Summary: We're told early on that Edward and Carlisle had never slipped up and killed someone by accident, which led to the conclusion everyone else in the family must have a story about that. This is just some puttering on Esme's first mistake seen through Edward's eyes.
Edward didn't think about it more than errantly the first hour that Carlisle and Esme didn't come home from their evening performance. There were any number of things that could have distracted them between there and here.
The second hour wasn't worth remarking on, but he followed it closer. The third found him pacing, convincing himself that Esme may have needed to hunt after so much exposure. The fourth found him across town, circling the long since closed building. The scent of the Carlisle, and their newest companion, faint as the grayed half-forgotten curve of his mother's cheek.
He covered the nearby area. Once. Twice. Again.
Even when he knew there could be nothing he'd missed.
Then it still had taken half an hour to convince himself to go home, where they might have already returned to. It was only this thought that sent him back across the city, a blur that all the night scavengers ran from in terror even once he was seconds - and miles - past them.
But the house was still empty.
An emptiness that only became a cage as he stalked its hallways and rooms, tried to read his books and write his future papers, finding all eventualities futile. The hours continued to creep by, silent and sweltering, each protracted eternity of minutes revolutionized into a extended time distortion that tortured his thoughts.
What if something had happening to them? What if they needed him? Carlisle was many things in his tendencies - informative and punctual among them. Something was wrong. It had to be. But he could not know what. And the eventualities, the reason Carlisle would not have or could not be able to relay such things only spiraled in his thoughts. He could not cure the cold dread in the pit of his stomach.
Edward racked his mind, willing even one thought of theirs to brush, butterfly wing light, against the circumference of his mind.
Rose-mauve and butter-lemon lit the morning sky and Edward found himself standing in the window, looking around the edges of curtains at a window as though he might ever see them coming before he knew they were there. Even with the forming clouds, it would be a sunny few hours.
Not that he would have gone to classes even if it hadn't been.
Late midmorning after the thunderheads had rolled in, he'd nearly hissed in startled shock when they both stumbled into his head. Cacophony silenced in the obliterating focus that stilled out from them, like new ripples in a pond obscuring all else. He nearly ran out the doors to them in it. To see Carlisle. To meet them wherever they were, on whichever street.
But another second and another painted different pictures. They were walking. Esme's reluctance to see him. The way she moved too quickly at Carlisle's peripheral vision. The heaviness, and lightness, contrasting in Carlisle's thoughts. Her being unprepared even though there had been hours to consider how to be.
They'd taken hours.
To be prepared to see him...and for other things.
He'd worried for nothing, focused and paced and wondered, even feared, panicked - imagined that Carlisle might have been, what life was or could be without them - and they were fine. They were fine. They had been. Extenuating circumstances included.
Edward frowned, listening to the ramble of their thoughts, the catch of their footsteps. No other world that interrupted his thoughts mattered, even as he longed to reject and expel both of their trains and worlds of sounds, memory, thought, as though to wish it now or earlier garnered him anything.
Carlisle had chosen not to tell him, not even to relate that they were not due home until the next day. If he'd so much as even gotten three or four words staring so much that last half of a day would have been vastly different.
He didn't want to sit still and play penitently patient while someone explained to him what a few seconds had already shown him. The way Esme's thoughts dashed and bounced, her senses and memory. The way Carlisle had in the wake of Esme's own creation. They way they mirrored each other, closer, much closer than before.
He should be somewhere else, could leave when they came to. His anger and the shock of something else in it, something better left unnamed and not clutched, as if that could make it unfelt, leave his inside unfettered to it. That they could walk home now, meant he could logically be leaving for school.
It would be easy, wouldn't it?
To pass them blithely and not focus on her mistake, her change, her choice - to say simple words, like I'm running late or I'll be back tonight. Something temporally pointed and absently focused. That they should need, or deserve, of him to see more than he had now.
To even want him to play, to listen, to be, to help after...
Edward opened the door when they were about five feet from it, relishing in his relieved-annoyance, the flicker of surprise from both of them as the door moved, depriving them of the last few seconds, inches, possibilities.
His books were in his hand, and he glanced up, his eyes catching on Esme's face -
The brilliant blood red did nothing to disguise the depth of her embarrassed shame and the way her eyes sought his, the way she fought looking to the ground once their eyes met, or how such emotions and thought shifted her as though in the undertow of Carlisle
- and he opened the door wider, nodding for her come in.
He closed it behind them.
Behind himself ushering them in.
He couldn't hurt her that way.