Chapter 5.9: Chandelier

Chapter 5.9 Chandelier

A/N: Umph, this might be my favorite installment yet! :X The song for this chapter is Chandelier by Sia. Certain scenes may be disturbing to some viewers. Reader discretion is advised. There is also a brief point of view change in this chapter, which is labeled accordingly. Enjoy!

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Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn?

There was a frigid nip to the air as I stood by the pool in my bathing suit, goose bumps rising all up and down my flesh. It was much too cold to go swimming and somewhere in my mind I was aware of this, but I jumped in anyway. As soon as my body hit the glacial water the air was knocked out of me. I sank to the bottom of the pool, resisting the urge to scream. Kicking frantically, I made my way back up to the surface, coughing and spluttering as I emerged back out into the bitter air. My breath was visible before me—just more of my heat escaping.

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Shaking my head, I bit back the feeling of cold needles numbing my body and began to swim to the other side of the pool. My arms pushed me through the icy depths as my legs kicked to help keep me above the water. The more vigorously I swam, the more I warmed up, and soon I wasn’t thinking about the cold anymore because, quite simply, I could not feel it.

Instead, as I rolled over to float on my back, I thought about why I enjoyed swimming. It wasn’t for any of the typical reasons that one has for liking this activity, but rather because it reminded me of my family—and not just my family itself, but also the first moment in which I truly felt like I had one—besides my father, of course.

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That moment took place just after Dad had gotten through the worst part of his recovery, and he, Candice and I had gone to the beach. It was a little chilly that day too, although not as cold as now, but we’d gone anyway and as the three of us swam out into the ocean, I thought: “Look…I’m like everyone else. I have a father…and a mother.” Of course, I’d almost always had Candice in my life, but I felt that that was the moment where it truly clicked into place for me—where she officially became Mom in my head and not just Candice or some confusing mix between the two. The wedding that came soon afterward only confirmed what I already knew to be real.

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Honestly, I would have always thought she was my mom if it hadn’t been for the fact that first, Dad never referred to her as such, and second, although she was usually with us, for a while, she didn’t actually live with us. It’d always been rather puzzling to me because she’d been in my life for as long as I could remember, so even though I had some vague, early memories that she was not a part of, and even though Dad called her ‘Candice’ and she didn’t live with us full-time, I couldn’t help but feel well, surely she’s still my mother? She cared about us so much. So I’d asked her about it and the answer I’d received had been like nothing I’d expected.

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I’d never really considered the idea that there might be another woman—a woman who my dad met in high school, a woman who carried me for nine long months, a woman who, I learned much later, killed herself before I ever had the chance to form a living memory of her, so did it matter anyway?

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My eyes stung, not from the chlorine, but from my own hot tears. I shut them tightly, holding my breath as I allowed my body to sink again. I exhaled slowly underwater, great bubbles rising to the surface as I used my arms to prevent myself from floating back up. As I sank I tried to picture her. I tried to rake every last one of my early memories for some fragment of a potentially remembered image, but I came up with nothing. My lungs screamed and finally I kicked hard off the bottom of the pool and rose to the surface. I took in a great gasp of oxygen as soon as I felt my head above the water. The icy air penetrated my lungs.

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I was shivering hard now. The water had never felt colder. I missed them all. I missed them all so much. I forced myself to swim over to the ladder and climbed out before the breakdown I could already feel coming overwhelmed me. My body continued to tremble as I dried myself off with my towel.

I hurried inside, the warmth of the central heating enveloping my barely clothed skin immediately, but still I shook. Padding into the kitchen, I felt the weight of my solitude descend upon me fully as it seized the fact that I wasn’t distracted anymore by wintry waters.

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I push it down, push it down

Shakily, I poured myself a glass of wine, then grabbed some of the pills that spilled out of the bright orange bottle sitting on my counter. I washed down a few with the sickly sweet nectar. I had a photo shoot today and then another performance. I had to be flawless for both—bright and happy.

I used to be really good at feigning overwhelming happiness and excitement. When I was little and terrified of what was happening to my Dad, I’d still leave all of my worries outside the house and make sure I was super carefree inside. I’d laugh and recite stories excitedly about my day and I’d ensure that I never stopped smiling because I didn’t want to make things harder on my father than I already sensed they were. After all, if he wasn’t doing much smiling, maybe if I did it twice as much, it could begin to be enough for him too.

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Of course, he’d gotten really fucking annoyed by it, in the end. I laughed a bit, a choked little hysterical laugh as I finished off my current glass of wine and poured myself another. I couldn’t bring myself to feign happiness anymore.

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I sipped slowly on my second drink, staring back toward the pool. The windows were frosted over, creeping crystalline structures clinging to the pristine glass like some beautiful parasite. I blinked, catching a vague reflection of my drinking, sulking self in the glass, and I let out a bit of a startled laugh as a horrible realization dawned on me.

I was slowly becoming a combination of my parent’s worst traits. Dad and not Candice, but my biological mother. Oh god I had to stop this, but I couldn’t. I’d try and then I’d get so empty and then I just couldn’t. There was a sick irony here—I could feel it and it made me laugh again, that short, unnatural laugh. My god Life, you are such an evil bitch aren’t you?

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I finished off my glass, smiling randomly as I went upstairs to shower. I was beginning to feel giddy now. Irony was funny, wasn’t it? I felt tears bead up in my eyes again even as the giddiness within me grew. Yes, irony was definitely funny…in the most sick and twisted way.

***

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I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, they’re ringin’ my doorbell

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“I do believe that’s my favorite costume yet,” a honeyed voice whispered in my ear, strong arms wrapping around my waist. I folded my arms and smiled a little, recognizing the voice.

“Oh, really?” I inquired as coyly as I could muster. My emptiness was beginning to descend upon me again, my high from the pills and the performance depleting.

“Mmmhmm,” he murmured, moving my hair away from my neck so he could kiss it. “And that’s including that little number with the fruits—you know, the one where if you bend over just so I get a glimpse of the sparkling spankies you have on underneath.”

I flushed, turning in his arms and taking what I hoped what a subtle step back. Brandon Hart laughed softly, an amused smile playing at his lips.

