She's not dead, but she feels like she's entering into Hell. She can still remember what her mother had told her while helping her prepare to marry Charles.
"Now, whatever happens tonight, it's not about you. Let him do what he wants. You should feel special that he's chosen you."
"I-I don't..." Esme stammers. "It just feels so rushed...I haven't even gotten to know him yet...we only met last week."
Carol Platt waves away her comment. "We need this anyway, Esme, whether you love him or not, you will in due time, he comes from great wealth."
Each step toward Charles, she tries to calm her breathing. She wants to sprint headlong down the aisle in the opposite direction and move West to become a schoolteacher. Her dress is itchy and she doesn't know if it's her high heels or her fear, but she's wobbly on her feet. "Calm yourself, Esme," her father reprimands her gently. "You've had plenty of time to be ready to grow up and settle down. All your friends have done this, and now it's finally your turn. You don't want to be an old spinster! Correct?"
She shakes her head and feigns a smile. "No."
Ronald gives her to Charles like she's a present. "She's all yours, sir."
"Thank you, Mr. Platt."
It's in the way Charles holds her hands too tight, shoves the ring over her finger in a rushed and almost painful manner, and shoots her a glare when she hesitates for a split second in saying the two binding words.
Esme doesn't even sound like herself.
"If you ever try to leave, I'll kill you," he threatens in her ear. She stares at him in horror and he chuckles, his dangerous expression turning into a kind one. "Only kidding..."
She forces out a laugh. Nobody had seemed to notice her frightened facial expression a few seconds ago. Everyone thinks tears of joy are sliding down her cheeks as the priest announces them as Mr. and Mrs. Evenson. They link arms and run down the aisle while the guests throw rice at them. She sniffles and holds back sobs.
Evenson. Even his last name sounded foreboding. His first did, too. When she spoke it, it curled around her like handcuffs. For some reason, she was reminded of the word evil.
For just a moment, she feels quite comfortable being surrounded by the women as she tosses the bouquet into one of their hands, but when it's over, she has very little time to giggle with them and congratulate the lady who caught it. She needs to return to her new husband.
He's a snarling animal on top of her later that night, his gaze that of a predator tackling prey. There isn't even any foreplay. The aching between her legs gets worse as he keeps slamming into her, his sharp nails digging into her flesh. She cries out, but still tells herself that this is normal, it's supposed to hurt since it's her first time. She'll get used to it. His grip around her hips grow stronger. She feels weak under him and by the time he's finally done, she's so sore she can barely move. It's so dark and she can't see what he might do next. She's exhausted, but she can hardly sleep without flinching every time he touches her.
Esme looks down at herself upon waking with the bright morning sun streaming through their window and sees dried blood around her lower half. She knows it's hers, and it looks like a murder scene. He doesn't even appear to be sorry about it when he glances at the deep crimson on their white sheets and the angry handprint-shaped bruises and spatters of red on her thighs where he'd scratched her. "You're gonna have to clean yourself and those sheets up after you make my breakfast. Stop looking so scared, it's no big deal." He sounds smug. "Virgins bleed when they get fucked good the first time."
She puts her hands where Charles' were last night and gasps in and out shakily. They're so small compared to his. "Yeah...you're right, my mother told me that too." Suddenly feeling cold, she gets out of bed and throws on her nightgown.
"You'd look better in lingerie. It shows off your figure more."
Esme wants to protest, tell him that it's freezing and she's afraid hot grease could spatter on her exposed skin and cause burns, but she remembers her parents' words and those in the marriage vows. To love, to honor, to obey-she shouldn't argue with Charles, especially on their first day of being husband and wife. It's not ladylike, either, her mom would say.
So she gives in. "Okay. I'll wear that for you."
She thinks of the tender, handsome, blonde doctor from when she was sixteen. He would've been gentle if they started courting when she became of age. He would've spoken to her kindly like he had when he treated her. Carlisle is several years older than her and he has large hands, just like Charles, but she doubts he would've left a single mark on her.
Esme weeps silent tears and squeezes her eyes shut for a second before reopening them; she'll never have Carlisle.
Only Charles and his ever so commanding presence.
"Hurry up woman, I don't have all day!" he barks, making her jump. "As a man, I have needs...are you really not going to give me what I desire?" He claps. "Get a move on, will you?!"
"Yes, I-I'm sorry."
He shakes his head and grits his teeth, sighing with annoyance. "Your parents told me of your daydreams...that ends today, understood? You've got no time to immerse yourself in silliness. As my wife, you have responsibilities now."
Trembling, she nods and quietly changes her clothes. It's so disturbing how the free-spirited young girl she had once been, had so quickly changed overnight. In the mirror, she stares blankly at her reflection and notices the light is gone from her eyes. "I understand."
Never before had she felt so helpless and alone.