I originally wrote this for the "There's Something About Esme" contest. Sadly there were not enough entries for the contest to move forward, but I wanted to share it with you.

Summary: Esme leaves her family to go to Paris for an internship. A flirty colleague is intent on getting Esme into bed, but she is determined to stay true to her husband in this city where passion rules. Will she find her release through her art or will she give into this handsome Parisian?


Esme's POV
New York City, 1965

"It's only six months, Carlisle," I argued.

"Only?" he asked skeptically.

"It's an internship in Paris! Paris! They chose me! I'm going to study in Paris," I said excitedly.

"Alone?"

"It's only six months," I reminded him once again.

"I don't like it," he said with a shake of his head.

"Carlisle…it's too bad. I want to go. Every person in in my program would kill for this opportunity and they asked me. It's an incredible opportunity that I've worked hard for. Why can't you just say congrats and be happy for me?"

"Because I don't like the idea of you being alone on the other side of the ocean."

"I'll go with her!" Alice yelled, eavesdropping from the other room.

"No!" I objected. "Carlisle, I'll be fine. I can handle myself."

I looked in his eyes and saw his anxiety. I tried a different tactic. "Carlisle," I said gently. "I love you so much. I know you are worried about me being alone, but I can handle myself. We haven't been separated for more than a few days in more than 40 years and I know you don't like that. In the scheme of things though, six months will fly by. For my own edification I need to do this."

He pulled me into his arms, "I could go with you," he said, his voice strained.

I shook my head in protest. "I'll be working and taking classes and you have responsibilities here. With Rosalie in medical school she needs your support."

"I'll miss you," he murmured. I hated to see him despair, but I was resolute on my decision.

"I'll miss you, too, but I know you understand why I have to go."

He nodded into my hair.


"Chanel. Bring me back lots of Chanel. I can't believe you are not taking me," Alice whined for hundredth time as me and my entourage approached my gate. My entire family had come with me to see me off.

"I will! I'll bring you back a trunk full of clothes," I said stopping to hug Alice to silence her.

"Only one trunk? What about shoes and handbags?" she asked.

"Alice," Jasper slightly scolded her as she released me into her husband's arms. "She has enough shoes. We're proud of you, Esme. Good luck."

"Thank you, Jasper," I said quietly before turning to my elder daughter. Rosalie looked like she was close to tears even if she couldn't shed them.

She nearly threw herself at me and I embraced her. "What am I going to do without you for six months? How am I going to keep going with this madness without your encouragement?" Medical school had been challenging for Rosalie, but I knew if anyone of us could succeed it was her.

"You have Carlisle, and Edward has been through it before. You are doing so well. Rosalie, dearest, I know you can do it. You don't need me to hold your hand."

"But I like holding it," she said. "I am happy for you, Mom. I just wish you didn't have to go right now."

"I'm sorry that I couldn't have more flexibility," I said regretfully smoothing my hand over her cheek. "It will go by quickly."

"I love you," she whispered in my ear.

"I love you, too," I said, holding her just a little longer.

"I'll take good care of her, Esme," Emmett said as I moved on to him.

"You always do, Emmett," I said with a grin.

"I can't wait to see what you come up with over there."

"Me too!" I said with a laugh before turning to Edward.

He hugged me and said, "Mom, you continue to astound me. You are going to do incredible work over there. I know it. If you need anything including company, just let me know. "

"Thank you, Edward."

I walked right into Carlisle's arms for the final goodbye.

"Do you have everything?"

"Yes. This brain doesn't forget a thing."

My mind flashed back to early that morning, remembering the last time I would make love to my husband for six months. Our intimacy – that alone I was finding the most difficult thing to leave behind.

"If you need anything, I will be on the next flight out," he said a little too quickly.

"No you won't. I am going to miss you terribly, but you can't save me from this experience."

"You are going to knock their socks off with your talents. I just know it. I know I haven't been as supportive as I should be and that's my own selfishness wanting to keep you with me. I am extremely proud of you though, my love."

"Thank you," I said before kissing him deeply as his hands held me tightly to him.

One of my children cleared their throat and Edward spoke up, "Esme, they are almost done boarding."

I pulled back and looked in Carlisle's eyes and I could see his pride but also his sadness.

"I love you so very much," he said almost overcome.

"I love you, too, with all my heart," I whispered.

I held him one more time and then let him go and turned to bid them all good bye before hurrying onto the plane. I couldn't take any more goodbyes and the flight wouldn't wait for me.

I took my seat in first class, and as the plane took off over New York I thought, it's only six months. I'll be back here before I know it. They'll be fine without me. It's only six months.


Paris, Six weeks later

"You are making us look bad, Esme," Nancy bemoaned.

"How could I possibly make you look bad? Am I that good at fetching coffee?" I said dismissingly.

