Meanwhile in Manhattan

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Follow the story of Fia and Alexander through present and past events, as one is getting closer and closer to avenge the other’s death.

Submitted: January 29, 2017

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Content

Submitted: January 29, 2017

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PROLOGUE

 

 

The muffled speech of her late fiancés killer was the solitary noise in the apartment. The tape shut his mouth, and held him to the sofa, but did not keep him quiet or still. Looking like he had just woken up from a nap after a stressful 9-5 office job shift, his hair was ragged and his face was concerned, and pink. The man's tie was loose and the top two buttons of his shirt undone. Still, the sweat made its way down from his hair and forehead, quaking with him. The fluids streaming down his cheeks were mixtures of sweat and tears.

She sat opposite. Tolerantly waiting. Not many moments of her sight crossing his eyes had occurred. Leaning forward on the table, a notebook was being fiddled with. The attempts at possibly alerting someone outside, or stealing her attention did not travel inside her ears. During her patience, her face expressed a few emotions; fear, regret and sadness.

But it had been started, and she knew it had to be finished. From the beginning, there could be no U-turns. There can be no contingencies. The night needed to end the way she planned.

"Good, you're done," were her first words to him as soon as the room became totally silent, and since he woke up. Unknown whether he had spoken his dismay to a vocal end, or whether he figured out to remain hushed to be enlightened on her arrangements for him, she wasn't at all bothered. She just didn't expect to be so nervous. “My Alexander wrote our story. I’m going to read it to you.” A wipe of a tear and a sniffle later, she commenced to mouthpiece his words.

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

Oh my queen.

For you, I write our story.

 

Beginning, at the beginning.

 

We first saw each other at the Mid-Manhattan Library. We got to know each other briefly and I shared with you my love for cinema. You said you were more of a theatre person though. I also remember you saying you and Bellamy used to play video games together in the campus libraries. He said your gamer name was The Monster Killer. It kind of felt as if you were playing with me though.

 

April 7th 2010. The day we first met.

 

Although shaking his head, Bellamy involuntarily chuckled at the jokes. He had grown into Alexander’s odd sense of humour a long time ago, and sometimes embraced it. It was unique and creative Alexander would tell himself, because most people he had met throughout his life laughed. The satisfaction from their reactions would be reflected in his smirk. A smirk on the frontlines, with the giggles of distant girls at the back, the chuckles of Bellamy by the side, and the hysterical laughter of the girl ahead.

The girl ahead. Fia. My eyes would find you every now and then.

Leaving his notepad and pen on the table, and his bag under, Bellamy got up off his seat. “I’ll be right back.” Alexander gulped down the uncomfortable thought of being left alone with Bellamy’s school friend, thenceforth twitching his eyes to the left in her direction to signal this. Entertained, Bellamy asked him, “Alex, do you know where the toilets are?”

Gripping his teeth firm, Alexander gave him directions that had made the place feel like a maze to which Bellamy nodded and left.

Alexander whispered as he turned his head to face Fia, “I have no idea where the toilets are.”

The small girl snickered to herself and looked up smiling, having also been fooled by the directions he just made up. She responded in a pleased and amused manner, “Wow, harsh.”

When the moment was over, her vision wondered back to her laptop and she continued to type. The next two minutes between the two were quiet. The only sounds that came out of her mouth were that of impatience produced by her lips and tongue. There was no chatting. Alexander’s eyes rolled around inspecting the room.

“So you like the sound of Fordham?” he enquired about her, subsequently waiting for an answer.

Her attentiveness was not so easily taken away from her laptop. She answered “Err…yeah. Yeah the English course is really well structured. I feel as if it’s very…me. It will help me reach my goals to be a teacher,” and then returned to her work deciding not to ask him about his main job as a civil engineer in his father’s firm.

“I struggle to get these students to concentrate from tutoring, I can only wish you the best of luck when you’re a teacher,” he said carrying the topic on.

She corrected him on her career plan. “Oh no I’m not going to be working with students like Bellamy. Not at that level. No, I want to teach kids”.

He sat back. “Kids?! Gah I hate kids. Especially ones that cry with their little mothers in supermarkets and shopping malls.”

“N’aww I love kids,” she responded in a cute voice gawking at the screen as her face turned bothered. “Damn it!”

He asked “What’s up?”

“I need to submit this essay today but the laptop keeps freezing,” she explained frustrated.

Alexander slid his chair across and sat close to her, being curious. He knew a thing or two about computer technology.

Fia watched him analyse the problem with full single-mindedness – his sleeves rolled up unveiling his strong, veiny forearms. He told her that he routinely works out at the gym. His eyes were locked onto the screen, looking so undistracted. “There. It should be fixed now,” he said before catching her inspecting him. She didn’t even flinch or look away. Instead, her sight moved to mirror her reflection in his eyes.

The feeling Alexander had then was not puzzlement, rather relief. “That’s Fia. She finds you attractive,” he perceived Bellamy’s words in his head, and at this moment it seemed proven. He eyed her back, and moved his head slowly towards her face, and the voices in the background began to fade. And the split-second before he shut his eyes, her phone began to ring.

There was a pause of cogitation. Fia’s long stare broke. “Excuse me.” She leapt up from her seat and walked to the corner of the room to answer the call.

He sarcastically commented on the situation in his head, what perfect timing! Occupying his original position at the table again, he looked at the mathematics learning material he brought for Bellamy. Everything played out so fittingly. Hmm, maybe it’ll be better have a chance when she sits back down.

Packing her laptop as soon as she returned, she displeased him. “I must go.”

