The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

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The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby Shadow » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:58 am

Disclaimer: Moonlight is not mine and no copyright infringement is intended.












THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR
part two




“It was so perfect,” Rose said with a sigh. “But it only lasted for a moment.”

“What do you mean?” Beth asked.

Rose remembered Mick crying out in the night, waking in terror from wartime nightmares she couldn’t even imagine. He’d never been able to tell her what the dreams had been about – he’d never been able to tell anyone. She remembered the strange fallout he’d had with his best friends Ray and Lilah Fordham, when Ray had turned up, so miraculously, months after he’d been reported dead. Mick had never spoken to either of his friends again. She thought of the arguments he’d had with their father, how Mick had moved out of the house, to a tiny apartment, almost as soon as he’d come home. “The war changed him so much,” Rose said. “He had terrible nightmares, and he started drinking, and fighting, like he never had before.” Rose had thought, for a time, that having survived the war, Mick was going to die in its aftermath. She’d checked on him compulsively, haunting his apartment, all too often patching up injuries from bar fights and putting him to bed when he came home drunk. “I think he was looking for trouble, deliberately, to try to drown out the memories. But it didn’t work. He still had the nightmares, and sometimes he’d have flashbacks.” Rose shivered, remembering. “I was terrified the first time I saw one.”

Beth’s expression was haunted. “I know. I felt the same way.”

Rose looked at her questioningly, and Beth said, “I mean – I have a friend who came home from war like that. Once he had a flashback right in front of me. It was like he wasn’t even there. He was seeing something that had happened in the past, and he couldn’t see me or hear me at all.”

“Yes,” Rose said. “It was exactly like that with Mick.” She wondered if Beth’s friend had told her what he’d seen. Mick never had. He’d never been able to bear to talk about any of it. Would it have helped him heal, if he had?

“Did it - get better?” Beth asked hesitantly.

“Eventually. When he got back into music again, it helped a lot.” Rose had been proud of that. She’d enticed Mick with his old favorites from before the war and had hunted for the hard-to-find 78’s of the new modern jazz. She’d played records or radio broadcasts whenever she was at his apartment; she’d restrung and tuned his guitar and quietly left it ready for him. Once he’d started playing again, the music itself had pulled him out of the darkness. “He got into a band, and started performing again. He was good, and he really had a passion for music.” She smiled. “Oh, he still got into trouble, but not nearly as much as before.”

Beth was listening intently, her chin resting on her hand. “What kind of music did he play?”

“Jazz, mostly. Swing. Rock and roll, when it appeared – the devil’s music, don’t you know.”

Beth laughed, but then her expression turned serious. “Did Mick recover, then?” she asked. “Go on with his life?”

“I thought he would. The war always haunted him, but he was starting to move beyond it. And then - ” Rose stopped, suddenly finding it hard to speak. It was such an old grief, but even after all these years it still hurt, so much, to think of it. “And then he met a girl,” she said, “and fell in love, and got married. Coraline was rather a wild girl, terribly exotic – our parents so disapproved – but Mick was happier than I’d seen him since the war. I was so glad for him. I thought getting married would make everything right for him.”

“But it didn’t,” Beth said. As if she knew.

“No.”

“What happened?”

Rose rubbed at her eyes. Why was she talking about this, with a reporter? It was off topic, surely, and Rose never talked to anyone about losing Mick. Not any more. But Beth seemed to care so much, and Rose found that she couldn’t help but answer. “He got married, he left on his honeymoon, and he disappeared. Forever.” Once the police had finally started looking, they’d never found a trace of Mick or his wife, and neither had any of the investigators their father had hired. Rose was the only one who had ever found out anything, getting the information about the blood from the hotel maid, but that one small clue had led them nowhere. It had been agony for Rose, waiting as the days went by, then the weeks, and the months.

“You never found out what happened?”

“No. But I think – I think Mick must have died back then. Maybe even on his wedding night.” Had it happened because of Coraline? Rose had always wondered if she’d been involved in something dangerous, if she’d dragged Mick down with her.

“But – maybe he didn’t die,” Beth said. “Something might have happened that forced him to go into hiding.”

“No,” Rose said. “If Mick was alive, he would have found a way to contact me. I know he would have.”

