Disclaimer: Characters contained within do not belong to me.

Author's Notes: To follow.

It Had to Be You

by Kristen Elizabeth


I was almost used to being constantly ravenous. It was hunger like I had never known, not even when I'd carried my precious baby boy. This craving was so far from the ones I'd had for meat pies and strawberry ice cream. Those had been innocent, full of wonder and joy as I nourished myself in order to nourish the tiny life inside of me.

But now…blood was on my mind all the time and no matter how many woodland creatures I drank dry, my thirst was never fully sated. I suspected it wouldn't be until the day I gave in to my darkest temptation and sank my teeth into human flesh.

It was a day I hoped would never come, not only because it would mean that I'd taken a life, but also because I might lose the one thing I'd grown to depend so desperately upon: Carlisle's approval.

Thinking about him always seemed to bring him to me, as if Edward wasn't the only one who could see my thoughts. One second, I was alone in the parlor of our stately home, staring out into the woods from behind the protection of the curtains I'd recently installed; in the next, he was behind me, surrounding me with his clean, male scent.

"You know, I never realized how much we needed lace curtains until you came along, Esme."

"I doubt that." I turned my head just enough to give him a smile. "You survived almost three hundred years without a woman's touch, after all."

I hadn't meant for my words to carry such a double meaning. If it had been possible, blood would have rushed to my cheeks.

Carlisle took a step back, away from me. Immediately I missed the solidity of his body next to mine.

From a safe distance away, he lightly cleared his throat. "How are you feeling? Do you need to hunt?"

"Tonight, perhaps," I replied although I had no doubt that I would. The need for blood coursed through my entire body. But it was dampened now by another need, a desire that I had only just recently acknowledged. I waited for a second before I asked, "Will you join me?"

He inclined his perfect head just enough to give me the answer I'd hoped for. "Edward is out the woods right now," he continued, answering my second question before I'd even formed it. "We shall be alone tonight."

Every now and then, when he wasn't concentrating on maintaining any particular facade, I could hear his age in his words, the way he chose to phrase certain things. Shall, ought, even an occasional thou. It never failed to bring a smile to my lips. Above all else, Carlisle was a gentleman. Older, wiser, controlled…a mystery of a beautiful man. I could see myself learning something new about him centuries from now.

Perhaps that was why I had fallen so deeply in love with him so very quickly.

At dusk, when the first stars began to appear in the sky, I let him lead me down an unfamiliar path from our house and into the dense maze of trees and shrubbery. There was a chill in the air, but neither of us felt it. When he began running, I followed, breaking no sweat in order to keep up with him.

I had left my beautiful dresses behind in favor of a simple frock that wouldn't hold me back and could be easily washed clean of any blood I spilled. Although somewhat plain compared to what was in my closet, the dress was still fashionably short, ending only a few inches below my knees and showing off more of my legs than I was used to baring. I wasn't sure if Carlisle had noticed or not.

We fed, a graceful buck for me and a snarling panther for him. The thirst for blood would return soon, but for the moment, I could concentrate on other things, such as the way the moon's light illuminated his hair as it filtered through the canopy of the trees or the way his hand felt warm and strong when he threaded his fingers through mine as we walked.

Coming into a large clearing in the woods, there was ample light from the moon, enough so that I noticed the bloodstains on the front of my dress.

"Will I ever learn to feed as you do?" I complained. "Without spilling a drop?"

Carlisle's eyes were darker than the topaz I was used to seeing. This puzzled me as he had just fed and shouldn't have such intensity in his stare. "You're still so young," he said, his voice low and strained. "It will come. In time. Just be…just be patient."

I had the strangest feeling that those last few words were not entirely meant for me. Frowning, I reached up to touch his cheek. He flinched away from my touch, ripping his hand away from mine in his haste to put as much distance between us as possible.

"Don't," he barked from several feet away. It was the first time he'd raised his voice to me. "Esme…" He looked at me like it hurt him to do so. "Do you realize what's happening here?"

