28 September 2013

The Night I Met You


26th October XXXX


This was the only fitting word I could think of to describe my day. It was just so bad that I really wish for all this to be just a nightmare. One that I will wake up from moments later with the shaking of my cousin, saying that I would be late for my class. When I opened my eyes it will be like my usual everyday life that is always full of smiles and all sunshine, with just little worry here and stress there. And when the day ended, all the little pieces of my life were still perfectly placed together. I wished so bad that this was just a freaking nightmare I will wake up from and that everything was still alright.

But, no, it wasn't. Life could never be that perfect of a picture. Things happen and people change. Changes are inevitable, that much is a known fact. Life must go on no matter what, even if I felt like I am dead. That is how I exactly feel at the moment and soon enough that will be true.

I was nearing my own deathbed as I kept on stumbling on my own feet, struggling to walk across the park in a fast manner, almost close to running. Oh, let me correct that. I was having trouble keeping my balance as I was being pulled by the wrist, or more like dragged, by him. His grip on my wrist was firm and strong that even if I try to yank my hand away, it only seemed like I shook it playfully. I could feel the calloused fingers of his against my soft skin as he tugged on my wrist, roughly and gently at the same time. I did not know how he did that, but that was the least of my worries right then. Honestly, I have no idea where we were headed or why he was even tagging me along. Heck, I did not even know who the guy was.

I have came up with several scenarios in my head of what could possibly happen to me, and all of them ended up in me being dead. This is considered kidnapping right? Or maybe human trafficking? I will be raped and then killed, that I was certain of. In the end I'm a goner and I want nothing else but that right then. To be gone. To disappear. If death would relieve me of the pain, then so be it. But things were happening way too fast that I did not even have enough time to thoroughly think them over. Could this day get any worse than it already was?

How did I get myself in that situation? Believe me, I had no idea. I knew however how it started. I was sitting by myself in the park just beside a lamp post, pretending to read a book. My head bowed down, not moving much or looking anywhere, as if I was concentrating on the story. My hair fell messily on the sides of my face. I knew that I looked like a creep, well, that was how I wanted to appear to others anyway. Who in their right mind would go to the park in the middle of the night to read a book? Not even a book worm would go that far.

I wanted to look like I was busy so no one will bother me. No one would as much dare approach a freaky looking person right? If I knew better, I could be mistaken as another entity, especially when I raise my head to reveal my face. At that moment, I just did not want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be by myself. Going back to the apartment was not going to help because my cousin will definitely interrogate me. So I decided a public place was a better choice.

As it turned out, I was wrong with my assumptions. Two persons bothered me from my freaky looking state - one was this guy dragging me along with him to who knows where. And no, the other was not a police officer or a guard trying to interrogate me or tell me that I was scaring people away. It was just a random guy trying to borrow a pen and paper. And being the good girl that I am, I lent him what he needed even though I could have just ignored him. It was part of my values to do at least one good deed a day. No matter how emotional of a state I was in.

A few minutes after the paper and pen guy left, I resumed on staring at the book that was placed in my lap. The short exchange I had with the stranger unconsciously stopped my tears from rolling down my cheeks. It also occupied my mind that the thoughts I was harboring and the emotions fighting inside me have been pushed aside. It was only for a very brief moment though. As soon as I stared back to the open book in my lap, the events of the day flooded my mind for the millionth time.

I'm sorry. The words played inside my head over and over again, like a broken record, echoing throughout my whole body, causing a sharp pain in my chest. I bit my lower lip so hard that I tasted blood and my hands balled into fists so hard that my nails dug into my palm. I wanted to scream, to hit someone as hard as I could but I could not. I let go with a sigh, as if the world has been lifted off of my shoulders, but in truth it was just me admitting the weight of the burden. It was not like a cut in my lips or bloody palms would change the situation. I wish it would, but it could not. And once again, a bottomless ocean continued to be drained through my eyes. It poured like drizzles on the page of the book I was staring at, creating wet marks, permanently damaging the page.

