“I see you’re already flirting with the new girl,” Azazel smirked at Cyrus, to which Cyrus responded by rolling his eyes. It was obvious they were good friends, and the intimidating presence of Azazel didn’t have any effect on Cyrus’ cool calm collected self. It was clear that Cyrus wasn’t flirting, he was just friendly and trying to welcome the new girl, but Azazel wouldn’t let the opportunity to tease his childhood friend slide.
“Shut up bro, it’s called being nice. Not that you’d be familiar with that,” Cyrus retorted back, his tone obviously joking yet still containing a hint of truth. He handed Lilith her cup of coffee and wrapped one arm around Azazel’s shoulders in a brotherly embrace, making him frown slightly at the unwanted contact. “Lilith, this is Azazel. Azazel, Lilith,” Cyrus introduced them while Lilith took a small sip from her coffee, keeping her green eyes locked with Azazel’s brown ones. She made sure he would know that she was annoyed with him, so she kept her gaze harsh and cold, even though she felt herself wanting to get lost in those deep pools of honey.
“You didn’t need to touch me, an ‘excuse me’ would’ve sufficed,” she stated, letting her words drip with irritation. Azazel cocked an eyebrow and a small smirk crept across his lips.
“Excuse me,” he said sarcastically, mocking her. She felt her face get hot again and opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted by Attorney Williams’ voice calling for Cyrus down the hall. Cyrus let out a sigh and said his goodbyes to the two enemies, feeling relieved he had an excuse to not be there during the ass beating his friend was about to receive. He quickly strolled out, leaving a heated Lilith and an amused Azazel alone together. Lilith noticed his mysterious eyes wander up and down her body, studying her and taking in her full appearance, pausing slightly when he noticed her fire red shoes. Is he judging me? She thought to herself and narrowed her eyes at him, suddenly feeling even more defensive. She crossed her arms over her small frame and opened her pouty lips to snap back at him, but he quickly cut her off.
“You seemed to enjoy it,” he grinned, making his way past her to make his own cup of dark liquid energy. What?
“Excuse me?” She exclaimed, offended and also slightly embarrassed that he was able to read right through her façade of pretending that she didn’t want him to touch her. After seeing how attractive the creep was, she didn’t feel very annoyed that he had touched her with those strong masculine hands of his. A feeling she was very much kicking herself for. She didn’t know this guy, what he did, what he was capable of, whether he was sexist or racist or all around a problematic individual. She shouldn’t be so accepting of a stranger touching her, even if it was just to gently nudge her out of the way so he could enter the public office kitchen.
“Oh, look who’s saying ‘excuse me’ now,” he chuckled, finding his own joke very amusing. The nerve of this guy.
“No, I don’t enjoy random strange men touching me without my consent, thank you very much,” she spat coldly, almost feeling like it was a lie considering that she did enjoy his touch.
“Whatever you say, Firecracker.” He stated smoothly, knowing this would cause the red on her face to deepen even more. He was right of course, and Lilith blushed even harder knowing that his not so cute little nickname was stemming from her red hot shoes, red hot face, and red hot temper. She let out a frustrated sigh and quickly turned on her heels, ready to abandon this conversation and get back to her ever piling mound of work. Yes, she would rather bury herself in dull paperwork than continue to stand in the presence of that arrogant Greek god. As she stormed out, she heard him chuckle once again, a deep rumbling she could easily get used to and felt as though she’d do anything to hear it.
Once she was back in the comfort of her own small office, she slumped back in her chair, willing herself to cool down and get her shit together. Why was she so flustered by this man? She had a boyfriend. A shitty one, but still a boyfriend, and she was no cheater. She wasn’t a cheater like Brenner…
She quickly pushed her thoughts regarding the opposite sex back to the far corners of her mind, refusing to fester on them any longer, and went back to her actual work. The day seemed to drag on as she worked her way through the sea of monotonous paperwork, and minutes felt like hours and hours felt like days. She checked the time on the vivid computer screen and noticed it was 12:32pm, finally lunchtime where she could have an hour to herself and relax a bit.
After wrapping up a few emails, Lilith grabbed her purse and phone and stood up, stretching her arms out and letting out a satisfactory sigh as she felt a few spots along her spine pop. She stepped out and glanced across the hall to Attorney Williams’ office, noticing that Azazel was also occupying the space. Her eyes narrowed with disdain, and she mentally kicked herself when she felt her heartbeat quicken the longer she stared at the man that was too handsome for his own good. Quickly, she pulled herself away and headed towards the exit, hoping to avoid any further interaction with anyone before she could make it to the safe space of her 2013 Honda Civic.
