Emma

Preface

“I don’t understand what you're trying to say, do you love me and want to be with me or not?” He asked me as I stared at him, eyes swelling with tears.

“What’s the matter with you?” Impatience was growing in his voice for my lack of speed when it came to answering him. He had a sad pain behind his ice blue eyes that pierced through my chest, leaving me with heartache that could have been mistaken for indigestion.

The truth was I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t know what I wanted. My slowness in answering the question wasn’t because I didn’t love him, my mind was completely blank, and I was lost in thought. I really do love him, and that is something he will never believe, because of the simple fact that I wasn’t certain of who I was. When I pictured myself in the future, I didn’t know what I would see and if it would be with him. If I tried to tell him that I was conflicted about what I wanted to do with myself and that was why our relationship was crumbling, it certainly wouldn’t sound right to him, that I was sure of. Nevertheless that was exactly what the situation was.

“Well Abbie, I have told you exactly what I think, and you know exactly how I feel. Now I think that I deserve the same in return, instead of sitting in front of someone that’s turned into a zombie.”

I winced in pain, as he pierced my heart again with his beautiful icy, cool eyes, causing my heart to skip a couple of beats.

Still, I just couldn’t get the words to come out of my mouth and I knew what I wanted to say. After another couple of seconds, I pushed the words out with great difficulty, like pushing against a sturdy, well built, unmovable, brick wall.

“Alex…you know I love you…and want to be with you,” I paused trying to hold back tears, “but I’ve just been so confused about what to do with myself. We just graduated, and are trying to figure out what to do about college, and you want me to marry you?”

I inhaled deeply, tasting the iciness that didn’t just reside in his eyes, glanced around my messy room, and fought to hold back tears.

“Well I’m sorry if I feel a little nervous about the whole thing…don’t you think we should wait longer before we just jump into something like this?”

He didn’t seem tickled about my choice of words – the hurt and pain in his eyes turned into two, hard, ice cubes, frozen with resentment and heartbreak. His mouth formed a thin line, and he said nothing, as he consumed what I just said, leaving him detached and in a zombie like state. I could understand this reaction considering the length of time we’ve been together.

Alex and I have known one another since the eighth grade, and have been friends for the longest time. There was an immediate bond between both of us from the moment that we met. It started off as just a simple friendship, but by the time we reached sophomore year, we started to date and were inseparable from that point on. We would always go to the mall, movies, and family functions, everywhere and anywhere, as long as we were together. I loved him very much, but now I felt smothered by his attempts of marriage with me. Not that the idea was permanently out of the question, it was just uncertain for right now. With all the crap I had on my mind, including my raise issues at work giving me grief, everyone involved in my life was continuously piling onto my plate.

Not only did I have Alex on my back, and money on my brain, now my parents were harassing me about what I was going to do with my college career, if there was even one for me. Like I didn’t have enough to think about with just Alex. I know that my parents want the best for me, but sometimes I just feel like if I don’t meet their standards, then I have failed them as a daughter. I was tired of always having to be the one who never made mistakes and always did well, even though I didn’t. I wanted to make mistakes and learn from them, instead of always being pressured to be Ms.Perfect. I wanted to go out and drink, get tattoos, smoke pot, go to endless amounts of parties with friends and have normal teenage worries. But being the oldest child in the family, I was a victim of more enforced rules, and made to be the example for my sisters. This idea didn’t have much of an effect on them, and I suffered all the consequences.

I didn’t feel my age and my spirit was suffocating. I felt like I was fifty years older than I really was. I never did anything for myself and always had to live under the pressure of my family and boyfriend. I lived in fear of knowing that I would leave them in disappointment no matter what way I chose to do things. I couldn’t deal with that anymore, I was growing tired and weak from trying to please all of them and be there in their time of need. Every time that I wasn’t there for one of them for just a second, it seemed to crush them and leave their life in chaos, leaving me in this pool of guilt. I loved them all so much and wanted to be there for everyone one of them, but I was being spread to thinly and starting to disappear entirely. It was time for a change…for me and no one else.

“Just tell me if you want to be with me or not.” His ice cube eyes were beginning to melt, and tears were emerging.

Desperation grew in his voice, craving the answer he wanted so badly, but I had no intention of giving.

“If you're not sure of how you feel I don’t want to stick around, and feel like I’m wasting my time,” he said barely able to look at me in the face, sadness thickening with every word that escaped his mouth.

“I don’t know Alex…I’m so sorry, I’m really confused right now,” I said as my voice cracked from the pain that was stuck right at the back of my throat from trying not to cry.

I dreaded looking him in the face.

“Can’t I have a little time to think? I know I love you, but you have to let me consider this…you had time to think about asking me, can’t I have time to think about my answer?” I regretted what I said immediately.

Alex sighed heavily, got up, kissed my forehead and looked me in my eyes.

“Take all the time you need. Just don’t take too long…I can’t wait around for you forever Abby.” His voice was oozing with sadness.

I felt horrible and just wanted to reach out and hold him close. He ruffled up my hair with his big hand, walked out the door and I knew that was the last time that I would see him.

Chapter 1

Unsuspectingly, when I woke up in the morning things still felt the same. It was a bad night last night.

I felt so stupid, like no one in the whole wide world would understand anything that I was saying or did. I must admit that I did think about slitting my wrists just to avoid the pain that I knew I would have to endure for the rest of my life. I know…I know, everyone has to deal with the pain, so why should I feel so helpless and hopeless. I felt like I just jumped into the ocean and fell twenty feet, hit the water and couldn’t resurface.

No matter how hard I tried, and how hard I paddled my legs, I just couldn’t feel the sweetness of the air hit my lungs and stop the panic. I know there are a lot of good things to live for, and a lot of things to look forward to. But when you think about the bad, it is relentlessly unbearable and a lot more of an impact. Alex understood me, to a certain extent. But some of the things I was saying just baffled him to the point of annoyance. This made me feel worse, like I really was crazy. I just didn’t know what to do with myself, or where I was going with my life.

Why did everything have to be so complicated, so hard? Why couldn’t you just get an outline of your life? Or even a glimpse…something to give me the comfort I need to stop the nauseous feeling that I get. So that I can brace myself for the raging bull, that represented my anguish, came hurling towards me…yes that would be very nice. To top it all off, I finally got the raise I had been waiting half a year for, and strangely enough, I felt nothing. Like I wasn’t even human and happiness would no longer make an appearance in my life. Nope! Misery was the starring role, the constant appearance, and took center stage in the drama that was entitled “My Life”.

I couldn’t handle the things I had to think about, and I wanted to feel the pain on the outside for the happiness I was lacking on the inside…to make sure I was still alive.

I cut myself right across my arm.

I had never done it before, and I couldn’t feel the cut, I wouldn’t even bleed! Damn, I’m not alive.

Everyone has been playing along, lying to me, pretending that I'm there when I’m really not. But then five minutes later, I felt it, the stinging. I am alive. Isn’t that very ironic, the one thing that I despise and loathe is what brought me back from the dead. I can’t stand pain, so why is it making me happy that I’m feeling it. No one would understand my itchy swell marks, caused by the blade that I just couldn’t push down hard enough the release my blood. I wanted to, but then people would know and see, even though I wanted to see blood.

I had to get out of here. Just leave, get my things and go. Put everything in my tiny car, pack as much as I could, and run far away, where no one could find me. Then I would never have to know if anything bad ever happened to the ones I loved most.

