Esme's chapter! It's a bit depressing, but they have to be for things to get better. Mentions of rape and violence are prevalent in this chapter. Consider yourself warned. Hope you enjoy!
I woke with a sharp gasp, sharp enough to painfully squeeze my lungs until I was panting for breath like a common animal. No surprise that's what I felt like. An animal living in hell.
My eyes were fuzzy, and my ears, which were at one time the best in the Cullen family, could now barely even hear. The steady stream of noise that once penetrated my space was now silent, as if all my senses had been suddenly turned off. It was annoying, but somewhat peaceful at the same time.
A soreness was over my entire body, one not from lactic acid build up from a work out, but one from injury. It was a foreign feeling, but not completely unfamiliar. I had felt it before, in my human life. I broke my leg at sixteen, and I was beaten for many years by my own husband. I know pain first hand, but this pain, this is on a completely different scale. This pain is excruciating.
"Doctor! Come quick, there's something wrong with her! She won't stop screaming!"
I could hear someone's voice, a male's maybe but it was distant, almost like an echo. It seemed far away. Not important. I dismissed the faint sound, choosing instead to focus on the searing pain settling over the right side of my face. Yes, that was where the pain was coming from, it was all centered there. The pain was flowing to the rest of my body but its main source was my lower right cheek, by my mouth.
I hadn't even realized I had shut my eyes until someone was opening them for me, pulling back my eyelids with disconcerting ease. My eyes searched frantically, scanning the room for any information, something to blame this awful pain on. But there was nothing, just a grey looking doctor and a few young nurses in bright blue scrubs, their expressions holding only a hint of worry. They seemed almost happy, as if this pain, this horrific undeniable pain, was amusing to them. The thought sickened me but there was no way to show it, my mouth was glued shut by something. It tasted like blood and cotton, a repulsive mix. I tried to spit it out but the movement it took to rid my mouth of the bandage only made the pain worse, and increased the volume of my screams. There was no way to stop it now, not once it's been fed.
My back arched off the bed and I could feel, for the first time, all the tubes and needles stuck to my skin. My once impenetrable skin. What happened to my diamond hard casing? What happened to my perfect eyesight and hearing? What has dulled me to a human's average? Human. I am so human.
"Should we sedate her, doctor?"
It was another nurse this time, an older, more experienced looking nurse. She was short with dark, kind eyes and coffee colored skin. She looked somewhat anxious, her hands almost shaking at her sides, but she also looked determined. I trusted her. She smiled at me softly and patted my hand, her skin surprisingly warm against my clammy appendage.
For some reason this woman reassured me that everything would be ok. She seemed so much kinder when compared to the snarky nurses who had been watching me before while I withered in pain, never once offering any assistance. She seemed to actually care about me, and in this cold world something even that small could make me feel the slightest bit better.
"No Jackie, not after all that's she's been through. She deserves to wake, and walk around for the first time in a while. Raise her morphine levels and get her up. I'll get one of the nurses to call her husband." The doctor stood up, scrawled something onto his yellow legal pad and left. A few of the other nurses followed, much to my joy.
The nurse, who I had learned was named Jackie, raced over to one of the many machines hooked up to my body and toyed with one of the tubes for a minute. She placed a vial near one of the clear cylinders and pumped a clear liquid inside of it. She fidgeted with it for another moment before pulling the morphine away with a sad smile.
"That should help, honey," she said slowly.
Almost instantly the pain began to dull in my mouth and I could finally take a clear look around the room. Even with my bleary and fuzzy eyes I could certainly make out the main purpose of the room. I was in a hospital. I should have already guessed that, but for some reason the thought of being stuck in a hospital never seemed to cross my mind. I mean, why would they have hospitals in hell? Does the devil get some sort of sick enjoyment out of reliving many people's last moments on earth?
But even that scenario doesn't pertain to me. I didn't die in a hospital, nowhere near. In fact, I haven't even been to a hospital for care in almost a hundred years. My death found me not in a place as clinical as a hospital, but in a place far worse. A barren field covered in snow was where I found myself before my death. But I was proud to die, happy even to die, because my husband was already gone and I knew, deep down, that without him I would never recover. Without him life wouldn't go on in my world. A day without my Carlisle is an eternity, but eternity without him is much worse than anything the devil has in store for me. Even after everything that has happened I still stand by my decision to end my own life. It was an irreversible decision, but one that, in many ways, saved me from a worse fate, life without my love.
