A/N: I'm slowly (sorry about the slowly part) working my way through the family and their efforts to support Edward while he tries to figure everything out. Apparently its Carlisle's turn.
Edward thought that he was becoming use to the mess of emotions that seemed to plague him, but that didn't make it any easier to deal with them.
It was so confusing how he could feel such and extreme level of happiness at one moment and such debilitating remorse and guilt the next.
He wanted to be selfish and pursue his own desires but in the end he knew that he just didn't have it in him to be so heartless. He cared what his family thought of him, what his actions might mean for them, and he worried that his happiness was not worth the sacrifices it might force upon them. And above all he loved Bella. He would not accept any situation that had the potential to harm her.
Rosalie had been so bold as to point out the obvious to him earlier this evening, which wasn't much of a surprise to him. They'd never shared the type of relationship he enjoyed with the rest of the family; the bond that was there was formed mainly out of necessity and respect for Carlisle and Esme—nothing more. It pained him to know that she so adamantly disapproved of his choices as of late but he couldn't help but wonder how he might have reacted were their positions reversed. How would he ever face himself should any of her predictions come true?
Combing his fingers roughly through his disheveled hair Edward closed his eyes and pictured Bella in his mind.
It had been a wonderful couple of days. He could never have imagined how freeing it would be to discuss his condition with someone so unlike himself, but it made him feel more human than he'd ever thought possible. In return Bella, all be it reluctantly, shared a bevy of information about herself. He knew that the conversations concerning her likes and dislikes were not exactly conventional but for all of his practiced patience he couldn't be bothered trying to ferret out her secrets through normal means--it just wasn't what he was use to. She seemed flustered and frustrated at times with his rapid-fire mode of questioning, but he found her reactions just at entertaining and endearing as many of her answers.
"Rosalie's been on the warpath this afternoon, apparently it became obvious a bit earlier that Edward has in some way made Bella aware of what we are." Edward overheard Esme explain as she greeted Carlisle, who'd just arrived home from his day at the hospital.
"Well, it seems that this was always an inevitable situation. Have they been behaving?" He wondered.
"As well as I might have expected. Emmett took Rosalie out for a bit to cool off and Edward has been hold up in his room for the last few hours." Was the response.
"At least the furniture seems to have survived." Carlisle joked.
Edward's expression faltered while he listened to his parents make light of the situation. He knew it was wrong to expose them this way. He hated putting his family in such a predicament as this, but Bella had proven to be trustworthy and accepting of him and by extension the rest to them. He had no doubts that she would loyally respect their secrets, and the danger that Rosalie suspected, was of little concern.
"Is everything alright, Edward? Would you like to talk?" Carlisle concerned thoughts filtered into his musings again.
"Maybe in a little while." He responded quietly, reaching for one of his journals.
"I'm always here to listen. You know that I won't judge you." Carlisle's thoughts answered. " And remember that I'm always proud to call you my son."
Carlisle and Esme's thoughts began to focus on other things allowing Edward time to think without further interruption. They knew better than to push and they knew that Edward would seek them out if and when he was ready; he'd already proven that time and time again. So patience and support was all they could offer for now.
Carlisle, he was always so understanding and so eager to do whatever might be helpful. Edward had wondered and worried about what his life as a vampire might have been like had he not had the privilege of knowing Carlisle, of having him be his creator and mentor.
Carlisle has been so patient and understanding with me over past several months. I am moody and sullen most of the time, but he just accepts this as being normal and expected. I've been able to recognize my own issues and shortcomings but he seems oblivious to my dark and dreary outlook.
"I've wanted and waited for a companion that I could share my existence with, someone that could share my joys and hardships with, without the secrets I'm obligated to keep from everyone else. Why would a bad mood or a bit of a temper sway me from desiring such company?" He reminds me of this often and his thoughts are genuine, I can tell, though they make little sense, when I myself can hardly stand my own company.
I have said awful and hurtful things to him in my worst moments, but I do try to apologize when my feeling regain some sense of normalcy. I am grateful for his wisdom and his compassion. Though I feel it is undeserved, is very comforting.
Even in the earliest moments following his transformation Edward held tremendous respect and admiration for Carlisle though he also harbored a distinct hate for what had been done to him. As time went on he realized that fear of the unknown and a measure of self-pity fueled these emotions. Once he recognized that the source of his troubles stemmed from such things and not from Carlisle directly he'd been able to forgive him, though their relationship was still full of ups and downs for quite some time.
Flipping past several pages, Edward pondered how this situation might be different were it still just the two of them, without such an extended family, but it was a fleeting thought. His eyes focused on a passage that he'd already read many times over the years. He hadn't given this incident much thought as of late but he realized in an instant just how meaningful these words might have been had he recalled them sooner.
My father presented me with a gift today. I've been complaining of boredom recently and Carlisle has sought to keep me happy by providing something with which I might occupy my time.
Being that it has been one full year since I became a vampire, this would be considered a birthday of sorts I suppose.
