Chronicles of a Newborn

A/N This was my entry for the LiveJournal Vampire Big Bang. Thanks to my LJ friends for their support and my wonderful beta, idylchild.

Warnings: mild violence against animals (these ARE vampires after all), memories of child abuse, M/M sex

DISCLAIMER: All Twilight characters in this story belong to Stephenie Meyers.


To love is good, too: love being difficult.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.
With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is-solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.
Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate-?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for another's sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.
Rainer Maria Rilke
May 14, 1904, Rome


Closing my eyes, I let my forefinger slowly slide down the spine of the dusty journal. I had not forgotten about it. After all, vampires do not forget. I had simply stored the memory of it away and it had been many years since I had seen it. Now that recollection and thousands of others broke through the barriers of my consciousness and I flinched as I felt them pour over the fresh wounds of our quarrel.

He had stormed out of the house to hunt earlier. He was always testy when he was thirsty and he said words I knew he didn't mean. They reverberated in the house long after his departure. Like sharp needles puncturing my silent heart, I felt their pain and decided to hide away in my office and comfort myself with my books. He would return and apologize eventually. He always did.

There had to be a way to soothe him at times like this. Calm the tempest in his soul. I had deliberately done this to him, albeit at his request. Nevertheless, I felt the weight of responsibility when he despaired over his constant thirst. It eroded the edges of his consciousness, finally overcoming his desire for all other pursuits, including his beloved piano.

I had been searching for my copy of Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet on my shelves when I came across it. Deserting my search for Rilke's work, I wrapped my fingers around the journal. The black leather-bound book protested as I pulled it out. Over the years it had formed a sticky attachment to its neighbors. I climbed down the ladder and opened it to the first page. A deluge of memories continued to wash over me, sweeping me away from the present. I seated myself on the leather chair behind my desk, my eyes glued to the clean black lines of my own handwriting.

June 20, 2007 – The Birth

Drip, drip, drip…

I took a moment to glance out the window as small drops of water from the incessant drizzle outside fell helplessly off of the roof and splashed on the wooden porch. Some would find the noise annoying, but I took comfort in it. Things had been too quiet lately.

I chuckled softly as I read the first few lines. I had wanted to record everything from that first year; not just the events, but my feelings, the atmosphere, everything. Like a video recorder, my flawless memory allowed me to recall and record the events as if they were still happening. Although four years had passed, my emotions during this particular year were indelibly etched into my mind. I wrote in this journal for Edward. If anything ever happened to me, I wanted to leave him my memories and my emotional impressions during his first year in this life. Sitting back and relaxing in my chair, I allowed the words play in my mind like a movie.

oOoOoOo

June 20, 2007 – The Birth

Drip, drip, drip…

I took a moment to glance out the window as small drops of water from the incessant drizzle outside fell helplessly off of the roof and splashed on the wooden porch. Some would find the noise annoying, but I took comfort in it. Things had been too quiet lately.

Drip, drip, drip…

I turned back to look down on Edward's face. His eyelids fluttered for a split second causing me to gasp aloud. If I had a beating heart, it would have skipped a beat or two.

"Eleazar!" I cried out, "Eleazar, he's opening his eyes!"

Eleazar appeared suddenly as if out of thin air. "Keep hold of him, Carlisle. Move your face close to his so that you are the first thing he sees when his eyes open."

I followed his instructions, watching my charge anxiously. I had attended a few newborn vampire births when I lived in Volterra and, as I recalled, newborn vampires could be quite unpredictable upon awakening if not handled properly. I was fortunate that Eleazar had agreed to assist me with Edward's transformation.

In his usual stubborn way, my mate had insisted that I change him before his 23rd birthday. He refused to become "older" than me. His reasoning was ridiculous, of course. He was never going to be my age. My worries that I might lose him to any number of possible tragedies while he was human finally convinced me and I relented with the condition that he would permit Eleazar to help us.

Eleazar was well-acquainted with the transformation process having conducted it personally while working with the Guard in Volterra. He graciously agreed to accommodate us and we met him at his remote cabin in the Adirondacks. I remembered his warnings as he counseled me on the procedure.

It is very important that you are there when he first opens his eyes. Like a duckling, he will imprint on the first vampire he sees and you want him to recognize you as his Sire.

Do not be concerned if he does not recognize you as his mate immediately. His recollection of your previous life together will return eventually. Later, when things have settled down, you should remind him of specific events, times that you have shared. They will stimulate his memories.

His mind will not be as undeveloped as an infant's, but it will take him a little while for some of his physical attributes to adjust.

Most of his senses will be perfect upon awakening. His vision will be momentarily blurry. His ability to speak and comprehend could take as long as an hour to return.

He will be extremely powerful and able to move quickly, efficiently. He will react on instinct once he becomes aware of his surroundings.

His thirst will drive him to try to run away to feed. We must provide him with his first feeding as soon as we can.

I had been cradling Edward in my arms for the past three days comforting him as he writhed and screamed in pain. I never left him except to feed. Eleazar had stressed the importance of keeping up my strength. I wasn't comfortable leaving him, but I knew Eleazar was perfectly capable of taking care of him during my short absences.

"There must be enough blood in your body to give him his first feeding. We cannot allow him to overpower us and run off to feed on his own. That would be disastrous," he cautioned.

During the second day his shrieks had subsided considerably when his voice became hoarse. However, I knew from my own experience that the burning had only increased. I felt my composure break down as I watched his face contort in anguish, his mouth open wide yet emitting no sound. On the third day, his face became passive. Although his closed eyes and lips moved minutely, he no longer tried to scream. It was as though he had given up. I could hear his heart beating faster and faster. I held him tighter as it thundered relentlessly. Just when I thought that I could no longer tolerate the tension, it came to a stop. I sat forward apprehensively, not knowing what to expect now that I realized that he was about to open his eyes.

"He's so quiet. Are you sure everything is alright?" I whispered.

"It's fine. Trust me. Talk to him." Eleazar nodded his head. "He needs the reassurance that you are near." He settled down on the end of the bed and watched. I was sitting up against the headboard with Edward in my lap. He was curled up against me like a small child. We had bathed him earlier that morning and I decided against dressing him. His old clothes had been soiled when his dying body expelled its unnecessary fluids. I should have expected it. It was perfectly normal.

Looking down at his perfect face I whispered, "Edward. Edward, open your eyes." I gently brushed his cheek with the tips of my fingers. His copper hair was still damp and I nuzzled my nose against it. Noting the newly healed scar on his neck, I stroked its raised outline with my forefinger.

His eyelids suddenly snapped open. The red irises startled me. He blinked several times trying to adjust and focus his new vampire eyes on me. A whimper escaped from his mouth. Without any warning, he began snarling and struggling to free himself from my arms. I held him tightly and Eleazar moved closer in case I needed his help.

