Novel ✪ Memory Corruption (R-18) (Book 1 Finished) (Book 2 on release)

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by GiBro, Jul 2, 2021.

  1. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    YES, YES, YES!! I totally picked up the PTSD vibes from Ryan. I definitely feel like it plays a huge part in his attitude towards Belle. These two trama babies can help each other heal. Can't wait to see the development they share as well as individually.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
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  2. Riiii

    Riiii Member

    Jun 28, 2021
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    Omggg the story is getting soo good. Its like Ryan's holding back his feelings. Anyways love ittt
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  3. saye

    saye Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2021
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    thankyouu for the clarification about Magda (I guess Im just slow, not that it was hard to catch )

    and yess the change in his attitude was visible, I just couldnt completely comprehend the reason behind it correctly

    Keep goingg @GiBro
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  4. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Aaaah, that's what I tried to show :giggle: ty for your feedback!

    Maybe trying to understand his feelings toward her too? :love: Ty for your feedback!

    No, don't say that, the author has the responsibility of making things clear if they don't want to leave things up to interpretation. This part is kind of subtle, 'cause she didn't literally said it and Belle can only guess. She could be the wife of another brother or sister of Ryan, for example. ;)
    Oh, glad to read it :) I would be very sad if Ryan sounded just like a jerk that abused his power and if it sounded like he was abusing her psychologically, 'cause that's totally not the image I want for him.
    Ty for your feedback!
  5. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Chapter 19

    Desmond seemed uncomfortable with the idea of taking Belle to a place where he couldn't see her immediately if he wanted to, but after Magda’s scolding, and Belle's confirmation that she wanted to go, he sighed and took the girl in his arms.

    Belle noticed he was tense and wondered what new information might have surfaced about the case.

    He gently put her on the passenger seat of Magda’s car, reclining it a bit for her to be comfortable.

    -Tell Magda if you need anything, ok? And ask her to call me if you feel bad or want to go inside. -He said, looking into her eyes, trying to identify any sign of discomfort. -How is your ankle?

    -I'm ok, Desmond, don't worry. Thank you.

    -Stop thanking me, Belle, you're starting to annoy me! - He snorted.

    -Ryan! -Magda shouted at him, with a warning look as she settled herself in the back seat.

    -Screw you, too! -He frowned at her and slammed the door. -Take care of her while I'm gone. Call me if you need me.

    Magda squinted her eyes at him and closed the door of the backseat.

    -So, Isabelle… Or do you prefer me to call you Belle?

    -I don't mind, really… Isabelle, Belle, Isa, Ross… I prefer not to be called Arwen, which is my second name… -Belle found it weird to talk to her without seeing her face, trying to spot her with the rear view mirror.

    -And why is that? Would you feel more comfortable if I sat by your side?

    -Yes, please. If it's not too much to ask. -Belle answered, glad that she was offered the option.

    Magda got out of the car and sat in the driver's seat.

    -Is it better, Belle? -She looked into Belle's eyes and continued, as the girl nodded. -So, why don't you like to be called Arwen?

    The conversation followed in a light tone. Magda made trivial sporadic questions that kept her talking. Belle caught herself trying to grasp the intention of each question, but couldn't and ended up giving up, concentrating only on answering the question as honestly as possible.

    When she explained that Arwen was a name imposed by her father, who loved the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings and that it had annoyed her mother greatly when he filled the form with the second name without talking to her first, Magda asked her if her parents used to argue.

    When she explained that they didn't spend much time together at home, Magda asked how she felt and how was her routine as a child.

    And the conversation escalated until the elephant stomped in and sat in the middle of the room. Her parents’ death. The great fire.

    Belle shut up and looked down.

    -Take your time. Organize your thoughts or change the subject if you don't feel like talking about it right now, Belle. -Magda smiled, looking out the window.

    -I don't mind talking about it. -Belle shrugged. -But there's not much to talk.

    -Is that so? -Magda said, without looking at her. -Why do you think you feel like there's not much to talk about it?

    -’Cause there's nothing I could have done then. There's nothing I can do now. I can't change the past. What's the point of remembering? -Belle felt her chest getting tight and a lump form in her throat.

    -Sometimes you need to remember the pain to let the wound heal. -Magda looked into her eyes. There was no pity or sadness in her eyes, only abetment. -If you scratch your knee, it might heal on its own if you just ignore it. But if it's too deep or dirty, it might leave a nasty scar or you might even lose your leg or die from it if you don't give it the proper amount and quality of attention.

    Belle nodded.

    -What do you want me to say?

    -What do you want to tell me about it, Belle?

    The girl sighed and looked up, feeling her eyes burning.

    -Like I said, there's not much to it… I don't like feeling alone, but I'm ok being on my own. -She exhaled. -Do you understand it?

    -Explain to me, please. -Magda said, in a soft voice.

    -When they told me they died, I felt like it wouldn't make a difference, I felt like nothing would change… -She blinked and a couple of tears streamed down her face. -I know I'm a bad person for thinking like that. No. I don't think like that anymore, but I know I was a bad person…

    -Do you really believe you were a bad person for feeling this way? Don't you think there was a reason for it? -Magda pressed.

    -What? What do you mean?

    -Don't you think there was a much more profound feeling that made you think like that?

    -They loved me. -Belle answered, frowning at her own words. -They… They did love me.

    -I'm sure of it, my dear. But why did you feel like it wouldn't make the difference that they wouldn't be there anymore on the next day? -Magda pressed.

    -’Cause they wouldn't be, even if they were alive. -Belle answered in a cold tone.

    -So, does it make you a bad person for reasoning that it wouldn't make a difference?

    -I should miss them. -She nodded, suppressing the sobs and wiping away the tears.

    -Don't you miss them? Didn't you love them too?

    Belle stared at her, surprised. Then she started to cry violently. She pulled her legs up to embrace them, then put the sprained ankle back down as it hurt badly. She curled up and cried, hiding her face in the window, with her arms on her face.

    Magda didn't make a sound. In fact for some minutes it seemed like the woman wasn't there.

    -I do. -Belle sobbed after a while. -I wish they were alive, even if they didn't care for me.

    -Do you believe they didn't care for you?- There was a slight crease between the woman's brows.

    Belle shrugged. When Magda didn't insist she explained.

    -I never had a birthday party. -Her nose ran down and Magda offered her a box of tissues. -Thank you. My father missed most of them. And the only times they said something good to me was when I did something they thought would be useful for my future… Like when I learned a bit of piano on my own, or started to sing well, or when I brought my grades for one of them to sign… But I never rode a bike, for example… I never went to the beach or to Disney...

    Magda encouraged her to keep talking. She listed things that she knew other kids did with their parents that she never had an opportunity to do. Then she shrugged.

    -But I don't really care for it. I don't think it is so important.

    -What is important, then?

    Belle was taken aback. She was speechless for a long time and Magda looked away.

    -Desmond saved my life. -She answered.

    Magda looked back at her, with a frown.

    -What do you mean?

    -In the night of the fire. He broke my window, on the third floor, and saved me. -She nodded.

    Magda stared at her. She didn't seem to believe it and Belle could almost hear the gears turning inside her head as she tried to understand if the girl was having hallucinations or just making it up.

    -I mean, he literally did it. He was still in the army. I think he was seventeen or eighteen by then. -Belle explained, making a face when she realized she was having difficulties doing simple math. -He saved my life and told me I shouldn't let it take me down. It was important for me.

    Magda smiled but she still seemed to be unsure about the veracity of her words.

    -Why was it important to you? -She went on, but the crease was still between her brows.

    -Well… -Belle frowned. -Because he didn't have to save me. He got out of his way to do it and even wasted his time to comfort me. It made me feel like I should be alive. Like I had some importance.

    -Didn't you think you should be alive?

    -I don't know. -She shrugged. Then as the silence sank, she added. -I guess I didn't think I was worth being alive.

    -And do you feel like your life is worth living today? -Magda phrased it carefully.

    Belle stopped and thought about it.

