She Wore a Blue Kimono
by Mackenzie L.
This story is told from Carlisle's point of view, I'd imagine around the time when he was still wandering the earth as a lonely vampire soul, long before he met Edward or Esme.
Just as a warning, this fic is not like what I usually write. It's a slightly twisted little tale. The scariest part about it is that it could easily be canon. See if you can guess what's really going on.
* Carlisle is all Stephenie Meyer's. Everything else I've put him through is mine.
The firm scrape of my writing quill on paper was satisfying to my ears. It set a soothing rhythm of sorts as I listened to the tiny orange wagtails singing in the tree beside me. There was no better place to write about my surroundings than in the glorious gardens of Southern Japan.
Colorful beetles crept over the branches of brightly flowering trees, exotic birds fluttered from one bush to another. A small waterfall trickled down the rocks into a pond filled with glinting golden koi fish. Tiny green lizards crawled over the stone path that weaved through the plants and ash-filled lanterns. The intoxicating perfume of the garden around me mixed seamlessly with the distant fragrance of blood from the sleeping village a few miles off. I knew that I was safe at this distance, safe to enjoy the morning in peace without worrying that I might be caught.
For so long I'd been too frightened of what I'd become to travel about without the darkness to protect me, but I soon discovered if I was careful enough, I could sit out in the sunlight on quiet mornings before the humans woke. I taught myself how to read the skies when they promised rain, and I made note of which hours of day would be kindest to my photosensitive skin. I had selfishly considered my lifestyle a burden at first, but over the years I slowly learned to make the most of what I had been given.
The world seemed to stand still for me when I spent my nights wide awake. It had been almost seven decades since my transformation, but I was still growing used to the feeling of dreaded emptiness that plagued me at night. I took the barest amount of comfort in knowing that at least one other soul out there was bound to spend the night without a wink of sleep as I did. But as soon as the next night rolled around, those hours of slumber they had missed from the night before would catch up to them.
I, on the other hand, would never feel the sweet effects of deep slumber again.
With a sigh, I leaned forward to take in the surrounding view from my high perch in the cherry tree. The pair of birds I had been listening to had since flown away, but I could recall their sweet morning song with perfect clarity though all had gone silent. Still, I dearly missed their company.
A familiar pang of sadness crept into my heart as I searched my surroundings for signs of life. Flowers, trees, grass, and insects offered me little consolation in place of real people, but they would have to do. In my world, the only close friends I allowed myself to make were the ones I found out in nature.
It was safer this way. I knew I was not ready to have more than that.
Leaning back into a more comfortable position, I dressed the tip of my quill in a generous amount of black ink and scrawled the date in the bottom corner of the page. If I were human, I would have glanced over my writing to check for errors, to remind myself of what I had written and reflect on it for a minute or two. But with my flawless memory I could have recited each paragraph word for word without ever once looking back at the page.
My days of writing in trees grew more common as the years passed. I knew the familiar episode would end in a predictable way; I would close my journal, find smears of ink all over my hands and clothes, retreat to the forest and wash off in the nearest creek. I would then spend the rest of the day alone, and after I had been properly fed, I would return to the gardens at night in the hopes that some passing human would spare me a nod of acknowledgment.
Sad though it may be, such a gesture was exciting for me. I still had not picked up the native language, and so I could not communicate with the villagers as well as I wanted.
They stared at me as if I were foreign, which was not a surprise. With my blazingly blond hair I stood out almost everywhere but the mountain ranges of Scandinavia. But I preferred the regions of Asia above my European travels. I believed a part of it was because there was no pressure to talk when I did not know the language. I had always been dreadfully shy as a human, and becoming a vampire seemed to enhance this unfortunate trait.
But no amount of shyness had ever kept me from at least trying to be seen amongst people when it was safe for me to do so. The cramp but bustling Japanese forest villages were the perfect places to wander as an outsider. It was all right for me to be regarded as a stranger here. People did not expect anything from me. Perhaps they saw me as a clueless young missionary who had been parted from his traveling party. The few humans I had encountered here thus far looked at me with more awe than suspicion. This was a refreshing change from the critical, fearful gazes of my fellow Europeans.
The people were more accepting out here. The sun was indeed more harsh, but I was glad to exchange my daylight hours in favor of more pleasant company. When the rainy season came, I vowed to make more of an effort to get to know the villagers more closely.
This I promised myself in a final line of black ink. I looked up from my journal and was greeted by the gently waving wings of several butterflies who had flocked around my hiding space. I had always been curious about the butterflies' behavior. Unlike other small creatures who naturally scurried away in my presence, these winged beauties seemed almost attracted to me.
