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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two stories, tied up together, sharing one fate.
See how it unravels.

Of course, I'm French. And this is my first piece of writing in Shakespear's mother tongue. Feel free to tell me if you see any mistakes.

Submitted: July 31, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 31, 2012

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A A A


 

Tom awakened from his dream with a jolt, his heart racing. A pen rolled over on his desk and fell on the ground, unnoticed. He looked around for a few seconds, eyes unfocused, trying to locate the source of noise that woke him up. On his desk, the clock showed 8:25am. He sighed in relief: he was only asleep for five minutes, after all. Stretching, he gazed around him, his eyes searching the cubicles disseminated in the office for the short blonde hair and a slender figure he was somehow expecting, to no avail. He shook his head at his own stupidity, and his shoulders dropped as the reminiscences of the night before swept over his mind and culpability washed over him. The young man leaned back and sank into his seat, wistful. Slowly, he turned to the window and looked outside, absent-mindedly staring at the skyscrapers blooming all around. 

Five floors below, a young woman of oriental descent, no older than seventeen years old, was seated in the waiting room. Her fingernails were chewed out and yet, she was still nervously biting at the skin around them, hunched over some old worn magazine. Again, she stopped flipping over the pages to stare at the door in front of her, waiting for it to open, the anxiety making her stomach churn. Just as she was going to plunge back into the article she was reading, her phone rang. She blinked, startled, and reached in her pocket to turn off the alarm. The screen showed 8:30. She lifted her head as the door opened. She saw no one in the door frame, but she heard a voice calmly call out: “Aya?”

“Ladies in gentlemen, it is officially…Tuesday, 8:35 you’re listening to 97.2 FM! Well, it would seem that the weather is still quite warm, don’t you…”.Claire turned off the car’s engine and threw the keys in the bag resting on the passenger seat on her right. She took one last look at the orange envelope lying on her knees and closed her eyes. Inside her mind, sadness, despair and anger vied for her attention, and for a split second, her resolution wavered. However, as she locked her car’s door and started walking towards the elevator, Claire regained her composure. As the clicking of her high heels resonated through the underground parking, she made pride her final choice. Grabbing her phone, she dialled.

Aya entered the room. One look around showed her that the man now standing on the other side of the desk didn’t change. Everything was neat, and nothing showed it was an office the same person used everyday. It was a place as cold as the man who owned it. Nothing personal could be found; no touch of uniqueness could be seen.  The young girl shook her head and closed the door behind her. “Why are you here” the man asked. She turned to face him and just then realized the extent to which he didn’t want to see her. To him, she was just another unwanted visitor. “I have something to tell you about.” She replied, her voice a mere whisper. The man frowned, his tick eyebrows accentuating the austerity of his face. “Couldn’t you tell me on the phone? Why make an appointment?” Aya’s facial expression automatically changed to match her interlocutor’s. Even a stranger could tell how much they looked alike at that precise moment. Just as the young girl was about to answer, the phone rang. The man picked up with an annoyed tone: “ SR International, Osman Malik speaking, how may I help you?

Claire laughed. “It’s me, Osman. Is Tom at the conference room? Yes. No, don’t tell him I’m in. I just had a favour to ask you. Please, don’t give me that. I’ve been your partner for much longer than you’ve even known him. Besides I am not going to ask you for something big. No, I am taking that matter in my own hands; I don’t need you for that. No. Listen. Osman. No. That’s not what I want. Oh please, I’m sure he told you everythi- no ! Just listen to me for God’s sake. What I ask is not that you take part in what is about to be played. What I ask is that you actually don’t offer to do anything. Because I know he’ll turn to you to settle the case. Don’t help him. In exchange? I’ll remain your associate, and that is all you have to gain. Have a nice day, Osman.” The woman hung up. With her head held high, she took a step inside the elevator.

Tom jerked awake again as his phone rang. Blinking, he glanced at the caller ID and picked up with a startled expression. “Anything wrong, Osman?” he murmured with a raspy voice. “No, I wasn’t crying, thank you. It’s because we kept screaming at each other all night. She knows for…- I’ll call you again”. Slowly, Tom hung up and turned to the door that had just opened. A tall blonde woman was at the door, a cold expression on her face. The sigh of her made something stir in Tom’s heart. Regret. He straightened his back. “Well?” he asked. Claire didn’t answer. She walked towards him without a word and tossed the orange envelope on his desk. His eyes widened. He stared as his wife. No further explanation was need about the content of the envelope. “We don’t need to…”. His voice died in his throat. She had left the room. For a split second, he contemplated letting her go. For the next split second, the enormity of his loss made his head spin. He sprung on his feet and went after her. The clock showed 8:43.

Shaking his head, Osman finally lowered the handset. In front of him, Aya seemed about to burst into tears. A bit shaken and a thousand light years away from admitting it, the man stared at his guest. The girl’s eyes were welling with tears and the corners of her mouth were pulling downwards. She stared at him. In a trembling, voice, she asked: “Are you busy?”. Slightly panicked, Osman took a glance at his desktop computer’s screen and turned back to Aya. “I have an appointment at 8: 50. It’s 8:44.” The young woman nodded, and two big tears rolled over her cheeks. “What’s wrong? Do you need money?”

Tom’s hand locked around Claire’s wrist. “I’m sorry, Claire, listen -…”. The woman looked at the wall and snapped: “Let me go, this instant. Let.. me.. go!” Claire’s voice cracked and Tom seized her chin with his hand and forced her to stare at him. His eyes widened. Claire was crying. But Claire never cries. His heart sank. “I’ll make it okay” he whispered. “I’ll never do you wrong again. I’ll make it okay. We have life to start over, and I won’t let you down again. I’m sorry…”

A bitter laugh escaped Aya’s lips. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she forced herself to stare at Osman again. “Dad. I’m dying.” she stopped for a moment, and brought her hands to each side of her head. “Cancer.”

At that exact moment, the world turned to hell. Whatever words were stuck in Osman’s throat, whatever changes Tom intended for his life and Claire’s were lost forever at that instant. The clock froze forever at 8:46, September 11th 2001 in the World Trade Center North Tower.

 

 


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