I received a phone call from Dean sometime around one in the morning. “Ella,” Dean slurred. “We have a bit of a problem,” he said, hiccupping between words. “We’ve seemed to have run out of money.”
“I’ll be there shortly,” I said groggily, dragging myself out of bed. I didn’t even want to know how it was possible for them to run out of money.
I picked them up outside one of the downtown bars. They were so hammered they were stumbling everywhere. On the way back they kept singing some god awful song so loudly that I couldn’t even drown them out with the radio.
Dean and Tristan leaned on each other for balance as they walked into the dorms while Dean still clutched a bottle of whiskey. Where he got it I had no idea. I didn’t want to know. Josie had decided at the last minute to spend the night with the guy she was seeing, so I was stuck with drunk and drunker – lucky me.
Dean collapsed on my bed and Tristan sat on Josie’s pulling me down with him. He put his arm around me and leaned in real closely and whispered, “C’mon love, let’s go back to my room and have some fun. I have the perfect little French maid outfit for you.”
I took his arm and threw it off of me. “Tristan, you’re drunk,” I said annoyed.
“That’s when I’m at my best,” he replied.
He tried kissing my cheek, but instead, he just ended up slobbering all over it. “Tristan!” I yelled, pushing him away from me.
“Unhand my sister,” Dean sang as he fell off the bed laughing. I got up to help him before he hurt himself. I never should have left these two alone. Dean took another swig from the bottle and then handed it to Tristan. I ripped it from his mouth and dumped the remaining liquid out the window. They both yelled at me for wasting good booze.
“I think you two had enough,” I growled. Why did I get stuck babysitting these two?
Tristan stood behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, nestling his chin between my neck and shoulder. “Ella...spend the night with me.”
His breath reeked so badly of booze I thought I might get sick. “For the last time, NO!” I said forcefully, pulling his arms off of me.
“Don’t waste your time. You’ll need the jaws of life to pry her legs open,” Dean chuckled. I glared at him. My temper rising, I walked over and kicked him in the shin, hard. “Damn it, Ella,” Dean whined, rubbing his leg.
“I forgot she kicks,” Dean said to Tristan, still rubbing his leg.
“No worries I got the perfect cure for that,” Tristan said to Dean, slapping him on the shoulder. They headed to Tristan’s room where he had an endless supply of the best liquors.
I had enough. I wasn’t going to spend the night listening to their lewd and rude comments. I grabbed my sweatshirt and left the room.
I wasn’t sure where I was going. I just walked aimlessly. I ended up outside in front of the dorms. I stood there for a while, my eyes closed, taking in the cool September weather. “Ella?” George called, shining his flashlight at me.
I shielded my eyes from the bright light. “Oh, hey George.”
“What are you doing out here this late?” he asked in his fatherly tone.
“I just needed some air.”
“It’s not safe for you to be out here by yourself. Why don’t you just head on back inside before you catch a cold?” I had to laugh. George was always watching out for us. His kids were all grown up with kids of their own. He told me once he enjoyed his job. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that it wasn’t true.
“What are you doing out here?” I asked. He rarely ever left his post at the front desk.
“Just making my rounds, making sure everything is as it should be,” he said, placing his flashlight back on his belt. “I’ll be heading back inside myself in a minute. So you go on now. Get inside where it’s warm.” He started to shoo me away with his hands.
“Goodnight, George.” I waved goodbye and he nodded, tilting his hat.
On my way back inside I decided to stop and get some coffee for Dean and Tristan. I was hoping this would sober them up some, but doubtful. Right now anything was worth a shot. I pressed number two on the coffee machine and rubbed my hands over my arms vigorously trying to warm myself up while the coffee cups filled. I decided to get a hot chocolate for myself to help get rid of the chill.
While I waited for the machine to finish, I walked over to the small table by the wall that held all the lids, sugar, and cream packets. I stuffed some sugar and cream in my pockets and grabbed the lids and stirrers. When I turned around I felt a cool breeze rush by me. I took a step back and looked around thinking maybe someone came in and it was a draft from the door.
But I saw nothing, no one.
I shrugged it off and took a step forward. I felt the same chilling rush behind me now.
I spun around quickly.
“Ella, get a grip,” I told myself. I walked back over to the coffee machine and placed the lids on the cups when I got a sickening feeling in my stomach. A cold wind rustled the hair on my shoulder. I felt an icy, cool, chill brush across my neck and all the way down my spine. It was like someone or something was standing directly behind me and it was their icy breath that tickled my skin.
I froze, frightened.
