Hand-written letter tied with a black ribbon given to Bella via Violet.
Life is a stage – they always say it, and looking at our family I’d believe it. If you read about the things we’ve done and had done to us over the years I doubt any of us would be allowed to see the light of day again.
It’s a play, really…an endless pantomime, a greek tragedy of the highest order…an endless hell and a tangled web we have no way of untangling ourselves from, much less each other.
But it’s not real – it’s all an illusion. You play a role for so long…being a mirror for others, you eventually forget that you are only a reflection and start to believe what you see in their eyes.
I’m not what you think I am, any more than you are what I thought you were.
I put you on a pedestal, you see – and I knew I was doing it. From the second I laid eyes on you in that stinking alley I knew that you were going to be my Queen, I knew that I had to protect you and find a way to make you protect me. So I wove my webs and raised you the only way I knew how, watching your grow and knowing that as you rose I would have to decline, because that’s what you needed…or what I thought I needed you to need.
But I’m not that boy…that blue eyed wretch that used to stare up at my father from the shadows, that crying and pleading little orphan clinging to a dead mother. That little boy died when he was 8 years old. What was left, once all was said and done, was something completely different…and though the road was long and hard and painful and tragic, that ‘something’ grew into something even greater.
I know what they say about me, poor broken little Jasper who was abused by all and sundry, who was tortured and used and thrown away. The poor little victim who fell into despair and drugs and debauchery to put bandaids over wounds that would never heal.
It was what they wanted me to be – what they needed me to be to believe in themselves. Jett, Betty, Dunstan, Amaranth, Red…all of them…because they could never cope, not with what they were, with what happened to them, not with what it meant…because they needed someone to tell them that it was alright to be broken and bitter and fucked up and you could still go on.
So I did. I showed them. I showed them that they were okay…because no matter what they were they could never be as bad as me. I gave them something to be strong for…a child, a broken sibling, an orphan, a world, a family, and myself at the centre in all my melodrama leading the charge of the damned. I offered distractions and petty theatrics to keep them occupied and wrapped it in a neat little package and called it a playground.
But I forgot about me.
I forgot that I was only playing a game…that it wasn’t real…that I wasn’t that person and despite being fucked as all hell I was stronger than them. I started to believe what they saw of me, I started to become that weak little boy again to please them, because they so much have always needed something more screwed up than themselves to be able to function.
Bethany was an accident – in birth and in everything that came afterward. I got so lost in wanting to make her happy, feeling helpless that I couldn’t save her from Betty or Jett and couldn’t give her the upbringing she deserved that I overcompensated by spoiling her and giving everything she demanded…no matter what, in the end. I wanted her to know that I was her father and I loved her. I cried, I cajoled, I whined and threatened and pleaded with both my brother and his wife to let me tell her. And when they seemed to start falling apart before my eyes at the thought I gave in and conceded that I was mistaken and she was obviously Jett’s daughter.
Then I found you.
I wasn’t looking for you – and despite what that fucking psychologist says you are not my ‘crutch’ or my second chance to save myself. All I did for you I did because I wanted someone to see me…someone like me who understood what it was to be a product of the family, to grow strong even in the stilted light and understand why I did what I did…but was smart enough to look behind the curtain and see more.
I never anticipated that I would lose myself long before you were in a position to even notice I was there.
That child, that arrogant little boy…that spoiled brat you always accused me of being…you said it so often that I made it real. Maybe I thought you wanted that of me too…maybe by then it was too late for me to be anything else.
You are right – I love like a child loves…I always have…unconditionally and without thought to how much the object of my affections may be destroying me. I loved my Father, in a fashion, even at his worst there were times when he would break down and sob as he rocked me in his arms, pleading for forgiveness and begging me not to grow up like him. I promised him that I wouldn’t. I promised him that I’d never leave him…because he said he loved me. He told me that he only did the things he did to me because my mother had promised to love him forever and then she abandoned him.
