Story summary: "Oh, bite me, Edward!" you exclaim? Well, okay, you asked for it. Do you know what you're asking for, however? If not, read this story.
WARNING: Explicit and graphic; not for the squeamish … which you are not if you want to be bitten.
Dedication: To my mom, who is much too squeamish to read this story, but still carries on the fight against breast cancer. "What am I goin' do, give up?" she demands angrily after her most recent chemo treatment and still runs circles around me with the errands we ran today. You go, Mom!
Day two, morning:
I looked down at the girl strapped down to the reclined chair. She was a complete mess, sweat beaded on her forehead, spittle flew from her mouth, tears flowed continuously from her eyes, and mucus bubbled and dripped out of her nose.
I took the washcloth from the basin of water, rung it, and lightly patted her face.
The girl screamed in agony, as if I had just ripped off the skin from her cheeks.
I withdrew the washcloth, looking down at the suffering girl-child-woman in front of me.
"I've never realized this until now …" I started hesitantly, "because I had my own baby boy, and now I have Edward, but now I realize … I've always wanted a daughter, too."
The girl in front of me moaned in pain, then looked at me. Her eyes were devoid of reason, she wasn't really looking at me at all, she was just looking out from the nowhere of her agony to the nowhere of here.
"Oh, God!" she cried out in pain. "Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!"
Then she screamed, convulsing in and against the restraints, convulsing against the agony trapping her in her body.
Day one, after midnight:
I come back from a hunt alone to this.
And to think, I was so proud of myself. I was so full of myself. I had hunted by myself. That was a really big step for me, because it showed I could make it on my own out of the city without attacking and killing any humans, and it showed that I could do something on my own.
I mean, certainly I could do something on my own, but what I had done up to now had always been for Carlisle or Edward, and that first year was really, really hard, because what could I do for them? Cook them dinner? Light the fire in the hearth? So they wouldn't feel the chill of the night?
What could I do for them? Nothing! And I felt so useless because there was nothing I could do for them. Nothing at all. The one time I cleaned Edward's room was a complete disaster. He was so angry that he couldn't find anything anymore. He was furious.
I thought he was going to hit me.
I thought he was going to hit me, like Charles hits me … used to hit me.
So when Edward reached past me for the 78 he was so desperately looking for, I screamed and curled up into a ball, and all Edward could do was stand there, probably reading the absolute terror I was experiencing. All he could do was stand there as I screamed and screamed and screamed, because if he touched me to console me, I would have …
And then there was the whole Carlisle issue, because after Edward and I had a very, very long talk, and we reached an understanding that no, he would never hit me, but, no, I didn't need to do things for him to be … well, accepted, or, well, loved by him, then ...
Well, then Carlisle thought that Edward and I were in love. Isn't that silly? Carlisle, the man I had loved since I was sixteen when I broke my leg and who was my physician at the hospital? Yes. But Carlisle thought that I was infatuated with Edward, when what was really the case was that I loved him, loved him as I had loved my little brother, but even more than that, but Edward had some very serious issues about being his own man, all grown up, didn't he? So he 'didn't need anyone' to mother him.
Or so he said.
But, because of that misinterpretation of how I felt for Edward, Carlisle withdrew into himself and his work, avoiding me.
Yes, that first year was hard.
But that first year came and went, as did the subsequent years.
And here we are in our second decade as a family, and I was coming back from my first hunt all by myself. I didn't need Carlisle, my husband Carlisle …
God! Can you believe it? After ten years of fantasizing and hoping and praying I can now say it: my husband Carlisle!
Well, yes, so I didn't need Carlisle to lead me to the kill, and I didn't need Edward to keep a vigilant lookout over the area … not to protect me (although I think Edward is very protective of me, even though he'd never admit it … he lost his first mother, and I think he reacts now to that: he doesn't want to lose his second one … that he just barely acknowledges), but to ensure the area was clear.
Now, I did all that myself this time: the hunt, the kill, the clearing. And I was so proud of myself.
But then I come back to this.
To Edward. Standing there.
Edward was a good half-a-mile from home, and he was waiting for me. Anxiously.
I stopped myself, feeling a bit nervous myself. What did I do wrong? Did I expose our secret? Did somebody see me?
