Chapter 7

I remembered hearing my classmates complain of hangovers. The night after a big party, or after a big football win, or after finals, or really, just on any random Tuesday, someone would be describing the incredible bender they’d gone on the night before and talking about how they couldn’t think straight the following day. There were a lot of “I’m sick” emails sent to professors.

Not drinking probably had a lot to do with my 4.0, now that I thought about it. I’d never experienced a hangover, and I’d never missed anything important because of one.

So when I awoke in my bedroom the morning after Kelsey and Dan’s party and my head wasn’t throbbing and my throat wasn’t dry and basically, I didn’t feel at all like I’d been run over by a truck, I was surprised, to say the least.

In fact, the only part of me that hurt at all was the crook of my right arm.

I swung myself out of bed. I was still wearing the jeans and sweater I’d been wearing the night before, and my shoes sat neatly at the foot of my bed.

I squeezed my eyes closed. I’d had, what, five or six beers last night? I remembered Carlisle suggesting that we leave. Making a big deal out of a sandwich, and then as we were leaving—ah, crap.

Had I really told everyone that Carlisle was a vampire?

After that was a little fuzzy. I remembered Carlisle’s arm around my waist, and falling once or twice on the stairs. I blamed it on the ice.

I would email him to thank him. He wasn’t a douchebag, no matter what my friends thought. Even though I couldn’t really explain exactly what had happened and why it was that Carlisle had been the one who’d wound up taking me home.

Not to mention—why had he insisted on bringing me home anyway? Out of some sort of obligation to me, what with my having once dated Edward? Out of the same stupid impulse that Edward always had to save me from myself?

Maybe I wouldn’t email him, after all.

I started to lift my sweater over my head. A shower would feel nice. Stepping out of my bedroom, I rounded the corner…and screamed.

Carlisle was sitting on my couch, reading Little Women. There was a small pile of books sitting next to him, all classics. His feet were bare…and so was his chest.

He looked up calmly. “Good morning to you, also.”

“Oh my god!” I yanked my sweater back down over my abdomen and started furiously combing my fingers through my hair. “What are you doing here? And why don’t you have clothes on?”

He gave me an exasperated look. “It is perfectly socially acceptable for a male to go without a shirt.”

“Not in my apartment! It is not socially acceptable for me to see your nipples at”—I looked at my wrist.

“Seven thirty-nine,” Carlisle supplied. “I took your watch off; thought it might be uncomfortable.”

So my watch and my shoes. I guess that made sense, given how prudish Edward had been.

“It’s not socially acceptable for me to see your nipples at seven-thirty in the morning. In fact, you are my dead boyfriend’s father. I really shouldn’t see your nipples ever.”

He winced when I referred to Edward.

But he only nodded toward the bathroom in answer. “I would gladly have remained shirted, Isabella, as it isn’t exactly my desire to wander around your home anything less than fully dressed. However, as it so happens, I found that I needed to clean vomit out of the shirt I was wearing last night, and you don’t have t-shirts that would fit me nor did I want to go rummaging around in your drawers. And so here I am shirtless in your apartment, for which I sincerely apologize.”

Vomit?

Now that he mentioned it…

I took a step backward. “Um…did I throw up on you?”

“You only hit me once. Thank you for keeping a bucket under the bathroom sink. It came in handy.”

I stared. I didn’t remember that part at all.

“Eventually you fell asleep,” he offered.

“Have you been here all night?”

He nodded. “I didn’t want to invade your privacy, so I took off your shoes and then sat out here.” Standing, he began to collect the books.  “Edward never told me you had such good taste in literature. It’s been awhile since I’ve read the Bronte sisters especially.”

“You don’t need to do that,” I told him, and he looked up. Unconsciously, I rubbed my arm.

“Is the site feeling okay?”

I looked down at my arm, then slowly back up at him.

“What do you mean, ‘site?’”

He looked away quickly. I inspected my elbow more closely. It was almost imperceptible, but there was the tiniest red welt there, like a pinprick.

I turned back to him. He winced ever so slightly.

“Carlisle? What did you do?”

“You were very drunk and I was concerned about alcohol poisoning,” he answered quickly. “I didn’t think it was likely that you regularly drank that much or even that you’d ever had that much to drink ever before.”

Well, he was right about that part.

“What did you do?”

He gestured to my arm. “After I got you into bed—again, very glad you had that bucket—I ran to the hospital and stole a saline kit.”

“You WHAT?”

“How are you feeling this morning?”

I recognized the tone. It was the same tone he’d used the first time we’d met, when I had been sitting on a gurney in the Forks Community Hospital ER and he’d been checking my pupillary response with a pen light.

“Oh, no you do not get to go all doctor on me. I’m not your patient. We went to a party together. Carlisle, did you stick me with an IV?”

He looked away.

He had. I rubbed the inside of my elbow. Sure enough, it was tender; as though I’d spent the whole night with a needle in my vein.

“You have to be kidding me. Watching me sleep is invasive, but sticking me with a needle without my consent is just fine?”

