The Girl Who Would Be Queen
show: Young & the Restless
central character(s): Victoria Newman Abbott, with Victor Newman & Billy Abbott on the side.
summary: This princess' crown is just too heavy to bear. / Or, in which Victoria comes to the realization that Newman Enterprises isn't as grand in the bigger scheme of things, so she simply stops caring.
notes: My inspiration is simply that Victoria scene with Victor and the sheer fact that Amelia Heinle is totally kicking ass in this storyline. But her scene with Eric Braden was so damn good.
musical inspiration: "Turning Tables" – Adele, "What Now" – Rihanna & "Castle Walls" – Christina Aguilera. And I would love someone to vid Victoria Newman solo with these songs.
disclaimer: Roses are red. Violets are blue. I don't own, so you don't sue.
"You got us two tickets to Jamaica?"
"Yeah," Billy answers, with a boyish charm and a smile that Victoria has to admit is endearing. It always is and it's a battle to keep from smiling back, because she's still really, really hurt. He gazes into her eyes, an ocean of blue that Victoria is fighting from within to not drown in. The Jamaica re-enactment in their living room is sweet, and yeah, it's fun. "Run away with me."
It's not about erasing what happens, or even forgiveness, Billy says. He just wants to make it up to her, and maybe Jamaica could be the key if she could just allow him.
Sometimes, Victoria thinks, Billy is too impulsive for his own good. It's so much bigger than taking Keeley out for a walk in the mornings before coming back because of that nagging feeling of hypervigilance. It's bigger than checking on Johnny only to look into his crib, playing as he blows raspberries and grins at her in that baby way that is calming. Johnny doesn't know any bad in the world, doesn't know of cruelty and unkindness. All he knows is warmth, smiles and love and that is the most comforting to Victoria. How can she possibly hop on a plane and leave that?
"You make it so sound so easy," she replies, with a light, wry smile.
"It is that easy," Billy argues, pulling the shirts they wear to Jamaica the first time – his bright lime green one, her white, blinged out one. "You just take two T-shirts and stir," and he makes a stirring motion in the air with the garments of clothing. "That's it."
"Oh. No paper umbrellas?"
"Oh," and then Victoria watches Billy's face take on the look of a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar with crumbs on his face. And Victoria doesn't know what to feel – it's an even mix of giving up and walking away, and smiling almost at the effort to gain her trust. He's trying, and Victoria loves him for that, among many other things. "We'll just steal 'em from Finn McGees. We have a layover in New York."
"Montego Bay via JFK."
"Yeah, well, we can't recapture our past glory without downing a few of our favourite green beers at our favourite pub. Your princess tiara is already packed and ready to go."
"You had this whole thing planned, and if you didn't even ask me."
Billy doesn't even try and deny it. "Yeah," he nods, and sometimes, Victoria finds it startling how well Billy knows her – how well he understands her state of mind, even when it's not in the best shape right now, and it's a work in progress – a twisted, and quite hard work in progress. "I had to because I knew you couldn't say no to effective preparation and organization."
Yes, that is her modus operandi.
Victoria's words almost go out of her mental window.
Out of habit, her eyes land on Billy's lips before she forces her eyes back up, "Don't be so sure." He shouldn't be, because Victoria is still teetering, still swaying from one emotion to the next. She's strong enough to survive twenty-hours but not enough to make decisions that have her on yet another plane.
She sighs, as Billy lists all of the pros as to why Jamaica is great for her, him, and them.
Jamaica is the catalyst to her and Billy being a family with their three children. The sky's the limit and they can do anything – even bigger, greater things. It makes Victoria smile a little.
Wait. Wait a – oh.
Victoria's eyebrows furrow lightly, "Wait, you're talking about leaving tonight?"
"Yeah, as soon as we make reservations for Johnny."
She heaves a sigh, and yeah, it's real at breakneck speed because there's a driver.
Before she can accept or refuse, her thought processes get all tangled and jumbled up again by the doorbell. She's not sure of where she stands with her father these days.
It's her father at the door, and Billy goes upstairs to check on their sleeping son.
She looks at her father, and sighs before he sits and Victoria says, "Alright. Floor is yours."
In an imagination Victoria carries around from childhood in her back pocket, the Ranch – her and Nick's childhood home – is this elaborate giant castle, a crown jewel in her father's pseudo-kingdom.
All of her childhood, adolescent and even adult memories are etched all other the walls. It's woven in the beams that hold it together. They're invisible in the intricate design of the mahogany front door. The memories of Victoria's life are spread out and diffused in the air outside and in the crisp air of autumn and winter. Everything that has ever happens in Victoria's life is woven through the branches of just-blooming trees of spring, and in the starry skies of summer.
That's when Dad isn't Victor Newman. Those are the fondest, closest memories.
