I wrote a poem and wrote a haiku,
A sonnet and a song, just to say,
My eternal thanks to you, my best friend, my editor, and my thinking partner, findthewill
Sometimes, instinct came in the dead of night and spoke a word to you, it seemed. With a still small voice, it rang a clear warning in your heart, leading and beseeching with its agony that you attend to its pleading. Sometimes, its sorrow plagued and plundered the very depths of your being, whispering, Come hither, and hear my call.
At first light, I passed my hand over my eyes in mock fatigue as the wild birds called out the dawn. Intending to lay my worn Bible aside, I reached quickly to save it from further attrition when it headed straight for the ground. I heaved out of my seat reluctantly when all seemed settled in the study. Eager to dismiss the sense of dread still plaguing in my heart, warning me of a catastrophe to come, I readied myself to leave for the hospital. Despite the hours I had spent perusing the large King James volume, I had found no peace among its pages to calm my troubled mind. As though by devise, my day imputed a predestined end from the very beginning, and I felt powerless to deflect its machinations.
The earliest I should have seen of its threatening was the refusal of my automobile to start, followed closely by the sudden loud whiz from a flattening tire as my son shrewdly passed me by to fetch his tinkering sister. Those should have been the warning signs, evident precursors of the caliber of day to be expected. Yet, without sufficient reason to explain my condemning intuition, nothing to support the deep sense of foreboding within, I had tucked my bag underarm, kissed my wife and set off.
Arriving to the first of the day's difficulties should certainly have foretold fate's unwillingness to quite so easily relinquish its hold on its contrivances. That I had been spared long enough to make it as far as I had was no reason to believe myself capable of avoiding its unwanted attention, as without further ado, it had set to work meddling in my affairs, and wreaking havoc on all my endeavors.
However, the seemingly small accident with the new young nurse spilling the last of the cough medication we had on the floor had not immediately alerted me to any suggestions of hostility, nor had the sudden seizure that beset the child who had been brought in for swallowing a coin, and who had suddenly lost consciousness while I examined him. In fact, until the boy had been laid on the flat metal table with a stuttering heart beneath my fingers, I had not thought to ask what misfortune the day sought to wring on me. I ran my hand through my hair, settling back in my chair with a deep breath. There was naught to say, but ask I did of heaven. Had I failed so miserably to heed intuition's quickening, that it felt coerced to bring me to attention by hastening a complicated surgical procedure for a relatively easy case?
My answer, if that was what it was, brought the unfortunate incident of a fire outbreak which left another young man's face with brutal burns, topping the day off with its string of adversities. Though, for all these strange occurrences, had they been mere coincidences, there might have been a moment of respite from the continuous sequence of disasters, would there not? Yet, a moment to breathe an unnecessary breath of relief from the seizure of cruelty that hung from the overcast skies on the Appalachian Mountains seemed an impossibility to the powers that be. Assuredly, there was no such relief as doom ceaselessly spelled its commotion hour after torturous hour.
Therefore, naturally, fear gripped me for an incessant second when my venturing to the out shed that housed the incarcerated patients in isolation revealed my son lingering on the fringes of the darkened pine tree cove some ways from the main hospital building. My distress increased exponentially from my frozen spot on the yard when he turned blazing gold eyes to mine, calling for my immediate cognizance. His jaws were clenched, and his lips slightly turned down at the sides from traces of both anger and sadness. Without words, I turned back to collect my accoutrement from my office, hastening forward as quickly as was humanly allowed to join Edward on the run back home.
The large white house appeared deserted when we finally reached its ghostly silent compound, my eyes searching frantically for some oddity or another. I frowned when I noticed nothing unusual or out of place on the clearing, turning to look at the young man beside me. He nodded once, grimacing for a mere flash of a second before turning a crooked smile of reassurance up for me. His attempt might have assuaged me on another day. Today, however, I was not easily convinced, turning to look around again, and wondering about the cause of his worry. Besides the neatly raked autumn leaves stacked in the corner near the edge of the forest that bordered our home, the compound looked bare, well tended and usual.