So that’s what I did. I got as much together as I could and shoved it in my car. There was so much I was leaving behind, but that was ok…fewer memories. But what would I tell my family? How can I explain to them that I’m a coward, I’m running away and I don’t want to see them for fear of losing them to disappointment? Even though I would lose them by running away, so it was a double edge sword. But then they could forget about me and I could forget about them, and we would never have to worry about each other. My parents would never understand why I would want to leave. They barely understood me when I was around. With their never-ending harassment about how boring I was, and that I needed to spend time with someone else besides Alex.

I would never understand how my parents could judge my relationship, when they have been together since they were both sixteen. And the beginning of their marriage didn’t start off to well. My Dad was a heavy drinker, and my mom was worrisome and tired…having to deal with how my dad acted. Her main focus was trying to get him to be normal again, instead of relying on substance abuse and blocking out all the negative aspects of his life through the process. She was very sensitive and caring about things that were done to her, said to her or about anyone in her family. They fought for better positions in life and got educated, so we could have better lives then their parents gave them.

My Dad eventually cleaned up his act, with help from my mom, and opened his own construction business. My mom runs her own dentist office, and pulls in a fair amount of money. It took a while for them to adjust to each other’s lifestyles, but then my mom became pregnant with me. This encouraged them to become more responsible and caring towards one another. They relished the fact that they were going to be parents. But that put a lot of hardships on me as their first daughter. I was a guinea pig when it came to their parenting skills and it has left me as the black sheep of the family.

My sisters were always doing things anyway, they probably wouldn’t even notice I was gone, I reassured myself. They were always having so much fun with everything they shouldn’t miss me much.

My Sisters, Arianna and Amy, were doing more then I had ever done, but who could blame them for doing it, they were enjoying themselves and nothing else mattered to them. They would go to parties, have boys ask them out constantly, drink. They would talk on the phone for abnormal amounts of time and always going out somewhere and doing something. This made my parents worry about them all the time, but they were oblivious to what they were up to.

My sister Arianna has gone to prom twice, is one year younger then me has skydived, been crowned homecoming queen. She was also in a commercial when she was a baby. Accomplishing plenty more than me by the time she was five. Amy is two years younger and she is the captain of her cheerleading squad. She participates in theater and has starred in a few plays, and is in all kinds of after school programs. A senior asked Amy to go to my prom, I have only gone once, (obviously) and it was with Alex. Amy and Arianna were never really known as homebodies.

They have gone to Florida and L.A. with friends; I have never even set foot in an airport. I know where it is and everything, because I had to drop them off, but I have never gone inside. They’ve gone on dozens of road trips with my grandparents, and with friends. Of course I was always invited when they went with my grandparents, but I just wasn’t comfortable when I was around them, they always invited their friends. This didn’t make the bond with them any better. They were bubbly, blonde, fun, tall, tanned, outgoing, fashionable…the typical blonde chick that’s seen on television. I was the pale, brown haired, short, kept to myself kind of chick, and liked casual, comfortable clothes.

Me being the darker, more mysterious, sarcastic, cynical character, in my fairy tale family, left me very out of place when we were compared to one another. They needed me nonetheless, and they would never admit to their reliance on me as their daughter and sibling. Even though my parents always made me feel like crap when I didn’t succeed. And of course, the relentless antagonizing from my sisters on how I looked and dressed, but I still loved them unconditionally.

Why you ask?

Because I was the one who was there for their weakest moments, I saw how fragile they were under their tough exteriors, how breakable they would be if their flaws were exposed to the wrong people. Like Arianna, who was obsessed with her weight and how she looked to other people. She didn’t need any of the name brand shoes, purses or clothes, but that didn’t stop her from getting them. She would always come to me and ask How do I Look? And Do I look fat in this?. I would tell her that she looked great and that she was beautiful no matter what she had on. But when I would walk past her room at night I could hear her cry herself to sleep from the never-ending worry about what people thought of her. I knew her biggest fear was not being accepted by her piers. If they knew how insecure she was, they would crush her the moment she did one of them wrong.

Amy was another story. She was very gullible and would talk to anyone and believe everything they said. Once she talked to this religious group who was relentless on trying to get her to join them. They wanted to get some kind of reward for bringing my sister in and trying to convert her. They came to the house for a week straight until I told them we worshipped the Devil, which stopped them very quickly. If anyone knew how naïve Amy was, she could easily be taken advantage of, and pushed into bad situations. I always had to be there to watch her back and cover up the trail she left behind from one of her fallbacks. And then there was Alex.

I have known him for five years…and my family all my life. Of course it will hurt them, but I can’t stay, I need to go and never look back. Maybe I will send them an untraceable postcard, that won’t specify where I am, just to let them know I’m all right. Well…I have to let them know I’m leaving somehow. I look around the room and decided that I will leave them a very brief note. I walked over to the computer, grabbed some paper from the printer, scrambled around looking for a pen and pressed down hard, harder then I did with the blade.

Hey guys,

Look I know that you don’t and won’t really understand why I’m doing this, but I just can’t stay here. I have to leave and I don’t want any of you trying to find me. Its better this way, I just can’t stick around anticipating the worst. I need to be free of all the turmoil and grief that is caused by being here. It hurts me too much to know that I can’t help and be what you all want me to be. I can’t stay here and be a burden to you guys anymore, I am going to be by myself so no one will have to worry about me. I love you all very much!!!!!

Abby

There, now that that is out of the way, I have to go to the bank and take everything that I have and get the hell out of here. But where will I go? I have no idea where I can go and not feel out of place. Maybe I will go somewhere that I have never been before - which is everywhere. I have lived in Maine all my life. It really has to be somewhere that I can afford and is not to expensive, plus I will have to find a job, so it has to be a city with plenty of job options. But I don’t want to go to New York or Los Angeles. I want to go to a major city that is big, but under rated…Chicago. I think it’s worthwhile city, that’s doesn’t have as big of a reputation as other cities. Plus I want to see the Sears tower. St. Leonard's Airport is a little bit of a drive for me, but I like the view on the way there anyway.

As I’m searching for my bankbook, looking through old statements, birthday cards, Valentines Day cards, I come across a picture that I look at for an infinite amount of time. I don’t even realize it but when I feel a tickle on my face, I smear it away only to find that it is my salty, weak tears, I could have gone without. The reminder of the remorse I would feel having to leave, but even more remorse I would feel if I stayed. The picture is of Alex and me. I love him dearly and he knows this. I can’t leave without telling him goodbye. But I can’t see him. He’ll only try to stop me. I run back over to the computer and tear another piece of paper away from the printer and begin writing. Hysterically crying because it's hard to say this to him, luckily I will only have to write it.

Alex,

This hurts me so much to do this to you. You have been my support for five years and I love you so much, you know me the best. You mean the world to me and to be without you is very hard. But I can’t stay, I don’t know how so explain this to you. When we were talking last night, I knew that I was only causing you grief in my way of thinking, and… I don’t want to do that to you or me anymore. I need to get away and figure out who I am and what is wrong with me, and staying with you is not helping anything. You deserve someone who can give you what you want. I am too messed up for you, please be happy when I am gone.

Abby

I folded up the letter intending to stop by his house and tape it on the door

while he was still at work. I really wanted to see him one more time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to look at him when I knew I wouldn’t see him again.

I got on the phone and called the airport to book a flight for today, the lady I was talking to said, I was very lucky, because someone had just cancelled their flight right before I called. I thought that was very weird that someone had cancelled the exact flight I needed to get on, but maybe it was a indication that I was doing the right thing. I was looking around my room trying to figure out what else I should grab.

