After the never ending lights of the city, I underestimated the utter blackness of nighttime in the woods. It was so dark I was barely able to see where I was going. There were only small sounds of rustling bushes and the howl of the wind, leading us to the place we never saw before.
It was a long, unfamiliar way outside of the city; from the lightened ways of the freeway, we turned to the little gravel road, leading us deeper and deeper in the woods, until it was so dark that we almost lost the man we were following; but fortunately, we finally found out where he was hiding.
It has big concrete walls surrounding it, so you could never see what’s inside. Like a prison?
It could be an abandoned prison.
The place is hidden away from unwanted eyes, and also, well guarded. Many guards are surrounding the walls, standing by the entrance; like it was a military base, but we all know it definitely isn’t. All of those men’s body-types are closer to gorilla than human; and I feel surprised how heavily armed they are. The weapons aren’t out on display, but I watched them long enough to know where they’re hiding their toys.
I saw the guy, Leonardo; the one they told me about, how he abused and raped Beverly. And I know everything has to go as planned; but I can’t wait for him to die. Even that I don’t know him; I can feel what Beverly felt. I want him dead because he hurt her, because he’s a villain. And villains only desire for power and money, they think nothing of making others suffer, as long as they gain advantage. Their aggression is destructive because they lack empathy, because they made choices for emotional coldness - those infinite paper cuts to the soul. I know that because I was; probably am a villain myself.
Through the years I’ve learned that it’s easier to be alone, feeling nothing, being with yourself, trusting only yourself. Because when you act good with people, they expect good. And I don’t want anyone to have those expectations, because I don’t want to be who I am not.
But having friends, having people who care about you... it feels nice. No matter how hard it is to get used to it.
“Ah, finally I can relax a little.”
We stopped in the woods, but to be able to watch the big concrete walls and the entrance to the place; in case we would see a blond girl or someone that could be that man named Yellow Eye.
And of course, Kai had to leave us to watch. Because Leonardo doesn’t know me or Aaron.
“Do you mind!?”
He takes out a bag of chips and places his feet on my lap, shoving the chips into his mouth with a curved smile on his face.
“What? It’s going to be a long night. Let’s make ourselves comfortable.”
“Like spending the night with you wasn’t enough for a punishment.”
I shake my head and lock my eyes to the entrance of the place, to the armed guards; avoiding any eye contact with Aaron. But as much as I try to convince myself that it’s not, his touch feels nice. Especially after that night we spent together.
“Last time you weren’t so unhappy about it...” I feel Aaron’s finger, how he slowly draws it down my arm and I turn back to meet his seductive dark eyes, together with an alluring grin on his handsome face. “What was that you were saying? Oh, Aaron, don’t stop!”
I slap his arm as he starts laughing; from deep inside his chest comes a great shaking motion and his face muscles grow tight. I fold my arms, my eyebrows arch, but before I could stop myself my straight mouth twitch upwards and I am giggling.
“You’re a dick. You know that?”
“I have one, and you really liked it.”
I roll my eyes when I’m feeling my mouth going dry, remembering that night back in New York, in Aaron’s hotel room. As I think about the way he touched me, kissed me, I feel my cheeks flush hot, and my stomach gets heavy. I hate this feeling. I hate it because I don’t know why I feel that way.
“Oh, just shut up.”
I turn away again when his eyes start burning on me and he keeps eating chips, being so confident, so... alive. It always surprises me how comfortable he feels being with me, because I feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest.
“Why are you like this?”
“Why are you so afraid to let me in?”
“I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Okay. Why you don’t want to feel, then?”
Aaron moves just a little closer with those eyes that look so deeply into my own. I feel my breathing becoming softer, my irritation and anger melting when I see his eyes as soft as the morning light.
I keep questioning myself if I should trust him, after all, I never thought he’ll be the one who is really interested in me, in my past and what kind of person I am. All of them are my friends, if it’s the right way to call them; but none cares that much like Aaron does.
“Because I don’t want to.”
“Because you’re afraid to?”
I narrow my eyes at him when it feels like he’s making jokes again, but there’s no smile on his face; only a caring look in those big brown eyes.
“No. Yes... I don’t know.”
“We can talk about it if you want to. After all, we have the whole night and I would really like to get to know you better.”
I feel more comfortable when I see a little smile playing on his lips and honesty in his brown eyes, when he carefully draws his fingers between mine, holding me, his flesh touching mine makes me feel that it’s okay. Okay to finally talk about my past.
“I was a difficult child, no one ever understood me, and after all, I hated my foster home. So I ran away, straight to Carlos Pereira, straight to the brothel-”
His words are a whisper when he interrupts me and I can’t even finish my first sentence.
“It’s what happened to you, not who you really are. Like I said, I want to get to know you better, not your past.”
I swallow, feeling how my skin covers with goosebumps; there was nothing romantic about his words, but I never needed something romantic. It touched so deep inside me and for the first time, this affection felt real.
“I don’t know what to say...”
“Maybe start with your biggest dream. Or the things you like the most.”
“I was never a dreamer, I’m an introvert and all of my dreams were about me, because I never had friends or people that cared about me. But sometimes I wish that there was someone that cares about me, I wish there was a person that I could actually trust...”