I spared them a small smile as they floated past my forehead. Each one circled slowly above me, as if tracing a halo that did not exist, then each of them found her own blossom to nestle inside, hiding away from the rest of the world.
How I wished I could hide myself away in a blossom as they did.
I shook my head of the silly thought and reached into my pocket to retrieve a ribbon for my hair. The wind blew relentlessly against my face, making it difficult for me to tuck my hair behind my shoulders. I managed to tie the bow quickly, a victorious smile on my face as the wind changed direction in defeat.
However, my brief victory was snuffed out upon realizing that the morning mist had given way to a particularly strong circle of sun that now burned brightly on the hilly horizon. The day was beginning, which meant my time in the gardens was nearing its expiration.
Making the most of the moments I had left, I stretched forward my hand until the tips of my fingers were out of the tree's shade, inviting the speckled light of the fair morning sun to warm my skin. My eyes squinted back at the sparkling flecks that magically appeared on my fingertips. I sometimes wondered what another person might say if they saw such a sight. Would they truly be frightened by it? Would it cause them to fear me? Would they flee from my presence like the pair of singing birds that had abandoned me moments ago?
I rubbed the edge of my feather quill across my chin in thought and slowly closed my fingers up into a fist, protecting my hand from the invasive sunlight. The leaves of the tree surrounding me rustled in the breeze, and I relished the caress of humid air on my face. Leaning back against the tree trunk, I pressed my open journal against my stomach to hide the words I had written from the rest of the world.
My eyes closed as the wind beat gently against my body, carrying with it the invigorating scents of brewed morning tea and Asian spices from the nearby village. The villagers would likely be waking up within the next hour or so. I suppressed a sinking feeling of disappointment that I would soon have to go back into hiding until the evening. Peeking out of one eye to check on the sky, it looked as if the clouds were being coy today.
Reluctantly, I straightened up from my resting spot and reached up for the branch above me to gain my balance before standing.
That was when I noticed her.
She was sitting on the very edge of the shallow footbridge that arched over the koi pond. Her dainty feet dangled freely over the surface of the water, barely far enough to not get wet. She wore a silky royal blue kimono that covered her delightfully pale skin from the sun. It was trimmed with a pattern of silver swirls and flowers, tightly bound around her tiny waist in a pearly peach sash.
As beautiful as her clothing was, it was nothing in comparison to her exquisite face. She wore her long, ebony black hair in an elegant fishtail braid that draped over her left shoulder. Her eyes were shining, mystical as the midnight sky, each slanted at an exotic curve like delicate black almonds. Her lips gleamed like the skin of a ripe red apple, and her cheeks were rosy and plump, a bright blush to offset the powdery white tone of the rest of her porcelain skin. Each of her features was fine enough to have been painted right onto her face. From what I could see, she was truly perfect – still and silent – a most lovely piece of art.
I stared at her from my secret perch like the foolish, silent man I was, my mouth slightly agape with wonder. The fluffy pink blossoms of the tree in which I hid frustrated me as they blocked my view of the beautiful young woman who sat on the garden bridge. A tragic heat arose inside my chest as I entertained the fleeting thought of approaching her.
Such a woman should not have been forced to sit in these gardens alone...
I felt a surge of sudden need within me – a need to be closer. I wanted to join her, to sit by her side and be her companion. Just this once, I wanted to show myself to the world and not cower into the shadows in hiding.
With a great sigh, I mustered all my courage, gathered my quill, ink, and journal, and began to descend the tree. I felt my weight growing heavier and heavier as I neared the ground. Gravity embraced my legs like a desperate lover, turning my bones to lead just as I jumped the short distance from the very last branch.
The water trickling behind me seemed to grow louder, and I thought I could hear the soft sound of feminine giggling to accompany it.
So long it had been since I'd let my ears savor the sound of a woman's laughter. I felt my heart sprout wings at the sweet song. I wanted to hear more of it.
Bravely, I turned around.
I now faced the pretty girl where she sat in the very same spot on that bridge, just a few yards away. She wore a small, mocking smile on her painted lips, her eyes fixed on me where I stood. I was awkward in my stance, my legs still nearly shoulder width apart from where I'd landed, both my hands clinging firmly to my journal and quill.
I heard another giggle come from her direction, and my body flushed inwardly. Her head tilted in curiosity as a warm breeze blew past, flicking silky black strands of her hair away from her face. I stared back at her in clueless wonder, debating if it would even be appropriate for me to speak to such a woman.
Hastily, I set my things down in the grass by the base of the tree and straightened my posture. I swallowed hard when I realized I was still covered by the merciful shade of the tree above me. One step forward would take me into the sun's sharp rays. Part of me wanted this, but the other part of me worried for her reaction...
