Chapter 22 promise
Rachel left us to arrange for something to eat. I was left alone with Nicole, I didn't know what to say that could make her feel better. So I just stating still, still holding on to her hands and letting her pour her pains out in the form of tears.
My mom always used to say," if you're sad, let your tears flow. They'll wash away all your pain" How I missed her right now. How I missed my old life right now. How I wanted to rush into her arms that always shielded me from the cruelty of the world beyond.
"How did you know where they kept me?", I asked Nicole.
"It was easy, you were everywhere on the news channels and newspapers. And it wasn't hard to guess who kidnapped you and where they kept you, after years of acquaintance with the devils. "
And we went back to the silence mode. I was still reconsidering all the facts that led me here.
"He doesn't love you ", she suddenly said, making me look at her. I couldn't quite make out her expression, since the lights were off.
"They don't know how to love Ell, they just know how to toy with your feelings and then toss you away like you were a piece of dirt!"
"Tyler is not like that.", Rachel said placing two plates with sandwiches in our hands," sorry this is all I could find "
"Tyler is exactly like that! Look at her face! I mean I'm sure he would've killed her even if David Evans was released. She knew too much, it would've been foolish to let her go - that's what his exact words would've been before shooting her", Nicole said placing her face in her hands, bringing them up to rest on her knees.
We rested in a comfortable silence. First Nicole's breaths came out heavy but they they were even. I wonder if she was asleep. I couldn't blame her though, it has been a hectic day. I was willing to give in to exhaustion too when I heard her speak.
"Tyler....", Rachel started and then sighed, looking away. Her voice mainly a whisper. I waited for her to continue, although I wasn't sure if I was strong enough to hear whatever she was about to say. His name alone left a raging fire in my chest.
"He doesn't know what he's doing." Her eyes were fixed at the large wall clock on the left wall, as if waiting for something to happen.
"No, trust me on this, he's very much aware of what he's doing. He is a heartless killer who doesn't spare anyone who comes in his way", I spat but regretted it immediately when I saw the hurtful expression on her face.
"Tell me honestly, has there never been times when you felt that he cared for you genuinely and would go to any lengths just to see the smile on your face?"
I just nodded. There had been times when I felt like I mattered to him. How he would take the risk of climbing up my window every night, just because he knew I needed him. How even after I left multiple scratches and dents on his car, he would simply smile and say that it was okay and that my smile was more precious to him than his stupid car.
Tears we're pricking at the corner of my eyes. How wrong have I been. Everything was a lie, just a pretence to maintain his facade. I bit my lip in order to suppress the sobs that were threatening to leave my mouth. But immediately released my lower lip and touched the part with my thumb where my teeth have left a mark. He always used to do this. I had a habit of biting my lower lip whenever I was nervous, confused or distressed and I think he had also an habit of freeing my lips from the clutches of my teeth.
A small smile spread on my face at the thought of his thumb caressing my lips longingly. I closed my eyes and saw those haunting blue eyes staring at me, as if looking into my soul. The way he kissed my lips, held my hands, smiled at my silliness and laughed at my stupid jokes. How he would all over protective and jealous when other males would look at me.
I shared my head to clear these thoughts. It was fake, everything was fake. I've repeated those words a million times in my mind already, as if memorising it. And yet my heart ached to accept it.
"why would he do those things if he didn't care about you?", She softly asked.
"Isn't it obvious, having a relationship with me meant an all time entry to my house. So he could spy over everything. John's official records as well as personal weaknesses too. And it didn't take him long to figure out I was one of them So all he had to do was root feelings for him so deep in my heart, that I would do anything for him, even cross my uncle. And I did just that. I willingly let him use me against John. So every time he came in through my window at night was to spy on John. Every gift he gave me was to manipulate me into believing that he cared for me. Every time he kissed me was just to maintain his facade!", My voice came out harsher than I had intended for it to but, it almost reached two octaves higher as the reality of the words that had just left my mouth began to sink in.
It even surprised me how true they sounded. How stupid have I been to think that he would someday reciprocate my feelings. He could have joined some acting school, he would have been pretty good at it. I can't believe how naive I was.
I wrenched the chain from around my neck and threw it as far as I could. Memories of the day he had given it to me returned as the metal made sound on coming in contact with the floor.
Rachel heaved a sigh, getting up to retrieve the necklace. "Let it be. I don't ever want to see it again", I said making her halt in her steps.
