Still here. Still not dead.
This week I was, for once, the last to go on a date. This time it was going to be Donovan’s plan, he was to create a personalized date for each of us. And now he’d be lurking around more often, so if we really got his attention, we’d just be hanging out during the day.
Thank god Diana passed the Trazodone to me. I wouldn’t have slept a wink. I might be a favorite, but I just couldn’t sleep without popping a pill.
Donovan found me before breakfast on Sunday, I’d just taken a shower and was heading down for the breakfast buffet. “How’d you sleep?” He asked.
“Bit of a struggle,” I held back a yawn. “You?”
“Well enough. Want to sit with me during breakfast?”
I did the dumb decision and shook my head. “I think I need some alone time. After…”
“Shannon. Right.” Donovan looked a bit disappointed, but he didn’t push it. “You didn’t have a clue?”
“I knew she was depressed. I guess she decided to go out on her own terms.” I gave him a knowing look. “I don’t blame her, I’d probably do the same.”
Donovan winced and inched away from me. “… Right. Well, I’ll see if Diana wants to,” He said before hurrying off.
Yes, I know I should’ve just played along, but god I was really freaking tired. And Shannon’s death fucked me up more than I’d cared to admit. She was a nice girl, and I’d known her longer than Justice.
I sat with Tara and Taylor, Tara shooting quite violent glares at the back of Diana’s head. The two were enjoying coffee together, while Diana was acting like nothing was wrong, even getting a bit flirty. “How can she think about flirting now?” Taylor groaned.
“I underestimated her. I thought she was just sweet. Clearly there’s more layers to that girl than meets the eye, and it pisses me off,” Tara said through clenched teeth.
“She just doesn’t want to die, guys. I blew Donovan off this morning and I’m already regretting it,” I said before giving a long stare at the camera guy moving in on us. “Oh my god, dude, we’re just eating breakfast. Could you not.”
Tara picked up her mostly empty plate and twirled it in her fingers. “Beat it or you’re eating porcelain,” She snapped. I never saw someone with a camera move so damn quick.
I spent all the free time I had before my date trying to figure another way out. Hard enough with all the house staff and the hosts watching all of us like hawks, but damn near impossible when you know there’s cameras everywhere. I nearly got sick when I found the button cam in the bedroom, hidden in a vase. It stays for now, but if I find out Bruce has been watching the footage, I’m ripping out every one of his hair plugs and stuffing them down his throat.
Each of the doors that lead outside has someone manning it at all time. The windows are all barred. I can’t even get close to the garage where the family cars are kept without Monica or Bruce popping up and casually asking what I’m up to.
It’s probably hopeless. Maybe.
But the date with Donovan arrived and I was told to dress warm.
He met me at the garage, and damn the man can pull off a turtleneck. How is that fair. In every way the perfect man except for the whole ‘eating people’ thing. He smiled as he saw me walk in. “Paige, you’re looking nice,” He said.
“I try.” I smiled and let my hand brush his. Today I was well rested (praise the Trazodone gods) and today I could be charming, even if I had been avoiding him all week. “So, where are we going?”
“Surprise. I think you’ll appreciate that.”
I shrugged as he opened the car door. I scooted in first and he followed right behind me. “Before we go,” He took my hand in his, “I’m sorry.”
I raised an eyebrow before my chest clenched. “Oh crap, am I being eliminated this week?”
“No!” Donovan immediately cringed, as if he could feel Monica’s eyes glaring on him. “… Oh fuck it,” He mumbled before clearing his throat. “The hosts are going to chew me out because of spoilers, but maybe they’ll just edit this conversation out. No, you’re certainly not in danger this week. Probably not even the next week either. I find my time with you to be always enjoyable.”
“Am I flattered or…”
“I hope so?” Donovan managed a smile before clearing his throat. “No, I was apologizing about Shannon. I’d picked up something was wrong on our date, but I didn’t voice my concerns. I really liked her too, even if she didn’t share the same feelings. But I tried to flirt when you were clearly not in the mood the day after Shannon’s suicide, and you had every right to rebuff me.”
Huh. Not quite what I’d expected an apology for. “So you’re not going to apologize for what you do to those eliminated?” I asked.
“Unfortunately, that’s my life. I have to consume human hearts or I die. And I signed the damn contract without really thinking how this would affect the opinions of the other women of me.” Donovan tapped his head. “I don’t always think ahead.”
I sighed and leaned back in the seat. “I guess I understand that. Why sign the contract anyway though?”
Donovan chuckled and rested his arm over my shoulders. “Well, I do want to get married soon. And my mother has some connections to the crew behind this whole thing. So… do you have any guesses as to where we’re going?”
He laughed before gesturing to his feet. “Didn’t wear the shoes for it if we are,” He said.
“Now you’re just being ridiculous.”
I giggled, choosing to focus on the now rather than what was going to come.
For our date, Donovan picked ice skating. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, so my initial reaction of joy was real. But you remember the scene in Bambi, where the titular deer was sliding all over the ice? That was me in ice skates.
It wasn’t bad though. It was fun. Donovan was graceful, although I’m like eighty percent sure I caught a glimpse of him using his tail for balance. I never looked fast enough to catch him though, so I can’t be sure.
One of the times I nearly fell on my face he ended up catching me, I faceplanted into his chest as he helped steady me. My heart embarrassingly skipped a beat and I looked up. His face was a little flushed, but he was laughing.
