I don't own any of the Twilight characters.
Please review and let me know what you think, I'm not sure about bits of it but I wanted to get it up tonight.
Italics are Carlisle's thoughts which are directed at Edward.
Everything was as it should be. We were back here in Forks and we were all together again and happier than we'd been since we left. Well, I say all together but that's not quite true. Edward was round at Bella's even though it was the middle of the night and she was probably fast asleep. But we knew where he was and that he was safe which was the most important thing.
Alice was sat on Jasper's lap on the sofa opposite Esme and I and from the looks of it he wasn't planning on letting her go any time soon. Rosalie and Emmett were sat next to Alice and Jasper and Alice was filling us in on what happened in Italy.
Esme flinched beside me as we heard how Bella only just got to Edward in time. I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to me. Even though we knew he was perfectly safe I understood the horror she felt perfectly, I felt exactly the same. A wave of reassurance passed over me and I knew Esme felt it too as she relaxed against me. I shot Jasper a grateful smile, which he returned with a small nod of his head.
We hadn't seen much of Edward since his return from Italy. He whisked Bella away as soon as I gave my promise to change her and we hadn't seen either of them since. It was only to be expected that they wanted to be together after everything that had happened but I couldn't help worrying that the other reason he was staying away was to avoid me.
When he did return I was going to have to talk to him but I wasn't looking forward to it. I hadn't forgotten what he had done to the TV after he was outvoted over Bella being changed and while I knew Edward would never raise a hand to me there were plenty of other things in this house that were breakable, especially when they were in the path of an angry vampire.
Alice had fallen silent but she suddenly looked up at me. "Once you've both got things off your chests everything will be fine."
The others in the room looked questioningly between us.
"It's nothing," I said, answering their unspoken questions. "Don't worry about it."
The sound of Edward speeding up the long driveway towards the house became audible just then and after a few seconds we heard the slamming of his car door and then he came in. He barely glanced at us all before heading for the stairs.
"Edward, I think we need to talk," I said.
He stopped on the bottom step but didn't turn around. "Can't it wait?"
"Fine," he replied shortly. "Lets go upstairs."
Esme gave me a quick kiss and then I followed Edward silently up the stairs to my study. I closed the door behind me although it wouldn't stop the others downstairs from hearing us if they wanted to. Turning around I saw Edward was leaning against my desk, arms folded across his chest, glaring murderously at the floor.
"Edward," I began slowly but he interrupted me.
"You want to talk? Why don't we talk about the offer you made Bella? How could you promise her that? You know exactly how I feel about Bella becoming a vampire and yet you promised to turn her into one anyway, in a couple of months!" Edward's voice had gotten progressively louder until he was shouting so loudly that all the pictures on the wall rattled ominously.
He spun around and crossed over to the window. I stayed silent, knowing that if I didn't give him a chance to say what he was thinking he would just continue to dwell on it and it would become more of a problem between us somewhere down the line.
A feeling of calmness infused the room, obviously courtesy of Jasper.
"Cut it out Jasper," growled Edward and the calmness disappeared. When Edward turned around however, some of the anger had left him and he now seemed more weary than anything else.
"I thought you always said you would only change someone who was dying, who had no other chance," said Edward eventually, not quite meeting my gaze. "Why would you be willing to go against what you believe in and change Bella?"
I would never force this life on someone against their will if they had any other option but you know better than anybody that Bella is one of a kind. She knows all the facts about our lifestyle, the good and the bed, and this is what she wants.
Edward let out a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. I sat down in the chair behind my desk and gestured to the sofa that was up against the wall, which Edward threw himself onto.
And like I said when she was here, you haven't really given me much choice. It's clear you and Bella can't live without each other so this seems to be my only option.
"Not that anyone here seems to care about what I think," said Edward, annoyance colouring his voice. "But there is another option. Bella can stay human, as it should be naturally, and I will stay with her. It doesn't matter to me if she stays human and continues to age, I will still love her no matter what."
Supposing for a moment that you actually manage to persuade Bella to agree with you. You'll have maybe 60 or 70 years together but what happens when she dies? Will you be on the first plane to Volterra again?
