"Hey, Becky," said Gloria. "Want some chow?"
Before I could respond, I took in what was in the kitchen. Gloria was dressed in an all black-leather outfit that had her breasts practically bursting out, and it barely covered her bum.
At the table, across from her, a strange young man sat as if he belonged there.
"Hey, babe," said the boy.
He seemed so familiar….
"Yeah, babe, don't ya miss me from last night?"
"Babe, did you get hammered, or something? Yeah, last night, we snuck in that bar with your sis. Righteous, right?"
"Er…yeah….it was…..righteous….but I totally got hammered. Too much alcohol for this girl."
A bar? Would our doubles really do that to us?
"What are you talking about, babe? Your mom left this dump, like, a gazillion years ago. Couldn't take us anymore. You'd think your mom, after watching those gay soap operas and Lifetime movies, she'd understand if your sis wanted to be a stripper and you were to be an alckie. What a whore, that woman."
My mouth dropped, but before they could notice, I slammed it shut again.
"And it was pretty awesome of us to kill your old man, right?" he started suddenly.
"Don't you remember anything? What did you drink last night? Me and John killed your old man and we blamed that pedophile across the street. Still in the slammer, though."
"Becky, what's wrong? You usually drink more than you did last night."
"Pfft, maybe she's so used to it that when she doesn't, she gets symptoms!"
They both laughed.
"So, ready for a drink?" Gloria offered.
"At this time?"
"All the time, sister! Bottoms up!" She goofily shoved the beer bottle into my mouth, forcing me to consume a large gulp.
"Feel better, babe?"
"I hate my life. I'm going to my room." I turned to withdraw.
"Hey, babe, if you're going to your room, do you finally wanna do it?"
"No? You're such a virgin!"
"Beck," Gloria interrupted "You've been wanting to do it with Troy for a while. You said you were waiting to afford protection. He has it now, he got it last night, but you didn't have time to do it 'cause we were all so blasted. Don't end up like me. I'm still a virgin, and I'm still waiting on John."
I ran to my room.
I broke a couple things, including my sanity.
I couldn't take this life. This wasn't my reality; this was a cruel action that the doubles took. Wiping away my tears, I heard a knock at the door.
"Becca, come on, let me in!" I let her in. I looked behind her to make sure that Troy wasn't behind her in case they were planning to shove more beer down my throat. I closed the door and whispered. "You're not Gloria. You're her double."
An unkind, slanted grin formed on her face that I would have preferred not to have seen. "Right you are, Rebecca-the-Alckie. We had fun screwing with your life. It was a game to us. With you gone, we had the time of our lives."
"Well, there are doubles all over the universes. However, when we die, like if there's a car crash in your world, lets say, then we, the doubles, wouldn't die, but we'd have to act like we did, letting ourselves escape the bodies in order to get out and move on the next loser that we want to take place for."
"I hate you, and every bloody creature like you."
"But I l-o-ve you, sweetie. Good old Gloria will haffta find out how to enter the portal in this world herself, but you'll have to teach her to do that. Or not. Whichever. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna make-out with your boyfriend."
She winked at me and walked out, closing the door behind her.
I cried even harder, hating everything, everyone, in this world, in this life. I was prepared for strange joy, not depression falling into place from the doubles' doings.
I sighed, tears still pouring out, shudders violently overwhelming me, grabbed my perfumes and lotions and my favorite books, and jumped back into the other world. The world that had the most 'real' reality in it.
I fell from the mirror into my chamber in Erik's home, which I now openly considered my home, our home, due to the conditions on the other side. I kicked my things under the bed and sighed. I wiped tears from my cheeks, even though I knew that that simply left a clean slate for more to come.
I glanced up at the mirror to see how pathetic and crazy I looked, and boy, did I see pathetic-ness. Silently scolding myself for leaving my former life through the trapdoor in the first place, I saw a black figure with a glaring, reflecting face behind where I was sitting.
I whirled around, stepping back. I knew it was Erik, but I could never get used to his silence and hiding.
Before I could say anything else, he glided around my bed, ending his trail next to me, standing much taller than I could jump, and forced me to sit with him on the bed.