He then leaned down and gave me a short kiss on the lips. I barely had time to react to it because of how short it was. I didn’t flinch or recoil, at least, I mostly just had to stand still for a moment and accept that yes, that happened. Donovan kissed me.
And I didn’t hate it.
I’m clearly crazy, right? That part of me is soft for this freak? He eats people for god’s sake. But when it’s just us, he’s… nice. A little funny. And maybe he’s sincere about wanting to get married, and maybe I’m still fucked up with how my last relationship went. I thought I was going to marry my ex too. I had everything planned out. Then he dumped me, and then my life had no plan whatsoever, and I was scared and maybe I still am because maybe I don’t need to plan past the next two weeks of my life. Donovan probably won’t feel bad about eating me if he has to, but I’d like to think he would feel bad.
Everyone else did okay on their dates too. Diana’s surprise date was a library. Her favorite place in the world. When they shared a kiss, I felt my chest clench. She was just so naturally charming. She didn’t once question him and his choices like I’m compelled to do. If she wins, I’ll understand. But if she wins, I’ll also die so. Fuck.
Tara and Donovan went to a rock climbing wall. Winner had to do whatever the loser wanted them to. Tara of course won, because she refuses to chill. All she wanted was a kiss. It must be uncomfortable as hell for whoever manning the cameras when there’s kissing going on, because they have to push right in on it. I mean, it’s not fun watching it live streamed either, but I’m off track.
Lastly, Taylor and Donovan went to paint pottery. Their date went awkwardly. It’s hard to shake off the whole ‘breaking contract’ thing even if Taylor did begin this week with a blank slate. And although I’m really bad at faking it, Taylor’s god awful. She’s a horrible liar, which is supposed to be a good thing. But in this case it’s not. There was no kiss that night. Taylor’s only dialogue with him was either bad jokes or curt, one word responses.
She knew today she was fucked. So she stopped trying.
Monica stood in front of us this morning, her smile positively predatory as she stared at us. “I hope you all had fun with Mr. Right this week. But unfortunately, someone always has to go. And this week, it’s… Taylor.”
Tara surprised all of us grabbed onto Taylor’s hand. “Maybe this week’s elimination can be to just let her fucking go. Please,” She said, her voice cracking. Tara’s the tough one. At first I thought it was a prearranged stunt set up by the two of them the night before. But I saw Taylor’s expression of shock.
This was all Tara. The one who always has to win. She’s not a monster though. She’s not Donovan.
Monica clicked her tongue, less than sympathetic. “Any last words, Taylor?” She asked.
Taylor closed her eyes, took a deep breath, before opening them. I saw fire behind those eyes as her lips curled into a snarl.
“Only that you can go straight to hell, Monica. You too, Bruce, you both are the scum of the earth. And Donovan, you can stop pretending that this is so hard for you. You’re a selfish twat and I hope you choke on that tail of yours. The only good thing about me going out this week is that my friends have another week to get the fuck out of this hellhole. So fuck you, Monica. Fuck you, Bruce. And fuck. You. Donovan.”
With that, Taylor slipped this pair of scissors out of her sleeve and charged at Donovan. His tail flicked out, ready to slice her open-
Only for what sounded like an explosion to go off in my ears. I screamed and ducked down before I even put together it was a gunshot. Taylor fell on the ground, gripping her bleeding side. She turned to glare at Bruce, who just lowered the gun with a smirk. “Oh, piss off,” She snarled before stumbling back up.
Before she could make another attempt on Donovan’s life, his tail flicked out and pierced her right in the center of the chest. I almost covered my eyes when Taylor looked at us.
I couldn’t look away then. I held her gaze until it clouded over and she went limp. Donovan tore her heart out and sighed, looking over at the hosts. “I had that under control, Bruce,” He said.
“Just making sure she didn’t hurt the star,” He said with a shrug.
I nearly snapped. Tara did. Her scream was so enraged she didn’t even sound human. She charged Bruce, ready to rip his freaking eyes out, but some of the crew managed to grab her in time and drag her from the room as she screamed she would fucking kill him the moment she had the chance.
I just made my way back to the room.
Well, almost did. I was yanked into a closet and for a second I thought maybe Donovan had changed his mind, that he was going to kill me.
“Shhh! It’s a dead zone! They can’t see us, but if you’re loud enough you’ll tip them off!”
I was released and spun around to see Camera Guy. Yeah, the one I saw behind the camera most. A scrawny pipsqueak of a guy with glasses too large for his face and wild orange hair, I’d never talked to him before.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“My name’s Joshua. I want to get you and your friends the fuck out of here.” He wiped the sweat off his forehead, his voice so quiet I could barely hear it. “I can’t do this anymore. I was just hired to set up all the other cameras, but apparently one of their other camera guys bailed so they hired me for the shoot. It wouldn’t surprise me if your Prince Charming ripped out his heart because he wanted a midnight snack. This just isn’t worth it. You’re all too nice for this to happen to you.”
“Why did it take so long for you to help us then?” I asked.
Joshua stared at the ground, clearly ashamed. “Cowardice. Maybe a little greed, I’m getting paid so much that I’ll never have to struggle again. But I can’t. I can’t anymore. Taylor was the last straw. She and Tara were really good friends and she didn’t deserve that. None of you. There’s three other dead spots in the mansion, I’ll tell you where they are. Tip your friends off, I’m getting you out before the next elimination.”
There’s a light at the end of this fucked up tunnel. I hope we can reach it.