Chapter 2

The fan clicked as it swept back and forth, rustling the pages of the cheap spiral notebook that lay open on my desk. I put down my pen and leaned across my desk a bit, letting the air blow over my textbook. The weather had warmed literally overnight, which my Michigan-native classmates had told me was entirely normal for August. My apartment was now flooded with sticky air thanks to my leaving the window open earlier in the morning. I’d succumbed to the outrageous prices at the campus bookstore and run out to purchase a little eight-inch oscillating fan which now blew across my desk, clicking.

I had deliberately rented a one-bedroom apartment, knowing that I couldn’t deal with a roommate, but at my mother and therapist’s suggestions, I’d rented one in the student housing complex to ensure I’d be near others I could make friends with. My neighbors were a shy first-year Ph.D. in biochemistry named Nitya with whom I occasionally exchanged a smile as we both entered our apartments, and a master’s student in English literature named Daniel, who, if the sounds that came through the wall were any indication, would either be writing his thesis on pornography or be delivered to the emergency room for an injury to his wrist.

Aside from that, it was pretty quiet, and I was more or less alone. I liked it that way.

So far, medical school encompassed a lot of reading. There were four thick textbooks on the shelf above my little university-provided desk. We wouldn’t be starting any of our anatomy studies for almost four weeks, but one of the huge things hammered home to us by the M2s and M3s that had held a panel session on  the first day was that we ought to be studying those textbooks as soon as possible. I’d ducked a couple of the new-student mixers and had gotten through a third of the musculoskeletal system book already.

The new macBook Air on my desk was a graduation present from Renee, Phil, and Charlie, although it had probably been mostly bought by Phil. “It will be a good way to keep in touch, sweetheart,” my mother had said. It sat before me now, glowing, and I absently scrolled the mouse back and forth, watching the little icons in the toolbar enlarge and shrink as I ran the cursor over them.

Combined with my experience the day before, the computer couldn’t help but bring back the image of that old slow machine I’d had in Forks, where I often had needed to take a shower while it booted, and had waited even longer to manage to get an email from Renee. I remembered sitting alone in that room at first, then answering emails with Edward standing over my shoulder, then lying with him on the bed, the touch of his hands, his lips…

My head was in my arms on my desk before I even realized I’d started sobbing.

How was I supposed to explain this to my therapist, I wondered. “Yeah, well, it turns out my dead boyfriend’s  father is also an M1. Oh, how? Well, see, they’re all immortal, and he’s forever stuck at twenty-three…”

I groaned. There was no way to tell anyone the truth. Except for one guy, and yesterday he’d given me the biggest brush-off ever executed.

The macBook glowed happily.

But then again…

Seized with an idea. I clicked on the little blue Safari icon, and the program launched straight to my e-mail, derailing me at once. There were three emails in my inbox. Two were from the university—a crime report about some break-in on south campus, and a welcome back letter from the president. I tagged these for deletion. The third was from Renee.

 


Renee Dwyer to me

Hi sweetheart,

Just writing to check in that the move went okay. We sure miss you in Florida already. Phil’s out at the moment, so I thought I’d catch up quick. Not much has happened since you left. The dishwasher broke again. I think I’ll have to convince Phil it’s time for a new one, whaddya think? How’s your new apartment? Are you studying hard? Meet any cute boys? We miss you!

Love,

Mom


 

Leave it to Renee. As much as she sometimes seemed to understand me, there was still this tiny part of her that often manifested itself in e-mail closings, the part that thought that getting over Edward was just the simple matter of finding another boy to fall in love with. After all, I had only been seventeen.

I sighed, thinking back to my attempts to date during undergrad. There had been Enrique, a boy from my biochemistry lab. We’d heated up quite a bit under the microscope, but in the end it had fizzled…the first time we made out in the dark laboratory while running a four-hour experiment, his hands reminded me a little too much of the last hands to touch me that way and I hyperventilated. He rushed to the blue-light campus phone for assistance, and we broke up the following week.

