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Drusilla Alexandria Halliwell
Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP
I think I left the faucet running
Childhood is supposed to be that elusive thing people look back upon fondly, those memories in which we could all return to. The simpler times. Some of your childhood contains memories like that, but most of it doesn't. Most of your childhood is the memory of a room. One, singular room in which the only shining light was the only other person you shared that room with. Him. Your twin, your brother, your only reason for waking up most days. Even before the room you'd known he was your other half, you'd known in a way that one half of a soul recognizes the part of itself that which was missing. The first twelve years of your life had been a bliss you'd never known to cherish. Things came easily back then, though you remember little of it. All you really remember of it was him. Dexter Alexander to your Drusilla Alexandria. The apples of your parents' eyes. Neither of you could do any wrong and things had been perfect. Maybe that's why you don't remember much of it. Perfection isn't real. It's just an illusion created by the mind to try and cope with terrible things. As an adult sometimes you think perhaps your young years weren't all you thought they were. Perhaps they, too had been miserable and you'd simply concocted some blissful memories to cope, but no. No, Dexter was always at your side. He reminded you that once there had been love and that he would always love you. At least that was what you'd thought. You'd have given your life for him, but he left, too. They always leave, don't they?
Darling, you're just soaking in it
At twelve the golden years ended. Your real father, not the delightful and darling Dr. Halliwell, he was killed in an accident. The was the catalyst, what changed your mother into some unrecognizable thing. That thing that which was completely entrenched, buried in deep layers of guilt, selfishness and deceit. She brought you and Dex to Worthington Manor, her childhood home. It had been beautiful, like a dream though you'd never see the beauty of it during daylight hours. You were brought in, smuggled like so much cargo or luggage. Even then you'd thought something was amiss. Something was deeply wrong, but what were you to do? What were either of you to do? You met your grandmother and found that the surname you'd always known before this moment had been a work of fiction, that your entire life had been a work of fiction. You were a Worthington by birth, but what did that even mean? You'd asked, Dex too had asked but nothing. You were given nothing but the order to be quiet and respectful. It was then that you'd met her. Grandmother. You can still feel that coldness in her very eyes, how she looked at you and your brother as if you were something else entirely. Not children, not family, something else, something sinister. She'd led the three of you through the Manor and you'd clung to Dexter's hand, one of his in your two much smaller ones with mother behind you, ushering you along. There had still been hope in Dexter's eyes then, though you'd feel that cold, empty feeling already. You knew there was something very, very wrong.
You notice all your fingers pruning up
You were right. You were introduced to the room that night. Grandmother hadn't yet spoken to you, but once she'd locked those doors and leveled her gaze upon you, you wished she never would have. You were given strict orders. Neither you nor Dexter were to ever leave this room, to open the curtains, or otherwise make noise. No one was to know that you were occupying this room and should anyone find out, well. The threat loomed above your heads like dark clouds, heavy with impending doom. Meals would be brought to you, but you were to hide in the attic when cleaning staff came. You must never leave anything behind, nothing to denote that there was life in these rooms. Grandmother left with one final warning: God sees everything. It was an eerie message that would haunt your dreams despite never having had any sort of relationship with this God she spoke of. Once she'd departed, your mother gave you and your brother the briefest of explanations. Grandmother had always been like that, so not to worry. It was nothing new. You and Dexter would have to stay here, but only for a little while. Mother had fallen out of favor with grandfather, though why she hadn't mentioned. She only told you to be patient and that it wouldn't be long until you were back out into the world with her once more. Dexter had tried to speak, but she'd shushed you both, kissed your forehead and left, promises on her lips. Promises you already knew would be broken. Even so, you'd held onto your brother's hand. As long as he was beside you, whatever came you could face and there would be much to come. Mother had promised no more than a week, but that week turned to months and the months to years. This was the life you remember, these miseries with only your brother there for comfort. At least you had him, if only for a time.