Slowly, I keep getting more comfortable, telling things about myself that I never told to anyone. How I actually enjoy art and surreal paintings. How I’m in love with dogs, and would like to get one myself. How I spend every night alone, secretly wishing that my life would change.
Aaron listens as if my words are golden, perhaps something he’s been waiting all these days to hear. He listens to me, without interrupting, without blinking or looking for distraction if my words were boring. And when he finally speaks, his words are a kindness, a concern that is so quick that, for him, it is natural.
And as the hours go by it becomes the best conversation I’ve ever had too, it flows, with listening and intelligent responses from a person that truly cares.
“You shouldn’t hide your true self, Lexi. I think you’re amazing.”
Aaron’s eyes are gazing into mine like he was looking far beyond the hair and makeup. I sit and stare back at his dark brown eyes that glimmer like the stars in the sky.
“That’s... very sweet.”
“I like you, Lexi. I like everything about you. Probably more than I thought I do.”
Aaron looks down at my lips and now I know what he’s about to do. My hands get sweaty and shaky in an instant. He’s leaning forward and my instinct is to get out of the car and run away from affection; but I find myself moving closer to him and now I’m just about close that I can count his lashes.
“Don’t push me away again...”
Gentle but passionate, he presses his lips into my lips. The world around me slows down, so I could be in this moment. Savor it. Feeling different than I ever felt before. Feeling like I’m in a place where I actually have to be. My heart starts to flutter and I kiss him back, enjoying the moment and Aaron, his soft and warm lips. He puts his hand on the back of my head, pulling me closer to him.
Until he pulls back and smiles at me.
“You’re something else, Lexi.”
Before I can answer, before I can tell him how much it means to me, how much I secretly was waiting for him to tell those words... a loud sound from the concrete wall makes me turn back.
The huge metal door starts to open.
We can finally take a look on the inside - there’s a yard inside, without any grass or plants on it, only gray sand and people walking everywhere on it. Perhaps it’s like a camp, that’s why those big walls are protecting them. I watch as three black Jeeps are leaving the place through the big metal gates, guards watching them, lightened up by nightlights inside of the camp.
“Look, there’s Leonardo.”
I spot him, standing by the entrance on the sand, watching the cars leaving with his hands in his pockets. As soon as the cars leave he turns around and starts to walk deeper into the camp; and I think it’s only my luck what I saw next.
He passed by a few people, but only one that I noticed. Just before the door closed, I see long blond hair and a feminine body, walking around the place.
Brent described her very carefully, every detail about her looks, her hair length and color. There’s no mistake that it’s the girl; she’s the one that was kidnapped. Avery.
“Aaron, call Kai. Tell him that the girl he is looking for is alive.”
“He’s waiting for you.”
“Tell him I haven’t seen anything.”
“We both know that’s a lie.”
I watch the light blue sky, the most beautiful morning view; as Leonardo walked inside my room, without even asking if I don’t mind, not bothering to show me at least a little of respect. He’s probably the worst one of them; of course, after the Yellow Eye.
After he realized I couldn’t give him what he wanted me to he still kept me, because he knows that one day he’ll find the missing pieces to find what he is looking for; but in the meantime, I’m just a weapon, which he uses to find out about his enemies. But the worst part is that I’m a woman, which he uses to satisfy his needs.
“I’m tired. I can’t see visions when I’m tired.”
“Don’t lie, you fucking witch.”
Leonardo grabs my arm and pulls me away from the window, dragging me down to the hallway. I don’t fight; I know there’s no point of it. I still will have to go to see Yellow Eye, and I just want to avoid a few painful slaps. But every time Leonardo touches me, my blood starts to boil from anger. Hate. And the only thing that keeps me patient is a vision that I saw a few months ago. How painfully Leonardo dies.
How a blond girl kills him.
The girl that I kept seeing in my dreams; I don’t count how many years I dream about her anymore, from time to time, but those dreams got brighter and more real. I don’t know what happened, because I was screaming for help every time I saw her, and only a while ago she started to hear me. To hear my words, to talk to me. I never know when I’ll see her again when I fall asleep; but every time I do, she fills up my heart with hope.
Even if I don’t know who she is.
But when I think all hope is lost I see her in my dreams. It is like a ray of light in the darkness of my past, of my whole life. It guides me back to reality; I can’t be a prisoner forever. I feel hope, taking my hands in its, pulling me into its arms. It tells me everything is alright that it is all just a period; a period that lasts for thirteen years. But the blond girl is my anchor, she gives me hope when the darkness creeps in.
“He’s not in a mood today, so try to be useful, Avery.”
Leonardo throws me by the Yellow Eye’s door, frowning at me like I was his biggest enemy, when in reality, I know that the person he’s working for will be the reason he’ll die. Because Yellow Eye cares about nothing but himself.
I straighten myself and open the door to his room; the black walls and blood colored curtains meet my gaze; I was always afraid to enter his bedroom, because it’s freaking the hell out of me. And because I always know what happens when I’m left alone with Yellow Eye.
“I’ve heard you wanted to see me."