The Waterfall at Dawn

by Mackenzie L.

*Twilight Saga and characters belong to Stephenie Meyer

Rising from her bed, she notices it. A mysterious white corner peeking out from her jewelry box by the mirror. She approaches the vanity slowly, drowsily, her thin fingers making a sluggish trail over the rough, grainy texture of the oak-wood dresser. The scent of the wood is sweet and comforting, like earth, and makes her long for the outdoors. Her eyes furrow in confusion as she appraises the peculiarity, and with precarious fingers she withdraws a thin paper note from her treasure box.

The letter is from him.

Dear Esme,

I fear that by the time you have discovered this note, the sun will be strong in the sky. If however, fate has led your gentle fingers to find it before the sun has risen, I make for you a most passionate request.

There is a waterfall, not far from where you are. It takes a cunning one to find it, hidden as it is, deep in the forest . . . but I know you are wise enough to seek it out. You will hear it from afar, and its delicate but steady song will lead you in a most true path. You will know the trickling trance of its waters when you hear it; like a most pure dream it will sound to you, but you must not let it seduce you into slumber.

If you are attentive enough, you may catch its humid fragrance upon the air. If you rush, you shall miss it, so be wise and search slowly, dear Esme. Its holy perfume will cool your senses and fill your heart with hope.

When you reach the site of this hidden waterfall, you may fail to see it first with your own two eyes. It will be veiled by a curtain of poisonous plants, but do not let this fearsome foliage dissuade you, my dear. Battle the brush if you must; stomp the stones if you see no other way through. Meet me at the waterfall at dawn . . . Find this waterfall, and I shall be there waiting for you.

Most sincerely yours,

Doctor C. Cullen

She reads his name at the end of the letter; three times it is worthy of a sweeping caress of her eyes.

When she sleeps at night, he fills her every dream. When she opens her eyes in the mornings, his warm amber gaze is the first sight she sees. They are so very far apart right now, yet she still feels him beside her, like yesterday was the day he held her ankle on his knee and touched her forehead with his tender, chilly fingers.

She presses the note to her breast and wills his words to sink inside her heart. Her eyes close as she listens to the first waking birds outside her window. The land is calling to her – the trees and the grass and the embryo of a sun still shy upon the horizon.

If his promise is to be trusted, he will find her if she seeks him out.

Excited at the prospect of such a devious adventure, Esme tears her robe from the wardrobe to cover her flimsy nightdress. She wraps her limbs in the sleek white fabric and raises her foot to climb out her bedroom window.

A conveniently placed branch of a tree welcomes her, and aids her descent to the moist grass below. The dewdrops kiss her toes as she touches them to the ground, and her lungs are filled with the rich, clean perfumes of springtime.

The world around her is alive and thrumming along with her excitement. The pulsing she feels through her entire body must be contagious, for the leaves are trembling, the pebbles are quaking, and the fog is thinning around her ankles. She is foolish for running free through the forest without shoes, but this freedom is intoxicating and too delightful for her own good. She cannot help but savor it.

The forest on an early spring morning can only be described as enchanting. Yet such a weak description this is...

Silken rays of weary sunlight slide through the tops of trees, like the gown of a vigilant angel, translucent and warm. They pierce through the darkness and cause the buttercups on the ground to glow where they fall.

The colors are delicate, yet vibrant all around her, dancing with every step she takes, like a tapestry of sparkling threads. Witchy purples and mossy greens and heroic browns. Orange and yellow and pink like tiny pins on the stones. The colors of fire stroking through the gnarly but whimsical roots of the trees.

Life everywhere is awakening as she pounds the earth in her breathless journey – birds chirping, locusts buzzing, shining spores flurrying through the heady air. There is a war between the chill and the heat, here in the heart of the forest. The dew feels hot beneath her feet, but the air she breathes is still reluctant to lose the love of a late winter frost.

In the distance, the luxurious pulse of a stream seduces her forward. She cannot see it with her eyes, but she can feel its presence to the North. She can hear it humming for her, a sweet siren's song. The cool, cleansing scent of its waters tickles her nose from afar. It is calling to her – just as he said it would – and she knows this is where he will meet her.

