I still don't own them. Just so you know.
This outtake was requested by the witty Choclover82. You see, CL82 left me my 300 review. As a little gift to her, I offered up Gio from my perspective. She could choose almost anything – for me to answer a question, a scene from a different POV, early access to upcoming chapters.
What she asked for was 300 words about Esme.
This request absolutely thrilled me. It warmed my heart to know that a character other than Bella or Edward had spoken to someone in such a way that they felt a need to know more. Being that I am a wordy bitch, those 300 words quickly became 1,200.
This outtake is my gift to a wonderful, funny woman who enables my love for chocolate and funnel cake. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write this.
Tá mo chroí istigh ionat
My heart is within you
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - Florida - Esme's POV
This place had always been my sanctuary, my haven.
The sound of the surf crashing on the sandy beach below soothed me as I sat on my deck drinking a glass of wine. The sun dipped lower, setting the sky on fire as it kissed the horizon line.
The blue of the Gulf at sunset always reminded me of his eyes. They were burned into my memory, into my very soul. Kind, compassionate, adoring.
The eyes of my fíorghrá.
The pictures flipping through my mind shifted from glimpses of the future to memories of the past. Memories of the best and worst moments of my life.
I had met him the summer Elizabeth and I turned nineteen. We were young and stupid, working for some two-bit carnival in Alabama, conning patrons out of their money with the promise of reading their future. We both had the sight, but at that point in our lives we didn't have much control over it.
We learned the con relatively quickly – ask leading questions, watch their body language, look for little clues into their lives. They made it too easy.
It was only one of my regrets from that summer.
Elizabeth and I knew they were coming before they ever walked through the gates. All the Bible thumpers with their signs, touting us as devil-worshippers and demons. We laughed it off – we may have been con artists, but we were far from demons.
We had been sitting on the steps of our fake gypsy wagon, watching the spectacle before us, when I saw him for the first time. Blond hair bleached at the tips by the sun's rays, blue eyes sparkling with joy and life, skin tanned from working outside. He was beautiful.
The connection between us had been instantaneous. The moment our eyes met, I felt as if my heart was no longer my own.
It was wrapped with his.
I remember the pull between us, the feeling of some outside force controlling my body as it moved toward his.
In the midst of chaos, as carnies and churchgoers screamed obscenities back and forth, I walked toward my destiny. And as our hands met for the first time, I'd known.
It was love. It was fate. He was everything I ever could have asked for.
We spent three days together. Three days…and three nights. I couldn't get enough of his touch, his kiss. We slept in his car, our spent and naked bodies curled around each other. The need to touch, to be connected, refusing to release us, even in sleep.
I learned everything about him – how much he loved his family, how he wanted to finish college and go on to medical school, how he dreamed of settling down and starting a family of his own.
How he couldn't imagine a life outside of this sleepy little town.
It was bliss, it was perfection…it was too good to last.
On the fourth morning his father, the local preacher, came to the carnival grounds to see me. He told me about his son – how he was a good student, a good boy, how he loved his town, loved his church, loved his family…
How he was engaged to a local farmer's daughter.
How he had an entire future in front of him.
A future that would not include me.
His father had found out about the two of us. He knew what we had been doing, knew how deeply his only son had fallen for the dirty little gypsy. He threatened me, cajoled me, bartered with me – but it wasn't until he threatened my fíorghrá that I surrendered to his pleas.
There was nothing that could hurt me more than to see my love unhappy.
My fíorghrá had already left, been sent to stay with a distant cousin at the opposite end of the state. If I hadn't left him alone, hadn't left Alabama, his father would have cut off all ties with his son. There would be no finishing college, no medical school, no happy little family in this sleepy little town.
There would be nothing but shame for the boy who deserved better.
Who deserved better than the life of a carnie.
Who deserved better than to be saddled with a con artist like me.
Who deserved better than a life that would pull him away from everything he wanted, every dream he had.
So I'd run.
But not before I left him one gift. One small token to remember me. I'd snuck onto his family's farm and found his car tucked away in a barn. I crawled inside one last time, sobbing as I was surrounded by the smell of him, of us…of our love.
When my tears were finally dry, I hung my necklace from his rearview mirror, the script 'E' shining even in the dull light.
I agonized over my final words to him, not knowing what to say. Not knowing how to tell the love of my life I was leaving for his own good, so he could have better. That I would never forget him. That I would love him until my very last breath.
That he deserved better than to be with someone like me.
So I left him the only words that could possibly tell him what he meant to me.
Tá mo chroí istigh ionat
On some level I hoped he wouldn't find someone to translate the words of love for him. That he would throw away the note and the necklace and forget all about me.
Forget all about us.
I would forever carry the burden of our separation if it meant he could have the life he very much deserved. The life that loving me would have robbed from him.
For twenty-three years, I had honored my promise to stay away.
I thought of my love daily – was he happy? Was he living the life he desired? Did he have his family, his home, his career?
I always answered the questions in my head – yes, he was happy; yes, he had everything he had ever wanted.
He had to.
Because if he didn't, if I thought for just a moment he missed me as much as I missed him, I would never have been able to keep my distance. I would have surrendered to the unrelenting pressure on my heart that called to me, cried to me, begged me to reconnect with him.
I would have searched until I found him, until I held him in my arms, until I told him just how much I had loved him all these years. Until he knew no man had ever even come close to touching my heart the way he did.
How my heart was still within him, as his was within me.
The sun had set, the wine was gone, and the pictures flowing through my mind returned to things yet to come instead of things long past.
I stood and walked inside, having already seen the vision of Edward calling me. The scene around him appeared chaotic, and I hoped everything was okay with him and Bella.
I smiled as I reflected on the love these two would share. I wouldn't allow them to suffer the way I suffered these past years. I would do everything in my power to help them along, to direct them down the path to a happy life together.
They both deserved it.
And they were going to need each other if there was any hope of weathering the storm headed their way.
I grabbed the phone from the end table a second before it rang.
"Hello, my handsome nephew."
My veins filled with ice as the visions shuffled through my head like playing cards. The Jeep, the trailer, the ambulance, the blood…
"Aunt Esme, there's been in an accident."