"Now, I'm not really sure what you remember and what you forgot," the nurse said, sitting down carefully on the end of my bed. I sat up a bit, propping my back up against the headboard so my achy and tired body wouldn't have to work so hard. I pulled my legs up a bit, moving them so she could have more room, but the action proved to be somewhat painful and my joints, which were once so flexible and strong, were too stiff and jerky to really move. I winced and the nurse continued, offering me only a quick glance of pity. "But I'll give you the full recap so you won't have to ask. Your husband, Charles Evenson, came by and filled out some basic information forms for us for when you woke up, so hopefully some of this will…jog your memory."
Charles. I am married to Charles, again. The devil has surely sought out his revenge on me this time. I will surely pay the price of suicide.
She cleared her throat and picked up a manila folder lying on the table beside the hospital bed. She adjusted herself, flipped to the first page and began to read in a clear voice.
"Your name is Esme Anne Platt Evenson. You were born on June 17th, 1987 in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. You were the eldest sister to two much younger siblings who happened to be twins, Abigail and Lillian. They are fifteen years younger than you and were unplanned by your parents, who had you at a very early age, seventeen and nineteen to be exact. Your father was able to go to college and get a decent paying job as a computer technician while your mother started a day care and took care of you. You met a young man by the name of Charles Evenson in college while studying art and began to date him, with mixed results from your peers. Your parents adored him and you ended up marrying him and dropping out of school to become a stay at home mom once you found out you were pregnant. You carried your first child the full nine months, but sadly it was born still. Mrs. Evenson? Is any of this coming back to you? You look a little dazed? I'm sure this is a lot to process…"
I tried to talk, tried to get my mouth to form words, my throat to spit up something but I couldn't. I physically couldn't. Something was in my way. My tongue grazed across the cotton bandaged tied around my cheek, the bitterness clinging to its pores leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Bandages. I thought I had spit them all out, but I must have missed a few.
"Oh!" the nurse said, realizing what she had missed. "I'm so sorry, dear; I must have forgotten to take those nasty things off. I'm sure they're uncomfortable, and your mouth doesn't bleed much anymore anyway. Just try not to scream like you were doing before and the stitches won't come up," she reminded me calmly as she pulled the bandages off. She tossed the blood soaked gauze in a nearby trash can and gave me a slightly worried look.
"You were in an accident Esme, and although the doctors did all they could you are going to look a bit different from now on. I'm going to let you look in the mirror but only if you promise not to scream and frighten the other patients," she said, grasping her hand in mine. I gave her a swift and steady nod. I wanted to see what had happened to me in this foreign hell.
She handed me a small mirror, just big enough to capture my face in its reflection. Sure enough, the Esme looking back at me was not the same Esme I had been just before my death. No, this Esme was human, as I had already suspected, and terribly scarred. My right cheek, near my mouth was in tatters, or at least that's what it looked like. Surely that long red colored scar leading from the corner of my mouth all the way to my ear didn't belong to me. It must be someone else's injury. This must be a picture, or maybe just someone else's reflection. This can't be me. Carlisle made me perfect.
"It's much better than it was, trust me," Jackie said. She made a move to take the mirror back, but I refused to give it up. My fingers kept stroking the thick scar; the mutilated flesh that now made up my once porcelain and marble flesh was indeed real. I could feel the stiches keeping the two pieces of skin together, like two hands trying to close hell's gates. The stiches weren't really working. I could still see red, pulsing flesh bubbling up in between each stitch, as if to laugh at me, daring me to reach out and touch the blood soaked skin. But I couldn't. No, I could, but I wouldn't. There was still room inside of me for lies, and this scar, this hideous reminder of death and destruction, would be a lie. I could forget about it.
"How did this happen?" I croaked out, reluctantly handing Jackie the mirror. She placed it on the bed carefully and paused for a moment before replying.
"Since you're having so much trouble remembering, I'll tell you what happened, but you can't fuss about it, alright? You need to be strong; can you do that for me Esme?"
For some reason I nodded.
"Okay. Good." Jackie sighed deeply and moved about the room, randomly straightening up various things. I could tell she was trying to not only avoid all eye contact but also keep her back to me, as if the information hurt too much to give to me directly. I kept my mouth shut and waited for her to tell my story.
