Finally! I know, very long wait but here it is! Enjoy and don't forget to review!
It was pitch black outside by the time Carlisle finally woke back up. He was still fairly drowsy, but surprisingly positive. I opted for helping him clean up the room but he quickly declined the invitation as he scrambled off the floor and into the hallway, searching for his wife.
"I thank you Rosalie for the thought, but it will not be necessary. Either Esme or I will clean up the mess, you need not to worry. You don't happen to know where Esme is now, do you?"
"Oh, yes, Esme's outside on the porch I think. I'm not sure if she wants to be bothered by you right now though; actually I'm fairly certain she doesn't want to see you at all right now. Maybe you should give her a little breathing room, especially after all that happened," I offered, guiding Carlisle away from the stairs. "She's pretty upset and I think she would much rather just have some alone time. Maybe you could spend some time with Emmett or Jasper. I'm sure they could use your company."
That's a lie. Neither of them actually like, or even tolerate, Carlisle much at all, but I really didn't need the blonde vampire lurking around a sulking Esme. She had already had enough misery for the day. I didn't want to add an abusive husband to the mix.
"I'm terribly sorry, Rosalie, but I really do need to see my wife. I need to talk with her about something. By the way, do you have any idea where we are?" Carlisle asked quietly, glancing around the room with curious eyes. "Has Esme been decorating again? Is this the newest design? I personally liked the crisper, cleaner look, but I adore anything that makes her happy."
I sighed, already thoroughly irritated by Carlisle's ignorance. What is wrong with this cursed family? Surely Carlisle remembers what he did to Esme; how he hurt her, hit her. Usually, though not always, Carlisle feels some sort of guilt over his actions and apologizes to his wife, who usually, once again not always, forgives him. Of course there are those time when Esme gathers the nerve and strength to beat her husband to a pulp in the backyard, cursing at him the whole time, swearing she'll fight back the next time.
But she never does.
She lets him do it, again and again, never once telling someone of her problems. Everyone knows, even Alice who rarely leaves her room, but no one has ever said a word to Carlisle about it. It's not that he's especially intimidating (which he is sometimes) but because no one has ever felt the need to. I adore Esme, but what happens between her and her husband is none of my business, or anyone else's.
Then again, doesn't everyone need someone to stand up for them? Didn't I need someone to stand up for me eighty years ago in that dirty motel room in New York? What would I be if Esme never showed up? Dead. I wouldn't exist. I'd be stuck in a grave somewhere, six feet under, surrounded by dirt and worms. Did she not do me the biggest favor in saving my life on that fateful night? I have tried to repay her every form possible, yet I haven't done the one thing she was able to do for me. Stand up.
"Now, if you'll excuse me," Carlisle started, gently pushing me aside. I grabbed his arm and yanked him forward, prohibiting any more movement. He gave me a quizzical stare but made no move to escape.
"Rosalie, what's wrong?" he asked, his brow furrowed, his expression tinted in worry.
I gulped, afraid to spit out what I know I should. Where is my confidence, my strength? Surely it's in there somewhere…
"Rose, please let go of me," Carlisle said somewhat grudgingly, annoyance finally leaking through his calm façade.
After a second I did let go of his arm, but not before rearing back and giving him a good slap across the cheek. The sound echoed nicely throughout the house, a reminder of what I had done. The stinging sensation in my hand died down after a moment, but the hype over my action did not. I was ready now.
Carlisle fell backward, stumbling around the hallway until his back brushed up against the wall. The balance he gained from the sturdy structure was enough for him to stand straight again, though his limbs seemed to still be shaking slightly, either from anger or injury. Carlisle's lips pulled into a taunt line, his eyes narrowing for only a second before easing back into a more tranquil expression. He stood up a bit straighter, smoothing the wrinkles out of his shirt and pants, his frown slowing turning into an amused smile.
"What exactly was that for?" he asked, a grin pulling at the corners of his lips.
I huffed loudly, crossing my arms as if the gesture would scare off his annoying smirk. "That was for hitting your wife and walking away. How about you try being a real man for once in your pitiful life," I hissed, sending him an especially malicious glare.
He returned it, but not with angered or even embarrassed eyes, but with a completely confused expression. He stared at me blankly, his eyes unblinking.
