October 9, 2014

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

The first time I slept with Peter was eventful, if only because there was so much build up.

But nothing about that build up was calculated. I don't play those games: Make him wait, make him want it, make him work for it. I couldn't imagine anything worse than stringing someone along so that when we finally do have sex, he's attached to me, a needy, insecure barnacle that requires almost surgical precision to remove.

I am aware that it is a privilege to be this emotionally limp. That if I didn't look the way I look—something I don't even have to work for—and if I didn't already have all the diamonds in the world, I'd be one of those sniveling little soul suckers I'm always so quick to mock.

So I didn't make Peter dance for me, but forces outside of our control conspired to make that happen anyway. The first time we almost had sex, my mother's caretaker called. She was having an episode (code for one of her self-pitying meltdowns that usually involved shredding pictures of my father and trying to jump out her seventeenth floor window), and I needed to come quick. The second time—in the midst of preparations for a romantic home cooked dinner—Peter sliced a half-moon chunk off his index finger with the chef's knife he was using to to cube butternut squash. We spent the night in the emergency room. And the third time, Peter got called into work over a snafu in the Hong Kong office.

By the time we actually got down to it, we both had been made to wait, made to want it, and made to work for it, and we went on a tear. Every time I thought we were done, curled up, my back to his chest, I'd feel him get hard again. He'd press against me, slip himself between my legs, and then finally, inside, where I was raw but waiting. The first two times were athletic and aggressive—a fight for the top, a competition to show off who could force the other into the dirtiest position. But as the traffic dissipated outside, and New York slipped into that glazed purgatory between lucidity and sleep—the only people awake blurry eyed bankers frowning at their computer screens, the grumbling janitor mopping the bathroom floor down the hall, club kids on a cocktail of mood altering candies—our sex became quiet and desperate. Peter's forehead, tacky with sweat, on my shoulder blade, his arm wrapped around me, squeezing my breasts so hard I felt crippled and sore the next day. He pushed himself into me and held himself there, hardly moving, and we would doze off like that, only to wake and start again.

I won't lie. Things were good with Peter for a while. Really good. He seemed so decent and wholesome, but he could surprise you—a lacerating remark here, a punishing silence there. He kept me on my toes. For a time.

_ _

The gunmetal plane of the lake rose up before us, and Campbell spun the wheel right. We were driving in the direction of the house where Biz and I had left Bridget's body—a gruesome image of what she must look like now popping into my head at the realization—but I wasn't necessarily worried. Right went to a lot of places. Though certainly not to the police station, where Campbell had said we were going.

I joked, "Is this a kidnapping?"

Campbell kept his eyes on the road. "Do you want it to be?"

My heart had that feeling, like it was sinking further into my chest, but I knew not to show it.  "Yes," I said, breathily, "take me away from all this. From my silly sorority life and cold uncaring parents and trophy wife future." I gave a little sarcastic laugh.

"You're going to be the worst fucking trophy wife," Campbell determined.

"It's not something you have to worry about," I shot back. I looked him over, remembered his handsome home. "Unless you're some secret billionaire with one of those awful altruistic streaks that compels you to give back to the community."

Campbell laughed lowly. "Would that change things for you?"

 "No," I said, because it wouldn't. He was really the only thing I was missing, the first time I realized I didn't have everything I ever wanted.

Campbell tilted his head at me and slid his eyes in my direction, in sort of an appreciative but sad way.

And that's when I realized we were pulling into the driveway of The House.

I tried my best to look confused, making a big show out of craning my neck to look out of my window and Campbell's. "Where are we?"

Campbell pushed the gear stick into park and turned off the engine. "My sister and I used to sneak into this place when we were little and play house. It's still one of my favorite places to come and just sit and think about her."

I swallowed, but my mouth had gone dry and it took several tries to choke down my own saliva. Maybe it really was just an ugly coincidence? Maybe he didn't have an inclination that something had happened here, maybe he wasn't toying with me, testing me, seeing how far he could push me until I cracked open and all my moldy secrets came spilling out.

Campbell reached for the handle and leaned into his car door. I didn't know what else to do but follow.

The house reeked. But I tried to reassure myself that the stench could be attributed to any number of dilapidated old house things—rusty plumbing, rat poop, abandoned chicken salad in the fridge—not just a slowly decomposing body in the basement.