I did not know whether to be relieved or hurt that I found out the truth. Reality slapped me hard in the face. It stung. It hurt. It was painful. Should I be thankful? Should I curse fate? I really have no answers. All I know was that it was all over and the pain was not exactly the type I was ever familiar with. It was unlike a scrape in my knees whenever I tripped and fell. It was not similar to a cut in my finger whenever I attempted to cook. It was a pain so new to me and I did not know how to deal with it. I was not certain if I could even deal with it.

As the events of that day continued to play in my head for the umpteenth time, I just kept on staring intently on the book in my lap. If my stare could burn, my lap would be like hell right then. And all of a sudden, a white rose appeared over the book I was staring at, like it just materialized out of thin air. I blinked quickly for several times, trying to clear my eyes of tears obscuring my sight, all the while thinking that I was hallucinating from too much crying. Apparently, I am not. There really was a half-bloomed white rose with a long stem placed over my book. I quickly moved one hand to touch the flower, to make sure it was not a high-definition 4-D hologram, because if it was I might just purchase one for myself. It looked so real. And it was real.

I traced a finger over the edge of the petals. What was a rose doing here? Why was it here? How come it was here? Just as the questions kept on flooding my mind, a realization struck me. Forgetting my mess of a face, I raised my head quickly, too quickly causing a sharp pain in my neck that went by unnoticed. I expected to see my boyfriend standing before me, wearing his most apologetic look that I could never resist, asking for forgiveness and wanting to get back to me. My longing was immediately replaced with great disappointment and loneliness with depth I could not fathom. I could feel a lump formed in my throat as the reality washed over me, like ice cold water poured over my head. My heart sunk in my chest even further than it already had, as tears welled up in the lower lid of my eyes.

He was not there. He was not the masculine figure standing before me. It belonged to someone I did not even know. In the place where I expected to see my boyfriend hovering over me, stood a stranger I had never met before. Who was this person?

When I met his gaze and his mouth dropped open and his eyes widened. His expression was a mix of horror and shock, like he had just seen a ghost. His reaction brought me back to my senses and I quickly lowered my head to stare at the book and rose in my lap, fighting the sobs threatening to escape my lips. The tears that brimmed my eyes rolled down my cheeks as I blinked my eyes furiously, willing my sight to clear. How could I have forgotten about my hideous appearance for a second? And as if he was also pulled back to reality, he started to blabber.

"Hey, what happened? Are you okay? Of course not. Why am I even asking? You're crying for heaven's sake! But seriously, what's wrong? Wait, did I make you cry? Oh, shit! Look, I'm sorry..."

On a normal day, I would find his nonsense funny and I would have laughed aloud with no care in the world. He was talking a mile a second, and I doubt he was even stopping a millisecond to catch his breath. He was obviously panicking. Maybe, most guys would if they suddenly saw a ghostly-looking girl crying. My boyfriend though never would, he would even tease me about it instead. But this was not a normal day. It was the worst day of my life so far. It was the day I found out, and caught red-handed, that my five-year boyfriend was cheating on me. To make it worst, if it was not already, he was cheating with my best friend.

"Damn. Can we talk this over coffee?"

His words brought my attention back to him but I kept my head lowered, afraid to show more of my hideous appearance. Before I could even think or had the chance to respond, he had already pulled me along with him, holding my wrist with one hand and my bag with the other. His touch, that enveloped my small wrist, was warm and calming and reassuring, and it felt like the arm he was holding was numb as it limped from his grip. I barely managed to secure the book and rose with my free hand before it fell off my lap from the sudden movement.

And there I was, walking, or stumbling rather, not really unwillingly, towards my death bed. Why had I not asked for help or struggled and fought back? I had thought of screaming for help, but the lump in my throat prevented my voice to come out. Besides, I did not find anyone around us while he was dragging me with him. I tried to retrieve my arm from him, but his grip never loosened for even a fraction of a second. It remained gentle and firm. And with his sturdy build and manly strength, I would never stand a chance even if I fought against him.

My phone? I thought of informing someone of my situation , unfortunately, my phone was in my bag like always. I was going to die soon and no one will even know who killed me or where to find my dead body. I was just a delicate damsel in distress, or more precisely, a dead man walking. And with how emotional I had been this day, I just did not have the will to do anything anymore, not even to fight to live. I was tired and broken and death would not be so bad of a company then. I knew I sounded so much like a suicidal brokenhearted girl, which I actually am, but what can I do? I loved him so much, more than myself even, but he broke my heart.

