Pulling Her HEARTSTRINGS Episode 42
A story written by HAPPY
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Regrets of what my life would’ve been if I weren’t such a creepy critter.
The media never rests. Each single day the press carries up to a thousand news about the newly engaged prince. Tweets and feedbacks on every Oscar-relating posts on Twitter had me feel like gorging my eyes out. And I quit Instagram just to stop seeing Umbria’s smiley face staring back at me. Prodigal Princess Found. From a Baker to a Princess. Once a Royal’s always a Royal and other stupid headings like those that dominated the news about Umbria being daughter to Lady of Rutherford Elizabeth Oswald Rutherford. Sometimes I feel she’s taunting me. Mocking me.
Yet no matter how regretful or remorseful I feel, it’ll never have me stooping as low as to apologizing to Umbria. Oscar practically hates me now; he doesn’t pick my calls neither does he give replies to my messages. Umbria nominated Tiffany in her place for school’s queen, and after I’d signed down, other girls rushed in for the competition. Tiffany won, and just yesterday I saw her coronation posts all over the Primrose college blog, snuggled with friends. Including Audrey, and the COVS.
After I was raped by Tom, I managed to get myself home in pieces. I refused to speak to anyone. I felt like I lost my confidence. And Audrey’s being nice didn’t help matters. It just kept reminding me of how ‘good’ a twin she was as compared to me. Once Tiffany, Juli and Karie came over. I shunned them. And Caroline… I broke off contacts with her for a while.
But there’s one thing I’ve never lost track of: my plan to make Tom pay. My revenge. No matter how shitty the guy was he was right about one thing: we’d both deal with the devil to get what we wanted.
We both got black hearts.
Audrey knocked and opened my door. Stupid, I forgot to lock it. She held a tray of snacks in her hand and a sullen expression on her face.
“Hi Jess, you skipped both breakfast and lunch so I brought up a little something —”
“Get out Audrey. Don’t you think it’s a little late to play the good sister?” I snapped and she gasped. A tear dropped.
“Jessica what’s wrong with you?” she whispered. ”I’m worried about you, everyone at school is —”
“Is Oscar worried too?” I cut in, and she was silent except for her sniffs.
“Just as I thought. I don’t care for anything or anyone anymore. Leave. Me. Alone!”
“Jessica talk to me please… you look like you really need someone close to you. I’m your sister. Let me in…please,” she set the tray and came to squat in front of me, taking my hand in a tight grip while I struggled. It was obvious that she wasn’t letting go that easily so I stopped and threw my face in the opposite direction.
“Talk to me Jess,” she repeated and turned me to face her.
Memories of how close we were when we were little flooded my brain. We used to share everything until dad was appointed senator, and because he showed me favor more than her I became arrogantly pampered and spoiled. Audrey tried to put up with me, she tried so much but I was being difficult and haughty until she gave up when we transferred to primrose and I turned worst. But looking at her now, the brokenness evident in all her features and actions, I saw that she never really gave up. She was always there, subtly trying to pull me from the looming pit I was too blind and proud to see.
My defenses crumbled.
My eyes wet and my lips quivered as I placed a palm over my mouth to stop my sobs.
” Audrey… ” I whispered. “I’m so sorry I’m…. I’m so screwed! You were right all along. Oscar and I were never meant, I should have let go but I didn’t and now I’ve messed up hugely!” I threw my arms around her in a fierce hug as I muttered how sorry I was and she, surprised at first, patted my back reassuringly.
When we pulled apart I narrated everything to her, withholding nothing. She gasped. Not in horror, but in something like sympathy mixed with righteous fury. It made me smile faintly, missing having my sister angry on my behalf.
“He….raped you? I swear I’ll —”
“Sshhh, I don’t want mom and dad hearing yet, they’ll freak out.”
“But that guy can’t just… damn! He has to be punished.”
“I know. I’ve been cooking up a revenge plan. And I need your help.”
