A/N-- Hello dears :) It's me, Nicole. I just wanted to start off by saying that this is a new work that I would love to be able to write for you. It's nearing Halloween, and so that deserves something a little scary/suspenseful. Yeah?? Just so you know, I will be finshing CRASH soon enough, but I'm swamped with school and it's difficult to find time to write, and therefore, I get a little rusty, hence the new novel to get me back on my game, because it's difficult to write for Crash right now. Please send TLBB a little bit of your love if you're up for some suspenseful romance ;) (IM SO FREAKING EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE!! xD)
Ta-ta for now,
Relationships are complicated. Not one is perfect. They all have flaws. I guess I should have expected this—it was inevitable. Isn’t that the rule for every relationship? You get your heart broken, again and again, until Mr. (or Miss) Right comes along and then, then you realize what love is all about.
My steps had hurried over themselves, quickly following the foot ahead of it, attempting to get to the destination that was destined for me to reach. My breath puffed out quickly, and I suddenly bent over sideways to avoid falling-slash-running into a dangerously low branch. I righted myself, hurrying my hand over my hair, pulling up strands that had fallen from the previously curled positions. The humidity was higher than I had anticipated that day, causing the cold air to seemingly seep into your very bones. I pulled my brightly colored scarf tighter around my neck, and in being momentarily distracted with that simple task, I nearly toppled over sideways, bracing my palm on the cool, rough bark of another tree. I sighed, yet the twinkle of love still didn’t manage to leave my eyes, nor the light dusting of risen blood fall from my cheeks.
I couldn’t wait to see my boyfriend.
Record time—I got to his apartment, flinging open the doors, hitting myself in the face on accident.
“Ouch,” I whimpered, covering my forehead with my palm. I groaned and continued to go towards John’s apartment.
I ran to the door, knocking brightly on the door, and when he didn’t come to the door fast enough, I stepped back, jumped, and retrieved the spare key from above the doorframe. I unlocked the door, rushed inside, and loudly closed it behind me.
“You’ll never guess what happened!” I said aloud to the empty room, hurrying to unwind my scarf from around my neck. The pulse there jumped excitedly, giving away exactly how excited I was.
John came from the back, frowning, a muscle tightening in his jaw. “No,” he said bluntly. “I probably won’t.”
I stuttered over the word ‘promotion’ that I’d been bouncing around in my head for a few hours. “What?” I asked, worriedly.
“Something’s happened,” he said, looking skyward.
“What is it?” I tentatively asked.
“We can’t see each other anymore,” he said.
I sort of wanted to play stupid and ask that if I closed my eyes, would that make a difference? But instead of acting ditzy, I said nothing, staring at him disbelievingly.
“Please leave?” he asked.
Mouth agape, I did so, gathering my scarf into my hands even though it was still slightly wound around my neck. At that moment, I didn’t care what the reason was. I just knew the sound of my heart breaking sounded so much like the sound of the door closing behind me. Sure, it was baffling. But I didn’t care then. I just wanted to erase the chagrin flowing through my veins mixing with my bleeding heart, rather than sit and think about why I was just dumped on my ass.
--One Year Later
Now, things were different. I had retained the promotion I had gained, working for the magazine, dutifully attending to every last detail, performing the best I’d ever done. This day I was just getting off work.
I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose where they’d fallen from. Recently I’d lost my contacts and was so blind, that I’d had to resort to my backup pair of glasses that I’d kept hidden away for times like this. Unfortunately, this happened more often than not, and I’d have to pull out the glasses for polishing, and I’d wear them for a few days, and then find my contacts sitting in their proper cases, but moved to an odd place, like the in refrigerator or sitting on top of my laptop.
I pulled the proper papers together, shuffling out inconsistent angles from the pile. I laid them on the editor’s desk, ready to head home after a long day at work.
Since John had dumped me that day one year ago, I’d not been in a regular relationship since. The circumstances surrounding the break-up had been too odd to get over, and I’d find myself on dates set up by good friends comparing each and every scenario where anything could go wrong. As it turns out, not many guys like it when you’re on a date, frowning, and not paying attention, and the first thing that comes out of your mouth to explain yourself is the truth. I was thinking about breaking up. Yeah; smooth, Beth. Real smooth.
