~ Keeping Up Appearances ~
by Eveh

One Big Disclaimer: Okay this first and foremost is part of the accident series, however this part needs a lot of explanation. Um?actually I think it's not that confusing but just in case things need to be cleared up: First of all this is the end as in nothing else will be written about this family (unless I get persuaded otherwise but I don't think that's happening). I hope this will answer some of the gaps I've left in this series since Tori has been the only one telling it. I'll say that this part does have a lot of Angst in it especially towards the end. I suggest you only read this if you've read all the other Accident stories first. If you need to know which ones those are then e-mail me and ask. I won't be angry?honest. Okay so other then all that, I hope you enjoy it and if you've got questions, comments or just want to chat contact me at xengab01@hotmail.com

I want to make it very clear that I love my family very much. I also want to make it clear that I love my friends very much. And of course why I just made those points clear, I would just like to mention that sometimes being with family and friends gets to be a little stifling.

The honeymoon was over and Talli and I were forced to return to the real world. I had a newborn baby to take care of and I had school to attend on the side. Life was demanding that I stand up and do what I needed to get done in order to secure a relatively happy future for my family and myself.

For the first time in a long time I felt like I wanted to run away. I had that juvenile need to just pack a bag and get in my car and take off. Didn't matter where I was going as long as the direction was away from family and friends.

I guess that some people would call my reaction stress related, and I probably couldn't disagree. I mean here I was hardly out of my teenage years and I was a mother and a wife. Nothing past or present could have really prepared me for that. I mean, of course now that I look back it's so easy for me to ask myself what the hell I was thinking about when I agreed to marry Talli and decided to keep my baby and decided to stay in school and decided to walk the road that my life had been on.

I don't really regret the decision I made at that time, there's no reason for me to do that now. But, when the honeymoon was over I wasn't really regretting the life I had chosen, I was more just cursing myself for being young and naive; as if these were circumstances that I could control.

One thing that I will always be thankful for is the help that Sam and Dana provided me during that time. I really don't think I could have made it through the new marriage and parenthood without them. I'm very glad that Dana was able to always tell when I needed a break, because she would just come to my home, pick me up and take me somewhere to release the stress that would be building throughout the week.

Something that some people might find odd about me is that I never really worried about how life was going to be for me when I came back from Colorado. I just did what I had to do and marched on. I took all the hits I needed to take, but I really didn't let anything faze me; but life eventually slowed down. Especially with Talli in my life, things just started to become easier; and since things got easier, I had time to sit down and take a breath and panic.

I had time to ask myself why I thought I could be a parent at my age. I had time to ask myself why I agreed to get married, even though I loved the man with all my heart and soul and it would literally hurt me physically if I couldn't be with him. I had time to just sit back and wonder how I ended up with the life I suddenly had.

Normally, well actually ever since I was very young, I never really questioned my own abilities. Granted, my biological parents weren't the best in the world and didn't instill the value of believing in oneself on me, but I never really questioned myself. I wasn't a very insecure person--at least I never thought myself to be--but all the sudden a very big bout of insecurity flooded over me and I let myself be scared.

Before, I don't think I could really allow myself to fear anything. I just had to deal with what happened and move on, because that was my life. I found that, with Talli in my life, I gave myself permission to feel scared about the what if's of life and the uncertainty of the whole thing.

I remember late at night after Talli and I had settled into the new routine of our new life together I was holding Ryan in the nursery letting her sleep in my arms. Talli came up behind me and placed his hand on my shoulder blade and leaned over me so that he too could gaze at our sleeping child.

"What are you doing up?" Talli asked me softly. "I didn't hear Ryan cry."

Before I answered him I gently placed Ryan back in her crib. "Do you think I'm a good mother?"

Talli looked at me oddly but hurried to reassure the small bit of insecurity that I had let show. "Of course you are, Tor. You're a great mother actually."

"How can you know that?" I rested my hands on the edge of the crib and leaned down to gain a better view of our daughter why she slept. "How can you know that, especially when I don't?"

My husband maneuvered so that he could hug me from behind. "I know that because every time that little girl looks at you she does so with nothing but admiration and love. You don't have to ask me about how good a mother you are, because what I say may never soothe your curiosity, just look at Ryan and you'll know."

I let my head drop forward to where my chin was almost touching my collarbone. "You ever get a little overwhelmed by all this?"

"Honey," I could hear the smile in Talli's voice, "there hasn't been a time since I've meet you that I haven't felt a little overwhelmed."

I took my eyes away from the baby and looked to get a good look at my husband. "What do you mean by that?"

"Tori I don't know if you know this or not, but when you walk into somebody's life people just know you're there to rock their world."


"You just demand of the people around you that they be their best, because you don't allow anything less than your best to show. It's a little overwhelming at times, but I would never want you to change. Tori, you make me a better person...it might seem a little sappy, but it's the truth."

Yes it was sappy, but it was really sweet too. I mean, how often do people tell you that you make them a better person. To affect someone in that way, well that's pretty awesome...for lack of a better term.

"Let's go back to bed." I really didn't know what to tell him after what he had just professed so bed seemed like a good idea. I needed to get all the sleep I could get, it being a rarity at that time.


The only way that I could really get over my little insecurities was to just ignore them. Normally, I wouldn't advise people to ignore their problems, because ignoring something doesn't mean it'll go away, but for me it was the best thing I could have done. I actually implemented the theory that if you act like you believe in something long enough then eventually you'll actually believe. I would just believe that all the choices I made were the right ones...and in the end it worked.

I started to become an adult, not just an adult in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. Scary thought that was, but I knew it was bound to happen eventually. Victorianna Marcus had to grow up; really grow up. I couldn't be a person mature for my age; I just had to be mature because that's what my life demanded.

I especially think that my new level of maturity showed when it was posted on every conceivable news/gossip service that I had a child and had gotten married to poor American Indian man who was most likely leeching off of me. When I first read an article eluding to that insane notion, I didn't necessarily go into a blind rage--I just went into a rage--but I went to a person that I knew would print my side of the story without making any assumptions...Michelle.

Did it physically hurt me to go to her and give her the story that would hand her a few brilliant accolades on a silver platter? Yes. Yes it did. Don't get me wrong, I liked Michelle...actually I really didn't like her all that much, but I dealt with her being in my life. The simple fact of the matter was just that she was part of my family because Kel was a part of my family. Michelle would get all the luxuries afforded that title and one such luxury was my complete trust.

I didn't just call her up, though, and say, "hey I'm going to let you tell my story". I actually went to her place of employment-which made me feel like I needed to immediately take a very long very hot shower-and approached her like I would have any other reporter whom I was making a career for.

Michelle of course was surprised to see me; we really didn't doing any extracurricular activities together unless Kel was present. Michelle was avoiding me, actually, because of what had happened the last time she had confronted me. I think she felt kind of bad about the whole putting me into early labor thing; and in a totally immature way I was glad for that.

The first words Michelle uttered were, "What are you doing here?" It was a reasonable query.

I took a look around me clearly noticing the stares that I was getting my every person in the building who noticed who I was. I ignored the stares and focused my attention in on my best friend's girlfriend. "I'd like to take you out to lunch."

Michelle, for whatever reason, looked down at the watch on her wrist. "It's only nine-thirty in the morning."

You'd figure she would have just jumped out of her chair and accept the offer just because of the uniqueness of my request. "Then we'll get breakfast."

"I don't want you to think that I'm not?honored by the invitation, but what is this about?"

"It's about us going out to get something to eat so that we may discuss certain business matters that I find are very imperative, and I do not wish to carry on such a conversation here because I refuse to be stared at the entire time and frankly I don't really feel all that comfortable in a place that has a picture of me hung on the wall," I pointed to the picture I had noticed when I walked in that was bigger than had a right to be with a target painted where my face was, "with a bulls eye mark on it."

Michelle had at least the decency to blush. "I'm sorry about that. I did tell you that we had your picture hung up here."

That she did. "And that has truly made all the difference," I smiled so widely that my face hurt but despite the effort I put into the expression I think it didn't come off as sincere.

We stared at each other for a moment. I would call it a small battle of wills, but it seemed she was the only one battling. I refused to play a part in any kind of game where there was no prize that I wanted to win. As far as I was concerned Michelle was not going to be doing me the favor.

"Where do you want to go eat?" Michelle asked me after a decent amount of time.

I smiled at her again, this time it being mildly sincere. "We should go to my apartment. Talli is at class and Mama took the baby for the day."

It's always best to be on home turf when divulging secrets. At least that was always my preference because if anything got too heated you could always get the juvenile satisfaction of kicking the other party out of your residence. It's really just all about having power and I didn't really like being any place that would hold power over me when I was talking to Michelle. The public eye was too watchful for me to be giving an interview to Michelle.

"Fine. Let's go. I have to be back by noon."

After she had said "fine" I stopped listening and turned around to leave. Whether Michelle knew it or not she was now on my time. On the surface she was doing me a favor, but in reality I was the favor giver. Odd term that, but true nonetheless.

We eventually reached my apartment and I decided to skip the whole lunch aspect of the invitation. I didn't want to hang out with Michelle and, frankly, I just had better things to do.

"So what is it you want with me, Tori?"

With her, I really wanted nothing. "You have a tape recorder or at least a pen and paper with you, right?"

Michelle looked at me oddly for a moment, but nodded. "Of course I do." She reached down into her purse and pulled out a small black tape recorder. I gave it a dirty look.

"Almost two years ago I went to college for the first time. I was happy with my life at school, but-I find-my tastes of happiness don't always last as long as I would like them to. Now, in no way, do I mean that I am not happy with my life, because I am; but as far as my happiness in school?it was just too perfect to last."

When I began talking Michelle looked at me like I had actually grown a set of horns or something, but eventually she caught on to what was going on and immediately hit the record button on her black recorder and hurriedly reached into her purse and brought out a pen with black ink and a pad.

"It is not a big secret," I continued, "that my roommate was raped and I.." I tripped on my words even though I tried my hardest not to. Unfortunately, it seems one cannot always control their emotions. "I heard her screaming while it happened and immediately left to help her. I walked in on what was happening and immediately went to the bastard, I refuse to say his name, and we began to fight. I'd like to say that everything went into a haze after that, and maybe while it was happening I did go into a haze, but I remember everything perfectly now. The fight ended with me smacking the bastard upside the head with a dresser drawer and apparently the blow killed him. I remember the sound the wood made striking his head and I even remember the look in his eyes when he noticed what had happened.

"I went to the hospital with my roommate and while I was by her bedside I found out that the man who had assaulted her had died from the blow I gave him. That began my time of being out of peace with myself, but I didn't realize that then, I just took up a position next to Latrice and became her rock, for lack of a better term."

"How did your parents respond to what had happened to you. Surely they realized that you weren't exactly yourself?" I wasn't sure whether Michelle asked the question because it was a good reporter question or because she cared.

"My parents always seem to know everything about me, even before I do. I can only think of one instance where they have been wrong, but that was even a close call."

Michelle nodded and signaled for me to continue.

"I only truly dealt with killing that man after I had come home for spring break. Kel really helped me get through that time as well. She and I actually got closer that week than we had ever ventured to do before. That was the first time she ever told me that she was in love with me," Michelle winced at my admission and I got a small bit of pleasure from it. "I was actually so clueless that her telling me she was actually in love with me, was a surprise. When I look back now I wonder how I couldn't have seen it. Of course, Dana didn't really notice either so I don't feel that bad. Sam knew, though, but she has always had a good intuition about such things. I swear she knew about Talli before I did.

