"Esme, open your eyes," I felt a hand wrapped around mine from the source of a musical and still familiar voice. Was it the same voice I heard in the dark before?
I opened my eyes to stunning vision. I was looking straight up at a ceiling but I could see every detail – every bump in the plaster and every facet of light coming from the overhead lamp. It was incredible. It was like my eyes were now microscopes. Had I been given entry into heaven? I wasn't expecting it to have a ceiling.
I remembered then the fingers entwined in mine and the voices.
I went to sit up. I looked toward my hand and followed the arm up to the face.
I gasped as the most handsome face came into view, a face so beautiful that I hadn't forgotten it for ten years, a face that my memory hadn't begun to do justice. I went to speak the only thing that came to mind, but a voice that I didn't recognize spoke instead - "It's you."
My mind seemed to be awakened. I felt like I was taking in too much – thinking too fast. I must be dead. This had to be heaven. He must have died too. He hadn't changed at all. I barely remembered a daydream about him growing old with his wife and children but he must have perished not long after he left Columbus.
"You remember me?"
I nodded, "Doctor Cullen." What was wrong with my voice? I felt my mouth moving, my lips pronouncing his name, but it was too fast and it didn't sound like me.
His other hand rested on top of mine and I felt not just his touch but his skin and every facet of it. Was this the enlightenment of heaven? Every sense enhanced so completely?
"Miss Platt?" My eyes had wandered back to his hand but now returned to his face. I felt the urge to touch it, to see if he was real but I held back. I took in every fine line and detail – the curve of his eyebrows and every hair that they were made of, his cheekbones, the tip of his nose, his eyelashes and those eyes, butterscotch like I remembered, that looked so concerned. "Although I noticed the ring so I know Miss Platt is incorrect."
"Esme, please call me Esme." I felt parched as I spoke. I was incredibly thirsty.
"Esme, I'm Carlisle Cullen."
"That's what the C stands for." I said to myself more than I said it to him. His expression changed from concerned to slightly amused. "Yes and this is Edward."
The other voice. I looked at the beautiful young bronze haired man standing back several feet, his eyes filled with the concern that had been on Carlisle's face a moment before.
I heard a crack as I threw my arms around him. I didn't know how I had gotten to him so fast but he was here. I wasn't expecting him grown but he was here. My chest was sobbing but something about it felt hollow, like air moving but not breathing. I felt nothing falling from my eyes as I buried my face in his shoulder. I was in heaven. Edward was in my arms again. I held him tightly and I heard a noise, was it a wail erupting from me? One of his hands was pressed to my back while the other brushed over my hair. He shushed me gently, soothing me as I cried. I was with him. God had forgiven me. Finally he gently spoke, "I'm sorry Esme but I'm not who you think I am."
He only knew me as mama and Anne. He was confused. He was my son.
"I'm not confused. My name is Edward but I'm not your son." He let me go and pulled back slightly, lifting my chin to look in his eyes, eyes that were the same hue as Carlisle's. "You're not in heaven."
The pain of those two statements felt like a hole punched through my chest. If he wasn't my Edward and this wasn't heaven, "Where am I then?" What was going on? Was I still alive? Why was my throat on fire?
"She's thirsty." Edward said over my shoulder to Carlisle.
"Of course she is," Carlisle spoke quickly. I could hear tension in his words. "Are you alright?"
"Esme," my head whipped around, almost throwing me off balance. What was wrong with me? Was I sick? Was that why my throat enflamed? I looked at the doctor for answers. Maybe he was really my doctor but how could that be? He hadn't aged. "Esme, I know you are confused and I know your throat is burning. I will explain everything."
"Am I sick?" My words again coming out so quickly that it sounded like one syllable but Carlisle understood.
"No, you have been changed."
"Changed?" What does he mean, changed?
"You were near death when some men found you and brought you to the hospital in Ashland. I received you." His voice was so calming but forthright.
