TITLE: Finding Peace

PAIRING: Esme/ Carlisle

GENRE: Drama

WORD COUNT: 3,554

SUMMARY: The Cullens are trapped at home during a blizzard. Will the storm be the curse Esme fears or bring the peace she's been longing for?

Disclaimer: SM owns it. I'm just playing.

"MA! The news says no school. We're getting a bluzzard. Isn't that a bird? Why wouldn't we have school 'cause of a bird? That sounds really stupid. Hey,,Ma!" I look directly at him so he'll realize I am listening and stop screaming. "Isn't that stupid?"

Lord give me strength.

I stop folding laundry so that he has my full attention."Emmett, dear, there is a blizzard know, very windy, lots of snow, and us all stuck at home." He nods excitedly in understanding. "The bird you are thinking of is a buzzard, honey. They are scavengers." An eyebrow raises as his mouth pops open. "Don't give me that look. It means they eat anything, even dead animals."

"Ohh, can we get a buzzard? It'd be fun to watch it eat dead stuff. Is it like a zombie?" He turns to scream up the stairs. " HEY, GUYS! Mom is gonna buy us a zombie bird."

"NO. Absolutely not. No more pets. They are too big anyway, and probably illegal to keep."

"Oh, man. You're no fun anymore."

"Sorry." I give him a quick hug and ruffle his hair. "Would pancakes, bacon, and eggs make it better?"

"Yeah!"

"Good, now go make sure everyone is up and dressed. Wake your dad up and tell him about the storm."

"I ain't supposed to wake him up, mom. It's a rule."

"He needs to call the hospital. He might have to go in early."

"When he yells at me, I'm telling him you made me do it."

"Enough, Emmett. Just do as you're told."

I try not to let the panic set in as I realize we're going to be stuck in the house, possibly without power, for days.

~FP~

"Mom, I heard about the storm. I think it would be best if we get Bella now and brought her to stay with us. She'll be all alone, and what if she gets hypothermia or scurvy. She needs to be with our family and looked after, mom."

"Good morning, Edward." I glance up from the pancake batter and do my best to sound serious."While I appreciate your concern for Bella - it is very sweet, honey - her dad is more than capable of caring for her. He is the chief of police."

"But, what if he has to work, huh? Then what?"

That look he gives me, as though I am so below him, sets me off everytime. "Enough of the backtalk. Chief Swan will handle it, I'm sure. Your father and I will be discussing you reading his medical books, too. It's not good for you to be so concerned about every disease known to man."

"Can I at least call her? You know, before you and dad ruin my chances of being a doctor."

"You may call her but only for ten minutes." I hold my finger up to stop him from interrupting me."Breakfast will be ready when you're done, and after we eat, everyone will have to help prepare." I go back to mixing batter, hoping he realizes this conversation is over.

"Really, mom, you're timing me? I'm twelve years old and you..."

Thankfully, I hear Carlisle walking into the kitchen. I know he'll back me up when it comes to Edward and his newfound habit of disrespecting me.

"Edward Anthony Cullen, listen to your mother. I've heard how you speak to her. Frankly, I am very disappointed."

"I'm sorry, Dad."

"And?"

"Sorry, mom. I'll only be ten minutes."

I turn to check on the bacon just as Carlisle wraps his arms around me and kisses my neck."Good morning, beautiful. Remember how you asked if I could get some time off, so we could spend some real family time without distraction?"

"That was months ago, but yes."

"Well, I just informed the hospital I am taking my week of vacation to be home with my family. The news is saying it could get pretty bad, I can't leave you here to deal with the house and kids by yourself." He grinds his hips into me and with lips against my ear, he says, "You never know, it might be just what we need."

"Wow. I appreciate it, please know that.I'm just so surprised. Have you told the kids yet? They are going to be thrilled!"

"You aren't, though. You want me out of your hair."

I turn from the stove, hold him close to me, and kiss him with all I have. "No. I want you here. I always want you here with me."

"Mmm. That's good to know."

Just as he begins to kiss me, our legs get tackle-hugged by two sets of arms.