Derek, the one who’d followed after, had been wonderful, in his own way. He was patient and slow, and he seemed to get that losing a boyfriend the way I had wasn’t something you could just up and forget about one day. We’d actually dated for almost half a year, which, to me seemed like a world record. And it was—Edward and I had dated for six months almost exactly before that fateful birthday party. I had realized this abruptly the evening Derek and I had gone out for a fancy dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and promptly burst into hysterical tears in the middle of the restaurant. He was understanding, but as always he was confused. And rightly so—my story didn’t make much sense. I had dated a guy for six months as a junior in high school, and on my eighteenth birthday, his family had moved to Los Angele to separate us, and six months later he had been driven to kill himself. Never mind that telling anyone I had seen it happen brought up way too many questions to which I didn’t have good answers.  For that reason, in the end, I couldn’t manage to be with Derek. There was simply too much we didn’t have in common; too many things I couldn’t tell him.

And that was where Carlisle came in.

It seemed like every time I closed my eyes I could see the cold sneer that had crossed his face when we’d run into each other in the hallway outside the auditorium. I hadn’t spent much time with Carlisle over the course of that one summer—infatuation with a boy will do that, even if you are at his home nonstop—but everything I remembered about my boyfriend’s father was his gentleness. His easygoing smile, the way he seemed to worry just the right amount about what Edward was up to. He had invited me freely into his office, whenever I cared to be there—to look at his artwork, to browse the centuries-old books he kept there. When he hadn’t been working, which to be honest hadn’t been often, he had spent much of his time with Esme. There had been something wonderfully reassuring in the way one could find them together on the one-person chaise in the living room, her head on his shoulder as they both lay there, reading. I would watch them sometimes, at the way Carlisle would smile as he stroked his fingers through Esme’s hair, and wonder if Edward would look that blissful after eighty years.

I had never seen Carlisle angry. Not once.

Could it really be because of me?

My mother’s email glowed at me from the screen, reminding me why I had opened my laptop in the first place. Knowing Renee’s impatience, I quickly hit reply and tapped off a quick message:

 


Isabella to Renee

Hi Mom,

First days are going well. Bought my books. Apartment is nice—furniture is sort of old, though. The grocery store isn’t far, which is nice. No boys. Talk to you soon.

Love,

Bella.


 

A little green message popped up to let me know that my message had been sent, and I opened a new tab and pulled up the university directory. If Carlisle was really here, he shouldn’t be that difficult to find, right? I clicked in the little box and typed in Carlisle Cullen.

0 Match(es) Found

answered the computer.

Well, that made sense. Given what his friend had called him, I hadn’t very much expected him to be using “Carlisle” anyway.

William Cullen. I tried.

Still nothing.

I spent the next forty minutes trying everything I could think of. William Carlisle. Carlisle William. Carlisle Williams. Then I repeated them all again, just in case something would appear. There was no result.

Sighing, I lay my head on the cool desktop, but was startled back up almost at once when a little chime indicated an incoming mail. I groaned. Leave it to Renee. What had I said, I wondered, that could possibly require further clarification? I was already reaching for my cell phone to call her and assure her that really, the first forty-eight hours of medical school had gone swimmingly when I actually looked at the screen and nearly choked.

There was one new e-mail. But it wasn’t from Renee.

Edward, William John. (no subject)

I choked.

William Edward.

It made perfect sense. Well, except for the William part. But I could ask him about that later. My heart racing, I clicked on the message.

 


William John Edward to me

Dear Isabella,

I wanted to apologize for my gruff demeanor yesterday, but I felt it might be better for us both if others thought I did not know you.

I regret intensely that circumstances have thrown us together, for it has always been my wish that you be able to live without interference from our family. I am deeply sorry that you were drawn into our affairs to begin with, and I do not wish to further burden you with my presence.

I will submit my request for disenrollment at once, and I wish you the utmost success in your years here.

Sincerely,

Carlisle

sent from my iPhone


 

“No!”

He couldn’t do that to me.

Request for disenrollment? Was he crazy?

My breath was starting to come fast again, and before I had time to calm myself, I was wheezing.

“God damn it,” I heard myself say. Were they all this insane? I had always chalked Edward’s behavior down to Edward—Carlisle couldn’t possibly believe he was some kind of threat to me, could he? He could spend hours in an operating room literally up to his elbows in human blood. He wasn’t going to suddenly snap and bite me.

I forced myself to breathe more slowly; in through the nose and out through the mouth. It sounded funny, animalistic, even. But my heartbeat slowed, and I became able to think more clearly. Pinpoint what is making you upset, my therapist had always said. What is the real fear?