I couldn't get past the question that was truly nagging me, "How come you haven't aged?"
He stumbled for a moment and looked toward Edward. I glanced at him too but his eyes were set on Carlisle's. "Don't look at me. Talk to her."
"I haven't aged in a long time. Esme as soon as I saw you I remembered treating you nearly ten years ago, August 1911. You were so spirited, so happy. I don't know how you ended up in the bottom of that cliff and there will be time for that later. Your injuries were fatal but I was able to save you."
"If they were fatal…" my voice trailed off. Where was I? What does he mean that he hasn't aged?
"You are still on earth. I haven't changed because I'm immortal. I'm a vampire and I did what I had to do to save you."
Again my mind was moving at an excessive pace. If he was a vampire and saved me…I looked toward Edward. He nodded. I reached into my memories trying to think of references of vampires but it was like trying to find a penny at the bottom of a in a murky lake. My mind while so clear, my memories seemed so distant. I remembered there was a poem…Rudyard Kipling…I couldn't wrap my mind around the words. I kept searching…Jonathan Harker…Mina…Count Dracula.
"She's read Stoker."
"How did you know-"
"Edward has a gift," Carlisle interrupted. "He can see your thoughts."
"Is he a vampire too?" I heard skepticism in my tone, but Carlisle ignored it.
"Yes, I changed him as well."
"Changed me?" I looked down. I was wearing a white nightgown I didn't recognize. My hands looked different. I lifted them to examine them. My nails looked perfect. My skin color had changed. It was pale, almost white compared to the tan I usually wore.
I shook my head. This couldn't be real. "It's a story! A work of fiction. Vampires don't exist."
"I assure you we do." He never wavered as he spoke.
I was choking on my own throat. "Please can I have some water?"
"Water won't help," Edward said. Did he just snicker?
"Esme," Carlisle said, pulling my focus away from Edward. "I will explain everything to you. I promise. But your thirst is going to become unbearable, make you uncontrollable if we don't get you fed."
"But if what you say is true…" Lines of the story ran through my mind, the wives attacking Harker, the death of Lucy…
Edward was on my other side taking my other hand. How did he move so fast? "Yes we drink blood."
"But you are not going to hurt a human being," Carlisle tried reassuring me. "We, Edward and I, do things differently. We drink the blood of animals not humans. We hunt animals."
I felt weak, yet so strong at the same time but all my strength seemed to be coming from the fire that was spreading from my throat to my chest. Was the fire coming back?
"Carlisle, she is losing it."
Carlisle's hands clamped on my cheeks, I was staring into the depths of those incredible eyes. "Esme, trust me."
I swallowed but it didn't give me any relief. I realized then that I wasn't breathing…for how long had I not been breathing? I searched his eyes and saw concern and compassion and the need to help me. I nodded, "Help me."
He pulled me to my feet and was leading me out the door of the room I was in and into the hallway. I still didn't know where I was but it seemed to be a house.
"This is where Carlisle and I live," said Edward on my heels answering my unspoken question as we went down a staircase. "Are we taking her out to hunt in a nightgown?"
"Do you think we have time to change her?" He asked as we approached the front door.
"Well nothing is going to fit her right so… Something you didn't think about." Again, I heard a bit of bitterness in Edward's voice. It was more distinguishable this time. Carlisle gave Edward a reproachful look and opened the front door.
I stopped walking and looked between the two faces staring at me. I felt embarrassed. It was dark. I had no idea what time it was. Edward sighed, and went to a nearby closet, "She can ruin my coat."
"Just stand still." He said as he approached me holding open the jacket.
He was slipping it onto me a tenth of a second later. I reassured him, "I'll take good care of it."
Edward laughed and smiled at me as he rolled up the sleeves and buttoned the front, "Oh no you won't but it's alright." I felt like a little kid.
"What about my feet?" I asked as I felt air passing over the top of them.
