I never thought my life would end like this. “They” never told me that my life would end like this. I had visions of being somebody, anybody. Instead here I sit in a large leather chair staring into a pair of piercing blue eyes. The very same pair of eyes that I once looked into longingly, wanting more. But not tonight, tonight life has other plans for me.
It only took one session and three words for me to fall in love with him. Santiago was everything that my mother warned me against; tall, dark and handsome – but he turned out to be far more than I had bargained for. He was someone I wouldn’t want to hurt or betray, not for fear of hurting him but for what he might do to me. He didn’t have a favorite color, a middle name or a place he called ‘home’. He was also my shrink. The spirits spoke to me from the underworld. They said he was the man to go to for problems like mine.
“Tell me, what is it you want out of this session today?” He asks.
“Umm, well my friend Katrina said that you were the best in your field and yeah so here I am.” I reply.
“Here you are indeed,” he says smiling with his head tilted to one side. “Call me Santiago.”
He looks me up and down. I feel uncomfortable and claw at my black pencil skirt. I try to subtly pull it down over my knees, but obviously I’m not that subtle.
“Don’t be shy. I’m not attracted to you, but I want to be your therapist.” I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or grateful.
“Your friend Katrina?” Asks Santiago.
“Yes, my friend Katrina.” I say.
“Is she a doctor?”
“Well, no, she was a patient of yours, don’t you remember her?”
He straightens his tie and sits down with a notepad and pen. Looking amused Santiago crosses his legs and leans back in his chair.
“Well, was she a patient?” I ask.
“I can’t tell you that Lucinda.”
“I’m here because I need some help, well according to my boyfriend … I mean fiancé I do”.
“And what is it he feels that you need help with?” Santiago asks.
“He thinks I’m in denial about a few things.”
“Do you feel that you’re in denial Lucinda?” He asks before jotting something down on his notepad.
“Well, I wouldn’t say I was in denial as much as thinking: Oh my God what I am doing engaged to him?” there they were - the words I could never say out loud.
“Umm,… I meant,” I stumble trying to cover up what I’d said.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of if your feelings for Peter have changed. But is that really why you are here?”
“Yes, and no,” I respond in a monotone. We both knew the real reason that I was there. Yet, neither of us could acknowledge it.
He walks over to his desk, sits down and scribbles something on a note pad, then looks up at me. “Now, should we get to work?” He asks as he cleans a piece of his lunch from one of his front teeth. I blush and my cheeks begin to look as red as his office walls.
“Yes,” I respond looking him straight in the eye. I toss my hair to one side and smile in the hopes this would cut the tension in the air, but no such luck. As he looks at me I feel him trying to read me.
“So how long have you been in this business for?” I ask.
“You mean how long have I been a psychologist for?” He asks.
“Yes, that’s what I meant, sorry,” I say under my breath feeling embarrassed.
Somehow Santiago changes the topic.“How long have you and Peter been together for?” He asks. I look him directly in the eye and say, “Three and a half years”.
“And how would you describe your relationship?” He asks looking me straight in the eye. The kind of look that challenges your soul to turn and run in the opposite direction for fear of all your secrets being unravelled. What would he say if he knew the truth about me?
“Good and bad like any normal couple,” I lie.
“So if things are good and bad then why are you here?” He asks.
“Well, Peter seems to think that I have issues with letting people get close to me. He thinks I am too private a person and that I have issues with intimacy.”
“Do you think you have issues with letting people get close to you?” He asks, patiently waiting for my response.
“Well…everyone likes their privacy don’t they?”
Santiago laughs out loud.
“Am I that funny?” I exclaim.
“Ye… I mean no,” he says. Realising that he isn’t being very professional, Santiago quickly apologizes, “I’m sorry.”
”So am I correct in thinking then that Peter wants you to have therapy because you have a dormant fear of intimacy?”He asks.A puzzled look clouding his features.
Embarrassed by such a question I lower my voice in the hopes that he won’t hear my response,
“Yes, that is correct.” I cannot look Santiago in the eye anymore
“Look, I think it’s completely normal to need ones own privacy and when it comes to intimacy you need to trust your partner. Do you trust Peter?” He asks.
“Yes” I lie. This time I meet his gaze. I challenge him to ask me something personal. My fear of anyone getting to close momentarily lifts. I want him to want to get to know me. I find him desperately attractive.
“I think you need to sit down with him my dear, not me.” He says and looks away. “So unless there is something more specific that you’d like to discuss, you don’t need to see.”
His words are cold and the smile that creates wrinkles around his beautiful eyes disappears. As soon as these words come out of his mouth, Santiago regrets saying them.
But deep down he knows he can’t treat me if there is no root issue to treat. He always follows some code of ethics, personally or professionally. A code needs to be followed. I wait a few moments before responding and I watch Santiago watching me. I know the next words to come out of my mouth will direct my fate one way or another.
“Well, there is something else.” Santiago’s face lights up.
“Yes?” He asks.
“I’ve been having strange thoughts lately.”
“Can you tell me more about these thoughts?” He asks.
“Well, it doesn’t happen very often but at times I feel like someone is watching me, even when I sleep. It’s getting to the point that during these moments I feel like I want to punch whoever is watching me. I feel like I may be going crazy! And that’s a frightening thing to admit to a shrink!”
Santiago encourages me to continue on with my feelings and eventually ends my rant with a loud fit of laughter. He is laughing so much that halfway through my story he has to sit down quickly in order to balance himself then cuts me off and says, “My dear, you are gorgeous, although I shouldn’t say that”
“If I had patients like you every session, God I’d be happy because they’d be easy to treat.”
Santiago holds my gaze for a few seconds longer this time. I can feel the heat slowly bubbling under the surface. My cheeks flush with colour and I yell,
“Look if you are going to laugh at me, which makes me feel completely crap about myself, maybe I should see someone else?”
This threat makes Santiago stop dead. His next few words cut the air like ice. He looks me straight in the eye.
“NO!” He says in a God fearing voice.Too scared to move from my chair, I reveal nothing else and fake a smile.
We both know my smile is fake, but neither one of us says anything.A few moments pass and Santiago regains his composure. “I don’t think seeing another therapist will be a good idea. We made progress today so I’d like to continue to treat you. If that’s okay?” He asks waiting patiently for my response.
“ Okay, that’s fine.” I say and leave his office.
On my way out I see Heather, his secretary, smile at me. “When are we seeing you again?”
“Umm… He said you’d give me an appointment.”
“Okay, let me check his schedule. How is 2.30pm tomorrow?” she asks politely.
“That’s fine. Thanks Heather.” I say with a warm smile.
“You’re welcome.” Heather hands me a business card then gets back to work.
Just as I am leaving his office I feel a presence near me. Cautiously I glance sideways in the direction of Santiago’s office. I see him watching me. He looks intrigued by my interaction with Heather. But as soon as he realises that I’ve seen him he quickly closes the door and turns away.
I arrive fifteen minutes early for my second session with Santiago. I feel anxious and excited all at the same time.