The real fear was losing the truth. Seeing Carlisle had made it real again, even for just a minute. Although I had every evidence that my experience had been genuine—the dent in the side of my old truck; the saved emails from Alice; the stamp in my passport from L’immigrazione italiana. But over the years, it had faded. Alice’s email address was disconnected; Jacob Black became just another one of those kids from Forks who posted on my Facebook wall on my birthday. His own profile listed him as “In a Relationship” with some pretty Native girl I’d never heard of.

It was hard to force myself to remember. And it was hard to remind myself that it had all been real.

Carlisle made it real. Seeing him sitting there, so obviously taking up space in the world…he was real. My vampires existed, and even without Edward, they still were around.

I needed him to make it real again.

I clicked “reply.”

 


Isabella to William

 

Carlisle, please. I’m sorry I shocked you. But please don’t go. Please. Can we at least talk?


 

The reply was instantaneous. I imagined him typing at what had to be a ridiculous speed, out of sight of human eyes.

 


William John Edward to me

I’m afraid that wouldn’t be prudent.

sent from my iPhone


 

Wouldn’t be prudent?  What on earth was that supposed to mean? I clicked reply again and started typing without thinking.

 


Isabella to William

Please.

I need to see you. I need to know you’re real. I know it’s silly, that I should be able to handle all this on my own. And I have been. I got here. A lot has happened since I saw you last. But the thing is, I can’t tell anyone what really happened. Everyone thinks I’m just an ordinary teenage psychiatry case, except for Jacob Black and we’ve fallen out of touch. No one knows about you. I’ve kept your secrets. I’ve kept you safe.

Please talk to me.  I’m begging you.

Please.


 

I clicked “send” and stared at the screen. The response was not instantaneous this time. All told, it was probably under a minute and a half, but it felt like eons. Sweat rolled down off my forehead, landing in little splotches on the spiral-bound notebook where I’d been jotting notes. The blue lines blurred.

My email pinged.

 


William John Edward to me

I’m still going to disenroll tomorrow.


 

I almost punched my  laptop, but there was a second line to the message.

 


There’s a coffee shop called Sweetwaters downtown. I’ll be here until I start to lose cloud cover.

Sent from my iPhone


 

At once my stomach jerked. He’d listened. This afternoon. Right now. I could go talk to him right now. I was already reaching to the back of my chair for my purse when a second message came through.

 


And Bella? I make no promises.


 

Well, that was okay. I wouldn’t make him any promises either. I had made Edward a whole slew of promises, and a fat lot of good those had done.

Grabbing my keys, I headed out the door.

~||x||~

One of the most astounding things about Ann Arbor was its ability to support a coffee shop approximately every hundred yards. Starbucks was here, of course, with three locations within a short walk of the middle of campus, but there were at least three other chains plus a few independent shops, and any given shop often operated within a block of another. They were little havens of pseudo-studying—like every shop I had been into so far, Sweetwaters was full of people who appeared to be students, hunched over laptops, a handful with books open beside them, although it was a bit early for anyone but the most studious to be buried in their schoolwork.

I didn’t see him at first. I went to order a mocha, thinking that perhaps I had somehow beaten him here, when a deep voice from behind me ordered “another of what she ordered” and a hand knocked my proffered debit card out of the way. I spun and gasped.

Like all of them, Carlisle’s countenance was so perfect it hurt. I’d only caught a short glimpse of it yesterday, and all I’d been able to register at that moment had been the flicker of annoyance across his face. Yet his face was also achingly familiar, and my heart sped at once to see this man I really hadn’t laid eyes on in seven years. I stared at him as the boy behind the counter swiped his card and handed a receipt back to him, and I realized at once why I hadn’t seen him among the other patrons.

His hair was still untidy, twisting around the frames of the sunglasses he’d shoved up onto his head. He’d traded the hoodie for an undershirt and a navy blue polo, through the collar of which peeked a beaded choker.  The jeans had been replaced by loose-fitting cargo shorts, and he’d bottomed off the outfit with a pair of worn-looking tan flip-flops. He looked, for all intents and purposes, exactly like every other twenty-something guy sitting around.

I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. In the summer I’d been with Edward, I had seen his father without a tie maybe four times. Well, no, scratch that—I’d witnessed a few family baseball games. But even then, his dress had been oddly serious: Carlisle had an old-fashioned striped baseball jersey that was his preferred attire for the games. Now he stood before me sans tie and button-down shirt, looking every bit the part of the quintessential American frat boy.

