Love Me Until My Heart Stops

31: No One Does It Better

Adjusting the woolen hat which sat on her head, Esmé swallowed a little, her brown eyes staring aimlessly out of the window of Heathrow airport. It had been a swift turnaround, after her conversation with Gerard, she had booked a flight for a couple of days’ time and she was a little amazed that she had been able to go through with it. She had contemplated not going, she had thought about staying with Gerard and preparing to move in together, but in the end, she had left herself with little choice. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, she needed the closure of a final goodbye and there was no time like the present to get it. She wanted to move forwards with Gerard, she wanted to start to live a life with him and it simply wasn’t going to happen until she got Cesc out of her system. She needed the finality, the definitive end, and that was what had convinced her to get on the plane and make the short trip to London.

“You actually came”

Esmé startled a little as his voice reached her, causing her to turn. He looked good. A woolen hat sat on top of his familiar dark curls and his face sported her favourite scruffy facial hair, and for a moment, she thought about smiling at him. He still looked like the man she had fallen for, the prankster with a sweet side that could melt through the coldest of people, but she knew that he wasn’t. He wasn’t the man who’d surprised her for her birthday by taking her to Paris or woken her up numerous times with sweet kisses and pancakes. He was a shadow of that man.

“You told me to, so here I am” Esmé murmured, stuffing her gloved hands into her pockets.

Cesc smiled softly. “I know that, but I am still a little surprised to find you here. I thought you’d back out or at least bring you-know-who with you” he mused.

Esmé shook her head. “It’s something I need to do myself, Cesc. As you said, I can’t hide behind him forever more” she reasoned.

Cesc nodded his head. “Do you want to get out of the airport?” he posed gently “I am sure that we would be better suited at my place” he added.

Esmé offered him a swift nod, something which made him smile a little. “I forgot to tell you how beautiful you look” he enthused as they wandered through the terminal, heads down to avoid any suspicion “You always did make a winter coat look better than anyone I’ve ever met before” he added, flashing her a little smile. Esmé noted it, not missing the way her stomach jumped at the sight of it, but didn’t offer him any response. She didn’t want to give him any sense of hope.

“You can leave your bag and coat here” Cesc mused as they wandered into his home, their clothes a little damp from the light November rain which had started to fall. “I’ll put the kettle on and then we can talk” he smiled gently before he padded away, leaving Esmé stood in a hall way that she was familiar with. It wasn’t the first time that she had been to his home in London, almost a year previous, she had spent Christmas there, but it didn’t feel the same to her. It’d once been safe, a place where she and Cesc could be themselves and be romantic, but with the image at the centre of the issues firmly implanted on her mind, it seemed strange to her. The other girl had been there, she’d slept in Esmé’s spot in Cesc’s bed, ate breakfast where Esmé had once eaten breakfast, and it made the whole place seem dirty to her,

Gently removing her coat and hat, she set them down on the side before she padded into the living room, her brown eyes spying pictures from her relationship which littered the wall. There were a lot of them, snapshots from 2 years of happiness and safety, and Esmé couldn’t help but smile at them. They made her recall just how simple things had been when they’d first been together.

“I have more somewhere” Cesc mused “But those were my favourite ones, in particular this one” he noted as he padded up towards her, leaving over to collect a photograph which stood in a silver frame on the coffee table. “It was taken in Paris by the guy on the bike who…”

“Almost ran me over because you wanted to get around an older couple on the pavement” Esmé finished, her brown eyes looking down at the photograph “You always were impatient” she added.

“It’s a memory” Cesc replied “One of hundreds that we forged together, Esmé. You still recall them as much as I do” he added, setting the picture down.

“That’s all they are though, Cesc, memories” Esmé mumbled as she turned to look at him “We have tons of them, but they’re not the same to me anymore. When I think about Paris…”

“That was a magical weekend” he interrupted.

“It was” she agreed with a hesitant nod “But I don’t see it the same way anymore. I don’t see the romance, all I see now is a naïve girl and the man who could have been playing her for years” she explained.

“I never played you” Cesc returned, shaking his head “Esmé, Corazon, you know me” he stressed as he laced his fingers with hers.

