Contest: Spring Squeezing Fanfiction Contest
Title: Permanent Press
Prompt Numbers (Write "wild card" if you submitted your own): Phrases 2 (Spring Cleaning) Picture 9
Link to prompts: .
Word Count (minus A/N, header): 5973
Summary: Trying to clean away her pain, Esme finds something she wasn't looking for at the local Laundromat. Maybe the answer wasn't clean all along, but dirty.
Character and/or Pairing: Esme/Jasper
Warnings and Disclaimer(if applicable): Jasper and Esme belong to Stephenie Meyer, but she'd never do this with them so I'm glad I get to play in her world.
A/N- Thank you so much to my beta acrosstheskyinstars for doing her magic once again.
This story won 1st place judges vote and 3rd place public vote, so thank you to everyone who read and voted and to the judges for hosting the contest.
The rooms had been dusted, the windows washed, and the floors swept and vacuumed. The baseboards had been wiped and the garbage taken out. Esme brushed the hair off her shoulder and looked around. The spring cleaning was finished—nearly. The bed had been made but she tore it apart anyway, tugging the sheets off and carrying them to the laundry room.
Pushing the fabric into the machine, she added the detergent and turned it on. She watched as the water poured in and covered the sheets before she pushed the lid down. Now everything was done.
Esme stood there feeling helpless as the emotions crept over her again. It had been six years, but the pain was still as fresh as the day it happened. This date had too many memories; it's why she tried to bury them in the trash bags she cleared from her home. It was his birthday, their anniversary, and the day he died.
"I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry…" she told herself.
A loud thump and then a horrible noise came from the laundry room. Esme breathed a sigh of relief as she ran to take in the damage. The water flowed out of the machine and spilled onto the floor, creating a disaster she found herself grateful for. She reached into the closet and grabbed out an armful of towels, throwing them onto the floor and crossing them to get to the machine. She promptly shut it off and surveyed the mess.
Sweeping down, she grabbed the sopping wet towels and threw them in the laundry sink, pulling out more to gather the residual moisture. When the room was dry again, she stuffed the towels in the laundry basket and pulled the sheets out, wringing them in the sink as well before tossing them on the dirty pile. She plopped her bottle of laundry soap in the basket and headed for her front door.
The Laundromat would take at least two hours. The day was almost over as it was. She would make it.
A power ballad from the eighties rang through the Laundromat as Esme stuffed her load in the machine. There were a few other machines in use, creating a gentle hum in the room, but there was no one else in sight. She looked around for a magazine to read or something to occupy her mind when she heard the soft moan come from behind a row of extra-large washers. Her curiosity was piqued, and she forgot her search, instead walking slowly toward the noise.
The girl was pressed up against the wall, her hands thrown around the man's neck. Esme felt her heart pound as the man slid his hand up her white t-shirt and cupped her breast. The man wasn't wearing a shirt and his back was sculpted. It had been a long time since she'd seen a back that looked like his—outside the movie theatre.
She knew it was wrong, but she couldn't help herself. The sight was so erotic. The couple, whether they noticed her or not, didn't seem to care about being caught, their only thought was each other. Esme brought her hand up to her chest and her fingers played absently over collarbone as she watched.
The girl let out another moan, and the man pushed his pelvis forward, grinding her into the wall. Esme's lips parted as she thought of what that felt like. Hardness against her soft body, warm breath on her skin…
"You look mighty intent."
The voice gave her startle and she jump, letting out a small squeak. The couple broke their kiss for a moment to take a quick look before resuming their activities. Esme moved back into the open area of the Laundromat, sure that the man who had addressed her wouldn't have seen.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," the man before her said.
Esme, was red with embarrassment of being caught watching the couple. "You didn't, I was just…lost in my own world."
"So you weren't getting off watching Mr. and Mrs. Groper?" Esme opened her mouth, and then shut it. "They are here every Thursday."
