Grandiose (6)

“I thought you died” Victoria said sarcastically as I slid into the taxi. I ignored her snarly remark.

“I better get a good tip for this” the Indian taxi driver scolded at us.

“Yes, Ms. Elizabeth here will give you a nice tip, won’t you?” Victoria replied looking straight at me. I opened my mouth to say something vile but I was too happy to start an argument. Sliding back into the seat, I turned to face the window and remained silent throughout our short trip to Uncle Leo’s.

Victoria being Victoria, knew something was up and pestered me until I finally gave in and told her everything that had happened with Henry.

“Wait, Henry Betzel, talked to you?” she exclaimed in disbelief.

“Yes, you know him?” I asked.

“Everyone knows who Henry Betzel is, his father owns half the city” Victoria went on to say. I sensed a hint of jealousy.

“I can’t believe he talked to you” Victoria repeated and again I didn’t say anything to counter her insult. I just stared at her, appalled, feeling ashamed for not having the courage to stand up for myself.

“What did you two talk about, anyway?” Victoria asked, suddenly.

“Nothing, really” I responded in a low voice.

“Hmm” she snorted.

“Here it is” the Indian taxi driver said.

“$12.50” he continued to say. I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill from my back jean pocket and handed it to him. I told him to keep the change as I exited the cab. I could smell Uncle Leo’s meatloaf from the street; the aromas from his third floor apartment electrified my nose. I took a moment to let them marinate and smiled. Image

“What are you waiting for? Let’s go, Princess!” Victoria yelled out at me from the front doors of Uncle Leo’s apartment building. I quickly rushed into the building just before the tall glass doors closed.

“You’re so weird” Victoria sneers at me.

“What exactly is your problem?” I shriek, finally exploding.

“I meant it as a compliment, stop being so sensitive” she replied with a smile. I didn’t know it then but she was using psychological warfare on me, and I didn’t stand a chance. I foolishly gave her the benefit of the doubt and disregarded the past two hours of abuse.

Uncle Leo’s building was a four story walk-up, no elevators. We walked up to the third floor in silence. When we got to his apartment, Victoria beat me to the punch and knocked on the door. It was like I didn’t even exist. Uncle Leo opened the door, revealing a fabulously decorated white and black apartment. He was a bit heavier since the last time I saw him. His dark brown hair was still full and luxurious as ever. He was wearing his classic blue cashmere sweater, dark wash blue jeans and black loafers.

“Well, hello there, Miss Victoria” Uncle Leo gushed as he hugged her.

“Darling, it’s been too long” Victoria tells him as she kisses him on the right cheek. For a moment, I thought I would go unnoticed and they would just go off without even considering my presence.

“Elizabeth, my dear” I hear Uncle Leo say as he pulls me into a tight hug. Victoria disappears into the apartment, leaving Uncle Leo and me in the third floor hallway. After a few more minutes of catching up and exchanging pleasantries, he invites me into his apartment.

Again, my nose is over-powered by the strong aromas of Uncle Leo’s feast that awaited us in the dining room. You would think a woman had decorated his apartment, but it was actually all done by Uncle Leo and his partner, James. It was mostly black and white in color with hints of pink, here and there. The walls were covered with professional black and white portraits of Uncle Leo, James and their precious Persian cat, named Luna.

When you entered the apartment, you couldn’t help but notice the full Italian white leather sofa that faced a large plasma TV hanging on the opposite wall. It was so clean and beautiful that I was scared to even go near it. Across the room by the terrace, there was a tall wooden bookshelf that nearly touched the ceiling, filled with numerous books of all sizes and colors. I smiled at this. I almost didn’t see Luna, sitting on the couch, as her coat blended in with it. She looked at me curiously, and then went back to licking her left paw.

“Let’s eat,” Uncle Leo said to me as he led me to the right, into the dining room area. There stood a long dark brown table covered with the most savory foods I’ve ever seen. I mean, Uncle Leo really out-did himself. There was his famous meatloaf, mashed potatoes, dumplings, wild yellow rice, chicken pot pie, two different salads, a fruit bowl, roasted pork, cherry and apple pie and so much more.

“Uncle, I don’t think it’s Thanksgiving yet” I joked with eyes wide and mouth watering.

“I forgot to mention, I would be inviting a few more friends to join us” he said as he led me to a chair.