"You have a reputation around this hospital for giving birth to still born babies and for having miscarriages, both of which can harm not only your physical being, but also your mental being. A week prior to your…injury you had given birth to a healthy baby boy who died two weeks later, due to a lung infection that wasn't caught early enough. Your husband said you fell into a deep depression, one he couldn't help you out of. One no one was able to help you out of. You became so numb and somber, that you tried to kill yourself with your husband's pistol. You placed the barrel of the gun in your mouth and pulled the trigger. Luckily enough it only knocked you unconscious. A few of your neighbors heard the gunshot and rushed over, immediately calling for medical help. Your injuries were critical but you were able to pull through. You were very, very lucky, Esme. It's been a very long time since I've seen someone with your injuries actually survive," she explained. She glanced at me, a sad smile tugging at her lips.
"For some reason I don't feel so lucky," I admitted. My fingers grazed the tender scar on my cheek, double checking to make sure it was still there. It was.
This must be Hell.
"Oh, it's not so bad, Mrs. Evenson," Jackie said brightly, "your husband will be here soon to see you and after a few days you'll be able to leave and go home."
Home. For some reason I feel the meaning I usually associate the word with won't be the same anymore. Not here. Not with Charles.
I could hardly even imagine having to go home with him. Just the thought of what he did to me is so gut retching, so horrifying that I can't even bare to think about it, so I don't. I push Charles away. I think about the now instead of the future and what I will have to encounter later. I'm dead anyway, what do I have to worry about? It's not like he can kill me, or even force me to kill myself. I've already done that, so what does he have against me now? For so many years the only thing he could do was inflict physical pain on me, haven't I learned how to take that pain? Can I not handle him now, what with my stronger mind and higher confidence? I will not cower in the face of the devil; I will encounter him head on.
Just like Carlisle would have wanted.
His name speaks volumes within me, but for some reason I cannot even speak his title. The word is almost like a secret on my tongue, but not yet audible. It deserves to stay in my mind.
Where is he?
He was the only reason I killed myself anyway, so I could be with him. So where is he?
I look around stupidly, as if my husband would somehow materialize in front of me and kiss me like he had done less than a day ago. Well, I think it was a day ago. My memories aren't nearly as vivid as they once were, and my sense of time is a bit…off, to say the least.
"How about you get up and get dressed. It might help you feel a little more...alive," Jackie said, with a slight nervous laugh at the end. She obviously didn't understand how ironic her statement really was.
I agreed and she helped me out of the bed, making sure to be especially careful, as my muscles and bones were apparently not used to such movement.
This is such a weird Hell.
"Do you have your balance, Mrs. Evenson?" the nurse asked hesitantly. She quickly grabbed my hand as I wobbled across the linoleum floor, carelessly grabbing onto random objects to keep myself upright. She had been right; I was a little out of practice.
"Uh, I think so," I said, holding onto the end of the metal hospital bed with all my strength. My arms ached from the exertion but I held on. Better to be tired then unconscious with a concussion from falling on the floor.
"Alright, Mrs. Evenson, I'm going to leave for just a moment. I have another patient to tend to, but if you need anything just push that button right over there," Jackie said, pointing to a small blue button on the wall beside my bed. "And if anything serious happens there are plenty of doctors outside who will be able to hear you."
She left quietly, abandoning her steady hold on my arm. I missed her presence, but also relished in her absence. It was nice and quiet without her loud and somewhat overpowering voice. It was peaceful.
I ambled over to the bed where I sat down for a few minutes, sipping on a cup of water left by one of the nurses. It was easy to get back into the mundane habit of drinking; it was so easy after all. Comforting too. How simple it is to get water, or any drink really, when compared to the struggles I once faced to get blood. Blood. Oh, I don't miss that awful thirst at all. But I do miss some things already.
I'll never be able to attain that perfection again, and even if that sounds arrogant and selfish I still want it. I want to be the woman I was before this, the woman Carlisle loved. I suppose I should be thankful Carlisle isn't here, for if he was he would see me as this: a scarred and imperfect human. An ugly nobody who doesn't even deserve his name. What has become of me?
My feet move, even though I don't ask them to. My legs move, pulling me closer to the mirror situated in the bathroom across from my bed. I know what I'm doing, but I don't want to do it. I'm scared to see it, scared to see my own reflection because I know what I'll see. Imperfections. Nothingness.
