Chapter 1: Before All Else
This post was originally posted on WATTPAD. I am the original author. I did not give anyone else permission to repost my work. (I honestly think I haven't giving anyone else time to even consider it because I wrote this in like... just over three months.) The original dates the chapters were published are at the bottom of each chapter.
IF YOU HAVEN'T READ "Hamilton's Immortal", READ THAT FIRST.
Eva's world turned upside down. From Lady of the House, to Stage Manager, girlfriend, and lover. Everything was perfect. It never seems to stay that way for long, though.
Oak x Lin x OC
You MUST read Hamilton's Immortal first. This is a direct continuation of that story.
When you finish, come back.
Warning: Mental and occasionally physical abuse will be in this book fairly frequently. If you are sensitive to this, DO NOT READ. I repeat, DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE.
Chapter 2: Dismissed
In which Daveed can't take a hint.
[New Years Day 2016]
Call from- Tree Bear Man
My phone announces, playing Mad Hatter by Melanie M.
I roll over, sore as all hell, and retrieve my phone from the bedside table. Answer on speaking phone.
"What?" I grumble, stretching a little.
"Good afternoon to you too, kitten. How are you feeling?" Oak's voice fills my room.
"Sore, but I'm okay. A little hungover. A little subbie. Very satisfied." I slowly sit up, kneeling in my bed, my blanket falling off of me. Ooh, they left me meds and water. Yay.
"Good. Sorry you're alone there, Lin had to get back home to 'Nessa and I needed to get some clothes and a shower."
"It's okay, Bear. Really. I'm okay." I say after taking the painkillers. "What time is it?"
"You have your phone right there."
"That's not the time."
"Lazy. It's 2:43. No show today as most of the cast are sleeping off copious amounts of alcohol."
"And you owe me twenty bucks. Jazz and Anthony were all over each other way before midnight." I brag. Not that twenty bucks really means anything to me, but it's a pride thing.
"Damn. Alright. Well, want me to come back over later on or do you need some quiet?"
"I'll be okay. I'll probably hang around on the sling and meditate, maybe call the girls over and go out for massages."
"Mkay, just let me know if you need anything. I love you." Warms my heart every time.
"I love you more, Professor Oak." I say, and hang up.
True to my word, I get changed into yoga pants and a black crop top that's fitted. I noticed in the mirror, the silver chain on my neck had a new addition. Actually two. I belong. And they even want to keep me. Their kitten~
I smile and head down to the stage to hang out, putting my phone on 'do not disturb' before I climb into the sling. Swinging and swaying, occasionally trying out different moves I find on YouTube. As I hang upside down by my hips again, the theatre door opens, two figures walk down the aisle.
"Darien, I swear to god, I thought you listened to me. A holiday break is a holiday break. Take it. I can understand you being the bartender last night, but really?" I'm seriously considering firing him if he keeps interrupting my quiet days.
"Please accept my apologies, m'Lady, but Sir Daveed needed entrance to the theatre to meet with you and you weren't answering your phone." He explains bowing low at the waist. Daveed simply looks amused behind him, watching the exchange, though the amused look disappears as he stares at me, his brows furrow.
"Well, perhaps it's because I don't wish to be disturbed, Darien." I hiss back, righting myself to sit up in the sling, the fabric wrapped around my thighs and waist.
"Please forgive me, m'Lady-"
"Ease up on the poor guy, Coco. He's fine." Daveed interrupts, a light smirk replacing the scowl.
"What are you even doing here, it's our day off, the point is not to come to work. Which BOTH of you seem to have an issue comprehending." The both flinch at my tone. I flip twice from the sling, landing on my feet and stepping in stride towards them. Yea, I'm pissed. "So, unless you both have a reason for being here, you both can lea-"
Well. No one expected this.
Daveed's arms surround my waist, his lips on mine. My hands rest on his chest, I'm on my toes as he holds me to him. When he finally pulls away, my eyes were wide with shock.
"Does that answer what I want?" The rapper asks, smiling slyly as he watches my reaction. I stammer slightly, pushing him off of me. "No, come here, baby..." he purrs, taking hold of my waist again.
My hand flies, the rapper stumbling back from me, holding his cheek.
"Don't touch me. Darien, remove him from my theatre." I say slowly, looking over Daveed. "Diggs, you should be disappointed in yourself. That was uncalled for."
"Well, you didn't seem to mind last night when you were against me." He laughs, rubbing his jaw slightly.
"I was 6 shots deep. I didn't care who I was against. Obviously, I lowered my standards pretty far if I ended up against you." I hiss at him, watching Darien take his arm and tug him towards the exit.
"You liked it, Eva, don't lie." He says back, frowning.
"Maybe, but now I'm just disgusted with the person in front of me. Even if Oak and Lin were okay with anything happening between us, now it's sour. You are dismissed." I take my phone out of my bra, opening my messages to Lin. "Oh, and don't worry about playing Lafayette or Jefferson for a while." I call over my shoulder while Darien escorts him out.
"Don't think it's over, Eva, because it's not." Daveed calls, and I stop, turning back to him as Darien continues to force the taller man towards the door.
Gatita: Daveed just walked in and kissed me without my consent. All I said was that he's not allowed back in my theatre for a while. You deal with it further. I don't care.
Lin : Okay, gatita. I'll talk to him. Sorry for him disturbing your day off.
I lock my phone, I'll give him a call later or tomorrow. Or Monday, I'm sure he got the message from Eva that he's not welcome back.
I pull V closer to me, nestling her closer to me while we watch tv. Well, she was watching, I was too busy staring at her.
"What?" She giggles, catching my eye.
"You're gorgeous." I reply simply, kissing her head. "And I'm lucky to have you." Every word is true. I am lucky.
"And I, you, my love." She coos back, cuddling closer. We get to spend all weekend together. No show until Monday.
"Hey, you probably missed me or I'm not really wanting to talk... either way, leave a message!" beep!
"Hey love, just checking in on you. Hope you're enjoying your day off. I'll pick you up tomorrow, and we'll go on a proper date, or I'll just see you Monday." I hang up and sigh. It's not like her to miss my calls. Though, she's still an introvert and sometimes she does just want quiet. I'll see her Monday anyway. Let's let her have her weekend.
Originally written as with Hamilton's Immortal. Also, I have nothing against Daveed. He is my impossible crush. I just think he'd make an awesome antagonist.
I really have nothing against Daveed! I love him to death and he's an great human being! I just thought he'd make a hot antagonist >_>
Chapter 3: Yours
In which Daveed steals what's not his.
"Don't think it's over, Eva, because it's not." Daveed calls, but I shake my head.
"Darien, wait." I turned back around, staring at the two. "Daveed, you were one of the people who shunned me when I first started working here and I gave you a second chance when you apologized." I glared at him, but still held that shit-eating grin on his face. "What the hell happened to you?"
"You know I've had eyes on you for a while now, don't lie." Daveed says, pushing Darien off of him to start his way back to me. Darien moved to catch him, but I held my hand up for him to wait.
"Can't say I've noticed your leering. It's been particularly creepy." I replied. "So what, you're too horny to think straight?"
"Oh no, I just think it's unfair that Oak shares you with Lin, and not me. We could be happy, you know." I backed up as Daveed continued coming closer to me, climbing back onstage. Darien wasn't too far behind.
"We're just co-workers, you and I. Nothing more. I don't want you." The sling hit my shoulder, I gripped it and held it in front of me, it might just be my escape. I have a bad feeling about this.
"But you were so willing, so eager for me, then You were tugged away and fucked right in front of me. A prize just out of reach... but not anymore." He growled, turning fast to nail Darien in the jaw with his fist. Darien goes down, dazed. I jumped, taking hold of the sling and climbing it's length, I just need to make it to the rafter. But, one miscalculation.
The rip of fabric was the last thing I heard before my ears started ringing from my impact with the stage. That man has some muscles on him, he pulled the sling off of its hook partway, tearing it free and sending me falling. I groaned in response to the hammering pain in my head, the ceiling spinning.
"Daveed... don't..." I strained, but reality was slipping from me. His hands picked me up, carrying me somewhere.
"Sleep, Coco. I've got you."
My head might actually be the death of me. If only I could die.
Blinking my eyes open, I'm face to face with a video camera and a clock looking thing. 10:54? It was just almost 3pm when Daveed got to the thea- no.
"It's a timer." Daveed confirms my thought. He's laying on his back beside me, and that's when I realize we're on a bed. "That's how much time left before I have to get you back to the theatre. Well, maybe I'll take you back, but I'm kinda curious to find out what happens if I don't."
"Eat shit and die." I spit, I moving to slap him. But, I can't. Cuffed. "Yea, eat horse shit. And fucking die." I hiss, rocking so I sit up, only to groan and lean forward. My head...
"You should be nice to me, all I want to do it play." He smiles, glancing to me. "I could keep you until Monday. It's still Friday almost Saturday.
"Go get a fucktoy then." I spit back.
"I did, and man is she gorgeous."
"You disgust me." He frowns, sitting up and leaving the bed, stepping into the shadow around the bed. He comes around to my side of the bed, taking my chin in hand.
"You ought to be nice, lil coco. I'm not going to hurt you that much..." he purrs, leaning down to kiss me. I literally spit in his face this time, backing him up from me. I smirk, watching him wipe it off his cheek. Asshole.
"Bitch please. I'd rather masturbate with an actually hot curling iron." I growl back. "Let me go, Daveed, and I'll tell Oak and Lin to go easy on your ass when they kick it."
"Don't give me ideas..." he growled, opening a bottle I didn't notice he was holding. "Drink." He forced it to my lips, holding my neck with his free hand. I sputter and try to spit, but I end up drinking a third of the bottle before he pulls it away to let me breathe. The sensation of alcohol hits me hard. "Good girl..."
"Wha... what was that?" I can usually handle liquor better but damn...
"Some hundred proof I had laying around, with a little extra added to it. Just let it sink in and sink back to being that willing little slut I had before."
While the haze starts to cloud in around her, Daveed took his time undressing her. First, her top, drawing a knife to cut away the fabric.
"Hold still. You don't want me to mark that pretty skin of yours, do you?" He said, pushing her back to lay down, climbing on top of her. "Maybe I'll mark you anyway... a nice "DD" on your hip." She shook her head, groaning at the pain of her headache.
"Daveed, this isn't you, stop it. Get off of me..." He cut at her shirt anyway, the cool feel of the knife making her shiver. Her breasts bounced free. "Oak will beat your ass in a heartbeat. He'll find you and... fuck..." He interrupts her thought with a hand pressing to the crotch of her pants.
"Hm? What was that?" He mused, kneading the area with his fingertips. "Were you asking for another drink?"
"No... shit.. stop it, Daveed, stop" She tried, but her body was telling a different story. She was hot, she could feel a familiar ache rising in her cunt. Her face flushed a bright blush.
"Mhmm, I think you need another drink..." He purred, holding the back of her neck to lift her head as he brought the bottle back to her lips. She drank a bit more, coughing when she needed air. "Much better." Whatever he added to the alcohol was certainly her greatest enemy. As she tried helplessly to keep her mind, he went ahead and pulls off her pants and panties, leaving the woman bare and cuffed before him.
"No..." she whimpered, feeling hands return to her body, parting her thighs. Oak... Lin... help me...
"Shhh, Coco... just enjoy it." He leaned down between her legs and kissed at her core, lazily dragging his tongue over her clit, circling it.
"Daveed please... s-stop it..." she tried to kick him, to squirm away, but he held her hips down firmly, his lips nursing her aching clit, making her writhe under the attention. The alcohol and drugs in her system really did a number on her, she felt hyper sensitive, every touch lit her with sparks of pleasure. "Get off of me... i hate... oh god.." He continued to ignore her, sliding two long fingers into her dripping cunt, curling them into her spot. She squealed, arching up from the bed as he took a relentless pace, fingering her hard and fast, jamming his fingertips into her spot over and over until she was forced to cum, ripping the orgasm from her body. Oak... im sorry...
He cleaned his fingers himself as he sat up to move over her, leaning down to kiss her harshly as he slid his cock into her. No time to come down from the high. She hated to admit it, but he felt good. He took his time, really savouring every thrust as she adjusted to his size. Tears started to fall from her cheeks as he picked up the pace. Her moans filled the room, every quivering sound betraying her drunken mind as she stirred him on, begging for more. She hit her peak again when he grabbed her throat, holding her down firmly, depriving her of air until he felt her cunt clench around him. He only grunted and rammed her harder, finding release in her, pouring his seed into her. Lin... forgive me...
He watched as her eyes glazed over, blissfully floating on the drink and pleasure flowing through her.
"You're mine now." He growled, yanking the chain from around her neck and tossing it aside, the tags clattering as they hit the ground.
"Yours..." she blankly repeated, whimpering as he slid off of her.
He flipped her over, uncuffing her hands long enough to recuff them to the headboard. Leaving her back clear. A blank canvas. One he was going to have so much fun marking. With each stroke of the belt, a new red line rose on her skin. And with each stinging hit, he spat lies that sank into her mind. That Oak didn't love her and Lin only wanted her for her body. He was determined to drive that fact into her, to make her his.
The process repeated for hours. He alternated beating her, marking her body with red welts, and fucking her senseless. Everything was done to remind her who she now belonged to. Each session ended with him claiming her.
And every time, she whispered back...
Uh oh. >.<
Oooohh she's in big trouble >_<
Chapter 4: Reclaimed
In which Eva believes the lies.
[Monday, January 4th, 2016]
Daveed brought me back before my twelve hours were up and stayed with me yesterday in the theatre, nursing me back to health. He showered me, putting cream on my back to soothe the ache, massaging my hips from the... fun we had. He cared for me, touching me almost the whole 24 hours. He held me through the night, cooing in my ear how much he loved me, how I was his good girl. He took the bracelet from me, telling me that he wouldn't let Oak use me anymore. I believed him.
This morning, he woke me up with coffee and a wrapped bagel from down the street. "Good morning , my love. Breakfast." I smile and sit up. I slept bare, he preferred that for me. The only thing I had was a black leather collar, a "DD" etched into it. A matching scar was healing on my left hip.
"Thank you, babe. You're the best." I say. It felt forced of me to say that, I didn't want to, but whenever I thought of Oak or Lin, I just hurt. I wasn't sure why, but it happened. Honestly, most of the weekend was a blur. I'm grateful Daveed came to help me feel better. He hands me my coffee and I take a sip to taste. "Mmm... what is it, it tastes great."
"Just a vanilla latte with a bit extra. Made just for you." He coos, meeting my lips in a kiss. My hands found his cheeks, the stubble rough under my fingertips. I need to touch him. Touching him made me feel better. I live for his kisses, so when he pulls away, I whimper instantly. "Easy, love. Breathe." Why am I like this? Why am I desperate for his touch?
"Play with me..." I whisper, my fingers finding his shirt to hold him. "Please..." It felt like pain would come if he didn't play with me... I needed him to play with me.
"No, you need to eat. I'll get you clothes, though I love seeing your beautiful skin..." He kisses my forehead, setting the bagel in my lap. I blush, shyly wrapping my arms around myself. "No need to hide, it's nothing I haven't seen before."
"I know... but still. Do you really want me on display like this all the time?" I ask, eating the bagel one-handed while my other arm tugging the blanket up to cover my chest.
"Yes, at least when we're here. I shall dress you when you need to be seen by others." He says, as if it's fact. He'll dress me...
Call from- Tree Bear Man - my phone announces. I pick it up and answer on speaker, as always.
"Hey snugs, you okay? I've been calling all weekend." Oak's voice rings through.
"Hi... I'm um. Daveed and I went out, I didn't have my phone."
"All day? You can only be out for twelve-ish hours at a time."
"He came back with me and we um... we..." I could feel my heart pulling in one direction, but my back started stinging as well.
"Eva..." Oak's voice... it sounds pained like mine. "It's okay, you can tell me. I get that it was a wild weekend."
"I'm sorry, but I have to go. And um..."
"You okay, babygirl?" Daveed said, knowing full well that Oak could hear.
"Daveed?! What are you doing there with her still?"
"Just dressing my girl. What are you doing?" Daveed takes my phone, taking if off of speaker. "Finish your breakfast then get dressed in a dress and leggings." He whispers to me. I nod, taking another bite of my bagel as he walks off with my phone.
"Bringing my girl tea, as usual on days we work. Also, your girl? Excuse you, you watched me ask her to be mine. Spoiler, she said yes." I say, striding through the stage area to get backstage. What the hell is he even doing up there to begin with!?
"Damn, seems like she changed her mind. As I'm up here and you're not." He gloats.
"Just you wait." When I get to her door... it's locked. "Daveed, open this damn door." I say lowly, seething mad.
"And risk you scaring my doll? Absolutely not." He chuckles, and I hear my girl speaking in the background.
"Can I talk to him? Please?" She coos.
"Yea, let me talk to my girlfriend, Daveed."
"No. You'll see him later on at showtime. For now, stay up here." He tells her, and swear I hear them kiss. Oh. Fuck. No.
"Daveed get your hands off my girl! I swear I will rip you into oblivion-"
"Tsk tsk, Oak calm down, you're scaring her... relax." He says to me before it gets soft again. "It's okay, my love, he won't touch you. You're safe with me..."
"I love you too..." she says to him, and my heart drops into the floor.
"What did you do. Daveed! DAVEED!!!" The phone goes dead. He hung up on me.
I kick the door again, testing its strength. Damnit. God damnit.
"Lin, get your ass here now." I say into my phone, already having called him.
He pockets my phone, his other arm holding my waist. I dressed in a simple black, long sleeve sweater dress and black leggings.
"You look beautiful, love. But, I need to reinforce some things before I go for the day." He speaks softly, though his voice is always a little rough. Not like Oak... I flinch slightly, but nod.
45 minutes and 30 smacks with a doubled belt later, he tucks me back into bed, kissing the tears away from my cheeks. Everything inside of me says this doesn't feel right. But... I have to love him. Im scared of if I don't. I can't love Oak. I can't love Lin. They only bring pain. I have to love Daveed or there will be pain. When I love Daveed, I feel good. It's the only time I feel good.
"It's all for your own good, my love. You know that. Someday, I won't need to hurt you so much." He says, cupping my cheek for one more kiss before leaving me. "I'll come back for you when it's time to eat. Finish your coffee."
For once, I wish I still had Ave in my head. Maybe then I could be strong. I've let all of my defenses down and Daveed just walked right in. I don't know what I'm feeling. I do as he says and finish my coffee while he's gone. I love coffee, it should cheer me up, but it only makes me feel worse. The heat builds in my body, all I can think about is how much I need him to come back. I need him to play with me. But why? I don't know. I just need it. I need him. It hurts without him. It hurts to be away from him. I want him back.
What happened to me...
And he took her phone. Dick.
Chapter 5: Tested
In which touching hurts more than it should.
"Daveed, what the actual fuck did you do?" I ask as the 'man of the hour' comes through the stage area. I'm beyond pissed. I know Eva. She wouldn't do me like that.
"Oak, calm down." Lin got here a bit ago, trying to get me to explain but every time I thought about it, my anger would only renew.
"Yea, calm down, Oak tree. She's okay, just coming down from the high of spending a weekend with her new boo." He replied smugly.
"New boo?" Lin glared this time. "Dude, you're not her boo. She doesn't even like calling anyone boo."
"Yes. So she won't be needing these." He holds his closed hand towards me, dropping the items. "She's in good hands now."
It was the necklace and bracelet. Our gifts to her. The chain was broken on the necklace.
"She didn't take it off herself." I kneel to pick them up. The bracelet was still intact. "Daveed..."
"Oh, no. I did the honor of that while we were enjoying each other's company." His smirk only grew and honestly, it's pissing me off.
"Daveed, you are dead to me." Lin and I both feel ready to end him.
"Why? For getting a prize that was being dangled in front of me? For seeing an opportunity and taking it? You see, she was so strong and willful when we first got her. But thanks to you two, breaking her was so much easier than expected."
"What do you mean? What did you do to her?!" Lin yells. People really should know better than to fuck with the people he cares about.
"Let's just say... you shouldn't try to touch her. See y'all at showtime." He grins like he won the lotto, waltzing out of the theatre hall.
Lin is stressing more than I am, he's always been protective of her since day one.
"We've gotta get to her. That's not like Eva." Lin thinks aloud.
"You don't think I know that?" I snap back, making my way backstage again to try her door. Still locked. "There's gotta be a key."
"Yea, he probably has it." Lin says, running his fingers through his hair for the tenth time. "I guess we wait."
*2 hours to showtime*
My door opens after what feels like an eternity.
"You awake, doll?" Daveed's voice rings into my room. I smile, hopping up out of bed, still dressed, and run to him. He laughs and leans down to my level, kissing me like he knew I needed it. And I really needed it. I hold his cheeks, moaning softly as he slips his tongue past my lips to dance with mine. It comforted the aching need in me for a moment, until he pulls away, his fingers finding the back of my collar and gripping it, twisting the leather taught around my throat.
"Now, I'm about to take you downstairs. Don't leave my side until showtime. If you lose me, go right to my dressing room and close the door. Understand?" He says, his breath washing over my lips, tantalizingly close.
"Yes, Sir..." I whisper. He wasn't choking me, but he certainly cut off some blood flow to my head. My hands grip his shoulders as I try to follow his hand holding my neck, pulling me back into another kiss.
"You know I only do this because I love you..." His lips brush against mine as he talks, I nod in response, my eyes fluttering slowly. Finally, he lets me go, catching me in his arms as blood rushes back to my brain.
"Thank you..." Everything he does keeps me meek, every kiss was dominating. It all felt good.
"Did you finish your coffee like I said?" He smooths my hair, the caring gaze returning to his eyes. His touch grew gentle again.
"Yes, Sir. Thank you for bringing it to me." I smile, nuzzling his hand. I like when he's gentle. I like his touch.
"Good. I got you some juice downstairs for you to enjoy with your dinner." He leads me downstairs, I cling to his arm when we reach backstage. "Remember what I said. Stay close, love. I'll keep you safe."
"Eva!" Oak spots her first, jogging over to them. Rehearsals were in progress on stage, currently it was Take a Break. "There you are, I was looking for you. I missed you, snugs." When he steps closer, I step behind Daveed, hiding myself. "Snugs..."
"Hi Oak..." I keep my voice soft. He just wants to use me like Lin does. Daveed wraps an arm protectively around me.
"Easy, big guy, you'll scare her." Dav says, rubbing my back soothingly. I lean into him.
"Baby, you don't have to be scared of me. You're my girl. Remember back in December? I asked you to be mine." Oak said, concern filling his face.
"You just wanted to use me... you think I'm hot. Dav really cares about me." I reply, burying my cheek in Dav's side. "He loves me, unlike you."
"No, he doesn't. Eva, listen to yourself, you know that's not true. Really hear what you're saying. You know I love you more than anything." My heart pulls, beating faster when he says it. His hand reaches for me. "Please. Just listen." His fingers barely brush my cheek...
I let out a scream, ducking back as if he had smacked me across the face. No. He hurt me. He can't touch me, he hurts. He wants to use me. "D-don't touch me!" I cry, hiding behind Daveed fully, shivering with fear.
"I warned you, Oak." Was all Dav said, turning around to hug me tightly, stroking my hair. "Shh... I got you doll. Here, have something to drink." He pulls out a mini water bottle from his jacket pocket, opening it for me and letting me sip.
"What happened?! I heard a scream." Chris calls ahead, most of the cast comes running from the stage, all of them looked concerned.
"It's okay, she just got a little spooked." Dav says, taking the bottle from my lips. The drink made me dizzy and warm. His touch made me feel better. "See, she's fine."
"Oak, why is she cuddled up to Daveed..." Ren whispers not so subtly.
"I.. don't know." He answers.
I let the chatter fade into background noise. Peeking up to Dav again. "Can I go lay down, Sir?"
"Yes, you may. Go to my dressing room." He tips my chin up, kissing me briefly before sending me on my way. As I walk, I catch a glance of Oak, who looks torn apart. I wrap my arms around myself shyly, running off to the dressing room.
"Eva!" Lin yells, and I can only assume it's his steps that are following me. "Gatita wait!" I only make it to the stairs before he grabs me around the waist.
"No! Get off of me!!" I struggle against him. My back feels like it's on fire, the pain of just having him touch me was too much. "Let go of me!"
"Gatita, you know me. Why are you like this!" I finally push him off, and like in slow motion I watch him stumble and fall back, staring at me wide eyed as I ascend to Dav's room, shutting myself in. Safe... my safe haven.
Hearing her scream was music to my ears. Perfect. Pippa ran to Lin, helping him back to his feet. He's definitely in shock. Ren starts up the stairs to go after Eva.
"You might want to wait for me to get to her first. Trust me on that." I call, pausing Renée's mission.
"Oh, so you know why she's scared of the two people she loves?" I gotta admit, she's a little intimidating when she's angry, but alas, I'm proud of my work.
"Actually yes, yes I do. And I am the only one that can calm her. She's still very delicate right now. I might take her back upstairs. I just wanted to see how she could handle it at first. It's only been a few days." I shrug, and head upstairs, sliding past Ren, but she grabs my arms.
"What did you do to her?"
"Nothing bad, I just made her mine." I grin. And she'll stay mine. It just takes time to nurture the connection and conditioning. I brush her off and make my way to my room, closing the door behind me as I step in.
"I... I'm sorry... I was too loud..." she coos, a shivering ball on my couch. I hush her, sitting next to her.
"It's okay... just drink and relax. I'll keep you safe." I hand her the bottle from before, watching her drink it to sooth her throat. Her eyes hazing slightly as she finishes, unfocused, pliable. "Such a good girl, you know I'll keep you safe. You did the right thing." I cup her cheek and kiss her. She returns the affection hungrily.
"Play with me..." Her begs are exactly what I want to hear as I pull away. I admit, her submission makes me hard every time she begs.
"Not now. You aren't ready for us to be together again. For now, stay in here. I have to work, my love." I kiss her forehead, listening to her sigh. "Relax. You're safe with me. Hungry?" She nods, and I hand her a meal from subway, the bottle of grape juice already prepped with her medicine. "Eat up."
"Yo Daveed, it's me." Chris knocks on the door. "Open up."
"What's up?" I open the door, leaning on the frame. He looks past me to Eva.
"She okay?" He asks, his brows furrow like always when he's concerned.
"Yea, she's great. Aren't you, doll?"
"Uh huh!" She replies, her mouth full.
"See?" I smile, but he doesn't look satisfied. Instead, he pushes past me, stepping into the room, to Eva.
"Hey sweetheart, look at me." He whispers, kneeling in front of her. She does. I watch curiously. "Are you really okay?" He presses, and she glances to me first before nodding. "Don't look at him, eyes on me." She refocuses on him. Biting her lip. "No need to be scared, it's okay. It's just us. You and me. May I touch you?"
"I don't know..." She whispers, glancing back to me for a moment. I nod.
"He's okay." I reassure her. So she nods, and he raises a hand to her cheek, drawing a thumb over her cheekbone.
"Why'd you scream earlier, Coco?" He asks.
"They hurt me..." she whispers, fidgeting slightly. "I don't want them to touch me. They hurt."
"But they love you. They'd never hurt you." He presses, stroking her cheek gently. His frown grows as if he notices something. "Who told you this?" She glances to me instantly.
"Daveed keeps me safe. He doesn't hurt. He feels gentle and kind. He cares for me." She says, Chris nudges her gently to return his gaze.
"Okay Coco. I'll see you around." He stands up, kissing her forehead lightly. As he comes back to the door, he takes my shoulder and ushers me out with him, closing the door. "Man, the fuck did you do to her?"
"I just made her mine, as I said before." I reply with a shrug.
"She looks terrified. And she screamed like someone was killing her earlier. Bro, what the hell? Just a few days ago, she stabbed a dude in the leg for coming at Jazz, now she's scared of people touching her?"
"She had a rough weekend." I say. "I was there for her."
"Babe?" I hear her call from inside.
"If you'll excuse me, my girl needs me." I smile, stepping back inside.
I finally have her. I'm not letting her go.
I legit have nine parts buffered for this book, not counting this one. Hell, I want to know what happens next, lol!- - 07/18/17
I kinda relate to this more than I should. I wish I was better at conveying it better. The way she thinks in this story is a lot like what I've been through personally. It's weird, but yea...
Chapter 6: Chris
In which Chris tries to help.
"Eva!" I yelled, chasing after her. "Gatita wait!" I catch her waist, my arms wrapped around her tightly, pulling her from the stairs.
"No! Get off of me!!" She kicked and squirmed, fighting me to let her go. "Let go of me!" Never, my love...
"Gatita, you know me. Why are you like this!" She elbows me in the ribs hard enough that I let go, and she pushes off of me, and like in slow motion I watch her run up the stairs as I fall back, staring wide eyed.
"Hey Lin, it's me." Chris knocks, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Come in." I say, flatly, not even in costume yet.
"Hey man, you gotta get dressed." He says, resting a hand on my shoulder.
"He's done something to her. I need to figure it out."
"You need to focus on what you can do right now, and that's the show. She's alive and breathing, she'll be here tomorrow."
"Chris, she screamed bloody murder when Oak and I touched her. She..."
"She's scared. But she'll be okay. We'll get our chocolate bun back. Get changed." He says. "We can't do anything while Daveed's watching her so closely. That's for sure."
"So what, are we just supposed to wait?" I spit.
"I'm saying we have to be smart about it. That's all. We can't go in guns blazing. Patience." I sigh. I know he's right, but damn. I want my gatita. "I talked to her briefly."
"You did?" I shot up, nearly knocking him off balance. "Sorry."
"No problem. She honestly seems really dependent right now. Whatever happened over the weekend really broke her down hard. She kept looking to Diggs for answers, even if I could touch her. He 'okay'ed me." He explains, scratching the back of his neck. "She's terrified. She was shivering the whole time I held her cheek. Apparently you and Oak 'hurt'."
"Hurt? But we've never hurt her. Well, without her consent, but still." I chuckle dryly. Why would we hurt her when we don't?
Five minutes to Places! The intercom sounds.
"Get dressed man, we got a show to do. She'll be fine for a few hours." Chris pats my back before heading out. I sigh and get changed, but honestly, I can't get her screaming out of my head. As I head downstairs, I heard Eva's voice sounding from Daveed's room.
"What should I do while you're performing?" She sounds so small...
"Go sit in your box seat. Enjoy the show. Come back down after curtain call." Fuck him. I hear them kiss, and I'm about ready to knock his lights out, so I continue down to the wings, heading back to my place.
True to word, I catch a glimpse of Eva in her seat a few minutes into the show. I can't help but feel responsible. By opening up to us, she left herself pretty defenseless. Oak and I keep exchanging glances when we pass each other.
We're going to figure out how to save our girl.
"m'Lady, are you alright?" I turn, Darien standing in the doorway to my Box.
"Darien..." I coo, watching as he comes around my chair to kneel at the foot of it, motioning to my boots.
"May I?" He asks, in his usual fashion. I hesitate, looking over him. He had a bruise on his jaw and his lip was busted. "m'Lady?"
"Y-yes, you may." I answer, but he furrows his brow. He starts anyway, gently unlacing my boot.
"I know what he did to you, even if you don't remember." He continues, though I try to keep my focus on the show.
"I don't know what you're talking about." I reply, tucking my legs back under myself as he sets my shows down neatly, bundling the laces.
"You know something isn't right, m'Lady. And I will help right it."
"Leave, you don't know what you're saying." I plead, wrapping my arms around myself. My back starts to itch...
"m'Lady, you know what I mean." He presses, but I shake my head.
"Keep talking, a-and I'll scream. Just leave." I whisper.
"As you wish, m'Lady. Please call if you require anything." He bows and removes himself.
The show goes on, intermission comes and goes. I stay put in my chair. He told me to stay here until curtain call.
Darien doesn't know what he's talking about... This is right. I need to listen. Daveed cares. Why would he lie? He loves me.
