I was confused. Everything felt like it was electrified, as if there were a summer storm in my brain. Colors were so intense, I thought if I touched them they would spill onto me. I could smell things I never noticed, the earth, grass, a bird, and…strangely, pears and lavender.

 

I could hear every heartbeat, the breath of creatures I couldn’t see. What I didn’t hear were the heartbeats of the two men standing in front of me.

 

I knew Doctor Cullen, although I didn’t think he would remember me from 10 years prior. I was mistaken. He crouched down in front of me, and as he picked leaves from my tangled hair, he spoke.

 

“Esme, my name is Carlisle Cullen. This is my son, Edward.”

 

He gestured to the other man who joined Carlisle in crouching. It was then I realized the lavender smell came from him, and the pears from Carlisle. I avoided their gazes as I tried to smooth my mussed hair. I was trying to put things together and my brain was fighting me. It was as if it was trying to protect me from something. It was muddy and vague.

 

“Come on, let’s get you back to the house and you can clean up and I will explain.”

 

Carlisle stood and held out his hand. I reached up and Edward assisted me in standing. We walked back to the house in silence, a million questions running through my head. I stole glances at the men, and I could see the pensive look on Carlisle’s face. No doubt he was trying to figure out how to tell me what he had to tell me. I concentrated on remembering, through the walk home and getting cleaned up and into proper dress. As I brushed out my hair, I studied my face in the mirror, trying to pick out why it didn’t seem to look like me. My brown eyes were brown, maybe a bit darker, but I played it off to the lighting. Once my hair was brushed out and smoother, it seemed like it had extra light, as did my skin. It all began to come back to me, in pieces, disconnected and shredded, when I realized there were no dark circles under my eyes, or bruises and scars on my arms and legs. What had happened to me?

 

When I felt ready I went out and found them sitting in the parlor. Edward was playing the piano and Carlisle was reading. It was a tranquil father son tableau, but there was something that made it different. When they looked up at me I realized their eyes were golden. It was not enough to be noticed in passing, but with my senses all heightened to extreme levels, they jumped out at me like a lighthouse in the fog. Something told me to run, but I felt no fear, only curiosity.

 

I walked up to Edward and studied his face. His skin was pale and his lips dark, belying that he wasn’t made of marble. He stood still and waited patiently while I studied him, a small smile teasing the corners of his mouth. I didn’t feel he was mocking me though, it was more like he understood what I was going through.  I gave Carlisle the same scrutiny and evoked the same response. When I had enough I sat in a large rocking chair and folded my hands in my lap, ready for the explanation. What came out of Carlisle’s mouth was not what I expected.

 

“There is no way to sugar coat this, or any way to say it but to be blunt. We are vampires.”

 

I sat looking at him, waiting for the laughter or the punch line. There was none.

 

“Vampires?”

 

My actions from earlier came back to me and I realized that I was one too. I waited for the revulsion to hit me and realized it wasn’t coming.

 

“So, I didn’t die from the fall?”

 

“No, but you were very close to death. I remembered you from treating you in Ohio. I-I don’t know why, but I couldn’t let you go. I understand if you are angry with me, but for the time being, until you get used to this new life, you have to stay with us.”

 

I thought about it, knowing I had no where to go and I would need help starting out with this new life. I nodded in agreement.

 

My new and everlasting life had begun.

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