The Devil's Playground
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How far would you go to be beautiful? Is it worth your life, your sanity, and your soul? Emma Decatur was a beautiful socialite. She comes from a wealthy family in New Orleans, Louisiana. On the night of her mother's death, she is brutally attacked and left for dead. She survives her attacker and lives in solitude until her sister invites her to attend her engagement announcement, a masquerade ball. Emma can hide her face to attend. She decides to go out of spite since her sister is marrying the only man Emma ever loved, Charlie Trent. What Emma did not expect to happen at the masquerade ball was to meet an unusual man that shows great interest in her and making her beautiful again. The only problem is the cost. Everything Emma holds dear in life is put to the test. Is it worth it to be beautiful again?
I sit at my dressing table, looking in the mirror. My once beautiful skin is hideous and full of scars. My long beautiful black hair is gone. My hair once was shiny and thick. Now it is brittle and falling out from the massive amounts of pain medication I have to take to get through the day.
I hear a creaking on the stairs. I look to my left to see my door opening. It is Olivia, my sister. My beautiful sister. Her skin and hair are perfect. Her body is perfect. She is perfect. How in the hell did she get in here? No one is allowed to visit me. I do not want to see my former friends or family. I prefer to be left alone.
"What do you want? How did you get in here?" I ask Olivia, turning to her just enough so she can see I am displeased with her intrusion.
She walks over to the dressing table and sits down beside me. She is too close to me. I move over, so she does not touch me. I can barely wear clothes. The pain in my skin when someone touches me is too much.
"Why do you keep this old thing?" she asks, running her hand over the top of the dressing-table that belonged to our mother and grandmother.
"It was our grandmother's, and I love it. Did you come over to ask me about my furniture choices?" I ask her.
Olivia begins to laugh. I was not trying to be funny. I don't particularly appreciate seeing her. Actually, I prefer to see no one. I stay to myself in the house since I come home from the hospital after my attack. Thank goodness I can have everything delivered to me. There is no need for me ever to leave the house.
"No, I am here because I wanted to invite you to a party," Olivia says, smiling. Her smile almost makes me sick. I wish I could still smile.
I scoff at her. I get up from the dressing table and stomp away. She knows I will not leave this house, not for her especially.
"Are you being serious? Do you really think I will leave this house?" I ask her. I cross my arms and feel a pain ripple through my skin.
"Emma, it has been a long time since this happened. Please, I want you there. I am getting married, and I want you there when we announce it," Olivia says.
"NO!" I shout. She must be entirely out of her mind if she thinks I am going out in public for her.
"Really, how can you be this way toward me. I am your sister," Olivia says. Olivia looks at me like a child begging for candy. Those puppy eyes will not work on me, sister.
"It is your fault I look like this, is it not?" I ask her. If she is going to intrude, the least I can do is remind her this is her fault.
Olivia begins to cry. Such a damn drama queen. It is her fault, and I will forever blame her for what happened to me. I was beautiful once. Look at me now; I look like I belong in a swamp.
"It is a masquerade ball; you can cover your face. Please come," Olivia begs me.
"I do not have anything to wear," I respond.
"I will send you over a dress," Olivia begs.
I sit down on the bed. Olivia, my sweet sister that I once loved so much, is getting married. She is living her life, and I stay inside our childhood home, hiding from the world.
"I can afford my own damn dress, and I do not need anything from you. I cannot wear it, and you know it. It would be too much. I have to wear things that do not irritate my skin, you know this or have you forgotten? Who is the lucky guy?" I ask her. I scold her and then change the subject. I am curious who she is marrying.
"Charlie Trent asked me to marry him," Olivia answers me. She hangs her head. Was she not going to tell me until the night of the party? What a shocker that would be to be standing there and find out your sister is marrying the only man you ever loved.
"Charlie, you are getting married to Charlie?" I ask her. This bitch, not only did she destroy my life, but she is taking Charlie from me.
"Yes, we have been seeing each other for a while now. I love him, Emma," Oliva says. Olivia looks down at the floor. She knows this is wrong. She knows I loved him.
"I did too, once upon a time, or have you forgotten that too!” I say to her loudly.
"I did not mean to get involved with him. We started seeing each other after .... " Oliva stops.
"After my attack," I say.
"Yes, we were both lonely. You shut everyone out, and we leaned on each other. It happened. We both love you and want you to be a part of our lives," Olivia says.
I sit on the bed, looking at her. If she wants me at her party, fine, I will go. I want everyone to see me and see that he abandoned me for my sister after what happened to me. I want everyone to know how sorry both of them are for this.
"I understand why you are not coming, and I will not ask again. Next time, I will call before I come by to see you," Olivia says as she walks out the door.
I stand to stop her.
"Wait, Olivia. I will come to your party. I would be delighted to be there for you and Charlie," I say as sweetly as I can muster.
"Thank you, Emma," Oliva says. She wraps her arms around me to hug me.
"Stop!" I scream.
"I am sorry, I forgot," Olivia says.
My body begins to burn all over. I can feel every nerve in my body. I begin to wail and scream out in pain. The nerves are on fire from the touch! I cannot breathe. I want to die, and I want this to stop. This bitch touched me on purpose!
"What should I do?" Olivia begins to panic.
I look up to her as I bend over in pain. "Just leave!" I scream.
Olivia runs out of my bedroom. I hear her talking to my housekeeper. Bea comes running up to my room frantically.
"Miss Emma, I got your pain meds," she says, handing me two pain pills and a glass of water.
My housekeeper is an older woman. She is the only person I allow into the house. She has been a great help to me over the years. She takes my deliveries, and if I cannot get it delivered, she picks it up. She handles my groundkeepers or any workers that come here. No one sees me, only her.
I take the pain meds from her and a glass of water. I groan as I move back to the bed. "Please make sure the door is locked. I do not want anyone, not even my sister surprising me again," I say.
"I am sorry she was very persistent. I thought it would do you some good," Bea says.
"The only thing that will do me any good is a stiff drink," I say.
"Would you like to take it on the patio?" Bea asks.
"It is too hot, and the sun will burn me quickly. I guess I could come down to the library. Are there any workers here today?" I ask.
"No, just you and I," Bea says.
I hand her back the glass. "Keep it that way, please," I say to her sternly.
"Yes, ma'am. I was not trying to meddle or cause you distress, but she is your sister," Bea says.
"Yes, my sister, who is marrying the only man I ever loved. She is living her life while I am trapped in this house," I say.
Bea walks toward the bed. "Get out of this bed and go to the library, read a book, look out the window or drink until you no longer feel anything, but stop feeling sorry for yourself, Emma. You are not trapped in this house. You have made yourself a prisoner," Bea says.
Bea leaves me alone in my room. I wait until the pain medicine kicks in before making my way out of the bed to the library. Maybe a stiff drink and a book will help me forget my sister getting married to Charlie.
I walk down to the library after the pain medicine kicks in, and I can no longer feel anything. I take my time going down the stairs. The hardest part of leaving my room is walking past the only downstairs bedroom that belonged to my mother and that idiot she married.
The storm is rolling in hard. I am exhausted after burying my mother. It seems like everything fell on me to take care of after she died. I planned the funeral alone. Olivia walked around crying and collecting sympathy, but I, on the other hand, was forced to take care of everything.
My mother's husband, Jimmy, refused to help with anything after finding out everything went to me. What did he expect? This house has been in my family for generations. Of course, it would go to me. It is not like Olivia was left out. Mother left her enough money to care for herself.
Jimmy is furious and acting crazy. He wants the house and her money. Unfortunately, he gets nothing bu
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