A/N: I wanted you to have this extra before the next chapter posts. This snippet from Esme takes place prior to the end of Chapter 30 from Along Came a Spider 2.
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There’s something about being left alone with too much time to think. It seems to be happening more and more. The silence when I’m here overwhelms me.
Edward will say I’m in denial. Maybe I am. Rose . . . she will encourage me not to give up, but I’m tired of the fight. Exhausted.
And . . . angry, but also sad.
I’m angry I lost Ed—sad that he was taken from us. My heart hurts in ways it may never heal. I don’t want to be alone. I didn’t remarry to be alone. But now the loneliness is consuming me.
It’s been over a week without a word.
I spent Valentine’s Day alone.
No one here to eat the pot roast I made. It’s his favorite. I’m tempted to throw it out—out of spite. I have to question why I keep trying when I’m the only one here. I haven’t abandoned him, but it feels as if he’s done exactly that to me.
After buying myself a bouquet of yellow roses since the holiday came and went without a single acknowledgement from my husband, I think I’ve reached my limit. I don’t want to admit failure—I have tried everything—but I’m running out of options, money, and patience. I refuse to ask the kids for more. Edward does too much already.
Watching the dot on my phone move closer, I blow out a steady breath as he turns onto our street. From where I sit at the kitchen table, I sip from my mug, listening to the slow creaks and clicks of the garage door rise. The engine hums as he eases his car into its spot.
I wait and wait . . . wondering what he’s hiding with his middle of the night return or how much he lost this trip.
When he finally slams the car door shut, I train my eyes on the back entrance. The sound of the garage door lowering is drowned out by the creak of the back door opening. Once he steps through, his eyes find mine briefly before dropping his head and shutting the door. He jingles his keys, avoids eye contact, and shuffles toward where I’m sitting.
Studying his face closely, I notice bruising around his eyes when he moves closer to the light. Scabs along his nose and more bruising along his jaw and cheek. It’s nearly impossible to contain my anger. Something my son is so good at doing.
“Why are you here?”
“This is my home.”
“This is my son’s home.”
“He’s your son now?”
“Carlisle, where have you been?”
“I’m tired and not doing this with you.”
“And I’m telling you that you don’t have a choice. We’re doing this now. I want one thing to come out of your mouth that’s the truth. Just one thing. One thing Carlisle.”
He could tell me where he was. I know.
At a casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
He could tell me how much money he lost. I know.
The bank called asking me to authorize the withdrawal since I added safeguards years ago, worried we would find ourselves in this position again. He wanted all of it. The entire five thousand dollar balance of our joint account.
Thanks to Edward’s insistence, I know better than to keep it all in one place now or I wouldn’t have money for our basics.
There isn’t an ounce of guilt over taking it. Or what my son puts himself through to earn it. My husband believes he’s owed it. That Edward owes him.
He could explain the bruises and cuts on his face.
He could say the words that he’s here because he loves me.
I can’t remember the last time they were uttered from his lips.
But he doesn’t.
He remains silent as my eyes beg him to share one word of truth before what’s breaking between us becomes irreparable.
The lying and gambling go hand in hand, and I can see him desperate and spiraling once again. The marks on his face . . . aren’t the first. He’s on the wrong side of someone, which isn’t surprising these days.
“Nothing. You have nothing to say. That’s fine. We’ve been here before, Carlisle. We’ve tried therapy. I believe we should try medication as the doctor suggested next.”
“Do you love me?”
“Okay. There is a residential treatment facil—”
“I can’t go on like this, Carlisle! I don’t know where you are. Who you’re with. Whether or not I can believe a word coming out of your mouth. When you’re here, you’re withdrawn and constantly on your phone. This riff between you and Edward has gone on long enough. It’s unacceptable.”
He huffs, then points to his face. “Apparently, you’re a fan of your son’s handiwork.”
I gasp. “How dare you! Edward would never do such a thing.”
He has the nerve to roll his eyes at me. “Keep living in your little dream world, Es. Maybe one day, you’ll wake up and realize fairytales don’t exist. Your precious Edward. Tell me, should I press charges against our son? Because I haven’t decided yet. Do you think that would get his attention? Wonder how long the league will allow him to play with that kind of press? He didn’t think that one through.”
“You’re so full of lies. How can I ever believe a thing you say? Did you have anything to drink before you got behind the wheel and drove here?” I demand as tears trickle down my face. “You. Did. Didn’t you? You’re such a mean drunk. How many times have I begged you not to do that? You never listen—never listen to a thing I say.”
Carlisle sighs with disgust. “Save your concern for your grandchildren. I know it’s all an act where I’m involved.”
“And you’re a grown man acting like a child! What has happened to you? I don’t even recognize who you are anymore. Where’s the caring man I married? I refuse to stand by and watch this again. You promised me—you said things would change, but nothing has. It’s worse. Worse than ever. I don’t know where we go from here.”
“I’m going to bed.” He starts for the staircase.
“And I won’t be here when you wake up.” The tremble of my voice gets his attention as I blow out an unsteady breath.
Carlisle pauses at my ultimatum. It’s new ground. I wait for another word to stop me or even a look back, but he continues upstairs, ignoring me for the last time.
Now that he’s home, I can’t get away from him and out of this house fast enough. With tears streaming down my face, I pull off my wedding band, leaving it in the middle of the table. It breaks my heart, but he leaves me with no other choice before I grab my purse and keys, wondering where I should go.