Mr. Lawyer

The second the heel of his shoe came in contact with the concrete in a resounding click, all eyes flew to catch a glimpse of him.

The man had anticipated this. He stood out among the crowd like a gold coin would in a pile of drab, lackluster pennies. While the women around him wore faded, orange jumpsuits, he was adorned in a three piece suit that was the color of the stormy clouds hanging ominously in the sky. While their bare, grimy feet remained unsheltered to the harsh elements, his were encased in expensive dark leather. And while their faces exhibited a distrustful glower, his held a professional smile.

It was fortunate for the man that their had been cell bars between him and the females, or he might find himself in a morgue by the end of the day.

An elderly woman with a golden badge perched on her shoulder hobbled over to him.

“Are you Michelle Anderson’s attorney?”
The man did not even bother verbally responding to her inquiry. Instead, he simply flashed the tiny emblem pinned to his collar. The guard, noting the set of scales etched into the metal, unlocked the fortified door into the interrogation room. As the man entered, he swore her heard the woman mumbling under her raspy breath, though he could only catch the words “audacity” and “whippersnapper”.

As he entered the room composed of four stony slabs of concrete, he heard a perpetual, mechanical ticking. Glancing up at the wall, he noticed that the analog clock on the wall displayed the time 6:30 PM. Normally, when the hands of the clock were in this position, he would be setting the table, greedily awaiting his wife’s cooking.

It was a shame he had to be here when he could be at home with her, but it would be over soon enough.

The man then turned to the woman sitting at the table, eyes flickering to the shiny cuffs on her wrists, connecting her to the table.

Pasty skin framed by wrinkles and furious brown eyes circled by dark rings, she held the atmosphere of a caged predator who was itching for the chance to dig her claws into fresh meat. The way she analyzed his every move with a distasteful glower plastered on her face made him think that he was her next prey.

Though the man did not tremble at this thought, nor did his masterful mask falter. He slid with ease into the chair, noting the way the table wobbled on the shortest leg as he placed his briefcase on the unsteady surface.

“Hello, Mrs. Anderson. Your father had contacted me and requested for me to represent you in court.” He began, his cheery voice not missing a beat as he opened his briefcase and fiddled with its contents. “Now, what were your charges again? Second-degree murder?

“Voluntary manslaughter.”

The man gave an apologetic smile. “Thats right; it slipped my memory. I apologize for my blunder.”

The woman ignored his polite attempts to converse. “Just get me out of this mess.”

He pulled out a ream of pristine, white paper with her name printed at the top in bolded, black letters.

“Of course, of course, Mrs. Anderson, but I do need to know the circumstances around the crime. I have skimmed through the case files, but,” The lawyer leaned in, resting his chin on his palm.

“I would rather hear the details from you.”

“Well, that sucks for you, Mr. Lawyer,” Michelle sneered, as if she could not think of something more horrendous or slanderous than calling someone an attorney. “Because I just can’t seem to remember.”

The man appeared outwardly unfazed by the prisoner’s ill-mannered comment.

“Well then, I’ll just have to jog your memory, will I not?”

His eyes began skimming through the case files.

“At 6:00 A. M. on a Sunday, a thirty-five year old woman was killed in her apartment building. From the autopsy report, the forensic scientists at the precinct determined that it was blunt trauma from the back of the head that ended her life. I believe the woman name was Katherine? Katrina?”

“Katerina.”

“Oh, yes. I remember now. Katerina Goodman. I believe in the report it stated that she was recently married?”

The woman rolled her eyes. “Why should I care?”

The man’s demeanor faltered slightly. “Well it always sad when something like‒”

Michelle glared at him.

“Look here Mr. Lawyer. You are supposed to be worrying about me, defending me, not some dead tramp. Got it?

The lawyer’s smile returned, but it seemed almost forced now.

“Yes, of course. I apologize, Mrs. Anderson.”

Michelle scoffed. “How many more question do you got?”

“Just one more, Mrs. Anderson.”

She let out a weary sigh. “Just get on with it.”

“Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”

Michelle facial expression did not change. “I don’t feel like telling you that.”

“Mrs. Anderson, I know this must be difficult for you, but I need for you to tell me the truth. No matter how you respond, I give you my most sincere word that I will be with you in court. So I will repeat my question: Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”

Now, Michelle Anderson has never been a particularly trusting person. She did not trust her father, her mother, her sister. No one. But there was something in the way the lawyer spoke that compelled her to spill everything to him.

But she didn’t. Or at least, not all the gritty details.

“Yes.”

At that’s where everying thing changed.

The warmth in the man’s face went cold and the friendliness went hostile.

“That’s all I needed to hear.”

