September 25, 2014

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

Three days passed, and I hadn't seen or heard from Campbell. I started to freak, just a little bit—and I do not lose sleep over guys, it's like my superpower. Maybe he realized he made a mistake, by kissing me. Or maybe, worse, he realized he had made a mistake by covering for me.

Biz and I had hardly been speaking to each other, but the discovery of Bridget's car was the wrecking ball that demolished the angry wall between us. I went home that night and immediately looped her in about everything—that Bridget had been Abby's younger sister, that Campbell knew about my connection to her, and had also discovered a clump of my hair in her excavated car. I guess I didn't tell her everything, because that was where I stopped. I just couldn't cop to kissing Campbell. Not yet. I had to see where this would go. I knew this was the thing that bothered Biz most about me. How secretive I could be. How shady. But there is no better way to protect yourself in this world than to keep your secrets safe, even the ones that will eat you alive. Better I be the cause of my demise than someone else.

"But why would Campbell stick his neck out for you?" Biz asked, confused.

I cocked my head at her, like, think about it.

Biz rolled her eyes. "Yes, we all know you're a babe. But that's not enough to make this, like, good, upstanding man of the law suddenly go bad."

I nibbled on a nail, already bitten down to a tender red stub. "So maybe he's not a good guy," I said, tasting blood as I pulled back my own skin.

When I got a call to go down to the station—to answer a few questions, and no I did not need a lawyer present—I didn't know what to expect. I climbed into my car, my hands so slick with sweat they slipped off the steering wheel as I made a right onto Main Street.

 It was like the earth had decided to empty its bowels into the lobby of the Geneva Police station. In one corner, a guy hunched over his chair, heaving green bile onto the floor. His hands were balled into fists and handcuffed to the armrest, and he had to wipe his mouth on his chest to remove the long line of putrid syrup that hung from his mouth. In another corner, four children, all under the age of five, in clothing that was not warm enough for the November chill that was upon us, shrieked and hollered—they were hungry, they were bored, they were hungry. Their dazed looking mother sat, staring straight ahead, giving no indication that she cared or even that she had heard them.

The problem with being born beautiful and rich is that you start to believe you did something to deserve that silver spoon in your mouth. In turn, you start to believe that everyone else who is less fortunate than you are did something to deserve their fate too. That they are somehow to blame for their less-than-ideal circumstances. This is why I was so harsh, and so cocky, for so long. But I didn't get away with it forever. Karma came a calling.

I waited for an hour in that grimy lobby, burying my face in the vintage Hermès scarf I'd stolen from my mother to snub out the smell of vomit and starchy, unwashed children. I practically leapt out of my chair when a door to the office swung open and Detective Roth motioned for me to come back.

"Sorry for the wait, Miss Van der Deer," Detective Roth quipped, and I flicked her off behind her back. No she wasn't. She had totally gotten off on making me squirm with the plebs.

I wanted to ask where Detective Campbell was, but I didn't dare. I tried to subtly scan the offices before I was lead to a small interrogation room, purposely stripped bare of warmth or decor, but Campbell wasn't among the officers manning the desks, answering the phones with annoyed greetings, "Geneva police. How can I help you?"

Detective Roth closed the door behind us and asked me if I wanted anything. Water? Coffee? I shook my head no. "You may as well take off your coat and get comfortable," she said, raising her eyebrows at my Burberry trench—also property of Annabella Van der Deer—but I just closed it tighter over my chest and said I was cold.

Detective Roth shrugged. "Suit yourself."

There were two chairs at the table, and Roth had indicated that I sit at the one facing the window, looking out into a dim hallway. I wasn't an idiot, I knew it was double sided, and that there was probably an audience in what appeared to be an empty channel of the police station.

Roth took a seat across from me. "So as I'm sure you know, we've located Bridget Mason's vehicle."

I nodded. Even if I hadn't followed Campbell to the lake that night, I would have known that anyway. The news was all over it, Bridget's face on every channel again thanks to this "breaking" development.

"Can you remind me," Roth said, "what your relationship was with Bridget again?"

I glared at her. I knew Roth knew Bridget was Abby's younger sister, that my brother had dated Abby and gotten into a terrible car accident with her that had killed him and landed Abby in jail. That Bridget obviously hated me for the witch hunt my parents had orchestrated, Abby the one they wanted to burn at the stake. But I had to pretend not only that I didn't know Roth knew that, but that I didn't know about the connection either. Campbell had pointed it out to me almost a week ago, and it was the sort of thing an innocent person would have gone to the police with—"Oh my god, I don't know if this is important or just a coincidence, but I am connected to that poor 'missing' girl in a way I never imagined. I'm telling you about it because it seemed like something the authorities should know about." But we all know I'm not innocent, so why in God's name would I have gone to the police? Not only that, but I was covering for Campbell the way he was (presumably) covering for me. He had been the one to make the Abby connection for me, which he obviously wasn't supposed to do, and I wasn't going to point a finger at him as long as he didn't point a finger at me.