"I'm not talking about the office, although no one seems to mind you fetching and you have been doing much less of it since you contributed to Maurice's project."

"It was nothing," I grumbled.

Brenda and Nancy were two other Americans who were interning at the firm. We had a tendency to stick together. I enjoyed their company, and often found myself out with them at the end of the work day.

"It was enough to get you into the daily meeting and they ask you for your thoughts on the project," Brenda chimed in.

"False modesty will do you no good with us," said Nancy.

"I think it may be genuine modesty, Nancy," teased Brenda.

"And it wasn't just Esme's contribution to the exterior of that office building that got her in those meetings," Nancy said with mischief in her eyes.

"What are you talking about?" I asked warily.

"I think your exterior contributed to her being so in demand," Brenda interjected.

"Brenda!" I exclaimed.

"I think someone…or two have an eye on you," Nancy practically sang.

"That's absurd. I'm a married woman," I denied.

"That doesn't stop anyone from looking and besides, your husband is on the other side of the Atlantic and that Maurice is far from rough on the eyes."

I tried changing the subject. "Nancy, you started this conversation saying I wasn't making you look bad at work, but yet we are talking about work."

"That's right! Your still life!" She said excitedly.

Some are drawn to architecture for the engineering of it. Others are drawn for the artistic merits of design. For us that came from the artistic side, like me and Nancy, we couldn't pass up the offer to take art classes at École.

"What about it?" I said guardedly.

"You are so talented that you should be in a museum," Nancy gushed.

"Now that's the most absurd statement of this conversation yet."

"Esme, you're god damn perfect," Brenda added.

"Why is she god damn perfect?" said Robert, a fellow intern, appearing out of nowhere.

"Let's name the many ways that Esme is perfect," Nancy said. "Perfect grades at Columbia. Star pupil in École. The only intern actually contributing to a project so far. She's achingly beautiful. Oh! And her husband, who's thousands of miles away, is a doctor."

"Yeah, that does sound about as close as it gets," teased Robert. "But I think we could tempt her with some debauchery."

"What kind?" Nancy asked with a giggle.

"Moulin Rouge!" Robert burst out.

"I bet Esme can out can-can the can-can dancers," Brenda muttered.

I spoke up. "I'm just trying to do the best I can in this situation. I saw an opportunity on the drafting table when I was bringing coffee. I took a risk and spoke up. I didn't come all the way over here to be an errand girl and my instincts said to speak up."

"Very good instincts." I turned around to find Maurice standing behind me. "Most interns don't get frustrated enough to speak up for several months and by the time they do, they have wasted their time and lost out on opportunity. Women are the worst for it. Not only was it good of you to speak up, but your input was actually quite useful. The front entrance flows better with the design and the client loves it. Thank you for taking the initiative, Esme. I'm very happy that you are on our team."

"You're welcome. Thank you for including me," I said humbly.

"You don't seem that excited about the Moulin Rouge tonight. May I interest you in a drink and some conversation instead?" Maurice asked with a charming grin.

I looked at my friends, whose eyes all said "stay, we'll go," but I knew it wouldn't be proper.

"I shouldn't abandon my friends," I said politely.

"Maybe tomorrow then?" he asked, and I thought I heard a bit of hope in his voice.

"I have to see how much of my homework I finish tonight after the can-can," I said, trying to let him down easily.

"Till tomorrow then. I'll see you in the morning," he said with a nod and another grin in my direction.

Our eyes all followed him as he left.

"Where did he come from?" Brenda squealed.

"I don't know. Maybe he is following, Esme," Nancy said with a giggle.

"Now why would he do that?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"Oh Esme, you may be married, but you can't tell me that you are blind to his advances," Nancy said.

"And I bet he advances well. He is beautiful," Brenda said with a sigh.

"I'm not interested in advances," I insisted again.

"You haven't been away long enough yet. Give it another few weeks without sex and he'll start looking better," Nancy teased.

"Never," I stated.

"I hate to tell you this Esme, but you're in Paris. The city where people are ruled by passion. Eventually you'll give into it," Nancy persisted.

"I am true to my husband," I said, a bit annoyed.

"For now."

"Forever," I said with a tone of finality.

"We shall see."


Two and a half weeks later

My flat was a disaster. What would usually pass for a lovely livable space that I took at a ridiculously overpriced sum for its view of the Eiffel Tower, had been over taken by art.

I was intern by day. Student by late afternoon/early evening. Friend after that. And then there was the overnight artist who worked through twilight until it was time to get ready for work.

I was finding inspiration in the architecture, the people, the sights, the sounds, and the art that already existed. I was experimenting – looking for my voice on the canvas.

You have passion and spirit. That's what I see on this canvas. Right now it is lacking direction. Center yourself, Esme. Find your place and the art will come. My professor told me upon reviewing my latest work.