I sighed, and scowled as I tripped over some invisible being out to get me. One of these days, I’d fall to my death because I just couldn’t manage to walk a straight line ten steps forward (or backward) without finding some miniscule piece of dust to fall over. Imagine—myself standing on top of a building, looking over the edge, twisting my ankle the wrong way, and falling some so many thousands of feet downwards.
Ewwegh. I shuddered. I made a mental note to stay away from ledges.
I hurried home, wrapping a cool blue scarf around my neck, warming my hands by rubbing them together.
As I got to my door, a delivery boy just stepped away. “Thanks,” I murmured to him, smiling. Odd; he didn’t look like he was employed by the postal service. I shook my head. Perhaps the post had resorted to hiring teenagers. After all, the post was suffering due to the increase of technology.
I turned the yellow package over in my hands, pursing my lips at it. There wasn’t any postal mark, return address, or stamp. I shrugged, tearing it open as I sat at the table. I emptied the contents onto the table. Only a small, black book caught my attention. I set aside the small note that had also fallen. I mean, I’d rather look at the book that was the size of my palm than the letter sent anonymously.
I flipped the book open, eyebrows crinkling as I looked at what was inside of it. Throughout the entire book, seven names were spaced out evenly.
Confused, I turned back to the note, hoping that it would explain what the little black book of names was for, because I only knew Kyle and Dawson. I knew people kept little black books that would detail their relationships. They would have the name, number, and address. But this book only had the names, and nothing else.
I opened the letter warily.
By now you have discovered my book that I have given to you. I will explain.
I have recently taken notice of your life, Beth Morrison. I have also noticed that you do not have an active love life. Now, Beth… what kind of a life is life without love? Simply no life at all. And so, Miss Beth, I have devised a… game of sorts. And because I know you will have read this letter, because I know you, Beth, you have also entered yourself in this game.
The rules of this game are very clear. If you break one, I will know. I will be watching. The list of the names are not connected to you—not yet at least. But they will. They might not know it, and you might not believe it, but in some way, you will come into contact with each and every one of them. I promise that I am not among these gentlemen. No—no, I prefer to watch these games, not participate in them.
Rule 1- you have fully accepted the game, and will play. My very entertainment depends on it.
Rule 2- you are not to mention my book to the police. They might think something criminal is happening.
Rule 3- you will not try to run from the game.
Rule 4- you will not seek me out.
These gentlemen are going to be involved in your life, romantically. I know about you, Beth. They’re perfect for you. However, only one of them is your soul mate. Of course, you’ll be wondering how I know this. Just trust me, darling. I know. You are to ‘date’ each man in the list, and at the end, simply pick your soul mate. It’s easy!
However… If you choose wrong, the consequences are dire. Deadly, even. This is part of the game, you see. You only have one chance to get it right. Which brings me to the last Rule.
Rule 5- If you do not choose correctly, or break any rule, someone dies. It might be one of the gentlemen, it might be one of your friends, one of your family, or even—you, Beth. But I promise that it will not be me. I just get to pick who gets to kick the bucket. The further you are in the game, the worse a death. Do not challenge me.
With greatest respects,
I gasped at the end, my hand flying over my mouth. Was this a prank?! It had to be a prank! I shot out of my seat, throwing the letter from the enigmatic ‘X’ down to the table, and backed away from it.
This wasn’t real.
It couldn’t be happening.
My pocket buzzed where I kept my phone. I pulled it out and dazedly looked at the new text from an unknown number.
Tick, tock, pretty girl. Time’s wasting.
My cheeks burned and I tossed the phone to the table as well. After pacing for a while, I came to the conclusion that it was indeed a prank, and I could do whatever the hell I wanted to.
So, I snatched the book up off the table and wrenched open a window, tossing the book out. I was in charge of my life, not X.
It was a God-given right, damn it.