"It's me, love. It's Carlisle." Edward growled and snapped his teeth. It was disturbing to look into his wild eyes and see the monster I had created. "I know you feel disoriented. Don't you remember me?"

He stopped struggling and for a few seconds he stared at me. Then his eyes shifted around taking in his surroundings with his new limitless vision. He opened his mouth as though he was trying to say something. Nothing came out but a miserable rasping sound. He reached up with his hand and rubbed his throat up and down swallowing.

"I know, love. It hurts. We're going to take care of that soon." To distract him I placed the palm of my hand over his soft penis, pressing down. His response was a low growl as he arched his back. He began struggling trying to free himself from my arms. He thrashed his head from side to side. His new strength was astonishing and I was having difficulty controlling him. Eleazar tried to help by restraining his legs which he was kicking.

"Carlisle, you must start to feed him… NOW," Eleazar ordered, throwing himself down on Edward's thrashing legs.

It was difficult to bite my wrist and hold Edward down at the same time, but I finally managed it and pressed my bleeding wrist against his mouth. He immediately began sucking. The pain was excruciating and I groaned in agony. It had been a very long time since I had felt this pain. But for my love, I would do anything.

Within minutes his struggles ceased. His hands were wrapped tightly around my forearm as he pulled my wrist against his mouth. His eyes were closed peacefully as he sucked relentlessly and I thought that he looked more beautiful than ever. Despite the pain, I felt a sudden tenderness, another level of connection I had never felt before. If I were female, I would describe it as maternal love. It was very odd.

"That's enough, Carlisle," I heard Eleazar's voice as from a far distance. He forcibly pulled my wrist away from Edward's mouth. Edward growled and snapped at Eleazar, but I had enough strength left to restrain him again.

No. No Edward. Please don't.

I felt him relax. Looking down I saw him staring intently at me. He reached up and touched my lips with his fingers. His face was glorious, flushed by the blood he just imbibed, thoughtful and serious. I kissed the tips of his fingers and smiled. He turned his head and gazed at Eleazar for a moment before returning his attention to me.

"C-Carlisle?" he asked in a gravelly voice.

"Yes! Yes, love, it's me. Rest for a few moments. Let your body absorb the blood I gave you." I was elated that he was coherent and I smiled broadly. I helped him stretch out on the bed and I laid down facing him. I couldn't help but admire his long lean limbs. My hand automatically reached out to stroke his bare chest.

So lovely.

"Perhaps I should leave you two alone. Give you a chance to get reacquainted," Eleazar said, startling me. I'd almost forgotten about him. I watched as he stood and walked to the doorway.

He turned his head, smirked and winked at me, "He has a gift, Carlisle," he said mysteriously before closing the door. I stared at the door, trying to comprehend what that meant. Eleazar's own gift was sensing other vampire's gifts. Before I could spend too much time thinking, Edward distracted me once more.

"You-you look different," he said, bringing my attention back to him. Stroking my cheek with the pads of his fingers, he searched my eyes. "Your face is so beautiful."

"You look different, too," I chuckled as I looked into his crimson eyes and perfectly smooth face.

"I do?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

Those cute sandy freckles on his nose and cheeks and the pale scar over his eyebrow are gone.

He raised his hand and ran his fingers over his eyebrow as though he were trying to feel the old scar. I was surprised and a little bit worried. Eleazar's comment was starting to make sense now.

I didn't say that out loud.

"You didn't?" he asked, seemingly confused.

Edward can you hear me?

"How do you do that?" he wondered aloud, touching my lips again. "You talk with your mouth closed."

My eyebrows must have shot up to my hairline as I sat up in astonishment. I knew Edward had a sensitive intuition as a human, but I had never expected this. This was what Eleazar meant. Horrified, I recalled that there was only one vampire that I knew of with this type of gift.

They can never know about him!

Edward sat up. His face reflected his fear. "Who?"

I tried in vain to block the memory, squeezing my eyes shut as though that would help, but it burst through anyway.

I am forcefully led along a seemingly endless stone passageway underground to a massive chamber. The room is dimly-lit and bare with the exception of three opulent thrones. Many vampires line the walls and watch as I am brought forth to face my judgment. The faces of three ancient ones with papery, translucent skin, impassive expressions and fierce red irises study me with disdain. A young girl, I estimate to be around the age of twelve, stands proudly in the center by the throne of their apparent leader, the most powerful one, curling her lip unattractively and regarding me with disgust. Despite her expression, she is a beautiful creature with long blond hair and pouty lips. Her master's face is cold, expressionless. He nods his head once. Pain…

Edward gasped and jumped off of the bed, smashing through the doorway before I could react.

"No, Edward! STOP!" I screamed out as I darted through the room after him.

I found them on the floor. Eleazar had tackled him near the front door of the cabin. His strong arms were wrapped tightly around Edward's calves. Edward was thrashing from side to side like a fish out of water. I sat down on Edward's chest. He was terrified.

"Eleazar, he can hear my thoughts! He can see what I'm visualizing," I blurted.

"I know, Carlisle," he replied as he strived to hold Edward down. "I'm afraid that this may prove to be a problem for you. We will have to see."

His words caused some discomfort. I turned to Edward and cupped his face in my hands. "Edward, Edward, Edward. Look at me love," I implored in a soft voice. "You're safe here. We are your friends. There is nothing to fear." He stared at me trying to process what I said, struggling to believe me. Eventually, I felt his muscles begin to relax. He had already recognized me as his Sire and I knew that his instinct was forcing him to trust me. It would influence him to follow me anywhere I led him. However, I needed to find a way to comfort him. I didn't want him to be afraid of me. I let my mind drift back to the many good memories I'd stored away and plucked a particularly pleasant one, allowing it to surface.

The rush of sensations from a small waterfall splashing over my head is like a soothing balm. I stand beneath it with my arms stretched up to the heavens. The sound of the turbulent water is deafening, but it blocks out the outside world and calms my tortured mind. Below me, I see the contrast of my pale bare feet standing on moss-covered slippery stones. The surface of the water sparkles brightly distorting the view of the pebble covered riverbed. The pebbles shimmer like multicolored jewels, purple, blue and red. I lift my face up and let the spray wash away my melancholy. The rays of sunlight peek through the canopy of leaves overhead and warm my face, giving me a sense of comfort and renewal. Above the trees the sky is crystal clear, a perfect blue.

It was apparent that Edward was contemplating what he saw in my recollection. His eyes were slightly glazed. He had stopped struggling. Eleazar had released his legs and was sitting back watching us carefully. Edward blinked a few times before he reached up and touched one of my eyelids with his finger. He tilted his head to the side.

"I can see in here," he murmured in awe, tapping my closed eye.

"Yes, love, I know."

