Part III: How he lost it all
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight
This is the end guys. You might not need the warning, but HF ahead.
Missed my chance, lost my turn,
My ship sank, I crashed and burned
Broke your heart then I let my self
down, Lost the fight, I lost the game,
Now there's only me to blame,
If you wander where I am check the
lost and found
-Randy Rogers Band: Lost & Found
Our lives were simple and great.
This was my first thought as Esme used her key to open the door to my apartment and walked in before me.
"Carlisle, you really should keep more here than beer and pretzels. It's like a bar, but convenient for passing out."
I snorted and walked behind her, wrapping my arms around her waist.
"I like it. It's comforting. Besides, I can't cook."
She turned and brought her arms around my neck.
"Your comfort food is pretzels?" Esme rolled her eyes. "Even college students think that's sad."
I lips grazed her cheek gently. It had been two months since we'd made love, and there wasn't a moment that I didn't want to kiss her.
"Need I remind you that you have food here, too?" I asked, my chest clenched a little, and I moved on to a safer topic, "What's your comfort food then, college student?" I pulled her closer to me.
Esme lay her head on my chest and took a deep breath. She was smelling me. Last week, she'd let it slip that she thought I smelled good, and now she didn't even bother hiding her sniffs.
"If we're talking about a meal, my dad makes me best chicken and dumplings. If we are talking snack food, then I would say mint chocolate chip ice cream."
"The ice cream I can get. The other one, you'll have to call your dad about, sweetheart."
She turned from me and grabbed the bag of pretzels and went into my living room.
"Turn on the movie, Carlisle."
We had rented a VHS on the way back from dinner, and while I was glad to have Esme over, I really didn't plan on watching the movie. I mostly watched her.
It was quiet as the movie started, but Esme leaned into my side and I wrapped my arm around her. I didn't admit it, but I loved her smell too.
We must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, light was shining through the window and Esme lay on my chest.
I pushed some of her hair back and looked at her sleeping.
I was scared. I was so happy. I was nervous, but I was so sure of her.
I had never felt so conflicted in my life.
Right then her eyes opened, and I smiled.
"Morning," she muttered.
I placed my finger under her chin and raised her head to look at me.
"Good morning, Es."
She closed her eyes and smile slightly.
Without thinking, I leaned in and kissed her.
Soft, sweet, perfect. Like always.
When we pulled back, her smile was so much bigger and she bit her bottom lip. Esme lay against me again, and I looked around.
My apartment wasn't my own anymore.
On one chair was Esme's backpack, her sweater was tossed over the side of the recliner. If you went into the kitchen, her favorite cereal would be beside mine. I knew that her toothbrush was in the cup in my bathroom.
I thought my chest was going to crack open with all the emotions going through me.
I cared for her, but I wasn't ready for this.
I knew that when I gave her a key two weeks ago, still I handed it over.
Esme brought my thoughts back to the present when she rubbed her cheek against my chest.
I knew that if I stopped now, it would hurt her, and I really didn't want to hurt her.
We had been dating, exclusively, for six months, and while I still felt anxiety when I saw her things scattered around my apartment, I was getting very good at pushing those feelings back.
She was also extremely good at reading me. Esme wouldn't push for things, and when she saw I was getting close to snapping she'd kiss my cheek and make an excuse to go back to her place.
I knew that the only reason I hadn't run sooner was because she could read me so well. It wasn't that I wanted to weekend Car back, but I just missed that freedom. Now my time was spent with Esme. I liked it, and we did have fun, but in the back of my mind, I was turning into the weekday guy that I'd always hated.
I wanted to be as adventurous as Car, but still keep Esme, and I had no idea how to do that.
I sat on my couch playing my guitar and trying to come up with a solution.
The past couple of weeks, I'd started to think that I loved Esme. I hadn't said it to her, and she hadn't spoken those words to me either, but mostly I thought it was because she knew I would freak out and break things off with her.
My past habits weren't the cause for this hesitation.
I had no desire for any of the groupies on the weekends. All my body wanted was Esme, and she gave me everything I asked for, so my motivation for being Car wasn't the endless supply of sex. With Esme, everything was heightened, and I knew that sex wouldn't be the same with any of those other girls anymore.