The initial response being thoughts that he probably made her feel uncomfortable for what almost occurred, he wondered in an apologetic voice, “How come?”

“Sorry, it was nice meeting you, Alexander,” she said as she viewed him for the third or fourth time of the day.

He did not know her well enough to tell if the phone call had been bad news to her, or if the phone call was even the reason for her to leave. Moreover, he felt it a tiny bit rude to ask her to stay because they had just met on that same day.

Starting to write on a blank piece of paper, he insisted to her, “Well here, text me,” so confident in his approach tearing the rest of the paper off, standing up and handing over his mobile number. Judging by the mixed signals from her that day, she wasn’t going to give him hers, but she couldn’t refuse his.

She smiled and left. “Bye,” he bid farewell smoothly watching her turn around and walk away.

Bellamy returned as she exited. “Where is she going?”

“She had to leave. Didn’t say why,” Alexander tried his best to not seem bothered. “How was your dump?” He asked Bellamy, implying that was the reason he was away so long.

They both sat on their seats before Bellamy clarified, “Well first I had to find the toilets…” Alexander didn’t look at him, smirking to himself. “And after I finished, I got a call from Berkeley!”

“What? You got in?!” Alexander questioned as his smile grew, causing Bellamy’s phony gloomy face to light up.

“Yeah, I mean I have to complete a year in Fordham, and do amazing first. But if I do, I’m moving to Cali!” Bellamy’s joyous look dimmed once he glanced down at the table. “I already have your number dude, why did you leave it at my spot?”

 

 

 

Around a year later, Bellamy had set us up for a date. We visited Deno’s amusement park in Coney Island after a movie. You were much more talkative then, expressing your love for romance stories, and your dislike for horrors because you get a little frightened. I then told you how nothing scares me though, but you tried scaring me anyway – trying to convince me you’re crazy by telling me how you’ve always wanted a gun, and that you’ve killed someone before.

 

May 15th 2011. The day we first kissed.

 

Lost ones are never forgotten. Time will bury them, but memory triggers dig them up – songs, words, scents, places; they hold the shovels.

Fia’s dad would have loved that place. All those fluorescent shades. Those crowds of excitement. That upbeat, chiming, jolly music.

“My apologies,” Alexander said waking her mind up from its slumber about the atmosphere she disfavoured. “I shouldn’t have thought so badly-”

“No, it’s fine. You didn’t know,” she considered herself partly responsible for not telling him beforehand.

He tried his best to empathise. “I don’t know how I’d act if I lost someone myself.”

But she just carried on as normal. “You live with your parents, right?”

He nodded, “Yeah.” Trailing, he shrugged his shoulders and added, “I don’t need to move out yet. It’s cool though that you have your own apartment.”

“Tell me about them,” she inserted.

He lowered his eyebrows in confusion. “My parents?”

Intrigued, she requested, “Yeah.”

Complying, he told her, although weirded out a bit, “Okay…my dad’s a bit hard on my life. He keeps me under surveillance, and he won’t give me my own projects to work on yet. My mom’s a cop. She’s working her way up the ladder, gets some mid-league cases every now and…”

Fia liked just listening to Alexander speak about his mother. Or she just enjoyed listening to him. With each word she heard, a strengthened form of the desire endured in the library, when he was making her laugh, developed deeply inside of her.

He was still talking, “She’s actually close friends with Bellamy’s mother,” and the pace of his voice slowed down throughout the sentence, “that’s how he and I became brothers ‘cause we kind of grew up together.”

She sympathised, “Bellamy’s a great guy. When I came back to Manhattan for my studies, he had me feeling right at home again.”

Alexander peeped down onto the ground and expressed, “Yeah…I just cannot believe he’s moving to Cali in a few months. You know…he’s always wanted this for years and it finally dropped on his lap. I’m getting all happy for him myself.” Making her smirk.

“Well, be sure to give him my thanks tomorrow,” she asked.

He queried, “What for?”

Fia looked up, smiling at the sky. Nervously excited, she uttered, “For this.” Glimpsing at the clouds, her next few deep breaths were as long as them. “I’m not a cinematic person but I loved the movie… and I’ve never really been here before…but thank you…for a perfect day.” Her stomach bubbled as though strong chemicals were reacting in there. Her heart beats could be internally felt across all parts of her body.

Before being left in a frozen state, she faced Alexander, waiting for him to peer back. The place went silent. Her body sat immobile, but her lips gradually glided to his. The only aspect stopping them now would be themselves. But our open mouths greeted so kindly, and our kiss was gentle, guiding each other’s lips slowly and resting when puckered so as to not bid farewell.

The aftermath had their foreheads relaxed on one another’s before Fia rocked back biting the tip of her bottom lip and grinning at him. He, however, looked up troubled.

She unnerved to herself Wow, that bad huh? Damn, I blew it…but emitted only one word about it, “Oh.”

The occurrence was lovely to him so he had to clear the air. “No it’s just…this is nice. This is great. Being on this Ferris wheel is great. We’re not exactly at the top yet but you, you’re great. And the timing is frikkin’ fantastic! I just needed to let you know something first. I feel like it’s something you should know about.”

“Okay. What is it?” Unhesitant, she interrogated.

Alexander took a while. His neck twisted to the outlook of the fun, and his jaw clenched mean before co-operating. “I used to really like someone before. Like, a lot.”

Fia held her stance and mien, approaching mildly, “An ex?”