Esme's eyes lit up with understanding and she giggled. "Well it's not like they are hiding it."
"No. But there's nothing wrong with a little exhibitionism every once in a while," the man teased, or was that flirting? Esme wondered. It had been so long since she'd been flirted with, she wasn't sure.
"I don't know, I think I'd be too afraid of getting caught."
The man leaned in and Esme couldn't help but notice he smelled like her favorite fabric softener. "That's half the fun," he whispered, and Esme got the message this time. It was definitely flirting. "I'm Jasper." He pulled back and offered his hand.
"Esme," she replied, returning the gesture.
"Esme. That is a unique name," he stated.
"It's not used a whole lot, but I didn't expect to get called on it by someone named Jasper."
His laugh was boisterous and yet still musical. The way his lip curled up slightly on the edge made Esme think he had a mischievous side. That smile was made for pranks.
"So Thursday is not your regular day here, may I ask what is? I think I might need to change my laundry day."
Esme blushed, and although she didn't want them to, thoughts of Carlisle rushed through her mind. She nearly had to close her eyes from the onslaught of emotion. He had made her blush like that.
How dare she blush for another man.
"My machine is broken. I'm not a regular. Actually, I should be making a call about it while I am waiting. It was nice to meet you, Jasper."
Jasper was left standing like a deer in headlights as Esme took off to the other side of the room and pulled out her phone, calling for her repair.
Esme would often wonder what the worse source of loss was, a divorce or a death. In a divorce, you have time to fall out of love, you part ways but you still have hope, hope that you will find what you are looking for. A death is so sudden and so strong. It leaves the survivor broken and alone. And there is no hope. After all, finding one love of your life is hard enough, there is no way there would be two. In a divorce, the love is faded or gone; with a death, it burns and eats at your soul until you can hardly recognize it.
Yes, a divorce is a better pain. But it wasn't her pain.
Esme put the photo album back on the shelf, her hand running over the books there, years of memories, but not nearly enough. She had loved so fiercely and lost so absolutely that she didn't have it in her to try. She was a widow at thirty-six – it wasn't what she signed up for – and cancer attacking her husband at twenty-nine certainly was not what she imagined when she vowed for better or for worse.
She had made the right choice. The man in the Laundromat was fun to talk to, Esme may have even flirted a little, but she didn't have any more than that to give. She was barren inside. Everything had been torn out when Carlisle died, and the thought of rebuilding was like scratching at old wounds. It was better to just leave it be, stay dead inside.
The covers clung to her body as her eyes ripped open. The sweat from her body made everything tight around her as she tugged and pulled at her shirt, trying to get some air. The nightmares were a part of her life. They had slowed down over the last couple of years, but around this day, they always picked back up, reminding her of all she had lost.
She pushed her blankets away and stepped out of bed. The pajamas were peeled off and flung into the hamper. She stripped her bed down and threw the sheets on top of those before putting the spare set on the bed. Her body was shivering from the cold by the time she finished remaking the bed. She skittered to the bathroom, turning on only the heat lamp, lighting up the room in red but avoiding the harsh bright on her eyes.
The shower felt perfect, warm and fresh. The soap washed away the sweat, causing her to wish she could lather up her heart and clean away the blackness there. Esme wished she could talk to Carlisle, the words were on her tongue, but she had stopped talking to him three years ago. Her therapist said it was stunting her ability to move on. Esme listened, even though she could never imagine moving on. So instead of talking to her dead husband, she raised her face to the ceiling and closed her eyes, trying to remember the feel of his arms wrapped around her.
"Esme, you made it." Her friend stood up from the table and smiled.
Esme made her way past the last table and hugged her friend Renee. "Of course I did, it's your birthday."
"Hi, sweetie," the voice of her other dear friend, Sue, said, standing at her other side waiting for an embrace as well.
"Hi, Sue." Once the hugging was all taken care of, the three friends sat down.
"Waiter," Renee raised her hand and announced loudly, "we are going to need more wine!"