"But anyway, I came back to school after spring break and when I walked into my dorm room I was met with the image of Latrice's dead body and a suicide note addressed to me. Everything that I had accomplished during spring break flew out the window and I was left broken. Her father blamed me for what had happened. He said I hadn't been there for her. Eventually, I figured out that there was no blame that could be placed on my shoulders and that was an important revelation, but at the time of her death, I was guilt ridden and I was angry. I was angry probably more at her than anyone. I sort of looked at it like being another useless death.

"That was the first time I had every truly thought about committing suicide myself. I've never admitted that to anyone including myself until very recently, but we often deny the things that scare us the most."

"Death scares you?" Michelle asked bluntly.

"Nah," I shook my head. "I can't be scared of death since it's been such a constant threat in my life, but I can be scared of having the power of my own death in my hands. Suicide gives one true since of control in an uncontrollable world. I knew that if I ever decided to take my own life that I would be the one who had the ultimate say on whether I lived or died. It gave me an amazing sense of control."

"It sounds like you've actually thought about this a lot." It was a statement not a question.

"Honestly? I thought about it the most after I had run away, but we're not to that part are we?" I smiled but it wasn't a smile of mirth. "After Latrice's funeral I finished school, and did relatively well surprisingly, but when I came home I felt like I had lost all my control. I had used up all my energies in just finishing my classes that I didn't have any left when I came home. Richard, an old boyfriend, came back into my life one day, and that just happened to be the same day Kel demanded that I clarify what type of relationship we had.

"She kissed me that day and with that she scared the hell out of me, not because it was some woman kissing me, but rather because I actually felt something when she did and I kind of liked it."

"Then why did you run away from her?" Apparently Michelle had heard this story before. That kind of surprised me especially since I didn't think Kel would feel comfortable talking about it with her current girlfriend.

"It was something out of my control," was my simple answer. "My world was spinning and I was ready to get off the ride so I went home and when Dana asked me if I wanted to 'talk' about it, I packed my bags and left. Leaving or staying was something that I could control."

"So you chose to leave?"

"Just as fast as my legs could carry me. It was a mistake to leave, I'll readily admit that, but-even though at first I regretted it-I don't regret it now. My time away was very difficult. I had to deal with a world that I hated being a part of and I had to deal with a person that I hated to be. Before, I said that was how I learned about suicide giving you a sense of control, and that's when I found this out. Things weren't under my control while I was in Colorado; they were even more out of control. I drank too much and I used sex as a release for some of the pain I was feeling.

"I ended up loosing my virginity to some girl that came to a party I had thrown. It was my first one night stand."

Michelle looked honestly flummoxed by my declaration. "You slept with a woman?"

I nodded. "Sure did. She wasn't really the only one though. It was by pure chance that I ended up in the hands of Jose. He took control of me and I liked that. He had control, and I sought control. The relationship ended badly, the one's where a person in the relationship is being beat up on a constant basis usually do. He got me pregnant and I found myself in control of another life. Ryan gave me the strength to leave Jose. I got away from him, I refuse to get into the particulars about how, because it isn't pleasant, but I got away?and I got away alive. That's saying something."

"So after Colorado, you immediately decided to come home?"

"I came to the place I belonged and the place where I felt loved. I called my sister Audrey first because she is ultimately my best friend. She gets that position by default because she is my sister and understands what I've gone through in my life because she's been there for it all, which is actually more than you can say about my parents. I told her about everything that happened to me in Colorado, more than I have divulged to anyone else, actually."

"Even more than your parents?" Michelle seemed surprised that I actually didn't tell my parents everything.

"Yes." I saw another question coming but held up my hand to forestall it. "There are some things that I just don't want to repeat more than once. There are things that I don't want to even say once. My parents know the basics of what happened and I'm just guessing that more then likely as time passes by they will learn more about what happened to me."

"How do you think they would feel about you telling them on the basis of just 'as time goes by'?"

I smirked. "Ask Dana about that?"

Michelle smiled. "I'll do that." She made a note on her pad then looked back at me obviously expecting me to continue speaking.

"Well, I came home pregnant but not really found. I was still lost, I just didn't know why. I told Kel that I just wanted a friendship and I told Richard, who has a knack for coming into my life at rather inopportune moments, that all I wanted in my life was friendship. So, I was just a big ole' friendship fool. I went on with my life doing what I had to do to make sure that my life and baby's life would be a good life.

"Talli then came into my life and introduced me to feelings that went beyond friendship. His soul called to mine because we understood each other. I didn't care where he came from and I didn't care about any of his past, I just cared about him. He felt the same for me and low and behold, we got married." I lifted up my left hand to show off my wedding band.

"So, what you're telling me is that Talli allowed you to find yourself?"

I let out a bark of laughter. "No," I answered obviously unexpectedly. "I'm still lost. I'm not completely sure with what I want to do with my life, but I do have a balance now that I didn't have before. I guess you could say that before everything was in a haze. Every path that was open to me was fuzzy, but Talli helped me clear up the haze, so now I can see the roads I can take a lot clearer than I could before."

"So you married Talli because you love him, not because he is using you?" She was just quoting the headlines that had brought me to her. Michelle knew better than that.

"Talli and I have made arrangements as far as our wealth goes. He doesn't have any access to my money, but that's not because that's the way I want it. I could care less about money, I've learned too much about life to care about money, but that's the way he wanted it. Talli wants to make his own way in this life and I'm not going to do anything that will inhibit him. We got married because we love each other and because we want our daughter to grow up in a two-parent household. Plus, I just really wanted to marry him."

Michelle smiled, again. "I understand that, but there's still that question hanging out there that has to be answered. You slept with women before and apparently you had no aversion to it, so??"

"So, I love being with my husband and that's all that should really matter. I know that and that is all I need to know and all that anyone else needs to know."

She wanted to ask another question about the subject but she held back.

"That's all I really have to say."

Michelle nodded and reached over to turn off her tape recorder. "Do you mind if I interview your parents, Talli, and your sister?"

"I would prefer that you did. My story has a lot of gaps in it and I'm not the one to fill them in."

After looking at me for a very intense five minutes Michelle finally decided on asking, "Would you mind if I did a full story on you? I mean on everything since the day you were born to your parents death to you graduating high school to now?"

"I would prefer that you did. My story has a lot gaps in it and I'm not the one to fill them in."

Michelle looked like she wanted to kiss me. "ThankYouThankYouThankYou."

I shrugged my shoulders. "It's time."

"What do you mean?"

"I think I'm finally secure enough about my life to tell the world about it. I've been thinking about it lately and I've decided it's time. It will be the first and last time that I'm completely candid about my life?at least until I die but I won't be around then to have give an interview, now will I?"

"Thank you for choosing me to do this," Michelle said sincerely. "It shows me how much you trust me, and that means a lot."

"I'm not a big fan of yours, Michelle, I won't lie about that, but I do trust you with this. You're part of the family and I'd only trust family to tell my story."

"It'll certainly be something that Ryan will always have to remember you by."

"That's true," I conceded, "but I already have something else I would prefer her to read. I have these journals that I keep. I started them before my eighteenth birthday and I've written in them pretty much ever since. That's the story of my life my daughter deserves to hear about."

I could tell Michelle was dying to ask permission to read my journals but she held off. I guess she knew by my look that my journals were strictly off limits. She stood from her seat, citing that she needed to get back to work. I stood and walked her to the door where she thanked me again and gave me an awkward hug. As we parted, I realized that I didn't hate the woman as much as I thought I did. She had her good qualities too, even if she was a reporter.

I decided to make Michelle's life easier by calling everyone that she might interview and telling them to go ahead and talk to her. I got a few objections initially, but I talked everyone into it; and they did it. Michelle actually did an excellent job in bringing the piece together. I've decided to copy some of her interviews onto this because she has given me perspectives that I haven't seen before. I've just written down what I've heard on the recordings that Michelle gave me.


Interview With Audrey Marcus (Tori's older sister)

Audrey: I want you to know that I'm not very comfortable with this. I'm only doing it because Tori talked me into it.

Michelle: I understand that. But you're not really betraying Tori by telling me anything. She wants you to talk to me.

Audrey: Doesn't mean I have to like it.

Michelle: No. But if we're going to do this then we need to start.

Audrey: Fine. Where do you want me to start?

Michelle: From the very beginning.

Audrey: Okay. When Tori was born, I didn't know about her. It was a big secret that was supposed to be kept from me so I didn't feel like my daddy didn't love me anymore. That was a really big joke, though, because Daddy didn't love me as much as he did his new child. Victorianna was the perfect baby. She came at the right time in our father's life and she wasn't part of the world that he had come from, so she was perfect in his eyes.

Michelle: You seem kind of bitter about this.

Audrey: I was. Tori got everything that I didn't. She got the full time dad, at first. She got the wonderful house and I thought that she just had the perfect life. What I didn't know back then, but what I did learn was that she actually had a worse life than I did. I had a mom who loved and cared for me, and who actually acted like my mom.

Michelle: Tori wasn't so lucky?

Audrey: My sister had to deal with being raised by nannies instead of parents. She had to maintain her perfection way beyond her birth. Her parents had some very high expectations of her and she always tried to meet them head on. Usually she would succeed because Tori doesn't accept failure, but when she failed?it was horrible.

Michelle: How so?

Audrey: She was cast aside as not being worthy of love, and every child is worthy of something so simplistic; especially from their parents. Mom saw this and took Tori away from their home when she could. She actually became very close to Tori. I think that's when I really started considering Tori my sister.

Michelle: Your mother died, what, seven years ago?

Audrey: About that, yeah. She had cancer.

Michelle: If you don't want to talk about this we don't have to. We can move on to something else. I know talking about Lindsey must be tough on you.

Audrey: ?It is. I miss her, especially when I need her advice on how to deal with my little sis'. I think I've done a pretty good job so far though; her getting pregnant and marrying at a young age not withstanding.

Michelle: So you look at yourself as a type guardian for Tori?

Audrey: I think anyone that has met Tori looks at themselves as a type guardian for her. You never really want to see her get hurt. You can't help but love her. But getting back to her childhood, she had it rough. I don't think she ever got a chance to be herself when she was with her parents. Father was really hard on her to be the smartest kid possible and her mom wanted her to be able to be the best musician around. I would have taken her away from home a lot sooner, but I didn't really have any means to support a pre-teen. Even though I may have lost my father because of it, I thank God for the accident that took her parents away from her.

Michelle: That's a rather harsh statement. Why?

Audrey: Tori was set free, and she met two people whom care more about her than life itself. She got a life that she deserves, and she wouldn't have gotten that if our father and her mother would have survived that accident. It's an unfortunate truth, but it is the truth.

Michelle: So, obviously, you think Samantha and Dana have been good for Tori.

Audrey: Good is an understatement.

Michelle: I see. (long pause) I think everyone knows about Tori's life by now. So what I want you to do is tell me about yourself.

Audrey: What do you want to know about me?

Michelle: Well so far we've focused on Tori and what she's done, but I have the feeling that a big part of who she is has to do with the people she has surrounded herself with. If I really want to get to understand her, I want to get to understand everyone around her.

Audrey: Am I the first person you have interviewed?

Michelle: Yes. Why?

Audrey: I just don't think you're going to get a lot out of Dana or really Sam for that matter.

Michelle: We'll see, but first let's see what I can get out of you.

Audrey: My life is really simplistic. I was raised in poverty even though my father was rich. I have a small sister who has a much more interesting life than I do, and I'm a doctor.

Michelle: Why did you become a doctor?

Audrey: You're not the first person to ask me that.

