May 12, 2015

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

Ladies, if you ever go through a divorce, and if the person you are divorcing is hot and good-hearted and conflicted about cheating on his sweet new child girlfriend, I recommend you get him drunk and screw his brains out. I mean highly recommend. Sex with Peter was never bad, it was just never sex with Campbell. But that night, when I convinced Peter to come over after bogarting all his attention at the charity dinner, was one for the books.

It was like we finally saw each other for who we were, witchy warts and all. And once you're exposed raw like that, you've got no inhibitions left to shed.

I expected to hear Peter's sleepy knock on the door—it was almost 2 in the morning, and we had been drinking for hours. But instead his rap came, short and quick and angry. It was the sort of knock I imagined a collection agent would administer—and if everything went according to plan, hopefully I would never have to find out what a real collection agent's knock sounded like.

I opened the door to find Peter, standing perfectly upright, eyes trained on me, bloodshot and cold. "Did you come here to fuck me or to murder me?" I snorted.

"Don't talk, Elizabeth," Peter said, stepping through the doorway, his hand slipping around the back of my neck. "I swear to fucking God if you say anything else I will burn this place down and then you will be out on the street."

Well, okay then! Where was this Peter for the entirety of my marriage? I tried to keep the smile off my face as he kissed me. If he was in the mood to spite me, I didn't want him to drop the whole Story of O act. This shit got me going, and Dr. Bradhauser said that there is some science to support the idea that a woman's chances of conceiving are higher when she orgasms during lovemaking. Lovemaking—that had been the word he used, and if I hadn't needed him to fix my tubes I would have urinated on his head while it had been between my legs.

Peter and I stumbled, kissing and flinging various articles of clothing on the ground, making our way clumsily to the bedroom. There, he got my wrists behind my back with one hand, and turned me around, bending me over the bed. I heard the sound of metal teeth parting as Peter zipped open his tuxedo pants—part of a midnight blue Brioni I had helped him pick out—and then he drew my silk negligee up over my ass. I hadn't been wearing underwear, and I heard Peter laugh softly, like of course, and then I felt his fingers between my legs. "You're incomparable," he said, under his breath. Incomparable? That was a new one, but I'd take it. I can't say I disagreed with him. Peter's breathing picked up, and so did mine, as he started to screw me from behind.

He flattened his chest to my back as he came, with a loud and frustrated grunt. For a while we just rested like that, his heart beating wildly into my ribcage. Then, without a word, Peter rose and pulled on his clothes. He was still buttoning up his shirt when he walked out of the room, silently. A few moments later, the front door closed behind him with a gentle click.

I rolled onto my back and stuck my legs in the air. Dr. Bradhauser had told me this wouldn't really help guide the sperm to my egg, but also that it wouldn't hurt either. Plus, he told me, stress is a major contributing factor to infertility. If lying like a dead horse for a few hours post-coital mitigated my stress in any way, it was well worth it.

I was tired, but I wouldn't let myself doze off. My inner thighs began to quiver and my hip flexors were screaming, but I stayed exactly as I was until the sun came up.

 - -

"I'm sorry, Miss Van der Deer, but Dr. Bradhauser isn't available at the moment. Do you want to give me your"—

"You have my goddamn number," I hissed into the phone. "You have my cell, my home, my email, my address, my social security, my credit card numbers, my blood type, my vitals. Who has to knock me up in order for Dr. Bradhauser to return my calls?"

"Well, he's very busy at the moment and"—

"I'm very fucking busy at the moment!" I roared and threw the phone across the room. I happened to look up then, catching a glimpse of myself in the large oversize mirror above the fireplace. My face was stitched up tight, lines and wrinkles everywhere, and my hair clung limply to my cheekbones. I hadn't been to see my dermatologist or my hair stylist in months. I couldn't afford it. My father was refusing to help me or speak to me until I found a way to prove I had my life together. I had been banking on asking him to breakfast and showing up with a burgeoning beach ball belly on display. I had a life growing inside of me, I would tell him, and if he wanted to be a part of it, he had better meet my demands.

Only I didn't have a life growing inside of me.

It had been months since my night with Peter, and I had to move on to Plan B—not the morning after pill Plan B, I needed the opposite of that. No, I was operating under my theory that a divorced woman in her 30s ought to go for an older, less attractive beau who would be so smitten with me that convincing him to marry me would be no problem. And that was how I wound up dating William fucking Bradford.

