20 - resilience

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It was one of those gusty nights London experienced this winter, and Esmé found herself in the warmest pair of arms there was - Everett's securing and affectionate hold.

They both didn't exchange any words as she rested her face against his chest, listening to his placid heartbeats. Her eyes fluttered shut, her hands gripped his coat tightly, clinging to him even closer. His hand drew circles on her lower back soothingly, his chin resting on top of her head.

The freezing breeze waved around them, but with him Esmé felt as if a hardly perceptible sheath clasped them, separating her from the world, keeping her safe from whatever was to come.

It was this feeling of pure devotion Everett let her experience. His calm demeanour put her on clouds, making her forget about all difficulties she had faced moments ago. It was as if she fell into a trance when she was in his proximity.

Slowly pulling back, Everett watched her with a worried look. His warm hands rested on her shoulders. Esmé looked up to meet his gaze, a subtle smile made its way onto her lips.

"How are you feeling?" He asked carefully, his eyes fixating every spot on her skin, looking for something that would assure him that she was fine.

"I'm ok-" She mumbled, her voice hoarse, "Now that you are here."

Everett licked his lips, his intense stare staying on her. "Wyatt came in hastily. He told me that you're feeling like crap, so I-"

"So, you came here." Esmé finished his sentence, putting her arms around his torso, inhaling deeply, "I missed you."

He hesitated first, but with a light sigh escaping him, he pulled her into his embrace again, "I missed you, too."

A blush crept up her cheeks, "I'm glad you're doing fine. I got so scared that night. I hope all the others are safe and sound, too."

"They are," He hummed, caressing her back. "Nobody got seriously hurt. On both parties."

Esmé was relieved to hear that as she relaxed against him. But after a few moments of hush, Everett didn't hesitate to ask, "What happened? Is there something wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it," She murmured, snuggling her face further into his chest and under his coat, craving the warmth he radiated. Maybe if she hid her face well enough, nobody would find her when she was with him.

Everett didn't push it, respecting her choice, giving her the calming silence she wanted. But Esmé knew he was dying to know. She could tell from the way his breathing was rushed, being impatient. He shifted in her hold every so often.

But he waited.

Esmé stepped back, his hands travelling down her arms to intertwine his fingers with hers. They sat down on the bench next to them, their gazes fixed to the front, staring out into the forest that expanded in the distance, a ravening darkness. The only source of light was the streetlamp to their left.

Though for Esmé, it was his bright eyes enlightening her surroundings.

"Sorry for worrying you and making you come all the way here." She whispered.

"You can tell me if there's something you want to get off your chest." Everett insisted, yet Esmé only shook her head.

"What have you been up to?" She asked, trying to drift the conversation away. Her eyes wandered down, loving how her hand fit perfectly in his laying on her lap. It was as if he was sculpted to hold her close to himself. His chest and arms were quintessentially solidified to cloak her protectively.

"Oh," Everett pursed his lips, "This and that. Been working on something lately that held me busy."

"I hope it's nothing endangering." She tilted her head to meet his eyes. He slowly turned around to face her with a tender look.

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