There is some language or violence that may not be appropriate for people under thirteen years of age.
Auroral Nights by CrystalNeonSummerSnow
Summary: Alejandro figures out a secret he shouldn't have figured out while another is faced with dreadful consequences for her heroic actions. When he promises to protect her, a whole world of danger is enflicted on them.
I clawed at my bedsheets as the rainstorm amplified outside. My eyes shot open once it became too much.
Staring at the peeled purple paint on the walls, I took a few deep breaths and slumped my head back on my sweat-stained pillow. What a terrible nightmare, I thought with one last glance around my room before being lulled back into a deep sleep by the cracking of lightning and the surging of rain outside.
Not too long, I woke up in the same wretched setting like before. The walls were burnt, the floor groaned when I got up, and my hands were stained with familiar red sanguine fluid. I lamented as I closed my eyes and tried wake up. It was the same setting in one of my worst nightmares. Before I could escape, I heard blatant footsteps down the stairs of the hovel. The figure glared at me and let out a bitter chuckle as he pulled out a revolver from his pocket.
I buried my face in my hands as he grew closer.
" Hello, Sleeping Ugly." he cackled in a gravelly voice, a voice that sent chills to my spine.
I didn't bother to answer or move, I just laid there on the aging wood. It was almost as if I was transformed into a statue. He shot me in the wrist several times to get me to show my face. Staring at the smoke creeping out of his Colt Diamondback, I exerted a little movement towards the door until he pointed it straight at my heart. Then I was frozen stiff again.
He threw his cigarette to the floor and knelt down. His hair dangled in front of his face as he laughed. I winced and slammed my eyes shut, waiting for him to end it.
Fortunately, that's when I woke up. The clock flashed in red 2:34 a.m. Ugh, soon I'd have to get up, get dressed, and head back to school to await another day of drama and complete bore; it didn't really help that my 12th grade classmates were the idiots I dealt with in season 3; at least it would be my last week of school before summer. When I headed off into the bathroom to wash my face, I rubbed lotion against the scars from World Tour on my chest and arms. Damn Chris and his show...
With a good look in the mirror, I sighed. I had really let myself go lately. I still had some muscle, but since my parents got divorced I was a lot bonier that before. My ribs stuck out of my once-buff chest, my jawbone was more visable, and my abs decreased from a 12-pack to half of what it was.
I really need to head to the gym later on, I thought.
One last look in the mirror and I tried to sneak back into bed, until I overheard my mother's loud voice.
" I promise you Derek, we're just not meant to be." she yelled into the telephone receiver with her lips stained from the black lipstick she wore. Derek? My father's name wasn't Derek; it was Robert, Robert Chester Burromento. I shook away thoughts of the possible until she kept talking.
" Yes, yes, I know I divorced with my husband, but we shouldn't date."
" Look, Lola, I understand that he wanted to protect you and everything, but trust me, that loser wasn't worth your time."
Protect us? Protect us from what, exactly? I knew my dad was a diplomat and everything, but still.... What was that tramp talking about? Mom slapped her face--possibly scraping some of her Hispanic skin off her forehead--and sighed before speaking in her squeaky voice. I was as silent as a grave.
" Derek, I know that you may be a lot more different than my ex-husband, but he was the one who suggested the divorce for a reason. If he didn't, that gang could've killed me and my kids. He sacraficed himself for me and I could never replace him."
" Well, that's wussy. If only he'd given the ransom and not throw himself into the apartment then maybe----"
" Enough, already!" my mother yelled before hanging up. It couldn't be possible, could it? My dad, divorcing with my mother, and then what? What were they talking about? Were they actually saying that my father was......
After cursing at herself, she snatched a book from the table and sighed with her eyes turned to sad slits. Our family scrapbook I made in 2nd grade. It mostly consisted of embarrasing baby pictures of my brothers, and luckily, not a lot of me. Soon, she started crying when she got to the last page, the page where I added a picture from her wedding day for their anniversary.
" I wish you were still here, honey..." she bemoaned with a single teardrop landing on the page.
At that point, I couldn't take it anymore. I rushed into the kitchen as fast as I could. She didn't even have to ask why; she knew that I eavesdropped. I took a deep breath and only muttered,
" What was going on?"
She sat me down, stirred the ice in her tea, and closed the book. She admitted that a vicious gang once threatened that if my father didn't pay them one million dollars when I turn 18, they would slaughter the entire family. It then explained why they made me sign up for World Tour; she lied saying that it would help refresh me from my daily life. Well, sadly for her, Total Drama was what I called the dumbest show on Earth. Continuing, she said that my father refused to give up when I lost, so he divorced with her knowing that he was not going to survive the fight. She gazed down at the floor, hugged me tight, and whimpered,
" I know I should've told you, but then you would've been in danger. I'm really sorry, Alejandro."
I hugged her tightly, then let go and went back to bed. At least it could clear away one nightmare.
But still, it was very sad. Mom sometimes said that bad things can happen to good people, but for me, that was different. I know I'm not a good person.
" Alejandro!" my brother Carlos yelled. I was snapped back to reality when a soccer ball smacked me in the face. He came to my side with a little smirk on his face. He had to give me a black eye.
" Dude, what's been with you lately? Ever since last night, you've been acting kinda weird."
" Sorry, hermano. I was just thinking of something."
" Well, I hope your thinking of getting back our ball 'cause it just rolled down into that alley."
I laughed in an ambivalent way before heading down the street. Even though my dad was gone, at least there was still an upside. I still had my brothers and my mom, so I thought it wouldn't get worse, right?
Wrong. Completely wrong. I wouldn't even think there was an upside.
When I entered the alley and got our soccer ball back, I heard the blustering sound of fighting in lobby of a nearby building. I tried to ignore it, but then it finally attracted my attention when a gunshot was fired. Peeking through the window, a man in a buisness suit ran his fingers through his shiny black comb over (with a few grey roots), laughed, and threw a Diamondback in the air. What terrified me most was how much he resembled the character in my nightmare.
I tried to run away, but when his eyes landed on me, I knew he wouldn't let me leave without a fight.
He beckoned with his finger to make me come in. With a few shaky breaths, I came in. My heart was still once I saw a dead body on the floor. As I sat down at the table, he laughed at the panicked expression on my face. He set his cigarette in an ashtray and said,
" Ahh, isn't it an honor to have Robert's son here. My name's Derek O'Sharen."
Oh crap. It was the person that was hitting up on Mom. With a few taps on the table, I said,
" Lo siento. No puedo entender a inglés."
He laughed at my pathetic attempt to fool him.
" How clever. You actually thought that I didn't understand Spanish?" I groaned. Just what I need. Humiliation.
" Look, I'm not going to hurt you yet, but I do request that you follow my instructions to the letter, 'kay?"
" Good. Now, I'm not the person that killed one of these people, but I do hold this gun as the evidence of who did do this. Not much is known about her, but here's the thing: she has murdered a few of our social workers and we need her to be captured and taken in for questioning. Since your the most quick-witted in the Burromento family, I'm counting on you to find her."
" Why should I listen to anything you say?" I glared at him straight in the eye. What shocked me was that he was barely intimidated by my lime green gaze.
" Well, remember that gang that killed your father? Well, I can track that gang down and have them arrested, if you track the perpetrator. If not, then, well, since I never take no for an answer, you might get the point. Capiche?"
An innuendo for a death threat. Oh rapture. With my chest tightening from the agita and the shine of the auroral night on the table, I stuttered,
He handed my an arylide yellow file folder, let out a small laugh, and said to my before I left,
" Also, it's best that we don't tell anyone about this and best that you don't show this file to anyone either. Whoever asks, just say it's schoolwork and continue on with your life."
I nodded again before walking out the now-shattered glass door. I leaned against the brick wall, collecting some debris on my jacket. This was unbelievable. The last thing in life I needed was to be in some kidnapping mission under threat of murder. Still, it would be nice to get my hands on the drug-addicted losers that killed my father. What the hell did they want from us anyway? My mind was snapped back once I heard Carlos's distant yell.
" Hey, Al? C'mon, dude, we need to go home!"
I rolled my eyes. I hate it when I'm called "Al". Before grabbing the soccer ball, I took a peek inside the folder and almost fainted at the sight of the picture.
My heart stopped beating; my breath grew short. I tried to keep a straight face, but still staring at the picture of the femme fatale, I couldn't. That person was Bridgette.
Bridgette, the first girl that I threw away on the show by leaving her stuck to a pole. It was hard to believe that such an innocent girl would enter the life of crime. Folding it, I looked down at my boots and gnawed at my lips hard enough to taste blood. I faintly sighed her name under my breath. My dithering was interrupted when Carlos loomed his head around the corner.
" Al, c'mon, we gotta head home! Wait, what's that in your hands?"
I flinched for a moment and my thoughts of what I was going to say went blank. I finally took a breath and simply answered,
He looked at me with disbelieving eyes and almost cocked an eyebrow, but then shrugged and kicked the ball from under my foot. With one last glance at Bridgette's picture before slipping it back in the file, I let out a depressed sigh.
Back at home, everything was quiet and usual; Mom was making dinner and José was, as always, a pain in the butt. When we came in, he punched me in the shoulder and waved a trophy in my face. Mom said while flipping one of the steaks,
" Alejandro, I forgot to tell you, José won the spelling bee today. Isn't that exciting?"
" Yeah, I guess." I murmured with obvious apathy in my breath. José laughed at me again, gave my arm another jab, and said,
" What's the matter, Al? Jealous much?"
I shook my head and pushed the trophy out of my face. God, I thought, if I was at least a foot taller than him, I'd kill him. I tried my best not to form an evil face when I thought that. Sure, usualy I was apathetic 'cause I was a bit jealous, but that time it was 'cause I had other things on my mind. Rubbing my thumb against the edge of the file picture in the folder, I headed for my room. Mom turned around and asked,
" Wait, Alejandro? Aren't you going to stay for dinner?"
" No Mom, I'm not really hungry tonight." My pace quickened a little when I heard José mutter,
" He's only hungry for attention."
Ha, well, look who's talking, I thought a little more furiously that time, slamming the door.
I slumped myself into bed and sighed. There goes living life as a normal teen, so why live it? I looked up at the ceiling and once again at the picture of the surfer girl. I didn't understand it all. I knew Bridgette was different from other girls, but I didn't know she would be this different. Her hair was in a French braid, she wore a timberwolf hoodie to hide herself, and only an iota of her eyes peeked out of the shadow over her face.
I closed my eyes and groaned. I then looked out the window and at the neon green streak of light in the sky. Then, a bad idea lit up in my head. Now, I wouldn't say it was bad because it's risky, because Burromentos are never afraid to take chances. But, it's a new low even for me....
