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Belong To Me
, M; Rori - romance/thriller (Complete)
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
| Title: "Belong to Me"Rating:
M, mostly for psychotic behaviors in the storyGenre:
Dark, Thriller, RomancePairing(s):
Robbie discovers a notebook while staying late night at school with Tori to finish a project, and its contents reveal the twisted intentions of his stalker in the shadows.Notes:
Written for Darkseid Alex's Rori Contest at FF.net, which I missed because my bunny decided it should be longer.
I bumped up the rating to M because, for the most part, I think obsession and stalking always entail disturbing behaviors. I didn't want anyone to read this story unwarned. As for the rest, it's just my very strict personal rating system kicking in. Anyways, Filter's rendition of Happy Together
inspired this one-shot for a huge part. Classic song with a creepy twist. I hope you enjoy this!DISCLAIMER:
Anything publicly recognizable is not mine! Any resemblance to real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental!
Robbie plucked the pin from the end of the rat's rigid tail with the utmost concentration. He held down the appendage that threatened to curl up with his index finger, and although the loose rubber on the tip of his glove made it slightly hard, he was able to keep the part in place while he stuck the pin in the midsection of the cold flesh. Unknitting his brows, he stood up straighter, observing the accuracy of his work. "That's okay, right?" he asked, the putrid smell of the preserving chemical used translating into a sickening aftertaste in his mouth.
Tori eyed the carcass pensively. She nodded lightly. "Yeah," she answered, reaching across the table for the tray where the scalpel was. "Yeah, I think it's pretty spot on."
A whiff of the fragrance Tori wore – Fantasy, if he remembered it right – tickled his senses and drew a smile on his lips. His eyes closed in savory of the refreshing smell. "Oh, you smell so good," he said aloud.
Tori raised her eyebrows, a smirk contrasting the puzzled look. She stared at him for a while, discerning whether the remark was a joke. However, the genuine delight that lit Robbie's eyes communicated his sincerity. She shook her head then chuckled. "Robbie, what are you on tonight?" she said while pulling the tray closer to her.
"Formaldehyde, Monster Energy Drink…and a little bit of your body spray, apparently," he answered, frowning. Then, he grinned.
Tori rolled her eyes. "Haven't you had enough earlier when we drove up here?" she asked, suddenly feeling a little self-conscious. "You had to crack the window open to let some fresh air in because I put on too much, remember? If we stayed a little while longer, I'm pretty sure you would have had an asthma attack."
"Come on, Tori," Robbie walked towards her. "You know that's not true."
Tori turned to look at him.
Robbie bobbed his head. "Mmmokay. Maybe it's a bit true, but
—one of the reasons we opened the window was because it's seventy plus degrees earlier. And the air on my riffraff of a car is jacked up. So it wasn't all you, Missy," he said.
Tori narrowed her eyes. "Are you just saying that because you want to make me feel better?" she asked.
"No," Robbie answered. "I'm saying that because I want to be able to have a goodnight kiss when I drop you off tonight."
Tori leaned her head back in amusement and mock understanding. Inside, although, she could not help but feel apprehensive of this different personality of his that emerges now only once in a while. "Oh, so that's how it is now, huh, Mr. Shapiro?" she asked. "You compliment for kisses now?"
"And to keep my girlfriend, don't forget that. I compliment to keep my girlfriend," Robbie pointed out as he picked up the scissors from the table.
Tori shook her head with a smirk, concentrating instead on the worksheet laid out in front of her.
"Why do you always have to feel that something's wrong with you?"
The question startled Tori. She lifted her eyes up and looked at Robbie, who stared at her in concern. "You're talking like Rex again, Rob," she pointed out weakly, diverting her gaze to her paperwork.
"I know," Robbie admitted bashfully first. "I did. It was a relapse, and I'm sorry. But that's earlier. I'm asking you this question as Robbie." He drew close to her.
"Not everyone's perfect," was her plain answer.
"No one is," Robbie said. "Doesn't mean it's fine to always think of what you do wrong than what you do right, though."
Tori met his eyes, and the honesty in them melted her concerns. "Darn you," she muttered, a smile creeping up her lips. "You always find a reason."
"Of course," Robbie said, and then he kissed Tori at the side of her mouth. "I'll always try to find a reason until we actually get married."
"That's still two years from now," Tori said. "And by then, what will you do? You'll have me stop adoring you?"
"Husbands find ways to persuade
wives to love them, sweet cheeks," Robbie said. "I've already got ideas and much head start."
Tori chuckled. "You jerk," she said. She turned the right flap of the incision to check on the innards of the rat. After filling out some of the spaces on her paper, she inquired, "What about me? Do I need to make you adore me, too?"
Robbie did not stop trimming some of the muscles out of the chest cavity. "I never adored you," he said simply, oblivious to the fact that the sentiment stopped Tori cold. After clearing out the chunks of flesh, he found the tiny heart underneath the cage of bones. He looked at her. "Ani ohev otakh,"
he said. "Always."
Tori blushed as the words registered in her mind, and a memory from the first instance reminded her the meaning. "Why don't I go downstairs and see if Mr. Hocks is in the teacher's lounge?" she said hurriedly, removing her gloves. "I think we're ready for him to check this."
Robbie smiled, not hurt at all. "Okay," he said. He caught a glimpse of the darkness outside. He forgot. It was already nine thirty in the evening, so some of the lights out in the hall had been turned off. Leave it to Sikowitz to time things wrong and ask him to help out in finishing the set for their final play in Hollywood Arts. He would have been reluctant to agree to come in and finish their work in Anatomy class if there weren't a lot of people on the first floor for the photography class exhibits. But he had that assurance; he was confident that he can keep Tori safe.
"Hey," he called to her when she reached the door. "What if I come with you?"
"No need," Tori smiled. Reading his demeanor and worries, she added, "I'll just run downstairs. I won't give her a chance to catch up to me if she's waiting."
Robbie nodded. Still, the mention of his admirer troubled him.
"What about you?" Tori asked with concern. "Will you be okay?"
Robbie swallowed. He didn't know, but he didn't want Tori to be as scared as she was months ago again. "I've got a tray full of dissecting materials, and I'm pretty good at using them," he said, chuckling. Gravely, he then added, "If it's necessary, I'll do it to protect myself."
Tori nodded. She swiveled to leave, cuing Robbie to resume his task. For a minute, however, she turned back to him to observe his features. Much had changed since sophomore year, mostly for the better. What might have been an inane and completely improbable circumstance back at that time was now a real tangent that she surprisingly favored heavily. She opened her mouth to speak. Tell him later tonight
, her logic impeded her.
Hesitantly agreeing to that, she left.
Robbie, meanwhile, decided to check the answers his partner jotted down. Pointing the answers with his left index finger while tracing the internal organs with his right, he matched them. He chuckled lightly when he caught a mistake. "Those are lungs, Tori," he spoke to himself as he changed the response, "not liver." He took a pin from the tray then pushed it down to the part where his partner had gotten it wrong. He knew enough that he would need to explain to her why her answer suddenly changed when she comes back.
In all fairness, he truly enjoyed working with Tori—even if she gets too frustrated with the lessons and work sometimes. On those moments where Mr. Hocks leave the room or engage himself much with formulating the final exam for the seniors that he doesn't even hear the students' conversations, he and Tori were able to talk about what would happen next. Both of them were still concerned about their upcoming graduation. Attending college was not much of a question—Tori was accepted to Juilliard, where she would major in Vocal Arts, while he, after receiving the Gates Scholarship, would study Computer Science at Columbia University. The strange steps that awaited them, even if they were worrisome, did not bother him much as the possibility of losing Tori before they could kick off their plan of getting married after sophomore year in college. Given, they would only be ten minutes apart from each other, but he was certain that a man could come along and sweep his girlfriend off her feet the way he couldn't.
After all, his looks and personality were not of great caliber. He knew in his heart that his hold on the woman he loved was not the strongest. She could easily find another.
Tori had assured him before that what she felt for him was true, but he could not stop himself from doubting. He doubted, not her, but what she felt. Two years ago, he was barely her best friend. André was the boy she ran to when she had problems. He, on the other hand, was at the bottom of her list to ask for help. They were estranged from one another, like fire and ice that would never retain their construction when put together. Yet, after all that happened, circumstances drove her to him with an admiration that withstood pressure.
That alone frightened him with the probable underlying fragility of this relationship.
He kept protecting her, and he supposed the act of heroics endeared him to her. But two years from now, when she realized that he had hung up his cape and the terror had vanished, what would he be, then? He had asked Tori this a hundred times, but she kept telling him that it wasn't why she liked him. She wouldn't give him the real reason, and somehow it reaffirmed his notion.