“Something’s funny?” He handed me my mocha and gestured toward a table not far from the counter. I was struck immediately by how utterly normal his table looked. His backpack occupied one chair, it was unzipped and I could see two thick medical textbooks inside. On the table lay a new-looking MacBook and an iPhone. There was already a coffee cup next to the laptop, and a plate containing the shredded remains of a cranberry muffin.

Carlisle was a lot better at the acting human thing, I realized at once. I remembered how the Cullen kids would sit at their lunch table every day, before utterly untouched trays of food. Now that I thought back on it, why no one had ever questioned them about this was absurd.

I slung my purse over the back of the chair opposite his and sat down. We sat in silence a long time. I sipped my mocha, and he lifted his to his lips periodically between fiddling with his iPhone.

“It’s good to see you,” I said finally.

He grunted.

“It’s polite to say it’s good to see me, too.”

“I generally prefer honesty to politeness.” He didn’t look up.

I gulped. Somehow, I had imagined this going very differently. I figured I would greet him, and he would smile, and we would hug, and then we’d talk about everything I’d done in the seven years since we’d last seen each other. Yesterday, I had written off his expression as shock and surprise, but now I wasn’t so sure.

Looking up from the phone, he announced, “I have about twenty minutes; thirty if I push it, but I’m trying not to be unsafe. Nor do I want to be stuck here until dusk.” He gestured across the table. “You wanted to talk to me. Start talking.”

Rude, my mind told me, and surprised, I at once threw the thought out. This was Edward’s creator; the man who had stood in the role of his father for over eighty years. He was loving, caring, always gentle.

Carlisle wasn’t rude.

“What…what are you doing here?” I stammered.

“I’m enrolled in medical school. Just like you. Next?”

“The others?”

He shrugged, leaning back in his chair. “Alice and Jasper are living in Saskatchewan. He’s an adjunct professor at the university there, and she’s volunteering for a non-profit that sells clothing made in third-world countries. Rosalie and Emmett were in Siberia the last time I checked but that was about a year ago.”

“So it’s just you and Esme.”

His gulp was audible, and it took him a full two seconds to answer me. When he did his voice was low and slow.

“Esme is in Alaska.”

I frowned. “She’s visiting Tanya?”

“I have no idea. I don’t—” He breathed out slowly, through his nose, the way my psychiatrist had taught me. Then he took another “sip” of his mocha and said simply, “We are no longer speaking.”

“I’m sorry?”

“You heard me. And please don’t make me say it again.”

The world shifted. Edward’s and my whole relationship had been defined by the presence of these other three couples. Alice and Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett, yes, but at the core were Esme and Carlisle. The one who had turned Edward and the woman who matched him so perfectly. The leaders of that coven, but so much more than that. They were a true mother and father to the other five; Edward even called Esme “Mom” more often than not.

And they weren’t speaking?

“How long?” was all I could manage.

Carlisle’s eyes squeezed shut. He would know, I realized, down to the minute. Some part of that expanse of memory and processing power that was his vampire brain had been keeping track of every second of the last seven years. His left hand closed into a fist and then relaxed open again, and as my eyes went to it, I realized that the yellow gold ring which had always been there was gone.

“Six years,” he said, not opening his eyes.

Six years. Almost the entire time we’d been apart.

“Oh, Carlisle,” I breathed. I reached across the table for his hand, but when I made contact, he jerked it backward as though I’d hurt him.

“Will,” he corrected me. “It’s Will now.”

My heart pounded. Right. I took a deep  breath. In some ways, it was easier. Carlisle Cullen was the man who had been married to Esme, the gentle man who had invited me into his study whenever I pleased, who had doted on his son. This other man with his surly demeanor and disaffected tone, the one who would look me in the eye and claim not to know me—this guy was Will Edward.
And that he’d changed into this man…well, that was my fault entirely.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered.

“You should be,” he snapped.

There was a resounding smack as his hand clapped over his mouth. His eyes flew wide open, and my jaw dropped as tears sprang to my eyes.

Carlisle’s hand did find mine, and I shivered as he grasped it. It was cool to the touch—dead, and yet so very much alive as it interlaced its fingers with my own.

He held my hand a moment until I was able to stem the flow of the tears. When I did, he pulled his hand away, and began carefully winding the white earbuds around his phone. He didn’t meet my eyes as he slipped the phone into the front pocket of his pack.