Beth started to say something, but stopped. After a moment she said, “So when he didn’t contact you - you were certain that he was gone.”

No. Not certain, ever. “Yes. Except – “

“What?”

Rose closed her eyes. Images flashed in front of her, sounds flared in her mind: the photograph in her hand, the crash of breaking glass, darkness. “There was one night,” she said. “It was about six months after Mick vanished. I was alone at home, and someone came in through my window and attacked me. It happened so fast, I didn’t see anything. I heard the window break, and the next thing I was really sure of was waking up in the hospital. But I had this dream. Only it seemed stronger than a dream, do you know what I mean?”

“Yes,” Beth whispered.

“I dreamed that Mick was there. Holding me in his arms, saying my name. I could hear his voice so clearly; I could feel his arms around me. It was so real. But when I opened my eyes, he was gone. I was lying on the floor, alone, and I heard a siren, and then I woke up in the hospital.”

Rose had had a terrible, wonderful fantasy that Mick had really been there, that he’d saved her from her attacker, that he’d saved her life. Rationally, she knew it had never happened. It had been a dream, or if it was anything more, a visitation. “I thought maybe Mick had come to me like an angel. To call me back from death. I even had this fantasy – I knew it was a fantasy, but I couldn’t help imagining it – that he’d really been there. I could feel him. I could hear him. But he wasn’t there.”

Rose glanced up at Beth. The smart reporter with the perfect poise was gone; Beth’s face was stricken with grief. “What do you believe, then?” Beth asked, after a long time. “Do you believe Mick’s dead?”

“Every rational part of me believes he’s dead. That he died soon after he disappeared, or on the same day. And even if he had lived back then, he’d probably be gone by now. He was a lot older than me. He’d be eighty-five now, if he’d survived.”

“But some part of you thinks he might have lived.”

“The tiniest part. Not really a belief, I suppose. But I never quite stopped hoping.”

Beth was silent for a moment. Then she said, “Did you ever find out who attacked you? Or why?”

“No. It was all very strange. When the ambulance crew got there they found the window broken, from the outside, and they found me lying on the floor. I’d hit my head on something, and had a bad concussion, and there were some deep cuts on my neck.” Rose touched the old scars at her throat, so faint now that they could scarcely be seen. “From the broken glass, I suppose. Nothing was missing from the house. Nothing was moved or damaged. It wasn’t a burglary. And someone called the ambulance. I don’t know who did that. All the neighbors said they hadn’t noticed a thing, until the ambulance arrived.”

“Were you all right, afterward?” Beth asked.

“Oh, yes. I recovered completely.”

“I meant, emotionally.” Beth hesitated, then said, “You see - I was kidnapped when I was a little girl. I was four years old when it happened. I thought I was dealing with it, all my life, but mostly I was just blocking it out – except that I had these nightmares. And then something happened that made it all come back to me, and I discovered that I hadn’t really dealt with it at all. I lost myself, for a while. I did things I wouldn’t normally have done, things I was hardly aware of doing.” Beth flushed. “Talking about myself, I’m sorry. I just wondered if anything like that happened to you. If that assault had affected your life.”

“Oh, Beth. What an awful thing to happen, when you were so little. I’m so sorry.” Rose swallowed. “I don’t think it was so very hard for me. I was twenty-two when it happened, not a child any more. I did have nightmares sometimes. I’d dream of hearing glass breaking, and wake up in a sweat. I’d never see who did it, even in the dreams. But the other dream, the vision I had of Mick – it was worth everything that happened. That’s what I remember about that night, more than anything. I still dream about lying in Mick’s arms and listening to him talk to me. In the strangest way, it was a positive experience.”

“Oh,” Beth whispered, “I had something like that too. Honestly, I think it’s how I survived my childhood. I had something to hold on to – the man who rescued me. I’d been kept captive for three days when the man found me. I was so frightened, and I should have been afraid of him, but somehow I knew I could trust him. I let him pick me up, and he carried me out of there, and I knew that I was safe.”

“Who was he?” Rose asked.

“A private investigator. My mother hired him, when days had gone by and the police still hadn’t found any leads.”

