Chapter 1 Pain
Hopeless is how it felt. The darkness had swallowed me up. There is no light standing here at the precipice of life and death.
I was ready to end the pain; to let it all go and take the final step.
The sun shown as brightly as it did less than four weeks ago but it
didn’t warm me. The last time I was here, life held promise. Remembering
that day - the sun so warm, the sky a beautiful shade of blue; life looked so
wonderful. My beautiful little baby kicking me from the inside made me think
that for once all my dreams would come true.
That day I sat there thinking of my mother. She said to me, “Esme, your name means "to be loved" in Old French. You have always been an extremely warm girl who is gifted with the ability to love completely. One day, you will meet a man and know he is the one for you, my sweet child, You will truly make your family happy.”
We would walk in the woods on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio - close to our little home with a picnic lunch. My mother would bring her favorite books for us to read and I think that made me want to become a teacher so badly. My mother a very warm and caring person and was always in terse terms with my father, a very cold and calculating man. It was hard to understand how she could love a man like him.
One day she told me he had not always been like that. At first, he was very caring and so that was the man she saw every time she looked at him. I was the last of my friends to be unmarried and my mother knew of my hope of becoming a teacher. My father would not hear of it. It was after my father’s best friend Charles Evenson Sr. oldest son, Charles Jr., came back from college, I was hard pressed into dating and eventually marrying him.
My forced marriage to him was something I grew to regret. Charles was a very sadistic man and could not make love to a woman without hurting her. He was very masochistic in his thoughts. He was truly delusional and thought that he owned me. I knew he could never love me.
My honeymoon was a horror show! The pain inflected on me was inhumane. We were not even married for two months before he made the decision to move us away from our families; supposedly to start a new job. The truth it was that so no one could see the extent of his abuse. He had even told me to call him master in the privacy of our own home! I felt as if I was doomed to never known what it was like to have a man love me and make love to me.
In my whole life, I could think of only one man who ever treated me with any kindness or respect. When I was a mere 16 years old, I had fallen out of the tree in our backyard and broke my leg. My mother had taken me to the town doctor who had been in our little town for less than two years. I don’t know why I had always remembered Dr. Carlisle Cullen. He was the most handsome man I’ve ever seen but I believe it was more than that. Although I was in terrible pain, this man’s cold hands felt like home to me - whatever “home” was. It is strange that I remember even years later. Looking back now, I knew from the first time I saw him, he would be my only true love and a part of me realized that I was missing my soul mate.
The only time I ever got a reprieve from the constant abuse was in 1920. Charles was drafted and went to fight in the War. As bad as it sounds, there were times that I had hoped he would never come home again. There were nights where I would dream that I was a widow and I would never see him again. And yes, that he would have a long and painful death. I do not know why I didn’t run away back then. I guess I thought I had nowhere to go; nowhere to run. If I had gone home, my father would have sent me right back to Charles. How I wished I had known that my father was going to die just one week after Charles had gotten home, I would have ran. As soon as Charles returned from the war, the abuse got started all over again. In fact, it got worse. I didn’t feel as if I “deserved” it so I began to wonder if there was someone else. Charles would just say “There are women in this world that like what I do. They would ask for this and be happy.” When he was done with me, Charles would stare out the window. He even once turned to me and said, “I should have never come back to you. You’re cold and you have no passion!”
The only thought going through my head when he said things like that to me was “NO!” I would not wish him on another young woman. Shortly after his return, I realized I was pregnant. I knew I would have to run away for the sake of my baby. I started to think of ways to disappear. He would find me if I went home to my mother. I knew she would be happy to see me and she would believe me about Charles but that was the first place he would look. After I was far away and safe, I could write and tell her about the baby. I would tell her everything and she would know that I was safe and happy and maybe, hopefully, she could come and see us.
It was in that frame of mind, as I cleaned my already clean house, there was a knock on the door. There stood a portly man dressed in a nice suit. He asked, “Are you Esme PlattEvenson?”
I replied, “Yes, I am. May I help you, sir?”
He proceeded to tell me the most heartbreaking news. My loving mother had died of a heart attack. He was there to give me the deed to our small home in Columbus and the large sum of money that she had saved to send me to school. How could I possibly think of this as a blessing? I did, though. With my mother’s death, she had given me a way to make a new life for myself and my unborn child.