    -I know it is. But I haven't felt like this in the past few days. -She frowned and added. -Which is weird…

    -Why is it weird?

    -Because for the first time I might have a reason to live. -She blushed, foreseeing the next question.

    -What’s your reason to live today, Belle?

    The girl didn't answer. The silence persisted as none of them gave in.

    -I think we should stop for today. -Magda sighed. -There's something I need to tell you, though, Belle.

    Belle looked up, afraid she might scold her for her feelings toward Desmond.

    -It's good that you noticed your self harming thoughts aren't natural or justified. They might have other causes, but for now, they will be triggered or intensified by the abstinence of the drugs you've been taking. If you feel the urge to take your own life, you should tell Ryan immediately. -Magda explained. -Did Ryan explain what kind of drugs you have been taking and what they did to you?

    -Not exactly. -Belle shook her head. -He said there was cocaine and date-rape drugs… He said it's used to make girls get vulnerable and forget what happened to them after being abused.

    -Well, that's how a policeman sees it. I'll tell you how a psychologist sees them. I read the lab report. What you had was a mixture of cocaine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and ketamine. -Magda raised a finger as if remembering something. -Ryan told me you used to eat those pills… Did you gulp them or melt them in your tongue?

    -Mostly melt them. -Belle answered, ashamed. -But sometimes, especially when I was having panic attacks I would gulp them, so I didn't spit it by accident.

    -Good, I was worried about your stomach. -Magda nodded.

    She then went on to explain about the effects of the drugs and the symptoms of the withdrawal of each of them, as well as their effects in her brain and the effects of their lack for her nervous system.

    The list of symptoms was extend and fit: difficulty in concentrating or thinking and confusion; physical fatigue and exhaustion; restlessness and insomnia; vivid, unpleasant dreams or nightmares, and psychosis, including paranoia, delusion and hallucination; chills, tremors, muscle aches, sweating and nerve pain; increased appetite, nausea and vomiting; anxiety, rage and, lastly but not less important, suicidal thoughts or actions.

    Belle listened to the explanation associating almost everything to at least one event since Desmond took her pills away, and with other times when she herself stopped taking the pills for some days, but always relapsed.

    -Oh god. What am I supposed to do about it? How long will it last? -Belle whined.

    -That will depend. -Magda shook her head. -Keep looking up, it might take a week or two or some months. It depends on the frequency and the amount of drugs you consumed. The fact that you had mixed drugs and some of them nullified one another's effects to some extent, will weigh a good loaf too. And… The fact that Ryan is shielding you against most of the negative stimulus you'd have been exposed to, will count a lot.

    -Poor Desmond… What if he gets tired of protecting me? What if I act like a maniac? What if I hurt him?

    -I'm pretty sure you should focus only on not hurting yourself. He's a tough man, he can deal with a young tiny girl, don't worry. -She eyed her and smiled. -Of course, it's gonna be hard for him too. But life is made of choices, and between his own comfort and being with you, I think his choice is quite obvious…

    Magda rolled her eyes and looked at the door, with a weird look.

    -I'm gonna tell you something, girl. Not as your psychologist, but as his friend and sister-in-law. -She scrutinized Belle from head to toe. -You don't play with his mind, you hear me? He's been through a lot already and he has a really bad habit of choosing crazy broken bitches to settle down with. I find out you hurt him, I'm gonna leave you to drown in this puddle of mudd you're swimming in, and to hell with ethics!

    Belle's eyes went wide open. Then she laughed.

    -Don't worry, Magda, he's not interested in me. -She looked down. -I'm afraid I'm not ever gonna see him again when he closes his case.

    Belle nodded, savoring the bitter words. Then she looked up straight in Magda's eyes.

    -Even so, I want to help him. I really want him to end this and be in peace, and it's not even because of the lives that would be spared. -She grimaced. -I mean, I do care for them too, I would give my life if I could go back in time and spare the ones that…

    Her voice cut and she looked up to avoid the tears for Bill, as she involuntarily reproduced his laugh in her mind perfectly.

    -I wanna do this for him. I just want to be part of a reason for him to smile and be happy… -She poured her heart out without thinking twice. Then gulped, looking back at the woman's intent eyes. -But tell me, Magda… Does psychology have an explanation for this? For me wanting to help him with all my heart even though it will take everything away from me?

    -There are a lot of studies that can try to explain it, my dear… But the philosophers can explain it with only one word.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
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  6. Isobel

    Isobel Active Member

    Jul 3, 2021
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    Awwww excited for Belle and Ryan to realize their feelings. So good thanks for the chapter!
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  7. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    :aww::aww: IT'S LOVE!!
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  8. saye

    saye Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2021
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    its obviously LOVE honeyy :aww:
    still Im just so glad Magda is here :>> Belle has now someone to guide her to a better mental state without her emotions interfering like with Ryan!

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  9. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Chapter 20

    The dinner should’ve been wonderful.

    The food smelled and tasted amazing, from the roast beef to the mashed potatoes with garlic and herbs, to the apple pie.

    Desmond and Magda teased each other immensely and he seemed to slowly relax and look more at ease.

    She heard his true laugh for the first time. In a normal situation it would've made her feel amazed and delighted.

    Still, Belle's mood couldn't have been worse. She felt depressed, anxious and annoyed, all at once. She felt a bit of nausea too, but the hunger won the battle and she ate almost as much as Desmond.

    He shot worried glances at her, trying not to make her feel uncomfortable, but too distressed about her condition to pretend he didn't notice her bad mood.

    -Do you need something? -He asked her, when Magda went to the toilet. He put his hand over her cheek and she closed her eyes, responding to his caress. -You look pale, are you feeling unwell?

    -I feel like I wanna scream and break something. -She answered honestly. -I'm needing a hug too. And to sleep.

    He chuckled and bent to give her a quick hug, pressing her head to his shoulder. Then he did something she wasn't expecting: he kissed her in the forehead. He had never shown this kind of affection toward her.

    Her heart slammed her chest and she lifted her head to look straight into his eyes. He looked down at her and smiled, stroking her head.

    -It's ok, Belle. Keep strong, it'll end before we know it. -He assured her. -Just a few more days, hold on, you're doing great.

    He backed away, sitting straight and she nodded, still astonished by his kiss.

    -My boy, I think I'm gonna get going. -Magda came back, patting his shoulders. -Will you be a dear and walk me to my car, Ryan? See you soon, Belle.

    Desmond frowned, but nodded.

    -Are you done, Belle? Do you wanna sit on the couch? -He asked, moving his chair back to get up.


    He sat her on the couch, putting a pillow under her foot and followed Magda through the door that led to the garage.

    Belle couldn't hear what they said, but she knew Magda would talk about her. She hoped it wasn't about her feelings toward Desmond or about her meltdown inside the car.

    She still didn't understand how or why she told all of those things to Magda, even though they had just met. It had been like she was under a spell.

    She heard the sound of the garage door opening and her car moving away from the house, as the garage door closed. Everything seemed to be quiet for a good amount of minutes.

    Desmond came back with a crease in his forehead and a stern face. The contrast with the scene she saw some minutes ago, when he looked as comfortable as a cat lying under the sun, was disturbing. She felt anxious and trembled under his gaze.

    He paced a bit, as if trying to decide where to go, then he sighed and looked into her eyes.

    -Do you mind if I leave you alone for ten minutes or so? -His voice sounded weird.

    She shook her head, embracing herself and pushing her good leg up against her chest.

    Desmond headed for the front door of the house, as if he would walk out, but as he started to open up the locks, he leaned his head against the door and exhaled hard.

    He locked the door again and strode toward her. For a moment she thought he was coming to beat her or strangle her, for his posture seemed hostile. But he approached her and went down on one knee next to her, resting one arm on the sofa’s arm.

    He looked into her eyes intently, clenching his jaw. She looked back at him, half scared, half curious. They just faced each other for a few minutes, as if they were having a contest about who would look away first. Desmond lost, looking down before resting his chin on his arm.