Yet, if Derek wanted me to capture Bridgette, I might as well just get it over with
While my family was feasting and laughing away, I pulled up the bottom frame of the window. I turned my head to my room one last time, slipped the file away in my jacket, and slowly made my way to the road. I was frozen when I heard footsteps in my room,
I quickly crawled into the rose bushes next door and waited for him to leave. He just polished his trophy and set it on the shelf laughing, the arrogant jerk. He looked out the window suspiciously; as if there was someone watching him. I tried my best not to move, even though the thorns were beginning to pierce my skin. All I heard was a loud click and his footsteps out of my room.
I wiped the roses petals off of my sleeves and went on my way.
It was really surprising of me to run away from home after all that thought, a real shock, but if I wanted to avenge my father's passing, I had to get this misson out of the way; I wasn't willing to turn my life into some crime drama episode. As I ran down the street with the frantic nighttime cars by my side, I tumbled on top of an unknown female figure. She rubbed her head and let out a frustrated gripe.
" Sorry, miss." I said in a flustered tone. Soon, I had reason to be embarrassed when the file slipped out. She looked at the picture and then at me before getting up. She yanked on my arm and headlonged me into an alley. My eyes grew large when she took the hoodie off.
She clamped her hand on my mouth.
" Bridgette?! What the heck are you doing here?!" I muffled loudly. She shushed me with her gentle breath grazing my ear. My muscles began to relax as she rubbed my neck. Suddenly, a metal object--probably a frying pan--hit me in the back of my head. Only seeing a blurry vision of her face, I closed my eyes as she said,
" Everything will be okay."
The next minute I woke up, my hands were cuffed to the two rattling pipes with the steam blowing in my face and the rest of myself tied firmly to the floor. Bridgette appeared with her old clothing and her faced covered with grime. She breathed a few times before talking. I icily scowled at her for what she did. The next thing that happened was her pulling out the case file and setting it on a coffee table.
" Sorry, but I had to bring you in here without a struggle."
" Why am I here and why did you kill Mr. O'Sharen's social workers?"
She knelt down to me and jabbed me in the shoulder as I began to try and break out of the rope. She shook her head and sighed.
" I know this seems bad, but I'll explain later. Anyway, you'd actually believe that guy? He's not trustworthy."
" Like I didn't notice? He already put me in the colluding crap where if I don't turn you in, he'll refuse to track down the gang that killed my dad and then I'll die, too!" I snapped ferociously. She laughed at me, hearing the whit of fear in my tone, but it quickly subsided once she saw me hold back my tears to seem manly. She untied one of the knots and smiled.
" Shh, it's okay. Nothing bad'll happen to you, I promise."
I looked at her. That was more of the Bridgette I know.
" Look, it doesn't have to be this way as long as you promise to protect me. I need to stay in hiding and you need to pretend that the trail's gone cold until I can clear up this mess. For now, just leave this file with me and go home; your mother's probably worried sick about you."
I brushed the dust off myself and headed for the door. I looked back at her, mouthed a small "thank you", and I went on my way. She stopped me for a moment to talk.
" And one more thing? Even though I'm still mad at you, just trust me with everything, okay?"
I laughed halfheartedly. I knew she would hate me for what I did to her, but I expected her to threaten me or something like that. But still, I'm impressed that she wouldn't yell at me and keep her cool. I awkwardly smiled and headed on my way. By the time I got to my house, I remembered something: José locked the windows before I snuck away.
I shuffled through my pockets, hoping that I left my pocketknife in there. Success. With one good thrust, the blade was able to trick the lock.
When I snuck back into my room, it was conveniently when Mom knocked on my door. She came in, stroked the hair off my face, and smiled.
" Goodnight, baby." she said after gently kissing my cheek. When she left, Carlos and José had more suspicious than happy looks on their faces.
" We knew you were gone, Alejandro. Where were you?" Carlos asked. I just shrugged before turning away towards the wall. José glanced at him, let out a frustrated growl, and said,
" Look Al, Mom may not know about this, but I saw you sneak out the window with your 'schoolwork' and all I can say is--"
He was silenced once I threw a pillow at him. Turning away and feeling him tossing it back against my head, I snapped,
" Look, can we talk about this another time? Now go to sleep."
They shook their heads and obeyed. Staring at the slit on my wrist from being cuffed, I dwarfed it with my other hand and squinted my face. The drama was just beginning....
The hallway was bustling with teens as usual.
I didn't really talk to anyone; my mind was still dwelling on what happened last night. Everyone was thinking that Bridgette was still sick when really, she was facing the most traumatizing problem in her life As we treaded to the graduation ceremony in the gym, I turned around and saw a girl with her sandy blonde hair in a French twist. She almost resembled Bridgette in some way.
I kindly smiled at her and went back to my thoughts.
After reciving my diploma first, I sat back down as the rest got theirs. I gazed down at my feet being draped by my black gown and sighed sadly. I felt a little dizzy from the loud sounds of throngs of people, sobbing and watching their "little children" prepare for collage. I was back in reality when I heard the next person come up to get her diploma.
" Brittany Sherrif." said the principal as she shook Brittany's hand and gave her the diploma. She didn't sit down; she immediately rushed out the door.
" That girl was in a hurry!" LeShawna softly smirked with a little curl in her lips. Yeah, she was in a hurry. It was the same mysterious girl with the sandy blonde hair. At that point, I knew it was Bridgette; I could tell by the way she paced out of the room.
" Maybe she's late for her appointment at the salon." Noah sarcastically smirked. I rolled my eyes. Was this really the perfect time for his sadism?
LeShawna slapped the back of his head in a playful way.
" Why do you always have to be all kinds of nasty?"
" That's just who I am."
" Call the court. Someone's guilty as charged."
I gritted my teeth. I'm still surprised that Noah and LeShawna would become such good friends despite their personalities; I bet it was just because Harold moved away to Alberta after the show. Still, I had much more pressing concerns than teenage retorts.
After the ceremony, while the fun was beginning, I headed to the mens room with my clothes in a gym bag. I entered the nearest stall and got dressed. Heading out the door, my old classmates and the teachers looked at me with suspicion. When one person opened his mouth to speak, I interrupted by saying a small goodbye for now.
And good riddance...
" Open the door!" I yelled while I knocked hard on the rusted metal. It took a few minutes for a reply, but she opened the door slightly, peeked her eye out to check for any suspicious activity, and pulled me in; her nails dug deep into my skin. I got out of her firm grip when I entered.
" Sorry. Didn't mean to hurt you."
" It's okay, Brittany." She rolled her eyes at my joke and sat me down. She turned on the radio and walked into another room. After a few crackles of static, the song Disturbia by Rihanna played. Ha, how convenient considering all I had to deal with. As the song continued, she came out with a little plate of grapes and set it in front of me.
" Sorry. That was all I had left in the fridge."
" Need to do a little grocery shopping? I could do that if you like."
She smiled weakly at my kind gesture.
" I bet you saw me at graduation and I know you might be curious about me arriving to school, and well, I got that covered. I did my exam tests early and got good scores on both of them. Plus, for graduation today, if I showed up with a false name, then no one could be suspicious. Remember, I still have to keep my identity a secret."
I nodded while tossing a grape in my mouth. She took off her sandy blonde wig and let her real hair fall down. When she sat back down, she handed me her diploma to hide. For her sake, I crumbled it up and stuffed it in my jacket. When I turned back to her, I think I saw a blush creep across her face. Awkward. I drew circles on the burnished wood of the coffee table and nervously said,
" So, uhh, how are you and Geoff?"
" We broke up." she muttered. My eyes widened a little once I heard it. They actually broke up? Wow, just wow at that. I wanted to try and flirt with her again and call Geoff a blow nut, but instead I shrugged that idea off and said,
" Well, I bet he's miserable right now."
She looked at me for a moment and then her blush grew more visable and pink. All we did was stare into each other's eyes and try to think about what to say next. She got up, nibbled on a grape, and said in a stunned way,
" I think you should go."
I awkwardly agreed and left quietly. As I walked down the street, I felt a hand on my shoulder turn me around. It was Derek. He asked if I got any info about his target. I was silent for a moment; silent as a grave. I turned my eyes back at his face. All I said was,
" Nope, sorry. I searched for hours today and, well, I got nothing on her." He looked at me with semi-convinced eyes and believed my lie before vanishing in the fog. I smiled in relief. That was a close one. I turned back at Bridgette's crummy home and lowered my eyebrows in a sad way before vanishing myself.
It was really kinda sad that she would go through something like that, even though I didn't know why she did all that Derek said she did before, but she must've had a good reason to. I went back to my house and noticed something shocking -- when I entered the living room, a man was holding my now dead brother José in his arms. He gestured with his head telling me to come closer.
" He your bro?" he asked. I replied with a sad yes while Carlos and Mom wept. He guffawed at our sadness and said with his laughter sobered,
" Listen up, dude. I'm one of the gang members that killed your wussy father; I'm Bloodfire, and I know that you have an in for me and guess what? I've got an in for you 'cause I know you workin' for somebody just to put me in danger."
" My son isn't working for anyone!" my mother yelled out of her mourning. He then slapped her across the face and threw the cigar on the floor.
" Shut the hell up, woman."
At that point, something snapped in me. I opened my hands and grabbed the gangster's throat. Carlos called the police as I started shaking his head violently. Soon, he got out of my grip and threw me against the wall. He repeatedly punched me in the jawbone until I got my strength back. When I fell to the floor, I tripped him with my leg and gave him a swift kick in his jaw, as well. When I took the gun that was left on the floor and pointed it at him, the police rushed into the living room and grabbed the man. They laughed at my courage and said,
" We'll take it from here, boy."
When the police struggled to cuff the thug, I looked at the blood staining José's face and sighed. I closed my eyes and opened them again, hoping that I was just dreaming. I wasn't. I stepped back so that Mom and Carlos could get a turn to weep.
While they were too preoccupied with my younger brother's corpse and seeing Bloodfire's body mangled, I snuck out the door and ran for my life. I had no other choice; I had to run away. It was a good thing I kept my check book, because I was planning on heading to a motel, but I knew I had to take one person with me.
As Bridgette paced the floor after I told her the previous ordeal, I could see streams of sweat slide down her apple-cheeks. I ruffled through a few weapons while she bit her nails.
" Oh, what are we going to do, Al? I can't let you live here, but I can't escape without being noticed."
" Don't worry, mi pequeña flor, I've got an idea." I said slyly when I pulled out a shovel. I hesitated a bit, for I would never hurt Bridgette, but in order to get her into a simple motel without her getting caught, I swung the tool and closed my eyes as she fell to the floor. I briskly stuffed the unconscious surfer girl inside a duffel bag, grabbed the rest of her things, and thought while running to the nearest inn, You'll thank me for this, Bridge.
" Hello. Do you have a reservation?" the receptionist cheeped while typing on her keyboard. I pulled out my rain-soaked checkbook and said,
" No, but I do have the money to pay for my stay."
" Excellent. Now, how long will you be staying?"
" Well, I can't pinpoint how long, but I wouldn't worry about it."
" Umm, before I hand you a room key, why is your bag moving?"