It troubled him to think that in the end, he would be left with a handful of dented hopes and a heart full of failed feelings. His parents had left him in that road before. Never again.
So, even if it irked Tori that he had set the condition on stone, he told her that their engagement, should she find somebody else before they reached two years together, would be deemed null. It was only fair for him, and it was only fair for her.
With a heavy sigh, he removed his gloves and decided to walk around the room. Perhaps the battle raging in his mind would subside if he sauntered around, allow his blood to flow freely through his body especially his brain, which the strong chemical had probably corrupted and killed a bit.
He scanned the whole room for something different, maybe a detail that he had not noticed during their daytime sessions. Besides the silence and dimness, nothing seemed to be out of place. The materials they used during class were all hidden away—save the ones that he and Tori were using. Pots of plants appeared asleep, while at the makeshift pond-slash-aquarium nearby, Kermit and Kerropi—the Biology class' pet frogs—were busy staring at each other.
Visiting the table at the far corner of the room, he spotted a shabby notebook dumped unceremoniously on a chair. Some of the contents had spilled out, as evinced by the scraps of paper and card on the floor. Having nothing else to do, he decided to pick up the notebook and close it, smoothing the cover down.
He fell into a daze as he stared at it. Should he read it? The owner apparently did not care enough to safeguard it, so the contents might just be school-related.Robert Edmund Shapiro,
you know better than that, he heard Tori's voice ring in his ears.
Unwillingly, he opted to leave the composition book alone.
He squatted down to collect the materials cluttered on the floor. Guiltily, he skimmed through them to see what they were. A few of them were just receipts from stores around Hollywood Arts. There was an invitation to the photography class' gallery exhibit that took place a few months back; the other was a postcard from New York. He smiled, recalling how the city looked when he, Tori, André, and Mr. Vega traveled there to visit Trina and their respective future schools last winter break. "Beautiful place," he muttered, sliding all of the articles in hand inside the notebook.
A sheet of paper stuck underneath one of the chair's legs caught his attention. He stooped to pick it up. Turning it around, he recognized the picture from the yearbook. It was from the superlatives section, where he and Tori were named the "Most Surprising Couple" of the class of 2014. However, Tori's picture was torn out of the page, and his was the only one left remaining.
His eyebrows wrinkled. Why would someone tear Tori out of the page and leave him? This question impelled him to take a second look at the notebook and reconsider his choice. Maybe it was for a collage, and Tori's picture had been placed in the frame? Maybe they didn't need his photo. Or, maybe the object belonged to one of their close friends. Perhaps Jade? The uncanny shade of black and the grunge design spelled her name.
But, why would she bother herself with the page, particularly one that awarded him and Tori?
These burning curiosities tamed to candlelight flames after he turned the cover open. He sat down and carefully eyed the notebook.
The first page contained a blank. No names or spatters of ink. It was clean. He leafed to the next page.
The second page contained a blank, too, but there were long scribble marks left as traces across the paper. From writing on a paper on top of it, he guessed. Obtaining nothing else, he moved on to the next page.
The third page had "Hollywood Arts" filling it, and it was written in different stencils. He marveled at the remarkable work and the attention given to color and appearance. It appeared professional. Visual Arts student, huh?
he thought. He noticed 2015 scribbled at the bottom. He smirked. "Good job, Junior," he said softly.
The fourth page featured an unfinished sketch of a curly-haired boy. The curves of its jaws, the slopes of its neck, and the position of his ears suggested that it may be him, and it had the hair on his arms and neck standing while coldness slithered through his skin.What if it's…But she's gone…right?
He comforted himself in the fact that it might be someone else. Sinjin, now that he had cut his hair short—it could be him. Or one of the sophomore twins, Riley and Ryan Carson, who had curly hair, too. They may have ginger curls, but their jaws and neck were similar to the rendering.
Yet, as he moved on to the next page, his apprehension was left unrelieved. The sketch's face was missing. His eyes were the white parchment, his lips as mute as the first two pages, and his nose was nowhere to be seen. If one should fill in his features there, the drawing would be a perfect sketch of him. It was unsettling, and he didn't like that.
A date and time commenced page five. Instincts told him to stop reading and leave the room to find Tori and Mr. Hocks. The feel that page four bestowed him with already propped him on edge. Stubbornness coerced him to reason that he was overreacting; he should continue reading to identify the owner and return it personally tomorrow.
Sadly, the latter overwhelmed the former.
He began to read.
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
November 17, 2011
Today is a most eventful day. I didn't think that this new start for me will lead to the moment where our lives would first and forever be intertwined.
Admittedly, the dawn of morning was surrounded by trepidation. Hollywood Arts was like a land foreign to me that it couldn't be helped for anxiety and bashfulness to arise. Its inhabitants were the locked chains that kept me out, yet the fluidity of their expressions – their appreciation for art that I do love so much – did not deem my presence unwelcome. It was as if I had come home to a house inhibited by very distant relatives.
The colors that burst around the walls greeted my heart with a warm song. This is where I should be, I thought. Though it frightened me so to be unknown here, I was contented that I may soon find a place here – despite that spot being still in the metaphoric darkness.
After attending my morning classes, I concluded that the students were not very bad at all. Some were well-mannered, thus introducing themselves before asking a few questions about me. If I recall correctly, the first person that talked to me was Kristin Houghton in Photography class. Oh, she was a pleasant girl. She uttered a few things about the school and the photography department under her breath while Mr. Schmidt, our instructor, rambled on about the importance of catching the perfect frame by means of calculating the trajectory of light on the surroundings.
(What an odd theory, but we still had to listen.)
Then, between fourth and fifth period, a sophomore named Beck Oliver helped me find the Language Arts classroom. I was set on thanking him when we arrived there, but his girlfriend (assuming that the infuriated Goth was) dragged him away before I could.
However, the third kind heart that I encountered was he who made such a lasting impression to my soul. It was lunchtime then, and deciding that I would rather take pictures of the halls to show my father later on, I walked around instead. I was enamored by a sketch displayed at one of the corner walls, so I took out my camera then peeked at the viewfinder to get a good shot. It was too close, and the frame was cropped too small to my liking. So, I decided to step back slightly…
…only to bump into a crossed-looking blonde who packed too much anger in her small frame.
"Watch where you're going, loser," she told me, irritated.
"I apologize," I offered kindly, smiling shyly at her. "I was just taking a picture of that," I glanced at the drawing. "It's beautiful. I just wanted to show my dad later—"
"Look," she held her hand up. "I don't care who you're planning on sharing it with, but I don't want you taking a picture of my work. So why don't you take your knock off camera away and leave my stuff alone?"
Feeling self-conscious and embarrassed with the object I carried in my hand, my eyes fell from hers to the floor.
She scoffed. "And while you're at it," she said, "why don't you, instead, take a picture of your shoes, and tell your hillbilly daddy, who probably bought you those and your camera, that the mark on Nike's shoes are frontward and not backward?"
Tears stung my eyes. My father transferred me out of Northridge to avoid girls like this, but it seemed like everywhere I go, people rotten to the bones were always present.
"Why?" she asked. Looking up, I saw that her arms were crossed, and a malicious smile contaminated her face. "You didn't know your shoes were fake when you put it on this morning?"
"At least they're not as fake as the nose on your face, Olive," a voice said from behind the blonde.
When the froward called Olive turned around, I beheld the face of this person that came at the right time. He had kindly eyes hidden behind his bushel of hair. His form was lanky, but his disposition was bravely at the moment. Propped at his hand was his puppet. He glanced at me, and then I discovered that he regretted speaking up. At one point in time, I thought he would apologize and leave me again at the mercy of this wicked wretch.
But, he drew in a breath and held his stand.
"Oh, back off, Four Eyes, will you?" Olive narrowed her eyes. "You're not in this conversation, so scram."
"You're talking around me. It's the same thing as talking to me," he walked closer. "But it's true, though? Your nose? I heard you went to San Diego to have it fixed." He feign examined her nose. He shook his head. "Did you check if anything changed? I think all they did was widen the bridge."
"How did you find out?" she asked, her fingers helplessly feeling the facial part in question.
"The walls vibrate when you sing now, hehe," the puppet chimed in, chuckling.
"Stay out of this," she thrust a finger on the puppet's face. Then, she turned to him. "And you. Stay out of this, freak. You're biting more than you can swallow."
"Like when you shoved that burger in your face at Mike's party last Saturday," the puppet said.
"Rex," he chastised him. "Look, Olive. If I were you, I wouldn't threaten someone who posts things at The Slap."