Pushing open the tinted black door to the outside world, Lilith grimaced as the unforgiving Southern heat collided with her cool fair skin, making her sweat almost instantaneously. The deafening screams of the cicadas filled the air, and a humid stale breeze gently whispered through the tall pines. Lilith gazed up at the clear blue sky and leisurely made her way to the car, her heels clicking against the rundown pavement. Maybe I should go there after work today… it’s been a while. She thought to herself, dreaming of her sacred secret place that no one knew about. A place where she could go and no one could find her, no one could yell at her, judge her, hurt her… A place where she was at peace.
She pulled open the car’s black door handle and plopped into the driver’s seat, letting out a huge sigh as she closed her eyes while leaning back into the hot leather. She quickly turned on the car and blasted the AC, desperately needing to cool down in more ways than one. Realizing she didn’t have any food with her, she groaned and reluctantly pulled out of her parking space, heading to the nearest fast food restaurant to grab a quick meal. After about 30 minutes of driving, eating, and driving back to work, she was back in the same parking spot listening to her regular classical music. With her seat leaned back and eyes closed, she felt herself almost drifting off to sleep, until a sudden loud knocking on her window startled her out of her relaxed state. She gasped lightly as her eyes shot to the clear glass next to her, staring directly into those gorgeous pulls of honey that she loved yet hated so much. Her eyes narrowed as she rolled down her window a couple of inches. “What do you want?” She hissed, annoyed but also intrigued as to why Azazel was standing next to her car, peering in, grinning at her with those perfectly pearly whites. A part of her felt excited that he was there, actively trying to get her attention, but the logical part of her wanted him to go away forever.
“Do you always sleep in your car during lunch?” He asked with a chuckle, slipping his hands in the front pockets of his slacks. “Come on, let’s get lunch together.” She stared at him dazed and confused with wide eyes at his last sentence, her mouth slightly dropping, wondering if she had heard him correctly. Uhh, what?
“I already ate,” she said firmly, but a bit of disappointment and hint of whine slipped over her words. She almost wanted to go to lunch with him, get to know him, talk about their interests, hear his laugh and watch those muscles flex underneath his tight shirt…
“Okay,” he shrugged nonchalantly. “Tomorrow then,” he smirked and turned, walking away from her before she could protest and headed to his own vehicle; a flashy, brand new Corvette. Of course he has a fucking Corvette. She rolled her eyes and sunk a little further down in her seat, trying to calm her raging heartbeat that she didn’t even realize was racing. Her stomach twisted in knots when thoughts of Brenner surfaced in her mind, knowing she wouldn’t be able to tell him about this. There’s no way he’d ever allow her to go to lunch with a guy, especially a guy that looked the way Azazel looked. She’d never hear the end of it, and he’d use it against her for the rest of her life, even though he was the one she caught cheating multiple times. Her heart ached at the memories of him cheating and she closed her eyes, willing herself to push the painful thoughts towards the back of her mind. She’d rather ignore the issues than confront them, although she felt her patience growing thinner and thinner and she wondered how much longer it would last until her sanity completely snapped. She often debated breaking up with him, wanting to stop the pain, wanting to move forward with her life and maybe getting a chance at actually being happy, but there was always something holding her back. What if she couldn’t find someone else? What if she couldn’t afford to live on her own? What if she ended up more miserable than she was now just staying with Brenner? Her “what ifs” always held her back, but as thoughts of Azazel slowly crept through her mind she suddenly felt as though she had a new reason to be single.
Annoyed, she shut her car off and pushed her door open, just wanting to get the day over with so she could go to her secret location and have time to think. She walked back inside and sat down in her office, hoping to distract herself with work. Her method was successful and before she knew it, it was already 4:52. Finally. She locked her computer and took a look over her desk, feeling accomplished that the giant mound of paperwork was now only a small manageable pile. She gathered her things and stepped out of her office, flicking off the lights behind her before making her way to Attorney Williams’ office to check one last time if he needed anything. His office light was already off and he was nowhere to be found, so she shrugged and headed towards the exit instead.