"We were friendly," I said.

"But not friends?" Roth said.

I tilted my head back and forth, as though I was considering my answer. "I'm sure it appeared to some people that we were friends," I said. "We hung out in the same social group, and got along fine. But we were never very close."

"And what about Elizabeth Davis?" Roth asked.

"Biz?" I asked. I'm not used to hearing people call Biz by her real name, which, consequently, is the same as mine. But Biz is so not an Elizabeth. I'm an Elizabeth. It's why I made her who she was. "She's my best friend."

Roth shook her head. "I'm not asking about you and Eliz—I mean, Biz. I'm asking about Biz and Bridget."

She'd caught me off guard with that question, and I hurried to wipe the surprise off my face. "Um, same thing," I said. "Friendly."

"But that wasn't always the case," Roth said, suggestively.

I pinched my eyebrows together, like I was confused, even though I knew exactly what she was referring to. Biz and Bridget had been close freshman year, but had a falling out. Over what, Biz would never tell me. I felt sweat prickle in the crooks of my elbows. Where was this going? "I think they were better friends at some point," I said. "But friendships change over the years. They drifted apart."

Detective Roth smirked at my politically correct answer. "As people do," she said. She checked the cheap gold plated watch on her wrist. "Can you excuse me for one moment?" Without waiting for my answer, she pushed away from the table and walked out, leaving me alone in the room.

The minutes ticked by. I knew I was being watched, all my body language appraised. Does she look nervous? Guilty? Mad? I tried to appear like any normal twenty-one year old who was dragged down to the police station in the middle of the day to answer questions about a crime she had no knowledge of, had no idea had even taken place: bored and annoyed.

It must have been twenty minutes before the door opened again, only Campbell was behind it this time. I fought to keep my expression neutral, even though my heart was banging around in my throat.

He closed the door behind him quietly. With his back to the window, and our audience, he mouthed, You're okay. He took a seat, slowly. Everything about Campbell was languid and elegant, like he had no place to be but could also pounce on you, have your neck in his fangs, before you even knew what hit you. The harsh overhead lighting caught in the circles underneath his eyes, the skin so thin and transparent there it almost looked as though he had two black eyes.

I hadn't noticed the folder in Campbell's hand before he slid it onto the table with just one finger. We both looked at it as he said, "We made a discovery in Bridget's car that we would like you to take a look at."

I swallowed my heart back into my chest. "What is it?"

Campbell pushed the folder close to me and allowed me to open it. Inside was a plastic Ziploc bag, containing a note on blue lined paper. The pen had bled and blurred in the water, but most of the words were still legible. I sucked in my breath when I recognized Biz's handwriting.

"Please read it," Campbell said, "and then I have to ask you a few questions."

I'm sorry, I couldn't do it, it began, from Biz. Elizabeth isn't responsible for her parent's actions (ugh, Biz, apostrophe outside the "s" when it's plural!). Yes, what they did to your sister and your family is wrong, but she has suffered too. She lost her brother. I can't in good conscious do something like that to her. Or to anyone. Leave her alone or I'm going to tell her about it.

The writing changed then, to an angry scrawl, from Bridget.

I thought you were different. But you're WEAK JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM. She's MANIPULATING you, can't you see that? She's not really your friend. She'll sell you down the river the second she gets the chance. Should have let the bitch (the next part was illegible). She deserves it.

I lowered the note to the table and closed my eyes. It was like the whole room was spinning. Biz had known that Bridget was Abby's sister for almost three years and didn't tell me. I thought about the guy, hurling in the lobby, and put my hand over my mouth, afraid I would do that same.

"Should have let the bitch what?" Campbell asked, and his voice sounded like the last echo of a call into the night's sky, trailing off into the ether.

"I don't know," I said, even though I knew exactly how that sentence ended. Should have let the bitch get raped.

It all made sense now. Bridget had been the one to roofie me freshman year, had wanted to leave me to the wolves at the rapiest frat on campus. Biz had too, but had a change of heart. Because she had been the one to get me home, to stand vigil at my bedside for two days until I came out of it. Biz deviating from their plan for me to get mine—that had been the reason for their falling out.

I didn't know if I wanted to hug Biz, or pummel her.

But then I thought of something else, and it was like someone pressed an ice cube into my spine. I thought about all of the girls, my friends, Isabel, my roommates at Turq House now, who had waved their hands and shouted, "Oh she's fine! She just drank too much" as I got wobblier and wobblier and my vision narrowed to a pinprick. I had thought they just didn't want to ruin their night, but had that really been the case? Who else was in on this?