“Isabella, you know as well as I do that there are medical exceptions to consent. I’m a physician.”

“And at the moment, not one who’s licensed. Or did you forget about this whole Will Edward charade you’re on?”

He scowled. “You were in danger.”

“This was not emergency surgery! I was just drunk!” I stormed across the room, throwing my hands into the air. This had the effect of lifting my sweater up toward my face. He was right; I could smell a little bit of puke. How much had I thrown up, I wondered. I didn’t remember having done it.

I stopped stomping.

“Why did you even bring me home,” I muttered. “Seriously. I was covering for you, and you go and ruin my night.”

“About that,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. “If you ever do that again, so help me God…”

And now we were back to Carlisle, the parent. Well, two could play this game. I crossed my arms over my chest, too.

“You do not get to dictate that.”

“I can tell you how I’d prefer you to help me. And what is not actually helping.”

I threw my hands up. “Carlisle, you stuck me with an IV! And you’re upset that I helped you by drinking a couple of beers?”

For a second he looked stricken, but then his face dropped into a scowl. “That’s completely different.”

“How so?”

His jaw flexed, but he didn’t answer.

“I thought so. And why did you even bring me back, anyway? I’m sure Nabil or Kelsey would’ve handled me just fine. Or I would’ve just stayed there and sobered up.”

The answer was immediate. “I didn’t want Nabil bringing you home.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Bella, everyone knows that when a young man brings home an inebriated woman, he wants only one thing. I didn’t want everyone to think you got drunk and had intercourse with him.”

Did I hear that correctly? More to the point, had he heard that correctly?

“Right,” I answered slowly. “Because obviously the solution was to bring me home so that everyone will think I got drunk and had intercourse with you.”

He looked as though I’d slapped him.

“You seriously didn’t think of that.”

“I’m three hundred sixty-eight.”

“And I’m the only person who knows that. To everyone else you’re the hottie med student that just about any girl would fall head over heels for. I can’t exactly tell everyone that I’m not interested in you because you’re my boyfriend’s dad.”

He went all pensive again.

“Speaking of not having sex with you, would you go put your shirt on?”

A tight black t-shirt covered his chest before I actually saw him nod.

I blinked.

“Still damp,” he said. “But serviceable.”

“Right. Um…” He’d caught me off guard by moving at full speed. “I’m fine. You should go.”

“Yes, I think I should.” He had his other shirt slung over his arm. He looked out the window. “My car is still at Kelsey’s.”

“If she sees you, you did not spend the night here.”

He rolled his eyes. It was an expression I was so completely used to seeing on Edward’s face, but to see it on Carlisle’s was nothing short of comical.

“Remind me not to help you in the future,” he said.

“I could really say the same.” I closed my eyes, trying to remember the previous night. At once my mind flashed to a concerned face, and a perfectly plain sandwich that I had a vague memory of having sung praises of…

Without thinking, I walked to the window. I didn’t see any cars I recognized besides my own.

“What happened to Nabil?”

A dark expression passed over Carlisle’s face for the briefest second, but his features at once relaxed into the solemn, but careful expression.

“He inquired after you when he came for his car.”

And if he’d inquired after me, and Carlisle had been here…

“Please tell me you didn’t answer the door.”

Another Edward eye-roll. “Isabella, you drank so much that you passed out on your bed. He was concerned. So was I.”

“What did you tell him?”

“That you were asleep and that I was staying to sit with you.”

Oh, perfect. So now everyone knew that Carlisle had spent the night in my apartment.

“Carlisle! Are you actively trying to ruin my life?”

He looked shocked. “What?”

“You told Nabil that you were going to spend the night with me!”

“Yes.”

“And that I was passed out!”

“I said you were asleep.”

“Which, in drunk-friend parlance, means I was passed out!”

He looked a little stunned.

“Let me get this straight. You brought me home so that someone else wouldn’t sleep with me, have managed to convince my friends that maybe you did sleep with me, and that if you did do that, I was all but passed out when we did it—”

He winced.

“—and then you stuck me with an IV and spent the rest of the night in my apartment reading without your shirt on.”

Raising an index finger, he said, “Point of order; you vomited on my shirt.”

I closed my eyes. “You need to get out of my apartment.”

“I had planned to,” he said. “When you woke up, and I could ascertain that you were all right, I had planned to leave. So I’ll do that.” He shrugged, and went to my coat closet.

He’d hung up his coat? Mine, too, I saw, as he opened the closet door. In fact, everything in my living room looked a little neater than it had the night before—even the dishes were put away.

“Look,” I said, my voice a little softer. “It’s just that—you’re really good at acting human. You’re ten times better at it than Edward ever was. You do it naturally. All the eating, and the drinking, and the moving at human speeds”—I gestured to his shirt—”except for in private.”

I thought the corners of his mouth turned up ever so slightly.

“But the thing is, you really, really suck at actually being human. And you don’t have to be a human to be human.”

He frowned and folded his arms across his chest. “I’m not sure I follow.”