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I feel the love, feel the love

“I’m sorry, that was uncalled for,” he admitted, closing the distance between us once more and taking my hand. “I just mean you look gorgeous, sweetheart,” he finished softly, tilting my chin upward with his pointer finger so that I was meeting his gaze directly.

“You…you think so?” I asked hesitantly, my breath catching anxiously in my throat as his face leaned toward mine.

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“I know so.” Brandon kissed me softly then and my eyes fell closed, the sound of cameras clicking away around us. I couldn’t have pulled away even if I wanted to, and honestly, at that second, I wasn’t sure if I did. After all, I’d been so incredibly lonely lately, and he said that I looked gorgeous and kissed me gently. It made the ache in my heart ease, even if it was only by just a little bit.

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He pulled away slightly then, reaching up to cup my cheek in his hand and smiling down at me. “Hey…why don’t we get out of here? Go to say, Club Bright or something? There’s too many eyes here,” he said quietly so as not to be overheard by the paparazzi. His other hand was on my waist, holding me closely. His body was warm against mine.

I looked up at him, meeting his gaze. His light green eyes were sparkling. “Sure,” I whispered.

Perhaps a little innocent flirting and fun would do my solitary self some good.


~*~Gabriel’s POV~*~

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“She shouldn’t be going with him,” I said quietly to myself, watching as the infamous Brandon Hart slid his arm around her waist. I frowned. There was something wrong about the gesture. Something…possessive.

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“Whadja say?” Ryan asked from behind me, rubbing a crick out of his neck.

I shook my head, turning back to the audio cables I was supposed to be packing up. “Nothing,” I sighed.

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If it was nothing though, why wouldn’t this ill feeling in my gut go away? Maybe I was just overthinking it all—maybe I was seeing things that weren’t there because of that day. When had that been anyway? When had that day been that’d I’d seen Joanne, or Jade, or whatever the fuck she wanted to be called crying in the lounge? It must have been what, a month now? I glanced back out of the corner of my eyes, but I couldn’t see the pair anymore. They must have left together.

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I sighed, frustrated with how much it bothered me. I didn’t even know her. All I knew was that day I’d wanted a cup of coffee, but the coffeemaker downstairs had been busted to hell after Ryan sent an eight-ball flying in its direction, so I’d gone upstairs instead and then suddenly I had a face-ful of blonde hair and a wet shoulder.

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I never did get that coffee.

Even after she’d left I’d been so…thrown off by the whole ordeal that I’d gone back downstairs only to realize that it was sans caffeine-fix. I hadn’t bothered going back upstairs. Instead I’d been worse company than usual, vaguely listening to Spectra and Ryan engage in their strange I want to fuck you/I hate you banter. I remembered wishing that they would fuck already so I didn’t have to go on listening to this bullshit, but mostly I just remembered how hysterical she’d been. Jo, that is. Fuck it, I wasn’t going to call her Jade. That was incredibly stupid—it was a stage name, not her name; a persona and not her.

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Jade was not the name of the woman who I’d seen broken and desperate, was not the name of the woman who had begged me to stay DESPITE not knowing me just because she couldn’t stand to be alone, and was certainly not the woman who’d clung to me as if a virtual stranger was her last hold on this life.

Even the young woman who flipped out on me and stormed out afterward once I’d implied she was miserable was not named Jade no matter how vehemently she’d insisted it was.

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I rubbed my temples, frustrated. What the hell was I supposed to be doing right now anyway?

“Hey, what’s up, man?” Ryan asked, nudging me. “You look more displeased with the world than usual,” he smirked. I brushed him off, annoyed.

“I’m not displeased with the world.”

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“Sure, sure, Mr. Misery,” he said with a stupid smile on his face. “I mean I get it. You have good reason. It’s just—it’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I mean, I don’t mean to—”

“I’m not miserable!” I cut in before Ryan could go on another of his long-winded spiels about moving on and enjoying life again. As soon as I’d said it though, I frowned, remembering the blonde starlet who’d said the same words to me not a month before. The memory left me unsettled again.

Who was I to say she wasn’t telling the truth though? Ever since that day she seemed happy as fuck. I remembered even considering following up with her after that day—just to make sure she was okay, but when I saw her she’d been as bubbly and bright and annoying as ever.

But that was strange too. It felt…too bright, too bubbly. It felt…forced. I shook the cable I’d been trying to untangle in frustration, hoping that the random movements would somehow loosen the damned knot it was in. Fucking shit—I was looking into things too much again! It’d probably just been a bad day and now she was back to her prim, proper, and perfect life with Hollywood beau, Brandon Hart.

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God I hated the look on his face when he dragged her away though—like she was prey and he was the predator. Fucking sick son of a—

“Woah, woah, Gabriel, it’s dead, it’s dead,” my friend said, putting his hand on my shoulder. I looked down, only to see that I was practically strangling the cable at this point. I sighed, dropping it and leaning heavily against one of the speakers. This was bothering me too much. “What is up with you?” Ryan asked with concern. “And don’t give me some bullshit ‘nothing is wrong’ answer. You’ve been irritated as fuck ever since the show ended. Are you that upset that Jade’s done performing for the night?” he added with a smirk.

“Her name is Joanne,” I muttered, kicking at the clearly demonic cable lying by my feet.

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Ryan raised his eyebrows high, his normally laughing and smiling face looking as if he’d just been kneed in the balls. “You—Gabriel…are you, holy shit are you upset that she just left with that guy? Brenda Fuckface or whatever his name is?”

I might have laughed at the name he coined for the pretty boy predator, had it not been for the implication within his words. “Don’t even fucking go there,” I said quietly.

“But—but that’s great! I mean…why her I dunno, but—but still that’s gr—”

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“It’s not great because there’s nothing to be great. Stop reading into this,” I grumbled. I turned around, grabbing up the cable and finally just wrapping it up, knots and all. I walked quickly away from him then, shoving the cable into the storage shed backstage, but of course, he followed me, practically bouncing in excitement over nothing.

“Have you talked to her?” he asked, transforming, in that moment, into the most annoying puppy ever. “Has she talked to you? I knew I’d seen your eyes light up when you first saw her. I knew it! It’s why I made sure you were intro—”

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I took a deep breath and then turned around. “There was no light in my eyes,” I said calmly. “I was bored shitless because Melanie Hell’s Bitch made us wait in there forever just so she could show off her new little ticket to success.”

