AN: Bella wonders if she's going too fast and session with Esme.

Chapter twenty-six: Am I Going Too Fast?

Bella, February, 2011…

I woke up alone with a note on the opposite pillow telling me that Jasper was out on the ranch and he missed me.

I smiled and got up. Today, I had another my appointment with Esme, and doubt about Jasper and me were setting in. It was three main questions.

Was I moving too fast? Were things with Jasper okay? Was I doing the right thing?

Those questions stayed with me until I was finally sitting down in front of Esme for our session.

"You know, Bella, if you don't say anything then I can't help you," Esme said, pulling me out of my thoughts. I had been sitting here and staring off into space while I tried to make sense of my jumbled thoughts by myself instead of letting Esme help me like I was supposed to.

"I don't know how to say it to you."

"Won't know unless you do say something to me," she countered with an easy smile.

"Yeah, but, it's just so…" Damn, how do I say this?

"So what…" Esme started, but she didn't sound impatient. She sounded amused. "Why don't you start at the beginning?"

"I came!" I blurted out and then slapped my hand over my mouth and clamped my eyes shut.

"You came?" Esme said confusedly. Oh shit, she didn't get it so I wouldn't have to say again. This was about her nephew. I didn't want to say it again.

"Oh God, I can't share this with you." I mumbled, looking away from her and twisting my fingers.

When I said that, Esme picked up on what I was saying. "Oh…oh!" she said and started to giggle.

"You're not supposed to laugh at me," I pouted and blushed.

"You're right, I shouldn't," she confessed. "But it's actually me laughing with you. Bella, I'm here for you. I'm well aware that Jasper is my nephew and I've already prepared myself to hear certain things. So if you came in here, and said, you did it in a batch of honey, I'll have to look passed the fact that I changed his diaper when he was a baby and moved on."

"Because of me?"

"Yes," Esme said sincerely. "I'm here to help you. And now, Jasper is a part of what we'll talk about."

"Thank you," I sighed. I was relieved that I could talk to Esme and not feel weird about it.

"So how do you feel about taking such a progressive step with Jasper?"


"That's good, but why?"

"Why?" I asked confusedly.

"Yes," Esme stated. "You're happy, but why? What makes this time so different?"

She wanted me to elaborate and I had only one answer for her. "Because it wasn't forced or unwanted."

"Explain that feeling to me, Bella," Esme said seriously.

"With James, it felt forced," I chuckled darkly and went on, "It was forced. But mostly, I felt disgusted with myself."


"Because my body responded to the things they did to me or forced me to do them. Like when I was with Victoria. I don't…I didn't understand why my body would respond because I had held no sexual interests toward women, so it confused me."

"And the fact that James was forcing you to do this made you question yourself," Esme stated as if she understood.

"Exactly," I breathed.

Esme continued with the questions I used to ask myself. "Were you changing because of him? Did you have some underlining desire toward women?"

"Yes, that's exactly how I felt," I said, relieved that she got it.

"Bella, you said that you never had any sexual attraction toward women before Victoria, right?"

"Yes." Where was Esme going with this?

"Good, now understand this. Bella, trauma is a helluva thing. Sometimes, it's very difficult time in a victim's life. Again, we've covered that you did what was necessary to survive. And Victoria was a part of that. She was also a player in your abuse, so pleasing her told you that you would be okay; you would stay alive for another day."

I started crying, but quickly wiped the tears away. I wanted to get this. I wanted Esme to help understand that time. "Yes. I thought that if I did it, they wouldn't hurt me anymore."

"So to be with a man, who isn't hurting you, but instead wants to please you, you feel happy, and I'm glad you can classify and understand that emotion, because it's very tricky."

"I still have doubts."

"And that's good, in your case, they help you…for now," Esme said with a small grin. "You're human and you will doubt. How can you not? Look what you've been through. But life is easier with trust. But, trust must be earned. And I'm glad that Jasper isn't only taking what he wants out of the situation, but that your needs are being met as well. You're doing very well, Bella. You're pinpointing emotions, and observing and taking time to understand them whether they're good or bad."

"Thank you," I smiled.

"Good, now the other night when Jasper woke up and grabbed your neck, how did you feel?" I knew Esme would go here and I let her that I anticipated this.

"I was wondering when you'd ask that."

She chuckled. "Well, would you care to tell me?"

I sighed and thought back to that night. "I should have been scared, but oddly, I wasn't. Not in the way I expected to be."

"How did you expect to be scared?"

"Like how I was with James," I said. "I expected to tremble beyond control. I should've been frozen on the spot and started shivering in fear."

"But?" Esme questioned.

"None of that. The fear I felt…it wasn't only for me; it was for Jasper. I also felt a little disappointment and sympathy," I explained and Esme nodded. "I guess because he'd found out that Vicky had been close by in the day and he went up to Houston and waited until she left, so I felt like I contributed to his relapse."

"Like your life caused his nightmare?" Esme asked.

"Yes," I answered, but not without my own question. "Do you think it did?"

"It's a possibility but…" Esme left the question hanging with a small grin. I knew what she was trying to say. Only Jasper could tell me that if I was willing to ask him.