“To be frank sister I think you should forget this scheme and just.. move on?”I shook my head and she sighed and said, ” Umbria’s in deep—”
“Audrey, I’m not exactly doing this for Umbria. I’ll never forgive her. No one should know.”
Audrey nodded and sneaked me a glance that said she wondered if exactly I didn’t forgive Umbria.
I wondered too, but I didn’t dwell on it ad we hugged again, this time giggling happily.
I looked over my shoulder for the hundredth time as I walked home from Bruce’s bakery that afternoon to see the place cleared of nothing suspicious.
Then why do I feel like I’m being followed?
After finding out that I was lady Liz’s daughter a DNA test was conducted for confirmation, and I forgave her. I lived in the palace for a couple of days with her, Freddy and Tessy and it felt so different from the time I worked there. I was totally free, people loved me and even king Osborne Oswald accepted me with a brisk nod, the same way he did Maggie. Underneath I could see he was pleased somehow. He was trained not to show too many emotions I think..
Lady Rutherford —mom— returned to Rutherford after that with the kids, but I declined following her until she settled things with the earl at home. So I returned to Queensland, abandoning most of my expenses, to continue my loved job baking. Although I could bake hours at the palace kitchen, I missed the hustle bustle of serving customers. Of course Oscar and Edward even Maggie and my dad and everyone disapproved. But I’m hardheaded. And now, recently, I always feel someone’s is following me and watching me. But each time I turn around, I’m met with an empty space.
Forget it. Think of something else.
Couldn’t wait to get home, have a feast with dad (Hannah would be absent) and spend the rest of the day chatting with Oscar.
That feeling that someone’s following me.
I shook my head and quickened my steps. Should have walked with Carl, but he was working nocturnal ever since Bruce’s bakery had become a big one. Aside that, I wouldn’t want to get his girlfriend Lucy angry. The girl’s warming up to me, but when it comes to Carl she’s nobody’s friend. No hard feelings, but I’m okay with it especially since she’s gone off the road and out of the hoochie mama business. Most times though, I feel that she’s hiding an important piece of info from me.
I got to the house, had dinner with dad and chatted with Oscar all through the night.
Lucy finally opened up when I complained about my stalker to our friends on one of our…..group dates.
We were mad at her, but I was more terrified of what could happen to me. Oscar hugged me and assured me that everything would be okay.
There she is, walking alone on the lonely path this lonely, lonely night.
She’s like a little butterfly flitting through flowers, sniffing, sucking the sweet nectar. I imagined this, with me being the butterfly and her the flowers, and let the wicked grin spread on my face. It’s now Tompkins Todd. You’ve waited long enough, bailing the game, dribbling like a player would a ball.
It’s time to strike and secure a win.
I had my plan made: kidnap her. Take her where nobody would find her, then have her to myself for as long as I wanted. Which wouldn’t be quite long because I always get tired. After that, she’ll be up for Ransom and that royal family of hers would waste no time in gathering the money. I’ll have them drop it at a secluded destination, then pick it up. By now I’ve changed my mind, and decided that I want her for myself because the thought of her stupid prince boyfriend being with her makes me feel like sinking the blade of my prized knife into human skin. We’d run away together. Be with each other for ever. My dear mother would turn in her grave with disagreement. My stupid father would cringe in disgrace. But I’ve never cared for their thoughts about me, their souls can rot in hell for all I cared.
Set in motion right about…. now.
Like a panther in the dark, I stealthily reached her and placed my hand over her mouth, muffling her screams.
“God, your skin is as soft as I remember,” I whisper in her ears, stroking her arm.
She shivered on recognizing my voice, and the fact that she still remembers my voice tells me that she’s never forgotten me. I feel a rush of excitement at this.
“Did you miss me huh? I’ve come back for you like I promised I would. I’ve come back to take what’s mine and it’s you.”
She screamed in her throat as she bucked and twisted, trying to escape.