Deep down I knew that she would not look upon me any differently than she did now. She was not the sort of woman to judge me by her eyes alone. She would not fear my approach; I simply knew it. She would let me come closer.
I took a deep breath and stepped into the warm yellow sunlight. Sure enough, she did not even flinch. My skin scattered diamond-like reflections all across the garden, and for once in my life I felt that the sight was miraculous and not disgraceful. My beautiful friend stared at me with her wonderful black eyes, her hands planted in a firm little prayer on her lap. She smiled on as the breeze tickled her hair, and her head came forward in a slight nod, as if giving her permission for me to come forward.
And so I did.
Oh, she was even more exquisite up close! Her hair was shining in the sunlight, the tendrils around her forehead flowing in the wind like fine threads of onyx. I imagined her hair would be so warm to the touch – black as it was, it would surely steal all the heat from the sun. Her lips were even redder as I came closer. Not a drop of blood in the world could quench my thirst as much as I anticipated just one kiss from her would...
My lungs took in gulps of thick, floral air as I stepped up to the footbridge where she sat. I could think of nothing better to do with my hands than to let them hang uselessly at my sides, yet she did not seem to think any less of me for it. She smiled up at me with that same clandestine little grin, her blush deepening as I came up beside her, covering her in my shadow.
I cringed as the brief desire to drink human blood caused my instincts to twitch. The wind whipped at my face as if chastising me for such thoughts, and I quickly emptied my head of the impossible fantasy.
She leaned towards me a bit, and it gave me encouragement to sit down beside her.
I could feel her eyes on me as I stretched my legs out in front of me to set my feet in the water. Her gaze felt like a torch held too close to my face. I reflected on her impish smile and self-consciously bit down on my bottom lip. My legs were so much longer than hers, especially now that we sat side by side. Where her feet barely grazed the surface of the water, mine were fully buried beneath the glassy green pond. I could feel schools of baby koi swirling around my bare feet, and the sensation seduced me into ticklish laughter.
I pulled my knees back in surprise, and the young woman fell against me with an amused little gasp and a swish of her deep blue kimono. I froze in my place as her light weight settled against my side. I could now feel the slippery kiss of her silken sleeve on the skin of my arm were she rested against me. She did not seem to notice her immediate effect on me, though the effect she had was dangerously, obviously potent.
Her hands were no longer folded neatly in her lap. Instead, one of her tiny hands had landed on my upper thigh. I did not dare to move a muscle for the conflicting fear that her hand would either slide closer to my lap or slip away completely.
I did not want her to discover my embarrassing secret, but neither did I want to lose her precious touch.
In the surest defense, I did the only thing I could think of: I reached down and took her hand in mine.
How small her hand was! It was no bigger than a child's as I held it. My hand had never looked so large before... and I had never been so pleased at the size of my hand before. Her fingers were stiff but delicate in my grip, stroking my palm gently as I squeezed her hand in reassurance. I smiled vaguely as the fragrant breeze swirled around us, enveloping our bodies closer together. The soft rhythm of romance echoed inside my chest. It was a thrilling, sultry, burning feeling... but somehow it felt so pure.
In the distance I heard the hum of the bees, and the chirping of the birds, and the swishing of the fish in the pond. And in that moment I thought with a thrill that I could have what they all had. I could partake in the wonder of life's most treasured gift. For so long I'd felt like Adam in the Garden of Eden. Everywhere I turned, I saw animals in perfect pairs, yet I was alone. I was both elated and torn by despair that this might be the closest I would ever come to holding a mate.
This innocent beauty who so contentedly rested in my arms was the greatest company I could ever ask for. She did not seem to care that my body was as cold as ice or that my approach had been inappropriate and awkward. Not one word had been exchanged between us, yet she seemed to know the precise desires of my heart.
Yet I ached to speak to her. Deep down I knew there was no chance that she would speak English in return, but sometimes just the sound of someone's voice was enough. At least, for me it was.
"You are the most beautiful part of this garden," I whispered to the top of her head. She leaned instinctively closer into my arms at the sound of my voice, and I rested my cheek against her soft black hair. I was right – her hair burned me. It felt so terribly, wonderfully good.
I sighed so deeply that even my heart felt as if it had been emptied. Everything heavy became light for a short moment until I breathed in again. I felt positively oppressed by heat and fever, but it was such an appealing sensation that I only yearned for more of it.
"I wonder... Do you feel the same about me?" I asked her, my words so delicate I feared they had been lost to the wickedness of the wind.
Her hand in mine seemed to twitch in approval, and I boldly guided her closer to the center of my lap, wondering if she would shy away when she felt my desire. Even the cool water lapping at my ankles could not give me relief from the heat that now suffocated me. The sun beat down on my back, mocking my crystalline skin and setting my heart aflame. The lovely maiden in my arms went weak as I finally introduced her hand to the firm evidence of my arousal. I was reminded once again of what it felt like to have a beating heart, and it was indescribable.