I'd known William practically all my life. His mother was on the board of the Junior League with my mother, many years ago. He and I were never good friends, but we saw each other out at social functions a few times a year. Back when I was in college and William was in his mid twenties, he was actually sort of a babe, if you can believe it. He's always been a hefty guy, but back then it was Russell Crowe heft, and it was becoming. But I can't underscore this enough: it was becoming.

Of course, he could be an ass. Everyone knew this. And he had a penchant for sleeping with his assistants and then firing them. So a plan formed in my mind...put Josie up for the gig, start dating William, get him to knock me up and marry me. Then he'd cheat on me with Josie and I'd have ample cause to divorce him. My father's terms were that he would support me if I had a baby and I was married to the father, but he wouldn't fault me for leaving a man like that. A man who had sex with my ex-husband's new girlfriend? It was unseemly! He would encourage me to leave him—for the sake of the baby. And, for the sake of the baby, he would continue to foot my bills and do whatever he could to get Campbell out of jail.

Look, it wasn't a foolproof plan by any means. And to be perfectly honest, I was casting a wide net. William wasn't the only guy I was bedding during that time. I was thirty-four years old and my tubes were covered in scar tissue, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a few potential baby daddies in the mix.

Looking back, I realize I was coming undone. I had to be to think this cockadoodle plan would work. And that was why, after months of enduring sweaty humpings from William, and months of negative pregnancy tests, I was at my wit's end. I don't know what I thought Dr. Bradhauser could do for me. I guess I just needed someone to rail against.

Now, looking at myself in the mirror, a gorgeous mess (I was too classically beautiful to ever be a hot mess), I realized there was one person I hadn't railed against, who deserved my ire more than anyone. Campbell.

I grabbed my car keys off the mantle, tied my stringy hair into a knot at the nape of my neck, and headed out the door.

- -

I may have been worse for the wear after the last few years, but Campbell certainly wasn't. I guess all there is to do in prison is work out and sit in your cell, cement those aging UVA/UVB rays out. Campbell had always looked older to me than his twenty-seven years when we first met, but now, at thirty-seven, he could have passed for younger than me. I instantly wished I'd taken the time to at least put on a little mascara or something when he sat down across from me.

"You are a sight for sore eyes," Campbell said.

"It's been a rough year," I told him.

Campbell leaned on one elbow, as always, a small smile on his face. Like he was laughing at me in his head. For what, I didn't know. "Tell me about it," he said.

I meant to laugh, I really did, but I surprised myself by bursting into tears. I reached for him and managed to bury my head in his neck for half a second before a guard starting screaming at me that I wasn't allowed to touch him. He smelled like bleach and soap. Delicious.

"Sorry," I whispered, wiping my face. "I don't want to get you into trouble."

"I'm used to getting into trouble because of you," Campbell said, and everything in me that was hurting somehow managed to hurt more.

"I miss you," I said. "So much. This was not," I sighed, "this was not how my life was supposed to turn out. Yours either."

"I know," Campbell said. "Believe me, I know."

"I'm all out of ideas," I told him. "Getting pregnant is the only leverage I can think of with my father. And I can't get pregnant." I'd written to Campbell, last year, detailing my plan to him. I wanted him to know I hadn't given up on him, that I still loved him. Would always love him.

Campbell reached his hand across the table, so that only a paper thin sliver divided our fingers from touching. I could feel the guard watching us, ready to pounce if we so much as grazed a knuckle. I would have given anything to touch and smell Campbell's skin again.

We sat like that, in silence, for the remainder of the visit. There was nothing to say. I'd been bested—by Biz, by my father, by biology. I'd always figured out a way to get what I wanted. But this was the one dilemma I couldn't scheme my way out of, and it just so happened to be the one with the highest stakes.

Our time was up much too soon, the way it always was. I was waiting to be buzzed through to the lobby when I heard two women, bickering loudly with each other.

"Leave it alone, Mah," one woman snapped.

"You can't get married with your goddamn bra showing, Brittany," the other woman growled back.

"I'm tryin' to look sexy!" Brittany protested. "For our congackal visit."

"Conjugal," her mother corrected her.