Opening his briefcase, the lawyer pulled out a small, black device.

It was a recorder.

Michelle felt the rage burning up in her as he hit a button, turning off the machine.

“You were recording this?”

The man did bother responding as he slipped the recorder back into his case and swiftly made for the door.

“Wait, wait! What are you doing?”

The man did not even bother turning around. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to present this to the police.”

“But you promised. You promised that you would defend me! You promised that you would get me a ‘not guilty’ verdict!”

“I remember no such thing. I said that I would stand by you in court. And I will. On the witness stand.”

The woman felt her body tremble in a mixture of fury and fear. “You’re a liar, Mr. Lawyer. A terrible, filthy liar!”

This time, when the man responded, he whipped around to face her.

“I would rather be branded a liar rather than a defender of a cold-blooded killer.”

Michelle recoiled. There was no love in his eyes; only pure hatred.

The following words passed through her lips without her mind’s consent.

“I trusted you, Mr. Lawyer, so why? Why would you do this?”

The man’s professional smile returned, but, rather than comforting her, it sent chills down Michelle’s spine.

“Mr. Lawyer? Oh, how rude of me! I never introduced myself, did I?”

He extended his hand spitefully, as if taunting her and her restrictions. She had not noticed it before, but there was a gold band resting on his left ring finger.

“My name is Randy Goodman. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Eggplant

“What do you mean you’re cutting me off!?”

An outraged roar echoed through the living room as a man hastily jumped to his feet. He was either so absorbed in his anger that he did not notice, or so absorbed in his anger that he did not care, but as he rose, he had knocked over a photo of a man offering a elegant golden band to a woman overwhelmed with joyful tears, causing a jagged crack to abruptly split the couple apart.

Jacqueline cautiously placed her delicate hand over his, and he could feel her hand trembling like a sole leaf in a hurricane of horror.

“Kale, sweetheart, I know how hard it will be to quit, but we can’t afford to keep doing this anymore. If you’ll just consider rehab, I know that‒‒”

Kale let out a cacophonous wail as her forcibly thrusted Jacqueline away from him, not even sparing a glance as she let out a yelp of pain.

“No, no! You can’t do this to me, Jacqueline! You can’t, you can’t, you can’t!”

His eyes, filled with the hysterics of addiction and outlined with the dark rings of insomnia, captured hers as her seized her by her shoulders and hauled her to her feet.

“Honey, baby, you can’t do this to me!”

“Kale, you’re hurting me. Please stop.”

“Please, baby, don’t do this to me! You can’t do this to me.”

Kale’s unrelenting pleads consisting of the words “Can’t,” “Don’t,” and “Baby” slurred together in a dissonance of despair as his grip on her loosened somewhat, exposing dark, purple discoloration on her gaunt skin, dubiously in the shape of a handprint.

“Kale…” The discordant uproar was silenced by her words, trailing off with on a tender, harmonious note.

“Kale, we really can’t do this anymore. Look at the state were living in! Shambles of what could have been and still could be a brilliant life. We just need to pick the pieces up together. After all…” She inhaled a breath of courage before continuing. “We want the best for our little Junior, right?”

The silence that hung in the air threatened to suffocate her. Her knees trembled more than before and threatened to collapse under the constant pounding of her heart beat.

“You’re pregnant?

Her throat was too parched to respond, so instead she gave a slight nod of her head.

“I don’t understand why that means I have to quit.”

It took a long time before the meaning of his words finally registered in her mind.

“What do you mean you don’t understand?” She croaked, forcing the words through her constricted throat.

“I shouldn’t have to stop smoking just because you’re having a child.”

Something inside of Jacqueline snapped. She wasn’t sure what it was, desperation, hormones, parental instincts. Maybe a combination of a three. Nevertheless, nothing at that moment could stop the tsunami of thoughts from flooding out of her mouth.

“This isn’t just my child! This is our child; this is your child! Does that not mean anything to you? We should be discussing names or education plans now, not about your addiction! I know you had a rocky start with awful parents, Kale. We both did. But this is a chance to succeed where our parents failed. Don’t you want to give this child an opportunity, a chance?

“Of course I do! But that doesn’t mean—”

“Yes it does, Kale! It means you have to quit! I’m not going to support your habit anymore!”

Bang

Kale’s fingers trembled around the trigger of the gun as Jacqueline’s, and her unborn child’s, lifeless body unceremoniously hit the floor. Since the floorboards were rotten and long since warped, all of her blood pooled into a vicious crimson puddle and they splashed all over his boots as her walked over to the corpse. His fingers still trembled was he searched her person, though it was neither from remorse or despair. They trembled out of relief. For finally, finally, he would be able to get his fix: eggplant.

