Porcelain Skin

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Demon By Night

I know she’s telling me the truth when pain begins throbbing through my fingertips and into my aching body.

The pain is real.

“Lindsey,” Trevor’s voice interrupts the turmoil ricocheting around in my head. “Can you give us a few minutes?”

“No. Lindsey, no. Don’t go.” I’m nearly hysterical as my eyes plead with her to stay. “No, no, no...” Tears are balancing precariously on the rims of my eyelids. I reach for her hand, but her fingers easily slip through as she sends me a look of pity before nodding at Trevor.

“I think you two need to talk,” she explains. “Just holler if you need me. I’ll be right outside the door.” And then she’s quietly stepping out of the room.

Now I’m alone... with the person who tried to end me. My heart is pumping so quickly that it’s forcing my breathing to accelerate. Lindsey has no idea what she’s just done.

I keep my gaze glued to Trevor, scoping him out for any suspicious behavior. Thankfully, he doesn’t make any attempt to move closer. He just stands there, eyeing me closely. He looks broken, like he’s just run a full marathon and then been asked to do it again. He appears regretful and lost. I just want to scream at him to stop trying to look so innocent. Isn’t this how most serial killers appear? You think they’re decent people until you find out their buried passion for blood. They’re like teddy bears that morph into beasts that rip you from your life. Is this really who Trevor is?

“I can’t believe you tried to kill yourself,” he finally says. His words are gentle, and yet they hit me like a bullet.

“What are you talking about?” I gasp in disgust. “I didn’t try to kill myself... you did. You tried to kill me,” I shoot back.

His brows crease with hurt at my accusation, and I want to hit him. My hand is throbbing to hit him, but I know that’d probably be more painful for me than him.

“I tried to kill you?” he says, and you’d think that I had just run over his puppy, and then backed up and run over it again. He looks like he’s in physical pain just saying that. He swallows and I watch his Adam’s apple slide up and down.

“You can cut the act,” I tell him.

I have no mercy for this animal. I know the pain of his actions will hit me later, but for right now I’m just angry and shocked. The love I feel for him has momentarily been forgotten as I try to fathom the reality of what he’s done. I need to believe that he’s innocent. I need to convince myself that he’s innocent. Denial is the sweetest medicine. It coats the pain like a soft blanket but doesn’t actually fix the problem.

“What’s going on?” Trevor asks softly. He’s still standing near the door, but he takes a cautious step forward. He must see me stiffen because he freezes. “Emma. What’s happening to you?” He sounds concerned, but I’m not buying it. “I thought you were getting better.”

I remain silent. I don’t have to explain myself to this psychopath. He knows exactly what is going on. He knows exactly what is happening to me. How dare he pretend otherwise. It’s not like there’s anyone around to hear him confess the truth. Why continue the act?

I reach for my sheets, but my fingers don’t want to cooperate with all the bandaging. I scoot back against my pillows but continue to watch Trevor’s every move. He can’t be trusted.

“Talk to me, Emma. What is going on?” He steps forward, but this time he ignores my reaction and takes a seat in the chair Lindsey vacated earlier. He drops his face into his hands with a groan. He stays this way for a moment, but I remain frozen in place. I don’t dare remove my gaze from him.

This is when it hits me. The man that I’m in love with—that I’ve confessed to being in love with—tried to kill me. All this time he was just luring me in so that he could take his revenge. Did I miss something? Was his sister in on it too? If I had just not allowed my emotions to blind me, would I have noticed that something was off with him? This doesn’t seem possible. He’s too perfect to be a maniac. Nobody can pull off something like this. Even Johnny Depp wouldn’t have been able to pull off this level of acting.

I’m nearly to the point of convincing myself that Trevor is actually innocent when his next words halt my thoughts completely.

“What pushed you?” he asks as he pulls his hands away from his face. I’m already looking at him, and I’m sure he can sense my shock.

