The Carnival

Summary: Two men, one road trip, and a wedding. On the way to their nuptials, Edward reminisces over his life with Carlisle.

Rated M for lemons. All characters owned and created by Stephenie Meyer.



"You look gorgeous."

The words that slipped out unbidden weren't nearly sufficient to describe my handsome fiancé. Finally, in a couple of short hours and after meticulous planning, Carlisle Cullen would be my husband.

He smiled in the mirror as he adjusted his collar. When he was finally happy with the overall effect, he turned to pick up his keys, steadying himself with a calming breath before turning for the door.

"Let's go."

I followed him out to the car, blissfully happy. Carlisle and I didn't care that tradition dictated that we spend our finally night as single men apart. We were also blindly oblivious to the tutting of our guests when we announced we would be travelling to the service together. We were too in love to be parted, and too happy about our upcoming nuptials to care about outdated traditions.

Soon we were gliding along the quiet roads, Carlisle uncharacteristically quiet. No fun. I guessed he was nervous, which surprised me somewhat. Considering the amount of time he spent speaking in court, I would have expected him to be the calm one and me the nervous wreck, but no – I was fizzing with anticipation.

He hadn't shared his secret plans about after the wedding, and I wondered if we were staying in a hotel tonight before leaving for our honeymoon in a couple of days' time. He was deliberately keeping quiet and so naturally I was curious, which was the whole idea I guessed. I hadn't thought to check the trunk to see if he'd packed overnight bags, but if I had he would have distracted me so I didn't notice what he was up to. Perhaps we were spending our first night as married men at home. I certainly wouldn't mind that.

Having said that, if we were going back home tonight I hadn't seen anything left out for me to find; I knew that Carlisle would have bought me a card or flowers as he was so romantic like that. I adored him for it, but I couldn't deny that I was desperate to get to the wedding present itself; the kind of present best served naked. I looked over at him and grinned. I was so looking forward to fucking my new husband!

Thoughts about after the ceremony were making me hungry for a preview. I wondered if I could coerce him into a little extracurricular activity on the drive to pass the time more pleasurably; it wasn't as if either of us were blushing virgins, after all.

I smirked, holding in my laugh as I remembered the last time I had surprised him on a road trip...


We'd been on the road to the airport for a couple of hours and, as usual, I was getting fidgety.

"Can't we stop for a few minutes?" I turned to him with a pitiful expression. He squeezed my hand, laughing, knowing me all too well.

"Sweetheart, we don't want to be late for check-in. The flight leaves at four."

I groaned, knowing full well that he had factored in extra time for emergencies, and, damn it, to me this was an emergency. I hated long journeys when all there was to do was talk and sing badly to the radio to pass the time. Of course, our talks were always punctuated with touches and gazes, making me crave so much more like I did right now. Of course I knew that distracting him in the car wasn't a good idea, but, would it be so bad to try? Let's face it, if he wasn't going to pull over then I needed to make my own entertainment, and I was betting that Carlisle wouldn't object – how could he?

Stretching ostentatiously, I ran my fingers over the nape of his neck, teasing the short, shaved hairs at the base, and he moved his head slightly to discourage me.

Nuh-uh. You're not gonna stop me.

Turning in my seat, I rested my splayed hand proprietarily on his thigh, letting the heat from my palm soak through the thin material. He shifted a little in his seat but made no immediate move to stop me. It was only as my hand slid infinitesimally higher that he made a move to halt its advance, catching my hand as it neared my area of intent. I let it rest there for a moment, covered by his warm grasp, and winked at him, squeezing gently. When he relaxed his hold, I found the welcoming heat at the juncture of his thighs and groin and pressed into it. Against his will, his thighs parted a fraction and I knew then that I had almost won. The backs of my fingers glanced against his sleeping length and I felt it start to awaken and show interest in my activities.

"Edward, I'm trying to concentrate..."