Parallelism

A British teenager sat at a school desk, absentmindedly twirling a mechanical pencil between her fingers, noting how the light reflected off the neon pink plastic.

“I really hope I passed.” She whispered under her breath to the blonde student sitting next to her.

Her classmate offered a grin of reassurance before turning back to his math assignment.

“Student number twenty-eight, please approach the front desk.”

The girl casually sauntered over to the instructor, the sound of her high-heeled boots drowned out by the trivial chatter of her classmates.

The man behind the counter, adorned in thick, horn rimmed glasses, handed over a manilla envelope.

The girl took a moment to inhale before she tore it open.

“No, this can’t be!” The girl exclaimed, disappointment tinting her tone. “How could I have failed?”

The student turned to the instructor with doleful eyes. “Surely you must’ve made some sort of mistake?”

The instructor gave an apologetic grin. “I am sorry, student number twenty-eight, but it appears that you failed your exam.”

“But you don’t understand,” the girl whined. “I really needed to pass.”

“You may sit down now, student number twenty-eight.”

Stomping her foot in defiance, the girl turned on her heel and stormed back to her seat.

“My parents are going to kill me.”

A Russian teenager sat at a mahogany desk, anxiously twirling a stiletto between her fingers, noting how the light reflected off of the edge of the blade.

“I really hope I passed.” She whispered under her breath to a blonde assassin sitting next to her.

Her classmate offered her a cold glare before returning back to his victim’s autopsy report.

“Hitman number twenty-eight, please approach the front desk.”

The girl stiffly traipsed over to the instructor, the sound of her knife-heeled boots echoed in the silence of her classmates.

The man behind the counter, adorned in opaque, black shades, handed over a manilla envelope.

The girl took a moment to inhale before she tore it open.

“No, this can’t be!” The girl exclaimed, desperation tinting her tone. “How could I have failed?”

The assassin turned to the instructor with hysterical eyes. “Surely you must’ve made some sort of mistake?”

The instructor face show no sympathy. “I am sorry, hitman number twenty-eight, but it appears that you failed your exam.

“You don’t understand!” The girl pleaded. “I really needed to pass.”

“You may sit down now, hitman number twenty-eight.

Letting out an involuntary sob, the girl turned around and staggered back to her seat.

“My parents are going to kill me.”

A Fated Encounter

I snickered knowingly when I feel his eyes burn into my back yet again. I whipped my head around to meet his gaze; fiery amber eyes clashing with startled brown ones. He was definitely not expecting me to notice him and was quite embarrassed. It was painfully evident by him hurriedly casting his gaze to the ground, suddenly more interested in the trash littering the area than in me.

I was still in awe that I was even at this concert. Liquid Lagoon performances almost always sell out the moment they go on sale. It seemed fate was on my side though; a radio show was giving away a ticket to their concert here, and I happened to be lucky caller number seven. Unfortunately, with only a single ticket, I was unable to attend this concert with Russell. However, I now wonder if that was what people would call a ‘blessing in disguise’. After all, this attractive guy was checking me out, and no one was here to stop me.

I quickly finished off the rest of my drink and started to walk towards him, my bright red hair swishing in its long ponytail. He was still gazing intently at the ever-so-fascinating plastic bottles and burger wrappers that littered the dull concrete flooring, so when I went to introduce myself, he practically fainted in shock.

“Wow, I didn’t know I looked that bad,” I said teasingly.

“No!” He blurted out in a flustered frenzy as he tried to recollect himself in vain. “Not at all! You’re beautiful!” The instant those words left his mouth, his blush brightened tenfold.

I gave him the most charming smile that I could manage. “You think I’m beautiful? That’s so sweet.” I slid into the seat next to him as I extended my hand.

“My name’s Anna.”

He ogled at my perfectly manicured, crimson nails, his mouth gaping open in a stupidly adorable manner. I giggled flirtatiously as I asked him what his name was.

“Oh! M-my name is Shawn,” he stutters out hastily and awkwardly shakes my hand. I take this moment to scan over him myself.  My eyes were immediately drawn to a glint of gold that flickered under the stage lights and I noticed a rolex watch sitting elegantly on his wrist, signifying that must have a decent bit of cash. I couldn’t help the thrill rushing through my veins with the knowledge of this fact. He has black, unkempt hair that looked strikingly dark against his pale complexion. He possessed a rather sinewy physique that normally would not fit into the criteria I had with men, but I contemplated making an exception for him, just this once. Besides, Russell was a huge muscle head and to be honest, that got quite boring very quickly. I think the most distinguishing feature about him, however, had to be his eyes. It was difficult to get a long, hard look at them, with them darting all over the place as he refused to meet my gaze. However, when the strobe lights from the stage hit them in a certain manner, I could see tints of amber flare up in his rich, chestnut eyes.