He's just her father, and that's enough for her child-like heart to take.
But now, Victoria isn't sure and it's an emotional chore just to get through the end of the day.
This princess' crown is just too damn heavy to bear.
It gets nicer and more intricate, but it gets heavier and makes Victoria's head heavy with the pressure she knows way too familiarly for her own good.
Her father tells her that Sharon is the one who burns the ranch to the ground.
Sharon. The all-too familiar name rolls around in Victoria's already-fogged head and her heart thump-thumps against her ribcage. All of a sudden that house warming party from Hell replays in her head like a disjointed movie and it's no surprise to Victoria at all. She still has the picture of the way Sharon gets more and more erratic with every insufferable minute that passes by. If Victoria isn't in the middle of trying to reach her own mental clarity, she would try to squeeze out some empathy. But there is an ugly feeling of anger and controlled rage that seeps through Victoria like a slow-acting poison and she doesn't feel bad spewing some of that venom Sharon's way, even in front of her nephew, Noah.
It's a slow acting kind of poison that curls into around Victoria's stomach and squeezes it. It makes her want to withdraw from Billy sometimes and has her needing his warmth beside her at the same time. It nearly drives Victoria to edge of darkness in her nightmares as she fights to get out, clawing and kicking at an Eddie her head and know is not there anymore until Billy gets to her by calling her back to the surface. He holds her, as she still trembles freshly awoken from the same nightmare and makes her see that she is far away from Miami. And that she's where she wants to be: home and safe.
It sits on her lungs – the feeling of her not being able to breathe overwhelmingly real and the glint of Max's gun the brightest in darkness so thick. It almost feels tangible and threatens to choke her and leave Victoria silently screaming.
This silent rage she feels weaves itself around her heart and as she stares at her father, it almost makes Victoria want to hate him, hate Billy, hate everything.
But Victoria knows it's not in this heart of hers. At the core of her being, blind hatred is not her, but it's still a scary feeling to be on the brink of that dark emotion. And it is even more terrifying that she almost lets it in – just for a little while to forget the way of her psyche is slowly start to splinter.
"Sharon," Victoria breathes out the name to put a face to the one who turns her childhood name from something beautiful into something that is just heaps of burnt wood, broken glass, and ash now. "I don't know why I'm surprised considering the way she was acting at the party."
Against her deductive logic, Victoria looks at her father with surprised, slightly widened blue eyes.
"Has she been arrested? Does Nicholas know?"
Victor replies, "Yeah, I talked to him about it. There is no evidence, but we will find it."
"Well," Victoria says, with a tone that suggest she really doesn't care at all – because she doesn't. It's the same song and dance and Victoria isn't up for hearing it anymore, "score one for your side."
"What do you mean 'my side'?" Victor asks, confusion all over his face. "It's our side."
Victoria frowns, the feeling of free-falling with nothing to catch her, still there in the crevices of her consciousness.
It doesn't feel like that, lately. A lot of things feel differently, to be honest.
Victor looks at her like she's supposed to get it, and unfortunately, Victoria does. She gets what it means to be a Newman, have Newman blood flowing through her veins and be educated thoroughly in the art of all things Newman. She's supposed to fall in line, put on a nice suit, smile like she means it, and everything Victor has done is suddenly erased and magically doesn't exist.
Everything feels different to Victoria. Like her life as it continues Post-Kidnapping.
Like she thinks about things Post-Kidnapping. She wakes up today Post-Kidnapping. Victoria feeds and plays with Johnny, Post-Kidnapping. She snuggles with Keeley, Post-Kidnapping.
Billy brings her tea, while sipping his own coffee in the morning.
Victoria won't give those thugs that kind of power, but when her skin is the only thing holding her together so she's not jumpy and makes the conscious effort to get back to normal, she can't control the nightmares and the flashbacks. She can't control that even if she tries.
The lack of control makes Victoria more angry than anything.
Victoria's angry with Billy. She's really, really angry at the surface, but she's hurt beneath.
She's angry enough to hold Billy at arm's length, but not enough to completely cut him off from her life and purge with Billy Abbott related thought, memory and reminder from her mind. So, Billy still sleeps in their marital bed. She doesn't sleep much but it doesn't do anything because as much as she loves Reed, he's wrong: Victoria discovers that yeah, a person can dream with their eyes open.
"You alright?" Billy asks, later in the night – it's about to be early morning. His voice is thick with sleep, but concerned as she glances at their bedroom window over Billy's shoulder, and then backtracks. "I know you don't want me in your space right now and that's okay but—"
Victoria forces herself to tear her blue eyed gaze away from the locked window. She's safe, she reminds herself as a mantra. She's safe. Even when there is darkness, she tells herself, she is safe. The doors and windows are locked, the bedroom door is closed, Johnny is asleep according to the baby monitor and Keeley is long asleep in his favourite corner of their bedroom – the one beside the door.
