April 23, 2015

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

So here's the thing about doing something unforgivable—before you do it, you better be prepared not to be forgiven. In the years that followed my dalliance with Brad, I admit, I did some things that were not very nice. Not very nice even for me. And to the average lay person like, oh, I don't know, JOSIE MITCHELL, perhaps the most basic bitch I ever did meet, it would have been easy to write me off as an aging, bitter sociopathic prom queen. But what people like that don't understand is that my cruel behavior was its very own kind of mea culpa. I was just giving the people what they wanted, you know? A real mustache twirling villain. Think about all those slimy, philandering politicians. Their tearful apologies to the wives and families they've humiliated, their pleas to the public to forgive them. Has anyone, in the millenniums-old history of powerful men cheating on their docile wives, ever believed them? Of course not! We all know they're only sorry they got caught.

Why not just man up? Embrace what a nasty piece of work you really are? Let the people you've hurt really revel in it. I imagine it's cathartic. I certainly would have found it so if Biz and Izzy had just owned their parts in that night, unapologetically. "Yeah, you were a dictatorial beast who fucked all the guys we wanted to fuck and you ate McDonald's every day and managed to maintain the frame of a praying mantis. We hated you." Like give me something to get really angry about, you know? Don't make me love you, nurture you, depend on you so that I'm all conflicted about ruining your life when I find out what a piece of disloyal pond scum you really are.

Because truth be told, I did feel conflicted about screwing Biz's husband. But you know, what else could I do? (I guess not screw him, ha!). I couldn't have someone in my life make a fool of me like that. I just wouldn't have it.

If I'm being really honest, I was also maybe looking for an out from my marriage. Of course Peter was going to find out! I knew Biz would go running right to him once she found those cuffs I planted in her lingerie drawer. She would think she was getting me back for sleeping with Brad by ratting me out, ruining my own marriage, when really, she was just my messenger. I wanted to ruin my marriage.

So like I said, I did something unforgivable and when Peter came home one evening, his face slack and shell-shocked, as though someone had removed all the muscles in his jaw, I was prepared for his reaction.

"Elizabeth?" he called, shakily, when the door closed behind him.

I put down the magazine I was reading. "In here!" I called back. I shimmied my shoulders, trying to loosen up, steel myself for what was about to go down.

Peter's footfalls sounded closer, and then he was standing above me. I swung my legs around so I was sitting, rather than reclining. This wasn't the sort of conversation you had lying down.

"It had to be my best friend, huh?" he asked. He wasn't hysterical. On the contrary, he sounded very calm and matter-of-fact about the whole thing.

"Yes, it had to be your best friend," I responded, just as soberly. "For reasons you wouldn't understand. There's a lot you don't know about me Peter. A lot you don't know about Biz. Izzy too."

Peter brought his hand to his forehead and squinted, as though he were having a migraine. "Why do I have the feeling that you are somehow also responsible for Izzy going AWOL the way she did."

"Because I am responsible for that."

Peter removed his hand. He was looking at me the way you look at a map when you're lost. Like there has to be a way, however roundabout, to get to where you need to be. There is an answer, you just have to use a little ingenuity to find it. "Does this have to do with that girl who died when you were in college?"

My hands, which had been resting languidly in my lap, suddenly went rigid. I had never told Peter about Bridget. "It might be," I said, realizing the best tactic here might be to give him an explanation to work with, make him feel slightly more magnanimous toward me. "Who told you about that?"

Peter blinked, trying to decide whether or not he was in the mood to sate my curiosity. "Your father did."

I waited for him to say more. When he didn't, I prodded, "And when did he tell you that?"

Peter dug his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "Nope. My turn again. How does this have something to do with that girl who died?"

Apparently Peter had decided on the same strategy as I had. Give me a little, hope for a little more back in return. Fine. I would play by those rules. Seemed fair enough. "Senior year Biz, Izzy, and Brigid decided to play a prank on me. I mean," I added hastily, "I only found out Izzy and Biz were involved recently. I thought it had all been Bridget. Anyway. They drugged me, transported me to an abandoned house off campus, and locked me in the basement."

Peter ran his hands over his face. "Jesus."

"When I came to," I continued, "I was really out of it. I managed to escape—well, sort of. Because just as I got to the top of the basement stairs, Bridget showed up. She charged me—well, in my mind she charged me, but apparently she was actually coming to help me. I pushed her. I won't even claim it was self defense. I was just angry and rash. She fell down the stairs and died."

Peter had come around the side of the couch and sat next to me while I was talking. His eyes were soft and sad, and I remembered why I thought I'd fallen in love with him in the first place. He really was a good egg, this one. "You don't have to feel bad for me," I said. "I deserved to be knocked down a peg or two. I hadn't been the best friend to Biz."

"Even so," he said, "I don't think slacking in the best friend department warrants a punishment like that. When did you find out she was involved?"

I sighed. "I've known for a bit." That was the timeline I was going with. At this point, it had been almost two years since Abby had resurfaced, showed me that diagram that implicated Biz, Izzy, and Campbell.

Peter shook his head, utterly perplexed. "How could you continue to be friends with someone knowing she did that to you?"