But I don't love him...
Yes, I do. I have to. We're together. He loves me, why wouldn't I love him. I need to love him. Loving him feels good.
But it doesn't feel right.
I have to love him. Everything else hurts. I can't not love him. I need to. I have to. I...
"m'Lady. Your presence was requested backstage. May I assist you?" Darien's voice interrupts my thoughts.
"N-no... I can go by myself." I scoot out of my chair, and walk past him blankly. I need to get back to Daveed. I have to.
"m'Lady, your shoes?" His voice calls after me, but I ignore him. The sound of applause fills the air, the show's over. I run. I need to see him. I frantically duck people, making my way backstage.
Except I'm plucked up from the crowd.
"Hey, Coco! Where's the fire?" Chris muses, holding my waist. I squirm, trying to free myself. Damn Lin for hiring a buff cast. Like, everyone is too strong.
"Let me go, I need to find him." I mutter, but he holds me tighter, scooping me from my feet. "Let me go!"
"Easy, lil coco. It's just me. Remember, Daveed said I was okay. I just don't want you cutting your feet on anything." He says, carrying me to the stairs. I settle a little, but I'm still on edge.
"Pardon me, Sir Chris. Her shoes are here." We turn, an out of breath Darien stands behind with my boots in hand. "She ran off before I could relace her. Many apologies."
"It's okay, Darien." Chris says, but I duck my head, hiding in Chris' shoulder. They continue to glance at each over as he takes my shoes. "Thanks. See you." Darien bows, glancing to me as well before leaving for the lobby. "Come on, let's get you settled."
"I need to find Daveed..." I whisper.
"He can wait. Let's talk." Chris says, carrying me past Dav's room.
"N-no, I need to find Daveed!" I renew my struggle, but he holds me tight.
"You will in a minute, I just want to talk." I'm taken into his room and the door's shut behind me. He sets me down on the couch.
"But... but... I need him... he said be back after curtain call." I whimper, the itch of my back renewing.
"Just tell me one thing. What are you scared of?"
"I... don't understand?"
"Yes you do, you're shaking right now. What are you scared of?"
"I... I'm not... He... I need to find him." I need him. I really need to find him. Now. I'm late.
"Come on, you can tell me. You trust me." He smiles, taking my boots and slipping them back on me, lacing them up. I can feel the words on the tip of my tongue, but the stinging itch in my back makes me stay quiet.
"I... he..." I keep fidgeting.
"He what, coco..." Chris nods, looking back up to me.
"Pain... I don't like to hurt..." the door swings open, revealing a casually dressed Daveed.
"There you are, Doll. I was looking for you. Why are you crying?" He looks over me, and I reach up to feel tears streaming down my cheeks.
"I... I don't know. I'm so confused." I jump up from the couch, diving into Dav's arms. "I-I'm sorry..."
"Shh... it's okay. I've got you. We'll talk in a bit." He let me cry into his chest, stroking my head as if I were a child needing comfort. He made me feel so little, so delicate, I needed him for strength. "Chris, thank you for finding my little doll. We'll be going now."
"See you two around." Chris's voice turned cold... I peek from Dav's chest to see him glaring at the older man. He nods, guiding me out of the room.
"What did you two talk about?" As soon as we make it to the stairwell to my room, he asks me, holding my arm tightly.
"N-nothing. He asked me what I was scared of... that's all." I murmur, wincing at his grip. "I didn't say anything I promise."
"Good." He pushes me into my room, practically throwing me to the floor. "Strip."
"But... I don't.."
"Was that a question?" I hurriedly shake my head no, and start pulling my dress up and over my head. "Good girl." He says, a gentle tone returning to his voice. I try to smile, shimmying the leggings off. Underwear... well. He didn't want me to have any on to begin with.
"Play with me?" I whisper before I even think about it. He kneels to my level, drawing a hand in my thick hair.
"Maybe. You haven't earned it yet, but I know you need it, don't you...." He pulls my hair, leaning by head back, his lips find my neck, breathing against my skin. He cruelly teases me with the brush of his lips. "Maybe I'll just use you and enjoy you..."
"Please. I need it..." I reply automatically. It's like my brain and body are having a disconnect. I'm melting under his touch so easily, but all I can think about is Darien's words... something's not right. I'm so confused....
"I need to reinforce some things, first." He sighs, standing up again, leading me by my hair to the bed. I clamber and crawl after him, whining at the tension headache building. He leaves me kneeling at the bedside, I watch him go to my fridge and pull out a bottle of water, I think. He must have stocked it for me. He hands it to me. "Drink."
I do, greedily. For some reason, I suddenly felt the thirst and needed all of it, it hit me hard. I felt dizzy, light headed as the drink settles into my system. I need the drink like I need him.
He pulls me up to stand, only to bend me over the side of my bed. "I'll give your back a break. Your ass will be a decent canvas tonight." The sound of his belt coming off sent chills down my spine. "And you know, I do this because I love you."
It begins. Hit after hit, Daveed's voice soaking into my mind. Tears fall into my blanket as I listen to every cutting word, pain radiating through me. I don't scream. He doesn't like it when I scream. He loves me though. He does this because he loves me and cares about me. I lose count of how many times he hit me, all I hear are echos of his words floating through my head.
After a while, he stops. His hand cups my cunt while he leans over me to whisper in my ear.
"Good girl... you're doing so well. You want a treat now?" I moan in response, two of his fingers slipping into me. "My my... you're a pain slut aren't you. You've gotten so wet, I can feel you quiver around my fingers. You must be so close, aren't you?" He hooks his fingers, teasing my spot tortuously slowly. My hands clench the blanket beneath me, my hips pushing back against his hand, needy for more. It feels like an eternity since he touched me last. "Your head is empty, all that's left behind is my little doll, ready to be played with."
He didn't wait for me to answer him. He just adjust himself behind me, his fingers leaving me, only to be replaced by his cock. His thrusts ram against my beaten thighs, the mixture of pain and pleasure was intoxicating. I didn't last long, reaching my peak by the fifth or sixth stroke. He didn't stop though, fucking me harder through my orgasm, his hands pinning my shoulders to the bed. I was a shuddering mess, my cries and moans filled my room.
"Who owns you, Doll?" He groans, wrapping a hand around my throat to pull me up from the bed, pressing my back against his chest. "Who's are you?"
"Yours... I'm yours..." I reply. A trained answer, one I thought to be true. I was his. I belonged to him. Only him. He kisses my neck, growling as he releases into me, heat filling my cunt.
I cried again as he cleaned me up and tucked me in. I don't know why, but all I was left with was my sobbing as my lullaby.
Chris Jackson is someone I'd love to meet and shake his hand. He seems like such a good human. We'd be friends, maybe.
Chapter 7: 2am
In which Eva has second thoughts.
*2 week later*
It's 2am. I'm on the roof of the Richard Rodgers. The city that never sleeps stays awake with me. The sound of cars, music, and foot traffic help calm my racing thoughts. A bottle from my fridge resting beside me. It's snowing. I probably should wear a coat. Shorts and a bra aren't really that great.
Lin smiled, slipping off his chair to kneel beside the couch, stroking my cheek. "You're warming up. Good. No more rooftop in winter without a coat. You'll catch a cold." He scold me gently, making me laugh.
My eyes open. Lin... He wouldn't want me to be out here in nothing. My back hurts. He hurt me though. Daveed wouldn't want me freezing.
I look at my phone in my lap, a picture of Dav and I kissing was my background. He was smiling. I wasn't. Why is that? Are we happy? I need him, why wouldn't I smile? He loves me. I love him.
"No, you don't." Ave... "Yeah, miss me?"
"What are you doing here... I thought you disappeared."
"Yeah, yeah. You and your little love triangle kinda shut me up. But lo and behold, triangle's gone and I'm back."
"Go away, I don't need you." I mutter, staring at my phone.
"And you need him? Hun, you're so drunk, you don't know what's going on here. I'm just enjoying the show."
"I don't know what you're talking about... I don't drink much. You know that, you're in my body."
"Yea, you sure about that? You are so far gone. What's gotten into you?"
"Nothing... I love him. Leave me alone."
"If you really love him, would I be here?"
I ignore her, pressing call on my phone, listening to it ring.
"Doll? It's nearly three am." Dav's voice rings in my ear.
"Do you love me?" I ask.
"Of course I do. You know that. Everything I do is because I love you." He answers, a yawn escaping him.
"Why do I feel like this isn't right?" I listen to him breathe in, shifting in bed.
"It will be right, my doll. It just takes time. The beginning is always hardest. But you and I are meant to be. Do you trust me?" He asks, and I lean my head back against the cold wall. The sound of the city fills in the silence.
"Yes..." He helped me after a long New Years party, helped me after I had a nasty hangover when others didn't. Why wouldn't I trust him. "I'm so confused, though. I'm getting glimpses of things, memories."
"Don't worry about those thoughts. I'll help you through them and clear your mind. Have a drink, relax." His voice soothes, I take a drink from the bottle beside me, letting out a sigh. "Good girl. I'll take care of you. I'll be right there. Now, go back inside, I can hear you're on the roof. It's too cold to be out."
"Yes, Sir." I hang up and shuffle through the snow, back to the door. The warmth of the theatre welcomes me. I finish the bottle, dropping it on the stairs lazily as I head down to the stage. I don't know why... It just felt right. I sit at the stage's edge, looking out into the empty house. The silence is comforting.
My fingers dug into the near empty cup in my hands, finally having the courage to see who my visitor was. Oak's profile came into view in the corner of my eye. "So what are you doing here?"
The man chuckled. "I come here to think too. The theatre happens to be a good listener. Sometimes I write while I'm here. Lin does the same sometimes, especially while we're still fresh on Broadway. Man's got a lot on his plate." He said smoothly, looking out over the seats with me, before turning to glance over me. "Though, you look like you've been here a bit longer."
My eyes open, and I look beside me... empty. I sigh, holding my head in my hands... what is this?
"How come you're not in your room?" Dav's voice interrupts the silence. I didn't have to look to know he was coming to me.
"I can't sleep. Can't stop thinking. Nothing helps. Thoughts... memories?" I feel his hand smooth over my hair, he sits beside me.
"Too much in that mind of yours?" I nod, leaning into him. He wraps an arm around me, his free hand tipping my chin up. "Did you have a drink of something like I said?" I nod again. "Mkay... poor thing. You might need something stronger. I didn't think you'd get used to it so quickly..."
"Used to it? To what?" The effects of my last drink start to hit me, need growing in my body. "What the heck did you do..."
"Shh... don't worry about it. Just trust me. I'll take care of you." He leans closer to me, whispering in my ear. "Empty..."
Like a hypnotic trigger says, her body melts into mine. Her eyes glaze over with the familiar emptiness. Heh. Perfect.
"Just a dumb little doll. So empty-headed. I've got you. You're mine, remember that." I grin, releasing her long enough to stand up.
"Yours..." She whisper back while my hands digs into the back of her hair, guiding her to stand up.
"Conditioning you is so tricky... but it's working. Maybe you don't need the medicine anymore. You melt with just a word." I know she can't understand me, she's checked out upstairs. "They made it easy for me, though." They really did. I wouldn't have been about to do this back in October.
Stupid Oak. Stupid Lin. They brought her defenses down. Completely. Sure, she had her moments, but overall, she was just a little lady who fell helplessly in love. And I get to dangle my prize in their faces.
Ever since that Ham4Ham when Lin showed me how hot she was in a damn onsie, I wanted her. But no, Lin gets to be the one Oak shares with.
"Doll, tell me who you love."
"You... only you." She gazes hazily up to me, her hands resting on my chest.
"Good girl. Who are Lin and Oak to you?" I ask, stroking her cheek lightly. Her eyes flash with recognition.
"I miss them..." her lips drop into a frown slightly. I draw back and smack her hard, letting her drop.
"No, you don't. They hurt you. That's why you came to me." I reply as if it's fact. Everything I say becomes her truth. Tears fall from her eyes, but she crawls back to me, hugging my leg.
"I don't... I'm sorry, Sir." I scoff. Dumb bitch. I pull my foot free, kicking her back. She falls back on the stage, and I walk around her. I watch her writhe on the floor.
"You are a disgusting little slut. Touch yourself." She nods, but I place my shoe at her neck, pressing lightly. She sinks her fingers into her shorts and moans almost instantly rise from her lips. "Don't worry, doll. I'm gonna make you perfect. My little slave." She quivers on the floor, masturbating like the desperate slut she is.
"I abuse you because I love you. I drug you because I love you. I keep your head empty and your cunt satisfied because I love you. And maybe, one day I'll kill for you, just because I love you."
I smirk as I watch her back arch, her lips falling open. I press harder on her throat, and she coughs, choking slightly as she cums. Pathetic.
"My helpless little doll."
I love Daveed so much. He's an amazing person. No hate, but I also think he'd make the sexiest bad guy. Ugh... yes please. Also don't do drugs. Those are bad, no idea how it works but hey. It's fiction.
We believe in you, Eva!!!
Chapter 8: Provoked
In which Eva's mind is too loud.
*later that day- afternoon rehearsals*
Two weeks. Two weeks and all I can do is wait. Daveed keeps her too close for me to get to her, or keeps her locked away. All the damn time. I'm usually a very calm person, but watching him love my girl... no.
"Lin, I swear I'm going to end him for this." I growl, leaning against the cabinet in his dressing room.
"We'll get her back. Don't worry. We can do this."
"The only person he'll let close to her is Chris! She won't even look at me!"
"Oak, easy. Take a breath. Yelling isn't going to help." He sighs, scratching his chin.
"I miss her, damnit. I miss her. I miss her so much..." Time moves so slowly without her. My mornings feel incomplete without bringing her tea. My heart feels empty of pride when I don't catch her working. I feel alone when I can't snuggle her on breaks or tuck her in after she works. "Has Chris found anything new?"
"Not that I know. Daveed's been keeping her on a short leash lately." It's my turn to sigh. "Oak, you know she's in there somewhere. I know that. There's hope."
I shake my head, heading out the door. Maybe a walk in the city will clear my head. "I'll be back in an hour." I call back, hearing a faint response from Lin.
"Hey ladies, can you three do me a favor and take Eva out on our next day off? She's been cooped up for a while." I overhear Daveed, I guess talking to the Schuyler trio.
"Gee, I wonder why." I comment, not so subtly. Daveed took exception to that.
"Got a problem, man?" He asks, turning his attention to me as I pass.
"Yea, actually. You." I spit in return, turning around to face him.
"Oh forgot, you're mad because Eva is in love with me now." He smirks, and I'm so close to knocking him on his ass.
"She doesn't love you, and I know you're up to something." I start towards him, but a hand on my shoulder pauses me.
"He's not worth it, Oak. Come on." Leslie says, tugging me to away from the bastard, but I shake him off.
"Better listen, wouldn't want Eva to see you act rashly." His shit-eating grin brightens as he looks past me. I give in and look, seeing Eva at the entrance to the costume room, talking to someone else. She must have felt us watching her because she glances our way. God, she's beautiful. She deserves so much better.
"Is everything alright, guys?" She asks, concern crossing her face.
"It's alright, Doll, just chatting. C'mere." Daveed nods over, and she bounds to him, glowing brightly. She hugs him, nuzzling into his chest, like she use to with me. I shake my head as he twists the knife in my back.
"Come on, Oak. Let's go." Leslie leads me away, but I can't help but listen behind me.
"You wanna go out with the girls? You can go to the salon or get your nails done pretty for me."
"That'd be nice, thank you, love." She purrs back to him.
"Leslie, I swear I'm going to beat him." I whisper, and Les shrugs beside me.
"Can't do it now. Maybe later. Get some air and try to cool off." He nods, opening the door for me. "We all are watching her. We'll find out what's up."
I look over his shoulder, watching Eva kiss the traitor, his hands cupping her cheeks. He smiled into it. She didn't. As they pull away, Daveed glances over to me, that grin returning to his lips. She cupped his cheek, bringing his lips back to hers, kissing him eagerly. I shake my head and walk out into the cold city.
"Okay okay, we get it! That's enough of that." Our lips pop as someone tugs Dav from me, a blush rising in my cheeks. I might have overdone it. Looking over, Ren looks over him with a glare.
"S-sorry... don't be upset with him. It was me." I stutter out, chuckling a little. Her expression softens as she turns to me.
"Well, we're going to an early dinner and get our nails done, maybe hit up a shop. You coming?" She asks me. I bite my lip, glancing to Dav first. "Hey, I didn't ask him, I asked you." She snaps her fingers in front of my face, refocusing me.
"I... umm sure, I think." I answer, glancing again to Dav anyway, he nods. "Yea, I'd like to." She frowns and looks over Dav too.
"You're not her keeper, she doesn't need your permission to leave. Come on." Ren takes my arm, leading me out, Pip and Jazzy in tow. I looked back at my love, mouthing an apology before I'm pushed out of the door.
"Jeez, that guy..." Ren starts, slipping her hand down to lace her fingers in mine. She always does that when she's in "overprotective big sister" mode. Pip and Jazz hum in agreement.
"He's not bad, I mean come on. You guys have worked with him for years-"
"Yeah, and that all changed (when the fire nation attacked. JkJk) when he's suddenly snuggled up to someone else's girl." Ren sighs.
"Oak was just using me 'cause he thought I was hot. It's no biggie. Dav really loves me though. How come you guys don't see that?"
"Because no one goes madly in love with THE mighty Oak to completely afraid of him in a matter of days. I don't think anyone is afraid of him." Jazzy speaks up. "He's such a gentle soul. All he wants to do is care and love and be kind."
"Well, I guess I needed more than that..." I whisper sheepishly, awkwardly rubbing my arm.
"That's why you had Lin too. God knows you two are inseparable in your own right. He could put your ass back in place in a heartbeat. He never wanted to tame you, just keep you on the right path." Pippa adds, and tugs us all into the nail salon.
"But, he's married. He doesn't need me, he has Vanessa. I don't know why you girls aren't supportive. Don't you see that I'm happy?" I say, pausing them at the door. The trio look over me, glancing to each other, before Ren sighs again.
"You were happy. You were the brightest star ever with those two. But now... you're tamed." She says honestly, dropping the subject. Over at the color wall, we all ponder what we should get.
"Schuyler colors?" Pip suggests, "since it's a show night. Plus, it'll be cute."
"But there's only three Schuylers." I remind her.
"Here." Jazzy hands me a bottle of blood red polish. "You can be Maria, I still think of her as the unofficial sister. You know, since she got to do what Angelica never could." She winks, Renée covers her mouth to hide her laughter.
"Yea, Eva. You were always the perfect Maria. You nailed that role every time." Ren says. I gaze down at the bottle, watching the colour shift inside.
"You're my perfect Maria..." Lin whispered to me, bringing his face back to mine. My breath was hot on his lips, he just couldn't help but kiss me possessively for a moment, before speaking again. "Though, you'll never be a secret in my life. I promise to love you aloud and show the world how much I appreciate you."
"Eva?" Pip's hand finds my cheek, lifting my head. I blink for a moment, looking back down to my hand. The polish bottle shattered on the floor.
"I need to go." I mutter, backing away to the door.
"Wait, Eva what's wrong? Talk to us." Ren pleads, but I shake my head.
"I need Daveed. I need to find him." I say blankly, turning tail and running out the door.
"Eva, wait!" Ren calls, chasing me, but I lose her in the crowds.
I need Daveed. It's happening again. I need him. He makes it better. He makes it stop. Why do they even happen? Why are they popping up now? Thoughts start racing in my head as I turn corner, racing down the alley to the theatre door. As soon as I open it, I collide with another body, they hold onto me so I don't fall over.
"Woah woah, gatita! What's wrong?" Lin. I feel the urge to scream. But... I don't.
"Who are you?" I ask softly, he pulls me inside, but keeps his arms around me.
"What do you mean, you know who I am." He replies in the same tone. His eyes were a whirlpool of emotions. Fear, surprise, concern, love. "What's going on in that beautiful mind of yours?" He asks.
"You... you said I'm your perfect Maria, but not a secret, why? You're married, why would you say that?" I start on a rant, my eyes searching his. "It's confusing. What are you to me? Why did you love me? Why do you hurt? It doesn't make sense..."
"Gatita, slow down, look at me." He cups my cheek, hushing me. I guess he doesn't want to alert Daveed, and by the sound of Washington on your side, he must be rehearsing. "Breathe. I'm right here. You trust me." He coos softly to me, trying to soothe my frantic thoughts. His hand rests on my cheek, stroking me softly. The touch... it feels familiar. Right. "Slow down... you're okay."
No. He just wants to use me... My back feels like it's on fire from having him so close to me. It hurts so badly... Tears well in my eyes, starting to fall from my cheeks. I can feel the sting of the belt reminding me, Daveed's voice filling my head. He just wants a pretty body to use... they both do. "No... you used me..."
"No, I would never. I promised you from the day we got you from the roof, I would never abuse your gift to me." He whispers, tightening his arm around me. Lies.
"No.. you broke that promise... you used me and left me." I struggle in his arms, fighting to get free. My heart pulls for him, but the sting on my back wins. I push him off of me, hugging myself tightly. "Make it stop!!!" The thoughts race through my head, clouding my own reasons.
"Nononono... shhh, Eva look at me. It's okay." He kneels down to my level, cupping my cheek, but I push him away, swatting at his hands. He hurts me, I can't take the pain... I can't take it.
"D-don't touch me! Get away!" I scream, backing myself up against the door.
"Okay, okay, I won't touch you. Just... calm down. Breathe, gatita." He says lowly, his hands up in surrender. Chris runs in, as so some of the ensemble, probably to see who's screaming. My eyes dart around the room... I don't see him. "Chris, you can touch her, right?"
"Man, I don't think now's the best time to test that." Chris says, looking over my frantic state.
"Just try. She's confused, she needs something to ground her, and I'd rather it be you than Daveed." Lin urges, keeping his eyes on me.
"Don't..." I stare him down, sliding down the door. The cool metal does nothing to ease the pain. "I need him... where is he?"
"He's on stage, rehearsing. Want to watch?" Chris says, and Lin instantly glares at him. Chris matches his gaze, like he's trying to tell him something, but he walks over to me, extending a hand to me. "Come on..." I was frozen, watching him move closer. I flinch slightly as his hand touches my cheek. "See? I'm okay, let's get you up." He keeps his voice soft, placing his other hand on my other cheek, letting me adjust to his touch. I relax, barely, breathing deeply as I settle. Dav said he's okay. I can trust him, right?
"What's going on out here?!" Dav's voice echos, and everyone freezes. He pushes through the crowd, spotting me, tears running down my cheeks. He looks livid. "Get away from her." He growls to Lin and Chris.
"Get away from her." Daveed says lowly to me and Chris steps back, holding his hands up. I, on the other hand, stand my ground.
"No. She obviously knows something's wrong. She needs the truth." I look down at my kitten, she's staring at Daveed. "She knows something doesn't add up." He brushes past me, but I grab his shoulder. "You won't win." I say. He scoffs and shakes me off.
He kneels beside her, the poor girl shivering like mad. He cups her cheek, leaning close to whisper something in her ear. Her shivering subsides almost instantly, and she relaxes, her eyes closing lazily. Like... he put her to sleep? What?
"I told you that I'm the only one that can calm her. You don't listen." Daveed says, scooping the limp woman into his arms, tucking her against his chest. "She's mine. Respect that. Not like you have much of a choice, as I'm the one she needs."
"She's not yours. You stole her from us." I hiss. If he wasn't holding her...
"Heh. Good luck explaining it to her." He strides off to the dressing rooms.
It's chapters like this where I'm even like "fuck you, Daveed" and I wrote the damn thing. Poor Lin.
Chapter 9: Temptation
In which Lin fucks up, Ham-style.
"Empty completely..." I whisper in her ear again as she stirs in my arms. I need her to stay out for a while. I've worked too hard to get her for these little visions or whatever to mess it up for me. She's too precious to me. I can't lose her. I rest her on my couch, like a ragdoll, she settles into place.
Damn Lin. It was too soon to let her out of my sight. I can't get careless. Not now. God DAMNIT. I can't lose her.
"So, what did you actually do to her?" Lin leans in my doorway, of course he looks pissed but concerned.
"Wouldn't you like to know." I grumble back. Glancing to Eva in the mirror, She looks so peacefully asleep.
"You said it yourself, not like I can do anything about it at this moment. So what did you do to her." He steps inside, closing the door behind him and leaning on it. True.
"Fine. New year's day, I knocked her out and took her. Gave her alcohol and some drugs, then beat and raped her for 10 hours. Told her you and Oak used and hurt her and beat that into her. The next day, I comforted and nursed her back to health, putting her broken mind back together in my favor." I give the abbreviated story, not feeling like going into detail and not even looking at Lin. "Since then, I beat her to remind her, and keep her body a little drunk and high. She makes the positive associations with me on her own and that reinforces the connection. Of course, I reap the benefits of a drugged and drunk beauty in need of release."
"Dear god... so how'd you put her out just now?" He asks, sounding stunned. He should be.
"While I was piecing her back together, I trained her to react a certain way to certain words and phrases. Kinda like hypnosis, but no watch, haha..." I chuckle dryly. "It's still early. Her mind is trying to adjust, but it's getting there, though it seems I've found a hiccup, like it's trying to compensate for the sudden change."
"Dude, why are you even doing this? You and Oak are best friends. Why would you do this to him?" Lin's right behind me when I look in the mirror, his hand resting on my shoulder.
"I need her. I've wanted her so badly, but I'd have been nothing more than a friend to her. I... I love her." I sigh. "She's my greatest treasure. And now she's all mine."
"Man, this isn't how you get a girl... you can't trick her to love you. It just doesn't work like that." He nudges me, but I shrug him off. I can't lose her. Not when I've worked this hard to get her. The long nights and days to keep her mind on me... I'm not throwing that away.
Behind us, Eva groans, coming around to reality. I push Lin out of the way, kneeling at her side. "Wake up, Doll. I need you to do something for me." Her gorgeous eyes flutter open, a smile spreading across her lips. "Stand up." I command, taking her hand to pull her up.
"Oh... Hi Lin." She shyly says, spotting the visitor in the room. I ignore the interaction and undo Eva's jeans, tugging them down, kneeling beside her.
"Man, what are you... no me diga..." Eva blushes as I turn her, showing Lin her left hip. The "DD" scar skinning over, but at a lighter shade than her chocolate skin. "You...?"
"I cut her. Marked her as mine. Because... because I love her. Everything I do is because I love her..." I reply, looking up to her. She watches me closely, and I know she can see I'm weak here. I'm the one helplessly in love with her. But she'll never love me the same.
"Daveed. That's sick. Horrifyingly sick. How could you..." Lin pales, covering his mouth.
"She's mine. And I intend to keep her. You'll never understand."
"What's... I think I'm the one not understanding. What's going on?" She asks, glancing between the two of us. I stand back up, tugging her jeans back onto her hips, while I lean down to kiss her gently.
"You'll know in due time. For now, empty...." she zones out on command, and I smile proudly.
"Stop doing that. She deserves to know the truth." Lin steps forward, watching her blank fully.
"But why, when she makes such a cute doll. Tell you what... I'll let you play with her if you keep quiet about what I told you." I say, stroking my girl's cheek. She purrs, closing her eyes as she leans into the touch.
"I'm not going to play this sick game of yours, Diggs." Lin shakes his head, backing away.
"Doll, welcome our guest." I say, and Eva bites her lip, setting her eyes on Lin. "You know what he likes."
She strides to him, her hands resting on his chest as she leans in close. I smirk when he grabs her waist, the hesitation on whether or not to push her away is resounding. I shrug and head to the door. "I'll let you think about it." I casually say, stepping out and closing the door behind me.
"Eva, snap out of it." I say, firmly pushing her away as Daveed closes the door.
"But... I want to be your Maria. Your pretty little secret." She purrs, tugging her sweater up and over her head. Fuck... her toned stomach with the perfect V to her... no. No no no, FOCUS.
"Gatita, listen to me. I know you can hear me. Gatita, stop it." I try to keep her at an arm's length. But, oh my god, she's so beautiful.
"Pero papí, quiero jugar contigo..." she purrs, brushing my hands off of her hips she can press against me again. "Abrázame... bésame..." If any other moment was more Maria/Alexander, it'd be a lie.
"Gatita, no. It's not right. You're not... you." I whisper, she was only two breaths away from me, her eyes flickering from my lips to meet my gaze.
"Look at me, I'm the same girl. Your perfect Maria, your star, your stage manager, your pride and joy." She stares me in the eye, and sure enough, the familiar passion and fire burns in her gaze. I inwardly groan. "Come on, Sir... just give him what he wants and you can have me." Her hands travel up my arms, I reflexively tighten my grip on her waist, pulling her closer, my hands smooth over her skin.
"I-i don't want you..." I reply, but it's nowhere near convincing.
"Whatever you want, if you pay..."
"I don't want you..."
"You can stay..." her lips meet mine, and I crack. It feels like a lifetime since I've felt her. I kiss her hard, her hands cup my cheeks. I bite her lower lip hard, and she moans softly. God, she tastes good. I pick her up and put her on the counter, her giggles chiming in the air as she tugs at my shirt, pulling it up and off of me. I make quick work of her bra, tossing it to the growing pile of clothes. I grab her chin, my fingers trailing over her neck as I tilt her head, kissing her throat. I bite every inch I can, marking her just above her collar. Her moans fill the air around us. She makes easy work of unbuckling my belt and fly, my jeans coming loose. I stop, breathing against her perfect skin before leaning back to bring my face back to hers.
"Sir, please... I need you." She purrs back, her arms return to my shoulders, hands swiftly tugging the hairtie out, my hair falling into her fingers. She massages my scalp, making me groan. Last chance. This is my last chance to say no. I can say no to this. It's not right. I take her wrists in my hands and pull her hands from my hair, my face cold. "N-no... don't do this..." she whimpers. I shake my head.
"Eva. I cannot do this. You're not you..." I whisper, stepping back from her. She hops down from the counter, hugging my around my waist.
"Please don't leave me with him helpless..." she coos softly against my skin. I go to wrap my arms around her, but she slips away, kneeling at my feet. Fuck. Her dark chocolate eyes gaze up to me, pleadingly. How do I say no to this. I need to. She's not herself. Oak would kill me if he found out I took this deal. I can't be with her if she's not thinking for herself. I run through every excuse I can. Staring down at her, though, melts my will to pieces. Her submission, her gift, something I always want and crave. No. No, I cannot do this. I can't. I just can't.
"Please..." She takes my hand and rests it on her cheek. She nuzzles my palm, closing her eyes for a second to settle into my touch again. Oak will hate me for this...
I lean down and take her neck in my hand, guiding her to stand back up, pulling her back to my chest. My free hand yanks down her jeans as I push her forward, making her stand in front of the mirror again. I leave her jeans and panties around her knees, bringing my hand to feel her core.
"You slut... so wet already and I've barely touched you." She groans in response as I pull her hips back to me, and in a matter of moments I'm inside her, fucking her hard. I hold her flush to my body, her back arched from my chest, my hand firm around her throat, my arm holding her waist. In the reflection, I watch her. She looks drunk on pleasure, smiling as I pound into her, whimpering loudly. I cover her mouth with my hand, feeling that neither of us are going to last long.
"Cum for me, gatita..." I breathe in her ear. She's so responsive, shuddering against me, her cunt clenching around me, making me moan again her shoulder. I cuss, grinding my hips against hers as I find my release in her. She melts in my arms, a beautiful mess.
I laid her down on the couch, taking my time to fix myself back up. Oak will have my head for this. How could I do this...
"So?" Daveed asks me as I step out of the dressing room, a knowing smirk on his lips.
"Shut up..." I grumble, but he just laughs. "It's just a one time thing. That was it. I'm not playing your game."
"Oh, yes you are." He says, nodding his head to the room I just left. "Because I have something you want. And you're going to help me keep it, now that you know you can get a piece of the reward."