I put my favorite sweater on, grabbed a pillow and shoved some of my clothes into a giant duffle bag I had used when I would go camping or spent the night by Alex’s (my parents didn’t know about this though.) I grabbed my bankbook, Ipod and extra cash that I had and stuffed it into my purse. I looked around for one more thing – my one comfort that I had to myself…my teddy bear. I had this ratty old doll since the eighth grade. Alex had given it to me when we went on a field trip to a carnival in eighth grade. I stuffed him in my duffle bag, took one last glance into my messy room and closed the door.

I hopped into my car, drove to Alex’s house, ran straight to the porch and slid the letter into his parent’s mailbox hurrying back to the car. Once I got in, I made a u-turn and headed to the bank to get all the money I had saved.

During the ride I passed big giant houses that always reminded me of dollhouses and pictured the families inside. I hoped that they weren’t as dysfunctional as mine were. They were giant houses with gorgeous gardens and perfect green grass with brick paths leading to their doorway. The trees were shading the sunlight, so that it only peeked through the gaps between the leaves. Some of the lawns were full and luscious, making other lawns look pathetic, but none were as fabulous as Alex’s’. His house was just like all the others, big and impressive, with lots of plants and flowers. It had a curvy path leading to the front steps, bordered by little pink flowers. His house was exceptionally remarkable.

The further I drove, the thicker the air was with fog and the sun was beginning to set, making the sky an orangish color, with purple clouds. The road I was driving down was a wall of trees going along both sides and you couldn’t see no more then five feet into the forest. I had gone camping in this forest many times with Alex and his family. My family wasn’t really into camping or sleeping outside, but I loved it. I am definitely going to miss the wonderful views that were here and the relaxed outdoor environment with air so fresh and thick with moisture you could just take a bite out of it like a sweet juicy apple. Now I would be leaving it all behind for a very different life, but I want some change, if I don’t like it I can always move back here. Maybe my family will take me back, if they’re not too mad and I’m brave enough to face them.

I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to Chicago, but I had saved my money from the moment that I had gotten a job, plus all the extra birthday money and Christmas money. Most of it came from my grandparents though. They always gave my sisters and me money because they didn’t know ‘What kids liked now a days,’ sothat helped a lot. I loved my grandparents. They were always very upbeat and active when they came around. They weren’t the type that just sat around and sulked in their old age, they were full of life and lived it to the fullest.

They would constantly go on trips after they retired. Whether it was road trips, flights around the world or cruises, they were always going somewhere. They went to just about every attraction that there was in the U.S. They would send us postcards from every city they went to, and my Mom sort of started collecting them. I remember my sisters and I went on a little weekend road trip with them, when we were younger and less complicated, to this little camping ground they discovered on one of their many escapades. It was a lot of fun my sisters and I had a blast, swimming, fishing and hiking through the small forest that was there. One of the better memories I have that I shared with my sisters, I think they didn’t oppose to it because they had an RV.

Then when I was in my junior year, my mom got a phone call telling her that her parents had been killed in a horrible accident. They were taking a road trip to Texas and had run out of gas. As they were sitting on the side of the shoulder of the highway, a truck lost control and hit them. They were killed instantly. My Mom was devastated, and my Dad did his best to console her. He grew up in foster homes, and didn’t really stick around too long in any of them. My Mom fell into a deep dark depression and didn’t even seem like herself for a good three years.

When my family and I went to the reading of my Grandparents will, my Mother was shocked at how much she was left. She was an only child, and to be an only child you are entitled to a lot anyway. I never could get it out of her, how much she had got, but I know it was close to half a million. A few weeks after the reading, my mom surprised me with a bankbook that had my name on it. There was ten thousand dollars in the account. She said she wanted me to use it for college…I had believed then that I would go to college. From the moment I got a job I put everything that I had made into the bank and by my second year of working at a small clothing store after school, I had saved fourteen thousand dollars, minus two thousand for my car. So that left me with twelve thousand for Chicago, at least for the time being. I would have to work hard to find a job, now that I would be making less money again.

I finally reached the bank and drained everything I had out of the account into a check; they of course tried to offer me special deals and rewards if I would stick with them. But I told the bank teller that I wasn’t interested, she smiled politely and I walked out.

I had been by the airport many times before dropping my sisters off from time to time. But I remember it more fondly when I think about the times my Dad would take us right to a spot where the airplanes would land. We would lay on the ground listening to loudness of the landing and how it would make our bodies vibrate. It would be different this time. I would be going without them, and I wouldn’t be watching the planes taking off, I would actually be on one. I pulled into the entrance to the airport and parked my car.

I was getting whatever luggage I did have and looking at my little 98’ Chevy cavalier. I felt insanely sad to leave it here, just because of the simple fact that this was my first car. This was my first major grown up purchase that I had made. Now I had to say goodbye to an inanimate object, even though I felt like it was an animate being. I felt like my car had feelings and was sad and confused as to why I was just abandoning it in this scary parking lot. Jeez! Now I’m even concerned about how my car feels, this is nuts! I shed a few tears as I gathered my things, closed the doors and locked her up for the last time. I removed the license plate and took it with me as a memento. I walked in to the fluorescent-lit building and my eyes adjusted from the darkness outside. There were hundreds of people bustling about and getting their things together to board their flights.

People were running past me or walking feverishly trying to get to wherever it was they were going. I felt very insignificant around all these people. But I liked the fact that no one was paying attention to me, I felt relieved and free in a sense. Now all I had to do was find out where I was supposed to board for my flight. I wish I would have actually came in with Arianna and Amy those times I had dropped them off.

I was standing in the middle of the airport, jaws clenched together in frustration and annoyance. Not just because of the fact that I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but also, there was a strange and seemed undeniably handsome man staring at me, and here I thought I wasn’t noticed by anyone. He wasn’t my type, what I could tell, just by his clothing; I wasn’t into the all American boy get-up. His gaze never left me and I felt myself growing self-conscious about my appearance. Similar to the feeling that arises when talking to someone, and they keep staring at your teeth as if there was something stuck in them. I started to look around for any hint of where to board for the flight to Chicago, but there was nothing. I began to panic, I could actually feel this stranger’s endless gaze on me, and I started to get very scared. This gawking wasn’t helping my confidence on figuring out where the hell to go. His eyes seemed dark from where he sat, but I couldn’t see them very well because of the hat he was wearing.

He wasn’t like everyone else rushing around trying to find his or her boarding areas. He was very dark and mysterious looking and seemed like he was looking for something within each person that walked by…but found it in me. He hadn’t taken his eyes off of me since I noticed and he didn’t turn away when he saw that I had. He looked like those serial killers that seemed very normal and good looking, but had this darkness to them just by their mere presence and body language. I began my regular behavior of comforting myself by my usual, but not normal, muttering. Closing my eyes I began to reassure myself.

“Breath, Abby everything will be fine,” I said, as there was that shakiness in my voice. The same shakiness I get when I am about to cry.

“Your just going to have to ask for help…be brave.” The unsteadiness was growing. It was barely even audible, what I was saying. I was speaking so low, someone could have just assumed I was praying, and in a sense I was praying for help. Maybe not to God but… someone, I had to be heard by something. That’s when I heard a rough and a low murmuring, voice from behind me.

“Excuse me, I hate to bother you…but you look like you could use some help.” He said his speech deep, and chilling, contradictory to what was actually coming out of his mouth. But the sound was very scratchy, like he had been screaming for hours. I opened my eyes to see that it was the man that had been staring at me from a distance. I didn’t realize how attractive he was until he was right in front of me. He was a very big man and had broad shoulders and very strong looking arms that could wrap around me twice, if he were to do it. He was wearing a black hat, worn out, old looking t-shirt and jeans, with huge brown shoes that dwarfed the size of my feet. He also looked like he needed a shave – he had stubble that stretched across his cheeks, and over his chin. . He was very tall, compared to my flat five feet in height.