I looked down at the duffel bag, gave Bridgette a swift kick in the thigh and said,
" That was probably in your head. Anyway, thanks for the key."
She looked at me dumbfounded as snagged the key and ran off.
As I headed to the elevator, I opened the bad so Bridgette could breathe for a moment. She fiercely glared at me and was about to yell, but I zipped the bag up again as I reached floor B.
When I reached room B-3, I unzipped the bag and let her catch her breath. She picked right up where she left off. She glared at me straight in the eye and yelled,
" What the hell was that, for?!"
" I'm sorry, but there was no other way I could get you in here without being noticed."
" That's very considerate, but usually I'd consider disguise. Besides, you did grab the luggage that had my Brittany Sherrif costume, y'know."
That was a very bright move, my inner self screamed at me in my head. I did that for nothing. She sat on the bed and let out a moan in pain. I gazed at the blood on her palm; I did hit her very hard. It was painful for me, too. I may've cheated the ladies a lot of times, but I never physically hurt them until now, and this was all just to protect her. She knelt to the ground to unpack.
I took my boots off, placed them in a corner, and helped with the unpacking. I playfully teased her once a saw this romance novel in her luggage.
" Hmm, The Flame and the Flower?"
" Hey, give me that!" she said while trying to reach for the book. I laughed at her pathetic attempts. Skimming through the pages, Bridgette rolled her eyes and groaned. Then I found other novels like Irish Thoroughbred, Sea Swept, et cetera. As I laughed harder, she droned in an annoyed tone,
" Alright, alright, so I read a lot of sappy romance novels. What's the big deal?"
" Well, honestly, these books are anything but entertaining."
She angrily snatched away one of the books and smirked at the way she wrestled me to the floor. With her books set on a dusty shelf, I got comfortable on the Murrphy bed and couldn't help but ask,
" Where'd you get those novels?"
" My mother gave 'em to me. She said that romance novels are a way into your soul and can clense out any troubles."
" Y'know, I don't get you. I mean, when I met you on the show, you were all sweet and innocent, but now you're going around like you're some professional agent. When did that whole thing even start?"
She bit her lip and winced sadly. I had a feeling this was going to be a maudlin story. She turned at my anticipating face and sat down on her bed, taking a few breaths before speaking.
" My father was a con man, and yes, a con man as in insurance fraud and credit card fraud. He was able to make our lives very easy, until one day before my first day of 5th grade. On that day, he took a flight to Jamaica without us and reports of a plane crash were written in the newspaper. That meant Dad had died, or so I thought. It wasn't too long before Mom believed that he was dead and remarried to another man she met on eHarmony. I was suspicious about my step-father and I wanted to know a whole lot more about him. Now I wish I didn't.
" I snuck into their bedroom one night and noticed a different woman was in there. That man was a cheater! Unfaithful! A philandering, sensuous freak of nature! When they saw me, he knew that I would tell and started chasing me throughout the house with a gun and a knife. He revealed his name to be Bloodfire, the same person that killed your brother. As he cornered me, Mom came in and saw the other woman and felt instantly betrayed. When she was about to call the police, Bloodfire stabbed her and left her in the closet to die. Out of rage, I threw the gun in the air to anger him and when he tried to shoot me, I ducked and it hit the tart he was with instead."
I rubbed my eyes for a moment, forcing myself not to cry. Her head bowed to the floor in a depressed way as she continued on. I noticed that her eyes glistened from her own curbed tears.
" When the police came and arrested him, he tried to say that 'a little buttinsky' made him do it, but I quickly escaped before he got the chance to show my 11-year-old self. I moved into a foster home to wait and see if my mother was going to survive. While waiting, I overheard the staff talk about sending me to an orphanage instead of letting me stay due to rumors that I did the accidental murder. The only good thing was that my 18-year-old foster sister Danielle was the only one who refused to believe it. One night, while I was sleeping soundly, Bloodfire broke in and started strangling the life out of Danielle. Even though she survived, I had no other choice but to attack him with a steak knife. I was dropped off at the nearest orphanage the next day.
" Spending a year there, the conditions at the orphanage were surprisingly better, but I still wasn't happy. I still had a feeling that Bloodfire was out there stalking me. When I decided to take a stroll down the park one night, I also got reports of a foster home being burnt down, the same foster home that Danielle lived in. If she was alive today, she'd be 25, but she's not. I got so scared and nervous when I continued reading the article and it revealed that an African man wearing a do rag caused the fire. I reported it to the police, even though they thought that Bloodfire was in his cell.
" Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, it turned out that my father was still alive and angry at my mother for believing he was dead and hired the woman to be with Bloodfire, without knowing that my mother was killed in the process. When I saw dad in the street, I decided to take action against him. It was the first time I bought and used my Colt Diamondback gun. The minute he turned around, I closed my eyes and then..... Bang.
" The paramedics tried everything from fire cupping to CPR to revive my father, but all failed thankfully. I was taken in for questioning, but didn't end up in jail. When I told them everything in the interrogation room, they pulled out a picture of my father saying that Bloodfire was one of his old time high school friends and he and his gang were arrested several times for gambling and vandallizing Mr. O'Sharen's building. When Bloodfire's gang found out that my dad was killed, they were dumb enough to think that Mr. O'Sharen did it. They decided to take their anger out on your family because your father was once a social worker for Mr. O'Sharen unti he resigned to become a diplomat. I'm the reason this is all happening!"
I finally let my tears flood down my cheeks and warmly embraced an also crying Bridgette. I couldn't believe all that had happened to her. I repeatedly kissed her damp cheek and held her tighter. She looked up at me with her eyes red and bloodshot from crying so much and smiled slightly. I tucked myself back into the guest bed. A long day was awaiting us.
Soon, when the clock struck midnight and I saw Bridgette and her sleeping form, I smiled while another auroral night proceeded on outside.
I felt her walk over to my bed and trace a finger through my hair.
" G'morning." she said sweetly.
I smiled and stretched myself out of bed. For once, the morning was peaceful and quiet; the only noise I heard was the bubbling in the coffee machine. My hair was a piled mess from sleeping. While I combed it back to normal in the bathroom, I warmly grinned at Bridgette in her silky Miss Elaine nightgown. Boy, she was so beautiful.
Alas, the bliss was not to last long, for I saw a strange woman walking down the street and pointed her out to Bridgette. I asked,
" Umm, Bridgette, should we call the police since that woman's holding a gun?"
Strangely, she was frozen for a moment. Something about the woman made Bridgette's spine stiffen. The woman locked eyes on her from the window, pointed her gun at her, and I pushed the surfer out of the way as a bullet raced through the room and into others' room; I'd feel bad for the person she shot. I ran onto the balcony and the stranger was still there.
She ran down the street. Knowing I wouldn't have enough time to catch her by mindlessly running down the stairs, I hurtled onto the hood of a car, landed ungainly on my feet, and raced down the street with a pistol of my own.
She raised her hand for a taxi cab, but I was able to tackle her to the ground before she could get away. The next minute she woke up, she was in the old alley room--the same one Bridgette use to live in--tied to a chair with a bright light shining on her face.
" ¿Qué es esto, el interrogatorio--?"
" Silencio!" I yelled with the gun pointed directly at her head. " ¿Hablas inglés?"
" No. Yo nunca he hablado ese idioma; Yo aún no podía entender a mi novio; todo conseguí era su nombre."
Oh, a Spanish woman, huh? That was were the fun part began. I moved the gun an inch closer to her face and smirked.
" ¿Por qué se intenta disparar a Bridgette?"
" No sé de quién está hablando. ¿Quién es Bridgette?"
" Mentiras!" I yelled while lowering the weapon and shooting her knee. With my icy glare, I looked at her in the eyes, punched her shoulder, and said in English,
" You're lying, m'am; you do know who Bridgette is and I bet you can speak English, too, huh? Now talk!"
The light grew brighter and her face started sweating more and more. She tapped the wooden chair and looked at her bloody knee. She muttered, " Okay, I can speak English, but I don't know who you're talking about; I don't know this Bridgette girl."
" Oh really?" I said with disbelieving eyes. She nodded in a frustrated way. She shook around for a moment, trying to get out. I quickly slapped the woman hard enough to leave a mark from where my hand was. I smirked at her whimpering from the stinging pain. Then I snagged a picture from my jacket and showed it to the stuttering lady. It was a picture of Bridgette at 11. She looked at me in shock and then back at the picture. Her breaths grew louder and louder.
" Where did you get that?"
" It doesn't matter where, just do this one thing: look at that picture and tell me who you see."
" B-Bridgette." she stuttered with her hair soaked from her sweating. I smiled at the woman surrendering. Then I set my weapon on the steel table. Her hands tried to reach for it, but I grabbed hard on her wrists before she could even touch it. Her hands were quivering like Jell-O.
" I wouldn't do that if I were you, because if you do, I hope you're good at driving without eyes. Look, we saw you come down the street and we saw you point the gun at us."
" I wasn't aiming for you two; it was a mistake."
" A murder attempt a mistake? Why not call lying the truth while you're at it?!" I punched her angrily and stepped back as she began to cough up blood. Despite her constant coughing and gasping for air, she had the strength to break out of the chair's strong chains and grab my throat. She said before choking me,
" Listen, I know who Bridgette is because I had a small fling with Bloodfire, and yes, I've been lying a lot. I'm not dead, I can speak English, and I also know that you're working for and betraying Derek. I thought that the only way to help my ex and earn his trust back was to kill that girl, but I can go ahead and kill you!"
She grabbed a knife from her pocket and cut across my wrists. She mentally cackled at the sight of my pain. Luckily, I pulled off a good leg sweep and the knife landed in my palm. She panicked and backed up against the wall. One of my bushy eyebrows raised. I moved the blade up to her neck.
" Listen here you, I don't give a damn about Bloodfire or your erotic lovelife with him, so why don't you do me a favor and stay still so I won't make a mess, you tease."
" Wait! I promise I won't tell anyone about this! Please, just spare me, please...." she begged in a soft-spoken way. I looked at the shiny tip of the blade and then at her eyes turning red from crying. Still, without hesitation, I closed my eyes as I thrusted the knife in her neck and pulled it upward from the skin. Only half of her scream was heard when I slaughtered her. My stomach tightened and I felt like I was going to throw up. I clinched my gut and formed a white blotch in order to stay strong. Before leaving, I glanced one last time at the dead body of the nameless woman, and said,
" Sorry, but I don't accept anything from liars."
The sirens blared and the police surronded the motel. It was complete and utter chaos. They demanded the receptionist what room I was staying at, but the woman was too afraid to speak. I snuck behind her desk and handed her a card with a random room number.
" Room D-7." she squeaked out. They nodded their heads and ran up the stairs. That was a close call. Still, I knew that once they realized they found the wrong room they'd probably search the whole building till they've found me and that means they'd find Bridgette, too. I rushed to the room and found nothing except a shattered window from the gunshot.
