Characters: Elizabeth, Ciel
The little girl with her smiles and curls had once loved the sound of church bells ringing. It meant that she would be able to put on that finest of frilly dresses and her favorite dainty little hat and go to church like the good little girl she always was. When they had been younger, before his parents had died, she might have even got to sit next to Ciel. Once they did die in the fire, though, her fiancé had quit coming to church altogether. She had once believed it was because it made him sad to go without his mother and father like she did. Now, of course, she knew better. Ciel had sold his soul. What solace was there in church for those whose souls could never reach the heaven that the choirs sang of?
Perhaps now she understood. The feeling of discomfort that weighed upon her now certainly wasn’t mourning for the man to whom she had come- clad in silk and lace as black as the onyx that studded the casket- to pay her supposed respects. No. Deep in whatever shade of her soul remained, she felt as if she was being watched. Judged. She knew such paranoia was beyond ridiculous. After all, how would anyone know? The only one who could have possibly been witness to her contract had been burned alive with the rest of that wretched hovel of a brothel. But that same shade of her soul knew that the belief wasn’t entirely true. God, had she still believed he cared about what happens to mortals in this world- for all her please and prayers were certainly never answered- had seen the contract at its very sinful conception. It was Ciel that had heard her. Ciel that had come to her.
Then perhaps, ignorance- she thought as she looked around at those on their knees praying fervently for the Viscount’s save passage to heaven- was indeed bliss. Ciel didn’t even care- he only wanted to make a meal of her soul. Perhaps the fear of being sent to eternal suffering if you angered God was a greater comfort than the reality that He honestly didn’t care one way or another. But no. She envied them. She could no longer live in such blissfully happy ignorance.
Oh they whispered about her, alright. But it had nothing to do with the contract or her unease. Ever the perfect actress, they whispered of Alice’s misfortunes and how horrible it was for her that her suitor should die so early on into their courtship. Ever the womanizer, surely Alice must have been something truly special in order for her to get him to settle down! At least the poor mourning lady could take some solace in the fact that, having no children or relations, the Viscount had left Miss Alice his entire estate. How taken with her he must have been! They spoke of her as if it was a regular Cinderella story- only one with a tragic end. As Elizabeth contemplated this, she could barely hold back a decidedly unladylike snort of amusement. If only they all knew Cinderella sold her body for power and her ill-fated prince was simply yet another buyer too stupid and naïve to realize what was happening to him. Prince Charming hadn’t even been aware that it was his darling little cinder princess that had brought about his abrupt end in the first place.
She hadn’t even bothered to ask Ciel where he had procured the mixture in the first place, but the rest, as she had watched it happen, had been frightfully easy. Oh, she had dragged the ruse on longer than necessary. This was certain- her own form of yet more revenge on Ciel. But once dose passed from his mouth- in the likeness of her own- to Druitt’s and it was all over and done. Drowned in his own lungs, the mortician had said. Likely a symptom of his disease- a souvenier from his days of cavalier debauchery. A sad reality for many men noble-bred. Elizabeth found it not sad, but sickening. However, as dear, innocent Alice would, she fell to the ground in tears of devastation. Much like she did now- her body thrown over the Viscount’s coffin, crying her big, crocodile tears over the death of her useful pawn.
“Miss Alice,” the timid voice of her sevant boy- hired presumably with the wealth left ot her- rang out to her ears as a signal to ease her force sobs. He had a bit of the unsophisticated accent of his northern roots which his copper hair- worn long and over one eye- and freckles betrayed. He even had the audacity to lift her. Of course, no onlooker would have thought twice about it. After all, Alice was just such a very proper young thing. “Please come along now.” Kindness so convincing that she almost believed it to be real radiated form his sympathetic blue eye. “I fear that if you were to stay….”
She shook her head at him before he could continue- taking his arm innocently to make it seem as if she merely needed his strength to remove herself from the side of her deceased beloved. “You are correct, Shawn. I fear I have made spectacle of myself enough”. As if, to agree with her, he bowed- as gentlemen do- allowing her to catch a glimpse of violet under his ruddy bangs before escorting her out of the church. She felt as if she could finally breathe- as if the eyes of God extended no farther than the doors of His own house of stone. Given what she knew, it was a fair enough belief.
Once safely behind the confines of the carriage curtain, she sighed heavily and tore off the black lace veil as if it were a nuisance to her very existence.
“What an exhausting masquerade. Although I must admit you may be a better actor than even I.” For at least the time being, red hair faded to black and freckles melted away into that flawless complexion she was accustomed to. His eye, however, he kept blue as opposed to the demonic blood red at her request. Both eyes had a strange look to them- something she could not quite interpret and didn’t care enough to put in the effort to try- that disappeared almost instantaneously. She was accustomed to his- it happened with greater frequency as time went on. Perhaps he was somply not aware that she noticed. Ah well, she thought. Ciel’s behaviors or odd quirks were none of her concern, really.
“Of course not, Lizzie. You are clearly the superior. It takes incredible skill to fool everyone as you have. Careful though. I would hate to find out that you had been fooling even yourself all this time.” She frowned ever so slightly.
“I am perfectly knowledgeable of what is real and what is not, thank you. Moreso than most, I would wager to guess. “ She would never become Alice. She had experienced and seen far too much to ever become that mask. Alice- at least not the Alice that Druitt knew anyway- was far too sickeningly pure and good natured. It nearly made her skin crawl.
“Of course, my lady. I simply knew someone extraordinarily like Miss Alice before. She was wonderfully cheerful and always strove to make everyone around her happy as she could manage. She even knew a little boy who hated the world. This girl tried especially hard to make him smile.”
“She died.” Elizabeth snapped, quickly losing her patience with Ciel’s liberal tongue. “She knew nothing of the world and in the end it swallowed her whole. I suppose you think you are being funny.” Right on cue, there arose that infuriating smirk. Oh yes. He thought he was being quite funny indeed.
“Not at all, Lizzy. I merely take amusement in the fact that you would create a disguising persona from your own life. One would think-“
“Hold your tongue before I do it for you. I trust you managed to put together a household I can actually manage. Heaven knows you couldn’t put together a decent one when you were alive. Are you at least that competent?” Perhaps it was unfair to make such a remark. After all, Ciel continued to prove himself more than competent. She was allowing her anger to get to her when she truly had no real reason to be angry at all. This was something she thought must be addressed. If she were to succeed, absolute control was a must. That included being around Ciel- no matter how skilled he was at flipping all the right switches in both the physical and metaphorical sense.
“Of course. I think you will be pleased enough. But if I may be so bold as to ask one more question?” she rolled her eyes a bit but nodded her consent regardless. There would be no point in denying him. Ciel would say what he wanted regardless. “What is it that you desire? What is it that you actually contracted me for?”
“Simple.” Her reply was prompt. “I wanted revenge.” He frowned.
“The person who killed Elizabeth Middleford. “ How did one pick one person from the many that brought about the destruction of a young woman? That was something that she had time to figure out, now wasn’t it? It wasn’t as if she was in a hurry to surrender her soul for Ciel’s dinner at any point in the immediate future. He, of course, looked displeased. Which in turn gave her greater pleasure.
Once the carriage rolled to a stop, she was once again looking at the ruddy-haired servant boy who helped her down out of her carriage. “Welcome to your new estate, My Lady Alice.”
She knew that voice. She knew the face that came with it. And it was so entirely strange to see it unchanged as it was far back in her deepest memories.
“Well, well.” Elizabeth’s tone dripped with amusement- Alice forgotten for the time being. “I see he’s still yanking your chain like a dog, Sebastian.”