22 - offence

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Jack thanked Leslie for the piece of red velvet cake that she served him along with some herbal tea. He sipped at his cup, trying to come off as relaxed as he could, but from his continuous tapping on the table, Esmé sensed how tense and edgy he was.

Now, Jack was in the Bensons' dining hall; decided to visit Esmé without telling her in advance - to take her by surprise, as he had put it. But as soon as he discerned that she wasn't too exhilarated to see him, he let his pretended facade down.

He had plastered a frown on his face since, and Esmé had an idea why he had decided to visit her unexpectedly. She exhaled slowly, fighting the urge to push him to cut to the chase.

"I brought you some wine."

Jack's words hung in the air. He looked up to meet her indifferent gaze, the sight making him press his lips in a flat line. The fretfulness written in her features irritated him.

"There's no need for such gestures," Esmé muttered under her breath, adjusting her forest-green dress, crossing her legs under the table.

Jack observed her, taking his time, his thoughts seemingly scattered. He avoided her gaze, a sudden new emotion flickered in his eyes, but he hid it as quickly as it appeared. Running his hand through his hair, ruffling it dispiritedly, a heavy breath left him.

Esmé patiently waited for him to gather himself. Presumably, he had come to confront her on her relationship with Everett. But he was being too edgy for her liking. Something else seemed to bother him just as much, but she couldn't put her finger on it yet. He'd spill eventually.

"When did you plan on telling me-" Jack finally started, his fury-filled eyes centring on her- "That you're betraying me?"

Esmé shook her head, snorting unintentionally. How could he still talk about deception when he was well aware that she had never wanted them to be together from the very start.

"Jack, let's be honest here." She rested her chin against her palm, watching him. "We both know that we would have never worked out."

"Why would you say that?"

"It was only for the damn contract Robert wanted to sign with my dad to support your family's business financially. A relationship can't develop healthily from such conditions," Esmé explained, her tone carried distress.

Silence fell between them like a thick wall separating them even further, conflicted emotions appeared in his expression, his eyes squinting.

"You were ok with it in the beginning," Jack exclaimed, his tone pitching higher.

"I changed my mind." She countered blandly. "It's time we get over it."

Jack leaned back in his chair, studying her with a hurtful look. His confidence faltered the more he examined her, noticing her apathy, "It's because of Dean, isn't it?"

Esmé didn't react, remaining quiet. But Jack's face grew redder, feeling infuriated by the entire happenings.

"Hah," He snickered bitterly, correcting himself, "Everett Dean Walker, sorry. That piece of shit lied about his identity to us all along. How can you even trust him?"

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