Edward read my concerns as if I spoke them out loud, because as I asked: "Edward, what is it? What's wrong?"
Edward responded while shaking his head, "Esmé," he began cautiously, "it's not you or anything you've done, …"
I didn't feel reassured as Edward looked away.
Then he said the worst thing he could: "Carlisle …"
He didn't get to finish was he was saying, because I was already on the move, racing back to the house as fast as I could go.
I didn't know anything could touch us, our kind, but Carlisle was in trouble, or Carlisle was destr-…
Don't think that. Get back to Carlisle, and everything will be okay. He'll make everything okay. He always does. He has to. He has to.
About two-hundred yards from out property, Edward was in front of me, holding out his hands.
"Esmé, stop!" Edward shouted.
I ignored him, trying to dodge to his left. Of course Edward 'saw' that, and was right in front of me, again.
"Edward, get out of my way."
I didn't recognize the voice that came out of my mouth. It wasn't the voice of sweet, demure, helpful Esmé. It was the voice of a beast, a monster.
But when I said these menacing words, I smelled … something.
I smelled blood, … human blood.
I had just hunted, but suddenly a hunger so fierce consumed me that it was almost painful, and I felt shamed. Here I was, already in my second decade, and my eyes hadn't yet completely lost that red hue because of my all-too-recent weakness in Michigan, and I was still this uncontrollable monster that both Carlisle and Edward so easily transcended.
Or that I hoped that Carlisle transcended. Had he finally succumbed to the weakness that calls to me so strongly? After more than three hundred years of being so strong, had my Carlisle finally stumbled and fallen?
I looked at Edward in askance.
He lowered his hands carefully, watching me for any sudden moves, as I was apt to do when a human was too near when my guard wasn't up.
Edward explained quietly: "Carlisle was returning from the hospital when he came across a girl and he …"
Now, I was really in motion.
Carlisle was returning from the hospital when he came across a girl and he …
Those are the exact words that describe how Carlisle found me. He hasn't expressed dissatisfaction with me, that I've noticed, but he's at the hospital all day, and what can I do for him?
I knew what those words meant.
He found another girl. Another girl closer to his age. Another girl younger than me.
Another girl younger than him. Another girl he could truly love.
Another girl. Not me.
God damn it!
I raced into the house, ran down the stairs to the basement, lifted the hidden hatch to the cave beneath the basement to see Carlisle holding a woman's hand. A young woman's hand.
In fact, it was … wait a minute.
I drew in a breath and said, "That's …"
But as I drew in that breath, her scent, her blood still flowing from opened cuts and wounds hit me, and everything went red, and I leapt, snarling, to drink in that absolutely compelling honeysuckle and rose heaven that I had to have in me, right now.
Edward had caught up to me, but there was no was he could stop my charge.
So he didn't. He leapt, too, but instead of pulling me off the girl that I had not yet reached, he pushed me forward.
I missed my target, and crashed into far wall beyond her.
I turned to launch myself again at her, only to be encircled by Edward's bear hug. From a place outside my body, I heard Edward tell Carlisle he would remove me from the house for now, that is, I understood, until I regained my senses, and I felt my body thrashing helplessly against Edward's, biting and hitting and kicking, trying to get free. Trying to get to that absolutely heavenly scent calling me to drink it all.
But as much as I struggled, I was lifted and carried out of the house so easily.
And Edward took me some distance from town, actually, and held me until the bloodlust relinquished its hold over me.
And all that was left was me, empty me, ashamed me.
Edward let me go, putting me down on the forest floor of the Highland County Park.
I couldn't look at him. Somehow, I felt that he couldn't look at me, too.
"Edward," I whispered, ashamed, "I'm so sorry. I …"
"Esmé," Edward said consolingly, "it's okay; I understand what you're going through." Then he repeated. "It's okay."
But it wasn't okay. I had slipped up again. This time there wasn't another dead person, again, because this time, again, Edward was there to stop me from doing what I didn't stop myself from doing in Ada, Michigan to Anne Hansen and her baby.
When would I ever be anything other than a liability to my new-found family?