“I thought that I did” Esmé replied gently.

Cesc shook his head, his hands moving from hers to her face as he tried to make her look at him. He knew that he had made a mistake, his night with Emily was slowly becoming the biggest mistake that he’d ever made, but he wanted to make Esmé see that it didn’t change a thing. He was still the same man she’d fallen for in the first place and he wanted to make her understand that he’d only made a single mistake. “You do know me” he murmured, his thumb gently tracing the line of her cheekbone “You know that I hate the winter because I can never walk on the ice without falling. You know that I have to sleep on the left side of the bed. You know that I always forget to put my socks in the hamper. Esmé, mi amor, you know me better than anyone and you know, deep down, that I didn’t mean to do what I did and that if I could, I would take it back” he explained.

Esmé shook her head. “You don’t get it, do you?” she murmured gently.

“What is there to get? I made a mistake and I want to fix it” Cesc returned, his fingers lightly brushing the dark hair out of her eyes.

Esmé sighed. “All you had to do was call me, tell me that you were having a shitty day and I would have been the first person on a plane to London from Florence. All you had to do was tell me that there was something wrong, that you needed me, and I would have dropped the world for you, but you didn’t see that and you don’t see that the reason I don’t want to be with you is because I don’t trust you anymore. You’re fucking the girl you cheated on me with Cesc!” she exclaimed, pushing him back slightly “You’re sleeping with her and you’re going to stand there and beg me to forgive you? How can I know that it was just the once like you said? How can I know that the 2 and a bit years of my life I gave to you were not the biggest waste of my time?” she hissed, tears in her eyes.

“It wasn’t a waste” Cesc shot back “Esmé, I love you” he added.

Esmé swallowed and shook her head. “I have found someone who does it better” she murmured.

Cesc’s expression flickered through a series of emotions, ranging from pain to anger, before he stared at her. “He seriously makes you feel the way I did?” he murmured.

Esmé thought for a second, her mind flicking back to Gerard’s vulnerable face a few days previous, before she nodded. “It’s indescribable” she mused gently, the slightest hint of a smile on her face.

Cesc’s face tightened.

“I know that it isn’t what you want to hear, Cesc. I know you expected me to come here and melt, but I can’t do it to him. I may have been slow realizing it, too slow even, but now that I have, I can’t…” Esmé’s words trailed off as Cesc leant into her, pressing his lips to hers. It was a shock to the system, it had been over 12 weeks since they’d last shared a kiss, but Esmé didn’t let it last too long, her hands gently pushing him back. “I can’t do it to him, Cesc” she whispered, her eyes on her feet.

Cesc studied her for a moment. “Say it” he murmured.

“Say what?” Esmé squeaked.

Cesc took a step towards her and placed his hand beneath her chin, tilting her head so that she looked into his eyes. “Say you love him more than you love me. Tell me that it is Gerard Piqué who makes you smile like you used to when you were with me” he rambled.

Esmé took a little breath. “No one does it better than him, Cesc” she murmured “The simplest things he does, the way he looks at me or the way he says my name when we’re alone…No one can make me feel that way like he does” she explained.

Cesc shook his head. “You can’t be serious” he murmured.

Esmé nodded. “Cesc, I came here to tell you that I am done with this, that I am done with you, and nothing has changed. I can’t trust you, I can’t believe that the 2 years we were together were real, and I cannot pretend that I don’t love him. I wish we could have made it work then, before that night, I would have given anything to watch you get down on one knee for me, but it’s not the same now. I have found something worth keeping, worth fighting for, and it’s with him” she murmured gently before she wiped her cheeks, getting rid of the loose tears that had slipped out of them. “I am so sorry” she added before she pressed a light kiss to his cheek, making her way out to the hall to collect her coat.

Cesc watched after her and sighed, his dark eyes closing. He had seen it, the spark in her eyes when she spoke about Gerard, and he knew there was no challenging it. She was in love with him and because of one mistake, she would never be in love with Cesc again.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to petitmonstre, Jayme112234, FootieJo and Hockeykid40 for the comments :)