"Fuck off." I huff, shaking my head.
"See you around, Lin. You'll be back. Oh, and fix your hair." He says, going back into his dressing room, and leaving me to my thoughts. I run my fingers through my loose hair, breathing deep. It's only a matter of time until Oak finds out. Man, did I just fuck up or what...
Sometimes, Lin is just a little too much like A.Ham. Damnit, man! Keep it in your pants!!!
*A month or so later- pre-rehearsal meeting*
I pull my shirt back on, tucking it back into my jeans before brushing my hair from my face. Glancing in the mirror, a blissed out gatita lays on my couch, bare but covered with a blanket. God, I cannot keep doing this, but she is an amazing fuck. Every single time. I shake my head, combing my hair back to redo it into ponytail. I don't deserve her. There's no love in this. Just lust. I'm no better than Daveed.
"Thank you, Sir..." I turn, Eva's smile was bright on her lips. I sigh, and kneel beside the couch, stroking her cheek.
"Get up, go to your room and get cleaned up, then come downstairs." I tell her, and she nods. She cups my cheek and guides me close, kissing me warmly. That ache of guilt makes me hesitant, but I kiss her back for a moment. I'm done for. I should have just told Oak. I should have done something that wasn't this.
"Okay, so Ham4Ham is going to be Janthony, because we all ship them and the world needs to see how adorable they are. Otherwise, we'll be running Helpless and Satisfied mostly for rehearsal. There were a few places I think some of us got confused which song we were doing." The cast sat around in a circle on the stage, and just for fun, we put on the turntable so we're all slowly spinning. Because why not. It was worth it to see everyone stand up and start to head off to their places, but stumble as they tried to orient themselves.
The entire time, however, Daveed keeps giving me this... knowing look. It's hard to describe. Like, he's amused knowing he's got dirt on me now. He had Eva in his lap, she was resting against him, probably still exhausted. I'm grateful he lets her do her overnight duties. Well, lately he's been slowly letting her resume all of her responsibilities as stage manager. He's just never too far away from her. The only time is when he's called to do a song for rehearsal. Even then, she hides out in his room or lingers on the balcony. Point is, they're nearly inseparable.
"Eva, to me for a moment?" I call, reluctantly. This is awkward enough, but she's still stage manager.
"Yes, Sir?" She smiles, batting her eyes up to me. I internally groan... this is going to be a long day.
"Don't call me Sir. I need you to make sure the props got reset. Especially the papers and quills. We were missing some last night." I tell her, keeping my hands in my pockets.
"Yes, Sir, I'll get that done right away!" She smiles, biting her lip for a moment before striding away. I hate to see her go, but fuck it if I love to watch her leave. Of course she ignores my first request. I blame Daveed. That man's a sadist.
"Um. Lin? Are you trying out for the mannequin challenge?"
"Huh what?" I jump a little, turning to face Groffsauce. (I just realized I never mentioned him in my first book, like he didn't exist... my bad!!)
"Heh, you okay? I mean, you totally spaced out there."
"Yea yea, I'm awesome. Let's do this."
"Sir Lin, if I may borrow you a moment?" Damn, am I the man of the hour or something? I catch Darien standing offstage, so I walk over and hop down. Nailed the hero landing.
"Hey, what's up and what happened to you?" I furrow my eyebrows. It's not really noticeable, but there is definitely a bruise still healing on his jaw.
"Unfortunately, that's what I wanted to talk about. It's about my Lady of the House, Eva, you see-"
"I know." I stop him before he even starts.
"I know what happened to her. Daveed told me straight up. Oak doesn't know yet. But I do."
"Oh, um... wow. Wasn't expecting that. He just outright confessed?" Darien asks, taken aback by it.
"Well, yea. He's cocky, but he's also careful. He never lets her too far from his sight."
"There is one time he's not around. Night time. He usually leaves her by herself. Here." He hands me a small silver key.
"What's this to? And how would you know...?"
"A story for another time, Sir Lin. The key is to her backstage door. That's the spare. Eva of course still has hers, and Daveed took mine. You'll need it, trust me."
"Wait, why do you have a key-"
"Not important, just keep it safe. You or Sir Okieriete might need it. If you'll excuse me, front of house needs my attention." He bows politely, before striding back up the aisle. Ok. Was that weird or was it just me? He's just... Odd.
Ok then, on with rehearsals.
When lunch rolls around, I was hanging backstage with the mighty Oak and Groffsauce, waiting on some others so we could go out together.
"... besides, pineapple just adds the right amount of sweetness to savory pizza. It enhances the flavor." I defend. The debate never ends. Oak playfully gags, making Groff and I laugh.
"Dude, pineapple is fine in upside down cakes. I think I'll keep it off of my pizza." Oak offers the rebuttal.
"Haha... agree to disagree?"
"Yea, man, guess so." He chuckles, and we all just laugh it off. The key burns a whole in my pocket. Oak would be ecstatic to have a way to get to Eva. But...
"Shut up..." I grumble, but he just laughs. "It's just a one time thing. That was it. I'm not playing your game."
"Oh, yes you are." He says, nodding his head to the room I just left. "Because I have something you want. And you're going to help me keep it, now that you know you can get a piece of the reward."
If I speak, I'm condemned, Oak will hate me for having my way with his girl when we're supposed to be finding a way to get her out. If I stay silent, I am damned... I get to keep Eva in my life, I won't have to wait until she's free of Daveed, but I'll be blocking Oak from his love.
UGH. THERE'S NO GOOD WAY OUT.
"You okay, man?" I pat Lin's back, "you're spacing out again." He jumps back to life.
"Huh, yea! Yea, I'm great, just thinkin' about... food."
"Yea, me too. Chris needs to hurry up. And if Daveed could stop making out with my girlfriend..." my hands tightened. I'll never stop calling her mine. I'm not giving up. Not until she's safe in my arms.
The three of us froze, hearing the distinct sound of skin on skin. We looked at each other for a moment, before deciding to get up and investigate. We peeked around the corner to the near empty stage, and the scene broke my heart.
Eva, tears streaming down her cheeks, was kneeling with Daveed standing over her, his face cold and controlling. I audibly growl, I'm ready to beat his bitch ass, but Lin grabs my arm.
"Hold up, watch." He whispers.
Daveed kneels to her level, drawing a hand in her hair to hold her still, his free hand caressing her reddening cheek. She shivers, but tries to keep still. He starts talking to her, but I can't make out what he's saying. She shakes her head no quickly, but that earned her another harsh smack. I step forward, but Lin holds me back. Hearing Eva cry like that... no. I'm going to destroy him. She nods slowly, the correction obviously changed her mind. He smiles, giving her a quick kiss before standing back up, taking her arm to make her stand too. She looks terrified, staring up to him, but the expression melts away as he whispers something in her ear. In fact, her eyes roll back and she falls against him, he scoops her up effortlessly.
"I know you guys are over there." He says, cradling the woman in his arms. Busted.
"What did you do to her?" I demand, shaking free from Lin to stride over to Daveed and my love.
"No worries, she's just asleep. She'll wake up in an hour or so."
"You know what I mean, Daveed. What did you do... why is she afraid? Why does she scream whenever Lin and I touch her? Why doesn't she love me anymore..." Seeing her so peaceful melts my heart. I want to be the one holding her again when she's sleepy, tucking her in, waking her up with tea and kisses. "What did you do..."
"I dunno, ask Lin." He shrugs, a sly grin on his face. Why would Lin know...? He'd tell me if he...
Lin was looking down at his shoes, shifting nervously.
"Yea?" He answers. No...
"You know." I breathe, and Daveed chuckles. "How... why didn't you say something?"
"Because he wants a piece of the reward for his silence. But, I changed my mind. This is much more fun to watch." Daveed interrupts.
"Reward?! Lin what could possibly be worth not telling me you know what happened to our girl? What could possibly be so worth it that you..." No. No no no. He wouldn't. I step back from him, shaking my head. "Eva was the reward."
Lin slowly nods, looking away. I rear back, ready to knock his fucking lights out, but Groff grabs my arm.
"Hey hey hey, not the face! Don't do it. Yea, it's shitty, but not worth it. Okay?" He tugs my arm down, but I keep my glare on Lin.
"Yea. You're right. Not worth it." I breathe out, tugging my arm from Jon. I turn like I'm walking away, but a swift shift and my fist meets Lin's stomach. "But he still deserves it." Lin doubles over, coughing out as the air's knocked out of him. Daveed chuckles again, walking away with Eva in his arms.
"Yup I deserved that." Lin groans out. "Oak, listen. I know I shouldn't have done it, but at least now I know and we can better help our girl."
"My girl. You lost you chance when you tried to hide it." I say cooley. "So you're going to fill me in, then you're going to fuck off, because you've lost the respect I had for you when it comes to Eva." I walk away, straight for the door outside. I need to cool off.
I'm coming for you, Eva. Don't worry, snugs.
Uh oh :3 i hate hurting Oak like this! It makes me just want to hug him and make everything better. I'm so sorry!!!!!
I'm actually not sorry, Oak. But you'll thank me later<3
Chapter 11: Planned
In which the cast bands together.
When I got back, the theatre was mostly empty, except for Lin. I met him on stage, sitting on the edge like we used to with Eva.
"I'm sorry, Oak."
"I know. Why did you do it?" We don't look at each other, staring out into the empty house.
"She... she looked like she did when I first fell for her. Her eyes glowed with that fire she has. The passion. But every time, it felt empty, like it was just a front. That's no excuse, though. Here." He hands me a small key. "It's to Eva's door. Darien gave it to me earlier."
"Were you going to hide this too?"
"No. Because I respect you and she's your girl. I have no right to come between you two."
He took time to fill me in on what he knew, and I could feel hatred welling inside me towards Daveed. He abused my precious girl... I'm not going to stand for it.
"We need to clear her system. He's always making her drink from what he gives her. I'm sure if we all band together, we can find a way to get her drinking clean water. Then she can start thinking straight." He says, I nod.
"I'll get upstairs to see what he's got for her in her room." I reply, making my move to stand up. "I'll do that now since they should be out for another hour or so."
"Oak... I really am sorry. If there's anything else I can do..."
"Just text the crew. I'll take care of the rest." I turn and walk away, heading to her door. True to his word, it works, and I'm running up the stairs to her room. She always kept it clean... so seeing her room in disarray was certainly surprising. I can deal with that later. I go right to her fridge, and dig out the dozen water bottles that are there. All the seals are broken already...
I pour every single one down the drain. It smells of alcohol (and bad decisions... sorry). He's really been keeping her drunk all the time. It's amazing how well she's adjusted. No wonder she was so manic at first. I refill all of them with tap water, and replace them in the fridge. That part's at least done. My phone dings.
Group Message from Linnamon Roll:
Hey guys. You all know something's been up with Eva lately, and Oak and I have figured out the first step to getting her back. If you see her drinking something, usually a water bottle, see if you can replace it with a fresh one. Remember to open it first to break the seal. Or bring her something to try, or coffee or tea from down the street. Point is, don't let Daveed keep giving her drinks. We need to get bad stuff out of her system so she can start to think clearly again. On board?
The following messages were all agreements. This could work. Let's find out.
The team recollects for rehearsal. Almost instantly, I watch Daveed give her a water bottle, probably from his fridge. Hm.
"Hey Eva! Come on, I want to do your makeup before we get busy." Jazzy laughs, taking her hand and tugging her away. I catch her eye, she smiles at me, throwing a wink my way. I follow the pair at a distance, watching them get settled into Schuyler dressing room. "Okay, close your eyes, lemme get what you have off first."
"Okay.." Eva set's the bottle down on the counter, freeing her hands to hold a makeup remover bottle and tissues for Jazz. Ren takes the bottle and replaces it with a fresh on, slipping the bad one into her backpack. Out of sight. I smile... we can do this.
This pattern continues all evening. When she finished a bottle, she'd get another from Daveed's room. After Ren got the first, Anthony got her some tea, smoothly slipping the bottle from her hands. Later on, Javi made cafecito, and her and Ariana spent the rest of the evening giggling between scenes, binging in grape juice.
This is going to work.
Short, but plot has to happen eventually. Soooo yea.
This is literally just a "plot had to happen and I couldn't figure out how to sugar coat it" chapter.
Chapter 12: Hangover
In which Eva is sick of his shit.
*one week later- February 9th, 2016*
Please kill me.
Ok. Maybe not, but I've been puking for the last hour. Death feels like it'd be easier than this. The headache isn't helping either.
Call from Daddy Diggs - My phone announces. I heave myself from the bathroom floor back over to my bed.
"Where are you? I thought I told you to meet me at the cafe this morning." He sounds unhappy, but whatever.
"I've been throwing up all morning. Shut up. I'm not coming down today."
"Oh baby, why didn't you tell me? You know I want to take care of you." His demeanor changes on a dime. Wow. Whiplash much...
"Because I can take care of myself and-"
"No, I take care of you. You know that. Ever since you became mine, I promised I'd take care of you." He interrupts me. For some reason, this kinda pisses me off.
"I don't need to be taken care of 24/7. I can handle a little stomach bug. I don't need you getting sick, you've got a show to do."
"Also, why do you call me doll, I'm not a toy." I ask, annoyance in my voice. No response... "hello?" Click. Did he just...
Wow. He hung up on me. I'm not even feeling upset or anything. We've been doing this for a few days now. Oh well, making another call.
"Oak, can you do me a favor?"
"I-sure! Sure absolutely. Anything you want."
"Can you bring me some tea? I'm sick today."
"Absolutely. Be there in 10."
"Great. Thank you!"
I hung up and set my phone down. Oak and I have been hanging out again, I wish I knew why we stopped... but, it's nice to have him back around again. This last week's been rough. Daveed and I have been fighting a lot, mainly over the fact that I don't need to be babied. I'm an adult, damnit. He gets so indignant when I push back in any way, like he can't imagine why I would ever do that. Anyway, I get dressed for the day, seeing as I'll be up for a while. Just as I'm tugging the beanie on, my phone buzzes.
Tree Bear Man : i'm here
Wooo! Tea time! I bound downstairs, out my stage door and to the stage. There he is, waiting with two cups in hand.
"Wow, you're a life saver." I coo, taking one of the cups from him. I reflexively flinch as our fingers brush. "Thank you so much, Oak."
"No problem. What's going on?" He asks, walking towards the edge of the stage. I follow him.
"Just been throwing up a lot already. Probably caught a stomach bug or something."
"Ahh... well, why didn't you call Daveed then, he'll worry." My nose scrunches up at the thought.
"Well, one because I'm an adult and I can take care of myself. He'd just be hovering over me the whole time. And he called me right before I called you, but he hung up on me! Seriously! Hung up on me. I think it's because I questioned why he calls me Doll all the time. I mean, I love him and he's great and all, but I'm not a toy or possession. Seriously." I rant on and on, Oak sitting beside me, nodding along. "Another thing... the other day, he slapped me! Legit clean across the face! For telling him no over something stupidly small. I mean, during the right times, I'm into it, but for disagreeing?"
"That's abuse. Why are you still with him anyway?" Oak asks. Huh... why am I even with him? I love him, sure... but I'm not in love with him.
"I dunno. I kinda feel like I have to be. It's only been a month since we've been together, maybe we're just fighting?"
"Listen to yourself. What did you just say? He's hitting you, hovering, sounds like he's trying to control you." He shrugs, sipping his tea.
"He's just really protective..."
"There's a bold line between being protective of someone you care about, and controlling them, suffocating them."
"Eva, you've seen your back." I flinch at the mention. Yea... When the Schuylers and I went shopping the other day, they all cried when they saw my back. They took a picture and showed me it. Daveed has been a little hard on me lately. Those scars aren't going to heal anytime soon. I don't like anyone touching me. It hurts too much.
"Perhaps... you're right. But what if he flips? I kinda don't want to take another beating."
"Want me to be there with you?" He smiles reassuringly.
"Yea, I'd like that." I smile back, nodding to him. He raises his cup, and I gently tap mine to his. "You're the best, Bear."
"Anything for you, snugs."
"H-hey Daveed, can we talk?" I knock on his door, Oak standing just behind me. Dav opens it and looks at me, then to the other man.
"Sure, Doll, what's up? Hey Oak." He replies, a bit coldly seeing as I'm not alone.
"Can we come in?" I ask.
"You can, I don't see why he's here." He glares over my shoulder at Oak, who returns a much calmer look.
"I want him here. Just, let us in. I'd rather get this over with." He nods, and moves aside. We come in, Oak shuts the door. I don't sit or anything, I want this to be quick. "I want to break up with you. I don't think this is working out."
"Don't be silly, Eva, of course this is working out. Everything I do, I do because I love you. You know that." Dav says smoothly, chuckling. I'm not laughing.
"I'm serious. We're over. I don't need you hovering over me all the time, and I'm done with the beatings. Sure, I'm a pain slut, but what you do is way too much for me."
"Doll, c'mon. You don't mean that." He starts to come towards me, but I back up, bumping into Oak.
"Don't touch her." Oak speaks up, and Daveed's face turns furious.
"Oh, are you her guardian now? The mighty oak coming to save the day?"
"I'm here to support her, and she doesn't like to be touched. So don't touch her." Oak can keep his cool through anything.
"She's mine, so you can back off and-"
"I'm not anyone's! I'm not property. Stop talking about me like I'm a gem or a toy or a fucking doll. I'm not. And this is precisely why we're through. Goodbye Daveed." I hiss before they can get into it. "Come on, Oak, I'm done here." I turn, and Oak opens the door for me, but Daveed grabs my arm, pulling me to him. I scream as loud as I can... it hurts... "Do NOT touch me!!"
"Eva, listen, babydoll I'm sorry, just-" I push against him, but he wraps his arms around me, trying to hold me.
"No! I'm done listening to you! Now LET GO!" I scream, struggling against him. Defeat starts to cover his face.
"Shhh shh... empty, my love, empty completely. Stop fighting against me." Like a trigger those words resonate in me, and my will dies down, like my mind is shutting down.
He chuckles darkly as she falls limp in his arms. "Haha... you might have gotten her consciously, but subconsciously, she's still mine." He really has lost his goddamn mind.
"WHAT is going on here?!" Chris arrives at the door, Leslie and Pippa in tow. They must have been in their rooms, everyone else is out on stage. "Eva! What happened to her?"
"Daveed wouldn't let her go when she told him to, then she passed out." I filled them in. "She was trying to break up with him."
"Damnit Oak. Don't listen to him, he's lying. I would never-"
"Cut the crap, Daveed. We know." Chris shuts him up fast. "Oak, take Eva. Daveed, come with me." I nod, stepping forward to take the sleeping girl in my arms. Finally... back where she belongs. Chris grabs Daveed by his shirt and drags him out, down to the stage where he unapologetically interrupts rehearsal.
"What's going on?" Lin asks, but realization fills his eyes when he spots Eva in my arms, nestled into my chest.
"Eva tried to break up with this punk, but he wouldn't take no for an answer." Chris said, pushing Daveed forward.
"So. She's finally done with you? Great. You're fired."
"But Lin, I-" Daveed starts, but no one is having any of his shit.
"I'm sorry, did I fucking stutter? You are fired, you abusive fuckroll. Get your shit and get out of my theatre!" Lin yells, even making Daveed step back.
"Fine. I'll be back."
"Whatever, Terminator. Good luck getting tickets." Lin waves him off, coming over to me. He gazes over her, stroking her cheek slowly. "Safe at last. Thank you, Oak. And thank all of you." He turns to the cast. "We got out bun back." They cheer, Daveed grumps his way out of the theatre. In my arms, Eva stirs slightly from all the noise.
"Wha- what? N-no, let me go..." she squirms, her eyes fluttering slowly.
"Shh... it's okay." I soothe. "It's okay. I've got you. You're safe. You're okay now." She whimpers softly as she comes around, until finally, her beautiful eyes meet mine, and a blush returns to her cheeks as she realizes where she is.
"Bear... I um... you can put me down now..." she shyly stutters, and I can't help but laugh, but I do set her on her feet. "Thanks."
"You won't have to worry about Diggs coming around the theatre anymore." Lin says cooly. "So take the day off and relax. You've earned it."
"Oh, wow... thanks." She glances up to me again, biting her lip a little. "I'll just be upstairs then. Let me know when it's time for food, I'll tag along." I smile back to her and nod.
Lin glances between the two of us. "Oak, walk her upstairs, make sure she gets settled in?"
"Oh no! I can walk mysel-"
"That's a negative, young lady. You've already passed out once today, and someone told me you were sick this morning. So, Oak?"
"Fine, papí." She laughs, sticking her tongue out at him before looking back up to me, the blush creeping back into her cheeks. "Come on." Just like when I first met her. So shy but vibrant.
"Sorry about Lin. We all just want to make sure you're okay, snugs." I say as we get to the stairwell.
"I know, I appreciate it. Besides, this gives me a chance to talk to you." I raise an eyebrow. "I um... I knew something was wrong, that it didn't feel right to be with Daveed. I couldn't seem to put my finger on it, though, so I never pushed. I don't know what changed that helped me clear my head. Hell, the last clear memory I had when Daveed and I got together was him visiting me on stage on our day off after the party."
"You were taken, m'Lady." A voice sounds from inside her room.
"Darien!" She squeaks, "Dear god, what are you doing in my room and what did I tell you about coming around unannounced. Keep this up and I will legit fire you." He chuckles a little, scratching the back of his neck.
"I came to change the locks on your room, now that the bastard is gone. He took my key." He explains. "Also, hello Sir Okieriete."
"Hey Darien, thanks, by the way. Lin gave me the spare you had." I reply with a nod.
"Anyway. Taken?" Eva steps forward toward her usher.
"Yes, m'Lady. He told me he had a meeting with you and he needed to get into the theatre, so I let him in, but it turned into him punching me out and you had quite a fall back to the stage from your sling. It must have given you a nasty concussion, probably why you have gaps in your memory. I give my sincerest apologies, m'Lady. I shouldn't have let him in."
"It is my duty to watch over you and serve you, and I failed." He knelt and gently took her hand, laying a light kiss on it.
"Darien, get up, don't go all chivalrous on me..." she whispers, patting his cheek.
"Am I missing something?" I furrow my brow.
"Darien is like me. He's connected to another theatre... the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, right?"
"Yes, m'Lady, just across the street." Darien stands. "I've been around much longer than my Lady here, I served and guided her across the years. I spend every evening here to escort her to her box seat and back, and I am on call at any other time. Otherwise, I am in my theatre."
"So you guys..." I glance between the two.
"He's practically my big brother. God no." She giggles, Darien gives a smirk as well. "I pay him for his time, of course, but he never takes it. Which also means I can't fire him, though sometimes I really want to!" He chuckles, scratching the back of his neck.
"I just wish to see m'Lady happy. 'Tis all." He bows again, shaking my hand before heading out the door, leaving us alone.
Much plot. Happy times.
EYYYY you go girl!!!
Chapter 13: Separated
In which Lin respects the decision.
"Could we start again, please?" I ask, turning to him. I know we were dating and in love before Daveed went cray cray... but it's been a month. I don't know what seeing me with Diggs did to us. He steps closer to me, holding a hand to me.
"Absolutely. Anything for you, snugs." He replies softly. I look down to his hand, hesitantly placing mine in his. I feel the dull ache in my back return, and I flinch, but I hold his hand. It's warm and gentle, just like him.
"I'm so sorry..." I sigh, tears welling in my eyes. "god, I'm sorry. For avoiding you, not letting you touch me, for just... disappearing.."
"Shh... easy, my love. Slow down and breathe. It was not your fault. You're safe now." He rests a hand on my cheek, his thumb wiping away my tears.
"But I hurt you and-"
"And it wasn't your fault. You were abused and drugged. God knows what that did to your system. Only water and tea from now on, okay." We both chuckle a little. "Are you okay with me touching you?"
"A little. It... it still hurts a little." I nod, fidgeting. He starts to pull his hand away from my cheek, but I put my hand on his and keep it there. "I didn't say you couldn't touch me."
"Can I kiss you?" He asks, bringing his other arm around me.
"Maybe..." I smile a little, biting my lip. "If you ask nicely." I step closer to him. He chuckles again.
"May I kiss you, kitten?" He asks, leaning down, his nose brushing mine. I nod, feeling his breath on my lips. He sighs, pressing his lips to mine. This feels right. All kinds of right. I rest my free hand on his chest as he pulls me closer. I can feel him holding back, being so gentle with me. I don't want gentle. I take his shirt in my hand, tugging lightly as I press my lips harder to his.
"Easy..." he whispers, pulling away.
"No, kiss me, please Bear..."
"You need to rest."
"I need you."
"I promise. I'll be back later. Rest now." He says, walking me to my bed. He lays me down, pulling the comforter over me. "Sleep a little while, my love."
"No, rest. I'll come get you when it's time for food."
"Kitten." He says in that firm 'what did I just say' voice.
"Fine..." he kisses my forehead before standing. "Hey..."
"Don't be mad at Lin. I kinda made it difficult for him to say no. And he is a man of his word, no matter who he makes a deal with." I say, but he keeps his back to me, walking out without another word.
I made faces at Pip, making her giggle loudly while Alex tried to reset people in their places. Gotta say, her giggles are worth it. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Oak sneaking back into the formation. I smile inwardly, he looks happier already.
"Yea. You're right. Not worth it." he breathes out, tugging his arm from Jon. I thought he was going to just walk away, but he turned fast and his fist met my stomach. "But he still deserves it." He growled, watching me double over. Daveed chuckled again.
"Yup I deserved that.Oak, listen. I know I shouldn't have done it, but at least now I know and we can better help our girl." I groaned. That's gonna bruise. Shit, he's buff. Jon came to my side and rubbed my back as I coughed, trying to catch my breath back.
" My girl. You lost you chance when you tried to hide it." He said over me, "So you're going to fill me in, then you're going to fuck off, because you've lost the respect I had for you when it comes to Eva."
"Lin, whatcha thinkin'?" Pip pokes my nose, drawing me out of my head.
"Oh, just happy. Eva's back with Oak, Diggs is out, things can finally feel somewhat normal." I reply, sliding my hands in my pockets.
"Oh yay, you two should hang out, I know you missed her a ton." She smiles, bouncing a little. "I totally lowkey ship it."
"Haha... yea... that's not happening." I sigh, and her smile drops.
"What? Why? You two have so much together!"
"I kinda ruined my chances, at least for the time being. Oak kinda hates me."
"I doubt Oak hates you. I don't think he can hate anyone. Except maybe Daveed, he did steal his girl." I chuckle quietly, Pip bumps shoulders with me. "Come on, whatever it is, it can't be that bad. Maybe he just needs to focus on Eva for a while, he was worried sick."
"Maybe I just need to know I can trust you with my girl." Oak's voice pops up out of nowhere. We both look to see that we were on an empty stage. Oh. Guess lunchtime came. Whoops.
"I know, Oak. I know. I respect that fully. Doesn't mean that I miss her, though." I reply sadly.
"Pip, go get some lunch, the ladies are waiting for you." Oak says, nodding towards the backstage area. She glances to me first, and I nod that I'll be okay, and she wanders off. "Lin-"
"No. Don't. I know I messed up. I used her like a toy, a prize. I don't deserve her, Oak." He nods, letting me speak. "I'll still love her and support her as my Stage Manager, and I'll happily work by her. But, I won't touch her. Just... can I kiss her one last time?" He looks over me, considering my words.
"Okay. I'll allow you that." He holds out his hand. I grin, taking it and giving him a firm handshake.
We reconvene for the second part of rehearsals about an hour later and rehearse all the way until about two hours before showtime.
"Decent!" I call, not looking up from my laptop. The door opens. "What can I do for ya?"
"Oak said you wanted to see me?" I spin around, Eva's beauty fills my room. "Everything okay?"
"Yea! Yea yea, I um. Yea, I wanted to see you. I um... Sit." I scoot over to the couch, she comes over and sits by me.
"What's wrong? You're acting super nervous." I chuckle dryly.
"Eva..." I take her hands in mine. They fit so well, I lace our fingers together. Perfect. "I can't have you for a while. Because I took that deal and... used you, Oak doesn't trust me with you." Her smile drops and she opens her mouth to speak, but I continue. "I respect his decision. Honestly, I'm disgusted with myself for letting myself do it. I love you and I respect you so much, but that didn't show in how I treated you."
"Lin, no... I need you too, I need my Sir." She pleads, tears welling in her eyes. I cup her cheeks, I can't bear to see her cry...
"Nonono, don't cry, gatita. I promise you won't lose me completely. Of course, I'm still your boss, and you're still my best friend. I won't be your Sir. I don't deserve your submission." I sweep my thumbs over her cheeks, wiping the tears away. "Don't cry. I'm still here. I just... I don't deserve you."
"Yes, you do! I need you! I'll talk to Bear, I 'll convince him, I... I... Sir..." I pull her from the couch, taking her into my lap and holding her tightly. She sobbed into my shoulder. I stayed quiet, rubbing her back slowly. I keep her close for as long as I can, even turning back to my laptop and working on emails with her tears subsiding to quiet whimpers.
"You know I love you, Eva." I whisper to her as she settles down.
"I love you too, Lin." She whispers back. The hour call comes over the intercom. I sigh softly, leaning back slightly with my gatita in my lap. I lift a hand to her cheek, nudging her to sit up slightly. She sits up, her forearms resting across my chest.
"He said I can kiss you one more time, may I?" She sighs, her eyes look so upset, so hurt, but she nods. "Hey, it won't be forever. I promise."
"I know... but, I'll miss you."
"I'll be right here, gatita. Right in this room. You can come hang out or sleep or chat or do my makeup and hair at any time. We can still do Ham4Ham, we can still listen to music and sing obnoxiously."
"It won't be the same..."
"Shhh..." I lean into her, kissing her gently, hushing her. Her tears wet my fingers as I hold her cheek, but she kisses me back. I can feel my own tears starting to fall as well. Damn, I'll miss her. She's right, it won't be the same, but I respect Oak. I hold her tighter, our lips frantic in their affections. I bite her lip firmly, drawing a moan from her, a sound I might not hear for a long time. I groan in return, slipping my tongue past her lips to dance with hers, tasting her one last time. My fingers dig into her waist, feeling the skin along her lower back. So soft, so smooth...
Soon, I need air, but I desperately need her more. Reluctantly, I pull back, a soft pop sounding between us as our lips part. She sobs softly, I pull her into my shoulder, holding her tightly. I sigh, breathing deep to compose myself as well. I stand up, holding her in my arms before slowly letting her feet down. She clings tightly to me.
"Gatita... Go downstairs to Oak." Those words hurt, but I can be strong. It's not forever. I won't let it be forever.
"No... I don't want to let you go." She begs.
"Eva. Go." I reach up and unhook her arms from me. "Go, and don't look back." I kiss her forehead lightly, before gently turning her around. "That's my last order." She sobs once more, covering her mouth. "Go." She takes a step, pausing a moment to glance at me in the mirror beside us, before running from the room.
I feel the air leave my lungs as she goes. I won't lie, it hurts. But I won't let it be forever.
I'll earn her back again.
Damn, this is my third chapter written today and I'm so close to crying right now. Poor Lin. Why am I so mean to Lin? >_<
Sad Lin makes me sad.
Chapter 14: Missed
In which Oak finally has his girl back.
Eva came back in tears, and I just hugged her tightly as she let it out. She was sobbing hard, but I stood my ground on my decision. After about half an hour, I sat her down on the couch so I could change and get mic-ed.
"What... what was it like?" She asks.
"What was what like?"
"Seeing me with Daveed? Watching me kiss him, snuggle him, answer to him all the time." She blushes lightly, probably embarrassed.
"It was... it was hard." I sit beside her, laying my storyteller jacket over my lap. "I was watching the woman who had my heart be with another man like I had meant nothing to her. I watched him take possession of her and flaunt it to the world." She looks away, but I take her chin in my hand and bring her eyes back to me. "I watched him hit you, control you like a doll and you complied. He... tamed you." I sigh, shaking my head as I look over the leather collar on her neck. "I thought he broke my girl..."
