I was Born the Unloved Twin
"Come back, come back to me please oh god please."
"....Lilyanne, you shouldn't....Lilyanne please. Let go."
"Bring her back! Erik please, my sister please... she's all I have."
"I can't. I can't! I can't heal her fast enough. She's not healing fast enough!"
"That's enough Lily, please Lily you're hurting yourself. You know you cant- she can't be healed. That's the curse, you- ...she. She wouldn't want you like this."
"DON'T SPEAK TO ME LIKE SHES GONE! ROSA! This isn't funny, please Rosa. No more tricks, please wake up. Please. Please let me heal you, I can't heal you if you don't let me, please"
This is a shit dream.
I hate this dream. I can't ever do anything in it. I don't feel pain because it's a dream, or maybe it's the shock, but it's heavy. As if I had a bad cold and everything is super congested. My head is foggy, my vision teary and blurred, and I struggle to breathe through all the thick congestion in my lungs
I don't think it's mucus though.
This dream is basically the same, give or take the length, and I can't ever do anything but watch it badly play out. I honestly rather watch those bad reality TV show reruns than this.
The dream me coughs violently, literally hacking up painted bloody flowers on the white canvas in front of me. I'm getting her dress dirty. I can't see her but I can feel my head propped up , the rest of myself laying on an uncomfortably wet floor, it's very slippery. Anyone could fall and slip so easily on smooth marble.
"Wake up, please, come to for me."
Like a bad flu, maybe a case of bronchitis, my throat itches horribly and I can't breathe through all the coughing. I don't want to be here.
But the dream doesn't end yet, not tonight. Most of the time it doesn't play through but I guess this isn't one of those times
I hear ragged breathes and bubbling gurgling sounds. Like the sound of a drowning person dry heaving. My throat isn't in one piece.
I don't always get to this part in the dream but I feel indescribable exasperated displeasure at what I do see. I think the dream me is on her deathbed but somehow I have the capacity to be grossly annoyed, even more than the pain I'm supposed to be feeling.
At the edge of the pretty ruby pool that's spreading stands a marble statue.
Correction, it's a man, a living human who might as well be made out of stone. In the moonlight, he looks so pale, all blond hair and alabaster white skin. His face so still, and so well chiseled that I feel no issue with mistaking him for a classical statue.
It looks like a red moon, it's not, but my limited vision is tinged in red.
The dream me heaves, more and more vines of red flowers blooming from her mouth. She sounds like a chronic smoker with a voice box, a hole carved into the throat.
"That's it! Don't speak! Please let me heal you..." sings the sweet voice from above. Heaven maybe?
But I'm a heretic and I disobey.
"....you.... don't .... deserve her....
The marble statue has the decency to look ashamed, crumbling in himself, even if he can't look directly at me, at the bloody dying girl on the floor.
The angel above snaps at all of us, hysterical.
"Sssshhh save your strength! This isn't the time. We can all talk about this later, please when you're better. Please, let me save you first, please."
"....you....keep.... her .... safe."
"No no no, there's no - none of that. You'll be ok, please, please no. "
"Stop talking like that, stop talking!"
The statue looks down with stone-cold eyes. He looks like a Greek God, too high up above, too beautiful and too full of damnation to us mere mortals, ants.
But like a rock, he is sturdy and strong, and she is tired of the weight of living.
She does not want her last words to be to this hateful man posing as a God. She cannot clasp her palms, cannot pray, so she clenches the expanse of once-white lace underneath her fingers to make it clear who she's speaking to, trying to. She speaks in reverence to the heavens above, the angel and the pouring light that is so desperately trying to fix a too broken doll
Be happy, please live and find happiness in this cruel world. If it's you- it's possible.
I'm going to go now, I won't hold you back anymore. I can't hold anyone back anymore.
"No no no, no dont' speak anymore, no no don't leave me all alone... not you too... no no no gods no...."
Have you ever heard the heavens beg? It is not as sweet as you may think, it sounds like an ugly crying child. That's exactly it, I still have the strength to laugh.
"...so...ugly.... cries....so ....ugly."
Stop crying. Don't cry anymore. Don't shed any more tears for me, I can't take this kindness.
I love you.
I'm sorry for not being a good enough person, a strong enough person to save us.
"why ...you?....hate you...so much."
Don't be fooled by others so easily! You're always so easy! They don't love you, don't care for you- they will use you till you're dried up and paint their golden carriages with your ground up bones. Don't mistake adoration and greed for love.
I love you okay? Not in the way that marbled man loves you- not in any way someone as hollow and unloved as me has the capacity to- but I love you very much.
"Please no, please don't ...don't' do this- don't go. Please Rosa don't-you can hate me it's okay just please don't- don't leave!"
I don't want to be here anymore. I don't want to hurt anymore.
"Stay- come back to me, please oh by all the gods and goddesses please."
"Wake up, please wake back up.
"Wake up! Rosa! Wake up!!!"
In the darkness there is rest, there is peace. I have no sense of self and certainly no sense of responsibility, pain or anything human. I just am, breathing, and I peacefully rest.
That is until something pokes my cheek, irritating me awake.