Fear dawned on her face. "You wouldn't," she said.
"I would," he said. "Especially now that the website's staff and editor hate your gut for backstabbing Alicia by going out with her boyfriend behind her back and, not to mention, cheating on your own boyfriend."
"No one knows about that…"
"Unless I air it in Robbarazzi's reboot next week," he said in singsong.
Angered, she stomped her feet and stormed out, leaving him and me alone.
I gazed at him, suddenly unable to control the heat that flushed my cheeks. "Thank you," I muttered.
He breathed out in relief. "Well, that was close," he said, perhaps not hearing me.
"Mmm-hmm," his puppet agreed. "I could almost feel your knees unbuckle beneath you."
"Good thing it didn't," he said. Then, exasperatedly, he added, "I'm sure Bryn would be more than happy to snap it in two for me for scaring his mistress."
Wanting his attention, I cleared my throat.
"Oh," he turned to me. A fruit of success. "Sorry," he chuckled. "Are you new?"
"Yes," I nodded, entranced by his presence. "I—I transferred from Northridge."
"Explains why you're drop dead gorgeous," said the puppet.
I laughed, although the compliment touched me ill.
"Though, Olive was right," Rex said. "Your shoes are knock-offs."
"Rex! Shh! That's not nice."
"I'm a freshman, so I wasn't really aware that I cannot take photographs of the artwork," I said, ignoring the remarks.
"You can, actually. Olive's just being too territorial when she had no right." He smiled. "Look. It's probably not best to stay in here while everybody's out in Asphalt Café. Believe it or not, there are some crazy students walking around here."
"Like you," Rex said.
That made my heart skip, but I concealed it with a shake of the head.
He rolled his eyes at the doll. "Outside is where the fun's at!" he said to me. "You should go there. I've met a bunch of newbie freshmen today, and I think they were sitting at the far left tables, almost near the food truck." He grinned. "Wouldn't hurt to mingle and make new friends," he winked at me.
My heart was caught in my throat. "Will—" I began but did not finish. I felt so much affinity for him that it was hard to express myself. But, as I was told, I will never get anything unless I grab it. "Will you join me?" I asked politely.
"Well," he scratched his head, "I'd love to but, I've got to go meet up with Tori at Mr. Yates' class to practice our song. I'm sorry."
"Do not be," I waved it off, though it slightly humiliated me. I smiled. "I will go by myself. Thank you."
He nodded. "Okay," he said. "See you around." He waved goodbye to me before jogging towards the choir room. I watched him speed then disappear down the corridor.
I want to see him again. His presence stirred me, and he breathes life into me. I have got to see him again.
A smile emerged in my lips. Am I in love? Maybe it's too early to tell.
Perhaps I would be able to the next time. I have to see him again.
Robbie's eyebrows wrinkled. That day that happened two years ago was hazy in his mind. He remembered a couple of new freshmen that day. Five, if he remembered correctly; four girls, one boy. He met a few of them while walking around the hall and as per Lane's request to aid the newbies, he directed and talked to some of them.
The debacle he had with Olive Roe was memorable, too. Unfortunately, it was one of the things he remembered fondly about the girl when Hollywood Arts commemorated her and Bryn the day everyone found out that both had passed away.
But the girl…he couldn't remember her. They had not the chance to introduce themselves to each other, save for those few information exchanged.
It was another fact that didn't bid well with him. A nameless and faceless admirer.What if this is hers?
A poisonous concoction of chill and unsure suspicions slinked through his veins, rendering him doubtful and suddenly conscious of his aloneness.
But, he wondered, may he be overreacting? What if she wasn't the person shadowing him, and she only happened to mention him on the first entry? He should have known better. The owner of the notebook might just be ridiculing him. He wouldn't put it past anyone—there were still some in his senior class that would, from time to time, poke fun at him.
The next page had the lyrics to Ella Fitzgerald's "Someone to Watch over Me," and another entry followed.
November 25, 2011
It is a perpetual question that everyone keeps burdening me with: Why bother? No matter how hard I essay to show myself forgiving and enduring, they still continue to find my imperfections and destroy me with it. It is incredible that, no matter how much I attempt to leave the company of harrying people, another mean-minded crowd would find a way in my life.
I am repulsive to look at, and that I have accepted. I will not neglect to remember, and I am in no need of constant reminder. But everyone seems to believe that I do not deserve to be left alone, and respect is not for me.
Hollywood Arts does not differ from Northridge. They stare in a way that diminishes me to dust, and I know in my heart that, in their head, they think I'm not worth it.
Yet, I take comfort in the fact that there is a person that understood my fears.
This I discovered when I came to Sophomore Night. Mr. Yates confirmed, when I asked during lunchtime, that he, the boy I met during first day, in fact, would be performing tonight.
Just the vision of him under the spotlight elated my spirits.
When the moment came, and he occupied the stage, my heart pounded in my chest. He introduced the girl who would sing with him—Tori Vega, another sophomore—and then, he introduced himself.
Oh, how melodious his name sounded. My lips tingled, longing to say that name over and over again. It is as special as he.
I came to appreciate him more when he began to sing. All other sounds were silenced, other people gone in the shadows, and it was only he I paid attention to. Why would I not? He uttered those words with such rhythm and meaning. The dedication was evident. He laid his heart out, and in a silver platter he offered it to his special one.
But, who? Who could it be that, as he had chanted, he's "longing to see"?
He looked around the crowd and then he rested his eyes on that girl. I found out, and I could not be happier.
It was me. He likes me!
My head spun as it finally dawned on me how his actions made sense. The article on The Slap about bullying, the smiles he gave me whenever we passed by each other at the halls, stopping by the Photography room twice a week—who would have thought? He has set his eyes on me and for him, I…I am acceptable.
Robbie shook his head. "No. No. It's," he disagreed under his breath, but he was not able to finish. His actions were misconstrued! This affection illustrated was fictitious. He sincerely meant nothing by what he had done. He sang that song with Tori because Danielle Garth had requested it. The article about bullying was written after Beck and Tori urged him to use his blog to defend himself against his personal intimidators, and the trip to the photography department was for checking on anything that the class would like to post at the website.
None of it was out of hidden affections, but the writer thought it to be.What if it
It was a nightmare he could not afford to anticipate.
He skipped a few entries, refusing to find out how close she had been watching him. However, a page opened itself in front of his eyes, caused by the thick pamphlet that announced an open audition to the spring play, West Side Story
. She began the entry by expressing the unbearable excitement she felt at having a chance to see him again.Imagine the anxiety I felt when Mr. Sikowitz announced that we would be paired with a partner, she wrote in the fifth paragraph, and we would need to demonstrate the first in many passionate kisses between Tony and Maria…
I half lost my sanity when he stepped closer to me. I looked into his eyes, a fire consuming my body. He gazed back at me with what I presume was amorous fascination. Then, he drew closer and pressed his lips into mine.
His kiss gave me life. My soul took flight in an instant, and I wished this moment would never end. I felt his pain of being misunderstood and rejected. I kissed him back, letting him know that I am familiar. He kissed me back, almost dutifully—
—and it was over.
He smiled at me. It made all the difference in the world.
From that moment on, I knew. He was to be mine.
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
He tried to remember the girls he kissed that day, but his memory only produced blurs. There were four of them that Sikowitz asked him to do that scene with—three of them during auditions (due to the unbalanced ratio of Maria's and Tony's trying out) and one during callback. He did not know how many of them were freshmen, and he regretted not having taken the time to investigate.
The identity of this person would have been much clearer by now if he did.
In pursuit of finding more proof, he began leafing through the pages. More lyrics of the songs he sang, sketches of the objects he carried with him, and, to his dread, photographs of him almost everywhere he had gone in Hollywood Arts filled a considerable portion of the notebook. There were also sheets that contained what appeared to be dossiers of his friends, from André to Cat, Beck to Jade. A schedule was also inscribed in a table, and it sickened him upon closer look.
They were the activities he did, food he ate, and lessons he attended every day in clear detail.
A date on one of the entries caught his eyes. He swallowed. That was the first day.
March 5, 2012
I watched him from a good spot in the janitor's closet, giddy with excitement for what he would discover in his locker.
He arrived with Cat and André, laughing about an incident that apparently happened during Geometry class. "Oh, that was so wrong," he said.
"It wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't try to make a joke out of it," André agreed.
"I don't get it," Cat said, confused once more. "Why is this all funny?"
"Because he said the word out loud in class," he explained politely.
"What word?" Cat asked.
"You know," Rex chimed in. "A—"
"Rex!" he covered his puppet's mouth to impede him from saying the word. Then, he let go. "You can't say that word. It's bad."
