I felt like crying and a few tears did well up in my eyes. It had all been a lie. I knew some of it had to be, at the end. When he was abusing me. But I had always thought at the beginning of it all that Doug had cared for me a little bit. That he loved me.
But he didn’t, he never did. It was all just a trick. A lie. Him being able to act in response to how I felt. Him being able to subtly control how I felt. And I had loved him, and he was able to use that against me.
Now he was able to do more. And I wanted him, I wanted him more than I ever had before. I wanted to tear myself out of the man’s arms and leap into Doug’s arms. I knew it was a lie, I knew it was false. But I could not stop feeling that way.
“See?” The woman said as I began crying.
“All I s-see is a p-poor kid c-crying,” the man answered and that filled me with indignation because he was obviously much younger than me, and calling me a kid.
Then it struck me. How could these people have… ‘made’ Doug or whatever it is they did? They were younger than him! But I no longer cared about knowing the answer to anything. I just wanted to be alone with Doug. NO! I wanted it. STOP IT! I needed him. A TRICK!
“Now he knows,” the woman said, rubbing her hands together as I continued to cry. “We will go back to the laboratory and test him with the other 4s that are here.”
“You’re not taking him away from me,” Doug said, sounding very… sexy… NO!!!!!!!
“I made you, I own you,” the woman said with a half-shrug.
“We s-still don’t know wh-who he is,” the man said nervously. “As I s-said before, investi… invest… in…” He gave up on trying to say the word. “P-police could be s-searching!”
“They will be,” I said, trying not to focus on Doug. “My husband will be!” Saying the word ‘husband’ snapped me out of it. “My uncle was a valued member of the police force before he retired!” I shouted, struggling against the man’s arm. “My brother and brother-in-law are big celebrities!”
That got their attention. “Related to a celebrity?” the woman asked. “That could make this a bit difficult.”
“Yeah,” I snarled. “My brother-in-law is the famous movie actor, Claude Pierce. And my brother is the big stage actor, Cesario Danevbie!” Silence, pure silence. Pure, tense, shocked silence. The woman stared wide-eyed at me and the man’s arm loosened very slightly. “The media will be all over my disappearance!” I continued, ignoring the shocked look on her face.
Then suddenly she was right there, grabbing my shirt, pulling me so close to her face it was disturbing. “What did you say!?” she hissed out.
“What is your name?” She screeched. “What is your name?!”
I began cowering. Icy rage was worse, much worse. “S-Sebastian,” I squeaked out, too scared to lie to her. “Danevbie.”
The woman slowly let go of me, stepping back. “Danevbie. Danevbie. Always…” She trailed off, sucking in some air, then suddenly looked disturbed. “You… you!” She turned to face Doug. “You are connected to a Danevbie?”
The man was turning me a bit so he could look at me and his entire face softened. “Sebastian D-Danevbie,” he whispered. “I sh-should have r-recognized you b-but I s-saw your p-picture last when you w-were just a ch-child of… six?”
“I should have known, I should have realized there was something different about him!” the woman went on, turning again to face me.
“You know me?” I asked the man, not sure if I believed this.
“I knew your m-mother,” he replied with a bit of a smile. “And your g-grandfather, sort of. And your g-g-great-grandfather.”
“Oh shut up, you are his great-grandfather!” the woman snarled out and the man frowned at that. I just pressed my lips together. Okay, so he was obviously completely crazy but it seemed that for some reason he liked me now. Maybe I could escape, through him. Except the woman was excited about who I was, and I wasn’t sure if that meant she was more likely to drag me back to her lab or not. Course, she was obviously completely crazy too.
“But why would you have a mental connection with a Danevbie?” she asked slowly, narrowing her eyes, staring at me.
“M-maybe because of…” The man hesitated then cautiously said, “wh-why we ch-chose Jacob…”
Jacob Danevbie. The name rang clearly to me, since it was the one on that award thing my mom had given to my on my eighteenth birthday. It was hung up at home and I dusted it off along with the other awards that Hal and I had gotten, through school. Jacob Danevbie. My great-grandfather. But surely they couldn’t be talking about him? That was ages ago! No, it must be another Jacob.
“Don’t be stupid,” the woman said, shaking her head. “It must be because of what’s-her-name.”
“The one the first brat married.”
“I do not understand why you always kept up with them…”
I looked back and forth between the two of them as they had this little exchange, and felt a bit annoyed when my grandmother’s name was mentioned. They acted as if they knew my family but they couldn’t, they were younger than me! They were probably closer in age to my son than anyone else in my family.
“We never tested it with any of the dolls,” the woman said, looking rather inspired by what she was saying. “Perhaps that’s what it is. Yes.” She smacked her hands together. “We will run tests. Do we still have any of the D-project successes around? We can find one. In the mean time…”
She turned to face Doug who was being strangely quiet during all this. “In the mean time, stop it,” she said.