Thoughtfully, I raised my head to look ahead into the thicket a short distance away, wondering if his plight lay beyond our immediate surroundings. All there was to see were dark billows of burning wood rising to the clouds. Though not a regular sight, it was not unusual for these parts either, with rampant lightning storms becoming commonplace in the past few weeks. Despite their increased frequency, they were not bothersome, as they hardly ever spread beyond a few trees, and had never drawn the human populace that resided in the valley to attention, or to our secluded abode.
Esme's only concern had been that our sons seemed fascinated by these fires, racing towards them when they occurred, and could be harmed while playing around the infernos. But, I assured her that as long as the forest did not suffer further from their jests, I was glad to ignore the duo's constant play.
Edward and Emmett's bonding could only be described as instantaneous. It had been somewhat surprising to me when merely a few days after Rosalie's mate had risen from his transformation, he had asked his new brother away on a hunting expedition. Without a doubt, Edward's agreement delighted him immensely, and from that day forward, both boys had developed a great friendship.
Initially, their camaraderie worried me immensely for my lithe son. With his slender stature opposed to the heftier newborn's muscular form, he seemed at a disadvantage. In fact, I had even thought to sound some caution to Emmett in regards to his physical gestures towards the younger looking man. I never quite found reason to do so, though since needless to say, Edward seemed well. Of course, I needn't have worried. My fears were firmly allayed on the day I observed their relationship with a little more scrutiny than before, noting with some interest as Emmett spoke about his adventure with a grizzly bear he had caught a few nights ago. He had been excited, animatedly re-enacting the sequence that led to the eventual demise of the animal.
"It was big and black with wild eyes," he had narrated, raising splayed fingers apart to help spark our imagination of the sheer size of his catch. Esme smiled back at him, paying rapt attention and nodding in agreement as he spun around continuing to relay his story with his actions. I glanced at my son then, standing close to Emmett, and noticing within that short duration that he had hardly looked up at his brother at all. The seemingly younger man stood still with eyes transfixed on a spot on the ground, though occasionally, a small smile crossed his lips when Emmett's description seemed particularly ridiculous.
Suddenly, the bigger vampire threw his arm out towards this companion, clearly intending to punch him on his upper arm to call his attention back to his story. Immediately, I lifted slightly from my place beside my wife on the porch swing, instinctively meaning to speak my displeasure at his action. Before I could react, however, Esme's hand shot out, gripping my upper arm to stop me from unnecessary distress. My mind-reading son had smoothly stepped out of the colossal newborn's way, causing the seeming menace to waver and lose his balance for a very amusing moment.
"They are waiting inside," Edward whispered through my reminiscent daze, bringing me back to the present. His voice was merely a soft murmur, but the tone on which his words were carried was laden with agonizing emotion. He seemed angry and apologetic in a breath, earning my yearning to bring him some peace from the troubles that seemed to plague him. I placed a hand on his shoulder, intending to speak a word of encouragement, when a soft sound from the front of the house drew me back to thoughts of my waiting family, and to dreading what challenges we were bound to face today.
The swish of fabric against the grass mingled with the sweet scent from my wife broke through my musing, bringing a measure of intense, even if brief delight to my gloomy forecast. I turned to greet her, enfolding her warmth in a tight embrace, and drawing strength for whatever inevitability Edward had hurriedly sought me. She pressed her face to my chest and snuggled closer, whispering her welcome before lifting her head for a kiss.
For a moment, I was lost to reality again, enveloped by my daily blissful routine. On those days I drove to work, I would turn off the ignition, reach quickly for the dark bag that held my supplies, step out tentatively, and carefully lean my weight forward in expectation of my lovely wife's enthusiastic welcome.