"Your feet will be fine," Edward stated. I felt agitated and I could feel my agitation increasing. "We have to go." He looked like a thought just popped in his head. "Back door."
Carlisle slammed the front door closed and they were again leading me back through the house on the first floor this time, through a kitchen and out a rear door.
"Esme, if you haven't noticed yet, we can move faster than humans." I had noticed but since nothing seemed real, any clarification Carlisle made would have helped my sanity at that moment.
I felt something slide against my hand and next thing I knew I had Edward pinned- no, Edward had me pinned – no, I had Edward pinned on the ground.
"I am sorry. Esme, focus. Let me up." I heard Edward say it but I couldn't focus on it. There were so many noises and so many scents and the air, I could see it.
"Esme, please get off of Edward," I heard Carlisle demand, an authoritative tone now reigning in his voice I scrambled to my feet as Edward gracefully got to his.
"Was I this bad?" I heard Edward murmur as he brushed himself off.
"Worse. Esme! Stop!"
I heard the words but I felt like something had latched onto my throat and was reeling me in like a fish on a hook. I had no control over my feet. They were projecting me forward and I couldn't stop. It didn't smell great but I knew whatever it was it smelled of relief. If it could make the burning go away, I would go to it. I could hear them in the distance behind me, and that only made me move faster. Whatever it was, I was getting to it first.
I was getting closer and then there it was – large, dark, lumbering, and loud. I could feel its heat. I could hear its large heart pounding, blood pulsing through its veins.
Everything moved so fast, faster than I could keep up with what I was doing. I had leapt through the air letting out a noise that I can only describe as animalistic. I was on top of it. I was clawing at it. Ripping at it. Pulling. Trying to get what I needed. What did I need? What was I doing? And then it came to me. Through the fur, through the flesh, my teeth were embedded into it and relief hit the back of my throat. It was falling, collapsing beneath me, onto me. My hand hit the ground as it fell and I pushed off the dirt, shifting it up and away, onto its other side. Too soon there was nothing left. I felt relieved but like I needed more. I sat back. My eyes focusing for the first time before I started running. I looked down at what I was sitting on, what I had just…attacked. The clarity was almost clearer than I wanted. It was a bear - a very large black bear that I apparently just attacked, killed and drained of its blood…I drained it of its blood…I am a vampire. I shivered.
A twig snapped behind me. I flew around off the dead animal ready to attack again but instead came face to face with the two men I had forgotten completely about.
Edward had a bit of a smirk on his face that he was trying to conceal but was completely failing. Carlisle on the other hand looked like he didn't know what to think. Edward hit him on the shoulder, "Look at it this way Carlisle, she's a natural."
"Luckily there were no humans close enough and there was a large enough predator to distract her."
I felt my throat still. While not as bad as before it still burned.
"She's not done yet," Edward spoke up approaching me cautiously. No it wasn't me he was approaching, it was "I'll dispose of this Carlisle. Help her."
I relaxed from my attack stance as Carlisle slowly approached me, hands up in the air. Even in the dark, I could see him so clearly. "Esme, you need to drink more."
And I knew he was right. I needed more, but how much more? What would it take to make this ache go away? I just killed a bear!
"She's a bit out of sorts Carlisle," Edward said behind me.
"Stop talking for me!" I screamed, my hand immediately flying to my mouth, my mind filled with remorse. "I'm sorry." I whispered.
"It's alright Esme. You are seeing and feeling so much right now. You are overwhelmed. Edward and I are going to help you adjust to your new life."
My new life. I had not forgotten this man's face from my one experience with him a decade ago. I had wondered about where he was. He appeared in my dreams. There seemed now like there was a reason for all of it. Was it leading me here? Trust him.
I reached my hand out to him and he took it. "Edward, catch up when you're done."
We started walking deeper into the forest in silence. It was so quiet and yet so loud at the same time. I could hear the air move in between the branches and rub up against the leaves. I could hear the rustle of gnats' wings, crickets rubbing their wings together to create their chirping noise, and our feet moving over the dirt and the leaves and the twigs even though we barely touched the ground.
