KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 34

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CHAPTER 34:

GABRIEL’S  POV: 

I’ve been sitting in this house for two months, rarely leaving, rarely seeing any visitors other than my aunt and cousin.  I sleep with a gun beside my bed, but I know that, when the time comes, and he comes, I won’t put up a fight. 

I long to die.  I long to be with her again.  My mother’s way out of heartbreak was suicide.  That’s not an option for me.  My faith taught me that all suicide gets you is a one-way ticket to hell.  Although I’m not sure I believe that, I can’t take any chances. 

I don’t think Anna is in hell.  I think nothing was her fault.  She was a victim as much as me.  I mean, what kind of sick creep raises a girl to kill? 

I’ll be patient and wait for Jackson to do me the favor.  Then I’ll see my girl again. 

A knock on my bedroom door is quickly followed by it swinging open and Max walking in uninvited.  “Jeez Max, why bother knocking?”

He shrugs and smirks, “I figured you’d need a little warning, just in case you were making love to yourself.”

I give him a dirty look, “You’re hilarious Max, really freaking hilarious.”

With a look of pity, he says, “Well, I feel sorry for you man, I have a feeling you haven’t gotten any in awhile.”  He pauses, then raises his eyebrows, “Unless you’ve had a call-girl visitor or two?”

“Go away, Max.”

He holds a hand over his chest, “I’m hurt Gabriel, tomorrow I leave for New York and you’ll regret all this grumpiness towards me.”

Feeling a twinge of guilt, I try to give him a smile.  “I will miss you, cuz.” 

The playful look on his face disappears, “Maybe I shouldn’t go.  Are you going to be alright all alone here?”

Not wanting him to worry, since I don’t expect to be around much longer, I blow it off, “Don’t worry about me, Max.  With your mom running the businesses and Pizza Hut feeding me, I’ll be fine.”

He still looks worried and makes one last attempt, “Come on man, come with me to New York.”  The cunning look in his eyes warns me of what he’s about to say, “Think of all the new ladies we’ll meet.”

I don’t want to meet them.  I don’t want anything to do with them.  Rolling my eyes at him, I say, “Have fun in New York.”

“You need to forget Anna.  She’s gone, Gabriel.”

“I know.”  But I can’t.

TWO YEARS LATER . . . 

Could Max be any more obvious?  This girl is everything that Anna wasn’t.  Blonde, tanned, bubbly.  No secrets with this one, cause any thought that enters her head exits through her mouth about point-two seconds later. 

As I listen to my blind date chatter on about the actress that she copies her hairstyle from, I try to avoid ramming into the car in front of us on the way to the restaurant.  Having to go to the hospital sounds like a more than adequate excuse to end a date early. 

I can hear Max’s voice in my head, “Gabe, you have to let Anna go, she’s gone.  She would have wanted you to be happy.”  Somehow I can’t see myself finding happiness with this chick.  Or any of the other girls that he’s set me up with.

Would Anna really have wanted me to be happy?  I’m not so sure about that.  Besides, she was my chance at happiness.  Now I just go through the motions of life.  Alive, but not really living.  Simply existing.

“Loved you,” I can still hear those words in my head too. 

Still love you, Anna.  Always. 

Weaving my way through the Manhattan traffic, I finally pull up in front of the restaurant valet.  I hand him over the keys of my Ferrari and go around the car to join my date on the sidewalk.  Well, at least the food should be good, this restaurant is supposed to be the hottest new spot in Manhattan. 

My date, Brenda, grabs my hand as we walk in and I have to resist the urge to pull away and wipe my hand on my dress pants.  I’m still uncomfortable at the thought of dating again.  This is the fourth girl that Max has set me up with and I’m starting to think that my cousin has no idea of who I am.  This was the kind of girl that I went for before I met Anna.  After being with someone like her, any other girl just pales in comparison.

There’s no excitement, no passion. 

It’s been two years since I murdered my first love, I’m not so sure I deserve a second chance at love anyways.  For the first year after Anna died, I did absolutely nothing.  Sat in my parent’s big house, waiting for Jackson to come for me.  Mourning Anna.  When he never did, I was at a loss.  What now? 

At Max’s urging, he talked me into moving to New York City with him to attend NYU.  Now, when I’m not in class, I spend most of my days watching television in the penthouse we share.  Not good enough for Max.  I must date too, join the real world.  A few years ago, I would have never thought that Max would be the player and I’d be the lovesick one.

After moving here a year ago, I finally broke down when I was wasted one night and told Max everything that happened with Anna.  He eventually got over the shock of it and insisted I start therapy.  I’ve still left out the major details to my therapist.  Like the part about all the murders.  All she knows is that my father was murdered, my girlfriend died and my mom committed suicide.  She thinks I’m the victim of horrible, uncontrollable circumstances.  I don’t tell her that I’m one of the villains of my sob story.

