The following story is (c)2005-2008 blankpage, who retains all ultimate rights to this story. May not be reproduced without specific and proper accreditation, and as of 5/14/2009 can only be reproduced on JuJube the Tree's FanFiction page. You may save a copy to your own computer if you do not share with others.
This story is a character study featuring characters from "Imprint", a story by blankpage. That story has explicitly adult content and is intended for mature audiences; while this story does not have any adult content, I would suggest against reading it unless you are of the proper age and mindset to read "Imprint" as well.
"If there is a hell, I'm sure this is how it smells
I wish this were a dream, but no, it isn't..." - Steve Conte, "Rain"
"There are no victims and there are no villains in the world." - Neale Donald Walsch
Heidi Prescott stared in the mirror. She was gazing over her appearance, ensuring that her face was as perfect as possible. She looked upon her crystal earrings, her makeup on her cheeks, and her eyeshadow, and adjusted the black veil that hid her features. She looked into her own eyes and attempted to smile.
She couldn't smile.
Anthony Tithe, her Master, came up from behind her and held her close.
"Thank You, Master," she whispered.
"You don't have to do this," Anthony said. "You do this every year, but I know it hurts you."
"Yes, it does... hurt," Heidi said, finding Anthony's hand. "But yes... I have to do this."
"You know that it's not your fault she's gone... don't you, Heidi?" Anthony said, leaning his head against her shoulder.
Heidi didn't answer. She held Anthony's hand a little tighter, still staring into the mirror.
"I've seen a lot of good people die because of bad choices," Anthony went on. "I know it's hard."
"I could have made her make the right choice, though, Master," Heidi said, finally turning away from the mirror. "It was within my power. I was learning from you and... I was just scared. I didn't want to lose her as a friend."
Anthony gripped his lover's hand in return and led her out of the bathroom.
"Heidi, do you remember what it was like when we first came together?"
Heidi put her finger to her lips, and looked down. Hazy images from the past entered her mind and then just as quickly evaporated. She remembered feeling toxic... watching him feel toxic... unable to bear it.
"You said you wouldn't make me remember, Master."
"I know, Heidi," Anthony said. "But there's one important thing that you need to keep in your mind. You were willing... even though it was difficult, and at times you wanted to quit, you came through, and stayed with it to the end."
"I will never forget that, Master," Heidi said, and gave a weak smile.
Anthony looked over his partially buttoned shirt and chuckled. "I'm going to have to freshen up," he said. "I'll be right back."
He caressed her hand once, and then let go.
Heidi turned towards the window, watching the sun as it broke over the horizon, and became lost in thought...
"Come on, Heidi! Don't be such a square."
"I can't. You know I can't... I'm trying to stay clean."
"Heidi, I don't know what happened to you... you used to be fun to hang out with..."
"Come on. You know that junk doesn't really help you. There's something on your mind you don't want to deal with. I'm your friend so... talk to me..."
"What's to talk about? Life stinks... parents won't stop hassling me about my grades, telling me I better shape up or they'll send me to a boarding school."
"I'll help you study, Terri. You know I'll help you anytime you need it. Don't shoot up."
"I... I know, Heidi... it's just this studying stuff... I'm not smart like you, Heidi."
"Oh sure you are, Terri. You just don't believe in yourself enough. Come on, I can help with that. What you got to study for?"
"Uhh... calculus and... psych."
"Perfect! I'm good at those things. Let's open up those books..."
"Heidi, studying just gives me a headache, and I don't remember anything."
"You just don't know how to relax... come on, I'll help you with that too. Besides, calculus is easy. When I show you how, you're gonna see... don't you worry..."
She blinked and looked up. Her Master was wearing a fine gray suit, his hair was fixed and he was freshly shaven.
Anthony gave a rare smile. "Let's go."
"Yes, Master," Heidi nodded and got up from the bed.
As they left the hotel, she looked around. At the pictures that lined the hallways... the various people going about their early morning routine. Even the dark blue sky made her think of her old friend. She held the hand of her Master tight and thanked God for such a Man that could see her through such a difficult task, year after year.
She blinked. They were at the car already. Anthony was opening the door for her.
"Oh... thank You, Master," Heidi murmured. He must have used the wave to calm me down, she thought to herself as she glided into the carseat.