"Alive there? If you don't wake up, I'm really going kiss you this time"
"If you don't move away from me in 3 seconds I will bite you."
"If it's from you then, yes please."
Meng Diuhua groaned, and waves her hand from the counter as if to swat away an annoying fly.
"Herdandez! John! Do your jobs and get this shitty bartender away from me."
"No can do! Boss' fam gets immunity." shouts a gruff but humorous voice, the closet bodyguard, from across the room.
"Ack! Calling out another man's name right as you wake up!? Ow ow ow, you can hit me more but don't call out another guy's name."
"Jung-soo! Get your shit- eating little brother under a leash. "
"Hey hey it's still no good if it's my brother's name! Actually, that's worse!"
From behind a sleek sliding screen that tastefully separates the bar from the kitchen, a cool handsome man in glasses peeks out for a moment.
"That's too troublesome. Try my hyung?"
"Ahhh don't call out hyung's name too, heeeeey don't ignore me Mengmeng."
"Boooooooosssss! Get your youngest away. He's sexually harassing customers again!"
From up the stairs, another voice shouts back.
"You don't pay for it so you're not a customer! Jung-joon stop giving her free booze, she even doesn't work here anymore!"
"Hey! You still use me on call! I do weekends sometimes. This is still harassment!"
"Stop showing up so much then! Aye! I can't stand your flirting, take it somewhere where else!"
"I do not flirt!"
"Don't mind him, bak to me. He's just jealous of us because he's old and single and nowhere near as handsome as me!" the young bartender yells the last part up so it reaches whoever was upstairs on the club's inner balcony. A "shut up" echoes back before the youth turns back to her.
"There is no us, give me a break with that Jung-joon, I'm tired and prolly dehydrated."
There's a glass of lemon water in front of her before she even knows it.
"Are you having a rough time at your agency again? Another new market or product assignment? Which job is it now? You suddenly fell asleep with only two drinks today I was worried. You can always quit you know?"
"Huh? Yeah probably that, my director keeps piling me on because I of all people, can 'handle it.' . But nah, I just had that weird dream again. The full version."
"The one where you're like, a girl's dating sims villain? Do you get a fan and horn drill curls too? Ow, I'm kidding, ah but don't move your hand away. You must really like that series deep down to dream about it."
"I don't even remember reading or playing anything like it though! Where did it come from? Really good graphics on that bad ending though, too good. It gives me the heebiejeebies."
"Awww, don't be scared. You know even if you somehow did have a magical twin sister, I'd never put her over you~. Wanna play a new game together? It can be a date."
"That's because I don't have a sister you soggy dishrag for brains. Go out and get a girlfriend if you're so desperate. You should have no problem! Nevermind, you should be studying for your Grad exams! Ah, youth, I remember those times."
"I'm trying to, thank you for noticing....you're only 3 years older than me."
"Ah youth! So loooong ago, oh my back, ow my head."
"Hyyuuung, I'm taking the car and getting Mengmeng to her place. She looks oddly hungover today."
"And whose fault is that?! Diuhua you're working the next 3 wedding sized events for me when you're next free to pay this tab!"
The girl hops off the barstool and waves off everyone still cleaning up in the trendy but elegant club. Her volunteer designated driver steadying her as they make their way to the exit.
"Yeah yeah I know, bye to you too boss! *sigh*....Thanks for the ride dude but you don't have to, I can take the metro fine."
"Mmm, of course, I have to? I can't let you go alone like that. What if some bad guys see your vulnerable drunk self and come harass you or, *gasp* I don't even wanna think about it. Unless this is the part that I come in dramatically punching them out, which makes your heart beats fast and you swoon at the sight of me and-"
She slides into the car's open passenger seat and closes on the door on him mid sentence, leaving him to fumble around to the driver's side.
"MengMeng, it's far safer with me. Don't put yourself at risk like that, it worries me. Here you can take a nap if you want? I'll drive really slowly and softly. Are you comfortable enough, do you want another plushie pillow? I'll wake you up you get home ok? So just rest easy."
*yawn* "...yeah do that...please...wake me up....when I'm ...home."
I blink awake, sleep still heavy over me. I blink awake slowly like how you could pull a warm blanket off in the morning. Nowhere near as comfortable as sleeping in.
The dreams, or displaces memories, I blink those away too, scrubbing my eyes with squishy little arms.
What an odd dream, I wonder why out of all things I would dream of that?...That's right, I had those dreams sometimes. Those names, "Lilyanne","Eirk", "Rosa" ...those are our names.
Did I really get transferred into an otome game world I don't remember ever playing? I tried searching for them on the internet but no real results ever matched up. But here I am.
Then....is this world a game? Or a story?
I don't know but it doesn't matter when I'm physically living in it. I'm Rosalia now, I have been Rosalia for all this time. Everyone is a story if you think about it like that. I mean just look at grampa.
Wonder why I dreamt of my other life, of the bar I used to work at? It's not like they were the only people I complained to about that dream, god knows my family heard me all the time.
I must miss tasty booze too much.
Grow up faster oh tiny body of mine. Wait, no, don't I still have plans and things to do.