II never knew what he meant until you went away.
I am not blaming you. I know what I did and why I did it and it was beyond stupid and insane. But I never realised how much I needed you there until you were gone. Because you took the last of the real me with you.
Faced with the knowledge that the only person who ever even had an inkling of who and what I was or could be was gone, I gave up. I’m not proud of it…but there it is. You were gone and all I was to everyone else was whatever the fuck they wanted me to be to make them feel important and sane and able to survive. I wanted to die because I saw no reason to live anymore. And with bethany…I figured I may as well make her happy, if I couldn’t have it myself. So I let her have me, I closed my eyes and cried and pretended she was you and I gave up.
Red…her baby, Betty and Bethy, my brother, Amaranth…they all have what they want from me. They asked and I gave it to them. But I can’t give it anymore…not on my own. They know that too…
When you came back I was devastated…I told you that, that night when you mentioned what happened with your mother. Some things you can’t come back from…I felt like I’d betrayed you and myself and lost who I was completely to the illusion of the little boy.
I don’t blame you for taking me to rehab, I know why you did it and why you felt the need for therapy and treatment and doctors and drugs. I get it…I’ve been there and done that so many times before. I wanted to tell you there was no point, that the outcome was always going to be the same, but you seemed so determined…so sure that you could help me.
Now I know why.
That ‘mean mother,’ she’s not real my darling. She’s not you any more than that little boy is me. She’s a mask you wear to do what you have to do…as I did. When you shot your mother, I’m pretty sure it’s not just her you were shooting…but you can’t get rid of the real you so easily. Take it from someone who’s attempted suicide 14 times.
The other night with Bethany, I’m glad you told her what you did – I would have told her myself if I could. I would have if I’d had the strength. I didn’t want to lie anymore.
I don’t want to lie anymore.
I’m in love with you. Always have been and pretty damn sure I always will be.
And I’m not talking about the mean mother you, or Betsy you, or even the great Bella Jade Black ice queen you.
Just you…that woman behind everything that is as crazy and broken and terrified as I am. Because you understand why sometimes we have to live the lie…and you know how much it hurts to do so.
I’m not going to go into how much it hurt to see you turn from me the other night, I felt abandoned…once again. But then…I have a lot to atone for too. And we all have our breaking point, as you said.
I will never take myself away from you my dear, you’re the only one who has me. I may take the little boy away, at times, because to not do so would kill me…but I know now that’s not what you wanted anyway.
I can’t change the past, though it’s not for lack of trying…all I can offer you is now. Tomorrow…who knows, we may all be dead once Jett finds out what we’ve been up to.
I will not be taking my medication anymore. I don’t need it. I will not return to therapy, it is doing nothing for my sanity. Tomorrow, I will be heading to our attorney’s with a full and clear psych exam declaring my sanity and claiming back my power of attorney. And then, Bella mia, I will be on a plane to Vegas and I will not be back til Thursday.
When I come back, I will give my family and our fans the little boy and the broken billionaire and the arrogant cunt that they have come to depend upon. I will be everything they want me to be and play my role to perfection because that’s what I do. And I know you will be the Ice Queen in all her glory and scold me when I need it and roll those beautiful eyes at me and tell me I’m beyond saving.
But before then, I am hoping you will accompany me on my trip. Because until I need to put my mask back on, the real me would like to spend some real time with the real you.
And I would very much like that you to marry me.
Yes, that is a proposal. Consider this my rather manly way of throwing a tantrum and saying I won’t let you get rid of me.
I don’t want you as my possession, nor at my feet. I prefer you by my side so I can look at you and love you and sometimes see myself in your eyes.
Even if you are annoyingly taller than me.
I’ll be waiting at the airport, I’ve already attached your plane ticket to this letter. If you don’t come I will try not to take it personally.
Yours, Jasper Baelian Black.
All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013. Natalie Ristovski.