I stared at Peter sadly. "I'm really good at pretending."

Peter's jaw flexed.

"Your turn," I said. "My father told you about Bridget? When? Why?"

"I've known for a bit too," Peter said. "Your father and I had a sort of man-to-man conversation right before I proposed. I wasn't..." he paused and sighed.

"What? You weren't what?"

"I wasn't sure I wanted to propose," Peter admitted. "There was always," he waved his hand between us, miming a wall, "something impenetrable about you. Your dad really wanted us to get married." He laughed. "I think he thought of me as the son he never—well, he once had."

My throat felt sticky when I swallowed. "I don't know why I've never had this conscious thought before. But there is something about you that reminds me of Thayer. I can see how my father saw it too."

Peter nodded. "Anyway. He wanted me to know that you'd had a rough couple of years, but that you had gotten so much better, and that meant that you would only continue to improve as time went on. And you did seem to be getting better, especially after I proposed. But, then, right before we got married, something happened, and it was like you were here, but not really."

That something was Campbell going to jail. Now was the moment, if there ever was one, to tell Peter about Campbell, but something kept me from doing so. "I really wanted a baby," I lied. "And it wasn't happening."

"But we didn't start trying for a baby until after we got married," Peter said.

"Are you sure?" I countered, even though he was right. "I mean, I think we were at least talking about it. I think I just had a lot of anxiety about it. I always had a fear I would have a problem getting pregnant, because it was something I wanted so much."

Peter nodded, but he was eyeing me. I could tell he didn't completely buy it. He was so focused on figuring out what my deal was that he was off guard, and the moment was now to take my shot. "Is that why you started messing around with Izzy?"

Peter scratched his ear. "You really want to twist that knife, huh?"

"I mean, I thought we were being completely honest with each other."

Peter rested his elbow on his thigh and propped his head up on his hand. "You sure you want to do this?"

He had no idea how sure. When I'd met with Bart, my lawyer, a few weeks ago, I'd found out that yes, my father had adjusted the terms of my trust to be more favorable toward me. But there was one caveat—if my marriage dissolved through any fault of my own, I was cut out. I needed Peter to admit to an affair too, so that there was no blame lost between us.

"There was this one night," Peter said, "with Izzy. Where she tried something. We made out for a little, but I put a stop to it."

"But then why was she coming out of your room the morning of our wedding?"

Peter steepled his hands over his nose and exhaled. "You didn't see her coming out of my room, Elizabeth. That's impossible."

"Fine," I admitted. "I saw her coming down the stairs from your floor. But where else would she be coming from?"

There was a beat. "She was coming from your father's room," Peter said.

I felt as though someone had dumped a bucket of ice cold water over my head. Like if I just held very, very still, the deluge would eventually stop. I just had to wait it out. "Are you sure?" I whispered.

"Izzy and your dad?" Peter asked. "I'm sure. I saw them together a few times. Just around town. He knew I knew. I don't just think your dad wanted me as a son-in-law because I reminded him of Thayer. I think it was sort of a bargaining chip for him. He treated me as a sort of kept man, giving me preferential treatment at work, all the big responsibilities and the outsized salary, and in return, I kept his secret from you."

I smirked. "I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My father's a piece of shit, and so am I."

"You're not a piece of shit, Elizabeth," Peter said, and I almost gave him a grateful smile, but then he said, "but you can't seem to stop acting like one."

He was right, of course. Because without realizing it, Peter had just given me a golden ticket. I was going to do another very shitty, morally reprehensible thing.

My father was still in love with his girlfriend, Constance. He didn't want to lose her. And he wouldn't. Constance would never hear of what went down with Izzy. So long as my father agreed to my terms: he had been instrumental in putting Campbell behind bars. Now he was going to be instrumental in getting him out. He would throw his weight around, write a nice fat check, whatever it took to free Campbell. Or I would tell.


- -

LSPers! We have selected and contacted the winner of last week's giveaway, and we've decided to run another! Sign up for my newsletter between now and May 1 and you will be eligible to win a free advanced copy of Luckiest Girl Alive, signed by yours truly. This time we're choosing TEN winners, so the odds are in your favor. To sign up, simply head to my website, scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address where it says 'Join the mailing list.' Bada bing, bada free book.








37 comments:

  1. Oooooh...it's all coming together!

    Do the people that were already signed up get put in for one of the 10 free copies as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Anyone who has signed up is eligible to win.

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  2. I never comment but I just want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. Your writing is AMAZING and I look forward to Thursday's. I will really miss this blog when it ends. I've been a loyal reader from the beginning (Cosmo) good luck with your book and all your future endeavours.

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    Replies
    1. I love writing about Elizabeth! So thank you for reading about her.

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  3. What about those of us who have already signed up? Are we in the running for this one too?
    Now to this post. I loved it. It actually made me realize more so why she and peter didn't work out. I love this blog so much and I hate that it will be ending soon. I really look forward to being able to read your book. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

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    Replies
    1. You are in the running! Thanks for signing up.

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  4. omg yess!!!! Campbell. this is what I have been waiting for. please tell me the baby is his?!?!?

