Hello Readers! It's been a while, but I finally have a new update for you! This chapter mainly focuses on the upcoming wedding, and the strain of stress on Carlisle and Esme's relationship. I hope you enjoy!
Sometimes people fall down. Not just a stumble but an outright fall. Humans fall all the time, sometimes causing injury or in extreme cases death. Falling is a part of life. We fall and we learn how to stand back up, how to continue on. Once and a while you might have someone to help you regain your footing, a friend or a mate, but other times you have to find the will alone.
People learn from these accidents. We learn how to persevere, how to not give up. But even more than that we learn how strong we are. Throughout my years, and I have seen many, I have met humans who have much more strength then I have, maybe even more strength then I could ever wish to have. Not physical strength, but mental. My strength comes from the Lord, but things like insecurities and fear can block that path, cutting off the road between Him and my soul. As beings that are human, or were once human we cannot wish to be perfect, for that wish will never come true, but we can strive to be better. Our failures remind us that perfection is unattainable, but they also remind us of the strength we have, and the obligation to help those who have yet to understand where strength and struggle comes from.
The Cullen family fell down. They had quite a tumble too, one of the worst I've ever seen. Relationships have been torn apart, friendships cut down the middle, love abandoned. I have witnessed the deadliest of sins, all in their most dangerous forms trailing behind each and every coven member, pulling and twisting theirs hearts into mangled messes.
I've seen hate and envy manifest in between the coven members. Selfishness has driven so many of them apart. I pity this family, for they do not deserve what they were given. But there comes a time when everyone has to get back up, for even the weakest cannot stay down forever. I know they are strong, and I know they will succeed in this. I have sympathy, but no worry.
Of course I would have never suspected the maternal and paternal figures of the Cullen Family would stand back up so…quickly. Today has been a stressful day for us all, and I concluded that we would see little of Esme or Carlisle early on, but my guesses were proved wrong when the two appeared in the doorway, their hands linked together. Their love was palpable in the air, sweet but tainted as well.
Alice immediately assisted Esme to the bed where she sat down carefully. She still looked incredibly weak, and I noticed her cuts and bites were not yet completely healed. Carlisle winced as he studied his love's wiry scowl as her nightgown rubbed against a few of the bites, the cotton irritating the wounds. Alice gave him a soft smile and invited him to sit down on the sofa opposite of the bed. He sat down gingerly, his eyes locked on his wife.
I leaned back against the foot board of the bed and ran my fingers through Osiris's hair. He would, in the end, be fine but the pain of having to re connect his neck to his head was proving to be an excruciating process. He whimpered in pain, causing me to stifle a sigh. I was still worried about him, though I knew he was stronger than I and could survive just about anything. He was always the strongest.
Rosalie sat down next to Esme and ran a comforting hand over her arm. Esme smiled, welcoming the gesture, which surprised me. After such a wild day the young vampire was surprisingly…stable. Alice looked on with admiration, her arms crossed over her chest. She was obviously thinking, and I couldn't help but wonder what.
Esme shuffled uncomfortably and Rosalie immediately stopped her stroking, shooting the woman a confused look. Carlisle sat up a bit and cleared his throat. Alice twitched, her eyes immediately going to the blonde haired vampire.
"I know everyone must be thoroughly confused right now," Carlisle started, running a hand through his wavy locks nervously.
Alice snorted, "That's an understatement."
Carlisle nodded, sucking in a deep breath. His shoulders were hunched a bit, his posture vulnerable, yet determined as well. "Yes, I suppose it is. I know everyone in here want's answers, but quite frankly I'm not sure what really happened. Edward is dead. I know that for a fact because I killed him."
Rosalie flinched at his words and pulled Esme into a tight embrace. The older vampire placed her face on Rosalie's shoulder and sobbed quietly. Rosalie soothed her by rubbing her back softly as Alice sat down beside them. She wrapped her tiny arms around the two girls, comforting them as best she could. I felt that I should do something as well, but I didn't know what. Edward was indeed a good man before he went verrückt, but to be honest I don't feel much sympathy for him. He chose the wrong path, and in the end was punished for it. It happens to everyone. Everyone must die sometime, even immortals.
"As for Bella, I'm not sure. She may stay here for a little while longer, or she may move on with her daughter. We were all very close to Nessie, I know I was, but the best place for her to be is with her mother, even if she is a bit…off," Carlisle said nicely. Esme pulled away from Rosalie, wiping at her nose in a positively human way. Alice smiled and combed Esme's hair with her fingers.
"Bella was indeed acting in an irresponsible and careless manner, but we should all find the strength to forgive her. We should recognize her faults, but not penalize her any further then what's appropriate."
