My eyes were glued at Josh in hysteric stupor. All my suspicions were overwhelming with fear. I couldn’t even utter a word. I was just staring at him in dread.
He held perplexity as he scrutinized my disheveled condition, a worry scintillate his eyes.
His hand moved towards me. “Ansley,” he said softly.
I flinched back. “Don’t!”
An irritation crossed his face. “I won’t hurt you.”
“Ann?” A high note of worry resounded in a voice. I looked behind. Mom was rushing to me with dad following by his side.
They were immediately crouched by my side. Their eyes not missing out the presence of Josh. Especially not dad. His eyes were narrowed in a slit. They were cold and hard. And I could feel Josh was apparent to this hostility. He always was.
Mom’s arms were around me in a try to soothe me down as she looked at Josh, trying to keep herself away from any emotion. “What happened here, Josh?”
Josh’s eyes shifted to me. He was still irked. “I don’t know. I asked her the same.”
“Do you want me to have restraining orders against you?” My dad’s voice broke in anger.
Josh’s jaw clenched, he smiled derisively. “I don’t have any interest in you. So you can have them, sir.”
I could feel heat radiating off by my side. Dad was furious. “I mean Ansley.”
Josh looked straight into my eyes. There was a fervent emotion gleaming in them. “Do you want any restraining orders against me, Ansley?”
His eyes were so appealing that looking into them you could find yourself drowning in those mocha seas. But today no spell of his beckoning appeal worked on me. I was tired of it all. I just wanted a small piece of serenity in my life. To me he was a guy I had loved. To me he could never be the reasons of my misery. But suspicions were all casting over him. He had motive with an easily snapping personality.
I didn’t know who to trust and who not to.
My head seemed to be spinning. It was enough dramatic ride for today. I didn’t want to lose it anymore. So before dad could’ve snapped once more, I spoke. “Help me to my apartment please.”
Dad’s eyes were boring at Josh, he remained riveted to his spot until mom intervened. “Luke...”
Dad sighed, trying to immure his anger as he averted his eyes off from him. He helped me up from the floor. Mom’s arm was draped around me so was dad as they both guided my trembling form up the stairs.
I looked over my shoulder. A hurt was crossed on Josh’s face. A twinge passed through my heart. But I knew better. Looks could be deceiving.
Mom’s fingers worked in a delicate motion, rounding a gauze around my wounded palm. Her work spoke of her experience as a renowned surgeon just like dad was.
“Are you gonna explain us now?” She asked, her deep blue eyes probed for an answer. And I wondered why I didn’t get those eyes from her. I didn’t get any physical trait from her at all. She was blonde, the hair color I wanted. Her skin had a healthy glowing tan. She was beautiful. And I wanted to be like her in all aspects. Because, off all her beauty her kindness stood the most.
I had no lie to answer her about my disheveled condition. And I couldn’t keep it in anymore. This was becoming all a mess now. They had to know.
“It’s started with a-” I was cut off by a loud ringing of phone.
Mom and I looked beside us to the recliner where dad was. He picked the call. There was a deep frown on his brow as he muttered. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“What’s the matter, Luke?” Mom asked.
Dad stood up, slipping in his trench coat. “It’s about Janice. Her body’s responding to the medication. I’ve to go check on her.”
“Can I come too?” I couldn’t keep in a buzz of jolly excitement I felt. This news had me forgotten all that happened to me in last hour. After so many weeks there was some progress. It was a hope that had been shown to all of us.
“Not now. It’s late. Visit her tomorrow, dear.”
“He’s right, Ann. It’s late. And you owe me and your dad some explanations.” Mom sided with dad. I could feel my cheeks bloating in pout.
“Stop pouting, kiddo. I want to hear it all after I come back.” dad ruffled my hairs, smiling, as he made his way out of the door.
“So where were we...” her look prodding me to get back to my explaining.
“It’s nothing.” I looked away from her. I knew she didn’t buy it. But suddenly, something in me refrained me. A sick feeling clawed its way in me. I didn’t want to discuss it now.
“Ann?” mom’s hand caressed my hair, a look of concern inundating her face. “What happened?”
“I don’t know. Can we talk about it later?” There was something restless brewing in me.
“Why you guys were here?” I tried to change the subject. It couldn’t be just a miraculous coincidence that they were here because I was in need of a dire help.
She softly smiled. “We don’t know. We were coming back from work. And suddenly we felt like seeing you.”
I nodded. And unexplainable silence followed after that.
But she again knew how to break the ice. What to say when. “Dear, I know something serious had happened that you don’t feel telling right now. I saw the broken glass in your kitchen and you were bleeding. And more than that, this look on your face. That ain’t you, Ann. Take your time. But don’t keep it in you. Your dad and I are always here for you. Always.”
She looked deep into my eyes, those electric blues irises held sea of intense motherly emotions. Somehow, she had an idea of my life, my problems just looking at me. Maybe that was what they called motherly instincts.
Before I could have assured her, her phone buzzed, she slid it out from her bag, pressing it on her ear. “Yes?”
A frown appeared on her. “I’m on my way.”