She nudges wayward branches out of her way, but they still reach out to her, like the grudging arms of a grandmother trying to aid a child in her walk. The squishy tops of toadstools cushion her bare feet as she navigates the hollow thicket like a true woodland woman. Her hair clings to the twigs and her knees are pricked by thorns, but there is no pain to be felt. Each prickle and nudge feels oddly like a welcome, even if it is harsh.

The thick growth of ivy and branches resist her, but she pushes onward, knowing the source of the magical trickling is just beyond the thicket of trees. With every step forward she sees a slice of the exquisite view behind the mess – a sliver of pale blue water, a sparkle of gripping yellow sunlight.

Her eyes are blinded by a series of silver ripples and with one last determined thrust, she stumbles out onto the shores of a brilliant brook.

Esme slowly picks her way across the slanting, sometimes slick stone surfaces, heading towards a small copse of willows that trail long, slender tendrils with tiny, pale green buds. With patient hands, she waves lacy curtains away, like a quiet queen being welcomed into her bedchamber for the night.

She smiles, pleased with the setting, and swings her legs over the ledge onto the ground beneath the broad, sun-dappled embrace of the old willow. Needing to love everything in reach, she strokes its gray, furrowed bark... whispers a soft 'good morning' to it... and feels it respond a little.

The spots of sunlight that move over her as she sits are welcome shots of warmth, condemning the near-chill of the shade. The water of the stream trickles by like quiet music around her, and some small distance away, the steady thrum of the waterfall as it beats down on the flow beneath.

Her eyes waver up to find the long, flushing trail of water sprinkling over the rocks – the force of the rush flicks tiny diamonds in all directions as it hits the surface, and stirs up foam as it sails down the gentle rapids toward her feet.

She buries her toes in the water and a shiver of delight dances up her calves at the sensation. She has never felt more alive than she does when the stream kisses her skin. She is convinced that only one other's kiss can awaken such a fire within her.

And now she can feel him.

He is here.

The sunlight has always been so terribly kind to him. As he walks into her brilliant rays, she knights him with her heated arms and attempts to deify him with her graceful splendor. He is glowing beneath her gaze, his skin shimmering like crushed stars, his hair shining like cornsilk in the summer.

As soon as the sun dares to touch him, he has stolen her powers.

Suddenly, he has become the sun.

He steps forward, and the sole of one shining brown shoe make a gorgeous mark in the soil – proof that he must be real...

"Doctor Cullen?" Esme breathes, her voice filled with awe and reverence.

"Esme," he answers with her name, his face stricken as if he cannot believe his own eyes. "I barely recognized you."

"You asked me to meet you here," she reminds him, "at sunrise."

"Did I?" he asks delicately.

Bringing herself upright, she dusts off her knees and unfolds the note from her pocket. "I have your letter."

She looks to him and is surprised to see his bashful expression. But there is something notorious gleaming in those clever golden eyes as he takes the turn to speak. "Sometimes I write things, and they turn up in the most curious of places."

He is quite the cryptic creature.

"I must be dreaming..." she murmurs, her head spinning in a most lovely way.

"Yes..." he agrees mystically, his eyes glistening as he takes another step forward. "You must be."

She lifts her fingers to her lip, touching the trembling flesh shyly in wonder. "How can you really be here?"

He seems proud to answer her question, his body straight and strong where he stands under the light. "I've come a long way, Esme. But I did promise you."

Her eyes flicker down to the letter in her limp hand. "You did..."

"Read what it says," he tells her tenderly.

"The Waterfall at Dawn," she replies as if in her sleep.

"You trusted me enough to come here," he says, again sounding stunned.

"Of course I trust you." She presses the note to her heart to show her sincerity. "I always have."

He is quiet for a time, staring at her as if he has never seen her before, though they both know how untrue this is.

"How I've longed for this moment…" He shares his ache with her through the deep, husky timbre of his voice.

It is the strain in his voice that breaks her resolve. Her legs suddenly feel all too fragile, and she must find the aid of a nearby tree branch to keep steady as his gaze burns her from across the stream. She cannot stand to be apart from him a moment longer.

"I want to be by your side," she says, her voice shaking with need. "Can you cross?"

