The cool autumn air blew softly on my face as I pushed my hands farther into the pockets of my jeans. The sun was hidden by the array of dark clouds that had taken refuge in the sky, leaving nothing but a chilly breeze in the early hours of the morning.
Glancing down at the watch on my wrist, I saw that only a couple minutes had passed since I left the warmth of my bedroom. I had spent the night tossing and turning, and eventually gave up on sleep. I had felt the sudden urge to leave the building and make my way outside to gather my thoughts. Stepping farther out into the darkness, I began making my way around the familiar pathway beside the large dorm building.
The sun had yet to rise, and the campus was empty. It felt as if the world was silent as I walked along the pathway that was dimly lit by street lamps. Because there wasn’t a single soul lingering or any sounds, I felt more at peace with the world. At this moment in time, I felt as if I could hear my thoughts so clearly.
As I made my way across the familiar campus, my mind was engulfed with memories of the past. A soft ache resonated through my chest as moments of my time here whisked through my mind. Though it had just been a couple years, for some reason, it felt like that time in my life was a mere fragment of the life I live now.
Things were better back then.
I was better back then.
I had been content with life, and it didn’t always feel like my world was at a standstill.
If only we could go back in time to change the past. Maybe then we wouldn’t be so bitter with the way things ended up.
Taking slow steps down the pavement, I diverted my attention to the changing colors of the trees in order to distract myself from the thoughts that threatened to consume my mind. I hadn’t even realized that I had been walking for a while until I had reached a small clearing behind a couple buildings. A small beach sat in the middle of the grass, surrounded by various willow trees. The different colored leaves that lay scattered the dirt pathway softly moved in the direction of the wind as I stood there, eyes latched onto the bench that held so many memories. It was as if the days suddenly rushed on me; every lunch spent there, the days with my friends here, moments I could never get back.
Now, it was simply a fragment from what felt like another lifetime.
A life that wasn’t as dark and painful as this one.
Settling into the creaking bench, my eyes whisked down to my phone which read 4:57 a.m. Placing my head into my hands, I released a long breath and shut my eyes. The exhaust. and insomnia was catching up to me, and there would be no way for me to rest in the next coming weeks. Not only did I need to step up my game with Isabella, but I needed to dig into every recent activity of Rick Wright.
With my eyes still closed and my head in my hands, I allowed myself to let all the tension release from my body as I listened to the soft sounds of the leaves brushing up against one another as an early morning breeze brushed past. I could feel myself falling into a state of relaxation when the rustling of leaves nearby caught my attention.I ever so lightly lifted my head to see what had caused the noise when my eyes landed on a tiny form coming towards my direction. With her head bent, and eyes cast downward, Isabella quietly walked up the dirt pathway. Her raven locks moved in the direction of the wind, revealing her usually porcelain skin which was now red as a result of the chilly breeze. Her tiny frame was engulfed by an oversized sweater as she hugged her arms to her chest. She hadn’t noticed me yet, and simply looked lost in her thoughts, as if she was present in another world aside from this.
What could Isabella possibly be doing out so early in the morning?
Either she’s an early riser, or she was just getting back on campus now.
A deep feeling in my gut told it was the latter.
Sitting up straight and rolling my neck, I didn’t want to take my chances with this opportunity. It was the perfect time to strike up a conversation with her. Clearing my throat to get her attention, I watched as her head snapped up in alarm upon hearing me. Her wide brown eyes stared at me in shock as she stopped a couple feet away from the bench, “Couldn’t sleep?” I casually asked as I let out a half smile whilst leaning back on the bench. I could see the color slightly wash from her face as she began to fidget where she was standing. I watched as her eyes scanned out surroundings as took a couple steps away from me.
Furrowing my brows at her behavior, I glanced around.
Why was she suddenly acting paranoid?
Was she hiding something? Was somebody watching us?
Subtly glancing around, I scanned our surroundings to see for myself if we were being watched, but quickly turned back to Isabella so she wouldn’t grow suspicious of me. Plastering a welcoming smile on my face, I scooted over on the bench and patted the seat beside me, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Please, come join me, I swear I don’t bite.” I joked as I let out a small chuckle. I watched as she once again glanced around hesitantly before she took a couple steps towards the bench and sat down on the very edge of the bench. I watched as she pulled the sleeves of her jacket down to cover her hands as she whispered a soft ‘thanks.’
Watching her from the corner of my eye, I couldn’t possibly fathom how she could be the daughter of Rick Wright, infamous drug lord and criminal. Her soft and fragile exterior mirrors her quiet persona, making it hard to believe that she plays a role in Rick’s grand scheme.