“Yeah, of 6 months.” Alexander turned his head back to behold Fia’s young, simple face. What he was witnessing was a grounded woman, living outside the story books, who had all her priorities in a logical order. Subsequently, this gave him a sense of need, in her darkness. “But she is way out of my life. It’s been about a year since I heard from her.”

Hutching closer and slipping her arms under his, her palms fitted on his back. “If she’s your ex, then I don’t care.”

He pulled the back of her head for it to rest on his chest and kept his hand pressed. “See, this is why you’re the best.”

Her eyes shut and her thoughts strolled down to the memory of that day in the library. She had only just met the guy so what business would it be of his to be informed of her father who recently passed away. She had to leave abruptly to aid her sick mother out of town and she didn’t even know if she’d ever stumble across him ever again.

But what if she gave him a shot, would he have been able to ease her mind for the past year?

“So what happened?” She solicited from him.

“I caught her cheating and spent the next three months being a little bitch about it,” he admitted.

Would she have been able to ease his mind for the past year?

She heard him state to her, “I’m not the same person I was then.”

And she completely agreed. “Neither am I.”

Before dwelling any further, something disturbed her, waking her up. “You said ‘about a year’.” She sat up flustered and her eyes struck his. “You and I met about a year ago. Were you with her the day you met me?”

Alexander, trapped in a pit of answers, with one due to be handed in, felt his chest throb and his face flush with a blank look. “Yeah, I actually caught her later on that day, but Fia-“

“Shut up.” She turned away from him and faced the opposite corner of the carriage.

Determined not to let this ruin what seemed to be a match foretold in the beginnings of time, he stepped towards her and cautiously placed his hands on her shoulders, “Hey,” then spun her around. She buried her face and her hands in his chest again. There was something that was needed to be done. Something that was needed to be said. He grabbed hold and tried to slightly push her back from him, “Fia, listen.”

Fia grasped on to him tight though. She didn’t care. She did not care about his ex. She did not care about the predicament.

She just wanted to stay there with him. “I said shut up.”

I looked down at you, commenting in my mind about how you looked so gracefully delicate, and your hands, they were so small and so cute. He held his thumb and index finger under her chin and lifted it up to see her lips, and she looked at his. A zealous vein was pulsing with each pump of his heart. Any more inhales and exhales of the anxious ambience would kill him. So he rushed his lips onto hers, holding the sensation for a couple of seconds, pressing intensely. She embraced it, kissing him back over and over. Over and over, in that setting she disliked.

 

 

 

“Do you understand the rules as I have explained them to you?”

The man nodded aggressively with a look of fear before the tape was ripped off of his mouth. Allowed to communicate, he enquired, exclaiming, “Who are you? What do you want?!” She just walked off in the opposite direction. Being strapped there had him petrifyingly uncomfortable. “Take my wallet. I don’t have a lot of money.” But Fia was still facing the other way initialising a worried feel, hearing him say, “Look, I have a wife and three ki-”

“You’re a liar.” She intervened.

And it came as a surprise to him. “What?”

She turned to face him with a strong, self-assured face, taking her seat. “You’re single. Divorced in fact. You WERE married…No kids. You lived with your parents for thirty years. Married for one year.” Noticing that this all seemed shockingly wrong to him, she still continued. “Two years ago you were on trial for drunk driving but you managed to get away…they wrote off your car and you spent all the cash on booze. Then your wife kicked you out and you went back to living with your parents.” The shaking of his head added to his face’s expression told her otherwise, but she determinedly nodded back. “Wondering around with your cravings for weeks, you got a job answering calls in marketing. Now on a payroll, your drinking habits remain.”

Their sentences clashed as he debunked her misunderstanding. “No, no you must have the wrong guy. That’s not me. So if you’d like to cut me loose now you can find the righ-“

But the rise in her temper put him on hold. “And that’s how you killed my Alexander!"

 



 

II

 

 

There was no noise in the wait for one of the two to speak. Her flickering nostrils showed the borderline to grieving. Whilst his open mouth exhibited his surprise.

It made him stammer his next sentence. “What?! You’re crazy! I am a door to door salesman. I sell insurance for a living. Please, you have to let me go. I have a wife and three kids and my fath-” He stopped to comb the room with his eyes, shuffling as much as he can around the seat.

Fia looked around too. “What are you looking for?”

His face jolted to her direction, exploring a thought before telling her, “Okay, you’re right. I do live with my parents. But I’m a moral citizen. I have never touched alcohol. And my wife, she did not leave me. I left her.” His gaze sank whilst his rage climbed. “I had to. Nothing was ever right for her. She was selfish. Even when I was caring for my parents.” The realisation of his quandary then calmed him. “Anyway, my father…he needs his medication. I had it in my suit.” He turned his head a few times, chicken-like, as he finished his explanation.

“Your suit is behind you, on the shelf,” Fia informed, pointing with her head, fighting with herself in her mind as to whether she should grab it for him or not.

Catching sight of a sleeve of the suit, he conjured up his next declaration. “Okay, listen. If my father doesn’t take his medication on time, something serious is going to happen.”

As the comfortability in her seat started to diminish, she articulated, “You’re a liar! I emptied the pockets. There’s no medicine.”

He reacted with confusion, and followed it with comprehension. “Oh my god, I must have left it at home.”

“Or maybe your father isn’t sick at all.” Unsure, she expressed her little belief in him.

However, the rivers streamed to the man’s eyes and a few drips of tears fell down in his place of bewilderment and chaos, in this unknown territory. “Please. I need to be sure. Let me call him.”

Fia’s restored safeguard was weak, having to remember why she was here to get a grip on her strength again. “No!”