Disturbed by the silence that hung in the air between us, Shawn began to ask me questions about myself. Like what my favorite food was, where I was from, if I had a boyfriend (which I said ‘no’, and it’s technically not a lie; Russell and I are engaged to be married this summer).

After he was through with his trivial interrogation, Shawn offered to buy me a drink, which surprised me. After all, I had just met him and the beverages at this concert were outrageously expensive. Nonetheless, I eagerly accepted his offer.

He gave me endearing, affectionate smile and promised me he’d be right back. After he walked off I began to wonder how lonesome my paramour must be right about now. Not that I actually cared. Russell and I had been dating for only six months before he proposed, and I couldn’t help but pity the fool.

To be honest, I never really even liked him. I liked his face. I mean, who wouldn’t. He had long, dirty blonde hair that brushed his shoulders. That coupled with his icy blue eyes and muscle-bound body; it was enough to make any girl swoon.  I was never serious about him, and I didn’t think he was serious about me, up until the day he proposed. I told myself I would never get married, never get tied down to a single man, but then I took a look at the ring he was offering me. Several sparkling diamonds were elegantly placed to form a single, stunning rose. It looked glamorous. It looked expensive.

I said yes.

“Anna…? Anna!”

I was ripped out of my thoughts by a gentle voice calling out my name in a fluster. I looked up to see Shawn, holding two unopened cans, with his eyebrows furrowed in concern.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah, just…thinking.”

He then looked at me with a sincere look in his sepia eyes that made my heart pound erratically in my chest

“You wanna talk about it?”

The look on his face was so real, so genuine that I almost felt guilty about deceiving him. Almost.

“The only thing I want to talk about is you, Shawn.”

Shawn then gave me a sheepish smile as a light pink shade dusted across his pastel cheeks. And as our conversation progressed onwards, both he and I began to forget about the insignificant thoughts that had previously pestered me.

As we chatted away about trivial things, I couldn’t help but realize that this was the best I’ve felt in a long time. Shawn just had this aura around him. I felt I could tell him anything and he would listen to every word I said, no matter how obscure or insignificant they might seem. Countless times that night I find myself wanting to tell him about my predicament with Russell, but managed to halt myself before the words would spill out of my mouth. I was never this undisciplined before and it slightly disturbed me that my guard had somehow lowered without my acknowledgement.  It was as if I was getting more and more intoxicated with each and every enticing word that was spoken with his alluring voice.

As the sun set even further into the indigo sky, Shawn decided to vocalize his inquiry about my profession.

“Yeah I do make a lot of money,” I blurt out elegantly and a little too loudly. I guess I might have drank a little too much, but right now I couldn’t care less “My job is so stressful, and this is the first day off I had in such a long time.”

“Really? Where do you work?” Shawn asks, intrigued.

“I’m a marketing manager at Holland Incorporated,” I lie as I reached for my drink.

In reality, I didn’t work at all. Russell was the marketing manager at Holland. But even if I was a slightly out of my right mind this evening, I still possessed enough common sense not to tell him about that little factoid.

“Gosh,” he says incredulously. “IA job like that must pay really well.”

“It does,” I declare arrogantly. “And I’m a pretty big deal there, too.”

After a moment in silence, I decided to turn the tables, “So where do you work?”

He timidly casts his gaze to the ground as he mumbles, “Nowhere special.”

“Really? Well that Rolex watch says otherwise.”

He keeps his head down as he muttered a single word: “Bag boy.”

It took all my concentration not to show my utter repulsion. He worked at a grocery store. That simply means this wasn’t going to last as long as I would have liked.

After the concert finished, he offered to accompany me to my hotel. He said he just didn’t feel right letting a young woman go home alone at 1:00 am, especially since I was inebriate. So we got into his truck and drove to the hotel I was staying at. The entire car drive back was just me trying not to regurgitate all over his seats, not that it would make much of a difference. His truck was completely filthy and not the kind of car I was used to driving in.

When we arrived at the luxurious, 5-star hotel, he helped me out like a perfect gentleman. I began to walk towards the revolving front doors when Shawn gently grabbed my wrist to stop me.

“Um, Anna?”

I turn around to face him. “What is it?”

“Could I give you a hug good-bye? I mean, if it makes you uncomfortable then you don’t-”

I cut off his incoherent rambling as I whisper, “I would like that.”

It was so like him to give such an innocent request, and I just couldn’t stop myself. When our embrace ended, I ended up giving him a peck on the cheek. After that, he quickly stumbled into his truck and drove off. I, on the other hand, quickly stumbled into my hotel room and fell into a state of unconsciousness.

