Belladonna | Teen Ink


September 19, 2019
By Anonymous

Author's note:

Sometimes when your lost and try to act out a role, you play it or become so used to an alternate reality that your not sure if your acting acting it out or not anymore. 

Juggling between home, work, and a personal life none of her peers knew much of Melany (“Mel”). She always put a mask on, never one to overshare. Work was her hideaway, a distraction from the real world, even if she couldn’t solve her own problems she felt comfort knowing she was helping others. She’d become a medical examiner for a morgue shortly after her dad died.           

It was such a big change, she lost so much spark and motivation. Nothing felt right anymore, the police report they released for her father’s death brought little to no ease.

Stark day, full of gloom, there had been a rough storm last night but despite the mood the precinct was lively, like when a new case comes in. Turns out that a dead body was found at a grand opening, possibly planned murder. There wasn’t much to go off of from the crime scene and the job was done very clean. Mel figured she’d go see for herself later that day.          

On her way to lunch she noticed how the scene was in the area of where she was headed and figured she’d take a look. Upon arriving a well-dressed man caught her attention and she assumed he was a supervisor or something along those lines. Aside from that she didn’t heed further attention towards him.  Since it seemed probable that the killer could have been someone that the victim knew, (hence why it was quick and clean) it appeared that he may also have been left handed, judging from the possible trajectory.

There wasn’t any case breaking information, standard caliber had been used on the victim. She’d just have to wait on any additional information. She felt someone hold her shoulder, the smell of cologne, and a strong voice, she turned to see that it was the gentlemen from earlier. “Anything new … About the case?” It took he a minute to answer, it was unexpected and she’d cut off so many people but he’s approach seemed so familiar. He was wearing cufflinks … similar to how Evan used to dress.

Her relationship with Evan was everything to her, she adored her dad. But he was killed two years ago. He was a sales associate; he sold land for big businesses to build on. Actually, the ground this new business was built on was an offer he was working on for a competing business. “James, proud owner of Lilim, hopefully soon to be one of the best clubs in town.” 

“Melany, Melany Malivor. Medical examiner at the morgue.” He expressed a look of disdain yet interest, like when you find out news you didn’t want confirmed.

“Malivor huh, you wouldn’t happen to know Evan would you?”

“He was my father”

“You don’t say, he was a great guy, bought this land off of him actually. Shame what happened though. Hey what do you say we go to dinner, my treat, in commemoration of him.” You could tell that he was a pretty boy used to getting what he wanted just from the way he acted, casual engaged side stance, annoyingly confident, then his smile. “C’mon, I won’t take no for an answer. I’ll see you at 8, Luce’s Bistro.”

Charming and all but she had no interest in him, she didn’t feel like going but she also didn’t have anything planned for later, and she did like that place. She wondered if there were any additional connections he had to her father. She seemed so sure if himself, but it was whatever it’s not like anything was going to happen, she barely even knew the guy.

She walked into Luce’s Bistro, it was a quaint restaurant, but it was smaller details that brought elegance to the place, and the food was everything. Sure enough he was there near a window table, more dressed down then from this morning but still done up. She’d chosen to wear a burgundy semi-formal dress that was off the shoulders, and kept her hair to lose uniform curls. “Your father always talked about how ravishing you are, but I think now that’s an understatement”

“Aside from work, did you have any other relationships with my dad?”

 James hesitated before provided any concrete answer, this caught Mel’s curiosity. It shouldn’t have taken too much thought for the question, and if he would have had an outside relationship with her dad, she was sure he would’ve brought him up.

“No … at the time he was too focused on closing the deal. There was a big competitor going for the same land”

Mel wasn’t going to play interrogation with someone who was trying to wine and dine her. Right now avoidance would be her best play but James actions showed otherwise. She figured right now her best bet was to wait until the food was served and use that as an excuse to avoid talking, in the meantime she tried to stall by going to the restroom. He was a complete stranger, she didn’t even know why she agreed to this in the first place or let herself go through with it. ““Commemorate your father”, mhmm, commemorating past fathers by taking their daughters out to eat, yup sounds about right”. By the time she returned to the table the food was served.

James hadn’t touched his food yet, instead he greeted her with a chuckle. “You know, I hold nothing against your dad and especially not you, I’d be a fool to hold anything against someone like you.”

Mel just laughed, she couldn’t really provide much of a response, regardless of how much reassurance he could provide her dad was still a sensitive topic. They finished dinner and she gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him think she was trusting him. A smile here, laugh there, she even went as far as to almost hold his hand. But was she even playing the role anymore or was she letting herself believe that. This self-doubt started creeping up to her. A gentle drizzle started as they exited the restaurant, and she noticed him take off his coat.

“You know, if I were you I’d keep that on”, she said as she opened her arms to point emphasis on the rain.

“But what kind of guy would I be to leave a lady like you without a jacket in this weather”, responded James as he put it on her. “C’mon, we can wait it out on my apartment.”

They called a cab over and rode to his apartment. They entered his apartment and was pleasantly surprised to see how nicely organized and decorated it was. James left and came back with two more glasses of wine and proceeded to hand one to her. It had a particular sweet taste but didn’t particular mind it. They just sat and talked for the rest of the evening.

“You have such nice eyes, it’s a shame I had to do this I actually enjoyed your company after you started talking, but I can’t risk people questioning Evan’s death … Belladonna.”

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