"C-Can you see in here?" he asked touching his own eye.

"No, my love. You have a special gift." I ran my fingers through his thick copper locks. I sighed wondering what it would be like to know what he was thinking.

"Where was that? Did it really happen?" he asked.

"It was many years ago… in France."

"I want to go there," he said.

I smiled and shook my head. "Perhaps one day, love."

oOoOoOo

June 21, 2007 – The Young Hunter

Our first hunting expedition was memorable and a bit amusing.

"Hunting is a natural instinct for our kind, Edward. You will be driven by the scent of blood. It should be easy for you. Do not worry. We will be there to guide you and make an effort to see that you don't head into populated areas." Eleazar assured him. Horrified, Edward looked between both of us.

"Do you think that I will kill someone?" he asked. His eyes were wide.

"If it happens, it would be an accident. I know that you would never purposely hurt anyone." I told him, trying my best to calm his fears. I took his hand and squeezed it gently.

"I don't want to hurt anyone," he whimpered.

"We are going to do our best to keep that from happening." Eleazar assured him.

It was just after midnight when we finally felt confident enough to venture outside. The night was humid and cloudy. A thunderstorm danced along the horizon, threatening to disturb the tranquil landscape. Occasional flashes of lightning could be seen in the distance.

Holding his hands, Eleazar and I walked on either side of Edward leading him into the forest.

At first Edward seemed docile and intimidated by the sounds and smells that surrounded us, stopping every now and then, turning his head from side to side every time he heard something. He squeezed my hand and pressed his body close to mine, trembling at the slightest noise. However, once we had advanced some 100 yards into the trees, he abruptly jerked forward and away from us. He sniffed the air and turned back to look at me with feral black eyes.

"Can you smell that?" I asked him even though it was quite obvious that he could. "It's the scent of a male bear. He is about a mile away in that direction."

I started to raise my arm to point, but before I could, he had disappeared. My jaw dropped open as I turned to Eleazar.

"What are we waiting for?" he chuckled. "Let's follow him. I don't sense any trouble in that direction, but we should try to catch up just in case he changes course."

We flew through the forest following Edward's unique scent. I knew that by 'trouble' Eleazar was referring to the presence of humans, possibly campers or hunters. I tried to stay calm, but kept my senses sharply focused on hearing or smelling any humans near the area. I realized that even if I did sense their presence it could be too late to do anything about it and the thought terrified me.

We finally reached them at the edge of a river. It had all been over for a while. The bear was lying on his back and Edward was draped over him. They were both covered in mud and debris. The poor beast had put up a struggle, but the only damage he inflicted was the shredding of Edward's clothing. He was no match against the strength of a newborn vampire. His head was nearly torn off, lying on the ground at an odd angle. Edward's entire face was buried into the bear's neck. He had actually plunged his right hand inside the bear's chest. Blood had sprayed everywhere and its heavy scent was assaulting my throat. I could see Eleazar holding his hand against his throat out of the corner of my eye.

"Perhaps I should find something for us. You stay here. I'll be back shortly," he ordered. Before I had a chance to reply, he was gone.

I leaned against a nearby tree and watched my beloved mate with rapt attention. I felt a sense of pride even though I knew that what he'd done was blatantly barbaric. I was certain that he could sense our presence, but he was ignoring it because he was drowning in a haze of bloodlust. Slurping and nearly choking, he feasted on the blood that was still pumping steadily out of the bear's neck. The sounds along with the heavy scent in the air were causing venom to pool into my mouth. I swallowed the thick fluid, but it did nothing to alleviate the fire in my throat.

The hand that Edward had buried inside of the bear was unconsciously moving, squeezing the organs inside. The other hand shifted down between the bear's body and his crotch. He was palming his erection and whimpering. It is a quite common occurrence for male vampires during feeding. The hot blood is absorbed by our bodies causing our skin to flush and our genitals to swell. It is a bit miserable if we cannot find some type of relief.

As I watched him, I felt my own member began to thicken and press uncomfortably against my trousers. I gripped it through the thin fabric and was contemplating unzipping my pants, but before I could do that Eleazar returned carrying two young bucks. Their necks were broken. Although I'm certain that he saw what I had been doing, he made no comment and tossed one of the animals in my direction. It fell at my feet.

"Aren't you thirsty?" he asked nonchalantly. He lifted his buck's neck and bit down.

I didn't answer him. I simply nodded in gratitude, sat and brought my teeth down onto the buck's neck. All thoughts of Edward and Eleazar were momentarily lost as the hot, sweet nectar of life flowed down my throat and my eyes rolled back in ecstasy. I'm not sure how much time passed until the last drops were sucked from the deer's lifeless body. I gasped and pulled away suddenly remembering where I was and what I should have been watching. Eleazar was on his back, propped up on his elbows. He motioned towards Edward with his chin.

Edward was lying on his back next to the dead bear. His skin and the remnants of fabric that were once his clothing were drenched and smeared with sticky blood and muck. His eyes were closed, but I knew he wasn't sleeping. That amount of blood had induced a drug-like euphoria. Standing on shaky legs, I slowly made my way towards him. As I knelt next to him, his eyelids flew open and he snarled at me. I was momentarily startled. I recovered quickly, however, and cupped the sides of his face with my hands.

"It's just me, love. Are you feeling better?" Ridiculously, the physician in me wanted to examine him, to make sure that he was alright.

He nodded slowly. "It happened so fast. I was running and then I was on top of him." He blinked his eyes several times and then turned his head to look at the bear laying next him. Horrified at the condition of the mauled beast, he sat up and scrambled away until he was practically sitting on my lap. I wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

"It's all instinct, love. You did well for a first kill." I complimented, gazing at the bloody carcass. "My first kill was just a small doe."

His eyes widened when he noticed his blood-soaked body. He turned to look at me and then at Eleazar who had moved over and was sitting at his feet.

"I have to agree with Carlisle," Eleazar said with a broad grin. "Bringing down a large bear is very impressive for your first time. As I recall, my first kill was just an old woman."

My eyebrows shot up to my hairline. "Yes, well, perhaps we can talk about that at another time," I strongly hinted to Eleazar, chancing a sideways glance at Edward. He was busy examining his hands.

"Oh-oh, yes, yes. Of course, you're right, Carlisle," Eleazar apologized, looking up at me guiltily.

"Is it always so messy?" Edward asked dejectedly, pulling away a little to keep my clothes from getting too soiled.

"You'll get better at it," I promised him, releasing his shoulders from my grasp. "Come let's go get cleaned up." Standing up, I took his hand and pulled him up.

"You-you fed too?" he asked as he noticed the two dead bucks several feet away.

"Eleazar hunted them and brought them here for us. I never left your side, love." I had to assure him that he was never alone while he was feeding.

