Out of Reach

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Esme and Jack.
Esme and Rob.
Esme and Connor.
Esme and her inner demons.
She has to choose, but which one?

Submitted: July 07, 2016

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Submitted: July 07, 2016

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Out of Reach

Esme wasn’t entirely sure why she had been invited to Jenna’s party. It wasn’t like they even knew each other that well, they had only recently befriended the other. It was highly likely that Esme’s invite was because she was there as Jenna had suggested the idea, but she went regardless because if the offer to get blindly drunk was on the table, Esme was more than happy to take it.

Jack had picked her up at 7, and they went and bought plenty of vodka before driving in the direction of Jenna’s house. She lived in the middle of nowhere, and as Jack drove on, the light got darker and darker. Esme had been texting Connor all day, and she didn’t believe he was actually going until they pulled up on Jenna’s drive and Rob’s car was already parked up, Connor stood beside it smiling, bags in hand. Beside, her Jack pulled a face of disgust that she saw in the mirror.

“What’s up?” She asked.

“Didn’t think Rob was going to turn up…” He answered, his voice echoing his dislike. Esme knew exactly what he was getting at. When they had first broken up, with the intention that it was over for good, Esme had got spectacularly drunk and flirted with Rob in front of Jack. Three months on and he still hadn’t forgiven her for it.

Internally, Esme sighed before getting out the car. She had to put on a brave face, she had to smile and hide her anxiety. It was imperative that she work through her inner demons, her doubts about Jack… and enjoy the night. Jenna came running out of the house, drink in hand, beaming.

“I can’t believe you made it!” She shouted in her face. “It got past 8 and I was like, oh my god, I don’t think anyone is coming to Blair.” She turned towards Rob and Connor and threw her arms around them. “I’m so glad you made it!” Esme took a step back, wiping Jenna’s spit from her cheeks. Everyone looked very uncomfortable at their overenthusiastic welcome. Jenna turned back to Esme beaming, putting her arms around her.

“I’m so glad you made it!” She screamed repeatedly.

Still hugging her, Jenna dragged Esme inside and there stood Blair. Introducing themselves, they smiled at one another. Esme knew Blair, they’d been around each other at college, but they had never spoken before. She just knew her as Jenna’s best friend, and Jade’s worst enemy. Blair held a certain reputation that was neither favourable nor negative. She was simply there, the eye of every gossip fuelled storm.

After their uncomfortable welcome, Connor immediately opened the drinks and the night began. Very soon, Esme could feel her vision get blurry as she drank her third red cup of vodka and coke (hold the coke). Pretty soon, the boys were wearing Jenna’s heels, people were taking their clothes off, someone had put a sex channel on the TV and Blink was playing at full volume on the speakers. Within the two hours since arriving, Charlotte and Harvey had turned up with more alcohol and nobody was sober. There were people flopped around Jenna’s house, passing out or on the verge of doing so. Everyone was drinking hard, fast, like they were trying to just let go and enjoy themselves without any consequences. This night was a consequence and guilt free one. Esme stopped and stood for a moment on the stairs, looking into every room, a slight smile on her face. It felt good to just let go. Even just for tonight.

Then, before she knew it, Jack had pulled Esme by the arm up the stairs and she was locked in the bathroom with him, his face inches away from hers.

“We need to talk.” He said. He didn’t look happy, His hair was slightly dishevelled and he looked as if he had been crying. “Me and you… we need to make this work, we have no choice.”

“What do you mean no choice?” Esme asked. “We do have a choice? I have a choice, and after everything that has happened, the lying, the other girls… I still gave you another chance. This chance. And I can take it away as easily as I gave it to you.”

Jack looked shocked. He stared at her, confusion starting to cross his face. “I didn’t ask you to give me this, you chose to. And for the record, I’m the only person here who knows the real you, okay? I know what goes on behind that perfect smile of yours.”

“I gave you another chance because I still loved you, that’s why.” She retorted. “But now… I think I finally know how much you can be hurt by someone who was supposed to love you the same way, and I can’t forgive you for that. And as for the ‘real me’, you created this person?! Don’t go accusing solely me of something you contributed to.”

