Title: Saving Bella
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters mentioned herein. I am merely using them for my own mindless entertainment and hopefully, the entertainment of others. No infringement intended.
Rating: T for now, M in a chapter or so.
Summary: Tortured and broken by her memories of an absent Edward, Bella is saved by Carlisle. Bella/Carlisle – this takes place when Edward has left in New Moon and Bella is going through her depressed stage.
Author's Note: Well... I seem to be developing a penchant for the unlikely romances, don't I? Draco and Hermione in Harry Potter, a bit of Cam and Wendell in Bones and now Bella and Carlisle in Twilight, which is arguably the most unlikely of them all. For anyone who doesn't relish the idea of the most all-consuming romance in literary history being broken up, please don't read this. It certainly isn't compatible with an Edward/Bella-For-All-Eternity scenario.
Please review! It so makes my day!
Sometimes she felt as though she were being watched; like the very darkness that surrounded her had probing all-seeing eyes that could look beyond the mere facade of normalcy into the far, yearning reaches of her soul. She believed it was her imagination playing tricks on her and that her mind fabricated what it needed to in order for her to survive the all-consuming heartache. Edward was gone now and he didn't stand invisible amongst the shadows, watching.
The dreams were painful in their vividness; amber eyes and cold alabaster-like skin, long slender fingers entwined with hers and an otherworldly laugh that both aroused and beguiled. The desperate eroticism of her subconscious was torture, born in the furthest crannies of her mind where she so very much wished that they would stay. Daytime preoccupations were of Edward Cullen and his adoptive family and night-time brought alive the memories that she didn't dare, for sanity 's sake, remember while she was awake.
In the dead of night, when she woke half choked by a sob in her throat and covered in a sickly cold sweat, she would be certain that someone had stood in the corner of her room and had even convinced herself that she had once witnessed the flash of a golden iris. The instant illumination of her bedside lamp had extinguished any semblance of hope that she'd harboured in her heart – her room was empty – it always was.
The weeks blended seamlessly from one to the next, turning into months while her heart still ached and her soul – the soul that Edward had been so intent on protecting – still yearned for the man who had broken it. The belief that something was looking over her only intensified in her mind as the days rolled by until she had come to rely it – like an invisible guardian angel.
Cunning plans entered her mind when she allowed them; sleep with the light on and there would be no way for her nocturnal visitor to escape. Then she fretted that such a move might drive him – or her, although she was sure that it was a he – away. She loathed the thought of losing the last thread of contact she had with the other world in which she had become so captivatingly entangled. Bella could merely pray that whoever watched over her could sense how urgently she wished to make contact and permit her so.
Quite how it happened was not entirely how she – or he for that matter – had anticipated that it would.
There was no nightmare, no awaking from a turbulent dream or hiccoughing a sob in her constricted throat. Her mind simply awoke from a subconscious state and she lay in the darkness of her room with her eyes closed and her body numb and still. It was the first night in an uncountable number that she had not dreamt of Edward and the feeling evoked by this knowledge bordered on euphoria. Bella never imagined that a day would come in which she relished the absence of him in her mind.
As the minutes ticked by and the sensation of peace and calm ebbed away, she became aware of that presence close by. She had not moved, her breathing had not changed and the unknown entity sharing the sanctum of her bedroom had not yet realised that she was awake. An excited flutter possessed her yearning heart and she swept her tongue across her dry lips and whispered into the darkness.
"I am awake... whoever you are... please don't leave." The stillness of the night was encompassing and she heard nothing from her mystery intruder. Bella's arm slipped from beneath her bedclothes and her fingers fumbled for the lamp switch, her heart seemingly ceasing to beat entirely. It took a perceived eternity before her bedroom was bathed in a pale honeyed glow and the stoic face emerged from the shadows and set her soul alight with newfound hope.
Dressed as he always was in a shirt and tie that matched his sweater and a long woollen scarf, Carlisle Cullen looked nothing short of haunted as he sat in the old rocking chair in the corner, so still that it was impossible to tell whether he was lived or not. His slender hands were stretched across his thighs, brilliantly pale against the dark wool of his pants. He watched her with amber eyes framed by long dark lashes and didn't blink.
Bella stared back for a long, breathless time while her heartbeat thundered nosily in her eardrums. Was she experiencing a lucid dream? A dream so realistic as to be interpreted as actuality? If she moved, would the beautiful man before her simply disappear? She slipped from the mattress and took a tentative step forward while golden eyes continued to watch her. She saw something in those irises that she had never seen before and something that she couldn't understand and could only describe as turmoil.
Sinking to her knees at the toes of his shiny shoes, Bella swallowed hard and reached an unsteady hand outward, edging closer to the alabaster face before her. When the tips of her fingers were so painstakingly close to the smooth skin of his cheek that she felt the icy chill brush against her, his hand moved in a lightening flash and encircled her wrist in a iron-like vice. She drew a noisy breath into her lungs as she familiar touch of a vampire sunk into her skin and all but intoxicated her.