“Please, it’s my father.” His lips shivered with his narrowed face, folding his mouth, cheeks and eyes inwards.

She felt the consternation in the man attacking her, waning her trench line. And then he made her remember something when he asked, “What if it was your father?”

The man’s concerns set up camp in her dome, but she could not hear them anymore as he repeatedly voiced them to her. She stared at the spotless, shimmering table. A thousand memories and thoughts were travelling around her mind, cluttering with each other, rushing her to decide on what she was to do next.

Then, her attention affixed onto one thing, clearing up her mind. It was the ring on the man’s hand. It wiped the emotions spattering on her face as she stood up and walked away again. “No I can’t do this.”

The man was unfulfilled, shaking his head about its position, frustrated at the outcome of his long bothering. “Please, you don’t understand, he needs his medication!” He tried again.

Fia casually opened a drawer on the other side of the room, and grabbed the handgun sleeping in there. She lifted it up to eye level, and inspected it with close proximity. Her eyes ran up and down it, the man’s efforts dying out harmoniously. “No more lies.”

She sprained back around. “Stay quiet.”

 

 

 

I’m spending more time writing as the years go by, so I can do it properly. I enjoy it now. You passed your driving test a week ago and got your first car yesterday! You can go to your uncle’s house to visit your mother soon. Too bad they’re in Easton all the way in Maryland because you’re still nervous about driving anywhere further than Manhattan haha. You’ll ease into it don’t worry. At least my place is within your travel range. Anyway, I wanted us to celebrate this, so I took you to the Sight & Sound Theatre.

 

November 10th 2011. The day I made.

 

“Okay. I’m at the Pennsylvania one…Well let me know if she gets better, or worse…Yeah. Okay, bye.” Fia ended the call as Alexander approached. His fingers travelled from her back to her front to hug her from behind.

“Hey,” he whispered in a calming tone, I landed a sweet kiss on your collar bone. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah everything’s fine.” She turned around swiftly to face him without peeking at his face. “Here’s your phone, thanks for letting me use it.”

He looked at his phone and received it from her palm. “No problem.” Sliding his phone in his pocket, a defensive vibe running in the air around her had hit him. “You know you really should have had your phone charged.” No reply or reaction was gathered. In another attempt to get her to liaise, he professed, “The show’s about to start.”

She just nodded, whilst looking away. “I know.”

Alexander was agitated because of the absence of her mind and soul for the past eight hours, replaced by the manifestation of some automated robotic responses to his worries. He blurted out his objection to her attitude carrying on this way, “You’ve been like this all day.”

“Can we just go back to my apartment? You know, forget the theatre,” she asked.

Bearing with her since she got the first phone call of the day had been just about enough. So the suggestion wasn’t acceptable to him. “No we can’t...Look we’re going to go in and enjoy it!” He then remembered that she is a bit of a closed, gentle character. “Thought you wanted to come anyway.”

“Yeah I did. But I’m not feeling up to it anymore,” she enclosed.

“Come here,” he thought to console her, which may result in some answers.

But she was persistent. “Please, let’s just go.”

His tone turned hostile in an effort to make her comprehend the matter. “These tickets are expensive. I had to beg my cousin to give me them for weeks.”

But she still daringly proposed the idea, “Just sell them to anyone who’s around?”

“There isn’t going to be anyone around to buy them!” Alexander’s voice raised which he regretted within the next twelve seconds.

Before he could speak though, Fia looked up to him. Her barrier began to break down. She wouldn’t tolerate the sound of his words. “Look. My mother. You know her, but you don’t KNOW her. She’s sick.”

And with that said, the next layer broke down – the cocoon built over the two years since the impactful loss. Her upper lips started spasming. Tears assembled across the front of her eyeballs. Alexander heard her explanation. “When we lost my dad, she was affected in a different way. It changed her from the inside. She was the one that found him, like that. There was a number of paths her state of mind could’ve taken from what she saw and I guess it had walked down the path of crazy.” He heard her brittle voice quiver with it.

However, the delivered enlightenment must have pacified Fia as she picked up her dark coat of lonesome protection and implemented, “Like you said, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to lose someone.”

A full minute passed before realising her inappropriateness, “Baby I’m sorry.”

But he didn’t even acknowledge what she had said, “It’s okay.”

“Let’s go watch the show,” she tried to finely reconcile.

His mind was no longer in a state to appreciate the majestic performances anymore, “No…you know what? I’ll see if my cousin’s still around, try and get a refund.”

She suspected herself to have made an awful state of things and attempted to fix it, “No, I want to watch it.”

“I’m not feeling it anymore,” he said encouragingly to convince her he’s not mad at her.

“Can you just take me home so we can cuddle?” Fia recommended, more so for herself than him. She thought of Alexander as the man who clouds the fears of her world, raining onto her every trouble to flood them into insignificance with his reassuring talks, his soothing and beautiful face, his calming existence.

“I would like that.” He agreed this time.

She lost her upset look whilst gaining inner contentment. “Okay, let’s go.”

“Let me just call my cousin. You go wait by the car.” He kissed her forehead and the both of them prepared for a long journey.

Fia must’ve been exhausted. She fell asleep just over an hour after setting off from the theatre. With another hour to go, Alexander looked over to her. Man, I shouldn’t have forced her into telling me about her mom. I should’ve been more patient with her, he told himself. Hold tight Fia my darling, I’m taking you home.

Stopping at a rich looking house, Fia was still pretty knocked out. Alexander carried her in with his left arm under her back and his right arm under the back of her knees and on to a bed.