Jack looked taken aback. He was speechless for a few moments and Esme felt slightly smug. His silence spoke volumes. He now knew how guilty he was, he was clearly reaching a point of admittance. She thought about the three months since she had broken up with him. The trust had gone between them long before she had ended it, and it wasn’t going to come back, especially when she knew he was still lying to her. He was still protecting himself before putting her first. Some things never change.

“What happened between us in January… What’s happening between us now… It’s like we’re clinging onto something that doesn’t exist anymore.” She finally said, “I loved you, but not anymore.”

They talked for a long time. They talked about Jack, about the other girl’s, about the death threats, the continuous fights, the broken trust, about Esme’s darkest secret. They covered it all, and eventually Esme began to cry. There was no point in clinging onto what was left of their relationship anymore. But the thought of letting go was frightening. Neither had any idea how to truly move on from the other yet. Both had tried other people, but that doesn’t work when you’re still emotionally invested in another person. The connection needed to be broken.

Esme stood up, and leant against the sink, peering in the small mirror, mascara was all the way down her face and her eyes red and puffy. She sighed, and turned to face Jack, staring intently at the tiled floor.

“I want this to work, I do. Everything is fine if I just pretend nothing has ever happened before, and that we are still perfect and still in love, and that we still trust each other. But we both know that is unrealistic.” She started to cry again, her mind clouding. Taking a deep breath, she looked up and started to bite the bullet. “Jack, I-…”

Without warning, there was multiple loud, urgent thuds at the door. Blair’s voice yelling. Jack spun around, and flung open the door.

“ES!” she yelled, throwing herself towards Esme. “Jenna and Rob have gone into that room!”

“Ok…” She replied, puzzled. “And that is bad why?”

“For fucks sake, she’s a virgin Es!” Blair hissed. “And she’s about to sleep with someone who doesn’t care about her.”

Still drunk, emotional and incredibly confused, it took Esme a few seconds to figure out what Blair meant. She looked at the bedroom door, then at Blair, hysterically crying onto her shoulder, then back at the bedroom door again, puzzled. And that is when it hit her.

Rob.

Jenna.

Sex.

Rob.

Her Rob.

Rob who smiled at her in the coffee shop in first year. Rob who was kind to her when she got drunk at Riley’s birthday. Rob who made her laugh with his stupid jokes and floppy hair. Rob who played ABBA as loud as he could and pretended to drum along to Blink songs. She felt an immediate stab of sadness, right in her heart as it dropped to the floor. 

Blair looked at Esme, shaking her. “HELP ME STOP THIS!” She screaming, pushing her towards the bedroom. Blair shoved Esme’s head against the door, yelling in her ear to listen and see if she could hear anything. Esme screamed a response and Blair let go, grabbing Charlotte and Harvey instead. Seizing her moment, Esme slipped past the group and went back into the bathroom, alone. She burst into fresh tears, sitting on the floor her head in her hands. This was all far too much for her. She could feel her mask slipping. She only came tonight to get drunk with her friends and enjoy herself, this drama, this torrid set of emotions isn’t what she signed up for.

After a couple of minutes, Esme composed herself, dried her eyes and opened the door just a crack. She could see people on the stairs, people still stood by the bedroom door, but nobody looking towards her. Jack had vanished down the stairs during the start of Blair’s rampage, and Esme felt relief at him doing so. She slipped past the crowd and went down the stairs, grabbing the nearest bottle of vodka and retreated to the dining room. About five minutes later, there was yelling upstairs and Harvey slid into the dining room, closing the door behind him, leaning against it, his head in his hands. After a couple of seconds, he looked up, running his hands through his long blonde hair.

“Too much drama?” He asked. Esme looked up and smiled at him, raising an eyebrow, before swigging back more vodka. It stung her throat, but the pain seemed almost worth it.

“Same,” Harvey responded. “Not how I saw my night going if I’m honest.” Esme laughed, at least someone else thought the same. There was a thud at the door, and people yelling.