That appeared to be growing, it seemed. I had smelled the blood, but I also smelled the venom working its way through that girl's system.
Speaking of which.
"What is she doing here?" I demanded.
Yes. She. She was very badly bruised, bleeding and …
… and beaten … like me …
… but I still recognized that glorious crown of golden hair, those aquiline features, the refinement in the torn jacket.
The girl in our basement could be none other than the belle of Rochester, the darling of high society: Rosalie Hale.
Edward looked at me, and then looked away.
"Carlisle found her," Edward whispered so quietly that even I had difficulty hearing him. "She was …"
Here Edward stopped for a moment, then looked at me out of the corner of his eye, then looked away before continuing.
"She was … attacked," Edward said diplomatically.
But I knew exactly what he meant. Edward spoke euphemistically, but his meaning couldn't have been plainer. I gasped.
Edward continued. "Then she was left to die, and that's when Carlisle came across her."
"What happened to her escort?" I asked in confusion.
Her fiancé, a certain well-to-do Royce King, appeared to be a big, strong man. He was always at her side, and he could have easily scared off or repelled any attackers. Was he surprised? Was he now dead?
Edward was silent, looking at me. So I waited for his response.
Edward finally answered. "She went out without an escort."
Now it was my turn to be silent. A young woman going out without an escort? Unfathomable. There was no scenario that I could imagine how that situation would come about.
So I had to leave that aside.
"Is the attacker known?" I asked Edward, then clarified: "Does she …"
But then I couldn't continue my question, as to pursue that line of thought would be impolite for someone like me to say out loud. But it was uppermost in my mind: does she know what happened to her?
Edward nodded silently in answer to my unasked question.
"Edward," I said, "who did it?"
Edward's caution was unnerving me. He was always hiding everything about everything. He never shared my feelings for Carlisle with Carlisle. He never told me of Carlisle's hidden devotion for me. He felt he shouldn't intrude on the privacy of others by broadcasting these things.
Edward's circumspection meant something here. It meant something very serious.
Edward shook his head. "Esmé, no."
"Edward, you tell me right now," I said fiercely, "who did this to her!"
I don't know why this knowledge was so vital to me. It wasn't as if we could do anything about it. There's our world and then there's the world of humanity, and the threads of fate had been eternally severed between those two worlds. I learned this from the first moments of my new existence. Any meddling on our part in their world only lead to ruin in both worlds.
But even though I knew I couldn't do anything about it, I just knew that it was something I had to know.
Edward sighed and looked at me apologetically, and the next words he said rocked me to the core.
"It was her fiancé, Esmé, and his companions: they … did this to her."
Edward looked at me solemnly as I reacted: "Oh, no!" I exclaimed. "Oh, God, no!"
Because what came back to me were those abject years that I lived in constant fear and suffered the constant beatings of my husband Charles.
And it can't be called rape if the husband forces himself on his wife, can it? That's what Mother told me: the wife is subject to the whim of the husband. And he beat me because I was in the wrong, somehow, in not being good enough or not pleasing him or not anticipating his needs. That's what Mother told me: it was my fault that Charles beat me.
Years. Year after miserable, terrifying year under Charles' thumb, and fist, and boot, and lash, and switch. Entirely lost to myself, because all that was left of me was a terrified girl on the inside and a dull, nerveless, senseless shell on the outside.
He only beat me more if I screamed. So I learned not to scream. No matter how badly he hurt me. And crying? That set Charles off into rages so vivid I thought he was actually going mad with anger, that he would actually beat me to death. Sometimes, I cried, in the hopes that he would. But Charles knew what he was doing, and he always stopped before anything happened. He always stopped to extend my suffering to one more day.
And these words that Edward said, these terrible, horrible words?
I wanted to murder that Royce King, right now, for doing that to me … I mean: to her.
But I couldn't do that. "Vampire Murders Human" splashed on the front page of the New York Times? Like that wouldn't call down the Volturi on our heads. So I just had to let go of this anger. I just had to. But …
"But, Edward," I asked. "Why did Carlisle save her?"
Carlisle works at hospitals. He sees hundreds of people die, sometimes he sees that in under a year.
Carlisle saved me. Carlisle saved Edward.