    -Belle… -He said so low, that it sounded like a whisper. -Isabelle, I swear to god I wouldn't ask you to tell me this if I didn't know it would drive me crazy if I kept it for myself. I just can't.

    -What do you wanna know, Desmond? -Her nerves were so tense that her shoulder snapped as she lifted it up and down.

    The hem of the shirt fell down and left her shoulder and clavicle totally exposed. His eyes darted involuntarily to it, and he gulped before looking back into her eyes.

    -What did you tell Magda about me? -He asked bruntly. -What did you say that happened between us and why did you do that?

    Belle stared at him, surprised.

    -What do you mean? What do you wanna know?

    -I know it's a secret between a patient and her doctor, but I need to understand what happened. It will bug me immensely and I can't afford to lose sleep over it, I'm on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion, Belle.

    She looked at him and nodded.

    -What did Magda say to you, Desmond?

    -I asked you a question first, Belle. -He shook his head firmly and frowned at her.

    -If I tell you everything I told her, will you tell me everything she said to you? -She tried to negotiate.

    -You don't need to tell me everything. Your therapy sessions should be private, you have a right for privacy. -He shook his head again. -I just need you to tell me what you talked about me. About us.

    -If I do tell you, will you tell me?

    He nodded after pondering it.

    -I told her that you saved me.


    -I told her about when you took me from the fire. I told her you saved my life and how it made me feel.

    -No, Belle. You must have said something else… -He frowned deeply. She could tell he was angry and anxious. -You told something else. Did you tell her about the kiss from this morning? Did you imply I was the one who kissed you or that I led you to do it?

    -No. But I think I know what you're talking about… -Belle took a deep breath, then looked down to her own hands. -She kind of threatened me, I remember every word of that part of our conversation. Do you want me to tell you?

    He nodded, but she didn't see it. He reached out and pulled her chin, to make her look at him.

    -Yes Belle, please.

    She recited the conversation almost word by word, from Magda’s warning to her disturbing statement.

    -What? So she told you that you're in love with me? -His face contorted in disbelief.

    Belle grimaced, but nodded slowly.

    -Belle… -He snorted. He started lifting his hand to cup her cheek, but restrained himself and let the hand drop. -Belle, please, it can't happen. You're just confused, don't let that sink in, please.

    His reaction made her mood shift suddenly toward depression and her chest hurt. Her eyes filled with tears and she didn't have enough strength to fight them.

    -No, please, don't cry. I don't want to hurt you. -He stroked her cheek very lightly with the back of his fingers. It was so soft and trembling that it felt more like a tickle than a caress. -Belle, I'm saying this for your own good. Don't let your mind fantasize over this situation. We won't ever be together as a couple.

    This only made things worse. She closed her eyes.

    -I know, Desmond. I'm sorry for being a burden to you. -She sniffed, suppressing a sob. -I'll try not to demonstrate my feelings, ok?

    He stared at her with pitiful eyes.

    -Concealing it won't be enough, Belle. Stop feeling.

    She opened her eyes and glared at him and the tears fell down as she blinked. He shook his head and wiped her tears clumsily, with the tips of his fingers.

    -Please, Belle… Don’t do this to me.

    Her face contorted in pain. She was ashamed, and angry. How could he ask her to stop feeling? How could she even dream of being able to do that?

    -I… Look… You, we… -He stuttered, trying to find the right words to say. After a while he gave up and sighed.

    He got up and sat on the arm of the sofa, pulling her gently to offer her to lay her head on his lap. She didn't show any resistance. He brushed her hair with his fingers and watched her cry for a long time, until she fell asleep.

    She woke up when she heard him preparing the couch for them to sleep in it. She rubbed her swollen eyes and looked at him.

    -I'm sorry, I'll just put the sheet and you can go back to sleep, ok? -He said, smiling at her.

    -I wanna brush my teeth. -She said, with a choked voice. -And you still need to tell me what you two talked about in the garage.

    He flinched, but nodded.

    He took her upstairs and brushed his teeth beside her, like a couple. The thought made her chest hurt even more. As she was waiting her turn to rinse her mouth, she observed him with a mix of passion and resentment. He just avoided her eyes and tried to make things as mechanically as possible.

    He covered her with the blanket and sat beside her, sighing.

    -She told me I'm hurting you… That I might harm you. -He said, in a low voice, staring at the wall. -And asked me what you mean to me and what I feel for you and what my intentions are toward you. When I asked her why…

    He sighed and looked at her.

    -She said I should stop provoking you if I don't want to commit myself to you. -His brow creased. -Do I provoke you? Do you feel like that's the case?

    -I never said it to her… I never said I felt like that. -She held the blanket firmly against her chest.

    -You didn't have to. She deals with all sorts of psychopaths and criminals, she can see small glimpses of expressions and interpret them, even in me. -He shook his head, looking into her eyes intently. -Why haven't you told me? Why didn't you ask me to stop whatever was making you feel like that?

    Belle didn't answer.

    -I didn't mean to do that. I'm sorry. -He rubbed his nape. -You should've told me that I made you feel uncomfortable, Belle.

    She still couldn't reply. She felt an urge to slap him in the face and clutched at the blanket, pulling it to her chest.

    -Are you feeling cold? -He put his hand to her forehead and she closed her eyes, longing for any gentle touch from him. -Please, talk to me.

    -I don't know what to say, Desmond. -She replied, coldly. -You two got everything wrong. Or maybe I'm the one who's expressing myself wrong, I don't know anymore.

    -What do you mean?

    -I don't know if I'm in love with you. I'm not sure of anything right now! I know my head isn't working as it should, I can't be sure of what I'm feeling. -She looked away to avoid his gaze. -But I know this: you make me feel better. You make me feel safe and I feel… I don't know…

    He stared at her, urging her to go on.

    -I feel like I should be here… When you show you care for me. When you make it feel like you like to have me around. Even if it's not the case. Even if it's just because you think it's your duty or because you just want to get information to solve the case… -She shrugged. -I never really felt like that. It feels good. Feels right.

    Desmond smiled. It was a thin and tired smile, but it was sincere.

    -It's not. -He said, creasing his brows in a lovely way.

    -What is not? -She had no idea what he meant.

    -It's not only because it's my duty to protect you. Believe me, there's a bunch of simpler things I could've done and I would be fulfilling my duty as a cop and as an American citizen. I'm doing all of this because I want it, because I care for you. -He said, looking straight into her eyes. Then he looked down. -And I probably shouldn't tell you this, but it's not only because of the case, too… If it were, I could have left you there when you fell and caught that motherfucker of a friend you have. I could have knocked her down, gone downstairs, taken the gun of my colleague and put a bullet in each tire of Daniel’s car and taken them both to prison…

    He said it without looking at her, sighing in every pause. She wondered if he regretted not doing it, but then he smiled and raptured her gaze in his.

    -When push came to shove, I chose you. -He smiled wider and grunted. -God damnit, he was right there. I could've caught him. I could've ended this shit for once and for all. He would have to explain himself and we would make the girl talk. We could throw one against the other and one would sing loud and clear, like a bird in a cage. But the thought of leaving you behind, of not knowing if you'd be ok… That option never crossed my mind. ‘Cause I really, really care for you, Belle.

    She smiled and put the blanket down. Her shoulder was bare again, as the blanket pulled it down when it fell.

    -What was your answer to her? -She demanded.

    -Excuse-me? -He was caught out of guard.

    -When she asked you what I meant for you, and what you felt, and what were your plans with me… -She said, seeing him look away and shake his head. -What did you answer? And don't avoid it, I told you everything… I exposed myself a lot today, I think it's time you put your walls down a bit too.

    -I'll never let my walls come down, forget it. -He said with a serious look. His eyes were darker than ever. -You don't wanna see what's inside my head, Belle.

    She frowned, but he didn't back off. Then he looked down again and nodded.

    -But… You’re right, you told me some really… Private things. So I think it's fair if I tell you. I told her I don't know.

    She blinked, getting annoyed.

    -What do you mean by you don't know?