Where was Bridgette? My question was answered when I felt two small hands pull me into a closet.
" Shh, be quiet or we'll both die. I know that the police are here from and they're searching for you."
" How'd you know?"
" Oh, did you not notice the police scanner I set on the table last night? Look, it doesn't matter how or what, but the fact is you have to take action.
" Here's what we're gonna do: you pretend that you've given up, I'll knock them out so hard they'll forget all of this, and then if they ask what's happening, tell 'em that Bloodfire is the one who murdered Ms. Jodinsky."
" That's her name? What a wretched name for such a wretched woman."
She playfully nudged my shoulders and said, " Nice one, Bud Abbot, now hurry on before they hear us!"
I quickly ran to the hallway pretending that I was weak and exhausted. Soon, the police arrived with the man from room D-7. Shoot me, I thought, just shoot me now! Bloodfire's glare was harsher than before. He showed his fury by kicking me in the face senslessly until the police held him back. One of them fiddled with the tools in his belt and said in a low tone,
" Now I want an explaination for this, boy. I bet you told that lady to tell us to go to D-7. I'm Officer Dylan from the Toronto Police Force and you are under arrest for murder and framing a once-ex-con. James, cuff him."
Before he could, Bridgette slammed them both from behind and looked at Bloodfire. Her legs started wobbling.
" You the girl." he growled in a surprised tone. " You the girl that did away with my Monica and he the homeboy that helped you with that. Well, guess what? It's endin' right here, right now!"
Bam! A gunshot was fired at Bridgette's arms. She cried in anguish from the extreme pain. The gangster aimmed at her again, but fortunately, that was when the cops woke up. They stumbled around trying to figure out what was going on at first, but the sight of Bloodfire's pistol and Bridgette's bloody arm made them get the picture.
" Alright, hands in the air!"
After a few gunshots, they escorted Bloodfire out of the hall while he stuck his middle finger out behind his back. One of the cops came back, though, and looked at Bridgette in the eye.
" Do we know you, little lady?"
" Umm, no. I'm just an innocent girl who was a victim of that hideous monster."
The man nodded his head and promised that that sort of thing wouldn't happen again. He pointed his thumb at the thug and joked,
" He's a fierce shmuck, isn't he now?"
He didn't even know the half of it. When they left, Bridgette and I stood barely idly under the flickering hallway candelabra and breathed in unison. Our blood cooled and I placed a hand on the gunshot wound on her forearm. I held her tight for a moment and my somber conscience said to me,
" He'll come back, Alejandro. He'll always come back."
School was unusual one day; thank God it was my last day there.
Everytime I laid eyes on someone, they'd look at me in either a concerned or shell-shocked way. I rolled my eyes and continued on; I'm guessing that either the newspaper or the 6 o'clock news told them about Bloodfire's chance encounter with us. I headed to my locked and heard footsteps from behind. Sigh. It was just LeShawna and Noah.
" Alright boy, 'fess up. Since when did you come off as a good guy?" LeShawna asked in her threatening homegirl tone.
" Maybe it was after he lost all he never had." I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore Noah's smirk. I walked down the hall as the stares at me continued. That was the only part of my last day at high school; everyone was starting to get suspicious about my heroics. So what? At least the good thing was that I'd never their obnoxious faces ever again. I waited outside at car circle for the bus to show up, but instead a black SUV pulled up in front of me.
" Ahh, Alejandro, my boy. Care for a ride home?" Derek coaxed. I tried to step away, but somehow something inside his soulless eyes manipulated me into the car anyway. While driving down the misty roads with other activities happening alongside the cars, I had a feeling he wasn't going to take me home.
Soon, he glanced over at me and I bet he heard my heart racing.
" I saw the news last night, Al. What was the perpetrator doing there?"
" Her name is Bridgette!" I quickly slapped my hand on my mouth. Why did I say her name? He chuckled at me in a more serious tone than a jolly one.
" I apologize. What was Bridgette doing there? Do you remember what team your playing for?"
" Yes, I do, and I can explain everything. See, I caught Bridgette at the motel and I tried to shoot her, but she chased me out of the room and the police accused me of murdering Bloodfire's wife Monica Jodinsky.
" Suddenly, she knocked both of them out and they thought Bloodfire was the perpetrator instead. Then before I could book her, she disappeared."
" Interesting. Umm, didn't you say that this all took place at a motel? Because if it did, you wouldn't mind if I come over to room B-7 to check on things, would you?"
The world shook. Thanks to my big mouth, I totally jinxed it. Now he would come into the room and see Bridgette and everything would be ruined. The silence continued for a moment, until Derek groaned at me,
" Look kid, it doesn't matter about your approval; what matters is that you get me that schemer and I get you your chance of revenge against that thug you hate so much."
He did have a good point. It would be good to enact revenge on the gang that killed my father and the gang's leader that killed my dad and José, but not if I had to sacrifice someone I cared too much about. I mean, Bridgette went through enough already; it'd be pointless if I gave her up now. Before I had time to answer, the car pulled into a parking lot.
.....the same one in the motel.
" We're here."
I panicked badly. My heartbeat felt like a raceway.
Derek stepped into the lobby and turned to the receptionist. She sat there with a more straight face than when she faced Bloodfire. I tried to run away, but he got me in a tight headlock. The lady simply laughed, as if she saw a father and son roughhousing, and asked which room he'd like to stay at. Setting aside her simple kindness, she could probably tell in his eyes that he wanted to do investigating himself.
" I need to head to room B-7." he asked.
" Eh, before I hand you the back-up key for that, lemme ask: where's the boy that was with you earlier?"
Yep, I rushed to the elevator immediately. Tripping only a few times, Derek was able to catch up to me until the doors closed and broke the knife he had. The only word I heard him scream was,
I gazed down at the broken blade at my feet. That man's probably down at his knees cursing right now, I thought. Soon, when the words floor B was highlighted above the elevator door, no one was in sight. Yet, when I calmly slipped the key into the lock, I felt someone force me into the room and wrestle me to the floor. I covered my tear-filled eyes when Derek stepped into the room.
He looked around in confusion.
" Huh, I guess she's not here. But wait, what was that in the closet!" he yelled in anticipation, but it quickly abated when all he saw was a coat hanger and a laundry board. He helped me up, patted my shoulders, and said before shutting the door,
" Keep up the good work, Alejandro."
I rubbed my itching eyes. How'd she pull something like that off? It's obvious that she wouldn't just run down the streets with her life on the line. I heard one of the luggages bounce around and I quickly unzipped it. I laughed astonishment.
" Impressive. How did you---?"
" I saw the SUV pull up and I know he wouldn't search in the luggage, that reprobate."
I hugged her tight to my chest and laughed in a more quiet way. In some way, I felt a little outmatched by her quick wits. I didn't think it was possible, but it was. I asked myself the most predictable question: Was I in love with Bridgette?
Love can have any kind of answer.
My inbox was cluttered with e-mails. Oh boy, three hours of reading.
Usually, the main topics were either "Why were you on the news?" or "What did Bloodfire do to you?", so it didn't bother me too bad. Before I shut my laptop down, there was one message with an entirely different topic compared to the others.
" Dear Alejandro,
You have been invited to the Toronto Dance Center at the corner of 6th and 7th avenue. The party with begin at 7 pm tonight and guest stars will be comedian Dan Aykroyd and female singer Elissa. We hope to see you there!"
An invitation? The Toronto Dance Center? Hmm, that seemed kind of suspicious to me; the e-mail address was familiar to me. The other problem was leaving Bridgette alone by herself after all the fiascos we endured. Still, it did seem quite fun, so I simply put on my jacket and told Bridgette a quick goodbye. I warned her,
" In case there's any problem, any problem at all, just let out this flare in the sky and I'll come right back here."
She looked down at the floor with a hint of worry in her eyes, so--being the flirtatious guy I am--I lifted her chin, held her hand, and said in a deep voice,
" Don't be sad, cara de Àngel, I won't be late coming home, and I'll be thinking about you the whole time."
I left her blushing 'cause of a small kiss on her hand.
Driving down the road, my thoughts were buzzing strongly. Then it hit me: what if it was a trick? A temptaion to lure me into a trap? I shook my head. That was ridiculous; I mean, the trick thing would be possible, but a trap, doubt it. When the dance hall appeared just a few turns away, I stopped.
I just remembered something: the dance hall had been shut down after a fire that started. I laughed heartlessly thinking about what might've happened. Everyone from golden gowns to tuxes were probably just sipping wine and dancing to classic ragtime jazz, and then bang! A fire sparked from faulty wiring in the speakers. Noticing that I was starting a traffic jam, I swiftly made a U turn and headed in another direction.
I knew the messager was really luring me back to the old alley.
Still, I was scared to turn my head around when I parked. What if it was Derek or Bloodfire or one of the policemen from last week? That would spell trouble. When I turned around, all that I saw was Mom and Carlos with relieved, tear-stained faces. Mom quickly hugged me and said,
" Oh Alejandro, I was so worried."
" Hey bro." Carlos said while giving me a brotherly knuckle-touch. When she let go, she wiped away a tear, yanked me inside, and said with a more serious tone,
" Alejandro, you need to come home! This whole thing is all madness!"
" How is it madness?"
Carlos sarcastically looked at me and opened a closet door, letting a dead female body fall to the floor. Oh crap, I thought, they know about what I did to Monica. Carlos gazed down at the body with shivers. He muttered in heavy sarcasm,
" Hmm, dosen't sees like madness to me."
" Alejandro, I don't know what's happening, but whatever it is must stop! What's gotten into you?"
" It's complicated Mom, but didn't you hear my side of the story? She was trying to shoot me!"
" Oh, come on Alejandro, you can't possibly think that this nice woman would try and shoot you."
I stood up out of my seat and walked over to the TV. What was on the VCR was a dusty tape of the crime scene that I comitted here, but also when Monica 'fessed up to why she did it. Mom and Carlos watched in shock as my heroics came to their eyes with horror. I glanced over and noticed mother's restrained tears. With the final scene where I left the woman to die in the closet, the TV screen turned blue and I simply set the tape back where I found it. Mom hugged me tight again and said,
" Please son, please come home. What's so important that you have to abandon the family??"
I paused for a moment. Hell, I can't just abandon my family after all those years of laughter and love. Yet now, a greater thing in my life needed me. After a few more minutes of silence and grief, I tipped my chin back down to look at my boots. I snapped out of my pain to respond, but then a huge flash in the sky was heard. The flare! Bridgette was in trouble. I slowly made my way to the door, looking one last time at them. Mom sighed her sorrow at me and faintly said,
" Goodbye, son."
I nodded and left to my car. Driving to the motel, I couldn't help but shed one too many tears as the alley vanished in the fog behind me. I didn't bother to go into the elevator, I instantly raced up the stairs. When I came in, Bridgette was holding the phone in her hand and was hyperventilating. I sat next to her and said,
" Calm down, Bridgette, it's alright. Now, tell me what's going on. What happened?"