"I... I've always been broken. You and Lin and the cast just pieced me back together."
"But he tried to take the fire out of you, to just leave you blank. He almost did. I can't lose you like that."
I had one more thing that needed to get done.
"Eva, hold still, okay?" She nods slowly, lifting her chin. I slid the blade of a pocket knife between her neck and the leather collar, gently cutting through the strip until it pops off. "Much better... no more of him on my girl." I say proudly, taking the new chain with the dogtags and securing them back around her neck. She bites her lip, keeping her gaze low. "What's wrong?"
"I... you don't know, do you? You haven't seen it?" She whispers.
"Seen what?" I ask, concern filling me. She gently pushes me away, standing up. She unbuttons her jeans, tugging them down. "Eva I-" I start, but I immediately understand what she was talking about. It was faint, but clearly there in her skin. "I'm going to beat him."
"No, don't. He's not worth it."
"When did this happen?" I ask, my finger tracing the healed scar on her hip.
"I think when he first got me. He wanted a permanent mark on me." She sighs, and when I looked up at her, tears were welling in her eyes.
"No, no more tears. You have nothing to cry about." I stand up, taking her back in my arms. I didn't care if she cried into my costume. She needed the comfort.
Five minutes to places! The intercom sounds over us. I sigh. I tug her jeans back on her hips, holding her waist for a moment.
"I gotta go, love. Do you want to stay here or come down with me?" I mutter, kissing her forehead lightly.
"I'll hide here. I think I need some quiet time." She whispers, and I nod.
"I'll be back around intermission. I love you."
"I love you too, Bear." She smiles, and I kiss her one more time before grabbing my Herc jacket and beanie and heading downstairs.
After Yorktown, I head back upstairs. I'm done for the first act. Finally, this show is strangely exhausting. Anyway, in my room, Eva was typing away on my laptop. I stay in the doorway, watching her. She's laying on her stomach, the laptop on the couch in front of her, her feet bouncing a little. Soooo tempting. I sneak in, stepping slowly and as gently as I can, and reach for the soles of her feet. My fingertips barely drag over them when she squeals and basically falls off the couch, and I'm howling with laughter.
"Bear!" She yells, laughing once she sees it's me. Her cheeks are red from the scare. How adorable.
"Hey love. Whatcha working on?" I ask, holding a hand out for her to take and pull her up. Of course, I bring her to my chest, laying a kiss on her forehead.
"Just getting some thoughts out of my head. Something Lin always tells me to do, it really does help..." I frown a little at his name, but I nod anyway.
"That's good. How are you feeling?"
"I'm okay, things are a bit jumbled up there, but I'm working on it." She nuzzles in against my chest. I take the Herc jacket and wrap it around her, hugging her close. I chuckle as she looks up at me, biting her lip.
"What?" I smile, kneading my fingers in her lower back.
"Aren't you gonna kiss me?" She giggles back, batting her pretty eyes up at me.
"Hmm... maybe. I mean, I could, but that'd be too easy." I pretend to think, smirking a little. She laughs more, a beautiful sound filling my room.
"Please, Bear?" She purrs, reaching up to cup my cheeks.
"Well, with manners like that..." I grin, leaning down to meet her lips, gently kissing the love of my life. She sighs into me, relaxing my touch. This is the kind of moment I missed, the playful banter, the sweet affection. Her arms rest over my shoulders, my hands resting on her hips. She has the perfect figure, curvy in the right way. I turn us slowly, parting my lips from hers long enough for me to sit on my couch, pulling her into my lap. She's so cute with my coat on her. Her lips find mine eagerly, a soft moan sounding from her as we make-out. I could be happy like this forever.
"Be my girl?" I say between kisses, earning a giggle from her. Her eyes light up as I show her the bracelet I got her back in December.
"I already am, Bear." She says, leaning back for a moment so I can put it back on her, before she leans her forehead on mine, her breath washing over my lip. "You know my heart is yours, Oak. Always." I rest a hand on the back of her neck and reconnect our lips. Those words always make me happy to hear.
"You complete me. You're the bubbly bun I've needed for so long." I whisper, pecking her lips lightly. "I'm lost without you." Her eyes get misty with tears, but my thumb catches them before they get to fall.
"You're my stability. I need you like I need air. Always. I love you."
"I love you too, snugs." I say proudly.
My love is back. I kiss her again before standing up with her in my arms, only to set her down where I was. I had to get changed for Madison and back downstairs. But afterwards, she's mine.
Another show, nailed it. Lin did announce that Daveed would not be returning to the show due to "personal issues". Bastard deserves it. He's lucky Lin didn't give the full story.
Of course, after saying a few words to others after curtain call, I make a beeline for my dressing room, to my girl. And when I open the door, I'm more than delighted by what I see. Eva in my Herc coat, laying on my couch, watching Beauty and the Beast. She pauses it when she hears the door open.
"Bear!" She smiles, jumping up from the couch and tackling me in a hug.
"Haha... miss me?" I chuckle, hugging her tight to me. "I was only gone an hour, snugs."
"Yea, and an hour is basically an eternity. I missed you so much."
"Maybe I can make it up to you..."
"Oh? How do you think you can do that?"
"Well, I don't have any interviews tomorrow, so..." I lean down, giving her temple a quick kiss before whispering, "I could spend the night if you want me to..." I felt her shiver and hug me tighter.
"Absolutely. I wouldn't have it any other way." She says, nestling her nose into my neck. "Thank you, Bear, so much." I hold her, god I wanted to just hold her forever. I missed her. You never truly know how much you miss someone until they're back in your arms. I never want to let her go again. Hell, I don't even want to share her. Not even with Lin. She's worth the world to me... "Bear... what's wrong... why are you crying?"
"I cherish you, Eva. So much. Seeing what he's done to you hurts me. Knowing your beautiful skin is forever scarred by that monster of a man tears me apart." I keep my head buried in her shoulder, clinging to her. "The only time I ever want you to leave my arms is if you ever decide that you don't want to be with me. That's it. I can't have you taken from me... not again..."
"Bear..." She rubs my shoulders gently, moving to massage the back of my neck. "I'm here. I'm here now. You got me." She coos. "Come on, get changed. Then we can go cuddle and watch movies and maybe make out with a possibility of sex." I chuckle a little, pulling back so I can look at her. She cups my cheeks again, wiping away my tears. "No more tears, my love. I'm right here. I'm back with you. So, get changed. Also, I'm keeping this jacket. I'll get another for you to use. All I need is a beanie then we can match!"
I laugh, giving her a short kiss. It's going to be a good night.
I leaned against the wall by the doorway, listening to the two, and I can't help but smile. Yea, I'm sad that I can't hold her too, but, he needs her. They need each other. They are perfect.
I almost ended the book here... but, I knew I had more to say. Also, I may have accidentally started a plan for a new book. whoops.
Chapter 15: Lifeline
In which Darien discovers a way out.
*The next morning*
I haven't slept alone in a long while, but this morning was special. Waking up to Oak's arm around my waist, holding me to him, was the best feeling in the world. He held me close, even while he slept, his grip on me was firm. Skin on skin, who needs pj's anyway? Ok, so we still had our pajama bottoms on, but whatever. It was comforting. I could stay there forever.
"I know you're awake." His breath warms my hair a little. His sleepy voice... just wow. I giggle softly, rubbing his arm. He gives me a squeeze. "What time is it?" I reach and pluck my phone from the bedside table.
"10:47am. Still too early." I grumble.
Call from Kail Salad- it rings, so I put it on speaker.
"Hey Eva, and probably Oak because he disappeared promptly after the show. Just wanted to let you know you both have the day off. Eva, you need to rest and try to finish getting the toxic shit out of your system, take your time. Lin said um... 'Oak's her handler, he'll make sure she eats, drinks and rests properly'."
"Awe, thanks. I mean, we don't need the day off, I'm fi-"
"Thanks Thomas. Greatly appreciated. We'll check in tomorrow." Oak cuts me off and reaches over me to hit the End Call button.
"Bear, I can work. I barely do anything during showtime, just a few pre-show stuff and post show. I'd just be your dress room the rest of the time." I scoot away from him so I can face him. He had a lazy smile already on his lips. He wraps his arm around me again, pulling me back to his bare chest and kissing me gently.
"You are so hardworking. You've been through too much, take a break." He whispers, leaning in to kiss me again, but I lean back.
"But baby, I have so much on my plate." I giggle, he chuckles and rolls us, hovering over me. His warmth staying against me, but I feel very little of his weight. My breath catches, my heart flutters in my chest.
"Stay..." his lips find my neck, his hands lace our fingers together.
"Hey..." I purr, squirming under him as he nurses a sweet spot on my neck. He's nearly memorized my body, he knows how to drive me mad. His legs rest between mine, keeping my thighs parted.
"Be still, or I won't give you what you want." He says firmly, but I kiss his shoulder in return.
"You want me too much to deny- wait, nooo..." I frown as he sits up from me, his hands moving to my hips where he peels off my shorts, leaving me naked.
"What a pretty picture you are." His eyes travel over me, a blush rising in my cheeks as he stares, eventually gazing down at my core. "Just a few little kisses and you're already needy for me." He slid his boxers down, before lowering back over me, kissing me hard. I rock my hips, grinding against him eagerly, desperate for him. It's true, I'm helpless when it comes to his body. I am always going to be a needy slut for him...
"Make me melt, Bear, make me forget..." I groan softly as he complies, sliding his thickness into me. My back arches from the bed as I start to feel full. "Claim me, love..." I whimper before he kisses me again, a groan humming into my lips from him as he seats himself fully in me. He holds there, slowly grinding into me before starting a steady, not-so-slow pace. I could feel his frantic need for me, something that's been denied for him for a month. "That's it, right there oh fuck..." I purr as he buries his head in my neck, planting kiss after kiss on my shoulder, driving into me harder. He made me feel so hot, the knot in my hips tightening every second.
"Go away!!" I groan out, but he slows his pace, keeping me on edge, teasingly frustrating. "Baby... don't stop..." I whine softly, before he bites at my throat, calming me a little.
"m'Lady, I must speak with Sir Okieriete. It's important." Darien. Is everyone going to be a cockblock? Is this my life?
"Fuck off, Darien! I'm busy!" I yell. Bear's lips massage my neck, sighing softly, ultimately stopping his hips, earning a louder whine from me. I was so close...
"I apologize, m'Lady, but trust me. He needs to hear this. Please." He pleads. Bear lifts his head, gazing down at me. I frown, shaking my head."m'Lady, Please, at least know I'm not walking right in. I do have a key." The man outside my door sighs, waiting rather impatiently.
"Bear.. he can wait... please..." I whisper, but he kisses me quiet. A slower, soothing kiss.
"He wouldn't push if it wasn't urgent, kitten." I whine as he slips out and off of me, drawing the blanket over me. UGH.
"Tell him he's fired while you're at it." I huff, frustrated. He just laughs as he slips his jeans back on. "And you owe me!" I watched as he opens the door to a red-faced usher, and I glared hard before rolling over, picking up my phone.
I step out the door, Darien standing a few steps down.
"What's up?" I lean back against the door, crossing my arms. Darien clearly knows what he's interrupting, so... yea let's spare him.
"I think I've found out how to give Lady Eva her mortality. But you mustn't tell her." He begins. What...?
"Her mortality? I thought she was bound to the theatre, like... she could still die if the theatre fell, though that's highly unlikely."
"Okay. She's technically not 'immortal' but there is a way to unbind her from the theatre. With a slight catch, of course." He takes out a piece or paper, like it was ripped from a book. "Her soul would then be bound an the one she shows an act of true love to."
"Then she'd live as long as they do..." I say, putting the pieces together.
"She would age with them, and in time die with them. As long as the love remains, so shall the bond. Have you noticed times where she's shown love or compassion, then passed out or slept suddenly?" I nod. "That's the bond to the theatre weakening. Preparing her for a transfer."
"How come she can't know this?" I step away from the door, lowering my voice. I could hear Eva on the other side of the door... probably finishing what I started herself.
"Because it has to be a genuine act, Sir, she can't seek to do something, and I know she would try her best to. She really should not know." He sighs. "I tell you because it is clear my Lady loves you deeply. She has been happiest around you and the cast. I know she would do anything for you."
"Thank you, Darien. Does the same work for you?"
"Technically, I'm not suppose to know this. I've had to research for almost 60 years to find this out. Honestly I'm too much of an old soul to find such a connection." He says somberly. "I'm content in my place at the theatres."
"Darien, you look no older than me. You'll find someone, I'm sure. Hell, hang around backstage long enough and someone's bound to fall for you." We both chuckle for a moment before I start step back upstairs. "I'll keep quiet about it. Thanks a ton."
"Absolutely, Sir." He bows, heading downstairs to do whatever he's probably up to next. Walking back in Eva's room, she had rolled over on her stomach, the blanket covering her lower half and soft snores leaving her lips. How adorable. I sneak over to her side, kneeling down to her level. My sleeping love. She must've felt me close, because her eyes flutter open moments later.
"You owe me breakfast and orgasms." She mumbles softly, snuggling her pillow more. I laugh a little, pulling her blanket over her.
"Want me to pick up something from the corner to at least sort breakfast out?" I ask, stroking her smooth cheek. She nods. "Mkay, love. You nap, I'll get you some noms." I lean forward, placing a kiss to her forehead before collecting my phone and getting my shirt from the floor. I really should just bring clothes here to just leave in her dresser.
When I get downstairs, there's a bag and some cups on the table in the cast lounge.
Tea for you two, bagels in the bag. Cream cheese is in the fridge. Take it easy, you've earned it.
I read the note a few times over... I can't even tell if I'm annoyed or kinda grateful. It's barely been a day, and he's not really listening to me. So, I get my phone out.
"Lin, what is this?"
"Your day off or...?"
"You dropped off breakfast."
"Yes, I did. Just wanted you guys to chill this morning and not have to be apart for too long."
"Lin, I can take care of my girl. Don't start this like it's a habit." I warn.
"I just left breakfast, I'm not trying to steal her from-"
"You know what I mean, Lin. I can easily take care of her. I know when it's okay to leave her for a little bit. I know when she needs time alone or to rest. Don't even start trying shit like this. You lost that right, remember?" I hear a sign on the other side. "She's not your concern past being a friend to her."
"I love her too, man. You know that. I'm not going to just stop loving her when she's already forgiven me for what I did."
"I don't give a shit. She's recovering and fragile. She needs love and respect."
"Which is what I'm going to show her. I'm trying to show her if you would just let me!"
"You had your chance and you used her. Right now, she doesn't need you. She needs stability. So lay off it."
"Fine. I'll see you tomorrow." Click.
He hangs up first. I hate to do this to her, but I can't forgive him. Not yet. She's worth more than being treated like some prize. He needs to learn that.
I ended my birthday with a bottle of whiskey and a Hamilton shot glass. Happy 21st to me.
I've discovered how much I actually like having intimate moments be interrupted by plot. I really need to work on not overdoing it in the future.
Also, this was published on my birthday, I had just gotten back from seeing Hamilton on Broadway like... 3 hours beforehand. I published it at midnight.
Chapter 16: Manager
In which Eva has work to do.
We had a great day off, cuddling, watching movies, paying off some owed fun. I let her rest alone last night, she's still an introvert and needs her quiet. Today, though, is a show day.
When I get in, she's already up and about, speeding from room to room with costume pieces in her hands and delivering orders.
"Eva! The Schuylers need help, two of the corsets are busted." Anthony pauses her movement, holding a corset.
"Take it to the costume room, I'll see what I can do, in the meantime, Cindy will see if she can patch the lace loops." She replies, popping an earpiece radio in her ear and talking into it. "Cindy, corsets headed your way, get the sewing kit."
I smile proudly, making my way to my dressing room. My costume was all hung up, a lipstick kiss on my mirror lets me know who graciously set it up for me.
"Eva! Ven aquí!" I hear out in the hall. Lin.
"Un momento! Mis manos estan llenas!" She calls back. "Por ciento, vas a comenzar tarde para stagedoor!"
"Shit!!" And a second later, Lin flies by, in full Ham gear. Things feel normal. Sure, without the old Daveed, there's a bit of the fun atmosphere missing, but honestly, things are okay. I smile while I undress, putting on my compression shirt.
"No, we're not rehearsing with mics," Eva walks into my room, talking to her radio, "can you organize them for the show, make sure you disinfect the side ones and wipe the wires. I don't want hair products gunking them up." She hums softly as she listens for a response. She's so efficient. I pull her back by the waist to me, kissing her neck lightly. "Yes, there should be at least 7 side mics. Let me know if we're missing any. If not, check the Ensemble rooms, I know the main cast ones should be there." She sighs softly as I massage her waist, my thumbs kneading her lower back. "Ok Jared. Thanks. I'm going on break, all." She clicks off the radio on her belt, taking the earpiece out.
"Stressing, love?" I whisper, moving my hands up to her shoulders, rubbing her tense muscles.
"I take one day off and everything is going haywire. I shouldn't have let Kail give me the time off, I would've been fine." I turn her around, lifting her to sit on the counter. "Costume issues, the tech room is a mess, I've gotten behind on cleaning the dressing rooms, props need to be replaced, And don't argue with me, Bear, I know what your think-" I cut her off with a kiss, and I don't stop until I feel her relax into it.
"You talk a lot when you're supposed to be on break. Take a moment to relax." I say, leaning my forehead on hers. "Breathe, my love. You needed a day after all of the bullshit Daveed put you through, and I needed a day with you." She nods slowly. "What do you need right now?"
"Quiet..." She replies, and I stroke her cheek.
"Want to hang out in here while I change? Just lay on the couch?" She nods again, and I let her hop down and get comfortable on the couch while I continue to change into Mulligan. I set a 20 minute timer on my phone to wake her, before leaving the room, closing the door behind me.
We run dress rehearsal one song at a time, spot cleaning as needed, but we've got it pretty solidly. It feels like a blink of an eye when Eva's grace appears backstage, rearranging props and delivering instructions. It was also hard not to notice the second gaze watching her longingly.
I'm not a violent person, I'm not an angry person. What I am, is protective of my Love. Watching Lin watch my girl annoyed me.
"OAK. Focus!" Andy calls up to me, I glance around the balcony, and notice I'm alone up here. Oops.
"Sorry, man." I book it down to stage level.
"It's okay, take ten, then we're running Yorktown." Everyone nods and starts wandering off, and of course, I wander over to my kitten.
"Ok, Tech, let's run through all the lights and sounds real quick." She speaks into her mic, turning her radio up, passing me with a kiss to my cheek. "Lights first..."
"She's really being thorough, huh." I glance beside me, Ren's leaning against the post by me.
"Yea, she's been behind on most of her duties, and I have the feeling she'll be pulling an all-nighter as well. She needs to get back on her nocturnal schedule." I reply, watching her point to lights, the stage changing shades and shapes around her.
"You definitely got a good one, Oak. Treat her well." Ren and I chuckle. Even after all the fighting, Ren will always be her big sister.
"I plan on it, among other things." I smile. Seeing Eva so in the zone was really amazing.
Lin brushes by me, striding out to the stage without a second thought. "You called for me?"
"Yea, curious on if I can preset everything before the show and have y'all not touch it until showtime. I'm going to be up all night cleaning and stuff and-"
"You want to try to catch a little sleep before you start?" He finishes her thought.
"Yea, I just have a lot to do." She sighs, turning her radio down.
"Sure thing! Or if we touch something, we have plenty of hands to help reset it all. Go sleep." He smiles, his hands fidgeting. He wants to hold her, hug her... he knows better.
"Thank you so much. Just give me a call if you need me." She smiles gratefully.
"You mean when the show's over and done? Then absolutely! Go sleep, gatita." He says, making her laugh aloud. "Really though, don't try to do everything at once tonight, take your time, spread out the work this week." She kisses his cheek lightly before running over to me. His smile grew.
"How about I crash in your room for a bit then we can eat and snuggle before the show?" She says, and I nod, kissing her forehead. "Awesome!" So she passes me, talking into her radio one more time.
"Lin." I say, snapping the puerto rican out of his little moment.
"Oh come on, she was asking a work related thing." He sighs frustratedly. "I didn't touch her. Basically all that's left is if I ignore her, but I can't. I'm her boss."
"Thanks." I smile a little. "She needs the rest."
He blinks at me for a moment, probably surprised. "Oh uh... yea, no problem." I nod to him, and Tommy comes back out, calling us to continue rehearsals. "I still care about her. I'm not just going to stop. I can't."
Lin<3 I'm (reasonably) obsessed with that man. I really am.
Chapter 17: Valentine
In which Eva embraces love wholeheartedly, and the boys are proud.
*Valentine's Day, 2016*
"Good morning, my love." Waking up next to Vanessa makes me feel like the luckiest man alive.
"Hey there, handsome..." She whispers back, scooting closer to me. "Happy lover's day."
"Happy V day to the V in my life." I kiss her forehead, wrapping an arm around her. "Want some breakfast? I can attempt to make pancakes." Her melodious giggle fills my heart.
"Sure, honey. I'll go get Seb and meet you out there." She sits up, stretching, and I admire every moment of it.
"God, how did I manage to get you to marry me..."
"Well, you asked so nicely and you're pretty cute so... yea. I said yes." We laugh together. I sit up too and get out of bed with her. I catch up with her and hug her around her waist.
"Hey..." I whisper in her ear. "I love you. You know that?"
"Mhmm~" She smiles, rocking against me for a moment, but a cry from down the hall calls our moment to an end. "I love you too, babe." She turns her head to kiss my cheek and I catch her lips sneakily, earning another loving giggle and I let her go.
I follow her to our son's room, watching her pick him up, cuddling him to her chest. My family... My life is pretty amazing. We spend the morning together. A wonderful Sunday morning. We even spend a few hours watching movies, Vanessa cuddled up to me and Seb playing on the floor, occasionally stopping to watch. I couldn't have asked for a better start to my day.
By the time 2pm rolls around, I finally get up and kiss them goodbye, heading to the theatre. I did, however miss a text from Eva.
Gatita: Hey, can I do the Ham4Ham today?
Sir Linsanity: Sure, see you soon.
I haven't talked to her much over the last week. Actually, no one has really gotten to hang out with her outside of working, not that it's been much of a problem. Oak missed her terribly and needs his time to reconnect with her. Everyone has been super supportive of giving them space and not interrupt them. Of course, he's okay when it comes to work related things, but every spare moment, they've been connected at the hip.
Anyway, back to the theatre, we have a show tonight!
Sir Linsanity : Meet at the stage doors? Can you open for me? I might be a little late.
Gatita : Sure thing, actually, you wait just inside and I'll call you out.
The crowds had certainly gathered already, but I'm able to sneak to the side door.
"Hello New York Peoples! I'm Eva, Stage manager of Hamilton and caretaker at the Richard Rodgers..." I hear her starting the lotto so I book it inside and down the hall to the inside of the stage door where Oak's already waiting.
"Hey man." I grin, extending a hand, he takes it with an equal smile.
"Hey Lin. Glad you got Eva's text, else this'd be pretty awkward that she's trying to take your job too." We share a chuckle, before falling quiet to listen.
".... I know I kinda fell off the radar for a month, but forget about it, January sucks anyway. Happy Valentine's day! I want to dedicate this to two people who are very special to me, ones who I love and adore ten times over. Welcome out the Mighty Oak and Old Man Miranda!!!" A few taps on the door calls us outside, and we walk out into the cheering air.
She gestures us to come down and she stands a step up above us so we're all level-ish.
"So, lemme explain something." I continue, "I love both of these men. I am poly-amorous. If I could, I would (and have) engage in relationships with both of them. Oak is my primary partner, my love and my life. My stability and my support. Ever since my first day working here, he was understanding of my shyness and gave me a safe space to linger. In his arms." I kiss his cheek lightly. "Lin was my secondary, my adventure and passion, he lights my fire and drives me to be more confident in myself. We've known each other for a long time, and he's consistently pushed for more from me. Because of him, I earned my title as stage manager." I say, kissing Lin's cheek in turn. I wired myself with an earpiece mic, so I can keep my hands free.
Bear and Lin both look at each other. I can tell Bear's not exactly happy with me acknowledging Lin as a partner after what he had done, but it's my show. Soooo they just gotta suck it up.
"So, today. I'm dedicating this day of love and relationships to these wonderful people." I step down, taking a moment to gather my beat. I'm nervous as hell, but stepping over to my Bear, my Oak Tree, it all melts away.
I'm a train wreck in the morning
I'm a bitch in the afternoon
Every now and then without warning
I can be really mean towards you
I'm a puzzle yes indeed
Ever-complex in every way
And all the pieces aren't even in the box
And yet, you see the picture clear as day
I hold his hand, swaying slowly as my voice fills the air. My eyes lock to his, and he gazes at me with all of the love a person can contain. He steps down to dance with me, just a slow dance. He holds me close, laying light kisses to my forehead.
I don't know why you love me
And that's why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me flaws and all
And that's why I love you
And that's why I looove you
And that's why I looooooove (hmm)
I hug him, pausing a moment between verses to kiss his cheek lightly before stepping away from him, moving to Lin. Bear steps back on the stairs to watch, leaning against the door. Lin's smile grows as he steps down, taking my hand.
I neglect you when I'm working (ha ha ha uhn)
When I need attention
I tend to nag (oh oh ha uhn)
I'm a host of imperfection (ha ha ha uhn)
And you see past all that (hm hm uhn uhhhh uhn)
I'm a peasant by some standards (ha ha ha ha uhn)
But in your eyes I'm a queen (oh oh ha uhn)
You see potential in all my flaws (ha ha ha uh uh)
And that's exactly what I need
He, in his ever broadway-like way, leads me in a waltz like step. He glows proudly, watching me sing out with confidence. He spins me, and I glide with him as if dancing on air. He kisses my cheek, whispering a few words of praise in my ear before he dips me when I start the chorus.
I don't know why you love me
And that's why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me flaws and all
And that's why I looove you
Yes that's why I loooooove you
And that's why I looooooooooove you (ah)
I cut the song there, Lin hugging the near life out of me. Both of them have tears in their eyes. The crowd is cheering so loud, I bet Daveed could hear it from whatever hole he's in. I separate myself from Lin, but hold his hand, gesturing Oak to come down and take my right hand.
"I love these men. I believe people should be able to love whoever they want. There are few things that a lot of trust and communication cannot make possible. Whether you are LGBT+, Poly, Ace, Romantic, whatever your gender is or isn't. Love is love. Let it be free." I hold our joined hands up with pride, smiling brightly.
"Soooo!!! Make out with the person next to you and good luck with the lotto!" I yell, tugging the pair with me as we slip back inside. When the door closes, they look at me with astonishment. Oh. They didn't like it. "Too much?"
"Eva... that was just..." Lin starts.
"Wow." Oak finishes, tugging my arm to him and pulling me into a kiss, one that was deep and slow, full of passion and care. I smile into him, returning the affection eagerly, my hands cupping his cheeks. We spend a good minute and a half, before I need air and pull away, blushing deeply when I look over to see Lin just on his phone, scrolling idly.
"I um... I know you two aren't exactly happy with each other," I start again, pulling away from Oak's arms. Lin looks up from his phone. "I want you both to know that I meant every word out there, and even if I'm limited to the theatre, thank you for still loving me all the same. I wouldn't be me without both of you in my life." They look at each other again, and Oak sighs slightly. I feel a pulse inside of me, something warm and comforting, but it makes me hella dizzy. "Mkay, enough of... that..." I barely make it a step before I feel myself falling.
I barely register she's falling before Lin brushes past me, kneeling fast to catch her, her head landing in his chest.
"Eva? Gatita, open your eyes." He says, carefully moving her to pick her up. "Why does this keep happening..."
"She's losing her connection to the theatre. I don't think it'll be long before she's about to live a normal life." I reply, following as he carries her down the hall.
"How do you know that? Are you sure that's okay?"
"Darien told me. He's apparently just like her, just attached to the theatre across the street." I fill him in on what I learned, and honestly, he looks just as surprised as I was.
"She can have a normal life..." He looks down at her sleeping face, smiling. "She'll be so happy. I know it."
"Yea... Hey, can you do something for me?" Seeing the way he looks at her, it's hard to be mad at him. Yea, he used her, but every moment since has been to love and care for her as best he can within limits. "Keep her until she wakes up? I have an interview real fast uptown."
"Yea! Yea absolutely. I... yea." He replies, a little too eagerly, making me laugh.
"And... love her. She misses her Sir." I smile, walking out of the lobby.
Song lyrics from Flaws and All- Beyonce -I love this song to the moon and back.
I couldn't keep the Lin love separated for long >_< I'm so weak.
Chapter 18: Sacrifice
In which Lin realizes how much he loves her.
"Lady Eva!!" As Oak leaves the lobby, Darien was just making his way in. "Is she alright, what happened?"
"She just had a moment after stagedoor time, she just... collapsed. Oak said something about her connection to the theatre?" I guess, starting the walk back to my dressing room. "It's only been a few minutes, but I'm not sure how long she'll be out." He follows me closely.
"We should probably take her to her room. She'll be out for a while."
"No." I reply firmly, instinctively, my hold on Eva tightens slightly. "I need to keep her close, she'll need someone when she wakes up."
"But Sir Lin, she could be out until tomorrow-"
"Then I guess I'm sleeping here tonight. I'm not letting her wake up alone." I say, leaving Darien stunned in the doorway as I lay my gatita on my couch.
"Do you... you love her too, don't you?" He asks hesitantly.
"Of course I do, you've seen me take her on a date."
"Oh no.. oh no no no..." He mutters, running his fingers through his hair worriedly. "You really love her?"
"Darien, what's wrong?" I lay a blanket over Eva, watching her settle into a comfortable sleep. "Why is this coming as a shock to this? I haven't exactly hidden the fact."
"Sir Oak told you that her connection to the theatre is lessening, correct?" I nod, furrowing my brow. "Her connection is going to transfer to the one she shows an act of true love to. Her soul will be bound to them."
"Yea, I kinda figured that much out. She'll be able to live a normal human's lifetime, right?" I'm really not seeing what the big deal is...
"She will only love that person, Sir Lin. No one else."
"Oh.. she won't love me anymore when it happens?" It was Darien's turn to nod slowly as the reality sets in. I look back down at the beauty peacefully asleep. She won't love me when her life starts for real. Her heart will be with Oak. Only him. She won't love me anymore. I'll just be her friend again. Nothing more. No matter how many times I keep thinking it through, just cannot get my head around it.
"It'll be okay. Oak will take care of her. He deserves her more than me."
"Nonono, don't cry, gatita. I promise you won't lose me completely. Of course, I'm still your boss, and you're still my best friend. I won't be your Sir. I don't deserve your submission." I sweep my thumbs over her cheeks, wiping the tears away. "Don't cry. I'm still here. I just... I don't deserve you."
She'll be okay without me.
"I'll be right here, gatita. Right in this room. You can come hang out or sleep or chat or do my makeup and hair at any time. We can still do Ham4Ham, we can still listen to music and sing obnoxiously."
I know she'll be okay.
"I'll always love her, no matter what, and I'll care for her the same." I stroke her head, drawing my fingers over her cheeks. She coos softly, nuzzling the familiar touch. "Even if she doesn't return the love I give her. I... I'll give her up if she finds her happy ending."
"You're going to essentially hurt yourself just to see her happy?" Darien asks, slightly amused.
"Anything for my gatita..." I whisper. My heart twists though, I want to make every moment last then.
"No, Vanessa, I need to stay... V you know I love you, but she needs to be watched until she wakes up." I knew she wouldn't be happy when I brought up that I might not be home tonight. "Love, I know. We've been through this..." I glance over the sleeping girl on my couch, it's been hours, the show will be starting soon. "I love you, V. Para siempre, remember? No doubt." I hear her sigh, but return my love before hanging up.