“Quick!” Esme panicked, jumping to her feet “put this chair under the handle!” she said, pushing her previously occupied seat towards him. The two of them put it under the door handle and Harvey sat down on it with a slight sigh. Esme didn’t want to face everybody quite yet, she needed to get her emotions in check first. She needed to wrap her head around the fact that Rob had just been upstairs with Jenna. Doing the things she wished he would do to her, kissing her and touching her the way she wanted to be kissed and touched. Rob had always felt unattainable to Esme, they were friends, but deep down she had always wondered if there could be more? But the look on Blair’s face when she burst into the bathroom had confirmed Esme’s theory that her and Rob were obviously just not meant to be anything else.

“This is all a bit much. Charlotte is going crazy out there. She was yelling at Rob, and Blair… wow. She was throwing drinks at him.” Harvey sighed, he looked forlorn.

“This is ridiculous, Jenna is just as much to blame?” Esme exclaimed, “So what if they slept together, it’s hardly a big deal?”

“It is seeing as Jenna is in love with Rob, and he isn’t with her.” Harvey sighed.

“What?! She’s in love with him?”

“In love is perhaps a little too far… but she definitely likes him a hell of a lot!” Harvey laughed. He looked at Esme’s face, she was shocked. “You didn’t know, did you?...” He asked, his facial expression changing from laughter to surprise.

“I…” She grasped at a sentence in her head, finally blurting out, “NO… No I didn’t.” She paused, bracing herself before asking, “Does he like her? Blair was shouting something about him not caring about her, is that true?”

“He doesn’t no. He said he didn’t even find her attractive, that she’s annoying.”

“Then how can he sleep with her?”

“Some people will do anything once they’ve been given a few drinks... Besides, I always thought he was into you, not her.”

“Into me? Harvey, we’re not even that close friends, we just hang out at college.” Esme laughed, but internally her heart leapt.

“He said he thinks you’re attractive. Most of the boys have. Lucas, Connor, Riley… they’ve all said it.”

Esme was stunned. She didn’t care about what Riley thought, Connor’s opinion was only slightly intriguing, but Rob? That was an interesting development. It was also an incredibly confusing one.

“Don’t bullshit me,” She laughed, trying to play it cool and hide the fact that Rob saying she was attractive had just improved the night by about 70%. Perhaps there was hope.

“I’m not bullshitting, I swear down.” Harvey answered with a soft smile. “I wouldn’t lie to you about this. Especially not when it could cause issues with Jack if he found out.”

“Jack and I… That is done.” Esme answered.

“What? Since when?” Harvey seemed stunned by the bluntness in her voice.

“Since about half an hour ago. Before any of that drama kicked off.”

“Fuck. How did he take that?”

“He doesn’t quite know yet. I need to tell him first. I think he is aware, I just need to make it obvious.”

“Well shit. Good for you Es, you can do significantly better than him. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but fucking hell he’s a colossal fuckboy.” Both Harvey and Esme began to laugh, nodding their heads in agreement. There was a knock at the door, and Jenna’s voice could be heard.

“Es, can I talk to you?” She asked softly.

“Sure,” She replied. She turned to Harvey and rolled her eyes.

“This is going to be awkward as fuck,” He answered.

“I know how I can make it worse.” Esme grinned, turning to the computer on the table and typing something into Spotify.

“What are you getting up to missy?” Harvey questioned. As he spoke, the opening lines of The Lonely Island’s, ‘I Just Had Sex’ started playing. Harvey burst out laughing. “You little bitch!”

“Worth it,” Esme laughed, before kicking the chair out of the way and flinging open the door. “Let’s chat,” She said to Jenna, pulling her towards the kitchen.

“So, you know what happened don’t you?” Jenna asked as Esme closed the door behind her.

“Yeah, and the way I see it, it is nobody’s business. It is purely between you and Rob.”

“It’s nice to hear someone say that,” Jenna smiled, “Everyone else has been kicking off, and it’s just ridiculous.”

“Blair is your best friend, she’s just being defensive because she cares about you and doesn’t want you to get hurt.  I’m exactly the same with my best friend, you know that.”

“I get what you mean,” She said.

“Look, just talk to Rob, on your own, and see what he wants to do now. You could be on the same page, but then again you might not be? Just talk to him when you’re sober and take it from there.”

“That’s a really good idea,” Jenna answered, “You’re really good at advice Es!”