Michelle: And I probably won't be the last one to ask. So, why did you become a doctor; was it because of your mother?

Audrey: You know a lot of people think that, and I'd be lying to say that that wasn't part of the reason.

Michelle: But?

Audrey: But the person that actually has more to do with it than anyone is Sam.

Michelle: Samantha Evans?

Audrey: Yep her and Tori really. When I was still going through college and letting basketball rule my life and didn't have any direction Sam was there to help me find what I wanted to do with my life. One day, I was waiting for Tori to come home from school, we were supposed to go out that weekend, and Sam was home. I didn't know she'd be there. I thought she'd be working, but apparently she had the day off, and we just began talking. She asked me how life and school was going and, I don't know how she did it, but she got me talking about how much direction I didn't have in my life. I asked her how she decided to become a doctor and told me flat out she did it because that was a job her parents would approve of. She said that when she was little she wanted to become a teacher, but her father didn't want to pay for her to go to school for so long and her not get anything out of it. I guess it followed the whole, 'those who can't do, teach' theory. That's how it goes right?

Michelle: So Samantha didn't always want to be a doctor?

Audrey: I don't think so, but that's something that you would have to ask her. I just know that it wasn't her first choice in professions, at first. She told me she kind of grew to love her profession so much because it allowed her to help those who normally couldn't or wouldn't be helped otherwise. She said she liked the challenge and she liked the fact that she actually made a difference however small. If she had never become a doctor then she wouldn't have met Tori and she would have never found Dana.

Michelle: And that's what made you want to be a doctor, the idea of being able to help someone like Tori?

Yes. I was never able to save Tori from the life she had with Father and her mother, but now I at least have a chance to save the children who are crying out for help.

Michelle: Isn't it hard to have the expectation of yourself to go out and save these kids who are in less than happy homes? Don't you get worn out?

Audrey: It is hard, yes, but I have Dana and Sam to talk to if it ever gets to be too much, and of course I always have my husband and Tori. Family keeps me from being worn out because they remind me of why I need to keep on doing what I'm doing, because no matter how small I've been able to make a difference.

Michelle: Would it be fair for me to say that, in essence, when Dana and Samantha adopted Tori that they also adopted you?

Audrey: Sure. We're family. I don't call either of them Mom, because I had a Mom who I loved very much, but in a way they have served me-if not like parents-then certainly like older siblings. I was never really young enough for them to tell me what to do.

Michelle: Were you ever concerned about your sister staying with them?

Audrey: Not really. I could tell that they cared for her and that they cared for each other. That's goes a long way into making a family work.

Michelle: I know that you have to be somewhere else right now, so I'll end the questioning here for now. Would you mind answering more questions later if I come up with any?

Audrey: I told Tori that I'd just do this once for her. Plus, I've said what I have to say, but if there's something that you absolutely have to know later on then I might be persuaded to do another interview. I won't make any promises though.

Michelle: Thank you very much Audrey.

Audrey: Call me Dre. You're part of the family now.

End Interview


Now I had no clue about Sam and Audrey having this discussion about doctoring. I never knew that Sam wanted to be a teacher, but I could see how the information really wasn't that relevant now. My mama had chosen her path in this life and had followed it without really looking back. At least, I don't think she really looked back.

After Michelle had interviewed Audrey, Dre called me and told me that she had done what she had promised. I asked if it had been difficult for her and she said that it really wasn't that bad. Apparently, Michelle had shown her that she just wasn't another reporter because she had said she asked Michelle to call her Dre.

It wasn't my intention to make Michelle more a part of the family by asking her to do this small favor for me, I just wanted my story to be told and written down in a form that I didn't write. I'm not too sure how much people would just trust my view of events. I know just from reading over my past journals that there are a few things that make me wonder quite where my head was. Of course everything I write is in hindsight and hindsight does have twenty-twenty perspectives. Still, even though I try to not be biased over some things, I know that I am. It's something that just can't be helped.


Interview with Kel Wilkinson (Tori's best friend)

You can start talking whenever you like. I already have the recorder going.

Kel: This isn't going to take too long is it? I have to be back on the set in about half an hour.

Michelle: Not if you start talking.

Kel: Okay. Let's see I guess I should start with when I met Tori. It was at a gym and her mother had left her there out of some sort of game. I was amused with the whole thing really.

Michelle: Was it Dana or Sam that left her at the gym?

Kel: Dana of course. I don't think Sam would really do something like that. Dana and Tori just have that type of relationship. They're very playful.

Michelle: So when you two met at the gym did you become instant friends?

Kel: At first I thought it had to be fate. Here I was going to this gym for the first time ever, and this gorgeous girl needs a ride home. It was a perfect setup.

Michelle: Gorgeous?

Kel: Is this going to be awkward? I don't want to do it if it's awkward for you.

Michelle: I want you to tell me what happened. Don't leave anything out, because I'm trying to tell a story here and I can't do that accurately if you hold back.

Kel: This isn't something that is going to hurt us is it?

Michelle: That would be silly. Now go on.

Kel: Okay. Well, like I said I thought it was fate. We left the gym and I let her drive my car, which was something completely out of character for me because I don't let anyone drive my car except me, but on that day I must have lost my mind because I let Tori drive. She wasn't a bad driver or anything, but it was still my car. Instead of going immediately to her house, though, we decided to go out and get something to eat. My mind was thinking first date, but after we sat down to eat I figured out that this girl not only had a boyfriend, but that she could be the best friend that I'd ever have. We just clicked. We understood each other and talk came easy to us. We spent the day together and she found out I was an up and coming movie star and I figured out she was the Victoriana Elizabeth Ann Marcus.

Michelle: So it was a match made in heaven?

Kel: I wouldn't say it was a match made in heaven it was more just like a match made. I mean, even though Tori and I clicked she still had a wall up. As approachable a person Tori seems to be she really isn't, that is if you really want to know her. She wouldn't let people get close to her really, but eventually she let me in, but that was only after Richard and her had separated. Foolishly I thought that now I actually had a chance to be with this dark haired blue-eyed dark skinned girl, but I was wrong.

Michelle: How so?

Kel: Tori had her own life to deal with. Things happen in her life so quickly that it's hard to keep up with her. Before I knew it she had gone off to college and I was still shooting my movies. When I first told her that I was in love with her she wasn't ready to hear it and I knew nothing would come of it, but I just wanted her to know. Sometimes I think I tried to rush things with her, especially when I kissed her. She wasn't ready for that either. She was actually so not ready for it that she ran a few hundred miles away.

Michelle: How did you deal with that?

Kel: Mostly I blamed myself. I knew she was going through a lot then, but I wasn't listening to my head at the time. When she first left Dana called me asked me what had happened between us because Tori had just split. I told her and she told me to come see them.

Michelle: Were Dana and Sam angry with you?

Kel: Nope. They just thought that I could use somebody to talk to. We all hoped that Tori would be back that night, but she wasn't. Eventually I left them and went on with my life because I decided to stop putting my life on hold for Tori anymore.

Michelle: You were in love with her. It made sense for you to put your life on hold for her.

Kel: I don't dispute that, but I was tired of doing it. The funny thing about it all was that Tori didn't once ask me to put anything on hold for her, and she didn't expect me to, I just did it because?well I just did it.

Michelle: So what did you do while Tori was gone?

Kel: I worked and hung out with her family because they were able to fill the absence that Tori had left in my life, and they welcomed me with open arms. We all wanted Tori back, but we knew we couldn't sit around just waiting for her. We all pretty much went on with our lives.

Michelle: What was your reaction when she returned?

Kel: A small part of me hoped that maybe we could work things out, but the practical side of me had already accepted that Tori was interested in being with men and not me. I knew that when we first talked after she returned the only thing I could hope for was to be her best friend again. She actually told me that's what she needed and that's what I was determined to be.

Michelle: How did you react when you found out that Tori actually slept with women when she was away?

Kel: She did?

Michelle: She didn't tell you?

Kel: No. She didn't tell me.

Michelle: I'm sorry. I thought she had.

Kel: Well she didn't and I'm not that surprised she didn't.

Michelle: Why?

Kel: It's much easier to accept that she didn't want me because of what I am instead of who I am. None of that really matters now, though.

Michelle: Why?

Kel: We've both moved on with our lives and we've been able to become best friends again. I'll always be a little bit in love with her, but our fate was to be friends. Like I said, we were a match made.

Michelle: So, do you have anything else to say about Tori?

Kel: I love her dearly and I hope she has a long and happy life she deserves for her world to slow down.

Michelle: I don't really want to ask this, but how did you feel about Tori marrying Talli?

Kel: I love Tori dearly and I hope she has a long and happy life. She deserves for her world to slow down.

Michelle: I'm guessing that there's still some unresolved issues there?

Kel: Talli walked into Tori's life and was able to get past her walls on the first day. That made me jealous. Plus, he's Ryan's father and that's kind of a place that I had hoped to fill.

Michelle: And he got Tori.

Kel: I don't mind that as much as the fact that he gets Ryan. I'll get over it though. Tori has her life and I have mine. I'll always be a part of her life, because she told me I'm family.

End Interview

There was a lot of fall out from this interview that came to me. Kel immediately confronted me about everything that had happened in Colorado, and I was fully prepared to tell her everything, which I did. She deserved to hear everything. She asked my why I held back from telling her before and the only reason I can come up with, is because I didn't think it was at all relevant to our particular situation. I knew that I only wanted Kel to be my friend. I needed a friend after being used as a punching bag.

I could only hope that Kel understood that, and I was lucky enough that she did. Of course, Kel is my best friend which automatically means that she understands such things. We've been best friends for over twenty years now. We understand each other and we haven't talked about us being together since the day she came to see me after the interview. Things just happened how they happened. I can't say that if circumstances had been different what would have happened, because circumstances weren't different. We dealt how we dealt and there's no going back in time to say something I should have said or do something I should have done.

Are there regrets? Not really. I can't live with regrets. I don't find that sort of thing very healthy.


Interview With Talli (Tori's Husband)

Okay Talli you can begin whenever you feel like it.

Talli: I really just want to say that I'm glad Tori is giving you this chance to prove yourself to her.

Michelle: I wasn't aware that I had anything to prove.

Talli: How's the air on your world? Do you find it a little thin?

Michelle: Don't knock my world, mister. It's the only place I've got where I'm not feeling the pressure of Tori's gaze watching me.

Talli: I'm sorry about that. I know it's probably hard for you, but Tori's Tori, and you didn't really respect that when you confronted her that first time about her little issue with the news media.

Michelle: Yeah well?lessons been learned. Now I'm just trying to make up for it. So why don't you help me by telling me how you became so infatuated with 'Her Greatness'.

Talli: Hey, remember you are talking about my wife.

Michelle: Sorry.

Talli: I'm sure you are. But I became infatuated with Tori because I laid eyes on her.

Michelle: Love at first sight?

Talli: Lust at first sight. Tori is a very beautiful woman. I don't think any man, gay or straight, could ignore that fact. You probably can't even ignore it.

Michelle: No comment.

Talli: Thought so.

Michelle: So what turned lust into love?

Talli: The first time she looked at me, really looked at me. I could just feel something within me stir and I knew that she would be the woman that I would spend the rest of my life with.

Michelle: That's very romantic.

Talli: It is and it surprised the hell out of me. I didn't want a family and I didn't want to get married any time soon when I first started school here. I had a clear set goal of what I wanted out of life and I didn't want to change it for anything. But obviously my plans did change, and now I have a wonderful daughter and a beautiful wife. There could be worse things.

Michelle: It seems that you have readily accepted Ryan as your daughter. Was that hard for you to do at first?