She hung up, looking at me. She looked kind of worried while she was was looking at me.
I smiled at her heartfelt words from before. “I’ll talk about it tomorrow mom. I’m sure there’s an emergency right now that need your immediate attention.”
“There is. Your dad and I always have these call at the very unexpected times. But I don’t want you to be on your own tonight. Call Ray.”
I nodded. “I will.”
She leant onto me, wrapping me in her warm hug. “Love you,”
“Love you, too, mom.”
She smiled her radiant smile as she stood up, slinging her bag on her shoulder.
Before she could have left. I felt this need to ask her, to have her advice.
“What do you think of Josh?” I asked out of blue making her pause in her action.
She blinked at me for few seconds. “What do you think?”
I held a vacant expression. It felt all numb. I couldn’t find my own thoughts on him. “I don’t know,”
She gave me an emphatic smile. “Over all the assumptions on him, I think his anger has him the most misunderstood guy.”
Her words... These used to be my words when I reasoned with dad over him.
I opened the door to be met by the gaze of those silvery eyes. He was little drench from the drizzling that had now just started. “What took you so long?”
He moved past me, inside the house. “Was just busy taking care of a business.”
I shut the door. “Your dad’s.”
He looked at me, an indecipherable gleam glinted in his eyes. He took minutes before he answered. “Yes.”
His mood wasn’t seeming best of all. But I knew, he and his dad didn’t share a bond at all. So interacting with him always had his mood foul.
I went over to him, sitting beside him on the couch. “Ray, are you alright?”
“Just not feeling good. Nothing to worry.” he stared blankly out the window.
I covered his hand with my palm, giving it a gentle squeeze. “We can always talk.”
He looked at me, giving me a subtle nod. “So what’s with this sudden call at this hour calling me for a stay?”
His question had the words frozen in my mouth. I didn’t know what to say. Why was I being like that? Not discussing the severity of my life with anyone? I wanted to talk about it. To someone. Janice wasn’t here. But Rayon was.
“It’s... Something is happening within my life.” I forced the words out.
He frowned, leaning forward, curious as to what I would tell. “What is it, Ann?”
“I’m being stalked.” I rushed out the words as I gulped the lump in my throat.
He remained stilled as if the words hadn’t reached him. But then his eyes widened. “Stalk? Are you sure? It can be your imagination.”
His words were like a prick of a needle.
“It’s not!” I yelled. I couldn’t believe he would talk the words like those officers. “Why everyone has such a hard time believing that I’m being stalked?”
“Hey, hey, hey, calm down, girl. I didn’t mean that. It was just that I thought you could be in a stress with lot going in your life.” He explained.
I shook my head. “I was attacked by that sick of a stalker I have. He broke in my house today. He tried forcing him on me.” by the end of the sentence I was feeling the tremors raking my body, tears filling my eyes.
His hand wrapped around me as I sniffed. “Did you call police?”
I took in a trembling breath. “Not this time. I tried lodging report before. But the officers didn’t believe me.”
“You should have called police immediately after the incident had happened. Again they’re gonna raise a question as to why you didn’t call them before.”
“I know,” I chocked a sob. I should have. But I didn’t. I just didn’t want to call them. Maybe I was terrified or I didn’t want to call those officers calling me liar again.
Ray’s arm tightened around me in a console as I buried my face in his chest. “I’m here,” he cooed. “Nothing’s gonna harm you.”
I clung at him for the support his words gave me. Without a doubt, I believed them. He had been with me through my every problem. No matter how petty it was. Janice and I could always rely on him. We had always relied on him.
His thumb drew the soothing circles at my arm as I for god knows how long clung to him. I pulled away as he let his arm loosened around me.
“Better?” he asked.
I nodded, wiping the traces of my tears away from my face.
“Thanks for being here.“I mumbled softly.
He smiled, his cheeks bone jutting out at his bewitching smile. No matter how small it was, It never lost its charm on his perfect face.
“I’m always here.”
I was captivated in those silver gaze as he looked at me with his assuaging look. His eyes, they were so earnest just as the words he said to me.
The knock resounded. Our heads whirled to the door. Ray stood up. “I’ll get that.”
He walked towards it and pulled the door open.
“Is Miss Cowden here?” I heard an unfamiliar voice ask.
I arched my head to see who it was on the door. I could see a little beyond the frame of Ray who was before the door.
“Yes,” Ray said, shifting aside. “What happened but?”
“We would like to see Miss Cowden first,” the voice said.
Two men in uniform strode in. My eyes squinted in perplexity of their sudden presence here.
“Miss Cowden?” One of the officer said as I stood up across them.
“Yes?” I could feel my heart sank as I saw them exchanging a look. It didn’t seem pleasant at all. But it wasn’t harsh either. It was kind of sympathetic. And I wasn’t liking it.
My heart almost stopped as I braced myself for their words. An apprehension twisted my stomach. I knew something wasn’t right. Their mere presence here wasn’t right at all.
But only if I knew at that time, that there was nothing right about that night. It was a black day that had me ripped of what I had known all my life. It had left my emotions crippled and my heart broken.