Anyone can tell you, the first and most important Cullen is Carlisle. Father, slight control-freak (but we’ll get to that later), brother, husband, doctor, saviour, beauty. Carlisle Cullen.
A good man. An…entrepreneur. Someone who works extra hours at the hospital because there is nothing more important than the sanctity of human life…
…And perhaps because living with the same six people, day and night, removed from wider society, for seventy-five years can be…trying, particularly for the solitary creature that is a vampire.
He tries hard, he does. He wants the best for them all and he does lament the souls that he believes that he has taken, even though it makes him feel powerful sometimes. That's his superpower. He is the giver of life. He is…he is like GOD.
But he is a modest god. It took many years of discipline to attain such holy restraint. And, guilty as it made him feel for the thought, he was secretly pleased when the others made mistakes, killed people and he didn’t.
He’d done so well! He was extraordinary!
The unspoken competition between the family for who could be the purest had been won long ago. Even Carlisle’s lovely wife had-
Oh! That’s a good one. His wife.
Okay…so to the world at large, Carlisle’s relationship with the beautiful Esme seemed as gentle and loving as any could hope to be. The other doctors at the hospital could see in their somewhat tunnelled professional capacity that Carlisle was happily married. You’d be an idiot to dispute it. However, those closer saw Carlisle as extremely possessive.
When he’d met Esme as a patient (when she was sixteen and he was nearly three-hundred years old, but, no judgement) he had been besotted and, when she was inches from death, having attempted to take her own life, Carlisle did what any good Christian American did and gave her an eternal one, which, y’know was a nice gesture and all but…
She had wanted to die.
But no, now she was happy. Carlisle was nice and good looking. And she was his, his Esme.
And Esme was happy to be.
…Whatever you want to hear darling!
Because Esme could use Carlisle’s obsession (obsession that perhaps Edward developed from him) to her advantage. That woman could play him better than Edward could play the piano, which was extremely well, if he did say so himself (narcissistic little shit).
With a few feathery bats of her big Bambi-eyes, Esme could have a lot of things and a mere mention that Carlisle was behaving like her former abusive husband would have him begging for forgiveness, and Esme would have her pick of a ‘sorry present’. Of all of them, the island was still the best.
But Carlisle knew what she did and sometimes they even laughed about it together, laughed about a lot of things. Because even when Esme met with the businessmen in whom she invested Carlisle’s money and they invited her back to their place for a drink…and maybe something else if…if she was interested, she shook her toffee-haired head. No, she was very picky with what she drank, she’d tell them with a smirk, and she was a happily married woman, thank you very much.
Because that’s a point too. Esme was the Cullen money. Carlisle raked it in by saving the world, of course, and with Esme’s loving, mothering tenderness, the wealth blossomed.
“Oh bless her heart,” Edward would say. “She’s doing up another house!”
Yes, how incredibly twee. But who’s 750,000 dollar profit paid for his Aston Martin? Huh?
And it certainly wasn’t daddy, because really Carlisle was a real klutz with money. “What’s a Premium Bond darling?” he would ask with that little crease in his perfect forehead, while his wife tutted angrily, but fondly. Because unlike some… Carlisle didn’t spend all Esm-the family’s money.
The main culprit there was little Alice. Darling little Alice.
Alice was…well she was sweet. A sweet girl. But the future telling was difficult, useful, but difficult. She had had really no experience of the world when she was turned and as a result she often didn’t really understand what she was seeing.
To this day, Carlisle wished she wouldn’t have run straight to call Edward when she first saw Bella. She should have avoided him then told Carlisle that Edward was about to go to school and sit next to his mate AND singer. Because duh? What the fuck was going to happen? Edward would insist upon going into school to meet her and he’d slaughter her in front of a room of witnesses with cameraphones.
FOR. FUCK’S. SAKE. ALICE!
Luckily, or unluckily, depending upon who you ask, Bella survived the incident and, after Carlisle had calmed down after one of his children had acted without his approval, Bella was accepted into the family.
…And Alice began party planning.
If anything could bring Esme out in a cold sweat anymore, it was the idea of handing Alice the family chequebook. Christ Almighty! It wasn’t the arc of Bella’s delicious blood that sent Esme reeling from the room the evening of Bella’s eighteenth, but the sight of it splashing onto her pristine cream carpet and the gifts. And, incidentally, guess who had to clean that up?