"Multitask; you're an intelligent man, why else would I be so attracted to you?" Unclipping my seatbelt, I leaned over and kissed his neck, my nose against his ear, making him shiver. "Of course, you being sexy as all hell could be another reason..." I could see goosebumps flare across his skin, a sigh escaping as I pressed an open-mouthed kiss under his jaw.

Almost there.

As I breathed hotly on his soft neck, my fingers found his now very eager erection and traced its swollen shape through the fabric. His voice was becoming decidedly uneven.

"Edward, I don't want to make a mess of these pants. Everything else is packed."

I chuckled to myself. "I know; I've thought of that." As my fingers continued to tease him, he groaned, sinking lower in his seat and trying hard to focus on driving although I felt the car slow considerably.

"This is insane."

My hand opened his fly.

"Do you want me to stop?" I asked innocently, my hand easing his hardened length into the open air even as I spoke.

He hesitated, his breath catching, and I had my answer. Leaning over his lap, I engulfed him in wet heat. I felt him twitch strongly, swelling still further as I lavished attention on his stiffened flesh, tasting the moisture gathering at the tip. When my tongue swirled around and focused on his frenulum, his restraint buckled and his hand left the wheel to tangle in my hair in silent encouragement. I felt the car swerve violently and veer off the road, bumping over grass until we drew to a stop away from the traffic. As he killed the engine, he pushed back his seat allowing me more room to feast on his straining cock.

In no time at all, thrusting up into my mouth, he came with a harsh cry and pumped jets of come into my throat. I made sure that not a drop was spilled...


Hmmm. Fun as that escapade had been, I wasn't about to try it again and risk us crashing the car. Besides – Carlisle had already read my mind.

"No more ending up in fields." He shook his head.

I grinned. There was always the back seat to seduce him in. Mind you, a blanket laid out on the asphalt sounded good to me if it meant I got to be naked with my husband-to-be.

Attempting to drag my mind out of its happy place, I turned to Carlisle.

"Hey; did you talk to my mother about the flowers for the ceremony? If you didn't rein her in she's likely to have had the entire Netherlands flower harvest flown in. She's just a little bit excited about today. And, sadly, she listens to you more than she does me. I swear, you've her favourite son now, Mr hotshot lawyer! I'm just a humble schoolteacher over shadowed by your greatness!" I chuckled loudly. It was a standing joke that my mother was as proud of Carlisle as she was of me and told anyone who would listen about her 'two sons'.

His smile crinkled his eyes, making him even more devastatingly handsome.

"I've talked to your mother and the flowers will be beautiful; exactly what you wanted. They're not formal, stuffy designs either, just loose arrangements. I know your taste better than anyone, and you are going to love them, I promise."

I relaxed then. "Thank you, love. You can calm her down better than I can. When I start talking to her about the wedding she starts squealing and hugging the breath out of me. She's out of control. But don't forget it's our day today, just us, and you make me so happy. That suit just looks incredible on you. I could eat you up."

Hello gutter, my old friend.

He checked his collar in the mirror as he drove and my heart swelled with love for him. It was rare for the cool, calm, and collected Carlisle to be nervous, and this one chink of weakness was both disarming and so reassuring. I could honestly say I wasn't nervous at all – I wanted to be his husband more than I had ever wanted anything in my life. Our honeymoon was going to be amazing; the tickets for Antigua had been booked three months ago after we had pored over the brochures, discussing the merits of the top two hotels. We settled for the honeymoon suite that overlooked the ocean, not that we intended to spend much time admiring the view – hell, it was our honeymoon, after all!

This would only be our second holiday together, our first having been that one short jaunt to London for a few days. We had loved it there and were seriously considering buying ourselves a permanent residence if things worked out. Carlisle had a big case coming up, and the earnings for the firm would be significant, not to mention Carlisle's own bonus if he won. Everything hinged on that case, and so we waited.