I shrug off the limp hospital gown and thin leggings the nurses must have dressed me in, allowing them to float to the floor like soggy feathers.
I don't know how I kept the tears at bay, but somehow I did. Somehow I didn't cry as I stared at my own scarred, disgusting, and horrific image. I had become more of a monster then I ever had been before.
Stretch marks from past pregnancies lined the sides of my stomach and breasts, causing the tissue to sag in grueling ways. My once toned and slender body had been replaced by a damaged and worn shell, covered in pale white scars and bluish colored veins. I had become a repulsive creature. A human, but not the human I was before. Before, in the early 1900's, I had never looked this hideous, but then again I had never bore a child before. Now I have, and now I see the effects such a thing can have on the human body.
I also see, on my pale white canvas skin, the tell-tale signs of abuse. They're faded, as I'm sure Charles didn't beat me while I was in the hospital unconscious, but they are there. Cuts, scars, yellowing bruises on my arms and legs, they're all there. It could be much worse, I know that, but for some reason I feel more mutilated than ever. For years I lived in utter perfection, and now to be changed to this…it's unbearable.
"Esme, honey, your husband is here to see you. He ran over as fast as he could," the nurse informed me. The door creaked open, and there, standing in an Armani suit, stood Charles. My ex-husband, or so I thought. I suppose I couldn't run forever.
"Babe," he said, smiling as he walked over to my bedside. I placed the book I had been reading down and looked up at him, expecting horns to grow out of his head. They didn't. "You don't know how happy I am to see you."
I'm sure he is. So happy he must be to see me, his runaway wife who couldn't run away fast enough. I should have known I'd be caught sometime. I was ignorant to think otherwise.
"How are you feeling? I know it's a little packed and stuffy in here, I'm sure you want to get out. I've tried to be in here as much as possible, but with work and everything I've been a little busy, but I'm here now and that's all that matters." He carefully picked up my hand, as if it were made out of porcelain, and kissed it softly. His lips felt like sandpaper against my skin. "Have you missed me?"
His eyes are dark, almost as black as my eyes would become after weeks without blood. Almost. I can still defeat him. I may not be as strong as I once was, but I'm stronger then I was the last time I saw him. No longer am I the weak, naïve girl he married. I've become the monster, and I now know how to defeat it.
"No. I haven't actually."
My lips form the words, though I don't actually want them to come out. A part of me is still too scared to go against him in any way, though that part must be less dominant then the part that want's to tear him to shreds.
The nurse's eyes flicker to mine. She mouths something but I can't quite distinguish what she says. Before I can ask her she's leaving, shutting the door behind her with a soft click.
"That wasn't polite to say in front of that nurse," Charles whispered harshly. He had leaned down so his breath was on my ear, hot and sticky. I shrugged away from his touch.
"Quite frankly I don't really care what is polite and what is not. Right now, I want to be alone and you are inhibiting that. So leave. Now. And don't come back. I never want to see your face again," I clarified. The confidence behind each word was rather startlingly, as I didn't actually think I had it in me to say such things to another human, even after what he had done to me in the past. Somehow the kindness inside of me had been dimmed when I saw him. The love I had once been known for had shrunken and died, leaving me bitter and cold. I didn't need to be nice to him. He didn't deserve my attention and especially not my mercy.
His eyes became squinted lines as he stared at me, his forehead creasing weirdly. I felt his hand wrap around my arm, strong fingers clasping around my paper thin bones and deteriorated muscles. He slammed my arm down one, twice, three times, each time with more pressure than the last. His grasp tightened considerably as his lips neared my cheek, kissing the skin softly, and tenderly as if the action would make up for what he had just done. His other hand came out to hold my chin, gripping the skin painfully as he spoke.
"I don't give a fuck what you want to see, I really don't. You think you matter to me? You think your opinion matters to me? It doesn't. It never did. You might as well have just killed yourself, at least then I wouldn't have to deal with your ugly ass face every day. Might have even found myself a real wife who won't kill her own children," he spat, his salvia sticking to my cheek in long, wet strands. I made a move to wipe it off, but he held me down, my wrists bound to the bed by his strength. "Don't fuck with me Esme, because I will win. Haven't I shown you that enough over the years?"