"And you can't wear that shirt," Rex retaliated. "It looks bad."
Olive and a few of her associates laughed as they walked by after hearing what the puppet said. It caused him to drop his head slightly in shame. André glared at the condescending group, while Cat comforted him by placing a hand on his shoulders.
Meanwhile, the diabolical object had the nerve to chuckle with the enemies.
"Why don't you just tell Helen or Lane about them?" André sympathetically suggested.
"Helen doesn't like me," he pointed out as he slid the books he used last period inside his locker, "and I don't want to bother Lane about things like this."
"That's his job, man," André said. "And he can sort this thing out better than we can."
"My dad told me that I have to face it like a man. I shouldn't ask for help," he said, and then he took out a notebook. The letter I left fell out, but he didn't even notice.
But Cat picked it up when she spotted it.
"Well, you know I hate to say this, dude," André responded, "but your dad is wrong."
"Something fell out from your notebook," Cat handed him the paper.
He took it, and then opened it. "It's probably one of my tests or something," he said while reading it. Then, he frowned.
"What does it say?" André asked, and then he and Cat looked at the paper.
"You are the air that I breathe. Without you, I cannot live. I am as long as you are. Your death is my death, but even that my love will not deface." Cat looked at him worriedly.
"That's not funny," André said, upset.
The monster in my beloved's hand began laughing. "You don't believe this is true, do you?" he snickered. "That you have a secret admirer? What kind of girl would like a mop face like you?"
Overwhelmed with anger and self-pity, which I do not understand why, he shoved the message of my affection in his locker and slammed the door. "Why can't they just leave me alone?" he muttered then stormed out.
Cat and André exchanged worried looks before running after him.
Why would he react like that? Doesn't he understand how I feel for him? Does he not feel the way I do? For one bit I do not believe that he would abandon the understanding we shared, as if it was a valueless, worn-out nickel on the street. I know him to be of much better nature!
Unless… He doesn't understand because they confused him. He thought it was from those bullies, and they were playing tricks with him.
The accuracy of her assumption stunned Robbie. He kept that first letter hidden away, just in case he would need it as evidence against his abusers. He would not have thought that it would have the same purpose for a completely different tormentor.
A more pressing matter bothered him, although. She was only a few feet away when he read the letter, and she described everything with extreme precision.
This newfound knowledge suddenly made him aware of his surroundings. He scanned the room, making sure there were no eyes in the shadows surveying him. He stood up then walked towards the door. He checked the whole corridor if anyone else was there. Besides the eerie silence and Tori's absence, he saw nothing.
Taking a safety precaution, he closed the door and grabbed a tray of dissecting materials back to his former seat in the back. Should someone come in, he would know. Should it be her, he would be able to defend himself.
Since he lost his place from the last entry, he decided to flip to a random one further down. On the top of the page was his number, and at the bottom was a log, indicating where he was at the times she called him.
March 13, 6:56 PM – home.Hello?
Silence.Hello? Who's this?
Do you know? Do you know how much I've wanted to hear your voice?
It stops my heart. Tell me that my voice stops yours, too.
Look. Why don't you guys leave me alone?
He hung up then. He remembered that conversation well.
March 14, 5:01 PM – Grandma's apartment. March 15, 7:11 PM – home. March 16, 5:32 PM – school, rehearsal.
March 17, 5:49 PM – Tori's house.Hello?
Why wouldn't you talk to me?
Don't you remember me anymore? I love you.
Just—stop it, okay? I've had enough.
Tori anxiously looked at him. What's wrong?
I love you…
I hate you. I hate all of you. Don't call me ever again.
March 18, 3:22 AM – Mom's house…March 29, 4:19 PM – Mall. March 30, 10:18 PM – Beck's apartment, with Jade and André. March 31, 9:37 PM – Sam Little's house, cast party.
April 2, 2012
I do not see how he could be so fond of this beastly doll. From afar, it has the semblance of a crazed man, his wiry hair protruding out of his brainless skull and his eyes glazed with blankness. From a few inches away, it has the appearance of a maniacal loon. In either case, I would not arm him with anything hurtful – even anything negative about a person for ammunition to deride anyone with.
Yet, he pains himself with a burden like this.
Well, this is a favor I will grant him. A release from his troubles, by removing this ogre away. Why not? Chance presented itself when I snuck in unnoticed in Sam's house last Saturday night. He placed him down the punch table to help out Tori with the soda she brought to the house. No one saw, so I grabbed Rex from the table and shoved him in my backpack.
Before I left, I searched for a person who would give me his new cellphone number. I am excusing his action as something out of frustration from his bullies. He continually mistakes me for them, and that is understandable.
His friends were out of the option. They had formed this barricade around him—Jade even supported this, though reluctantly—and they had agreed that the changes he had made, no one else should know about. So, I went to that outcast in their group who, though not privy to the more important matters, had the information I need for now: Sinjin Van Cleef.
It wasn't so hard. Some compliment, a caress on the shoulder, a demure smile, and a kiss on the cheek had him singing like a canary.
I made my exit after getting the number I needed, content that I had succeeded.
I am compelled to mention another opportunity I took that night. The wretched Olive and her brawny "friend" Bryn decided to show up at the party. Olive had gone in after Bryn told her, after opening the hood of his car, that he would need to fix something. Bryn left the pliers on the bumper when he ran inside the house, maybe to ask for more tools.
Drawing closer, I stared at the wires. I recalled clearly the summer lessons Grampa gave me about cars, how to fix what and how to avoid severing which. Four particular ones in Bryn's car caught my attention. They were already somewhat loose and needing fixing. I grabbed the pliers then set it on one.
In that moment I remember what they had done to me, and what they had said and done to the boy I care about.
Before I knew it, I was walking down the street, back to my own car.
I left to go home. I was exhausted, so I slept well.
I am a little restless tonight, though. Perhaps I should write him a note again. Maybe this time he would not set it aside.What did they say this time?
He vaguely recollected Jade asking when he received his twentieth note.I don't even want to know. I'm tired of it,
he replied. What I want to know right now is where's Rex. I've been looking for him all week, and I can't seem to find him!Their new letter might say something about it.
Beck grabbed the letter then. 'Try as you must to avoid me, I will never go away,' he read. 'Our paths are forever intertwined. If need be, I will take more matters into my own hand, just so you'd be with me.'Robbie. Seriously. This is getting scary,
Tori said. Whether you're okay with this or not, we're going to tell Lane.Tell me what?
Lane asked behind her.No, Tori!
Tori handed Lane the note despite his protests. This is what Bryn Reynolds and Olive Scarlett had been sending Robbie these past few weeks. Threats. They keep calling him, pretending to be an admirer, just to get a laugh.
No. This—they couldn't have done this one.
We've been watching these things happen, Lane,
Beck said. I think we'd know if they had or not.
Bryn and his friends had been making Robbie a punching bag, too, you know that?
Cat added meekly.It's not possible,
Lane shook his head decisively.What?
Tori exclaimed. What do you mean it's not? This is Bryn and Olive's handiwork, and had always been, and I don't care if they're seniors that require priority. They are doing something wrong! They're bullying Robbie, and—
Lane exhaled a gloomy breath, distraught at having yelled. Neither Bryn nor Olive could have sent this.
He asked quietly, wary of the foreboding tone in his voice. What…?
Mrs. Reynolds just called five minutes ago. Bryn and Olive got into a car accident on their way to school earlier.
Are they alright?
Unfortunately, no. They slammed into a truck. Police ruled that it was because of severed breaks. Lane looked at him with sympathy, and it was one he could not forget. Bryn passed away before they could even get to the hospital, and Olive died half an hour ago.
He shook his head in disbelief, much like what he did when he found out about the couple. "No," he muttered while running his fingers through his hair. "No, no, no, no…"I'm so sorry,
Robbie, Lane's voice echoed in his head. He ran away after that.
Mist of tears stung his eyes. She had killed them. It wasn't even out of vengeance that she did, but out of concern for him. She was too engulfed in this make-believe romance between them that she had murdered the ones who she thought got in their way.
But he was no better. It was for him that this was done.
What kind of love did this girl think he needed? All the implications that it had caused him—his sudden and extensive plunge into deep depression, his parents kicking him out of their house because of that, those detestable feeling of self-loathing and cruel blaming—all of these for a twisted admiration? How much of the lies she constructed herself did she accept was true?
He swiped from page to page rapidly, the din that it created mirroring the catastrophe inside his head. His eyes beheld more sketches of him, from his somber mood in Drama class to his alone times in the park whenever he could not go to sleep. Numerous photos of him created a scale for several pages.
