19 - bruises

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Hey loves, before we start this chapter, I want to give a little trigger warning here.

This chapter is not nearly as graphical as my other works, but I still thought it'd be better to tell some of you beforehand. This chapter contains themes of angst and abuse.

Hope none of you experience any type of abusive behaviour ever. If you need someone to talk to, I'll be there for you and I'll try to listen.

Wish you enjoy this chapter nevertheless. Don't forget to click the little star button and share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Lots of love - L


Esmé stood in the middle of her father's office. Saying that she was frightened or nervous would be an underestimation. She shook from head to toe.

Her head pounded in her ears, her feet tapped anxiously on the floor, her fingers tightly around the edge of the wooden table that was placed centred in the room.

It was past noon. Alder Benson hadn't come to breakfast. He had been off to do some work very early in the morning - so early, Esmé doubted that he had gotten any sleep overnight - after he had threatened her in the dining hall.

She was afraid of what was to come. Last night had begun magically and had ended fatally - a roller coaster from beginning to end. Although her father's menacing ways usually kept her awake, she had been too exhausted not to fall asleep.

Leslie had stayed with her overnight, making sure that she rested well. It was refreshing and relaxing for Esmé to have such a caring friend around. But even she couldn't save her from her father at this very moment.

Mr Schubert had sent her to her father's office, and there she was. Esmé gulped, her eyes darting around the room. It was small, but it had enough space for her to walk up and down as she nibbled on her lower lip nervously.

A large wooden desk was in the centre, long shelves with numerous books dilated on the walls. Esmé's gaze travelled over the few antique clocks that decorated the racks, her eye coming to halt on a framed photo.

She stepped forward, feeling a stifling wave of nostalgia sweep over her. She remembered this picture - not the day it had been taken, but where she had seen it - a hundred years from now in the museum.

It was the Bensons' family photo that was displayed at the exhibition. A deep, heavy sigh passed her lips, an empty feeling growing in her chest. She had lost track of time. This is the first thing she had encountered out of this world. It was this picture.

"These are the Bensons." "This is the family whose house was burned down, huh?"

Emma's words echoed in her mind, constricting her chest. Shaking her head rapidly, Esmé tried to gather herself. She straightened her posture unwittingly - I'll survive this. I've come this far. She repeated it like a mantra, trying to convince her-


Esmé jumped as a sudden familiar voice cut her trail of thoughts. She glanced at the door that stood ajar. Her eyes widened, her mind ringing alarm.

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