the beginning of the end

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
short romance of two separated individuals...
bitter sweet with their future undecided.
snippets losely connected in chronological order.

Submitted: June 16, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 16, 2008

A A A

A A A


*tap tap tap*


Swift and light foot steps echoed down the long and narrow hallway as they made their way passed each closed door without a second glance. They, a young woman and a young man, both in their twenties. Not a word was said between them, neither were there exchanges of looks. However, their movements coordinated with each other, in such a fashion that spoke of certainty. The hallway was dimly lit with yellow tinted light. Giant windows sitting at the ends of the hallway let in some sun, breaking the erie spell of the soft golden ambience. The air in this old building felt damp and heavy, adding to the tension that existed between the two. With the young woman in lead, the young man followed behind her quietly. His movements were relaxed, as if completely used to the novelty of this foreign place. Nonchalantly, his eyes seemed to focus on the back of the young lady’s head. Jet black… He could almost see his own face reflected in that silky blackness. Suddenly without warning, they came to a stop at a door located at the corner of where the hallway was about to turn. Three golden numbers glistened against the dark paint of the door, 520. The young lady turned around, looked at the young man behind her in the eye, and lazily leaned back against the door. Her body seemed to relax slightly as her shoulders softened. In momentary silence, she let her eyes drift up and down his body, then the corners of her mouth turned upwards into a quizzical smile.
“Hey.” she let those sounds roll off her tongue in a soft, breathy voice, as if whispering to herself almost. Her eyes seemed to turn inward for a moment, like a child reminded of something from a distant past. The young man stood there, his dark eyes shining in the dim light. The tension between them seemed to relax momentarily, and it felt safe to cross that short distance between them.
“Hey.” He said in response, stepping closer to her. He gazed into the depth of her eyes, as he reached behind her.
“click” The door was unlocked. The young man smiled at the surprised look on her face.
“Welcome home.” He opened the door.

___________________________________

Moments later, the young woman emerged from the kitchen with two steamy cups of tea. She gently placed one down in front of him, and securely held onto her own as she curled up on the couch next to him. Looking up at him while hiding half of her face behind the tea cup, she studied the familiarities of his face. It was always one of her favorite things to do, sit in silence and watch him.
The young man brought the tea cup to his lips and took a few small sips before he noticed her silent gaze. It was never something he could get used to, how she just watched him. It made him feel embarrassed and a little uneasy, as if her eyes looked right through his skin to his insides.
“You are watching me again?” He chuckled, but the corners of his mouth seemed a bit stiff. The young woman just simply smiled lazily at his obvious question. The steam from the cup of tea hovered in front of her face, softening the piercing look in her eyes. She blinked a few times as if in thought, then said matter-of-fact-ly, “I always loved looking at beautiful things, especially someone as lovely as yourself.” The young man’s eyes widened at the second statement. He almost forgot how naturally it was for her to say such suggestive things as if stating a fact. Till this day he still couldn’t be sure if she said those things just to tease him or not.
“Argh…” He shook his head in embarrassment and a lack of a good come back. A part of his back felt tense… This was the feeling he always felt when she looked at him like that. For the longest time he refused to admit it. But this uneasy feeling, it’s the feeling of a prey under close scrutiny of its predator. As if one wrong move, and he would be devoured completely. Not that he was any afraid of that… after all, she was a woman, not a beast.