Rose thought sadly of the investigators her parents had hired to try to find Mick, how none of them had ever found a single lead. She was glad that things had worked out differently for Beth.

Beth smiled, remembering, and said, “I always thought of him, later, as my guardian angel.”

“Yes,” Rose whispered. “Like when Mick came to me that night.”

“Just like that. You can’t imagine how much like that.” Beth sighed. “What happened to you, after that?”

After that. Rose closed her eyes.

When a year had passed with no trace of Mick, she had given in to despair. And it hurt so much that she couldn’t bear it. She tried to keep the pain away much the same way Mick had, and with as little success. She went to bars and clubs, and drank far too much. She frequented clubs that featured jazz musicians, because Mick had loved jazz, because that tiny part of her that thought he was alive thought she might find him in such a place. And when he was never there she drank even more, and one night she went home with a saxophone player she didn’t know, and slept with him in his shabby apartment. After that –

“Rose?”

“Oh. I’m sorry, I was just thinking.” She would skip that part of her life, delete it just as her mother had done. There was a long stretch of Rose’s life, in the records of her mother’s photograph album, that was missing entirely. “I met a young man,” she said instead. “Richard. He was gentle and kind, and he said he fell in love the very first time he spoke to me.” Rose knew that his words had been true, and the thought of it had always filled her with wonder. Richard had liked to remind her of it; she had a little box that she kept by her bed, full of the notes that he’d left, over the years, on her piano or on her mirror. “I fell in love too, but it was over a year before he could talk me into getting married. After what happened to Mick, it was so hard to even think about a wedding. But I finally said yes.”

“Sally told me you were married for over fifty years.”

“Yes. And we had a good marriage. Oh, we had our problems. Everyone does. Ours were about children. We weren’t able to have a baby, and we didn’t have all the options that couples have these days. I wanted to adopt, but Richard didn’t.” Rose had never really forgiven Richard for that, though it was horrible for her to blame him. She’d had her chance to be a mother, and lost it, and she’d made that decision herself. The old regret washed over her, but it was easier to bear, somehow, with Beth there. “Do you have children, Beth?” Rose asked. “Are you married?” The reporter wore no wedding ring, but that didn’t always mean anything, these days.

“No,” Beth said. “Neither.”

“Do you want children?” Rose asked wistfully.

Beth hesitated. “I always thought I would, someday. But now I don’t think it will happen.”

“Why not?”

“Because of the man I’m in love with.”

“He doesn’t want children?”

“No, that’s not it. I think he dreams of having a family. But he can’t.” Beth closed her eyes. “If I stay with him, I won’t have children. But I would give him a family, if I could.”

Rose looked at Beth curiously, wondering what she meant. Beth leaned over to pick up her handbag, and then abruptly set it back down. She put her hands to her head and pushed back her hair, and Rose realized that she was trembling.

“Beth? What’s wrong?”

”I need to ask you a question.”

“All right.”

“It’s important,” Beth said softly. “Rose. If there was a way to find out what happened to Mick – even if it was something hard, something terrible – would you want to know?”

Rose shivered, and all the old questions flooded through her. Oh, Mick. What happened? Were you all alone? Did you suffer? “Yes,” she whispered. “Whatever it was, I’d want to know. I’d want to know the truth.”

Sunlight was pouring into the room, turning Beth’s hair to gold and reflecting off the glass in the picture frames, but everything suddenly looked very dark. Whatever the truth was, she would never see Mick again. She had lost him, just as she had lost Sam and Richard, just as she had lost the baby. I was going to call her Mary. Rose drove that thought away, but there was nothing better to take its place. Why was Beth asking these questions, bringing back so much pain?

“Then I want to show you something.” Beth picked up her handbag and took out an envelope. She opened it, carefully drew out two photographs, and handed them to Rose.

Rose’s breath caught as she bent to look at the first one. Mick. It’s Mick. He looked just the way he had the last time she’d seen him. There were bruises on his face, and his hair was longer, but –

She looked at the second photograph. In it Mick stood on a city street. On a modern city street. Next to Beth.

It wasn’t Mick.

“Who is this?” Rose whispered.

“The man I just told you about.”

