Beautiful


Beautiful
By Christy Robbins

In Faye's opinion she was not very pretty. Sporting size 18 jeans with 
limp brown hair and dull green eyes she would look in the mirror every 
morning and start to cry. The silent sobs would cease after a moment, but 
the lingering emotion of self-loathing would remain. Sometimes she 
would wonder at the futility of it all, just wonder why she would subject 
herself to the torments of life, day after day. She had bought herself a 
razor blade, hidden from the eyes of her parents in the bottom of her
sock drawer. Each night, after a day's worth of longing for a release, she 
would take it out and stare at its fine edge, wondering if it would offer 
her some release from the pain of living. Then, she would put the blade 
back into its place and weep at the thought of death. The sweet embrace 
that it could offer her in exchange for a life with nothing. Then again, how 
dark could her existence be compared to the hell that she would go to? 
So each night she would brush aside thoughts of suicide and instead 
sleep with nightmares about the torments suffered at the hands of those 
she studied with at school and work. Often she would wake in a cold 
sweat, the thoughts of suicide even more tempting.

Then, she found the Haven.

It was a small club in the upper city district, away from the prying eyes of 
her parents and friends. A place where she could sit down and watch the 
prettier girls come and go, wondering what joys they had experienced 
when she had felt pain. The Haven brought sadness, but also a release. 
She saw there, too, a number of people that seemed to be feeling the 
same numbing void that always threatened to swallow her. They were 
the ones she came to see; the ones that made her feel guilty about 
wanting to die.  For if they could go on, couldn't she? Occasionally she 
caught a glimpse of the club owner, though the woman never looked her 
way. She found herself able to blend in with the crowd, not to stand out 
because of her weight and situation in life. That made her feel like she 
belonged, even though she was there alone and forgotten as soon as 
she was seen. Sometimes she felt the gaze of another upon her, but the 
feeling would wash away as she glanced at herself in the mirror behind 
the bar. Who would watch her? Who in their right mind would look at her 
with anything but contempt wrought of a fear of becoming like her. A lone 
figure lost in the suffering of her own mind. So she would dismiss the 
thoughts of being watched and sip at the drink that dwindled in front of 
her. She never had more then one glass of wine to soothe her thirst: she 
called it caution. Although she was not afraid of being attacked in the 
club, she was afraid of losing herself even more by becoming an alcoholic. 
What would people say about her then?

It was the night of her birthday when she finally decided that she had felt 
enough pain. Enough torment to last her for several lifetimes. A night 
when friends would have taken her out, if she had been more popular; a 
night where her parents would have made her a cake, if they hadn't been 
out of town; a night where she would have turned twenty happily, 
without grief, if she had only been prettier. So she went to the Haven one 
last time, for a glass of red wine and an earful of the mournful songs that 
were already being sung on stage when she arrived. She had everything 
laid out at home. Razor blade, painkillers, bath beads to sooth her mind 
as she slipped into death. All that remained was a hot bath to be drawn 
and her presence. She had no doubt that going through with it would 
ease her agony and release her from a life no longer worth living. So she 
silently sat at the bar, sipped her wine, and let herself cry just one more 
time. No one would miss her. No one cared. Faye was alone and lost in a 
sea of beautiful women who had dared to go that extra mile with 
liposuction or implants. She had never met that challenge and now she 
would pay for her weakness. As she sat at the bar, her tears falling and 
mixing with her wine, she once again felt the eyes upon her, though they 
seemed closer now, more real. She tried to ignore them, but they 
wouldn't go away. She looked around her, trying to spot the source and 
was disappointed yet again. There were no eyes; it was a subconscious 
call from her mind, begging her to reconsider. A last, lingering hope. 
Shaking her head in remorse she stood up and dropped some money on 
the counter, leaving her wine nearly untouched. She felt the need to be 
aware as she went through with it. The feeling of being watched followed 
her outside of the bar and stopped only as she drove away. She reached 
home a few minutes later, greeted by the silence therein. Would there 
have been silence for anyone else on his or her birthday? She closed her 
eyes for a moment and then walked to the stairs, dropping her purse and 
coat on the small table in her front hall. She walked up the stairs, 
stopping at the top as the feeling returned once more. She looked down, 
to her front door and sighed at the idiocy she was displaying. Who would 
come to save her, a knight in shining white armour?

Walking to the bathroom she slipped out of her clothes and pulled on a 
black bathrobe, the only thing she felt comfortable wearing. She knelt 
down beside the bathtub and began running the water, dropping the 
bath beads in a moment later. She looked up at the razor blade, sitting 
patiently on the edge of her sink. She stepped over to the sink and 
picked it up, running it along her finger, watching the line of red come to 
meet its touch. She stared solemnly at the blood and then looked at the 
bottle of painkillers. Would she take them before or after she slit her 
wrists? She didn't really care to take them at all, really, but it was how 
suicide was done. Shrugging without concern she picked up the bottle, 
unscrewed the cap and dumped several of the small white pills into her 
hand. She ran the sink, filling a blue glass that jumped into her hand and 
lifted the pills to her lips, ready to begin the first step to her final end.

