So I actually wanted to wait before posting this, especially for the show to tell us a little bit more about Bridget and Siobhan and why they fell out and whatnot, but I'm going a little crazy, and I made myself a promise that I would post this if no one else had posted for a while, even though it's nowhere near done or quite as chronological as I'd like it to be. Anyway, this fic is basically a novelization of the episodes from Bridget's point of view, but obviously I'll be putting some more information in there and adding some moments of my own, though I want to keep it as true to the show as possible. Also, this story is subject to changes, when and if the show decides to tell us more about any of the characters.
This first chapter occurs before the pilot, and it's substantially shorter than the other chapters, so I'm sorry to leave you with so little. Consider it a taste of things to come? Anyway, the next two or three chapters happen during the pilot. I've written the next chapter already and will probably post it sometime within the week if I've got enough time, but after that, I've got, well, random bits from other episodes and part of a chapter three, so we'll see if I can pull it together to give you a timely update. And, obviously, the primary focus of this is the Bridget/Andrew relationship, though Siobhan and, I assume, Juliet and some of the others will probably feature in, and I'll probably make mention of other big events. Unless I can avoid it. Lol. I really want to avoid Henry, but the comedic potential of him coming onto Bridget might just be too hard to resist.
And, mind you, this comes from me literally scrutinizing every second of the scene from tone to microexpressions to the background crap, every single minute detail, you name it, every little maddening bit, stopping and starting and stopping and starting. Also, I apologize in advance for any lines that might have our Bridget shooting up instead of snorting, but the line was a lot more poetic/interesting than one about crushing and snorting would've been.
Anyway, the scenes I choose to do will probably be somewhat random (as in I'm probably not gonna do a scene if I feel like I've already written it) and will probably average anywhere from one to two (or three, depending on how many scenes they have) per episode. Other events will be incorporated, though the main focus is Andrew and Bridget. Like I said, the intention is that they're chronological, but we'll see.
Also, just because it's obligatory, I don't own Ringer. Even though it might be more awesome if I did. It belongs to Warner Bros. and people who make much more money than I do.
Enjoy, and review if it pleases you (it will certainly please me), and you have the time to do so! Thanks!
I don't remember when I first met Andrew.
But I'm pretty sure I did sometime, though, that I met him sometime in passing when he'd begun dating my sister. Don't get me wrong, Siobhan pretty much hated me when she was falling for him, and she'd learned a long time ago not to introduce me to her boyfriends because that never went well, so the big introduction never happened. We'd long before started to run with different crowds and drifted apart... but she was still my sister, and I knew she was seeing someone. We did still have a few mutual friends, distant as they were.
She never really stopped being my sister, you see, so I kept tabs on her. I knew she didn't want anything to do with me, but a lifetime habit of looking out for someone doesn't go away just because the relationship isn't there anymore. It's not like I could divorce my sister, even if I'd wanted to.
Siobhan's the older sister, yes, but we both kind of looked out for each other in our own ways. For a long time, our differences complimented each other. I was the practical one who could do things she couldn't, the one who knew how to survive and would do what needed to be done to live. Siobhan was... the one who had dreams and ambitions and plans for how to get everything she wanted. She had taste and refinement and elegant skills I didn't, the sort of things you need to really succeed in society. But I was the one who'd had her share of hard knocks, who'd seen the worst of people, and I could tell you what kind of person someone was, the good, the bad, and the ugly, within five minutes of meeting them. For all Siobhan's pretensions at being discerning, I was the one who was ultimately better judge of character.
Siobhan went out of her way to avoid me, but I still saw her sometimes in passing. I won't go as far as to say that I'd gotten my life together around the time she left, but what happened with Sean was definitely a wake-up call for me, and it scared me into sobriety the way nothing else could. After what I'd done, drugs and alcohol were too kind. I wallowed in my self-hatred, needed it to keep going. I thought that hurting myself, that putting myself through this pain, would in some way equal and compensate for my mistake... but there was no compensating for something like that.
Anyway, Tahoe was small enough for me to notice someone like Andrew, especially if he was hanging around visiting my sister. Tahoe's not that big, and we all enjoy the attractions, rich or poor. She'd mentioned him once or twice in the few times I'd mustered up the guts to make a sober phone call to her. I... didn't think it was anything serious until I found out she was moving to New York to be with him, this man I'd never met. It bothered me, never having met him, because I couldn't judge whether or not he was good enough for my sister.