“Oh my God.” Rose clutched the picture. Could such a resemblance possibly be accidental? Had Mick survived long enough to have children? “His family,” Rose said desperately. “His father – oh God, his grandfather – “

“He’s not related to your brother,” Beth said quietly.

“But if Mick had a child after he disappeared –“

“He didn’t.”

“You don’t know that! No one knows.”

“Mick does,” Beth said. “Look at him, Rose. He’s not a descendant. Look at him. That’s Mick.”

Rose stared at the pictures. The hope that had suddenly risen in her heart died, and something else inside her snapped, and broke. Not again. Oh God, not again. She supposed she ought to admire the audacity of it all. No one had ever presented it to her in quite this way before. The man who was not Mick gazed back at her from the photographs. She looked at the bruises on his face, the half healed cuts above his brow and on his cheek. A silver chain glinted, half hidden beneath his collar. He looked so real.

“I see,” Rose said. “I take it you didn’t actually come here to interview women who lived through the war in Los Angeles.” She put the photographs down on the coffee table. She felt like ice. She had opened up to Beth as she never had to anyone before. She had trusted Beth, confided in her, liked her.

“No. I’m sorry. It was just so important that I see you – I had to come up with something.”

“Well, you’ve done that.” Rose shook her head. “Ms. Turner, I do know how to use a computer. And I am familiar with Photoshop.”

“No – Rose, this isn’t –“

“It is a good likeness. But I’m surprised that you didn’t show me a picture of an eighty-five year old man. I am rather gullible. I might even have believed you.”

Beth looked shocked. “Rose, this isn’t a scam. This is real.”

“It’s real, that this is Mick? That he hasn’t aged in the last fifty years?”

“Yes. Something happened to him on his wedding night. Something terrible.”

“And what would that be?”

“It was Coraline. She - she was a vampire. Mick never knew, until she turned him that night.”

“She turned Mick into a vampire.”

“Yes.” Beth’s eyes were very wide, and she seemed to be terrified. She was a good actress, Rose had to give her that. And creative, by God. Beth fumbled in her purse, pulled out something on a silver chain. “I know how it sounds, I know, but it’s true, I swear it. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t seen it, but it’s true.” She held out the chain, and a fleur-de-lis cross dangled from her hand, catching and reflecting the sunlight. Shaking, Rose reached out and took it.

Memory overwhelmed her and she was suddenly back in the little shop, the odd little place she’d discovered on a side street, where the pendant in the glass case had caught her eye. Mick had told her, privately, about Coraline’s fleur-de-lis tattoo, which Rose had thought delightfully wicked and exotic. When she saw the pendant she knew that it was perfect. The shopkeeper had showed it to her in gold, in silver, and in white gold. She could really only afford the silver, and silver was Mick’s color, but she wanted gold for him. She’d spent everything she had, and more, for the white gold.

Rose looked at the pendant in her hand. It looked just like the one she’d given Mick. Could it be the same one? Stolen from him, taken after he died?

“Where did you get this?” Rose’s voice sounded strange in her ears. Steady, calm. She was not calm.

“From Mick,” Beth whispered. “You gave it to him, the night before the wedding. We thought if you saw it – “

“Get out,” Rose said, rising to her feet. “Get out of my house.”

“Rose, please.”

“Get out!” Rose screamed. Her free hand drew back almost involuntarily, and she slapped Beth across the face. She’d never hit anyone before in her life, but she was glad she had done it. She was trembling with fury, and her hand hurt, and she longed to hit Beth again. I trusted you, and you did this to me!

Beth was crying, an actress to the last. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry. I got it all wrong.” She picked up her bag. “I’ll go. But Rose, everything I told you is true. Everything.”

Beth rubbed her sleeve across her face, turned away quickly, and ran for the front door. Rose stood motionless, staring at the photographs in front of her. After a moment she realized she ought to make sure the woman was really gone. She went to the front door to lock the deadbolt, then stepped to the window to watch Beth move down the sidewalk. Beth collapsed at the end of the walk, sat on the curb, and pulled out her phone. Calling an accomplice, no doubt. Rose supposed she ought to notify the police. But she didn’t have the energy. She went back to the living room, lay down on the couch, and wrapped her arms around herself in pain.





