She woke up the next morning. “Wait, what’s going on?” She noticed she spent the night in the guest room of her uncle’s house.

“You looked adorable. I couldn’t wake you,” I replied, lying sideward next to her.

Remaining confused as to the whole process that undertook for her to get there from the theatre, she asked again, “I mean, how did we get here?”

Alexander elucidated to her, “Erm…you used my phone to call your uncle right? I called him and got his address. I was going tell you when we got close but you fell asleep.”

“When you told me to wait by the car?” Fia was unreservedly amazed. She looked at Alexander. All the dreams, wants and needs she’s ever had, and will have, in her whole lifetime was lying there in front of her. Every single rock on the paths of her future had been crushed the day she met him. She could walk on the ground barefooted, with her man by her side, to the very end. She flew onto him, squeezing as though if she let go then he would be gone. “I love you so much.”

Alexander held onto her. “I love you too baby girl.”

We both looked at one another. There was nothing that you and I wouldn’t do for each other. Happiness was inevitably infinite.

Alexander kissed Fia. “Now go down and see your mother.”

 

 

 

We spent the past two weeks taking a break in your family’s vacation home in Banjul, Gambia. Well, what a rollercoaster of a holiday it has been. Today you really made me feel like something else. It left me thinking, what would I do without you? A couple of days ago I got a phone call from my father. He gave me my first real independent project! And of course, after the first, there would be many more to come! You could have been graduated by now, but I know the master’s degree would take you up to the end of next year. Maybe when you’re done, we can really move forward with our future, together. Maybe even, try for a kid one day? I know you would like that…and hey, I can even design our future home! You, me and our kids. I would love that, because I love you. So I did something three days ago, in the morning. It was the perfect timing for it…

 

March 12th 2014. The day you made.

 

It was too early for Fia to be packing suitcases. Motivation is unearthed at that time. The morning was sluggish, in comparison to seventy-two hours ago.

Seventy-two hours ago, Fia woke up to the alluring body scent of Alexander, left behind on the sheets. Her eyes remained closed in her first couple conscious minutes of the day as she sniffed heavy hits of his atmospheric presence, yearning for his skin with each one.

She got up to a note on the bed side cabinet. It read –

 

My angel, follow these notes so I can give you heaven, what you truly want.

 

He always had new ways to keep things exciting, surprising her at every downhill period of her life. Those times would always cheer her. Over to the floor in the doorway she found the next note –

 

Oh my little starlet, you are the light of my nights, I am the fire of yours.

 

She followed the trail into the huge hallway. Mid-way between her room and the balcony she found another –

 

Hold on to me, I know I got my issues but baby, I got you.

 

The anticipation was really starting to build up, seeking her lover. She needed to find her bliss. She felt increasingly sensitive with each one. On the outside of the bi-fold doors, connecting to the balcony, it read –

 

Understand that you’re my love, my life, my best friend. We don’t need anybody else because we got each other. Getting down every Friday night, I’ll dance with you in the pale moonlight.

 

Simply laying eyes on him would not even inject the cure to her lust now. No. A grasp that seemingly never ends must be settled when she has reaches him. She gradually made her way to the landscape view side of the balcony, and sought out the last note on the edge –

 

Appear to you, does it not? That together, you and I, we were born to die? And so, will you, my love of new heights, become my mornings and my nights? My future and my life? The mother to my children, and…my wife?

 

“So will you?” Alexander proposed from behind her, knelt down on one knee, holding the ring up to her. “I called your mother about it last night.”

Fia froze. No words. No expression. Not even a blink. Nothing. “Well?”

And then, a tear. “Yes! Yes of course I will you idiot!”

The ring was rushed on to Fia’s finger because what awaited was clasping the phenomenon of discovering your home. Your true home in the form of a person, a soul mate. After spending their whole time lost and confused, living amongst alien conditions, a hug in each other’s accommodating arms was certainly satisfyingly pleasing.

Alexander did not predict the magnitude of the proposal to be of this intensity. “God, I’m so in love with you.”

“I’m fuckin’ crazy in love with you,” Fia responded with her eyes closed, struggling to keep emotions from dripping out of her.

His phone started to ring. “Just ignore it,” he told her whilst continuing to hold her.

It rang again prompting him to answer with enmity whilst looking at her face to keep as calm as he could. ”Yes hello? What?” The person on the other end dropped his face. “Wait, what?!” He turned away and walked inside, returning a minute later looking vexed.

Worried for him, she asked “What is it?” With no reply, she budged him. “My love, what’s wrong? Who was that?”

He looked at her with his eyeballs twitching wildly and his mouth unable to shut. “Bellamy’s in the hospital.”

That was seventy-two hours ago, and the majority of that seventy-two hours Alexander spent concerned about their mutual friend, his best friend. They were returning to Manhattan on this day, but Bellamy was to remain on the other side of the country, and there was nothing Alexander could do about it excluding the regular check-ups through phone calls. Like right now.

He walked into the room to answer the phone. “Bellamy? How you holdin’ up?” Fia was folding her clothes neatly to shove into the suitcases. “I’m fine, the soon-to-be wife is good.” He looked back at her and they smiled at each other. “How’s the legs? Man I wish I could see you.” She carried on with her packing throughout the rest of the phone call undisturbed until approached by her now fiancé with a merry look on his face. “You’ll never believe this.”

Turning her head to look up to him, she asked, “What?”

“Bellamy’s coming to Manhattan tonight!” he exposed cheerfully.

She acted out a rehearsed reaction. “Oh my god, no way!”