"What happened once he realized it was you?" Esme said, moving on.

"He was apologetic, frightened, he was so unlike the Jasper I'd come to know."

"Did that make you lose confidence in his ability to protect you?" Esme inquired in an inquisitive tone. She wanted to know if I was going to run.

"No," I said truthfully. "I should have, but no. I felt like it was my turn to watch out for him. It sounds crazy, but it's how I felt. Before I even learned from Rose how Jasper loved to protect the ones he loved, I felt this immense need to watch out for him. And the next day, when he looked so small, so innocent, so scared, all I wanted was for him to not push me away."

"But he fought you?"

"Yeah," I smiled.

"You showed defiance," Esme stated.

"Yes. He needed to see it."

Esme wrote something down. "Were you angry with him?"

"For what?"

"For not telling you that he'd also suffered from PTSD?"

"A little bit, but then, I remembered the night we had that long talk after I'd passed out in the day during our session, and Jasper wanted to tell me something, but he never got the chance."

"Do you think that was it?"

"Yes," I replied.

Esme smiled wrote something else down. "How do you feel, knowing that Jasper truly understands what you're going through; seeing as you both have the same condition?"

"Well, right now, I consider it a good thing."

Esme smiled. "Why?"

"He gets it. He knows the fear. And with me knowing what he went through with Ricky, I realized he understands a bit of my pain. He knows what it feels like to be held and taunted and tortured. He knows what haunts me. I know what haunts him. I see Jasper as a blessing," I laughed with tears in my eyes. "I see him as something I didn't know I'd get and it makes me nervous."

"Because of what he did?"

"You're going after my anger, Esme." I called her out on it and she smiled guiltily.

"Maybe I am," she said smugly. "I heard and saw your willingness to protect Jasper. I want to see that brave girl again. She mostly comes out when she's angry."

"Not only then," I corrected her. "When I'm happy too."

"That's wonderful!" Esme cheered.

"What Jasper did to Ricky was to help his mother. He wasn't about to lose Maria."

"You have no qualms about his decision to kill a person?"

"I have thought about killing James in his sleep more times than I could remember," I laughed. "But I couldn't. I was too afraid." Esme was about to say something, but I wasn't finished. "Yes, what Jasper did was wrong, but if I were in his shoes, I don't think I would have made a different choice."

"You would do what needed to be done," Esme said.

"Yes," I said with conviction.

Esme nodded and scribbled something down. "How are things with Jasper on this venture of taking on a relationship?"

I smiled at the thought of our first date and grateful that Esme was leaving James and Ricky behind. "We had our first date yesterday."

"Which led to sex?" Esme questioned.

"Oh! We didn't have sex." I blushed.

"Oh, but you said you came?"

"Not through intercourse," I said, blushing even harder as Esme ducked her head and blushed as well, making us both of us laugh.

"Well, I'm very happy that you're both moving forward."

Our session turned into small talk while Esme reviewed my journal entries and questioned me about them. She concluded our session with the thought that I could take Jasper along for a joint session or two in the future. I told her I was now in love with the 'future' when it came to Jasper. We parted company around lunchtime but I wanted to see him and I know he was at his medical practice today.

Althea greeted me cheerily as did Emmett while the many women waiting, scowled at me. Fortunately, I didn't give a shit. But Althea was a troublemaker.

As soon as Jasper's office door opened, she got up and grabbed my hand, pulling me down the hall as he exited with a patient. The woman standing there, was staring at him, and willing him to look up from her chart. But when he did, his bright eyes met mine and he stumbled over his words.

Althea stepped in and took the chart from him and pushed me to him; much to the woman's dismay. "Dr. Whitlock, this poor young lady is in dire need of your assistance. Please, do what you must." She batted her eyelashes at us and then instructed the scowling woman to follow her.

Jasper escorted me in his office where we both burst out into a fit of laughter at Althea's antics. "She's always watching out of me," he told me.

I didn't say anything in return. Yes, I was thankful to Althea. But I just wanted to admire him for a minute and remind myself of how lucky I was. God, he looked so good in his scrubs.

"Bella?" he said, and I still didn't answer. At least, not verbally.

I walked over to Jasper and pulled him into a hard kiss and by the time we came up for air, his files were scattered, his phones were on the floor, and we were sprawled out on the floor, catching our breath. I didn't even know how we ended up down here, with Jasper's hard body lodged between my thighs, but I loved it.

A knock at the door made us jump up and started straighten things. But Emmett wasn't having that. He opened the door and smirked while he took in our appearance. "Nothing like love in the afternoon," he commented, making me blush.

"Get out," Jasper demanded, making me laugh.

"So grumpy," Emmett teased and shut the door.

"I'm sorry about that," Jasper said.

"It's fine. I'm learning to deal with it."

I walked out Jasper's office after that with my head held high and a smug smile on my face that I could affect my boyfriend that much. Jasper called me as soon as I got in the car. "I'll see you at home, darlin'," he growled, ruining my panties even more so than he already had in his office with his sultry tone.

Today was a very good day. My doubts had flown away after my session and I saw things in a better light. I wasn't moving too fast. I was right on track. I was regaining what should have been mine long ago. And with Jasper, it was going to get even better.