“They should be here soon” he went on as he disappeared into another room. I sat there looking at all the food, wondering if I could eat it all. Victoria and a few other people walked in laughing as I was reaching for meatball. I quickly pulled my hand back, hoping nobody had seen me. I was so hungry. Victoria sat right next to me which I found to be strange for some reason.

“You must be Elizabeth” a tall blonde curly haired woman said to me as she shook my hand.

“Yes, and you are?” I smiled.

“Madora. Madora Wiles” she said to me in a James Bond kind of way.

“I am a drama teacher. I hear you want to be an actress.” She went on to say.

“Lovely to meet you” I told her while keeping a smile on my face.

“How do you…” I began to say but stopped myself, knowing the answer to my question. We talked for a while, and then Uncle announced it was time to eat and she patted my right shoulder and went on to find a seat. James was now standing next to Uncle Leo holding a glass of red wine. He also looked the same since I last saw him. He was significantly taller than my Uncle, had a nice build and was also bald. He smiled at me when he saw me. I smiled back.

“In honor of my lovely Elizabeth, I have prepared this fabulous meal welcoming her to New York!” Uncle cheered. Everyone else at the table gave me their welcome. I was greeted by so many people that I couldn’t possibly recount all of their names to you.

While we ate, Uncle Leo had set-up an old disc-player to play Elvis Presley. All around the table, the conversations were lively and friendly. Everyone was having a good time, even Luna who sat on a high chair by Uncle Leo, was nibbling at her own dinner.

It was a great night. We danced to old swing music, told jokes and acted out scenes from Les Miserables (my favorite novel). It was way past two in the morning when the festivities had ended and everyone but Victoria and I had left. Uncle Leo had insisted we stay overnight because he did not want us walking out at night. He had us sleep in his guest bedroom which was also color schemed in black and white. In it was a king sized bed, one dresser and an attached bathroom. He let us borrow some old t-shirts to sleep in, gave us both newly bought toothbrushes and wished us goodnight.

Victoria didn’t even bother to change, throwing herself onto the left side of the bed, falling immediately to sleep. I on the other hand, changed into an old extra large rolling stones t-shirt, pulled my hair into a top bun and jumped into the right side of the bed. I wasn’t aware of how tired I was, lying there, my eyes soon grew rather heavy and I quickly drifted away.

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Grandiose (5)

I’m back in the dark room again but this time I am no longer restrained by the white jacket, yet I am handcuffed to the cold steel chair. Kauffman is sitting behind his desk and I see the woman who calls herself, Marissa, even though she has a striking resemblance to Victoria, leaning over him. Her nurse’s dress has the top two buttons unbuttoned revealing an inappropriate amount of flesh. Kauffman, however, seems unwaivered by this as he pours over his notes.

“I’m so excited to assist you today with Elizabeth’s session” I hear Victoria say to Kauffman in an over exaggerated tone.

“Does she require any other preparations besides the sedative?” She continues to ask.

“No, just make sure she stays calm and bring in her lunch in about two hours” Kauffman tells Victoria, still looking over his notes. I twisted and turned in my chair causing the handcuffs to dig into my wrists.

“Stop, Elizabeth” Victoria shouts at me as she rushes to me. She holds my face in her hands and I’m nose is over-powered by the strong scent of cigar smoke exuding from her hair. Victoria always did love her smokes.

“Victoria” I whisper to her.

“No, my name is Marissa” she says to me like I am mentally challenged with a wink. She slowly lingers two fingers upon my lips as she slides them downward, over my chin and down my neck.

“Stop” I tell her. She chuckles and blows me a kiss.Image

“Is everything alright?” Kauffman chimes in as he walks towards us. Victoria steps to the side so Kauffman could look at me.

“Are you ready to begin?”

“Do you remember where you left off?” he asks me. I nod rather awkwardly, wobbling my head like a wobble-head. I had to force myself to stop.

Victoria snorts a bit and Kauffman glares at her. She heads off to the far right of the room and slides into a metal school chair. You know the ones that have the table attached to them and starts reading a book. I can’t tell what the cover says because my hair is obscuring my view. From time to time, I catch her in my periphery, staring at me.

“Now, let’s begin” Kauffman announces the beginning of the session as he sits across from me. I close my eyes and take in the scent of his after-shave; letting the words pour out of me as the images swarm my mind.

When I got back into my room, I placed my cup of tea unto a sturdy espresso colored dresser, reaching into my right back pocket for my cell phone. I immediately called Uncle Leo. The phone rang a couple times before he answered.