She's not ready for Jamaica even after the rum, the dancing around and the laughter that almost sounds like hers, but she's definitely not ready for sleep.
Through her eyelashes, Victoria's eyes find her husband's blue eyes while hers are rimmed with tears. She wordlessly shifts her body over and nestles into Billy's fold. She feels his strong arms around her, and the ghost of his lips against her temple. He's warm and familiar and Victoria is ready for that, at least.
"No," she whispers, words broken as a tear lightly traces a path down her cheek. "I'm not alright."
Victoria feels Billy's guilty exhale, and his reply sounds as thick with tears as hers.
"I'm sorry, Victoria. I'm so sorry."
She doesn't want Billy to be sorry anymore. She just wants him to be her husband. That's enough.
Here's what keeps Victoria sane, for now: the faces of her boys in her mind's eye are the things that make sense when everything else is confusing, bleak and Victoria feels like she will, in fact, die in that room quickly, or die slowly and painfully while silver handcuffs cut into her wrist. Or, at least feel that way.
Her children – her sons – are the only light right now.
And it is this light that allows Victoria to let Billy in and pieces of who she is pre-kidnapping, bit by bit.
Victoria knows in the common sense, factual kind of way that she likes herbal tea before bed, that lavender bubble bath is her favourite, her favourite colour is a toss-up between mauve, and fuchsia, her favourite flowers are sunflowers but she loves the look of a deep red rose, and that she still loves Father Knows Best.
But it's as if the kidnapping makes everything else so petty and trivial in the grand scheme of things.
Right now, Newman Enterprises is the most trivial and the most coveted Metaphorical Throne all at once. The old Victoria would act in alarm, come up with a plan of action by any means necessary, and react in immediate action to put Newman Enterprises back in Newman hands. Do it for the children, he says, and Victoria almost wants to scoff and roll her eyes. She's not that ungrateful that she doesn't acknowledge what her father does to make Newman Enterprises what it is.
Of course, Victoria only has to be second in command to getting Newman Enterprises back from Jack. Because typically, Victoria has to join with her father and band together to defeat the enemy – who happens to be her brother-in-law. She has her own issues with Jack and there is a well of resentment because Miami is his fault, too. But no, she will not be involved in this Newman vs. Abbott cycle, and she sure as hell, will not allow Johnny to be sucked into it, either. Reed and Johnny will be normal little boys and will never feel the inner turmoil of being torn between loyalties.
"Reed, and Johnny will be grateful that I didn't fall for your emotional blackmail because they know that they will never have to prove their love to me," Victoria answers, resolutely, and that business-related high she previously craves loses its novelty.
Not much excites Victoria much – except for the occasions in which Billy says something that triggers a nice and warm response that encircles her heart, making it difficult not to smile. Then there's the sound of Reed's happy voice and the picture Johnny's goofy grin with the emergence of two little bottom teeth. Those things always make her smile.
Victoria isn't naïve, either. Of course, her father would invite Adam to the party to force her and Nicholas' hand. Of course, he would, and the thought sparks a small angry fire in the pit of Victoria's stomach. Newman is in her heart, and yes, it's in her blood. And Victoria long acknowledges that she is indeed her father's daughter – that she learns everything in his business arsenal: the way to attain acquisitions, the deals, the meetings and the art of watching one business rise and making another fall by the work of strategy and her manicured hands.
But perhaps, it's not worth fighting for anymore. It's the manipulation and the emotional blackmail and the whisperings of divorce that Victor spews in her head, when it is filled to its capacity.
She can't do this. And she won't.
She doesn't bring up the kidnapping to relive it, although she has no voice but to do so.
But to make her father realize, somehow, that there are things much bigger than Newman Enterprises. Victoria wants to make her father see that she's dealing with something bigger than herself and Newman Enterprises is her last priority.
"Stop it!" Victoria yells, at her breaking point. It's a long time coming. "Just stop. Stop manipulating me into leaving Billy, and fighting your company! Just stop."
Now, there's just hardness. "Why are you so stubborn? The kidnapping was Billy's fault. You know that man is no good for you! You know it! He gets you into one trouble spot after another."
Victoria glances down, the dark ink of her tattooed wedding band catching her eye. She remembers getting this and remembers the tinges of regret when Billy breaks her heart over and over. But she remembers the joy, too; the kind of joy that leaves Victoria more exhilarated than she ever is in her entire life.
She, right now, remembers that there is this man upstairs who loves her and is at least trying to make some sort of amends. How can she act cold towards that?
"Newman Enterprises is in your blood. It's in your heart, and you know you want it back as much as I do. You are more like me, than any of my children – in her head, and in your heart."
