Author's Note: First and foremost, I would like to apologize for the huge, immensely long wait. This chapter has taken a long time, and for that, I'm sorry. I've been going through some changes lately, trying to find my way, and find myself. I'm sorry this chapter took so long, but please enjoy. Without further ado...
Don't Come Easy
Fifteen Little Known Facts about Esme Ann Platt Cullen as Told by Carlisle Cullen
One. Esme had always laughed off his comments about how effortless and beautiful she was. She would look him dead in the eyes, her brown eyes serious, "Nothing about my life has ever been effortless, Carlisle." In the beginning, he hadn't wanted to believe this. Being a romantic, Carlisle felt that love was supposed to be near effortless: a feeling that, once felt, couldn't be undone. But then, he thought about it and knew. Not even loving him had been entirely effortless. For her, in this moment, his heart broke.
Two. When a woman is abused, she locks every bit of herself (the salvageable bits) into a chest and throws the chest into the sea. She watches it sink into the purple, blue, black water and is reminded of bruises. For Esme, she hadn't seen any of herself as worth saving. Before Charles, she hadn't been worth anything to anyone. After Charles, she hadn't been worth anything to herself. "What was I supposed to do, Carlisle?" She would bite her plump lower lip. This lip, a bit plumper than her upper lip, gave her the appearance of a permanent pout. Carlisle found it irresistible. "You gave me the opportunity to save myself. I couldn't let myself down a second time." Carlisle liked to think he'd helped her save herself, but knew, looking at his strong wife, that taking all of the credit was wrong.
Three. The first time Carlisle had bought Esme lingerie, it had been something pink. A baby doll, was what the saleswoman had called it. It had been a pink halter top with a completely see through thing attached below the breasts. This material, the transparent material, parted like curtains. He then bought her a pair of soft pink panties. Carlisle could think of nothing else but his beautiful new wife in this ensemble. Her confident new body. He'd presented it to Esme, proud of himself, not aware of the fear in her eyes. A half an hour of eager foot tapping later, Esme had emerged in the shirt he'd left in the bathroom, her pink panties peeking through the white fabric. He'd sat up on the bed, his eyes scanning her. She bit her lip, focusing on the floor. "I couldn't do it, Carlisle." He'd risen from the bed, understanding that he didn't understand anything about his new wife. Couldn't understand. Wrapping her up in his arms, he'd said exactly what was on his mind, "I think you look sexier in this anyway." He whispered.
Four. Carlisle and Esme hadn't had sex for the first time on their wedding night. Instead, they'd spent the night laying in their large canopied bed, holding hands. Carlisle had been memorizing her. Memorizing the slope that led from her breasts to her petite hips. Memorizing the valley of cleavage in her simple wedding dress, and the way her lips looked when she was completely at peace. When his eyes had finally met her eyes, he smiled, bringing her hands to his lips and kissing them softly. "I've never loved anyone as much as I love you right now." She had blinked, her lips sliding into a smile.
Five. The next day she'd been gone.
Six. When Carlisle asked Edward about her sudden disappearance, Edward had just looked at Carlisle with a deep mixture of sadness and pity. Carlisle had resented Edward in that moment. Why was Edward not just telling Carlisle what he knew? Edward had left to go to his room and returned a moment later with a letter.
For some reason, my past is difficult for me to forget when I am with you. This is why I left. I need to go somewhere and deal with my past, deal with all of the things I've done or tried to do to myself all by myself. I don't want you to be hurt by my pain. I don't want you to share it. I love you more and more with each passing day, Carlisle, and I want to be able to give myself to you. All of myself.
I will be back.
Seven. 365 days. 8766 hours. 525949 minutes. Enough seconds that Carlisle didn't both counting. Then she was back.
"Where were you?" He remembers asking her, clutching her warm hands between his. "Where did you go?" He didn't admit to sending any of his children out looking for her. Didn't admit that Alice had kept tabs on her the whole time.
She smiled, and it seemed a whole weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. "I went back to Wisconsin. I just... needed to prove to myself that I had truly moved on." She moved around his desk, silently standing before him. "Can I...?
"Of course." Carlisle pulled her forward into his lap, knowing that this was her home.
Esme told him of how she'd gone back to her sister's house, how she'd sobbed on her baby's grave, apologizing for not being a good enough mother. "I wonder if I'll ever be a good mother."
Shocked, Carlisle sat forward, "They love you, Esme. Every single one of them loves you as a mother."
Esme shook her head. "I don't know why. I'm not a good mother, Carlisle. I'm not even a good wife." She whispered, wringing her hands.
"You are the best mother any of these children could have asked for. You accept every part of every one of them, even though they all have past mothers and pasts that sometimes weigh them down. They love you so much, Esme." He kissed her forehead, her hair. "You are the only woman for me. The only woman I see anymore, Esme."
Eight. She had been hesitant their first time. Her hands had been like bird's wings, the softest of touches against his skin. There had been nothing hesitant about the way Carlisle had tasted her. Esme had, when she was on that precipice, ready to jump, held Carlisle's neck, bringing his head to her's. "I've never loved anyone as much as I love you right now." She whispered.
Nine. Charles had abused her in every way possible. Verbally, physically, emotionally. Esme often told Carlisle that, after a time, she stopped fighting it. She knew that her enemy could strike back with much more force and anger, so she stopped. This was when she realized that she needed to get out of her relationship with Charles. She could no longer look in the mirror and recognize the woman gazing back at her.
Ten. One day in her garden, when Rosalie was still a young vampire, she had approached Esme. Carlisle witnessed the whole thing from the window of his study.
"Esme...?" Rosalie sank onto the grass beside the caramel haired woman, her hands twisting in her lap. "Can I talk to you?"