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  5. So her plan must not go as smooth as she thinks because she has the baby but is with William, so obviously she can't be with Campbell publicly. Omggggg part of me is excited for this to end so I know what happens but I think a part of me is going to die when the blog ends hahaha :) Don't judge me!

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  6. I am still trying to figure out when she and Peter become estranged, so to speak, because here they seem to be civil. And I doubt he took her cheating in stride (is Brad the Fedora guy in Josie's story?) so when does he cheat on her? So confusing but I love that all the pieces are falling into place. And what is her deal with Josie, since she admits to wanting out with Peter? Will we get that resolved/explained?

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    1. I don't think Brad is fedora guy (I think that was already discussed in Josie's story maybe?). Peter always seemed, to me anyway, to not really hold it against her, for lack of a better phrase. He always wanted to see the best in people, even later on. Maybe knowing it wasn't really about him made it easier for him to deal with.

      I think her deal with Josie is more about Josie still being young, and everything Elizabeth could have been if all of this hadn't happened. People have a knack for hating those with the things they can't have...in Elizabeth's case, it seems to also have a dash of that 3-year-old mentality, "I don't want it, but I don't want you to have it either!". Or maybe it's because Josie is what Peter thought Elizabeth was. Who the hell knows what goes on in that head of hers?! Lol

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  7. So now that Elizabeth knows Campbell was part of it is she going to punish him too?

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  8. Awesome post! Reading these are bittersweet now - can't wait for them but also sad because the end is near! Please let there be some long scenes with Campbell in the upcoming posts!!

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  9. Hey does some someone know if there is an easy way to go back to the start of Elizabeth's story? I want my friend to read her whole story but going back post by post seems so tedious and half the posts are Tessa as well...

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    1. I have not been able to find a menu of previous posts that you can just click on. If someone else has, please share! I've had to go to the bottom of each post and hit "older post" to go back to previous entries. And they do NOT separate them by Elizabeth vs Tessa's posts, unfortunately. I also would loved to have gone back to the beginning of Josie's story as I found her midway through the blog. Never found a way to do that either. Too bad.

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    2. If you are on your phone, you can go to the bottom of a post and click "View Web Version." Then on the right side of the page there is an "Older Posts" drop down. I believe Elizabeth's story started in July of 2014. You can find her first post that way and then it's just swiping right at the end of each post. You will have to skip Tessa's if needed, but that didn't take too much time. I just read all the way from the beginning yesterday :-) haha

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    3. If you subscribe to this blog on Feedly (or any other RSS feed burner) it will put all the links to each post on one page for you making the process very easy! The links will switch from Elizabeth to Tessa in reverse chronological order, but you will just scroll to the bottom of the page and just keep clicking the Elizabeth links for her posts as you go up the page.

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  10. Little prediction/spoiler maybe about Elizabeth's baby. Correct me if I'm wrong but in Josie's story the baby had red hair, no? In this story, Campbell's sister had red hair. So I'm reallllly hoping the baby is his, fingers crossed for a happy ending with those two. Thoroughly enjoyed this story from the beginning to now, very compelling! Jessica, you're an amazing writer

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  11. I am so loving LSP!!! I cannot wait for Elizabeth's and Campbell's reunion!! This story is coming altogether so very nicely(:

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  12. I can't wait to see Biz and Elizabeth talk after this

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  13. I sincerely hope that Elizabeth is reunited with Campbell.

    http://sequinsmilelove.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-beginning.html

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  14. Elizabeth is an interesting character, but not very likeable. She rationalizes her cruelty with such a sense of entitlement and dismisses people like Josie as being judgmental and not understanding of her plight, when in truth Elizabeth's situation is mostly of her own making. Campbell gave her a lecture the first time they parted about how she had opportunity and she squandered it. Well, those words obviously didn't sink in. Instead, she married a man she knew she didn't love, became a bitchy trophy wife and focused all her energy into punishing all her once-were-friends. If she had spent even an iota of the energy of hate she held onto into bettering herself, she would not have ended up the lonely waste of space she ends of becoming. In that first paragraph of this post, I see again the Elizabeth who pissed me off in Josie's story and the sympathy she cultivated in the previous posts evaporated. This is great writing about a difficult character and really shows the mindset of a petty, mean spirited person in more than just one dimension. It shows that evil does have a human face.

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  15. Pre-ordered your book. Congrats and many wishes for future success!

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  16. Hi Jessica,
    I have been a devoted reader since cosmo. I am sad to see this come to and end and withi this I say "congratulations!" I wish for you endless success in the future, stay forever blessed


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  17. Hi Jessica,
    I have been a devoted reader since cosmo. I am sad to see this come to and end and withi this I say "congratulations!" I wish for you endless success in the future, stay forever blessed


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  18. I can't wait to find out what happens! I think peters meltdown comes when he finds out about Elizabeth and Campbell. And I'm hoping that we get to see a little bit of Elizabeth's perspective regarding Peter and Josie dating. Please check out my new blog!
    Dating-and-commitment.blogspot.com

    Cheers!
    Charli

    ReplyDelete
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  20. قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح


    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح


    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح

    ReplyDelete