I was woken up by a pounding throb in my head, pulsating in a constant rhythm. I groaned as I hauled myself out of bed and forced myself to pack up my bags. I then trudged my way down to the receptionist’s desk, and was repulsed by her gleeful tone.

“How was your stay here ma’am?” I grunted in response.

She then asked for my payment. I lazily looked in my purse for my wallet, eyes widening to the size of saucers  when I couldn’t find it. I checked and checked until eventually I panicked and dumped out my purse all over the front desk. In sheer horror I discovered that not only was my wallet missing, but my car keys as well.

The receptionist addressed me again, only this time, a lot less pleased. “Your payment ma’am?”

Without even bothering with a response, I ran to the parking lot, only to freeze in absolute horror. There, in the parking lot, was Shawn, gold Rolex watch shining on his wrist, elegant like always, chatting with a brunette, in a bright red mustang convertible. My car.

When Shawn spotted me, I noticed that his warm, sincere eyes were nowhere to be found. Instead, they were full with sarcastic sympathy, as if to say “Sucks to be you.” Then he put his arm over the brunette and sped off.

As I stood there dumbstruck, one thought echoed throughout my mind, starting of in a silent sorrowful whisper, and gradually growing louder and louder until it could no longer be contained by my mouth as I let a single phrase pass through the confinement of my lips.

‘What will Russell say?’

An Average High School Love Story

Jordan was just your average cheerleader and Taylor your average quarterback. Since they day their eyes had first lock together in an accidental gaze from across the hallway, they have been as close as close can be. They went to movies together, they went to dinner together, they even went stargazing together. They were not together, however. And though they had a perfectly content friendship, one person wanted that title to change. Drastically. 

“I wonder if this is really a good idea,” Jordan mumbled, rolling the pencil back and forth between two fingers with eyebrows furrowed in apprehension.

Although Jordan has always been rather close to Taylor ever since the athlete had migrated from Texas during their sophomore year, it was not enough for the cheerleader. Sure, Jordan absolutely adored talking to Taylor for hours on end, staring deeply into those brown eyes that twinkled when talking about the American sport played with a pigskin ball, but it left a bittersweet aftertaste inside the senior’s mouth. The teenager simply wanted something more; something to satisfy the insatiable quench inside.

However, Taylor was very exceedingly dense, if Jordan wanted to place it in a way that would leave all egos intact. The quarterback was just unable to catch even the boldest of Jordan’s flirtatious hints, when nothing was done to conceal their true intentions.

“You know, Taylor, I think you look super hot.”

“Yeah, coach made us run ten laps today, and it was ninety degrees outside! Can you believe it?”

Jordan really could not.

Nevertheless, on this very Tuesday afternoon, Jordan had decided to turn up the heat a few notches to get a certain point across.

Taking in a breath of courage to ease the raging nerves, Jordan hastily reaches for the bedazzled cellphone from the lunchroom table and dialed a number that has long since been branded on the inside of the teenager’s mind. 

“Taylor, I was hoping you could come meet me for lunch? I’m in the cafeteria. Same spot as usual.”

After hearing an affirmative from the other end of the line, all Jordan could do now was wait and attempt to quell the butterflies fluttering within. Jordan’s critical fear now, besides rejection, was the cowardice retreat that would reset all the progress put towards this moment.

Luckily, it was not a long wait, or that option may have become the chosen path.

“You needed me?”

Jordan jumped from the uncomfortable chair in fright, though this feeling was only settled somewhat when the cheerleader saw Taylor leaning a toned arm across the mahogany desk, the athlete’s golden locks brushing against broad, sun kissed shoulders. Jordan’s voice hitched and the teenager temporarily forgot how to breathe.

“So, you needed me?”

The smooth, silky voice drew Jordan away from the trance.

“Um…well….you see,” The senior attempted to turn the incoherent stuttering into eloquent conversation, but it ended up as a mutant combination of the pair.

Thrusting a sole crimson rose forward, Jordan hastily blurted out the question.

“Will you go to prom with me?”

 Taylor’s eyebrows rose in suspicion. “You want to go to prom. With me?”

Irritation and embarrassment boiled up in Jordan’s veins. “That’s what I just said. Look, maybe you should just forget‒”

The cheerleader was unable to finished the statement, as two calloused hands enveloped the petite frame and drew Jordan into Taylor’s chest.

“You always do this, twisting my words around. Of course I want to go with you, but I would have never thought you would want to go with me. I mean, you’re so beautiful and delicate, and I’m just a rugged brute.”