___________________________________

“So how is work lately?” He shrugged off the distracting thought and asked, looking at her with a steady gaze.
“You mean how is the project.” She corrected, voice neutral. He almost winced at the sharpness of her words.
“Everything is going well with Dr. Ellen. The project is finally wrapping up into its final stages.” Playfulness disappeared from the young woman’s eyes, replaced by a cold sternness. She leaned back away from the young man, sinking into the back of the couch. In a practiced, fluid sequence of motion, she reached inside her fitted jacket, took out a silver case of cigarettes, retrieved one for herself, placed it gently between her thin lips, and held the case toward the young man in an offering gesture.
The young man hesitated, not at whether he should accept a cigarette from her. But whether he should pretend to not notice the sudden change in the young woman’s attitude. He decided to not deal with it for now. He took a cigarette from the case, and nodded in gratitude.
“Here.” He held the lit lighter toward her and held it in mid-air. The young woman leaned in, eyes looking at the small flame within his hands. A second later, she looked up and leaned away as a ring of smoke started to surround them. The young man proceeded to light his own cigarette. As he inhaled deeply and leaned back into the back of the couch, he realized how much he had missed this feeling…
“It is set now that in November, we will meet with AEO in Tokyo and discuss the final details of the production contract. I believe you will hear about the details of that in the near future as our side starts to contact AEO about the exact dates of this meeting.” The young woman went on, only pausing to take a drag from her cigarette. Her tone of voice was still pure business and almost monotone… like rings of a silver bell. The young man felt himself smile inwardly, almost with a hint of bitterness.
“That is good.” He nodded, conceding, “But let’s not talk about that now.” The young woman paused, her thin eyebrows raised in a question, looking at him with her wide eyes. The young man had been looking at the cigarette in his hand. He placed the bud between his index finger and thumb, and rolled it up and down absentmindedly. He knew she was looking at him, but he was in no hurry to respond to her questioning look. He liked having her questioning eyes on him. He liked how she waited. He let himself relax and took a long drag of the cigarette, and let out the smoke slowly in small white rings. He used to do that to amuse her when they were bored… such a long time ago.
“Let me rephrase, how are you doing.” He finally looked at her in the eyes as his deep and firm voice broke the silence, placing emphasis on the “you”. The young woman looked away. She held her gaze away from him, and went on smoking with no signs of intending to respond. The now tense lines of her neck and jaw were the only clues that she had indeed heard what he said.
“Are you well?” He asked, even though the answer was almost apparent.
“No.” She answered curtly. She never lied about these things, although she would prefer to not go into details about it.

“Look at me.” The young man’s voice now sounded concerned. He shifted close to her and gently held her chin, turning her face toward him. With her face in his hand and her eyes directed down, she looked uncharacteristically soft and obedient.
“Hey, look at me.” The young man whispered, as if said any louder he would break the person in front of him. The young woman looked up, eyes shining and piercingly clear… The young man felt his heart clench as he saw the emotions that spilled out of those pitch black pupils. Those eyes… they are the eyes of a wounded beast, painfully vulnerable but somehow dangerous and arrogant at the same time.

___________________________________

The young man noticed the subtle changes in young woman’s eyes, the softness inside her dark pupils hardened into something sharp and dangerous.
“I want to eat you up.” The young woman said, turning her tenderness into an expression of pure desire. The words somehow empowered her. They made her feel safe.
Not one part of the young man’s body doubted what she said. After all in the past, she did show him what she meant by eating him up. She would pin him down on the bed by holding his jaw, then proceed to lick and bite his ears, neck, collarbone, chest, abdomen, hips, and proceed downwards. The young man caught his face flush with the thought of her mouth on him. Every time she would attend to every inch of his body with excruciating thoroughness and patience. Every time, she would leave him completely drained and breathless… At the end of it all, she would swallow him, and lick her lips with such a satisfied look, as if she had just finished a grand feast. It was like torture how she teased him so much, but as puzzling as it might be, he let her. However, he wasn’t sure if he was about to let her this time.

___________________________________

He chuckled softly to her stubborn tone of voice, and pulled her into his arms in a comforting hug. The familiar feel of everything almost tricked him into believing that they were not who they were now, but who they were many years ago when everything was straightforward and uncomplicated. Images, voices, thoughts, feelings all came back to him. Moments like this happened to him every now and then at night, when buried feelings from the past would all come flooding back to haunt him. On those sleepless nights, he would numb his nerves by any means he could find. But right now, with her inside his arms, the dancing images seemed harmlessly warm. It was almost close enough to nostalgia… It was like a warm blanket of light that covered them in a protective embrace. Time slipped away soundlessly as he held her inside his arms.
“bad…” An old word of habit slipped from his mouth, the young man felt himself slowly close his eyes as the young woman relaxed inside his arms. It wouldn’t hurt to go on believing for now that they were back to that time from many years ago, he thought to himself as he allowed himself to relax against her. A whiff of her familiar smell pleasantly calmed his senses as he nuzzled his face into her hair.
The young man finally succumbed to fatigue. It had been days since he had slept soundly due to his recent busy schedule. A comfortable bed was in the bedroom a few steps away, but the both the young woman and the young man were content with leaning against each other.

___________________________________

Therewas a light, then a dancing shadow of a person. Then therewas a faintlaughter in the distance…

The sound of a woman’s voice. He couldnt quite make out who it was.The light surroudning himwas too omnipotent he could barely squint.

Where am I?he thought to himself.