First, a birthday party which was an expensive and unquestionable embarrassment and disaster. Second, a graduation party, to which she invited the whole fucking town. And then this wedding to which she was likely going to invite the whole fucking county.
Alice was a menace.
But she was too valuable, wayyyyyy too valuable to give up. Carlisle and Edward knew how much the Volturi wanted Alice and also that it was she who kept other vampires at bay. Kept them safe. Kept Carlisle powerful. Kept Esme rich. So, the parties went ahead and everyone smiled and everyone was blissfully, blissfully happy. Weren’t they.
Psst, Rosalie!…Weren’t they!
Rosalie was the bitch. Not the mind-reader, not the future-teller, not the millionaire surgeon, the bitch. And why wouldn’t she be? Her striking quality was her stunning good looks, and all vampires were good looking. Did her appearance give her power? Absolutely! Did that make her more powerful than anyone else in the family? Absolutely not!
Seriously, it was hard to be ranked bottom. Even Bella was higher up the pecking-order.
But Rosalie couldn’t find it in her heart to hate Bella, she couldn’t because that kid, and yes, compared to the rest of them she was still a kid, didn’t know what she had got into. Rosalie was going to be married at eighteen. Bella was going to be married at eighteen. Rosalie knew that she had still been a child at that age, and so was Bella.
Rosalie would have been sentenced to a married life of abuse, just like Esme had. Just like Bella was going to be.
Whoa! Backtrack there! What? Who Edward?
Yes Edward. The look that passed between Rosalie, Esme and Carlisle when Alice announced to the amassed family that Edward had found his true love… and was presently happily watching her sleep, bordered on panic.
Okay, we can deal with this, they thought. Though that was hard when the person in question can read your thoughts.
Esme suggested, sensibly, that they should meet Bella first before they declared a state of family emergency, as Rosalie wanted. However, upon inspection Bella was… Gah, well ‘simple’ sounds mean, no she…lacked the…vivacity that Esme now had that would make the…affection that Edward would no doubt smother upon her more profitable.
Even Carlisle was alarmed. He knew that he was a controlling guy (as was his right as a deity) but while he and Esme secretly enjoyed their arrangement (that every Cullen knew about and Bella wouldn't have noticed if you served it under her nose), it wouldn’t be moral to apply that to Bella. She was so pliant and she had low self-esteem and Edward really did have his moments, quite spectacular ones, really. And despite all, Carlisle and Esme really were kind people…though sometimes kindness takes strange forms.
“I think Bella’s the one,” said Esme suddenly, one afternoon when she and Carlisle were …er…hunting in the woods.
“You…sure?” asked Carlisle as he pulled his T-shirt back on.
“Yes,” beamed Esme. “They look very happy together, Bella just dotes on him.”
Carlisle looked at Esme with narrowed eyes
“Aaaand?” he asked suspiciously.
There was always something.
“And I know Alice is already planning the wedding,” she said daintily clasping Carlisle’s hand.
“Thus?” Carlisle had probed, very suspicious now.
“Thus we have no right to interfere in true love,” she said with a perfect dimply smile.
“Also…” she continued in that shy, bashful way that really got Carlisle going. “…I’d love another baby, wouldn’t you darling?”
Oh he would, he thought lustily. Esme’s babies. And it was true that perhaps the most suitable partner for Edward would be one who was safe from his mind-reading. When Esme had been married to Charles, her mind was her only refuge and there was something deeply violating about Edward’s gift to begin with. Carlisle agreed with Esme (when he eventually caught on) that if any woman would survive Edward, it was Bella.
And after that, everyone approved of Bella with all their still, stone hearts, leaving Rosalie as the villain, the only one who was still willing to fight against Edward for the sake of a human life.
But Emmett still spoke to Rosalie! Good old Emmett! The man who believed that his number had been up since the day Rosalie brought him to Carlisle and had decided to treat his undead-life as a huge extravagant joke.
Fuck! These people were so… serious. We’re vampires for fuck’s sake! This is crazy!
So, like a jolly chocolate labrador, Emmett bounded his way hedonistically through his existence, leaving a trail of smiles, carnage and an irate adopted mother in his wake.
And so help me God, Esme thinks often with gritted pearly teeth, if he leaves another smear of mud on the carpet, the new carpet, (thank you Bella and Jasper), there will be hell to pay.