Just when he thought he would not be more disturbed by her level of surveillance on him, several photographs of him asleep in his room, only a few feet away from his bed, rendered his blood cold.He sleeps upon the silent call of dreams, and the shallowness of his breathing enthralled me. Inane it may sound, but I am growing to be quite jealous of the air he takes in. It enters freely into his body, his blood, his heart, his mind. Yet, this sweet caress suffers no penalty of being guilty and condemned. He allows it in naturally, because he needs it.
Why can't it be the same for me?
He needs me as well. I have assumed the role of the person who adored him no matter. I am the one who makes certain that each tear that falls from his eyes is avenged. He is as long as I am…
…I kiss his cheeks to bid him a gentle good night, my lips hued with the shadow of red he loved seeing in Tori's lips. Then, I take my leave.
Until we meet again, my beloved.
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
Robbie intensely rubbed the spot where Tori had noticed the kiss mark on his cheeks the morning after the entry, desperate to remove the stain that existed upon the recollection of his mind.What?
He had asked Tori, slightly annoyed, after hearing an outlandish claim.I said, Did somebody kiss you today?
Tori repeated patiently. You got a mark on your cheek.Oh.
He caressed the corner of his face where she stared at, embarrassed by his act then saddened once more. Uh, it's probably my sister Rebecca. She had me stay over at their house. Probably left this before going to work,
he chuckled halfheartedly, sheepishly looking up at Tori.Oh, no. Look. You smudged it more.
Tori took out a tissue from her purse, and then she began cleaning the red smear from his face. So, how long are you staying with her?
she asked as she removed it.
He sighed, oblivious to the curious stares of passersby. I don't know,
he answered, thinking nothing but the situation the accident had put him in. Rebecca said she's working on something, but things always have a way on messing up. I'm not too hopeful.Don't be like that, Robbie,
Tori said, stuffing the tissue inside her bag. It wasn't your fault.I don't know. Maybe it isn't. Maybe it is. Either way, I'll be glad when all of these issues are gone.
Gone? Robbie? What do you mean 'Gone'?
Gone. You know. I can't get this person to leave me, and I was thinking that, maybe, if I stop living—
Bite your tongue! Robbie!
Tori dragged him closer to her locker. Quietly, she said, Don't you say that. Don't you ever say that. We're doing everything we can to help you, and all we ask is that you hold on.
He frowned, puzzled at her outright concern. I—I didn't think it would matter if I'm gone. It'd be better.No. No, it won't be, Robbie. Please, don't say that.
Tori held on to his hands tightly. Taking your own life is not a solution. There's other options! Like, maybe we can go to the police, tell them about this. They could find out and—
The frown engraved on his face cleared out, and it yielded to delight resulting from a hearty chuckle. Tori, chill. You thought I meant I wanted to kick the bucket?
Isn't that what you were saying?
He laughed a little. No. It'll all be gone because I'm moving out of California to live with my Aunt Jessica out the east coast. I'll transfer there next school year and stay there from this summer onwards. That's one solution she offered when I talked to her last night.
You're not doing anything crazy?
No. I hope not,
he said. He narrowed his eyes at her, and then he grinned. You care so, so much for me, don't you, sweet cheeks?
Well, of course I—
She caught the teasing expression on Robbie's face. When he laughed good-naturedly, she pushed him lightly towards the lockers. It's not amusing, you jerk,
she sulked as she closed her locker. She walked away.
He trailed her, grinning. Oh, come on, Tori! It's just a joke!
Robbie discovered in his aimless search another call log for June 2012.
A particular datum stood out: June 8, 7:56 PM – Sister's house. He had stared at his cellphone when it began ringing that night. Adding to his apprehension was the absence of any name on the screen. All he had to see was a group of numbers.
He remembered getting angry. His life was just getting back to normal then, the last thing he needed was this mystery person making another appearance. Especially not that night–not in front of his friends and his family.Rob?
Rebecca drew closer to him, an expression of worry carving her features. Is there anything wrong?
It's them again,
he answered his sister.Put it on speaker,
his brother-in-law, Greg, told him. André, Beck, and Tori conceded with the suggestion in silence. His Aunt Jessica crossed her arms challengingly.
He nodded. He answered the phone. Hello.How dare you. How dare you ignore me after all that I've done for you.
All you've done is mess up my life. I owe you nothing.
I protected you! I returned your love when nobody else could! I have done much more than you give me credit for.
Love? You're ruining everything for me—and you think that's love?
He scoffed. You're psychotic.
Then, he heard the most spine-chilling laugh from the other line. You don't even know the extent. I will do everything to get you back. You are mine. Not even your Aunt Jessica or your sister Rebecca can keep me away.
She paused. I hope they heard that loud and clear.
Wary and frightened glances were exchanged among the group. Who are you?
he asked, walking towards the window overlooking the spacious backyard.
Standing on the lawn, outlined by the darkness of dusk, was a girl glaring up the window, straight into his eyes. She held a phone against her ears, her body so still that it could be mistaken as a statue. Though he could not see her whole feature, he was aware of her expression: she was smiling uncannily at him. A few yards away from her stood the toolshed, which was, at that moment, almost half-eaten by flames and smoke.
He gasped.Ask Rex. He knows exactly who and what I am,
she hung up.
That evening they recovered a cellphone left unceremoniously on the grass. Thankfully the Fire Department quickly responded to the call, and any further damage was avoided.
However, their report on what caused the fire was what broke him. They ruled that the shed was doused with gas, thus making the fire spread quickly. Several items were deemed unsalvageable. To his demise, they found melted plastic on the floor, along with what used to be a small, artificial foot, and that was what started the flames.
Rex. She had burned Rex.
His Aunt Jessica, now enraged, decided to take the matter to the police. She told him to bring all of the notes and his phone as evidences that someone was stalking him. Tori, André, and Beck agreed to accompany him and his family to serve as witnesses to it. Rebecca called their parents to explain what had transpired and what steps they were taking, and curiously one of them insisted on meeting with the group.
The investigators' primary reaction of slight hesitation to take on the case irritated his family greatly. Voices were raised, and arguments were made. His mother's arrival made things more complicated, but it was just what he was expecting. Nonetheless, he was spared the trouble of feeling embarrassed. He was too distraught with his loss of Rex that he heeded not the thicken tension at the police station.Who's to say he didn't create those himself? The psychiatrist had said before that he constantly wants attention,
his mother's voice replayed in his head. This is all make-believe.
Make-believe? Bianca, I know my nephew. I'm a psychiatrist, so don't give me none of your crap about his mental state,
Jessica countered. This threat is very real.Oh, really? How about those calls? Who's to say he wasn't just talking to himself on the phone? He could make you think it's true. He's studying to be an actor.
We heard the last conversation,
Greg defended him calmly.It could've been recorded. And he could have set the fire himself sometime before dinner.
Oh, shut up, Bianca,
Jessica said. Look. Whoever's following him is becoming more obsessed as time passes by—
His mother laughed deridingly. Who's going to be obsessed with him? A boy with a puppet?
Ma, stop it,
Rebecca hissed.What? It's true! If there's anyone here who's crazy, it's him.
Bianca Shapiro turned towards her deflated son, who then raised his eyes up at her. Didn't he tell you that he almost got that other Vega girl killed because he rigged the harness?
Dread descended upon him as the spilled secret attracted everyone's attention to him. He opened his mouth to speak, but only his warm breath came out.Robbie?
Tori stepped towards him, her eyebrows knitted in sympathy and doubt. Is that true? Were you really the one who did it?
Tears stung his eyes as friends, family, allies, and traitors alike were rendered the same. All the hardship he had experienced the past months flooded back into his head, leaving him with no other desire but to run away. Defenseless and scared, he took to flight.
For some time, he sat in an alley under a flickering street lamp crying silently and wondering what he did to deserve what happened to him. It was that moment where he felt alone and worthless, and it was a sensation that still pained him whenever he remembered.There you are. We've been looking all over for you.
He glanced towards the speaker before turning his eyes back to the ground that night.
Tori sat down beside him.I didn't mean to, Tori.
Let me ask you this question. When Rex messed with the harness, what did you do afterwards?
You'll think I'm lying if I told you.
I replaced it with one of the new ones Sikowitz had on the table when he was looking away.
Tori smiled. That's what the report said when my dad had it investigated months ago. New harness, but it was faulty. And, ah, you're aunt drew it out from your mom that she didn't even bother to get you your meds that week. That's why Rex was a little too out there.
He said nothing.Why do you think nobody will protect you, Robbie? Why do you think that way?
