Part 1

13 0 0
                                                  

To the rest of the world, Haven Sawyer was already dead. Which was exactly how she wanted it. She wasn't trying to outrun death. She was trying to outrun what came after. Unlike most people, Haven already knew what was waiting for her. She just didn't know why.

Heaven or hell. The elevator or the escalator. Peace or purgatory. If you believed in any kind of afterlife then your options were usually limited to one extreme or the other. And while people generally tried to be good, they mostly failed to succeed. So did it really matter in the grand scheme of things what she did?

Haven wanted to die without fear, so she lived her life in apathy. She would save being afraid for when she was in hell.

Music trilled from the inside of her jean jacket and she jumped. The phone was a brand new burner, the ring tone still set to the factory default. Who would be calling her? She checked the screen. The number wasn't local, but it looked familiar. Then it hit her: Chase.

Of course he had found her. He was a hunter after all. Haven hit decline. There wouldn't be time to make it right, but she knew he would forgive her. He always did.

Besides, he wouldn't have been able to hear her if she had picked up. Coral had insisted they celebrate her twenty-second birthday in a popular bar. Something about goat sliders and dollar shots on Fridays.

"No work the next day either," Coral had added when she'd made her argument. "So it's no harm, no foul if we get wasted. I want to give you a birthday you'll never forget. And possibly never remember."

Haven had relented. Coral's larger than life personality was hard to say no to, and it wasn't really her birthday anyway. It was Hannah Scott's. And Hannah Scott knew how to have a good time. Hannah Scott didn't have a ticking clock hanging over her head.

The bell chimed over the door as Coral breezed in, the thin heels of her brown leather boots clicking as she walked over the rough wooden floor. She unwrapped a multi-colored scarf from her olive colored pea coat and hanged it on the hook by the door. She didn't have to look around to know that literally every head in the place turned to glance at her. If they were brave, they'd be obvious and let their eyes linger. There were always a few. Coral would reward their bravery with a wink and a smile, maybe just the slightest tilt of her head, and they would turn into puddles of helpless goo. She witnessed it enough in six months to know it was true. Not that Coral ever noticed.

"Hannah! Please tell me you're not just sitting there," she yelled over the noise. "You should be at least be two shots in by now."

Okay. So some of her introverted traits stuck. "I was waiting like a good friend. I know how you hate when I get into trouble without you."

Taking the stool on the left, Coral bypassed the shots and ordered herself a vodka cranberry, along with Haven's usual, rum and coke straight up. "And lime," Haven chimed in.

As the bartender busied himself with the drinks, she couldn't help giving him a quick and inconspicuous once over. Coral, as usual, was the only one who seemed to catch her.

"God, you are so STRAIGHT!" She draped herself dramatically over the bar as she said it.

Haven stuck out her tongue. "Don't be judgmental of my lifestyle choices."

Coral snorted as she sipped her drink. "I'm okay with it, I just wish you wouldn't flaunt it in front of me. It goes against my beliefs."

The banter was normal for them, but it was an acquired taste. Not everybody had their sense of humor. It was always amusing to see what type of reaction other people might illicit though, and she was pleased to hear an ill-concealed chuckle come from the bartender.

Coral swiveled around on the stool, surveying the other people with mild interest.

"See anything you like?" Haven asked her.

"Not really looking. Although now that you mention it..." Coral gave her half-grin and she followed the girl's gaze to a pretty redhead wearing a Giant's jersey and low-cut jeans.

She nudged Coral. "Go talk to her."

"She could be straight. It would go wonderfully with my streak of luck."

"If she is, you could change her mind," Haven said, only half-joking. "Ask her the score of the game or something. I know you're dying from missing it."

Coral shrugged. "I came here to celebrate your birthday. This day is about you. The game isn't that important."

"I don't mind. It's only for a minute and I have other things to keep me busy." She winked and Coral made a face, but got up anyway.

"Be right back."

"I'll be here." She turned back around just as the bartender sat down their drinks along with a few lime wedges. She squeezed one into her rum and coke, took a sip and savored the sweetness.

"You enjoying that?"

She looked up to notice the bartender watching her with an amused expression on his face. Dark hair, brown eyes...and just a hint of ink peeking out from his left sleeve. She suddenly remembered some saying she read about not usually chasing guys, but power-walking for one with muscles and tattoos.

She smiled over the rim of her glass. "Throughly."

Before he could respond, someone towards the end of the bar shouted for a refill and he went back to his work. She sighed. Maybe it was for the best, seeing as after tomorrow she would never seem him again. There was the off chance that she'd run out of states and eventually have to loop her way back to New York, but she doubted he'd still be working here if that happened.

"So what's his name?" Coral asked.

"I don't know, we were interrupted."

"Well, ask him when he comes back to refill my drink." She quickly downed the vodka cranberry and waved the guy down for another one. Haven's phone rang again. She switched it to silent.

"Do you need to get that?" Coral asked.

She shook her head and pocketed it. She turned to Coral and asked her about the pretty redhead. "Did you get her number?"

"No. I don't think her boyfriend would appreciate that."

"Like that's ever stopped you before," Haven teased.

"Look, I have to at least try and be a good person."

"You are," she said, laying her head on the woman's shoulder. "You're a wonderful person."

"I don't know about that."

Coral wasn't a hugger, but she let Haven be affectionate when she felt like it. She tried not to think about tomorrow, but she couldn't help it. Even though Hannah was just another identity, her friendship with Coral was real. She would miss her. She wished she could tell her the truth. "You're the best friend I've ever had."

She could feel Coral giving her the look. The one that always seemed to be looking right through her. "Ditto."

The bartender delivered Coral's drink and she ordered the goat sliders. "Trust me, I had them once before when they were on special. You'll love them." She stood up. "I'm going to the bathroom. Watch my drink, please."

"Are you sure you don't want me to come with you?"

Coral shook her head. "I'll be right back. Just don't go anywhere."

For now, that was a promise Haven could keep. She sipped on her rum and coke. The stool on her right creaked as someone sat down. Haven glanced over and choked on her drink. Dark hair. Hazel eyes. Looks that could kill. Not that he wasn't capable of that all on his own. Haven had watched him do it, once upon a time.

"Chase."

"Haven. You really need to start answering my calls."

Hell BentWhere stories live. Discover now