Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all that is Twilight.
Welcome! Hope you enjoy reading Carlisle and Esme: How the Love Story Began. This is a canon story that seeks to fill in the missing history/scenes of Carlisle and Esme's past together from their first meeting to their first wedding anniversary.
I wanted to create for readers their epic love story, and was lucky to find some who also enjoyed the ride - Winner of Best Completed, Gem Awards - Opal (Carlisle) Round 2011, Hopeless Romantic Award 2011: Best Carlisle and Esme, Shimmer Awards 2009 Winner: Rewind Award for Favorite Pre-Twilight story, and Twilight Awards 2009 2nd Place: Best Pre-Twilight Story.
This first chapter moves quickly to set up the action to come...
Carlisle and Esme: How the Love Story Began
My Guardian Angel
July 27, 1911
Protestant Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
"May I be the first to sign your cast, young lady?"
I blinked twice –slowly—transfixed as I tried in vain to comprehend the brilliance of his smile. It seemed too perfect to be real.
"Esme, answer the nice doctor," my mother prompted me, but it sounded as if she was speaking through a long narrow tunnel – her voice was muffled and distant. Only when she elbowed me in the ribs did I snap out of my daze.
My cheeks burned but I tried to smile back at the doctor confidently.
"Yes, Dr. Cullen, I would like that very much," I finally stammered out, still gazing intently into his warm yet strange colored eyes.
Although climbing the tallest tree on our farm was probably not the smartest thing I had done, it was exhilarating to climb so high. I almost felt free of our small farm and believed I had even breached the upper border of the dull town of Dublin, Ohio. But it wasn't to last. The cursed place sucked me right off the tree, breaking my leg so I wouldn't forget the lesson: there was no escape.
My mother had the task of taking me to the hospital, as according to my father, anything to do with the children was "her job." I stole a look at her from the corner of my eye – she was trying to smooth her hair back and smile kindly at the doctor.
His hands had worked so gently mending my leg, but somehow I knew they were also very strong. If my leg still hurt, I wasn't aware of it. I was so captured by my handsome, tall, blonde doctor.
As I watched him scribble on my cast, it struck me he seemed not of this world. The combination of his smooth pale skin and crisp white lab coat made it appear as if there was an glowing aura surrounding him. And, oh my, he looked like an angel!
I had never met an angel before, but my mother always told me I had a guardian angel…everybody did. The fact that I didn't kill myself falling out of the tree proved that much!
I needed an image of my guardian angel…so I pictured Dr. Cullen as my angel.
My mother cleared her throat, indicating my staring at the young doctor was bordering on inappropriate. I let my eyes fall to my cast. He had scrawled in perfect script "Handle with Care" and signed under it: Fondly, Dr. Cullen.
"Thank you," I murmured, avoiding his eyes lest he could read in my eyes what I was thinking.
He placed a cool index finger under my chin and raised my face until my eyes met his.
"You are a very energetic and bright young girl. Take care of yourself from now on – no more reckless tree climbing. Someday you are going to make a very lucky boy a very lucky husband and you need to be in one piece to do that, you hear me?" His voice was kind, but his eyes were intensely focused on mine. It seemed like he truly wanted me to consider his message.
"Yes,octor," I said, averting my eyes though I could sense he continued to look into mine.
Was it getting warmer in here? Thankfully, my mother broke the silence…
"Come, Esme," my mother said, helping me off the hospital bed. "I am sure the kind doctor has many other patients to see."
We left, but before the door could close behind me, I looked back to steal one last glance at my angel, and file it safely in my memory.
The Big Day
June 16, 1917
St. Joseph Cathedral, Columbus, Ohio
"You look beautiful, dear," my mother sniffled into her tissue.
I could see her standing behind me, reflected in the tall, oval mirror I was standing too stiffly in front of. She beamed with such pride and happiness. I shifted my gaze again so I was looking into my own eyes. Why didn't I look as happy as she did? After all, I was the bride.
