I stayed quiet and the shopkeeper, realising something was going on eventually left us in peace and disappeared into the darkness. I felt completely useless, and at this point you’re probably wondering what I was going to do. Do I start to explain? Do I run? Scream for help?
No, I just stand there like an idiot and start to cry, so much for being in-control and independent.
“Why would you run Jesse?” I compose myself somewhat and wring my hands in an attempt to avoid the question.
“You have no idea what’s really going on here and if you go to the compound you’re going to lose a lot more than you’ll gain.”
“Yes but if I go with you... I’ll never be free.”
“You’ll be safe and alive! There’s nothing keeping you in America!”
I took a step back and whispered what I had been wanting to scream for weeks.
“I had a life before you, I kept a 90% average and was going to get a scholarship to study Forensic Science. I used to do ballet, before you I was working towards my Advanced exam. All of that vanished the moment you showed up that Saturday-morning.”
His stony expression didn’t shift an inch and I fought through the tear-induced hoarseness.
“I can’t dance anymore, I’m too scared that my scars will show. I only just made my 10th year exam. I wished you had never come back, I wished that you would’ve stayed in your world and left mine alone. You can’t hover over my shoulder forever, I want my life to be more than survival!”
The last part of my confession was spent looking at the floor. I wasn’t unaware of the implications, my words were killing the final emotions of this warped connection we had.
Answering would mean that I accepted, fighting would mean I acknowledged. One of the first things Darninsk had taught me was a immaculate poker-face. This cheap-trick did double duty when I was around Jesse, it hid not only a bevy of malevolent emotions but also the unfathomable love I had felt for her from day one.
“The only reason I escaped was because Darninsk made me promise I would kill your father. If I successfully did that he would leave you alone.” I was answering the question I wished she asked.
“You don’t have to worry about me, okay? I’m not your charity case anymore.”
She didn’t understand, she never would.
Just being this close to him made me feel out of control.
I could barely breathe and I was shaking like a reed, I knew he could tell, his gray eyes found every detail as if he knew to search for it.
You don’t know what it’s like craving normality, we all want something different and mysterious but then when we finally get dealt the cards, this outwardly exotic dream turns into a lurid curse.
Sasha was a poison, in small doses he kept me alive but if a slight miscalculation were to happen, I would die. In this case at the very hands of the man we had fought so hard against and lost so much to.
He was standing by one of the windows running his fingers though his hair, he was troubled. I knew that stance very well, it was the same way he looked right before we escaped inside the ballroom.
This break in conflict saw me walking out of the two glass doors and into the dim afternoon light obscured by heavy clouds. With a moment’s hesitation I decided to use Sasha’s original car to get home, I wasn’t sure of my plan and my body demanded sleep. My overworked senses registered Sasha slamming the car-door too late and I let out a little squeal.
“I’m not losing you again.” His face was inches from mine.
“You can’t keep doing this!” The words had barely left my mouth before my entire body was yanked backwards.
A hand smelling of sweat and motor-oil was clapped over my mouth and I could only watch as Sasha was also subdued. After putting up quite a fight he was lying face down with a gun jammed into the nape of his neck. I tried to avoid meeting his eyes, I wouldn’t be able to bear seeing the look of despair, and it was all my fault. A second body pressed up against me,
“So nice to see you again.” He whispered the words into my neck.
My lip started trembling and scrunching my eyes together I willed his horrible presence to go away, it didn’t work.
“I do hope you missed me, I missed you...”