Apparently, I wasn't the only one with a rotten bundle of secrets, who was decomposing from the inside out.

27 comments:

  1. Holy crap, this had me on the edge of my seat. Things are making more sense and your writing style makes me want to read more of this. This needs to be twice a week for sure.

    www.poetsandheartbreakers.com

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  2. I wish there was more than one post a week on this. The suspense is killing me.

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  3. Dun dun duuuuuuunnnnn.... awesome. Cannot wait until then next entry!!

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  4. I am obsessed! I hate that I have to wait until next Thursday!

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  5. These last few posts make me glad i stuck it out. Am loving the story now! Ty ty ty!

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  6. interesting. I wonder if biz is going to rat.

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  7. AH this gets better each week! I feel like your writing was almost wasted on Josie's story (not that it wasn't great - I was just as addicted as everyone else) but it's clear this is the type of writing you should be doing. Can't wait for your book, and for next Thurs.

    http://tragedytwentysomething.blogspot.com

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  8. Holy crap, this is getting soooo good!!!

    http://lifeistooshorttakeitwithagrainofsalt.blogspot.com/

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  9. This is so addictive! I love it! Hurry up Thursday!

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  10. Chris - @nylonlover69 on TwitterSeptember 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Well, son of a bitch!

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  11. Just as a reminder Biz was the reason E went to Bridget's place...to warn her off some guy that Biz wanted for herself!

    K

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    1. Ooooh good memory... that's interesting. I wonder how that will play into all this. Was Biz in on it? Hahaha this post just sent my ming reeling.

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    2. Actually went back to re-read before I posted that but yep! It could be Biz knew the whole time she was sending E into an ambush. But now I have more questions, like if that is true, then why were Elizabeth and Biz still friends after college (when she took E out to meet Peter for the first time)? This is my favorite blog and I think I'm more excited for Thursdays than Fridays just so I can see what the next big reveal is. So much more interesting than the casual hook ups of 20 something single girls in the big city. I don't want to say I relate to Elizabeth's character (because YIKES) but she sure is a hell of a lot more interesting that some of the other blog characters out there...

      K

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    3. K, you do realize that Jessica is a professional writer with a book coming out, right? She's doing an unbelievably great job with this blog. To knock other bloggers, who aren't professionals, is very rude. This blog is Jessica's and there is no need for you to criticize other blogs to make your point.

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    4. Lol wasn't knocking anyone. I just find the character of Elizabeth so much more interesting than any other characters whose story lines I'm currently following. Sorry if the statement was offensive. :)

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    5. Your comment wasn't offensive, the other anonymous is probably worried you're talking about her blog. LOL

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    6. I whole heartedly agree with k. The other blogs are unoriginal with way too many grammatical errors I might add. That is not offensive, that is the truth. You don't have to be a professional writer to proofread.

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    7. Last time I checked this is Jessica blog. Maybe the comments should reflect that. If you don't like the amateur blogs, here's an idea - don't read them. Our better yet why don't one of you try your hand at writing. I'm guessing it's not as easy as it seems.

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  12. So so so soooo good <3 It's a torture having to wait one entire week :'(

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  13. Does your husband read this blog? If he doesn't he really should! (& maybe he'd convince you to post more :P ) Just some wishful thinking over here haha.

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  14. So did Biz know about Bridget wanting to ambush Elizabeth? Then why did she come to her rescue and become an accessory? Why are they still friends in the present! OMG! Also, why would she send Elizabeth to talk to Bridget in the first place knowing Bridget hated Elizabeth!

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  15. I really like this story but with posts only once a week, i am starting to find it difficult to remember the details from many posts ago (ie her getting roofied) that don't seem to clear up for a ling time afterwards, as we read today. It doesn't help either to be reading several different blogs and to have to keep all the storylines straight. Like everyone, i wish we could have an extra post every week, but regardless, you are doing a phenomenal job.

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  16. This was a really great and unexpected post!! Keep up the good work!

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  17. Just a thought.... What if Bridget threatened Biz (maybe she said she would tell Elizabeth everything?) so Biz convinced Elizabeth to go see Bridget, not knowing what Bridget was planning. Now with Bridget gone she doesn't think Elizabeth will find anything out. But kind of weird about the note in the car.... Why would anyone keep that for a long period of time?

    I would also like to see this blog posted twice a week. But I understand why it isn't. I admit I am frustrated like a lot of other commenters, but I will stick with it for now and see where it goes.

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    1. Obviously Bridget and Biz cahoot-ed up again, and Bridget was going to use to note to make Elizabeth feel worse? Bridget manipulating or threatening Biz makes sense, because using that letter would hurt both Biz and Elizabeth.

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