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The Story of Esme

Summary:
How it began. How it happened. How it ended and how it was revived. A look into the life of Esme Cullen.


Notes:
This is my first attempt at writing more than just a short story. I have always loved Esme and she is one of my favorite characters in Twilight so i jus thad to tell her story the way I've imagined it.


10. Chapter 10

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Jack left for basic training the following week. We had decided to wait until he returned in a few months for leave to get married and then we would announce the pregnancy so that no one would find out that we’d had sex before being “properly acknowledged as husband and wife in the eyes of God”, as my mother had always described it. I had no doubts about God acknowledging our love; we already knew He’d blessed us with each other so I didn’t worry about being condemned as a sinner. Anyways, I had more important things on my mind like, for instance, my fiancé who was being forced to put his life on the line for his country against his will. That was on the top of the list, the thought ranking number two being how I would conceal my fragile condition from my family until after we were married.

We knew that we’d be apart for almost four months so, before he left, I gave him my favorite necklace to keep with him as a good luck charm and a way to remember what he would be trying to stay alive for. The necklace had been my great-grandmother Stella’s and I had inherited it when she died several years before. It was a sun pendant made of white gold with an amber center on a white gold chain and I had cherished it all my life, even before it was mine. And since it was so special to me, I figured that maybe my connection with it might serve as a way for me to be his guardian angel despite the distance between us. The last thing I saw as he rode away on the train to basic training was his smile and his hand grasping the chain like it was the most important thing in the world.

Somehow, though I wanted to believe that Jack would survive his first few months of war, I couldn’t help but feel like something bad was going to happen. It wasn’t like I wanted something bad to happen to him; he was the most beloved person in my entire life. I just had this presentiment that he’d be forced to break his promise and leave me alone in this world. Why I felt so ill at ease about everything, I had no idea. But despite these foreboding feelings, I carried on with my life as best I could having to continue on at the Orphanage and deal with morning sickness without alerting anyone to my delicate state. I went to work every morning and came back every night with my belly a little more swollen than it had been the day before. All I could think of was my dear Jack, the beloved co-creator of our child, who got bigger and livelier everyday it spent in my womb.

So that we didn’t have to go months without hearing from one another, Jack and I exchanged letters in an old code that we had developed as children so that we could discuss my pregnancy without worrying about prying eyes from our family. I’d tell him about our child and how I had had dreams of the three of us, sitting on the front porch of some big farmhouse, happy. He would describe the battlefield as a place of minimal danger and the conditions in which they lived, the infamous trenches, as if they were a five-star hotel, obviously trying to keep me from worrying about him. God, he was a good man. And I think it was the worst fates that were given to all of the good men out there on the battlefield as if some cruel joke from God. I sometimes wished that he had been a hard, angry man if only to escape the fatal destiny he was given.

It was roughly four days before Jack was supposed to be coming home on his leave and we were preparing for his arrival since we were going to throw him a big party to celebrate his homecoming. I was in the kitchen, beginning the preparations for the feast that we were holding for both his and my family by chopping carrots for the roast and slicing apples for one of the apple pies I was making from my great-grandmother’s collection of recipes. My mother was on the other side, also starting the work, and we were humming along to an old lullaby I had loved as a child; secretly, I was singing it to the child that was growing within me. I had managed so far to keep my pregnancy a secret though I had developed a bump on my belly. I wore loose dresses to hide it and no one had bothered me about it, thinking I was just dressing in larger clothing to help with the summer heat.

As I was about to wash more carrots under the faucet in our kitchen, I happened to glance up to look out the window and I saw something that seemed odd. A black car resembling the Evenson’s was moving fast up our driveway, kicking up dirt and gravel behind it. I furrowed my brow. They aren’t supposed to be here until Wednesday, I thought, referring to the day that Jack would be coming home. It was only Saturday and they were usually supposed to be in the city for the afternoon when there was good weather. Several explanations for their unplanned visit flashed through my mind but my instincts made one in particular stick and it was an explanation that I prayed wasn’t theirs. But at the same time, I knew it was. I didn’t even have to talk to them to know it. I just did. Without warning, I flew out of the kitchen and reached the front door just as Robert and Amelia were ascending the steps to our porch with Inez not far behind them.