But we were very special cases.
Why would he save this girl, this beautiful, stunning girl that we met in social functions several times? Carlisle didn't seem to show preference toward her, but he never showed any preference toward me. Not even a hint.
Did Carlisle see something in her? What did Carlisle see in her? Was Carlisle a polygamist?
Edward turned to me, a shocked look on his face. "Esmé, Carlisle's not going to …"
"Edward," I held up my hand, and I thought: leave me, I need to think.
I couldn't think with Edward looking and critiquing every one of my thoughts.
Edward looked unhappy. "Esmé, …" he began pleadingly.
"Edward, go," I began rather curtly, but then I mollified my tone: "please."
Edward left, still unhappy. Petulantly, in fact. I'd have to heal that breach — that poor boy — but I'd have to do that later, for now I had to think.
So now that Edward was gone, I could have my think, instead of think about what I was thinking about, and how that affected him. And what I thought was this:
Carlisle saved Rosalie Hale. If not for himself, as Edward claimed, then why?
I mean, we had met her when her family honored Carlisle with some special award for saving somebody's life. Carlisle does that all the time, but when a rich person is involved, he gets more attention, it seems. Carlisle talked to Rosalie when her mother … what was her name? Gwendolyn? … brought her up to make the introductions, but Rosalie didn't seem interested in Carlisle, and the disinterest appeared mutual to my ever-watchful eyes.
She did talk with Edward for a bit …
And then they did do a duet, Rosalie singing and Edward playing the piano. Everybody said how prettily she sang, and she did, but I chalked that up to people paying more attention to her poise and looks more than her singing. Besides, when Edward played the piano, I really didn't pay much attention to anything else, as he played so well. Sometimes he played when I asked him, and he told me, particularly when he was sad, which was much too often to my mind, he said he played just for me. And when he did, it did both our hearts a world of good.
But that Rosalie did sing very well. Both in French and in German, too. So she's smart. Very smart.
And she and Edward did talk. Talk more than how the other girls twittered about him, and how he brusquely dismissed them. No, Edward actually talked with her for a moment.
A brief moment, but he did talk with her.
Then it dawned on me.
I knew Carlisle was smart when I married him, but ah! my man! I'm just so proud of him. He was looking at Rosalie as a mate, but not for himself … he was looking at her for Edward.
And, oh! those horrible years when Edward became sullen with our way of life we chose to live, and nothing reasonable that Carlisle said, and nothing that I could add to the conversation would persuade Edward from his course, really his self-destructive course of murdering all those people, those hundreds of people in his righteous crusade. And I wondered during those terrible years, what could I have done to have convinced Edward not to do that.
And now I saw that Carlisle saw that there was nothing we could do, not him, and not me, that would have stopped Edward. But now I saw that Carlisle saw this: if Edward had somebody he cared for, more than himself and more than his causes, well, then …
My Carlisle. God, I love that man.
And he picked the prettiest, smartest girl for Edward, too. A bit headstrong, in my view, a bit argumentative, perhaps, but Edward couldn't stomach girls who cooed over him, trying to appease him. See, I would've picked a girl like that for Edward, a girl like me, but Carlisle knows Edward inside and out; Carlisle knows Edward like a son, and picked the perfect match for Edward.
So much to learn from my husband: he's so kind, so easy, but so deep! So smart, so understanding. So compassionate.
But now, here's the thing. Edward can read minds, and I've learned over the years, the one sure way to get Edward not to do something was to suggest that he should. Adding for his own good only made matters worse. Much worse.
I couldn't let a breath of this enter into my thoughts. For if I hoped for Edward's happiness, well, then Edward would be hell-bent on making sure he stayed unhappy, just because.
I'd have to watch myself and my thoughts around Edward until the two of those headstrong lovebirds met their match in, well, each other.
Which would probably be the first argument where they realized that they wouldn't give up their respective positions … they'd probably make up in bed with some very stormy making-up … erhm, 'activities.'
So I'd just have to hold my tongue and my thoughts until after the two of them found the answer to their own personal issues in each other.
I raced back to the house with my revelation, just aglow with joy.
Edward greeted me at the front door. He gave me a quizzical look.