"How did I do that?" I finally asked gesturing back behind me.
"It is your instinct. You caught the scent and your thirst made you go after it."
"I had no control at all."
"That will change with time but when we hunt we give ourselves over to our senses. We let them lead us to our prey."
"But I think I'm the same size I was before so how did I kill a bear?"
"Everything about you has been enhanced – you are stronger and faster beyond the ability of any human or animal and at the moment, your abilities are great than either of ours."
A scent filled my nostrils again. It wasn't as enticing as the bear but it would do.
He must have smelled it too. "It's a herd of deer. It's about two miles out."
"I need it." My voice was something between a whine and a growl.
"I know." We were running and as we got closer, the scent getting stronger, I felt myself moving faster. I let go of his hand as I felt it slipping from mine - he could no longer keep up with me.
I was tackling a buck, grabbing the nubs that would have been antlers, rolling over with it, and finally heard a snap as I dug my teeth in its neck. I heard noise behind me and recognized the scents now mixed with the herd. Edward had caught up.
I finished the animal in my arms and turned toward them. Even in my haze I had to acknowledge that the gentlemen each had another deer waiting for me.
As I finished the second one, I realized that I couldn't possibly fit any more liquid inside of me but my throat was still aching – it wasn't as harsh as it had been but it wasn't normal…although what was normal in any of this? I was on the ground in the middle of the night with a deer I had just drained of its blood next to me. The word normal had no meaning at the moment.
"She's done for now." I threw my head back to look up at Edward. I guessed I would have to get use to him being in my head, and as he heard that thought, "Esme, it is for your own good right now. Being able to know what you are thinking will help us stop you from doing something you would regret."
I didn't understand it but I knew eventually I would. He nodded down at me in a silent reply.
I was on my feet so fast that I almost lost my balance. I had decided to stand up and was on them before I completed the thought. Carlisle caught my elbow. "Thank you," noticing again the difference in my voice.
My eyes finally took in the scene in front of me – three limp dead deer and then I looked down as I thought of the attacks and the dirt and the blood. Edward had been right about his coat. The fabric that had covered my body, the strange nightgown and the oversized coat were dramatically ripped exposing more of my flesh than I was comfortable with, covered with mud, and blood stained. Self-conscious, I went to pull the coat tighter around me but was confused by the sound of more fabric ripping.
"Esme stop!" Carlisle had grabbed my wrists. I could hear Edward snickering. I must have radiated my confusion enough, "Remember what I said about being strong. What seems like a light touch to you right now is in fact very destructive. Pulling on a piece of fabric for you would be like pulling on one piece of tissue to a human."
I had ripped the coat in half in the back. I whimpered, "I'm sorry Edward."
"I told you it was alright."
"Esme," my head whipped back again. I needed to get better at controlling the speed of my neck. Carlisle spoke, "There is a lot to discuss but we need to get some information from you because I'm sure someone is missing you by now." His finger slid over the fake ban on my left ring finger.
" I'm a - was a - teacher out by Cherryville Road. There's a one-room schoolhouse there. I lived in the adjacent quarters."
"And your husband?"
What do I tell him? Oh shoot, Edward can hear my thoughts anyway – "He's in Columbus, Ohio. The people here think I am a widow and my name is Anne Barstow."
"Barstow? Your grandmother?"
"You remember that?"
"We don't forget anything. You just had a child?"
"Yes," I whispered now. He seemed so far away, my Edward. "He lived a week."
"Is that why you went off the cliff?"
I nodded as a flood of memories of my week of joy and pain came to the surface. They seemed murky but they were there. I gasped at them and I heard Edward do so as well. I looked over at him and saw my own pain reflecting back at me. A millisecond later he was embracing me. "I'm so sorry."
"Thank you," I whispered.