"Is this the only way?" She gasped and dropped the glass, not hearing it 
shatter on the floor as she spun around and looked at the door to the 
bathroom, the pills flying from her hand. There was a man there, his face 
covered in the shadows that followed him from the bedroom. He was 
dressed all in black and she could feel his eyes on her. A familiar feeling, 
now that she thought of it.

"You were the one watching me," she whispered. His head nodded and 
she blinked hard, trying to understand what was happening. She had 
locked her front door… hadn't she? How had he gotten in if she had? 
Who was he? "Why are you here?" she finally asked.

"Because your pain called out to me from the club. Begging me to help 
you, release you from your torment," he answered. He had a soothing 
voice, though it seemed somewhat monotone.

"What's the difference between your release and mine?" she asked. He 
paused a moment and then took a step forwards, out of the shadows. 
She looked up his body, her eyes finally meeting his and seeing what he 
had hidden from her. He was completely bald, making his slightly pointed 
ears and sagging more pronounced. His eyes were a yellowish green, 
and his fingers formed talons at the nails. His teeth were sharper, 
pointed and looking at them made her realize what stood in her bathroom.

"You're…" she began.

"I am Kindred; clan Nosferatu. And I offer this to you," he said. He 
looked at her, his eyes not leaving her face.

"A vampire?" she asked, looking at his teeth more then comprehending 
the words he spoke. He nodded.

"Kindred," he repeated. He looked at her. "Nothing in life can be worth 
the death that you are about to take upon yourself. I offer you the 
freedom that you search for. If you take it."

"Freedom?" she repeated. Was that what she have been looking for? 

"How can I have freedom in the form of a monster?" The words seemed 
to sting him and she instantly regretted them. Perhaps he was not 
wearing shining armour, but he had come to save her from death.

"You can have power. Immortality. And you will be among those who 
treat you as an equal. Those who will make you a part of their society 
and let you be whom you choose to be," his eyes moved to the beauty 
magazines that littered the floor. "Not who they want you to be." She 
followed his gaze; her eyes finally coming in contact with those of a 
skinny wonder model. She looked at him.

"Is it painful? To live as you do?" she asked, remembering the age-old 
myths of vampires. Strange how comprehension came to her so quickly. 
It was as if she was awakening from a dream and finding out the 
inalienable truths of the world had changed as she slept.

"Yes," he answered. "And no. We are respected for who we are and 
treated as equals because of it. You will have friends who accept that and 
you will have a way to fight back against those who don't."

"Are they all like you?" she asked. He shook his head.

"I am merely one of a wide clan. There are five in the city, though we as 
a clan are a minority. We stay away from human eyes and live freely, as 
we choose. Together." Together: a word that she had longed to hear for 
such a long time. She looked at him again. He was strange to her, yet she 
did not find his appearance hideous. Was it because of the strange way 
she felt at the thought of being accepted?

"Yes," she finally said. "What do I have to do?" He walked closer to her, 
his hand reaching up to stroke her face.

"All you have to do," he said, brushing the hair away from her neck and 
whispering in her ear. "Is accept yourself for who you are."

* * *

Julian stood, looking out his window and waiting for Daedelus to come 
home. His friend had been away that night, though Julian was the only 
one to know why. A new Nosferatu in the city would be a welcome 
change from the everyday struggles that his empire was going through. A 
Nosferatu sired by Daedelus would be just and fair, as was her blood-
father and she would help ease the tension dividing the Nosferatu clan. 
He half-smiled as he thought of the emotions Daedelus had shown as he 
asked Julian for this chance, to save a lost soul. Julian had readily agreed. 
He had refused a request from Daedelus once before, one concerning a 
small boy, and it had hurt his friend deeply. Now, granting this request 
seemed one of the easiest things that Julian had done since Archon's 
death.

He felt his friend's presence in the room before Daedelus announced 
himself. Julian turned from the window and smiled.

"It is done," Daedelus said. "She is undergoing the change with the 
others there to support her. It will be an alien thing for her, that show of care." 

Julian nodded.

"The Ventrue covet mortal life and yet humans seem to be ready to give it 
up on a moment's notice," he furrowed his brow. "Why is that?"

"Why is the clash between Gangrel and Brujah so severe?" Daedelus 
replied. Thoughts of Cash and Sasha came to Julian's mind. "It is a form 
of their nature. Yet I know what you feel. Humans are strange to us, yet 
we were all mortals once. Things have changed so drastically since our 
time on this Earth and yet we can only adapt to fit in with a modern 
society." He turned his eyes downward. "Faye is living proof."

"She will have a new beginning among your kind. One that will help her 
to understand herself," Julian said. Daedelus nodded.

"She will be as beautiful in death as she was in life," Daedelus told Julian. 

"And now she will realize it." Julian smiled and nodded. "I am going to 
her." Daedelus left the room and Julian turned back to the window, 
knowing Daedelus' words to be true. She would be in death as she had 
been in life.

Beautiful.


***There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the 
proportion - Francis Bacon***

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