Sue laughed and Esme just shook her head. Her friend had obviously started the celebrations early and she was no stranger to outbursts once she had a couple in her.
"Wait until you see our waiter, he is edible."
Esme blushed as a nearby table looked over at the sound of Renee's booming voice. "I'm sure he's not on the menu, Renee, and besides…what would Charlie say?" Esme scolded playfully.
"My husband is secure," Renee explained. "He doesn't care where I get my appetite as long as I eat at home."
Esme found herself laughing along with her friends in no time. When the waiter did show up, Esme had to admit he was nice looking, but he wasn't really her type. She preferred blondes, like Jasper. Carlisle. Shaking her head, she furrowed her brow, wondering where that errant thought had come from.
"What has you looking so serious?" Sue asked before stuffing a bite of her chocolate soufflé in her mouth.
Esme shook her head and smiled. "It's just been a long week."
An identical look of pity flashed across each of her friend's faces. As much as she hated the look they were giving her, she knew it meant she had two great friends that worried about her and stuck by her through her craziness.
"My washing machine broke," she continued, hoping to divert the attention to something new.
"Ugh, I would die without mine. If Charlie's police uniform doesn't get washed every two days, it starts growing legs and scavenges for small animals."
"Are you going to have to get a new one?" Sue inquired.
"No, I have a repairman coming next Friday. I guess I'll just have to use the Laundromat again."
The mention of it caused Esme to fluster; the images of the couple against the wall and the blonde stranger who flirted with her flowed through her mind, and she worried her friends would be able to read it all over her face.
Of course, Renee picked up on it first. "What is with the Laundromat? Why do you look like the cat who fucked the canary?"
"Renee! It's the cat who ate the canary," Sue scolded.
"Not in this case…look at her face," Renee insisted.
Esme sat uncomfortably as her friends scrutinized her.
"You're right," Sue agreed. "Something is up. Soooooo, what was up, Esme?"
Both women plopped their elbows on the table and rested their heads on top of their hands, waiting for an explanation.
"There was a couple there, and they weren't only doing laundry, if you know what I mean."
Renee squealed and grabbed her wine as Sue began to ask specific questions. Esme had been successful in moving the conversation away from Jasper. Nothing had happened, so there wasn't anything to say.
Still, she felt better keeping him a secret for now.
Carlisle had once made a comment in the heat of passion. At the time, it had seemed utterly romantic, but now it ate at Esme every day.
"If I die, come crawl in the casket and be buried with me. I need you always…and the thought of another man's hands on you…" He growled. "You are mine, my beautiful wife."
The sex surrounding that simple statement had been fantastic, but to ask Esme about it, she wouldn't be able to say where he kissed her, how he teased her, or how many times she had come. But those words, those had stayed with her through everything. When she found herself on a day she couldn't quite remember what his voice sounded like, she would think of these words and be able to recall him perfectly.
It mattered not that when Carlisle had found out he was sick he begged her to move on when he was no longer with her. He had even gone as far as buying two extra plots at the cemetery so Esme would never have to choose who to be buried by, she could nestle between the two men she chose forever. No, his reassurances never had nearly the same impact to the words he had said when he was full of passion. That was her Carlisle, and he didn't want her to move on.
And neither did she.
Esme glanced at the clock. She tried to tell herself she wasn't waiting until the exact same time to go to as she did the last week. She didn't even want to see Jasper.
She wasn't convinced.
Walking into the building, her heart sank. The place looked seemingly deserted again, and she sighed, trying to push back the feeling of disappointment for the not-very-convincing fib that it was for the best.
Placing her basket on the washer, she lifted the top and shoved her things in. Just as she placed her money in the slots, she heard a moan.
Well, this won't be a total waste, she thought.
She pushed in the quarters, and as soon as she heard the water start, she moved silently over to peak around the end of the machines.