Would he notice me staring at him and know that I like him? Would he feel that same way about me? My thoughts are interrupted with the sound of his secretary's voice, Heather calling from across the room.
"You can go in now," she says.
I look across to her and smile. "Thanks, I'm early so I would be happy to wait.”
From the face she pulled when I give her this answer, I get the impression that he's a busy man and she needs to keep the patients flowing.
Heather walks across the room full of people and stands in front of me. She eyes me up and down before speaking again. "It's okay, he insisted that I sent straight in," she says in a low tone then turns around and walks back to her desk.
I do as I'm told, gather my belongings and walk towards Santiago's office. I am just about to turn the doorknob when he opens the door for me.
"Thank you," I say and avert my eyes for fear of revealing my feelings for him. However, my cheeks flush with colour. Santiago smiles warmly at me. "Nice to see you again, please come in and sit down."
I sit in a large green leather chair opposite his desk. He takes a sip of water before sitting behind his desk. He then looks me in the eye and my whole body tingles with anticipation. It must have been the after effects of a few glasses of wine that I drank last night.Santiago notices my distance and thoughtful gaze.
"How are you today?" He asks and folds his arms across his chest. "You seem distracted!?"
"No, I'm fine. I just have a lot on my mind," I say and look away.
"Would you like to talk about whatever it is that is distracting you?" He asks and gives me an encouraging smile.
"No, I'm fine thanks. Perhaps another time?" I say and change the subject.
"How are you?" I ask and notice how he shifts from one foot to the other as he responds.
"I'm fine too. Thanks for asking. But Lucinda, our sessions together aren't going to be about me but rather about you." He says and catches a glimpse of a smile from me.
"Is that funny?" He asks.
"No, it isn't funny." I say in my most mature voice.
"I'm just in an odd headspace today."
“Can you describe what your ‘odd headspace’ feels like?”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain,” I say and cross my legs. Santiago stops prodding for the moment and we both sit in silence.
I can tell from the limited time that we sit in silence before he speaks again, that he's just as awkward as I am in session today. Maybe he is beginning to feel something for me too? I’m not sure what’s bothering him but I plan to find out.
"So what would you like to talk about today?" He asks.
"Ummmm my poor self-esteem, my destructive relationship patterns, issues with my boyfriend, my family, my past. Not sure where to begin," I say, amusement tickling my voice.
"It sounds to me like you are very self-aware," he says and jots something down on his notepad.
"Well, that's one way of putting it," I pout.
"Look I don't think I should be here. I don't think I need therapy after all."
I stand to leave when Santiago touches my shoulder. A shiver runs down my spine and I freeze on the spot.
"Why do you suddenly want to leave?" He asks.
Too nervous to look him in the eye I stare at the old bookcase across the room.
"Because I don't feel that there's much you can help me with." I lie and continue to avert my gaze.
"I see,Lucinda, what is making you uncomfortable?" He asks with a look of confusion and almost remorse on his face. "Nothing, I just know that this won't work." I square my shoulders and this time I don't avert my eyes but instead meet his gaze.
"Why not?" He asks.
"I have to go." I walk towards his office door but Santiago stands in my way.
"Please don't go."
"Do you do this with all your patients?"
"No, Lucinda I don't. But with you I'm making an exception." He says with his smarmy voice.
"Let me tell you a story." He says and motions for me to sit down. Santiago locks his office door which makes me nervous. I give him he benefit of the doubt and ignore his tone, walking back towards the green leather chair. I sit down and wait patiently for his story to begin.
"When I was growing up I lived in an old ancient city in Peru called Caral-Supe."
...My thoughts trail off and I can't keep focus. I dissociate completely with everything that Santiago is saying. The further he goes into his story the more numb I begin to feel. I go into a trance and that’s when the spirits from the underworld enter. They begin talking to me, but I can’t figure out what they’re saying. I put it down to drinking wine on an empty stomach the other night and make a mental note to eat before drinking wine in future.
Santiago begins talking about 'the old world' the voices stop and I come to.
It is now dark outside and I'm still in Santiago's office. I can’t tell whether I’m still in his office or whether I’m dreaming because when I look down at the floor its covered in bright red liquid. We both sit staring at one another in his green leather chairs. He tells me to close my eyes and I do as I’m told. I listen to Santiago, who begins to tell me about the old world in great detail. I listen tentatively.
Santiago says the sun rises and sets differently in his world compared to my world. I ask him how it is different but he doesn't say. He just looks at me with his piercing blue eyes and smiles. "Do you know what they would call you?"
What was so different from the world he came from compared to my world? As if he could read my mind he answers my question.
"Lucinda are you listening or is your mind elsewhere?" He asks.
"Ye--I mean no, I am listening," I say knowing too well that I am only half listening. I am more intrigued by the shiny new ring that Santiago is wearing on his left pinkie finger. I hadn’t noticed him wearing it before, it must have been a mix between hearing voices and seeing red liquid on the floor. "It's a nice ring isn't it?" He says as he admires the silver piece of jewellery on his hand. "Yes, it is," I say feeling embarrassed that he caught me staring. "It was given to me by my mother, but I don't usually wear it, incase you were wondering?"
"Why are you wearing it now?" "Because it reminds me of my birth mother. She told me things would change between this world and the next. I feel this change is coming soon.” He says. "What do you mean by 'things have changed?” Slightly confused by what he is saying, I shake my head and take a step back.
"Are you okay? You're acting a little strange."
"Sorry, yes I am fine. I always get connected to other parts of my psyche when I wear this damn ring and it makes it easier for me to hear them," he says. “Hear who?” I ask. He doesn’t need to even answer the question for the look on his face tells me everything I need to know. The spirits from the underworld talk to him too!
Santiago slides the ring off of his finger and places it in his desk drawer. Almost as if placing it in his pocket would still attach or attract some sort of ancient magical energy.
"Are you okay now?" He asks.
"Yes, I'm fine."I say and wait for him to continue.
“In my world the hills are red like the sun and the grass is tinged blue from the royal blue water that follows down the mountains…”
Santiago paints a picture that is completely surreal and beautiful. His world sounds amazing but far from anything I’d ever experienced. I want to hear more.
“In my world there are few rules” he laughs as if suddenly being let in on some sort of secret. His eyes glisten with mischief. “Tell me the rules. Tell me EVERYTHING!” I yelp in excitement.
"Lucinda, I can’t tell you everything, some of it you won’t understand but let me tell you a few more things about my world.If you'll let me that is?"
At this moment I begin to feel hot under the collar instead of noticing his blue eyes, I began to notice other distinguishing features such as his broad shoulders, the way his dark hair is pulled back tightly in a long ponytail, and his lean long fingers.
I begin to wonder why his grandmother had given him the silver ring. I wonder what it signifies?
I ask, “What are the people like in your world?” I carefully gauge his response.