It has been hard for V to accept my love for Eva, but progress is progress. She's hearing my concerns, and I reassure her as best I can that I'm not replacing her. She's my wife. Nothing will change that.
"Still out cold?" Oak leans in my doorway, ready in Madison costume. It's intermission, and I just needed to get the call out of the way.
"Hour eight and counting, I'm not sure when she'll wake." I reply, tugging my own jacket on. "She stirs every so often, but nothing more. I'm starting to worry." As if on cue, she starts to stir again, mumbling incoherently. I'm by her side in a heartbeat, stroking her cheek. "See?"
"She'll come around. She'll miss us too much to stay asleep." Oak smiles, the five minute call sounding over the PA system.
"Eva, come on gatita, wake up." I speak softly, patting her cheek. Her eyes flutter, a groan slipping from her lips. "That's it. Wake up..."
"Lin..." she coos, but her eyes shut again, her head relaxing in my palm. I sigh, as does Oak.
"She'll wake up. Give her time." He says, stepping out to head downstairs.
"I've got all night, gatita. I'll be right here." I whisper to her. Before I leave for act two, I open my laptop and play some broadway music... ok, I put on In the Heights, but just because she loves that music and maybe it'll help her wake if she hears my voice.
Act two comes and goes as smoothly as ever, though I will admit that Anthony told me not to enjoy making out with Jasmine too much. I ship them so hard, it's unbearable, he just needs to ask her out already!! Anyway, back in my dressing room, Eva sleeps on. I leave the music playing, going ahead and changing my clothes to something comfortable, since I'll be here for the night. Oak showed me where the door to her room was again, in case I decide to take her to her bed and sleep up there.
"You called for me, Sir Lin?" Darien stands in my doorway as I sit down by my laptop. "Oh... she's still out."
"Yea, almost ten hours now. Tell me more about the two of you, why do you exist?" I get right to the point, partially because I'm tired and I just want to know.
"The simple version or the expanded version?" He chuckles. "It's a rather long story."
"The simple way, please. Explain it like I'm five." I chuckle in return.
"Well, the simple way to say it is, every theatre is alive. Every theatre has a soul, a spirit that lives within it. That spirit is meant to care for the building and protect it. Most of us disguise ourselves as workers, while some like my Lady have chosen to be Patrons and rule over the theatre instead. Neither are wrong, as long as the theatre is cared for." I nod, watching as he comes in and kneels beside Eva. "Rarely, it is said that it is possible for the spirit to be freed from the theatre for love, but only if the love is pure. At first, I didn't think it possible, but seeing her here with you all, I started to believe it."
"She really has falling into a home here, the crew all love her. They basically adopted her into the family." I add, smiling at the memories.
"Indeed. For decades, she's only had me as company. She kept to the shadows, really shy, but always communicated through letters. You were the only one who actually visited her regularly, who befriended her. And as well as being connected to the theatres, we're connected to each other." He glanced to me for a moment, before raising a hand to her forehead. "She'll be happier outside of this damn building. It's like keeping a bird in a cage. She needs to be out of here, free to spread her wings." Moments pass, and as he lifts his hand, Eva opens her eyes.
"Welcome back, m'Lady." He smiles, stroking her hair gently.
"Darien..." she whispers, "What did I say about waking me up... It's too early." She whines, rolling over to face the back of the couch. The two of us laugh at her disorientation.
"m'Lady, it's nearing midnight, you have work to do and company who require your attention." He continues. I just stay quiet because I really want to see how far she goes with this.
"Tell them I'll talk later, and get out. Unless you're here to feed me, fuck me, or bring me coffee, you are not needed right now." She grumbles, tugging the blanket around her. He blushes lightly, glancing over to me. I bite my lip so hard, trying to contain the laughter. Oh lord, she's really out of it still.
"Um... m'Lady, you really should look around. You've been asleep for ten hours." He tells her, earning another whine from her. I gesture for him to get up, I move over to them as quietly as possible, taking his place beside her. I lean over her slightly, whispering in her ear.
"Puedo darte alguna cosa, gatita." She jumps, and I laugh deeply, watching her orient herself. Darien and I are losing it, rolling at her confusion.
"You both!!" She yells, throwing pillows at us. "You both are fired! That was mean!" She pouts, sitting up from the couch after pushing me over.
"Awe gatita, I'm sorry." I say, a few chuckles leaving me still.
"Yes, m'Lady, we're sorry and I must be on my way, I need to be in my theatre." He bows out, leaving the two of us alone. She glares down at me as I make my way back to my knees, moving next to her on the couch.
"My gatita... are you okay?" I rest my hands on her thighs, parting them so I can settle closer to her. She lays her arms over my shoulders, lazily hugging me.
"Yea... a little confused, last I remember, I was stagedooring with you and Oak, but now I feel like I've had a full night's sleep. You should go home though..." She her smile melts a little, watching as I lean into her, my nose brushing her. "Lin..."
"Yea?" I ask, my eyes watching hers. The beautiful chocolate brown eyes...
"We can't... Oak said..."
"Oak changed his mind. Why do you think I'm here?" Her smile returns, her fingers drawing into the back of my hairline.
"Really? He's okay with you now?"
"Mhm, you really moved him today, gatita. He wants you to be happy, and if your happiness includes me, then... you've got me. All night, my sweet kitten." I grin, leaning my forehead on hers.
"You know what that means..." Her grin grows, biting her lip slightly.
Oh yea. I know what that means.
If you love something, let it go. If it returns, it loves you too.
Chapter 19: Passion
In which theatre nuts are left unsupervised.
What happens when you have two lovers and huge musical nerds locked in a Broadway theatre for a whole night?
If you answered, "Spend hours singing every broadway duet you can think of!" Congratulations, you're correct.
The pair took full advantage of the stage, belting out Defying Gravity and Dead Girl Walking, Circle of Life and A little fall of rain. Everything and any musical they could think of. They even did Sunrise and Champagne from In the Heights. Because why the fuck not.
Occasionally, kisses would linger, laughter would ring in the empty hall. Music played through the sound system from her phone and they danced the night away. Of course, beside her phone was a bottle of rum and some cola and glasses.
"It's a dangerous... game..." They whisper to each other, the Jekyll and Hyde tune crossed off the list. He held her from behind, an arm around her waist and an arm around her shoulders, securing her body to his. The next song started, but they lingered in the moment, uncaring of the music. His lips pressed against her shoulder, leaving a trail of kisses all the way to her ear.
"You know what would make you even sexier?" He whisperd, nibbling at her earlobe. She smiled, humming softly in respond. "If you knew how to rap." Her smile grew, giggles pouring from her lips.
"Noo, I can't rap to save my life, you know that, Sir." She replied. He groaned softly, burying his face in her skin, his grip on her tightening.
"God, don't call me Sir if you want to be able to walk tomorrow." He murmured, she bit her lip at the thought. "Because, I'm not above bending you over right here and taking you."
"On stage? I don't think you want to have such a lewd memory somewhere you'll need to be working." She purred, lifting her hands to his arm to try to free herself, but he simply unwrapped his arm from her waist, sliding it between their bodies to capture both of her arms behind her.
"Or, I think this is the perfect venue for my property to perform in, don't you think?" He arched her back, her chest pushed out with a delicious groan sounding from her.
"I'm more into private shows..." she struggled in his grasp, testing his grip. "Lin, come on..."
"Excuse me?" He growled in her ear. "Is that any way to address me?" He tugged her back, forcing her to arch further.
"Ahh.... I'm sorry, Sir, I'm sorry." She whimpered, forced to stand on her toes to accommodate the position she's in.
"Much better. It feels like so long since I've put you in your place." His breath made her shiver, her thighs rub together to try to quell the growing ache, and he noticed. "I'll need to ease you back into things, won't I, gatita?"
"Yes, Sir." She answered without hesitation, though she would love to jump right back into it, he was right about easing her back into his control. Memories of how Daveed treated her tainted the thought of training, but she wasn't one to give up something she loved with someone she loves. He finally relaxed his grip, releasing her so she could turn around. She stayed close, wrapping her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. "I trust you with all of me, Sir. I'm not afraid of you."
"You will never need to fear me, my sweet girl. My beautiful woman. My gatita. I will never abuse you. I will never take advantage of you." He held her tightly, hugging her firmly to his chest.
"I know, I know." She whispered, nuzzling into his shoulder. They swayed together, dancing to whatever played over the speakers. She felt safe.
They went to the roof at dawn, the sunrise peeked over the building, the daylight fading into the shine of time square. The pair was preoccupied with each other, though, foreheads touching, sharing in rhythmic sounds of New York. Eyes closed. No words. He was first to make a move, pressing his lips to hers softly. Nothing demanding or forceful. Only love and care. She sighed, returning the affection lazily. A blanket laid out under them kept them warm from the cold rooftop metal. He held her close, laid on his side with her on her back beside him. Her head laid on a pillow with his arm draped over her stomach, his fingers idly drawing shapes on her skin.
"Te amo, mi gatita." He whispered against her lips, kissing her firmly.
"I love you, Sir." She murmured back, placing her hand on his. Their fingers interlock.
Everything was perfect.
Allo! Two things! 1) yes, they'll fuck eventually, but I just wanted a cute lil fluff of them reconnecting. 2) I'm moving soon so updates might slow a little >.> can't help that. I mean, I've nearly written two books in two months, sooo.... I think I can afford to slow down. So yea. Don't hate me and leave your thought!
Who do you want her to bond with? Lin or Oak? Or someone else? (Unlikely, but hey! It could happen)
Complete fluff that makes me happy. No apologies or regrets.
Chapter 20: Rooftops
In which Eva gets some fresh air.
Kiss after kiss peppered my cheek, the warm breath of my Sir washing over my skin.
"Come on, gatita, wake up. We have work to do." He whispers, running a hand down my side. Ugh. No thanks. "Before you complain, it's almost two in the afternoon. The cast should be here soon."
"But Sir... I just wanna cuddle and sleep." I whine, tugging the blanket over my head.
"Gatita..." he warns. I don't really have much of a choice in this.
"Fine. But you owe me." I grumble, and he quietly cheers. I roll my eyes at the goofball, hitting him with a pillow.
"I really should bring some clothes over or something... I might be up here more than I anticipate."
"WAIT!" I jump out of bed and run to my closet. I know what he can wear! Being a hidden figure in the theater means I can sneaky sneak some things. After rummaging around, I find a box marked ITH. "I have some souvenirs~"
"Souvenirs...?" Lin asks, confused as hell, but when I return to the bed with the box, he almost instantly knows. "You... you didn't! I was looking for these after the show closed!" He pulls out a pair of his Usnavi shirts, a couple of tank tops under them, neatly folded.
"Well, you can imagine what I did with them since the show..." I lean over, whispering in his ear. His face lights up bright red, his adam's apple bobbing. "Mhmm..."
"Yup, you're wearing one today too." He said, getting off the bed so he could slide his jeans back on. I don't mind watching his chest flex. The man's in good shape, what can I say. He dons a white undershirt and one of the signature shirts from his first show.
I, on the other hand, bounce back to my closet, digging out a white crop top that was a bit higher cut to show off my stomach and deep blue jeans. I knew I chose the right thing when I heard a groan across the room as I pulled up my jeans.
"Nope. Nope nope nope. You're buttoning up the shirt. That body is reserved for two people, not the entire crew." He was behind me in an instant, helping me put on the over shirt that was 2 sizes too big.
"But Sir... it gets hot down there! You know I have a ton of running around to do." I remind him.
"If I can last two and a half hours in multiple layer costumes, you'll be fine in this." He counters smartly.
"But... don't you want to impress Oak after the last time he dressed me?" I purr softly as he starts buttoning my shirt. He pauses... perfect.
"Gatita... I don't want the whole crew leering at my beautiful, hardworking, determined, efficient, seductive..." his smile grows, leaning in to catch me in a kiss, humming against my lips. I giggle as he loses his train of thought, preoccupied kissing me~
"I'm pretty sure I have your hat around here somewhere..." I mutter against his lips, earning a laugh from him.
"You stole one of my hats too? You little thief." Our foreheads touch. I watch his eyes look down to my chest, where the two tags rest just above the swell of my breast. "I should really punish you for that, and those say I can."
"Oh? And whatcha gonna do about it?" I tease, slipping away from him so I can dig in my closet for the hat.
"You'll just have to wait and see, gatita. Now hurry up." He gives my butt a pat, walking away from me, probably to check his phone. I finally find the hat, and a white choker, putting both on before running over to my bedside to grab my phone before heading out after Lin.
And I swear, my reflection in the vanity smiled at me.
"Okay, what's up crew? Quick rehearsal today, understudy costumes ready?" I say as I get my earpiece in, the radio hooked to my jeans. I hear the responses and smile. "Perfect, let's go." I start to head to the costume department, but a hand on my hip stops me.
"Well hey there, Usnavi's gorgeous sister." A deep voice rumbles in my ear, taking my earpiece out.
"Heh... Hey there, hot stuff." I turn around, meeting lips with the love of my life for a moment.
"Brought you some tea." He says, holding up a cup that says "snugs". Awe...
"As always, thank you Bear. You're too good for me." I coo, kissing him again.
"Never, you make my world worth it. Now go be amazing." He kisses my forehead, walking off the dressing rooms. I sip my tea, smiling at the taste. Those two men are always so good to me. Popping the earpiece back in, I head out to start my duties, the sounds of the show music in the background. With only 6 hours until showtime, time's gonna move fast.
"Costumes, the storyteller sets need to be in the dressing rooms ASAP please."
"The corsets, did they get fixed? Awesome. Reset those for the Schuylers. Have an extra stage hand there to help them lace up carefully."
"Tech, Mic count. Are they accounted for?"
"Don't forget to clean the pale out for Burn. I'd rather not set the theatre on fire." That'd be bad, thanks. I'd like to not die >,>
I was everywhere, non-stop until all of the preparations were nearly completed. And trust me, there are a ton. People call my name from every direction when there's an issue, it's a whirlwind of action. And I love every minute of it. My normal was returning. And I relax into it, almost on autopilot.
Until, I blink and I'm on the roof. Why am I up here... Looking down, I am staring at the sidewalk below. A four or five story drop.
"Eva? You there? An Usher is looking for you!" Someone's voice cals through my earpiece, snapping me out of whatever trance I was in. Weird...
"Yea, just needed some fresh air, I think. Be right down." I respond, stepping back off the ledge, sprinting back to the door. Just inside was Darien, coming up to find me.
"m'Lady, are you alright?" His face was concerned. "They couldn't find you downstairs and you weren't answering your radio."
"Y-yea, I'm fine. Just... fine." I stutter, pushing past him. "I have work to do, Darien. Go back to the front of house.
"m'Lady the show has started, everyone's already seated. You disappeared 2 hours ago." He calls after me, chasing me down the stairs but I continue forward, ignoring him.
"That's impossible, I can't have been gone for two hours... I..." sure enough, back at stage level, the echo of Aaron Burr, Sir filled the backstage area.
"m'Lady, why were you up there?" Darien asks, stepping closer to me.
"I... I don't know." My head aches a little, but I brush it off.
Chapter 21: Stranger
In which Darien is reasonably paranoid.
*Two weeks later*
[Darien.] (ooohh new pov!)
I know m'Lady would hate me for this, but I care for her safety. I honestly do respect her privacy, I really do, but I have to know. She's been going up to the roof near daily, and I have no idea why. Every single time, it has started with her pausing in her work and just walking, no matter the time of day. She just... blanks out and walks up there, taking place at the ledge. It's always when no one seems to be immediately around her, she'll just walk off.
The part I can't figure out is why. Falling won't kill her. So why is she up there...
I click off my computer, the video feeds from the Richard Rodgers shutting off. I need to go talk to her. Just as I get outside, looking across the street, there she is again on the roof, in her pajamas. It's 2 am... But, she's climbing down the fire escape? Why is she...
There's a figure waiting for her at the bottom, taking her had as she descends the last ladder. It's not like her to leave the theater unaccompanied, and Oak and Lin should be gone for the night. But... to be sure, let's call, my eyes never leaving the pair across the street.
"Hello?" I don't see the figure with my Lady move to answer their phone.
"Apologies, Sir Oak, where are you?" I reply, a but hurried.
"Home, Darien it's the middle of the night." He grumbles. "What's up?"
"N-nothing.. just wondering if m'lady had company tonight. Apologies again." I spit an excuse, hanging up before he can question it.
Looking back over at the pair, she hands the stranger something, her expression blank in the city lights. I can't make out his face. Stay or go? Stay or go? If I interrupt, I might spook away the stranger. But if I don't, I won't know what they want with my Lady. The meeting seems to be ending as the stranger helps m'Lady back inside the theatre, the door blocking them from view for a moment before he closes it and heads down the street. I have a feeling he'll be back. I run across the way, dodging traffic to make it to the stage door. I unlock it in a heartbeat and run in.
"m'Lady?" My voice echos in the backstage area, damn, she moves fast. I hurry through to her door, following her back to her room, her door was left open. "m'Lady!"
There she lays on the floor, like she just collapsed. I rush to her side, gathering her into my lap. She murmurs quietly when I pick her up, moving her to her bed. "Darien?"
"Hello, m'Lady, relax, it's okay." I smile through my distress, placing her in her bed as gently as I can.
"What are you doing... why are you in my room now? Why did you pick me up? Why does my head hurt..."
"Shh..." I hush her gently, pulling the blanket back over her, sitting on the bed beside her. "You were outside with someone a moment ago. Do you remember who?" She stares at me, a hand rubbing her temple.
"No... I didn't go outside, Darien. I-I was sleeping in here..." She stutters softly.
"m'Lady, when I went to check on you, you were on the roof, climbing down the fire escape. Someone was waiting for you. I watched you give them something. Do you not remember that at all?" Her face stays confused. She... "You really don't remember." I stand aburptly, digging my phone out of my pocket to make a call.
"Darien, you're scaring me, what's going on?" She sits up, groaning as her head must be aching right now. I ignore her.
"Hey Darien..." Oak answers again.
"Sir Oak, I need you to get to the theatre, I believe there's a problem. Bring clothes, you might be here for a while."
"What's wrong, is Eva okay?"
"I'll explain when you get here."
"On my way." click.
"Darien! What's going on!" Eva yells, probably tired of me ignoring her, but I don't answer.
"What's wrong?" Lin's tired voice answers as I call him too.
"My apologies for waking you, but when you come to the theatre later on, please meet me in Eva's room. I must speak with you."
"I can be there sooner, what's wrong?" He pushes, sounding more awake. I hear his wife speaking beside him, but he soothes her.
"I do not wish to interrupt you tonight, I will see you later. Oak is on his way now." I reply, glancing back to my Lady, who looks back to me with equal parts of concern and annoyance. I mouth an apology to her. I'm usually not this rude.
"Is something wrong with Eva?"
"I'm not sure, but we will find out." She demands me to answer her once more, but I brush her off again. "I shall speak to you soon, Sir Lin." I hang up. When I turn around, Eva is right behind me, out of bed. "m'Lady, you should lay down-"
"Darien, I demand you tell me what's going on! Why did you call those two? Why are you here? And why on earth were you watching me to begin with?" She fires off question after question, her face flushed red in irritation.
"m'Lady, let me explain-"
"Yes, you better fucking explain!"
"MY LADY, PLEASE!" I raise my voice, to get her to stop. "Please. Give me a moment." She stood there shocked, probably that I yelled at her.
"Fine. Talk." She mutters, sitting back on her bed, crossing her legs.
"Thank you, m'Lady." I reply, nodding to her as the door opens, showing Oak with his overnight bag. "Perfect timing, Sir Oak."
"Hey Bear." Eva says grumpily, and he makes her way over to her, pecking her lips.
"Hey love, what's up? What's going on? It's not like Darien to call me this late. Or... call me at all for that matter." He says, sitting beside her, an arm wrapping around her waist to hold her. That seemed to sooth her a bit.
"Apologies to begin with, m'lady, but you've been developing a strange habit lately. You keep disappearing during rehearsals, as I've heard, and you won't be seen for an hour or so. You seem to keep going to the roof most of the time, standing on the ledge, like you're looking for something or waiting." I explain.
"The roof? Why up there?" Oak asks for her.
"That's the concerning part. A bit ago, she had descended the fire escape to meet with a stranger that was waiting there... like they knew she would be there." I reply, taking a knee at m'Lady's feet. "And she doesn't remember being there."
"All I know is Darien here picking me up and putting me in bed, then calling you and Lin." She tells him, nuzzling his shoulder lightly. "And being a complete ass in not telling me what happened until you came."
"I apologize, m'Lady, but I called him for your safety. I may serve you, but I also protect you. I failed once, I will not let it happen again." I take her hand in mine, laying a chaste kiss to her dark skin. "I promise you that."
"Darien..." she starts.
"Sir Oak? May I try something, to see if I can identify who the company was."
"Yea, sure. But why are you asking me..." he glances to me, confused.
"Because, I know she'll say no, but it needs to be done and the way it happens is a bit... you'll see." Eva's eyes widen, and she opens her mouth to protest.
"Hey hey, no. Darien, don't you dare-" I touch my fingertips to her forehead, and she pauses, the connection between us solidifying. Upon taking my fingers away, she falls asleep, leaning in against Oak.
"And that's why, she's always afraid when I dig around in her head. Again, I may serve her, but I'm older, I know my tricks. Hold her still please?" Oak nods, keeping quiet while I take her hand again, laying her palm up. My fingers trace over her skin, and the images start to fill my head.
The rooftop, Time square just a few blocks away, lighting the street.
Her phone buzzed, receiving a text.
"Now." A voice echoes in her head , as she reads it . She moves on command, starting the descent. It didn't take long, and a hand helped her down the last ladder. She kept her gaze straight, staring at the figure's chest.
"Hand it over." She hands them her keys to the theatre and her room. "Good girl."
"Damnit, Eva, why didn't you look up..." I mutter through my focus, Eva tensing as the memory continues.
"Clear you phone when you get upstairs. They can't know about me. Understand?" They continue, I swear I recognize the voice. I watch as they walk her over to the stage door to let her inside.
"Yes, Sir..." she mutters.
"Good doll. Empty completely when you're done. Now off with you." He leans down, pressing a light kiss to her lips, his face starting to come into the light.
I groan as I sit back, clutching my head, the connection broke.
"Goddamnit!" I spit, frustration coursing through me. "Her phone, feel her for it."
"What did you see?" Oak asks, gently feeling Eva's hips, and a bit awkwardly, her bra for her phone, tugging it out of her shirt. He unlocks it while I fill him in on the vision.
"Any messages? Calls? Anything?"
"Nope, all erased." He sighs, gently shifting the lady to lay her down in her bed.
"She must have done it on the walk up here... damn it all! She was under some sort of trance. He must have ways of getting to her." I try to think, but the dizziness sets into me. That sapped all of my energy. Fuck... "I need to get back to my theatre. Don't let her out of your sight. Ever. Tell Lin the same if you see him before I do."
"I won't. And I'll watch for any signs someone's trying to contact her." He says just as firmly. I nod and hurry outside. The sun is just rising as I run back to my theatre.
Whoever this person is, they have three people to get through to get to our Lady. I'll make sure of it.
I remember when I started these books, I didn't mean for the usher to be such a key character. Like... I only meant for him to be just a write off that supplemented Eva's position in the theatre. Now, I'm glad I expanded on his existence.
Chapter 22: Trust
In which Eva's getting restless (again.)
"Kitten... kitten, wake up." A hand warmly strokes my cheek, turning my head to the source of the voice. "Come on, We gotta meet Lin soon. Unless you want him to see you in your pjs." Bear chuckles a little, making me smile.
"Wouldn't be the first time... he can come up. I don't mind, as long as there's coffee in it for me." I mutter, rolling over to hide under my blanket. Bear just chuckles more, making his way out of bed.
"I guess I'll just go shower then. Darien texted me, said he's coming back to speak with Lin too." He calls from the bathroom, starting the water.
"Hurry up then! Ima go back to sleep." I pop my headphones into my ears to drown out the sound of the water. Just some light piano covers of popular songs, nothing too special. A fan sent me a whole playlist of them, and I'm in love with it. So soothing~ I probably get another half hour or good dozing time in, Bear sits by me and scrolls on his socials until someone starts knocking at my bedroom door.
"Y'all better be decent! We'll give you a moment." Lin. Oh Lin. Sweet, sweet Lin. Precious linnomin roll. I take out my headphones, biting my lip to try to hold my laughter. When I glance to Oak, he simply looks amused.
"OH BEAR~! FUCK ME HARDER!!" I play moan obnoxiously loud and we finally crack, laughing as I bounce on the bed to make it creak. Outside, there's a bit of muttering before the door opens, Lin and a red-faced Darien entering.
"Good morning, gentleman! To what do I owe this pleasure?" I grin, settling down a bit. Darien is the first to approach me, a cup in hand.
"Your coffee, m'Lady, whole milk, very sweet, a little bit of cinnamon." He hands it to me, kneeling beside my bed. "I'm sure you can guess who ordered it for you." I giggle, glancing over to the PuertoRican standing at the end of my bed.
"Just like my abuela used to do, huh?" I tease, and Lin laughs, nodding. "Thanks, Darien. So, now that my room is full of gorgeous men and I have my caffeine, you all may discuss."
"Thank you, m'Lady. And apologies again for disrupting your morning." Darien nods, bowing his head to kiss my free hand, holding it warmly.
"Not like I get a say in it." I mutter over my cup, but lift my hand to stroke his cheek anyway.
"Darien explained the overview of what happened last night to me on the way up here. What's strange is you going to the roof multiple times before the actual visit." Lin starts, and I can already see the wheels turning in his head.
"And she's not remembering it... could it be more of Daveed's fuckery at play?" Oak ponders.
"I doubt it, he hasn't been close to her in a long while, I can't imagine how he'd be able to give her the idea to begin with." Lin returns, shaking his head.
"He did mention her phone in the memory, perhaps there's a trigger that he can use remotely to give instructions?" Darien asks from my side. His hand lingers on mine, his thumb soothingly stroking my knuckles. I open my hand to lace my fingers with his, smiling down to him. Darien has been by my side for my entire existence, he really does mean well, even if he's a bit rude in his methods.
"I don't think he's capable of thinking that far ahead." Lin mutters. "He was way too full of himself and confident that he had her."
"But he did manage to find a way to still knock her out or whatever on command. He did it again the day she finally stood up to him. So she doesn't need to be drugged for it to work." I nod a little, Oak does have a point.
The conversation went on and on, all three of them completely focused on the issue at hand: me. When I finished my coffee, I finally get up from bed, and idly stripping my pajamas off as I head to the bathroom.
"Um, excuse me, missy, get back here." I turn back, the trio staring at me. Well, Oak and Lin stare, their faces full of concern. Darien merely lowered his gaze respectfully.
"Why? I need a shower." I whine quietly, striding back over to the bed.
"Cut the whining, let me see your back." Lin says as he steps around the bed to Oak's side. I lean over, planting my hands to the comforter. The men inspect my skin, scarred from Daveed's routine. As a cool finger traces over a few of them, I hiss, flinching as some spots ache.
"Some of these look new..." Oak says, tracing another bruise on my back.
"That's impossible. I haven't seen Daveed enter the theatre and she hasn't left unaccompanied." Darien says, keeping his gaze averted.
"Darien, stop being shy, it's nothing you haven't seen before." I tease him, giggling softly. Though that seemed to get the attention of my partners, two questioning glances aimed directly towards me. "What! When you're mainly alone for a few decades, you have needs too, and Darien is helpful."
"O-only on m'Lady's request!" Darien chimes in to defend himself. "And nothing recent!"
"See?" I shrug.
"You told me he hadn't touched you." Oak replies, furrowing his brow.
"Which is true. Since Ham has come to the Rodgers, and I met you all, he hasn't." I say cooly. I don't see what the big deal is, honestly. Beside me, Lin clicks his tongue, shaking his head. I stand up straight, crossing my arms. "What?"
"We're getting off track here. Gatita, go shower. One of us will bring you clothes." He says, rubbing his forehead.
"But Oak's being-"
"I didn't make that an invitation to argue. Go." He gives me the look. God damnit.
"Yes, Sir." I grumble. "I'm taking a long soak then, cause y'all wanna be bitches and rag on me for no reason."
Lin steps forward, already done with the attitude I'm giving. "Yea, we don't like the idea of someone else touching you. You are Oak's and you are mine."
"So I'm the one getting reprimanded for being honest about something that happened before you both got here? Are you serious? You might as well get mad at me for Leslie too, cause he got a piece of the action last August!" I reply, raising my voice. This is bullshit. Complete bullshit.
"Watch your tone, gatita." Lin warns.
"You two are so damn possessive. I don't need a babysitter. You all can go. Darien, see them out." I brush them off, stepping into my bathroom to run the water for my tub.
"No. We're not going anywhere until we know who's after you. We're not leaving you alone." Oak speaks this time.
"Well, at least get out of my fucking room so I can get ready! I'm sick of you guys treating me like a child or like property, which is what's been happening all the fucking time! I'm neither. News flash: I'm an adult. I can wash myself and dress myself!" I yell, my face cold and hardened. Darien scrambles to his feet, taking hold of Lin's arm before he could make it to me.
"Please, I believe m'Lady needs time to herself." Darien speaks softly, trying not to stoke any of the fiery tempers in the room. Oak nods, stepping back further, but Lin stands his ground.
"I'll be right down." He says, but Darien doesn't move. "Darien, get out."
"Sir Lin, I really don't think it's a good idea to test her right now. Please, let's let her relax." Darien urges, but I ignore them further, closing the door being me.
I turn the overhead light off, leaving the dimmers on to keep the lighting low. I might have overreacted, but you would too if they kept trying to run your life for you. I'm equally mad at Darien for even calling them over without my say. Yea, I trust them, but I can handle myself. I'm still independent. At least, I was...
That's part of the problem, they've made me so soft and pliable and mushy by caring for me. And I let them. Daveed had the perfect foothold when he did to me what he did. I sigh, shaking my head at the memories, and climb into my tub, sinking into the hot water. I sat up, my arms wrapping under my thighs as I ran through my thoughts, closing my eyes while the steam rose around me.
Behind me, the door opens and closes again. Lin. I know it's him. I hear him take his shirt and jeans off, then dig through the bottles on my countertop for something. I didn't acknowledge him, even when he stepped into the tub behind me and sit on the back edge.
"Scoot back." He says, and I did without hesitation. I may be mad, but I know disobeying would just irritate him more, which would upset me in turn.
He proceeds to dip a cup in the water and pour it over my head, dampening my hair over and over until my curls loosen up and saturate with water. He then opens a bottle and starts lathering my hair with the shampoo. I sigh softly as his fingers start to massage my scalp, washing my hair gently.
"You said you can wash yourself," he begins quietly, "so why are you letting me wash your hair?"
"I like how your fingers feel."
"And?" He waits, gently combing through my mess of soapy curls.
"... and I enjoy the intimacy of being washed."
"Because... Because I trust you to care for me and handle me how I need to be handled."
"You said you can dress yourself. Why let Oak pick outfits for you sometimes?" He continues, moving to gently wash my neck and shoulders, the chain of my necklace shifting against my skin. I sigh again... I know what he's getting at.
"Because I like how he smiles with pride when I wear what he chooses for me."
"And?" He asks again, his fingers gently massaging my throat.
"And because I trust him to support and care for me whenever I need it, even when I don't know I do." I feel the guilt rising in me for getting so upset at them. But, he continues.
"You are so independent and in control of this theatre. Why let Darien run front of house and serve you personally? I hear it goes so far as to helping you take off and put on your shoes when you're in your box seat." He takes the cup to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, careful to lean my head back so it doesn't run into my eyes.
"Because I trust him to be close to me when I need the support, especially when I want to relax. He's my right hand man." I listen to my voice echo in the room, the sound of water being the only other noise.