“But there was,” Ryan insisted. “Come on, I’ve been your best friend since high school, I’d know and I haven’t seen that light si—”

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“THERE WAS NO FUCKING LIGHT!” I shouted, losing my temper. “Look, if you have to know I’m annoyed as all hell because I didn’t like the way that Brenda Fuckface was looking at Jo, but that has everything to do with the fact that he’s a sleazy pervert and nothing to do with this so-called imagined light, alright!?”

“Jo?” he asked, puzzled. How was it that THAT was the one thing he picked up from my outburst? Incredible.

I groaned, pinching the bridge of my nose in irritation. “It’s her nickname,” I said impatiently. “She fucking said it the first day she was–…stop looking at me like that.”

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“Alright, alright,” Ryan said calmly, holding his hands up. “You know I’m just looking out for you, right? Look, why don’t we just go downtown then, peek in a few places, grab a couple beers, and maybe we’ll run into them and you can settle your worries. Does that sound okay?”

“I—” I hesitated, my brow knitted with doubt. “There’s…there’s a lot of bars and clubs,” I finally managed to say. I pressed my lips together. The odds weren’t good, but maybe….

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“So it’ll be a pretty fun night then, eh? We could even call up Spectra!”

“Oh fuck, no,” I interjected, snapped out of my thoughts. “The last thing I need right now is to hear you trying to wheedle her into your bed.”

“I’m not trying to get her into bed,” Ryan protested, and I let out a sharp laugh.

“Oh ho, who’s in denial now?”

Ryan’s eyebrows flew up once more and he suddenly had that shocked look on his face again.

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I scowled. “Don’t read into that,” I cut in. “Do you wanna go downtown, or what?”

“Sure do,” he said with a grin.

I resisted the urge to punch him.

***

~*~Joanne’s POV~*~

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1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink

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Throw ‘em back, ‘til I lose count

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I’m gonna swing from the chandelier,
from the chandelier

“You sir, are impossible!” I giggled, wiggling my way out of Brandon’s arms for the millionth time that night.

“It’s not my fault that you’re irresistible,” he said with a grin, and I giggled again, my cheeks pink with embarrassment. “Come on, just dance with me then,” he suggested innocently, offering me his hand.

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“I feel like you have an ulterior motive, my friend.”

“Ouch,” Brandon said, holding his hand to his heart. “You wound me, not only because you questioned my motives, but also because you called me a ‘friend,’” he pouted.

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I laughed softly, leaning up to grant his lips a gentle kiss. “Would a friend do that?” I asked with a smile.

“Hmm,” he considered. “Maybe. If they were a very good friend,” he added, raising his eyebrows. I couldn’t help but giggle again.

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“How about this?” I asked. I wrapped my arms around his neck and ran my tongue along his bottom lip. He let out a soft sigh and I found myself laughing all over again. My head was thick with cotton, my limbs loose and my worries gone.

“Always the tease,” he smiled.

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Brandon took my hand then and led me out on the dance floor, our bodies joining the already writhing masses. There seemed to be quite a crowd tonight—the energy pulsating through the place just as the deep, rhythmic bass of its music did. I gave myself up to the sound, my back pressed firmly against Brandon’s chest, his hands gripping my hips and my head leaning back against his shoulder as we danced. It was extremely hot in the club, but I couldn’t quite tell if it was because of the club itself, or the feeling of Brandon’s body against mine.

The most recent shots we’d taken began to make their effects known, leaving my mind fuzzier than I typically liked it to be. The feeling unsettled me. I pulled away from Brandon some and he took me by the arm, turning me around and pulling me toward him. I looked up at him questioningly, my hands on his chest, and he took this as an invitation to kiss me, his lips finding mine again in the colorful swirling lights of the club.

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I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist

I kissed him back—fully and deeply even though not a single paparazzo was in sight. The attention that Brandon paid to me made me feel less like I was drowning. He drew me away from the crowd, stealthily, expertly—as if he had done this many times before. His lips rarely left mine, his hands on my hips, on my waist, on the small of my back—pulling and prodding me in the right direction. He seemed to know where he was going.

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The music felt less loud here—muffled, or perhaps that was just because of the alcohol. His tongue was in my mouth and then my back was against the wall, pressed firmly against it by the tall man before me. The feeling made me feel trapped and anxious, but it was as if I were experiencing the feelings from far away, so it was difficult to be bothered by them.

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I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night
feel my tears as they dry

His hand was on my thigh, lifting up my dress, and I thought to myself this is too far, what happened to our fun exchanges, he’s never pushed like this before and I thought to myself but it does feel good to be wanted. His hands were at his waist, unbuckling and shifting fabric—his hands were back on me, one sliding underneath my dress again while the other gripped my hip tightly. I shut my eyes tightly and I thought to myself he’s too forceful, he’s too rough. No, this is enough.

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The room was tilting underneath my heels, and then my heels weren’t on the ground at all as Brandon lifted me up. My head was pounding.

“Wait,” I whispered through heavy clouds. “Don’t.”

“Shhhh,” Brandon murmured, kissing me again. “You’re so gorgeous, you know that? You’re so, so gorgeous.”

“But—”

“Shh, shh…I really like you. It’ll be okay,” he soothed softly, his fingers rubbing small circles on my thigh. I couldn’t think. My thoughts were too muddled, too disconnected, and he was whispering such sweet things. I knew somewhere in my clouds that he was lying, that this was all he wanted, but I felt, in that moment, that maybe that was alright. Maybe that was all I would ever get in this life. I nodded slowly and the room spun around me.

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I’m gonna swing from the chandelier,
from the chandelier

It’d been such a long time for me, so it was honestly so uncomfortable, but he’d said I was gorgeous and he made me feel wanted. Now the world wasn’t quite so quiet, and the emptiness in my chest felt at least numb, and I thought to myself the numbness is better than the pain, and I thought to myself at least, for now, I’m not alone.

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But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down
won’t open my eyes

I felt wobbly on my legs when he finally let me down and I leaned heavily against the wall. My body was trembling as I fixed my clothing, pulling up my underwear and smoothing down my dress. It was wrinkled and I felt sick to my stomach.