Let me under your skin
The first beating had been entirely your fault and even now you blame yourself. There was never enough food, never enough sunlight or joy. The only thing you found any happiness in was Dexter and at night you couldn't bear to be apart from him. You always slid into his bed, fell asleep with your head pillow at his shoulder as he'd hold you and tell you that everything would be alright. You believed him, you had to if you wanted to survive. One morning though, grandmother had caught the two of you in bed, innocent though it had always been. She'd been wild with rage, calling the two of you the Devil's spawn, insisting neither of you should ever have been born. You'd never heard such awful things, never seen someone so alight with fury before that day. Dexter had shielded you from grandmother's wrath and later, when the two of you asked mother why she'd been so cross you learned the truth. Dexter had demanded it and unable to make up a story that would be believed, mother had no choice but to tell the two of you the real story. Your mother and your father had shared a forbidden love, father having been grandfather's half brother. Father had come to live at Worthington Manor after the death of his mother only to find his half brother had a daughter of similar age. They'd tried for months to keep their affections at bay, but true love was something that couldn't be deterred. Their relationship had caused the family to tear asunder, father and mother leaving Worthington Manor behind to live their lives as they'd wished without persecution. Their love was wrong if society had anything to say about it, but even though you already harbored great resentment towards mother, it was not for her love. You realized that father had been mother's one true love, not you and Dexter. The two of you reminded her of her late husband and in her own way, she did love you both but not as much as she loved herself. She brought you things, games and books and learning materials. You and Dexter had been gifted students once upon a time, both testing and genius levels of the spectrum, but what did that matter now? You devoured those books, read them aloud to Dexter just so he could hear your voice and he to you. All the knowledge mother brought was never enough, not when the only thing either of you ever truly wanted was love. All either of you wanted was to reach out for others, to see and be seen, but as time went on you knew that such a thing was an impossibility. You were never getting out of the room.
Why do I always spill?
Things grew worse as the years progressed. Grandmother's cold demeanor had changed that morning she'd found you tucked beside Dexter, sharing a bed as only innocent children might. It had struck a horror in her and she'd seem what had torn her family apart to begin with. After that the lashings had come regularly, but not for you. Never for you. It wasn't because grandmother cared for you any more than she did your brother, it was because Dexter took the brunt of it all. It was one of few things the two of you ever argued about, but he'd always place himself in harms way for any slight, real or imagined. Even if it was your fault, whatever it was, he stood in front of you no matter how you screamed and then he'd be punished for your screams, too so you learned to be quiet. You learned to shut your mouth, to tend to his bleeding back afterwards. Mother had come less and less by then and even when you would ask her when enough was enough, she pleaded with you to stay quiet and obedient. Soon. The answer was always soon. Not soon enough, of course.
Your fourteenth birthday was spent in the room, just as your thirteenth before it. Puberty had left its mark on the both of you and you began to notice that when you changed your brother looked away. You'd stopped crawling into his bed at night only because you were afraid you might reach out and touch him and you knew that would only invite grandmother's wrath. If she'd disowned her own daughter for her illicit love, what would she do to you? More important, what would she do to Dexter? You didn't worry for yourself, only for him. He never let anything happen to you, never let grandmother lay a hand on your delicate frame. No, if you let anything happen you ran the risk of losing him forever. You could survive this hell, this terrible room, but not without him. Never without him.
So I fill the bath with bubbles
You let it happen anyway and while you hated yourself for it, you only hated yourself because it put him in danger. He'd kissed you first and when it happened you couldn't bear to push him away. At fifteen years old you knew there was no one else in the world who could ever know you like him, no one you could ever trust like him and so you'd let it continue. How could you not? He was your everything. The sun rose and set with him and even after that first night, even though you knew the world would see everything that had transpired between the two of you as wrong and unnatural instead of beautiful and pure, you still couldn't deny the love that was in your heart. Who gave a damn about the world anyway? Your world was just the two of you and though someone, somewhere had said it was wrong you didn't care. Who were those voiceless, nameless people who would condemn you to hell? What even was hell or the devil? These were things of books and stories. Dexter was all that was real to you, your only happiness and your only comfort.