"Why? Because it reminds you of him?", She said bending forward and gently scooping it up, inspecting it any damages. I rolled my eyes at that but kept quiet. What was I supposed to say to that? It did remind me of him. Heck, he gave that to me as a sovienier of our love. He said he wanted me to always remember him, and that it would always remind me of him. I cringed at the thought of it. Remembering him was the last thing on my mind.
Resuming her seat beside me, she placed a hand on my shoulder. "He's the same boy you met eleven years ago, only hidden behind a shell. Break that shell and bring him out, the real Tyler - your Tyler", she said. I wondered why she was so adamant on taking his side. Maybe he didn't show her true colours to her yet, but how did she not know what a horrible monster he was?
"He's not mine. He was never mine. And it was just an estimation, how are you so sure he's my Tyler?", I asked, putting emphasis on the word my.
"Six years ago he first came to my shop, to buy flowers for his late mother. Soon he would come here every Sunday to buy flowers. And we developed a bond over the years. He told me secrets that he had always kept hidden from others, even from you. Do you know what changed him?"
I shook my head. I wasn't sure anymore if anything I knew about him was true.
"Do you remember you told me he should have been dead?", She asked. I nodded. "Well he wasn't dead after all, instead he woke up in the hospital three days later with no memories of his past. All he was informed was that he had a mother who was dead and Mr. Evans brought him to the hospital when he was out, bleeding to death on the streets", she paused for a moment, as if to collect her thoughts. My heart jolted at a wierd way. I felt the sudden urge of reaching out to him, of comforting him. So much for hating him. But that still didn't justify what he did. And I would never forgive him for that.
"Mr. Evans took him in and raised him as his own son. That's why he's so important to Tyler. He means the world to him and the only family he thinks he has left." I understood that feeling, of losing the only family you've left. I've experienced it, more than once.
"You can empathize with him because both of you are connected in a way, that's beyond explanation. You feel for him, you smile when he's happy, cry when he's sad - is that not love?", She asked and I wanted to yell at her that it was not.
"I can never forgive him. I'll always hate him for what he did to me" He gave me a wound that would never heal. He hurt me in a way that I could never love again. He broke me in a way that I could never be fixed.
"You don't hate him, never have, never will. You want to hate him, but you don't, you can't. Once you fall in love, you can't stop loving. And we can't hate the people we love"
"That's bullshit!", I cut her off abruptly.
"No, it's not. Darkness can't eliminate darkness, only light can. Hate can't eliminate hate, only love can. Unless we share someone's pain, pain is not separated from us, and we're not separated from pain." I stared at her in shock. My Grannie once told me that when I was very small. She then laughed and said that I was probably too small to understand it's meaning and remember it. But I did remember her words, they were embedded in my heart.
What surprised me most was that how she knew that. I don't remember telling it to anyone, except.......And that's when realization hit. As if reading my mind she explained," once when I was helping him choose this necklace for you",she said fiddling with it in her hands. "I had asked him why he was talking that much trouble for impressing someone he should have hated" She looked me in the eyes"That's when he told me that. And now I guess I have found the source of it", she added with a chuckle,"I was surprised something like that could come from him." A small smile broke on my face too, thinking that he took his time to think about me, no matter what the reason."He always remembered the little details", I said.
"He's still the same boy you fell in love with. He's still the same boy who used to hide under the bed because of a cockroach, he just needs a hand to drag him from the darkness, bring him to the light. Be that hand, Ell. Show him the light. He needs you. He may not know it yet, but you're all he has left."
"I gave him my heart, Rachel", a pained smile stretched on my lips. "I gave him my heart and he.......he broke it. And then returned me the broken pieces of my heart." I heaved a tired sigh. "And now I've nothing left to love him with"
The sudden screech of tires coming to a halt made me jump on my seat. A moment of silence ensued, before burst open. Nicole immediately sprang to her feet, her eyes holding a bewildered expression as they searched around frantically for the source sudden noise. "What....."
"Bang!", Nicole fell down on the floor even before she could complete her sentence.
I looked up at shock in the eyes of the culprit, only to be locked in his midnight blue gase. The waves pulling me down. I forced myself to break away from the trance.
