Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I do own the nerves I'm currently experiencing!
"I'm the devil on your shoulder,
I'm the conscious in your mind -
I'm the feeling that you,
You cannot hide."
~ You Me At Six
We wear too much black, I think, my eyes landing on a particularly colorful pair of thin rainbow tights. I pull them on, soft fabric sliding against my freshly shaven legs; the tights are thin enough so that every time I move, I feel a cool rush of air against my skin and they appear almost translucent.
We don't wear enough black, Izzy disagrees, her voice clearly indicative of her pout. She tries to cross my arms over my chest but cannot as I am in control of our body.
"How about this?" I murmur aloud, pulling the required black and white plaid skirt from its hanger. "Tomorrow, you can pick."
Sounds fair, she sighs.
That's because it is fair.
Izzy huffs and disappears from the forefront of my mind.
When I was younger and she vanished, I used to panic, not understanding that she was still there – waiting in the wings for her turn. That was back when I lost time during her control. Now, we are both aware at all times.
It is exhausting.
It is comforting.
I move in front of the vanity, noticing the pink flush on my wind-chapped lips and applying a soothing, beeswax balm. My finger slides back and forth on my lower lip, coming to a slow stop as my eyes rise to the mirror and I am looking at myself.
Green-tinted grey eyes assess my appearance, a thick fringe of dark lashes framing the light color of my iris. My face is pretty, almost perfectly symmetrical, my eyes tilted upwards at the end, my nose stopping at a slightly upturned point. My finger slips off my lip, revealing a full, coral pink natural pout.
I stand, straightening my back and smoothing out the crisp white button-up shirt that is part of my school uniform and consider the more striking of my features; like my straight black eyebrows decorated with a delicate trio of studs on my right brow or my waving deep chocolate waist-length hair.
I purse my lips, silently thanking Izzy for the piercings on my face.
She laughs darkly, her voice a slightly deeper replica of my own. I think they're fabulous, so you're welcome.
Fabulous is a word for it, I concede, pulling my hair into a loose mermaid braid and purposefully revealing the industrial bar through the cartilage of my left ear, the single black feather earring and twin rings through the top of that ear.
Is that sarcasm? I never would have thought I'd see the day.
What can I say, Izzy? You bring out the best in me.
That I do, she agrees, disappearing again, her voice fading from my head.
I don't mind the piercings – mostly because I don't remember getting them as Izzy had been trashed all four times. Hangovers affected both of us, though Izzy opted for alcohol – I much preferred natural highs, endorphins and the like.
I locate the uniform's black blazer, the waist flaring away from my hips and emphasizing the curves of my lean body. Slightly beaten up black hemp Doc Martens slide over my feet, contrasting oddly with my bright tights.
It was a daily struggle to dress myself – Izzy favored dark, tough styles while I tended towards more natural, muted clothes. I made it a point to compromise with Izzy on our style choices – we did not wear leather or real feathers or fur and because of that, we typically wore black more than any other color.
Textures and colors weren't the only point of contention, of course. I had no idea when Izzy would decide to take over. In the past, she had taken to completely changing our clothes but, as we entered middle school, we realized that this would no longer be a working routine. Thus, our current compromise.
Typically, this compromise extended past clothing – it included our room, our classes, everything.
I grab my school bag, checking for Izzy's collection of colored pencils and her sketchbook, before I hoist the single strap over my shoulder and glance back at the vanity.
Izzy was more confident in our physical appearance – I was unsure and extremely self-conscious of it, though I knew the essential symmetry was appealing. We had never been in a relationship and, truthfully, I didn't know how we would function in one.
Socially, we are outcasts in school, our classmates either believing we are completely nuts or thinking we have a tendency towards drastic mood-swings. They avoid us.
Izzy has more of a problem with this than I do.
I lope down the stairs and head for the doorway, stopping only when I hear Chelsea's slow, garbled voice call out to me.
Oh, for fucks-sake, Izzy sighs. Just walk out.
I can't just leave.
You can, she insists. You just won't.
I can't correct her – she knows me better than any person on the planet or in this house. And, she's right.
Chelsea looks up from her empty glass of scotch, her eyes vacant and bleary. Her lipstick is smudged on her face and her hair is sloppy. "Where are you going?"
"You didn't drop out yet?"
That stung. Chelsea is too drunk to realize that I am in the top of our class and a year ahead, a junior where I should be a sophomore.
My vision blurs.
And comes back into focus.
Izzy, don't, Bella pleads.
I ignore her and glare at Chelsea. "Why don't you just fuck off?"