We have been living in the Canadian wilderness for some time now, apart from the more populated areas. The cabin we share is lovely and modern, far more spacious than a single father and son should have need for but Carlisle has the means and has explained that my limited ability to go out on my own dictates that I should be comfortable with my immediate surroundings.
My activities are limited in that such a way that I have exhausted all of the reading material I can get my hands on. In addition to reading, I continuously write in my supply of journals and I hunt. I hunt a lot.
Carlisle has explained that my need for blood will diminish somewhat with age. The older and more practiced with control I become the longer I might manage without feeding, but for now it easier to keep my temper in check with regular nourishment. The proof is there in that I have indeed gained a reasonable amount of control over my thirst finally, though I still have some difficulty venturing out where humans are frequently present. Therefore for my own sanity and for the sake of Carlisle reputation I insist upon my own confinement still.
Having spent a full year of long sleepless nights in each other's company we are now closer and more familiar with one another than I imagine most people would ever want for. With my outrageous ability to read another's thoughts Carlisle secrets are no longer safe. I feel that it is most likely my guilt over the unintentional intrusion that loosens my tongue but it could possibly be boredom that plays some role in my own candid confessions. His thoughts are pure and genuine; he makes no attempt to hide his feelings or concerns when in my presence, which only makes it fair that I should return the favor.
Thus, Carlisle knows more about me, one year into my life as a vampire, than my human parents or even my most trusted friends ever came close to.
And yet here I sit, hiding--writing again in my journal, instead of spending time with my father—my friend. I feel so frustrated, so unworthy of his kindness.
The gift was truly magnificent. Something that I would have never dreamed of owning and yet something I could see myself cherishing always.
My love of music stemmed from my mother's interest in the arts. She was always praising my abilities and doted mercilessly on me as a child when I would take the time to sit and play for her.
The old upright piano that sat in a cramped corner of my parents' sitting room was well worn but finely tuned and I can recall taking a measure of pride in the accomplishments I'd managed there.
Carlisle has an infallible memory so it would stand to reason that from all of my happy memories he would remember this one. So this morning when I'd retuned from an early run in the forest Carlisle had greeted me with the brightest of smiles on the front porch.
It was the single most beautiful instrument I'd ever seen up close. As well off as my parents had been it would have still taken my father too many months of hard work to afford such a thing, even if our home had been able to accommodate its sheer size.
Speechless, I walked around the piano several times in awe, unable to show my gratitude properly.
Carlisle was laughing merrily at my expression, which I could see reflected in his thoughts. I must admit it was quite comical but being overwhelmed as I was I could hardly join him in his amusement.
Edward couldn't read any more. A fierce growl ripped through his body as he slammed his fist down with enough force to shatter a large section of his desk, taking they book from his sight in the process.
His family was gathered at his door in an instant, shocked by the sudden outburst. Carlisle and Esme stood at his threshold, with Jasper carefully position next to Alice, who was right behind them.
"Edward?" Carlisle cautiously approached him after a silent moment.
"I'm so sorry" Edward whispered, his voice anguished.
"There's nothing to be sorry for son." Carlisle calmly stated, which only served to pull a painful sob from Edward who now hide his face in his hands.
The memories he'd sought out tonight hadn't done anything more than prove how hopeless his situation really was. He couldn't fool himself anymore and it was painful to know just how unworthy he was of something so precious.
"What is it, Edward? What can I do to help?" Carlisle wondered kneeling next to him, offering a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Looking at Edward, seeing him so torn and frustrated Carlisle remembered their early years together. He'd always been such a tortured soul, so unwilling to accept that he might deserve a break, might deserve some kindness, some happiness perhaps. He'd hoped that Bella might finally be the proof he'd always needed but seeing the defeat take over his every feature he was now concerned that Edward might never be capable of the happiness he'd always wished for him to find.
Edward slowly picked up his journal form amid the rubble and handed it to Carlisle, whispering once again just how sorry he was, casting a timid glance toward the others still gathered just outside. Carlisle frowned slightly and nodded toward the others wanting Edward to have some privacy.
"Won't you tell me?" he implored instead of reading the words written on the page, once the others had left them.
Edward had always had some difficulty verbalizing his problems, hence the journals in the first place. What training Carlisle had in the area of psychology told him that the writing, though obsessive by anyone's standards, was usually in most cases quite helpful. He felt like these journals were private and should stay that way, even being offered a rare glimpse into what Edward had been writing for all of these years he still felt like he should offer him the choice to share his feelings another way.
His voice was still as smooth as velvet; the emotions couldn't change what the vampire within him was capable of overcoming.
"I can't do this any more. I cannot trust myself to take care of something so fragile and innocent. Rosalie is right. I will hurt her. I will hurt everyone."
Carlisle waited and listened, but he didn't understand.
After a moment he glanced down at the pages before him, still held loosely in his grasp. All he had to read was one sentence.
Being that it has been one full year since I became a vampire, this would be considered a birthday of sorts I suppose.
He remembered that day so vividly he didn't need to review Edward's entire recollection to know what was troubling him. Carlisle closed the book and set it gently aside, removing his hand from his son's shoulder as he stood to his full height.