Once in her car, she pulled out her phone to check if any form of life had decided to contact her within the past several hours, but the screen was empty. Feeling relieved that she didn’t have to talk to Brenner, she decided to head to her secret oasis, a place she used to frequent every day before she started dating Brenner. Now he would always hound her and interrogate her if she ever went anywhere for “too long,” a form of projection since he was the one that was always up to no good. Lilith had never cheated or done anything to break the trust and loyalty between them, yet he would still accuse her with ridiculous claims and she never felt like dealing with it, so she just stopped doing the things she loved in order to please him. She gripped the steering wheel tightly and felt herself getting angry at the thought. She used to be so strong, would never let a man tell her what to do, would never lose herself over a man, yet here she was, secretly driving to a hidden location to get away from life, and she’d have to come up with some sort of excuse to tell him so he wouldn’t fly into a raging fury. Although he had never physically hurt her, the emotional and mental abuse was more than enough, and the walls and furniture of their small house would appreciate being spared.
Finally, she pulled onto a small dirt road that was infrequently traveled and got out the car. She wouldn’t be able to drive the rest of way due to narrow passage and thick woods blocking entry, not wanting anyone to know its secrets. After a few minutes of crunching leaves and ducking under rogue branches, she was met face to face with her beloved location; a beautiful abandoned junkyard. She smiled softly to herself and let out a content sigh, taking off her wedges as she started climbing down into the pit of old furniture, broken toys, wood scraps, and all forgotten items that most people would label as “trash,” but to Lilith it was heaven.
The old junkyard was rarely frequented now, but it used to be the town’s main garbage dump before the population started growing. Sometimes a new item will occasionally pop up, mostly by the few people that still lived around the area, but for the most part it was always vacant. It was also a literal pit, a giant hole in the ground that people would need to climb down in order to access which isn’t the safest way to throw out old couches and dismembered car parts, especially when those people were probably in their 70s.
Lilith made her way over an old fridge, a few tires, dressers, and other miscellaneous wooden items before she reached her main destination, an old beat up van that was tucked away and slightly buried under the household rubble. This van was her home away from home, a place she had cleaned out and decorated herself to make it more hospitable. Not like she’d ever have any guests. Sliding open the van’s rusty door, she waved the dust away from her face and let out a few coughs, squinting her eyes to protect them from the neglect that had set into her precious home. It was dark, and the slowly setting sun didn’t help. She pulled out her phone and turned the flashlight mode on, instantly filling the dark and dusty vehicle with the eerie artificial light. Everything was exactly as she had left it, minus the nice coating of dust and dirt, and she stepped in to turn on the cordless storm lantern that was sitting on top of a few boxes. Amazingly it still had power, and she turned off her phone light to replace it with the new softer one.
After several minutes of dusting and cleaning what she could, she settled on the small twin mattress that took up most of the vans space. When she first found this place, she spent months completely renovating the entire van, tearing out the seats and replacing its typical car parts with comfortable home items. Instead of seats there was now a mattress, along with a small makeshift nightstand that consisted of a few boxes and a delicate piece of lace fabric to cover it. The rest of the van consisted mainly of strange items she had collected from the junkyard and felt an attachment to, so she gave them a home inside the protection of the vehicle’s shell. There were a few broken dolls, most of which were creepy as all hell and anyone with a sane mind would grimace and throw them out immediately, but to her they were adorable. A few old records were scattered across the ground, and in the corner laid a pile of magazines and posters.
She leaned back onto the vans warm door and gazed out the window across from her, admiring the tall, thick pine trees as they gently swayed in the breeze. The cicada’s cries were all around her, drowning out any other noises and beckoning her to stay. She was already sweating even though she hadn’t even been out there for 30 minutes, but that was the joy of August weather in the South. She made a mental note to get a cordless fan for the hot stuffy van, and laid down on the stale mattress, grateful for the occasional breeze that would blow through the windows. It was already dusk out, and it would soon be completely pitch black except for the dim light of the stars that would litter the night sky, and the luminosity of the moon. I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes. She thought to herself, not ready to leave just yet but knowing that she would need to leave soon in order to beat the darkness and avoid conflict with her boyfriend.
But as she laid there listening to the lullaby of the cicadas, she felt herself slipping deeper and deeper into the warm embrace of sleep, and before she knew it the world around her grew darker and darker. It wasn’t until the sound of a piercing scream ripped through the trees, disturbing the eerie silence of the woods, that she jolted awake in shock, fear replacing her comfort. The scream dissipated into the darkness, leaving her completely alone in silence. The cries of the cicadas disappeared long ago, and all she could hear was the sound of her own pounding heart.