This chapter focuses on the real reason behind the weird world Esme has found herself in. Hope you don't find it too weird :) Reviews are complete and utter love!
War and Peace has exactly 587,287 words from cover to cover.
The Grapes of Wrath has 169,481.
The Scarlet Letter, 63,604.
How do I know these worthless facts? Because I've looked through each and every one of them, counting every single 'a', 'an', and 'the' over twenty times. That's why.
Actually, it's more than just those three books. It's every book on my shelf. I even have a word count list above my desk detailing my progress. I'm on Wuthering Heights right now. The process is incredibly boring, but oddly fulfilling. It sure does beat counting the flecks of paint on my ceiling. Or waiting for Carlisle.
Carlisle. Oh Carlisle.
It's been three months since this new existence. Three months of utter torture and hell. The thought of dying suddenly doesn't seem so awful.
Don't you dare pull that whole suicide thing again, Esme. You are not going to kill yourself. You aren't that weak. Yet.
I cracked open my newest word-count applicant and flipped to the first page, tracing my finger over the first few sentences. One, two, three, four, five…
Knock, knock, knock.
My head jerked up as I heard a noise behind the door. I could tell by the scent that it was Edward.
Haven't talked to him in a while. Then again, he hasn't talked to anyone in a while. It seems Carlisle is the only one capable of social interaction.
Knock, knock, knock.
I forced my thoughts away and shut my book, stuffing it onto a random shelf.
For some reason I fluffed my dress and combed a few fingers through my ratty hair, hoping to improve my horrid appearance. I only go out of my room to go hunting so my physical state, though impossibly beautiful, has seen better days. I coughed unnecessarily and invited him in.
He cracked the door open slightly. "Are you okay? Can I come in?"
I nodded stoically and he pushed the door completely open, striding into my room with a confident air. He had a bit of a smirk on his face. It made me wonder what was going on through that mind of his.
"What do you need, Edward?" I asked, trying to keep as much emotion out of my voice as possible. I knew Edward understood what had happened to me, but we hadn't really talked about it. I hadn't really talked to anyone lately. After Carlisle rejected me, I pretty much just turned off everything. I've been a prisoner to this room ever since.
He shrugged in a very teenager-way. "I just wanted to see how you were…adjusting. I know this is a big step for you, but you must understand this is a big step for everyone." Edward paused for a minute before continuing, "Even Carlisle."
I felt a glob of venom slide down my throat at the sound of my mate's name. Edward was right, I hadn't even really thought about how Carlisle was doing, but he always seemed so well. No, not well, but normal. He seemed normal, and I am anything but.
Maybe if I just forgot everything like him…
Edward laughed lightly before taking a seat beside me. He draped his arms over the back of the chair and straddled the seat so he was staring right at me. His eyes were dark as he looked at me, his gaze sharpening as spoke. "He hasn't forgotten. I know at the moment it may seem like he has, but he truly hasn't. Carlisle has gone through quite a bit, and right now he needs you more than anything, but of course you don't seem to realize that."
He grinned as I sheepishly looked down, my feet twisting awkwardly as my mind remembered the past months. He was right. I had been rather distant…but I had the right to be, did I not? My life crumbled beneath me and then I awoke to this weird world where my one true love doesn't even remember me. What did he think I was going to do? Be happy about this?
Not happy, but not emotionally depressed either.
Edward laughed darkly, shaking his head in a doubtful manner. "No, I don't think you understand what I'm trying to say Esme. I knew you weren't going to be happy about this, that's completely normal, I mean this has happened before you know." He stopped suddenly, his eyes becoming large as he realized what he had just said.
What had he just said?
"What do you mean this has happened before? What on earth are you talking about?" I asked sharply. Edward blinked as he stared at me, his eyes betraying his covered anxiety.
"Nothing. It's nothing. I'm sorry I even said anything." He stopped and cleared his throat roughly. "Now where was I, oh, yes, Carlisle just want's –"
"No! Don't you dare say another word Edward Anthony Cullen! I want to know what on earth is happening right now, so spill," I commanded, my tone bitter but still motherly. Even through my rage I couldn't be completely rude to my favorite son. He's still my baby boy after all.