“Yeah! He said a woman, a friend he knows who goes by TMK booked his flight.” Thrilled, he was. Ecstatic. “Now I’ll have something to do whilst you’re away in Easton. I told him to wait at the airport for us and we’ll take him back home.” He could not contain his wide grin. “I’m so excited. I love the guy.”

“Well he’s going to have the company of the best man I know.” Putting a pause on the packing, she pondered for a moment. “Hey since I’m going to be gone for a week, you two could stay in my apartment. But no mess when I’m back!”

There was no hesitation needed to accept the offer. “Yeah! That’d be great. Thanks!...You’re the best.” He proceeded to dial Bellamy’s number to inform him of this, allowing her to get back to what she was doing. Then she heard the dialling stop.

“Wait…TMK?” Alexander walked towards Fia. “TMK?...Like ‘The Monster Killer’?…you sneaky little-”

“Ugh, I wanted to surprise you when we got back but I knew Bellamy wouldn’t keep it in.” This was the curtain call for two important people of Alexander.

Words and gestures would not showcase the gratitude Alexander was feeling for Fia for her actions. “Did I ever tell you that you’re the best?”

“No, quick tell me!” Fia jokingly replied, before noting how Alexander’s smirk was moving closer and closer towards her. “What are you doing?”

Alexander simultaneously threw the blouse in her hands over his head, and dived in to your eyes, taking a long swim. “You’re the best,” I whispered in your ear. Her earlobe felt the stroke of his tongue before he drank the nerves on her neck.

Fia could voice only one thing, in the midst of her thoughts of arriving with only minutes to spare at the airport, being shun by each inch Alexander moved down on her body, removing her cover-ups as he went along. “Baby…”

 

 

 

The resting firearm was the centre of Fia’s inattention for the past five minutes. “I didn’t have time to find a gun. So I stole this off his mother.” She looked at the man to talk to him. “Oh don’t worry, she’ll get it back.”

Her hands lifted from under the table to on it, and around the gun. A description was given to him about her, “I’m not like you. The events of my life didn’t quite give an outcome like yours. I don’t want to turn dark. I don’t want to take a life away. I don’t want to shoot you.” Before carrying on, she moved closer, navigating her sight to the different parts of the body she mentioned, “But did you know? Just one shot to the thigh…at the femoral arteries…you will bleed out, and die. Or just one shot to the neck…the carotid arteries…you will lose consciousness…and die.”

The index finger of her right hand began to circle the gun. “Or just one shot…aimed at the temple…and you just…die.”

A fist was formed with the no longer circling finger whilst seriousness was formed on her face.“I don’t want to turn dark. But you tried to rape me! I don’t want to take a life away. But you took my love away from me! I don’t want to shoot, but I need just one shot.”

“So I only got one bullet. Because that is all I need. After our story ends, that bullet will fulfil its purpose.” Her threat came to an end easing her into a relaxation, which didn’t last long.

Because on the other hand, the man’s floor facing face was shaking in hilarity, producing giggles.

 

 

 

 

III

 

 

Fia’s fed up and disappointed projection overlaid any shock or confusion to his lack of worry. “There is nothing about this that is funny!”

He didn’t stop though. Rather, his giggles turned into laughter as his head got up, blasting at her louder.

This was entirely not what she expected, but the patience to wonder around for the justification for this wasn’t stored within her. “DO YOU WANT ME TO END THIS RIGHT NOW?!”

He understood. The laughter faded, along with the adjacent juddering of his body. The talking came after a delay for quiet, “My wife…my wife was a whore.” A wide smile before continuing, he spoke in a comical manner, “She liked to hang with my old friends. She liked to go see the neighbours…She invited every man in that came to our house. The mailman. The pizza guy. The gardener. Her boss. Her gym instructor!” The break was swift, quivering the smile. “Every man, but me.”

A longer break was followed by a few slight nods. “I caught her, one night. And then I spent every night since then drunk, for a long time…And then, she left me. She had the nerve to leave me. My parent’s didn’t understand…How could they? They raised a loser kid who used to get his lunch delivered back to him as leftovers in the mailbox!” All his manufactured sadness was trashed, and the place was being taken up by real, authentic thrill.

The cadence of his words sped up with every bit he remembered as enjoyment and slowed down with every bit he felt acute. “So I dwelled into the rainbows of this twisted life. I carried on drinking, all night, every night until it became the norm. I woke up every morning with the blurred smell of tossed cash and poles of the previous night on the fading imprint next to me in bed. And I loved it. I loved it so much, I wanted more. But it was costing too much…So I started calling them. Less money spent at the clubs…And then, I thought…why spend money even calling them?...So I’d just find them…On the streets…Like when I found you.”

Expressionless, Fia was. No delight to have him captured here was shown. No rage displayed. No distress. No worry. No confusion. Nothing.

And the man continued tapping his chiselling words at her skull. “Hahaha yeah I was drunk that night…But oh I remember your face, so pretty. I remember your red dress and your red shoes and your red lips. And you looked at me like you were ready and oh I bet you loved my hand around your neck.”

The iceberg cracked at the last remark with her jumping out of the chair. She snatched the revolver and landed the muzzle completely stagnant at the man’s forehead. This only handed him Thor’s weapon though. “Ha! Are you going to shoot me?! Haha you can’t! You have only one bullet and a story to tell you filthy slut!”

Fia was sinking with his lunacy as she pulled the hammer back, cocking the weapon. But betting she wouldn’t stop his cheek, he only got louder. “GO ON! SHOOT ME! What would your poor Alexander think if he saw you now? You let me walk away I swear I am going to walk over to his grave and spit on it.” Waiting for her to move, he ensued by spitting on her face.