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Last edited by Shadow on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:23 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby wpgrace » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:27 am

Oh poor Beth; she tried, she truly tried. But who WOULD believe such a story?

And the poor old lady... will she survive the shock? Will Mick be willing to come?

This is really a fun read, Shadow... I am so glad you have continued your first story here...
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby lorig » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:45 am

Wow, that was so good!! Those poor women. One desperate to give Mick back his family and one desperate to find out what happened to her brother. I hope Mick does some serious butt kissin' after putting Beth in that position. REALLY looking forward to more. I am curious to see how Mick reacts to Rose's reaction.
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby mitzie » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:54 am

That was a powerful and intense update! I could really see this happening. Why would Rose believe such a far-fetched story??!! Poor Beth. Mick should really be dealing with this himself instead of dumping the emotional responsibility on Beth!!
Great story. Can't wait for more of this one!!

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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby coco » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:12 am

Oh my God. Poor Rose. Poor Beth.
As honest as Beth wanted to be with Rose I don't really think anyone would expect any other reaction from Rose. It's a very hard story to believe.
Wonderful stuff Shadow. I'm eager to see how this progresses :D
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby AussieJo » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:47 am

Shadow, I haven't read pt 2 yet 'cos I need to let you know that for me anyway, the screen space for the story isn't wide enough.
I don't know if anyone else is having the same problem?
And they're isn't a scroll over arrow, just scroll down one.
Your threads seem to be the only one that I'm having trouble with.
It's the same with Rose and Thorn, but it wasn't as bad .
I guessed at the words that weren't seen.
Could you let the admins know?
My dear, I loved discovering Rose and Thorn again.
And the update was well done.
I am so happy you are continuing the storyline.
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby AussieJo » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:19 am

Shadow, I'm back!
I've worked out what the problem is and I've let Phoenix know.
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby AussieJo » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:56 am

Shadow, I just read the latest chapter. I discovered the scroll arcross arrow right down the bottom! :roll:
That brought the missing letters into view.
But the dividing line is still there.
Oh poor Beth, but of course it would be totally logical that Rose would be suspicious!
Can't wait to read what happens next.
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2

Postby Shadow » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:06 am

Thanks everyone for coming along - especially if you've been having problems like Jo has(!!!) I asked the mods for help and Alle found a glitch which I've fixed - I sure hope that will take care of the problem. (I don't know why it was a problem for some and not others - I don't understand computers.....) If anyone's still having trouble reading, having to scroll back and forth or anything, please let me know and I'll keep working on getting it fixed.

Huge apologies to anyone who has been having to hit the scroll key to read my stories! Jo, I'm very honored that you wanted to read this enough to do that - (I think it would drive me nuts in about a minute .....)
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby redwinter101 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:24 pm

Well this chapter just makes me feel sorry for everyone involved. Rose, still clinging to the last vestiges of hope, so bound up in the pain of the past; Beth, trying to do the right thing but making a terrible misjudgement; Richard, so beloved but always blamed for keeping Rose from adopting a child; Mick, his wartime pain so palpable here that it breaks my heart.

You bring them all to life so very vividly and it's beautiful to read.

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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby Shadow » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:35 am

Definitely a rough chapter for everyone ... and I hadn't really realized till you mentioned it, but even the dead don't have an easy time here. It's so interesting to see your view of this....
Thanks Red!
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby NocturneInCMoll » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:02 am

Wow--I don't blame Rose for reacting the way she did--talk about an emotional roller coaster. I think Mick himself will have to come...and prove he's not a product of Photoshop by telling her things only Mick can. The only thing is, at the moment, he can't even prove he's a vampire (bring Josef along to vamp out? haha).

Off to read the next part!
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby Shadow » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:48 am

Oh, I have such an image now -- of the look on Josef's face when Mick asks him for that favor...
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby draco » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:29 pm

it's logical that Rose is recting that way... I don't know what I would do if someone would come and opened up wounds so long beared but never healed :hankie:
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Re: The Other Side of the Mirror - part 2 (PG)

Postby Shadow » Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:58 pm

thanks so much draco - I didn't see any way Rose would believe this story - and there are other reasons besides just logic that she is reacting this way.
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