“Stop what?” he asked, trying to sound innocent.
“Influencing my emotions,” she said, pointing a finger at him. “You are about to cross the line. However, in light of recent events…” Once more, she looked at me. “I will not punish you. You may keep him, for the time being. I have other tests I wish to run first. However this does not mean he is completely yours. He will be brought to the laboratory for tests as well, perhaps in a week.”
“I can keep him?” Doug asked, making me sound like a puppy he had found.
I wasn’t paying much attention, however, since as the woman was talking about tests, I realized I was going to be staying here. So I very quietly murmured out of the corner of my mouth, “Please let me go.”
The man replied just as quietly, “I c-can’t, I am sorry… You w-wouldn’t g-get far, and you and I would b-both be in trouble.”
I considered elbowing him and making a run for it, but by that time Doug was being told that yes he could keep me. His arms were around me in an instant, yanking me away from the man. I stumbled back, staring up at the man–my only hope–with wide, sad eyes.
He seemed just as sad. “S-sister, we don’t have the right t-to say someone can k-keep someone else!” he exclaimed, waving his hand at me. But I no longer cared, because Doug was kissing me and I was in love with him once more.
The twins, or whatever they were, didn’t stay long after that. As soon as they left the tiny part of my brain that still had control was worried that Doug and I would just…
But no. The door was shut and locked (by Doug) and he just turned towards me, grinning in a rather dark way. “Well, isn’t this nice! Just you and me.”
“Why me?” I asked, resisting the urge to jump on him. It was a difficult urge to resist. A false urge, but still difficult. This was not going to go well.
“I love you,” he answered.
“No. You don’t. You never did,” I pointed out and he glowered. “Just face the truth, Doug. You don’t love me. Love isn’t… this.” I gestured to the room. “Kidnapping. Love doesn’t kidnap. Love doesn’t abuse. Love doesn’t rape.”
“I never did that!” he shouted, lurching forward.
I flung myself back, afraid of his fists once more. “You did!” I cried out, fear and lust mixing together like oil and water inside of me. “You just took whatever you wanted from me, acting like you cared. You manipulated my emotions! Love should not have to manipulate anything!”
He hit me and I gave a whimper of pain. “I love you,” he said in a low voice.
“You just hit me.” I reached up to my cheek and glared at him. The anger flaring inside of me was consuming the passion, burning it away.
“Shall I hit you back, to prove my love?” I asked.
His eyes widened just very slightly and I saw I had finally made some sort of impression. But then he was mad again, and he hit me so hard I went tumbling to the floor. I curled up, squeezing my eyes shut. Hal, I thought desperately. Duncan, Serenity, Kaylee, River, Simon, Mal. I ran my family through my head, trying not to think of the situation I was in. My siblings, my parents, my nephews, my nieces.
But Doug wasn’t touching me. I finally opened my eyes and saw he was standing over me, lips pursed. “Get up,” he said and I started to obey but then just collapsed back down. “Get up!” He reached down and grabbed my arm, yanking me to my feet.
“What do you want from me? Really?” I demanded.
“I just want us to be happy,” he said, hands on my shoulder. “Like we used to be.”
“When you were lying to me?” I asked, tilting my head. “When you were beating me up? When you were manipulating my emotions?”
“Why won’t you understand how much I love you?!” he demanded, shaking me roughly.
I grabbed his shoulders and gave him a rough shove. He was forced back and I slid sideways, so I wasn’t directly in front of him with my back to the wall. Though maybe having a wall behind me was a good thing, since now he had all this space to throw me around. “Why do you love me?” I asked through my teeth. “Why me?”
“The first time I saw you, I knew,” he replied, striding forward rather like a lioness stalking her prey. “You were the one. I’ve always wanted you, and only you.”
“That’s why you slept with other people,” I said, lifting my chin.
His eyes turned to slits as he glared. “Sex has nothing to do with love. Don’t kid yourself about that.” He was close to me again, so I backed away, bumping into a couch. “You really believe it does? You really think that love is about physical desire? Now really, how can you think that? I thought it was about what’s inside.”
I moved away from the couch, backing up some more. “That doesn’t give you the right to cheat on the person you claim to love,” I said, trying not to look at the door. Doug was still slowly coming towards me but I might be able to get close enough to make a run for it.
Doug raised his eyebrows. “You’d never make it,” he said and I stared at him. “Oh yes, I know what you’re thinking. I may not know what exact words are going through your mind, but I felt that little surge of hope. Which is now gone.”
And it was gone. I’d never be able to make it. No, you can, stop it. No. I wouldn’t get anywhere near the door and even if I did, what then? He’d chase me down and he knew this area better than I did–at least, I supposed he did.
Shoulders slumping, I gave into the despair and didn’t protest as he dragged me into the other room, knowing the despair wasn’t real but being unable to fight the avalanche of miserable feelings.