Carlisle's voice was clear and resilient. I admired him almost as much as I admired his wife, both of whom have demonstrated so much courage and strength. My approbation seemed to have flowed to Alice whose mouth had crept into a slight smile. She nodded and rubbed Esme's knee softly.
"I think you're absolutely correct, Carlisle. At one time Bella was a part of the family, and although she made a mistake we shouldn't punish her more then she deserves. I'm sure she knows what she did was wrong. Bella was one of my best friends. I'm sure it was nothing more than a lapse in reason," Alice said thickly. I noticed Rosalie's eyes narrowed as Alice defended the disgraced sister. The blonde girl sat up straighter, her chin slightly raised in defiance.
"I think you both are completely and utterly wrong. Do either of you understand the full extent of what Bella did? Do you not understand what she did to Esme, who is already fragile?" Rosalie wrapped her hand around Esme's arm and pulled her closer. Esme winced, but made no move to change the awkward position. If anything the woman leaned into the girl's touch.
"I understand this Rose," Carlisle started, clasping his hands together seriously.
"No! Stop it, Carlisle! You don't understand a thing! Let me ask you this," Rosalie said sarcastically, pointing a finger at Carlisle. Esme wriggled uncomfortably as her daughter accused her husband intentionally and openly. I thought about interrupting and soothing over the argument but decided against it. I won't always be here and one day they will have to know how to solve their problems without me. I leaned back and pulled Osiris closer towards me.
"Were you the one carrying Esme back when she was crying and screaming because her husband didn't want her anymore? Were you?! You don't understand anything, though I wish you did because we need you. You're still trying to be some sort of leader, but you're no longer our leader. You've become a weak excuse for a vampire. If you're all we got, I don't want your help and I sure as hell don't want your apologies." Rosalie pushed Esme away, causing her to topple over. I noticed a few sores decorating the vampire's neck as she cringed, her mouth contorting painfully. Rosalie bent over and assisted her, helping her into a more suitable position. Esme whimpered when Rosalie stood back up and walked over to the door.
"Rose, please don't leave. We can work this out, I know we can," Esme persisted. Her eyes were so pitiful, so helpless and needy.
"No, not right now. I need to be by myself for a little while, think things over. You two need to as well. None of your priorities are in the right place. Understand what a threat is and attack it in a suitable manner. Ignoring a poison doesn't make it any less lethal, it only makes your death quicker."
And like that she was gone.
I didn't see Rosalie again until two weeks later, when she came out to help Esme into her wedding dress. It wasn't the day of the wedding, but it was fairly close, close enough for Alice to begin setting up for the occasion.
She assigned me to flowers, asking me to keep all the present buds which she had already spread throughout the house alive, and grow some various hybrids which she said would add to the 'uniqueness and rareness of this special event'. I agreed whole-heartedly, excited to finally be of use again. I enjoy helping the Cullen's in any way possible, since in some ways I feel they are my family, or at least an extended family. Over the time I've spent with them I've become incredibly close to each one of them, especially Carlisle and Esme who of course need my assistance more than the others.
The wedding was coming much quicker than Alice expected and she needed the most help she could get, which was surprisingly a lot. Planning, decorating, re-decorating (Alice is very picky), all these things helped distract us. No longer were we forced to sit around and mope about our own misfortune, we now had something to do, something that actually mattered.
We had a wedding to plan.
"Alright everyone, I have the new guest list ready," Alice chirped excitedly as she raced down the stairs and entered the living room where the family had congregated. Emmett and Jasper looked up from the TV, goofy smiles adorning their faces.
"New guest list? Who was on the last one?" Emmett asked loudly, his eyes twinkling brightly. Rosalie scowled and slapped him on the back of his head, the sound a dead thud. He growled at her, and she growled right back, her threat much more palpable. The bear-sized vampire shrunk into his seat, his back to his wife. Osiris laughed beside me, the thin scar along his neck causing a bolt of worry to run along my spine. The ever present threat of danger is always on the horizon in this house, or at least it seems that way. Osiris lightly touched my arm, his expression curious. I murmured a quick nothing before directing my attention back to Alice.
"Well, I had to take a few people off. I have a feeling some of our friends won't be so…welcoming of Esme anymore," Alice said, her eyes averting all others.
"What? Why not?" Carlisle asked sharply. He pulled his arm away from Esme and stood up, his full height not incredibly imposing by itself, but when compared to tiny Alice he seemed more like a giant. She shrunk away, her petite form almost folding in one itself as she latched onto the stack of pale violet invitations. Jasper raced over to his mate, his chin slightly raised in a clear warning.
"Well, it's just that…" Alice muttered, slipping behind her husband as Carlisle hovered over her.