"Excuse me? Missy-"
"Maybe if you weren't so drunk off your ass all the time, you'd notice that your husband is never home. He's probably fucking some intern. Or worse, molesting little girls. Maybe that's why you drink all the time. I don't care. Never ask if Bella will drop out."
I turn towards the door, angrily gripping the knob, the cool metal pressing into my hand.
I distantly hear Chelsea sob out before I slam the door and practically jog out in the cool, foggy morning – moving as far away from that house as quickly as possible.
That was harsh.
Not harsh enough, as far as I'm concerned, I reply coolly.
The air is sharp in my lungs as I walk to Albany Academy for Girls. The school was merged with the Albany Academy, which was an exclusive boys school – hated the divide between the schools and the fact that the boys school was developed first, as if girls didn't have a right to education.
But Bella was smart enough to get in and it was one of many compromises between us.
I count to ten slowly, feeling rage pulse out of our body with every beat of our heart. I was quick to anger, quick to protect Bella – she is all I have in this world.
It works for us.
Feeling tension release from my shoulders and neck, my vision blurs.
I take the next step, blinking away our transition. I don't ask how Izzy is, knowing she prefers to calm herself alone. I give her all the privacy I can, purposefully directing my thoughts onto the change I planned to make in my schedule.
We had signed up for a shop class but Izzy had decided it didn't quite suit her. I wanted to replace shop with an independent study.
The two looming structures of the Albany Academies, made of brick and stone and fashioned like it came straight out of the early 1900's, enter my line of sight. I ignore the passing glances of the mingling students, keeping my gaze steady and my head held high.
The office is warm when I enter and I move to stand behind another student, absently twirling one of the studs on my brow. I didn't realize I had spaced out until the receptionist calls me forward.
"Sorry. I wanted to drop my shop class," I begin, leaning over the counter. "For independent study?"
She types on her keyboard, glasses slipping down her nose. "Alright," she smiles, handing me a freshly printed paper. "You can start your new schedule today."
I turn towards the door, completely tuned out to the room around me.
Izzy, however, is not.
She stops our body and directs our hearing towards a nasally giggle from the left side of the room.
"…don't bother with Bella. She's the school freak-"
My vision blurs.
"What the fuck did you just say?" I demand, turning towards one of the insipid girls in our grade – Jennifer or Jessica or something like that.
The bottle blond stops, her eyes widening before she plasters on a fake grin. Fake innocence. She tilts her head to the side. "I didn't say anything."
Izzy, leave it alone.
Did you hear what she said about us?
Yes, Bella sighs. She relents, taking an observational seat in our mind. Please don't get me suspended.
I smile slowly, my lips pressed together – more for Bella's benefit than Jennifer's, though the girl's smile falters at the sight of mine. "Bullshit," I drawl. "You said it once. Don't be too chicken shit to say it again."
"Ladies, is there a problem?" The receptionist asks. She can see there is a problem. I don't understand why she has to ask for clarification.
"Of course not," I say darkly. "I was just asking Jennifer a question."
"Jessica," the girl snipes, clutching the arm of some guy.
I snort. "Do I look like I fucking care? No? It must be because I'm such a freak. Why should I care about what you have to say?"
She opens her mouth to retort.
"Fuck off," I tell her. "You can take your little princess bullshit and shove it up-"
Izzy, just leave it alone.
Ignoring Bella, I continue. "Your entitled, well-used ass!"
"Miss Draegan. My office. Now."
I glare once more at Jennifer and turn towards the principal, storming into his office and throwing myself down on one of his plush chairs.
Count to ten.
I'm not fucking apologizing for shit, Izzy says
I know. You always leave it up to me.
You're so good at apologizing, she assures me.
I have to be, by now. I look up at the principal. "I'm so sorry," I say, not needing to force the sincerity in my voice. "I just got so tired of hearing that. I lashed out."
The principal steeples his fingers. "So you've been bullied? You claim this is self-defense?"
I nod, unable to speak. The other students did frequently call me out on the oddities I presented and usually, Izzy didn't react to it. This morning's confrontation with Chelsea must have set her on edge more than I had initially thought.
"Miss Draegan, I don't like seeing such a good student in my office. Let this be your first warning."
"Yes, sir. Thank you."
I move to stand just as the door to his office opens.
"Sir, Denali Corporation is here to see you."
"Yes, yes. Send them in."
What the fuck is Denali Corporation?
I don't know Izzy. Can I get to class without you freaking out again?
Izzy laughs. I make no promises. You know that.
I hurry out of the office and into the mostly cleared hallway, bypassing my locker so that I make it on time to first period. Unlike the rest of the A students, I seat myself in the back. I don't necessarily need to pay attention to the lesson.