“Thanks,” Esme laughed. She was hiding how much it pained her to tell Jenna to talk to Rob alone. She hadn’t been in that room when they were together, for all she knew they could just pounce on one another again, and this time she was the one who had caused it.

“How are things with Jack?” Jenna asked, “I saw the two of you go upstairs, you know, before everything happened.”

“It wasn’t what you’re thinking,” Esme replied, “We talked in the bathroom for a while about me and him, and what we’re going to do next,”

“Shit, Blair told everyone you were shagging!” Jenna laughed, Esme smirked.

“Not at all,” She laughed.

“I was going to say, there’s three perfectly good bedrooms you could have used!”

“Yeah,” Esme laughed, “And one of them was occupied you desperate slapper,” She thought to herself, whilst continuing the steady flow of laughter that still seemed to be leaving her mouth, despite the fact she didn’t find anything Jenna was saying even remotely amusing.

Behind her, the door opened and in walked Jack, his face was set and he looked angry. “I’m leaving Es, so will you walk out with me?” He asked.

“Yeah, ok,” She answered. “I’ll be back,” She said to Jenna as she left the room. She walked with Jack to the door. Everything that was unsaid between them was just floating in the air. The tension was practically visible.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He said.

“Yeah, see you then.” She answered. He leant towards her and kissed her. It felt wrong, it was all wrong. The feelings had evaporated as quickly as they had been made. He walked away, and Esme shut the door behind her. She felt numb. Nothing was right. She went back into the dining room and grabbed her now half full bottle of vodka. She wanted to just get wasted, forget everything. Just feel free again. She poked her head into the living room and saw Rob sat on the sofa, he looked hurt. His face forlorn and his eyes sad. She felt guilty towards her attraction to him. It had been there since the start of the first year, before anything had ever happened with Jack. Even before Ben, and that was her first foray into ‘womanhood’ as Kara had aptly named it. When she saw Rob in the coffee shop, plate in hand, she just knew. She had tried everything with Jack, but Rob was now at the forefront of her mind. She could think of nothing else. The guilt was consuming her, she needed it to leave her. She took a long, stinging swig of vodka, praying it would stop.

And for a while, that was the last thing Esme remembered.

***

The next thing she realised, she was sat in the kitchen cross-legged on the countertop, her now empty bottle of vodka between her legs, a pizza slice in hand. Rob was sat opposite her, Connor in the corner.

“Just ignore Blair,” Connor was saying. “She’s a bitch and nobody likes her. We don’t care what she has to say anymore.”

Esme nodded in agreement. “She was being defensive as a friend, girls are like that. I would know,” she said, motioned in between her legs. Rob burst out laughing.

“I guess you’re right,” He said, “who cares what she thinks.”

“As I said to her, it is between the two of you and no one else. I can advise you on the situation, but you don’t have to do as I suggest, it’s between you and her. Nobody else.”

“She’s right,” said Connor, “Don’t let the likes of Blair try to control what you do next. It’s none of her business.”

With that, the kitchen door burst open and in piled a group of people who Esme had never seen before, drinks in hand. They all looked slightly rough with their messy hair and incredibly dilated pupils.

“Who wants a smoke?” asked one of the boys.

“Oh, me pal,” answered another. He looked high. He turned towards Esme with a grin, “What’s up pretty eyes,” He winked.

“Not your IQ, apparently,” She muttered, looking down at the floor. Connor snorted in the corner.

With a look of confusion, the boys went bounding past Rob, Connor and Esme, sprinting into the garden, drink flying everywhere. Esme looked up at Rob, who was also now covered in beer and old tobacco.

“I think I’m going to put my pyjamas on,” She laughed, “Connor, please come and protect me.” Rob’s face seemed to drop slightly, whilst Connor looked more than happy to assist. “We’ll be back,” she said with a soft smile, brushing Rob’s arm. It could have been the drink, but she felt electrified by the touch of his skin.

***

Connor stood facing away from Esme as she changed in the bathroom. At this point, she no longer cared about anyone else. The thought of Jack left her head and she was focusing on what she wanted, her needs. As she took off her clothes, she purposely placed her bra on the floor within Connor’s eyesight, suggestive enough for him to know that under her hoodie, there was nothing stopping him from doing exactly what she knew he wanted.