"I'll go." Edward resolved to Carlisle.
"Go where?" I asked. I didn't want him to leave me now that I knew he understood my pain.
"Esme, I am going to make it look like you left of your own accord."
"It will be easier for those you are leaving behind," Carlisle said. I could hear he was trying to sooth me.
"I'll pack up your things and bring them here. I'll leave a note from you that the memories of your baby made it too difficult to stay. That you are going to stay with a cousin and it was too hard to face everyone to say good bye."
I objected. "They know my hand writing. I'm the town's teacher."
"Edward is a gifted forger." Carlisle said, trying to calm my fear.
"Oh…well please thank everyone, especially Ida."
"Especially Ida." He had seen everything.
"Be cautious Edward." Carlisle said.
"I'll clean this up," Edward gesturing to the corpses, "and then get going. I'll be as fast as I can."
"Fast but careful. I'll get her home."
There was a silent break as Carlisle directed me into the woods back toward their house. I could smell them both in the air. I was sure in that moment that I could find my way back on my own but I let him guide me.
I was still in awe of the night but Carlisle interrupted my revelry. "When we get back, we'll get you cleaned up. We are leaving Ashland as soon as possible."
"Well my dear, tonight you attacked a bear because there was nothing else out here. You didn't smell what you truly crave."
"Which is?" I asked although I already knew the answer. After all, even in the world of fiction that had just become my reality, I couldn't imagine the true nature of vampires wasn't true.
"Human blood." He stated it as a matter of fact.
"But you are a doctor!" The irony of the situation suddenly came over me.
"That took many years," Carlisle assured me.
"Were you human when you treated me?"
Of course he wasn't. He said they didn't forget anything and he remembered my name – he remembered me.
My head was swimming with a million questions but at the same time it was so clear. What had happened to my brain?
"What are you thinking?" He asked. I looked over at his face to find him studying mine. He wasn't watching where he was going at all but he was avoiding every obstacle ahead of him.
"What am I not thinking?" I said with the voice I was beginning to recognize as my own. "I feel completely overwhelmed. I have a million questions."
"Start with one."
Picking out one – I replayed what had just happened in my head – the instincts, the destruction, the blood, the meal – my hand flew to my teeth, which felt…normal.
"No. Our teeth are incredibly sharp. That's how you were able to rip into the animal's flesh so easily but no fangs."
"Garlic?" What a stupid thing to ask!
He chuckled, "Garlic, holy water, crosses, silver bullets, wooden stakes have no affect on us at all."
"Really? Wooden stake?"
"Our bodies become very dense and nearly impossible to penetrate. A wooden stake wouldn't even make a scratch."
"So we are indestructible?"
"What do you mean nearly?" I could see the house.
"Esme, there is plenty of time to explain everything."
We walked in the back door that we ran out of earlier. Carlisle placed a hand on my shoulder and I stopped, turning around to face him with more control and balance.
"I'll help you get set up in the bathroom. It is going to take time for you to adjust to the many changes that have occurred. As I mentioned before your strength is great and it will take practice and concentration not to destroy everything you take in your hands."
I stuck my arms straight down at my side as I nodded with understanding. He looked at me straight on and I found myself once again admiring how beautiful his face was. His eyes were studying mine.
"You look a bit different than you did before and the change may be a bit shocking."
I gasped once again. I had jumped off a cliff. My body had been shattered. I remembered hearing a voice in the darkness, "She was a pretty thing," stress on the word "was." I must look horrible. My hand went to the back of my head but I felt no bump. Maybe I had turned - hit my face. I ran my hand over my cheeks but again it felt smooth. I met his eyes again and they were still watching me with curiosity.
"All of your wounds from the fall were healed when you were changed and that wasn't the difference I was speaking of," once again he reached out his hand to me and I trusted him once again. He led me back up the stairs and into the first door off the hallway. It was a library, or at least it had been. The shelves were empty and many trunks were stacked against the wall. The only other thing in the room was a mirror.
