The Face of Reality

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Chapter 26

Giving one alarmed look at Remy, I sped up the pace of my footsteps. Benjamin followed after me.

“Soph, where are you going? Wait!” I heard him chuckle behind me as his voice came closer.

Shit!

I strode on faster and soon I was half-running. Remy and my other friends had no clue what was going on but, nonetheless, all of them strode in par with me.

Seconds later, Benjamin caught up with me and clutched my wrist firmly. “Where are you going?”

“Let go of me,” I demanded.

“I just wanna talk to you. What’s the problem?” He laughed again, half-drunk?

“I don’t wanna talk to you, Benjamin.”

“Hey. Let go of her hand alright.” Remy butted in and told Benjamin sharply.

“You shut the fuck up,” Benjamin snapped at him.

I pulled my hand out of his grasp and with a firm scowl at him, looked away and headed toward Remy’s car again. Remy and the rest followed behind me like some sort of protection yet, he didn’t stop following me.

We knew we had to leave the place. Remy jumped into the driver’s seat and just as I reached for the door, Benjamin grasped my hand, turned me over to face him and pinned me against the car. He pressed his body full-on against mine and I tried to push him away with my free hand. He’d got my other hand pressed behind my back and I could no longer do anything with it. With his other hand that wasn’t holding my wrist, I felt him run his palm along my midriff, making my skin crawl in revulsion.

No.

No.

“Don’t you dare touch me,” I warned him furiously through clenched teeth.

“Of course, I can touch you, Soph. You know I can,” he returned distastefully, grabbing my chin and pressing his fingers into my cheeks.

August. . .

Where are you, August?

I need you.

By then, Remy had gotten out of the car and a few other people around us who just noticed the situation called out to Benjamin to stop what he was doing. And I prayed in my for August. I prayed that he would be somewhere nearby.

Regardless of the people coming toward him, Benjamin angled my face to meet his and brought his mouth onto mine. Nothing but the smell of alcohol flooded my nostrils and it made me feel nauseated at once. Under his hold, I struggled against him with all my might and finally pushed him away with every ounce of my strength. The next moment, in a blink of an eye, I felt his palm on my cheeks; sharp and stinging, it immediately blurred my eyesight and formed tears in my eyes.

In within seconds, Remy grabbed his collar and send a fist straight into his face. The rest of the action that ensued was proceeded by other guys around us. We didn’t know them but, soon they were beating up Benjamin for laying hands on me.

I was too shocked with what had happened and the pain on my cheeks that I just watched the scenario unfold before my eyes without a word, completely tongue-tied and tears rolling down from my eyes.

It seemed Benjamin had his own gang too. They came to defend him and soon there was an all-out war in front of my eyes. A moment later, I saw Augustine and Marlon running towards us.

“What’s happening? You guys alright?” Marlon asked.

When Augustine looked at me, he dropped the beer bottles from his hands and came straight to me. He gently pulled my palm away from my cheek. Only then, at the sight of blood on my palm, did I realize that I was bleeding. The look on his face shifted at once, his green eyes getting dark and stony. He cupped my chin and inspected my face for a split second.

Then he asked me in a low voice, deadly and rigid, “Who did this to you?”

I remained quiet, barely meeting his eyes. I didn’t even want to think of it now. I wanted it out of my head, my memory. I wanted Benjamin out of my life.

“It was that asshole.” Remy immediately pointed out Benjamin to him.

Not another word.

Augustine stalked into the middle of the chaos, pushing people out of his way as I watched in fright. He reached out, grabbed hold of Benjamin’s collar and threw a forceful punch straight into his face. It seemed to break his skull. Benjamin tottered back at the impact. Augustine didn’t stop. He continued to thrash Benjamin left and right, up and down, taking him by the jaws, kneeing him hard on his stomach. . . he was unstoppable and fast. I was pretty sure in within seconds, Augustine had fractured Benjamin’s nose and probably his jaw too with the way Benjamin was bleeding now.

In alarm, I felt immobile on the spot as I watched him take all-out on Benjamin; outraged.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!” I could hardly hold myself back from panicking. Sure, I hated Benjamin with a passion but seeing him dead definitely wasn’t an option on my list of how-to-get-rid-of-Benjamin-Carter methods.

Even those who had been in the fight before him stopped a moment to witness Augustine’s fury in amazement. He looked worse than a storm. I knew I couldn’t do anything to stop him so, I turned to Marlon. He’d also been watching Augustine do what he wanted to do for a while.

“Marlon, please stop him!”

At once, Marlon darted into the crowd. But instead of stopping August, even he started to kick and box those who tried to lay hands on Augustine.

God!

No wonder they’re best friends.

Even Marlon was just the same as August. Remy stood next to me wide-eyed.

Moments later, police sirens pierced through the air. While most of the people in the fight immediately fled, Augustine was still beating Benjamin merciless. Marlon had to pull him away. Even then, Augustine still had to kick Benjamin one more time in his abdomen.

“Go! Go! Go!” Marlon turned to us in a hurry as he pulled Augustine away from Benjamin.

Remy immediately opened her car door and ignited the engine. “Sophia, get in!”