Connor had been Esme’s friend for a few months now. She couldn’t quite remember how they had begun talking, they just had, and their conversation had been continuous ever since. He was your typical gentle character, wouldn’t hurt a fly, genuine, if slightly shy, and he had an uncanny knack of making you feel comfortable around him. Well, at least that’s how Esme felt. She had a little crush on him, but the type you just fulfil when you’re feeling slightly inspired by a TV show or the last romantic novel you were reading where the girl falls in love with her best friend. He was also the type you would get with at parties, and Esme had no objections to either. Currently, her mind was a swirling mess of paranoia and confusion. She wanted simple, she wanted ordinary. She wanted something she could just forget or occasionally laugh about later, even if that was just a grope or a kiss whilst she was incredibly wasted. Esme had seen the way Connor looked at her, she knew exactly what he was thinking, and in her drunken state she thought of nothing else either.

The two of them went downstairs again, and went to sit with everyone in the dining room. Esme made sure to sit on his knee, her arms wrapped around his neck. In the corner of her eye, she saw Rob walk past the doorway and he saw the two of them together. She didn’t even care to look at his face. She was angry at him for sleeping with someone whilst she was in the next room. He may have said she was ‘attractive’, but if he did view her that way and not Jenna, then why hadn’t she been the one upstairs with him whilst everyone else was stood outside whispering? At least with Connor he was obvious about what he wanted with her. And he was attractive. And he didn’t do the opposite of what he said. Not like him.

After a while, Esme led Connor by the hand out into the garden, pulling him onto the trampoline with her. It was well past midnight now and the grass was wet, the air toe numbingly cold. She snuggled up next to him once they settled on the trampoline, her head against his chest. Slowly he moved his hands along her, touching different areas of her body. She closed her eyes and let him run his hands along her stomach, her back and her legs. It was nice to have someone else touch her skin and really want to do it. It was nice to have someone want her and for it to be simple. He didn’t want anything else from her other than her body, they could do this and it meant nothing. She liked that.

Connor pulled Esme on top of him, smiling. He leant in to kiss her, but she pulled away.

“I can’t,” she whispered.

“Because of Jack,” He said, holding her head in his hands.

“I haven’t told him I’m done yet, he thinks we still want to try. I can’t kiss you, I’m not that kind of girl.”

“I get that,” he answered. “Guess we’ll just have to stick to other things then,” he rolled over, lying over Esme, snuggling into her neck. She started to laugh, letting him carry on running his hands along her skin.

***

When they went back into the house, it was nearing two am and Esme’s lips had turned a shade of purple, her skin was frighteningly cold to the touch. Connor pulled her up the stairs, sitting down near to the top. Pulling her next to him. She laid her head on his shoulder, smiling up at him. He started to laugh at her, his hands holding hers, trying to warm her up again. They sat for a few minutes, giggling at each other, smiling at the occasional joke or comment. Everyone appeared to be downstairs in the living room, some people were asleep in different places, and others were lying around talking to one another. The music had been turned off and all that could be heard was light laughter, it was a lot calmer than it had been several hours before.

Esme looked up at Connor’s face, his mouth was slightly parted in a smile and she returned the favour. She liked him, she did, more than Jack. She no longer cared about being ‘that girl’. Connor knew her, he even knew her darkest secret. He was the only person left at the party who had any idea. She trusted him. He raised his hand and brushed back her hair from her face, holding her close to him. He blinked slowly, carefully. They lent in towards each other, but before they could kiss Esme heard a noise. An incredibly loud recurrent noise. Almost rhythmic.

“Is that?” She asked, her face less than an inch from Connor’s, already knowing the answer. Connor began to laugh, starting with a smirk before pulling back and laughing loudly, attracting the attention of Harvey from downstairs. Charlotte followed him up the stairs, as did Rob, and the three of them sat down on the steps looking up at Esme, slightly confused. Harvey was the first to notice.

“Fucking hell, who’s shagging?!”He exclaimed. Esme looked around the group, and then started to laugh.