Victoria also remembers the way her father protects her. Loves her. Promises to be there. She remembers the sixth birthday party. It's a pink-themed party: pink and white streamers, her pretty pink press with ribbons Nikki weaves in her hair. There's a chocolate birthday cake with pink and little instances of purple icing. She remembers the little caramel brown pony with its white hooves, and yes, even that has a pink bow. She names the new pony, Sunny, and is excited for a new friend for her horse, Clementine.
She remembers the happy flowers – what she calls sunflowers as a child – and the way Nicholas is so fascinated by this cake that he sticks his chubby little hand in the corner of the cake, shoving chocolate cake in his mouth after she blows her candle out. Her birthday wish is to have Daddy home.
(She's not upset about the cake. Nicholas is her baby brother. She's upset because Daddy's not here. He's in Tokyo and promises a pretty birthday kimono but she's not the same. That night, Victoria clutches the stuffed giraffe named after her daddy to sleep, and cries a little.)
It's not about a princess and a king.
It's just a woman who wants her father. Not this.
(Here is the fact is Victor has to accept: Victoria is married to a prince that is so far from perfect and flawed, but Billy's okay for her. He's human.)
She refuses. Victoria simply refuses to be involved in any power plays, and in-fighting.
"What if I do? What if?"
(Which is code for yes, absolutely.)
Victor's eyes are hard and soft at the same time, "I built it all for you, for my family. For Reed, for Johnny. It's out of love!"
Her eyes fill up with tears and Victoria knows that Victor loves her.
But the company will always have all parts of him. The company, this company that Victoria knows her father will always love Newman Enterprises unconditionally and wholeheartedly.
"It's always about the company," she says, with a slight sneer. She almost wants to plead with him. It will be no avail, though. It's that long stubborn streak she inherits from him. "Newman Enterprises is the only thing you will always love, unconditionally, Dad!" her sight blurs with tears threatening to spill over. "Why can't you just let it go?"
"There is nothing more important to me than my family."
"Then prove it!" Victoria implores, even though she knows it won't do anything. "Prove that you love us by being willing to let it go!"
Victor gazes at her, and she sees the truth in his eyes, one that she has always known.
"If I told you that, it would be a lie," he answers, and gestures upstairs – it's a not-so-subtle jab at Billy. "Aren't you tired of living with lies?"
Victoria isn't ignorant to the mistakes that Billy makes – the ones in the past that knock at that the door of her brain, the ones that she's still dealing with in the present, and the ones Victoria hopes will not impede on the future she still wants with her husband and her family; the ones that won't make Victoria's head and heart hurt at the same time and give her the feeling of being pulled into more than one direction. She doesn't want to feel as if she is being torn to pieces and ripped apart all the time, anymore.
"Yes," Victoria answers, voice nothing but a broken whisper. The tears finally spill over, wetting her cheeks. "But the truth hurts just as much."
And she runs upstairs past Billy, more tears falling fast and angry down her face when there are no more words left to say.
The princess crown is too damn heavy, so she throws it off. Victoria doesn't want to wear it, anymore.
(Here's the truth that slaps Victoria in the face, because the sting cuts so deeply even when she expects it, and braces herself for the impact: Newman Enterprises is, and always will be, her father's first-born child.)
But here's another truth that slices through the tears and the hurt: Victoria has another tiara waiting for her. She'll trade this heavy gold crown for a plastic, light princess tiara in a heartbeat.
She closes the door to her bedroom with Billy, walking over to the nightstand where a framed photo of her, Billy, Delia, Reed, and Johnny in her arms catches her eye. Victoria picks it up, running her fingers over the smooth glass and a shadow of a smile blooms on her face.
They look so happy here, and Victoria wants to be happy again. She wants to hold on to those slivers of happiness and never let them slip through her slender fingers again. She could hop on a plane and get far, far away from Genoa City for a little while. Part of her misses the feeling of sand between her toes, rum cake and the Caribbean sun warm on her face and even warmer on her skin.
She sniffles, and wipes a stray tear away.
Jamaica with Billy could be fun after she plays with Johnny and her family with Billy is not fractured but whole - the way Victoria wants it to be deep down at the end of the day.
(The princess crown is heavy, and it shatters when it falls but Victoria is going to be more than okay with that.)
A/N: ...and that's a wrap. Forgive any typos. I have to head out tonight. I will go a good thorough edit tomorrow. Now, I can work on my part of the story with Katie and finish the last 25 percent of it. I have other stuff to write, but this has been writing at me and basically, plaguing my head. I had a weird Villy dream and involves Victoria's kidnapping as crazy witch hunters. I may or may write it. I don't know. There's real life and a wicked case of writer's block, and my own emotional stuff…so.
Consider this a Victoria-centric character study, based on the Victoria/Victor, with Billy thrown in there. I just wanted to get Victoria's thought processes, and hoped I accomplished that.
Happy holidays! And feedback is love.