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Brandon took my face in his hand then, tilting it upward to look at him and holding me firmly in place. “I told you I have a way of getting what I want,” he murmured softly. “I told you that one day, I would get you, didn’t I?”

I frowned, my head spinning and my body stiffening. “I—Y-yes,” I whispered quickly, feeling fear inside my muddled clouds. “Yes, you were right.”

He smiled, and then kissed me softly.

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Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m
just holding on for tonight

I hurried downstairs afterward, going to the bar counter there to order another quick drink. I finished it off hastily, unwilling to allow myself to think about anything that had just happened. My hands were still trembling when I put down the empty glass, ordering just one more. I could not allow myself to think about it—could not allow myself to remember his words and the discomforting way in which he had said them.

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Help me, I’m holding on for dear life,
won’t look down, won’t open my eyes

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Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m
just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

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Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this

I stumbled out of the bar, the ground beneath my heels seeming to pitch backward and forward as I walked right into a light post. I held onto it tightly, breathing heavily. It was very cold out and the metal upon my face was freezing. It woke me up for a brief second. I needed to get home, I just needed to get home.

I could hear voices, I could hear muffled music, I could hear cars and laughter and, I could swear, the sound of my own thrumming heart. I needed to get home.

“Jo?”

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Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

I lifted my face from the light post, turning myself toward the warm, subdued tones in confusion.

The sight ruined me. Of all the people in the world. Of all the fucking people in the world.

I doubled over and retched, my stomach revolting against me and my stupidity. If I hadn’t been near the light post, I imagined I would have fallen over right then. I began to sob, great panicky breaths that tore at my throat and left me hysterical. Seeing him yanked me off my clouds and my reality was coming into focus so fast that I could not stand it.

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I felt Gabriel beside me, could hear him saying something to his friend, but couldn’t quite make out the words. I felt his hand on my back, gingerly steadying me.

I recoiled with a gasp, feeling completely undeserving of his gentle touch, feeling completely undeserving of his genuine concern.

Gabriel stood a step back, his hands lifted up by his sides. He hadn’t meant to startle me—hadn’t meant to upset me. He looked so distressed and it made me feel worse than ever. We were two people who barely even knew each other, and yet I’d already caused him so much discomfort. I cried harder.

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“Just—just leave me alone, please,” I begged. “I—I need to go home.”

“Is there anyone there?” I heard him ask, and I felt like I was being stabbed, being tortured because he cared and there was absolutely no reason for him to do so. I hadn’t even spoken to him since the day I’d fallen apart in front of him—I’d been too ashamed to do so, and now I was drowning in that shame.

I shook my head, futilely wiping away my tears. “No, but it’s fine. I just…I just need to be home,” I cried.

“I can drop you off there. At least let me do that?”

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“No!” I shouted, stumbling as I took a step away from him. “I’m just—I’m just gonna take a cab,” I moaned.

“I…you…you shouldn’t be alone right now.”

I shook my head over and over again, taking another step back.

“Jo, please.”

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“STOP IT!” I sobbed, smacking against the light post again. I heard something fall, and for a split, confusing moment I thought that I’d somehow broken it, but it still looked firmly secured to the ground. I looked ahead to the road and dashed forward, stumbling as I waved frantically to an oncoming cab. It rolled to a stop beside me.

Just as I was getting in though, Gabriel called out to me.

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“Wait, you—”

“What!?” I shouted through my tears. “What? What could you possibly want?!”

What could you possibly want with someone like me?

Gabriel squeezed something in his hand, ducking it out of sight and then averting my gaze. “Nothing,” he said quietly.

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Feeling more distressed than ever, I shut the taxi door and hastily gave my address to the driver. I couldn’t take this anymore. I couldn’t take any of it.

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***

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1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink

I burst through my front door, heavy sobs tearing out of my throat as I raced into the kitchen. I grabbed the bottle of wine I had sitting out. I drank. I found the half-empty bottle of pills. I took some of those too, swallowing them down with the wine. I needed to shower. I need to get him off of me. I needed to erase everything.

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I made my way clumsily up the stairs, tripping about halfway up. My shin collided on the edge of one of the stairs, the skin rent open and bleeding, but I couldn’t feel it. Grabbing onto the banister, I dragged myself back up, making my way shakily to the top.

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I’m gonna swing from the chandelier,
from the chandelier

Fresh tears fell from my eyes, but I barely noticed that either. All I was aware of was the suffocating feeling that was threatening to choke me alive. I needed air desperately. I moved across the room to the balcony door, grasping the cool metal handle and flinging it open.

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I stepped out onto the night, feeling the icy wind pick up and lift my hair off my shoulders. I took in a shaky breath, making my way to the railing. My knuckles were white as I gripped it, just trying to stay on my feet. I leaned heavily against it, staring blearily at the dark expanse of ceramic tiles at least twenty feet below me. My stomach roiled and I closed my eyes, the sight giving me the swooping sensation that I was falling.

I opened my eyes for a moment. What if I did fall? Would the fall kill me, or would I just break a lot of bones?

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I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist

I stepped onto the bottom rung of the railing, pulling myself up and then leaning over to get a better look below. It wasn’t that high of a fall. My legs trembled, struggling to stay balanced on the slippery metal bar.

I looked down at the ground again. What would happen if I let go? Would I be able to maintain my balance? If I stumbled, would I fall backward onto the wooden balcony floor behind me, or would I pitch forward, flip over the railing, and land smack on the ground level below?

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I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night,
feel my tears as they dry

I stared for a long time, my thoughts growing ever fuzzier, the world spinning ever so much more, and my heart pounding harder and harder. My hands were getting sweaty from gripping the railing so tightly, my legs shaking worse than ever as they struggled to keep me balanced. There wasn’t just ceramic below me—directly underneath me there was a wooden veranda. If I fell, would I hit the ceramic, or the wood? Would it all depend on my momentum?

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I leaned over more to get a closer look, stumbling slightly and then tightening my grip on the railing. My heart wasn’t just pounding now—it was racing. What would happen if I just…let go? What would happen if just let go…of everything?