"Hit Esme? I have no idea what you are talking about Rosalie, I would never, in a million years, hit the love of my life. Surely you out of all people would know that," he assured me softly. He walked forward, placing a tender hand on my arm. I winced slightly but didn't ask him to pull away.
"Don't play that game with me, Carlisle. I've seen you do it numerous times before today, and every time I just ignore it, and hope it doesn't happen again and then it does. Just like it did today. And what infuriates me more than anything is how kind you can be to her, and how much she trusts you, even after you repeatedly abuse her over such trivial and stupid things! For God's sake Carlisle she isn't a piece of property that you can throw around, she is a person, with emotions and feelings!"
The screams tore from my throat, red and raw, like flames leaking from a damaged hearth. No longer was I the timid and shy Rose, I was the strong willed and confident Rosalie, fully capable of standing against any man, or anyone for that matter. I felt powerful as I stood my ground against Carlisle, who still had a look of confusion over his face.
What a sorry excuse for a man.
"Grow up and learn that Esme is more than just your wife, she's a woman and she's one of my closest companions. She deserves more than a scum bag like you," I spat out sourly.
Carlisle's eyebrows lowered expectedly at the rather low comment. Never had I been so direct in my opposition against Esme's relationship to Carlisle, even though I hadn't liked the two of them together from the start. They were in love, everyone was sure of that, even me, but they always seemed on the edge of collapse, as if at any moment the shaky bridge connecting their hearts would just suddenly break. I always thought Esme, who, at her heart I believe is a good person, deserves a man more gentle and kind then Carlisle. She needs someone capable of holding and sharing compassion.
I could almost taste Carlisle's discomfort in the air but I did nothing to acknowledge it. Actually I did nothing at all except turn on my heel and walk away, back to the sanctuary of my bedroom where hopefully I would have enough time to think about my actions before Esme came back in, wanting sympathy and pity, both of which I can give almost too easily.
I thought I heard Carlisle murmur something along the lines of 'Oh Rosalie' but I could be wrong, for by the time he said it I was already gone, enclosed in a hole of darkness, my body falling to ground with a deafening thump, my limbs weak, my mind swimming. I was gone, just like the rest of them.
What would become of me now?
"Esme, my love, is that you?"
I abruptly turned around and was greeted by none other than my husband's face. It pained me how perfect he was, how utterly and exquisitely gorgeous he was, even to my extra sensitive vampire eyes. No one on this planet, or any other, would have anything remotely flawless when compared to my Carlisle. He exemplified a mixture of old and new, human and immortal, husband and man so well, though even he has his missteps, his mistakes. He had hurt me, yes, but he was still my husband, and I still love him with all my heart.
I cleared my throat before answering, my mouth surprisingly dry. "Yes, Carlisle. It's me."
Did I really look so awful that he didn't recognize me? I knew I had been crying for a while now, maybe too long, but it's not like vampires can shed tears, so my eyes shouldn't be red and my cheeks should be dry. Maybe my enhanced beauty is starting to run from me too. I suppose that wouldn't be a bad thing, I've always thought that women who take their beauty more serious than their intelligence are ignorant. Hopefully I don't appear so oblivious in this light.
I heard his footsteps behind me, soft but firm. The same footsteps that used to excite me now only seemed to be a reminder of what had happened. For some reason they reminded me of Charles, his calm exterior that always faded to reveal the true monster within. Isn't that what had happened to Carlisle? He finally threw away the cloak and revealed the true beast within.
He sat down next to me on the porch swing, his hand folding into mine. I pulled away sharply, choosing instead to place my hands palm down on my lap. Carlisle stared at me with sad eyes, his mouth twitching slightly at the abruptness of my action.
Serves him right. He hit you; he doesn't deserve any love from you.
My inner voice screamed encouragement, telling me to do unforgivable things to my husband, things that, when placed in the right light, didn't seem so awful. He had done something terrible to me, something that might even take decades to overcome. I mean who knows how long it will take before I actually trust him again; really trust him, like I did before.
Leave him! Divorce him! Come on Esme, you don't need a man by your side, you are an independent woman. Get out of here before he does something worse.
My somewhat raspy voice came as a surprise to both of us. Carlisle looked at me, his mouth slightly agape, and his blood red eyes searching for answers within my own. But answers he would not find, for they are too guarded for even my husband to find. Edward's scent is far away; my thoughts are my own for the moment. A sigh of relief escaped my lips.