She whimpered, a sound as soft as the wind itself, and it stirred me to the core. I exhaled as her tiny palm brushed the front of my trousers, coming to rest in the perfect niche between my thighs. My cup of desire overflowed at the whisper of her silk kimono, and in a flash I was hovering above her, pinning her to the wooden plank of the bridge.
Our faces were sprayed by a storm of flower petals in the passing breeze, and the sunlight flickered and danced erotically overhead as the trees bent submissively to the wind's bidding. My nameless beauty stared up at me, her coal black eyes full of love and longing. I was bursting with anticipation, knowing her desires matched my own.
My vision was blinded with a vivid pink haze, all surroundings forgotten as I paved my reason with the determination to sin. If I were going to sin at all, there was no better place to do it than in a garden.
I bent close to her face, seeing for the first time just how young she was. Her face was perfectly round, and I let my fingers appreciate the shape of it as they passed over her cheek with tender care. Her eyes never blinked as I bowed my head and pressed my lips gently against her own. A torturous ache filled my body, my throat tightening and my stomach fluttering as our lips melded together, cool and smooth. My first kiss…
She barely responded to the tentative motion of my lips on hers. I supposed I had shocked her into stillness with my forwardness, and I smiled to myself at the thought. For once I was being bold, acting on impulse and not fearing the consequences. I felt extraordinary.
The wind's deft fingers swiftly untied the ribbon I had used to tame my hair, freeing my blond locks to tumble over my shoulders and tickle the skin of the young woman I kissed. My lips lingered on hers until my heart felt satisfied, and I reluctantly released her.
I lifted my head, my eyes half-closed to admire her beauty as she gazed at my face with a coy smile.
Hoping that my efforts to woo her through a gentle kiss would prove effective, I dared to take our flirtatious frenzy one step further.
"Will you let me...?" I whispered raggedly, dragging my clumsy fingers along the sickeningly silky sash of her kimono. The bright blue and pastel peach had been a tempting combination, but now they were just a barrier in the way of what hid beneath.
Her delicate head tilted back in submission, exposing the smooth skin of her bust. I whimpered my thanks and lodged my lips at the point where her pulse should be, struggling to keep my teeth from gnashing through her. My hips bore heavily down upon her body as my tremulous fingers began to disrobe her of her lovely blue kimono. I was so very impatient to see what she hid from me, this impishly silent coquette. Though I fervently wished I could tear her sash to shreds, I just barely managed to keep the reigns on my control.
She was shaking just as much as I was now. I could feel her body trembling in time with my own beneath me. The chill from my body was beginning to take over hers; she was no longer burning hot to the touch as she had been when I'd first sat down beside her. I felt badly for this, but there was nothing I could do to reverse it. We were too far gone by now...
When at last my fingers parted the silk that covered her body, a reverent gasp escaped my lips – a mere spirit of sound. Her skin was as pale and flawless as I had known it would be, but I only allowed myself a glimpse of her body, choosing to leave the rest to my thoughts. I had never seen a woman bare before; I had only imagined what wonders my eyes would find beneath her luxurious robes and dresses. But it felt terrible to be looking at her this way, even if she was a masterpiece made for my eyes alone.
No other man on this earth would have thought to free this woman of her silken confines. I was shamefully sure of that.
She shivered as a strong breeze shook the earth and caused the waters to ripple beneath us. Her dark eyes blazed up at me, deep and inviting, and I sank into her sensually, letting my lust seal our strange and taboo bond.
I had not bothered to remove my own clothes. There hadn't been any time. I lost myself the moment my eyes saw that silky blue kimono laying next to her small, perfect body, nude as the moon on a winter's night.
My hips stroked forward repeatedly, and whether they brushed against her or the hard bridge beneath us I was not sure. I muffled my cries of pleasure with my ink-stained hand as I fell under her unwitting spell. I heard the koi writhing in their watery trap, and the birds shrieking in the humid air overhead, and the bees sizzling past my ears… but I heard not one whisper from her.
When the tidal wave of my passion at last broke upon the shore, I loosened my clutch on the edge of the bridge and heaved a guilt-ridden sigh, weeping at my own pathetic display.
Lifting my head from her fragile bosom, I found that I had left a hair-thin crack in her throat that could not be healed. A soft sob broke my lips as I kissed the spot with a quiet whisper, begging forgiveness for my careless mistake.
As the sun above us berated me with rays of harsh heat, I touched my silent lover's naked body with infinitely careful fingers, as one might touch a breakable porcelain doll.
Because that was all she was.