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“Would you be proud of me, Mom?” I found myself whimpering as I stared into the inky abyss. Fresh, hot tears streamed down my face. “Would you be proud that I followed in your legendary footsteps? Is that the legacy that you intended for me when you fucking offed yourself!?” I shouted into the night.

I let out a loud sob, more tears streaming down my face. I shut my eyes tightly and leaned forward more…slowly loosening my grip on the railing.

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“JO, DON’T!”

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I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the
chandelier

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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30 thoughts on “Chapter 5.9: Chandelier”

  1. Holy freakin crap!

    I always thought that Jo was a relatively happy child. She always seemed so upbeat and perky. Now it all makes sense. But she pressured herself too much as a child, and it’s really hurting her now.

    Doesn’t what Brenda did to Jo count as rape..? He’s a freaking scumbag and I wanna punch his face so bad. If she gets pregnant… that is gonna suck SO MUCH!

    I used to not be too keen on Joanne, because she kept making terrible choice, and didn’t care for the people around her… But now..? My heart breaks for her (is it weird for my heart to break for a nonexistent pixelated character?) I just want her to turn back so badly. It’s sad that she has actually fallen so low as to fall into the traps of BOTH of her parents… I hope that everything turns around soon… I don’t know how much more of the destruction one person should be able to take…

    And here I thought I was mean to my characters… XD

    But you did an excellent job with this chapter! It was amazingly written! And that song! I don’t think there is a better fitting song. I had heard it on the radio multiple times, but I never really knew the meaning behind it (nor the lyrics, cuz I can’t understand Sia when she sings anyway… she kinda sounds mumbly… but that is neither here nor there) until now. It was like the bow on top of a perfectly wrapped gift.

    Awesome chapter. I hope the person who told her not to let go was Gabe. Oh my gosh! What if the blonde that Ryan was referring to was someone that Gabriel was in love with that committed suicide as well… I should probably shut up and stop guessing… cuz either I’m dead wrong, or I’m spoiling something… I’ll be quiet now! XD

    *flies away*

    1. Thank you so much! And yes! I’ve been waiting for SO long to explain that, but I hadn’t been able to work it in until now. Jo was always an oddly happy child, especially considering everything going on around her, and THAT was why. She’d grown up with James during, by far, the most difficult days of his life, and she certainly wasn’t blind to how worried and stressed out he could get over anything, so she made it a point to stress him out as little as possible, fearing that it’d make him even worse. It’s kind of bittersweet…it’s sweet because she cared about her father so much that she was willing to put aside herself to keep him happy, but it’s also sad because no kid should have to go through that AND it is hurting her now. She cannot go through life ignoring her negative feelings, but that’s all she’s been doing so far. She hid whenever she was upset as a child, she hid what she was really feeling about Oliver, and she hid her own doubts and her own worries and any tiny feelings of regret or unhappiness that she might have felt every time that she cast away something essential in order to be a star, always convincing herself to ignore it so she could obtain her dream.

      Of course, where has that led her now? It keys me into something else you said in your comment, or rather, a word that you used: destruction. I’m glad that you chose that word because “destruction” is actually the key theme for this first arc of Jo’s story. Thus, every chapter so far has been a continuous cavalcade of bad decisions that first, led to the destruction of all her relationships, then, to the destruction of who she was as a person, and now, the destruction of her physical self too.

      It IS all really sad, and I’m glad I finally got to show that because I know that so far, Jo has, very understandably, been an extremely frustrating character, haha. I don’t blame you for not being keen on her XD But well, even though it doesn’t take away her decisions, but I’m really relieved that I finally got to explain them, at least. I also hope that, like it did for you, it helps people to understand her at least a little better 🙂 She has a lot to figure out, clearly, and maybe now she can start. A person really can take only so much destruction and I HAVE been pretty mean to her! It might be time for the second arc of Jo’s story to begin 😉

      Ah, the song! I’m really glad you liked the choice! I’ve actually heard numerous interpretations of it, and every one I heard I realized fit what was happening to Jo here. The two main interpretations: 1.) “swinging from a chandelier” often refers to sexual relations under the influence of alcohol (eff you, Brenda–I totally feel that he did rape her, Jo was in NO effing state to consent!!), and 2.) “swinging from a chandelier” actually refers to a noose, referencing the suicidal ideations that Sia has had herself in her own struggles with alcoholism (we see that here as well). SOOO of course, I just had to use the song, haha. Plus, it just drips of destruction I think: “I’m holding on for dear life,” “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist,” and of course she’s going to “swing” from that symbolic “chandelier,” which I personally interpret as just a complete loss of control and self.

      My lips are obviously sealed about who shouted at her to stop, but I don’t think Ryan ever referred to a blonde. Gabriel mentions a blonde though when he’s reminded of a “blonde starlet” who said the words to him a month ago, but to clarify, he means Jo :P. In their encounter in the lounge, she told Gabriel that she was “not miserable” before storming off, so when Gabriel says the same words to his friend, it reminds him of that…making him realize that, well, since it’s obvious that Jo WAS miserable…it’s clear that Gabriel himself isn’t very happy either. Of course, there is a reason for that, as you suspect, but I won’t confirm or deny your particular hypothesis, haha. All will be revealed 🙂

      Eee! Thanks again, sincerely!

      AND OMG THIS COMMENT IS SO LONG I AM SO SORRY I HAVE CLEARLY GIVEN THIS STORY WAY TOO MUCH THOUGHT AND TOLD YOU WAY MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW. I’M SHUTTING UP RIGHT NOW! =O

  2. Oh my berry O_o

    What a chapter Lily, it’s amazing as always, congratulation ^^

    I knew it that Brandon was a bastard è_é
    I’ve said in your previous chapter that I felt something was wrong with that scum XD

    Oh, Jo, stupid girl, where you choices have led you é_è
    You’ve destroyed almost everything you had for a career who finally destroyed you, and now you’re destroyed yourself -_-‘

    I knew it that her downfall had started with the previous chapter -_-‘

    I have a mixed feelings, on one hand I don’t feel pity because it’s the result of all her bad choices and I knew something bad was going to happen to her and on the other hand, I feel sad for her because she’s totally broken now é_è
    But I reassure you Lily, I feel more pity toward her, at least for that chapter 😉