“Well, like this.” I took his hand, which felt cold and clammy against mine. He allowed himself to be pulled into the bathroom.

I knelt in front of the toilet. “This is what people do when they need to puke,” I told him. “And a good friend doesn’t stick them with an IV.” I reached from my temple backwards, and gathered my hair into my fist.

“This is what a friend does for a friend,” I said. “When a friend is puking up beer, you hold their hair. You don’t stick them with an IV, or tell their friends they’re passed out in the bedroom, or prevent a guy from calling them, or whatever the hell else it is you’ve done in my apartment in the last seven hours. Next time, what you do is, you help me to the john, and then you hold my hair.”

His eyes narrowed. “There will not be a next time.”

“No, there won’t be.” I stood up. “Because if you keep coming out with my friends—and they seem to like you, for some reason I don’t understand—you’re going to have to start figuring more stuff out on your own.”

He blinked.

“You can go. I have to call Nabil and Kelsey and explain.”

He turned around, and there was a sudden flurry of activity near the couch. A second later, my books were all back on my bookshelf—alphabetized, it appeared.

Then he shrugged himself back into his coat, and shoved a hand in his pocket, withdrawing his car keys. When he put his hand on the doorknob, however, he turned.

“Friends hold your hair,” he said. It was sort of a question.

“Friends hold your hair,” I repeated.

There was a long pause while he stood there, his brow furrowed. Then he looked back at me.

“Does that mean we’re friends?”

He might as well have punched me in the gut. It was such a simple question, but the vulnerability behind those words…

At once, a memory of Edward came to me, from over that first summer, when I was teasing him about his relationship with Carlisle. We were sitting on a rock near our meadow—well, Edward’s meadow, but I’d come to think of it as ours. Gone was a day of him asking me questions then a day of me asking him; but I still had so many to ask.

“It must be crazy, having parents who are so close to you in age,” I commented.

Edward shrugged. “Only Esme is close to me in age. And she’s such a mother—it’s impossible not to feel like she’s your mother.”

He had been right about that. Esme took me under her wing just like I was any other of her children, and for the first time in my life, I’d experienced what it was like to have a mother with two feet firmly on the ground, one who was madly in love with her husband, but also madly in love with her role.

“But Carlisle—”  He’d looked away then, into the sky, and closed his eyes. By then, I knew all about his memory; the way every detail of everything he’d ever experienced as a vampire could be recalled in an instant, and I knew that when he closed his eyes, he was seeing specific moments, times when he and Carlisle had been together; the way their relationship had formed.

“Carlisle is my best friend,” he said simply, when he opened his eyes.

I looked at Carlisle now, at the way his hair hung over his eyes as he stood with his hand on the doorknob. He didn’t look like a father, or a doctor, or any of the things that I should be viewing him as, given that he’d all but bawled me out for drinking and shot me up with saline overnight.

He looked like…just a guy.

He looked like a guy who’d lost his best friend.

“Yes,” I said carefully. “That means we’re friends.”

His eyes flickered up to meet mine, and for a moment, we stared at each other.

Then I pointed to the door. “But that doesn’t mean you can stay.”

He nodded, solemnly, and turned the doorknob, but just before he exited, I saw the tiniest hint of a smile.

~||x||~

I spent the rest of the morning doing damage control.

My phone rang twenty minutes after Carlisle walked out the door.

“Will just came by and got his car” were the first words out of Kelsey’s mouth, before I had a chance to say hello. “Does that mean he spent the night? Bella? What happened? Did you hook up with him?”

So much for clandestine operations.

“I did not sleep with him.” Thinking this might put things very sharply into perspective, I added, “I threw up on him, in fact.”

“Gross. And he stuck around after that?”

“Yes.”

I had always been a terrible liar—Edward was well-practiced, and obviously Carlisle was, also, but the closer I could keep my lies to the truth, the better. Although I was dying to play the, “He’s my dead boyfriend’s father” a.k.a “get out of friends-accusing-you-of-a-hookup free” card, I figured the rest of the story could possibly be evidence enough.

“He stayed to make sure I didn’t get alcohol poisoning.” And shot me up with an IV of saline, but I decided not to mention that part. Although, perhaps he’d had a point—aside from feeling a little groggy, I had none of the “killer hangover” symptoms that I’d heard so much about in undergrad. The extra hydration had been a good thing, it seemed.

“You barfed on him and he stayed to make sure you were okay. That’s um, romantic?”

I shrugged. “I think it was just a sense of duty. Little brother’s ex-girlfriend and all of that.”

“That’s right, I’d forgotten about that.” There was a long pause. “So, seriously? You didn’t see him naked?”

Cue mental images I did not need. Although now that I thought on it…

I’d never seen Carlisle in casual clothing before coming to med school, save the few times I’d seen him in jeans and his old-fashioned baseball jersey. And I hadn’t paid much attention to how his body looked in the clothes I was seeing him in. But the chest I’d glimpsed this morning was even more sculpted than Edward’s had been—which made sense, Carlisle was older and had more time as a human to develop his body. Although they didn’t exactly have lifting gyms in the seventeenth century. How had he gotten so toned? Perhaps from manual labor? Did priest’s kids even do that back then?