I asked him if he would handle the funeral for me, along with selling the house. He could pay all the funeral expenses with the money from the sell. I told him that I would write to him later on about the remaining money. It took me less than an hour to pack up the few things that I would need to make my escape.
Then, I ran.
I ran away from the life I hated. I was happy to have it all behind me. I went to the train station and purchased a ticket on the first train out of town. It didn’t matter where to – I just needed to leave. The first train was heading to South Dakota. By the time the train left the station, I didn’t care where I was going as long as I was going. I sat at the train station for the two hours in fear that Charles would find me. I looked at the door every time someone came in. My heart beating so fast; I thought it would beat out of my body. When the train finally arrived, I felt as if I could breathe again!
I never looked back. I knew that if Charles ever found me, I would be dead!
Chapter 2 New Hope
With the money my mother had left me, I was able to rent a nice little house around the corner from the hospital. More importantly, it was five blocks from the local college I would be attending. My dreams were simple: I would become a teacher and I would bring my baby into the world. We would be happy. I had taken back my maiden name and told everyone I had met in this little town that my husband had died in the war. I was already in the fifth month of my pregnancy and I needed to find a doctor that could help me with the delivery of my baby.
I arrived for my appointment early; sitting with four other women that were farther along in their pregnancies. They were chattering amongst themselves like birds when I heard one ask, “Do you know which doctor’s in the clinic today?”
A voice replied, “Yes, I do. It’s that good looking one; the one with cold hands.”
I knew of only one doctor who was good-looking and had cold hands. Could it be him? I held my breath.
With a large smile on her face, the first lady said, “His hands may be cold but he can melt you with his topaz eyes.”
I couldn’t believe it.
My name was soon called and I was shown to small room and instructed to disrobe. The nurse handed me a dingy white sheet to cover up with. I did as the nurse instructed and then the butterflies came as I was waiting. What if it was the doctor I knew – Dr. Cullen?
Chaotic feelings of nervousness and anticipation were rushing through me. Just then, the door opened and standing in front of me was Dr. Carlisle Cullen. He hadn’t changed at all! He was just as exceptionally good-looking as the last time I saw him -almost 10 years ago. He did not look at me right away; he was reading something in a file he was holding.
“So Mrs. Platt, how far are you long in your pregnancy?”
He finally looked at me; his topaz eyes registering shock and surprise. I was certain he was just as delighted at seeing me as I was at seeing him. Once again, the feeling that I had almost ten years ago came rushing back. How could this be, that this strange man could make me feel so at ease, so comfortable, so at home, with just his presence?
“Dr, Cullen,” I said, “It is so nice to see you again. Do you remember me?”
“Yes, Mrs. Platt, I do. It is so nice to see you again and under such good circumstances.”
The delight in his eyes was tangible and I thought mine might look the same. I told myself that it was because he reminded me of home; of a younger, more carefree time. Deep down, I had to admit to myself that even at the age of sixteen, he stirred something in me that I couldn’t explain. As he started the examination, the touch of his cool hands on my wrist was electrifying. It took my breath away and then I realized that he was speaking to me.
“So, Mrs. Platt, has your pregnancy gone normal up to this point?”
“Yes, it has - a little morning sickness at first.” I said, my voice trailing off as he let go of my wrist.
“Please lay back and I will listen to the baby.”
I did as he asked. He nodded to the nurse and I was then covered again – this time, the bottom half of my naked body. His hands were on my round belly and it was like little bolts of electricity were sparking against my skin. My baby kicked, I thought, in reaction to it.
The last time a man had touched me it was in anger and domination. Thoughts swirled around my head. I never once thought a man would touch me again. Yet, his touch was stirring something quite different in me.
A tear rolled down my cheek.
“Esme! Have I hurt you?” he asked, concern written all over his face. Another tear rolled down my cheek. Carlisle brushed it away with his finger.
“No, you haven’t. I think it is just the hormones.” I said, trying to smile.
“Yes, pregnancy is hard on the body and hormones” he said.
Going back into doctor mode, he listened to the baby’s heartbeat. Once he was done, he offered me his hand and again, a shoot of electricity coursed from his hand into mine. He looked into my eyes for one heartbeat and then let go of my hand. Grabbing a hold of my folder, he started writing in it.