She also waited. And then she swung the gun across his nose, ripping some skin off, bashing the bone in. The hit turned his face away, but he looked back with blood dripping out his nostrils and she hit him again, this time under his right eye. He faced her again with a bruise building purple.

Fia regained control of her situation. “See how I didn’t even flinch. You’re making this easier for me. I could go on all night long until you can’t feel your face anymore. No one is going to come looking for you.”

Her seat and her story was returned to. “Now, where were we?” 

 

 

 

July 7th 2015.

 

The night was dark and the sidewalk was damp where Alexander answered Fia’s call during a walk in Queens. “Hey I’m five minutes away from the restaurant. How far you? I’ve missed your fa-” His next step was not made but his voice amplified. “What?! Following you?...Who?...Hello? Fia Hello?!”

In an alley nearby, a faceless stranger swaying from side to side pushed Fia’s strength up against a brick wall. His fingers spread around her neck with his ring pressed on her skin. “Please, no!”

“Get off of her!” The push conveyed from Alexander flicked the stranger and his hands off of Fia’s neck and on to the rugged ground before a handful of kicks were dealt. “Fuckin’ bitch! Don’t touch my girl!”

Fia clogged Alexander’s wrath from gushing out. “Alexander stop!” And he did. The voice of this demand steadily eliminated the rage, and he turned to care for his love.

When the couple’s faces encountered, the terror within her prompted to display on hers. Her fingers then reached out for her defender, laying her head on his chest, and she heard herself tranquilise with the reassuring beats of his heart one after another. “Hey. Hey shh…it’s okay. You’re okay now.”

Lightly weeping, Fia told Alexander, “I want to go home.”

He agreed that this was best. “Sure baby girl, let’s go home.”

Clinging on to him for a minute to value what she has in him, she softly spoke the words “I love you.”

What she heard back was a gunshot, causing her to look up at him. “My love?”

Fia caught Alexander’s falling body before kneeling down on to the ground to rest his head on her lap. “Oh my god. Baby!” She saw his life fade away from his eyes, feeling his soul draining out of her body. The efforts at trying to receive a few words from him seemed less and less possible as the ground captured more and more drops of his blood.

Every possible future of hers had played in her mind in the next second, except without him. Nevertheless, her palm was secured on to his. It was only five minutes ago where he would lock his fingers in the gaps between hers, and tight. So tight the pulses could be felt.

There was so much more she could have done for him. There was so much more she was going to do for him. But when the definitive realisation of his attendance not being with her anymore digested in her, she cried. She spent the night crying. She spent the next few days crying. She cried loud.

Sitting next to the hospital bed, Fia’s mind thought about him lying there next to her, being there but not actually being there.

Her heart hurt, rupturing into lesser pieces with every event that reminded her of what she once had. Her apartment was vacated the next morning and she moved in to Alexander’s family’s house, in the guest room, next to, what was, his room.

“It’s going to be alright,” his mother insisted when identifying a single tear exiting Fia’s eyes at the doorstep. The day was mostly ridden out by boxing up some of Alexander’s things in his room. Fia wanted to do this alone, so she would not be rushed, so she can replay the memories behind every one of his belongings.

The waterworks didn’t stop her and the bottomless pit of pain never went, just gulped and stomached every five minutes. Breaks were taken though. There was only so much continuous sorrow she could withstand.

She regularly strolled to the garden for fresh air, and walked past a case file on the counter at one point, before walking back to it. Approaching the case file, she caught a glimpse of Alexander’s picture. But his mother entered the kitchen, instigating her to rush out again.

That night, she was back in his room, calling the number of the person who could come closest to understanding her scars. “Hello, Bellamy?” And of course she cried to him. No-one else would feel better to cry to at this time. During their conversation, about fifteen minutes in, her attention was caught by a notebook on the floor next to the wardrobe. “I’ve got to go. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

She paced over to the object and brought it back to the bed. Her wailing swelled with each sentence she read throughout the night, beginning with ‘Oh my queen. For you, I write our story.’ The words written on the pages left her vulnerable, in a flooded state to the point where it had seeded a hunger for righteousness.

The following morning inhabited a lethargic emptiness in the atmosphere. Alexander’s mother saw Fia coming down the stairs. “Hey you.”

“Hey.” On her way to make some breakfast for herself, she stopped to notice her once to-be mother-in-law looking through the case file.

“Can you make me some tea?” She asked of Fia.

Fia landed the two cups of tea she brewed on the table and observed the cop mother focusing on the case file, before telling her, “Not only is sleep well for your health, skin…it helps with memory. You know teenagers will study all night for their exams, but won’t have the right amount of sleep to remember what they’ve learned.” She looked at Fia who switched the channel from her hands to her face. “But it’s okay. I didn’t sleep either.”

Fia communicated back confidently, “I slept.” Then she waited, really feeling her next words shatter her voice. “I’d like to wake up now.”

Not knowing how to respond, Alexander’s mother confessed to her about her reading. “I’m not on the case, being family and all I can’t get too close. But a friend of mine is in charge, and he is desperate for some leads.” She spread out six photographs of similar looking men. “Please, tell me if anything sticks out to you. Anything at all.” However Fia just shook her head, and looked away. “It’s fine, forget I asked.”

A wish that was so easily spoken but difficult to be carried out. Fia misplaced her mug, half off the table, to cry in her hands. The tea spilled on the carpet beneath which she immediately apologised for.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll get something to clean this up,” the mother said, trying to keep Fia calm. She left the table and headed for the paper towels in the kitchen.