They were in the same position, she pressed against the wall and he pressed against her. He wore a shirt this time, navy blue, but the girl had pushed it up in the back with her hands, and Esme could see the white band of his underwear. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes, remembering what it felt like to have a man enfold her like that. The way the warm breath would float over her neck, she could almost feel it.
"I knew it. You're a naughty girl, Esme."
Esme grabbed her chest and spun around to face Jasper. No wonder the feeling had been so real; there really had been warm breath on her neck. Jasper had a look of playful mirth on his face, but it only caused Esme to chastise herself. It wasn't fair to lead this man on. She planned on telling him she wasn't interested when he held up a peace offering.
"I brought coffee," he stated and held up the two cups. "I didn't know how you liked yours, so I have cream and sugar in the bag. He nodded toward the brown paper bag on the machine next to him.
She eyed the coffee for a moment. "You were pretty sure I would come."
"I wasn't sure, but I hoped."
The earnest look on his face made Esme smile. "I hoped you'd be here too," she replied, admitting it for the first time to herself.
"Really?" His face took on a cocky demeanor; he wagged his eyebrows, smirking.
"Don't get too excited," Esme warned. "I'm broken."
"Not a problem, I am a whiz with duct tape." Esme looked at him and then a laugh escaped her. "See. No one is too broken for coffee."
"Dammit," Esme hissed. It was the third pair of stockings she'd put a hole in already. Her nervous hands fumbled as she grabbed another pair. She pulled them out of the package. "Stay ups? When did I buy stay ups?"
Esme stared at the two pieces of nylon. It's not that she'd never wore them, it's just that she only ever wore them when she was expecting to get lucky. This pair must have been tucked in the back of her underwear drawer for years.
"Okay." She sighed to herself. "But you are not having sex," she said, directing her comment to the stockings.
Esme half hoped they would run so she would have an excuse to wear pants. One she was dressed, she eyed herself in the mirror. She looked good, her hair was loosely framing her face in soft curls and her skirt was playful but not too sexy. Her makeup was heavier than she was used to wearing and it made her feel bold, like a new woman.
The doorbell rang and Esme looked up at the ceiling. She thought about asking for Carlisle's forgiveness, but she knew if she said anything aloud, she might not go through with the date. She took a deep breath and went to greet her guest.
"You look fantastic, Esme. I know I already said it but…wow."
Esme blushed. It was actually the fourth time he'd said it since he picked her up and that had only been about fifteen minutes prior.
"Are you going to tell me where we are headed?" she asked.
"Nowhere special, this time. I didn't want to scare you away too soon," he answered.
"So you plan on scaring me away later?" She giggled.
He raised an eyebrow and glanced over at her but didn't say anything. The look made Esme tingle.
Jasper had actually been telling the truth. While Esme loved the Olive Garden, it certainly was not the most romantic or intimidating places for a first date. It would allow them a chance to get to know each other without the dim lighting and rich food. It was perfect.
The more they talked, the more in common they found they had. They liked the same type of movies, their music taste was similar. Both of them hated tennis but loved racquetball. Esme could feel the spark between them like a tangible thing. The longer they sat and talked, the stronger the attraction built.
"Can I ask you a question?" Jasper spoke quietly.
"Is this the part where you scare me away?" Esme mused.
"Perhaps," he answered with a smirk. "At the Laundromat, when you watched that couple? Did it excite you?"
Esme ducked her head down, feeling the heat creep up on her cheeks. Jasper moved closer to her in the booth, and suddenly his hand was on her leg.
"Did it?" he asked again.
"Yes," Esme let out a breath, unsure where the boldness had come from.
Jasper's hand slid up her leg, disappearing just under her skirt. "I like you, Esme, a lot. So please tell me if I am moving too fast." His voice ghosted over her ear as he leaned in and placed a small kiss on her neck.
Esme enjoyed emotions and feelings swirling around her she had not experienced in a long while. She was afraid to open her mouth and answer, worried a wanton sound would escape. Jasper was everything she desired in a man: smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous to boot. That was part of the reason she didn't say stop when his hand climbed further up her leg.