Dexter realized mother's failures far after you did. It had been weeks since you had seen her, perhaps longer. She'd come to you with gifts and loving words on her lips, telling you of her new husband, of her honey moon in Europe. You hadn't found surprise in her words, nor in her blank expression when Dexter had demanded answers for when the two of you might leave. She had no answers, only more false promises that you knew better than to believe. She'd kissed your face and you'd let her, though you'd felt nothing. You hadn't felt anything for anyone but Dexter in years now. Dexter had been furious, but with his fury had come a plan. He was determined to escape, to get out of this room and forge a new life for the both of you. A few nights after mother's announcement, he picked the lock and the two of you stepped out of the room for the first time. It wasn't permanent, no you couldn't just leave. You needed to be able to find your way once you had left and the world revolved around one thing and one thing alone: money. Every night the two of you stole out into the Manor, taking money and items of value. Mother never noticed her missing change, she'd always been so careless, so unobservant. You learned through your wanderings that grandfather had been dead for months and again, the harsh reality of your lives came into narrow focus. Neither of you were ever intended to leave that room. You were both to forever be the Worthington family secret, non-existent and locked away.
Should've never said the word "love"
You'd thought you had covered your tracks, thought you were so careful, so silent but grandmother had found you. She'd wrapped your long red tresses in her hand and pulled you from your feet before you could sneak back into the room. Dexter hadn't had time to turn, to get to you quickly enough and grandmother had raised a switch above her head and lashed you with it. Your blood was spilled for the first time, but grandmother only got two lashes in before Dexter's voice rang out for her to stop and somehow she did. Grandmother still had your hair gripped in one hand, the switch in the other but she was unmoving. Dexter came to your side and collected you, but you remember staring into grandmother's eyes. She was a statue, but her face was filled with surprise, with fear. Something was happening, but neither of you had time to question it. You gathered what little you'd taken and ran. You left the Manor with little more than $100, a bag of odds and ends and no real plan. Dexter had your hand in his though and you knew that no matter what, at least this nightmare was over. You were free.
Life outside the room was hard, but you had each other. Eventually in the weeks after your escape, between the money taken and the items pawned, you scraped up enough money for bus tickets away from the hellish town that housed Worthington Manor. You picked the farthest place the bus would take you from there: Pennsylvania. On the bus you'd met the first person to ever show yourself and Dexter any true kindness, Ms. Rosa. Over the long hours of the bus ride, Ms. Rosa told you of who she was and who she worked for. Neither you nor Dexter divulged much about your past, but somehow Rosa had seen the emptiness in the two of you even though you hid it behind strength. You had gotten off the bus with every intention of continuing on your own, but Rosa insisted you come with her, if only for a few nights. She wanted to introduce the two of you to her employer, Mr. Halliwell and though you were both skeptical, trust wasn't something that came easily to either of you, in the end you'd decided to go along with her. It was the single best decision the two of you ever made.
I'm sick of all the games I have to play
Dr. Halliwell lived in a big, beautiful home. He was an older gentleman with no wife and no children, a brilliant man who welcomed the two of you in earnest. After hearing Rosa's story of meeting the two of you on the bus and finding out you had no where to go, he invited you to dinner to tell your tale yourselves. Neither of you had much to tell and he respected that, instead asking what you wanted to do with your lives. You hadn't any idea, but you hoped for school. You wanted to learn about everything and anything before deciding what to do. Dexter though, he knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to become a doctor and you'd smiled as he'd shared his dreams with Dr. Halliwell. So much pride for your brother shone in your eyes and his answer seemed to brighten the man's spirits as well. Dr. Halliwell told you and your brother of his own life, his dedication to saving others through medicine. His only regret was that he had no family and now he felt himself too old to father his own children. He'd offered you to stay in his home and after some discussion, it was agreed if only until the two of you got on your feet. You would be sixteen soon, able to get jobs and to find your own way in the world. Dr. Halliwell had told you you could stay as long as you cared to.