“He had his shirt off when I woke up,” I said, and then realizing how that sounded, added quickly, “And he was sitting in the living room reading, so don’t get any ideas.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“What does he look like?”

He looked like a vampire, I thought. Pale, impossibly muscled, perfection.

“He looks good.”

I could almost hear the eyeroll. “Bel-la. Come on. Are you serious? The hottest guy in M-1 insists on taking you home, he spends the night even after you puke on him, you don’t end up doing him—because you are insane, I might add—and all you have to say about his body is that it was ‘good’? You suck at gossip.”

Good. That was really all I had. He didn’t look like Edward, that was for sure.

I realized what I was thinking only when I reached the end of that sentence.

“It was good. That’s all I’ve got.”

Kelsey sighed. “And he didn’t even try anything? You didn’t make out with him? Are you sure you didn’t make out with him? You were pretty drunk.”

“Ew, no.”

“‘Ew?’ What ‘Ew’? I bet he’s a fabulous kisser.”

Edward’s father, Edward’s father, Edward’s father, chanted part of my brain, while the other part tried to figure out how to convey this without disclosing his identity even more.

“That was not on the cards. Nor do I want it to be.”

“Why not? He totally has the hots for you.”

What?

“I beg your pardon?”

“Oh come on, are you that clueless? He spent the whole night looking like someone stabbed him with a fork every time Jon or Nabil so much as spoke to you. You should’ve seen the look on his face when Nabil tried to take you home instead. If it weren’t for the fact that it was so obvious he wanted to do you himself, I would’ve thought he was trying to protect your honor or something. It was really almost cute.”

He had been trying to protect my honor; at least she got that part right. It was just that somehow, a man with three centuries of memories and almost nine decades as a husband still failed to understand the implications of modern coed situations.

“He does not have the hots for me. He’s just…socially challenged.”

As the words left my mouth, I realized how hilariously true they were. I thought back to the first day I’d seen the Cullens, in the cafeteria at Forks High. Rosalie, with her impossible beauty, Emmett’s huge grin and doting smile. Alice, who looked like she could’ve danced on water. Jasper, with his cool, but silent demeanor.

And Edward, with his confused look as he stared across the room at me. What I didn’t know then, but I knew now—that he couldn’t hear me, that I’d upset his entire world with my silent brain.

They were all gorgeous. All perfect. And then Carlisle, the most perfect of them all; the perfect record, the perfect history, the perfect husband, the perfect father.

Except that when presented with a drunk human, he was so flustered he’d stuck me with an I.V.

I started to giggle.

“Bella?”

“Nothing,” I said, but I was laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. It’s just—it’s so true!”

“What’s so true?”

“He’s completely socially clueless. Gorgeous, yes. Perfect. But my god, he doesn’t know how to behave around people.”

“Maybe that’s why he’s such a douchebag?”

Douchebag. That reminded me…

Somewhere, in the haze of the previous night, I did remember Nabil. That he’d gotten me a sandwich, and that he’d helped me sit down, and then that he’d looked like I’d stolen something from him when Carlisle was trying to get me out the door.

“I need to call Nabil.”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line.

“Hotty McHotterson spends the night, and you have to call Nabil?”

“Yes. Hotty McHotterson spent the night, and I need to call Nabil,” I repeated.

Kelsey laughed. “Okay. Okay, Bella. I don’t know what to tell you. Go call Nabil. But please, please for the sake of all of us who are tied down, the next time Will Edward takes you home drunk, will you please fuck him?”

“I’m hanging up now.”

“Okay. But—”

I hit “end.”

~||x||~

“I’m surprised you even bothered to call,” Nabil said when he picked up.

I deserved that, I supposed—even though I hadn’t intended to go home with Carlisle, or to get drunk, or to do any of the things that Nabil seemed to think we’d done.

“We didn’t do anything.”

“You went home with him drunk.”

“There’s a story.” A long story that started sometime in the seventeenth century and ended with me trying to make it look like a man who was over six feet tall was keeping up with his alcohol consumption. And a story that along the way resulted in said man treating me like I was his charge.

“I’m sure there is.”

I didn’t say anything.

“Listen, Bella, I’ve got to go…”

“It’s Sunday.”

“Yes, it’s Sunday. We have classes tomorrow. I have to study. And I don’t need to hear about what you did or did not do last night with The Douchebag.”

So now he was The Douchebag?

“I didn’t do anything last night with The Douchebag.”

“Sure.” The ‘u’ was drawn out.

“I’m serious. I threw up on him. It wasn’t exactly a romantic encounter.”

A long pause.

“You did what?”

“I puked on him. Too much beer.”

There was another long-ish pause, and then I heard laughter.