And Emmett thought this Bella business was all great fun. Everyone was so pissed off all the time and this girl had no idea. She also had no idea of the enormous row that preceded their leaving Forks and how many diamond earrings that it had cost Carlisle after he lunged for Edward to beat the shit out of the little selfish twat and got Esme instead. And I mean, just nudged her.
Rosalie looked up to Esme because of their shared experience of violence but when Rosalie tried to imitate what her ‘mother’ did, she was called self-absorbed and shallow rather than compassionate and pragmatic. But Emmett appreciated the effort. Happy Rosalie, sex. Unhappy Rosalie…no sex. And plus Rosalie wasn’t the exquisite liar that Esme was and Emmett liked that, he liked knowing what page everyone was on.
Which Edward always, always did.
He was about to be married, Edward Cullen. Married to Bella, Bella Swan. His Bella. Not Jacob’s Bella, his Bella.
He was almost married to Rosalie, well, he likes to think almost, it wasn’t even close because they always hated each other. Mostly because he always knew what she was thinking. But he didn’t know what Bella was thinking.
Bella was fascinating to him, a real puzzle and after she mumbled his name in her sleep that one time…well he thought it was his name. Probably was. Anyway, after that, he had taken that as full asset to his affections and now they were getting married. Well… some other shit happened first, but that didn’t matter because she would be his before God.
And, as the favourite child, he knew how proud everyone was of him. Esme thought he and Bella were meant to be, and Carlisle agreed…like usual. And the fact that Rosalie disapproved just compounded the idea that the whole thing was such a good idea. Yup, good idea.
Edward didn’t always understand the…nuances of people’s thoughts.
And Christ he was a shit!
With unlimited access into everyone’s mind he could be a real bully, I mean, think about it. It also made him a formidable fighter which Carlisle realised fairly early on meant that…that there wasn’t much they could actually do to get rid of him. Not that they would try…not that Carlisle would try but it was still a thought. See? A thought, Edward’s got you again.
There were ways round the ‘gift’, of course. The preferred method was running off into the mountains out of range, the other thinking about sex, which made Edward uncomfortable or you could just think about other things, preferably in a different language.
Fucking hell! They couldn’t wait to marry him off so he could torture someone else for a change. It would be…restful.
Peace. All Jasper ever wanted.
The newest ‘vegetarian’ vampire in the family wore psychopathy and melancholy in equal measure and like to wander alone into the forest in a very nordic way to contemplate things. And poor, poor Jasper did have a lot to contemplate.
As an empath, he was aware of, and had to deal with, all of the above. Constantly. He loved Alice, because he had known immediately that she loved him, and after a life (and death) of hatred and carnage, he wasn’t going to throw that away. However, he had been hesitant to say the least when she wanted to approach the Cullen family, a family that, even now, he only floated on the perimeter of.
He knew they kept him around because of Alice. The wanted Alice so much that they’d let him tag along, even though he was a pain in the ass.
Before Bella, he’d been Carlisle’s project of sorts, Carlisle was helping Jasper to be a better person…by being more like Carlisle, who was a perfect individual. Of course, since Jasper was blonde like Carlisle, Emmett had to laugh about Jasper being initiated into the Aryan race under Carlisle’s instruction but he had to stop since Esme was furious. And Jasper was interested to learn that day that Esme did love her husband. Weird.
However, Esme wasn’t keen on another manipulator in the house and she couldn’t stand it when Jasper used his gift on her, so she always made sure to treat him extra gently, just so everyone never forgot that he was the problem child. Fucking bitch.
Rosalie and Emmett, though, Jasper got on well with. Rather than pitying him like Carlisle, looking down on him like Edward or feeling threatened like Esme, the couple accepted him. Rosalie was apathetic to his story of horror which was refreshing actually and Emmett treated him with actual respect.
So yes, Jasper could say that he was loved (by one person) and respected (…again by one person) and he supposed that would have to do. Was he feared though?…Yes, perhaps Bella feared him. And rightly so with blood that smelled so sweet.
She would be a vampire. Or she would die soon. That much was clear to all, but Jasper was a little worried about what they would create.
He had been pacifistic as a human, now he was violent. Carlisle had been a follower, now he was a leader. Esme had been exploited, now she exploited. Alice had been a scourge, now she was a treasure.
And Bella…nobody knew what she would become.