Nowhere to move, I just stood there and closed my eyes, praying this was just all my imagination. Suddenly I felt someone grab me and I jumped, dropping the coffee. When I turned around, no one was there.
Great, I thought, you’re losing your mind. I grabbed some napkins from the table and mopped up the spilled coffee. I threw the dirty tissues in the trash and that was when all the lights went out.
“Oh come on,” I said, putting my hands on my hips.
I heard a whooshing sound down the hall to my right.
I turned and squinted in the darkness. “Hello? George?” I called out.
I felt another icy cold blast fly by me, then again, and again. I spun in circles, chasing darkness, wondering what the hell was happening.
I knew someone was there, I could feel their presence. But I was blinded by the pitch black. “Hello? Who’s there?” I called out into the nothingness.
I was starting to panic. This was usually the part in the horror film right before the killer took his victim. “Relax Ella, just relax. This is not some cheesy horror film come to life. Get a grip,” I said out loud to myself. I turned back to my right where I first heard the noise, searching for something, anything.
I took a step forward and that was when I saw them.
I knew them all too well. I had seen them over and over again in my dreams. They glowed bright gold and were slowly getting bigger, making their way towards me.
I gasped and ran in the opposite direction. I found my way to the stairwell and had enough light from the emergency flood lights to find my way up the steps. I ran as fast as I could, not bothering to look back. I knew he was there and if I took one second to stop and look, I’d be dead.
I threw open the emergency door on my floor and continued to run. The stairwell was on the opposite end of my hall, which now seemed like a mile away.
I was panting, finding it hard to breathe, but I couldn’t slow down. I wouldn’t risk it. I came around the corner of my hall and ran smack into someone.
They grabbed my arms.
I screamed, frightened.
I struggled to free myself. “Let go of me!”
“Ella, it’s me, Jack.”
“Jack? What the hell are you doing?” I asked, shaking.
“Ella!” Dean yelled from down the hall, voice panicked. The lights came back on and I looked around and at Jack who was still tightly gripping my arms.
Dean and Tristan came running down the hall.
Tristan took one look at Jack holding my arms and the scared expression on my face and reacted on instinct. He threw Jack up against the wall, hand around his throat.
“Ella, are you okay?” Dean asked, holding my shoulders like he felt the need to hold me up. I paid no attention to Dean. I was concerned about Tristan killing Jack.
Jack had his hands on Tristan’s arm trying to loosen his grip on his throat. “Tristan, stop!” I yelled.
His eyes were dark. He clenched his jaw and gripped tighter around Jack’s neck.
Jack was gasping for air.
“He was trying to hurt you,” Tristan said through gritted teeth.
I stood in front of him and looked deep into his eyes. I could see every emotion from pain, to fear, to anger, and desperation. “Tristan, look at me. No he wasn’t. Now. Let. Go.” I watched him struggle with the decision. It was like watching him fight himself battling the good and evil that resided inside him.
I could see his mood start shift and I knew I was reaching him when Dean placed a hand on Tristan’s shoulder spooking him. Tristan threw his arm back defensively, but Dean was quicker. Dean grabbed his arm, twisted it behind his back, and threw him up against the opposite wall. It happened so fast if I would have blinked I would have missed it.
I just stared at Dean, not believing what I just saw. The speed, the brute strength he all of a sudden possessed, and power. I knew they said adrenaline could cause you to do things you would never be able to do, but this was way different. This was instinct, and definitely something I never thought Dean was capable of.
I snapped out of it when I heard Jack wheezing on the floor. “Jack, are you okay?” I asked in a rush.
He couldn’t talk. He was still trying to catch his breath. Instead he just nodded at me and I helped him up off the floor. Dean let go of Tristan and gave him a warning look to stay put. Tristan turned to me, his eyes filled with regret for what he had done. “Ella...I,” he began.
“Just leave,” I said, not bothering to look at him.
“Go!” I snapped.
Tristan dropped his head ashamed and sulked on the way back to his room. It was hard for me to watch him, but I forced myself to focus my attention on Jack. “Jack, is there anything I can do?”
He shook his head no while Dean helped him back to his room as I stood there helpless.
Dean and I didn’t say another word to each other. We just silently walked back to my room. He crawled into Josie’s bed and I crawled into mine. I pulled the covers up over my head wishing that this whole thing never happened. Just as I closed my eyes and was about to fall asleep, Dean said, “Ella?”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine Dean. Go to sleep.”
“No, I mean, are you okay? Really okay?”
I let out a long, deep breath. “I will be.”
He didn’t say anything else. He didn’t ask what really happened tonight and I didn’t ask him about the incredible way he stopped Tristan. Sometimes there were things you just didn’t want to know.