"No fair! We need hugs, too. Group hug!"

We chuckle and comply. Alice and Jasper get squeezed and smooched all over by both of us, until Alice yells for us to stop. Jasper just smiles.

Everyone has heard of twins who communicate with each other in their own language. In our family, Alice speaks on behalf of them both, always. We've had him tested numerous times, and there is nothing wrong; he simply chooses to communicate with us in his own special way. When Emmett is bored, he will just happen to show up to play with him. When Edward is playing piano, he is there to listen. He leaves us notes and drawings, and sneaks in hugs just when we need them most.

Then there is Alice. They have been inseparable since they first laid eyes on each other. They had to do everything together as infants- sleep, eat, bathe, play- or they would wail. Now that they are six, they are capable of being alone or with others, but always end up together. I worried that the gender difference would eventually drive them apart as their interests changed. Thankfully, I was wrong and they seem to love each other more everyday.

"Oh, family of mine, I would love to feed you but the table needs to be set first." Immediately I hear cupboards opening and plates being set.

By the time breakfast is served the snow has started to fall. Big fluffy flakes fill the sky- so many that all I see is white. Within minutes everything is covered and I'm yelling for Carlisle to make sure the generators are ready.

We're always the first to lose power and last to get it back. We can handle no lights or television but I have to be able to feed everyone. Six mouths are a lot to feed on a normal day, but without a refrigerator or stove, it becomes hell.

I get another load of laundry in, the dishes done, and dinner in a Crock-Pot. Meanwhile the kids have been told to find snow suits so they can go outside to play before it gets too windy and cold. I dig into the closets after being met with a chorus of "MOM! I can't find anything."

After everyone is ready, and I help Carlisle find his boots, outside they go. Snowmen are built and sledding is underway. I clean up the mess of clothes they left behind and gather noses and eyes for the snowmen. I bundle up and head out.

Edward says he is too old for sledding but is a great big brother, dragging his youngest siblings up the hill over and over. I help Em make snowballs and we plan our attack. Carlisle is too preoccupied with the snowmen to see us coming, and I get him in the back.

"Hey! What the?" Emmett uses his shock to get him in the chest. A snowball war ensues, and by the end of it I'm on the ground begging for mercy.

When I catch my breath I ask, "Who wants hot chocolate?"

My family yells a resounding "I do! I do!"

"Good, then let me up, and I'll go make us some. Be sure to gather the sleds and put them away or they'll be buried. Leave your boots on the porch, but bring in your coats and suits so they can dry. And don't leave your gloves out either. And..."

"Esme. I'm here. We can handle coming inside, honest."

"Okay, sorry," I say. I give him a quick kiss and head in.

I put all my snow gear away and head to the kitchen to get started. By the time six mugs have been poured, everyone is gathered around the table, talking. I sit back and watch them.

Jasper comes over and stands next to me. I run my hand through his hair and squeeze him close. "Are you hungry, dear?" He nods, hands me a box of macaroni and cheese of the shelf, and runs back to the table.

I start lunch after cleaning up the entryway mess. I yell at all five of them as I throw boots out the door and hang jackets. I Cuss Carlisle out while mopping the floor because "no one listens to a fucking thing I say!" The long day is starting to take its toll on me, and I'm getting more tired and angry by the minute.

I never wanted anything more than to be a mom. To be pregnant, hold my children, sing to them every night as I rock them to sleep- this was my dream. I never thought ahead to all the work it would entail when my babies grew up. The cleaning, cooking, and constant worry wasn't on my radar. I love my family with all that I am, but this is exhausting.

I should be feeling happy and content yet all I know is stress. I am being consumed by lists of to-dos and a calendar without empty days. I stand in the kitchen and cry tears of frustration.

The wind starts to howl outside. The snow is no longer soft and light; the flakes are now coming hard and fast. I watch the clock on the stove start to blink 12:00, once, twice, and then it goes black.

"Damn it! Carlisle! Please start the generator and hook up the stove so I can finish cooking."

"I'm on my way and I already got a fire started so we won't get hypothermia."