"Edward? Look at me, son." He said. His voice was gentle but full of authority.
"You've already thoroughly apologized for this incident some ninety years ago and I was more than sincere in forgiving you then. There was never a need for your remorse to begin with, so tell me what's really bothering you, please."
Edward knew that Carlisle was respecting his privacy by speaking to him via his thoughts. They'd been together for so long now that it was second nature for them to communicate this way, which much of the family found rather frustrating at times, but right now Edward appreciated the effort.
"I was so taken with the sight of it, its beauty and elegance. It was something I think that I had always wanted, yet had never dared to dream that I might have. I was so careful—so very careful. I tried to be gentle." Edward's voice trailed off and Carlisle nodded in sympathy. He didn't need to hear anything more. It wasn't the memory of accidentally destroying that first piano that weighed so heavily on his mind tonight, it was the ironic similarities he saw between something he'd cherished so lovingly back then with the one thing he was learning to cherish above all else.
He'd still been so young and not always in control or conscious of his strength at the time, but Carlisle wanted to make Edward happy and he knew that music was something that made him smile when all else seemed to fail. The piano was grand gesture, but Carlisle had always longed for a son and now that he had one he only wanted him to have the best of everything.
It was the first time that Edward had hugged him, the first time that he shown any outward appreciation for the effort Carlisle had put into making his new existence tolerable, if not enjoyable.
Carlisle, proud as any father might have been, having given a child a gift they truly loved, encouraged Edward to play something and he was pleasantly surprised when Edward began to play with considerable knowledge and grace. The stories he'd told about playing for his mother obviously left out any detail of the immense talent that he possessed.
Lost in the moment enjoying a relaxed feeling he'd not experienced in so long, enjoying the praise his father bestowed upon him Edward had let his focus wander. As brilliantly crafted at the piano was and as sturdy a structure as it appeared to be it was no match for the unchecked strength of a young vampire.
Edward had sat staring for a long moment at the damaged keys, hanging limp without the support of the wooden base that would ordinarily cradle them. Carlisle recalled chuckling, much like any parent who might witness their child accidentally knock over a tower of building blocks would, but the action only served to snap Edward out of his daze and into a frenzy.
He'd run for days, but eventually Carlisle was able to catch up with him. Edward was a mess of apologies, practically incoherent and totally inconsolable. Carlisle sat quietly with him day and night until he finally stopped apologizing for breaking his beautiful gift. They walked back home slowly, at something akin to a human pace; and while they walked they talked. Carlisle explained things for him aloud that he was sure Edward only knew because of his ability to see into his thoughts.
Carlisle had been convinced at the time that it had been helpful, a learning experience, certainly something that made Edward stop and think.
But now, tonight, he wondered if Edward had truly forgotten or if his emotions were actually in such a state of turmoil that he could no longer think rationally.
"Edward, you are older and wiser now. I know what you are afraid of, I was there with you, remember? I would tell you right now if I had any doubts that you might be in for the same type of accident with Bella. I would never want any one to be harmed by what we are and I could never sit by and risk having to see you suffer like that ever again."
"I can't." Edward shook his head.
"What did I tell you when we got back to the cabin? What convinced you that you might be able to play again without destroying another instrument?"
Edward had begun to stare off at a spot on the wall behind Carlisle but shifted his focus back to his father's face now.
"I cannot replace her should I make a mistake or have a momentary lapse in judgment. I cannot afford to 'practice' and hope that I get better."
"No. You are right about that. But what you can do you've already done. You have given yourself permission to try. Bella knows who and what you are. Explain to her just what that means and let her help you. Let her show you her limits. It's just like that piano; it had limits that you were unaware of until you tested those limits. With Bella she can tell you, communicate with you. You just have to be willing to listen and be honest with her about what you are capable of."
"She knows about us." He confessed though he was very aware that they all knew by now. He searched Carlisle expression looking for any sign of disapproval. What he saw instead was an indulgent smile.
"She makes you happy, son, and you should know by now that's all I've ever wanted for you."
Edward stood up and looked at Carlisle with all the love and admiration he had within him and nodded his thanks.
"May I bring Bella by to meet everyone on Sunday?" he asked as Carlisle made to leave him. "If all goes well, of course." He added quietly, somewhat shyly. It was a sign of respect to ask. The Cullen's didn't necessarily need to follow the normal etiquette usually found within a family, but Edward knew how much Carlisle enjoyed his role at their patriarch and right now he really appreciated having someone to fill that role.
Carlisle turned, smiling broadly. "If you don't I'm not exactly sure what we'll do with Alice and frankly I have my suspicions that Esme may be just as excited as your sister is to meet dear Bella."
Edward's mouth finally turned up at the corner. "Alice is taking me hunting tomorrow. I tend to believe that she wants a friendship with Bella so much that she is now trying to bribe me with mountain lions."
Carlisle's laughter echoed down the hallway as he finally exited the room, leaving Edward to his own thoughts once more, and was overjoyed to hear Edward laugh along with him a moment later.