I'm sorry. The words once again drifted in my head. Not even being dead soon could bury the events of the day in the farthest back of my mind. I felt tears start to prickle my eyes again and I did not bother fighting them back this time. What for when my eyeliner must have streaked lines down to my cheeks along with the stain of tears. I let them flow freely, just as I let the guy to freely pull me with him. There was no need to fight back. It would just be futile...

I was pulled out of my thoughts when I bump into something hard and warm. I stumbled a step backward but managed to regain my balance. I quickly placed a hand to touch my nose that suffered from the sudden contact and looked up to what I had bumped into. Then I realized that the guy had let go of my wrist and was now standing before me. When did he stopped brisk walking?

He tried to look serious but his eyes betrayed him because they were twinkling with a slight amusement. I lowered my head and averted my eyes from his gaze to the cement ground, not really wanting for him to see my face anymore than he already did. He did not say a word nor did I apologize. I did not need to offer an apology to my soon to be killer right?

We stood there in silence for a while and it slowly occurred to me that it was my chance for escape. Before I could dash away from him, however, he pulled my hand away from my face, and held it firmly in his. He held my hand and not my wrist. I could not help but notice how warm and big and pretty much rough his hand was. I tried to yank it away but his hold was firm, but not too much that it would hurt me.

He began walk again, slowly, as I stuck my gaze to the ground. When I heard the sound of a door opening followed by the jingling of bells my head instantly shot up, alarmed of what could be awaiting me. I quickly studied my surroundings only to realize that we were no longer in the park. Instead, we were entering a small, warm cafe. I glanced over my shoulder to see that we were in a street with several people passing by. The park was completely no where in sight. Just how far did he dragged me along? Maybe  this was my chance to scream for help? Before I could muster the courage to do so, the guy already ushered me inside the cafe and closed the door behind me, blocking all the noise that came from behind the wall of the cafe.

He once again tugged on my hand and gently pulled me towards the counter, so I trailed behind him not knowing what else was left for me to do. Maybe this was where he was going to perform his evil deed. But don't villains usually kill people in old warehouses or abandoned buildings? Or maybe I was just outdated of the villain-ish trends in movies since I don't usually watch TV or films. I looked around the cafe and realized that it was actually a cozy looking one, and I will surely visit again if not for the fact that I will die here.

"Hey Max! How's it going?" The guy with me greeted the guy behind the counter. I looked at the guy named Max. He was a kind looking man, old but not too old, probably in his early thirties. He flashed a bright smile to the guy holding my hand upon seeing him. Would he be an accomplice to the crime? I could not believe how this kind and bright looking guy be capable of doing anything evil.

"Hey, boy! I'm great, good, excellent. It's been a while since you last came here, Jacob." Max answered, too brightly for my mood and for the time of the day, considering that it was already late in the evening. So Jacob was the name of this person who would kill me. At least now I have a lead to my murderer. Max noticed me standing behind his young friend, and he gave me a smile, just as bright as the one he gave Jacob, and a nod in acknowledgement of my presence. Not knowing what else to do, I just nodded in response, not wanting to be rude to the bright guy.
His joyous expression was immediately replaced by reproach when his gaze shifted to Jacob once again. He did not say anything, only stared at Jacob. I could not see what Jacob's expression was right then because I was behind him, but he shook his head slightly before clearing his throat. "So, we'll just be over there. Give you our orders later." Jacob said cocking his head to the rest of the cafe and Max only nodded before returning his attention to his work.

Jacob gently pulled me by the hand again, not even glancing in my direction. I studied the place more carefully, looking for a way to escape my nearing end. None. Besides a door at the far end of the cafe which I assumed to be an office or something, there was nowhere else I could run off to. My only chance of escape was the door we came from, which is impossible too since Max was just in front of that door. I noticed a table in a corner with a few teenagers, books and pens scattered in the table. They must have been studying for their exams. Or maybe pretending to be studying and they would later partake in the impending crime.

