Challenge: Soraloveskairi159's "Rare Point of View" Challenge #2
POV: Esme Cullen
Word Count: 1,896
Summary: NM "I'm no stranger to loss…" Esme is in pain after discovering that Edward is headed to Volterra. Written for Soraloveskairi159's Challenge number 2.
A/N – I created this out of the challenge that was sent to me. It sparked my muse, and I therefore began to write. If anyone else out there has a challenge for me, or a one shot that they want, I'd be happy to try and create it. If the idea gets my muse going, then I'm on a roll, baby. :)
This was fun to write, and I hope that you like it.
I'm no stranger to loss.
I lost my footing in a tree when I was fifteen, although I never looked upon it as a loss. From that incident, I gave up the idea of loving any other man. It wasn't a conscious decision, or some idea that I planned out after the fact. It was in retrospect, many years after, that I saw Carlisle Cullen had stolen my heart. My heart was claimed and yet still rested snugly in my chest. He did not know he held what I had unknowingly given him. And despite the eventual outcome, this was still a loss.
I lost my innocence to someone I wish I'd never laid eyes upon. Charles was an abusive man, a terrible husband, and hardly a single person besides I knew of it. I lost my childhood notion that marriage was a partnership, a commitment to someone whom you stayed with your entire life out of love. The shadow of doubt was augmented and reinforced heavily in my mind. It became an unspoken fear as I entered my new life, a belief I held close in my mind.
Losing that idea brought me happiness. Believing in the sanctity of some – if not all – marriages came back to me. By losing one strongly held certainty, I gained a new life and a new love.
To reach my new life, however, I had lost someone infinitely precious to me. Despite who his father was, I loved my baby. My little boy, who for such a short time was mine…I lost him to death within days of holding him in my arms for the first time.
And in losing him, I lost myself. I dove off of a cliff to escape the sense of terrible, horrifying loss at the emptiness in my arms. I'd known that I could never – would never – return to my husband's side. He was a monster. My baby was gone. And I would not return to that man, not if I could escape him and simultaneously gain back what I had lost. I was a simple motion. Just a jump…
If I could erase the memory of my suicide from my thoughts, I would. Maybe it was that scene in my mind that had leaked into the back of Edward's, leaving an imprint of the escape I'd assumed I would get if I were no longer living. Maybe it was my fault that he was determined to end his own life, to escape to death so that he would get back someone he loved, the way I thought I would.
Maybe it was my fault that he had seen suicide as a way to escape his own torment.
I knew my son well. My Edward, upon hearing the vile news, would have sought a way to escape the pain of losing her. My Edward would have remembered what I had done, and how I remembered dying – not as pain, but at solace. As relief, because at that moment, I had been selfish and thought of nothing except myself, and how I felt.
What other way was there for an immortal to escape eternal life alone, but for him to end it all in any way he could?
I hated his plan. I hated those that he was running to, that he would beg – demand and plead, even – for this terrible escape. I utterly hated those men, for daring to consider his request. And I hated that they would acquiesce and give him what he wanted. What he thought he wanted – because oh, damnable irony, she was alive!
The impending loss of my son was just as horrid as all the other losses I've suffered. Just when my heart was healing – the daughter I'd been forced to leave behind still lived! – and just as my hope for a possible brighter future was reawakened… As quickly as I'd gained everything back, I lost it in one fell swoop. It tore apart. My hope shattered as if it were fragile crystal.
My heart was broken by love. I wondered if it were possible to relive the fires of my second birth.
The gentle touch of a hand on my shoulder awakened me to my surroundings. I'd barely noticed where I had headed, once the terrifying news pierced my ears like a red-hot poker. Now, finding myself seated on the floor with my back to the wall, I was able to orient myself in half a second.
Then I noticed that the hand on my shoulder trembled, and I sighed with sorrow. Reaching up, I drew Jasper down to my level, wrapping my arm around his shoulders in a motherly gesture of comfort. My agony was for my son, and my lost daughter who I was terrified I'd never see again. But my fear, I was ashamed to admit, had been pushed down underneath the overwhelming horror at the imminent losses I was facing.
I wasn't at risk of only losing one son. The risk of losing my two daughters along with him was also there. But they went to save him: he went to kill himself.
