An: Thank you for all of my reviews last chapter =] You guys rock

I disclaim

Esme's POV

I've recently found a passion for interior decorating. When we first moved into our new house, the walls were all utilitarian white and dull. Now I've completely refurnished and painted the study, dining room, and kitchen. I stood in the middle of the living room and gazed around thoughtfully, envisioning which blue would look best against the light pine flooring. Perhaps a nice deep navy…?

Carlisle wasn't due to arrive for another two hours at least and Edward was rarely ever home these days, choosing instead to wander aimlessly around the woods. Reasons for his sudden change in personality constantly chased themselves through my mind, each one taunting me and spitting that it was my fault. No matter how many times Carlisle attempted to assure me that I had nothing to do with his lethargic attitude, I couldn't seem to be able to banish those thoughts.

I effortlessly lifted the ladder with one hand and a half empty bucket of primer with the other, placing them gently against the far wall of the dining room so as to keep from chipping my new coat of paint. I had spent nearly three hours in the living room this morning, finishing up the coat of primer. Now all I had left was to head down to the hardware store and purchase a few gallons of navy blue paint. I figured that by the time I returned from the hardware store, Carlisle would be home and I could begin painting tomorrow.

Shrugging on my deep purple pea coat—the weather was quite chilly for humans and to go without a coat would draw attention—I headed out the garage door and started walking swiftly down the winding driveway through the woods. The bus stop was about a mile and a half from the end of the driveway, a comfortable enough distance to pretend to be walking as a human.

I was very proud of the several outings I had made as a vampire so far. Ever since the incident with the secretary of the real estate agent, I had made absolutely no threat towards any humans. Apparently the trick was to leave Carlisle at home. It was simply too dangerous for a man who looks like he does to be out in public. I smiled tenderly as his profile filled my mind. Those poor unsuspecting human women never stood a chance.

As I reached the edge of the driveway and turned left to follow the pavement, my thoughts lingered upon Carlisle. The contrast between him and my nearly forgotten ex-husband was astonishing. Carlisle has never once raised his voice in anger. His eyes always hold warmth, compassion, and some hidden emotion which never fails to create butterflies within my stomach. Conversely, Charles never smiled, never laughed, and always seemed angry at everything in the world. Especially me.

Of course, physically the two men were nothing alike. One could suppose that Charles was attractive, but up against Carlisle he couldn't hold a candle. Charles had dark brown hair and black piercing eyes which seemed to never hold any warmth, only contempt, especially for me.

Memories of my former life usually remained in a tightly locked box in the back of my mind, only resurfacing when my thoughts were allowed to run rampant. Subconsciously, I was aware that the reason I kept myself so busy was in efforts to keep the horrible memories locked in the box where they belong. Carlisle seemed to realize this, although he had never commented upon it. His way of being able to express how much he cares for me without ever using words is another reason I'm so hopelessly in love with him.

I stopped at the weathered wooden bench which marked the bus stop and sat down gracefully before glancing at my watch. Hopefully the bus would arrive within the next few minutes.

The chilly winter air circled the bench, dragging with it the last few crinkled brown leaves from autumn and shaking loose snow from the pine limbs above. The wind tugged at my hair, attempting to dislodge it from its pins, and pulled bitterly at the edges of my coat. With a bit of luck, the weather would keep most humans inside today and I could travel to the store without too many stares. I wasn't quite used to them yet.

My sensitive ear picked up the loud noises from the bus a mile or so before it was in was in sight and I comforted myself with my fact that my chore reached another stage of completion. I concentrated completely on the next task at hand, which was to proceed onto the bus and sit in the seat farthest away from any humans, all the while not breathing but making it look as if I were.

Humans were, as a whole, very unobservant. However people still grew curious if you neglected to blink or shift in your seat a bit. I was still fine tuning the art of acting human.

The bus pulled to a creaky stop in front of the bench and the driver opened the door for me as I stood gracefully from the bench and up the steps. I drew the edges of my coat around me protectively and shivered a bit for his benefit.

"Bit chilly today, eh?" He questioned sympathetically. I nodded with a smile before walking towards the middle of the bus, trying to force myself into a pace slower then what I was used to. As I predicted, the bus was emptier then usual, with only three other occupants besides me.