"That's not what I mean. You're not covered in blood," he pouted, pointing to my clothes. The only stains on them were those he made when he sat on my lap.

I smiled as I helped him remove his ruined clothing. "We've had a great deal more practice than you." As I pulled his pants and boxers down, I felt a shiver travel up my spine. I longed to touch his beautiful body, but I resisted. When I was finished taking his clothes off, I took off my own. His I left in a pile, but I folded my own and set them neatly atop a large rock on the muddy bank. Walking into the river, I held my hand out to him beckoning him to follow me. He stood frozen to the spot as he watched my feet and then my calves disappear under the shallow water. Despite the heavy clouds, the full moon had momentarily broken through and was now shining brightly, illuminating the water's surface.

"Come, love. We'll wash off the blood and mud. You'll feel better," I persuaded him.

Trust me.

He took a few steps towards me until he reached the edge of the water. It lapped gently over his toes and he seemed fascinated by the sensation and movement. He lifted one foot up, letting the water drip off of his toes. He tilted his head as he watched the ripples caused by the drops of water. Then he lifted the foot higher and brought it down hard with a splash. The muddy water flew in all directions to his delight. Laughing he repeated the action.

"EDWARD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? STOP!" I shouted, brushing the mud off of my chest and face. Unfortunately, all that did was smear it around. I crouched down in the water and started to wash it off. I hated mud. I didn't notice Edward silently stalking towards me until it was too late. Without any warning, he threw himself on top of me pushing me into deeper water. We rolled under the water, down to the riverbed, wrestling. I was finally able to free myself from his grasp by tickling his sides. He was laughing as we surfaced, clearly enjoying himself, and I couldn't help grinning. It was childish and carefree, something I had not experienced in many years. Sitting on the bank, Eleazar was chuckling at our antics.

It took at least 30 minutes before I was finally able to get Edward to sit still long enough so that I could bathe him properly. He had no interest in doing it himself. Most of the clots of blood and mud in his hair had come off when we were under water and it really was not hard to get the rest out.

In the meantime, Edward seemed to be enjoying his improved vision. He amused himself by sitting and scooping water up in his hands, letting the sparkling drops fall and create ripples on the surface. He tilted his head to the side and reached down to pick up a pebble examining it closely. He frowned in disappointment and tossed it over his shoulder. Above the water, the pebble was an ordinary slate gray, shiny from the moisture, but not glimmering the way it had under the water. He captured a small fish that had been hiding between some rocks and watched it flop frantically on the palm of his hand mesmerized by flashes of its glittery scales. When he released it, it jetted away to the safety of darker, deeper water. He seemed delighted by all his discoveries.

I let Edward wear my boxers since his clothes and shoes were ruined. We led the way back to the cabin, with Eleazar running close behind. A sudden bolt of lightning lit up the sky and a thunderclap from the storm that had been threatening all night shook the forest. Rain began pouring down on us and I felt Edward's hand pull away. He was gone in an instant.

I stopped in my tracks, spinning around trying to catch Edward's scent. Eleazar noticed and stopped as well.

"Where did he go?" I asked. The rain was quickly washing away his scent and I was starting to panic.

"This way, Carlisle," Eleazar cried out, running in front of me. We started chasing the scent and shortly found ourselves in front of the cabin.

"He came home," Eleazar laughed.

We found him inside curled up in a ball under the table. His hands covered his ears and his eyes were shut tight. I crawled under the table and pulled him into a hug.

"Why, Edward? Why did you run away?" I asked as I rubbed his back soothingly. He was shaking.

You frightened me. Please do not ever run away from me.

"Loud. So loud," he whimpered, burying his head into my shoulder.

I kissed the top of his head. "Yes, love. Your hearing is much sharper. It's very useful when we hunt, but extremely loud noises can be upsetting the first time you hear them. You will get used to it. I promise."

At dawn the twittering from the birds in nearby trees aided in finally coaxing him out. The drama caused by the storm quickly faded as he ran out to the porch to see them.

oOoOoOo

June 22, 2007 – Consummation

Broaching the subject was uncomfortable. Our lovemaking had been so careful before this. I had always allowed Edward to initiate our sexual relations. I was used to the tension of forcing myself to be gentle, not wanting to hurt his fragile body. Now there were times when I felt an almost uncontrollable desire to throw him down and take him, make him mine again.

It was disturbing that Edward seemed disinterested. Other than hunting, his only focus seemed to be in rediscovering his environment using his new vampire senses. I realized that he had only started his life as a vampire two days prior and that I should give him time. However, I found myself yearning for his touch.

Having completed his mission, Eleazar was preparing to leave us and I knew I had very little time left. He missed his mate Carmen, and was anxious to get back to her. I suggested that he join us on a hunt once more before leaving. Having been my friend so many years, he agreed, sensing that I needed to talk. Using the time when Edward would be preoccupied with feeding would enable us to speak freely.

As Edward fed on a whitetail deer, I confessed my fear that he no longer felt the same desire for me as he had before the transformation and that I did not know what I could do to change that.

"You are mates," Eleazar chuckled after I told him of my fears. I snorted in response to his stating of the obvious. In a more serious tone, he added, "I don't understand what you're worried about. He will submit to you, whether he wants to or not."

I was frustrated by his reply. "That is not what I want, Eleazar. I don't want to force him. I want him to want me the way he did before the transformation."

"He is very distracted right now, but he is a young vampire at the height of his sexual maturity. At first, you may have to use a little coercion to remind him about it, but it will all come back to him. Trust me on that," Eleazar assured me before clapping me on the back.

"You can stay at the cabin as long as you like," he continued. "Carlisle, I am worried that he will have some difficulty adjusting to the sensation of hearing many minds at one time. It would be prudent to go slowly when exposing him to others, humans or vampires. I don't want to frighten you, but this type of gift has been known to cause madness." He took my hand and squeezed it to comfort me.

I shuddered violently. "You mean like Aro?" I asked, trying to get him to clarify his statement.

"No," he said, shaking his head. "Aro is wicked and power-hungry, but not mad. He can only read the minds of those he physically touches. The ability to hear minds from a distance… I've seen it before. When I was in the Volturi guard I was tasked with finding recruits from the human population that had the propensity to be gifted after their transformation. This particular gift was rare. The few that we deemed eligible to join our ranks were unreliable once they were changed. The constant roar from the voices in their heads distracted them and drove them mad. Aro and his brothers found them unworthy and had them destroyed, often within six months of their birth."

I looked over at the love of my life. We had removed his clothing to keep them clean while he hunted. He was lying atop the deer, drinking contentedly. The smooth skin of his bare back and luscious buttocks were exposed to me and I stifled a groan, not from lust, but from fear.

