From the Sand to the Sky
by Mackenzie L.
The story of how Esme gets her island, told from Esme's point of view.
*The Twilight Saga and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Vampires cannot dream. Without sleep, there was no time for dreams.
But even in a state of being wide awake, the creative mind could still conjure images and feelings that transcended the tangible world.
There were many mornings where I would lay in my husband's arms in our bed, staring up at the ceiling with unfocused eyes. What I saw was not the smooth wooden rafters above us, but a hidden vista of colors and lights that ribboned within a fantasy behind my gaze. I was free to look upon this fantasy world which no one around me could see.
Sometimes Carlisle would ask me what I was looking at, and I had to answer him truthfully.
I was in denial that dreams were impossible for me. I could dream whenever I wanted, and better yet, I could control my dreams from within my own mind. I could imagine the most dangerous and thrilling and fantastical scenarios, all while tucked safely in Carlisle's arms, my head at rest on his shoulder.
"What are you dreaming about, love?" he would humor me in his gentle voice, and I was helpless to tell him everything I saw behind my eyes.
It was a glorious challenge to explain the colors and sights and sounds of my dreams to him, but nothing had stopped me from trying. He listened so intently that I felt all my efforts were worth it. Somehow I knew Carlisle was able to see everything as I did - just as clearly, just as vividly.
And when I offered him my dreams, he offered me his in return.
Our nights together went by slowly, with a pace that matched that of oils drying on canvas. For the slow pace, we were both grateful. There was so little time to spend with one another during the day, so little time when we could retreat to silence and have only the company of each other. It was the time we had been given to renew our intimacy, even if all we did was lay still in each other's arms and watch the stars sink into the night outside our window.
Before the sun rose that morning, my husband silently slipped from my arms to disappear among the shadows of our bedroom, his footsteps leading him around the carpet in an unknown path. Though my heart protested, I let him leave me, understanding that sometimes solitude still called to him, asking for a moment to think alone.
I watched his silhouette against the dark blue glow of the window as he gracefully dressed himself in loose fitting clothes and drew the curtains to protect me from the sun that would soon intrude. I saw his arm raise to the top of the dresser to pick his journal out of the mess of books. The soft song of his footsteps slowed by my bedside as he paused to lean over me, brushing his lips against my forehead. He would never depart our room without leaving a piece of his love behind.
Beneath the feathery weight of his kiss, I closed my eyes in contentment and let him go.
My mind drifted away into dreams again, only this time I felt slightly empty without him leaning over my shoulder, asking me to share with him every mystery behind my closed eyes. I listened to the sounds of Carlisle leaving the house, the thoughtful scratch of Edward's pen on notebook paper downstairs, the quiet mumbles of Rosalie and Emmett as they conspired a way to get the house to themselves later this afternoon.
I sighed as I turned my face to the window Carlisle had covered with the curtains. I could see the slow ascent of the sun through them, peeking between the draped fabric. A single sliver of promising golden light leaked through the slit, touching my arm where it lay on the pillow.
After twenty-six days without a drop of sunshine, I could not spend one more second in a dark room by myself.
Hastily, I pulled myself out of bed, gathering my blouse and stockings as I made my way around the room. I dressed hurriedly and sailed down the stairs, reaching the front door that begged me to open it.
The breeze that tickled my brow as I stepped outside that morning was chilly, reminding me of the season soon to change. The wind picked up as I closed the door behind me, fragrant with the crisp and comforting scents of late autumn. Around my ankles, ruby colored leaves were dancing lazily, encouraging me to pick up my pace as I rushed to meet my husband at the edge of the glassy pond in our backyard.
Carlisle stood still by the water, like a beautiful blond statue as he savored his time of reflection. I did not have to see his face to know the pensive expression that would paint his familiar features as he watched the silent scenery before him. I could see it in my mind, quite perfectly. His brow would be furrowed ever so slightly, the corner of his lip raised just a tad; his eyes would be half-closed as he watched the gentle ripples on the surface of the pond, his hands linked together in an unaware prayer, resting against his midriff.
Eager to see if I was correct, I hurried along as the leaves chased after my feet, my steps leaving imprints in the soft brown grass. I noticed his journal laying on the ground, several feet away from where he was standing, and I smiled to myself.
"Who knew we would be getting sunshine today?" I said as I stepped up to my husband's side.
He looked down at me with a grateful smile and tucked one arm around my waist to pull me close.