“Don’t be stupid, Taylor. I’ve wanted to do this since the moment we met.”

The corners of Taylor’s mouth drew upwards. “Then I would be honored to go to prom with you, Jordan.”

Palms sweating, heart pounding. Did Jordan look alright? The cheerleader had spent two hours on hair alone, but what if Taylor didn’t like the style? Not to say that Taylor was a shallow person who judged on looks alone, but this was prom. If the teenager couldn’t look prim and proper now, what would Taylor think? That Jordan was a slob? The thought alone sent a chill running up and down the senior’s spine

However, when Taylor rung Jordan’s doorbell, grasping the car keys with trembling fingers, the athlete’s mouth hung open in awe.

Jordan knew it; the hair was all wrong, the outfit was all wrong, the‒

“You’re absolutely stunning, Jordan.”

Jordan locked eyes with Taylor, searching for any polite deceit that the football player might feel obligated to give. “Do you really mean that?”

“Yes.” Nothing but honesty.

After the ten minute drive to the gymnasium listening to cheesy country love songs (Taylor insisted that this is what ‘quality music’ sounded like and that the techno mumbo-jumbo was just bullcrap), they had finally arrived at the destination of their first official date. Jordan was ecstatic.

Taylor was even more perfect than usual to Jordan and treated the cheerleader as royalty. The quarterback held the door for Jordan, got refreshments for Jordan, and stayed by Jordan’s side the entire evening, even when Taylor’s teammates wanted their captain to go out with them to watch a game. It felt like a fairytale dream, and Jordan hoped to never wake up.

They were absorbed in a conversation about trivial matters when a magnified voice boomed through the speakers.

“Hey Hovland Seniors! If you all gather by the stage, we’ll announce this year’s prom king and queen.”

A flash of recognition flare up in Taylor’s eyes. “I hadn’t even thought about prom king and queen!”

A smile played on Jordan’s lips as the cheerleader imagined what they would look like in those cheap, plastic crowns.

Now intrigued Jordan grabbed Taylor’s hand and pushed through the sea of bodies to get to the front of the gymnasium with just barely enough time to hear the results.

“This year’s prom king is…”

The man on stage ripped opened the manila envelope.

“Our cheer captain, Jordan Ritchell!”

Jordan’s feet felt frozen in place until Taylor gave him a firm shove from behind. 

“Go on, get on stage!” 

Cautiously placing one foot in front of the other in an attempt to not stumble in front of the entire student body, Jordan eventually found his way onto the stage. As he looked into the roaring crowd, the glaring spotlights cause his vision to temporarily become blotched. They only thing he could distinctly make out was two brown eyes, peering up at him with nothing short of admiration.

“And this year’s prom queen is…”

Jordan drew in a sharp breath.

“Our quarterback, Taylor McCay.”

The force of the applause caused the floor to rumble as Taylor all but ran up the stage, almost tripping over the third step. She did not rush to the announcer’s side to receive her tiara, but instead came immediately to Jordan. She grasped his hand and intertwined their fingers together. 

“Taylor? What are you doing, you need to‒”

Warmth. This was the first though that fluttered through Jordan’s mind. Taylor’s lips were pressed against his. Taylor was kissing him.

Taylor moved away and pulled Jordan’s head towards her shoulder in an embrace.

Her breath gently caressed his ear as she whispered, “I love you, King Jordan Ritchell.”

The confession Jordan made next was not spoken with his vocal chords; it was spoken with his heart.

“I love you too, my queen.”

… 

As you can see, there was nothing out of the ordinary when it came to this love stricken couple. Jordan, he was just your average cheerleader and Taylor, she was just your average quarterback.

Stress Reliever

I give a sigh of content as I continue my stroll down the forest path. It was so nice to get away from the busy city and into a quieter atmosphere. I’ve had late hours and early mornings at work. My boss hasn’t exactly helped either; all he seems to do is yell at me for everything I did. I hated him with a burning passion blazing through my heart. But alas, I was in my favorite place. Here, all the stress weighing me down was gone.

The fact that I’m dragging a dead body behind me should be irrelevant.

Together Forever

I woke up with a constant throb hammering in my head. I groan as I shift around; my hand brushing against something pleasantly warm. I sluggishly awaken to see an unfamiliar woman sitting beside me, concern tinting her auburn eyes. I forage through my brain for information on who she was and discovered I couldn’t remember anything. Only my name: John Heisenburg. My heart began to race as I hastily sat up, only to wince as I felt the white-hot ache rush through my head.

“Woah, easy there,” the girl said as she tried to coax me back into the bed.

I frantically began to spew out questions, my mind clouded in a delirious, frenzied haze.

“Where am I? Who are you?”

