Author: origin-of-promise PM
A young woman's story of coming to terms with herself and the vampiric world she's become a part of. Please R&R. Rated for mention of suicide, romance, violence [summary changed] NOW COMPLETE!Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Romance - Chapters: 22 - Words: 31,982 - Reviews: 113 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 05-05-07 - Published: 07-11-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3038863
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I was your anger
And you were my fear
Now that it's over
Of course it's so clear
But you were no angel
And I was no sin
Somehow I can't let you go
I can't let you go again."
-Goo Goo Dolls, "Can't Let It Go"
I walk the streets of New Mayhem for what seems like hours, but I know can only be minutes. The rain feels good on my skin; warm, wet, comforting. It clings to my hair, my eyelids, enveloping me in a soft blanket of its unique scent and the muffled sounds that reach my ears. There are few humans about at this hour; those that choose to live here and don't wish to become a meal tonight have retreated into the relative safety of their homes. But I can sense those that are blood-bonded to my kind, and pass a few of them as I walk along the sidewalk. Guilt is raging through me, filling my dead veins with its ugly presence. Why? I convinced Jager to speak to Fala. He must have hurt her, I decide glumly. She returned to Moira almost immediately, as if she needed comfort. And the way Jager reacted when the two of them began to fight…was his leaving a hint that he would rather have stayed with Fala? That he couldn't stand to see her upset? A small twinge of guilt pinches my mouth closed, but I banish it, angry with myself for more than one reason. I blink and push my sopping gold hair from my face, stare up with squinted eyes at the dull shadow of the moon behind rain clouds. Has enough time passed that I can return to Jager? I swallow, suddenly shivering, imagining the security of his arms around me that he does indeed love me—
I am in front of his door in a mere second, knocking on the dark wood softly with my pale knuckles. He opens the door, stares at me for a moment, pulls me inside. The door closes by itself with a soft snap of the lock clicking, and I turn into his arms, molding my body to his. At first he is stiff, but then he relaxes, pulling me closer so that I can fill my nose with his wonderful scent.
We do not speak of Moira and Fala during those early morning hours. I spend the time curled in his bed, his body dwarfing my petite frame, our eyes closed as we dream as only a vampire can. The rest is much needed, on my part, at least; I have thought myself into exhaustion the past few days, something I didn't think our kind could do. And when I drift off into a vampire's sleep, Sutton appears beneath my eyelids. As he was in life.
He is smiling, his soft lips curved up only slightly at the ends, his brows arched over the beautiful eyes I loved, his hands playing with an empty bottle of soda. I love you, he seems to say without words, and I want to cry, though from sadness or joy I don't know. It's not your fault. This time his mouth opens and forms these words that burn into my mind like the greatest lie I have ever told. Of course it was my fault. Wasn't it? I was the one who lost control; I let him die because of the monster I couldn't keep hidden inside of me—
My dream Sutton shakes his head at my thoughts, trying to convince me to stop spiraling into this guilt, the guilt I have over everything. And suddenly he is fading away, becoming one with the wind that plays with his beautiful hair. I am shaking my head, reaching out to him with a grip that will never quite catch him, that will always be just shy of pulling him close to me and kissing him like I did so long ago. "Sutton—"
"Sutton, don't go!" The words erupt from my mouth as I wake, but it is too late to take them back. When I find Jager staring at me, I realize my body is shaking, that I must have woken him. I stand up and wrap a blanket around a body that is always cold but somehow never is, and force air into lungs that don't need it, try to calm myself down. "Sorry, Jager," I apologize. My voice sounds thick. Unreal. "Dreams."
He tilts his head, watching me. "You dream?"
I nod, slightly uncomfortable under his gaze. "You don't?"
He shakes his head. I can feel the curiosity emanating off of him; he wants to know what my dreams are about. But I shiver, can't help wonder what he would say if I told him about Jager. That I am weak? That he can't believe I loved someone else? Some things are better kept secret, although when I look again at his calculating gaze, I want so much to tell him. "Jager…" I sigh and sit beside him again, close my eyes as he leans forward to touch his lips to my forehead. "You know I don't know everything about your life, about the loves you've had and the…years you've lived. Do you expect me to tell you everything about myself, then?" My voice is weak, but I cannot help it. The trust I gained from him is so fragile; I don't want to lose it so soon by telling him a lie.
He touches my face. "What are you getting at?" he asks.
"I haven't been entirely truthful with you," I whisper, "but I haven't lied, either. Can you respect that there are things that happened in these two hundred years past that I'd rather not share?" I can see, once I say these words, how painful it is for him to hide his curiosity. He wants to know. But would he really, once I told him?
"I understand." I don't know if I am imagining the strain in his voice, but regardless, it is there to me.
I am shame-faced. "I'm sorry," I say, not looking at him. "Maybe someday, but not now." He nods and lays back down. "It isn't quite evening yet. We have time." He motions for me to lay beside him again. I smile and bend down, kiss his lips.
"I'll be back in a moment? There is something I need to check."
I leave him and find myself in the bar, staring at the wall of splintered mirror shards. I expect my reflection to be broken because of this, but that doesn't matter. I just want to see myself—
But when I open my eyes to stare in front of me, all I see are the cracks in the mirror. I have no reflection. Not anymore. I think back, forcing away the shock, wondering when the last time I checked a mirror was. Sutton's time, I remember. And even then, it was fading.