Most of the time, we were able to avoid the incidents requiring the acquisition of a new car door or windshield and Edward's coy grins ceaselessly teasing our reckless romance. Regardless though, the best part of my nights began with the humbling experience of falling into Esme's warm embrace, drowning in the intoxicating power of the sweet fragrance on her soft body. I held her even closer to me, tightening my hold, and hoping with all my strength that today was no exception.
It was wishful thinking, I knew. Esme's reciprocating tight clutch around my waist was a reminder that I had been summoned for a reason, and quite assuredly, it was not a delightful one. Inside, I took my seat opposite Rosalie and Emmett, settling Esme next to me before taking her hand in mine. Sighing softly in resignation, I silently searched each face for the purpose of our meeting.
All were silent for long minutes, with heads bowed as if to avoid looking at me. I turned back to Edward in inquiry, finding him still leaning against the pillar in the corner at the very end of the room. He ought to know that I wondered what had caused the urgency with which he had come to beckon me, and yet he still held his lips tightly pursed.
"Rosalie means to inform you, Carlisle," he whispered, shrugging as if in answer to another thought.
"Certainly," I turned towards the blonde girl in assurance, "Whenever you're ready," I said, forcing a smile to my lips. I was genuinely concerned for her, watching intently as she glanced at her mate and sighed. Both held hands, as did Esme and I, over the large, elaborately carved and antiquated table Esme had insisted was important to complete the charade in our superfluous kitchen. My wife's resolute decision, though unknown to her then, would become a very timely one, as gradually, the seemingly redundant piece of furniture assumed its role among the family as its peace brokering core.
On the surface, there was calm here - at the legendary banquet table. However, chaos tore through my mind, molding the different scenarios I imagined had precipitated this solemn meeting in vivid pictures and disquieting color. Rosalie had shown her capability once before, meticulously ending the lives of the men who had abused her to the point of death without drawing their blood from them.
I panicked, rapidly searching my mind for any memories, any clues that some other of her perpetrators had escaped her vengeance, and falling short of such information as I only clearly remembered Edward's scathing remarks at her 'overall attainment' after the incident. If there were no others from that night at Rochester to kill, then what could have necessitated such a conference, I silently pondered, keeping as still as I could, never wavering to show doubt or unconcern for my daughter's weariness.
Rosalie's burdens were many; among them, her blatant loathing for her new nature seemed principal. She had spoken severally of her wish to have been left to die that night. Ending up sometimes reclusive and resentful, Edward steered clear of her at all cost, wishing nothing to do with his once intended.
Had the circumstances been different, my woeful mistake might have been laughable to an extent. In my desperate desire to see my son find the joy of love, I had made a hasty decision gravely affecting another's choice. My daughter had become embittered, conniving and almost always defensive. Even now, five whole months after the transformation of her mate, Rosalie still stood guard at the door of her heart. Today, like that night in Rochester, her lips were pressed together in determination, and probably in resistance to human blood – again.
Still, immediately she raised her head to speak, my gaze shot to her eyes. They were dark, pitch black orbs of a vampire desperately in need of sustenance. Though still beautiful, her features were contorted in agony like I had never seen before. Her heavily made up eyes narrowed briefly, and her lips parted momentarily, deepening the frown marring the juncture of her brows. I watched her fumble, glancing at Esme quickly before turning back to me.
"I'm sorry, Carlisle," the deep timbre of voice belonging to our latest family member unexpectedly spoke up, stunning me from my utter focus on the young woman before me. Swiftly, I turned my head towards the previously silent man, wondering what had caused him to speak instead of his mate, and for what he was remorseful. "She tried to stop me, but I couldn't resist," Emmett stressed, lifting his head up to look me squarely in the face.
Staggering back and recoiling from the evidence of his guilt, clearly written in his morose expression, I held on to Esme, gripping her small hands in a bone-crashing hold as I took in the new vampire's whitened face with its sharply contrasting blood red eyes.
Had they not been an ocher shade just the day before? I pondered, unable to tear my eyes from the implication that the deep dark red in his eyes symbolized. Disappointment surged through me, filling my heart with regret at the evidence of an innocent life lost to our only frailty. My heart sank, as I searched my mind frantically for the point at which I had made a grievous blunder.