“Hello” I heard a raspy voice answer. It had been a while since I heard his voice.

“Uncle Leo, it’s me, Elizabeth” I cheered.

“Darling, how are you?” he gushed.

“I’m fine, thank you” I lied.

“How’s Victoria treating you?” he asked.

“Victoria, she’s a character” I said hesitantly.

“Yes, she can be a bit over-bearing but she’s a doll” Uncle Leo said in efforts to comfort me.

“Over-bearing is an understatement, she’s a real jerk” I said, feeling a bit ashamed for whining like a child.

“Oh, she’s not so bad, tell you what, why don’t you two come over for dinner?” he tells me.

“A home cooked meal sounds good right now” I reply with a sigh.

“Brilliant! I made my famous meatloaf.” Uncle Leo exclaims. I smile at this.

“Come ‘round 7:30, okay” he says to me.

“Okay” I reply. He goes on to tell me that Victoria is a great girl and that I should give her a chance. I tell him I would try to get along with her and reconfirm our dinner plans; taking note of his address.

My new room had the same maroon carpeting as the outside floor hallway but it was fluffier. I lay down on it and stare at the ocean blue ceiling. I don’t know how long it was, but I lay there emotionless for some time. I might have fallen asleep but can’t really be sure. A few hours later, I hear the door open and see Victoria towering over me.

“What would you like for dinner?” she asks.

“We can go out if you like?” she continues.

“What time is it?” I finally respond.

“It’s 6:30” she says.

“Uncle Leo invited us for dinner” I reply as I make my way up off the floor.

“Nice” Victoria yelps.

“Did he say what time?” she asks.

“Seven-thirty” I tell her.

“We should get going, traffic is a killer at this time” Victoria urges.

“I’ll call us a taxi” she yells out as she rushes out the room. I decide to change my clothes. While re-dressing, Victoria hollers that she would be heading downstairs to meet the taxi and again advises me to hurry up. It was close to seven by the time I was done.

In my rush to get downstairs, I bump into somebody coming out the elevator. He had been carrying a pack of manila folders that go flying into the air and rain down upon us, spilling all their contents.

“I am so sorry” I cried, beyond embarrassed.

“I can be such a bloody klutz sometimes” I blabber on.

“That’s alright, we all have our flaws” he jokes as we both bend down to pick up the disarrayed manila folders. Then as I hand him what I could put together of the mess, we have that epic moment where we look into each other’s eyes and smile in unison. It was just like that, magic.

“Hi, my name’s Henry” he says to me as he stretches out his right hand.

“I’m Elizabeth” I muster the courage to say as I shake his hand. I couldn’t help but stare at his eyes; they were blue, grey and green. I was in awe of them. We stood back up and I realized he was really tall; about 6’4. He had brown wispy hair, symmetrical face features and a strong jaw. He wore a chestnut brown blazer with a light blue white pinstripe shirt, blue jeans and dark brown loafers that looked really expensive. He also carried a brown cross-body briefcase with him.

“Are you new here? I’ve never seen you before” he said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, just moved in” I responded with a nervous smile, realizing I was still holding onto his hand. I quickly slid my hand out of his. Then my phone rang and I jumped. It was Victoria reminding me to get downstairs because the taxi driver was getting impatient.

“Sorry, but I must go”

“It was lovely to meet you, Henry” I said to Henry.

“Nice to meet you too” He smiled.

“Be careful now, don’t go bumping into more strangers” he joked, giving me a wink as I headed to the elevator.

“I’ll try not to” I laughed.

In the elevator, I couldn’t stop smiling. I kept on thinking about how great he smelled and how gentle and soft his hands were. But most of all, I was captivated by his eyes and how they glistened even in the dim hallway light. I finally knew what people meant when they said, “It was love at first sight”, stepping out into the cold November night.

Grandiose (4)

Kauffman leads Victoria to a table in the center of the cafeteria. The cafeteria is empty; only two food cooks lurk behind the food bar, preparing the morning breakfast for tomorrow.

“What would you like?”

“Sky’s the limit!” Kauffman jokes. Victoria bats her eyes and smiles.

“What do you recommend?” Victoria asks flirtatiously.

“The tuna melt is to die for” Kauffman says enthusiastically.