Still, Esme deserved a man that would know, without a doubt, that he loved her and that he wouldn't skip out on her.
I strummed a few notes and tried to calm down.
I needed balance, and I was so worried I wouldn't find it.
She came into my apartment in a tizzy. She was throwing her pull-over on the floor and her back pack against the wall.
She hadn't officially moved in, but she stayed at my apartment every night, and her things were all over the place. The feeling that I had at the beginning was still present, but I'd learned to ignore it. Esme was happy, and I didn't want to hurt her.
It wasn't like I didn't care about her, I was just afraid that I wouldn't want this forever.
"Carlisle, I need to tell you –slash—ask you something." She fell down beside me on the couch. "My dad and mom want to have dinner tomorrow night, and they'd like it if you came." When I didn't respond she added, "It's just that we've been together almost nine months, and they haven't even seen you. It's this or graduation next month."
I cleared my throat and tried to think of something to say. I didn't want to meet them, but how do you tell the one person you think you might love that you don't want to meet her parents? That you don't want to take that step?
"I'd love to." I answered, sounding as happy as I could manage.
Esme's eyes lit up. "Really?"
She jumped into my arms and hugged me tightly.
"I love you." She whispered.
I tried my best not to tense up, but I knew I'd failed when she pulled back.
"You don't have to say it back." She rushed out. "Meeting the parents is a big deal, and I know you might not love me right now, but you're trying, right?"
My chest constricted and just nodded.
"Carlisle, is okay if we just meet at the restaurant?" She walked out of my bedroom the next afternoon. "The dress I want to wear is at my apartment, so I'm going to get ready over there, alright?"
She must have noticed my tense disposition and decided to give me some time to myself because I knew for a fact that she'd planned on wearing slacks to dinner. She'd put her outfit together last night.
I didn't say that though, I just nodded before I walked over to her. I brushed a piece of hair behind her ear and kissed her sweetly. Savoring the feel of her lips and her taste.
"I'll meet you there." I gave her a hug, and she squeezed me tight and inhaled deeply.
Esme kissed me again and then turned to leave, before she got to the door I pulled her into my arms again and memorized everything I could, her smell, her taste, the feel of her body against mine.
"I'll see you soon, Esme."
She smiled and left.
I stood in the hall for a few minutes and rubbed the spot above my heart. Then I went to the bedroom.
Instead of picking out clothes for the dinner, I grabbed the suitcase from the top shelf and began to pack my clothes.
After Esme had fallen asleep last night, I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave. I needed to make sure that this is what I wanted, that this life would be enough for me.
I didn't tell her because I couldn't bear to see her cry, and even though it was selfish of me, I didn't want to say goodbye to her like that.
I shook my head and finished packing my things. I was going to Portland and stay in my parents home. It was the only thing I'd had from them, and I figured I would use it now.
Take some time, start over, and make sure this is what my life should be like.
I walked the bedside table and wrote a small note to Esme.
My eyes started to water a little, as I stared at the sheet of paper.
What do you tell someone when you know you'll break their heart?
I'm sorry. I tried.
I just need some time.
I left her three sentences and my name. No promise of coming home or calling her. I didn't tell her where I was going.
I lay the paper on her pillow, grabbed my suitcase, and left my life behind.
I had been in Portland for a month before I went out to a bar to find work.
I quit my office job in Seattle, and I had enough money to pay for the utilities on the house without working right away. The money ran out though, so I started my second month in Portland working nights either playing or bartending.
It was just the same.
Loud music, crowded bar, lots of woman.
I wasn't the same though.
It didn't hold the same appeal at all. None of the girls were that attractive and for every pair of blue or green eyes I saw, my mind flashed dark brown eyes and tan skin in my mind.
After my sets, I'd walk among them and talk briefly before I went to the bar to have a drink. As I lay in bed at night, the ache that had been present in my chest since I'd left Seattle, since I'd left Esme, burned.
This wasn't how I remembered things. I had fun before, I enjoyed my life. Now, there was something missing, and I was too stubborn to admit that it was her.
I hadn't been gone that long.
I needed more time. I needed to make sure.
The next month was just the same. It just didn't make me happy anymore.