The girl’s face fell as a defeated look of disappointment passed through her eyes. “Do you really not remember me?”

My mind was shocked out of its hectic state when I saw the sincere sorrow on her face, and I immediately felt guilty for interrogating her. The girl noticed my remorseful expression, so she gave me a stunning smile that almost took my breath away.

“The doctor said you might have memory loss. My names Kaley; I’m your girlfriend.”

“My what!?” I squeaked, my voice jumping an octave higher as she giggles sweetly at my reaction.

There was no way this girl was my girlfriend. She looked like a model or some famous actress who belonged on the big screen, not by my side. She had jet-black hair that just barely brushed her shoulders and alluring amber eyes that glistened like a refined jewel under the sunlight filtering in through the open window. She had a perfect hourglass figure and, like a divine deity that descended from the heavens, held an aura of elegance around her. How was I supposed to believe she was my girlfriend?

She saw the bewildered expression plastered on my face and began to explain. “I know it must come as a shock, but we’ve actually been dating for around three years now. I can still remember the day we met as vividly as if it happened yesterday. I was a freshman in college and you were a sophomore. I was walking to my class one day and you were in such a rush that you crashed into me, spilling your steaming hot coffee all over my favorite white dress. You felt so horrible that you refused to stop apologizing to me for days on end. Eventually, you decided to make it up to me by taking me out shopping to buy a new one. Then our relationship just kind of happened from there.”

I flipped through my mental memory scrapbook for any of these pleasant experiences, but my mind came up disappointingly blank. She noticed my frustration and gently grabbed my rather large hand with her own delicate, dainty palm.

“It’s ok, John. If you really can’t remember, I’ll just have to make you fall in love with me all over again,” she declared with the beginnings of a warm smile building upon her face.

I could feel the warmth exuding from her hand as I squeezed it tenderly.

“I think I already am.”

Even though I had spent three days lying immobile in my hospital bed, I never once found myself bored. After all, Kaley was right by my side. She came to me the second the hospital opened and only left when the doctor forced her to leave. And throughout the day she told me all different kinds of stories about our relationship.

When I asked her how I got injured, I could feel her stiffen beside me. I look up at her eyes to see them filled with alarm and dismay. Then all of a sudden, she began to sob violently.

I felt the thorns of guilt prick my conscience as I hurriedly grabbed her hand, lacing our fingers together in a lovingly intimate manner.

“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” I muttered soothingly as I offered her a tissue.

“No…no it’s fine,” she sniffed, delicately dabbing her puffy eyes, swollen from her tears that still continued to stream down her flushed cheeks.

“There was this girl. She was in love with you, but when we started dating, she was slightly…jealous of me, to say the least.”

She paused for a moment as she inhaled a shaky breath.

“She tried to murder me.”

My mouth ran dry and I could hear my heartbeat pounding powerfully in my ears.

“She broke into our house while you were sleeping. She was gripping a lead pipe tightly in her hand. It was covered completely in rust and blood. She had a deranged, hysterical gleam in her eyes and kept raving about how I stole you from her. She went to strike me, but you jumped out of nowhere and took the blow.” She looked at me in admiration, her cheeks now glowing a rosy hue. “You saved me.”

I could feel my heart swell up with pride and my face flush red. She leaned over and kissed me gently on the on my lips. Even now I can feel the warmth tickling my mouth.

Days later, after the doctors deemed that I was ready to return to society, Kaley lent me her shoulder and we made the lengthy, sluggish expedition to the parking lot.

“Now you sit here,” Kaley sternly insisted while easing me into the wooden bench in front of the building, “And I’ll bring my car out front. With all that head trauma, it’s probably not a good thing to have you walk that far.”

I opened my mouth to protest that I was one-hundred percent okay when I felt a warm finger pressed against my lips.

“No, no, no,” she chided playfully. “Just let your girlfriend take care of you.”

Before I could even utter a single word, she began to walk off, her high heels clicking against the asphalt.

After a few moments of watching the ants scurry across the pavement in a similar manner to how the people were scurrying to their cars to get a head start on rush hour, a yawn forced its way through my lips. This wasn’t unusual, with the previous sleepless nights. I decided not to fight the darkness and instead welcome it with open arms as I lazily closed my eyelids that were heavy with insomnia.

For a while, I took great pleasure in the comforting, peaceful silence that the dark had offered me, as opposed to the irritating clicks and beeps that echoed throughout the hospital’s hollow hallways. I don’t remember how long I was enjoying the serene lull before a flash of flaming, cherry-red hair caught my attention.