"The people are very different to people that you’d meet here. For example, so many people in this day and age worry about their pay check, their profession and forget about the simple pleasures of life. Eating, drinking, making love, but not where I am from. Where I am from you make love as if it is the last time, you consume plenty and there are no consequences for your actions. Unless you break the few key rules.And before you ask, no I can’t tell you these rules just yet."
I hide my disappointment and continue to listen to his story.
“The beaches run for miles and also the jungle is a wonderful place to visit, but it is a world away from here. People in Peru are able to change weather patterns simply with their thoughts so we get the best of both worlds - the sun and the rain all at once,” he says as if he’s being transported to another time and place. He becomes silent and looks at the floor. “Have you ever been to Mexico Lucinda?”
“No, I haven’t” I lie. “I’d like to go to Peru to your world! Tell me more, please.”
“The buildings are old and beautiful, made of golden coloured stones that reach high into the clouds, there is a church on the top of one hill that no one goes near.”
“Why?” He ignores my question and continues with his story.
“Have you ever seen a volcano erupt?" He asks. “No, have you?”
“Yes, they are beautiful to watch when they erupt. The red lava shoots up in a bolt of fiery red and orange molten lava, which slowly oozes down the side of the rocks.”
“Where were you born?” He asks.
“Is it important?” I ask softly as I fiddle with the hem of my skirt.
“Well, yes, knowing where you were born helps me piece things together. And I am interested in your upbringing.”
“I was born in the main city of Mexico.” Santiago glides across the floor towards me. Something about Mexico and my birth must have sparked an interest within him because his blue eyes grow wide with curiosity and his plump lips crease upwards at the edge.
“Tell me more,” he asks.
“Well, there isn’t much to tell really.”
“Now Lucinda, don’t be coy. I’m here to help you.”
“I thought a therapist was meant to listen to the patient not probe?” He remains silent and then takes a step backwards.
“As you wish.”
Santiago turns and walks over towards the window. The sun is setting and I can see the shadow of daylight scuttling away behind night fall.
“I’m sorry. I just didn’t think you’d be interested or I didn’t think where I was born or my upbringing had anything to do with helping me figure out how to deal with Peter”.
Santiago says nothing but smiles before closing the session. “That’s all we have time for today”. He finishes the session twenty minutes early and if it was any other day, I might have challenged him on this early finish, but not today.
Today something tells me to steer clear of challenging him. Maybe it was because of the way he’s looking at me right now as I stand up and walk out of his office? Today he is not to be messed with, that or his blood sugar is low. At 6am my dream world is interrupted by a loud beep, beep, beep. I turn off my alarm and roll over to get out of bed. God what I'd give for just five more minutes with him. I could stay in my dreams with Santiago forever and to me forever would not be a long time.
“Where have you been?” Yells Peter as he takes another swig of the bottle of whiskey.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you got home. I went to therapy.” I say. Peter raises his hand to me.
“How dare you not be home when I get home!” He yells and slaps me hard across the face. My cheek stings as the back of his cold hand hits it.
I fall to the floor. Peter picks me up and grabs me by the throat. He drags me across the room to the wall on the far corner and pins me up against it.
“You belong to me!! You need to be here when I get home.” Hell yells and tightens his grip on me.
“And what does your stupid therapist say about how you behave?”
“He doesn’t say much,” I whimper and avert my eyes.
“Well, what does your therapist look like? Is he a pretty boy?” Peter yells uncontrollably.
“He..he has dark hair, he’s tall - well built, has lov…” I’m about to say lovely blue eyes and become or dreamy-like but realise this won’t help my case with the angry monster standing before me.
“So you are attracted to him? You bitch!” and with that he punches me in the stomach. I gasp for air and try to speak but his grip is too tight. I choke momentarily for air. The colour drains from my face, a cue for Peter to let go. He releases my shoulder and then his grip under my neck. I fall to the floor swiftly with a thud. Gasping for air, I avert eye contact like a timid animal. I’m not sure how much more I can take, no matter how much I believe I need Peter.
Santiago drinks his extra hot coffee while contemplating his inner world. What is it about this girl Lucinda? What type of name is that? Why can’t I shake these feelings I have for her?He opens Lucinda’s client file and sifts through the notes but there isn’t much in there.
They have only had two sessions together, yet Santiago can’t stop thinking about Lucinda. He glances at her file and starts flicking through it and begins to read. “Shy, somewhat awkward at times. Lucinda is a 28 year old woman who at first glance ….”
Santiago realises from the lack of note taking that he’s beginning to become slightly obsessed with Lucinda.
Santiago can’t fight the urge of wanting to know all about her.
“I need to know this woman!” Santiago leans back in his chair, pen at the edge of his mouth and begins thinking about Lucinda. He recalls her smile, the awkward glances and the way she moves her hips when walking away from him.
Santiago knows he is in trouble and plays with the silver ring. The silver ring that he was given as a child by his mother is warm to touch. He recalls what his mother once told him growing up, “One day my son you will fall in love with a miraculous girl but be careful and don’t fall too hard as your gifts may not manifest as much as you might like them to”.
Santiago knew what his mother had meant now being a grown man, but as a small child he thought she simply meant winning the leading role in the school play or charming all the young girls in high school.
Santiago had lived a modest life, gone to a private school and his parents Hulio and Barbaritz had done the best they could for him, however, as he grew older he became more distant from his parents and when he hit puberty he might as well have not of even bothered saying he had parents.
Shortly after his parents died in a tragic car accident, his distant relative Ramona came to stay with him and take care of him. But he hardly speaks to her now. Now he spends his days listening to clients ramble on about their disjointed lives, as he sits and continues to think about his past and what could have been. Santiago can’t recall having a stable upbringing but it was stable enough for him to help others and appreciate others moments of turmoil.
His thoughts are interrupted by a knock at the door. Slowly Santiago stands up and walks towards the figure standing at the other side of the door.He opens that door and finds a man staring back at him.
“Are you Lucinda’s therapist?” He sneers, “You are a pretty boy. Now aren’t you?”
“Who wants to know?” says Santiago using a dominate tone of voice.
Seething through his teeth he yells, “Peter - her fiancé! That’s who wants to know.”
“I see… “Remaining somewhat calm, Santiago takes a step out of the way. Peter lunges forwards and side to side in order to hit Santiago, but he’s too slow.
“You see what?”
“I see what Lucinda was complaining about!”
“I’m going to kill you,” yells Peter and with more force he rugby tackles Santiago to the ground. A few moments later Heather appears at the door.
“Ohhhh Goooddd! Should I call the police?” Yells Heather.
“No, it's okay. I have this under control. But make sure you hold all my calls!”
Hysterically, Heather does what she’s told and can’t stop looking over her should at fists flying in the air, as she picks up the phone and greets clients as per usual on a Friday afternoon.
“Now, now I wouldn't’ resort to violence if I were you!” he warns Peter and slams the office door closed with his foot. But Peter keeps his fists coming. First up near Santiago’s head and then near his rib cage, but each time he swings a punch at him he misses.
“Didn’t your mother tell you it isn’t good manners to swing at a gentleman when completely intoxicated!” He exclaims, “I can smell the whiskey on your breath.”