Talli: No. Not at all. It was much harder for me to accept everything about Tori's past and who she is.

Michelle: So you know everything about her?

Talli: Tori never wants me to be surprised about something somebody might say to me. She wants me to be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to her. So, yes, she has told me everything. She told me about her childhood, her adolescence, her college experiences, and her Colorado experiences. The woman has been through a lot of things in her life, and that can be kind of intimidating.

Michelle: How have you dealt with her past?

Talli: I haven't really had to deal with it, I've just had to accept it. She has to deal with her own issues and all I can do is sit back and let her know that I'm here for her if she ever needs me.

Michelle: How about your past? Why don't you tell me about that?

Talli: I was raised in an impoverished lifestyle and I got away from it. I don't really want to subject my family to anything negative by doing this interview so I won't talk that much about my childhood. I'll only say that I love my mother very much and I'm very happy that she has understood my need to be something greater than what the life that was set out for me offered.

Michelle: You want to be greater than what the life set out for you offered, how do you plan on doing that?

Talli: School and hard work.

Michelle: You don't plan on using any affiliation you have with Tori to help you along?

Talli: I don't see how Tori can 'help me along'. She's my wife. The only thing she can do is support me and help me out when I need it.

Michelle: You almost sound like you don't have a true grasp of exactly the prestige your wife has.

Talli: Was that a question?

Michelle: You do know that your wife is worth well over half a billion dollars, don't you, and that she's well established in what many people would call the inner circles of the business world.

Talli: Victorianna and I don't discuss her wealth often. There is no need for us to.

Michelle: You mean you don't talk about the fact that your wife has the majority of stock in her father's computing company which is one of the largest in the world?

Talli: Michelle we don't talk about it. We don't talk about money or exactly what businesses she's running or semi-running. Do I know that my wife is rich? Yes I do. Do I know that she has influences in business I've never heard of? Yes I do. Do I know that she would throw every single penny away she has in order to be able to live her life without the shadow of her parents' legacy following her? Yes. I. Do.

Michelle: How many people do you think sympathize with the fact that your wife is a millionaire and feels the pressures of having too much money? That's not an everyday problem. We don't often read about people who are starving because they have too much money or about people living on the streets because they have too much money.

Talli: Tori doesn't want anyone's sympathy and she doesn't even strive to get the world to understand anything about her. She let's tabloids write what they want about her and she turns the other way, most of the time. Tori only came forward this time because every once in a while she likes picking up a newspaper and reading the truth and not just another lie. And as far as the pressures of money, well she feels it but she doesn't complain about it and she doesn't ask for someone else to take care of it. She carries that load all on her own and is prepared to do so until the day she dies.

Michelle: If she really doesn't want all the money and responsibility why doesn't she just give it all away?

Talli: Tori has given a lot of her money away, but I don't know how much and I don't know who to. I don't understand why she doesn't give it all away. That is something you have to ask Tori. Although, I don't think she'd agree to talk about it.

Michelle: Why wouldn't she?

Talli: She doesn't talk about it. She doesn't talk about how famous she is. She doesn't talk about the money she has. She doesn't talk about all the people in high society that she knows. She doesn't talk about those things and everyone respects that about her.

Michelle: Why do you think she doesn't talk about it?

Talli: Again that's something you'd have to ask her to know for sure, but I'd say it's because she doesn't want to place herself above anyone else. Just look at the people she surrounds herself with. For the most part they're not rich and famous, except Kel of course. I mean, she tries to live her life the way she wants and doesn't want to live it in a mansion full with servants where fine dinner parties are held every second Saturday of the month with new surprising themes. That's just not Tori.

Michelle: No I don't think it is.

End Interview


It's not. When I lived in a mansion I thought it was too big. I didn't like the fact that I could live in a place where I didn't see the people I lived with on a daily basis because it's like we lived in different time zones while essentially occupying the same space. Never liked my parents' mansion and never liked any other that I have stepped in before. They're just not my style.

One of the first assets that I got rid of when I took over my parents' estate was the mansion. I sold the house for an inordinate amount of money and haven't thought twice about it. The place wasn't a home to me. I didn't have a lot of emotional attachment to the place so it wasn't that hard for me to get rid of it. The money I made from selling the place went towards a charity that shall remained unnamed. They were very thankful for the money and send me holiday cards all the time now. It's great, really.

Michelle was wrong when she gave Talli a quote of how much money I had. I don't know where she got her numbers but they've been greatly understated. With how certain investments have gone in the recent years and other such avenues my wealth has risen drastically. Talli doesn't need to know that and neither does anyone else, really.

I don't like talking about money, or at least talking about my money. I have it and I manage it, that's all anyone really needs to know. That's all I really need to know. I handle everything, even though there are people out there that are helping me out, I couldn't survive without them. I'm not a professional when it comes to investments or managing businesses even though my father made sure that I was taught everything I needed to know about his businesses and the stocks I held. He didn't want his daughter to be ignorant in anything, he wouldn't allow it. I still don't know if I should hate him or love him for that.

Why don't you just give all the money away to some charity?

I ask myself that at least a thousand times a day. The answer I always come up with is that I can't. Remember that clause in my parents' will about me finishing school or I loose everything and certain organizations gain everything? Well also in that little clause it states that I can spend or give away any of original amount that was given to me upon my eighteenth birthday, unless I decide to not finish school wherebyin the money will be distributed to the various organizations, which I would much rather not have access to these funds.

Most of what all this involves is a bunch of lawyer talk that I prefer not to try and even repeat. Once I finish school I can give every single penny I have away and not have to worry about any of this crap ever again. Will I give it all away when I finish school? I don't know. I choose not to look that far into my own future.


Interview with Samantha Evans (Tori's Mama)

Tori's not going to be here for the interview, is she?

Michelle: No. She doesn't really need to be. I'd like you to just say whatever you have to say without worrying about how she'll react.

Sam: I never worry about how that girl reacts.

Michelle: Why not?

Sam: She's a pretty level-headed individual. She won't lash out at you for your words.

Michelle: Well that's sort of surprising especially since she's run away on, what, two occasions?

Sam: Tori has this threshold of crap that she can take at any particular time. The threshold is high, but you have to be careful that when you tell her something that's going to rock her world that she's not already at the threshold. She holds a lot of stuff in.

Michelle: Why do you think she does that?

Sam: I'd say she got it from her Mom, but she was like that before even Dana could have influenced her that much.

Michelle: I really don't want to shift subjects on you too much, but would you mind telling about the first time you met Tori.

Sam: The first time? Like when she came into the E.R. or when she first woke up and I told her that her parents had died.

Michelle: From when she first came into the E.R. So many people already know about how you both bonded immediately upon her waking, but what made you sit there at her bedside waiting for her to wake up.

Sam: When Tori was rolled into my E.R. I worked on her like she was any other patient. I patched her up and sent her up to the O.R. just like I would anyone else. But Tori isn't really like everyone else. There was a point when I was working on her that she opened her blue eyes and looked at me. Her eyes were filled with pain and they were demanding me to take it away. Again, this isn't the first time something like this had happened to me, I'm a doctor people look at me to ease their suffering; but it was different with Tori because she sucked me into her world and made me become a part of it.

Michelle: How did she do that?

Sam: She does it by making you believe you're looking at her heart when you're really not seeing anything but what she wants you to.

Michelle: You make her sound like she's a very calculating individual.

Sam: That's because she is. She stays ten steps ahead of everyone else in this world, except Dana and me, of course.

Michelle: Why do you think she does that?

Sam: Stay ten steps ahead of everyone? Well I'd say it's because she doesn't want to be hurt or controlled like she was when she was with her biological parents.

Michelle: Audrey told me that she was almost thankful for the loss of Tori's parents, do you feel the same way?

Sam: That's a tricky question. If I say that I am thankful for it then I'm looked at as a monster and if I say that I'm not thankful for it then I'm looked at like a person who doesn't care for my child, and I do care for my child, Michelle.

Michelle: Are you thankful for the accident?

Sam: I am thankful that I get to call Tori my daughter. I am not thankful for the loss of two lives, but things happen and sometimes we all turn out the better from them.

Michelle: You've done a lot of interviews haven't you, Samantha?

Sam: From the moment Tori accepted me into her life I have been put into the spotlight. I'm not really that unpracticed in this particular field.

Michelle: How do you feel about that?

Sam: About being in the spotlight?

Michelle: Yes. How has that effected your life? I mean we don't really know that much about your life before Tori, so how has this world of Tori's affected you?

Sam: I was raised in a family with a mom and a dad and two sisters, both younger. I had wonderful opportunities given to me throughout my life, but I wasn't a happy person. My father, as you probably know, is a campaign adviser for one of the most conservative representatives of a state and he didn't want me to be anything but his successful daughter and up until the time I decided to be with Dana I was what he wanted. He couldn't handle my relationship with her so my family broke all contact with me. Being brought into Tori's world hasn't affected my life in any way remotely negative. Accepting who I am and my family's conservative ideals is what affected my life the most. Tori brought into my life my greatest love and my greatest joy.

Michelle: You mean she brought you Dana and your daughter, Riana?

Sam: No. Tori brought me Dana and gave me my family, she's included in that family part.

Michelle: Are you saying that you wouldn't have met Dana if it weren't for Tori? You both did and still do work in the same hospital.

Sam: Dana would have left the hospital if it weren't for Tori and I would have left that night and gone home alone.

Michelle: Why don't you tell me about your first meeting with Dana?

Sam: It was late the night of the accident, actually early morning, and I walked into ICU and found Dana standing vigil over Tori's bedside. Tori was actually awake at the time, but I don't think she was very cognizant of what was going on around her. I only came in at the end of their conversation but I heard Dana tell Tori, "I promise that I'll only get better if you do."

Michelle: What did that mean?

Sam: Dana was a very different person back then, as was I. I can't tell you about Dana's life, because it's not my place to do so. I can only tell you about my own.

Michelle: Then why don't you tell me about your own? How different a person were you?

Sam: Well I hid from the humanity by burying myself into my work. I knew that if I was open about my sexuality then I could bring problems to me in the hospital and that my parents would disown me. I didn't allow myself to care for anyone longer then it took me to stitch them up, but when Tori came and Dana followed with her, I couldn't help but get involved. I fell in love with the woman who would stand over Tori's bed and I realized that life was just too short to hide from the world. Tori taught me that. She had lost her parents and her own survival had been questionable and she was only twelve.

Michelle: Surely you've seen other kids laying in hospital beds fighting for their lives. What was so special about Tori?

Sam: Why do we respond to certain people the way we do? I don't know. Tori was there at the right time and was the right person. Plus, she had an absolutely gorgeous woman standing at her bedside.

Michelle: So it was love at first sight for you Dana?

Sam: No. It was just friendship and mutual understanding at first sight. We weren't officially together until the day Tori asked me if I was seeing anyone.

Michelle: Seems like she had good timing?

Sam: I'd rather think that she's just very intuitive. She just knew the time to ask me if I was seeing anyone.

Michelle: And you told her, obviously, that you were seeing Dana Everett, her surgeon.

Sam: I did eventually, yes. At first I was very nervous about telling her, because she would be the first person that I "came out" to, but she didn't disappoint me. I think she had some problems at first with the concept of Dana and I being together, but she worked past them.

Michelle: How do you mean?

Sam: Tori probably doesn't think she was as obvious as she was, but she actually cringed, at first, every time she saw Dana and I together. It didn't surprise me all that much, I knew how conservative her father was.

Michelle: Ryan Marcus was conservative?

