Grandiose 15

Still frazzled from the past days, Elizabeth lay still while submerged in a white vintage tub filled with cold water and ice. Her long red wet hair lay flat against her flushed silky skin. She kept a blank stare and seemingly lifeless body gave the illusion of death but from time to time you could still see her chest heave.Image

A nurse sat a few feet from her on a wooden chair reading a cover-less blue book, leg crossed over the other, who peered at Elizabeth every few minutes from the rim of her glasses. There was a dead silence like the world had been forbidden of sound.
Meanwhile, in her dormant state, Elizabeth thought about Henry and how they had unexpectedly had their first date, even though it was never confirmed.

I was getting quiet annoyed with Victoria. Our current arrangement was not working for me at all but I was too much of a coward to point it out. She had a knack for emotional abuse, always putting me down, insulting and humiliating me. I was getting tired of it but every time I would convey my discomfort she would turn on her charm and suck me back in to her nightmare. I felt my life being sucked out of me every time I was with her. My only constant source of happiness was my acting career which was looking bright and of course, Henry.

On one warm March afternoon, I had come out of my acting class early and decided to grab a cup of coffee by the nearby café. Mind you, I always walk fast even if I’m not in a hurry. While going through my purse for my wallet and walking down the street like a mad woman, I slammed into someone dropping my bag and all of its contents.

“Bloody hell” I started to say but then stopped when I realized it was Henry.

“Oh, it’s you” I said smiling, pushing my hair back behind my ears.

“Nice to see you too” he laughed, bending down with me to pick up the spilled items from my purse.

“I was hoping to bump into you, no pun intended” he continued with a smile.

“Mission accomplished” I replied, flustered. After helping me pile all my items back into my purse, he helped me back up and dusted my shoulder off.

“So, what’s the hurry?” Henry asked.

“Nothing really, just heading to the café for some coffee” I replied.

“I could go for some coffee” he smiled.

“Okay, sure” I smiled back, trying very hard not to blush. I don’t think I was doing a very good job to tell you the truth. I also tried not to stare at him so much but he was just too gorgeous. I couldn’t believe he liked me, nevertheless, have coffee together. Somehow I managed to behave myself and stay calm and collected.

During this unexpected rendezvous, I tried not to talk too much. I was a bit nervous and I have this thing that I laugh when I get nervous. He seemed not to mind, though. He actually started telling me jokes just so I could actually have a reason for laughing and not feel awkward.

He’s such a nice guy, I thought to myself. He gets me, I thought as I looked into his eyes briefly from across the table. We had chosen to sit in the café’s outdoor seating area because it was just too much of a lovely day outside to spend it indoors. The wind kept blowing my hair in my face which so I barely had a chance to drink my coffee.
There was a park to our right where kids were playing carefully watched by their mothers. I looked at three mothers sitting on a marble bench, laughing and talking about things I would never experience. I looked back at Henry, who was still talking to me about something but he seemed so far away. I smiled and nodded, pretending to have heard everything.

“So, what do you think?” Henry asked, suddenly.

“Elizabeth?” he continued, this brought me out of my trance.

“What, I’m sorry” I replied.

“I asked if you wanted to come to the cinema with me next Saturday” Henry responded with a smile.

“I’ll have to check my schedule but I’ll let you know sometime next week” I replied.

“Would you like my contact info?” He asked.

“Yes, that would be helpful” I laughed. He took out a small notebook and a pen from his leather jacket and noted his information on it. Even his writing style was as immaculate as his gorgeous blonde hair. I tried not to blush, I was getting nervous again.

As he handed me the torn piece of paper from his notebook our hands touched. His hand was warm and mine was cold. We both smiled at each other, his blue eyes piercing into mine. He had been the perfect gentleman the whole time. As we said our good-byes, he gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheek. I couldn’t help it this time and I blushed.

“Here’s looking at you, kid” He smiled at me, tipping his head as he went up the park street. I watched him for a while until he disappeared at the corner. I touched my cheek. I could still feel his warm kiss upon it. I smiled and headed the opposite way to catch a taxi back home.

“How is she?” Kauffman asks, startling the nurse.

“Oh, Mr. Kauffman, I didn’t hear you come in. You scared me.” The nurse says to Kauffman, turning her head.

“She’s been like that the whole time, as if she’s so far away, poor girl” the nurse continues to say.

“I had to check her breathing a couple of times just to be sure we didn’t lose her”

“So, she hasn’t said a thing all day, Barbara?” Kauffman asks concerned.

“No, sir, nothing at all” Barbara replies, shaking her head.

“I think she’s had enough. Take her back to her room.” Kauffman tells Barbara.

Elizabeth’s eyes are blood shot red, her skin now pruny and white. She has heard everything but remains motionless. Then she slowly starts to sink deeper into the tub until she is completely submerged. Her eyes are wide open as she stares at the light above her. She starts to make bubbles with her mouth. Kauffman and Barbara are still in conversation, oblivious to her now.

I’m drowning, Elizabeth thinks as she lays on the cold tub surface, unmoving. “Elizabeth!” distant screams are heard through the water and then strong hands pull her out.

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.

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. 

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