What was I about to see? He urged me forward with a tug of my hand. "It is alright Esme."
I stepped forward and looked in the glass but I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing. Was it a trick? Who was this? It wasn't me…or was it? The hair was the right color. Some thing in the line of the cheek was familiar. The height seemed similar. My skin was paler, smooth with not a sign of a freckle, wrinkle or line. But she was stunning. Beautiful. My hand went to my cheek once again and the woman in the mirror did the same. People had always said I was pretty but nothing like how I now appeared. But it all disappeared as I focused on my eyes. My once hazel eyes had been replaced. They had been green flecked with brown and now my irises were bright glowing red. I could see the confusion and anguish take over my expression as I moved closer to the mirror to see them close up.
Carlisle placed a hand on my shoulder from behind me and looked at me in the mirror, "They won't stay that way. Over time they will change color and will be the same topaz as mine and Edward's are tonight."
"Our diet of animal blood dilutes the color. It will take several months, maybe a year. Right now they are so bright because your blood is still in your system."
I didn't really understand the "in my system" part but I asked, "A year?"
"Most likely less. It will depend on if you have setbacks along the way."
"Setbacks…" he nodded. "As in, my diet consisted of something other than animal blood." He nodded again as I let the idea settle in and resolved, "Less than a year."
He smiled, "We will hope."
My eyes pulled away from his reflecting face and looked down my body and reminded me what a mess I was. "You probably want to get cleaned up. The bathroom is down the hall." He led me out of the room and down the hall past several doors and turned on the light in the bathroom. He turned on the faucet to let the water start filling the tub. He then opened a small linen closet and took out a towel. He looked down at it and then back at me. "Pretend I'm handing you a folded piece of tissue. It is light, delicate and to unfold it you have to gently and carefully pull it apart." He set it down on the small counter and gestured to it, "Give it a try."
I looked at my fingers, which still looked like fingers and then concentrated on the swath of terrycloth in front of me. I touched it with the tip of my fingers feeling the softness and every tiny loop of thread. I concentrated on the edge where one fold met the next. I slid my fingers in between and went to pick it up but realized my finger had bore a hole in the material. I huffed in frustration but Carlisle soothingly said as he refolded the edge, "Try again."
I did but again my finger went through the material. I felt like I was barely touching it! I adjusted again…four destroyed towels later, I had managed to unfold one, pick it up in my hands and wrap it around me without ripping it. I practiced one more time and was beaming at my success. "I will turn off the water for you and give you some privacy. By the time you are done, Edward should be back with your things. They will be in the room directly across the hall. We will be downstairs. Come down when you are ready. If you need anything, just say my name and I will come up."
"Thank you," I said at barely a whisper.
"Just leave the water in the tub. One of us will drain it." I watched him bend over and turn off the water and then turn back to face me. "I know it is strange but you will be fine Esme. We will make sure of it."
He squeezed my arm gently and gave me a smile of assurance and then left the room closing the door behind him.
I was alone. I could hear the water rippling lightly against the side porcelain of the tub. I turned to find another full length mirror. I began to pull of the tattered clothes that laid disheveled on my body. I was practicing not destroying them but my fingers went through the material several times. Finally I was undressed and stepped before the mirror to look over my new body.
A vague memory came forward – last summer I was standing naked in front of a mirror. I was gaunt and I was studying the new bruises on my skin. I was so thin by then that my hip bones, and at times my ribs were visible. My wrists looked like they could be snapped like twigs. My cheeks were hollow. I was wasting away in my misery.