    I can’t wait to see how her family and Oliver will react when they learn everything ^^
    I know, I know, I talk too much about Oliver, sorry XD

    I love the insults Gabriel and Rayan gave to Brandon when talking between them 😀
    He totally deserve it ^^

    And I won’t be surprised if Gab learn the truth about what happened in the club and punch that bastard in the face, it’s going to be a great thing to see if it’s done 😀
    It’s good to see that he had noticed that something was wrong with her since she cried in front of him ^^

    I won’t be surprised if she quit everything soon when she’ll be able to do it and I hope that she’ll learn her lesson about all of that…
    And I hope she’s not pregnant from that bastard è_é

    I think she’ll need help to recover from that life, poor girl…

    And I wont be surprised if Valencia Records and/or Brandon are sued for what happened to Jo, because even if her choices led her to that, Valencia and Brandon played a big role in it ^^

    1. Thank you!

      I remember your comment about Brandon last chapter. You totally guessed it right, I just didn’t want to say anything yet because I didn’t want to give it all away 🙂 He’s complete scum and this whole time he’s just been waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of Jo. He’s seriously a horrible person. I hate him!

      Jo’s downfall definitely DID start in the last chapter and now it’s all completely blown up! I completely understand your feelings 🙂 I feel similarly too. It is HER choices that have brought her this far, but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel sad for her. Hopefully she can pick up the pieces now and start making better decisions!

      It’s okay that you talk about Oliver, haha. He really is a good guy…just maybe not the right one for Jo. We’ll see!

      Interesting predictions!! You got some things right last time…let’s see which ones here come true and which don’t 😉

      Thanks as always for reading and commenting!

      1. You’re welcome my dear ^^

        Yup, you were right to not give away it make things much better like that even if I love spoiler in contrary of almost all peoples XD

        Taking advantage of a weakened woman (or man) is one of the worst things peoples can do 😡
        I can’t wait to see him teared appart by justice or by a good beat down from Gabriel and end up in prison >:)
        He more than deserve that in my advice and maybe even more XD

        If only I could send two of my sims against him, it could be fun to see them tearing him appart because one is a witch and the other her vampire husband XD

        Yeah, everything blown up on her face now and she finally realised it, it was more than time XD
        I agree, I also think that now, she’ll start to make better decisions now, and it’s about time I think XD

        He he, you’re right ^^ Maybe he’s not for her but I hope the contrary against all odds XD
        But whoever she end up with, I hope she’ll be happy as long as she don’t end with Brandon 😉
        And I’m starting to like Gabriel more ^^

        And I’m curious to see Hannah’s reaction if they see each other again and see what she, Oliver and Jo’s family became ^^

        Oh yeah, I can’t wait to see if I’m right or not about my predictions 😀

        And I think she could have flee to her family’s home when she felt really bad, but since she wasn’t herself and maybe too ashamed of what she became and her choices she decided to go on with that life and finally paid the price…

        1. Feeling ashamed is exactly what kept Jo from going to her family when she was feeling bad, and now she’s suffering from those consequences. Her family though, of course, would always accept her–even after everything. Some of them may be a bit angry with her, at first, but they’d never completely turn her away.

          Brandon totally deserves all of that, haha. We’ll see what he ends up getting 😉

  3. Wow this was intense!

    Jo’s secret weakness — her insecurity and fear of being alone — is what led her down the wrong path with Oliver, and now it’s led her down the wrong path with, well, everything.

    Realizing that your loved ones were right can make it the very hardest to reach out to them when you need them. I hope that Jo will be able to recover enough to realize that asking for help from the people who love her most is a better choice than jumping off a building. They’ve made it clear they won’t turn her away, though of course she might not be able to see that.

    Jo was always so flippant about Candace being her mother. I’ve been wondering if she held any hurt and/or curiosity about her biomom. I know I would in her place. You tied all that, and her defensive cheerfulness in the face of her father’s anxiety, together beautifully.

    It’s good to see some stuff from Gabriel’s perspective. I still have a bit of a geek girl’s crush on Oliver. I’m going to have to take some time with Gabriel.

    1. Thanks! I hope that intense is a good thing, lol.

      Jo’s family definitely wouldn’t turn her away, especially her dad, but as you said, realizing her loved one’s were right has been making it extremely difficult for her to reach out to them. Plus, as she sinks deeper into the old vices of her parents now she feels overwhelming shame too. In her mind, how can she possibly face them after everything that she’s done? Now that feeling has only gotten worse, which has served to further distance her :/

      I’m glad that you thought everything was tied together well! That’s exactly what I tried to do in this chapter, so it’s good that it’s coming across the way I intended it to 🙂 There will be more on all of that to come, but for someone who insists that her biological mother was unimportant she sure does spend a lot of time thinking about it…even when she’s going on about how Candice is her mom and always will be, it’s all very, well, defensive. She’s had deep-set issues about this for a while, and it has peeked its head out every now and then, but now the issues are fully coming to light.

      I really like writing Gabriel’s perspective, so it’s possible we’ll be seeing more of it. I know what you mean about the geek girl crush! I have the same thing for him and sometimes I still feel bad about how all that ended up, lol. I guess real me is more appreciative of him than Jo though XD As for Gabriel, I totally getcha–he’s not as easy to like initially, being a very closed-off and grumpy person. Perhaps you’ll warm up to him as you get to know him better, perhaps you won’t 😉 We shall see!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! ❤

  4. Yup, I totally understand that her shame kept her from going back to her family ^^
    And I knew that they’ll always be here for her, she have a great family ^^
    And it’s normal that some of them will be angry at her at least a bit, she deserve it after all XD

    Poor girl, she’ll have a lot of things to fix and try to recover given what she’ve done and what happened to her 😦

    Oh yeah, can’t wait to see what’ he’s going to get, I think I’ll enjoy it a lot >:)

    I answer you here, because I don’t know why, but there’s no reply button XD

    1. And I think of a lot of peoples who could have tried to stop Jo at the end of the chapter : James, Candice, one of her siblings, Hannah, Oliver, Gabriel, her manager, one of her team, her biological mother’s ghost and even that scum of Brandon who could have come to apologize even if it’s not likely considering who he is XD

      Oh, and I’ve forgot to ask : do you know WCIF her purple dress she wear when she sing please? ^^

  5. Joanne Winters! I just want to shake you…and then hug you…and then put you into rehab…and then hug you more!

    This was the crash of the metaphorical roller-coaster descending from the top of the highest heights. I don’t think it’s going to stop here at the bottom, though. I just get the sense that the ride isn’t over. We have a few loop-de-loops to go yet. Alcoholism is an insidious demon–add in Jo’s family’s predilection to depression, and it’s a disaster. The fact that she is also taking drugs makes it even worse–a catastrophe.

