For Starcrossed: Battle of the One Shots.
Three rules: Must be multi chaptered unless battle of the one shots, must make a reference to Romeo and Juliet AND must be started AFTER the competition has begun.
"She's beautiful," turning to the side, Detective Inspector "Stevie" Stevenson took in the sight of her partner and smiled as she accepted the mug of coffee before returning her gaze back to the two way mirror in front of her. Her partner was right. Their victim really was beautiful.
Being a kidnap victim for four years, Stevie and her partner had been unsure of what they would find when they finally found Alice Cannon. It was hard not to draw conclusions of an unkempt figure with dirty clothes, clumped hair from being unwashed and arms covered in needle points after years of abuse from her kidnapper. However, that was not the case in this scenario. Their victim's hair was dyed a bright shade of red, her eyes a summer grass green thanks to expensive contacts and her wardrobe looked like something out of an exclusive catalogue.
"He took care of her," Carter mused, the idea almost foreign to him, as he flicked through the file in his hands, his head shaking as he took one last look before turning back to look at his partner. "Which one do you want?"
"Her," she affirmed taking hold of her copy of the file and moving into the small interrogation room.
"Hello, I'm DI Stevenson but everyone calls me Stevie." She introduced herself before moving to sit in the chair across from the woman. Stevie's smile was warm, as if she was talking to an old friend, in the hope that it would coax the woman into trusting her. "What can I call you?"
The smile that came across the woman's pretty face was almost predatory as she turned to face Stevie. "Do you expect me to say Alice Cannon, Stevie?" Stevie's name was said with a bite, almost as if it was poison, but Stevie did not let the tone affect her. She just continued smiling. Leaning forward, the young woman shook her head. "Well it's not. That wimp died a long time ago. I'm Alexandria."
"Alice wasn't a wimp," Stevie argued, making sure that fact was out there but held up her hands in a surrender motion to show that she would not insist on the point. "Okay. Why don't you tell me; Alexandria; what happened the first day you met, Austin Taylor?"
For the first time since Stevie had walked into the room, her face was lit up with a smile at the mere mention of the man's name and her eyes dilated with an emotion that was a mix of both love and desire. Stevie's stomach turned with disgust but her facial expression remained neutral as she studied the other woman.
"You'll never believe me when I state that that morning started off as normal as any other. I was a university drop out, you know. I had decided that I hate children and therefore teaching them was a stupid mistake. With no education and the world in a recession, I had nothing to my name."
This was a fact that Stevie and Carter already knew. The apartment had been filled with last notice letters from her bank; threatening to cut off her electricity, gas and water; that had shown how much trouble she had been in but seeing as she finally had the woman talking, she decided not to interrupt with pointless comments.
Four years ago...
She was drowning.
Not only was she alone in the world after her decision to drop out of university but she would also be living alone on the streets! Running her hand through her hair, she sat down at the table in the corner of the library and opened the laptop she had just borrowed from behind the desk. It was a crazy plan.
Even now, she could remember the special lecture her high school headmistress had presented them all with once they had reached the age of leaving school. Two long hours of droning on and on about how it was not the only alternative when you have no money and you find yourself thinking you have no options: you always have options!
Well she had decided that this was her option.
During her time at university, she had bought many fancy dress outfits thanks to all the themed social parties so she had decided to put that to good use. She knew that finding a free website to place her advert was not one of the best plans but she knew that she had to do something. One girl was earning three hundred pounds just for socialising with a guy for an hour!
She had placed her photographs online only yesterday and she had come into today to check if she had received a response. With a worried smile, she noticed a lone number one in her inbox and with a trembling hand she clicked on it. It was crazy. She was crazy. She already had her outfit folded up neatly in her handbag just in case she had a response and here it was.
The response stated that she was beautiful; too beautiful for this line of work; but he could not wait to meet her, if she was willing? He was local so they could meet wherever and whenever. The relief that washed over her at the thought of someone coming to her rescue, those couple of hundred pounds, made her happy. So she had quickly typed back that she would meet him at the downtown train station in thirty minutes before quickly erasing the history of the laptop.
Making it to the train station, she wrapped her arms around her chest against the bitter cold. The tight costume of a bar wench did not offer much comfort against the bitter winds that rattled through the underground station. Thankfully, she had thought ahead and had put on a pair of tartan sneakers on rather than her six inch stiletto heels. They would be too uncomfortable to stand around in.
Flicking her head to the side, she saw someone staring at her and she offered a timid smile. How did you know that someone staring at you was the person that was about to buy an hour of your company? Before she could move towards him though, he walked up to her and tucked a loose strand of her rusty coloured hair behind her ear. Leaning in, he whispered, "don't make a sound or I'll kill you."
"So I didn't make a sound," she said with the simple shrug of her shoulder, a wide smile on her face as she leant back in the chair. "It was all a bit of role play, right? It's what he paid for?"