To my utter relief, Campbell didn't dally on the first floor, or even acknowledge the door to the basement. He flicked a switch next to the front door and an ancient bulb hiccuped a few times before casting a pallid glow above the second floor banister. Once the light held steady, he started up the stairs.

I followed him into what must have been the master bedroom, with a mattress-less canopy bed hulking in the center, sheets covering what other little furniture remained in the room. Campbell ripped the cover off a chest and opened the bottom drawer, extracting a bottle of something, along with two glasses. There was no switch to flip in this room, and I could only make out shapes and silhouettes by the weak light afforded to us from the open door leading to the hallway.

"Do you have an extra set of clothes in the closet too?" I asked, accepting a glass full of whatever it was Campbell liked to drink. I took a sip. Whiskey. Nice whiskey. The bed frame faced a spectacular bay window, not unlike the one in my bedroom at home, and I melted down onto the ledge, tucking my legs underneath me.

"Actually," Campbell opened up the middle drawer, revealing a pile of clothes. "They're my sister's, though. My mom and I moved after she died, and she wanted to clean house. Get rid of anything that would remind her of what happened," Campbell slammed the drawer shut bitterly. "I promised I would take them to the Salvation Army, and I did, some of it. But the rest, I don't know, it just seemed like it belonged here."

I rolled the base of my glass in my lap. "My brother's bedroom is like stepping into a time capsule. My father preserved every inch of it. He'll never change it."

I didn't even realize Campbell was standing over me until he spoke. "I can respect that. I don't like the idea of people being forgotten about."

I sighed. "Sometimes it's easier though."

Even in the dark, I could see Campbell's body go rigid. "Do you always do what's easiest?"

I gave him a half smile. "Pretty much."

Campbell took my glass out of my hand, and set it on top of a side table, covered in a sheet like a little kid dressed up as a ghost on Halloween. He leaned down, putting his weight on his fists, which boxed me in on either side. "I'm not going to make things easy for you," he said, again, almost apologetically. "So say stop now if you can't handle it."

I didn't move a muscle. "I'll give you the same opportunity," I said.

Campbell dropped his head to his chest, with a small, amused smile. He so often wore that expression around me. Amused. That someone finally dared challenge him. Then he pulled my legs out from underneath me and scooped me up, so that I straddled his waist. He slammed me up against the wall, much harder than he needed to, and all I could think as we ripped our clothes off, as he pushed his way inside of me, the only time he was slow, and gentle, was do it again, do it again. Make me hurt. Make me feel something other than the fear, and the guilt. Make me think about something other than the sickening reality that Bridget was two stories below us, nothing but bones and a tangle of black hair.

Later, as we climbed back into Campbell's curiously beautiful car, I covered my hand with my mouth and gasped. "I left my underwear upstairs! Be right back!" and I threw open the door and hurried back inside. My underwear was safely balled into my pocket, of course. I just had to know what she looked like.

I rushed the basement door and quietly, carefully, pulled it open. It yawned creakily anyway, and then the next noisy intrusion on the empty house was my own voice, gasping, "Oh my God, oh my God." Because the basement was empty. No trace of Bridget—not one lone strand of hair, not even a pinkie bone.

31 comments:

  1. Oh my God, this was just ...gruesome, with the sex and his eerie connection to the house, and Bridget's body, I'm a mess!! I have a weird feeling in my throat, good writing.

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  2. I'm so obsessed with this blog. I seriously wish this was a book. Orrrr that every day was Thursday.

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    Replies
    1. I second that. I would buy both blogs.

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    2. Agree, so would I! Love Tuesdays and Thursdays! :D

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  3. So either Campbell moved it already and is playing a really sick game with Elizabeth. OR she isn't dead at all -- she woke up, contacted Abby, went into hiding, and is waiting for Elizabeth to get "caught" as the ultimate punishment.

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    1. My thoughts exactly...

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    2. I was thinking that too!

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    3. Or someone ELSE moved it...and is waiting to use that against Elizabeth. There are quite a few conspiracy threads going here and I have a feeling the death of Campbell's sister will come into play and that Abby has an involvement.

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  4. I'm thinking either Biz or Cambell moved the body. I don't think Bridget is alive though!