“Dear god, that is so what he gets…”

At first, I cringed. I didn’t like the idea of Nabil fighting Carlisle over me—especially since Carlisle wasn’t fighting over me, but I couldn’t very well explain the situation—but he was right. I hadn’t asked to be taken home. I hadn’t asked to be put into bed. And I certainly hadn’t asked for an I.V. (even if it had more or less nipped any potential hangover in the bud).

I was trying to keep him under wraps, and he was insisting on behaving like he was my father, and meanwhile ruining any chance I had with any actual guys…

It was, in fact, so what he got.

For reasons I couldn’t quite place, I started to laugh. Imagining a perfect Cullen, with his Adonis-looks and his designer clothes, covered in vomit to the point that he needed to hand wash his shirt—the picture was hysterical.

The next thing I knew, Nabil and I were both laughing on the phone.

“So wait, what did he do?” he asked.

“He washed his shirt in my sink. I got up this morning and he was sitting on my couch waiting for it to dry.” Realizing that I’d just put a weird mental image out there, I quickly added, “He was dying to get home, but I sure don’t have any clothes that would fit him…”

“Hah, no. I’m sure he’d look great in that Mumford t-shirt of yours.”

My Mumford shirt?

The tickets had been a gift from Phil—the band had come to Jacksonville about a year after I’d moved there. That was in the very depth of what I could only term as “Edward,” because “depression” didn’t quite seem to cover it. But I’d allowed myself to be dragged out, and somehow had endured an entire night of what had turned out to be fairly good music. Prior to that night, I’d never spent tons of time with my stepfather without my mother, but it had been oddly fun, in a tiny way.

It was one of the first nights that I had any sense that I might get through all of this.

Phil bought me a shirt afterward, and since I was at the very depth of my not eating, it was pretty miniscule, and probably too small for me now, but every now and then I found myself pulling it on anyway.

And Nabil had noticed it.

“I don’t know what to say that you noticed my Mumford t-shirt.”

“Well.” He coughed. “You look good in it.”

Another long pause.

“Really, I promise. Absolutely nothing happened. Will was a friend of mine from high school—”

“He reminded us of that last night. He really was into LARP?”

I’d forgotten about that save. Well done, Carlisle. “He became less of a nerd in undergrad.”

Nabil guffawed. “So you’re saying he was ugly in high school.”

I couldn’t imagine Carlisle ever having been ugly. Or even remotely normal on the attractiveness scale. Of course, there had been no photography in the seventeenth century, but I wondered if anyone had ever captured his image somewhere as a human.

Realizing I owed Nabil a response, I said, “He was…a high school guy. I don’t know. I was dating his brother; he was very off limits. And still is, let’s be clear about that. Time doesn’t make him not my ex-boyfriend’s older brother.”

“I guess not.” He paused. “So, nothing happened?”

“Nothing happened.”

“Aside from you puking on him, which is pretty great, I’ll have you know.”

“Aside from me puking on him.”

“And he’s off limits.”

I looked around my living room. There was almost no evidence that Carlisle had even been here, save the freshly-alphabetized books.

“He’s off limits.”

“Care to put your money where your mouth is? Or maybe, your mouth where my money is?”

“Huh?”

“Have you heard of Angelo’s?”

“The breakfast place?” It was something of a campus institution; med students and other people who worked on the medical campus wound up there quite a bit.

“That’s the one.”

“Yeah. Of course I know it. Why?”

“Meet me there at noon?”

At noon? My heart jumped into my throat. Was that a date? It was one thing for him to take me to Kelsey’s party—why hadn’t I recognized that for what it was?—but to ask me out to brunch?

“I have a lot of studying to do…” I began, but he cut me off.

“Bella, come on. You left the party we were at with another guy and then he spent the night. You owe me one brunch after that stunt.”

I looked at the clock. It was ten-forty; enough time to grab a shower and then hop on the campus bus to get down closer to the restaurant.

“Okay. Angelo’s at noon.”

I could almost hear him grinning. “See you there.”

After hanging up, I cast a nervous glance around my living room before I lifted my sweater, not wanting to be surprised the way I had been last time. But the room was decidedly free of shirtless vampires, so I continued into the bathroom. It felt good to peel the jeans off, and I turned on the shower and let the bathroom fill with steam. It was only as I turned back toward the sink to brush my teeth that I saw the bucket.

I’d bought a bucket for cleaning—Charlie always had one. Less girly and less expensive than a cleaning caddy, and on rare occasions I actually used it to mop. I stored my cleaning supplies in it and kept it shoved under the bathroom sink.

It was sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor, completely clean. Now that I looked at it, I realized that my shower looked cleaner than it had the day before, too.

“It was a good thing you had that bucket,” I heard Carlisle’s voice say.

So he’d let me puke into a bucket, repeatedly, it seemed, then cleaned it up, cleaned his shirt, washed the puke down the drain, and cleaned any last residue from my shower.

I nudged the bucket with my foot, then stepped under the spray in my freshly-scrubbed shower.

Perhaps I had been hard on him, after all.