It could not have been a mistake to yield to Rosalie's pleading to save Emmett from imminent death, could it? Or was my suggestion that Edward take charge of him wrong? So far, Edward had more experience conducting a newborn than any other, as he had witnessed two other transformations since his own change, and had helped immensely to prevent such errors through their first years. Besides, with his extra abilities, I had hoped such an episode would be avoided.
Truthfully, it had not been easier with the others. Edward alone had presented a set of challenges more daunting than I had ever imagined. His speed would have been an insurmountable impediment in an event such as what Emmett had apparently experienced. Attached to his telepathic gift, I only had God to thank for keeping our failures to the barest minimum.
Even Esme had been hard to control. Though gentle and loving, my wife's desire for the alluring blood was still quite rampant. Luckily, her shy nature and extreme caution with humans ensured there had been only those occasional miscalculations to contend with in spite of everything. Also, Rosalie had systematically and intentionally killed in her very first year, ensuring our hasty retreat from Rochester while she argued her justification for revenge all the way to our present home in Virginia.
I felt my lips move – undoubtedly, to ask how it happened. A flurry of voices arose; all speaking from their various points of view about the boy's accident. It seemed the crux of it all was that, Emmett had run off with Rosalie even after Edward had issued several warnings to turn from the grounds they had chosen for their hunt. Evidently, Edward blamed himself for not reaching Emmett sooner, and yet I wondered what his insufficient strength would have done in that situation. Again, a strong sense of dread rose to clog my throat as I imagined what harm could have come to my son if he had made to restrain the stronger, more muscular vampire.
Through my bewilderment and confusion, I vaguely heard Rosalie whisper, though her words neither registered nor made particular sense immediately. My focus lay only on the young vampire's eyes, still stunned by the vivid red in them. Emmett's stance was rigid, only marred slightly by the pull of his lips into a small grimace as he stared back at me. Their crimson depths were full of uncertainty, guilt, and sometimes fear. Unable to find the answers for the multitude of questions assailing me in his terrifying gaze, I tore my eyes from his, shutting them briefly in a quiet prayer for wisdom.
Only then did his pale-haired mate's words register. In the midst of my own pensiveness, I had not fully understood her contemptuous remarks towards Edward.
"What makes you think you could have done better," she had asked venomously. "It was a mistake, and you have done worse, Edward. How does your returning to Carlisle make you better than Emmett after you killed so many people?" she had continued hastily.
"Of course, Rosalie, we have all made many mistakes," I retorted calmly, "Emmett knows he's free to leave, just as Edward also, but if he intends to stay on with our family, he must endeavor to abide by our rules. As much as possible, he must learn to curtail his craving for mortal blood. I will not condone behavior that puts my family in danger."
I noticed my wife's eyes widen momentarily, letting my words sink in before looking down again at our intertwined hands to stroke her thumb over my fingers. Her silent reassurance calmed me marginally, her light hold tightening briefly, confirming her unfailing steadfastness for my decision. Esme smiled when I turned to look at her, whispering soundlessly, "It's alright, love." I nodded once, turned back to my waiting family, and lifted my head higher to appraise my son, still standing in his own dark corner, silently watching proceedings.
His golden eyes gave nothing of his thoughts away, except the fading fury they held in their depths from his brief lapse with his charge. Do we have to move immediately? I asked through my thoughts. He straightened slowly, lifting his lead to stare off into nothingness as he shook his head. I allowed myself a moment of relief that Edward had dealt with any revealing evidence, keeping our family safe, before I shared more of my plan with him. His youthful face seemed serene, but his forehead was creased with contemplation. Abruptly, he tightened his lips momentarily, and then stretched them into one of his rare smiles before slowly slumping back into his previous stance.