"See, I have this theory about you," he continued, his voice hushed but full of sex. "I think you are a bit of an exhibitionist."
"That's ridiculous," she defended. "I've barely even had sex outside of my bedroooooaahhh." Her hand came up and clamped over her mouth as she moaned at Jasper's touch, now rubbing just along the crease of her leg.
"Just because you have never had it, doesn't mean you don't want it. Tell me, Esme…" His fingers came up and brushed across her covered pussy. "Does it excite you to know that we could be caught? That the waiter could come around and see you flushed like this? That the couple at the other table there keeps looking over because they know what is going on under our table cloth, because they can see the desire for me written all over your face? Would you like them all to know what I'm doing to you?"
Esme stared at him, panting for a moment, before she realized he expected an answer out of her.
"Yes." The answer shocked her, but Jasper's smile was all she could concentrate on; that, and his fingers, which had worked themselves under her knickers and brushed through her wet lips. "Jasper." Her voice was laced in warning.
"Yes," he answered, still smirking. He knew what he was doing to her, and his look wasn't cocky, but reverent. He was giving her something.
"I haven't…" She bit her lip before another moan escaped her. "I haven't had a man touch me in six years. I'm not sure our first time…" Esme fumbled with embarrassment over her presumption. "I mean."
Jasper shushed her, leaning in and grazing his lips over hers. "Just let me have a taste."
He plunged a finger into her, and her hand reached up and grabbed the table rather clumsily. As quick as it had entered her, he pulled it out. The finger that had been deep in her was glistening as he brought it out from under the table. He slipped it into his mouth and moaned.
"How was your meal?" the waiter asked, causing Esme to jump.
"Just delicious," Jasper answered darkly.
"Excellent," the man replied and then left the bill on the table.
Esme was panting. Never in her life had she been so raw and excitable. The way he'd touched her, the look in his eyes and that damn smirk, all while they were in public, it made her whole body cry out for more.
It seemed to take eons to pay the bill. Every second was measured by a throbbing, a tingle, a skip of her heart. By the time they left the restaurant, Esme could barely stand from her desire. She had not planned on sleeping with Jasper on the first date, in fact she had wondered if she would even let him kiss her at the end of the night, but now? Now she wanted his lips on every surface of her body, teasing her and tasting her.
When they reached the car, Esme immediately reached for the back door.
"What are you doing?" Jasper asked with an amused voice.
Esme had just assumed they wouldn't be making it any further than the car, and suddenly she realized she was the only one who felt this needy. She blushed and stammered, looking down and reaching for the front door, embarrassed. It felt like a bucket of cold water had come splashing down on her.
She felt his hand on her arm and he spun her around. His body pressed up against hers and she felt him, excited. Her look was all confusion when she gazed back up at him; why would he stop her if he wanted her, too?
"Esme," he smiled as he spoke, "my dear, sweet Esme. The thrill of being caught heightens things, but in the wrong spots, it can cheapen them as well. Would you really want our first time to be in the backseat of a car in an Olive Garden parking lot?"
When he said it like that, it made sense. She hadn't been thinking clearly, but when the sun rose, she surely would have chided herself for such a tacky rendezvous.
Esme shook her head and smiled. "I guess not."
Jasper studied her for a moment. "Esme, although it may not seem it, I am a patient man. Just because you gave me permission in the restaurant, doesn't mean I assume I have a green light for everything tonight. I'm going to take you somewhere and I want you to know you can say no anytime you like."
His face was so earnest Esme couldn't help but find her boldness from it. "What if I want to say yes?" she cooed.
Jasper wrapped his arm around her and pulled her off the car, coaxing a small squeak out of her as he did. Then he grabbed the door handle and opened it for her. Esme's brain took a moment to catch up before she settled herself in the car and wondered where he was taking her.