    Are you familiar with the terms that define a Greek Tragedy according to Aristotle’s “Poetics”? They are: hubris, hamartia, peripeteia, catastrophe, anagnorisis, and catharsis. Jo’s story so far seems to have all of these elements.

    Hubris is pride, or excessive pride, and a lack of humility in the tragic character, which definitely characterized Jo when she was in school and just before she signed her record deal. Additionally, hubris also implies that the tragic character doesn’t recognize his or her own limitations, which also applies to Jo.

    Hamartia is the character’s tragic flaw. What makes this significant in Greek tragedy is that it stems from the character’s strengths. It’s sort of ironic that the strengths the character has leads to his or her downfall. In Jo’s case, she’s a good singer and performer. She also has the ability to put a happy face on her misfortunes. Unfortunately, these are her flaws, too. Because she’s so good at performing, she let hubris get her into a situation with a shady record label that has now led her to be with Brandon Hart and become a parody of her real self. Her ability to put a positive spin on things and appear happy, has been exaggerated to the point where it also is a flaw. She isn’t seeing silver linings or just trying to make a bad situation better. Instead she’s using drugs and alcohol to simulate happiness and mask her intense loneliness.

    Peripeteia is a reversal of fortune or change from happiness to sadness or from stability to misfortune. I think the last few chapters have illustrated Jo’s peripeteia. She is sad and unstable for sure!

    Catastrophe is usually the climax of the tragedy when the worst has happened. I just don’t think Jo’s there yet. But I know it’s coming. That’s the part of the roller-coaster where it jumps the tracks and you quote Wash in “Serenity” and say “Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die!”

    Anagnorisis is when the character recognizes their own tragedy. Jo is starting to have moments of this in this chapter, but she’s still a victim of hamartia. If the tragic character achieves Anagnorisis before they hit Catastrophe the tragedy can be averted. That’s what usually provides another element of irony in a Greek Tragedy. The audience always knows that the character’s anagnorisis comes too late to save the character. I hope that this isn’t the case for Jo.

    Finally, Catharsis is the purging of all negative emotion. Typically in tragedies it comes too late for the character, but is achieved by any secondary characters that are still alive at the end of the tragedy (i.e. Horatio in Hamlet). I have only read one play where the tragic character lives and has his own catharsis and that is King Creon in “Antigone”. But, to get there, everyone in his family had to die so that he is left utterly alone only with his kingdom and his rule.

    For Jo I hope that she achieves catharsis without sacrificing anymore people. She’s already lost her best friend and the man who loved her more than anything. She’s given up her family, but they aren’t gone. I want her to survive this roller-coaster and come out the other side feeling relief and excitement at having made it to the end of the ride.

    (Sorry this was so long! And an Literary Lesson…I just was struck with how closely this followed Greek Tragedy!)

    1. Oh wow, no worries at all! I actually absolutely loved reading this comment and truly appreciate it, so thank you hugely! I’m definitely familiar with Greek Tragedies, but I admit I haven’t thought of them too much since I graduated college, so going back to revisit these terms really brought back some awesome memories (English was always my favorite subject, haha).

      It was also really cool to read your analysis because I honestly didn’t have the Greek Tragedy in mind when I planned Jo’s story, nor have I thought about it in finally writing it out, but reading your comment—well, WOW it sure does have a lot of things in common, doesn’t it?

      Everything you said about Joanne’s character is so extremely accurate that it’s almost kind of creepy. ARE YOU IN MY HEAD?! Haha. Then again, through writing, I try to get you guys into my head, so the fact that you’ve extracted all of this makes me feel really happy about the way I’ve written Joanne’s generation so far. I know it hasn’t been perfect, but it looks like the main points I’ve been trying to make have actually been made, so that’s really exciting for me.

      Also, LOL to your first sentence. That’s actually exactly how I wanted my readers to feel…frustrated to heck with Joanne, but also really wanting to help her and pull her through! She makes us so mad, but it’s also obvious that deep down inside, she’s not actually a bad person—just a character who makes extremely bad decisions because of her tragic flaws. Hah…I guess it’s true…Joanne is a tragic character.

      I like that you’ve recognized that it is Joanne’s strengths that actually lead to her downfall too. I like the idea of irony when it comes to Joanne’s generation, which is why she has, like she says, essentially become a combination of her parent’s worst traits. Plus, just the idea that she’s cast everything aside to achieve this “great happiness” only to find that yes, well, it really is lonely at the top and now she must suffer the consequences of her actions.

      As for whether Jo’s anagnorisis will come before catastrophe, well, we shall just have to see 😉 I think it is safe to say though, given my overwhelming love for James and his family, that Joanne will at least not have to suffer through all of their deaths, haha.

      She has already given up so much…let’s hope that she doesn’t lose anymore :X

      Thank you again for such an amazing comment and, as always, for reading!

  6. Wow Lily, I don’t even know what to say that hasn’t already been said. Such a sad desperate chapter. I can’t wait to hear what Gabriel’s story is. It sounds like he is just as sad as Jo. I hope the two of them will be able to build a friendship and be there for each other. I refrain from saying “maybe more” because my heart is still breaking for Oliver even though it has been some time since he’s been around.
    You’ve really outdone yourself with this chapter. It’s so great even though the emotions in Jo’s story being so strong! You can’t help but feel sad and depressed while you read it so you’ve done a great job with projecting the emotion.

    1. Thank you! I kind of view this chapter as the most desperate time in Jo’s life, so I’m glad that’s the impression that you got from it. Emotion is big part of this chapter, but as you’ll see, it’s an even bigger part of the next. SO MANY FEELS WHILE WRITING IT, lol.