"'No' what, Esme?" Carlisle inquired softly, moving a strand of hair from my face delicately. His touch was feather light, and not at all intrusive, but I couldn't keep myself from shrinking away.
"I'm not going to leave you, not now not ever. Out of all of our years together you've made one mistake, what gives me the right to hold that against you? What gives me the right to be so angry with you and ignore you so wrongfully? You did something…terrible, but I still love you." I reached over and laced my fingers with his. His eyes danced with happiness, his lips parting in a bright white smile. "I don't want what happened to happen again, but I also don't want to hold a grudge against you for the rest of eternity. How about from this moment on we just start over. From here on out everything that's happened in the past is erased. We should be looking toward the future anyway," I reminded myself thoughtfully.
Carlisle nodded wistfully as he wrapped me into a strong embrace. "I think that can be arranged. I'm a little…confused right now to say the least, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy. I think I know what I did, and although it was not my conscious decision, nor do I remember any of this, or even you for that matter, I'm sorry. If I can make it up to you somehow I would."
I blinked once, processing my love's words.
Nor do I remember any of this, or even you for that matter.
Or even you.
"What do you mean you don't remember me?" I asked shortly. So much for looking into the future.
Carlisle frowned slightly and said, "Well, I remember you but not this you. You look different, Esme. The last thing I truly remember is running through the forest in search of Rosalie and Emmett, and then this blinding pain. I blacked out completely and then woke up here, in this foreign house surrounded by foreign people."
"It's ok, I understand. I didn't know what was happening and then you were here, and then everything got really confusing. I just want to go back, to before all this. I wish it would all just go away," I admitted sadly, placing my cheek on Carlisle's shoulder. He kissed my forehead delicately and agreed.
"Sometimes we are forced to live in an odd world, my love. The only thing we can do is hope for a better tomorrow."
"Carlisle! Carlisle, get in here quick, something's wrong!"
Carlisle jumped out of my arms at the sound of Rosalie's voice, hurrying into the house and up the stairs, me quick on his heels.
"Rose? What's wrong?" Carlisle called as he yanked open Rosalie's door, almost tearing the giant piece of wood off its hinges.
My daughter stood there in nothing but her under garments, staring deep into a mirror she had pulled in from my own over indulgent bedroom. Her hand rested on the gold frame, her eyes centered on her own reflection. If she were able to cry, I feel she would be. Sobbing, even, by the look of it.
"Rose, honey? Can you tell us what's wrong?" I asked softly, delicately walking up to her. Even in this crazed and insane dimension I still know how to mother my children. At least I hope I do.
"You!" she suddenly roared, capturing my hand in hers as she pulled me toward the ground. She pushed me down, placing her hands on my neck as I struggled against her tight grip, my arms and legs flailing.
Carlisle jumped into action, grabbing Rosalie by her golden mane and throwing her into the stolen mirror. Her marble body instantly shattered the glass, casting tiny little shards across the room. A few fell on me and I dusted them off as Carlisle helped me up. My heels crunched under the tiny pieces as I walked over to the fallen girl, inspecting her carefully.
"Rosalie! What has gotten into you?" I scolded, making sure to keep Carlisle near as I walked closer.
Rosalie growled as she stood back up but didn't lunge. Instead she simply walked over to her bed and sat down, her head limply falling into her hands. She looked so pitiful, and although I wanted so dearly to help her, to make her feel better, I couldn't. I couldn't trust her.
I can't seem to trust anyone here.
"Listen to your mother, Rose!" Carlisle seethed as he placed two hands on my shoulders. He stared at Rosalie expectedly and she shifted uncomfortably.
"I only did what I did because this is your fault," she snapped.
"My fault?" I asked, incredibly confused.
Was she talking about this weird reality? Because I know for certain all this isn't my fault. Why would I want to be a whore and a nicotine addict? Of course I didn't want this. I would never wish this world on anyone.
So what is she talking about?
"Have you seen what I look like?" she fumed, growling at me through clenched teeth. She reminded me a bit like a caged animal. Except not caged. Which is slightly frightening.