"Where were you?" He sounded as if he were punishing a child.
I sniffed. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you,"
He growled. "Speak,"
"My former home. It wasn't even my home…it was…some place horrible…through the mirror."
"Sort of, but I'm not a witch or a sorceress."
He stared at me, moving his eyes from one inch of my face to the next. When he finally reached my eyes, he said, "Then show me. How did you do that?"
Then it dawned on me. "How did you know?"
"I saw you,"
"When? How did you see me?" Of course I already knew, but I wanted to hear it from him…even though I didn't want to hear it from him…
He sighed. "The mirror,"
No shock, there.
I sighed in return. "I'll show you. But I don't know if I can,"
He stood, beckoning me to try.
I took his gloved hand in mine, and leaped into the mirror.
We landed on the other side of the mirror-portal, the force of our two bodies forcing us with an 'umpf' on my mattress. Still holding my hand, he stood and cautiously took in his surroundings.
"Through magic…where did we end up?"
"Where I used to live,"
"Where is this?"
"Nonsense. I traveled to many areas in my day. American homes don't look like this."
"That's only because you never went to this certain house."
He glared at me, but said nothing. There was a knock on the door. "Hey babe, you haven't made a sound since your morning drink! How 'bout I make ya moan a bit?"
I crinkled my nose in disgust.
"Babe? Come on, let's do it!"
"Babe, c'mon!" He pounded on the door, making me jump back, but I was blocked and protected by Erik's chest. He grabbed both my shoulders, forcing me to lean on his form and to stay there.
The door opened, and Troy stepped in, immediately reeking of smoke, alcohol, and body odor. "Babe!" After a minute or two, he finally noticed the man behind me. "Yo, who's this crack-head? Are you his whore, or somethin'?" His eyes acknowledged Erik. "Hey she's mine, man, but how much ya paying her?"
"That is not how you talk to any woman, especially a lady. How do you even know this girl?" His grip tightened on my shoulders.
"Aw, yeah! She's my girl! Her name's…..ugh…." His eyes followed a complex, imaginary pattern on my ceiling, then he said, "She's Becky-the-Alckie! Yeah, yeah, Becca! So, anyway, man, how much? I'll sell 'er, but since we never did it, it'll be more 'spensive." He scoffed "Finding a virgin is pretty hard, but it's a curable condition," He pinched my cheek with his gross, slimy fingers. "Ain't that right, baby?"
I slapped his hand away. "Don't touch me! I hate you!" I rubbed the muck that was stuck on my face because of his touch. I heard a growling sound come form Erik's throat.
"Listen, you poor excuse for a pig, you have failed to educate yourself with the simple truth that she is not yours. She's mine. Who are you, anyway? If she willingly proclaims her disdain for you, why do you talk the way you do about her?" If at all possible, he pulled me closer to his intimidating form.
"She's my girl! She fell for me the moment she saw me. She's totally in love with me! She's my girl! My servant! My stupid dog!" Troy angrily stared Erik in the eye, not seeing anything wrong with talking about me so poorly like I wasn't there.
Troy raised his hand, attempting to slap me, but Erik caught his hand inches from my face. The growling grew louder. He gently pushed me to the side and he wrapped his hands round Troy's neck. He raised him in the air, letting Troy's drunkard legs kick and sway helplessly in the air.
And I did nothing in protest.
Erik threw Troy to the floor, and out of nowhere, his magical lasso came into view, and it found itself comfortably tight around Troy's throat. It quieted his screams, though his yelps increased, it made his face redder, though he was already drunk enough, and it made his coordination poorer, though he was stupid enough to accomplish that on his own. Eventually, Troy stopped fighting back, stopped moving altogether. Inside, I was ecstatic that Troy was dead, that he didn't need to bother me anymore, even though it didn't matter, since I had no thought of returning to this dump after I returned to Erik's home.
Erik removed the noose and turned to me. At some point, I must have been tearing up from the tension of someone being murdered, for there were small droplets of water at the corners of my eyes and my bottom lashes were slightly wet.