Sam: You know, it always surprises me on how little people really know about Tori's biological parents. But in answer to your question, yes. Ryan Marcus was conservative. He believed in Black rights and all that, but he really wasn't that big on alternative lifestyles and immigrants; which has always surprised me since his wife was from Spain.

Michelle: How did you know so much about Ryan Marcus?

Sam: Well he was a very public figure and I actually listened to what he said not just what I wanted to hear. He didn't really hide all his views very well. I'm not saying that he didn't do good things for the community, but he still wasn't one of my favorite men in the world.

Michelle: You act like you actually met him.

Sam: I did.

Michelle: You did?

Sam: My family went to one function of his or another.

Michelle: Did you meet her mother as well?

Sam: I did. She was a very talented woman.

Michelle: Does Tori know that you met her parents?

Sam: We've never talked about it. I'm not sure if she remembers the night or not.

Michelle: Tori was there as well? You met her before the night of the accident?

Sam: You sound so surprised. Yes, I met Ryan, Antoinette, and Tori all on the same night. They were actually greeting all their guests for the evening and my family was in that category of guests. Tori was really young at the time, though. I think she was only seven or eight. She was the perfect hostess, but she didn't stay at the party that long. She was taken upstairs early that evening. I remember watching her go up the stairs with some woman, not her mother, and she was pulling at the beautiful dress that she was wearing. By the time she reached the top of the stairs the dress was already half off. I envied her, at the time, because I very much wanted to follow her upstairs and take off my own restrictive clothing.

Michelle: So you don't think that Tori remembers the evening?

Sam: I was one face amongst at least a hundred. I wouldn't expect her to remember just another guest who she said a brief hello to.

Michelle: So you didn't talk to Tori for the rest of the night?

Sam: I did. I followed her upstairs-- it was at least half an hour later. I wanted to get away from the party and the people. I wandered up the stairs and was looking around the second floor when I saw a light on at the end of one of the many hallways of their home. I went towards the light-not in the death type way-but I went towards the light and looked inside the room. On the floor was this little girl laying flat down on her back, with her PJ's on throwing a small rubber ball up and down in her hands. She knew immediately when I walked into the room. Tori turned her head and instead of throwing the ball up like she had been doing she threw it at me and to my complete surprise I caught it.

Michelle: Did she say anything to you?

Sam: Yeah. She said, "Party's boring isn't it? I'm glad I'm not an old person, like you, because they have to stay at the party". I don't know if you know this, but Tori really isn't that much younger than I am. Sure, I'm old enough to be her mother, but I would have had to have her when I was sixteen. So, if she was seven or eight when we happened to meet at this party then that would mean I was only twenty-three or twenty-two and by no means did I consider myself old.

Michelle: Children's perception of old and adults perception of old is vastly different, you know.

Sam: Yes it is. I don't dispute that, but when Tori said it she had this twinkle in her eyes that told me immediately she had a very dry sense of humor.

Michelle: So she was just playing with you?

Sam: Yep.

Michelle: So what did you do?

Sam: I threw the ball back at her, which she caught, and went further into the room so that I could take a seat next to her on the floor.

Michelle: Then what happened?

Sam: You ask a lot of questions, you know. I'm going to tell you what happened, I don't need prompting every two seconds.

Michelle: Sorry. You've just got me interested.

Sam: Fair enough. But anyway, after I sat down next to Tori she sat up and looked at me for a very long time. I often think that she was contemplating whether or not I was worthy of her attentions.

Michelle: Were you?

Michelle: Sorry. Please continue.

Sam: Like I said, I think she was contemplating whether or not I was worthy of her attentions. A few moments after her young eyes were staring intently at me she smiled and told me I had pretty eyes and that I shouldn't ever try to hide them behind too much makeup because then they might get lost in all the color. Now before you ask, I have no idea what she was talking about, because I wasn't wearing that much eye-makeup that night. I was flattered by the compliment nonetheless. I told her as much and she just smiled again and said, 'you're nicer then some of the people around here. You should stay that way.' Before I could respond, a woman, who I assume was her nanny, walked into the room and told Tori she should be in bed. Tori nodded her head at the woman and handed me the small ball she had been playing with. 'It's the only fun I can give you during the party,' she told me then ran out of the room leaving me sitting there in my dress on the floor with an old green rubber ball in my hand.

Michelle: Do you still have the green rubber ball?

Sam: Honestly, yes I do. That little girl gave me a little bit of hope that I was loosing. Maybe that's the answer to your question of 'why Tori'.

Michelle: So Tori sucked you into her world by giving you a rubber ball and made you want to become her parent for telling you that you were nicer then most people?

Sam: I don't know how she did it. Like I said, she looks at you and you think you're seeing her heart, but you're really not. She actually has me thinking that she just makes you look at your own.

Michelle: That's a very profound thing to say, especially about someone who sucked you into her world at such an early age.

Sam: Tori is an extraordinary person. She's survived things that I couldn't even have imagined.

Michelle: Are you referring to her parents' death?

Sam: I'm referring not only to her parents' death but also to dealing with her sister's mother's death, the other car accident she was in when she was a teenager where she lost some friends, beating the crap out of some could-be rapist, killing an actual rapist, having her roommate commit suicide, living through an abusive relationship, and having a baby while still managing to go to school.

Michelle: When you say it that way, you make it sound like Tori really deserves a break in her life, and you as well certainly since you've been by her side through most all of it.

Sam: There has been many times when I thought I wouldn't be able to survive through another thing happening to my daughter, but I always pull through because she does. I don't know what would happen to me if she didn't. I don't want to even imagine such a scenario.

Michelle: It must have been very difficult for you then, when Tori took off to Colorado. What would you have done if she hadn't of come back or better yet if she had shown up broken and bruised from one of her beatings from Jose?

Sam: When Tori left it was very difficult for Dana and me. We didn't know where she went and we didn't know if she was going to survive more then a week. While she was away she only wrote us once to tell us she was okay and that was it. It was very hard for me to deal with not being able to be there for her if she needed me, but she left to take care of things she had to take care of. I've tried to understand why she did what she did, but I don't think about it a lot, because then I would have to think about all the times I woke up in the middle of the night swearing that Tori was calling out my name to come and help her. I'd much rather just be thankful that she came home in one piece.

Michelle: I understand that, but how does it make you feel knowing that while Tori was away she was involved with this man Jose?

Sam: I'm very happy that I've never met the man, because I wouldn't trust myself to not cause him some physical harm. I may not understand all the reasons that Tori decided to be with the man, but I don't judge her for it. I'm very happy she left him and came home. She hasn't talked to me in-depth with what she suffered through with Jose, but I'm sure that if she really wanted to discuss it with me she would, and I would put aside any reservations I had about the topic, and would listen to her.

Michelle: How does Dana feel about Jose?

Sam: That's something you'll have to bring up with her. I may be married to her, but I can't necessarily speak for her.

Michelle: That's understandable. So instead of asking about Dana, I'll ask you how you feel about being a grandmother already and a mother-in-law.

Sam: I am in complete love with my grandbaby. She makes me think that Tori was exactly like her as a baby, even though she clearly has picked up on some of Talli's habits. She's very much like her father too, even though you probably couldn't tell at first glance.

Michelle: Talli isn't her biological father, though, is he?

Sam: Talli is her father in all the ways that matter. I don't believe biology has too much to do with it. If it did it'd be very hard to explain how Dana and Tori ended up being so much alike.

Michelle: Indeed it would.

Sam: Is there anything else you want to ask me?

Michelle: Not right now no. But if something comes up later will you be available for another interview?

Sam: I'm not too sure. It would really be left up to what you have to ask and what Tori is willing to let me say.

Michelle: I had a feeling you'd say something like that.

Sam: I'm glad you weren't disappointed.

End Interview


I am completely honest when I say that I have no idea what my mama is talking about when she talks about the night she showed up at one of my parents' parties. I like to say the cause of my memory lose is because of selective memory. I only remember the things I only want to remember about those times of my life of grandeur. My parents did have so many parties that there is no way I could keep up with all the faces I've met. Practically at every party there was some person who would seek me out and would try to befriend me, after a while I stopped paying attention to them. I started to completely forget about them.

However, I do remember owning a small green rubber ball that I would play with occasionally. It helped me gain better hand-eye coordination on numerous occasions. I know that I gave it away to some woman who happened to be at a party my parents were throwing, but I can't really remember the woman's face. I don't remember what I might have said to her and I don't remember what she might have said to me.

I choose to believe that I don't remember what happened then, because it wasn't the right time. I'm not going to say that I'm a big believer in fate, but I do buy into a little bit of what fate is about. Sam and I just weren't supposed become friends then, and that's probably because Dana hadn't entered the picture yet. It really wouldn't have been the same without Dana. I wouldn't be the same without Dana.

Now, as far as everything else Sam said to Michelle, I'll say it's all pretty much true. She doesn't really talk a lot about her family, but I could understand that. I wouldn't want to explain how my parents decided they didn't want to be a part of my life anymore. My parents died, they really didn't have a choice about the being "dead" to me concept, but Sam's parents did. It's unfortunate really.

There was more that Sam said in that interview with Michelle that I haven't written down because Michelle's interview with Sam took about four hours worth of tape. I wasn't about to transcribe all that. I got all the essential parts jotted down.


Interview with Dana Everett (Tori's Mom)

I'm very thankful that you have finally set aside time to sit down and do this interview for me.

Dana: I'm not doing this for you, I'm doing it for Tori.

Michelle: Of course. So why don't we begin?

Dana: Well why don't you start your questioning?

Michelle: That'd be fine. So why don't you tell me about your life before Tori and then you can work your way to the first time you met Tori.

Dana: I thought this was about Tori, why do you want to know about me?

Michelle: Well in order to understand Tori, I think we have to understand the people who surround Tori first.

Dana: I really don't want to talk about myself.

Michelle: Please, it's important to the piece I'm putting together. You don't have to say anything too personal, although that would be helpful, why don't you just start with how you ended up at the hospital you work at.

Dana: I really don't want to talk about myself.

Michelle: Then you'll be taking away from the story I'm trying to tell. Sam and Audrey have already given their interviews. The only person I'm missing is you. Please?

Dana: I'll talk about Tori, but that's it.

Michelle: How can you talk about Tori and not end up talking about yourself? From what I understand the two of you are very much alike.

Dana: You're good. If I hadn't been questioned fifty-thousand times before I may have answered your question.

Michelle: Don't make me call Tori.

Dana: What do you think Tori would be able to do to me? I'm not afraid of you calling her. She's my daughter not my parent.

Break in interview


So Dana wasn't very forthcoming when it came to being interviewed, which I very readily expected. I think everyone expected it and that includes Michelle. I think that's why she had already made sure that while she had Dana's interview scheduled, I was free.

Michelle did end up calling me and I did the only thing that I could think of to do. I went over to my parents' home, leaving Ryan with her father, and decided that I would sit through the entire interview myself making sure that every time Dana thought about not answering a question she would just have to take a look at my pleading look and would answer.

I'm actually very glad that I sat through the interview, because it was the most revealing of all the other interviews I had heard thus far. I debated with myself whether or not I was going to transcribe this interview like I had the others, and ultimately decided to treat it just like all the others. There is no reason for me to change the way I do things now. I'll just tell part of what happened and will transcribe the rest.

I walked into my parents' home. Dana was sitting on one end of the couch and Michelle was in a chair across from her. Inbetween them was a tape recorder that wasn't running. Dana greeted me with an annoyed smile and Michelle greeted me with a relieved one. I walked over to the couch and took a seat.