Because no one will even bother, he told her. I'm sick, and it's not the kind of sickness people feel sympathy for. They tend to stay away from me, because they think I'll hurt them. But it's not by choice. My parents would always leave me, and when they're there they would always make me feel bad about myself. Until now, people are the same. I don't ask anyone to always do me the favor of standing by me, but this one time, this one time I need everyone I know to be with me, they think I'm lying. Don't tell me no one thinks that. I saw it in your eyes when you all looked at me. I don't really mind, but what hurts me the most is the idea that the only way everyone would believe me is when that girl gets to me and I'm dead.
Tori watched him as he wiped away his tears. Then, she took hold of his hand and squeezed it tight. I believe you, Robbie. I'll stay with you no matter what.
She encased him in a hug, and the gravity of her sincerity had him lean towards her to shed the last of his tears that night.
Things gradually got better as they headed into the summer. Jessica had talked to the head of the police department, and her demand for his protection was met. Greg and Rebecca decided to let him stay at their house, and to help out he picked up a part-time job at a sporting goods store at the mall (which he thought was pretty ironic, since sports wasn't his best suit). The three of them—Greg, Rebecca, and Jessica—agreed to let him stay at Hollywood Arts for one more year and see how things would turn out. His aunt left sometime early July, imparting a gift to him of a new phone with a new number that was blocked and private.
Rebecca announced soon after that she was pregnant, so he and Greg had been busy with preparing a nursery at their home, and a few times he and his sister visited various stores to shop for the future little one.
Most of his friends left California for a while: André went to Hawaii with his parents and his grandmother; Cat traveled to Georgia to visit a friend of her father's; and Jade, after getting back together with Beck, joined the Oliver's at Ontario, Canada for their family reunion. Tori, meanwhile, had gone to Rio for a while. Her mom had won a trip for four to the tantalizing city, and they were quick to jump on the opportunity.
All summer long, Rebecca, after she finished her coding for the hospital, would help him go over different colleges he might want to go to, and the scholarships he could apply to.
It was during this that Columbia University caught his attention.
Meetings with his psychiatrist told the family—that is, Greg, Rebecca, and Jessica—that though his illness still resurfaced at times, it was gradually but surely subsiding.
He still received threatening letters and e-mails from his shadow, but he was too content with his life that he discarded everything, not troubling himself with reading it anymore.
Over the course of months, he and Tori had gotten closer, too. They spent considerable amount of time together, whether it be studying, watching movies at his house, or playing Cake Factory online until late at night while they talked on the phone. A part of him indicated that there was a possibility that she liked him, but the sensible part of him chalked it up as only kindness.
September 13, 2012
…It had finally dawned on me that the ignorance he had shown all this time was not due to his own flaws but because of his incapability to perceive the meaning of our relationship. He had become scared, not because of my passionate quest to show what he is to me, but because a certain knave had blinded him.
Tori Vega is not to be trusted, but he failed to see it. But, once more, I will free him from her. He will find out how much she is capable of betraying him. She would find another guy to attract—I will make sure of it—and she will break his heart.
By then, he would know what I am to him.
He burst inside the restroom when he heard Tori's desperate screams from the hall. The loud music in Camryn Linden's party boomed throughout that cold October night, but his heightened senses in search of his friend landed him in that room, where her new boyfriend, Max, held her violently tight on the arms, pressing her against the wall, while she cried, her clothes almost torn off her.
His sights darkened. He tried to take Tori off of him, but before he could successfully do so, Max had shoved him away. He staggered back and fell on the floor, hitting his head on the corner of the sink on his way down.Robbie!
Stay out of this!
Max yelled before resuming his intent with Tori.No!
Tori struggled from his grasp. Let go of me!
In his periphery, he noticed a weighing scale not far away from him. He grabbed it when he stood up, and then, fueled by Tori's screams, he swung it with enough force to knock Max out.
And he succeeded.
Tori regarded him with a mixture of shock and terror. She quivered as she glanced upon the immobile body on the floor. Then, she lifted her eyes up at him.Tori, I—
he began. Are you okay?
Tori averted his eyes, embarrassed about the state she was in.
Gently, he extended his hands towards her. His first touch made her flinch, and it had him withdrawing back from her. But, knowing what she might be feeling, he tried again, this time offering his arms instead of his hands.
Though a bit frightened, Tori accepted his offer of refuge.Shh…It's alright. It's okay,
he said as she began weeping in his arms. He held her then kissed her hair. You're safe now.
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
Skimming through the entries, Robbie's suspicion of this person causing the slew of havoc in his and Tori's life was confirmed. From the smashed window shield in Tori's car to the poisoned tea on their first month anniversary date (no one was harmed, since he was able to identify what was amiss in the drink), from the faulty stage props to the hurtful gossip proliferated through school about them, those were all her doing. He could sense her frustration and wrath in her words. She couldn't stand that they were together. Her thoughts were growing malignant and quite disturbing, too.
But perhaps, what finally made her snap was the event that took place after the last dangerous stunt she pulled a few months ago.
The events were still so clear to him. Monday morning, Sikowitz had a routine exercise for the senior drama students to give a monologue. He came to school, not feeling very well, so he decided to take his medication. He had forgotten them at home, so he had to turn to his emergency stash in his locker.
The medicine helped allay his mood, but it was through greatly increasing other sensations that it did. He could only hear some words in class, and his vision was so slurred. He vaguely remembered Tori asking him if something was wrong, but he just shook his head repeatedly until his neck hurt. He was pretty sure Sikowitz called him up to the makeshift stage because he envisioned himself stepping up on something.
Robbie? Robbie, are you ready? You sure you want to do this? Sikowitz questioned worriedly.
My name is…I'm…Rex Shapiro, and I'm…I'm twelve years old…
Robbie. What are you—
The room turned upside down, and the next sight he saw was the floor. People screamed and ran and talked to him and touched him at the same time. He couldn't breathe. He wanted to clear everybody out of the way, but he was paralyzed. He stopped fighting the fragility overwhelming him, and he passed out.
Thankfully, he was able to wake up. The IV that was sticking on his arms and the EKG system close to him testified on where he was.
The movement awakened Tori, who slumbered on a chair adjacent to his bed. She smiled when she saw him. Hey.
How you feeling?
Like I was run over by a hundred bulldozers. He smiled back. How long was I out?
About two weeks. You were in coma for a while.
Oh. What happened?
Doctors said you overdosed. Your sister said that all your meds were at home, so she and Greg checked out your locker. They found some of your supply there, but when they took it to the lab, they found out that the dosage was very high. The orange juice you kept in your locker had the meds mixed in 'em, too.
I didn't try anything funny, Tori. I promise, he said when he saw the vexation in her eyes.
I know. The cameras showed that someone picked the lock in your locker and changed the meds.
You saw her?
No. She knew Helen had put in a new camera near our lockers. She knew how to avoid it.
Greg and Rebecca just went downstairs to get something to eat. She's hungry, and the baby's getting a bit restless in her tummy. Aunt Jessica called yesterday and said she will fly here as soon as possible.
Sorry? For what?
I know this is not what you signed up for in being my friend and my girlfriend. He chuckled. Sucks for you that your boyfriend is insane and his stalker is insane.
Tori grinned. Well, 'normal' relationships have gotten a little too overrated for me.
He laughed lightly. Gazing at her, his lips curled into a small smile. I've been thinking about this for a while. I think it would be better if we broke up. Tori darted him a mildly surprised glance. I care for you a lot, and lately that has been creating a threat on your life. I don't want her to take out her anger on you.
Tori said nothing.
But you're always going to be my favorite girl, he added. I mean, you are the only one I've been with for more than one day, but you're always going to be my favorite.
To be honest, I was hoping we'd be together longer. But things are getting worse. He chuckled. I even wondered if there will ever be a time where I get to ask you if you will marry me. He laughed weakly.
He looked at her, grinning, uncertain of what she responded. What?
Yes. That's my answer.
He blinked. Oh! You meant if I did get to ask you.
I meant, when you asked me earlier. Tori looked at him in the eye. To be honest with you, Robbie, you get on my nerves, and I'm pretty sure I get on yours, too. This is something that hasn't changed. But you always find a reason for me to want to always be with you. And these past two weeks, I think it had hit me that I don't want to be with anyone else. It's been a year that we're dating, and not once did I get bored with you. So yes. She mustered up courage. If the offer still stands, I would like to marry you. She bit her lip. I would kiss you to prove my point, but you haven't brushed your teeth for two weeks.
He stared at her in utter shock. After a while, their conversation sank on him.