My hips were rounder than they had been then. My pregnancy and happiness once I had escaped had given me back my appetite. I hadn't stuffed myself but I had begun eating normally. My breasts were fuller as they were when they were engorged but softer to the touch and the pain that came with the engorgement was gone. My arms looked stronger. I ran my fingers over my cheekbones again admiring the heart shape of my face. My eyes followed my fingers down my jaw and that is when I noticed it. I stepped closer to the mirror to examine the mark –something that was on the left side of my neck. It was light, silvery in color, crescent shaped and it looked as though you would only notice it in direct light. My eyes widened at the realization that it was teeth marks – it was where I had been bitten. I traced the outline with my finger and although it felt different, I couldn't quite place the sensation or the emotion I felt about it. I realized that at this spot where the carotid artery pulsed now was silent. As I pulled my hand away I noticed another mark on the inside of my upper left arm. I looked at my right and saw its twin and as saw that I notice the smaller mark on the inside of my wrist and again upon looking to the left saw the same.
My eyes moved down my body, over my now flat stomach and over the hips I had already admired. They fell upon another set of marks on my upper thighs and as my eyes continued down, I notice a set on my feet. The placements were deliberate and careful and looked as though he tried to inflict as little damage to my skin as possible. I wondered if the silvery marks would even be visible to the human eye. The most significant one was the one on my neck.
I looked back toward my legs and suddenly realized something was missing. I bent over to examine my right leg. I ran my fingers over it but felt nothing. The scar that had been left behind once the stitches that Doctor Cullen had sewn into me were removed a decade ago was gone. I looked at the top of my hand for a scar that I had from burning my hand on the stove when I was a child and found it too was gone. I had fallen in the woods as I ran the other night but my palms and my knees were unmarked. No bruises, scratches or scars. Embarrassingly I reached in between my legs and felt that the tear from giving birth was no longer there. All human physical wounds were gone. The mental and the new vampire physical ones seemed to be sticking around.
I couldn't look any longer and went over and gingerly climbed into the tub and lightly sat down. I leaned back, staring up at the ceiling. There water was warm but the temperature didn't seem to matter. I ran over everything that had happened tonight in my mind. I laughed at myself. When was the Mad Hatter going to show up because surely I was Alice and when I jumped off that cliff I fell down the rabbit hole…or I had lost my mind…or this was hell or heaven – surely if he is here this can't be hell.
I shook my head as I gently picked up the soap, still managing to embed my fingers in it. I soaped up my hair, scrubbing out the dirt and blood, then took a deep inhale of air, closed my eyes and slid down under the water. As I lay on the bottom of the tub I realized that there was no tug at my lungs as I held my breath. I waited to feel the need to expand them for air but it didn't come. I opened my eyes and looked up but felt no sting from the soap now in the water. I could see clearly through the soapy water up to the ceiling. I was so alive but at the same time so dead. Alice in Wonderland.
I thought about Edward and if he was home by now he could hear me thinking about him. How old was he when he was changed and how long ago was it? The devastatingly beautiful young man appeared so young to me. He seems genuinely concerned about my well being.
And Doctor Cullen – Carlisle. As caring as I remembered and just as handsome – more dashing than Douglas Fairbanks and he put Rudy Valentino to shame. Of all people, how could this man, the man who had haunted my dreams, the dreams of an unhappily married woman, for a decade have been the one to find me? He was everything my dim memory could think of and more and why were my memories suddenly so dim?
I fought through the haze for images of my life and most importantly, of my Edward. I could envision his tiny face and his eyes looking up at me. Although there was no oxygen, I felt my chest tighten as if a sob was getting ready to burst from it. He was gone and I was suppose to be gone too but here I lay, under water but unable to drown. For some reason, a second chance, a new and strange life was being force upon me. What was fate's role in this? For that stunning blond god waiting for me downstairs to be the one who found me…it was Shakespeare.
I sat back up and concentrated on picking up the washcloth that had been draped over the edge of the tub. He had lined up several just in case. I picked up the first one and immediately had my fingers through it. How was it possible that I could be this strong? I gave up on that one and dropped it into the water. I focused on the next one and frustratingly had the same result. I balled up what was left of it and threw it towards the wall. My mouth fell open in shock as it hit the wall with a bang and a puff of powder sprayed into the air as the plaster shattered. Petrified, I gaped at the hole in the wall when I heard a frantic knock at the door.