I shook my head, but I was lying. In truth, I was frightened, too. Although I'd been married and a mother, I had never been in love like this. My wedding night had been embarrassing and painful, and every time that followed had been a chore. My wifely duty. The only good to come of it had been my son.

Would Carlisle hurt me as my husband had? Was that why he was so upset? Did he know, as a doctor and an immortal being, that women could truly take no pleasure from the physical act of intercourse?

But I was stronger now. If there was pain, I could bear it. I would bear it. He was my provider, my savior, my love, and I would do anything to make him happy.

My fingers were shaking, but I somehow managed to undo the buttons of my dress. The fabric slipped off my shoulders and pooled at my feet, leaving me in nothing but a lace and silk step-in chemise that left little to the imagination.

The neckline of the undergarment was scooped and low, exposing my upper chest which was sticky with the buck's blood that had seeped through the dress. I put my hand to my silk-covered breast for a moment, almost imagining that I could feel my heart beating faster. I was sure it would have if it had been possible.

Across the clearing, Carlisle was staring at me like a man on the brink of madness. His shoulders lifted and fell with rapid breaths that he didn't need.

"Esme." He whispered my name this time. I could barely hear it on the wind. "We shouldn't do this. Not yet. Not until we're…"

"I've been married," I reminded him. "Making the act legitimate did not make it pleasurable." I closed my eyes for a moment. "I want this. No matter how much it hurts. I want you, Carlisle."

When I opened my eyes again, he was standing mere inches away from me, having covered the distance between us in the time it took me to blink. I looked up into his dark amber stare. There was an amused smile on his lips that had no place in such a moment as this. I frowned. "What is so funny?"

"My precious Esme," he murmured, running his fingers through my recently cut bob of curls. "Do you believe for a moment that I would ever do anything that would hurt you?"

I wasn't certain what to say. It was hard to come up with words when he was touching me. "You would never mean to, but…some things cannot be…" His fingers, those long doctor's fingers gently massaged my scalp, making speaking so difficult. "…cannot be helped."

My feet left the ground and I found myself swept up in his arms before I could protest. Not that I would have, especially after he immediately laid me down on a soft patch of grass. His body covered mine; his face blocked out the moon. It seemed only natural for my knees to drift apart, to better fit our bodies together.

But Carlisle had other ideas. When he leaned down, I was sure he was going to kiss me, as I'd wanted him do to for a very long time, but instead, he lowered his lips to my collar. I gasped when I felt his tongue on my flesh. Slowly, gently, lovingly, he licked the deer's blood from my skin until I felt myself shivering from the sensations I'd never imagined.

There was strange warmth at the center of my body, a throbbing that was growing in intensity. When he was done, Carlisle lifted his head and looked down at me. "Say the word and I shall stop."

It was all I could do to shake my head against the pillow of grass and moss beneath us. With that encouragement, he hooked a finger around the slim strap of my chemise and tugged it down, baring my breast.

The night air was cool, but his mouth was warm as he suckled me. It was nothing like the gentle tug of my baby as he'd fed, and so far removed from the pain of my husband's teeth as he'd marked me. This was heaven, if there was such a thing. I never wanted it to stop. I plunged my fingers into Carlisle's hair, holding him to my breast, only allowing him to move to its twin, to repeat the same delicious attention.

He broke free of my grasp with a low growl and rose up over me on his knees. I stared at him in wonder. The man who was capable of such incredible control…he was coming undone right before my eyes. And I was the cause. There was power here, but it wasn't solely in his hands.

I sat up, unashamed at being half-naked in the moonlight. He glanced away, as if ashamed of something. It was only then that I noticed the bulge below his waist, the strain of his pants. I swallowed heavily. Although it worried me, knowing what would happen soon, I wasn't entirely afraid anymore.

When I reached for the buttons at his fly, Carlisle grasped my wrist, easily circling it in his hand. "'Tis not too late to stop," he said, his accent slipping into his words as though he'd left London only yesterday.

"It was too late to stop this from the moment I awoke into this life," I told him. "I opened my eyes and you were there. Everything changed."