[align=]January 7, 2014[/align]
…They stared at each other for a while. "You're talking crazy," he said.
"Good," she said.
"Aren't we too young?"
"Do you not like me?"
"Of course I do."
"Then why are you pushing me away?"
He thought about it for a moment. Then, he smiled a bright smile that I've been longing to see. "Ani ohev otakh," he told her.
"I love you. In Hebrew."
He loved her, he hated me. This had left me feeling betrayed. I really had thought that he would be one to stand up for me, to rescue me as he had rescued her, but I was wrong. For so long, I dreamed that he would not render any judgments about me based on my appearance, what I am on the outside.
Now, looking at Tori Vega then looking at myself, I reached a conclusion that he was no different.
I find myself yearning to hate him, yet picturing his face and his kindness leaves me defenseless. I still loved him with all my heart, though he may not understand.
But, maybe, should I transform into the girl of his desire—and this I am not hesitant to do—, he will adore me then.
No other entries followed. Her silence on the notebook reflected her inactivity these past few months. Robbie wasn't sure whether he should be relieved or not. Maybe she had forgotten about him, and that would be good.
Still, dread hung around the blankness.
The last three pages were filled with information about Tori—where she shopped, what she ate, her likes and dislikes, almost everything. But, maybe, should I transform into the girl of his desire—He swallowed thickly after reading what shirt Tori had on that morning jotted down on the parchment.
He drew out his phone, set on calling Tori to warn her about the potential danger for her. He stood up, facing the window overlooking the soccer field outside, after dialing her number while setting the notebook down on the table.
In his rush, he neglected to notice that the door had opened and someone had come in.
"Come on, Tori," he muttered nervously after the fourth ring. "Pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up..."
The call went to voicemail. Huffing in frustration, he ended the call.
He attempted to contact her again, but he was stopped short by the hands that embraced him and the cheeks that nestled on his back. He gasped in shock, but any overreaction was quenched when he smelled the familiar body spray that Tori had on this afternoon. Putting his hand on his chest, he released the breath he held. Turning around, he said, "Oh, good heavens, Tori. You scared the heck out of—"
He blinked as he beheld the girl in front of him, his smile failing its development. She wore the same clothing that Tori had, her curls framed her face the same way Tori's did, and she smelled like her. Yet, her eyes and her lips, and the intentions that colored them, were far different from the girl he mistook her for. However, she was not entirely a stranger. He remembered seeing her, and it caused his heart to beat mercilessly swift when he figured out the multiple places where.
"Hello, Robbie," the girl said, drawing closer to him.
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
She grinned. He stepped back. Her eyebrows knitted, and then her head tilted to the side. "What is the matter, sweetheart?"
He retreated clumsily when she advanced towards him. "Get away from me," he said, his breath hitched in his throat.
"Why?" She chuckled, shaking her head. "I only left for a little bit. To get Mr. Hocks, silly! Don't you remember?"
"No. Tori left to get Mr. Hocks," Robbie argued. "You. I…I don't know where you came from. I don't know who you are!"
An irate expression soured the girl's face for a moment. She shook it off soon after, and the disgustingly mischievous smile returned on her lips. "Are you sure you don't?" she asked rhetorically, just when Robbie's back hit a wall. Her body leaned into his until they were only an inch apart. A deceitful kindred look dawned upon her blue eyes. Her hand crawling up his face to caress it, she tiptoed to divert Robbie's attention from her other hand holding a switch steadily to her side. "Shall I remind you?" she asked.
Robbie stared deeply into her eyes, as if falling into a daze. The longer he beheld her face, the more she became familiar. The entries came to life: when she became teary-eyed after Olive repeatedly insulted her, the audition for West Side Story, when she looked up at him from their backyard, the random places where he caught a glimpse of her watching, her constant lunches with Max, and, the scariest of all, the vivid nightmares of a blue-eyed girl sitting in front of his bed, watching him with that same smile on her face right now.
Her artwork revealed her identity on the notebook, when a name written on a bronze plaque under a showcase piece with the similar style assaulted his memory. "Maya," he breathed out, more sympathetic than recognizant.
"Oh, how beautiful," she said, her eyes trailing the fingers she used to line Robbie's lips. "If you only knew how much I have wanted to hear my name on your lips with such feeling."
"Why are you doing this?"
"It's so wonderful to end up with this dream," Maya said the same time he spoke.
Robbie frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked. A more pressing matter entered his mind. "Where's Tori?"
Maya lifted the switch to her chest before holding Robbie close, oblivious to his last question. "'Til death," she muttered, placing her thumb on the button, "do us part."
Maya was torn off Robbie after the desperate and terrifying scream. Tori had pulled the girl's hair before grabbing her arms to use it as a lever to lob her to the floor. Maya landed stiffly on her right hip, her left arm unbuckling after her palm hit the cement. She hissed in pain, her agony reflecting on her face.
Tori advanced towards Maya when she attempted to get up, but Robbie stopped her by placing an arm in front of her. "Tori, no," he told her quietly.
Tori gazed at him, her eyebrows wrinkled in rage for Maya, assessing whether he was harmed or not. Then, when she concluded he was fine, she grabbed his hand, and then she started towards the door.
"Leave!" Maya yelled, halting the two. When they turned around, they saw that she was holding the switch threateningly in her hands while her hips bared a belt of C4's. "Leave," Maya repeated after having commanded their attention, "and see how I can level Hollywood Arts and everyone in here."
Robbie and Tori regarded the range of bomb tied to the girl with terror. Tori was wavering; she wanted to get them out of there, but they were left with nowhere safe to go. Robbie, on the other hand, was focused on one fact. He knew exactly what was in Maya's hand: a dead man's switch.
"Is it really too hard to stay with me, Robbie?" Maya asked, her brows sharpened and shaped with anger and self-pity. "Is it too demeaning to be with me?"
The couple opposite her remained silent.
"Answer me!" she demanded, making both of them jump. She scanned their faces. Then, she caught sight of their intertwined hands. "I protected you. I looked out after you. I loved you like nobody else had, but you picked her above me?" she asked, taking a few steps towards them. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she looked pleadingly towards Robbie. "She made your life miserable. She treated you horribly. She treated you like a scum before I came! Don't you see it? When she started getting involved with you, with us, she became more famous. With the things I did, you two getting engaged—people started knowing her more. But she doesn't appreciate you, and you and I know it's true." She paused, attracting Robbie's already spent attention on her. "How many times had she told you she loves you?"
"Don't listen to her," Tori said firmly to Robbie, though his speechlessness made her nervous.
"How many times did she stay by your side even if there are no problems? What about the wedding?" Maya continued. "Does she want to hold you desperately, like I always do?"
Tori turned her eyes towards Robbie, and it hurt her deeply to see in his eyes that he seemed to have fallen into Maya's trap. "Robbie," she called in a whisper. "Don't listen to her. Please. Don't do this."
"Would she adore your imperfections like I did, and would she help you change them? Would she die with you willingly like me?"
Pondering characterized Robbie at the moment, and it troubled Tori. The strings of her heart were severed when he let go of her hand. "No," he said thoughtfully. "I guess she had never done as much for me as you had." He walked towards her, as if he were a repentant lover. "And I was stupid enough not to realize. I'm very sorry, Maya. For all that I've done to you. I should have known better."
"Robbie?" Tori called softly to him, but she knew, with his disposition, that it would be futile.
"Do you really mean it?" Maya asked, oblivious to Tori's pleas.
Robbie averted Maya's gaze, proving the shame he felt. He nodded. "I'm really sorry," he said. He looked at her. "I don't mean to hurt you. I just—I thought I was falling in love with Tori because she was there for me. But, maybe, I got confused. Who I fell in love with was you."
A delighted curl tugged at Maya's lips for a moment, but it failed as soon as she perceived a hint of deception hiding in the curves of his features. "No," she said. "I know what you're doing. You don't love me. You're just trying to—"
Robbie placed his hand where the switch was while he tenderly cupped her face with the other. "Will you give me a chance to prove I care for you?" he asked. Maya's lips parted slightly to answer, but Robbie quieted her by pressing his lips to hers. She froze upon his touch at first. Yet, when she truly felt his presence, his heartbeat in her lips, she returned the kiss. Robbie kissed her back as he discreetly led her thumb to lock the button back to its place in the switch.
Robbie stopped after feeling an eternity of poisonous admiration, and then he held Maya close to him. He lifted his eyes up towards Tori, and he found her reduced to silent tears. He hated seeing her cry, much more so be the reason for it, but it was necessary to save them both.
