“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
It was never easy waking up from that nightmare. Each and every time Adrian felt like he was the one dying, not the unfamiliar girl in his dream. It had always been like this after a nightmare. But every night with this young woman in his subconsciousness amplified his torture – he couldn’t breathe, his heart was racing, pretending it could reach the moon in less than an hour. His hands were wet and shaking and his body – drenched in sweat.
Adrian’s dreams, or more precisely visions, had always been haunting and scary: full of so many negative events of his life. But this... this was the most horrifying. Adrian didn’t know why but every time he saw that young woman die in front of his eyes broke his heart. It always cracked and split in small parts, flying on the cold pavement, just like her.
He breathed out and slowly lifted himself to his headboard. It was still hard to move or even breathe properly, but this night Adrian finally decided he had to do something. He was going to take action and make this stop. He just had to first find that dark-haired beautiful girl and then make sure she survived. Because if he didn’t do this, he wasn’t sure he was going to last much longer.
Adrian shut his eyes and ruffled his blond hair. That scene started playing in front of his eyes again – the restaurant, street light, the accident. The innocent girl and the man in black clothes watching all this unwrapping.
He had to find them.
I can’t believe I’m late Kaya scorned herself, running towards the university gates. When she saw they were still open, she sighed in relief. It meant she could at least try to get in the classroom for the exam.
She was pissed enough she hadn’t studied well. And now that she had overslept and there was a chance she could miss the whole exam, made for a very bad start of the day.
When Kaya went through the gates, her heart jumped excitedly. Step one was passed. Now all she had to do was enter the building AND the room, without being chased out. But what if the professor did chase her out? Could she handle the embarrassment in front of the other students? There were going to be at least fifty more people inside. Just imagining their judgmental eyes made her shiver. She couldn’t do this. And besides... If the teacher made her leave, she was still not passing the exam... she hadn’t studied enough, either. Was it worth even stepping inside the building?
Kaya halted in front of the doors and stared into the nothing. Her mind was a mess. Her scholarship depended on this grade and if she messed it up... Kaya didn’t even want to think about it.
“Hey... Why are you standing in front of the door like a lost puppy?”
A voice broke into her thoughts and Kaya jumped. She looked at the owner and saw a young man, probably a student like her. He was tall, blond and had mesmerizing dark eyes. They were almost black and they were... gaping at her. Suddenly, the stranger’s smile disappeared and his friendly, a bit flirtatious attitude changed. It became dark and almost sinister. His fists clenched and a muscle started ticking in his jaw.
He was angry.
“I... I’m sorry... I just...” Kaya tried to speak, but her words were cut by the slam of the door in front of her and the stranger disappearing down the hall.
She froze, flabbergasted. When she looked at her watch again, she knew it was late. Too late. This day was over for her.
Two months later
“Let’s eat!” Victoria cheered and grabbed her best friend’s arm.
“Fine, we’re going!” Kaya rolled her eyes and giggled “But this time you’re paying!”
“Again?!” the blonde woman whirled back and glared incredulously “I said I’m sorry so many times! Why do you have to remind me every single day I didn’t wake you for a stupid exam!”
“Two of them actually!” Kaya corrected, trying not to grin.
“I’m not your alarm clock! And you have a phone! Use it!”
“Oh, I wanted to, my alarm was set, but someone had forgotten to return my phone to me just because I lent it to help edit some photos! And then that person disappeared with it in a club!”
“Ugh! Fine! I’m guilty as charged and will buy you food for the rest of my life!” Vicky scoffed and sighed at the ceiling.
They entered the cafeteria and happily noticed the crowd on the line was still fairly small. It was always useful to leave class fifteen minutes before it ended. This almost guaranteed them they would get to eat cheap food and would find a place to sit.
“You don’t need to buy me food, just buy yourself a new phone! Your old one broke a long time ago!”
“Yeah, well, someday... It’s not that necessary to own a smartphone! It’s easier with real buttons! And... I need to first pay for my semester. And the rent... and the bills...” the blonde smiled but it quickly faded away, realizing all she had to do and fight for.
Kaya nudged her lightly.
“You’re not alone. I’ll help you with whatever I can. You know that very well.” she reassured, smiling at her roommate.
“You’re the best.” Victoria grinned, but her sadness still showed through her merry-go-lucky mask. It was starting to crack. It had always bothered her she was an orphan, left to rot on a street.
During lunch Kaya noticed something that attracted her attention immediately. She usually didn’t pay attention to people, but now, among the crowd of incoming students someone stood out to her. When she realized who it was, she bent over her plate and started stiffly putting food in her mouth.
“What’s wrong with you?” Victoria frowned and turned around. Her eyes searched the people in the big room and when they stumbled upon a figure, they started gleaming. Kaya was so easy to read. And she usually spilled everything to her friend, so the conclusion Vicky reached was even easier. And so obvious.
“Oh!” she ventured with a merry, mischievous tone. It was time for teasing.
“No!” Kaya scolded with a full mouth.
“Yes!” the blonde laughed “That’s the dude you met in front of the doors, right?! That helped you miss your exam! See, it’s not only my fault!”
“Stop it.” Kaya hissed “Come on, eat and let’s go!”
“I wanna talk to him!” Victoria said confidently and her words made her friend spit her food out. This, in return made the blonde burst out laughing. Her cheerful laughter filled the whole cafeteria and a few people looked at them.
This whole day Adrian had been feeling kind of bummed. The accidental meeting two months ago had taken most of his thoughts. He regretted running away from the girl, but he couldn’t just stand in front of her and puke his insides out. That’s what meeting her in person had done to him. But ever since then, he hadn’t even caught a glimpse of her. And she was about to die.