She didn't say much. All she told me to do is visit the hospital. Driving down the road with the sleet bouncing off the windshield, my endorphines were coursing with anxiety as the hospital was nearly visible. When I rushed in, the cops were there and put yellow police tape across a doorway to a patient's room. Knowing that I would ask what was happening, one of the nurses said in a scared tone,
" A teenager we were treating has escaped and our citizens could be in danger."
" Who is he?"
I wish I didn't ask that. The nurse looked up the name and said,
" Geoffery Williams."
I sighed deeply. My hands and eyes twitched after hearing his name. Of all the people in the world that came back in my life, it just had to be Geoff.
I never really talked to him, but I knew that he absolutely hated me since World Tour, and I bet he'd be furious at the sight of me embracing Bridgette last night. The nurse took me into the office and sat me down. I asked her again what was going on, but she just sighed and shook her head.
" Geoffery was taken here because he caught a mysterious mental disease, and even though it may seem like amnesia, all the bad stuff he'd remember would make his blood presure boil and his rage increase.
" Sadly, our treatment for him didn't last, and he mention something about pulverizing a man who he said stole his girlfriend and now he's run off."
My head fell to the desk. Great, just great, he remembered me seducing Bridgette and now once he laid eyes on me, he'll kill me. I stood up, thanked the nurse for the info, and drove back to the motel. She tried to beckon me with her finger to stay, trying to protect me. A Burromento never needs protection from life. When I entered, I heard a loud and shrill scream. I rushed up the stairs and came into my room.
...where Geoff wrestled Bridgette to the floor and cut her neck with a knife.
" Why did you cheat on me, Bridgette? Why?!" the mental boy yelled at his ex.
" But Geoff, we made up, remember?"
He shook his head and made another slit on her neck. He must've kept his memories about her betraying him, but forgot his memories about her song and making up with him; he acted like it never happened. I grabbed Geoff from behind and threw him against a mirror. The glass sunk into his skin. He let out a cry in pain and then pulled out a gun from the closet.
One shot at her now-healing forearm and she fell to the floor without even a scream.
Enraged, I slapped the gun from his hand and gave him a hard punch in the jaw. I rushed to Bridgette's aid and prayed to God that she's still here with me. I heard her let out a soft breath. Good, she was still alive, but barely. I wiped away a few tears and glared angrily at Geoff laughing at the sight of Bridgette's arm dripping with blood.
I headlonged him to the floor and threw his unbuttoned shirt to the floor.
" Let me go!" he yelled while squirming around, trying to get out of my grip. I shook my head and grabbed the knife he dropped. Bridgette shuttered and placed her cupped hand on her mouth as I sliced across his back. My stomach began to tighten more and more as I continued to destroy him. Geoff finally let out a sharp cry for help, but his fear held him back. He closed his eyes and expected me to slice him again, but instead he felt something seize into his back.
I literally backstabbed him.
As his head fell to the floor and blood pooled around him, Bridgette laid her head on her knees and weeped against the wall.
I rubbed my neck and yelled at myself in guilt,
I'm going to burn in Hell before I know it.
I paced the floor wondering what to do next. I had to hide the body somewhere in order to avoid getting arrested, but I couldn't just waltz out the door and carry him on my shoulders like a hunter holds his dead prey on his shoulders as he'd walk back to the cabin to feast.
I turned back to his paling body. I wonder how long he's lain there, I thought. Soon, my eyes landed on Bridgette's tear-stained countenance. I let out a guilty sigh and embraced her. She and Geoff use to have something special, and now it felt like I took that away all over again. I ran my fingers through her long, flowing blonde hair and nuzzled a little closer to her.
" I bet you just hate me now." I murmured. She turned to me with a small smile on her face.
" If I hated you, would I be cuddled up to you right now, would I?"
I let out a small chuckle and sighed lovingly as her head fell onto my shoulder. My lips hovered above hers, as if she was teasing me to kiss her. I closed my eyes and only felt a little touch of her lips until I heard someone's fist bang against the door.
" Open up! This is the police!"
I quickly placed Bridgette in the closet in order to hide her and keep her alive still, but when I tried to hide the once party boy's lifeless body, the police had had enough and slammed the door open. When one gazed down at me holding Geoff by the neck, he pointed his gun at me and said,
" Outside, now. Try any funny stuff, and you end up like your friend here."
I sadly carried the body on my shoulders as the man surprisingly shut the door quietly.
The drive was intensely quiet; almost too quiet. One of the men just ate away at a box of doughnuts while the other was focused on the road. The leather seats were probably stained with sweat by the time I got out. I looked down at my feet. I was in prison.
The other convicts in their cells laughed at me and even threw some of their garbage from the garbage cans at me. The officers pointed their guns at them to make them hush. When the metal bars closed behind me, I quickly turned around and explained to them that I didn't belong in prison. They laughed and said to me,
" Oh, since when did senseless murder become innocent?"
" Policía, I know this is looking bad for me right now, but you don't really understand what happened."
" Listen boy," the head officer said with his voice sobering into a threatening tone, "you keep saying what you think happened all you want, but till we get hard evidence that you're tellin' the truth, then enjoy your stay here, 'cause this'll be like home sweet home for you now."
As they walked away and shut off the lights, I laid my body on my hard bunk and sighed with a tear rolling down my cheek.
Prison was a living hell for me.
All those unsanitary criminals treated me like a stairstep, and in other words, they loved to step all over me. They whipped my thighs with chains and surrounded me with hours of verbal abuse as well as physical. I wanted to fight back, but there wouldn't be a major point to that since I was in enough trouble already.
Everytime someone tried to get my blood curdling and my hands balled up into fists, I rolled my eyes and continued on with whatever. Yet one day, my daily routine of being abused changed when I came face-to-face with an old mortal enemy. In the cafeteria, someone stood up on a table and threw the slop they were serving down on the floor.
" I am really ticked off, y'all. I've been going through my whole life tryin' to find just one little thing in life, and this one chick, this one 18 year-old self-served chick took that away from me."
I recognized that hideous voice anywhere. I stood up on the same table and turned to Bloodfire's face. No longer was I going to be afraid of him.
" Listen dude, she didn't cause you to shoot Monica, you shot her yourself! Bridgette had nothing to do with it, so why don't you just quit stalking her and find yourself a life, for once?"
Everyone whistled and laughed. I couldn't believe what I did, honestly. Bloodfire cracked his neck and stepped closer to me.
" What'd you say?"
" You heard me," I squeaked out still trying to muster up all my courage. Bloodfire laughed at my nervous frown and said after whipping my thigh with a chain,
" Well, it's sweet that your stickin' up for that smart ass girl for nothin'. Now maybe you should tell her---"
He didn't finish once he fell to the floor with his face stinging harshly. I was surprised that I slapped him, but no one ever calls Bridgette that, ever! Before he got up, I yanked the chain from his hand and whipped him into unconsciousness yelling,
" Don't you ever dare call my love that ever again you vulgaristic, drug-doing street scum!"
Before I could whip him again, a familiar figure came down the halls.
" Alejandro," Derek said with a serious tone. "can you please see me in here for a moment?"
I nodded my head and dropped the chain.
" That was quite a fiasco in the cafeteria, Al. Any reason to explain why?"
I didn't reply. The last thing I needed was to tell him all of Bridgette's history. He turned his back at me and scoffed a little at my fingers tapping on the table repeatedly. He turned his body to the wall and his back at my face
" Well, that's not why you're in here today. Now, you admitt that you did indeed kill Geoffery. Well, that's a very noble and brave of you, but was there a good reason why?"
" He had a mental disease and it somehow gave him lack of memory and increased rage."
" Why didn't you just take him to the hospital?"
" He was in the hospital, but he escaped and tried to get revenge on me. Didn't you read the paper?"
" Yes, I did. Doesn't The National Enquirer say a bunch of lies these days?"
A reddish blush came across my face. The NE paper? Really? Apparently, my karma still owed me a lot since the finale. Derek's breath had anything but a laugh in it when he noticed my frustrated nose sigh.
" Lemme say this, then: you know that I've been wanting you to catch Bridgette and all you've done lately is get distracted. I don't want you getting into this kind of trouble, you hear me? If you end up here in prison again, the deal is off and you'll never avenge your father's death, and you certainly don't want that. So talk. Tell me exactly what I want to know: What made you have the urge to kill Geoff? Why?!"
All I could do at the moment was stutter and blush even more. I didn't know what to say or do, so I almost gave up. There was no other way to prove my innocence except reveal Bridgette's past to him. As I took a breath before talking, the doors opened and a woman appeared with a type of medical file in her hands.
" Who are you?"
" I'm Brittany Sherrif and I've come with the proof that will win Alejandro's freedom."
I looked in shock at first. Bridgette was a master of disguise. I turned away in order to avoid blushing at her lusty gold tube dress and her florid mascara. Derek went through the file and his eyes widened.
" I apologize for not believing you. You are free to go now, but just remember my warning, alright? Thank you, Ms. Sherrif."
" No problem, sir."
When we walked out, I picked her up and twirled around a little before setting her back down.
" Thanks a whole lot, Brittany." I joked as I flung my arm around her shoulders.
My eyes drooped as the midnight rain lulled me to sleep.
Once again, Bridgette's cleverness outsmarted the Grim Reaper and saved me from a continuous nightmare. While she was in the shower, I was comfortable on my bed and decided to read one of her romance novels.
I still found them less entertaining like I said, but somehow it kept me reading, too. One of the books, A Walk To Remember, really described us well. I was the bad boy Landon who has a change of heart and Bridgette was the sweet Christian Jamie. I also compared it to when we first met on World Tour, when I threw her away from my heart, and how hard I'm working to reel her back it. I couldn't continue on when I fell asleep.
However, when I heard the sounds of high heels and a similar giggle, I smiled warmly and opened my eyes.
" Hi, beautiful.~"
" Hehe, and I thought for a moment you didn't like romance." she giggled as she swiped the book off my chest. I stared at her wet hair and her disguise, much to her confusion as well as mine.
" Why are you still wearing that outfit? Are you going undercover again?"
" Is there someone visiting?"
I paused for a moment to smirk before asking the last question.
" Oh, I get it now. You're trying to seduce me, aren't you?~"
She playfully nudged my shoulders. " Why would I want to seduce you?"
" Oh, let's just face it Bridgette. You still like me a lot.~"
She blushed for a moment and then accidentally tripped onto her bed. I chuckled for a moment and swaggered myself over to her. She tried to scoot away, but she stopped once my hand dwarfed hers.
" Like you? The only reason we're together is because I still need to figure out a way to convince Derek about what's been going on. I don't like you, Al."
" That's not the way you acted before the police took me away. Plus, if I recall you weren't uncomfortable when I embraced you in the rain, were you?~"
" I was just acting."
I then playfully wrestled her on top of the covers and leaned down to kiss her forehead. Her blush became more vivid when my entire weight fell on top of her. She pushed me off and said furiously,
" Would you stop that?! You really scared me for a moment."