Edward's silent approval of my planned solution urged me on. Unlike the rest of our family, newborn Emmett still had much to learn to keep from repeating this mistake, and as much as possible, I endeavored to prevent these accidents from becoming commonplace among us. Along with the unacceptable idea of increasing the toll on human life, the residual discomfort his fragile hold on his control was likely to wreak over the weakening resolve of the other relatively younger vampires, who still clearly persevered in their effort to avert their thirsts for the humans' essence, seemed quite worrying.
Edward snorted quietly at my thoughts, it seemed, drawing Rosalie seething with sudden anger from her wordless trance. She snapped her head towards her brother, frowning and pouting with frustration from her incorrect evaluation of her brother's action. "Why, what is it this time?" she asked forcefully, twisting in her seat to look fully upon the obviously annoyed boyish face slowly emerging from the darkened corner to settle in the empty seat next to mine.
The youngest one of us all, still clinging to his angel, looked up sharply at the sound of her voice and whispered an endearment to calm her down. He sighed loudly when he met her stern defiance and slowly lowered his gaze to their still conjoined hands. Agony was written on every line of his tortured expression. His square jaws were held tight and his forlorn gaze cast down. The once rippling muscles seemed to have sagged from his shoulders with the stance in which he held himself. Without the usual jovial light in his eyes, he could easily have been mistaken for another.
Esme reached out and stroked his youthful dark curls, and her hand leaving mine to tug on my arm was to draw my attention to the apparent despair of the cheerless vampire. Emmett lifted his gaze towards his adoptive mother, forcing a small smile for her, though his efforts hardly reached his eyes. Their scarlet depths were still mirthless, and closer inspection revealed a frightened man lurking beneath the brawny exterior.
I stroked Esme's cheeks to wipe away the sad smile that had begun to form around her lips. Thinking through my words again and choosing them carefully was extremely important in this situation. It was a tentative decision, nothing concrete, and yet, my family had to know that for them I'd gladly make some sacrifices. Clutching Esme's hands again, I sighed and voiced my final decision. Looking the dismal vampire straight in the face to hold his attention and judge his reaction, I began,
"We will move from here as soon as possible, but only after Edward assures us that it is safe," I declared. "Pending this action however, and until another decision is reached, Emmett," I paused to address the young man directly, looking to see if he had any complaints to this point. "You will hunt with two companions when the need arises, preferably Edward and me, and only in the western parts of the woods."
The big man merely nodded his agreement, still unable to meet my eyes in doing so. In that moment, I pitied the boy. Finding himself the focus in such a grave circumstance must be difficult for the still immature and normally contented vampire. However, it was imperative to hear from him as well, so I asked pointedly, "Do you want to stay with us, Emmett," needing his express assurance that he did not intend to continue in his mistake, and would abide by our self imposed rule not to drink from humans. After all, there was also the possibility that his first taste of the forbidden nectar had changed his mind about our untraditional ways.
He raised his head to look into Rosalie's face quickly, before turning back to me, "Yes, sir, I sure want to stay with all of you," he started. "I don't know if I'm strong enough though. That blood called to me. I never killed a man before now. He could have been my brother and I wouldn't have known."
Sighing loudly, he continued, "My pa took me to the woodshed many times for taking things too far, but I never took it all that serious. Many a times, for a little too much drinking or a prank gone bad, but I never done killed a man or nothing close. Sir, I'm ready to feel your hand, and I will take it seriously. I need to beat this thing or I don't deserve to live with you, and I can't be the man Rosie deserves."
Surely he did not expect me to beat him! I gaped incredulously, closely studying his face for a hint of a smile showing that he'd meant his words in jest. Gradually, my eyes widened at the horror of his misconception, equating me to his human father who had undoubtedly felt no qualms about reprimanding him physically, dawned fully. He ought to know immediately, that I intended no such action against him.
"I will not hit you, Emmett," I spoke clearly but slowly, hoping to convey my disapproval of inflicting physical pain on another being as punishment for their transgressions.
He shook his head and frowned, silent for a moment before whispering dejectedly, "I knew I was not good enough to be your son."