As he turned towards the door, he quickly said to get dressed and that he would speak to me and MY HUSBAND in my office. Oh God! He thought I was there with Charles!
I got dressed as quickly as I could. A million different thoughts were rushing around my mind. My hands were shaking so badly. I was escorted to an office with his name on the nameplate by the nurse. She gave me a stern look and coldly asked “Were you not told by the secretary to bring your husband to this first visit?”
I looked at her and replied, “Yes, I was. My husband was killed four months ago in the war.”
Her voice was much warmer when she apologized. She placed my folder on the desk and left; closing the door quietly. I sat there, thinking about Carlisle, when I heard some voices outside the door. Carlisle walked in and I felt heat rush to my face. I couldn’t believe I was blushing!
“I hope you don’t mind, but I like to call my patients by their first name. You can call me Carlisle. The nurse told me about your husband. I am so sorry.”
I just nodded in agreement
“So, Esme, do you have any questions for me?” Carlisle asked.
I wanted to ask so many questions! I settled on the one question that has been plaguing me for the last five months.
“Yes,” I said in a whisper. “Do you think that someone is born bad? I mean, if the father was, well, let’s just say, not right. Will the little child be…..” I couldn’t finish. I stopped, hoping he would understand.
I didn’t see him get up and move to my chair. In an instant, he was kneeling in front of me; his cold hands over my warm ones.
He looked at me rather pensively. “Esme, why would you ask me that? Is there something you wish to tell me?”
Before I could even think of stopping, I began to cry uncontrollably. “Carlisle, I don’t want to lie to you. My husband isn’t dead. I ran away from him! He is very controlling person and he hurt me. I couldn’t let my baby grow up around him. The abuse, all of the bruises, the pain - I couldn’t live that way anymore. I just know he would kill me if he knew where I was. That’s why I had to lie. I am so sorry.”
I could feel my whole body began to shake as I cried. I felt so ashamed. I covered my face with my hands as I continued to cry. Suddenly, I felt his arms embrace me. He held me close, patting me on my back and murmuring words of ease. I wanted to embrace him in return but I couldn’t move. He held me so tightly.
“My dear Esme, don’t apologize to me. No one should ever be treated like that, least of all, you.” Carlisle said as I leaned my head back and looked into his eyes. Although his voice was barely above a whisper, I could hear an edge to it. In his eyes, his beautiful topaz eyes, I could see anger; a murderous rage. Carlisle’s eyes seemed to grow darker with every passing second. In awe, I watched as his eyes change from topaz to black. His arms that held me so securely were beginning to shake.
“This will be just between you and me. To answer your question, Esme, your child has a perfect soul. His father’s sadistic qualities will not be passed on. Your baby sounds just perfect and with you as its mother, the child will be fine. I promise you that.”
In those hidden corners of my heart, I knew that what this wonderful man was saying was true. He calmed my frayed nerves.
“Thank you,” I whispered to him. Carlisle got up, touching my cheek one last time and went to sit behind his desk.
“Esme, everything looks good. I would say in about 3 ½ months you should give birth. I will need to see you in the clinic in four weeks.”
We stood up together and he led me to the door. As he opened it, he said, “If you need anything, just contact the clinic. They can get a message to me anytime, day or night. I look forward to seeing you again.”
He then picked up my hand and kissed it gently.
Chapter 3 Rage
Rage ran through my veins as I tried to put myself in check. Calmly, I escorted Esme out the door. I stood there by the door and watched as she made her next appointment. My entire body was shaking with controlled emotion until I was finally able to turn back into my office and close my office door behind me. Quietly, I walked over to my desk and with one hand, broke it into small pieces. Through my rage, I could hear the nurses murmuring and wondering if I was alright. I called out that I needed a few more minutes to prepare myself for my next patient but truthfully, I was thinking back to my first meeting with the beautiful Esme.
1911 - Columbus, Ohio
After two years in Columbus, life had become very routine and uneventful. Every day, prior to my shift, I would sign in and wait for something new to happen. It never did. I knew that very soon, I would need to leave and start over. If I was lucky, I could stay in a place for five to seven years but not here. Lately, I had begun to grow weary of my nomadic life. I was becoming restless and the loneliness was too much. I needed a companion; someone to love a creature like me.
