The S Word

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We Need Help

“He can help,” I whisper to the annoyed boyfriend at my side, watching his eyes lift to the ceiling before they fall on me again.

“Gorgeous, of course, he says he can help,” Alexander replies. “He is always eager to be around you.”

I take a sip from the coffee mug resting between my impatient fingers and stare out the window for any sign of Justin. I tried to avoid this, not wanting him involved in my mess, not wanting to be judged by him as well. But right now, I need it.

We need it.

“I will keep as quiet as I can,” Alexander’s voice breaks my train of thoughts. “Because I know it’s important to have someone helping us directly since the police don’t seem to do much. But don’t expect me to enjoy this.”

Alexander stares at me as I nod, and his lips leave the softest of touches on my cheek. With a smile, we take a few seconds to enjoy each other’s company before the sound of a throat being cleared interrupts.

“Hey Nicky,” Justin lets out, avoiding the glare my boyfriend gives him.

He sits in front of us, his eyes on me, soft and impatient as the man by my side leans back on the seat. The booth, which could easily take six people, seems too small for the three of us right now as no more happiness and sweet words are being said. Instead, it’s a battle between them on who will say the first word.

Or throw the first punch.

“Hi,” I reply. “Thank you for coming.”

Justin nods; his eyes finally drift from me and travel to where Alexander’s hand lays on top of mine. He quickly averts his gaze back to me and smiles politely.

“You said you needed my help?”

“Yes, see,” I say, taking the folder from my bag, knowing there’s no time to waste. “We figured who recorded us. It’s a girl who has a past with Alexander and-”

Justin snorts, and I glance up at the amused man in front of me. 

“So you brought her into this mess,” Justin accuses my boyfriend, his eyes finally stopping on him as he gestures towards me.

“It wasn’t on purpose. It’s not my fault if some crazy girl doesn’t know the definition of the word no.”

My hand squeezes his in an attempt of getting him to calm down, and Alexander sighs before glancing at our interlocked fingers, scooching closer on the seat nevertheless and smiling proudly when noticing Justin gets annoyed by it.

“It doesn’t matter why she is doing this,” I state, going straight to the point. “What matters is if you can help us doing something about it.”

I slide the folder over the table, and he stares at it as if it is a bomb. With a slow movement, Justin takes it and reads carefully the information displayed on the papers. Although not much, it can help us in some way. When we handed the copy to the police, they almost didn’t seem to make any notice about this.

“You delivered these at the police station?”

“Yes,” I reply, nodding. “The response we got was that they couldn’t be sure if it is indeed the same girl that stalks Alexander. That they need to be aware of everyone who watched me on that website.”

“They are not wrong,” he says, tilting his head and lifting one of the paper sheets to read the information in the back.

Justin stays silent for a couple of minutes as Alexander, and I start to get anxious by it. As time passes, my boyfriend’s patience decreases while his fingers tap against the wooden table. My hand travels until resting on his leg, and I slowly squeeze it, bringing him back to that place he was about to get into. The same place that made him punch the man in front of us right now.

The said man seems to like to be beaten up by his choice of words.

“Well, let me tell you, Alexender, that you sure know how to pick them.”

“It’s Alexander,” I correct, and my boyfriend smiles.

Justin rolls his eyes again, but I catch the small smirk he makes. It’s like a game for the two of them. Who can annoy the other the most, and so far, I can’t say who wins.

Probably my boyfriend because he’s stubborn.

“She got a way to be hired at your office, is that it?” Justin asks me still, studying the folder.

I nod, and Justin only glances in my direction. Something caught his eye; he studies her curriculum before glancing at Alexander with his brows furrowed.

“You never noticed her at the front desk?”

“No,” Alexander replies serenely. “She was there once, but only Nicole noticed her. All the other times, whenever I was around, she was never at the reception.”

“But, see, it doesn’t make sense,” he says, turning the folder to us. “She invented a whole persona to be hired there.”

I read the folder for the nth time today before letting go of a sigh, and both men stare at me with confused expressions.

“When I figured the same girl was stalking me, I started to analyze her. She suffers from some conditions. Depression, disturbia, paranoia, I don’t know, I’m just guessing. But she has more to her.”

“She lives in her world,” Justin speaks, and I nod in agreement.

It’s like in her head, they were the perfect match, and I took him away from her. I am the villain to her story, the one person who took the man of her life, and now she is alone. So, in Sarah’s head, nothing is off-limits.

“You need to be careful, Nicky,” Justin advises. “If she went to your workplace and did the things I have read in the case file-”

“You read the case file?”

Alexander’s voice sounds loud over Justin’s, and the latter gulps staring at him. Caught red-handed.

“Well, I had to know what’s going on. That’s not the point,” Justin speaks, changing the subject again. “The point is she isn’t safe being at home, especially alone.”

He points at me, and the biggest smile spreads across Alexander’s lips. Well, this is either going to shut up Justin for good or end with him on the floor for the second time.

“Nicole won’t be alone again,” he says, staring deep into Justin’s eyes. “We moved in together, to my building. It’s safer.”

I see as my ex’s eyes shift from danger to pain. It’s not like I’m doing it on purpose; heck, I’m not doing anything. But he as well needs to understand I moved on; we weren’t right together. Our relationship wasn’t the best one, and that eventually made us grew apart. Him going away didn’t help, but we had problems before.

Justin nods, standing up, and we do the same. The three of us walk out of the small café and into the cold street where people rush to get home. The moonlight spreads across the city, lighting up the dark corners that the lamps can’t while we walk slowly to where Justin parked his car.

“I will keep you in touch,” he says at us, and Alexander nods.

Justin turns to walk to the other side of the street, and Alexander and I watch him leave between the crowd. His figure disappears in the night when finally my boyfriend speaks.

“I never thought he would agree.”

“Told you,” I reply. “You owe me dinner.”

He smiles, leaning down at me and pecking my lips. The people around us glance at the sudden public demonstration of affection, but I don’t care about that. When he pulls away, and I see his chocolate eyes smiling at me, I don’t need anything else.

“I’ll treat you dinner,” he says, glancing at my feet. “You’re okay with walking to where we are parked?”

“No,” I whine. “These heels are killing me.”

“Want me to carry you?” He asks, wiggling his brows, and I chuckle at the idea.

I would probably be thrown over his shoulder.

“I’ll wait here,” I mumble, noticing him frowning. “It’s fine; there’s plenty of people around.”

Alexander chuckles, taking a glance over my shoulder to the end of the street where the car is. I mean, I could walk, but I’m cold, I’m hungry, and I’m getting moody.

“Let me grab the car. Wait here.”

He leaves, and I walk closer to the road to see when he disappears behind the trees. Mindlessly messing on my phone, I glance now and then to see if Alexander’s car is in sight.

When I spot his headlights in the distance, I take a step further, waiting. He is a few cars behind, and I keep myself on the roadside o be quicker when he pulls the car to a stop. People stop next to me to let the car pass the green light when suddenly the hairs on the back of my neck lift.

My feet are fast in turning around, and I catch two ebony eyes glaring at me.

“You,” I speak, for the first time in years, fear crawling over my body while the words come out shaky.

The two dark pits disproved of hope, love, and life. They are as black as the night when no stars shine in the sky. Defenseless and afraid she hurts him, I glance to see Alexander closer trying to spot me between the people in the crowd. But he will be too late because two hands push me to the berm, forcing me to fall on the road.

Forcing me to collide to the ground when the sound of breaks startles me, and the last thing I see before shutting my eyes are headlights.

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