Bending down slightly to test the depth with his foot, he says skeptically, "The water looks awfully deep, my dear."

He knows he is taunting her…yet this, she knows, is encouragement for him.

"Shall I come to you?" she offers mildly.

"Can you swim, sweet Esme?"

Her cheeks feel a flush at his considerate question. "Not very well, Doctor."

"Then you mustn't risk it," he scolds gently, his back straightening proudly as only a hero's can. "Let me be the one to cross."

Feeling little more than a nervous young girl, Esme worries her lower lip as she watches her doctor lean precariously against the rocks, preparing to remove his shoes.

"Oh, do hurry," she whispers urgently beneath her breath.

Her quiet remark does not go unheard, and as his sharp ears pick out the words, he moves more fluidly to fulfill her wish.

He relieves his feet of the shoes he wears, making quick work of the laces and stripping the socks in two swift strokes. His feet, just like the rest of him, are somehow stunningly beautiful – as preposterous as it may seem to many that a man's feet could ever truly stun a woman.

But he does not stop there. Standing to his full height once again, he eases both arms from the thin white jacket he wears. Beneath he is clad in a snugly fitting shirt and pants, the color of an Alpine sky. Reaching up around his neck, he withdraws the slender black stethoscope and folds it neatly with his discarded jacket and shoes. He abandons the bundle by the shore of the stream, unconcerned with whatever he must leave behind in making his way to her.

The water seems to sing for him as he takes his first step into the current; it beckons him forward with dancing ripples and sparkling bubbles, swirling around his strong foot and lapping at his ankle.

"I'm coming, Esme." His whisper is carried away by the weeping joy of the stream.

Esme grips the tree branch in earnest, distraught that her knees might be too weak to keep her upright as she watches him.

She gasps as his second foot enters the water, and the current beats ruthlessly against him as he fights his way across.

There is arguably nothing indecent about watching a man cross a stream. But for a young woman so desperately in love, to watch one man do anything is thrilling enough.

There is something romantic in the way the water rises in foamy fits about his knees, how it hums excitedly at his intrusion. It welcomes him sensuously, yet it beats at his muscles with merciless conviction in his forward walk.

He was right to warn her of its depth, for by the time he has reached the very middle of the stream, the water has risen to just below his lap...

His eyes never part with her face as he pulls through the racing waters. The crisp, clean fabric of his clothing is blotted by dark blue spots where the water has been deviant. The weight of the wetness causes his clothes to cling to his skin... specifically flattering to his long, lean legs.

The water seems to calm as he reaches the other side, settling down to gurgle gently below his knees. Esme takes in a shuddering breath at the sight of her sopping hero as she graciously pulls him from the edge of the stream.

The palms of her hands are immediately made wet by their brief contact with his forearm. His hand grasps onto hers for the added support as he draws himself free from the water's wrath. The droplets cling to his bare skin, weeping down his arms until they slip between his fingers and melt away.

Here, her hands are free to touch him at last, to feel and savor the solid truth of his body before her. His presence is real and full as he stands beside her, mere inches away. His skin is chilly and damp beneath her dry, sun-warmed touch, but his skin is soft as she brushes her curious fingers along his wrists.

Her knees are once again rendered unstable under the scrutiny of his affectionate stare. Taking notice to her quivering stance, he smiles gently and asks, "How is your leg feeling?"

"A little sore." Her truth is not precisely sound.

A thick veil of pity clouds his caring eyes. "Did I fail you as a physician, sweet girl?"

"Oh, no, Doctor Cullen," Esme shakes her head, her fair caramel locks fluttering loose around her face. "I believe the soreness is simply from standing for too long."

The suggestion is ripe in her tone, and most likely in her eyes as well. She lifts her lashes to gaze adoringly up at his face, exaggerating the quiver of her knees just to be certain he understands.

The look in his eyes assures her that she is well understood.

"Then you mustn't stand a moment longer, silly girl," he whispers with a gentle heave as he lifts her from the ground to lay comfortably across his arms. He carries her to the mottled shade beneath the willow trees and places her down on the grass so that he might examine her leg.