"So let's get this party started?" I didn't really know what else to say.

"I don't want to talk about myself, Tori you can't ask that of me." Dana told me immediately. "I think it's very unfair of you to ask me to talk about my past with, who is in essence, a complete stranger."

"Mama did it and so did Audrey. Can't you just make a little bit of an effort? If you want I'll stay here for the entire thing."

"I just don't think I can do it. I'm sorry." Dana sounded more disappointed in herself then she did angry.

"Tell you what," Michelle spoke up, "Why don't you let Tori do the interview. That way you won't be talking to a stranger and she can just hand the tapes over to me when she's done. I don't even have to be here for the interview."

"That's not an option," I really didn't like the idea. "I'm not the one who's supposed to be doing telling the story here. It's not my place to do the interview." I turned to my mom. "Why can't you just try?"

"I'm sorry, Tori."

"I'm going to leave this tape recorder here and start it." Michelle reached out and pressed the record button on her black tape recorder. "I'm going to go ahead and leave and you two can decide on what you're gong to do." With that she stood up gathered her things and walked out of the house leaving Dana and me alone.


Tori: Will you at least talk to me about why you don't want to do this? I don't even have to give the tape to Michelle.

Dana: Do you think I want to talk about what happened to me before I caused the accident that took your parents lives?

Tori: Do you think I wanted to talk about all the shit that I talked about?

Dana: If you didn't want to talk about it then why did you?

Tori: Because sometimes talking about things help. I figured you'd know that. You taught me that.

Dana: I would give more credit to Sam for that particular lesson.

Tori: I wouldn't. But who gets credit doesn't matter. I really want you to talk to me now. You've never talked to me about your life before I was a part of it, I'd really like to hear about it now.

Dana: I haven't talked to you about it at all before. What makes you think I'd be willing to suddenly talk now?

Tori: Because I'm asking you to and I have never bothered to ask before. I'm only going to ask once and I won't ask again. I'm ready to hear it and I think it's time you tell me.

Dana: You don't fight fair.

Tori: I don't have to be fair. I just have to be convincing.

Dana: Fine. Where do you want me to start?

Tori: I would say 'start wherever you like' but I think you would start telling me about what you've done today, so why don't you start with telling me why you became an alcoholic?

Dana: I don't think there's an easy answer for that. The simple answer would be because I drank too much, but the reason I started drinking so much was because I wanted to escape from the world I allowed myself to fall into. As impossible as it seems, I got involved with a woman who sought to control me and since I didn't feel like I had any control anyway, I gave her the power to control me.

Tori: Why did you feel like you didn't have any control? Was it because of having to deal with being a surgeon?

Dana: A few months before I met this woman, I had a small girl lying on my operating table. She was about twelve years old and I couldn't save her. She was the first child I had ever lost. Her parents were furious with me and decided to file charges against me for malpractice. Nothing came from the suit, but I pretty much fell apart. There is no sure thing in life, but I was sure that I could perform miracles with my skills as a surgeon. Because I couldn't control that, I didn't feel like I needed to control anything else.

Tori: You can't control life and death.

Dana: You're right. I can't. I know that now and I'm sure I knew it then too, but I guess I didn't. So, I ended up in a relationship, that put bluntly, sucked. I drank because I didn't like my relationship and I drank because I started hating my job. You know what happened after that.

Tori: You got too drunk and drove. You ended up hitting a limousine with a family inside. The only survivor of the crash was a twelve-year old girl.

Dana: After I realized that I had hit the limo I sobered up quicker than I had in my entire life. I saw you lying off to the side of the road, having been ejected from the car, and I did what all my doctor instincts told me to do. I ran to you and immediately started performing CPR. The ambulance came and so did the police and fire department. They took your small broken and dying body away in the ambulance I hopped right back into my car. It had been damaged in the crash, but no one noticed. They were too busy putting out the fire that used to be the limo. I took my car to a friend who would fix it up and borrowed his to get to the hospital. I walked into the E.R. and saw a doctor working on you. I didn't pay much attention to her because my attention was already taken by the heart monitor that had been connected to it and I knew that as long as that thing beeped then you would be okay. You needed surgery and I was the surgeon on call. I took the case even though I shouldn't have. I had been drinking and all, but I just couldn't trust anyone else to take care of you. While I was performing surgery your heart completely stopped beating four times. My heart seemed to stop every time yours did. You survived through the night though, and I made you a promise that if you got better then I would too.

Tori: When I heard Sam talk about that I didn't remember it, but now I do. Sam wasn't the first one to tell me that my parents had died. You were. You were the one looking down at me when I first opened my eyes and you kept on apologizing to me for what you had done. I had no idea what you were talking about, but you said you were sorry for taking my parents away. I don't remember anything in that much detail, but I remember offering you a deal. I told you that I would forgive you as long as you got better and you told me that you'd only get better if I did. We both held up to our end of the deal.

Dana: You recovered a lot quicker than I did. Even though I haven't touched a single drop of alcohol since that night. Your mama took me to her apartment and I told her everything. She didn't ask me anything about what had happened but I told her anyway. I thought she would call the police and I would get the punishment I deserved. She didn't though, she just told me to keep to my promise and that she was going to go back to the hospital to wait for you to wake up. I didn't know what to think. I curled up on her couch that night and slept the rest of the night and most of the next day. When I woke up again, Sam had come back from the hospital telling me that you were still unconscious. The nursing staff had forced her to come home and at least shower. You were out for five days. We each went to your room and waited for you to wake up. We took turns mostly because we each still had to work. We got to know each other better and it was good for me to have a person to lean on during this crisis. The first time that we slept together?

Tori: I'm not sure I want to know all that information. This may sound very immature but I much rather just think of you and Mama just having no sex-life whatsoever.

Dana: The first time Sam and I slept together it was more out of a need to reconnect with a person than anything. We had both been absent from life for so long. I didn't want a relationship, even though I was already in one. We decided to just be friends after that, but as you know we didn't stick to that. I found out that I really really liked her and I couldn't ask for a better person to be a part of my life. She got me to come see you after you woke up. I wasn't going to do it especially since I was only just a little guilt ridden and I thought that you were remember the conversation we had before you decided to take a five-day nap.

Tori: Didn't remember a word of it until now, really. I don't even remember that much of it now.

Dana: That's not really surprising. You were pretty drugged up when we spoke the first time.

Tori: I was pretty drugged up the second time we spoke too. Although, I do remember that encounter much much better than the first.

Dana: I couldn't really tell. I was so nervous about seeing you again that you could have been unconscious the entire time and I probably wouldn't have noticed. Most of the time I spent with you I was trying to keep my focus on anything but you. You were kind of intimidating.

Tori: I'm just going to say ditto, but I liked you anyways. Although I'm sure the fact that you were with Sam had something to do with that. I really didn't want to loose her, protection I guess I would call it.

Dana: Neither did I and I knew that if I got her than you came in that little package.

Tori: Is that a joke about Mama's height? You know she hates those.

Dana: Yeah she does.

Tori: I could say the same jokes about you, you know. You're not exactly taller than me.

Dana: Ah, details details. Now what else do you want me to talk about?

Tori: I'm not sure. I guess you can just tell me about how being in the spotlight has affected you and you can also tell me why I was never told that I had met Mama before I had actually met her.

Dana: She still has that rubber ball, you know.

Tori: Yeah I know. Where does she keep it anyway? I've never seen it.

Dana: Close. She always keeps it close to her.

Tori: That's sweet, I guess. It's not like I really want it back or anything, but if I can remember when I talked to you half drugged out of my mind I can't really think of why I can't remember giving a rubber ball to a woman that attended one of my parents' parties.

Dana: I can't think of why either. I won't even pretend to think of how your mind works. I'd rather try and perform brain surgery.

Tori: Funny. Really funny.

Dana: I try.

Tori: So you never answered my question about how being in the spotlight has affected you.

Dana: I've never really been in that spotlight, Tori. Samantha has always taken my share and so have you. You both have been very careful about protecting me when it comes to the media. Why do you do that anyway? Why do you think you have to protect me from them?

Tori: You have more of a story to tell then I would like to get out. I don't want to see you get hurt by your past.

Dana: Are going to give Michelle this tape? Surely she would use the part where I clearly declare my guilt of being the cause of your accident.

Tori: It's a fact that has been hidden for over eight years. It doesn't need to come out now.

Dana: What if I want it to come out?

Tori: What?

Dana: I can't hide from the justice that your parents deserve forever, Tori. I don't think I want to hide from it.

Tori: You want this to get out? Surely you understand that if the police wanted to press charges that I couldn't protect you from them. I may be a lot of things, but the last time I checked I wasn't above the law.

Dana: And neither am I. So why am I being let off the hook for essentially causing the death of two people?

Tori: Because you're my mom and the people who were killed were my parents and I get to be the judge, jury, and executioner in this particular situation.

Dana: So you're a self-proclaimed deity then?

Tori: Well I would like to think so, yes. But that's beside the point. I know what happened that night. It may have taken me about eight years to get the whole picture together, but I know what happened. I know the story behind the story and I know reason behind all the reasons. I'm the only one that deserves to know. I do not want to be put through any type of spectacle that will happen if anyone whom I do not trust ends up with the information about what happened that night. I don't want my husband to go through it. I don't want my parents-both living and dead-to go through it and I don't want my friends to go through it.

Dana: The truth always rises to the surface, Tori.

Tori: That's true, but the truth has already risen. Now how many people it rises to is another story entirely, but I know the truth and you know the truth. When you factor out all the melodramatics that have been involved in this situation the only people that matter in it are you and me. Ryan Marcus and Antoinette Valdez are dead. They've been dead for a while now and they're not coming back. So since this is only between you and me and we can only decide what comes of the pieces we hold, I have chosen to let it go. I forgave you a long time ago for the accident, and I'm not sure I told you, but I do forgive you. You have nothing to answer for and as I see it you will have nothing to answer for. This is something that I'm no longer willing to hold onto.

Dana: So what would you do if I decided to turn myself in and confess.

Tori: What would I do? Nothing. I'd be upset, though, and would really try and understand your reasons for doing it. Eventually, I'd probably stop being upset and I'd deal with it just like I've had to deal with everything else.

Dana: Do you know that I feel like this is something that is just hanging over my head and I'm sitting here waiting for it to drop. I don't really feel worthy of being called your mother because I've run from this for so long.

Tori: I know this is a very serious moment and I don't wish to downplay it at all, but did you just say, 'I feel'.

Tori: I'm sorry. It was just surprising. You don't have to look at me like that. No?seriously you don't have to look at me like that.

Dana: You seem to be easily intimidated.

Tori: Seriously though, Mom you've never run from anything. You told me what happened and, like I've said before, I'm the only one that truly deserves or has a right to know the truth. And as far as being worthy of being called my mother, well, you couldn't be more worthy. You're a very significant person in my life and no matter if you feel worthy or not, I'm going to call you my mother and I'm going to say it loud and proud.

Dana: So are you going to give this tape to Michelle?

Tori: I will with the stipulation, of course, that she do some heavy editing.

Dana: And if she refuses to?

Tori: She won't. But if she does then I'll have to come up with a way to make it so that she agrees that this particular part of the interview gets kicked out.

Dana: Alright then. You do know, however, that if she does edit this interview there will practically be no interview left.

Tori: It's really not that important that she get an interview from you. All she really needs is to get a feel for what she's going to write in her article about you.

Dana: Just don't give me a copy of it when she's done. I really don't need to be reading about myself on print.

Tori: It's a deal. So..uh..are you going to turn yourself in?