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  5. I love Elizabeth's story! I Was skeptical at first but I have become obsessed, its so intense and dramatic! Can't wait for next week!

    http://lifebysarahxo.blogspot.ca/

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  6. Ugh I wish this was a book, I want to know it all right now!

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  7. Addicted is the only word that describes my attachment to this story, I love how dark and twisted it is. I never know what to expect and I really enjoy that! Definitely wishing it was a book or at least a blog that had more than 1 post a week!

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  8. Maybe sometimes we could get a bonus post?? D: soooo good and creepy!

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    1. Pretty pretty please!!!!

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  9. I take that back - I don't think she could be alive because Biz and E. originally tried to move the body and probably would have noticed if she was still alive (although B. was drunk and E. was drugged so who knows). I don't think Biz did it alone because she's being portrayed as freaked out and naive about the whole situation, not calculating enough to get someone else in on it to help her move it. I do think Abby is more involved though. She wanted revenge on E. and I think she would've known about Bridget's plan to bring her to the house and knew were Bridget last would've been before she went missing. Maybe Abby sent someone else in on her revenge plan (prison friend or who knows what) to move the body because she knew that if Elizabeth got caught she would tell the whole story and Abby could get a longer sentence for being involved in drugging E.

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  10. Oh my gosh. I don't think that she's alive, I think that Campbell moved the body. He always eludes to knowing that Elizabeth killed Bridget.

    Can't believeee we have to wait a week! Ugh.

    tragedytwentysomething.blogspot.com

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  12. It's too much coincidence that Campbell brought her to that house. I don't believe it's a coincidence! I think Bridget had an accomplice, no way she could've moved elizabeth all by herself. I think Campbell is more involved than we know!
    Such a good story! And I wish it were a book too, because I would be done with it by now!
    Luita

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  13. Ive been reading this blog for awhile.. And I usually dont comment or even read the comments but I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying Elizabeth's story and the way this story is playing out. Its much more interesting than Josie's story- and I cant wait to read every Thursday. Just wanted to be corny and say thank you for your posts every week, will defintely check out your book once it comes out.

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  14. This is starting to get really twisted!

    http://lifeistooshorttakeitwithagrainofsalt.blogspot.com/

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  15. Fuckety fuck fuck! Between Elizabeth's story and How to Get Away with Murder making me wait one week for the next "episode" I might die soon! Is it too much trouble to ask for you to really make this a book? At least only like 4 chapters but anything please! JUST KIDDING BUT THIS IS SO SOOOOO GOOD <3

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  16. WIth Campbells connections to the house, it's possible he was there or somewhere around and saw when it all went down with Bridget and Elizabeth. .....or he was seeing Bridget and knew her plans for Elizabeth so he knows Elizabeth killed her, but then I have doubts about that since it's been insinuated that Campbell is the father of Elizabeths future baby (the red headed baby in josie's story) so I'm guessing they stay on "good" terms. .....so many twists I don't even know what to think lol, can't wait for next Thursday!

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  17. I wish this was a book...though, if it was, I'd have read it all by now. But! I'd be ready for reading it a second time, to try and catch the stuff I had missed during the first reading. A few posts back, someoNe mentioned Gone Girl (I stayed up too late after work for two nights to read it) and if this blog was a book, I'd be picking it up and trying to put the pieces together faster, flipping back pages to where it was Campbell's POV...but I have to wait a week! Ahh! Keep the puzzle pieces coming, I can't WAIT

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  18. I hate that we've to wait a week for E's story!!
    Such nail-biting suspense!!
    Please (x100000) make this blog a book!

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  19. Nice article. I think it is useful and unique article. I love this kind of article and this kind of blog. I have enjoyed it very much. Thanks for your website.
    love

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  20. I love that I have to read this once a week because it means i have to keep coming back for more. If it were a book and only read it for like a day and then keep demanding for more. Thank you jess for the good work, keep it up.

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  21. Not gonna lie, I was worried about what Elizabeth's story would be like, but I love it so much more than Josie's. I loved Josie's story, but Elizabeth's gives a view into a whole new world. It makes me think twice about judging other people so easily because from Josie's POV (who so many of us connected with), Elizabeth was so foreign and unapproachable. I'm glad and eager to hear more about what made her do the things we saw through Josie's story.

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