He kneels down on one knee beside her, the wet blue fabric of his clothes tightening around his leg as he shifts. Esme has been told many times that it is improper to watch a man's body with wanton eyes, but here she cannot be helped, for he has placed himself so boldly before her, all but forcing her to stare at him in his oppressive closeness.

He gestures to her leg, his fingers suddenly looking twice as strong as they did a moment before. "May I have another look at it?" he asks, and she can almost hear a tremble in his deep voice.

In a single nod, she grants him her permission.

With careful hands he unravels the knotted strings across her chest, and parts the dainty slips of lace to reveal her thin gown beneath. His hands gently push the silk of her dress over her knee, letting it drop slowly until it settles against her thigh.

"Does it still hurt?" he asks, setting his hand on her knee.

"Not as much," she admits, tingling from his touch. "I think it's better for me to rest awhile."

The heat of his golden stare slides down the length of her calf, and he studies her skin with raw intrigue written in his eyes.

"The bruises are gone," he marvels huskily.

"Yes," she confirms, cocking her head. "You healed them. Don't you remember?"

His eyes grow distant, and she can feel the burn from his fond wonder. "Oh, yes. I remember it well."

"Then why do you look at me as if you do not remember me at all?" she asks forwardly, her voice but a fragile whisper.

"Forgive me," he says softly, his eyes beseeching. "I was unaware that I looked upon you in this way."

"Oh!" she gasps suddenly, curling her hand protectively around her kneecap where his hand is idle at rest. "My leg... how it aches now."

His beautiful face contorts slightly in shame. "Then I mustn't be called a doctor."

An impish gleam celebrates in her eye as she asks him sweetly, "May I know your first name, then?"

He is stricken that a patient would request this of him, his face worn numb at the unexpected question. But he is clearly impressed at her cleverness – this much is true from the warmth of his gaze. "Cunning child. Why should I reveal this to you?"

She blinks innocently at the challenge, and says simply, "So that I may call for you in a familiar way."

Her simplicity astounds him, though he is wholly unsurprised by her behavior. So deliciously unpredictable she is – one moment wishing to preserve her chastity, the next inviting him into an intimate trap...

"Carlisle," he reveals his given name, and in her trap he is willingly ensnared.

A most wicked smile crosses her lips as she repeats the full name. "Carlisle Cullen."

No one but she can see the mirrored smile he wears at hearing it.

"Now that you may call me 'in the familiar way,'" he whispers, sliding his hand further over her knee, "is it fair that I may...touch you in the familiar way?"

Her leg has tightened beneath his hand, and her sudden tension nearly breaks him.

"I beg your pardon, Doctor?" Her voice is appalled, but her eyes are bright with forbidden excitement.

It is quiet between them, all but the seductive rush of the waterfall behind the trees, the tranquil chatter of birds above them.

"Call me by my name," he softly commands, "and I shall touch you."

"My father and mother would have my neck," Esme whispers, somehow slow and controlled, though her lips are trembling and her eyes are frantic. "And my priest as well," she adds as an afterthought.

Her doctor smiles understandingly, and already he has won her trust. "I, too, am a man of God, sweet Esme. You will be brought no harm by my hand, I promise you."

He shifts closer to her on the ground, his knee dragging over the blades of grass, crushing them to the earth unawares. His demeanor is peaceful, yet there is something brewing behind his stare – some restless energy longing to burst forth and consume her.

Bewitched by the unrelenting tenderness of his gaze, Esme discovers that she cannot deny him one good word.

"Very well," she agrees, barely a breath.

"Call me by name, Esme," he reminds her, a most gentle chastisement.

He will only reach for her once she has uttered his name aloud. And so she does.


Forward his hand moves, his long fingers caressing, feeling, searching. She shivers at the effects of his touch, her breaths fluttering erratically with every unpredictable pass. He travels the dips and curves of her calf, burrowing his thumb behind her knee, daring to tickle the ridge of his knuckles along the underside of her thigh.

"Your skin is so soft," he says, and her heart is made wild with his words. These are not the words of a doctor. He has since abandoned all clinical chatter. He knows there is no one who will hear him out here – no one but the birds on the branch above, and the curious sunlight that peeks through the tops of the trees. Behind him, the trickle of the stream carries on, as if struggling to cover the indecencies he speaks for his patient's ears alone.

