3-1 Portsmouth, New Hampshire

“Edward misses his parents.”

Carlisle looked up from the book he was reading, some unbelievably thick tome that must have been about brains or muscles or something—it had color pictures of things that resembled parts of the body but looked grotesque. Red and blue and yellow where there should have been just smooth skin and figure.

He placed a bookmark and snapped the book closed. Carlisle is the best at that; teaching himself to do things that humans do, like putting a bookmark in a big book so that he won’t lose his place.

As though he’s going to forget which was the last page he read.

He looked up at me very calmly.

“Of course he misses his parents,” he answered evenly. “I can’t do much about that, Alice.”

I caught the look of pain that slid across his face then. He blames himself for what happened to Edward, even if Edward doesn’t blame him. “Played God,” is how Carlisle puts it. And when Edward is being a real shit, he throws that back.

“No, I mean—” I stopped. “There’s something about Jasper and me. Having us here makes it worse. It was okay when it was just the five of you, but with the two of us, too…”

This time Carlisle leaned back in his chair, propping his chin between his thumb and forefinger of his right hand. He’s a very calm person, Carlisle, but do anything that even remotely resembles suggesting that Edward might leave again, and you throw him into this odd state. For the longest time, I didn’t know what it was, and then I asked Esme about it, and she explained about The Time. Which is how they all three talk about it, just The Time, and you can hear the capital letters in their voice. When I think about it, I remember seeing them during The Time, just the doctor and his wife, standing together by the window, lying by the fire.

Edward calls it his “rebellious period.”

Rebelling against Carlisle. Rebelling against everything his new family stood for.

But he came home from that. That, as far as I’m concerned, is the important part.

“He didn’t stay gone,” I said quietly.

Carlisle blinked. Then he stood up, put the giant book back on the shelf, and swung his long pea coat over his shoulders. But before he reached the door, he turned.

“I can’t do anything about Edward missing his family, Alice,” he said.

Then he closed the door behind him.

I haven’t heard more pain in his voice before or since.


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