"What is it?" Esme asked. He had seemed calm and collected, but the longer they drove, the more his nerves were showing. He had been wringing the steering wheel for the last five minutes and Esme was starting to wonder if he regretted taking her, well…wherever he was taking her.
"I'm afraid you are going to find me incredibly presumptuous."
"And why is that?" Esme asked.
"I like to be prepared, it's the boy scout in me. I wasn't sure how tonight would go, but to say I didn't have hopes it would end up where we are heading, well…that would be a lie."
"Boy scout, huh?" Esme asked, sliding her hand over and resting it on his thigh. "Does that mean I'm getting the three finger salute tonight?"
Jasper laughed, the tension on his face gone, but Esme felt the tightening in his thigh as he slowly stepped down on the gas, sending them faster toward their destination.
It was not at all what Esme expected. It was a little cabin just out of town and it was remote. She had expected him to take her somewhere more public and she had a hard time keeping her disappointment off her face.
Jasper picked up on it immediately and chuckled. "There will be plenty of chances for that in the future, Esme. But tonight I want to learn you. I need to know what makes you whimper, what makes you pant and what makes you scream. Once I know that, then I know I will be able to take you anywhere I want and bring you to the edge without discovery."
Esme's whole body shivered with the promise. The night was clear but brisk so it was a surprise when Jasper didn't lead her into the house but around the wrap around porch to the back. Esme gasped when she saw what he had set up. There was a large four poster bed, encased with netting and surrounding that was four tall pillars that had flames coming out the top. They were heating the whole area so well that Esme felt the warmth of them on her skin from several feet back.
"This is…" she started.
"Cocky, presumptuous, too much?" Jasper offered.
"Perfect," she finished.
Jasper moved in behind her and she could feel his arms come around her. He gently unbuttoned her jacket before pulling it off her body and resting it on a deck chair. Esme shook gently from the anticipation.
"Cold?" Jasper asked.
"No," she replied, her voice low and husky sounding.
Jasper stayed behind her, ridding her of her clothes until she stood in the night air in nothing but her underwear. She knew why he had chosen where he did. It was a way for her to feel exposed in the outdoors without the fear. The experience would give her a taste of what she thought she wanted and not rush her into it all the way. He had barely touched her and Esme recognized him as an incredibly thoughtful lover.
"How are you single?" she mused aloud.
Jasper had been kissing down her neck and along her shoulder, and he stopped. "You want to ask me about other women right now?"
Women? Esme thought. Why had she said anything? Now all she could see was another woman he'd brought out to the cabin, and had in this bed. She wondered how she would compare to them.
"I guess not," she murmured, but as much as she wanted Jasper, there was one question she had to ask. "You are single, right?"
Jasper turned her around and looked down into her eyes. His eyes were so kind, she found herself quickly lost in them. "No, Esme." Her heart dropped. "I find myself at the moment very tangled up in someone."
When his lips met hers, she forgot about everything but his lips and the night air sweeping across her back. She unzipped his jacket and pushed it from his shoulders, as he walked her back toward the bed. He parted the curtain of net for her to crawl onto the bed and then he kicked off his shoes and joined her.
"Oh, sorry," she said, reaching down to pluck off her heels, but he stopped her with a hand on her ankle.
"No, leave them on."
Esme didn't know if her heart had ever beaten that fast. It felt like it was about to explode in her chest. Her breath was heavy and her body ached, and he hadn't even touched her yet. When he finally lay next to her on the bed, he gently peeled off the rest of her coverings, leaving her naked beneath the stars. He let his eyes move slowly down her body, studying every dip and curve of her figure.
"Touch me, please," she whimpered, unable to take another minute.
His hand was strong but soft, save for the pads of his fingers which gave him away as a guitar player. Esme loved the combination of rough and gentle on her skin as he traced over her ribs and across her stomach. Her nipples hardened in the night air and they tingled as if they were calling out for his touch.