Santiago swivels around and ends up sitting on top of Peter, pinning his hands above his head.
“Now the fun begins!” He says, smiling down at Peter with his newly flossed set of pearly whites
“Hello Lucinda, you are looking rather well today!” Says Santiago with a boyish smile plastered over his face.
“Thank you," I say feeling hot under the collar.
“Have a seat.” He motions for me to sit down so I sit down in an arm chair directly across from him.
“So where did we get to the last time that we spoke?” He asks. Watching as I begin to move uneasily in my chair.
“Umm… I can’t really remember. Why don’t you jog my memory?”
“You can’t remember, or you don’t want to remember?”
“I can’t remember." I start to feel uncomfortable and automatically go for my security blanket, playing with the hem of my skirt. Santiago notices this and says in a calm voice, "Okay,” and pulls out a notepad and pen.
“So last session you said…” he begins, simultaneously flipping though my patient file.
“Ah yes, you said your fiancé was unstable and sometime abusive. Is this correct?”
“I never said that?”
“Well, is he? Or isn’t he?” He challenges me with those eyes of his. I begin to feel heat rising to my cheeks.
“Well, what?” I say in a snotty tone of voice.
“Is he abusive?” He asks
“Why are you asking me this? You clearly have me all figured out!”
Santiago says nothing. So I remain silent. It was Santiago's turn to shift uncomfortably in his seat, but he doesn’t. He sits there looking patient and calm. Come to think of it he never looks uncomfortable. Was it a male thing or because he was sensitive and controlled?
“Lucinda, it's the latter!”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“Yes, but you didn’t have to… you forget I can pick up on subtle hints…”
“No, more like read people’s minds. What is wrong with you?” I yell but wish I could take the words right back as soon as I see the shock on Santiago’s face.
“There’s no need to shout!” He says leaning towards me.
“I’m not shouting, I’m just emphasising my point!”
“Okay. Well, should we continue with this session or?”
“Or what?” I ask wondering what else he had in mind. Too frightened to challenge what he might say I decide to back down and agree to have my second session with him.
He doesn’t need to know everything about me. Why am I so fiery with him? I begin to feel uncomfortable again.
“Should we being?” He asks and I nod in response. Last session you mentioned that your fiancé wants you to see a therapist? Is this correct?”
“Why do you think he wants you to see someone?”
Caught off guard I wasn’t sure how to respond so I quickly made something up.
“Because he’s abusive and jealous and I think he’s a homicidal maniac!”
A little shocked at what comes out my mouth I slide down the chair and avert my eyes. Santiago says nothing for a few moments, looks at me, then his notes and then back at me again and smiles. He crosses his lankly long legs and chews the end of his red pen.
A few more moments pass by and we both sit in silence.
Santiago looks into my eyes and finally speaks, “Are you ready to begin delving into areas that you might not wish to delve into?”
“Yes, but I’m not sure how you can help me?”
“I can help you in many ways, but only if you let me in and only if you want my help.” I lean back in my chair and close my eyes. Then I begin telling Santiago everything.
“Last night when I got home I found Peter drinking again.”
“Is this unusual for him?” He asks.
“No, he drinks a lot and goes to the gym five or six times a week, but since we’ve been together he has never drunk as much as he has been recently.”
“Well, I might add he does come across as a bit of a booze hound tucking into that whiskey of his!” Exclaims Santiago.
Puzzled at how Santiago knows what kind of alcohol Peter drinks, I try to ignore it and take ten deep breaths before carrying on with my story.
Santiago notices my momentary silence and smiles warmly before offering me warm words of encouragement, “Please continue.”
“I’m not sure if he’s one of those types of guys with lots of testosterone swimming around their bodies because he is always yelling and punching things. Maybe its because he goes to the gym a lot? But more to the point he always seems to be accusing me of flirting with other men.”
“Do you flirt with other men?”
“No, but Peter doesn’t believe me. And even if he sees me looking at another man he quickly accuses me of flirting or worse yet cheating on him.”
“Have you ever cheated on Peter?”
“No,” I say. But I knew there was a first time for everything.
“And no matter how many times I try to convince him he doesn’t believe me. I really don’t know what to do about it.”
“I see… out of curiosity does he know that you’ve agreed to come to therapy?”
“Yes, he does.”
“And does he wish to come to therapy also?”
“What, the both of us together seeing you? I don’t think that would be such a good idea.”
How can I tell Santiago that if Peter came to therapy he’d notice how much I liked Santiago in the first five minutes of our session.
“That way Peter could see that there was nothing to worry about and then it might calm his fears. What do you think?” he asks, patiently waiting for my answer.
“But I thought I was here to sort myself out not Peter?”
“Yes that is true but you also need to remember that Peter is playing a huge part in your life at the moment, so issues that arise from your relationship with him is an area that needs to be addressed too.” He says.
“Okay. I guess you know what’s best.” I say.
“No, it's merely a suggestion.” Santiago stands up and walks towards the window. He opens the window, letting the warm evening air rush in. Then slowly turns around to face me. The sillouehte of the moonlight caresses the side of his face and I feel slightly intoxicated by the sight before me.
“Would you like a glass of water?” He asks.
“No thanks.” I say wishing he’d offered me a glass of red wine instead. Perhaps then I would have said yes.
“So you feel that you need to be worked on first so to speak, before we begin with dissecting your relationship with Peter?”
“Yes, that’s right. But I don’t like the idea of dissecting anything, let alone an intimate relationship.”
“Fine.” He says looking displeased. “We will do it your way first and won’t dissect your relationship - for now - and we’ll wait and see how it goes. But you need to try a few different strategies in order to make sure that you are safe when Peter is intoxicated or irritated? Does this sound fair?” says Santiago.
“Yes. What strategies would you like me to try?” I ask.
“Well, first tell me a bit about Peter and the types of things he has done to you.” He says in a demanding tone.
“As I was saying before, the other night he accused me of flirting with a workmate but I don’t flirt with people, I think I’m actually quite shy.”
Santiago probes me, “Tell me exactly what happened the other night.”
“I was standing in the kitchen cutting up a tomato when Peter suddenly came up behind me and started feeling me up. I wasn’t in the mood so I asked him to stop but he wouldn’t listen. He pulled me backwards by my hair and pinned me up against the fridge and then.”
Tears begin to well in my eyes and run down my face.
“Go on. You are safe here.”
“Then because I wasn’t ‘in the mood’ Peter shouted at me. He continued asking me who I’d kissed and slept with that day at work, and when I told him that there was no one else but him, he slapped me across the face. He slapped me so hard that I lost my footing and fell to the floor.”
“Okay, I get the picture.” Santiago says with a furrowed brow. Up until then I’d never noticed the scar above his left eyebrow. But maybe that was because he smiled at me more than frowned when I told him stories.
“You need to contact another agency in order to report this violence!” He says in a stern, paternal sounding voice.
Feeling very confused I say, “I thought you wanted me to tell you about the other night?”
