I gasped and sat up. The sea breeze hit me, and I inhaled it. My eyes adjusted in the dark as I watched the waves lap the shore. I rose to brush the sand off my jeans and hoodie. A pink backpack with personal items and some cash was all I had on me. I couldn’t stop thinking about what to expect. My family? Boyfriend? My twin brother Kieran? What will they say? This would be difficult, and cops would be called.
I gazed at the beach a bit longer. I pulled out a mirror and changed my hair to a soft rosy color. I didn’t want to be completely recognizable. I’ll change my voice if needed. I began to walk away from the beach and found my way into the woods. I followed with the moon still overhead. I could hear movements. People inside their homes from a distance. Closer and closer, I finally reached the city area. I was back in New York City—home on earth.
I didn’t rush as the sun rose, painting the sky with its orange and blue hues. I managed to reach the train station. The noises were overwhelming; with my heightened senses, it would take time to get used to. I breathed and tried to block everything out. I caught up to a train heading downtown. I could see the time; my boyfriend would take the train soon if he still worked the same job. I stood as I watched through the windows as the train stopped at each station. I was getting closer to the stop. Three stops…two stops… one stop…
I released a shaky breath. Panic was setting in. Maybe he moved? Stopped working? So much can happen in four years.
Ding. Doors closing.
“Excuse me…” My breath hitched at the familiar deep voice.
He sat across from me. I clenched the backpack against me, my hood up to conceal myself further. I peeked at him, he was in a dark hoodie with his leather jacket over it, and headphones were on. He had dark circles under his eyes and this far-off look. He almost looked broken…no hint of a smile, only emptiness. Even still, he was handsome, even with the severe look on his face; I could feel his sadness and loneliness. We rode for thirty minutes together. He got up, his stop approaching. Should I follow? I had no plan. I exited the train with him.
He followed his route to work with me on his heels. As he entered his job, I made my way to the library with a café; my heart was beating quickly as I sat down with my usual order, a java chip frappe. It hurt to see him so sad and alone. What if he had a life and the sadness was something else? Another girl in his life? Could I accept that…?
It felt weird being back here again. The library had changed a bit, and the drink tasted similar but better—memories creeping back to me of Conrad and I wandering in the manga and fiction section. I would find a book to get lost in as he sat next to me with his manga. Sometimes I would catch his gaze on me through the top part of his book. His cheek was resting against his hand, his smile subtle. “I know you’re looking at me, Conrad.” He’d avert his gaze and chuckle taking my hand and interlocking our fingers. “I can’t just look at you, love?”
“Not without a kiss, you can’t” He leaned in for a kiss on my forehead, then my lips. “Want the usual, and we share?” I nodded. I watched as he walked away. Gosh, he was perfect and so sweet. He looked back and smiled softly. I made a face at him, and it got a smirk out of him—that memory felt like forever ago.
It was almost time for him to get out. So, I quickly sipped up my drink and dropped it into the bin with a loud thud.
Thank you for reading! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying writing the series. I’m still trying to to debate whether to keep it tame or have adult content. Let me know if this would be of interest to anyone as my audience. I appreciate you all!