" No need to be scared. I would never hurt such a lovely grace like yourself. The only thing I'd do is gaze into your eyes and see if I can find the key to my heart in there.~"
" Apparently, you've read my romance novels too much." she said rolling her eyes. I let out a dry laugh and wrapped one of the sheets around her. She looked at me with a flustered smile and pulled out her Bible and tried to distract herself from my flirtatious attempts to sneak a kiss from her. All I really did was kiss one side of her face and let out a few hot breaths on her ear. She mewled softly as she leafed through the pages.
I traced my finger across one of the quotes.
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- —Corinthians 13:4-7
We looked at each other for a moment. Not even I knew what to say next. I moved my face closer to hers and traced a heart of the back of her hand. After a few more minutes of doing so, I closed my eyes and sighed as I felt her smooth, lipstick-printed lips against mine. Kissing Bridgette sent shocks of electricity through me. She at first didn't give any reaction, but when I pulled away she leaned back in and captured my lips. It wasn't a hot and messy kiss, but it was still so angelic. Bridgette was an amazing kisser, which I probably would've noticed when she and Geoff were always making out. I twirled a lock of golden blonde hair around my finger and sighed again. When we broke the kiss due to need of air, I headed back to my bed and winked at her.
" Yes, darling?~"
" Do you really like me?"
I didn't say much, but all I said before falling asleep again was,
" Who wouldn't?~"
The morning came a little slow the next day.
I didn't really care that much because my mind was dwelling on what happened the previous night. I actually snagged a kiss from Bridgette and now she trusts me. The clock flashed 6 o'clock, but the sunrise didn't appear yet. Swooning coolly at Bridgette's sleeping form, I blew a kiss and decided to do a little grocery shopping. Strangely, not only has Toronto been getting heavy amounts of precipitation lately, this time it was snowing.
I wiped the slush off of my boots before entering.
Everything seemed regular with the people passing by each other without talking and leaving with ease, but then I accidentally bumped into somebody.
" Oops, I'm sorry miss. Need some help?"
" Yes, I'd like that." she said in an innocent voice. While picking up a few of her groceries, I noticed a stiched-up injury underneath her white shirt. I looked in shock and horror.
" What happened m'am? Are you OK?"
" Oh, don't worry, sweetie, it was just something that happened because of an old flame of mine."
" Really? Why would he do such a thing?"
She shuffled through the stuff in her purse and pulled out a picture of him. My sight focused mainly at the the do rag-wearing African man. It was Bloodfire. Curiosity struck me then.
" Is this Bloodfire?"
" You know him?"
" Sadly, yes. If I were you, I'd watch my back around him. He's dangerous."
" I should've realized that when he almost killed me and tried to kill my daughter." My eyes zoomed in closer at the picture. She sure had the hair and eyes of Bridgette, but her mother was dead, or at least, people confirmed her to be dead. I turned back around to her ungainly smile.
" What's your name?"
" Martha Landers."
My pupils widened and my spine was stiff. Landers. A very familiar last name. I looked her in the eye and asked if her daughter was named Bridgette, and she shed a tear.
" How do you know about her?" I was frozen with oblivion for a moment. I didn't know what to say next. Even though it could put Bridgette's life in danger, imagine how happy she'd be to realize that her mother was alive. I lifted my head and gestured her to get in the car. Before she agreed, she looked at me with a face asking, "Why". I said with a little kindness in my breath,
" I know her."
I knocked on the door to our apartment. Bridgette looked through the peephole and saw only me at first. She opened without hesitation and looked at me curiously.
" What went on while I was gone?"
I glanced at her with my signature grin and looked outside. I turned back around to her and said,
" Someone's here to see you."
When Ms. Landers came in, Bridgette embraced her and smiled at her. After Martha wiped away a few tears, she noticed a little red tint on Bridgette's hands and then turned back at me. Her voice sobered into a concerned tone.
" What's going on, Bridgette?"
I gnawed at my lip for a moment and waited to hear how Bridgette would respond. All she did was go over to the closet and let Geoff's dead body fall with his flesh from his back exposed. She took a step back and Bridgette said sadly,
" A lot more has been going on than you think."
I covered my eyes in a nervous sweat.
My ears burned when the woeful story was retold.
Bridgette sat down and told her mother every single detail about what happened while she was hospitalized. Rubbing my soul patch and dwindling her words with my thoughts, I noticed a man walking down the street with a breifcase and a smile. One of the social workers.
When I turned back to the two, her mother angrily stood up and grabbed something in a case.
" Get in the car, Bridgette."
" Get in the car. And bring Alejandro with you."
Entering her van, she drove down the road, feeling like she was speeding; it's the sort of thing that would make even a 5 year-old think that she's mad. She turned back and said,
" Don't worry, you guys aren't in trouble...."--she pulled out Bridgette's Diamonback and said with her index finger almost on the trigger--"but someone is."
The ride was silent. Dead silent. Bridgette and I exchanged a few nervous glances when we came to a complete halt. She opened the door and the same social worker that I saw earlier was trimming his hedges.
" Howdy, Martha Landers! You've been in the hospital for quite sometime. How about a nice glass of lemonade? I'll walk you in."
She quickly pulled out her gun and narrowly missed him; it didn't even touch his face. I slid back and gasped in horror. What got into her? She turned back at me and nodded, her own way of saying I was okay. The man frowned a little and asked,
" What's gotten into you, Ms. Landers?"
" Don't pretend that I don't know who you really are... Bloodfire!"
I felt like I was going to faint.
He pulled us into the house and pushed Martha onto the couch. He slapped the gun out of her hand.
" Martha, I have no idea what you're talking about, but I don't know who Bloodfire is."
I pointed at him for a moment.
" Who is this man, Ms. Landers?"
" Don't worry, kid. You've got it all wrong. I'm Barry Fredrickson, one of Mr. O'Sharen's social workers. I was once one of Ms. Landers boyfriends, but she's been hospitalized for a long time and I think she lost some of her memory."
She lifted her head and growled in her vexation.
" I'm not stupid, Barry. All that time in the hospital, I knew you lied to me about who you are and what you do for a living. You are Bloodfire and I can't name one day when I didn't hear people talk about how much misery you've caused to my daughter."
I was frozen for a moment; stiff as a robot, I guess you could say. I looked back at the two adults and shook my head in confusion.
" Need proof? Look at our wedding photo." She pulled a picture of her and her second husband at the alter, and my jaw fell. The skin, the beard, the sported white tux--it looked exactly like Mr. Fredrickson. That did mean that she was telling the truth, but I still wasn't so sure about it myself. I stepped up closer to him and looked him in the eye.
" If you aren't Bloodfire and you're a social worker, then what does a social worker do durring his/her job?"
" They do a charity work to help prevent poverty."
" Name two things he/she has to study in order to become a social worker."
" Sociology and medicene."
" What are qualifications to become a social worker?"
" You need to have a license or at least be professionally registered."
" How do you become professionally registered, hmm?"
" Aight, how the hell am I suppose to answer that?"
I stepped back and laughed triumphantly. He facepalmmed himself with his identity revealed. Martha smiled at me, but then quickly turned it into a scowl when she laid eyes on Bloodfire's red face. She grabbed his shirt collar and threw him against the wall out of rage.
" Listen here you lowlife pill-munch, I refuse to let you hurt Bridgette again and if you want to, you'll have to get through me first."
He quickly pushed her to the ground and said,
Bridgette and I at first watched how the fight started with regular punches and kicks, but things got worse when he found the gun on the floor and made a direct hit on Marhta. She fell to the floor gasping for air. Bridgette rushed to her aid, but knew her mother was going to die.
" Bridgette.... Mommy loves you." she said with her grasp on Bridgette's hand weakened. I put my hand on the anguished daughter's shoulder and it quickly turned into a hug. I expected Bridgette to cry, but she glared at Bloodfire, rushed to the kitchen, grabbed a butcher's knife, and said in a rough voice,
" You've made your last move, you son of a gun."
He looked everywhere for the gun he used, but I was able to swiftly take it back. Bloodfire tried to run, but he tripped over the coffee table, and Bridgette rose the knife. She turned to me and said,
" You might want to look away."
I closed my eyes as she did the rest.
We slipped a few times while running in the rain.
After Bloodfire finally died a deserved death, we had to escape immediately. We couldn't just simply go out the front door with Bridgette's hands stained with the remains of a thug, so she got a better idea. She pointed at the shattered kitchen window Martha was thrown up against durring the fight. I stared at her with an unsure gaze at first, but then she said,
" Listen, how else are we going to get out without being noticed? Sure, it might be a little painful, but I don't see any other way out."
Without a word, I crawled out the window and then we bolted away from the house. I cupped my hand and covered my mouth, in order to hold back an ached grunt from the glass in my skin.
Shortly after, we passed by the old alley we use to live in. Bridgette pushed me in and caught her breath.
" I guess you could say Bloodfire had his last laugh." I smirked trying to lighten up the mood. Obviously, Bridgette was too distracted from the crime terror to listen to my big mouth. I wrapped my arms around her and said more softly,
" Look Bridge, I'm really sorry about your mother and everything; all I wanted was to see you happy."
She turned to me and shot a toothy smile.
" You didn't mean for that to happen; you were just being nice. Thanks."
I laughed for a moment and kissed her cheek. Her head cuddled up to my neck, her hair smelling like mangos. Now, I wasn't really the person for real emotion or anything, but like I said, Bridgette made me feel different in some way; different enough to finally make me show a softer side to Alejandro Burromento.
Our romantic moment was interrupted when the sounds of laughter erupted inside one of the buildings.
I peeked through the window and only saw a bunch of losers play poker and make disgusting jokes about pinning dollars. I rolled my eyes and scoffed for a moment, but I quickly became suspicious when I heard a familiar, gravelly voice.
" So, er, Derek is it? You really did a good scam on that Ale-loser boy, didn't ya?" one man laughed crookedly.
" Mm-hmm. He actually thought that his girlfriend killed all the social workers."
" Still, what're you doing with their blood on your hands, eh?"
" Well, when you have finacial troubles and some employees aren't making enough, you gotta do the hard things sometimes. And of course, with that poor orphan Bridgette, who else could I blame?"
I clenched my fist angrily. I knew that Bridgette wouldn't do such a thing, but using her just so he could get away with his dirty work?
Walking fast down the road, Bridgette tried to catch up with me, but I halted once a shrill scream was heard. I turned around and all that was behind me was her locket.
I shook my head in denial, and like I use to say, denial's not just a river in Egypt. This couldn't have been happening.
I got up off my knees and ran back to the motel.
I couldn't help but panic.
Sweat was pooling on the wooden floor in my motel room and around my boots. I gazed down at the locket and let out a depressed sigh. She mentioned once that her mother gave her the locket saying that whenever she meets that special boy, well, she should keep a picture of him in the locket.