“That was a hideous thing of me to say. I’m sorry.” He looked at his watch. “I need to go, before”—he glanced at the patrons sitting within earshot—“Well, you know why.” He slid the laptop back into the front pocket of his pack and slung the bag over one shoulder as he stood.

It took me several seconds to regain my voice, and when I did, it was shaking. “Are you leaving, leaving?”

He glanced over his shoulder at the counter, as though somehow the drinks menu held the answer to this question. When he turned back to me, his jaw was tense and his brow furrowed.

“I will wait,” he answered slowly. “I won’t make a decision yet. It’s not as though it will be a problem if I don’t get my tuition back.”

I shook my head. The tears still threatened.

“I am sorry,” I answered. “I’m shocked. It’s just that you and Esme—you were always—you and she are—” Soulmates. Partners. Forever.

His eyes squeezed closed once more. When they opened again, the expression that flickered across his face was no longer anger.

It was sorrow.

Divorced, Isabella,” he whispered. “The word you’re looking for is ‘divorced.’”

And then he was gone, his plate and his cup disappearing with him, his body weaving gracefully through the crowded store.

Forward
Back

§ 19 Responses to Chapter 2"

  • jenny says:

    Woah dude.
    Okay the choker made me laugh too. Carlisle– I MEAN WILL– is apparently dressing himself these days by ordering complete esembles from a page of the A & F catalogue. Edward’s selfishness destroyed the entire family. See? I always thought so when he talked about it. I mean, you have to consider those things, right? Bless poor Will.
    Now. I should like you to write more of this at once. Thank you.

    • giselle says:

      I’ll do my best! And Bella will accuse him of the A & F thing later…it just didn’t fit in this chapter. :)

  • Tina says:

    So much tension between them. It’s sad. And his closing words…divorced. sigh it’s so hard to imagine Carlisle without Esme, but the death of a child can do horrible things to people (or vampires).

    Bella could never be the same after what she saw. Of course, Carlisle will see that she needs his presence.

    I’ll be looking for you, pushing you to work on this. :)

    • giselle says:

      Well, you know it was the quest to write an AU where it really made sense that C and Es broke up that brought this fic to light. :)

      Push all you want.

  • verseseven says:

    SO CRUEL. Update more often. Please.

    I wonder what Carlisle is thinking. I feel like he has made a false assumption about Bella and that is the cause of his attitude.

    The emails gutted me….

    I’m still going to disenroll tomorrow.

    and

    And Bella? I make no promises.

    Carlisle seems to be without feeling and yet feeling so much.

    Finally, I like that Carlisle’s tone and language in the emails is appropriate for his personality and background. He would never be all “Yo, what’s up gurrrl?”

    • giselle says:

      “Carlisle seems to be without feeling and yet feeling so much.”

      The perfect summation of where he is right now. :)

      And I’ll move this along more quickly. I promise. It’s just been difficult. Thanks for sticking with me!

  • Jill Cohen says:

    I didn’t see the new chapter was out until now!!!!
    I’m gutted. I feel so sorry for the Cullens, but I really didn’t see it happening any other way. Edward dying in that situation is not something they could all get past and stay together. Carlisle and Esme would respond as most parents do when faced with the death of a child. (and if we’re taking Ithaca as what happened to them during New Moon, Carlisle was already having angry feelings towards Esme because she sugested Edward leave.) Edward dying would have only intensified those feelings. I suspect Carlisle became literaly impossible to live with, that with him being angry at everyone else but only taking it out on himself. He would certainly blame Rosalie in part, but his gentle and kind nature would mak him turn that blame on himself. That coupled with everyone else’s mourning feelings towards Edward would make the Cullen household a tense one indeed. No wonder they split.
    Of course, once alone and after years pointing his anger to himself I’m not surprised Carlisle started pointing it somewhere else. I suspect Bella is not the only one he’s short with and rude to now days.
    Despite all that I dont think Carlisle could leave the university now even if he wanted to. After 6 years separated from his wife and probably even longer from his other “children”, I think Carlisle needs to spend time with Bella just as much as she needs to spend time with him. His whole life has changed and still he’s not even considering letting go of Edward, which we can tell because he kept Edwards name. I bet he has kept all of edward’s stuff, even if most in storage like his piano and such. I think he just needs a couple of days to come to terms with having contact with such a big part of Edwards life (at least the last year of it) and that he’ll benefit from talking to Bella.
    I’m so glad you updated and I really look forward to reading this story over the summer.
    Question: are we going to see any of the other Cullens in this story? Will Bella manage to bring them back together, at least in small part? Unless they hate her too? Not a stretch for Rosalie, but Alice? I dont think Alice would be projecting all her anger towards Bella like Carlisle is doing.
    Anyway, I love this story already and I hope you dont make us wait so long for the next part.
    PS- I want to slap Renee sometimes.