"So you trust us to take care of you when you want it, why do you fight it when we know you need it?" He finally asks, massaging conditioner into my hair. "We want you to be safe, and with the gaps in your memory, we know you can't protect yourself in this situation."
"Because I don't want to be helpless, Lin." I snap, the first tear falling from my eye. "I don't want to feel defenseless again. I wasn't some maiden in a tower waiting for a prince to rescue me, I ran this theatre confidently and ruthlessly... I've slipped from that and I let it happen."
"That's why you have us around, the whole cast even stands beside you to keep you safe-"
"You see how well that worked out the first time." I spit, tugging my head from his hands. "I can't let that happen again..."
"You feel we failed you when Daveed got you." He whispers, reaching for my shoulders, but I flinch at his touch.
"And I am scared to trust you with my safety again... I don't want to go back to not even being in control of my own mind... I can't... I'm so scared..." My voice breaks, the tears coming down my cheeks. "He hurt me worse than the Ave ever could. He broke me and conditioned me to be his toy..."
"We won't let it happen again. But we can't do that if you don't let us, gatita. He got you when we all thought we could trust him too, now we know better."
I fall silent, taking a slow deep breath to try to calm my crying. I know that, deep down, he's right. We were blindsided, but now I know we can be prepared. He gently cups my head, bringing me back to tilt my head back to him so he can rinse the conditioner.
"You know I'm right, my sweet kitten. We got you. Let us protect you." He leans over me, placing a gentle kiss to my forehead. "We're going to figure out how to keep you safe. Someone's trying to get to you and we need to stop them. They seem to have already gotten you from under our noses once and hurt you, we need to keep you in our sight to see who's trying to get to you. Please, trust us."
I LOVE my Lin/Eva moments. I dont know why, I think it's just the slight sub/Dom tones to their relationship, and I relate to that SOOOO much. But I also relate to Oak/Eva with the pure love and romance. UGH it's all so perfect!!!
Moving sucks, btw. So, Slow updates, probably every other day or ever 2-3 days? Haven't worked out a schedule yet. Bear with me!
I don't know why I did this chapter, but I'm glad I did.
Chapter 23: Interviewd
In which the public is curious about the Hamilton Stage Manager
True to form, Oak did leave an outfit out for me before him and Darien vacated my room. It's a little... bare, but honestly it's cute. Lin left me to finish my bath in peace, probably to give me some time to cool down from my irritated state. I know they mean well, and they want to care for me, it's just getting annoying as an adult to have people baby me. Like, I'm not completely helpless. I've taken care of myself for this long, I haven't lost that ability.
While I sat on my bed, pulling on a pair of knee socks I decided to add, my phone rings.
Call from- Empty and Answer
Darien and I sat on the stage's edge, waiting for Lin and Eva to come down. Of course, when Lin comes down alone...
"I thought the point of us being here is that she's not by herself." I call as he comes over to join us sitting.
"She needs a moment to chill. No worries. I think she'll be fine for fifteen minutes." He says, groaning as he sits down.
"And I have cameras set up around the building and at the door to her room. We'll know if someone unfamiliar gets in." Darien reassures.
"It wasn't an unfamiliar face last time, what if it's someone we still trust?"
"What, like a..."
"Lin. Don't you dare." I glare at him.
"Spy on the inside!" I groan at Lin's reference... dear lord, save me. Even Darien chuckles, then groans, probably hating himself for laughing.
"Seriously though. We already know someone's been contacting her, but no trace left we can track." I remind them, and they nod understandingly.
"Well, I'll go grab us some bagels from down the street." Lin springs up and wanders off. "No use investigating on an empty stomach!"
"Darien, can you go back upstairs and check on her, even if you just sit outside of her door and listen. I need to head over to an interview... actually..." I get up, heading back to her stairwell. "I'll take her with me."
"I don't know if she'll like that very much, Sir Oak. She's not the camera type." Darien runs after me, following me upstairs.
"She'll be fine, I won't make her come out on stage with me. Let's just give her a chance to get out of the theatre." I reply, turning around as I reach her door. "Darien, she'll be okay for two hours outside."
"But Sir-" He begins to protest as I turn and open her door, Eva sitting at her vanity. She was braiding her hair into cornrows. Her phone plays soothing piano music across the room.
"Isn't that nice? A fan made me a playlist. Anyway, sorry for taking so long, just wanted to try to look decently presentable for the day." I smile, seeing she's okay, her phone over by her bedside, Darien goes over to it to check it. I make my way over to her and lift her chin, giving her a feather-light kiss, before replacing her hands with mine and braiding her hair for her.
"Not a problem, love. How do you feel about coming out with me? I have an interview in an hour and maybe you'd like some fresh air." I reach over her and use a black band to tie off the last braid. "And Lin is bringing breakfast."
"Awesomeness," She purrs, standing from her chair. I look over her approvingly, wonderful as always. "and I'd be glad to get outside. Actually, I was thinking of running to Time Square to see what the Disney store had in stock today." She grins, scratching the back of her neck. "But that can wait, just let me get my purse together and we'll go." She stands on her toes to kiss my cheek, before bouncing over to where Darien was, he comes back over to me.
"Keep her very close, Sir Oak. If anything happens to her, I will blame you." He whispers, before bowing out of the room. I look over to Eva, watching her fill her bag with her phone, wallet, lipstain and keys. Her eyes meet mine.
"You okay, Bear?" She coos, gliding back over to me and instantly pulling me into a hug. I shake my head, holding her tight to me.
"I'm scared to lose you, that's all. I know you don't like us hovering, but I can't lose you again. You're far too precious to me." I hold the back of her neck, gently guiding her back to look at her. "I love you with all of my heart. I want you to be happy and do whatever you want, but... I need for you to be safe. Especially now..."
"I'm okay, Bear. I promise, nothing and no-one is going to take me away from you. I'm yours, remember?" She brought her arm from over my shoulder, showing me her bracelet. The one I gave her back in December. The one with my initial on it.
"I know, love. I know. I can't help but worry." I lean down, catching her soft lips in a kiss. It feels perfect, like time could stand still forever and I would be satisfied.
"Heya lovebirds, breakfast is downstairs. Darien said you're heading out, sooo... take it with you? I gotta run home." We part, turning to see Lin pop his head in the door.
"Cool deal, thanks Sir!" She purrs brightly. I nod as well, but my eyes never leave her.
Have you ever gotten a feeling in your stomach that something feels too perfect?
(OK. So. You know the AOL Build series interview? I have no fucking clue what the interviewer's name is, sooo... roll with it.)
At the interview, Eva decided to stay offstage, out of sight of the cameras. Still a little shy of the limelight. Probably made herself comfortable near the coffee so she could finish her bagel.
"Okay, Oak, with Hamilton's big success, I saw a few months ago that a new member joined the team." Shannon brings up, and I have a feeling I know where this is going.
"Yup, Eva, our stage manager joined us officially last December." I nod, keeping my smile.
"Eva, who's last name is absolutely nowhere to be found. She's a mystery, isn't she? We've found very little about her, only things related to Hamilton and its cast."
"Yes, she is a very shy and private person, but she does her job amazingly well. She knows theatre, every aspect that goes into maintaining a show she keeps track of. She even does half the jobs, from sewing and polishing to lights and microphones." I grin proudly, thinking of her running around backstage. "She's been a huge driving force for Hamilton."
"She sounds absolutely phenomenal! Truly a treasure in her own right. And... if I understand correctly, you brought her with you today?"
"Yup, she's probably floating around backstage, stealing all of your coffee." We laugh.
"Think you could bring her up here?" Shannon asks, biting her lip a little.
"You know how techies are, they're not big on the cameras. So, I don't think so." I nod respectively.
"Come on, just a few questions? I'll keep it brief." Yup. Knew it.
"Fine, okay. But only a few questions." I breathe, nodding as one of the assistants went off to find her.
"Oh awesome! This is so exciting! No one has really spoken to her outside of the theatre! She's rarely seen out of those doors." Shannon claps excitedly. I smile and nod again, watching the assistance guide Eva onto the stage, offering a hand to help her step up. I stand from my chair to give her a place to relax.
"Hey beautiful." I whisper to her as she settles in.
"Hey Bear, how come I'm doing your interview?" She murmurs back, sneaking a light kiss before letting me move behind her, my arms wrap around her shoulder protectively.
"They're curious, that's all." I reply, kissing her head again.
"Yes, very curious! But, we'll keep it simple because Oak says you're not one for the spotlight." Eva nods, leaning back against me.
"Okay, what's on your mind?" She asks softly, her shyness peeks through. So adorable.
"Your last name?" Of course that would be the first question they ask her.
"It won't matter because one day... It'll be Onaodowan." I say proudly before she can get a word in. Glancing down, her cheeks flush as red as her skirt. The crowd and Shannon all squealed with glee. "What? It's true. You didn't think I planned on marrying you someday?"
"I mean... maybe, but I didn't think you'd announce it so casually like you're certain I'll say yes." She replies, fiddling with the edge of her skirt.
"Well, are you gonna say no?" I tease, leaning my head on her shoulder.
"No..." she mutters shyly.
"Didn't think so, love." I kiss her cheek lightly.
"Oh my, you two are so adorable!! So, you met on the set of Hamilton. Eva, you work at the Theatre as part of the permanent staff, yes?" Shannon continues.
"Yes, I am one of the primary caretakers for the Richard Rodgers. One of my best friends has the same job at the Lunt-Fontanne across the street. We practically live where we work, haha..."
"How cool. And you are also stage manager of Hamilton. What's it like, especially at a young age?"
"It's the best thing ever. I've met some amazing people, including this donut behind me. They all have been a wonderful light in my life. Especially Lin and Oak. They have pushed me to be an even better person than I even was a year ago." She glows as she speaks, lacing her fingers in mine as I hold her.
"Speaking if Lin... I understand you two are close as well? I mean, this picture in Time Square last winter says so." Between us, the tv screen shows a picture of Lin and Eva kissing in the vacant plaza, Lin holding her tight as he dipped her back.
"Oh um... yea. It's no secret that Lin and I are in a relationship also. Heh, right after that, I told him someone probably caught that. It was our first date. Have you seen the Valentines Day Ham4Ham?" She giggles sheepishly.
"Yes! I'm sure the whole internet has. But the real question is... he's married with a kid. What place does this affair have in his-"
"I'm gonna stop you right there." Eva interrupts, her demeanor changing at the mention of an affair.
"It's not an affair. If it was, there wouldn't be a whole public video dedicated to it. It'd be a secret, that's the point of an affair. Vanessa knows and consents to it. Lin puts his family first, I put Oak first, but we know we have a place in each other's heart. And it is NOT a secret. I'm no Maria Reynolds. Understand?"
"I'm guessing this is a touchy subject?" Shannon winces as she's basically schooled. I chuckle softly, giving Eva a comforting squeeze.
"I think it best to move onto the next question." I say before Eva carries on. She shifts under my arm, telling me she's not as okay being here.
"Okay, last thing." Shannon flips her note cards, reading the last topic. "Earlier this year, a picture was unearthed of you, Eva, with a few questionable marks." The picture between us changes to Eva in one of her cute crop tops, her lower back openly showing the darkened bruises from Daveed's torture.
"What about it?" Eva asks coldly.
"Where did they come from? Past abuse, or are you a little freaky?" Shannon giggles, trying to keep the mood light.
"Lemme ask you this instead. Why does it matter where they're from? What if it's from a traumatic experience and you just brought up painful memories? What if I don't want to talk about it because I'm ashamed of it? Ever think of that, Shannon?"
"It was just a curious quest-"
"No. You are prying into my personal life for no reason. Your question are inappropriate." Eva cuts her off, shaking free of my grasp. "And you really want to know? I was abused. Beaten by someone who said I needed it because they loved me. It was an obsession turned sour. Thanks for reminding me of it." Eva hissed at her, turning on her heel to walk off stage, those same marks, faded, but still visible on her lower back. Shannon turned to me, but I shook my head and followed my girl out.
"Baby, wait!" I nearly have to run to catch up with her, she's already out of the studio and heading down the street.
"I don't want to talk about it. Let's just go back to the theatre." She says coldly, continuing her stride. I wrap my arm around her waist and nod, walking with her.
For the love of god, people. Don't ask questions like this. It's rude. Jeez.
Chapter 24: Loyalty
In which Darien affirms his adoration for her.
*One week later- an hour before showtime*
"My lady, please do come to your box tonight." I implore her, though she has been rather resistant today.
"No, I want peace and quiet, so I'm staying backstage." She replies, tapping her foot impatiently before turning heel and striding away.
"M'Lady wait! Please, I need to keep an eye on you where I know no one can get to you. The sirs will be too busy with the show to watch you-"
"Then I'll stick with Groffy. Lay off it, Darien. You're being overprotective." She interrupts.
"I have reason to be, Lady Eva. Now come along or I shall be forced to ask one of the sirs to make that an order." I threaten. She's so strongheaded, damnit. I know her will is a prideful one, but it sometimes makes her rather stupid. "And I am not above doing so, m'Lady."
"Oh, so you'll tattle on me to my partners. You really are a brother. Jeez..." she whines softly, finally pausing her stride at the bottom of the stairs. The sound of her frustrations earns us a small audience.
"As childish as it seems, if it ensures your safety then it shall be done. So please, come along. I will even escort you back for intermission."
"Darien..." she sighs, her shoulders relaxing a little. "Fine, but you're not staying in the booth with me. I don't need you breathing down my neck." She concedes! Yes!
"Deal! Thank you, m'Lady. I shall remain here until you are ready to go." I bow at the waist, earning a smile from her.
"I'll be back soon, don't worry." She replies, before running up the stairs, probably to Sir Oak's room. I sigh. This is going to be stressful if every step we take to protect her is going to be met with such resistance.
I refuse to let her be taken again. No one lays a hand on my dear Lady with intent to harm her. Not again.
"She's definitely a little firecracker, huh." A voice new to me speaks up, and I turn. Thayne, I believe. He's the one who plays Seabury. He simply smiles to me, extending a hand. "Cookie?"
"Thank you..." I take the treat, our fingers brush gently.
"Thayne. You're Darien, right?" He asks, moving to lean by the stairwell.
"Correct, I am head Usher here and personal assistant to Lady Eva." I bow on impulse, a routine action as I introduce myself, but his hand taps my chin, lifting my head again. His fingertips are warm and surprisingly gentle as they linger.
"No need for that, I'm very informal. Either way, it's nice to meet you." He smiles comfortingly. I take his hand in mine, gently laying a kiss to the back of it.
"The pleasure is mine, Sir Thayne." I lift my eyes to him, watching the blush rise in his cheeks as I breathe against his skin. Wow... he's adorable. Never have I desired to see cheeks flush red in shyness so much. We stare at each other for a moment longer, the 10 minute call breaking our focus.
"I-I'll see you around?" He stutters and tugs his hand free from mine, only making my smile grow.
"I eagerly await the moment. Best of luck out there." I stand up straight, I have a few inches on him. He nods, smiling up to me before scurrying off just as quickly as he appeared. I watch him go, lifting the cookie he gave me to my lips to munch. I do hope I see him again. It's amazing that I've worked here this long and never spoken to him before. Thayne... hm.
"Alright Dare-bare! I'm ready." Lady Eva bounces down the stairs, Sir Oak in tow. I hastily chew down the rest of the cookie before taking her arm.
"I'll be back at intermission, Bear." She says, giving her love a quick kiss.
"Alright. Thanks for watching her, Darien." He smiles, shaking my hand.
"Not a problem. I'd do anything to protect her. Even if that means playing babysitter." I smirk, and she hits my arm. "Okay okay. Come along, m'Lady."
I escort her to her seat, a short and quiet walk, but one we've done countless times. As always, I help her settle into her chair. I unlace her heels without question or complaint and set them aside. I gracefully massage her ankles. Her relaxed sigh is music to my ears, even as the orchestra begins their song.
"Perhaps you should consider wearing flats when you have managerial duties to attend to. Heels are becoming hard on your joints, my Lady." I speak softly, kneading her tense muscles.
"Maybe, but Oak and Lin love seeing me in these, so I power through it. Maybe I'll just go back to being barefoot." She giggles, and I grin in return.
"It would be a wise change that could save you from pain, my Lady." I advise.
"I'll see what I can do, Darien." She coos, unfolding her blanket to lay it over her lap. "Why do you serve me so?"
"Why do you ask?" I glance up to her.
"You easily have 20 or so years on me, you have better control of your connection, why do you decide to sit and massage my feet when you could be a Patron as well?" She asks, her head tilted curiously.
"Well, firstly, I want to see you happy, and you rather enjoy my service to you. You want to be the queen of your theatre, what is a queen without a loyal subject?" I reply, tugging the blanket down to cover her feet, shifting around the chair to be closer to her top. "Secondly, I want to watch over you, guide you, and protect you. I don't let you do anything that could hurt you, and you'll never know how much I've prevented from getting to you." Her face softens, and I take her hand in mine, lifting it to my lips as I've done a million times. "I want you to have an easy life, to just be you however you want to be. And someday, I hope there is a way you can be free of this wretched place and fly."
"But... what about you? You'd still be stuck to the Lunt-Fontanne and-"
"And I'm old and content in my place. I will continue to usher and be a resource to the other spirits. I will be fine here. My main concern is you, and your happiness." I bow reverently, resting my forehead to her hand.
"You know I'd come back to visit you all the time." She purrs, leaning her head against the arm of the chair, by me. "Someone needs to tie my shoes for me."
We both chuckle and I lift my head to her. She smiles warmly back to me. "All I want in life is happiness for all your days, whether they are infinite or limited." I whisper, my eyes watching hers. She hums softly, leaning closer to place a chaste kiss to my lips, one I return respectfully.
"Thank you, my friend." She sighs after a few moments. "We will always be connected, no matter what."
"I have the honor to be your obedient servant, m'Lady. As long as you desire my service, I will be at the ready." I stand, and offer her my arm. "The first act should be ending soon, though I believe Sir Oak should be done with this song, correct?" She smiles warmly, nodding. She takes my arm and I help her to her feet.
"No shoes?" She giggles.
"Just a break from your heels. Come along, my Lady." I chuckle as well, guiding her to the backstage area. We're careful to stay quiet as we pass the wings, but we sneak through. I do catch Thayne's eye as Dear Theodosia plays, and the blush returns to his cheeks when he waves. I wave back, hoping to sneak it from Eva, but she of course catches the interaction.
"Oooh... a crush?" She whispers close to my ear, earning a rare blush from me.
"Just a new friend, m'Lady. We spoke briefly when you went to be with Sir Oak." She giggles madly as I speak.
"Well, I can go to Oak's room by myself! Stay and watch, be here when he finishes the act!" She scoots me away.
"But, m'Lady, I still need to escort you-"
"Ah ah! Nope, I can walk upstairs by myself. I'm a big girl. No more stalling! Go wait!"
"And that's an order from me. So there." Before I can argue, she's gone. I sigh, scratching my neck lightly. I wasn't waiting long, as a familiar hand offered me a cookie.
"Hey stranger..." Thayne greets, and I smile broadly, taking the treat but holding his hand, laying another light kiss to his skin.
"Hello, Sir Thayne. I'm so grateful to see you again."
And I truly was.
1500 words minus authors note. Im proud. Honestly, I'm dreading these next chapters >.<
And this is the chapter where I liked my own supporting character more than my own main character.
Chapter 25: Fight
In which the prize is broken.
As the weeks drew on, the four fell into a routine.
Oak moved most of his clothes and belongings to the theatre to stay with Eva in the evenings. His duty was to keep an eye on her as she relaxed. He watched for any different reactions or odd habits forming. Besides the looming doom, he enjoyed the chance to spend more time with her. He took her out when he had interviews, or even just on dates to keep her from getting bored. The pair savored every second together, stealing glances and kisses. With Oak, things didn't seem so bad.
Lin instructed the cast, outside of her knowing, to keep an eye on her as well. He didn't want her running off unnoticed in the busy mess that is pre-show rehearsals and setup. He was adamant about keeping her in sight of someone he trusted. Although, after Daveed's betrayal, it is almost hard to trust those he thought he could. Oak and Darien are the two he knows he can wholeheartedly rely on with her.
Darien was the most paranoid out of the three. Eva was the princess to his knighthood. He did everything in his power to monitor who entered or exited the theatre, whether in person or on surveillance. He barely slept, only returning to his theatre when he had to recharge. The only break in the tension was a blossoming connection with the ensemble member. Thayne seemed to have waltzed into his world effortlessly, and Darien found himself distracted as soon as the younger man walked into the room. Thayne seemed to be the only one, besides Eva, who could capture his attention so quickly. He grew infatuated.
Eva and Thayne even became friends, going out regularly for drinks or dancing, even just to see the night lights in time square. They were as inseparable as the Schuyler sisters, joined at the hip. With the cast as a whole banding together to keep their manager safe, she had really grown closer to them altogether. They were her family, her friends. No question about it.
When the lights went out, on the other hand...
*Monday morning, May 8th, 2017- three months later*
Bear had settled for bed, exhausted after a two show day, and just to be sure, we might have had a little fun. He was nearly out like a light, deep in sleep after a few minutes.
Beside me, my phone buzzed with a new message.
Come to the stage.
It wasn't hard to slip from under his arm. I had to go. Whenever he stirred at my movement, I simply said I needed the bathroom. I always slip on my kimono, tying it as I walk out the door. Under it, just my tank top and underwear. He didn't mind my pajamas, he didn't care.
He just wanted me.
"There you are, Doll, quicker than I expected." He waited for me on the stage.
"Yes, Sir... he fell asleep early." I reply blankly, my own voice sounding foreign to me. It was strange, I moved independently of my better judgment, but every thought to defy was met with a dull ache in my back.
"You're so eager to get to me, aren't you?" His hand raises to my cheek, making me flinch at the touch, but soon melt into it. I purr, nuzzling his palm as my eyes flutter closed. "You haven't forgotten who really keeps you. Who owns you?"
"You do." I coo in return, earning me a kiss on my lips. I sigh into it, like it's filling a need I didn't think I had. I don't think at all with him. I don't have too.
"Good girl... such a good doll for me." He whispers against my lips. His fingers undo the strap on my kimono, pushing the silky fabric from my shoulders. "You're mine." His fingertips trace the faint scar on my hip, making me squirm slightly.
"Yours..." I reply, mindlessly sinking into his presence. "I love you, only you."
"You are such a good actress. Do they suspect anything?" He asks, and I shake my head, standing on my toes to steal another kiss from him, but his hand pulls my hair, putting me back in my place.
"Good doll." Daveed grins, taking me by the waist and leading me out of the theatre. "I think you're ready for your conditioning again."
I shouldn't have walked with him. I shouldn't have let the triggers sink in as deep as they did. I don't want to be his doll. I know it's not right...
He'll make it right.
How did this happen? How did I become a visitor in my own mind... the triggers should have faded away. The marks have faded. What's keeping me connected to him...
He guides me to his car and we drive off. 3:08 am. 12 hours left.
The worn leather of his belt came down on my back again... I lost count after 40. My eyes feel dry though I've cried for what feels like hours, but we had only just begun.
"You don't belong to them."
"You have always been and will be my property." He growls, relentlessly keeping pace.
"You need my control, my touch."
"Oak and Lin don't own you anymore. I do."
"You do, Sir!! Please... I can't..." I'm cracking, the bruises set deep in my back will remind me for a long time. At this point, I just wanted him to stop hitting me... I'd say anything. The swing of the belt stops for a moment, his heavy footsteps drawing closer. All I can do is grip the metal cuffs binding my wrists, keeping me bent over his bed.
"What was that, doll? Talking back to me?" He leans over me, getting close to my ear. I feel his fingers rake down my back, the sting fills my whole body and makes me squirm.
"I'm yours, please... mercy..." I whimper pathetically. "I'm yours, Sir..."
"Such a good doll, but I know it's nowhere near set into you yet." He grabs my chin, lifting my face to look at him. "I still see that fire in your eyes. When I'm done with you, you'll be back to my empty-headed creation I made you." His hand roughly shoves my face back into the bed before releasing me. The sound of the belt dragging over the floor sends chills down my bruised spine.
"Like I said, you're a good actress. You can say anything well. But I'm going to make you believe it, deep in your soul."
"And you'll fall in love with me. So madly, deeply in love with me."
"And you'll be mine, forever." He finishes, a dark chuckle leaving his lips.
I scream again, the pain burns worse since I got a break from the endless flurry. It wasn't this bad the first time he got me... the beatings were always short. But... I was also drugged... He means to break me the old fashioned way.
I won't let him. I can't. Not again... I can't go through this again.
Each hit fades into a dull pain. My body overheats trying to deal with the repairs. How long has it been? What time is it? Will he take me back to my theatre?
"The playlist..." Playlist? Ave, what do you mean? She sounds so weak in my head, I know my relationship had lessened her hold on me.
It gets harder and harder to think as then pain consumes me further. I just... I can't take it.
"Subliminals..." What does that mean... "The triggers..."
"Stay aware..." I can't, Ave... I can't.
Slowly, as the hits rain down on me, I slip into a blanker headspace. It's the only way I can cope. My screams die down to mere whimpers, I start to grow numb on the inside. He notices.
"Good girl..." I vaguely hear him coo. "You make a pretty doll. So blank and empty." He takes my chin in hand again, lifting my face to him. "See, the command is just deep enough that I can take you without a fight, but... it could be deeper."
"No..." My voice come out hoarse and weak, he just laughs at me.
My thoughts are soon drowned out as he places headphones on my ears. A steady beat plays through them, whispering just barely audible over the unbalanced sounds.
I have to fight...
Even if I don't win.
Empty and Obey.
I will fight.
Because mind fuckery makes me happy.
Mind fuckery really does make me happy sometimes. Wow.
Chapter 26: Pain
In which Oak feels responsible.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE'S GONE???!!!" Lin's voice from my phone echoes in the stairwell backstage, where I sat with Darien. It's about 5am. I got up when I realized she wasn't still under my arm.
"I mean, she's not here. I only called you to see if she went with you this morning." I speak calmly, trying not to panic. "She wasn't here when I woke up."
"How did she get out?! How did you not notice she left!!!" I rub my forehead, Lin's yelling is a little grating.
"Lin, stop yelling. You'll wake your son, then Eva will be the least of your problems when V has to get Seb." I remind him, and he finally takes a breath. "Thank you."
"I checked the video feed and she walked out with someone around three am this morning." Darien speaks up, although he sounds nervous.
"I thought you were watching the feeds almost 24/7 if you weren't here, Darien." Lin points out, and that's when the guilt fills his face.
"I... I was busy..." He mutters. "I was out most of the night."
"DARIEN. What could have been more important-"
"It was a date! Okay!?" Darien interrupts Lin. I simply smile proudly.
"Ha... told you you'd find someone." I snicker slightly, patting his back. He blushes.
"Thank you, Sir Oak. I um... yea. It was fun. But I do apologize for leaving my post."
"Ok. So." Lin breathes again, I can practically hear him pacing. "Any traces?"
"She left her phone. All it had was a text that said 'empty. Come to the stage '. Her kimono was left on the stage. And I have a feeling I know who took her." I say.
"Diggs." Lin growls, muttering a few choice curses in his preferred language. "This is what we get for underestimating him... call the police. Send them to his house, see if he's stupid enough to take her home."
"On it." Darien takes out his phone, stepping away to make the call.
"He has to bring her back by early afternoon. He wouldn't kill her, he's too attached to her to kill her." Lin says, trying to find the hope here.
"I hope so. If he didn't take her home, all we can do it wait." I sigh. And we do.
Darien meet the police when they stop by, saying his sister is missing. Unfortunately, no prints but Eva's were on anything they would have touched. The video footage wasn't as helpful as we hoped. Still, they did say they'd stop by Diggs' place. A couple hours later, they came back, saying no one was home. No warrant was granted to search as there wasn't any probable cause. As afternoon starts to roll around, Lin comes over. He's significantly calmer than earlier, but when we fill him in on the police's report, the stress returns.
At 2:55pm, there's another knock at the stage door. It wasn't the police or the pizza we ordered. Instead, and this is the strange part, it's a pet crate covered in a blanket. A note with a key taped to it rested ontop of it.
I'll be back for my doll. Don't get too attached.
"LIN! DARIEN! Help me get this inside!" I call inside, moving around to lift one side of the blanket. Inside was my worst fear. Eva. My precious love. Bare and bruised, blood drying on her back, silver rings surrounding her wrists and ankles, a larger one around her neck. She was blindfolded, big headphones on her ears leading to a small mp3 player hooked to the top of the crate. I shake my head, lowering the blanket.
"Don't tell me..." Lin starts as he steps out, Darien right behind him.
You know how people talk about "Out of body experiences"?
I wish I was having one right now. I'd do anything not to be in my own body right now.
They put me in my bathtub. Oak held my hands, his forehead against mine. He was whispering sweet nothings while I was screaming in pain. Darien poured hydrogen peroxide on my back to clean my wounds. When you get beaten enough, your skin starts to tear, and they had started to scab over. Darien had to open a few and clean the edges of a few beforehand. "Stop!! Please I can't take anymore!"
"Shh, love. He'll finish soon. Just a little longer." Bear coos to me, holding both of my hands in one of his while the other strokes my cheek. I struggle and fight his grip, I hate this.
"Bear... make him stop... please, I'll be good, I promise!! I'll be good!" I plead, whining as Bear's hand tighten around mine when I try to pull them free.
"Please m'Lady, be still. I know it hurts, but I must clean them." Darien urges, working down my spine. I grit my teeth, my body tense as a knot. My tears fall relentlessly down my cheeks. The men around keep talking, trying to get through to me.
"I can't... please I'm tired..." I whimper. The sizzle of the cleanser finally dies after what feels like an eternity. Bear kisses me gently, I shakily kiss back, my body shivering.
"Here." Lin's voice appears, making Bear pull back from me slightly. "She's gonna want to bite something when we put the cream on her back." I open my eyes, not realizing they had been closed this whole time, to glance at my lover. In his hand, one of my bit gags (see picture at the end if you don't know what I mean). "Open, gatita." He kneels by me and Bear, putting the rubber to my lips. I hesitantly open my mouth, letting him settle the bit between my teeth. He gently straps it around the back of my head, before stepping back again.
"Go ahead, Darien." Bear says, pulling my forehead back to his. I squirm as a cloth starts to prod at my back, probably applying the cream. I instantly bite down, my cries renewing.
"Many apologies, m'Lady..." He mutters, trying to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. The slightest touch makes my whole body burn over and over.
"Can you sit her up, Sir Oak? I need to wrap her." I feel Bear nod, pulling my arms over his shoulders. He leaned my head into the crook of his neck while his hands held my sides, pushing me back from leaning against the tub. Just enough room for Darien to wrap the gauze and wrappings around my upper half with Lin's help. My sobs died down as the disinfectant started to cool my raw back, offering the first signs of relief. It helped me relax enough that I let my body melt.
"There you go... it's okay, kitten. It's okay." Bear coos, kissing my forehead over and over. Lin unhooks the gag, a hand massaging my jaw until I relax and let it go from my teeth. "We're gonna move you now, okay? Take you back to bed."
"No... just leave me here. It hurts..." I whine, but Bear starts to shift away anyway.
"We have to. You need to rest and lay down. Your body needs to heal." Darien presses, his hands moving under my arms to help me to my feet. Bear takes most of my weight on him while Darien helps move my feet, making me step out of the tub.
In my room, Lin stood by my vanity, on the phone. His brow furrowed, his eyes following me as Bear practically drags me to my bed. His hold is firm but careful of my back, and he skillfully sits me down and helps me lay on my stomach, pulling a blanket over me. He sat by the bed, holding my hand.
"These need some special key to unscrew them." He said, inspecting the silver bracelet.
"I wanna keep them..." I say softly. "They're pretty."
"I'll get you a new set another day, gatita. These ones need to go." Lin speaks up from across the room, hanging up his phone call. "Darien, go get the tapes from your theatre."