Jasper brought his hand right up under her breast and his thumb swiped across the lower half of her breast, causing Esme to whimper. Her eyes closed, and instead of his touch, she felt a cool breath coast across her. The sensation made her crazy with lust.
Esme begged and pleaded but Jasper did not increase his speed or rush his actions. He fulfilled his promise of learning her body, and before he had ventured anywhere near her sex, she was hoarse from her moaning.
She thought it had been good before, but when Jasper ran his fingers through her wet lips, teasing them and her entrance, but now she thought she might just pass out from the pleasure. As quick as his fingers were there, they were gone.
"I'm sorry to cut this short, but I'm afraid I can't wait any longer."
Esme looked at him incredulously, there had been nothing short about that foreplay, and every minute of it had been exquisite.
Esme hadn't even realized Jasper hadn't kissed her yet until his lips were on hers. He had the perfect lips, firm but pliable, able to both mold her lips and his own so they worked together in unison. The way he kissed her made her forget he wasn't waiting, and without warning, she was suddenly full. The feel of him inside her was incredible. He was hard and thick and he caused her to moan wantonly into his mouth.
"You feel incredible," he murmured against her lips, echoing her own thought.
Esme pushed her hips up to meet Jasper's, causing him to slide deeper inside her. The sensation of sex was familiar to her, but with the open air around her, and the quiet of the night, it seemed to heighten the feeling. She arched her back and brought her legs up, encouraging him to go faster.
Soon they were both panting and grunting as he moved in her, each time filling her so full she didn't know if she'd be able to take anymore.
When she came, there was nothing else in the world but Jasper and the feel of him. Her whole body shook so hard it was nearly painful. A silent scream was all she had left to give as he plunged himself into her. The world seemed to spin and her head fell down to the pillow, her muscles unable to hold it up anymore.
The quiet night was filled with heavy breathing, and it took a moment before Esme realized it was more than just hers. She looked down, almost feeling bad because she had been oblivious to when Jasper had come, but from the look on his face, she knew he had.
Esme couldn't recall doing anything special, but with the way Jasper smiled at her, she felt like she'd been a sex goddess. Her hand gently caressed his cheek and worked its way into his hair. He kissed her and it make her insides swirl again in pleasure.
The moment was so intimate Esme was unsure of how to act now that it was over. She knew they couldn't sleep outside, even with the heaters, they would freeze by morning. It didn't seem practical to go back to his place when she had nothing to change into and no toothbrush, and it seemed rude to ask him to drive her home. Yet with all these uncomfortable thoughts, she felt no regrets.
"Esme?" Jasper's voice was quiet but it demanded her attention immediately.
"Sorry," she said, knowing she had fled from the present into her own thoughts.
"You are leaving me. I don't want you to disappear into a place of worry and doubt. Not when I know you felt what I do. We are great together. I don't know your past but I hope I can be a part of your future. Will you give us a chance? "
It was all the right words and it made her heart swell. The thought of seeing Jasper on a regular basis was thrilling. He was exactly the type of person she loved to be around and the type of lover she enjoyed retiring to.
She looked up at him with a coy smile. "I think that is a definite possibility."
"Is that so?" He smiled and rolled over so he was above her again.
Esme stumbled into her house. She wasn't drunk but she was so tired she could hardly see. It had been a very long time since she'd stayed up all night, and even longer since the reason had been mind-blowing sex. Her hair was ratted and she smelled of sex and sweat but she wouldn't have changed it for the world.
It wasn't until she turned the corner and saw the picture of her and Carlisle on the wall that the smile fell from her face. She had been out all night and hadn't thought of him once. She felt the wave of guilt, she expected it, but then it was pushed off by something else.
No one would replace Carlisle, but maybe Jasper would be the man that would fit in her life now. Even if he wasn't, Esme knew now she was in a place where she could move on and begin to live her life with a little less pain than she'd had before.
Falling down on her bed, Esme closed her eyes. For the first time since Carlisle died, she was looking forward to the future.