I didn't have the gall to move, to wipe the water away, so I just stood there, staring at Erik, like a stupid dog.
He placed the noose into the endless black of his cloak, and one of his gloved hands cupped the one side my face where Troy touched it and attempted to slap, and his other hand was placed on my shoulder.
We just stayed like that, silent, not even thinking of the dead body a mere foot from us. I wanted to continue in that position, to be treated gently, to not be manhandled, to be comforted in an awkward way, to not have booze pushed my way. However, I could not stay in the horrors of this realm.
"We should go, now."
And never return. I couldn't show this world to Gloria. It would be a punishment to her. She doesn't know as much about it as I do…she shouldn't suffer in what she doesn't completely understand…and I'm tempted to say that I shouldn't be punished for what I do understand…
He sighed, not shifting his gaze from me. I broke my eyes from his, making him drop his hands to mine, still feeling him watch me. I lead him back to our home, not looking back to my former looking-glass world.
We stepped into my room, somehow not winded by the strange journey. Erik sat me down on the bed with him, and held me into his upper body, persuading me to be calm and unmoved by the dreaded life on the other side. His arms closed around my frame as he hummed a soothing tune. I had never heard this song in the movie, so I wondered where it came from, even though I knew I'd never find out.
I closed my eyes, attempting to be relaxed so I could compose myself, so I didn't need to cry, do I didn't need to think of the death of my step-father, of the walking out of my step-mother, of the crappy lives our doubles led for us, of the death of a pig named Troy. I must have tried too hard, for I fell asleep, still hearing the hummed song in my unconsciousness.
"We have to go to her," I exclaimed, tossing the blanket so I could stand.
"No, we don't have to do anything. As far as we know, Erik could have taken care of it by now. He's a fellow that catches on fast, you know."
I folded my arms, staring at him, not doing a good job of being angry because he sat as tall as I could stand, and I was pretty tall.
Gently but firmly and effectively, he grabbed my arms and got me to sit down again. He smiled.
How could anyone smile at a time like this? If I got up and told a stranger my story, they would not have smiled under any circumstances, not even to comfort me, would any stranger have smiled.
He smiled as if someone had told him exactly how I would react if this sort of thing happened, as if he knew this would have happened, as if he had all the answers in front of his face, reading it as he went along with me.
He stood and walked to my bureau. He ran his fingertips along the vanity mirror, and sang,
Paper faces on parade…
Hide your face so the world will never find you…"
At the end, his voice, though beautiful, was somehow….not quite right. I saw his reflection through the mirror, and that's when I realized that his expression, though a smile, was sad.
I started to cry silently. I trusted him for some reason, no matter how much I knew that hinted he was so smart…and so stupid.
He must have seen my crying through the mirror, for he turned to me and sat next to me on the bed and held my hands in one of his. "I didn't want you to cry, dear. Don't cry," He stroked my hair with his free hand. "Don't cry…"
When I waked, the memories of the recent past somehow flashed before my eyes, but I remained unfazed. I also realized that I was still sitting on the bed, leaning into Erik.
I didn't want that to happen.
The hair on my neck stood, and I slowly fixed myself so I wasn't hanging over him. "Er, sorry, Erik. I…didn't mean to inconvenience you…by sleeping on you. I guess I shouldn't have done that." I tried to fight the grogginess in my voice, but I only had a small success.
"I was not inconvenienced. I expected it."
"Oh." Was my wonderful, genius reply.
I leaned back onto him, feeling lightheaded, my muscles were still tight. He hummed the foreign tune again, and it forced me, with a conscious effort from myself, to let by body be less tense. My shoulders actually hurt from having tension in them for so long. I had to be at ease for my own physical well-being's sake. Even though, at this point, that didn't really matter, anyway.
I placed my hand on his chest, next to my chin, finding it awkward that I had the strange desire to keep still and have nothing to do with my hands, my anything.
After a few moments, he straightened, and quickly but carefully allowed his fingers to capture my hand, to let his intertwine with mine.
My eyes widened. I thought he was going to crush my hand, his mere fingers having the power to do that to my whole body.
But he didn't.
