My senses are at their highest. Ears alert, mind wide awake, my nose sharp, all while I sleep. I hear soft movements, a few clanks, then an aroma that sends my endorphins into overdrive. My eyes flutter open in search of the smell.
“I hope you like Folgers.”
Allen stands by the counter with that smirk plastered along his chiseled jaw line. I bring my knees to my chest, still absorbed in the blankets. He sauntering over to the couch to hand me a mug and proceeds to sit at my feet. I bring the mug to my nose and deeply inhale the vapors. Such a calming scent, for a moment I forget, for just a moment I am happy.
“You know you talk in your sleep”, my eyes open rather quickly. “A lot actually.” Slowly you sip your coffee and wince at the temperature as it touches your lips.
“What did I say?” Afraid of the answer, I shut my eyes and try to return to my focus on the mug.
“I couldn’t make out most of it, but one thing you said clear enough, you said almost repetitive.”
I take a quick sip, and lock eyes with Allen. “What did I say?”
“You said, ‘you’ll never get away with this’ and ‘you will regret this’.”
I pretend like I did not hear a word. How can I expect you to understand something I don’t have the strength to talk about. How can I explain all the pain and horror? There’s no way to share what I harbor. Yet, how can I keep you in the dark with all that you have done for me?
“There’s a lot about me that I still am not ready to share, but I know I have to tell you just because of the situation we both are in.”
Softly you pat my knee and give me this loving gaze, “you don’t have to tell me everything now.” With that we sat in silence drinking our coffee staring out the window, gazing at the flurries as they rushed to cover the streets. Soon there was nothing left for us to drink so you stood gracefully, gathered my mug and disappeared into the kitchen.
“Well I’m hungry, are you up for eating out or do you want to order in?”
“Only if you are down for another unexpected game of hide and don’t get found?”
“You really think they’d come after us again?”
“After me, yes.”
“How long ago did what ever happen, happen?”
“A few years have passed, why?”
“Just wondering how long someone can live in hiding without completely losing it.”
“I’ve lost my mind a long time ago, so I didn’t have to lose my life.”
“Fair enough, so take in?” I sit quietly for a bit, weighing my odds. Swiftly I toss the blankets to the side and reach for my shoes.
“I’ve gotten to live a bit longer then expected, so let’s play with more of my odds.” I can feel your smirk growing larger as I lace up my shoes.
“I don’t know how I feel about this dare-devil side of you.”
“Trust me it won’t last long, let’s go.”
Allen had called us a cab and we took it to Denny’s. We figured it was quiet enough to enjoy ourselves. Along the way I found myself staring out the window letting my thoughts wander. I’ve lived here for quite some time, alone. Afraid to make friends, afraid to connect with someone. All I kept thinking about was how quickly my peace could be taken away. Nothing scared me more than the thought of being back with those monsters. Finally, I could see hope hiding in every snowflake that fell, something I never thought I could ever feel again. I knew that my life would be left to live forever unnoticed, but that was how it needed to be if I wanted to breathe another day. Smiling to myself, I fogged up the window just enough to draw a smiley face and watched it slowly disappear.
“Hey Sara, we are here.” I glance at my faded master piece before I slide out of the cab just where Allen had exited. He paid the taxi and led me into the restaurant. He held the door open for me and once we were inside he held up two finger at the hostess. She grab a two menus and showed us to a booth in the back of the diner. Allen stood next to me as he helped me out of my jacket. I can’t help but smile sweetly at him because frankly I have never known such chivalry. The twinkle in his eye as he handed me my jacket made me blush. How can he so easily make me tremble? Quickly I sit down, keeping my gaze towards the table as he sits across from me. With his jacket off, I can’t help but greedily skim my eyes over his features. His torso hugged by the grayish blue thermal. It just does not seem to hide anything, especially as his shoulder moving side to side as he shifts in his seat. How his chest seems to fullen with each time he figits. Gracefully he pulls his sleeve up to his elbow to reveal his smooth, muscular forearms. His silver watch sits so perfectly on his wrist, while the deep blue face works with his clothes. How can one man look so good in the simplest shirt? I’m lost in the color of his watch when I realize Allen has been staring at me. I mange to break eye contact and begin to fumble with the menu. After a chuckle and raised eye brow you return your gaze to the menu.
“You know if you like the watch I could get you one just like it.”
“No thanks, it looks better on you.” I glance up and our eyes meet. I can see the smile in your eyes that I begin to blush. Frighten by where this is going I hide behind my messy hair and frantically scan the menu.
“Do you guys know what you want to drink?” Our waitress, patiently waiting, has porcelain skin with jet black hair. Her face showered in faded freckles, holding back her age in a timeless manner.