"Yes, Sir Lin." He bows, glancing over to me once more. "Please be cooperative, my Lady. I am only a call away should you desire anything you heart wishes." And departs.
"I want Dav here." My voice sounds so hoarse as I speak, but they clearly heard what I said.
"He's not coming anywhere near you, love. Not after this. He should have given up when he had the chance." Bear says firmly, giving my hand a tender squeeze.
"For once, I'm grateful you're attached to the theatre, because now we can have his ass arrested. The police are on their way." Lin comes over to me, standing at the end of my bed. "They just need to see the crate and your back, and maybe even the scar on your hip where he basically signed his name, then he'll be out of our hair."
"He did this because he loves me." I stare at Bear, since he's right infront of me. "Why are you sad?"
"I'm so sorry, my love. It's my fault you were taken. I let you slip away under my watch." He sighs, my heart pulls for him.
"What are you feeling, Eva?" Lin asks, keeping his composure a bit better than Bear.
"Confused... like, it's all a mess. I need Dav... he said to be a good girl and listen to you guys until he comes back for me. But, it feels so empty when I think of him. He's cold compared to the warmth you two bring. Also, I'm so tired. Pain is exhausting." They tense as they listen, glancing between each other.
"Get some rest, love. We'll be right downstairs. Give us a call when you wake up." Bear speaks first, squeezing my hand gently. He stands up from the side of the bed, leaning over me to give my head a kiss, one that lingers in my senses. So warm and caring..
Lin walks over to my closet, only digging in it for a moment. He knew what he was looking for and where to look. What he came out with was a little... well. It was a leash. But, not one of my cute Pawstar ones. One that requires a padlock or two to lock it to whatever needs securing.
"Lin, she's injured, he's not going to come for her right away-"
"I'm not risking her just walking off again. One of us has to intentionally come and get her for her to leave this room." Lin states, nudging Oak out of the way so he can secure one end to my bed frame, and he pockets that key. The other end loops around the ring on my left ankle, locked it with the second padlock, and he hands that key to Oak. The chain gave me room to move around the bed, but not much more. "I'm not risking it. We'll be back, gatita."
Lin is so possessive of his things~ i love it. This pleases me. Oak is too, but not in the same way. Anyway, Ima go fuck up their happiness! Toodles!
The collar and cuffs on her^ (ignore the hottie.)
Chapter 27: Heat
In which Lin is sick of his shit.
"Lin, you can't just chain her up like an animal. She's a woman, not a dog." I knew Oak wouldn't like what I did.
"If we're gonna leave her alone in there, I need to make sure she cannot leave from under our noses again. I'll keep her on a damn leash until Diggs is behind bars." I growl. Seeing her back so torn and bruised... something broke in me. "Whatever it takes to keep her out of that fucker's hands."
"She's not just going to waltz out of here. She can barely walk as it is." He tries to reason with me as we exit backstage, walking through the theatre with purpose. The police should be here soon.
"As her Owner, I'm doing it for her safety and my peace of mind-"
"And as her to-be husband, I'm not just going to stand by and let you treat her like that." He puts a hand on my shoulder, making me turn to him. Face to face.
"She needs it. Don't you see? She's breaking. He's breaking her down to a simple toy. Trust me, damnit. Yes, she'll be your wife, but right now I'm still the owner of her submission, and someone is abusing that gift." Now. Lemme just say. Oak may be the gentle giant, but man's still intimidating. Yet, here I am, standing up to him over his woman.
"I... don't understand why it's necessary. Lin, she needs gentle care and affection. She needs to be loved, not locked away.."
"Currently, she's still spacey. She needs grounding. She needs another's will to lean on. Yes, cleaning her and cuddling her is important, but she also needs space and time alone to recollect herself. Think, Oak. She's an introvert." I explain, turning away to continue towards the door. "At the same time, Daveed has influenced her mind, so she's drawn to him. We can't have her running off to find him."
"Well, we left her phone with her. So, she'll probably call him." He sighs.
"Great, we'll trace the number and have the cops pick him up." I say, speaking of cops, they arrive right on cue.
We take the time to explain the abuse and show them pictures of the original marks on her back (we hadn't gotten the new ones on camera yet). Darien returns with a copy of the video when she leaves last night. That doesn't help the cause much because she seemingly left willingly. No sign of a fight. The crate and note, on the other hand... yea. We talk with them for over an hour, pouring out every detail we could think of.
"We're going to need to speak to her, if possible." One officer says, writing the last details we spoke of.
"She's too fragile right now, she probably won't want to speak." Oak replies, his hands fidgeting. "She just got back. She needs to rest."
"She's here? How come she's not in the hospital? You described her injuries as rather brutal."
"I'm a trained physician, Sirs. I treated her injuries in house and thought it best she remain where she is most comfortable for her mental stability." Darien covers for that, though, I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.
"So where is she?"
"She's upstairs. She lives here at the theatre, and works here on staff." Darien takes over the finer details on who Eva is. Meanwhile, my phone rings. I step away to answer it.
"Hey man, you know what's going on at the theatre? People are tweeting out pictures of cop cars parked out front." Chris.
"Yea, um. Lemme give the abridged version. Diggs took Eva last night, returned her this afternoon in a pet crate, and we're pressing charges because fuck that guy."
"Oh shit. Seriously?"
"Yea, he really did a number on Eva. We're trying to get him behind bars and out of our hair." I reply, glancing back over my shoulders as the officers, Darien, and Oak stand. Probably to go see Eva. "Hey, I gotta go. We'll check in later." Chris says goodbye, and I rejoin the others. "So, we're going upstairs?"
"Yes, just to see Lady Eva's back. They'll try not to disturb her long." Darien says, Oak leading the officers to the backstage door. Darien stays with me, face starting to flush a little red.
"You okay? You don't look so good." He barely smiles to me, sweat forming on his brow. "You getting sick?"
"No. I'm... I'm fine." He stutters, but I don't believe it. However, before I can push further, he's clutching his chest and nearly dropping to the floor.
"Ah... so that's what happens." My head shoots up at the new voice. Well, not new, but certainly unwelcome. Daveed struts into view as if he owns the place.
"Diggs, what did you do?" I yell, kneeling beside Darien as he pants, nearly tearing off his jacket. Feeling his back, he must have been running a fever that didn't show signs of breaking.
"Now now, I didn't do anything. I just got here. Though, I did hear there's a little situation going on across the street." Daveed chuckles, and almost on cue, the police officers that went upstairs ran back through the building, yelling something about a fire nearby. "I was always a little curious what happens to the person if the theatre is damaged. Good to know there's a direct connection."
"Fuck you, Daveed. I don't care what.. what you do to me." Darien lifts his head enough to glare at the rapper. He spits angrily, gritting his teeth through the pain. "You will never earn the love of my Lady." Daveed laughs, stepping closer.
"Hahaha... oh, I never said I was going to earn her love. I'm going to take it. And really? Calling the police was such a tasteless move." He grins confidently. This motherfucker... I am on my feet in a hot second, my fist already colliding with his jaw.
"I'm so fucking sick of you, and you've really done it this time. How DARE you take advantage of her gift." I hiss, nailing him again in the same spot. He tumbles backwards, laughing even louder than before. "What's so funny, asshole?" Daveed shakes his head, wiping blood from the corner of his mouth as he looks past me. I turn around, Oak had come back with Eva in tow, dressed in her kimono. Her eyes watery and sad, staring right at me.
Shut up im not crying you're crying. Well... you don't know why you're crying yet. But you will.
Me too, Lin. Me too.
Chapter 28: Enough
In which Eva couldn't let him go.
"Lin..." She begins, taking a step towards me. Oak moves first, wrapping an arm around her stomach to hold her back. She holds my gaze, as if in disbelief I'd hurt him. Daveed starts to get back up, that shit-eating smirk still on his lips, but I step on his chest, giving him a look that's just asking him to test me. "What's going on?"
"My Lady... he deserved it." Darien speaks slowly, interrupting the moment. She finally notices his distress and runs to him.
"Darien! What-what's going on? Why are you- what's wrong?" Her tears really start to fall. She helps him lay back, resting his head on her thighs.
"He set fire to me theatre. I... this might be it for me, my Lady." He pants heavily, "It was an honor to serve you for so long, to be by your side."
"No... no Darien. No you can't die! You're not allowed to. I can't lose you." She strokes his head, wiping away the sweat on his brow.
"Haha... only you would forbid me from death, my Lady." He chuckles weakly, smiling through the pain.
"Only because I need you, Darien. I'm not ready to be on my own. I can't lose you."
"You can never lose me, my Lady. We are always connected, and you won't be alone." He looks past her to Oak and I for a moment, reaching to stroke her cheek. "I adore you, my Queen... please, live your life. Follow the love around you to happiness. You've grown so beautifully, I'm proud of you."
"But who's gonna walk to me my box? Or tie my shoes? Who's gonna alway pop up out of nowhere when I need them?" Her body shakes with sobs, but he hushes her. I glance to Oak, who looks to be deciding if he should comfort her or not. Below me, Daveed shifts again, but I dig my ankle into his sternum.
"I'm sorry, my Lady... please don't linger on me... please..." He groans, coughing erupting through his chest, his eyes growing hazy.
"NO! No Darien, stay awake! Don't close your eyes! You're the only family I have! Darien! DARIEN!!" She cries loudly, but the usher's hand drops from her cheek. She clutches his body, hugging him right to her. "Daveed!! How COULD YOU?!"
"He was in the way of our love, doll. Now he won't bother us anymore." He groans, finally knocking my leg off of his chest so he can get up. "One less distraction."
"Fuck you, Diggs! Fuck you! He was my brother, my only real family and you took him from me! He raised me and you ripped him away!!" She screams. Well, guess this really snapped her out of his control. I step back, giving Oak the same signal to do as well. She seems to got this covered.
"He was just a pawn. A piece of a useless theatre, just like you. Now stop being ridiculous and come to me, it's time to go." Daveed really is crazy. He thinks killing my family will make me love him.
"I abuse you because I love you. I drug you because I love you. I keep your head empty and your cunt satisfied because I love you. And maybe, one day I'll kill for you, just because I love you." He said, towering over me. My pathetic whimpers choked out of my throat, caught under his foot.
"Excuse me?" He pauses, raising an eyebrow.
"I'd rather die than have anything to do with you. All of this madness over me? I'm sick and tired of it. Taking the abuse myself is one thing, but when you start to hurt the people I love? It ends right now." I hiss, glaring at him as tears spill down my cheeks.
"Doll, relax. You won't miss him. He's just an ush-"
"Wrong again, asshole. He's been there for me since I was created. He's my guide, my backbone, my teacher. He can do more for me in five minutes than you can in ten lifetimes." I cradle Darien's head in my hands, his pulse is barely there. He's fading... "All he's ever wanted for me was to find happiness, and I have. I've felt it's comforting arms. He deserves the same."
"I'm not your fucking DOLL, Daveed! Get over yourself! I don't know what happened to you, but you are fucking insane if you think killing him will make me love you! So you know what? I'm done. I give up. You want to resort to killing, fine. Let me have the honors of being the blood on your hands."
"What?" Daveed blinks, dumbfounded.
"Eva. What are you saying? He's gone." Lin whispers, just loud enough for me to hear.
"No, he's not. I can still save him..." And I know exactly what to do.
I move back from Darien, letting him lay on the stage, and kneel beside him.
"Lin, Oak. Thank you for making my life so much brighter. Without you, I'd be stuck in the shadows. I love both of you to the ends of the universe."
"Eva, what are you doing?" Oak steps forward, but I ignore his question.
"I'm sorry I couldn't marry you, Bear. You were right, I was going to say yes. I'd hoped we could have the wedding on a rooftop somewhere, at sunrise. All of our friends could be there... Darien would have walked me down the aisle..." I say, slowly leaning down over Darien, about to rest my forehead against his.
"We still can, is this really the right move? Darien wanted you to find your happy ending. Please, there's still a chance." Oak pleads, Lin grabs his arm to keep him back.
"I don't care. I love Darien too much to let him go like this. He deserves a chance to feel happiness too. I've felt it... it's amazing. He deserves to know what it's like." I sigh, resting my forehead against his. "I'm satisfied."
"No NO! Eva!!" Lin fights to keep Oak back. He must understand what I'm doing. Thank you, Lin.
"It'll be okay, Oak. Trust her." Lin's voice peeks through.
"Darien, when you wake up, make sure they know my love for them will always remain." I whisper, closing my eyes. Slowly, I feel the connection between us solidify, my energy draining into him. "And remember me." I can hear my voice waver, my body feeling weaker as the seconds pass by. A thread inside of me is pulling tighter and tighter. My connection to the theatre.
"Eva! Please!!" Oak's cries fade into the background. "Daveed, grab her, make her stop! Do something!!" Desperate to make me stop, but I don't hear any steps come close to me.
I exhale, lifting my head just enough to kiss Darien's forehead. "I willingly give my connection to you. I willingly accept your connection as my own."
"Eva..." His eyes start to open, and I meet his gaze, one more time.
"Darien..." I breathe, the heat and pain consuming me in a heartbeat, but only for a moment as the numbness fades in quickly. The thread breaks, and I slump over, falling to lay on the stage. I feel a warmth, a soothing pulse rush through me. Then nothing.
I love you, bro.
I couldn't do it !!! I love Darien too much.
Chapter 29: Gone.
In which Oak denies what's in front of him.
She slumps over, her body laying lifeless on the cold floor beside Darien. I manage to shove Lin off of me, diving to her side.
"No... no, Eva?" I pick her up into my lap, the smooth silk of her kimono tickling my skin. She can't be dead. She can't be. I refuse to believe it. She can't leave me. Not like this. Not when we were so close to the end, to our happy ending. "Eva, wake up... please. We'll get married tomorrow, you just gotta wake up." I plead, desperate for her to open her eyes. "We can have our happy ending, you'll be free of this place, we can run away. Anywhere in the world, we can go. You just gotta open your eyes..."
"Oak..." Lin walks over to me, placing a hand on my shoulder.
"She can't leave like this. This can't be the end." I stroke her cheek, cradling her head. "She can't be gone."
"Is she..." Daveed starts to come closer, but I growl in interruption.
"Take another step, and I swear to god I will make you regret coming anywhere near her to begin with. You messed with the wrong woman." I glare at him coldly. "Your ass is getting arrested and you're going to get the fuck out of our lives."
"I didn't think she would do that." He continues, fidgeting with his jacket.
"No, you didn't, because you don't know her! You tried to make her love you when you could have just been happy being friends with her as you were!" I yell, tears welling in my eyes, threatening to fall. I fight them, though, picking my lifeless love up from the floor. "You abused her when she was content loving you as part of her family! When she finally let her guards down, you took her and tried to break her! TWICE. You disgusting shit, you never deserved any kindness she has shown you. You don't deserve the blessing of her presence. You don't even deserve to be here right now!"
"Oak, calm do-"
"Lin, don't you dare tell me to calm down. If this was Vanessa..." Eva's head rests against my shoulder, just like every other time I held her. She looks like she's sleeping... My heart shatters at the sight.
"Take her upstairs. We'll put her to rest properly later." Lin sighs, walking over to Darien to help him up as he comes around. Daveed stays put, his eyes following me as I take my fallen star away.
Each step feels like a mile, every stair becomes a mountain to climb. All the times I've carried her up these stairs... I never imagined it'd be like this. She looks so peaceful, so content.
"Open your eyes..." I plead quietly. Maybe this time she will. "We'll have your dream wedding. Darien is okay now, he can still walk you down that aisle. I'll find you a ring that can barely match you in beauty. We'll rent the highest rooftop we can find, and get married there. Then, we'll hop a plane and fly anywhere in the world you want to go."
I lay her on her bed, her body sinking into the soft mattress as it always has.
"Please... call me Bear one more time..." The tears I had been fighting for so long finally surface, rolling down my cheeks as the heavy sobs rake through me. I hold her hand tight, her skin feeling cooler already. I just can't believe it.
I can't believed she's gone.
Daveed stood by patiently as I helped Darien up.
"She didn't do what I think she did... did she?" Was the first question he asked. He had the same look of horror Oak had.
"That depends. How do you feel?" I say calmly, handing him a bandana to dry his face. The red started to recede from his cheeks, like a fever had broken.
"Peachy. Like nothing happened to my theatre. Though, I feel oddly at home here, which is the concerning part." He furrows his brow, glancing to Oak as he walked away with Eva.
"Then yea, she did what you think she did. What happened to her?" Daveed asks, interrupting the conversation. Darien gives him a sour glare, but answers anyway.
"She gave me her connection to the Richard Rodgers in exchange for mine.
Our physical forms cannot handle the extreme damage the theatres can recover from. The Lunt-Fontanne can be repaired. Delicate organs? Not so much. Her body was already weakened by copious amounts of alcohol, drugs, and aggressive abuse, so, I imagined it overtook her quickly. The pain did not linger." His eyes look sad as he reflects on his words.
"She sacrificed herself so you could get that second date." I chuckle dryly, earning an equally dry laugh from the other two men.
"That she did. She gave me a chance at my happy ending too. I shall not waste it. In fact..." Darien turned to Daveed swiftly, nailing him in the gut with his fist. I even wince the sound of contact. Man, that must have hurt. "Might as well start now."
"Jesus fuck! Okay! I get it, I'm a shit human being. Enough punching me!" He groans, doubled over as the wind got knocked out of him.
"Heh, pathetic." Darien chuckles, before turning back to me. "Shall I secure him somewhere until the law enforcements are available again, Sir Lin?"
"Yea, sounds good. I'll go check on Oak. He's probably shutting down." I nod to him, and he grabs Daveed's arm, leading him away. I take out my phone.
HamFam Group Chat
If you've seen twitter, you might have seen that the police were here at the RR and the LF across the street was burned.
Oak and I are okay, Darien is okay. Eva is not. She gave herself to save Darien, her only true family. Please don't poke Oak for a while, he's grieving heavily.
Daveed is going to be arrested for everything he's done, including the fire. Even he feels shitty for his actions.
Pipspeak : Oh my gosh
Rengelica : Please tell me your joking.
CookieMonster : I will be right there.
BennyWashington : Same, already out the house.
Antman : Pip, Renee, can you come over? Jazz is losing it bad over here.
OdomJrSir : This can't be happening...
Groffindor : I thought she couldn't... She can't have.
The messages keep flooding back in from the entire crew. Offers of prayers and condolences, asking what they can do, calling out support to each other.
It's going to be a long night.
Shut up, I'm not sobbing uncontrollably with Oak. You are.
Chapter 30: Barely
In which Darien has a long night ahead of him.
Chris and Thayne had come by the theatre. I don't think I've ever seen Daveed so scared, especially being a bit tied up at the moment. Although Thayne had occupied himself with Darien, rather shamelessly I might add, Chris had a little chat with Diggs before the police returned. After about half an hour of hear a grown man cry out in pain, I finally decide to head up to see Eva.
"Can you watch him, the police should be back anytime to pick him up." I call to Chris, who look more than satisfied with his work. Daveed's head hung low, a groan escaping him. "Though, I don't think he's going anywhere. Just... ease up on him. Okay?" He chuckles and nods, sitting off to the side.
"Yea, just needed to show the punk what happens when you mess with our lil coco. But I'll stick here." Chris laughs dryly, lounging back and taking his phone out. Then I turn my attention to Thayne and Darien, who have barely separated since he arrived.
"You two, come with me." I say, turning heel to walk backstage.
"Where are we going?" Thayne asks. Oh yea, he hasn't been upstairs before.
"Eva's room. Oak took her up there after she... yea." Darien's voice cracks slightly, but he clears his throat. "To properly put her to rest, I have to officially declare her deceased. Required by law. I'd rather be the one to do it than have some random doctor tear up her precious skin."
"And you're coming because I think he'll need the support." I add, breathing deeply myself. I'm holding up surprisingly well. Like, I can't believe she's gone, but... something deep down tells me we're not at the end of the road.
"Precisely. Having to examine my dear Lady is going to be difficult. I am almost sure of what's to come. I don't feel her anymore, like I used to. The connection was broken, I suspect it is because the Lunt-Fontanne was nearly destroyed." Darien scratches his neck, breathing deep again. "She's an idiot. She should have let me go. It feels wrong to be here without her, all I wanted was for her to be happy and live on from here. she was so close to leaving this wretched building."
"Darien... but..." Thayne starts, tears prickling in his eyes. "I mean. I understand, but she made that choice for you. Now you can be happy too. You can find your happy ending. If that's what you want, I mean..."
"Thayne... I know. I just... I've served her for almost a century. Without her, I don't know what to do. All I have is this theatre... and you. My dearest Thayne." I hear Thayne almost giggle sheepishly behind me as we make our way upstairs. I smile, at least there's a little hope here. "Okay... let's get this over with." I nod, opening the door to her room. As expected, Oak was kneeling by her side. Our princess laid on the bed, peacefully lingering, as if frozen in time. I motion to the pair behind me to stay put as I step forward, slowly making my way to Oak.
"Come on, man. Get some sleep. She'll be here tomorrow." I speak softly. I don't think he'll want to be here when we basically declare her dead. "Go down to Time square, get a hotel room. Give them my-"
"I can't leave her, I need to be here when she wakes up." He mutters, lifting his head slowly. "She'll wake up, I know it..."
"Oak. It's okay. She'll be fine until morning. She won't be alone." I pat his shoulder. "Just a couple of hours. Go take a breath." I push, as gently as I can. If I think this is hard on me, he must be feeling it infinitely worse.
"I can't... She's gotta be okay." His voice cracks, like his tears are renewing. I lean down, gently untangling her hand from his tight hold. He lets out a soft sound of protest, but lets me. Taking his arm, I help him to his feet, his eyes locked on her.
"Come on, you're going down the street. Chris is downstairs, I'll get him to take you." I guide him to the door, already pulling my phone out of my pocket to shoot Chris a quick text. The police should have picked up Daveed by now, so he should be free to walk Oak. "We'll call you in the morning." He needs space to process, and sitting beside her wasn't going to help. Andrew was going to fill in for a while. Oak nods, sadly moving past Thayne and Darien to go downstairs.
"Alright... Thayne, if you could go to the bathroom there and get my bag, it should still be on the counter." I say calmly. Thayne nods wordlessly, walking off to get it. I walk over to the bed and stroke Eva's cheek lightly. "You stupid girl, why did you do this."
"She did it for you. You mean the world to her too." Lin replies for her, stepping up beside me.
"She should have known better." I shoot back.
"She wanted you to have a chance to be happy too, Darien."
"I told her not to linger on me and move on. As much as I love Thayne, she should have known that I'm more than willing to die for her to see another day. She was so close to being free. She could have done it." I scold her, shaking slightly as I lose me cool. Thayne returns with the bag, rubbing my back soothingly. I sighs, taking the bag from my partner. "Thank you, darling. I'm sorry. You know I adore you... I just... a century is a long time. You grow attached to someone after a while."
"It's okay. I'm not going anywhere." Thayne whispers back, kissing my cheek lightly. I nod and place a light kiss to his lips in return, setting the bag on the bedside table. I begin the examination. FIrst, checking her wrist for a sign of a pulse. Five seconds. Ten seconds. Fifteen seconds pass slowly. Thirty seconds. Fourty seconds...
My eyes widen. I instantly let go, staring down at her for a moment. It can't be... I relocate to her neck, moving the kimono down to feel her pulse point. Her skin feels cool, as expected. Ten seconds. Fifteen seconds. Thirty seconds.
"Lin. Get the car."
"What?" Of course, he's confused at my words, but I hastily hand my bag to Thayne, who almost drops it at my frantic pace. I pick the woman up in my arms. She rests limply in my arms. It's faint, but it's there.
"We're going to the hospital."
OH MY GOD. A CHANCE. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOSH, HOPE.
I am going to write an alternate ending eventually. I want to entertain both ideas.
Also, I'd punch Daveed too.
Chapter 31: Mortal
In which Darien is frustrated with her, even when she's near death.
We get to the closest hospital we could find. They know me, I helped build the damn building. When I enter, I star delivering orders to nurses nearby, picking up a radio from the nurse station. I carry Eva through the halls to the private ward, single patient rooms.
"Darien, what's going on?" Lin asks for the fourteenth time. I grit my teeth, irritated by the incessant questioning, and focus on the task at hand. I start her on an IV, the nurses bring in an electric blanket to keep her body from getting too cold from the low heartbeat.
"She's alive. Barely, but alive. I'm not sure how, but I know she can barely sustain herself physically." I say rushed. "Her heart is weak at the moment. I think because the building she's connected to wasn't able to fully sustain her, she's barely compensating for the difference on her own. But she's definitely not connected to the Lunt-Fontanne. I can't feel her connection at all."
"She's not? How is that possible, I thought she took your connection..." I barely notice as he trails off, motioning for Thayne to come to me. He opens my bag for me, allowing me to dig through it for medicine to add to her IV. "Darien."
"What? I'm a bit busy at the moment." I growl back between words, telling another nurse to hook up the monitors, watching as her heartbeat appears on the screen. Slow, but there.
"She broke her own connection. She sacrificed herself for you. An act of true love." That was enough to make me stop. "So... she's-"
"Mortal. Nothing is sustaining her, but her own will to live." I finish his thought. "Goddamnit Eva..." I mutter, frustrated as I put the pieces together while I set her up. "Because she sacrificed for me, she should have been connected to me, but my connection was taken by the Richard Rodgers. She had nothing to link to."
"So what? Can she live on her own then?" He asks, sitting at the end of her bed.
"Unsure, Sir Lin. Remember, her body has been weakened. She needs medical care to make her body sustainable. Think of this like this, she's currently in a coma until she is strong enough to wake."
"A coma. Right." Lin repeats. "I'm just relieved, she's alive... there's a chance."
"If we can get her body stable, yes. But we left the after effects of the drugs and alcohol untreated, as the Theatre was maintaining her just fine, and the person she'd have been connected to is in good health." I reply, pausing to call an order for different medicines. "But, as she's attempting to exist on her own, her body can't take it. Not in this state. We don't have much time to work."
A new nurse pushes past me, moving Thayne and I out of the way. She brought in the paddles of life. (Those electric thingies. You know what I'm talking about.) I've never seen Darien this serious before. And honestly, I feel so bad for Thayne. His love will always come second to his loyalty to Eva.
"CLEAR!" I jump as Eva's body lurches from the table, her heart rate spiking, then returning to a steady, slow beat. A bit faster though. "Slightly responsive. One more to reach minimum safe zone. Recharge." They recharge the paddles... the seconds pass slowly, but the second round comes. "CLEAR!" The second jolt runs through her. Her heart rate spikes again. Almost instantaneously, a scream erupts from her throat. It scares everyone in the room stand back. Her heart races at she cries out, and as fast as it began, she quieted down, slumping back to the bed.
"Eva! Damnit, stay awake! Keep your eyes open. Don't close them. Follow my voice and look at me." Darien hastily hands the paddles back to the nurse, moving to hold Eva's cheeks.
"Tired..." she mutters, her eyes rolling back once more.
"No no no, you can sleep later. Awake now. Come on, Eva, stay with me." He strokes her cheeks, gently nudging her every time her eyes flutter, but they ultimately close again as she slips back out of consciousness.
"Damn, she has some lungs..." I mutter, my ears ringing from her scream. Glancing at the heart monitor, her beat stays steady, still a little slow, but much improved than before.
"Good sign, however. I still need to run some blood tests, but the lab doesn't open until 8 in the morning and it's currently... 2:06am. Even then, if we get her body healthy, there's no telling if or when she'll awaken." Darien says, sighing as he realizes all the work he needs to do. Turning to Thayne, he says "Love, go home. You too, Sir Lin. You both have a show to do tomorrow and you've been up most of the night. She's safe with me."
"Alright. I'll bring you breakfast later." Thayne goes to kiss his cheek, but Darien pulls him close for a long but loving kiss, leaving him blushing and breathless.
"Thank you, love. I'll be waiting for your return." He smiles to his blushing partner.
"Call if anything changes. I'll let Oak know that she's here. Actually, might as well tell the whole cast." I finally say, yawning slightly. It has been a long night.
On my way to the subway, I write out a new message.
To: HamFam Group chat
So, Eva is in a coma. We're not sure how, but she's alive. Darien is keeping her at the hospital to see if he can nurse her back to health so she can wake up. The odds are against us, but there's hope.
And a message to twitter, since they probably know stuff's been going down at Broadway. I write it out in notepad and just screenshot it so I don't have to break it up as much.
Some of you may have seen that one of the theaters was burned a couple of hours ago. Most of the HamFam is fine. Oak, Eva, and I were still at the RR across the street from the fire. Well, to summarize, the person who started the fire has been arrested. I know this because he was also abusing Eva and had returned her on poor condition. Currently, she is in the hospital, in a coma. Shows will continue, but Oak will not be preforming. Please have patience and faith with us as we work through this difficult time.
Eva, this show is for you.
Chapter 32: Wait.
In which Eva lingers in her head for a moment longer.
I imagine death so much that it feels more like a memory.
I can't feel. Can't move. Only think. Instead, I'm trapped in the theatre of my mind, my own memories playing like a movie before me. Every smile, tear, laugh, and scream. Every moment I breathed, I watched it replay before me. I never thought I'd die. I was supposed to remain with the Richard Rodgers forever...
There is no beat. No melody.
Darien never spoke of what happens to the spirit should a theatre fall. He always told me never to worry, that it would never come to that point for me. He said he'd protect me from ever having to come to that point. It was better if I never knew. Even when I was a slave, he made sure I was back at my theatre in time.
If I throw away my shot, is this how you'll remember me?
They'll remember me, my name remains over the seventh dressing room on the left wing. It's my legacy. The caretaker and manager that made a difference, working all night to perfect preparations. Doing every and any job that needed to be done. I left notes and systems in place. They should know how to keep the cycle going. A year and I'm gone. The legend of the Lady of the House will live as well, my letters from the past will float on.
It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
Darien wanted me to find my happiness, to live on and marry Oak, to see my dream come true... I gave that up just so he could have a shot to feel what I've felt. My story's over. His is just beginning. It was my one chance to repay him for every day he's stood by my side. But... I'll never get to see him enjoy it. I'll never catch him and Thayne cuddling or help him with dates or maybe... a wedding.
You let me make a difference.
The whole cast took me in as a stranger. Though some were skeptical, they found a place for me. They let me work and grow however I could. They supported me in every step, even when I didn't deserve it. They paved the way for me to shine in my own way. Because of them, I stepped out of the shadows and into the light.
I'm running out of time and my time's up.
The longer I sit here, in this emptiness, the more I accept my decision. I couldn't let Daveed continue his rampage. I couldn't let Darien die. I couldn't let Oak and Lin watch me be tortured. If I'm what everyone is so worked up over, I had to remove myself from the equation. It was the only way.
Was I stupid for taking his place in death? He begged me to move on and live, but I couldn't stand to see him die, knowing his death would be the first of many if Daveed got his way.
In this vacant theatre, I can still see Oak and Lin. Their smiling faces, the pride and adoration shining in their eyes. The promise of a bright future full of love. A sunrise wedding on the rooftop, the cast watching as Darien walks me down the aisle. Oak standing with pride, Lin just behind him. Ren, Pippa, and Jazzy waiting as my bridesmaids. The restless city singing its melody, my lullaby. I see what could have been. What I gave up.
Teach me how to say goodbye.
I reach out as the screen fades to black, my movie ending. I hope they don't let me stop them from happiness. I am only a blink of an eye in their lives. Not even a whole year spent by their sides. Oak deserves better. Someone he can love freely, anywhere he wants. Not confined to a building. I'm... satisfied.
My love, take your time.
Move on from me, Oak. Don't linger. Don't listen to the sounds of my cries in this solitary prison. Don't sit by while I waste away. You'll always be in my heart, as I will be in yours.
I'll see you on the other side.
My sun has set. I will wait until the day yours has too. We'll meet again, I pray.
Raise a glass to freedom...
