|a culmination of the adaption and updation of my style for the future of my artistic career. Finally worked up the courage to do full body anatomy, extreme lighting, drapery, and complex positioning. wish me luck for the future.^^|
It was only once she was sure no one was watching that she fully relaxed her weight down onto her friend. She felt him tighten his arms around her and she kissed his neck. For all the horrors Jim put them through, she was glad he had a sick sense of humor she could easily fool. And now she had to be the strong one.
“I love you,” she whispered into his neck, kicking herself for her sappiness. Edward never did seem to have a limit for her romanticism, even in these situations. She could feel his smile through the silent tears, and that was enough. She felt his head turn and his lips press against her head. He didn’t need to say anything, and perhaps he had been to hurt to want to say the words back. Jim and his cronies preferred to go after him first.
“Don’t forget me.” Edward spoke instead, his voice more shaky and unsure usual. She wished she could respond angrily, but the woman knew what he meant. She could only help distract him now.
“I can keep up the act for the rest of my life, if he’ll keep putting falling for it. How could I forget the one person I can be myself with?” She admonished him, then nudged her nose into his head for emphasis. She kept her voice soft. He nudged her back with his head. He didn’t need to pretend with her either.
When they first met he was as awkward as her mom had described. Back then, when the nights were warm and he was safe with her. Now it felt like a sad attempt at humor to say she could provide any safety. Sage knew though, if she asked, that Edward would have chosen the pain over the loneliness. He had described it to her the first night she was brought in and allowed to be with him alone.
“Loneliness is like watching a flower in the shade, struggling to live, while the other flowers would mock it merely for existing. You would watch it survive there, watching the others in the sun thriving. And every year, watching that flower die, and come back the next season,” he had eloquently said. He had thought through the reasoning for a long time, long before she met him. That much was obvious. He often surprised her, with such statements and observations. It was like he would save up his words and arrange them for hours in his head before speaking. And over time, he would just start talking, not taking the time to sound so correct. If the memories could help distract her, she figured maybe memories could help him too.
“Remember the first time we attempted sledding?” Sage started, “that old sled has splintered enough that I could feel it through my snow pants, and you had looked at me like I was crazy.” She remembered when it started snowing naturally, Edward never seemed to trust it.
“You were crazy,” Edward responded quickly and resolutely.
“Then how did I convince you to join me?”
“It looked like fun,” he responded just as quickly, a small smile returning.
“We didn’t crash either,” she added. Edward almost sounded a little annoyed,
“I didn’t have much choice once you made me sit on that thing.”
“But you were so easy to convince back then.” Sage felt Edward bump his head against hers.
“I was not.”
“My mom said you used to be even worse.” And with that, figuring whoever had been watching had finally left, the woman made her move. Sage leaned her weight on her elbows to shift her weight to her knees, thankful Jim had forgotten about her legs. She moved up to see Edward’s face turning slightly pink.
“And that’s how I know I’m right. Now lift your arms as high as you can, I’m getting out of this.” Sage slithered her legs up and her hips down, shimmying up her friend’s body, keeping her weight off him as much as she could. She got up enough so she had her knees on either side of his head and his face was nearly as red as the bandages around his chest. She used her teeth to loosen one of the cuffs and then was able to pull off the other and release Edward’s bonds as well. She smirked at his embarrassment.
“Stupid fuckers,” she said kissing Edward’s head and sitting on the edge of the bed. Slowly her friend braced his palms on the bed, fingers spread out, and he slowly sat up. He leaned his head against Sage’s back.
“Yeah.” She felt his mess of hair tickle against her ear and she turned and pat it down, letting her hand slowly slide down over his head to his face where she felt another kiss on her hand. Sage had wished within the first few weeks on their capture she felt nothing for Edward. After high school, the woman had sworn never to give heart away so easily. The facts were that Edward and her mom had loved each other. He was at least 20 years older than her, though you would never know looking at him. So any childhood feelings were non-romantic. He had easily felt like a distant friend she’d been waiting to meet her whole life, and for a while she also served as the continuing connection and communication from Kim to Edward. It had felt wrong to love him. But she knew her mom loved her dad, and any remaining feelings for the scissorhanded man were friendly. When everyone at school abandoned her, Edward became her best friend. When Jim came back, he became her savior. Knowing all he had endured for her, in the name of friendship, was enough for her to sacrifice any old stupid self-promises. She choose to love him in the hardest moments of her life, knowing it would only cause her and Edward further pain. Perhaps she was just being selfish. She simply choose to attempt to hide the truth, to tell Jim they had merely been friends. There was some truth there, because before Jim came back, they simply were just friends. Even with that, Jim saw every cringe at the sight of Edward in pain as proof of her affection. Now, all she could do was promise to try to let go of her friend, or find a way to escape this place.