Turning back to Eleazar, I grabbed him by the shoulders. I was horrified at his betrayal. "You're telling me that Edward will go mad? Why didn't you say anything before I changed him?"

"Calm yourself, Carlisle," he beseeched. "Yes, I sensed that there was a possibility that the boy might possess this gift, but there was no guarantee and I didn't want to worry you. Remember that the Volturi are an impatient lot. They didn't want to invest any time trying to get the newborns to adjust. I know that you will take the time to work with Edward. I feel certain that the two of you can arrive at some solution. It may simply be a case of having him desensitized by exposing him slowly to people. Start with a few and work your way up. He seems to have adjusted to our two minds fairly well."

I released his shoulders and leaned back against the tree behind me, sliding down until I was sitting with my knees drawn up. I stared at my beautiful mate. This was more than I had bargained for. Was I going to be able to help him?

"Everything will turn out fine, Carlisle. I think I'll leave you two alone now," Eleazar whispered, crouching down to meet my eyes. "I'm going to return to the cabin for my bag."

"You aren't going to hunt?" I asked, tearing my eyes away from Edward's body and gazing at my friend.

"I'll find something on the way," he said.

I reached over and wrapped my arms around him, "Thank you. You're leaving me with much to think about."

He smiled weakly and nodded. Glancing at Edward, he patted my shoulder, "Go to him, Carlisle. I'll call you when I get to Alaska."

With that, he stood up and left us.

I removed my clothes and waited until Edward had drained the deer before walking to him. He was resting on his back with his eyes closed. With one hand he was slowly stroking his long, thick penis. His other hand was buried in his thick hair. I kept my mind blank as I walked so when he felt me straddle him, his eyes snapped open in surprise.

Don't think, my darling boy. Just feel.

With that thought in my mind, I bent down and brushed my lips against his. The taste of blood excited me further, driving me to press my torso down harder and rub our erections together. He groaned loudly and threw his arms around me, kissing me back with fervor. I felt him wrap his legs over my hips. He was clinging to me with all his limbs and thrusting frantically upward trying to get more friction. I realized that Eleazar had been right. Edward had not forgotten my touch. Like hunting, sex was instinctual.

Spurred on by that realization, I began speaking softly in his ear telling him how much I needed him, how beautiful he was to me, how much I loved him. In response, he grunted and growled. Reaching down I took both of our turgid members in my hand and began squeezing and moving my hand up and down over them. He was whimpering and trying to turn us over. He was strong, but I succeeded in holding him in place by pressing all of my weight on him and stroking our penises furiously.

I continued to kiss and lick along his sharp jaw line, savoring the flavor of the smeared deer blood. The mixture of Edward and the blood was intoxicating. I lingered for a moment on his earlobe, sucking it into my mouth and toying with it with my tongue. My eyes landed on crux of his neck and shoulder where the scar from my bite lay. Unable to resist, I began sucking and licking the sensitive spot. He arched his back and used his nails to claw mine. He was crying out, panting and babbling incoherently. I could tell that he was getting close.

It's alright, love. You can let go now.

His eyes rolled back and he stuttered out my name reverently. I felt his penis pulse between our stomachs and wetness coated my hand. As he relaxed in his post-orgasmic haze, I wasted no time in preparing him for me. My fingers were already slick with his essence so I quickly slipped two of them into his entrance. He gasped in surprise. He was tight. The last time we had intercourse was the night that I turned him. That was six days ago.

I pumped my fingers in and out for a few minutes as I positioned myself between his legs, using my knees to spread them further apart. Edward began moaning the minute I pulled my fingers out. My intention was to be gentle, but hearing his moans and breathing in his scent combined with the knowledge that I would soon be encased in his body made me snap. An animalistic urge came over me and I slammed into him without any warning. I'm sure that he screamed out, but I could not hear him. My mind was lost in a thick fog of lust. I thrust into him fast and hard over and over again. In an effort to take back some control, he clenched down and the sensation propelled me to my climax. I soared into oblivion and when I returned to earth I found him staring up at me in awe. He was running his hands up and down my arms.

"Are you okay?" he asked nervously.

"I believe 'okay' would be an understatement for how I feel right now," I laughed. I stroked his cheek with the back of my hand and he closed his eyes, leaning into it.

All thoughts of what Eleazar had said and my subsequent anxiety had dissipated. I nuzzled my nose into my lover's neck and breathed in relief.

oOoOoOo

July 30, 2007 – Voices

Forty days had passed since Edward's birth into this life. To my delight, his rapid progress surpassed all of my expectations. He had honed his hunting skills until they were nearly perfect. We had even stopped our habit of removing his clothing before hunting as there was very little blood wasted anymore.

My only concern was Edward's occasional complaints about a dull, but bothersome buzzing in his ears. At times he would rub his ears frantically and grumble over his discomfort. I examined his ears and saw nothing to indicate a physical cause, but my expertise was in human disease. I had never encountered a physical ailment in a vampire.

I called Eleazar to consult with him hoping for some reassurance that it was just aftermath of the transformation process.

"I don't think so, Carlisle. I've never witnessed anything like that in a newborn. Perhaps it's a manifestation of his telepathy. He may be extremely sensitive. He may imagine that he hears a buzzing, but it could actually be the thoughts of individuals very far away, in an airplane overhead for example."

"That's difficult to believe, Eleazar."

"It's the only explanation that I can think of," he replied.

This morning, Edward's head rested heavily on my bare chest as we lay on the bed and I leafed through a book of poetry by William Blake. We were both still in a state of post-coital bliss. These quiet moments were the ones that I relished the most. He seemed happy and content, stroking my arm and humming lightly. I buried my nose in his copper waves and kissed his head.

I never knew I could be this happy, Edward.

I felt the corners of his mouth twitch against my skin.

"I thought you were going to read to me," he reminded me.

"Yes. Yes," I replied, flipping over a few pages until I found the poem I wanted to recite.

LAUGHING SONG

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

when the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing 'Ha, ha he!'

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha, ha, he!'

"I want to go outside," he murmured, lightly drumming his fingers on my chest.

I raised my brows in surprise. His eyes glimmered with hope. Turning my head around towards the lone window in the room, I saw narrow ribbons of light filtering in through cracks in the shutters.

Maybe that was not a good choice to read.

"You know that we can't. The sun is out," I replied. I shifted my attention back to the book.

"There is no one outside to see us. Why can't we go?"

It's just not a good habit to start.

"I never go out in the sunlight. You know that," I answered, aloud.

"I'll go alone then."

"I don't think so."

"Please Carlisle. I promise to be back in an hour."

I hate this. Why are you forcing me into a parental role?

"More like a jailer…," he mumbled, angrily.

"It's too risky, Edward."

He huffed in frustration.