Dana: I think it's time that I stop waiting for this to fall on my head.

Tori: So that means that you're gong to turn yourself in?

Dana: No it means that I'm going to stop waiting for it to fall. You've moved on with your life quite well, Tori and I think it's about time that I do the same. If it gets out then it gets out and we'll have to deal with it. We don't have to deal with it now, though.

Tori: Okay then. I'm glad we worked that out.

Dana: So am I.

Tori: Now that you've decided not to turn yourself in I think I should tell you that if you did it'd tear me apart from the inside knowing that my family was going to suffer any further from the fact that I carry the name that I do. I probably couldn't handle it right now.

Dana: Why didn't you just tell me that before?

Tori: I think it would have unduly influenced your decision. Getting my opinion on the matter is one thing, but me telling you that it may cause me to have a serious mental breakdown is another.

Dana: You don't think I would have found this out eventually?

Tori: I'd do my best to hide it.

Dana: You're not very successful at hiding things from me.

Tori: No I'm not. But I'd do my best.

Dana: Yeah well?.now we don't even have to deal with it.

Tori: No we don't. So are we done here? I don't know anything else that I can ask you.

Dana: Yeah we're done.

(End Interview)


And that was the end of all the interviews. I gave Michelle the tape with Dana's 'confession' and she didn't hesitate to guarantee me that she wouldn't use the material at all. I'm not sure how much her guarantee was worth to me, but no matter what is was worth to me personally I was going to give her a chance.

In the end, I wasn't disappointed that I had done so. She wrote an article that did some justice to my life story. I guess I could write the entire article on here, but I'd rather keep this as only being in my own words; that way nothing becomes confusing. I don't mind adding other people's point of view, I actually like listening to what others have to say, but I just need everyone to know that these are my words. This is how I saw and see my life. These are my words.


Not In The Too Distant Future

"Ryan! Are you up there?"

The young woman slammed the journal shut and hurriedly placed it back into the trunk she had taken it from. "Yeah, I'm in here."

"What are you doing?" The voice from down the hallway yelled even though yelling now was unnecessary. She was only a few feet from the entrance to the bedroom.

"I was just looking through some of the stuff that my mom had stored in the trunk here," Ryan's long arm patted the side of the black trunk making a thunking noise ring through the room.

A woman, no older than Ryan, stepped into the room and walked over to where Ryan's dark form was kneeling next to the trunk. She ran her hand through Ryan's dark hair in an overtly affectionate manner. "Did you find anything interesting?"

"Would you be terribly offended if I told you that I didn't want to talk about it?" Ryan asked carefully taking the hand that made its way through her hair into her own.

"It's your mother's stuff, Ryan. It's personal stuff. Whether you want to talk about it or not is your call. I promise I won't be offended for you taking your time to deal with what has happened."

"This is the last thing of hers that I have, Katie. The last thing I have that can be only ours. I'd kinda like to keep it like that for a while."

Katie's vibrant brown eyes showed nothing but compassion and understanding. "Take all the time you need, babe. I don't expect you to get over your mother's death in a week."

Ryan turned away for the moment, still finding it hard to deal with the statement of her mother's death very well. Katie wished she could take back her words and make them sound a little more compassionate, but knew nothing could be done now so she waited for Ryan to turn and face her again. When Ryan's eyes had found Katie's, Katie caressed Ryan's cheek with her free hand, Ryan still had possession of the other. "Just take however long you need."

Ryan nodded then began to stand up dragging shorter woman up with her. "Let's go back downstairs. I don't want Dad to be alone for too long."

"He's handling this pretty well, Ryan. I think he can handle being alone for five minutes."

"No Katie, he can't. I know I couldn't at first."

Katie only nodded at the statement and reluctantly turned to leave the solemn Ryan alone with whatever Ryan had found of her mothers.

Ryan watched her girlfriend walk away then turned her attention back to the closed trunk. She reached out slowly and opened it back up taking one of her mother's journals out. She read the last paragraph that was addressed to her.

There's no telling how long a person will be on this earth, so just know that I love you. I love you for your flaws and I love you for all the great things that you have and haven't done yet. I love you for the person you are and I love you for the person you aren't. I'll always be proud of you no matter what you do with your life. Just be happy Ryan?just be happy.

Your Mom,
Victorianna Elizabeth Ann Marcus

Ryan wasn't quite sure how her mother's last words fit into the journal, but she was glad they were there. The woman could only guess that her mother was going to eventually give her this last journal when the time was right. That's what she had done with all the others there was no reason to think differently now. Ryan briefly wondered when her mother had planned on giving her this final journal. Maybe when she had a child of her own? Or maybe when she had gotten married? Or maybe even when she just was in the mood to ask if there were anymore journals laying around the house waiting to be read?

She could remember the first journal she got from her mother. She was an early teen then. Her mother had come in the room and handed her this worn looking leather bound journal?

Suddenly Ryan jumped up from her spot on the bedroom floor and looked around furiously for a pen. She spotted one right next to her mother's side of the bed and hurriedly picked it up. She sat back down on the floor and flipped to the last pages of the journal that were conspicuously blank and began writing:

I've just read the last words my mother has will ever write me. She was a great writer, and I that's because she always liked speaking to herself on paper than actually speaking to herself. I've always preferred to talk to her rather than to myself. She's was a better listener than I am. I know, that she wrote her thoughts down so that she could make sense of the world that surrounded her, and I think she was still trying to figure everything out the day she died. That's probably why I don't try to figure the world out. I just live in it.

So why am I writing now? I guess I just got a sudden urge that couldn't be denied. I think Mom had something to do with that or maybe I'm just trying to connect to her. It's kind of freaky thinking she could be in this room with me now..freaky but comforting actually. You know, I'm just confused and am going crazy with all that is going on inside me right now so writing about it has to be better than completely ignoring the crazy things are running through my head.

She was my world, you know? My mom I mean. She was everything to me. She was my savior and she was the only person in this whole world who understood everything about me. Dad's a great man?you know, but he's just not Mom. He's been trying real hard and I know he misses her just so damn much, but he's not Mom. He can't look at me and just know everything that is going through my head like she could.

I love him?I do and I know it's hard for him. I know it's hard because he stays up late at night and looks at pictures of her and cries. He's dealing with his pain the best he can, and he keeps on trying to get me to talk to him about it, but I can't. I can't talk to him about any of it because?hell I don't know why I can't. I just can't.

Is any of this making sense? I know that I'm not as good at this as my mom was. I mean she would write something down and you'd just get what she was saying. Maybe she did actually figure out some stuff about the world during her journey. That's what she called it?her journey. She told me one time that she wrote down everything about her life because she didn't trust anyone else to get the damn thing right. That's the truth though; I don't think anyone could give her life credit and meaning like she did. Who better to tell a story than the person who lived it, right?

Mom kept everything she wrote in these leather bound journals. One day I was just sitting in my room, blasting my stereo and putting my best effort forth in studying, and Mom came in carrying her first journal. She turned off my stereo and closed my history book and sat down on my bed. She put the journal down on the floor beside the bed and told me, "Ryan, you're acting more and more like a teenager as the days go by and sometimes I don't think I have the strength to keep up with you. I know you're thinking that I'm this old woman that has no clue about what you're going through right now, and granted times have changed, but you don't really know what I've been through. You are going to read this journal so that you understand me and every Thursday night we're going to go out to dinner so that I understand you."

"What if I don't want to read it?"

"Then every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we go out to dinner together so that we can understand each other."

You gotta hand it to Mom she always had a plan. I mean what teenager in their right mind would want to spend all weekend going out at night with their mother so that they could have bonding time. I know that I didn't want to, so I agreed to read her journal. At first, I had no idea what they were about. As soon as she left my room I leaned over my bed and picked up the journal that was marked, Accident: Yes Ryan this is the first one. After coming to the conclusion that this was the first one, I opened it up and read the first sentence fully intending to put it down after I was done reading only the first sentence. It didn't work out that way though. I read the whole damn thing that night, because I couldn't stop. And when I was done with the first journal I wanted to read the second one and then the third. I wanted to read everything she had ever written.

I got up from bed late that night and I walked to my parents' bedroom and demanded she give me the rest. Mom just smiled, laughed, and told me to back to bed. She said it wasn't time for me to read the rest yet, and she was right. It wasn't time. So, I went back to bed still trying reconcile the teenager and girl I read about in that journal with the woman that I knew as my mother.

She had a damn good story and I found out a lot of things about my mother I never knew. Like, how Gran was the one that caused this accident that took Mom's biological parents. Never knew that. Didn't really know what to think about it, because Gran wasn't like that. She would never?but I guess she did. Freaky world.

Mom and I talked about her journal the next day and she answered any questions I had, but I didn't really have many. I just had the feeling that no matter what I was going through in my crazy teenage mind, my mom would be there for me because she kind of understood.

Mom stuck by that dinner every Thursday night bit too. It was just a time for the two of us. Mom and I would go out and have dinner while Dad and my little brother Allan would stay home and have their night. We did all sorts of things on our night out though. We would do anything that I wanted to no matter how crazy or how stupid it was. For the longest time I tried to come up with the most crazy thing to do just to see if that would finally be the time that Mom put her foot down. She only drew the line at doing things that were illegal or were too dangerous. Of course her scale of what was dangerous wasn't really what you would expect a normal parent's to be.

We went bungee jumping, skydiving, car racing (within a controlled environment), we did things that were so fucking scary that I don't ever want to do them again. Once was enough for me?but Mom, I had a feeling that she would do most everything again. She had a very wild spirit that I didn't fully inherit from her?or at least if I did then Dad's cautious genes balanced me out so that I wasn't as crazy as her. Dad was always good at taming that fire that was within Mom. He could just make it burn at a simmer instead of an inferno.

Have I already said how bad I feel for my father? I mean he lost Mom?we all lost Mom really, but he really lost Mom. I mean he lost the love of his life, and I don't know how he's been able to go on. He's trying really hard, but I've already said that right? I love my father, I really do and I know that he really isn't my father. I know that I don't carry his blood.

When I first found out about it, I was really pissed off. I mean all my life I had thought that this man, who treated me like his daughter and acted like he was the world's best father, was my father. My real father, though, was some idiot that once lived in Colorado. I got over my anger though because Talli is my father. I carry his heart around with me wherever I go?he told me so?so you see there's no way the man isn't my father. "We have the same blood," he told me, "because we each carry a piece of each other's heart. You're my baby girl and there ain't no body on this earth who can tell me otherwise and make me believe it."

I never asked Mom about my biological father and she never offered any information. The way that worked out was fine with me. I didn't want to know anything about a man who used my mother as a punching bag. If I ever do decide to find the man it would only be to kick his ass like he deserves.

You know, I want to hate her. I want to hate her with all that I am because she left. I want to grab hold of her and shake her as hard as I can and slap her and kick her because she died, but you know it's really hard to grab hold of someone that's not there. Sometimes I have the crazy thought where I wish she were a ghost just so I could tell her how much I hate that she left and then I can exorcise her. I guess I've been watching way too many movies or something.

I don't hate her though, and maybe that's the problem. I love her. I love her so much that it hurts inside when I know I can never touch her again. I loved my mother just so so much. I loved her for the person she was and the person she allowed me to be.

She was perfect you know. At least to me she was perfect. She was able to be the mom, the worker, the wife, the daughter, the friend, the everything. Mom had more energy than any one I have ever known. She was strong, she was confident and she was the best person that anyone would have had the privilege to meet.