Fia watched her leave the room before grabbing the information of the man with a distinctive ring on. The ring was familiar, it touched the front of her neck, like she did now. Her phone was grabbed out to take pictures of the man’s profile.

It took her the next two and a half days to figure out everything she needed, and until the following evening to perform her act. 

 


 

 

Alexander could not finish our story, so I am writing the ending for him. I accounted for July 7th, the day the man took my love away from me, five days before we were supposed to get married. Today. July the 12th was supposed to be our day, so I shall make it our day…

 

July 12th 2015. The day of you and I.

 

“And that is how we both have ended up here. I’m going to finish my love’s story for him.” Fia had her finger on the trigger, but the trigger facing the floor, and her back facing the man.

The levels of bravery seemed to have been vomited out of the man, reversing his preparation to face what was coming. “B-b-but he wouldn’t want it to end this way. He wouldn’t want his sweetheart to end up a killer, come on!”

She would not delay it any longer though. “His sweetheart is already gone. There is no me, without him.” The certainty to execute her scheme was maxed out.

The man slavered out his last endeavours at survival. “Look he’d want for you to survive this tragedy. Walk away from this. Seek therapy maybe. Move on! Find another man. Live a happy life!”

“There was only one man for me.” However, the desperation backfired with Fia hauling the gun now in his face. Like what he had just said turned the attempting murder into his suicide. “And you took him away!”

“Don’t do it Fia!” The wind from outside thrashed the hot tensioned air of her apartment when the cop-mother slammed the door open to intervene.

None of Fia’s focus was taken away from her target when asking the policewoman, “How did you find out?”

The answer was simplified. “It took me a while…But you took my gun.”

Interference from her refilled the man’s self-aggrandizing. “Hahahaha! You can’t kill me now!”

But the mother wasn’t siding with the criminal. “Shut up!”

He resumed testing Fia’s valour regardless. “You had a well thought out plan that you were trying to follow. And now…plan ruined! Back behind square one I guess hahaha.”

“I said shut up!” The authority figure repeated. She then looked at the girl. “Fia. Think about Alexander, okay. Think about him.”

The sound of Fia’s love’s name redirected her concentration. “I am thinking about him.”

“He wouldn’t want this!” The mother voiced her strong, rightful opinion of the matter.

Fia objected though, insisting on the opposite. “You don’t know what he’d want. No one would. Only me. And he’d know what I want. I want this!”

“Do it! Shoot me!” The murderer lurked into the conversation which made the cop strike down his existence.

“Shut the fuck up. You shut the fuck up.” Before reoccupying empathetically, “Fia, darling. As his mother, I wish I can put a bullet in each one of the eyes and up both nostrils of this bastard. But as a cop I can help you if you don’t do this. I can lock this waste of a life away, for good.” And then therapeutically, “You’re going to be sent far away if you do this. Far away from me. Far away from Alexander.”

“You have no idea what’s about to happen. I know he’d do anything for me! So I’m doing this for him.” The enunciation of the letters of his name travelling through Fia’s ears again sent her mind back to their reminiscences. And tears spit out itinerant with her vocals, produced from within her stomach, with some getting caught up in her throat.

“I did not know love until him. He loved me no matter how I was, and I loved him no matter what he did. He said I was his motivation, his inspiration. He made every one of my problems disappear. I would calm his temper down, and he’d kiss me in front of his friends. He’d plan our days out, taking me anywhere and I’d agree just because I liked being with him. He’d tell me to remind him about things and I’d tell him to listen to my songs, and watch my movies, as I watched his shows. We relied on each other. We’d only conflict about breakfast, or who ate the last of the ice cream.” The pace of Fia’s sentences sped up as her and Alexander’s memoirs dwelled deeper.

And slowed down before losing lucidity. “We often fantasized about the two of us, alone, against the world. That’s all we needed. Each other! I felt safe. And now I feel lost. So yes. Yes I have to do this.”

“If you wanted to kill me, why didn’t you already?” questioned the man, unsure about Fia’s motives.

“Yes Fia. Why?” The mother grudgingly agreed.

Fia explained, softly speaking, “Because I wanted to tell you our story, for you to remember in your dying moments.”

“What was the point Fia?” her once mother-in-law to be asked. “Please, don’t do this.”

Fia’s fast breathing decelerated to an unperturbed state. “You’re right, there would have been no point from the beginning.”

She let her elbows rest. Her arm dangled down and the floor beneath had view of the muzzle again. Her trigger finger relaxed. The mother was at ease witnessing this. “You’re doing the right thing Fia.”

“I know.” Fia’s mouth widened as she monitored the gun. “You know, I’ve always wanted a gun.” It lifted. The barrel fit in her mouth. The ejector rod laid on her bottom lip. The trigger had been pressed. A .38 special made its way in and out of her. Their story came to an end.

 

 

 

…I shall make it our day. There’s just something I have to do first. You probably know my plan, and I hope you’re not mad at me. I will come to find you afterwards. And then, we can be with one another again. I love you, I will always love you. We belong only with each other. Fia and Alexander, forever and always. In this lifetime and in the next. I’ll be with you soon my love.

 

 

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

That night, the man was arrested. That night, a mother read the story of her son and his love. That night, it was decided to hold off on Alexander’s funeral, to have him buried together with Fia.

And so on July 21st 2015, a couple who were no longer living were put to rest. But their story carried on living. Forever in ink, by their own words.

 


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