I was staring at the new blank canvas before me when there was a knock on my door.

I opened it to find Nancy.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," she said with her sly smirk.

"An artist's equivalent of writer's block."

"I don't believe it. Madame Perfection is blocked." She took a look around. "Where do you sleep?"

"There's a bed buried over there," I said, gesturing to a pile of clothing, sketch pads and a couple of canvases.

"Do you sleep?" she said with a chuckle.

"Occasionally," I lied with a laugh.

"Well if you are blocked, then you should come out with me tonight and maybe you'll find the inspiration that can center your passion."

"I doubt it."

"What about Maurice? I overheard where he was going to be tonight."

Against my better judgment, I had begun spending some time with Maurice. I enjoyed his company and the conversation and I was learning so much from him. I couldn't deny that he was handsome – tall, blonde, blue eyes – he reminded me of Carlisle. I knew that he would like there to be something more, but it was not an option.

"He's just a friend," I insisted for what felt like the hundredth time to Nancy.

"He wants to be more than your friend, Esme. He wants to help you clean off that bed," she said with knowing chuckle.

"How many times to have to remind you that I'm married?"

"And how many times to have to remind you that he isn't here?"

"If you saw my husband, you would never question my fidelity," I said adding my own teasing to my tone.

"What? Is he burly?"

"No, he's Godly," I said honestly.

I went over to the table near the bed and picked up a picture of Carlisle then handed it to Nancy.

"He's not bad looking," she said what a shrug.

"Not bad looking?" I asked, slightly appalled. "He's stunning."

"He's a photograph. You need flesh and blood," she said suddenly serious.

That was the last thing I needed.

"I'm not breaking my vows."

"What he doesn't know doesn't hurt him."

"I would know."

"Fine," she said, realizing she had pushed the subject. "But come out tonight. You have been holed up in here with this spectacular view long enough. Spend some time with people."

I let out a big sigh knowing that she wouldn't leave until she got her way. This was Nancy's way. She was a lively spirit. I was slightly appalled by her sexual escapades. She didn't think anything of the boyfriend back home as she sampled the men of Paris. I knew that chances were that I would end up walking back here alone at 4 AM, while she disappears into the night with someone she just met. Part of me felt sorry for her, but a tiny part of me was envious. I had passed the longest I have ever been without Carlisle's touch a week ago. There was never a question that I was going to miss Carlisle, but I didn't to expect to feel so wanting.

He missed me as much as I missed him. I could hear it in his voice when we talked on the phone twice a week. I was stubborn though. I wouldn't ask him to come to Paris.

I was determined to make it through this time on my own. I came to Paris for two reasons – architecture and art. So far the architecture was a success. The art was more challenging.

I knew the sexual frustration was being reflected in my output on the page. Instead of passion, I saw frustration when I looked at the canvas.

Maybe a night out would arouse something in me.

"Give me a few minutes to get cleaned up and changed," I said going to the sink to wash my hands.

"See, I knew you wanted to go out," she said happily.

"I need something to clear my mind."

"I think you need something more than that and it's called a man."

"Nancy, knock it off or I'm staying home," I said as I opened my wardrobe.

"Fine, but you'll have fun tonight without my interference."


A week later

"You look beautiful, Esme, although when do you not?" Maurice said as he stood to greet me as I walked into the café.

"Thank you," I said talking the seat he offered to me.

"I ordered some champagne to celebrate."

"What are we celebrating?"

"My promotion," Maurice said seriously before a grin broke through.

"I didn't know. Congratulations!" I was happy for him. He was doing fine work at the firm and he deserved the recognition.

I've barely whispered it to anyone so far. I'd like you to assist me for the rest of your time at the firm. You will work exclusively with me. I'll make sure your portfolio is bursting when you leave."

"Is that allowed?" I asked skeptically. I didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize my position or future recommendations.

"I demanded it," he said seriously. "Esme, you are very talented and I want to utilize you as much as possible during the limited time that we have you. My more nefarious plan is to get you to love it here so much that you will accept a full time position with us when you finished your schooling."

"I have a life in New York. I have a husband and a family."

"Would they hold your talents back?" He asked while his eyes studied my face.

"No, of course not. If that was the case then I wouldn't be here."

"I suppose that is true."

He handed me a glass of champagne, our glasses clinked as we toasted.

We chatted for hours that night about everything and anything and when he asked me to dance, I didn't say no.

He offered to walk me to my door, but I left him at the outside door.

When I got inside my flat I locked the door and walked right to my sketch pad and began working. I drew my passion. I drew with love.


Three weeks later

I was nearly half way through my six months and I was charged in a way I had never felt before.

My art went from masterpieces to dull depending on my mood. I was hit or miss. In the office, I was working closely with Maurice and the tension was palpable, but I would never act upon and for all his cloaked advances, he would never step over the invisible line.