Instead, he pushed me back and steadily kept his eyes on mine, loosening his grip on my hand. At that moment, I was the most intrigued by his mask, and how he was so unstable, yet so nonchalant and cold about many things. My fingertips reached up to the edge of his mask, part of my fingers still touching his skin. He immediately, as if on instinct, rushed his hand on top of mine, the act not enabling me to stop, but it was hinted. He closed his eyes, and I could only remember the scraps of detail I had of his memory of Christine, in the movie, hungrily ripping off his mask…only to hate it when removed…
I didn't stop. I didn't know what the emotions or motivations for my or his actions, but I wanted to prove that I was different from Christine, that I was not some grown-up eight-teen year old baby, waiting to be molded into something I'm not, to be told what to be, who to love, what to do.
My other hand held his free one, while the other snaked to his neck, feeling the tips of his dark locks. I could hardly believe that the black hair was a wig, it feeling so soft and flawlessly real. My hand froze on his neck, still holding some strands.
Maybe it was real…perhaps some unlucky fellow…lost his head…? And his gorgeous black hair?
Would he have done that? I didn't want to know. Mentally shunning the thought, I realized that my pause engendered his eyes to open, studying me, prepared for the worst of what I may do.
His stare had the power to apprehend me. But I fought it. I wanted to gain his trust. If I was to live here for the rest of my complicated life, and I had to trust him with my life, he could at least have the trust for me that whenever I touched him, I wasn't going to go on a rampage and slap his white colored camouflage off.
I let my digits trace the curves of his mask, his hand on my wrist all the while. I knew why it was the wrist only. He knew that the muscles in the finger, when tensed, would have a slight affect on the wrist. If he felt any tightening or change in the way my wrist felt, he could swat my hand away before the mask could even be lifted.
Paranoid, grudge-holding guy…
I stopped tracing the mask and strayed to the lower half of his face that wasn't covered. He fascinated me more than ever, letting me do this to him. He didn't seem like he was relaxed at all, which is what confused me. If he was on his guard, then why even allow me to touch him?
His body showed no sign of peacefulness or trust, but he closed his eyes again, which made me think that he wanted to, but couldn't.
I wanted to tell him that he could trust me, that I wasn't Christine, I wasn't an innocent prima donna, that I knew his history and respected it, and even supported some of his decisions—even to kill certain people—since some were better off dead, anyway. I wanted to say that I already knew that he was deformed, and that I saw the movie so many times and so many different interpretations of it that I wasn't afraid of his appearance, and that he didn't need to hide it from me.
I felt so sorry for him; I felt sorry that Life had taught him to be this way, and no matter what happened, he was doomed to be reprimanded for something, one way or another. I knew I could never take the place of Christine, and I didn't—I just wanted to prove to him that there were people that wouldn't recoil because of hideousness, to shun all other opinions and thought patterns, that there were people that wanted to reach out to him…but just didn't know how.
And that was how I was to live from thence on. I would prove myself everyday. This was my life now, and I had to make the best of it….and then make it even better. I was to help him trust me, no matter how suicidal-engendering slow it may be, I would. We could be friends. By how many complicated connections we had to each other, we may be even closer than lovers, but with no romance at all. We may even have romance, I didn't care.
Actually, I did care. I wanted romance, I wanted love, I wanted him.
I can't believe that I would say this, my 'phangirl phantasies' washed away with my former life…I think I loved him.
It was a strange love, complicated and twisted…but I did.
He probably loved me too, most likely in the same, strange way.
And with this strange, complicated, and twisted love, I would have another relationship with Gloria. I would see her again, I knew I would, perhaps sometime soon…or later…I knew I would. I would never tell Gloria about our other life…I would tell any lie she wanted to hear…but never the fantastic lies of the truth. She didn't need to know about something that didn't affect us…anymore. And Charlie…I would get to know him better, too. Perhaps Gloria already knows him enough, and she can tell me all about him, and I tell her all about Erik. What a find group we'd make…two genius, insane brothers, and two fate-twisted half-sisters…how lovely that would be.
I can see it now, and I can't wait to live it.
Now...wasn't that just a lovely ending? It was cute... R&R, please...