It had not been role play. Stevie knew that and Alice/Alexandria knew that but she bit back the urge to explain this to the woman. Even if she did, Alexandria would never believe her. Austin Taylor had murdered six women before and this was the first time they had managed to catch him. The previous six women had been just as educated as Alexandria but had been left in dire straight situations that found them placing adverts on seedy websites; a hunter's favourite spot to search for prey. It was through the website they had managed to link Alice's disappearance to Taylor in the first place.
"Did he state in his e-mail that he wanted you to role play, Alexandria?"
"No. Where's the fun in that?" She laughed shaking her head as she flicked her fringe to the side. "It's all about the adventure. What's spontaneous about it if he told me before hand?" She tittered like a woman that had been married for years and her husband had offered the idea of a new position in bed to keep their love life warm.
The adventure, Stevie mumbled to herself as she nodded her head to show that she was listening. Tapping her hand against the folder, surprised that Alexandria had not asked to know what was in it yet because most of them did; she cocked her head to the side and studied the woman sitting before her.
She did not seem agitated. She was just fine sitting there in a room that was filled with humid air and the smell of the previous tenant that had decided to use the corner for a leak while unsupervised. It was unnerving but Stevie knew she had to push on.
"So Alexandria, you were on an adventure. What happened next?"
There it was, the tell that Stevie had been searching for to see that Alice was still tucked away in this ice cold persona. Alexandria suddenly appeared uncomfortable, her manicured fingernails picking at the pearl button on the cuff of her silk shirt. She shook her head vigourously, her lips moving with no sounds coming out but the sudden vulnerability spoke volumes compared to her lack of words.
Stevie knew full well what had happened next and she knew that Alice would not want to talk about it whereas Alexandria would know it was something different. Stevie prayed that Alice would win this debate and that the truth would come out. Four years that timid girl had put up with this brute. It was her time to make a stand.
"It was beautiful," the love had won and therefore so had Alexandria. Stevie just slumped back in her chair and sighed as she ran her hand through her ginger hair. Pushing back the chair that she sat on, Stevie reached out and grabbed the manila folder before standing up. "No, wait! Where are you going?"
"Alexandria, if you're going to sit here and lie to me I might as well just go sit next door with Taylor. Do you not think he'll take great glee in explaining to me every damned thing that he..."
"Stop," the woman cried out as her head whipped round to face the wall; almost as if she could see her beloved Austin; before letting out a sob. "He's different now," she whispered as she used the heel of her hand to wipe at her eyes, not caring that her mascara was going everywhere. Composing herself, she turned back to look at Stevie. "He loves me. He really does and I love him. You must accept that."
"I know that, Alexandria," and Stevie did. Austin Taylor never had a woman for longer than three months so for Alexandria to still be his companion meant that she had become his dream woman. She was obviously what Taylor had been looking for all those years. She had obviously not fought, had decided that she wanted to stay with him and in turn she had learnt to love him – even if he was still violent with her. Moving to sit back down, Stevie looked at her and smiled. "What happened next?"
The train ride was uncomfortably quiet. Alice wanted a hole to open up and eat her as his hand roughly pressed against her thigh. Anyone would think they were just a young couple on their way to a fancy dress party seeing as he was dressed like a fine gentleman and just simply could not keep their hands off each other.
Turning to look at him, she admired how handsome he was. She had heard rumours that men who used those kinds of services were not attractive. He had piercing blue eyes that looked directly ahead; apart from when he was flirting with her; and honey blonde hair that looked almost blessed by the sun. He was muscled which showed that he cared about his health and probably attended a gym but the most hypnotic thing about him was his scent. An overpowering dry spice scent tantalised her nostrils but did not completely distract her from the musky scent that was purely him.
"Stop staring at me like I'm good enough to eat," his grip tightened on her bare thigh and she gasped at the sudden pain. Feeling the urge to submit, she nodded her head and turned her gaze out the window. What had she got herself into? What if he was one of those creepy perverted guys that liked to have complete control during sex? What if he wanted to hurt her?
"I think I have to..." She attempted to stand up but his hand tightened on her thigh before slowly moving up.
"Baby, think how good it will be." He whispered into her ear. "Alice, you're everything I've ever wanted. I want to take care of you. Please," pressing a kiss against her brow, his hand slipped up her leg so that he could feel the silky material of her underwear, "let me take care of you, Alice. I could be your Romeo."
"Alexandria, he kidnapped you," and quite possibly raped her the first few times into submission but she dared not to mention that as it was obvious that Alexandria had long since forgot those days. All she knew was the man that took care of her, the man that loved her and wanted her to be safe.
"He's my Romeo," she whimpered but Stevie could see her resolve dissipating. "He..."
"Romeo never kidnapped Juliet, Alexandria. They were truly in love."
"But their love didn't work, did it?" She shouted at Stevie, suddenly moving for the first time since the interview had started and the sound of her chair clattering to the floor caused the detective to jump. "If Romeo had just taken action then he would have had his true love. They wouldn't have had to die!" She curled up in the corner of the room, her back to Stevie as she let her tears out.