"Thank you, mom."
I worked to draw up the sides of my mouth to resemble a smile. It looked weary. Luckily, I was able to convince everyone around me I just had a case of the pre-wedding jitters.
Unsure what to say next, my mother looked for an excuse to leave. "I'll just let you have a moment to compose yourself. I'll send your dad in when it's time…"
She stepped out of the small room in the church reserved for brides-to-be. I was alone with my thoughts. Not a good thing. My mind was in full panic mode. A voice kept screaming: Run…Escape!
How had I let this happen? I felt unprepared for the commitment I was about to make, but somehow I had not done a thing to stop it. My engagement and subsequent wedding plans happened so quickly and with so much fanfare from my family and community. I guess I just got swept up in the process.
I was 22 years old; most women my age were already married and had started a family. My mother made it abundantly clear I was not holding up my end of the "social norm". Finding a suitable suitor was a priority for my parents, not for me. My priority was my three younger siblings.
I was their caretaker most days. My mother chronically suffered from melancholy. But now that I was an adult, I wanted to be free. However, when I shared with them my life-long dream of traveling to a big city, attending college, and becoming a primary school teacher, they strongly resisted.
"Who will care for us?" My sister Lillian questioned with her innocent large 13 year old eyes - eyes that quickly filled with tears of apprehension. Stephen, my 14 year old brother and Theresa, my 16 year old sister, looked just as panicked as Lillian.
Yes, who would care for them?
After all, childhood was such an important time in life. A time when a person learns to trust (or to fear as the case may be). Children who are shown they are needed, loved and treated with compassion flourished. I had always believed children needed— no, deserved- protection and care. I could do that as a teacher. But not now. Now I was to sacrifice for them.
To appease my family I would marry a man of good-standing, remain in this humble Ohio town, and care for my siblings as long as they needed me. I could always read about faraway places…and hope.
When my fiancé, Charles Evenson, first showed interest in me, my parents were elated. He was a successful business owner who could provide for me. For my part of the bargain, I would care for him and bear his children. The American dream I was told.
When I spoke of my desire to become a teacher, Charles made it clear I would not work outside of our home. Others would question his ability to provide. That was the day I learned Charles was an extremely prideful person.
A soft knock on the door startled me away from my recollections.
"It's time, Esme," my father spoke softly from the other side of the door.
I drew in a deep breath to fill and strengthen me.
Maybe someday I could have the life I wanted. But today was about the commitments I had made to others. With one last glance in the mirror, I stood tall and put on my best smile. The stage was set and I was headed for the performance of my life.
August 28, 1919
I poured myself another glass of wine, though most of it sloshed on to the table. My quaking prevented accurate aim. My sobs shook me so hard I gripped the chair to keep from sinking to the floor – to the true depth of my despair.
Charles would return tomorrow.
Just eight months after our wedding, he had been drafted. And I had been temporarily freed of his tyranny.
But now that The Great War was over, I felt the vestiges of terror bubbling to life in my gut….and they staunchly refused to be drown in cheap red wine.
I hung my head in shame remembering my relief when the draft letter arrived. It was my ticket to some sense of freedom, of self. Charles completely ruled my life as he saw me both as an extension and a reflection of himself.
I would give a face to the life he wanted others to believe he had. Our house would be immaculate; I would be well-groomed, polite, and affectionate. I was expected to dote on him constantly and never look upon him with anything else but awe and respect.
His control over me happened slowly, as water erodes the beach, gradually usurping little bits at a time.
At first, it started as criticism. It seemed I never did anything right. I was the stupid woman who burnt dinner, couldn't drive well, and didn't pleasure him enough when we were intimate. In fact, Charles had taken to sleeping in a separate bed, coming to mine only when he wanted satisfaction… and leaving shortly after.
Next came his possessiveness and paranoia – where was I, who was I with, what was I doing. Little by little, my life shrunk to nothing for I quickly learned if I isolated myself from everyone, it gave him nothing to question and little to be angry about.