"Esme, I…not right now, okay? Maybe later, but right now…" His voice faded off as he stood up and made his way to the other side of the room. I looked on with slight apprehension, idly wondering whether or not it would be appropriate to say anything else.
"Edward…please. I'm confused. I don't know what's going on and I want answers. Please talk to me," I begged, my voice cracking with desperation. Edward turned his back to me, his hand faltering over the golden colored door knob. His fingers shook unevenly.
"Esme, I really can't risk you knowing these things. If you knew, then everyone would end up knowing…and God forbid you actually remember it…No, I'm sorry but I can't." I expected him to leave after that, but he didn't. He just stood there, staring at the door with a face so deep in thought I could hardly comprehend it. He could be so puzzling at times.
He heaved an unnecessary sigh and thumbed the brass handle mindlessly. I could tell he was breaking.
I won't tell Carlisle, please just explain all this to me. Please.
"Okay, look, we're all here because we died, correct?"
I nodded dumbly, encouraging him to continue.
"But this isn't the first time this has happened. The vampire life cycle is just that – a cycle. We never really 'die', we're just pushed back to our original rebirth as vampires. You know, when Carlisle found and changed you. All you remember is the last cycle you lived through, the one where Carlisle died at the hands of the Volturi. That's normal; you should still remember that this early in the cycle. Carlisle on the other hand has already forgotten his last cycle, which is, once again, normal. Theoretically, when Aro killed him he was sent back to 17th century England, where he awoke as a vampire. At the time he probably still remembered you, maybe even searched for you, but by now the memories from his last cycle have faded. I suppose a piece of him remembers you, but it's buried deep inside his subconscious."
I pursed my lips as the information soaked in. Cycles? What on earth is he talking about? I've only ever lived one life. I know that for sure. Right?
"Esme, try to keep an open mind, okay? I know this is a lot to take in, but you need to stay calm. You've lived over ten cycles already, less than Carlisle and I, but more than Rosalie and the rest of the Cullen's. It can become monotonous over time, especially if you're conscious and understand what's going on, as Alice and I are."
He remembers all of his cycles?
"Wait, you've known this all along and never told Carlisle or I? Don't you think this is pertinent information?" I asked sharply, earning me an amused glance from Edward.
"Hey, I don't know why Alice and I were given the ability to actually recall each cycle but I never asked for it. Plus, Alice and I agreed a long time back that we would never tell anyone, even our mates. The information is too…dangerous."
Dangerous? Weird maybe, but not dangerous.
Edward laughed bitterly at my ignorance causing me to frown. "It is dangerous, in many ways. These repetitive cycles, also known as simply immortality, should be kept a secret. If the Volturi found out about this Lord knows what would happen."
"You mean even the Volturi don't know?" I asked, aghast that the leaders of the vampire world were so clueless when compared to my son and daughter.
"Not as of right now, but they get closer every cycle. They're on the hunt to find someone to remember, such as me or Alice. But, the more cycles you live the quicker your memory fades, so I doubt they'll ever figure everything out." He leaned against the doorway and folded his arms stoutly. "You're probably wondering why I'm even bothering to tell you. Well, the answer is quite simple: I want to break the cycle. I want to die. I know that must sound horrendous, but after consciously living so many cycles over so many years…I just…"
"You just don't want to live anymore," I supplied numbly. He nodded.
"Exactly. I don't need your help, and I obviously wasn't going to tell you, but it really doesn't matter now anyway. It doesn't matter if you know. Once Alice comes into the timeline she's going to help me find a way out. She's going to help find a way for all of us to finally die." His expression was that of pure bliss as he thought about the future. "No more cycles, just whatever comes next. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, I'll welcome anything."
I wasn't exactly surprised by Edward's choice of words, he could be quite depressing at times, but I was concerned. I know how it feels to be suicidal. I know how it feels to lose everything, and although this 'cycle' so far has been incredibly frustrating, I don't want to die. Well, not yet anyway.