“Yes, I do want to hear more about the other night but it is clearly upsetting you.”
“It is upsetting me, but aren’t I suppose to tell you what happened in order for you to help me work through it?”
“Yes, but not if its going to upset you this much. Lucinda you are in a very dangerous situation and perhaps the police need to be involved?”
“Well, they kind of already are involved?”
“What do you mean? Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?
“Because you didn’t ask!”
“Okay. But I need to know these sorts of things as your therapist!” As soon as he said those words ‘therapist’ I knew I wanted him to be more than that. I found him so attractive and alluring.
“So what is the level of police involvement and what has happened with you and Peter since the other night?”
“The police just think that it is a ‘run of the mill’ domestic dispute”
“Do they know about the violence? Did you tell them that he hurt you?” He says with inquisitive eyes.
“Look, I can only help you if you tell me everything. You might be in real danger.”
Santiago didn't want her to know that even though it had only been one session, he was beginning to think about her in his ‘spare time’. He knew it wasn't ethically appropriate and he’d always been one to follow the rules. But there was something about her that got under his skin. The more she spoke about that night with Peter, the more he realised how deep his feelings were for her.
“What sort of strategies could there possibly be for this kind of thing?”
“Well, there are many strategies that you can put in place, such as thinking about moving house.
“Peter would never let me leave. He’s too controlling”
“I can tell from what you’ve said how possessive and controlling he could be but also more to the point, you may be putting your life in danger if you continue to stay with him?”
I knew Santiago had a point but I also knew that I was able to take care of myself.
“Okay, I’ll talk to the police and will get back to you.” I say in the hopes that he believes me and moves on to more pressing issues.
“Thank you.” He says then writes something done on his notepad.
“That is all for today. See you same time next week?”
I nod and then leave his office.
When I get outside I notice that it’s getting darker, much earlier these days. I really must park closer to his office I hate walking to my car alone.
A few moments later there is a honk from a car in the parking lot and I notice Santiago’s assistant Heather flashing her lights and honking her car horn at me. Relieved to know someone is watching me as I walk in the dark to my car, I smile and wave at her.
Deep down I knew Heather wasn’t the only one looking out for me, but as I look up at the full moon I feel more than one presence around me.
Once I reach my car, I unlock the door and get inside. I start the engine and drive home listening to the radio. Halfway home I begin thinking about my session with Santiago and wonder if he’ll ever get to know me outside of his office. I know it is most likely just ‘wishful thinking’ but a girl can dream, can’t she?
I pull into my driveway thirty minutes later and notice Peter’s car isn’t in the driveway. A huge feeling of relief washes over me. I look up at the moon once again and notice that it looks bigger now that I’m home.
Tonight after my session with Santiago I feel different. I feel like something has shifted within myself. I am not scared anymore of what my future holds. All I am certain of is that something has changed. Something has shifted within me and can’t shift back. The piece of paper that Santiago gave me had three words written on it. These three words make all the difference: I am here.
Tonight I feel safe. For the first time in a long time I feel as though I am being protected by something higher than myself.
Smiling I get out of the car; shutting it behind me.
The volcano begins erupting, the lava spills down over her sides but no one runs to her rescue. No one but me ...was the last thing I recall before waking up in a cold sweat. I look around my bedroom and see nothing lurking in the shadows.
Still l feel like someone is watching me. Peter is asleep in the bed next to me but the cold shivers up and down my neck start again. The same shivers I felt the other day in Santiago’s office.
Hoping that I’m just thirsty, I walk down the corridor and into the kitchen. I open the fridge and grab a cold jug of water. I reach above my head, open the white cupboard and grab a tall thin glass and then pour myself some water. Standing in the kitchen makes me feel comfortable. The cold shivers have gone and I can’t hear Peter’s snores anymore.
Its silent tonight where I stand. All I can hear are the crickets outside and the tick tock of the old grandfather clock.
I decide everything in my world is okay for tonight and head back to bed to sleep.
Sleep comes quickly but not as quickly as the entrance made by Navantara.
I’ve been waiting for you to come back to bed and fall asleep, as we have much to discuss you and I.
Unable to speak or move, all I can do is lay here and listen to her speak. She laughs an evil laugh.
Her red curls are bunched up/held up by a golden clip and fall down one side of her exposed shoulder. Her red dress is revealing and moves the same direction as the wind.
Lucinda…. We have much to discuss you and I… and Santiago…. Do you remember when you were five years old? You were such a brave little thing.
I fall out of bed and writhe around on the floor in front of her. The feelings in my dream intensify, I want to cry out for her to stop but I can't speak. Navantara was controlling my movements and I couldn’t fight back.
While you are dreaming of me Lucinda, I am here in your room, your house, watching you. Every time you dream of me its because I’m in your room and inside your head. You can’t escape me. It was me that you felt blowing down your neck, when you feel this its because I’m coming for you....Santiago knows this too… why do you think he told you things are yet to change between this world and the next when you asked him about that ring that other day? You belong to him and the three of us, … you just don’t know it yet…
She moves and kneels beside me on the floor and begins stroking my hair.
Now my child, this won’t hurt too much, but hold still.
She places one of her pale hands on my forehead and the other on my chest. Navantara tells me to recall happier times and then begins to laugh; she knows that I can’t recall much of my childhood.
Navantara bends forward and places her mouth beside my ear and whispers, "I know everything there is to know about you and the others are coming."
I wake up just in time for my alarm clock to go off for work. Its 6am and I feel like I haven’t slept in days. Horrified by my dream, I turn off the alarm and put my head back under the covers.
"Time to get up sleepy head," comes a voice from the bathroom.
“For the love of God just bugger off its Sunday!” is all I can muster the strength to say.
Expecting some sort of retort for such a rude response I brace myself and am surprised when I get no response.
I peer out from the duvet to see Santiago sitting at the edge of my bed! Mortified and embarrassed all at once I do a double take. But the second time I look around no one is there. There’s a note from Peter sitting on the pillow beside me:
"Didn’t want to wake up. You looked so pretty sleeping. See you tonight. Love, P xx"
My God maybe I really do need to see a shrink after all?These are the last thoughts I have before I pass out in exhaustion. This time I slept peacefully. Falling asleep with a picture of Santiago’s face burnt upon the inside of my eyelids.
I walk up the stairs to Santiago’s office uncertain of what is waiting for me on the other side of his office door, I nervously grasp the door knob and turn it. To my relief he isn’t there and I am met with a warm welcome from Heather.
“Hi Lucinda, nice to see you again. He should be back in five minutes.”
I thank her and find a seat closest to the exit. A part of me is wondering what I’m doing here, but another part of me knows why I’m here - I can’t not see Santiago.
“Come with me,” says a voice. Siting next to me is Santiago. He is wearing a hat, a long black cloak and sunglasses.
“What are you doing crouching beside me?” I ask.
“I don’t want Heather to know I’m back yet!”
“Because I really need a coffee.”
“Fancy getting one with me?” he asks.