“I’ll have a hot chocolate.” Allen says smoothly.
“Umm, I’ll have one as well.” I manage to keep my gaze on our waitress even though I can feel Allen side-eyeing me.
“All right, are you ready to order or do you still need a few?”
“I’m ready if you are?” I blush instantly after realizing how those words sounded. After a quick pause Allen places his order of pancakes and over-easy eggs with bacon. She scribbles away then turns to me,”and for you ma’am?”
“I’ll have the french toast with scrambled eggs and bacon.” She quickly writes my order down and politely excuses herself to place our orders.
“It’s really been that long since you had a friend, huh?”
“Is it that obvious?”
“No, not really.” There goes that damned smirk again.
“It kind of hard to relate to someone like you.” Speaking without thinking, way to go Sam.
“What do you mean someone like me?” Sitting back he crosses his arms and stares at me waiting for an answer.
“Umm, well, a stalker knows how to socialize.”
“Woah, so now I’m a stalker to you?”
“Well, you kind of were always around when something happened to go wrong.” I raise my eyebrow this time.
“Okay, you got me there, but I’m no stalker.”
“Care to explain then?”
Right when he was about to say something the waitress popped up with our drinks. I feel my eyes narrow as I search his face for a reaction. Suddenly I just feel my guard fly right up and all around me again.
“Careful, they are hot, we just made a fresh batch.” A few soft clings later she disappeared towards the kitchen.
Grabbing a mug Allen stares into it, “I always knew there was something about you and I couldn’t place it until I ran into you.”
“Ah huh, tell me that does not sound cliché.”
“Haha, I guess you’re right, that does sound pretty cliché”, slowly bringing the mug to your lips you blow softly. “But, it’s true.”
“I never really noticed you. Come to think of it you always seemed to keep a low profile.”
“I learned it was easier to live my life so no one knew I existed.” I started to feel this conversation was getting deeper then I wanted it to, so I clasp my hands together and let my thumbs fight out my nerves.
“I’m not trying to push you, but damn, when are you going to let me know what really happened to you?”
Saved by the bell, our waitress chimes in introducing our food! A few more clanks and couple of slides and we had fresh food. I grabbed my fork and started tearing apart my eggs.
“Man, I’m suddenly famished.” Not wasting a second I began stuffing my face. Taking note that was the end of that discussion Allen ate his meal without the probing questions. It was nice to finally eat in someone’s company other than myself. Although we didn’t really speak, I could feel my peace returning. With each bite I began to feel my heart fill with warmth and my mind didn’t seem to wander anymore. I tried to focus on my plate because I couldn’t bear to have Allen catch me staring at him again. He makes me act a fool, all the years I so diligently focused on staying alive and away from people, just went to shit. I was so good at ignoring everyone, and Allen just makes me get lost in his features. I shake my head and focus the last bit of my toast down and push my plate away from my setting.
“I’m guessing you hated the food?”
“Yeah”, I chuckled, “so much so I couldn’t stand the sight.”
Strange, I must have been so focused on my food to not have noticed that the waitress had already left the ticket. I push the thought out of my head because another thought comes to focus. Allen never seems to hesitate on paying for me or taking care of me. This brings a smile to my face.
“That suits you.”
Caught off guard I just stare blankly and let my blush overtake my face. Seeing the fright in my face he chuckles as he reaches for the bill.
“I’m not broke, I can pay for our meal.”
“I know, but I offered to take you out to eat, so it’s my treat.”
Again I’m caught of guard with his sweetness. “I’ll be right back, wait for me here while I go pay.”
There is no way I can keep my life a secret any more, not from him. Maybe I’m naive for thinking this, but Allen has been nothing but good to me. He deserves to know everything. I may be a fool for this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I think I am falling for him. Great! Just thinking about how weak that makes me infuriates me! Either I’m an idiot for falling for the first guy to show me kindness, or I’m an idiot for giving those monsters a weakness.
“Hey, ready to go?”
Dammit Allen! You are always breaking my thoughts apart!
“Yeah, I’m ready.” Is all I can muster through my anger. I cannot let these people know how much he means to me. I will not break open, I have to keep you safe.
“Here you go.” Holding my coat behind me, I slowly put my jacket on. Yet again you led me outside and to a waiting cab. I had a lot to think about on our way back to Allen’s place, too much may happen and I need to figure out how to protect you.
As the cab eases out of the parking lot my senses pick up on an awkwardness in the air. I glance at the rear view mirror to meet eyes with the driver. With a wink I can see the scar above his right eye brow. That’s when I realize his scar is the one I gave him.