I struggled against his grip, hissing at his face as he pushed me against the sheets harder. It had been years since I had felt so weak, so utterly and helplessly weak. I could do nothing against him, absolutely nothing. Except scream.
Charles practically flew off of me, jumping to the other side of the room just before the nurse bolted through the door. "Is there a problem?"
Charles shot me a look and I shook my head, "No, nothing's wrong. I just thought I saw something. It was nothing," I clarified. "Sorry."
The nurse gave me a quizzical look, but left anyway, never bothering to ask any further questions.
Everyone here already thinks I'm crazy anyway.
"Don't fuck with me, Esme. You will get hurt. I'll be back here tomorrow; I hope to see you in a better mood. And if you're not, well things can be arranged," Charles said as he walked back over to me. He leaned down and kissed me softly, and for some reason I let him. He would've held me down anyway if I hadn't, but the thought that I didn't even try to fight him was sickening. My resistance was already fading.
I knew what would come next, once I was forced to go home with him. I had suffered through a married life with Charles, and I would have to again. Because even though I now live in the 21st century, the same rules apply as they did before.
Charles had always warned me that if I ever dared to tell anyone about what he did to me he would not hesitate to kill me. I know that is still true, even now. He would hunt me to the ends of the planet if I ever ran away, and now with the advances in technology and transportation, he would surely find me.
Well, there goes any confidence I had. Hello reality.
"It says here your doctor has put you on clomipramine with an added dose of abilify as an antidepressant mix, is that correct?"
Oh, therapists. They must be some of the most infuriating people on this planet. Even before, when I was a vampire, I didn't exactly like therapists. They always seemed a bit slimy to me, like used car salesmen and pizza delivery men. Now that I've had to listen to one talk to me for hours on end about my 'problems' I've learned to hate them even more, if that were even possible. Their annoying questions never seem to end.
'How does this make you feel?'
'Are you happy?'
'Why did you shoot yourself?'
'You can trust me.'
I understand she's just trying to do her job, but she's hardly even helping me. If anything she's making it worse. Now, along with everything else, I have to stress about coming to this ridiculous appointments, which I have three times a day. Yes, three. I barely even have time to eat before every appointment, and even then this awful medicine just makes me throw it all up.
So here I am, sitting in a 'depression therapists' office on the third floor of Wexner Medical listening to a woman, who I'm pretty sure is younger than me, rattle on about what I need to do to beat my 'consuming personality disorder,' whatever that means.
I wish Carlisle were here to tell me what all these fancy medical terms mean.
I wish Carlisle were here, period.
"Mrs. Evenson? Are you even listening to me? Look, if we don't sort your situation out in the next week, we will be forced to send you to a rehab facility, which could take months to complete. If you would just talk to me then you could be sent home very soon. Isn't that what you want? To go back home after being stuck here so long?"
I stared at the petite blonde girl sitting behind the huge mahogany desk, idly wondering whether or not to answer. Did I want to go home? I knew what Charles had in store for me, he had warned me after all. Did I really want to go home just to be beaten and raped again? No.
Then again do I really want to be sent to some quack rehab center for a year? No. So what do I do?
"You do understand I don't remember this life, Dr. Conner, don't you?" I whispered slowly. I folded my hands in my lap, keeping persistent, yet awkward, eye contact with the young doctor. She flinched but covered it with a smile.
"Yes, I do understand that fact. Your nurse informed me of it early on. Now, what does that have to do with the present situation?"
I sighed, placing a finger on my temple to balance my pounding head. My right cheek pulsed, the wound almost acting like a second heart. The pounding was audible in my ears, a comforting but still slightly frightening noise. "It has everything to do with it. How do you expect me to sit here and tell you why I shot myself in the mouth, why I made myself into an utter freak, when I don't even remember holding the gun in the first place? I don't remember this 'all-consuming depression', so how am I supposed to answer your idiotic questions regarding my past mental state? Please, doctor, explain to me, because I don't understand."
She eyed me darkly and picked up a random pen from her desk and began writing something down on a sheet of paper, her mouth twisted oddly. She looked annoyed but not mad, which surprised me. By what I've seen of her over the past few days she's very quick to anger. Not the best therapist on the market, but at least she's trying.
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Mrs. Evenson, but it is not my job to uncover your past for you, that's your responsibility. I'm here to get your depression under control so you can function in ordinary life. Right now, I don't see you functioning," she informed me dryly. Her tongue clucked annoyingly as she flipped through a messy pile of papers.