But maybe if I'd seen them together, seeing what I'd seen of their marriage, I might've thought he was too good for my sister, that maybe I'd been blinded by my guilt and had judged her wrongly.
Either way, I suppose you could say I first knew him from a photograph.
My sister didn't invite me to her wedding. I received no gold-embossed invitation on cream paper. She hadn't even given me her new cellphone number or mailing address when she'd moved, so I had no way to contact her. And I guess you could say I really went off the rails when Siobhan left because I had no one left to turn to, no reason to not put the hot needle in my arm. Siobhan was one of my last connections to a world where I wasn't an addict, and without that connection, without even the thought of my sister to rescue me, I sank deeper into the mire of my addictions. The alcohol and the heroin and everything else made me forget about the failed relationships, the bridges I'd burned, the many mistakes I'd made.
My sister had made it abundantly clear that she wanted to start over in a perfect new life that didn't involve me whatsoever, and I guess you could say I was a little spiteful. There was no room for me in her perfect little lie. It was real easy to hate myself when I knew that even my twin sister didn't love me or think I was worth sticking around. I couldn't even blame her, because I hated me too, hated the things I'd done to her, the only person who'd ever really loved and understood me.
I don't remember much of the year after she left, but I do remember the letter she sent me. She wrote me a letter on her wedding day, I guess. I don't know if she wrote it before her wedding and sent it later or what, since I don't know her actual wedding day... but it was a very beautiful letter, written in her graceful calligraphy-like script. At one point I had the words memorized from reading the letter so much, but I don't remember her exact words anymore.
She said she was thinking about me. She didn't say that I should've been there, but I could tell that she was thinking it. She didn't say that she wished I could've been there, but I think she did. I think she wanted me, her only family, to be there on her wedding day, like a normal, reliable sister. I know I wanted to be there. And I would've pulled it together the best I could for her. But my sister couldn't trust me, couldn't expect me to be the sort of Maid of Honor she needed.
I don't blame her, since, after all, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm more the type of the girl who'd be providing the entertainment at the bachelor party, the kind who'd fool around with the groom or screw one of his friends.
She wrote a bit about our parents, how she wished Mom could be there to see one of us getting the Princess wedding she'd dreamed of for us. I always wondered who gave her away at the wedding, with our parents both dead and both Siobhan and Andrew seeming to lack any close, older friends. Siobhan didn't say where the wedding was being held, didn't give me any details lest I cook up a half-assed plan to go and show up uninvited. She described the ceremony a bit for my supposed benefit, filled the letter with details of her elaborate, insanely romantic, over-the-top plans. She sent me a picture of her in her wedding dress, looking positively radiant and the most beautiful I have ever seen her, a woman any man could fall in love with. It's yellowing now, but I still have it stashed somewhere in my sister's jewelry box.
Siobhan wrote that she missed me, but asked me not to contact her (as if I knew how to do that), saying that this was the best for both of us. It wasn't; being apart from her, not being a part of her life, made my heart hurt and made it that much easier to succumb to the bottle and the horse. It was what was best and most convenient for her, and I guess she needed to look out for her new family now. Strangely, though, she didn't write much about Andrew, nothing sappy like wedding vows, not even a description of how he looked. All she said was that, from this day forward, she was going to be Mrs. Andrew Martin, whatever that entailed.
It sounded like a pretty big deal to me.
And she said that she was so happy, that she really loved him, and that Andrew loved her more than she could've ever imagined. And she did sound genuinely excited to be starting a new life with him, so I was happy for her and him and silently wished her the best. I wasn't sure if she'd ever try to contact me again; it hardly seemed like she needed me in her life... yet, for whatever reason, she'd felt like sharing the happiest day of her life with me. I tried to tell myself that meant something, but I didn't know what it meant.
Needless to say, I went on a two-day bender the day after I got the letter. I don't always deal with rejection very well, even if I deserve it, especially when it comes from the person I love most in the entire world. Loved, I should say. She's dead now, even if it doesn't feel that way, and I ought to remind myself of that fact every day... only how can she be dead when I'm living her life, right?