"You're thinking very hard about something," I whispered knowingly after a moment, my hand making methodical circles across his stomach.
"You know me so well," he said above me, his voice delicate and filled with awe.
I reached over to squeeze his hand. "Tell me what's on your mind," I suggested quietly.
The distant melody of birds in the trees above us filled the silence as he hesitated for a moment.
"I've just been wondering about something for a while, now."
I tilted my head up to see his face. "Hm? What were you wondering?"
His eyes flickered tentatively over the scene in front of him before he looked back to me. "It's going to sound fairly silly and a little strange to you."
"Only the best thoughts are so," I assured him.
He smiled more broadly then, and after giving my face a very long and honest stare, he asked, "If you could have your very own island, what would it be like?"
It was such a ridiculous question I all but laughed. He was so eager, so wistful in his curiosity that I couldn't resist the urge to indulge him a bit.
"Hmm. Let me think, now..." I humored him, squinting my eyes in thought. "It would have to be someplace very warm. Nowhere dreadful like the Arctic circle."
He chuckled. "Obviously."
"It would be exotic. Like those pictures you see in travel catalogues, only it would be full of color. And wild birds. I love birds."
"What else do you love?" he asked intimately, gently tugging my hands to bring me down into the grass beside him.
"Trees. I love trees. Lots of trees, so I can never run out of new ones to climb."
"Go on." He leaned back contentedly in the grass, as if listening to me ramble were somehow relaxing. His golden eyes were eager as he waited for me to continue, the sunlight leaving diamonds to twinkle over his skin.
I plucked the blades of grass from under my hand one by one as I spoke, "I'd want everything to be bright, from the sand to the sky. Everything would look like a living painting, and the sun would shine practically every day...and no one but you or I would ever visit the island... "
"What else?" he pressed, hanging on my every word.
I looked to him doubtfully, at a loss for anything I could have possibly missed in my description.
"You're the finest artist I know. Paint me a picture, Esme."
"Are you suggesting that I stretch out a canvas and create an entire map of this island?" I had said it in jest, but my husband took such things far too literally.
"I wish you would!"
"Oh, really, Carlisle."
Compared to the rather melancholy state in which I had found him, he was now in a frightfully playful mood. I gaped at him as he sat up to tear out a page from his journal and he practically shoved his fountain pen into my hand.
"Then just sketch it out for me here, will you?"
I reserved a moment for a fit of laughter. "You're asking me to sketch you an island?"
"Yes, sketch away," he said enthusiastically, bringing my hand down until the tip of the pen met the paper.
I obediently sketched the rough outline of an irregularly shaped piece of land, and drew tiny waves in the ocean around it. I felt odd harnessing the power of the peacock blue ink - I had always joked with Carlisle that no one could manage to make such a wild color look as elegant as he did.
"How's that?" I asked as I finished coloring the ocean.
"Beautiful. Now what's on the island?"
"Hm, I think I'd like lots of trees over here..." I sketched in a cluster of palms on one side of the island. "And over here, I think I'd want a waterfall."
He leaned closer to my shoulder as I scribbled, and my hand grew slightly unsteady.
"And under the waterfall I'd want a pool where I could swim, and a cave behind the waterfall where I could hide when it rains."
"Lovely…" Carlisle murmured encouragingly.
"Of course, I'd need a house to live in…So that would be over here," I muttered half to myself as I quickly drew in a small house by the trees. Deciding it was too small for my liking, I discreetly extended the walls with my pen, making it just a tad more luxurious to better fit my tastes.
"Don't get too carried away now..." he whispered with a sweet kiss to my cheek, which I supposed was his way of softening the blow.
"Why not?" I asked quietly in challenge. "It's only a dream."
His eyes glittered under the fiery autumn sunshine. "Sometimes dreams can become real."
Oddly enough, I did not give this statement much thought from that moment on. I had guessed he was only trying to be unnecessarily romantic as a ploy to receive urgent kisses from me. Which he did.
I had barely given a second thought to that late autumn morning we had spent by the pond, drawing up foolish little maps of islands that did not exist.
There was never a time when I considered myself in any way dissatisfied with my life since welcoming Emmett and Rosalie into our family. I had three children who loved me dearly, a husband who loved me even more dearly, and countless reasons for existing that I had never dreamed of having before.
With a life such as this, there was no gift I could receive that would make my joy any greater.
This was what I had assumed.
Little did I know, my husband had set out to prove that I was most mistaken.