God, I hate her. I hate her for being so loveable and I hate her for being the person she was. I hate her that she made it easy for people to be around her. I hate her for understanding what I went through in my life without me having to explain it to her. I hate her for making it so that I can't hate her.

Man, I'm not making sense. I mean I've just read over what I've just written and I know that I've stopped making sense.

Gran and Nana are doing okay though. I mean, they're heartbroken just like everyone else, but they're holding the family together. They arranged the funeral and everything since Dad was too torn up to do it and they made sure that I was okay. Gran or Dana really stepped up as leader of the family this time around even though I think that she might be hurting more than anyone. I know how close my mom and Gran were. They kind of were each other's saving grace a few times. They were actually so much alike. If I didn't know better I'd think that Gran was the one that actually birthed my mother. Those two had a connection that I don't think anyone really understood, except Nana of course.

Nana understands everybody and understands everything. Mom told me that Nana was actually the one that gave her the advise on how to handle me when I was in my early teens. Mom said that she needed help because she felt like she was kind of lost, so she turned to the person that had to deal with her when she was a teenager since she didn't seem to end up too badly. I'm convinced that Nana would be a great interrogator though. I don't think there's a single person in this world that could refuse Nana anything. She's this really cute old lady (and she'd kill me for calling her that) that could get you to confess to a murder you didn't commit just so you wouldn't disappoint her. I don't know what it is about her, maybe it's in her vibrant green eyes, but she's just one of those people that you can't help but love. I guess Mom ended up a lot like her too.

Actually Mom ended up getting a good dose of each of her parents' traits. She once told me that she was the person she was because she got a second chance at the parental unit thing, and ended up with the best pair that was available. I asked her how she felt about her biological parents once, just because I was curious and she told me, "Ryan sometimes a child can't help but love their parents no matter how bad those parents are. I got stuck with some bad parents, Ryan, but I loved them. I try to remember that love I have for them above everything else, because I refuse to let myself taint what good times we had with hate. I can't hate them, Ryan, but I also can't bring myself to love them as much as I love Dana and Sam. I only wish that my biological parents rest in peace."

Mom was always completely honest with me like that. She never really held anything back. She would just go all out and tell me what was what. I liked that about her. I liked that she treated me like a person that could handle things and not like just some kid who didn't know her right hand from her left. If I ever wanted to know the truth about something, I knew that I just needed to ask her. That could be considered a double-edged sword though. I mean there are some things that I didn't ever want to know, but I asked and she told me.

She never told me anything, though, that would make me question myself or make me lose confidence. Mom always stuck by me with all that she was. She supported everything that I started and didn't finish and especially stuck by me when I was going through all those questions I had about my sexuality. That was one subject matter that I was the most reluctant to bring up with her, no matter how close we were.

I mean I could go to anyone in the family about that particular subject who'd understand me perfectly. I could talk to Aunt Kel or Aunt Michelle. I could talk to Nana or Gran and they could fully understand me. I didn't talk to any of them though; I did talk to Mom. I did one of those things where I started to bring up a subject but didn't follow through with it for about two weeks. Mom just waited patiently for me to get to the point and when I finally got there she told me that she couldn't tell me whether I was gay or straight, that was something I had to figure out for myself, but while I was figuring it out she promised to stick by me and to support whatever decision I made.

All I ever really wanted from my Mom was her love and support?and in that order too. I got both things in abundance. When I first brought my girlfriend home, Mom stared at her for a very long time then smiled and offered Katie dinner while Dad was sitting in the middle of the kitchen with his mouth hanging open. Mom walked over to him and hit him on the head then his brain kicked back into gear.

Katie isn't your typical girl?I guess. I think that's why I love her. She's all leather and badass attitude and doesn't apologize for it. Mom got along with her immediately while Dad had to learn that Katie's appearance and attitude did well to hide the incredible person that lay underneath it all. I think Mom understood her too, just like she understood me. Now that I really think about it, I don't think there's a single person out there that Mom didn't understand in some way or another.

Damn, the more and more I actually evaluate all that thinking and figuring out Mom did, I think she actually was on the right track. She probably understood more things about life at my young age than most people understand when they're eighty.

Katie's been there for me during this whole ordeal. I mean she's actually one of the few people that I've allowed to see how much Mom's death has really hurt me. Katie gives me what support she can, but she's broken up over Mom too. Mom was the first adult that believed in her and encouraged her to be a good person?not that she wasn't before. It's just that Mom gave Katie some hope again. She pushed my girl in the right direction and got her to enroll back into school. I think one of the most important times in Katie's life was when Mom was there to see her graduate.

Sometimes I thought Katie had a little crush on my mom and I had the nerve to ask her about it once and she just looked at me like I had grown another head and told me, "Ry if I ever start crushing on your mom you gotta promise that you'll hit me over the head?hard. How I feel about Tori isn't like that, babe. It's more like she just believes in me and I don't want to disappoint her. I'm sure I act like a complete doofus in front of her, but that's only because I don't ever want to do anything that will make her stop liking me. I don't know what I'd do without her support?she's the only adult who ever thought I was worth anything."

"Yeah, Mom makes a lot of people feel special."

"She's the closest thing that I have to a parent and I don't ever want to loose that. I hope you understand that."

"I understand you completely. And I am glad that she's been able to help you."

"Not only has she pushed me to get my act together she brought into this world the girl who owns my heart."

Katie doesn't say stuff like that often so when she does it means a lot. Of course, I'm so completely head over heels for this girl that anything she does means a lot to me. She's been staying in the house with me ever since Mom died. Hasn't left my side. We offer each other comfort, but I don't think her comfort is enough for me.

I feel really bad for Allan though. I mean he's only twelve years old. He didn't get the full twenty years that I got with her. He didn't get to go through all his awkward teenage years with her and he didn't get to do all those special things with her that she was surely going to do with him. I guess that's my job now. I guess I have to take her place with him and teach him all those things that she taught me.

Allan, I think, has been taking her death fairly well. But what the hell does that really mean? How can you take anybody's death well? I guess the rating system is you take a death well by if you don't go out and kill yourself or do something to get yourself killed.

Going solely by those measures, then I guess I haven't been taking her death all that well at all. The day after it happened I went to bed and took about a dozen Tylenols only to cap them off with a bottle of beer. I really wasn't trying to hurt myself; I just wasn't paying attention to what the hell I was doing. A lot of people thought that I was trying to kill myself and I've been watched carefully ever since. Katie is with me all the time and Dad keeps on looking at me like he's expecting me to grab a knife and impale myself. Maybe that's what he wants to do. Who knows?he probably actually does. I know that I would?that I do.

I can't think like that though. I mean if I think like that then I might actually do something really crazy and pick up that knife. I really won't do anything though, because I know that I have to be here for my father and my brother and Katie. I have to be here because I'm the one that reminds everybody so much of Mom. I'm the one that has to carry on her memory.

No pressure right?

Anyway, I guess I should probably say something about her death. I've avoided writing about it because if it's put down on paper that makes it real right? I mean if you put something in writing that means it's official or something.

There's not one battle that my mom couldn't win. She's fought rapist and robbers and car accidents and birth. She's survived through all these things and I am convinced that she could have fought off an entire army if she really put her mind to it. Any barrier could be torn down just by her shear will. No person and no thing could bring her down?except herself.

Mom had been getting these headaches and when she saw her doctor (the bastard) said she was just under a lot of stress and was getting migraines. He prescribed her some medication and said to see him again if she continued to have problems. Well a couple of days later Mom suffers from a major brain aneurysm and dies instantly. I found it cruelly ironic that Mom's body fought so hard for life on so many occasions to only later die because of something that happened within it.

I always thought that if Mom was ever going to die she was going to be a hundred and twenty standing tall fighting off some murderer or something. I didn't think her own body would wimp out on her. Her own body defeated her. Damn if that doesn't suck royally.

I have this picture of her in my mind that she's in heaven yelling at her own body in the grave for giving her such a crappy ending. I picture mom yelling at every God that exists or existed cursing them for what they let her body do. If there was any way that she could find her way back, I'm sure that she would have.

Deep down, I have to believe that Mom accomplished whatever it was she was supposed to accomplish in this world. I mean she was essentially responsible for bringing my grandparents together. Then she got Nana to make everything right with her family so that Nana's parents and sisters became a part of our world. She made it so that my father could accomplish his dream of finishing school and becoming an engineer. Mom's done so many things to help so many people. She's touched so many lives.

I hate her.

Her funeral was really a big one. A lot of people decided to show up. They wanted to televise it but Gran and Nana wouldn't hear of it. They made sure there wasn't one video camera around when my Mom was put to rest. I'm afraid of what they might have done if someone had walked in with a video camera.

I hate her.

I asked Mom once if she believed in God, she never really was that religious, and she told me; "Don't know if there's a God out there, Ryan, and frankly if there is I don't want to meet him. Our meeting would be filled with me telling him?her?it off for all the crappy stuff that he?she?it allows to happen. I do believe however that there's a higher power out there that we don't really know about and that we can't really control. I believe in fate and I believe in making your own path. Can't really tell you if there's a Heaven or Hell, but I can tell you that there's an Earth and while you're here you better make the best of it because otherwise the gift of life you've been given has been wasted. And I hate there ever being waste."

I hate her.

Family was really important to Mom and anyone who knew her knew that about her. She valued having people around her that could share every moment of her life?the good and the bad. Family didn't have to be blood either. Family just had to be someone that proved to her that they cared and would stick by her. She was one of the most loyal people that I've known. She had this incredible ability to love. I think she might have given that gift/curse to me, and I hate her for that.

I hate her.

Sometimes at night, I'll sit down and gather up her journals and will just smell them because they smell like her. I'll run my fingers over the writing because the writing is hers. I'll read her words because they are the only words that I'll ever get from her anymore. I'll have to share these journals with Allan and Dad. I should probably even show them to Gran and Nana even though Nana already knows all about them. Mom actually had her write in one once. Katie might even like to see them. But I really don't think any of them are ready to read her words just yet. Plus, I'd like to read them just one more time before I give them away.

I hate her.

Why can't I hate her?

Why did she leave?

Why didn't she get a chance to say goodbye?

Why did she have to love me like she did?

Why didn't I tell her I loved her one more time?

Why would getting a chance to do that still not be enough?

Why would a lifetime not be enough?

Why can't I stop thinking about her?

Why can't I let her go?

Why don't I want to let go?

When does the pain go away?

What advise would she give me?

What advise would she give Dad?

Did it hurt when she died?

Was she in pain at all?

Will I ever forget her?

Will I remember her as well as I do now?

Is it a crime to love someone so much?

Will I ever see her again?

You know I actually do know what she'd tell me. She'd tell me:

There's no telling how long a person will be on this earth, so just know that I love you. I love you for your flaws and I love you for all the great things that you have and haven't done yet. I love you for the person you are and I love you for the person you aren't. I'll always be proud of you no matter what you do with your life. Just be happy Ryan?just be happy.

Your Mom,
Victorianna Elizabeth Ann Marcus

I'm not sure if Mom had anything going with this whole writing thing. I don't know if this helped me or not, because I don't know much of anything right now. I do know that I hurt and I know that a lot of people around me hurt as well. I don't know maybe I'll start writing like she did. I probably won't be as good at it like she was, but hell, what could trying it do to me?

You know what else I know? I know that I want to do something special for her. I want the world to understand a piece of the woman that understood everybody else. Maybe I'll not just let the family but will also let the world read what she's written. This is the only way I knew how to make sure that she doesn't die. I don't think I could stand the thought of her being gone forever. Do you understand that? I mean, does anyone understand that?

The End. The real end.

The Athenaeum's Scroll Archive