I felt Carlisle's grip on me tighten. I swear that man can feel my every emotion. I took a second to glance at my husband before replying to Rose. "Of course I've seen you, but I find nothing wrong with you. Aside from this insane anger, can you please explain to us why you are so torn up?"
"And why you attacked my wife," Carlisle mumbled, barely audible.
She snapped her teeth at Carlisle, "Oh shut up. Your wife deserved it; she took something that has always been rightfully mine. Vanity. She took my looks." Now she was looking right at me, her eyes narrowed, her arms firmly crossed, "I hate you."
I felt a small gasp escape my lungs at Rosalie's harsh words. Surely she didn't really mean such a thing, surely she didn't hate me. Yet she had said it with so much passion and anger that I believed her. I had seen Rosalie angry before, furious even on the rare occasion, but this was different.
This was very different.
"Don't you dare talk to Esme like that," Carlisle growled lowly, tugging at my sleeve to pull me closer. I allowed him, although I was hesitant to leave with him when he tried to usher me out. Usually he was the one to reprimand the children if they had done something offensive towards me, but I feel, in this situation, I need to be the one to handle it. Rosalie isn't angry with Carlisle, she's angry with me, and it's my responsibility to handle her.
Plus, when Carlisle uses 'Esme' instead of 'your mother' it's clear indication that he's lost most of his patience, which is rare but quite dangerous. I can tell by the way his lips are curled and his eyes are squinted that's he's thoroughly enraged, much too infuriated to handle such a delicate situation such as this.
"Carlisle, go. I'll handle this," I promised, pushing him away gently. I noticed the look of hurt flash across his eyes, but before I could apologize or change my mind he was gone, closing the door behind him.
Rose stared at me awkwardly, her arms lying limply at her sides. I could hear her breathing halt as her nerves began to set in. She was scared, but not scared enough to make amends. Rosalie has too much pride for that.
"Explain yourself, please," I commanded, though my tone didn't seem to match my words. It was too soft, too broken to really pack the punch I wanted it to. I sounded like a child, not a mother trying to teach her child respect.
Her century old daughter.
Why do things have to be so difficult?
"I have nothing to explain," Rosalie murmured, looking down at her hands. I noticed they were clear of any nail polish, something rarely seen on the blonde vampire. She loves buying different colors and styles of lacquer, sometimes even buying dozens of bottles at one time, along with her shopaholic sister. It was almost disturbing to see her so plain.
And plain she was. Her normal indescribable beauty seemed to have been stripped from her. She was still pretty, but she was more on the level of a normal girl. Her once curvaceous body had been thinned down to a little more than a stick, and her model looks had been whipped down to a more 'girl next door' look. She reminded me of what Alice, Bella, and I looked like. Or what I used to be, I suppose. Now I'm a disgusting monument to vanity and luxury, something I never wanted to see or be. I would give Rosalie all of her beauty back if I could rid myself of its curse.
"Excuse me? Rosalie, your tried to attack me. You wanted to hurt me. If this is all about our appearances now, you should be ashamed of yourself. I would have thought better of you," I said, venting a bit of my pent frustration out. My own daughter was of course a bad outlet for such things, but I needed someone to take it, and I knew at Rosalie's core she needed someone to really punish her for her actions. She needs someone to be harsher to her then she is to everyone else.
"Oh, shut up!" she bellowed, flying off the bed, her hands threateningly close to my throat. I could hear Carlisle shuffling outside the door, his hand firmly closed around the handle. But I knew he wouldn't need to come in, because Rose wouldn't try to do anything. I stood my ground and didn't move, allowing her no satisfaction in seeing my fear. I wouldn't show any.
She hissed and stalked over to the window, yanking the curtains open to look out over the river. Her eyes darted across the green landscape as she searched the thick glass for her own reflection. When it finally appeared she touched it gently, running her fingers across the smooth surface, as if to make sure it was real. She looked so distant as she stared at herself, and the way she was forced to look away after a few seconds broke my heart. I couldn't bear the thought of having my own daughter in so much pain, but at the same time I couldn't help her, because she needed to get through her own problems herself. They were obviously vain and materialistic problems she was facing, but they were bothering her none the less, and that was enough for me to feel sorrow for her, even after what she did to me.