I looked at the inscription, I'll Keep Him Close To My Heart.
I didn't bother to open it and set it on the coffee table. I tried my best not to cry, but I couldn't help but shed at least one tear. It soon turned into more than even 10 and I finally burst. My sobs were quiet, but I could barely breath; my eyes were bloodshot and red; the tearlines looked tattooed to my face. I hoped and prayed that Bridgette was alright. I quickly wiped them away and tried to resume my smug self.
Suddenly, a huge flash of red appeared in the sky. At first, I doubted that it was another distress flare, but remembering that I gave Bridgette another flare after my arrest, I still drove to the source. Opening a rusted door into a room not familiar to the alley room, I saw Bridgette with a gag stuffed into her mouth--tied impressively I should mention--and chained to a chair.
I widened my eyes, then I blinked. She stuck her leg out to show the bruises and muffled loudly so I could understand,
" Get me out of here! Please! That man's gone pshyco!"
I raised my eyebrow and looked around. Footsteps came from behind. Derek appeared with a cigar in his mouth and said with a revolver in his hand,
" Don't you just love the fact that no one can beat me?"
My heart felt like it had exploded. It was like his icy scowl could pierce right through my soul.
With Bridgette all bruised and beaten and her life at risk, I didn't know what to do. Her secret was out, for sure. Derek shot the ceiling in an attempt to scare me and took a small breath with smoke from the Dutch Masters cigar he had being blown out of his mouth.
" So, you've been working all this time for me just to betray me. How wonderful."
" Betray you? You threatened my life and destroyed Bridgette's reputation just to hide your dirty work, and you think that I'm the traitor?!"
He shot daggers at me and pointed the gun at my forlorn love's head.
" I'd watch your tone if I were you mister, unless without ado you want your girl pushing up daises."
" Don't try to threaten me with your mobster language, O'Sharen!"
He placed his index finger on the trigger and shot me in the wrist several times. Remember when I compared him to my nightmare? Well, I felt like I was living it now. My stomach tightened again and my face turned white. He shot me again to get me to look up at him, and he was even more intimidating than before.
" You actually think that people will take your word over mine? You, an 18 year-old stubborn Latino punk? Nobody would believe you or Bridgette; you're both useless."
" Maybe, but what does that make you?"
At that point, he'd had enough. He aimmed his revolver at my heart and was about to end it all. I gritted my teeth and fell to my knees. Instead of hearing the sound of a gunshot, all I heard was Bridgette's boot kick the back of Derek's head.
She hopped over to my side and said still muffled from the gag,
" Can you help me out of this?"
I quickly used all of my strength to untie the gag, break the chains, and pick her up like a groom would for his bride. She grinned at me and sighed in relief. But then my tension came back when I pointed out something.
" He's going to just tell everyone about this, y'know."
" Not if I have a tape of him to prove him wrong."
" If we can get into the casino and get the tape of Derek confessing his plan, then we can get it to the police and everything will be just fine."
" Bridgette, you can be such an overachiever."
She rolled her eyes at me and retorted,
" Guilty as charged."
She picked the lock on the door using her hair pin and and ran as I followed her back to the casino. Gingerly, she took out her pocketknife and used it to open the window. She looked around for any cameras in sight, and fortunately, there was only one camera to deal with.
We went into the back room and I noticed a VCR, the perfect place to find a security tape inside. I slid my fingers in hoping to find a tape, but the compartment was full of nothing but dust. Soon, an Aurstralian man appeared with a bandaged up and enraged Derek by his side. He threw the tape in the air and said slyly,
" You lot actually thought we're that dumb? You ain't even getting this tape over my dead body."
I ignored the gloating and turned to Derek.
" Why are you doing this? Why would you have the blood of the workers on your hands?"
" Kid, what would you do if your finacial budget on the entire damn social work is in the toilet and some of your workers aren't making enough? You do away with 'em. Besides, they were nothing anyway. Larry, dispose of the tape, please."
He couldn't do that when Bridgette pulled out her Diamondback and shot him right in the forehead. In an instant, he fell to the floor dead. Derek stumbled over the corpse, prying the tape out his partner's hands. Bridgette backed away from the dead body and looked Derek straight in the eye.
" Give. Me. The tape!"
Derek laughed at Bridgette's courage and pulled out his own gun.
" Now, kid, it doesn't have to be like this. You can turn yourself in and I'll get a lawyer to get you out. By then, I'll find someone else to blame,"--he then pointed at me--"I'll find the gang responsible for your father's death, and everyone can go back to their normal lives."
" Never!" she instantly blurted out. " I'd never listen to you, Derek!"
" And that Landers 'tude is why I hired Bloodfire to be with your mom." He bit his lip and slapped himself. Bridgette and I glared at him, but Bridgette's was the most venomous.
" I thought that my dad hired Monica to be with Bloodfire."
" I guess you don't know the story as well as you think. Look, your story is true, but there were a few things you left out.
" I was frustrated with your father's con man buisness because he was making more money than me. So I hired one of Bloodfire's gang members to hijack the plane in order to kill him.
" I thought I was done, but apparently Bloodfire wanted more since he loved your mother for her money and rich life, so I reluctantly agreed to letting him live with her as his alias, Barry Fredrickson, one of my social workers. When I heard that your mother was 'killed', I was angry enough to fire him and force him to be his alias for the rest of his life, under threat of murder, of course.
" When I killed my first social worker, I knew I had to blame somebody, and then came along you, Bridgette Landers, the type of troubled pop-tart that wants to shadow her fear with her false innocence and hides from the world when she takes a desperate step to a normal life. So, I tracked you down and got your fingerprints to put at the crime scene.
" And here you are now, dressed like an emo and is a cling-on with that gun you used to kill Mr. Landers. And then, of course, came Alejandro and I thought it'd be like killing two birds with a stone, literaly."
" But, why me? Why would you get me involved?" I said. I clenched my fist and growled under my breath.
" Well, when your father resigned to become a diplomat, that's when the finacial troubles rolled in. The only member of the family I liked was my high school sweetheart, your mother, Lola Huffington, so I spared her. But without ado, I hired Bloodfire to turn back into his old self just to try and kill your family; we only succeeded in killing that wuss of a man and José." he cackled in a smug and arrogant tone.
Bridgette stepped closer to Derek and hissed,
" I hope your shooting is faster than your mouth, you jackass."
" What are you going to do about it.. orphan?"
Bam! The gun fired in the blink of an eye. Derek fell to the ground squeezing on his bleeding shoulder. Without thinking, he accidentally dropped the tape for me to snatch. Bridgette and I high-fived each other and headed for the door, but the man wouldn't give up.
He locked the doors and closed in on us. We looked around trying to find another way out, but the windows were locked shut, also. While I was distracted, he snatched the tape back, threw it on the ground, stomped on it, and even shot it a few times for extra destruction.
" Looks like your revenge days are over while mine are just begining."
I was about to get in a fighting position, but Bridgette pushed me back and nodded. Out of rage, she threw her pocketknife like a boomerang and it cut through the wires of a still flashing neon sign. With the sign looming over Derek before it finally fell, both of us were out cold.
Bridgette ran to me and placed her hands on my shoulders. All I heard was her calling my name faintly, but it quickly faded away when everything turned black.
A little peek of sunset shined over me.
How long was I knocked out?
I was dressed in a hospital gown and my forehead was completely bandaged; a little blood stained through the coarse material. On the table next to me was a helping of roast with salad and a glass of milk. The nurse walked in with a sweet smile on her face.
" Our hospital always serves a balanced meal to patients."
" How long was I unconscious?" I asked in a pained tone from the headache.
" Just one day. That girl should've known better than to hurt you; good thing that the police came right after the sign hit you."
I faked a smile and groaned after she left. Arrested. Good lord! And to make things worse, Derek destroyed the tape so there was no evidence to prove her innocence. I looked up at the muted TV and barely even nibbled my food.
My eyes fluttered until I finally fell asleep.
A shrill scream turned into more.
Bullets shattering the windows.
All signs of disaster.
I looked at my wrinkled, dirt-covered clothes in a bag and ran down the hall. I quickly entered a stall in the mens room and got dressed. Trying to look through the window without getting shot, I noticed a man in a grey suit strangling Bridgette and a young woman, possibly 16.
I ran through the horde of policemen. One turned around and smiled at me soberly.
" What's going on officer?"
" That man is tryin' to kill a social worker student and the innocent girl we almost imprisoned, that's what."
" Wha--? Almost imprisoned?"
" Yeah, she said that a camera was recording Derek and she took the tape before we cuffed her."
I looked at Bridgette in amazement. No girl I've ever met would pull of a trick like that. Impressive. I was snapped back when one of the officers fell to the ground with his shirt bloodstained. I grabbed the gun from his hand and aimmed, but didn't fire.
What good would happen if I accidentally shot mi amor or the woman? Then I'd be in Bridgette's shoes. I closed my eyes and imagined that it was just Derek, with his teeth yellow, neck and knuckles cracking, and his annoying, arrogant laugh.
One shot and I missed.
He threw Bridgette to the ground and instead tried to shoot the woman. I pushed her out of the way and missed again. He laughed at me and stepped closer.
" This is low even for you, Derek." That was all I could muster at him. O'Sharen smirked and shot the woman's elbow. She cried in pain and for help. I took her to the nearest police car and she locked the door. I turned back to him and he charged for the car.
I was able to trip him and shoot him several times in the back.
The police pulled me back. He was still breathing. Damn. I took Bridgette into my arms as the police cuffed him. She drew circles on my bandaged forehead.
" Bridgette, I was so worried."
Our moment was interrupted when another policeman fell with a black eye.
We backed up against the wall, sweat flooding down our faces. Derek spun the cylinder and moved the muzzle of the revolver closer to our faces.
He showed his yellow stained teeth through his smirk.
" Say your prayers, Burromento."
Faster than even a blink of the eye, I screamed in pain from the bullet pulsing through my chest. Bridgette flinched in shock and almost shed a tear. I warmly smiled at her and grasped her hand in order to get up. I shot a sharp glare at Derek and gave him a swift kick in his kneecap. The police quickly aimmed the guns at the man.
" Give it up, Derek O'Sharen! You're surrounded!"
He headlocked me so tight I was choked and coughing up blood, and nuzzled the gun up to the side of my face.
" If you ever make a move, he gets his."
" No!" Bridgette cried. She took her boot of and ran up to him from behind. With one good swing, I was freed. He grunted in mental illness and looked at his fingers with little red drops on his nails from rubbing his bleeding head. He turned around and was prepared to shoot me not in just one side of the chest, but in my heart, ending it. Bridgette panicked for a moment, but she knew what had to be done.
She jumped in front of me with her back turned at him and fell to the ground in a pool of her own blood. The officers picked back up from the shooting, but Derek was able to escape. While he tried to unlock the police car the poor woman was in, I gazed down sadly at Bridgette's face already a bit pale and beads of blood in her French braid. I picked her head up and moved her closer to my face. A few tears drizzled on her no longer apple-cheeks.