To center myself I would draw aspects of Carlisle. I drew so much that I filled two sketchpads. I tried capturing him on canvas, but it just didn't come good enough. It wasn't a replacement for him.

I knew when I left I was going to miss intimacy with my husband, but I was surprised to come to the realization that I flat out missed sex. I wanted to feel my body responding to stimulus and the buildup and release of an orgasm. In Carlisle's capable hands I never wanted for anything. He always aroused me and my body responded. If I wanted to make love, there were very few occasions that I was denied and in those cases I would just suppress my urges.

When it hit three months without his touch I tried something that I hadn't done before.

I felt ridiculous laying in my bed naked and alone. My hands wandered over my own body trying to make me feel something.

Touching my breasts seemed to work and I tried to imagine that they were Carlisle's hands, but while I could picture his fingers, I couldn't visualize the rest of him.

I found my other hand moving in between my legs and began touching and rubbing the way that I liked it. It took me a long time to build up to my release knowing that the fingers probing me were my own. I found the experience slightly satisfying, but certainly not erotic and definitely unfulfilling to the sex that I craved.

I ripped the sheet off of me and hopped out of bed only to be faced with my reflection. I had bought a rather large antique mirror the previous week that I had delivered to my flat. I eventually would ship it overseas. At the moment I was caught off guard.

I looked at the nude woman staring back at me. Her hair was slightly wild and her body was relaxed. Her nipples were large and pointed and I could see a slight glistening on my thighs. I moved a little closer to take in the look of a sex deprived woman who had just attempted to masturbate to gain some control of her desires.

I grabbed a new sketch pad from the other room and went to stand where I could see the subject in the mirror and began working toward a new piece called "self-portrait."


Two weeks later

"Can I come up for a nightcap?" Maurice asked me, standing a little too close on my building's doorstep.

"I don't have anything to nightcap with," I said quickly.

"I don't want this evening to end," he said with a groan. "I've had such a wonderful time with you."

He had surprised me with opera tickets. The firm had a box and the seats would have gone unused if he hadn't grabbed them. I couldn't say no to opera and he realized it. We had walked back chatting the whole way about the performance.

"Maurice, I really like you and I had a wonderful time tonight. I'm also happily married."

"You're lonely," he insisted with a new intensity in his eyes.

"It doesn't change anything, Maurice," I asserted.

"Why not? You just said you like me?"

"As a friend and a colleague."

"Esme, you are beautiful and passionate woman. You shouldn't be alone at nights."

"I have my art. I invest my passion in it."

"Can I see?" he asked with a hopeful tone.

I hesitated and bit my lip.

"Esme, I just want to see your art. Nancy says you do incredible work."

"You two talk about me?" I asked with surprise.

"Just a little. She cares about you very much. She's a good friend to you."

"I know she is." Although at the moment I wanted to throttle her.

"So will you show me?"

I sighed and looked to my left and right. I didn't know who I expected to see, and even if I did see someone they wouldn't know me.

I took his hand in my gloved hand and opened the door with my free hand.

"I'm just showing you a little and then you have to go."

We climbed the steps to my door and I stopped to warn him, "I live on my own and I have a hectic schedule. The place may be a bit of a mess."

"I'm sure it isn't that bad."

We stepped inside and I turned on all the lights.

I had canvases stacked against the wall. Some were finished. Some had works in progress. Others were blank and waiting for my inspiration. Sketchbooks littered the living space. I was grateful that I had covered my latest canvas before heading off to work that morning. He looked around and looked back at me.

"You are prolific."

He picked up the sketchbook closest to him and began flipping through it. Luckily it was Parisian scenes. As he scrolled through that one noting his feelings on the different image and acknowledging different locations, I picked up the few that I didn't want his eyes prying and tossed them onto my bed.

I handed him several more, which he looked through with continuing praise.

"What about your architecture work? If you are such an artist, I'm sure I can't begin to imagine what you are coming with?"

I escorted him over to my drafting table and let him page through my designs.

"Are you sure I can't persuade you to stay on with us?" he said as he reached the last one. "You are so gifted, Esme."

"Nope, but look for buildings with my name on them in New York City in a few years," I teased. "Do you really think they are good?"

"I think they are brilliant," he said as his hands brushed over mine on the table. I withdrew my fingers, but his eyes didn't leave my face. "I won't hurt you, Esme. What are you working on?" he said gesturing to the cover on the canvas.

"An artist doesn't show her unfinished work," I said with a scowl.

"Not even just a friend?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Not to anyone at all," I said, standing firm.

"Will I get to see the completed work?"

"Maybe."

"Only a maybe? What is it your nude self-portrait?" he asked, once again too intimately close.

"Yes," I said not knowing if he would believe me or not.