"Thank you! Am I going to need to take your journals away?"

Carlisles laugh is his only reply.

I feed everyone and start cleaning up when the "I'm bored"s begin.

"Leave your mother alone and join me in the living room immediately," Carlisle says. He smiles, kisses my cheek, and off they go.

I hear Edward mumble about being too old for this as he walks past the kitchen. I finish up the dishes and follow the thumping sound.

The living room looks like a UFC cage match. Couch cushions are in stacks, Alice's gymnastic mat is on the floor, and Carlisle and Emmett are circling each other in the middle.

"Carlisle, do you have whatever you need to fix our kids when you break them or yourself? Remember, I can't take any of you to the hospital or run for supplies."

"We won't get hurt. Right, guys?"

"Right! I won't break Dad. I promise," says Emmett.

Alice squeezes her eyes shut tight, places her little finger in the air, so we don't interrupt, and says, "I don't see any injuries in our future, mom". Jasper smiles and nods along with her.

"I'm glad to hear that, dear. You let me know if it gets rough in here or you "see" the future changing, okay?"

"Okay, mom. I'll watch closely."

I can't help but chuckle as I go to check on Edward. Alice truly believes she can see the future. We have decided not to break her heart just yet since she only does it at home and out of love for us.

I hear my Edward playing piano, probably composing for Bella again. He really is sweet and means well, but that boy is taking it a bit far. I try to keep him busy and limit his time obsessing over her. I'm afraid she's going to tell him to get lost soon, as their worlds cannot revolve solely around each other at such a young age.

He reminds me so much of Carlisle though. There is no limit when it comes to showing me his love. Hell, he tried to buy me an island. An island! He would have done anything to bring me out of the depression I had sunk into.

Being told we would never have our own biological children broke me. Eventually I dug my way out, and his love kept me going all the while. We filled out papers, went through inspections, and with Carlisle being a doctor and me an OB nurse, it didn't take long to get approved.

Edward's mother was a very kind young girl who wanted to see the world. I was her nurse. One night she asked me about my own children, and I simply told her my husband and I weren't able to have any. I remember her saying that was "messed up 'cause I'd be an awesome mom." I thanked her and moved on to my next patient. When I made my morning rounds the next day, she wasn't in her room. She had completed the birth certificate paperwork and in the place for mother she had written Esme. She wrote me a letter explaining that she wanted him to be mine. I looked at Edward, wrapped up in his blanket and sleeping peacefully, and sobbed. I became a mom that day, and Carlisle a dad.

Emmett came to us by a late night phone call from the agency three years later. He was a big boy with a loud voice, determined to let the world know he was here. We were thrilled.

Alice's mother was a patient of Carlisle's. She had tried to cut the alien from her belly and nearly killed them both. She was put in a psychiatric hospital to get the care she needed, and the baby was placed in the NICU. Jasper had been left at the hospital that day under the safe haven laws, and was suffering from heroin withdrawal.

Both of them were so tiny and afraid, crying out in need. One would cry, and the other would answer with an even louder cry of their own. I asked for them to be put together, to see if just maybe they would calm each other. They did, and then I fought like hell to keep them that way. It wasn't policy for two unrelated children to go to the same family at the same time. However, anyone could see that these two babies needed each other. God, the universe, karma - whatever brought us together, and I was not stopping until we were all home. Eventually I won and we became a family of six.

It was never easy, but it was worth it. Carlisle is finally starting to understand that I don't need islands or fancy vacations; I just want him and our children.

"Esme, help!"

"What?"

"The energy these three have is incredible. Seriously, I'm exhausted. Please, help me entertain them."

At this Alice chimes in that she sees board games in our future.

"Remarkable, Alice. Why don't you and your brothers go get the games and Edward. Mom and I will get the room back together."

I start putting cushions on the couch just as a hand slaps my ass.

"Hey!"

"That was a thank-you for the snowball fight," he says with a wink.

We play games until dinner is ready. With full bellies, we all get cleaned up and ready for bed. Everyone gets hugged, kissed, and told good-night. Carlisle is on the couch reading medical journals as I start my nightly routine.