      Ah, Oliver. You’re not the first to express that sentiment to me, haha. It’s really funny too because in the original planning of Jo’s story he was always a “throw-away” character, someone who I knew was going to love Jo, but also someone who I knew Jo was always going to leave. In fact, Oliver is actually some random newspaper townie kid that Jo befriended, so I just CASed him a bit and voila, throwaway character. However, as I wrote him, his character obviously became so much more than I’d intended and even I began to feel bad for what I already knew was going to happen to him. I’m going to need to figure that out now XD Darn Oliver for being so like-able!

      It doesn’t help either that Gabriel isn’t as easily loveable, being a bit of a grump, but we don’t know him all too well yet. It’s true though, if anything, it would be nice for Joanne to have a friend again. Goodness knows she needs it.

  7. I feel like Joanne deserves the feelings she’s having right now because I feel like she needed to know emptiness, hollowness, she needed to know what it feels like to be Maddie. I feel like it can open her eyes. When she was thinking to herself that she didn’t deserve kindness from Gabriel, I was like, yeah, that’s what depression feels like, you feel so worthless that you don’t think people should give a shit about you. I think Joanne’s blowup about not understanding Maddie is still a sore spot I have with her, so I feel like this chapter was karma giving her a kick in the butt for being so mean about it. I think that James did the right thing in the beginning by letting Joanne go do whatever she wanted because now Joanne is making huge mistakes that will stick with her, and I think that she is learning huge life lessons from them. It still remains to be seen if she will actually learn, or if she’ll just continue numbing the pain, but there is potential that she will. I think, at least, LOL. I’m glad Gabriel followed her, that’s my guess anyway, I think Gabriel is too nice of a guy to see her like that, and then not go to her house to see if she got home okay, LOL.

    That’s too bad that Brandon is a class A jerk-face, and that he’s the one Joanne has to play fake boyfriend with. It’s really sad when compliments are used in such a manipulative way. I wonder if that’s why some girls can’t take compliments because they feel like it’s not true coming out of the guy’s mouth or something.

    Poor Gabriel, I wonder how many little starlets he has seen during his time working for Valencia that have gone through similar stuff that Joanne is going through. It must be so tough to be in his position, because it’s not like he has any power in the company to say anything about how terrible these starlets are being treated. I bet half of the starlets do that thing that Joanne did too, just stomp off if he shows concern. Gabriel feels like a genuine person to me, like he hasn’t let Valencia just turn him into an asshole like Melanie… LOL.

    I want to say too, that even though I related to James and Maddie the most, I’m finding a lot to discuss in Joanne’s generation. I like that fact. 🙂

    1. Goodness you’ve read my intents so well that it was almost creepy to read your comment , LOL. Of course, that means that you’ve also read my intents so well that I can’t say too much about what all you’ve said because it’ll spoil the next chapter, where all of my intents become clear 😛 Thus, I shall discuss these great points then!

      Hmmm you know, I hadn’t given that much thought, but maybe that is part of why it’s difficult for many girls to take compliments. Hell, I admit I’ve had difficulties accepting them sometimes too, and I know that always comes from this vague sense that the comment is insincere or is being said because the person wants something :X Damn shitty guys ruining it for the good ones! Haha. Brandon truly sucks ass—like you said, a class A jerk-face!!!

      You’re very right about Gabriel not buying into all the Valencia Records crap, but again I can’t say too much more because a lot of information about him will soon be revealed, so I’ll just let you continue to ponder for a bit, lmao. But your guess is that he was the one that followed her? Well, it certainly is possible…I mean, it would be very difficult for a guy like him to see someone in such a state and do nothing whatsoever…..*whistles innocently and walks off* XD

      I’m glad you’re still finding lots to discuss in this generation! I’ve been loving all of your comments so far–thanks so much for them all again!! ❤

  8. Gabriel seems so sweet and caring, he sees through the Jade masquerade, he knows that Jade isn’t Jo, but he doesn’t want to admit to Ryan that he cares for Jo. I agree with him, Brandon seems awful and considering that Jo’s already consumed a fair amount of pills and alcohol, she doesn’t need to go out and party and drink more. If Brandon was decent and not a little scumbag, he wouldn’t take fucking advantage of her in an already vulnerable state- she’s intoxicated and isn’t in any state to consent to anything. She’s filled with such a hollow emptiness, she has finally hit rock bottom and has so much that she needs to recover from, I hope that whoever kept her from jumping helps her being recovery- she CAN recover, she was so strong when her daddy was going through his sickness, now she needs to stay strong for herself.

    1. Gabriel is a good man with a good heart, and he certainly does see through the Jade masquerade, especially after that fateful day when she broke down into tears in his arms even though he’s pretty much a stranger to her. He’s got a bad feeling about it all, and he definitely has an ill feeling about that good-for-nothing scumbag Brandon.

      Of course, like you pointed out, Joanne is filled with such a hollow emptiness that it made it difficult for her to see Brandon as he really was. Sure she occasionally felt a slight, discomforting vibe, but then he’d be totally “sweet” and “fun” all over again, saying how much he liked her and so on and so forth…so she trusted him…only to be completely and 100% betrayed. Brandon is a piece of shit excuse for a human–he saw the opening and took advantage of it to the worst fuckin’ degree possible, leaving Joanne shattered and yes, at rock bottom.

      Let’s indeed hope that whoever kept her from jumping can help her begin to recover. It will be hard, but just like her father, she really can do so.

  9. This chapter also reminded me of another song, “Hollywood Whore” by Papa Roach. It pretty much sums up the horrible celebrity lives lived by some. Look it up, you might want to use it for a future post.

  10. God, you write her spiraling life so well. I feel for her and I want her to get better so, so badly, and fuck brandon, he needs to go fuck a blender!
    This is just so good, I literally can’t stop reading X_X even if you make me want to cry all the time…

    1. Thank you so very much!! I also second your desire that Brandon go fuck a blender! He is such a slimy character and I literally can’t even see that sim now without gagging. Such a piece of shit.

      Gahhhh thank you again ;____; If it’s any consolation I frequently make myself tear up writing this stuff, so you are definitely not alone!

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