I had no friends, no family, no visitors…only dwindling hope.
The day before he left for the war, I burned his farewell dinner. He threw the hot dish across the room and for the first time, raised his hand to strike me. I cowered like a helpless child in the corner.
Scared and alone, I sought help from my church after he left. I pleaded my case to the priest. I told him I felt threatened and degraded. Certainly, this is not what God had envisioned marriage to be! But I couldn't find it in me to leave him without someone's permission. Without someone on my side.
"My child," he said calmly, "the Lord created marriage as a binding contract between a man and a woman. Surely, you are not considering a divorce already? Give this some time to work itself out. Maybe if you could try harder…."
If God would not help me, who would?
Certainly, I couldn't go to my family. They would be so disappointed in me. How could I have let my marriage fail so quickly?
I decided on a sure course of action. I would prove my competency and I would win back Charles' favor!
So while Charles was away, I managed to maintain the business. Even growing it a bit and expanding the customer base. I conveyed the good news to him in letters every week, confident that when he returned, he would be grateful, even proud of me. Maybe we could start anew…
Hung over yet dressed to the nines as he would be expectin, I waited on a hot August day amidst all the fanfare to welcome our boys home from the war. The excitement surrounded me, but did not penetrate me.
I anxiously searched for him through the crowd of men in uniform and wives with arms outstretched.
Then I saw him. So handsome in his dress uniform. I ran to him now feeling a wave of relief he had made it home alive when so many others had perished. I bit my lip with resolve - I would try harder.
He spotted me and headed in my direction. I threw my arms around him and kissed him exuberantly.
His words cold as ice. "Not in public, Esme."
So much for hope.
October 5, 1920
"What's for dinner?" Charles questioned as soon as he walked into the door, throwing his briefcase and hat on the freshly waxed floor.
We had resumed our old pattern of daily life shortly after he came home. I stayed home and cooked, cleaned, ran errands; I was the good wife. He went to work early and stayed late. I was expected to tend to all his needs when he returned home. A hot, home-cooked meal was expected and usually, sex was too.
My days blurred together. I began to feel run down. I had little energy and tried to sleep as often as I could while he was away, but I could not find relief from my symptoms. Shortly, the vomiting started. I didn't mention these things to Charles though - I knew his lack of concern would only make me feel worse. So I took myself to the doctor - alone.
The waiting room was bland and cold, but it wasn't busy, so I hoped I would be in and out soon enough to make dinner before Charles got home.
"Mrs. Ross, the doctor can see you now, follow me," the nurse called another patient back. Mrs. Ross didn't look very sick, maybe this would move along quickly I thought as I started to wring my hands. Dinner could not be late…
I hoped the doctor would be a kind person. I needed to know why I felt so lethargic and nauseated. What if he said I was "depressed"? Gee, what a shock that would be! Maybe I was dying from the inside out. Maybe some of those new drugs I heard about would help me get through my masquerade?
Just then a memory flashed in front of my eyes. The image of a beautiful doctor. Tall, kind, handsome. It took a moment to shake the cobwebs free, but I finally recognized him as my Dr. Angel from my 16 year old tree climbing accident. Could he still be here? Or had he abandoned me also. I couldn't remember his name, though I remembered he had signed my cast.
And what was it that he said to me before I left? Something about making someone very happy one day?
A sour laugh sprung out of my lips and several people glanced in my direction. Yea, doc, how did I do with that one? I may have made someone happy, but it certainly wasn't me.
"Mrs. Evenson? The doctor will see you now."
I got up and followed the nurse…
A/N: Thank you for reading my story. I just love Carlisle and Esme to pieces!
What do you think the doctor told young Esme? Eh, I think you know, but how did she react? Find out... Next chapter gives a glimpse into the young relationship between Dr. Daddy and Edward as well...
Although this story was completed a while ago, I still read every single comment, so please, as you read on, considering leaving one!