Then, it occured to him that he was drifting, almost completely weightless. Where he was didn’t seem to matter much anymore. He felt himself relax as he floated toward the shadow in front of him. As he drifted closer,the laughter became more distinguishable. It was a voice he knew but couldn’t pinpoint…

Something inside of him felt uneasy then, but he wasn’t sure what it was. Something about that shadow felt strange, almost creepy…Ashe slowlydrifted even closer to the shadow, the outlines of the personbecame clearly visibleto him… They were strangely familiar butcompletely unrecognizable at the same time… Suddenly, the sound of thatlaughter became jarringly loud and the shadow started to move closer to him.It distorted in shape and became this dark shapeless form that lunged toward him. The young man felt himself wanting to move away but couldn’t. He was no longer drifting, but somehow frozen in place. The distance between the shadow and him quickly disappeared at frightening speed. Right before they were about to crash, the young man squeezed his eyes tightly shut in fear. He felt the impact knock him backwards, and he fell.

*beep beep beep*

The young man jerked awake to the sound of his beeping cellphone. Quickly scanning his surroundings, he realized he was alone and safe. The uneasy feeling from his dream earlier quickly dissipated as he recovered back into his alert and practical self.

*beep beep beep* The cellphone relentlessly kept on ringing.Aswift glance at the clock hanging on the wall told him it was 3AM in the morning. Only one person would call him at this time.

“Hello?” he picked up the phone, shaking his head in an effort to clear his mind.

“Hi. Are you available?” the caller’s voice was crisp and precisely controlled.

“Yes.” the young man looked around the room once more, making sure he was indeed alone.

“Good. Please provide a status update.”

“yes.ready now.”

“Going on the record. Now… Go.”

“Agent #09279 reporting on Project 20T3 at 03:14AM June 17th 2008. Objective A accomplished. connection to Alice established. Currently on schedule. Estimated time before total completion, 3 days starting from 00:00 June 18th 2008. End report.” The young man spoke, voice monotonous and mechanical.

There was no sound from the other end of the line for a few brief seconds. then there was a click.

“Going off the record.” the caller’s voice returned, morerelaxed, sounding more human, “3 days, that is longer than previously estimated time. “

“Yes,I am aware of that. but i have reconsidered all factors andI think 3 days is the minimum time required to ensure our desired outcome.I would like to ask for permission for this time extension.”

“May i ask for a brief explanation on the factors that have brought you to this conclusion?”

“Ican file an IFC report at the end of completion if you want to keep it on file.”

“You are aware that someone with your experience and status do not need to file IFC reports. “

“Yes.”

……. There was a pause then a long drawled-out silence when neither parties wanted to elaborate further.

“Permission granted.”Unwillingly,the voice on the other end of line spoke.

“Understood.” The young man’s answer was firm, voice tight with controlled impatience.

“It’s good to hear from you. Call terminating.”

*BEEP*

Then theconnection was cut.

___________________________________

"Hi~ Morning~ How may I help you? The usual?" The young girl standing behind the cash register greeted warmly at the young woman. The girl's name was Jennifer, as written on the small square tag in front of her maroon colored apron. The young woman frequented this local coffeeshop enough to know all the workers there, but everytime, she still couldn't help it but glance ather name tag before responding. Maybe it was just an old habit to always be sure. Jennifer.
"Morning.", the young woman greeted briskly, reminding herself to smile back. Jennifer was a lovely girl, warm and welcoming. But something about her made the young woman a little uncomfortable.
"Two coffees please. one cream and sugar, one black. " The young womansaid,looking at the menu withoutreally reading it. She never read the menu even though she looked at it every morning.
"Ok... is that all?" Jennifer looked up with her bright blue eyes, and theyoung woman avoided looking at them. She looked through her wallet and prepared a five dollar bill, answering shortly.
"Yes. "
"Your total would be.... 4 dollars and 32 cents please... Out of five...." Jennifer worked through the maths in her head with a little monologuewhile the young womanwaited in silence. After a few minutes of busying herself counting coints, Jennifer excitedly announced, " 68 cents is your change! Thank you! Have a nice day!"The young womantook the change and dropped them in the glass jar for tips. She never liked having coins. Moments later, the young woman was walking down the street with two cups of coffee in her hands. The morning air was a little damp and chilly but refreshing. The dews on the grass glistened in the morning sun like tiny droppings of yellow crystals. The young woman lifted her head and looked at the pale blue sky as she took a deep breath of the morning fresh air. She noticed how cloudless the sky was that morning, but failed to notice how the corners of her mouth were unconsciously turned upwards and how her walk was less like astrode butmore like skipping.

to be continued...


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