July 31, 2014

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

Biz pulled into the gas station and rolled down the window. There was a cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth and it wagged at me like a stern finger as she spoke. "Oh, I'm sorry. But I am here to pick up one Elizabeth Van der Deer. Not Sinead O'Connor."

She was drunk. Great.

I tried to open the passenger side door but it was locked. I smacked the side of Biz's Jeep, harder than I meant to, and Biz let out a startled yelp. "Unlock the door, Biz!"

"I'd be pissed off if I had a dyke haircut too," she grumbled, patting along the driver's side door, trying to find the button to release the locks. She was taking forever, so I jogged around the front of the car. The locks popped up with a perky click and I threw Biz's door open. There was no way she was driving. "Move over," I gasped. I was still breathing hard, even though it had been almost forty-five minutes since I'd called her.

I could hear a party, throbbing in the background, and Biz was shouting over the music and voices, "E!" Where did you run off to? Or should I say, who did you run off with?" She cackled at her own joke, and I realized there was a good chance no one had been looking for me. I'd been known to run off with the rare Smithson guy who could actually give me an orgasm. We'd shack up in a room at Geneva on the Lake, the lone luxury hotel in town, and fool around for a few days before I'd get bored. It wasn't the Four Seasons, but it was actually quite pretty. It had managed to stay in business thanks to all the wealthy parents of Smithson students, who booked rooms there when they came to visit. "Where are you?" Biz yelled, when I begged her to come get me, and now.

The problem was, I had no idea where I was. Geneva, the town where Smithson is located, may have been small, but we didn't stray very far outside the campus and the bars in the center of town. I had to tell Biz to hold on, praying she wouldn't lose interest in me and hang up when I ran out onto the road to find a street sign.

I was shocked—but grateful—Biz had managed to find me at all. She crawled over the center console, collapsing in a clumsy sprawl in the passenger side seat, while I buckled myself in and shifted the gear stick into drive. My hands trembled violently on the wheel.

"Where are we going?" Biz whined. "Where have you been anyway? What are you doing here? And most important, what the hell did you do to your hair?"

"Biz," I croaked, and suddenly my cheeks were slippery with tears.

"Are you crying?" Biz gasped. Biz had never seen me cry before. It was actually something that bothered her a lot. "I can't call you my soulmate until I've seen you cry," she's told me, so many times. "I just don't cry," I shrugged, which up until that point, had been true. I didn't really have anything to cry about. My parents were a mess but I realized long ago they weren't worth my tears.  After that night, I cried all the time—but never in front of anyone else. No, in front of everyone else, I was steelier than ever.

I didn't answer her, and we drove to the house in silence. The front door was flapping open in the damp September wind, and as we came around to the side of the house, I realized Bridget's car was still parked in the driveway. It hadn't even occurred to me to see if the keys were still in the ignition, if I could have driven away instead taking off on foot. I never exercise, and my muscles felt wobbly.

"Is that Bridget's car?" Biz asked, twisting in her seat to get a better look. "What the hell is Bridget's car doing here? Where are we?"

I turned the car off and sat, staring at my hands in my lap for a second. "Something bad happened to Bridget," I whispered, finally.

I heard Biz swallow. "What do you mean?" she asked, quietly.

I studied her face, pinched all over with worry. "If you come into this house with me," I said, "you're involved. Do you understand me? I don't want you to come in the house unless you understand that you will be involved."

Biz started to cry too. "You're scaring me," she whimpered.

"I just need you to understand," I said, suddenly feeling calm, purposeful. "I need you right now, but not if you'll resent me for this. I'll never forgive myself if you end up resenting me for this."

Biz pressed her palms into her face, smearing the tears away. She didn't say anything for a good minute. But when I opened the door and started into the house, I heard her soft footsteps behind me.

- -

It took about a week and a half for the posters to go up. "MISSING," they declared, in big bold font, on practically every telephone pole in Geneva. "HAVE YOU SEEN HER?" Below was a black and white photo of Bridget, staring into the camera, her lips parted in a sultry pout. A few dumbasses had drawn a pair of penises sword fighting in her mouth, which prompted a school wide email blast from Smithson's president, reminding us of the college's moral code, which not only called on all of us to strive for educational excellence, but to behave in a way that shows compassion, respect, and empathy for all members of the community. Some other dumbass graffitied "I give compassionate blowies" above the original crude drawing. Smithson wasn't exactly nurturing the minds of the next generation of neuroscientists and Nobel Prize laureates.

Bridget's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, arrived on campus several days prior to their daughter's poster infestation. Had been the ones who led the charge on that front, actually. I had only been missing for two days, a short enough period of time that no one even noticed I was gone. "Thank God you're notorious for your little sex rendezvous," Biz breathed, after we'd done what we'd done, as we tried to piece together my alibi in the event that anyone asked where I'd been, that anyone connected the fact that Bridget had gone missing shortly after I'd turned up.