Despite this, there’s no saying that bad people don’t come with a disguise. Instead of focusing on how innocent Isabella appeared to be, I needed to continue with my investigation and get closer to her to obtain evidence against Rick.
Turning to face her, I watched in slight amusement as her eyes immediately darted away upon locking eyes with me. Clearing my throat to avoid letting out the chuckle the threatened to release I began my attempt at a conversation with her, “So what brings you out here? Do you usually take walks at the crack of dawn?” I jokingly asked as she turned to face me. Isabella was visibly still at unease so I figured that using jokes to lighten the mood could help her become more comfortable with me. I watched in slight shock as the smallest crack of a smile enveloped her lips as she slightly shook her head in response.
“I just wanted some fresh air.” She finally said as she continued to stare ahead at the greenery. I could tell there was more she had to say but her short responses were an improvement from the usual silence. She was going to be a tough one to crack but there was a reason boss assigned me to this case, I never failed at any assignment, and I didn’t intend to fail at this one either.
“I hate to bring this up now, but when did you want to finish up the project? We could work on it later today if you want?” I suggested to her as I ran a hand through my hair. The more time I spent with her, the easier it would be for me to look into her and Rick’s activities. Isabella blankly stared at me for a moment before she hesitantly nodded her head.
Why did she always seem so apprehensive? As if she never truly knew if she could commit to a particular decision.
For the next couple of minute, both Isabella and I sat in silence, the occasional sounds of birds chirping accompanying us as the sun slowly made its ascend.
From my peripheral, I watched as Isabella let out a breath as she continuously rubbed her arms which were covered by her thin sweatshirt. Slipping my jacket off, I held it out to her with a small smile on my face. This time, there was no ulterior motive to my actions. Although it may give me points in her book, I offered my jacket to her simply because she looked like she needed it more. I may be working for the opposite side, but I wasn’t going to let her freeze. The temperature was nearly below freezing and Isabella was sticky thin as it was with only a thin fabric on her.
I watched as she stared at me with a surprised look etched onto her face, as if she had never been offered anything by anyone before. I could tell she was hesitant, but before I could urge her to take it form me, she gently accepted the jacket from me. I watched as she slipped the jacket on, the cloth engulfing her tiny frame.
I couldn’t help myself as I let out a small chuckle at the way she looked, and I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched her crack a smile as well before letting out a soft giggle, “I look ridiculous.” She laughed as she held her arms out and looked down at herself. Her cheeks were still flushed red and in that very moment, as she she smiled softly and gazed at herself, she appeared so much younger than she looked. As if she finally allowed herself to let go of a burden for a brief amount of time.
It was as if I was in a trance as I couldn’t force my eyes away from her smiling frame, and nearly forced myself to look away as I finally brought myself back to reality.
This is an assignment.
You’ve never been distracted by a girl before, so don’t let it happen this time, Mason.
Besides, I couldn’t afford to fall into whatever trap it was I was being pushed into.
Clearing my throat, I stood up and glanced down at Isabella with a forced smile onto my face, “I should get some rest, it’s been a long night.” I said to her as she stared up at me with a questioning look on her face, probably wondering what had caused the 180 in my mood change.
I watched as she began to pull the jacket off before I held my hand out to stop her, “No, please don’t. You can return it to me later today at the library.” I assured her as she slowly nodded her head before re-zipping the jacket.
“What time are we meeting?” She asked as I glanced down at my watch which read 6:10 a.m. I needed to head to the office around 11 to pick up some previous paperwork on Rick Wright and to meet with boss so I wouldn’t be back until later in the day.
“How about 2?” I asked her as I shoved my hands into the front pocket of my jeans.
I watched as Isabella nodded her head before I shot her one last smile as I turned away and began making my way back to the dirt pathway with one question lingering on my mind.
Who is Isabella Wright?
Hello readers! It has been a long time since I have updated this story.
From the last time I updated to now, so much has changed in my life.
Just as a brief synopsis; I graduated high school & I’m headed to college in the fall! I moved houses, and it is finally summer which means more updates!
I truly am regretful and sorry for the lack of updates, but my life has been so hectic and I truly wanted to just sit back and enjoy some of the moments with family and friends.
Despite this, I plan to continue updating this novel as well as my other novel Damage Control.
I also intend on entering both books into the Watty’s so wish me luck!
Thank you all for the comments and support, I love and appreciate each and everyone one of you!
You all keep me motivated.
Thanks again, and see you soon!