Jacob tugged on my hand again, squeezing it gently, gaining my attention back to him. He was already comfortably seated in a couch seat, his eyes fix on me. He gestured for me to take the seat opposite him. I only stared at him, not wanting to sit, as if the very seat itself was a trap that would devour me whole. I did not even care about my mess of a face right then. My heart has been beating loudly against my chest, and I did not even noticed it since I was too focused on studying my surroundings. Just how much time could I stall?

"Why don't you sit? Aren't you tired from walking all the way from the park to here?" Jacob asked, complete curiosity lined his voice. I did not answer and just continued to stare at him. "Well?" He said after several seconds had passed but not a word left my lips.

"Let go of my hand." I stated simply, my voice coming out hoarse from crying too much and not speaking for a long time.

"Not unless you've sat down." He answered gesturing to the seat in front of him.

"I don't want to sit down. Just let me go now." I said way too sternly than I had intended, which surprised me since to tick off my killer would be the last thing I would want to do then. I noticed that he was taken aback by the tone of my response, but only in the slightest that it made me hesitate if I actually saw correctly.

"That's fine too. I will just take my time drinking coffee while you stood there." He answered shrugging after a while, his eyes not leaving mine.

How am I going to leave this place breathing and alive? The thought played in my mind repeatedly, like it was running in circles endlessly. My hand was trapped. My only escape route was secured. And there was actually no one I could ask for help. I could literally hear my heart crashing against my chest. At least it was proof that I was still alive.

"Could you just let go of my hand?" I asked again, trying my best not to sound too pleading. The idea of dying was getting to me and I sure did not like it.

Jacob seemed to think about my request for a while, or at least pretended to think about it. "Nah. I liked how your hand fits mine, actually." He answered with a slight shake of his head.

I continued to stare at him, but in disbelief. Smooth. Very smooth. Was he trying to flirt with me before he killed me? I tried to yank my hand from his grip once again, but of course, it was to no avail. It only made him held onto my hand firmer, but not enough to hurt me. I sighed in defeat, and looked at the seat I was being offered to me, waiting for it to disappear in thin air, which of course will never happen no matter how long I waited. I might as well just sit if he was not planning to let me go anywhere. My legs are tired. I am tired.

He pushed a menu board to my direction, and I actually wondered where he got it. I stared flatly at the menu board in the table in front of me, and then to Jacob. Was he seriously asking me to order something? Maybe this will be my last supper, except that this was coffee and not a real supper. "So anything you'd like?" He asked me when he caught my gaze. He was indeed expecting me to get something to drink.

"I don't drink coffee. Moreover, it was late in the evening." I stated matter-of-factly. I was not lying. I do not drink coffee. It was way too bitter for me. I never understood how my friends could drink something as disgusting as that. Neither do I understand the reason behind the popularity of those famous cafe chains. It was a marvel I could never comprehend. Coffee is just plain disgusting.

He stared at me for a few seconds looking at me like I had just said that I was actually only five years old instead of seventeen. Then he shook his head as if he really could not believed what I had said, and looked at me once again with a smirk on his face. "They have other drinks besides coffee. How about chocolate? Or milk?"

Why was he pushing about getting me a drink? Maybe he was going to drug my drink which would eventually render me motionless so he can execute his evil plan easily. Yeah, that must be it.

"I'm good. I don't want to be drugged." I stated casually. He blinked at my response like he wanted to believe that I did not just say what I had said. But before he could react I beat him to it. "Now, will you please let go of my hand?" I tried to push my luck again, this time my tone was firmer.

"Not gonna." He simply answered after a moment of silence, with a slight shake of his head. I saw that coming though. It was not like he would just let go of his prey after bringing her to his hideout. Honestly though, I was losing all patience I have.

"Listen. You can hold my hand for as long as you want." I started, more annoyed than frightened, and looked at him in the eyes. He was looking expectant from what I had said but it was immediately replaced with shock. "Just please don't kill me." I said the last part almost begging. I did not know what it was like being dead, but I surely did not want to find out soon.

He stared at me for a long time in disbelief, surprised and horror. I did not know how he could do that all at the same time but he did. Did he actually thought that I had no idea what he had been planning all along? I was not born yesterday. I have seen things like this in several movies before. It was too cliché to be honest.

