II. No One
We all clink the glasses together as the music boom in our ears. Not too long after our celebration for another successful mission, as in no one died, Diego leaps into the dance floor. He’s out on a hunt for another one night stand - an act of celebration he would say.
“Where’s Aaron?” I ask. I swore he was next to me a few seconds ago.
Maisley pushes up her glasses, “Weird. I thought he was beside you a few seconds ago.” He somehow always manages to slip away from us.
Well, at least I know three out of four of us are alive tonight. That’s 75% of the current group. I’ll take it! I say - current - because sometimes we split up depending on the assigned mission.
“Are you okay?” Maisley screams into my ear.
I put down the cup and bobbed my head to the beat. “Yeah. What’s up?”
“It’s just, shouldn’t you be fixing your tooth or patching up that bullet wound?”
“The alcohol will take care of the pain! I’ll get it checked out later!” This isn’t the first time I lost a tooth or have a bullet inside my body. I’m sure there is still a bullet in there somewhere that I’ve forgotten to take out. And a few of my teeth are fake. Sad, I know. But, during a fight, they refuse to stay inside my mouth.
“Okay! Whatever you say. But, I didn’t bring an emergency kit so if your wound burst tonight. I can’t help you!” Out of all of us, Maisley has the best medical skills. Not as good as a doctor, but she manages to patch things up.
“Alright! I’ll just bleed to death on the dance floor!” I made my way towards the center. I’m clubbing like this is my last night, and it may be. Particularly, with the hangover that’s about to hit tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to get to know the lucky guy who gets to clean up my vomit.
The music bounced so hard, that my head smashed along with it. My brain shut down and I scream out the unknown lyrics. There’s so much sweat on my skin, but not all of it is mine.
With each turn, I lost sight of Diego. Diego probably went somewhere with someone. Then, Maisley was gone. She probably went to the restroom or home. She’s not much of a one-night stand person. She tried it once and said it wasn’t her thing.
I’m fine with being alone.
Because it’s how we operate.
We met each other at the orphanage.
We went on missions together.
We celebrate together.
But, at the end of the day, we don’t trust each other.
We’re colleagues, not friends.
There’s no reason to look out for each other.
It will only make you weaker. More prone to death.
I made so many movements tonight, I don’t even care if I look like a fool. Then, I feel it, extra warmth behind me. I look back to see a cute guy. I’ve noticed that he’s been watching me for a while. It seems that he finally grew a pair and approach me. I gave him a smile. He took the sign and wrapped his hands around my waist.
I desire it.
Another warm night.
When I woke up in the morning, the ringing rattle against my head. I groan slightly as the sunlight drifted through the curtains. Quietly, I released a yawn and look to my left to see the guy from last night. What was his name? I don’t really care. I threw my legs off the bed and stepped on something wet. I looked down to see a used condom. He knew he was going to get lucky last night. Well, someone with his type of face was bound to get lucky with or without me.
Of course, I’m someone with etiquette.
I threw away the condom. Now, he doesn’t have to do it himself later. I’m so thoughtful.
After I got dressed, he was still sleeping. I grabbed a notepad and paper then scribbled on some words - Had fun last night.
I threw a few twenties and left the hotel room.
Once I reached the hallway, I tied up my hair and looked around. It was actually a really nice place. I wonder if I left enough to at least pay half. I scratched my neck and walked towards the elevator. Pressing the down arrow, I release another yawn. It’s still early in the morning.
The elevator dinged and the doors spread open.
My brain stuttered for a moment when a person came into view. He’s handsome. Unbelievable attractive. It almost made me feel sad that I slept with the other guy earlier when he’s in the same building.
Dark hair and grey eyes, extremely yummy looking.
“Coming in?” That voice. Russian.
I’ve never done a Russian man.
Silently, I nodded and entered the elevator. I cleared my throat and pushed the lobby button. Then, I noticed it. There are three other people behind him. That’s never a good sign. A man who came from the top floor with people behind him is a red flag.
I kept my eyes straight at the doors and kept my breathing at a minimum. I’ve never done a Russian man, and I don’t think I’ll do one today. My nose chooses now to itches. I motion it a few times to minimize the itch. It didn’t work. I really want to pick it. I pinched it to hold back the sneeze.
After I held it in, I released a deep sigh of relief.
The elevator doors open and I was ready to go home.
A few steps out of the elevator, a woman came raging in my direction. I pointed a finger at myself, “Me?” Did that guy I slept with had a girlfriend or wife? Aw, shucks. I hope not. It happened once. I accidentally slept with a bastard who had a girlfriend. In my defense, the bastard told me he had no one. When she pounded on the hotel room door, I jumped out of the window. Of course, first, I had to take my revenge. I broke his ankle.
The woman slapped my face. “How dare you slept with my husband! You whore!” Oh, God. He did have a wife! I should’ve broken his ankle!
“I didn’t know,” I said. “I’m so sorry. He told me-”
The woman slapped me again.
I held in all the anger. If I was in her shoes, I would rage too if my husband slept with another woman. I held both of my cheeks. I don’t understand why she slapped me and not go upstairs to kill her husband. If she wanted, I could help.
The elevator dings and another woman appeared. The color from her face drained when her eyes went towards us.
Then, a man appeared and whispered into the woman who slapped me.
He shook his head and pointed at the woman who got out of the elevator.
Are you fucking with me?
“You! How dare you sleep with my husband!”
Did I get slapped twice for a misunderstanding?
I tapped on the angry woman’s shoulder. She whips around, “What?”
That’s rude for someone who accused me. “I believe you owe me an apology.”
The woman scanned my face and scoffed. “I owe you nothing. Now, disappear before-”
I slapped her left cheek.
She stumbled on her heel, but the guards behind her caught her. “You! Do you know who-”
I slapped her right cheek.