Me, on the other hand, had my eyes glued to Augustine with my jaw hanging open and a hammering heart. I’d never witnessed anything this violent right in front of my eyes in my entire life. When Augustine saw me frozen on my stop, he came and grabbed my hand before racing toward his car. I ran after him with literally nothing in my mind. I just followed wherever he led me.

He opened the car seat, buckled me in my seat, came to take the driver’s seat and in seconds, we were on the road, two police cars behind us. I sat next to him without a word as he bulleted his car into the night. Thank God, he had the sense to buckle me up. Else, I might be in very bad shape, better yet dead, with all his drifting and turning and what not into roads I had no idea about just to lose the police chasing us.

My senses seemed to finally work only when he drove us into dark and narrow alleys.

“Where are we?” I asked him breathlessly as the soft lull of his car came to a stop.

“By the metro,” he answered while fishing for something in the glove compartment.

Not finding it, he cursed and leaned back in his seat.

“What? Did you lose something?”

“No. I was looking for a band-aid for the cut on your face.”

Subconsciously, my hand reached up to the cut again. Although it wasn’t a big cut, it stung a bit and I winced at the pain. Augustine looked at my face again silently for a moment before turning away, hands clenching on the steering wheel and nostrils flaring in rage. Then I noticed the bruises on the knuckles of both his hands. All from thrashing up Benjamin black and blue.

“You’ve bruised your hands,” I told him.

He glanced at the bruises briefly and ignored it.

Brushing back his hair lividly, he said, “I’m sorry, Sophia.”

“What for?”

“I should have been with you. I. . . I shouldn’t have left you at all. If only I’d been around then I wouldn’t let anything happen to you. . .”

“It’s not your fault, August.”

“I know but still. . . No one should hurt you, Sophia. No one.”

Unable to look at him longer, I shifted my gaze to the glove compartment in front of me. The dissatisfaction in his voice and the tenderness shimmering in his eyes bothered me a lot. So far, I’d tried my best not to think too much about him, not to give him way to my feelings but the way he was gazing at me now was slowly softening me inside and peeling off all the guards I’d built one by one.

“I’m okay, now.”

He shook his head in disapproval. If anything, he hadn’t yet had his fill beating Benjamin.

We left the alley fifteen minutes later sure that the cops had left the area. On the way, Marlon called up Augustine asking if we were okay. Then Augustine called Romeo and Remy asking if they made it home without getting caught. Remy had reached home but Romeo was still out with his friends.

“Get back home now,” Augustine ordered.

I heard Romeo reply, “I’m alright. I’m not even around the stadium anymore. I’m just having some drinks with Lucas and. . .”

“I said get back home right now,” Augustine commanded, apparently not in the mood to talk.

“Alright. Alright,” Romeo gave a defeated sigh. “On my way. Lucas, drop me.”

Exhaling lividly, Augustine hung up the phone and tossed it in front of him. We sat in silence for a while until a sudden noise from the backseat got me jumping in my seat.

I looked back startled to find a girl lying in the backseat, wearing only shorts and a white cropped cami top. She groaned groggily when he moved her head a bit like it had been hammered into a wall.

“What the hell is that?! Who is she?!” I baffled at Augustine, who, for a split second, looked just as baffled as I was.

“Uhh. . . that’s. . . that’s a girl. Passed out in my car. . .” August replied as he kept glancing back at her in surprise.

Jaws open, I drilled my eyes more firmly into his. “I asked who is she.”

“That’s Winona.”

“Yeah?”

“That’s my ex.”

When I looked back at her again, she’d fallen back asleep. . . or dead. I don’t know.

“You’ve got your ex in the backseat of your car?”

“Yeah. Um. . . seems like that.”

“What is she doing in your car?”

“Nothing. She just passed out.”

“What did you do with her?” I demanded in a rather stern tone.

“What? What would I do with her? Nothing.” For the first time after the incident, I saw him smile. Undoubtedly, he’d caught the slight jealousy in my reaction and I felt myself go red a little at the realization.

“Uh. Right.” I cleared my throat awkwardly.

What was I doing?

I’m not even his girlfriend.

But God. . .

I couldn’t suppress the jealousy. Right. I wasn’t his girlfriend, which gave him all the will and freedom to sleep with any girl he wanted and he could have even done that. Given that the girl in the backseat was wearing close to nothing, I wondered if Augustine was actually able to keep his hands off her. And moreover, here she was sleeping in his car. Sleeping!

For some reason, I felt like whacking Augustine across his head.

“Sophia. . .”

“Yeah, what?!” I snapped back sullenly without realizing and it immediately amused him.

He almost laughed but he controlled it seeing that I was in a jumbled up state of frustration, jealousy, anger, and embarrassment.

“You might not believe me but honestly, I didn’t do anything with her I swear,” he said softly.

I nearly leaped up from my seat and fist-pumped in the air but I fought back that urge and acted cool. “Well, I was just. . . asking.”

“Mhmm.” He smirked ahead at the road. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with any girl except. . .” he abruptly stopped.

And I impatiently asked, “Except?”

He turned to face me directly and answered rather innocently, “You, of course.”

My mouth fell apart and all I could make out was a series of nothings and meaningless stutterings. The fact that I had once slept with him was completely crowded out of my mind, at the moment, by all the jealousy boiling within me.

I looked forward and placed my palm on the window to cool off the climbing temperature of my body.

God.


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