Author's Note: So, I'm back with a new story! I usually write Titanic fan fics, but just this weekend I watched Revolutionary Road (with the amazing Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), and I decided to write a story about it. Seeing that there are only three other stories in this fandom, I looked through them and especially loved Penguinsxxx's idea of April not going through with the abortion. After asking her very nicely, I've adopted her one-shot and will now continue by turning it into a full-blown story.
Read Penguinsxxx's original story here: s/8161142/1/Cry
And most of all, enjoy and review! I'd love to know what you guys think!
Disclaimer: I do not own Revolutionary Road (2008)
A Hollow Shell
By Lady Elena Dawson
Chapter One: A Mindless Decision
Watching the posh car zoom away, April stood on the porch for a couple more minutes than necessary, standing in the same spot even after it had been far out of her sight. That morning she had woken up and made a decision, a choice that might put an end to what she had been feeling for the past ten years. Maybe she was just a hollow shell of a woman; maybe she was just as guilty to blame. Maybe John Givings was right: Every decent person should be glad that they weren't the baby that would be growing up on Revolutionary Road.
Turning around, her hand floated near her flat stomach. That one footstep back into the house was the hardest thing she'd ever done. The door frame acted as a barrier for what could have been and what will happen—taking that step, one foot in front of the other, had silently agreed to her choice that she was ready to lighten the heaviness on her shoulders.
Surprisingly she found it easy to make her way into the kitchen and start rubbing the dishes clean. But even with the unanticipated ease, she still shook in her shoes, her ankles giving way that she almost collapsed weakly on the floor; she could feel the vomit rising in her throat, of the living creature begging her to stop crying, but once she started, she couldn't stop.
Each tear that fell onto her cheek brought along with it the memories of her and Frank's wedding day, the first time they met and he made her laugh, the amazing stories he would tell of the war. Replaced in her head were the deadly reminisces of what their cobbled-up, oh-so-perfect relationship had brought: The fighting, the tears, the anger and fear. She had told him she hated him; that he was a silly excuse for a man; that she loathed even the sight of him.
The thoughts revolted her, but she found it easy to let go of those bittersweet memories of the times they had shared living like a young, passionately in love couple. She forced herself to shove the brawls down her throat, until the vomit was becoming unbearable to hold in, yet the bile was still swallowed. She wanted the tears to wipe away her memory, but the voice in the back of her head kept beckoning her to remember Frank's loveless arguments that had put their marriage on the line for far too long.
They had tried to escape from the stereotypical suburban town, yet the people had just pulled Frank right back in. She had bought the tickets, made the plans; and the company had twisted their unrealistic dreams back into reality.
Or was this even reality at all?
Drying the last dish with a tremulous hand, she swallowed the dry lump in her throat and filled a pot with steaming water. At that moment she had no idea what she was doing, but whatever it was, she was too mesmerized about the idea of an impeccable family that wouldn't exist with another child in the picture—already her mind was captivated to the point that she could not snap out of it.
Upstairs she placed the hot water bowl in the bathtub, watching the steam run up the sides and leave cooled droplets on the spotless porcelain. Many days she had worked hard on the bathroom, scrubbing the sinks clean and the toilet bowls fresh. But she had had enough, and though it was over twelve weeks, she was going to take the chance.
Her consistent shivering had ceased and now she was stiff as a stone; one could compare it to a hollow bowl filled to the brim with water. She felt heavy and alone, her memory erased of the peaceful morning she had spent with Frank, now understanding why she had wanted so badly for the kids to stay over a friend's house for the night. The only memory consuming her mind was that of their fight last night, where he had admitted to his affair and what she had said made him snap. She remembered running out of the dining room like a wounded animal, but he still caught hold of her, broke the kitchen chair, before she was finally able to pull away and run into the woods. She spent a lot of time thinking out there, unaware of Frank's own regretful, remorseful tears.
Unconsciously she pulled out a crisp sheet of paper and scribbled a note on the inside flap before folding it and placing it on the dust-free tabletop. Wiping her sweaty palms on her smooth dress, she continued with her monotonous process, proceeding by sitting on the bed, her back as straight as an iron rod.
Fiddling with the phone cord, she typed in the number with her manicured fingernails. Many thoughts were coming into her head at once, most of them being her own selfish, harsh words.
Just because you've got me safe in this little trap, you think you can bully me into feeling whatever you want me to feel!
As the phone let out its first ring, the reason why she wanted to get out of this ploy came with it.
