Monday, January 24, 2005

Idol

It was the first time she’d had doubts about the plan. Since the day Eve and her met, Charlotte had decided to trust her, and just like she always did she’d followed her almost blindly into the mess they had put themselves in. Still, she had to admit it didn’t seem such a bad idea at first; it was an escapade, an adventure, a master plan to change their lives. And to be honest, at least to that purpose, it had worked.

She could hardly remember living with her mother three months before. Her mother’s life consisted in a chain of relationships with abusive men, drinking and the challenge to hold a job longer than a week. All that required a lot of time, so Charlotte was left to take care of herself, and she had easily learnt how to. She would wake up late in the afternoon, walk around the city aimlessly until dark and then meet her friends at The Hole. The Hole was a club were rock bands played almost every day and her so-called friends were those who like her, spent night after night there. Trite conversations, struggling to talk over the deafening sound of the loudspeakers, lustful glances through the smoke that filled the place, ending in alcohol-fuelled declarations of never-ending friendship and love.

She had met Eve there. She remembered the exact date because she had been waiting for that night to come for so long. The 10th of May her favourite band, Dementia, was playing at The Hole. She had been a fan since she was 13, when they’d first started playing four years ago and that would be the seventh time she’d seen them live. She was there early to be right in front, were she could get a good view of Rick, the lead singer. If Charlotte admitted there was such thing as the man of her dreams, it would definitely be him. Rick filled her thoughts, her dreams and her fantasies just like his pictures filled every space on her bedroom walls. He was tall, dark and very thin. A lifestyle of touring and taking every drug available was the explanation for his thinness and the shine in his eyes. It was also the reason why, after a hit single and a published album, the band was playing in such a small venue as The Hole. After continuous scandals on the tabloids, fights between band members and three years without any new material, everyone seemed to think they had lost it. Except Charlotte, of course.

Eve turned out to be as obsessed as her. They had met in the front row of the audience and spent the rest of the night commenting on just how great Dementia was, the best band ever, talking about how much every song meant, longing for Rick to look at them, to just notice them for a second. And that was how it all began.
They had started hanging out together after that night and one rainy afternoon as they walked around a supermarket to kill time Eve had told her about the plan. She had come up with an idea to kidnap Rick. It sounded crazy but she was convinced no one would take care of him like they would. It wasn’t your typical kidnapping and asking for a ransom, they would only hold him back until he was better, off drugs and writing new songs again. They would be helping him, there was nothing wrong about it and he would most surely thank them for it in the end. The more they talked about it, the more it seemed the best idea ever, and the girls hugged, happy to share such a great purpose. Shoppers walking by looked at them, intrigued by the two weird teenagers who were hugging each other so excitedly next to the milk cartons.

It was clear that weren’t going to do it by force. Both of them were small and thin and looked much younger than their age. Charlotte always wore a torn ballerina skirt and military boots which made her seem innocent yet mildly threatening and although Eve was much more womanly, she disguised her curves under layers of strictly black clothing. They would have to use their minds, and in the end, it turned out to be much easier than it seemed.

They pretended to be preparing an article about the band and contacted him for an interview. They asked him over to Eve’s apartment, which they had properly disguised as some sort of magazine headquarters, and after asking him about the long-awaited new album, Charlotte pointed a gun at him. It was a heavy old-fashioned gun her mother kept in the top drawer of her dresser. She never noticed Charlotte had taken it, nor could she imagine how natural it had felt for her daughter to point a gun at someone. It had really been as simple as that.

The first few days had been the hardest, getting used to Eve’s apartment, the room they had prepared to keep him in, taking turns to keep an eye on Rick. He was too resigned or too doped out to fight back at all, and they almost forgot he was meant to be their prisoner. He was probably glad to have an excuse to get away from all the troubles he was going through with the band. No one found him missing either, they were all used to him disappearing and leaving them stranded mid-tour.

After a few weeks he started to open up to them. He would tell them anything that went through his mind, and the girls would listen with their eyes wide open, like little children listen to storytellers. He had definitely lacked someone to talk to, and to be honest, these girls had paid more attention and cared more about him than anyone had in those last few years. Fame, although if it was only temporary and brief, had left him with a bittersweet feeling of loneliness and isolation under the spotlight, even while he was being surrounded by crowds.

Charlotte and Eve soon forgot that the plan had to end somehow and started spiralling down into an emotional well, trying to capture his attention with every word and every gesture. To please him, to feel approved by the person they had idolised and who in their eyes had turned out to be even more perfect that they could have imagined. It started turning into a permanent competition for his affection, to be the one who cared most, his favourite captor. Love or obsession is something hard to measure, but only one of them could win at that game.

And it turned out to be Eve. Charlotte would wake up after it was her turn to rest and find Rick in the other’s arms. Laughing, at their own jokes, in their own universe into which she was never invited. Once more, Charlotte was the one left out. But this time it hurt more than it had ever hurt before. She had believed he was the only one who could ever understand her. Every interview she’d read or heard, every newspaper clipping about him she had cut out and kept sacredly, had made her sure he had to be her soul mate. And those days with him, all those hours watching him, feeding him, feeling him so close, had only convinced her that she had always been right. Seeing him being taken by someone else in front of her eyes felt like a sharp pain in her chest, which travelled all through her body leaving her helpless and numb.

The situation got worse with time. Eve and Rick would act as if she wasn’t there at all. They would even sleep together while Charlotte, when it was time for her watch, had to sit awake looking at them. Their heads so close together, dreaming of worlds she wasn’t a part of, their deep rhythmic breathing drilling into her brain. Only then had Charlotte started to have doubts about the plan. She had been too naive not to realise before. Eve had used her and betrayed her in the worst way possible. And he had lost him forever.

Charlotte considered leaving, going back to her mother’s, to feeling miserable and forgotten, but it would be different. Until then, she had always had the comfort that he could be hers one day, that he would finally know they were meant for each other. There was no hope for her now and deep inside her, despair had started to take over. Jealousy is a blinding emotion; it leads us to things we would have never admitted to be capable of.

The gun felt cold and much heavier than the first time. A small ray of moonlight came in through a window and made the barrel glitter as she crossed the corridor into the room where they slept soundly holding each other. If she couldn’t have him, if they weren’t meant to be together, no one else should. Charlotte fired the gun twice and didn’t miss once. As blood trickled to the floor, still warm and bright red, she looked at the smile still on his face. The same smile he had on all the pictures in the posters she had daydreamed about. Thinking about it, she rested the gun on her temple and fired the last shot. She knew that she would never be alone anymore, that now he would never leave her.

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