Daveed, I'm aim my pistol at the sky. I give up. You win.
*August 28th, 2016 - After the Matinee*
My first show in what feels like forever. I did miss preforming. It feels like it's only way I can stop worrying about Eva for a while. I really wanted to do this show. It's been a year since Eva preformed on this stage for the first time, just a couple of weeks after joining the crew...
"Hello, my name is Lin Miranda," Lin starts his speech, as usual after curtain call, "Today's show was dedicated to a member of our team who we miss with our whole hearts. Eva, our stage manager has been in a coma at the nearby hospital. A year ago today, she filled in as our Peggy and Maria for the first time. A year ago this month, she joined our crew as a stage hand." He pauses, clearly struggling to keep his composure. Pip was right there for him, rubbing his shoulder with comfort. "We stood by her as she fought abuse, supported her through her hardest moments, loved her when she thought it was impossible. During today's intermission, I received a call from Eva's doctor and good friend ours." My head shot up, turning to him. He turned to me at the same moment. I freeze. I can see his lips moving, but the words barely register in my head before I take off running. I run as fast as I can to the hospital. It can't be true. I need to see her.
I am absolutely in love with this chapter. I'm proud of this. Only a couple and maybe an epilogue left!
This has to be the chapter I am most proud of, and it's from here I'd branch it off for the alternate ending (coming soon.)
Chapter 33: Impossible
In which the connection is broken.
"I know you can hear me..."
"Take your time. Just breathe."
Stop shaking me, I'm up. It's too early. Even in the afterlife, he insists on waking me up early.
"Eva, stay with me."
"Is she going to be okay?" Who's this? Darien, get him out of my room, I don't like strangers in my room.
"Unknown, first she needs to respond somehow." Darien answers them like a friend, and I feel my hand being lifted. "Eva, squeeze my hand as hard as you can."
It's weird hearing him use my name, it's been Lady for so long. I've always wanted to hear him say my name though. Sometimes it's nice to be just Eva. My body feels heavy, like lead has replaced my blood. My other hand is lifted as well, a bigger, warmer grasp.
"Wake up, love. Please." They beg, squeezing my hand back.
I'm so tired. I want them to leave me alone, let me sleep.
"Oak, I think she'll be a while longer. It's been almost four months, she might be lethargic." Darien informs the other. Oak... that name. Wait...
I'm not dead. That wasn't death. I was... I don't know, but, I'm not dead! I need to move. MOVE BODY. MOVE.
"She flinched! Her finger twitched!" Oak says excitedly. I can practically hear him smile. "Don't stop trying, love.
Don't give up."
"Keep holding her hand." Darien says quickly, releasing my hand gently. Oak shifts beside me, I feel him press my palm to his cheek.
"You're doing so well, snugs. Take your time. I'm not going anywhere." I can feel something damp drip over my thumb. He's... crying. "And after you wake up and Darien says you're good to leave, we'll go anywhere you want. Anything you want to do, we'll do it. No one can hurt you anymore, no one will abuse you ever again." I want to wipe his tears away, to tell him I'm okay. Hell, I want to cry just listening to him. I want to do something.
"Brought you your clothes and stuff from the theatre. How's she doin'?" Lin! Lin's here too! Is it a show night? Did I make them miss a show? I hope not.
"Slow, but she's there. She's listening, trying to move." Oak tells him. Yea, trying is the key word here.
"Gatita, start small. Fingers and toes." Lin says, like he knows the answer to everything. He's not wrong, but still. I try my hands again. Move body!!!! At least let me soothe Oak. I want to scream as it takes everything in me to move my thumb on his cheek, wiping away a tear.
"That's it, love. You can do it." Oak encourages, stroking my hand gently. Lin takes my free hand, massaging it as well. "Keep going."
I try to do that method people use to overcome sleep paralysis. My goal is to take a deep breath. That's all. I start with my toes, working my way to flex all of them at least twice. I try to curl my fingers, as Oak gets the message to let me close my hands. Footsteps echo in the room as I think others are coming in, and Darien's muttering returns, barking orders at a nurse to get some food. That man knows me so well. Next, I shrug my shoulders and shift my knees. Almost there...
My chest opens up. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
"Oak..." My voice cracks horribly, and I'm immediately shushed.
"I'm right here. God, I'm never leaving your side again. I'm so sorry..." he sobs beside me. I lift my hand again, seeking out his face, and he helps me find his cheek.
"I love you." I croak, before a coughing fit overtakes me. Fuck, my throat is dry. Someone at my other side, assumed Lin, lifts my head and cool liquid hits my lips. I drink greedily, ahhh... refreshing.
"Everyone, keep your devices away, I'm turning most of the lights out. Her eyes will be sensitive." Darien says, and a small chorus of acknowledgements sounds behind him. How many people are here. "Take your time opening your eyes, Eva. It should be easier now."
"Darien, since when was I Eva to to you?" I choke out, a dry chuckle leaving me. Even my lips feel cracked as I try to smile. Others in the room laugh as well.
"Since you decided to not listen to me for once and nearly died." He scolds me, though I can hear the relief in his voice.
"Did ya get the second date?" I ask, gripping onto Oak when I try to sit up a little. My duo both push me back down and adjust the bed so I'm a bit more upright.
"Well, yes. We're actually courting, but-"
"Then it was worth it. Also, courting? It's 2016. No one "courts" anymore." I reply, earning another round of giggles.
"Give the man a break, snugs. He's been a trooper with taking care of you AND building a relationship." Oak says, and I assume it's his hand that finds my cheek. I try my best to open my eyes, the room was dark except for the machines Darien had me hooked up to. Well, dark to me, I'm guessing there's enough light to see my eyes crack open, as Oak's voice choked up again.
"Bear, stop crying. I'm fine." I turn my head to him, meeting eyes with the love of my life. "I'm not sorry for my choice."
"I know. Doesn't mean I wasn't scared. I missed you, I thought I lost you before we could start our lives together." He says, making me smile, then frown when I think a little more.
"How long have I been here..."
"Four months. Four long, extremely difficult months." Lin answers, squeezing my other hand. "Oak wouldn't leave your side for the first two, but we convinced him to at least sleep at home and shower. He finally came back to work today."
"But.. how can I be here the whole time? I need to go back to the Rich- erm... Lunt-Fontanne if I'm still alive." And this is where my life refuses to make sense anymore, because fuck logic. Darien gently nudges Lin, urging him to move back. He takes my hand from Lin's, and after kneeling to my level, places my fingers on his forehead.
"Try to connect to me."
"Darien, what does that have to-"
"Just do it." He pushes, and waits patiently. I sigh and close my eyes, mentally trying to seek and find the connection. My brows furrow as I realize... I don't feel him at all. I seek further to reach out to my theatre, or any of the others, but... nothing.
"I... I can't. Darien, I can't feel you. I don't feel the theatre, any of them. I don't feel anything, I can't feel anything." I start to panic, the fear reflecting in heart monitor as the beat picks up.
"Woah, easy love. Easy. It's okay. You're okay. You're alright." Oak rubs my hand comfortingly. I start to cry, I mean, who wouldn't? When you've known one safety for so long, you grow afraid without it.
"You're free, Eva. Free from the theatre and from your duties." Darien smiles, taking my hand from his forehead and kissing it lightly. "You don't need to return anymore. You can do anything you want."
"B-but, how is that... why? How? What!?"
"Shh... breathe, gatita. Don't stress yourself." Lin eases, standing at the end of my bed. Behind him, most of the cast had come in, some of them had tears in their eyes. Lin catches on where my eyes go, and silently motions for them to go. "You guys sleep, we have a show tomorrow. You can visit another time." They all nodded and left, one by one.
"Eva, look at me." Darien refocusses me with a soft kiss to my hand again. "You deserve to fly, rather than be trapped in that cage. Oak and Lin knew as soon as I found out it was possible. Though, this was not the way I had intended, we are all ready to help you live a life outside of the theatre."
"You all knew...?"
"I had a feeling you'd be okay after the little stunt you pulled. But, if you do that again, I think Oak might combust." Lin chuckles quietly, motioning to Oak. I turn back to him, his eyes still wet with tears.
"We can go anywhere we want, love. Anywhere, and we don't have to worry about coming back in time. I'll take my vacation, and we'll run away." Oak says softly.
"As long as I'm with you, Bear." I smile. Freedom feels weird. Knowing that I can really spend all day and night outside of the theatre... it's weird. But, I know I'll forget all that when I'm by my Oak tree.
Awwweeeee feels for days~
Chapter 34: Possible
In which Eva goes home.
"I don't know how any of you manage to survive. How do you live on your own! It's exhausting!" I complain for the millionth time as I go through my physical therapy session. I feel so fucking sore that I want to murder Daveed myself, but only once I can stand for more than a few minutes. My back hurts so badly now that I'm off the hardcore drugs and off bedrest. It's been about two weeks since I woke up.
"Yes, I know, snugs. But, it's good for you." Oak replies, chuckling as he holds my hands, helping me balance. "Darien said you'd still be in a bit of pain, but you have to start walking to get your muscles working again."
"So, stop complaining, m'Lady. You'll be fine." Darien adds, standing behind me. He holds my harness that's helping me stay upright. My legs have honestly gotten so tired, four months in bed will certainly do that to a person. UGH. BODY Y THO.
"Baby, I can't take this. Just wheel me around." I sigh, quietly, kinda deadweighting my body against Bear. I'm still tired, extremely tired. I'm tired all the time.
"Perhaps she'd do better in the pool?" Darien asks over me, and I feel Bear shrug in response, gathering me up in his arms.
"Can I nap yet?" I whine softly.
"No, it's only three. I can't let you sleep until at least eight." Bear carried me back to my wheelchair. Setting me down, he knelt in front of me.
"Hey Darien, mind giving us a minute?" he asks, raising a hand to my cheek. I look at him, and almost wish I hadn't because I can see he's a little disappointed in me. I only heard him walk away, not taking my eyes off of Bear.
"I'm sorry..." I whisper instantly, I have a feeling I know what he's gonna say.
"What's wrong, love? What can I do to motivate you?" His thumb strokes my cheek he talks. I hum softly, leaning into his touch.
"I... don't know. I just... this is a lot." I reply, looking down, but he nudges me to keep my head up.
"Tell me, what are you thinking?" He sits, criss cross applesause. (not sorry.)
"Where do I even begin..." I lean forward, my forearms on my legs, bringing me to closer to his level.
"Okay... what's the biggest thing you're worried about?" He smiles, his hands pat my knees, making me giggle... damn being ticklish.
"Am I never going to return to the Richard Rodgers?" Wow. I actually didn't expect that to be the first thing I thought of.
"Why do you want to go back to the theatre, love?"
"I just... It's my home. Bear, think about it. I live there, I have for almost ninety years. It's my home. My safe haven. My escape. It's where I had the most... control of my surroundings." I say, and honestly, I feel it's true. "I feel so out of place..." Oak sits back, thinking to himself for a moment, before standing up.
"Darien! I've got an idea!" He yells to the door, and Darien returns in a heartbeat. He must not have gone far.
"Already on it, Sir Oak." Darien replies, coming over to me to help me out of the harness.
"Wait what's the plan!" I perk up slightly. I have a feeling I know, but hey, with these guys, anything could happen. They gathered their stuff, Darien also bringing the harness, and wheeled me out of the hospital. They were taking me home!
Outside of the theatre, especially along the stage doors, were candles and flowers, cards and small toys.
"Yea. People were really worried about you, love. Even though they barely see you, any part of the HamFam matters to them." Oak replies, bending to gather a few of the cards for me. The matinee has just started, so no one was outside, so we went in the stagedoor. Oak and Darien had to lift my chair to get me inside. I instantly felt better, just being home helped.
"Eva!" Chris whisper-yelled, drawing attention from a few others. He and Groff were the first ones at my side, hugging the dear life from me. The backstage area echoed with My Shot.
"Oh my god, do not do that to us again." Chris said, kissing my hair gently. "We were scared out of our minds."
"I'm sorry for worrying you guys... I mean.. I'm not sorry for what I did-"
"You should be, young lady." Darien interrupts me, sending me a scolding look. Yea... every time it comes up, he gets upset with me for not listening to him. Like, he's grateful we're both okay, but he's angry with me for giving myself up for him when it's his place to protect me.
"I'm not, Darien." I glance at him. "If you haven't realized how headstrong I can be in 80 years, then you need to check yourself, because I'm not sorry for giving you a chance too."
"We'll discuss this another time, Eva. Please pardon us, Sirs. We need to take her to her room." Darien takes control of my chair from Oak, who in turn rubs my shoulder supportively. I don't like this tension between us.
"I um... I'm actually going to see if I can sneak in for the second act. Give Andrew a break, you know?" Oak said, meeting Darien's eyes as they shared one of those mental conversations that I had no clue what they're saying to each other. It kinda gets annoying after a while. With a nod, Darien sets down my harness and the bag he brought from the hospital, instead he scoops me up into his arms.
"I'll take her upstairs, then. No need to worry, Sir Oak." He says, not even looking down at me as I squeal, clinging to my usher. "We'll just... talk for a while."
I love this story! I love reading it back. It is great! It really it a story I want to read. I'm proud.
Chapter 35: Loved
In which Eva is thinking past tomorrow.
There was an uncomfortable kind of silence between us as we entered my room above the theatre. He set me down on my bed, opting to kneel in front of me as he has for too many decades. He sighed, taking my hands in his and placing a kiss on each.
"Why?" He asks.
"You already know why." I answer just as softly as the whisper of his lips over my hands.
"But what's the real reason? You had everything. You knew how much I wanted you to be happy and live the fullest life you could, why did you do it?" He presses, keeping his gaze low.
"Because it wouldn't be fair to you, Darien. I... I know what happiness is now, to have a family and find love. It's amazing. You just got the first tastes of it, and it was about to be ripped away from you-"
"That's not an excuse! I didn't care what happened to me, Eva. I didn't care one bit. I have always been willing to sacrifice myself for you, to protect you. I'd much rather him have burned my theatre a million times over and suffered for eternity, then watch you slip away when I could have done something about it." His grip on my hands tightens, his head sinking to rest on my knee. "Eva, you are far to precious to me. You've made my existence meaningful..."
"Watching you come into the world, confused and scared, but so close to me, I knew I could do something with myself. So I guided you. I taught you what to do, how to navigate your theatre, how to handle the directors and staff who come through. I taught you how to blend in as a worker, how to excuse yourself from having to leave." He continues, and I tug my hands free, running my fingers through his hair soothingly.
"You taught me everything you knew. You were always there when I didn't know what to do and when I couldn't cope." I whisper, feeling him shudder under my touch.
"And then I backed off so you could grow into your own way of living. I let you rest into your shyness but thrive in your mysterious way. You loved phantom of the opera so much... you wanted to be one. And I let you, I aided you any way I could, even if that meant waiting on you hand and foot. I did it with pride and gratitude, just to see you smile." His breath seeped through my sweatpants as a heavy sigh left him. I fidget slightly... Okay, I might be a little sorry. "Eva, I want your life to be the fullest it can be."
I continue a slow rhythm, stroking his hair steadily. "I owe you everything, Dare. You helped me so much, I couldn't just watch you die before I could show you my gratitude."
"No, you don't owe me anything. By being yourself, you gave me a purpose, a reason to be more than just a spirit as well. I got to simply adore you and support you, and I was rewarded with your beautiful smile and laughter, seeing your eyes light up with pride and warmth." He shakes his head slowly.
"I'm not sorry, Darien. I mean, it all worked out, right? We're both okay, we're both alive, we both have a chance to live on now-"
"THAT'S NOT THE POINT!!" I jump back, climbing back further on the bed as he pushes himself up. He rarely raises his voice at me... Honestly, like Oak, he can be scary when he's angry. "As soon as I felt the Richard Rodgers connect to me, I was horrified of what you were doing, what would have happened to you. And when I saw Oak carry you away, your body limp in his arms..." He glared down at me, his fists were hard, his body was tense.
"But I'm okay now, Dare, I'm okay..."
"Eva, I was going to have to examine you because I didn't want someone else to ruin your beautiful skin, I was going to have to verify that you died. I was going to have to arrange for us to lay you to rest." He continues. I shiver as I watch the tears build up in his eyes. "I thought you died... my Lady, my Queen, my treasure. The one I spent years beside, teaching and guiding and protecting. Serving and adoring, helping as much as I can, then standing vigil to keep danger from you again. My lady..." As he spoke, his tears fell in a steady stream but his voice never wavered. He slowly crawled onto the bed, climbing over me. "I studied and searched and finally found away for you to live free of this damn place and you could live with the ones who love you more than life itself. And when I saw Oak carry you away... I thought you were gone forever."
It's not until his hand strokes my cheek, wiping away the tears falling from my eyes, that I realize I'm crying. He stares down at me, shaking his head. "Darien..." I whisper, "I... I just wanted you to be happy too."
"I am happy, when you are happy. That's why I've been by your side, serving you and protecting you. You being here with me has made my life so much better, so much happier. Yes, I appreciate Thayne, and I love him dearly, but you have been the focus of my life for almost a hundred years. I cannot let you slip away so easily... I can't... I'm not strong enough..." He holds himself carefully over me as he places a soft kiss to my forehead. "My dear girl. I love you, and I have said this before, and it remains true now. I dedicate myself to ensuring your happiness, whether your days are infinite or limited. I will do everything and anything in my power to ensure you have your happy ending. Even at the expense of my own life. Why do you not understand that..."
"Because I'm not worth dying for. Especially at the hands of someone who would have just tried to destroy me further without killing me. I was suffering, yes, but he needed to be stopped. If I was the source of so much distress, I removed myself from the situation. Hell, I should have died in January just from how much shit he put in my system, I shouldn't have survived that. Only because the theatre was my lifeline did I live through that hell." I tug his sides, pulling him into my so I can hold him, cradling him to my chest. He shudders again as he releases emotions that he's probably been bottling up for god knows how long. "I love you too, Dare. You're worth so much to me. My heart broke when I saw you suffering. I did the only thing I could."
"Don't you dare do anything like that again, young lady. You hear me?" He murmurs against my chest, his arms wrapping around me in a tight hug. Though I know he's dead serious about it, I still giggle at how he says it, the tickle of his breath washing over my skin.
"I won't, Dare. I promise. Kinda impossible for me to anyway, I'm kinda.... human. I don't have the connections to draw on anymore." I reply, stroking his hair again. "But I promise anyway, as long as you promise to live."
"I shall, my lady."
We both jump slightly at the knock, but regain ourselves quickly. Darien climbs off of me, rushing to answer while I sit myself up.
"Hey you two, Lin umm... wanted to see if Eva was well enough to come down to the stage after curtain call?" Thayne's voice rang in my room, and he barely got the words out before Darien pulled him into a heated and loving kiss, making the younger man melt a little in his arms. I, of course, take pictures and giggle madly as Darien finally listens to me too.
"I'll bring her right down. Then you and I shall depart for some dinner, how does that sound?" Darien asks smoothly, earning a quick nod from the ensemble member. "It's decided then. See you soon, love." Thayne's face is so bright red, he looks like he could explode, but he smiles brightly, nodding again before rushing down the stairs. Darien straightens his shirt, turning back to me. "I guess it is time for us to depart."
"I guess so." I reply, tucking my phone away as he returns to me, scooping me up in his arms.
As he carries me out to the stage, the crowd is already on their feet, roaring with applause. It's a little overwhelming, but I know they mean well. I was finally set down in my wheelchair, between Oak and Lin, with Darien standing close behind me."
"So, for those of you who don't know, this is Eva. Stage manager of Hamilton and Caretaker here at the Richard Rodgers. This is her first night back in the building, much to my surprise, and honestly, we're so grateful to have her. Hopefully we've been keeping things up to her standards." Lin says, Oak takes a knee beside me to be at my level. "And as a welcome home gift, we do have a very, very special surprise for her. Oak?" I glance between the two men, the mic passed right in front of me, and Oak turns my chair to him.
"I will be leaving Hamilton in December, actually a few of us are. The twenty-fourth, specifically." He starts, and I immediately open my mouth to interrupt him, but he holds his hand up. "Because... the twenty fifth, I'll be renting a rooftop garden, big enough for the whole cast and everyone else on Broadway, and they will be joining the two of us in celebrating a union. That is, if you say yes." In his free hand, he holds the most beautiful and delicate ring I could ever imagine. The tears flood my eyes in a heartbeat and I'm shaking like a leaf. He... actually meant it. "I know it's a few months away still, but someone needs to finish up at the hospital and get moved out of here. But, when all that is said and done, will you bless me in becoming my wife?"
"Oh dear god, yes! What kind of question is that? You already knew I'd say yes, why even ask? Just set everything up and I'll be there and I'll walk wit Darien and oh my gosh I need to get a dress and flowers and it'll be winter so probably something warm and everyone still needs to work out their plans since it's Christmas day and they might be getting ready to go be with their families and oh my god you just asked me to marry you is this real life and we have to decide on our honeymoon and-" My rambling is soon cut off with a firm kiss, my palms holding his cheeks instantly. The applause from everyone around us melts away, nothing else exists but him and I. Honestly, I couldn't care if there were a million people surrounding us. I push myself forward, launching myself into his arms, and with a hearty laugh, Oak falls back onto the stage, me on top of him. We both laugh together, our foreheads pressed together. God, my heart could beat right out of my chest.
There's a pulse in my chest. Warm and comforting. This feels right. This feels perfect.
OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD it's almost over. Just the epilogue left! I'm gonna write the alternate bad ending afterwards but oh gosh. What a journey. I wrote the bulk of these two books in just over a month. Wow. It got slowed down because I moved house and started college (and therapy, but that's another story). Wow. just... wow. I'm so writing another, maybe doing something real with My Perfect Maria . I have a decently good idea for that too. See y'all there!
And as I'm moving this book, I also got a new idea for a A.Ham x slave!oc book.
Time to write like I'm running out of time.
Wind chimes. My wedding bells.
Late December air rushing over us.
Soft music of a piano sings over the lullaby of the streets below.
The light is a dusty orange. The sun is just rising.
Anthony and Jazz walk down first, then Thayne and Ren, then Pippa and Lin. All of them look so gorgeous today.
Darien takes my arm, leaning over me to kiss my forehead for the millionth time today. I think he's as nervous as I am.
"Do not worry, my Lady. I will not let you fall." He whispers to me, squeezing my hand in comfort.
I go to reply, but the music shifts... The solo from Vivaldi's Winter.
"I'm not ready..." I whisper back. I know I'm scared of the future, of this new life.
"Don't be frightened. We are all by your side." He tells me, and takes the first step. "We won't let you fall. I promise."
I take the first step.
"Sure." Just to spite the inner bitch. "I... I'll try it." Lin smiled brighter, holding his cup up to tap it against mine. "So, Boss, can I just work on the set or something? At lease not dive head first into meeting everyone?"
"Nope. You'll join us before rehearsal, and I'll introduce you. You'll be working audio tech. Microphones. And I already let the rest of the Tech team know that you'll be exclusively doing the main cast, not ensemble. Understand?" He smirked slightly, returning his gaze to the empty chairs.
Then the next.
"It's alright. I'm not much better. I just throw on whatever when I head over here. I change into costume anyway most of the time." His reassurance was comforting, surprisingly. "You look cute, by the way. Phantom of the Opera was a good play. Looks good on the stage." He smiled. "I don't think I've introduced myself properly. I'm Okieriete Onaodowan, Oak for short." He said as he held out a hand.
I look at his hand for another moment, taking a deep, shy breath. "I'm Eva." I said, slipping my palm in his.
"Want to come up and hang out in my room until the rest of the crew gets here?" Oak asks as he hops down from the stage. I nod, and almost immediately, I'm picked up from my perch. He cradled me in his arms, my cup sitting on my tummy, held tight in my fingers.
"Oak!! P-put me down! I can walk!" I basically turn to a raspberry hue as I'm nestled against his chest.
"I know, I just think you're too adorable to let you walk. How about we watch some TV. I got Netflix." He says, keeping me close as he makes his way up stairs.
Each memory replays...
"Eva..." Oak said, reaching a hand out to me, resting on my tear-stained cheek.
"Stay..." I whimpered, nuzzling into his hand, like I've done dozens of times before.
"I... I have to go." I felt the air leave my lungs as his touch left my cheek, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone... My throat ached as I let out a scream, but I couldn't even hear myself. My heart shattered before it was even made whole. He left.
Oak leans into me, our foreheads touch. The world around us disappears entirely. His arm around me tightens as he lifts me off my feet, spinning around and around, my voice ringing out in laughter. As he slows and sets me down again, I can feel his hand move to my cheek, his thumb wiping away tears I didn't know were falling. My smile glows all the same.
"Eva, take my hand." Oak says, his hand stretched to me. I look over him, glancing to Lin just behind. They both had a pleading look, relieved to find me but afraid. I nod slowly, placing my hand in his. He gives me a light tug, sweeping me off my feet again, holding me to his chest. I instantly melt into his warmth, just like the first time he hugged me. I feel him breathe out in relief. A hand strokes my head, running over my cheek. I know it's Lin. His touch is different from Oak's. He rarely touches me outside of performing. I wish he did it more.
Ones I'm grateful for.
"Okieriete let the poor girl inside! It's freezing out there!" A woman calls from behind him, making him chuckle against my lips.
"Don't be nervous, she can smell fear." He whispers, turning so he can let me in. I smack his chest.
"Hush it, you know I'm nervous. Don't make it worse." I hissed
"You're adorable when you're nervous, though." He closes the door behind me while I shrug off my coat. I honestly don't think I'm ready for this. I don't think I even deserve this...
Others make me giggle.
"You just wanted to use me... you think I'm hot. Dav really cares about me." I reply, burying my cheek in Dav's side. "He loves me, unlike you."
"No, he doesn't. Eva, listen to yourself, you know that's not true. Really hear what you're saying. You know I love you more than anything." My heart pulls, beating faster when he says it. His hand reaches for me. "Please. Just listen." His fingers barely brush my cheek...
I let out a scream, ducking back as if he had smacked me across the face. No. He hurt me. He can't touch me, he hurts. He wants to use me. "D-don't touch me!" I cry, hiding behind Daveed fully, shivering with fear.
Ones that I regret...
"Want me to be there with you?" He smiles reassuringly.
"Yea, I'd like that." I smile back, nodding to him. He raises his cup, and I gently tap mine to his. "You're the best, Bear."
"Anything for you, snugs."
But he's been there through everything.
"Oak..." My voice cracks horribly, and I'm immediately shushed.
"I'm right here. God, I'm never leaving your side again. I'm so sorry..." he sobs beside me. I lift my hand again, seeking out his face, and he helps me find his cheek.
"I love you." I croak, before a coughing fit overtakes me.
He never gave up on me. And now...
Darien kisses my cheek, offering my hand forward to Oak, who waited for me. Our friends all beside us. The rest of the crew behind us. Ren takes my bouquet, so I can give both of my hands to my Love. Lin gleams with pride just past Oak.
"You look so beautiful, my Love." His deep whisper echoes to me, and soothes my nerves instantly.
"You're not too bad yourself, Bear." I purr, giggling a little. His eyes sparkle with pure joy as I settle in front of him.
"Alright you two, before you two get too lost in each other's eyes..." Leslie, standing beside us, opens his book, "Let's do this. Good morning everyone. We are gathered here today to-"
"Oh! Wait!" I say, peaking with an idea. Oak's face fills with concern, but I giggle at my thought, motioning for Leslie to lean closer to me so I could whisper to him. It was only a few moments, and I heard a chuckle leave Leslie as I finished.
"Dear god... only because you're cute." Leslie says, clearing his throat as he gets his phone out. "One moment folks." Everyone looks confused, but I try to hold in my giggles. "Okay. Only because she asked." I snoort a little, my laughter already escaping me. He clears his throat again, glancing between Oak and I. "Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv."
Oak and I both bust out in a fit of laughter, everyone around us laughing with us. Leslie committed with the role, voice and all. He even smiles, shaking his head at how ridiculous it is.
"Never again..." Leslie grumbles, before continuing with the ceremony. I fiddle with Oaks fingers in my hands, trying to stave off the nervousness that creeps back into me as we get closer to saying our vows, a step away from becoming his wife. "May the ring bearer step forward?" Looking back down towards the aisle, Sebastian walks down with a little pillow, two glimmering bands resting upon it. Lin grins, bending down to pick up his son with a small 'good job' and holds the pillow for Leslie.
"Now, Oak?" Leslie takes the smaller band and hands it to him. "Just like we rehearsed." Bear nods, taking the ring and looking down to me.
"Eva, this ring I give you, my personal gift and my personal promise, of love and trust, and pride that you are my wife. We will wear these rings, and the world will know that I am yours and you are mine. What have I to give you, Eva? The promise to take you as my primary love from this day forward, to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own. Take this ring, and be my wife." I hear his voice crack, but stay strong as he slips the ring onto my finger next to my engagement ring, love and thankfulness full in his voice. He lifts my hand, laying a lingering kiss to the back of it, his eyes watching me. I breathe deeply, trying to stave off the tears I know want to spill.
"Eva?" Leslie hands me the bigger ring, but not pushing me to hurry.
" Oak, this ring I give you, my personal gift and my personal promise, of love and trust, and pride that you are my Husband. We will wear these rings, and the world will know that I am yours and you are mine. What have I to give you, Oak? The promise to take you as my primary love from this day forward, to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own. Take this ring, and be my Husband." I vowed, slipping the ring onto his finger. I fold his hand in mine, bringing it to my lips to kiss his ring.
"Oak, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in woe, for richer or poorer, for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do." Bear says, not a hint of hesitation in his voice.
"Eva, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in woe, for richer or poorer, for as long as you both shall live?"
"Hell yes." I say, the tears escaping me as I do. Leslie chuckles at my response, but allows it.
"Then by the authority vested in me by the state, I pronounce you man and wife. Go on and kiss, you've waited long enough." He says loud, and the crowd, our friends, cheer so loud the world could hear. Oak kissed me like there was no tomorrow, though the opposite was true. We had our whole lives. Both of us. Together. I throw my arms around him, and he lifts me from my feet, holding me. He'll never let me go.
Of course, we do stop kissing eventually to celebrate with everyone in the morning light. But only for a little while...
"Lady Onaodowan, the car is packed and ready to take you two to the airport." Darien informs me. "Time to finish up here."
"Thank you, Dare-bare." I giggle. "But, there's one more thing I need to do! Tossing the bouquet!" I shout, and the ladies all cheer. Oak chuckles and nods to me, kissing my hair before I go on. I recollect my flowers and run out to the dance floor, the crowd of my beautiful women coworkers and friends. I fake the toss a few time, laughing with them as their giggles grow with each tease, but I turn around. They look a little confused, but I walk past all of them, right over to Thayne.
"E-Eva!" He stutters as I hand him the bouquet. His face flushes scarlet, holding the bundle of flowers.
"Welp, you know what that means?" I smile, and I could feel Darien step up behind me.
"Only if you wish to say yes, my dear Thayne. With Eva taken care of now... I feel I can give you the proper attention you deserv- MMPH!" Darien was cut off by Thayne launching forward with a kiss, hugging his boyfriend tightly. I step away, cheering loudly as well! Oak's arms wrap around my waist from behind me, kissing my temple.
"Come on, love. Our flight awaits." He whispers.
"Where are we going, Bear?" I ask, but he simply smiles and says...
And we run away.
We could go anywhere. And we'll go everywhere.
Because as long as I'm with him.
Fun fact, this is my ex'es birthday >_> But hey. What better day to finish my first fanfiction. I'm so happy. I'm so pleased with these books. Seriously, I'm so happy with this. I'm so proud of myself for this. I'm thankful for Lin for tweeting to write down ideas stuck in your head, and get them out and onto paper. I'm just... I'm thankful. I"m so thankful. Thank you for reading! I appreciate you! Feel free to stick around my profile and read my works~
Thank you so much. I love you all.