I turned to look at them then. The blushing bride was wearing a long white dress, the material cheap and see through, and with the racerback cut, her grungy pink bra strap was certainly showing. She looked up, sensing someone was watching her, and we made eye contact. She rolled her eyes at me, like, mothers, what a pain in the ass, am I right?

Then she picked up the 'train' of her dress, really just the floor length hem. It was one of those mullet cuts—short in the front to show off some thigh, long in the back to class it up, I guess. I was about to shudder—the idea of getting married in a mullet dress with your dirty bra strap showing, cringe—but my bitch nerve was short circuited by the lightbulb that went off in my head.

Huh, I thought, as the two-ton maximum security door moaned open before me. Huh.

- - -

Today is the day! Luckiest Girl Alive is out and in stores! Thank you so much to all of those who have pre-ordered, and Tweeted, Instagrammed, and Facebooked your pictures my way. I love seeing all of them, and keep 'em coming! And if you haven't already, sign up for my newsletter here (scroll to bottom and enter your email address)—it's how I'll keep in touch re: news about the book and the movie going forward.

The last installment of Elizabeth's story is coming on Thursday. Where did the time go? Ah! See you then. xx




40 comments:

  1. I've been anxiously waiting for this post all day!! I've been an avid reader since you began Josie's story, and I have to say that I never expected to root for Elizabeth, not to mention find myself enjoying her story even more! I'm sad to see it end. Thank you for sharing your stories with us - I can't wait to see what's in store for Luckiest Girl Alive! Best of luck to you in this next big step.

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  2. All good things must come to and end... Ahh how bittersweet Thursday will be. Looking forward to it and to finishing your book!!! xoxo

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Congratulations on your book, so exciting! I wish I could come to a signing of some kind, but sadly I live in Canada. Come to Toronto! Your book is waiting patiently on my e-reader, and I can't wait to start reading it.
    I'm going to miss your weekly posts.. I've been reading since you were at Cosmo. Congrats again, you're an inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. I agree, come to Toronto! :):)

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    2. That makes 3 of us! Pleaseeee come to Toronto!!!!

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  5. YESSSS! *insert wedding music* :)))

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  6. OMG!!! My heart got so heavy reading this!!! and now I cant stop smiling.

    this is making me so sad to know its coming to an end but as long as Elizabeth ends with Campbell I will be so fine with that :)

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  7. So peter did cheat on josie? I haven't gone back and read it but I thought I remember a time where Peter went back to Elisabeth for a little so they could try to start a family. Did this mean after that night he did then she got with William later?

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    Replies
    1. Peter did cheat on Josie, as this post proves. She was never sure, but suspected strongly (he never admitted he did to her). But that night wrecked their relationship in any case. I kept hoping he would shine Elizabeth on and I was disappointed to find that he gave in. Not his finest hour. Then again, I have never liked Elizabeth, and I never got what he saw in her anyway. This has been a great blog and a fun read, though, and I will be interested to see how it plays out.

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  8. Ahhh....finally!! Have been waiting for Campbell to appear!! Please let the last post be extra long with lots of time spent on Campbell -- I love them together!!

    So excited - I got my pre-ordered copy of the book today!! I normally speed read through books but I am going to savor every page of this one!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Luckiest Girl Alive was an intense page turner! I love the way that it ended! #teamAni Thank you for your time on this blog and can't wait for what's in store for us, your readers, in the future! Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. I loved it too! I have to say though, I didn't find Ani all that unlikable. Especially if she's being compared to completely psychopaths like Amy Dunne lol.

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  10. I hope she is able to some revenge on Biz, I don't want her to get away with everything she did to Elizabeth

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  11. I usually don't post, but you're an INCREDIBLE writer! I'm still reading your book, but you really hit the nail on the head! I am 25 and the wheels were put into motion around 10 years old! Nothing shocking like with Tif, but I LOVE NYC, Wall Streeters and everything that you mention! Can't thank you enough! I needed this! Reinvention FTW!

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  12. Oh my gosh, I just have to say that your book is amazing! I have been reading it all day almost non-stop. I knew it would be good but I can't even think of words to describe how riveting it is. Just had to tell you! Haven't finished it yet and I don't want to ruin it for others but I can't wait to see how it ends!

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  13. I'm a little confused about why she wouldn't have done exactly what she plans on doing now way back before she married Peter.

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