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Chapter 21 escape

I bit my lip so hard that I tasted blood in my mouth. Why couldn't I wake up from this nightmare? Why wouldn't this dream end?

How I longed to have those protective arms around me. How I wished to hear his soothing voice in my ears, telling me that everything would be fine, that I would be okay.

I could sense it was morning now, from the slanting Ray's of sunlight that entered the room through the small parting of the only window in the room. The window was closed and I didn't bother pleading for help anymore.

My eyes finally to my surroundings, it was a vaguely lit room, with just one light bulb, dangling above a coffee table on the far end side of the room. The air still reaked of smoke and gunpowder. A few more wooden chairs were situated on the other side of the room.

Maybe I was dead after all and this was hell. Perhaps this is how the prisoners of hell are tortured - by thier loved ones.

I don't know why it was so hard for me to grasp onto reality, I don't know. It even surprises me how desperately I want all of this to be a dream. I want to wake up in his arms.

Love is strange, isn't it? You want to cry holding that one person who makes you cry. But what if the person who was once your happiness becomes the reason for your destruction?

How could he do this to me! I can't believe it was all a lie! Everything was a lie! I never meant anything to him. He was just using me. All this time, he was fucking using me!

I couldn't feel the pain anymore, neither from my swollen cheeks and bloodcoverd face, nor even the searing pain of betrayal, that was stabbing my heart a moment ago. All I could feel now was rage and hatred, coursing through my veins, through every single fiber of my being.

The single flicker of hope, the last chance at happiness, all was a lie. Everything was over. My little family-whatever was left of it-everything was gone. My whole world went up in flames the moment I agreed to go on that first date with him.

I misunderstood Elliot, when all this time he was actually trying to protect me. I understand that now that I've lost him. I broke his trust as well.

A sudden feeling of disgust overwhelmed my senses. How could I be such a fool! How could I believe every lie that he uttered! How could I fall in love with my destroyer!

Why did I trust him so blindly? Why did I make him my whole world? Why did I make him my life? Why did I give him a place in every beat of my heart?

Tears mixed with blood rolled my cheeks. Why wasn't I dead? I should have been dead. It would have been so much easier for everyone then.

Poor John, he wouldn't have to worry about me right now. Aunt Sophie wouldn't have to cry her eyes out right now. I knew if they still allow me a place in thier house, they would never give me a place in their hearts again. I betrayed them, they would never forgive me.

I was a plague! I always brought misfortune to the lives of people around me. Unknowingly, I always ended up hurting everyone I loved.

"Why do you always do this to me!", I screamed looking up. I wasn't sure where I was, or if my voice was even reaching him. So I screamed louder, "How can you always snatch away the only people I love in this world? ", my sobs came out louder.

I heard some footsteps by the door. Someone was here. I didn't bother to call for help anymore. Whoever was lurking by the door was probably here to see if confinement has actually made the commissioner's niece go mad.

They were so wrong. Confinement hasn't made me go mad, my love has. His betrayal has. Guilt has. My helplessness has.

After a moment, I heard the door creak open but no one entered. "Come in. Are you actually waiting for my permission? ", I laughed humourlessly, addressing the person whoever there was by the door, without even bothering to look that way.

"No, I wasn't waiting for your permission. I was just checking if anyone is around " This time the voice belonged to a female and for some unknown reason it seemed oddly familiar.

I looked up as she came closer. I squinted my eyes to make out her face. "Nicole!" She was the last person I hoped to see here.

"I'll get you out of here but the rest is upto you", she said bendind down to untie my hands and legs.

I flexed my hands to get the blood flowing though them again. I slowly stood up holding her hand for suppot, my legs felt numb.

"Why would you help me? ", I asked but she didn't answer.

"No one is in the building right now except a few guards. We'll have to get out from the back window", she said examining the empty corridor.

"You do understand that they can kill you if they find out you helped me escape?", I whispered as we took a right turn down the corridor. Any misconception I had that Tyler would show me some kindness, was wiped clean. I was sure Nicole wouldn't be any exception, even though she was gorgeous like hell - and I was jealous of that fact, but wasn't going to admit it out loud.

This place was bigger than I thought. She turned around abruptly as we neared the stairway that led down, and laughed, only her laugh contained no humor, only pain. "unlike you people, I've nothing left to live for. They've already taken everything away from me"

Taken everything away from her? What deep rooted history did she have with them?

We slowly descended down the stairs, afraid to make any noise. As she had said there was a window right by the staircase. Thankfully, we both were thin enough to pass out from it.

We got out in another lane unknown to me. But Nicole led the way and soon we were back to the back door of the bar. There weren't many customers in the bar now, it was probably time to close the bar.

I spread out my arms once we were out on the main street again, inhaling lung full of air.

"What now? Where do I....We go?", I corrected. Now Now that she had saved me I felt that I had put her life in danger and now it was my responsibility to ensure her protection.