He laughed. "Well then I definitely want to see the finished work. Is there anything I can do to inspire your work?"

"It's late, Maurice. I think it is time for you to go."

I walked to the door and opened it for him.

"I'm sorry, Esme. I didn't mean to upset you."

"I'm tired and we have to work tomorrow. Thank you for a lovely evening."

"Thank you for going with me," he said leaning in to kiss my cheek while lingering a little too long. "Bonsoir, Esme."

"Bonsoir," I said turning away before he could attempt anything else.

I locked the door and leaned against it for a moment.

I felt aroused and frustrated. I couldn't give into him. I wouldn't. I began pulling my clothes as I walked toward the canvas and the mirror to continue my work.


A week later

"Maurice has it for you badly," Nancy said as we walked down the street after work toward that evening's art class.

"I know!" I finally admitted out loud with a groan.

"A groan! A groan? Is Madame Perfection ready to give in?" She was too excited for the situation.

"No!"

"But you want to?" she asked anxiously.

Did I want to? I knew the answer had to be "no." I could never betray Carlisle no matter how horny I was and no matter how handsome I thought Maurice was.

"No, I don't," I said, but I wondered if I was lying to myself.

"Every girl deserves some loving and you must be going out of your mind! A little diversion will make you feel better and your man back home will never know."

"I'll know, Nancy."

"A woman's heart carries many secrets. I have a feeling you have very few when it comes to your husband. Maybe you should create some."

"That's absurd."

"Is it? I love my boyfriend and I'm pretty sure I'll be married to him within a year. Do I regret anything I have done here? No! I needed my freedom. I need the secrets to think about in five years when I have a baby on my hip. I won't regret my wild nights in Paris. I'll cherish the moments and live for the memories."

"You're not married. There's a difference," I insisted.

"Even if I was, I would be acting the same way," she said with a shrug.

"You say that now."

"I will say that always. I've met some gorgeous men here, but the most beautiful one is the one that only has eyes for you."

"You can have him."

"Have you way with him and cast him aside then I'll be there to pick up the pieces."

"Nancy!"

"I have no shame."

"I can tell."


Two weeks later

"Esme, I want you and I think I may be in love with you," Maurice said, grabbing my hand across the table. I pulled it back as I saw the temperature register on his face.

"Maurice, stop it," I said with a sour tone.

"No. I know you have feelings for me, too," he insisted.

"Why are you asking this of me? If you care about me then you will respect who I am and stop trying to get under my skirt."

"Because it's the artist in me. It's the passion in me and I see a similar fire in you. I act on what I feel and I want you to give into your feelings, too."

"I never said I had feelings," I argued, my tone rising.

"You didn't have to. Your eyes, your expression, your body language says it all," he continued.

"Please, Maurice. Stop. I don't want to ruin our friendship."

"I think it will only take it to the next level."

"I'm leaving," I said standing up and putting on my coat.

"I'll go with you."

"No! Maurice, we're done. We are just colleagues. I care for you and I enjoy our time, but I can't give into this. I won't... Please, just leave me alone."

"Esme…" I heard him call after me, but I did turn back and I didn't hear him following me.


Back in my flat I worked furiously. I focused on drawing the body – fingers, torsos, waists, eyes…

I was mad at Maurice. I was mad at myself. I sat wrapped in just a robe as I poured my frustration onto my page. My senses were heightened and my body longed for a release, but I was determined to get something of value on paper before I moved on to other activities.

It was long after midnight when the tap came at my door.

I growled under my breath as I threw my work aside and made for the door.

"Who is it?" I called out.

"It's me," I heard him say on the other side of the door.

I pulled the door open and threw my arms around him, dragging him inside and slamming the door shut.

I pushed him up against the wall just inside the door, restraining myself slightly from hurting him.

His hands wrapped into my hair pulling me toward him. Our lips met and he crushed me against him.

I didn't want to let him go. I needed him. I needed this. His hands moved to grip the back of my robe as his lips moved from mine and grazed over my face and neck. I ran a hand up through his hair giving in to every feeling.

My hands moved to the buttons of his shirt and made quick work of them. I reached up and grabbed the collar of his shirt and coat and pushed both off his shoulders and down his arms. He was so beautiful.

Unabashed he reached for the knot on the sash of my robe and pulled. A moment later I was standing before him completely nude.

"So beautiful," he said, his eyes wandering over my skin. I wanted his hands on me. I couldn't wait and I lifted his palms to my breasts.

I moaned as his fingers danced over my skin, working me so well. His thumbs teased me nipples slowly. I moaned and I saw a satisfied smirk gloss over his face.

His palms slid down over my stomach and I reached for his pants. I wanted him naked before me. I pulled and tugged at his belt and zipper and let his pants fall down around his ankles. There was no question that he wanted me.