    -It means exactly this: I don't know. I don't want to and don't have time to stop to think about it. -He shrugged. -And let's say if I did stop to make up my mind about it. What good could come of it?

    She turned her head sideways and made a face to show him she couldn't understand what he meant.

    -See, Belle. Let's say I don't want anything to do with you. What does it change? That's how we are now, right? It's useless to complicate this. It's peaceful the way it is now... What difference would it make to confirm it? -He lifted a finger to demonstrate it. Then lifted another one. -Now let's say I don't want to have anything serious with you but I do want to… Play around, like an asshole, especially now that I'm aware it would almost certainly hurt you. I wouldn't do it. Then, I would only torture myself over something I couldn't do. And I would probably hurt you anyway, ‘cause there are things you can't totally cover up with a poker face. It could give you hope, and it would be very wrong.

    Desmond sighed and tucked himself under his blanket, spending more time than he actually needed to put the pillows in place.

    -Then, there is the third option. If I really feel something… -He didn't lift any finger up, just stared at her. She could feel her blood running through her veins as her heart pounded hard. -Then I would only bring pain for both of us, ‘cause it can't happen. So, the less I know, the better.

    She looked at him and blinked. He turned on the TV and went through his routine of checking the cameras.

    -That's… I think that's the stupidest excuse I ever heard from someone that doesn't want to answer something simple. -She muttered. -You're being a coward, did you know it?

    -Yeah, it happens. Anyway, I try to see you as a younger sister. I'm not into incest… So, please, try to see me as your older brother from now on, can you? -He didn't take his eyes from the screen.

    -No. -She gave her back to him. -You don't want to be honest about your feelings, that's your own problem. I'll try not to show mine to you, even if it hurts. I'll get over it with time.

    -Yes, you will. -He turned off the tv and stretched his arm to turn off the lights. -And you'll eventually find someone that can make you happy and fully be into you. Be patient, you're too young for falling in love already.

    It was all she didn't want to hear now: that he wanted to see her with someone else and that he thought she was too young to commit to someone. She hugged the pillow tight to her chest.

    -And Belle… -He murmured, half asleep. -When this case is over… I don't want it to be the last time I see you. I'll still care for you.

    She smiled, feeling butterflies flying around in her stomach.

    -I want you to be my friend, even after this nightmare is over. -He added.

    The butterflies caught fire and died.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  10. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    Ugh, Ryan can deny or try to hide it all he wants. . . He definitely has all the feels for Belle :aww:
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  11. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Chapter 21

    She tossed and turned during the night, waking up sporadically from terrible nightmares. Desmond still soothed her with words, but she noticed he avoided touching her, and when she asked him to hold her, he put a pillow between them and wrapped her in her blanket like a cocoon before embracing her.

    It still felt good, and helped a bit to numb the pain and fear, but it was far from feeling like the first night.

    The next day, Belle's mood was even more sour. She woke up almost at lunchtime. Desmond had got out of bed very early in the morning and checked her ankle, praising her for her quick recovery, as there was almost no swollenness at all.

    He then took her to the bedroom and laid her in the bed, covering her and saying that Marrie would come to help her, if she needed.

    She felt a bit rejected, but since it was his day off, she guessed he had a lot of personal things to do. He probably didn't want her to pry on his affairs.

    Marrie brought a brunch, but Belle didn't feel so hungry. She tried to force it, but felt like she would throw up. Marrie noticed her discomfort and offered to take the tray away.

    After trying to go back to sleep, without any success, she took the iPod that was now fully charged and scrolled down to check the songs in it. They were mostly rap or rock. A lot of them were full of bad words. Belle wondered if Desmond inherited his foul mouth from his musical culture.

    She recognized a lot of bands that she herself had a bunch of songs from on her playlist, on her phone. Linkin Park, Slipknot, Fort Minor, Eminem, Jay-Z, AC/DC, Queen and the list went on. There were a lot of bands she didn't know, but she liked their songs, too.

    She thought to herself that there was nothing for him to be ashamed of, but then she found out there were about twenty emo songs scattered across the playlist. She laughed softly as she realized that must be the source of his shame. She liked the songs, though.

    After a couple of hours, the battery died. Marrie put it to charge and asked her if she needed or wanted anything. After avoiding it the whole day, she finally decided to ask about Desmond.

    -He's exercising at the gym. He told me to call him if you wanted to see him. Do you want me to go there and call him? -Marrie asked her.

    -Where is it? -Belle asked, curious.

    -At the basement.

    Belle thought about it, then shook her head.

    -No, I don't want to bother him or you. -Her voice sounded sad. She cleared her throat. -But I'd like to try something and I think I'll need your help…

    Marrie frowned, probably afraid she might ask to do something that Desmond wouldn't approve.

    -I want to try to walk with both my feet again.. I want to check if I'm well enough to do it. -She said, sliding toward the edge of the bed. -Can you help me with this, please?

    -Don't you think it'd be better to call Ryan? -Marrie seemed uneasy about helping her do something that might hurt her. -I'm not sure if I'm quick enough to avoid a fall…

    -No, please. He'll tell me I'm not strong enough. He doesn't believe me when it is about physical strength. He thinks I'm weak.

    Marrie grimaced, but nodded.

    Belle took a few steps toward the en-suite, feeling her ankle. It didn't hurt at all, but she could feel that it wasn't as firm as before.

    -How is it? Do you need help? -Marrie asked her.

    -No, I think I'm fine. -She smiled, testing putting more weight to the foot and instantly regretting it, as it throbbed and hurt. -I don't think I'm going to be able to walk down the stairs on my own, but I'm pretty sure I can go to the bathroom without depending on you, at least.

    Marrie smiled like a proud mother and patted her shoulder.

    -Do you want some tea? -She asked, checking the room. -I'm gonna clean the bathrooms and the laundry room now… Alice, my daughter, is working downstairs right now, do you want me to call her for you to meet her?

    Belle walked a few more steps and smiled.

    -Sure. -She felt even more confident as the foot firmly sustained her weight. -Can you help me try to walk downstairs?

    -I don't know if that's a good idea, my dear. What if you fall down and I'm not strong enough to hold you? -Marrie made a face.

    -I really feel like I can do it, Marrie, please. -Her heart was pounding with the idea of being able to move freely. She felt anxious and excited, a feeling that she hadn't felt for days.

    -I'll go make a tea for you and think about it, ok? You go to the toilet and do your things. Don't try to go down on your own, please. -She sighed, clearly feeling uncomfortable with the girl's idea.

    -Thank you, Marrie. -Belle answered, knowing she would come back with an excuse not to help her.

    She resigned and decided to try again tomorrow, when her feet might be even better. She tried to stretch her ankle a bit, since it has gotten stiff from the lack of use for so long.

    She sat on the toilet and put her leg up, feeling her tendons tense and relax with her circular movements. She washed her hands and face and brushed her teeth. Then brushed her hair as best as she could with her fingers. Her hair was fairly straight, so it didn't really need to be brushed. Still, she missed the feeling of brushing it properly.

    She sighed and looked down to her legs. She would need to shave them soon too. Her body hair was very thin and blond, almost nonexistent. Still, she could see the small hairs here and there, growing on her legs and felt ashamed. Her face went pale when she thought about her armpits. She decided she would ask Marrie or Magda for help about those things.

    She got out of the toilet and was walking toward the side of the bed when the door opened without any warning.

    -Did you try to convince Marrie to let you go downstairs without any help?

    Belle unwittingly inspected Desmond's body from head to toes. He was bare chested, wearing only sweatpants, and glistening with sweat. His muscles were all protruding as if in constant stiffness and his temples had small drops of sweat running down all the way to his chin. He used the towel he was holding in one hand to wipe them, as he leaned on his arm by the doorway.

    She couldn't stop staring at his bare chest and abdomen. Although she tried to keep her eyes in his, they kept trying to trip through the lines between his muscles and the path of his pop out veins on his arms and lower abdomen, and her gaze was caught by the tip of his v-line which was almost completely concealed, to her disappointment.