  • foufymaus says:

    Wow, Carlisle is holding on to so much anger. That was painful to read. How she could completely compare the sweet gentle man to the angry disinterested ‘rude’ person she met in the coffee shop. The fact that the loss of a child could and has torn apart a family in many different ways. Ouch.

    Thanks for the update.

  • Malianani says:

    Oh, this chapter! Where do I begin? I’ll start with two main themes I’ve noticed and then conclude with a few odds and ends that caught my attention.

    First, you’ve skillfully constructed Carlisle as a man who is hiding within his pain. I’ve noticed in your writing that, often, when Carlisle finds himself facing great emotional pain, he runs away (either figuratively, literally, or both). Now, here he is, facing perhaps the greatest pain of his existence in the loss of Edward, and I see that he has run away in several ways. First, he has disengaged himself from his family (at least physically), he’s moved to a separate part of the country, and he’s changed his name.

    Yet, with all these changes, you skillfully reveal that Carlisle has not entirely become another person–he’s just hiding. And peeks out from the persona of “William” from time to time throughout the chapter to remind us that Carlisle is still there, waiting (and perhaps, in his own way, crying out) to be helped. Of course, the one person who can help him is the one person he’s projected so much of his anger onto–Bella.
    So there is some tension, there.

    I enjoyed all the ways Carlisle “peeks” out through the persona/shield of William.

    He slaps Bella’s debit card out of the way, but he still pays for her drink. (By the way, the slapping of the debit card was my favorite image from this chapter!)

    He speaks coolly to her on email, but he still responds to her messages. Of course, it must be noted that it was *he* who first reached out to her via email. He was brusque (like “William” tends to be) but he makes the effort to connect (that’s Carlisle talking). “William” could have just disappeared and have done with it. But Carlisle could never do that! Thank goodness for that! :)

    He refers to Bella most of the time very formally as “Isabella,” (very “William” of him), but once he addresses her as “Bella” (which is what Carlisle would call her).

    He’s generally rude to hear at the coffee shop (William), but he does eventually answer her earnest questions about what happened to the family and where they are now (or, more importantly, where they *aren’t*).

    He pulls away from her hand when she reaches out to him in sympathy when she learns about Esme, and he releases his anger, admitting that she “should be” sorry for what happened to Edward. (He absolutely blames her at this point, which I think is a projection of his own personal feelings of guilt and failure.) But as he sees how he’s hurt her, Carlisle, that most empathetic of men, is taken aback, and immediately reaches out to comfort her.

    His response to Bella’s inquiry about Esme is intense. I could almost palpably feel how he struggled to reign in his emotions. Bella’s tapped into something strong there–a current of grief that runs deep within him and, while I’m sure his separation from Esme plays a large role in that grief, I expect it is only one tributary of a wider river of pain.

    I like how Carlisle exists even within the names he’s chosen to make up his persona. First, the INFJ in me recognizes a kindred spirit in Carlisle–hehe–he chooses his name carefully and places great symbolic and sentimental value on those names. William, of course, was his father’s name, and it is–significantly–also the name his father made it a point to call Carlisle. It seems a little ironic to me that Carlisle must have felt, in his human life, that he was living a bit of a persona in the presence of his father (the good sexton son, who did was dad wanted to a large degree–even while gritting his teeth in frustration half the time). Then there is a nod to Esme in calling himself “John,”–that was the name of her dead son, yes? The name Edward anchors the whole symbolic collection. His name feels to me, almost like an anchor. . .but not necessarily one of stability. Rather, it feels more like a dead weight that Carlisle is strapped to through grief. In a way, all the names are connected to grief and loss in one way or another. I see “William” as reflecting the loss of his human life, and “John” reflects Esme’s grief in losing her child, and now Edward–another lost child (and so much more).