But now it is gone.
I put a hand on the glass where my face should have been, remembering the times that, as a human, I would stare in the mirror, wondering why I was blessed with this beauty. I was nothing special, nothing God would take pride in. Just a flirt, a whore, someone who was ashamed of her beauty but flaunted it at the same time. And now I am damned, forever out of reach of God's hands. And my reflection now, is truly empty. At least, when I was a human, there was something to look at. Now there is nothing.
I bite my lip and turn away. Empty reflection. My stomach fills with something not quite like regret, but I will myself back to Jager and climb on his bed, into his arms. "I loved someone when I left you," I blurt out, unable to stop myself. I couldn't not tell him. The secret was only leaving me emptier than I already am. "His name was Sutton. He lived in England; that's where I went when I ran from you. He was beautiful, and I loved him—a human, Jager, just like I was when you met me. But I didn't have the heart to change him. He was too full of life, too wonderful—"
Jager clears his throat. "Elyse," he starts to say, but I shake my head.
"Just let me tell you. Then you can speak." He nods, and I continue. "I was always careful around him. Always made sure I had fed before seeing him, so I wouldn't hurt him. But one night, I…I forgot, or something—we were kissing, and he tasted so good, and before I knew it—" My voice broke; I paused, swallowed, tried again. "He was—dead. In my arms. I killed him, Jager. I lost control, and the fact that I loved him didn't even help me, and I'm so sorry for loving when I still loved you. I've been having dreams, or flashbacks, or…something, all of the times I spent with him, and it's stopping me from being with you—"
I stop there. Swallow again. This is the most I've said to him in a long time. I stare hard at the blankets, avoiding his face, wondering what it looks like, what his reaction will be. It is silent for too long. I finally look up, see him staring at me, not angry, but not as if he is about to forgive me, either. "Jager," I say, nearly pleading. "Remember that time you told me it is possible to love more than one person? Possible to fall in love more than once? You were right, Jager, don't doubt that I love you—please don't be angry." I force myself to stop speaking. I am saying too much, and none of it will help me; he still hasn't said a word.
"We all lose control," he finally whispers to me. His eyes are so dark when I meet his gaze, so deep that I could fall into them. "It happens." His voice is like velvet, wrapping around me, speaking the words Sutton was trying to make me understand but didn't succeed in doing so. "It is a curse, our bloodlust. So hard to resist, and that is what makes us inhuman. It happens, Elyse—don't cry. It wasn't your fault."
His last sentence releases the tears I'd been trying to hold back. They were the exact words Sutton said in my last dream. The hot liquid drips down my cheeks, making my eyes burn. I am not used to crying. I know his words are right, too, but I don't want to believe them. I want Sutton to come back to life; I want to have the courage to shed my guilt. But then I wonder if I would be here right now if Sutton hadn't died. If perhaps he was supposed to go. Was he there to show me love? So I'd remember it, remember Jager, and find him once again?
Jager kisses the salty water on my cheeks, then finds my mouth and embraces me without a word. I still love you, he whispers in my mind.
Why? I ask, unable to stop myself. Why did you leave when Fala and Moira fought? Why did Fala go to Moira so quickly? Why did you leaving her hurt her so much?
It is too many questions. He pulls away from me and almost smiles. "I have seen them fight too many times," he tells me, answering the second question. "I didn't need to see it again." I nod, understanding only slightly. But I don't say a word; I want him to continue, to tell me the answers to the other questions that have been swimming around in my head for so long. "Fala didn't go to Moira because I hurt her. She didn't find her for comfort, because she couldn't bear to hear that I love you." He reads my thoughts and answers them all in one breath. I smile, not yet confident enough to take his hand. "Elyse, Fala loves Moira. They have left each other and found each other again countless times in the years since Moira was changed. Fala stayed with me for another two centuries, but she wanted to go back to Moira. You may not realize that—but she is my fledgling; I know her. She only needed a push in the direction she wanted. I gave that to her, and now she is where she wanted to be since you left. With Moira. And I am with you."
I don't let myself cry again. He may love me, but weaknesses are never good things to show. Instead I take his hand and move closer to him. "Are you sure?" I ask. Jager nods.
When he kisses me, something loosens itself inside of me. Something that his words have comforted, the part of me that couldn't let go of Sutton. She only needed a push in the direction she wanted. His words echo in my head, and I realize how true they are. Not only of Fala, but also of me. I close my eyes and Sutton is there, smiling, squeezing my hand. Finally close enough that I can touch him. You figured it out, he says, and I smile. Then he disappears, and the pain is gone; I am only left with love for Jager, with love for Sutton. For what he brought me, and what I now know to be the truth.
Later, when I glance in the mirror again, I know I will still not be able to see myself. But also I know my reflection, although nonexistent, will not be empty anymore.
A/N: Well, that's it! The end. I know, I know…unexpected. But I was considering finishing it up for a while, now, and it seemed to be the right time. I hope this chapter answered everyone's questions—why did Jager leave? what happens when he finds out about Sutton? Why can't you make the chapter longer? Why the heck was this story called Empty Reflection? (Okay, so maybe you didn't ask that last one, but I did.) Anyway, please review! I'll be posting a new story soon, called "Feral." It is in the Keisha'ra series, during the latest one, Wolfcry. So there's something to look forward to. Again, review! And thanks to everyone that has stuck with this story! You've been great!