Again, the young man's words surprised me. I glanced around the table of silent vampires once, desperate to reassure our newest member that I did not mean my words in that manner. His explicit honesty about his expectations had been staggering, but the sudden accusation that I did not consider him good enough to be a part of our family confounded me. Had I really not thought him so, what was it in my refusal to invite him to the "woodshed" that would earn me his condemning assumption?
I felt a frown slowly creep up my face, astonished that the good hearted boy felt such a need for affliction to feel accepted into our home. Ever since his change, he had given me no cause to regret my decision to change him. Contrarily, his deep devotion to Rosalie had been refreshing to watch. He often cajoled his mate slowly from her gloomy temperament to join in the usual family vivacity he inspired, bringing Esme such joy to see her only daughter happier than before.
Over a short time, my family had developed strong ties with the friendly vampire at the center of so much of their happiness. Somehow, he had even managed to entice Edward into frolicking around the house, and wormed his way into Esme's heart with his readiness to assist her moving 'heavy' objects around the house. Just like the day he had made that statement, I smiled again at the absurdity of his offer.
I had no need for further conviction that Emmett had a good heart. His willingness to be taught, and to better himself for his family and "Rosie" impressed me ceaselessly, bringing me to a firm resolve to assist him with all my capabilities until he can resist this weakness we all bear adequately.
"I think of you as my son, Emmett. You have brought great joy to everyone here, and I consider you a valuable addition to this family. Therefore, as is usual with all families, we will care for one another in each time of difficulty. Unlike your human parent though, I do not believe whipping a fitting solution to any mistakes. Instead, I require you to do your utmost best to heed direction as we guide you to increase your resistance to the blood that drew you beyond your ability today. Of course, we will all avail ourselves to your need as each and every one of us has encountered such challenges as you at one point or another."
That he was truly my son was a declaration and a realization, a truth that had come to me only in this moment, and words I was most happy to have said to the young man. A rewarding grin slowly spread across the burly man's face, stretching so wide, his eyes wrinkled at the sides.
"I promise to do my best, Carlisle. I will not to let you down," He said, suddenly shooting out of his chair to swoop Rosalie into his arms and swinging her around in a wide arc.
She squealed, protesting halfheartedly to be let down "immediately!" He gently set her back on the ground and headed for my small wife. This time, however, his eager approach did not bother me. In fact, I was amused when he carefully enveloped his mother in his embrace. He seemed especially tender, as though Esme were a fine porcelain piece.
I lifted out of my seat, walking slowly to the large window at the end of the hall to look out at the gloomy sky. I had been there merely a moment when Rosalie breezed by to whisper her gratitude, and Edward to show his support with a hand on my shoulder.
"You are a good man, Pa," Emmett announced on arrival at the window, coming to bump his shoulder with mine. I turned to whisper my thanks to the grinning man when a bolt of lightning suddenly struck the ground a few meters away from our home. Before I could speak, a loud door bang came from the front of the house, followed by a whizzing figure, and then another.
"Boys," my wife muttered, coming to take her place in my arms. I smiled down at her upturned face, placing a quick kiss on her lips before looking back through the glittering glass. Thin sun rays had began to stream through the dark clouds overhead, slowly dancing in circles on the lush green grass surrounding our home.
"It will be a bright day, today," Esme noted.
"Hmm," I agreed. It is bound to be a bright day after all, I thought smiling. Even though it had started seemingly troubled, fate had let go its hold on my dealings and brought a reward in its stead. Beside the peace in my heart, I also felt a great joy for my new son. Smiling like a victor in a great battle, I took my wife's hand and began to lead her to our room when she asked, "How was your day, darling?"
Replying with a wide grin, I lowered my voice to a suggestive whisper, "Why don't you let me show you, love?"
Won by the highest bidder (Findthewill) in the Fandom Gives Back Authors' Auction, this story was a great joy to write. Exploring Carlisle and Emmett's relationship brought a fresh new look at the Patriarch's challenges and his relationship with his family. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.