“Well, I must try it then” Victoria replies, passing a hand through her thick curly black hair. She suddenly realizes that she still had her coat on, so she takes it off and places it behind her chair. She catches Kauffman staring at her chest, only to find the top two buttons of her silk white blouse unbuttoned exposing her busty chest.

“Oh, dear”

“It seems they’ve come undone” Victoria laughs as she slowly buttons her blouse.

“No, I’m sorry”

“It was un-gentleman like of me” Kauffman replied, embarrassed.Image

“It’s quiet alright”

“You are a man, aren’t you?” Victoria teased. Kauffman blushed even more at this.

“So, the tuna melt, you say?” Victoria smiled.

“Yes, that’s right!” Kauffman said, relieved to change the subject as he made his way to the food bar.

“Benny, my man, how’s it going?!” Kauffman yelled out to a frumpy looking bald man with a full dark brown beard.

“Hey, Mr. Kauffman” Benny said as he walked up to the kitchen side of the food bar.

“How can I help you?”

“Can you whip up two of your famous tuna melts?” Kauffman asked with a grin.

“No problem, Mr. Kauffman” Benny replied as he headed back into the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Kauffman and Victoria talked more about the position and Elizabeth. Victoria was getting tired of talking about Elizabeth, noticing how much Kauffman fancied her.  She quickly shifted the conversation to suit her own insidious interests.

“Why work for a loony bin?”

“Why not go private?” Elizabeth pried. Kauffman was slightly taken aback by Victoria’s over-bearing inquiry.

“I would appreciate it if you would not call it a loony bin. It’s a mental rehabilitation facility” Kauffman told Victoria firmly.

“Did I say loony bin?” Victoria said, pretending to be coy.

“I meant mental hospital”

“Pardon me, my manners just go off the bat when I’m hungry” she said as she placed a hand to her heart. She smiled to herself, because she had purposely vexed him.

“I guess we all do silly things when we’re hungry” Kauffman smiled.

“Benny, are those melts ready yet?!” Kauffman turned his head and yelled out.

“In just a minute! Do you want chips with ‘em?” Benny yelled back.

“Sure, that would be great!” Kauffman replied. A few minutes later, Benny came bustling out the kitchen entrance, from the far left of the room, carrying two red trays. He set them on the table, each facing their corresponding owners.

“These look great” Kauffman beamed at Benny.

“Thank you, anything else?” Benny smiled.

“Oh, Benny, I’ll like to introduce you to my new nurse’s assistant, Marissa Croon.” Kauffman said to Benny.

“How do you do, M’am?” Benny smiled at Victoria as he tipped his head.

“I’m fine, thank you” Victoria smiled back.

“Well, Bon’ Appetite, I have to get back and finish cooking tomorrow’s breakfast. Good night, ya’ll” Benny said in a Texas drawl as he headed back to the kitchen.

Kauffman and Victoria didn’t talk much during their meal. Kauffman was still trying to figure Victoria out; she hadn’t talked much about herself and he was curious to find out more.

Over the next few weeks, Victoria made sure to always be on Kauffman’s good side. She made sure he had his favorite cup of tea ready in the morning, brought him strawberry scones (his favorite), and even gained Elizabeth’s trust; which Kauffman found to be very impressive. She had him under her spell. She wondered how long it would take for him to sleep with her.

During one very cold November morning, Victoria decided to pay Elizabeth a visit. Elizabeth had been coiled on the far right corner of her room, murmuring.

“Hello, Elizabeth” Victoria said coolly. Elizabeth lifted her head and smiled. The lights were brighter here than any other place in the facility and everyone thought that was quiet peculiar.

“Hi” Elizabeth replied in a baby voice.

“Do I know you?”

“Of course, it’s me, Marissa”

“You look like someone else” Elizabeth says to her.

“May I ask who?” Victoria asks as she steps closer to Elizabeth.

“I can’t remember….” Elizabeth whines, frustrated by her own incoherence.

“I’m sorry you can’t remember” Victoria replies, trying to sooth Elizabeth.

“Let’s play a game, Elizabeth”

“Do you like games, Elizabeth?”

“Yes, what kind of game?” Elizabeth asks eyes wide with excitement.

“Truth and Tell”

“I ask you a question and you answer truthfully. You can ask me questions too and we’ll just go back and forth” Victoria says to her.

“Okay” Elizabeth replies in a baby voice again.

“I’ll go first” Victoria says as she leans down on her knees in front of Elizabeth.