It was on that trip to London, in an empty capsule on the London Eye, that Carlisle proposed. I never thought I could be so happy. I accepted joyfully and the moment was immortalised when we discovered the souvenir photo snapped by the Eye camera had caught us kissing. We bought several copies of that, one of which hung on our bedroom wall as a lasting reminder of that magical day. And now we were to be married, our happiness cemented in front of our closest friends and family. We were having two best men, Jasper and Emmett. Jasper was my friend since childhood, and we had been through a lot together; when I came out he was strong and supportive and never judged me. Emmett was Carlisle's gym coach, the dedicated personal trainer who kept my man in shape for me; he was a great friend to both of us and so excited to be asked to do this for us. His wife, Rose, was highly amused by his reaction to his first best man gig, thinking he'd be worried, especially as we expected a speech from him. But, rather than being fazed by this, he had thrown himself into it, just like he did everything else. Everything was 100% for Emmett – anything less was simply unacceptable.

We had Emmett to thank for us being here now. Walking into the bar to meet him one night after a particularly rough day, I saw him standing with another guy who turned out to be some lawyer client of his. Emmett and he were drinking some health juice concoction that the bar served especially for the gym crowd. Emmett ordered one for me; when it arrived it looked vile and smelled worse. It had barely touched my tongue when I pulled a face, sliding the glass across the bar with a grimace.

"Hell, Emmett, if coming back to the gym means I have to drink that, then I quit here and now." Motioning to the barman, I ordered a beer. Turning to the blond guy, I held out my hand.

"Hi, I'm Edward." He had a firm grip.

"Carlisle. Good to meet you. Emmett talks about you."

He held my gaze a fraction too long, and I felt my pulse race. Turning to Emmett, he uttered the line that endeared him to me immediately.

"Emmett, this tastes like ass and I should know. I need a beer, man." As Carlisle turned around to order, Emmett started to laugh, looking at me and raising an eyebrow. Was he trying to set me up?

When our beers arrived we started to talk, and when Emmett excused himself and headed for the bathroom we hardly noticed him leave. After half an hour had passed we realised he had left the bar. Subtle, Emmett.

It was around our third or fourth beer that we realised we had talked for nearly three hours. It felt like three minutes. We were talking and laughing like old friends, and the more we drank the braver we got. Our hands brushed more and more often, gaps in conversion were filled with pregnant pauses and meaningful gazes.

Our last beers drained, I regretfully stood up to leave, meaning to get his number. He stayed seated and grasped my hand.

"Are you coming home with me?" His thumb rubbed my wrist. I nodded dumbly, and that was that.

Our first night together was a revelation. Thanks to his long hours in the gym Carlisle was certainly fit; that night the bed took a hammering, as did his bedroom wall. And it just got better and better.

Remembering that night now, the smile crept over my face and stayed there, just adding to my happiness. I don't know how I got so lucky.

Before the ceremony itself, we were stopping off to take flowers to Carlisle's mother. Having lost her before we met, I knew how wonderful it had been for him that my mother took him under her wing. The age gap didn't matter; the fact that he was a man didn't matter. My mother welcomed him into the Masen home and made him family. Carlisle adored her, as did I.

I looked up from my daydream.

"Don't forget to take the next left." I reached over to signal before he stopped me.

"Next left. I remember, sweetheart." He signalled, taking the turning. I chuckled. The time he had missed that tiny road sign, we had gone almost 10 miles out of our way before we both realised our mistake.

The views grew more scenic as we left the main roads behind and headed out into the countryside. I was so looking forward to seeing my old friends and the few surviving members of my family. As I turned my head, I spied Carlisle's suit jacket hung behind his seat and I smiled, knowing how handsome he looked in it. The colour set off his blue eyes to perfection; tucked into the top pocket were our matching rings, each engraved across the outside with the other's name so the world would know who we belonged to. It had been Carlisle's idea, suggesting almost shyly that he wanted my name on his hand for everyone to see. I loved the idea, and so the engraver did as we asked, somewhat surprised that the names weren't on the inside. Did I mention we were anything but traditional?