I loved playing, but I didn't like being alone. I missed how Esme would make dinner for us or make fun of me for being cocky. These women that hit on me, they only complimented me, even when I was rude, and I seriously doubted that they could cook.
Esme was mysterious and modest. I missed modesty; I missed getting a little playful peak of cleavage, instead of the blatant display of breasts that I saw nightly.
It had been three months since I'd left, and I decided to go home.
In this time away, I realized three important things. The first was that Seattle was my home. The last two revolved around the girl, the beautiful, bashful, spitfire that had invited me into her life and changed me completely.
I was in love with Esme Platt, and I wanted to share a life with her.
I got into Seattle on a Monday morning. It was nice outside and the sun was shining.
I was nervous; I was excited, I was so sure of my feelings for her.
I only realized then that when I'd felt this earlier, when I'd first held her, it was love, not indecision. I read it wrong because I didn't know what it was.
Now, I knew, and I needed to tell her. I would beg if I had to.
I walked up the steps to her apartment, and knocked lightly.
I waited for a minute, and then knocked again. It was fairly early, so I figured she could have been sleeping in.
I had been waiting for thirty minutes, when I had decided that she must have been at her parents or somewhere else…
She wouldn't have found someone so soon, right?
As I walked into the lobby, I noticed a woman standing in front of the building. She had dark brown hair and when she turned toward the door, I knew immediately that this was Esme's mom. I had seen her picture on Esme's walls.
Not really knowing how to find Esme, I walked toward her. I had no idea what to say or how to act, but I knew that she could tell me where to find Esme, and that's all I cared about.
She looked up at me with those same brown eyes when I got in her path.
"Excuse me." She tried to walk around me, but I moved.
"You're Esme's mom, right?" I tried to smile. I knew she didn't know who I was. How could she? I ran before I met her.
"Um, yes." She looked stricken for a moment then asked, "How did you know Esme?"
I opened my mouth and closed it twice. I really didn't know what to call myself or how to explain what Esme and I were to each other. I finally just said, "I'm Carlisle."
Mrs. Platt's eyes went wide and then she bit her bottom lip, hard.
"We should go up to Mae's apartment and talk."
"I don't think she's home." I replied, but she just walked past me to the stairs.
I followed her silently, and she took out keys to open the door.
I walked into Esme's home for the first time in over three months.
"Have a seat, please."
I was thinking too hard to notice my surroundings, but I got to the couch and took a seat.
I started in immediately. "I know that I didn't make a good impression before, but I love Esme, and I want to make this up to her. I shouldn't have left like I did, and I should have called and talked to her. I handled it all wrong, and I'm sorry. I'm hoping that you'll tell me where she's at."
I looked at Esme's mom for the first time since I sat down. She had tears streaking down her cheeks.
A sense of dread worked its way up my spine, and I let out a shuttering breath as she spoke.
"While you were gone, there was an accident."
My jaw tightened, and I clenched my fists as she continued, "Esme and her father were on their way from Tacoma. They were visiting her grandmother. I had to stay for work, so I wasn't with them. I'm not completely sure what happened, but the police seem to think it was the rain. A car hydroplaned into their lane…"
I watched her mouth move. I heard noises, I'm sure they were words and supposed to make sense, but they didn't.
My chest collapsed, and I fought for breath. I looked at her mother and knew she was still speaking, "It was quick. They were both gone before the ambulances got there…"
There were more noises, but this time it sounded horrifying and loud, and I realized that I had started sobbing.
My body shook, and I wrapped my arms around myself.
"No. No." I repeated it over and over like it would reverse what had happened, like it would change what she was telling me.
She was crying silently, and I spoke before I knew what I was saying, "When?" Mrs. Platt was too calm; it must have been a weeks since Esme had…
I couldn't think the word.
"The accident was three weeks ago." She was trying to pull herself together.
I jumped off the couch.
I wanted to come home then. I should have come home. I made myself stay there. I told myself I needed more time.
I paced for a long time, and when I couldn't stand, I walked myself to Esme's room and planned to lie on the bed, but the room was empty.
That's when I really looked around. Everything was gone, everything but the couch and the TV. There were a few boxes lining the hall.
I talked with Mrs. Platt long enough to find out where Esme was and turned to leave.