"We're going to have breakfast first," Anthony said. "You need your strength today."
"Yes, Master," Heidi said, her eyes moving outside the car window. She really did need strength; her body felt weak. She leant against the car door and sighed delicately.
In times like this, it was good to have someone to make the decisions for her...
"I failed! I can't believe I failed the midterm! I studied so hard!"
"Terri, it's gonna be okay. Don't worry. You'll have a chance to make it up!"
"How, Heidi? How? I'm twenty percent as it is! The teacher would have to be crazy to give me a helping hand! Just face it... I'm an idiot! I'm a good-for-nothing!"
"Stop it... you're good to me. You know it."
"Oh, come on, Heidi. All I do is make you worry. Admit it."
"I worry about you, yes... because you're my friend. But I've never regretted our friendship. I'm with you, Terri. Just remember that, no matter what happens, okay?"
"Oh, Heidi... I don't deserve a friend like you."
"You're beating yourself up again... you know it's times like this when you start up again."
"I know. But Heidi, it's so hard... when you're not around... I just don't know how else to deal with all these awful feelings."
"I know it's hard, but you gotta try, please... just keep me in your heart. I would be so sad if anything bad happened to you. Okay?"
"Okay... I'll try..."
"Yeah... yeah, Heidi. I promise."
"Thanks, Terri. You're the greatest..."
Heidi picked at her eggs.
"What's wrong, Heidi?" Anthony asked. "Did I get you the wrong kind of eggs?"
"No, Master, you didn't forget," Heidi said and smiled. "Sunny side up, just the way I like them."
"Here, try putting a little pepper on them," Anthony offered, passing her the shaker.
"Thank You, Master," Heidi said, putting some pepper on her eggs. As she did, she noticed the strange glances that the people around them were giving her. Most of the time, it didn't bother her and she tuned them out. Today, a bitter part of her wished they'd mind their own business.
"Did you have any bad dreams?" Anthony asked as Heidi ate.
"No," Heidi said. "No bad dreams."
Anthony leaned back in his seat and watched Heidi eat. He put his hand on his chin, as he often did when trying to read someone.
"Anthony..." Heidi said, swallowing hard. "I'm just... it's nothing You did, Sir. I just want You to know that."
"When I see you like this, it hurts me," Anthony said. "I'm not much for romanticisms, but... it makes me wish I could feel your pain for you. When you hurt this way, I just feel like you're on an island and I can't reach you."
"I'm sorry, Master," Heidi sighed. "But please don't feel like a failure. The fact that You're here with me, means everything to me."
"You feel like you let her down," Anthony said. "I can understand that. But Heidi... it was her choice."
Heidi looked down at her plate of food. She knew what her Master said was right... but today, it just did not satisfy her...
"Is that your boyfriend, Heidi?"
"Well... he's a little more than that to me..."
"You're so lucky, Heidi. He looks like a great man."
"He is... but I'm not lucky... our relationship takes a lot of work. Some days it's a struggle. He's the one that got me off the drugs. I was a hard person to be with during that time, I'll tell you that."
"He stayed with you throughout all that? You are lucky. No one could ever love me that much."
"Anthony might help you, if you asked him. He's a nice kind of guy."
"Heidi! He's your boyfriend! I didn't know you swung that way!"
"No, not that way! Just to... help."
"Oh... I see."
"Heidi, I know how you feel about me. You want to help me so we can go on being friends; you feel so happy and you want to share that with me. God bless you for that... but Heidi, someday you're going to learn... that you can't save everybody."
"Terri Reeves, what are you saying? Don't talk like that, okay?"
The two friends embraced for what would be the last time...
TERRI REEVES - March 3, 1940 - March 21, 1969
Heidi looked at the gravestone, marked the way Terri had wished it.
She remembered that day like it was yesterday. Terri had gone home on a break, but it was likely she was going to drop out of school. Heidi remembered the frantic phone call she had received from Terri's mother. They found her body in her bedroom. She had taken a bottle of sleeping pills. Her body was so sedated that it couldn't be revived. Terri was dead.
Not even her Master could console her that day. Heidi felt betrayed on so many levels. Terri promised she wouldn't do something like this, but she did. Heidi didn't go to the funeral; it was too painful. All the joy she had had since finding Anthony; it was all gone. There was only a void inside.