    Belle inhaled hard, trying to catch her breath.

    -Isabelle, I asked you a question! -He frowned, putting the towel over his shoulder and crossing his arms.

    -I… I wanted to try it, I don't want to bother you anymore. -She creased her brows. -I thought you would be surprised and happy for me if I could do it on my own.

    Desmond's frown relaxed a bit. He smiled.

    -Do you really feel like you can do it? -He asked her, seeing her standing without difficulty.

    -Yes. I'll need a bit of help, though, just to make sure I don't fall on my face.

    -Or roll down the stairs. -He remarked.

    -Or roll down the stairs... -She bit her lower lip.

    He stared at her with a contemplative face for some time. Then he smiled.

    -Ok. I'm gonna take a shower and come help you. Wait for me, ok? -He warned her. -It's an order. Don't you dare try to make it on your own while I'm away. I'll be right back.

    She nodded. He stepped aside to let Marrie come in with a tray. She had an apologetic smile on her face.

    He poked his head back inside and looked around the bedroom.

    -Did you use the iPod? Did it make you feel any better? -He asked her.

    -Yes, thank you. -She smiled. -I liked the songs, we have similar music taste, actually. I'm just a bit more eclectic.

    -It's not my kind of music anymore, I was a teenager. -He shrugged. -I was rebellious and stupid. Not that you are stupid, sorry for making it sound like that.

    Belle looked down and turned to sit on the bed, as her leg was starting to get sore.

    -I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. -He sighed. -It's just, when you get older, you'll probably think like me, that screaming and cursing doesn't really validate your point or make you more reliable. It's just… Screaming and cursing.

    She laughed, since she often saw him shouting and cursing.

    -Did you listen to Linkin Park's new songs? -She pointed out. -It's mostly about what you just said.

    -I heard they're kind of depressing.

    -It's not, it's pretty good. -She involuntarily looked down to her arm and brushed the sleeve with her other hand. -The outcome with Chester was unfortunate and put a layer of shadow and new meaning to the songs… But I listened to it before it happened and it actually sounded motivational and uplifting.

    He nodded, uncomfortable to discuss suicide with her.

    -Do you need something? I really need to shower, I'm reeking. -He grimaced.

    She shut her mouth as she was about to answer he didn't. To her, his sweat didn't stink at all. It wasn't exactly pleasant, but it didn't bother her. She blushed and nodded.

    He frowned as he saw her blushing, but decided not to ask, just went away, leaving the door open. She heard as he walked down the stairs at a rushed pace.

    Marrie and Belle looked into each other's eyes for a second. They heard a startled sound and the laughs of him and of a woman downstairs.

    -Alice. -Marrie explained, smiling. -She had just finished cleaning up the bathroom, she must have gone back to change the towels for clean ones...

    -Ah. -Belle said, and took the cup of tea Marrie was offering her. -Thank you.

    -I'm sorry for telling him. He came up to get more water and asked me about you. - She made an apologetic face. -I didn't mean to turn you in or…

    -No, Marrie, you did the right thing, please, don't apologize. -She shook her head. -I didn't think it through. Even if nothing bad happened, he would get really mad at both of us for doing it behind his back. I'm sorry for putting you in this position.

    Marrie smiled and offered her a bowl full of biscuits. She politely rejected them as her stomach protested as soon as the sweet smell hit her nose. She drank the tea way faster than she would if she hadn't been feeling so nauseated.

    -It will make your stomach feel better, my dear. Try not to lay down for the next half hour, so it doesn't come back, ok? -Marrie said, kindly.

    -Thank you. -Belle smiled and leaned back.

    She felt depressed. Her mind was taking her to places she didn't want to get near. She thought of Bill. She already accepted that even if she hadn't really killed him with her own hands, she must have taken a great part in his death.

    Hadn't she left him alone in his house, he would've never been able to go to the school that night. She abandoned him and he probably went after her.

    She thought it was impossible for Chloe to kill him on her own, as he was at least one feet taller than her and pure muscles. He was the basketball team's star. He could break her neck with one hand, if he wanted to. Maybe she was exaggerating it in her memories of him… He was as strong as Desmond, but even taller.

    She wondered if Desmond would be able to break her neck with one hand. She looked into Desmond's eyes as she felt him strangling her with a sadistic smile on his lips and involuntarily brought her hand up, as if to shove his hand away.

    -Are you ok, my dear? -Marrie’s voice snapped her back to reality and she realized she was panting. She put her hand over her neck and looked around.

    -I think… I think I had a nightmare.

    -You were awake, my dear. -Her eyes were full of worry. -Let me check for fever, ok?

    Marrie went to a wardrobe and came back with a thermometer. She wasn't feverish. It wasn't a nightmare, either. It was a hallucination. She shivered at the thought of Desmond wanting to hurt her. She was now pretty sure he would be able to pop her windpipe without breaking a sweat.

    She wanted to cry, but suppressed it. She then remembered a sound, and heard it loud and clear. Five honks, then two. Trevor. Trevor was there on the night she fell from the building. Trevor was the one who came to get Chloe, not Daniel.

    She had been so distracted by her own recovery that she never stopped to analyze what happened that night. Chloe planned to talk to Daniel from a distance... Then run away with Trevor?

    Why would she even do that? If she and Daniel were involved in the football team's death, then they should be allies, shouldn't they? Then she remembered Chloe's words: You betrayed me too, you bitch?

    Did Daniel betray her? She tried to think about what could've happened. Then other words came back to her mind: You don't understand, Belle… The football team… It was just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, you have no idea…

    Belle trembled. If the death of eleven people was just the tip… She trembled. What in the world could she be talking about?

    She had thought it weird that Desmond kept saying Daniel was a terrorist and that he made part or even lead a nationally wanted terrorist group, but she never stopped to think that the FBI wouldn't send an agent if it was just the work of a group of teenagers acting in a high school.

    -I'm gonna ask Alice to come up and stay with you. I didn't want to leave you, but I still need to clean the laundry room. -Marrie explained, worried for her.

    -It's ok, I can be alone. I don't want to be a burden, Marrie.

    -You're not a burden, my child. She'll rest and make you company while Ryan is away. -Marrie smiled. -In fact it might be good for both of you. She's around your age, I suppose, she's 18, I think you two might get along well.

    Belle nodded, but she didn't really feel like she was in any state of making friends right now.

    -I'll ask her to come up, ok? -The woman closed the door behind her.

    Belle stared at the door, trying to guess what Chloe meant when she said there was more to uncover. More than that, she tried to understand how was it possible that Daniel, who was about to turn eighteen could lead anything in his life, what more a terrorist group, and a group big enough to be noticed by the FBI.

    She trembled and shook her head, trying not to think about it. I need to tell Desmond about Trevor. I need to tell him about what Chloe said to me that night.

    There was a shy knock on the door, so weak that she wasn't sure it wasn't her imagination.

    -Yes? -She asked, uncertain.

    -Miss Isabelle? -A woman's voice came from the door. She knew it was Alice’s voice, because she had heard her laugh before, but she would never guess it belonged to an eighteen years old girl.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
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  12. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Chapter 22

    -Yes, you may come in.

    Alice came in and left the door open behind her. She greeted Belle with a shy smile and a wave of her hand. She wasn't nearly as beautiful as her mother, since she was very skinny and her nose was a little too big for her face, making her eyes and mouth look very small. Her teeth protruded a bit too, so her front teeth were almost always showing through the small gap between her lips, even when she closed her mouth. But she looked like a simple and kind girl.

    -Hi. I'm Alice. -She seemed embarrassed and didn’t know if she could sit down or should stay by the door.

    -Hi, I'm Belle, you don't need to call me miss. -Belle tried to make her feel more comfortable. -Your mother brought biscuits and tea, do you want some? Pull a chair and sit, if you want to.

    The girl pulled the chair that Magda had used and sat, looking around the room.

    -My mother never let me get in here. -She examined everything with wide eyes. Everything here is so beautiful isn't it?