"Carlisle." I stopped and turned towards her. I was still crying, but I reined in my noises. I have a feeling that I would be crying for a long time. "I found this on her desk." She reached in her purse and held out an envelope. "It has your name on it."
I took it and held it tightly to my chest.
"I'm sorry." I choked out.
She nodded and I left.
I walked through a park, across a street, and beside a church before I found where she was.
As I traced her name on the granite, I remembered her letter. I opened it and read.
You're gone. I'm not sure when you'll come back or even if you will, but I want you to know that it's okay.
I never expected you to stay for long, and I never wanted to force you into something you didn't want. I didn't push you because I knew you would leave sooner. I guess it was selfish of me, but I really do love you, and any time was better than no time at all. Still, I hope you find what you are missing, even if it's not me.
The last few months were wonderful, and I'll always hold them close to my heart. Even if you never come back, you'll still be the first man I ever really loved.
Despite everything, how we met, how you were before, how you left, I think I should tell you that I've never thought you weren't good inside.
You are a good man. You're conceited as hell, but you are truly good. I'm happy that I had the time with you that I did, and I'm not bitter about it. I hope you come back though.
If you do come home to me, I'll probably slap you or try and kick you in the balls because you shouldn't have left how you did, but when you come back I will welcome you with open arms.
I know this is stupid, writing you a letter that you'll never read, but it kind of feels like you are hearing me when I write, even if you're not here. Like I'm getting my piece out.
So I'll tell you this again, find yourself then please, find me.
All my love,
I choked back a sob and leaned my head against the cool stone.
"I found me, but without you, it doesn't matter."
I trailed my hand over the grooves and I lay on the ground beside her.
"I found you." I whispered again as I closed my eyes. The pain took over then, but before I was finally granted with blackness, I realized that I'd never told her I loved her and I'd never get the chance.
19 years later
I made sure the letter was tucked safely in the water tight baggy before zipping into my inside jacket pocket. I was tremendously careful with it. I only opened it to look at the words once a year the rest of the time it was hidden away, so it wouldn't tear or rip. I had it memorized anyway, so looking at the words wasn't necessary. Seeing her handwriting was.
A gust of cold air made me wrap my arms tightly around my stomach. It was getting colder and Seattle was harsh, but I stayed outside.
The only person that ever made me feel at home was placed outside, so why shouldn't I be there as well?
I noticed a neon sign up ahead, and decided to duck in for a few minutes. I'd probably get kicked out within the hour, but it would be worth it to get warm again.
I chose a corner booth that was partially hidden in shadows. The less noticeable I was, the smaller the chance I'd get kicked out.
I started to nod off when a soft voice brought me back.
"Can I get you anything?"
I looked up and all I saw were brown eyes. For a moment, I'd thought I'd died and was seeing Esme again, but when I really looked at this girl, I saw the differences.
Still, they were comforting, those brown eyes.
"No, thank you." I shook my head and looked at the table.
"Alright, but if you need anything just call me over. I'm Bella." She turned and walked away.
I swallowed down the lump in my throat as my thoughts took me back in time to place where I was happy.
A few minutes went by and I heard something get placed on the table. When I looked up, I saw the girl from before, Bella.
"It's just water and some peanuts. You're here so you might as well look busy, you know? Hiding like this just makes you seem really obvious."
I laughed. For the first time in years, I laughed.
She was kind and had a big heart. She was also so beautiful, and I thought that if I'd stayed with Esme, that if she were alive, Bella could have been our daughter. I would have wanted our children to look like Esme.
I shook my head and took a sip of my water.
"Thank you, Bella."
She smiled and before she turned to leave I stuck out my hand.
So how'd you like the look at how Car became Carlisle? I'd love to hear your thoughts. As of right now, I don't have any other outtakes planned, but if there was something you'd like to see them feel to free to ask.
Thank you all for reading and reviewing. I never thought I'd have as many reviews as I have, so it really means a lot that you enjoyed the story enough to tell me your favorite parts or that it was a good chapter.
Thank you to Ebalways who rec'd me on the last chapter of The Hostage. It's a great fic and she's a really wonderful writer and friend. If you're not reading, you should go check it out!
Thank you again!