He had no choice. He had to run. The rats under his feet scuttled away from danger as he sprinted through the maze of murky alleys. His heart pulsed through his chest, the taste of blood still lingering in his mouth. All he could think about was the girl alongside him. The only sound was the jangling of her hooped earrings as they clashed against her colourless face.
The first time he had seen her was at school. He crashed into her, knocking the books out of her hand. As they bent down to pick them up, the earrings slapped him in the face. “Sorry about that!” With that, she had gone. He had felt an odd little smile creeping up his face. “Hello! Earth to Mark! What’s with the stupid grin on your face?” He was brought back down to reality by his best mate, Sam. “Oh, nothing…”
He had later found out that the mystery girl was Lisa, a 4th year student like him. She had recently moved from Limerick and enrolled here, although he kind of wondered why she had transferred to Clare, of all places. His thoughts were interrupted by the magical voice of hers coming up in front of him.
“Lisa!” The world seemed to stop turning for a couple of seconds as she whirled around. “Oh, it’s you again!” “It’s Mark. How would you like to go on a date… with me?” His voice trailed off as he observed her reaction. “Are you serious? We hardly know each other!” He was amazed. He always got what he wanted, regardless of what it was. “What about this? “ She blinked, as he explained his idea. “A trial date?” “Yeah, I’ll take you out on what I think is a perfect date to show you the real me, then, if you want to be my girlfriend, you can.” He paused, catching his breath. “Then if you want to stop, I’ll stay away.” Time crept on as he waited for her reply. “Ok then, Saturday night. One condition though, pick me up at the entrance to the school.” The chiming of the bell signalled the stampede of students rushing to get to classes. He grinned as he called back to her, “It’s a date!”
Saturday night had arrived. The tickets were booked, dinner was arranged and he was dressed up himself. Now, as he thought about it, he had never gone to so much trouble for a girl before. Probably because they all fell for me straightaway… 7 o’ clock approached and he drove his car up to the school entrance. Lisa was already waiting in her light blue dress. She looked like a fairy-tale, he thought.
Thinking back, it was probably a good thing that the local cinema was holding a romantic film festival. They arrived at the cinema at 7:30 just in time to watch... Lisa gasped, “The Notebook?” He just nodded as he paid for the tickets. They snuck past knobbly knees and popcorn boxes, grabbing the last couple of remaining seats. As the movie progressed, Lisa found herself snuggling against his chest. As she glanced up at him, she had to squint to see the beginning of tears in Mark’s eyes. She chuckled, “You big softie!” He furiously wiped the tears that were tumbling out of his eyes. Lisa just laughed.
After the movie, as the last remaining happy couples left the cinema, he glanced at her. “So, how did I do?” “Is this an ok answer?” she replied. He was confused, but this problem was solved easily. She gently kissed him on the lips. “It’s a yes!” Mark held her close. He looked down into her eyes. “I’m never going to let you go. I’ll be there for you, whenever and wherever, through the good times, and the bad. Forever is going to start tonight.” Lisa just kissed him in response.
“So, what’s up next tonight?” Mark smirked, “A candlelight dinner at the renowned Plaza restaurant!” She beamed as they started to stroll down the street. Mark felt happy, ecstatic even, but somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice was screaming, it’s not going to last! Even though he tried to deny it, the voice was right...
They were nearing the end of the street, when a voice spoke, smashing the silence.
“Hey, Stony! Oops, interrupted your date, now have I?” Mark spun around. Only one person had the nerve to call him “Stony”. Evan Fisher, leader of the rival gang. The scars ran deep between the two gangs, with a lot of bad blood experienced. The ramblings in his head came to a shuddering halt when he heard the next words out of Evan’s mouth.
He seemed to spit out the words, “But getting it on with my little sis, now that’s low, even for the likes of you!”
“Sister…” The words spun round and round in his head. All the puzzle pieces fell into place. Why she was reluctant to go out with him, why she never told him her surname, why she moved here, not picking her up outside her house….
“Mark?” He stumbled back into the present. Lisa stretched up to wipe the blood from the fight from his face. “What are we going to do?” They were at a dead end. Evan and his boys had just missed them. They were officially on the run. “I don’t know Lisa, I just don’t know…”