Chapter 14 Prince in shining armour
Tyler was fast to react whereas I was still trying to reciprocate whatever was happening. We took cover behind his car. "what's happening? ", I asked panting. He didn't pay any attention to me though, he was bussy shooting at them, with a gun which looked very heavy. It would be wrong to call it a simple gun, though I didn't know anything about guns it seemed too expensive. It would be impossible for common people to possess something like that. I wonder how dangerous he was!
"Don't worry. My Car's bullet proof", he said as if sensing my fear.
"Who are this people, Tyler ?", I asked still confused and frightened as hell. "Who are they Tyler? Why are they trying to kill us? ", I asked again, if I was about to die, I intend to know who's taking my life and why.
"One of those many people who want to kill me ", he replied, still focused focused on dodging the bullets. He shot one of the men in the head. Other was shot in the leg , he fell down groaning. I was peeking from the side of the car, watching all this. But I was forced to avert my gaze when someone fell down screaming in pain. Two more people went down.
"Oh my god, am I going to die here! " I was terrified at the thought of dying so young. "I can't die here. There are still so many wishes I've to fulfill before I die!"
"Ari relax. You are not going to die.", Tyler said looking in my eyes, there was so much assurity in his eyes that I felt confident that I would be fine. However, death was the most impossible thing to predict. Nobody knows where life leads you next.
"Ari look at me. Do you trust me? ",he asked, although his eyes were still focused on the men, very determined to finish us.
"I trust you but I don't trust them! ", I almost yelled, but it seemed inaudible even to my own ears, in the midst of all that noise. God knows how he caught it, or maybe he didn't after all.
"Okay, so what are your wishes?", he asked in an attempt to distract me, which seemed to have worked since the next moment I started rambling about my bucket list.
"I want to play with the snow. To build an orphanage for children. I......I want to......I", gosh I was so panicked that I even forgot my wishes. Tyler seemed to have caught the the reason for my stuttering -which I never used to do earlier -but has become a common thing in my life since the day I met him.
"Ari, I won't let anything happen to you. You have become my life and if needed I'll protect you with my life ", he said, giving me a sideward glance.
Protect me with his life, that wouldn't be the last thing I could wish for even if there was an apocalypse. I don't want a life which I would have to live without him.
"Why are they trying to kill you? ", I asked, too panicked to even move an inch. There should be a reason why he would want to kill him, or more accurately us, since we were in this together. But he didn't reply. He was busy aiming at them. And to be honest, I don't think he even heard me, in the midst of all that firring.
I just closed my eyes and placed my hands over my ears and wished for all of this to be over as soon as possible. After a brief firing session, the screams and the sound of the guns stopped. I opened my eyes to find Tyler reloading his gun.
"Wait here. I'll just go and check ", he said before going ahead. I was finally starting to relax a bit, thinking that all this was finally over, when my eyes fell on a figure in the rear view mirror. He had a knife in his hand, and it was definitely aimed at Tyler, but Tyler seemed completely oblivious to it.
I don't know what got over me but I stumbled to my feet and ran towards Tyler. "Please stop. We surrender. Tyler move! ",but as soon as those words left my mouth, the man threw the knife at him.
Tyler turned around but it was too late. There wasn't any time to waste. I stood before him, trying to block the knife from hurting him.
However, the searing pain that was brought on by the knife as it hit my upper arm, was unbearable. A piercing scream escaped my mouth, as Tyler caught me before I fall back in pain. He shot the man directly in the head before he could flee away.
I couldn't say if I was contented that he shot that man or upset that he killed so many people, and that too at the blink of an eye. When they were firing at each other, it felt like a lifetime before everything ended. Now when I think of it, it didn't even take him ten minutes to finish all of them. Well, maybe not all of them - excluding the man who was the reason why I was in this excruciating pain right now.
"We have to get it out ",he tried to pull out the knife, making me scream in pain, so much that maybe the penguins in Antarctica or even the outer space aliens were able to hear me.
I wasn't very comfortable around blood and it was my own, I think the panic was justified.
"Ari, look at me. You will be okay. I won't let anything happen to you ",Tyler said, cupping my face. I just nodded. I was trying my best to stop the tears which were threatening to spill from my eyes.
Watching him all safe and sound before my eyes, helped a lot to reduce my pain. I was happy that it was me instead of him who got hurt.
Without much of an effort he pulled the knife out. I hid my face in his chest to stop another piercing scream from escaping my mouth. However, it was loud enough for him to hear. He wrapped his arms around me, rubbing them on my back.
It horrified me more to look at my upper arm, it was bleeding like anything. I didn't think the wound was so deep. It must leave a scar.