As the bus creaked away from the curb, my thoughts returned to Carlisle. We had technically been together for only five months and yet it seemed as if I had known him all my life. If I ever lost him or Edward, I wouldn't be able to continue living… or whatever it is we are doing here. I smiled tenderly as my boys images flashed into my thoughts. They are perfect, I was so happy; however I couldn't help but miss having a female companion. When I was still human, I had a best friend, Alexia, who lived next door. In the mornings when our husbands were at work she would come over and have tea with me. We would gossip for hours over the latest fashions, all the while knowing that our husbands would never buy them for us. She was the one bright spot in my former life, the only person I miss.

I remember that she was the first person I told about my sweet baby boy. My hand pressed thoughtfully against my flat stomach. She was so happy for me; we spent hours planning what the nursery would look like and contemplating names. Until he took my baby away from me.

My eyes closed in reverent remembrance of my friend and child before the bus slowed to a squeaky stop, signaling the end of my trip. I quickly forced myself to concentrate upon acting human and not killing anyone before standing from my seat and stepping into the aisle. I murmured, "Thank you" to the driver, getting ready to descend the few steps, when I was greeted with a pale hand in front of me. A man who was seated a few rows in front of me on the bus was holding his out for me to take, just in case I couldn't manage the stairs on my own, I suppose. I hesitated briefly, weighing how cold it was outside with how cold my hand probably was before deciding to go ahead and allow him to be chivalrous. Rudely ignoring his hand would probably draw more attention then my cold skin.

"Thank you, sir." I said quietly, dropping my gaze to the floor and taking his offered aid. His hand seemed to be a furnace in my own and I quickly dropped it once I reached the sidewalk below.

"Anything for a beauty such as yourself." The man remarked in an attempt at flattery. I stiffened as his breath carried on the breeze toward me.

"Your words are too kind." I replied, while biting down on my tongue. Venom flooded my mouth and my throat burned painfully. "But I really must be going." I stepped around him and head briskly down the sidewalk.

"Perhaps we are headed to the same place?" He quickly met my pace. The man was damn persistent.

"I wouldn't think so…" I fervently hoped he would take the hint and leave, unfortunately he seemed to either lack the proper intelligence to realize that I wanted to continue running my errands without him, or the proper etiquette to care.

"My name is Richard." His bright blue eyes searched my face, and hungrily crept lower towards my breasts. "And you are?"

"In a hurry." I replied stiffly, before quickening my pace. The pain in my throat was becoming nearly unbearable and I bit down relentlessly, grinding my teeth together. Perhaps he would take my grimace as mere annoyance and leave.

His eyes narrowed and filled with contempt. "You must be one of those rich stuck-up types from the north."

"My husband wouldn't like it if I continued our conversation." I fell back upon an easy excuse. Carlisle wouldn't mind.

"That's funny." The man's tone was sharp and biting. "You don't seem to have a ring. A rich, stuck-up broad such as yourself would doubtlessly have a ring."

I ignored him and continued until I came within sight of the hardware store, turning sharply through the door and allowing it to close behind me. I glanced over my shoulder and heaved a sigh of relief as I noticed his head of red hair slink unhappily towards the alley.

My heels clicked on the hardwood floors as I made my way down the aisles and gathered my purchases. I hadn't been that close to another human since the real estate agent, and although I was still slightly irritated at his persistence and actions, I was also rather proud of myself for my composure. I hummed merrily as I carried my paint and new rollers to the counter and paid, before heading quickly out the door. I couldn't wait to tell Carlisle how well I had done in town today.

As I exited the hardware store and crossed in front of the alley, I felt my hand being caught and tugged suddenly. The unexpected warmth engulfed my senses like a flood of lava and completely encompassed my entire being. I was drowning, writhing as I was pulled under the wave and sunk deeper into the pit. It seemed as if my entire mind went blank, like I was floating above myself and watching from a cloud as Richard pulled me into the alleyway. I silently screamed as my body went of its own volition and a smirk crept to the beautiful, pale woman's lips. Her eyes went red, her body flushed with excitement, and I watched, helplessly, as she descended upon her prey.

Btw, incase you were wondering, the poor jerkoff who may or may not be sucked dry is based loosely upon my little brother. He ate ALL of my valentine's chocolate... last I heard it was illegal to maim someone, even for such a heinous offense. Therefore, he is being tortured in effigy.