Stevie remembered her years of hating that rotten play for being so stupid. Seriously, who died for true love anyway? You fall in love, your heart breaks so you get drunk and then you move the fuck on but this was an entirely new twisted view to the story. Could you imagine if Shakespeare had decided to write that Romeo had kidnapped Juliet? She had fallen victim to Stockholm syndrome and had fallen in love with her captor? Stevie wondered if it would have sold. It would now. The world was a twisted place but Shakespeare would not have been so admired back then, right?
"He doesn't love you, Alice."
The sudden return to the use of her baptised name caused her to whip back around and stare at the detective. "Your lies won't stop me from loving him."
Finally opening the manila folder, Stevie neatly laid out six photographs. "Alice, meet Alexandria," and she moved her finger between each photograph. She did not mention that each girl could have been sisters with their beautiful letter box red hair and their summer green eyes but she did decide to focus on the fact they were autopsy photos. "Do you see those bruises on their faces? He did that. And more importantly, do you see that bullet wound between their eyes? He did that."
She slowly moved to the table and looked at the photos. Stevie noticed that her hands were trembling as she studied each one, her fingertips hovering dangerously close to the single bullet wound that was mirrored in each photo. Closing her eyes, she covered her mouth as she tried to stifle her sobs. "Why are you doing this to me?"
"Your parents are worried about you, Alice. These girls' parents," she indicated to every photo once more, "are worried about you. They don't want you to end up like their babies did."
"I won't," she said with a smile that was almost feral as she looked up at Stevie. "They would have lived if they had just listened to the rules."
Stunned, Stevie stared at her. This was the first time that rules had been mentioned. Stevie would have been stupid to not think there had been rules. There were always rules in play when you found psychopaths like Taylor but no one had ever been alive to tell them. Keeping her gaze on Alice, Stevie silently gathered up the photographs. She knew that she would continue.
"No screaming, no arguing, no getting fat, no looking ugly, and never say no to having sex. Juliet must always be beautiful for her Romeo," She said with a smile but her tone was almost robotic. "He loves me, Detective. And I love him." She affirmed before moving towards the wall, slamming her hands down against it and shouting, "I love you, Austin!"
There was a rap on the window and Stevie grabbed the folder before quickly leaving. Despite their professional relationship, Carter wrapped his arms around her and held her for a few moments in the privacy of the darkened hallway. She closed her eyes as she shook her head. "Did you get anywhere with him?"
"He loves her," he nodded his head before sighing. "He says he'll give us what we want if we give him one last moment with his beloved Alexandria. He's pretty insistent that it needs to be now though." His hand ran up her back, comforting her as he knew that making the decision for that to happen would be a tough one.
Stevie knew it was breaking all protocol but she needed the closure. Everyone did: Carter, the girls' families and more importantly Alice did. She needed to know that she had fallen in love with a monster. Running her hands over her tired face, Stevie finally acknowledged that she was really exhausted but found herself nodding as she stepped out of his arms. "We'll give it to him. One last moment with the only Alexandria he could get to comply."
"I wonder what happened to the real Alexandria," Carter mused and Stevie just sighed. It was another mystery that they would hopefully draw out of him once he got his wish.
Opening the door, Stevie walked in and took hold of Alice; ignoring her questions about where they were going and dragged her into the next interrogation room. "You have exactly three minutes to say your goodbyes," she warned as she opened the door, "and then it's over. We'll be outside." She warned before closing the door shut and moving to stand beside Carter, her arms dangling lifeless by her side as she felt an unfamiliar ache in her chest as she witnessed the scene in front of her.
Despite the charges and accusations, Alice was standing in her captor's arms with her hands on his cheek as they pressed loving kisses against each other's lips. She stroked his hair, his cheek before sorting out his jacket but their foreheads never tore apart as if they could not bear to be separated. "I love you," they both whispered to each other and then suddenly there was silence.
With their eyes closed, they pressed one last kiss to each other's lips before grasping their hands together tightly and Stevie heard the quiet murmur of a countdown. What could they be counting down? Stevie found herself musing.
Eyes suddenly wide, she realised what it was that they were doing it but it was too late. Before she had even managed to wrench open the door to the interrogation room, their bodies had slumped to the floor completely lifeless but their hands still held on tightly.
Crouching down beside them, she checked their pulses but knew it would be a pointless task and this was proven as she felt nothing. Shaking her head at Carter, she wiped the back of her hand against her brow as she took a deep breath and studied the scene around her.
Suicide tablets, of course. They were just there for questioning. Who was going to think about doing a cavity search? With a sigh, she heaved herself up and shared a look with her partner. They were both thinking the same thing.
They had their Romeo and Juliet ending; together in death.
Well this is my first attempt at star crossed and as you can see it's the train station prompt – used lightly. The starcrossed deadline isn't until the 14th of December so if NaNoWriMo didn't tire you out come and join! It's at the usual place, check my profile for the link to ADoR!
This is also my beginning introduction to my lead detective; DI Stevie; who will hopefully be appearing in a novel sometime soon! This gives me that little background to help me start so keep an eye out on that!
Thank you to all my lovely fellow judges for reading this through for me and for making sure that I didn't chicken out of posting it! This one is for you girls! I love you all x