I pick up forgotten cups, make sure all the pets are fed, do dishes for the last time today, and make lists for what needs done tomorrow. By the time I sit down to relax, my mind won't shut off and I can't focus enough to read the book in front of me.

I have finally learned to block out all the noise the kids make, but in their absence everything is amplified. The clock ticks, the cat taps her nails against hard wood, that fucking hamster wheel squeaks, and Carlisle rubs his feet together. It's not just the sound he makes (dry skin brushing against callouses) it's the slight bounce it causes wherever he is. I want to cut them off or maybe just smother him with a pillow.

I need peace and quiet before I snap. I grab a blanket and go outside, careful not to slam the front door like I want to. Damn, it's cold out here. The wind has finally stopped and snow has slowed; the worst of the storm has passed. All curled up on my porch swing, I watch the snow fall. A tiny piece of my stress goes with every flake I watch descend. I cannot think of a time it has ever been so quiet. No cars, trucks, wind - nothing. The sky is the most perfect shade of navy blue swirled with black. Stars twinkle, the moon glows, and the reflection of the snow makes it almost bright outside. When was the last time I even looked at the night sky? I'm lost in my child-like wonder when I hear the front door.

"You scared me!"

"I could accuse you of the same. Why are you outside?"

"The noise all got to be too much."

"Make some room for me under that blanket, Es. It's cold out here. What noise? We have four kids sleeping peacefully and no power."

"All the little things."

"You mean the white noise that only seems to bother you, my wonderful wife."

"Tell me, Carlisle, I'm serious. What idiot decided a constant annoyance could be called white noise? White is pure, quiet, like this blanket of fresh snow that muffles everything below. Constant noise should be called psychedelic solar-fucking-yellow obnoxious distraction."

"I don't know. How about I distract you for a while and you forget about how much you hate my feet?" He smirks and gives me a look I've missed for too long.

His lips are on mine and his hand is caressing my jaw before I can reply. I wrap the blanket around us as I run my fingers up the back of his neck, into his hair. Our tongues come together as I whimper. I've missed us.

His still warm hand rubs my back and unhooks my bra as his other unbuttons my shirt. I can't help running my hands down his shoulders before returning the favor. Bare chests collide and we both gasp at how amazing the cold feels as we warm up against each other.

Mouths nip, bite, and kiss as we spur each other's needs on. I lie down on my back, drag him to me, and giggle as we struggle to keep the blanket wrapped around us.

He rests his forehead on mine and asks if we should go in. My answer is lightening fast.

"No, I want you to fuck me without worrying who will hear."

At that he grinds his hips into mine. I push our pants down and he pulls my underwear to the side.

I caress him and cry out as he starts running his fingers across my clit. "You're so wet for me. Please, please let me in."

I line us up as he moves forward and begins to move. With each thrust I melt further into him. My legs hook around his hips and my feet around his calves. I want to be crushed by his weight and smothered in his love for me. I grab his ass and pull him closer, hold his head to my neck, and cry out.

He knows just what I need and strokes me deep while grinding against my pelvic bone. My legs shake, as I bite down on his shoulder and raise my hips to meet him.

"Come for me. Please."

"You feel too good. Don't stop."

His teeth sink into his lip as he watches me come undone. My muscles clench, my toes curl, and I yell, "Harder."

Once he begins to moan, under the strain of holding back, I come. He finds his own release moments later and collapses on top of me. I slowly rub his back and enjoy the feeling of peace for the first time today.

"I'm crushing you. Let me up."

"No. Never. This is my favorite place on earth. Right here under you. "

"Please," he says, while slowly kissing my neck. "The fire is calling us. I can be quiet if you can."

We straighten our clothes and run inside, holding onto the blanket and each other. We settle in front of the fire, my head resting on his chest and his arms around my waist.

I look back on our day and realize this storm is a blessing and not the curse I had feared. I get to spend days with my family; just us, with no television, phone calls, or work to interrupt. This is the reconnect I've been longing for; the peace I've been trying to find. I mumble a quiet "thank you" and drift off to sleep.