"Are you okay?" He asked with concern in his voice.
"Just marvelous!" I responded, beaming.
This gave him pause, and his next question was cautious: "What were you thinking about out in the forest?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing!" I sang my answer easily … gaily, even. "Where's Carlisle?" I changed topics quickly, keeping my mind occupied.
Edward pointed toward the downstairs, eying me, but I ignored that and raced down there quickly, Edward fast on my heels.
Carlisle was holding the girl Rosalie's hand as she moaned and cried out in pain. He recited words of reassurance and consolation that she seemed not to hear. She would scream sporadically, the poor girl, as the venom ate away at her battered and bruised body.
Carlisle looked up at me and Edward. "I have to get back to work soon," he murmured apologetically, looking down at Rosalie. She screamed and then moaned.
And I saw in that look that he was looking down at her as a patient in his care, or as a daughter, or as someone who … don't think that!
Edward's distracted voice called over my shoulder, "I'll keep watch while you work, Carlisle."
It was then that I realized that I could finally be of service to this family. That I could finally do something for Carlisle and Edward, something useful.
I turned to face Edward, examining him. His eyes were black, and his face was pinched.
"No," I said, "I'll keep watch on her. You go hunt. You need to. You haven't in a while, and this must be so hard for you."
"Esmé, this is hard on you, too …" Edward began.
"I just hunted, Edward," I reminded him, then pushed through something he was about to say: "I'll be fine, Edward, really! I was just surprised, that's all, I'm in control now. You go and hunt and check up on us when you return."
I added that last bit because Edward would anyway. The world didn't turn if Edward didn't make sure that it did, exactly the way he wanted it to. Me giving him permission made him feel better about what my dear, proud, little boy Edward was going to do anyway.
Edward didn't move. He looked at me without much trust in his eyes.
Not that I've earned that trust, what, with Carlisle and Edward always having to safeguard me. I sighed. I went to Carlisle's side and touched his shoulder lightly. Carlisle, standing beside Rosalie's chair looked at me and then surrendered her hand to my care.
Carlisle didn't need the pretense of sitting beside Rosalie: we weren't in the hospital, after all, with human eyes watching us, with human minds wondering how we could stand still in one place for hours.
I took Rosalie's hand, and she cried out at my touch. I winced slightly in sympathy.
Carlisle made to leave.
"Carlisle!" I called.
Carlisle turned back, smiled faintly, and whispered a 'thank you for doing this, my love,' as he pecked me on the cheek.
Edward looked at us with disgust. "Ick," he said.
Teeners, I thought as I smiled to myself.
Carlisle and I weren't openly affectionate at all in public, and not even in front of Edward, but we couldn't hide our thoughts as we … you know … from Edward, and besides, after the turmoil I suffered this last day, I needed that little something that Carlisle gave, and that kiss was the reassurance I needed that Carlisle still loved me.
And this was so important. More important than most anything in my existence.
So Edward would just have to bear this little impropriety as best he could.
I put my hand on Rosalie's forehead. It was on fire.
"Ah!" she screamed, "so cold! Your hand is so cold!"
"It's okay, honey," I crooned as a mother to a baby, "it's okay."
I felt Edward's eyes on me. Yes, the smell of human blood was heavy in the air, but I maintained tight control over myself, I had to: I'm doing this for her. I'm doing this for Carlisle and Edward.
Edward whispered: "I'll come right back after I hunt," and he was gone.
"No hurry," I called after him.
I looked down at the girl. She was looking right at me, her eyes pleading with me. Begging.
"K-kill me!" she murmured desperately.
Well, maybe Edward could hurry a little bit … if he wanted to. I reached for the washcloth in the water basin.
Teeners: n. origin 1894. Changed to 'teenager' in 1941.
I've had this idea brewing for quite some time, and the sources for it came mostly from my stories, particularly from "My Sister Rosalie" and "Rose by a Lemon Tree." Of course the backstory is from Steph's notes on the twilight lexicon, but if you feel your story is being directly quoted, please PM me so I may credit you appropriately. Any slights are unintentional. I feel these ideas are originally mine, but I have read more than one origin story, please let me credit yours if your material appears here.