These thoughts reflected on Robbie's features, and Tori was keen on catching them. Finding Maya's inability to move as an opportunity, she searched for a way to get as many people out of the building as possible first. She found it in the fire alarm on the wall, which she pulled immediately after finding it.
Lights flooded the room and the halls outside, and a deafening sound broke out.
Maya pulled away, realizing that Robbie had deactivated the switch. She almost asked why he deceived her, but the resonance of his blood pulsing through his veins continued to stun her. "I love you," she said so weakly that it almost failed to escape her.
"Then why would you ever put me in danger?" Robbie asked kindly.
"To prove I care for you," Maya answered.
"Care and love are two different things," Robbie replied. "If you love me, if you love yourself, just let me go."
Maya stared at the ground as a response.
Robbie walked back to Tori, whose cheeks were marked with dry tears. He extended a hand, asking for hers. She took it. Then, he led her outside, securing the switch in his pocket.
Maya recovered soon. Realizing that she had been left by herself, her anger on being abandoned and mistreated came back to her. She grabbed a scissor from the table and briskly followed the two outside the room.
When she spotted them, her sight focused on her target, the real reason for her misery. She charged towards her, a vengeful cry escaping her mouth.
Robbie was quick to glance back. Seeing the weapon, he shielded Tori and attempted to stop the blade by taking a hold on Maya's hands.
Tori fell on the floor, but she was quick enough to use her hands to avoid colliding with it. She was quick to get up, only in time to see Robbie's head hit the glass window while his hands, situated on his hip, filled with blood. "Robbie!" she cried out.
Momentarily blacking out with his head injury, Robbie collapsed. Tori caught him before he fell completely.
Maya, surprised by what her action resulted to, dropped the scissors and attempted to approach Robbie apologetically. However, Mr. Hocks and Lane had already held her arms and wrists before she could move. "We need to call the police up here!" the former said, taking the prisoner farther away in the hall. "And we need medics!"
"Maya," Lane talked to her softly. "How could you do this?"
Sikowitz, rushing up from the lobby with two policemen, took out his phone to make the 911 call. The uneventful sight of his two students magnetized him to their sides. "Oh, my good heavens," he exclaimed as he watched Robbie's breaths become shallow. He held the boy's hand. "Stay awake, kiddo," he told him firmly. "Graduation's in one week, you can't go to sleep! …Yes. Hello? Dispatcher…"
Tori ran her fingers through his hair in hopes of keeping him up. "Hey, hey," she said when his eyes began wandering aimlessly. "Stay awake, okay?"
"Stop, Tori," Robbie said weakly, his voice raspy. "You know how that—that hair brushing drives me crazy."
"No. Not until the medics get here, I'll brush your hair all I want. You need to be up."
"It's pretty…pretty hard."
"My hand burns."
"She got that, too?"
"Just that…just that, she got. Didn't get me anywhere else. Still burns like crazy, though."
Tori assessed his condition, but the way his body was going limper by each unsafe moment that passed by disheartened her. She knew she had to do something to prevent him from falling asleep. "Robbie, did you mean what you said?" she asked.
"Which…w-what…" he hiccupped but was unable to communicate his question well enough.
"What you told Maya. That you agree that I don't feel and do and have love for you as much as she does."
Robbie shivered. "Yea—Yeah," he said. "In a way." He struggled to look at her straight in the eye. "Not too fond of kiss…kissing or hugging me in public. Makes me always wonder if you're ashamed."
"You know I don't like the whole idea of PDA's," Tori replied.
"But with Ryder, and Steve, and M-Max…"
"That was years ago," Tori explained. "But you're now. We're now. And, to be honest, I did wonder if I was doing this because you keep saving me and people knew and thought it was romantic. I wanted to prove to myself that I'm with you not because of that. So, I hid." She smiled. "You know what? Makeup kisses are my favorites, and I'm glad that not everyone gets to see it. Loses integrity if they do, you know?"
The lethargy that lulled Robbie gripped Tori's heart.
"But if you really want to, I can even kiss you at graduation, in front of hundreds of people," Tori said, ignoring the lump forming in her throat and the tears glazing her orbs. "Just, please. Stay with me." She kissed his forehead, and there she sensed his life slipping slowly away. "Te quiero mucho," she told him.
Robbie smiled and opened his mouth to say the first word of his response—Ani. However, the ounce of energy he had left had fled away from him before he could. His smile broke and failed, eyelids covered his unseeing eyes, and then his head rolled closer to her. After that, he was still.
Tori was held back by a medic while the rest of the team lifted Robbie into a stretcher. "No, Robbie," she got up as they did and tried to make her way towards her boyfriend. "Wake up. Wake up!"
"Miss, please stay back," the man told her politely.
"You don't understand," Tori explained. "That's my boyfriend. I need to be with him."
"Tori," Sikowitz stood by her.
"Please let me come with him to the hospital," Tori begged.
The medic stared at her briefly, discerning whether he should consent or not. Reaching a decision, he gestured for her to follow by bobbing his head. "We should hurry," he said.
Tori obediently trailed after him. Sikowitz hurried down the stairs right after to go to his car.
Maya watched them helplessly. She was too consumed by what had happened that she neglected to notice the police officer handcuffing her while the other secured her elbows in. "You have a right to remain silent," a fragment of her hearing came to her. "Anything you say can be used against you in the court of law…"
|je crois en l'amour
Group: Victorious Fans
Member No.: 158
Joined: 13-August 11
"Entertainment Tonight's Alysa Mitchell continues her exclusive interview with 'One Day Less' star, Tori Vega."
"How did you react when you got the call from the movie producers, telling you that you have one of the lead roles?"
"To be honest, I thought someone was pranking me. I had to personally come to the office, which was a bit embarrassing, but I had to make sure." She laughed. "When they told me that I did
have the role, I called my parents and told them, and then I told my fiancé—I told just about everybody I knew!"
"You were really excited about it, weren't you?"
"Oh, 'excited' is an understatement."
"I fell in love with the concept when my manager told me about it."
an excellent movie."
"Yes, it was. Our director, the writers, everyone working behind the scenes, all of them did such an amazing job, and I'm just so honored for having worked with them."
"Now, I want to ask you about your co-star, James Helms. I'm pretty sure you're aware of the rumors about you and him dating during filming, and after the movie premiere in Los Angeles, you're seen with an engagement ring. Did he really propose to you? What's the deal with the ring?"
"Oh, this ring? Well, one thing I can tell you right out is this is not from James. People thought we were dating maybe because we're close at the set—and we were—but really, we're just friends. I know that's a showbiz answer, but we really are."
"So who's the ring from, then?"
"My boyfriend for three years running: Robbie."
"Robbie? You meant the engineering student that was seen with you months ago? Robert Shapiro?"
She nodded, grinning. "Yes. He's the one."
"Wow. Why the quiet relationship?"
"We don't really want a lot of people to know. He needs privacy, and I'm willing to give him that." She smiled. "And, uh, we just like spending time without much people knowing. Just like in high school."
"High School sweethearts, huh?"
"When did he propose?"
"Junior – Senior year, I think?"
"Really? Why the long engagement?"
Her features darkened. "Something just happened." She paused. "Anyways, we got through it okay. I think we came out of it closer than ever, so it's all good."
"Why didn't we see him with you during the premiere night?"
She grinned. "He couldn't make it, unfortunately. He had to study for his finals."
"I know! But, he did promise me that he'd see the movie with me next week. It's actually good timing since we'll be visiting Japan for the movie. I know he'd be geekin' about it there. He loves Sci-Fi and Romance movies, which happens to be both in the movie, so."
"Any possibilities that you two might get married there?"
She shrugged mysteriously. "I don't know. We shall see…"
"Ah. We have to keep watch, then! Thanks for your time, Tori."
She sat in the darkness, with only the glow from the television being the only light shed upon her. She stared at the screen blankly while her fingers repeatedly toyed with the stiff slips of paper on her lap.
Three years away from them. Three years away from him. Three years in this horrible hole. Which were all, to be honest, three years too long.
She hadn't received any news about him, and she hadn't seen him. Save for the blurry photo in the magazines, she had no idea how he looked like. The want to see him and feel his life again throbbed in her being with such force. They had drugged her, forced her to forget about him and her love for him. She played along, pretending that she was gradually falling under their command, but they were ignorant of her plans. She asked them to take her to the park next week. They agreed albeit suspiciously.
But that didn't change the fact that she succeeded.
With a confident smile, Maya stood up from her bed then walked over to the television set to turn it off. She went back to her resting place and lied down, keeping close to her the envelope that contained the doctored documents and the key to her chains. "I'll be with you again," she whispered before kissing her tickets to Japan that were in her hands with dry lips.
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