But no one asked. I'd been a habitual ghost, going AWOL in two to five day spates ever since freshman year. I prized my privacy, and all of my Turq and Grey house "friends" knew better than to ask who the lucky dog had been this time. My behavior was par for the course, as far as anyone else was concerned. If anything, people were more interested in my new haircut, which Biz had evened out as best she could with a pair of kitchen scissors when we'd gotten home in the din of dawn's first lazy light. I'd driven into Syracuse the moment I had a chance, walked into the first decent looking salon I'd seen. "Can you make me look like Mia Farrow?" I'd asked. The stylist, who had hoops the size of coffee saucers pulling the lobes of her ears low, cracked her gum and barked, "Who's Mia Farrow?" The place was no Marie Robinson, but it wasn't the time to be a stuck up bitch.

Bridget, unlike me, had never slipped off anyone's radar. "She calls me every single day," her mother had wept, in front of the national news cameras that gathered on campus (Pretty white girl goes missing her senior year at an affluent liberal arts college? The media was enrapt). "Sometimes twice a day!" Mrs. Mason added, holding her hand over her heart, like it ached, and wailing. It was the sort of thing I would have made fun of under normal circumstances. "Bwidgie calls her mommy twice a day!" Instead, I had to get up from the couch in the living room, where all my roommates had gathered to watch the press conference. I climbed the stairs to my bedroom, somberly, then shut the door and curled into a ball, my tears slithering into the seams of the tired-looking wood floor. The agony on Mrs. Mason's face reminded me of my own mother.

Nearly two weeks had gone by, without so much as a spider crack in the case, when the doorbell rang. No one we knew ever rang the doorbell to Grey House. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as I pulled myself out of bed and made my way downstairs to see who it was.

There were two people standing on the sagging front porch—a woman, forty-ish, frizzing brown hair pulled into a tight bun at the nape of her neck, not a drop of make-up on her sallow, freckled skin. She was wearing a mustard yellow button down, fastened all the way up to her chin, and bulky black pants, the holster for her gun stapled to her left side. She caught me staring at her waistband and I quickly shifted my attention to her partner.

He was somewhere in mid twenties purgatory. A natural blonde, like me. Pale and serious looking, the type of tall that people commented on. "Wow! Which side of the family does your height come from?" There were soft blue circles under his eyes, which made him seem world-weary, exhausted by all he'd seen. His chest was broad, his shoulders two menacing boulders.

"Does Elizabeth Van Deer live here?" the woman asked.

I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I tried again. "No," I said. "I mean," I stuttered, "she does. I'm her. It's just the name is actually"—I tore my eyes away from her partner and saw that she was giving me an amused smirk. I guess she was used to seeing women fall to pieces in front of him. I smiled and rolled my eyes at myself. "Sorry," I said, "I just woke up from a nap. A little out of it." I touched my chest. "I'm Elizabeth. And it's Van der Deer."

"I'm Detective Roth," the woman said, then jabbed her thumb behind her. "That's my partner, Detective Campbell."

 "Mind if we come inside and ask you a few questions, Miss Van der Deer?" Detective Campbell asked, accenting the "der" of my name in a way that suggested disdain.

I was about to say of course, even though my heart was humming in my throat, even though I could barely breathe I was so scared. But before I even had a chance to invite them inside, Detective Campbell brushed past me, the sweeping bridge of his chest blocking the view out of the doorway for a moment. He gave me a small, wicked smile as he slid past, as if in slow motion. That's another moment I always see in my mind's eye, right up there with Bridget hovering, her arms frantically windmilling at the top of those stairs. Detective Campbell hulking over me, smiling at me like he knew. He knew. And with every fiber of my being, I knew that this man would be the one to undo me.


28 comments:

  1. Ah this is getting so good! I wonder what they did with Bridget's body. Can't wait for next Thursday. So interesting to hear Elizabeth's harsh and dark background.

    http://tragedytwentysomething.blogspot.com/

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    1. I think we'll find out about Bridget's body in the next few posts when we learn how Campbell knows what happened and how Elizabeth managed to avoid a trial!

      http://poetsandheartbreakers.blogspot.com

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  2. She should've went to the police! Smh

    I must say, I'm enjoying Elizabeth's story more than Josie's!!!!

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  3. UGHHH i can't believe we only get this once a week !!! i want to keep reading!

    jessica i wish you would make your posts longer !!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, please make your posts longer.

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    1. Chris - @nylonlover69 on TwitterJuly 31, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      because you're hoping to get tips?

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  5. SO GOOD! More, please!

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  6. Absolutely amazing! I'm dying for more!

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  7. Absolutely amazing! Dying for more!

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  8. I wish this was a novel! I want to keep reading!

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  9. Wow, amazing Jessica!