"Your hand's bleeding too much, we've to take you to the hospital ",he said, gently scooping me up and placing me inside his car. He fixed the seat belt around me, very carefully, not to hurt my injured hand.
"Wait",he took out an old handwoven pink scarf from his bag pack. "Here just a sec",he very carefully wrapped it around my injured arm and like magic the colour of the scarf changed to a dark shade of scarlet.
He drove the car very fast, and I swear, this was the first time I felt terrified sitting in a car with him. He didn't even care to stop at the red signals. I was starting to fear if we end up in the hospital for not just a deep knife cut but for broken arms and legs as well. Or even worse, if we end up in the police station for breaking the traffic rules.
To divert my mind of the possibilities of such dreadful things to happen, I tried focusing on the pattern on the scarf which seemed seemed oddly familiar.
I still remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was the day I met Tyler. It was also my first day of kindergarten. I was wearing my favourite pink scarf around my neck. It was a gift from my grandma. She passed away seven months ago and I clung to that scarf like it was a part of her and losing it would mean losing her forever. I also considered it to be lucky for me and thus wearing it on my first day of kindergarten was pretty natural.
I was building a sand castle with a girl I had recently made friends with. I met her just a few minutes ago, her name was I think Jessica. I have never had the opportunity to run into her again after kindergarten. And I'll have to admit, we grew pretty close over the time we spent together. I wonder where she's now.
I was much engrossed in the little fairytale world of my own when someone yanked the scarf from my neck, making me screech - more due to surprise than pain.
A blond haired girl stood with my scarf, wrapped around her neck, a menacing smile playing at her lips. "I think it'll look better on me than you", she said with that irritating smile still on her smug face. And I swear I wanted to rip that smile off her face right then.
But I stopped my fists before they could have landed on her face. And returned as harshly as I could, "Why, a dead slug would look better in it than you! Now give it back "
She seemed taken aback by my reply but soon regained her composure.
"Or what? You'll make me?",she hissed through gritted teeth.
"Yes, wanna see?", if she thought I was the kind of girl who played with dolls and pink hair ribbons - judging by the castle I was so focused on building - she was vastly under a giant misconception.
"Bring it on ",she challenged, and it was like she triggered a bomb! I pushed her hard, making her fall back in real pain. I did put a little more than required force into that push, but I didn't think it would cause such an impact.
To my horror, she fell down on my sand castle! Jessica started crying, but my anger was fueled by her stupid - although unintentional - lack of balance.
" Never underestimate three things in life; I, me and myself", I said proudly before yanking the scarf of her slender neck. Now everyone surrounding us started laughing at her. Even Jessica - who at some point stopped crying - was laughing at her. How much did she manage to make everyone hate her on her first day!
She sat up straight, dusted the sand from her dress and hands and wailed, " Travisssss! "
Before I could reciprocate what was happening, a strong hand pushed me to the side. I would have fallen face up on the ground, if someone hadn't caught me. And to my utter delight, this wasn't just a regukar someone. He was like my prince in shining armour!
I looked up, to find a warm pair of dark blue orbs looking back at me. Was I dreaming or did Prince Charming actually exist.
He helped me get back to my feet. I managed a meek " thank you " through quivering lips.
"Are you okay?" He asked, concern evident in his voice. His dark curtain of hair slightly brushed his forehead. His eyes seemed a shade lighter due to the sunlight. Maybe I actually fell down and hit my head hard, and was imagining everything. It was a huge possibility that he was just a figment of my imagination.
"Y-Yes, I-I'm fine. Th-Tha.....Thank you ",I wasn't even able to put a sentence together.
"Are you sure?",he asked again. I know I was a nervous wreck, but how unconvincing did I sound, that he had to confirm twice!
"Y-Yes ", I confirmed.
"How dare you push her!? ", my personal prince said through gritted teeth, his hands balled up in fists by his side.
"Because she hurt my sister! ", whom I assumed to be Travis replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Now, when I notice carefully, his features are similar to the blond haired girl. However, his hair seemed a shade lighter than her.
"But that's because she took her scarf without her permission! " I wonder how long I had been holding his attention and more importantly, how many people have witnessed my little outburst.
" you pushed my sister because of that stupid scarf!", Travis growled, extending his hand to snatch it away from my grasp but again, Tyler interrupted by yanking his hand away.
"Don't you dare touch her!", Tyler said through gritted teeth.
"Stop me",Travis growled and launched himself at Tyler but not before Tyler's fist landed on his face. Both of them fell on the ground and the fight broke out between them.
That's when the teacher - whose name I can't remember - put an end to the ongoing world war three. She held them apart and asked for justification and and as expected, Travis was the first to open his mouth.