Look at us. We're just like everyone else. We've bought into the same, ridiculous delusion.
Then something else entirely, something she just couldn't explain, for at that moment it felt like the right thing to say.
And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank, they just get better at lying.
They kept coming and coming, spiraling out of control.
You're just some guy who made me laugh at a party once!
What are you going to do now? Are you going to hit me? To show me how much you love me?
Until one made her stop.
Frank Wheeler, I think you're the most interesting person I've ever met.
She couldn't feel the teardrops staining her cheeks. She just put the receiver to her mouth and continued to wait for Milly's voice on the other end, something to shake her out of her bloodless, coldhearted decision. And she thought of the farewell note she had left on the table downstairs.
Frank would see it when he got home.
The conversation she had with her neighbor was a blur. She remembered the strain in her voice as she told Milly—or, more accurately, attempted—to tell her children that she loved them, to not call them back home if they were still playing. After she hung up the receiver, the only thing left to do was what she had cobbled up that oddly peaceful morning.
The water was still boiling hot, despite April feeling like it had been hours since she had set it down in the bathroom. Her heart was pounding dreadfully as she removed the rubber tubing from the plastic covering, and the sight of it made her stomach hurl; she was absolutely revolted by it. But sometimes ending a life before it had lived was better than seeing it grow up in the home of a couple falling apart.
Or so April told herself so the notion could be easier.
The syringe. The hot water. The rubber tube. It was all so disgusting, yet so clever. Someone more desperate than her had cobbled up such a horrific invention just so they could live another day of freedom, and not be burdened by the raising of a child.
You make it seem like having kids is a goddamn punishment!
Her breathing was coming out in uncontrollable gasps, a small sweat appearing on her forehead. The revolting needle was so close to her skin, ready to penetrate it and take away something that had never lived to see the world. In a way, April was certain that it didn't want to open its eyes and turn its head to the sunlight, not with her and Frank as its parents; yet, something tugged at her, something that she had overlooked while scrubbing away her problems on the dishes.
Suddenly, the whole idea of abortion was unrealistic. For that hour of reality, it had all turned around and become a nightmarish dream. She loved her children, didn't she? Jennifer and Michael were good kids, polite and smart. Not that she didn't have her share of disagreements with them, including the day she found out she was pregnant and the whole grand scheme of moving to Paris had come crashing down. She had cried as though it was a goddamn punishment, her mind so focused on her and what the baby had done to her plans that she was practically turned mad.
But she realized that now, with the syringe only a couple of inches away from her pasty skin. It dropped to the ground with a sickening thud, April dropping to the ground and gathering the towels she had so precisely laid moments ago. Her nose was sloppy and runny, and her eyes were wet and red; all of a sudden, she couldn't stop sobbing, the realization that she loved this new baby just as much as she did her entire family causing her to feel weak and, overall, a failure as a human being.
Whatever she had thought that morning had vanished into thin air. She screamed and sloshed the water around the tiles, running out of the bathroom as though something flesh-eating had popped out of the sink. The kit had fallen off the counter, the tube rolling around in a circular motion on the floor, making her feel sick to her stomach.
Collapsing on to the bed, she couldn't stop sobbing. She could have shed thousands of tears, but that would still be the equivalent of ten—it didn't matter how large the number, but just how sinful she felt.
The nausea multiplied as her lungs stopped hyperventilating. The terrible fate that she could have met replayed in her head, the thought that she had been okay with it killing her from the inside out.
Her clammy, bare feet walked down the stairs, achingly slow for the young woman she was.
At first all she felt was the pain, but once she reached the large window, there was the blood.
One dropped stained the white floor. Two, then three. The bleeding wouldn't stop.
All she could think about was how Frank was going to come home to the blemish on the carpet and the mess in the bathroom. Not once did she think about the horrible mistake she had made.
Strolling stiffly out of the room, she shakily picked up the phone before dialing the hospital.
The words that would manage to escape her mouth: "I think I need help."
In a few minutes, Milly would look out her window and see the ambulance in front of the Wheelers', the idealistic couple who lived next door.
And in a few hours, Frank would be waiting for the dreadful news.
And in a few seconds, he would learn that April was dead.
She couldn't stop herself from recounting exactly how her death would have played out if she had gotten away with aborting her baby, innocent to the point that it couldn't even defend itself if she had done what she had planned to do.
Curling up on the bed, she whimpered and shook, gently clutching her flat belly, too afraid that maybe it was all a dream—and she would wake up downstairs in front of the window, the blood between her feet.