Just by the grief-stricken look on her face, Inez gave their reason for visiting away and I knew.

Jack was dead.

I remember crumpling to the ground as I clutched by belly, sobbing and saying “no” over and over again all the while feeling cramps like none I’d ever had. It was as if knives were poking me where my child grew. Then, I recall feeling liquid trickling down my leg and seeing the front of my dress turn red near where my lower abdomen was. My mother, Amelia and Inez were desperately trying to get me to my feet but they couldn’t. The men, Robert, my father and Charles, who had also been with them, ended up carrying me to their car but I passed out before the vehicle even started moving.

I woke up in a hospital bed with a nurse tending to my IV, which was giving me fluids to keep me from becoming dehydrated. I moaned as I remembered what had occurred earlier, attempting to speak. She patted my arm and smiled.

“Don’t worry, love,” she said in a thick Irish brogue. “You’ll ‘ave another baby someday.”

I looked at her shocked for a moment. What was she talking about?

“What do you mean?” I managed to say, as my throat got more used to making sound, however raspy my voice was. “What happened to my baby?”

By that time, my mother had returned to the room with Inez, probably from a break to get something to eat or drink. I looked from the nurse to my exhausted mother and back, trying to grasp what the nurse had said.

Again in her accent, the nurse explained, “Oh, poor child. You lost the baby, love. It happens sometimes to women who ‘ave bodies that are too fragile. But you’ll ave’ another one someday, when you’re stronger and can take the strain.”

I looked to my mother, whose face told me what the nurse had said was true, and began crying. I half expected my mother to tell me that this was God’s way of punishing those who didn’t wait until marriage to be with a man. But instead, she rushed to my side, holding me as I fought her grasp, not wanting to be touched or held. I kicked and tried to push her away but she was formidable for a woman of her age and never let go despite my protests. She rocked me back and forth until I calmed down, letting me sob as long as I needed to, even crying a bit herself. She obviously didn’t care that I had been pregnant because not once did she bring it up. For a good two hours she held me like that until we both fell asleep on the hospital bed.

I stayed in the hospital for a few days, trying to regain my strength and become well enough to go home and move on. But I didn’t want to move on. I wanted to die. I’d lost the love of my life and my unborn child in less than twenty-four hours and I felt like I had nothing to live for. I was miserable and nearly catatonic. I refused to speak to anyone, even my family, not wanting to show any signs that I wanted to get better. I wished that I had died and that was that. In my mind, there was no living after Jack. There just wasn’t. I felt like there was no more light in my life, only darkness. I wished the darkness would consume me, swallowing me whole like a rattlesnake swallows a mouse. My motivation for waking up every day and going to bed every night was gone and I had nothing left. I was empty and I remained empty for over two months after that.

Surprisingly, the only person who refused to leave my side was Charles Evenson, Jack’s younger brother, even though I didn’t talk or even move from my bed when he was around. I acted as though he wasn’t even there but he remained in a rocking chair at the foot of my bed daily, reading to me. Things from newspaper articles to new books by my favorite authors to classics from writers like Shakespeare and Milton. I never said it but I most enjoyed when he read from Milton’s Paradise Lost my favorite passage being:

Because we freely love, as in our will

To love or not; in this we stand or fall.

And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen,

And so from Heaven to deepest Hell- O fall

From what high state of bliss into what woe!

I mostly liked that verse because of how I could relate to it. I loved Jack freely as was natural to me and him. I had chosen to love him and rather than surviving, I fell into the deepest corners of Hell from the beginning’s bliss to the end’s woe. And I wallowed in that woe for what seemed like ages. I felt like I would never love another…even, I will admit, Carlisle, the one who I never thought I would not be in love with but who, in my time of grief, was pushed out of my heart to make way for the swelling that occurred from the pain I felt. It was as if my heart would explode with sadness that I kept in and it only stayed controlled because I didn’t let it out. It was inside and I kept it there. But nevertheless, Charles continued to come everyday to read to me as if he hoped that of all the people I could speak to and release my pain, it would be him that I would choose. And that made me feel thankful that I had him seeing as everyone else kept their distance as if I were a leper or a madwoman. When everyone else turned their backs to me and my sorrow, Charles never gave up on me.