“Isn’t that against the rules?”
“A code of ethics of something? Fraternising with the clients?”
“I’d hardly call it fraternizing But as you wish.”
Santiago stands up, removes his glasses and regrets doing so because as soon as Heather sees him she yelps in excitement.
“You’re back! What took you so long? You have a few clients added to you’re waiting list. I’m not sure how you suddenly became so popular!”
He gives Heather a puzzled look and she quickly becomes silent and averts her eyes
“Well, maybe I know what I’m doing.” Santiago responds in a cool, calm and collected manner and takes the list of new clients from off of Heather’s desk. She still doesn’t make eye contact with him, which I find odd.
...Perhaps she knows something about him that I don’t? I watch Heather and if I didn’t know any better she’s acting in a manner that makes me think she’s slightly scared of Santiago. I wouldn’t blame her as I experienced his temper in my first session.
He motions for me to follow him into his office with a single hand movement. Once inside his office I take a seat in my usual green velvet chair and he stands leaning against his desk. He stares at me but doesn’t say a word.
Feeling uncomfortable I break the silence.
“So did you catch the score on last night?”
He still doesn’t respond.
“It was pretty good. I personally don’t like footie much but figured you might.”
Amused he finally responds, his eyes twinkling, “Do I look like I enjoy football Lucinda?”
I laugh. “Well, you never know! Perhaps it would be another dark secret that you harbor." I snarl.
“You think I harbor dark secrets?” He exclaims.
Realising then from the look of horror on his face, he must know that his mind tricks don’t work on me. He watches me as I take a deep breath and fiddle with the lace hem on my navy blue skirt.
"What do you remember of our last session?” He asks.
Cautiously I answer him, “well I just meant that last session I felt we were getting somewhere and you cut it short and…”
“I think we could have gotten somewhere?”
“What do you mean gotten somewhere?”
“Well, worked through my list of issues?”
As soon he says my name the goosebumps begin, up and down my arms and legs, my neck and down below. I find it hard to focus on what he’s saying.
“Lucinda? Anybody in there?” he asks with a look of concern in his eyes.
“Yes,” I say batting my eye lashes provocatively. “Okay, issue number one.” I lean back in my chair and look at the floor. I’m too nervous to make eye contact incase he thinks my issues are ‘stupid’.
“Yes, lets start with that.” He says and folds his arms.
Santiago waits patiently for me to begin. I notice that he doesn’t grab my patient file or a pen. Perhaps he has a photographic memory?
“And Lucinda,” he says.
“You don’t need to number your issues. Okay?” he says smiling.
“Okay, I just thought it might make it easier to sort of go through a check list and then once they are resolved I can have like 15 ticks down my page.”
“Yes, but this isn’t a classroom situation. You are safe here and don’t need to have a ‘checklist-and 15 issues!” He exclaims.
“Geez you don’t need to sound so alarmed! For your information people come to see you with issues! That’s why you’re in business!” I snarl at him. My defence barriers are up and I’m not letting anyone in, least of all him. Well, not today.
I suddenly realise that I have overstepped the mark with my last remark.
Neither of us say anything. I am just about to lean forward and apologise for my bitchiness and blame it on PMS when I notice Santiago’s gaze isn’t on me but rather is looking at something behind me. A look of horror stills his beautiful features.
Too terrified to look behind me, I close my eyes and take ten deep breaths. I hum a little tune but it doesn’t help. I’m too curious a person so a few seconds later I open my eyes. I grip the edge of my chair and slowly turn my head in the direction of Santiago’s gaze. Standing directly behind me is a dark figure. A dark figure of a woman wearing a long purple cape. Her dark hair falls freely to her shoulders and she smiles down at me as our eyes meet. “I told you we were coming for you!” Recognizing her from my dream from the night before I scream loudly then pass out.
I wake up cold and the floor around me feels damp to touch. Santiago is kneeling over me. He cradles my head in his hands.
“Lucinda,wake up” he repeats my name over and over again.
“Oh, she’ll wake up soon,” says a familiar voice. I recognize it as Heather and begin to stir.
“Has she gone yet?” I whisper.
Santiago laughs a bellowing laugh.
“Well, glad to see you’re still with us!” He says.
I open my eyes and see him leaning over me with a warm sincere smile. His blue eyes inviting and gentle. I like the feel of his hands on my neck.
Heather looks a little uncomfortable with the said position of his hands. Picking up on this he quickly removes his hands from my body.
“Ah humph,” he clears his throat. Groggily I stretch out my arms and Santiago and Heather heave me up to an upright sitting position.
“You had quite a fall there! I think you might have a big bump on your head tomorrow”
“Should we take her to the emergency room? She might have a concussion?”
“No, she’ll be fine. It’s just a bump on the head.” Santiago shoo’s Heather away telling her to get back to work.
“So, guess that’s enough for today?”
“I guess so,” I say.
I smile awkwardly and realize then and there after what I saw today, things will never go back to ‘normal’. The last session was nothing in comparison to today’s session.
God only knows what the next session will bring.
The sun sets as the tide washes upon the shore; the wind blows Santiago’s hair out of his face. Patiently he waits behind a cliff face for Peter to approach.
He knows that this is Peter’s usual route when he goes for a run. Ten minutes pass and Santiago is just about to give up and leave this dance for another day when he sees Peter approaching. Peter’s red hair is pasted with sweat to his forehead, and his gym pants look as though they have been put in the tumble dryer for too long - the static from the tumble dryer cause them to stick to his groin area.
Okay, just get a little bit closer. Yes, come a little bit closer.
Santiago calculates his next move very carefully. He looks to his left and then to his right checking that no one is around to view the upcoming casualty.
Peter slowly comes toward the rock face. Santiago waits with bated breath. As soon as Peter’s left foot steps around the rock face Santiago lunges forward and grabs him around the waist. With one fell swoop his legs buckle from underneath him.
Santiago balances Peters weight against his own body and drags him out of sight. The tide continues to wash up against his navy blue pants as he drags Peter along the sand.
“Hey man what are you doing? Help anybody help!” Peter yells but the waves crash against the rocks muffling his cries. The sky is black - darkness has settled in for the evening.
“Don’t worry Peter you won’t feel a thing!”
Shock washes over Peters face as soon as he recognizes Santiago’s voice.
“Oi you stupid idiot! You can’t do this! You’re Lucinda’s therapist! You’ll get into big trouble. Seriously what the hell!?” He struggles with Santiago but Santiago is far too strong for him. One hundred meters past the rock face he punches Peter in the face and then lets him fall to the ground.
“You know I’m not really a fucker! I have been called worse, such as a monster, inhumane, a creature, all the usual things, but I think your use of fucker is quite ironic. Because yes, that’s what I’d like to do to Lucinda one day.” Knowing such a comment would rile Peter up, he laughs and waits for Peter’s reaction.
“You won’t ever lay a hand on Lucinda!”
“And who’s going to stop me?”