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§ 45 Responses to Chapter 7"

  • Musicdaydreams says:

    You know, you’re love for Carlisle always comes through in your stories. I love how you are constantly opening up my eyes to him. The vulnerability he showed when questioning whether Bella considers him a friend was really touching. I’m really enjoying this version of both Carlisle and Bella – it’s just such an interesting dynamic based on all that’s happened to them.

    • giselle says:

      You know, the thing is, the more I write Carlisle, the more I feel he opens up to me, so…maybe we’re just experiencing the same thing. But I love exploring an AU in which he gets to be the confused, lost one. It really is a challenge and fun for me, and I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Lila says:

    I love how you’re not making Bella jump straight into bed with Carlisle… even if that is where this is going. The pain and awkwardness is so real as is the fact that Esme is still alive. In fact I really hope that (for Esme’s sake ) that is NOT where this is going!

    • giselle says:

      I very much enjoy their awkwardness in this, myself. :) And this whole question of Bella, who’s always seen Carlisle one way (and vampires in general!) having to switch her understanding. I like that a lot.

  • Tina says:

    I love the idea of Bella telling Carlisle that he’s good at looking human, but not being human.

    The comparisons to Edward are sad. The thought of Carlisle losing his best friend is heartbreaking. And then he lost his wife and the rest of his family. GAH

    As sad as the background of this story is, I find it highly amusing and fun. In fact, I’m getting whiplash with all the emotional changes. ;)

    Always looking forward to the next chapter.

    • fuzzyltlwingedthing says:

      Yeah, that is a really good observation…. looking but not acting human.

      • giselle says:

        That’s one of the more fun things about this fic…thinking about the things Carlisle would do better than Edward (pretending to be a human/remembering to look like he’s eating) and then the things he’s just never done. That his mind goes first to “the best way to take care of a drunk person is medically.”

        I love playing with things like that.

  • Nichole says:

    Another beautiful chapter. I love the interaction of Carlisle and Bella. The freaking out that Bella does when she has a semi naked Carlisle on her couch is hilarious. Talking about his nipples had me almost spewing my drink out across the counter. The scene about them being friends really choked me up. I loved that vulnerability in him asking about friends. I am looking forward to your next chapter.

    • giselle says:

      Thank you! The nipples thing was not in how I envisioned this scene, but sometimes, the characters speak for themselves and the result is hysterical.

  • Angelycdevil says:

    You already got my immediate responses over Twitter, but I feel like I should write something here too.

    I absolutely LOVE the relationship between Carlisle and Bella in this fic. You write them both better than anyone I’ve ever seen. The one tiny-teeny “problem” I have with this fic is that it might Carlisle x Bella, I don’t know for sure and it’s bugging the hell outta me. I usually tend to stay with Carlisle x Bella fics ’cause it feels like incest to me. But since you write them so well, I’m sticking around (also, I have a theory and I need to know if I’m write).

    I know you’re not going to tell where this story’s headed. I don’t expect you to. I just wanted to tell you that you’re doing a WONDERFUL job with this story, these characters.

    My absolute favorite scenes (though I’m sure you guessed from the tweets): Bella admitting that Carlisle is her friend and the tender moment that came with it, the LMAO-moment with Carlisle “taking care” of Bella, how Bella was describing Carlisle to Kelsey (she seems to have a crush on him *sob* but has enough restraint to hold back).

    Thank you for sharing,
    Nikki

    • giselle says:

      Thank you! And yep, as you know, I name no pairings for this fic. :)

      Besides, I’m just sitting down to pen a date between Bella and Nabil…

      • AngelycDevil says:

        I’m sticking my tongue out at you now like a petulant child.

        I would totally be okay with C/B if Esme was dead or something. But with her alive, this makes ME feel like I cheating on the couple. LOL

        But you won’t say that, so I’ma stop asking. *pout* Thanks again! For imaging, writing, and sharing. xoxo

  • foufymaus says:

    Carlisle Nipples! OMG, seriously, i laughed when i read that.

    What to say, the interaction between Carlisle and Bella is brilliantly written, there’s a new dynamic that they need to work out. Bella still sees him as a father figure but at the same time she’s realizing that wow… Dad looks good. *wink* I think the subtle changing of they’re relationship is just what is needed.

    Realizing that they’re both single adults who have a shared history is a good thing. Understanding that perhaps life does go on even when there is a tragedy ( i still believe he’s alive) is a good thing. The fact that Carlisle is trying to care for her still shows that he isn’t the douchebag that he’s been playing. He’s opening up his heart and his compassion is starting to show again. I think this goes back to him being so closed off he essentially allowed his relationship to the rest of the family to wither away.

    Bella has grown as a person, yet she still has the ability to pull open closed stubborn vampires. LOL As in Twilight she seems to have this nurturing personality that brings out the good from within. She did it with Edward, and now once again with Carlisle. Even when they’re like scaredy cats. Which is understandable because when they’re hearts were relatively intact and they had the trust. What Edward did destroyed that.