I might not have known her address or anything, but I still had her name and her face. And whenever I was around a phonebook or computer, I thought of nothing but contacting her. It took me about two years before I finally got up the guts and the temporary sobriety to try and find her. I typed her name in Google a few times, looking for pictures or anything, really, since I hadn't heard from her in years, and I was surprised to see her face staring back at me on the arm of this vaguely familiar-looking man.
It was a photo from some fundraiser or charity event, and the caption said something about Mr. Martin, a British financier, whatever that was, and his lovely wife, Siobhan, who had organized an event. I looked back earlier and found a wedding announcement in the Society section with a photo of the two of them on their wedding day, smiling and looking for all the world like they were actually in love. I printed the picture out, cut the paper, and put it in my wallet with the other pictures of the life I could've had. He looked like Siobhan's usual type: handsome but not too handsome, well-dressed, successful, buckets of cash, not a single hair out of place, with the strong jaw of a superhero-type. In fact, everything about him screamed superhero, from his hairstyle to the cleft in his chin to the way he dressed. And he'd saved my sister from a life tied to mine, so maybe he was that superhero for her.
I don't know. I don't really know what it was like between the two of them back then, in the beginning. Maybe it really was as good as everyone says it was. Then again, maybe Siobhan was always just as screwed up as me, only better at hiding it.
I knew I'd seen him before, but I couldn't really place him. Like I said, my memory of that year wasn't so great. Maybe I saw him hanging around Siobhan's, maybe I passed by him in the hall or lobby of a hotel I was visiting, maybe I saw him for a moment on a boat or casino or beach, hell, maybe I'd given him a lap-dance or something back when I worked in that classier strip-club. I doubted I'd had a conversation with him, unless he'd mistaken me for Siobhan. Either way, I didn't think too much about it at the time.
He seemed solid and dependable and rather boring, so I figured worst-case scenario, he and my sister would get a divorce after three-to-seven years, and my sister would make off with some massive alimony payments. I wondered if she would have another kid, if I'd ever get to be a part of her life again, not that I deserved it, but I made myself stop wondering real fast because I knew those kinda thoughts only led me to the bottom of an empty bottle of Jack or José.
And then, one day, I found her address. I didn't do anything with it for the longest time because I was still using, and I wanted to contact my sister when I was someone... better... when I'd made something out of myself and wasn't just another disappointment to her. I wanted to be someone she could be proud of, someone who'd overcome that addiction.
I finally wrote that letter to her two years later, sober as a Mormon. I wrote it from the heart, from all the horrible thoughts that had been eating me for all of my adult life, with the clarity that had returned with the pains of withdrawal and itchy uncertainty of my imposed sobriety.
I was pretty surprised she responded at all, but Siobhan always was a better person than me, and it meant a lot to me that she wanted to see me. Maybe she just wanted to see it to believe it. So I ran to her and her Hampton mansion, that "weekend place." And that's where I saw the real pictures of the two of them. There weren't as many as I thought there probably should be for a married couple, and I noticed that my sister didn't even give them a cursory glance, just like she didn't seem to be thrilled about her husband's two-week overseas business trip. But I didn't start putting things together then, I just looked at the pictures and tried to figure out how my sister's life worked.
Clearly I didn't figure it out or maybe she'd still be here, and I wouldn't be her.
Honestly, though, as horrible as it is, seeing Bodaway strangling Shaylene was probably the best thing that could've happened to me. I've always needed to someone to force my hand to get me to do something to change my life. And I needed a way out, and testifying was the only way out. It got me out of the stripping and the hooking and the jail charges. It got me out of the addiction and into a rehab program that actually worked, got me clean and sober again for the first time in over a decade. It got me Malcolm and a new start, and it gave me those last moments with my sister where I could hear her say she forgave me, even if I didn't believe it. And if I hadn't seen Bodaway strangling Shaylene with his bare hands, it could've been me in that alley a few weeks or months later, gasping my last breaths. Her death saved my life.
And I wouldn't be here, facing the intensely surreal feeling of falling for my dead sister's husband while pretending to be her and wondering if someone else's feelings aren't rubbing off on me.