Those days had turned into weeks and this time, when the weeks turned into months you'd hardly realized. It wasn't until Dr. Halliwell had asked the two of you over breakfast one morning if either of you would be opposed to a formal adoption that you realized you'd been under Dr. Halliwell's care for over a year. You'd grown to love the man, Dr. Halliwell having shown himself to be a genuine and caring person. It was he who restored some measure of your faith in humanity. Both you and Dexter agreed, papers were drawn up and soon you signed your name as Drusilla Alexandria Halliwell. Dexter had come to call Dr. Halliwell by his first name, though you'd come to call the man father. You could barely remember your own father by now and Dr. Halliwell was everything you could have ever dreamed up in a parent. The first time you'd said it, he'd wept and you never stopped.
Let me under your skin
Father paid for the best schools, nothing was too good for the Halliwell children. You thanked him for everything, respected him for all he did but there were few others who you held in such respect. You and Dexter graduated high school early and began college soon after. Dexter of course majored in medicine and you watched as he blew away the competition. What most took eight years to complete, it took him four and soon he too, was a Dr. Halliwell. You attended his graduation alongside father and Rosa and you can't ever remember being more proud. He was top of his class, brilliant and beautiful and everything anyone could have ever dreamed of. Father, too had been so very proud and he was proud of you, too. Never did you think that he had a favorite, he loved the two of you equally and he'd showered attention and dedication on the both of you. Father, Rosa and Dexter would attend your graduation, too. You'd end up with degrees in English, Psychology, and Sociology though every degree you earned only made you yearn for more. Father never had any hesitation in paying for your continued education in whatever it was you desired. While in school, you worked at Dr. Halliwell's practice, eventually taking over as the office manager once Rosa retired. You never wanted or needed for anything. You had your brother and now, your father. All was well in the world and you needed nothing and no one else.
Why do I always spill?
Many saw you as quiet and aloof, though no one would ever go as far as to call you cold. Though you were diligent in your pursuit of knowledge, you ran father's offices with a soft, yet firm hand. No one ever thought you'd garnered your position simply because of the love a father had for a daughter. You showed them and showed them often that your were every bit as brilliant as you were beautiful and though you rarely ever went out and made few friends, you wanted for nothing. You'd always come home to father and Dexter and at night, Dexter would fall into your arms. His eyes never strayed from you, though you'd felt him try to distance himself more than once. You'd let him go, schooled yourself in patience. He always returned to you and never did you think he might leave for good. The two of you had come into this world together, had fought hard to be here, to stand alongside one another. The two of you deserved this happiness, even if you couldn't quite live it out in the open. Father, bless his soul, if he ever suspected he said nothing and merely continued to love the both of you. His children, his angels, his darlings. Still, even though the two of you lived free of any torment, of any judgement from those closest to you, you still felt Dexter pull away. Why you couldn't fathom, but before you could muster the courage to ask, he'd left. You'd been at a conference for school, gone for only three days. Had it been more, you'd have begged him to come along. When you returned, Dexter and his things were gone and father, with a heavy heart, had told you your twin had been offered a position in New York that he simply had been unable to refuse. You'd hugged father and kissed his face. How could you leave him now that Dexter had? You knew you had to go after your twin, but also you knew that to leave Dr. Halliwell now, so soon after Dexter's departure would break the man's heart. You couldn't do that to him. You'd let him settle, prepare him for your own departure. It would take time and patience, but you'd return to Dexter soon enough. He was your soulmate, after all. You'd find him, you knew where he was of course, he'd left his forwarding address and spoke often to father, and once you found him you'd demand to know why he'd left. Why when he called he never asked for you. Why he never wrote or visited in the months he was gone.