Pulling up alongside the kerb, Carlisle switched off the engine and reached for his jacket and the flowers. I followed, grateful to be able to stretch my legs whilst Carlisle went to speak to his beloved mother. I didn't like to intrude on his moment and so I took myself off for a stroll. I was starting to feel a prickle of nerves alongside the anticipation and I smiled to myself as I adjusted my collar and straightened my pants. Not long now and then the festivities could begin!

Lost in my own thoughts, I heard soft footsteps approaching and then the quiet voice I loved so much was just behind me.

"I can't go through with this." My world spun as I turned in confusion to face him. His hand was raking his hair, and he shook his head as if in denial, his eyes downcast.

"What? What do you mean you can't do through with it? I love you. And I know you love me. Carlisle, please, think about what you're saying." My voice choked off as the man I adored broke my heart, unable to meet my eyes while he did so.

His voice was cracked when he forced himself to speak.

"You and I – we – I just can't... I can't..."

Hearing my Carlisle stumble ineloquently over his words brought tears to my eyes, and I breathed deeply before asking the question I dreaded most.

"Is there someone else? Carlisle? Are you leaving me for another man on our wedding day?"

He shook his head vehemently and I felt a stabbing pain in my heart when I saw his eyes shine with tears.

"There's no one else for me, Edward. You're all I ever wanted. I know now that life is hard and cruel, but never pointless. It led me to you, and one day when the time is right it will lead me back to you."

"Then I don't understand. Are you moving to London without me? Is it work? We're a team, we belong together – for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health – I'm ready to make that commitment today. I've been ready since the moment you asked me. I love you completely. Isn't that enough anymore?"

I tried to make him look at me, certain that if our eyes met he would falter. But, as I gazed at him beseechingly, he simply turned and walked away, leaving me devastated and alone.

What the hell just happened? What isn't he telling me? Is he ill? Oh god, no, please don't let him be sick. Even if he is, he knows I would still be there for him. He and I are soul mates; I read his vows and he used those very words.

No. No. I shook my head decisively. He can't just drop the bomb like that and walk away. Whatever it is, we can fix it; I am marrying him today, no matter what.

I set off in pursuit. He had a head start, but I was determined; I needed answers for this sudden change of heart. I caught up with him and was just about to speak when I heard the sound of voices close by. Everything stopped as I looked around me.

My family.

My friends.

The flowers.

The stillness.

I saw then what I'd been too blind to see before.

Carlisle placing a red rose on the polished casket before him, his hand trembling as tears fell unchecked down his stricken face.

I saw the glint of gold on his wedding finger. As he kissed the band bearing my name, I heard his solemn vow to me:

"Today, on the day we were meant to be joined together forever, I am proclaiming to the world that you are my husband and I am forever yours. Sleep well, my love."

Shaking with grief, he stumbled and almost fell. My mother was quickly at his side and folding him into her embrace, they wept together, her own tears wetting his hair as he clung to her.

I looked around at my friends and family, and finally back at the man that I loved with all my heart.

And across the stillness came the soft strains of a song:

Say goodbye, my own true lover,

as we sing our lover's song.

How it breaks my heart to leave you

now the carnival is gone.

I fell to my knees, silently screaming his name over and over, praying that someone, anyone, would tell me this wasn't true, but no one even looked my way. In front of my eyes the man I loved, the man with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life, fell apart and, try as I might, I could offer him no comfort in his time of grief.

Instead, I memorised his face, every beloved feature; and as the world around me faded away, the song quietly played out.

Now the harbour light is calling;

this will be our last goodbye.

Though the carnival is over,

I will love you till I die.


A/N - Loosely based on the line from the Sixth Sense: "Some people don't know they're dead. They only see what they want to see."

The song is called The Carnival is Over, by the New Seekers. It never fails to make me cry.

SPOILER - For all those that asked for an explanation, I hope the above quote helps. If not, read it again with just Carlisle's side of the conversation and you will see a grieving man, talking to himself, trying to come to terms with his devastating loss. Poor Edward just doesn't know that.

For more information on Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, visit the SADS website: www dot sads dot org dot uk