"How dare you be so bold with your words?" his damsel defends her honor, albeit weakly, though in fairness her skin is still on fire from his touch.

"Were you not bold in speaking my name?" he challenges, but there is nothing bitter in his voice – only an affectionate roughness that sweetens his words and frustrates her yearning heart.

"You asked it of me," she reminds him in a quivering murmur. "As my superior, I must obey you."

The look on his face is too radiant to have been the result of her claim. But his expression is calm, strong, yet somehow whimsical and even triumphant. He is feeling her weak spots, fiddling with her pressure points, and she knows she has just carried herself into a perfect trap.

"Are you an obedient woman, Esme?" he asks, his tone gentle but dark.

Her chest tightens, not yet mortified, but very close. "I am raised to be."

His eyes sparkle hopefully at her cryptic response. "Will you then do what I ask of you?"

Though tentative to respond to such an intrusive question, she relieves herself of her pride and replies calmly. "If it is in line with my moral beliefs," she reasons, "then yes."

He wastes no time before voicing his request.

"Will you touch me, Esme?" he asks with fiery eyes. He makes begging sound elegant, makes pleading sound polite. "Will you touch me as I have touched you?"

His eagerness fills her with a scorching thrill, but as a lady she cannot reveal this reaction. Her face is kept unaffected and soft, but her voice is perhaps telltale in its wavering pitch.

"A pure touch, Doctor?" she asks meekly, her fingers twisting in her lap.

"Yes, a pure touch," he assures softly, and lifting his hand from her knee, he reaches for her timid fingers. "Trust my hand..."

Slowly, seductively, he raises her limp hand to lay against his cheek. His face is hard and smooth, still cool to the touch, but he has been first coddled by the sun. The rigid angles of his jaw make her stomach twist in delight as he drags her inexperienced fingers lovingly across his face.

"Do you feel warm when you touch me?" he asks. His questions are growing bolder by the second.

She whimpers, nods, then pulls her eyes away from his handsome face.

His voice is licked with grief. "You need not be ashamed, my dear."

With a shuddering breath, she shakes her head. "This is wrong."

"How can this—" he murmurs, rubbing the soft flesh of her palm against his hard cheek, "—be wrong?"

Unable to keep her gaze away from him, she looks up to find that his eyes are closed, his face so terribly peaceful that her heart is ripped apart by sympathy.

"My name will be soiled..." she whispers shamefully, "...if we are discovered."

"Not a soul will discover us." His voice is deliciously sure, and the need sizzling in the pit of her belly is stirred by his apparent conviction.

"Oh, do not tempt me," she pleads, her hand shielding her brow from the sight of him.

"It is you who are the temptress, sweet Esme," he refutes, an ungentlemanly sound of pleasure rolling through his chest.

"I don't mean to be," she defends helplessly, squirming in her spot on the ground.

"But it is your innocence that plagues me more," he nearly whimpers, folding her small hand in his to press a light kiss to her knuckles.


"Will you not spare me one kiss, my angel?" he begs roughly, his patience wearing thin.

"It will be my first," she says quietly, meeting his eyes to mark the significance.

"It will be my first as well," he confesses. The lush masculinity of his voice ignites a doubt in her heart, but she knows he would never lie to her.

"Then I cannot refuse," she cries softly, and she reaches up with both hands to make a cradle for his strong chin.

He leans down so that she does not have to lift her head, and with fairytale ease, their lips meet under a ray of warm sunlight. He attempts to coax her from her frigidness by the tip of the tongue, but she will not let him inside. She can feel the wetness of his clothes as he presses closer, between her parted legs. The danger of her position sparks a panic in her, but she cannot move, spellbound as she is by the wonderful sensation of his kiss.

A sharp burst of warmth hatches in her lap as he nudges closer yet, and she can feel him, firm and willing against her. Her lips seem to soften beneath his as she grows weaker, and knowing she has lost her defenses, he invites himself into the warm shelter of her mouth. His tongue steals her virtue, one languid stroke at a time, and his tremulous patient can do nothing to stop him for he is far stronger than she.

"I... I can barely breathe," she pants as he gently pulls away, his eyelids heavy over his searing gaze.