“What do you talk about with Mr. Kauffman?” Victoria asks.

“We talk about me mostly, of what I can remember of my past, anyway…” Elizabeth replies, trailing off.

“What do you remember?” Victoria continues.

“Hey, it’s my turn” Elizabeth scolds Victoria.

“Yes, I’m sorry. Ask me a question.” Victoria says coldly.

“What’s your name?” Elizabeth asks.

“I told you that earlier, it’s Marissa” Victoria replies, frustrated.

“Marissa, that’s pretty” Elizabeth says.

“Your eyes, you look so much like her…” Elizabeth started saying but stopped when she saw Kauffman approaching.

“I see you’re up and early” Kauffman chimes in as Victoria turn her head and smiles.

“Oh yes, she’s quite a girl” Victoria says sarcastically.

“Victoria” Elizabeth whispers.

“What was that?” Kauffman asks Elizabeth.

“Victoria!” Elizabeth screams so loud that Kauffman has to step back.

“Calm down, who is Victoria?” Kauffman asks, curiously.

“She’s Victoria…” Elizabeth points at Victoria.

“No, Elizabeth, her name is Marissa. You are confused.” Kauffman says in a soft voice.

“She’s obviously confusing me with someone else” Victoria laughs.

“You remind her of Victoria, that’s interesting” Kauffman says as he looks at Victoria.

“Who is this Victoria” Victoria asks, masking her nervousness.

“Someone she knew, but I can’t be sure” Kauffman replies.

“Oh look at the time, your first session is in ten minutes, we must prepare” Victoria urges Kauffman.

“We’ll discuss this further” Kauffman smiles at Elizabeth as he heads out her room with Victoria holding onto his left arm. They close her door and Elizabeth is left rocking herself on the floor murmuring again.

“Her eyes… it’s her eyes” Elizabeth repeatedly babbles.

Grandiose (3)

 

“Interesting,” Kauffman interrupted as he wrote on his worn brown leather pad. I watched him as he rapidly took notes and found myself a bit annoyed that he had interrupted me. Nevertheless, I decided to forgive him for the poor manners and waited until he was finished. It seemed like he could go on forever, scratching his ginger beard as he poured his thoughts onto those pages.

Seemingly, he was unaware of the sudden sharp pain that ran from the back of my neck to the left side of my head. It was like I was under an electric shock from an eel. I twisted and turned in pain, but he was oblivious to me now; as he was deep in thought. The pain intensified and I screamed. I screamed like I was being murdered by a serial killer; you know that chilling scream made famous by all the great horror movies.

Everything after that seemed like a blur; I have a lot of blurs. I vaguely remember, Kauffman rushing to my side trying to calm me but to no avail. Then a bulky nurse rushing in and injecting something into my left arm. I remember chuckling a bit because she had the body of a quarterback and a pig’s nose.

“What happened?!,” I heard the nurse ask with shortness of breath.

“I don’t know.”

“I was taking notes and she just went ballistic.”Image

“Put her down!” Kauffman yelled. That’s all I remember. Now I’m back in the padded white room that smells like mint, has no windows, and has lights that are too bright. I tell them it hurts my eyes but they don’t care. They say they are good for me.  I call them liars.

The asylum was quiet that cold October afternoon, every patient had been neutralized and all slept in their beds with the exception of Elizabeth. The front desk nurses were gossiping about the patients as usual.

“Monty peed the bed again and they had the slow janitor, Bob, clean it up!” A porky nurse named Janice bursted with laughter.

“Oh, Janice, you’re so bad,” a shy skinny nurse named Molly pleaded. Suddenly the front doors opened and in with the cold brought in a devilishly beautiful woman of a petite stature with wild curly black hair. It was Victoria but she was going by another name now. A friend at the asylum had warned her that Elizabeth was slowly regaining her memory and Victoria could not let that happen. She walked right up to the help-desk and gave her signature sinister smile to Molly. Molly could tell that this woman was far from nice and she gulped.

“May I help you?” Molly asked, trying to sound confident.

“Why, yes dear.”

“I’m Marissa.”

“Marissa Croon.”

“I’m here about the nurse assistant position for Mr. Kauffman.” Victoria boasted.

“Oh, yes, I was told to direct you straight to him.”

“Follow me please” Molly directed Victoria. Kauffman’s office was in the basement, so they took the elevator down. They didn’t talk much on the way down just gave each other nervous smiles here and there. When they reached the ground floor, Molly felt a shiver run down her back as she headed out the elevator.