“W-what?” I stutter. He’s going to pretend like someone else pushed me?

His brows dip in confusion at my response. He really can’t figure out why I’m so worked up over being in a room alone with him? Maybe he’s more mental than I first imagined. Is it possible that there really is something wrong with him? An angel through the day, a demon by night. I shiver as my mind races.

“What pushed you over the edge?” he asks again, and I can’t control the whimper that escapes my lips.

“Are you serious?” I whisper, while trying to control my hysteria a moment longer, but I just can’t. “Are you serious!” I yell at him.

His eyes widen at my outburst and he leans away from me slightly. “Emma—”

“You did it!” I scream at him. “You pushed me!” I’m crying but I don’t care. My physical heart is beating like the wings of a hummingbird, but the heart keeping my soul alive is dying. “I tell you that I love you, and this is how you respond.” The tears are not hesitant in their descent any longer. There’s no holding off the flow once the dam has cracked.

“What?” he gasps, shooting up from his seat. “You what?”

He steps closer so he’s directly next to my bed. I pull my body away from him as I scoot to the furthest distance from his threateningly hard eyes. He rubs the bridge of his nose as he shifts his weight from one foot to the other before going completely still. His eyes search mine desperately, but when he doesn’t find any answers he finally speaks again.

“What are you talking about? What happened?”

He doesn’t remember. My chest is constricting with hiccup-induced tears as his eyes plead with mine for answers.

“What’s the matter with you?” I snarl. “You don’t remember what you did to me?”

“Emma.” The seriousness of his tone has me bristling. “I think you need help.”

He reaches towards me, and I’m nearly ready to jump from the bed as terror clamps its nails into my chest. It has such a hold on me at the moment that I don’t even care if I have to rip the IV from my arm to escape. I watch as his hand bypasses me to hit a button on the wall. I visibly relax when he doesn’t attempt to touch me.

“I’ve been gone all week,” he says as he steps back from my bed. “I just arrived on campus this evening. I’m not sure what you’re screaming about, but I have no clue what I did to receive this kind of response from you.”

I want to spit at him or rip his beautiful face off, but I don’t get a chance to give him a piece of my mind. Probably a good thing though because he could easily end me right here and now if I did anything to set him off.

“Is there a problem?” A nurse asks as she quickly enters the room.

Trevor tears his eyes from mine to meet the worried gaze of the short brunette dressed in pink scrubs. “When will the doctor be in?” he asks her calmly.

The nurse has my chart in hand and does a quick scan of the information before glancing back up. “He’s doing some rounds at the moment, but he should be checking on you in about forty minutes,” she explains.

Trevor just nods at her before turning back to me. He looks at me intently for a moment, and I can’t read him at all. I can’t trust him, I know that for sure, but he just looks so torn and I have no idea why. Is he regretful that his attempts at getting rid of me failed? Is he purposely messing with my head so that I feel like the crazy one?

“You obviously don’t want me around, so I’ll send Lindsey back in to see you,” he tells me softly before stepping around my bed and exiting the room. The nurse takes her place next to my bed where she spends a minute checking my bandages and vitals.

I take a deep breath. “Can I see myself?” I ask her. My body aches and I’m dying to know how much damage was done from the fall.

“I’m sorry.” She sends me a look of pity. “It’s best if we just wait on the doctor.”

Her response has my heart squeezing inside my rib cage.

“Why?” I gasp. “Is it that bad?”

She looks like she’s debating how to break the news to me, and I can feel my body temperature heating up with the realization that I might be hideous and broken for the rest of my life.

“It’s really not that bad,” she finally says. “But, it does look a lot worse than it actually is. I just don’t want you to freak out unnecessarily.”

“I’m already freaking out,” I tell her, while trying to hide some of my panic.