Edward winced as memories of how worried I had been floated into my head. I leaned back in my chair waiting as he considered my words.
Eventually he mumbled something so quietly that if it hadn't been for my vampire hearing I wouldn't have heard him.
"Well that will be my decision to make."
I couldn't help myself. "Dammit Edward," I burst out, slamming my hand down on the table in a rare display of anger. "Does this family really mean so little to you?" I broke off and strode over to the window, roughly running my hand through my hair.
When I had calmed down a bit I spoke again. "Did you not stop, even for a moment, to think what it would to us if you were destroyed?" What about Esme? You of all people should know what it would do to her if she lost another son. I winced as memories of that night, so many years ago, when I found Esme in the morgue, barely clinging onto life, flooded through me before I could stop them.
"She-she would have gotten over it. So would everyone else."
I was speechless. I simply couldn't believe he thought that could be true. He had his head in his hands. I sank down next to him.
Edward look at me. I requested. He didn't move. Please.
He reluctantly raised his head and met my gaze.
You can't honestly think that we would just get over it if we lost you. My disbelief and incredulity were clear in my thoughts but Edward merely shrugged and looked down at his lap.
"Edward," I said, speaking out loud to emphasise my words. "You are my son and I love you. After everything we've been through it would tear me apart to lose you and I am certain I speak for the whole of this family when I say we would not be able to just move on with our lives if we lost you, even if we spent the rest of eternity trying." My voice was thick with emotion as I gripped his shoulder.
His eyes met mine and the uncertainty that was swirling in them painfully reminded me of the scared young 17 year old I met in Chicago in 1918.
Eventually he nodded and relaxed slightly. "I'm sorry. For the way I spoke to you, for what I put you all through going to Volterra, for making everyone pack up and leave Forks and-" he paused and shot me a sheepish smile. "For breaking the TV."
"Just you wait Eddie boy, you will be sorry about that," threatened Emmett from downstairs, effectively dispelling the remaining tension.
Edward burst out laughing and I couldn't help smiling at the sound. Apology accepted but not needed. I think it best if we just put it all behind us and move on.
He nodded in agreement and stretched his legs out in front of him, staring out the window on the other side of the room.
"I gave Bella another alternative to being changed by you after graduation," he said after a pause. "I offered to change her myself, if she married me first."
At first I was surprised but I quickly realised I shouldn't be. After all Edward had grown up in the early 1900s, had never forgotten the conventions of his time for those of today, and was deeply in love with Bella. Marriage seemed like the obvious step for him. From his subdued tone of voice I assumed Bella did not quite see it that way.
"No not quite," he responded, still looking out the window. "After what marriage did to Charlie and Renee's relationship she's really not sure about it."
That's understandable. Give her time to get used to the idea. And don't start doubting how much she loves you.
He turned back to me with a chuckle and said, "And I thought I was the one who could hear peoples' thoughts. Thank you."
You're welcome, I'm just glad you're back. Let's go back downstairs.
I was relieved that we had so quickly fallen back into the easy companionship we had shared for so long. Although I loved Esme and the rest of my family deeply Edward had been my first companion after centuries of solitude, my friend, my brother, my son and it filled me with joy to have him back at my side.
The others looked up as we came down the stairs.
"Everything all right?" asked Esme, her eyes flitting between the two of us.
I glanced at Edward and then replied, "Everything's fine."
She beamed up at us and then spoke to Edward. "Would you play for us? I've missed hearing you play."
"Of course," he made his way over to the piano and then paused and turned to Emmett. "Eddie boy? Really?" He grimaced as he said it. "Call me that again and you'll be sorry," he warned, smirking.
"Oh bring it on bro," replied Emmett with a wicked grin.
"Boys," warned Esme, but her sparkling eyes and wide smile showed how happy she was just to be surrounded by her family.
Edward began playing the song he wrote for Esme and she relaxed into my arms with a contented sigh. I silently amended my thought from earlier this night: Now everything was as it should be. We just needed Bella here to truly complete us and from the sounds of it we wouldn't be waiting too long.