Three years after Terri's death, Heidi started visiting her grave. Every year, on March 21, Heidi would show up, early in the morning, and visit her old friend. Sometimes, she would pretend to talk to her. But that void was still there; that deep sense of emptiness. Heidi would spend long amounts of time wondering why her love wasn't good enough for Terri; perhaps she hadn't loved her enough.
It wasn't until she met Fay that that sadness really went away. There was the masked brightness in Fay's eyes that looked just like Terri's. For a moment, it felt like Terri had come back to her. Heidi's affection for Fay was so strong that it even became romantic. Heidi hadn't intended for that to happen; it just felt right and she couldn't ignore it.
But Fay was not Terri. She made a promise to Anthony that no matter what, she would not try to force her will on others. She had broken that promise, and now they both were gone from her. As much as she missed Terri, Heidi found herself missing Fay as well as she stared at the gravestone.
"Please, God," she whispered to the wind. "Give me some sign that Terri and Fay are okay..."
Just then, an old woman approached the gravestone. She appeared to be in mourning, as well, and was carrying a daisy.
"Hello," Heidi whispered.
"Hi there," the woman said. "Did you know my daughter?"
"You're Terri's mother?" Heidi asked.
"Yes, I'm Bella," was the reply. "I don't usually come here this early in the morning, but I had a feeling."
Heidi turned to Bella. "I knew Terri in college," she said. "She said you were putting pressure on her... that she was scared to go home."
"I don't know why she said that," Bella said. "Maybe her father was a little hard on her, but I made it clear that Terri was welcome to come back if she needed a break. My poor Terri... perhaps I wasn't clear enough."
Heidi nodded and sighed.
"Oh," Bella said. "That reminds me... of something I was supposed to do."
"Terri left a note. She told me to give it to you, if I ever saw you. Usually I come here in the evening when it's darker, but today... well, anyway..."
Bella took a note out of her pocket and handed it to Heidi. "I always brought it with me, just in case."
"Thank you, Ms. Reeves," Heidi said, taking the note. She unfolded it and read it.
"Terri loved daisies," Bella said. "They were her favorite flower." She laid the daisy down on her grave. "I hope that wherever she is, she's happy."
Heidi smiled and folded the letter again, putting it in her pocket. "I believe she is, Ma'am," she said. "I have to go. It was good to meet you."
"I'm glad we met," Ms. Reeves replied. "Take care of yourself, okay?"
"You too," Heidi said. She then waved and walked away from the grave, trying to hide her tears...
...if you're reading this, it means I already did what I had to. I'm so sorry that your love couldn't save me. I really wanted it to be enough. Here I'm going to tell you some things I kept from you while I was alive. I'm sorry that I kept them from you. There's no excuse for it.
The truth is that my parents weren't paying for my college. I was there on a scholarship. I got really good grades in school. I was happy there. But I got to thinking one day that maybe it wasn't worth it. Why do people get good grades anyway?
I thought it was about learning, but when I got into college I learned the truth. People got good grades so they could get a degree and make lots of money. It's not about helping people anymore.
Everything about this world is built on the backs of others. Even my parents who loved me and raised me, were hurt by me, because I was so careless. I didn't mean to hurt them, but I did, and I can't live with myself. It eats me up every day. I know they want me to succeed, but...
...meeting you gave me back my belief that at least there are good people still in the world that aren't related to me. You always did believe in me. But I could never believe in myself. I tried. I knew I could be a success if I wanted to. But the truth is, I just don't want to hurt any more people. I know that when I go, things will be better for everyone.
I love you, Heidi... just don't forget that. And if there is a God, I'm going to ask Him to let me watch over you. You deserve better than what I gave you.
See you on the flip side...
Heidi got into the car with Anthony.
"How did it go?" Anthony asked.
"I met Terri's mother," Heidi said. "She gave me a note Terri left."
"Do you want me to look at it?" Anthony asked as he started up the car.
Heidi caressed the piece of paper. She glanced out the window, thinking of Fay. Smiled gently.
"No, Master," Heidi replied. "I think I want this to be between me and her."
Anthony gave a soft smile. "Of course," he said, and pulled the car out of the lot.
Heidi watched the sun as it rose over the horizon.
Fay, Heidi thought to herself. I hope you're doing fine, wherever you are...