I shuddered. Jasper comforted me, tugging at the ball of emotions coiled in my chest and lessening them. He didn't erase them, the way I knew that he could, and I found myself incredibly grateful for that. I needed to remember where my children were, no matter how much pain it caused me.
But it was causing my third-found son pain, too. I tried to comfort him. "Alice will come back."
"They all will," he answered, feigning nonchalance. I could fell the tension in his shoulders. "Alice and…Bella will stop…Edward." It was hard for him to say his brother's name, when we all knew what Edward was trying to do to himself. It was hard for him to say Bella's name, because he still felt responsible for this entire mess. One near-mistake that no one was prepared for, and my son tortured himself over it by citing his brother's pain, my family's pain, and his own weaknesses. Nothing any of us could say would get through to him.
I couldn't try to now, because he would not listen. It was easiest to distract him from his self-seen shortcomings. "Alice knows the best way to angle the events. She knows how they'll all play out. She'll get out of it, and come home safe and sound with our two youngest in tow."
He chuckled slightly – darkly – and fell silent. We sat together, watching the empty room before us and trying to offer a bit of comfort to one another. I could hear my husband pacing in his study, and Emmett and Rosalie were carrying on an intense and near-silent argument three rooms away. The rest of the house was hauntingly empty and quiet.
Jasper startled me when he spoke again. "I want to ask…how he could do something like this. How he could try and…end it all, without thinking of us. His family. But…every time I think about it, I start thinking about how I feel right now, with Alice over…in Italy…and I understand." His tone was full of self-loathing. "And then I hate myself for it, but I can't…get it out of my head. I know what he's feeling, even though he's halfway around the world…"
I was silent for a moment, holding him a bit tighter at the admission, before I sighed. "Jasper…I do, too." Tears that would never fall attempted to rise in my eyes, but there were not – would never be – any. "And I hate it, too, that I can understand and know that…I would want the same thing and yet I stand here, on this side, and am almost angry with my son for putting us through this and –"
A wave of calm soaked into my skin and my words slowed. "And I'm so ashamed, that I'm angry with him," I admitted at a whisper, my shameful thought voiced aloud. "I'm so worried, and scared, and full of…of hatred, that I can't…I don't want him to…but I know myself, and I've actually done it, gone through with it…"
"You're a mother," he reminded me, holding me now instead of the other way around. "You love him, and you don't want him to feel that pain. And of course you're angry – that's natural – but it's because you love him that you're angry. And…and that you understand, that you've gone through with it, that's going to help you help him when he comes back." He said it with such certainty that I could almost believe his words were the truth. "When he walks up to you, the fact that you know his pain and he knows yours will allow you to help him."
He hit right on that motherly worry that I harbored, a deep and dark secret. I wanted to help my son with everything that I could, and this was one more thing – a very important thing – that I could help him overcome and move past.
I laughed, almost hysterically. "I thought I was the mother here," I joked weakly, my eyes drifting to the side.
His face was taut with restraint and concern, lines of worry etched onto his face like his old battle scars. He seemed so much older than his physical appearance suggested, even knowing that he was not human. He was so much older, and had seen so much more, than anyone "his age" could possibly begin to comprehend. But a smile stretched his white lips, and he answered, "We're both adults here, Esme. We can help each other."
I hugged him, awkwardly holding him to my side, and let go. We both swung our arms off of one another, and I curled my around my legs as I pulled them up to my chest. "But you're still like my son," I told him quietly. "I have three sons…and three daughters…and I am still going to have all six of them when we come out of this," I said with sudden determination.
Jasper smiled faintly again. "Keep that spirit up, Esme," he said quietly. "We've got to believe it if we want to hold ourselves together." And I held that hope tightly in my chest, while reaching out for him. He allowed me to hold him again. I held on tight, not wanting to let go of another one of my sons. I'd made that mistake once, letting Edward leave while he was unhappy. Miserable, even. I would not do that again.
I could handle losing some things, and I was stronger for not having some of them. The pain had faded, and I had survived. But there was one thing that I absolutely would not tolerate, one thing that I refused to lose. I'd let other things slip by me without a fuss or a fight – but for them, I'd fight tooth and nail to keep.
I simply refused to lose any of my family.