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  10. Yes, can't wait to read more about Campbell since it reads like he's the one who ''broke'' her. This is so good and incredibly intriguing!

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  11. :O
    I seriously thought I would hate Elizabeth..and although she's a little evil- somehow I don't. At all. I can't wait for next week!

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  12. Every week (for the last three), I come to the blog and think, 'there's no way she can leave us with as good of a cliff hanger as last week,' but then you do! Can't get enough of this :)

    Cranberryvodka9.blogspot.com

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  13. hmmm so Campbell knows?? Wow. I originally thought there would be something going on with him when she spent so long describing him at the door. I thought perhaps he'd make her sleep with him to get out of everything. At the end, since we know that he knows, my hypothesis is still standing!

    Thanks another amazing post!

    http://poetsandheartbreakers.blogspot.com

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  14. After the first post, I wasn't sure about this one, but wow, I am so happy to say I was wrong!! Can't wait to see how this plays out... I'm betting that they have found her hair somewhere... in the house maybe??

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  15. She'll probably wind up in bed with the hot detective. Also, they probably just want to question Elizabeth because someone knew about her and Bridget's meeting at Grey House, before the drugging and all that. So, the time frame for E. being unconscious and tied up in the basement of that abandoned house was 2 days. Huh. That's a pretty serious drugging/kidnapping - and all over a guy that Bridget was pissed about E. sleeping with?! Crazy to go off the deep end like that over some guy screwing around on you. Interesting that she didn't do something similar to *him*, as well (unless she'd had plans to that effect, which is doubtful). This story is really interesting; very well written. Biz's character is hysterical; she's very likeable so far.

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  16. There is WAY to much foreshadowing in this blog, overkill

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  17. LOVE IT! I loved Josie, but wow! Such suspense!

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  18. I still can't believe she didn't go to the police? What jury would convict a girl who got kidnapped and pushed somebody down the stairs while trying to scape?? Arrrgggg Elizabeth!!! I feel so bad for what happened to her. Bridget was a bitch what she did was wrong and she doesn't deserve to die a heroe.
    Luita

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    1. So are you saying that Bridget deserved to die? You feel bad for Elizabeth but what about the fact that Bridget is dead? Being a bitch is not a crime and it doesn't justify Elizabeth's actions. Bridget was a bitch so who cares that she dead. She didn't deserve to die, end of story. She's not dying a hero either.

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    2. I'm not saying she deserved to die, but at the same time she put herself in that situation. She's the one that kidnapped Elizabeth, and who knows what all she did to her while she was unconscious??? What would you do if you found yourself trapped in a basement? I would try yo escape any way I can. Yes E pushed her, but I don't think she was trying to kill her, it was a terrible accident. The only reason I say she would die a heroe is because everyone would make E the villain, they probably wouldn't believe her. If had gone straight to the police they could've done tests to prove that she was drugged, hopefully that's all that happened to her.

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    3. Agree. This isn't an issue of "did or didn't deserve to die", anyway. The issue here is *self defense*. When you drug, kidnap, physically harm/maim a person, and then hold them - handcuffed - for days in a remote location...that's the big-league. Had things gone differently, Bridget would have done prison time for her crimes against Elizabeth (in "real life", and assuming E. called the police and went through the system). What Bridget did was *illegal* - not to mention off-the-rails crazy. What Elizabeth did, in her drugged, confused state, was defend herself after Bridget came back during E's attempted escape. When Bridget ran at E. in fury after discovering her at the head of the basement stairs - free of her handcuffed prison - E. had every reasonable expectation of serious physical harm...if not worse. That's self-defense; there's no better scenario for it than the one that's set up right here. The irony is that, had Elizabeth *not* still been operating under the effects of heavy drugging, dehydration, total disorientation of her surroundings and whereabouts, etc...she likely would have realized that calling the police right away would have been her best protection - legally and whatever else. People get *victim's counseling* for the ordeal she went through. When Bridget perpetrated her criminal assault against Elizabeth, she set in motion the events that led to her own death. Did she "deserve" it? That's a subjective question; everyone has a different opinion. But, do we all have the legal protection to defend ourselves against someone who'd do us grievous bodily harm, if not cause our death? Definitely. In the real world, Bridget wouldn't be categorized as a "bitch"; she'd just be labeled and treated as severely mentally unstable and dangerous.

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  19. Your cliffhangers amaze me!
    I really thought that I would despise elizabeth, but it turns out im liking her a lot.
    Can't wait for the next post!

    http://lovelifela.wordpress.com

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  20. I agree!! What a great job creating the world of Elizabeth. She's a real character that stands on her own. Great work as always. Can't wait for ur books girl!

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  21. I seriously thought I would hate Elizabeth..and although she's a little evil- somehow I don't. At all. I can't wait for next week! Total Beauty Tips blog

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