"She pushed down my sister", he said pointing at me and then continued pointing at Tyler," and when I tried to stop her, he began the fight "
Only then did I notice his swollen cheek. Maybe his hysterical voice wasn't all just a pretense. Perhaps he was actually hurt.
Then the teacher took a look at his sister, whose silent sobs had turned to weeping. "Oh Tessa!"
"Is it true? ", she asked in an angry tone, her eyes darting between me and Tyler.
"No, she snatched away my scarf, and when I asked her to return it back, she called her brother and he pushed me down. That's when he came to help me ",I said pointing to Tyler. I had purposely skipped the punching part because I wasn't sure how to put it to make it sound like it wasn't our fault.
"Then they launched themselves at him", I said pointing to Travis and Tessa. " He did try to push them off him and that's how everyone got hurt.", I bit my lip and waited for her reaction.
Of course all of it wasn't a complete lie. Who am I kidding! Other than the scarf, nothing was true. Well so was their side of the story, a complete lie. If they can play dirty, so can we!
Her scrutinising eyes never left our faces, she seemed confused because both of the stories vastly differed from one another.
"Ell is telling the truth mam. I saw it. " I never thought shy, scared Jessica would side with my lie but she did anyway. I gave her a small smile, telling her how much grateful I was. She nodded in understanding.
Thank god nobody else said anything. After all, everyboby was a witness to what happened here.
"Both of you come with me right now", our teacher stomped inside, followed by an angry Travis and scared Tessa. Well they deserved it!
Everyone started to clear out, since there was nothing much left to entertain them. And i was more than glad, I never liked the spotlight. I just hoped everyone wouldn't back away just at the mere sight of me.
That's when i noticed Tyler flexing his fingers, he must have hit Travis really hard.
"how bad is it? let me see", I said taking his hands in mine and carefully examining the damage.
"You should put some medicine on it,or it might get worse." My mother was a doctor and even though I've never actually seen her working on her patients, I could actually tell how bad an injury was.
"Maybe we should inform some other teacher", I didn't even know if the other teacher in question actually existed. However, I was sure his hand would be bruised.
"But wouldn't it give us away?", yes, he was right, it would definitely give us away. Even if there was some other person we could ask for help, it wasn't likely that the teacher who just left wouldn't get to know of it.
"Okay then, wait here", I said before running to the nearest washbasin, wetting the scarf in the tap water - the water wasn't too cold but preferable - and running back to him. I wrapped the scarf around his hand. It must have been soothing for I felt him relax.
"Are you sure? you we're just fighting over it, like five minutes ago. ", yes, indeed. Didn't I just break someone's nose over it, and now I was willing to simply give it away! When did he become more precious to me than my beloved scarf!
"well, just take it as my way telling thank you ", I said, shrugging. I tried maintaining a straight face and kept my eyes fixed on my shoes. Suddenly they were most interesting thing in the whole world.
"can I ask something else from you?", he said making me look up at him again.
"Yeah sure", I tried to say as enthusiastically as I could. Though I couldn't help wondering what could he possibly want for his help.
"Can we be friends? ",he said with a heartwarming smile. If my heart was beating faster before it must have reached the moon and back by then.
"Of course!", I said with more exitement than I actually intented.
"I'm Tyler", he said extending his good hand.
"I'm Ariel", I said, shaking his hand. I more than happy to add a new friend in my life.
I felt more alive than ever. The scarf was actually lucky for me. Even if this was a dream, I wouldn't want to wake up, reality couldn't be better than this!
Even though I should be grateful to her for pushing me, because if she didn't I wouldn't have been able to meet my dream prince.
Travis wasn't as stupid as his sister perhaps because he left me alone for the rest of my life in San Francisco. However, his sister, and I were mortal enemies since that day.
Our clashes stretch as far as I remember. But being the idiot that she was, she was the one who always landed up in trouble. I was able to act innocent and get out of the mess most of the time. My marks were a great advantage too.
Since this day, I think instead of asking something from me he actually gave me something priceless
He the stopped the car at the hospital's parking space. He got out of the car, opened the passenger side door for me to get out. Since it was difficult for me to manage my seat belt by myself, he bent down and opened my seat belt. He was about to lift me up but I protested," I've got hurt in in my hand Tyler, my legs are completely capable of walking"
He helped me get out of of the car. He placed his hand around my waist, supporting my wait. Although I told him I could walk, he was reluctant to let me do it alone. So I held onto him. It felt good to know that he would never leave me alone, no matter what the circumstances.
But as we entered the hospital, the familiar sanitary smell hit my nose. I was very used to it from the days I've spent in the hospital after the accident.
However my attention was diverted to a crowd gathered at the center. Even the doctors and nurses were watching the scene before them, completely forgetting about their patients.
A/N: Hey my dear readers,