Two years ago, after I killed Anna, I never saw a future for myself, never saw myself here.  Twenty years old and about to start my sophomore year of college.  Definitely never saw myself on a blind date.  God, I used to think Max had excellent taste in women.  Her teeth are whitened so much that they’re blinding against her overly tanned skin.  

The hostess seats us at a table in the middle of the restaurant and hands us menus.  After browsing through it for a couple minutes, I realize that Brenda has stopped speaking.  Obviously out-of-character for her, so I look up to see her not even paying attention to me and staring over my shoulder, looking sort of . . . aroused.  Is she checking someone out?  I almost laugh out loud.

Amused and a little disturbed, I turn around in my chair to see who’s caught her attention.  I mean, he must be pretty special to turn her head away from me.  I look back to lock eyes with the last person I expected to see here.   Jackson. 

Jackson’s eyes lock on mine, then he looks up past me, with a worried look on his face.  An indecipherable look enters his eyes and a feeling of premonition rushes through me.  I whip my head around to see a shadowy feminine figure walking down the dim restroom hallway at the back of the restaurant. 

I wait the few seconds for her to enter the brightly lit dining room area and when she does, the breath whooshes out of my body.  She doesn’t see me yet, but I sure as hell see her.  Hair now light brown and upswept, wearing a tight-fitting white suit that looks straight out of a fashion magazine and walking confidently in black heels, she looks nothing like the twenty-year-old that she is. 

Annabelle.

My long lost, not so dead after all, love of my life. 

My hands start shaking where they’re tightly gripping the menu.  I think my entire body is shaking actually.  I close my eyes in a long blink, wondering if I’m hallucinating. Maybe seeing Jackson is making me fantasize about seeing her.  Maybe Jackson isn’t real either.  Maybe I’ve really gone crazy and am living in a dream world of my own making.  The pain of living without Anna is intense enough for me to have a mental breakdown. 

I close my eyes in another long blink.  Please still be there.  She still is. If I’m dreaming, I don’t want to ever wake up.  If I’m crazy, I don’t want to ever be sane again.  I can feel myself start to sweat and am breathing harder. 

She nears my table, but hasn’t seen me yet.  As she passes, she finally glances down and meets my stare.  Her eyes go wide long enough for me to know that I was the last person she expected to see, then the look is gone and she continues walking past.  I turn my head to follow her progress as she seats herself across from Jackson, with her back to me. 

He looks at me, then says something to Anna.  Their waiter shows and as they’re placing their order, I think, ‘That’s it?’ 

I turn around back to Brenda, who has been trying to get my attention, and coldly tell her, “I’m getting you a cab.”  Dropping a fifty on the table, I walk around it to grip Brenda’s arm and pull her up out of her chair.  A few minutes later, I’m ushering her out of the restaurant and hailing a cab.  I place her in it and hand the driver enough money to get her wherever she wants to go in New York City.  I don’t give a crap where she goes, as long as it‘s out of my way.  From the curse words that Brenda is throwing at me, I’m sure Max isn’t going to be happy, I think he’s banging her best friend right now, but I really don’t give a damn right now. 

My world has just been tilted on its axis.  I have a world again.  My world is currently in that restaurant, acting as if I don’t exist. 

Walking back into the restaurant, I breeze past a confused hostess and plop myself down in an empty chair at Anna and Jackson’s table. 

“So, what are we having?” I ask nonchalantly.  “Who are we here to kill?  Should I wonder if it’s me?”  I stare hard at Anna, waiting for her to look at me. 

She finally pulls her gaze from Jackson and glances at me.  “Hello, Gabriel.”  The lack of warmth in her eyes tears me up inside. 

I realize that I’m still shaking and try to calm down.  Taking a deep breath, I turn my attention to Jackson, “You said she died.”

He doesn’t look the least bit remorseful, “So I did.”

I look at Anna, “He said you were dead.”

Still showing no emotion, she simply says, “I know.”

“You’re not,” I say inanely. 

“No, I’m not.”

“It’s been two years.”  I’m trying to think this through, trying to digest the realization that I’ve been mourning her for two long years and she’s been alive this entire time.  When she doesn’t say anything, I continue, “Why?”

She finally loses her composure and I see that her hand shakes as she reaches for her water.  After taking a big gulp, she clumsily sets it down, “It was for the best, Gabriel.”

“I’d thought you died,” I start to choke up and glance around the restaurant to balance myself. 

Bitterness flashes through her eyes, “I almost did.”

Lowering my voice and wishing we were alone, I say softly, “I didn’t mean it, Anna.”

She pins me with a look full of hurt, “Didn’t you, Gabriel?  I mean, it’s not like you meant to shoot someone else.  You shot me.”

“I loved you,” I try to convince her, “I still love you.”

She’s out of her seat before I realize she means to leave.  I go to chase after her as she’s moving towards the entrance.  Jackson’s hand on my shoulder stops me, “Leave her alone, Gabriel.”

“I can’t,” I plead with him, so glad that he didn't kill me before and hoping that he doesn't kill me now.

Shaking off his grip, I chase her.  Again.

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