"Esme, are you alright?" Carlisle's voice was frantic.
"She'll be fine." I heard Edward say with a relaxed tone. "She just figured out how strong she actually is."
"Edward enough," the knocking continued. "Esme! Answer me."
"He's right!" I heard myself say in a voice even higher than the one I was getting use to. "I just threw a washcloth." Through a wall! I threw a hand over my mouth, stifling a giggle. I was still a bit in shock but couldn't help find some humor in this ridiculous situation.
I heard Edward laugh. "I like her."
I heard them retreat, now able to distinguish one walk from the other.
I looked at another washcloth and spoke to it as I would have to one of my students. "You saw what happened to your brother. Be good and stay in one piece if you don't want to suffer the same fate." I picked it up, unfolded it, grabbed the bar of soap and finished my bath without incident.
I managed to stand up and step out without causing any damage. I picked up a towel and began drying my hair successfully.
My throat was enflamed again even though I still felt full. I looked at the toilet. I had felt no urge to relieve myself and even if I had, what would come out? I shivered a bit at the thought of it.
A second towel survived drying my body before I wrapped it around me and tucked it in at the top. Proud of my achievement I walked to the door and grabbed the door knob but stopped as my hand wrapped around it. I focused on the amount of energy I would need to exert to turn it and pull open the door. I bit my bottom lip as I started the motions but sighed as I immediately had the door knob crushed and detached from the door in my hand. Keep practicing. I set it down on the sink and pulled open the broken door and walked into the open door across the hall. I managed to lightly press it closed, leaving it open just a bit so I didn't have to test this door knob as well.
Slightly mortified, I looked around at every piece of fabric I owned laid out before me. It wasn't a lot - it was just that I didn't like the fact that these strangers had seen my undergarments. I didn't know what I could wear. Nothing would fit right. My pre-pregnancy clothes wouldn't fit my healthier shape and my maternity clothes were too big. I looked at a light pink dress that looked loose enough that it would fit over my body. I focused on everything I touched as being tissue. I inched on my undergarments with concentration. My brow must have furrowed as I pulled the dress over my head and gently slid my arms through the sleeves wishing they were shorter but like most of my clothes from the last few years I had worn sleeves to cover the bruises. I tried to reach back and button it but the button immediately popped off the fabric. That was going to be too difficult to accomplish on day one and I didn't want to rip the dress since it actually did fit. I would get one of them to assist. I slid on a pair of shoes that had no ties or buckles.
I picked up my hair brush and pulled the door open and walked back across the hall to look in the mirror. The dress had a more distinct shape on me now than it did in the past but I liked it. I gently ran the brush through my wet hair, flattening it out. I looked at the fake metal ban on my finger and pulled it off. I went back over to the other room and setting down the brush and the ring, looked up and out the window. The sky was just starting to turn a shade lighter. Twilight was beginning.
Yes the cracking sound was Esme crushing Edward.
So what do you think of Esme's awakening? Was it what you were expecting? Please review!
Thank you to TeamPetabeth for inspiring me to write Esme's Story and thank you to my beta TheCullenPixie .
Follow me on twitter _esme_cullen
Book One was rated T and right now Book Two is rated T as well. I don't know if it will remain T. If you are a reader that is opposed to M ratings please let me know. I would consider doing M versions of chapters as outtakes instead if a large contingent of my readership is opposed to M. If you are a reader that wants to see M then let me know that too so I can weigh everyone's thoughts. Send me a PM.
I'm looking for a second beta! If you have read Book One and are interested in being a beta on Book Two and eventually Book Three, send me a note. Please be at least 21 years old. I'm looking for someone who will look for grammar and spelling errors but also will give me feedback on storyline and character development. Send me a PM.
Thank you for reading!