"I'm sorry, Esme," she whispered as she slowly pulled the peach colored curtains back around the window. Her fingers fluttered over the silky fabric for another second before she walked over to me and took my hand in hers. She scrutinized my skin and nails for a moment, as if comparing them to her own, and then guided me to the bathroom off of her bedroom. It was fairly unimpressive after exploring my own bathroom, but definitely more my style, what with its modern feel and blank white walls. She showed me a stool and told me to sit down on it, pushing it forward as to face the small mirror situated above the sink. She stood behind me, placing her hands squarely on my shoulders and pushing my face so I was forced to look into my own reflection. It was startlingly painful.
"I'm sorry what I did to you Esme, but you must understand what I am feeling right. You must understand how bad this pains me," she whimpered softly. Her grip on my shoulders tightened as she continued. "For so many years my gift was what I saw in the mirror every day, and to be stripped of that so randomly is…terrifying. You've always had the ability to love so deeply, and that was your gift and you deserved it. You weren't the prettiest Cullen girl…"
"Thank you, Rose," I said, an obvious note of sarcasm evident in my voice.
She sent me a spine chilling glare and continued, "But you had the most powerful gift. And now you have not only your amazing gift, but you now have mine as well. Look at this."
I felt a cold hand wrap around my lower cheek and chin, pulling it toward the mirror. She directed it evenly so I was looking directly into my own red colored eyes. My mind burned in agony as I stared into those eyes. How many lives have I taken? How many families have I broken? What have I done?
"You don't see what I see, do you?" I asked sharply around Rosalie's hold on my face. Her grip loosened as she gave me a perplexed look.
"You see a beautiful woman, gorgeous even, but all I see is a monster. I see someone who has killed more people then she can count. A hideous face with a hideous past to accompany it, that's all I see. I don't want this, Rose. I never did, and I never will. I didn't want you to lose what you had; I just wanted you to appreciate things that go deeper then vanity. I wanted you to realize that your gift isn't your beauty, it never was. You're a strong woman who doesn't need a pretty face to make her mark on the world. You do that on your own so effortlessly. So don't worry, Rose," I whispered softly as I eased myself off of the stool. "Everything is going to be ok."
Her arms wrapped around my waist as she pulled me into a tight hug. Surprise floated across my mind for a moment before I returned the embrace, pulling the young woman toward me.
"I'm so sorry, Esme. I'm so sorry," she murmured furiously into my shoulder. I shushed her lightly, smoothing her hand lightly as she sobbed, her body racking with unshed tears. "Oh, I wish I could be the woman you think I am, Esme," she cried. I felt her slide from my grip, almost falling to the floor were it not for my quick reflexes. I grasped her waist, pulling her up so I could carry her to the bed. I placed her down gently, rubbing her arm as she sobbed into my shirt, her hands tugging at the fabric as if begging me to do something.
But I couldn't. I couldn't do anything but try and soothe her with comforting words, which never seemed to do much of anything. She just needed to cry, really cry, and I allowed her to do that. The earlier thought of punishing my precious daughter was thrown away as I stared at her slumped and shaking form. How could I do anything to such a fragile creature? How could I hurt her?
After a few more minutes Carlisle came back in, offering his assistance, which Rosalie refused. She promised she would be okay and that I was welcome to leave if I wanted to. Carlisle and I stayed with her for another half hour before heading back to our bedroom where we lied down together on our massive bed, wondering aloud what on earth we were supposed to do.
"How are we going to make it through, Carlisle," I pondered, twirling a finger around a golden lock. He grabbed my hand and planted a swift kiss on the top before smirking and shrugging casually.
"Sometimes things don't always go as planned. That doesn't mean we lose all hope. My sweet Esme, we will always be able to survive, no matter what is thrown at us."
One of his hands snaked around to my back, his fingers steadily pulling the fabric away from my body as his other found the back of my head, pushing me forward so he could capture my lips in a searing kiss. I allowed his hands to rid me of my clothes as mine did the same to his, leaving us both bare on the oversized bed.
"I'll always love you," he whispered in my ear as he pushed himself above me, his arms towering over me on both sides, imprisoning me in his comforting embrace.
"As will I," I promised as he lowered himself onto me, passion coursing through my veins like cheap lust.
I'm so sorry readers! I know it's been a while, but I've been pretty busy! Don't leave now, I got even more gooey opposite goodness lined up! Stick with me guys!
Hope you liked this chapter, review!