“Ah, no, I can't say the London of my youth was a particularly happy place to have grown up. I was born just before the civil war, and grew up in a time of great political and religious upheaval. . . has Edward told you this story already?”
“No, he hasn’t. That’s why I asked.” I laughed. “That and I don’t want to do my homework.”
"I would hate to contribute to your neglect of your studies, but . . ." my stern expression melted into a smile, "It's probably about time you heard the family history anyway. I am just surprised Edward hasn't told you already--he knows it as well as I do, after all. Please stop me if anything I say troubles or upsets you."
“Edward hasn’t told me a lot at all about you or the others. He’s told me bits and pieces of course. I’m pretty sure I can handle anything you throw at me.” I said with a little shrug. Sure I might have nightmares later, but I wanted to hear Carlisle’s story regardless.
"That's very considerate of Edward to keep our secrets." He paused, looking over his shoulder at the paintings on the wall for a moment before turning back. "My creator isn't around because my creation was very different than Edward and Esme's. I was assisting my father, who was a pastor, hunt for monsters."
“People seriously did that? I thought those were just stories. The vampire hunts at least, I mean. Everyone knows the witch’s hunts were very real.” I said. “Did you join those hunts?” I asked now the meaning of Carlisle’s words suddenly clicking. I couldn’t image Carlisle hunting for “monsters”
"Reluctantly. I did approve of my father's methods, and I felt that most of the monsters he sought were innocent people. Things like mental illness were very poorly understood back then, and people who were deemed in any away strange were often targets. The one blessing of taking over my father's work--he was a pastor, by the way--was that I could do things my own way. I was very careful and would never accuse anyone unless I was certain. Of course, all this attention to detail led me to find real monsters: vampires. Although we didn't have the word back then. My father and the other religious leaders simply called them blood-drinking demons."
I stared at Carlisle for a moment. Of course I had known about witch hunts and such, but I never guessed that people really went on monster hunts or blood- drinking demon hunts. What a different life we live today. I thought. “So that’s how you were turned? You were hunting for vampires and one turned you?” I asked.
"Yes," he said, his hand tugging at the scarf around his neck. "I'm still not entirely certain how I made it out . . . alive, or whatever it is that we are. He should have killed me. I can only assume my creation was an accident. I never saw the vampire who changed me again."
“If your creator wasn’t around when you woke up, how did you know you were a vampire? I mean, did you just know because of the thirst or something?” I asked. I had always assumed that a vampire who was created woke up with his or her creator. And that creator mentored them into becoming what they were. But how would you know you were a vampire when you woke up from something like that?
"Yes, the thirst made it pretty obvious. .. but beyond that, I had studied these creatures thoroughly. Of course most of the information I had was false--I'm sure you've discovered that most of your beliefs about vampires are not true."
“Yeah, I figured that out pretty quick after Edward saved me from the van. I didn’t know what you were at first. But I knew it wasn’t. . .Natural. Then the stories. . . I researched too.” I said.
"You and I have that in common then: having a glimpse into this world while still being human. I'm afraid it was all quite a shock to the others. At least I had some sense of what had happened to me."
“It would be pretty scary, waking up and being something not human but not dead either and having no idea what that something is.” I said glancing at the time and down at my homework. I sighed. I was getting A’s of course but if I continued to dodge my homework, those A’s would quickly turn to B’s and then C’s. Pretty soon, I would fail and I couldn’t have that. “I should probably get back to my homework uh?” I said. Not that I wanted too.
"It was a very dark time for me--and yes, very frightening. But happily I am quite content with my life now." Carlisle glanced at Bella's homework with a small smile. "And yes, you should attend to your studies. I don't get to say that often enough: it all looses a bit of meaning when my 'children' have all been through high school multiple times."
“That has to be so boring. Repeating the same subjects over and over again.” I said shaking my head and then I opened my own book.
"I don't envy them that, but allows us to stay in one place longer, and helps them practice restraint. But I shall leave you to it. The others will be home shortly and I had promised Esme I'd go through the pile of journals I've left on the coffee table downstairs for far too long." Carlisle stood and rested one hand on Bella's shoulder for just a moment before he left the room.
(Written with Carlisle)