I would not give her the time of the day.
I tightened the hold of my left hand around her neck and her breath is choked. Seeing her in pain just excites me.
I release her mouth. “Say you missed me baby. Say it!”
She choked more. She couldn’t talk. I laughed. “You can tell me later when were together my princess. My baby. My Umbria.”
She was crying but I couldn’t care less. I was strong and she was strong, but not strong enough to escape me.
I leaned in to roughly kiss those lips that I missed, when suddenly I felt rough force stronger than me pull me away and landed a hard blow on my jaw.
“Bastard!” the voice yelled as I struggled to pick myself off the floor. Wiping my blood off, I saw Umbria run wailing into his arms as he hugged her tight.
I growled deep in my throat as I lunged for him, fists clenched to deliver a spinal hit.
“Don’t touch her,” I roared, and maybe I shouldn’t have. The boyfriend in one fluid movement pushed Umbria to the side and dodged my intended hit, sending me an unexpected upper cut that had me biting my tongue.
Okay, that’s it!
I pulled out my lucky dagger and held it to my wrist. His eyes flashed anger as he watched me. I felt my own pumping in my blood.
“Umbria’s mine, you can’t come between us,” I said.
He scoffed angrily, still maintaining a defensive position. “She was never yours you sonofabitch.”
“I’ll kill you for that!” I roared again.
This time I didn’t attack blindly, but I didn’t have time to maneuver or aim.
I struck for his waistline, but he jumped back twice so I went for the jugular. I got a scratch, but he managed and swift roundhouse to my ribs making me stagger as air was temporarily knocked out of me.
He touched the injury on his jaw and scowled.
“Coward,” he spat. “You hiding behind the blade. Why don’t we go hand to hand?”
I chuckled as I got my bearings. “It’s not cowardice. I go for the win,” my eyes darted to where Umbria stood a second ago, and his frown deepened, “not some stupid show of macho power,” I growled and struck. He blocked with his arms, earning another cut, but with each injury he retaliated.
Then he gave a hard kick to my right hand, sending the dagger flying out of my grip.
He grinned at my horrified look and tackled me to the ground, giving me series of punches that could leave my jaw hanging.
I got a slip and flipped over, sending him the punches now, wearing a satisfactory grin of my own now as he groaned with each hit.
He sent a back kick to my nape and rolled off as I was weakened, but I reached for a log and hit him behind his neck. He groaned out loud.
I tackled him again and rained punches which he deftly blocked.
This guy is good.
But it’s time to end this.
“It’s time to end this childish game,” I said and sent a surprise hit to his jaw side while I pulled out another dagger. “Umbria’s mine alone,” I laughed, not caring if I sounded like a maniac and plunged the knife directly for his neck.
He caught the blade in between his hands in a prayer like fashion🙏. I applied more force and he did too. His palm was bleeding, and the tip of the knife was close to his neck. His muscles were weakening. His face contorted with the pressure he was applying to his arms. But just a little more force and I’ll be severing his carotid artery. That would be the end.
A sharp kick from my side made me loose my balance and before I could get my bearings another punch landed squarely in my face.
“Asshole,” Umbria cursed as she gave one last kick. She was always strong. “I’ll never be yours Tom. Never!” she gritted out, then rushed to help Oscar up and threw her arms around him tightly, fussing to check if he was hurt.
“No, no, no….” I muttered as he assured her he was fine, then they stood with their foreheads joined, muttering endearments that had me sick to the stomach.
Sirens wailed in the distance.
Blue and red lights flashed.
There’s an unending list of the crimes I’ve committed and if they got me now I’ll never get out.
I struggled up to run, but a booted feet steeped on and crushed my hand.
I looked up to see a smirking Jessica, who crushed my hand harder.
“Release me else I’ll implicate you too,” I said.
She squatted and slapped me.
“Go to hell,” she whispered and stepped aside when the police arrived.