"It will pass," the doctor whispers, his soothing fingers trailing down her neck.

"I..." She finds herself at a sudden loss for words as her eyes sink down to find his hands poised over the tangled laces of her nightdress. Before she knows it, his skilled surgeon fingers are making deft work of the impossible knots, and she hasn't the strength to stop him with anymore of her chaste defenses.

"Doctor Cullen..."

Utterly silent, he pierces her soul with his gorgeous eyes and swiftly strips himself of his shirt.

Her eyes widen in wonder at the sleek landscape of smooth white skin that he has uncovered for her curiosity. As he moves over her, the tiny spots of sunlight dance erratically across his muscles, a tender twinkle here and there – on his elbow, his shoulder, his neck...

She is paralyzed in her bed of grass, her head resting stiffly against the tough willow's bark. Her hands grapple the weeds at its base, gripping tighter as his wrists come to rest suggestively upon his midriff.

"Will you allow me to discover the ways of love with you?" he asks, his voice like a dream. Her head has gone fuzzy and everything around her seems irrationally brightened by the sun. Everything feels warm and rushed and senseless.

"I'm scarcely yet a woman," she confides, wondering if he might shudder at the thought of making love to a sixteen-year-old.

He does shudder at the thought...but not for the reasons she presumed.

"We can surely change that now," he purrs, his words loaded with the weight of a thousand promises.

Her knees have somehow become magnetically attracted to one another. She pulls back slightly, ignoring the urgent heat pooling in her lap. "Carlisle…?"

"I will mind your leg," he soothes, as if this were her greatest worry. He takes her once injured leg into his hand and pries it gently away from the other.

Speechless, she stares trustingly up into his eyes, knowing it will only be one word more from him that will bring about her undoing.

"I will be the soul of gentleness, my love," he says in a hushed yet passionate voice, fondling her fair caramel curls with his confident fingers. "I promise."

She nods, fast falling under the spell of the trickling water and his winsome yellow eyes.


One word, and she has given herself to him.

The rush of the stream seems stronger in the silence that follows; the blue waters are lustrous as the sunlight cavorts across the ripples, like an unruly child playing a harp. The undulating reflections bounce off his iridescent skin, ethereal aquamarine in color against the milky ivory of his back.

He has stripped himself bare in moments, free before her and before all of nature, an utterly shameless man whose moon-colored flesh is striking against the inky emerald foliage of the forest. No other man could match his gentle yet virile presence. He is proud but not arrogant, aware but not beguiling. And his heart is heavy on his arm, now that his sleeve is gone...

"There is nothing to fear," he whispers, his words dense with an ancient accent.

Her breath catches in her throat as he takes her hand and makes her touch him, slips her uncertain fingers over his chest and down the length of his arm.

"You aren't even real," she says morosely.

He denies her with brilliant vehemence, "Oh, I could not be more real, Esme."

"But you're just a dream..." she counters, her eyes furrowing sadly as her fingers slip away from his arm.

"Can you touch a dream?" he challenges, pressing her hand into the velvety proof of his strong, flat stomach. The enticing solidity of his body is frightfully hard to refuse. "Does not a dream fade away into nothing when you reach for it?"

"Some dreams can make fools of young women," she says darkly.

"Are you suggesting that I would dare to make a fool of you?" he asks, his tone rich with doubt as he traces the curve of her face with a single, devoted finger.

"I don't want to believe so." She shakes her head, leaning into his touch. "I have always thought you to be... a kind man."

This seems to flare his interest. He leans in, his eyes fervent as he seeks out more. "What other thoughts of me do you keep, sweet Esme?"

"I think you are humble and compassionate and... generous." She struggles with the last word, aware that he will likely take her meaning to be an indelicate one.

As she has suspected, a single unruly dimple appears in the center of his cheek. "Do you wish me to prove myself a generous man to you now, my darling?"

She writhes modestly upon the ground, inching away from him though he only comes closer.

"It seems you are giving me no choice, Doctor," she whimpers in a weak voice, cooled under the shade of his shadow. Her eyes flutter distractedly as she drinks in the sight of his body, struggling to find a new item of interest that does not belong below his waist.