Guess I better wash my mouth out with soap
In the months that you prepared to go to New York you discovered a talent hidden away in the recesses of your mind. Any moment that wasn't consumed with work or school you spent dwelling on why Dexter would leave you. It left you with anger, a fury you didn't quite know how to contain, nor even who to direct it at. You couldn't be angry at your brother, he was your twin, your other half. He had reasons, he had to, but the fact that you couldn't figure them out burned and twisted you. At first you didn't even realize what you were doing. The people around you began to complain of aches and pains, illness that would disappear once they'd left the office or classroom. You hadn't even connected the dots until one day while you were at the office, consumed so fully by bitter anger that when the clerk who'd come into your office fainted upon opening your door. It had snapped you from your thoughts and you'd gone to her, helping her up as she'd spoken to you, completely confused by what had happened. She'd been absolutely fine, but upon coming to see you had felt such an intense pain that it had caused her to lose consciousness. You'd sent her to the hospital of course, but the real worry was that while you knew you should have been frightened, you weren't.
You tested your theory, that you could induce pain at the mere thought, on those you didn't know. Mothers who screamed at their children in the park, young people who pushed the weaker around, even those who you knew to have their bad business all behind closed doors. You could incite a mere belly ache or cause them to seize up in pain, falling to the floor clutching at their head or abdomen. The first time you killed someone, it had been a mother who had been caught beating her children after they'd tried to run away. It had been on the news, the story having drawn you only because of your own tumultuous relationship with your mother. The woman had been released from jail on bond and though her children had been put into foster care, she was already trying to regain custody. It hadn't taken much to find her, where she lived. Social media was a blessed thing. She'd been outside, arguing with the mailman when you'd seen her. With concentration and through sheer force of will, you expounded enough pain on the woman that she'd slammed her head repeatedly into the sidewalk to be free of it. She'd died hours later after the mailman had called the police, her crazy and erratic behavior blamed on drugs.
Now I gotta wash my mouth out with soap
It's only happened a few more times, flexing your ability to bring a twisted sense of justice to those around you. Fine tuning what you could do kept you away from Dexter longer, but you wanted to perfect your talent. You weren't sure why, but you couldn't go to him imperfect. You finally arranged to move to New York, having spent weeks packing and preparing. Father ended up taking you, setting you up in an apartment in Manhattan, You were as far from Dexter as you could be, but of course it was by design. Father set you up as the office manager for an old friend of his who had been looking for someone with the skill to run his office. It was a change, the man ran a law firm, but he specialized in medical malpractice and that of course you were fluent in. It didn't take long to settle in, to enroll in NYC to begin your latest field of study: Law. Classes begin soon, but for now its summer and you're taking your time to get to know the city. Dexter works as a Medical Examiner for the NYPD. You've seen his face int he newspapers once or twice, on social media and the like. He tries to keep to himself, but its not hard for you to find him. You haven't made yourself known to him yet, nor does he even know you're in New York. You've been here a month, yet still haven't contacted him. Father promised to let you surprise him, so you don't worry that he'll be looking over his shoulder for you any time soon. Still, you've stood in a crowd watching a crime scene if only to catch a glimpse of him. You've walked through the NYPD, even stood in front of his desk, tracing the lines of his name on the placard that hangs on his door. You always leave before he can turn and see you, before he returns from lunch or some other reason he's been called out. You'll come face to face with him soon, you know. You linger in places he frequents, neglect to turn your head before he can catch sight of wild red hair that matches his own. If he knows you're there, he's yet to find you but you haunt him just the same.
Soon all those questions will come pouring out and you'll have your answers. You only hope your strong enough to hear them, to not let your emotions ensnare you and do something foolish. He's yours twin, after all, your brother, your soulmate. Without him you are empty and cold, you need only make him realize that he is all you need in his life and you, all he needs. Patience and control, these words are your mantra but every time you see him your heart seizes in your chest and deep down, some part of you asks if he still loves you.
30 // she/her // EST // Discord