"You're so inflexible," he complained, "All the things we do have to be done the same way you've always done them with no consideration for what I might want. Why can't you try something different? You could enjoy yourself." Frowning, he pushed away from me and stood up, walking to the window. He unlocked the shutters, pushed them aside and threw open the sash. A flood of sunlight and a concentrated scent of pine burst into the room. "I miss the sunshine."

The light glistened on his bare skin giving off an ethereal glow as he leaned over the sill to look out. He was unbelievably beautiful… an angel.

Why are you being so difficult?

He ignored my silent question and I felt a twinge of guilt.

Am I suffocating him? Maybe he's right. I have made my life too structured over the years.

I set the book on the nightstand and sat up. "Fine. We'll go out for a while."

His eyes lit up with excitement. "We can bring the book. It will be so much nicer reading outdoors," he promised.

An hour later, Edward was lying on his stomach straddling a low hanging branch of a willow. The thick branch stretched horizontally over the river and he let one arm hang down so that his fingers were partially submerged in the water. He had beckoned me to come up with him, but I decided that it was much safer to stay on the bank.

It would be just like you to push me into the river.

Edward flicked water in my direction and grinned mischievously as I sat back against the trunk of the willow and opened my book. I gave him a mock-frown in warning.

Don't even think about it.

A dappling of sunlight filtered through the leaves. It had been a long time since I'd felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and I had to admit that it was a pleasant sensation. I sighed, contentedly.

"I told you so," he stated, triumphantly as he sat up. I shook my head and smiled.

Yes. I admit it. You were right.

Laughing, he cupped a handful of water in both hands and threw it at me. Most of it missed, but a few drops landed on my face and I wiped them off.

UGH! Okay. That's enough of that. No more.

He chuckled quietly, lying back down on his stomach.

I had been reading aloud for several minutes when a gentle breeze carried a very familiar scent our way. Humans! My eyes shot upwards and I saw Edward standing atop the branch, his head turned windward. Before I could open my mouth to say something, he was gone.

"EDWARD!" I screamed out. Throwing the book aside, I chased after him, berating myself for not being more vigilant. There was no way I could catch up with him. His newborn strength made him impossibly fast. I just prayed that reason would overcome his natural instinct.

Oh god! He's going to kill them!

Don't hurt them, Edward. Please listen to me. Stop and think about what you're doing.

After running about two miles, I finally caught up with him. He was hiding behind a large pine tree overlooking the river. Both hands were on his head and he was frantically pulling on his hair. The tree groaned dangerously, protesting the pressure he placed on it. I immediately wrapped my arms around his waist and pressed my face into the crook of his neck in an effort to calm him. I could feel the anguish radiating from him, yet relief flooded my emotions knowing that he had managed to restrain himself.

Thank god. I was so worried that you'd killed those people.

About two hundred yards below us, an elderly man and two small boys were calmly fishing at the edge of the river, unaware of the danger above them. Not far from them, a campsite was set up. A woman was preparing a meal on a portable gas stove and another man was gathering firewood.

"Stop. Stop. Make it stop," he cried softly. "I can't stand it."

"What?" I asked, but instead of replying he turned his body and pushed me backwards to the ground. I landed on my backside and scrambled up as quickly as I could. There was no sign of him.

Damn it!

I followed his scent for several miles before I found him. He had taken down a large stag and was feeding. I watched from several feet away. My hope that he was feeling better was shattered when he picked up the stag's body and angrily threw it against a small tree with such force that the tree broke in half.

"It's not fair!" he screamed as he glared at me. "You never told me!"

"What?" What didn't I say?"

"You never told me that I would want to kill them so badly. I didn't care that it was wrong. I was going to kill them all. I could almost taste their blood. I wanted it. But they were thinking; thinking so many thoughts. So loud. Thinking things I didn't want to hear about. Their thoughts were like many voices. Not like yours. I didn't want to know their voices. I couldn't kill them because… because they are a family. They love each other." He curled himself into a ball, wrapped his arms over his head and began rocking back and forth. "I had a family once."

I approached him apprehensively, praying that he wouldn't run away again. Crouching down I reached out and touched his arm, but he flinched and I withdrew my hand quickly.

"It wasn't because they were a family, Edward. You didn't kill them because deep inside you do care that it's wrong." I heard him sob. "It's true that you had a human family once, but you still have a family. I'm your family, love."

He looked up at me. "What if I can't stop myself next time?"

"I'll help you, Edward. You don't have to go through this alone."

He crawled over to me and climbed on my lap. I wrapped my arms around him and rocked him back and forth until twilight.

oOoOoOo

December 26, 2007 – Unexpected Visitors

It had snowed all day. By evening, the drifts around the cabin were so high we had to use our hands to plow through the deep snow to get to the woods. Fortunately, it didn't take very long and Edward enjoyed himself thoroughly. The cold wind had blown the clouds away and left us a lovely clear sky. Stars sparkled above us like thousands of tiny diamonds set against a black velvet backdrop.

When we reached the forest, we started running down our usual path. I had expected it so I was not surprised when I felt the snow hit the back of my head with force. He laughed gleefully and scampered up a tree.

"I'm really not in the mood, Edward," I said humorlessly.

"You never are," he pouted. "Come on. Let's have a snowball fight. We can build a snow fort."

"How old are you?"

"Six months," he answered truthfully and I rolled my eyes.

"That's not what I meant and you know it."

Ignoring me, he started pelting me with snowballs he made from the snow on the branches.

"Edward, come down. We can do this later. Right now we both need to hunt."

He groaned in protest, but jumped down and landed softly in front of me. "You need to lighten up, Carlisle." He turned his back on me and started walking.

Seizing my opportunity, I tackled him with such force that we both plunged under the snow. I began tickling his sides mercilessly.

"You want me to lighten up, huh?" I asked as he laughed and squirmed under me.

We wrestled and rolled around under the snow for several minutes. When we finally stopped, he was laying on top of me. Smiling, he reached down and brushed a few strands of hair away from my face. I noted that his eye color had started changing. They were now a shade of reddish orange.

"You should see your face," he said, bending down and kissing my lips.

"What's wrong with it?"

"Absolutely nothing," he murmured against the skin on my neck. I could feel his erection pressing against my thigh and I smiled.

Perhaps we can spend some time here before we hunt…

I arched my back, seeking friction for my own erection against his hip. Our kisses became more passionate. I started to unbutton his shirt when I suddenly felt his body stiffen. He raised his head slightly and his eyes shifted around.

What is it? Is someone approaching?

I could see fear in his eyes as he squeezed my hand tightly. He stood up and pulled me up with him. Their scent assaulted me as we came up out of the snow.