"I'm sorry you don't see me 'functioning'," I made little air quotes around the word, hoping she would get the message. "But how can you expect me to be perfectly fine after such a traumatic experience? I had to wake up to this whole new life that I didn't even remember, not to mention I was forced to see a reflection of myself no one should have to see –"
"Your self-esteem problems are discerning," she interrupted rudely. "Should I add them to your ever expanding list of problems or can you control it?"
Seriously? What sort of therapist says that? She might as well have just told me shut up and keep all my problems under lock and key, which I've been doing anyway, but still. It's not helping.
"Self-esteem problems? Give me a break, anyone placed in my same situation would feel lessened by their appearance. Have you seen this scar?" I asked hauntingly, pointing at the red and white colored scar stretching across my face. The nurse had permanently taken off all the bandages this morning, which was comfortable and nice, but also terrifying. Everywhere I go I have to see a monster in my reflection. "How would you feel if it was plastered on your face instead of mine?"
Dr. Conner breathed deeply, gripping the pen in her hand with surprising strength. Now she was angry. Good, she needs to understand what's it's like for me here. She needs to know what it's like to wake up every day in Hell.
"Alright, I think that's enough for right now. Goodbye Mrs. Evenson."
Her voice was cold, commanding and as hard as steel. I complied and left, not even bothering to say anything else. I think I got my point across just fine.
Whatever happened to the caring and kind Esme? Where did she go?
She must have died because I can't fine her anywhere. The only Esme left is a half-dead monster, lugging around an empty and soul-less shell.
When I went back later that day I had a new therapist. When I asked him where Dr. Conner was, he said she had other patients to tend to. Apparently I'm not good enough.
"Remember to take your pills every day; if you get off schedule it could cause some serious problems. If you begin experiencing any side effects make sure to tell your physician," the doctor stated, handing me a new bottle of pills. The little blue and white dots slid to the top of the bottle as I slipped it into my bag, giving the doctor a slight nod as I did.
"I'm already throwing up regularly because of the clomipramine, yet still gaining weight because of the abilify. Should I be worried?" I asked, running an anxious hand over my jean clad leg. I didn't want to leave this place. I didn't want to get up from this hospital bed and go into the 'real world'. I didn't want to be hurt again. But I would have to, because I'm an adult and that's what adults do. They suffer in silence.
The doctor, an older man with grey hair, shrugged casually. "With your specific condition those can be ignored. Right now we need to focus more on getting you out of this depression then what you look like. Come back in a couple months and we'll be able to change your antidepressants. At the present moment these are the best for you."
That's what he said. What he meant was: "Without theses meds you'll shoot yourself again and we don't want that death under our records, so you're going to take the pills. We really don't care if it burns your throat and makes you fat, as long as you don't shoot yourself."
I sighed and nodded again. Not much else I could do anyway.
"You'll have to come back here every other day for therapy, which shouldn't be much of a problem as you live in an apartment only a few blocks away and it says here you don't have a job so it shouldn't interfere with your schedule…"
No house or garden.
Just an apartment, the one thing I vowed to never live in, in the one place I vowed never to inhabit, Columbus Ohio, my original home. This would be a part of my Hell.
"Are you ready to go, babe? The car's ready and I got the rest of your stuff packed," Charles said, peeking around the door frame. The doctor gave him a faint smile and nodded.
"She's all ready to go. I put a few papers in her bag that the two of you should go over together once you're home. The exercises will help with her depression and help her become a healthier individual."
I glanced at the stack of pamphlets the doctor had stuck in my bag, already knowing what Charles would do with them. I made a mental note to take out the trash before anyone saw them.
"Sounds good, we'll do that right away. Thanks so much for your assistance, Doc, you've been a real help." Charles beamed as he helped me off the bed, grabbing my carry on and placing it over his shoulder. I felt his other hand around my waist, gripping it like a possession. I didn't have enough strength to push him away, though I wish I did.
"Good luck Esme. If you ever need help, there are plenty of people here who can assist you. Don't be scared to ask for support," the doctor said, his voice warm and hopeful. I gave him a slight smile before allowing Charles to guide me into the hallway and out of the hospital.
