One month ago...
“Are you really sure about this? There’s no turning back now.” Oliver asked.
I looked up to the dazzling blue sky for the first time in ten years. I smelled the trees in the unflappable air. Oliver and I were standing in an old private playground where we used to play as a child. It wasn’t that far from the mansion. Nothing much has changed. It still looked abandoned and deserted, yet beautiful memories from my childhood happened in this lonely place. And it was certainly large enough for me to do what I needed to do.
“I’ve thought so hard about this,” I answered. “We are already out of the house, so let’s get started.”
Oliver stretched his arms above him, then he blew out a sigh, “See? You can really do these things if you just put your mind into it. Look at you now, Brandon. You are under the sun. I should’ve searched for Alayna a long ago and brought her to you,” he grinned.
I smirked, “I’m doing this for her. I’m doing this for myself. It would kill me twice if some other man snatches her from me and I cannot do anything.”
“You can walk around the house and you managed to come out. You rode a car with me and you seemed fine with it. I see that you don’t have a problem in getting out at all.”
“It’s not that I can really go out, Ollie. I was struggling. It still frightens me. I just don’t want the people to see me. I don’t want to encounter other people. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror because I’ll just see a dead man’s reflection. You see, this is my insecurity.” I touched the covered part of my face.
“It’s not ugly as you think it is. The world is even uglier. Inside and outside. But, yours is just a skin Brandon.”
“I didn’t want to see the world who killed my family.”
“Besides, I know where I can find Annette now.” I added.
“You do?” He frowned, “How? Does Alayna really know where she is?”
“Yes and I cannot face her if I’m like this. I need to get better. You know that there’s no one I could ask for help but you.”
“I never turned my back,” Oliver stepped aside, then he held up his whistle. “Take off your mask, Brandon. It’s a distraction. You don’t have to hide it from me.”
I took off the rubber band around my ear and gently pulled out the mask out of my face. I let it fall on the ground, then I set my eyes on the field.
“Now, did you see that tree over there? It’s about a half kilometer. I need you to run there and get back here. Don’t stop until you can’t run anymore. We need to work on how far you can go when you run. I don’t know if this is going to work, but we will still try. We’re going to do this for a week and then we are going to try going out to crowded places. Even if it’s hard I don’t want to hear ‘No, I don’t want to and I give up’. Do you understand?”
I held my breath then I exhaled it out slowly. As long as the people don’t touch me, I could do this.
“Are you ready Brandon?” Oliver asked.
“I said, are you ready?” Oliver screamed.
“Yes, Sir!” I shouted as aloud as I could.
“On my mark…
I looked up to the man blocking the way. He wore the same white mask, tall figure and the same melodious baritone voice. I didn’t know if I was dreaming of if I was already drunk. It was definitely Brandon. He was outside. How is this possible?
“B-B-Brandon? N-no… it’s impossible,” I muttered, swallowing hard.
A deep groan vibrated in his chest. He pulled hand, grasping my wrist. His thumb pressing against my pulse. I could literally feel the heat of his palm on my skin. “Do you not know when to stop or when to come home?” he asked, he sounded pissed.
“B-Brandon, I must be dreaming. You seemed so real,” I whispered, my voice was almost a breath.
“Because I am. Come, I’ll take you home.”
I gawked at him. It was him. He was really here. I tried to pull my hand, but his grip tightened, “Aw! I still don’t want to go home. And why are you touching me? I thought you hated it so, so much!” I squealed, but instead of getting mad, I left out a laugh. I didn’t know what’s going on with me anymore.
He frowned, “Did you drink?”
“A little,” I hiccupped.
“It didn’t sound a little to me.”
“I still want to dance, though,”
“Enough! We’re going home.” Brandon pulled me to him, dragging me towards the exit.
“I don’t want to!” I screamed. “How dare you come all the way here just tell me what to do? You didn’t even say hi.”
“Hi,” he said.
I sighed, “You can’t just disappear like that and appear when you want to.”
Brandon stopped, he looked at me, “Let’s talk at home, not here. Please?”
“Why not? This is not even real. I’m only dreaming!”
“Alayna, you are not dreaming and I can appear anywhere if I want to. So please, come out with me while I’m still being nice.”
“Whoa! Scary. What are you going to do if I don’t? I’m going to call the security if you ever try to force me!”
“Alayna, do you know how the things work around here? The security might get fired first when they even try to touch me. Everything you see here is mine. Do you understand?”
God, I can’t believe this. “You own the club?”
“Ugh!” I groaned. “I hate you! I don’t want to see anymore. Just let me be!”
“I don’t want to do this, but you’re leaving me no choice.” Brandon wrapped his strong arms around my waist, then he lifted me off my feet like I was only thin paper. He put me on his shoulder. I was turned upside down. My eyes grew wide in pure shock.
“Hey! Put me down, Brandon! Put me down! Please, please! I’m coming with you, okay? Please just put me down.” I cried.
Brandon didn’t listen, he carried me on his shoulder until we came out of the club. He put me down the ground when we reached the parking lot. I hurriedly ran to a side corner then blew everything away. I suddenly felt so sick. My head was killing me.
Brandon placed a jacket on shoulders, then he began rubbing circles on my back. “You can’t handle yourself,” he said matter-of-factly. “Are you okay?”
I stood properly as soon as I felt relieved. “What the hell are you doing here anyway? Why are you outside? Are you playing with me?” I rumbled him with questions.
“If you want to talk about it, let’s do it at home. Okay?”
I sighed, “What about Cassius? He’s still inside.”
“What about him?” Brandon’s voice turned cold.
“Don’t worry, Alayna. I’ll just go inside and tell him.” Oliver said. I didn’t notice that he was there. He was standing next to the car.
“I could just say goodbye or something… It’s rude to just leave him there,”
“Enough, already!” Brandon shouted angrily. “Get in the car, Alayna.”
“You don’t get to tell me what to do!” I shouted back.
“What the fuck! Just get in the car!” He growled.
Oliver approached me, “Alayna, please. I’ll talk to my brother. Get in the car and go home with Brandon.” Oliver said gently.
I exhaled a sharp breath. I marched to the car to get into the driver seat.
“What are you doing?” Brandon asked, “Move to the other seat.” he ordered.
I sighed, “Alright! Okay? Stop treating me like a child.”
“Stop acting like one!” Brandon snarled.
“W-Wait, how can you drive?” I asked, scowling. He’s been locking himself in his room for forever. There was no way Brandon knew how to drive. I suddenly felt terrified for the both of us.
“I wasn’t born three hundred years ago, of course I can drive,” he said, and then he buckled his seatbelt. He gunned down the engine, and he pulled out of the place like an expert.