The Rape of Proserpine
The first word that would zoom in my mind if I was to describe how it was becoming a hospital volunteer would be, insane. Completely and utterly insane. I even came to the point of questioning how I came up with the idea of pursuing this chore out of the various hobbies and pastimes of Marel. It just strengthened the fact that we were polar opposites. Throw in an obnoxious co- worker into the mix, it’d be bound to end in a train wreck before the shift ended. If only I could back out. Not when it would bring satisfaction to Kenon. I’d be damned if I as much as become a small part in making his life a wonderland. Oh the joy of generosity and kindness to the welfare of humanity. And yea, the uniform sucked! I wished River would drop by already and save me from this hell hole. As if on cue, my eyes trailed towards the entrance.
“Are you waiting for someone?” The lesser of the two evils asked. I looked at Sam and just shrugged. “Whatever.” God I hated hospitals now. The confusion she had yesterday was only a vague and stupid memory. She was like saying my name every two minutes to remind the both of us that I was Darrel and not Marel. “Darrel.” I sighed very deeply. “Your friend’s here.” I turned my head, and sure enough, saw River walking towards the counter, all smiles and sunshine. Sam let out a snort before scurrying away. One of these days, I’d steal a bottle of anesthesia and give her a generous shot at the tongue.
“Hey, what’s up?” I rolled my eyes but smiled back nonetheless. “Not having fun?”
“You can say that.”
“I won’t say I told you so,” he smirked, putting both elbows on the countertop. Thank goodness my first day wasn’t really that busy. “Are your brother’s friends giving you a hard time?” Concern, just concern, nothing more, I reminded myself.
“They’re just being ridiculously unfriendly. Not that I ever wanted to be friends with them.” The thought literally gave me the creeps.
“Aren’t they suspicious?”
“Gee, of course they are! Especially Kenon who watches me like a hawk.”
“I never thought you were so descriptive.” I stood frozen, feeling a dark presence stirring behind me. “If I remember correctly, I told you countless of times not to entertain friends during your shift.” Kenon’s voice was a huge icicle in the middle of the almost desert summer heat wave.
I recovered from the shock and faced him. “Were you eavesdropping now?”
Kenon ignored me and lazily stared at River. “So you must be the infamous River?” He eyed him up and down behind his square glasses, boredom etched on his face. “Quite a weird name, in my opinion.” I stared at him in anger at looking down on River like that. He didn’t even had the decency to be subtle about it.
“And you must be an asshole,” River retorted with the same amount of boredom, giving me a twisted feeling inside. “You embody it perfectly.”
Before Kenon could say anything more, I crossed the line and put myself in between them. “Okay, enough of the pleasantries now,” I cajoled, narrowing my eyes at Kenon. “May I be excused for a moment?”
He didn’t even think about it. “No.”
“Thank you!” I snapped sarcastically, going on the other side to where River stood.
“I said no, come back here Darrel,” he ordered sternly, like I was a child and he was my father. River was obviously amused; we both snickered and said nothing. “You’re flirting with danger,” Kenon declared in a loud voice, stopping me in my tracks.
“You heard me.” I did, but that didn’t mean I understood him. I looked at River; nothing could be seen on his face. “You obviously can’t stay away from your… friend here, so I’m just going to ask you,” he addressed River, “back the hell off from Darrel.”
I opened my mouth to say something but River beat me to it. “You wish.” He glared at Kenon for a brief moment, but eventually, his eyes, soft yet determined, warm yet encompassing, went back to me. “Come on Darrel.” I was drawn to him, like a moth to a flame. “Let’s get out of here.” He took me away with him. Danger, River was the full definition of the word. Flirting with danger, Kenon had said. I shook the confusing and conflicting thoughts out of my head as I followed River outside the hospital. River and danger, even the words rhymed together. Treacherous. Outpouring. Unpredictable. The penetrating gaze of Kenon on my back wasn’t lost to me long afterwards. Whatever happened there, I had no idea. What was important was the possibility that maybe; just maybe, River had something a little more than just concern for me too. A little spark that went beyond the boundaries of mere friendship. I closed my eyes, picturing myself standing on a cliff, a dark void of pure blackness waiting for me below. I let myself be engulfed and consumed by my emotions. It felt great. So, I jumped, careless of the consequences. Down and down I fell. To oblivion. To River Henders.