"Edward, please don't think in that sort of way. Just think of Bella and Nessie. They're only a little ways down the line. Just wait and you'll find happiness again," I reminded him, a bright tone evident in my voice. Edward had been so full of life and joy when he found Bella; surely he can find that again in the future. He can't just throw everything away.
He shrugged in a childish manner. "Who knows if I'll find her in this cycle? Every cycle is different, Esme. Not one is the same as the other. Out of my twelve cycles I've only met Bella in seven of them, and two of those times she died within the year, which, in turn, ended my cycle. It seems once one member of the Cullen Clan dies, the others aren't far behind." He laughed bitterly and shook his head. "Once Carlisle got himself killed you weren't far behind. Then once you died the Volturi came back a second time and exacted their revenge on the rest of us. I died a day after you in the last cycle. The only reason I was reborn earlier was because the time line called for it. Time can adjust when need be, especially when concerning immortals such as ourselves."
Yes it does. I've seen that quite a bit in the last few months.
As Edward's words raced through my mind a question nagged at my tongue, begging to be asked. Finally I gave in and asked my son in a tired and desperate voice.
"Has there been a cycle where Carlisle and I…um, haven't ended up together?"
Edward gave me a soft smile and shook his head. "Not yet, but your current attitude is jeopardizing that perfect record. I know this is a lot to take in, but I want you to stay hopeful. Carlisle isn't going to fall for you if all you do is sit up in your room all day. Talk to him. Interact with him. Do stuff with him. He's dying for your attention Esme. And maybe, if you're lucky, he might remember a few things about a past cycle, and maybe you will too."
He turned to leave but I grabbed his shirt tail, pulling him back toward me. He chuckled and allowed the awkward movement. "What else do you need, Esme?"
"How do I keep myself from forgetting my last cycle?" I asked hastily.
Edward paused for a moment, tilting his head from side to side in meditation. "I suppose you could write all your memories down in a journal of some sort. I'm sure Carlisle would allow you to have one of his, he has plenty. Having everything written down might help the memories stay fresher in your mind."
I nodded and allowed him to leave, my grip on his shirt loosening as he pulled away. Once the door clicked shut I jumped from my seat and made my way to my closet where I ruffled through my dresses. I almost laughed as I looked through the popular fashions of the day. They were so dated when compared to what I had been wearing a year ago.
Goodbye flat iron, hello curlers.
I picked out a light purple knee-length dress with white ruffled sleeves and a buttoned up back. With as much carefulness as a newborn can muster I slipped the dress on quickly and powdered my face with a light layer of makeup. I found a pair of dark grey heels under my bed (most likely a gift from Carlisle) and a black overcoat, both of which I put on. The expensive material was a nice contrast from my normal rugged apparel I had been donning the past few months.
For the first time in a while I felt beautiful.
Hopefully Carlisle will think the same.
The thought had me smiling giddily as I practically danced down the stairs to the living room. For some reason Edward's conversation and confession had lifted my spirits quite high. I felt good, and more than anything I felt ready. This cycle might be my last, which means it's my last chance to win over my Carlisle and keep my record clean, and clean it would stay. Carlisle would always be mine, no matter what.
I noticed a small note on the coffee table near the sofa in the den and bent over to inspect it, my hand lingering on the light blue paper. I could tell by it's cryptic style that Edward had written it.
It's so very nice to see you…alert again. I couldn't bear to see you in such an irritated and angered state, and I apologize if any of the information I gave you disturbed or worried you. It was never my intent. I hope you find the journal I left out to your satisfaction, and I hope you have a nice night out with Carlisle. I already called him and told him you would meet him at the park by seven for a stroll. I'm out hunting and will most likely take a visit to Alaska, so the house is yours for the rest of the week.
Remember who you are and never give up, even if he isn't as easy to catch this time around.
I believe you will do what's best.
Love, your son,
I smiled at his heartfelt letter and tucked it inside the journal he had left. I ran both items up to my room and stashed them away beneath a pile of shoes in my closet. Wouldn't want Carlisle finding out about anything.
And with that I was out the door and on my way to the park where I would, hopefully, win my love's heart once again. Hopefully.
Get ready for the ride of your life, Esme.
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