I would say that he reached easily over six feet tall. His hair was dark, from what I could see under the hat and seemed very soft with a hint of brown when the light caught what was sticking out. He was very pale, almost white but his skin was creamy not translucent, like most pale people I have known. His skin was flawless, not a blemish or scar on him. His eyes were concentrated on my face and not as dark looking as I had thought, they were a clear soft green and as clear and stress free as they could be. They weren’t blood shot from crying, like mine were and I was mesmerized.

“Do you need help?” He asked again, opening his eyes wider and smirking at my relentless gawking.

“That’s an understatement,” I said to myself.

“I beg your pardon.”

“Nothing, I was just talking to myself,” I looked down at my feet, afraid that I would embarrass myself even further, I didn’t know why I cared, he wasn’t even my type. He just had this magnetism that pulled me to him, involuntarily.

“I had noticed, you look very upset, so I decided to see what was wrong,” He said, concern in his voice, “if you don’t mind my intrusion.”

“Well, I have never been on a plane let alone in and airport, so I have no idea what I am doing.” I was very nervous talking to someone as good looking as him, I felt trivial.

“And it reads all over your face,” he said bending down a little to meet my level, causing me to look up from the floor, back to his face.

“I saw you muttering to yourself and I was trying to determine if you were just crazy, but then I came to the decision that I know what is wrong,” confidence was evident on his voice, “you’re a first time flyer, and I was right.”

He gave me a little wink as he said this and smiled at me. His teeth were perfectly white and even, a classic movie star smile, but it was also a smile that stirred up uneasiness inside me, like there was more to his smile then I knew about. His teeth also looked very sharp, his canines were pointy like a vampire. I thought of this silly idea for a moment and smiled to myself, I looked back at him.

“Am I that obvious or were you watching me that closely?” I squinted my eyes in suspicion. I knew what I looked like to him, a vulnerable lonesome traveler, with no one to protect me. What an easy catch for him. But I wasn’t going to let my guard down that easily, even though he was gorgeous. He cocked his head to the side and looked at me conflicted by what I said.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend you, I just wanted to help,” he said. The appeal gone from his voice, replaced by a hostile and bitter tone.

I shook my head.

“No, its fine…I’m just a little cranky right now…but I could definitely use some help, I just have to watch out or predators.”

What did I have to lose I was in an airport full of people, what could he do to me.

He turned and looked at a woman who had passed by – he inhaled deeply, and closed his eyes. I was a little wary of this, but I continued to explain to him my mishap.

“I’m trying to find out where the heck I have to board for the flight to Chicago,” He looked at me and smiled, the warm friendliness returning to his face.

“Ah, well your in luck, that’s the same flight I’m on. I’m lucky I came up to you, I just couldn’t walk away without saying something, I would have regretted it,” he said, confidence creeping back into his tone of voice. I felt the chills, which subsided as my face flushed slightly. I had never been flirted with by anyone but Alex, and in such an obvious way, this felt weird. I looked up at him and smiled at his attempts.

“Life is full regrets – at least mine is…” I hesitantly said looking back down at my feet.

“Not mine, I always act on impulse…sometimes with bad outcomes, but you grow and learn from them. You shouldn’t be so depressing and frown so much Abby, it will give you wrinkles,” he said amusing only himself, and he caught on to this by the look on my face. As what he said sunk in there was something that he shouldn’t have known about me, at least I don’t remember telling him this...

“How do you know my name?” I asked him slowly, with a tone of dread in my voice, he looked at me with amusement.

“That’s a good question. Well if I told you the truth, will you promise not to run away?” he asked me trying to hold back a smile.

“I don’t see how this is humorous, but you have my attention.” He was a very sketchy character and I trusted him less and less.

“You won’t run away?”

I can’t believe I’m still talking to him. “No I’m not going to run away.”

I was engrossed in him, what’s wrong with me?

“I can read minds,” I looked at him and understood why he thought he was funny, even though it wasn’t that creative.

“No, come on tell me how you know my name. Have I met you somewhere?” his stare went from my face down to my mid-section, and he gestured with his head to my duffle bag.

“No I just noticed the tag that you have on your bag that says, Abby Evans. If I wanted to read your mind, I would look for something more interesting then your name, of course that is on my list of things I want to know.”

I was speechless and I couldn’t understand how he was getting me so tongue twisted. He glanced at his watch and grabbed his backpack at his feet.

“If we’re going to catch this flight, we have to check in, now is the time to leave.”

He turned his back to me and began, walking, assuming that I would follow, and he was right again, what other choice did I have. Is there anything that he assumed that turned out wrong? I had no idea why I was letting him treat me like this; he was very smug. But he was so inviting with his presence, I felt the need to get closer to him and see what was behind those appealing green eyes.

As I strolled behind him I began to notice how elegantly he walked, like there were clouds attached to his feet, causing the light, airy glide to his step. And the cologne that he was wearing, depicted how I would describe his scent, down to the T, I felt like I would jump on him at any moment. He must have heard my footsteps stop, because I was just standing there with my eyes closed, taking in the smell he was giving off through the weak breeze of our walking. I thought of how I would like to touch him, and see how his pale skin felt, if it was as soft as the creaminess was portraying.

“Are you coming?”

My eyes opened at his question, I nodded and resumed my quick pace behind him. It was very hard to keep up with him, my steps were only half of his, and I found myself forced into a light jog to remain close. We finally made it to where we had to check in. The woman behind the counter looked at him with a gleam in her eyes, and smiled. She was very cordial and prompt, checking him in, he thanked her, and scooted to the side so I could step up. She didn’t have the same gleam in her eyes, for me, and she wasn’t cordial at all with me. She was very fast when she helped me though, but not because she was trying to be nice. the boarding entrance for the Chicago flight and the lady had just taken a ticket from a heavy set balding man. Then she took ours and we were finally walking through the hall to get on the plane. As we were walking through the hallway leading to the plane I could feel him looking at me as we walked. I turned my head and I was right, he was staring at me with so much intensity it made me very uncomfortable.

“What are you looking at?” I asked in annoyance.

“You, does it bother you?”

“Yes it does, you're making me uncomfortable.” I said, as he persisted with the staring a soft smile on his face, and I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eyes. Don’t get me wrong his eyes were beautiful, but they scared me for some unknown reason, I couldn’t read his face like I could others and this was leaving me intimidated.

He took off his hat with one hand and scratched his head, placing it back on his head. “I tend to have that affect on people sometimes, I am learning how to control it, at least I hope I am.”

“Why do you keep staring at me like that anyway? Like you want to eat me or something,” I asked him, he laughed loudly at how forward I was about his gestures.

“Is that how it seems?” He sniggered to himself as he looked down and shook his head. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so intimidating, I just like to stare at things that interest me sometimes. I don’t mean to offend you.”

We finally got onto the plane and I had felt relieved that I was finally going to be alone with my thoughts. I don’t know what it was, but I just didn’t want to think at all when I was around him, the way he looked at me made me feel like he really was trying to read my mind, and he was serious when he told me so. I looked at him and I suspected that he could read the relief in my face.

“Well I guess this is where our encounter will end, it was very nice to meeting you Abby.” He stuck out his hand towards me to shake it, and I hesitated momentarily and shook, it was like shaking a block of ice.