"Rosa! wak wak up!" shouts Lilyanne's excitedly, far too loud since she's right next to me on the bed! Ugh, we're going to have a talk about looming and scaring me in the mornings!
But, it isn't morning light? And wasn't I just at the outer farm? How am I back in our shared bedroom?
"She's awake!? Call for my husband and papa back, she's woken up!"
"Yes Rosa! Oh how are you feeling my darling? Oh my little girl, don't be scared. You will never have to step foot on those dirty scary harvestings, I knew you were far too young to go and see those things I told Frederick darling and-"
The guiled double doors open with a bang even with the servants' opening it up, and father rushes up where mother and Lilyanne seem to be hovering over me. He's still dressed in the same common peasant garb, one of his end scene Mr. Darcy shirts, from earlier.
I remember now, the farm, the hogs. The clumsy teenagers that overdid the bleeding. Somehow it affected me so badly I passed out?
How embarrassing! In front of everyone too!
I'm really not that that squeamish! Is it this body? To be triggered by the sight of a pig to slaughter?
Oh no after this mother won't let me go out anywhere! I can secretly escape when she's not looking but it's a pain and so much harder. This won't do!
"I'm fine! I'm really fine, I must have missed too many naps, or got thrown too hard! As a pumpkin! Oh nevermind I'll explain later mama. Da- ...father? What happened after, where are we?"
"You're home Rosa, your grandfather was closer when there was shouting how you simply collapsed. We flew back to the camp but troops medical team checked over you and couldn't find what was wrong. You just fainted and slept the whole time till now."
"I'm sorry! I'll do better at sleeping enough during naps and at bedtime."
"Well I should hope so! Frederick darling did you let her stay up late?"
"Of course not dear, I did not 'let Chip to stay up."
"Oh that just means you two did so anyway! I suppose you were up drawing all sorts of toys and contraptions again! You hardly come to bed on time either and-"
Maybe it would be smarter to stay silent as mother is distracted from me to father. But it's actually my fault this time soooo....
...I have to resort to the big guns to ease her this time.
Be thankful father!
"Mama I'm sowwy, it's all my fault. I won't do it again. Please mama, don't tell me I'm grounded? Pweeeeease mama!"
Baby voice me sounds far more diabetic than Lilyanne's naturally sweet cry. I need to drop my shame and really up the sugar levels to soften up my mother when she's like this. I can't faucet cry like Lilyanne but cue the wet teary eyes!
I'm also saving my own hide, really please don't put me on lock down again. I'll go mad with boredom! You don't need any more hair ribbons mother, please I counted so many in your closet already.
*Sigh* "You're thinking of running out again already?! Oh dear must you take after these of your papa and grandpapa? Darling, I'd never 'ground' you, that sounds terrible. No dear, I'm keeping you home, you're obviously too fragile to be out for so long Please, try to learn a bit from your sister and be good, you're a girl you know?"
"What does being a girl have to do with if I'm grounded or not?"
"Rosalia Therese Ventrella! You are to sit and stay home where you are meant to be, not gallivanting around like an adult man, for a very long time! And you too Frederick darling, don't think you're off the hook yet! Where is my papa? Did I not call for him? He can't be hiding again, not when I called?"
Ah I'm doomed, mother caught all of us and we're doomed. Lilyanne is giggling at the scene, not understanding the implications of punishment that father and I are now going to be facing. Grampa's joining us soon or I call foul.
Say father, did you manage to bring home mother's peace offering presents at least?
Eventually, grampa does arrive, fashionably late to the party, as ever. I don't know whether out of the fear for mother or something else but the air is off. He's smiling like usual but it feels off.
"Pumpkin you're awake! Thank goodness it was nothing serious, even Gable assured me! Did the sausage stuffing shock scare you that much! My my my I don't know how you'll become a fine hero without a better constitution!"
"Papa! Of course it did! She's only a small child, don't be dragging her off in training so much yet. You wouldn't do such a thing to Lilyanne. Rosalia may be older but not by much."
Grampa relents, full on comfort mode towards mother. She's getting all the pets and pats and he soothes her like a child.
"Yes yes my dear Maria, I'm sorry I'll keep a better eye out on your eldest baby girl here. But first, it looks like my troublesome granddaughter and I need to have a special talk! May we Maria? Freddy?"
"Oh yes please! It's about time! Rosa my little girl if you don't want to listen to mama, then listen to your grandpapa about behaving."
Well that doesn't sound very strict, don't you know best what grampa is like?
With a clap mother motions her maids and seemingly with one hand gathers both Lilyanne and father up and out. She doesn't lock the door but when it closes, a zap of green lights the room, sealing all doors, windows, and crevices.
Grampa has taken my mother's place on the bed and pats my hair into a bird's nest from his looming position. Grin far too wide and stupid, to the point his eyes are closed.
I know this face, this atmosphere. It feels like those times when I was just a newborn.
He's not really smiling, not with his eyes and I gulp.
"Wasn't that harvest wonderful!?! Well except for that last part you know. Did you have fun, Rosalia?"
I just can't catch a break, can I?