Two female vampires were watching us from 100 yards away. One was petite with a very young face and messy blond curls. In human years she looked to me to be around fifteen. The other was taller, built like an Amazonian warrior, and much older. The lines on her face told me that she was turned when she was at least forty. Her long, matted hair even had a few streaks of gray running through it. They were both barefoot and dressed in men's clothing. Their eyes were a bright crimson, indicating that they had recently fed. The looks on their faces were curious, but wary.

"Good evening, ladies." I greeted them amicably as they drifted closer to us. "My name is Carlisle and this is Edward." I placed one hand on Edward's shoulder. I could feel him trembling.

"Look at their eyes," the young one whispered. "I've never seen orange and yellow eyes before." She narrowed her own eyes at me.

Ignoring the comment, the older one tilted her head and winked at Edward. "Hello dears. My name is Daphna and this is Penny." Penny wrapped her arms around Daphna and laid her head against her arm. Daphna was at least a foot taller than Penny.

"We're so happy we found you," Penny said cheerfully in a high-pitched voice. She looked at Edward as she spoke.

Before I could contemplate the meaning of her words, I heard Edward's low growl and turned to look at him. His jaw was set firmly and his eyes were blazing with anger.

"Leave," he ordered in a deadly voice.

I stared at him aghast. "Edward…," I started.

"Leave now and do not return." He took one step forward. His hands were balled into fists at his sides. Penny and Daphna glanced at each other and then threw their heads back and laughed.

What is it, love? Are they threatening us?

"Have you claimed this territory?" Daphna asked. "Well, not to worry. We are simply passing through. It's rare when we meet up with others of our kind."

"What is your destination?" I asked, trying to remain courteous. Edward's rude behavior was confusing.

"We've been travelling from the south… Mexico. We are going to Canada. You are travelling as well?" Daphna asked.

"No. We live in a cabin nearby," I said.

Daphna seemed confused. "You live in a cabin?"

"Yes. We are not travelling at the moment. Edward is new to this life. I'm helping him adjust." My explanation seemed to placate her for the time being.

"It's difficult to find humans in the mountains this time of year," she noted, lazily running a hand through her matted hair and pulling out a small twig. "We hunted for three days before finding an old couple who were having car trouble near the highway. They were so thin and anemic; it was barely worth our time."

"Yes, we would love to find a large, juicy human right now," Penny said thoughtfully. "We may have to venture into more populated areas. Is that what you do?"

"We don't eat humans," Edward told them sporting a look of disdain on his face. "We feed from animals." I could see that he was extremely uncomfortable. We needed to get away from these two.

"That sounds horrible," Penny said, frowning. "Last time we came through here, we found some stray hikers near the ranger station. You might try hunting near that area."

"Yes. Perhaps you're right," I agreed. "We should try that idea of yours. Meantime, we should get going. It was nice meeting you. Come Edward." I gestured for him to follow me, but as I turned towards the path I found that Daphna was blocking it.

"What's your hurry?" she asked, smiling.

I pulled Edward behind me and clenched my teeth. "If you don't mind, we would like to be on our way."

"But we've hardly spent any time together," Daphna complained. "We can be quite entertaining if you give us a chance."

"Perhaps another time," I suggested. I felt Edward move closer to me. Daphna noticed and grinned.

"Why don't you come with us, Edward," Penny suggested seductively as she moved next to us. "I could use a friend to talk to. I love Daphna, but she can be so boring sometimes." She edged up to Edward's side and let her forefinger lightly slide down his arm. He jerked his arm up and pushed her back so hard she fell into a snowdrift.

Instantly she bounced back up and growled at him, angrily.

"They're mates, Penny," Daphna announced. "Can't you tell? Their scents are intertwined."

"I don't care," Penny pouted, looking back and forth between the two of us. "I want him. We can't use either of them?"

"We're wasting our time. Let's go." She stepped aside and we ran past.

We didn't stop running for several miles. After we sated ourselves with a couple of whitetail deer, Edward relaxed and told me what he heard during our encounter with Daphna and Penny.

"They were searching for some intimate male companionship," he spat. He actually looked embarrassed.

I couldn't stop the chuckle that escaped my mouth. Edward frowned at me.

"I'm sorry," I laughed. "Is that really what they were thinking?"

"No. What they were thinking was disgusting; the most despicable acts you can imagine." He visibly shuddered. "Women's genitals are so strange looking," he murmured thoughtfully.

"Don't tell me you've never seen…," I chortled. "Well, I think it is high time you had an anatomy lesson. I'll look through my books to see if I can find something for us."

"No thanks. I've seen enough. And stop laughing at me." He was getting angry so I tried to control myself. "Penny saw me kissing you and decided that I was the one she wanted. She thought that she would kill you if you wouldn't cooperate."

"Cooperate? By letting you go?" I was shocked.

"Daphna had decided that you were for her. That is until she realized that we were mated. I don't think that Daphna would have let Penny kill you."

"Well that's a relief," I said, sarcastically. "I'm sure they knew that tangling with two male vampires was not going to be easy. I really doubt that they would have attacked us."

"I don't want anything to happen to you, Carlisle. I don't know what I would do, if you were killed." He moved closer to me and laid his head on my shoulder.

"I've been around a long time," I assured him. "I'm not going anywhere, love. You don't need to worry about that."

However, his words did give me pause. I never had anything to live for before this. Now I could not imagine life without him. I knew that he heard my thoughts, but he said nothing.

After several minutes, he pulled me down into the snow with passionate kisses and soft caresses. We made love until dawn.

oOoOoOo

I must have sat there reading my daily entries for hours. I picked up my cell phone to check the time and contemplated calling him. Shaking my head at my weakness, I set the phone back down. He needed to cool off. Opening the book from the back, I found my final entry.

oOoOoOo

May 25, 2008 – Human Recollections

I thought at first that he was simply bored. I had been working with him on improving his Italian. I sat in a chair next to him in front of my desk with my arm around his shoulder. He only needed a little help with verb conjugation, but he became distant as we worked. I saw him staring out of the window, lost in thought. I closed the book we were reading and pushed it aside.

What's on your mind, Edward?

The day was overcast and he suggested a trip into town. He wanted to go to the shopping mall. At first, I had refused his request. His first year as a vampire was nearing its end and even though his tolerance for the scent of human blood was much better, I didn't think it was wise to put him in the way of temptation. I also worried about the bombardment of voices he would hear with so many people around. He persisted to the point of begging, promising to leave the mall immediately if I felt it necessary. Unsurprisingly, I relented. I even allowed him to drive my car, although I had to admonish him several times to slow down. My nerves were frazzled by the time we arrived.

As we walked through the mall's flagship department store, Edward wandered over to the men's colognes. I followed curiously wondering for the umpteenth time what was going on in his mind. I could not fathom a reason for his desire to come here. There were so many humans around. His mind must have been inundated with the noise and thoughts of these people not to mention the scent of their blood. And to this, he expressly added the overpowering scent of these colognes. Even I felt sick.

