Working nights are quiet. There is nothing else to do besides ensuring the building is clean, trash is taken out, and sometimes people come in and out. I pick up my phone and open Lani’s chat. I text her, “I miss you love,” and send it off. Only the universe knows how much I miss that woman on these nights. I would get there in the morning and walk into the room. There she would be with the stupid kitten, Bruce. Okay, okay. Not stupid. The little guy is cute. Black with yellow piercing eyes. He was still a kitten; that age is always ridiculous, annoying, and cute. They’d be cuddled together with Bruce on her head, lost somewhere in her length of dark hair. All you’d see are yellow eyes staring at you in the darkness. Lani’s slow breathing could be heard, surely asleep. But…the moment I set foot in through our bedroom door, her eyes would flutter open. It was always eerie how she knew.
I opened her message. Panic set in, and I rose off my stool. “Help”? I called her. Voicemail. I kept calling. Dang it, Lani. It kept ringing. I called Kieran, who answered oddly quickly, “Hey man…do you know what time it is? Are you okay?”
“Kieran, I can’t reach your sister. She sent a text saying to help. I’m at work. Can you go, please? You’re closer; I’ll be there soon” I could hear Kieran rustling and the door slamming shut, “Yeah, I gotcha. I’m leaving now.”
Police lights? I pulled up and got out of the car. The worst thoughts were coming to me. Kieran was standing outside. “What happened?!” He shook his head. “I don’t know, man. She’s not here. Her phone’s outside, but she isn’t home. Cops think maybe she left and disappeared on her own. Asking me questions about her. My sister isn’t on drugs or a flight risk like no man. They don’t believe me.” I could hardly hide my anger as I approached two cops in their car. “Hey, I’m the boyfriend. My girlfriend texted me to help.” The cop nonchalantly replied, “Well, there’s no sign of forced entry, and it hasn’t been more than a few hours. I don’t think that qualifies as anything worrisome yet.” I clenched my jaw. “My girlfriend doesn’t just disappear on her own. She sits on the porch to work or study. She never goes anywhere without her phone. Hell, she won’t even leave our damn kitten alone. I even called her brother to come to check in because we both know she is NOT like this, and her phone was on the floor. If she’s been kidnapped…” They seemed to look at me and finally said, “Okay, sir, let me get detectives. We apologize for the delay.”
The night was a blur of questions; all we were told to do was wait. Wait as I felt my soul fell apart.
One Week Later
Missing, she was missing. This place, our place, feels so dark without her. Bruce lays on her side all the time. Do cats miss their people? This pain in my chest. My heart and soul were breaking apart. A part of me has been ripped away, and it’s raw—the constant what-ifs whirlwind through my mind. My stomach churned with hunger. But I was too numb to eat anything. I couldn’t enjoy a meal knowing she was out there. Alive…scared…or worse. Please, I want her back…
One Month Later
My phone rings, and I still flinch. Usually, it’s her brother wanting to talk or game. I feel myself slipping away further and further. I don’t feel her anymore. I feel dead. As time passed, reality set in. I might not see Lani alive ever again…
Bruce has gotten bigger. I feed him, work, let videos play in the background, and sip on my coffee…even when it burns, at least I feel something. But sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with grief that I never wish to get out of bed on my days off. But Bruce comes to let me know he is hungry. At least someone is hungry…when was the last time I ate anything good?
I sighed in the shower and leaned into the hot water. Letting it soothe my sore muscles. But it couldn’t help the pain within. A random memory of her peeking into the shower curtain, asking to come in. Before I could agree, she’d pull the curtain open and step in. My eyes would drift all over her as I took her in. The sleepy eyes, long dark hair, the thickness of her thighs leading into curvy hips, and the sweet sound of giggling as she went around me to get under the shower. The smell of her soap as she slathered it on herself. I wanted to surround myself with that smell forever. So, I wrapped my arms around her to help her lather up. I knew all her ticklish spots, her favorite places to be touched, and where to massage to relax her. I’d bite her ear as she melted in my arms. She’d finish showering, and she would encaptivate me. “Okay, done!” A peck on the lips, and she was rushing out. “Don’t you dare. Come here”. I’d pull her back in for a deeper kiss. Stepping out of the shower myself, one hand still entangled in her wet hair. Her warm body pressed against me, and I couldn’t resist. I wanted to get lost inside her and forget everything to make her mine.
The memory stung, and the heaviness in my chest made me weak with despair. My breathing quickened, and I felt dizzy. My heart was beating out of my chest as the sobs came in waves. I was nauseated by the haunting thoughts of anyone darkening that smile, laying their hands on her, and the fear she must be feeling…or felt. I was hyperventilating. I sat in the tub with my hands on my head. I took deep breaths. These panic attacks often came now, sometimes a few times a day. Memories are triggered at every turn.
A mew snapped me back into reality. Bruce was sitting by the shower. His meow was soft, and his face seemed puzzled. I was losing myself in the memories again. “Thanks, buddy…” He began to purr and walked away. I yelled out, “I see how it is. Leave a man when he’s down.” That damn cat…
POV I’ve always enjoyed POV books and thought maybe we could see the side of Conrad of his grief without her. As he watches her family suffer through that time without her as well as his heartbreak. Hope you all enjoy. Let me know what you all think thus far!