“Think they locked the door?” Sage said quietly, slowly raising from the bed, and silently walking across the room. She put her ear to the door and listened. Nothing. Every so slowly she moved the handle and she could tell it was open She motioned to her friend to follow, but when she looked back she saw he could barely move. She went back across the room.
“Can you walk?” Edward nodded. Sage helped him get up and lean against the wall to wait for her. Once she reached the door she opened it slowly and peered outside. Aaron was less than a foot away.
“Ready to go?” Aaron asked without even turning his head.
“She is,” Sage heard Jim say from further. She knew Edward was making her way towards the bed. She wouldn’t say goodbye. She couldn’t say a word.
“I’ll check on the pet,” said Aaron excitedly. Sage should have known. Perhaps Jim was just waiting till she was actually was as far gone as she pretended to be. They both knew how far the act truly went, and most of the time Jim was content with it. They both knew she was at least tired of fighting all the time. Sage felt Jim link arms with her and while the door was open, only let herself glance into the room to see Edward had made it back into the bed and Aaron was stalking towards him. Jim led her away as she heard Aaron say,
“That woman nearly messed with my work, precious. All that movement is bad for you, like oil on canvas, it must have time to dry.” Then as she turned the corner Sage heard the creak of leather and knew Edward would be in that bed for a while, again. They left the building and entered an open walkway to the main house where she woman could feel the late autumn winds snapping at her speeding her inside. She tried not to think how Jim probably took it as sign of her wanting to go with him.
“Did you enjoy your visit, Darling?”
“I just want to go back home,” the woman said, trying to bring some life to her voice and failing miserably. How could she have believed they even had a chance? But it just meant another round of this game of her trying to prove her supposed loyalty to Jim. Sage’s last bout of anger at the situation had caused Edward his current pain and Jim had made his message clear.
“Our pet will look beautiful at our wedding. Ned and the boys have a cage they’re prettying up for him. He can be your present. Wouldn’t you love that?” Jim had decided last week that her friend could be some obedient pet or guard dog. Sage bit her lip to keep for saying anything and kept walking, keeping her body from clenching or slowing in any way. Once they got back the rooms, she could escape into the library and relax out the tension gnawing at her.
“I’m happy with whatever you’re willing to give me.”
“As long as we break him in by then.”
“I understand.” Jim stopped her and turned her towards him.
“I need you to be with me. A dog needs consistency from its owners. You can’t confuse him.” The woman suppressed a shudder and pulled away to keep walking. When Jim started talking like this she found herself encouraging it, simply because it was better than Jim wanting Edward dead. Sage hadn’t known then how bad it would get in such a short time though. She hated his charming tone as he spoke. Jail had only emphasized his psychosis and he no longer hid his twitches of anger before striking or his maniacal smile when he spoke of ‘their future together’. It seemed the core of his insanity was that with her marrying him, it would make up for the embarrassment of what she did to him. Her silence would redeem him or some such nonsense.
They continued walking deeper into the mansion with Jim convinced for now, and Sage wondered if things would get any better once Jim owned her as well. Maybe if she waited long enough, she could convince their captor to let Edward go. They reached the center of the mansion where two grand doors greeted them, covered in layers of carved branches, leaves, vines, and flowers. When Edward had first shown it to her, it seemed to be magical. Even more so was how to opening door. A small silver key that looked more like a flat ornament had to be fitted into one of the notches and turned exactly 3 times before the play would begin. The vines pulled back the branches and the layers shook as if blown by the wind as it opened and the only sign it was set in reality was the low sound of grinding metal. Now every time she watched Jim open the door, she felt nauseous knowing what it must have taken for Edward to reveal how that secret. Now when she watched the doors opening, the metal sound reminded her of the sound of a metal cage opening.
