Weekend Reading: Contract

Saturday, July 19, 2014



Weekend Reading: Contract

An excerpt 

Warning: This one is going to leave you hanging, so if you don't think you can handle the suspense, I suggest you stop reading right now. I found this written in an old journal, and just had to share it (highly edited, of course), but so far, I don't have anything else written for this story besides this scene. I'll try to continue it, but I have a long list of writing projects to continue, so I apologize if this one doesn't make the cut. 

This life isn’t easy, but, then again, I knew that from the start. That’s why I chose it, this life. The challenge entices me, entices everyone like me, and I just couldn’t turn away the temptation. And yet, now that I realize the sacrifice I made that foggy, dreary night, I’ve come to know that this challenging life I’ve lived for so long doesn’t even compare to the challenge I find myself facing now. It’s silly to think that through all the danger, all the conflict, and everything else horrid this life provides, I’d find my most life-threatening challenge here, lying in his arms.

I look up at the ceiling, at the dim, flickering light overhead, a flicker I’ve learned to love along with all the other quirks that make up his tiny apartment. It used to annoy me, that flickering light. I’ve never been one to leave something broken, and no matter how much I tried, the light just wouldn’t stop flickering. Leave it to Sal to present me with my very first unachievable challenge. It’s something he had become very good at. Not that he knew, of course.

“I love you, Scarlett. I really do.” He murmurs, unintentionally and unknowingly conjuring shivers of what is it? Pleasure, love, happiness? I can’t tell. I’ve never felt any of those things before him.

The scruff of hair that covers his chin lightly scratches my cheek as he nods his head slightly to softly press his warm, comforting lips against the top of my head. Even through the thickness of my silky, chestnut hair, I can feel it, that warmth, that comfort, that love.

Love. Now there’s a word I never thought much about before, never experienced, never felt, never known. Until now. 

At first glance, it might seem like he feels it too. I mean, he said it, right? He’s said it a million times. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it doesn’t seem like one to me. Not when I’ve never heard it before, filled with such meaning, such truth, that I just know if he knew me-- not Scarlett Joanne Simmons-- but me, Tatiana Shea Mcknight, he wouldn’t feel that way. Scarlett is normal, but me? I can’t remember the last time I lived a normal life or even if I ever lived one at all. I can’t remember much past that night, that foggy, dreary night when a little girl was lost.

I know I need to say something, anything to fill up that gap of silence, not pleasant but not yet awkward either. It’s simply a silence as he waits expectantly for me to respond. What I want to tell him is exactly what I can’t, and what I need to tell him, what he wants to hear, I can’t imagine doing like this. I love him. I do. But he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know me. He knows Scarlett, and she’s not me, but he doesn’t know that either. He can’t know that. It would destroy everything, everything that this life is made of, and I’m just not sure if that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

“I’m sorry.” He apologizes, his grip on me loosening. “I know I keep saying it.”

I curl up against his chest, burying my face against the sturdiness of it, feeling his heartbeat thump against my cheek. I take a deep breath, trying to soothe the lump forming in my throat. It’s an odd feeling, and not in a good way. It hurts, and makes my eyes sting, and not even the sweet yet masculine smell of his is enough to make it disappear.

“I...” I start to say, but I don’t know what words to use next. 

“You don’t have to say anything. I get it.”

“No.”

“No?”

“No, you don’t get it. It’s not like that. I just...I’m just...”

I’m not sure how to complete my explanation. I’m too many things at this moment. At loss for words. A liar. A fake. A fraud. Scarlett. Tatiana. I could go on forever, but I just don’t have the time.

“You don’t need to explain.” He assures me. “It’s okay. Really.”

He nearly lets go of me completely, and I’m surprised by how this affects me. I don’t like close. I’m scared of close, but right now I want to be close to him. If it were possible, I’d mold myself to him so I would never have to feel this aching, throbbing, painful distance that’s consuming us now. I want to grab him and pull him to me again, but I can’t. It’s only when he shifts away from me ever-so-slightly that my courageous impulse-reaction kicks in.

“I’m not Scarlett.” I confess, pressing myself harder against him.

“What do you mean?”

I can hear my heart thundering in my head. It’s not too late. I can still tell another lie. He’ll believe it without hesitation. But I can’t do that to him. Not anymore. Not now.

“My name is Tatiana Shea Mcknight,” I tell him courageously, sucking in my breath sharply at the realization of what I’m about to do, “and three months ago, I was hired to kill you.”

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