    Belle nodded, pouring another cup of tea for herself to have an excuse not to talk.

    -Do you want some? -She took another cup from the tray.

    -Oh, you don't need to do it, let me do it for you! -Alice hurried to her feet and trotted in her direction.

    -You're not here to serve me, Alice. -Belle poured the tea for her and offered her the cup. -Your mother is just worried that I might faint or something. She wants you to rest here, so you can call Desmond, if it happens.

    -Yes, she told me. Mister Desmond is taking a shower now. -Alice blushed so much that her nostrils seemed to grow.

    Belle felt empathy for the girl. She too got caught by his amazing half naked body sight.

    -I heard you screaming a while ago, did he startle you? -She was curious to know what exactly had happened to make him laugh so loudly.

    Alice blushed even more, surprising her, since she didn't think it would ever be possible.

    -Ah, I dropped hand soap on the floor when I was refilling it. I went out for a moment to get a cloth to mop and clean it, and mister Desmond came in while I was crouching on the bathroom floor. -She put a hand to her face and the other to the top of her head, as if she couldn't take the shame. - He didn't notice me and came in in a rush…

    Belle stared at her as if it was not a real reason to get startled, but smiled in a sympathetic way. She noticed that Alice’s nails were painted with red polish, but bitten to the nub and peeled.

    -But I swear to the lord, I didn't see anything, I only noticed his movement with my side view, but he saw me before I turned my head to him and pulled it up. -She shook her head, still covering her face. -He was so quick, but I still couldn't contain the yell…

    -Wait, did he take his pants off in front of you? -Belle's voice came out weird. It was louder than she had intended and more angry than shocked.

    The girl flinched, but nodded, clearly intimidated by her reaction. Belle relaxed her face as she realized she had been frowning.

    There was a weird silence and Belle cleared her throat and sipped the tea, too ashamed to talk. Alice, though, tried to fill the silence, while taking a biscuit from the bowl and examining it.

    -Hm… Are you… Is he your boyfriend? -She asked, curious.

    -Ah, no… We're not together like that… -Belle blushed and cursed herself for her unjustified jealousy. -He's just taking care of me.

    -But you two sleep together, right? I know because there was a lot of your hair in his shirt that I put on the washing machine this morning… -The girl explained.

    -That's probably because I'm using his shirts… I don't have my clothes here… -She shrugged, avoiding the subject. -Are you in high-school too? Is it your last year?

    -It was the shirt he took off this morning, he handed it to me. -Alice muttered, as if to show she wasn't stupid. -Yes, I failed the 10th.

    She was ashamed and uncomfortable about it.

    -It's my last year too, and I'm almost twenty. You shouldn't feel ashamed, it happens, just focus on getting good grades this year. -Belle tried to cheer her up.

    -Really? Have you failed two years? - The girl seemed proud of herself for being less flawed than her. -My mother said you were very smart and that mister Desmond thinks you're the most intelligent woman he ever met… How is it possible?

    -I didn't exactly fail… -Belle felt trapped as she got into an unpleasant subject while trying to avoid another. -I… I'm an orphan. And my guardian took me off school because… Because she was ashamed of me, basically.

    Belle’s hand involuntarily rubbed her arm. The sleeve fell from her shoulder.

    -She didn't let me go through the homeschooling process though, so when I emancipated and tried to prove that I had the knowledge to take the tests they wouldn't let me… -She grimaced as she remembered what she had to go through to be allowed to go back to school and how Daniel supported her through the whole process. -I had to get it practically from where I had stopped.

    The girl's jaw dropped, but she disguised it by putting the biscuit inside her mouth and chewing.

    -Why did she take you out of school? -She finally asked. -I mean, what was so shameful that she would think of doing something so wrong?

    Belle sighed and looked inside her cup, at her reflection.

    -She was afraid that I would tell people about what she did to me… I… She kind of abused me. Mentally and physically. I don't feel like explaining in detail but… A friend helped me realize that it was wrong and that there was a better way out for what I was going through. She didn't like my friend and quickly realized she had to get me away from him. -She frowned. -Maybe she was right but for the wrong reasons… But he kind of taught me to stand up against the things she did to me, so she decided to lock me up as much as she could.

    -Ah… That's terrible… Good thing the lord was kind to you and allowed you to get rid of her. -The girl took another biscuit. -God is so wise and benevolent, he knows what he does. Maybe you had to go through all this pain so you could learn to value your life better now.

    Belle just nodded. It's been years since the last time she believed in something. She didn't think she ever really believed in God itself. If it was a result of all her misfortune or just her nature, she couldn't tell. The fact was: she respected faith, and envied those who had it.

    She found out that she was agnostic when she first talked about religion with her friends. Daniel had a strong faith in a punishing God, who saw everything and provided justice among men. He always said that bad people would burn in hell and that those who would wield God’s will would be rewarded in the realm of heaven.

    William was an atheist and firmly believed that everything that couldn't be explained by science simply didn't exist or didn't matter at all. He even mocked Daniel constantly until Belle made him realize it was disrespectful at least and immoral at most.

    Chloe believed in God and even prayed sometimes. But she thought it was made of forgiveness and kindness, so she didn't really bother on watching her acts, as Daniel always advised her, saying that God would forgive her and know the good inside her heart.

    And then there was Trevor, who auto declared himself agnostic and stoic. He explained to her the concept of believing that humanity doesn't know enough to prove neither the existence nor the non-existence of God or of anything related to faith, and the idea of accepting what you can't change and changing what you can't accept. She decided to learn more by herself as she didn't really feel comfortable with his arrogant posture when he was explaining things.

    With a group full of different ideas and ideals, she learned to see the best in each of them and form her own concept. The closest one ended up being the agnostic.

    -Are you feeling unwell? -Alice murmured. -You looked like your mind went elsewhere but then you looked really sad…

    -No, it's nothing, I was only thinking about that friend… I thought he was one of the best people in the world. -She looked down. -I thought he was a good person in his heart. Turns out he might be the most cruel person I've ever met. I loved him a lot, and now I don't know how to feel.

    -Did he harm you? -Alice was very curious.

    -A lot. I'm sick like that because of him. -Belle shivered as she remembered the pills and craved badly for them. -And he used to say you should be good to people and love your enemies as yourself… I wonder what his concept of love is.

    They both fell silent. She could see in Alice's face that she had a lot of questions to make, and was trying to decide which ones she could ask without sounding rude or nosy.

    -Why is mister Desmond taking care of you?

    -Because I'm helping him to solve a problem. -Belle tried to give the least amount of information she could without dismissing the question. -And then we found out I was being… Poisoned by that person, and he's helping me recover from it.

    She didn't want to admit that she was addicted as she didn't think the girl would understand that it wasn't really her fault.

    -Oh my God! Did he poison you? That person is mean! -Alice put both hands to her mouth. -Good Lord, could you die? I mean, are you safe now?

    -Yes, don't worry. I'm just purging the poison, so my body is reacting to it. -Belle tried to assure her. -I'll be ok, my brain just needs to understand it and my body needs to recover from the harm the poison caused to it.

    -Ah… -Alice nodded. -Why did he do this to you?

    Belle was speechless. Normally she would've answered that Daniel was just trying to help her, but the more she thought about it, and finally knowing how it really felt to have someone looking after her, the more she realized it couldn't be farther from the truth.

    She felt the urge to cry and walk away, but gulped and answered as calmly as she could.

    -I don't know. -Her voice came out as a whisper. -I guess some people just feel better making other people suffer.

    She remembered the explosion in the gym and Daniel laughing as he described what happened to them. She still had difficulties accepting that he could have done all of this.

    -God will punish him, don't fill your heart with sadness or hate. Fill it with love and try to forgive him. -Alice nodded. -He's gonna pay for it, God will make him pay.

    -Desmond will make him pay. -Belle said bluntly.

    She looked at the door and saw Desmond as she noticed him standing there with her peripheral view. He looked straight into her eyes, letting her know that he heard at least the last thing she said.

