Illusions: shattered promises


Nicole Schroeder

Illusions is a novella written by Nicole Schroeder and Ashley Tanner, about a girl named Gemma who has the ability to see people’s true character at a single glance. Each post in the following blog series is one chapter of Illusions. [vc_empty_space]Was it possible for one to feel any worse than Gemma did right now? I highly doubt it, she thought bitterly, staring at the textured ceiling in her bedroom. She imagined jackhammers chipping away at her brain while her stomach roiled just a little too unpleasantly — and yet her hangover was the least of her worries.
Elijah had been playing her this whole time, molding her with his hands until she was doing exactly what he desired, exactly what he needed her to do so she would tell him… what? What was it he had been wanting to know so much about? Sure, he’d asked her about work and Irene and what life had been like since high school. But how much of it had been small talk, and what had he actually wanted to know? And then, the night before, he’d said those three words so honestly….
Suddenly, she leapt from the bed and headed for the bathroom. Once inside, she managed to spill the contents of her stomach into the toilet bowl, her head pounding even more while her stomach clenched into knots. She felt like crying, her mind spinning as she tried to process everything and calm nerves that were already shot. And to top it all off, those three words echoing since the moment she’d seen her name on that file….
Deceitful. Insubordinate. Devoted.
Elijah’s Label, reminding her that it all had been a game. When it had changed, she had briefly tried to determine which word was wrong, not knowing how he could be either insubordinate or deceitful. There was no doubt in her mind now, however: he had never been devoted to her. He didn’t care about her, other than for the things she had to offer him. But then….
“What does he want from me?” she asked, speaking her thoughts aloud. She had no money, no job of any importance. Irene was just a waitress at a local pub that sold greasy burgers and beer to suburban dads on Game Day. She had nothing she could give him. And yet the page she’d scoured last night — the page with her name on it — had frequently mentioned her assets, as if she wasn’t just some girl trying to get by after college like any other normal human being.
When her stomach had finally stopped tumbling, she stood slowly from the cold bathroom floor and headed out to the kitchen, hoping a glass of water and some Tylenol might at least make a dent in her head’s ceaseless throbbing. Thankfully, Irene had been too tipsy to try and come home and had opted to stay at a friend’s house instead, giving Gemma the whole of the apartment for the day while she nursed her hangover and her shattered heart. As such, she kept the lights off as she wandered from room to room for most of the day, avoiding the light outside and instead allowing herself to doze off whenever she wanted in between bouts of confusion and heartache over Elijah.
It was then as she lay on the couch later that afternoon, mulling her predicament, that she realized something. She sat up with a start, no longer fighting back drowsiness as her eyes widened in disbelief. She knew why Elijah had been so interested in her, what he’d wanted to know so much about that he’d had to follow her and get closer to her than anyone else.
It was the accident.
He’d only asked about it once, but once was all he needed to refresh his memory. The rest of it could’ve been found in the papers, and he’d only asked what he couldn’t have known without her telling him.
What had happened?
What did she remember?
Was she still doing okay?
Normal enough questions for someone to ask, yet also strangely detailed, especially for someone who’d been there so soon after it had all happened. That is, unless he had been trying to learn more about a specific aspect of the crash. Unless he’d been asking her as a way to research the incident. Unless he’d been trying to get her to slip up and tell a secret she’d been keeping since the night she’d woken up after her coma.
Elijah knew about what had happened that night, and he knew about the Labels.
And if that’s truly what she had seen in the file on his desk, he wasn’t the only one.[vc_empty_space]What do you think is going to happen with Gemma and Elijah? Leave Comments below, and be sure to keep reading to see what happens next.[vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”10″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1452210429826-9401e691-ca10-2″ taxonomies=”13300″]