Inside the once weathered ballroom had been cleaned up and turned into a crowd of make-shift beds, tents, and storage for supplies to house Jim’s crew. It was always uncomfortable walking through there, the men openly leering at her, even knowing it could invoke their leader’s wrath. Jim probably encouraged it hoping Sage might cling to him for safety. She was surprised he didn't just openly threaten her with staying in the ballroom for the night. The woman knew the crows would tear at her the moment the head of the flock allowed. She shook off the thought as they approached the middle of the left side wall, where a smaller version of the door to the ballroom stood, slightly more plain, and needing its own key.
The captor opened the door and gestured for Sage to walk in first. He at least pretended to be polite in such instances, or perhaps was just perpetuating his fantasy of her consent. He even waited till she was well into the room before locking the door behind them and slipping the key away. She was glad for this locked door, knowing it kept the crows out. They were the true lock, and there was no other way to get to Edward except to pass them. She turned her attention to the room, the library as she liked to call it. The room scaled two stories, rafters carved with vines holding up the undulating curves of the ceiling. The effect was that of flower covered logs floating in a pond. Beyond that feature the walls were wood paneled and practically covered with old tapestries of old world legends. Bookcase after bookcase filled the floor around a lowered hexagonal portion of the floor with built in couches. The reading area was practically its own room within the grand suite and it was the only place Jim allowed her to retreat to. He have be psychotic but he still believed he could win her heart with such minimal privacy.
For any length of time, when the woman laid on the low couches, one of the old books laying open besides her, she could look up at the ceiling and try to see if the waves were truly still. Today after the lack of response on the way to the suite, her captor headed straight for the bedroom without a word thankfully. Today the ceiling seemed like carved stone when she gazed up at it, and she couldn't ignore the guilt of managing to be comfortable while Edward endured so much. But then again she knew, he would simply tell her he was fine and to worry about her own health. She could remember some of his attempts at comforting words. ‘I don’t even think I can get sick,’ or other such sentiments reaffirming his lack of humanity. She never cared what he was at the end of the day, but wished she could understand how he became what he was. It just didn't seem like he could have been ‘born’ like that.
For instance, he told her about his mother. When Edward showed her the doors the ballroom the first time, he spoke about how his father designed them, the ballroom, and the suite for his wife. He may have built the rest of the mansion to his own tastes, but at its heart was the design for the woman he had loved. Edward didn’t often talk about her though, except to say she died long before his father. And when Sage was in the reading room it was almost as if she could feel the woman’s presence, as if her essence had been infused into the walls. Simply feeling that presence helped to soothe the woman but it increased when she read the books there. It helped to think of it like a guardian watching over her and her son. Sometimes at night, Sage would even whisper to the room hoping to hear some ghostly voice call back. She tried not to think of her own mother. Jim had informed Kim to spread the lie of Sage going to live in the mansion with Jim on her own, or else he would simply kill Edward. His crows in town kept watch and everyone and a while, the woman would listen in on reports of her family.
It sounded like her parents were doing okay, as painful as it must be knowing what was going on. She probably couldn’t even tell her father, since that involved reminding him how much Kim still cared for her first true love. Matt had met her mother in a college out of state and had known nothing of her history in town. He hadn’t known how she had become the town pariah for any length of time when she started defending Edward against the older women’s gossip, probably unable to take hearing such terrible things spoken anymore. Sage had heard such things herself, how the freak from the hill had died at the hands of the ‘town hero’. It was just as disgusting hearing how the late Jim had ‘scarified his life to slay the monster’ or other such descriptions the woman had heard as a child. Naturally she had been forbidden to tell anyone the true story or even try to debate it. She hadn’t understood then, just a young, defiant, angry, little girl unable to understand how her mother just wanted to protect her.
Sage started walking around the circle of bookcases to find another book to start reading. But all she could think was how it might have been better had she been the outcast. Being normal had caused Jim to end up in her life. He had actively bullied anyone daring to go outside his strict definition of normal, including Sage herself when she had been younger. It was till high school that she was deemed passable enough to date. To think she had seen it as an accomplishment back them. Now there was simply nothing she could do. The woman pulled a random book off the shelf and laid back down on the couches, holding the book tightly to her chest and letting out a sob.
Current Residence: heaven when I'm happy, and when I'm not I'm down below|
Favourite genre of music: every genre
Favourite style of art: pencil drawing
Operating System: windows
Favourite cartoon character: Natsume from Natsume Yujincho