    So I think that learning to trust each other emotionally is allowing them to open up to others. *grin* I adored the fact that Carlisle still shows his true caring nature is there. Seriously and IV is sweet if a little creepy weird. haha.

    I’m starting to see a path through their grief. Let’s hope they’re strong enough to continue the path that fate had presented before them. Thanks for the update!

    • giselle says:

      Aww, thanks. Comments like this make me happy because those are the things I’m trying to get across.

      And yes…the IV is sweet. Kind of like how watching her sleep was sweet in its own way, if a little creepy weird. But Bella’s grown up enough that she’s ready to call shenanigans and make it clear that it shouldn’t happen again.

  • Silver Nightingale says:

    Yup. The great thing about this fic is that the events and the characters are presented realistically. Realistic pacing and realistic characterization, it really is such a joy to watch this story unfold.

    I truly look forward to the next chapter. It would be great to see the aftermath. Until then!

    • giselle says:

      Thank you! Especially re: the pacing…what with me being a slow-as-a-snail updater on it, I feel bad sometimes that the pacing doesn’t move faster, but it’s unfolding at the right pace according to how long I expect this to be. Or so I think. :) Glad you’re enjoying it.

  • StormDragonfly says:

    I just love this story. I’ve got nothing more intelligent to say than that.

  • Dicatakadd says:

    I love you…I wanted to scream when I couldn’t find the last email alert for this chapter. Wow…these two have such a complicated relationship. The Carlisle chacters that you write have always been multi dementional and this one is no different, I honestly don’t think he knows what to do with himself at this point in his “life” and now Bella has made things even more difficult. I am heartbroken for him…for the father, husband and friend…

    P.S. Ithca will always be in my heart, if you ever decide to wipe it out please think about sending a copy to a loyal reader.

    • giselle says:

      Aww thanks, and no problem. “He doesn’t know what to do with himself” I think describes Carlisle very accurately in this situation. It’s why AUs are fun…I don’t think of it as changing the character, but rather, dropping him into a situation and trying to figure out how the same guy I always write would respond. It’s fun! And I’m glad (surprised and happy-pleased) that people like the result.

      As to IiG…mosey over to the IiG page here. There are ebooks and PDFs of every finished multi-chapter fic I’ve written. I do everything in my power to make sure that my fics never have to disappear.

  • Sandra says:

    This was funny. And poignant. I loved the vulnerability you gave Carlisle in this chapter, and Bella’s thoughts on that. Well done. She’s right, of course. He is great at playing human, but he doesn’t necessarily understand how to be human. At least not in this age, lol.

    I don’t get a CxB vibe (yet), and since you don’t name pairings, I have some hope left that Edward is not dead, and only prisoner to the Volturi without being able to reach beyond the castle walls. Right?

    Thank you for writing!

  • EdwardsMate4ever says:

    Typical Old School Carlisle, pulling that IV stunt – hilarious. My heart broke in a million pieces soon after that though – Are you friends now? Gaaahhh. I was actually kind of pissed she is going to go out with Nabil. I so very much want her and Carlisle to be together!! (That’s not to say I won’t completely still love this story if that doesn’t happen)

  • Sisterglitch. says:

    “priest’s kids”
    After reading Stregoni Benefici I was a little shocked that Bella used the word “priest’ to describe Carlisle’s father…unless you’re being poetic?
    Modern evangelical Christians call themselves “sons and priests”. Is that how you meant it? Or has Bella pointedly forgotten or misunderstood Carlisle’s background?

    You made me verklempt again with this chapter. When I started this story, the idea of college life culture (sports, drinking, sex) was a HUGE turn-off But these two characters are not really of that world anyway, so I see that the rite-of-passage college atmosphere serves as a marvelous background to their otherness. I have to salute you for that backhanded stroke of brilliance!

    BTW, I don’t get alerts for new chapters on this story. Strange. I get alerts for other things (i.e. Something New to Read).

  • my-thyme says:

    Lovely. Didn’t realize this was in the works until I stumbled here this evening. RL has gotten in the way.

    I so enjoy your writing and don’t even attempt to guess where you are going with anything, I’m just pleased to be allowed along for the ride.

    Thanks!

    • giselle says:

      I’m working on it very, very, slowly. In case that’s not entirely apparent! :) Sigh…life and grad school really ran away with me this September. But I’m still plugging away at it. Glad you’re enjoying the read.

  • dh says:

    Love this story and keep an email alert in my inbox to remind me to check back with it often. I’m hoping this is not something you have abandoned. I agree with foufymaus about not being sure Edward is dead, and I’m also pretty sure Bella wouldn’t be able to hurt Esme by being intimate with Carlisle. Also, Carlisle has to be hurting without his mate at his side (honestly, I’m not sure how he is functioning based on the canon description of vampire mates). He’s feeling so guilty and lost–I wonder if his proximity to Bella is accidental at all. Is he protecting her? Is he trying to be close to Edward’s mate to be close to him? Are they all just puppets in Alice’s manipulative scheme? All could be true. The Volturi could have ways of hiding Edward–and we know that he was much desired by Aro. Could Alice still know that Edward is alive but also know the consequences of going after him? So many possibilities.