“Dr Cullen, we have a teenage girl here with a broken leg in Room 2.”
“I’ll be right there,” I called out as I quickly scrubbed up and prepared my instruments. As I walked down the hall, the first thing I noted was a scent. It was wonderful! It called to me and had me rushing through the hospital corridors. I had heard of this “blood calling” when I lived in Italy but thought it a myth. Surely, all human blood was the same. But now…Now I knew the myth was a reality. For the first time in over two hundred years, the smell of human blood was enticing me. It took all of my self control not to barge into Room 2 and devour its source.
Opening the door, I saw the most enchanting young girl. Her face was shaped in a perfect heart and even while in pain; she looked up at me and smiled. A soft blush stole across her cheeks and she quickly looked down. Her caramel colored hair and eyes were a perfect contrast to her soft ivory skin. She was so delicate and fragile – almost doll-like in her beauty. I stood there looking at her, her blood calling to me with every breath.
“Hello. My name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen and you are..?” I asked, hoping she would look at me again.
Shyly, she looked up at me. Her glance had venom flowing to the fangs in my mouth.
“I am Esme Platt and this is my mother,” she said, gesturing to the older woman by her side. I never noticed that there was someone else in the room with us. I knew I had to gain control of the situation before it got out of hand. A vampire had to be hyperaware of their surroundings at all times, yet the sight of this beauty rendered me senseless. Sitting in the corner was a small woman with the same color hair as Esme; a few graceful strands of gray mixed in and she had the same gorgeous green eyes. She looked older than her years and carried the scent of wet earth; a farmer’s wife I immediately guessed.
“Hello, Sir. I’m Sarah Platt. My daughter fell out of the tree in our yard.”
Walking over to the hospital bed, I knew that my cold hands would shock her but I wasn’t able to mask the coldness by rubbing them together. Esme jumped a little but I was not prepared for the electricity sparking against my skin. Esme smiled at me, blushing, and said “Your hands feel good. They are like ice.”
Her leg was clearly broken with bone pushing at her skin. She had minor scrapes and cuts along her legs and arms from the fall. It was the little amounts of blood drops that held my attention. The monster I never let out of me wanted to come out. The desire for a taste, however small, was pushing against my control. I backed away slowly from the examination table and told her that I would have the nurse clean her up. I had to escape! Quickly, I told Esme I would return once the nurse was done to brace her leg and that she would have to stay overnight to make sure she didn’t have a concussion or any internal bleeding from the fall. I practically ran from the room, stopping only to tell the nurse to clean Esme’s cuts. I didn’t even stop to wash my hands. I had to go outside and regain my composure and my control.
How could one human – a fragile human – affect me so?
A knock on the door brought me out of my memories. Donna, my loyal nurse, advised me of the arrival of my next patient. I glanced around my office and saw the damage I had inflicted on my desk. I would have to return later on tonight with a replacement. I cleaned up the debris and locked the office door behind me as I went to see my next patient.
At the end of the day, I walked home, attempting to walk at human rate, when all I wanted to do was run. Thoughts of Esme swirled in my mind; her scent and her face taking over. Someone had dared to hurt her. Her exam had revealed numerous scars - cuts and burns on the tops of her arms, on her legs and her stomach. Rage, the elemental feeling of pure hatred, roared through me. Although I had promised never to hurt a human, the man who had dared to harm MY Esme, would die. He would die knowing that it was his own barbaric actions that caused him to suffer. Revenge would never be a sweet as when I took his life.
I was close to home and knew that Edward could hear my angry thoughts. Edward had been my companion for nearly three years now. I had changed Edward a few years ago as he laid dying of Spanish Influenza. Both he and his mother had been patients of mine in Chicago. His mother’s last words to me were a request to save him. No one had paid attention to me as I made my last rounds on the floor that night. I gave him the Gift and then covered him up. Silently, I pushed the “corpse” to the morgue and waited a few more hours before sneaking his body out.
After Edward’s change, he noticed that he could “hear” peoples’ thoughts. As more time passed, the better he got at it. He said he could hear me best. It didn’t surprise me that he was on the porch as I walked up to the house.
