This is an idea I came up with while talking with one of my friends. The story of how Esme and Carlisle met--and how they fell in love.

I sat, completely still on the chair, as a proper young lady should, while my mother prattled on and on about the missionary work to our neighbor. Our neighbor's daughter, Shea, was a close friend of mine and sat similiarly beside me, our backs straight as a rod, even though it was uncomfortable. My father was returning from South America soon. Shea's father and my father had traveled all the way to Brazil along with some other local pastors just to do missionary work, to spread Christianity to the native people down there. He hadn't seen me since I was very small, and my mother insisted I acted as if I were a princess from the Reinessance instead of a sixteen year old girl in America so I would, as she put it, "Show him how womanly I had become."

"Shea, my darling, you look spectacular," my mother gushed, patting my friend's soft black curls that clung to her cheeks. "Your father will be so proud of how beautiful and lady-like you are when he returns."

She smiled, and I could tell by her clenched jaw that she found this as dull as I did. I shot her a pleading look when my mother's back was turned. She knew what I meant, and she nodded her head sliightly. I grinned happily and abruptly stood from my seat at the same moment she did. Our mothers turned to look at us, surprised.

"I feel quite warm," Shea said feebly, placing the back of her hand on her forehead. "I think the sun is getting to me."

"Oh, no!" I cried dramatically, placing my palm oh her cheek. "You are quite warm." Turning to my mother, I added convincingly, "She musn't be outside in the sun this long, Mother. May I please help her inside and wet a cold rag?"

My mother glanced at Shea, who was cleverly panting as if she could hardly breathe. "Very well, Esme." The words had hardly left her mouth when I had grabbed Shea's hand and briskly walked around them towards my house.

As soon as we were out of earshot, we looked at each other and doubled over in laughter. "That... was... brilliant!" I gigled.

Shea grinned and did a theatrical bow. "All in a good day, m'lady." And we laughed even more.

"Esme, Shea," said a surprised voice. Our laughter died in our throats and we jerked our heads up. I relaxed slightly. It was just John, the schoolmaster's son.

He was a tall boy, towering over us even though he was a year younger. He had brown hair that was shoulder length and currently pulled back into a pony tail. Normally, his face was carefully composed, except for when he was around us. Then he lightened up and laughed and smiled and did all the things a fifteen year old boy should do.

"Hey, John!" I said happily.

"Esme, aren't you supposed to be with your mother? I saw her back there," he said, jerking his thumb towards the direction he had come from.

"Come on, lighten up, John! They are so boring! All they talk about are politics, future husbands, and cross-stitching. How are we possibly supposed to stay conscious through all that?" Shea demanded indignantly.

He smiled. "Do you want to go to the apple orchard? The apples are ripe; I was there just this morning."

I smiled again. "I'd love to! Come on, Shea!" I grabbed John's hand and began to run, holding my dress up with one hand so I didn't trip myself.

The apple orchard was beautiful this time of year. There were rows and rows of trees that had bright green leaves and delicious red apples. It was unusual that the birds hadn't destroyed any of the crop by now. The orchard was, of course, fenced and had a gate that was locked. But what good is a fence if you can just climb right over it? I dropped John's hand to grab the top of the fence and pull myself over, dropping to the other side and becoming tangled in my lenghty dress.

"This dumb dress will be the death of me," I muttered to Shea, and without further ado, pulled it over my head and tossed it to the ground. My mother always insisted I wear underclothes--usually tight flannel pants that went down just to my knees and a short-sleeved shirt that tighed in the back--and they turned out to be useful today. Laughing, I carelessly discarded the uncomfortable dress by the fence, and ran down the row of trees, feeling as free as a bird.

"Esme!" I heard Shea call. I paused and turned around, glancing at her with laughter in my eyes.

"Come on!" I called back, grinning as she, too, pulled off her dress and began to run towards me in just her underclothes. If my mother saw me now, she would probably swoon at how "improper" I was being.

John followed her, looking a bit uneasy. "Do you realize how much trouble I will get into if someone sees me with the two of you in your... underclothes?" he asked as soon as he was clsoe enough to be heard.

"No one is around," I retorted. "Who could catch us?"

He said nothing, and the smile returned to my face. I grabbed a low-hanging branch with my hand. "The apples are better higher up," I commented to Shea. "Let's climb."

She grinned. I pulled myself up with my arms and climbed higher, using branches as steps. I saw her following me out of my peripheral vision. John was standing under the tree, looking up at us in concern. "John, it was your idea," I told him. "Don't be so worrisome. Come on and have fun." I threw an apple down to him, smiling at him as he caught it with one hand.

"Look, Esme!" Shea exclaimed from just below me. "A bird's nest! Right above your head and off to the left a little!"

I glanced up in the direction she had mentioned, and sure enough, there was a small bird's nest. It was small, and was woven with branches and feathers and even some string. "I'm going to see if there are eggs," I said.

"No," John exclaimed. "The branches are too thin! They won't hold your weight, Esme!"

I looked at the branches. "Those aren't too thin, John! They'll hold up just fine. Watch!"

"Be careful," Shea said, sounding unusually concerned.

I continued to crawl out over the branches, higher and higher, until I was close to the bird nest. I cautiously inched closer to it. Finally, my face was close enough to look inside. I felt a smile light up my face. "Shea, John! There are eggs! Three of them!" I called down. One of the eggs shifted a little. "And I think one is hatching!"

"Really?" Shea gasped. "I've never seen an egg hatch! Move over Esme, I'm coming up there."

"Shea, don't," John pleaded. "There's no way the branch can hold the both of you."

"You said it wouldn't hold Esme, but it did," Shea argued. "You may be wrong this time, too."

She continued to climb closer to me. Eventually, she reached the branch I was balanced on. Slowly, she made her way over to me, and I swear John gasped with every step she took. However, the branch held fast. A small crack appeared in the egg, and we both grinned at each other and wordlessly continued to stare at the small egg. More and more cracks appeared, and then a small beak broke through the shell. I gasped slightly. It was so... miraculous! But where were the eggs' parents?

"I wonder where their mother is," Shea mused.

"I was thinking the same thing," I whispered. I looked towards the baby bird now half way out of the egg, and felt a fierce pang. What if their mother was dead? What if she was hurt?

"Esme, look," cooed Shea as the baby chick fell out of its egg and onto the nest. "It's so adorable."

I smiled softly at the small bird. Behind me, I heard a sudden, loud squawk. Shocked, I whipped my head around to find myself face to face with a larger bird. I squealed in surprise and instinctively lurched away from the animal. I lost my grip on the branch above me, and I fell flat on my rear end on the branch Shea and I were standing on. I heard something crack, and dread filled me as the branch broke from the tree and began falling to the ground a dozen or two feet below.

And that is chapter one. Please review.