"Spit it out, Mary Alice," Carlisle commanded sternly. Esme looked up from her magazine, casting a sympathetic glance at the small vampire before looking back down. I knew Esme didn't want to get too involved with the wedding (she already has enough stress) but one would think she would defend her daughter against her unruly husband, especially after she's done almost nothing wrong. But she didn't. She just sat there, staring mindlessly at a gardening article Rosalie had dog-eared for her.
Osiris placed a hand on my knee, a silent reminder to stay calm in case of an emergency. It had taken a while to rebuild the living room last time I used my powers in doors, I hopefully wouldn't have to use them again. Osiris's gift is much cleaner, and can break up a fight just as swiftly, but after living so many years alone I've become accustomed to fighting solo. I suppose I will adjust sooner or later.
"Everyone is afraid of her, Carlisle. She has become quite vicious in the eyes of the vampire world, and uncontrollable. Most people can only see her as an accident waiting to happen," Alice explained, her voice a soft whisper.
"Afraid? How dare they be afraid of my wife! There's nothing wrong with her! She is no beast! She belongs in no cage!" Carlisle hissed through clenched teeth. Jasper raised a hand in an attempt to control Carlisle, though it only seemed to enrage him more. He was definitely pissed now.
"Carlisle!" a sharp voice penetrated the argument, quickly pulling it to an end. All eyes were directed to the origin of the voice, who, by mutual surprise, was Esme.
"Do you not think I can stand up for myself?" she asked bitterly. She rose slowly from her position on the couch to hover in front of her husband, her hands planted firmly on her hips. He gave her an almost bemused face.
"Of course not, dear. I know you are plenty capable of standing up for yourself. But as your husband and significant other it is my responsibility to protect you, which is what I was doing. I was protecting you from your insolent children who were out of line." He sent a predatory growl to Alice, who cowered closer to her own mate. Jasper frowned, shaking his head at the older vampire.
She scoffed, tossing her hands up in the air in obvious exasperation. "As if! You were just becoming an irritable and controlling ass, and you know it!"
My eyebrows instantly rose at the sound of Esme's language. She never used such vulgar terms, at least in the time I've known her. She just doesn't seem to be that type of person.
I could tell everyone else was quite surprised as well, continuing my belief that Esme is a demure woman in choosing her language. Normally.
Carlisle laughed and patted his wife on the shoulder lightly. "Esme, please, let's not cause a scene. How about you go upstairs with Rose and Peyton, and I'll handle this. You don't need the added stress," he reminded her, which was true. Stress and worry only caused her hunger to increase, which is, of course, not a good thing.
Esme eyed her husband angrily. "Fine, I will, but only this once, Carlisle Cullen. If I catch you acting like this again there will be consequences. Got it?"
Carlisle nodded. "Of course, Esme. I'm sorry if I upset you. Now Rosalie," he glanced at the beautiful blonde, "can you please take my wife upstairs? And get Peyton to come with you."
Rose looked at me and I gave her a stout nod. Together we got Esme upstairs and into her bathroom. Rosalie immediately turned the water on and began filling up the tub as I helped Esme get undressed.
Since Mrs. Cullen is not allowed to be alone (a new rule mandated by Carlisle) Rosalie, Alice, Carlisle or I have been forced to assist her in her bathing activities. She's come to terms with it, but still finds it a bit silly, which is to be expected. I wouldn't be thrilled if I couldn't bathe in peace.
"I don't know why he has to be so hard-headed sometimes," Esme complained as she rolled her shirt off and tossed it over her shoulder. I caught it easily, folding it over my arm as I awaited the rest of her garments. "Especially when he's supposed to be known for compassion. You wouldn't think he'd be so rude to his own children!"
"He just wants the best for his bride," Rosalie reasoned. She poured some bath soap into the tub and ushered Esme over. She dipped her foot into the water, testing its temperature, before gracefully sliding in.
"I know, but still, it's so annoying. I don't need him to everything, you know? I'm independent; I can do things on my own." Esme fidgeted with her fingernails under the water, scratching at the painted tips. "He is infuriating."
Rosalie pulled two chairs up to the tub, resting them near the end so we could still converse with Esme. Rose sat down, nodding for me to do the same.
"Everyone can be infuriating sometimes, Esme. Even your husband," I said softly. She shrugged.
"I suppose, I guess I just haven't really seen that side of him come out yet. Sometimes I feel like I don't really know him at all," Esme said, a somber note I her voice. I cringed at the sound. Someone like Esme doesn't deserve to be in any form of misery. Not after what she's gone through.
"I think you know your own husband," Rosalie said, trying to ease the seriousness of the conversation down with her lighthearted tone. "You know him better than any of us."
Esme leaned back against the porcelain, resting her head on the edge. "Hmm…I suppose."
Her tone left a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.