I moved to embrace him again, but he stopped me so he could remove his pants, underwear, socks and shoes. When he was finished I pressed my body against his. I slid my hands down his back and over his buttock. I squeeze his cheeks gently causing him to involuntarily thrust forward toward me. I smirked against the shoulder where my chin rested.

He gripped the back of my thighs and picked me up while wrapping my legs around his waist.

I had cleaned off the bed earlier and he made a bee line for it. He laid me down on my back and I reluctantly released my hips. He stayed between my thighs though. He leaned over me capturing my lips again, and slowly, torturously, moved them down my jaw, then my neck, collarbone, my chest and then my breasts. I moaned so loud that I was sure the neighbors had to have heard me, but I didn't care one bit. He slid a finger in between my folds where he was met with wetness. I watched wide eyed as he ran his slippery finger over my nipple before taking it into his mouth. My back arched off the bed and his free hand moved to my hips teasing the sensitive skin there.

I whimpered. I was trying so hard not to be too forceful because I didn't want to injure him in my frantic desire. I grasped his butt and pulled him toward me, but he wasn't giving in. Too bad I was not willing to be denied.

I took control and flipped him onto his back. I saw his surprise and there was possibly an objection coming to his lips, but I placed my palm over his mouth to silence him.

I lifted myself. I could feel the wetness running down my thighs. I needed this like I had never needed it before. I teased him and myself a little by letting the tip of his erection slip over my bud and against my entrance. His hands grasped my hips and I took him completely inside of me. I started slowly, but sped up quickly. I didn't have the patience. I was lost in the sensations. I threw my head back to the side and caught the movement of my hair across the room. The mirror.

I turned my head to watch my body move up and down on him. My breasts bouncing. His hands sliding on my hips. His toes curling. The profile of his face and I saw his eyes open and look up at me.

"Esme," he groaned, half a question, half a cry of passion.

I reached down to his chin and turned it to see what I was seeing. He looked confused for a moment, but then he realized what he was looking at and groaned even louder. My eyes were locked on his in the mirror as I continued to ride him to my orgasm and his.

I collapsed forward resting my head on his chest facing the mirror.

We were a beautiful sight. He wasn't done with me though.

He held me to him as he moved to sit on the edge of the bed; my back was to the mirror. He was looking over my shoulder at our reflection as his hands slid down my back. "So beautiful," he whispered again before burying his face in my hair.

"I want you," I murmured.

"You have me," he uttered, fully erect again.

I went to lift my leg off of him, but his hands held me to him.

I put my hand on his and went to peal his fingers off and met his confused eyes. "You'll like this." I said, the lust obvious in my tone.

I stood up and took his hand to follow me. I stood before the mirror with him behind me. His hands couldn't stay off of me. I turned my head to kiss him and give him a naughty look.

I then sank to my hands and knees and looked up at him through the mirror and said in a sultry tone, "Take me from behind."

I didn't have to say it again. He was on his knees in a flash. He leaned over me kissing my back. My eyes were locked on us in the mirror. Our reflection was gorgeous and inspiring. He slid into me again. I watched his hands move over me and the movement of our bodies. Every so often our eyes would lock and the intensity was one of the most erotic things I had ever experienced. It didn't take long to orgasm again…and again… All night we kept at it. Changing position and wandering hands and watching.

As twilight broke, we finally paused and I was wrapped in his arms, our limbs entangled and my head on his shoulder in my small bed.

"Hello, Carlisle," I finally said, hours overdue. "What are you doing here?"

He chuckled. "I think what we did what I am here to do for the last five hours."

"I told you not to come."

"I know, and I'm sorry, but our children practically threw me on the plane."

I rolled over and lifted my head so I can see his face. "Why?"

His hand floated over my hair. "Edward couldn't stand my lustful thoughts of you. Jasper couldn't take my moodiness. Rosalie and Emmett couldn't take my moping. Alice said I needed to go to you, which worried me more than anything. She refused details, but she said I needed to go before someone acted inappropriately with you."

I frowned. "I can take care of myself."

"I never doubted that, Esme. But also, I needed you. I needed this. My hand is no substitute for you."

I smirked. "I could say the same exact thing."

He looked shocked for a moment, but the look turned to amusement. "You are a wonder, my love."

"How long are you here for?"

"A week, but I can extend it."

My eyes and my fingers slid down his chest. "It will be nice to have my muse here in person."

"Your muse?"

I traced a finger over his pelvis. "I can't even begin to tell you how much time I have spent drawing your body. I have never seen anything that compares to you in beauty."

"It's hard to agree when the most beautiful creature in the world is above me," he said gently.

I suppressed a grin.

"What else have you been working on?" he asked innocently.

"Self-portraits," I said and I swallowed a giggle.

"Is that what the mirror is for?"