“Well, me of course.” Peter snarls. Standing up he squares his body and prepares himself for the inevitable onslaught.
“And how are you going to do that prey tell?”
“I’m a lawyer and a very good one at that. I know people in high places and I could click my fingers like that and you’d be rubbed out!” Peter lunges towards Santiago but falls flat on his face as Santiago is too quick for him.
“And you were saying, like what exactly?” he mocks Peter, watching him as he struggles to get up from face planting head first into the sand.
Peter stands up and dig his heels into the ground, and yells “You have no idea who you’re messing with buddy!”
“I’m not your buddy! And yes, I have a very good idea about who I’m dealing with. I am Lucinda’s therapist after all. And weren’t you the one pushing her to have therapy in the first place?” he smiles, “ tisk, tisk tisk” Santiago waves a finger in a mocking matter at Peter.
“Well God if I knew she’d have a psycho therapist such as yourself I’d never have suggested it.”
“Yeah it’s a pity really because you did suggest it and I don’t like being called a ‘psycho’. You know psychotic people are actually rather bright? But I guess being a lawyer and all you might have a few psychotic/narcissistic tenancies yourself?” Peter remains silent.
“You know its very easy to take out your own insecurities and issues out on an attractive and vulnerable woman when you know she could do so much better than being engaged to you. And I get the feeling that the intimacy that you get to share with her, isn’t even worth writing home about! I know I could please her in that department.”
“Why you…” And with that Peter lunges head first towards Santiago.
Santiago blocks his forehead with both his hands and moves them towards his shoulders.
“You know you should have been kinder to me because if you had been I might have made your death far less painful!”
Peter locks shocked and then puzzled and is about to respond with some smarmy comment when in one fell swoop Santiago has Peter on bended knees, and before he can say another word Santiago swiftly snaps his neck in two.
Peter falls limply with a thud to the floor. Blood oozes out of his mouth, forming a puddle just below his collar bone. The black around the moon becomes darker and reflects off the red blood soaked sand. Santiago sits beside Peter’s body and the blood stained puddle.
Looking up at the moon he reflects on his past and calls out to Nevantara and Beliarea.
“Here is a peace offering. I know you will be visiting her soon, but please be gentle with her.”
A few moments later Santiago gets a response. Deep from within the ocean comes a husky sounding voice, “Thank you Santiago, this offering is kind of you. But it doesn’t change the past or what the future holds. You and I both know that what you did in your past has come home to roost. You need to tell her soon about it all or you know we will.”
A long lanky female form rises up from the ocean and approaches Santiago. Expecting to see Nevantara and Beliarea Santiago bows his head. As soon as she approaches he receives her permission to stand and meet her gaze.
“Wow that was quick.” He says. Noticing only one God approaching he asks, “Where is Nevantara?”
“She couldn’t make it. Look we know you have feelings for this girl, but…”
“But?” asks Santiago as Beliarea gets closer.
“But as I have told you once before, you can’t have feelings for a mortal. You are a vampire Heir! She doesn’t belong by your side, let alone in our world.”
Beliarea stands four feet away from Santiago and smiles. She watches as his face drops.
“Now, don’t get too upset. You’ll meet a wonderful bride someday who is inline with what we are. But this girl just isn’t right for you.”
Santiago doesn’t argue and nods. He knows arguing with Beliarea would just cause her to use her moon and water magic and he didn’t want to fight - not tonight. Tonight he had had enough fighting.
Beliarea looks at the limp body lying beside Santiago’s bare feet.
“Pity you had to get those linen pants dirty, they always make you look so handsome!” she bats her eyelids and gets a smile from Santiago - her cue to approach.
“Now tell me. What is it about this girl, what is her name?”
“Ah don’t tell me… it starts with the letter B, no D, oh I give up!” she hisses with a mocking tone and wraps her arms around Santiago.
“Ha ha you were never good at guessing names now were you my dear?” He asks.
“No, I guess not” And with that she takes Santiago in both her long lean arms and hugs him tightly. He notices her rounded bosom and is about to comment when she says, “Don’t say it! Yes, I’ve gained weight! And no I’m not pregnant!!” Santiago laughs on the outside but inside he’s dying. He recalls his past and his eyes grow dark with sadness. Careful not to show signs of weakness in front of Beliarea - for their kind kill off the weak, Santiago proudly puffs out his chest and laughs out loudly, “Ha ha no of course not! I would never say such a thing. But I might think it.”
“Now, I must be off. Enjoy your meal. Oh and this one called me horrible names, so feel free to go for your life and eat his face off!”
“Why’s that? He called me names! And you know how I hate that!” says Santiago venomously.
“Oh and one other thing”
“Yes,” She asks.
“When you are done please make it look likes its related to a cocaine bust or something similar. I don’t want this to come back and bite me in the arse. No one can know he is linked to me in anyway.”
“Why is that?” she asks faking a smile.
“He was the fiancé of one of my clients.” He says averting his eyes as he says it.
With a questioning look Beliarea agrees to dispose of Peter’s body but she suspects that he’s the fiancé of Lucinda. Beliarea keeps her suspicions to herself and Santiago doesn’t confirm or deny them, he simply smiles back at her.
Beliarea enjoys her meal and Santiago disappears out of sight.
The moonlight consumes the past and brightens the future.
I sit in my office drinking a cup of black coffee. It’s 7 am so I assume that no one will disturb me, but I have no such luck because at 7.05 am there is a knock on my office door. I look to my left shoulder and notice a shadow lurking in the corner. Was it actually there or was it within my minds eye? Unsure of the answer I ignore it and stand up and walk over towards my office door. Through the glass pane in the door I can make out a silhouette. At first glance I think its Santiago and my heart skips a beat, but as soon as I open the door I realize that it isn’t him. Instead standing before me is a man in uniform. He is much taller than Santiago and has very broad shoulders. His sandy blonde hair covers one of his green eyes. As I open the door he smiles warmly.
"Hello, is Lucinda in?”
"Yes, I am just one moment." I quickly close the office door and I place both hands on my black pencil skirt, twist it around to ensure that the hems are in line with the pattern of my stockings, which trace my calf muscles. Once I feel I’m in correct alignment I open the door. “How may I help you?’ I ask unsure of what else I can say.
“Well, I’m here on official police business.”
"I see… what seems to be the problem?"
“Do you know a Peter Burkin?”
Shocked and horrified all at the same time I begin to feel slightly nauseous. My legs give way. The weight I’d felt on my shoulders the night before had meant nothing to me now. What was this police officer saying? Was Peter a murderer?
“May I come in?” He asks and leans towards me.
“Yes, but of course,” I say and step aside to let the policeman into my office.
“What was your name?’ I ask hoping that knowing his name would make the situation less surreal.
"I’m Officer Randal.” He removes his black police hat and then makes him self comfortable in a lounge seat beside my office desk. Knowing this policeman’s name doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation. I balance myself against the wall to steady myself and watch him draw a breath before he begins to speak.
“So Officer Randal, please tell me. How can I help you?”