I was expecting for him to deny my accusation or to hit me until I was unconscious, but his next action was something I never would have thought he would do. He was laughing his heart out and very loudly at that. I saw the four teenagers in the corner table looking weirdly in our direction and even Max was looking at our table. I was actually thankful that there were not many people around or I would die of embarrassment. Oh, wait, actually I should not care about that. I would freaking die soon anyway.

I heard the jingling of the bells, announcing that someone entered the cafe. The sound echoed through the almost empty shop and blended with the laughter of the person in front of me. Still laughing, he looked passed through me, because I was sitting with my back facing the entrance, to see whoever came inside the restaurant. Recognition crossed his face but only for a split second that I am hesitant of what I saw, and almost immediately his laughter died down. Curious, I glanced over my shoulder to see who he saw, but I only saw three guys with their backs to me talking to Max. Jacob cleared his throat, awkwardly loudly, gaining my attention back to him.
"Do I looked like a killer to you?" He asked, obviously amused.

"No, but they say not to judge the book by its cover." I reasoned.

"Good one. But I am not a killer, okay? I can give you an identity card if you want. Even passport for that matter." He said as he took his wallet out from his back pocket. He pulled out a small card and pushed it to my direction. "I only have driver's license right now, but I guess that's valid enough?"

Even if I did not want to, I took the card and studied it. Non-professional. Mendoza, Jacob Vasquez. I studied the not so clear photo in the card and then looked at him. The card seemed legit or at least I believed it was. I could not drive so obviously I did not own a driver's license and I did not know how to check if it was fake or not. I returned the card to him, pushing it across the wooden towards him. So I would not be killed? I fought the sigh of relief that was threatening to escape my lips.

"Mendoza, Jacob Vasquez." I started, remembering his full name. He looked at me in the eyes half-expectant, half-curious. "So you're not a kidnapper, rapist or killer?" I asked as seriously as I could. Once again, he was shocked by my question and another round of laughter erupted in the restaurant. It was not from the person in front of me though.

I glanced over my shoulder to where I thought the laughter came from only to meet the broad back of a guy sitting right behind me. I had not even realized that the table next to us had been occupied by the three guys who entered the cafe earlier. With my line of view being obstructed, I could not see the guys to our neighboring table, but I was sure that the laughter came from them. Did they hear what I said? Should they not be alarmed at the mention of those three professions? Those were dreadful things! So why were they laughing so hard?

"No." Jacob said firmly and loud enough for me, and maybe even for the three guys behind me, to hear. Did he think I have hearing problems? I looked at him once again, his eyes narrowing but it was not focused on me. "I am not a kidnapper, rapist, or killer. I'm not a drug addict, robber, or even a murderer, just so you know. How did you even come up with those ideas? Seriously? That hurts, you know."

I bit the inside of my lip not even knowing the answer to his questions. Why did I even think of him killing me? Looking at him now, he seemed nice. So what have been going on in my mind to think that he has the intentions of killing me? Oh right, he just suddenly grabbed me by the wrist and brought me here without saying anything about it. But why kill me? Oh, because I thought that dying would not be so bad right now. But...why? Because the pain is too much that it was practically killing me. Because my boyfriend left me. Because my best friend betrayed me. Because I was too stupid to realize what has been going on right behind my back.

Without even realizing it, tears once again brimmed my eyes, threatening to fall at any second. I kept on staring at Jacob despite the blurry sight my tears were providing me. He looked like he was going to panic again. His mouth was moving but all I could hear were muffled sounds. I could not understand what he was saying. My thoughts clouded my mind too much to focus on his words. What was he saying? Why did he brought me here then if he was not about to kill me? Who actually was Jacob Mendoza?

<< Chapter One

Since you're reading this, it must mean that you survived reading another chapter of my story, or you just scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page. If you did the latter, your loss, or maybe not. If you read, then now you've met Jacob and Danica, and Max. And yes, the POV's will change every chapter. At least, that was how I planned it.
I made lots of changes in this chapter, whether it made sense, I am not sure.

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