," He murmured in low musical undertone. "You're going to be alright. It will all be over soon. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

I got my voice back the next morning, but I had no control over the sounds that came out in rivulets out of my mouth. By the time the sun went down, I was so exhausted I couldn't even lift my head up. Carlisle pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me, creating a cage that made it impossible for me to even shiver. With his lips pressed against my forehead, he softly hummed an unfamiliar tune that all but distracted me.

Sweat rolled down my face from my temples.

When I screamed for the umpteenth time, my teeth clenched to the point where I thought they should have cracked by now.

It was unbearable. Like dying over and over again.

And for three days.

Three days.

That's how long it lasted.

For three days my hair was pulled mercilessly from my scalp by the roots. For three days Hell was inside me and heaven was mocked me. Sweat poured down my face. My breath came quick, fast, and shallow. And the pain was only heightened.

I screamed in agony again before pounding my fists against his chest in effort to divert the pain. He took mercy once again and gently took hold of my arms and lifted me up. Holding me to his cold, strong frame. I couldn't help it. I pressed my face into his chest and cried. Weak and tormented. I wailed, I screamed. I bawled. There was no release.

And finally, it slowed. I could feel my breathing even out, interjected ever so often with a gasp. A deep breath sprung tears to my eyes and synchronously delivered an final apoplectic blow to my heart.

The agony was over.

I rolled over, aware of my clothing sticking to my body. Wind was blowing gently through the curtains sent them everywhere. Slowly I raised myself up and winced. I was sore from the…ordeal. The room was deserted. Shaking, I made my way to the doorway and peeked out. Seeing no one, I pattered down the landing down the other doors. One of the doors swung open and a young boy stepped out. He smiled at me.

"Carlisle, she's awake." Almost instantly, another door opened and a man came hurrying out. This was the man I'd seen earlier. The beautiful one. I shouldn't have been afraid of him, but with his presence had come the pain. And the pain, I was afraid of.

"No!" I pleaded, falling to my hands and knees. "Please don't hurt me. I'm sorry for what I've done. I didn't mean-." He looked appalled and gathered me in his arms.

"I'm very sorry if I frighten you with my presence but..." He half-dragged me downstairs to a divan on to which I collapsed. "I know that the transformation is very painful. But now, there's almost nothing that can harm you. You are indestructible. You will live forever. And you'll never age."

"But my husband, how will he..." The truth dawned on me before he spoke.

"You will never be able to speak to him again."

"But then, my child...how will I have children?"

"Vampires cannot have children."

"Vampires?"

"It is what we are."

"You...we drink blood...?" I asked fearfully.

"Yes," He nodded gravely.

"I don't want to kill people," I said quietly, my heart sinking.

"I won't let you then," He assured me.

"It's a lot more difficult that just not wanting to!" Snapped Edward. "When you come out into the world again, you'll find that sometimes you can't stop yourself. The thirst is unquenchable. Undeniably."

"Yes, he's right. But the will is the first step. Edward does not adhere to my principle. He choose to drink from those whom he sees as deserving of the fate." Something in his tone, a note of displeasure of disappointment set Edward off.

"So? They do! I'll do what I want!"

"It is a head better than the rampage they're doing south, I'll admit," Carlisle inclining his. Edward glared furiously at him and Carlisle levelly held the gaze, not unsmiling.

From somewhere deep in his throat, there was a low snarl. "I'm leaving!" He snapped. "You asked me to help. I came. Now this is all done and over. I'm going. Don't expect me back for a few years," HE said, sneering at Carlisle. He then sprinted out, slamming the door behind him.

Carlisle sank down beside me. "He doesn't understand yet," He said quietly, pinching his nose between his index fingers. "He's still furious. He doesn't want to be a vampire. So he rebels. He's a child. Children are weak."

"He's a lovely young man underneath, your son," I murmured.

"My son? Ah, yes. Not biologically, of course. I changed him." He sighed. "Are you hungry?"

"What?"

"Is there a burning sensation in your throat?"

"No."

"Soon there will be. Of course maybe not for a day or two but you had lost quite a bit of blood already so I'd assumed..." He was babbling. "...that's why it took so long for the transformation to occur. Even longer than usual." He ran a hand through his hair. "Because there wasn't enough blood to circulate in the normal period of -."

"I remember you," I said softly.

He gaped at me. "You do?"

"Of course, I could never forget. All of my friends, they had seen you in town. The rumors spread and..."

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it was you. I didn't ever think that you...you of all the people to..." He clenched the wood of the divan; it crumbled. "When I saw you - you were such a lively, sweet-hearted woman - I was filled with an uncontrollable rage. I couldn't conceive what kind of a man would change you so drastically as to..."

The bathroom door opened out and Edward, toweling his hair came out. When Carlisle stared at him expectantly, he started to bluster.

"I'm leaving after I take this shower," He vowed. Carlisle smiled ruefully.

"My parents were so pleased at our engagement," I continued. "He was a man with good prospects and he wanted, he wanted, to marry me. My parents were so overjoyed I couldn't...and after all, there wasn't anyone I loved, I mean, anyone I could honestly think to marry. So I wasn't opposed to the marriage. He wasn't a bad man, I thought.

"But he did all sorts of terrible...things." I shuddered. Carlisle put his arm around me. "My mother told me I should a good wife and not to breathe a word. When he was drafted to fight in the war, it was such a relief. But he lived through it." I sounded bitter and I didn't want him to think me gory or crude so I quickly added, "I didn't want him to die. Only to leave me alone," I whispered. "And when the child came, I was even more terrified. I couldn't bring it into his house. His presence. That would be...a monstrous thing to do. So I went north."

"But it died, didn't it?" Carlisle asked quietly. "Edward said you were blaming yourself for..."

"It died. I don't even know why. I was being careful. And it wasn't the first either. That's why he was so impatient with me. I always miscarried." I said, balling my hands into fists. "It was terrible. I loved children, I wanted to be a teacher; I couldn't understand why...it had to happen to me."

"I remember when I first saw you; I thought you were the loveliest young lady I'd ever seen. You didn't cry at all, not even when I set your leg."

"Cry?" I laughed. "I couldn't take my eyes of you. All my friends had, of course, told me but I wasn't remotely prepared to see what you looked like. You were...beautiful. Handsome. And you were such a gallant man. I was astonished. I couldn't stop thinking of you. And I never forgot your face in the decade of absence. I thought of you sometimes after my marriage but when Charles was there, it felt wrong, infidel, to think of someone else."

"Edward...laughed at me. He didn't really understand when I told him. He told me it would a ridiculous to entertain the idea that a human could look past the monstrosity of our race and still love…one of us." He squeezed my hand. "But when I saw you, I couldn't let you go. Edward didn't see what I saw. I didn't want to put you through the pain. Had there been any way I could have had shouldered it for you, without a hesitation I would. But you were dying. Love makes the strongest of us weak."

As he said this, he lifted my chin with his thumb. I gazed blithely into his eyes and then pressed my lips to his.

Women didn't make the moves in my time. But apparently he was all for it.


So I hope that you guys enjoyed The Next Three Days. Can anyone guess where the title came from? YUP, from that new (old by now, I guess) Russell Crowe movie, haha. I was watching it and was like, 'I wonder what else takes three days...oh-ho!' Anywhooo, even more than Carlise / Esme here, I love Edward's rebellious adolescence. He's kind of boring when Bella rolls around, lol. But here, he's sassy and I love it.

What did you think? Let me know in a review!