    -You really shouldn't talk about this to other people. I thought I wouldn't have to tell you this. -He frowned. -But yes, I will.

    -I didn't tell her about that. I was just talking about myself. -Belle shrugged. -Don't worry, I'm not stupid.

    He nodded and turned to Alice. She blushed violently and he chuckled.

    -Still didn't get over it? -He shook his head. -Shit happens, don't worry so much about it... Your mother is preparing to leave, you should go and help her.

    Alice nodded, with her face almost purple and left the room without saying goodbye to Belle, only bowing slightly toward Desmond, who stepped to the side to give her plenty of space to leave through the open door.

    -She's a good girl. -He smiled at Belle when she was far enough. -Just a bit slow.

    She just stared at him.

    -So, do you still want to try going downstairs on your own? -He ignored her gloomy mood.

    -Yes. -She answered simply, sliding toward the edge of the bed to get up.

    -Let me check your ankle first. -He crouched in front of her and looked at her ankle without touching it as he would have done before. Belle’s mood sank even more at the change in his behavior. -Isn't it hurting anymore?

    -Not much, only if I put too much weight on it. -She muttered.

    -Are you angry? -He asked with his brow slightly creased. -Did Alice say something that bothered you or is it just the craving?

    She hadn't realized she was looking at him with an angry face. She tried to relax the muscles of her face but ended up grimacing. He laughed and she blushed.

    -What's up, Belle?


    -Something happened, I can see it on your face. -He sighed. -Don't lie to me, it offends me.

    -I… I'm not sure. And I don't wanna tell you what I think it is. -She murmured, realizing she was still jealous about him getting naked in front of Alice and wondering if it was affecting her mood. The other option was that she was angry about Daniel, another subject she wanted to avoid, because she knew his mood would get worse too.

    -Was it because I kept you waiting? -He guessed. -It's not that I don't believe in your power of will, Belle. It was really dangerous for you to try to make it on your own…

    -I know, Desmond, can you please just let it go? -She clicked her tongue and he pressed his lips, exhaling and getting up.

    -Fine. Are you sure you wanna try it today? There's a good chance that you'll hurt it again if you force it and it has not healed enough… -He put his hands in his pockets and looked away.

    She checked her ankle. There was almost no swollenness and the skin was white again. If someone glanced at it and didn't pay much attention, they wouldn't be able to tell which one had been sprained.

    -Yes. I think I can do it. But I won't force it, don't worry. -She got up and tried to put more weight on the hurt leg than the other. The pain wasn't unbearable. -Let's go.

    Desmond nodded and held the door for her, letting her lead the way through the corridor. She could feel his eyes scrutinizing her from behind, checking for signs of pain or limping.

    -I'm gonna stay two steps ahead of you. If you feel like you won't make it alone, tell me, so I can support you for balance. -He instructed, positioning himself as he told. -Don't worry. I'll catch you if you fall.

    Belle looked into his eyes and he fixed his gaze on hers. He smiled, reassuringly and she couldn't help but smile back. Being on a higher level than him, she was a bit taller. She wanted to lean forward and hold him, putting her arms around his neck.

    He offered his hand to her. She knew it was meant to support her for balance, not for her to hold, but she did it anyway. He frowned, but chuckled at her weird grip, letting her intertwine her fingers with his.

    -I won't let you get hurt, don't worry. -He put the other hand forward, almost touching her hip.

    Belle took a step, but when she started to take her good foot off the ground she felt a sting on her ankle and grimaced.

    -Don't force it. Use the handrail, don't put too much weight at once in it. -He tightened his grip on her hand.

    She did as he told her and quickly took the other step to shift her weight to the other foot.

    Ryan took one step back, but then something bizarre happened. He pulled her to his chest at once, making her stumble and fall against him. Her forehead hit his chin and her chest pressed against his as he pulled her body firmly against his, in a rough embrace.

    -Belle… -He moaned in her ear.

    She looked up, frightened by the sudden and almost violent move, and opened her mouth to ask him why he did it, but he muffled her voice with a clumsy and rough kiss. She felt his moisty tongue invading her mouth and was unable to breathe. Her hand clutched at his shirt, but she didn't know if she wanted to pull or push him.

    His hands started to grope her, grabbing at her butt, waist and breasts. Out of breath, she realized she was actually afraid of him, not attracted, and decided to push him away and back off.

    -Belle! -She heard him shouting. For a moment she was confused.

    How can you shout while kissing me? How did you do it? She wanted to ask him, but his hand went up and pressed her nape, keeping her mouth glued to his. Her lips were getting numb with his bites and pressure and she felt the taste of blood.
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  13. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    Phew that last scene gave me all the feels!! Need to fan myself from all that sexual tension
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  14. saye

    saye Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2021
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    the last part is so bizarre I almost believe it was Belle's hallucination acting up.
    But still the sexual tensionn:blobokhand::blobokhand: just right in the feelss uuhhh
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  15. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    Ahhh yes!! I was totally thinking possible hallucination too. . . But i still have mixed feelings about it.
    I'm ready for Ryan to man up and be honest with Belle about his feelings. . . It could be with words or even better with actions. . Just like he did here hahaha
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  16. saye

    saye Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2021
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    aa yess the earlier he starts to man up, the better :blobhero:... but I think they should walk before running? like even tho Belle has been all over him ,she says (or admits to herself) that she is actually afraid of him if he suddenly starts acting like a beast?:blobsweat_2:

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  17. beewink

    beewink Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2021
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    Agreed! She is still young and naive.
    They will need to start slow and she will have to gradually work her way toward being able to handle his "beast" ;)
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  18. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    Chapter 23

    -Isabelle, stop! You're hurting yourself, you're bleeding! -His voice came out even more urgent. Then she felt a weird pressure on her face and her lips were pulled apart as his fingers forced her mouth open.

    She was sitting on a step, with her head leaning on the wall. Ryan was kneeling in front of her and was trying to keep her mouth open with his fingers.

    -Are you back? -He checked her eyes and noticed her confused expression. -Thank god!

    He let go of her chin and pulled her to his chest, brushing away her hair that was sticking to her temples and cheek with the sweat.

    -What happened? -She asked him. -Wasn't it real?

    -You jumped two steps down at once and tried to rip your lip out with your teeth, that's what happened. What the fuck was that, Belle? -He pushed her back and looked into her eyes. -I don't know if I can handle it if you start making this kind of shit.

    She looked around, still confused and panting.

    -I… I'm having hallucinations, Desmond. -She looked into his eyes, pleading for help. -I'm… it felt so real. I thought it was…

    Then she saw it. Behind his shoulder, staring at her with an impassive face. Samantha, with pale, grayish skin, purple lips and dull and glassy eyes. She was looking straight to Belle and when she noticed the girl's gaze in her face, she started to move toward her.

    -Oh no! No! -Belle tried to crawl upstairs, but Desmond quickly grabbed her and pulled her against his chest, taking her into his arms and getting up. She tried to get away from him, as Samantha was getting even closer. -Oh my god! No, please!

    -Are you trying to drive me crazy or what? -He grunted, pressing her cheek very hard against his shoulder to prevent her from biting him and shifting her position on his lap so her legs embraced his waist, to avoid her kicks.

    She started punching his arms and chest as Samantha’s face got so close to hers that she could feel her earthy, sweet and putrefied smell. The woman lifted a bony arm and reached out to touch the girl's face. Her bony fingers had nails like claws, sharp and pointy.

    Belle threw her body backwards to get away from her when she realized Samantha was trying to gouge out her eyes, but Desmond's arms restrained her firmly. She put her hands on his shoulders and pushed as hard as she could.

    He lost balance for a second and let out an annoyed sound. He stopped at the last step of the stairs and shoved her back against the wall, slamming the air out of her lungs.

    -What the fuck is going on, girl? What are you seeing now? -He urged her, pulling her face to be able to look into her eyes.

    -Please, make her go away! -She looked at Samantha’s cold face that was still very close.