" Don't worry, I'll be fine. I promise."
" How do you know?"
" Because you're still alive, and I'd shed all the blood I think I still have just to make sure you're okay."
My tears began to build up, but I tried my best to hold them back. I shook my head and felt her smooth lips touch my neck while a hand cupped my right cheek.
" Go on, stop Derek."
" But I can't leave you here to die in vain! If it's going to end like this, I want to be by your side."
" You don't have to be with me to save the day. I know you can stop him, Alejandro, so hurry. Timing is everything. And if I don't make it, I just want you to know, I... I lo-l-lov--"
" What is it? Tell me. Tell me!" I finally broke down when she laid her head back on the ground and let out one more breath. One of the policemen put a hand on my shoulder and said,
" We'll call the paramedics and see what they can do."
I turned back to Derek and came up with a brilliant idea. I fell to the ground, pretending that I have given up.
" You win Derek; I give up! I can't continue like this without almost getting killed." I placed a hand on the wound and pretended like I had swallowed all of my pride.
He patted my head like a master would to his dog.
" Good boy, now step in the car and let's take a drive with Crapface, here."
" My name's Susie!" the woman cried out. Derek rolled his eyes and shoved me into the car. I winked at the woman and she instantly knew I had a plan. Before he drove off with us hostage, I turned to Bridgette being carried onto a stretcher and blew a kiss.
" I love you." That was all I could whisper to her out the window.
The car ride was silent. Dead silent; it even felt like I never heard my own voice. Derek stiffled his laughter at us; he'd acted like he's officially shanghaied us. But, of course, a Burromento never gives up.
I turned to the woman and asked,
" How old are you?"
" 16, why?"
" Why would a salty old man like him chase you?"
She placed a finger on my lip and glanced at the man too busy smoking and driving.
" At least try to whisper softer! Anyway, I was heading home, trying to study for my social worker's test and I noticed this girl being strangled to death and I tried to call the police."
" Why would you wanna work for him?"
" I didn't know that son of a gun was evil! Cut me a break, alright! Now please tell me you've got a plan."
I nodded. " When the sign that says Glennburg, 40 miles this way → appears, we break this window open by kicking it and we'll make a run for it."
She looked confused for a moment. Why would Derek want to take us to Glennburg? Just one sole reason: that's the perfect city to murder someone and pretend that it was an accident. With the city being so crowded, no one would know who did what. She noticed a hole in my shirt from the gunshot and looked sympathetic. I traced across it and sighed.
" Don't worry, it didn't hit me in the lungs, just the upperright part of my left pec. I think I'll be able to live."
I saw one of Derek's dropped weapons on the floor--a pocketknife--and I started cutting at the seat belts. Derek looked in the mirror and quickly turned around. I took off my boot and smashed the window. Enraged, he searched in his pocket for a gun, but the car spun around recklessly.
Soon the sign appeared.
Glennburg, 40 miles this way →
I reached my arm out to unlock the doors and then disaster struck again. Another passing car came by and smashed into the brim of the car. As it flipped over with Derek still in it, Susie and I fell out, rolling down the hill. I let out a faint groan and tried to get up. My arms and legs were numb from the pain. Susie got up beside me.
" Are you OK?"
" I think so."
I wasn't "OK" when the people of the car came out. Wait a minute, I thought to myself, dark skin, blinged-out necklaces, tattoos on their shoulders? No, it can't be. It was. It was the same gang that killed my father. One of them approached me and growled.
" Are you two the damn blow nuts that wrecked our ride?"
Susie stuttered and stammered for a moment, but I put a hand over her mouth and smiled.
" No, actually, the man in the police car was the one that, er, wrecked your ride, amigos. He's the one responsible."
The gang murmured at each other and looked at a now, and finally, dead Derek. The man turned back at me and said laughing,
" Well, at least the car crash did what we would do to him. The name's T-Dog and this is my crew. I 'memba you before; you're the son of that wuss Robert. Well, for at least tellin' us straight up who did this, I guess we're cool."
" But what about Bloodfire?"
" Eh, I'd actually thank whoever beat the non-livin' crap outta him; we've been trying to get that loser outta our gang for years. Anyways, need a lift? You can take one o' our motorcycles we hooked on the back o' Old Blue. Don't worry, the crash didn't ruin our back-up rides."
I kindly thanked the gang members and rode off down the road with Susie behind me, awkwardly hugging me for safety. She sighed in relief.
" I guess it's all over with now."
In a voice so quiet, I mumbled sadly,
" Not everything."
The hospital appeared in the distance. Racing through the fog, I halted in the parking lot and told Susie to wait outside.
Rushing into the hospital, everything seemed quiet, but not a good kind of quiet.
I ran up to the receptionist and only breathed. She knew I was going to ask if Bridgette was okay. She simply shook her head and pointed to the room she was in.
I walked in slowly, noticing her skin turned completely white.
The BIS montior cut the silence short.
Bridgette turned to me with her weakest smile and grasped my hand; her nails tickled my palm. I tried my best not to cry. My mother always said, "Look on the brightside of things", but what was the brightside? I had spent my whole summer trying to protect Bridgette, and now there she was, on a hospital bed with blood stained on the sheets, dying! I felt like I was the one responsible for her death. With only one tear sheding down my cheek to start with, Bridgette gasped for air to talk.
" Don't worry, Alejandro, it's not your fault. This is life, basically; the chips fall where they may."
" But you don't understand! I should've stayed with you; I should've protected you and then you wouldn't be in this condition."
She fluttered her eyes for a moment.
That was the only strength she had left. She looked back up at me, and moaned in sadness.
" Oh Al, this is hard for me too. I don't want to have to leave you like this, but if I stay, then we'll both die, and you still deserve to live."
" But at least we'd still be together." It became harder to choke back my tears when Bridgette heartbeat got slower on the monitor. Her hand fell limp in mine and she tried to gather up her abating strength for a few last breaths.
" Please don't cry for me. You're making this harder than it is."
She reached at her neck and unhooked her locket. " Open it..." she asked faintly. Looking at the discription again, I opened it and it had a picture of me and her back at the motel. I held it close to my heart and leaned in closer.
" My mother gave it me for my 13th birthday. She told me to put in a picture of a guy that I'll evermore love. It worked out perfectly for this. Keep it; that way, you'll have a part of me with you everyday."
" Por favor, no me dejan, Bridgette. Por favor!" My eyes began to flood with tears, but I still held them back; a few were hanging from my thin eyelashes. Bridgette understood my Spanish very well. She placed a hand on her still-beating heart and turned back at me. She wiped away a tear as I picked her up closer to me and my face.
" I must..."
I sobbed under my breath as I felt her head and arms fall lifelessly. Setting her back on the bed, I finally exploded with tears, placing my head on her chest; what made me cry more was the sound of no heartbeat. Dead. She was actually, really dead. Just the thought about it now still makes me shed a sea of tears. She still looked beautiful, even with her skin paled and her braid damp and crunchy from the blood. Laying my hand on her cold cheek, I planted my smooth lips on her lifeless ones and felt a hand on my shoulder.
The nurse gestured me to leave and go home. But, of course, what was my home? I thanked her for doing the best she could to help her, and turned back to Bridgette. I swiftly put the locket on with the collar of my polo shirt hiding it, stroked the hair off her face as a final moment of her skin touching mine, and wept on the way home.
I parked in an old driveway to a familiar house. My house. Mom and Carlos embraced me at the door and welcomed me in. I told them about all that had happened while I was gone. Carlos sniggered throughout the story 'cause of the sight of a locket chain.
Mom shushed him and turned back to me.
" Where's Bridgette?"
I looked down at my feet for a moment, then at my hands tinted red from touching her bloodied back. I unhooked the locket and said, showing it to my family,
" She would've wanted me to have this."
Her house peeked through the thick fog. I looked at the locket and wiped the rust and debris off the inscription. Mom turned to me and said,
" Are you sure you want to do this?"
" Yes..." I murmured. I stepped out of the car with a regular grey suit on and my hands in my pocket. The restrained organ music and the sounds of loud bawling burned my ears. The man at the podium gave the eulogy speech in a sobered tone. I clenched my stomach tight enough to cause a white blotch to form. When he asked if anyone would care to give their sympathy, I raised my hand.
The microphone gave feedback at first, but I let out a sigh and finally spoke.
" Well, this is a very hard thing for me to say, because I've never really attended a funeral before, but what I do want to say is just a quote Bridgette and I said once. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight with evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Well, no love on Earth will every compare to how much I love her. Thank you."
I came back to my seat with expected tears.
After the tombstone was set and the coffin sunk into the ground, everyone left; everyone, except me, that is. Tracing across the frost on the inscription, JoJo Annabelle "'Bridgette" Landers, May 14th, 1994-August 3rd, 2012, and looking at the garland of sunflowers, I looked at the wrinkled piece of paper that had the quote on there and dug a hole in the ground with my hands. I looked down one last time at the note and buried it.
Looking up at the sky, not even the bliss of another auroral night would soothe my pain.
In a strange and supernatural way, when I left, I still felt her hand on my shoulder, digging her nails into my skin.
Six years. Six years it's been since her death.
I was living life fairly good in my new apartment. I was a police officer, Susie and I began seeing each other. People thought that I was always happy. But inside, I still felt that same chill down my spine and my heart beat slowly out of angst. I had to shake away those thoughts when I almost sideswiped a car.
I gotta pay more attention to the road, next time.
Passing by the regular cars, I noticed one familiar house: LeShawna and Noah's house. I still can't believe they're married. Yet, they do seem very happy, so I had no right to be against it. I tried to pull off a fake smile when I entered the police station parking lot.
I was happily greeted when I came into the hall. Duncan jabbed me in the shoulders.
" Hey, Spaniard." he smirked. For a guy who's gone straight, he's not the best trained in racial harmony.
I know, I know, it's hard to believe that Duncan would actually be a cop, but the story's believable to me. When he read about all that I had expecienced, he felt different and new. Maybe it was because Derek O'Sharen was his uncle, the only man in his family that loved Duncan for who he was. I comforted him and now we were sort of friends.
He looked at the locket and grinned.
" Was that a gift from Susie?"
" No. A friend gave it to me; a really beautiful, amazing friend who--"
" Alright, no need for details. We all know it's Bridgette. Jeez." He rolled his eyes and went back into the lounge. I looked at the picture inside of the locket and said,
" I need a minute outside."
Everyone looked at me in a morbid kind of sympathy as I walked outside to the bridge.
I unhooked the locket and it hovered over the water. Could I really let her go?
My mother said that the only way to find happiness is to let the problem go, but how could I? Even looking at that little locket has the love that Bridgette died for. I quickly held it close to my heart as it started to slip out of my sweaty palm. I cried a little for a moment, but got myself together.
Hooking it back on, I had a feeling that someday, I would find redemption....