    Bella’s comment that Esme and Carlisle are at the core of the family, “the leaders of the coven,” caused my eyebrows to raise a little bit. I’ve always had the impression that the true central pair of the coven were Carlisle and Edward. Esme means a lot to the stability of the family, but Edward and Carlisle were its central force. Without Edward, I imagine Carlisle’s world would be shaken to its foundation, and it would be hard for him to move past the loss. I have a sneaking feeling that Esme might have been the one who suggested they separate. How could she live with him when he won’t let go? He has other family members who love him. Or, even more, when he won’t fully acknowledge that he’s not the *only* one who suffered after Edward’s death?

    Finally, several random things that struck me as I read.

    I love how you include the detail of “sent from my iPhone” at the end of Carlisle’s messages. That struck me as somewhat humorous for some reason (and I loved it!). Here’s this important and tense conversation going on and then “sent from my iPhone” (which is a total advertising pitch) punctuates it in a kind of absurd, humorous way.

    I love how Carlisle’s hair is “still untidy”. It is such a fabulous symbolic reference to his state of mind/emotions.

    And finally. Carlisle wearing a beaded choker? Grrowl!! :)

    I cannot wait for the next chapter. You have me totally hooked!

  • @maruxf says:

    Oh dear lord! I’m sitting here at work bawling my eyes out. I need to read this one more time and process the sheer awesomeness of your writing in “One day”

    I need more of this story. It is amazing. Please do continue.

  • RobinVanDam says:

    I’m sorry, I can’t comment Malianani said it all and…and…I can’t stop crying. It’s the anger I posted on chapter 1 all over again. Honestly, I’m so effected…totally beside myself. Maybe later. Gotta go.

  • StormDragonfly says:

    More attire commentary- the choker! It threw me so much I just couldn’t picture it. The flip-flops, though. Wonderful touch! I’ve seen college boys wear next to nothing while there was snow on the ground.

    I noticed the Abercrombie and Fitch comment, and I wondered if you heard the same NPR show I did – they refer to the Twilight vampires as A&F models.

    M really did say it all.

  • StormDragonfly says:

    Oh no, wait. I wanted to note the decimating of the cranberry muffin. I love that Carlisle knows how to blend better than any of the Cullens. It makes sense, given his years of practice at it. And, as I said on Twitter earlier today, I love the little jabs at canon ridiculousness you sneak in. I just didn’t know you did it in your writing, too. Awesome. :)

  • LJ Summers says:

    This just killed me.
    I love your portrayal of Carlisle’s playacting, here. The flip-flops, (bare legs?), casual attire. He has humanity and its normalcies down like no other immortal, I’m guessing.

    Nice touch on the muffin. Very smooth.

    His snap at Bella was perfect and his immediate !!! afterward brilliant, too. Because for all his perfection, Carlisle is still human.

  • Lila says:

    Oh, wow. I didn’t see divorced coming, but I agree with LJ Summers… I found myself thinking that clothes really do make the man… or the student.

  • EdwardsMate4ever says:

    Wow, this was such a brutal chapter. I love hat Carlisle is using his father’s name…his current demeanor reminds me of William in SB. I hope that he will continue to stay on at school and keep in ouch with Bella. I have a feeling that they need each other to have an hope of healing.

    • giselle says:

      Interesting. I hadn’t thought of him being a lot like William in SB, but I think you’re right. Perhaps I did that without thinking… something new to explore!

  • Jenny says:

    I find something new to attend to upon every reading. This crusty character is the detached physician battling flu in 1918 on every available front in Chicago. He turns his back on all yet ample advances of friendship. One wonders how many times over the centuries he was so enveloped in the smothering cloak of his loneliness that he teetered on the brink of losing his light forever.

  • David says:

    I didn’t know what Twilight was until I saw it all over Comic Con the year before the movie came out. My girnirfeld kept telling me to read the book. I finally did the couple of days before the movie came out. I still don’t understand the people who were drawn to read the book after seeing the movie. The first movie was rubbish. I, too, was drawn to the books for some reason. It may have been Bella’s insecurities and the knowledge that so many girls deal with such thoughts regularly. But that didn’t stop me from being irritated by Bella or from seeing Edward’s controlling and stalking ways. I also found Jacob too hot headed.This was a great argument you have made. I am intrigued with the idea that it was Bella’s silence that drew Edward in. It could very well be so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>