“Care to explain all of this rage, Carlisle? Who is Esme and could you really kill her husband?”
My memories of her crying in my office resurfaced, along with our first meeting all those years ago. I let Edward see and hear it all…
The memories came flooding back…
The nurse had done a good job cleaning up Esme’s cuts. The smell of her blood not as strong as before with the antiseptic smell.
“So, Esme, how is the pain?”
I could hear her heart begin to race. Did I make her nervous, I wondered? Esme held her breath and quietly replied, “It’s not too bad.”
I examined her injury again and she winced. I was certain the pain of a broken bone was beginning to take a toll on her. I prepared an injection of morphine for her and asked that her mother wait in the waiting room so that I could set and then cast her leg. I didn’t lie to Esme when I told her that setting of
her leg would be painful. She looked positively scared to death! With my nurse’s help, we aligned her bones and put the cast on. Thankfully, Esme had passed out as soon as we started. The thought of her suffering more pain inspired me to work as quickly as possible.
Esme slept through it all and we were able to transfer her to a room. Once she was settled in, I set about locating her mother. Mrs. Platt appeared to be a nervous wreck in the waiting room. I reassured her that Esme was doing fine and that her staying in the hospital was just a precaution. When I mentioned that she could stay with Esme, Mrs. Platt said she would like to but that she needed to go home to her husband. I told her that she could stop by the next day and that by then, the morphine would have worn off and that Esme would likely be awake. Mrs. Platt went to Esme’s room, kissed her daughter lovingly on the cheek, and left.
I cannot explain what compelled me to do what I did. I had never done it before with any of my previous patients but I ended spending the entire night in a chair in her room.
She moved a little during the night and occasionally groaned in pain. I would immediately go to her side to comfort her but there was little that I could do. Finally, around dawn, Esme began to wake. Her green eyes sought me out in the early morning shadows. I was frozen to my seat with her gaze.
“Good morning, Esme. How are you feeling? I can give you more medication if you would like.”
I could the hear the raspiness in her voice as she replied, “No, Dr Cullen. I feel a little sore and my leg is so heavy.”
As I looked at her, I began to question my sanity. How could this young woman, this woman-child, affect me so much? Even after falling out of a tree and an overnight hospital stay, she looked absolutely stunning. Was is possible for a vampire to fall in love with a human at first sight? I was beginning to think so.
“Dr Cullen, are you alright? You look so far away.”
Esme was touching my hand and I could feel that electric shock run through me. I smiled at her and hoped that she could feel what I was feeling.
“I am fine, dear Esme, and it has been a long night. It’s almost time for me to go home.”
My eyes widen in shock as a tear rolled down her cheek.
“Please don’t cry,” I said, wiping away the tear with my finger. Thank God for my vampire speed as I tasted her tear on my fingertip. It was the sweetest thing I had ever tasted in all my years.
I was about to ask her about her tears when I heard her mother out in the hall asking for Esme’s room. I moved back away from her bed as Mrs. Platt and the nurse walked in the door Mrs. Platt immediately went to Esme’s side, worry lines etched in her face. “I was so worried, Sweetheart. How do you feel?”
Esme was not looking at her mother; her eyes were locked on mine. I knew that she felt the same as I. She was my soulmate and I was hers. The thought of that was joyous and elating but then reality reared its ugly head. To keep her safe, I would have to leave. The sooner, the better! Esme was human and I was not. I would have to leave her so that she could live her life.
“Please excuse me, ladies. My shift is over. I will leave instructions for your care with the nurse. It was a pleasure.” Those were the last words I said to Esme as I left her hospital room. I knew I would not see her again.
“Good God, Carlisle! You never told me!” Edward said, instantly coming to my side. “When do we take care of that husband of hers?”
“No, Edward,” I replied. “We cannot harm him, no matter how I feel. But he will never hurt Esme again.”
“Carlisle, I would not hurt him too badly.” Edward said.
I looked at Edward and he laughed. Throwing his arm across my shoulder, he led me into the house; trying to talk me into hurting Esme’s husband. “Come on, Dad! You know you want to!”
I could only smile at Edward. He only called me Dad when he wanted something from me. It was fitting since I regarded him as my son.
“Come on, Son. Let’s go play chess.”