“Thank you for helping me find the plane, I owe you one.” I mumbled.

“I will remember you said that.” He turned and walked away.

He went behind curtains that I assumed lead to first class, because I couldn’t afford first class, and I guess this is what coach looked like. The seats were blue with little cream-colored spots in them, stiff and uncomfortable. They were packed closely together with barely enough elbow space. I guess I was lucky enough to have a window seat, I don’t know how that happened. Someone must have called and canceled their flight at the very moment I was getting my ticket. I knew I wasn’t that lucky though. The heavyset man that had boarded the flight just before I did was sitting in the seat next to mine. I scooted my way past him sat down and began to put my headphones in my ears to avoid any unwanted conversation, but I was too slow.

“ Hi I’m Lou, Its nice to meet you,” He motioned his hand out for a shake that I didn’t want to give him, I gestured to him with my tangled head phone wires to avoid touching him, he looked and set his hand on his lap. “Are you heading to Chicago for business or pleasure?” he asked me raising his eyebrows and looking at me.

“Business, I guess you could say.”

“Well maybe you and I can get together for a little pleasure, and make it some business between us.” I looked at him in disgust and turned back towards the window, he was persistent.

“Don’t turn away we can be friends,” he trying to persuade me, I turned back around to face him and insult him in the same manner he was insulting me.

“ You know I don’t really want any friends right now and I…” as I began to lay into him and get to the good stuff, some one was standing right next to our seats.

Chapter 2

 

“Excuse me sir, I was wondering if you would like to switch seats with me.  You see I’m trying to just enjoy this flight, but that stewardess over there keeps flirting with me,” he gestured with his head passed the partially opened curtains to a very attractive blonde woman serving a passenger a drink.  She turned around and looked in our direction and winked at him.  He turned back around and looked at the chubby man next to me, and nodded, his attempts turning out to be truthful.

          “But that’s first class.  You want to switch with me because a beautiful woman is flirting with you? Well if you have a screw loose that’s not my problem.  Hell yeah I’ll take your seat.” He generously accepted seeing to the fact that I wasn’t very fond of him and his attempts at getting in my pants.

          “ Thank you very much sir.” He said no gratitude in his voice at all, as if he already knew the man would say yes.

          The man got up and began grabbing his things and headed to the front of the plane. He turned around and closed the curtains and I’m guessing that he was hoping the stewardess would forget about this handsome passenger sitting next to me now.  I turned and looked at him in disbelief at the stunt he just pulled.

          “What are you doing?” I asked

          He turned toward me “Are you mad that I want to sit with you?”

          “No.  Actually I could just give you a big old kiss right now, you saved me from him.” I said, the words coming out of my mouth before I could stop them.

          He looked at me confused about what I just said, “ What do you mean?”

          “ That asshole was trying to hit on me right before you came over here.  He was being a major pervert.” I put my Ipod to the side and put my teddy bear on my lap.

          “Do you want me to hurt him?” he asked.  He seemed very serious about it, and I looked at him confused but also amused at his seriousness.

          “No, its cool, you’ve already done what was necessary, you got rid of him for me,” I looked at him and felt a pang of uneasiness at his gaze on me.  I really felt like he was dangerous but couldn’t force myself to stop talking to him.  I was playing with the little bow tie my teddy bear had around his neck, focusing on it and not this stranger next to me.

 “You know you have been around me for a pretty good amount of time so far, you have saved me from mishap twice, you know I’m going to Chicago and you know my name, so tell me why you think I don’t have to know your name, don’t you think you should introduce yourself?” Maybe that was why I felt so nervous around him and I probably just needed to know his name.

          “I’m so sorry, How rude of me, I’m Max Hunter.” He said.

          “ Well you already know my name Max, its nice to meet you.” I smiled at him and he smiled back.  I felt butterflies flutter around in my stomach as he smiled at me, and my face got very hot when he noticed.

          “Why are you blushing?” his smile grew wider and he moved back a little to get a full view of my whole body. “Are you infatuated with me Abby?” I gained a little nerve and answered.

          “What would you say if I said yes?” I copied his body movements staring back at him.

          “Then I would say that I accept your kiss.” He said and a small, embarrassed laugh escaped my lips, he looked at them and I looked back down at my bear.  I leaned back a little, feeling that things were going a little to far.

           “I never said that.” nodding my head refusing to look at him again

          “ Oh yes you did.  You said you could give me a big old kiss for getting rid of that man for you.” He said.

          “Oh yeah, well I wasn’t being literal.” I looked out the window.

          He nudged me with his elbow and said, “That’s fine.  But my acceptance will always stand, as long as your offer does.” I couldn’t help myself I had to look at him again.

          “Why are you flirting with me like this?  You know nothing about me,” I said shyly

          “That’s why I’m flirting.  I’m hoping you’ll let me stick around and learn more about you. Now that I know you’re infatuated with me, things seem to be in my favor.” He was right about that, I wanted to tell him everything about myself and give in to his ruthlessness.  I think it would feel good to tell a outsider all my worries and fears, and not get charged for it.  I wanted the same from him to.  I wanted to know about him and what his life was like growing up, and picture my life being his life and putting myself in his shoes.

          “So what do you plan on doing once you get to Chicago?” he asked.

           I looked at him a little more easily this time, “I have no idea.”

          “Do you have a place to stay?”

          I shifted in my seat uncomfortably. “No.”

          “No family?” Max said, I could tell he was thinking of his next question before I could answer the previous one.

          “Nope.” He looked at me dumbfounded.  Then his next question stung me.

          I looked at the floor towards my feet.

“What are you running away from?”

          “Everything.”

          “Define everything.” He asked me contently waiting for the answer.

          “More like everyone I should say.  I just want to get away from everyone for a little while and collect my thoughts, try and figure out what I’m going to do with myself and my future.” I admitted.

          “ And running away to Chicago will solve all your problems?”

          “Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  I just don’t want whatever decisions I make for myself to be constantly scrutinized.  I want to be able to breath and not feel so constricted, you know?” I looked back at him.  I began to run my fingers through my hair as I thought of what was unfolding between the two of us.

          He nodded as if he just comprehended what I had said,” I guess I can see what you mean.”   The voice of the captain boomed over the intercom, interrupting our conversation.

          “ Good evening, my name is John Carmichael and I am the captain for this flight tonight, we will be preparing for take off in a few minutes here folks.  So if you will all take your seats and fasten your seat belts, we can continue on to Chicago and be there in no time.  Thank you very much and enjoy the flight,” he finished and I inhaled deeply.

          Max looked over to me and smiled.  “Are you nervous?”

          “Yeah I am, but you will let me know if there is anything out of the ordinary that happens with this flight?”

          “Of course.  You can hold my hand if you want to, squeeze as hard as you need,” he put his hand out and rested it on my knee, palm up, his hand was cold and I could feel it through my pants.  I looked at him contemplating this idea and took it.  It was even colder with my skin having direct with his. It felt like I was holding a piece of cold, rough marble, his skin was very smooth and soft.  It felt very reassuring to be holding his hand though, I felt all the edginess drain from my body and grow warm, even though he gave me goose bumps for more than one reason.  “So tell me about your parents.” He said leaning back resting his head and closing his eyes, anticipating my response.

I stammered.  “ I don’t think I really want to talk about my parents.”

          “Why because your running away from them?” he said.

          He didn’t really beat around the bush I was beginning to find out.

“Basically, yes.” I said quickly.

          He looked at me as if he were on the verge of defeat at my denial of answering his questions.

