12 - facades down

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A/N: This chapter is slightly longer than usual.

This part and the few previous ones are heavy on information but I hope it's not confusing. In order to come to a certain conclusion, they are all relevant and important. You can always message me if there is something you want to say or ask.

Don't forget to vote if you like. And tell me your thoughts in the comments. It means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy!




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It was a few days after the engagement party and Esmé had found smart ways to dodge this topic every time her father brought it up. The Winstons had come to have lunch with them and it ended up to be the quietest and most tense two hours in her life. Nobody had talked a single word.

Esmé was now in the garden with Jack by her side as they strolled around. She glanced at Leslie now and then, motioning her to find a way to get rid of him but Leslie didn't budge. Sighing, she threw her hands to her sides as Jack continuously talked about his work in the textile company, not mentioning their latest conversation -  about Thomas or anything else.

Esmé couldn't forget his behaviour from then. Even now his attitude was off-throwing. He was purposely talking about his work as if he tried to get his own mind off of something. But she ignored it.

Endless questions hovered in her mind, making it hard for her to think clearly. The Walker Twins. Thomas Lester. William. Everything was a blur. Every time she seemed to get closer to one truth she discovered numerous new secrets.

Her heartbeat quickened when she remembered her last encounter with Dean. She felt frightened when she thought about William's article. And she felt agitated when she looked at Jack, knowing that he was secretive, too, although he was her fiance.

As Esmé listened indifferently to his rambling, a group of people caught her attention. They stood near the house, carrying things out of the kitchen from the back door.

"It's Charlotte," Leslie mumbled. Esmé recognized her, standing behind the large boxes that the men had put on the porch, busy instructing them.

"Esmé," Jack called after her, huffing when she hurried over.

Charlotte raised her arm, waving her hand, a bright smile shone on her face when she spotted Esmé. Leslie was close after her lady, circling Jack and leaving him behind. He seemed to be rooted to his spot before shaking his head and approaching the group with his hands in his pockets and a frown plastered on his face.

"What are you up to?" Esmé asked.

"We left some stuff here after the engagement party. You know, we all quit abruptly. We still hadn't gotten the opportunity to come to pick them up," Charlotte explained, running her fingers through her hair. "Mr Schubert asked us to drop by today."

"And who are these people?" Esmé studied the group of six-seven men. They all looked young - all seemingly near her age. But she didn't recognize any of them from the bar.

"Oh," Charlotte chuckled, "They all work for Dean. They're from the brewery."

Esmé nodded understandingly as Leslie rushed inside the kitchen when she saw her mother Marie help the men carry the boxes.

"Hey Char," Jack now stood next to Esmé with a fretful look, glancing at her from the corners of his eyes.

"Jack," Charlotte raised her eyebrow, acknowledging. "How's it going?"

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