“I think it’s Blair,” She snorted, the group laughed in a mixture of disgust and hilarity.

“Well if she can moan loudly, so can I!” laughed Harvey, before making a loud groaning noise. Everyone began to join in, hitting their hands against the wall and screaming. This only seemed to heighten the noises being made from behind the bedroom door and Esme had had enough. She ran down the stairs and hid in a sleeping bag, her fingers in her ears as she screamed. Everyone was laughing loudly, but whispering to each other asking what they should do. The situation had turned incredibly awkward incredibly quickly. As everyone retreated to the living room, Esme had a sudden childish urge and grabbed the sleeping bag before running up the stairs. She sat on the very top step and slid down, yelling as she did so. Harvey and Rob burst into hysterical laugher, Esme lying in a heap on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.

“Thought I’d break the tension!” She laughed. Everyone started to laugh and talk amongst themselves, making several rude jokes on Blair’s behalf, commenting rudely on the show she seemed to be putting on. Rob helped Esme up from the bottom of the stairs, squeezing her shoulders as they walked back into the living room.

“You’re a funny one you are,” He laughed, Esme smiled up at him before he walked away, Connor pulling her onto the floor next to him.

Forty minutes passed, and still Blair was making almost inhuman noises. Gradually the laughter had died down, the jokes had come to an end and everyone was starting to get incredibly tired. The only thing keeping them awake was Blair’s incessant moaning. Enough was enough, and Charlotte woke up Jenna who had been asleep under a duvet in the corner.

“Tell Blair to shut up,” she laughed. “She’s been shagging for almost an hour.” Jenna looked around, and almost everyone in the room nodded in agreement. “You’re her best friend, you’ve seen it all before, just walk in there and tell her to be quiet.”

“Is it that bad?” Jenna asked.

“I’m slightly traumatised,” Harvey said solemnly. There was a pause and the room burst into laughter. Jenna stood up and went upstairs, the duvet railing behind her. Esme closed her eyes, Connor laid beside her.

“Blair!” She shouted as she burst into the room, “Shut the fuck up!!” There was applause from everyone downstairs, and audible laughter from Blair. A couple of minutes later, loud thudding could be heard coming down the stairs, Esme heard Jenna came back into the room again, but this time she didn’t appear to be alone. A sudden burst of screaming from even the guys in the room made her aware that something was wrong.

“What’s happening?” She said, rolling over towards Connor. He looked at her and very quickly buried her face into the pillow.

“Blair has come downstairs in her birthday suit!” He hissed in her ear. Esme gasped.

“That’s gross!” She laughed.

“Esme why are you laughing!” Someone shouted, the room was in uproar, people shouting, screaming, and laughing. It was chaos.

“WHY!” Jenna was yelling, someone was high pitch screaming incredibly loudly, as Blair laughed away loudly amidst the hysterical mess she had created.

***

At three am, the room had gone quiet. The only audible sounds being that of Connor’s soft snoring, and the occasional movement as people turned in their sleep. Esme’s eyes were closed, but her mind was more awake than it had been all evening. All she could think about was Rob. He was there, at the forefront of her mind, controlling her thoughts and manipulating her feelings. He had no idea how deep the cuts ran, how long she had watched and waited. Her remaining feelings towards Jack had only been because she was scared of letting go. But being with Connor, those fears had been eradicated. She felt strong, she felt so free… but Rob…

Esme opened her eyes, praying that if she closed them again the circling thoughts in her mind would stop. She saw Rob lying next to her sleeping, he was so close to her that she could feel his breath on her skin. His hair was messy, his face peaceful, chest moving slowly, hand outstretched towards her. She wanted to reach out and take his hand so badly that she almost did. But she held back. Now wasn’t the time. She couldn’t have him, she knew that. He was out of her league, unattainable. He didn’t want someone like her. Esme slowly closed her eyes, trying to calm the thoughts still swirling in her head, the last view before she fell into a turbulent sleep was of Rob’s hand reaching out towards hers.

***

The next morning, Rob dropped Connor off home, leaving Esme alone with him in the car. Before they had left, Jenna had pulled Esme to one side in the kitchen and asked her to speak to Rob about them, see if she could find anything out. What he was thinking, what he wanted from her, or if it just a one night stand. Esme had reluctantly agreed.