"What intrigues you to say this?" he asks, the contrast of his gentle voice making her even more delirious.

Angered by his feigning innocence, she narrows her eyes and points to the grass beside them. "For one, Doctor Cullen, your clothes are now worn by the ground."

He seems to take no notice to her mild fury; merely looks down at the discarded heap of sopping blue fabric, then squints up at the canopy of willows with a comfortable smile. "Should I blush for the trees who look upon my flesh?"

Arching one delicate eyebrow, she says pointedly, "The trees are not your only audience, kind sir."

"Oh, I'm certain the birds are petrified by my immodesty," he whispers teasingly, the sunlight licking his bare body with slender streaks of gold.

She purses her lips, disgruntled by his charms. "I meant me."

He stares at her for a drawn-out moment, and his attention brings the heat rising to her neck. "Does my state of undress somehow impede your ability to refuse my offer?" he asks innocently.

"Don't be coy," she accuses.

He lifts both proud golden eyebrows and smirks. "With all due respect, I don't believe I am the coy one of the two of us."

The hovering weight of his nude body becomes frightfully distracting, and she can scarcely keep her gaze from savoring the exquisite art, much less her hands...

"I don't wish to take this lightly, Doctor," she breathes, hoping to sound strict, but failing.

"I have only very little restraint left within me, my angel," he warns quietly, his hips dipping forward as his voice quivers slightly. "You prolong the inevitable. Let me love you."

At his passion-filled plea, she beats her palm against his heart and whispers "tyrant" beneath her breath.

He sighs forcefully, his eyes wrought with exhaustion, a wince ripe on his flushing pink lips. "I am giving you the choice, my love. Yet you waver on your decision, and you torture me by doing so."

"You deserve such torture," she condemns with a soft smile.

"But you torture yourself as well," he says knowingly. As if eager to support him in everything he says, her arousal seems to peak at his words.

"I thought I knew you, Doctor Cullen," she sighs, shaking her head, bosom heaving, "but it appears you are a very different man from the one I had thought you were."

His eyes flicker in surprise as he pulls back slightly from the invasive sunlight. "Do you no longer desire me?"

"Oh, no..." his shy patient forcefully assures, "my desire grows stronger by the moment."

Emboldened by her confession, he presses himself against her thigh and moans softly, "As you may have noticed... mine does as well."

Pinned helplessly against the tree, Esme whimpers in agony, accepting her trap. "Why have you done this to me?"

"I bid you come to this waterfall so that I might pledge my love to you properly. You may leave me if you wish, but my invitation will not wear with the passing of time," he tells her, his every word drenched in passion. "And I can promise you that every morning you will discover another note, written in my hand, beneath your pillow or in your jewelry box...and every morning it will grow more impossible for you to refuse me..."

"It is already impossible to refuse you, Carlisle," she confides, at the end of all hope.

Tentatively, almost tense with disbelief, he whispers to her, "You want me—"

"Yes!" she cries out, unable to suspend her need for him any longer. "Oh, heavens, I want you..."

Wasting not a moment more, he tears the lingering lace and satin from her body, casting it aside like a storm of snowflakes on the bright green grass. His lungs are racing as he gathers his virginal patient in his arms and prepares to know her in a way no other man has ever known her before.

"Hold tightly to me, Esme," is his last loving command before he plunges into her, allowing her to bear the weight of his waiting soul.

There had been a time when she would expect to wake right about this moment. There had been so many times when she would open her eyes with a gasp that would startle her sleeping parents and cause the moon to blink in surprise. She would sit up in her bed, shuddering and perspiring, her face flushed from the lingering vigor of this realistic dream.

But this time it is not a dream. This time, it is real. This time, she will not wake.

She never even falls asleep these days...

With a quiet smile, Esme takes his face between her own two glittering hands, soundly kissing his swollen lips before she whispers to his chin, "You should leave me notes like this more often."

Chuckling softly, her husband whispers back, "I was just thinking the very same thing."

Thanks to Jhen6996, this one-shot is now available in Chinese. You can find the translated version and my other translated works at this link:

hi. baidu kaoru781001/ blog/ item/ c4180925eed5c9048a82a196. html