"That's what the mirror inspired in me and I'm sure tonight inspired future works."

"Will you show me?"

I jumped up and grabbed my books containing the images of him and me. He flipped through them slowly taking in every image. He had started with the books of himself before moving to the one of me. He slowed down even more on that one.

"You did make good work of your hands," he teased at some or the more erotic images. I gave him a joking shove. By the time closed the book he was aroused again.

"Esme, you are so talented in so many ways," he said looking a bit awed.

I glanced down at his erection. "I think my talents can help with that."

"I have no doubt," he murmured as I slid back into his arms.

We were still in bed when a knock came at the door two hours later.

I sat straight up.

"Were you expecting company?" Carlisle asked.

"Shoot! I'm supposed to go to a workshop this morning with Nancy. Just stay here!" I said and jumped out of bed grabbing my robe from the floor and pulling it on as the second knock came.

I tied it tight and went to the door. As soon as I opened it, Nancy burst into my apartment.

"You're not dressed yet? We're going to be late. Were you working all night again?"

I saw her eyes spot my husband's pants on the floor and her mouth fall open. Her voice turned to a whisper. "You did it! Is he sleeping?" she asked her eyes turning to the bed.

"Yes, my husband is sleeping in my bed," I hissed.

She looked confused for a moment and then her mind caught up.

"Your husband is here?"

I pointed to the bed where Carlisle was pretending to be sleep, the sheets only partially covering him.

"Oh my God! That's your husband?" she whispered. "Alright, I believe you now. Wow! Maurice is no comparison to that. Do you want me to let Maurice down easy?"

"I've let him down. He doesn't listen."

"Bring your husband to the café tonight. Maurice will be there. One look at your husband and he'll know he doesn't have a chance."

"I don't plan to leave this place today."

"I don't blame you," she said still ogling my husband. "I guess you're not going this morning then."

"Nope, but you better get going or you are going to be late."

"Alright, but bring him out later. It's Saturday. I want to meet him and I'm sure the gang will too," she said as she headed toward the door.

"He'll be here a week, so if not today, you'll meet him later this week."

"Alright, have fun!" she said with a wink.

I closed the door behind her and a moment later Carlisle was at my back. I fell back against him.

"Is there someone you would like to tell me about?"

"Maurice?"

"Isn't he your boss?"

"Technically, no, but I've been working on projects with him. We're friends, too, but he would like it to be more," I said turning around to look at him.

"Has he acted inappropriately with you?" he asked with great concern.

"Nothing that I can't handle. He knows I am married and not interested."

"Nancy seemed to think that you were sleeping with him."

"That may be in his thoughts, but only you were in mine," I said taking his hand and leading him back toward the bed.

"Esme, do I need to say something to him?"

"No, your presence alone will show him that he has no chance," I said punctuating my sentence with a kiss.

He stopped at the covered canvas. "What is this?" he asked, touching the cloth covering it.

My hand touched his. "It's a work in progress still although I think tonight has given me the inspiration to finish it."

"Then finish it," he said with a smile.

"Now?"

"Do you need me to be your live muse?" he joshed.

"Yes!" I said pushing him back toward the bed until he sat on it. "Just sit there."

I pulled the drape off and went to work.


We did go out that evening as Carlisle was impatient to stake his claim to me in front of Maurice.

He was interpreting Alice's vision that Maurice must be the person who she was talking about and he didn't want to delay.

I could tell when we walked in that Nancy had briefed the group on my husband's arrival. Brenda and Robert's mouths fell open. Maurice looked at my husband with disdain at first, but was friendly enough.

Maurice became very businesslike as he talked to Carlisle. He spoke as if he was my boss, and Carlisle played along, Carlisle was charming and my friends were enamored. Maurice uncharacteristically left early, while we stayed out half the night.


Monday morning I left Carlisle to go to work. I had wrapped my canvas to take to class that night to show to my professor. In the past, I would have never shared such an intimate look at myself, but I was proud of my work and I had nothing to hide when it came to this piece.

I was completely professional as I walked into the office and wished Maurice good morning.

"I need to talk to you," he said gravely.

I nodded and followed him into his office and he closed the door.

"What was that Saturday night?" he asked intensely.

"What are you talking about?"

"Flaunting your husband in front of me when you know how I feel."

"Are you insane? He's my husband and I've made it very clear to you more times that I should have needed to that I am happily married and we are just friends."

"You have been reassigned."

"What?" I asked, completely taken by surprise. "Why?"

"Nancy is going to come on board my team. She has some interesting ideas. You'll work with Jean-Paul."

I shook my head. "You are a piece of work, Maurice."

I went to reach for the door knob, but he grabbed my arm to stop me. "We could have been great together."

"Yes, as an architectural team."

"You know what I mean," he hissed.