“Tell me about your siblings then, how many do you have?”

          “ I have two sisters,” I contemplated if I could talk about them.  “But I really don’t feel like talking about them either. Sorry.” I really wasn’t in the frame of mind for this right now.

          He smiled crookedly at me.“ It’s fine.  So I guess talking about your boyfriend is out of the question too.”

          “Yes.”

          “ I didn’t really want to talk about him anyway.  I just wanted to know if you had one.” He confessed.

I couldn’t contain the excitement I was having inside me as I smiled widely. “Why would you want to know that?” I asked in uncertainty.

          “Because I’m going to steal you away from him,” he said squeezing my hand slightly.  I pulled it away from him, and then felt the plane shake into movement and screamed.  People turned around and stared at me, I felt like an idiot.  Max put his hand back into mine, not even asking this time and squeezed tightly.

          “ I have five years under my belt with him, and I don’t know anything about you except your name.  You don’t have a chance,” I said a little more irritated at the fact that he grabbed my hand so roughly.

          “ But I do know that I have you with me now, and you’re running away from him, so I do have an advantage there, and we have the whole plane ride for you to get to know anything about me.” He said accentuating every single word in his sentence.  “Would you say that you two are still and item?”

          “No, I don’t think so.  I don’t want him to sit around waiting for me to come back,” I paused. “I want him to find someone else and be happy, I don’t want him to be alone and he doesn’t deserve that. But this doesn’t give you an advantage.” I looked at him smugly. 

          He began to play with my fingers looking at the black nail polish I had put on them last night.  “So if your not going to be with him, why don’t I have a chance?”

          “I’m just not looking for something like that right now and I think this is to serious of a conversation for me at the moment.  Can we change the subject?’ I asked hoping that he would agree with my attempts of shifting the mood.  “I can’t believe how interested you are in me anyway, you barely met me.”

          “Well I am a predator.”

          I stared at the seat in front of me. “What?”

          “I mean - I am a man and I do have that predatory trait in me to get what I want and fight for it.  So maybe that something that I want, is you, and I won’t stop until I have you.”

          “Right.” I said mockingly.

          He looked at me shrugged his shoulders.” It’s all right if you don’t feel the same now. But you will.”

          The plane gave another jerk and started to gain pace.  I looked out the window and saw the lights that were shining down on the path the plane was racing down and they were passing by faster and faster.  We started gaining velocity and it felt like being on a roller coater, I felt this weird pressure on my chest and I was getting more and more frightened.  I was more afraid of the fact that we would be thousands of feet in the air, and I had a fear of heights.  I looked at Max and he smiled in reassurance that everything was as normal as could be.  Then I felt the plane lose contact with the ground and lift into the air.

“Just lean back and close your eyes, focus on something.”

I could feel the plane rising higher and higher, I did as Max suggested and closed my eyes.  At first all I saw was the normal darkness you see, but then I started to see other things.  I saw my family, My Mom and Dad, Arianna and Amy.  I saw when my sisters and me were with my grandparents and we were fishing by this little stream that time they took us camping.  Then it went into this vision of me getting accepted to a really good college and my parents hugging me and crying because they were so proud.  Maybe that was what could have happened if I had stayed.  Then I saw Alex, but not as he normally looked. 

He had this look in his eyes, a sort of fright at something that was unfolding before him and he was scared out of his mind.  He was out of breath and sweating heavily, he stood at the top of concrete stairs and there was nothing but darkness behind and around him.  The only details that I could make of his surroundings were the concrete stairs.  Then I saw that his eyes rested on something and then he screamed my name.  The next thing I knew he had just vanished, and I saw the empty staircase where he had just been standing and all I heard after that were sobs and saw pure darkness again.  It sounded a lot like my voice, and I could hear his name being said.

“No, Alex…Please…no…oh God no,” The voice was saying.  Then I saw flash of bloody fangs closing in on my neck and was jolted back to reality.   

“Abby are you alright?” Max said as he brushed some hair out of my face.  I had forgotten he was even there and where I was, but then it all came back to me as my eyes adjusted to the light.  I leaned forward and rubbed my face with both hands and stayed like that for a few minutes thinking about my weird dream.  I leaned back and closed my eyes again and sighed heavily, I glanced to my right, out the window.  It was so breathtaking; all I could see were tiny little lights.  If I didn’t know that I was in a plane, I could assume that I was looking at the sky, with all the bright little stars shining in it. 

But I was in the sky and I was traveling to my new life that I was going to create for myself.  I rested my elbow on the ledge of the window and for the first time I felt like I had done the right thing by leaving.  I could do anything I wanted, and do it the way I wanted, with no one there to make me think differently.  I was totally unprepared and had no idea where I was going to stay and what I was going to do about getting a job, but then I heard Max speak as if he knew that I was pondering this idea.

“Where do you plan on staying Abby?”  He said softly pinching my arm and I turned around to look at him, there was a night-light that was shining right above our heads, I assumed he had turned it on.  He looked so cute and friendly as he gave me a weak smile.  As I studied his face a little longer I began to realize that he looked paler and had soft, and very drawn.  He looked like he hadn’t had a good nights rest.  His lips looked like they were slightly chapped and as if he were thirsting for something, but didn’t know where to get it. 

Right as I was thinking this he licked his lips.  “I’m kinda thirsty do you want something to drink?”  He said, gesturing to a flight attendant and turning his face away from mine.  “You didn’t answer my question.”

I looked at him and had to think for a moment about what he had asked me, and then I remembered.

“I don’t really know, I’ll probably just stay in a cheap hotel for the time being.”  I said as the thought of a small room and those tiny bars of complimentary soaps came to my mind.  I will just have to go to the store and get my own body wash, shampoo, and one of those scrubby things.  I have to make a mental list of things to get.

“Or you could stay with me – No charge, just give me the gift of being blessed with your company.”  He sat there calmly even though he had just asked me a serious question.

He had gotten a bottle of water for him and me and he was twisting the cap off of his while he said this to me, taking a big gulp.  The flight attendant was walking down the aisle asking anyone who was awake if they wanted anything. I watched her as she disappeared behind the curtains, I guess the woman that was flirting with Max earlier got the hint and didn’t attempt anything further since he switched seats with the chubby guy.

I sighed and decided to avoid his offer for the moment.

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

He picked up his legs and let me pass by. “So your just gonna leave me hanging and not give me an answer?”  I smiled and passed by.

          As I was waiting to use the wash room I really started to think about what max had offered.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually considering if, but if he did want to do something to me he could have snatched me up in the airport and lead me somewhere deserted.  I would have followed thinking he was taking me to where I was supposed to board for my flight.  I smiled faintly at how infatuated he was with me even though we had just met.  I was very flatted and sort of skeptical.  No one had ever made me feel like that before, like I was irresistible. 

Older unattractive men were always they type that hit in me, never anyone my own age.  I had no idea what Max’s intentions were, so I have to be careful and not look to eager.  I should have invested in some sort of protection for myself before I left.  I will have to get some pepper spray or something as soon as I can, just in case my suspicions are confirmed and he tries something funny.  I hope Max is not some kind of creep taking advantage of me, recognizing my vulnerability and bad judgment calls I have been making since I met him.  But with the way the he was thinking, I’m sure he was thrilled that I was still talking to him, and hoped it wouldn’t end.  I was even hoping it wouldn’t end.

