ps - This story is totally canon. It's just my interpretation, not what I think should have happened. Just making that clear.Acknowledgements: Mackenzie L. for some of the best C+E ffics I have EVER READ and skylarkz for being an awesome friend/reader/reviewerDisclaimer: *ahem* I would just like to say that I had CONSIDERABLE help from the partial draft of Midnight Sun, and that a LOT of dialogue is from the books of the twilight saga. None of which are, unfortunately, mine.
ok, time for me to shut up and let you get on with the story. Sorry. they won't be this long in future I promiseChapter One: The New Girl
It was a quiet day at the hospital. A broken wrist, an ankle sprain…nothing much out of the ordinary. That is, until Edward called in.
"Edward?" I wondered aloud; Edward hardly ever called me at work, let alone came into the building, and never in the middle of the school day. Unless…oh, no. I pulled him into my office.
"I have to go, Carlisle," Edward started. "I have to go now."
"What's happened?" I asked, trying not to let the worry show up in my voice. We had been so careful, for so long…Edward had never slipped up: not while he was staying with me. Dear God…
"Nothing. Yet," he said, glancing around anxiously. "But it will, if I stay."
Oh, Edward. I knew you were strong enough…Scolding myself for my doubt, I reached for his arm, still unsure of what to say. He cringed away from my hand, and I let it drop. Though Edward and I shared no physical traits other than those our condition and diet allowed, I had begun to draw various similarities between us. Particularly, we shared guilty consciences: we could not accept forgiveness when we were not ready to forgive ourselves. But he hadn't done anything, so what was to forgive?
"I don't understand," I said. Please, Edward…stay. He drew a deep breath and looked at me with wild, almost panicked eyes.
"Have you ever…has there ever been a time…"he experimented with the words on his tongue, but they were coming out wrong. "Has any one person ever smelled better to you than the rest of them? Much better?"
"Oh," was all I could say. I recalled Esme all those years ago, lying so still; so fragile. Her scent was so sweet and so strong that it nearly killed me to let her live. I shiver ran down my spine when I remembered what I had done to her…how she shuddered and convulsed under me as my venom coursed through her. How she moaned in pain, how she tried with dying limbs to push me away. My dear Esme, too weak to even scream as I allowed the thirst to drive me to bite again. In an early 20th century cottage bedroom, the sweetest blood in the world ran down my throat, and standing in my doctors' office nearly a century later, I tasted it again. Edward's face fell with shame. I reached out for him, wishing to relieve him of his torment by any means necessary. He recoiled from me again, but I left my hand on his shoulder.
"Do what you must to resist, son," I hated every word coming out of my mouth, but it had to be done. Even if it meant leaving Esme and I again. Even if it meant I had to be the one to watch her face fall as she realised her son had left again. "I will miss you," I told him. "Here, take my car, it's faster."
I pressed the keys into his hand. This is right. She'll live now. Everything will be okay. I don't know whether I was thinking to myself or to Edward as I watched the familiar black car disappear. I remembered the sheer relief on Esme's face as she threw her arms around Edward after his return from years away. His eyes were bright scarlet, lost and angry at the same time, but Esme could still tell him it didn't matter, that she loved him no matter what.
"Promise me you'll never leave again," she had practically sobbed. Her words echoed in my head as I sunk into my chair. I remembered in flashes the growing stack of newspapers that recorded Edward's killings…a collection I had made an effort to hide from Edward. This is different, I told myself. This time he's leaving to save someone. But how long will it last? No, Carlisle, don't think like that…he'll manage, of course he will. He's leaving, remember?
Of course I remembered; how could I forget?
My son was leaving.
Driving home in Edward's Volvo, I was infinitely glad of my extraordinary senses; with a human's awareness, I would very likely have crashed. I was at the same time bursting with happiness and pride that my son had been able to resist as I was falling apart with worry for him and Esme the others. When I reached the drive, I stopped so fast the screech rang out. I was inside in less than a second. Esme flew straight into my arms, silent, and I held her against my chest and waited for her to stop shaking.
"He's leaving again, isn't he?" Esme asked, finally standing.
"It's for the best, Esme," Alice assured her. "He'll be back, you'll see."
"Her name is Isabella Swan," Jasper explained, still a little stiff, though not as uncomfortable as he was at school. "She really does smell delicious." He looked ashamed for having drawn that conclusion, but Alice danced cheerfully over to him.
"Don't worry, Jazz," she said. "You wouldn't have done anything. But I did see-"
"You were wrong," Rosalie growled. Esme fidgeted, disquieted by the tense atmosphere.
"What did you see, Alice?" I asked politely. Rosalie huffed.
"Bella was one of us. She isn't yet, but she will be…" Alice said.
"It's Isabella. She's human, Alice; she's not friend material," Rosalie reminded her sister.
"She said she prefers Bella. And if Edward goes to such lengths to protect her, she must be worthy to be someone's friend."
"I wish you wouldn't make such a big deal out of this," Rosalie interrupted, stalking out of the shadows, scowling. "She's really quite plain, you know, and far too awkward…she'd make a very clumsy vampire." Emmett laughed.
"Yeah – she was shaking like a leaf this morning, and have you checked out her truck?"
"Emmett, really-" Esme scolded.
"It shouldn't matter-" I started simultaneously.
"Vampire or not, she's going to be my friend," Alice stated cheerfully.
"I'll attack before any of you, I always do," Jasper hung his head.
"She won't be one of us!" Rosalie cut us all off. "This one isn't your choice." She gave me a dark glare, reminding me of every word she'd ever spoken against me and what I had done to her, then turned and stormed out of the house.
"C'mon babe," Emmett started, chasing her.
"Oh, dear," Esme whispered, shocked and sympathetic. "I wish she wouldn't do that. But I think she is right about this Bella girl…perhaps we would be best to leave too." Behind her words was another meaning: as much as she wanted to protect the innocents here – which she didn't count herself among, but did include me – she hoped Edward would be able to return to us. I hoped for it too, but I knew we had to stay. None of our decisions would result in the girl being changed unless it was to leave her unprotected.
"He'll come back, love," I assured her, kissing her smooth hair as I fought to hold onto Alice's words; he'll be back, you'll see…