    -There's absolutely nothing here, Belle! -He lifted his hand and slapped Samantha's face. But his hand just passed through her face without any resistance and her image faded.

    -Oh, thank you! -She started to cry and held him firmly. She was suddenly aware of his rigid abs pressing against the inside of her thighs.

    -Who was it? Chloe? -He asked her, smoothing her head and holding her too. -You don't need to worry, we'll catch her, she can't hurt you. I'm here, no one will get to you, no one will hurt you, calm down.

    Belle just cried. She couldn't tell him that she saw Samantha's corpse haunting her.

    -Are you back? I mean, totally back this time?-He asked her, still pressing her back against the wall. -I need to do something about that wound, you're still bleeding, it doesn't seem like it will stop on its own. And it must be bleeding from the inside too, you screwed up your lower lip, Belle.

    She looked around and nodded. Only then she started to feel the pain in her mouth. It was aching and burning. He sat her on the couch and headed for the bathroom, after making sure she wasn't hallucinating again.

    He came back with toilet paper, a gauze pack and a flask.

    -I have no idea if it's safe to use it inside your mouth… -He grimaced, showing her the flask. It contained hemostatic powder. -Still, I don't believe it will stop bleeding so soon without it. I washed my hands, don't worry. Relax your lip, I'm just gonna check how much damage you made to yourself.

    He pressed the toilet paper against her lip, gently. She saw the amount of blood she had drawn when he put the paper aside.

    -Holly crap, Belle, why did you do it ? What were you seeing? -He moaned as he examined her.

    She didn't answer. He put some of the powder in a piece of the gauze and pressed it against her lip too. It burned terribly, but she suppressed the flinching as she didn't want to bother him even more. He then pulled her lip down and checked the inner part. By his grimace she could tell that it wasn't any better than the outer part. He did the same as before, only that he used a piece of gauze instead of toilet paper. It burnt even more.

    -What did you see, Isabelle? -He asked again.

    -I won't talk about it with you, Desmond. -She managed to say, rubbing her moistened eyes. -I would like to talk with Magda, if that's possible.

    He clearly felt helpless, but nodded. He gathered the things and went back to the toilet.

    After a few minutes, he came back, walked through an arch on the other side of the room and came back with a glass half filled with a golden liquid. She smelled the alcohol as he approached, sipping in it.

    He sat beside her and offered his shoulder for her to lie her head in. She shook her head and leaned on the sofa’s back, holding her legs to her chest and turning her body in his direction.

    -She said this morning that she wouldn’t be able to come today… But I’ll tell her what happened, maybe she’ll change her schedule and manage to come. -He looked sad and worried. - She didn't answer the phone now, but I'll try to convince her to sleep here tonight. This way I can watch over you two while you rest and she can help me if you have another crisis.

    -You should worry less about me and have a good night of sleep, Desmond. You must be very tired. -She creased her eyebrows.

    -It's alright. I can rest after you get over it.

    -She said it can take months. -Belle shook her head. -Your mind and your body won't take it for so long… Please, if it's gonna harm you to take care of me, just send me to a clinic or get the pills back.

    He stared at her, as if considering her ideas. Then he chugged his drink at once and banged it on the small table beside the sofa as he let go of it.

    -Are you serious? -He frowned.

    -About what? -She shook one shoulder up and down and the hem of the shirt fell down to her arm. Desmond reached out and put it back on her shoulder.

    -Would you really prefer to leave me and go to a clinic? Do you have any idea of what it means? You'd probably be restrained right now. You'd be in a bed, probably handcuffed for your own safety and they'd drug you to make it easier to handle you. -He looked so offended that she thought he could slap her. -Does it sound better than being here with me?

    -I don't think anything would be better for me right now than staying with you, Desmond. I told you, I really believe you're everything I have right now… I mean, I don't have you, that's not what I meant. -She blushed. -You are the safest place I have to be in right now. You… You might be the only thing totally good… The best thing that ever happened in my life.

    Desmond frown began to melt, but he recovered himself and put it back on his face after a few seconds.

    -I'm not totally good. I'm not sure if I'm any good at all. And if I'm the best thing that ever happened in your life, your life really sucks. -He said, in an annoyed tone. -But anyway, if you prefer to stay here, why are you talking about me sending you to a clinic?

    -’Cause I don't want you to burn out because of me! Your life has already turned upside down because of me, it's not fair, you deserve to live a comfortable life and keep your mental and physical health. -She tried to explain as best as she could. -It’s not fair that I came into your life and all I brought was sleepless nights and tension.

    He smirked and shook his head.

    -My life was already only sleepless nights and tension, don't worry. I know I'm gonna sound like a jerk, but I know exactly what it's like, I mean, the hallucinations shit. But I couldn't beat it on my own, I had to use some medicines… -He sighed. -And I must admit, Samantha played a good part in my recovery… For that at least I must be thankful to her. Maybe I should ask for an appointment with a psychiatrist for you. Let's see what Magda thinks about it.

    Belle nodded. She opened her mouth to ask a question but gave up and looked down.


    -Nothing. -She shrugged and the shirt slipped down again.

    -Tell me. I'm trying to open myself to you here, you clearly wanted to ask me something. -He reached out and put the shirt back on her shoulder, patting it as if to punish the hem for falling down. -You should take this rare opportunity when I don't feel like walking away every time you ask me something.

    She blushed and looked up into his eyes.

    -I was gonna ask why you had it… The hallucinations I mean, but it's obviously because of the PTSD… And it was probably caused by the loss of your brother, wasn't it? -She shrugged and put the hem back on her shoulder before it could fall down again. -And I was gonna ask what you saw, but… I don't want you to tell me.

    -Ah… It was because of the PTSD. But it wasn't because of my brother. I wasn't with him when he… For god sake! -He grabbed her by her shoulder and pulled it out of the sofa, pulling the shirt and pushing her back to her place, in a way that the hem would be trapped between her body and the sofa, therefore unable to fall down again. -Here, it's better now. Fuck!

    She chuckled, as she thought his reaction hilarious. She too felt annoyed on the first day, but now she started to like the feeling of the hem on her arm. Sometimes she didn't even realize it had fallen down till Desmond's gaze fixed on her shoulder. She liked the way he looked at it.

    -I need to get you fitting clothes. -He snorted and rubbed his neck. -We should go to your place next week, and grab some of your belongings.

    -I'm ok wearing your shirt. I told you, I like it. -She smiled, with the most innocent face she could make.

    -I’m the one who doesn't like it! And if someone from the precinct or the bureau comes here and sees you like that... -He frowned and looked down. -Anyway… I think what screwed up my mind was watching the citizen deaths… I never really thought twice about shooting the terrorists. I even felt proud when I hit a headshot or something. I'm pretty good at killing, if you wanna know…

    She didn't want to know. She didn't like the concept of war, she thought it was primitive and unjustified. She actually didn't like the concept of human beings having their values dictated by things they couldn't control, like race, gender or nationality. She thought it was unfair and didn't really see a difference between Nazism and that war.

    She looked down and sighed. Desmond leaned forward to get his face closer to her, to be able to look into her eyes. She looked up and felt the smell of alcohol in his breath.
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  19. GiBro

    GiBro Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2021
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    :love:Dear readers, good morning!

    I'd like to ask you a question before posting the next chapter...

    How do you feel so far about Samantha?

    And how do you feel about Desmond in general as a man (as in a relationship, not as a human being xD)? What I mean is, how would you imagine he would behave in a romantic relationship?

    Just curious.;)
  20. Isobel

    Isobel Active Member

    Jul 3, 2021
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    From how you’ve built up his character so far I would say definitely caring but hard to communicate how he feels showing more in actions vs words. Also from hints of past relationships, he’s guarded and has a bit of an edge so he would always interpret the worst but as long as he has someone that can communicate directly and explain what they are feeling it would work! And his job/duty to serve his country I think may trump his relationship at times. It seems like it would take time for him to be honest/open/trusting with others, but showing progress at moments when it is important.

    I hope that helps/makes sense! Just how I see the character so far!