Why did I allow this? This is a very dangerous expedition.

His behavior seemed erratic. He turned his head and frowned at me. He had heard that.

Huffing in his disapproval, he resumed his task, his eyes roaming over the shelves and counters, cataloguing every scent from every bottle. He was a vampire on a mission to which I was not privy. I wasn't exactly hurt, but I was worried.

An impeccably dressed young salesman approached, gliding confidently to stand in front of us.

"May I help you find something?" he asked Edward as he pushed his up his horn-rimmed glasses. He smiled flirtatiously as he appraised him from head to toe. ERIC was printed boldly on his nametag.

Edward eyed him suspiciously, undoubtedly having read the young man's mind. Nevertheless, he remained polite. "I'm looking for a particular brand of cologne."

"We are well-stocked. I'm sure that we can find it. Is it a gift for someone?" Eric asked glancing at me with a shy smile.

"It is the cologne my father wore when he was alive," Edward answered flatly, glancing back at me with an unreadable expression.

I was taken aback. We hadn't spoken about that bastard in years. I felt a foreboding shadow cross my consciousness. Edward visibly bristled and released a soft growl when he heard my thoughts.

What is going on?

"I'm sorry to hear that your father passed away. Do you know the name of the cologne?" The unsuspecting Eric asked as he stepped closer to Edward, crowding his personal space. From his demeanor, I could sense his attraction to my mate and I was forced to stifle my own growl. I reminded myself that it was natural for humans to be drawn to a vampire's beauty and sweet fragrance.

"I used to know it. I only know the scent now. It's not here." Edward announced, rudely stepping back and waving his hand dismissively. He whirled around and stalked off.

I quickly thanked the young man for his time and chased after Edward. Eric seemed disturbed by Edward's impatience. "I might be able to find something similar if you'll give me a chance," he called out, but Edward was already turning the corner.

I hurried to catch up to him.

Edward, slow down! I know that you can hear me. I cannot read your mind. Talk to me please.

He stopped suddenly and I nearly ran into him. He was staring at the end of the aisle where the entrance to the mall beckoned. I sighed as he marched off in that direction.

Tell me what you're trying to do. Let me help you.

He ignored me and without a word continued on his way.

It was Saturday and the mall was teeming with people. Mothers, chatting on their cell phones, pushed strollers with babbling and crying toddlers. Older children climbed on the carpeted blocks in the small indoor play area, clamoring gleefully to each other as they dripped sticky, melted ice cream on their younger companions below. Idle teenagers shouted and laughed at the food court. Music blared from hidden speakers. People moved in and out of the various stores carrying shopping bags filled to capacity with who-knows-what.

To me, the cacophony was earsplitting. I could only imagine what it was for Edward, who could also hear every mind in the place.

Weaving his way around their bodies, Edward made his way to the food court. The smell from the colognes was bad enough, but this… I wasn't sure I was going to be able to handle this smell. The odor of grease, meat, fish and garbage combined to create the most disgusting odor. I stopped breathing to keep myself from gagging.

Edward, please. Let's go home.

He suddenly stopped and spun around. He headed for one of the small kiosks in the center of the concourse with a determined expression.

Stopping in front of the kiosk, he addressed the vendor. He was a middle-aged, overweight swarthy man, Greek or Italian perhaps. He looked up at Edward with a toothy smile.

"Are you interested in a watch?" he asked Edward.

"I am interested in cologne. What cologne are you wearing?" Edward queried in return.

The man raised his eyebrows in surprise and then immediately narrowed his eyes.

"What is this, a joke?" he spat, anger and suspicion clouding his features. "You want to buy a watch or not?" I could see that the man had very little patience for my mate's dubious quest.

Edward bent his head down and sniffed at the man's shirt. I quickly grabbed his arm and pulled him away. Looking around us, I hissed, "Edward! What are you doing?"

Do you realize how close you were to his neck? We need to leave. Now!

He jerked his arm free, turned back to the man and growled. "I must know! TELL ME WHAT IT IS!"

"Get the fuck out of here before I call the cops!" the man yelled, then added in a lower voice, "Weirdos."

I grabbed Edward's hand and dragged him away to the mall's exit. He struggled for a moment, but when he realized my resolve, he gave in. I quickly found our parked car and pushed him in.

"What in the hell is wrong with you!" I shouted once we were seated in the privacy of our car. He seemed shocked that I was angry. It wasn't often that I reverted to shouting. He covered his face with his hands and began to sob. Instantly, I felt guilty for hurting him.

Tell me what's bothering you.

"I just want to remember him… the right way," he began. "My recollection of them is fading, Carlisle. I remember that I loved them and that they loved me. My mother used to wear Estee Lauder Pleasures perfume. I used to buy it for her on her birthday. I don't remember her face anymore, but I can see it in your mind and it helps. You remember her as lovely and kind. I see myself picking flowers with her in the garden and playing the piano for her. But my father…

"I only remember how he smelled. I don't remember his face. I don't want to remember him the way you do. You remember him as arrogant and mean. He is ugly in your mind. I don't believe that he was the monster that you think he was. He didn't always hurt me."

"I'm sorry, love. I didn't know him for very long and that is the only way I remember him."

"You're wrong, Carlisle. I know that he loved me."

My thoughts shifted to visions of a young Edward sitting in a corner, his arms and legs covered with bruises. In my mind, I heard his father's voice.

"Like I told you Dr. Cullen, Edward can be very clumsy. He fell down the stairs. He is always falling down. Isn't that right, Edward?"

Edward flinched. "I'm sorry, love. I'll try not to think about him anymore." I whispered, pulling him into a hug.

I wish I could help you.

I started the car and we drove back to sanctuary of our house.

oOoOoOo

I stopped reading and closed the book. It had taken me a long time to learn how to block my thoughts from him. I didn't like hiding things from him, but his volatile temperament required that I hold things back or discuss them in certain ways to keep him from getting upset. I was used to it now.

The following day, I told him about his father's death and the guilt that I harbored because of the part I played in it. He was angry, of course, but he held it back. I was terrified that he would leave me, but he never did.

I laid the book on my desk and sighed, stroking the soft leather as I thought about our years together. Our love was strong and always would be. Suddenly I was aware that I was no longer alone. Edward had come home and was standing quietly behind me. Unbelievably, I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn't heard him or caught his scent.

"You were always a better father to me than he was anyway," he said softly.

"You know that I never wanted to take his place."

Kneeling before me, he laid his head on my lap and looked up at me through his thick dark lashes.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to be unkind. I love you, Carlisle. I will always love you," he whispered apologetically.

"I know, Edward. I will always love you too, no matter what words come between us," I mumbled as I threaded my fingers through his thick waves.

Nothing will ever come between us.