Chapter 1

Esme's POV

I felt slightly odd, watching couples like Emmett and Rosalie together. It was the way that Carlisle and I were, only much less public about it. We had something magical, I knew that. And every time I watched romance, of any kind, I couldn't help thinking that ours was a step above it all.

On this particular day, we were sitting together on the sofa. Edward was bringing his human girlfriend home, and I could tell that the whole house was already tense about it. Carlisle had his arm around my waist, his hands warm (by vampire standards at any rate) and I found myself resting my head against his chest. I sometimes wished I could sleep, but I had to content myself with closing my eyes and breathing in his familiar scent.

'You smell fresher today,' I whispered, and he looked down at me, smiling.

'Are you saying that usually I smell bad?' He answered, a smile playing on his lips, and his bright, topaz eyes fixed on mine.

'You wouldn't believe me if I said that you did. And in any case, if you smelt bad I wouldn't have married you.'

He grinned, his white teeth perfectly straight, just as I had always known them, and he leaned down to kiss me gently. He stiffened as we heard the car pull up outside. I sat up, sweeping a strand of hair out of his eyes, and we stood together. We heard Emmett bounding down the stairs, and I rolled my eyes.

'He likes to have his bit of fun,' Carlisle whispered, laughing at my expression.

'Yes, well, I don't think we should scare her off the second she gets here. You know how Emmett can be,' I answered, as we stood together, our arms still linked around each other's waists. We walked out into the hallway, noting the sound of the front door opening, and I gave Emmett the eye that clearly told him to be nice.

He grinned, then saw my expression, sighed, and mimed a halo around his head. I couldn't help laughing as the silent charade continued.

Me and Carlisle unlinked, and he took my hand, as we opened the door to the entrance hall.

The smell hit me powerfully, and I could see what Edward meant. It was a wonderful smell, one that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

We stood by the grand piano (Edward's liking) as Bella and Edward stepped inside. Bella looked incredibly nervous, but nowhere near as worried as Edward. His jaw was set, his features stiff.

'Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella,' Edward said nervously.

'It's nice to see you again, Bella,' Carlisle said smoothly, reaching out to shake Bella's hand.

'Nice to see you too, Dr Cullen.'

'Please, call me Carlisle,' he gently squeezed my hand.

'It's lovely to meet you,' I said quickly, I was genuinely nervous as I shook her hand…she was so fragile.

'It's amazing to meet you, too,' she answered. Edward looked pained, Bella nervous, and Carlisle stiff.

'Where are Alice and Jasper?' Edward asked, and I thought upstairs, but careful, Jasper hasn't hunted.

'Hey, Bella!' Alice was down the stairs in a second, and she kissed Bella on the cheek. I clenched my hand in Carlisle's, and he put his arm around my waist, whispering 'they'll be fine,' to me. I nodded, and he gently kissed my forehead, smiling.

I watched as Jasper stood slightly back, and I turned to Bella. She was looking around, clearly intrigued by the house…after all, I thought bitterly, how many vampire homes has she been in? Her eyes fixed on the piano, just as Carlisle stiffened next to me. He caught Edward's eye, nodded once, and I saw Bella turn to them curiously.

'Do you play?' I asked quickly, to distract her.

'No, not at all!' She smiled back, seeming to become more comfortable in the atmosphere. 'Is it yours?'

'No, it's Edward's,' I smiled. I did play, I was the one who had taught Edward to play in the first place…but it seemed better to give him the spotlight.

'I should have guessed,' Bella said, 'you're good at everything, right,' she rolled her eyes at him.

Edward, you are such a show off, I thought, and it was his turn to roll his eyes.

'I'd like to hear you play,' she said shyly.

'Go on, then,' I pushed Edward towards the piano, hearing Carlisle's soft laughter from behind me.

'Esme, you've spent your whole life telling me not to show off!'

'There are exceptions to every rule,' I grinned, and sighing, he sat down.

Well sit Bella next to you! Goodness, he was truly inexperienced.

She sat next to him as he gestured, and soon he was playing. I resisted the temptation to stay as I realised that it was my favourite. I liked to listen to it so much that I often made Edward play it to me…

Carlisle and I left the room, his arm around my waist, holding me close. I closed my eyes at the thought of how much I loved him, and I rested my head against his white sweater, fitting perfectly under his arm.

'I love you,' he whispered, lifting me up slightly so that he could plant a kiss on my lips. I kissed him back, and for a second it was as fierce as any of Rosalie and Emmett's, as I pushed Carlisle back against the counter in the kitchen and twisted my hands in his hair. He pushed me back, regaining the male dominance, laughing, and kissed me roughly, much in the way that we never did in public. I giggled, pushing him backwards as he ran his hands beneath my shirt up my bare back.

We broke apart at the sound of wolf whistling. Emmett had walked in on us…again.

'Oh shut up,' Carlisle rolled his eyes.

'Oh don't mind me, just carry on making out on the kitchen worktop,' he grinned, reaching into the fridge for a blood bag. He was so lazy, not bothering to hunt.

'Like you and Rosalie don't all the time,' I muttered.

'Yeah, well, you two are supposed to be, like, parental figures!'

'And you two are supposed to be still at high school,' Carlisle retorted.

'At least we don't while our brother's human girlfriend is here! Wouldn't want to bring the roof down on her, would we?'

Suddenly, Carlisle lunged playfully at him, and they spent a good few minutes play fighting. Carlisle was much faster, and dodged every powerful move that Emmett made. It was like watching two little kids, rather than two supposedly mature vampires. I rolled my eyes, and walked out of the kitchen, rather wishing that Emmett hadn't interrupted us.

The music had stopped now…I hadn't realised quite how long me and Carlisle had been kissing for. I heard Edward and Bella upstairs together. They were talking about the huge cross that hung from the ceiling. I grinned…clearly Bella believed the stories…burnt by crosses, bursting into dust in the sun, sleeping in coffins, turning into bats… I laughed to myself.

Carlisle passed by me, sweeping me up into his arms. I squealed in surprise, and he bounded up the stairs with me.

'I believe we have unfinished work to attend to,' he grinned.

'You are so bad,' I pretended to swat at him.

'I'll be a few minutes, there's a report I need to sign,' he put me down outside our bedroom and disappeared. I walked inside, laughing again. He was worse than the others sometimes…a hopeless romantic.

Our bedroom was huge, every wall covered in bookshelves. There was a room dedicated to my wardrobe (courtesy of Alice) and a rather huge bed that Emmett had bought us for Carlisle's 359th birthday. It had been more useful than we'd imagined… sometimes I really love Emmett.

I sat on the bed, stroking the white sheets, and jumped as Rosalie appeared.

'Me and Emmett are going out!' She announced, 'we thought you'd like some privacy!'

'You two are so bad,' I sighed, as Rosalie sat down beside me. Her cheerful façade was weak, and I hugged her gently.

'Every time her heart beats, I want it to be mine,' she sighed.

'You'll get over it,' I smiled.

'Yeah, I suppose,' she smiled reluctantly.

'Do try to be nice,' I murmured, as she gave a little wave.

'I will…try,' she danced out of the door, a little of her spark returning.

I could hear Carlisle's voice from his office, and I couldn't help giggling at his excuses…Dr Snow being off sick… I don't think he even had a Dr Snow at his work. The hilarious thing was that Edward would know exactly what was going on… ah… how his mind reading made me laugh.

The door opened, and shut quickly, as Carlisle was at my side instantly.

'Now…where were we?' He growled playfully as he pushed me backwards, and I sank into my piece of heaven, my eyes closed.