He lowered his chin to his chest. "I was selfish then. I saw a beautiful woman who had been broken…and I couldn't bear it. I should have given you a choice."

With one finger, I lifted his face back up until I could look into his eyes. "I would have made this one."

"You wanted to die," he reminded me as gently as possible.

I shook my head. "When I saw you, I wanted to live."

Carlisle released my hand and did nothing more to stop me. In fact, he helped as I struggled with his suspenders. He tugged his shirt free of his pants and pulled it over his head before I even had the first button undone. His bare body was like a wall of solid marble muscle and I wanted to explore every inch of it.

Then he kissed me and I couldn't think of anything, not even my own name. His lips fit mine perfectly without a trace of awkwardness. This was the man I supposed to kiss for the rest of my existence, however long that might be. Edward might not have been certain that we still possessed souls, but I was convinced. I had found my soul's mate.

I was prepared for pain, searing, stretching, numbing pain. I never expected the pleasure. It caught me off guard from the moment he entered me. My eyes flew open in surprise. It felt so right, so good. Did that make me wanton? I bit my lip, willing the warm feelings away. I didn't want him to know how much I was enjoying this.

Upon seeing my face, Carlisle froze still. "Am I hurting you?"

I tried to nod, but I couldn't lie to him. "No," I whispered. My hands drifted down the corded length of his arms as they strained to hold himself up over me. "Is it because of what I am now?"

He frowned. "What do you mean?"

I shifted my body and the slight motion made our hips grind together. He closed his eyes and inhaled sharply. I couldn't hold back a slight gasp of my own.

"I'm sorry," I apologized even though it felt so wonderful.

Carlisle forced his eyes open. "Whatever for?"

"I shouldn't be…" I turned my head, escaping the heat of his stare. "Only a certain kind of woman enjoys this. And apparently…I'm one of them now."

When he chuckled, I whipped my head back to see him. My expression must have matched my suddenly bruised pride because he quickly kissed me. "Esme," he murmured, pulling back. "There are many ways to be hurt by love. But this kind of love...it should never cause pain, whether one is human or not. Do you understand?"

I answered him by raising my head from the grass and kissing him. The center of my body felt like liquid heat, threatening to boil over if he did not do something more than just lie still inside of me.

The moon bathed us in light as we made love. And it was love. I was absolutely sure of that. When he called my name, thrust against me, pinned my hands to the ground and for one long, wonderful moment lost all control, I had no doubt that we would be together until one of us died. If that was even possible for us. I still had so much to learn. If it wasn't, I was perfectly content to spend an eternity with Carlisle.

We lay in the clearing for a long time. Curled up against him, my cheek rested on his pale, but perfect chest. His fingers danced up and down my arm making me shiver every now and then.

"Edward will know the moment we return," I said after a long time. Although he was physically only a handful of years younger than me, I had begun to think of Edward as my son. I had no desire to make our still-new relationship awkward by unconsciously revealing too much of the night's events to him.

"If I ask him not to look into our thoughts, he'll respect our privacy." I felt Carlisle's lips press a kiss into my hair. "At least until after our wedding."

"Is that a proposal?"

"A bad one," he admitted. He sat up, forcing me up as well. There, in the middle of the woods, naked as the day we were born, Carlisle took my hand. "My plan was marriage first, lovemaking afterwards. That's the example I wanted to give Edward."

With misty eyes, I smiled. "He'll never hear differently from me. This will be our secret."

"Will you marry me, Esme?" Carlisle brought my hands together and kissed them both. "Be my wife. Be Edward's mother. Put curtains on all of our windows and make any house we live in a true home."

It was everything I wanted. Unaware of my own strength, I pushed him to the ground and began loving him all over again. Wanton? Perhaps. Did I care? No.

The great irony of my life is that I didn't begin to live it until I was already dead.

Fin (for now)

A/N: I'm rather interested in turning this into a series, with Rosalie and Emmett being next. If it's something you'd care to see continued, let me know. In either case, thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it;)