          I was already missing the security and comfort of always having someone at my side, but I had left him behind in Maine.  This thought reminded me of the dream I had of Alex, and I felt chills all over my body.  What was the meaning of it?  The other parts of the dream seemed harmless but then it went into this image of horror that Alex was displaying on his face.  What could he have been seeing?  Well I knew that I had to of been there since he screamed my name, but that still didn’t explain what he saw.  Maybe it was better that I didn’t know.  Maybe it was best if I didn’t think about it. 

          But I couldn’t stop myself and I kept going over the dream in my mind repeatedly.  Then I saw the flash of the last image before I woke up, those sharp teeth and how they lunged toward me.  The opening of the bathroom door disrupted my thoughts of Alex.  It was a very tiny bathroom, but I survived.  I washed my hands and decided to dig a little deeper into my dream later.  As I walked back to my seat I saw Max sitting there with anticipation on his face waiting for my answer. 

          “What?” I said.

          “You know what.  You didn’t answer me,” he said “don’t think I forgot just because you went to the bathroom.” He folded his arms across his chest and looked at me impatiently.

          “I know I just needed to think of my answer…” I trailed off purposely, teasing him a little more. 

          “Come on Abby, stop being a tease.”

          “Alright, alright…I will stay with you, but on one condition,” I looked him dead in the eyes as I said this, “you have to take me to the very top of the Sears Tower.  I want to see the whole city.”

          He seemed thrilled about the idea and he lit up immediately.

          “Deal.  I will take you to all of my favorite spots and you will have the best time ever.”

 

“Abby we need to talk…” he said as he grabbed some dishes off the table in front of the couch and walked to the kitchen.

Uh-oh, he wanted to talk.  That was just how my dad began one of his lectures.

“Sure – what do you want to talk about?” I was trying to read his mood, which was hard to do.

“Its about your…cleaning habits,” he said, apprehension engulfing his very being, I didn’t like where this was going, “well – you really don’t have any.”

“Ha…” I giggled loudly, oblivious of how he really felt.

I didn’t really believe what I was hearing at first.  I thought he was joking for a moment, pulling my leg, like he normally does.  All humor to the side, I soon realized that he was not teasing me, as I caught the seriousness of his face. 

My eyes narrowed, and smile faded away.  “What are you talking about Max?”

“I hate to be blunt but… you’re a pig - ” He took off his jacket and hung it on the coat rack next to the door, un-tucking his shirt; he turned and faced me, hands on his hips.

“Max – please don’t do this.  I thought we were working out well living together.  Then you have to go and get all parental on me!”

He didn’t even acknowledge what I said; it was like a one-person argument.

“I don’t know how you lived back in Maine…but here, things have to be neat and clean…well maybe not neat, but at least clean.”

“Oh come on, I’m clean!”

“No Abby, take a look around you…” He did a dramatic twirl, to add to his presentation of just how passionate he was about the filth that he was over exaggerating about immensely.

I looked away from him, not because he said to, I just couldn’t look at him for another moment.  He was really starting to get on my nerves.  I looked around the house and noticed that it was pretty messy.  I really hadn’t noticed it, and probably wouldn’t have, if he didn’t point it out so unrelentingly.  Ok, so it was a little messy, but it could easily be cleaned up, he was acting like it was un-fixable.

“Relax, I’ll clean it…jeez!  Your worse then my mom and dad.”

“Abby please…I work all night, and then I have to come home to a place that looks worse then a barn.  I would appreciate it if you would at least attempt to keep up after yourself.  I don’t have to let you stay here.” He said, with a lack of sympathy, he had a very unreadable character when it came to arguments, which was not good.  All that you could make out was anger; never any other kind of emotion.  And that didn’t help when you weren’t in his favor, this quality of his bothered me.  I like him better when he is helpful and friendly, not pissed and uptight.

I was very hurt by what he just said, and couldn’t believe it was coming out of his mouth so openly.  I came to the conclusion in my head that, he wasn’t going to treat me like a child.  Maybe I am messy, but that doesn’t mean he can talk to me like I really am an infant.  It was hard for me to tolerate it from my parents, but he was not in that position, and certainly wasn’t going to gain any tolerance from me for this behavior.  He was just a roommate, not a super natural being with the power to clean, and I wasn’t his faithful sidekick that was going to be trampled on.

“Hey!” I said standing up and pointing my finger in his direction, “Look if you don’t want me here then just say it…I’m not here to take your crap.  And for your information, I left Maine to avoid the life your trying to reiterate back to me.  I don’t need this.” I walked over to my room and found my duffle bag.  I starting to grab my things and stuff them in my bag.  He was quick on my heels, so quick, I didn’t even hear him behind me until I turned around.

“Where are you going?” He said swiftly, realizing that he had gone too far with his antagonizing.

“You don’t want me here…so I’m leaving.  I can tell that I have worn out my welcome.  Don’t worry about me.  I’ll be alright.”

He was no longer mad.  I could tell because the anger that was in his face was now replaced with worry.

“No!  Abby I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to offend you that badly, I was just trying to get the message across to you a little more firmly, I didn’t intend to make you feel unwelcome.”

His words didn’t even reach my ears, I didn’t allow them to, and I was infuriated.  I thought he was my friend, and here he was lecturing me.  I was so hurt by how he made me feel, it is better that I leave, since he had this much of an effect on me. 

I shoved more clothes in my bag, and threw my teddy bear into it also.  I looked around for my purse, spotting it under a chair that was in the corner of the room.  I got on my hands and knees to pick it up.  Max grabbed me by the arm and forcefully lifted me back up to his level, desperation in his eyes, not wanting me to leave.  I couldn’t look at him; otherwise I might stay and give in to his will.

“Ab, please…I’m sorry…”

I looked at him for a moment, considering, then shook my head in rejection, and yanked my arm away.  His face contorted into a pain that made my heart ache with sorrow.  I had to get out of there.  There were deeper feelings then I was willing to accept, he had a hold on my heart and that was something I didn’t want.  I walked around him, into the living room, and grabbed my Ipod off the table in front of the couch.  Max still hot on my trail, making one last effort to exterminate my attempts of an exit out of his house, and life.

“Please don’t go…”

I didn’t look back.  I just opened the door and walked out, letting it close on everything we had shared together, and what we could have shared together

I was certain that he would open the door and follow me, but he had not. 

A part of me wished he had, but then the other part of me was relieved he hadn’t.  If he would have, things would be a lot more complicated, and I didn’t want to have to deal with any complications.  I walked down the hall, passing other people’s apartment doors and wondered what was going on behind them.  If any of the other residents knew what was going on behind Max’s door, things would be a lot more interesting, and gossip would be on system overload.  I rounded the corner and approached the staircase.  I grabbed the railing, and for a split second, I could have sworn that I heard someone behind me.  Adrenaline rushed up from the base of my feet, through my stomach and up to my brain, as the thought of Max snuck into my thoughts.  I turned around slowly, but no one was there.  That was strange, I know I heard someone behind me…maybe it was just someone walking past.  I resumed my pace down the stairs, putting my headphones in my ear, and scanning through the songs, trying to find one that suited my current mood. 

I came up on Fall Out Boy. 

I had been listening to them a lot lately, and they had different moods for every song, and my current mood was…confused.  I found the song I wanted to listen to, and turned it up.  I was on the last staircase, and came up to the exit.  Opening the door, I now wondered where the hell I was going to go.  I had no idea, once again, where I was going to go.  I should have just given into Max, then I wouldn’t have to worry this.  But then I would have him breathing down my neck about cleanliness and who knows what else.

But hey…maybe I would like him breathing down my neck. 

I couldn’t trust myself around him; he made me feel…different.