She smiles at me softly before checking my IV. “Sorry, hun,” she says as she picks my medical chart up from the chair she set it on. “The doctor should be in soon, and I’m sure he’ll be happy to give you a mirror. It really isn’t bad... I promise.” She squeezes my shoulder gently before leaving me alone in my white-walled prison.

----

It’s been forty minutes, but the doctor still hasn’t been in to see me. Lindsey reassured me over and over that I look fine, and that I shouldn’t panic. She said that any damage done is not permanent and that my face will heal up fine. I asked her to call my mom the moment she stepped back into the room, and my mom nearly had a panic attack. I could hear her desperate cries on the other end of the phone. I spoke with her briefly just to convince her that I’m alright, and she said she would be here in three hours. After hanging up, the room goes silent.

My mind is buzzing with too much chaos to be a very good conversationalist. Lindsey sits quietly at my side while she texts and plays games on her phone. I don’t mind. I need the silence. I need to work through everything and figure out what in the world is going on. Who is Trevor? How did I fall in love with a crazy psycho—a murderer?

My hopeful side still won’t allow me to fully believe this to be true, but I saw it happen. I was there. I remember everything. He pushed me over the edge. There’s no denying it. My memories are as clear as crystal. And yet, he continues to lie. He continues to lie right to my face.

“Ms. White?” someone says, and I snap my eyes up to meet those of an older gentleman in a white coat. He’s got a pair of reading glasses perched on the tip of his nose while he scans over my medical chart. “I’m Dr. Richards. How are you feeling?”

“I... I’m feeling okay,” I tell him quietly. “Just a bit confused.”

“That’s understandable,” he says as he makes his way over to my bed. “You mind if I check a few things?”

I nod for him to do whatever he needs to, keeping my eyes trained on the white sheets in my lap. I can’t bring myself to look at the damage. The doctor is currently unwrapping my hands, but I don’t want to look. I know I had asked to see myself earlier, but now, I just want to wallow in ignorance. I don’t want my hopes to be shattered just yet.

“Hmm,” the doctor hums, and my eyes shift to my hands, but he’s already re-wrapped them.

He moves to my face where I can feel him pulling tape away from more bandages. I hold my breath as he works. I don’t know why I feel like I have to stay as quiet and as still as possible while he works, but I do. He steps back once he’s done and looks at me sternly. He’s got some news for me, I can tell. He just hasn’t figured out how to break it to me yet. He rubs his temple with the tip of his pen, before adjusting his glasses and then taking them off to stuff them inside his lab coat pocket.

“Are you aware of what happened?” Doctor Richards asks me finally.

I nod my head slowly. “Yes,” I whisper.

“You’re lucky that boy found you when he did, or the damage could have been much worse,” he explains, and I can feel my head filling with even more confusing thoughts. Is everyone here on Trevor’s side? Is he that convincing that they would just believe him without questioning him at all?

“Doctor, that boy is the reason I’m here.” I’m shocked that I’ve so quickly given him away. A part of me is still hoping that he has a good explanation and all of this can be forgotten, but apparently my mouth spoke before my brain could stop it.

“I’m not sure I understand,” he says with a tilt of his head. “He says he found you passed out and brought you here immediately.”

“I, uh... he....” I don’t know what to say without accusing Trevor of murder. I’m not sure I’m ready to go there just yet.

“Emma,” the doctor says calmly as he rubs my shoulder. “Unless this boy controls the weather, then it’s impossible that this is his fault.”

“Wait. What?” I am not expecting this at all. What is he talking about? “I was pushed,” I tell him, not able to hold back anymore. If Trevor has convinced everyone of his innocence then I need to set the record straight. I hold my bandaged hands up as proof. “He pushed me.”

The doctor calmly takes my left hand in his as he begins to disrobe them. I watch eagerly as the bandages fall away. I stare in stunned silence as my eyes take in my discolored fingers and oozing blisters.

“Ms. White...” he begins, while holding my hands up gently for me to see. “Were you pushed before or after you nearly froze to death?”

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