quiet_curiosity: blonde haired woman in front of a wall looking down (Forlon)
quiet_curiosity ([personal profile] quiet_curiosity) wrote2012-05-02 09:52 am

Title: In the Shadows (On the Page)

Story Title: In the Shadows (On the Page)
Series Title: Scenes from an Alternate Home, In an Alternate Town
Characters: Alexis Stokes, Julia Hoffman
Notes: Set after episode 998
Series Summary: The world of 1970 Parallel Time as seen through the eyes of those who lived it. A series of vignettes that will cover the thoughts and lives of many of the characters, pre, during, and post-storyline. Updated irregularly.
Story Summary: Alexis Stokes reflects back on her first two nights at Collinwood and on its inhabitants unending fascination with her sister, Angelique.

A fool. A common fool. That's the only way I can describe myself after coming to Collinwood. After agreeing to stay in her room and wear her clothes for a night. After remaining while one after one confused me for her. After returning here instead of running away after I saw that man hammering away at her tomb. What was it all for? To receive another round of verbal abuse from Bruno Hess, that's what. But I had not lied to him. That faint stab of pity I felt for him was very real. How many others had expressed such grovelling, pathetic devotion to my sister? Too many to count.

Alexis paused, her pen hovering just above the paper. Why relive it all again? It wasn't just the events of the last 48-hours. The last two days were merely a condensed, highly aggressive version of her life within her sister's shadow. She knew better than anyone how far and deep Angelique's influence stretched. Why dwell on those emotions now?

Still, she allowed the pen to fall to paper and the words to flow freely.

Angelique lives! Yes, she is physically gone – and apparently only I believe that – but she carries on so strongly in spirit and in memory. I am unfortunately used to the initial joy people express when they believe me to be Angelique and the visual sadness that overwhelms them when they find out that I am merely Alexis. But this unending need for me to be Angelique that everyone expresses here at Collinwood is just as bad, if not worse. Angelique has left this home broken and they all leap at the chance that she might return and make them whole again.

"Miss Stokes?"

Alexis closed the diary and pushed it to the side. Carefully, she readied her brightest smile before turning around. "What is it, Julia?" she asked.

"I just came to make sure that your bags had made it to Collinsport."

"Oh yes, everything is here. Thank you for taking care of this."

"It is the least I can do for you, Ang ..." she began.

Alexis cringed. She had expected this. All day she had felt the woman's eyes upon her, judging her up and down for any sign of the late Angelique. Surely she must realize by now that they were not the same person. Why does her mind still try to deceive her? "Again, I thank you." She paused and then added, "She would be pleased to know that you have taken such good care of her sister."

"Oh, of course," agreed Hoffman with a smile. Alexis couldn't help but smile as well. Knowing Angelique as well as they both did, they knew that the last statement had been a lie. Suddenly, her brow furrowed and she said, "I...I'm sorry to hear about the incident at the mausoleum."

"So the story has already spread this far? I can only say that it was good that so few of us saw his attempted act of vandalism. It was all so shocking. I don't quite understand how he refuses to see the truth."

"Well, he was one of your sister's favorites." Hoffman moved in closer. She stopped just before Alexis and placed her hand on her shoulder. "I believe that it is those who your sister loved the most who have the worst time of it. They were kept so close to her that they can never imagine a day on which they wouldn't be called up here to stand by her side."

"Perhaps," said Alexis, "but can't they see that I am not her and none of us will ever see Angelique again?"

"Perhaps they can but refuse to admit it. Angelique always talked about returning from the dead. Why would they want to admit that this was the one promise that she couldn't keep?"

Alexis held in her sigh. True believers, every one of them. There was no use trying to reason with her. The best thing to do was agree and let the whole thing slide. "I suppose you are right," she finally said.

Hoffman nodded. She blinked as if just remembering. "I also came to inform you that I will soon be going on a holiday."

"Is that so? Well then, I wish you the best of times on your trip. I am sure you quite deserve it."

"Thank you Miss Stokes. But...but I do worry about leaving you so alone here."

"Oh, I am sure I will manage," she said quickly. Alexis was sure she would manage quite well without one more set of eyes straining to find a touch of Angelique in her every movement. "I will be sure to see you off on ..."

"In two days."

"Indeed. Within two days."

"Well then, goodnight, Miss Stokes."

"Goodnight, Julia."

Alexis watched as Hoffman slowly backed away and out of the room. She waited until she could no longer hear the squeak of the woman's shoes to lurch up from her seat and run to the door. She made sure it was firmly locked before walking back to the table. Again, she reached again for the diary and picked up her pen.

They will never cease to believe. Even those who I thought knew better. I still can't believe that I allowed myself to be pulled in by Quentin. That kiss! What did it mean? Oh, I was just too emotional to comprehend it all (and I feel even more the fool for admitting it). But then there was this man leaning in and my fool body allowed me to lean in too. So foolish, so wrong. Especially after I had seen the way he treated the new Mrs. Collins. Oh, how I wished that I had been able to have a few moments alone with Maggie. She must have been facing some intense scrutiny. Everyone was certainly comparing her to Angelique and finding her to be lacking. If only I had been allowed to share my story. She would see that I, at least, would be on her side. I would be unable to protect her, but I would try. Who would know better than I how hard it is to live up to the standards set by Angelique?

As for me: I will be opening myself up to even more scrutiny in the coming days. I have yet to meet Daniel. His reaction will be difficult to take but it will be so understandable. She was is his mother. I can only hope his manner is something other than Angelique's foisted into the mind of young man. Either way, we will have much to discuss and share. And surely there are others who have yet to see me and say things in my presence without thinking. Will they be shocked, or angry, or grateful that Angelique has returned to them? Who can say? And I will have to face them all tomorrow.

Alexis closed the diary and pushed it aside. That had been enough for the night. She glanced up and accidentally made eye contact with the portrait. "She's everywhere," said Alexis with a sigh. Perhaps, when she summoned up her courage, she would drape the portrait with a sheet. She would have to wait for Hoffman's vacation to begin for even considering it. But it would be good cover it up. It would be one less set of judging eyes to worry about.

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