May 1, 2010
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Lily knew a lot about her family. She knew a lot about her self.

She knew more about Belle.

Which was why she was so confused. Belle wasn’t supposed to be like this, she thought, her limbs splayed out across her crushed twilight bed with her sunset hair fanned about her head as a tainted halo. December eyes focused on the coarse wood of the ceiling that protected her attic bedroom from the sky.

It wasn’t right.

She and Belle were always supposed to be together. They were a matching pair and what Belle was doing was tantamount to hearsay. What was Lily going to do without Belle?

Their world was small, only big enough for the two of them and their brothers. Even then, Judas and Lucien had always understood that their sisters were connected in a way that wasn’t for them to intrude upon.

But this…

Jezebel was leaving Lilith.

Jezebel, her Belle, her precious sister and other half, was leaving. She was leaving the safety of the Nook to live in some apartment in downtown Hollowson and Lily just wanted to cry.


She didn’t move as her own voice echoed from another body. She just stayed motionless on her evening bed and listened to the midday rain fall from the silver sky. She didn’t move when winter eyes to match her own peered down at her, a different kind of pain in their depths.

She didn’t say anything. She couldn’t. She could see everything though. At once, Belle was leaning over her, half on her bed and half on the floor. She was also sitting close to Lily on that same bed, the two giggling over Descartes as they argued every point on every bit of white with matching handwriting with matching orange pens. Again, they were on the bed, wrapped up in each other because Belle was damaged and afraid of the storm so Lily—always the strong sister—held her through the night because that’s what big sisters did (even if she was older by only five minutes). Then another flash of memory jumped in and their roles were reversed. Lily was the damaged one, the one hurt and wounded and it was Belle who had to be the strong sister because just this once, Lily was incapable of standing on her own two feet.

“Lilith, please talk to me,” her mirror replied, crawling further into the bed until she had fully intertwined herself with the still-motionless Lily. In her ear, Belle kept speaking tears while weeping words, “I know this is sudden, but I need to do this. Please understand, Lily. I’m doing this for you too. We both need to grow up. The world is bigger than ours and it’s time to join it.”

She shifted then, turning fully into her sister’s arms and putting her own around her double, “So you’re leaving?”

She knew she sounded betrayed, but she was. They were Lilybelle. They weren’t supposed to separate and be Lily and Belle. Not after all that had happened.

“I’m leaving because I’ve fallen in love and it’s time for you to do the same,” Belle answered.

Lily grimaced, tightening her hold on her double. Cain Havel had always been a fixture in their lives. He was Lucien’s childhood friend and as the elder brother was five years their senior, Cain had always been there.

In this capacity, though?

No. Cain was Lucien’s friend. He wasn’t Belle’s lover. It wasn’t meant to be.

And yet it was.

Because Belle was leaving Lily and it was all because she had gone and fallen in love with that man who was five years their senior and their brother’s best friend.

“I’ll be living with Esther,” Belle continued, a note of happiness in her voice that made Lily want to retch, “So I’ll be between here and the high school. We’ll still be able to go pick up Judas everyday.”

But they didn’t do that anymore. Judas came home with his girlfriend most of the time because Artie was tough enough to have the approval of both Lucien and Lily. That was okay, though. Judas needed others in his life because he wasn’t strong like Lucien and he didn’t have a twin like Lily and Belle. He was alone and in a wheelchair and that was a bad thing for the boy. Artie was good for him; she kept him grounded and kept his head up as high as he could hold it, wheelchair be damned.

That was just it.

Lucien was strong and had Cain. Judas was weak but was growing stronger with Artie at his side. Lily and Belle had each other, always had each other, always within reach and—

“I’ll still be with you, Lily,” Belle’s words fell like tears on her ears and she wanted to scream at her sister, to claw her way through the back she held onto so dearly until she reached that heart that was supposed to be identical to her own.

“Our hearts are still one,” the younger twin cooed softly in her ear, as if reading her mind the way she was supposed to, “I’ll still be with you, even if I’m living down the road instead of across the attic. Remember what Lucien used to say? We’re like the moon. I’m the side that shows the light and you, Lils, you’re the dark side but we’re both important because without one there can be none.

“Please understand this. I’m in love; I have friends. I want you to have this too, Lily.”

Lily still didn’t move and slowly, Belle extracted herself from the bed and left Lily motionless with a soft butterfly’s breath of a kiss on her temple. The door clicked shut behind her, and then Lily moved, curling up around her broken heart so she could catch all the pieces before they flew away from her.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

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