Esme brushed off her hands, facing her daughter. She simply smiled up at Rosalie, taking the younger woman's hands in hers. "What's wrong, Rose?"
"How do you forget?" Rosalie looked at the grass, her hands grasping Esme's. Looking for some sort of anchor so she didn't lose herself in the ocean of her past. "How do forget what he did to you?"
"Rosalie." Esme's voice came out choked, and Carlisle, though he knew they needed to have this discussion, longed to give Esme the comfort he knew she needed. "Oh, Rosalie." She pulled Rose into a hug, laying her head on top of the blond girl's. "You can never forget."
"Emmett.. I can't... I want... I need to give him all of myself. But I can't. There's this part of me that he could never understand." Rosalie's arms would around Esme, holding her tightly. "Help me, mom."
Esme was jolted. Jolted by her use of the 'mom'. Jolted by the way she completely understood even the parts that Rosalie could not articulate. "He can't ever completely understand, but he can provide you with comfort. With love. Emmett may not ever be able to completely heal your heart, but he will help you begin to heal you in every other way." Esme kissed her head, holding her back at arm's length.
"How do I forget? How is this even fair to Emmett?"
"You can't forget. And it isn't fair to Emmett." Esme half smiled, her hand cupping Rose's cheek. She silently marveled at how beautiful her daughter was, at how soft and open her eyes were in this moment. Esme couldn't help but feel a rush of maternal instinct."But Emmett loves you enough to want to know about you. What Royce did to you is a huge part of you. He needs to hear it." Esme leaned forward. "I don't think you want to forget what happened to you. I think you want to seal it away, so no one else has to deal with it. You think people are dealing with you. Emmett isn't dealing with you. And you need to tell those that care about you." She smiled. "It isn't about forgetting for me. It's about making light of it. It's about seeing all of the beautiful things that came out of such a horrible thing."
Eleven. Esme had gone back to Wisconsin one more time. She'd said that she couldn't find closure unless she knew that, for sure, beyond a shadow of doubt, Charles was gone. When she came back, she'd locked herself in their bedroom for two days. Carlisle had gone in, on the second day, and found her sitting in a chair, gazing out the window.
"Are you okay?" He'd sank onto the bed, exhausted after a long shift in the Emergency Room.
She nodded. "I saw Royce's grave in New York too." There was something so quiet, something so sad about her voice that Carlisle nearly broke for her. "I wanted to sink my hands into his throat and strangle him. I wanted to kill him again. I wanted to murder him. Just like Rosalie did." Esme turned to look at him. "How could someone hurt a girl so beautiful?"
"That's exactly why he hurt her, Esme." Carlisle kneeled in front of her, understanding that she was asking why she had gotten hurt but willing to play along. "He broke her spirit, because nothing else could,"
She'd reached forward, clutching at Carlisle's body. "I'm still broken." She whispered.
Twelve. Esme could play the cello. This had nearly shocked Carlisle into silence. He'd asked her why she never mentioned it, asked her why she hadn't played for any of them. She smiled, grasping his hand and leading him back into the auditorium where the orchestra was warming up and tuning. "I didn't realize how much I'd missed it."
Thirteen. He'd gone out with Edward and purchased a cello. A beautiful, old, dark wood cello. Esme played out in her garden, her pale fingers moving with surprising fluidity over the instrument. Carlisle realized she hadn't mentioned this about herself, because she hadn't thought it was salvageable.
Fourteen. Emmett had approached Esme about Rosalie when she was in their bedroom, making the bed.
"Hey, Esme." Emmett threw himself onto the bed, ruffling up Esme's perfectly tucked sheets with no creases.
She'd continued to go about her small tasks in their room, understanding that Emmett needed to tell her what was on his mind on his own time. When she was putting away Emmett's boxers, he'd surprised her by sitting up and facing her.
"How do I help her?" He asked quietly, his head in his hands. "I feel like she withdraws into herself, and I can't touch her. How am I supposed to help her if she won't let me? Some days, I feel like we're making all of this progress, like she might actually let me love her. I just want to help her." Emmett ruffled up his curls, all of his boyish buoyancy gone. "I can't keep getting pushed away."
Esme understood that it was hard for Emmett to continue getting rejected, both for his ego and for his mindset about the whole relationship. He may have felt like they were doomed, and while Esme understood that both Emmett and Rosalie were unique individuals with unique pasts, she didn't think it very fair of Rosalie to continue pushing this beautiful young boy away. But maybe that was just her maternal instinct, because she knew she'd pushed Carlisle away countless times. She rose from the drawer where she was putting away Rosalie's pajamas and went over to kneel in front of her boy.
"Emmett, this isn't your fault." Esme held his strong face in her hands, marveling at the smooth perfection of Emmett's jaw and skin. "You are an amazing, beautiful, strong boy." He smiled, silently putting his hand over her's. "Rosalie has to figure out how much pushing you away is hurting you, and she has to do it on her own time. You can't punish her for trying to work through her past, but she shouldn't be punishing you for wanting her to talk to you either."
Emmett nodded. "So... I let her talk? But also let her pull away if she needs to?"
Esme smiled. "It's the only way, I'm afraid."
Fifteen. Carlisle thought that every single bit of Esme was salvageable. Every single part of her personality, every single part of her past was worth his time and attention, because without Esme, he was no one. He was nothing. He had nothing. His children had no mother. His children had no one to give them advice. One night, Esme was sitting in his lap, and Carlisle remembered their conversation about how Esme had to put effort into everything she did. Carlisle smiled, leaning in and kissing her pouty little mouth. "Esme?"
She hummed in the back of her mouth. "Hm?"
He smiled, pleased with himself. "Being a mother is effortless for you."
Esme turned to him, her golden eyes wide. After a moment, she chuckled, laying her head back against his chest. "I suppose it is."