On top of having Izzy in my head, uncontrollable bouts of simply knowing controlled my life. Sometimes, like in school, knowing was helpful – on tests, studying, reading text for class. I simply had to touch an object and I instantly knew everything about it.
I wasn't sure which was weirder – having another person trapped inside my body or my secret talent.
Most days, I opted towards the talent.
For me, Izzy was normal.
The teacher seems to drone on in her lesson, shrill scraps of chalk against board as she writes endless equations. The sigh of relief from the class is almost tangible when the door opens, interrupting the teacher's explanation.
A tall, beautiful woman wearing sunglasses and a tailored white suit enters the room. "You don't mind if I interrupt, do you?" she asks the teacher, not waiting for a response before she turns to the class. "My name is Tanya and I am with the Denali Corporation. I'm here to administer a short test."
She quickly walks through the rows of desks, handing out a single sheet of paper while a burly man sets up an AV cart with a projector on it.
I don't like this, Izzy mutters.
We both feel the fine hair on the back of our necks rise. Hesitantly, I touch the paper, confused when I feel no information from it.
I told you it was.
"I want you all to turn your attention to the patterns on the projector and simply write down whatever image comes to you. Start now."
I gaze at the black and white checked pattern and instantly, an image of a bright red apple sinks into my brain. I carefully print down the details of the apple onto the paper under the first blank.
I don't think you should do this, Izzy whispers.
I just get a funky feeling about it.
Izzy, I can't just not do it.
Fine, she sighs. She forces our glance onto our neighbor's paper. She's creative. 'Checkered pattern'. They'll think we're insane! You put down red apple!
I saw a red apple! I defend.
The slide changes again and again and each time, I write down exactly what image comes to mind, ignoring Izzy's muttering.
The lights flip on and the woman collects our papers. She glances down at mine and raises a single brown, chilling me to the bone. I can almost feel her gaze through her dark glasses.
My stomach drops.
What have I just done?
The rest of the school day passes with me in control, Izzy content to disappear for a while as I take tests and turn in homework. She's always found school incredibly boring and she's always been more than happy to let me have control over our body during that time.
Finally, Izzy groans when the final bell rings. I missed my television.
We have to go to Dr. Jane's, I tell her, ducking out of the building and setting out on the mile-long trek to my psychologists main office.
We can't just skip out?
Sorry, Izzy. We have to go.
I don't like Dr. Jane.
I snort aloud. You don't like doctors at all, you mean.
Dr. Jane had been treating us since we were in middle school. She determined the mental illness that plagued us and even the cause for it. She is well educated. She has all the right credentials.
Izzy still didn't like her.
But seeing Dr. Jane was another compromise between us.
I don't have to wait long in the reception room before Dr. Jane calls me in, motioning for me to sit it my favored plushy plum chair.
"How are you today, Bella?"
I sigh and shrug. Today had been one of the better days and I tell her so. Dr. Jane writes in her notebook and proceeds with her standard questions.
How many times has Izzy come out today?
Did Izzy and I speak to each other?
Yes. Several times.
Have I spoken to my father, Felix?
Do I want to?
How is Chelsea?
Drunk. As always.
How does that make me feel?
It makes me feel like she's a drunk.
"Have you lost any time, recently?"
I shake my head. "No, actually. I can't remember the last time either of us lost time."
"That's odd for a dissociative identity patient. There are no memory lapses between alters?"
She calls my blurred visions altering. Because Izzy is my alter.
I feel more that Izzy is a part of me.
Calling her an alter seems like an insult.
Instead of saying that, though, I shake my head again. "I remember everything. I feel like I'm just watching Izzy live through her eyes when she's in control."
"We call that hosting," Dr. Jane corrects gently.
I'm two people. Or one. Or neither.
Dr. Jane closes her notebook. "Our time is up. I'll see you next week, right?"
"It's already scheduled."
I thought that would never end!
It was only an hour, Izzy.
An hour we'll never get back, she argues.
When I arrive home, the lights are off and Felix's car is pulled up to the curb. It didn't make a difference whether he was here or working at the hospital – I would avoid him at all costs.
I always did.
A/N: Alright. New Story. I'm anxious about this one - about how it'll be received, at least. As you can tell, by now, Bella clearly has DID and a bit of a psychic ability. If you want to Google DID, you'll come across some interesting things. I struggled with how to write a character in 1st person with DID and I think I did okay. This story is going to have lots of italics.
That said, I do not have DID nor do I know anyone who does. It's a serious illness and I do not take it lightly - but it is fascinating. So, no hate-mail on it? It's a purely fictional character device. You don't like it, don't read it. But I have high, high hopes for this story, so I hope you give it a chance!
As always, be brutally honest.