  • Jenny says:

    Oh the irony of this bipedal trainwreck of a girl calling Car-Will socially inept. Takes one to… You know.

  • Souperlisa says:

    I really, really miss this story and think of it often. It’s such a brilliantly etched portrait of loss and grief and the struggle of those left behind.
    Your portrayal of Carlisle always leaves me breathless, and I can’t decide if I want Bella and Carlisle to get together, because they each need each other, or if that would just be so, so wrong. Anyways, here’s to hoping that another chapter of this masterpiece lurks in the future. Best Wishes.

    • giselle says:

      Oh, thank you so much. And yes, more chapters do lurk in the future. I appreciate everyone’s patience and love for this story more than you all can imagine. I’m deeply committed to it. I’ve been debating whether this warrants a blog post since some have asked, but I’ll just leave it here and hopefully anyone who reads to Chapter 7 will find it…I began writing Twific in my second semester of my first year of a Ph.D. program. 5 years later and many fics down the line, I’ve had to shift my attention to getting my degree finished—if you look very carefully at my posting timeline, you’ll see I put up my last fic at the beginning of the school year this year! I’ve been frantically working ever since. My advisor has set a deadline for me to defend my thesis by the first week in May. Once that’s done, you had better believe I am looking forward to writing something that’s just for fun. So thank you for sticking with me, and no, I will never abandon this story. I love it too much.

  • Jill Cohen says:

    Every now and then I check back here to see if you posted a new chapter for this story. i have the alert set up, but one can still dream right. Just wanted to let you know there are still people out there hoping you haven’t given up on this.
    Also, I hope your PhD defense went well. I’m working on my PhD myself, so I know how overwhelming it can be.
    Hope everything else is going well for you.

  • Jill Cohen says:

    Here I am again, just checking if you’ve upated this story. I really miss it.
    I assume we can call you doctor now, huh? Hope your defence went well and that you’re enjoying the new title! ;)

    • giselle says:

      I’m working. :) I have a new job (and yep, it’s Dr. Giselle-lx now) and am not working 3 different jobs anymore, and I’m grabbing back my time and my fun.

  • foufymaus says:

    *poke poke*…more please…

  • silverwind says:

    Just remembered this story. Time flies, can’t believe that it’s been two years since I last checked it. It’s been on my mind often for the past two months for some reason. I really can sympathize with Carlisle right now, there’s always the hope that one day, there will be a new update…
    Well, it can’t hurt to dream :)

    • giselle says:

      Believe it or not, I’m actually working on this tonight. :) I “warmed up” so to speak by laying down a short piece that is really 13 very short pieces strung together around a theme; it’s posting on FFnet as I revise. And I’m drafting some new stuff for One Day right now.

  • Krista says:

    Dr. Giselle,

    I feel less alone when I read about your wrecked people trying to get their lives/unlives back together. Your fiction resonates with me more than anything I’ve ever read, and I have read a lot.

    K

  • aa2791212 says:

    Hey,

    I was wondering how this story is coming along. It’s so good and I am really curious about how it ends..

  • Anonymous says:

    Yay!!! Will there be more?

  • Jill Cohen says:

    Hello!

    I’ve found myself missing this story today. So just came buy to re read it and leave a message. I actually defended my own PhD thesis last week. I remember I had just started my phd when I found this story. What a trip. Hope you’re well. I’m looking forward to the updates on this story. :)

  • AllTheOtherNamesAreUsed says:

    I just thought about this story this morning, and came back for a visit. Hope you are well! I still so love these versions of Carlisle and Bella.

  • Goldielover says:

    Loved this story. Would hope that at some time it will be updated, although I know that real life can get in the way a bit too much.

    Unlike some of the commenters, I have no problems whatsoever if this story ends up being a Bella/Carlisle pairing. I’ve always thought they go quite well together, and she certainly has more in common with him than with Edward, especially as she has grown older. Yes, maybe it is a bit hard on Esme as she is still alive, but she is also the one who left Carlisle rather than trying to help him through what was possibly the worst part of his life.

    Not too sure what will happen with Nabil. Don’t think he’s the one for Bella somehow, and I’m quite sure Carlisle will not approve.

  • Krista says:

    Hm…I think Nabil is the college version of Mike Newton. Hope you are well! I am back in school, now working on my PhD. Would love it if you distracted me from my research by posting another chapter. ;-)

  • Jill Cohen says:

    Hello!

    I missed this story again. It’s a true testament to it that it keeps drawing me back, no matter how much time goes by. So much has happened in the meantime. Life has a real way of getting in the way sometimes. Hope you’re well, that work and life are treating you well, and that you still have plans, even if vage, to continue this story.

    • giselle says:

      I would finish this story even if you were the only person who would ever want to read it. I am definitely still chipping away at it, I promise. Hope you also are well.

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