I was weak in the knees for him, subconsciously I knew this, but would constantly battle this thought; not wanting it to be true.  I liked him a lot, and what he said to me earlier, hurt me more because of this fact.  If he were just a friend or someone that I had casual feelings for, I would have just said screw you, and cleaned up.  But because I felt more for him, embarrassment, and shame played a key role in my leaving.  Along with annoyance and aggravation. 

Love and sympathy played a major part in our relationship.  He loved me, and I had no sympathy for how he felt.  At least I never let him think that.  But because of his loose lips, now he was loosing me entirely.  And that was something that neither of us wanted, him being more vocal about this. 

It was dark out, but the streets were lit by lamps that beamed down onto the streets.  I walked slowly, contemplating what I should do.  I searched through my bag, looking for my wallet.  I forgot how much cash I had on my since Max had been footing the bill for most of the stuff I needed.  I shouldn’t have let him do that.  I reached all the way to the bottom of my bag and finally found it, I pulled it out and saw that I had about fifty dollars.  Great!  Looks like it will be a cheap hotel.  Oh well! It’s only for tonight, then tomorrow I will look for a more permanent place of residence. 

Stupid Max!

Why do I have to react to things so immaturely?  Maybe it’s not too late to go back.  I turned around and looked back towards the direction to his house.  I was startled to see a shadowy figure behind me.  I quickly turned back around and resumed my walking, not fully sure if this person was following me.  I was just being crazy; there are other people who could be walking around at this time too.  But it was very late, and there really wasn’t anyone else walking down this street.  Paranoia always got the better of me, and I started muttering to myself again, music blaring in my ears. 

“Relax Abby…your doing it again…” I mumbled.

My pace quickened and I was approaching a viaduct.  It was dark, and there were lights running across the upper ceiling of both aisles, illuminating the path ever so slightly.  It was very gloomy under there and I hesitated, thinking I should turn back, but I remembered the stranger behind me and decided against it.  I was walking fast, trying to keep up a pace that was unfriendly.  I looked up to see how much further I would have to go until I was in the clear, and free of the dreariness.  A car came rushing through scaring me beyond comprehension, and lighting up the underground passageway of the viaduct.  To my horror, I looked forward and spotted the same black shadowed figure standing at the end of the path. 

As the car passed by, its headlights highlighted his body, and made his eyes glow like a cat.  At first I was mystified by what I just saw, and stood frozen in that spot.  He noticed this and began walking towards me, closing in on my statuesque posture.  My mind screamed for me to move, and my legs tried to budge, but there was no hope of this happening.  He was getting closer, and as if by some kind of magic, finally I turned around and began running.

I looked up and saw him standing right in front of me again, only at the other end of the viaduct where I had just entered.  His eyes were frighteningly luminous, and his face was twisted in an eerie, sadistic, smile that seemed to illustrate what his thoughts intended for me.  My breath caught in my throat, and I dropped my wallet.  I would have screamed, but along with my breath, my voice was also lodged somewhere between my jaw line and my collarbone.  I took a few steps backwards, turned around sprinting back in the other direction.  Before I could even mange it, he was right in front of me, and this time, I did scream.  Louder than I thought I was capable of.  He grabbed me by my shoulders and held me up against the wall.  He was laughing, as if my fear were the best entertainment he’d ever had.  Maybe it was; he was stalking me, and who knows what he wants to do to me now. 

“Hey pretty girl…you look good enough to eat…”

I spit right in his face.

“Screw you!  Let me go asshole!”

“Aw, now that wasn’t nice.  I was going to let you live and just take what I wanted, but now I’m gonna have to kill you.”

Oh my God, he’s going to kill me and rape me; this thought took all the fight out of me, replaced by panic.  Please don’t let this be happening to me.

I wish I could see my family and Alex one more time.

I wish I wasn’t so rude to Max.

“Please don’t do this to me…there’s my wallet on the floor – you can take all of it…just please don’t hurt me…” I said pointing towards where my wallet now lay on the ground.   His face grazed over the surface of the ground and spotted my wallet where I had dropped it.  His eyes focused for a moment on it, and then returned back over to my face.  He laughed loudly, as if what I said was a joke that he must repeat back to his friends later.  That’s the impression he gave off.  I was confused as to why he was so humored by everything that I had said and done.  It seemed like there was this hidden motive behind his pursuing and entrapping me. 

“Silly girl – that’s not what I want.”  He said mockingly, as if I was as stupid as he was treating me.

“What…? Blood…?” My brows crumpled together in confusion.

          “Yes – blood.  You heard what I said.”

          He grabbed my cheeks with one clammy hand, and squeezed them together tightly.  He turned my head to the side, and sniffed deeply at my neck; just as Max had inhaled intensely that day at the airport, when that woman walked by.

          I mustered up as much intensive strength that I had, and swung my fist hard, but he had known this was coming somehow, because his forearm blocked it.  My hand felt the severe pain the instant it met his ironclad arm.  He let me go and I fell to the floor.  As I crouched in pain, hunched over in a fetal position, I was gasping, and holding my hand close to my torso, sobbing.

“Why did you go and do that?” He seemed annoyed with my foolishness, when I tried to hit him.  “So you know Max huh?” He said inquisitively.

I spat at him, “No – I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He began to circle around my convex body, just like a lion ready to feed. 

“Don’t sass me girl…I can hear you thinking about him!” He bellowed.  He paused, as if something else were registering in his mind, his eyes narrowed. 

“Oh – you like him, do you…? Well I’m sure he’ll be very pleased to know what’s about to happen to you.” Sarcasm soaked his words.

“Argh…” I moaned painfully, holding my fist close to me.  I could feel that some bones were broken.

Comically, he reassured my thoughts.

“Yes – some of your bones probably are broken…not to worry, you wont be so concerned about that in a moment.”  His voice was calm and condescending.

He bent over my weak body and prepared to do what he set out to do.  He grabbed me and pulled me up by my hair and slammed me against the concrete wall hard…so hard it knocked the wind out of me.  His strength was amazing, he lifted me with such ease, it was as if he were throwing a feather around. He held me there like that while I desperately tried to gasp for air, but got no relief.  He stared at me and smiled at my urgency to inhale, he was very malicious, and humored by my lack of breath. 

I felt my chest freeze, as the last cloud of air stuck inside me, would not release. 

“Come on little girl…you can do it – breath…” contemptuously he encouraged me.

 He smelled my hair, and was running his nose along my neck, and jaw line as I gasped for air.

 I finally felt the reprieve, and the air was free from my lungs, leaving me hyperventilating under his firm, constricting grasp. 

“There you go…that wasn’t so hard now was it.  I bet that felt really good.”  He was speaking in a tone, that would more like seemed paired with a doctor or dentist…it was very eerie.

I gasped, and coughed, trying to regain control of the situation, or at least attempt to regain control.  I struggled, pushing at his face and punching him as hard as I could, with my good hand, but he just chuckled at my failed efforts of trying to hurt him.  I scratched and strained, desperately, fighting for my life, feeling it slip into his clutch more then I was willing to let happen. 

“I like you…you’re feisty.  You would be great as one of us.”

He pushed my hair out of my face and rubbed my cheek, contemplating his new idea.

“What do you think Abby…do you think that would be a good idea?”

“What are you talking about?” I said through gritted teeth.

“Well – how would you like to try a different lifestyle?”

“GET OFF OF ME!” I screamed.  I squirmed beneath his firm grip, trying to break free.

“Alright – I can see that this might not go as smoothly as I want.  So I’m just gonna take what I need and get outta here.  “  He said calmly, even though the situation was not so serene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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