"No, I don't. If you are talking about romantically or sexually, you are dead wrong. I would never choose a man who doesn't take no for an answer and has no respect for me or my marriage. We could have been friends, but even that was never the case. You were pursuing something that was never yours to pursue. I'm sure I will enjoy working for Jean-Paul and I won't have to deal with your asinine behavior."

"You're an intern! I could get you fired!"

"For what? I've been told repeatedly including by you that I am the best intern you have ever had. Refusing to sleep with you is not an offense you can get me fired for."

His face was red with anger and I moved for the door. "It's your loss."

I picked up my canvas then unwrapped the paper and showed it to him. His face went from red to white and his mouth fell open while his hands went wide.

"Is that what you see when you at him?"

"It's completely accurate."

"Is that the way he looks at you?"

I nodded.

"I never stood a chance," he said with his tail between his legs.

"No, you didn't," I said as a wrapped the paper back around it and secured it. He didn't move as I walked toward the door.

"I've lost nothing," I said as I closed the door behind me and headed down the hall to report to Jean-Paul.


Carlisle stayed a little over a week before heading home to the family while I finished my last two months in Paris.

Maurice never bothered me again, but I couldn't avoid him. I just did my job and was completely professional through the end of my time at the firm.

As luck would have it, Jean-Paul had better friends in high places than Maurice, and recommended me for a position in the New York office. I turned it down. I didn't want to continue to run into Maurice and I thought I could do better than a firm that would hire him.

My art professor loved my "self-portrait" and several other pieces I added to the series that I worked on during Carlisle's stay and after he left. He called them beautiful, honest, soul bearing and provocative. While I did share the works with the class, I refused to let them be displayed.

I packed them all and sent them home. The crates with the paintings and the mirror arrive a week after I did when I happened to be home alone. I instructed the delivery service to take them into our bedroom.

I took the paintings out to show Carlisle, but I didn't know what I would do with them. They weren't something our children would ever want see. It's not like I could hang them in Carlisle's office.

Carlisle arrived home a half hour later and found me staring at the pieces in our room.

"You weren't kidding when you said you got on a roll after I left," he said admiring the paintings leaning against the wall.

He picked up one that was a nude of just of me. "I wish I could get away with hanging this in my office although I don't know how I would ever get any work done with this distraction."

"I've been sitting here distracted by the one that was next to it," I teased referring to the one of just him. "Although I really think the next time I decide to create any art piece of you it will have to be a clay or marble – something that really captures how sculpted you are."

"I probably could hang this on the wall and say it's some ancient goddess and get away with it," Carlisle said almost to himself.

"Did you just call me ancient?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Never," he said putting down the picture and sitting next to me on the sofa in front of the one that started it all. He looked at it too and wrapped an arm around my back. "Is it a reminder to never be apart so long again?"

"No, it's a reminder that no matter where we are or how long we are separated, we only have eyes and thoughts of each other," I said leaning into him.

"Always," he reaffirmed and kissed my temple. "Maybe we can hang it in our closet."

"Or maybe we'll just store them for now and if we ever have a place of our own or a vacation home we can put them there."

"Leave them out a little longer. I want to admire your work and the kids won't be home for another two hours. I find it inspiring. What's in that crate?" he asked gesturing to the larger one.

"The mirror," I said with a sly grin.

"And you haven't unpacked it yet?" he asked with surprise.

"I was afraid it might inspire debauchery."

"And your paintings don't?"

"They do for you, but for me they are an examination of who I am and who I see in the mirror and in your eyes."

"Are you happy with all of those visions?"

"I am now. I needed that bought of independence and alone time to reach it and now I'm completely content. Thank you for being so understanding…and invading my flat for a week. Your absence and your presence were inspiring."

"I hope that's a good thing."

"It's a very good thing," I said laying back on the bed, pulling him down with me. I glanced over at the painting one more time – I was in the foreground, while Carlisle stood in the background in a different space, both of us nude and touching ourselves, but while Carlisle's eyes long for me with eternal love, my eyes are looking at his reflection in the mirror in front of us with eternal lust. The passion plays out on the canvas in the longing for the only one that matters.

That afternoon we gave in to every lustful thought. No longer alone. No longer separated by an ocean. Carlisle uncrated the mirror and as I watched us in the reflection surrounded by the ornate frame, I took in my self-portrait again. I had lived independently. I had done so much on my own, but my self-portrait only ever felt complete as it did now, when Carlisle was in it.


Author's Note

I hope you enjoyed this story. The idea of Esme going to Paris for an internship in the 1960's was something I intended to write in "The Esme Chronicles." I still see this as being part of her story. It remains to be seen how I'll include it when I get to that time period.

Thank you to December LeNoir and SweedishBubble for their beta work and their support and love. Thank you to FrozenSoldier for the beautiful banner, which you can see on my tumblr.

Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think!