This time, she was too shocked to reply.
I would’ve let it go if she apologies for accusing and slapping me. Instead, she told me to disappear.
“Enough,” the man behind me said.
“Alex,” the woman from the elevator said in a spoiled voice. She rushes towards him and clung to his arm for her dear life.
Now, I see it. The man behind me is the married man who cheated on his wife. His wife slapped me. And now, his mistress is clinging onto him so she won’t get slapped.
Without a single word from me, I walked towards the spinning door. I do not want to get in between husband-wife-mistress argument. I ran my tongue inside my cheek only to feel the pothole from where the tooth used to be.
Then, it appeared. The pain in my right shoulder. Fuck. I hope it’s not infected. I know I should’ve listened to Maisley and went to a proper doctor, but I wanted to drink. I bit my lower lip and dragged my legs out of the hotel while ignoring the women bickering behind me.
When I reached the hospital, I was on the verge of death.
“You got an infection,” Paulina said. Paulina is the doctor of our branch. She also serves as the public doctor as an undercover. “Why did you not come in after your mission?”
“You smell the reason.”
She presses on my wound and I groan in pain. “Ow,” I cried.
“If you were all more responsible.” She takes off her gloves and threw it in the bin. “Then, you wouldn’t be in this situation. You wouldn’t be bleeding on my chair.”
“Your chair?” I scoff, “The agency paid for all of these with my hard earn money. If anything-”
She puts on a new glove and press against my wound.
I screamed in pain before my body crashes onto the chair. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted at someone who heals me.”
“And you shouldn’t,” she responds. She pulls off the gloves and type on the computer.
“How’s your wife?” I ask.
“Same as always.”
Paulina is one of the lucky few who was able to settle down and have a family. Not all of us have that choice. It’s kind of difficult to get into a committed relationship when you’re constantly moving around and has to lie to your partner about your life.
What can I say to my husband when I get home?
“Oh darling, how’s my day? It’s good. I finally caught that damn slave seller I’ve been tracking down for months. How did I find him? I cut off some guy fingers and he spilled all the secrets.”
I exhale lightly, “You should try it,” Paulina said.
I laugh lightly, “Yeah. And then afterward, I’ll sign up for Miss Universe.”
“The world isn’t as bad as you perceived it.”
I know the world isn’t bad. But, it’s not necessarily good either. If anything, it’s more bad than good. I’ve worked long enough to understand that people often fall into desperation and temptation.
I grabbed her shirt, “Mom. Where are we all going?”
She smiles, “A fun place.”
“Hey,” I said. Paulina looks at me, “I need you to make a dentist appointment.”
Paulina exhales lightly, “Alright.”
After my treatment, I walked around the city. It’s a place of wide avenues and small places to sit. I found a bench and squatted down. I noticed how folks in this city are more calmed than the other ones I’ve been to. But, other than that, everything is still the same. With sky towers centered and homeless people everywhere.
I twirled the bottom of my heel on the cement ground. Some people are watching me. Of course, they are. I’m a woman sitting in the middle of the street with a tight dress and high heels. I must look like a prostitute.
But, who would be stupid to approach a prostitute this early in the morning? I look at my phone. Okay, not early in the morning. But, who’s stupid enough to approach a prostitute in the middle of the afternoon?
“Hello,” a man said.
Just when I had some hope in humanity.
I look up from my phone, “Yes?”
“Do you need a ride?”
I smile, “No thank you. I’m actually waiting for someone.”
He chuckles, “Are you sure?”
“Why?” I rest my chin against my palm. “Would you arrest me if I said yes?” He seems shocked at my confrontation. He’s a cop. It’s obvious by the way he behaves. He’s way too rigid to be some pervert who wants to get his dick wet.
The man burst out laugh, “Arrest you? Why would I?”
“Then, I guess we’re done here.” I stood up and my ankle twisted. Accidentally, I fell into his arms. His very strong rigid arms. The police academy is doing something right. After feeling him up a little, I pushed him back. “What do you think you’re doing in broad daylight?”
The man took a few blinks before he burst out laughing, “I apologize.”
How boring of a reaction. I let out a low, “Hmm,” before I made my escape. I can feel it. His curious stares. It’s quite unfortunate, but I don’t warm the bed with law enforcers.
Once I reached my luxurious apartment, I threw myself on the couch. I ran my forefinger across the dust on the wooden table. I exhale lightly before my toes tap the cushions. It’s stiff. Catching criminals then getting drunk can take a toll on the body. I’m not as young as I used to be.
I twisted my lower spine, only to received a harsh crack in return. Then, I went the other way. Finally, I attempted to touch my toes, only to have all my limbs fall.
“Come out,” I said.
A person emerges from another room and hands me an envelope. I wave her away. “Why can’t they call me or something instead of breaking in my place.” I tear the envelope open to receive a summon. A summon is basically a meeting for my next assignment.
I burned the note then threw myself back on the couch. “Are they trying to work me to death?” In the midst of silence, I burst out laughing.
Not too long after, I roll out of the couch and head towards the balcony. This is my second time in this apartment complex. The first was when I looked around to see whether or not I wanted to purchase it.
With my elbow rested on the edge, I stared at the various buildings. I remember why I brought this now. The view. The wind rushed past me and the sound of car honks echoes in my ears.
Sometimes, I wonder, if humanity struggles had really ended. I’ve heard people talked about it, how evolved society had become. How falsified. Our technology advanced, we did not. We’re still fighting a war, just not publicized like it used to be. A war that nobody noticed or cared enough to take into consideration.
And as I’m standing on the highest building I can get to, I wonder. If I was normal - as in - someone who was raised by the standard norms, would I be in a herd or am I shaper?
Right now, I’m neither.
Right now, I’m nothing.
"You are no one."