“You can get lost down here, it’s a bit of a maze” Molly nervously laughed, trying to shake the bad feeling that had come over her like ice.

“I don’t mind getting lost. I love adventure.” Victoria replied in a monotone. They took a few left and right turns, until they finally reached Kauffman’s office.  It was closed. The worn wood door was in desperate need of a new finish or perhaps needed to be replaced. Molly softly knocked on the door and called out for Mr. Kauffman.

“Mr. Kauffman, are you there?” Molly called out.

“Yes, just a minute” Kauffman replied.

“He’s always so busy reading you know,” Molly smiled at Victoria. Victoria didn’t say anything back. She just smiled. The door flew open and Kauffman greeted both ladies.

“Good evening” Kauffman smiled. He was taken aback by Victoria’s beauty. He could barely stop himself from staring.

“This is Marissa Croon, the new nurse assistant you requested.” Molly told Kauffman.

“Yes, yes, how do you do?” Kauffman greeted Victoria once again.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it then” Molly said as she headed back to the main floor.

“We’ll go up with you; I want to show Miss Croon the patient she would be helping me with.” Kauffman cried out to Molly. On the way back up to the main floor, Kauffman slightly grilled Victoria on her work history and education. Victoria seemed to have all the right answers and Kauffman was growing more intrigued by her. She was very intelligent.

“Elizabeth,” a soft voice speaks to me. I have my head between my legs and my long curly red hair covers my face. I slowly lift my head and look around but nobody is there. For a moment, I fantasize that the voice is Henry’s. It sounded like him.

I crawl into a fetal position at the back right corner of the room as a sleep catches my eyes. Time is unknown to me and I am unsure if it’s actually time for bed. Bedtime has been called out yet, so I guess not. Sorrowfully, I shed a tear for my Henry as I close my eyes.

I don’t dream anymore. My thoughts consist of bits and pieces of images I can’t be sure to be true or not. They tell me I did terrible things; they say I killed people, men. I don’t remember the last two years of my life or what happened that brought me here. Everything is a blur. The padded white floor is cold and I hold myself tighter.

“Elizabeth,” I hear that song angelic voice again calling my name. Abruptly lifting my head to see the owner of the voice, I am left perplexed by the handsome man with blue eyes I had loved many years ago kneeling right in front of me. Henry.

“Henry!,” I cry out excitedly.

“Hush my love” Henry smiles at me as he places two fingers upon my badly chapped lips. I kiss them.

“I missed you so much” I gasped as I rushed into his embrace. He kisses me and I let him take me. It is like a new dawn after a monstrous storm; our bodies explode with love. It feels great. We hold each other and as my head lies on his left shoulder, I can’t help but smell the tobacco and lavender exuding from him.

“I missed you too,” he whispers. I smile like a little school girl. Suddenly, I got the feeling that someone was watching us.

“Who is she talking to?” Victoria asked Kauffman as they looked at Elizabeth through her door window.

“I don’t have the slightest idea” Kauffman replied.

“Does she talk to herself a lot?” Victoria asked.

“This is the first time I see her do this” Kauffman replied in a concerned tone. They watched Elizabeth for a bit longer.

“Oh look, Henry, its Mr. Kauffman”

“He’s nice to me” Elizabeth pointed a finger to Kauffman. Kauffman smiled at Elizabeth.

“I must go now my love” Henry told Elizabeth.

“No!”

“Don’t go, stay and meet Mr. Kauffman” Elizabeth pleaded but Henry was gone. She started to cry.

“Why is she crying?” Victoria asked trying to hide her amusement. Elizabeth looked back to where Kauffman and Victoria stared at her from her room door and when she noticed Victoria she stopped crying.

“I know her. She looks so familiar” Elizabeth thought to herself.

“So…that’s Elizabeth” Victoria said coolly to Kauffman as they headed to the cafeteria. Kauffman was already under her spell and it didn’t seem like Elizabeth remembered her. But Victoria couldn’t take that chance; she had to get rid of Elizabeth for good this time. No loose ends.

