Chapter 1- I SEE YOU
“Why?″ My voice was hoarse, the bile in my throat was painful, it was burning from holding back the tears. I blinked my eyes to push back the tears and breathed in.
He was an arm away from me. One stride and I was within his reach.
He took a step forward.“You shouldn’t have lived. Because of you, they’re gone. Gone forever and so should you! ” His voice was filled with remorse and animosity.
I let the tears fall. My heart ached. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t bear to see the hate in his eyes.
“I didn’t know! Please...Please...”
A strangled scream was ripped out of my throat as my body shot upward. My hands gripped the sides of my head, my heart pounding erratically.
Whimpering, I shook my head to get rid of those words he threw at me, but it was hopeless. They hurt just as real. His face pursued around my mind no matter how much I tried to shut my eyes and flapped my head. He hated me... hated me so much.
“Please, go away! Go away!” The sweat covered my forehead down my spine, over my stomach, and all over me. I burst into crying and it felt good to cry. “I didn’t do anything. Why do you have to hate me!” I whispered, brokenly pleading, but nobody answered me... Nobody will.
I let my hand slam on my chest, as my eyes kept tearing up, thinking it could hurt me and numb the pain from within. But it didn’t. Every time I saw his face on my head, my heart tightened. I missed him but I was frightened.
I laid on my back, breathing in a manner that was not regular. How could I forget him when, even in my dreams, he hunted me? This had become a regular occurrence. Me, waking up from a dream crying or flustered because some of the dreams were very carnal until I fell back asleep again.
Another day had come. I ploddingly got up from the comfort of my bed. I quickly took a shower. I never bothered shaving at all, not that I have a lot of hair to shave. My legs were smooth and hairless. There wasn’t much hair on my body to remove, which I was glad about.
I chose a simple outfit today- a casual sleeveless sundress with a floral design. This suited the weather in Los Angeles. Summer here was warm and mostly dry with a scorching sun glaring at you in the afternoon.
The weather seemed to harmonize with my life; its warm breeze, its dryness in the air. I could feel the warmth but I felt desiccated inside. My life had been on a roller coaster since I left. Nothing interested me nor caught my attention. Everything was just so dull.
I sighed before taking a deep breath to normalize my nerves. I had to keep my chin up and move forward. Life must go on and I had to keep up with it. Unless it chose to not keep up with me, I had to go on.
My serviceable car appeared in my sight. Poor baby, when was the last time I pampered you? It was an old one but it still served its purpose, so long as it took me somewhere and brought me home, I would keep it.
I slid inside and, with a sigh, I turned the engine to life.
It took me a half-an-hour drive to the publishing company where I had worked for two weeks. It was fortunate that when I applied they hired me immediately, saying the position was indeed available for taking. I couldn’t have been happier.
Impressively profitable and operational for 10 years now, the company has been relatively average in size, providing jobs to almost 200 employees. People here were kind, but yeah, I had just joined the company, so it was too soon to conclude, but at any rate, I was still grateful to be employed.
The middle-aged man who was perched at the entrance graced me with his welcoming smile. It was Bert.
“Good morning, Lady. How are you today?” He greeted me with glee. And every time, his cheerfulness was contagious.
“It’s lovely, Bert, thank you,” I told him. He nodded. Smiling. I couldn’t even look him straight in the eye because I was afraid he would see the real emotion behind my words. Of course, no days were lovely for me. I didn’t even know what lovely days felt like.
Walking inside, the familiar interior greeted me. I traipsed to the elevator that would take me to the second floor of the building where my humble office was located.
My job had somehow diverted my mind away from the lamentable circumstance I had struggled to forget for a month. I had cried enough. Now is not the time, Alina. Stop thinking about it. I puffed out a weary sigh when memories began to creep into my head.
The elevator opened and I was glad nobody was inside. I didn’t especially fancy exchanging greetings with people and spesh with men who were trying to hit on me, knowing they barely knew me because I was new to the company.
It was still early though, so as expected, the silence in the hall greeted me and I was glad.
I made my way to my office. The company provided me with a small and comfy room with a wooden table and a few fixtures. It was merely simple but feminine. Taking a deep breath, I settled myself on the swivel chair thinking about things I’d do after work.
Yeah. How crazy did that sound? I haven’t done anything yet for the day but here I am, thinking of what I’ll do after work. Come on, the day has just started.
My eyes ran over the pile of documents and manuscripts on my table. I had to proofread all of them before this week ended. I would be burning the midnight oil to finish and submit it before the deadline.
Alright, let’s get some work done.
“Hmmm...” I stretched out my back. I could feel my bones snapping as I straightened out my limbs. Oh! It felt like I hadn’t unbent my body for years. Take note self, you have to at least hit on some Yoga at home.
If I hadn’t moped for a month and languished for every single decision I made, I wouldn’t have had to cry my heart out waking up with eyes bloodshot red and a terrible headache. I could have taken better care of myself.
I sighed. My eyes began to sting as memories flashed back and blurred my mind. Groaning, I scolded myself, desperate to eradicate all traces of memories embedded in my head. Please stop! I gripped my head tightly. Should I just bump my head till it breaks? No! I’m better than that. I was taught better and raised to love life and cherish it like it weighed in gold, well, even beyond precious than gold.
Why don’t you just forget about him, forget everything about him and it will be easier?
But who did I fool? Forgetting him was like forgetting to live life. Embracing it would be easier. Embracing the pain and the fact that without him, life was meaningless. Thus, I would keep him in my heart. I decided. From now onward, his memories would remain in my heart and in my mind to hunt me and to make me happy.
I was so consumed and drowned deep in my thoughts, not realizing I had brought the pen I was holding to my teeth and bit it. I tend to have such a dirty habit. I felt more focused on my tasks with my teeth biting on something. Anything I could bite into was mighty fine.
Sighing down, I raised my legs up onto the table to feel more comfortable in my position as I leaned my head against the upholstery. In this position, my back seemed to relax a bit. I moaned at the relief I was feeling, and the pain in my lower back started to feel pleasant and all.
“Feeling good?” The voice startled me. My body bolted upright, causing the chair to swerve and I fell down with a thud on the floor. Shrieking.
The painful fall didn’t bother me at all but the familiar, deep, husky voice. I was entranced on the floor. I couldn’t move a muscle. My eyes widened at the realization. He found me.
“Get up, Cara, I see you now,” his voice was still icy cold. I let out a shaky breath. How did he find me?
I did not move. I was still on the floor, hidden from his sight. I heard footsteps nearing, so light yet so heavy in my ears. My heartbeat began to race. I couldn’t believe he is really here.
A pair of black caps Oxford shoes disturbed my sight. I didn’t care if I looked insane in my position. I just couldn’t care.
He crouched down at my level; his massive form suffocated me in this close proximity. My view zeroed on his bended knee as I was scared to look at him straight in his eyes, afraid of what was laid for me when his eyes met mine.
“Still hiding from me, Cara?” Even without looking, I could feel his smirk. “Look at me. We are done playing cat and mouse, you’re coming with me.” The authority in his voice begot me to look at him. He had always been very demanding.
“No!” My response was immediate.
And it was a mistake. I shouldn’t have looked at him in the eyes. Because now, all I cared about was to throw myself at him, kiss him and embrace him to remedy the pain of separation I suffered in those times he wasn’t around. To forget those sleepless nights waking up sweating from nightmares. But I couldn’t. He must have hated me.
“As if you have a choice.” He gave me a flat stare and I knew I was dismissed.