"That bitch deserved it!", He said taking a few steps towards me. I never noticed his gun - which was now pointed at me - until his cell phone rang and I looked up. I looked down again, I couldn't bear looking at him anymore. It hurt like hell to imagibe that I fell in love with him.
I knelt down beside Nicole's limp body. Tears oozed from the corner of my eyes. "I'm so sorry ", I whispered holding tightly to her hands, which were clutched over the wound on her stomach, from where blood was oozing unnaturally fast.
Her lips moved but I couldn't hear anything, so I moved my ear near her mouth. "Promise me...promise me you won't let him win. You won't die like.......like this, somewhere in the cold."
"Nicole, you won't die here. I won't let you." Tears rolled down my cheeks knowing that it was too late. I can't save her. The wound was too deep. Even if I did manage to take her to the hospital, I couldn't save her.
As if reading my mind she said, "We both know that there's no tommorow for me." She let out a small, shaky breath. "You'll make them pay? Promise me!"
"I will. I won't die before watching them suffer", I said meaning each word. A small smile spread on her lips.
Her grip on my hand tightened, and I could feel her life slipping away.
Tears stung my eyes as I couldn't help evasdropping on the conversation.
"Wouldn't it be easier to finish her right off. She is not required anymore"
I couldn't hear what the person on the other side said, to which Tyler replied," I don't think she told anyone else." The person on the other side said sonething else. "I'll take care of that too",Tyler said before ending the call.
He grabbed my arms and pulled me up. My grip on her hand was still tight and when her hand finally slipped from mine, I felt like yet another part of my soul was lost and all I was left with was her blood on my hands.
He still half dragged, half carried me to the door. I didn't try to fight him. I didn't find the strength to. It suddenly felt like my whole world had collapsed. Like there was no hope.
And this is how my story ends I smiled feebly at my condition. My eyes dated towards the antique wall clock on the right side wall of the shop. How fast the hands were moving, towards the end - the end of everything.
Then my eyes darted to the person lying on the floor, still as if enjoying a deep slumber - a slumber never to wake up from. I promised her, I would make them pay. She gave her life for me, and if needed I would give mine to keep the promise I made to her. As if out of a trance, I suddenly broke from his grasp and tried to rush out the door.
Tyler grabbed my hand midway. "Let me go!" I tried to yank my hand free. His touch now burnt my skin. It now felt like a poison to me.
Something pricked me below the neck. Everything started to get blurred. I started to see darkness. Before I could stable myself, my legs gave way and I pushed my hands out, in an attempt to protect my face from the impact.
But miraculously, I never hit the ground. Two warm hands around my waist before I could hit the floor. I was amazed at how his touch still sent tingles down my skin. Those icy pair of blue eyes were the last thing I saw, before unconsciousness completely enveloped me. But I could catch some words.
"Why do you always have to be so difficult! ", he said tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, which I didn't know had slipped away from the bun. No matter what, I would always respond to his touch, always crave it - whether I was conscious or not. He used to do that a lot, because he said my unruly locks denied him the full view of my face.
"The drug I used wasn't very strong. She won't be unconscious for very long." I heard a familiar voice say. It belonged to Rachel. That traitor! She drugged me! Thank God I was unconscious right now - well partly unconscious, because I could still faintly hear and feel - or I would have lashed out at her. Maybe the effect of the drug hasn't kicked in yet.
"She can sometimes be a pain in the ass", he said swinging me over his shoulder. I heard him chuckle. And oh, the sound of it! It sounded like the chiming of bells.
I felt him moving. The chiming of the bells above the door indicated that he opened it with his other hand which wasn't supporting me. I heard the door of his click open. It was exactly eight months since we first met here in New York and I've grown so accustomed with the warmth of his black Lamborghini that I didn't need to open my eyes to confirm that he put me in the passenger seat, fixing the seat belt around me.
It reminded me of the numerous times I fell asleep talking to him in the park, some random cafe, Rachel's shop. He would always carry me to his car and buckle up the seat belt around me. The moment he closed the door, I started missing his warmth.
Like always, the car was filled with the strong scent of his cologne, as if coaxing me to a deep slumber. It was strange even after everything I was still trying to find peace in his scent, comfort in his touch.
It was as if he was coaxing me to sleep, telling me that everything will be okay, that he was right here. And like always I was believing him, that all this was just a bad dream and everything would be fine again, when the sun rises.
I was unaware when I let go of reality and gave in to exhaustion.
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