"Maybe we could go to my house or perhaps the police station? ", I suggested. I couldn't think of any other place safer than those.

"Yes, your house might have been the safest place in the world for you now, if you were in it"

When I didn't seem to reciprocate, she rolled her eyes said, "do you think they'll let you reach your house? "

That's when realisation hit. No, surely they wouldn't. That moment they discover that I have escaped, my house and the police station would be the first places they would anticipate I must be going to.

"So what now?", I asked.

"Do you know any other place no one would think this you are likely to go to? ", she asked.

I considered this for a while. A place nobody would think I was likely to go to. There was one place. Only if it was still open. Nevertheless, it was the only option I had. I have to take this chance.

"I know a place but it's far from here", I told her.

"Okay, come on then", she said crossing to the other side of the street. I followed her. Would I never understand what goes on in her mind!

She took off her heels - I can't believe she's wearing heels even now - and broke the glass of the window of a car parked there. She unlocked the door and got in.

"What are you going to just stand there? Get in!", she said opening the passenger side door for me to get in.

As soon as I got in and closed the door, she took out a pin from her hair and turned it on the lock and the car actually purred to life! Who was this girl? And how much have I underestimated her throughout the past months! It wouldn't be wrong to admit I was actually intrigued by her quick wit and composed mind, even at such a time.

She knew the way to our school and directed the path from there. I was glad to see the lights still on when Nicole stopped the car in front of Rachel's shop.

"Here?", she asked and I nodded. "You go ahead, I'll just get rid of this car", she said.

"Why?", I failed to understand why a perfectly well functioning car had to be disposed. After taking so much difficulty in stealing the car, why would anyone want to dispose it. And we may need to use it again, if they found out we were hiding here and we needed to make a quick escape.

"Someone might have seen us stealing it and noted the number. Spy's are all around, you never know", she said before driving off.

Really, who was this girl and how was she so well acquainted with these things? She definitely had a histoy I was unaware of. She seemed so well experienced with these things, while I stood aside and acted stupid.

I grunted, pushing open the door, hearing the chiming of the bells overhead. My joints still hurt from being stiff for so long. I could make out Rachel's head look up from the counter, "sorry, shop closed.......Ell?" She seemed surprised and it was expected.

She definitely didn't expect to see me here right now and the questions pouring out of her mouth were out of general curiosity but they rained down on me so rapidly that I couldn't concentrate on any one in particular.

"Calm down Rachel. I'll explain everything."

I almost jumped two feet up in the air, hearing the chiming of the bell again. Both of us turned our heads simultaneously to the new visitor.

"You may want to close the door and switch off the lights ", Nicole said, walking towards me.

I heaved a sigh of relief. "Nicole you scared me!", I said as she came to stand beside me.

"Did I? Sorry ", she said smiling. I couldn't help smiling too. If I knew that day, almost a year ago, by the locker that we would be laughing like this.

"Will anyone tell me what's happening? ", Rachel demanded.

"I think she'll be able to describe everything better than me", Nicole said indicating to me. "Meanwhile, can I please switch off the lights " Rachel nodded.

"Uh...I don't know where to start."

"Start from the first. I want to hear everything! how you guys met and how did you fall in love with him. Mostly how he got you out even with so much security", Nicole demanded once she had put up the 'closed' sign outside the door and switched off the lights.

With the help of a flashlight, Rachel got us three chairs from the back room. I sat on one chair and Rachel occupied the one beside me.

"Where's the washroom?", I asked Rachel. I really felt the need to freshen up. She told me to go to the back room and I would find an attached washroom there.

I followed her instructions, and sure enough, I found the attached bathroom without much difficulty. Since there was no window, I flicked on the light switch.

There was a mirror above the sink and I couldn't contain myself anymore. So I took a few steps closer to the sink, until I could see my reflection. I was shocked to see the girl looking back at me. She was bloody, bruised and broken.

I turned on tap and cold water started running out. I splashed it on my face, trying to erase any sign of blood at all.

My hair was a mess. I tried to untangle it with my fingers and then tied it up in a messy bun when it felt manageable. I was certainly not in the mood for dealing with my long locks.

I couldn't look at myself anymore - it hurts. I flicked off the light and walked out of the bathroom.

I came back to find Rachel with a first aid kit. She applied some medicine over my cuts and Nicole handed me an ice pack for my cheek.

"Now start", Nicole demanded.

"Start what?", I tried to play innocent. I was definitely not in the mood for talking about that asshole - which I don't think, I'll ever be able to again.

"Your love story", Nicole said rolling her eyes. I suppressed the urge to yell. Does this look like a love story to her? From which angle was this a love story!

"We don't have anything else to do anyway. We can only wait for things to die down a bit. So why not enjoy a story", she added.