Carlisle looked as tortured as she felt, battling with emotions that could not be ascertained without words. Without explanation. His fingers held her wrist tightly but his thumb stroked gently over her fluttering pulse-point – his skin like polished stone against hers. Bella drew a lingering breath into her lungs, tasting the sweet scent that radiated from his ethereal being. Her eyes closed in ecstasy for a brief moment before yearning to drink in his image once more.
"Carlisle..." she whispered in a broken sob, pulling herself to her feet and entangling herself in a hard embrace that wasn't altogether reciprocated. He sat still and impassive while she dripped fat tears unto his shirt, along the column of his throat. Her chest heaved with emotion that was all but impossible to contain and her fingers sank into the golden-white strands of his hair, clutching at his skull as though she were demented at the thought of him disappearing. The broken and scattered pieces of her life seemed so painfully close and she understood too well how easily the might vanish once more. "Don't go..." she begged, clutching now at the luxuriant fabric of his shirt. He was so solid beneath. So real. So unimaginably tangible.
When his arms came around her, enveloping her in a cold and secure embrace, Bella's vestiges of resolve were obliterated. She clung to him, sobbed painfully into the nook between his shoulder and neck and prayed that his embrace would tighten further. To be suffocated by his presence was only too welcome.
How much time passed, Bella was not sure. Long after the heaving sobs had subsided he had continued to hold her, his body rigid beneath her soft, malleable curves. His hand stroked the waves of her hair, soothing away her torment as one might soothe a baby and Bella held tightly to the feeling of joy that ensconced her for the first time in months.
Sniffling and only mildly embarrassed she extracted her head from the cool, comforting place in which she had burrowed it and examined the damp patches on his sweater and along the collar of his shirt. Touching the fabric she lifted her eyes and attempted to look contrite. The turbulence in his eyes stole away her breath and vanquished any thoughts of humiliation or apology. Bella did not recognise this Carlisle. His irises were honeyed and golden but filled with real, physical hunger. And not for her blood. When his cool hand slid over her bare arm then, from her shoulder, down and past her elbow to encircle the circumference of her dainty wrist, Bella became only too aware of her scantily clad body and the wanton manner in which she had flung herself upon him.
"I'm sorry," she declared unsteadily.
"Please don't apologise, Bella," he insisted huskily. When he shifted and the old chair creaked, she felt panic claw into her heart.
"Don't go," she insisted again, breathy and desperate. Carlisle stilled, expecting a barrage of questions that did not come. "I need you to stay." Her urgency was conveyed and the solidity of his embrace around her returned. Her tense limbs loosened.
"You must return to bed, Bella," he whispered, his voice like a toxin that dulled her senses. It was a supernatural trait amongst the vampires. She shook her head, an infinitesimal gesture. "You must." Carlisle was insistent, slipping his arm under her thighs and lifting her without effort.
"You are alone..." she murmured against him. "Where are the others?" He placed her on the mattress, the surface of which was doubly soft after the hardened lines of his body. As he placed the blanket around her shoulders, his smooth hand affectionately across her forehead, he watched her with an openly pained expression.
"They're somewhere else," he said vaguely. Carlisle had separated from his coven? For how long? Why? What did the Cullens think of this? What did Edward think of it? "So many questions in your eyes..." he murmured, almost to himself. "You mustn't torment yourself, Bella." She grasped his hand, squeezing as tight as she could.
"Will you come back?" she asked, needing his presence as a remedy to her broken heart. Carlisle wasn't Edward but Bella realised that he did not need to be, that the questions she had could remain unspoken for now. He nodded slowly and this was enough promise for her. "Stay a little while longer." Charlie's bed creaked in the next room, a sure sign of him beginning to wake and that dawn approached. Carlisle wouldn't stay long, she knew.
He knelt at the side of her bed, reaching to extinguish the lamp and plunge the room into darkness once more. Mythical though it was that vampires couldn't survive in sunlight, it was true that they seemed to prefer the dark. Bella sighed and closed her eyes, her mind racing with the innumerable questions that Carlisle had recognised in her expression. She levelled her breathing and pretended to sleep, hoping that it would encourage Carlisle to stay awhile longer.
When he stood, she sensed him leaning over her and kept her expression still while he bent his head and brushed a tentative, fleeting kiss across her forehead. Her breathing hitched and he pulled back, stopped only by her hand framing his cool face. "Carlisle?" she whispered, afraid that her voice might break the spell. "Why did you come back?" His breath fanning against her face was intoxicatingly sweet and Bella wished for nothing more than to drink it in. To fill herself with it.
"Oh Bella..." he replied in an equally soft whisper. He sounded heartbroken, conflicted, tormented. "How could I not?" She opened her mouth to speak but he slipped from her touch and left her feeling bereft and oddly empty. How could I not? The words whirled in her mind and seared in the same way his fleeting kiss to her forehead had.
The room offered silence and nothing more. He was gone.
It's 2.00am here in the UK and now I am going to go to bed, but first thing tomorrow I am going to work on the next chapter while the muse has struck me. Please tell me what you think of this so far... I hope you enjoyed. I found that there was so little out there for Bella/Carlisle and I wanted to offer my thoughts to the fandom. Thanks for reading!