“I’m so freaking hungry!” Rick moaned “I can’t believe this queue! I’m telling you, dude, we had to go to the restaurant I was...”
Strong laughter attracted Adrian’s attention and his eyes automatically turned that way. His gray day was about to become colorful and exciting. His mission was standing right in front of his eyes. His jaw dropped, how could he miss that figure, hair, awkward, kind of shy position of the body? That was the girl. And the one, sitting in front of her was going crazy, laughing her ass off.
He swallowed and his palms became damp. This was it.
Adrian quickly reached the cashier and paid for his food, ignoring the words of his friend and everybody around him. He had to hurry.
“Is this seat taken?” Adrian asked, but didn’t wait for an invitation or confirmation and pulled the chair, sitting on it. Now that he was closer to the girl, just an arm away, he happily confirmed it was her. The one from his nightmares.
The blonde on his right stopped laughing and stared with a flabbergasted expression. It completely mirrored the one on the beauty Adrian had to save.
“It is now... I suppose.” the blonde ventured and pushed for him to say something.
“Yes, sorry. I just had to take it.” Adrian flashed a charming smile in her direction “I feel like I need to apologize to your friend for our first meeting.” he turned to Kaya now “I was just late for my exam and when I reached my room, I realized I might’ve been a bit too rude. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
Adrian hoped this would work. He had to bend the truth a bit, but it was all worth it. After he had thrown his guts up, he had spent more than half an hour on the floor in the bathroom. The shock from meeting her had been too strong. And maybe he had become afraid. He was determined to help, but seeing her in person had made him almost lose his mind.
“Oh...” Kaya ventured, speechless. This man made her guts wrench “It’s alright. I mean... big deal.” she waved her hand, hoping to look as natural as possible. It only made her friend bite her lip in hardly restrained laughter.
Kaya glared at Victoria and Adrian also looked at the blonde. Why did she look like she was about to suffocate from unspoken words?
“So, what’s your name?” the male returned his attention to Kaya and grinned.
“Um...” she ventured, not interested in sharing any personal details to him.
“That airhead is Kaya.” Victoria answered for her with a know-it-all look.
“Victoria!” Kaya hissed in annoyance.
“And, yeah, that’s my name! I’m glad you managed to remember it!” the blonde laughed again and her nonchalance hit a string in Adrian. She was a bit annoying and maybe a lot disrespectful.
“Well, nice to meet you, girls! My name is Adrian! I’m in my second year here, major Psychology.”
Another figure appeared by the table and the three of them looked at it.
“Hi, there.” Rick waved and smiled uncomfortably. He had never expected his best friend to be so open and aggressive at flirting with other women. Did he possibly know any of them?
“Come on. Sit, Rick.” Adrian smiled “He can, right?” he confirmed and smiled at the girls again.
“Sure.” Victoria said “What’s your name?” she asked and outstretched her arm to shake Rick’s one.
Unfortunately, she was the more outgoing one. This could turn out to be a hard task. Adrian glanced at Kaya again and noticed her distrustful eyes turn away from his direction.
“So, what do you say we go out this Friday?” Adrian asked when they stopped by the stairs to the cafeteria. The conversations during lunch had been too boring and Kaya had been silent almost all the time. If it came to that, Adrian knew he could be pushy and stubborn but why did it always have to turn to this? If his dreams of this girl had started appearing around three months ago, this meant she had too little time on this earth now. Usually, his visions became true in a matter of a month or at most two, and yet, Kaya was still here, alive. Maybe this was a chance for him to make something good? Maybe Fate had given him the opportunity to change a tragedy for the first time in his life?
His eyes bore impatiently at the brown-haired woman but she avoided his gaze again and weaved her fingers through a lock of her hair. That gesture was kind of cute, but as cold as an iceberg.
“Hell yes!” Victoria exclaimed and gestured excitedly “Where are we going?! Are there going to be any drinks?!”
“Of course! We’re going to a bar, after all.” Rick answered and glanced at his friend. This whole thing was so untypical for Adrian.
“Awesome! Give me your numbers!” the blonde took her phone out and unlocked it.
“Oh my god, I haven’t gone out with such cute boys in a long time!” Victoria cheered, her smile from ear to ear.
“Whatever. You go out every other night.” Kaya murmured, her mood sour.
“Oh, come on, Kays. What’s up with you? Why are you so grumpy?”
“I’m not grumpy.” she lifted her chin up in defiance and quickened her pace. Her steps echoed on the pavement on the small street.
“Oh, really?!” Victoria caught up to her and started ticking her ribs with her fingers.
Kaya jumped and started laughing, her eyes creasing by the impulsive behavior of her best friend. She loved that about Victoria.
“No. I’m not coming with you!” she said through laughs “Don’t you remember we had plans?!”
“What plans?” the blonde caught up to her friend and stared stubbornly “We can always watch movies at home and eat chips! We’ll do it on Saturday!”
“When a cute boy shows up in front of you, you forget everything else and go to have fun with him, huh? Am I not important anymore?” Kaya crossed her arms and raised a brow.
“So you admit you find him cute?” Victoria’s shiny eyes made the other female’s cheeks become rosy.
“Who?” Kaya retorted. She hated talking about her feelings or even admitting she had those. If it was shallow, like laughter, annoyance, it was easy. But to talk about something she might really like or enjoy was hard. It had always been.
“Don’t pretend you’re made of stone!” Victoria poked her “Adrian is absolute eye candy! He won’t be able to handle me if I get my hands on him!” she snickered and her friend chuckled at her absurdity.