I let out a frustrated sigh. I wasn't getting out of this so easily. "Well this story dates to eleven years back" I started narrating my incomplete love story. How we met on our first day of kindergarten, and were inseparable since then. How he fought with Travis for me. Saved me so many times, been my anchor when I seemed lost in the sea of nothingness.

How I was never able to confess my love and one day it was just too late. How I almost stopped living when I thought that he had died.

And then seven years later, fate brought us together again. How I lost everything and yet got something back.

"Are you sure Tyler is your childhood friend?" Nicole interrupted me then. "You may be wrong. I mean he should have been dead, how can he suddenly come alive."

"Actually I've got no reasonable explanation to prove that he's my Tyler ", I admitted. "I just know it. Don't ask me how, but I just do" And how I wished now he wasn't. There has to be some logical explanation to this. I don't even know what to call this. Destiny? Fate? I always longed for him. Prayed numerous times to find him and when I finally have, I was running away.

"When God wants, you can't find logic in things anymore, you find magic in them" This was the first time that Rachel said something since I started telling the story. Yeah, I think God didn't hear me clearly, I didn't ask for this. I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes.

"Now continue, I want to hear the rest", Nicole urged.

Sighing, I continued with the rest of the story. Our night outs. Tyler comming in through the window every night. Shielding me from my nightmares.

Elliot's entry in my life. The night after the party. Me confessing my love to him. The lullaby. The sudden uproar in the house that night. My lock down.

My trying to commit suicide thinking that he was dead. How he got me out of the hospital - that part really captured them. I have to admit too that the plan was pretty impressive.

And at last how I was betrayed by the person I trusted the most. How Nicole saved my life by risking hers. "I might have been dead if it wasn't for her" Nicole smiled at me and for the first time the smile was warm and genuine.

"Don't worry. Everything will be fine. We'll get out of this mess together", she said giving a light squeeze to my hand

I wanted to believe her. But I was having that strange feeling at the pit of my stomach, that something worse was coming tomorrow. It was a silly premonition really - what could be worse than today?

"You must have mistaken the man as Tyler. It was dark there you said, you may have recognised someone else as him", Rachel said, making me roll my eyes. Why was she still taking his side.

I would have to be dead to not recognise his eyes and his voice, maybe not even then. "I clearly saw his face and I know what I heard. It has to be him", I said.

"I know that it was him. Of course I can't prove it but I know for sure that it was him", Nicole said with surety.

"How? You weren't there.", Rachel asked.

"Uh......its a long story "

"Well the night is long and we haven't got anywhere to go", I emphasised.

She started with a sigh," my father used to work for the Evans'. My mum had died when I was six and dad was all I had left. By the time I was sixteen Daniel took over some of the business. Sometimes he used to come home. You know Daniel right, Tyler older brother?", she said looking at me, I nodded. Daniel was the other guy in the room. I couldn't see his features clearly in the dark. I didn't know he was Tyler's brother.

"I slowly developed a crush on him. Slowly, we started to come closer and before realising I fell in love with him"

"One evening I went to his house without informing. It was his birthday and I wanted to surprise him. But I think it would be appropriate to say that he suprised me." She let out a bitter laugh before adding ,"I found him in bed with another girl!"

Wiping a tear which had rolled down her cheeks, she continued," I slammed the door abruptly and went directly to my house. I shut myself in, that night and didn't come out even in the morning", she paused to take a breath before continuing ,"Dad tried to console me but I was just too depressed to hear any reason anymore. Finally, the next morning I let him in. However, mistakenly, I blurted out between sobs how Daniel had cheated on me. I saw dad clenching his fists and walking out the door. As I said before, I wasn't seeing reason in things anymore ", she broke into sobs.

I reached out and grabbed her hands, giving them a tight squize. "Ssh, it's okay", I tried to console her. Rachel brought her a glass of water from a fridge I didn't know there was.

"I didn't run after him........I....I didn't try to stop him", she said in between sobs. Rachel wrapped her hands around her.

She composed herself enough to finish the last part of her story. "In didn't come back that afternoon, only came the the news that he was shot dead in an enemy firing that broke out without notice"

"Enemy firing my foot! Dad in his rage must've said something which hurt Daniel's huge ego and so he shot my father"

"I found out that I was pregnant that same week. And I aborted that child. It was very hard for me, the first day I actually darted out of the room like it was on fire. But I had to do it! I couldn't keep a part of him inside me. It disgusted me, a much that I killed my own child", she wept again.

This time I didn't stop her, neither did Rachel. And I was crying over cursed fate, this girl has suffered worse than mine. I still had a a family to go back to - if I could ever go back - she had nothing left.

Now thinking everything through, I felt so bad for misunderstanding her, hurting her the way I did. When she tried to save me, tried to keep me away from danger. Not only her, everyone tried to protect me. And being the fool that I'm, what I did? I rushed right to my destruction. Hurting everyone along the way, including myself.

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