Grandiose (2)

I had just moved to the city, it was in early November of 2000. My parents had my uncle, Leo; find me an apartment in New York but it was to be shared with his friend’s daughter, Victoria Quinn. I didn’t know it then but Victoria would be the death of me. She seemed nice at first, but I soon learned it was only a disguise to her true nature.  I should have trusted my instincts the first time I met her but I had dismissed them due to my need for friendship in a new city. It was a long and scary flight from England to New York, and I wanted things to start off good, well as good as I dreamed it would be. For the most part, everything was going well, I didn’t get lost. I hate getting lost, it’s my worst fear.

As I rode in the Taxi from Newark Airport, I didn’t really think much, just observed the scenery as we entered New York City. As any newcomer, I was excited to see the lights in Times Square; my eyes were wide with glee. I was finally here; I was going to be an actress.  Or so I thought, the thing is some people get their dreams, others not so much. 

When the taxi dropped me off at my new home, 761 Park Ave, I was surprised at how beautiful the architecture was. It was of the Victorian era and the details on the windows were breathtaking. It was a beautiful building; I smiled to myself as I grabbed my luggage and headed to the front door. I rang the buzzer.Image

“Yes,” a girl answered.

“Hi, this is Elizabeth Hodges, I’m moving into apartment 9.”

“So you are…do please come in,” the girl replied in a morbid tone, that somewhat put me off.  I heard the click, signaling that the doors were unlocked and proceeded to enter the building. It smelled of tobacco, lavender and Chinese food; an interesting concoction of smells, I thought to myself feeling hungry, suddenly. The elevator seemed to take forever to come down and I was getting rather impatient. After about 10 minutes, it finally came down and I was slightly frustrated by the wait but happy to be on my way to my new apartment. It was a quick lift to the 5th floor.  Briskly descending onto the 5th floor hallway, I was instantly in awe of how exquisitely it portrayed the vintage Victorian theme.  I took time to admire the single chandelier in the middle of the hall, the contemporary art hanging on the maroon and white walls, as well as, the very expensive looking maroon carpeting. For some reason, I had the craziest urge to take of my shoes and run my toes through the carpet but I decided otherwise to just find my new apartment and meet my new roommate.

 I thought I would get lost but it was easy to find. It’s like she knew because before I knocked on the door, it hang flung open and there she was-the sadistic evil witch that would drive me out of my mind, but of course, I did not know it then or maybe I did.

“Hi! I’m Victoria. Victoria Quinn,” this petite pear-shaped wide-eyed girl with wild curly golden brown hair exclaimed.

“Hello,” I nervously smiled.

“You must be Elizabeth,” she crooned. I got a bad vibe from her; she just kept staring right at me with that weird smile on her face. It made me uncomfortable but I dismissed my instincts because I was new in town and needed to start off on a good foot with this girl that was going to be my roommate for some time.  She was blocking my entrance into the apartment.

“I’m terribly tired from the flight, may I come in?” I asked, chuckling a bit, as it was my apartment as well, but the nervous laugh didn’t really help in disguising my fear. Victoria stared at me even more for a while, her eyes piercing into mine like daggers.

“Yes, of course, do come in.”

“This is your apartment too….for a while” she murmured.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing dear, let me show you to your room.” She smiled as she helped me bring my luggage to my room.

“Your uncle tells me you want to be an actor,” Victoria blurted out as she helped me situate my luggage in my new room.

“Yes, but do you mind terribly if I could get a cup of tea, I’m awfully thirsty” I said.

“The Brits and their tea, can’t go a day without it, huh?” Victoria smirked. I ignored her sarcasm and just said, “Yes, tea would be great. May you direct me to the kitchen?”

“Sure, right this way, sweety” she replied in a somewhat condescending tone. As I followed her to the kitchen, I could not help but notice the countless books on biology, psychology and crime-related mystery novels in the living room. The kitchen was just as beautiful as the rest of the apartment and I took a seat on one of the steel stools by the long marble counter. As Victoria prepared the tea, she made another attempt in small talk, mostly trying to bond with me as she too wanted to be an actress.

“You have such lovely hair,” she told me.

“Thank you” I smiled.

“How do you get it to be so silk like” she asked.

“My mom is a hairstylist back in London, so as you know, she was keen on having all her children have good hair.” I replied. She kept on complimenting me and asking me a lot of questions, digging into my personal life. I was getting uncomfortable.

“I see you’re interested in Biology and Psychology,” I suddenly asked, as a way to divert her attention from asking me anymore personal questions.

“Oh, yes, they’re just hobbies”

“Do you have any hobbies or do you just focus on acting?” She sneered.

