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Fair warning: this story is not all happy fluff. There's plenty of happy fluff in it, but there's also some very disturbing violence. Physical and emotional abuse are a big part of this story, and at times it gets pretty graphic. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever suffered abuse, because I know reminders can be hard to take. You know what your triggers are, and you know whether you can handle reading a fic like this, so this is the only warning I'll give to that effect.
I will say, however, that more than one person who has a history of abuse has found value in Bella's journey the way it is presented here. I love that, and if you feel like you can handle the graphic scenes, I invite you to come along. "[F]iction is fact, distilled into truth." (Edward Albee) That's why it matters. Shared experiences, whether painful or pleasurable, bind the human race together and make us stronger.
And finally, a note on the size of the story. Yes, it really is 111 chapters, and almost 430,000 words. That's roughly the equivalent of reading the first three Twilight books, plus most of Bree Tanner. I honestly have no idea how it got that long. Who knew I was even capable of writing so much? So yeah, it's daunting, and there are people who have chosen not to read based on size alone. I understand that. It is broken up into short, manageable chapters, though, which makes it an easier read, and I hope that helps.
If you've read all this and still decide you want to read this little (ha!) twiddle, I hope you enjoy it! I sure enjoyed writing it.
Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight, but Carlisle Cullen owns me.
Bad Moon Rising
Carlisle Cullen's Point of View
I sat in my study, staring at the paintings that adorned the walls without really seeing them. My mind was on the police chief's daughter, and on Edward–my son, my friend, and my first real companion in this life. I was worried.
I had heard from the very active local grapevine that Charlie Swan's daughter would be moving in with him. That wasn't surprising; few people in town hadn't heard. I had found myself contemplating whether it would really be a healthy situation for the chief or for his daughter. I knew nothing of her, of course, but I was quite familiar with Charlie. He was a reclusive man, rough in manner and somewhat short-tempered. He was effective in his position on the police force, but he had seen a life of violence both as a child, and now as an adult working in law enforcement. My mind had briefly flitted across contemplations on the cycle of abuse, a thought that seemed almost ironic to me now.
Ironic, because I had worried for the safety of the girl. I should have been worried about the damage she could do to my family.
Isabella Swan. No more than a child, but hazardous, nonetheless.
A few days ago, Edward had come home more distraught than I had seen him in decades, bringing the tale of the new girl in school and her compelling scent. Though I had never experienced it myself, I had often heard tales of the rare but extraordinary chemical reaction that a member of our species occasionally had to a seemingly-random human's scent. Even my own Emmett had experienced the phenomenon twice. Edward had been convinced that if he had to face the girl again, he would not be able to resist killing her.
He had fled, taking Esme with him, and leaving me feeling wrong-footed. It had been a very long time since I had been without his company, and I didn't care for it. I loved my other children more than words could ever express, but no one else would ever know me like Edward did, and no one else would ever understand how it unnerved me to be without the one man who could truly know my mind. Even I, fond as I was of him, hadn't realized how much I had come to depend on his understanding until he was not there to give it.
And Esme. Daughter, partner, friend, and confidant. Esme had been with me nearly as long as Edward. My success with his change had made me brave, and when I came across the exquisitely beautiful Esme, so near death, I decided to try again. I never would have voiced the secret hope I carried within me, that this lovely creature might be a partner to me. For several days, while Edward was away on a short trip, I tenderly schooled the loving, empathetic woman in the peculiar beliefs of our small coven, and I was pleased when she took to them quickly. My hope grew.
And then Edward returned, and my newfound sense of comfort and family slipped away from me.
The moment the two of them saw one another, the world moved for them. Of course I tried not to begrudge my dearest friend and this new, gentle woman the happiness that they had found with one another, but the feeling of belonging I had cherished so much with Edward could never be completely reestablished. It was even harder knowing that he was witness to every moment of my bitterness and anger, feelings that I never would have allowed him to see had I been at liberty to hide them.
We never spoke of my feelings. Edward tried once to apologize for the way things had happened, but I wouldn't hear it. He had done nothing wrong, and given the option he would not have cultivated anything more than a friendship with Esme. Sometimes, for our kind, there simply wasn't a choice.
I was long over the bitterness now, though, and felt only love for Edward and Esme. Given Esme's apparent age, she often posed as my wife in public, which resulted in a friendship nearly as intimate as the one I enjoyed with Edward.
When the two of them left, they removed my strongest supports, and I felt unstable without them.
I was relieved when Edward called me to tell me that they were coming home. Enough that I did not advise them to stay in Alaska with our cousins, though perhaps I should have. As I pondered the situation now, I wondered if my selfishness in the matter would cause problems for us. Esme had suggested that Edward cultivate a friendship with the Swan girl, in the hopes that a fondness for her would strengthen his resolve not to harm her. It was exactly the method I had used to convince each of my children to eschew the natural diet of our kind. I urged them to hang onto their humanity, and think of humans not as prey, but as family, friends, and neighbors.
It was effective, and Esme had high hopes for Edward's self-control.
I hoped my own reservations wouldn't weaken his resolve. If only I could hide them from him, and let him believe I had nothing but confidence in him. If only I could really have such confidence, the way Esme did. My son had never accidentally killed, had never tasted human blood without deliberately choosing to do so. But would dangling such exquisite temptation in front of him, day after day, really be wise?
Was there a way to warn the police chief of the danger to his daughter without endangering my own family?
And so I sat, alone in my study, searching for ways to avert disaster.