It was summer here and the air was warm as we walked to the car, Charles hand still wrapped around my waist unnervingly. His touch was annoying, and a tad bit frightening, but I could deal with it. I would have to deal with it.
"Get in," he muttered, opening the door to the green colored Bentley. His hand left my waist as he roughly pushed me into the car, slamming the door shut behind him as he walked around to the other side. The engine roared to life and the car peeled out of the parking lot.
"This is a really nice car," I mused, tracing a fingertip over the leather armrest. "What do you do for a living?"
I remember, in the early 20th century, my ex-husband had worked at a successful bank. We were quite well-off, especially when compared to my family and friends. I never really wanted the money, and Charles never really allowed me to use much of it, but it was nice to be one of the few people in the neighborhood with a car and in-house plumbing. Of course, I would have easily traded both for a husband who didn't religiously beat and rape me. I suppose we can't always get what we want.
Charles raised an eyebrow at me and chuckled darkly. "Been my wife for six years and you can't even remember what pays for all those pretty dresses and shoes of yours. Typical woman. I work in the Bank of America sky-scrapper downtown. I'm one of the top lawyers for the company. No surprise it comes with a pretty pay check, which you always seem to spend up with your crap. This month it was medical bills," Charles complained, looking at me with obvious disgust. "And those lousy doctors couldn't even fix that gunshot. I bring you to the best hospital in town and that's the best they can do. Pitiful. I don't even know why I paid the bill."
I took a deep breath and tried to reply to his rather rude statement calmly. "The nurse said it was much worse. They did a lot."
He slammed his fist down on the steering wheel, causing me to jump and slide further back in the spacious seat. "I don't want my wife looking like a freak when I take her out in public. Do you even know what this little stunt did to my reputation at work? It ruined it. You made me a joke, Esme. And you know what's even worse?"
"What?" I asked coolly. So far I had been able to keep the tremors out of my voice fairly well. Besides my shaking hands I looked calm and collected.
You got this, Esme.
"You still have to come with me to the dinner tomorrow night, much to my luck. Apparently everyone at work is 'oh so worried about you,' as if they actually care. Linda bought you a new dress yesterday, purple and silver. I've always loved that color on you. If it doesn't fit, you've gotten too fat and you need to cut back. Understood?"
I didn't bother to mention how one of my antidepressants causes weight gain, and how even if I didn't eat a thing I'd still look bloated. He wouldn't care. He never seems to.
I propped my elbow up by the window and nodded disinterestedly, trying my best to look bored. "Sure."
The apartment itself was quite magnificent, I must say. Towering walls, beautiful arching windows, a majestic fireplace, it was all astonishing, except when you placed Charles in its presence. The whole place seemed to lose its luster when he walked in, as if the light just wanted to run away from his venomous touch. I wouldn't blame it, if I could run away I would.
Welcome to your new prison, Esme. Have fun.
I sighed and allowed Charles to grab my waist again, his arm resting on my hip as he pulled me along. He guided me around the roomy space, pointing out various things along the way.
"Bathroom," he said, gesturing toward a small door at the end of the hall. "Guest room," he pointed toward another room. "Linda's room," another small room, much too small in my opinion for a person, even if she was a maid. "And, finally, our room."
Charles opened up two massive white doors, revealing a large but plain looking room. Everything was rich, and luxurious, as was the rest of the house, but lacking in some sort of way. It wasn't out together with an artist's mind, but with a business mind. It looked functional, but that's it. Compared to the rest of the apartment I was a bit unimpressed.
"Nothing special," Charles muttered as he kicked off his shoes and took off his watch. "But it works for me, which means it works for you."
Oh, shut up Charles.
"Hmm, well, thank you for showing me around. If you need me I'll be in the bath, I need some time to think," I clarified, turning to leave.
I shouldn't have been surprised when I felt Charles's iron like grip on my arm. He squeezed my flesh before pulling me toward him, pressing his body against mine. He already smelled of liquor, he must have taken a couple shots while my back was turned. Nothing ever changes.
He twisted my arm behind my back, pushing me into the bed with unneeded force. He was already much stronger then I, he could have pushed me down with one finger if he wanted to. But he doesn't want that, no, he wants a show and tonight I'm not going to give that to him.