Young Kato was playing through the speakers, and they were chatting to one another about different things. College, Connor, Blair’s antics and even Jack, but the elephant in the room couldn’t be ignored for very long.

“What are you going to do about Jenna?” Esme sighed, looking over at Rob. He bit his lip, blinking slowly.

“I don’t want anything from her, and I never did.” He answered. “It was a mistake.”

“Then you have a chat with her, face to face and sober and you just be honest,” Esme replied, “Because you can’t string her along and you can’t make yourself unhappy in the process.”

“True,” He answered. His voice sounded empty. He sounded defeated.

“Don’t beat yourself up about what happened,” Esme answered. “We’ve all had sex with someone and regretted it later on.”

“Are you saying you regret sleeping with Jack?” He chuckled.

“Not at all,” She laughed. “I regret having sex with Callum.”

“Who?” Rob answered, he sounded surprised.

“This guy I was seeing, he’s a little bit younger than us and he liked me a lot more than I liked him. I think I used him to prove I was over Jack when I wasn’t at all, and he knew that and it got messy. But thankfully that is all over now and we don’t speak anymore.”

“Well well,” He answered, “Wouldn’t have put you down to do that,”

“Like I said, we all make mistakes, yours was just a little bit more public than mine was,” She jibed. Rob sniffed and grimaced.

“Can we change topic?” He asked, “I feel like shit about it enough, think I need to move on from it.”

“Sure,” Esme answered. She’d done her bit for Jenna and she’d message her about it later, but she didn’t want to keep discussing a topic that made her feel sick to the stomach. They were going to have enough of that over the next few days once the rest of the group started finding out about what happened.

About ten minutes later, Rob pulled up outside Esme’s house and turned to look at her.

“Do you think you’ll know your way back from here?” She asked.

“Pretty sure,” He smiled, “I’ll see you on Tuesday yeah?”

“Yep,” She smiled, grabbing her bags from the back seat and opening the door. “Don’t overthink everything,” She told him. “You know what to do, and things might have changed a bit now, but you know what you want.”

“Or who,” He smirked. “Bye,”

Esme smiled at him, and closed the door, walking up her drive. What on earth had he meant by “who”? She shook her head, and opened the door to her house.

***

Esme sat in the bath, holding her legs close to her chest, eyes closed. Her head was still spinning. The only thing that had changed was her confusion. She wasn’t even going to bother with Rob, she’d just get hurt. Jenna was merely an example of someone captivated, and then burned by his charm. Connor… well that was going to be interesting when she saw him again. He meant a lot to her, but she couldn’t bring herself to sacrifice yet another friendship in her desperate quest to never be alone. As for Jack… they were done. He was going to get angry, he was going to get defensive and he would lash out at her, she knew it.

She hated herself for putting herself in a position where she would either hurt someone or be hurt. She knew that she didn’t necessarily ‘need’ a guy, but she adored the company and the closeness brought by a relationship. She liked sharing, she liked spending all her time with someone, having private jokes and a mutual bond. She hated to sleep alone, and when she woke up in the middle of the night frightened or hurting, she only had to roll over and feel safe and protected once again. Perhaps she just went for the wrong kind of guys? Perhaps she was the wrong kind of girl? Maybe she wasn’t meant to be with someone? Her inner demons were perhaps too much a part of her personality. Maybe they weren’t her inner demons anymore, but were what she had now become? Every single day she was morphing into the darkest form of herself and now people had begun to notice that the perfect world she had been spending so long attempting to curate, was just a lie. She was now revealing her true nature behind that “perfect smile” of hers.

Her mind swirling from so many questions, she slipped under the water, and opened her eyes. She kept herself under the water and prayed it would all just end. She no longer cared that her lungs were screaming, her head spinning, her vision blurry. Just like the night before, the pain was almost worth it. She was actually feeling something other than overwhelming sadness, regret, guilt, anxiety… She was experiencing something else, something real, a true physical pain. And it felt good. 


© Copyright 2017 Eleanor Chorlton. All rights reserved.

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