I sluggishly moved my gaze to see a girl, her back facing me so I could easily admire the wavy vermillion locks that cascaded elegantly down her back. When she turned around, her shimmering jade eyes causing my pulse to accelerate to an almost alarming rate and my palms to glisten with sweat. Her white, angelic dress that just barely brushed her knees emphasized her vibrant hair and viridescent eyes even more. She then flashed me a quick grin that displayed her pearly white, slightly crooked teeth. I almost forgot how to breathe.

I stood there, gawking for what felt like an eternity before she waved her hand infront of my face, giggling slightly.

I could feel my cheeks heat up and hurriedly adverted my eyes away in embarrassment. But, as soon as my eyes left hers, I heard a terror-stricken shriek that cause a chill to rapidly diffuse through my veins; my whole body becoming numb.

I tentatively lifted my gaze from the ground to once again meet those viridans orbs. This time, however, they were no longer vigorously shining but instead dull and lifeless. Her dress was stained crimson with the blood trickling from the severe gash on her forehead. Her once pale, porcelain skin was now tarnished with grotesque yellow and purple bruises, as if she had been beaten repeatedly with excessive force.

She opened her mouth to speak once more, though her voice was no longer filled with determination or glee, but uneasiness and anxiety. With every word she spoke, her voice cracked and wavered as she feebly muttered one word, over and over again.

“John…John…John…”

“John…?”

I woke with a start as I felt a warm, petite hand delicately shake my shoulder, rousing me from my slumber. I began to sit up, only to grimace in pain as the perpetual ache in my head only proceeded to throb faster.

I heard feminine laughter as I looked up to meet those amber eyes that I had grown accustomed to over the past few days.

“I just left for a minute, and you already fell asleep! Don’t tell me you forgot about me?”

“How could I ever forget someone as beautiful as you?”

Her cheeks began to flush ever so slightly as an appreciative smile grew on her face.

“Why thank you! Now come on, sweetie, we should get you home.”

She lent me her shoulder once more as she helped me into her bright, cherry red corvette.

Cherry red.

Why did that seem so familiar?

I paused for a moment as my eyebrows furrowed in concern.

“Is something wrong?” Kaley asked, concern lacing through her words.

“Nothing, It’s just…there’s something I’ve forgotten, and I can’t seem to remember what it was.”

“Well, that doesn’t really matter now, does it? After all, we’ll be together forever now.” she said affectionately.

“Yeah”, I replied, gazing fondly into her amber eyes. “Together forever..”

After finally arriving at my narrow, cramped apartment building, she eased me onto my rugged sofa.

“Now I’m going to the store to get ingredients for dinner. Tonight it’s your favorite: rib eye steak and mashed potatoes.” She said flirtatiously and, with the slam of a door, she was gone.

While she was out shopping, I decided to take a nap. Spending the past three nights in a small, lumpy hospital bed, I should’ve slept like a baby. However, I kept hearing this shuffling noise coming from the closet. At first, I thought maybe it was the generator, but then I realized it was the sound of something moving. It was the sound of something alive.

I got up from the sofa, sheer adrenaline masking the pain pounding through my head, as I crept towards the closet. My heart hammered erratically inside of my shaking chest, and I had to force myself to breath. I took a slow breath in, and swung opened the door.

There was a girl. Her disheveled. cherry red hair clung to her hollowed out cheeks. Her green, lifeless eyes were overflowing with tears and showed no sign of stopping. Her pale skin was dyed crimson from the handcuffs that dug into her wrists. Her malnourished, gaunt body was tied to a chair with grimey, oxidized chains. Her screams of horror were muffled by the soiled rag that was used to suppress her cries for help.

All of a sudden, every single one of my memories came rushing back and washed over me like a flash flood. I knew who this girl was.

She was Emily. My girlfriend of the past three years.

I remember everything now. How I met Emily at college, when I spilled coffee all over her dress and spent the whole day shopping for a new one with her. How I had to comfort Emily when she was anxious about the anonymous, threatening emails she was receiving. How this girl, one whom I only recognized from my english class, came to our apartment. How she came with a lead pipe. How she tried to hit Emily, but ended up hitting me the head, effectively knocking me out. How this only happened seven days ago.

I stood their as shivers ran up and down my spine, petrifying me with sheer terror. Suddenly I heard the creaking of the door closing and the clicking of the lock.

Slowly, I turned around, my heart pumping dread into my veins with each passing beat. Terror-stricken brown eyes eyes locked with deranged, hysterical amber ones. I could just make out the gleam of a knife in the pitch black darkness. Then, she gave me her signature, dazzling smile once more as she spoke in her honeyed voice that sent cockroaches crawling on my skin.

“Don’t worry, John. From now on, it’ll just be you and me. Together. Forever.”