Memories flash before my eyes, memories from my past life with Charles. All the disgusting, embarrassing things he made me do, they all wore me down. By the end of our marriage I thought of myself as a little less then dirt. He crushed my spirit and my soul in only a few years. In this reality I've been married to him for six years, double when compared to my life in the 1900's. He already has control over me, much more than he had before. He's worse, if that's even possible.
"Apparently you forgot the rules, my dear," he spat out sarcastically. I could almost taste the alcohol on his breath, thick and muggy. Absolutely disgusting.
"You're in my world now, and you haven't been rewarded free roam yet. You do what I say every second of every day, you got that? If I say get down on your knees you get down on your knees. You don't take baths or wander around, you are my wife and you have actual responsibilities. It's the least you can do after ruining my carpet with your bloody mouth. Now get down."
He let go of me, his eyes expectedly waiting.
I didn't move, I couldn't move really. He had pushed me down so hard that my mouth had begun to bleed again, heavy, wet red liquid, and I could feel myself becoming light headed very quickly. I wondered mindlessly whether or not I would faint before he beat me up. At least there are no stairs he can throw me down, those are the worst.
It can always be worse when it comes to Charles. Always.
"Get up now, you lazy bitch. I do everything for you and this is how you repay me. You piece of shit, you're the most worthless wife a man can own," he growls out, his hands pulling at my hair. He peels me off the bed, pushing me to the ground in front of him. He unconsciously rips a sleeve off of my shirt and sticks it in my mouth to help stop the bleeding.
"You can't just go on and bleed everywhere," he muttered, ripping my other sleeve off to wipe up the mess I had left on the bed. "You'll pay for this. You need to learn your place."
I make a move to get up, but before I can he's pushing me back to the ground, this time with even more force. My knees buckle and I fly toward the floor, face planting on the already blood splattered carpet. Charles chuckled before bending down to pull me up. He shed the rest of my stained shirt, tossing it in the trash bin, his hands immediately going to my breasts. He kneaded them harshly, pulling at them through my bra, bruising the sensitive skin.
Don't let him do this to you. Don't let him humiliate you on the floor like a common animal. You're better than that.
I'm able to find just enough strength to sit up a bit and before Charles is able to push me back down to the floor I spit the sleeve he had shoved in my mouth at him. The blood stained cloth landed on his expensive white button up, causing a red cloud shape to blossom on the fabric.
"If you think I'll submit to you, you really are as stupid as I thought you were," I said around a mouthful of blood. "You really are the bastard I always accused you of being."
He slapped me, but it wasn't nearly as hard as I would have thought. He was holding back, preparing himself for what he would do next. The big finale. I knew him well; he wouldn't leave me conscious after saying that.
Let him, who cares anyway? Carlisle's not here to save you, so for once in your life take it without begging for mercy like a child.
"You're going to pay for that you filthy slut," he hissed, forcing me back to the ground.
Now he's really angry, fuming even. I thought back to how I had aggravated that therapist at the hospital so badly, how amusing it was to see her fly off the edge. I tried to imagine her face on Charles, her beady eyes and crooked mouth all twisted in irritation. It was actually quite funny. I don't know whether it was from the massive amount of blood flowing from my mouth, or the fact that I was imagining my husband with a woman's face, but I laughed. Really laughed. Before I knew it I couldn't stop, I was doubled over laughing like a crazy woman, blood pouring out of my mouth like a spigot. But I couldn't care less, because at that moment I didn't feel all the restrictions I had felt before. At that moment I could have been anywhere. With Carlisle on Esme Isle, laughing at something he had said, or maybe with Nessie at the park. It was easy to lose myself once I lost my fear. Maybe too easy.
"Stop laughing you stupid cunt!" Charles bellowed loudly. But I couldn't stop, not now. I had finally found some type of peace and I wasn't about to lose it, especially not with him in the room.
That's when his foot connected with my ribcage, knocking the breath out of me instantly. My body fell back, much too weak to fight his beating. Fists flew across my face and torso, bruising my skin harshly. But once again I couldn't care less, because I had shown Charles that I wasn't afraid of him. He might be able to beat me to a pulp but he wouldn't be able to steal my dignity. I would always have that. I was no longer afraid of pain as I had been before. I could handle him now. I would find Carlisle and get out of this Hell. Everything would turn out ok, as long as I could take it.
And take it you will.
And with that the soft and ever encompassing blackness pulled me into its welcoming embrace, allowing me to sleep off all my jumbled thoughts.
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