Summary: Written for the Canon Christmas contest on ADF. EPOV. Esme wants her first Christmas with Carlisle and Edward to be perfect, but Edward couldn't care less. Or so he thinks.
A/N: This is posting a bit late, but I was out of town and very busy during Christmas. Better late than never, right? I am currently working on IDGMBTT for those anxiously awaiting that story- I'm doing my best after moving my family nearly 800 miles into a completely different state, so I appreciate your patience:)
Thanks too, to Justine Lark for looking over this, and for telling me about the contest:)
Cinnamon, cloves, apples, and a new stethoscope from Paris… It seemed a ridiculous shopping list for a coven of vampires. It was nearly as absurd as the things running through the heads of the humans around me.
"Merry Christmas!" Kid looks frozen…
"Happy Christmas!" Poor boy looks lost…
I forced the blank expression from my face and tried to look more attentive to the human passers-by. Esme had teased me just yesterday that I needed to work on my facial expressions while I was eavesdropping. As if I could help what I heard. It wasn't something I could readily control yet, but I was close. I had been working hard on tuning things out. But, much to my chagrin, of all the aspects of my gift that I had yet to master, it was appearing as though I wasn't lost in my own or someone else's thoughts that was the most challenging.
Snow began to fall as I continued towards home. The humans around me delighted at the first frozen flakes to fall from the sky; to them it was a sign that Christmas was coming soon. As if the pungent odors of pine sap and spiced cider weren't enough…
I shook my head trying to dispel my jaded thoughts as I tried to remember that this was Esme's first Christmas with us, and she was anxiously trying to make the house festive by draping pine boughs across the mantle and simmering a kettle of apple cider over the fire. The cloying smell of the apples clung to my clothing such that I could still smell the fumes even after running errands for Esme at a torturous human pace for more than two hours now.
In the three years we had been companions, Carlisle and I had been content to just let Christmas pass us by. We had gone hunting and gorged ourselves on our own brand of feast, but we hadn't bothered with gifts or decorations. For two bachelors such as ourselves, it suited us perfectly. But Esme wouldn't hear of it. I had to admit that I felt a glimmer of excitement at the appearance of the wrapped gifts under the tree that Esme had convinced Carlisle and me to wrestle into the parlor three nights previous. Not that anything within the concealing paper was a surprise to me.
Nearing the town limits, I was glad to feel the clamor of the city leave my head. I relaxed and began to pick up my pace while avoiding the deepest bogs, cursing the fact that Carlisle drove our only car to the hospital. The sodden dirt lane that led to our old farmhouse was quickly becoming coated in snow as the flurry began to come down harder. Looking at the road, I could just make out the tracks left by Carlisle when he had driven home earlier that afternoon. But, there were also much deeper ruts straddling the center of the road; there had been a heavy truck along the way as well.
I shook my head and rolled my eyes at the thought of Carlisle acquiring another antique for Esme's ever growing collection. Very soon we wouldn't have room for ourselves, let alone another spindly table or wardrobe.
I slowed as the house came into view. Aware that Carlisle had only recently arrived home I reached out for their minds. I had no desire to walk in on anything potentially mortifying for any of us. Witnessing their activities in their memories was bad enough.
But, I was met with… singing… from both of them. Two discordant renditions of Jingle Bells, sung in inky blackness… It was almost as though they were sitting with their eyes closed… Why on earth two grown adults would be sitting with their eyes closed, singing annoyingly out-of-sync carols was beyond me.
Cautiously, I opened the door and wrinkled my nose as I was hit full-force by the scent of pine and cider once more. I followed the sounds of my coven- I could not call them my parents, though they yearned to fill that role for me. They were sitting in the parlor, but that was not what caused me to freeze in place.
Carlisle and Esme were sitting atop my piano bench. The one I had left behind in Chicago when I had shut-up my family house and turned my back on everything within it. The two of them stood up, smiling exuberantly and gesturing to the elegant baby grand piano that Elizabeth Masen had taught me to play on. I dimly recalled playing Christmas carols by candle-light on this very piano as my mother and father and perhaps my extended family- I couldn't exactly remember who they were- sang along.
Wordlessly, I slowly, reverently made my way over to the instrument that I had thought I would never see or touch again. I leaned forward and inhaled; mixed with the wood and ivory were the faint tinges of lavender and peppermint. I closed my eyes and let out all my breath in one shuddering exhale as those forgotten scents brought one word to mind.
Speechless, I opened my eyes and caressed the keys, allowing a simple, perfectly tuned chord to ring in the silence of the room.
I hope you don't mind, Edward, thought the man who desperately wanted to be my father.
I turned around to see Esme smiling, grasping Carlisle's hand as he smiled too.
"We thought that perhaps you were ready to play on a real instrument," she explained. I smiled ruefully. Only in the last year and a half had I managed to keep myself from damaging or destroying the upright pianos that Carlisle continually supplied me with.
Merry Christmas, they thought in unison. They had achieved the impossible; they had surprised a mind reader. I felt my frozen heart soften. I couldn't help but think that perhaps someday, I could bring myself to call these loving people my parents.
For now, all I could say was, "Thank you."
Thanks for reading!