“Of course, I do” I remarked trying to hide my embarrassment.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to sound condescending” she cooed at me, trying to sound sincere. I was so appalled but didn’t know what to say. She was deliberately undermining me and I couldn’t even muster the courage to put her in her place. I was ashamed.

“I think I’ll start unpacking and take a short nap afterwards. But first, I’ll call my uncle and parents, to let them know that I’m okay.” I finally decided to say as I grabbed my cup of tea and headed back to my room, feeling like a ton of bricks just crushed my chest. 

Grandiose (1)

(I’m in my head)

 

I’m not crazy, he was real.Image

 

How could he not be?

 

I touched him…

 

Locked in surrounded by the four padded white walls, I long to escape and find him. They say I’m not right and must remain in this awful place. I don’t know how I got in here; they said I did terrible things to people. How could I? I don’t remember.

 

“Elizabeth” someone speaks softly but I pretend I don’t hear them. My eyes are closed because the harsh light hurts my eyes.

 

“Would you like me to dim the lights?” the person asks. It’s a man; I can tell. His voice is soft and sweet just like my Henry.

 

“Yes, please” I respond.

 

“Now, there you may open your eyes” he tells me. I slowly open my eyes. As I look around I realize the walls are not padded here but they are dark. I’m restrained as always by the white jacket and feel the cold from the steel chair. My long unwashed red hair covers my face and soon his warm hands are pushing it back behind my ears.

 

I glance up to see deep sea blue eyes staring at me with such warmth. He has dark brown hair and finely chiseled features. He is wearing an old brown blazer with a blue wrinkled collar shirt, dark wash jeans, and brown boots.

 

“There, now we can start” he gushed as he headed back to his chair a few feet from where I was sitting. I tilted my head to the left as I examined him.

 

“Are you ok? You seem distant.” He asked me.

 

“Yes, I’m-I’m here” I kind of stuttered.

 

“I’m Loren Kauffman; I’ll be your psychiatrist during your time here.”

 

“Why am I here?” I whined.

 

“Yes, they say you don’t remember what you did” Kauffman’s voice trailed off as my mind raced and I went into a trance. It was only for a moment but I saw myself holding a bat as I hit at something or someone over and over. I couldn’t make it out; it was all so blurred. I felt someone shaking me and I lost the image.

 

“Don’t go away without me” Kauffman smiled at me. I completely disregarded what I thought I saw because I couldn’t be sure it actually happened.

 

“So, let’s get started” Kauffman exclaimed.

 

“Tell me about yourself”

 

“A gentleman wouldn’t keep me tied like this. Surely you know this?” I probed.

 

“I’m sorry my dear but I can’t release you from your bounds” Kauffman replied.

 

“I can’t be here, I have to find him!” I screamed.

 

“Find who?” Kauffman asked in an intrigued tone.

 

“Henry” I blushed.

 

“Who is this Henry?” he asked. At first I was reluctant to further discuss the topic but he was willing to listen and I could not pass up the chance of divulging my deep admiration for my precious, Henry.

 

“He’s a gentleman.” I smiled.

 

“Really, tell me more” Kauffman urged.

 

“Well, he is handsome, kind, smart, and funny” I rambled on.

 

“Where did you meet?” he inquired. The question actually startled me because somehow I did not expect it.

 

“It’s a long story” I smiled.

 

“I’ve got a lot of time” Kauffman smiled back. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes as I recalled my first encounter with Henry. Suddenly, I was transported back to that day and so the story begins.

Grandiose

Elizabeth, a young woman, in her early 20’s, moves to New York from England, to become an actor. Becoming an actor in New York, was not going to be easy but for some reason everything was going her way until she met Victoria Quinn. Victoria was Elizabeth’s roommate and she was terribly jealous of Elizabeth’s life. Victoria had a dark past and was keen on making Elizabeth’s life miserable, even drive her insane. It all started when Elizabeth met Henry, the trust fund handsome gentleman that wanted to be an actor. Victoria couldn’t take it anymore, she wanted to take everything away from Elizabeth, and so she started gaslighting Elizabeth and drove her insane. Henry is nowhere to be found and Elizabeth is put into an asylum. The thing is there is more to this story that meets the eye, this had happened before a long time ago before any of them were ever born, in England. It’s funny how history repeats itself. 

Image

However, this time, Elizabeth has the help of a very clever therapist named, Loren. She slowly puts the pieces together.