“Well, there’s been an incident involving your fiancé Peter Burke.”
“I see. What sort of incident?” I say sitting down on the floor. I try to look shocked, but I’m not shocked nor really that interested in what happened to Peter. I know that I should be more interested since Peter is my betrothed, but I can’t get images of Santiago out of my head. I feel like he’s always around me, beside me, in front of me and watching me from behind, wherever I move, even when I sleep.
“Look the last time we saw him was on Mulholland Drive,” he says, as if trying to provoke some sort of reaction out of me - but the reaction never happens.
“Officer Randall, isn’t it?” I say, I stand up and straighten my skirt. “I really don’t know what to tell you about Peter, he can be very unpredictable and at times also very violent. I’d be very careful when approaching him.”
“Well, thank you ma’am for that advice but I think we’ll have it under control shortly. Now that another policeman will be on the scene because I’m here with you - and might I say - even if it's a little inappropriate, you are mighty fine!”
“I see, thank you. It is a little inappropriate, but thank you.” I say looking him straight in the eye.
"So you say Peter has been involved in some sort of homicide?” I ask wide-eyed quickly changed the direction of conversation.
"Yes, ma'am we believe so."
"What sort of homicide?"
"Well, his body was discovered at 5.40 am this morning. It looked like he’d been badly beaten by a bunch of savages. Most likely coke heads!” Feeling faint I have to sit down. I slid down the wall until I hit the floor with a thud.
“What do you mean you found his body?
How is this possible?
He's at work…He left a noted on my pillow this morning; what do you mean coke heads? " I had so many unanswered questions running through my head. My words keep trailing off as tears tumble down my flushed cheeks.
"Where wa wa was.. He found?" I stammer. Officer Randall looks boyishly handsome in his black uniform but also his green eyes wrinkle with concern.
"Ma'am… are you okay?" He asks.
"Yes, I'll be fine, please just go on and tell me what happened? Tell me everything!”
"Well, we aren't too sure of the finer details but we feel that he was killed in the early hours of this morning and we found his body near a hanging cliff face."
“That's strange," I say.
"Why is it strange?" He asks in a curious tone of voice.
"Well, because Peter was afraid of heights and never went around that area. Or so I thought," I exclaim.
"Well, that's where he was found. Look Ma'am"
"Please call me Lucinda," I say quietly.
"Okay, Lucinda. All the details aren't confirmed yet because it only just happened. Is there someone I can call for you? We might need to take you down to the station for questioning," He says meeting my gaze.
"What? Am I a suspect? He was my fiancé. Are you mad? You clearly must be if you think I had anything to do with his death!" I yell.
Bright red in the face I yell words of hate at Officer Randall, then I fall to the ground sobbing uncontrollably. I am not sure if my sobs are because Peter is dead and my wish of being free and able to pursue Santiago has come true; or because I now have to make alternate plans for my evening routine. Uncertain of what my future holds, I thank Officer Randall for visiting me and motion him to leave. He takes his cue and leaves.
I crawl over to my desk, open the bottom draw and pull out a bottle of Vodka. I remove the lid and take a long hard swig. The liquid tastes slightly bitter and metallic, burning my oesophagus on its way down. A few more swigs and I feel better. My body and mind begin numbing themselves. I escape reality. I am happy for a short while. I pass out on the floor under my desk
A short while later I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing.
“Lucinda speaking,” I say trying hard not to sound half cut.
“Its Santiago, are you okay?” he asks.
Why is he calling me? Why does he think I am not okay? Confused by his odd phone manner I quickly hang up. Two-seconds later my phone rings again. Glancing down at my mobile phone I recognize the number, its Santiago. Unable to deal with him and all his questions I reject the call and it goes straight to voicemail, but he doesn’t leave a message.
I unscrew the lid of the Vodka bottle, take another swig and crawl further under my desk. I perch myself against the desk leg and hum a song. I’m sure the neighbors think a mad cat lady has been let out considering how out of tune I sound, but I don’t care.
My mobile rings again so I switch it off. I begin my dance with fate and yell, “Come and get me Navantara and your tribe!” I take another swig of Vodka and wait for the Gods to come and take me. I have nothing worthwhile to live for anymore, now that Peter has gone. Without Peter I feel as if my life isn’t worth living. Who is going to help me and love me? Who is going to care for me when I am sick? I feel as though I have nothing. These questions all remain unanswered. Tonight the Gods don’t come for me, so I finish the bottle of Vodka and continue to sing.
When I awake, I open one eye to check the coast is clear. The sunlight is bright to my sensitive eyes so I screw up my face in displeasure. Feeling out of sorts, I am unsure as to whether I'm still dreaming or not because when I look beside me a set of crystal blue eyes stare right back at me. I immediately recognize his eyes. I open both eyes and see Santiago sitting beside me.
“Looks like you hit the liquor last night?” he says, eyes shining with a mixture of amusement and concern.
Groggy eyed I look into his piercing blue eyes and manage an attempt at a lopsided smile.
“Thanks, I try my best.” He puts his arm around my lower back and begins to manoeuvre me out from underneath the table.
“You know you’re the only person that is ever there for me and I know that you aren’t like all the other weirdos in my life, even though you are male, and most males are fucktards, trannys, dickheads - you name it - I attract it. Well, I think see… see the ones that I attract are bad… .” I pause for a moment and gulp a breath of air,
“They are just all really baaaad…” I slur. “Do you see what I’m saying…really really bad?”
I place two fingers on Santiago’s chest and dance them up his maroon colored tie until they reach his chin. Any other day I would feel awkward doing this, but not today. Today I am too drunk to care. I look into his blue eyes and without hesitation I kiss him. I know within my heart of hearts that I care for him deeply but fear rejection like any girls does.
However, Santiago kisses me back passionately on the lips and my fear of rejection quells. He looks into my green eyes and uses his index finger to trace the outline of my lips and then runs his finger along the bridge of my nose. Then Santiago cups my face in both hands and gently kisses my forehead. Unsure of what I am rambling on about Santiago politely refrains from kissing me and instead encourages me to continue my drunken rant - looking highly amused as he does so.
“What is a fucktard?” He asks laughing.
Santiago remains confused as to how such a beautiful and gentle creature can use such profanities. Determined to understand my language, he commits to a Google search on his phone while listening to me.
“Are you listening?” I ask, but I know he's too busy with Google. Before he has a chance to answer I fall asleep in his lap. Santiago watches me sleep.
“Just to watch you sleep makes it all worth it,” he whispers.
Santiago has me alone, sleeping in his lap and he keeps needing to reassure himself that its real and he’s not imagining it like he has done so many times before.
He whispers in my ear as I sleep, “You aren’t scared of me but instead you crave affection, my affection. This means more to me than anything the Gods could threaten me with. Please when the truth comes out, don’t judge me and my past too harshly.”
Santiago knows soon that he’ll have to tell me about his past. But for tonight he decides to watch me sleep and feels lucky. He feels as if he’s just won the lottery. I am his and he is mine and we both know this.